The Nuclear Civil Liability Regimes and the Path Forward for the State of Qatar
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While many states are moving away from nuclear power and decommissioning their reactors for cheaper and safer alternative energy sources, recent years have seen a spark in interest for nuclear power within the Middle East under the pretext of ‘energy independence’. This trend poses a potential threat for the safety of the region considering that nuclear power plants are prone to human errors, deliberate attacks, and natural environmental convulsions which could trigger potential transboundary fallout. Given the region’s small and compacted geography along with the increasingly volatile geopolitical instability, a regional incident would likely have much direr consequences compared to other previous nuclear incidents. As a non-nuclear power state, Qatar is not currently party to any of the nuclear civil liability conventions which could guarantee some level of compensation for the victims in case of transboundary nuclear harm. In due course, Qatar will be surrounded by nuclear reactors from the north (the Iranian Bushehr plant), the east (the UAE Barakah plant) and the west (the planned Saudi plants). As exemplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, theoretical transboundary calamities can unexpectedly become a sudden reality and there is a solemn need to work proactively when dealing with such consequential hypotheticals. Therefore, this article qualitatively assesses the relevant international conventions with an aim of being policy relevant and navigate Qatari decision-makers through the vexing web of the nuclear civil liability regimes.
- 2021 - Volume 10 - Issue 1 [10 items ]