Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth attack Sellafield

In-house legal teams from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace will join forces this week in the first of a number of actions intended to halt production at Sellafield's new mixed-oxide (MOX) nuclear plant.
From Thursday, Mr Justice Collins will hear a fast-track judicial review of the Government's decision to allow BNFL's MOX plant to commence production.
Heads of legal Phil Michaels at Friends of the Earth and Kate Harrison at Greenpeace are coordinating the action. They have instructed Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, Michael Fordham and Ben Jaffey, all of Blackstone Chambers.
BNFL, which appears as an interested party, has instructed David Pannick QC and Dinah Rose, also of Blackstone Chambers. The Government is being represented by Philip Sales of 11 King's Bench Walk.
In a separate action initiated in June, the Irish government has commenced arbitration proceedings against the UK under Article 9 of the Ospar Convention, which regulates and controls marine pollution in the North Sea and the North Atlantic. The proceedings are intended to recover certain documents that the Government has refused to supply on the MOX plant.
On 25 October, the Irish government launched further proceedings against the UK on the grounds that in taking steps to authorise the MOX plant, the UK has violated the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), which is intended to protect the marine environment.
Joe Jacob, the Irish minister with responsibility for nuclear safety, said in a statement: “The Irish government is determined to make every effort to stop the MOX plant becoming operational. Having fully exhausted all other avenues open to us to no avail, the legal proceedings are now being pursued.”
Ireland also considers that the terrorist attacks of 11 September warrant a wholesale review of the security measures relating to the proposed operation of the MOX plant.
If the UK Government fails to suspend the authorisation of the MOX plant, then Ireland will this week ask the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (Itlos) to order the suspension of the authorisation pending any decision by an international arbitration tribunal.
Itlos was established by Unclos and is based in Hamburg, Germany. Cases are heard by 21 judges selected from the 137 participating nations.
Lead counsel for the Irish government is Philippe Sands, with junior Alison Macdonald, both of Matrix Chambers, and Vaughan Lowe, a professor of international public law at Oxford University and a tenant of Essex Court Chambers. For the UK, 20 Essex Street's Richard Plender QC leads fellow tenant Daniel Bethlehem and Sam Wordsworth of Essex Court.