GTRI: Removing Vulnerable Civilian Nuclear and Radiological Material

Fact Sheet
May 29, 2014

GTRI’s Remove Program works around the world to remove excess nuclear and radiological materials that could be used for a nuclear weapon or radiological dispersal device (RDD), or “dirty bomb”.

Mission

In 2004 NNSA established the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) in the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation to, as quickly as possible, identify, secure, remove and/or facilitate the disposition of high risk vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials around the world that pose a threat to the United States and the international community.

GTRI achieves its mission via three initiatives – Convert, Remove and Protect - which provide a comprehensive approach to preventing terrorists’ access to nuclear and radiological materials. GTRI’s Remove Program works around the world to remove excess nuclear and radiological materials that could be used for a nuclear weapon or radiological dispersal device (RDD), or “dirty bomb”.

These efforts result in permanent threat reduction because they permanently eliminate material so it can no longer be used by terrorists for malevolent purposes.

Key initiatives that fall within the Remove subprogram include:

  • Repatriating Russian-origin HEU fresh and spent fuel from Russian-exported research reactors to Russia;
  • Repatriating U.S.-origin HEU and LEU spent nuclear fuel from research reactors to the United States;
  • Addressing Gap nuclear materials by removing or verifying the disposal of vulnerable nuclear materials that are not covered under the Russian-origin and U.S.-origin nuclear remove activities; and
  • Recovering and securing disused and unwanted radiological sources around the world.

Accomplishments

Since it was established in 2004, GTRI has greatly accelerated efforts to remove vulnerable civilian nuclear and radiological materials.

GTRI and its predecessor programs have removed or confirmed the disposition of more than 5,140 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium – more than enough material for 205 nuclear weapons – and cleaned out 26 countries and Taiwan of all HEU including:

  • Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic Denmark, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iraq, Latvia, Libya, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

Russian-Origin Material

GTRI has successfully removed or confirmed the disposition of more than 2,050 kilograms of HEU and plutonium, more than enough material for 80 nuclear weapons.

U.S.-Origin Material

GTRI has successfully removed or confirmed the disposition of more than 1,260 kilograms of HEU, more than enough material for 50 nuclear weapons.

Gap Material

GTRI has successfully removed or confirmed the disposition of more than 1,820 kilograms of HEU and plutonium, more than enough material for 70 nuclear weapons.

Radiological Source Recovery

GTRI has successfully:

  • Recovered more than 36,000 disused and unwanted sources domestically; and
  • Recovered, with international partners, 810 radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs, from Russia containing millions of curies of activity.