National

Gifu man admits launching PET bottle rockets toward Fukui nuke plant just before reactor restart

Kyodo

A 32-year-old man was arrested early Thursday for launching a pair of PET bottle rockets toward the Takahama nuclear power plant in Gifu Prefecture, local police said.

Masaru Kawai, an unemployed resident of Ogaki, has admitted launching the rockets toward the premises of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture at around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, the police said.

The incident occurred just before one of the two reactors was restarted after being suspended by a court ruling, despite residential protests over safety concerns. It is not clear where the rocket landed and no injuries or damage were reported.

Kawai was arrested on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business, the police said. His motive is not yet clear.

Kepco reactivated reactor 4, which reached criticality Thursday morning and will start generating electricity next Monday. It aims to begin commercial operations in mid-June.

Around 70 protesters marched against the restart near the Takahama plant on Wednesday.

The public remains deeply concerned about the safety of nuclear power in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima core meltdowns.

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