How Soviet uranium provided Americans with electricity for decades to come

For about two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Americans obtained Soviet uranium from nuclear warheads and used it as a source of electricity. At that time, according to the publication We are the mighty, in the new Russia, few people cared about security measures, but everyone needed money.

After the collapse of communism, in an attempt to make money, the Russians dismantled old warheads, removed nuclear materials from there, made fuel from them and sold them to private companies from the United States - Russia did not have its own free money to process it.

According to Philip Sewell, an employee of the United States Department of Energy in the 90s, who on duty visited several Soviet nuclear facilities that had served their time, chaos and disorder reigned there, and no one provided security measures for the storage of 20 thousand nuclear warheads removed from missiles. Sewell came up with the idea to clean up the industry and create a lucrative industry.

The sale of Soviet uranium was beneficial to everyone. The Pentagon received weapons-grade uranium, nuclear fuel fell into the disposal of overseas energy companies, while the Russian side earned about $ 17 billion from these deals. Thus, uranium from the former USSR provided US residents with electricity for decades to come.

The last shipment of uranium was delivered to the United States in 2013, when the Russian-American trade supply agreement expired. Moscow now possessed the necessary means to more effectively use uranium.
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  1. beeper Offline beeper
    beeper 12 March 2021 18: 29
    Oops, after all, this is about the Yeltsinoid "Uranium-Gore-Chernomyrdin deal", for attempts to somehow prevent which many honest Russian patriots paid with their lives ("died suddenly" - "died under strange circumstances", "got into a catastrophe ", or even completely" killed themselves "or" disappeared "without a trace)!
    But Washington, as usual, "Hollywood-style", "obscure" the alleged "reigning chaos and disorder" in this multi-billion dollar treacherous "case" ?! winked
  2. alex5450 Offline alex5450
    alex5450 (Alex L) 12 March 2021 20: 18
    It was a win-win deal. We sold the weapons-grade uranium we did not need, while concluding a large-scale deal and avoiding dumping, the United States received a lot of fuel for nuclear power plants for a reasonable price. As a result, everyone was satisfied, especially since the Yankees, in general, are not going to develop their nuclear energy - new nuclear power reactors have not been launched in the country for 25 years, the construction of new ones has practically stopped. We have become entrenched in the global nuclear fuel market.
    1. Kofesan Offline Kofesan
      Kofesan (Valery) 12 March 2021 20: 41
      They were "entrenched" for decades. Image. The image of simpletons ...
      It is also true that the Americans have promised to build a plutonium disposal plant capable of being processed into nuclear weapons. But ... they cheated. The construction was marked and "frozen".
      In the article about this is not. And Putin for several years "shamed" the Americans with "non-obligation", continuing to fulfill the contract .... When the uranium in the lion's share was stored in the United States, in the end he finally "broke" the deal. Or rather, he was forced to close its execution by Russia.
      1. alex5450 Offline alex5450
        alex5450 (Alex L) 12 March 2021 22: 35
        The Americans actually didn’t dispose of weapons-grade plutonium (34 tons under the agreement), but we didn’t continue it either. It's definitely not worth worrying about - the processing time is long, we have produced more of this material than the United States ...
        .... So the parties remained with their stocks of this material. Which has to be stored further.
        The uranium treaty (500 tons) was fully fulfilled - it was refined into fuel and sent to the United States. There was no break in the deal.
    2. Bakht Offline Bakht
      Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 12 March 2021 21: 16
      the global nuclear fuel market

      This is not entirely true. There is no trace of the world market for nuclear fuel in the direct sense of this word. Since nuclear fuel belongs to high-tech industries and, in addition, poses a potential threat, no free transactions within the framework of a market economy are anywhere near valid. Any transactions involving nuclear materials are controlled by the IAEA and the political elites of the main players. For example, no North. Korea, nor Iran, will not be able to sell a single gram of uranium at whatever low price it is offered.
      There is no market here. There are political games and bilateral agreements.
      1. alex5450 Offline alex5450
        alex5450 (Alex L) 12 March 2021 22: 37
        Nevertheless, the fuel market exists. There is quite a market price for it, there is a business and factories have their own owners. Yes, it is controlled by the IAEA, like almost all nuclear power, but the fact that in this market we are now (due to various circumstances) a fairly large player is undeniable.
        1. Bakht Offline Bakht
          Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 12 March 2021 23: 05
          And who can enter this so-called "market"? Business and factories are slightly different things. Production exists, but there is no free access to it. I wrote "this is not entirely true". The term "entrenched" is rather strange. Name a couple more countries that could "gain a foothold" in this "market".
          I would call it a little differently. Robbed the country (or sold the country) for a penny. They couldn't even sell for a normal price.
          1. alex5450 Offline alex5450
            alex5450 (Alex L) 13 March 2021 07: 11
            And I didn’t say that on this hayrt there are no word restrictions at all. Since production and enrichment is directly related to nuclear weapons, the control is appropriate. However, this market has all its components - demand, supply,

