Morning Briefing - May 15, 2019
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Article 7 of 10
May 15, 2019

U.K. Uranium Socked Away at Y-12

By ExchangeMonitor

The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., has taken custody of some 700 kilograms of highly enriched uranium from the United Kingdom, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said last week.

The material, shipped to the U.S. from the U.K.’s Dounreay nuclear decommissioning site beginning in 2016, was at Oak Ridge awaiting downblending in “commercial facilities,” according to an NNSA spokesperson quoted in the local Oak Ridge Today.

The more than 1,500 pounds of weapon-grade material came to the United States as part of a swap engineered in a 2014 memo, in which the NATO allies agreed to exchange different types of highly enriched uranium so the U.S. could produce reactor fuel and the U.K. could make medical isotopes.

The operation — which the BBC reported took two years to carry out beginning in 2016 — was the “largest removal to the United States in the history of DOE/NNSA’s Office of Material Management and Minimization Nuclear Material Removal Program,” according an NNSA press release announcing the end of the shipments to the U.S.