Uzbekistan sent unused highly enriched uranium to Russia

Publish date: September 23, 2004

11 kilograms of highly enriched uranium fuel (HEU) that could be used for nuclear weapons, were safely returned to Russia from Uzbekistan in a secret mission conducted by the United States, Uzbekistan, and Russia, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said to the journalists.

The mission was completed September 9, 2004. The highly enriched uranium was airlifted under guard from an airport near Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to a secured facility in Dmitrovgrad, Russia. There, the uranium will be down-blended to low enriched uranium. The nuclear fuel assemblies were originally supplied to Uzbekistan for use in the Russian-designed 10 megawatt VVR-SM multi-purpose research reactor, located near the Uzbekistan capital, Tashkent. During the 1-day mission, approximately 11 kilograms of enriched uranium nuclear fuel, including HEU, were loaded into two specialized transportation containers provided by the Russian Federation. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards inspectors and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) technical experts were present in Uzbekistan to monitor the process of loading the fuel into the canisters.