Export controls of nuclear material prevent the spread of nuclear weapons

In accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the aim of the nuclear safeguards is to limit the spread of nuclear weapons as well as to ensure that nuclear material, equipment and technology are only used for peaceful purposes. Currently, the NPT has 189 signatory states. The nuclear-free states accept the international supervision and agree upon it with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The inspectors of the IAEA and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) supervise the international transfer of nuclear material. In Finland, the national monitoring of nuclear material is the responsibility of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.

The export and import of nuclear material is subject to a licence. Import licences are applied for from the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, as provided in the Nuclear Energy Act (990/1987). The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is also responsible for granting export licences for dual-use items.

The Zangger Committee operates at international level. The committee, which has 36 members, was established to harmonise the interpretations of the export control policy laid down in the NPT. The group of nuclear exporting countries (Nuclear Suppliers Group, NSG) has worked to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons by means of conditions for export of nuclear material in such areas as nuclear safeguards and security measures in the receiving country. The NSG has 48 members. Finland belongs to both the Zangger Committee and the NSG.

Bilateral agreements complement international conventions

The Finnish nuclear energy industry is heavily dependent on imports. Finland has no production of nuclear fuel or industry manufacturing the key systems and components used in nuclear facilities.

Bilateral agreements promote cooperation between Finland and its partner countries regarding research on the use of nuclear energy, the transfer of equipment, technology and nuclear material between the countries, and the promotion of nuclear and radiation safety.

In the nuclear energy sector, most supplier countries make cooperation and deliveries subject to the condition that they and the receiving country have a treaty laying down detailed provisions on compliance with international conventions and various international recommendations in their bilateral relations. Finland is a party to all of the international nuclear conventions relevant to Finland.

Finland has made bilateral cooperation agreements on nuclear energy matters with, for example, Russia, Sweden, France, Denmark, Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

More information: juho.korteniemi(at)gov.fi, jaakko.louvanto(at)gov.fi