Hokuriku Electric Power Co. (9505) plunged 21 percent, the most since 1974, in Tokyo trading after seismologists said there may be an active earthquake fault line under the No. 1 reactor at its Shika power station.
The utility lost 238 yen to 877 yen, the lowest price since Dec. 20, 1982, which followed an 8.3 percent fall in the stock yesterday. The company’s shares are on a five-day losing streak, the longest since May 9 this year.
Three geological scientists, including Toshifumi Imaizumi from Tohoku University, said a fault line may be active beneath the No. 1 reactor during a meeting with the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency yesterday, Yukinari Nakagawa, an agency official, said by phone in Tokyo today. The agency and the scientists plan to meet Hokuriku Electric this month to discuss the finding, he said.
Hokuriku would be forced to decommission the Shika reactor if the existence of the active fault line was confirmed because the Nuclear Safety Commission’s doesn’t allow utilities to build reactors and other key facilities of nuclear power stations on active fault lines.
“Hokuriku Electric may be forced to treat this as an impairment loss, which will have a big impact on the company,” said Hidetoshi Shioda, an energy-sector analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. in Tokyo. “Investors are concerned about the lack of options for Hokuriku if the fault is confirmed as active,” he said.
Hokuriku’s No. 1 unit at Shika station, which started operation in 1993, has a generation capacity of 540 megawatts. The other No. 2 unit at the plant, that can produce 1,206 megawatts, become operational in 2006.
Both units are offline for maintenance, along with additional safety checks imposed following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year that crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing radiation leaks and mass evacuations.
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