September 2, 2008

Two Japan Nuclear Reactors Likely to Be Shut Down Over Quake Fear

Text of report in English by Japanese newspaper Mainichi Daily News website on 2 September

The Tokyo High Court is expected to propose that two reactors at a nuclear power plant in an area where a powerful earthquake is feared to strike be permanently shut down until their safety is confirmed as part of a settlement plan, sources involved in the case said.

If the settlement is reached, it is expected to have a huge influence on discussions on the safety of nuclear power plants, say experts.

The appeal court said it will officially propose a reconciliation plan to both the plaintiffs and the defendant during the first oral proceeding of the case on Sept. 19.

In August, the high court unofficially suggested as part of a reconciliation plan that the operation of the No 1 and 2 reactors at the plant be halted until it is confirmed that they can withstand a powerful quake. The sources said the Sept. 19 proposal will likely be based on this plan.

A group of residents living near the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, launched a suit demanding that Chubu Electric Power Co. that operates the plant halt the operations of its four reactors, fearing that they are not quake resistant.

In October 2007, the Shizuoka District Court dismissed the residents' claim saying that the plant is safe. The residents then appealed the ruling to the high court.

The operation of the No 1 reactor has been suspended since it developed trouble in November 2001 while the No 2 reactor has not been in operation since a regular inspection in February 2004. Click here for the original Japanese story

Originally published by Mainichi Daily News website, Tokyo, in English 2 Sep 08.

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