Did HEU from Italy, Belgium come to Y-12?

The White House and the National Nuclear Security Administration today announced (initially at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands) that highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium had been removed from Belgium and Italy. The amounts removed from Belgium weren’t specified, but about 20 kilograms of fissile material were taken from Italy, the government said.

The statement on the removal of materials from Italy said the project involved “extremely complex operations,” including development of a new process to convert the HEU from a solution to an oxide.” Uranium was consolidated from three sites, it stated.

The materials were brought to the United States, and it would seem natural for the HEU to be sent to the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge — the nation’s principal repository for weapons-grade uranium. However, the NNSA would not say where the material went.

“The material was transferred to secure facilities in the United States where it will be stored until it can be permanently dispositioned,” Y-12 spokesman Steven Wyatt said. “For security reasons, we cannot disclose the location of the final destination.”

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.