US ‘helped’ Turkey to clear out uranium
WASHINGTON- Associated Press
Obama’s plan has helped five countries to clear their enriched uranium. AFP photoTurkey is among the five countries that the U.S. has helped to completely clear their stocks of highly enriched uranium since President Barack Obama outlined his plans for securing all weapons-usable materials worldwide, U.S. officials say, citing this as progress in the administration’s efforts to prevent nuclear weapons from getting in terrorists’ hands.
Anne Harrington, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s nonproliferation chief, said that since Obama’s April 2009 speech in Prague announcing his plans, the U.S. has helped remove enough material from about a dozen countries to make almost 30 warheads. Over the past three years, officials say, the U.S. has helped Romania, Libya, Turkey, Chile and Serbia completely clear out their stockpiles of weapons-usable uranium. They join 13 other nations that did so previously: Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Denmark, Greece, Latvia, the Philippines, Portugal, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Thailand. For the most part, this has meant shutting down civilian research reactors fueled by weapons-grade uranium, or converting those reactors to use low-enriched uranium.
Harrington said this is the Obama administration’s top national security concern: “Issue number one ... above anything else, keeping this material out of the hands of terrorists,” she said. She added that several global leaders are expected to use a nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea, which starts March 25, to announce similar advances.