Ohi nuclear plant

Japan rejects request to shut down nuclear reactors

A Japanese court has rejected a petition to close down the country's only two operating nuclear reactors

Anti-nuclear advocates had sought to have the reactors at Kansai Electric Power's Ohi plant in western Japan shut down because seismologists suspect parts of the station sit above an active faultline, which would be against Japanese law on nuclear siting.

The injunction on Ohi was rejected by the court this week, Kansai Electric spokesman Akihiro Aoike said.

The Fukushima disaster, the worst nuclear accident in the world in a quarter century, prompted the gradual shutdown of all Japan's nuclear reactors until there were none left operating in May 2012, leaving the country without atomic power for the first time since 1970.

Japan has faced a soaring fuel bill as power companies ramped up purchases of gas, oil and coal to make up for atomic power, which accounted for 30 per cent of the country's electricity supply before the disaster.

A government decision last June to restart the Ohi reactors galvanized the country's previously dormant anti-nuclear movement, sparking the biggest demonstrations in decades.

Media surveys have shown a majority of Japanese want to abandon atomic energy by 2030, if not sooner.

The country's new nuclear regulator is still investigating whether the suspected fault under the station is active.

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