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Long legal battle looms as petitioners appeal Fukui court's reactor restart ruling

(Mainichi)

With the Fukui District Court's Dec. 24 decision to repeal a temporary injunction against the restart of two reactors at the Takahama nuclear station, the anti-restart petitioners are poised to appeal to the Kanazawa branch of the Nagoya High Court.

    The petitioners -- residents of areas near the nuclear plant -- filed a so-called "preservation appeal" based on provisions of the Civil Provisional Remedies Act. If the high court recognizes the appeal, Takahama plant operator Kansai Electric Power Co. will once again be barred from restarting the two reactors.

    A ruling over a temporary injunction is handed down relatively quickly as the results otherwise can be impossible to undo if the case is not dealt with swiftly. Temporary injunction rulings take instant effect, and dissatisfied parties can register an objection right away at the same court that issued the original decision.

    Proceedings are then held to determine the validity of the protest. There are no rules on which judge can preside over these proceedings. In the Takahama nuclear plant case, however, three judges not involved in the initial decision made the determination. These rulings, too, take instant effect, meaning that the decision to drop the injunction immediately opened the way for the reactors to be restarted.

    If the high court's decision over the petitioners' appeal was found to be violating the Constitution or legal precedent, the case could be appealed to the Supreme Court, raising the possibility of a long legal battle ahead.

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