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Court dismisses residents' request to stop reactor

July 21, 2017



Residents fail in court battle to halt Ehime nuclear reactor





MATSUYAMA--Eleven local residents have lost their court bid to shut down the Ikata nuclear power plant's No. 3 reactor, which was restarted in August 2016.


The Matsuyama District Court on July 21 turned down the request for a temporary injunction to halt operations.


The court said there is nothing unreasonable in the new safety standards introduced by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and in the safety measures taken by the plant’s operator, Shikoku Electric Power Co.


The residents intend to appeal to a higher court.


The nuclear power plant in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture, is located near the “median tectonic line fault zone,” one of the largest active fault lines in Japan.


It is also at risk if a large tsunami is caused by a powerful earthquake along the Nankai Trough off the coast of western Japan.


After the powerful quakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture in April 2016, the Ehime residents filed an injunction with the court in May the same year, three months before the restart of the No. 3 reactor.


They said that as earthquakes could also occur around Ikata, it was necessary to continue the suspension of operations.


Since then, the residents have battled with Shikoku Electric Power at five hearings and through the exchange of documents.


The points of dispute were whether the NRA’s new safety standards are reasonable and whether the biggest tremors assumed by Shikoku Electric Power are of the appropriate level.

As for injunctions against nuclear power plants, the Fukui District Court decided in April 2015 to suspend operations of the No. 3 and the No. 4 reactors at the Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. The Otsu District Court in the neighboring prefecture of Shiga also made a similar decision about the reactors in March 2016.


However, those decisions were nullified in subsequent rulings.

(This article was written by Yosuke Okawa and Yoshitaka Unezawa.)


July 21, 2017



Court dismisses request for halt of Ikata reactor




A court in western Japan has dismissed a request by residents for a suspension of a reactor at a nuclear power plant.

The Matsuyama District Court issued the decision on the No. 3 reactor of the Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture on Friday.

The group of 11 residents of the prefecture filed for an injunction in May last year. They cited a risk of a serious accident in case of a major earthquake. The plant is near active faults.

The facility's operator, Shikoku Electric Power Company, says it calculated the maximum possible earthquake shock and took sufficient safety measures.

But the residents say the utility underestimated the shock.

In the decision, Presiding Judge Keiko Kuboi called the utility's calculation method reasonable.

Kuboi also said government regulations for nuclear power plants introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident cannot be considered unreasonable.

She said the court finds no fault in the Nuclear Regulation Authority's decision to allow the reactor to go back online under the regulations.

The reactor was restarted last August under the new rules.

This March, the Hiroshima District Court dismissed a request by another group of residents for a halt of the reactor.


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