The Hiroshima Report 2014 (PDF) can be downloaded from the following links:
--Report and Evaluations (in Japanese and English)
--Evaluation Sheet (in Japanese and English)
--Exective Summary (in Japanese and English)
The Hiroshima Report 2012 (PDF) can be downloaded from the following links:
--Report and Evaluations (in Japanese and English)
--Evaluation Sheet (in Japanese and English)

January 22, 2014

[DRAFT: Hiroshima Report 2013] 1-(10) Irreversibility

(Following is a draft version, which is subject to be updated or revised. Your comments and feedbacks are welcome!)

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A) Implementing or planning dismantlement of nuclear warheads and their delivery vehicles

Just like their previous nuclear arms control agreements, the New START requires Russia and the United States to dismantle or convert strategic (nuclear) delivery vehicles beyond the limits set in the Treaty, in a verifiable way. The New START does not oblige them to dismantle nuclear warheads, but the two states have partially dismantled retired nuclear warheads as unilateral measures.

Neither country has provided comprehensive information regarding the dismantlement of nuclear warheads, including the exact numbers of dismantled warheads. However, the United States has publicized some information. According to the U.S. NNSA fact sheet in February 2013, it “has dismantled weapons at a rate faster than its own goals, reaching a 112 percent dismantlement rate in 2012. All weapons retired by 2009 will be permanently eliminated by 2022. …NNSA successfully dismantled a number of B61 and B83-0/1 bombs and W76-0, W80-0, W84 and W78 warheads” for the last three years.[1] The United States also continues to dismantle the W69 warhead, and the B53 and B83 bombs at Y-12 National Security Complex.[2] However, due to the sequestration of the U.S. budget, the pace of their dismantlement may encounter delay.[3]

Regarding the Russian efforts, no official information on dismantlement of nuclear warheads is available.

The Russian and U.S. Agreement on Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) concluded in 1992, was due to expire in June 2013. Russia informed that it would not reject “continued cooperation with the United States on the secure elimination of Soviet-era unconventional weapons so long as it takes place under a modernized bilateral agreement.”[4] At the same time, Russia expressed concerns and complaints about U.S. excessive access to the Russian defense complex as well as classified information. However, after their work to update the legal framework for the CTR activities, Russia and the United States signed the new agreement[5] on June 14, when the old agreement expired. During their efforts to renew the agreement, legislation titled the Next Generation Cooperative Threat Reduction Act of 2013, was introduced in May at the U.S. Senate.

The United Kingdom, according to a document obtained under the freedom of information act, “has been decommissioning and breaking down Trident nuclear warheads at a rate of three per year, with a goal of reducing domestic stocks to ‘no more than 180’ by the mid-2020s”, at Burghfield in Berkshire. “[I]n 2012 five warheads were sent by road to Burghfield, …[and two] were refurbished and returned north…while three stayed at Burghfield to be dismantled.”[6] The U.K. Ministry of Defense also revealed that the “Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) has been running a Stockpile Reduction Programme to disassemble Trident warheads and reduce stockpile numbers” since 2002, and “[t]he warheads that have been identified as no longer required for service but are yet to be disassembled are stored at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport or as work in progress at AWE Burghfield.”[7]

B) Decommissioning/conversion of nuclear weapons-related facilities

The Hiroshima Report 2012 referenced that: all of the U.K. plutonium production facilities for military purposes were shut down; French facilities for producing fissile material for nuclear weapons—Marcoule for plutonium and Pierrelatte for uranium—were decommissioned and dismantled; and French nuclear test sites were dismantled irreversibly in 1996. In 2013, no countries announced to conduct additional efforts on decommissioning or conversion of nuclear weapons-related facilities.

