Uzbek Weapon-Grade Uranium Shipped to Russia

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration on Thursday said it had supported repatriation of 160 pounds of highly enriched uranium from Uzbekistan to Russia.

Removal of the spent fuel from the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Tashkent was the 50th such project conducted by Russia and the United States, according to an NNSA press release. Over the last decade, the former Cold War foes have sent close to 4,200 pounds of weapon-grade uranium back to Russia -- a sufficient amount of material to power 75 nuclear warheads. Six nations now no longer hold any highly enriched material once supplied by Russia.

After seven HEU transfers, the Uzbek facility is now clear of the material. The agency's Global Threat Reduction Initiative "also worked with INP to convert its research reactor from HEU to low-enriched uranium (LEU) use, and to secure radiological sources that could be used for a dirty bomb," the release states.

The NNSA initiative seeks to ensure the security of nuclear and radiological materials used by nonmilitary sites around the world.

"We’re working to make the world safer every day, and the 50th shipment of HEU under our Russian-origin fuel return program is a major step in achieving President Obama’s goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material in four years," NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino said in prepared comments. "In the wrong hands this material could be used to make a nuclear weapon. This shipment and our ongoing partnership with Russia demonstrate the positive effect our efforts have on the global effort to secure, consolidate and minimize the use of highly enriched uranium across the globe."

November 1, 2012
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The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration on Thursday said it had supported repatriation of 160 pounds of highly enriched uranium from Uzbekistan to Russia.

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