U.S., U.K. complete history-making highly enriched uranium transfer

May 6, 2019

A “multi-year effort” to move excess highly enriched uranium from the U.K. to the U.S. is now complete, according to an announcement made by the U.S. Department of Energy’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration.

Nearly 700 kg of HEU was relocated, marking the largest removal to the U.S. in the history of the DOE-NNSA Office of Material Management and Minimization’s nuclear material program.

The HEU will be downblended for use as reactor fuel, according to the announcement.

More than a dozen groups – representing both the U.S. and the U.K. – worked on the transfer. The uranium was taken from the Dounreay nuclear site, which sits on the Scottish coast.

NNSA chief Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, in a prepared statement, said nuclear ties between the two countries have been “resolute for more than 60 years.”

“This joint effort highlights our strong cooperation and mutual nonproliferation goals,” she continued.

The completion signals an “important” step in cleaning up Dounreay, according to David Peattie, the CEO of the U.K.’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The NNSA announcement did not say where the HEU would be going in the U.S.