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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 3, 1993

Statement by the Press Secretary

The White House announced today that the Administration will call for an international legal prohibition on the deliberate disposal of low-level radioactive waste in the ocean at the next meeting of the London Convention, which will take place in London on November 8-12, 1993.

This announcement is a departure from the approach of previous Administrations, which opposed specific international legal prohibitions regarding low-level waste disposal.

The deliberate disposal in the ocean of high-level radioactive waste is already prohibited by the London Convention, but low-level radioactive waste may be disposed of in the ocean subject to a prior special permit. Since 1983, the Parties have agreed to a voluntary moratorium. The United States has not dumped low-level radioactive waste in the ocean since 1970, and has no plans to do so.

The White House stated that the nuclear powers have a special responsibility to display leadership on sensitive ocean environmental issues. It described its support for a prohibition of low-level radioactive dumping as a prudent measure, noting that it will request that scientific studies on this issue continue, including an international study to be completed within 25 years. After completion of that study, the prohibition would be reconsidered and could be modified if needed under the rules of the London Convention.

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