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Legal affairs programme of work

Programme summary

The NEA Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) helps create sound national and international legal regimes required for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including in the field of nuclear safety, international trade in nuclear materials and equipment, public engagement, issues of liability and compensation for nuclear damage, and to serve as a leading centre for nuclear law information and education.

To achieve this goal, the OLC:

OLC also provides legal support to NEA management, as well as for NEA programmes and projects and acts as the depositary on behalf of the OECD Secretary-General for international instruments on nuclear energy under OECD/NEA auspices.

Developing, strengthening, and harmonising nuclear legislation

The NEA OLC supports the Nuclear Law Committee (NLC) in working to help ensure sound national and international legal regimes required for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including in the field of liability and compensation for nuclear damage, nuclear safety, international trade in nuclear materials and equipment, as well as public engagement.

Application, interpretation and modernisation of the international nuclear liability regimes

The NEA OLC works with the NLC and the Contracting Parties to the Paris Convention to help member countries to interpret, apply and modernise the international nuclear liability conventions and foster progress towards a global liability and compensation regime.

It encourages ratification and implementation of the 2004 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, as well as ratification of other nuclear liability international instruments.

Nuclear law information

The NEA OLC provides current, online information on national legislation, regulatory and institutional frameworks and international protocols and conventions on nuclear activity and liability issues.

The Nuclear Law Bulletin (NLB) is published twice a year and includes the following:

Education programmes

The NEA OLC is responsible for two educational programmes:

The International School of Nuclear Law (ISNL) is a two-week diploma programme run annually by the NEA and the University of Montpellier 1 and supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Covering essential aspects of international nuclear law, it is designed for students and professionals in the field.

International Nuclear Law Essentials (INLE) is a one-week program run by the NEA covering contemporary issues in international nuclear law for experienced professionals.

In addition, the NEA OLC participates in, upon invitation, other nuclear law education programmes, particularly in countries of strategic importance to the NEA.

Support to NEA programmes and projects

The NEA OLC provides legal advice and other support to NEA management on a wide range of substantive and procedural matters relating to the Agency’s status and activities, including its co-operation with other organisations, institutions and non-members; and the negotiation/re-negotiation, drafting, signing and implementation of international agreements, such as international joint project agreements in areas such as nuclear safety, radioactive waste and radiological protection.

In addition, the Head of OLC performs the depositary functions on behalf of the OECD Secretary-General for the following international agreements:

Contact

Last revised: 1 January 2018

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