GTRI: Removing Vulnerable Civilian Nuclear and Radiological Material

Fact Sheet
Apr 12, 2013

Updated Oct. 31, 2013


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 highly enriched uranium (HEU) fresh and spent fuel from Russian-designed research reactors worldwide 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.


Since it was established in 2004, GTRI has greatly accelerated efforts to remove and/or dispose of vulnerable civilian nuclear and radiological materials, which could be used by terrorists to make an improvised nuclear device or radiological dirty bomb.

GTRI has removed or verified the disposition of more than 5,050 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium - enough for more than 200 nuclear weapons – and cleaned out 27 countries and locations 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, enough for more than 80 nuclear weapons.

U.S.-Origin Material

GTRI has successfully removed more than 1,250 kilograms of HEU, enough for 50 nuclear weapons.

Gap Material

GTRI has successfully removed or confirmed the disposition of more than 1,750 kilograms of HEU and plutonium, enough for more than 65 nuclear weapons.

Radiological Source Recovery

GTRI has successfully:

  • Recovered more than 33,500 disused and unwanted sources domestically; and
  • Recovered, in conjunction with its international partners, more than 800 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators, or RTGs from Russia containing millions of curies of activity.