            We sold the fuel at the market price. If you take into account the volume of sales, then it is quite successful.
            We had this uranium then (and even now we didn't really need it), but the money is very, very.
            1. Bakht Offline Bakht
              Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 13 March 2021 10: 41
              Try to understand the logic of the agreement and my reasons.
              We sold strategic raw materials. Not at market prices, but at the price that the buyer has appointed. $ 11 billion is ridiculous money. For example, Ukraine owes about $ 5 billion for the supply of fuel elements for 1 Ukrainian nuclear power plants.
              As for the fact that this raw material was not needed either then or now, I strongly disagree. It was needed then and it is needed now.
              The states, as a state, have not spent anything. LEU was created from HEU, which went to American nuclear power plants and produced 10% of the US electricity. And the consumer of America paid for this electricity. But not the state budget.
              The Russian budget received approximately $ 2 billion. The rest of the money went to conversion. That is, on the very process of depletion of uranium, the destruction of Soviet missiles and mines for ICBMs. That is, the States not only received a strategic resource, but also disarmed the Russian Federation.
              What the United States has been creating for 50 years may be worth $ 11 billion? By the way, the States did not deplete their uranium, but stored it.
              About "consolidation" in the market. Who needs such a market? Now Russia is withdrawing from the agreement. It means that she is not at all interested in this "market". I was not interested then, nor now. Maybe Israel wants to fill the vacant niche? Who are the countries that agree to sell their HEU?
              Chernomyrdin deserved to be shot by hanging for this deal. One of the reasons for the assassination of General Rokhlin is the materials on the nuclear deal. According to rumors, Yeltsin yelled "We will sweep away Rokhlin."
              The nuclear deal is a shame and betrayal of Russia. And no other explanation works.
              1. alex5450 Offline alex5450
                alex5450 (Alex L) 13 March 2021 11: 26
                We sell strategic raw materials every day and hour, for example, oil, titanium.

                $ 11 billion (more precisely, the total income of the Russian side from the implementation of the Agreement is about $ 17 billion, budgetary receipts - $ 13 billion) is the market value of nuclear fuel at that time. They bought fuel from us, not old warheads.

                It's not funny money even now. And in the late 90s, even zero, living dollars, and even billions, it was not just a decision, but maybe a salvation.

                The cost of conversion is negligible - it involved a dilution process to low percentages. Plus transportation. What does this have to do with any ICBMs and their mines that were destroyed under international agreements?

                But you somehow forget that this uranium in the amount of 500 tons had to be somehow and somewhere stored. Having fully or partially dismantled the warheads. We didn't have the money for this then either. Moreover, even what was left (for example, the same plutonium) was not. And we again went to bow to the Americans, so that a storage facility was built at their expense.

                Does it surprise you that a tank that once cost a million dollars can sell in 40 years for the price of metal?

                The market for the sale of nuclear fuel is needed by Rosatom and Russia, since this is the little that brings us "technical" money to the budget not from the sale of resources. And while we are only expanding on it.

                To name countries that are willing to sell their HEU, you first need to find those that have removed tens of thousands of warheads from duty. I am afraid that apart from the United States (which also carried out the process of transferring HEU to LEU, as far as I remember about 50 tons), there will be no such.
                1. Bakht Offline Bakht
                  Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 13 March 2021 12: 42
                  The link, you probably did not read carefully. The budget received about 2 billion. The market as such does not exist. There is a market for uranium (as a raw material). HEU is the end product of a high-tech process. There are no other countries. So you don't have to occupy any niche. Moreover, Russia is abandoning this niche. One of the (main) reasons for refusing to continue the treaty is that the Americans do not use diluted uranium, but have the full ability to restore the required concentration. Read about "Return Potential".

