Nuclear Liability


The UAE introduces new legislation that determines the scope of civil liability and compensation for nuclear damage and aligns UAE law with the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage as amended by the 1997 Protocol.

The UAE has recently embarked upon a nuclear power program, and the first nuclear power station in the UAE is currently expected to be commissioned by 2017. Although the program is in its infancy, the UAE has already acceded to the principal international conventions concerning nuclear liability, namely, the Protocol to Amend the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage of 1997 (the “1997 Protocol”) and the Joint Protocol on the Application of the Vienna and Paris Conventions. As well, the UAE has also enacted Federal Decree Law No. 4 of 2012, Concerning Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (“Law 4”), which came into force on November 14, 2012. As outlined below, Law 4 attempts to align UAE domestic legislation with the 1997 Protocol. This legislation represents another step by the UAE to implement its obligations under international conventions and to adopt a regulatory program consistent with international norms.

Previous legislation -

Previously, Federal Law No. 6 of 2009, Concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (“Law 6”), was the only UAE law which detailed civil liability for nuclear claims. Although Law 6 provides that the operator shall be liable for all matters related to nuclear safety, it did not go so far as to state that all claims must be channeled exclusively through the operator. On its face, Law 6 appeared to allow the prosecution of nuclear liability claims against third parties, such as equipment/service providers.

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