Vietnam reactor resumes low-enriched uranium operations

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A nuclear reactor in the Central Highlands resort town of Dalat has resumed operating after a three-month suspension to switch from highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU).

A report on Tuoi Tre Wednesday quoted Dr. Nguyen Nhi Dien, head of the Dalat Nuclear Research Institute, as saying that the reactor is now operating with 92 sticks of LEU fuel to produce radioactive isotopes for use at hospitals.

Since Vietnam started transferring HEU fuel from the Dalat reactor, which was built by the US in 1963 and later upgraded by the former Soviet Union, to LEU in 2007, it has imported 102 sticks of LEU fuel from Russia.

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Last Friday the country signed an agreement with the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation to ship back all of its HEU fuel sticks to Russia by May 2013.

The switch is part of a program initiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the US and Russia to manage HEU fuel at reactors built by the two countries so that it is not used for non-peaceful purposes.

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