From danger to dollars: What the US should do with its highly enriched uranium

By Peter Stockton, Ingrid Drake, November 1, 2010

Although the Obama administration has highlighted the need to secure fissile
material worldwide, domestic efforts to secure highly enriched uranium (HEU)
have been sluggish and uninspired. In the post-9/11 era, the United States has
tremendous opportunities not only to better secure its dangerous HEU, but to
make money by doing so. The authors write that the United States could create a
new HEU surplus by designating that which is unnecessary for military needs;
reduce the backlog of retired warheads awaiting dismantlement; increase the rate
at which surplus HEU is downblended into low enriched uranium (LEU), a form of
uranium unusable for weapons but usable as nuclear fuel; and sell that LEU to
nuclear power plants for billions of dollars. The slow pace of downblending HEU
in the United States poses a security risk to the population, deprives taxpayers
of a needed source of revenue, and sends the wrong message to the global
community about the US commitment to combating nuclear terrorism, the authors
point out, and developing and implementing a new downblending strategy should be
a priority.


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