I congratulate Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative, the United Kingdom’s Global Threat Reduction Program, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the entire international team on their completion of the project to remove all spent nuclear fuel from the BN-350 reactor in Kazakhstan.
This is a significant achievement that will make the world safer and reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism.
In 2005, the Nuclear Threat Initiative worked with Kazakhstan to complete a project at the same reactor, removing and blending down the fresh fuel containing 2,900 kilograms of weapons-usable highly enriched uranium.
Kazakhstan has a solid history of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. The country showed courage and leadership when it renounced the nuclear weapons remaining on its territory, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan’s leadership understands that the essential steps required to reduce nuclear dangers must be accomplished with the cooperation of all nations.
There should be no higher security priority than keeping nuclear weapons and materials out of the hands of terrorists. Leaders around the world must continue this critical work to lock up or remove dangerous material wherever it exists. We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe.