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Nuclear risks and compensation
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Aurora



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:20 am    Post subject: Nuclear risks and compensation Reply with quote

Quote:
The Guardian - 15/04/11

An estimate of the cost of compensation to Fukushima victims of $133bn has been reported by Reuters (Japan raises nuclear alert, 12 April). The UK has nuclear sites closer to major cities than Fukushima is to Tokyo, so costs could be even greater here. So it's scandalous that nuclear operators are being allowed to cap their liability at 0.7bn or at most 1.3bn barely 1% of the possible Fukushima compensation. No other industry is allowed to do this: BP has a $20bn fund for compensation to victims of last year's oil spill. Why should nuclear be let off? The industry says the public have a poor perception of risk. That although a nuclear accident could be catastrophic and cause us to lose our homes and towns, the chances of it happening are so small that we should not worry about it. How strange then that their shareholders are not willing to accept the same small risk that they might lose their money.

A more suitable measure would be to remove the protection of limited liability from the owners and directors of these companies in the event of a major accident. If we are to lose our homes, they should too, not walk away with bonuses and pensions intact as the bankers did. Readers may like to make their own views known to the Department of Energy and Climate Change nuclear third party liability consultation, which ends on 28 April.

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+1. Very Happy
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2 As and a B



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I think in a situation where people are expected to pay for the privilege of having their homes turned into radioactive dumps and their livelihood destroyed, the owners and operatives of the nuclear site would likely be strung up. That has to be a risk worth considering.

They and their families should also live on site.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have to face the reality that nuclear power stations cannot afford the insurance premiums and the insurance industry is not big enough to accept the risks. The government, the taxpayer, is the insurer of last resort. That's the situation world wide, with a specific act in the US spelling it out. It's part of the hidden subsidy of nuclear power. Today's announcement of 7000 interim compensation to Fukushima evacuees is the first step towards TEPCO's bankruptcy.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Nuclear risks and compensation Reply with quote

Aurora wrote:
Quote:
The Guardian - 15/04/11

An estimate of the cost of compensation to Fukushima victims of $133bn has been reported by Reuters (Japan raises nuclear alert, 12 April). The UK has nuclear sites closer to major cities than Fukushima is to Tokyo, so costs could be even greater here. So it's scandalous that nuclear operators are being allowed to cap their liability at 0.7bn or at most 1.3bn barely 1% of the possible Fukushima compensation. No other industry is allowed to do this: BP has a $20bn fund for compensation to victims of last year's oil spill. Why should nuclear be let off? The industry says the public have a poor perception of risk. That although a nuclear accident could be catastrophic and cause us to lose our homes and towns, the chances of it happening are so small that we should not worry about it. How strange then that their shareholders are not willing to accept the same small risk that they might lose their money.

A more suitable measure would be to remove the protection of limited liability from the owners and directors of these companies in the event of a major accident. If we are to lose our homes, they should too, not walk away with bonuses and pensions intact as the bankers did. Readers may like to make their own views known to the Department of Energy and Climate Change nuclear third party liability consultation, which ends on 28 April.

Original Article

+1. Very Happy


+2

Private investment capital should never be protected by the public.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1) I'm surprised anyone can allocate such a high figure, precise to three significant figures, for the consequential damage given that

(a) most of the nuclear contaminated land (area and severity yet to be quantified or finalised) will also be heavily contaminated with industrial detritus and chemicals and

(b) most of the houses in the area seem to have been rased by the tsunami.


2) An insurance levy as low as 10c per kWh would cover the writer's damage estimate.


3) Where do we place risk for most of the activities of the industrial world and would insurance premiums make any difference? Risk is the product of hazard probability and expected loss. The developer is responsible for demonstrating actions to reduce the risk probability as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) mindful of the consequence level. Government (i.e. us) sign off on that assessment. It is impossible to reduce the probability of any activity to zero. We can't even build a zero risk house to live in.

The developer can have no great control over consequential loss unless they control development around and utilising their production and product line. Given that, you can then either insure for the risk by up-front provision, or self-insure by saying we'll pay if or when there's any accident. This should be a level playing field, and that is, more or less, what we operate.


Last edited by An Inspector Calls on Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1)(a) Most of the land in the Fukushima evacuation zone is not heavy industrial and is therefore unlikely to be industrilly contaminated. A little Google-earthing shows intensive farmland with scattered settlements, villages and small towns and wooded areas.

(b) Most of the houses inland from Fukushima were not affected by the tsunami - uphill.

2) An insurance levy as high as 10c per kWh would do the better part of doubling electricity bills. Maybe that would give a fairer price signal for nuclear power.

