Shikoku Electric Power Co. said Monday it will not appeal a high court injunction banning the operation of the trouble-hit No.3 reactor of the Ikata nuclear power plant in western Japan for the time being.

"It is not the right time to appeal the injunction," Shikoku Electric President Keisuke Nagai told Ehime Gov. Tokihiro Nakamura, head of the local government hosting the plant, as he apologized for a series of problems including temporary loss of power at the plant on Saturday.

However, in a meeting with Nakamura in Matsuyama, Nagai said the company still sees some problems in the decision handed down by the Hiroshima High Court on Jan. 17.

The court ordered the utility to suspend operation of the reactor in the town of Ikata, Ehime Prefecture, determining the operator's and the Nuclear Regulation Authority's rules and risk assessment for a possible disastrous eruption of Mt. Aso, about 130 kilometers away, are inadequate.

The No. 3 unit, currently not in operation due to a regular checkup, restarted operations in 2018 under stricter safety regulations introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis led to a nationwide halt of nuclear power plants.

(A banner reading "victory" is shown in front of the Hiroshima High Court on Jan. 17, 2020.)

The injunction dealt a blow to the Japanese government's bid to bring more reactors back online.

On Saturday afternoon, the nuclear plant was hit by a blackout while a periodic inspection of the No.3 unit was under way.

Power was restored in about 10 seconds as an emergency diesel generator and others were activated, but Shikoku Electric revealed "almost all power sources were temporarily lost."

That was not the only recent problem at the nuclear power station.

On Jan. 12, a control rod was mistakenly removed from the reactor and remained outside for about seven hours during maintenance work including the country's first removal of spent mixed-oxide fuel.

The rod, which controls the fission rate of the nuclear fuel, was accidentally lifted out of the containment vessel when the upper part of the apparatus that holds fuel assemblies in place was lifted by crane.

On Jan. 20, a signal indicating a fall in nuclear fuel in a spent fuel pool was emitted.

Shikoku Electric said Saturday it has suspended regular checkups of the reactor, under way since Dec. 26, in the wake of the series of the problems.

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