United States and Kazakhstan work to eliminate HEU fuel of research reactors

The United States and Kazakhstan announced the elimination of unirradiated HEU fuel of the IGR research reactor. According to the statement, 2.9 kg of unirradiated HEU was transported to the Ulba Metallurgical Plant, where it was downblended. "The downblending process included crushing and grinding the graphite/uranium blocks, oxidizing the graphite material, dry mixing with LEU powder, dissolving the uranium, and adjusting to get the uranium oxide to 19.8% enrichment."

IGR is a pulsed reactor that used uranium-graphite fuel with 90% HEU. It is not clear any irradiated fuel remains on site. The reactor is likely to be decommissioned.

During the 2020 IAEA General Conference the United States and Kazakhstan confirmed their commitment to work together to eliminate all HEU in Kazakhstan and to complete conversion of the remaining HEU research reactor, IVG.1M, to LEU in 2021. In 2017, Kazakhstan conducted first tests of LEU fuel for IVG.1M, supplied by Russia.