Another suit filed to halt reactors at Kepco’s over Oi nuclear plant

Kyodo

A lawsuit was filed Friday by 154 people in Fukui and other prefectures seeking to shut down the only nuclear reactors now in operation in Japan, at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s power plant in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, contending Kepco had the two units restarted before their safety was guaranteed.

The complaint filed with the Fukui District Court said the Fukushima No. 1 triple-meltdown catastrophe that started last year had demonstrated the “totally unacceptable risks of nuclear power plants.”

The suit was filed a day after around 1,100 people in 17 prefectures pressed a similar complaint against Kepco and the central government, also seeking to have the Oi plant reactors halted.

The 154 plaintiffs in the latest action, from 19 prefectures, argued that the nuclear plant should be halted immediately while studies are under way into faults running under and near the complex that, if determined to be active, could require the complex to be permanently shut down.

They pointed out that experts are still divided over whether faults believed to be running underneath the Oi plant are active.

The plaintiffs claimed there is a strong possibility of an active fault that would make the plant vulnerable in the event of a major earthquake or tsunami, such as what led to the Fukushima No. 1 calamity.

They also said the Fukushima disaster triggered by the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami had shown the inadequateness of conventional safety standards and that any approval of reactor operations based on those standards is now invalid.

All of the nation’s 50 operable reactors had eventually gone offline after the Fukushima crisis started and disaster-resistance stress tests were imposed before any could be restarted. The two reactors at the four-reactor Oi plant were restarted in July, after they apparently cleared initial safety hurdles, but also amid strong warnings that summer blackouts were possible in Kepco’s service area if the units remained idled.

The complaint said the prospect of a power shortage, as cited as justification for restarting the Oi reactors, had proved wrong as electricity supply would have been sufficient in July and August without their output.

By prefecture, Fukui hosts the most reactors, at 14.