Could the Cold War be heating and lighting your home? If you are one of many Americans whose life is powered by a nuclear power plant, there's a good chance it is; while not widely publicized, decommissioned nuclear warheads provide much of the fuel powering America's 104 nuclear reactors. But here's the real kicker: nearly half of that low-enriched uranium comes from recycled Soviet nukes.
Over the past 20 years, nuclear disarmament has become a huge part of the electricity industry, making President Obama's talks with Russia on a new arms treaty as poignant to utilities as carbon caps, smart grids and climate change bills. But if those talks don't extend the current program for dismantling Soviet nuke cores beyond its 2013 expiration date, there could be a supply gap for nuclear fuel just as the industry is pushing nuclear power as a workable, eco-friendly transition fuel until better biofuels become economical.