In July, U.S. and Chinese nuclear scientists converged on a Chinese-built Miniature Neutron Source Reactor in Accra, Ghana, to remove its bomb-grade uranium.
China, the United States, and the International Atomic Energy Agency have spent years quietly planning the operation, which would eliminate the risk of terrorists seizing fissile material in a region threatened by Boko Haram and other militant groups.
China has produced nine miniature reactors, which are used for basic studies on how neutrons behave in nuclear reactors and to train budding nuclear engineers. It sold five reactors to Ghana, Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan and Iran.
The Ghana operation—the first such conversion attempted abroad—featured the removal of the highly enriched uranium core. Journalist Richard Stone reports for Science on the high-security undertaking to spirit it onto a plane back to China.