Shipment marks HEU milestone

23 September 2009

The latest shipment of low-enriched uranium (LEU) from Russia to the USA under the framework of the 1993 High-Enriched Uranium (HEU) Agreement marks the three-quarter point in implementing the deal. Under the arrangement - sometimes referred to as the 'Megatons to Megawatts' program - Russia's Techsnabexport (Tenex) is to downblend a total of 500 tonnes of 'surplus' weapons-grade HEU into low-enriched uranium and ship it to USEC of the USA for use as fuel in nuclear power plants. Since the first shipment in May 1995, almost 11,000 tonnes of LEU downblended from 375 tonnes of HEU have been delivered to the USA, representing 75% completion of the downblending task. Russia has received $8.5 billion from the USA for the LEU delivered so far, while natural uranium with an estimated value of $2.7 billion has been returned to Russia.