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Citizens sue NRA over Takahama restarts

April 14, 2016

Nuclear protesters sue NRA to halt Takahama reactor restarts


Staff Writer

OSAKA – Plaintiffs seeking to halt the restart of two Kansai Electric Power Co. reactors now more than 40 years old filed a lawsuit in the Nagoya District Court on Thursday to challenge the government-appointed Nuclear Regulation Authority’s restart review process, warning that running the units for another two decades would be dangerous.

Kepco’s Takahama No. 1 and 2 reactors in Fukui Prefecture began operation in 1974 and 1975, respectively, and the original plan was to decommission them after 40 years.

However, the government has authorized a one-time, maximum two-decade extension if the old reactors pass new safety tests.

The NRA essentially cleared the two Takahama reactors in February, but will conduct other specialized checks to determine their condition before deciding whether or not to officially grant approval for an extension.

“In a serious accident at the Takahama reactors, there is a danger of radiation damage from the effects of a westerly wind,” said lawyer Sakae Kitamura, who is representing the plaintiffs, at Thursday’s news conference in Nagoya.

Kepco is racing against time to finish the safety review and secure approval before the July 7 regulatory deadline. If Kepco misses the deadline, the utility will be forced to permanently shut both reactors.

The major issues the plaintiffs are contesting include concerns about the condition of the reactors’ pressure vessels, and questions about whether the seismic risks for the old reactors have been fully considered.




Suit filed against extended use of aging reactors



A group of citizens has filed a lawsuit against extended operation of 2 aging reactors at the Takahama nuclear plant in central Japan.

The 76 people cited safety concerns when filing the suit with the Nagoya District Court on Thursday.

They're demanding that the Nuclear Regulation Authority not approve the extended use of the No.1 and 2 reactors at the plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The reactors began operating in 1974 and 1975. Tougher regulations introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis limit reactors' operational lifespan to 40 years in principle.

The plant's operator, Kansai Electric Power Company, had applied to the regulator to restart the reactors and use them for 20 more years.

The reactors in effect cleared the stricter requirements for restarting in February. The regulator is conducting further screening on aging of related facilities and other matters to decide whether to approve an extension.

The plaintiffs are from 14 prefectures, including Fukui and Aichi. The group's chief lawyer says the suit is the country's first over extended use of a reactor.

The lawyer says the group wants to stop such extension because a serious accident at the plant could affect a wide range of areas, including Aichi Prefecture.

The regulator declined to comment, as officials have not read the suit's documents.



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