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Nuclear News - 03/31/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 31 March, 1999

January 13, 1999

Minatom is going to import spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing fromSwitzerland.

Environmentalists have made accessible to public a document, whichmayserve an evidence of Minatom's intentions to conclude an obviously illicitdeal. Having for the present no sufficient spent nuclear fuel(hereafter-SNF) reprocessing capacities to provide the demand of RussianNPPs, the Minatom is going to import foreign SNF for reprocessing - fromSwitzerland. In effect the import of the SNF, would mean importing forstorage, that is prohibited by the Law on the Environmental Protection.Active members of the European Division of «Greenpeace» managed to get acopy of the «Statement on Purposes in the Field of the NPPs' SNFManagement» between the RF Minatom and the «Tekhsnabexport», on the onehand, and the «Internexco» and the «Elektrizitatgesellschaft LaufenburgAG» (German and Swiss, respectively) companies, on the other hand, actingon behalf of the «Swiss Utilities». Judging by the document, the Minatomwas presented by the Deputy Minister Nikolay Egorov and the Expert -Counselor Boris Nikipelov. Thereat, the latter, talking to theenvironmentalists, claimed, that no documents were signed, and only aMinatom's marketing study was the question. The «Statement on Purposes...»has still been existing.

Russia is simply suggested to take for permanent storage 2000 tons oftheheavy metal, 300 tons of the amount have already been ready forexpedition. In addition, the Swiss suggested Minatom to think aboutRussia's capabilities of reception for final disposal of 550 cubic metersof high-level radwaste, which are expected to return to Switzerland in1999-2010 from the French and British SNF reprocessing plants. Judging bythe document, the Minatom is considering concrete terms of reception ofthe radioactive materials and is ready to bargain with the customers onthe services' cost. Although there is the Article 50 of the Law onEnvironmental Protection, prohibiting import in Russia of spent nuclearfuel for storage and disposal.

«The only enterprise in Russia on reprocessing of SNF from civilianobjects - the Industrial Association «Mayak» - now hasn't sufficientcapacities to reprocess and store all the accumulated Russian SNF, withoutsaying of foreign waste, - the Coordinator of the «Greenpeace» of Russia»program, Igor Forofontov, says. - now at the country's territory radwasteare accumulated with the total activity about 1.5 billion Curies and SNF -about 4.5 billion Curies.

Not only environmentalists and scientists say now about the hazardoussituation in Russia with the radwaste storage and processing. YuriSkuratov, the Prosecutor-General, in his letter to the Prime-Minister inJune 1998 gave an account of facts, confirming the «greens» opinion, as ifthe situation may lead in near future to environmental and technologicaldisasters. According to data of law-enforcement bodies, no one nuclearpower plant in Russia has a complete set of facilities for radwasteconditioning. At three Minatom's enterprises for SNF reprocessing - inChelyabinsk, Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk about 400 million cubic meters ofradwaste are kept in open water reservoirs and basins. Solid radwaste aredisposed in burials just at the enterprises' sites, special storagefacilities are not created. At the North and Pacific fleets no specialstorage facilities to keep reactors unloaded from nuclear submarines arebuilt.

The nuclear agency's attempt to earn money, evading the Law, is not thefirst one, judging by the data of the Procurator-General's Office. By theway, one time, an attempt of the Moscow Joint-Stock Society «Sintez LTD»to import radioactive waste was prevented. The Scientific and IndustrialAssociation «Radon» was not allowed to conclude an illicit contract onradwaste reprocessing with a Taiwan firm. In Europe they begin to turndown with the practice of radwaste reprocessing. Their disposal is gettingmore beneficial and safe, from the point of view of European safetystandards. For certain, Switzerland will not be the last European country,willing to get rid of its radwaste at the expense of Russia.
January 14, 1999

WASHINGTON - US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said he hoped toresolved problems soon concerning a deal in which the United states.

WASHINGTON - US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said he hoped toresolve problems soon concerning a deal in which the United States agreedto buy 500 tons of highly enriched uranium from Russia to fuel Americancommercial nuclear power reactors.

"We hope soon to bring to closure the recent issues that have doggedourprogress on implementing this important agreement," he said Tuesday at aconference sponsored by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "There are still some issues we need to narrow down," he said. He gave nodetails.

