Vol. XLI No. 2

Sub-Seabed Burial of Nuclear Waste: If the Disposal Method Could Succeed Technically, Could It Also Succeed Legally?

Nuclear power is a relatively familiar method of generating electricity in the United States, but the process remains controversial because of high-level radioactive waste. Conventional nuclear reactors use uranium fuel to sustain nuclear fission, but eventually such fuel becomes spent and requires storage and disposal because of its dangerous radioactive properties. The United States produces a large amount of nuclear waste every year but has struggled to develop a long-term disposal strategy. America favors land-based disposal methods and is not giving serious consideration to alternative methods, including sub-seabed burial. This Note discusses preliminary research on sub-seabed burial of nuclear waste and examines a sample of domestic and international laws that could apply if the United States were to use the disposal method. This Note concludes that if further research were to show that sub-seabed disposal would work properly, the United States could probably engage in deep burial through drilling without violating the applicable international and domestic laws discussed in this Note.

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