Non-proliferation and safeguards aspects of SMR’s in Sweden

Master's project in applied nuclear physics, 20 weeks (30 credits)

This work relates to projects within the Swedish competence centre ANItA (Academic-industrial Nuclear technology Initiative to Achieve a sustainable energy future) integrating Swedish technical and nontechnical expertise of Uppsala University, Chalmers, KTH, Vattenfall, Uniper, Fortum, Westinghouse Electric Sweden, Studsvik Nuclear and the Swedish Energy Agency in nuclear technology and engineering.

Collaborative research, development and education of the centre aims to create a Swedish knowledge and competence base needed for introduction of novel nuclear power technologies such as Small Modular Reactors (SMR:s) and providing relevant information, in particular, to policymakers for timely decisions on the future Swedish energy generation mix. Within the ANItA, the leading universities in Sweden collaborate with leading Nordic companies of the nuclear energy sector offering together a unique research environment and industrial application potential for doctoral students and postdocs with good opportunities for international partnership.

Under ANItA, a number of projects will be ongoing in different work packages. One work package is called “Non-proliferation and nuclear safeguards”, and will be devoted to researching various aspects related to the future verification and monitoring of the SMR fuel cycle. This master project is a preparatory study for a PhD project in ANItA that will begin around mid-2023. The objective of the master project is to study an introduction of SMR:s in Sweden, and the implications of that from a non-proliferation and safeguards perspective. If you are considering an academic career and are interested in small modular reactors, this is a great chance to test the field and acquire competences that are relevant for a PhD position that will be announced in the spring of 2023.


Forecasts about future electricity needs for industries and transportation already exists [1], but are far from complete. Reference [1] is from 2019 and does not include new proposals from e.g. LKAB that would require additionally over 50 TWH electricity, and many others. Replacing fossil fuels in the aviation industry and or shipping is also not included there, but was investigated in [2]. Another issue that remains to be investigated is the possibility for replacing oil-fuelled power stations (such as the one in Karlshamn) with power units having significantly lower CO2 emissions.

With these needs in mind, one may ask a number of relevant questions, which we hope to address in this project:

  • Where in Sweden could there be a need for SMR:s?
  • What implications would the suggested placement and deployment of the SMR:s have on the transportation and storage of nuclear fuel?
  • What challenges, and possible solutions, can be identified to ensure that the facilities and nuclear material is properly accounted for from nuclear safeguards point of view?

The project includes four main parts:

  1. Data collection and analysis of available information on the future needs for electricity and other products generated by SMR:s.
    Time span up until year 2045. Take into account where (geographically) the needs exist, specify the need (electricity, hydrogen, district heat, process heat etc.), required power levels etc.
  2. Study of the SMR concepts under discussion in ANItA.
    How suitable are they to meet the identified electricity needs? How are the SMR:s intended to operate, what type of and how much fuel do they require and what does their waste look like?
  3. Analysis of SMR deployment in Sweden.
    Estimation of the number of SMR units, their location (existing sites, new sites, in-land sites) and purpose (produce electricity for a region or for a certain application), associated front- and back-end fuel cycle activities (need for fresh fuel, fuel transport, as well as short, intermediate and final fuel storage).
  4. Draw conclusions about the implications of the SMR deployment in Sweden from a safeguards point of view. 
    What additional fuel cycle activities or facilities may be motivated or needed? What are the challenges with respect to nuclear material accounting? What are the suggested safeguards measures could be introduced to ensure that the nuclear material is not diverted and that facilities are not misused? How does the future safeguards burden be compared to the one of today?


Basic knowledge of nuclear physics and nuclear power. Communication in English.

Start date

As soon as possible, upon agreement.


Senior lecturer Sophie Grape,


[1] Svenskt näringsliv, Framtidens elbehov, PM. 

[2] Energimyndigheten, Samordningsuppdrag för omställning av transportsektorn till fossilfrihet.

Senast uppdaterad: 2022-12-21