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(Courthouse News Service)   General Electric could be wiped out by first of its kind $300-billion lawsuit over design of Fukushima reactors   (courthousenews.com) divider line 38
    More: Unlikely, Fukushima, nuclear reactors  
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1785 clicks; posted to Business » on 13 Mar 2014 at 7:05 AM (50 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



38 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2014-03-13 12:40:03 AM  
While it's possible they could be found liable, I can't see the entire company going under. They produce so many products and provide so many jobs, I'd be genuinely surprised if the US government allowed the parent company to close, assuming the courts sided with those who filed the suit. It would cause a huge hit to our economy.
 
2014-03-13 01:08:24 AM  
In other news...GE will do a Union Carbide and sell out to another company. And give a pentance to the survivors.

While I don't think GE is quite as bad as Union Carbide was...Du Pont bought them out and payed practially nothing to the survivers of "Bopa, India".

Oh..you don't know about that--well it was long ago. Union Carbide's pesticide plant release poison gas to the Indian Village of Bhopal.
500,000 where exposed to the chemical...and 2,500 died almost immediately.  (more than 9/11).

Union Carbide got off basically scot free. Because of "Tort Reform" in India...executives paid the sum of 2,000 US dollars. (a buck a death).

www.srai.org
encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com
 
2014-03-13 01:17:26 AM  
Wasn't TEPCO responsible for the poor maintenance and clusterfark of emergency management?
 
2014-03-13 01:19:29 AM  
I'm not a huge nuke defender, but the reactors did work pretty much as they were speced for 40 years or so

/did they buy the extended warranty?
 
2014-03-13 01:27:46 AM  
If you think radioactive materials have a long half-life, you have never observed an entire building filled with attorneys working to ensure a case outlives any possible plaintiff.
 
2014-03-13 01:36:41 AM  
It has been my tremendous pleasure to have worked with General Electric in a number of capacities, but without exception, I call them "Generous Electric".  If you had a deal with them, you had a deal.  All you had to do was deliver your end, and they'd be happy to sign you up next year.

Good times.
 
2014-03-13 01:44:12 AM  
As to liability, it's all holding companies.  The financial hit will be localized, amortized, and folded into a Delaware LLC.
 
2014-03-13 02:18:02 AM  
The real issue is the worst-case scenario for nuclear power plants. The worst-case scenario for this one being, you have to evacuate half of Japan. You shouldn't build something with that kind of worst-case. The climate change alarmists are pushing nuclear, but I'm not buying that CO2 is worse than a massive Cesium release.
 
2014-03-13 02:23:02 AM  
Maybe putting reactors on highly-active fault lines wasn't the best move.  I don't know if GE could have designed a safety system that would have compensated for the earthquake/tsunami of that magnitude.
 
2014-03-13 06:42:55 AM  
Did GE build the seawall?
 
2014-03-13 07:29:00 AM  

Tr0mBoNe: Did GE build the seawall?


This.

Seems to me liability stops with TEPCO.  They are the ones that put it there right on the sea despite Japan's known risk of tsunamis (the very word is Japanese, for Christ's sake).

Of course, they could have built it farther inland, but then they risk attacks by Gabora:

img3.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2014-03-13 07:29:37 AM  
Did GE provide the designs for the entire plant complex, including the positioning of the backup generators? That is the only way I could see any fault being attributed to GE.

This lawsuit stinks of anti-nuclear activists using this as a way of trying to force GE out of this line of business and/or a couple law firms looking to nicely line their pockets on a bunch of corporate cash.
 
2014-03-13 07:31:42 AM  
The plant was retired, out of service. Considering it's age, it survived remarkably well,but what I take away from the event is that pressures from anti-nuke protesters have kept the U.S. from upgrading and improving our reactors to more safe and reliable designs.
 
2014-03-13 07:33:35 AM  

strangeluck: While it's possible they could be found liable, I can't see the entire company going under. They produce so many products and provide so many jobs, I'd be genuinely surprised if the US government allowed the parent company to close, assuming the courts sided with those who filed the suit. It would cause a huge hit to our economy.


