Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fukushima, Chernobyl and the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC)

Fire near Chernobyl site alarming, ‘radiation respects no boundaries’

Published time: April 29, 2015 16:45
A forest fire near Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear site may cause problems for communities a long way from the area as the dispersal plumes can transport radiation further to the north, nuclear safety expert John Large told RT.
RT: How dangerous is the situation in your opinion? Do you agree with ecologists who say the smoke will spread the radiation?
John Large: I spent some time in Ukraine in 2006 and I assessed the Chernobyl situation interviewing about 30 scientists and engineers who were working on the aftercare of Chernobyl. Brush fires and forest fires were the greatest concern in terms of the means by which you can disperse a secondary radiological impact from the original dissipation that occurred in 1996... What you have in Chernobyl in the exclusion zone and the further way you have an area that has been abandoned for farming, abandoned for management. That means you’ve got lots of brush and young wood growing out of control. Let me assess that – a big fuel load to have a fire. That means that the biological load is very high, so the radiation particles can be dispersed. Take down the chemistry as well. The chemistry is the way in which the strontium and cesium from the radioactive strontium and cesium from the reactor are bound here, and of course the elevated temperature of the fire and plus all the plume and aerial dispersion - means that could transport it hundreds of kilometers, particularly to the north, to Belarus. So there are more problems here for communities that are long way away from the site. What I had hoped was that the Ukrainian officials would have had in place firefighting capacity greater than they normally would have at any other area of Ukraine, because it certainly needs to be protected not just now but in the longer term as well.
READ MORE: Forest fires heading for Chernobyl nuclear plant – Ukraine Interior Ministry
We know that Ukraine is cash-strapped. There was a responsibility for its neighbors, Russia, the EU, not Belarus as much because it’s in an even worse financial situation, but there was a general responsibility to protect this area from another bout of radioactive dispersion.
RT: What lessons can be learned from this particular incident then to make sure that the brush and the forest doesn’t catch light again, or if it does, to make sure that site is secured?
JL: It is not the reactor, it is not the location of the reactor that is the problem - it is the dispersal plumes from the original accident - that is the problem. If there are radioactive materials on the ground now and then it’s engulfed by forest fire maybe 40-50 km away from the reactor. But that deposited radioactivity is re-suspended into gas, blown high into the atmosphere by the heat of the flames, and then of course it settles somewhere else. And it maybe those communities to the north that are not prepared to have this new radiation plume and deposition and fallout come down on their communities.
RT: Do you think there should be a common international strategy and response for situations like this?
JL: We’ve seen recently with Chernobyl, with Windscale in the 1950’s in the UK, and particularly now with Fukushima that the radiation doesn’t respect any international boundaries. So an international effort is required for this type of catastrophe, all potential catastrophes. I would have thought that the EU or Russia would have healed their scars over this and got together and put some efforts and resources into controlling this and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

The dawn of a new era of nuclear liability?
BlogEnergy Industry Watch Blog
Tyson R. SmithAuthor page »
On April 15, 2015, the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) entered into force — on the 90th day following the date on which at least five countries with a minimum of 400,000 units of installed nuclear capacity deposited an instrument. The final trigger for its entry into force was a decision by Japan to join the CSC. Other members of the CSC include the United States, Argentina, Morocco, Romania, and the United Arab Emirates.
One key feature of the CSC is the creation of an “international supplementary fund,” which provides an additional tier of compensation not otherwise available under a country’s national law. In the U.S., this means creation of a new risk pooling program for nuclear suppliers to pay the U.S.’s contribution to the international supplementary fund. The purpose of the risk pooling program is to allocate the contingent costs equitably, on the basis of risk, among the class of nuclear suppliers relieved by the Convention from the risk of potential liability resulting from any covered incident outside the U.S. This scheme is still under development at the U.S. Department of Energy – see 79 Fed. Reg. 75076 (December 17, 2014). Comments on the risk pooling program are due on April 17, 2015. Regardless of when the rule goes into effect or in what form, the U.S. is now obligated to pay its share of the international supplementary fund should there be a triggering event.
Looking ahead, the risk pooling program in the U.S. will likely involve a premium to be assessed retrospectively (i.e., a deferred payment) based on a risk-informed formula taking into account specified factors. The pooling program will likely include contributions from power reactor operators, fuel cycle facilities, and certain vendors and suppliers to the international nuclear industry. In effect, the U.S. government will be imposing a financial obligation (or at least the risk of a new obligation) on the U.S. nuclear industry, creating another challenge to U.S. vendors seeking to participate in international markets against state-owned nuclear vendors and suppliers. But the CSC does have some benefits. Other countries are also developing mechanisms for allocating contributions to the CSC’s international supplementary fund. In Japan, 30 different entities would be responsible for contributing funds with the amount determined, in part, by reference to the size of each contributors’ reactors.
Overall, the CSC’s entry into force is likely be a net positive for signatory countries generally, particularly in the context of providing compensation to affected members of the public. But, like many schemes designed to clarify liability, there will undoubtedly be those whose risk increases as a result. And, at least for now, the CSC remains limited to just a few countries, with the U.S. and Japan making up the bulk of the installed capacity covered by the convention. Until there is more widespread adoption, the CSC’s entry into force marks only the dawn of a possible global nuclear liability regime.

