18.07.2017_No141 / News in Brief

EC Approves Belgium’s State Guarantee Plan For Nuclear Compensation

Policies & Politics

18 Jul (NucNet): The European Commission (EC) has concluded that the Belgian state guarantee for nuclear operators that do not find sufficient civil liability coverage on private insurance markets does not involve state aid because it would improve compensation for potential victims without granting any advantage to operators. In a statement on 14 July 2017, the EC said nuclear operators are obliged to financially secure their liability towards victims. They do so mostly by taking insurance on the private insurance market. However, it is expected that some nuclear damage cannot be covered by the nuclear insurance market. Belgium will put in place a state guarantee scheme to cover any nuclear damage that cannot be covered by private insurance. Under this scheme, the nuclear operator will pay an annual premium to benefit from the state guarantee. The EC found that, in the case of Belgium, the premium to be paid by the nuclear operators to benefit from the state guarantee was set at such a level that it will not give them an economic advantage. The EC also found that the premium is expensive enough to avoid crowding out the private insurance market – there are sufficient incentives for private players to develop competitive offers to replace the need for the State guarantee. In December 2016, Belgium adopted a law to improve compensation for potential victims of a nuclear incident. This law aims to ensure Belgium’s compliance with the amended Paris Convention on nuclear third party liability from the moment the Convention enters into force. Under the Belgian law, the liable nuclear operator would have to compensate victims up to €1.2bn ($1.3bn) for up to 30 years after a nuclear incident occurred. The compensation would cover injuries to people and property damage, as well as environmental damage, economic losses and the cost of preventive measures taken by the Belgian State in the aftermath of an incident. The EC said the Belgian state guarantee aims to improve compensation of victims of a nuclear incident, without granting any economic advantage to nuclear operators. Details online: http://bit.ly/2vdEDzX

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David Dalton

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