Good way to get rid of some long-term debt.
 
2014-03-13 07:43:10 AM  

Any Pie Left: The plant was retired, out of service. Considering it's age, it survived remarkably well,but what I take away from the event is that pressures from anti-nuke protesters have kept the U.S. from upgrading and improving our reactors to more safe and reliable designs.


Of course the people/companies claiming new reactors will be safe and reliable, said exactly the same at the time places like Fukushima were installed, so it is very generous of you to give them credibility when they have a history of lying about how safe their designs are, but I don't think you should be surprised other people aren't prepared to accept them at their word.


Regardless of safety nuclear is a long term dead end technology anyway, so it seems pointless to push for it as it is only a stopgap measure anyway - the various renewables and fusion are the technologies of the future, fission for energy was a 20th century mistake that we should just be cleaning up the mess from, not planning into the future for more.
 
2014-03-13 07:58:25 AM  
Garbage Engineering
 
2014-03-13 07:59:03 AM  

TuteTibiImperes: Wasn't TEPCO responsible for the poor maintenance and clusterfark of emergency management?


Tr0mBoNe: Did GE build the seawall?


Slives: Did GE provide the designs for the entire plant complex, including the positioning of the backup generators?


These.  I'm no corporatist, but it's just silly to think that full liability lies with GE.  The Japanese government and TEPCO made PLENTY of other mistakes that contributed (and probably more so than the reactors themselves) to the Fukushima disaster.
 
2014-03-13 08:14:52 AM  
In some blogger's wet dream, maybe.
 
2014-03-13 08:58:50 AM  

xria: Any Pie Left: The plant was retired, out of service. Considering it's age, it survived remarkably well,but what I take away from the event is that pressures from anti-nuke protesters have kept the U.S. from upgrading and improving our reactors to more safe and reliable designs.

Of course the people/companies claiming new reactors will be safe and reliable, said exactly the same at the time places like Fukushima were installed, so it is very generous of you to give them credibility when they have a history of lying about how safe their designs are, but I don't think you should be surprised other people aren't prepared to accept them at their word.


Regardless of safety nuclear is a long term dead end technology anyway, so it seems pointless to push for it as it is only a stopgap measure anyway - the various renewables and fusion are the technologies of the future, fission for energy was a 20th century mistake that we should just be cleaning up the mess from, not planning into the future for more.


Fusion may be the future, but we aren't even close to it being economically viable yet. Renewables are good, but also limited by geography/climate and generally have lower output.

Fukushima worked fine for 40 years without negative environmental impact. In contrast a coal or natural gas plant operating normally would have spewed billions of tons of pollutants and greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere over the same period.

As early as 1990 concerns were raised about potential risks at the Fukushima site, but TEPCO sat on their thumbs and elected to do nothing to improve the protections at the plant. Had they ugraded the seawall, relocated the backup generators, or done any number of other things as recommended the story coming out of Fukushima would have been how safe and robust nuclear power is even in a worst case natural disaster.

Don't blame the technology for penny pinching and mismanagement.
 
2014-03-13 09:00:08 AM  

TuteTibiImperes: Wasn't TEPCO responsible for the poor maintenance and clusterfark of emergency management?


The sea wall was not high enough.

Backup generators to prevent site blackouts and maintain control of the reactors, even after they had been scrammed were placed BELOW SEA LEVEL, along with their fuel. The Tsunami flooded the generators and they lost power to the cooling systems.

Then they got farked because half of Japan runs on 50hz AC, and half runs on 60hz. When TEPCO finally got generators to the plant, they were the wrong kind and couldn't be used.

Then there was the fact that TEPCO wanted to keep their honor and didn't ask for help until long after any reactor in the US would have been taken over by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission...
 
2014-03-13 09:47:37 AM  
Settle down hippies. If you actually think GE is liable for decisions made by Japanese companies and government you will be sorely disappointed with your anti-nuclear crusade.
 
