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Nuclear News - 01/12/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 12 January, 1999

  1. Russia Moves To Become Leader in Nuclear Fuel Recycling, Interfax(01/05/99)
  2. Russia to Push Forward with Iran Nuclear Reactor, Reuters (01/09/99)
  3. Russia, China Set to Go on with Disarmament Cooperation,Itar-Tass(01/11/99)
  4. Cash Shortage Delays Nuclear Refit, Moscow Times (01/12/99)
  5. Start-2 Treaty Should Be Ratified Sooner, Itar-Tass (01/12/99)
  6. U.S. Sanctions Russians For Helping Iran Make Arms, Reuters(01/12/99)
  7. Nuclear Test Ban Called Top Clinton Priority, Reuters (01/12/99)

Russia Moves To Become Leader in Nuclear Fuel Recycling
January 5, 1999
(for personal use only)

Krasnoyarsk -- Russian Minister for Atomic EnergyYevgeniy Adamov has stated that Russia will try to restore itsleadershipon the market of recycling used nuclear fuel.

Adamov told the deputies of the Krasnoyarsk territorial legislativeassembly on Tuesday that this business brings quick profits and has notbeen finally monopolized.

By recycling one kilogram of used nuclear fuel one can earn up to$1,000, he said. Meanwhile, Russia earns just about $300 from recyclingnuclear fuel received from Ukraine.

He said that the development of exports of electricity generated byRussian nuclear power plants is one of the atomic industry's priorities. But this can be done only if the industry's infrastructure is developed,too, if an export electric power line is created and if the electriccurrent's frequency is synchronized, he said.

Adamov announced that nuclear power plants generate 13% of theelectricity produced in Russia. As before, nuclear power plants producecheaper electricity - one kilowatt-hour costs 11-16 kopecks.
Russia to Push Forward with Iran Nuclear Reactor
January 9, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW-- Russia said on Saturday it would push forwardwith the construction of an atomic reactor in Iran, a project which hasbeencriticized by the United States and Israel for threatening security inthe MiddleEast.

The United States and Israel fear the planned 1,000 megawatt light-waterreactor at Bushehr on the Gulf coast will help Iran develop nuclearweapons.

But Russia and Iran have repeatedly denied the charges.

Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov was quoted by Interfax news agencyas saying that the reactor's first unit was between 30 and 40 percentcomplete ata cost of around $100 million.

He said more specialists would be sent to Iran this year to help around1,000Russian workers already there to push the project forward. Russia haspreviously said it hoped to complete construction of the first unit inMay, 2003.

Washington said last month it was convinced that Iran was using theBushehrreactor project as a cover for acquiring sensitive Russian nucleartechnology.

German firms began work on the Bushehr project in 1974. Work was laterhalted and the plant was damaged in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Adamov said Russia and Iran signed an estimated $800 million contract tobuildthe plant in January 1995.
Russia, China Set to Go on with Disarmament Cooperation
January 11, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW-- Recent Russian-Chinese consultationshave revealed the two sides' interest in continuing cooperation indisarmamentand arms control, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

The delegations to the January 5 and 6 consultations were headed bychief of theRussian Foreign Ministry security and disarmament department GrigoryBerdennikov his Chinese counterpart Sha Zukang.

The consultations were held ahead of forthcoming international talks inGenevaon a convention banning the production of fissile material for militarypurposes.

The meetings showed that the two sides had close view points on keyissues ofthe future convention.

Also, the delegations discussed strategic arms reduction, anti-ballisticmissilesissues, and exports controls, and reiterated the need for more bilateralcooperation in the disarmament sphere.
Cash Shortage Delays Nuclear Refit
Vladimir Isachenkov
Moscow Times
January 12, 1999
(for personal use only)

A U.S.-Russian plan to phase out nuclear weapons production at aSiberianplant is in jeopardy because of a shortage of funds, officials saidMonday. In 1997, Russia and the United States agreed to stop production ofweapons-grade plutonium at the Zheleznogorsk nuclear weapons production andresearchcenter, formerly known as Krasnoyarsk-26, by the year 2000.

