Belgium and the United States of America are pleased to announce that they have jointly completed the removal of a significant amount of excess highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium from Belgium.
At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, Belgium and the United States pledged to work together to remove this material prior to the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. This removal entailed extremely complex operations that required the joint team to develop a new glovebox facility for plutonium packaging, to train and certify personnel in specialized packaging operations, to validate certificates for a U.S.-designed nuclear material package in Belgium, and to address materials in unique and unusual forms. Despite the significant technical challenges, the team successfully completed the operation on schedule.
The material was safely packaged in transport containers certified by regulators in both the United States and Belgium. The United States, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) worked seamlessly together and in accordance with all relevant regulations and internationally-recognized recommendations to securely transport this material to its final destination.
Belgium and the United States plan to continue their cooperation to eliminate additional stocks of excess special nuclear material, consistent with their commitment to prevent nuclear terrorism. They also pledge to work with others in the international community to assist them with the elimination of such materials.