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The Establishment and Some Consequences of the Combined Threat Reduction Programme and Associated Programmes



Change log


Guy, Shane George 


In 1991 and 1992, on the collapse of the Soviet Union, newspaper readers in the West were warned of potential disaster from ‘loose-nukes’ and abandoned and dangerous nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines. However there were no such disasters and this study set out to discover why.

Research revealed a series of projects in which over thirty countries contributed to making safe the Soviet nuclear legacy and where the reality was such that outcomes in terms of contribution and achievement bore comparison with the iconic Marshall Plan.

The initial direction of enquiry was to America seeking to assist Russia to comply with the terms of the START 1 Treaty: further research indicated non-US support in similar measure. It is argued that political acceptance in America owed much to the attitude and conviction of President Reagan and in Russia to the consequences of Chernobyl.

Evidence of the Law of Unintended Consequences is present. In 1991 most Americans would have disbelieved that for the next twenty years half the electricity generated in US nuclear power plants would be fuelled by re-engineered Soviet nuclear warheads, or that NASA would become dependent on Russian rockets to maintain its contribution to the international space station. By 2015 Russia, but not the United States, was a leader in the international nuclear renaissance. Inhabitants of the Murmansk Oblast could give thanks to Norway for their living in, by some economic indicators, the most prosperous region of Russia, consequent on commerce following environmental initiatives.

This is a ‘work in progress’.





Towle, Philip



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge