The History of Plutonium Production in Russia

Anatoli Diakov, "The History of Plutonium Production in Russia," Science & Global Security, 19, no. 1, (2011): 28-45.
For almost 50 years, the production and processing of weapon fissile materials was the primary mission of the Soviet nuclear complex. The cloak of secrecy on all nuclear weapons activities was lifted in 1995. However, the Soviet Union did not declare the amount of fissile-material that it produced for military purposes, and Russia did not reconsider the release of this information. Non-governmental analysts have made estimates of Russia's stocks of weapon-grade plutonium based on assumptions about the power history of the production rectors but such estimates are uncertain. This article attempts to provide improved estimates of production and current holding of weapons plutonium in Russia based on recent publications of historical documents and memoirs on the design and operation of the production reactors.

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