Unlike the people who were adamant to make “Megatons to Megawatts” work, there have been people that have looked into the real reason Russia sold the United States their HEU. There are some of the reasons that people do not even look at. The thing is, the Russian mindset is not the same as an American one. That is why many do not see past the propaganda of those who saw the program as a good thing.
Russian economy in the 1990s
The first thing people need to consider in anything dealing with Russia at that time is that they were near collapse. Boris Yeltsin was turning the country away from Communism, but the people still wanted a strong centralized government. One of the ways that the government found to raise needed money was through the sale of uranium. Their introduction to the private market for uranium almost collapsed the entire thing. The Soviet Union had known how to produce uranium, but they did not understand the free market. Russia had help in fixing their mistakes.
Think of that and realize that the free market had half of the United States nuclear power plants taken off the market with the Megatons to Megawatts deal. Add on top of that, as the deal progressed, the Russians received additional uranium. The mines controlled by Russia were already putting out a lot. That meant that there was something that had to be done to help the market even farther. Three companies from western nations were involved in buying some of this excess. The problem was, they could not afford to buy all the uranium.
Enter the United States Congress. Even though, the word went out that no U.S. tax dollars were used for the deal, something had to be done with all the excess uranium that Russia was getting. On top of that, the then USEC was found to have a stockpile they happened to find. Congress, with Senator Pete Domenici taking point, allocating over $300 million to buy the excess uranium and stabilizing the market.
Russian nuclear weapons
Another part of the program that people sang the praises of was that many nuclear weapons were dismantled from the Russian stockpile. The thing is, those weapons were Soviet era. The Russians, while the program was started, did not care about their nuclear weapons. When everything stabilized financially, the Russians were able to modernize their weapons. That means, with an influx of foreign currency, the current worries about the Russian threat was spawned from this.
All the Russian nuclear programs are under Rosatom, the same group that bought Uranium One. This is a huge undertaking, as the Russians learned from their initial mistakes. They now have focused on strategic weapons instead of generalized weapons. This technology is for sale now, which is where Iran got a lot of their program.
The great good supposedly done by Megatons to Megawatts was not as said. While it helped alleviate some fears, it caused a bigger issue for the current events that people are dealing with. In the next article, the criminality around the deal will be addressed.
- Centrus Part 7: The propaganda of buying uranium from Russia
- Centrus Part 6: The current CEO, Daniel Poneman
- Centrus Part 5: The dirty shutdown of the Paducah plant
- Centrus Part 4: The massive clean up in Paducah
- Centrus Part 3: The lawsuits for Paducah enrichment site
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