Source: NNSA | Release | May 23, 2022
President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida announce the nonproliferation triumph, which was the result of years of cooperation
President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan announced the successful removal of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from three Japanese sites to the United States. This joint effort, which took four years to complete, will make the world safer.
The shipment, which was completed in March, removed all HEU from:
- University of Tokyo’s Yayoi Research Reactor
- Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Deuterium Critical Assembly
- Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Japan Research Reactor 4
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology worked together on the removal as part of their mutual nonproliferation goal of reducing HEU around the world. The shipment was undertaken in close cooperation with the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Transport Solutions and Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
The removal fulfills a commitment first announced at a 2018 U.S.-Japan Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation meeting in Tokyo.
“This HEU removal is the result of years of close cooperation and hard work—made all the more challenging by the pandemic and travel restrictions. It speaks to the strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Japan,” noted NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Corey Hinderstein. “Permanently eliminating nuclear material that could be used in a weapon is just one of the ways NNSA and its international partners help make the world a safer place every day.”
The HEU was securely transported to the Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina, and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It will be downblended to low-enriched uranium and/or dispositioned, permanently reducing the risk it could be used to produce an improvised nuclear device.
NNSA’s Office of Nuclear Material Removal works with partner countries and international institutions around the world to identify excess nuclear material and implement permanent solutions to consolidate, remove, and dispose of it. To date, the office has removed or confirmed the disposition of nearly 7,270 kilograms of weapons-usable nuclear material—enough material for approximately 325 nuclear weapons.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and militarily effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.