Russia - Plutonium Investigation n°12/13

The Future

Russia still has a huge nuclear infrastucture stretching across thousands of kilometres and several time zones. Its economy is facing very difficult times, due to modernization and a changing world, and under such circumstances there will inevitably arise various plans to exploit this huge investment in a technology that did seem to provide energy security for a golden period in the 1970s. But, as elsewhere, the nuclear industry is moribund, with finances for existing let alone new projects hard to achieve. The pressure to complete joint ventures with nuclear operations outside Russia, in the US, Japan, France, Germany and the UK in particular is very strong. Hence the pressure to develop plutonium (MOX) fuel from the huge plutonium stocks now in Russia, to try to make an asset out of a liabilty. The challenge is to provide a secure management plan that does not require reuse of this prime nuclear explosive material.

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