The March 11 earthquake in Japan started a chain of events that led to a disaster at one of their nuclear power plants. Through all of the news related to this story one question that came up was the expense that such a disaster would bring. What does that mean for ordinary citizens affected by damage done to their homes and property because of a nuclear accident? Is damage from a nuclear accident covered under insurance? Do you live near a nuclear power facility? What should you do if there is an accident or you suffer damages because of it?
Home owner's insurance does not cover
That includes any consequences from controlled or uncontrolled nuclear reactions, radiation, or radioactive material. The only exception would be fire that was a result of the nuclear hazard.
So, who has to pay for damages caused by
an accident at a nuclear power plant?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, "Nuclear power plant owners in the U.S. are required by law to have liability insurance in place that covers any individuals and businesses located in the affected area who suffer damages in the event of a nuclear accident." This means that any damages caused by the accident are covered by the insurance the government requires nuclear power plant owners to carry. This did happen once in the United States during the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania. Residents who suffered damages from that accident were paid from the nuclear power plant's insurance coverage.
How close do you live to a nuclear power
If you want to find out how close you live to a nuclear power facility you can find a list of them on the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission's website. The United States is broken into 4 large regions containing operating nuclear reactors. You can find these facilities by location or by name and learn more information about them. FEMA also has a website that gives detailed instructions on what to do during and after a nuclear power plant incident.