Obstacles to CSC for Nuclear Damage
22 December 2014
The New Year will likely bring a sea change to the international regime of financial protection for nuclear incidents, writes James A. Glasgow, partner at Pillsbury Winthrop.
Some governmental and industry stakeholders have great expectations for the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC)*. They have long predicted that it will create a new safe harbor for nuclear vendors and enhanced protection for members of the public.
Adopting a more cautious outlook, many nuclear industry participants will likely assess the important gaps in international nuclear liability protection that will remain after the CSC enters into force. Depending on government decisions, nuclear vendors and operators who plan to rely on the CSC's financial protection may face a perfect storm, fueled by a proposed rule of the US Department of Energy (DOE), coupled with lawsuits against nuclear vendors and nuclear plant operators and augmented by doubts that the CSC will gain sufficient members to constitute a global regime.
This editorial probes recent governmental actions that ostensibly seek to support the CSC, but are likely instead to create a challenging climate for the CSC and its member states as well as the global community of nuclear suppliers and their customers who construct and operate nuclear power stations.
From its beginnings in the 1960s, the nuclear power industry has depended on national laws and international agreements that provide financial protection for nuclear vendors and facility operators as well as persons who suffer injury or damage resulting from a release of radiation from a nuclear power station. Following the nuclear incident that destroyed unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in Ukraine, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) led an effort by IAEA member states to strengthen the global nuclear liability regime. In 1997, the participating governments adopted the CSC. Initial great expectations for the CSC have been tempered by the long road to its entry into force and the likelihood that the path to near-universal adherence to the CSC will be even longer.
Following the recent approval by Japan's Diet, Japan is likely to ratify the CSC in 2015, an action that would cause the CSC to enter into force 90 days thereafter. Anticipating the CSC’s entry into force, the U.S. DOE recently issued its proposed rule regarding "contingent cost allocation" under the CSC.
DOE's proposed rule essentially requires U.S. nuclear suppliers to participate in a zero-sum game.
Industry comments may cause DOE to revise its proposed rule in some respects, with some categories of suppliers benefitting from a reduction (or even elimination) of their financial responsibility under the rule and others suffering an increased responsibility. Congress imposed severe constraints on this DOE rulemaking through its previous enactment of Section 934 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, concerning "allocation of contingent costs" under the CSC.
Section 934 requires the USA's nuclear suppliers to reimburse the U.S. Government for the country's share of any supplementary compensation payments under the CSC following a nuclear incident in a CSC member state at a nuclear power station or other "covered" facility, causing damage in excess of that country's "national" tier of compensation. To comply with Section 934, DOE's final rule must identify classes of suppliers and calculate their respective shares so that their contributions will equal the U.S. Government's share of supplementary compensation payments under the CSC.
Notably, the USA is the only CSC adherent that has required nuclear suppliers to pay the government's share of supplementary compensation under the CSC. Unless other CSC parties follow this U.S. precedent, U.S. suppliers to CSC countries will face a unique economic burden that is not shared by their international competitors.
DOE's proposed rule includes two alternatives for (1) identifying the classes of U.S. nuclear suppliers who must fund the U.S. Government's supplementary compensation payments and (2) determining such suppliers' respective shares of this responsibility. The Government's payment could be about $150 million, according to DOE, if "the 30 countries that have nuclear operating capacity in 2014 [have] joined the CSC" at the time of a nuclear incident in a CSC country.
According to DOE, its proposed alternatives "take into account specified risk factors and exclusionary criteria to provide a fair and equitable proration of costs among U.S. nuclear suppliers benefitted" by the CSC.
Definitions of "nuclear supplier" and other terms are important elements of DOE’ s "retrospective risk pooling program" for nuclear suppliers to CSC countries whose products and services are significant from a nuclear safety perspective.
One of DOE's two "alternatives" would require U.S. suppliers in the nuclear "facilities" sector to reimburse the U.S. Government for half of the U.S. share of supplementary compensation. Other U.S. suppliers would pay the other half, according to "risk-informed" percentages ("equipment and technology" - 25%; "nuclear materials and transportation"- 15%; "services"- 10%).
Congress directed DOE to provide information to support the "voluntary establishment" of "private insurance" to cover U.S. suppliers’ liability under DOE's rule. However, in light of U.S. insurers' previous comments to DOE, such insurance may not be available. Therefore, DOE should determine what types of information and support may facilitate private insurers' provision of such insurance.
Amendment of Section 934 is one of the remedies that may be pursued by U.S. suppliers who have a significant contingent liability, under DOE's final rule. Supporters of such an amendment may argue that Section 934's requirement that U.S. nuclear suppliers bear the cost of U.S. supplementary compensation payments (1) clashes with the CSC's "channeling" of third party nuclear liability exclusively to operators of nuclear facilities; (2) fails to recognize that the CSC's supplementary compensation primarily benefits "third parties" who claim personal injury or property damage and provides only indirect and limited protection to suppliers, especially since that compensation will be sufficient to pay only a small fraction of the nuclear damage resulting from a major nuclear incident, such as occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors and Chernobyl Unit 4; (3) is based on Congress' incorrect assumptions that the CSC will "relieve" nuclear suppliers from "potential liability" and "in effect provides nuclear suppliers with insurance" for nuclear damage; (4) may cause some suppliers to decline to provide products and services to covered facilities in CSC countries if such supply would expose them to a significant contingent liability, under DOE's rule; and (5) will add another impediment to the U.S. industry's ability to compete globally.
Wholly apart from the CSC’s supplementary compensation feature, the CSC's "channeling" of jurisdiction exclusively to the courts of the CSC member state in which a nuclear incident occurred ("installation state") may benefit some U.S. suppliers to "covered" facilities in other CSC countries.
Upon the CSC’s entry into force, U.S. courts will be required to dismiss lawsuits against such suppliers if the courts of a CSC installation state have exclusive jurisdiction over such claims. However, the liability protection resulting from such channeling of jurisdiction will have significant gaps until most countries have joined the CSC and it is applicable to most of the world's nuclear power stations. Countries that have not joined the CSC are not bound by the CSC's channeling of jurisdiction to the courts of the CSC installation state.
In preparing its final rule, DOE should re-evaluate key assumptions of its proposed rule regarding U.S. suppliers' risk of nuclear liability. Important aspects of that risk are illustrated by a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), filed in a U.S. District Court in California by approximately 80 plaintiffs who allege health injuries resulting from exposure to radiation, while aboard U.S. Navy ships and helicopters that flew over the Fukushima reactors to provide assistance.
DOE should re-examine its assumptions concerning "lead suppliers" in light of this lawsuit. The defendants named in the amended complaint include not only the "lead supplier" of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors but also architect-engineers and other suppliers. TEPCO recently moved to dismiss the amended complaint, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction and should exercise its discretion to dismiss the case, based on (1) deference to another country (Japan) having more substantial involvement with the subject matter of the lawsuit; and (2) deference to another country whose courts will provide a more convenient forum for the lawsuit. Because it refused to dismiss the lawsuit, the court presumably will schedule the case for a jury trial, culminating in the court's issuance of a judgment.
James A. Glasgow

Subject: fukushima
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2014 11:14:27 +0200

Liability for Nuclear Damage

(Updated 12 December 2013)
  • Operators of nuclear power plants are liable for any damage caused by them, regardless of fault. They therefore normally take out insurance for third-party liability, and in most countries they are required to do so.
  • The potential cross boundary consequences of a nuclear accident require an international nuclear liability regime, so national laws are supplemented by a number of international conventions.
  • Liability is limited by both international conventions and by national legislation, so that beyond the limit (normally covered by insurance) the state can accept responsibility as insurer of last resort, as in all other aspects of industrial society.
An illustrative exchange on insuring nuclear power plants
It is commonly asserted that nuclear power stations are not covered by insurance, and that insurance companies don't want to know about them either for first-party insurance of the plant itself or third-party liability for accidents. This is incorrect, and the misconception was addressed as follows in 2006 by a broker who had been responsible for a nuclear insurance pool: "it is wrong [to believe] that insurers will not touch nuclear power stations. In fact, wherever they are available to private sector insurers, Western-designed nuclear installations are sought-after business because of their high engineering and risk management standards. This has been the case for 50 years." He elaborated: "My comment refers very much to the world scene and is not contentious. Apart from Three Mile Island, the claim experience has been very good. Chernobyl was not insured. Significantly, because Chernobyl was of a design that would not have been an acceptable risk at the time, notably the lack of a containment structure, the accident had no impact on premium rates for Western plants.
The structure of insurance of nuclear installations is different from ordinary industrial risks. Insurance (direct damage and third party civil liability insurance) is placed with either one of the many national insurance pools which brings together insurance capacity for nuclear risks from the domestic insurers in the local country, or into one of the mutual insurance associations such as Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited (NEIL) or Overseas NEIL based in USA or EMANI and ELINI based in Europe*. These are set up by the nuclear industry itself. Third Party liability involves international conventions, national legislation channelling liability to the operators, and pooling of insurance capacity in more than twenty countries. The national nuclear insurance pool approach was particularly developed in the UK in 1956 as a way of marshalling insurance capacity for the possibility of serious accidents. Other national pools that followed were modeled on the UK pool – now known as Nuclear Risk Insurers Limited, and based in London. The mutualisation of insurance risks began with the forerunner of NEIL in 1973.
* European Mutual Insurance for Nuclear Installations (EMANI), focused on physical damage, and European Liability Insurance Mutual (ELINI), focused on liability, respectively. Both now have members outside Europe.
Ever since the first commercial nuclear power reactors were built, there has been concern about the possible effects of a severe nuclear accident, coupled with the question of who would be liable for third-party consequences. This concern was based on the supposition that even with reactor designs licensable in the West, a cooling failure causing the core to melt would result in major consequences akin to those of the Chernobyl disaster. It was supposed that damage caused could be extensive, creating the need for compulsory third party insurance schemes for nuclear operators, and international conventions to deal with transboundary damage. On the other hand it was realized that nuclear power makes a valuable contribution to meeting the world’s energy demands and that in order for it to continue doing so, individual operator liability had to be curtailed and beyond a certain level, risk had to be socialized. The state needs to accept responsibility as insurer of last resort, as with everything else in industrial societies. Experience over five decades has shown the fear of catastrophe to be exaggerated, though the local impact of a severe accident or terrorist attack was shown at Fukushima in 2011 to be considerable, even with no direct human casualties from the nuclear accident (contrasting with 19,000 deaths from the tsunami which caused it). Prior to that, the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 was taken as being indicative.

