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U.S.-Russia Twenty-Year Partnership Completes Final Milestone in Converting 20,000 Russian Nuclear Warheads into Fuel for U.S. Electricity

Press Release

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Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today announced the final shipment of low enriched uranium (LEU) derived from Russian weapons-origin highly enriched uranium (HEU) under the 1993 U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement, commonly known as the Megatons to Megawatts Program. Under this Agreement, Russia downblended 500 metric tons of HEU, equivalent to 20,000 nuclear wearheads, into LEU. The resulting LEU has been delivered to the United States, fabricated into nuclear fuel, and used in nuclear power plants to generate nearly ten percent of all U.S. electricity for the past fifteen years, roughly half of all commercial nuclear energy produced domestically during that time.

With today's announcement, deliveries of LEU produced from Russian-origin HEU under the landmark nuclear nonproliferation program are complete and 9,630 type-30B cylinders of LEU from Russian HEU will have been delivered. In addition, the Department's 20-year effort to monitor the HEU-to-LEU conversion process in Russia is in the final stages.

"For two decades, one in ten light bulbs in America has been powered by nuclear material from Russian nuclear warheads. The 1993 United States-Russian Federation Highly Enriched Uranium Purchase Agreement has proven to be one of the most successful nuclear nonproliferation partnerships ever undertaken," said Secretary Moniz. "The completion of this "swords to ploughshares' program represents a major victory both for the United States and Russia."

On November 14, senior U.S. and Russian government officials, along with senior representatives from the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) and Techsnabexport (Tenex), the U.S. and Russian executive agents for the 1993 Agreement, observed the departure of the final shipment of LEU from the port of St. Petersburg, Russia. A final milestone event is planned for December 10, 2013, when U.S. and Russian government officials and industry partners will observe the final delivery of Russian LEU depart the Port of Baltimore bound for USEC's Paducah facility in Paducah, Kentucky. The LEU will remain subject to peaceful use requirements throughout its lifecycle.

The Department's National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) HEU Transparency Program monitored the Russian HEU-to-LEU conversion process to provide confidence that all LEU delivered to the United States under the Agreement was derived from Russian HEU of weapons origin. The United States concluded transparency monitoring in Russia at the end of October. As executive agents, USEC and Tenex managed all commercial aspects and logistics of the uranium deliveries and shipments.


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