OSAKA – Kansai Electric Power Co., angered by the decision earlier this month by the Otsu District Court in Shiga Prefecture to slap a provisional injunction on restarting two reactors at the Takahama nuclear power plant on safety grounds, is lashing out at its critics and threatening to sue them for lost revenue.
“As a general rule, seeking damages against such people is a possible target for discussion, although we’ve not decided anything,” Kepco President Makoto Yagi said at a new conference on March 18.
Kepco said it was desperate to have Takahama reactors 3 and 4, which are in neighboring Fukui Prefecture, back online before April 1 so it can offer more competitive rates when full deregulation of the electricity market takes place. The utility loses about ¥10 billion a month when the reactors are offline.
The plaintiffs in the Shiga case, however, fired back at Yagi last week.
“Such comments are a threat to others who don’t want to see another nuclear accident and want to go to court to seek provisional injunctions against other possible restarts throughout Japan,” two groups involved in the Shiga case said in a formal letter of protest to Kepco.
With anti-nuclear citizens and their lawyers energized by the court ruling, Kepco and other nuclear advocates in Japan fear a flood of new lawsuits will emerge from residents near any reactor that gets the green light to restart.
Just a couple of days after the Otsu ruling, 67 plaintiffs including atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki announced they had filed a lawsuit at the Hiroshima District Court to prevent the restart of three reactors at Shikoku Electric Co.’s Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture.
Some of them also filed a separate suit seeking a provisional injunction to effectively block Shikoku Electric from restarting the Ikata plant’s reactor 3, which has already cleared new safety inspections and received local political approval, paving the way for its restart as early as this summer.