Under special nuclear cooperation agreements, the United States sent 38,580 pounds of enriched uranium and plutonium to more than two-dozen foreign agencies and is unable to account for 36,000 pounds of the material.The Government Accountability Office report says these 27 cooperation agreements, set up to facilitate cross border research, have no accountability and the U.S. has no way to enforce control.
Because there is no reporting process in place, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been visiting nuclear storage sites overseas when permitted, but has not regularly visited countries with the greatest risk of proliferation.
From the visits conducted through 1994 to 2010 U.S. teams learned countries met international security guidelines only 50 per cent of the time.
Trying to pin down the missing 36,000 pounds of material the NRC and the Department of Energy (DOE) have made inventory agreements with five U.S. partners, but the other 22 have refused.
The DOE has tried to bring back much of the material to the states, but aside from failing to definitively find it, the agency is limited by its own Global Threat Reduction Initiative which won’t allow it.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.