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Nuclear News - 07/23/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 23 July, 1999

A. Loose Nukes
1. Russian Officer Arrested Trying to Smuggle Radioactive Substance,Associated Press (07/23/99)

B. Nuclear Waste
1. US to Help Russia in Nuclear Waste Reprocessing, Itar-Tass(07/22/99)
2. Help Fund Nuclear Waste Disposal, RFE/RL (07/23/99)

C. Russian Military
1. Stepashin Chairs Meeting on Problems of Sverdlovsk Region, Itar-Tass(07/23/99)

1. Yeltsin OKs Nuclear Talks With U.S, Associated Press (07/22/99)

E. U.S. - Russia General 1. Russian PM Hopes To Rebuild Relations On U.S. Trip, Reuters(07/23/99)
A. Loose Nukes
Russian Officer Arrested Trying to Smuggle Radioactive Substance
Associated Press
July 23, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- Customs police in Kazakstan arrested a Russian militaryofficer who was allegedly trying to smuggle a small amount of nuclearfuel to Uzbekistan, a news report said today.

Capt. Alexei Konkov was detained at the Kazak-Uzbek border lateWednesday carrying a round tin container enveloped in lead plates, theITAR-Tass news agency said.

A radioactivity check revealed that the container was emitting more than50 times natural radiation levels, the report said.

According to ITAR-Tass, the radioactive material inside the containerwas nuclear reactor fuel. The substance was believed to have been stolenfrom the Baikonur cosmodrome, a space complex where Konkov worked on theKazak steppe that Russia uses for most of its commercial and militaryrocket launches, the report said.

Russia has been rife with reports of smuggling of nuclear and toxicmaterials since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. But Russianofficials insist that weapons-grade nuclear material has never beenstolen or sold.
B. Nuclear Waste
US to Help Russia in Nuclear Waste Reprocessing
July 22, 1999
(for personal use only)

OZERSK, July 23 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry and theUS Department of Defense signed an agreement on the US participation inreprocessing of waste nuclear fuel from Russian submarines, according toEvgeny Ryzhkov, spokesman for the "Mayak" fuel reprocessing plant.

He told Tass on Thursday that talks held at the plant were carried outin the framework of the strategic arms reduction treaty.

The United States agreed to pay a part of expenses for thetransportation of the waste fuel from Russian nuclear submarines to the"Mayak" enterprise in Chelyabinsk region, for its reprocessing andutilization.

"Mayak" will reprocess the waste to get enriched uranium for futher useby nuclear power plants. Help Fund Nuclear Waste Disposal
July 23, 1999
(for personal use only)

The U.S. Defense Department and the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry havesigned an agreement on U.S. assistance in the disposal of spent nuclearfuel rods from Russian submarines, ITAR-TASS reported on 22 July. TheU.S. will help pay some of the costs of transporting the nuclear wasteto an enterprise in Chelyabinsk Oblast, where enriched uranium will beextracted for use in nuclear power plants. Also on 22 July, the "WallStreet Journal Europe" reported that Russia is looking to the U.S. forhelp in seeking customers for its proposed nuclear- waste storagebusiness. Russian legislation from 1992 bans the import of nuclearwaste, but Atomic Energy Minister Yevgenii Adamov told the newspaperthat his government isdrafting amendments to that legislation. The project is due to bediscussed by the Gore-Stepashin commission next week during the Russianprime minister's visit to the U.S.
C. Russian Military
Stepashin Chairs Meeting on Problems of Sverdlovsk Region
July 23, 1999
(for personal use only)

YEKATERINBURG, July 23 (Itar-Tass) - Prime Minister Sergei Stepashinchaired a meeting on the social-economic development of the SverdlovskRegion here on Friday morning. According to Alexander Mikhailov, head ofthe government information department, the meeting devoted specialattention toproblems connected with the supply of energy carriers to consumers,including petrol, and with the functioning of the military-industrialcomplex.

Rosvooruzhenie President Grigory Rapota told Tass that "the SverdlovskRegion is one of the pillars of the Russian defence industry. Itscondition is the indicator of the pace of development of themilitary-industrial complex in the whole of Russia."

The meeting was attended by Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel, DeputyPrime Minister Ilya Klebanov, Minister of the Atomic Industry YevgenyAdamov, Minister of Economy Andrei Shapovalyants and other officials.

The prime minister arrived in Yekaterinburg on Thursday night. He saidin an interview with the Vek newspaper, given on the eve of thedeparture, that the main purpose of his trip to Yekaterinburg, NizhniTagil, Barnaul and Vladivostok is to evaluate the real potential of themilitary-industrial complex and of theregions in general, as well as the condition of the Pacific Fleet.

According to Stepashin, a visiting session of the government commissionfor the military-industrial complex will be held in Nizhni Tagil. "Theproblem of the military-industrial complex includes several problems,ranging from the preservation and development of the infrastructure tothe defence potential of the country ... The coming visiting session isa sort of a starting point, because during the past month we have beenbusy creating an entirely new management structure in this sphere. Itshould be flexible, mobile, made up of competitive blocks," he said. Theprime minister explained that he meant "special agencies for managingthe military-industrial complex outside the Ministry of Economy, inwhich it was treated on a par with other industries and, let us admit,was slowly fading away."

The prime minister is attaching special importance to visiting thePacific Fleet, because "its condition influences here the solution ofproblems of crucial importance and our position in that part of theworld." He described the situation of the Pacific Fleet as "extremelydifficult."

"I make no secret of the fact that one of the most important objectivesof my trip is to evaluate the real potential of the military-industrialcomplex, the potential of the regions and the condition of the PacificFleet. After all, it will be the evaluation out our ability to ensuremilitary, economic and, in the long run,political sovereignty of Russia in the 21st century," Stepashin said.
Yeltsin OKs Nuclear Talks With U.S
Vladimir Isachenkov
Associated Press
July 22, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Boris Yeltsin today authorized his primeminister to discuss reducing nuclear arms with the United States,including a review of the long-delayed START II treaty, the primeminister said.

Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, who visited Yeltsin at his residencewest of Moscow, was scheduled leave Sunday for the United States.

START II, which would cut Russian and American nuclear stocks to amaximum of 3,500 warheads each, has languished in the lower house, theState Duma, since it was signed in 1993. Stepashin did not elaborate onwhat Yeltsin said about arms reduction.

The meeting between Russia's leaders was the first since Yeltsin startedhis vacation on July 10. They also discussed upcoming parliamentaryelections, friction with Chechnya and the state's efforts to controlrisinggasoline prices.

Russian television showed Yeltsin, dressed in a blue shirt, speaking toStepashin across a small table. The tape didn't contain sound.

Yeltsin, 68, has been in and out of the hospital with a variety ofhealth problems in the last few years, but in recent weeks has appearedactive and relatively fit.

The two discussed parliamentary elections set for December. The Kremlinhas said it wants the next parliament to be dominated by reformists, notCommunists as in the current legislature.

The escalating conflict with the separatist republic Chechnya and aplanned meeting with Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov was also mentioned.But Stepashin was not specific.

Stepashin said they discussed the state's attempts to rein in gasolineprices, which have risen 30 percent recently.

Stepashin is scheduled to return to Moscow from the United States onWednesday.
E. U.S.- Russian General
Russian PM Hopes To Rebuild Relations On U.S. Trip
Timothy Heritage
July 23, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin goes to theUnited States Sunday to complete a mission which his predecessor abortedabruptly in mid-air because of the Kosovo crisis.

Ex-Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov turned his plane around over theAtlantic Ocean on March 23 when Vice President Al Gore, whom he had beendue to meet in Washington, informed him NATO air strikes againstYugoslavia were inevitable.

The 78-day bombing campaign which began the next day pushed Russian-U.S.relations to their lowest ebb since the Cold War, until presidents BillClinton and Boris Yeltsin broke the ice during an eight-nation summit inCologne last month.

Stepashin's three-day trip, including talks with Clinton Tuesday and ameeting of the Gore-Stepashin commission which oversees economiccooperation, offers the two sides an opportunity to build on thebreakthrough made in Cologne.

``Following the meeting of President Yeltsin and President Clinton inCologne, the meeting of Mr. Stepashin and the vice president is goingto develop the theme of that visit -- which is that the relationship hasa great deal to do and it's time to get back to work,'' U.S. ambassadorto Moscow James Collins said.

An initial breakthrough was made in Finland, where Russia's role inpeacekeeping operations in Kosovo was agreed. Two days later Yeltsin andClinton agreed in Cologne to put the row over the bombing of Yugoslavia,which Moscow opposed, behind them.

Yeltsin also made a gesture by saying Russia would consider changes tothe 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty sought by Washington todevelop a new missile defense system.

In return, Clinton and other Western leaders promised to give Russia asympathetic hearing at debt talks.

Stepashin, 47, made what the Western leaders said was an impressivepersonal debut on the international stage in Cologne.

He hopes to deepen that impression in the United States on his firstbilateral visit to the West since he became premier in May, and hisvisit could be crowned the day after he leaves by the InternationalMonetary Fund approving a new loan for Russia.

Although the honeymoon period in relations after the collapse of theSoviet Union in 1991 is now long gone, both sides have decidedcooperation is better than confrontation.

Russian needs U.S. support for international loans to pay its debts.Washington is wary of alienating the world's second biggest nuclearpower and risking a return to Communist rule.

Yeltsin has told Stepashin to continue talks on ABM and the 1993 START-2nuclear arms reduction accord which Russia's parliament has not yetratified. Economic issues will be the main focus when the Gore-Stepashincommission meets.

Stepashin will also discuss Russian steel shipments to the UnitedStates, the source of a dispute which eased when a deal was reachedearlier this month to reduce the shipments.

The premier will be accompanied by Mikhail Zadornov, Yeltsin's envoy tointernational finance organizations. It is not clear whether he willmeet the IMF, whose board meets Wednesday to consider a $4.5 billionloan for Russia.

Stepashin is also expected to meet World Bank President JamesWolfensohn. The bank's board of directors could consider releasing a newloan to Russia, worth about $1.2 billion over the next year, at ameeting Thursday.

Stepashin meets officials from the aerospace company Boeing Co nearSeattle Sunday, and will later meet Congressmen and U.S. media chiefsduring his stay.

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