1980 Societal Assessment of SPS

locating suitable eligible areas in the East to support this constraint could be a problem. Transmission distance problems (greater than 500 km) could be encountered in the West; however, power is already being transmitted much farther by the electric utilities with no intractable technical problems. What may have greater significance is that transmission corridors would consistently cross state lines, electrical power service area lines, and National Electric Reliability Council boundaries as shown in Exhibit 5. This raises again many of the institutional considerations discussed earlier and confirms that the utility integration problem is more institutional than technical. 2 3 4. Insurance The SPS concept poses many exposures to both financial loss and liability to third parties. As with more traditional risks, insurance could be provided to protect against certain of these exposures during both pre-operational and operational phases. The international underwriting community has shown a willingness to insure the sizeable risks associated with today's telecommunications satellites. This precedent could serve as a basis for the acceptance of SPS ground and space-related exposure. The major risks associated with the program stem from both the financial losses that could be incurred and the liability exposures presented by extensive launch, recovery and space-construction activities. The possible environmental effects of both the ground and space segments also present a substantial degree of risk. The interrelation of so many participants, combined with the need for a continuous flow of resources into space and to launch/rectenna sites, forms a dynamic system that could be severely damaged by catastrophic loss at a number of key points. The effects of the overall SPS effort, moreover, will extend into an international realm that today does not provide for the sharing of liability exposures among what would be a consortium of diverse countries. Even if constructed as a domestic effort, the exposure to international lawsuits is not clear at this time. Underwriters do not presently have a basis for assessing either the possible origins of claims or their severity. However, maintaining a close