via digitaljournal.com / April 15, 2015 / Pro-nuclear proponents suffered a serious setback today after Fukui District Court’s three-judge panel handed down a ruling forbidding the restart of two of the 13 nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture.
Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority had approved the restart of the two reactors at the Takahama plant (pictured) owned by Kansai Electric Power (Kepco). But the plan was thwarted by the one judge in Japan brave enough to go up against the Shinzo Abe government’s plans to restart all the reactors in the country, 62-year-old Judge Hideaki Higuchi.
The injunction, that takes place immediately, will push back KEPCO’s plans to restart the reactors in November. Last year, Judge Hideaki Higuchi in a lawsuit ruled that KEPCO’s Oi No. 3 and 4 units not be restarted because insufficient earthquake simulation data was used to conduct the safety evaluation.
In the current case, residents argued that nuclear officials had understated the KEPCO facilities vulnerability to powerful earthquakes like the one that triggered the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. They also added that the reactors did not meet safety standards and there was no adequate evacuation plans in place.
Residents of Kagoshima, a host town in south-west Japan for two reactors at Sendai have been awaiting today’s ruling, looking to the court as their last hope to get the restart of the Sendai reactors stopped. The Sendai reactors got Nuclear Regulatory Authority approval in November 2014 to restart early this year.
The last of Japan’s 48 nuclear reactors went offline in September 2013 as a result of the Fukushima disaster. A different court will rule on a separate injunction later this month on stopping the restart of the Sendai reactors. If that court upholds the injunction, it will be a serious setback for Abe because it could take months and even years to resolve the cases.