Under the $12 billion 1993 deal, Russia was to convert 500 tons ofhighlyenriched material into low-grade uranium over 20 years. The fissile material, enough for 20,000 nuclear weapons, was to beextracted from decommissioned nuclear warheads and sent to the UnitedStates after dilution.

The US side had agreed to pay for both the natural and enrichedcomponentsthat make up low-enriched uranium.

But at the end of 1996 the United States stopped paying for theuranium'snatural component. Instead it said it was willing only to pay for theenriched part, and for the natural component it has been returning anequal amount of natural uranium.

Russian energy officials accused Washington of violating itsobligationsand said they would begin selling the natural uranium on world markets. US experts said the problem was complicated when the United StatesEnrichment Corp., Russia's partner in the 1993 deal, was privatized by theUS government last year and when Russia put a value on the uranium out ofline with world prices. Richardson said that already under the deal, 36tons of Russian HEU - enough for over 2,500 nuclear weapons - had beenblended down and delivered to the United States for use as reactor fuel.
January 21, 1999

The Start-2 Treaty fate may determine Russia's future. By AlexanderLebed.

The issue of ratification of the START-2 Treaty signed by thePresidentsof Russia and USA on January 3, 1993 in Moscow turned out to be one of themost important foreign policy problems in our country. However, in anycase a decision is to be made. In this connection I'd like to touch on thenext three points:

What was laid in the basis of the START-2 Treaty?

What is the objective situation in our strategic nuclear forces?

Is it necessary to ratify the START-2 treaty?

It was the parity criterion, that was laid in the basis of the Treatybetween the Russian Federation and the United States of America on furtherreduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms (START-2). The criterion reflected an approximate equality of the numberof warheads left in RF and USA after the Treaty's implementation. Such acriterion to a certain degree could be suitable 10-15 years ago.The START-2 Treaty, being conceptually positive as a tool of essentialreduction of the nuclear arsenals, inadequately reflects reduction ofnuclear might of the parties, their capability to grow quickly theirnuclear potential, if necessary.

Of course, the US "response potential", many times superior to that ofRussia, may be considered, after the START-2 Treaty implementation, as anelement of threat.

The question is - would be any munitions' stock necessary for thesecondand further nuclear strikes? Would be the strikes possible in general, andwhat would they give to attacking party?One should not also ignore the eventual enlargement of NATO towards theEast. Nuclear warheads' carriers may be found at the frontiers of RF.Nobody knows, what would be more dangerous to Russia: either "Minuteman"missiles with the time of flight about a half an hour or tactical nuclearweapons of NATO.

At last, the USA are successfully improving their long-range wingedmissiles, both air and sea based ones with either nuclear or non-nuclearwarheads.

That's why the re-orientation of a hundred of heavy bombers fornon-nuclear purposes, as it is determined by the Treaty, is practicallysenseless. The very term "re-orientation" is not suitable for such adocument.

Therefore the criteria laid in the basis of the START-2 Treaty are farfrom being indisputable.

And what is the objective situation in our strategic nuclear forces(SNF)?The claims of some politicians, as if the SNF have already degraded andmay be completely destroyed in 6-7 years because of aging, are toopessimistic. The main reason of the claims is the chronic lack of fundingof the Armed Forces and the defense industry.

The reduction of the SNF combat potential is not so dangerous as thetendency to their irreversible degrading. It relates particularly to theair and sea based SNF. Serious fears are caused by the level of warefficiency of the air based SNF, their strength is reduced to minimum. Thenumber of up-to-date aircraft-missile-carriers in the SNF structure willhardly exceed two tens in the near years, and that is incomparable withthe aviation constituent of the US SNF.

The intensity of combat patrolling of our nuclear submarines hasreducedby many times, their fighting stability is becoming unsatisfactory underthe conditions of growing activity of the US and NATO anti-submarinedefense. Our nuclear submarines come to unfitness because of failure ofrepair works. With such a level of funding of the Armed Forces in 7-8years only one or two nuclear submarines will stay on the war duty in ourNavy, and this rules out the growing part (according to the START-2Treaty) of the marine SNF.

The Strategic Missile Forces - the main constituent of the SNF - arealsofacing serious problems. Guarantee service-life terms of many missileswill be soon expired. At the same time several tens of "heavy" missiles,each having 10 warheads, should be destroyed, according to the START-2Treaty, long before expiring of their guarantee service-life terms. Guarantee resources of technical means of the SNF combat managementsystems are also expiring gradually, and this may lead, at last, to lossof their controllability.

