Megatons to Megawatts History

Test

1990

1990

HEU Program Concept First Discussed

1990-1991

Concept to convert highly enriched uranium (HEU) from nuclear warheads into low enriched uranium (LEU) for use in fabricating fuel for nuclear reactors is discussed in the United States and Russia.

1992

1992

HEU Agreement Negotiations

January 1992

United States and Russia begin an 18-month negotiation process to develop an agreement on U.S. purchases of Russian HEU.

1992

USEC Created Under 1992 Energy Policy Act

October 1992

Energy Policy Act creates the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) to take over all uranium enrichment activities of the government. It authorizes USEC to negotiate the purchase of all HEU made available under a government-to-government agreement between the United States and Russia.

1993

1993

U.S. and Russia Sign HEU Agreement

February 1993

The United States and the Russian Federation sign a government-to-government agreement concerning the disposition and purchase of 500 metric tons (MT) of HEU extracted from nuclear weapons and converted into LEU.

1993

DOE and Minatom Agree on Transparency Procedures

March 1993

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Ministry of Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation (MINATOM) sign Protocol working out specific transparency procedures to ensure the LEU provided comes from HEU derived from nuclear weapons. DOE is responsible for monitoring transparency activities.

1993

U.S. and Russia Sign Basic Principles Agreement

May 1993

The Department of State for the U.S. government and MINATOM for the Russian Federation sign the Basic Principles of the HEU contract at ceremonies in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Principles list the major terms, including price, to be included in the HEU implementing contract under the government-to-government agreement.

1993

Additional Transparency Measures Agreed To

September 1993

The U.S. and Russian governments sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) related to transparency and additional arrangements to ensure that the LEU is derived from HEU from nuclear weapons dismantled in Russia.

1994

1994

Trilateral Agreement Between U.S., Russian and Ukraine

January 1994

Leaders of the United States, Russia and Ukraine sign the Trilateral Agreement at the Presidential Summit in Moscow. In the Agreement, Ukraine agrees to dismantle its nuclear weapons and send them to Russia for deactivation of the nuclear warheads. In return, Ukraine would receive commercial nuclear reactor fuel.

1994

Megatons to Megawatts Contract Signed

January 1994

USEC and Tenex are appointed executive agents to U.S., Russian governments for managing the 20-year contract to downblend and sell low enriched uranium derived from Russian nuclear warhead material.

1994

USEC and Tenex Sign HEU Contract

January 1994

Commercial implementing contract for the Russian HEU purchase program is signed in Moscow by the Executive Agents for the U.S. and Russian governments: USEC and Techsnabexport (TENEX), respectively. The contract establishes commercial terms for orders, quantities, deliveries and payments for converting 500 MT of Russian HEU from dismantled nuclear warheads into LEU to be purchased by USEC over a period of 20 years. This commercial program has come to be known as "Megatons to Megawatts".

1994

USEC Advances Payments to Russia

March - June 1994

Under the HEU Contract, USEC advances a $60 million payment ($15 million each month from April through July) to Russia against future shipments of LEU derived from weapons HEU, as part of a commitment made by President Bill Clinton to the leaders of Russia and Ukraine in the Trilateral Agreement.

1994

USEC, TENEX and Minatom Meet on Contract

Mid-1994

USEC, MINATOM and TENEX meet frequently to discuss matters in support of smooth, effective contract implementation.

1994

Russia Completes Downblending Test Runs

October 1994

Russia completes test runs to convert and dilute HEU to LEU according to technical specifications. USEC provides technical assistance to help Russia meet acceptable purity specifications.

1994

USEC Places First Order for LEU

December 1994

USEC places the first order for LEU derived from about 6 MT of HEU for calendar year 1995, the maximum amount Russia is capable of processing for delivery in 1995. USEC provides all shipment hardware, including product cylinders, sample containers and shipping containers.

1995

1995

First Delivery Received at USEC

June 1995

For the first time in history, uranium in nuclear warheads from the former Soviet Union is transformed into LEU for use in fabricating fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. The first shipments of LEU derived from Russian HEU arrive at USEC’s Portsmouth, Ohio plant. Shipment #1 arriving on June 23 consists of 16 cylinders holding 24 MT of LEU derived from 0.786 MT of HEU. Shipment #2 consists of 12 cylinders holding 18 MT of LEU derived from 0.59 MT of HEU.

1995

USEC and Minatom Agree to Additional Protocol

June 1995

William H. Timbers, President and CEO of USEC, and Viktor N. Mikhailov, Minister of MINATOM, sign Protocol reconfirming that both parties are committed to the successful implementation and sustained execution of the contract.

