Case study

Global Threat Reduction Programme: US Elimination of Weapons Grade Plutonium Production Programme

Replacing power supplies to cities in Russian Siberia following the closure of weapons-grade plutonium-producing reactors.

A major Global Partnership non-proliferation objective has been to close down the three former Soviet weapons-grade plutonium-producing reactors in Russian Siberia. In addition to a combined production capacity of over 1.2 metric tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium a year, the three reactors also provided heat and power to the closed nuclear cities of Zheleznogorsk and Seversk. Replacement power supplies had to be made available before the reactors could be shut down.

The US-led Elimination of Weapons Grade Plutonium Production Programme has refurbished one fossil fuel power plant and constructed a new efficient coal-fired plant. Two reactors were shut down in 2008 and the final one in the spring of 2010. The UK contributed £11 million to the US programme, a contribution that was instrumental in persuading other donors to contribute as well.

Published 19 January 2013