Japan Court Rejects Injunction against Onagawa N-Plant Reactor

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture

SENDAI (Jiji Press) — A district court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit demanding an injunction against the restart of the No. 2 reactor at Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa nuclear plant, over purported issues with an evacuation plan.

The Sendai District Court rejected the demand by residents living near the plant, which straddles the city of Ishinomaki and town of Onagawa, both in Miyagi Prefecture. The plaintiffs plan to appeal the ruling.

The plaintiffs, comprising 17 Ishinomaki residents living within a 30-kilometer radius of the plant, claimed that the evacuation plan for a possible nuclear accident, formulated by the city and prefectural governments, was ineffective.

They argued that the plan was not clear on the timing of the opening of inspection sites to check for radioactive materials on evacuees, and that residents faced risks of radiation exposure.

“In demanding an injunction against a nuclear plant, plaintiffs have a responsibility to prove the specific danger of an accident,” Presiding Judge Mitsuhiro Saito said. The judge said the injunction request cannot be accepted because the plaintiffs have not proved the specific danger at the No. 2 reactor of the Onagawa plant. He did not make a judgment about the effectiveness of the evacuation plan.

Residents filed a lawsuit in November 2019 demanding an injunction that the prefecture and the city not agree to the restart of the No. 2 reactor, but it was rejected by the Sendai District Court in July 2020. The residents’ appeal against the ruling was rejected by the Sendai High Court in October that year.

Tohoku Electric hopes to restart the reactor in February 2024, after carrying out construction work for safety measures.