2019:06 The Changing Landscape of Non-proliferation and the EU


Maintaining competence and knowledge within the nuclear non-proliferation area is a necessity for Sweden to keep its international commitments of peaceful use of all nuclear material. As part of this work the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) made a call for research proposals related to Non-Proliferation for projects focused on the interplay between national and international legal aspects within safeguards, export control and illicit trafficking. The call resulted in SSM accepting a proposal from Faculty of Law at Uppsala university. The purpose of the project is to broaden the knowledge of the Euratom Treaty and its development within SSM.


The report is divided into three parts. In the first part the author analyses the nuclear safeguards from a multilevel governance perspective; the international level, European level, and national level. The specific situation in four countries (Sweden, Finland, Germany and Spain) are used to exemplify how these levels interact and the different role of the Member State. The author found that whether a country chooses to have a national authority is a combination of tradition, timing and geopolitical situation. Furthermore, distinction between different types of governance was discussed where nuclear safeguards can be best illustrated as the combination of ‘direct’ and ‘networked’ modes.

The second part of the report is about the inner and outer ‘face’ of EU nuclear non-proliferation, examine what are the similarities and differences between the two. The final part examines some implications regarding safeguard in the light of Brexit. The author found that Brexit would mean a downscaling of the safeguards in the UK because of the exit from Euratom. A discussed possibility is for the UK to remain within Euratom, while leaving EU, which is legally possible yet not uncomplicated. The author finds that a full-fledged, exit is to be preferred, both for the United Kingdom and the other member states.


Within nuclear non-proliferation SSM operates in several areas such as safeguards, export control and illicit trafficking, all with complex interplay with technical, political and legal aspects. SSM has a good collaboration with several Swedish universities of research focuses mainly on measurement techniques within nuclear safeguards. Political science and legal aspects of nuclear non-proliferation have been identified as an area where SSM can benefit from an enhanced collaboration, with a need to identify players with knowledge in the field to help to maintain the knowledge within Sweden.