Published on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 by Greenpeace Blog
Nuclear Disaster: Socializing Risks, Privatizing Profits Fukushima
Last week, the inevitable finally happened. The company responsible for the
The Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe has cost TEPCO over $100bn in estimated costs, which includes compensation and clean-up costs. However, the actual costs are much bigger. Many Japanese are bearing the brunt of the damages in their daily lives with most of their claims and losses going uncompensated and most of their suffering unrecognized.
The nationalization of TEPCO, together with a legal practice called “channeling of liability” in which all liability related to the
An infuriating aspect of this story is that in a recent presentation by General Electric (GE) about its “success” over the past 50 years, there was not a word about the
GE, together with its corporate mates from Hitachi, which is responsible for the construction of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4, and Toshiba, which delivered Reactor No. 3, as well as Ebasco, Kajima, Areva and many others, have mostly kept mum about their involvement.
The Prime Minister orders venting
Prime Minister Naoto Kan had to order venting the day after the disaster. Without venting the containment might have given way to the rising pressure, which is a problem identified 30 years ago by several GE whistleblowers. It was not easy to give the order. Workers would risk potentially lethal doses of radiation and the evacuation around
Socializing risks, privatizing profits
TEPCO is different than
But this is not a car. This is the nuclear industry and these companies continue as if nothing has happened to them. They are saved by TEPCO’s bankruptcy and nationalization, and they are saved by the unique liability regime surrounding the nuclear industry where profits are privatized but accident liabilities are socialized.
It is clear why we don't see GE,
Well, I want it.
I think that what we see now is an utter shame and outrage. Elsewhere,
At the same time, I hear of people struggling to make ends meet after they fled the Fukushima region, of suicides because the hardships are too much to bear, of families split apart because they do not dare let their children grow up in the contaminated areas even though the father's work is still there, and of companies gone bankrupt because their resources are suddenly taken off the market due to contamination.
First, all victims need to get the compensation they deserve. The nationalization of TEPCO is a step that could improve the situation. But this should not mean that those who profited from the risk that Fukushima Daiichi clearly posed and those that are profiting from all the other uncovered risks from nuclear power in the rest of the world should escape their responsibility. Paying up and accepting responsibility could help prevent a disaster like this happening again.
© 2012 Greenpeace
Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/16-7
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs