The Megatons to Megawatts Program made a substantial contribution both to the elimination of nuclear weapons material and to nuclear energy generation in the United States. Nearly every commercial nuclear reactor in the United States received nuclear fuel under the program. This Agreement serves as an example of what the United States and Russia can achieve when they work together.
The final shipment also signals the beginning of a new era of U.S.-Russia collaborative work in the fields of nonproliferation, science, and nuclear research and development under several far-reaching initiatives that will progress further through discussions between the United States and Russia this week. Today, Secretary Moniz, Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman, and State Corporation for Nuclear Energy (Rosatom) Director General Sergey Kirienko held talks in Washington, D.C., about the future of U.S.-Russia collaborative work in the nuclear energy field, including nuclear research and development, commercial aspects of cooperation, nuclear safety, and nonproliferation.
Following the discussions, several collaborative initiatives are being implemented, including:
- Memoranda under the Protocol to the Framework Agreement on a Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Program in the Russian Federation were signed, establishing procedures for work to support bilateral cooperation in nuclear and radiological material security, reactor conversion, combating the illicit trafficking of nuclear and radiological material, and other areas;
- Proposed collaborative projects are moving forward under the Government-to-Government Agreement on Cooperation on Nuclear- and Energy-Related Scientific Research and Development, which provides the legal framework necessary to expand cooperation between U.S. and Russian nuclear research laboratories in areas including nuclear technology, nonproliferation, fundamental and applied science, energy, and environment; and
- Russia and the United States are in the process of extending the Russian-origin Research Reactor Fuel Return program, under which the Department of Energy has worked closely with Rosatom to remove all Russian-origin HEU from nine countries. With the extension of this program, additional HEU will be able to be removed from those countries where such Russian-origin material remains.
The Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s HEU Transparency Program monitored the Russian HEU-to-LEU conversion process to provide confidence that all LEU delivered to the United States under the Agreement was derived from Russian HEU of weapons origin. Similarly, Russian monitoring rights verify the peaceful use of the material once it arrives in the United States. The United States concluded transparency monitoring in Russia at the end of October. As the respective U.S. and Russian executive agents, the United States Enrichment Corporation and Techsnabexport (“Tenex”) managed all commercial aspects and logistics of the uranium deliveries and shipments.
The final four cylinders of LEU arrived at the Port of Baltimore and subsequently departed the port for Paducah, Kentucky. From the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, the LEU will be sent to U.S. nuclear fuel fabrication facilities, converted into fuel rods, and ultimately delivered to commercial customers for use in U.S. nuclear power reactors. (Energy .gov)