Under the Federal Nuclear Energy Liability Act, operators of nuclear installations bear unlimited liability for nuclear damage arising from the operation of their installations or the related transport of nuclear material. For damage relating to nuclear material in transit, the owner of the foreign nuclear installation is liable.
Nuclear damage is covered by insurance up to the amount of EUR 1.2 billion. In the event of damage, this insurance cover is supplemented by an amount of EUR 300 million, which is paid by the Contracting States to the Brussels Supplementary Convention. In total, EUR 1.5 billion (plus EUR 120 million for interest and court-awarded costs) are now available to cover nuclear damage. For damage in excess of this sum, operators of nuclear installations are liable without limitation with all their assets.
Nuclear research facilities and the federal government’s interim storage facility, as well as certain nuclear material transportations are insured for EUR 70 and 80 million, respectively (plus 10% for interest and court-awarded costs in each case).
Insurance coverage is primarily provided by private insurance companies. Risks that private insurers cannot cover or are unable to cover in full will be covered by the federal government. In such cases, operators are required to pay a premium into the Federal Nuclear Damage Fund.
If all the available funds do not suffice to cover incurred nuclear damage or if the ordinary procedure cannot be carried out due to the large number of injured parties, a situation of large-scale damage is declared. In this case, Parliament may specify a compensation plan for the just distribution of the available funds and, if necessary, stipulate that the federal government may award additional contributions to compensate uncovered damage.
Switzerland has ratified the two nuclear energy liability conventions of Paris and Brussels (both in the revised version of 2004) and the Joint Protocol.
It concluded a bilateral agreement with Germany on third-party liability in the field of nuclear energy in 1986, which provides for equal treatment for citizens of both countries.