Monitoring compliance of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is our most important task and a solid foundation for a safer world. The CTBT is one of the key pillars in global disarmament efforts. It is therefore a concern that Russia decided to de-ratify the Treaty in 2023. This as well as the unrest elsewhere in the world, influences the work of the governing bodies overseeing the verification regime. Moving forward, securing the treaty and the technical work to detect nuclear tests will be an important task. 

New technological solutions are attracting attention! We are making use of our technology and expertise from the CTBT to document explosions in the vicinity of nuclear power plants in Ukraine. Our efforts have gained international attention, along with the documentation that the Kakhovka Dam was intentionally destroyed, putting the civilian population at great risk. The UN has asked for the documentation which could prove useful in a potential investigation of war crimes.  

The correlation between our technologies and their capacity to align results with assessments of war crimes and compliance with ceasefires has become increasingly apparent in 2023. Knowledge comes with responsibility, and the value of independent facts is increasing. Our impartiality and professional expertise provide credibility and attention when reporting our observations to the world. 

In 2023, the combination of our knowledge and technology with local initiative for road safety led to the successful verification of a solution for warning of avalanches over the road in Holmbuktura. In the project, we collaborated closely with Troms and Finnmark county council. This innovative system, rooted in fiber technology and event detection, serves as an excellent example of repurposing our core expertise! 

The COP28 climate conference brought together all nations around a shared ambition to transition away from the use of fossil fuels. An important measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is carbon capture and storage, where Norway is taking a leading role. The first project is the Northern Lights facility off the coast of Hordaland. Our research has contributed to monitoring solutions that enhance storage safety. This, coupled with our experience in verification work, enables us to contribute to trust in the storage solutions.  

An earthquake coupled with other natural disasters represents a typical black swan event, an incident with low probability but high impact. Cascading natural disasters are at the core of the EU project MEDiate, which examines how we can safeguard societies against multi-hazards, a challenge that multiple authorities take very seriously. In the project, our partners from Nice, Essex, Oslo, and Iceland are all bringing forth their challenges. One of the expected outcomes of the project is a new methodology for assessing the probability and damage potential of concurrent events. 

Our core expertise lies in understanding the movements of the earth; natural and man-made, and describing them in real-time through automatic recordings and analyses based on proprietary software and algorithms. We have been doing this for over 50 years! 

NORSAR continues to focus on this one goal; contributing to a safer society through outstanding research on the movements of the earth. Our employees are from all over the world, hold international doctorates, and have worldwide networks for collaboration. The application of our knowledge is expanding, and we contribute across various fields. Excellent teamwork in 2023 gave valuable results – this is promising for the future! 

Knowledge comes with responsibilities! 

Anne Strømmen Lycke