Fresh HEU fuel removed from Romania

On June 27, 2009 Romania shipped 30 kg of "fresh HEU from a reactor in Pitesti" to a facility in Dimitrovgrad in Russia (this would be NIIAR). The fuel was transported by air.

It is not immediately clear why Russian HEU fuel remained in Pitesti so long (according to Rosatom is was Russian-origin fuel). Earlier, on 21 September 2003, Russia removed 14 kg of HEU (the shipment reportedly contained 50 IRT-2M assemblies and 150 S-36V assemblies with 14166.58 g of U of which 9703.04 g was U-235) from Pitesti to the fuel fabrication plant in Novosibirsk. That was the fuel that was originally supplied for the VVR-S reactor in Magurele. It was moved to Pitesti after the reactor in Magurele was shut down in 1997. If the current shipment also contained fuel of the VVR-S reactor, it is not clear why it was not removed in 2003.

UPDATE 07/17/09: According to NNSA representatives, the material removed on June 27, 2009 was in the form of uranium dioxide pellets that were intended to be used in fuel for the TRIGA reactor. The pellets contained uranium with enrichment of slightly higher than 20%. It was not removed in 2003 because at the time Romania expected to downblend the uranium. These plans did not materialize, however, and the material was removed.