FACT SHEET: Highly Enriched Uranium Minimization Activities since March 2014
Minimization of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in civilian applications is a priority for the Nuclear Security Summit process. Eliminating all HEU from facilities or countries decreases the number of potential targets for terrorists, criminals, and other unauthorized actors to obtain this material. Minimization efforts include HEU reactor conversions and shut-downs, nuclear material removals, technology substitution, and down-blending. Each of these activities represents permanent threat reduction by preventing sensitive nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands.
Through the Nuclear Security Summit process, the international community has made considerable progress in this area. Since the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, the United States has supported the conversion of HEU reactors in Russia, Jamaica, China, and Kazakhstan. The United States also confirmed the shutdown of four HEU reactors: two in Russia, one in Uzbekistan, and one in Switzerland.
Once facilities are converted and HEU is no longer required, the material can be removed. Since March 2014, the United States removed or confirmed disposition of approximately 450 kilograms of HEU from 10 countries (Poland, Kazakhstan, Canada, Switzerland, Jamaica, Uzbekistan, Austria, Germany, Japan, and Argentina). As a result of these efforts, three additional countries are now considered free of HEU (Switzerland, Uzbekistan, and Argentina), defined as having less than one kilogram of HEU on their territory. In total, 29 countries plus Taiwan are now HEU-free after eliminating their HEU.