Japan agrees to ship nuclear materials to U.S.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Japan and the United States have co-signed an agreement to remove and dispose of over 300 kilograms of weapons grade plutonium and an unspecified amount of highly enriched uranium.

Plutonium pictured against an inch and centimeter rule.
Image: United States Department of Energy.

According to a statement released by the White House, the fissile material will be transported from the Fast Critical Assembly at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency to a "secure facility" in the U.S., and will be "fully converted into less sensitive forms".

Barack Obama announced his aim to seek "the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons" in Prague in 2009. He has been pressing his foreign counterparts, both in Asia and Europe, demanding they either get rid of their excess nuclear materials via the U.S., or tighten security on stockpiles at home. Belgium and Italy have also agreed to hand over excess nuclear material.

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall of the US National Security Council says Japan's pledge to hand over nuclear material to the U.S. shows leadership and dedication to the nonproliferation of nuclear material and nuclear weapons.

The deal is part of an ongoing U.S. goal to reduce fissile material worldwide. The U.S. hopes to convince more nations to use reprocessing and enrichment facilities in an effort to minimize proliferation risks.

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