3) Risk probablility? The tsunami was said to be a 'one in thousand year event'. (The last really big one there was in the 9th century) If a seasoide nuclear power station is operated for 40 years that gives it a one in 25 probability of being washed up. Did the Japanese people know they were signing off on those odds? The consequence level is in dispute - 400 000 excess cancer deaths according to our man in Aberystwyth. One so far - the 102 year old who committed suicide because of the stress of being evacuated.

The wind blows towards Tokyo on Sunday and Monday before turning westerly again. Had the weather been different for the last few weeks 20 million people would have been evacuated. They have been so lucky.

Let's face it, nuclear power is too dangerous to be insurable.
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2 As and a B



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
3) Risk probablility? The tsunami was said to be a 'one in thousand year event'. (The last really big one there was in the 9th century) If a seasoide nuclear power station is operated for 40 years that gives it a one in 25 probability of being washed up.

And how many of Japan's nuclear power sites are there on the Pacific coast? And how many have already been damaged by earthquakes since the 1970s?

biffvernon wrote:
Let's face it, nuclear power is too dangerous to be insurable.

+1 Mr. Green

There or here, with our Islamist-baiting history.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, neither of us are insurance assessors. But I wouldn't think the compensation for agricultural land would amount to a bag of beans. If you want to invoke google proof as to landscape type, post the links.
Quote:
2) An insurance levy as high as 10c per kWh would do the better part of doubling electricity bills. Maybe that would give a fairer price signal for nuclear power.


That price of 10c/kWh I calculated was only the levy needed to cover the activities of the six Fukushima reactors. Spread across all nukes, and all the energy they've produced, the levy would be a least a factor of ten down on that. As Foodimista points out, the other reactors have all operated for 40 years, through massive earthquakes, on the Pacific Coast with no serious external consequences whatsoever.

And besides, a levy of 4.5p/kWh for offshore wind and 9p/kWh for offshore wind as levied in this country should give us a detterent price signal for wind. It hasn't, so far, so a levy of 10c/kWh is demonstrably no insentive not to invest.

Quote:
3) Risk probablility? The tsunami was said to be a 'one in thousand year event'. (The last really big one there was in the 9th century) If a seasoide nuclear power station is operated for 40 years that gives it a one in 25 probability of being washed up. Did the Japanese people know they were signing off on those odds?


'Really big one' doesn't suffice for a probability assessment. But yes, the Japanese public, via their appointed nuclear safety auditors, should have known what they were signing off on. What will be serious for TEPCO is if it is found that they have departed from the terms of their licence agreement (i.e. the agreed ALARP design probability) - those high level ponds for example - were they agreed?

Quote:
Let's face it, nuclear power is too dangerous to be insurable.

You've yet to demonstrate that, by a long stretch. And word to the 'wise': don't start quoting Busby predictions if you want to make a case that will stand up to any examination.

But you miss the point about where you place any insurance for any commercial activity. Do you want up-front payments in the form of insurance policies, or public under-writing post event? It makes little difference (except that any insurance company will make a wad), the end result is ALWAYS the same. the public pays.

And it's the same with subsidising renewables. the funds come from government, so that looks like a good thing, but it's the public who pays. We're paying you 500/MWh for your solar panels. I find that objectionable and will complain. So either system is going to lead (already has for offshore wind) to some stark reassessments of preferred investment in power sources.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Compensation for agricultural land would amount to a bag of beans per square metre per year multiplied by number of years of non-production. That's a lot of beans. More beans than the bean-counters have.

With nuclear the end result is ALWAYS the same. The public pays.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With EVERYTHING the end result is ALWAYS the same. The public pays. Who else is going to pay?
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
raised by the tsunami.
I think you mean razed.

Nuclear: The public pays. Stuff occasionally gets destroyed on an epic scale. The public pays for that as well.

Renewables: The public pays. Very little damage is done. The tech becomes cheaper. So it's more like, the public invests, really.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heard something on R4 earlier about Deepwater Horizon - about how BP were having to pay to clean up their mess, and generally got a roasting for their "carelessness". It was also interesting to think that, very few people were killed, but the ecological mess was terrific and relatively long lived. Kind of like when spent nuclear fuel rods leak into the environment...
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kind of like... but not very like. Bacteria will eat crude oil rendering it pretty harmless. They don't do such a good job on caesium 137.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:

Renewables: The public pays. Very little damage is done. The tech becomes cheaper. . .

You wish.
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it does actually. Typical "learning curve" values for Renewables are about 18% (i.e. cheaper per year). Of course, raw material inflation affects this (rather a lot actually) but it does for nuclear, too.
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