As we flagged last year in this note, the 2004 Protocols updating the Paris Convention and Brussels Convention have finally been ratified. This is likely the biggest increase in the international nuclear liability regime for decades, and has global impact.
In the UK this means that the Nuclear Installations (Liability for Damage) Order 2016 came into effect on 1 January 2022. This immediately increases the liability cap of nuclear operators in the UK from £140m to €700m (approx. £585m), with those caps increasing annually over the next five years to €1.2bn (approx. £1bn). The UK also now has a new operator duty of care not to cause significant impairment to the environment, new categories of compensation for which an operator will be liable (including loss of profit in some instances), and material extensions to the geographical scope covered by the regime (e.g. now including the Republic of Ireland).
The extension of the limitation period for personal injury to 30 years from the date of the incident is likely the one with the largest impact after it became clear last year that insurance would not be available to cover the full period, at least for the time being. The UK Government instead stepping in and indemnifying operators to cover the insurance gap using the powers granted to the Secretary of State under the amended Nuclear Installations Act 1965.
Similar changes to the liability regime in certain other European and Scandinavian signatory countries should also have taken effect.
Please see our detailed note on the topic here for further information. If you’d like to learn more, or discuss the implications for your business, please contact Adrian Walker or Malcolm Parry.
Authored by Adrian Walker, Malcolm Parry, and Rufus Dobson