Nuclear industry's liability limits must be lifted: Greenpeace

Nuclear suppliers must pay for the full cost of their mistakes, says Greenpeace in a new study they released last week, Fukushima Fallout: Nuclear business makes people pay and suffer.

The study's authors say that the cap on liabilities skew decision-making and prevent a clear assessment of risks and rewards.

"The experiences of the Fukushima disaster show that even the Japanese liability regime is highly inadequate and unjust, despite the legal requirement of unlimited liability for an operator," writes the authors of the study.

"The financial extent of the damage is generally far beyond what an operator can pay. Since the Japanese law excludes supplier accountability, the magnitude of funds provided by the nuclear industry is restricted to a very small fraction of the costs of Fukushima."

The authors say the supply chain for the nuclear industry is complex and difficult to untangle.

"This situation creates major challenges in ensuring sufficient quality control on critical safety features. It is often unclear (at least to the outside world) who carries the final responsibility in case problems were to occur with certain equipment or designs."

The study notes there are a few countries that are following their recommendations. India, Russia and South Korea allow power plant operators to recover damages from suppliers in the event of negligence.

Despite deep reservations, some noted environmentalists feel the nuclear industry has a part to play to head off global warming.

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