Thank you cat48 for passing on this GREAT news
‘Quietly Executing A National Security Triumph’
Washington Monthly – One of the year’s biggest national security developments actually gets overlooked. In April, at the kickoff of the Nuclear Security Summit, the Obama administration reached an agreement with the Ukrainian government on the country giving up its entire stockpile of highly enriched uranium, inherited after the fall of the Soviet Union.
For those concerned about the security of the most dangerous material on the planet, this was quite a breakthrough. What we didn’t know until last night is that the process of moving more than 110 pounds of highly enriched uranium — enough to make two nuclear bombs — was quietly completed this week.
….The result, of course, is a safer world.
…President Obama established a goal early on of securing all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years — a task that encompasses locking down materials in 35 countries. Less than two years later, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration has completed its work in 19 of those countries, and D’Agostino believes the agency is on track to meet the White House’s deadline.
The political world covers quite a bit of ground, but arguably nothing is quite as important to global security as this. The developments in Ukraine are a triumph to be celebrated.
December 31, 2010 – Statement by President Barack Obama on Removal of HEU from Ukraine: “I congratulate President Yanukovych on the recent shipment of highly enriched uranium from Ukraine for secure disposal in Russia, which advances a top priority for my administration and for global security. This action brings us all one step closer to securing all vulnerable nuclear materials, as President Yanukovych and I and 45 other world leaders pledged to do this April at the Nuclear Security Summit. The low enriched uranium and nuclear safety equipment provided to Ukraine in connection with this shipment will support Ukraine’s development of safe and secure nuclear energy. These actions represent continued Ukrainian leadership in making sure that nuclear weapons never fall into the hands of a terrorist, and working toward a world without nuclear weapons.”
MSNBC: The United States has helped Ukraine send two atomic bombs’ worth of weapons grade uranium to Russia during a secret operation over the holidays, the Obama administration confirmed Thursday on msnbc’s The Rachel Maddow Show.
The removal of more than 111 pounds of highly enriched uranium followed a pledge by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to get rid of all of his country’s highly enriched uranium by April 2012 ….The material will be blended down in Russia, rendering it useless for bomb making.
Yanukovych agreed to give up the uranium in a multinational deal announced at a nuclear security summit hosted by President Barack Obama in April.
Shipments like the one recently completed from Serbia result in permanent threat reduction because they eliminate weapons-usable nuclear material at civilian sites…. as an incentive, the United States is providing replacement low-enriched uranium that can be used for Ukraine’s research reactors.
…The removal operation involved 21 specially designed casks for the uranium to be flown on five flights from three cities … the U.S. also helped deliver some of the replacement fuel to Ukraine.
Read the full article here
Interesting article from the NYT last year – ‘Obama’s Youth Shaped His Nuclear-Free Vision’
In the depths of the cold war, in 1983, a senior at Columbia University wrote in a campus news magazine, Sundial, about the vision of “a nuclear free world”. He railed against discussions of “first- versus second-strike capabilities” that “suit the military-industrial interests” with their “billion-dollar erector sets,” and agitated for the elimination of global arsenals holding tens of thousands of deadly warheads.
The student was Barack Obama….
…Twenty-six years later, the author, in his new job as president of the United States, has begun pushing for new global rules, treaties and alliances that he insists can establish a nuclear-free world … no previous American president has set out a step-by-step agenda for the eventual elimination of nuclear arms.
…When he became a senator in January 2005, Mr. Obama zeroed in on arms control, an issue with little traction in the Republican-controlled Senate … he found a mentor in Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a longtime star of nuclear nonproliferation efforts. Later that year, Mr. Obama asked to accompany his Republican colleague on a trip to monitor Russian efforts to scrap nuclear arms and secure atomic materials from theft or diversion.
“When we got there, he was clearly all business — a very careful listener and note taker and a serious student,” Mr. Lugar recalled.
…“I don’t think I was that unique at that time,” the president said of his Columbia days, “and I don’t think I’m that unique today in thinking that if we could put the genie back in the bottle, in some sense, that there would be less danger — not just to the United States but to people around the world.”
Full article here
Thank you hgerhard for this comment and link to Global Zero:
As a long-time advocate of a “world without nuclear weapons”, I am delighted to find out about this latest action. I am so proud of our President. I remember his speech in Berlin when he first mentioned the importance of nuclear disarmament and securing all loose nuclear materials within a period of four years. Then again in Prague, he reiterated this goal and ever since becoming President, he has worked tirelessly to bring this issue to the U.N. Security Council and start negotiations with Russia and other nations. The new START Treaty is one major result of these efforts; the removal of enriched plutonium from many countries does not get the notice this important issue deserves. To bring about a “world without nuclear weapons” and eliminating materials that can be used to make new ones is the greatest gift we can pass on to our children and grandchildren. History will record that President Obama was the most instrumental leader in moving this goal closer to reality.
For more information about the world-wide movement to achieve this goal, please go to www.globalzero.org