Italy and the United States of America are pleased to announce that they have jointly completed the removal of approximately 20 kilograms of excess highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium from Italy.
At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, Italy 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 development of new gloveboxes for plutonium packaging, the development of a new process to convert HEU from a solution to an oxide, the coordination of uranium shipments from three separate locations, the development of novel packaging configurations for the consolidation of plutonium materials within Italy, and the training and certification of personnel for specialized packaging operations.
The material was safely packaged in transport containers certified by regulators in both the United States and Italy. The United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) worked seamlessly together and in accordance with all relevant regulations and internationally-recognized recommendations throughout the operation to ensure the safe and secure transport of this material. Despite the significant technical challenges, the team was able to successfully complete the operation on schedule.
Italy and the United States plan to continue to work together to eliminate additional stocks of special nuclear material to make sure they do not fall into the hands of terrorists. They also pledge to work with others in the international community to assist them with the elimination of such materials.