Japanese court orders shutdown of nuclear reactor

The control room of the Takahama plant No. 3 nuclear reactor that was ordered to cease operating.

Story highlights

  • Plant operator said it would appeal decision immediately
  • Injunction issued right before 5-year anniversary of Fukushima nuclear meltdown

(CNN)A district court in Japan ordered a nuclear plant to stop operations on Wednesday, the first time an injunction has been issued to halt an operational nuclear reactor.

The order, granted after residents in the area filed a complaint with the court, comes just one day before the five-year anniversary of the Tohoku Earthquake that triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
    Kansai Electric Power Company's Takahama nuclear plant in western Japan.
    Plant operator Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) suspended the operation of the No. 3 reactor at the Takahama nuclear plant immediately after the Ohtsu district court issued its order, the company said in a statement.
    The Takahama No. 3 reactor is one of two nuclear reactors running under new safety standards adopted by the government after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident, KEPCO said. It added that it will appeal the decision immediately.
    The No. 3 reactor had just restarted operations in January and is the second reactor at the Takahama plant to suspend operations in two months. Operations at the No. 4 nuclear reactor were suspended in February, right after it had restarted, due to technical problems.
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    Japan allowed nuclear reactors to restart last August after a nationwide moratorium implemented in 2011, hoping to reduce energy imports that had led to skyrocketing utility bills. However, the decision has generated much controversy over safety regulations.
    Japanese media polls show that as much as 70% of the public oppose the expansion of nuclear power in the country.
    Prior to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, reactors generated about 30% of Japan's total energy.