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VT Law School Researcher Calls for Shifting Nuclear Liability to Plant Operators

October 6, 2011

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT -- Vermont Law School energy researcher Mark Cooper on Wednesday called for the repeal of the Price-Anderson Act and for shifting the liability for nuclear accidents from governments and the public to plant operators.Image of nuclear plant

Cooper, senior research fellow for economic analysis at VLS's Institute for Energy and the Environment, made his recommendations in an article, titled "Nuclear liability: The market-based, post-Fukushima case for ending Price-Anderson," in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Article highlights:

• The Price-Anderson Act and international treaties unfairly shift the huge liabilities of nuclear accidents from plant operators to governments and the public, creating a "moral hazard" that encourages unsafe and uneconomic practices.

• Over many decades, regulators have failed to create a system of rules that can substitute for the market discipline of private insurance and ensure safe nuclear plant operations.

• The Fukushima disaster creates an opportunity to phase out current liability regimes, so operators seeking new nuclear licenses have to acquire insurance or otherwise bear the full liability for nuclear accidents.

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