Management of Russian Military Plutonium

  • C. Pierre Zaleski


The objective of this paper is to propose and to discuss a solution which makes it possible to store, as quickly as possible, all weapons-grade plutonium no longer used in the Russian military program, in a way that makes diversion extremely difficult, and the re-use in weapons form by the Russian government difficult and visible.

Two main conditions apply to this solution. First, it should be achieved in a way acceptable to the Russian government, notably by preserving plutonium for possible future energy production uses; second, the economies of the total system shall be as good as possible and there should be no charge, or a very limited one for the storage of plutonium.

I will propose a solution already outlined in Ref.1 : to store plutonium in a specially designed fast reactor, or at least a specially designed fast reactor core. I will attempt to demonstrate that this solution compares favorably to other possible solutions, applying the criteria set out in the goal and the two conditions mentioned above.

In addition, this solution should have the following side advantages:
  • utilizing available personnel and installations of the Russian nuclear military complex;

  • providing possible basis for decommissioning of older and less safe Russian reactors;

  • giving a quantitative experience of construction and operation of a series of sodium-cooled fast reactors;

It also, however, presents a major problem : the need for rather large capital investment, with the risk of not getting the appropriate return on investment due to the generally difficult political and economic situation of Russia.


Fast Neutron Fuel Cycle Capture Reactor Light Water Reactor Russian Government 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Pierre Zaleski
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre de Géopolitique de l’Energie et des Matières PremièresUniversity of Paris-DauphineParis

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