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Nuclear News - 07/21/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 21 July, 1999

A. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Army Loses Control Over Air Space Due to Electricity Cut, Itar-Tass(07/20/99)
2. Power to Russian Nuclear Forces Is Shut Off, Washington Post(07/21/99)
3. Russia Nuke Fleet Needs Y2K Funds, Associated Press (07/20/99)
4. U.S. Prods Russia On Y2K Missile Concerns, Reuters (07/21/99)

B. Nuclear Waste
1. Pasko Walks Out As A Free Man, Bellona (07/20/99)

C. Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission (GCC)
1. Russia Energy Minister to Attend Commission Session in US, Itar-Tass(07/21/99)

1. President Kicks off Drive to SaveTest Ban Treaty, Associated Press(07/20/99)
2. Senators Urge Immediate CTBT Ratification, USIA (07/20/99)
3. Transcript of Clinton Remarks in a Statement on the ComprehensiveTest Ban Treaty, U.S. Newswire (07/21/99)
A. Russian Nuclear Forces
Army Loses Control Over Air Space Due to Electricity Cut
July 20, 1999
(for personal use only)

KHABAROVSK, July 20 (Itar-Tass) -- Units of the 11th air and air defensearmy in the Russian Far East temporarily lost control over the air spacedue to a cut in electricity supplies to military objects, a spokesmanfor the army staff said on Tuesday.

The Khabarovskenergo stock company, which provides electricity to theunits, decided to cut the supplies as the army had not paid forelectricity on time.

"Fortunately, the cut caused no emergency situations. But the successfulperformance of missions in the sector was indeed threatened," thespokesman said.

The stock company's decision was a direct violation of the Russiangovernment's directives prohibiting electricity cuts to strategicmilitary objects. It caused a break in the functioning of radar andmissile systms, as well as those protecting weapon depots andcantonments.
Power to Russian Nuclear Forces Is Shut Off
Units on Border With China Go Dark Temporarily for Failure to Pay Bill
Sharon LaFraniere
Washington Post
July 21, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, July 20 -- In the latest sign of the Russian military's financialstraits, units in charge of Russia's nuclear forces in the Far Eastreported being left without power this week because the utility bill hasnot been paid.

The cutoff temporarily incapacitated military radar in the Khabarovskregion on the border with China, local air defense chief AnatolyNogovitsyn said, according to the Associated Press. Water pumps quitworking and dozens of garrisons went dark, according to unit commanders.

The Russian news agency Interfax said electricity was cut off to unitsresponsible for the strategic rockets that make up Russia's "nuclearshield" and for controlling Russia's air border.

The central command of the Strategic Missile Forces later said in astatement that the cutoff had only affected support facilities, notcombat units.

However, the military's press service acknowledged the situation wasworrisome.

It was at least the third time in a year that sensitive militaryinstallations have found themselves without power because of unpaidbills.

A local authority switched off electricity to a northern naval basewhere nuclear-powered submarines were located last fall, and a missiletesting site was also temporarily left in the dark.

To military experts, the cutoffs are only one of the more obvious signsof how Russia's control over its nuclear arsenal continues to weaken.

Its early warning system for detecting ballistic missile launches hasdeteriorated to the point that space satellites can no longer cover U.S.missile sites around the clock.

The conventional forces are in no better shape: Soldiers live indeplorable conditions and sometimes solicit passersby on city streetsfor money to buy bread.

The Russian government, determined to show its military is still a forceto be reckoned with, has staged large-scale military exercises in recentmonths. The Kosovo war provided the military its best argument in sometime for more funding, and Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin has promisedto increase defense spending.

But in the Far East this week, the Khabarovskenergo power company gottired of waiting. Company officials said the military owed more than $16million and had ignored all pleas and warnings. Military officialscontend the debt was less than $6 million, and say complaints should bedirected to the Finance Ministry in Moscow, which has failed to send thefunds.

