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Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular of Canada, Visits IAEA

Lynne Yelich and Alexander Bychkov

Signing Ceremony of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage between the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular of Canada, and Mr. Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, IAEA Headquarters, Vienna, Austria, 3 December 2013.

On 3 December 2013, the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular of Canada, paid an official visit to the IAEA headquarters and was accompanied by the Resident Representative of Canada to the IAEA, H.E. Mr. Mark Bailey.

During her stay, Minister of State Yelich met with Mr. Denis Flory, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, Mr. Tero Varjoranta, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safeguards and Mr. Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy.

In her discussions with senior staff of IAEA Management, Minister of State Yelich underscored her country's resolute commitment and active participation in supporting the work of the Agency.

The visit was also marked with the Signing Ceremony of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), between Minister of State Yelich and Alexander Bychkov, IAEA Deputy Director General.

Canada is the 17th Signatory State of the CSC that currently has 4 Contracting States that have ratified it: Argentina, Morocco, Romania and the United States of America. The CSC is set to come into force on the ninetieth day after the ratification by at least 5 States with a minimum of 400 000 units of installed nuclear capacity. The ceremony was a further step towards establishing a uniform global regime for the compensation of victims of a nuclear accident.

At this meeting Canada also deposited its instrument of ratification of the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), becoming the 71st Contracting State to the Amendment.

Background

Adopted on 12 September 1997, the CSC was opened for signature at the IAEA's 41st General Conference in Vienna that same month. The CSC is consistent with principles set forth in previous international agreements governing nuclear liability, including the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage and the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy. It provides a bridge between these two regimes, is open to States that are party to neither of these two regimes, and establishes an international fund to increase the amount available to compensate victims. The CSC also allows for compensating damage occurring within a State's exclusive economic zone, including loss of tourism or fisheries related income. It also sets parameters on a nuclear operator's financial liability, time limits governing possible legal action, requires that nuclear operators maintain insurance or other financial security measures and provides for a single competent court to hear claims.

The Amendment to the CPPNM was adopted on 8 July 2005. Whereas the obligations for physical protection under the CPPNM cover nuclear material during international transport, the Amendment to the CPPNM makes it legally binding for States Parties to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport. It also provides for expanded cooperation between and among States regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences.

The Amendment will enter into force when two-thirds of the States Parties to the CPPNM have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval. To date the CPPNM has 147 States Parties (plus one Party which is an international organization). The two-thirds majority of States Parties required to bring the Amendment into force would presently total 98 States Parties. Until this date, 71 Contracting States have ratified the Amendment, which means that 27 additional Contracting States will be required for the Amendment to entry into force. This number, however, will keep changing in parallel to the number of States Party to CPPNM.


- By Aabha Dixit, IAEA Division of Public Information

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