Publication Laka-library:
Evaluation of oceanic radioactive dumping programs

AuthorW.J. Davis, J.M. Van Dyke, D. Hirsch, M.A. Magnier, S.P. Broder
DateJuly 1982
Classification (WASTE - SEA DUMPING (INCL. OSPAR))

From the publication:


   The purpose of this paper is to review programs of ocean dumping of
radioactive wastes from scientific, medical and legal perspectives. The paper
is structured around eight conclusions, each of which is documented in detail.
The conclusions are: 1) scientific studies of oceanic radioactive dumpsites
Te' furnished evidence of radioactive leakage into the marine environment; 2)
environmental and health effects of existing and proposed oceanic
radioactive dumping operations have been estimated on the basis of incorrect
models, limited models for which authoritative data are not yet available, and
untested safety factors; 3) scientific studies of oceanic radioactive
dumpsites have furnished evidence that radioactivity from the dumpsites has
entered into the oceanic food chain and and is present in edible fish; 4)
current international standards for radiation risk factors have not been
revised since the 1950's but are once again under review in light of recent
scientific data suggesting that the risk of cancer and other adverse health
effects is greater than previously reported; 5) the importance of dumpsite
monitoring has been acknowledged but empirical data needed to fully assess the
environmental and health impacts of ocean dumping programs are still not
available; 6) the importance of compiling a full register of radionuclides
deposited into the oceans by human activity is acknowledged but no such
complete register has been compiled; 7) land based storage of radioactive
wastes does not suffer the disadvantages of irretrievability in the event of
miscalculation; 8) the legal status of dumping radioactive wastes into
international water is unclear.
   Comparative analysis of radioactive waste management options suggests
that ocean dumping is the least attractive on five grounds. First, the oceans
are a living, interconnected environment that can return radioactive wastes to
humans via the ocean food chain. Second, the ocean is a formidable
environment, destructive of human structures such as radioactive waste
containers. Third, despite recent rapid strides in the oceanographic
sciences, The ocean is still largely an unknown environment. Fourth, the
oceans represent a global resource, the birthright of all people and all
generations. Fifth, damage of this global commons by a minority of people is
contrary to principles of international law.
   On these grounds it is suggested that the oceans are an unacceptable
repository for radioactive wastes.

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