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US Government to offer Romania technical and financial assistance in detecting radioactive sources

Joi, 10 decembrie 2009, 18:01 English | Top News

The American Government will give Romania technical and financial assistance in equipping some installations in order to detect radioactive sources inside the country. In this sense, US Government and National Commission for Nuclear Activity Control (NCNAC) representatives signed an agreement regarding the cooperation for increasing Romanian radioactive material sources' physical security.

The US ambassador to Bucharest Mark H. Gitenstein declared that, in this way, the radiological material will not get to unfit hands. "For several years now the US Government is concerned about the serious threat addressing international security, represented by the nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. The US responded to this threat by setting up the Global Threat Reducing Initiative (GTRI) within the National Administration for Nuclear Security. In the last five years, the GTRI programme managed to increase the security of nuclear installations worldwide, including here, in Romania. These efforts brought the guarantee that the nuclear and radiological material is not going to fall on unfit hands", Mark H. Gitenstein declared.

Radioactive waste stocking installations, research institutions using this type of material, medical installations and irradiation and sterilisation installations are on the list to be considered.

The agreement will create the legal framework necessary for the implementation of the protection of the radiological programme within the GTRI. American experts will work with their Romanian counterparts to increase physic security for civil locations that use or deposit materials with a high level of radioactivity. The GTRI team is ready to start the technical assistance programme implementation in Romania immediately after signing the treaty.

The US Government assisted Romania in evacuation the highly enriched uranium

Recently, the GTRI cooperated with NCANC to evacuate 31.1 kg fresh HEU (Highly Enriched Uranium) of Russian origin from the SSR Pitesti reactor and 23,7 kg used HEU from the VVR-S Reactor in Turnu Magurele. These transports, together with the used HEU of American origin previously evacuated by Romania, led to the successful highly enriched radioactive material from Romania.

In July 2008 and June 2009, the US Government offered Romania assistance to evacuate HEU. Easy to transform in a nuclear weapon, the highly enriched uranium represents a target for terrorists. During the GTRI programme, the nuclear material is repatriated either in the US, either in Russia, depending on its initial origin and it is diluted in order to be converted in low enriched uranium. This ca be used as fuel for generating nuclear energy, but cannot be used for producing a bomb. The Romanian-US cooperation during the transfer has been extraordinary. A close cooperation was needed to have the radioactive uranium safely packed and transported. Thanks to the NCANC careful planning and help, both transports leaving Romania, namely the one heading to the US in 2008 and the one sent back to Russia in 2009, have been transported without any incident.


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