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The Shizuoka District Court ruled Oct. 26 that reactors at Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture are designed to endure future possible major earthquakes and do not have to be shut down. The ruling signifies a defeat for citizens who had filed the lawsuit against the power plant. The plaintiffs immediately appealed the ruling.

The Shizuoka ruling contrasts with the March 2006 ruling by the Kanazawa District Court, ordering Hokuriku Electric Power Co. to shut down its No. 2 reactor at the Shika nuclear power plant in Ishikawa Prefecture. The Kanazawa court agreed with a civic group’s claim that the plant, located near a fault line, is vulnerable to a major quake. That case is now before a high court. The Shizuoka ruling took place three months after the July 16 magnitude-6.8 earthquake off Niigata Prefecture, which damaged Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, causing an indefinite shutdown.

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