LAST_UPDATEWed, 21 Mar 2018 8am

Japanese High Court Orders Suspension Of A Nuclear Reactor In W. Japan

TOKYO -- The Hiroshima High Court on Wednesday ordered the suspension of a nuclear reactor at the Ikata power plant in Ehime Prefecture, western Japan, Xinhua news agency reported.

The high court revoked a lower court decision in the first such resolution on injunctions filed with other local courts looking to halt the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata power plant.

The plant, currently offline for a regular safety inspection, restarted operation in August 2016.

Plaintiffs accused the plant's operator, Shikoku Electric Power Co., of underestimating the potential damage that could occur to the plant if the reactor was hit by a natural disaster, such as a sizable earthquake or volcano.

According to the plaintiffs, the reactor in question lies above the epicentre of a predicted mega-quake that may strike along the Nankai Trough near a fault line in the future.

They also claimed that regulations put into place in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 could not ensure the safety of the reactor.

The plaintiffs were four residents from Ehime and Hiroshima prefectures.

The high court agreed with the plaintiffs' statement. "Specific threats to the lives and health of residents are anticipated," the high court ruled.

Shikoku Electric said the decision is "unacceptable" and will file an appeal against it.