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Nuclear News - 06/30/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 30 June, 1999

A. CTR
1. Dr. Edward Warner, Assistant Secretary for Strategy and ThreatReduction U.S. Department of Defense "Russian-U.S. MilitaryCooperation," USIA (06/28/99)

B. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Russian Bombers Practice Over North Pole, Associated Press(06/28/99)
2. Duma Approves Funding For Nuclear Forces, RFE/Rl Newsline (06/25/99)

C. Nuclear Waste
1. Navy LRW takes one year's capacity at Atomflot, Bellona (06/29/99)
2. Money for Spent Nuke Fuel Better than IMF Loans, Adamov, Itar-Tass(06/28/99)
3. Japan To Finance Recycling Of Russia's Nuclear Arms, InterfaxRussian News (06/28/99)
4. Russia Resists Recycling Old Ships, Baltimore Sun (06/25/99)

D. Nuclear Power Industry
1. Two People Irradiated at Russian Nuclear Facility, Itar-Tass(06/28/99)
2. Radioactive Leak Reported in Russian Plant, Xinhua (06/28/99)
3. Duma Calls For Vote Before Building Nuke Facilities, VladivostokNews (06/25/99)

E. Russia - Iran
1. Russia May Build Three Nuclear Plants in Iran, Agency, Reuters(06/28/99)
2. Iranian Minister To Discuss Nuclear Cooperation During Visit ToRussia, AP Worldstream (06/28/99)

F. ABM, Missile Defense
1. June Target Date Set for Missile Defense Accord with Russia,Washington Post (06/29/99)
2. Star Wars: Conservative 'Go Slow' Approach Urged; Missile DefenseBill Sent to the President, U.S. Newswire (06/29/99)
3. 1972 Treaty Shouldn't Bar Deployment, AP Online (06/28/99)
A. CTR
Dr. Edward Warner, Assistant Secretary for Strategy and ThreatReduction
U.S. Department of Defense "Russian-U.S. Military Cooperation"
[excerpt]
United States Information Agency
June 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

"MR. BERTEL: You're watching "Washington Window," and we are going toreturn now to TV Volga for another question.

Q: Dr. Warner, before the war in the Balkans the United States ofAmerica used to allocate funding for Russia to eliminate their nuclearweapons. Will this practice continue afterwards?

DR. WARNER: Interestingly this effort, which is called the cooperativethreat reduction program, which was begun back in 1992, and is funded byU.S. dollars from our defense budget, was continued at full speed evenduring the conflict in Kosovo. This cooperation has grown over theyears. We have spent over $2 billion over these last seven years or soin this effort, and the vast majority of that money has been spent inRussia. We continue to have a program. For example, we have before theCongress for their consideration right during this session a program forthe year 2000, whose value would be about $470 million. We continue topursue this effort. We have many different contracts underway forcontinuing the effort in cooperation with Russian enterprises. It isdirectly primarily against the nuclear legacy from the Cold War era, butit also has dimensions relevant to chemical weapons and the small butgrowing portion relevant to biological weapons. The cooperative threatreduction program named for Senator Nunn and Senator Lugar, who actuallygot the program underway in the early 1990s, remains one of theflagships of the U.S.-Russian cooperation in this era. We just a fewweeks ago concluded an umbrella agreement to extend our work in thisarea over the next seven years. The individual funding will be grantedby the U.S. Congress on a year-by-year basis, but we have very strongsupport for this effort. So we envision that we will be workingcooperatively in this area for several years to come."
B. Russian Nuclear Forces
Russian Bombers Practice Over North Pole
Associated Press
June 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- Long-range Russian bombers flew over the North Pole andtest fired strategic missiles during recent military exercises, adefense official said Monday.

The exercises involving Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers were conducted lastweek as part of military exercises code named "West 99," air forcespokesman Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky was quoted as saying by theITAR-Tass news agency.

The planes made 15-hour flights which took them over the Atlantic beforeheading to the Arctic and crossing the North Pole, the spokesman said.Long-range missiles were test fired and hit targets in southern Russia,he said.

The six days of exercises, aimed at testing Russia's ability towithstand an attack along its western border, were among the largestmaneuvers held in recent years.

More than 30 ships, several nuclear powered submarines, 10,000 troopsand a number of aircraft from Russia's Baltic Fleet took part in theexercises, which ended Saturday, the Defense Ministry said Monday

Army units in western Russia and Belarus were also involved in themaneuvers.

