The arms race during the cold war led to the production of large quantities of nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union. A great number of these were stored under poor safety conditions, endangering health and the environment.
Norway was the first country to suggest concrete collaboration projects to the Russians and eventually other countries also started collaborating with Russia in order to clear up the inheritance from the cold war. In recent years there has been substantial international collaboration in Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet states, which has reduced the risk of accidents, radioactive contamination and terrorism using radioactive material.
Many international stakeholders have contributed to the coordinated efforts and achieved satisfactory results. In 1996 an international group of experts was formed, the Contact Expert Group (CEG), under the International Atomic Energy Agency, in order to assist Russia. Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, a Global Partnership was formed,to prevent terrorism and the use of weapons of mass destruction. The member countries committed themselves to using 20 billion dollars over a ten-year period, primarily focusing on nuclear safety problems in Russia and the former Soviet states.
Substantial work was done through international collaboration using funds administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Norway and a number of other stakeholders contribute funding and resources to resolve nuclear safety problems in Russia and Ukraine.
In the course of the last 20 years, Norway has allocated almost NOK 2 billion to nuclear safety work in Russia, Ukraine and former Soviet states. At the same time, it is well known that the countries themselves have made great efforts. International collaboration and coordination has been very important for Norway in order to achieve good results.