Romania, US sign implementing agreement regarding nuclear security
Signing the document on behalf of the US Government was US ambassador in Bucharest Mark Gitenstein, while on behalf of the Romanian Government was Chairman of the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control (CNCAN) Vajda Borbala.
‘For some time the United States Government has been concerned about the grave danger that nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism pose to international security. In response to this threat, the United States established the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, or GTRI, under the National Nuclear Security Administration in February of 2004,’ Gitenstein told the signing ceremony.
He added that in the last five years, the GTRI program has successfully improved security at nuclear sites throughout the world, including here in Romania. This work has helped to ensure that nuclear and radiological material does not fall into the wrong hands.
In July of 2008 and again in June of this year, the U.S. Government provided assistance to Romania to remove highly enriched uranium.
‘Highly enriched uranium can be easily fashioned into a nuclear weapon, presenting a tempting target for terrorists. Under the GTRI program, material is returned to either the United States or Russia, depending on the initial origin, and down-blended to create low-enriched uranium. This can serve as fuel for civilian nuclear power generation, but cannot be turned into a bomb,’ the ambassador said.
‘The cooperation between the United States and Romania throughout this transfer process was outstanding. It required a high level of cooperation to package and safely ship radioactive enriched uranium. Thanks to CNCAN’s help and careful planning, both shipments from Romania – to the United States, in 2008 and to Russia, this year – proceeded without incident,’ said Gitenstein. In his turn, CNCAN Chairman Borbala said there is no more highly enriched uranium in Romania.
The text of the Implementing Agreement, titled the Agreement between the Department of Energy of the United States of America and the National Commission for Nuclear Activities Control of Romania Concerning Cooperation to Enhance the Physical Security of Romania’s Radioactive Sources and Special Nuclear Material, was finalised in August 2009.
The Agreement provides the legal framework for the implementation of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative’s (GTRI) radiological protect program in Romania, which will work in cooperation with Romanian counterparts to enhance the physical protection of civilian sites that use or store high-activity radiological materials. GTRI is ready to begin implementation of its technical assistance in Romania as soon as the Agreement is signed.
GTRI recently cooperated with CNCAN to remove 30.1 kilograms of Russian-origin highly enriched uranium (HEU) fresh fuel from the SSR Pitesti reactor and 23.7 kilograms of Russian-origin HEU spent fuel from the VVR-S reactor at Magurele. These shipments, along with prior removals of U.S.-origin HEU spent fuel from Romania, successfully completed the removal of all HEU from Romania.