• Kyodo

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The Hiroshima District Court on Thursday dismissed an injunction request from residents to halt operations of a nuclear reactor at the Ikata power plant, which was restarted last year.

The decision by the court came two days after the Osaka High Court revoked a lower court order to delay the restart of two reactors at the Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The high court accepted an appeal by the plant’s operator against the injunction — the first ever issued in the country to stop a reactor’s operation.

Shikoku Electric Power Co. has been operating the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata plant since last August.

Amid widespread concern about the safety of nuclear power in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima meltdown, four residents from Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, and Hiroshima, located about 100 km from the plant, filed a request with the Hiroshima court in March last year, seeking an order to halt the No. 3 reactor.

During the court hearings, the plaintiffs argued that Shikoku Electric had underestimated the potential size of an earthquake that could hit the plant, which lies right above the epicenter of an anticipated Nankai Trough mega-quake.

In the ruling, the court said the quake and tsunami estimates had been appropriately set.

If the Ikata plant falls into a nuclear crisis, contamination could spread to the Seto Inland Sea, affecting Hiroshima on the other side of the sea, the plaintiffs claimed.

Similar lawsuits and other injunctions seeking the suspension of the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata plant have been filed with other district courts in nearby Matsuyama, Yamaguchi and Oita.

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