04.07.2018_No131 / News in Brief

Japanese High Court Says Operation Of Ohi-3 And-4 Can Continue

Plant Operation

4 Jul (NucNet): A Japanese high court ruled today that operations can continue at the Ohi-3 and Ohi-4 nuclear power plants, overturning a lower court ruling in favour of local residents who said the units are vulnerable to major earthquakes and other hazards and should be shut down.

The Ohi nucler power station in Japan.

The Kanazawa Branch of the Nagoya High Court ruled that the two units at Kansai Electric Power Company’s Ohi nuclear station in Fukui Prefecture do not threaten the personal rights of those living nearby and the utility company has not underestimated the size of a potential earthquake in the area.

“Although it is possible to scrap nuclear power generation itself in light of the Fukushima nuclear plant accident, making such a decision is beyond the role of justice, and it therefore should be left for politics to decide,” said presiding justice Masayuki Naito.

Ohi-3 and -4 were the first two reactors to resume operation in Japan following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, but were both taken offline in September 2013 for scheduled refuelling and maintenance.

Their restarts where delayed when, in May 2014, the Fukui district court ruled that it would not allow Ohi-3 and -4 to return to operation.

The governor of Fukui Prefecture allowed the restart of Ohi-3 and -4 in November 2017 after courts rejected challenges by anti-nuclear groups. According to nuclear industry group the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif), Ohi-3 resumed full commercial operation March 2018 and Ohi-4 in May 2018.

The Ohi nuclear station has four nuclear units, but according to Jaif the two older units, Ohi-1 and -2, have both been permanently shut down. They began commercial operation in 1979.

Ohi-3 began commercial operation in 1991 and Ohi-4 in 1993. Both are 1,127-MW pressurised water reactor units.

Earlier this week the government approved an energy plan confirming that nuclear power will remain a key component of Japan’s energy strategy.

The plan calls for a nuclear share of around 20-22% by 2030. Jaif has said about 30 reactors must be brought back online to meet the target.

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