Nuclear liability principles

Most conventions and laws regarding nuclear third party liability have at their heart the following principles:
  • Strict liability of the nuclear operator
  • Exclusive liability of the operator of a nuclear installation
  • Compensation without discrimination based on nationality, domicile or residence
  • Mandatory financial coverage of the operator's liability
  • Exclusive jurisdiction (only courts of the State in which the nuclear accident occurs have jurisdiction)
  • Limitation of liability in amount and in time
Strict liability means that the victim is relieved from proving fault. In the case of an accident the operator (power plant, enrichment/fuel facility, reprocessing facility) is liable whether or not any fault or negligence can be proven. This simplifies the litigation process, removing any obstacles, especially such as might exist with the burden of proof, given the complexity of nuclear science. In layman’s terms: strict liability means a claimant does not need to prove how an accident occurred.
Exclusive liability of the operator means that in the case of an accident, all claims are to be brought against the nuclear operator. This legal channeling is regardless of the accident's cause. By inference suppliers or builders of the plant are protected from public litigation in the case of an accident. Again this simplifies the process because claimants do not have to figure out who is responsible – under law it will be the nuclear operator.
Mandatory financial coverage means that the operator must maintain insurance cover, and it ensures that funds will be made available by the operator or their insurers to pay for damages. The minimum amount of protection required is set by national laws which in turn often depend on international treaty obligations. Over time the amount of this mandatory protection has increased, partially adjusting for inflation and partially allowing for an increased burden of responsibility to be passed on to nuclear operators.
Exclusive jurisdiction means that only the courts of the country in which the accident occurs has jurisdiction over damages claims. This has two effects; firstly it prevents what is known as jurisdiction shopping, whereby claimants try and find courts and national legislation more friendly to their claims, thus offering nuclear operators a degree of certainty and protection. Secondly it locates the competent court close to the source of damage meaning that victims do not have to travel far in order to lodge claims. This combined with exclusive liability ensures that relevant courts are accessible, even when the accident is transport-related and the relevant company based far away.
Limitation of liability protects individual nuclear operators and thus is often controversial. By limiting the amount that operators would have to pay, the risks of an accident are effectively socialized. Beyond a certain level of damage, responsibility is passed from the individual operator either on to the State or a mutual collective of nuclear operators, or indeed both. In essence this limitation recognizes the benefits of nuclear power and the tacit acceptance of the risks a State takes by permitting power plant construction and operation, as with other major infrastructure.
Altogether these principles ensure that in the case of an accident, meaningful levels of compensation are available with a minimal level of litigation and difficulty.

International Framework

Governments have long recognized the risk of a nuclear accident causing transboundary damage. This led to the development of international frameworks to ensure that access to justice was readily available for victims outside of the country in which an accident occurs, so far as the countries are party to the relevant conventions. The number of different international instruments and their arrangements often give rise to confusion. Many of the major instruments, outlined below, have been amended several times and not all countries party to the earlier version have ratified the latter. The result is a patchwork quilt of countries and conventions and work towards harmonization of these regimes is ongoing.
Before 1997, the international liability regime was embodied primarily in two instruments:
  • The IAEA's Vienna Convention* on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage of 1963 (entered into force in 1977).
  • The OECD's Paris Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy of 1960 which entered into force in 1968 and was bolstered by the Brussels Supplementary Convention in 1963**.
* Parties to Vienna Convention are mainly outside of Western Europe, including: Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Rep, Egypt, Hungary, Kazakhstan (2011), Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia (2011), Slovakia, Ukraine, United Arab Emerates (2011). See also Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage
** The Paris convention includes all Western European countries except Ireland, Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Parties to both Paris & Brussels are: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UK. Paris only: Greece, Portugal, Turkey. See also: Paris Convention on Nuclear Third Party Liability: Latest status of ratifications or accessions
Brussels Supplementary Convention: Latest status of ratifications or accessions
These Conventions were linked by the Joint Protocol adopted in 1988 (see below) to bring together the geographical scope of the two*. They are based on the concept of civil law and adhere to the principles outlined above. Specifically they include the following provisions:
  1. Liability is channeled exclusively to the operators of the nuclear installations (legal channelling means exclusive liability of operator, and protects suppliers);
  2. Liability of the operator is absolute, i.e. the operator is held liable irrespective of fault, except for "acts of armed conflict, hostilities, civil war or insurrection";
  3. Liability of the operator is limited in amount. Under the Vienna Convention the upper ceiling for operator liability is not fixed**; but it may be limited by legislation in each State. The lower limit may not be less than US$ 5 million. Under the 1960 Paris convention, liability is limited to not more than 15 million Special Drawing Rights*** (SDRs – about US$ 23 million) and not less than SDR 5 million.
  4. Liability is limited in time. Generally, compensation rights are extinguished under both Conventions if an action is not brought within ten years. Additionally, States may not limit the operator’s liability to less than two years under the 1960 Paris convention, or three years under 1960 Vienna convention, from the time when the damage is discovered.
  5. The operator must maintain insurance or other financial security for an amount corresponding to his liability or the limit set by the Installation State, beyond this level the Installation State can provide public funds but can also have recourse to the operator;
  6. Jurisdiction over actions lies exclusively with the courts of the Contracting Party in whose territory the nuclear incident occurred;
  7. Non-discrimination of victims on the grounds of nationality, domicile or residence.
  8. Definition of nuclear damage covers property, health and loss of life but does not make provision for environmental damage, preventative measures and economic loss. This greatly reduces the total number of possible claimants, but increases the level of compensation available to the remainder.
* Parties: see Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention
** The Paris Convention set a maximum liability of 15 million Special Drawing Rights – SDR (about EUR 18 million), but this was increased under the Brussels Supplementary Convention up to a total of 300 million SDRs (about EUR 360 million), including contributions by the installation State up to SDR 175 million (EUR 210M) and other Parties to the Convention collectively on the basis of their installed nuclear capacity for the balance.
***An SDR is the unit of currency of the International Monetary Fund, approximately equal to 1.5 US dollars.
The 1963 Brussels supplementary convention created a system of three tiers to provide for damages. Parties of the Brussels convention must also be party to the Paris convention which provides for the first tier of funds via the nuclear operator’s liability. Tier two requires the state to pay the difference between the operator’s liability (which is set under national law) and SDR 70 million. Tier three calls upon all parties to the convention to supply up to SDR 50 million. The maximum total amount available for compensation of the 1963 convention is therfore SDR 120 million, though note that this has since been increased – see below.
Following the Chernobyl accident in 1986, the IAEA initiated work on all aspects of nuclear liability with a view to improving the basic Conventions and establishing a comprehensive liability regime. In 1988, as a result of joint efforts by the IAEA and OECD/NEA, the Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention was adopted. Parties to the Joint protocol are treated as if they are Parties to both conventions. If an accident takes place in a country bound by the Paris convention which causes damages in a country bound by the Vienna convention, then victims in the latter are subject to compensation as per the Paris convention. The reverse is also true. Generally, no country can be a party to both conventions because the exact details are not consistent, leading to potential conflict in their simultaneous application. The Joint protocol was also intended to obviate any possible conflicts of law in the case of international transport of nuclear material. It entered into force in 1992.
The Vienna convention has been amended once in 1997, while the Paris convention and associated Brussels convention have been amended three times; in 1964, 1982 and 2004, though the latest amendment has not yet been ratified by enough countries to pass into force.
In 1997 governments took a significant step forward in improving the liability regime for nuclear damage when delegates from over 80 States adopted a Protocol to Amend the Vienna Convention. The amended IAEA Vienna Convention sets the possible limit of the operator's liability at not less than 300 million SDRs (about EUR 360 million) and entered into force in 2003 but with few members. It also broadens the definition of nuclear damage (to include the concept of environmental damage and preventive measures), extends the geographical scope of the Convention, and extends the period during which claims may be brought for loss of life and personal injury. It also provides for jurisdiction of coastal states over actions incurring nuclear damage during transport.
There was no change in the liability caps provided for under either of the 1964 Paris or Brussels amendments or the 1982 Paris amendment. However, under the 1982 Brussels amendment, the second tier of finance (made available by the country in which the accident occurs) was raised to the difference between the operator’s liability and SDR 175 million (i.e. between SDR 160 million and 170 million ), while the third tier called upon all contracting countries to contribute up to SDR125 million so that the total amount currently available is SDR 300 million.
In 2004, contracting parties to the OECD Paris (and Brussels) Conventions signed Amending Protocols which brought the Paris Convention more into line with the IAEA Conventions amended or adopted in 1997. The principal objective of the amendments was to provide more compensation to more people for a wider scope of nuclear damage. They also shifted more of the onus for insurance on to industry. Consequently new limits of liability were set as follows: Operators (insured) €700 million, Installation State (public funds) €500 million, Collective state contribution (Brussels) €300 million => total €1500 M. The definition of "nuclear damage" is broadened to include environmental damage and economic costs, and the scope of application is widened. Moreover the 2004 amendment removed the requirement for a state to restrict the maximum liability of a nuclear operator, allowing for the first time states with a policy preference for unlimited liability to join the convention.
These Paris/ Brussels amendments are expected to be ratified by the contracting parties once they have consulted with industry stakeholders and then drafted the necessary amending legislation. They are not yet in force, and the old limits still apply (c €210 million, €360 million).
Also in 1997 IAEA parties adopted a Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC). This defines additional amounts to be provided through contributions by States Parties collectively on the basis of installed nuclear capacity and a UN rate of assessment, basically at 300 SDRs per MW thermal (ie about EUR 360 million total). The CSC – not yet in force – is an instrument to which all States may adhere regardless of whether they are parties to any existing nuclear liability conventions or have nuclear installations on their territories, though in the case where they are not party to either Paris or Vienna they must still implement national laws consistent with an annex to the CSC. Jurisdiction of claims is to courts in the country concerned, as with other conventions.
In order to pass into force the CSC must be ratified by five countries with a minimum of 400 GW thermal of installed nuclear capacity. Currently the only ratifying party with significant nuclear generating capacity is the USA (c 300 GWt). Seventeen countries have signed it, including Ukraine, Czech Republic, Canada and India, but most have not yet ratified it. Japan’s Foreign Minister said in November 2013 that the government intends to introduce legislation to ratify the CSC. The CSC is set to enter into force on the 90th day after date of ratification by at least five States who have a minimum of 400,000 units of installed nuclear capacity (ie MWt). The USA, Argentina and Romania are the only contributors to this total so far. India will bring about 30 GWt operating and under construction. Japan would bring a lot more.
Table 1: Nuclear power States and liability conventions to which they are party
CountriesConventions party to CountriesConventions party to
ArgentinaVC; RVC; CSC LithuaniaVC; JP; (CSC signed)
ArmeniaVC; MexicoVC
BelgiumPC; BSC; RPC; RBSC NetherlandsPC; BSC; JP; RPC; RBSC
BrazilVC Pakistan
BulgariaVC; JP RomaniaVC; JP; RVC; CSC
Canada(CSC signed) RussiaVC
China Slovak RepublicVC; JP
Czech RepublicVC; JP; (CSC signed) SloveniaPC; BSC; JP; RPC; RBSC
FinlandPC; BSC; JP; RPC; RBSC South Africa
HungaryVC; JP SwitzerlandPC; RPC; BSC; RBSC
India(CSC signed)* Taiwan
Iran UkraineVC; JP; (CSC signed)
KazakhstanRVC UAE RVC
Japan United KingdomPC; BSC; RPC; RBSC
Korea United StatesCSC
PC = Paris Convention (PC). RPC = 2004 Revised Paris Protocol. Not yet in force
BSC = Brussels Supplementary Convention. RBSC = 2004 Revised Brussels Supplementary Convention. Not yet in force
VC = Vienna Convention. RVC = Revised Vienna Convention
JP = 1988 Joint Protocol.
CSC = Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC). Not yet in force.
* India has signed the CSC but has not yet ratified it, and it is not yet clear whether their domestic liability law conforms with the requirements of the convention.
Beyond the provision of the above-mentioned instruments there is at least a tacit acceptance that the installation state will make available funds to cover anything in excess of these provisions, just as is the case with any major disaster – natural or other (the main industiral ones have been chemical plants). This has long been accepted in all developed countries. In the event of government payout to meet immediate claims however, the operator's liability is in no way extinguished, and taxpayers would expect to recover much or all of the sums involved.
However, several states with a significant current or planned nuclear capacity such as Japan, China and India, are not yet party to any international nuclear liability convention, so far relying on their own arrangements. The Fukushima accident in 2011 provided a reminder that this situation is unsatisfactory, with over half the world's reactors outside of the Paris and Vienna conventions. Lack of progress is caused by the two major nuclear powers (USA and France) championing different approaches. France is a proponent of Paris and Joint Protocols, the USA supports the CSC – another bridging mechanism. Both sides are entrenched, and countries outside the regimes have tended to wait to see which would prevail. However, in line with the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, in August 2013 the USA and France issued a joint statement aimed at resolving this disagreement and encouraging more countries to sign up to the revised Paris and Brussels conventions or the revised Vienna Convention, the Joint Protocol, and the CSC in particular. An ‘initial step’ envisaged is entry into force of the CSC, which would be achieved if France signed on to it.
Beyond the international conventions, most countries with commercial nuclear programs also have their own legislative regimes for nuclear liability. These national regimes implement the conventions’ principles, and impose financial security requirements which vary from country to country. There are three categories of countries in this regard: those that are party to one or both of the international conventions and have their own legislation, those that are not parties to an international convention but have their own legislation (notably USA, Canada, Japan, S.Korea), and those that are not party to a convention and are without their own legislation (notably China).
In 2010 both France's CEA and the IAEA called for an overhaul and rationalization of the several international conventions. In particular, the Paris Convention open only to OECD countries was unsatisfactory when reactor vendors and utilities from those countries were building plants in non-OECD countries. Partly due to the US channeling situation described below, the CSC is seen as a possible basis for an all-encompassing international regime.
The European Commissioner for Energy has given notice of EU legislation in 2013 to bring the EU’s nuclear accident insurance regimes into harmony, pending full harmonisation of the international liability regimes.

