As President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit kicked off Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that his government had agreed to return to the United States highly enriched uranium from the nuclear reactor at the Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario.
“I encourage other countries to follow Canada’s lead in this regard,” Harper said.
The uranium — spent nuclear fuel — will be converted into low enriched uranium, a form unusable for nuclear weapons, and will be transferred over an eight-year period, beginning this year.
“We welcome this important announcement from Prime Minister Harper, which demonstrates Canada’s strong leadership on nuclear security, and its close partnership with the United States on key global issues,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement.
Harper said that “while all this material is obviously highly secure in Canada, it is our view that the best thing for all countries to do, not just for ourselves, is to return such material to their countries of origin. And so we want to encourage other countries to do so as well.”