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Japan court orders two nuclear reactors closed

[JURIST] The Otsu District Court in Japan ordered an injunction halting the operation of two nuclear reactors Wednesday, days before the fifth anniversary of the Fukuishima nuclear disaster. The Fukuishima disaster [BBC timeline], meltdowns triggered by a tsunami, was rated a 4 on a 0-7 international scale used to measure the severity of nuclear accidents. Since the disaster, Japan has shut down and restarted its nuclear reactors multiple times under stricter regulations. Reactors numbers 3 and 4 are operated by Kansai Electric Power [official website] at the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant. The decision was encouraged by public concerns over the safety of the plant, and the injunction was requested by nearly 30 residents living within 30 miles the plant in Shiga Perfecture. Japan now has only two operating reactors in Sendai. Kansai Electric Power said the it plans to file an immediate appeal [press release, PDF].

Japan's court system [JURIST report] has been busy adjudicating issues relating to the 2011 Fukushima disaster. In February court-appointed prosecutors charged three former utility executives [JURIST report] with counts of negligence in relation to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) executives Tsunehisa Katsumata, Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro were charged for their failure to foresee and prepare for the tsunami in 2011. In August 2012 Japanese authorities opened [JURIST report] a criminal investigation into the power plant meltdown after more than 1,300 people filed [JURIST report] a criminal complaint against TEPCO for causing the catastrophe and the resulting radiation. The complaint came two months after an expert panel reported [JURIST report] that the disaster was preventable and was not caused solely by the earthquake and tsunami, but that officials did not act quickly enough to prevent the meltdown. In March 2012 a group of TEPCO shareholders filed [JURIST report] a USD $67 billion lawsuit against TEPCO also for failing to prevent the disaster. In August 2011 five months after the meltdown, Japan's legislature voted to compensate those adversely affected by the incident by creating a fund for dispensing money to such victims.

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