Under a soon-to-be defunct program between Washington and Moscow, Russian nuclear warheads have produced nearly 50% of America’s nuclear energy,
US Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Rose Gottemoeller told a United Nations committee in New York today.
“Over the past 15 years, nuclear fuel from this source has accounted for approximately 10 per cent of all electricity produced in the United States,” Gottemoeller said.
Under a landmark 1993 nonproliferation deal, the United States has purchased uranium derived from around 20,000 Russian nuclear warheads eliminated under the accord — informally known as the “Megatons to Megawatts” program — and converted the material into nuclear fuel to be used by nearly all US nuclear power plants, Gottemoeller told the committee.
Gottemoeller called it an “under the radar” agreement, sort of like the “open skies” program which allows each country to fly surveillance flights over the other (not to say much about underground facilities).
The program — which the U.S. spent $US8 billion on so far — is due to expire in December of this year, and Gottemoeller is on a crusade of sorts to continue reducing the nuclear stockpiles to reflect post “Cold War” postures.
Notably, the last major nuclear mishap was not a nuclear weapon, but a nuclear power plant — Fukushima, still a problem today — and certainly some people would argue it’s not worth converting these dated weapons into nuclear fuel.
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