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Japanese court orders nuclear reactor shutdown

A court ordered the shutdown of Japan's second-largest nuclear reactor in response to a lawsuit.
None | By Press Trust of India, Tokyo
PUBLISHED ON MAR 24, 2006 12:44 PM IST

A court on Friday ordered the shutdown of Japan's second-largest nuclear reactor in response to a lawsuit by local residents who feared it may not be able to withstand earthquakes, a court official said.

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 Compnay, would expose local residents to radioactivity should a powerful earthquake occur, Yasuno said.

The reactor began commercial operations last week after getting approval from the government's nuclear safety agency.

Officials of the power company refused to comment, saying they had yet to examine the ruling.

Kanazawa is about 295 kilometers northwest of Tokyo.

The 135 plaintiffs filed the lawsuit last May claiming they would be in constant danger because the reactor is near a fault belt, where the government's committee on earthquake research says a major quake with a magnitude of 7.6 could strike, Kyodo News agency reported.

The plaintiffs said that the No 2 reactor was built based on outdated earthquake guidelines drawn up 20 years ago, according to Kyodo.

The power company has said it took all necessary measures to ensure the plant's safety, and that the reactor is needed to guarantee a steady supply of electricity, Kyodo said.

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