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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 50, September 2000

Norwegian Governor Calls for Re-Establishment of Nuclear Emergency Warning System

On August 22, Gunnar Kjonnoy, the Governor of the Finnmark Province in northern Norway, announced that, in the wake of the Kursk disaster, he was pressing for the re-establishment of a 1995 agreement between Oslo and Moscow to provide early notification of nuclear accidents, or accidents involving nuclear-powered or -armed vessels. Russia reportedly cancelled the agreement in 1997. Speaking to the BBC, Governor Kjonnov stated:

"If the worst was to happen, any fallout from the Kursk would reach me here in three hours. I heard about the disaster at 9.45 on the Monday morning, two days after it happened. Apart from the tragic loss of life, for me the worst part of the whole thing is this lapse of time. We need warning in as short a time as possible. I don't know whether the Governor of Murmansk, Yuri Evdokimov, knew about the Kursk any sooner than I did. I'm asking him to reinstate the warning system. He agrees with me we need it, but he has to have Moscow's approval before he can do anything. We know there are many reactors both working and redundant in this area. We are surrounded by activities that make the warning system necessary."

Report: Norway wants nuclear alert revived, BBC News Online, August 22.

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.