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Third party liability

Act on the 2004 Protocols to Amend the Paris Convention and the Brussels Supplementary Convention; Act to Amend the Atomic Energy Act (2008)

On 29 August 2008, Parliament agreed to the 2004 Protocols to Amend the Paris Convention and the Brussels Supplementary Convention on Nuclear Third Party Liability, thus authorising their ratification. Germany will deposit its instruments of ratification together with the other signatories to the protocols that are EU member states.

Also on 29 August 2008, Parliament passed an Act to Amend the Nuclear Liability Provisions of the Atomic Energy Act and to Amend Other Provisions. This act implements the provisions of the 2004 Revision Protocols by amending the Atomic Energy Act (see Nuclear Law Bulletin No. 70).

The protocols will not entail a change of the basic concepts of the nuclear liability provisions currently in force in Germany, in particular unlimited liability of the operator and the maximum amount of coverage of EUR 2.5 billion will be maintained. The same is true for Germany’s applying the principle of reciprocity vis-à-vis other states. The extended geographical scope of the revised Paris Convention will, based on Article 2(b) of the convention, be further extended also to states that have in force nuclear liability legislations which are based on principles not identical with those of the Paris Convention. The operator will, in accordance with a German reservation, still be held liable in cases covered by Article 9 of the revised Paris Convention ("damage caused by a nuclear incident directly due to an act of armed conflict, hostilities, civil war, or insurrection"). The amendment introduces the new definitions, including the broadened concept of nuclear damage as foreseen in the 2004 Paris Revision Protocol. It adopts the new minimum amounts of coverage for minor risk nuclear installations and for the carriage of nuclear substances. The single exclusively competent court to be established in accordance with Article 13(h) Paris Convention shall be the higher district court "Landgericht" of the district where the nuclear incident occurred or, in the cases of Article 13(c) of the convention, where the operator liable has its principal place of business. The higher district court of Hamburg is competent if the nuclear incident occurs in the exclusive economic zone of the Federal Republic of Germany.

With regard to the nuclear liability provisions, the act will come into force on the date of the entry into force of the 2004 Protocol to Amend the Paris Convention.

Related links

Nuclear Legislation in OECD Countries: Germany
Regulatory and Institutional Framework for Nuclear Activities
Each country profile in this valuable reference work provides a detailed review of a full range of nuclear law topics. These include: the general regulatory regime, including mining; radioactive substances and equipment; nuclear installations; trade in nuclear materials; radiation protection; radioactive waste management; non-proliferation and physical protection; transport; and nuclear third party liability. This profile was last updated in 2008.

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The Decommissioning and Dismantling of Nuclear Facilities in OECD/NEA Member Countries: Germany
This compilation of national fact sheets is intended to serve as an authoritative source of reference information on individual NEA member countries. In this context, the term "nuclear facility" includes all facilities associated with the production of nuclear power, from mining of uranium, through fabrication of nuclear fuel, nuclear power plant operation, fuel reprocessing and waste management, including related R&D facilities, and research and demonstration reactors.

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Nuclear Energy Data
Nuclear Energy Data is the NEA’s annual compilation of essential statistics on electricity generation and nuclear power in OECD countries. The reader will have quick and easy reference to the status of and projected trends in total electricity generating capacity, nuclear generating capacity, and actual electricity production, as well as to supply and demand for nuclear fuel cycle services.

Last updated: 28 October 2008