MINATOM officials have announced that Russia has begun to process ex-weapons plutonium into civil reactor fuel, in accordance with the US-Russian agreement signed in September committing both sides to the removal in stages of 50 tonnes of plutonium from nuclear weapons programmes, ensuring that the material could not be used for military purposes. A batch of six kilos of military-origin plutonium has been processed into 30 kilos of mixed oxide (MOX) fuel at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) at Dimitrovgrad. The fuel is to be put in RIAR’s BOR-60 fast breeder reactor, used for research and the testing of materials, nuclear fuel and fast breeder components. The conversion was carried out using a special dry process developed at RIAR. Over the next few months, Russia will reprocess 50 kilos of plutonium into MOX fuel for the BOR-60 reactor and the BN-600 fast reactor power plant at Beloyarsk.