FACT SHEET: Transparency in the U.S. Highly Enriched Uranium Inventory
Today, the United States announces the declassification and public release of data on the national inventory of highly enriched uranium (HEU) as of September 30, 2013. This announcement marks the first time in fifteen years that the United States has declassified and released information of this kind. The newly declassified information shows that, from 1996 to 2013, U.S. HEU inventories decreased from 740.7 metric tons to 585.6 metric tons. This reflects a reduction of over 20 percent. Moreover, further reductions in the inventory are ongoing; the U.S. Department of Energy’s material disposition program has down-blended 7.1 metric tons of HEU since September 30, 2013, and continues to make progress in this area.
This type of information sharing, subject to respective national laws and procedures, is an important part of the effort to strengthen global nuclear security. The value of transparency has been highlighted by the United States throughout the Nuclear Security Summit process.
The highly enriched uranium inventory data released today is an important part of this effort. The following data has been declassified and is being publicly released:
- As of September 30, 2013, the total U.S. HEU inventory was 585.6 metric tons.
- Of this amount, 499.4 metric tons was for national security or non-national security programs including nuclear weapons, naval propulsion, nuclear energy, and science.
- Of the remaining 86.2 metric tons, 41.6 metric tons was available for potential down-blend to low enriched uranium or, if not possible, disposal as low-level waste, and 44.6 metric tons was in spent reactor fuel.
As President Obama noted in 2010, “when the United States improves our own nuclear security and transparency, it encourages others to do the same.” The U.S. commitment to sharing appropriate nuclear security-related information has also been demonstrated by recent actions such as the declassification of information on the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and transparency visits by officials from non-nuclear weapons states to Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. These actions show that countries can increase transparency without revealing sensitive information.