The Government has confirmed its intention to substantially increase the third party liabilities of operators in the event of a nuclear incident, meaning any accident at Heysham Power Station could incur much higher costs for its owners.
This follows a public consultation held last year on the UK’s proposals to implement changes made to an international treaty on nuclear third party liability – the Paris and Brussels Conventions, to which the UK and most of the other European Union countries are signatories.
Currently, operator liability is limited to £140m per incident. The UK is increasing this to €1.2bn, to ensure that more compensation will be available to a larger number of claimants in respect of a broader range of damage. This €1.2bn is €500 million more than the minimum necessary under the revised Conventions.
The new level will be phased in over five years starting at €700 million when the new regime comes into force and increased annually by €100 million.
The changes will apply to existing nuclear operators in the UK as well as any potential new build operators.
• The Government’s response to the consultation on the Paris and Brussels conventions is available at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/paris_brussels/paris_brussels.aspx