The second edition of the Fundamentals of International Nuclear Law (FINL) course was held on 14-18 February 2022 with a diverse group of 42 professionals and graduate students from 25 countries. The FINL was designed to accommodate the needs and interests of professionals working in the nuclear field and graduate students enrolled in an energy or international law-related LLM programme.
The FINL is an online course developed by the NEA to provide a high-level, introductory review of the central aspects of international nuclear law in a condensed programme. Building upon the success of the first edition of the FINL, this year’s programme was expanded to five days, three hours a day, and included a welcome and introductory session where the participants and lecturers could interact in an informal atmosphere.
The participants learned about the international nuclear law framework and major issues affecting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Renowned specialists in nuclear law from international organisations, governments and private industry delivered lectures on topics related to nuclear safety, security, non-proliferation and liability.
Like the NEA's other legal educational programmes (International School of Nuclear Law and International Nuclear Law Essentials), the FINL was conducted under the leadership of Paul Bowden, Honorary Professor of Law, The Nottingham Law School. Those who spoke during the week included NEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV; Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) Vice-President, Legal and Commission Affairs & Senior General Counsel Lisa Thiele; and Stephen G. Burns, former Commissioner, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as lecturers from the NEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the private sector.
“We are seeing a real shift in attitudes towards nuclear; and this is all being driven by climate change. Coming out of COP26, policymakers have realised just how big the challenge is to reach net zero and just how high the climb. It woke people up to what we have been saying for years, which is that we are going to need every tool in the toolkit,” said NEA Director‑General Magwood during his keynote address. “If we are going to be successful, we will need many technologies - include different types of nuclear technology deployed in different ways. These developments present very good opportunities for lawyers. How do you create frameworks for all the different scenarios? What are the legal guidelines for a reactor fuelled in one place that operates in another and is then moved around? What about microreactors used off grid for dedicated purposes like mines and factories? What kind of framework is needed for autonomous operation? There are many new and complex challenges ahead. I am an optimist and I think we will be able to meet these challenges.”
During his keynote remarks, NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV, spoke about the future of nuclear energy