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Last shipment of Russian warheads uranium came to U.S.

Staff writer |
The United States has taken delivery of the last shipment of downgraded uranium from Russia. This is the end of a 20-year program designed to neutralize approximately 500 tonnes of the weapons-grade material, the White House said.

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The final shipment of low-enriched uranium arrived in the Maryland port city of Baltimore. The fuel is destined for use in US nuclear plants and it is the latest from a vast quantity contained in some 20,000 Russian warheads which were deactivated under the 1991 START treaty at the end of the Cold War.

"Today the United States and Russia are commemorating the completion of one of the most successful non-proliferation programs in our history," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

The recycling and transfer of the uranium to the United States were formalized in a 1993 agreement. The program "Megatons to Megawatts" had helped provide 10 percent of all US electricity generated over the past 15 years.

"The United States and Russia remain strongly committed to building on this success, and will continue to collaborate across various fields of nonproliferation, nuclear security and nuclear research and development," said Ms. Hayden.

The agreement was halted at the initiative of Russia, which said the United States was not paying enough for the uranium, roughly equivalent to 10 billion barrels of crude. A much smaller quantity of uranium from decommissioned US weapons had also been used to produce energy. The United States had sought to extend the agreement with Russia but Moscow refused.

Washington has paid close to $8 billion for Russian uranium, according to the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC).

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