Japan to turn over nuclear stockpile to US

THE HAGUE - Japan will turn over all weapon-grade uranium and separated plutonium, which were provided by the United States and have been used at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency's Fast Critical Assembly in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, to the United States to be downgraded and disposed of, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama said in a joint statement announced Monday.

"The Joint Statement by the Leaders of Japan and the United States on Contribution to Global Minimization of Nuclear Material" was released as world leaders gathered for the third Nuclear Security Summit, which was set to begin in The Hague on Monday.

"Prime Minister Abe and President Obama pledged to remove and dispose all highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium from the Fast Critical Assembly (FCA) at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) in Japan," the statement said. "This effort involves the elimination of hundreds of kilograms of nuclear material, furthering our mutual goal of minimizing stocks of HEU and separated plutonium worldwide, which will help prevent unauthorized actors, criminals, or terrorists from acquiring such materials."

According to the statement, the nuclear materials will be transported to the United States and sent to a secure facility to be fully converted into less sensitive forms.

"The plutonium will be prepared for final disposition. The HEU will be downblended to low enriched uranium and utilized for civilian purposes," it said.

About 200 kilograms of uranium and about 300 kilograms of plutonium are expected to be turned over to the United States.