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European Commission takes Britain to court

Publish date: October 28, 2003

The European Commission said on October 16th it is taking Britain to court for breaking European Union rules on disposing radioactive waste from a dockyard that refits and refuels nuclear submarines, Reuters reported.

Under EU law, EU governments must inform the Commission in advance if it is planning to grant authorisation to dispose of radioactive waste so that it can assess the risks to health in neighbouring countries. Britain failed to give the required six months’ notice when authorising waste from Devonport dockyards, run by Devonport Management Limited, owned by KBR, a division of US engineering and construction firm Halliburton, the Commission said. “Since the disposal of radioactive waste may affect another member state from a health point of view, assessment of the radiological impact of such waste by the Commission remains crucial,” it said in a statement announcing it was taking Britain to the European Court of Justice. The EU court can demand changes in government behaviour but has no power to impose penalties the first time it hears a case

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