U.A.E. Sets Nuclear Accident Liability at 2.5 Billion Dirhams

The United Arab Emirates set the liability from a nuclear fallout at 450 million Special Drawing Rights, equivalent to about 2.5 billion dirhams ($680 million) and higher than the 300 million SDR minimum set by the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.

Under the new U.A.E. federal law, signed in August, “the operator of a nuclear facility is solely and exclusively liable for damages arising from a nuclear incident as defined in the 1997 Vienna Convention,” the country’s Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation said in a statement handed to reporters in Abu Dhabi today.

“The amount of liability is subject to ongoing debate,” Hamad al-Kaabi, the U.A.E.’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said at a press briefing. “It makes no sense to have a high limit when the operator cannot get insurance for that amount in the market.”

The U.A.E., the sixth-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is developing nuclear power to meet rising electricity demand from its growing population and diversifying industries. Four 1,400-megawatt reactors being developed by state-owned Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. are due to start from 2017 to 2020.

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