17 Apr 2011

Stop consultation on nuclear insurance

The Government's current consultation on new proposals for nuclear insurance and areas of claim in the UK in the event of an accident needs halting. Photo: view of Oldbury from Randwick
  • The consultation was launched before Fukushima.
  • It is not reasonable to carry on with a 'business as usual' approach to nuclear power here given what has happened in Japan.
  • It is not very often that nuclear insurance laws come up for review, events in Japan make it all the more important to stop now and reconsider nuclear insurance rather than pushing ahead with outdated proposals.
Here is one letter to The Guardian last Friday said: "An estimate of the cost of compensation to Fukushima victims of $133bn has been reported by Reuters. 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?"
    Here are my comments sent to the consultation:

    The consultation needs to be halted. It is not possible to continue with a 'business as usual' approach for the nuclear industry in the UK since the events at Fukushima. The Government is reviewing nuclear safety in the UK because of the situation in Japan, but there is no proper review of the financial implications - for the taxpayer, local authorities and emergency services. This is surely a mistake?

    A revised consultation re insurance and areas of claim is needed once a detailed picture of the extent of the financial impact of Fukushima is known. Already there is talk in Japan of the government having to take over Tepco. We should stop now and reassess the proposals on insurance cover etc to see if they are fit for the coming decades. Haste now would be a mistake.

    It also seems the consultation is going ahead without any stakeholder events or engagement with communities. In addition there is also a potential problem regarding the time given for organisations to respond. Have, for example, all emergency services and other relevant organisations with legal responsibility to respond to an accident been able to consider the current consultation?

    In view of all this I strongly recommend that this consultation be halted.

    Cllr Philip Booth

    Main consultation document - Paris and Brussels Conventions on nuclear third party liability - A Public Consultation: http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/Consultations/paris-brussels-convention-changes/1182-cons-implement-changes-paris-brussels.pdf


    Philip Booth said...

    A warning has been issued to Oldbury power station after oil used for cooling leaked into the River Severn. Managers at the plant near Bristol said the leak on 6 and 7 February had "no measurable environmental impact". But the Environment Agency said the discharge contravened regulations by "causing polluting matter to enter the Severn estuary".

    BBC 27th April 2011

    Philip Booth said...

    The Insurance Forum Leipzig has just released an English summary of their report and they say that they are working on an English translation of the whole report. In the new English summary it says "When considering these different scenarios, the resulting liability insurance premium would increase the cost per kilowatt/hour by a range of around EUR 0.14 to 67.3." There are two points here: The figure of € 67.3 is much higher than the € 2.36 figure mentioned before. However, it seems that this extreme value would only apply in rather unlikely scenarios. It seems that the best overall summary of the report is that full insurance against nuclear disasters would increase the price of nuclear electricity by a ran! ge of values—€ 0.14 per kWh up to € 2.36 per kWh—depending on assumptions made. Even if the price of nuclear electricity were to be increased by € 0.14 per kWh, that would make nuclear power entirely uncompetitive. The English summary of their report can be seen here.

    Energy Fair 15th June 2011
    http://4663127710762916229-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/nonukesorguk/reports/Pressekonferenz_02_Erklaerung_final_BEE_EN.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7cpJ6nLa-1r7dwl319GDea1IAGD57c3Zee-7MsrVfrUwV1fzGMcEgM2viZza9Js9551QLCcA2dmYzL2D6vbe! LGpmT6T7ecgAFOeUu_yDle6WzXYsCEK1QV3pjE0BDOPnZLnehzxMUA719YAO-7fKlqCbbbWnzoUCJFyI9IPw2xhFxrsB6-0ZBhAL88CdSFmOLD13DTZFwbw_fICBMYHILJfb8kJW4wcqBJZFvzYvk2_ax3WbdZkFVrFpKTN5iT7z1dSAyZxN&attredirects=0