Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Fukushima court orders TEPCO, state to pay compensation

Fukushima court orders TEPCO, state to pay compensation

A district court Tuesday ordered the state and the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant to pay damages over the 2011 tsunami-triggered disaster, making it the second ruling of its kind in a series of group lawsuits filed nationwide.

The Fukushima District Court, in awarding 500 million yen ($4.4 million) in total damages, acknowledged that the two defendants failed in their responsibility to prevent the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that struck in March 2011.

The court ordered the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. He said the regulatory authority is determined to fulfill its duty to strictly examine reactor safety under the new standard based on the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.

In another ruling last month, a court ordered TEPCO to pay $3.4 million to around 45 former Fukushima residents. Tepco also said in a statement, "We will study the content (of the ruling) and consider our response". The plaintiffs in the Chiba and Maebashi cases were evacuees, including those who were subject to government evacuation orders and those who had left their homes at their own discretion.

The plaintiffs also urged restoring the radiation levels at places of residence to levels before the accident.

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The meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, which is on the eastern coast of Japan, occurred when 32-foot waves overpowered the plant's protective sea walls, flooding buildings and destroying diesel-powered electricity generators that were created to keep critical systems functioning in a blackout.

Most of the remaining plaintiffs were residents in other parts of Fukushima Prefecture where evacuation orders were not issued. They sought a monthly compensation of ¥50,000 until the radiation levels return to pre-crisis level of 0.04 microsieverts per hour.

The plaintiffs claimed the government should be held liable because it was able to foresee the tsunami based on an assessment in 2002 and make Tepco take preventive measures.

The tsunami that swept into the plant on March 11, 2011, knocked out the reactors' cooling system and destroyed the backup generators that could have kept it running and kept the nuclear fuel stable.

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