Abstracts and Available Papers Presented at the
2004 International RERTR Meeting
THE GLOBAL THREAT REDUCTION INITIATIVE AND CONVERSION OF ISOTOPE PRODUCTION TO LEU TARGETS
A. J. Kuperman
Nuclear Control Institute 1000 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20036
The U.S. Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) has given a decisive impetus to the RERTR program’s longstanding goal of converting worldwide production of medical radioisotopes from reliance on bomb-grade, highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU) unsuitable for weapons. Although the four major isotope producers continue to resist calls for conversion, they face mounting pressure from a variety of fronts including: (1) GTRI; (2) a related, multilateral U.S. initiative to forge agreement on conversion among the states that are home to the major producers; (3) an IAEA effort to provide technical assistance that will facilitate large-scale production of medical isotopes using LEU by producers who seek to do so; (4) planned production in the United States of substantial quantities of medical isotopes using LEU; and (5) pending U.S. legislation that would prohibit the export of HEU for production of isotopes as soon as alternative, LEU-produced isotopes are available. Accordingly, it now appears inevitable that worldwide isotope production will be converted from reliance on HEU to LEU. The only remaining question is which producers will be the first to reliably deliver sizeable quantities of LEU-produced isotopes and thereby capture global market share from the others.
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Dr. Jordi Roglans-Ribas
Technical Director, RERTR Department
Nuclear Engineering Division – 362
Argonne National Laboratory
9700 South Cass Avenue
Argonne, IL 60439
Fax: +1 630-252-5161