Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

'You Profit, We Pay': Greenpeace Launches Global Campaign Against Nuclear Industry

Jon Queally

If the global nuclear industry is to reap the rewards and profits from its energy production, says Greenpeace, it must also be made to pay for the consequences of its disasters when they inevitably occur.

Launching a new global campaign to tighten regulations on the world's nuclear companies, the international environmental groups says that the sad and ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan should prove once and for all that the benefits of atomic power favor the utility companies while the costs from meltdowns and accidents are shouldered by the public.

“The Fukushima disaster exposes the shameful defects in a system that only requires nuclear operators to pay a fraction of the costs of a disaster and does not require suppliers of reactors to pay anything,” said Aslihan Tumer, Greenpeace International nuclear campaigner.

“The consequences of this unfair system, that has left hundreds of thousands in Japan without proper compensation, could be repeated anywhere in the world since the nuclear industry is not held accountable for its failures.”

“The consequences of this unfair system, that has left hundreds of thousands in Japan without proper compensation, could be repeated anywhere in the world since the nuclear industry is not held accountable for its failures.”

The international campaign follows on the heels of a new report commissioned by the group entitled Fukushima Fallout: Nuclear business makes people pay and suffer, which details the serious flaws in nuclear regulations worldwide. Campaigners are focused on pushing changes in Canada, the US, France, and certainly Japan, but Greenpeace views the issue as one intrinsically global.

"Every business around the world as well as all technologies have certain levels of risk when it comes to accidents," Tumer said at press conference in Tokyo. "However, it's only the nuclear industry that can avoid this risk despite the large, long-term and trans-boundary impacts that these accidents cause."

Among other aspects, Greenpeace says that companies that design and often build nuclear reactors—including GE, Toshiba and Hitachi—are often legally shielded from liability for accidents involving their plants. Instead, as has been proved in Japan, taxpayers—including those forced to evacuate their homes—will end up paying the bulk of the costs of the disaster.

Greenpeace said only India, Russia and South Korea have legislation under which nuclear plant suppliers are held liable in the event of a disaster.

Ultimately, Greenpeace calls for the abandonment of all nuclear power plants. "Yet, if there is another major nuclear accident," they argue, at least "people could be given better protection if we hold the nuclear industry fully accountable and liable."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'The Facebook Papers' Spur More Calls to 'Break Them Up!'

Other critics are demanding a "full, independent, outside investigation" of the tech titan as whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to the U.K. Parliament.

Jessica Corbett ·


Critics See Menendez Villainy Equal to Sinema's on Medicare Drug Pricing Fight

"It's discouraging to see Sen. Menendez is on the wrong side of this fight rather than leading the charge for more affordable, accessible healthcare for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


Humanity 'Way Off Track': WMO Says Atmospheric Carbon at Level Unseen in 3 Million Years

The new report has "a stark, scientific message for climate change negotiators at COP 26," said the head of the World Meteorological Organization.

Andrea Germanos ·


Any Lawmaker Involved in Planning Jan. 6 Insurrection 'Must Be Expelled,' Says AOC

Organizers of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol say that several congressional Republicans and White House officials helped plan former President Donald Trump's coup attempt.

Kenny Stancil ·


Profits Before People: 'The Facebook Papers' Expose Tech Giant Greed

"This industry is rotten at its core," said one critic, "and the clearest proof of that is what it's doing to our children."

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo