Officials in Canada are preparing to introduce new legislation what would increase the liability for civilian damages for nuclear operators from $75 million to $1 billion.
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver will introduce the new nuclear safety act today in the Commons.
The new proposal would establish a claims tribunal to speed up damage claims in the wake of a potential nuclear accident, expand the range of damages that can be claimed, and would lengthen the amount of time a person could make a claim for latent illnesses from 10 years to 30 years.
Currently, Canada’s nuclear industry generates some $5 billion dollars per year in electricity, and if the legislation is approved would have to find $500 million in insurance, but would be allowed to use other forms of financial security for the remaining $500 million. There is concern that the insurance premiums necessary to cover potential claims filed 10 to 30 years after an accident would make insuring those claims impossible without some additional form of government support.
The new legislation will allow Canada to ratify the international convention on nuclear liability that it signed in 2013.