US plans shipment of weapons-grade uranium to Belgium

The US considers sending long-term shipments of weapons-grade uranium to a medical research reactor in Belgium.

The Belgian Nuclear Research Center is attempting to get approval for 317 pounds (144 kilos) of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The delivery would be long term, in a series of shipments over 10 years.

According to its website, the Belgian Nuclear Research Center, “conducts groundbreaking research into nuclear energy and ionising radiation for civilian use, and develops nuclear technologies for socially valuable purposes.” 

The United States has supplied the reactor, which produces radioisotopes for fighting cancer, with HEU for decades. However, the long-term nature of this latest request is unheard of, as previous agreements have been for shorter periods of time of one to three years.

The Belgian center says the reactor supplies about 25 percent of the world’s radioisotopes used in detecting…

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