The fresh fuel was flown from the Institute for Nuclear Research in Pitesti, Romania, to Russia’s Chemical Concentrates Plant in Novosibirsk. The fuel was originally procured for a Russian-designed two-megawatt research reactor near Romania’s capital, Bucharest. The reactor stopped operating in December 1997, and the fresh fuel was sent to Pitesti for storage. The fuel removal is part of a three-year project to convert the U.S.-designed Pitesti reactor to LEU. The United States contributed $4 million to the IAEA for the conversion.
There are currently some 80 research reactors around the world that still have weapons-usable HEU.