Russia insisted that the maneuvers were not connected to NATO's bombingraids in Yugoslavia, which officially ended June 16. But Moscow seesNATO as a threat, and the alliance's campaign raised calls in Russia toboost military spending.

Moscow vehemently opposed NATO's air war against Yugoslavia and played aprominent role in mediating a peace plan for Kosovo.
Duma Approves Funding For Nuclear Forces
RFE/Rl Newsline
June 25, 1999
(for personal use only)

The State Duma passed a law on funding Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forcesuntil 2010, "Izvestiya" reported on 25 June. According to the daily, thelaw "restores some semblance of financial order to the Strategic NuclearForces" by requiring the Finance Ministry to transfer the forces' fundsto the Nuclear Energy and Defense ministries every three months. It alsoprohibits the government from using budget funds allocated for theforces to repay debts. Duma Defense Committee Chairman Roman Popkovichsaid earlier that it was essential to pass this bill before the Dumacould start addressing the issue of ratifying the START-II treaty. TheDuma is scheduled to deal with the treaty's ratification during itsfirst fall session after the summer break (see "RFE/RL Newsline" 21 June1999).
C. Nuclear Waste
Navy LRW takes one year's capacity at Atomflot
Thomas Nilsen
Bellona
June 29, 1999
(for personal use only)

The special tanker Serebryanka arrived at Atomflot this week with 700tons of liquid radioactive waste from the naval shipyards inSeverodvinsk. Another 700 tons will be shipped to Atomflot in September.

The two shipments of liquid radioactive waste (LRW) from the navalshipyards in Severodvinsk to the nuclear icebreaker base Atomflot inMurmansk amount to a total of 1,400 tons, nearby the maximum annualcapacity of the cleaning facility at Atomflot. The first shipment of 700tons of liquid radioactive waste is still on board the tankerSerebryanka, awaiting unloading at Atomflot. The challenge for Atomflotis the lack of onshore storage room for the waste. To ameliorate thesituation, Atomflot may transfer some of the LRW to the Imandra, anothervessel for storage of spent nuclear fuel, while the rest goes intoonshore storage tanks.

The present cleaning facility at Atomflot has a total annual capacity of1,500 tons. A new facility with a capacity of 5,000 tons is underconstruction, with financial assistance from Norway and USA. The newcleaning facility was intended to start its operation in 1996, but hasbeen delayed several times for unknown reasons. Under the present timeschedule, it will start operating in December this year, but manysources in Murmansk tell Bellona Web even this is unlikely. Norwegianofficials says they might withdraw the economic aid to the new facilityif its construction is not completed by the end of 1999.

When the new cleaning facility begins operating, the present one will beclosed down. With a capacity of 5,000 tons of LRW annually it will coverthe needs of both the civilian nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet and theNavy's Northern fleet.
Money for Spent Nuke Fuel Better than IMF Loans-Adamov
Itar-Tass
June 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

OBNINSK, June 28 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Atomic power ministry wantsto get a permission to process and bury in Russia nuclear waste from allwishing clients saying that would bring considerable profits.

"To get money for the reprocessing and dumping of spent nuclear fuel isbetter than borrowing money from the IMF," Atomic energy MinisterYevgeny Adamov said on Monday. He added that the proceeds could go tocashapped national pension and insurance funds.

At present Russia's environmental law bans the dumping in Russia ofwaste nuclear fuel from countries whose nuclear power plants Russia didnot help construct.

Adamov said his ministry was going to make to parliament a "proposal tochange this article of the law".

He insisted that a priority for the atomic industry is Russia's presenceon the service market in reprocessing and dumping of spent nuclear fuel.
Japan To Finance Recycling Of Russia's Nuclear Arms
Interfax Russian News
June 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

The Japanese government will disburse around $200 million foreliminating the nuclear arms of the former USSR, which are slated forreduction or obsolete. This allocation will finance the recycling of theweapons-grade plutonium from nuclear warheads and the dismantling thewritten-off submarines of the Pacific fleet.

Japan set up a$ 100 million fund for these purposes in 1993. Nearly twothirds of this sum was spent for recycling liquid nuclear waste fromsubmarines, to avoid discharging it into the sea. The remaining $35million will be included into the $200-million allocation.
Russia Resists Recycling Old Ships
Russell Working
Baltimore Sun
25 June 1999
(for personal use only)

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia -- At the end of a bay filled with the sunken hulksof the once mighty Soviet navy, a former military vessel called thePallada is moored at a private dockyard, waiting to be cut down toscrap. It might be a long wait. Business at the Svatko Ltd. scrap yardshould be booming. The bays around Vladivostok, once a closed naval-basecity of 700,000 on the Sea of Japan, are filled with rustingbattleships, submarines and troop transports -- at least 101 large- andsmall-tonnage vessels, many sunken.

Foreign firms are eager to buy the ships for scrap metal. But Svatko hasnot scrapped a ship for months. The regional government refuses to renewits license.

Combined with 43 corroding nuclear submarines in nearby Bolshoi Kamenand dozens more vessels around the Russian Far East, the rusting hulkspose an enormous environmental hazard. Private companies are trying toclean up the derelict ships and make a buck in the process, but they sayRussia'sbureaucracy, corruption and insider politics are driving them out ofbusiness.

"I have all the necessary technologies for underwater work, but I can'tdo it," says Yevgeny Biryukov, president of Epron Co., a firm thatsalvages ships. "Bureaucrats at all levels ignore the [environmental]problem. "And it is the same all over the Far East. In Kamchatka, one oftheir submarines sank. They raised it, but it sank again."

Contemporary Russia is in economic paralysis, but the problem predatesthe current troubles. For decades, the Soviet Union mothballed old shipssimply by abandoning them in local bays. But as the ships grow older,the ecological costs of using the sea as a junkyard become increasinglyevident.

"Sea water is very aggressive," says Boris Preobrazhensky, chief of theLaboratory for Undersea Studies with the Pacific Institute of Geographyin Vladivostok. "When a ship sinks, the water quickly destroys it,forming heavy metal salts. This forms compounds with organic substancesand spreads all over the sea."

There are other dangers. Of the 43 nuclear subs moored 12 miles fromVladivostok across Lazurnaya Bay, Biryukov says, "If any of them sinks,it would be such a disaster that nobody will ever come to help raise itfrom the sea floor."

At least a start has been made on the Bolshoi Kamen subs. U.S. firms,with funding from Japan, are assembling a floating facility to recyclenuclear waste from them, although that effort has run into delays. Butother scrap ships lack high priority for cleanup and are probablydestined to sit on the bottom unless a private business can be persuadedto help.

Salvage can bring in $70 a metric ton, down from $140 in 1996 but stillmore than an average monthly salary in Vladivostok. And that is "hard"foreign currency, not unstable rubles -- international trade with Russiais often done in U.S. dollars.

That kind of money can tempt officials to get in on the deals, andeveryone from fire inspectors to health officials has been demandingextravagant inspection fees, according to Anatoly Kovalyov, head ofSvatko,which employs 107 people.

Scrap-metal dealers have been the targets of more ominous pressuresbecause, they say, the regional government has been hinting that it isinterested in reasserting state control of scrap-metal exports. Onedealer says that a ranking official showed up drunk with a carload ofcronies and began shooting at buoys out in the bay. The director of thefirm happened to be a former member of an elite police force, and hephoned some of his former colleagues, who came and shooed off thedrunks.

Until 1996, the Russian navy owned its abandoned and sunken ships. Thussalvage businesses could cut a deal with the navy to buy hulks and sellthem to South Korean scrap-metal dealers. But when the State PropertyCommittee assumed control, the ships became tangled in a growing web ofbureaucracy and corruption, Kovalyov says. He must fly to Moscow to getpermission to clean the bay, and he is often met with open demands forbribes.

Recently the government denied Kovalyov's application for a new license,although he had already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars intoSvatko.

The federal government blames Svatko for its own problems.Nadezhda Kolosyuk, head of the licensing department for the FederalCommittee to Protect the Environment, says Kovalyov didn't submit thenecessary papers and has been guilty of bad ecological practices.

"He made a lot of infringements of environmental laws," she says. "Hedidn't clean up his company's property, and he burned oil inside anabandoned ship."

The problems in cleaning up sunken ships don't lie only with Russiancompanies and bureaucrats. Foreign firms hired to clean up the bays havealso proved to be less than reliable, says Altair Tyumenev, director ofTransfes-Eco. Tyumenev is one of a handful of classmates from the FarEastern Marine Academy who decided, upon graduation, that they reallyweren't interested in going to sea. Instead they formed a business toclean the bays.

The effort may sound hopelessly optimistic here. The city pumps its rawsewage into the sea; it deals with garbage by dumping it off a seasidecliff; and it has done nothing about the contaminated soil around an old

Stalin-era oil reservoir that leaked tons of petrochemicals over theyears.

