Soviet Arsenal Was Larger Than U.S. Thought

Associated Press

The Soviet nuclear arsenal included 45,000 warheads at its peak seven years ago, 12,000 more than generally believed and twice the number held by the United States at the same time, a newspaper reported.

Viktor N. Mikhailov, head of the Ministry of Atomic Energy, said the Russian stockpile of highly enriched uranium is more than twice as large as commonly believed, according to today's editions of the New York Times.

The Russian inventory of bomb-grade uranium is now believed to be more than 1,200 metric tons. Uranium in this form is a principal component of most nuclear weapons.

A year ago, former President George Bush announced a multibillion-dollar deal in which the United States would buy 500 metric tons of the Russian material, apparently thinking it was most of Moscow's supply. The Clinton Administration is now considering whether to expand that purchase, the paper said.

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