The United States and Russia have signed an agreement to reduce their stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium. Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov used the nuclear security summit to commit to getting rid of 34 tonnes each – which the US Secretary of State was enough for nearly 17,000 weapons.
“The agreement provides for monitoring and inspections that will ensure that this material will never again be used for weapons or any other military purpose,” said Clinton.
The agreement updates a deal signed ten years ago. From 2018 the plutonium will be used as fuel in civilian reactors to produce electricity. Other nuclear states are being called on to follow suit.
“When this mechanism starts working we expect a positive influence on the process of non-proliferation including making the process of clear disarmament multi-lateral,” said Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. He added that he hoped the reductions would happen soon.
The Russians put the cost of their operation at 1.8 billion euros. Meanwhile both Ukraine and Mexico have made moves making it harder for their highly enriched uranium tobe used for nuclear weapons.