Nuclear Transport Solutions, the world's leading transporter of nuclear materials, played a key role in a collaborative effort to remove over 30 kilograms of highly enriched uranium from Japan to the United States earlier this year.
US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan announced the non-proliferation triumph, which was the result of years of cooperation, in Tokyo on Monday, 23 May 2022.
The shipment, which was completed in March 2022, removed all HEU from three Japanese sites:
- University of Tokyo’s Yayoi Research Reactor
- Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Deuterium Critical Assembly
- Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Japan Research Reactor 4
The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) worked on the removal with Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and in close cooperation with the UK’s Nuclear Transport Solutions and Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
In a statement NNSA Deputy Administrator for Nuclear Nonproliferation Corey Hinderstein said:
“This HEU removal is the result of years of close cooperation and hard work—made all the more challenging by the pandemic and travel restrictions. Permanently eliminating nuclear material that could be used in a weapon is just one of the ways NNSA and its international partners help make the world a safer place every day.”
Nuclear Transport Solutions is part of the UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), a public body responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient clean-up of the UK’s nuclear legacy. It provides solutions to complex nuclear transport and logistics challenges and has used its unique transport capabilities to deliver a number of high-profile international transport projects in support of non-proliferation and global threat reduction efforts.
Seth Kybird, Chief Executive of NTS, said:
“This successful operation represents an important milestone in reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation and was delivered by UK assets and expertise in close collaboration with our US and Japanese partners and the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. Our experience in high security nuclear shipments is second to none and we are extremely proud to play such an important role in making the world safer.”
David Peattie, CEO of the NDA, said:
“In NTS we have world-leading capability that not only plays a vital part in the NDA mission to clean up the UK’s earliest nuclear sites, it also provides expertise for globally-important operations such as this one. This is a fantastic achievement for our transport subsidiary NTS and is testament to the expertise it provides as part of its commercial activities in the UK and overseas.”
The HEU was securely transported to the Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina, and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It will be downblended to low enriched uranium and/or dispositioned, permanently reducing the risk it could be used to produce an improvised nuclear device.