IAEA Discusses Liability and Compensation for Nuclear Damage with Pakistan

IAEA legal experts, together with experts from the International Expert Group on Nuclear Liability (INLEX), met with government officials of Pakistan in a virtual setting to discuss matters relating to civil liability for nuclear damage, on 7 October 2020. The event was part of the overall outreach activities hosted by the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs. “Activities such as these are aimed at facilitating the achievement of a global nuclear liability regime that addresses the concerns of all States that might be affected by a nuclear accident with a view to providing appropriate compensation for nuclear damage,” said Wolfram Tonhauser, Head of the IAEA’s Nuclear and Treaty Law Section.

The seminar focused on international nuclear liability instruments adopted under the auspices of the IAEA in 1997, specifically the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC). The CSC aims at establishing a worldwide system of civil liability and supplementary compensation for nuclear damage in which all States may participate. Accordingly, the Convention is a free-standing instrument open to all States. The CSC also increases the amount of compensation available in the event of a nuclear incident by establishing a minimum national compensation amount and an international fund based on public funds, to which Contracting Parties will contribute in the event that the national amount is insufficient to compensate nuclear damage. The CSC entered into force in 2015 and covers about 45 per cent of the 442 nuclear power plants (NPPs) currently in operation worldwide.

“This virtual activity provided an opportunity to clarify a number of outstanding questions regarding the application of the international nuclear liability instruments, including the CSC,” said Imtiaz Ahmed, Director General of International Affairs of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). “With this information, we can further consider these important instruments and may seek another virtual event with decision makers and other stakeholders.”

Three INLEX experts participated in the event, in which the costs of contribution to the international fund envisaged by the CSC was discussed. An online calculator has been developed to apply the formula in Article IV of the CSC to determine the amounts to be contributed to the international fund.

INLEX, an advisory body established by the IAEA, consists of experts from around the world, including countries without NPPs. INLEX serves as a forum of expertise to advise on all issues relating to civil liability for nuclear damage. The expert group assists the IAEA Secretariat in developing explanatory texts, training materials and conducting outreach activities.

The seminar hosted by the IAEA Office of Legal Affairs focused on international nuclear liability instruments adopted under the auspices of the IAEA in 1997. (Photo: IAEA)

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