Civilian plutonium swap increased the amount of UK owned plutonium

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change announced a series of plutonium title swaps that will increase the amount of UK owned separated plutonium. However, these being title swaps, no physical transfer of material will take place. According to the official statement, DECC has agreed to the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority:

  1. Participating in a series of swaps of plutonium material which will result in the NDA taking ownership of around 750 kg of plutonium stored in the UK, previously owned by certain German utilities.
  2. Facilitating a swap of plutonium ownership between Japanese and German utilities which will result in a decrease of about 650 kg of German owned plutonium in the UK and an equivalent increase in Japanese owned plutonium in the UK.
  3. Taking ownership to around 1850 kg plutonium that was originally allocated to repay plutonium loans (to France) in relation to historic MOX fuel subcontracts.
  4. Taking ownership of around 350 kg of material previously owned by a Dutch Utility.

According to the UK INFCIRC/549 declaration to IAEA, as of 31 December 2011, the United Kingdom had 118.2 tonnes of separated plutonium on its territory. Of this amount, 90.3 tonnes were owned by the UK and 27.9 tonnes by foreign bodies. In July 2012, the United Kingdom and Germany agreed to a title swap that resulted in transfer of ownership of about 4 tonnes of German-owned plutonium to the UK ownership, increasing the amount of UK-owned plutonium to 94.3 tonnes.  As a result of the April 2013 transactions, the amount of UK owned plutonium stored in the United Kingdom will increase by another 2.95 tonnes to reach 97.25 tonnes. Correspondingly, the amount of foreign-owned plutonium will decrease to 20.95 tonnes.

It appears that after this title swap there will be no more German separated plutonium in the United Kingdom. The amount of plutonium belogning to Japan will increase from 17.028 tonnes, reported by Japan as of 31 December 2011, to 17.678 kg.