The ship is due to transport nuclear waste created during Sweden’s nuclear weapons programme, which ran from the mid-50s to 1970. The waste came from the R1 research reactor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and contains 1.2 kilos of super weapons grade plutonium.
The waste is to be taken to the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in north-west England. Police and coastguards were at the scene to escort the cargo. Also present were around 30 Greenpeace activists in six boats.
Greenpeace objects to the transportation of radioactive waste, and claims that the Sellafield plant releases radioactive substances into the sea and air. The government has said that Sweden has no choice but to export the waste, saying there are no facilities to deal with it in Sweden.