Unlike Russia, which, according to the Treaty, is to abandon manyhundreds of its missiles and also their launching facilities, the USAwould limit themselves to abandoning of only 50 MX intercontinentalballistic missiles, about a hundred of missiles from four Ohio classsubmarines and 20-30 B-52 bombers. The rest reductions may be consideredas conventional.

Has Russia under such conditions an opportunity of quick growing of itsSNF, if necessary? Yes, it has.

However, having ratified the Treaty in its present form, Russia will benever able to make the "Topol-M" with MIRVed warheads. And it ispractically impossible in short terms to get from the industry thenecessary amount of the mono-unit "Topol-M" missiles. To overcome thesignificant lag to the USA, it would be necessary to invest annually tensbillions rubles to the SNF up-grading and development. Thereat, the goingon process of disarmament, Russia has been involved in by somepoliticians, should be taken into account. Even approximate calculationsshow, that it would be necessary to spend about 600 billion rubles forabandoning of 26.5 thousand units of heavy arms, in accordance with theTreaty on Armed Force Reduction in Europe, and also - of chemical weapons,according to the Convention on Prohibition of Development, Production,Accumulation and Use of Chemical Weapons, and for fulfillment of a numberof other international agreements.

Will our country have such means? It's unlikely.

Thus, the economical side of the problem is one of the most important.Despite the crises in the country's economy, the top interests of itssecurity require ensuring of a necessary level of budget financing of theArmed Forces. Otherwise, Russia would be simply unprotected against aneventual danger of military aggression. Thereat, it would of noimportance, whether the START-2 Treaty is ratified or not.

At last, it would be necessary to acknowledge frankly, that its signingwas a serious defeat of the Russian diplomacy. It was a result of ignoringby the diplomats of the opinion of specialists, in this case - those fromthe General Staff. The START-2 Treaty could be more admissible to Russia,and there will be no problems with its ratification.

The bombing of Iraq in December 1998 has clearly shown, whose will isdecisive and whose interests are being openly ignored. Such actions arepossible because of the absence of an efficient system of control andcounterbalance in the world's community.

It is not so difficult to estimate the military & political situation,asRussia lose its main means of nuclear restraint, according to the START-2Treaty. Thus, the START-2 Treaty implementation may inflict anirreparable strike to Russia's national security, therefore the issue ofits ratification should be canceled.

In March 1997 the Presidents of RF and USA have agreed to continue thenegotiation process aimed at further reduction of the number of nuclearwarheads to 2-2.5 thousand units for each party (as compared to 3-3.5thousand units under the START-2 Treaty).

In my opinion, the Russian party has to offer the Americans to pass toeven lower level of the nuclear munitions' number (by 1500-1700 units foreach party) and also - to give the both parties a free hand indistribution of the number of nuclear munitions among three components oftheir nuclear triad within the range of the set maximum amount, leaving apart of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles with the MIRVedwarheads.

The level of Russia's nuclear arsenal should be reduced mainly by meansofputting munitions, expiring their service life, out of the SNF combatduties.

To our country, taking into account its economical situation, the armsrace is inadmissible.

The new agreements, unlike the START-2 Treaty, should lead to actualreduction of the nuclear arsenal, taking into account the real state ofstrategic nuclear forces of both the USA and Russia.

Undoubtedly, today the necessity has become imminent in some othertreaty,that would link the issues of strategic offensive weapons with other kindsof nuclear weapons, protection means, including various versions ofanti-missile defense.
January 26, 1999

A Russian expert, an opponent of Minatom, thinks, that the "loveaffair"with Teheran is a real cause for anxiety to Americans, but not a formaloccasion.

"Novoye Izvestiya" published an interview of the corespondent DmitryFrolov with Vladimir Kuznetsov, a research fellow of the InternationalInstitute of Humanities and Policy Studies (formerly he was at theposition of the Chief of Inspectorate on Nuclear and Radiation Safety ofthe Gosatomnadzor of Russia, and then he headed the Center for Preventionof Emergency Situations at Objects of Nuclear Power Industry with theInternational Chernobyl Foundation). Answering the first question - towhat degree are the clauses of the Russian/Iranian deal keeping with thesafety - he said:

- The issue of US reaction to the contract on the NPP construction inBushier, to our assistance in creation of research reactors in Iran andformation of Iranian specialists should be ranked tenth or even twentieth.The only thing, that is really worth while talking about, is the issue ofsafety. Obviously, in the XXI century not only pragmatic, but moralattitudes will be among the world's top priorities. And Russia can hardlyexpect for strengthening of its influence, as far it inherits from theformer USSR the status of the main exporter of nuclear problems. TheSoviet nuclear expansion in 60s - 80s didn't tell in the best way on theworld's radiation safety. In the east Europe and the NIS countries 57nuclear reactors are operated now. Most of the nuclear plants built afterSoviet designs have a number of non-removable disadvantages.

