The 1986 accident at Chernobyl provided a major impetus for broadening the geographical scope of application of the international nuclear liability regime. The Paris Convention is primarily adhered to by Western European countries while the Vienna Convention is primarily adhered to by Eastern European countries. In spite of the similarity between the Paris and Vienna Conventions, their existence does not provide a single uniform third party liability regime for all countries which are parties to either convention. The two conventions operated in isolation from each other, so that each convention benefited only victims within the territory of its own Contracting Parties.
In 1988, the adoption of the Joint Protocol relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and Paris Convention created a "bridge" between the two conventions. Since its entry into force on 27 April 1992, States party to either the Paris Convention or the Vienna Convention as well as to the Joint Protocol receive the benefits of both conventions. Thus, where a nuclear incident occurs, for which an operator in a Paris Convention/Joint Protocol state is liable and damage is suffered by victims in a Vienna Convention/Joint Protocol State, those victims will be able to claim compensation for their damage against the liable operator in essentially the same manner and to the same extent, as if they were victims in a Paris Convention State; the reverse is equally true.
The Joint Protocol ensures that only one of the two conventions will apply to any particular nuclear incident and both the liable operator and the amount of its liability are determined by the convention, to which the State in whose territory the liable operator's installation is situated is a party. The Joint Protocol applies not only to the original Paris and Vienna conventions but also to any amendments to either convention which are in force for a contracting party to the Joint Protocol.
The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency is the depositary for the Joint Protocol.
Read more on the Joint Protocol relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and Paris Convention on our Multilateral agreements website.
The Brussels Supplementary Convention establishes a scheme to provide compensation supplementary to that required by the Paris Convention. The BSC is open only to contracting parties to the Paris Convention.
The Convention on the Establishment of a Security Control in the Field of Nuclear Energy ("Security Control Convention") and the Protocol on the Tribunal established by the Security Control Convention ("Protocol on the Tribunal") were adopted on 20 December 1957. The Convention came into force on 22 July 1959 and the first judges were appointed on 1 January 1960. The implementation of the security control system (designed to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons) has been suspended since the 1970s in order to avoid duplication with similar systems established by Euratom and the International Atomic Energy Agency. For the time being, the jurisdiction of the Tribunal has been limited to resolving differences concerning the interpretation or application of the above-mentioned Paris and Brussels Conventions.
The Joint Protocol acts as a bridge between the Paris and Vienna Conventions, effectively extending the benefits provided by one convention to victims in countries that have joined the other convention.
The Paris Convention establishes a nuclear liability and compensation regime to compensate victims of a nuclear accident. The PC is open to OECD member countries as of right and non-member countries with the consent of all the contracting parties to the Paris Convention.