The Fukui District Court's injunction issued this week against restarting the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors of Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Takahama nuclear power plant again raises the question of who can guarantee the safety of nuclear power plants and how — an issue that the Abe administration seems to be keeping in the dark as it seeks to reactivate idled reactors that meet what it touts as the world's toughest safety standard.

The court on Tuesday dismissed the standard adopted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in 2013 in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster as "too lax" and "lacking in rationality" and said that it cannot approve restarting reactors that have cleared the NRA's screening under its guideline. This is a challenge to the administration's policy of relying on the NRA's endorsement as the green light for resuming operation of idled reactors. Kansai Electric was given the NRA's nod in February to restart the Takahama reactors — only the second case among the nation's nuclear plants following Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture. But the injunction, which took effect immediately, puts the restart on hold until it's reversed by a higher court.

In the court ruling, presiding Judge Hideaki Higuchi said the safety requirements of nuclear power plants must be rigorous enough to eliminate any chance of a serious disaster. The NRA has required power companies seeking approval of restarting their reactors to raise the intensity of the assumed maximum possible temblor that could hit in and around the plant site based on the area's geological structure — which serves as the basis for the quake-resistant designs of the plants. Kansai Electric has told the court that the Takahama plant, which meets the NRA's requirement, is secure enough against major disasters.