Price- Anderson Act

Kmareka readers who believe in small government, deregulation and personal responsibility– who trust the free market to solve all our problems– should look up the Price-Anderson Act. Taxpayers carry almost all the risk of nuclear power plants, corporations get the profits.

In Japan, the Tokyo Electric Power Company was responsible for its own liability. Until something happened, and now the government will make up the difference.

Too big to fail takes on another meaning here.

Trusting the industry to set safety standards and give an honest assessment of the risk to the public is also looking dubious. From today’s news

TOKYO – A major international mission to investigate Japan’s flooded, radiation-leaking nuclear complex began Tuesday as new information suggested that nuclear fuel had mostly melted in two more reactors in the early days after the March 11 tsunami.

That would mean that all three of the most troubled reactors at the plant have suffered partial metldowns.

The team of U.N. nuclear experts met with Japanese officials and planned to visit the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in coming days to investigate the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 and assess efforts to stabilize the complex by Tokyo’s self-declared deadline of early next year.

Meanwhile, the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., released a new analysis suggesting that fuel rods in the plant’s Units 2 and 3 mostly melted during the early days of the crisis, which had been suspected but not confirmed.

In addition, some chunks of the fuel appeared to have entered the outer containment chambers, causing some damage.

That suggests that the severity of the accident was greater than officials have acknowledged. TEPCO announced similar findings last week about Unit 1.

The new revelations indicate that earlier official assessments may have been too optimistic, said Goshi Hosono, director of Japan’s nuclear crisis task force.

“We should have made a more cautious damage estimate based on a worse scenario,” he said.

A century from now, there will be places in the vicinity of the plants that will be unfit for habitation. This kind of pollution can only be partially controlled, at great cost. This is the problem Japan is leaving to future generations.