The Y-12 National Security Complex recently fulfilled its commitment to provide low-enriched uranium, or LEU, as feedstock to fuel the “Safe LOW-POwer Kritical Experiment” (SLOWPOKE) research reactor in Kingston, Jamaica.
“Our role is to produce the uranium dioxide feedstock and to manage fabrication of LEU fuel pins for the reactor core to enable conversion from highly enriched uranium, or HEU, to LEU,” said John Creasy of Y‑12’s Nuclear Nonproliferation and Global Security Programs.
The new pins, made of low enriched uranium dioxide powder, will replace those made with weapons-useable HEU, thus making the reactor fuel less desirable to terrorists. Y-12 has a long history of supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear nonproliferation activities throughout the world. This project is just one of several HEU-to-LEU conversion efforts in which Y-12 has participated in support of the Department’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative, or GTRI.
The last shipment of uranium dioxide feedstock was shipped last month to Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, where it will be fabricated into fuel pins. AECL was selected because it designed the original SLOWPOKE reactor. [Read more…]