NEA press room

Press kit: International nuclear third party liability

As the accident at Chernobyl illustrated, the geographical scope of damage caused by a nuclear accident is not necessarily confined to national boundaries. In the event of a nuclear accident causing damage in more than one country, it is desirable that the protection accorded to victims by a third party liability regime be distributed equitably among affected countries. Although the high safety standards of the nuclear industry mean that the risk of an accident is very low, the possible magnitude of damage from a nuclear accident is such that insurance coverage of liability requires international collaboration between national insurance pools. These considerations were recognised in the early years of the nuclear power industry and inspired States to develop the existing international regimes. Furthermore, there is a significant amount of transboundary transport of nuclear materials. Such international movement is both better regulated and facilitated by being subject to one uniform regime.

There are three basic international regimes for nuclear third party liability in force: the 1960 Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy ("the Paris Convention"), established under the auspices of the NEA, which has been adopted by most West European countries and the 1963 Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage ("the Vienna Convention") and the 1997 Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage ("the CSC"), both established under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and having worldwide contracting parties. The list of Contracting Parties to the Paris Convention is as follows:

Belgium Germany Norway Sweden
Denmark Greece Portugal Switzerland*
Finland Italy Slovenia Turkey
France Netherlands Spain United Kingdom

* Switzerland has signed the 1960 Paris Convention, the 1964 Additional Protocol to amend the Paris Convention and the 1982 and 2004 Protocols to amend the Paris Convention. On 9 March 2009, Switzerland deposited its instrument of ratification of the 1960 Paris Convention as amended by the 1964, 1982 and 2004 amending Protocols. As this ratification is effective only with respect to the 1960 Paris Convention as amended by all 3 Protocols, entry into force for Switzerland of the Paris Convention as so amended will only take place once the 2004 Protocol to amend the Paris Convention has itself entered into force.

Coverage under the Paris Convention is extended by the Supplementary Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy of 31 January 1963 ("the Brussels Supplementary Convention"). The list of Contracting Parties to the Brussels Supplementary Convention is as follows:

Belgium Germany Norway Sweden
Denmark Italy Slovenia Switzerland*
Finland Netherlands Spain United Kingdom
France      

* Switzerland has signed the 1963 Brussels Supplementary Convention, the 1964 Additional Protocol to amend the Brussels Supplementary Convention and the 1982 and 2004 Protocols to amend the Brussels Supplementary Convention. On 11 March 2009 Switzerland deposited its instrument of ratification of the 1963 Brussels Supplementary Convention as amended by the 1964, 1982 and 2004 amending Protocols. As this ratification is effective only with respect to the 1963 Brussels Supplementary Convention as amended by all three Protocols, entry into force for Switzerland of the Brussels Supplementary Convention as so amended will only take place once the 2004 Protocol to amend the Brussels Supplementary Convention has itself entered into force.

The Paris Convention and the Brussels Supplementary Convention have both been amended three times: by Additional Protocols adopted in 1964, 1982 & 2004. Furthermore, the Paris and Vienna Conventions have been linked by the 1988 Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention ("the Joint Protocol"). The Paris and the Vienna Conventions are supplemented, in relation to maritime transport, by the 1971 Convention Relating to Civil Liability in the Field of Maritime Carriage of Nuclear Material.

NEA Nuclear Law programme

Related NEA publications and reports

Nuclear Legislation in OECD Countries  Français
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.

Revised Nuclear Third Party Liability Conventions improve victims' rights to compensation  Français
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 were signed on 12 February 2004, at OECD headquarters. When the 2004 Protocols go into effect, the revised Conventions will 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.

NEA Workshop on Nuclear Damages, Liability Issues and Compensation Schemes, Paris, France, 10-11 December 2013

Paris Convention on Nuclear Third Party Liability

Brussels Supplementary Convention

Related links

NEA Press kit: Chernobyl

NEA Press kit: Fukushima

Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage
Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage
Conventions maintained under the auspices of the IAEA.

Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention


Last updated: 20 February 2015