Legislative developments in Sweden

General legislation

Abolishment of the Act on phasing out of nuclear energy (2010)

Since 31 July 2010, the Act (1997:1320) on phasing out of nuclear energy has been abolished. This act was a form of expropriation law, which made it possible for the Swedish government to suspend the right to operate a nuclear reactor, provided there was financial compensation to the operator. The act had been used in the closing down of the two power reactors at Barsebäck in 1999 and 2005.

On 1 January 2011, the amendments to the nuclear legislation entered into force that allow for new nuclear power plants in Sweden. Before, the Act (1984:3) on nuclear activities prohibited the government from granting licences for new nuclear power reactors. In the new law this prohibition is abolished. Instead, and to make possible a gradual replacement of existing reactors, some criteria for the government’s examination of permissibility are laid down in Chapter 17 Section 6a of the Environmental Code (1998:808). According to the new legislation, the following preconditions must be met for a licence to be granted:

Third party liability

Act on Liability and Compensation for Nuclear Damage (2010)

In June 2010, the Swedish Parliament passed a new Act on Liability and Compensation for Nuclear Damage, published on 13 June 2010 (SF 2010:950). The act implements the 2004 Protocols to Amend the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy and the Brussels Supplementary Convention. It will come into force on a day to be decided by the government.

The definition of nuclear damage is extended in that it covers not only injury to a person, damage to property, financial loss which is a direct consequence of injury to a person or damage to property and loss of income; the act also covers the costs “to restore the environment or to compensate for loss of environmental value, providing it is environmental damage which is not insignificant and it, or the measures which the cost covers, have been accepted as reasonable by the authority nominated by the government”. Nuclear damage is also considered to include the cost for taking reasonable measures in order to prevent damage.

The act introduces unlimited liability. The operator is to have a liability insurance or is to ensure that another financial security is established which for every point in time covers liability for compensation up to a sum which corresponds to EUR 700 million, or if the installation is a nuclear power reactor in operation for the production of nuclear energy, corresponds to EUR 1 200 million. The government may in regard to liability for nuclear accidents make financial undertakings on behalf of the state, e.g. in the form of reinsurance. For the state’s undertakings the operator is to pay a fee. Furthermore, the state is to pay compensation to a damaged party if compensation cannot be obtained from the liable operator’s security. The state’s total liability for compensation in accordance with this provision is limited to EUR 1 200 million, plus interest for each nuclear accident.

The competent court, in accordance with Article 13(a) of the revised Paris Convention, is the Nacka District Court.

The right to compensation is lost if the victim does not make a claim or initiate proceedings for compensation within three years from the date the damaged party became aware of, or reasonably should have become aware of, the damage and who is liable for it. The act follows the 2004 Protocol by establishing prescription periods of thirty years with respect to personal injury and ten years with respect to all other heads of damages.

An unofficial translation of the act will be published as soon as it enters into force or it can be requested from the .

Last updated: 6 January 2010