Under a new liability law, announced 16 October, the operator of a nuclear facility in the UAE will be “solely and exclusively liable” for damages arising from a nuclear incident.

The newly issued law (Federal Law by Decree No 4 of 2012, Concerning Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage) aims to regulate the provisions and determine the scope of the civil liability and compensation for nuclear damage that could occur as a result of a nuclear accident.

It caps operator’s liability at 450 million special drawing rights (SDRs), which is equivalent to roughly 2.5 billion dirhams ($680 million).

The law was introduced by H.E. Hamad al Kaabi, the UAE’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Special Representative for International Nuclear Cooperation, during a press conference held at the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

The law has been drafted in line with international standard.

“This Law was drafted in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage as amended by the 1997 Protocol, which the UAE acceded to in August 2012,” said Hamad Al Kaabi.

The text and provisions of the law have also been under consultation and reviewed by the IAEA Legal experts to ensure its consistency with IAEA guidance and relevant international obligations.

FANR will implement this Law by Decree including issuing rules and regulations in its area of competence.

“The establishment of such a robust nuclear liability regime is another step forward of the UAE Government’s responsible approach to develop a solid regulatory framework for the peaceful nuclear energy programme,” said Hamad Al Kaabi. “This new liability regime provides a clear and predictable process for the public and nuclear industry to deal with compensation for damages that may arise in the case of a nuclear accident.”