White paper on nuclear safety presented today

Today the Government will present a white paper on nuclear safety cooperation with Russia in the High North. “Our efforts to ensure that Russian nuclear waste does not harm the environment or fall into the hands of terrorists have made Norway safer. The white paper gives an overview of the concrete results that have been achieved through this cooperation,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

The main objectives of our cooperation on nuclear safety in northwestern Russia are to protect human health, the environment and economic activities against radioactive contamination, and to prevent nuclear material from falling into the wrong hands and being used for terrorist purposes.

These efforts have yielded results. Norway has provided assistance for the dismantling and safe handling of five decommissioned nuclear submarines and for the replacement of strontium batteries by solar panels in 180 lighthouses in northwestern Russia. We have also provided safety training and safety equipment at the Kola and Leningrad nuclear power plants. This has led to a significant decrease in the number of incidents.

“Nuclear safety cooperation is a crucial element in our efforts to protect health and environment and provide framework conditions that are conducive to long-term resource development in the High North. This is in the interests of both Russia and Norway,” said Foreign Minister Støre.

The cooperation has been considered a success by Russia and the international community.

“This is one the most important areas of our cooperation with Russia. However, Russia bears the main responsibility for dealing with the country’s nuclear safety challenges. We note that the Russian authorities are making progress on improving legislation and mechanisms to this end,” the Foreign Minister said.

The white paper on cooperation with Russia on nuclear safety and environmental protection in the High North (Report No. 11 (2009−¬2010) to the Storting) contains a review of our nuclear safety cooperation with Russia, with particular emphasis on the results that have been achieved over the past five to ten years, the challenges that remain and the plans for the future.

The Government has decided to focus Norway’s efforts in the time ahead on the challenges in Andreyev Bay, completion of the lighthouse project in the Baltic Sea, training and information activities in the nuclear power sector, and broad cooperation between the authorities of the two countries on inspection, emergency preparedness, environmental monitoring and safety. The offices of the Norwegian and Russian Auditors General will cooperate closely on following up the nuclear safety cooperation between the two countries.

In the period 1995−2009, the Storting allocated about NOK 1.5 billion for nuclear safety cooperation. NOK 95 million has been allocated for such cooperation in 2010.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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