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Norway, Russia sign deal on nuclear accidents

Ole Harbitz and Sergey Kiriyenko signing the agreement.

Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority and Rosatom have signed a set of joint notification procedures in case of nuclear incidents.

“This is a new confirmation that the nuclear cooperation between Norway and Russia is based on mutual trust. The agreement ensures rapid exchange of information on nuclear incidents and is an important milestone in our cooperation with Russia,” Director of Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) Ole Harbitz says.

The notification procedures were signed by Harbitz and Director of Rosatom Sergey Kiriyenko during a meeting at a General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on Tuesday, NRPA’s website reads.

In recent years the two countries have worked to strengthen the joint notification agreement on nuclear accidents of 1993 through concrete procedures for notification. The procedures that are now ready, have involved several authorities on the Russian side. They should ensure early notification in the event of a nuclear incident, which is crucial for Norway’s emergency preparedness.

Nuclear incidents include both accidents and incidents in peacetime or security crisis and war.

The agreement includes Kola Nuclear Power Plant, Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, ship reactors, storages of fresh and spent fuel, research reactors and other nuclear facilities in the whole of Norway, as well as in the 300-kilometer border area in Russia, website advis.ru writes.

Norwegian radiation authorities have regularly been invited as an observer at Russian nuclear exercises. There will now be more such exercises, and more regular information exchange where the new procedures will be tested out.

Norway has established a permanent preparedness to handle nuclear incidents, with its own round-the-clock emergency service for notification of nuclear incidents nationally and internationally.

There have been several blazes at Russian shipyards in recent years whilst nuclear-powered submarines have been under repair.

2011 saw a serious fire occur aboard the Delta-class nuclear submarine the Yekaterinburg while she was dry docked at a shipyard in the northwestern Russia Murmansk Region. NRPA was informed about the fire through media, and better information exchange has since then been on the agenda.