The Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague has opened with Japan pledging to return to the United States more than 315 kilograms (700 pounds) of weapons-grade plutonium and a supply of highly enriched uranium. The major international summit to rein in the threat of nuclear terrorism is the third in a series of meetings established after a landmark 2009 speech by President Barack Obama. In that speech, the U.S. President referred to non-secure nuclear material as “the most immediate and extreme threat to global security.”
American and Japanese officials announced the deal — the meeting’s first important breakthrough — at the two-day summit in the Netherlands. “This is a very significant nuclear security pledge and activity,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told reporters. “The material will be transferred to the United States for transformation into proliferation-resistant forms.”
Japan originally received the material from the U.S. and Britain in the 1960s for use in research.
Rather than focusing on nuclear weapons, the summit instead concentrates on efforts to reduce and secure nuclear material stockpiles to prevent them falling into the hands of terrorists who could potentially use them to fashion a weapon.
This report compiled with information from the Associated Press.