Carriage of nuclear substances forms an important part of the nuclear fuel cycle with roughly one million relevant transport operations taking place every year (source: WNTI). Each of those carriages must be insured for nuclear third party liability to cover any nuclear damage that may be caused by an incident occurring during the transport of nuclear substances.
The international nuclear liability conventions provide for the basic principles of nuclear third party liability that apply to all civil nuclear activities governed by such special regimes, including the transport and transit of nuclear substances.
The main principles common to these conventions, which have also been reflected in most national nuclear liability laws worldwide, are as follows:
The international nuclear liability conventions also incorporate principles specifically designed to address the complexities posed by the potential transboundary damage and cross-border compensation claims:
These conventions also provide for provisions which govern transport and transit of nuclear substances. They address for example:
All international nuclear liability conventions leave some degree of discretion to domestic law and national courts concerning their implementation or application in the national legal system with regard to transport or transit of nuclear substances.
However, it is important to note that a number of countries are not parties to any of the nuclear liability conventions and apply their own national rules and regulations to nuclear transport.
As a consequence, in the course of transnational carriage, several nuclear liability regimes, whether international or national, may apply; the same carriage of nuclear substances may potentially be governed by different nuclear liability regimes.
Exchange of legal information and sharing related national experience regarding nuclear liability as applicable to nuclear transport is essential to help nuclear operators, carriers and insurers organise transport of nuclear substances.
To support this endeavor, the Working Party on Nuclear Liability and Transport (WPNLT) agreed to elaborate and publish country sheets describing the national nuclear third party liability regimes applicable in NEA member and partner countries to transport and transit of nuclear substances. These country sheets aim at providing a practical overview of the applicable legal framework in each concerned country to all stakeholders involved in the organisation of carriage of nuclear substances and to the public in general.
|OECD and NEA countries
The Nuclear Law Committee (NLC) established the Working Party on Nuclear Liability and Transport (WPNLT) in 2016 to address the practical challenges related to the nuclear liability regime(s) applicable to transport and transit of nuclear substances.