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Ocean Transport Of Radioactive Fuel And Waste

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Chapter Summary

The shipments of large cargoes of highly radioactive or radiotoxic nuclear materials between Europe and Japan have raised a new challenge to the balance created in the Law of the Sea Convention between navigational freedoms and the protection of coastal communities, coastal resources and the marine environment. These shipments of ultrahazardous radioactive cargoes present risks of a magnitude totally different from any previous ocean cargoes. A defining moment in the tension between navigational freedom and the right of coastal states to restrict the movement of ships through their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) based on the nature of the ship and its cargo was the U.S. announcement on February 3, 2004 that it was abandoning its plan to ship the 770-ton decommissioned nuclear reactor from the San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California around Cape Horn at the tip of South America to South Carolina for burial.

Keywords: coastal states; European Union; Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); Japanese plutonium; ocean cargoes; radioactive fuel; San Onofre nuclear plant



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