Possible changes in U.S. and Russian excess plutonium disposition programs

In a paper "Disposition of excess weapon grade plutonium: New developments" published by the Moscow Center for Arms Control Studies, Anatoli Diakov and Vladimir Rybachenkov analyze the future of the U.S. and Russian weapon plutonium disposition programs undertaken under the U.S.-Russian Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA). The review of plutonium disposition plans initiated by the U.S. administration in 2013, the PMDA agreement is likely to lead to a significant modification of the agreement as the United States is considering options other than the use of plutonium in MOX fuel for light water reactors. The authors argue that both sides are interested in preserving the basic framework established by PMDA and that "the decisions [...] taken by the US Administration concerning the strategies of excess weapon grade plutonium disposition [...] would hardly have an influence on the process of plutonium disposition by the Russian side." At the same time, Russia may seek greater flexibility in structuring its plutonium disposition program.