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1 Introduction: Task and Context THE TASK With the end of the Cold War, the world is faced for the first time with the need to manage the dismantlement of vast numbers of "excess" nuclear weapons and the disposition of the fissile materials they contain. If recently agreed reductions are fully implemented, tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, containing a hundred tons or more of plutonium and many hundreds of tonsi of highly enriched uranium (HEU), will no longer be needed for military pur- poses. These two materials are the essential ingredients of nuclear weapons, and limits on access to them are the primary technical barrier to acquiring nu- clear weapons capability in the world today. Several kilograms of plutonium, or several times that amount of HEU, are sufficient to make a nuclear weapon.2 These materials will continue to pose a potential threat to humanity for as long as they exist. The task of managing this reversal of the arms competition is complicated by the breakup of the Soviet Union and the continuing political and economic ~ Throughout this report metric tons (MT) are used as the measure of the amounts of plutonium and HEU; all references to tons are to metric tons. One metric ton is 2,205 pounds, roughly 10 percent more than an English ton. 2 For purposes of this study, 4 kilograms of plutonium per weapon will be used as a planning figure. The minimum quantities of plutonium or HEU needed to make a weapon are not well defined, since they depend on the design. Actual quantities used in U.S. weapons are classified. 19

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20 INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT crises in the former Soviet states. There are substantial risks that more than one nuclear state could arise from the former Soviet Union, that the recently agreed arms reductions could stall, and that control over nuclear weapons or fissile materials could erode, increasing the danger that they would fall into the hands of unauthorized parties. Urgent actions are required to secure and account for these weapons and materials. The task is pressing, but the solutions will be complex, expensive, and long-term. The process can be divided into three distinct but overlapping phases: dismantlement of nuclear weapons, intermediate storage of fissile ma- terials, and long-term disposition of those materials.3 Figure 1-1 outlines the policy choices at each stage; Figure 1-2 gives an idea of the time scales in- volved. For each of these stages, critical policy choices must be made, with wide-ranging implications for both arms reduction and nonproliferation. In- deed, without new approaches to managing the reductions process, it is unlikely that long-term U.S. arms reduction and nonproliferation objectives can be achieved. Dismantlement of weapons and storage of the resulting fissile materials are already under way. Final disposition of the materials will take far longer to ac- complish. The HEU from nuclear weapons can be blended to make a reactor fuel that poses little proliferation risk and can return a substantial economic benefit, but disposition of weapons plutonium is far more problematic; hence, plutonium is the primary focus of this report. There are no easy answers to the plutonium problem. Policymakers will have to choose from a variety of imper- fect options, requiring inherently judgmental trade-offs among different cate- gories of risks. It will be more than a decade before any of the plausible options for long- term disposition of weapons plutonium makes a substantial dent in the likely excess stockpile. Most of the options would require 20 to 40 years to accom- plish the task.4 Although use of HEU as reactor fuel could return a profit large enough to pay for most of the tasks just described, all of the options for disposi- tion of plutonium are likely to involve net economic costs, not net benefits, because in the current market plutonium is a more expensive reactor fuel than widely available uranium (see "The Value of Plutonium," p. 241. Thus pluto- nium disposition is fundamentally a problem of security, far more than one of efficient utilization of assets. Exploiting the energy value of plutonium should not be a central criterion for decision, both because plutonium cannot compete economically with uranium in the current market, and because whatever eco- nomic value this plutonium might represent now or in the future is small by 3 The processes of retiring the nuclear weapons from active duty, disabling them, bringing them to dismantlement sites (if necessary, from foreign deployment), and retiring or dismantling the launchers involved are also critical parts of the arms reduction process, but are beyond the scope of this report. 4 Even in the simpler case of HEU, which the United States plans to purchase from the states of the former Soviet Union for use as nuclear fuel, the planned transfer still being negotiated would extend over 20 years.

