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[cdn-nucl-l] 7,000 Nuclear Warheads Eliminated
Posted in USEC site
ontent/News/NewsFiles/04-13-03.htm) by April 13, 2003
World Security 'Significantly Enhanced' by USEC and TENEX
--7,000 Nuclear Warheads Eliminated through Megatons to Megawatts Program--
Bethesda, MD—USEC Inc. (NYSE: USU) announced today that the ongoing Megatons
to Megawatts nuclear nonproliferation program has successfully eliminated
the equivalent of 7,000 Russian nuclear warheads—signifying successful
completion of more than one-third of this 20-year agreement to eliminate the
equivalent of 20,000 nuclear warheads.
Since 1994, USEC and its Russian partner, Techsnabexport (TENEX), acting as
executive agents for the U.S. and Russian governments, have implemented the
Megatons to Megawatts program at no cost to taxpayers. Through this unique
government-industry partnership, bomb-grade uranium from dismantled Russian
warheads is being recycled into fuel and used by American power plants to
produce electricity. On average, one in 10 American homes, businesses,
schools and hospitals receive electricity generated from Megatons to
Megawatts fuel—and this ratio is much higher in certain areas of the
“We are extremely proud of the ongoing success of the Megatons to Megawatts
program,” said USEC President and CEO William H. Timbers. “Over the past
nine years, USEC and TENEX have been continuously engaged in establishing
and maintaining a strong, flexible and cooperative working relationship. The
Megatons to Megawatts program has significantly enhanced world security by
steadily reducing stockpiles of nuclear bomb-grade materials, while creating
a clean, valuable resource—nuclear fuel. More than 100 American nuclear
power reactors—virtually the entire U.S. fleet—have participated in this
program by using Megatons to Megawatts fuel.”
In February, Russia’s Ministry for Atomic Energy saluted the successful
implementation of the government-to-government program as “an example of the
effective realization of bilateral cooperation in real disarmament.”
On April 15, the Megatons to Megawatts program will be included in the
television documentary series “Avoiding Armageddon,” scheduled to air
nationally on PBS at 9 p.m. The four-part series runs from April 14 to 17.
Eliminating Megatons and Generating Megawatts
The 20-year, $8 billion Megatons to Megawatts program is a
government-industry partnership that is commercially financed.
Through a multi-step process in Russia, the bomb-grade uranium material is
diluted until it becomes suitable for use as fuel in commercial nuclear
power reactors. These activities provide jobs for Russian nuclear
specialists at three large nuclear facilities. USEC purchases the fuel to
market to its utility customers. The fuel from Russia makes up approximately
one-half of USEC’s total fuel sales. The other half is produced domestically
by USEC at its facility in Paducah, Kentucky.
To date, approximately 175 metric tons of Russian nuclear warhead material
has been recycled into fuel—enough fuel to power a city the size of Boston
or Seattle for about 270 years.
By 2013, when the program is completed, 500 metric tons of Russian warhead
material (the equivalent of 20,000 warheads) will have been converted into
enough fuel to power the entire United States for about two years. Notably,
the nuclear power plants producing this electricity do not emit air
pollution or greenhouse gases that may contribute to global climate change.
To generate an equivalent amount of electricity from fossil fuels would
· 3 billion tons of coal (30 million coal cars), or
· 10 billion barrels of oil (10,000 supertankers) or
· 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (10 years’ worth of U.S.
usage for electricity generation).
In addition to enhancing world security and helping to save our natural
resources, the benefits of the Megatons to Megawatts program are
far-reaching in other ways:
· The United States receives access to a valuable supply of
electricity-producing power plant fuel, which promotes U.S. energy security
and fuel diversification objectives.
· This fuel represents about half the amount used annually by U.S.
nuclear power plants, which generate 20 percent of America’s electricity.
· The Russian Federation receives a steady stream of income that
helps finance nuclear safety, cleanup and weapons material security programs
and helps keep many Russian nuclear workers employed. To date, USEC’s
purchases of Russian warhead-derived fuel have totaled about $3 billion.
“Today, the Megatons to Megawatts program represents an unprecedented
partnership of government and private industry that has successfully reduced
the threat of nuclear terrorism worldwide,” said Timbers. “It also supports
the security objectives of the 1991 Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction
Program by eliminating nuclear bomb-grade warhead material from the weapons
systems destroyed through Nunn-Lugar projects.”
Additional information on the Megatons to Megawatts program can be found on
USEC’s website: www.usec.com.
USEC Inc., a global energy company, is the world’s leading supplier of
enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.