2014-03-13 09:48:46 AM  

fluffy2097: Backup generators to prevent site blackouts and maintain control of the reactors, even after they had been scrammed were placed BELOW SEA LEVEL, along with their fuel. The Tsunami flooded the generators and they lost power to the cooling systems.


I expect the generator manufacture being brought to task because their big diesels were incapable of running off of water while submerged.

Sue everybody and let god sort it out.
 
2014-03-13 09:53:59 AM  
This is stupid lawyers or environmental groups suing someone who didn't have any liability, just because they'll probably generate some publicity and settle out of court for some ill-gotten gains.
 
2014-03-13 12:23:24 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: I'm not a huge nuke defender, but the reactors did work pretty much as they were speced for 40 years or so

/did they buy the extended warranty?


The emergency generators were placed on the ground floor though, so weren't able to drive the cooling system once the place got flooded. There's more to a nuclear power plant than the reactors.
 
2014-03-13 12:48:00 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: Wasn't TEPCO responsible for the poor maintenance and clusterfark of emergency management?


^ This!!!
 
2014-03-13 12:52:30 PM  

spawn73: MaudlinMutantMollusk: I'm not a huge nuke defender, but the reactors did work pretty much as they were speced for 40 years or so

/did they buy the extended warranty?

The emergency generators were placed on the ground floor though, so weren't able to drive the cooling system once the place got flooded. There's more to a nuclear power plant than the reactors.


Are you going to follow me around all day?
 
2014-03-13 01:17:06 PM  

TuteTibiImperes: xria: Any Pie Left: The plant was retired, out of service. Considering it's age, it survived remarkably well,but what I take away from the event is that pressures from anti-nuke protesters have kept the U.S. from upgrading and improving our reactors to more safe and reliable designs.

Of course the people/companies claiming new reactors will be safe and reliable, said exactly the same at the time places like Fukushima were installed, so it is very generous of you to give them credibility when they have a history of lying about how safe their designs are, but I don't think you should be surprised other people aren't prepared to accept them at their word.


Regardless of safety nuclear is a long term dead end technology anyway, so it seems pointless to push for it as it is only a stopgap measure anyway - the various renewables and fusion are the technologies of the future, fission for energy was a 20th century mistake that we should just be cleaning up the mess from, not planning into the future for more.

Fusion may be the future, but we aren't even close to it being economically viable yet. Renewables are good, but also limited by geography/climate and generally have lower output.

Fukushima worked fine for 40 years without negative environmental impact. In contrast a coal or natural gas plant operating normally would have spewed billions of tons of pollutants and greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere over the same period.

As early as 1990 concerns were raised about potential risks at the Fukushima site, but TEPCO sat on their thumbs and elected to do nothing to improve the protections at the plant. Had they ugraded the seawall, relocated the backup generators, or done any number of other things as recommended the story coming out of Fukushima would have been how safe and robust nuclear power is even in a worst case natural disaster.

Don't blame the technology for penny pinching and mismanagement.


First thing -- there's a lot of really new and interesting fusion research going on, there's a team working on Dr. Bussard's polywell design. They're working for the US Navy so details are sparse but the last update anyone got was their peer review was successful. And the device's power output was scaling as expected (power requirements scaled to the 5th power of the radius, power output scaled to the 7th)

Anyway, coal is actually worse than Nuclear for radiation contamination, for a given output of power a coal plant puts out 100 times more radioactive contamination to the outside world, so says Scientific American anyway source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coal-ash-is-more-radioactiv e -than-nuclear-waste/ Granted we're still talking millirems, so it isn't exactly harmful. Natural Gas is better but still produces CO2.

Fission really is the best option we have right now, but fusion isn't as far away as you're thinking.
 
2014-03-13 01:30:41 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: spawn73: MaudlinMutantMollusk: I'm not a huge nuke defender, but the reactors did work pretty much as they were speced for 40 years or so

/did they buy the extended warranty?

The emergency generators were placed on the ground floor though, so weren't able to drive the cooling system once the place got flooded. There's more to a nuclear power plant than the reactors.

Are you going to follow me around all day?


