stocks, totaling less than one-half ton, but these quantities are still significant.4 Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, there is growing concern in the West that this material is increasingly vulnerable to theft or diversion.

There is an urgent need to improve controls over direct-use material in the countries of the FSU. Acquiring substantial quantities of either HEU or plutonium could greatly simplify the efforts of a nation to obtain or augment a nuclear weapons capability. Kilogram quantities of HEU could be used by groups with relatively limited technical capability to construct a crude but effective nuclear device. And terrorists could disperse into the environment modest amounts of plutonium or other radioactive materials, which could cause substantial damage and societal disruption.

In Russia direct-use material is found in many forms at a variety of military and civilian facilities5 that fall under the jurisdiction of several ministries, agencies, and institutes. For its purposes, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) considers that the material is distributed among five "sectors":6

  1. Nuclear weapons, which are largely under the custody of the Ministry of Defense (MOD). These weapons, which are not included in the scope of this study, are currently deployed or stored at fewer than 100 sites, down from over 500 in the late 1980s.7
  2. Material in the Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM) defense complex, such as the weapons design institutes at Arzamas-16 and Chelyabinsk-70. Like DOE in the United States, MINATOM is responsible for production, assembly, and disassembly of nuclear warheads. An estimated 2,000+ warheads are being dismantled each year as a result of U.S.-Russian arms reduction agreements. This sector thus has large amounts of direct-use material and its inventories are growing. One recent study estimates that 15 tons of plutonium and 45

4  

Estimate based on committee discussions with officials at selected FSU institutes. Latvia, Uzbekistan, and Georgia also have small quantities of HEU. U.S. bilateral programs with these countries are beyond the scope of this report.

5  

In this report the term "facility" is used to denote a collection of buildings and/or structures that serve a common purpose. A facility may contain more than one building, and in some cases two or more facilities may be grouped at one site, such as Tomsk-7, which has at least six.

6  

"Unified US-Russian Plan for Cooperation on Nuclear Materials Protection, Control, and Accounting (MPC&A) Between the Department of Energy Laboratories and the Institutes and Enterprises of the Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM) Nuclear Defense Complex." Department of Energy, September 1, 1995, pp. 7-8.

7  

John Deutch, Director of Central Intelligence, "The Threat of Nuclear Diversion," testimony to the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Committee on Government Affairs, March 20, 1996, p. 8. The Soviet Union had withdrawn its tactical nuclear weapons from Eastern Europe by 1991, and, as a result of agreements reached in 1994, Russia has become the heir to all nuclear weapons on the territory of the FSU. All nuclear warheads were transferred to Russia from Kazakstan in 1995 and from Ukraine and Belarus in 1996.



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