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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 December 2 - 8  > Osaka court nullifies NRA’s approval of Oi NPP reactivation
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2020 December 2 - 8 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Osaka court nullifies NRA’s approval of Oi NPP reactivation

December 5 & 6, 2020

The Osaka District Court on December 4 issued a ruling nullifying the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s decision that allows the reactivation of two reactors at the Kansai Electric Power Company’s Oi nuclear power plant (Fukui Prefecture), stating that they do not meet the new safety standards.

This is the first court ruling to challenge the NRA’s application of the new safety standards to approve the NPP restart. This court judgement was issued in a court battle which was launched by 127 residents in 11 prefectures including NPP-hosting Fukui Prefecture to oppose the reactivation of Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Oi NPP.

In the court battle, the 127 plaintiffs insisted that KEPCO applied the underestimated ground motion intensity data to the Oi NPP and neglected to consider hazards associated with a major quake. The national government argued that the Oi plant has sufficient seismic resistance capacity, and that its safety function can be maintained even if it is hit by a major quake with motions stronger than the norm.

The Osaka court ruling supported the plaintiffs and pointed out that the NRA failed to use the new safety standards properly to examine the KEPCO-submitted data regarding the standard ground motion at the Oi NPP and thus the NRA’s examination is insufficient. The court rescinded the NRA’s permission to bring the Oi NPP back online by ruling it as unreasonable.

This court judgement will have an impact on the NRA’s restart approvals which were, as claimed by the authority, made based on the new safety standards.

Following the court ruling, the plaintiffs’ group and their legal team issued a statement urging the national government to not appeal to a higher court. They also demanded that the seismic design of all nuclear power plants be revised and that all facilities be decommissioned if high risk factors are detected.

Japanese Communist Party member of the Oi Town Assembly Saruhashi Takumi said to Akahata, “It has long been pointed out that if active faults running near the Oi plant and other faults near the facility site work in combination, they may cause a major quake along with tsunamis. The NRA, however, accepted the KEPCO’s quake motion data which was applauded by the utility.” He added, “The central government and KEPCO should take the court ruling seriously and cancel the planned reactivation of the Oi plant.” Citing the planned shutdown of Nos 1 and 2 reactors at the facility, the JCP assemblyperson expressed his determination to work to strengthen local economy without relying on the nuclear power-related subsidy.

Past related article:
> NRA OKs plan to reactivate Oi NPP in defiance of public concern over safety [May 25, 2017]

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