Radioactive waste is not at present, at least officially, dumped at sea or disposed of into the seabed. At the regional level, several treaties prohibit such disposal. At the global level, the dumping at sea of high-level radioactive waste and the disposal of all radioactive waste in Antarctica, including the ocean areas south of 60 degrees south latitude, are prohibited by international law. The dumping at sea of low-level radioactive waste and the sub-seabed disposal of all radioactive waste (hereinafter also referred to as the ocean disposal options), at the global level, are subject to legally non-binding and temporary suspensions or moratoria. It is thus that the ocean disposal options remain on the international agenda and that the permissibility of using these options remains an issue of debate.
* Senior lecturer in Public International Law, Faculty of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The author wishes to thank Prof. Dr. Ko Swan Sik and Dr. André Nollkaemper for their comments and suggestions on a draft text of this article. The views expressed in this article remain the sole responsibility of its author.