Price-Anderson Nuclear Indemnity Act

In 1957, the United States Congress passed the Price-Anderson Nuclear Indemnity Act in an effort to support the spread of nuclear energy. As countless insurance agencies had refused to insure nuclear power plants against potential damages and accidents, the Act established so-called “risk funds”—paid by the nuclear power plant operators—to compensate those affected by nuclear accidents. In 2011, these funds held over 11.6 billion US dollars. The new law established two fundamental provisions: first, an upper limit on the nuclear industry’s payments into these “risk funds.” Second, the new law demanded that compensation risks were the same every power plant in the country. Critics of the Act argued it was an indirect subsidy of the nuclear industry by taxpayers who were kept in the dark about the actual costs and risks of nuclear energy production, making the search for alternative energy sources more difficult.

Further Readings: 
  • Perin, Constance. Shouldering Risks: The Culture of Control in the Nuclear Power Industry. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.