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FM Timo Soini: “We Are Living in a World Where the Risk of Terrorism is All Too Real For Our Countries”

The Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini is greeting Ambassador Jari Luoto and the GICNT co-chairs, Ms. Christine Martin of the US and Mr. Vadim Smirnov of Russia. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Foreign Minister Timo Soini couldn’t imagine the horror and destruction a dirty nuclear bomb would cause, for example, in the center of Helsinki.

“It’s good to be aware of such possibility but one should not give away to fear and poison,” Soini said while speaking to the press after opening the meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in Helsinki that had gathered decision-makers from all over the globe—88 countries to be exact.

Even if efforts against nuclear terrorism aren’t visible in the everyday life of Finns, according to Soini, it’s good that the people are aware that governments and different organizations are working in the background to keep people safe. “Finland is happy to be involved in this sort of activity and in matters that increase the peace.”

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“We are facing groups and individual actors inspired by extremist thoughts that have no moral constraint of using whatever means they have available for malicious purposes.” – Foreign Minister Timo Soini

Dangerous waste

According to Soini, the international cooperation is especially important to ensure that nuclear waste doesn’t find it’s way in the hands of terrorists.

Finland has four nuclear reactors in two nuclear power plants that naturally produce nuclear waste. All nuclear waste that is produced in Finland must be disposed within its borders as well. There are several temporary high-security disposal sites but also the world’s first permanent disposal site for commercial reactor fuel is being built in Eurajoki, 420 meters underground in western Finland.

“As a country with an expanding program of nuclear energy production and the first country to build a geological final disposal site for nuclear waste, we feel a responsibility for the best possible implementation of safety, safeguards and security standards. Participating in international cooperation towards these goals is a natural element of our policy,” Soini said in his opening remarks.

Soini said that “we are living in a world where the risk of terrorism is all too real for our countries.” “We are facing groups and individual actors inspired by extremist thoughts that have no moral constraint of using whatever means they have available for malicious purposes—even nuclear or radiological material. We are facing the risks worldwide and this is why we need international cooperation.”

Soini reminded the listeners that Finland is a strong supporter of nuclear non-proliferation and enhanced nuclear security. “We were among the countries pushing for the Treaty on Nuclear Non-Proliferation 50 years ago and were the first country in the world to sign in 1971 and ratify in 1972 the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency),” Soini said.

“Finland regularly contributes to collaborative projects: we are supporting the initiative against illicit trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials in Ukraine and we have joined forces with The Stimson Center in a study and outreach project on improving global radiological source security,” he said.

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