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A woman holds a sign reading "safety is a big lie, stop nuclear energy!" at a nuclear protest. (Photo:  Takeshi Garcia/flickr/cc)

Landmark Injunction Cheered as Crushing Blow to Japan's Nuclear Restart

'This ruling is a giant step for efforts to abolish nuclear power'

Andrea Germanos

Critics of nuclear energy are cheering a ruling by a Japanese court that blocks the restart of two reactors at a plant in western Japan.

Australia's ABC reports that

Local residents sought the injunction against Kansai Electric Power Company, arguing that restart plans underestimate earthquake risks, fail to meet tougher safety standards and lack credible evacuation measures.

Though the Nuclear Regulation Authority had already given the green light for the restart, the Fukui District Court issued the injunction, stating that the reactors' "compliance with [the new] regulations wouldn’t secure the safety of this plant."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the injunction marks "the first against any nuclear plant in Japan."

"This ruling is a giant step for efforts to abolish nuclear power, and, in practice, stops the restart of the reactors," the Japan Times reports lawyers representing the group seeking the injunction as saying.

Environmental organization Greenpeace welcomed the injunction as well, saying the ruling "could have a nationwide ripple effect on similar pending injunction cases—threatening to derail the Japanese government's nuclear reactor plans."

Kyoto-based Aileen Mioko Smith, director of Green Action Japan, said that the "injunction will, hopefully, prevent another nuclear disaster like Fukushima, or worse."

The judicial blow to the nuclear revival comes on the heels of a vow by the industry that 2015 would see the country's reactors restart.

"This year marks the exit from zero nuclear power," Agence France-Presse quotes Takashi Imai, chairman of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, as saying at an event on Monday.

"It is self-evident that nuclear power plants that have passed safety tests should be restarted as soon as possible," Imai added.


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