FINLAND'S POSITION ON SOVIET NUCLEAR TESTS AT NOVAYA ZEMLYA
The Government shares the concern about the effects of nuclear weapon tests at Novaya Zemlya on the Artic environment and the conditions of life in the North. The Treaty of 1963 Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water prohibits nuclear weapon tests in any environment where test explosions may cause radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the State conducting such test exposions.
Finland has recently expressed her concern to the Soviet Union about Soviet plans to increase underground tests in the Novaya Zemlya test-site because of a possible closing of the test-site in Central Asia. According to the registrations made at the Institute of Seismology of the University of Helsinki, the Soviet Union carried out 12 test explosions at Semipalatinsk and two at Novaya Zemlya in 1988 and seven test explosions at Semipalatinsk and none at Novaya Zemlya in 1989.
According to the Soviet Union the Defence and State Security Committee and the Ecology and Natural Resources Committee of the Congress of People's Deputies are studying the programme for nuclear weapon tests and the question of the test-site. No decision has been taken so far. The Soviet Union has unofficially expressed the need to take into consideration the public opinion in the Nordic countries on this matter.
In the Agreement of 1987 between Finland and the Soviet Union on Early Notification of Nuclear Accidents and on the Exchange of Information with regard to Nuclear Facilities, the oblication of notification also applies to other nuclear accidents that may cause radioactive discharges to be transported to the territory of the other Party. The obligation of notification also applies to abnormally high radiation readings in areas closer than 300 km from the border of the Parties.
As the initiator for a more effective co-operation in protecting the Arctic environment, Finland hopes that the Soviet Union refrains from underground nuclear weapon tests at Novaya Zemlya. At the same time, Finland hopes that the negotiations on a comprehensive and verifiable ban on nuclear weapon tests will lead to results. We also hope that the two agreements already signed in the 1970's between the Soviet Union and the United States on limiting the effect of underground nuclear weapon tests to 150 kilotons will be ratified this year.