Production of weapons-grade plutonium has ended in Russia with the closure of a 47-year-old reactor in the centre of the country.
Flowers were laid on top of the reactor itself by the oldest worker at the plant, Evgenii Vakhrusheva, who had been present during the reactors' commissioning and worked there ever since.
ADE-2 served the formerly closed city of Zhelesnogorsk with heat and electricity since 1964, at the same time producing weapons-grade plutonium according to the plans of its Soviet designers.
In the current era there is no military need for this material, whose existence represents a security risk far beyond that of the reactor-grade plutonium produced in commercial reactors. Over time, gas turbines have been installed to take the heat-and-power role from a number of similar reactors in Seversk.
ADE-4 and ADE-5 were stopped in June 2008 and ADE-2 was able to follow after acceptance of the final new turbine last month. There were three other units, AD, ADE-1 and ADE-3 which produced plutonium but no power and were closed in 1992.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News