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Highlights

An accident at one the nation's commercial nuclear power plants could result in human health and environmental damages. To ensure that funds would be available to settle liability claims in such cases, the Price-Anderson Act requires licensees for these plants to have primary insurance--currently $300 million per site. The act also requires secondary coverage in the form of retrospective premiums to be contributed by all licensees to cover claims that exceed primary insurance. If these premiums are needed, each licensee's payments are limited to $10 million per year and $95.8 million in total for each of its plants. In recent years, limited liability companies have increasingly become licensees of nuclear power plants, raising concerns about whether these companies--by shielding their parent corporations' assets--will have the financial resources to pay their retrospective premiums. GAO was asked to determine (1) the extent to which limited liability companies are the licensees for U.S. commercial nuclear power plants, (2) the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) requirements and procedures for ensuring that licensees of nuclear power plants comply with the Price-Anderson Act's liability requirements, and (3) whether and how these procedures differ for licensees that are limited liability companies.

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