Friday, June 10, 2011

Ukraine: Ukraine Getting Rid of its Stock of Enriched Uranium

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine

The Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov announced that Ukraine accomplished nearly all of its commitments concerning the removal of enriched uranium from the country's territory. In April 2010 the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych took on the responsibility to eliminate the remaining enriched uranium stock in exchange for the provision of necessary technical and financial assistance to the project by the United States.

"Ukraine has practically fulfilled its obligations to remove enriched uranium," such was the statement by Mykola Azarov after his meeting with the International Atomic Agency Director General Yukiya Amano. The Prime Minister believes that this accomplishment is Ukraine's contribution to the world nuclear security.

The amount of nuclear materials exported from Ukraine in 2010 totaled 106 kg. In exchange for enriched uranium Ukrainian research institutions were provided with low enriched uranium for research purposes as well as financial support for other scientific projects. The remaining enriched uranium is to be exported from Ukraine by April 2012 before the start of Seoul 2012 Nuclear Security Summit.

The White House press secretary Robert Gibbs had previously stated that the amount of uranium removed from Ukraine in 2010 would be enough to make "several nuclear weapons." The chief counterterrorism advisor to the US President Barack Obama John Brennan earlier warned that Al Qaeda had been attempting to buy enriched uranium for over 15 years.

Back in 2010 the Ukrainian Ministry for Foreign Affairs disclosed that none of the heads of the Ukrainian specialized scientific institutions had stated the need for enriched uranium for research. Enriched uranium was stored as waste and not used in research.

In December 1994 Ukraine has joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and proclaimed its non-nuclear status. Ukraine reaffirmed its non-nuclear status in its Constitution and the declaration "On the State Sovereignty of Ukraine."

The last nuclear warhead was shipped from Ukraine to Russia in 1996 but a significant amount of enriched uranium remained in storage at the Kyiv Institute for Nuclear Research, the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, and the Sevastopol National University of Nuclear Energy and Industry.