188.8.131.52 Risks and environmental impacts
Regulations demand that public and occupational radiation doses from the operation of nuclear facilities be kept as low as reasonably achievable and below statutory limits. Mining, milling, power-plant operation and reprocessing of spent fuel dominate the collective radiation doses (OECD, 2000). Protective actions for mill-tailing piles and ponds have been demonstrated to be effective when applied to prevent or reduce long-term impacts from radon emanation. In the framework of the IAEA’s Nuclear Safety Convention (IAEA, 1994), the IAEA member countries have agreed to maintain high safety culture to continuously improve the safety of nuclear facilities. However, risks of radiation leakage resulting from accidents at a power plant or during the transport of spent fuel remain controversial.
Operators of nuclear power plants are usually liable for any damage to third parties caused by an incident at their installation regardless of fault (UIC, 2005), as defined by both international conventions and national legislation. In 2004, the contracting parties to the OECD Paris and Brussels Conventions signed Amending Protocols setting the minimum liability limit at 700 million € with additional compensation up to 800 € through public funds. Many non-OECD countries have similar arrangements through the IAEA’s Vienna Convention. In the US, the national Price-Anderson Act provides compensation up to 300 million US$ covered by an insurance paid by each reactor and also by a reactor-operator pool from the 104 reactors, which provides 10.4 billion US$.