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Unmaking the BombA Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation$
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Harold A. Feiveson, Alexander Glaser, Zia Mian, and Frank N. von Hippel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027748

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027748.001.0001

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The Global Stockpile of Fissile Material

The Global Stockpile of Fissile Material

(p.69) 4 The Global Stockpile of Fissile Material
Unmaking the Bomb

Harold A. Feiveson

The MIT Press

As of 2013, globally there were about 1400 tons of highly enriched uranium and 500 tons of plutonium. Almost all of the highly enriched uranium and about half of the plutonium were originally produced for weapons and remain outside International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. Since the 1970s, some non-weapon states have acquired the capability to separate plutonium and to enrich uranium as part of their civilian nuclear power programs. This chapter focuses on the amounts of fissile material in different categories of current or intended use, and includes material available for weapons, declared excess for weapon purposes, assigned for naval and civilian use, and material that has been disposed of. The United States and United Kingdom have declared their stocks of fissile materials. Stockpile estimates for the other weapon states carry significant uncertainties and combined they are equivalent to several thousand nuclear warheads. Increased transparency by all weapon states will be required for the negotiation and verification of deep reductions and the eventual elimination of their nuclear weapons.

Keywords:   Highly enriched uranium, Plutonium, Fissile material stockpiles, Safeguards, Nuclear transparency

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