Panel: Fault under Japan nuke plant may be active

A team of Japanese geologists says a seismic fault running underneath a nuclear plant in western Japan is likely to be active, which could force the scrapping of one of its two reactors.

The five-member panel commissioned by the Nuclear Regulation Authority announced Monday that the structure underneath the Tsuruga plant showed signs of seismic movement around 100,000 years ago, recent enough to still be active.

Japanese guidelines prohibit nuclear facilities above active faults. Tsuruga's No. 2 reactor sits directly above the fault and would have to be scrapped if the panel's conclusion is officially accepted.

Only two of Japan's 50 reactors are generating power. The rest are undergoing safety checks after the March, 11, 2011, tsunami crippled the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and caused reactor meltdowns.

Possible seismic faults are being investigated near several other plants.