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After MOX: The Contemporary Shipment of Radioactive Substances in the Law of the Sea

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

The transport of hazardous cargo has long juxtaposed maritime interests in maintaining navigation rights against the concerns of coastal States over the threat the exercise of such rights poses to the waters off their coast. The shipment of highly radioactive substances has emerged as the most recent, and perhaps starkest reflection of this conflict. Drawing upon contemporary events, this article will examine the continuing controversy over the shipment of highly radioactive cargo and its implications for the law of the sea. First, the origins of the issue in the emergence of radioactive transport itself will be surveyed. Next the international legal regime governing the transport of such cargo will be evaluated, highlighting the different responses at the international, national and regional level. This article will then conclude by considering the prospects for resolution resulting from the recent debate over the Code for the Safe Carriage of Irradiated Nuclear Fuel (INF Code), suggesting the need to formulate alternative approach to shipboard controls in responding to contemporary issues of vessel-source pollution.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations


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