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Curbing Spread of Weapons Uranium To Take 10 Years

Curbing Potential Spread Of Weapons-Grade Uranium Could Take 10 Years – IAEA

It will take the better part of a decade for all the world’s civil nuclear research reactors to be converted to run on fuel that poses a lower risk of proliferation of weapons-grade high-enriched uranium (HEU), the United Nations atomic watchdog agency reports in its latest update on the issue.

Although much progress has been made, among the biggest challenges is developing the types of uranium fuel that converted reactors require. More than 60 civilian research reactors worldwide still run on HEU fuels and are targeted for conversion over the next 10 years, the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA) says.

Some 200 experts from across the globe gathered at IAEA headquarters in Vienna last week to take stock of developments at an International Meeting on Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors, focusing on converting research and test reactors running on HEU to low-enriched uranium (LEU), which is unsuitable for use in a nuclear weapon.

For more than 20 years the IAEA has supported international efforts to reduce the amount of HEU in international commerce. It plays an active role in helping countries convert their reactors to LEU fuels. Through its technical cooperation programme, the Agency currently has more than 20 projects on research reactors that tackle issues concerning fuel, decommissioning, waste management, reactor use and safety.

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