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Moscow suspends U.S.-Russia plutonium disposal agreement

The agreement called for the disposal of 34 tons of plutonium by each side.

By Ed Adamczyk
Moscow suspends U.S.-Russia plutonium disposal agreement
A decree Monday by Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended a 16-year-old agreement with the United States on plutonium disposal. Photo by Ververidis Vasilis/Shutterstock

MOSCOW, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Russia suspended its 16-year agreement to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium Monday, citing what a statement called Washington's unfriendly actions.

The United States and Russia, the two powers with the most nuclear weapons, agreed in 2000 to reduce their plutonium stockpiles by removing "no less than 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium" from their respective defense programs by means of irradiating it with mixed oxide fuel. The amount of plutonium scheduled for disposal could build 17,000 nuclear weapons.

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The Plutonium Management and Disposal Agreement came into force in 2011, but on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a decree suspending the pact, noted a "fundamental change of the circumstances and the emergence of a threat to strategic stability as a result of unfriendly actions by the United States towards Russia, and the United States' inability to ensure compliance with the assumed commitments to utilizing excessive weapons grade plutonium under international treaties."

The decree did not specify which U.S. actions Putin regards as hostile, but in April he told journalists the United States was {link:not adhering to the agreement. : "http://www.ibtimes.com/russia-suspends-us-plutonium-disposal-agreement-2425250" target="_blank"}

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