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Volume [field_article_intvolume_value], Issue [field_article_intissue_value] — June 1987


The Price-Anderson Act: Limited Liability for the Nuclear Industry

by Arnold W. Reitze Jr.and Deborah J. Rowe

Editors' Summary: The Price-Anderson Act, established in 1957 to encourage the then-fledgling commercial nuclear power industry by providing it with relative immunity from liability for an accident, expires August 1, 1987. Disagreements over whether and how the law should be renewed and modified have side-tracked legislation over the past few years, but with the August deadline nearing, congressional efforts have been stepped up. In this Article, Professor Reitze and Ms. Rowe discuss the purposes of the Price-Anderson Act and pose four fundamental questions regarding the future of the Act and any amending legislation. Significantly, the authors argue that the Act is woefully under-funded in the event of a serious accident and that the vagaries of the tort system will leave many victims undercompensated or not compensated at all. The authors also argue that the present system does not fairly allocate the insurance risks by effectively creating a system where premiums are deferred, creating only the illusion of coverage. The authors conclude that if the insurance industry is not willing to provide adequate liability coverage, the electric utility industry should create a self-insured compensation fund to more expeditiously and completely compensate victims of a nuclear power plant accident.

Recent Developments Under CERCLA: Toward a More Equitable Distribution of Liability

by Carroll E. Dubuc and William D. Evans Jr.

Editors' Summary: SARA raised the already high stakes in the CERCLA cleanup game. The incentive for potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to enlarge the pool of defendants has risen accordingly. In this Article, the authors discuss recent developments in three areas that may help PRPs in their efforts to spread out the liability for cleanup costs: joint and several liability, contribution, and liability of state and local governments. The authors conclude that while the express right of contribution under SARA may lessen the harness of joint and several liability, state and local governments present inviting targets as PRPs seek to distribute the liability for cleanup costs.


If Rachel Carson Were Writing Today: Silent Spring in Retrospect

by Shirley Briggs and Samuel S. Epstein

Editors' Summary: Twenty-five years ago this month, the New Yorker magazine published excerpts from a landmark book that would be published later that year—Silent Spring. Rachel Carson's eloquent yet chilling chronicle of the hazards of synthetic pesticides quickly became the starting point for any analysis of the subject and was one of the major forces behind the development of the environmental movement. Justice William O. Douglas called it "the most important chronicle of this century for the human race." In this Dialogue, the authors speculate what Rachel Carson would think if she were alive on the 25th anniversary of Silent Spring.