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INTRODUCTION: TaSK AND CONTEXT 21 Total Stocks '~Declarations & Monitoring (Reciprocal, Unilateral, None) of Weapons & Agreement on Reductions, Limits on Additions (Reciprocal, Unilateral, None) Fissile Materials Security and Accounting Improvements (National, Cooperative) Weapons - ~Monitoring (Reciprocal, Unilateral, None) Dismantlement Intermediate Storage Technical Intact Pits Deformed Pits Oxides Ingots Others Indefinite Storage Long-Term Disposition Minimized Storage Elimination FIGURE 1-1 Phases of plutonium management - Institutional Who Safeguards? Who Protects? Who Owns? Who Finances? Where Located? Reactors (without reprocessing) Disposal Vitrification, Borehole, Seabed, Underground Explosion, etc. Reactors (with reprocessing-includes accelerator-driven reactors) Disposal Space Launch Ocean Dilution comparison to the security stakes. The cost of management and disposition of weapons plutonium must be seen as an investment in security, just as the cost of its production was once viewed. All of the options for long-term plutonium disposition will require many years to complete. Thus, storing this material is the only available near-term option. The United States and Russia must quickly develop appropriate techni- cal and institutional arrangements for dismantlement and storage, following through on the discussions already under way. Judgments about the most desir- able immediate approaches for these tasks must necessarily be based on condi- tions that exist or can be readily foreseen today. At the same time, these storage arrangements must be designed to endure for decades. Planning for long-term disposition of plutonium will inevitably involve more uncertain extrapolations of risks although because of the longer time involved, it will also be easier to make corrections in planning over time. Thus, this report does not provide a single definitive answer for the disposition phase

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INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT 23 of the plutonium problem. Instead it offers a road map, whose objective is to provide guidelines for the necessary national debate to come and to focus fur- ther efforts on those options most likely to minimize future risks. Such a road map can help avoid wasting resources on options with little promise and can provide plausible end points for the process that the near-term steps will set in motion. Developing a broad consensus on such a road map deserves high . . pnonty. OBJECTIVES The primary goal in choosing options for management and disposition of excess nuclear weapons and fissile materials should be to minimize the risks to national and international security posed by the existence of this material. This security goal can be divided into three main objectives: 1. to minimize the risk that weapons or fissile materials could be obtained by unauthorized parties; 2. to minimize the risk that weapons or fissile materials could be reintroduced into the arsenals from which they came, halting or reversing the arms reduc- tion process; and 3. to strengthen the national and international control mechanisms and incen- tives designed to ensure continued arms reductions and prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. In addition to these security objectives, all options must protect worker health and the environment, and be acceptable to the public. Timing, which plays an important part in whether the security criteria can be met, and consis- tency with other policies and objectives will also be important criteria for choice.5 Cost will inevitably also be an important consideration. The committee notes, however, that the expenditures implied by all its recommendations com- bined would total at most several billion dollars, spread over a period of a dec- ade or decades. Since the primary objective is the reduction of major security risks, these expenditures should be considered in the context of the far larger sums being expended every year to provide national and international security. Thus, cost should not be the primary criterion in choosing among competing options. The most immediate threat to all three of the security objectives is only partly related to the management and disposition of excess weapons and fissile materials. This is the possibility that more than one nuclear state may emerge from the breakup of the Soviet Union. Ukraine is the greatest apparent risk. 5 For more detail on the criteria for choice, see Chapter 3; for more detail on how a regime Thor management and limitation of weapons and fissile materials could affect the security objectives, see Chapter 4.

