Liberal ruling on standing for environmental groups in nuclear case

The High Court has rejected a challenge by Greenpeace to an official decision enabling British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) to test its new thermal oxide reprocessing plant (THORP) at Sellafield, Cumbria. The decision raised important issues concerning the legal interpretation of the Radioactive Substances Act 1960, but its longer term significance for environmental litigation probably lies in the Court's liberal approach to the issue of standing.

BNFL already possessed authorisations for liquid and gaseous radioactive releases from Sellafield, the current ones dating from 1986 and 1990. In April the company applied for new authorisations, primarily to accommodate the operation of the THORP plant, whose construction was given the go-ahead following the Windscale Inquiry in 1977. These applications have yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, BNFL wanted to begin commissioning THORP in ord

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