Highly-enriched uranium transferred from Chech Republic to Russia to be reprocessed

An international team transferred nearly 14 kilograms (31 pounds) of highly-enriched uranium from a research reactor at the Czech Technical University in Prague to Russia, where it is to be reprocessed at a nuclear facility in Dmitrovgrad, the Russian Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday.

Tuesday's transfer took place under a Russian-American program to secure Russian-produced, highly enriched fuel located in often poorly guarded research institutes in one-time Soviet-allied countries and send it back to Russia to be blended down to a less dangerous concentration that no longer would be suitable for a bomb or other weapon.

The research reactor at the university in Prague will now be converted to operate on low enriched uranium. Czech and U.S. specialists have done the necessary calculations to ensure safe and efficient use of the reactor using low enriched uranium, the National Nuclear Security Administration said in a statement earlier this week, according to the AP.

The shipment is part of a broader effort aimed at returning highly enriched uranium from research reactors around the world to reduce the chances of the material being obtained by terrorists. The uranium fuel has been provided over the years to promote civilian nuclear research.

Tuesday's was the eighth such transfer, after secret shipments from countries including Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Libya. Russia has agreed to retrieve highly enriched uranium it shipped to civilian research facilities in a total of 17 countries.


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