Key elements of the Protocol are as follows:

  • Both parties recommit themselves to the success of the HEU-from-weapons contract and agree to support the full and timely implementation of the contract.
  • Russia and the United States agree to take steps to ensure full and simultaneous payment for natural uranium and enrichment enrichment component of the LEU.
  • USEC will advance $100 million to Russia to facilitate delivery of fuel to Ukraine, per the United States-Russia-Ukraine Trilateral Agreement.
1995

First Megatons to Megawatts Shipment

June 1995

The first shipments of Russian uranium under the Megatons to Megawatts program arrive at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

1995

USEC Advances Payment to Russia

July 1995

USEC advances $100 million to Russia against calendar year 1996 and 1997 shipments.

1995

First Year of Shipments Completed Successfully

December 1995

USEC reports on the successful completion of the first year of the Megatons to Megawatts program. USEC and TENEX also reach agreement regarding USEC's order for material for 1996.

1995

1995 Shipments

1995 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 244 nuclear warheads (186 MT of LEU derived from 6.1 MT of HEU).

Running total: 244 warheads eliminated

1996

1996

Clinton Signs USEC Privatization Act

April 1996

President Clinton signs into law the USEC Privatization Act which, among other things, provides for the delivery of natural uranium to the Russian executive agent (i.e., TENEX) equivalent to the natural uranium component of the LEU received by USEC. The Act facilitates Russia's disposition of the natural uranium beginning in January 1997.

1996

USEC and Tenex Amend Contract

September 1996

USEC and TENEX sign contract amendment in London implementing provisions of the USEC Privatization Act, including provisions to: (i) free USEC (from 1997) of responsibility for paying for the natural uranium component of the LEU delivered to USEC related to the shipments, and (ii) obligate USEC to deliver an equivalent quantity of natural uranium to TENEX in the United States on the same day it receives LEU in Russia.

1996

USEC and TENEX Sign Contract Amendment in Moscow

November 1996

USEC and TENEX sign contract amendment in Moscow that implements agreement for five years on quantities and prices.

The agreement provides for USEC to purchase the enrichment component of LEU derived from 18 MT of HEU in 1997, 24 MT in 1998, 30 MT in 1999, 30 MT in 2000 and 30 MT in 2001.

This stable process speeds up the purchases over these years from previous goals by approximately 50 percent and accounts for nearly one-third of the 500 MT covered by the original agreement, including 1995 and 1996 shipments.

1996

USEC Transfers Uranium to DOE and Advances Payment to Russia

December 1996

USEC announces the transfer to the U.S. Department of Energy, at no cost, of the equivalent of about 14 million pounds of U3O8, representing the natural uranium purchased in 1995 and 1996 from the Russian government under the Megatons to Megawatts contract. USEC paid $160 million for this product.

USEC advances $100 million to Russia against future deliveries (calendar years 1998-99) subsequent to the U.S.-Russian agreement on enhanced transparency.

The United States and Russia complete enhanced transparency agreement.

1996

1996 Shipments

1996 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 479 nuclear warheads (370.9 MT of LEU derived from 12 MT of HEU).

Running total: 723 warheads eliminated

1997

1997

Russia Announces Delivery Delays Pending Uranium Sales Resolution

April 1997

February and March 1997 shipments arrive at USEC's Portsmouth, Ohio facility. Russia (i.e., TENEX) informs USEC that the deliveries scheduled for April, May and June will be delayed pending resolution by Russia of arrangements with third parties to sell the natural uranium received by Russia for the natural uranium component of LEU derived from HEU. Processing of LEU from weapons HEU will continue in Russia and then be combined with deliveries that the Russians anticipate making from July through November.

1997

Russia Agrees to Resume Deliveries

June 1997

Though a final Russian sales agreement with third parties is still pending for the natural uranium received by Russia for the natural uranium component in LEU derived from HEU, Russia (i.e., TENEX) informs USEC that April, May and June deliveries will be shipped starting in mid-July.

1997

Russia Resumes Shipments

July 1997

Russia resumes shipments to USEC.

1997

Russia Reaches Initial Agreement on Uranium Component

August 1997

Russia reaches agreement in principle with Cameco, Cogema and Nukem for their purchase of part of the natural uranium received by Russia for the natural uranium component of all Megatons to Megawatts LEU delivered to USEC in Russia for the next 10 years. But the agreement is not signed. Late in 1997, the Russians announce plans for alternative arrangements, but these do not materialize. Discussions with the three Western companies resume in 1998.

1997

1997 Shipments

1997 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 534 nuclear warheads (358.5 MT of LEU derived from 13.4 MT of HEU).

