June 17 (UPI) -- A Japanese court has denied a request from local residents to cancel regulatory approval of the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.
Concerns over the impact of potential volcanic eruptions have pushed Japanese residents living in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, to request the approval for the Sendai reactors be canceled, the Nikkei and Jiji Press reported Monday.
According to Fukuoka District Court, the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors were found to be compliant with new regulatory standards.
"At present, there is no established method of precisely assessing the probability and scale of volcanic activity," said Fukuoka District Presiding Judge Moriharu Kurasawa, according to Jiji.
The decision is the first ruling of its kind regarding class-action lawsuits against nuclear power, since March 2011, when a powerful earthquake damaged the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
More than 30 citizens residing in Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Fukuoka prefectures are filing the suit, citing risks to public safety.
"The criteria for judging the impact of volcanoes on Sendai nuclear power plant, the most at-risk plant to volcanic eruptions in the world, have many faults," the residents said in their suit requesting a cancellation of regulator approval.
Kyushu Electric Power, the defendant, said there is sufficient reason to conclude the Sendai plants are safe, because of "professional research results."
Other lawsuits have been previously dismissed at Kagoshima District Court and in Miyazaki, according to reports.
The Asahi Shimbun reported Kyushu Electric Power will also stop operations at the No. 1 reactor for anti-terror upgrades, starting March 18, 2020.
Tokyo has called for more use of nuclear energy at power plants in a bid to cut emissions.