Joint statement of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and the United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration regarding the reduction of excess nuclear material

Press Release
Mar 24, 2014

Nuclear safety and security are priorities for the European Union and the United States of America, which actively promote the use of the highest safety, security and non-proliferation standards in countries using nuclear energy.

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) of the United States of America and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission have long standing cooperation in the fields of safety, security and safeguards, relying on the best science, technology and engineering available. In addition, as noted in the Communiqué at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, we are both committed to the safe, secure and timely removal and disposition of nuclear materials from facilities no longer using them.

In this context, JRC and DOE/NNSA, through its Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), are cooperating to remove and dispose of excess of nuclear materials from JRC facilities. Several kilograms of plutonium and highly enriched uranium (HEU) owned by the JRC-IRMM (Institute for Reference Materials and Measurement) in Geel, Belgium have been collected, conditioned and transported to the United States for permanent disposition prior to the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. JRC and DOE/NNSA will continue to work together to eliminate all excess fresh HEU and separated plutonium from other JRC facilities, namely JRC-ITU (Institute of Transuranium Elements) in Karlsruhe, Germany and JRC-IS (Ispra Site) in Italy, by the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit.

This Summit is an important opportunity to reaffirm our commitments to nuclear non-proliferation and HEU minimization.  We will continue our efforts to provide technology solutions to support effective implementation of safeguards and security and to encourage further work to strengthen nuclear security via international collaboration in the next two years.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.