September 2011

Answer:

If a  worker at a nuclear plant suffers a radiation-related injury, the worker’s expenses associated with the injury claim are normally covered by workers compensation. This applies both to employees at the nuclear plant and to contractors working at the nuclear plant.  For tort claims against a third party alleged responsible for his or her injury, the worker is protected by third-party liability insurance provided by American Nuclear Insurers (ANI).  ANI, a joint underwriting association of major insurance and reinsurance companies, provides third-party liability coverage for the nuclear energy industry. ANI’s liability coverage satisfies the requirements of the Price-Anderson Act, the legal framework for public liability claims that could arise in the event of a nuclear energy incident.

Under the Price-Anderson Act, companies that own nuclear power plants are required to maintain the maximum level of financial protection commercially available, and also are required to participate in a secondary financial protection program managed by ANI. The initial limit of liability for nuclear energy facilitiesis $375 million. Should an accident at any reactor result in personal injury or off-site damages in excess of $375 million, all power reactor operators can be charged a retrospective premium of up to $117.5 million per reactor per incident, creating a combined level of protection of nearly $12.6 billion.

Learn more about nuclear energy and related topics in NEI’s “Ask an Expert” section.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • There is a “great deal of alignment” between the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the industry on initial steps to take at America’s nuclear energy facilities in response to the nuclear accident in Japan, Charles Pardee, the chief operating officer of Exelon Generation Co., said at an agency briefing today. The briefing gave stakeholders an opportunity to discuss staff recommendations for near-term actions the agency may take at U.S. facilities. PowerPoint slides from the meeting are on the NRC website.
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Answer:

U.S. companies that operate nuclear energy facilities are required by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to maintain property damage insurance and a separate decommissioning trust fund to ensure funding is available to decommission the facility.

Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited (NEIL), the U.S. industry’s mutual insurance company, provides insurance coverage for accidental property damage and extended down time resulting from an incident. For property damage and on-site decontamination, up to $2.75 billion is available to each nuclear energy facility. The policies provide coverage for direct physical damage to, or destruction of, the insured property as a result of a casualty loss, including an accident. The policies prioritize payment of expenses to stabilize the reactor to a safe condition and then decontaminate the plant site.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • Japan marked six months since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami with a call from the country’s new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to stabilize the situation in and around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. Noda asked his cabinet to be responsive to requests for decontamination from residents and heads of municipalities.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • Commissioners at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission today denied a request by several groups to suspend licensing and standardized design certification decisions pending completion of the NRC Fukushima Task Force evaluation of the implications of the Fukushima accident. The commissioners also denied a petition to suspend hearings and opportunities for public comment on reactor or used fuel pool issues identified for investigation by the task force. The commissioners granted the groups’ request for a safety analysis of regulatory implications of the events in Japan, incorporating stakeholder input into the process. Read More »
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