Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Greenpeace: "Fukushima nuclear disaster: who profits and who pays?"

"Fukushima nuclear disaster: who profits and who pays?" by Jan Haverkamp, posted at, addresses the injustice and inadequacy of the nationalization ("socializing risk") of Fukushima nuclear disaster liability:
Last week, the inevitable finally happened. The company responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been nationalised. Japan’s trade and industry minister Yukio Edano announced a de facto state take-over of the company with a further injection of $12.5bn, bringing the total of state capital in TEPCO to $33.2bn. Edano has said that: “Without the state funds, (TEPCO) cannot provide a stable supply of electricity and pay for compensation and decommissioning costs”.

The total direct costs of the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe for TEPCO, including compensation and clean up, are estimated at over $100bn. Many Japanese, however, experience in their daily lives that the damages are considerably higher because most of their claims and losses go uncompensated and most of their suffering goes unrecognised.

The nationalisation of TEPCO, together with a legal practice called “channelling of liability” in which all liability related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster has to be channelled to TEPCO, means Japanese taxpayers and ratepayers will foot most of the bill.

An infuriating aspect of this story is that in a recent presentation by General Electric (GE) about its “success” over the past 50 years, there was not a word about the Fukushima disaster and nothing approaching an apology. Yet the Fukushima disaster was affected by well-known problems related to GE’s Mark 1 design, which was used at all four troubled reactors. Furthermore, GE was involved in maintenance throughout the four decades of the plant’s operation and had 44 on site at the time of the accident.

GE, together with its corporate mates from Hitachi, which is responsible for the construction of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4, and Toshiba, which delivered Reactor No. 3, as well as Ebasco, Kajima, Areva and many others, have mostly kept mum about their involvement...

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