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Fukushima Nuclear Waste Water Disputes Continued: International Law in Japanese Court?

On 24th August 2023, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) started releasing the ALPS-treated waste water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean over a period of 30 years. As discussed on this blog before, here and here, the decision led to strong international responses from neighbouring States, such as China and South Korea, as well as reactions by several UN human rights bodies. One legal question currently attracting attention in several fora, is whether Article 4 of the Protocol to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matters forbids the ‘dumping’ of the waste water into the sea, because it still contains radioactive matter, such as tritium. This blog post draws attention to the interpretative controversy under the Londen Protocol by noting that the question is not only on the agenda of the Governing Bodies of the London Convention (LC) and its Protocol (LP), but also of the Fukushima District Court. In September, a group of Japanese citizens initiated a…

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A Contentious Toll

Rivers have caused a decent share of international disputes in Latin America: Pulp Mills, Silala (analysed here), and the series of disputes between Costa Rica and Nicaragua involving the San Juan River. And that’s just the last 15 years. Argentina’s…

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The Legal Fight Over Deep-Sea Resources Enters a New and Uncertain Phase

The past month was a flashpoint in the future of deep-sea exploitation – a future inexorably linked to the transition to a decarbonized economy. Deep-sea exploitation is governed by the International Seabed Authority (the ISA), an intergovernmental organization established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The ISA’s authority covers a large…

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Preliminary Reflections on the ICJ Decision in the Dispute between Chile and Bolivia Over the Status and Use of the Waters of the Silala

Chile and Bolivia, for the past six years, have engaged in a dispute before the International Court of Justice over the waters of the Silala. On 01 December 2022 the Court released its decision. This summary highlights some key facts and the outcome of the case, and raises a number of preliminary questions that the…

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Ashraf Ghani’s ambitions to divert the Helmand River now serve his enemy, the Taliban: an International Law perspective

One tragedy follows another in Afghanistan. Occurring amid many other dramatic events, the diversion of the Helmand (Hirmand) River, which flows through Afghanistan and Iran, by the Taliban in January 2022 was almost lost in the news. This deliberate act can cause huge economic losses, degrade entire ecosystems, and threaten the lives of those dependent upon its waters.

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