Court sup­ports planned restart of two nu­clear power re­ac­tors in south Ja­pan

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

A court re­jected an in­junc­tion re­quested by lo­cal res­i­dents op­posed to re­sum­ing op­er­a­tions of two nu­clear re­ac­tors in south­ern Ja­pan, giv­ing the go-ahead Wed­nes­day for their restart as planned this sum­mer.

The Kagoshima Dis­trict Court de­ci­sion re­gard­ing the Sendai No. 1 and No. 2 re­ac­tors was a ma­jor re­lief for the power in­dus­try and Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe’s probusi­ness gov­ern­ment. An­other court last week banned restarts of two re­ac­tors in west­ern Ja­pan.

All 48 of Ja­pan’s com­mer­cial re­ac­tors are off­line fol­low­ing the 2011 nu­clear cri­sis in Fukushima.

The Sendai re­ac­tors will be the first to go back on­line af­ter hav­ing ob­tained safety ap­provals by reg­u­la­tors un­der new re­quire­ments in­tro­duced af­ter that dis­as­ter. Their op­er­a­tor, Kyushu Elec­tric Power Co., is mak­ing fi­nal prepa­ra­tions for their restart, ex­pected around July.

The rul­ing said the new safety stan­dards are ad­e­quate and the Sendai re­ac­tors have nec­es­sary steps in place.

Kagoshima’s gover­nor ap­proved the restarts in Novem­ber, say­ing they were nec­es­sary de­spite con­cerns among some lo­cal res­i­dents. The plant’s host town, Sat­sumasendai, voted to restart the plant, part of a re­quired process of lo­cal con­sent.

Ja­pan’s Nu­clear Reg­u­la­tion Author­ity gave the Sendai re­ac­tors pass­ing grades in July un­der stricter safety re­quire­ments that fac­tored in the lessons of the Fukushima melt­downs, which were trig­gered by a pow­er­ful earth­quake and re­sult­ing mas­sive tsunami that flooded the plant.

Op­po­nents of restart­ing the Sendai plant are par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about sev­eral ac­tive vol­ca­noes nearby.

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