International Legal Framework for Nuclear Liability – A Coastal State Perspective

4 May 2017 | Joint Seminar


The talk examined the international nuclear legal liability regime from the perspective of a coastal state like New Zealand, which has no nuclear energy industry and is not a user of energy produced from nuclear reactors. Instead, it is a potential victim of damage from an accident involving the transport of radioactive materials in proximity to its territory or exclusive economic zone (EEZ). New Zealand might also be affected by contamination to the Pacific Ocean from damage sustained to a reactor located in another country, albeit this is less probable. The contamination could cause environmental damage to nearby Pacific waters and for example adversely affect migratory fish species caught in New Zealand’s EEZ (or in the waters of the South Pacific affecting some of New Zealand’s Pacific neighbours’ economies). The speaker examined possible benefits for coastal states in adhering to one or other of the liability regimes as well as possible shortcomings in doing so.


About the Speaker

Julian Ludbrook spent 33 years in the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Holding degrees in law and economics, he served on several occasions in the Ministry’s Legal Division, including for a year as Director; worked on a mix of legal, human rights and trade issues; led the negotiation of New Zealand’s Closer Economic Partnership Agreement with Hong Kong and several rounds of FTA negotiations with India; and had postings in London, Samoa, Paris, Hong Kong and Poland. He was one of the original members of the Group of International Legal Experts appointed to advise the Director-General of the IAEA on international nuclear liability issues, and has continued to serve on the Group since leaving the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2013.

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