Vietnam nuclear reactor fully converted to low-enriched uranium

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The only nuclear reactor in Da Lat on Thursday was completely converted from highly enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium fuel as part of Vietnam's commitment to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes, VnExpress reported.

Vietnam and the United States reached an agreement to complete the full conversion of the Da Lat research reactor last December following the March 2010 signing of a broad memorandum of understanding to deepen civilian nuclear cooperation.

The US, Russia, and the International Atomic Energy Agency initiated a trilateral fuel removal program in December 1999, with discussions on repatriating Russian-supplied highly enriched uranium (HEU) at nuclear research reactors outside Russia.

They identified more than 20 such reactors in 18 countries, including one in Da Lat.

The Da Lat Nuclear Research Institute operates the 500-kilowatt reactor, built with US assistance in 1963, to produce medical isotopes and to conduct nuclear research.


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In September 2007, the National Nuclear Security Administration assisted Vietnam in partially converting the Da Lat research reactor from HEU to LEU fuel, and returning 4.3 kg of fresh HEU to Russia.

On Dec. 1, 2010, the United States and Vietnam established a legal framework for US-Vietnam cooperation for full conversion and the return of HEU spent fuel from Da Lat to Russia.

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