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Nuclear News - 01/27/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 27 January, 1999

  1. For Start 2 Pact, It's Start-Stop, Newsday (01/24/99)
  2. Russian Critical of U.S. Over Arms Treaties, Reuters (01/25/99)
  3. Russia Admits Studying Foreign Nuclear Waste Storage Plans, AgenceFrance Presse (01/25/99)
  4. U.S., Russia Agree on Tech Controls, Associated Press (01/26/99)
  5. Russia Customs Step up Control of Nuclear Material Traffic, ItarTass (01/26/99)
  6. Russia Accuses U.S. of Start-I Violations, RFE/RL Newsline(01/26/99)
  7. Severodvinsk Wants to be Closed Again, RFE/RL Newsline (01/27/99)


For Start 2 Pact, It's Start-Stop
Michael Slackman. MOSCOW CORRESPONDENT
Newsday
January 24, 1999
(for personal use only)

Moscow- Scattered at sites around Russia are 180 nuclear-armedmissiles that are so old authorities here are worried they areunreliable and present an environmental hazard as well.

When they were rolled out of the factories of the former SovietUnion, these missiles-capable of delivering multiple nuclearwarheads to targets thousands of miles away - were deemed to have aservice life of 10 years. Today they are more than 20 years old.Although government officials here are reluctant to talk aboutit publicly, they acknowledge this is the primary reason they are eagerfor the lower house of parliament, the Duma, to ratify the Start 2nuclear disarmament treaty with the United States. If ratified, it wouldpave the way for removal of the aging missiles and open the door tofurther arms reduction talks that could lead to decommissioning of evenmore aging weapons.

Every time the legislators inch toward ratification, however,Washington makes it politically impossible for Russians to achieve. InDecember, when the White House decided to bypass the UN SecurityCouncil, ignore Russia altogether and bomb Iraq, officials here becameso incensed they immediately shelved Start 2. Then this week, Washingtonannounced it wants to renegotiate a 1972 treaty that has served as thecornerstone of arms-control relations between the two nations. And againthere is talk of postponing ratification.

"Any changes to the treaty would be counterproductive," saidAnton Sourikov, a military expert and aid to Yuri Maslyukov, firstdeputy prime minister. "The mere discussion seriously undermines nucleardisarmament."

Yet, despite the nationalistic feelings that have hamperedefforts at ratification, there is growing internal pressure to finalizethe agreement.Officials know they cannot afford to modernize theirmissileforce and will have to eventually scrap much of it even withoutStart 2. If Russia takes that route, however, officials fear ending upat a strategic disadvantage, having lost a portion of its arsenalwithout winning any concessions from the United States.

What the Russian government hopes for is that heads will remaincool long enough to ratify Start 2 and to negotiate a third armsreduction agreement, Start 3, so that Russia and the United Statesreduce weapon stockpiles simultaneously, maintaining a balanceofficials here are eager to preserve. If that doesn't happen, the oldmissiles will keep sitting in their silos.

"Because of a lack of money, Russia can't produce new heavymissiles," Sourikov said last week."In the absence of Start 2 andStart 3, in order to keep the level of missiles corresponding to theUnited States, Russia will be forced to prolong the service life ofthose missiles now in service. It is a very dangerous situation. Notunfortunate. Dangerous."

The Start 2 treaty has languished in front of the Duma since 1993.But with the economic crisis that struck last August, there wasincreased pressure to rid Russia of its aging missiles. Momentum beganto grow for ratification, until the United States decided to bomb Iraqin December. Despite the bellicose reaction, however, the governmentquickly began pushing for ratification once the holiday seasonhadpassed.

Then lastweekPresident Bill Clinton sent a letter to RussianPresident Boris Yeltsin floating the idea of renegotiating the 1972antiballistic Missile Treaty, a pact designed to preserve a conceptknown as mutual deterrence-that is each side has the power to wipeeach other out, thereby deterring the other from attacking. If theUnited States were able to develop a system that could knock out Russianmissiles in-flight, Russia would lose its deterrence capability andwould be fearful, in theory, that the United States would launch apre-emptive strike.

Predictably, the Russians are again angry and are again threateningto hold up passage of Start 2 if the United States pulls out of the 1972treaty. Yeltsin is preparing a response to the Clinton letter,officialssaid.

The missiles Russia would like to scrap were built in Ukraine whenit was part of the Soviet Union. Though officials say the initialprojected useful life was a conservative estimate, there is concern theywill leak fuel, degrade the environment and become so unreliable theyare a danger to anyone who tries to use them.

"The main idea is we have to reduce the amount of missiles andwarheads," said Alexander Golts, a military analyst with the Russianmagazine Itogi. "That's why they want to move immediately from Start 2to Start 3."
Russian Critical of U.S. Over Arms Treaties
Reuters
January 25, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- A senior Russian Defense Ministry official accused theUnited States Monday of breaching the terms of two arms reductiontreaties andof deliberately magnifying the nuclear threat posed by rogue states.

Itar-Tass news agency quoted Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, the oftenoutspoken head of international cooperation at the ministry, as makingtheremarks just as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright began ahigh-profile visitto Moscow.

Ivashov said Washington was not complying with the terms of the 1991START-1 nuclear arms reduction treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile(ABM)treaty of 1972.

START-1 reduced the two main nuclear powers' combined total of nuclearwarheads to about 12,000 from Cold War highs of some 21,000, but it alsoseta number of more specific terms. It appeared to be here Ivashov wascomplaining of breaches.

"The United States is misleading world opinion, retaining loadablereserves fornuclear submarines at 2,500 warheads and at 2,000 for strategicaviation,"Ivashov said.

Speaking of possible nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, Ivashovsaidthe United States was "artificially inflaming the situation, despiteknowingperfectly well that these countries do not have a nuclear capability."

The United States recently imposed sanctions against Russian scientificinstitutessuspected of helping Iran to develop nuclear and missile programs.

Washington has also said it wants to discuss with Russia possiblechanges to theABM treaty, which limits anti-missile systems. The United States isconsideringbuilding a new defense umbrella to counter future threats from roguestates.

At a news briefing Monday, two high-ranking U.S. officials said thepossibleamendments to the ABM treaty were not directed against Russia.

"In general terms what they're concerned about is the loss of strategicdeterrencecapability," one official said. "This program does not threaten theirstrategicdeterrence capability, because they've got a lot of nukes."

The official stressed the potential danger from North Korea, sayingPyongyangmight develop the technology to fire a long-range missile at the UnitedStates by2005.

Russia, struggling to cope with its loss of superpower status, insiststhe ABMtreaty is a cornerstone of global arms control and has ruled outrevising it.Moscow says that would make even harder the already difficult job ofpersuading the Russian parliament to ratify the 1993 START-2 treaty.

Albright faces a tough task in convincing Russia that any changes wouldpose nothreat to the strategic balance.

She met Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov Monday to discuss a backlogofdisputes. She was also due to meet Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov laterMonday and may speak to President Boris Yeltsin, who is in hospital withanulcer.
Russia Admits Studying Foreign Nuclear Waste Storage Plans
Agence France Presse
January 26, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- Russia's AtomicEnergy Ministry admitted it was studying the possibility of storing thenuclear waste of other countries, but denied that it had signed anycontracts, domestic news agencies said Tuesday.

Itar-Tass news agency quoted a senior official, Boris Nikipelov, assaying that the ministry "has never given its official agreement to theprocessing and storage" of nuclear waste from countries with no nuclearcooperation accords from Russia.

However, the ministry was looking at the feasibility and financialreturnon such operations, while being aware that present Russian legislationdoes not permit them.

The environmental group Greenpeace said in Amsterdam Saturday thatAtomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov was seeking lucrative "rogue"contracts with European and Asian nations to treat their nuclear waste.

The contracts concerned waste from Germany, Spain, Switzerland,South Korea, Taiwan and "probably Japan," Greenpeace said in astatement.

"Given that Russian law forbids the importation of foreign nuclearwaste,the offer would appear to be a rogue operation conducted bytop-ranking...officials to attract foreign hard currency," theenvironmentalists said.

"The last thing Russia needs is more nuclear waste," said groupspokesman Tobias Muenchmeyer, adding that "all attempts to negotiatesuch an ill-conceived, immoral and illegal proposal should end now."

The waste would "very probably" be transferred to Mayak in the Urals,"the world's largest nuclear complex and the birth place of Russia'snuclear weapons program," according to Greenpeace.

