Greenpeace, the international environmental organization, has begun a campaign that names the manufacturers of nuclear power plants as accountable for the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, and that they should be forced to shoulder some of the costs. The group points out that while the blame often falls on plant operators, laws often limit their liability, forcing taxpayers to cover compensation costs, but those who design and build the reactors, such as GE, Toshiba, and Hitachi, are shielded from blame.
Compensation for victims of the Fukushima disaster is currently being held by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the tsunami-hit plant, along with direct assistance from the government. But Greenpeace wants Japan to revise its laws in order to have reactor manufacturers pay as well. The group says that Russia, India, and South Korea are the only nuclear power-using countries with legislation that holds reactor suppliers liable for disasters.
Greenpeace wants to see a system adopted that doesn’t allow the nuclear power industry to evade responsibility in compensating the public for disasters. This is certainly a cause that needs to gain support in Japan, however, until now there has never been any mention of reactor suppliers as being at fault for the Fukushima meltdowns triggered by the tsunami. The collusion between the central government, TEPCO, and nuclear safety regulators has widely been identified as the reason safety requirements were ignored and the plant was woefully not up to date.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Aslihan Tumer, a Greenpeace international nuclear campaigner, says “the Fukushima disaster exposes the shameful defects in a system that only requires nuclear operators to pay a fraction of the costs of a disaster and does not require suppliers of reactors to pay anything.” She points out that it is not fair that the public must pay the expensive costs for the nuclear industry’s failures while said industry goes unpunished. Maybe it is time that a finger starts to get pointed at the manufacturers of the Fukushima plant, for if those companies knew that they were liable, there might have been more of an effort put in to make sure safety requirement were met, and that TEPCO and industry regulators weren’t ignoring their responsibilities.
[via Global Post]