A court on Friday rejected a plea from residents to halt a reactor operating at the Ikata nuclear power plant in western Japan, amid concerns about the robustness of an evacuation plan in the event of an accident.

The Matsuyama District Court ruled against the residents' request to stop Shikoku Electric Power Co.'s No. 3 reactor at the plant in Ehime Prefecture. In March, the Hiroshima District Court also rejected calls for an injunction ordering the reactor to be halted.

The focal points of Friday's decision were the feasibility of the evacuation plan, the effectiveness of new safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, and the likelihood of potential quakes assumed by the utility in designing the reactor's seismic resistance.