• Short Summary

    Canada has called for international safety rules to cover nuclear powered earth satellites. It is?

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    GV INTERIOR: United Nations sub-committee of committee for peaceful use of space in session.

    SV: Canadian Ambassador to UN, William Barton.

    GV: Committee in session.

    MV: Swedish Ambassador to UN, Anders Thunborg.

    GV: Committee in session.

    MV EXTERIOR: Canadian Foreign Minister Don Jamieson speaking to newsmen.

    BARTON: "Let me say, first of all, that we have no wish to comment further in this sub-committee on the particular circumstances of the landing of Cosmos 954 in Canada. We have, from an early stage, been in close touch with the Soviet authorities, who have provided some information of the technical characteristics of the satellite which could assist us in the on-going search for radio-active debris. We've requested further information. We intend to continue to discuss these and other aspects of the incident, including liability and compensation aspects, through bi-lateral channels."

    THUNBORG:"Satellites with nuclear devices in orbit close to the Earth can cause particularly serious damage. That is why safety measures will have developed without delay. Until an investigation regarding the risk involved has been carried out, and safety measures have been elaborated, we would urge those states which intend to launch satellites with nuclear reactors to observe a moratorium in putting such reactors into earth orbit."

    JAMIESON:"The next step is very clearly, to pursue it through the established channels to make claims for compensation. We have also notified the Soviet Union of our judgement that it is their satellite that has been involved."

    REPORTER:"Could you put a price tag on that?"

    JAMIESON:"No, it is not possible at this point, other than to tell you that we have several (indistinct) that we know we have exceeded a million dollars in search costs now, but it may go substantially higher."

    Canada has been in touch with the Soviet Union as called for by the 1968 United Nations agreement on the rescue of astronauts, the return of astronauts and the return of objects launched into space. The agreement says "expenses incurred in fulfilling obligations to recover and return a space object or its component part ..shall be borne by the launching authority." A wide ranging search of Canada's North West Territories was launched after the Soviet satellite fell somewhere in the region. Debris was finally located and recovered from the western end of the Great Slave Lake and along the Thelon River.

    Initials JS/RH/2130


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Canada has called for international safety rules to cover nuclear powered earth satellites. It is also to seek compensation from the Soviet Union to pay for recovery costs of their Cosmos 954 satellite which disintegrated over Canada's North West Territories last month. The call for the safety rules came at a meeting of a sub-committee of the United Nations Committee on peaceful uses of outer space. Earlier in the day, Canada's External Affairs Secretary Mr. Don jamieson told pressmen he would be seeking compensation under the terms of a 1968 United Nations agreement on recovery of..astronauts and space equipment.

    SYNOPSIS: Canada's U.N. delegate William Barton cited the case of the Soviet Cosmos satellite.

    Sweden's delegate, Mr. Anders Thunborg, spoke next.

    Earlier in the, Mr. Jamieson had spoken to Pressmen about compensation.

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