Keywords: Fukushima, nuclear accident, IAEA, nuclear safety, international law, international cooperation, nuclear governance, public trust, safety convention, public opinion, global regime, nuclear power plants, NPP, nuclear energy
A new world governance for nuclear safety after Fukushima?
Over several decades of operation of nuclear power plants, the world nuclear community has built progressively an international regime to govern the safety of such plants. Starting from a time when nuclear safety was generally considered as an exclusive domestic responsibility, the evolution in this direction has been slow and uneven. Accidents have had to serve as a catalyst to mitigate the resistance of more advanced nuclear countries to a greater degree of 'internationalisation'. The disaster which struck Japan in 2011 is in this respect one more example that under the pressure of events - and that of the public opinion - law must adapt to the change of policies and nuclear law is especially reactive in this respect. The Fukushima accident has generated an emotion not experienced since Chernobyl 25 years ago. The question now is whether and how this emotion may transform itself in a real progress for the global regime of nuclear safety.