Who would expect to make money on maritime cleanup in Vladivostok?

But Transfes-Eco found its niche removing garbage from visitingfreighters and contracting to encircle offloading fuel ships with a boomthat contains oil spills. The firm provided its boom services to aSouth Korean scrap-metal company in Trud Bay on Vladivostok's RusskyIsland. But the company cut off the tops of ships at water level,leaving the vessels even more dangerous to navigation because they arehard to see from the bridge of a moving ship. The Korean company alsofailed to pay Transfes-Eco for its work, Tyumenev says.

The ecological hazards are exacerbated by vagrants who steal nonferrousmetal from the ships. During the four months of the year when the sea isfrozen, they can walk out to a ship, break in and steal whatever theycan carry. In spring and summer, vagrants steal boats along the shore,row out to the ships and even build fires on decks. They often know justwhat they are looking for. "They are ready to sink a ship for a bottleof vodka," Biryukov says. "They sneak out on a boat and steal a metalvalve, and the boat will sink. "I saw myself how a tugboat sank within40 minutes after one guy unscrewed a valve to get [10 pounds] of metal."
D. Nuclear Power Industry
Two People Irradiated at Russian Nuclear Facility
Itar-Tass
June 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

OBNINSK, June 28 (Itar-Tass) - Two people were exposed to radiation atthe Tomsk-7 nuclear facility in western Siberia and Atomic energyMinister Yevgeny Adamov blamed poor use of the emergency protectionsystem for that.

Adamov, who just returned from Tomsk, said on Monday that the nuclearincident happened there two weeks ago and was rated at level two underthe seven-point international scale of incidents.

"The possibilities of the emergency system were not fully used" duringthe incident, the minister told a conference devoted to the 45thanniversary of the launching of the world's first nuclear power plant,which opened in the town of Obninsk on Monday. He did not give any otherdetails.

Adamov said that in September his ministry would open a situationalcrisis centre whose function would be routine and crisis management ofthe nuclear industry.

He said "the model of vertical management of the sector must be rigidand effective" and the centre would be set up to ensure this.

According to Adamov, at present the plutonium-manufacturing reactors arebeing replaced in Tomsk-7.

"Now we do not need plutonium manufacture (there)," Adamov said. He saidthat the nuclear sector's electricity output was 103 billionkilowatt-hours last year. This year's target is 110 billionkilowatt-hours.
Radioactive Leak Reported in Russian Plant
Xinhua
June 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (June 28) XINHUA - Two Russian workers suffered exposure to highdoses of radiation two weeks ago in a chemical plant in the central partof the country, Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov said onMonday.

He blamed the failure of the emergency prevention system rather than anyhuman error for the radioactive leak in the Siberian Chemical Plant inSeversk, Tomsk region, on June 14, the Interfax news agency reported.

Adamov, who is attending a meeting in Obninsk, Kaluga to mark the 45thanniversary of the launch of the world's first nuclear power plant, saidthat the managers of the plant in Seversk had done their best to preventemergencies, but the prevention system failed to work properly.

The accident was originally attributed to a human error committed inrepairing a reactor.

Radiation was kept inside the hall that houses the reactor, in the wakeof the occurrence of the emergency rated level 2 on the 0- 7 levelscale. Level 7, the worst level, applies to the Chernobyl disaster,Adamov said.

The minister said a crisis center would be set up in Moscow in Septemberto monitor the daily operation and safety of the country 's nuclearpower stations.
Duma Calls For Vote Before Building Nuke Facilities
[excerpt]
Anatoly Medetsky
Vladivostok News
June 25, 1999
(for personal use only)

"The Primorye Duma gave preliminary approval to a bill requiring a votebefore building new radioactive facilities in the region at its June 16session.

The bill was one of a series of actions in a session that alsoestablished how to remove a governor who breaks the law.

Under a law passed in a first reading, a construction of nuclearinstallations can only be allowed after a referendum. Also, authoritiesshould take safety measures whenever a nuclear-powered ship sails into a

Primorye port to protect the population and environment in case ofaccidents.

If a nuclear-powered ship is in distress and wants to call at Primoryeharbor, it should send an advance warning to the port, the Primoryeadministration, and the local government.

The regional administration, which sponsored the bill, said it isnecessary because Primorye and the neighboring territories already havenuclear facilities including the Bolshoi Kamen's Zvezda nuclearsubmarines repair yard and institutes that use sources of ion rays.

