Switzerland doubles stock of natural uranium kept abroad

Switzerland has four active nuclear plants, including Muehleberg near the capital Bern. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

The quantity of natural uranium that Switzerland stocks abroad passed the one-million-kilogram mark in 2020. 

This content was published on April 6, 2021 minutes

The bounty is double the weight recorded in 2019 – mainly as a result of acquisition, as well as processing of uranium into useable fuel – the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) reported on Tuesday. 

The quantity of low-enriched uranium fell slightly, while the stock of uranium from reprocessing fell from 68,416 kg to zero, according to the list of Swiss stocks of nuclear materials abroad published by the SFOE. Other materials, such as thorium, depleted and highly enriched uranium and plutonium, remained unchanged in foreign stocks. 

Nuclear material commandeered by Swiss nuclear power plant operators can be found in Germany, France, Great Britain, the US and Sweden. 

Since the Nuclear Energy Act and the Safeguards Ordinance came into force, all stocks of Swiss nuclear materials abroad must be reported to the supervisory authorities on an annual basis. 

The four active nuclear power plants in the country supplied 19.1% of Switzerland’s electricity in 2019. Large-scale hydropower plants provided 66% of the nation’s power, while photovoltaics, wind, small-scale hydropower and biomass provided 8.4%. Waste incineration provided just under 2%. The rest could not be verified. 

From 2020, electricity from unverifiable sources – called grey electricity – will no longer be permitted. 

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