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Nuclear waste

US tried to conspire with Japan to dump nuclear waste into world's oceans, reveal documents

Tuesday, October 04, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: nuclear waste, oceans, health news

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(NaturalNews) When nuclear energy production technology first began to emerge in the US in the 1950s, neither scientists nor the US government considered what would be done with nuclear reactors once it was time for them to be put out of commission. And recently-released documents reveal that, in an effort to hastily deal with this problem after the fact, the US government actually tried to conspire with Japan to gain secret approval for dumping decommissioned nuclear reactors into the world's oceans.

In 1972, the United Nations (UN) had proposed the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, also known as the London Convention, to deal with the growing, global pollution problem. The agreement's provisions sought to specifically regulate the environmental pollution that signing nations could and could not dump into the oceans, which of course included nuclear production materials.

But since a finalized version of the agreement had not yet been fully established, the US government took advantage of the situation by seeking to insert an exemption cause permitting the dumping of decommissioned nuclear reactors into the ocean. And since Japan had also been involved in developing its own nuclear energy program, the US thought it could gain additional support for the exemption clause from its Asian ally.

But Japan allegedly did not comply, according to Kumao Kaneko, 74, who was a member of the Foreign Ministry team involved in the negotiations at the time. So the US decided to go it alone in proposing its exemption clause, which was meant to be a last-resort option -- and it was eventually successful in achieving its goal.

Though the US made no mention of any long-term plans to utilize the ocean as its nuclear dumping ground during the proposal, it now appears as though the country had every intention of using the ocean as a nuclear disposal facility. And since the London Convention clause still exists to this day, all other signing countries are free to dump their nuclear waste in the ocean as well.

Russia, a signing member of the London Convention, openly admitted back in 1993, for instance, that it dumps nuclear reactors and fuel into the ocean because it allegedly has no other safe way to dispose of such materials (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/russ...).

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), however, claims the US stopped dumping nuclear reactors into the ocean a long time ago. And US officials claim that decommissioned nuclear reactors are today buried in the ground rather than dumped into the ocean.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201109260363...
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