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background and objectives

Nuclear research facilities such as research reactors and critical assemblies have played a central role in the development of peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Many of these facilities were established in the 1950s and 1960s and were originally fuelled with Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU). Beginning in the late 1970s, there was increased recognition that the large quantities of HEU that had been in use around the world to support these and other facilities posed a significant proliferation risk. In view of this concern and the emerging threat of nuclear terrorism, international activities and efforts have been undertaken in a number of countries to develop suitable Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) fuel that would allow such facilities to operate at high performance levels, to convert facilities to the use of such LEU fuel and to coordinate such initiatives internationally.

Consistent with a broad engagement for international peace and security, the Government of Norway, in cooperation with the IAEA, has decided to hold an international symposium with the objectives of establishing international consensus on technical issues and associated implications concerning the replacement of HEU with LEU for various civilian uses, and agreeing on the way forward for a concerted international effort in the framework of existing international agreements, organisations and assistance programs. The Symposium will enable interested Governments to present their national policies and discuss the technical questions involved with minimizing and eventually eliminating all civilian uses of HEU.

design: SPEILEGG