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Savannah River Site Receives Third Shipment of Japanese Nuclear Fuel | Savannah River Site

The Savannah River site received a third shipment of nuclear fuel from Japan.

The National Nuclear Security Administration and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced on Tuesday that the 45 kilograms of highly enriched uranium had been removed from the Assembly critical of Kyoto University and transferred to the Savannah River site and Y-12. National Security Complex located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Uranium enrichment consists of increasing the percentage of uranium 235 compared to the much more naturally abundant percentage of uranium 238 in the uranium used for nuclear fuel. Highly enriched uranium contains more than 20% uranium-235.

At the Savannah River site and National Security Complex Y-12, uranium will be sub-mixed into low-enriched uranium that can be used for nuclear fuel but not for nuclear weapons.

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Low-enriched uranium contains less than 20% uranium-235.

National Nuclear Security Administrator Jill Hruby and Takashi Yanagi, Japan’s Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, marked the completion of highly enriched uranium in Tokyo.

“The completion of this withdrawal campaign was a monumental effort that demonstrates the close nuclear security relationship enjoyed by the United States and Japan,” Hruby said in a press release. “Minimize the use of HEU [highly enriched uranium] in civil applications allows installations like KUCA [Kyoto University Critical Assembly] to continue their essential training and research missions without the risk that the fuel could be used to produce an improvised nuclear device. I would like to thank the team for carrying out the work despite the pandemic restrictions.

In May, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that more than 30 kilograms of highly enriched uranium had been moved from three Japanese sites to the Savannah River site and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak. Ridge, Tennessee, to be mixed there. low-enriched uranium.

Uranium was removed from the University of Tokyo’s Yayoi Research Reactor, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Deuterium Critical Assembly, and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Japan Research Reactor 4. atomic energy as part of a commitment announced at a 2018 U.S.-Japan bilateral Civil Nuclear Cooperation meeting in Tokyo.


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In 2016, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency sent plutonium to the Savannah River site. Originally, the plan was to move the material to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico; however, in 2019 the NNSA decided to dissolve the plutonium in H Canyon at SRS.

The Office of Environmental Management announced in April that Fast Critical Assembly was online and ready to dispose of plutonium.

The work with Japan is part of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s work to partner with other countries and international institutions to eliminate the need, presence, and production of weapons-grade nuclear materials.

To date, the administration’s Materiel Management and Minimization Office has converted or shut down 108 reactors and removed or confirmed the destruction of nearly 7,275 kilograms of military-grade nuclear material, enough for about 325 weapons. nuclear.