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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Plutonium Warnings

MOSCOW -- Plans to dispose of Russian weapons-grade plutonium by burning it with uranium at existing nuclear facilities could create a major environmental and health threat, nuclear experts warned Thursday.

Under international nuclear disarmament agreements, about 60 tons of weapons-grade plutonium will be obtained from the dismantling of Russian warheads by 2003, according to the Social Ecological Union, a Russian environmental pressure group.

Alexei Yablokov, chairman of a Russian government commission on ecological safety, warned that plans to process the plutonium into mixed uranium-plutonium oxide fuel would turn Russia into a "plutonium economy," increasing the danger of nuclear terrorism.

"If a group got hold of just one small nuclear device, it could dictate its terms to any government, threatening millions of lives," he told a news conference.