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Norway, Russia to hold joint nuclear safety exercise

Norway and Russia have agreed to hold a joint nuclear safety exercise in 2013. The exercise will focus on information and warning of nuclear incidents.

“Our cooperation with Russia on nuclear safety creates better safety for the citizens of both countries. This work is also important for the safe management of the large sea areas in the north, State Secretary Torgeir Larsen says.

Larsen was head of the Norwegian delegation to a meeting in the Norwegian-Russian Nuclear Safety Commission in St. Petersburg last week. 

Cooperation on nuclear safety has an important place in Norway’s bilateral cooperation with Russia. A joint exercise focusing on information and warning of nuclear incidents is important to in order to establish new procedures. 

Norway has on some occasions criticized Russia for not warning Norway about incidents on the country’s nuclear installations close to the border. For instance, no Norwegian authorities were informed by Russian officials when the nuclear powered submarine “Yekaterinburg” caught fire in December 2011 in a floating dock outside Murmansk.

When a five meter high oil voltage transformer exploded at the Kola Nuclear Power Plant during a hurricane in January 2010, the plant’s management called the episode “an incident” and failed to report it to the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

The meeting in St. Petersburg also focused on the ongoing Norwegian-Russian joint expedition in the Kara Sea, which is scheduled to end on September 23 in Kirkenes.  The purpose of the survey is to gain new and updated knowledge about radioactive contamination, particularly in relation to the nuclear submarine K-27.

Norway and Russia will cooperate on arranging an international conference on continued international efforts to improve nuclear safety in Russia. The conference will be held in Moscow this autumn, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s web site reads.

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