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知事「安全側に立った決定」 伊方原発訴訟高裁判断 via 日本海新聞

四国電力伊方原発3号機(愛媛県伊方町)について、広島高裁が運転差し止めの仮処分を決定した17日、電力会社と結ぶ安全協定で周辺自治体も立地自治体と同じ権限を持てるよう訴えている鳥取県の平井伸治知事は「安全側に立った決定を下したと受け止める」と高裁判断を評価し、「原発は周辺も含めた地域の安全を第一義に運用されなければならない」と求めた。

 また、中国電力島根原発2号機(松江市鹿島町)の再稼働に関連し、「中国電力に対しては現在行われている審査に真摯(しんし)に対応することを強く求める」とした。(浜田匡史)

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EDITORIAL: Ikata ruling a warning against optimism over nuke safety risks via The Asahi Shimbun

[…]

In issuing an injunction to stop the operations of the reactor, the court said Shikoku Electric Power Co. has not taken proper measures to secure the safety of the reactor given the possibility of an active fault running close to the nuclear plant it operates. The ruling also argued that the company’s assumptions concerning the risks related to a possible volcano eruption are overly optimistic.

The high court decision has cast serious doubt about the nuclear safety measures that have been taken by electric utilities to bring offline reactors back on stream under the new standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. It has also called into question the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s decisions to allow utilities to restart suspended reactor operations by endorsing the legitimacy of the measures.

[…]

Shikoku Electric plans to appeal the ruling. The NRA has also criticized the ruling, saying that the new safety standards are based on the latest scientific and technological knowledge and that it properly examines and assesses the measures taken by utilities.

But the high court’s decision should not be brushed aside.

The new nuclear safety standards were designed and introduced to ensure high levels of safety that can prevent a recurrence of a Fukushima-class accident.

In cases where experts are divided over safety risk issues, the court said, an optimistic stance toward the risks should not be taken casually simply because it is the majority view.

According to this position, the court declared Shikoku Electric’s sonic wave tests to be “insufficient” despite the fact that experts were divided on this issue.

Pointing to a flaw in the guidelines for assessing risks linked to volcanic eruptions, the court said it is “unreasonable” to assume that it is possible to predict the timing and scale of a major eruption sufficiently in advance.

This is a problem that was also pointed out in a court ruling handed down in the autumn of 2018. How long do nuclear regulators intend to leave it unaddressed?

In considering issues concerning nuclear safety, it is vital to listen humbly to dissenting opinions and remain willing to make constant reviews of the safety standards and the measures based on them.

A lack of such a commitment to safety undermines the credibility of the NRA’s claim that both the safety standards and screenings are totally reliable.

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Olympics: Tokyo torch relay to add another Fukushima reactor town via The Mainichi

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games torch relay is likely to pass through the town of Futaba, which hosts the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, as the government plans to lift the mandatory evacuation order for the town on March 4, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.

The town of Okuma, a co-host of the nuclear plant, was already included in the first day of the torch relay. Fukushima Prefecture aims to highlight on the global stage its reconstruction from the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

Organizers announced in July 2018 that Fukushima would be the starting point for the torch relay in the country. Last March, Yoshiro Mori, the organizing committee’s president, revealed that the relay would begin some 20 kilometers from the Fukushima plant at the J-Village national soccer training center, which was used as an operational base for handling the nuclear crisis.

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The human cost of nuclear weapons via Beyond Nuclear International

More than a “feminine” concern

By Lilly Adams

The nuclear weapons world is full of subtle and not-so-subtle misogyny, and I’ve had my share of experiences: Fighting my way onto an otherwise all-male panel, only to have my speaking time cut short. Meeting a male colleague at a conference for the first time, where he immediately told me that he liked the red dress I was wearing in my Facebook profile photo and that I should dress like that more. Having a male superior tell me he saw no problem with the all-male, all-white panel he was organizing and scoffing at the idea that we had a “gender problem.”

[…]

One such approach, which is often overlooked but increasingly gaining prominence, is to examine nuclear issues through a social justice lens. As with many social justice issues, women, indigenous communities, communities of color, and low-income and rural communities have often been those hit hardest by nuclear weapons production and testing.

