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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 April 13 - 19  > Local residents sue gov’t to decommission aged nuclear reactors
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2016 April 13 - 19 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Local residents sue gov’t to decommission aged nuclear reactors

April 15, 2016
Seeking the decommissioning of aged reactors at the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture, local residents on April 14 filed a lawsuit with the Nagoya District Court.

The plaintiffs are 76 people living in 14 prefectures, including Fukui and Aichi. They are demanding an injunction preventing the government from approving the plant operator’s application for extending the running period of two aged reactors at the power station. This is the first time that citizens are suing the government to demand the dismantling of aged nuclear reactors.

Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown, it has become a standard operating procedure to decommission atomic reactors over 40 years old. However, they can be allowed to operate for another 20 years with the approval of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

In 2015, the plant operator Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) applied to the NRA to extend the operation period of the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at the Takahama NPP. In February this year, the watchdog agency gave its approval to a draft screening report which states that both reactors meet the new security standards set after the Fukushima disaster. If the report is approved, the utility will be allowed to put both reactors back online.

The plaintiffs stressed in the petition, “Even when all 54 nuclear reactors in Japan were offline over the past two years, no power shortage ensued. There is no reason to take the risk of reactivating aged reactors.” They went on to denounce KEPCO, the NRA, and the Abe administration for pushing forward with the restart of idled reactors as if they had completely forgotten the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

At a news conference following the filing, a 37-year-old plaintiff, Kusachi Taeko, said, “I just want to protect our everyday life in which we can hang washed clothes outside and can eat local food.”

Past related article:
> District court issues order stopping operations of Takahama NPP [March 10, 2016]
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