Press release
Paris, 26 May 1999


NEA organises an international symposium on the reform of civil nuclear liability

Governmental experts, nuclear industry representatives, specialists from international organisations, nuclear risk insurers and academics from over fifty countries will meet in Budapest from 31 May to 3 June, 1999, for an International Symposium on the Reform of Civil Nuclear Liability. This event, organised by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) in co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Commission, will provide a forum for discussion within the nuclear community on the national and international regimes, which guarantee equitable compensation to all potential victims of a nuclear accident. The Symposium will be hosted by the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority and the Institute for Legal Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

The primary purpose of this Symposium is to review nuclear liability and compensation issues in the context of the recent revision of the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, the adoption of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage and the current negotiations on the amendment of the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy and the Brussels Supplementary Convention. The effective implementation of this reform is a challenge to both governments and the nuclear industry, while at the same time creating opportunities to promote greater public confidence in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and broader adherence to an international system which establishes both liability for nuclear damage and compensation for victims.

The Symposium will provide an opportunity to evaluate progress already made in the international nuclear liability regime and to discuss those challenges which lie ahead. Working Sessions will focus on the prospects of implementation of the new global regime, transport issues, and the equitable distribution of compensation to nuclear accident victims.

The Symposium will also serve as a forum for examining the difficulties faced by Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) and by the New Independent States (NIS) in joining an international regime. The importance of their adherence to such a regime has been reflected in the invitation of specialists from 14 of these countries to attend this event. Moreover, Budapest, the capital of a Central European country, which is also a new member of the NEA, is a particularly appropriate venue to facilitate attendance of CEEC and NIS representatives.

Speakers during the inaugural session on Monday 31 May include Professor Attila Chikán, the Hungarian Minister of Economy, Mr. Luis Echávarri, Director-General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, Professor György Vajda, Director-General of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority, Mr. Larry Johnson, Legal Adviser of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Mr. Bram Brands, Principal Administrator at the European Commission.

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