Lots of people don't like the Price-Anderson act. It is a Congressional act, which indemnifies nuclear facilities against liabilities from large scale accidents. The industry would pay up to $10 billion of any liability arising from a major accident, but after that, the government would hanle the rest.
The act was created during the days of Generation I way back in the beginning because there was a lot of talk potential for disasters and no emperical evidence on how safe the industry would really be. So the act was there to offer incentives for private industry to get involved. Just last year, it was renewed until 2025.
There are now two questions about this act:
- If the nuclear industry is so safe, why does it need the Price-Anderson act?
- If the nuclear industry needs the Price-Anderson act, why should taxpayers be asked to foot the bill for protecting them?
Fifty years on from when the act was first passed, it has become apparent that it does not really need it. The liability costs since 1957, about half from TMI, have totaled around 1.5% of the cap on industry liability. We have never been close to requiring the federal bailout.
So why keep it? The industry sure would like to keep it. Whether it's right or not, they are still benefitting from it. They don't have to pay as much for their insurance. But really, Price-Anderson, as well as other international agreements along similar lines, should be scrapped. No accident in the West has ever come close to needing it. The industry should have full liability for any damage it causes. This is because nuclear power is safe and so won't need to worry much as long as they do their jobs properly. If potential investors don't realise this, then we in the pro-nuclear blogosphere need to work harder.