Australia signs new Convention on Compensation for Nuclear Damage
Australia signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for
Nuclear Damage in Vienna on 1 October.
Since the Chernobyl accident in 1986, it has been recognised that
the international legal system would have difficulty providing
effective compensation for claims arising from damage by radioactive
materials, particularly damage suffered across international borders.
The Convention is the result of negotiations to address these
concerns on a global level.
Australia was a primary advocate for the non nuclear power
generating countries in the negotiations and is among the first
countries in the world to sign the Convention. Australia's profile,
as a leader in promoting responsible nuclear management, has been
enhanced by our substantial contributions to the negotiations.
The Convention allows for:
- compensation for damage within a country's exclusive economic
zone, which includes loss of tourism or fisheries related income;
- up to approximately AUD 1 billion in compensation which will
be determined in the courts of the country where the incident
The Convention marks the culmination of years of work by the
International Atomic Energy Agency, which established a Standing
Committee on Nuclear Liability in 1990. The Committee formally met 17
times before concluding its technically complex and politically
delicate negotiations in April 1997. The Convention was then adopted
at a Diplomatic Conference in September and signed at the Agency's
General Conference in October.