Sweden has been a global leader on nonproliferation, and was one of the first countries to return highly enriched uranium based spent fuel under the U.S. Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel (FRR SNF) Acceptance Program, which began in 1996 as part of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). NNSA has worked collaboratively with Sweden to remove all weapons-usable nuclear material from the country.
Plutonium Removal from Sweden:
At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, the United States and Sweden announced the successful removal of plutonium from Sweden. This shipment was completed by NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and was the first shipment of plutonium to the United States under this program. The mission to remove plutonium from Sweden was initiated in 2009 and completed in 2012.
The plutonium was located at AB SVAFO facility in Studsvik, about 100 km south of Stockholm. Over 3 kilograms of plutonium was removed and included both Swedish and U.S. origin material. Prior to removal, the plutonium was securely stored in a special vault under IAEA safeguards. In order to complete this project, NNSA and Sweden needed to develop facilities to stabilize and repackage the plutonium materials.
This inaugural shipment of plutonium under GTRI involved the following, multi-year processes:
The stabilization, packaging and shipment of plutonium presents unique challenges due to its radioactivity and pyrophoricity. Other challenges of plutonium handling include: