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Nuclear Liability Rules Revised to Increase Compensation

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Nuclear operators will be held liable for far higher compensation to victims in the event of a nuclear accident under amended international conventions signed this week.

In a press release, the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said that the total compensation available under the revised liability regime will be 1.5 billion, compared to the current amount of approximately 350 million. The new compensation limits would take effect once they have been ratified by States that are party to the conventions, namely the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy and the Brussels Supplementary to the Paris Convention, which are under OECD auspices. The signing of the Protocols to amend the conventions will take place on 12 February, at OECD headquarters.

The new compensation provisions are extended to a larger number of States, within the regional and international legal framework for nuclear liability. A Joint Protocol in effect since 1992 legally links the Paris Convention with the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, for which the IAEA is the depositary. The Protocol ensures that the benefits of one convention are extended to the Parties of the other.