Keywords: Convention on the Liability of Operators of Nuclear Ships 1962, operator liability, nuclear ship operators, nuclear marine propulsion, nuclear new build, nuclear energy, nuclear power, nuclear law, nuclear-powered vessels, nuclear liability
Facing plans for multiplying nuclear-powered vessels: lessons gained from the Brussels Convention on the Liability of Operators of Nuclear Ships of 1962
The Convention on the Liability of Operators of Nuclear Ships was adopted in Brussels on 25 May 1962 as a free-standing convention. The convention was intended to apply to nuclear damage caused by a nuclear incident occurring in any part of the world and involving the nuclear fuel of, or radioactive products or waste produced in, a nuclear ship flying the flag of a contracting party. Nevertheless, the convention has not entered into force until now. However, according to the most current statements made by several states (e.g., Brazil, China and Russia), the nuclear fleet is planned to be further enhanced by new-generation nuclear vessels in the coming years. With these developments in mind, we have to face the current questions of which nuclear liability regime will be most appropriate for these newly built fleets and what lessons are to be learned from the deadlock on the Brussels Convention on the Liability of Operators of Nuclear Ships.