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Atomic bonding

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Science  01 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6354, pp. 862-865
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6354.862

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Summary

Even as China and the United States are embroiled in trade disputes and geopolitical tensions, collaborations between their nuclear scientists are intensifying. At a new nuclear security center in Beijing, Chinese and U.S. nuclear experts are honing measures for protecting nuclear facilities and analyzing interdicted nuclear materials. In Iran, they are helping reconfigure a heavy water reactor so it can no longer produce significant quantities of plutonium. And in a landmark effort in nuclear nonproliferation, a U.S.-China team this summer removed highly enriched uranium fuel—weapons-grade material—from a Chinese-made research reactor in Ghana and replaced it with low-enriched uranium, which cannot be used for a nuclear bomb without further enrichment. Experts from the two countries spent a decade meticulously plotting out the conversion, sharing expertise and working at each other's labs.

  • * Reporting for this story was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.