The Use of Highly-Enriched Uranium as Fuel in Russia

Pavel Podvig, "The Use of Highly-Enriched Uranium as Fuel in Russia", RERTR 2016 - 37th International Meeting on Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors, Antwerp, Belgium, October 23-27, 2016
As a large user of highly-enriched uranium (HEU), Russia has a special role in the international HEU minimization effort. In 2016, it operated 59 reactors and research facilities that use HEU--more than half of the world's total--as well as a fleet of 57 nuclear-powered military and civilian ships with 85 reactors. All these applications are estimated to consume about 9 tons of HEU annually, an equivalent of 3.3 tons of 90% enriched HEU. In addition, about 9 tons of unirradiated HEU (6 tons of 90% HEU equivalent) is associated with 38 research facilities in ten organizations throughout Russia. The scale of HEU use and the wide range of applications involved present a serious challenge for engaging Russia in the international efforts to reduce the use of HEU. This paper considers the history and current status of HEU use in Russia and outlines strategies for HEU minimization.