Since the nuclear plant disaster in Fukushima in Japan, the stock of the company that designed the reactors, General Electric, has fluctuated less than $1 a share. Meanwhile, the operator of the facility, Tokyo Electric Power Co., has seen its share price plunge more than 70%. The explanation: Japanese law reportedly limits liability to the operator, not the designer, of a nuclear power plant.
A year ago, we heard similar arguments about the limited exposure of BP in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Reports suggested that BP’s liability for damages might be capped at $75 million because of the 1990 Oil Pollution Act, which imposes limited liability in the event of an environmental disaster at an offshore facility — “removal costs plus $75,000,000.” In court, Transocean, the company that owned and operated the doomed oil rig, argued that another statute, the Limitation of Liability Act, limited its liability to the value of the sunken vessel — the rig — which it said was worth only $26.7 million.… Seguir leyendo »