Norway working to eliminate HEU

September 22, 2020, 6:58AMRadwaste Solutions

Experts from the United States and Norway are cooperating to make Norway free of high-enriched uranium, according to a September 21 statement from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

The approach: Norway has been a global advocate for HEU minimization. In 2019, the NNSA began discussions with its Norwegian counterparts about a method that might help the country eliminate HEU.

Norway has played a role in convening international symposia and meetings to enable the exchange of ideas and best practices relating to the elimination of HEU, according to the NNSA. During a 2019 meeting in the Norway’s capital, Oslo, focused on HEU-thorium mixtures, the NNSA and its Norwegian partners began discussing a potential method to address the country’s inventories of these materials. Since then, U.S. and Norwegian technical experts have worked together on the method, which would involve downblending the HEU in Norway, ensuring that the material would never be used for a nuclear device.

Current work: A U.S.-Norwegian team is studying Norway’s existing infrastructure, inventory data, and the safety, security, and safeguards implications of the proposed technical solution, among other topics.

In a joint statement, both countries recognized that challenges remain ahead, some of which remain unknown at this time. The statement highlighted mutual confidence in the two countries’ ability to meet and overcome the challenges, making Norway HEU-free and advancing the common goal of global nuclear security.

Quotes: “Norway has been a strong partner in this effort from the start,” said Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, NNSA administrator and under secretary for nuclear security at the DOE.

Audun Halvorsen, state secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, added, “With continued cooperation, Norway, and other countries with HEU, can join those which are HEU-free so that this material can never be misused.”

Experts from the United States and Norway are cooperating to make Norway free of high-enriched uranium, according to a September 21 statement from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.


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