For nearly 20 years, the United States has been using weapons-grade uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear warheads to fuel domestic nuclear power plants.
The program, expected to end in 2013, has recycled 450 metric tons of Russian bomb-grade uranium since 1994, according to the George Washington University Face the Facts initiative.
It has at times generated as much as 10 percent of the U.S. electricity supply. There are 104 working nuclear reactors in 31 states; the United States is one of 30 countries that generate electricity via nuclear power.
Since the start of the program 450 metric tons of bomb-grade uranium has been recycled into 13,258 metric tons of low enriched uranium for American electricity. The amount of uranium recycled equals to 18,000 nuclear warheads eliminated. Yet, this agreement between Russia and the United States is slated to end in 2013.
At the end of its run, it will have converted an estimated 500 metric tons of weapons-grade uranium.
Russian nuclear warheads: Megatons to Megawatts
Under this program, as much as 10 percent of electricity produced in the United States has been produced through this “Megatons to Megawatts” programs, in the years of its operation, according to the U.S. Enrichment Cooperation. While the amount of uranium converted from the program by the end of its run in 2013 is estimated to be enough fuel to power the entire United States for about two years.
The facts sheds further light on the issue of nuclear power production.
Thirty countries, including the United States, have nuclear power programs. In the United States, 104 reactors across 31 states account for 19.2 percent of electricity generation.
After the Cold War, nuclear arsenals were slashed. Most recently, new START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) between Russia and the United States in 2010, aims to reduce the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers by half until 2021. According to the Treaty disclosure requirements, there are 3,589 strategic nuclear weapons in U.S. possession and 2,867 of Russia’s nuclear warheads in possession within the old Soviet Union.
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