Asian Journal of International Law


Revisiting the Convention on Nuclear Safety: Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Accident

Aleksandra ČAVOŠKI *

Law School, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom


The Fukushima nuclear accident raised questions about the implementation of the Convention on Nuclear Safety by the Japanese government and identified the need to reassess the obligation of each contracting party deriving from the Convention and IAEA safety standards. The author analyzes several major deficiencies such as the lack of independence and effectiveness of the regulatory body, the failure to evaluate all relevant site- and design-related factors, and design and construction of the installation, as well as the emergency response, in order to determine the failure of the Japanese government to comply with the Convention and exercise the obligation of due diligence. As a result, the author demonstrates the fulfilment of two elements of state responsibility for nuclear damage. The author also establishes the ineffectiveness of the Convention's preventive monitoring mechanisms and recommends the introduction of a stronger monitoring regime and highlights the need to amend the Convention safety rules.

(Online publication January 23 2013)


*  Teaching Fellow, Law School, University of Birmingham, Visiting Professor at the Washington and Lee University, School of Law (August 2011 to January 2012).