Washington International Law Journal


By dumping 900 tons of radioactive waste into the Sea of Japan on October, 13, 1993, the Russian navy violated the moratorium on low-level radioactive waste dumping of the London Convention (the international treaty controlling ocean dumping). However, legal liability under the London Convention, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and international customary law arguably does not attach to this activity. Indeed, even though the London Convention was amended in November of 1993 to prohibit all ocean dumping of radioactive waste, Russia remains legally entitled to use the ocean as a disposal site for low-level wastes as a result of its formal objection to the amendment. Further, it is suggested that activity and ecosystem-specific regulations merely transfer the risks associated with the activity and may actually result in greater environmental harm. For this reason, the London Convention and indeed all international agreements should consider the global impacts of environmental regulations prior to prohibiting an activity.

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