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Uranium from U.K. ‘did not come’ to Environmental Management at SRS, rep says

May 14, 2019

A batch of highly enriched uranium taken from the U.K. has not been sent to U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management complexes at the Savannah River Site, according to public comments made recently by a department representative.

“I just want to make sure that you understand that did not come to an EM facility at Savannah River. So that’s not at Savannah River Site,” Amy Boyette, with the SRS external affairs office, said at a meeting last week in Augusta.

Environmental Management is the SRS landlord.

The National Nuclear Security Administration earlier this month announced a “multi-year effort” to relocate roughly 700 kg of HEU from the U.K. to the U.S. had been completed.

The relocation campaign marked the largest removal to the U.S. in the history of the DOE-NNSA Office of Material Management and Minimization’s nuclear material program.

The HEU was taken from the Dounreay nuclear site – perched on the Scottish coast – and will eventually be downblended for use as reactor fuel, according to the NNSA.

Boyette’s statement came as a follow-on – if not a clarification – to remarks made prior by Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board Chairman Gil Allensworth.

“Recently there’s been a headline, and it’s not an EM thing, but it’s an NNSA thing, that 700 kilograms of United Kingdom … HEU is coming to the United States,” Allensworth said at the same meeting. “Don’t know where it’s going, but it is being said it’s going to be downblended.”

No destination was given in the NNSA announcement.

Allensworth was previously speaking about H-Canyon, a hardened nuclear chemical separations plant at SRS.

The NNSA is a semiautonomous DOE agency in charge of the nation’s nuclear complex and related nonproliferation. The agency operates at SRS.

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