Japan halts restart of nuclear power reactors

Japan halts restart of nuclear power reactors
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A Japanese court delayed the restart of a pair of nuclear power reactors Tuesday, pushing back the country’s return to nuclear after more than four years.

The reactors on Japan’s western coast had passed safety reviews by Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency, Reuters reported.

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had hoped to restart the reactors this year, more than four years after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster that shut down the sector.

It’s the second court decision this year against the reactors in the Fukui prefecture owned by Kansai Electric Power, which had the most nuclear power of any utility before Fukushima.

The court was responding to concerns of local residents, who said that the plans to restart the reactors ignore earthquake risks and failed to meet new standards for safety and evacuation measures, Reuters said.

Anti-nuclear sentiment has been strong in Japan since Fukushima, and much of the country is skeptical of the energy source.

“This is a decision that has a decisive impact on nuclear restarts,” said Yuichi Kaido, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, according to Reuters. “The judiciary is still alive.”