OTSU, Japan (Kyodo) — A Japanese district court on Wednesday ordered Kansai Electric Power Co. not to operate its two reactivated nuclear reactors, delivering a blow to the government’s push for nuclear power under new safety requirements introduced after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
In issuing the injunction on the Takahama plant, the first of its kind affecting reactors that resumed operations under the post-Fukushima rules, the Otsu District Court cited “problematic points” in planned emergency responses for major accidents and “questions” remaining on tsunami countermeasures and evacuation planning.
The Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture is one of two nuclear power stations that are currently online. The injunction will force the operator to shut down the No. 3 unit, which was restarted late January, and keep offline the No. 4 unit whose operation was recently suspended due to equipment trouble.
But Presiding Judge Yoshihiko Yamamoto said there are problems even in the latest safety measures, such as in the designing of the quake-resistance standards. And he also criticized Kansai Electric for its failure to offer sufficient explanations regarding the safety of the Takahama plant.
Kansai Electric reactivated the Takahama Nos. 3 and 4 reactors on Jan. 29 and Feb. 26, respectively. But the process was plagued with problems, with the No. 4 unit shutting down automatically just three days after it was rebooted.
In a separate case concerning the two reactors, the Fukui District Court issued in April last year an injunction banning Kansai Electric from restarting the units, citing safety concerns.
But the same court lifted the injunction in December, allowing the utility to resume operations at both reactors. Plaintiffs appealed the court decision to the Kanazawa branch of the Nagoya High Court, where the case is pending.
Read more at Japan court rules against operating restarted Takahama reactors