Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Safe until proven otherwise": Japanese court rejects demand to shut down Ohi nuclear power plant; plaintiffs to immediately appeal

"Illegitimate ruling: Lessons of Fukushima unlearned" (Courtesy of U-Stream)
Crowds gathered outside Osaka District Courthouse yesterday April 16, 20113 only to find the judge rejected the injunction put forward by 262 residents of Fukui, Gifu, and six other prefectures in the Kansai region on March 12, 2012 to provisionally shut down Ohi nuclear power plant units 3 and 4.
“The court ruling is stating there is no legal requirement in Japan to meet the first golden rule of nuclear safety, the ability to shut down a reactor within the required time in the event of an accident/earthquake. This is not true. Ohi received its licensing permit on the premise that it met this shut down time limit. The Fukushima Daiichi accident would have been much worse if the reactors had not shut down properly on 11 March 2011. It’s a travesty that after Fukushima, a court would say that Ohi is prima facie safe until it’s proven otherwise.”
This statement was made by Aileen Mioko Smith director of Green Action after the decision. Units 3 and 4 were restarted by Kansai Electrical Power Company (KEPCO) despite massive protest concerning under assessed fault lines running under the plant and control rods which do not meet regulation standards. Aileen Mioko Smith and Hideyuki Koyama, director of Osaka-based Mihama-no-Kai are co-lead plaintiffs in the case.

Although fault lines under the plant are still under investigation by scientists, the judge arbitrarily ruled that movement under the plant is most likely due to landslides. Furthermore, the court ruled that even if the plants control rods do not operate within 2.2 seconds, this is not a regulation that power plants must meet. Although the licensing permit for operation of Units 3 and 4 was issued on the basis of the 2.2 standard, the court upholdS KEPCOs argument that 11 seconds is enough time to shut down as long as the safety of the nuclear fuel can maintained.

 Mihama-no-Kai criticizes the recklessness of the court:
"This decision is trampling on the hearts of the survivors of the Fukushima nuclear accident...A large earthquake due to the interaction of 3 fault lines under the Ohi plant can happen tomorrow." 
The plaintifs are now planning for an immediate appeal.

For more detailed information on the key arguments of the case visit:

On April 20th, supporters of the appeal will gather from 6:30pm to 20:45pm at  L Osaka Main Building 7th Floor room 709. The meeting is being held by Ooi Genpatsu Tomeyou Hanketsu Kai (Group to Sentence Ooi Nuclear Power Plant to Shut Down).

Awaiting court decision outside Osaka District Courthouse
- Posted by Jen Teeter

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