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Nuclear News - 08/11/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 11 August 1999

        1.  NoUS Funds for Chem Weapons Disposal, UPI (08/10/99)

B. Russian Military
        1. RussianNavy Ready to Modernise, Given Sufficient Financing, Itar Tass(08/10/99)
        2. RussianBaltic Fleet Unable to Pay for Bread, Itar Tass (08/10/99)

C. Nuclear Waste
         1. LiquidRadioactive Waste Leak from Moored Tanker Denied, Itar-Tass(08/10/99)
         2. NavalTanker Suffers Accident, Bellona (08/10/99)

         1. U.S.,Russia to Resume Arms Talks, Associated Press (08/10/99)

No US Funds for Chem Weapons Disposal
    August 10, 1999
    (for personal use only)

WASHINGTON, August 10 (UPI) _ Congress has refused to fund Russia'sefforts to build a facility to destroy its cache of chemical weapons becausethere is no way of knowing whether Russia is spending the money as intended,says Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

``If the Russians are soaking up the money for other purposes, thenit's just a waste of taxpayer dollars,'' Roberts says of the $88 millionearmarked this year to begin to build a Russian destruction facility.

Roberts tells United Press International he has no evidence that themoney is being misused because there is no ``transparency'' in Moscow'schemical weapons program.

He says the need to dispose of chemical weapons with an expensive newfacility in Russia _ under design by the Pentagon and expected to cost$750 million _ is driven more by environmental than national security concerns.

``I think, basically, chemical weapons pose more of an environmentalthreat to Russia than a security threat to the United States. Basically,we have to spend money where our national security threats are,'' Robertssays.

Russia has 32,000 metric tons of nerve agent it has promised to destroyby 2007, in accordance with the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention. But withoutthe new facility, it is unclear how that task will be carried out.

The House and Senate defense committees agreed last week in their fiscalyear 2000 defense conference report that none of the $125 million the Pentagonhoped to get next year to design and start building a chemical weaponsdestruction facility could be used for that purpose

Instead, the money will be spread around to higher priority programswithin the ``Cooperative Threat Reduction'' program.

Cooperative Threat Reduction _ more commonly known as the Nunn-Lugarprogram, for the senators that created it _ was begun in 1991, after theCold War ended, as a means of helping Russia ensure the security of itsnuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

To Roberts, those higher threats are at the seven unsecured chemicalweapons storage sites scattered around Russia, which he believes can besafeguarded by posting paid soldiers rather than incurring the expenseof constructing seven new destruction facilities.

That construction program could cost between $5 billion and $7.5 billionand is supposed to be funded by the United States, Russia and other nations.Only $18 million has been pledged toward that effort so far, said a sourceclose to Roberts who asked not to be identified.

The spread of chemical weapons is considered by the Pentagon to be oneof the greatest threats facing the United States today, and Russia hasthe potential to be a prime exporter of such weapons.

None of Russia's storage facilities is adequately protected. Duringthe Cold War, the well-funded Russian military stood guard at the warehouses.Now, said Roberts, it is not unusual to find a sneaker- wearing teenagerwith an unloaded rifle on station _ not exactly a security assurance.

Therefore, rather than fund the construction of high-tech disposal facilities_ one next to each warehouse _ Congress is opting to allocate $20 millionfor physical security at the storage sites and divert the remaining $105million the president requested for the project to higher priorities withinthe Cooperative Threat
Reduction program: dismantling nuclear weapons, eliminating weapons-gradeplutonium and preventing the spread of biological weapons, Roberts says.

The funding that remains in the Pentagon's account through the end of1999 _ $88 million _ is sufficient to finish a workable design for thedestruction facility, a Pentagon official acknowledged. The Defense Departmenthas spent $140 million on the project so far since 1992. Under the currentschedule, the facility
would not be complete until 2006.

Unlike U.S. chemical weapons disposal facilities, the Russian programwill not allow the chemicals to be incinerated. Much of the money has beenspent developing a complicated process of neutralization for the dangerousagents.

Roberts says that until Russia ``shows some good faith'' by kickingin money of its own for the facility and gives the United States moreinformationabout its weapons program, the project will remain in limbo.

Congress's decision last week was recommended by the General AccountingOffice this spring. The GAO issued a report in April that said the programshould be stalled until the Pentagon can guarantee there would be adequatefunding from other countries to build more disposal facilities after thefirst is completed and working.