US Framework

The USA takes a somewhat different approach, and having pioneered the concept is not party to any international nuclear liability convention, except for the CSC, which has yet to come into force. The Price Anderson Act - the world's first comprehensive nuclear liability law - has since 1957 been central to addressing the question of liability for nuclear accident. It now provides $12.6 billion in cover without cost to the public or government and without fault needing to be proven. It covers power reactors, research reactors, enrichment plants, waste repositories and all other nuclear facilities.
It was renewed for 20 years in mid 2005, with strong bipartisan support, and requires individual operators to be responsible for two layers of insurance cover. The first layer is where each nuclear site is required to purchase US$ 375 million liability cover (as of 2011) which is provided by a private insurance pool, American Nuclear Insurers (ANI). This is financial liability, not legal liability as in European liability conventions.
The second layer or secondary financial protection (SFP) program is jointly provided by all US reactor operators. It is funded through retrospective payments if required of up to $121 million per reactor per accident* collected in annual instalments of $19 million (and adjusted with inflation). Combined, the total provision comes to over $12.6 billion paid for by the utilities. (The Department of Energy also provides $10 billion for its nuclear activities.) Beyond this cover and irrespective of fault, Congress, as insurer of last resort, must decide how compensation is provided in the event of a major accident.
* plus up to 5% if required for legal costs. Figures were adjusted for inflation in mid-2013.
More than $150 million has been paid by US insurance pools in claims and costs of litigation since the Price- Anderson Act came into effect, all of it by the insurance pools. Of this amount, some $71 million related to litigation following the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires all licensees for nuclear power plants to show proof that they have the primary and secondary insurance coverage mandated by the Price-Anderson Act. Licensees obtain their primary insurance for third-party liability through American Nuclear Insurers (ANI), and ANI manages the secondary insurance program also. Licensees also sign an agreement with NRC to keep the insurance in effect. American Nuclear Insurers also has a contractual agreement with each of the licensees to collect the retrospective premiums if these payments become necessary. A certified copy of this agreement, which is called a bond for payment of retrospective premiums, is provided to NRC as proof of secondary insurance. It obligates the licensee to pay the retrospective premiums to ANI if required.
American Nuclear Insurers is a pool comprised of some 60 investor-owned stock insurance companies, including the major ones. About half the pool's total liability capacity comes from foreign sources such as Lloyd's of London. The average annual premium for a single-unit reactor site is $400,000. The premium for a second or third reactor at the same site is discounted to reflect a sharing of limits.
The nuclear operators' mutual arrangement for insuring the actual plants against accidents is Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited (NEIL) which is well funded (a $5 billion surplus) and cooperates closely with the American Nuclear Insurers pool. It was founded in 1980 and insures operators for any costs associated with property damage, decontamination, extended outages and related nuclear risks. For property damage and on-site decontamination, up to $2.75 billion is available to each commercial reactor site. The policies provide coverage for direct physical damage to, or destruction of, the insured property as a result of an accident [“accident” is defined as a sudden and fortuitous event, an event of the moment, which happens by chance, is unexpected and unforeseeable. Accident does not include any condition which develops, progresses or changes over time, or which is inevitable]. The policies prioritize payment of expenses to stabilize the reactor to a safe condition and decontaminate the plant site.
The Price Anderson Act has been represented as a subsidy to the US nuclear industry. If considered thus, the value of the subsidy is the difference between the premium for full coverage and the premium for $10 billion in coverage. On the basis of data obtained from two studies – one conducted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the other by the Department of Energy (DOE) – the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the subsidy probably amounts to less than 1 percent of the levelized cost for new nuclear capacity.
The Price Anderson Act does not fully align with international conventions in that legal channelling is forbidden by state laws, so the Act allows only economic channelling, whereby the operator is economically liable but other entities may be held legally liable. This is a complication regarding any future universal compensation regime, though a provision was written into the CSC to allow the USA to join despite this situation. Hence the CSC may prove the most realistic basis for any universal third party regime.


