After some 12 years of discussion and development, the Nuclear Installations (Liability for Damage) Order 2016 was made on 4 May 2016. The Order will change the UK’s nuclear liabilities regime, implementing the 2004 Protocols to the Paris and Brussels Conventions on nuclear liabilities. Those Protocols were themselves a response to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and a realisation that existing compensation provisions are inadequate.
In essence the Protocols and the Order will make more compensation available to a wider class for wider heads of loss.
- More losses covered, including reinstatement of impaired environment, loss of income derived from the environment and cost of preventive measures.
- More potential claimants, including those suffering damage in a non-convention state with no nuclear installations.
- Increased liability caps, from the current cap of £140m up to €70m, €160m or €1200m, depending on the category of installation, and €80m for incidents in transit.
- Inclusion of disposal sites.
- Increased limitation periods, including 30 years for death and injury and 10 years for other claims.
The Order will come into force when the Protocols themselves come into force. These have been subject to repeated delays due to the need to synchronise ratification by EU member states and to ensure that adequate insurance cover is available to meet the increased extent and duration of potential liabilities.
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Rupert Cowen has worked in various countries on nuclear projects and has drafted for and provided ongoing guidance to those creating or revising national legal regulatory frameworks. He is recognised as a leading expert in international nuclear law and regulation; he lectures on a frequent basis around the world and has published papers on various aspects of nuclear regulation, particularly nuclear waste strategies.
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