The US nuclear regulator is to decide whether to continue supplying highly enriched uranium (HEU) to a Belgian research reactor that produces radioactive isotopes for medicine, but critics have been calling for a switch to uranium not suitable for bombs. A decision from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission on whether to permit the Belgian Nuclear Research Center (NRC) to obtain 144 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium is currently pending. The NRC says it needs the new material to keep its medical research reactor going for the next decade. The facility produces radioactive isotopes for fighting cancer. The US has been reluctant to provide foreign partners with weapon-grade uranium as of late because of fears that it could fall into the wrong hands or set back global efforts to limit nuclear proliferation. The US and Belgian centers have been doing business for decades, and the Belgian side has promised to modernize its production process to use low-enriched uranium (LEU) instead of the HEU used to produce nuclear bombs. Since at least 2005, the Belgian research center has been assuring the Americans that it would make the transition to LEU, but years have passed with no visible progress and the medical reactor is now exhausting its lifespan.
Russia Today 15th Aug 2016 read more »