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-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 vulnerable civilian nuclear and radiological materials.
GTRI has removed more than 3,575 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium - enough for more than 140 nuclear weapons – and cleaned out 23 countries and areas of all HEU including:
- Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic Denmark, Greece, Latvia, Libya, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine
GTRI has successfully removed nearly 2,000 kilograms of HEU and plutonium, enough for more than 80 nuclear weapons.
GTRI has successfully removed more than 1,250 kilograms of HEU, enough for 50 nuclear weapons.
GTRI has successfully removed more than 325 kilograms of HEU and plutonium, enough for more than 10 nuclear weapons.
Radiological Source Recovery
GTRI has successfully:
- Recovered more than 32,000 disused and unwanted sources domestically; and
- Recovered, with international partners, more than 750 Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators, or RTGs from Russia containing millions of curies of activity.