Greenpeace Condemns the New International Nuclear Liability Convention

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jan Haverkamp, Expert on nuclear energy, Greenpeace CEE, +48 534 236 502, jan.haverkamp@greenpeace.org

Kendra Ulrich, Expert on energy, Greenpeace Japan, +31 638 779 669, kendra.ulrich@greenpeace.org

Greenpeace Condemns the New International Nuclear Liability Convention

VIENNA - Greenpeace condemns the new international convention on nuclear liability that came into force today, warning that it protects the nuclear industry, not nuclear victims.

The Convention on Supplementary Compensation on Nuclear Safety (CSC) tightens up the industry's international indemnification and supplier shields, effectively shoving the enormous burden of nuclear risk onto taxpayers and future victims.

"The liability regime under the CSC is not a step forward. It is rather a slap in the face of all victims of the Chernobyl and Fukushima catastrophes. Far from ensuring better compensation of victims of future nuclear accidents, it will instead limit the amount of funding available for compensation, shield some responsible parties from almost all liability, and increase the bureaucratic hurdles for victims of transboundary radioactive fallout. The CSC, like the other existing nuclear liability Conventions from Paris and Vienna, protects the nuclear industry, not its victims", says Greenpeace expert consultant on nuclear energy and energy policy, Jan Haverkamp.

The CSC was created by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna in 1997 as an answer to the Chernobyl catastrophe. Their objective was to create a comprehensive liability regime for nuclear power that would protect the industry from liability risk in the event of cross-country border fallout, like that created by Chernobyl. It also would effectively shield nuclear suppliers – like General Electric, Hitachi and Toshiba, which designed and built the critically flawed Fukushima Daiichi reactors – in almost all instances, even in the case of negligence.

"Only the US, Morocco, Argentina, Romania and Japan ratified the CSC. In order to come into force, the CSC needed to have 400 GW installed thermal nuclear capacity under its regime, about a third of the global capacity. The ratification by Japan on 15 January 2015 made the CSC pass this hurdle", said Haverkamp.

Greenpeace's main objections to the CSC include:

  • It allows for caps on compensation far below the damage resulting from the Chernobyl and Fukushima catastrophes;

  • It minimizes the amount that the operator responsible for a nuclear accident will have to pay by creating a liability pool and thus decreasing incentives to prevent accidents;

  • It forces victims from transboundary fall-out to demand compensation in the country where the accident happened and bars them from using their own court system;

  • It shields nuclear suppliers from liability, even when their equipment is partly or fully responsible for the accident. This removes any financial incentive to proactively address known problems to prevent accidents.
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