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Title: HEU Transparency Implementation Program and its Radiation Safety Program

Abstract

In February 1993, the Governments of the United States (U.S.) and the Russian Federation (R.F.) signed a bilateral Agreement for the U.S. purchase of low enriched uranium (LEU) derived from 500 metric tons (MT) of highly enriched uranium (HEU) resulting from the dismantlement of Russian nuclear weapons. The HEU Purchase Agreement serves important national security and nonproliferation policy imperatives for both countries since its implementation reduces the quantity of surplus Russian HEU that could be stolen and diverted for weapons use. In return, Russia receives much needed U.S. dollars over a 20-year delivery period. In 2001, Russia received over half a billion US dollars from the purchase of the LEU blended from 30 MT HEU. As part of this Agreement, transparency rights were agreed upon that provide confidence to both governments that the nonproliferation objectives of the Agreement are being fulfilled. While the U.S. Department of State, in concert with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is responsible negotiating transparency rights associated with this nuclear material, the NNSA is responsible for implementing those rights. These rights allow U.S. and R.F., personnel (called ''monitors'') to visit the processing facilities and observe the steps for processing themore » HEU into fuel for nuclear reactors. In this fashion, the processing of HEU to LEU is made ''transparent.'' For DOE, there are three transparency objectives: (1) that the HEU is extracted from nuclear weapons, (2) that this same HEU is oxidized, and (3) that the HEU is blended into LEU. For MINATOM, the transparency objective is: (1) that the LEU is fabricated into fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors: The transparency is based on visits by designated transparency monitors (100 preapproved U.S. and Russian monitors) with specific rights to monitor and to access storage and processing areas to provide confidence that the nonproliferation goals of the agreement are met. The Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Transparency Implementation Program (TIP), within NNSA implements the transparency provisions of the bilateral agreement. It is constantly making progress towards meeting its objectives and gathering the information necessary to confirm that Russian weapons-usable HEU is being blended into LEU. Since the first shipment in 1995 through December 2001, a total of 141 MT of weapons-grade HEU, about 28% of the agreed total and equivalent to 5,650 nuclear weapons, was converted to LEU, further reducing the threat of this material returning back into nuclear weapons. In the year 2001, the LEU sold to electric utility customers for fuel was sufficient to supply the annual fuel needs for about 50 percent of the U.S. installed nuclear electrical power generation capacity. There are four primary uranium processing activities involved in converting HEU metal components extracted from dismantled nuclear weapons into fuel for power reactors: (1) Converting HEU metal to purified HEU oxide; (2) Converting purified HEU oxide to HEU hexafluoride; (3) Downblending HEU hexafluoride to LEU hexafluoride; and (4) Converting LEU hexafluoride into reactor fuel. The first three processes are currently being performed at four Russian nuclear processing facilities: Mayak Production Association (MPA), Electrochemical Plant (ECP), Siberian Chemical Enterprise (SChE), and Ural Electrochemical Integrated Plant (UEIP). Following the blending down of HEU, the LEU hexafluoride is loaded into industry, standard 30B cylinders at the downblending facilities and transported to St. Petersburg, Russia. From there the LEU is shipped by sea to the United States where it is converted into fuel to be used in nuclear power plants. There are six U.S. facilities processing LEU subject to the HEU purchase agreement: the Portsmouth uranium enrichment plant, Global Nuclear Fuel -America, Framatome-Lynchburg, Framatome-Richland, Westinghouse-Hematite, and Westinghouse Fuel Fabrication Facility.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
15013368
Report Number(s):
UCRL-ID-147085
TRN: US0600123
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 45 MILITARY TECHNOLOGY, WEAPONRY, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE; 11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; 98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS, AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION; BILATERAL AGREEMENTS; ENRICHED URANIUM; HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM; IMPLEMENTATION; ISOTOPE SEPARATION PLANTS; NATIONAL SECURITY; NUCLEAR FUELS; NUCLEAR POWER; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; POWER GENERATION; POWER REACTORS; PROLIFERATION; RADIATION PROTECTION; RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Citation Formats

