Here's a remarkable fact: For the past two decades, 10 percent of all the electricity consumed in the United States has come from Russian nuclear warheads.
It was all part of a deal struck at the end of the Cold War. That deal wraps up today, when the final shipment of fuel arrives at a U.S. facility.
The origins of the plan lie in the early 1990s. At the time, Philip Sewell was working for the U.S. Department of Energy. The Soviet Union had just disintegrated, and Sewell's job was to find ways to collaborate with the former adversaries.
In practice, this involved driving out into the Russian countryside, to military facilities that weren't even on the map. When Sewell got there, what he saw wasn't pretty.
"Windows were broken, gates were not locked, and there were very few people around," Sewell says.
But inside these crumbling buildings, the Russian government stored the uranium from thousands of decommissioned nuclear weapons. It seemed like practically anyone could walk off with stuff for a bomb.
By Geoff Brumfiel
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