                  In addition, Putin's irritation was caused by the fact that the Americans propose to destroy the accumulated highly enriched nuclear fuel not in the way that we agreed with them by signing the corresponding agreement, but in another way, diluting it and disposing of it somewhere in certain containers at a depth of 500 meters. This means that they retain the so-called reentry potential, that is, it can be extracted, processed and again converted into weapons-grade plutonium. “We did not agree on that,” snapped the national leader.

                  No country in the world sells its weapons-grade uranium (plutonium). For no money.
                  I'm not going to argue. Convince too. My opinion is that this deal was a betrayal of the interests of the country and a huge shame. Do you have a different point of view? She does not convince me absolutely.
                  1. alex5450 Offline alex5450
                    alex5450 (Alex L) 13 March 2021 20: 01
                    Quite official data



                    Of course, HEU is a high-tech feedstock. But only until the moment when it is in demand. And it was not needed at the time of the sale, and now it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which we suddenly break down to urgently print new tens of thousands of nuclear warheads (and carriers for them). I would not be surprised if the remaining Russian 680 tons (Western estimates) of HEU will be partially diluted for our energy sector.

                    Russia does not abandon the niche of fuel supplies abroad. On the contrary, our share in the global nuclear power industry is growing.
                    Plutonium is a different calico altogether. This is no longer fuel, this is nuclear material, in general, it is not yet needed either by them or even by us. We have where to use it in the form of additives to fuel (the so-called MOX fuel), the Americans do not have such technology, they are generally phasing out nuclear power in favor of green energy. So they wanted to get rid of Pu as cheaply as possible. But there was no money or desire for this either.

                    I already wrote about "nobody" - nobody has such a surplus of this product. And plutonium is simply not needed. You can't sell it for anything other than a nuclear bomb. We are working on composite fuel (there are also a couple of reactors into which it can be loaded), but it does just fine without a weapon component.
                    I am not going to refute your opinion. I also express my point of view. And I back it up with arguments, not emotions. We have people who still dream of a full-scale arms race. So as in the good old days - thousands of nuclear missiles and a finger on the button. But this time will not return in the foreseeable future.
                    1. Bakht Offline Bakht
                      Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 13 March 2021 20: 23
                      I read it. Especially some points from the evaluation. Ambiguous.
                      There are other estimates


                      So you won't be able to read the entire agreement. Even the FSB cannot find him. Final conclusion
                      "Whichever side of this topic you take, it's a shame for Russia."

                      Another point is interesting. The States have spent $ 3,9 trillion over 50 years. And we got the same amount for 11 billion (even if the total amount will be even 17 billion).
                      Nobody dreams of an arms race. But to sell off what was created by two generations with tremendous stress is the height of madness. Or betrayal. I told you. They could not even sell at a normal price.
                      Your conclusion "this time will not return in the foreseeable future" is very, very controversial. The Doomsday clock does not say this. 1 minute 40 seconds left. Since 1947, this is the minimum time.
                      1. alex5450 Offline alex5450
                        alex5450 (Alex L) 14 March 2021 18: 40
                        This is not an assessment all the same, but a cospirological literature for the general reader. What weight of any information from it is even difficult to imagine.

                        The head of the 12th GUMO writes. And here we have counterinformation "experts consider" (!).
                        Then they begin to count the average warheads and are horrified - Russia turns out to be almost disarmed. And then we know that we have more of this HEU (or at least not less) than in the United States. And there is definitely more plutonium. So what do the authors need so that security is not compromised, or that we have “much” more HEU than the United States? So the USSR tried and printed warheads in batches - did it greatly help its security? Preserved the country?

                        I repeat What is "normal price"? They sold fuel at the price of fuel. Moreover, taking into account

                        As for the then relationship between the deputies and the central government, this is not surprising. Yeltsin was almost impeached, but here is the topic. "Nuclear bombs are being sold by Irodyyy!"

