High court lifts Takahama injunction

28 March 2017

The Osaka High Court in Japan has lifted an injunction that has kept units 3 and 4 of Kansai Electric Power Company's Takahama nuclear power plant offline for the past year. The court agreed with the utility that the units, which are in Fukui prefecture, are safe to operate.

Takahama 460  (NRA)
Takahama 1 and 2 to the right, with units 3 and 4 to the left (Image: NRA)

In late January 2015, 29 residents of Shiga prefecture - part of which lies within 30 kilometres of the Takahama plant - filed a petition with the Otsu District Court for a temporary injunction against operation of Takahama 3 and 4. Four hearings were subsequently held. The court's presiding judge Yoshihiko Yamamoto ruled on 9 March that the safety of the units cannot be guaranteed - despite Japan's nuclear regulator saying they meet revised safety standards - and issued an injunction against their operation.

Unit 3 of the Takahama plant had resumed operation on 29 January, 2016. Takahama 4 was restarted on 26 February, but was taken offline on 29 February following an automatic shutdown of the reactor due to a "main transformer/generator internal failure". The injunction has since kept both Takahama 3 and 4 offline. Last August, Kansai removed the fuel from both Takahama units 3 and 4 and placed it in the units' storage pools.

Kansai appealed to the court to temporarily remove the injunction. However, the court ruled last June the injunction would remain in place.

The utility filed an appeal with the Osaka High Court on 14 July pointing out the decision of the Otsu District Court was not rational.

The company today welcomed the Osaka High Court's decision to lift the injunction, which it said "is the result of the court's understanding the safety of Takahama Power Station 3 and 4 is secure".

"We will prepare for the re-operation of Takahama units 3 and 4 while giving top priority to safety, with the understanding of everyone in the area, including Fukui Prefecture," Kansai said.

Five Japanese nuclear power reactors have already cleared inspections confirming they meet the new regulatory safety standards and have resumed operation. Another 19 have applied to restart. However, of Japan's 42 operable reactors, only Kyushu Electric's Sendai unit 1 and Shikoku Electric's Ikata unit 3 are currently online.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News