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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 24, 1998

Operation Auburn Endeavor

Today the United States, in close cooperation with Georgia and the United Kingdom, completed the removal of about five kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Georgia to the United Kingdom. This operation, named Auburn Endeavor, reflects the continued commitment of our governments to international security and non-proliferation goals. It is the latest in a series of international efforts to safeguard surplus nuclear materials.

Auburn Endeavor originated when the Georgian government sought U.S. help in securing this research reactor fuel stored at the Nuclear Research Center in Tbilisi. The U.S. Departments of Energy, Defense and State have worked to secure and transport the material from Georgia to safe storage in the United Kingdom. To assure the integrity of the mission and safety of personnel, strict security measures were in effect and operational details closely held.

This successful mission demonstrates the importance all three nations place upon stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the strength of our commitment to that objective. The U.S. role in this project was made possible by Congressional support of the Cooperative Threat Reduction and other non-proliferation programs. Auburn Endeavor is a powerful, positive example of how countries can cooperate in practical ways to lessen the dangers of nuclear proliferation.