Kepco appeals injunction blocking restart of Takahama reactors


The operator of a Japanese nuclear plant whose restart was blocked this week by a court injunction said Friday it would appeal the ruling.

Kansai Electric Power has submitted “a motion of complaint to Fukui district court” over Tuesday’s injunction banning the refiring of the Takahama nuclear plant’s No. 3 and 4 reactors, a company spokesman said.

In its ruling, the court said the safety of the reactors at Takahama had not been proved, despite a green light from the Nuclear Regulation Authority, whose guidelines, the court said, were “too loose” and “lacking in rationality.”

“We genuinely regret that the court did not understand our argument,” the spokesman said, adding that the temporary court order “includes significant factual errors.”

Kepco also warned of huge economic damage if the reactors are not restarted.

The utility had been aiming to begin operating the facilities as early as November, but it cannot restart them unless the ban is removed or suspended.

The nuclear issue is a highly sensitive one in Japan, which remains deeply scarred by the triple meltdown disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant in 2011.

The worst atomic accident in a generation forced tens of thousands of people from their homes, with some still displaced and scientists warning that tracts of land might be uninhabitable for decades.

The nation’s entire stable of reactors — which once provided more than a quarter of the country’s electricity — was gradually switched off following the disaster.

Activists are also seeking an injunction to prevent the restart of reactors at the Sendai plant in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, with a court expected to rule that issue April 22.

But pro-nuclear power Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has backed an industry push to return to fire up the stalled reactors, with the country’s manufacturers complaining over the high cost of electricity produced from dollar-denominated fossil fuels.