Nuclear Liability: A Key Component of the Public Policy Decision to Deploy Nuclear Energy in Southeast Asia

Supplier Community Approach

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Mohit Abraham
Global Nuclear Future

The Nuclear Power Plant Exporters’ Principles of Conduct is an industry code of conduct and the result of a three-year initiative to develop norms of corporate self-management in the exportation of nuclear power plants. Articulated and consolidated by the world’s leading nuclear power plant vendors, including AREVA, CANDU, Mitsubishi, GE Hitachi, ROSATOM, Westinghouse, and KEPCO, the principles also address civil liability.

The principles require that before entering into a contract to supply a nuclear power plant to any customer, a vendor needs to make an independent judgment that the consumer state has a legal regime providing adequate and prompt compensation in the unlikely event of an accident. Further, the principles urge that the legal regime should have the following components:

  1. Contains adequate liability limits and financial protection consistent with current international standards;
  2. Is backed by customer-state guarantees;
  3. Ensures that claims for compensation by possible victims will be channeled to the operator of the nuclear power plant(s) that would be strictly and exclusively liable and channeled to a single competent court;
  4. Includes compensation for personal injury, property damage, environmental damage, loss of income, economic loss, and preventive measures;
  5. Does not allow compensation amounts to be set aside or reduced by unilateral strict reciprocity requirements; and/or
  6. Includes a treaty relationship with the vendor state under the IAEA’s Vienna Convention, the Paris Convention, and/or the CSC.63

The principles envisage that such action would enable global treaty relations to ensure worldwide compensation and liability protection during plant operation and transnational transport. The principles affirmed by the suppliers also stress the importance of channeling liability exclusively to the operator.


63 Nuclear Power Plant Exporters’ Principles of Conduct, 7.