Meanwhile the nuclear technologies were exported not only to theEuropeancountries. Nuclear facilities were also built by the Soviet Union inLibya, Iraq and Cuba. Besides that, with the support of the USSR nuclearresearch centers were created in the North Korea and Libya. By the way,one should take into account, that both Libya and Iran signed the nuclearcontracts, having huge resources of oil and natural gas, that may serve asa weighty, though indirect, evidence of their aspiration to possessingnuclear technologies not only for the purpose of power production. Andnow, as far as the Iranian affair is concerned, the point is, likely, aserious contribution to the nuclear program of Iran, though not thepresent-day, but to the future one.

Not only the probable development of nuclear weapons, requiringenormousoutlays, is dangerous, but also spent nuclear fuel, the much cheaperproduct of any nuclear power plant. It contains plutonium, one of the mosttoxic chemical elements, capable of poisoning vast territories.

D.F.: Of course, plutonium is a serious thing. But, judging by all,Minatom is not going to leave the plutonium containing spent nuclear fuelin Iran. If even with Switzerland preliminary negotiations are on,concerning their nuclear fuel reprocessing, we never miss the point inIran… Meanwhile the Bushier NPP is to be put under the IAEA control.

V.K.: I don't believe the IAEA to be capable of ensuring the necessarysecurity conditions. The nuclear weapons non-proliferation policies'failures in Pakistan, Israel , India and SAR confirm the doubts. TheRussian party's confidence in its ability to prevent accumulation ofplutonium in Iran also seems to be rather illusory. If they are notcapable of controlling nuclear technologies in the homeland, what can theysay about other countries? The physical protection system, that has beenthus far formed in Russia, is mainly based on guarding enterprises alongtheir fences perimeter. Thereat, however, the nuclear materials movesinside the enterprise are out of control. Thus, the system does notguarantee, that any non-authorized use of the spent fuel is impossible.It was a tradition , that spent nuclear fuel from all NPPs built abroadafter Soviet designs was always returned to the USSR for reprocessing.Today the tradition became the State's strategy. Meanwhile Russia is nowhardly prepared to large scale import of spent nuclear fuel. The state ofenvironmental safety in areas, surrounding the enterprises of nuclearfuel cycle - the Siberian Chemical Combine (Tomsk-7), Mining & ChemicalCombine Zheznogorsk) and "Mayak" (Chelyabinsk-65) - is catastrophic.There are in total about 440 million cubic meters of liquid radwaste and200 million cubic meters of solid radwaste accumulated on the sites of theenterprises of nuclear fuel cycle. However, the solid radwaste managementsystem does not practically take into account the presence of plutoniumand other transuranium elements, requiring special strict storageconditions. At the uranium hexafluoride production plant in Tomsk-7 withthe amount of plutonium in buried solid radwaste, exceeding 70 kilograms,there is no justification of nuclear safety. The situation at allaforementioned sites is similar. High level wastes are stored in tanks orpumped into deep underground collecting strata (nuclear safetyjustification of the pumping is also lacking).

Tens of kilograms of plutonium are accumulated in bottom-silt depositsofopen liquid radwaste storage reservoirs. The situation at radiochemicalplants causes extreme anxiety, because of both great volumes of theradwaste accumulated and radionuclides' concentration in the naturalenvironment, leading to loss of control for their migration. Problemslinked with the radwaste transportation should be added to all that. Thus,the "peaceful atom's" exports are sensibly hazardous not only to theimporting countries, but Russia itself. That's why Russia's nuclearexports will not help solving such global problems as nuclear technologyproliferation and crawling away of radioactive contamination, but willrather contribute to their increase and aggravation.
January 26, 1999

Washington and its allies share technologies of mass-destructionweaponswith third countries.

