Co-Founder and Co-Chair, NTI
Statement of Former Senator Sam Nunn Co-Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
On the Removal of Nuclear Weapons Material from Hungary
I commend the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration for its leadership in the successful removal of spent nuclear fuel from Hungary. This spent nuclear fuel – which contained enough highly enriched uranium to make six nuclear weapons – was removed under the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, a critically important U.S. government effort to secure and remove vulnerable nuclear weapons materials around the world. This work is essential in preventing nuclear terrorism and deserves greater support and government resources.
Cooperation among the U.S., Hungarian, and Russian governments, the International Atomic Energy Agency and Euratom was key to the success of this operation, and similar cooperation will be required to quickly secure or remove at-risk and dangerous nuclear material, wherever it exists. Nuclear weapons material anywhere can be a threat to everyone, everywhere.
The U.S. and Russian governments are to be applauded for their continued cooperation – despite recent tensions — in implementing the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the Bratislava Nuclear Security agreement, announced by Presidents Bush and Putin in 2005. This is an important step forward and Will Tobey, Ken Baker, Andrew Bieniawski and their team at NNSA, as well as their partners in Hungary and Russia, deserve our thanks.
There should be no higher security priority than keeping nuclear weapons materials out of the hands of terrorists. Led by the United States and Russia, leaders around the world must accelerate work to lock up or remove this dangerous material. We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe.
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