Global plutonium management: A security option

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Description

The US surplus plutonium disposition program was created to reduce the proliferation risk posed by the fissile material from thousands of retired nuclear weapons. The Department of Energy has decided to process its Put into a form as secure as Pu in civilian spent fuel. While implementation issues have been considered, a major one (Russian reciprocity) remains unresolved. Russia has made disposition action conditional on extracting the fuel value of its Pu but lacks the infrastructure to do so. Assistance in the construction of the required facilities would conflict with official US policy opposing the development of a Pu fuel ... continued below

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16 pages

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Sylvester, K.W.B. December 31, 1998.

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Description

The US surplus plutonium disposition program was created to reduce the proliferation risk posed by the fissile material from thousands of retired nuclear weapons. The Department of Energy has decided to process its Put into a form as secure as Pu in civilian spent fuel. While implementation issues have been considered, a major one (Russian reciprocity) remains unresolved. Russia has made disposition action conditional on extracting the fuel value of its Pu but lacks the infrastructure to do so. Assistance in the construction of the required facilities would conflict with official US policy opposing the development of a Pu fuel cycle. The resulting stagnation provides impetus for a reevaluation of US nonproliferation objectives and Pu disposition options. A strategy for satisfying Russian fuel value concerns and reducing the proliferation risk posed by surplus weapons-grade plutonium (WGPu) is proposed. The effectiveness of material alteration (e.g., isotopic, chemical, etc.{hor_ellipsis}) at reducing the desire, ability and opportunity for proliferation is assessed. Virtually all the security benefits attainable by material processing can be obtained by immobilizing Pu in large unit size/mass monoliths without a radiation barrier. Russia would be allowed to extract the Pu at a future date for use as fuel in a verifiable manner. Remote tracking capability, if proven feasible, would further improve safeguarding capability. As an alternate approach, the US could compensate Russia for its Pu, allowing it to be disposed of or processed elsewhere. A market based method for pricing Pu is proposed. Surplus Pu could represent access to nuclear fuel at a fixed price at a future date. This position can be replicated in the uranium market and priced using derivative theory. The proposed strategy attempts to meet nonproliferation objectives by recognizing technical limitations and satisfying political constraints.

Physical Description

16 pages

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE00350848

Source

  • American Political Science Association annual meeting, Boston, MA (US), 09/03/1998--09/06/1998; Other Information: Supercedes report DE99002605; PBD: [1998]

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  • Other: DE99002605
  • Report No.: LA-UR--98-3617
  • Report No.: CONF-9809131--
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 350848
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc680984

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • December 31, 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • Feb. 29, 2016, 3:20 p.m.

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Sylvester, K.W.B. Global plutonium management: A security option, article, December 31, 1998; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc680984/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.