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26 INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT President Leonid Kravchuk, in the Lisbon Protocol of 1992 and an accompany- ing letter, established a formal international commitment to denuclearization. But that commitment remains the subject of intense debate in Ukraine, bringing the implementation of current strategic arms reduction agreements into ques- tion. In November 1993, the Ukrainian Rada voted to ratify the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START IJ without accepting the denuclearization commitment, explicitly exempting more than half of the missiles on Ukrainian soil from elimination. Efforts to resolve this issue are continuing, and Kravchuk has said he will resubmit the agreement to a new parliament in 1994. If Ukraine actually reversed its commitment and attempted to acquire an inde- pendently controlled nuclear arsenal, the entire framework of nuclear arms reduction and nonproliferation would be severely, perhaps fatally, damaged. Security concerns may well be the driving factors in Ukraine's ultimate deci- sion, but that decision could be affected by measures to ensure that weapons and fissile materials transferred to Russia will not be reused for military pur- poses, and to provide compensation for these materials. Beyond that immediate issue, decisions about excess nuclear weapons and fissile materials are likely to have far-reaching consequences for each of the three security goals just described: The Risk of Theft.6 Restricting access to fissile material is the principal technical barrier to proliferation in today's world, far more so than access to the information and technologies needed to build a weapon once the fissile material has been acquired. This makes the task of securing weapons and fissile materi- als critical.7 The risk that nuclear weapons or fissile materials could fall into unauthorized hands whether through theft, sale, or other means-can be re- duced by steps taken singly and jointly to keep strict accounting of these mate- rials; to improve their security; to strengthen the organizations responsible for their management; and to dismantle weapons and transfer the resulting mate- rials into secure, monitored storage and ultimately to civilian use or disposal. In addition, a well-designed regime to carry out such steps could provide a new and compelling mission for the organizations once charged with producing nuclear weapons, reducing the risks that control could erode. The Risk of Reversal. Even after the START I and START II agreements enter into force and the reductions they call for are implemented, as long as the retired warheads and the material they contain remain in usable form, the risk 6 although in many contexts the term "diversion" is used to mean any case in which an unauthorized party obtains a particular item, in the parlance generally employed in international nonproliferation efforts, particularly by the International Atomic Energy Agency (L\EA), a distinction is made between "diversion" and "theft." Diversion refers to the state that owns material under safeguards removing it for weapons purposes, whereas theft refers to acquisition of these materials by other unauthorized parties. This report follows that convention. 7 The current concern about North Korea's possible possession of several kilograms of separated plutonium highlights the importance of tight controls over these materials.

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INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT 27 will remain that one of the parties may decide to rebuild its nuclear arsenal in contravention of its agreements and pledges. The retired weapons could be used directly, or the materials from them could be used to fabricate new warheads. This risk could be reduced by agreements designed to make such a rearmament program more difficult, time-consuming, costly, and easily detected. These could include agreements to verifiably dismantle the weapons, to create barriers to reusing the resulting fissile material for new weapons, and to improve trans- parency for the stocks of nuclear weapons and fissile materials. Strengthening Arms Reduction and Nonproliferation. The current arms reduction regime would be politically strengthened by appropriate measures to increase transparency and cooperation in managing excess weapons and fissile materials. Such measures would help convince doubters worldwide, including those in the United States, Russia, and Ukraine, that the arms reduction regime serves the interests of all parties. Credible controls and transparency would also provide a critical foundation for pursuing deeper reductions, and for convincing other nuclear powers to limit and reduce their nuclear arsenals as well. Policy choices in this area will also have a major impact on the future of ef- forts to stem the spread of nuclear weapons. The foundation of these efforts is the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is up for extension in 1995. A critical question at the extension conference will be whether the nuclear powers are fulfilling their disarmament obligations under Article VI of the NPT.8 The current effort to negotiate a comprehensive test ban (CTB), along with recent arms reduction agreements and pledges, should allow the nuclear powers to make a strong case if these efforts are moving forward at the time of the conference and are not derailed. Agreements for secure, safeguarded management and disposition of fissile materials from surplus nuclear weapons would make the case even stronger. Moreover, acceptance by the major nuclear powers of safeguards and constraints on substantial portions of their nuclear programs would help to reduce the inherently discriminatory nature of the nonproliferation regime. These steps, while probably not dissuading all nations that might be attempting to acquire nuclear weapons, would help build global political support for indefinite extension of the NPT and strengthening the re- gime, which are major U.S. policy goals. In addition, steps to improve control and management of fissile materials from dismantled weapons could provide an opportunity for taking similar steps with other fissile materials worldwide. To achieve these objectives, the challenge of arms reduction should be managed in a way that offers political support to both the arms reduction and the nonproliferation regimes. In particular, approaches to these and other issues involving the states of the former Soviet Union must avoid strictures so onerous or one-sided that they provide new ammunition to domestic political opponents. ~ Article VI requires all parties to the treaty to "pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."

