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Now that Canada is heading for another federal election, Bill  C-15, the fourth attempt to update Canadian nuclear liability laws, will again die on the order paper. By now, it is generally accepted that our current $75 million is ridiculously low, but there is less consensus on how it should be fixed.

The US uses a form of self insured pool under The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act. This is a United States federal law, first passed in 1957 and last renewed in 2005, which governs liability-related issues for all non-military nuclear facilities constructed in the United States before 2026. The main purpose of the Act is to partially indemnify the nuclear industry against liability claims arising from nuclear incidents while still ensuring compensation coverage for the general public. The Act establishes a no fault insurance-type system in which the first approximately $12.6 billion (as of 2011) is industry-funded . Any claims above the $12.6 billion would be covered by a Congressional mandate to retroactively increase nuclear utility liability or would be covered by the federal government. The pool works because the US has 104 reactors to share the risk. Each would contribute about $112M if required to pay for a nuclear incident.

Canada probably doesn’t have enough reactors to use this approach.

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