You are here

Towards a Better Understanding of Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage: Learning the Fine Points of the International Legal Regime

Workshop on Nuclear Liability 2015

Over 60 participants from 41 countries attended the Fourth Workshop on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage held at IAEA headquarters in Vienna on 27 April 2015. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Joining the international regime on civil liability and compensation in case of nuclear damage brings distinct advantages to countries when a nuclear accident affects several Member States. This was the message delivered to participants from 41 countries at this week’s IAEA workshop on the legal aspects of nuclear liability and the international legal instruments available.

“The sessions were very focused and precise and enabled me to focus on the essentials of civil liabilities and the relevance and scope of each international legal instrument,” said Marco Castillo Parra, a representative from Venezuela who participated in the workshop. “I am now better able to provide information to national authorities in Venezuela on the instruments that they wish to consider or not to consider.”

Participants at the Fourth Workshop on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage included diplomats and experts from Member States. Presentations touched on the principles of nuclear liability and their continuing relevance, and on the international legal instruments on civil liability for nuclear damage adopted under IAEA auspices.

“The goal is to create treaty relations amongst States,” said Peri L. Johnson, the IAEA’s Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Affairs. “In this way, if there is an accident, it will be clear who is responsible and what framework applies. Joining the regime brings legal clarity.”

The workshop provided a better understanding of the diversity of the legal instruments that are available, said Maryem Haddaoui, a Counsellor in charge of IAEA matters at the Permanent Mission of Morocco, who also attended the event. “The knowledge that the IAEA’s Office of Legal Affairs is available to extend assistance to countries like Morocco in improving the international legal framework for civil liability was, for me, a valuable take-away from the workshop,” she said.

The workshop included a roundtable discussion on topical issues of nuclear liability, moderated by legal experts from the IAEA and the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX). It covered, among others, the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, civil liability for nuclear damage from the perspective of coastal States, the role of insurance, and the IAEA's legislative assistance programme available to Member States.

“Because of its value, the information presented in the workshop should be made available to as many Member States as possible,” Venezuela’s Castillo Parra said.

The first workshop on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage was held in 2012, as part of the implementation of the IAEA's Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.

The goal is to create treaty relations amongst States. In this way, if there is an accident, it will be clear who is responsible and what framework applies.
Peri L. Johnson, Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Affairs, IAEA

Stay in touch

Newsletter