Hakodate assembly OKs lawsuit against nuclear plant

Kyodo

The municipal assembly of Hakodate in Hokkaido on Wednesday approved a plan to sue the central government and an electric utility to stop construction of a nuclear power plant in neighboring Aomori Prefecture.

The assembly plans to file the lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court as early as April 3 in what will be the first nuclear power-related lawsuit against the central government by a local government.

Located at the southern tip of Hokkaido, Hakodate is only 23 km across the Tsugaru Strait from the Oma plant, which Electric Power Development Co., better known as J-Power, started building in May 2008.

“In the event of an accident, Hakodate’s core industries of fishery and tourism would suffer devastating damage,” Mayor Toshiki Kudo said after the assembly unanimously approved the suit.

Construction of the 1,383-megawatt plant was suspended in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 but was resumed in October 2012.

J-Power plans to apply to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for safety assessment of the plant as early as this autumn. The plant will house an advanced boiling water reactor using plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel, which contains plutonium extracted from spent fuel.