                        I know about the doomsday clock (which is more a scarecrow for the impressionable than some kind of "instrument" for measuring anything), but the nuclear threat has receded in due time, because the parties began to disarm. And while the process is just going on. And in a nightmare you cannot imagine that we again stepped on the same rake and again began to churn out thousands of new missiles from the impoverished budget. It seems to me that our government has learned at least some lesson.
                      2. Bakht Offline Bakht
                        Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 15 March 2021 10: 49
                        If the Minister of Defense does not know what is being sold and where, then this is not conspiracy, but treason. If no one can find the full text of the document, then this also attracts treason. Those who were killed because of this deal will not agree with you that this is conspiracy theories.
                        I strongly disagree about the uselessness of weapons-grade plutonium. Nuclear weapons have some physical differences from convection weapons. It cannot be stored indefinitely. Warheads must be re-equipped periodically. Otherwise, it is not a weapon.
                        I also disagree about the price. The labor of two generations cannot cost 11 billion dollars. If the States spent nearly $ 4 trillion. The buyer set the price. Also, as now, the price of resources is determined not by the manufacturer, but by the buyer. This is the whole problem.
                        The 90s are the time of the sale of Russia. And weapons grade plutonium is part of the process. All the property of the country was sold for a penny or even free of charge.
                      3. alex5450 Offline alex5450
                        alex5450 (Alex L) 15 March 2021 18: 32
                        Why should the Minister of Defense know about the sale of nuclear materials?
                        Let me remind you that after the warheads were transferred to the balance of MinAtom and turned into HEU, this official had nothing to do with these materials. And now it does not.

                        The dead will not agree with me if they were actually killed and this is not just another idle invention. Moreover, given the moment at that time, I would not be surprised that everyone was alive, since some kind of sales of US materials (as well as entire military complexes) did not bother real politicians too much.

                        I fully agree with the renewal of nuclear warheads. That is why we do not know what to do with this plutonium and did not know what to do with uranium that is not needed by the military. It is (simply) necessary to spend money on their storage, and a lot of money is already on the reproduction of warheads. There are not so many of them.

                        You firmly believe that "the price does not change over time." And it changes - what was once needed desperately turns into a burden over time. We could not use this "work of generations" then and cannot now. What is uranium, what is plutonium. There is still a surplus of it and already our generation is forced to spend money just to preserve this legacy of the Cold War madness.

                        The price per kilogram of uranium is now determined by the market. You can see how much it costs online. And just "out of my head" to establish the cost will not work. For this is a fuel that has a certain energy efficiency.

                        You can sigh for as long as you like over how we stupidly killed gigantic money to obtain tens of thousands of warheads in an attempt to prove something to the United States, but now it is either fuel or a "restless" warehouse facility. Useless for the population, the army, and even politicians.

                        Plutonium was not sold for one reason - no one needs it. They sold what was in demand and could replenish the budget. Everything is much easier than you are trying to imagine.
                      4. Bakht Offline Bakht
                        Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 15 March 2021 20: 43
                        June 3, 1997 in the State Duma of the Russian Federation closed parliamentary hearings were held on the topic: "Problems of Uranium and Plutonium Utilization Based on New Technologies of Fuel and Energy Cycles". Earlier, the State Duma of the Russian Federation created a special commission to investigate this transaction. The Commission was chaired by nuclear physicist Ivan Nikitchuk... Commission withdrawal: "The agreement on the supply of uranium to America was drawn up in the interests of the United States and damages the national security of Russia. After this deal, no more than 10% of the weapons-grade uranium reserves accumulated since the late 8s will remain in Russia. The damage to the Russian economy will amount to $ 4 trillion. "How did the last figure appear? Citing data from the American press, opponents of the government claim that the United States estimated its uranium and plutonium reserves at $ 1996 trillion. From materials declassified in XNUMX in the United States on the history of the American atomic project it became known that the cost of creating nuclear weapons in the United States since 1945 amounted to $ 3,9 trillion, and that the United States was able to produce only 550 tons of weapons-grade uranium during this period... Based on these data, adjusted for inflation in Russia, it was concluded that weapons-grade uranium was sold to the United States at a lower price. Apparently the figure is $ 8 trillion. is overpriced. The minimum threshold for the cost of weapons-grade uranium is $ 50 billion., which in any case is three times more than the amount actually received by Russia. According to another alternative calculation, a ton of weapons-grade uranium in terms of fuel efficiency is 1,35 million tons of oil. If we multiply the last figure by 500, we get 675 million tons of oil. If we take the average oil price for $ 80 per barrel, then it turns out that the cost of weapons-grade uranium sold in the United States in a low-enriched state will amount to $ 405 billion. However, all these figures, we note, ignore that the simple fact that no one in the world has so far been involved in the market trade of weapons-grade uranium.

                      5. alex5450 Offline alex5450
                        alex5450 (Alex L) 15 March 2021 21: 14
                        Yes. And why are these absolutely empty numbers? These are the efforts and funds spent once to achieve victory in the Cold War, which ended, as you know, with the collapse of the USSR. Including because such money and efforts were wasted.

