Canada, US wrap up Chalk River shipments

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Canada and the United States have quietly wrapped up a program to ship spent highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Chalk River to South Carolina.

The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) announced the completion of the multi-year campaign at the International Conference on Nuclear Security (ICONS) in Vienna on Friday.

The campaign to move HEU from the Chalk River Laboratories to the Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina, began in 2015 and finished in 2019 – 12 months ahead of schedule.

The campaign totalled over 66,000 miles of “safe, secure transportation” and resulted in the return of more than 200 kilograms of HEU.

It is the largest removal of spent nuclear fuel to the United States ever completed under the Nuclear Material Removal Program.

“Our collaboration on this project has demonstrated, once again, that when the United States and Canada work together, we can make the world a safer place,” said Lisa E. Gordon Hagerty, DOE under secretary for nuclear security and NNSA administrator.

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(Photo: Shipping container for HEU, from a report to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.)