Financial Consequences of a Nuclear Power Plant Accident

RCED-86-193BR: Published: Jul 16, 1986. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 1986.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the dollar consequences of off-site damages to persons and property that might result from a catastrophic nuclear power plant accident; and (2) the limit that Congress should set on the liability for accident damages.

GAO found that: (1) the financial consequences of a catastrophic accident could range up to $15 billion, while the financial consequences of a severe accident could range up to $220 million; (2) plant size, population density, and land use patterns determine where each plant falls within the range of consequences; (3) property damages represent 76 to 90 percent of the total potential consequences; and (4) the consequences of a catastrophic accident under severe weather conditions could be up to approximately 10 times greater than under average conditions. Under the Price-Anderson Act, the existing liability limit is $665 million and would cover only 4 percent of the plants. The Senate has proposed legislation that would increase this limit to $2.5 billion, which would cover 64 percent of the plants, and the House has proposed a limit of $6.5 billion, which would cover 95 percent. However, if severe weather conditions are considered in estimating the financial consequences, even these limits might not cover the majority of the plants.

Dec 10, 2020

Dec 8, 2020

Nov 19, 2020

Oct 29, 2020

Oct 15, 2020

Jul 24, 2020

Jun 24, 2020

Jun 9, 2020

May 13, 2020

May 12, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here