Canadian Government Plans Significant Nuclear Liability Cap Increase

The Canadian government has proposed a more than tenfold increase in the liability cap applied to producers of nuclear power.

At a Canadian Nuclear Society conference Monday, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said his government would push for an increase in the liability cap from $75 million to $1 billion in Parliament next fall. The Canadian Press also reported that the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper would seek to have the country join the International Atomic Energy Agency's convention on supplementary compensation, broadening the liability pool by another $450 million.

Critics maintain the $75 million cap is decades out of date. Environmental groups have pushed further for unlimited liability, recently citing the 12-figure cost of the Fukushima Daiichi accidents. Supporters of the liability cap, though, argue that unlimited liability would motivate companies to declare bankruptcy in the event of a serious accident. The Harper government, while broadly supportive of nuclear power, has previously tried to raise the cap to $650 million.

In Canada, Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power and New Brunswick Power operate 19 Candu heavy water reactors. According to the World Nuclear Association, they provide about 15 percent of the country's power.

Anonymous comments will be moderated. Join for free and post now!