Under certain conditions, national law may provide for a longer period.
It includes uranium ore mining, uranium enrichment and nuclear fuel production, energy production at nuclear power plants, reprocessing of spent fuel and disposal of radioactive waste. Practically the links of this chain are not only in different countries, but also on different continents. For example, France imports up to 50% of the uranium it needs from Africa, and Germany from Canada. At the same time, the United States is the world’s largest supplier of enriched uranium. Western European countries have recently made efforts to reduce their dependence on foreign imports of nuclear fuel.
Equally important is the reprocessing of nuclear fuel, which is already spent. Given the particular technological complexity of this process and its close links with the military aspects of the use of nuclear energy, only a limited number of States have the appropriate capabilities in this area. In 1977, France concluded agreements with Japan on the processing of 1,600 tons of spent fuel worth 3 billion francs, with Germany on the processing of 1,750 tons of fuel worth 5.5 billion francs.
In 1978, after a heated debate, the British Parliament approved the construction of a new spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Windscoil.
Disposal of nuclear energy waste remains an important issue. The recycling of spent nuclear fuel in specially designated centers in a limited number of states implies that some of this waste will be returned for disposal to the countries from which the fuel came. In the past, there were cases of radioactive waste disposal at sea. Due to the great danger, this is not practiced now, and waste is buried on land – in rocks and mines.
Given the seriousness of the risks associated with nuclear activities, states have developed and adopted a number of international agreements concerning nuclear losses and their compensation. These agreements apply to damages caused during the transportation of radioactive materials. These include the Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy of 1960, the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage of 1963, and the 1971 Convention on Civil Liability for the Carriage of Nuclear Material.
The provisions of these conventions are studied in detail in the domestic international legal literature. However, the question is whether and to what extent these agreements apply to cases of contamination of the environment with radioactive waste during transportation and losses as the scale of such transportation increases, the risk of radioactive contamination will constantly increase.
Under the Paris Convention, liability arises for the loss of or death of a person, the loss of any property, if it is proved that it was caused by a nuclear incident. It is known that nuclear damage is long-lasting. Radioactive contamination can persist for a long time, and its effects can sometimes be felt for many years. In addition, if the amount of other damage can be accurately determined shortly after the incident, the damage to the human body and nature caused by radioactive radiation is different.
Proving the "nuclear" origin of such damage is particularly difficult. This type of damage is not actually compensable. Given the long-term nature of the damage, the Vienna and Paris Conventions set a significant, long period during which the victim has the right to claim damages in court: 10 years from the date of the nuclear incident. Under certain conditions, national law may provide for a longer period. If nuclear damage is caused by a nuclear incident involving nuclear fuel or other substances in the course of transportation, and these substances have been stolen, lost, discarded or left unattended, the period for filing a lawsuit shall be extended to 20 years from the date of theft, loss, discharge or leaving unattended (paragraph 2 of Article VI of the Vienna Convention, paragraph 10 of Article 8 of the Paris Convention).
Although only a few countries participate in the Vienna and Paris Conventions, the principles enshrined in them are reflected in the legislation of most states that are actively involved in nuclear activities. Both the Convention and national legislation are based on a system of absolute responsibility of the nuclear installation operator, ie, liability arises regardless of his fault. Exemption from liability occurs only in strictly defined cases. Liability is excluded, as a rule, when a nuclear incident occurred due to the gross fault of the victim, armed conflict, hostilities, civil war or uprising, a severe natural disaster of an exceptional nature.
The International Atomic Energy Agency plays a leading role in the development of rules and regulations for the transportation of radioactive substances. As early as 1960, the IAEA’s main bodies approved the "Rules for the Safe Transportation of Radioactive Materials." Since then, the rules have been revised several times in the light of the experience gained by governments and international organizations in this area.
The rules are a system of principles and norms aimed at harmonizing international and national regulation of the transportation of nuclear materials in order to achieve maximum safety. By their legal nature, they are recommendations and are not binding on states. Their implementation is mandatory only in relation to activities carried out by the Agency itself or, in the case of a special agreement, between the Agency and a country receiving technical assistance from or through the IAEA.
Despite their recommendatory nature, the rules have gained almost universal recognition as standards for ensuring the safety of transport of radioactive materials and are reflected in the national nuclear legislation of almost all states involved in nuclear activities. They have also been included as part of a number of important international agreements governing the transport of hazardous substances and materials. For example, International rules concerning the carriage of dangerous goods by rail (in force since 1967), the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road, etc.
IAEA regulations govern the transportation of radioactive substances regardless of the mode of transport. Of particular importance for maritime transport is the International Code for the Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Sea, prepared by the International Maritime Consultative Organization and approved by its Assembly in 1966. Chapter VII regulates general transport of all types of dangerous goods, including radioactive (class seven).
The rules for the transport of radioactive materials contained in national codes must comply with IAEA Rules. They should regulate the storage of such materials, marking and labeling of hazards, registration of transport documents and necessary certificates, as well as issues of pollution, packaging, anti-accident measures, etc. Measures to prevent ionizing radiation should be specified. Most states that have not even transformed the Rules into national norms adhere to them, which greatly facilitates and simplifies the international transportation of dangerous goods.
In recent years, there have been no reports of any significant incidents involving the transportation of nuclear materials. However, there have been several minor incidents. Thus, in the United States since 1949, there have been several hundred minor incidents involving domestic transportation by various modes of transport. In some cases, they entailed radioactive contamination of the environment. The main cause of these incidents was usually the negligence of staff.
However, serious accidents are not ruled out, in which case a special "Radiological Assistance Program" is planned in many countries. The goal of the program is to eliminate or reduce radioactive contamination in the event of an incident.
The processes of unification of legal norms of the member states of the Council of Europe, if we keep in mind all forms of creation of two or more European states of a single legal regime in a particular area of relations (namely, this is , after all, unification of legal norms) one year, covering more and more areas of legal regulation. The milestones in the development and deepening of the process of unification of legal norms are the creation of the Council of Europe, which put these processes, which were previously mainly bilateral, on a multilateral basis, the adoption of a comprehensive program of economic integration, which directly formulated the problem of approximation members of the Council of Europe and their unification by national legislation.
As early as 1930, the International Convention on Trademarks (modified in 1966) was signed, which received general recognition and application. In 1961, the Berne Convention on International Carriage by Rail was adopted, as a result of which the legislation of Western Europe on the carriage of goods by rail in direct international traffic was amended, although the Council of Europe did not yet exist in its current form.
In support of this well-established principle in international legal practice – the admissibility in the agreements of a certain group of countries only such derogations from more general and generally accepted conventions and agreements that do not affect the interests of third countries – we can refer to the relevant documents: "Rules for safe transportation of spent nuclear fuels from nuclear power plants" signed by Germany, Great Britain and France, as well as the draft Convention on Liability for Damage Caused by a Radiation Accident in the Carriage of Spent Nuclear Fuel.
Much of the content of the "Rules" is devoted to purely technical issues related to the preparation for transportation of the assemblies of fuel elements (fuel assemblies) from the countries of location of the nuclear power plant to the country of location of the regeneration plant , safety, etc. 2 of the "Rules" which [123 and me] define the technical requirements relating to the transportation of spent nuclear fuel, mandatory for the parties involved in transportation, the characteristics of packaging systems in which fuel assemblies – depending on their condition after operation in the reactor – are subject to transportation to the country of location of the regeneration plant, requirements that the assemblies of fuel rods before being sent to the regeneration plant were kept in the NPP holding pools for at least three years.