Reasons of the imposing sanctions against three Russian institutesarequite obvious: on the one hand, the Americans strive to oust Russia fromthe international market of peaceful nuclear technologies, and also tobring to minimum international contacts of Russian scientists, theopportunities of exchange and dissemination of scientific & technical andtechnological information; on the other hand, they are trying to representthemselves as almost the only guarantor of the regime of non-proliferationof mass-destruction weapons (MDW) and technologies of their manufacturing.In reality the USA themselves are violating the non-proliferation regime.So, Washington does not observe the Article IV of the Treaty on NuclearWeapons Non-Proliferation (TNWNP). The Treaty's participants, according tothe Article, should promote cooperation in the field of peaceful uses ofnuclear energy on the basis of equal rights and without anydiscrimination, without admission and creation of conditions for MDWproliferation. Just in observing of that part of the Treaty theWashington's selective "adherence to principles" determined, first of all,by its own political interests and "vitally important" values isappreciable.

In this connection the Reuters Agency records a surprising unconcern ofthe Washington's guardians of the TNWNP, as they had learned, that inDecember 1998 a British/French firm Matra-Bae-Dynamics signed an agreementon sale to Saudi Arabia of the Black Shahine winged missiles. The nextwill be deliveries of the Mica Em and Mica Ir "air-air" missiles. The samefirm has an agreement with the defense agency of the United Arab Emirateson deliveries of "air-land" and "air-air" missiles for the total sum ofseveral billions dollars.

The Western mass-media are also taking notice of the fact, thatWashingtonis making light of dubious "business relations" in the field of spacetechnologies of the British Surrey Satellite Technology firm with somecountries, being close to the "nuclear threshold". So, the firm hadorganized training of nuclear specialists from Pakistan, Chile, SouthKorea, SAR and some other countries. It is interesting, that thespecialists from South Korea then created in the country their ownresearch center and are actively engaged by the Ministry of Defense toimplementation of a program of making military missiles.

One more example is the situation around Iraq: the best Iraqispecialistsin the field of missile and nuclear technologies were formed ininstitutions of higher education of Germany, USA, Canada.

The Turkish newspaper "Turkiye" wrote, that more than 200 Western firmshad sold Iraq both technologies and components for production of chemicaland bacteriological weapons and their carriers. Among the countries, whichare in fact openly violating the regime of TNWNP and the Convention onProhibition of Chemical Weapons, the newspaper nominates, first of all,the USA, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Belgium, Poland,Greece and some others. "Those are striking Iraq now, who had sold it theweapons yesterday", the newspaper points out.

The Washington Henry L. Stimson Research Center states in arecentlypublished report, that the USA are systematically violating clauses of theinternational Convention on Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and in such away they are undermining the regime of its non-proliferation. The Center'sexperts state, that Washington has put itself in a complicated situation,because it legally proclaims the "double standard" policy in the MDWreduction and prohibition - for in-country and international uses.
January 27, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) - Customs officials successfully halted several attemptstoillegally transport nuclear materials through Russia last year, the chiefcustoms officer said Tuesday.

Valery Draganov said at a news conference that several attempts totransitthe materials were made "under the pretense of diplomatic immunity",Interfax reported.

The report did not say what materials were being transported or whichdiplomats might have been involved.

"The materials were not being exported from the Russian Federation, butwere in transit through Russian territory", Draganov was quoted as saying.The official added that "efforts against the illegal transport of nuclearmaterials will be one of the priorities in the law enforcement activity ofcustoms officials.
YADERNY KONTROL (NUCLEAR CONTROL). International security. Arms control.Nonproliferation. Journal of the PIR-Center for Policy Studies. Volume43.
Number 1. Moscow.
January-February, 1999

The Editorial states, "One of the most essential problems, which hascome on the forefront of world nonproliferation agenda in recent years, isthe necessity to develop a new global system of export control.

The acuteness of this problem is quite understandable: the multipolarsystem of international relations start to be shaped in economic field butinitially and most vividly it expresses itself in the military sphere.And, obviously, access to military technologies becomes one of the mostalarming issues of a new multi-polar world order. In fact, we are facingnow a difficult challenge: we have to decide what to do next. We caneither improve the existing system of limitations, which is based on theprinciples, elaborated in the Cold War period, or we can take the mostadvanced national principles and systems and after the period ofadaptation to global realities offer them to the international community.However, the most fruitful way would be to come to a world consensus onthe export control issues through broad and intensive discussions on theproblems, arising in the field. The lack of the aforesaid consensus on theUNSCOM inspections in Iraq has already led to rather negativeconsequences. Nevertheless, bearing in mind the significance of theinspections in Iraq, we can say that they just serve as another example ofinternational nonproliferation policy, aimed against proliferation of theweapons of mass destruction. Shaping of the global export control systemis a matter of relations with dozens of states and the system should beflexible enough to exist for a long period of time. It is not difficult toimagine what consequences for the world community will have incorrectperception of export limitations, especially if they are treated asnon-legitimate by a group of developing countries. We can't count on thesafety of international trade, which has far more than two or three gatesfor the outflow of technologies and you'll never be able to close all thegates with sentries.

