‘We have no control over the plutonium’: agency
Published: 27 Apr 12 08:06 CET
When Sweden recently shipped plutonium to the US, foreign minister Carl Bildt said that it was to be destroyed. However, the agreements show that Sweden no longer has any control over what happens with the substance, according to a report by Sveriges Radio (SR).
“In reality we won’t ever know what happens to it. It is up to the US Department of Energy now,” said Lars Hildingsson of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten) to SR.
According to the agency, the Americans had promised Sweden that they would destroy the plutonium.
“But the responsibility is no longer Sweden’s. We have no control of it any more,” Hildingsson told SR.
The plutonium, which Carl Bildt in March revealed had been shipped to the US “for final and safe disposal”, was allegedly shipped with utmost discretion from the shores of Sweden.
Bildt pointed to this cooperation as being a “concrete contribution” by Sweden in the efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear material.
According to the minister, Sweden’s cooperation should serve as support and inspiration to other countries.
Ultimately, he wrote in daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) at the time, it would hopefully lead to an international cooperation in terms of ridding the world of nuclear material.
“Together, we must do all we can to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world, to prevent the further spreading and so that they never, ever, shall be used,” Bildt wrote in DN.
However, according to the agency, the US has made no promises to destroy the plutonium, the signed agreements only mention a guarantee that the plutonium will not be used by the military.
However, Bildt told SR that he sees no reason to mistrust the Americans.
“It is the nature of international agreements that you place trust in one another. We have no reason to believe anything but that it will be destroyed in the manner we have agreed,” he said.
The agency further told SR that Sweden still retains a very small amount of the dangerous substance in the country. It had not been deemed safely packaged for transport to the US.
Both the ministry of the environment and the foreign ministry have been informed of this, the agency told SR, but Bildt told the broadcaster that he hadn't heard anything of any remaining plutonium in Sweden.
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