Legislative developments in the United States of America USA flag

Third party liability

Inflation adjustment to the Price-Anderson Act (2008)

On 29 September 2008, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission adjusted for inflation the retrospective premium applicable to nuclear power plant operators under the U.S. Price-Anderson Act. The nuclear liability limit now totals USD 11 937 600 000 (see 73 Federal Register 56451 of 29 September 2008).

The Atomic Energy Act requires the NRC to adjust the maximum total and annual standard deferred premiums specified in the Price-Anderson Act for inflation at least once during each 5-year period following 20 August 2003.

The adjustment increases the nuclear liability limit for nuclear power plants from about USD 10.3 billion to about USD 11.9 billion, effective 29 October 2008. This sum is based on the first tier of USD 300 million of insurance from American Nuclear Insurers, plus the retrospective premiums comprising the multiple of the number of power reactors licensed to operate at the time of the nuclear incident. This retrospective premium is now at USD 111.9 million per reactor per incident (with 104 operating nuclear power plants). An additional 5 percent may be assessed for claims expenses.

The annual retrospective payment per nuclear power plant has been increased from USD 15 million to USD 17.5 million. This represents an increase of about 16.7 percent over the figure set five years ago.

Commercial power reactors rated at less than 100 000 kw(e) and transport activities are regulated under a different scheme. The maximum government indemnity for these small reactors is USD 500 million and there is a minimum required payout from insurance of USD 60 million which brings the total liability to USD 560 million.


Agreement for Co-operation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (2008)

On 8 October 2008, the US Congress passed legislation approving the "Agreement for Co-operation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy", which the President signed into law.

The agreement, negotiated in accordance with the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) of 1954 and the Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006, provides a comprehensive framework for United States peaceful nuclear co-operation with India. The agreement permits the transfer of information, non-nuclear material, nuclear material, equipment (including reactors) and components for nuclear research and nuclear power production. It does not compel any particular co-operation.

The agreement will remain in effect for 40 years and will continue thereafter for additional periods of 10 years each unless either the United States or India gives notice of termination 6 months before the end of a period. Furthermore, either party can terminate the agreement prior to its expiration on one year’s written notice to the other party. Should either party seek early termination, it has the right to immediately cease co-operation under the agreement if a mutually acceptable resolution of outstanding issues cannot be achieved through consultations. Should the agreement be terminated, key non-proliferation conditions and controls would remain in effect with respect to material and equipment subject to the agreement.

Related links

Nuclear Legislation in OECD Countries: USA
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.

Nuclear facts and figures for OECD countries
Number of nuclear units connected to the grid; Nuclear electricity generation (net TWh); Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply.

IEA energy statistics: USA
Data is available in the following areas: coal, oil and gas use; electricity production, supply and consumption; heat production, supply and consumption; and graphs of sectorial final consumption by source.

The Decommissioning and Dismantling of Nuclear Facilities in OECD/NEA Member Countries: USA
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.

Related NEA publications

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: 31 October 2008