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Environment

U.S.-Russian Nuclear Fuel Program Ends

by Jeff Johnson
November 25, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 47

A ship left St. Petersburg, Russia, last week carrying the final shipment of nuclear material to the U.S. as part of a 20-year-old U.S.-Russia agreement. Under the Megatons to Megawatts Program, about 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium, which was contained in some 20,000 Russian nuclear warheads, was downblended by Russian scientists and workers into low-enriched uranium, shipped to the U.S., and fabricated into nuclear fuel for use in U.S. nuclear power reactors. Over the past 15 years, the program provided about half of the fuel needs of U.S. nuclear power reactors and supplied some 10% of all U.S. electricity, according to the Department of Energy. The agreement “has proven to be one of the most successful nuclear nonproliferation partnerships ever undertaken,” notes Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz.

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