Starting from 2008, Russia to switch part of its nuclear power plants to weapons-grade plutonium fuel

Starting from 2008, Russia will switch part of its nuclear power facilities to a new fuel of weapons-grade plutonium, a RIA Novosti correspondent quotes Oleg Sarayev, president of the Rosenergoatom nuclear power agency, as saying on Monday.

To him, weapons-grade plutonium, which was to be destroyed under the 2000 Russian-American agreements, will be in the makeup of fuel elements. Under these agreements, Sarayev specified, Russia and the United States were to have destroyed 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium each, coming from the disposal of nuclear weapons.

Now the two countries have decided to process part of their weapons-grade plutonium for their electricity generating plants. "In the process of processing, plutonium will be mixed with low-enriched uranium", said Sarayev.

"Seven out of Russia's 30 nuclear power-generating units will use the new fuel. Among them is the BN-600 reactor at the Beloyarskaya NPP and the VVER-1000 water-cooled reactors at some other facilities in Russia," he said.

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