Canada’s new Energy Safety and Security Act, which raises the absolute liability limit of nuclear operators from $75 million to $1 billion has received Royal Assent.

The new Act will replace the 1976 Nuclear Liability Act. It will also enable Canada to implement the International Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC), which provides additional coverage for foreign damage caused by Canadian nuclear operators.

The new legislation also raises the absolute liability for companies operating in the Atlantic offshore from $30 million to $1 billion and in the Arctic from $40 million to $1 billion.

"Our government is protecting Canadians and the environment while supporting jobs and growth by raising the liability limits for the offshore and nuclear industries. The passing into law of the Energy Safety and Security Act ensures that companies, not taxpayers, are held responsible in the event of an incident," said Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario.

In Canada, the nuclear industry directly employs about 30,000 Canadians and indirectly employs a further 30,000 through its supply chain, according to a study by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. The industry generates nearly $7 billion of economic activity, exports $1.2 billion in goods and services, and pays $1.5 billion in federal and provincial taxes.

The Canadian Nuclear Association said the legislation will improve the nuclear liability framework, bringing it in line with international standards, and that it will improve the industry’s ability to export Canada’s significant nuclear expertise.