Keywords: London Convention, London Protocol, radioactive waste, sub-seabed repository, repository access, tunnels, sub-seabed disposal, UNCLOS, OSPAR Convention, Sintra Statement, waste disposal, nuclear waste, nuclear law, UK, United Kingdom, environmental assessment, environmental pollution, marine environment
Sub-seabed disposal of radioactive waste
This article considers two detailed reviews of the legal aspects of Sub-Seabed Disposal of Radioactive Waste, by Richard Macrory and Ray Purdy (January 2005) and the opinion of Christopher Katkowski Q.C. and Stephen Tromans, March 2005. In substance, both reviews conclude that for a sub-seabed repository accessed from land by tunnel, the relevant International Conventions, in particular the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the London Convention and Protocol and the OSPAR Convention do not legally preclude the long term disposal of radioactive waste in sub-seabed brine formations which are accessed by tunnel from the UK land mass. Other important procedural and legal requirements such as environmental assessment would apply. The authors agree that any for such proposal to construct a sub-seabed repository to be lawful it would need to be shown that it would not result in pollution of the marine environment.