Naval Reactors

Y‑12 processes highly enriched uranium for use by the Naval Reactors Program for Naval Nuclear Propulsion. Our support of the Naval Reactors program began in Fiscal Year 2002 and is currently planned through FY 2050 and beyond. We use dismantled weapons to provide feedstock, moving the material off-site and reducing Y‑12’s storage footprint and risk.

The United States stopped enriching uranium for naval reactors in 1992. Then, in 2005, as a commitment to nonproliferation, the United States government announced that 160 metric tons of uranium from the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile would be provided to Naval Reactors, allowing a constant, reliable source to fuel the nuclear Navy. Y‑12 is that reliable source for the U.S. Navy.

Over the past 10 years, working with the Naval Reactors Program, Y‑12 has supplied the U.S. Navy feedstock from weapons removed from the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile to fuel nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers. We're moving the material off-site, reducing Y‑12's storage footprint and risk, and recycling while contributing to the nation's nonproliferation mission.

The Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program is an integrated program carried out between NNSA’s Defense Programs and Naval Reactors.

Y-12 also assists the Naval Reactors Program with long-term planning. As a requirement of the "Memorandum of Agreement between Defense Programs and Naval Reactors for the Supply of Highly Enriched Uranium," the NNSA Production Office submits an annual planning document. The plan describes the U.S. Highly Enriched Uranium inventory and provides detail of the available inventory, projected changes in the inventory, Y-12 HEU processing plans and reflects how the HEU required to supply Naval Reactors will become available.