(Kyodo) — Hokuriku Electric Power Co. sought the dismissal of a lawsuit in which some 120 people are demanding that the No. 2 reactor of the Shika nuclear power plant on the Sea of Japan coast be suspended due to safety concerns. In the first hearing at the Kanazawa District Court, the utility said, “Safety is sufficiently secured,” while the plaintiffs argued that a geological fault under the plant’s No. 1 reactor must be active and could result in a severe accident.
The plaintiffs are residents of Ishikawa Prefecture, where the Shika complex is located, and adjacent Toyama Prefecture. They argue the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi complex disaster indicates a nuclear plant cannot be considered safe only because it complies with the state’s guidelines for safety. The government’s now-defunct Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency ordered Hokuriku Electric in July to reinvestigate the fault, after the plaintiffs filed the suit in June.
During the hearing, Susumu Kitano, leader of the plaintiffs and a Suzu city council member in Ishikawa Prefecture, told the court, “The existence of an active fault would be a major point of this suit. We will never accept a coverup of an active fault.” Hokuriku Electric is scheduled to release the outcome of its investigation on the fault under the No. 1 reactor in January. If the government judges the fault is active, the No. 1 reactor could be decommissioned and operating the adjacent No. 2 reactor may also become difficult.
Before construction of the Shika plant, Hokuriku Electric concluded it could not find any active faults. The government then authorized the construction of the plant’s No. 1 reactor in August 1988, leading to the start of the plant’s operation in July 1993. It is not the first case in which residents near the Shika nuclear power plant sought a court order to close the facility. The Kanazawa District Court ordered the suspension of the No. 2 reactor in 2006 in favor of the plaintiffs, but the ruling was overturned by the Nagoya High Court’s Kanazawa branch in 2009. It was finalized by the Supreme Court in 2010.
For the plant’s No. 1 reactor, plaintiffs lost a similar suit in 2000.
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