Turkey Eliminates Highly Enriched Uranium in Its Territory

Ankara issued joint statement with 11 other nations, stating that HEU has been replaced and thanking Russia, U.S. for help.

Abdullah Gul, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague. AP

Turkey has eliminated highly enriched uranium in its territory, it said on Monday in a joint statement together with 11 other countries, the Hurriyet news site reports.

Represented at the Nuclear Security Summit in the Netherlands by President Abdullah Gul himself, Turkey – together with Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Hungary, Mexico, South Korea, Romania, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam – explained that possessing highly enriched uranium is costly and involves "extensive security measures."

Moreover, advances in low-enriched uranium as fuel for research and nuclear power plants obviate the need for the trickier enriched version, the statement elaborates: "The removal of HEU from our territories has had clear and tangible benefits," Hurriyet reports.

The 12 nations expressed appreciation to the U.S., Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency for helping to convert reactors from high-enriched uranium to low-enriched, and helping to get rid of the HEU.

In January this year, addressing fears that Ankara hoped to gain enrichment technology in its $22 billion deal with Japan for civilian nuclear technology, energy minister Taner Yildiz firmly denied any such thoughts, Hurriyet reported at the time. Turkey's request for uranium enrichment allowance was designed to learn about the process of producing nuclear fuel, he stated. Opponents of the deal fretted that the agreement with Tokyo could allow Turkey to enrich uranium and extract plutonium, theoretically enabling it to creating fuel for weapons.