PDT Staff Report
USEC, Inc., this week announced that the Megatons to Megawatts program has now converted 450 metric tons of weapons-grade uranium from dismantled former Soviet Union nuclear warheads into low enriched uranium fuel to generate clean, reliable electricity in commercial nuclear power plants. The program is now 90 percent complete.
“For nearly two decades, the Megatons to Megawatts program has provided a reliable source of fuel for commercial nuclear power plants while reducing the quantities of weapons-grade uranium remaining in the world,” said John K. Welch, USEC president and CEO. “As we near the end of this historic nonproliferation program, USEC is preparing to transition to our new contract with TENEX, which will continue to provide a reliable supply of LEU for the company while we work to deploy the American Centrifuge technology.”
Megatons to Megawatts is a 20-year, commercially financed government-industry partnership in which 500 metric tons of Russian weapons-grade uranium is being downblended to low enriched uranium for use as commercial reactor fuel. USEC, as executive agent for the U.S. government, and JSC “Techsnabexport” (TENEX), acting for the Russian government, implement the program.
The Megatons to Megawatts program is on track to downblend the equivalent of 20,000 nuclear warheads into nuclear fuel by the end of 2013. The fuel generated to date has the energy equivalent of more than 193 billion gallons of gasoline, which equals more than 17 months of U.S. consumption. In past years, up to 10 percent of the electricity generated in the United States came from nuclear power plants using this fuel.