by Tom Blees

Russia and the United States have pared their nuclear arsenals from about 70,000 warheads at the height of the Cold War to about 23,000 today, with 8,000 of those scheduled for decommissioning. Presidents Medvedev and Obama have recently agreed to cut those arsenals considerably farther, and proposals by organizations like Global Zero and The Ploughshares Fund to reduce these arsenals to a thousand warheads each (or even total elimination) are being sympathetically received by both governments.

Reductions in nuclear arsenals inevitably results in weapons-grade plutonium, which both sides are eager to see taken out of circulation. The easiest and fastest way to accomplish this is to combine the plutonium metal with depleted uranium and zirconium, creating fuel for Integral Fast Reactors (IFR). Thus the weapons of war can be converted into fuel to contribute to peaceful development. Here again, the IFR solves multiple problems, safely and effectively. Even before a single IFR is built, the conversion of plutonium into IFR-ready fuel elements can begin. Our political leaders have only to make the decision to do so.


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