SEOUL, South Korea – The United States and Sweden today announced the successful removal of plutonium from Sweden. The announcement was made during this year’s Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea where world leaders are meeting this week to renew commitments to global nuclear security. The plutonium shipment was completed by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Global Threat Reduction Initiative and was the first shipment of plutonium to the U.S. under this program.
“Eliminating plutonium from Sweden supports President Obama’s aggressive nuclear security agenda,” said Anne Harrington, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. “The successful completion of this mission is a true testament to our shared commitment with Sweden to improving global nuclear security.”
More than three kilograms of plutonium was removed, including Swedish, U.K., and U.S. origin material stemming from former research and development activities in Sweden. Prior to removal, the plutonium was securely stored in a special vault under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. In order to complete this project, NNSA and Sweden needed to develop facilities to stabilize and repackage the plutonium materials. The mission to remove plutonium from Sweden was initiated in 2009 and completed in 2012.
“The United States and Sweden have a long history of joint cooperation in the area of nuclear security. Sweden was one of the first countries to send its highly enriched uranium to the United States for disposition under the U.S. Nuclear Material Removal Program back in 1996,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Mark Brzezinski in an official statement. “Today we announce together that Sweden has become the first country to send surplus plutonium to the United States for disposition. The completion of this important project is an amazing accomplishment for both Sweden and the U.S. that brings us one step closer to improving nuclear security worldwide and is a key deliverable from the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit.”
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.