Mr. FORTENBERRY. Mr. Chairman, this amendment would reduce the Department of Energy administration account by $35 million and increase the Global Threat Reduction Initiative by a $35 million amount as well.
As cofounder of the House Nuclear Security Caucus, together with my colleague Mr. Schiff, I am deeply concerned about the potential nuclear security threats and vulnerabilities, and I am committed to strengthening momentum on efforts to secure fissile materials and prevent the proliferation and misuse of sensitive nuclear materials and technologies here and around the world.
I also want to thank Representative Sanchez for her longstanding commitment to this important issue as well.
Mr. Chairman, nuclear terrorism is a threat so serious in its consequences that we often shrink from even contemplating it. But ignoring the problem is not an option. There are some relatively straightforward steps that we can take to reduce our vulnerabilities, and one of these is to strengthen the Global Threat Reduction Initiative.
To date, this important program has converted or verified the shutdown of 76 out of 200 highly enriched uranium research reactors to be converted or verified as shut down by the year 2022. The program has removed 3,085 kilograms of highly enriched uranium and plutonium from 42 countries. The program has eliminated all highly enriched uranium from 19 countries and plans to eliminate all of it from an additional nine countries by December of 2013.
These countries--the 19 it was removed from--include Brazil, Colombia, Latvia, Portugal, South Korea, Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain, Thailand, Greece, the Philippines, Slovenia, Sweden, Romania, Libya, Turkey, Taiwan, Chile, and Serbia.
In addition, the program has also overseen the removal of 960 kilograms of highly enriched uranium. Mr. Chairman, that's enough for 38 nuclear weapons, and this is since 2009.
It is vital that we work together to transcend any differences in this body to prevent our world from sleepwalking to utter disaster. We are at a crossroads. The technical advances that have enabled transnational communication and cooperation for progress have also enabled and benefited individuals and groups bound by ideologies that threaten the very foundations of civil society and government. I consider it our collective mission to ensure that we succeed in controlling nuclear technology and
materials to leave a stable global environment for generations.
Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to join me and Representative Sanchez in supporting this important amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.