NBC Weapons: January 27, 2002


While the Bush Administration had wanted to cut back the $800 million the US spends each year helping Russia dismantle old nuclear and chemical weapons, a new study by the Administration has concluded that the programs must continue and in some cases should be increased. There are serious challenges, the largest being how to dispose of 34 tons of plutonium. The basic plan is to convert it into Mixed Oxide reactor fuel, but that would take decades to use up. Another plan is to vitrify the plutonium into a glass-like substance and bury it, but nobody wants it buried in their back yard (and the US is nervous about burying it in Russia). Another plan would be to build an entire new generation of gas-cooled reactors that could burn the plutonium, but that would take years. The US has restored funding to the Russian plant being built to destroy chemical weapons. The US had cut off funding when the Russians didn't pay their promised part of the cost, but new financial commitments by Moscow have convinced the US to resume funding.--Stephen V Cole




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close