Countries: Russia


Russia is a nuclear weapon state member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It is estimated to have about 6,300 nuclear warheads, of which about 4,500 warheads are believed to be in active stockpile - 2,600 warheads assigned to strategic delivery vehicles and about 1,900 warheads associated with shorter-range delivery vehicles and other non-strategic systems. About 1,800 nuclear warheads are estimated to be in reserve or awaiting dismantlement.

As of the beginning of 2020, Russia's fissile material stock is estimated to include about 128 tonnes of weapon-grade plutonium and 678 tonnes of highly-enriched uranium. Some of this material is in weapons. Russia also declared 63 tonnes of reactor-grade separated plutonium (as of the end of 2019).

Russia is not producing fissile materials for weapons. The last plutonium production reactor was shut down in April 2010. Production of HEU for weapons was discontinued before 1989. Russia, however, may have continued to produce HEU for naval and research reactor fuel until mid-2000s. It restarted HEU production for research and breeder reactors in 2012.

Highly-enriched uranium

Enriched uranium was produced at four facilities - the Urals Electrochemical Combine in Novouralsk (Sverdlovsk-44), the Isotope Separation Plant at the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk (Tomsk-7), the Electrochemical Plant in Zelenogorsk (Krasnoyarsk-45), and Electrolyzing Chemical Combine in Angarsk. All four enrichment plants continue to operate today, producing LEU for power reactors. One centrifuge cascade in Zelenogorsk is producing HEU for research and breeder reactors.

As of the beginning of 2020, Russia had an estimated 678 tons of HEU. No HEU has been declared or obligated as a naval fuel reserve or non-military material. Russia has an additional estimated 20 tons of HEU (8 tons 90 percent HEU equivalent) in the cores of operational submarines and military and civilian surface ships. The material in discharged naval cores is not included in the current stock since the enrichment of uranium in these cores is believed to be less than 20 percent uranium-235, so it is no longer classified as HEU. There is another 9 tons of HEU (6 tons 90 percent HEU equivalent) in various research facilities, which is considered civilian. In Russia, spent naval fuel, as well as spent research reactor fuel, is reprocessed.

Under an agreement with the United States, Russia eliminated 500 tonnes of its HEU. The material was blended down and resulting LEU was sold to the United States to produce fuel for power reactors. The program was completed in 2013. Another program, the Material Conversion and Consolidation project (MCC), has blended down 16.8 tonnes of HEU by the end of 2014, when the program ended.

Weapon-grade plutonium

Plutonium for weapons was produced at three sites - the Mayak Production Association in Ozersk (formerly Chelyabinsk-65), the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk (Tomsk-7), and the Mining and Chemical Combine in Zheleznogorsk (Krasnoyarsk-26). The first plutonium production reactor, Reactor A at Mayak, began operation in June 1948. The last production reactor, ADE-2 in Zheleznogorsk, was shut down in April 2010.

Weapon-grade plutonium separated at dedicated reprocessing plants located at the same three sites. The weapon-plutonium reprocessing facility at Mayak was shut down in 1987, after which the fuel from the Mayak reactors was sent to Tomsk-7 for reprocessing. Reprocessing plants in Seversk and Zheleznogorsk were shut down in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

The total amount of weapon-grade plutonium that exists in Russia today is estimated to be 128±8 tonnes. About 15 tonnes of this amount is weapon-grade plutonium separated after September 1997 from irradiated fuel of three plutonium-production reactors that continued operating to supply district heat and electricity to the Siberian cities of Tomsk and Zheleznogorsk. This material is covered by U.S.-Russian agreement on production reactors and cannot be used for military purposes. It is stored at Zheleznogorsk and is subject to periodic monitoring by U.S. inspectors. Nine tonnes of this post-1997 stock and additional 25 tonnes of weapon-origin plutonium were included in the U.S.-Russian Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA) and were supposed to be eliminated in parallel with 34 tonnes of U.S. plutonium. In 2016 Russia suspended the implementation of PMDA but confirmed its commitment not to use the PMDA material for military purposes. The total amount of plutonium covered by an obligation not to use it for military purposes is therefore 40 tonnes.

Civilian plutonium

Russia is operating the RT-1 reprocessing plant at the Mayak site in Ozersk. The plant can reprocess spent fuel of VVER-440 power reactors as well as HEU fuel of production reactors and fuel of naval and research reactors. Design capacity of the RT-1 plant is 400 tonnes of VVER-440 fuel. The plant began operations in 1976 and continues to work today, although at a fraction of its design capacity, reprocessing about 100-130 tons of spent fuel annually. In 2014-2015 the plant added the capability to reprocess VVER-1000 fuel, which would allow it to increase throughput to up to 500 tons of spent fuel/year.

In 2015, Russian began start-up operations of the Pilot Demonstration Center - a reprocessing plant at the Mining and Chemical Combine in Zheleznogorsk. The plant is expected to reach the capacity of 250 MTHM/year.

According to an annual declaration submitted to IAEA, as of December 31, 2019 Russia owned 63 tonnes of separated reactor-grade plutonium, most of which was stored at RT-1. This material is currently used to produce fuel for BN-800 fast neutron reactor.