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Wednesday 12 October 2011

NNSA and Kazakhstan Complete Operation to Eliminate Highly Enriched Uranium


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ASTANA (NNSA) – In an address today at the International Forum for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World in Astana, Kazakhstan, American Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman announced the removal and permanent disposition of 33 kg of highly enriched uranium (HEU) fresh fuel from the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Almaty. The HEU was sent to the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, where it was downblended into low-enriched uranium (LEU) and can no longer be used to make a nuclear weapon.

Completed in secrecy over a seven week span, the operation was a combined effort between the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It follows two decades of cooperation and reflects the shared commitment by the United States and Kazakhstan to secure dangerous nuclear and radiological material from terrorists.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazakh government and the semiautonomous Energy Department branch cooperated in carrying out the project. Kazakhstan following the collapse of the Soviet Union held the world’s fourth-largest nuclear arsenal, which it ultimately relinquished.

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