12 April 2010
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that Canada and the U.S. will work together to return spent inventories of highly enriched uranium (HEU), currently being held at the Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, to facilities in the U.S. where it will be converted into a form unusable in nuclear weapons. The Prime Minister made the announcement on the margins of the Nuclear Security Summit taking place in Washington, D.C., on April 12-13.
"Canada is actively participating in international efforts to help ensure that nuclear weapons materials do not fall into the hands of terrorists," said Prime Minister Harper. "This project will return highly enriched uranium spent fuel inventories to the U.S. and will result in significant cost savings to Canada over time."
The project, which will take place between 2010 and 2018, is part of broader international efforts being promoted at the Nuclear Security Summit to consolidate fresh and spent HEU at a smaller number of very secure locations. These efforts have resulted in several countries returning fresh and spent HEU to original suppliers — principally the U.S. and Russia — as well as the consolidation of HEU inventories within countries.
Canada remains a leader in promoting domestic and international nuclear security measures. All nuclear material in Canada is safely and securely stored consistent with domestic policy, legislation and regulations as well as international standards and obligations.
This project addresses the Government’s commitment, as outlined in the March 2010 Speech from the Throne, to support U.S. President Obama’s nuclear security goals, including to participate fully in today’s landmark Nuclear Security Summit. It sets an example of cooperation for others to follow.