Paris, 17 April 1997
An international seminar on nuclear liability and insurance issues was held in Moscow from 15 to 17 April, 1997 to assess the potential benefits that Russia would derive by joining the system of international nuclear liability conventions, adapting its relevant legislation and setting up appropriate nuclear insurance structures. Organized under the joint sponsorship of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the Gosatomnadzor (the Russian nuclear regulatory agency), the seminar brought together senior-level representatives from the Russian Ministries of Atomic Energy, Finance and Foreign Affairs and other governmental Agencies, as well as officials from a number of OECD countries and from international organisations such as the IAEA and the European Commission. Also participating in the seminar were specialists from both the Russian and Western nuclear and insurance industries.
The seminar focused on the international principles of nuclear liability law and their incorporation into Russian legislation, the systems and methods by which Russian insurance companies may provide coverage against the risk of damage arising from a nuclear incident and the financial aspects of assessing nuclear risk and providing such insurance coverage. An important objective of the seminar was the discussion of the creation in the near future of a national Nuclear Insurance Pool.
The resolution of these issues is also considered essential to the efforts by OECD countries to provide nuclear safety assistance to Russia. The international principles of nuclear liability law, which provide for the strict and limited liability of the operator of a nuclear installation in the event of a nuclear incident, the channeling of all such liability exclusively to that operator, and the necessity of having adequate insurance or other form of financial security to support liability claims, are embodied in two international conventions on civil nuclear liability, the Paris and Vienna Conventions. Although Russia signed the Vienna Convention on 8 May 1996, it has not yet ratified it, nor incorporated the principles of that Convention into its national legislation.
The seminar provided a unique opportunity for the Russian participants to thoroughly examine the methods for the evaluation and control of nuclear damage, the requirements for establishing a Russian Nuclear Insurance Pool and for obtaining re-insurance coverage from the Western nuclear insurance industry, and, finally, the ways in which particular insurance coverage might be obtained for exceptional situations, such as emergencies.
A frank exchange of views took place on all of these issues and thus the objective of the seminar to serve as a forum to promote a better understanding of Russian nuclear liability and insurance issues among all parties concerned was achieved.