No, I didn't notice you were the same person. But I am happy you are.
 
2014-03-13 01:44:30 PM  

optikeye: In other news...GE will do a Union Carbide and sell out to another company. And give a pentance to the survivors.

While I don't think GE is quite as bad as Union Carbide was...Du Pont bought them out and payed practially nothing to the survivers of "Bopa, India".

Oh..you don't know about that--well it was long ago. Union Carbide's pesticide plant release poison gas to the Indian Village of Bhopal.
500,000 where exposed to the chemical...and 2,500 died almost immediately.  (more than 9/11).

Union Carbide got off basically scot free. Because of "Tort Reform" in India...executives paid the sum of 2,000 US dollars. (a buck a death).

[www.srai.org image 700x466]
[encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com image 353x143]


Didnt they trace that back to a bitter employee that got passed over for promotion?
 
2014-03-13 01:53:19 PM  

spawn73: MaudlinMutantMollusk: spawn73: MaudlinMutantMollusk: I'm not a huge nuke defender, but the reactors did work pretty much as they were speced for 40 years or so

/did they buy the extended warranty?

The emergency generators were placed on the ground floor though, so weren't able to drive the cooling system once the place got flooded. There's more to a nuclear power plant than the reactors.

Are you going to follow me around all day?

No, I didn't notice you were the same person. But I am happy you are


Bye
 
2014-03-13 02:25:33 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: spawn73: MaudlinMutantMollusk: spawn73: MaudlinMutantMollusk: I'm not a huge nuke defender, but the reactors did work pretty much as they were speced for 40 years or so

/did they buy the extended warranty?

The emergency generators were placed on the ground floor though, so weren't able to drive the cooling system once the place got flooded. There's more to a nuclear power plant than the reactors.

Are you going to follow me around all day?

No, I didn't notice you were the same person. But I am happy you are

Bye


Forever the master of useless posts.
 
2014-03-13 02:54:18 PM  
GE out of business?  Oh, my God!  This is terrible!  Think of all the people who will lose jobs!  Think of all the taxes that won't get paid................oh, right.
 
2014-03-13 04:10:11 PM  
So what we're saying is that it could cost them 1 year's worth of government subsidy?
 
2014-03-13 05:57:22 PM  
The reactors worked as designed and TEPCO is clearly responsible for not addressing any concerns pointed out in 1990, 2004.   However, nevermind who's really at fault.   At $3 million per plaintiff, why not go after GE's deep pockets?
 
2014-03-13 06:34:23 PM  
This just in: externalizing blame and scapegoating foreigners for domestic problems continue to be significant human characteristics.
 
2014-03-13 08:08:21 PM  
"Let's throw 2 pages of vague accusations at the wall, ask for ALL THE MONEY, get our name in the papers, and hope Big Company will toss something our way so we fark off." How cleverly unique.

Suits like this only help to screw up the system so it's harder to get justice over something like Bhopal.
 
2014-03-14 12:47:28 AM  
The lead plaintiff filed a two page complaint. In any type of legal document that is barely enough to state who the parties of interest are and what the nature of the complaint is. Normally the filing would also include 10-40 additional pages that provide detail and specificity to the complaint.

A two page complaint sounds like a fishing expedition that isn't going to get to discovery.  Any judge worth  his salt isn't going to allow this to move forward if the plaintiff  cannot provide additional specificity as to the nature of the wrong doing by GE.

GE'S lawyers are cold clinical beings without feeling or passion they just continue to drain your life away as you fight them. Don't expect GE to settle for anything less than an apology from the plaintiff and paying for GE'S lawyers.
 
2014-03-14 07:53:01 AM  
FWIW, here in Japan the feelings range from 'TEPCO did wrong to' 'TEPCO seppuku'. While predicting and defeating nature's wrath is hardly a reasonable expectation, the utterly irresponsible ways TEPCO has (or has not) dealt with the aftermath is telling. Japanese doctoral students (at least I think they were) have written papers on the cultural implications of TEPCO's collective ineptitude and dodging of responsibility.
 
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