Court halts restart of Japanese reactors

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to restart his country’s nuclear program – halted since the Fukushima disaster in March 2011 – have been dealt a blow with the BBC reporting today (Tuesday) a Japanese court has blocked the restarting of two reactors in the western city of Takahama.

According to the BBC report, which cites Japanese broadcaster NHK, nine residents of the city petitioned a court in the Fukui prefecture over plans to restart the reactors by operator Kansai Electric, which said it had passed more stringent safety tests imposed by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

Kansai may appeal the decision but it is a fresh blow to Abe, who instituted the world’s most generous solar FIT payment as part of his ‘Abenomics‘ Keynesian economic program but wants to reboot the nuclear facilities which provided 30 per cent of Japan’s energy before Fukushima, in a bid to stop importing fossil fuels.

The BBC reports only two reactors have been cleared for a restart, in the far southern prefecture of Kagoshima but that decision too is being challenged through the courts.

The news follows a nuclear deal signed between India’s Narendra Modi – feted as a solar champion for his stewardship of Gujarat as chief minister – and France’s Francois Hollande on Friday. The deal signed between L&T and French company Areva will clear the way for India to develop a domestic nuclear industry and will speed plans for a reactor at Jaitapur.

Some 17 trade deals signed by the heads of state also included an agreement by the French overseas development bank Agence Francaise Developpement (AFD) to finance the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) company established by the Indian ministry of power.

Mr Modi was on the Berlin leg of his European visit this morning (Tuesday).