The scope of suffering among these frontline communities—those directly impacted by US nuclear weapons production and testing—is shocking. A recent study very roughly estimates that atmospheric nuclear testing led to 340,000 to 460,000 premature deaths between 1951 and 1973. The US government has estimated that roughly 200,000 armed service personnel were involved in nuclear weapons tests, though others put that number as high as 400,000. The 67 nuclear tests conducted in the Marshall Islands, in total, had the equivalent power of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs exploded every single day for 12 years.

Through all of this, women have been and are still being harmed in unique ways. Women exposed to radioactive fallout have much higher risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, and birth defects in their children. In the most exposed areas of the Marshall Islands, it became common for women to give birth to “jellyfish babies”—babies born without bones and with transparent skin.

Breast cancer rates in the Marshall Islands are also shockingly high, yet there is a severe lack of cancer care available to the Marshallese.

In the United States, breast-feeding mothers exposed to atmospheric nuclear testing passed Iodine-131 to their children through their breast milk.

recent study from the University of New Mexico showed that in the Navajo Nation, 26 percent of women have “concentrations of uranium exceeding levels found in the highest 5 percent of the US population.”

In Japan, women who survived the nuclear bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in addition to bearing the burden of physical health effects, were stigmatized and shunned, unable to marry because of the fear of radiation-caused illnesses and defects passing down to future generations.

And overall, though the reasons are not fully understood, women at all ages are more vulnerable to ionizing radiation and seem more likely to get cancer from radiation exposure, and die, than men.

Gender matters when it comes to the physical effects of nuclear weapons, but also the way we do and don’t talk about them. In a recent study on women in national security, I was stunned to read that “the consideration of differential group effects is often dismissed by policymakers who do not consider civilian impacts to be important or useful.” Reading that I had to ask: not “important or useful” for whom? Perhaps they’re not important to policymakers, though I find that incredibly cynical. But surely they’re important to the people suffering and dying from these effects.

In her classic “Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals,” Carol Cohn describes the ways that discussion of nuclear weapons is informed by and perpetuates toxic gender norms. […]

At a recent meeting about how we might reach new audiences, a woman suggested using more emotion and storytelling in our work. Someone else quickly responded that this was not what our work was about, that we didn’t have time to dwell on emotions. I think sticking to strategy, budgets, and warhead and missile design feels safer and more acceptable to this male-dominated field.

Because of this, I often feel as if I must work twice as hard to prove my credibility and make my voice heard. Not only am I a woman—already a strike against me—I also want to talk about the human impacts of nuclear weapons, apparently an emotional and irrelevant topic. At a recent nine-day conference for aspiring nuclear professionals, I attended 33 lectures on everything from stockpile stewardship to Russia’s nuclear doctrine to ballistic missile defense. There were no lectures on the human costs of nuclear weapons; it was barely mentioned.

[…]

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梶山経産相、原発再稼働推進変わらず 電事連会長「極めて残念」―伊方差し止め via Jiji.com

四国電力伊方原発3号機(愛媛県伊方町)の運転差し止めを命じる広島高裁仮処分決定をめぐり、梶山弘志経済産業相は17日、記者団に「(原子力規制委員会が)世界で最も厳しいレベルの新規制基準に適合すると判断した」と述べ、原発再稼働を目指す政府方針は今後も変わらないとの立場を強調した。規制委には高い独立性があると指摘した上で、適合判断を尊重すべきだとの認識を示した。

伊方3号機運転差し止め 活断層「否定できず」―仮処分の即時抗告審・広島高裁

[…]

原発は「エネルギー資源が乏しい日本で電力の安定供給など引き続き役割が大きい」との考えを示す一方、裁判所の判断で原発の運転が止まる「司法リスク」に関し、「各事業者が安全性向上への取り組みをしっかりと説明していくことに尽きる」と語った。

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Belgium debates phase-out of US nuclear weapons on its soil via Euractiv

By  Alexandra Brzozowski 

It’s one of Belgium’s worst kept secrets. Lawmakers on Thursday (16 January) narrowly rejected a resolution asking for the removal of US nuclear weapons stationed in the country and joining the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

66 MPs voted in favour of the resolution while 74 rejected it.
Those in favour included the Socialists, Greens, centrists (cdH), the workers party (PVDA) and the francophone party DéFI. The 74 that voted against included the nationalist Flemish party N-VA, the Flemish Christian Democrats (CD&V), the far-right Vlaams Belang and both Flemish and francophone Liberals.

