The Fukuoka High Court upheld Wednesday a lower court decision to reject a call by local residents to suspend operation of nuclear reactors in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Saga.
Some 170 residents had appealed the Saga District Court decision in 2017, seeking an injunction to halt the operation of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Genkai nuclear power plant run by Kyushu Electric Power Co, citing safety concerns.
The plaintiffs argued that the utility underestimates potential effects of seismic ground motion, a key factor in a reactor’s quake-resistance design, while degradation in piping could lead to serious accidents.
In the appeal trial, the plaintiffs added an argument that the reactors face a risk from volcanic Mt Aso in neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture, claiming that pyroclastic flows from possible large-scale eruptions could reach the plant.
The utility argued it adopts scientific methods based on experts’ views to predict seismic shaking and is implementing necessary safety measures such as renewing piping when needed.