Free Trieste



Trieste, September 3rd, 2012 – The news that the Italian Government seems to have allowed the transport and the loading, in the port of Trieste, of radioactive waste originated mainly in the US cannot but alarm us. Radioactive waste, defined as “strategic” should travel from Austria to the port of Koper-Capodistria in Slovenia where they would be embarked and transported to the port of Trieste to join another load of radioactive waste from Italy (Saluggia) and then be loaded on US ships to be sent to the United States.

Both the port of Trieste and the nearby port of Koper-Capodistria are classified as nuclear military ports and, therefore, nuclear-powered ships and ships transporting nuclear weapons can transit and stop there. Also, the classification as numera ports makes it possible making care of operations for the disposal of radioactive waste avoiding the controls required by the laws in force.

In addition, the port of Trieste has the status of International Free Port by virtus of the 1947 Treaty of Peace with Italy, therefore, EURATOM legislation of the European Union cannot be enforced there, all responsibilities being upon the UN Security Council, which is the authority in charge of having the Treaty’s obligations respected.

Annex VIII of the same Treaty does ultimately exclude that any Country can exercise exclusive jurisdiction without the boundaries of the Free Port of Trieste(not even temporarily), which, on the other side, has no legal existence but as State corporation of the Free Territory of Trieste.

This means that what is happening it not only a serious violation of the Treaty of Peace, wince Italy cannot decide unilaterally about the use of the Free Port of Trieste which, as recently confirmed by the European Commission itself, is still bound to the respect of the international treaties that rank higher than national and European law.

Also, it is important not forgetting the complete lack of preparation to del with radiologica emergencies in both the present-day Free Territory of Trieste and in nearby Friuli (Italy) by public administrations themselves. Despite the presence of the nuclear power plant of Krško in Slovenia, hust 130 Km from the border of this area, and the very the classification of Trieste as nuclear port, no effective prevention and information measure was adopted by public administrations for the advantage of the people.

Last year, Greenaction had addressed Region Friuli Venezia Giulia for it to take action and solve some serious cases of lack of prevention of radiological emergencies by implementing the European legislation on that matter. Greenaction underlined how critical the situation is, given the continuing lack of information to the citizens, the lack of atomic shelters, the lack of iodine tablets to give to the people in case of radioactive fallout (Our request, in Italian).

Our request (sent in June 2011) has not been answered yet, showing the indifference of the authorities to one of the worst possible emergencies that citizens might ever face. It cannot be tolerated the the same authorities that should grant public health and safety act like this, such behaviour could cost very much to dozens of thousands of people who would pay with their own life the unpunished failures of a system of powered based on escaping the rule of law.

So, it is impossible even just thinking to transforming the Port of Trieste in a port for the traffics of radioactive materials (which is close to evoking tensions with its very legal status) exposing unprepared citizens to all hazard of a relevant nuclear accident.

Translated from the website of environmental organization Greenaction Transnational