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28 INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT The future of civilian nuclear power depends on economic, political, and technical factors outside the scope of this study. In some countries, nuclear power programs already include the use of plutonium in the fuel loaded into reactors. But the amount of weapons plutonium likely to be surplus is small on the scale of global nuclear power use amounting to the equivalent of only a few months of fuel for existing reactors-and this stock of weapons plutonium is not essential to the future of any civilian nuclear development programs. There is thus no reason that disposition of this weapons plutonium should drive decisions on the broader questions surrounding the future of nuclear power. THE CONTEXT: WORLD STOCKS OF FISSILE MATERIALS The plutonium and HEU resulting from arms reductions are only part of the world's stocks of these materials, which include: 1. military plutonium and HEU in operational nuclear weapons and their logistics pipeline; 2. military plutonium and HEU held in reserve for military purposes, in assembled weapons or in other forms; 3. military plutonium and HEU withdrawn from dismantled weapons and considered excess; 4. separated plutonium and HEU in storage in preparation for use in military or civilian reactors; 5. plutonium and HEU currently in reactors; 6. irradiated plutonium and HEU in spent fuel from reactors; and 7. military and civilian plutonium and HEU outside the categories above, including excess stocks, scrap, residues, and the like. The problem of management and disposition of excess weapons plutonium (category 3) is the focus of this report, but policy for it must take into account the large stocks of plutonium and HEU in these other categories since, with varying degrees of difficulty. they can all be used in nuclear weapons (see Figure 1-3~. ~. ~ Although all but a small fraction of the world's HEU is in military use, civilian stocks of plutonium are several times larger than the military stocks and are growing much faster, by some 60 to 70 tons each year. Most of these civilian stocks, however, are in the form of radioactive spent fuel from the world's power reactors. The difficulty of extracting this plutonium declines substantially as the radioactivity of the fuel decays over the decades after it leaves the reactor. Some plutonium is being separated from spent fuel for use as reactor fuel. Separation has outfaced use of this plutonium; roughly 80 to 90 tons of excess separated civilian plutonium is in store around the world today, representing more than half of all the civilian plutonium that has ever been

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INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT 29 - ~. 1992: 1 100 metric tons U.S. excess U.S. weapons and reserves* U.S. scrap and residue Russian excess Russian weapons and reserves* FIGURE 1-3 World plutonium stockpiles U.S. - , ~ ~ ~ * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ e * ~ ~ ~ G . ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 2000: 1600-1700 metric tons Russian scrap and residue Separated civilian In reactors and fresh fuel ~ Spent fuel t~ Spent fuel > 15 years old Russia separated from spent fuel. That figure is expected to grow, as more civilian plutonium continues to be separated each year than is used in reactor fuel.9 Several kilograms of separated weapons-grade plutonium and a somewhat larger amount of "reactor-grade" plutonium a minuscule fraction of the world stock-would be enough to build a nuclear weapon. Thus, the plutonium in a truckload of spent fuel rods from a typical power reactor is enough for one or more nuclear weapons. The plutonium stored at a typical civilian reactor site or reprocessing plant is enough for hundreds of weapons. Plutonium customarily used in nuclear weapons (weapons-grade pluto- nium) and plutonium separated from spent reactor fuel (reactor-grade pluto 9 See David Albright, Frans Berkhout, and William Walker, World Inventory of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium 1992, (London: Oxford University Press for SIPRI, 1993); and Appendix B of this report. The IAEA has recently estimated, based on reports from the member states, that 86 tons of civilian separated plutonium was in store as of the end of 1992. This figure is expected to grow substantially during the course of the decade. See J.S. Finucane, "Summary: Advisory Group Meeting on Problems Concerning the Accumulation of Separated Plutonium," IDEA, Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Management, September 1993.

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30 INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT nium) have different isotopic compositions. Plutonium of virtually any isotopic composition, however, can be used to make nuclear weapons.~ Using reactor- grade rather than weapons-grade plutonium would present some complications. But even with relatively simple designs such as that used in the Nagasaki weapon- which are within the capabilities of many nations and possibly some subnational groups nuclear explosives could be constructed that would be assured of having yields of at least 1 or 2 kilotons. With more sophisticated designs, reactor-grade plutonium could be used for weapons having considera- bly higher minimum yields. Thus, the difference in proliferation risk posed by separated weapons-grade plutonium and separated reactor-grade plutonium is small by comparison to the difference between separated plutonium of any grade and unseparated material in spent fuel (see "Reactor-Grade and Weapon- Grade Plutonium in Nuclear Explosives," p. 32.) Unseparated material, however, also poses some risk. The chemistry for separating plutonium from spent fuel is described in the open literature, and the essential technologies are available on the open market. Although separating plutonium on a commercial scale at competitive prices is difficult and costly, a potential proliferator could use a much simpler and less costly facility to extract enough material for a few weapons. Moreover, the intense radioactivity that initially makes the fuel effectively impossible to handle without remote-han- dling equipment decays substantially over the decades after the fuel leaves the reactor. (See "How Accessible Is Plutonium in Spent Fuel?" in Chapter 6, p. 150.) Plutonium, whether in "military" or "civilian" stockpiles, and whatever its physical, chemical, or isotopic form, must be strictly safeguarded. Although plutonium and HEU can both be used to make nuclear weapons, there are several differences between them, of which two are particularly important here. The first is that HEU can be diluted with other, more abundant, naturally occurring isotopes of uranium to make low-enriched uranium (LEU), which cannot sustain the fast-neutron chain reaction needed for a nuclear ex plosion.~i LEU is the fuel for most of the world's nuclear power reactors. In contrast, plutonium cannot be diluted with other isotopes of plutonium to make a An exception is Plutonium-238 (Pu-238), which generates too much heat to make fashioning a weapon from it practicable Pu-238 is a rare and difficult-to-produce isotope, however, used primarily for powering certain types of space probes. Similarly, it would be difficult to fashion a workable weapon of Pu-242, another relatively rare isotope. unnatural uranium includes only 0.7 percent Uranium-235 (U-235), with almost all of the remaining 99.3 percent being U-238, whose atoms will not sustain a nuclear chain reaction. (Isotopes are different types of the same chemical element having differing numbers of neutrons 92 protons and 143 neutrons in U-235, and the same number of protons but 146 neutrons in U-238.) To sustain the chain reaction needed for a nuclear explosion, the concentration of U-235 must be greatly increased, a process known as enrichment. Typical weapons-grade uranium is more than 90 percent U-235. Because the various isotopes of an element are essentially identical chemically, enrichment of the fissile isotopes requires techniques that are costly and time-consuming, and for which the technology is not widely available-which provides one of the primary technical barriers to nuclear proliferation. Chain reactions in power reactors, by contrast, can be and have been sustained with natural uranium, although most reactors today use LEU containing 3-5 percent U-235.

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INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT 31 it unusable for weapons. "Re-enriching" LEU to the level needed for weapons requires complex enrichment technology to which most potential proliferators do not have access, while separating plutonium from other elements with which it might be mixed in producing fresh reactor fuel requires only straightforward chemical processing. Thus, management of plutonium in any form requires greater security than does the management of LEU. Second, as noted earlier, in the current fuel market, the use of plutonium fuels is generally more expensive than the use of widely available LEU fuels- even if the plutonium itself is "free" because of the high fabrication costs re- sulting from plutonium's radiological toxicity and from the security precautions required when handling it. As a result, although most of the world's roughly 400 nuclear reactors could in principle burn plutonium in fuel containing a mixture of uranium and plutonium (mixed-oxide or MOX fuel), only a few, and none in the United States, are currently licensed to do so. Because of HEW's commercial value and the possibility of diluting it so as not to pose major proliferation risks, its disposition can be addressed by the market. The United States has agreed to buy 500 tons of surplus Russian HEU, blended to LEU, for $11.9 billion over the next 20 years, provided certain con- ditions are met. The United States will later resell the material to fulfill the demand for nuclear fuel on the domestic and world markets. Although it is possible that a purchase of Russian plutonium could also be justified on security grounds, both the security aspects and the economics of using plutonium as reactor fuel would be less attractive than in the case of LEU (see Chapter 5~. RISKS AND STANDARDS None of the policy options for managing the dismantlement of excess nu- clear weapons and the storage and disposition of the resulting fissile materials plutonium can entirely eliminate the risks these items pose. Standards must be set by which to judge whether the remaining risks are acceptable. In the secu- rity area, two complementary standards suggest themselves. The Stored Weapons Standard. Options should be designed to avoid any increase in the risk of proliferation as a result of arms reductions, which could result if weapons and materials become more accessible to theft during the processes involved in dismantlement, storage, and disposition. Thus, to the extent possible, the high standards of security and accounting applied to storage of intact nuclear weapons should be maintained for these materials throughout these processes. The various processing steps will unavoidably make account- ing more difficult than in the case of assembled weapons, and it may also be institutionally difficult to preserve the strict security arrangements associated with nuclear weapons themselves. But precisely because of the difficulty of the task, it is important to preserve the goal.

