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Japanese PM's Push to Revive Nuclear Power Suffers Setback

FILE - Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Ohi nuclear power plant No. 3, right, and No. 4 reactors, Ohi, Fukui prefecture, Japan, Jan. 26, 2012. A court ordered the reactor shut down Wednesday, dealing a setback to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

A Japanese court has ordered a power company to shut down a nuclear reactor, a decision that stymies Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to restore nuclear power for the country since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The Otsu District Court issued an injunction against Kansai Electric involving its Number 3 and Number 4 reactors at its Takahama nuclear power plant, located west of Tokyo.

The judge raised concerns about the plant's equipment upgrades and emergency response plans in his ruling, siding with residents who argued that a Fukushima-style disaster posed a risk to Lake Biwa, a key water source for the region.

"I am grateful and I am overwhelmed. The Otsu District Court has issued a historic decision today. It's a decision to stop an operating nuclear plant, that is an historic decision and I would like to salute the judge's bravery," said Yoshinori Tsugi, the plaintiffs' leader.

Kansai said it will begin shutdown procedures Thursday on the Number 3 reactor, which was just restarted in January, but has vowed to repeal the ruling. The Number 4 reactor was taken off line late last month due to a series of technical problems and was ordered to remain off line.

Abe has advocated resuming nuclear power production as a key energy source for resource-poor Japan.

All of the country's nuclear plants were closed after the Fukushima plant disaster, which occurred when an earthquake on March 11, 2011, triggered a massive tsunami that struck the plant and knocked out its cooling systems, leading to core meltdowns in three of the six reactors.

It was the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.