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Appendix 10C. The changing Russian and US nuclear warhead production complexes



I. Introduction

II. The Russian complex

III. The US complex

IV. Conclusions


Full text Appendix 10C [PDF].


The end of the cold war called for a radical downsizing and restructuring of the US and Russian nuclear warhead production complexes. The USA has already concluded the first phase of its infrastructure reductions. However, the US policies of strengthening its warhead design capability and maintaining a large reserve of stored warheads and pits could have a negative impact on nuclear non-proliferation and future arms reductions. The Russian complex, although smaller since the end of the cold war, remains oversized. The implementation of Russia’s downsizing plan has been delayed by lack of funding and difficulties in finding alternative employment for displaced nuclear weapon workers. International cooperation could significantly accelerate the contraction of the Russian complex. Deep nuclear arms cuts in the USA and Russia would necessitate further reductions in their nuclear warhead production infrastructures.


Oleg Bukharin (United States) is a Research Scientist with the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He conducts research and writes on the Russian and US nuclear weapon programmes, nuclear arms control, and safeguards and security of nuclear materials and facilities.