Tepco investors lose lawsuit over atomic reactor

The Tokyo High Court Thursday dismissed an appeal filed by five shareholders of Tokyo Electric Power Co. fighting the resumption of operations at a Tepco atomic reactor in Fukushima Prefecture following an accident in 1989.

The high court upheld a December 1996 Tokyo District Court ruling that the resumption of operations of the reactor at the Fukushima No. 2 Nuclear Power Station in the towns of Tomioka and Naraha was not illegal because it was based on a decision made by the central government.

Tokyo writer Takashi Hirose, 56, and four other antinuclear shareholders of Tepco, filed the suit claiming it would be illegal to restart the reactor without taking proper safety measures after the accident.

In January 1989, part of a pump-related device used to send cooling water to the reactor’s atomic furnace was found to have broken. It was determined that a 30 kg piece of metal flew into the furnace. The plaintiffs alleged that the pump was badly designed and its continued use would lead to a major nuclear accident.

Tepco restarted the reactor in November 1990 based on a decision by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy.