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Japanese High Court sides with Kansai Electric, allowing restart of Takahama nuclear plant

Court overturns injunction on Takahama nuclear plant http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703280059.html March 28, 2017 Kansai Electric Power Co. won a major victory in its bid to restart the Takahama nuclear plant on March 28, with the Osaka High Court overturning a lower court’s unprecedented injunction to shut down the plant in operation.

The decision came after the Osaka-based utility had appealed the Otsu District Court’s March 2016 ruling, in which it was ordered to suspend operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the plant in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture.

In the ruling on March 28, the high court sided with Kansai Electric, which argued that its reactors met the regulatory requirements instituted in 2013 by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

With the decision, Kansai Electric, which relies on nuclear energy more than many other utilities, is expected to begin procedures to restart the Takahama plant.

In the injunction, the district court in Shiga Prefecture concluded that merely fulfilling the new NRA requirements is not enough to secure safety at the plant, saying they were set when the investigation into the 2011 Fukushima disaster was only halfway complete.

The lower court also said a thorough survey of geological faults around the Takahama plant has yet to be conducted, and that Kansai Electric’s claim that its reactors have a sufficient safety cushion to withstand the largest tremors projected there is doubtful.

Kansai Electric countered that the new requirements fully incorporate lessons learned from the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant by obliging operators to prepare for a more powerful earthquake, tsunami and other natural phenomenon that could trigger an accident.

The court challenge was filed by a group of 29 residents in Shiga Prefecture, which shares a border with Fukui Prefecture, in January 2015. The injunction marked the first time a court in Japan had ordered an operating reactor to be taken offline.

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March 29, 2017 - Posted by | Japan, Legal

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