MONDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, walks with Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi on arrival in the Urals city of Orenburg, about 1300 kilometers (800 miles) southeast of Moscow, Russia, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin has suspended a Russia-U.S. deal on the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium. A decree Putin issued Monday cited "unfriendly actions" and the United States' inability to fulfill its obligations under the 2000 deal as reasons for the move.
Under the agreement, Russia and the U.S. each were to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium, enough material for about 17,000 nuclear warheads. When it was signed, the deal was touted as an example of successful U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear non-proliferation. However, Putin has accused the U.S. of failing to meet its end of the deal.
Construction of a U.S. plant where weapons-grade plutonium would be turned into commercial nuclear reactor fuel has been years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.