Japan Eyes Liability Pact to Aid Fukushima Response

Global Security Newswire Staff
June 13, 2014, 9:24 a.m.

Ja­pan may rat­i­fy a treaty for­cing atom­ic-fa­cil­ity op­er­at­ors to as­sume full li­ab­il­ity for any ac­ci­dents at the sites, Bloomberg re­ports.

The coun­try’s for­eign min­istry on Fri­day said that join­ing the pact — called the Con­ven­tion on Sup­ple­ment­ary Com­pens­a­tion for Nuc­le­ar Dam­age — would em­bolden know­ledge­able U.S. firms to sup­port de­con­tam­in­a­tion and dis­man­tle­ment ef­forts at the Fukushi­ma Daii­chi nuc­le­ar power plant. Four of the atom­ic fa­cil­ity’s six re­act­ors suffered melt­downs after the site sus­tained sub­stan­tial dam­age in a 2011 tsunami.

Ja­pan­ese law­makers would con­sider a rat­i­fic­a­tion bill for the treaty in 2014, the for­eign min­istry said. It provided no fur­ther de­tails on the le­gis­la­tion’s an­ti­cip­ated tim­ing.

U.S. Deputy En­ergy Sec­ret­ary Daniel Pone­man on Thursday said Ja­pan’s rat­i­fic­a­tion of the agree­ment would “give con­fid­ence to U.S. com­pan­ies” by shield­ing them from po­ten­tial leg­al ac­tion, the Ja­pan Times re­por­ted.

“If there is con­fu­sion about li­ab­il­ity, they’re just not about to take a busi­ness risk of get­ting in­to new mar­kets,” ac­cord­ing to the U.S. of­fi­cial.

An­ti­nuc­lear ad­voc­ates, though, con­tend that the treaty con­tains in­ap­pro­pri­ate pro­tec­tion for nuc­le­ar-fa­cil­ity build­ers, as well as oth­er prob­lems, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg. Op­pon­ents noted that Ja­pan’s gov­ern­ment began cov­er­ing Fukushi­ma re­cov­ery ex­penses, which now stand at roughly $108 bil­lion, after the costs forced the plant’s private op­er­at­or close to bank­ruptcy.

“Cap­ping the amount of li­ab­il­ity that either the nuc­le­ar op­er­at­or or the state would be re­spons­ible for fun­da­ment­ally lim­its the amount that vic­tims can be com­pensated for,” ac­cord­ing to Kendra Ul­rich, an act­iv­ist with Green­peace In­ter­na­tion­al in Am­s­ter­dam.

The pact has yet to enter in­to force among its sig­nat­or­ies, and only four na­tions have joined the treaty to date: the United States, Ar­gen­tina, Mo­rocco and Ro­mania.

Ja­pan’s entry would render the agree­ment leg­ally bind­ing by bring­ing the col­lect­ive nuc­le­ar-power ca­pa­city of its mem­bers to 400 gigawatts.

What We're Following See More »
UTAH REPUBLICAN
Former Sen. Bob Bennett Dies at 82
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Former Utah Republican Sen. Bob Bennett died of pancreatic cancer on Wednesday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Bennett was defeated in a primary in 2010 by Tea Party–backed Mike Lee.

Source:
CLINTON HERSELF COULD TESTIFY LATER
Judge Approves Deposition of Clinton Aides
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, approved a joint proposal presented by Judicial Watch and the State Department to take the depositions of officials" involved in the setup and use of Hillary Clinton's private email server, "including Cheryl D. Mills, Clinton's former chief of staff, Huma Abedin, a senior adviser to Clinton, and Bryan Pagliano, a State Department employee who serviced and maintained the server." He said Clinton could be deposed later on, though that may not be necessary.

Source:
‘WORLD CLASS’ ORGANIZATION
Trump Will Not Self Fund the General Election
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump will not self-finance his general election campaign as he did the primary season, instead relying on "his expansive personal Rolodex" to create what he called a “world-class finance organization." 

Source:
STATE HAS UNTIL MONDAY TO RESPOND
DOJ: North Carolina’s CB2 Violates Civil Rights Act
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Department of Justice officials told North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory that "the law violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX—a finding that could jeopardize billions in federal education funding. The department gave state officials until Monday to respond 'by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.'"

Source:
GOOGLE SEARCHES SPIKE
Libertarians Getting a Second Look?
18 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
×