The former member of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan, eliminated the last of its weapons-grade uranium, thus putting an end to the denuclearization program put in place with the help of the United States.
“The best money I ever voted for was the money that is now allowing us to work together to tear down these weapons of mass destruction, and to do it safely,” says Senator Sam Nunn who, with Richard Lugar, bore the costs of safely decommissioning thousands of ex-Soviet nuclear weapons.
Kazakh scientists turned the ultimate 2.9 kilograms of highly enriched uranium into a fine powder, then mixed it with low-enriched uranium, rendering the highly dangerous element useless. During the denuclearization program, 536 land-based intercontinental missiles, 496 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, 128 bombers, and hundreds of shorter-range weapons were put out of action. As part of the program, scientists were guaranteed meaningful work to discourage them from selling their expertise to bad guys.