Almost 600 Pounds of Highly Enriched Uranium Returned to Russia

Press Release
Dec 18, 2006

Almost 600 Pounds of Highly Enriched Uranium Returned to RussiaLargest shipment of highly enriched uranium ever under NNSA's Global Threat Reduction Initiative

The effort was completed in cooperation with Germany, the russian Federation, and the Atomic energy Agency (IAEA).

DRESDEN, GERMANY - With assistance from the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), more than 590 pounds of highly enriched uranium was returned from a former East German civilian nuclear facility to Russia.

The shipment of 268 kilograms (over 590 pounds) of highly enriched uranium (HEU) is the largest shipment of Soviet-origin HEU ever conducted under a key NNSA nonproliferation program, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), since the inception of GTRI two-and-a-half years ago. The five-day operation took place at the Rossendorf nuclear facility near Dresden, Germany.

The effort was completed in cooperation with Germany, the Russian Federation, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The HEU "fresh" (unirradiated) fuel was loaded into 18 Russian TK-S16 specialized transportation containers at Rossendorf with NNSA technical experts and IAEA safeguards inspectors monitoring the fuel loading process. The canisters were transported under heavy guard and then airlifted from Dresden Airport to a secure facility in Russia.

The mission of NNSA's GTRI program is to identify, secure, recover and/or facilitate the final disposition of high-risk, vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials around the world as quickly as possible.

"We applaud Germany's leadership in taking measures to return this material and we also appreciate the strong support of the Russian Federation and the IAEA for this important international nonproliferation project," said NNSA Administrator Linton F. Brooks. "This successful removal is an example of the international community working collectively to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism, and is the kind of concrete international security action that increases both U.S. security and that of our allies."
The mission of NNSA's GTRI program is to identify, secure, recover and/or facilitate the final disposition of high-risk, vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials around the world as quickly as possible.

The shipment was part of the prioritized, accelerated schedule in support of the Bush-Putin Bratislava Joint Statement on Nuclear Security Cooperation. The Bratislava agreement was struck by Presidents Bush and Putin during their February 2005 meeting and includes initiatives to encourage US-Russia nuclear security cooperation.

The HEU fresh fuel will be permanently downblended from HEU to LEU in Russia to ensure that it cannot be used to make nuclear weapons. NNSA provided technical support and Germany provided the funding for this operation.

The mission of NNSA's GTRI program is to identify, secure, recover and/or facilitate the final disposition of high-risk, vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials around the world as quickly as possible. To date, 15 shipments of approximately 496 kilograms (1,092 pounds) of HEU fresh and spent fuel have been returned to Russia from Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Libya, Uzbekistan, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Poland, and the former East Germany.

Media contact(s):
NNSA Public Affairs (202) 586-7371