If we are to learn anything from the Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami, it’s that the time has come to take a closer look at the nuclear power plants in the United States and their locations near known fault lines and fault regions.

I’m working with Lamont Norman, of Pitney Bowes Business Insight, for an article on this subject and some amazing graphic images and they will be posted this week. But I wanted to give you an early look at the subject.

Norman, who is a global products manager, enterprise business solutions, writes:

“Earthquakes provide two risks to policy locations.  The first is from ground shaking and the second is from tsunamis.  This was recently demonstrated in Japan.  The losses from these two related disasters are multiplied by the proximity of nuclear and toxic materials to the disaster area. Nuclear plants and toxic material sites that are near high earthquake risk areas can be used by insurance carriers to reduce property risk.  Losses from nuclear and toxic contaminations can lead to property loss, lost wages, and business interruption claims.”

The good news is most of the nuclear power plants in this country lie east of the Mississippi River, while the majority of the fault lines are west of the Mississippi.

There are enough combinations of the two to cause a great deal of concern for insurance carriers and policyholders alike. As Norman points out, 20 percent of the U.S. population lives within 30 miles of a nuclear power plant and 13 plants lie within 30 miles of a fault.

An even greater concern is the number of toxic sites listed by the EPA that could be at risk. Norman points out the need for insurers to be aware of this potential disaster and to act accordingly. Look for more on this subject later this week.