Moscow Halts Russian-US Plutonium Disposal Agreement Due to 'Hostile' US Actions

© Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich / Go to the mediabankOne of the Kremlin towers in Moscow.
One of the Kremlin towers in Moscow. - Sputnik International
Moscow is suspending the plutonium disposal agreement due to Washington's "hostile actions" toward Russia.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered to halt a bilateral Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PDMA) with the United States because of Washington's hostile actions, a document published on the Russian government's official portal for legal information said on Monday.

"Suspend the agreement between the Russian and the US governments on the disposition of plutonium, designated as plutonium no longer required for defense purposes, its use and cooperation in this field," the document states.

According to the document, Russia's weapons-grade plutonium would not be used for creation of nuclear weapons or any research and development activities or tests carried out with military purposes.

Under the US-Russian PMDA, originally signed in 2000, both parties agreed to dispose of at least 34 metric tons of weapons grade plutonium, enough to produce 17,000 nuclear bombs.

The latest decree cites "the emergence of a threat to strategic stability as a result of hostile actions by the US in respect to Russia," as well as Washington's inability to fulfill its commitments to dispose of surplus weapons-grade plutonium behind its decision.

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In signing the updated PDMA in 2010, the United States agreed to convert its plutonium into a mixed oxide (MOX) fuel at a reprocessing facility in the state of North Carolina. However, as a result of major cost overruns, in 2015 the United States abandoned its MOX facility, opting instead for a less expensive process of diluting and storing the plutonium at a site in the state of New Mexico.

At the same time, Russia has already created infrastructure sufficient to dispose of the country's weapons-grade plutonium at its Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant.


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