The reactor also provides electricity and heat for the city's 100,000residents, and the 1997 U.S.-Russian agreement envisaged U.S. financialaid tobuild a replacement power facility. However, the disbursement of fundshas been stalled by the failure of Russian officials to work out a Western-styleaudit scheme to ensure that the money is spent properly, the center director ValeryLebedev said, Itar-Tass reported.

Part of the construction costs, about $40 million, was to be financed bythegovernment, but it has not provided the money because of the country'seconomic crisis, Lebedev said. As a result, the reactor will have tocontinue work at least until the summer of 2001, producing plutonium, he said. However, Vitaly Nasonov, a spokesman for the Nuclear Power Ministry thatoversees Zheleznogorsk, called Lebedev's account of the situationoverdramatized and voiced hope that Russia be able to fulfill itscommitments.Russian officials have already worked out audit proposals that would bediscussed at a meeting with U.S. officials later this month, he said. At the time of its signing by U.S. Vice President Al Gore and then PrimeMinister Viktor Chernomyrdin in September 1997, the agreement to fullyendplutonium production was hailed as an historic step.

U.S. President Bill Clinton's administration has been pushing for theaccordfor years, part of U.S. efforts to ensure that Moscow safeguards andreducesits vast nuclear stockpile. Apart from the reactor in Zheleznogorsk,the agreement also envisagedstopping the plutonium production at two other military nuclear reactorsin Seversk,formerly known as Tomsk-7. Nasonov, the ministry spokesman, said thatworks at Seversk were going on in accordance with plan and there was nofund shortage.
Start-2 Treaty Should Be Ratified Sooner
January 12, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- The START-2 Treaty ratification shouldbe sped up so that the nuclear arsenals be reduced in the framework oflaw,holds Igor Sutyagin, a leading expert of the Institute of USA and Canadaof theRussian Academy of Sciences. He commented to Tass on Tuesday on thestatement of ex-director of the United States Central IntelligenceAgency (CIA),Stansfield Turner, who urged the United States and Russia to remove1,000warhead from missiles without waiting for the START-2 Treatyratification andplace them in storages lying at a distance of 300 kilometers from launchpads.

In an article published by the Los Angeles Times on Monday, the ex-CIAdirector asserts that delays with the ratification of the START-2 TreatyinRussia's State Duma cannot serve as a pretext for hampering the processof theelimination of surplus nuclear arms. Admiral Turner describes hisproposal as anattempt at a quest for optimum ways to strengthen security within abrief periodof time, while admitting that his proposal is not radical and means onlythat it willtake more time to ready these weapons for use.

Sutyagin who heads the military-technical policy sector of the militarydepartment of the Institute of USA and Canada believes the initiativemeritsattention as a fresh step by Washington which had not agreed to suchproposalsearlier.

At the same time he believes that there is a multitude of problemsbehind aseemingly easy solution to a complicated international problem. First ofall, hugeoutlays will be needed to build storages and transport communications.Whilethe United States can build them without straining its economy, Russiameetswith budget difficulties. Moreover, this methods of lowering nucleardanger doesnot guarantee prompt destruction (utilization) of warheads, Sutyaginbelieves.

He views the US Congress' decision to freeze the minimum of nuclearcharges at6,000 units as one of the problems involved in nuclear arsenals'reduction. "Thisis a temporary decision and will be annulled after the State DumaratifiesSTART-2 Treaty, so it is more expedient to rely on legislation and toadvance tothe next stage of reduction envisaged in START-3 without rejecting otherinitiatives to lessen nuclear danger, including those that Turnerdescribes asnontraditional, Sutyagin said.
B<>U.S. Sanctions Russians For Helping Iran Make Arms
Carol Giacomo
January 12, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- The United States Tuesday announced a new roundof sanctions on Russian scientific institutes for helping Iran's missileor nuclearprograms.

``The United States is imposing economic penalties against threeadditionalRussian entities ... for providing sensitive missile or nuclearassistance to Iran,''said National Security Adviser Sandy Berger.

An administration official said the new penalties were prompted byconcerns over``Iran's aggressive pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and theirdeliverysystems.''

