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Workshop Explains the International Nuclear Liability Regime, Promoting Adherence to Legal Instruments

Liability Workshop for Diplomats

Wolfram Tonhauser, Head of the Nuclear and Treaty Law Section in the Office of Legal Affairs, provided an overview of the IAEA Legislative Assistance Programme. (Photo: IAEA)

Over 100 diplomats and experts from 47 countries joined the IAEA Secretariat and the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX) in a virtual workshop to learn about and discuss the international legal framework for nuclear liability on 27 April 2021. The workshop, the eighth of its kind, provided an introduction to the international legal regime of civil liability for nuclear damage.

“Over the years, the General Conference in its Resolution on Nuclear and Radiation Safety has repeatedly stressed the importance of having effective and coherent nuclear liability mechanisms at the national and global levels to ensure prompt, adequate and non-discriminatory compensation for damage to – inter alia – people, property and the environment,” said Peri Lynne Johnson, IAEA Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA). Johnson added that the General Conference “also encouraged Member States to give due consideration to the possibility of joining the international nuclear liability instruments, as appropriate, and to work towards establishing a global nuclear liability regime.”

The workshop consisted of presentations covering aspects of the nuclear liability regime, each followed by a Q&A session. Andrea Gioia, IAEA Senior Legal Officer in the Nuclear and Treaty Law Section of OLA, provided an introductory “Overview of the International Legal instruments on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage,” which was followed by a presentation by Steve McIntosh, Chairman of INLEX, on the “Basic Principles of Nuclear Liability” underlying all international legal instruments. Ben McRae, also a member of INLEX, presented on “The Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.”

“We must state that this nuclear liability area is a complicated topic. The presentations and discussions of this workshop provided a great opportunity for Member States to better understand the nuclear liability regime, its history and its way forward. And I am also glad that all my questions are clearly resolved,” said Jean-François Dodeman, Nuclear Safety and Security Attaché at the Permanent Mission of France.

Wolfram Tonhauser, IAEA Head of the Nuclear and Treaty Law Section, gave an overview of the IAEA legislative assistance programme, emphasizing the services that the IAEA Secretariat can provide to Member States. At the end of the workshop, participants had an opportunity to further discuss issues of interest to them.

“I would like to thank all panelists for the elaborate presentations they delivered. I would like to suggest sharing the content of this important workshop with our ministries of foreign affairs,” said Ambassador Tarig Hassan Abusalih, Embassy of the Republic of Sudan in Ottawa, Canada.

The workshop was hosted by the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs. (Photo: IAEA)

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