A total of 325 tonnes of Russian ex-military highly enriched uranium – equivalent to 13,000 nuclear warheads - has so far been downblended for use in civilian nuclear power stations under the so-called Megatons to Megawatts programme, USEC has announced.
USEC acts as executive agent for the US government in implementing the deal whereby the US government agreed to purchase 500 tonnes of Russian surplus weapons-grade high-enriched uranium from nuclear disarmament and military stockpiles for downblending to low-enriched uranium suitable for use in nuclear power stations.
The 20-year programme is now in its 14th year, and by the time it is completed in 2013 the equivalent of 20,000 nuclear warheads will have been downblended, according to USEC.
Up to 2007, Russia has received more than $5.1 billion from USEC. The price USEC pays Russia is set by a market-based pricing formula that has risen steadily since 2002 along with world prices for SWU (separative work units).
USEC president and CEO John Welch said, "The Megatons to Megawatts program is a cornerstone of US-Russian non-proliferation cooperation that has also served the country's need for reliable, environmentally friendly electricity. In a time of energy, environmental and geopolitical crises, it should serve as a model to anyone or any nation wanting to institute solutions that work."