Japan is not party to any international liability convention but its law generally conforms to them. Two laws governing them are revised about every ten years: the Law on Compensation for Nuclear Damage and Law on Contract for Liability Insurance for Nuclear Damage.
Plant operator liability is exclusive and absolute, and power plant operators must provide a financial security amount of JPY 120 billion (US$ 1.4 billion) – half that to 2010. The government may relieve the operator of liability if it determines that damage results from “a grave natural disaster of an exceptional character”, and in any case liability is unlimited.
For the Fukushima accident in 2011 the government set up a new state-backed institution to expedite payments to those affected. The body is to receive financial contributions from electric power companies with nuclear power plants in Japan, and from the government through special bonds that can be cashed whenever necessary. The government bonds total JPY 5 trillion ($62 billion). The new institution will include representatives from other nuclear generators and will also operate as an insurer for the industry, being responsible to have plans in place for any future nuclear accidents. The provision for contributions from other nuclear operators is similar to that in the USA. The government estimates that Tepco will be able to complete its repayments in 10 to 13 years, after which it will revert to a fully private company with no government involvement. Meanwhile it will pay an annual fee for the government support, maintain adequate power supplies and ensure plant safety.
In January 2012 Tepco deposited with the Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau JPY 120 billion (about $1.56 billion) as insurance coverage for the company’s nuclear energy facilities. The utility was formerly covered by the Japan Atomic Energy Insurance Pool, an industry organization established by 23 non-life insurers. However, the pool said in August 2011 that it would not renew Tepco's contract after it expired in mid January 2012. (Japanese nuclear utilities are required by law to secure JPY 120 billion in accident liability coverage.) Tepco is seeking coverage from private-sector insurers.
In relation to the 1999 Tokai-mura fuel plant criticality accident, insurance covered JPY 1 billion and the parent company (Sumitomo) paid the balance of JPY 13.5 billion.
In November 2013 the Minister for Foreign Affairs said that “Recognizing the importance of participating in the establishment of an international nuclear damage compensation system, the Japanese Government has decided to conclude a “Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC)” so as to provide an environment that facilitates involvement of foreign companies with expertise regarding the decommissioning and contaminated water measures of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. I will work to submit the CSC and related bills to the Cabinet at an appropriate time next year.”


In 2008 the Indian government undertook to “take all steps necessary to adhere to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC)", which it has since signed but not ratified. The government passed the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act related to third party liability in August 2010. It brought the country's nuclear liability provisions broadly into line internationally, making operators primarily liable for any nuclear accident, but without protecting third party suppliers. One clause (17b) giving recourse to the supplier for an operational plant is contrary to international conventions and undermines the channeling principle fundamental to nuclear liability.
The 2010 Act places responsibility for any nuclear accident with the operator, as is standard internationally, and limits total liability to 300 million SDR (about US$ 450 million) "or such higher amount that the Central Government may specify by notification". Operator liability is capped at Rs 1500 crore (15 billion rupees, about US$ 250 million) or such higher amount that the Central Government may notify, beyond which the Central Government is liable.
Further detail on the 2010 Act and its implications are in the Nuclear Liability section of the Nuclear Power in India paper. Plans for building reactors from Russian, French and US suppliers are at a standstill as of late 2013, and India’s private sector suppliers are also affected.
There is no nuclear insurance pool in India, apparently due to restrictions on inspection of facilities by international pools.


China is not party to any international liability convention but is an active member of the international insurance pooling system, which covers both first party risks and third party liability once fuel is loaded into a reactor. China's 1986 interim domestic law on nuclear liability issued by the State Council contains most of the elements of the international conventions and the liability limit was increased to near international levels in September 2007. It is also setting up a reinsurance arrangement with Russia which seems more symbol than substance.
(For insurance of the plants themselves, Hong Kong-listed Ping'an Insurance Company accounts for more than half of China's nuclear power insurance market, with its clients including nuclear power plants in Guangdong, Jiangsu and both first- and second-phase projects of Qinshan Nuclear Power Station in Zhejiang. Four Chinese Insurance companies provided US$ 1.85 billion worth of insurance to Tianwan Nuclear Power Station in Jiangsu, most of which will be reinsured internationally. About RMB 40 billion ($5.85 billion) insurance for the first two EPR units of the Taishan nuclear plant in being provided by Ping'an, All Trust, CPIC, PICC and others. In late 2009 seven insurance companies and China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) signed a RMB 100 billion insurance cooperation agreement with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co to insure the ten CPR-1000 units that CGNPC plans to build in the next three years. In December 2007 Ningde Nuclear Power had announced a US$2 billion insurance agreement with Ping An Insurance Corp for its four-unit CPR-1000 nuclear power project in Fujian Province. All this is first party cover only.)

