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US, Russia: Point of Nuclear Fuel Agreement

U.S., Russia Reach Halfway Point of Nuclear Fuel Agreement

Weapons-grade fuel from dismantled nuclear weapons being converted

The United States and Russia have reached the halfway mark in an agreement on the conversion of highly enriched uranium (HEU) extracted from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads into low-enriched uranium (LEU) for use in commercial power reactors in the United States.

A joint statement issued by the U.S. departments of State and Energy, the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency says that as of September, Russia has converted 250 tons of HEU, equivalent to 10,000 nuclear warheads, into low-enriched uranium.

In a separate statement the White House said, “Marking this important nonproliferation milestone underscores the success of U.S. nonproliferation cooperation with Russia” in eliminating HEU and converting it to peaceful uses.

The 1993 agreement calls for Russia to convert a total of 500 metric tons of HEU – enough for 20,000 nuclear weapons. The LEU is purchased by the United States and used in nuclear reactors that provide 10 percent of America's electricity.

“Today, at the halfway point of this program, the United States and Russia remain committed to completing the down-blending of the remaining material by 2013,” the White House said.

For an outline of cooperative efforts by the United States and Russia to upgrade the security of Russia’s nuclear facilities, see the June fact sheet from the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

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