The beginning of autumn in the global Arctic zone was marked by the September NATO exercises in the Barents Sea. The armed forces of the USA, Great Britain, Norway and Denmark are involved in the Arctic maneuvers. The main purpose of the exercise is declared “to demonstrate commitment to freedom of navigation in the region.”
Russia has already reacted to the start of joint exercises of the Western coalition by starting to monitor the actions of a detachment of warships of the joint naval forces of NATO.
At the same time, the Russian expert community notes that the declared goal of the exercises on freedom of navigation in the region sounds rather strange. Russia has never impeded foreign ships and ships and, in general, shipping in the Arctic.
At the same time, NATO’s true goals are fully understood. The alliance has officially declared that Russia is its main enemy. NATO is pursuing a policy of strengthening the so-called eastern borders, deploying additional groupings in the Baltics, and voicing plans to deploy American marines in Norway on a permanent basis. Of course, the purpose of all these actions is an attempt to consolidate the containment of Russia’s military presence in the Arctic.
And if in the military sphere the Western countries demonstrate unity in issues of confrontation with Russia, then what about the peaceful development of the polar latitudes? There are examples of full-fledged cooperation between Russia, Norway and other Scandinavian countries. Take, for example, the sphere of ecology. More than 25 years of working together to ensure the safe disposal of nuclear waste on the Kola Peninsula shows how reason prevails over ambition. More than 120 old nuclear submarines storing life-threatening spent nuclear fuel in reactors no longer pose a threat to the Arctic ecosystem. Despite the financial participation of other countries, primarily Norway, Russia itself covered the main costs.
Currently, the Russian state corporation “Rosatom” and the FSUE “Atomflot”, which is part of its structure, with the participation of authorized organizations of Norway (Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority – DSA), Sweden (Swedish Radiation Safety Authority – SSM), the Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology – IFE), as well as the diversified Norwegian company “Nordisk Sikkerhet AS”, are working on the modernization of the equipment of the physical protection system in the area of handling nuclear materials and radioactive substances.
Russian Rosatom reached an agreement with IFE on the issue of ensuring nuclear and radiation safety of the dismantling of the floating technical base Lepse (before it was towed from its parking lot for disposal several years ago, environmentalists called Lepse a potential drowning a “radioactive nightmare”). At the expense of the Norwegian side, instruments for spectrometric analysis will be purchased for working with solid radioactive waste. DSA and SSM received guarantees of long-term technical cooperation in the framework of the project for the removal of spent nuclear fuel from storage facilities at Andreeva Bay. A project for the supply, installation and commissioning of equipment for the zone of handling nuclear materials and radioactive substances of FSUE Atomflot was implemented, funded by DSA in the amount of 2 million 500 thousand NOK. In 2020 DSA and SSM will additionally allocate 350 thousand USD for projects.
Thus, Rosa’s cooperation with Scandinavian partners in ensuring radiation safety demonstrates the positive dynamics of international cooperation in the Barents Region.
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