Canada on Monday revealed it had returned to the United States enough highly enriched uranium to fuel one warhead, the Ottawa Citizen reports.
The announcement covered about 100 pounds of weapon-grade uranium contained in thousands of “targets” that were originally exported from the United States and held at the Chalk River nuclear complex. The materials were intended to have been irradiated at site reactors and converted into medical-isotopes, but that never happened due to problems with the reactor technology.
Ottawa’s declaration was made at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands. The third summit of its kind, this year’s two-day conference included participation by 53 countries. A number of nations used the event to highlight progress they made since the last summit in 2012 in securing vulnerable stockpiles of nuclear and radioactive materials.
The Canadian announcement did not include many specifics, but it is believed that the HEU targets were sent back to the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., according to the newspaper.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry applauded Pakistan on Monday for its efforts to improve national nuclear security, according to the State Department.
Following a meeting on the sidelines of the summit with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Kerry said the United States had “great confidence in Pakistan’s nuclear security. They’ve really done an enormous amount of work,” according to an official transcript.
A 2014 expert analysis concluded that Pakistan in recent years had made more headway than any other nuclear-armed nation in improving protection of its atomic materials. At the same time, the South Asian state continued to rank toward the bottom of 25 nations assessed on their nuclear-security practices.
In remarks at the summit, Sharif said his country’s nuclear security was based on five pillars: a strong regulatory framework; a cohesive intelligence apparatus; good command-and-control by the National Command Authority; an extensive set of rules for the sale abroad of sensitive materials and technology; and vigorous collaboration with international partners, according to a Daily Times article.
Sharif reaffirmed Islamabad’s desire to be granted membership in all international export-control groups, particularly the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
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