Just before the Christmas recess, the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee approved a motion calling for the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Belgian territory and the accession of Belgium to the International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The resolution was led by Flemish socialist John Crombez (sp.a).

[…]

The December resolution was voted in the absence of two liberal MPs, even though the text was already watered down.

According to Flemish daily De Morgen, the American ambassador to Belgium was “particularly worried” about the resolution before Thursday’s vote and a number of MPs were approached by the US embassy for a discussion.

The controversy was sparked by a debate to replace the US-made F-16 fighter aircraft in the Belgian army with American F-35s, a more advanced plane capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

[…]

A “most poorly kept secret”
For a long time, and in contrast with other countries, there has been no public debate about the presence of nuclear weapons on Belgian soil.

A July 2019 draft report entitled ‘A New Era for Nuclear Deterrence?’ and published by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, confirmed that Belgium is one of several European countries storing US nuclear weapons as part of NATO’s nuclear sharing agreement. The weapons are stationed at Kleine Brogel airbase, in the province of Limburg.

Although the Belgian government had so far adopted a policy of “to neither confirm, nor deny” their presence on Belgian soil, military officials have called it one of Belgium’s “most poorly kept secrets”.

According to De Morgenwhich obtained a leaked copy of the document before its final paragraph was replaced, the report stated:

“In the context of NATO, the United States is deploying around 150 nuclear weapons in Europe, in particular B61 free-bombs, which can be deployed by both US and Allied planes. These bombs are stored in six American and European bases: Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel in Germany, Aviano and Ghedi-Torre in Italy, Volkel in the Netherlands and Inçirlik in Turkey.”

[…]

Earlier in 2019, the American Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists noted in its annual report that Kleine Brogel possessed no less than twenty nuclear weapons. The report is used as a source in the final version of the report presented by a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Asked about the current Belgian debate, a NATO official told EURACTIV that a nuclear capacity is needed “to maintain peace and avert aggression” from the outside. “NATO’s goal is a world without nuclear weapons but as long as they exist, NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance”.

[…]

Belgium, as a NATO country, so far has not supported the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear weapons, with the goal of leading towards their total elimination.

However, the resolution voted on Thursday was meant to change that. A public opinion poll conducted by YouGov in April 2019 found that 64% of Belgians believe that their government should sign the treaty, with only 17% opposed to signing.
[Edited by Georgi Gotev and Frédéric Simon]

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Shikoku Electric again ordered to halt Ikata nuclear reactor over volcano risk via The Japan Times

The Hiroshima High Court on Friday revoked a lower court decision and ordered Shikoku Electric Power Co. to suspend its only operable nuclear reactor in Ehime Prefecture because its preparations for a potential eruption of Mount Aso are inadequate.

[…]

The high court also said the Nuclear Regulatory Agency’s regulations were unreasonable.

The ruling marks the second time the high court has ordered a halt of the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant.

The reactor had been shut for regular maintenance work since late December and was likely to restart within a couple of months, but now must remain idled pending an appeal. Shares in the company, which didn’t disclose the court’s reason for issuing the order, plunged on the news, ending the day down 6 percent at ¥957.

[…]

Residents near reactors have been filing numerous lawsuits against nuclear power operations in recent years, leading to some temporary closures. Utilities have generally been successful in getting rulings against them overturned on appeal.

[…]

The reactor is currently idled for scheduled inspections and the removal of spent mixed-oxide fuel was completed on Wednesday. It is expected to be restarted on April 27.

A previous order forcing a halt in operations was issued by the Hiroshima High Court in December 2017, citing the risk of Mount Aso erupting. The same court then overturned the decision in September 2018 on appeal, and Shikoku Electric restarted the reactor a month later.

