History of Highly Enriched Uranium Released

After nearly a decade of pressure from openness advocates inside and outside of government, the Department of Energy has finally released its landmark history of the production of highly enriched uranium (HEU).

The study “was commissioned [in 1996] to facilitate discussions of HEU storage, safety, and security with stakeholders, to encourage other nations to declassify and release similar data, and to support the national policy on transparency of nuclear materials.”

The newly released report “contains details of the U.S. HEU inventory as of September 30, 1996, and provides a historical material balance that summarizes over 50 years of U.S. activities that produced, acquired, and utilized HEU.”

“This report combines previously released data along with newly declassified information that has allowed DOE to issue, for the first time, a comprehensive report on HEU.”

“From 1945 through 1996, a total of 1,045.4 metric tons of uranium containing 859.2 metric tons of uranium-235 was produced in the United States at three facilities utilizing two different production technologies.”

“As of September 30, 1996, the total U.S. inventory of HEU was 740.7 MTU containing 620.3 MTU-235.”

Rich in detail, the 173 page report has been only minimally redacted (sanitized).

The report was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Federation of American Scientists.

See “Highly Enriched Uranium: Striking A Balance,” U.S. Department of Energy, January 2001.

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