Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Removal of Highly Enriched Uranium from the Czech Republic
Today we can announce that the United States, with the cooperation of our international partners, successfully removed 68 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) – enough material for two nuclear weapons - from the Czech Republic. The HEU was securely transported to Russia, where it will be downblended into low enriched uranium (LEU) for use in nuclear power reactors. Unlike highly enriched uranium, low enriched uranium cannot be used to make a nuclear weapon. With this shipment, the Czech Republic becomes the tenth country from which all HEU has been removed since President Obama announced the international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world.
This achievement comes on the anniversary of President Obama’s remarks in Prague on April 5, 2009, where he stated that nuclear terrorism remains our greatest threat. The President called on the world to act with a sense of purpose and without delay to secure vulnerable nuclear material. The United States and the global community have responded with an unprecedented effort that has secured thousands of kilograms of HEU and plutonium, enough for dozens of nuclear weapons.
The removal of highly enriched uranium from the Czech Republic was the culmination of a multi-year effort by the United States’ National Nuclear Security Administration, the Czech Republic’s Nuclear Research Institute, Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The United States is grateful to these partners and to the Czech and Russian governments for their outstanding cooperation.