Other countries

In the UK, the Energy Act 1983 brought legislation into line with earlier revisions to the Paris/Brussels Conventions and set a new limit of liability for particular installations. In 1994 this limit was increased again to £140 million for each major installation, so that the operator is liable for claims up to this amount and must insure accordingly. The majority of this insurance is provided by a pool of UK insurers comprising 8 insurance companies and 16 Lloyds syndicates – Nuclear Risk Insurers. Beyond £140 million, the current Paris/Brussels system applies, with government contribution to SDR 300 million (c €360 million). The government is proposing legislation late in 2012 which would require operators' insurance of EUR 1.2 billion. The level would initially be set at EUR 700 million specified under the 2004 Paris/Brussels Protocol (when it enters force) and then increased by EUR 100 million annually. Also, proposals allow for the government to provide waivers, indemnity, and government-provided insurance to nuclear operators in cases where commercial insurance or other financial security measures are unavailable in the private market. A public consultation on this took place early in 2011.
In mainland Europe, individual countries have legislation in line with the international conventions and where set, cap levels vary. Germany has unlimited operator liability and requires €2.5 billion security which must be provided by the operator for each plant. This security is partly covered by insurance, to €256 million. German utilities are 100% insured through EMANI/ ELINI. France requires financial security of EUR 91 million per plant, and this is to be raised to EUR 700 million. Belgium requires power plants to be insured to EUR 1.2 billion. Switzerland (which has signed but not yet ratified the international conventions) requires operators to insure to €600 million. It is proposed to increase this to €1.1 billion and ratify the Paris and Brussels conventions.
Finland has ratified the 2004 Joint Protocol relating to Paris and Vienna conventions and in anticipation of this coming into force it passed a 2005 Act which requires operators to take at least € 700 million insurance cover. Currently the level is only EUR 300 million. Also operator liability is to be unlimited beyond the € 1.5 billion provided under the Brussels Convention. "Nuclear damage" is as defined in revised Paris Convention, and includes that from terrorism.
Sweden has also ratified the 2004 Joint Protocol relating to Paris and Vienna conventions. The country's Nuclear Liability Act requires operators to be insured for at least SEK 3300 million (EUR 345 million), beyond which the state will cover to SEK 6 billion per incident. However, Sweden is reviewing how this relates to the EUR 700 million operator's liability under the Joint Protocol amending the Paris convention, and has announced that it will seek unlimited operator liability.
The Czech Republic is moving towards ratifying the amendment to the Vienna Convention and in 2009 increased the mandatory minimum insurance cover required for each reactor to CZK 8 billion (EUR 296 million).
In Europe there are two mutual insurance arrangements which supplement commercial insurance pool cover for operators of nuclear plants. The European Mutual Association for the Nuclear Industry (EMANI) was founded in 1978 and European Liability Insurance for the Nuclear Industry (ELINI) created in 2002. ELINI plans to make EUR 100 million available as third party cover, and its 28 members have contributed half that to late 2007 for a special capital fund. ELINI's members comprise most EU nuclear plant operators. EMANI has some 70 members and covers over 100 sites, mostly in Europe. Its funds are about EUR500 million.
In Canada the Nuclear Liability and Control Act is also in line with the international conventions and establishes the licensee's absolute and exclusive liability for third party damage. Suppliers of goods and services are given an absolute discharge of liability. The limit of C$75 million per power plant set in 1976 as the insurance cover required for individual licensees was increased to $650 million in the Act's 2008 revision, though this has not yet passed. The new limit proposed in $1 billion. Cover is provided by a pool of insurers, and claimants need not establish fault on anyone's part, but must show injury. Beyond the cap level, any further funds would be provided by the government. In December 2013 Canada signed the CSC.
Russia is party to the Vienna Convention since 2005 and has a domestic nuclear insurance pool managed by the Russian Association of Nuclear Insurers (RANI) - - comprising 23 mostly insurance companies covering liability of some $350 million. It started out with reinsurance arrangement with Ukraine and with China, but since 2009 the Russian Pool has been a member of the International Pooling System involving now 28 countries. Atomstroyexport has asked RANI to cover civil liability for its new build in India to a level of US$ 5 to 10 billion.
Ukraine adopted a domestic liability law in 1995 and has revised it since in order to harmonise with the Vienna Convention, which it joined in 1996. It is also party to the Joint Protocol and has signed the CSC. Operator liability is capped at 150 million SDRs (c €180 million). Special provisions provisions apply to work on the Chernobyl shelter so as to extend coverage outside the Vienna Convention countries.


IAEA website
Nuclear Risks, by G.C.Warren, British Nuclear Insurers, 2000 (now: Nuclear Risk Insurers)
Brown, O.F. 2004, Nuclear Liability paper at WNA-NEI conference, Madrid.
Brain, S. 2006, personal communication (former chairman of the Australian Nuclear Insurance Pool from 1985 to 1997) re initial section.
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Fact Sheet on Nuclear Insurance and Disaster Relief Funds, June 2011.

ok, the analysis is done. at least until this point.
The japanese don't want to ratify the CSC:
"Convention on Supplemental Compensation for Nuclear Damage"


"The convention is not yet in force.
In order to pass into force, the CSC must be ratified by five countries with a minimum of 400 GWt of installed nuclear capacity, an amount that translates as about 130 GWe or a little over one-third of all currently operable reactors. The convention has so far gathered seventeen signatories but insufficient ratifications to bring it into effect. As well as the USA, it has also been ratified by Argentina and Romania.

(see table below)

"The Japanese government has now indicated its intention to introduce legislation to ratify the CSC. Up to now, Japan has stood apart from international conventions and has relied on its own two laws covering nuclear liability. Canada is also working towards ratifying the convention."

So yea, the US tries so hard to drag Japan in its nuke pot.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Russia's withdrawal from the CFE Treaty + from Nunn-Lugar

Experts: Russia's withdrawal from the CFE Treaty is a signal to the West

March 13, 2015 Alexei Timofeichev, RBTH
Russian experts say the decision to abandon cooperation with NATO on conventional forces must be considered in the broader geopolitical and historical context.

Moscow has announced its withdrawal from the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, as of March 11, stating that the agreement had became "pointless from political and practical points of view." NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance was disappointed by Russia’s decision, but Russian experts did not find the move surprising.
Alexei Arbatov, head of the Center for International Security at the Institute of World Economy, described Russia's move as a "demonstrative gesture in response to the build-up of NATO forces near the Russian borders."

According to Arbatov, after the deployment of an American tank unit in Latvia last week, Russia wanted to "once again remind" NATO that it is no longer bound by this agreement.
In Arbatov’s opinion, the move was a provocation on the part of the U.S. "The transfer of the unit cannot be regarded as anything but a violation of at least the spirit of the agreement, if not its letter," Arbatov said.
The Baltic States, which joined NATO in 2004, were not covered either by the initial agreement, signed in 1990 or the updated version, written in 1999, but according to Arbatov, it was assumed that the agreement would eventually apply to them.
Andrei Kortunov, head of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, also said that he considers Russia's withdrawal from the treaty a signal to the West that NATO military activity on its borders is unacceptable. In Kortunov’s opinion, the fact that Russia’s withdrawal was not accompanied by specific requests for NATO is significant.
"If you refuse from something, even fairly, it is necessary to propose new solutions to the problem," said Kortunov, adding that Russia’s unilateral withdrawal will contribute to the further rise of anti-Russian sentiments and new suspicions on the part of Western countries. 

A decision long in the making

When Russia ratified the adapted CFE Treaty, the agreement’s weapons limit for NATO was three times that established for the Russian army. However, NATO required the withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transdnistria as a condition for the ratification of the treaty.

