A Nuclear Accident Could Cost Trillions of Dollars and Bankrupt Us

Socialism for the Rich … But Taxpayers Eat the Losses

We’ve reported for years that – according to government reports and mainstream media – a nuclear catastrophe could cost ten trillion dollars or more (many times more than the insurance which nuclear power operators are required to carry) … and could even bankrupt a country.

For example, Fukushima could cost 10 trillion dollars to clean up … which could bankrupt Japan.

We’ve also reported that the nuclear industry is wholly-subsidized … where the taxpayers bear all of the risk if things go wrong, but the private nuclear companies get all of the profits in the good times.

Like the biggest banks, nuclear companies are government sponsored enterprises where all of the profits are privatized, and all of the losses socialized.

Today, Wolf Richter confirms these facts from yet another government source:

Catastrophic nuclear accidents … get costly. So costly that the French government, when it came up with cost estimates, kept them secret.

But now the report was leaked to the French magazine, Le Journal de Dimanche. Turns out, the upper end of the cost spectrum of an accident at a single reactor at the plant chosen for the study, the plant at Dampierre in the Department of Loiret in north-central France, would amount to over three times the country’s GDP. Financially, France would cease to exist as we know it.

Hence, the need to keep it secret. The study was done in 2007 by the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), a government agency under joint authority of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Environment, Industry, Research, and Health. With over 1,700 employees, it’s France’s “public service expert in nuclear and radiation risks.” This isn’t some overambitious, publicity-hungry think tank.

It evaluated a range of disaster scenarios that might occur at the Dampierre plant. In the best-case scenario, costs came to €760 billion—more than a third of France’s GDP. At the other end of the spectrum: €5.8 trillion [7.53 trillion U.S. Dollars]! Over three times France’s GDP. A devastating amount. So large that France could not possibly deal with it.


“One trillion [Euros], that’s what Fukushima will ultimately cost,” Repussard said.

Part of the €5.8 trillion would be the “astronomical social costs due to the high number of victims,” the report stated. The region contaminated by cesium 137 would cover much of France and Switzerland, all of Belgium and the Netherlands, and a big part of Germany—an area with 90 million people (map). The costs incurred by farmers, employees, and companies, the environmental damage and healthcare expenses would amount to €4.4 trillion.


Yet the study might underestimate the cost for other nuclear power plants. The region around Dampierre has a lower population density than regions around other nuclear power plants. And it rarely has winds that would blow the radioactive cloud in a northerly direction toward Paris. Other nuclear power plants aren’t so fortuitously located.

For those who think Fukushima or Chernobyl were one-time events, please note:

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