What would be the Russian policy on the matter? As it was demonstratedbythe recent crisis with Anglo-American missile attacks against Iraq, Russiais not able to make its Western partners change their mind throughdialogue or political statements. It is even less probable that Russianposition on these issues will be taken into account, due to its formermerits or in order to support democracy. Export control in the long run isa matter of economic and military-technological domination in the XXIcentury and none is going to share the benefits with potential rivals, orlet's say competitors.

So, any dialogue with the West or the East should be based on effectivenational (political and bureaucratic) system of export control. Russiangovernmental institutions should be released from administrative clinch insolving these problems. Top management of our industries should get rid ofits geopolitical infantilism, while seeking for and selecting foreignpartners. Its high time we worked out and presented to the world communitynew proposals on restructuring the international system of control overproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and critical technologies".
December 25, 1998

For the present 53 environmentally hazardous objects in Russia havenoaerial cover, the Smolensk NPP is among them.

This week the RF State Duma unanimously decided to invite the DefenseMinister, Igor Sergeyev , at its session in February 1999. The DefenseMinister is supposed to make a report on the issue of guarding nuclearpower plants. Meanwhile, the NPPs have never been guarded by the troops ofMinistry of Defense.

"Nuclear power plants are civilian objects, and that's why they werealways guarded and are guarded now by the Interior Troops (IT) of theMinistry of Internal Affairs (MVD), - Albert Istomin, the IT press-servicespokesman, commented the decision of Duma's deputies, - all NPPs areattributed to the category of very important State objects, which havebeen always guarded by MVD but not the Defense Ministry".

The Deputy Alexander Vengerovsky (Zhirinovsky's LDPR faction) initiatedthe invitation of Igor Sergeyev to the State Duma. He managed to persuadethe deputies in the issue's urgency, especially "in the light of thelatest events around Iraq". Vengerovsky explained, that it was not theNPPs' protection per se to be of interest, but specifically the plants'aerial cover. For the present 53 environmentally hazardous objects inRussia don't have any aerial cover, the Smolensk NPP being among them(zenith & missile cover of the plant was lifted not so long ago). Andthese are only the first signs: Kalinin and Bilibino NPPs are to be thenext. The point, as always, is the lack of means, but nevertheless, theobjects should be protected. Otherwise, foreign inspectors will come tous, terrorists will appear. There are no such means (hundred millionsdollars) in the Federal Budget, may be the money could be found inregional budgets.

Why not, in fact? But if the problem could be really solved in such away(that is quite unrealistic), it should be mentioned, that despite theMinatoms optimistic statements, the terrestrial protection of the NPPs isalso not so good.

Igor Forofontov, the Coordinator of Nuclear Program of the GreenpeaceofRussia, says: "The plants are well protected, indeed, but from commonpeople, not from those, who are striving to penetrate into their sites'areas. Environmentalists managed many times not only to penetrate into thesite, but even to get close to spent nuclear fuel storage facilities. Theobjects are not guarded efficiently, though they are attributed to aspecial category".

Lidiya Popova, the Head of the Nuclear Policy Center of the Social &Economical Union, states: "Of course, military nuclear objects are guardedbetter, as compared to civilian ones, the latter being no less hazardousto the population. It can be evidenced by thefts of metallic scrap(sometimes radioactive), construction materials from NPP sites. It isrecognized all over the world, that nuclear power plants are veryvulnerable in a case of military or terrorist actions. And one should takeit serious, as Chechens claim, that if they decide to commit a terroristaction at a Russian NPP, some "their" people in the IT would assist them". Today there are 9 operating nuclear power plants in Russia: Balakovo,Beloyarsk, Leningrad, Kalinin, Kursk, Smolensk, Novovoronezh, Kola andBilibino. All of them, except Bilibino NPP, are situated in the denselypopulated European part of the country.

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