WASHINGTON (CN) – President Barack Obama extended an executive order protecting the assets of the Russian Federation used in a program to stabilize the security of nuclear material. The provisions are extended for a year.
The original order was signed by former President Bill Clinton in 2000 to protect payments the U.S. made to the Russian Federation under the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation Concerning the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons, commonly called the HEU Agreements.
Under the HEU agreements, the U.S. pays the Russian Federation to convert the nearly 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium left in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union into low-enriched uranium for use as a fuel in commercial nuclear reactors.
According to USEC Inc., the firm that converts the weapons grade uranium, up to ten percent of the electricity produced in the United States since its Megatons to Megawatts program was established, has been generated from the Russian uranium.
The program is scheduled to end in 2013 by which time USEC says the equivalent of 20,000 Russian nuclear warheads will have been recycled into nuclear fuel.