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ABU modifies research reactors to use low-enriched uranium fuel

From left: Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Kabir Bala; U S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr W Stuart Symington and others watch a video clip on NIRR-1 Low-Enriched Uranium Core Full Power Operation at a nuclear conference in Abuja yesterday

Nigeria’s Miniature Neutron Source Reactors (MNSR) at the Center for Energy Research and Training (CERT), Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, have been converted from the use of fuel containing highly enriched uranium (HEU) to fuel that employs low-enriched uranium (LEU).

This was disclosed by the Director of CERT, Professor Yusuf A. Ahmed at the 9th Meeting on the Conversion of MNSR from HEU to LEU fuel in Abuja. He said the conversion was part of the efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at minimizing the civilian uses of HEU as well as reduction of nuclear proliferation and terrorism. Enriched uranium was said to be vital for civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons.

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In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba, represented by DVC, Administration, Professor Kabir Bala, said two project management teams were constituted for the conversion activities and while the Convert Team worked closely with the Argonne National Laboratory, USA, for all activities related to the new LEU core including its transportation from Beijing, China to Zaria, Nigeria and loading into the reactor, “the Remove Team in conjunction with Idaho National Laboratory was saddled with responsibility of removing the old HEU core and its return to China.”

United States Ambassador to Nigeria W. Stuart Symington said the reactors were safe for scientific analysis and training.

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