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TORONTO — The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced today that the Government of Canada intends to proceed with increasing liability limits for Canada’s nuclear industry and related measures to strengthen Canada’s nuclear liability regime.
“Nuclear energy continues to be a key part of Canada's energy mix and a major contributor to our status as a world leader in clean electricity,” said Minister Oliver while addressing the 34th Annual Conference of the Canadian Nuclear Society. “Our Government is committed to a strong and sustainable nuclear industry. We will bring forward legislation in the coming months to strengthen Canada’s nuclear liability regime above most international standards.”
The proposed new legislation will increase the amount of compensation available to address civil damage from $75 million to $1 billion, replacing outdated legislation that is almost 40 years old. It will broaden the number of categories for which compensation may be sought; and improve the procedures for delivering compensation. It will also maintain the key strengths of the existing legislation, including making nuclear operators absolutely and exclusively liable for nuclear damage - meaning there would be no need to prove fault and no one else could be held liable.
Minister Oliver also confirmed that Canada intends to join the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage. Our eventual participation in this convention would bolster Canada’s domestic compensation regime by bringing additional funding for compensation provided by member countries up to $450 million. In Canada, this would bring total potential compensation up to $1.45 billion. Participation would also facilitate nuclear cooperation and trade in nuclear products and services with the United States and other global partners.
The Government expects to table the proposed legislation in Parliament in the fall of 2013.
The nuclear power generation sector produces about $5 billion in annual revenues and supports 17,000 direct jobs while uranium mining accounts for over $1 billion per year in exports and supports 5,000 direct jobs.
“Our Government is actively addressing important issues for the nuclear sector, including: ensuring a strong regulator, responsibly managing legacy wastes, restructuring Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and facilitating international trade opportunities” concluded Minister Oliver.
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