Our work to enhance safety

Nuclear activities in Sweden are not allowed to contribute to international proliferation of nuclear weapons. This is why the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority exercises control over nuclear material present in Sweden and monitors exports of nuclear material and nuclear products. We also work together with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA) and the European Commission.

Sweden participates in international co-operation to prevent nuclear material and nuclear equipment from falling into the wrong hands. 'Nuclear material' mainly refers to uranium and plutonium, that is, material used in nuclear weapons. Nuclear equipment is special equipment used by the nuclear power industry. All parties that deal with nuclear material are required to notify us of this while also keeping records of their holdings. Manufacturers of nuclear equipment must also notify us of this.

The facilities that handle the largest quantities of nuclear material in Sweden are the following: nuclear power plants; the central interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel, or Clab, located in Oskarshamn; the Westinghouse fuel fabrication plant; and Studsvik. Even institutions of higher education and industries (for instance) using relatively small quantities of nuclear material are required to notify us about this.

We keep records of all stakeholders’ possession of nuclear material. We also perform inspections at the facilities in order to verify the licence holders' respective nuclear accounting record. We perform checks to verify that the material is where it is said to be located and that it is being used appropriately.

We also require the facilities to report other kinds of information, for instance how all the buildings at the facilities are being used.

We perform reviews of exports

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority also reviews nuclear material and nuclear products prior to export from Sweden and decides whether the export is allowed. Swedish stakeholders are only allowed to export nuclear material and nuclear equipment for peaceful purposes. We determine on a case by case basis whether the export will be permitted.

In some cases, we need to use intelligence information in order to determine whether the product will solely be used for peaceful applications. We work together with the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI), the military intelligence service 'MUST', ISP, which is the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls, as well as the Swedish Security Service (‘Säpo’) and Swedish Customs. We also work together with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 

Working together with the IAEA and EU bodies

The IAEA, which is the International Atomic Energy Agency, performs inspections of nuclear facilities in Sweden. The IAEA, as an agency of the United Nations, has the powers to perform inspections here since Sweden has signed the NPT, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The IAEA checks to ensure that Sweden fulfils its commitments under the NPT. These inspections are often preannounced well in advance, but may sometimes be unannounced. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has a mandate from the Government of Sweden to represent the country in connection with inspections by the IAEA.

Inspectors from the European Commission also perform inspections of Swedish nuclear facilities. These inspections have taken place ever since Sweden joined the European Union and signed the Euratom Agreement. Inspectors from the EU check to ensure that Swedish facilities are using their nuclear material in the way stipulated by the Agreement.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, the IAEA and European Commission work together in connection with these inspections. If we, the IAEA or the European Commission should identify failures during the inspections, we first find out what went wrong. Usually, we receive sufficient explanations from the persons in charge at the site. If the response is insufficient, we conduct a follow-up; for example a new compliance inspection at a later point in time. If serious failures are identified, we issue an injunction, which for instance could order the facility to introduce improved procedures.

Further information