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Court in south-west Japan rejects a residents’ injunction against restarting 2 nuclear power plants

judge-1flag-japanJapan moves nearer to restarting nuclear reactors after court gives go-ahead, Guardian,  in Tokyo, 22 Apr 15  Court in south-west Japan rejects a residents’ injunction against resuming operations at the Sendai power plant apan’s plans to return to nuclear power generation more than four years after the triple meltdown at Fukushima received a boost on Wednesday after a court approved the restart of two nuclear reactors.

The Kagoshima district court in south-west Japan rejected a residents’ injunction against restarting two reactors at the Sendai nuclear power plant, bringing the country a step closer to operating a nuclear reactor for the first time since September 2013.

The ruling comes a week after another court sided with concerned residents in a separate case by temporarily blocking the planned restart of two reactors at the Takahama plant on the Japan Sea coast, citing safety concerns.

Hiroyuki Kawai, head lawyer for the plaintiffs, described Wednesday’s ruling as “extremely regrettable”.

He added: “We will not give in, we will continue fighting. We will not let our emotions be swayed by any short-term results and we will fight until we get rid of all nuclear reactors in Japan.”……

Wednesday’s court decision leaves Kyushu Electric Power, the operator of Sendai nuclear power plant, with just one more regulatory obstacle to overcome before it can restart the two reactors, possibly as early as June.

Regulators have said they are “very close” to completing their review of the Sendai reactors’ safety regime.

Once the licensing procedures are complete, the two reactors, which were commissioned in the 1980s, would have to pass a final operational safety inspection before being switched back on, the NRA commissioner, Toyoshi Fuketa, said.

“We need to have a period for inspection and this is the first experience for Kyushu and for us,” he said. “It will take a certain time … it’s quite difficult to say.”

In the latest lawsuit, residents had argued that Kepco and regulators had underestimated the risk posed to the Sendai plant by nearby volcanoes, and that evacuation plans in the event of a Fukushima-type disaster were insufficient.

The plaintiffs said the “ability to predict eruptions is known to be inadequate”, adding there were “no grounds for Kepco’s assertion that the probability of a [volcanic] eruption is low”………

Kansai Electric Power, which serves the huge city of Osaka, faces legal challenges against four of its 11 reactors, and has said it would decommission two reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power, the operators of the ruined Fukushima Daiichi, is hoping to persuade local authorities to approve the restart of Kashiwazaki Kariwa, the world’s biggest nuclear power plant.

Chubu Electric Power, meanwhile, was forced to close its Hamaoka plant in May 2011 owing to its proximity to offshore tectonic plates. The plant is in a region that experts say is at risk of being struck by a powerful earthquake. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/22/japan-moves-nearer-to-restarting-nuclear-reactors-after-court-gives-go-ahead

April 23, 2015 - Posted by | Japan, Legal

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