Hungary becomes HEU-free

5 November 2013

An international effort has resulted in the successful removal of the all the remaining highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Hungary.

The final 49.2 kilograms of HEU was removed from Hungary via three secure air shipments over a six-week period, the US Department of Energy said 4 November.

The multi-year effort was coordinated between Hungary, the United States, the Russian Federation, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The four participants also returned 190 kilograms of HEU from Hungary to Russia via three shipments in 2008, 2009, and 2012.

"The material will be transported to Russia where it will be downblended into low enriched uranium (LEU) for use in nuclear power reactors," the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said.

The recent quantity of HEU removed from Hungary was "enough for nine nuclear weapons," according to NNSA.

Hungary originally procured the HEU from Russia for use in scientific applications in the Budapest Research Reactor at Hungary's Atomic Energy Research Institute. In 2009, NNSA and Hungarian scientists successfully converted the reactor from HEU to LEU use, allowing for the elimination of Hungary's entire HEU inventory.

Hungary becomes the 25th country to have eliminated HEU from its borders and the 12th since 2009, according to NNSA.
The other eleven countries and locations that have completely removed HEU since 2009 are Austria, Chile, Czech Republic, Libya, Mexico, Romania, Serbia, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam

More photos are available on the NNSA Flickr stream

Removing the last of Hungary's HEU (Source NNSA)

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