France’s Choice for Naval Nuclear Propulsion: Why Low-Enriched Uranium Was Chosen

This special report is a result of an FAS task force on French naval nuclear propulsion and explores France’s decision to switch from highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU). By detailing the French Navy’s choice to switch to LEU fuel, author Alain Tournyol du Clos — a lead architect of France’s nuclear propulsion program — explores whether France’s choice is fit for other nations. Read or download now.

Briefing and Report Release: Naval Nuclear Reactors and Use of Highly Enriched Uranium

Friday, March 20, 2015
11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m.
Russell Senate Office Building, Room 385
Washington, DC

The United States and other countries with nuclear navies have benefited from having nuclear-powered warships. But do the continued benefits depend on indefinite use of highly enriched uranium (HEU)—which can be made into nuclear weapons—as naval nuclear fuel? Can low enriched uranium, which cannot power nuclear weapons, provide alternative fuels that meet the performance requirements of the United States Navy? What are the federal defense budgetary considerations? Is it possible to monitor and safeguard nuclear material for naval propulsion?

A panel of experts who will discuss their research on these and related issues. At this event, we will release the report of an independent task force convened by FAS, Naval Nuclear Propulsion: Assessing Benefits and Risks.

Schedule:

11:45 a.m.- Luncheon and Registration (Kindly request that you be seated by 12:05 p.m.)

12:05 p.m.- Opening Remarks: Major Findings and Recommendations of the Task Force
Presenter: Dr. Charles D. Ferguson, President, Federation of American Scientists, and Chair of the Task Force

12:15 p.m.- Phasing Out Highly Enriched Uranium Fuel in Naval Propulsion: Why It is Necessary, and How to Achieve It
Presenter: Dr. Alan Kuperman, Associate Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin

12:25 p.m.- Investigation into the Unintended Consequences of Converting the U.S. Nuclear Naval Fleet from Highly Enriched Uranium to Low Enriched Uranium
Presenter: Dr. Alireza Haghighat, Professor Virginia Tech Transport Theory Group (VT3G), Nuclear Science and Engineering Laboratory (NSEL), Nuclear Engineering Program

12:35 p.m.- Safeguarding Nuclear Material in the Naval Sector: An Examination of Governance Frameworks
Presenter: Ms. Naomi Egel, Nuclear Policy Working Group University of California, Berkeley

12:45 p.m.- The UK Naval Nuclear Propulsion Programme and Highly Enriched Uranium
Presenter: Dr. Nick Ritchie, University of York, UK

12:55 p.m.- Question and Answer Session

1:45 p.m.- Adjourn

RSVP: Space is limited. Please RSVP to [email protected] or 202-454-4694 by Wednesday, March 18, 2015.