FACT SHEET: Nuclear Material Removal from Germany
Germany is a global leader on nuclear security, working with the United States since 1996 to return more than 135 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU).
At the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, the United States and Germany announced the successful removal of excess plutonium and HEU from Germany. This shipment was completed through a multilateral effort involving the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), Germany’s Wiederaufarbeitungsanlage Karlsruhe Rückbau-und Entsorgungs-GmbH (WAK), and the European Commission Joint Research Centre’s Institute for Transuranium Elements (JRC-ITU). This is the 19th shipment of nuclear material from Germany to the United States.
In order to execute this project, DOE/NNSA, WAK, and JRC-ITU overcame several technical challenges including:
- Design, construction and qualification of new gloveboxes for plutonium and HEU packaging;
- Development of processes for stabilization and characterization of materials for safe transport;
- Training and certification of personnel for specialized packaging operations; and
- Validation of packages for transport of plutonium and HEU material
Significant contributions were made by Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building, and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and its licensing authority, the Federal Office of Radiation Protection (BfS), which approved the necessary licenses to ensure safe and secure packaging and transport of the material; Germany’s Daher Nuclear Technologies GmBH, which provided the secure transport of the material within Germany; and the United Kingdom’s International Nuclear Services, which provided secure transport of the material from Germany to the United States. The European Commission’s Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) played an important role in all aspects of the operation. This material will be stored at safe and secure facilities in the United States. The United States and Germany plan to continue to work together in the future to foster nuclear security and non-proliferation.