23 July 1999


The South Pacific Forum Secretariat has again expressed the continuing concerns of the region’s Leaders over the transhipment of radioactive materials and has called for discussions on compensation in the event of an accident.

This follows a joint statement from the companies involved in the shipments confirming that a shipment of mixed fuel oxide (MOX), has left Europe bound for Japan and will pass through the South West Pacific.

The statement said the Pacific Teal and Pacific Pintail are carrying a total of 40 fuel assemblies and departed from Cherbourg in France and Barrow in the United Kingdom.

"We note the assurances by the shipping states of the safety measures that are said to be in place," said Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, Mr Noel Levi, CBE.

"However, we have so far been unable to convince and compel France, Japan and the United Kingdom to begin discussions on a liability regime for compensating the region for the potential economic losses that could be caused to tourism, fisheries and the environment in the event of an accident involving a ship carrying radioactive materials, even if there is no actual environmental damage caused."

The Secretary General recalled that Forum Leaders at their annual meeting last year had "noted the efforts of Japan, France and the United Kingdom in providing information about the recent shipment of high level waste and expressed the hope that this would be continued".

Forum Leaders had also agreed to "pursue in the relevant international agencies a strong regime of prior notification to, and consultation with, coastal states on planned shipments of hazardous wastes, the development of a regime for the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements and Emergency Response Plans".

Forum Secretariat, Suva

23 July 1999

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