Ikata reactor operator objects to court injunction

Ikata reactor operator objects to court injunction

The operator of a nuclear power plant in western Japan has filed an objection to a recent court order to shut down a reactor at the plant due to possible volcanic risk.

The Hiroshima High Court handed down the injunction on December 13th for a reactor at the Ikata plant run by Shikoku Electric Power Company.

The plant is located in western Shikoku, one of the 4 major Japanese islands. The reactor went back online in August of last year. It has been suspended for regular inspections since October.

The judge said the likelihood is not small that a massive eruption of Mount Aso, a volcano on the nearby island of Kyushu, could affect the plant.

On Thursday, Shikoku Electric lodged an objection to the injunction. The utility says the court noted the possibility that fragments of volcanic rock could reach the plant, citing an eruption 90,000 years ago. But the utility says the court didn't take the company's study of the site into account.

The utility also requested the court to suspend implementation of the injunction.

Following the objection, another judge at the high court will look into findings on the safety of the plant, including the risk of major volcanic eruptions.

It is believed to take some time for the second judge to decide whether the court should accept the company's request.

The likelihood is growing that the reactor will remain offline after February of next year, when routine checks are scheduled to end.