U.S. material in Europe to be used to manufacture HEU targets

The Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the U.S. Department of Energy issued a notice of the change of end use terms of the HEU export license XSNM3622, issued in 2010, which authorized shipment of 93.5 kg of highly-enriched uranium (87.3 kilograms U-235) to France to manufacture fuel for the BR2 reactor. After the reactor switched fuel providers in 2016, the CERCA facility was left with some HEU that was no longer required for the fuel. In its notice, DoE seeks to use this material to manufacture HEU targets that are used in commercial isotope production.

According to the DoE notice, the material is "3.510 kg of U.S.-obligated high enriched uranium (HEU), 3.264 kg of which is in the isotope of U-235 (∼93.00 percent enrichment)." The material is "currently in the form of U-metal (1.410 kg UTot) and UAlx-powder (2.10 kg UTot)." HEU targets produced from this HEU will be irradiated in "BR2 (Belgium), High Flux Reactor (The Netherlands), LVR-15 (Czech Republic) and Maria (Poland) research reactors." After irradiation, the targets "will be transferred to the Institute for Radioelements facility in Belgium where Molybdenum-99 and other isotopes will be extracted."

It is worth noting that the original export license was followed by XSNM3622/01 in 2012. The new license authorized shipment of 6.2 kg of HEU (5.8 kg of U-235) specifically for use in manufacturing targets for isotope production (in BR2, HFR Petten, and OSIRIS reactors).