High court orders first reactor shutdown
NHK -- Dec 14
For the first time, a Japanese high court has ordered the operator of a nuclear plant not to restart a reactor.

The Hiroshima High Court issued the injunction on Wednesday. It ordered Shikoku Electric Power Company not to restart the No. 3 reactor at its Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture. It's currently offline for regular inspections.

The decision reverses a lower court order in March. Residents had sued to have the reactor shut down, citing the threat of a serious accident.

The latest lawsuit considered whether Shikoku Electric had properly assessed the risk to the plant posed by the largest possible earthquake and eruptions of nearby volcanoes.

Presiding Judge Tomoyuki Nonoue said the likelihood wasn't small that the nuclear plant would be affected by pyroclastic flows from an eruption of Mount Aso on the neighboring island of Kyushu. He found fault with the plant's location. He added that the operator had underestimated the amount of volcanic cinder and ash that would fall on the plant.

He concluded that the Nuclear Regulation Authority's judgment that the plant had met the requirements needed for a restart was flawed. He noted that the NRA hadn't properly assessed the risk that residents faced from various dangers such as volcanoes.

Under the injunction, the reactor will remain shut down until September 30th of next year.

News source: NHK
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