Joint Statement by the Leaders of Japan and the United States on Contributions to Global Minimization of Nuclear Material

Press Release
Mar 24, 2014

See a fact sheet here.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Recalling the history of Japan-U.S. bilateral collaboration on advanced nuclear activities as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) conclusion that all nuclear materials in Japan stay in peaceful activities;

Recalling Japan-U.S. cooperation including through the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) which strengthened nuclear security worldwide by reducing sensitive nuclear material in Japan and other countries and securely transporting the material to the United States; and,

Recalling President Obama’s remarks at Hradcany Square, Prague, Czech Republic on April 5, 2009;

Japan and the United States reaffirm our determination to strengthen nuclear security and to further cooperate, through activities such as our bilateral Nuclear Security Working Group and the GTRI, toward our mutual goal of preventing nuclear terrorism.

Today in The Hague, the Netherlands, on the occasion of the third Nuclear Security Summit, Prime Minister Abe and President Obama pledged to remove and dispose all highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium from the Fast Critical Assembly (FCA) at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) in Japan.  This effort involves the elimination of hundreds of kilograms of nuclear material, furthering our mutual goal of minimizing stocks of HEU and separated plutonium worldwide, which will help prevent unauthorized actors, criminals, or terrorists from acquiring such materials.  This material, once securely transported to the United States, will be sent to a secure facility and fully converted into less sensitive forms.  The plutonium will be prepared for final disposition.  The HEU will be downblended to low enriched uranium (LEU) and utilized for civilian purposes. 

By committing to remove and dispose all HEU and separated plutonium from the FCA, Japan and the United States reaffirm our belief that the most cutting edge sciences do not necessarily require the use of the most proliferation sensitive materials.  In this context, our two countries plan to work together to design new enhancements to the FCA, expanding the facility’s scope to include important research on the transmutation and disposition of nuclear waste.  Additionally, to ensure that Japan can safely and securely further its important work on nuclear research and medical isotope production, the United States will continue to accept research reactor spent fuel from several Japanese facilities that utilize LEU.

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.  Many of the remaining gains that the international community can make in this area will require difficult decisions, and Japan has demonstrated its leadership by resolving to remove all special nuclear material from the FCA, consistent with all Summit Communiqués’ spirit to minimize stocks of nuclear material.  Our two countries encourage others to consider what they can do to further HEU and plutonium minimization.