Japan nuclear crisis

Fukushima + 5

What’s happened since then?

Five years ago today, Japan was hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami, resulting in the Fukushima reactor meltdowns.  Where do things stand today?  Here’s a quick wrap-up: Compensation.  TEPCO, the utility operating the reactors, now estimates that it will pay $56 billion in compensation to victims. Clean-up.  The plant has been stabilized, according to …


Rethinking NRC Policy

An NRC task force seems to be heading for some significant policy shifts in light of the Fukushima reactor failures, including tighter requirements for re-licensing and reduced reliance on voluntary guidelines.  The two commissioners on the task force seem to be reassessing the Commission’s previously nonchalant attitude toward extreme events.  ClimateWire reports: NRC policy has …


The story of the Price-Anderson Act: how Congress made nuclear power financially viable in the U.S. by eliminating accountability for risk

Ever wonder how nuclear power plants have been able to get financial backing in the U.S. despite the huge, and largely uncertain, potential risks they pose?  Or why there are nuclear plants within a few hours’ drive of major population centers such as Los Angeles and New York?  Or who will pay the costs that …


Politicians Have Different Incentives Than Government Bureaucrats About Truth-Telling in a Catastrophe

Jonathan argues, essentially, that governments don’t lie, people do, because the incentive structure for the person responsible for the catastrophe favors taking the risk that the better outcome will occur even if it’s unlikely.   This is especially true, in Jonathan’s view, because if the terrible outcome occurs, the person in charge will be ousted …