Injunction remains on operation of Takahama reactors

17 June 2016

The Otsu District Court has today upheld an injunction that has kept units 3 and 4 of Kansai Electric Power Company's Takahama nuclear power plant offline since March. The Japanese utility announced it will remove the fuel from the units.

In late January 2015, 29 residents of Shiga prefecture - part of which lies within 30 kilometres of the Takahama plant in Fukui prefecture - 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 2016 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.

Takahama 3 and 4 - 250 (Kansai)
Takahama 3 and 4 (Image: Kansai)

Unit 3 of the Takahama plant in Fukui prefecture 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.

Kansai had appealed to the court to temporarily remove the injunction. However, the court today ruled the injunction will remain in place.

"The very first article of the law that established the Nuclear Regulation Authority says a fundamental point of Japan's nuclear power administration is clearly establishing the understanding that a maximum effort must be made at all times to prevent an accident involving the use of nuclear power," Yamamoto was cited by the Japan Times as saying. "But unless the operator shows there is nothing lacking in regards to safety, it's presumed some safety points are lacking."

Kansai said the court's decision was "very regrettable". It has filed a separate legal challenge to the Otsu District Court's imposition of the injunction and hopes to obtain a ruling on that challenge in the coming months.

It announced today that, as a result of the continuing injunction, it will remove the fuel from both Takahama units 3 and 4. The fuel will be removed from unit 4 in early August and placed in the unit's storage pool, while that of unit 3 will be removed by the end of the same month.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News