The Energy Department is holding 324 metric tons of bomb-grade uranium at the same time the Obama administration is urging nations to reduce or eliminate their stores of the material, according to a report to be released Tuesday by the nuclear watchdog group Project on Government Oversight.
The Washington-based group wants the administration to declare a portion of the U.S. inventory of highly enriched uranium as surplus and increase the amount that is blended down each year into commercial reactor fuel.
The inventory began to swell years ago after the U.S. agreed to a series of nuclear arms accords resulting in the decommissioning of thousands of nuclear warheads. The U.S. stopped making highly enriched uranium after the end of the Cold War.
The Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, defended the rate at which it is blending the uranium into commercial fuel, noting the difficulty and cost of the process. It did not comment on the size of the surplus, which is classified.