The NEA Working Party on Nuclear Liability and Transport (WPNLT) held a virtual workshop on “The Qualification of Nuclear Substances and Nuclear Liability” on 29-30 March 2021 with more than 70 experts representing 19 member countries, two non‑NEA member countries, the European Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Representatives from the nuclear insurance industry, the World Nuclear Association (WNA) and the World Nuclear Transport Institute (WNTI) also participated.
During the two-day event, the participants discussed the insurance-related, legal and technical challenges associated with the qualification of nuclear substances during transport and its impact on the organisation of the insurance to cover such transport, as well as practical solutions to those challenges. They also addressed the practical implementation of the exclusions of nuclear substances from the scope of the application of international nuclear liability conventions. In this context, there was a common agreement on the need to work towards a common understanding of which nuclear substances are covered by, or excluded from, the nuclear liability conventions and the applicable national nuclear liability regimes.
The workshop participants also concluded on the following path forward on the qualification of nuclear substances and nuclear liability:
- clarify for those nuclear substances excluded from the nuclear liability conventions and the applicable national nuclear liability regimes, which liability regime would apply, the relevant financial security requirements (if any) and the availability of insurance;
- facilitate the process to identify which insurance coverage should be put in place by (a) clarifying the interpretation of key definitions and terms provided in the nuclear liability conventions in order to allow a certain harmonisation of the national legislations and regulations, (b) clarifying the assessment that should be made to determine which insurance coverage would apply, (c) establishing a process to identify the excluded substances or material throughout their lifetime, and (d) identifying which entity is the most competent to qualify the nuclear substances being transported; and finally
- raise and increase awareness of all the stakeholders involved in international transport and transit of nuclear substances or material of the application of the nuclear liability conventions and national nuclear liability regimes, including the exclusions that apply to nuclear transport.
The WPNLT was established in 2016 to examine issues relating to the interpretation and application of international nuclear liability instruments to nuclear transport. The working party promotes the exchange of legal information relating to nuclear liability as applicable to nuclear transport and the sharing of related experience among member countries.