Sea dumping of highly radioactive materials has been banned worldwide since the beginning of the 1960s and the ban was extended in 1983 to include low-level radioactive wastes. In theory, the oceans can eventually dilute nearly any radioactive waste to the point of harmlessness. But local releases of high concentrations can be dangerous if picked up by marine life and carried into the food chain.
An international group of 116 scientists and radiation experts concluded in 1993 that nuclear wastes dumped in oceans over the decades apparently pose no global danger. Any potential problem would be a local one and would pose no threat on a global scale. However, local threats from the Russian wastes, which are mainly in the Kara and Barents seas, inside the Arctic Circle, are entirely theoretical.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.