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伊方原発、運転差し止め 広島高裁仮処分 地裁支部決定を取り消し via 毎日新聞

山口県東部の住民3人が、四国電力伊方原発3号機(出力89万キロワット、愛媛県伊方町)の運転差し止めを求めた仮処分申請の即時抗告審が17日、広島高裁であった。森一岳裁判長は申し立てを却下した2019年3月の山口地裁岩国支部の決定を取り消し、四電(高松市)に運転差し止めを命じる決定を出した。11年3月の東京電力福島第1原発事故以降、司法による運転差し止めの判断は5例目。

伊方原発3号機は、福島第1原発事故を受けて停止したが、原子力規制委員会による新規制基準の安全審査に合格し、16年8月に再稼働した。現在は19年12月からの定期検査で停止している。仮処分はただちに効力が生じるため、四電は決定の取り消しを求める保全異議と仮処分の執行停止を高裁に申し立てる方針だが、4月27日に予定されている営業運転の再開は微妙な情勢となった。

原告は、原子力災害対策指針などで避難計画の策定が義務付けられていない原発から30~40キロ圏にある島しょ部の住民。岩国支部への仮処分申請で住民側は、伊方原発周辺の海底に延びる中央構造線が活断層であると主張。地震による被害や阿蘇カルデラが噴火した場合は火砕流が到達する危険性があると訴えたが、同支部は19年3月、四電の対策が過小とは言えないなどとして申請を却下した。

即時抗告審で四電は、伊方原発周辺の中央構造線が活断層ではなく、海上音波探査によって最も近い活断層も伊方原発の沖合8キロ地点にあると確認されていると主張。住民側は原発の沖合600メートルにある中央構造線も活断層の可能性があるとし、地震が起きた場合は伊方原発に四電が想定する2~3倍の揺れが生じるとの意見書を、高裁の求めに応じて提出していた。

(略)

3号機を巡っては周辺の山口、大分、松山、広島の各地裁や支部で仮処分申請や提訴が相次ぎ、17年12月には広島高裁が火山の噴火リスクを理由に運転差し止めの決定を出したが、四電の不服申し立てで決定が取り消された。関西電力大飯原発3、4号機の運転差し止めを命じた14年5月の福井地裁判決など、運転差し止めを認めた他の3例も上級審などで判断が覆っている。【手呂内朱梨、賀有勇】

全文は伊方原発、運転差し止め 広島高裁仮処分 地裁支部決定を取り消し

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伊方原発差し止め判断の広島高裁裁判長 18年の原爆症訴訟で被爆者1人を認定 via 毎日新聞

[…]

森一岳裁判長は申し立てを却下した2019年3月の山口地裁岩国支部の決定を取り消し、四電(高松市)に運転差し止めを命じる決定を出した。11年3月の東京電力福島第1原発事故以降、司法による運転差し止めの判断は5例目。

森裁判長(64)は1982年任官。大阪地裁や東京高裁の判事、千葉地裁松戸支部長などを経て2016年4月に広島高裁判事部総括に就いた。18年2月には原爆症認定訴訟の控訴審を担当し、医師による経過観察も医療措置に該当するとして、1審で申請が却下された原告の被爆者1人を原爆症と認める判決を出している。

 今回の抗告審で、森裁判長は19年9月に審尋を開き、住民側と四国電力にプレゼンテーション形式で主張を説明するよう求めた。この際、65歳での定年退官を控えた20年1月中に決定を出したいと伝えたという。【手呂内朱梨】

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Reflections on the TEPCO Trial: Prosecution and Acquittal after Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown via The Asia-Pacific Journal JapanFocus

Abstract: This article focuses on the criminal justice consequences of the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima that was precipitated by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Through a process of “mandatory prosecution” initiated by Japan’s unique Prosecution Review Commissions, three executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Company were charged with criminal negligence in 2015-2016. They were acquitted at trial in 2019 when the Tokyo District Court concluded there was insufficient evidence to convict. Following this verdict, Japanese prosecutors essentially said “we told you so – these cases should not have been prosecuted.” But we argue that a courtroom loss does not mean that the case should never have been brought, for the TEPCO trial and the criminal process that preceded it performed some welcome functions. Most notably, this criminal case revealed many facts that were previously unknown, concealed, or denied, and it clarified the truth about the Fukushima meltdown by exposing some of TEPCO’s claims as nonsense. At the same time, this case study illustrates the limits of the criminal sanction and the difficulty of controlling corporate crime in the modern world.

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