The people of Japan knew they were at risk for a large scale earthquake, and even a tsunami. They took painstaking measures to prepare for this possible, “once in a lifetime” event. We watched the tragedy and devastation that was taking place, in one of the most prepared countries in the world.
One hundred twenty seven million people experienced an event of historical proportions. All the planning and scenarios had been done for a “worst case disaster.” But as one disaster turned into two, and then two turned into three, it was clear that no one was prepared for what was happening.
If there is one good thing that can come from this, it would be that we are questioning our own safety. This terrible thing that happened has moved us to take action; to make sure that our nuclear facilities are safe. The nuclear facilities that are here in the United States were engineered to withstand certain levels of a natural disaster; based on estimates of what a particular area has experienced in the past.
Research shows that almost half of the 104 reactors that are operating in the U.S. are close to major fault lines. Additionally, most of the reactors are between 20 and 35 years old. The population range varies with each nuclear facility, but most are at least one-quarter of a million people, up to more than 20 million people; all within a 50 mile range.
All homeowner policies exclude nuclear accidents. The operator of the facility has to carry a hazard policy, to cover property, life, and illness or death that may occur from an accident at the plant. Even most specialty insurance like, earthquake coverage, specifically excludes damage to property, or person, from accidental nuclear disasters.