Fact Sheet: Joint Statement on HEU Minimization



Office of the Press Secretary



For Immediate Release                       



Minimizing and Eliminating the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium

in Civilian Applications


Since the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit, there has been considerable and tangible progress made toward the minimization of highly enriched uranium (HEU).  These efforts include converting reactors from HEU fuel to low enriched uranium fuel, HEU removals, technology substitution, and down-blending.  As of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, 29 countries and Taiwan have strengthened global nuclear security by eliminating all HEU from their territory.  Minimizing, and eventually eliminating, civilian HEU stocks represents permanent threat reduction by preventing sensitive nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands.

At the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, Norway has sponsored a Gift Basket on Minimizing and Eliminating the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in civilian applications.  The States joining this Gift Basket have outlined a comprehensive five-point plan to minimize and ultimately eliminate HEU from civilian applications, including (1) limiting the use of HEU in new civilian facilities and applications; (2) converting to LEU or shuting down all HEU civilian reactors; (3) repatriating all civilian HEU to the countries of origin or otherwise permanently disposing of or down-blending excess HEU; (4) converting medical isotope production facilities to non-HEU technologies; and (5) meeting to review progress on this plan in 2018.

To support this effort, the United States will continue to work on new low enriched uranium (LEU) fuels to convert its six remaining High Performance Research Reactors, establish domestic non-HEU based molybdenum-99 production, and down-blend HEU declared as excess.  The United States will also support international efforts to convert HEU research reactors to LEU fuel, return or dispose of excess civilian HEU, and convert large-scale international medical isotope producers from HEU to LEU targets. 

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