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The Canadian Nuclear FAQ  

by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock


To the Reminder (Flin Flon, MB), regarding public insurance against damage due to nuclear incidents.

(Published in the 2015 Feb 25 edition)


2015 Feb 25

To The Editor,
The Flin Flon Reminder:

Reader Donovan Carter correctly points out that nuclear incidents are typically excluded from homeowner insurance policies, but incorrectly attributes this to wariness on the part of the insurance industry when it comes to nuclear accident risk (Letters, Feb. 20).

In fact, the reason has more to do with the fact that you are already insured against this risk through federal legislation (the 1976 Nuclear Liability Act), which places nuclear operators absolutely liable for public damage.

The legislation requires that nuclear operators obtain liability coverage from the insurance industry (up to a limit that is currently being raised to $1 billion by updated legislation now in Senate review).

Under this act, similar to legislation in many countries with nuclear programs, you do not need to prove negligence or causal relationship in any nuclear incident.

You need only demonstrate harm – a significant removal of legal burden.

So rest assured, you are not only insured against risks from the nuclear industry – you probably have better coverage than for most industries operating around you.

Furthermore, and contrary to Mr. Carter’s aspersions, this indemnification is fully covered by the private insurance industry, primarily through the Nuclear Insurance Association of Canada – which also provides property insurance for nuclear operators (which experience places at a much higher risk than public harm).

This and many other questions about nuclear technology in Canada are addressed on my personal website, the Canadian Nuclear FAQ, at www.nuclearfaq.ca. I am also happy to answer questions that aren’t addressed there.

Dr. Jeremy Whitlock,
Deep River, ON

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