FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 2,1998
CONTACT: Sharon Tanzer, (202) 822-8444
NUCLEAR CONTROL INSTITUTE SUPPORTS PUERTO RICAN
LAWSUIT TO BAR NUCLEAR WASTE SHIP FROM U.S. WATERS
The Nuclear Control Institute (NCI) today welcomed the filing of a lawsuit in Federal District Court, San Juan, seeking to bar the U.S. government from allowing a ship laden with 30 tons of highly radioactive waste to enter U.S. waters.
The British-flagged ship, the Pacific Swan, enroute from France to Japan, is expected to enter the Mona Passage adjacent to Puerto Rico by Wednesday and the Panama Canal on Friday. It is the first shipment of highly radioactive waste through the Caribbean and threatens set a precedent for hundreds more in the years ahead.
The lawsuit was brought by several Puerto Rican environmental, health and fisherman organizations. It will be argued before a Federal judge at 12 noon tomorrow (Tuesday, February 3).
NCI today filed a "friend of the court" (amicus curiae) brief in support of the lawsuit, arguing that the United States Government had failed to provide the required approval for the shipment of vitrified high-level waste (VHLW) from Europe to Japan. NCI supported the lawsuit's contention that the ship is proceeding unlawfully and should not be allowed to enter U.S. waters including the Mona Passage. The lawsuit cites both U.S. environmental and atomic-energy law to show that the ongoing shipment is proceeding illegally.
"We hope very much that the Federal District Court finds for the plaintiff and bars this unnecessary and highly dangerous cargo from entering the Caribbean," said Paul Leventhal, president of the Nuclear Control Institute.
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