Last update:
2019-05-05

Ooi (Ōi) nuclear power units temporarily stopped, Japan

Kansai Electric Power Company’s application to resume operation of two nuclear energy units met strong protests and a court granted injunction against the operation in 2014. However, permission was granted in July 2018.


Description:

Fukui Prefecture, with 13 commercial nuclear reactors clustered along a short coastline, had earned the area a reputation as a political stronghold for the atomic power industry before the Fukushima disaster, after which  nuclear power was switched off in Japan. [1] Nuclear-friendly politicians dominated most of Fukui’s government offices, and the region is nicknamed Genpatsu Ginza, or Nuclear Alley.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Ooi (Ōi) nuclear power units temporarily stopped, Japan
Country:Japan
State or province:Fukui prefecture
Location of conflict:Ōi
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear power plants
Specific commodities:Electricity
Uranium
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. ( KEPCO) is an electric utility of Kansai region, Japan (including the Kobe-Osaka-Kyoto megalopolis). Before the Fukushima nuclear disaster, 11 nuclear reactors supplied almost 50 percent of the region’s power. The Ōi nuclear plants in Fukui prefecture were part of them, with a capacity of 4,710,000 MW. Two 1180 MWe pressurized water reactors (numbers 3 and 4) in Ōi were taken offline again for NRA inspections in September 2013. Authorization to restart is pending. In other cases in Japan, reactor restarts are facing significant implementation costs ranging from US$700 million to US$1 billion per unit, regardless of reactor size or age.

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Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:08/2012
Company names or state enterprises:Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) from Japan
Relevant government actors:Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Anti-nuclear groups include the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, Hidankyo, Sayonara Nuclear Power Plants, and the Article 9 group.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Women
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Hunger strikes and self immolation
"Die-ins". Drumming and chanting "Saikado Hantai" (not to restart).
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Fires, Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsRadiation risk (potential)
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:Stop the nuclear power plants.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Since 2011 the nuclear power plant (units 3 and 4) has been stopped once, then reopened briefly, then stopped again by court order and after demonstrations, and by 2018 the situation has changed because of a high court ruling allowing resumption of electricity production overturning the ruling of a lower court in 2014.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[3] Largest Demonstrations in Half a Century Protest the Restart of Japanese Nuclear Power Plants  過去半世紀最大規模のデモ、日本の原発再稼働に抗議

Piers Williamson, The Asia Pacific Journal, Vol 10, Issue 27, No. 5, July 2, 2012.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] The New York Times, Nuclear Reactors in Japan Remain Closed by Judge’s Order, JONATHAN SOBLE, APRIL 14, 2015
[click to view]

28 July 2016. Fukushima 311 Watchdogs. Doubts about nuclear plant’s quake resistance.
[click to view]

Court decision of 4 July 2018 allowing reopening of Ooi reactors 3 and 4.
[click to view]

[4] The Japan Times, editorial. Reflect on Fukui nuclear ruling. May 23, 2014. Fukui District Court’s ruling this week that it will not allow the restart of two nuclear power reactors run by Kansai Electric Power Co. challenges the Abe administration’s energy policy of keeping nuclear power as a key source of the nation’s electricity supply despite the safety risks that materialized in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011.
[click to view]

Fukui court blocks Oi nuclear reactor restart, in landmark ruling

Operations halted pending verdict of ongoing NRA safety probe.

The Fukui District Court on Wednesday ruled that it will not allow the restart of two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear plant, which is currently under safety examination by the country’s top nuclear watchdog. The Japan Times, 21 May 2014.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Fukushima Diary, 3 May 2012
[click to view]

Women's die-in against restarting nuclear plants
[click to view]

[2] World Nuclear News. Court rules against restart of Ohi reactors



21 May 2014
[click to view]

Saikado hantai, no nuke!
[click to view]

Other comments:On 29 June 2012, Japan witnessed its largest public protest since the 1960s. This was the latest in a series of Friday night gatherings outside Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko’s official residence. Well over one hundred thousand people came together to vent their anger at his 16 June decision to order a restart of Units 3 and 4 at the Oi nuclear plant [3].
Meta information
Contributor:JMA (case suggested by Kenichi Matsui)
Last update18/08/2019
Comments
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