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Plansor Oy > Blog > 2017

Since the 1990’s actors on non-proliferation issues in the Nordic countries have gathered to discuss of non-proliferation issues. This year the seminar had the theme “Additional protocol 20 years” and a lot to update since the previous seminar was arranged in 2010. The seminar had around 50 participants representing Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish organizations as well as the international organizations (IAEA, European Commission). The seminar was arrangad by SSM (Sweden) this time.

From a distance the Nordic countries, Scandinavia, is considered to be coherent area. However, when taking a closer look differences often emerge. One of the separating issues is the fact that Norway is not part of the European Union and works only with IAEA while other Nordic countries are under the radar of Euratom also.

Despite this difference, the main theme of Additional Protocol and its impacts to the operations, was concluded to have improved the confidence on non-proliferation without significant change of the amount of work. In many cases the amount of inspections was decreased due to the Integrated Safeguards and State Level Approach taken by the IAEA.

Other differentiating issue is the scope of the use of nuclear energy. Sweden and Finland have power and research reactors at different life cycle states and final spent fuel repository projects going on. On the other hand, Norway  has mainly oversight of research reactors. The geological disposal places new kind of challenge to the non-proliferation. Until now one has had the option to reverify nuclear material if needed, i.e. identification of the spent fuel assembly. The idea of final disposal is to bury the assemblies in the bedrock so reverifying is not any more viable option. To meet this challenge more emphasis is placed to analyze the material before disposal. SKB (Sweden) has identified variety of techniques for a practical measurement system. Techniques are being developed also in Finland, like Passive Gamma Tomography by STUK and Helsinki Institute of Physics.

It was very nice to hear how varied the needs and actions are within the Nordic region. Sharing experiences has always been an asset within the Nordic countries and seems that this “good practice” continues to live also for non-proliferation.

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I had the privilege to share my facility operator experiences to the new comers on the IAEA Interregional Training Course in UAE.

Developing a legislation and requirements for use of nuclear energy is not just a top down exercise. Of course, a lot of the requirements come from international agreements (like INFCIRC/140 Non-proliferation treaty), but a lot resides on the operations conducted with. Each country and operator have an unique set of nuclear energy applications so requirements vary.

However, some universal concepts for managing safety, security and safeguards exist. IAEA has described the Safeguards by Design (SBD) concept in specific guides. This concept includes also the 3 S’s, safety, security and safeguards, meaning a balance between the three aspects.

My experience is that application of these abbreviations is just business as usual, communicating and sharing relevant information between parties sooner than later.

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