                        Well, these "treasures" are lying for what purpose. The military does not need this HEU and plutonium in reserve. But money 20 years ago was very necessary. Including to maintain the very nuclear infrastructure that we now use.

                        PS I will also add 50 billion "real" cost of fuel, which they considered not the real price of uranium, but through oil! The circus.
                      6. Bakht Offline Bakht
                        Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 15 March 2021 21: 31
                        You stand on the position that no one threatens Russia. I stand on the position that Russia is being threatened. And selling strategic raw materials to a potential adversary is a crime.

                        These are not "completely empty numbers". These are facts indicating the betrayal and sale of the country. I have not yet provided figures for the cost of privatized enterprises. These figures show the REAL cost of weapons-grade uranium, and not the one that is spelled out in the treaty. 500 tons of HEU were sold at a price of $ 25 per kg. Low-enriched uranium under this deal was estimated at $ 1 per kg. Given that in the United States, the production of 1250 kg of LEU costs from 1 to 1 thousand dollars.

                        If something that is worth trillions bothers you, you can sell it for billions. But to say that no one needs this product is the height of courage. The problem was not the lack of money, but the desire to sell and cash in.

                        Well, and about the fact that "the military did not need it." If everything was clean and unnecessary, then there would be no talk. The State Duma of Russia does not agree with you.
                      7. isofat Offline isofat
                        isofat (isofat) 15 March 2021 22: 09
                        Bakht... Apparently, your opponent expects that a country he likes will still be able to shop at these prices. smile
  • Bakht Offline Bakht
    Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 12 March 2021 21: 11
    It was the most disgraceful sale of the country's wealth. Nobody knows the real cost of the uranium sold. The sale takes place according to some kind of closed schemes. Some experts have estimated the estimated cost of 500 tons of highly enriched uranium at 8 TRILLION dollars.
    At the time, I read about the $ 11 billion figure. Of which the country received practically nothing. Although Wikipedia lists the budget as $ 13 billion. But everything is in a fog.
    There is also another estimate of the value of the exported uranium. The high-tech USA also produced weapons-grade plutonium. Only 500 tons is more than the United States has produced in its entire history. The backward USSR produced much more. And one moment. It was created for more than 50 years by the labor of hundreds of thousands of Soviet hard workers (these are both workers and engineers).
    This whole deal was a disgrace to the then leadership of the country.
    1. alex5450 Offline alex5450
      alex5450 (Alex L) 12 March 2021 23: 04
      I will specify more - 500 tons is much less than the United States has accumulated in its history.
      1. Bakht Offline Bakht
        Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 12 March 2021 23: 06
        Could you name a number? I am giving the opinion of experts. I didn't measure it myself. So how much did the Americans make? Provide a link, I will read it and maybe agree with you.
      2. Bakht Offline Bakht
        Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 12 March 2021 23: 22
        Lecture for 2002.

        The Americans published a big work about 5 years ago, in which they fully calculated how much weapons-grade plutonium they had produced since 1945 - about 100 tons. Of these 100 tons, part was used up during the tests (they conducted over a thousand tests - first air, and then underground). Thus, some of the plutonium was consumed. This means that the figure of 100 tons is original.

        it can be calculated that 125 tons of plutonium have been produced in Russia. But I repeat that these are purely "speculative", my calculations, based on the existing texture. But no one gave an official statement on this matter.

        For uranium, the Americans have not yet finished counting, but the figure for the production of highly enriched uranium of 700-800 tons since 1945 has been repeatedly named. As for Russia, there are also approximate figures that sometimes slipped from the lips of high-ranking representatives of Minatom - from 1200 to 1400 tons. Pay attention to this: we have produced almost twice as much highly enriched uranium as the Americans.

        Everything must be viewed from the point of view of highly enriched (i.e., weapons-grade) uranium or plutonium. Yes, the United States produced more than 500 tons of uranium. But we spent a lot on testing. The USSR produced much more, and even delivered 500 tons to the United States and still has left on its warheads. So the world's first economy lagged far behind the global gas station.
        1. alex5450 Offline alex5450
          alex5450 (Alex L) 13 March 2021 07: 21
          The figures are estimated at an average of 800 tons. Only about 1000 warheads out of tens of thousands produced (not much less than ours) were spent on testing. A warhead is about 25-30 kg of uranium on average.