A panel of experts has agreed that the compensation system for nuclear accidents should be maintained. It imposes unlimited responsibility on power companies.
The system states that utilities bear unlimited liability for damages even if they are not at fault in nuclear accidents.
The government’s Atomic Energy Commission set up a committee of experts to review the system. That’s because the amount of compensation has become huge in connection with the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident, and a harsher business environment was expected after deregulation of the electricity market. The experts started discussions in May 2015.
At a meeting on Wednesday, many participants opposed establishing a cap on utility liability and having the shortfall covered by the government. They said residents near nuclear plants and the general public will not accept it.
Some observers say the current system creates too massive risks for utilities. Others argue the public will have to shoulder the burden if the government takes some responsibility.
The committee will also discuss an increase in the amount that power companies are required to reserve for possible compensation from about 1 billion dollars. The increase could lead to a rise in electricity rates.