Dangerous spent fuel returned to US

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

WASHINGTON: Germany has returned more than 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of highly enriched uranium fuel to the U.S. for safeguarding from terrorists or potential misuse, the government said Tuesday.

The National Nuclear Security Administration said the spent fuel shipment was transported by ship and rail under secret and secure conditions. Spokeswoman Casey Ruberg said the material was secured at a site in the southern state of South Carolina on Sept. 23.

Overall, nearly 115 pounds (52 kilograms) of spent fuel, originally provided by the United States for use in research reactors, has been returned to the United States from Argentina, Portugal, Romania and Germany during the past year, the agency said.

Other fuel is being returned to Russia from civilian sites as part of a joint program with the U.S. to replace highly enriched uranium — which can be used in a weapon — with low enriched uranium that cannot be diverted.

Forty-five shipments of 2,600 pounds (1,179 kilograms) of U.S.-origin fuel has been returned to the U.S. from 27 countries since the 1990s.

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