Japan Eyes Liability Pact to Aid Fukushima Response

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
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 »
CEOS HAVE BEEN FLEEING FOR THE EXITS
Trump to End Business Councils
6 hours ago
THE LATEST
WITH NAT SEC TEAM
Trump and Pence to Camp David Friday
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS
PERFORMED YESTERDAY
Boozman Recuperating After Heart Surgery
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) "underwent heart surgery Tuesday and was recuperating in a northern Virginia hospital. He was expected to be hospitalized for three to five days. Doctors operated on Boozman, 66, for several hours, fixing a problem with his aorta." He underwent emergency heart surgery in 2014.

Source:
FROM STATEMENT
McConnell: “No Good Neo-Nazis”
8 hours ago
THE LATEST
NO FORMAL LEGISLATIVE EFFORT
CBC Members Call for Removal of Confederate Statues from Capitol
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are reviving calls to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol following the violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia." Rep. Cedric Richmond, the group's chair, told ABC News that "we will never solve America's race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States." And Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson said, “Confederate memorabilia have no place in this country and especially not in the United States Capitol." But a CBC spokesperson said no formal legislative effort is afoot.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login