Megatons to Megawatts: From Warheads to Fuel Rods
A 20-year program to convert highly enriched uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons into fuel for U.S. power plants ended Thursday, with the final shipment loaded onto a vessel in St. Petersburg's port. The U.S. Energy Department described the program, commonly known as Megatons to Megawatts, as one of the most successful nuclear nonproliferation partnerships ever undertaken.
The agreement, signed in 1993 shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and always scheduled to end in 2013, gave Russia the financial incentive to dismantle thousands of nuclear weapons. The initial aim was to help keep the vast stockpiles of weapons-grade uranium out of the hands of terrorists and to make sure Russia's nuclear workers got paid at a time when the country was nearly bankrupt.