US-Japan Joint Statement on Nuclear Security Cooperation
Recalling President Obama and Prime Minister Abe’s pledge at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, Netherlands:
Today in Washington, D.C., on the occasion of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit (NSS), Prime Minister Abe and President Obama announced that Japan and the United States have completed the removal of all highly-enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium fuels from the Fast Critical Assembly (FCA) in Japan. This project was accomplished on an accelerated timeline well ahead of schedule, thanks to the hard work and strong cooperation from both sides. This effort represents the realization of a commitment first announced at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague and reiterated during Prime Minister Abe’s April 2015 visit to Washington, D.C. It furthers 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. The United States will downblend the HEU to low enriched uranium (LEU) for use in civilian activities and convert the plutonium into a less sensitive form for final disposition.
Today our two countries further demonstrate our determination to make contributions to the efforts to minimize stocks of HEU worldwide by announcing our pledge to work together to remove all HEU fuels from the Kyoto University Critical Assembly (KUCA) to the United States for downblend and permanent threat reduction. This removal will be made possible by the conversion of KUCA from HEU to LEU fuels, when technically and economically feasible. KUCA will continue to serve its important missions in relevant research and human resource development, with fuels that will no longer present a risk of theft and use by nuclear terrorists.
The removal of HEU and plutonium fuels from the FCA and our pledge to convert KUCA are part of the ongoing activities of the U.S.-Japan Nuclear Security Working Group (NSWG). Under the NSWG, we have taken a layered approach to nuclear security that involves reducing quantities of sensitive nuclear material, reducing the risk of unauthorized access to nuclear material, strengthening emergency preparedness, and improving nuclear forensics capabilities. The United States and Japan are also sharing and will continue to share best practices on a possible framework for an integrated national response to incidents of nuclear and radioactive materials found out of regulatory control.
The NSWG further facilitates bilateral cooperation on a range of issues including nuclear security training, the physical protection of nuclear material, safeguards, and transportation security. The United States especially applauds the indispensable role which the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security (ISCN) is playing in the capacity building of personnel from other countries, particularly those from Asian countries, and expects ISCN to continue to serve as a leading Center of Excellence in this area.
In order to further strengthen cooperative efforts on preventing nuclear terrorism, and to continue to address Nuclear Security Summit goals, both sides have commenced negotiations on a framework to enable the exchange of classified information in the area of nuclear security, with the shared intention of reaching an agreement shortly. Japan and the United States will continue our NSWG under the U.S.-Japan Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, maintaining its leadership role in strengthening global nuclear security.