World

Japan agrees to hand over nuclear material to USA

Japan and the United States have co-signed an agreement to remove and dispose of hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium from the Asian nation.
The fissile material will be transported from the Fast Critical Assembly (FCA) at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) in Japan to a “secure facility” in the United States, according to a statement released by the White House, and “fully converted into less sensitive forms.”
“This pledge complements the significant role that both Japan and the United States are playing in finding new ways to continue improving global nuclear security … Japan has demonstrated its leadership by resolving to remove all special nuclear material from the FCA.
“Our two countries encourage others to consider what they can do to further HEU and plutonium minimization.”
The U.S. has a longstanding goal of reducing – and safeguarding – the world’s stockpile of fissile material, in an effort to reduce access by terrorist groups, criminals and “unauthorized actors.”
The deal comes at a time when the U.S. hopes to persuade Iran to halt its enrichment program, and tensions on the Korean Peninsula are heightened by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama announced the deal this week at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.
It allows for over 700 lb of weapons-grade nuclear material to be transported and “downblended” into safer material in the United States. The fuel, which was purchased from the U.S. in the 1960s, has been used by the JAEA for research purposes.
The agreed-upon amount which will head to the United States is a fraction of Japan’s overall plutonium holdings.
– CNN News

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