Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced November 7 that the United States will remove 200 metric tons of highly enriched uranium, also known as HEU, from the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. He said this is the single largest amount of nuclear material ever removed from the nuclear weapons stockpile in the history of the US weapons program. The material that is being removed is the equivalent of 8,000 nuclear warheads, and the related fissile material will be used in the future for non-weapons purposes.
Bodman made his announcement during the annual nonproliferation conference sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The secretary said 160 metric tons of HEU will be repurposed for naval ship propulsion systems. Another 20 tons will be used for space missions and research reactors, he said, while the remaining 20 tons will be blended down to low enriched uranium for civilian nuclear power reactors or research reactor use.