Sweden - Plutonium Investigation n°14/15

New Proposals For Reprocessing

   The operators of Sellafield, BNFL, have been criticized by both Nordic politicians and the international environmental movement for promoting plans for Sweden to send further spent fuel to the UK for treatment. In December 1998 the Swedish environment minister called for an end to releases of radioactive substances into the sea in support of the international agreement completed at Sintra in Portugal, in July 1998, as part of the OSPAR commission on discharges to the marine environment. Based on leaked official documents, Greenpeace Sweden revealed in March 1999 the extent of the negotiations between UK and Swedish authorities for new reprocessing contracts - to cover research reactor fuel from R1 - which if implemented would undermine the official policy of not separating out plutonium from Swedish spent fuel.

In December 1998 SKI received an application from SVAFO AB - a daughter company of all the Swedish nuclear power operators - for a license to export 4.8 tons of spent nuclear fuel from R1 to the UK. Wastes from the reprocessing of the fuel should be sent back to Sweden. BNFL has offered to exchange small amounts of additional high level waste for larger volumes of intermediate and low level wastes ("Curie-Swap"). The Riksdag has on a number of occasions confirmed that Swedish nuclear waste management must be directed toward storage, rather than reprocessing. It has also been clearly stated that management of Swedish nuclear waste must take place within the nation's boundaries. A decision by Government is expected to be taken by autumn 1999.

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