Thursday, March 23, 2023

Japan court: nuclear plant’s tsunami protection measures inadequate

TOKYO ( Associated Press) – A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered a utility not to restart a nuclear power plant because of insufficient tsunami safeguards, backing residents’ safety concerns at a time the government pledged to impose sanctions. The latter is pushing for more reactors to resume power generation. Russian fossil fuel imports.

The Sapporo District Court ruled that Hokkaido Electric Power Company should not operate any of the three reactors at its coastal Tomari nuclear power plant in northern Japan because inadequate tsunami protection could put people’s lives at risk.

The utility said it would appeal the decision, which it called “regrettable and absolutely unacceptable.”

In 2011, a massive 15 m (49 ft) high earthquake and tsunami affected another nuclear power plant in Fukushima, northeastern Japan, causing its cooling system to malfunction and three reactors to melt and emit large amounts of radiation.

Many of Japan’s nuclear power plants have been closed since the disaster for safety checks and upgrades. The reactors at the Tomari plant have not operated since 2012.

The government is urging plants to switch to fossil fuels and resume operations to reduce global warming. It is now intensifying that push on fears of power shortages following its pledge to phase out imports of Russian coal, liquefied gas and oil as part of international sanctions against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. .

About 1,200 people from the Tomari plant area and elsewhere filed a lawsuit in late 2012 demanding that it be closed due to insufficient earthquake and tsunami protection. The court rejected that demand in its decision.

Chief Justice Tetsuya Taniguchi said Hokkaido Electric had failed to take steps to address safety concerns and demonstrate the adequacy of the plant’s existing sea wall, which was built after the Fukushima disaster, but has since been concerned about its weak foundations. I am facing questions.

The court said the operator has proposed a new sea wall that it says could protect the plant from tsunamis of up to 16.5 meters (54 ft), but gave no details about its structure or other plans. , said the court. This plant is located at an altitude of 10 meters (33 ft) above sea level.

The court also ruled that Hokkaido Electric failed to adequately explain how it could ensure the safety of spent nuclear fuel inside the reactors.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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