Wisconsin Statutes Miscellaneous Actions, Proceedings and Procedure (Ch. 895 to 900) § 895.065. Radioactive waste emergencies

(1) Definitions.  In this section:

(a) “Association” means a relationship in which one person controls, is controlled by or is under common control with another person.

(b) “Company” means any partnership, joint-stock company, business trust or organized group of persons, whether incorporated or not, and any person acting as a receiver, trustee or other liquidator of a partnership, joint-stock company, business trust or organized group of persons.  “Company” does not include a state or local governmental body.

(c) “Control” means to possess, directly or indirectly, the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a company, whether that power is exercised through one or more intermediary companies, or alone, or in conjunction with, or by an agreement with, any other company, and whether that power is established through a majority or minority ownership or voting of securities, common directors, officers, stockholders, voting trusts, holding trusts, affiliated companies, contract or by any other direct or indirect means.  “Control” includes owning, holding or controlling, directly or indirectly, at least 5% of the voting power in the election of directors of a company.  “Control” has the same meaning as the terms “controlled by” and “under common control with”.

(d) “Emergency provider” means any person who provides emergency care or facilities and includes emergency management.

(e) “Harm” means:

1. Damage to property.

2. Personal physical injury, illness or death, including mental anguish or emotional harm attendant to the personal physical injury, illness or death.

4. Economic loss.

5. Environmental pollution, as defined in s. 299.01(4) .

6. Expenses incurred by an emergency provider in preparing for and responding to a nuclear incident that are not reimbursed under s. 292.11(7) or that are not paid by another state under a mutual aid agreement or by a gift or grant.

(f) “Nuclear incident” means any sudden or nonsudden release of ionizing radiation, as defined under s. 254.31(3g) , from radioactive waste being stored or disposed of in a waste repository or transported.  “Nuclear incident” does not include any release of radiation from radioactive waste being transported under routine operations.

(g) “Person” means any individual or company.  “Person” includes the federal government.

(h) “Radioactive waste” means radioactive waste, as defined in s. 293.25(1)(b) , and radioactive defense waste.

(i) “Responsible party” means any person described under sub. (3)(a) 1. a. to d.

(j) “Routine operations” means the operation of transportation equipment in a manner that is not subject to the requirements for immediate notice of incidents under 49 USC 1801 to 1811 or notice of discharge under s. 292.11(2) .

(k) “Waste repository” means any system used or intended to be used to dispose of or store radioactive waste under 42 USC 10101 to 10226 , including but not limited to a permanent disposal system, interim storage system, monitored retrievable storage system, defense waste storage system, away-from-reactor storage facility and a test and evaluation facility.

(2) Liability.  All responsible parties are strictly liable, jointly and severally, for any harm caused by a nuclear incident.

(3) Rebuttable presumption.  (a) In any action brought under sub. (2) to recover damages for harm claimed to be caused by a nuclear incident, it is presumed that the nuclear incident was a cause of the harm if the plaintiff produces evidence to the court sufficient to enable a reasonable person to find all of the following:

1. The defendant is any of the following:

a. A person who is in any way responsible for the design, construction, operation or monitoring of the waste repository or transportation equipment from which the radiation was released in the nuclear incident.

b. A person who owns the waste repository or transportation equipment from which the radiation was released in the nuclear incident.

c. A person who produces, possesses, controls or owns radioactive waste stored or disposed of in the waste repository or transportation equipment from which the radiation was released in the nuclear incident.

d. A person who has an association with any person described under subd. 1. a. to c.

2. The harm could reasonably have resulted from the nuclear incident.

(b) A defendant in an action brought under sub. (2) may rebut the presumption under par. (a) by proving that:

1. The defendant is not a responsible party;  or

2. The harm claimed to be caused by a nuclear incident could not have reasonably resulted from the nuclear incident.

(4) Court award.  In issuing any final order in any action brought under this section in which the plaintiff prevails, the court shall award to the plaintiff the cost of the suit, including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees, and the damages sustained by the plaintiff.

(5) Construction.  This section may not be deemed to have any effect upon the liability of any person for any harm caused by any incident which is not a nuclear incident.


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