Fukui court denies injunction to halt aging reactors at Mihama, Takahama plants

A Japanese district court has denied a request by a group of residents for a provisional injunction to halt five aging nuclear reactors in the central prefecture of Fukui.

The Fukui District Court handed down the decision on Friday. It covers a reactor at the Mihama nuclear power plant and all four reactors at the Takahama nuclear power plant.

The plaintiffs had cited the risk of severe accidents at the plants, saying equipment has degraded from aging and the facilities are not fully resistant to mega-quakes.

Kansai Electric Power Company, which operates the reactors, countered that it has carried out necessary work to reinforce the facilities' quake-resistance.

The utility also said it factored in age-related degradation during its assessment of the reactors' safety in the event of earthquakes.

Operations of nuclear reactors are limited to 40 years in principle after stricter rules were introduced in the wake of the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima. But an extension is possible if nuclear regulators give the greenlight.

The reactor at the Mihama plant, as well as the No.1 and No.2 reactors at the Takahama plant have been allowed to operate beyond the 40-year limit. The Takahama No.3 and No.4 reactors will reach the threshold next year.