Japanese court shuts down nuclear reactor

Asahi and Mainichi have today's big story that a court ordered the shutdown of Japan's second-largest nuclear reactor in response to a lawsuit by local residents who feared it could leak dangerous radiation during an earthquake:

The Kanazawa District Court in northwestern Japan ordered the shutdown of the newly operating Number 2 Shika reactor, court official Akihiko Yasuno said.

In ruling, judge Kenichi Ido said that the reactor, operated by Hokuriku Electric Power Co., could expose local residents to radioactivity should a powerful earthquake occur, Yasuno said. He gave no other details.

Residents who filed the lawsuit claim they would be in danger because the reactor is near an earthquake faultline. A government committee has said a quake with a magnitude of 7.6 could strike the region, Kyodo News agency reported. The reactor was built based on outdated earthquake guidelines drawn up 20 years ago, according to Kyodo.

"I feel as good as the beautiful weather today. The quake-resistance of nuclear reactors must become a topic of national debate," Tetsuya Tanaka, one of the plaintiffs, said to NHK.


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