Anatoli Diakov Professor of Physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (PhD in 1975) and since 1991 the Director of its Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies. Diakov has written papers on nuclear arms reductions, the history of Russia's plutonium production, disposition options for excess plutonium, and the feasibility of converting Russia's icebreaker reactors from HEU to LEU as well as on many other topics relating to nuclear arms control and disarmament.
By Frank N. von Hippel, Matthew Bunn, Associate Professor of Public Policy; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Anatoli Diakov, Ming Ding, Tadahiro Katsuta, Charles McCombie, M.V. Ramana, Tatsujiro Suzuki, Susan Voss and Suyuan Yu
In the 1970s, nuclear-power boosters expected that by now nuclear power would produce perhaps 80 to 90 percent of all electrical energy globally. Today, the official high-growth projection of the Organization for Economic Co‑operation and Developments (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) estimates that nuclear power plants will generate about 20 percent of all electrical energy in 2050. Thus, nuclear power could make a significant contribution to the global electricity supply. Or it could be phased out — especially if there is another accidental or a terrorist-caused Chernobyl-scale release of radioactivity. If the spread of nuclear energy cannot be decoupled from the spread of nuclear weapons, it should be phased out.
This chapter describes the progress of the Russian and U.S. HEU disposition programs and how they could be expanded and accelerated. It also provides a brief update on the progress of the international programs to clean out and dispose of civilian HEU. The quantities of HEU involved are much smaller than those in the weapons programs but civilian sites are typically much less secure than military ones. Cleaning them out may therefore contribute more to reducing the overall danger of nuclear theft.
This chapter describes disposition options and assesses the Russian and U.S. programs. The discussion is also relevant to the problem of disposing of the world's growing stocks of separated civil plutonium —especially in the United Kingdom, which currently has no disposition plan.