Court ruling clears path for restart of Genkai units

13 June 2017

A court in Japan has dismissed a request for an injunction against the restart of units 3 and 4 of Kyushu Electric Power Company's Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture. The court sided with the utility in deciding the units are safe to operate.

Genkai plant - 460 (Kyushu)
The four-unit Genkai plant (Image: Kyushu)

A group of some 230 residents from Saga and neighbouring Fukuoka Prefecture filed a lawsuit with the Saga District Court in July 2011. They claimed the safety of the Genkai plant is not secured. Kyushu, they said, had inadequate measures in place against earthquakes at the plant and a serious accident could occur due to degradation in pipe work.

However, in a ruling today the court said it had found no issues with the plant's earthquake resistance or steps taken against serious accidents. It said there was no specific danger of radiation exposure at the plant.

Kyushu welcomed the court's ruling, saying it was a "reasonable decision".

The plaintiffs are expected to appeal the decision to the Fukuoka High Court.

Kyushu submitted applications to Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in July 2013 to restart Genkai 3 and 4. In January this year, the NRA confirmed the two 1180 MWe pressurised water reactors meet new regulatory standards. The Saga prefectural governor gave his approval in April for the restart of the units following the adoption of a resolution by the prefectural assembly approving their restart.

Genkai 3 and 4 are expected to resume operation later this year, once the NRA has completed remaining safety inspections.

Of Japan's 42 operable reactors, five have so far cleared inspections confirming they meet the new regulatory safety standards and have resumed operation. These are: Kyushu's Sendai units 1 and 2; Shikoku's Ikata unit 3; and, Kansai's Takahama units 3 and 4. Another 19 reactors have applied to restart.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News