In mid December, news sources inaccurately reported that Russia had decided to withdraw from the 1993 highly enriched uranium (HEU) purchase agreement, which requires the United States to buy over a period of 20 years Russian low enriched uranium (LEU) that has been blended down from 500 metric tons of HEU removed from dismantled former Soviet nuclear warheads. According to a December 12 statement issued by the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), the U.S. government's executive agent for the purchase agreement, press reports had confused the U.S. Russian HEU deal with a separate 10 year agreement reached in August 1997 between Russia and three Western companies—CAMECO (Canada), COGEMA (France) and NUKEM (Germany)—involving the purchase of Russian natural uranium. It is this latter agreement that Russia has decided to terminate.Implementation of the U.S. Russian HEU deal is moving forward. By the end of 1997, the USEC is scheduled to have received a total of 1,038 metric tons of LEU that has been blended down from 36 metric tons of HEU—the equivalent of more than 1,600 former Soviet nuclear warheads according to USEC estimates. The USEC is expected to receive the LEU equivalent of an additional 24 metric tons of HEU in 1998.