C) Measures for the fissile material declared excess for military purposes, such as disposition or conversion to peaceful purposes

Under the joint Russia-U.S. ‘Megatons to Megawatts’ Program, Russia has reduced its HEU, extracted from nuclear weapons and designated as no longer required for military purposes, by converting to LEU and selling to the United States. In November 2013, Russia shipped the last batch of LEU under this program, which arrived at the U.S. Baltimore Port.[8] The 20-year Program was concluded, with total conversion of 500 metric tons of Russian HEU.

The United States, on the other hand, reported at the IAEA General Assembly in 2013 that it has “disposed of excess, weapons-origin fissile material by downblending approximately 140 Metric Tons of HEU, …[and] remain[ed] firmly committed to eliminating 34 Metric Tons of weapons-origin plutonium under the Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement under IAEA verification.”[9] The United States declared 210 metric tons of HEU as no longer required for military purposes.[10] However, there is some concern about the slowing down of U.S. efforts, due to the increasing cost of constructing the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, for converting surplus nuclear-weapon plutonium into MOX fuel.[11] In June 2013, the NNSA acknowledged that “unanticipated cost increases for the MOX project and plutonium disposition program have prompted the Department to slow down the MOX project and other activities associated with the current plutonium disposition strategy.”[12] Furthermore, the NNSA indicated that “an assessment of its options for disposing of surplus weapons-grade plutonium would not be complete until the spring of 2014” due to delaying the construction of the facility.[13] The difficulties of promoting the project are pointed out as following.
“A fundamental question is whether the rising cost estimates for MFFF are sustainable in the current budget environment. And if the MFFF is not sustainable, what should replace it? However, any delay or major change to the program could affect the planned disposition of Russian weapons plutonium.[14]

Russia plans not to permanently dismantle surplus weapon-grade plutonium, but rather to dispose of it through using BN-600 and BN-800 fast breeder reactors.[15]

(Drafted by Hirofumi Tosaki, CPDNP)

[1] NNSA, “Dismantlement Fact Sheet,” February 11, 2013,
[2] “Y-12 Dismantlements,”, February 28, 2013,
[3] Diane Barnes, “DOD Nonproliferation Work to Suffer Under Budget Cuts,” Glonal Security Newswire, March 4, 2013,
[4] “Threat Reduction Program Must be Updated, Russia Says,” Global Security Newswire, February 6, 2013,
[5] US White House, “United States and the Russian Federation Sign New Bilateral Framework on Threat Reduction,” Fact Sheet, June 17, 2013,
[6] Rob Edwards, “UK's Nuclear Weapons being Dismantled Under Disarmament Obligations,” Guardian, 11 August 2013,
[7] “The UK Ministry of Defense’s Response to a Freedom of Information Act request Filed by Journalist Rob Edwards,” 25 July 2013,
[8] Pavel Podvig, “Last HEU-LEU Program Shipment to Leave Russia,” IPFM Blog, November 14, 2013,
[9] “Statement by the United States of America,” 2013 IAEA General Conference, September 16, 2013.
[10] The United States declares 374 Metric Tons of HEU as excess to nuclear weapons. Most of them will be downblended or used as fuel in naval or research reactor. Frank A. Rose, “Sixtieth Pugwash Conference on Science and World Security,” Istanbul, November 1, 2013,
[11] Douglas P. Guarino, “NNSA Acknowledges ‘Considerable Cost Increase’ For MOX Facility,” Global Security Newswire, February 27, 2013,
[12] “NNSA, Plutonium Disposition Program,” Press Release, June 26, 2013,
[13] Douglas P. Guarino, “Administration Revises Timeline for Plutonium Disposition Review,” Global Security Newswire, October 11, 2013,
[14] Mark Holt and Mary Beth Nikitin, “Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Plant and Plutonium Disposition: Management and Policy Issues,” CRS Report for Congress, June 25, 2013.
[15] Tom Clements, Edwin Lyman and Frank von Hippel, “The Future of Plutonium Disposition,” Arms Control Today, Vol. 43, No. 6 (July/August 2013), pp. 9-10.

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