International Security

Disarmament and Nonproliferation

 On 30 June 2009 the last shipment of highly enriched uranium (HEU) of Russian origin was repatriated. The material was repatriated to the Russian Federation by air, for storage in two secure facilities for nuclear fuel. Thus, Romania became the first country from which the highly enriched uranium was repatriated by air. 

These activities were performed in the framework of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) promoted by the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The repatriation of nuclear material was successfully also due to the close cooperation between Romania, USA, the Russian Federation and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Romania became the fourteenth country from which highly enriched uranium was returned to the origin country after Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Denmark, Greece, Latvia, Philippines, Portugal, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Thailand. This activity helps in seriously reducing the terrorist threat because the material was permanently removed from civilian areas and therefore cannot be used to manufacture nuclear devises. Each kilogram of HEU stored safely reduces the risk of terrorist access to essential material in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

This action was part of the Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return Program. The main purpose of this program is to help accelerate the efforts of states to achieve nuclear non-proliferation, by removing highly enriched fuel. All activities of the program is conducted under the Agreement between the Government of Romania and the U.S.

Government on cooperation in countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and to promote military relations and defense (1998) and the Agreement between the Nuclear Agency of Romania, the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control and the U.S. Department of Energy on cooperation in combating nuclear proliferation and technology (2004).

Worldwide, more than 20 research reactors use Russian origin fuel in 17 nuclear plants from 15 countries including Romania. In December 1999 an international program was agreed under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to return to the Russian Federation the Russian nuclear fuel used in research reactors worldwide.