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U.S. Pays Russia $7.2 billion for Separating Uranium from Warheads

Under terms of the U.S.-Russian two-decade old “megatons-to-megawatts” agreement, the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) has reimbursed the Russian Federation more than $7.2 billion for its work in separating fissile uranium for use in civilian nuclear power plants from Soviet-era nuclear warheads.

The figure was included in a statement released by USEC the payment is for the Russian separative work units (SWU) component of extracting low enriched uranium from dismantled nuclear warheads delivered to the USEC since 1995.

OJSC Techsnabexport (Tenex) is the Russian Federation government's intermediary for the agreement.  According to terms of the contract, which expires in two years, OJSC uses natural uranium in an admixture to dilute the weapons-grade uranium.

According to Russia’s Agentstvo Voyennykh Novostei news agency, OJSC Techsnabexport could eventually receive up to $17 billion for the entire contract, of which over $8 billion of would be for the SWU operation.

USEC said that the SWU operation has eliminated 425 metric tons of highly enriched uranium, the equivalent of 17,000 nuclear warheads, by converting it into fuel for commercial nuclear power plants, with the nuclear fuel produced up to now capable of generating enough electricity to meet the demand from U.S. households for nearly five years.

By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com



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