Project Sapphire

Project Sapphire

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Project Sapphire was a successful 1994 covert operation
Covert operation
A covert operation is a military, intelligence or law enforcement operation that is carried clandestinely and, often, outside of official channels. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation...

 of the United States government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 to remove 1,278 pounds (581 kilos) of weapons-grade
A weapons-grade substance is one that is pure enough to be used to make a weapon or has properties that make it suitable for weapons use. Weapons-grade plutonium and uranium are the most common examples, but it may also be used to refer to chemical and biological weapons...

 enriched uranium
Enriched uranium
Enriched uranium is a kind of uranium in which the percent composition of uranium-235 has been increased through the process of isotope separation. Natural uranium is 99.284% 238U isotope, with 235U only constituting about 0.711% of its weight...

 for Alfa class submarines (enough to build over 1,000 nuclear weapons) from a warehouse at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant outside Ust-Kamenogorsk
Oskemen and Ust-Kamennaya , is the capital of the East Kazakhstan Province. It is served by the Ust-Kamenogorsk Airport.-History:...

 in the former Soviet republic
Republics of the Soviet Union
The Republics of the Soviet Union or the Union Republics of the Soviet Union were ethnically-based administrative units that were subordinated directly to the Government of the Soviet Union...

 of far eastern Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, with the assistance of that country's government
Government of Kazakhstan
The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan oversees a presidential republic. The President of Kazakhstan, currently Nursultan Nazarbayev, is head of state and nominates the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government...

, in order to prevent nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...


See also

  • Nunn–Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction—the source of the funds for Project Sapphire