A. Nuclear Power Industry
1. Western, Russian Firms To Upgrade Bulgaria N-plant, Reuters(07/09/99)
2. Energy-Russia: Poverty, Not Computers, Threatens Nuclear Plants,Interpress Service (07/09/99)
B. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Maneuvers Show Russian Reliance on Nuclear Arms; Atomic AttackSimulated, NY Times (07/10/99)
C. ABM, Missile Defense
1. Russia Urges U.S. Not to Scrap ABM Treaty, Xinhua (07/10/99)
1. Forum Urges US and Russia to Reduce Nukes to 1,000 Each, Itar-Tass(07/10/99)
E. U.S. - Russia General
1. The Prather Report, Robert Novak (07/12/99)
A. Nuclear Power Industry
Western, Russian Firms To Upgrade Bulgaria N-plant
July 9, 1999
(for personal use only)
SOFIA, Jul 9, 1999 -- (Reuters) Germany's Siemens AG, France's Framatomeand Russia's Atomenergoexport on Thursday signed a 314 million euro($309 million) contract for the modernization ofBulgaria's two nuclear units at Kozloduy.
The three companies, which have formed European Consortium Kozloduy,will start implementing themodernization program of the two more modern 1,000-megawatt reactors atthe Soviet-made Kozloduy nuclear plant next summer and finalize it by2005.
Bulgaria's Energy Committee chairman Ivan Shilyashki said half of theprogram's financing would come from European Unions' Eurotome and therest would be ensured by Bulgaria's own funds and with the help of loansfrom the countries which are in the consortium.
"Siemens (Power Generation Group), which are consortium leaders, willperform more than 50 percent of the whole program DM 340 million marks($177 million)," Siemens senior official Dietrich Kuschel told Reuters.
Part of Siemens's main contribution to Kozloduy's modernisation would bebuilding up independent power supply in the unit which would not beconnected to the national power grid and thus would ensure safeoperation of the plant, he said.
Framatome's task is to do almost 20 percent of the whole project andpart of its involvement is a study ofsafety measures such as accident analysis, fire protection and seismicprotection, said Framatome's Nuclear Operations Vice President HerveFreslon.
The remaining 30 percent of the program will be implemented by theRussian side, said first Deputy General Director of Atomstroyexport IgorPrihidko.
"We have built, designed and equipped the plant with Russian technology.We know these power units much better than anybody else," Prihidko toldReuters, adding that they would upgrade the units' mechanical equipment.
Officials said the three companies in the consortium had experience andhad already worked together inthe modernization of two Soviet-made nuclear units in Mohovice inSlovakia.
The modernization of units five and six at Kozloduy would also helpBulgaria decommission its four olderKozloduy 440-megawatt reactors.
The European Union, concerned about safety of the four old reactors, hasbeen pressing Bulgaria to close them down as soon as possible.
Energy-Russia: Poverty, Not Computers, Threatens Nuclear Plants
July 9, 1999
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW, (Jul. 9) IPS - While concerns grow in the West about Russia'snuclear industry's capability to meet the "millennium bug" computerdeadline, Russian experts warn that the real threat lies in unhappyworkers and lack of maintenance.
These days many of Russia's 29 nuclear plants are hardly in a positionto worry about the so-called Year 2000 bug -- when computers' clockswill mark "00" and are expected to go wild -- if salaries go unpaid formonths, and repair and modernization work is delayed.
The Sosnovy Bor and Kursk plants in central Russia, for example,reportedly do not have enough money for required repairs becausecustomers are not paying their electricity bills.
Civilian workers in Russia's nuclear arms industry have already warnedof a catastrophe of Chernobyl proportions if the government does notfind money soon to pay off wage arrears and carry out essentialmaintenance.
Nuclear power development has been stagnating world-wide since thedisaster in Chernobyl (Ukraine) in April 1986.
Three thousand nuclear power plant workers in Snezhinsk, Russia's UralMountains region recently launched a strike because they have notreceived salaries for more than three months. Representativesof the Russian Union of Atomic Industry Workers have said that "hungry"nuclear workers are dangerous.
The estimates of funding needed to address the problem in Russia'snuclear power sector vary from $10 million to $700 million, PiotrPertsov, manager of the Year 2000-bug project, told IPS. "I'd say theactual cost should be somewhere between $50-$70 million, but it isunlikely that the money will be found," he added.
Russia's total bill to protect itself from the Year 2000 computer bug isestimated somewhere between $200-$300 million and $3 billion.
However, some Russian experts argue that the year 2000 computer glitchwill not threaten Russia's power stations, as most of them are notcontrolled by computers. The real problem is safety standards.
"Obviously, there is Year 2000-bug problem in Russia's nuclear sector,though many facilities are not highly computerized as to pose a realthreat," Alexander Khlebnikov, chief expert of the Russian ResearchCenter "Kurchatov Institute," told IPS.
The Moscow-based center is the successor of "Laboratory No.2." foundedin 1943 and which became the cradle of the Soviet nuclear program.Kurchatov is an umbrella organization for scores of research units witha total 7,000 staff.
But this once elite scientific center -- which could be essential insolving the computer bug issue in Russia -- suffers now of acuteunderfunding and its staff also goes unpaid for months.
These days Russian nuclear power plants are operating at only one-thirdof their output of two years ago, because of fuel shortages and delaysin repairs.
"We do hope to prevent Year-2000 related problems in the Russiannuclear sector, because it's obviously much cheaper than dealing withits possible consequences," said Colonel Sergei Nekhoroshev of Russia'sEmergency Ministry. And the pessimistic scenario becomes nightmarish aswe have some 10 high-risk nuclear and chemical facilities around Moscowalone," he said.
However, Nekhoroshev sounded upbeat in the country's ability to upholdnuclear safety, at a recent conference on the issue in Moscow.
A recent study by the National Research Council of the U.S. NationalAcademy of Sciences concluded that the U.S. government should provideRussia with more financial and technical support the next decade toupgrade safety standards and to protect Moscow's plutonium and highlyenriched uranium stocks from theft or diversion into nuclear weapons.
But Russia has consistently rejected Western claims that its nuclearmaterials are poorly guarded or that its safety systems are belowinternational standards. No radioactive materials have been reportedstolen from Russia's nuclear facilities for the past three years, thanksto more efficient controls and growing apprehension that they are hardto sell, according to Nikolai Redin, who oversees security issues at theNuclear Power Ministry. He said there were about 30 failed attempts tosteal radioactivesubstances.
To keep Russia's nuclear material from disappearing abroad, Russian,European and U.S. partners opened a Center to track stockpiles ofuranium and plutonium, and to deal with technical issues, including theYear 2000 bug.
Unlike other major nuclear powers, where the industry is being graduallyphased-out, Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov believes that Russiaand the whole world should increasingly rely on atomic plants to meetenergy requirements and predicts that the present trend will bereversed.
He argues that nuclear power should provide 30 to 40 percent of Russia'senergy needs, up from its current 12 percent.
He says Russia should make a profit out of its reprocessing facilitiesand start letting other nations pay to send their radioactive waste forreprocessing and storage here. The ministry has reportedly offered toreprocess $10 billion worth of nuclear waste at its Chelyabinsk plantfrom Switzerland, Germany, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan and eventuallyJapan. The deal, however is not expected to materialize any time soon.
In the meantime, Russian nuclear technology is finding markets aroundthe world. Russia insists -- in spite of Chernobyl -- that itstechnology is safe enough to go overseas, asserting that securitysystems not only meet, but even exceed international standards.
Joint nuclear plant projects are on its way in Cuba, India and Iran.Russia is helping Iran build a nuclear plant at Bushehr -- a project theUnited States strongly opposes, arguing that Iran -- a country stillhigh in Washington's black list -- may use it to develop nuclearweapons. Russia and Cuba have agreed to create a joint venture tocomplete a partially-built nuclear reactor at the Juragua power stationin Cuba. Construction of two Soviet-designed, light-water reactors beganin the early 1980s, but financial problems in both Cuba and the SovietUnion forced a halt. Russian officials are also discussing theimplementation of a 1998 agreement to build a two billion-dollar nuclearplant at Kudankulam, India.
The export of nuclear technology is one of many efforts by Russianauthorities and individuals to take economic advantage of the areas inwhich Soviet science and technology once excelled and which looknow doomed due to the country's accelerated downfall in the past nineyears.
In spite of projects and hopes, he fact remains that -- as it oftenhappens in Russia nowadays -- the country lacks proper financial andhuman resources to combat the millennium bug in its nuclear industry,said Sergei Zykov, head of International Science and Technology Center,a multilateral body designed to assist the former Soviet nuclear sector.
B. Russian Nuclear Forces
Maneuvers Show Russian Reliance on Nuclear Arms; Atomic AttackSimulated
Michael R. Gordon
New York Times
July 10, 1999
[for personal use only]
MOSCOW -- Reflecting its growing dependence on nuclear weapons fordefense, Russia's military carried out mock nuclear strikes in a majorexercise last month, the Defense Minister said Friday.
The exercise was the largest since the collapse of the Soviet Union in1991. It involved 50,000 troops, bombers, tanks and warships from theBarents Sea to the Black Sea.
One of the scenarios for the exercise underscored the expanding rolenuclear weapons have been playing in the Russian military's strategyand plans in recent years.
According to the script for the military exercise, disclosed Friday ata news conference by Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, Russia came underattack by an unspecified Western foe, which used non-nuclear forces.
At first, Russia also tried to limit its attacks to conventionalforces. But its cash-starved non-nuclear forces failed to stop theenemy onslaught, forcing the leadership to turn to its stillformidable nuclear arsenal.
"The exercise tested one of the provisions of Russia's militarydoctrine concerning a possible use of nuclear weapons when all othermeasures are exhausted," Marshal Sergeyev said. "We did pursue suchan option. All measures were exhausted. Our defenses proved to beineffective. An enemy continued to push into Russia. And that's whenthe decision to use nuclear weapons was made."
During Soviet times, Moscow and Washington piled up huge nucleararsenals as they sought to best each other in the arms race.
Still, Russia's conventional forces were enormous. In those years itwas NATO, fearing that it was outnumbered, that openly threatened toinitiate the use of nuclear weapons in response to a non-nuclearattack.
Now that the Soviet Union has collapsed, however, the tables haveturned. The West has become less dependent on nuclear weapons. As theconflict with Yugoslavia showed, NATO fights its wars with withlaser-guided and satellite-guided non-nuclear bombs and missiles.
But with Russia's military spending projected this year at about $4billion (compared with about $260 billion for the Pentagon), theonce-mighty conventional forces have deteriorated.
Russia's forces failed to defeat Chechnya's rebels, and Russiangenerals are no longer confident that they can prevail over moreserious threats. And with a faltering economy, nuclear forces arevirtually the only way Russia can lay claim to being a world power.
"Russia's military believes that it must rely more than ever on thefirst use of nuclear weapons," said Bruce Blair, a specialist onRussian nuclear capabilities at the Brookings Institution. "It is partpsychological and partly a planning assumption."
The first sign of Russia's increasing dependence on nuclear weaponscame in 1993 when the Defense Ministry abandoned the Soviet-era pledgenot to be the first to use nuclear weapons.
Then, as NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia reinforced the sense here thatthe West has a huge lead in conventional military technology,President Boris N. Yeltsin met with his top national security advisersto discuss plans to compensate for Russia's faltering conventionalcapabilities by developing short-range, tactical nuclear weapons.
The projects and plans that were approved remain secret. But VladimPutin, the secretary of the Security Council, said Yeltsin hadapproved a "blueprint for the development and use of nonategicnuclear weapons."
None of this means that NATO and Russia are necessarily on a collisioncourse. The Yeltsin Government has pledged to cooperate on armscontrol, including seeking Parliament's approval of the Start-2 treatyreducing strategic nuclear arms.
And on Thursday, Yeltsin enjoined a group of Russian generals tocooperate with NATO in enforcing the peace in Kosovo.
"The problem of our relations with NATO and the U.S.A. is very subtledelicate and difficult," Yeltsin said. "Every one of you must pursuethe same line -- the President's line. We shall certainly not quarrelwith NATO outright, but nor do we intend to flirt with it."
Russia's recent exercise, however, demonstrated the competitive natureof the relationship. The weeklong exercise, which was held in lateJune, was planned last year but adapted to take account of the Yugoslavconflict, including NATO's ability to attack at long range withprecision-guided bombs, Marshal Sergeyev said.
The military aim of the exercise was to test command procedures fordefending western Russia and Belarus from an attack from the West.
"To verify the authenticity of the decisions and test procedures fortroop control, more than 50 military units participated in theexercise," Marshal Sergeyev said. "There have been extensive structuralchanges to the forces in recent years, and we have to practice theirmanagement and regain units' operational skills."
The political aim appeared to be to demonstrate to the world as well asto the Russian public that the military is still a credible fightingforce.
During the exercise, two old turbo-prop Bear bombers approached Icelandwhile a couple of new Blackjack bombers approached Norway. Russianships maneuvered under the watchful eyes of Western reconnaissanceships and aircraft.
Officially, the Defense Ministry declined to specify who the imaginaryenemy was. The aim, Marshal Sergeyev told the Russian Itar-Tass newsagency, was to rehearse the defeat of the enemy and the recapture oflost territory.
Some Russian observers were less diplomatic. The Defense Ministry, thenewspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta noted, refuses to say who the adversaryis. "But few doubt that the enemy is NATO's armed forces in Europe,"it added.
C. ABM, Missile Defense
Russia Urges U.S. Not to Scrap ABM Treaty
July 09, 1999
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW (July 9) XINHUA - Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev saidFriday that scrapping the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty(ABM) would derail the process of the reduction of strategic weapons.
"If the ABM treaty is repudiated, irretrievable damage will be done tothe process of reducing the number of strategic offensive weapons,"Sergeyev said.
He said Moscow has repeatedly warned that a planned U.S. nationalanti-missile defense system would in effect signify a U.S. withdrawalfrom the treaty.
The minister said the ABM treaty underlies the entire system ofstrategic weapons reduction.
He said the process had been successful during the Cold War and is sotoday, that agreements are being made and that a monitoring mechanismhas been set up, the Interfax news agency reported.
The ABM treaty "must be preserved and its provisions fulfilledprecisely," Sergeyev said.
Forum Urges US and Russia to Reduce Nukes to 1,000 Each
July 10, 1999
(for personal use only)
TOKYO, July 11 (Itar-Tass) - Major nuclear powers as represented by theUnited States and Russia, in the process of reductions in their nucleararsenals, should cut down the number of nuclear warheads to 1,000 oneach side. This would also promote steps to reduce nuclear weaponstockpiles by other countries which possess these weapons of massdestruction.
The newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported on Sunday that this proposal isincluded in a package of recommendations prepared by the Tokyo Forum forNuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. The recommendations also urgeadoption by the United Nations Security Council of a resolution on theproblemof weapons of mass destruction and on measures to strengthen the regimeof the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The recommendations are to be officially made public in the Japanesecapital after July 20 and referred to the Prime Minister Keizo Obuchiwith a call to exert appropriate influence on nuclear powers.
The idea of convening such a forum was suggested in June last year by MrObuchi who was Japan's Foreign Minister at the time. The Forum wasconceived as a kind of an international "brainstorming" atnon-governmental level to work out effective nuclear disarmamentmeasures after the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistanrendered the nukes proliferation threat real.
A Japanese Foreign Ministry official has told Itar-Tass that the Forumis being attended by experts from 18 countries, including the five"recognised" nuclear powers -- Britain, China, Russia, the UnitedStates, and France -- as well as India, Pakistan, and a number of othercountries.
Among the experts, there are also officials who act, however, in apurely private capacity. The co-founders of the Forum are the JapaneseInstitute of International Problems and the Hiroshima Institute ofPeace. The Forum sessions were held in Tokyo, Hiroshima, and New York.
E. U.S. - Russia General
The Prather Report
July 12, 1999
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON -- Jack Kemp last Wednesday released a startling documentthat was quickly consigned to oblivion. An experienced weapons scientistfound that the Cox Report erred in claiming Chinese espionage penetratedU.S. weapons laboratories, while failing to recognize Clintonadministration culpability. As much as President Clinton would rathernot hear this, Republicans like it even less.
That goes for William J. Bennett, Kemp's fellow Republican wise man andco-director of their conservative Empower America organization. Thereport by Gordon Prather, a nuclear physicist with long experience ingovernment weapons programs, was commissioned by Kemp to produce anEmpower America report. But Bennett barely glanced at the finishedproduct when he said: Not on my watch! The Prather Report was quietlyreleased under Jack Kemp's personal aegis, not his organization's.
A scientist and no politician, Prather takes 26 pages to demolish theimpressions left by the bipartisan report of the select House committeeheaded by Republican Rep. Christopher Cox of California. He declaresthat Clinton's unilateral nuclear disarmament opened the nation'snuclear secrets to the world, while the post-Cox Report tightening ofsecurity actually enlarged the true menace of Russian nuclearproliferation by ending cooperation with Moscow. There goes the Clintonadministration's credibility. There goes the GOP's Chinese peril. Nowonder nobody likes it.
Prather for many years had access to national secrets, but not inpreparing this analysis. He relied on the Cox committee's report and,significantly, the widely ignored findings by government technicalexperts (requested by Cox after he submitted his committee's findings tothe administration).
The Cox committee's principal charge: "The People's Republic of China'spenetration of our national weapons laboratories spans at least the pastseveral decades, and almost certainly continues today." That, saysPrather, "is almost certainly not true." Nor, he adds, is there evidencethat China ever stole anything from the labs, that any lab scientistever gave the PRC classified information or that China has incorporatedU.S. secrets into its weapons systems.
On the contrary, Prather says that Clinton's policy of "openness" at theU.S. weapons labs "damage" future national security. The United Stateslet it be known that it never would build another nuclear weapon, and"invited the PRC weapons scientists to come over and check us out." Withmillions of pages of secrets made public, there was "no need to 'spy'since the Clinton administration has thrown open the gates."Furthermore, the Prather Report suggests that openness was intended toextract Chinese secrets. If China's scientists picking up openlydisplayed U.S. secrets after being invited to get them is defined asespionage, "then the Clinton administration asked U.S. lab scientists to'spy.'" Prather dismisses highly publicized charges that Taiwan-bornPeter Lee, a U.S. scientist employed at the Los Alamos laboratory, stolesecrets of the neutron bomb and a miniaturized thermonuclear warhead.Whoever allowed the Cox committee to make these "ridiculous"allegations, says Prather, "did so because the alleged spying incidenthappenedon Reagan's, not Clinton's watch."
The real post-Cold War threat, contends Prather, is proliferation ofRussian nuclear weapons. The administration's "draconian" securitymeasures taken in the wake of the Cox Report "are going to furtherdevastate our own nuclear weapons infrastructure while killing the oneset of programs (cooperating with Russia) which had any chance ofpreventing the proliferation of Russian 'loose nukes.'"
Faced with the prestigious Cox's bipartisan probe, it is politicallyunderstandable that the Clinton team supported heaping blame on theChinese. But why should Republicans ignore the experts upon whom Pratherrelies? Why should Bill Bennett refuse to accept the judgment of his oldcomrade Jack Kemp?
Bennett declined to discuss the matter with me on the record. But, theRepublican establishment is permanently wedded to the demonization ofChina. The lead editorial in the last Weekly Standard (co-authored byeditor William Kristol, Bennett's former chief-of-staff) suggests thatthe United States should turn from the Balkans to China "to checkBeijing's ambitions." That suggests Republicans are too committed toChinese-bashing to pay close attention to Kemp's cover letter to thePrather Report: "The White House is using the espionage angle to maskthe real security risk, which comes not from foreign spies but ratherfrom the Clinton administration's own ill-conceived security strategy."