[JURIST] Ireland broke European law by asking the United Nations [official website] to arbitrate its claim against the United Kingdom in respect of the Sellafield nuclear power plant [BNG backgrounder; BBC backgrounder], an EU court ruled [press release, PDF] Tuesday. Ireland sought arbitration from a UN tribunal in 2001, claiming that the UK violated the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea [UN backgrounder and text] by failing to adequately protect marine life in the Irish Sea from plutonium discharged by the plant, which converts waste from nuclear reactors into new fuel. The European Court of Justice [official website] ruled, however, that it has exclusive jurisdiction [judgment text] over disputes between member states "concerning the interpretation or application of Community law."
The Irish government has repeatedly called for the Sellafield plant to be closed. Ireland is one of the few EU nations that does not produce nuclear power. The Guardian has more. BBC News has additional coverage.