East Tennessee is playing a key role in a global effort to secure weapons-grade Uranium located all over the world.
Decades ago, Oak Ridge was a location where Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) was produced and manufactured into the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. Today it is a storehouse for the nuclear material.
"Y-12 was involved in going down, securing the Uranium, packaging it into containers, then bringing it back to Tennessee," said Gerald DeVault, Director of Nuclear Non-proliferation and Global Security Programs at Y-12.
Nuclear experts from the United States traveled to Mexico in February, 2012 to get Mexico's Uranium out of the country. It ended up at Y-12 in Oak Ridge.
"It will be dispositioned for peaceful uses, such as medical isotope production," said DeVault.
10News obtained video of the packaged Uranium from NBC News. "The Rachel Maddow Show," which airs on MSNBC, traveled to Mexico with members of the National Nuclear Security Administration for an exclusive look at recovering the material.
This is not the first batch of HEU to come back to the United States.
In fact, two years ago 47 countries agreed to dispose of their HEU as part of the Nuclear Security Summit led by President Obama.
DeVault said collection actually started in 1992, "...with many of the recoveries from russia, but most recently the president has committed to securing all of the vulnerable nuclear materials in the world within four years."
But it was nearly 60 years ago that the U.S. shipped Uranium all over the world under President Dwight Eisenhower. It was used to help set up research facilities, like Mexico's National Institute of Nuclear Research.
"It's not just about bringing back the Highly Enriched Uranium. What we're doing is converting facilities that are used for research to where they can use Low Enriched Uranium, and the Low Enriched Uranium is much less of a problem," explained DeVault.
Today's recovery effort is a safe-guard against the nuclear materials falling in to the wrong hands, and there's sure to be more of the stuff coming to East Tennessee.
"Just this week, the second Nuclear Security Summit started in Seoul, Korea, and there will be a lot of activity that will come out of that. That will require Y-12 to work with our nation to secure nuclear material at other sites," said DeVault.
Officials said it only takes about 25 kilograms of HEU to make a bomb.
It is estimated that more than one thousand kilograms of HEU has been brought to the U.S. over the past two years.