Establishing common "data language"

Denis Moiseev from Murmansk Marine Biological Institute and Johannes Nilssen from Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority in the Kola Bay with the world’s only civilian fleet of nuclear powered vessels in the background.

A new project on nuclear emergency preparedness is going to secure that researchers in Norway, Russia and Finland understand each other’s data better.


Different equipment and different measuring methods makes data analyzis a challenge. Imagine there is an accident in the Barents Sea exposing the area for high radiation. On one side they have one set of data saying that the radiation is acceptable and on the others side they have another set of data saying that the radiation is far beyond acceptable. The basic problem is that they have different ways of analyzing the data material. With the ongoing radiation project such misunderstandings will be history.

Compare results
“This project is initiated to compare different results and procedures in all three countries. By doing this we make sure that all results are comparable when extreme situations occur, says Johannes Nilssen from Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA).

He is just back from a 5 days research expedition in the Barents Sea, which was made together with their Russian partner in the project Murmansk Marine Biological Institute (MMBI). They measured the surface water and water at several debts, and also took sediment samples from the sea bed. All samples where then tested in all laboratories for the contents of cesium.

“We do not expect to find any abnormal values on this expedition. That is not the object either”, says Nilssen.

The project is aimed at strengthening cooperation on radiation protection across national borders between central authorities, research organizations and interest groups in the Arctic regions of Finland, Russia and Norway. In addition to the research in the Barents Sea, the project participants have also done collections of mushrooms, berries, vegetation and soil. These samples have been analyzed the same way in all three countries. The results will eventually be compared to identify any differences.

Better contact
CEEPRA is a short form of Collaboration Network on Euro Arctic Environmental Radiation Protection and Research) is to establish a cooperation network in the Euro-Arctic region. The network will exchange knowledge and expertise across borders to solve common challenges related to nuclear safety, nuclear emergency preparedness and radioactivity in the environment. It should also increase understanding among interest groups and the general population.

The project partners are the Radiation Authority of Finland (STUK), Murmansk Marine Biological Institute (MMBI) from Russia, Norwegian Radiation from Norway, Finland Meteorological Institute and the firm Pöyry Finland Oy. Meteorological Institute in Norway will also participate in the project.

“Equally important to the results of the test, is that we have established far better contact across borders between the institutions. So even if the project will be finished next year, the contact we have established will prevail for years, says Nilsson.

The project is funded by the EU program Kolarctic ENPI CBC, administered by the Regional Council of Lapland in Finland and Norwegian Kolarctic program.