The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in the US has reportedly shipped nearly 200 kilograms of highly enriched, weapons grade uranium to France, claiming that it will be used as fuel for a high-performance research reactor.
Reports say the super-potent consignment, weighing more than 180 kilograms, was recently delivered by sea under an export license approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Due to its high enrichment -- more than 93 percent U-235 -- the special nuclear material could potentially be converted into nuclear weapons.
"The material was recently delivered," said US national Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Steven Wyatt, quoted by US-based Knoxnews.com.
Wyatt, however, declined to elaborate on how or when the uranium was transported, saying that "details are sensitive and/or classified."
French media reports, however quote the Green Peace Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) as harshly criticized the sea transport of the 93-percent enriched uranium, emphasizing that even 75-percent enriched uranium is sufficient to produce an atomic bomb.
Western regulatory officials have reportedly claimed that the delivery is to be used for fuel in a high-performance research reactor near the city of Grenoble in southeastern France.
However, due to its high enrichment - more than 93 percent - the special nuclear material could potentially be converted into nuclear weapons.