1963 Vienna Convention—snapshot
Produced in partnership with Herbert Smith Freehills

The following Energy practice note produced in partnership with Herbert Smith Freehills provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • 1963 Vienna Convention—snapshot
  • International liability regime for nuclear damage
  • Linked conventions
  • 1997 Protocol
  • Who is liable?
  • What damage does the Vienna Convention cover?
  • Is the operator’s liability limited?
  • Financial security
  • Limitation period
  • Implementation in Europe
  • More...

1963 Vienna Convention—snapshot

TitleConvention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (Vienna Convention)
Parties43 parties
Revisions1997 Protocol (see Practice Note: 1997 Protocol to the 1963 Vienna Convention—snapshot)
LocationVienna, Austria
Adopted21 May 1963
Came into force12 November 1977
SubjectNuclear liability

International liability regime for nuclear damage

Civil liability for nuclear damage is governed by two major conventions:

  1. 1960 Paris Convention Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy (Paris Convention)

  2. 1963 Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (Vienna Convention)

The conventions share similar core principles:

  1. liability lies exclusively with the operator of the nuclear installation—this removes the need for other parties to take out insurance, such as those involved with the construction and operation of a nuclear installation

  2. the operator's liability is strict, ie the operator is held liable irrespective of fault or negligence, except in limited circumstances (such as armed conflict, civil war or negligence of the victim)—the only proof that is necessary is that the damage for which compensation is sought was caused by a nuclear accident

  3. liability is limited in amount—this makes it easier for an operator to obtain insurance, for example

  4. liability is limited in time

  5. the operator must hold insurance or financial security that covers its liability

  6. the state party in whose territory the nuclear incident has occurred has exclusive jurisdiction

See Practice Note: 1960 Paris Convention—snapshot.

Linked conventions

Although broadly similar in content,

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