2017/05/17 Japanese nuclear reactor restarts with unresolved safety issues
RELEASE ENERGY 2017.05.17

2017/05/17 Japanese nuclear reactor restarts with unresolved safety issues

Tokyo, 17 May 2017 – Today the Takahama 4 nuclear reactor in Fukui Prefecture was restarted, despite significant unresolved safety issues that place millions at undue risk. The restart comes after an injunction barring the operation of the Takahama 3 & 4 reactors was overturned by the notoriously nuclear-friendly higher court in March 2017. The restart of Takahama 3 is anticipated in the beginning of June.

“The fact that the reactor that restarted today has twice been barred from operation by the lower courts due to outstanding safety issues highlights the significance of the problems at the site. While the injunctions were overturned, as was expected in the industry-friendly higher courts, the problems remain. In recent months, others courts have held both TEPCO and the government responsible for the Fukushima Daichii disaster. That should give KEPCO and the NRA pause as they steamroll ahead with restarting unsafe reactors,” said Kendra Ulrich, Senior Global Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Japan.

On 9 March 2016, the Otsu District Court issued a landmark injunction against the operation of the two reactors, stating that their operation with current unresolved safety concerns would violate citizens’ constitutionally protected human rights. It was the second time a court had ruled against the operation of Takahama 3&4. The previous injunction by Fukui District Court in 2015 had just been overturned and the unit 3 reactor restarted when the Otsu Court issued its ruling. The 2016 decision was the first known case in Japanese history, and likely globally, wherein a court ordered the shutdown of an operating nuclear reactor.

“Despite this restart and the threat it poses to the millions living in its long shadow, it’s important to keep in mind that the nuclear restart ambitions of the Abe government and utilities have largely failed. Due to significant legal, political, and public opposition, only 4 reactors are now operating out of a pre-Fukushima operable fleet of 54. Over six years after the nuclear catastrophe began, this tiny nuclear generating capacity clearly shows that nuclear has no real future. It is time the Abe government and utilities admitted this reality, and focus their resources on developing the energy source that can address climate change and meet demand – renewable energy,” said Hisayo Takada, Energy Project Leader with Greenpeace Japan.

Contacts:
Chisato Jono, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Japan, chisato.jono@greenpeace.org, phone +81 80 6558 4446

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