April 15, 2015 / 7:41 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Japan nuclear regulator says no need to revise rules after injunction

* Regulator: Will continue vetting Kansai Elec’s Takahama reactors

* No need to change current regulatory rules following injunction (Adds regulator’s comments, background)

TOKYO, April 15 (Reuters) - Japan’s top nuclear regulator said on Wednesday it saw no need to revise current regulatory rules, despite a court injunction halting the restart of Kansai Electric Power’s two Takahama reactors over safety concerns.

Shinichi Tanaka, the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), also said the body would continue to vet the Takahama reactors.

In a blow for the regulator, the Fukui District Court in western Japan issued an injunction on Tuesday to halt the reactors that had already passed initial safety checks, arguing regulatory standards were “lacking rationality” and that the safety of the plant could not be assured.

“I do not feel that we need to immediately change our regulatory standards or the content of the vetting process at this time,” said Tanaka, adding that Japan’s nuclear regulatory standards were among the strictest in the world.

Lawyers representing residents in the Fukui court case submitted a request to the regulator on Wednesday, calling on them to stop vetting the Takahama plant, local media reported.

All of Japan’s 43 operable nuclear reactors remain offline more than four years after an earthquake and tsunami crippled Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station, triggering nuclear meltdowns that forced the evacuation of thousands of residents.

The two Takahama reactors had passed initial safety rules set by the NRA earlier this year and were expected to restart some time this year.

The NRA was formed after the disaster, setting new safety guidelines and ordering utilities to file thousands of pages in additional paperwork to restart their reactors.

A district court in Kagoshima, southern Japan, is slated to rule on a similar injunction request next week that could halt the restart of Kyushu Electric Power’s two-reactor Sendai plant. (Reporting by Mari Saito; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Ed Davies)

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