Monday, March 30, 2015

TEPCO not paying for Fukushima cleanup

This is how capitalism works.  Corporations make profits and get to keep them.   Corporations generate huge "externalities," meaning massive costs that hurt others, but those costs get socialized.  In this case, the gigantic utility company that caused the Fukushima catastrophe--which is far from over--has fobbed off the cleanup cost onto  local governments.

"TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. has only shouldered 2 percent of the 76.1 billion yen ($638.8 million) spent on radiation decontamination operations conducted by municipality offices since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, Environment Ministry officials said Sunday. The operator of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has effectively refused to cover the costs of removing radioactive soil and other waste incurred by local governments in areas affected by the disaster, saying it is confirming whether such payments are required by law."


robert @ colorado hoa . com said...

A few months ago, Yaron Brook, the Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, appeared on a local TV program produced by the Independence Institute, a conservative/libertarian think tank.

At about 22 minutes into the interview, Brook says that the solution to these types of situation is property rights. Just substitute “cyanide” with “radiation” in the following passage:

”Somebody pouring cyanide into the air or into my water is attacking me. Physically attacking me. And there are plenty of laws on the books, without the EPA, that adjudicate that in civil courts, through legislation. You can’t poison your neighbor. You can’t pour your trash on your neighbor. So a lot of the externalities are problems of property rights. If we have property rights, we can solve the problems of externalities.”

So we don’t need government regulations, because private individuals can sue for damages. Of course, the people who believe that are the same people who want to make it impossible for private individuals to sue for damages, via “tort reform”.

robert @ colorado hoa . com said...

This is going way off on a tangent, but speaking of radiation...

They’re building houses next to the old Rocky Flats Plant in Golden, Colorado. Rocky Flats is where they made the plutonium triggers for nuclear warheads. Those of us who lived in the Denver metro area -- which is downwind -- during the Cold War years know the stories of plutonium — and God knows what else — contamination.

The plant was shut down in 1989 after an FBI raid for environmental violations. After nearly a decade of cleanup and monitoring, the EPA stated that no further remediation efforts would be required at the site, because building restrictions for lands in close proximity prevented new construction. That was in 1997. About 14 or 15 years later, development began.

People who have moved to Colorado in, say, the past 15 - 20 years have no idea. The area is now called “Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge”, which sounds so much nicer, and the H.O.A. is Candelas.,_Colorado

I know one business owner, whose dad used to work at Rocky Flats, who told one of his employees that if the employee tried to buy a house in Candelas, he would refuse to provide a reference for the employee to mortgage company.

I expect a lot of birth defect and cancer lawsuits in a generation or two. By then, the developer corporations will have been dissolved and reformed into something else, leaving no one to hold accountable. Those who profited from building houses on radioactive waste will be long gone...probably in Galt's Gulch, counting their money.