Court denies injunction against operation of Sendai units

06 April 2016

A Japanese high court today rejected an appeal by local residents seeking a temporary injunction against the operation of units 1 and 2 of Kyushu Electric Power Company's Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima prefecture. The units are the only reactors currently in operation in Japan.

Sendai - 460 (JAIF)
Kyushu's Sendai plant (Image: JAIF)

A group of 12 citizens from Kagoshima and two neighbouring prefectures filed a petition in May 2014 with the Kagoshima District Court claiming that new safety regulations set by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in July 2013 were too lax to protect the Sendai plant from earthquakes and volcanoes.

In April 2015, the court ruled against that petition. The presiding judge concluded that according to the latest scientific knowledge the new safety requirements are adequate and that the plant is at no specific risk.

That ruling cleared the way for Sendai 1 and 2 to restart operations, becoming the first of the country's reactors to be restarted since the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011. Unit 1 was restarted last August while unit 2 resumed operation in October.

However, the residents filed an appeal last May against the Kagoshima District Court's decision with the Miyazaki branch of the Fukuoka High Court.

That court has today ruled against the appeal, saying "it did not find that the plaintiffs' personal rights would be violated or in danger of violation".

Kyushu said it had asked the court to deny the appeal, arguing that the units "have secured safety against the standard seismic motion, and there is no concrete danger of release of large amounts of radioactive material by an accident".

The company said the court's decision recognizes its assertion that the Sendai plant is safe. "We believe the court made the correct decision," it said.

Unit 3 of Kansai Electric Power Company's Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui prefecture resumed operation on 29 January. Takahama 4 was restarted on 26 February, but has remained offline since 29 February following an automatic shutdown of the reactor due to a "main transformer/generator internal failure". However, an injunction imposed by a district court on 9 March has kept both Takahama 3 and 4 offline.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News