Cooperation with Ukraine strengthened

Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine which began in 2022 has changed the country’s radiation and nuclear safety situation. In 2023, the Nordic radiation authorities collaborated extensively to improve the safety situation in Ukraine. The cooperation also aimed to ensure that the authorities had up-to-date information about what was happening in the area.

In 2023, STUK strengthened its cooperation with the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) and its technical support organization State Scientific Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (SSTC NRS). The cooperation resulted into the launch of the Finnish Ukrainian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Cooperation (FURN) development project 
funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The project is implemented in cooperation with the Nordic authorities.
The first objective of the FURN project is to develop the competence of the Ukrainian radiation and nuclear safety authority. STUK participates as an expert in the projects of the Norwegian-Ukrainian authority cooperation programme, which develops the Ukrainian regulatory framework and authority activities, and searches for solutions to the acute problems in Ukraine. 

Another key objective of the FURN project is the delivery of a new radiation monitoring vehicle to Ukraine. STUK is implementing the project in cooperation with the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish authorities. The radiation monitoring vehicle which will be delivered from Finland to Ukraine is already the second delivered vehicle. The previous vehicle which was delivered in 2011, has reached the end of its service life, but the need for functioning radiation measurement equipment has increased with the war. STUK will equip the new radiation monitoring vehicle even better and ensure that the Ukrainians receive the necessary commissioning training and additional training. The vehicle is scheduled to be in the use of the authorities in Ukraine in 2026. 

"Finding out about the radiation and nuclear safety situation in Ukraine and the challenges faced by the authorities in the country in war has been a new kind of challenge, and the work has felt particularly relevant. The Ukrainians’ ability to cope with and recover from setbacks and their belief in a better tomorrow have made a big impression. The meetings with the Finnish and European operators involved in supporting Ukraine have also strengthened my confidence that Ukraine wants to become part of the European value community," says Aapo Tanskanen, STUK’s Principal Advisor, International Cooperation.

STUK has already delivered equipment assistance to Ukraine, including electronic dosimeters for measuring personal radiation doses in 2022. In the summer of 2023, STUK planned and implemented a donation of a 3D laser scanning system from Finland to Ukraine. The procedure included careful planning of the transportation of the scanner system and exercises to ensure efficient use of the equipment. Thanks to careful implementation and cooperation, the donation was a success and a milestone in the development of the area’s technical capabilities.

"Laser scanning equipment can create accurate three-dimensional virtual models of different buildings and spaces. Virtual models are currently used for a variety of purposes. They can be used for planning of modification and maintenance work as well as for training personnel. In Ukraine, for example, laser scanning and virtual models could be used to decommission facilities dating from the Soviet era. They could also be used to reduce radiation doses from decommissioning work," says Tanskanen.

Cooperation with the European Emergency Response Coordination Centre 

In addition to the Nordic countries, STUK has worked closely with the European Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) in relation to the situation in Ukraine. The centre manages and coordinates assistance missions in the event of major accidents and disasters. The war in Ukraine has increased the risk of radiation accidents, so the importance of cooperation with the authorities and the support provided by STUK has been highlighted. 

In the second half of 2023, STUK was primarily responsible for providing expert support to the ERCC on radiation and nuclear threats. STUK experts prepared situation assessments of radiation safety-relevant changes in Ukraine and organized a radiation hazard exercise for ERCC personnel.  The exercise scenario for autumn 2023 was a nuclear power plant accident in Finland. The feedback from the exercise and the observations made during it will be used to further develop the expert service.

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