Japan joins nuclear damage convention

19 January 2015

Japan has signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), triggering its entry into force.

The Permanent Representative of Japan to the IAEA, Ambassador Mitsuru Kitano signed and delivered the instrument of acceptance to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano on 15 January 2015. The action paves the way for the convention to enter into force on 15 April 2015, ending a 17-year wait for it to become legally binding.

Amano said the upcoming entry into force is "a valuable additional step towards establishing a global nuclear liability regime."

The CSC was adopted on 12 September 1997 to modernise and enhance the international legal regime in light of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. However to enter into force the CSC must be ratified by five countries with a minimum of 400 GWt of installed nuclear capacity. To date the CSC has 19 signatories, but had only been ratified by five countries the US, Argentina, Romania, Morocco and the UAE with a total of 310 GWt. The Japanese ratification (with about 140 GWt) is sufficient to bring it into force.

The CSC has two main objectives. The first is to establish a global nuclear liability regime in which all States may participate. Accordingly, the Convention is open not only to States that are party to an existing nuclear liability convention, but also to other States, provided that their national legislation is consistent with uniform rules on civil liability laid down in the Annex to the Convention. Second, the Convention aims to increase the amount of compensation available in the event of a nuclear incident by establishing a minimum national compensation amount and an international fund.

A global nuclear liability regime that addresses the concerns of all States that might be affected by a nuclear accident was one of the elements of the IAEA action plan on nuclear safety, adopted after the Fukushima accident of March 2011.

Photo: Mitsuru Kitano, Resident Representative of Japan, signs the Convention of Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage at IAEA Headquarters in Vienna on 15 January 2015. (Photo Credit: D. Calma/IAEA)

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