WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) — For the first time in more than a decade, the United States has made public its inventory of nuclear uranium components, President Barack Obama said Friday.
Speaking at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., Obama said his desire for transparency is part of his overall vision for a safer nuclear future.
“The single most effective defense against nuclear terrorism is fully securing the materials so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands in the first place,” the president said at a meeting Friday afternoon. “Hundreds of military and civilian facilities around the world, there’s still roughly 2,000 tons of nuclear materials and not all of this is properly secured.”
“Just the smallest amount of plutonium, about the size of an apple, could kill or injure hundreds of thousands of innocent people,” he continued. “It would be a humanitarian, political, economic and environmental catastrophe with global ramifications for decades.”
Obama delivered the remarks during the second of the two-day summit, which has been attended by numerous global leaders — including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
Obama said the inventory data on highly-enriched uranium has been declassified and made available to the public, and will go as far back as Sept. 30, 2013.
The release of the uranium data is the first of its kind in the United States in 15 years, the White House said.
“The newly declassified information shows that, from 1996 to 2013, U.S. HEU inventories decreased from 740.7 metric tons to 585.6 metric tons. This reflects a reduction of over 20 percent,” the White House said in a fact sheet on its website. “This type of information sharing … is an important part of the effort to strengthen global nuclear security. The value of transparency has been highlighted by the United States throughout the Nuclear Security Summit process.