Ghana has successfully completed the conversion of its only research reactor from the use of high enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel, in an international project supported by the IAEA to help decrease the proliferation risks associated with HEU fuel.
HEU is an ingredient that can be used to create a nuclear device intended for malicious use, and since 1978 various national and international activities have been underway to convert research and test reactors from the use of HEU to LEU fuel, with the aim of minimizing and eventually eliminating the civilian use of HEU.
The HEU fuel was repatriated to China.
The three-year project, which was a joint undertaking of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and the IAEA, was completed last week. Ghana has become the first of the five countries operating a Chinese-supplied Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) to successfully convert and repatriate its irradiated HEU core to China.