IAEA releases free e-book on nuclear law
The IAEA’s first-ever book by global thought leaders on nuclear law has just been released as an e-book, providing free access to a compilation of essays on this highly specialized area of law. Nuclear law: the global debate echoes the slogan of the upcoming IAEA First International Conference on Nuclear Law (ICNL2022), to be held in Vienna from April 25-29, and features articles from leading scholars, policymakers and scientists in the field.
Nuclear law underpins the entire nuclear industry, enabling the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear technology for the benefit of humanity. International legal instruments, standards and norms provide the framework within which those who operate a nuclear power plant, transport radioactive materials for cancer treatment or those who experiment in a laboratory to develop COVID-19 test kits work.
“[M]Humanity continues to face great challenges today and can be expected to persist in the future, including food security, health care and water resources management, as well as the need for a cleaner and safer environment,” says Managing Director Grossi in his chapter. “Legal frameworks allow the use of nuclear technology to address these critical issues.”
This edited volume presents a truly global perspective on current and emerging issues in nuclear law, grouped around its four pillars: nuclear safety, security, safeguards and civil liability for nuclear damage. The authors trace the origins of legal instruments and practices in the areas of nuclear safety and emergency response, as well as the IAEA’s nuclear verification mandate. Addressing small modular reactors, contributors highlight the legal issues associated with the deployment of floating power plants and analyze the applicability of international physical protection obligations to advanced reactor technologies. Some experts reflect on the successes and challenges of building regulatory bodies, national nuclear security regimes, as well as entire national nuclear power programs. Others examine how liability could be established in court for radiation exposure and how to strengthen the global nuclear liability regime. Looking ahead, some experts are exploring the role of nuclear law in enabling the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, including in economic development, climate change mitigation and the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals .
In his chapter, Director General Grossi sets out his vision: “to work actively to make the legal and normative framework we have today as solid as possible; help states comply with the laws, rules and standards that keep us all safe and enable us to enjoy the many benefits of nuclear technology; and enable all those who, together with the IAEA, shape the international nuclear legal instruments of tomorrow to be as proactive as possible.
The IAEA’s mandate
Custodian of international legal instruments on safety, security, safeguards and civil liability for nuclear damage, the IAEA is at the heart of the nuclear legal framework and plays a multifaceted role in the development and implementation of nuclear law. . Nuclear law will continue to provide a basis for harnessing the power of nuclear technology. To ensure nuclear frameworks evolve and remain fit for purpose, the IAEA will convene its first-ever nuclear law conference in April, where hardcover copies of the book will be distributed to attendees.