Nuclear energy is the use of exothermic nuclear processes to generate useful heat and electricity. During Russian Cold War, lots of Uranium from nuclear warheads were remained leftover and now, the U.S is using those Uranium to heat millions of its homes.
Uranium is a heavy metal which can be used as an abundant source of concentrated energy. It was discovered in 1789 by German chemist, Martin Klaproth. However, the Cold War happened from about 1945 to about 1990. The Cold War was not really a war, rather it was a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to see who would dominate the world. They each thought that their system of government and economics was best and should dominate the world. The result of the Cold War was that the Soviet Union fell apart in the early 1990s. It is being said that Soviet Union fell apart because its system could not keep people happy as it did not give them rights or material wealth.
However, after the end of the Cold War, Russian government stored the Uranium from thousands of decommissioned nuclear weapons. Uranium is the material that can be used to heat homes. So, Philip Sewell, a former deputy assistant secretary at the U.S Department of Energy, and his colleagues decided to acquire those Uranium from Russian government in order to heat their country’s millions of homes. They had one more reason to acquire those Uranium and that is they had doubt that, if the Uranium goes to wrong hand, the outcome could be worst. Therefore, Mr Sewell and his colleagues started negotiating with the Russian government to persuade them to sell the surplus to the US, but initially, the Russian government “refused.”
But, at that time, Russian nuclear industry was badly in need of funding. So, at the end, Russian government agreed to sell the surplus Uranium to the U.S. As a result, a deal called United States-Russian Federation Highly Enriched Uranium Purchase Agreement was signed in 1993, thanks to the U.S government agent United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) for implementing the historic agreement.
Since then, Russia had been sending Uranium to U.S at different times. The deal was called Megatons to Megawatts Program. The program made a substantial contribution both to the elimination of nuclear weapons material and to nuclear energy generation in the United States. Note that before the Uranium was shipped to the U.S, the bomb-grade highly enriched Uranium was converted and diluted into Low Enriched Uranium (LEU).
The final shipment of LEU was unloaded at the Port of Baltimore in Maryland on December 10, after a four-week journey by sea from St Petersburg. It was the last of the LEU converted from more than 500 tonnes of highly enriched Uranium from the Russian nuclear warheads.
However, to collect this Uranium from Russia, the U.S has spent $8 Billion (£5bn) in the last 20 years. Through this LEU, the U.S government now supplies nearly 10 per cent of electricity all over American and around one in 10 light bulbs is powered. As the U.S needs more Uranium to heat millions of its homes, so the country has decided to continue buying Uranium from Russia. But as the old deal is over, so a new 10-year program is going to be signed. This time, supply of Uranium will no longer come from decommissioned warheads, but from Russia’s commercial activities. Here’s a video for you.
Source: Daily Mail