After a meeting with the regional governor, power was restored--but onlyfor the next three weeks, according to the newspaper Izvestia.
Russia Nuke Fleet Needs Y2K Funds
Associated Press
July 20, 1999
(for personal use only)

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- Russia's Northern Fleet, which bristles withnuclear weapons, lacks funds to deal with the ``millennium bug'' thatcould cause havoc with its computers, a Norwegian group warned Tuesday.

The Oslo-based Bellona environmental group said the fleet's warningsystems are especially vulnerable to the Y2K problem, which could leadcomputers to make false reports of missile attacks.

In 1995, Russia was on the verge of launching a nuclear counterstrikewhen it mistook a harmless weather rocket fired from Norway for a NATOmissile.

The Northern Fleet is based on the Kola Peninsula of northwesternRussia, and operates 40 nuclear-powered submarines and three nuclearsurface ships, according to Bellona, which specializes in studying theregion.

``The authorities are trying to give the impression that they are doingsomething in hopes of calming the population. Unfortunately, Russia isfar behind the West in solving this problem,'' Bellona researcher IgorKudrik was quoted as telling the Norwegian news agency NTB.

Russia has acknowledged that most of the nation's vital computer systemsprobably will not be ready for 2000.

However, the Pentagon has played down the risk of an accidental nuclearstrike by Russia caused by a computer glitch because its militarysystems still depend heavily on human operators, said the Bellonareport.

The Northern Fleet has also said its nuclear weapons can only belaunched manually.

The United States has proposed that the countries jointly monitornuclear weapons on New Year's Eve. However, a dispute between thenations over the Kosovo conflict put all military cooperation on ice.
U.S. Prods Russia On Y2K Missile Concerns
July 21, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON, Jul 21, 1999 -- (Reuters) The United States has again askedRussia to join inminimising the risk of a missile-launch misunderstanding at the heightof Year 2000 computer uncertainties, the U.S. Defense Department said onTuesday.

Moscow, which froze contacts in late March over U.S.-led NATO bombing ofan ally, Serbia, has notyet replied to the latest U.S. overture, said a Pentagon spokesman,Lieutenant Commander Anthony Cooper of the Navy.

"We have sent communications inviting them to participate in get prepared for thetransition that we're talking about," he said. "We have not had a replyyet."

In reply to a query from Reuters, Cooper said the new U.S. overture was"fairly recent" without specifying its exact date. He declined tocharacterise Russia's delay as a matter of concern to the Pentagon atthis point.

Other U.S. officials said privately that the fresh bid to nudge Russiaon meeting 2000-related challenges was sent 10 days ago. The StateDepartment did not reply to a question about any U.S. concerns over thelag.

At issue is a proposed temporary "early warning" centre that would keepmissile-launching commanders constantly aware of what the other side wasseeing and doing during the potentially troublesome date rollover.

Simulations have shown that older computers and microchips could crashor malfunction by misreading the year 2000 as 1900, the result of an oldprogramming shortcut based on a two-digit date field.

A facility designed to be shared with Russia to head off any falsealerts has already been set up by the United States at Peterson AirForce Base, near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

President Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin set the project inmotion when they met in Moscow last September as part of a post-Cold Warplan to share early warning data about long-range missile launches.

Before the U.S.-led NATO bombing of Serbia drove U.S.-Russian ties totheir lowest ebb of the post-Cold War period, the United States andRussia had been talking regularly about 2000-related computer issues.

Pentagon officials say they are fully confident, based on extensivetesting, that critical systems in the U.S. nuclear chain of command willwork flawlessly during the date change. They also say they see virtuallynopossibility of accidental launches because humans must make finaldecisions in both countries.

But Pentagon planners have voiced doubts about whether all such Russiansystems can be relied on to make the transition glitch-free, partlybecause Moscow began its upgrades later and partly because it isstrapped for cash to carry them out.

"What people fear is that if they are unable to get initial data, theywill be nervous, and therefore could be more prone to make a wrongdecision," Edward Warner, assistant secretary of defense for strategyand threat reduction, told a Pentagon news briefing on Feb. 25.

He added that with so much at stake, "any insurance or buffers you canput further into the (missile warning) system seem worthwhile."

The proposed shared Centre for Y2K Strategic Stability, as the Coloradosetup has been dubbed, was designed to let a handful of U.S. and Russianofficers sit side-by-side while monitoring data from U.S. satellites andground sensors.

Interpreters would be available and the officers would be in directcontact with so-called national command authorities -- those with theirfingers on the nuclear button -- in both countries. The missile-launchdata would flow to the proposed joint centre from the North AmericanAerospace Defense Command (NORAD) combat operations centre burrowed intonearby Cheyenne Mountain.

The idea is to bolster Russian confidence that Moscow would haveadequate warning of any hostile missile launches at the start of the newnew year. Assuming the Russians eventually join, the current plan was tobegin specialised training on December 1 for those who would staff it.

The centre would be fully operational on Dec. 27, said Air Force MajorPerry Nouis, a spokesman for NORAD and the U.S. Space Command atPeterson Air Force Base.
B. Nuclear Waste
Pasko Walks Out As A Free Man
Thomas Nilsen and Igor Kudrik
July 20, 1999
(for personal use only)

Navy captain Grigory Pasko was sentenced to three years in prison, butwas given amnesty right in the courtroom and walked out as a free man.The presiding judge Dmitry Savushkin said the court had rejected theinitial charge of high treason against Pasko. In an interview withBellona Web after his release this morning, Pasko said he would go backto his newspaper and continue his job as an environmental journalist.

Grigory Pasko spent one year and eight months in custody on high treasoncharges fabricated by the Russian Security Police, or the FSB. Theprosecution called for 12-years sentence and continued to insist on ituntil today. But the FSB failed in their case against Pasko. TheVladivostok Military Tribunal dismissed the high treason charges, butsentenced him for three years for abusing his official position. Thecourt said that while being a military journalist he gave video filmsand documentation about the Pacific Fleet's dumping of radioactive wasteinto the sea to the Japanese TV in 1993. The Tribunal thereafterdeclared that Pasko was given amnesty.

"This is very, very good news," says Diederik Lohman, director of theMoscow office of the Human Rights Watch. Lohman says the court decisionis amazing. "In 99,5 percent of all criminal cases in Russia a chargedperson is either found guilty or his case is sent back for furtherinvestigation. In the Pasko case, they had to convict him for something,but the verdict of today is still very good news," Lohman adds.

Going to get rid of all 'bugs' first

When Bellona Web took telephone contact with Grigory Pasko today hesounded tired but excited.

"There is no way the court could dismiss the whole case", Grigory Paskosays. "It has been no cases in history when high treason chargeslevelled by the KGB/FSB were dismissed unconditionally", Pasko adds. Hesays the court tried to please both the Russian Security Service and therest of the world by finding a compromise.

His lawyers say they will appeal the verdict further up in the courtsystem to get their client pronounced 'not guilty' on all charges.

Talking about his immediate plans Grigory Pasko said he would continue towork for Pacific Fleet'sofficial newspaper Boevaya Vakhta (Battle Watch). "And no son of a bitchcan prevent me from doing so," Pasko adds. Although he was sure he wouldbe fired shortly on some pretext.

"But the very first thing I am going to do today is to remove all 'bugs'installed by the FSB in my apartment", Pasko says wearily.

Grigory Pasko thanked everyone who gave him support which helped him tostay firm during the almost two-year ordeal.
C. Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission (GCC)
Russia Energy Minister to Attend Commission Session in US
July 21, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, July 21 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Atomic Energy Minister YevgenyAdamov will leave for the U.S. on Saturday to take part in a session ofthe bilateral commission headed by Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin andVice-President Al Gore.

Adamov and Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, who are co- chairmen ofthe Nuclear Energy Committee, will make reports at the commission'ssession.

They will pay special attention to the implementation of a treaty on theuse of highly enriched uranium taken from nuclear weapons.

A 1993 agreement binds Russia to provide the U.S., during 20 years, with500 tonnes of lowly enriched uranium, while the U.S. will send Russianatural uranium.

Adamov will also meet Undersecretary of State John Holum and haveappointments in Congress.
President Kicks off Drive to SaveTest Ban Treaty
Associated Press
July 20, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Clinton led a drive by a bipartisan groupTuesday to salvage a stalled treaty signed by 152 countries for a globalban on nuclear test explosions. Treaty supporters promised an aggressivecampaign in the Senate to try to force a vote.

"The question now is whether we will adopt or whether we will lose averifiable treaty that will bar other nations from testing nuclearweapons," the president said.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which Clinton signed in 1996, hasbeen held up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led by Sen.Jesse Helms, R-N.C., because of disputes over other matters.

"Unfortunately, the test ban treaty is now imperiled by the refusal ofsome senators even to consider it," the president said in a briefaddress in the Rose Garden. "If our Senate fails to act, the treatycannot enter into force for any country."

At a news conference in the Capitol, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, thesenior Democrat on Helms' committee, said Republicans holding up thetreaty "will pay a price for their irresponsibility."

The refusal of Helms to schedule a hearing and of Senate Majority LeaderTrent Lott, R-Miss., to pull the treaty out of the committee andschedule it for a floor vote "is counterintuitive, it is irresponsible,and it is stupid," Biden said.

The president's remarks coincided with the intensification of a campaignby senators from both parties to dislodge the treaty from the ForeignRelations Committee and bring it to the Senate floor for a vote toratify, which 41 nations already have done.

"It is high time that the Senate acted on it," said Sen. Arlen Specter,R-Pa.

Supporters released a poll, conducted jointly by Democratic pollsterMark Mellman and Republican pollster Richard Wirthlin, showing that 82percent of Americans in a June survey said they wanted the treatyapproved when its purpose was explained. Seventy-one percent said theystrongly wanted ratification.

Some 80 percent of those identifying themselves as Republicans supportedratification, as did 86 percent of those identifying themselves asDemocrats. Among those identifying themselves as conservativeRepublicans, support for ratification was 79 percent.

The June 18-21 opinion survey of 1,000 adults had an error margin ofplus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Before moving on the test-ban treaty, Helms wants the administration tofirst submit to the Senate modifications in the 1972 Anti-BallisticMissile treaty agreed to three years ago by Clinton and RussianPresident Boris Yeltsin. The administration says it will submit themodifications but only after Russia ratifies START II, a treaty limitingthe numbers of strategic missiles the United States and Russia can have.

Helms also wants the administration to submit the climate treatynegotiated in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, even though it would facelikely defeat. Clinton said he is withholding the treaty untildeveloping nations agree to participate, improving the pact's chance ofpassage.

Clinton said both the ABM and climate treaties "are literally not ripefor presentation to the Senate yet," and it would be "a grave error" tohold up the test-ban treaty.

Helms' spokesman Marc Theissen said the senator made clear to Clintontwo years ago that the test ban treaty was in line behind the climateand ABM treaties. "The president cannot on the one hand demand swiftaction on treaties he wants us to act on, but on the other hand deny theSenate the right to vote ontreaties he doesn't want us to consider," Theissen said.

Further, he said the test ban cannot go into effect until North Koreaand Iran ratify it. "You find me someone who thinks that's going tohappen, I've got a bridge in Hong Kong I want to sell you," Theissensaid.

Treaty opponents argue it could threaten America's ability to deliver aneffective nuclear strike, should one be needed. Clinton said the nationalready has "a robust nuclear force, and nuclear experts affirm that wecan maintain a safe and reliable deterrent without nuclear tests."

Clinton pointed to the nuclear arms competition between India andPakistan.

"Do we want these countries and other regional rivals to join a test bantreaty, or ... do we want to scrap a treaty that could constrain them?"Clinton said.

He said other major nuclear powers -- Russia, China, Britain and France-- have signed the treaty. He asked: "Do we want to walk away from atreaty under which those countries and scores of others have agreed notto conduct nuclear tests?"
Senators Urge Immediate CTBT Ratification
Susan Ellis
July 20, 1999
(for personal use only)

Washington -- A bipartisan group of senators held a news conference July20 to urge that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty be ratified at once.

Senate Minority (Democratic) Leader Thomas Daschle pointed out that onSeptember 24, 1996, "President Clinton became the first of 152 worldleaders to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty," which bans alltesting of nuclear weapons. It was submitted to the Senate forratification where it has languished since, unratified.

"It is especially important that the Senate act before the September1999 deadline for ratification by 44 countries," Senator Tom Harkin,Democrat of Iowa, said in a written statement distributed at the newsconference. "If the United States fails to ratify the CTBT, then we willnot have a voice in the special international conference which willnegotiate how to accelerate the treaty into force. Yet, as a signatory,we will still be bound by its provisions."

Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania epitomized the view ofsupporters in his party when he said CBTB ratification is "really,basically, a matter of survival."

He said the issue of ratification was "brought into very sharp focus thespring of last year when we had nuclear tests by India and Pakistan; andsince the spring of 1998 there has been a very tenuous situation withwar about to break out, fighting on the India-Pakistan border, and withthe capability for those warring nations to (use) nuclear weapons,"which he called "a threat to the world's stability."

Specter pointed out how difficult it is for the United States "to stepin and advocate a peaceful resolution, to arbitrate or negotiate thosedifferences, when the United States has not ratified the ComprehensiveTest Ban Treaty."

Senator Joseph Biden, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee, said that arguments against ratification which center on thethreat posed to the United States from nations that still do testing,dissolve since "We don't test anyway ... (and haven't) since 1992."

He continued "We're the only country in the world which, with a highdegree of certainty, does not need to test in order to be certain thatour nuclear arsenal ... is in fact reliable. So this is overwhelminglyin the interests of the United States of America."

The CTBT "is important in the fight against weapons of mass destruction(WMD)," said Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan. In order tocreate WMD, he said, "it is central that they be tested....And so the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is an anti-proliferation weaponat its core."

The CBTB also makes it possible for the U.S. to have on-site inspectioncapabilities that it does not have today, he added.

Levin also related the CTBT to recent allegations of Chinese espionage.In order to use the weapons they have "supposedly stolen," he said,"they need to test them. They signed the (CTBT) but if we do not ratifythat treaty, it seems to me we give them the chance to get off thehook."

A July 1999 poll by Wirthlin Worldwide shows that Americans support aban on nuclear testing by an 82-14 percent margin, with 4 percent notexpressing an opinion. The Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers says theissue crosses party lines, with CTBT approval at 86 percent forDemocrats, 81 percent for Republicans, and 71 percent for independents.

Asked by a reporter what Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott ofMississippi gives as the reason for his opposition to CTBT ratification,Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, responded: "The publicdescription is that they will not allow this treaty to come to the floorof the Senate until certain changes are sent to the Senate (by PresidentClinton) that have been negotiated with Russia with respect to the ABM(anti-ballistic missile) treaty.

"So this treaty is leverage.... But in my judgement this injures ourcountry's interests. Our country's interest is to lead. China is waitingfor us; Russia is waiting for us ... and holding this hostage for thatin my judgement hurts our ability to provide the leadership on the worldstage that we ought to be required to provide at this point."
Transcript of Clinton Remarks in a Statement on the Comprehensive TestBan Treat
U.S. Newswire
July 21, 1999
(for personal use only)

THE PRESIDENT: . . . But President Kennedy was also concerned thattechnology, if misused, literally could destroy life on Earth. Soanother goal he vigorously pursued was one first proposed by PresidentEisenhower, a treaty to ban for all time testing of the most destructiveweapons ever devised -- nuclear weapons.

As a first step, President Kennedy negotiated a limited test ban treatyto ban nuclear tests except those conducted underground. But for far toolong nations failed to heed the call to ban all nuclear tests. Morecountries sought to acquire nuclear weapons and to develop ever moredestructive weapons. This threatened America's security and that of ourfriends and allies. It made the world a more dangerous place.

Since I have been President, I have made ending nuclear tests one of mytop goals. And in 1996, we concluded a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty ^Ö152 countries have now signed it, and 41, including many of our allies,have now ratified it. Today on Capitol Hill, a bipartisan group ofsenators is speaking outon the importance of the treaty. They include Senators Jeffords,Specter, Daschle, Biden, Bingaman, Dorgan, Bob Kerrey, Levin, andMurray. I am grateful for their leadership and their support of thiscritical agreement.

And today I want to express again my strong determination to obtainratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. America already hasstopped nuclear testing. We have, today, a robust nuclear force andnuclear experts affirm that we can maintain a safe and reliabledeterrent without nuclear tests.

The question now is whether we will adopt or whether we will lose averifiable treaty that will bar other nations from testing nuclearweapons. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty will strengthen our nationalsecurity by constraining the development of more advanced and moredestructive nuclear weapons, and by limited the possibilities for morecountries to acquire nuclear weapons. It will also enhance our abilityto detect suspicious activities by other nations.

With or without a test ban treaty, we must monitor such activities. Thetreaty gives us new means to pursue this important mission -- a globalnetwork of sensors and the right to request short notice, on-sightinspections in other countries. Four former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefsof Staff -- David Jones, William Crowe, Colin Powell and JohnShalikashvili -- plus the current Chairman, Hugh Shelton, all agree thetreaty is in our national interests. Other national leaders, such asformer Senators John Glenn and Nancy Kassebaum Baker, agree.

Unfortunately, the Test Ban Treaty is now imperiled by the refusal ofsome senators even to consider it. If our Senate fails to act, thetreaty cannot enter into force for any country. Think of that. We're nottesting now. One hundred and fifty-two countries have signed, 41 haveratified, but if our Senate fails to act, thistreaty and all the protections and increased safety it offers theAmerican people cannot enter into force for any country. That would makeit harder to prevent further nuclear arms competition, and as we haveseen, for example, in the nuclear tests in India and Pakistan.

Do we want these countries and other regional rivals to join a test bantreaty, or do we want them to stop nuclear testing? Do we want to scrapa treaty that could constrain them? The major nuclear powers, Britainand France, Russia and China, have signed the treaty. Do we want to walkaway from a treaty under which those countries and scores of others haveagreed not to conduct nuclear tests? I believe it is strongly in ourinterest to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

The American people consistently have supported it for more than 40years now. At a minimum, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee shouldhold hearings this fall. Hearings would allow each side to make its casefor and against the treaty, and allow the Senate to decide this matteron the merits. We have a chance right now to end nuclear testingforever. It would be a tragedy for our security and for our children'sfuture to let this opportunity slip away.

I thank those senators from both parties who today are announcing theirclear intention not to do that. Thank you. . . .

. . . Q On the treaty, Senator Helms says that he would be happy to holdhearings if you would send up the ABM Treaty and the Kyoto Treaty. Willyou?

THE PRESIDENT: Look, the ABM Treaty -- we have to conclude START IIfirst. That's in our national interest. The Kyoto Treaty -- all thepeople who say they're not for the Kyoto Treaty insist that we involvethe develop nations in it. I agree with them -- even the people who areagainst the Kyoto Treaty under anycircumstances say, well, if you're going to have it you've got to havethe developing nations in there. So it's inconsistent for me to send itup when we're out there working ourselves to death to try to get theeveloping nations to participate.

Now, this is a relatively new issue, the Kyoto Treaty. And the otherissue is not ripe yet -- clearly, not ripe yet. So to take a matter thathas been a matter of national debate for 40 years now, and it is finallya reality -- a treaty that has been ratified by 40 other countries, theprospect of dramatically increasing the safety of the American people inthe future -- and hold it hostage to two matters that are literally notripe for presentation to the Senate yet would be a grave error, I think.And I hope that we can find a way around that. . . .

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