The Atomic Energy Ministry has admitted the existence of a preliminaryagreement with Switzerland, saying it was merely "an expression of theintention to cooperate."
U.S., Russia Agree on Tech Controls
Barry Schweid
AP Diplomatic Writer
January 26, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- The United States and Russia announced agreementtoday on tightening controls over American technology contained in U.S.satellites that are launched by Russia from Kazakstan.

The aim is to prevent ``leakage'' of the technology to Iran and othercountries.

Seven satellites are due to be launched before the end of 2000. Russiaand Kazakstan, a former Soviet republic, are due to share at least $400million in revenue.

The agreement clears the way for heightened monitoring by DefenseDepartment officials of the launches, U.S. officials said.

The Clinton administration recently threatened to end Russian launchingafter concluding three Russian firms had provided Iran with sensitivetechnology.

During two days of talks here with Secretary of State MadeleineAlbright,Russian officials sought to convince their U.S. counterparts that theadministration had acted on the basis of false information.

The U.S. side said, however, there was no doubt about the evidence.

Even with the new agreement, the threat to cut off launches remainsuntil``the problem of missile cooperation between Russian enterprises and theIranian missile program is resolved.''

The cutoff would apply to any new applications for launches after theremaining seven are carried out.

The satellites, which facilitate cellular telephone and other commercialcommunication, are in great demand, a U.S. official told reporters, andRussia and Kazakstan stand to gain considerable revenue.

But first, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity,safeguardsmust be assured.

Satellite launches were suspended in September, pending completion ofthe agreement with Russia and Kazakstan.

The agreement contains specific procedures to ensure the DefenseDepartment can monitor U.S. technology in Russia and at the launch site,the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan.
Russia Customs Step up Control of Nuclear Material Traffic.
Itar-Tass
January 26, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- The Russian State Customs Committee,or GKT, and the US Energy Department have started a joint project ofcontrolof nuclear material smuggling, committee chief Valery Draganov was citedbyPrime-Tass as saying.

He said at a press conference on Tuesday that a device has beeninstalled atMoscow's international airport Sheremetyevo for detecting nuclearmaterials.

Draganov said his committee's watching of nuclear materials will be moreefficient in 1999 than last year.

He admitted that there were attempts last year to smuggle into or viaRussianuclear materials, including bids to use the immune diplomatic bag.

Russia's first squads for control of fissionable materials were set upfive yearsago.

Draganov said the State Customs Committee also seeks foreign assistance,including the US', in control of drug-trafficking.

He said customs services are alarmed by the traffic in drugs from"goldentriangle" and "golden crescent" countries.

He said the State Customs Committee knows and closely watches otherfive-seven drug-trafficking routes.
Russia Accuses U.S. of Start-I Violations.
RFE/RL Newsline
January 26, 1999
(for personal use only)

In an interview with "Krasnaya zvezda" on 23 January, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, head of the Defense Ministry'sdepartment for international military cooperation,accused the U.S. of violating the START-I treaty,thereby creating difficulties for the smoothratification of the START-II treaty by the State Duma.As one example, he noted that the U.S. is carrying outflight tests of Trident intercontinental missiles inviolation of the treaty. After meeting with U.S.Secretary of State Albright on 25 January to discuss theSTART-II treaty, Duma Chairman Gennadii Seleznev toldreporters that the U.S. is prepared to beginnegotiations on the START-III treaty. Commenting onSTART-II, Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov toldreporters that he believes the Duma will ratify thetreaty only if the U.S. guarantees its observance of allearlier concluded arms control agreements and decisionstaken by the UN Security Council.
Severodvinsk Wants to be Closed Again.
RFE/RL Newsline
January 27, 1999
(for personal use only)

Arkhangelsk Oblast Governor Anatolii Efremov is proposing to thefederal government that the city of Severodvinsk begranted the status of closed territorial formation,ITAR-TASS reported on 26 January. If given such astatus, the city would be directly subordinated to andreceive funding from the federal government. Expertsestimate that the city's budget would double, from 300million rubles (some $12 million) to 600 million rubles.Severodvinsk, where the country's largest nuclearsubmarines are built, has experienced severe financialdifficulties owing to cuts in funding for defensecontracts and the lack of money for conversion programs.



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