6 Feb (NucNet): The March 2011 accident at Fukushima-Daiichi in Japan shows that countries with nuclear energy need to be prepared by establishing a “clear and comprehensive” legal framework to deal with the compensation due to victims of an accident, the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has said.
In a report on Japan’s compensation system for nuclear damage and how it relates to the Fukushima-Daiichi accident, the Paris-based NEA said it is also important that the legal framework allows the operator – in this case Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) – and the state to adapt quickly to the “specific needs” of the nuclear accident.
The report said there are lessons to be learned from Japan’s handling of compensation for victims of the accident.
It said the first compensation request forms prepared by Tepco were extremely lengthy – press reports said the form itself was 60 pages with a 160-page accompanying brochure – and asked victims to supply supporting documents such as certificates of residence and receipts. These conditions were “impossible to meet” for most evacuees, especially those who had escaped areas devastated by the tsunami, the report said.
Claims against Tepco for nuclear damage compensation could be filed either to Tepco itself, the government’s Dispute Reconciliation Committee, or the civil courts. Japanese legislation does not provide for one court to deal with all claims, which raises the possibility of “contradictory decisions” on the same matter, the report said.
The NEA published the report in co-operation with the Permanent Delegation of Japan to the OECD. The publication provides English translations of key Japanese legislative and administrative texts and other implementing guidance, as well as several commentaries by Japanese experts in the field of third party nuclear liability.
The NEA said: “The material in the publication should provide valuable insights for those wishing to better understand the regime applied to compensate the victims of the accident and for those working on potential improvements in national regimes and the international framework for third party nuclear liability.”
The report said that as of 25 October 2012, Tepco had received about 257,000 nuclear damage compensation applications from individuals and 116,000 from corporations and sole proprietors, out of which 206,000 and 92,000 respectively have been settled voluntarily.
The financial security for the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant consisted of private liability insurance contracts and government indemnity agreements allowing for payments of up to 120 billion yen (about 1.2 billion US dollars, 890 million euro).
The report is online:
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