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How Much Does It Cost To Insure a Nuclear Power Plant?

How Much Does It Cost To Insure a Nuclear Power Plant?


What are the potential financial consequences of a disastrous accident at a nuclear power plant? And how much would an insurance company charge to cover the risks involved in operating such a facility?

These are the questions the German Renewable Energy Federation asked Versicherungsforen Leipzig, an independent organization providing research services to the insurance industry, to answer. The results of the study, conducted by insurance management experts and actuarial mathematicians and commissioned before the Fukushima disaster in Japan, have recently been made available in English.

Asked to calculate an adequate risk-adjusted insurance premium to cover the damage resulting from a major “total meltdown” accident at a nuclear reactor, the researchers accounted for potential losses due to human fatalities and injuries, loss or damage to property and environmental damage.

They based their estimates on comprehensive research and a detailed review of the available literature and evaluated, among other things, the probability and extent of the damage and weather parameters. According to their report, “conservative assumptions were made to determine the amount of damage and the likelihood of its occurrence.”

The conclusions of the study are rather startling, with damage estimates varying from a minimum of 150 billion euros to a maximum of around 6 trillion euros. It states that “the calculated sum which would have to be made available in case of a nuclear disaster is 6.09 trillion euros.”

If the resulting liability insurance premium were to be added to the cost of generating electricity at a nuclear power plant, it is estimated that the cost per kilowatt-hour would increase by between 0.14 and 67.3 euros, making nuclear energy totally uncompetitive with renewable sources.

In the end, the issue is academic. As the authors of the German study point out, “there is no way to guarantee full coverage of the risk.” They emphasize that in practical terms, nuclear disasters at atomic energy plants are not insurable. Which is, of course, why no nuclear reactor has ever been insured against the risk of disaster anywhere in the world. And it’s also why, when such disasters do occur, society at large, through the contributions of ordinary taxpayers, has to foot the bill.

Andreas is a book shop manager and freelance writer in Cape Town, South Africa. Follow him on Twitter: @Andreas_Spath


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11:22PM PST on Jan 19, 2014

I love all details that you give in your articles.
auto insurance brokers

8:18PM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

when you figure in ALL the costs nuclear power is not cheap. it certainly isn't safe.

10:02AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

One not so evil place to put nuclear waste might be in a concrete bunker 300 feet under a site already ruined by mountain top removal coal mining.

1:42PM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

I say shut them down along with the military plants that make wepons also.

10:44AM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

Get rid of them all and have renewable energy take it's place. Let's follow Germany's lead....that country is a great example for us. Actually, we can learn a lot from the "old" country.

10:10AM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

Nuclear power is dangerous, unreliable, and completely unecessary.

12:47PM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

From the moment the uranium is ored, it is lethal to anything living on this planet.
We are not being told the truth and the whole planet is being poisoned beyond repair.

4:36AM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

1:09AM PDT on Oct 30, 2011


10:44PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

We don't need nuclear power plants. They are dangerous and unstable.

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