| FNI NEWS
Lars Rowe Obtains PhD on the History of the Pechenga
(12.02.2013) Last week, Senior Research Fellow
Lars Rowe successfully defended his Ph.D.
thesis on the history of the nickel plant in Pechenga. In his thesis, Dr. Rowe
has aimed to answer the following main question: Why do Russian industrial
emissions continue to harm Norwegian territory?
nickel plant in Pechenga, just a few kilometers from the Norwegian border, is
still emitting large quantities of industrial waste. Norwegian authorities
have, since before the collapse of the Soviet Union, unsuccessfully attempted
to limit transboundary pollution from the Russian nickel industry. In 2010 the
Norilsk Nikel concern, Pechenganikel's owner, withdrew from further cooperation
with the Norwegians. The so-called "death clouds" from the east remain a
problematic issue in the Norwegian-Russian bilateral
The strategic importance of nickel
thesis, Lars Rowe discusses the reasons behind Norway's failure to effect an
improvement in this matter. He traces the long lines, starting in 1920 when
Pechenga/Petsamo was ceded to Finland and subsequently industrialized by the
Canadian nickel giant INCO. Rowe then examines why Germany controlled Finnish
Petsamo during four war years and why the Soviet Union re-annexed the area in
1944. The common denominator was the strategic value of nickel: it was an
important input in both powers' military industry.
The nickel plant in Pechenga became part of the Soviet
military-industrial complex after World War II. Its production increased, and
the polluting effects were severe. When Norwegian authorities pressed for
discharge reductions from the mid-1980s onwards, they were met with a Soviet
tradition that emphasized industrial rather than environmental goals. Rowe
demonstrates how conflicting objectives remained a major obstacle to the
modernization of the nickel industry in Pechenga throughout the 1990s and until
2010. The two countries were never able to find a common ground: Russian
industrial ambitions and Norwegian environmental concerns are simply not
reconcilable, Rowe concludes.
Dr. Rowe wrote his Ph.D.
thesis at FNI, to which he has been affiliated since 2002. Currently, he is on
a one-year leave at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies. Lars Rowe is
the third FNI researcher to defend a Ph.D. the past two
|The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an
independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental,
energy, and resource management politics.
The Institute maintains a
multi-disciplinary approach, with main emphasis on political science,
economics, and international law.