US Announces Removal of HEU in Japan, Germany, Indonesia, Argentina

Threats persist as Obama hosts his final nuclear security summit.
Threats persist as Obama hosts his final nuclear security summit.

Washington, 23 Jumadil Akhir 1437/02 April 2016 (MINA) – Amidst the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit of 50 foreign delegations, the US announced that most if not all of the highly enriched uranium (HEU) was removed in Japan, Germany, Indonesia and Argentina.

Following a joint pledge between the US and Japan in 2014, today the countries announced, all HEU and separated plutonium fuel has been removed for the Japan Atomic Energy’s (JAEA) Fast Critical Assembly (FCA), Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) quoted KUNA as saying.
“This project was accomplished on an accelerated timeline well ahead of schedule, thanks to the hard work and strong cooperation from both sides,” said a joint statement from the US and Japan.

The US will downblend the HEU to low enriched uranium (LEU), “for use in civilian activities and convert plutonium into a less sensitive form for a final disposition,” said the statement.

The countries also announced today new efforts to remove all HEU fuels from the Kyoto University Critical Assembly (KUCA) to the US for a “downblend and permanent threat reduction.”

In a separate statement from the White House the US noted Germany’s “removal of excess plutonium and HEU.” The White House thanked the European Commission’s Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for playing an “importation role in all aspects of the operation.” “This material will be stored at safe and secure facilities in the US,” the White House said.

In Indonesia, all fresh HEU has been downblended to LEU as the two countries, “intend to continue their joint effort to eliminate all remaining HEY in Indonesia by September 2016,” the White House revealed.

The remaining HEU is residual material from medical isotope production which is used for diagnostic medical imaging.

Also at the 2016 Nuclear Summit, Argentina announced the disposition of the country’s remaining HEU was downblended and disposed of in Argentina, with US cooperation.

“Having completed this down-blending project, Argentina – and the entire Latin America and Caribbean region – is now considered free of HEU, which is understood to mean that no country has more than one kilogram of HEU,” said a White House statement.

Since the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, the US “has supported the conversion of HEU reactors” in Russia, Jamaica, China, and Kazakhstan. The US also confirmed the shutdown of four HEU reactors including two in Russia, one in Uzbekistan, and one in Switzerland, the White House announced.

Since March 2014, the US removed or confirmed disposition of approximately 450 kilograms of HEU from 10 countries including Poland, Kazakhstan, Canada, Switzerland, Jamaica, Uzbekistan, Austria, Germany, Japan, and Argentina. In total, 29 countries plus Taiwan are now HEU-free, the White House cknowledged.   (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)