In other business at its June 26 meeting . . . "
E. Russia -Iran
Russia May Build Three Nuclear Plants in Iran -Agency
Reuters
June 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin gave thego-ahead Monday for discussions with Iran on building three nuclearpower plants in that country, Interfax news agency said.

It said the Atomic Energy Ministry had made the proposal but did not saywhen the talks might start. Officials were not immediately available forcomment.

Russia is already building a nuclear reactor for Iran in the Gulf portof Bushehr in a deal worth $800 million.

The United States and Israel have often urged Russia to suspend nuclearcooperation with Iran, fearing that Tehran might use the technology todevelop nuclear weapons.

Washington has imposed sanctions on a string of Russian scientificinstitutes and companies which it says are helping Tehran to acquireweapons of mass destruction.

Moscow denies the charges, saying all its nuclear cooperation with Iranis of a strictly civilian nature.
Iranian Minister To Discuss Nuclear Cooperation During Visit ToRussia
AP Worldstream
June 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

Iran's interior minister will discuss the prospects for Russia's helpin the construction of three new nuclear reactors during his visit toMoscow this week, the Interfax news agency reported.

Russia is helping Iran build a nuclear plant at Bushehr a project theUnited States strongly opposes for fears Iran would use it to develop anuclear bomb. Moscow says the plant cannot be used for weaponsprograms.

The plant has one reactor, but late last year Iran asked Moscow toconduct a feasibility study on building three more reactors on the samesite.

Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin has approved a draft protocolon the project, and the document will be discussed during the three-dayvisit by Iranian Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, which beginsTuesday, the Interfax news agency reported.

The interior minister is also expected to meet with his Russiancounterpart Vladimir Rushailo and sign an agreement on cooperation incombating drug trafficking, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

Iran is planning to buy two An-124 cargo planes and two Tu-204passenger airliners from Russia, Interfax reported. A group of Russianaviation officials will travel to Tehran on Tuesday to discuss the plan,the report said, citing the Aviastar company, which manufactures theplanes.
F. ABM, Missile Defense
June Target Date Set for Missile Defense Accord with Russia
Walter Pincus
Washington Post
June 29, 1999
(for personal use only)

The Clinton administration hopes to have an agreement with Russia bynext June on modification of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty thatwould permit the United States to go ahead with a limited nationalmissile defense system, a senior State Department official saidyesterday.

John D. Holum, President Clinton's nominee to be undersecretary of statefor arms control and international security affairs, told a SenateForeign Relations subcommittee that "sometime in the next weeks orperhapsmonths," the Pentagon will decide what a national missile defenseagainst a limited attack would look like.

Once that decision on the "architecture" is made, Holum said, "Ourintention is to complete an agreement on permitted national missiledefense . . . by next June, when there would be a deployment decision"by Clinton.

Holum added: "It's important that the decision on architecture will bemade based on the threat, based on security considerations. Then we'lldecide what amendments to the treaty are needed and how to approach thetreaty. We're not saying protect the treaty, so tailor the defense tofit the treaty."

The schedule could slip, a White House spokesman said yesterday, becausethe Pentagon wants to complete four tests before making itsrecommendation to the president.

At their recent meeting in Cologne, Clinton and Russian President BorisYeltsin agreed that later this summer a U.S. team would present toRussia the modifications to the ABM treaty needed to permit the proposedsystem.

Holum, who headed the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for six yearsbefore it was merged into the State Department, said he believed that nomatter what the proposed U.S. missile defense system looked like, itwould require ABM treaty changes.

Holum also said the system's architecture "should be geared toward thethreat, also geared toward the technology that we have available to meetthe threat . . . [and] based very heavily, obviously, on therecommendations of the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs onwhat they feel will be an effective defense."

Responding to a question submitted by committee Chairman Jesse Helms(R-N.C.), Holum said he thought the administration would delaysubmitting to the Senate for approval 1997 amendments to the ABM treatyagreed to by Clinton and Yeltsin.
Star Wars: Conservative 'Go Slow' Approach Urged; Missile DefenseBill
Sent to the President
U.S. Newswire
June 29, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON, June 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- In a public ceremony intended topromote its interpretation of the legislation, the RepublicanCongressional leadership today formally sent to President Clinton a newlaw that would make the development of a national missile defense whentechnologically possible the policy of the United States. PresidentClinton has indicated that he will sign the bill, but he has publiclydiffered with the Republican view of its significance.

