National Nuclear Security Administration

U.S. and U.K. complete removal of record amount of highly enriched uranium

May 3, 2019

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Achievement highlights nuclear security cooperation between longtime allies

WASHINGTON – The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority completed a multi-year effort to move excess highly enriched uranium (HEU) from the United Kingdom to the United States for downblending into low enriched uranium.

The near 700-kilogram removal of HEU is the largest removal to the United States in the history of DOE/NNSA’s Office of Material Management and Minimization Nuclear Material Removal Program. 

“U.S.-U.K. nuclear security ties have been resolute for more than 60 years,” said Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator. “This joint effort highlights our strong cooperation and mutual nonproliferation goals.”

More than a dozen U.S. and U.K. organizations participated in the removal from the Dounreay nuclear site on the Scottish coast.

“The successful completion of the complex work to transfer HEU signaled the conclusion of an important part of the program to decommission and clean up Dounreay Site,” said David Peattie, CEO of the U.K.’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The removal is an element of a worldwide effort to increase nuclear security by reducing HEU inventories. It also is part of a 2014 agreement between DOE/NNSA and the Euratom Supply Agency to reduce HEU while supporting medical isotope production and research reactors in Europe.

The material will be downblended for use as nuclear reactor fuel.

Learn more about DOE/NNSA’s nonproliferation mission.