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34 INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT The Spent Fuel Standard. Options for the long-term disposition of weap- ons plutonium should seek to meet a "spent fuel standard" that is, to make this plutonium roughly as inaccessible for weapons use as the much larger and growing stock of plutonium in civilian spent fuel. Options that left the weapons plutonium more accessible would mean that this material would continue to pose a unique safeguards problem indefinitely. Conversely, the costs, com- plexities, risks, and delays of going beyond the spent fuel standard to eliminate the excess weapons plutonium completely or nearly so would not offer substan- tial additional security benefits unless society were prepared to take the same approach with the global stock of civilian plutonium. This standard, if accepted, has a profound impact on the choice of long- term disposition options. Approaches that would leave the plutonium in a form substantially more accessible for recovery and use in weapons than plutonium in commercial spent fuel can be rejected, and substantially costlier, riskier, or slower options for eliminating the weapons plutonium or making it less acces- sible than plutonium in spent fuel should be considered only in the larger con- text of similar treatment of all of the world's plutonium stock. Beyond the Spent Fuel Standard. The spent fuel standard should not be interpreted as an endorsement of today's standards of management for pluto- nium in spent fuel, however. Although substantially less accessible for use in weapons than separated plutonium, plutonium in spent fuel does pose a security risk, and that risk increases with time, as noted above. Further steps should be taken to reduce the proliferation risks posed by all of the world's plutonium stocks, military and civilian, separated and unseparated; the need for such steps exists already, and will increase with time (see Chapter 6~. THE INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK The institutional and political issues involved in managing weapons dis- mantlement, intermediate storage of fissile materials, and long-term disposition may be more complex and difficult to resolve than the technical ones. Because disposition options will require decades to carry out, it is critical that decisions throughout be made in a way that can muster a sustainable consensus. The en- tire process must be carefully managed to provide adequate safeguards, secu- rity, and transparency; to obtain public and institutional approval, including licenses; and to allow adequate participation in the decision making by all af- fected parties, including the U.S. and Russian publics and the international community. Adequate information must be made available to give substance to the public's participation. These issues cover a broad institutional and technical spectrum. Establish- ing fully developed arrangements for managing these tasks will require an un- usually demanding integration of policy under conditions of dispersed authority and intense political sensitivity. In the United States, jurisdiction over fissile

