ABSTRACT

Radioactive pollution in Russia and Eastern and Central Europe has been designated one of the major environmental and security policy challenges in the European Arctic region in the post-Cold War period. There is widespread nuclear activity in the area, both civilian and military, particularly in Northwestern Russia. Hazards stem from unsatisfactory storage of large quantities of radioactive waste, decommissioned nuclear submarines awaiting dismantling, and the continued operation of unsafe nuclear power plants. As seen in Chapter 2, extensive Western efforts, in particular from Norway and the USA, have aimed to reduce the threat of the potential spread of radioactive pollution from Northwestern Russia since the early 1990s. The main question in this chapter concerns how Russian and Western discourses have contributed to shaping perceptions of nuclear safety problems, as well as concrete endeavours directed at their solution, in various international regimes. Empirically, the chapter draws on my participation in the evaluation of the Norwegian Plan of Action for the Implementation of Report no. 34 (1993-1994) to the Storting on Nuclear Activities and Chemical Weapons in Areas Adjacent to our Northern Borders (Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1995), hereafter referred to as the Plan of Action (Hønneland and Moe 2000). This evaluation involved interviews by the author with a range of participants in activities financed over the Plan of Action on both the Russian and the Norwegian side.