Report: Canada shipping highly enriched uranium into the United States

From The Canadian Press:

The shipments themselves are protected by intense security protocol, which means specifics like routes, transportation method, quantities and schedules remain top secret.

The federal nuclear body, a co-regulator of the uranium transfers, says rules restrict it from disclosing such information to the public.

A ministerial memorandum, classified as “Secret,” says the nuclear watchdog considers it unnecessary to hold public sessions that would allow citizens to ask questions and comment on the shipments.

President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed last year that Canada would ship highly enriched spent uranium into the United States in an effort to secure the material.

Experts quoted by The Canadian Press said the shipments are secure.

“It’s relatively easy to contain and secure and it’s not going to go off like a bomb,” Bill Garland, a professor of nuclear engineering at McMaster University, told the paper. “I would have no hesitation sitting in the truck and driving across the country with it. It wouldn’t bother me in the least.”


Courtney Greenwald, spokesman for the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration, told The Hill that details of the shipments are classified.

"President Obama has laid out an ambitious nuclear security agenda which includes reducing the use of highly-enriched uranium across the globe, and the U.S. and Canada have a longstanding, collaborative relationship on nuclear energy and nonproliferation issues," Greenwald said in a statement.

"Canada has participated in NNSA's program to return U.S.-origin spent nuclear reactor fuel, but specific transportation details are classified due to the sensitive nature of these shipments."

This story was updated at 2:45 p.m.