A court in Japan has ordered the suspension of a nuclear plant over concerns raised by citizens, local media reported Thursday.
Residents of Ibaraki and surrounding provinces had filed an appeal to halt operations of the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant, located northeast of the capital Tokyo, Kyodo News reported.
With some 940,000 people living within a 30-kilometer (18-mile) radius of the plant, the Mito District Court said the situation is such one cannot say that “attainable evacuation plans and a disaster risk reduction system are in place,” read the report.
The Tokai No. 2 plant started commercial operations in 1978.
It has been idle as its operator, Japan Atomic Power Company, is working to meet stricter regulations set after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The company aims to restart the plant by December 2022, but needs to get approval for the extension of operations beyond the preliminary 40-year limit in November 2018, according to Kyodo News.
Meanwhile, the Hiroshima High Court in western Japan allowed a nuclear reactor to be restarted, reversing its own order issued last year.
The No. 3 nuclear reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime province will start operations despite concerns raised by local residents, NHK News reported.
It is expected that the reactor will be back online in the next six months.
Japan witnessed widespread devastation 10 years ago when the Fukushima nuclear plant suffered massive damage in a powerful earthquake and consequent tsunami.
The quake and tsunami in March 2011 claimed over 15,000 lives, with some 2,000 people never found.