Running total: 1,257 warheads eliminated

1998

1998

DOE Granted Emergency Appropriations to Purchase Uranium Component

October 1998

U.S. legislation passed on October 31, 1998, allows the DOE Secretary to request an emergency appropriation of up to $325 million to buy the natural uranium delivered to TENEX for the natural uranium component of Russia's 1997 and 1998 LEU deliveries (28 million lbs. U308 equivalent) once the Russian government has entered into an agreement with "commercial partners" (i.e., Cameco, Cogema, and Nukem) to buy post-1998 deliveries.

1998

Russia Suspends Shipments

December 1998

Russia had unilaterally slowed shipments to USEC during 1998 and now suspends them. The Russians continue to negotiate a uranium purchase arrangement with Cameco, Cogema and Nukem.

1998

1998 Shipments

1998 Shipments

Calendar year 1998 shipments total about 764 nuclear warheads (571.5 MT of LEU derived from 19.1 MT of HEU). Part of 1998 order is delayed by Russia pending agreements with the U.S. government and three Western companies on the disposition of the natural uranium received from USEC for the natural uranium component of the LEU.

Running total: 2,021 warheads eliminated

1999

1999

U.S. and Russia Reach Agreement on Uranium Component

March 1999

The United States and Russia sign a government-to-government agreement that:

  • facilitates sale by Russia of certain quantities of natural uranium delivered to Russia in connection with HEU-to-LEU shipments; and
  • stipulates that DOE will purchase from Russia, for $325 million, the natural uranium delivered to TENEX for the natural uranium component of Russia's 1997 and 1998 LEU deliveries to USEC.

DOE agrees to keep that uranium off the market for ten years.

Concurrently, Russia signs a long-term contract, with market-based pricing, to sell a portion of the natural uranium to three companies: Cogema, Cameco and Nukem.

Shipments of LEU to USEC resume.

1999

1998 Shipments Completed

July 1999

Shipment of CY 1998 order to USEC is completed.

Shipments begin of CY 1999 order.

1999

1999 Shipments

1999 Shipments

In July 1999, TENEX completes its calendar year 1998 scheduled deliveries of blended-down HEU.

Shipments also begin of USEC's calendar year 1999 order. 1999 deliveries equal about 970 warheads (718.7 MT of LEU derived from 24.3 MT of HEU).

Running total: 2,991 warheads eliminated

2000

2000

1999 Order Completed

February 2000

TENEX completes delivery of USEC's 1999 order.

2000

2000 Shipments Begin

April 2000

TENEX begins delivery of CY 2000 order.

2000

USEC and TENEX Agree to Market-Based Pricing

May 2000

USEC and TENEX reach an agreement in principle to amend the HEU contract and adopt market-based payment terms starting in calendar year 2002. U.S. and Russian government approval is needed to execute the amendment.

2000

4,000 Warheads Eliminated

October 2000

USEC announces milestone of 4,000 warheads eliminated through the Megatons to Megawatts program.

2000

2000 Shipments

2000 Shipments

In February 2000, TENEX completes delivery of USEC’s calendar year 1999 order and shipments begin of calendar year 2000 order, which it completes in December.

2000 deliveries equal about 1,462 nuclear warheads (1037.8 MT of LEU derived from 36.6 MT of HEU).

Running total: 4,453 warheads eliminated

2001

2001

5,000 Warheads Eliminated

September 2001

USEC and TENEX achieve milestone of 5,000 warheads eliminated through the Megatons to Megawatts program.

2001

USEC and TENEX Resume Contract Negotiations

November 2001

After reviewing the May 2000 agreement in principle, the U.S. government authorizes USEC to continue negotiations on modified contract terms with the Russian executive agent, TENEX, for calendar year 2002 and beyond.

2001

2001 Shipments

2001 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,201 nuclear warheads (904.3 MT of LEU derived from 30 MT of HEU).

Running total: 5,654 warheads eliminated

2002

2002

USEC and TENEX Agree to Modified Contract Terms

February 2002

Modified contract terms are agreed to in Moscow by USEC and TENEX. A signed contract amendment is referred to the U.S. and Russian governments for approval.

2002

U.S. and Russian Governments Approve Contract Amendment

June 2002

The U.S. and Russian governments approve implementation of the contract amendment for the remaining 12 years of the program. The new, market-based pricing terms will go into effect in January 2003.

2002

6,000 Warheads Eliminated

September 2002

USEC and TENEX achieve milestone of 6,000 warheads eliminated through the Megatons to Megawatts program.

2002

Megatons to Megawatts Honored with International Peace Award

October 2002

USEC TENEX and the electric utilities that use fuel fabricated from the LEU from the Megatons to Megawatts program are honored at the Demiurgus Peace International Award Ceremony in Zug, Switzerland.

