By Dr. Cameron Chai
Sweden and the United States have reported that they have removed plutonium from Sweden successfully. This was announced in the Nuclear Security Summit conducted this year in South Korea.
Plutonium stored in special vault
As part of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the supply of plutonium to the US was completed. This was the first plutonium shipment to the United States under this program.
According to the Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, Anne Harrington, plutonium removal from Sweden is in line with President Obama’s aggressive nuclear security agenda. The completion of this plutonium mission is a testimony to the commitment of the US and Sweden in enhancing the nuclear security across the world.
The US and Sweden removed over 3 kg of plutonium. Under the terms of the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, this plutonium was stored safely in a special vault, before it is removed. With an aim of completing this project, Sweden and NNSA required the facility development in order to perform stabilization and repackaging of the plutonium materials. During 2009, Sweden and the US commenced this mission of removing plutonium from Sweden and completed the same in 2012.
Mark Brzezinski, the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden stated that the US and Sweden have been in joint collaboration in the nuclear security for a long time. Highly enriched uranium was sent to the US from Sweden for disposition, according to the US Nuclear Material Removal Program during 1996. He added that Sweden is now the first country to ship excess of plutonium to the US for disposition. Both the US and Sweden have achieved in enhancing the global nuclear security, through this project completion, he said.