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Nuclear News - 01/07/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 7 January, 1999

  1. Nuclear Waste Transport Cancelled in Bulgaria, Environmental NewsService (1/4/99)
  2. Bob Bell on START II, White House Briefing for Reporters (1/5/99)
  3. Naval Chief Backs Cut In Force of Trident Subs 14 Would Suffice,Admiral Tells Senate, Washington Post (1/7/99)


  1. The final report of the Nuclear Warhead Transparency Workshop hasbeen added to the Federation of Atomic Scientists' Website. It can be accessed fromthe following URL:
  2. On Wednesday evening, January 13, the television program "60 MinutesII" will feature a story on loose nukes and the economic collapse of Russia's nuclearweapons complex The program will include footage from "inside the mountain" atKrasnoyarsk-26 and interviews with Secretary Richardson and Mathew Bunn.

Nuclear Waste Transport Cancelled in Bulgaria
Environmental News Service
January 4, 1999
(for personal use only)

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- The Bulgarian nuclearindustry has called off its plan to transport nuclear waste to Russiafor the time being, officials of the country's committee on the use ofnuclear power for peaceful purposes said December 22.

In the autumn of 1998, an intergovernmental agreement for thenuclear waste shipments was protested by anti-nuclear activists inRussia, Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova - all countries that signed theagreement. Shipments of radioactive waste and reprocessing ofwaste are covered by the agreement.

The Kozloduy nuclear power plant in northern Bulgariaprovides much of the country's electricity.

The environmentalists said, "Governments promote nuclearproliferation, plutonium production and increase the risk of nuclearaccidents," through this agreement.

More than 200 environmental groups around the world signed anappeal to authorities of Russia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania andUkraine, asking for cancellation of the nuclear waste shipment plan.

"Shipments of nuclear waste present serious dangers to theenvironment and people," says Polina Kireva of the Bulgarianenvironmental group Za Zemyata. "Not only this shipment of nuclearwaste must be cancelled, but all of the plans for future shipments.The waste should not move through the borders, no countries mustsend their waste to their neighbours," she warned.

During November and December, Bulgarian and Russian environmentalgroups presented the appeal to the parliaments of the countries thatsigned the waste shipment agreement.

Bulgarian officials have now said the shipment was cancelled becausethe Moldovian parliament was opposed.

Am alternative route for the shipment from Bulgaria to Russia,through Romania and Ukraine, has not yet been developed.

The Kozloduy nuclear power plant in northern Bulgaria is located nearthe Danube River adjoining Romania and has six units. The Danube isused for cooling with a long canal leading to the plant. Four units areof the 440 Mwe VVER 440 design; two are of the 1000 MWe VVER1000 design. These plants meet the major portion of the electricaldemand needs of the country.

The Bulgarian energy utility NEK said in November 1998 that iturgently needs to transport nuclear waste out of the Kozloduynuclear plant for continuation of normal operation of the plant.Kozloduy, the only nuclear plant in Bulgaria, was named the mostdangerous in Europe by International Atomic Energy Agency in 1990.

Bulgaria promised the G-7 to start the decommissioning of Kozloduynuclear reactors before the year 2000, but now is refusing to carryout this promise, the environmentalists claim.

"Cooperation of Russia and Bulgaria should not be consequenced bynew nuclear accidents," says Vladimir Slivyak of Russianenvironmental group ECODEFENSE! "No more reprocessing of nuclearwaste in Russia must be allowed. No more plutonium that can be usedfor nuclear bombs should be produced."

The nuclear industry must be forced to spend its funds on the solvingof existing problems instead of creating new nuclear disasters,Slivyak said.
Bob Bell on START II
[From a White House briefing for reporters by Bob Bell, SpecialAssistant for National Security Affairs]
January 5, 1999
(for personal use only)

BELL: ... over the course of the last year, serious readiness concernsbecame apparent. ... Now, why has this occurred? ... In part, it'sbecause it's taken longer than we had hoped for the Duma to act onSTART II, and we haven't gotten as far down that slope as we wantedtowards the reductions called for at the Helsinki Agreement of 1997 instrategic nuclear forces. ...

Q: You mentioned that being unable to implement the cuts under theSTART treaty has, in effect, added costs to the military. Can you givean estimate of that? And also, what is your assessment of theprospects of finally getting START II signed in Moscow?

A: Well, I think it's principally an opportunity cost to date. Ifthings had gone much faster -- after all, the Senate approved START IIin January of '96 and the treaty was signed in '92, so -- if this hadbeen realized years earlier, you could speculate that we could havegotten on to START III and much-reduced levels a lot sooner. But interms of staying at START I, which has been a Congressional mandatefor the last several years, that cost is just beginning to sink in.It's now measured in hundreds of millions but will quickly grow tobillions unless the Duma acts.