The event recognizes individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievements in strengthening peace among nations. The event is organized and sponsored by the World Council of Former Foreign Ministers and the Nuclear Disarmament Forum.

2002

2002 Shipments

2002 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,201 nuclear warheads (879 MT of LEU derived from 30 MT of HEU).

Running total: 6,855 warheads eliminated

2003

2003

10th Anniversary of HEU Agreement

February 2003

MINATOM announces 10th anniversary of HEU-LEU Agreement on which the Megatons to Megawatts program is based.

2003

7,000 Warheads Eliminated

April 2003

USEC announces another Megatons to Megawatts program milestone: bomb material equivalent to 7,000 warheads has been eliminated.

2003

2003 Shipments

2003 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,203 nuclear warheads (906 MT of LEU derived from 30.1 MT of HEU).

Running total: 8,058 warheads eliminated

2004

2004

10th Anniversary of Megatons to Megawatts Program

January 2004

USEC and TENEX mark the 10th anniversary of commercial implementation of the Megatons to Megawatts program and announce the elimination of bomb material equivalent to 8,000 warheads. The companies also issue a Joint Statement.

2004

9,000 Warheads Eliminated

October 2004

USEC announces that weapons-grade material equivalent to 9,000 warheads has been eliminated.

2004

2004 Shipments

2004 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,202 nuclear warheads (891 MT of LEU derived from 30.1 MT of HEU).

Running total: 9,260 warheads eliminated

2005

2005

10,000 Warheads Eliminated

September 2005

USEC announces that weapons-grade material equivalent to 10,000 warheads has been eliminated.

2005

2005 Shipments

2005 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,206 nuclear warheads (846 MT of LEU derived from 30.1 MT of HEU).

Running total: 10,466 warheads eliminated

2006

2006

11,000 Warheads Eliminated

June 2006

USEC announces that weapons-grade material equivalent to 11,000 warheads has been eliminated.

2006

2006 Shipments

2006 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,207 nuclear warheads (870 MT of LEU derived from 30.2 MT of HEU).

Running total: 11,673 warheads eliminated

2007

2007

12,000 Warheads Eliminated

April 2007

USEC announces that weapons-grade material equivalent to 12,000 warheads has been eliminated.

2007

2007 Shipments

2007 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,212 nuclear warheads (840 MT of LEU derived from 30.3 MT of HEU).

Running total: 12,885 warheads eliminated

2008

2008

13,000 Warheads Eliminated

March 2008

USEC announces that weapons-grade material equivalent to 13,000 warheads has been eliminated.

2008

14,000 Warheads Eliminated

December 2008

Weapons-grade material equivalent to 14,000 warheads has been eliminated.

2008

2008 Shipments

2008 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,204 nuclear warheads (834 MT of LEU derived from 30.1 MT of HEU).

Running total: 14,090 warheads eliminated

2009

2009

Megatons to Megawatts Contract Amendment Approved by U.S. and Russian Governments

July 2009

The U.S. and Russian governments approved an amendment to USEC’s contract with TENEX for the Megatons to Megawatts program. The amendment implements a new pricing methodology for deliveries of low enriched uranium from TENEX starting in 2010 and continuing through the end of the contract in 2013.

The new pricing methodology is intended to enhance the stability of future pricing for both parties through a formula that combines a different mix of price points and other pricing elements from the previous methodology.

2009

15,000 Warheads Eliminated

September 2009

USEC announces that weapons-grade material equivalent to 15,000 warheads has been eliminated.

2009

2009 Shipments

2009 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,204 nuclear warheads (834 MT of LEU derived from 30.1 MT of HEU).

Running total: 15,294 warheads eliminated

2010

2010

16,000 Warheads Eliminated

September 2010

USEC announces that material for 16,000 nuclear warheads eliminated by Megatons to Megawatts program.

2010

2010 Shipments

2010 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,200 nuclear warheads (857.9 MT of LEU derived from 30 MT of HEU).

Running total: 16,494 warheads eliminated

2011

2011

17,000 Warheads Eliminated

August 2011

USEC announces that material for 17,000 nuclear warheads has been eliminated by the Megatons to Megawatts program.

2011

2011 Shipments

2011 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,204 nuclear warheads (833 MT of LEU derived from 30.1 MT of HEU).

Running total: 17,698 warheads eliminated

2012

2012

18,000 Warheads Eliminated

July 2012

USEC announces that material for 18,000 nuclear warheads has bee eliminated by the Megatons to Megawatts program.

2012

2012 Shipments

2012 Shipments

USEC receives material equivalent to about 1,201 nuclear warheads (864 MT of LEU derived from 30 MT of HEU).

Running total: 18,899 warheads eliminated