US and UK collaborate on removing uranium

The UK and US have completed a project removing uranium from the north of Scotland to be reused for peaceful purposes.

The US aided in removing uranium to use in civil nuclear reactors. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) removed 700kg of the highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Dounreay in the north of Scotland and transferred it to the US to be down-blended and used to generate energy.

A different form of the material will be sent to Europe for use in medical isotopes and research for reactor fuel. The transfer was originally announced by the UK government in 2016 at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC.

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and the NNSA Administrator, said: “This joint effort highlights our strong cooperation and mutual non-proliferation goals.”

CEO of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) David Peattie said: “The successful completion of the complex work to transfer HEU is an important milestone in the programme to decommission and clean up Dounreay Site.”

David Peattie also thanked the staff from Dounreay Site Restoration Limited, counterparts from the US Department of Energy and the other agencies involved with coordinating the movement of the material, for their commitment and hard work. The NDA has plans to clear the site further, including dismantling the reactor and restoring the environment.

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