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INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT 35 material and fabricated weapons is divided between the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DOD) in different phases of the de- ployment cycle. Each department has many subordinate divisions involved. Related diplomacy is handled by the State Department and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, with input from DOE and DOD. Numerous other agencies perform supporting functions. The relevant installations are author- ized and financed by Congress, regulated by independent agencies and com- missions, constrained by state laws, and increasingly affected by public opinion in their surrounding communities. Policy debates too often focus on specific options, such as particular reactor types, rather than the comprehensive view required to make choices for this complex problem. The consequences of this fragmentation are illustrated in a related area by the fact that technical assess- ment of the U.S. high-level waste repository at Yucca Mountain is incomplete after two decades of work and billions of dollars of expenditure, and final licensing is not projected for another two decades. These challenges to compre- hensive policymaking are at least as great in Russia, where they must be surmounted in the midst of continuing political and economic upheaval. None of the governments involved have previously faced the problem of handling excess plutonium in the quantities now contemplated, and none ap- pear to have developed policies and procedures likely to be adequate to the task. Yet decisions are urgent, since without new approaches even the near-term tasks of dismantlement and storage are not likely to meet all of the required . security criteria. In these areas, the United States bears a special burden of policy leader- ship. If demanding technical assessments are to be completed, if consensus is to be forged, and if implementation is to be accomplished in reasonable time, major advances in the formulation and integration of policy and in institutional coordination will be needed. The president should establish a more systematic process of interagency coordination to deal with the areas addressed in this re- port, with sustained top-level leadership. The new interagency examination of plutonium disposition options envisioned in President Clinton's September 27, 1993, nonproliferation initiative is a first step in that direction, but much more remains to be done. THE ROLE OF ENVIRONMENT, SAFETY, AND HEALTH The history of the U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons complexes is replete with instances where production in the name of national security took priority over environment, safety, and health (ES&H) concerns. The result is a heritage of environmental damage whose dimensions are only now becoming apparent. Remedial actions are just beginning and will continue for decades. The United States committed about $6 billion from the Department of Energy budget for Fiscal Year 1993 for these purposes, and some estimates of the eventual cost

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3 6 INTR OD UCTI ON: TASK AND CONTEXT run to hundreds of billions of dollars. In the former Soviet Union, the ES&H damage appears to be even more severe. In reaction to this legacy, new and stringent ES&H regulations are being imposed on the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. Environmental advocates are seeking comparable requirements in Russia. These are dynamic standards, and can be expected to change over time with increasing knowledge about long- term effects and remedies, and with varying public awareness and willingness to accept environmental risks. Currently, ES&H requirements set the pace for each of the stages of dis- mantlement, storage, and disposition. For example, new standards have roughly doubled the time it takes to dismantle a nuclear weapon at Pantex, the U.S. facility. The choice of intermediate weapons storage options and the time re- quired to implement such choices are heavily influenced by the licensing and approval process, including the extended safety and environmental analyses required for each option. Ultimately, these ES&H standards affect the ease and cost of achieving dif- ferent disposition options and may have a significant impact on the choices among them. This report does not attempt to evaluate the benefits and costs of this evolving regulatory framework. Instead, for each option, the potential im- pact of the ES&H framework is simply assessed as realistically as possible, as one important factor guiding policy choices. Fundamentally, ES&H and arms control seek the same goal: minimizing threats to human well-being, whether from nuclear explosions or from envi- ronmental and occupational hazards. It would be unfortunate, therefore, if arms control and ES&H concerns came to be pitted against each other (as they have become, to some extent, in the parallel debate over chemical weapons destruc- tion). There are bound to be disagreements about specific issues among those who bring differing perspectives to these problems. But the committee believes that the goals of security and protection for ES&H can be achieved without significantly compromising either objective. What is needed is a consistent, risk-based approach that integrates ES&H and security concerns, and focuses finite ES&H resources on the most urgent problems and the most promising means for addressing them. PLAN OF THE STUDY The organization of this report reflects the goals and approaches described above. Chapters 1, 2, and 3 set the stage. Chapter 2 describes the international context in which policy choices with respect to dismantlement, storage, and disposition must be made, including the crisis in the former Soviet Union, the a~s reduction and nonproliferation regimes, ongoing civilian plutonium pro- grams, and existing standards of safeguards and security for fissile materials. Chapter 3 describes in more detail the criteria for judging policy choices. The three stages of the process of reductions are described in the three "action"

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INTRODUCTION: TASK AND CONTEXT 37 chapters: Chapter 4 addresses dismantlement, and the related question of an overall regime to limit and monitor the size of stockpiles of nuclear weapons and fissile materials; Chapter 5 addresses requirements and choices related to the storage of plutonium, and the related issue of measures to reduce the acces- sibility of fissile materials in the former Soviet Union; and Chapter 6 discusses the options for long-term disposition of the plutonium from dismantled weap- ons. Finally, Chapter 7 summarizes the committee's recommendations.

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