The study visit to Finnish nuclear safety and security institutions by members of the SADC Nuclear Regulators Network and the Steering Committee is one of the most important activities under the implementation plan of the EU-funded Project MC 5.01/15B Support to the Southern African States in Nuclear Safety and Safeguards. It is organized by ISTC in cooperation with Environics Ltd., the CBRN Suomi Association, and Societal Security Solutions Ltd., Finland. The visit illustrates that the European Union offers its best practices to its African partners and serves as a vehicle for exchange of experience. Finland has a most impressive record in Europe in terms of proven expertise in nuclear safety and of impeccable normative and institutional framework for use of nuclear energy.

The visit began on 2 June 2019, in Helsinki, with a meeting at STUK, Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. Mr. Juha Rautjärvi, Chairperson, CBRN Suomi Association, presented to the STUK staff members the participants of the African group, coming from Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, DR Congo, Eswatini, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Ghana, and Zimbabwe. Mr. Aapo Tanskanen, Section Head, Administration, International Projects, greeted the African guests.

Mr. Jussi Heinonen, Director, Nuclear Waste Regulation and Safeguards, presented STUC’s mission to protect people, society, environment, and future generations from harmful effects of radiation. He also talked about the organization’s structure and its place in the nuclear landscape of Finland. STUC combines the responsibilities of an independent regulatory body that has issued more than 3000 licences, with the functions of an expert organization, as advisory services under international projects account for nearly 12 percent of the budget of the agency. For instance, STUC is a partner to ISTC in the implementation of the EU-funded Project 60: Support to the EU CBRN CoE for Eastern and Central Africa in Nuclear Security.

Dr. Olli Okko, Senior expert, presented the licensing and STUK's oversight of uranium production in Finland, paying special attention to the International Safeguards to Yellow Cake and stating that STUK is learning from African cooperation in that regard. Mr. Santtu Hellsten provided analysis of the 2018 Radiation Act that gave STUK the right to issue decrees with detailed requirements e.g. dose limits; safety license; financial guarantee, etc. Mr. Philip Holm presented the cross-authority co-operation to counter CBRN threats in Finland, referring specifically to the Interior Nuclear Detection Architecture and the border control of radioactive and nuclear material, executed as a collaboration between the Customs and STUK.

The Study visit will continue with discussions at the Helsinki City Rescue Department, to be followed by introduction of harbour security at Kotka-Hamina harbour, visit to Eurajoki site: TVO Nuclear Power Plant and Nuclear Waste Facilities, and other activities.