Japanese court rejects safety approval of Ohi units

07 December 2020

A district court has struck down government approval of safety measures at the Ohi nuclear power plant in Japan's Fukui Prefecture, "effectively rejecting tougher safety screening guidelines" used by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), according to the Asahi Shimbun. The lawsuit did not seek a temporary injunction, so the two reactors can continue operating until the ruling is finalised.

Ohi nuclear power plant (Image: Kansai)

The Osaka District Court on 4 December agreed with plaintiffs - 130 residents who live in Fukui and six neighbouring prefectures - that the safety guidelines underestimated the maximum possible movement generated by an earthquake around units 3 and 4 of the plant, which is operated by Kansai Electric Power Co.
The lawsuit questioned whether the basic earthquake ground motion figure used by Kansai Electric in its safety measures was appropriate, it said.

The tougher safety standards were adopted following the accident at unit 1 of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Kansai said the outcome of the lawsuit, which was filed on 12 June 2012, was "extremely regrettable", adding that it will "confirm the details of the judgement and promptly consult with the government to respond appropriately".

In 2017, the NRA had approved safety measures for the units, as well as the maximum acceleration of 856 gals used by Kansai, meaning they would be permitted to restart.

The plaintiffs objected to the way Kansai had estimated this scale, arguing this only produces the “average” rather than maximum strength of a possible earthquake in the area.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News