We, of course, hope that the government in Moscow can deliver -- asthey are now telling us it is their intention to do -- this treatyearly in the year. They've made clear, in the recent week or two, thatthey don't consider the treaty dead and they intend to resume thateffort early in the year. The question is simply going to be, withinthe Duma, particularly within the Communist faction, where thesentiments rest.

Q: Is there any sign that -- what's the change? I mean, every sixmonths or so, President Yeltsin and other Russian officials have said,we're sure we're going to get this ratified in the next few weeks.It's gone on for several years. What's changing there?

A: Well, I think you're just seeing -- again, in this theme of victimof our own success -- in part because of the triumph of thisdemocratization process in Russia, you have a truly independent Duma,no longer a rubber stamp of the Kremlin, as during the Soviet Union.And it's very vulnerable to the vicissitudes of developments on theworld stage. It just seems there's been one linkage or onecomplication after another the last couple of years that have been theimmediate, proximate cause of the delay, and you have to work througheach one of those events. But you can't allow your foreign policy, oryour national security strategy, to be dictated simply by acalculation of START II ratification prospects.
Naval Chief Backs Cut In Force of Trident Subs 14 Would Suffice, Admiral Tells Senate
Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
January 7, 1999
(for personal use only)

The chief of naval operations has told Congress for the first timethat he would like to reduce the number of operational Tridentballistic missile submarines from 18 to 14, opening the way forCongress to repeal its ban against cutting U.S. strategic nuclearforce levels until the Russian parliament ratifies the START IItreaty.

"My personal belief is that a 14-boat force is the minimum acceptableforce right now," Adm. J.L. Johnson said. Under present law, if theRussian Duma continues to delay approval of the 1993 strategic armscontrol treaty as it has done for the past year, the Navy must plan tospend up to $500 million in fiscal 2000 to stay operational at theSTART I level of 18. That number includes four of the older, giantTridents that were scheduled to be decommissioned beginning in 2002.

But at Tuesday's Senate Armed Services Committee session, when Chiefof Naval Operations Johnson was asked by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy(D-Mass.) whether the Navy would rather have 14 of the subs and usethe money for other priorities, he replied, "Personally I would, yes,sir."

The amendment that froze strategic forces at START I levels was addedtwo years ago to the defense authorization bill by Sen. Robert C.Smith (R-N.H.), chairman of the Armed Services strategic forcessubcommittee. Opponents of the provision want to debate the issue"based on what forces are needed," a senior congressional aide saidyesterday, "and not on the politics associated with the arms controltreaties."

Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the committee, said beforethe hearing that "we have to reevaluate priorities" on strategicweapons. "We may be able to redirect money from strategic weapons tostrategic defense," he said. A spokesman said Smith was tied up withmeetings yesterday and unavailable for comment.

Eugene E. Habiger, a retired Air Force general and former head of theU.S. Strategic Command, which included the Tridents, said "it wouldmake sense" for the Navy to go down to 14, because "there is no needto stay at the START I level from a military prospective; although ifyou stay at that level it may give you some political leverage" withthe Russians. But Habiger also noted that Moscow's "sub fleet isbelly-up."

A military source familiar with intelligence said Moscow had a seriousproblem with one of the ballistic subs in the Northern Fleet last yearwhen seawater got into the missile compartment when some seals leaked.The sub immediately surfaced and was brought back into port. The otheralert Russian ballistic missile sub was brought back from its patrolin the Pacific for repairs. So for two to three weeks, the Russiansfor the first time in recent memory had no ballistic missile subspatrolling on alert. The Russians do keep at least two other ballisticmissile subs on pier-side alert, one in the Atlantic and the other inthe Pacific.

The United States maintains five Trident subs on patrol alert, withfive others either coming or going on patrol and ready to fire theirmissiles if needed. The Tridents each have 24 missiles that can carryup to eight warheads. The warheads have seven times the force of theHiroshima bomb and are designed to destroy Russian missiles inhardened silos.

Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), who is pushing for the United States tobegin making unilateral reductions in its strategic forces, saidyesterday that "waiting for the Russians to act on START II is amistake." With their economy collapsing, their nuclear systemsdeteriorating and their experiment with democracy on the line, Kerreysaid, members of the Russian parliament "don't have time to talk aboutnuclear arms control."

As of today, there are 10 modern Tridents based at Kings Bay, Ga., allarmed with highly accurate D-5 missiles that can travel more than4,000 miles. Eight older Tridents, fitted with 24 of the earlier C-4missiles, are based at Bangor, Wash.

If current law continues, all eight of the older Tridents would haveto have their nuclear engines refurbished and their launching systemswould need to be retrofitted to carry modern D-5 missiles.

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