The UK is set to agree a deal with the US and European Union on a multilateral swap of nuclear material that recycled to ensure a continued supply into the UK of rare materials to diagnose and treat cancer.
According to the government, under the agreement, the UK will transfer around 700 kg of excess Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) from the Dounreay nuclear site (pictured) on the north coast of Scotland to the US.
As the largest ever single move of HEU, the transfer will reduce Britain’s overall stockpile of nuclear material.
In exchange, the US will send a different type of HEU to the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) in France, where it will be converted into medical isotopes. These can be used in radiotherapy to diagnose and treat conditions such as thyroid cancer by weakening or destroying the cancerous cells.
The isotopes could then be exported to the UK and other European countries to help fight the disease.
“This is a landmark deal to turn nuclear material we no longer need into a cancer-fighting treatment that could potentially save many lives,” asserted Prime Minister, David Cameron.
“It’s a win-win, innovative solution that shows what working together with our international partners can achieve,” he added.
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