Russian warheads fueling US nuclear power

Uranium fuel from 20,000 disarmed Russian warheads is now generating about half of US nuclear power in a spinoff from a landmark disarmament accord, a top US official said Wednesday.

Rose Gottemoeller, US under secretary of state for arms control, told a UN committee a 1993 accord between the two former Cold War rivals was one of a growing list of disarmament successes.

The final uranium delivery of uranium that the United States buys from Russia is due to leave St Petersburg in November, Gottemoeller told the UN disarmament committee.

She hailed the accord as a "significant non-proliferation accomplishment" and said 500 tonnes of weapons grade uranium has now been processed in Russia.

Low enriched uranium left from the downgrading "is delivered to the United States, fabricated into nuclear fuel and used by nearly all US nuclear power plants to generate half of the nuclear energy in the United States," she said.

"Approximately 20,000 nuclear warheads have been eliminated under this unique government-industry partnership," Gottemoeller told the UN committee.

Over the past 15 years the Russian uranium fuel has accounted for about 10% of electricity produced in United States, she added.

US officials will go to St Petersburg in November to mark the loading of the final containers which should arrive in the United States in December, Gottemoeller said.

"We look forward to celebrating this historic achievement," she said.