Press Communiqué
Paris, 12 February 2004

Revised Nuclear Third Party Liability Conventions Improve Victims' Rights to Compensation

The signing of the Protocols to amend the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy and the Brussels Convention Supplementary to the Paris Convention took place on 12 February, at OECD headquarters.

The revised Conventions allow for a considerable increase in the amount of compensation available to victims of a nuclear accident and for the expansion of the scope of application of the Paris Convention.

Håkan Rustand, Swedish Justice Chancellor and Chair of the Contracting Parties of the Paris Convention signs the Final Act of the Conference watched by Donald Johnston, OECD Secretary-General (left) and Luis Echávarri, NEA Director-General (right). To Mr. Johnston's right is Patrick Reyners, NEA Head of Legal Affairs. Looking on are NEA staff members Julia Schwartz and Jack Radisch.

The most important features of the revised Paris Convention include an increase in the nuclear operator's liability amount to a new minimum of €700 million. In addition, the minimum liability amount applicable to low-risk installations and transport activities will climb to €70 million and €80 million respectively.

The Convention contains a detailed definition of "nuclear damage", allowing for a broader range of damage to be compensated than the existing personal injury and damage to property. The definition refers specifically to economic loss, the cost of measures to reinstate a significantly impaired environment, loss of income resulting from that impaired environment and the cost of preventive measures, all of which are likely to be considerable in the event of a serious nuclear accident. In addition, the geographical scope of the Paris Convention is extensively expanded.

The most important feature of the revised Brussels Supplementary Convention is a substantial increase in the three tiers of compensation under the Convention. The first tier, corresponding to the minimum liability requirement under the Paris Convention, jumps to €700 million and continues to be provided by the operator's financial security, failing which it must be provided by the installation State from public funds.

The second tier climbs to a new high of €500 million and continues to be provided from public funds made available by the installation State. The third tier (international) rises to €300 million and continue to come from public funds provided by all Contracting Parties. Total compensation available under the revised Paris-Brussels regime is now €1.5 billion, compared to the previous amount of €300 million IMF Special Drawing Rights (approximately €350 million).

The Protocol to amend the Paris Convention will come into force when ratified by two thirds of the Signatory States, the Protocol to amend the Brussels Supplementary Convention will come into force when ratified by all the Brussels Supplementary Convention Signatory States.

Related links

Background information note

Photos from the signing ceremony

NEA Legal Affairs Programme

News media contacts:

Ms. Cynthia Gannon-Picot 
Head, External Relations and Public Affairs
OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
Tel.: +33 (1) 45 24 10 10
Fax: +33 (1) 45 24 11 10