Berger, speaking to an arms nonproliferation conference, identified thethreeentities as: NIKIET (The Scientific Research and Design Institute ofPowerTechnology), the D. Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology and theMoscow Aviation Institute.

In July 1998 President Clinton imposed administrative sanctions on sevenRussianenterprises that the United States believes helped Iran develop itsmissileprogram, just days after Iran test-fired a missile with a range of 800miles (1,300km) capable of striking Israel and other U.S. allies.

White House officials said that under existing authority Clinton wasbanningexports to and imports from the three institutes as well as U.S.governmentprocurement from and assistance to them.

Berger said the administration was determined to enforcenonproliferationstandards and protect national security.

Washington has been applying increasing pressure on Russia to halt suchcooperation and last month warned Russia of imminent new steps andpenaltiesthat could hit other areas.

``The U.S. government will not be able to approve expansion of thehighlylucrative space launch market with Russia until Russian entities ceasecooperationwith Iran's ballistic missile program,'' State Department spokesmanJames Rubinsaid on Dec. 16.

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott pressed the issue strongly whenhe heldhigh-level meetings in Moscow the previous week.

Interfax news agency reported at the time that Russian officials toldTalbottMoscow was willing to tighten controls on exports of missile technologyto Iran ifWashington provided proof of illicit transfers.

If the charges were proved, Russia was ready to agree to jointU.S.-Russianmonitoring groups at the factories involved, Interfax quoted FirstDeputy PrimeMinister Yuri Maslyukov as saying.

``Export controls must be strengthened and mutual confidenceincreased,'' theagency quoted him as saying.

Although refusing to halt all nuclear cooperation with Iran, Russia hastoldWashington it would limit its assistance to Bushehr, a $800 millioncivilian nuclearpower plant Moscow is building for Tehran on the Gulf coast.

Rubin has said that despite the assurance, the United States is aware ofRussiancooperation with Iran that extends to other projects.

U.S. officials were careful to stress the latest steps were not directedat theRussian government. They said they applied only to the entities namedand saidthey complemented the Russian government's steps to enforce its ownexportlaws and its international commitments to nonproliferation.

Iran has faced a Western arms embargo since the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war,inaddition to U.S. sanctions.
Nuclear Test Ban Called Top Clinton Priority
January 12, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON-- President Bill Clinton plans to push U.S.Senate ratification of an international treaty banning nuclear tests asone of his``top priorities'' of 1999, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger saidonTuesday.

He said Clinton is determined to strengthen international controls onweapons ofmass destruction and likely would lay out the case for Senate action onthe treatyin his State of the Union address, set for Jan. 19.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which has been signed by 151countries, cannot enter into force until the United States and a numberof otherspecific nations, including India and Pakistan, ratify it.

``If we fail to ratify, we will undercut our own efforts to curb furthernuclear armsdevelopment, particularly in South Asia where India and Pakistan eachhaveannounced an intention to adhere to the CTBT by September of thisyear,''Berger told a conference on arms non-proliferation, sponsored by theCarnegieEndowment for International Peace.

``That is the right choice for those countries, one we have been urgingfor sometime. Senate action on the CTBT before September will greatly strengthenourhand in persuading India and Pakistan to fulfil their pledges,'' hesaid.

The treaty bans all nuclear explosive tests. In this way, it ``willconstrain thedevelopment of more advanced nuclear weapons by the nuclear powers andlimitthe possibilities for other states to acquire such weapons (and) willenhance ourability to detect and deter suspicious activities by other nations,''Berger said.

He acknowledged that winning approval in the Senate, where Sen. JesseHelms-- Republican of North Carolina and the powerful chairman of the SenateForeignRelations Committee -- is a strong opponent, would be difficult.

But he said failure would be a `` terrible tragedy ... If the Senaterejected or failedto act on the test ban treaty, we would throw open the door to regionalnucleararms races and a much more dangerous world.''

Berger said the deadline created by the announcement by India andPakistan thatthey would drop their long-standing opposition and sign the treaty bySeptembermay enhance prospects for Senate approval this year.

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