‘NATO roulette’: Norwegian port to host nuclear-powered US subs despite local objections
A municipal port in Norway is set to receive nuclear-powered submarines from NATO after the only naval base in the area was sold and decommissioned – but local politicians and environmental activists aren't on board with the plan.
When the Olavsvern base in Tromso was sold to private investors in 2009, pressure mounted from NATO to find an alternative point of arrival for reactor-driven vessels, other than Haakonsvern in Bergen, which is currently the only approved port in the country.
Now it appears a “temporary solution” to the problem has been found at Grotsund in Tromso, where the country's Armed Forces have been told to prepare for the arrival of US submarines, Klassekampen reported.
Military spokesman Brynjar Stordal told the newspaper that the forces had been given “political instructions” to prepare for the reception and that they are working in collaboration with the municipality. “We don't meddle with the politics,” Stordal told the newspaper.
Local politician and chairman of the board of Tromso Harbor company Jarle Heitmann said having the submarines dock there is “not a good solution” and that people would “rather not see the port used for this purpose.”
Tromso has been strong-armed into accepting the nuclear subs, believes Frode Pleym, leader of Greenpeace Norway.Also on rt.com ‘They used to be Vikings’: Norwegian PM & ministers earn praise & ridicule for festive dance video
“Allowing nuclear-powered submarines in Norwegian ports and waters is playing Russian roulette with people and nature. Or more appropriately in this case, NATO roulette,” he told the NRK channel.
“This is about the fact that the government and parliament do not dare to say no to the US,” he added. Pleym stressed that Tromso has appealed for Norway to sign onto the UN nuclear ban and is against hosting both nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered vessels.
Moscow was also less than enthused by the decision to allow NATO submarines to stop at Grotsund when the plan was first announced last year, with Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying that the move was “contrary to the historical traditions of neighborly relations and cooperation in the Arctic” and accusing Oslo of continuing to “escalate tension and increase the risk of military action.”
Unfortunately for locals who are against the plan, the Tromso municipality is bound by the Port Act, which means it has a duty to receive all types of war vessels.Also on rt.com Coronavirus scares Finnish military away from joint NATO drills in Norway
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