Keywords: state sovereignty, cooperative approach, nuclear energy, nuclear power, environmental law, natural resources, sustainable development, sustainability, precautionary principle, polluter pays principle, IAEA, environmental impact assessment, EIA, liability, international law, nuclear accidents, nuclear safety, cooperation
Sovereignty of states, peaceful nuclear energy and principles of international environmental law
The sovereign right of states to peaceful nuclear energy is analysed on the basis of principles of international environmental law. The exercise of this right depends on the implementation of certain obligations under international law. The notion of sovereignty as independence and superiority does not serve the challenges of peaceful nuclear energy and the modern understanding of the environment as an area of common concern. Against this background a cooperative approach is suggested in order to successfully resolve the prevention and mitigation of nuclear accidents. The principles of international environmental law pose stringent requirements for the legal use of nuclear energy, which offer additional arguments for responsible behaviours of states in cooperation with international organisations and in particular with the IAEA. The subject of sovereignty is closely linked with the responsibility and liability of states in case of nuclear environmental damage.