During a recent meeting of the Norwegian-Russian Commission on Nuclear Safety it was decided that Norway will put funding for cooperation with Russia on hold. Norway has frozen all payments to projects about nuclear safety cooperation in Northwestern Russia following Russia’s military action in Ukraine as a result of which Russia has suspended co-operation with Norway.
Per Strand, Director of the Norwegian Radiation and Nucellar Safety Authority (DSA), said: “We will continue our dialogue with Russian authorities about the issue of nuclear safety where it is important for our own nuclear preparedness, and to reduce the risk of incidents and nuclear pollution.”
Rosatom Director and Russian delegation member Oleg Kryukov expressed regret over the halt to cooperation. “It is sad that Norway stops funding the handling of nuclear waste. However, we will continue working with ongoing projects, it will just take us longer”, he noted. He spoke about the long-term work on securing and removing used nuclear fuel from the disused submarine base in the Andreeva Bay, located some 40 kilometres from the Norwegian-Russian border. The first shipment of used fuel was made in 2017, and some 50% has since been removed. Norway has long contributed to this work, and the DSA says it is in Norway’s interest that it is conducted in a secure manner.
Per Strand described dialogue between the parties as good and frank despite the demanding situation. “As long as there are sources of dangerous waste affecting health and environment in Northwestern Russia, we must continue cooperation about raising alarms in the case of nuclear incidents, environmental monitoring and government work,” Strand said, adding that these are areas regulated by other agreements. He told High North News that it was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that had decided to put cooperation on hold.
During the meeting, the Russian delegation also described the current status of the work on managing sunk and dumped submarines and other objects in the Barents and Kara Seas with reactor cores and radioactive waste onboard. Norwegian and Russian co-operation on this work will also be frozen.
Following the commission meeting, Norway’s Foreign Ministry stated: “Nuclear safety cooperation between Norway and Russia is a key aspect of our bilateral relationship. It is in our common interest to reduce the risk of accidents and radioactive contamination.”
Image: Head of Section Ingar Amundsen and Director Per Strand of the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (Photo: Hallfrid Simonsen, DSA)