Russia Is Slamming Door After Door on the West

Moscow's announcement this week that Russia would withdraw from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) hardly came as a surprise. It was just one more bridge between Russia and the rest of the world that Kremlin leaders have decided to burn — this time, officially.
In truth, this is not the most important bridge Russia has burned. In fact, Russia first violated the CFE during the first Chechen War, when it used forces exceeding those allowed by the treaty to suppress the separatist movement on its territory. After the treaty was adapted in 1999 to take the post-Cold War geopolitical situation into account, Russia ratified the new version of the treaty, but not a single NATO member did.
In fact, both Russia and the West are to blame for the fact that their mutual relations still contain normative foundations that have partially lost relevance. And while those relations swung from mutual affection to mutual distrust over the 25 years of post-Soviet history, that normative foundation was gradually growing obsolete.
Perhaps if politicians on both sides had taken a more practical approach to formulating those norms, they would not have reached the current impasse. However, history has no place for "ifs" or "might have beens" and is often defined by a series of emotional peaks and valleys.
In this case, they include the willingness to cooperate following the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, Putin's open frustration with the West in his speech in Munich in 2007, the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, the attempt to reach an agreement with NATO at the Lisbon Summit in 2010, and finally, Crimea and the war in Ukraine in 2014.
Russia's decisions to annex Crimea and support separatists in eastern Ukraine were more than just burning bridges: They were a deliberate attempt to slam the door on the Western world.
Some in Russia might think that this country actually kicked the door wide open and that all the weaker peoples and states out there are now awaiting their fate in terror. But no, the door probably did close — and more on Russia than on the outside world.
Although Russia's relations with the West have had their ups and downs from the early 2000s to the mid-2010s, there were not marked by an overall positive trend.
And it is also safe to say that Russia had even more opportunities to establish mutually beneficial institutional ties with the West in the early 2000s following Vladimir Putin's first presidential win and his raft of proposals for cooperation in the fight against international terrorism than existed in the late 1980s under former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
Russia is clearly not the only one to blame for the fact that the West aggressively incorporated Central and Eastern European states in the 1990s and 2000s, following the logic that "you should take everything you can now so that it won't get used against you tomorrow."
Now, in analyzing all that led up to the annexation of Crimea and all that has happened since, it is clear that Russia took lessons not only from former Soviet leader Josef Stalin and Catherine the Great, but also from modern leaders in Brussels and Washington.
Every human interaction, whether successful or not, is always the product of all its participants. If Russia slammed the door shut in 2014, then it did so for a reason.
That has also created a certain inertia that could slam closed other doors that still remain open. Halting that process is more than just difficult — it requires extraordinary powers of mind and will.
Unfortunately, there is nothing to suggest that the very Western leaders who contributed to Russia's decision to slam the door shut are now capable of reversing that process. Instead, after the door bangs closed and the plaster of European security crumbles to the floor, they are more likely to turn to each other and say, "You see? That is exactly what we warned could happen."
The Russian leadership will also find it difficult to overcome this inertia. Seeing that the West shows no real signs of regret over the failure of strategic cooperation, Russia — regardless of who becomes the next Kremlin leader — will continue slamming every remaining door until no more remain.
And at this point it makes sense for Russia to ask itself what it has to look forward to after it slams the door with such relish?
As one of the global power centers in a bipolar world, the Soviet Union could not afford the luxury of international isolation after World War II — a time and a status that many of today's Russian leaders look back on with nostalgia.
But the world has changed during the 25 years of post-Soviet history. It is impossible to revive that bipolar world, and simply withdrawing from the CFE, the NATO-Russia Council or the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe only increases Russia's isolation without increasing its power or influence.
And because Russia's leaders undoubtedly understand this, it means that they continue slamming those doors primarily to see how the West will respond.
Apparently, there is no ideal resolution to this problem, and so Russia continues looking for new doors to slam shut. Theoretically, it might choose to withdraw from the UN Security Council, but if it does that, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin won't have the pleasure of lecturing U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power.
If Russia wants the world to view it as a superpower, it is going about it in the wrong way. A superpower needs to have something to offer besides a sense of offended dignity, something that would justify closing all those doors behind it. For example, it should have an idea or seem capable of transforming the country into an alternative center of power in the world, something that could change its isolation into the beginnings of a new system of intergovernmental ties, alliances and mutually beneficial relationships.
Even Hitler's Germany deliberately went into isolation with fully developed plans for an alternative project, however horrible it seemed from the outside and however terrible were its consequences.
Unfortunately, Russia's withdrawal into isolation more resembles the behavior of an offended teenager who shuts himself in his room in the expectation that his father will come along soon after, pat him on the head and discuss their plans for a weekend together.
The unpleasant surprise is that today's world has no father. Beyond the doors that Moscow is slamming with such pleasure are only more teenagers, albeit youth who are better educated and better adapted to a rapidly changing world in which closed doors have no useful place.
Russia will eventually have to go out and find a way to get along with them — that is, unless it plans to grow old and die in a basement somewhere, self-exiled to the sidelines of history. And the longer Russia delays that step, the more difficulty it will have unlocking and reopening those doors, and clearing the wreckage.
Ivan Sukhov is a journalist who has covered conflicts in Russia and the CIS for the past 15 years.

Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE-II)[edit]

The Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (also known as the adapted CFE treaty) is a revision of the original treaty and was signed during the November 1999 Istanbul summit and took into account the different geopolitical situation of the post-Cold War era by setting national instead of bloc-based limits on conventional armed forces. NATO members refused to ratify the treaty as long as Russia refused to completely withdraw its troops fromMoldovan and Georgian soil. While Russia partially withdrew troops and equipment from Georgia and Moldova, it did not do so completely as demanded by NATO. The linkage between the ratification of the adapted treaty and the complete withdrawal has no legal basis, but is rather a political decision made by NATO members.

Suspension by Russia[edit]

After Russia was not willing to support the US missile defense plans in Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for "moratorium" on the treaty in his April 26, 2007 address. Then he raised most of his points for rewriting the treaty during the Extraordinary Conference of States Parties to the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, held in Vienna on June 11–15 at Russia’s initiative.[14] As his requests were not met during this conference, Putin issued a decree intended to suspend the observance of its treaty obligations on July 14, 2007, effective 150 days later, stating that it was the result of "extraordinary circumstances (...) which affect the security of the Russian Federation and require immediate measures," and notified NATO and its members.[15][16] The suspension applies to the original CFE treaty, as well as to the follow-up agreements.[14]


An explanatory document from Russia's presidential administration mentions several reasons for its intention to suspend compliance.[14] First of all, Russia considers the linkage between the adapted treaty ratification and the withdrawal of troops from Georgia and Moldova as "illegitimate" and "invented". Russia also considers the troop-withdrawal issue a bilateral Russia–Georgia and Russia–Moldova issue, not a NATO–Russia issue. Secondly, the three Baltic states, which border Russia unlike the rest of NATO (excluding Poland and Norway), are not covered under the original CFE treaty as they were still part of the Soviet Union when the treaty was signed.[14] Also, the Baltic states like all NATO members did not ratify the adapted CFE treaty. Russia's wish for a speedy ratification and accession of the Baltic states to a ratified treaty, hoping to restrict emergency deployments of NATO forces there, was not fulfilled.[citation needed]
Thirdly, Russia emphasized that NATO's 1999 and 2004 enlargements increased the alliance's equipment above the treaty limits.[14] Consequently, Russia demands a "compensatory lowering" of overall NATO numerical ceilings on such equipment. Fourthly, Russia mentioned that the planned basing of U.S. military units in Romania and Bulgaria "negatively affects" those countries' compliance with the CFE Treaty’s force ceilings.[14] Fifthly, the document demands a "removal" of the flank (i.e., North Caucasian) ceilings on Russian forces by a "political decision" between NATO and Russia, ostensibly to "compensate" Russia for the alliance's enlargement.[14] Sixthly, Russia wants to re-negotiate and "modernize" the 1999-adapted CFE treaty as soon as it is brought into force.[14] Russia would proceed unilaterally to suspend the treaty’s validity unless NATO countries bring it into force by July 1, 2008, or at least comply with its terms on a temporary basis, pending the treaty’s re-negotiation.
Most likely, but not mentioned in Russia's explanatory document, the above-mentioned "extraordinary circumstances" are also a referral to the US plans for a missile defense complex in Poland, with a radar component in the Czech Republic.[17][18]Another likely reason is that NATO members refused to ratify the Adapted CFE Treaty due to the continuing presence of several hundred Russian troops in Moldova—something they consider to violate the obligations Russia assumed during the1999 Istanbul summit.[17] However, there is no legal connection between the Adapted CFE treaty and the Russian withdrawal from Georgia and Moldova. The linkage between these two security issues was a decision made by NATO member states to protest against the Second Chechen War and was used as a reason not to ratify the treaty.[19] Russia never accepted this decision—a decision also made six months after the Istanbul summit.[19] Russia also considered the original CFE treaty to be outdated and strategically flawed as it does not take into account the dissolutions of the Warsaw Treaty or the Soviet Union.[20][21]
In Russia even Vladimir Ryzhkov, an opposition leader and an independent member of the Duma agrees that Russia was forced to respond. However he also speculated that Putin's suspension by decree is "primarily an election-year message to the country: "Your leader won't budge, no matter who formally becomes next President"."[16]


NATO immediately expressed regret over Russia's decision to suspend the treaty, describing it as "a step in the wrong direction", but hoped to engage Moscow in what was described as constructive talks on this issue.[22] The United States along with several European states such as Germany, Poland and Romania also expressed their disappointment.[23]Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) General Secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev expressed support for Putin's decree.[24]
On 25 November 2011 the UK stopped sharing military data with Russia.[25]


Russia hoped that the suspension would spur ratifications of the adapted treaty by NATO countries.[26] Russia emphasized that the moratorium does not mean that the door is closed to further dialogue. In the event that the mentioned issues should be settled, Russia stated that it would promptly ensure collective observance of the treaty provisions.[27]
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the consequences of the suspension are the halting of inspections and verifications of its military sites by NATO countries and that it will no longer have the obligation to limit the number of its conventional weapons.[16] In practice, Russia already halted such verification visits in June 2007 after an extraordinary CFE treaty conference held in Vienna turned a deaf ear to Russia's complaints.[28] Consequently, military delegations from Bulgaria and Hungary had been denied entry to Russian military units.
Yuri Zarakhovich speculated in Time that the above-mentioned "immediate measures" will be a build-up of its forces in areas bordering NATO eastern members, in particular Poland and the Baltic states.[16] Time further speculated that other measures could include troop buildups along southern borders in the Caucasus, new pressures on Ukraine to maintain the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea beyond the 2017 withdrawal deadline, and a refusal to leave Moldova.

