A report says U.S. disposes 5 metric tonnes of weapons-useable uranium domestically

New York  –   The United States says it disposed of five metric tonnes of weapons-usable Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) domestically,bringing to more than 150 metric tonnes of material surplus to its nuclear weapons programme that has been disposed.

This is according to the U.S. National Progress Report 2016 released on Friday at the ongoing Fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS).

It states that since the 2014 NSS, the U.S. has strengthened nuclear security implementation and built up the global nuclear security architecture.

It also added that it has decreased its national inventory of HEU from 740.7 metric tons in 1996 to 585.6 metric tonnes in 2013, to more than 20 per cent.

Furthermore, the U.S., according to the report, working with other countries, removed or confirmed the disposition of more than 250 kilogrammes of nuclear material, resulting in three additional countries becoming HEU-free.

This, it added, was enabled by the use of modified casks for unique fuel designs.

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It stated that the U.S. has also supported the down blending of 780 kg of excess weapons-usable non-U.S. HEU.

The statement said U.S. has continued to investigate the viability of using Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) in naval reactor cores.

The reports said that the U.S. has established a pilot production line for high-density LEU fuel to support the conversion of the remaining high performance research reactors in the U.S. and abroad from the use of HEU fuel.

It states that the U.S. remained fully committed to the U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement and to meeting its obligation to verifiably dispose of no less than 34 metric tonnes of excess weapon-grade plutonium under the agreement, and to cooperate with Russia in these undertakings.

According to the report, the U.S.., in partnership with France, established an International Ad Hoc Working Group on Alternatives to High-Activity Radiological Sources.

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It said that it will continue to develop initiatives for reducing the number of vulnerable high activity radioactive sources through continued research and development on non-radio isotopic alternative technologies, international workshops and collaboration, and direct site engagement.
In an effort to promote permanent risk reduction, it said the U.S. will partner with industry to replace 34 cesium-137 blood irradiators with non-radio isotopic alternative technologies by 2020.

The report showed that the U.S. has contributed an additional 17.5 million dollars to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Security Fund in 2014 and 13 million dollars in 2015 and expects to provide similar support in 2016 and beyond.

The report showed that the U.S. has provided financial, technical and human resources to the IAEA’s efforts relating to nuclear material accounting and control.
Also, mitigation of insider threats, cyber security, physical protection, transportation security and nuclear security culture, among others, the report added. (NAN)

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