Reactors 3 and 4 of the Ohi nuclear power plant, in April 2012.

A court ruling invalidates, for the first time, an authorization to relaunch reactors granted by the Japanese nuclear regulatory authority (ARN). The report of the ARN on the safety of reactors 3 and 4 of the Ohi power plant, in the department of Fukui (center) “Contains significant errors and flaws”, the Osaka District Court (West) estimated Friday, December 4.

The judgment responded to a complaint of 130 people, for whom the two reactors cannot withstand a high magnitude earthquake. The dispute relates to the measures taken by the plant operator, the Kansai electricity company (Kepco) to establish its facility security policy. This policy is based on the assessment of ground acceleration at the time of an earthquake. For the two Ohi reactors, Kepco relied on a risk of acceleration to 700 gals (1 gal = 1 cm / s2), calculated using an average of the available seismic data. Deeming necessary a safety margin, the NRA asked him to do it according to an acceleration to 856 gals. In 2017, Kepco obtained the authorization to restart the reactors.

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However, the judge, Hajime Morikagi, accuses the authority of having been satisfied with ” average ” without “Never consider the possibility of an earthquake well above average”. According to the court, the NRA did not therefore respect its own recommendations which call for taking into account the risk of a powerful earthquake to strengthen the safety of the reactors. A verdict welcomed by the complainants who called for the immediate shutdown of all reactors “Presenting a danger” in the country.

“This rejection is a shock”

This is the first time that a court has called into question an opinion of the NRA. “We were confident about our ratings. This rejection is a shock ”, told the center-left daily Asahi a member of the organization that participated in the safety study at Ohi. “The decision is extremely regrettable and absolutely unacceptable”, for his part reacted Kepco.

Created after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, caused by a powerful earthquake and tsunami and at the origin of the fusion of three reactors and then the shutdown of the entire Japanese nuclear fleet, the NRA has established new safety standards, described by its first president, Shunichi Tanaka, as “More stringent in the world”. They must prevent a natural disaster from causing a similar disaster in Fukushima. Adaptation work to these standards has enabled 16 reactors to obtain authorization to operate.

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