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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

NOVEMBER 5, 1999 VOL. 25 NO. 44

Plenty of Plutonium to Go Around

Since 1986 the world's nuclear weapons arsenal has shrunk by 48% and the global supply of weapons-grade plutonium - the stuff used to make bombs and warheads - has stabilized at somewhere between 242 and 267 metric tons. What continues to grow is the amount of commercial-grade plutonium, made by processing spent fuel rods from the world's 400 or so nuclear power plants, which can be upgraded relatively easily. Modern warheads carry between two and four kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium.

Who has how many tons of which type:
  Weapons Grade
Commerical Grade
Britain 7.6 98.4
China 1.7-2.8 1.2
France 7-Jun 151-205
Germany 0 75-105
India 150-250kg 6
Israel 300-500kg 0
Japan 0 119-262
N.Korea 25-35kg 0
Pakistan 0 0.5
Russia 140-162 65
U.S. 85 257.2

Source: The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, citing The Washington Times

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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