"This politically-motivated law does not repeal the law of physics,"said John Isaacs, president of the Council For A Livable World. "Despitethe investment of over $120 billion in research and development, theplain fact is that missile defense systems have failed 14 out of 17tests. We need to take a conservative,go-slow approach until the science catches up with our imaginations."

Isaacs added: "Despite its flaws, President Clinton should use this newlaw to establish commonsense thresholds to be met before a missiledefense deployment decision can be made -- operational effectiveness inreal-world situations, cost-effectiveness, and a net reduction innuclear dangers. We should not risk the security of American families athome or America's soldiers on the battlefield on unproven theories.Before we decide to deploy missile defense systems, we must make surethey will work every time."

The Administration has indicated that it might make a deploymentdecision in June, 2000. Before a deployment decision can be made,national missile defense systems should:

-- Have a clearly-defined, achievable mission that reflects a realistic,adaptive missile threat;

-- Be shown to be operationally effective against realistic threats byrigorous testing against the full range of targets and countermeasuresthat could be launched by a country capable of fielding a long-rangemissile;

-- Be affordable;

-- Be pursued in a balanced fashion along with other measures to reducenuclear threats; and

-- Have an overall impact that will reduce nuclear dangers, taking intoaccount its potential impact on arms reductions and nuclearnon-proliferation.

"Even a fully-successful, fully-deployed missile defense system doesnothing to protect us from the greatest threats we face -- thousands ofaging nuclear weapons in a politically-unstable Russia, and terroristswho are more likely to build a car bomb than an intercontinentalballistic missile," Isaacs concluded.
1972 Treaty Shouldn't Bar Deployment
Tom Raum
AP Online
June 28, 1999
(for personal use only)

The United States should not be bound by a landmark 1972 arms-controltreaty in moving toward deployment of a national missile defensesystem, the Clinton administration's top arms-control official saidMonday.

John Holum, acting undersecretary of state for arms control andinternational security affairs, told the Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee that deployment decisions should be based on what best servesthe national interest.

His comments, which echoed those of congressional Republicans, followedRussian President Boris Yeltsin's agreement earlier this month toconsider reviewing the 1972 Anti- Ballistic Missile treaty, which bansboth American and Russian missile-defense systems.

The threat of a nuclear attack by a rogue nation "is clearly veryprominent" as an area of concern, far more so than just a few years ago,when the administration believed such a threat was still years in thefuture, Holum said.

The Clinton administration earlier opposed moving ahead with alarge-scale missile defense program, saying it would violate terms ofthe treaty.

But in a compromise with congressional Republicans, President Clintonlast spring agreed to support legislation committing the nation to amissile-defense system. Top Republican leaders were to rally Tuesday onthe Capitol steps to applaud Clinton's signing of that measure.

"In light of new estimates on the ballistic missile threat, inparticular from North Korea and Iran, national missile defense is nowcloser to becoming another integral part of our strategy againstproliferation," Holum testified.

Holum appeared at a nomination hearing to be the first person to servein the new post. He had served since 1993 as director of the ArmsControl and Disarmament Agency, but that agency went out of business onApril 1 when its functions were merged with the State Department.

Holum's nomination was expected to be approved by the panel, perhaps asearly as Wednesday, when it also votes on the nomination of RichardHolbrooke to be United Nations ambassador.

The administration says it will make decisions on missile defense systemdetails next June.

Rather than blindly following the ABM restrictions, "I believe ourmissile defense should be geared toward threat" and toward technicalfeasibility, Holum said. "We want it to work."

The administration still intends to withhold from the Senatemodifications to the ABM treaty agreed to in 1996 by Clinton andYeltsin, Holum said.

He reiterated the administration view that the modifications, mainlydealing with impact on the agreement of the breakup of the Soviet Union,should be delayed until after Russia ratifies a 1993 treaty calling forreduction in nuclear warheads.

After delays caused by airstrikes against Iraq and Yugoslavia, theRussian Duma may consider the so-called START II measure when itreconvenes in September, Holum said.

"We fully expect the Russians to ratify START II," he said.

Chairman Jesse Helms, R-N.C., and other Senate Republicans havecomplained about the administration's tactics, and wanted the ABMmodifications submitted to the Senate immediately.

However, Yeltsin's agreement to reopen the part of the agreementdealing with missile defense has appeared to ease some of the GOPobjections.



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