In Vietnam, nuclear bomb material has been safely removed from the nation by experts from the United States and Russia, announced officials at a conference in Vienna on Tuesday.
Almost 35 pounds of highly enriched uranium was removed from the Southeast Asian nation, as reported by Washington Post. This is enough material for more than half of a crude nuclear weapon.
To utilize enriched uranium as a bomb, however, requires other materials, technical expertise, and funding.
After the removal of the nuclear material, Vietnam officially becomes the 11th country to be cleared of the dangerous nuclear material in recent years.
US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz explained that, “with this accomplishment, we will have removed nearly all highly enriched uranium from Southeast Asia.”
This removal was part of an on going program, which has been successfully targeting and securing materials that could potentially be used by terrorists and militants to build a devastating nuclear weapon.
Officials did not clarify when the potential nuclear bomb material in Vietnam was secured and transported. Grigory Berdennikov, part of a Russian envoy, explained, however, that the enriched uranium was shipped recently to his country for safekeeping.
There, the highly-enriched uranium will be down-blended, or diluted, into a low-enriched uranium substance which can be used in nuclear power reactors, according to Reuters.
The Russian envoy stated that this removal represented the second half of Vietnam’s nuclear material, the first half of which was extracted six years ago.
According to the Nuclear Security Governance Experts Group, there still remains around 1,500 tons of highly-enriched uranium and more than 500 tons of plutonium, in military and civilian use, around the globe.
President Obama recently declared his intentions to drastically reduce the United States’ nuclear weapon stockpile. He also called on Russia to match the US in disarmament.
The extraction of material that could potentially be used in a nuclear bomb in Vietnam is the latest in a global effort to eliminate the dangerous substance.
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