As Japan battles to prevent nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima, with the assistance of the International Atomic Energy Agency, anxious eyes are turning to nuclear safety in other countries. Canadian reactors boast a relatively safe design, but still require cooling, and are therefore vulnerable to a major earthquake. If a nuclear incident happened here, who would pay?
To induce the private sector to invest in nuclear plants, the Nuclear Liability Act of Canada allows the federal government to cap the liability of a nuclear plant operator at $75 million, and to require the taxpayers to pick up all additional losses. In other words, all Canadians guarantee the unlimited financial (and health) losses that could flow from a public or private “nuclear incident”. I continue to be amazed that this provokes less than 1000th of the public opposition directed at wind power.
For NGO updates on the Fukushima crisis, see: