Title: Past and Present Issues Relating to the Transfer of Ownership of Nuclear Material for Nuclear Research
Citation: Proceedings of the Nuclear Inter Jura 2007 p. 199-238
Publisher: Etablissements Emile Bruyant S.A.
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC40466
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC40466
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In the past the ownership of nuclear materials was considered an asset without many more considerations. Treaties such as the US Atomic Energy Act and the Euratom Treaty had the objective of ensuring regular and equitable supply of nuclear ores and fuels. In the frame of this philosophy the right of ownership was introduced in the Euratom Treaty. Throughout the years the philosophy behind the concept of such particular right of ownership has changed and the US provisions on ownership were repealed in 1964 by the Private Ownership of Special Nuclear Materials Act. However, the ownership according to the provisions of the Euratom Treaty is still unmodified in place. Nuclear accidents, the ecological concerns and the threat of nuclear terrorism have influenced the public opinion and created the overall awareness of nuclear risks. These risks relate also to back-end or spent fuel and nuclear waste, not only from a safety and security point of view, but also from an economic point of view. The present study intends to focus on the effects this evolution has had on the situation related to nuclear materials in the context of scientific research. Where in the era of enthusiasm in relation to obtaining nuclear material for research purposes without in depth consideration of future liabilities, no excessive attention was paid to the creation of a sound legal frame of supply contracts, now a growing awareness with regard to possible liabilities and economic burden gave rise to the elaboration of a series of administrative and legal obligations. This study will try to analyse the legal basis to determine ownership/right of use/liabilities and will examine the interaction between the Euratom Treaty and domestic law (both private law and nuclear (public) legislation), also in the light of the recent case law of the EJC. Past practices will be described and the problems such practices create at present will be analysed, in particular what concerns liabilities in the frame of dismantling and disposal activities and decontamination costs. Further, this contribution will try to give a transparent and practical overview on the different aspects that should be taken into consideration when negotiating contracts involving a transfer of ownership of nuclear material. For such contracts, the most relevant articles will be described in order to give a practical guidance when drafting such type of (supply) contracts.
JRC Directorate:Health, Consumers and Reference Materials

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