The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has removed more than 30 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Japan. NNSA and Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology worked together on the removal. The shipment was undertaken in close cooperation with the UK’s Nuclear Transport Solutions and Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
The removal fulfils a commitment first announced at a 2018 US-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.
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.
Image: The DOE NNSA has successfully removed and transported 30 kgs of HEU from Japan to the USA