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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Plutonium Conversion Plan Approved

The government approved a treaty to turn plutonium from nuclear weapons into civilian reactor fuel Friday, boasting of its commitment to arms reduction on a day when U.S. officials were in town pitching missile defense plans.

But Moscow said it needed billions of dollars from Washington and other Western partners to make the swords-into-ploughshares program a reality.

Last summer, Russia and the U.S. signed a memorandum to each turn 34 tons of weapons plutonium into reactor fuel over 25 years.

The Russian government said in a statement it had approved the agreement and passed it to parliament to become law.

"The realization of this agreement will clearly demonstrate Russia's adherence to the further development of the nuclear disarmament process," the statement said.

Russia said the agreement foresees large-scale international funding, including the U.S. paying at least $200 million.

The project aims to soothe fears that "rogue states" could somehow acquire ex-Soviet plutonium.