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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 May 21 - 27  > Court orders KEPCO not to reactivate Oi NPP
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2014 May 21 - 27 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

Court orders KEPCO not to reactivate Oi NPP

May 22, 2014
The Fukui District Court on May 21 issued a ruling in favor of 189 plaintiffs inside and outside Fukui Prefecture, ordering Kansai Electric Power Company not to reactivate offline reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant. This is the first court ruling of this kind after the Fukushima accident in 2011.

Nos 3 and 4 reactors at KEPCO’s Oi nuclear power station (Oi Town, Fukui Pref.) in September 2013 went offline for regular checkups. The Nuclear Regulation Authority is now examining whether the two reactors fulfill the new safety requirements for the restart set by the authority. The plant operator expressed an intent to appeal the ruling.

In the ruling, presiding judge Higuchi Hideaki stated that the Fukushima nuclear disaster has clearly exposed the dangerous nature of nuclear power generation and how seriously a nuclear accident affects the entire society, and that a nuclear accident could violate constitutional personal rights based on the right to live. The judge stated that it is a matter of course to give the utility an injunction to stop resumption of operations of its nuclear power stations if a risk of causing an accident is detected.

Regarding KEPCO’s argument that no earthquakes stronger than the utility’s own projections will hit the Oi station, the ruling cited five cases where unexpectedly strong quakes had affected nuclear power plants in just the past decade, and criticized the argument as groundless and overly optimistic. The court regarded KEPCO’s measures to prevent quake damage to the plant’s cooling system and used fuel pools as insufficient, and stated that reactivation of the reactors could create risks of taking away the personal rights of residents living within a 250 km-radius from the plant.

At a rally held after the ruling, the plaintiffs group, their lawyers and supporters resolved to utilize the ruling to increase their efforts to establish a zero-nuclear society.

Japanese Communist Party parliamentarian Kasai Akira, who heads the JCP task force on nuclear power generation and energy policy issues, released the following statement:

Based on lessons learned the hard way from the Fukushima accident and its serious damage affecting Fukushima residents for three years, the court made this landmark decision. The consistent public call for total withdrawal from nuclear power generation is also reflected in this ruling. The Abe government should take this ruling seriously and sincerely and give up its plan to reactivate nuclear power plants across Japan.
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