Meeting of the Norwegian-Russian Nuclear Commission: Puts Cooperation with Russia about Nuclear Safety on Hold

Seksjonssjef Ingar Amundsen og direktør Per strand i Direktoratet for strålevern og atomsikkerhet. (Foto: Hallfrid Simonsen, DSA)
Head of Section Ingar Amundsen and Director Per Strand of the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. (Photo: Hallfrid Simonsen, DSA)

During Tuesday’s meeting at the Norwegian-Russian nuclear commission it was decided that Norway will put funding of this cooperation with Russia on hold. “We will continue without Norway” says the head of the Russian delegation.

Norway has frozen all payments to projects about nuclear safety cooperation in Northwestern Russia due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Director Per Strand of the Norwegian Radiation and Nucellar Safety Authority (DSA) reported this during the 25th meeting of the Norwegian-Russian nuclear commission that took place on Tuesday.

The DSA says it monitors the situation closely and at the meeting, Strand expressed strong concerns about nuclear safety in Ukraine.

“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”, Strand says.

Continues without Norway

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”, Kryukov said.

Dialogue between the parties has been good and frank despite the demanding situation
Director Per Strand of the Norwegian Radiation and Nucellar Safety Authority (DSA)

During the commission meeting, Kryukov informed about the long-term work on securing and removing nuclear core fuel from the disused submarine base in the Andreyev Bay, located some 40 kilometers from the Norwegian-Russian border.

Cooperation about incidents

Per Strands says the dialogue between the parties has been 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 alarming in the case of nuclear incidents, environmental monitoring and government work”, Strand says.

These are areas regulated by other agreements.

In Norway’s interest

When asked by High North News about when the funding and cooperation may be resumed, Per Strand referred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The ministry has decided that we should put cooperation on hold.”

Direktør i Rosatom, Oleg Krjukov.
Direktør i Rosatom, Oleg Krjukov. (Foto: Skjermdump)
Rosatom Director Olek Kryukov. (Photo: Screenshot)

The first shipment of used core fuel was made in 2017, and some 50 percent of this fuel has been removed until now. Norway has contributed to this work since long, and the DSA says it is in Norway’s interest that it is conducted in a secure manner.

During the meeting, the Russian delegation also informed about the current status of the work on managing sunk and dumped submarines and other objects in the Barents and Kara Seas having used nuclear core fuel and having radioactive waste onboard.

Long-lasting cooperation

There has been a long-lasting cooperation between Norway and Russia about environmental monitoring at sea and joint voyages to investigate the current state of these submarines.

Russia will also put cooperation under the nuclear safety commission on hold as a consequence of the Norwegian halt to funding of cooperation projects.

The purpose of the commission meetings is to continue and strengthen nuclear safety cooperation between Norway and Russia, which contributes to improved security on both sides of the border. This was the 25th meeting following the 1995 establishing of the government’s nuclear action plan.

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This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.