Radev, R. HEU Transparency Implementation Program and its Radiation Safety Program. United States: N. p., 2002. Web. doi:10.2172/15013368.
Radev, R. HEU Transparency Implementation Program and its Radiation Safety Program. United States. doi:10.2172/15013368.
Radev, R. Thu . "HEU Transparency Implementation Program and its Radiation Safety Program". United States. doi:10.2172/15013368. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/15013368.
@article{osti_15013368,
title = {HEU Transparency Implementation Program and its Radiation Safety Program},
author = {Radev, R},
abstractNote = {In February 1993, the Governments of the United States (U.S.) and the Russian Federation (R.F.) signed a bilateral Agreement for the U.S. purchase of low enriched uranium (LEU) derived from 500 metric tons (MT) of highly enriched uranium (HEU) resulting from the dismantlement of Russian nuclear weapons. The HEU Purchase Agreement serves important national security and nonproliferation policy imperatives for both countries since its implementation reduces the quantity of surplus Russian HEU that could be stolen and diverted for weapons use. In return, Russia receives much needed U.S. dollars over a 20-year delivery period. In 2001, Russia received over half a billion US dollars from the purchase of the LEU blended from 30 MT HEU. As part of this Agreement, transparency rights were agreed upon that provide confidence to both governments that the nonproliferation objectives of the Agreement are being fulfilled. While the U.S. Department of State, in concert with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is responsible negotiating transparency rights associated with this nuclear material, the NNSA is responsible for implementing those rights. These rights allow U.S. and R.F., personnel (called ''monitors'') to visit the processing facilities and observe the steps for processing the HEU into fuel for nuclear reactors. In this fashion, the processing of HEU to LEU is made ''transparent.'' For DOE, there are three transparency objectives: (1) that the HEU is extracted from nuclear weapons, (2) that this same HEU is oxidized, and (3) that the HEU is blended into LEU. For MINATOM, the transparency objective is: (1) that the LEU is fabricated into fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors: The transparency is based on visits by designated transparency monitors (100 preapproved U.S. and Russian monitors) with specific rights to monitor and to access storage and processing areas to provide confidence that the nonproliferation goals of the agreement are met. The Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Transparency Implementation Program (TIP), within NNSA implements the transparency provisions of the bilateral agreement. It is constantly making progress towards meeting its objectives and gathering the information necessary to confirm that Russian weapons-usable HEU is being blended into LEU. Since the first shipment in 1995 through December 2001, a total of 141 MT of weapons-grade HEU, about 28% of the agreed total and equivalent to 5,650 nuclear weapons, was converted to LEU, further reducing the threat of this material returning back into nuclear weapons. In the year 2001, the LEU sold to electric utility customers for fuel was sufficient to supply the annual fuel needs for about 50 percent of the U.S. installed nuclear electrical power generation capacity. There are four primary uranium processing activities involved in converting HEU metal components extracted from dismantled nuclear weapons into fuel for power reactors: (1) Converting HEU metal to purified HEU oxide; (2) Converting purified HEU oxide to HEU hexafluoride; (3) Downblending HEU hexafluoride to LEU hexafluoride; and (4) Converting LEU hexafluoride into reactor fuel. The first three processes are currently being performed at four Russian nuclear processing facilities: Mayak Production Association (MPA), Electrochemical Plant (ECP), Siberian Chemical Enterprise (SChE), and Ural Electrochemical Integrated Plant (UEIP). Following the blending down of HEU, the LEU hexafluoride is loaded into industry, standard 30B cylinders at the downblending facilities and transported to St. Petersburg, Russia. From there the LEU is shipped by sea to the United States where it is converted into fuel to be used in nuclear power plants. There are six U.S. facilities processing LEU subject to the HEU purchase agreement: the Portsmouth uranium enrichment plant, Global Nuclear Fuel -America, Framatome-Lynchburg, Framatome-Richland, Westinghouse-Hematite, and Westinghouse Fuel Fabrication Facility.},
doi = {10.2172/15013368},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2002},
month = {1}
}

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