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(May 07, 2012) On April 19, 2012, the Education and Culture Committee of Taiwan's legislature gave initial approval to amendments to the Nuclear Damage Compensation Act and the Nuclear Accident Emergency Response Act, which, if adopted, would increase the statute of limitations under which victims of a nuclear disaster may seek compensation and widen the area of nuclear emergency response zones. (June Tsai, Lawmakers Move to Expand Taiwan's Nuclear Emergency Zones, TAIWAN TODAY (Apr. 20, 2012).) The draft amendments were submitted to the legislature by the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) under the Executive Yuan (Cabinet). (Id.)

Under the proposed revisions to article 28, paragraph 1, of the Nuclear Damage Compensation Act, victims would have ten years (instead of the current three) from the time that they become aware of the damage and of which nuclear installation operator is liable for that damage to lodge a claim of compensation for loss of life or bodily injury resulting from a nuclear accident (the current law says simply "for nuclear damage"). In no case, however, should that period exceed 30 years (instead of the current ten) from the date of the nuclear accident. (Report on Matters Related to the "Draft Amendment of Some Articles of the Nuclear Damage Compensation Act" and the "Draft Amendment of Article 13 of the Nuclear Accident Emergency Response Act" [in Chinese] [hereinafter Report], AEC website (Apr. 19, 2012); Nuclear Damage Compensation Law [in Chinese], July 26, 1971, as last amended May 14, 1997, AEC website; English text, AEC website.)

The AEC also suggested that the cap on compensation, stipulated in article 24 of the Act, be raised from the current NT$4.2 billion (about US$142 million) to NT$15 billion. Some members of the Education and Culture Committee argued, however, that no cap should be imposed, and so "the issue was turned over to interparty negotiation." (Tsai, supra.) In addition, a proposed amendment to article 18 would bring the Nuclear Damage Compensation Act in line with international standards by excluding nuclear installation operators from disclaiming liability for nuclear accidents that are caused by natural disasters; only international armed conflict, enemy acts, and civil war would be grounds for disclaiming liability. (Report, supra; Tsai, supra.) The AEC further recommended deletion of article 29, on the statute of limitations for claims of compensation in cases when the nuclear material causing a nuclear incident is stolen, lost, jettisoned, or abandoned. (Report, supra.)

The proposed revision of article 13 of the Nuclear Accident Emergency Response Act "would expand disaster response zones to cover the area within a 30-kilometer radius of a nuclear power plant. These zones currently have an 8-kilometer radius, enlarged from the original 5 kilometers following the March 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan." (Tsai, supra; Nuclear Accident Emergency Response Act [in Chinese], Dec. 24, 2003, in force on Apr. 20, 2005, AEC website; English text, AEC website.) If the amendment is adopted, the expanded emergency zones would cover six million people instead of 157,000, and include Taipei, Keelung, and most of New Taipei City, among other areas. (Tsai, supra.)

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Disasters More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Taiwan More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 05/07/2012