About 95 percent of the planned transfers of downblended former nuclear weapons material have been completed under the U.S.-Russia Megatons to Megawatts program, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration announced in a Monday press release.
The 1993 bilateral nonproliferation initiative is aimed at eliminating 500 metric tons of Russian highly enriched uranium through conversion to low-enriched uranium that can be used in civilian nuclear reactors. Thus far, in excess of 475 metric tons of fissile material -- enough to fuel about 19,000 nuclear warheads -- has been converted and transferred to the United States, according to the semiautonomous Energy Department agency.
"The HEU Purchase Agreement has reached yet another important milestone on the path towards blending down and eliminating 500 metric tons of Russian weapons HEU," NNSA Deputy Administrator Anne Harrington said in provided remarks. She added that the Megatons to Megawatts program has been "one of the most successful" nonproliferation projects undertaken by Russia and the United States.
The last shipment of LEU material under the project is slated to take place this November, according to a release from the United States Enrichment Corporation, the company that buys the Russian nuclear fuel.