Ending of Treaty by Russia[edit]

"The Russian Federation has taken the decision to halt its participation in meetings of the [consulting group] from March 11, 2015. Therefore, Russia is ending its actions in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, announced in 2007, completely," a statement from the Foreign Ministry said. [29]

Russia is ready for negotiations concerning a new treaty regarding the control of conventional weapons in Europe, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department on non-proliferation and arms control issues, said.
"We are ready to consider the possibility and hold appropriate negotiations regarding a new agreement that is in line with the new reality, is not very costly, is well-thought out and balanced and, of course, is in line with the interests of the Russian Federation," he said in an interview with Interfax.
Responding to a question as to why Russia has only suspended its participation in the CFE Treaty and has not withdrawn from it, Ulyanov said Russia did not want to "burn all bridges."
"By the way, our decision to stay in the Joint Consultative Group at that time emphasized that we are ready for dialogue and restoration of arms control in Europe on a new foundation. We could, of course, pull out, but we generally recognize that arms control in Europe could be useful and we are not ready to be the ones who 'bury' this regime," the Russian diplomat said.
"On the contrary, we are ready for dialogue, and we will see what it brings if it ever begins. Unfortunately, there are very many contradictions here, and not only those connected to Russia. There are contradictions between other countries, including members of the alliance," Ulyanov said.
Ulyanov also said "our NATO colleagues matured to the understanding of the need for dialogue to overcome the crisis in the sphere of conventional arms control" back in 2010-2011.
"They initiated the 36 counties' format then. It's thirty initial CFE Treaty participants and six NATO countries that entered the alliance after the Treaty was signed," he said.
"The U.S. was represented by Victoria Nuland in those negotiations. We conducted a total of ten rounds with her and other participants. After that, the negotiations deadlocked. I don't think it happened through our fault," Ulyanov said.
The diplomat said he is confident that, if consultations or negotiations on arms control in Europe resume now, "they should involve all countries that intend to join the future new treaty on conventional weapons control, regardless of whether they are members of the alliance or not."
"A whole number of countries, in particular, Serbia and Switzerland, expressed interest in participation in the negotiations in 2010. If they stay interested in the foreseeable future, I think they, like any other country, should have a right to participate in the negotiations. However, it is not clear at all when they will begin and whether they will begin," Ulyanov said.
"Our NATO partners have said more than once in private contacts and in public that they are working on appropriate proposals. We have not received these proposals yet. There are no consultations now and they are not currently planned," he said.

Russia to safeguard its own nuclear facilities without American help

January 27, 2015 Galiya Ibragimova, special to RBTH
Russia has decided to safeguard its own nuclear facilities without the help of the United States. However, Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom has said in a statement that Moscow is willing to continue cooperating with Washington on global nuclear security.

Moscow has announced that it will no longer require assistance from the United States in protecting Russia’s nuclear facilities, but has made it clear that the decision will not threaten continued collaboration in the realm of international nuclear security.
On Jan. 19, American newspaper The Boston Globe reported that the Kremlin had decided to refuse any more U.S. help in protecting Russian nuclear facilities back in December 2014 and that an agreement had been signed with Washington to that effect. This came after the Americans decided to limit nuclear cooperation with Russia, announced in a statement by U.S. State Department in March 2014.
However, in an official statement released on Jan. 22, Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom indicated that Russia and the U.S. will still pursue global cooperation in 2015: “Russia and the United States of America bear a special responsibility for ensuring the safety and security of nuclear materials and their reliable physical protection, preventing them from falling into the hands of terrorist organizations,” read the statement.
An unequal partnership
Anatoly Dyakov, chief research fellow at the Center for Arms Control, Energy, and Environmental Studies, notes that the partnership between the two nations in the nuclear sphere has served an important purpose since the adoption of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program in 1992.
 “In the 1990s, when there were complicated economic conditions and confusion in Russia, there was a very acute problem with the security of nuclear materials. This was cause for some concern among our Western partners,” said Dyakov.
One of the goals of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program was to jointly strengthen security and protection systems for nuclear materials with American and Russian financial resources.
As a result, Russian nuclear facilities received new technical equipment, and the control and accounting system for nuclear materials underwent substantial improvement. “This was also facilitated by the improved situation in Russia and efforts made by Rosatom and the Ministry of Defense to improve the security systems for several nuclear enterprises,” Dyakov said.
By helping finance the protection of Russia’s nuclear facilities, the U.S. secured the right to inspect them and monitor the expenditure of allocated funds. Moscow, however, lacked equal access to American nuclear facilities. This was the Kremlin’s chief complaint and caused Moscow to regard the partnership as unequal.
Andrei Baklitsky, director of the PIR Center’s Russia and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Program, said: “In the 1990s, the key issue was to prevent materials from Soviet nuclear facilities from ending up on the black market. That is why Russia was willing to accept help on practically any terms. But now the country possesses the technology and means to independently maintain the security of its nuclear facilities, and it does not want to be in the position of recipient.”
The majority of the work was finished in 2013, and the Nunn-Lugar Program drew to a close. It was replaced by a “new bilateral framework agreement on reducing the nuclear threat.”
According to Dyakov, Moscow has long been in a position to independently safeguard its nuclear materials on its own dime. Russia proposed scientific cooperation with the U.S. and was interested in visiting American nuclear facilities, but the U.S. declined the offer.
What’s Ukraine got to do with it?
Experts say the breakdown in Russian-American relations caused by the Ukrainian crisis is not the main reason behind the rift in bilateral cooperation. The sanctions simply sped up Moscow’s decision to safeguard its nuclear facilities by itself, without the financial help of the U.S.
At the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, Russia said that every country should take personal responsibility for the safety of its nuclear materials.
The U.S. curtailed some of its scientific and technical work with Russia in 2014, particularly in the nuclear field, due to the conflict in Ukraine. As a result, many crucial projects were affected, such as a joint Russian-American program to export nuclear fuel from third-party countries in the form of highly enriched uranium from research reactors.
“Altogether, 2.5 tons of highly enriched uranium should be exported in the period between the launch of the program and its end in 2016. That amount is theoretically sufficient to produce 100 nuclear warheads,” Anton Khlopkov, who heads the Center for Energy and Security Studies and is a member of the Russian Security Council’s scientific board, told RBTH.
According to Rosatom, the program has significantly reduced the quantity of weapons-grade material on a global scale. “It should be pointed out that this one and other partnership programs were supervised by the working group on nuclear energy and security under the Russian-American Presidential Commission. However, in March 2014, in an announcement on its website, the Department of State notified us about the suspension of work within this mechanism that we find very efficient,” the statement said.
“If Washington is interested in continuing cooperation with the Kremlin in the field of nuclear security, it should be equal,” Dyakov said.

Russian official: We can put nukes in Crimea

3/11/15 7:35 AM EDT
A Russian Foreign Ministry official reportedly said Wednesday that his country has the right to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in 2014, adding that he is not aware of any plans to do so.
“I don’t know if there are nuclear weapons there now. I don’t know about any plans, but in principle Russia can do it,” said Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the ministry’s department on arms control, according to the country’s Interfax news agency.
Story Continued Below
The development comes after Russia’s foreign ministry announced that the country will suspend participation from the Joint Consultative Group on the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. The CFE treaty was signed in 1990 by the Soviet Union and 21 other nations, but President Vladimir Putin suspended Russia’s participation in 2007.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misspelled Mikhail Ulyanov’s name. This article has also been updated to clarify Russia’s status within the CFE.