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The Heavy Water War

Why wouldn't Kristin Halvorsen tell who Norway sells heavy water to?


[1. September 2006] Anyone who has seen Kirk Douglas sneak up the slopes on Rjukan in the movie Helter in Telemark (1965) knows that heavy water is strategically important and can be used to produce nuclear weapons. Those who have learned the fate of Israeli Mordechai Vanunu also know that Norway has been one of the most important contributors to Israel's development of nuclear weapons. A large-scale sale of 20 tonnes of heavy water in 1960 and 1970 started the process that has enabled the descendants of the victims of Hitler's mass extermination to use weapons of mass destruction against others. SV has been committed to providing alert and protection to Vanunu in Norway.

Ny Tid revealed last week that Norway has exported heavy water to other countries until 2004, 16 years after Norsk Hydro shut down its production of heavy water at Rjukan. Norwegian exports of heavy water have not been mentioned in the reports to the Storting on arms exports since 1988. Since the end of July, Minister of Finance Kristin Halvorsen has had an inquiry on her desk where Ny Tid complains about the secrecy of information about heavy water exports.

This issue is not unknown to the political leadership in the ministry, they are well used to releasing other controversial information about Norwegian trade. For example, the media and voluntary organizations have repeatedly asked for the release of, for example, which Norwegian companies trade with the regime in Burma. The ministry has willingly released this information, even though the companies feel left out.

Senior adviser Anne Kari Lunde at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said after Ny Tid's article to Aftenposten that all exports of heavy water after 1989 have been about either upgrade jobs or research. Ny Tid has challenged the ministry to document this by publishing who has received the heavy water and how much of it has returned to Norway after upgrade jobs. Financial

the ministry has decided to release some information, but will still keep the buyer and seller of the heavy water secret.

For one reason or another, the SV leader considers that those who export heavy water deserve protection from public access that companies that trade with Burma do not deserve. Halvorsen got his bureaucrats to send Ny Tid a polite rejection answer, stating that some of the information we have asked for will be published, but only for some of the years in the period. The actors who have exported and received the heavy water must remain secret for all the years. That this is good SV policy, we have a hard time understanding.

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