Third Party Insurance: The Nuclear Sector's "Silent" Subsidy in Europe

There are two basic international legal frameworks contributing to an international regime on nuclear liability: The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) 1963 Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (Vienna Convention), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) 1960 Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy (Paris Convention), and the associated “Brussels Supplementary Convention”3 of 1963. The Vienna and Paris liability conventions are also linked by a Joint Protocol adopted in 1988.

At present, less than half the world’s nuclear reactors are covered by any of the existing international agreements.  Moreover, although there are unifying features, the nuclear liability conventions do not provide one comprehensive and unified international legal regime for nuclear accidents. In fact, there is a labyrinth of intertwined international agreements on nuclear liability, the interrelations of which have become increasingly complicated. Currently, there are at least eight such agreements, all of which provide liability coverage at relatively low levels given the potential damages from nuclear accidents.

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