North American Countries Strike Uranium Deal
The Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington, D.C., where 47 nations agreed on Tuesday to voluntary programs to prevent weapon-grade nuclear materials around the world from falling into the hands of terrorist. Among the many deals that were the Obama administration has announced in connection with the summit, the White House stated that the United States, Canada and Mexico will work to eliminate all highly enriched uranium from Mexico.
The program will be overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency to help Mexico convert fuel in its nuclear research reactor from highly enriched uranium to lower enriched uranium. Lower grade uranium is unsuitable for nuclear weapons. Mexican President Felipe Calderon said that Mexico is committed to suppressing nuclear terrorism, and the fuel switch reduces “the risks associated with illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.” Canada also plans to ship its inventory of uranium back to the U.S. for safekeeping.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the agreement commits each country to “irreversibly and transparently” dispose of at least 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium, enough for 17,000 nuclear weapons.