Pentagon officials were caught by surprise by the decision, as theyexpected to receive full funding to begin construction on the first destructionfacility next year.

A Pentagon official close to the program said there is a chance thedefense authorization conference bill and report could be vetoed by thepresident for unrelated reasons, but it is too early to tell whether theDefense Department would take that opportunity to convince Congress tostrip out the offending passage.

``Literally, I have just written a note to myself that says, 'What next?'''the official told UPI.

Roberts, who chairs the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on emergingthreats, leaves Wednesday for a 10-day visit to Russia, with stops in Norwayand Sweden, where he plans to meet with government officials in chargeof weapons dismantlement and security.

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B. Russian Military
Russian Navy Ready to Modernise, Given Sufficient Financing
    Itar Tass
    August 10, 1999
    (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, August 10 (Itar-Tass) -- The Russian Navy is ready for modernisationand rearmament, given sufficient financing. "We are ready to replace theold ships, submarines, aviation and weapons with new ones. All the necessarypreparations have been completed. The new-generation submarines Severodvinskand Yuri Dolgorukii are already being built. But more resources need tobe allocated to complete the projects," said Vice-Admiral Viktor Patrushev.

He said the Navy is ready to serve Russia with its state-of- the-artsurface ships and submarines, as well as with its modern armaments, oncondition that the government revises the military budget for the Navy,"the admiral said in response to a question about the steps which are beingtaken by the Russian naval command in the face of a large-scale modernisationand shipbuilding programme which has been launched by the United States.

According to the admiral, "it is not wise to allocate the same resourcesfor the air force, the land force and the Navy. The building of a navalship takes much more time and money to complete than the manufacture ofa tank or a plane."

The Admiral said the question is of great importance since Russia isinterested in the presence of its naval ships in the world ocean. "Russia'sweight (in international affairs) is based not only on its geographic expansesbut also on the strength of its navy. Russia must reinforce its politicalstatements with real actions," said the chief of the operational divisionof the General Staff of the Russian navy.

He went on to say that "the Russian navy is prepared to send its shipsto the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, but it needs resources andit needs bases for its permanent presence there." He noted that "Russiahas only two naval bases left abroad -- Kamrai in Vietnam and Tartus inSyria." Admiral
Patrushev said that "even with underfinancing and shortages of foodand fuel supplies, the Russian seamen are always ready to depart for theassigned area and accomplish the set tasks. This readiness is not somethingon paper only. During the Yugoslav crisis, the Russian warships were readyto sail to the
Mediterranean but no order came," he said.

The admiral noted that "most of the countries in the Mediterranean region,even NATO members, want to see the Russian flag there. The seamen of manyNATO member-countries have a negative attitude to the U.S. domineeringrole in the North Atlantic Alliance, and many are against the alliance'seastward expansion, as they understand what economic difficulties theircountries will have to face in the course of the rearmament of the armiesof our former allies."

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Russian Baltic Fleet Unable to Pay for Bread
    Itar Tass
    August 10, 1999
    (for personal use only)

KALININGRAD, August 10 (Itar-Tass) -- The Kaliningrad bread-baking planton Tuesday stopped bread supplies to units of the Russian Baltic fleetstationed in the region due to the fleet's 3.2-billion-rouble debt.

"The enterprise will resume shipment of bread on condition that at least50 percent of the debt would be repaid," plant director Nina Durneva toldItar-Tass. According to her, the plant was forced to choose "either tocontinue lending them bread or to stop its production."

The plant management agreed, however, to supply two tonnes of breadto the chief navy hospital. The Kaliningrad garrison usually purchasedseven or eight tonnes of bread daily.

The fleet command is looking for alternative ways to provide bread forthe servicemen, acting head of its press service Alexander Sukhanov said."Distribution of rusks instead of bread is not under consideration," hesaid. The fleet is trying to agree on bread supplies with other plantsin the region. Besides, it has sufficient reserves of flour and can bakeits own bread, Sukhanov said.

"The fleet has no money to repay the debt," he stressed.

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C. Nuclear Waste
Liquid Radiocactive Waste Leak from Moored Tanker Denied
    Itar Tass
    August 10, 1999
    (for personal use only)

NAKHODKA, August 10 (Itar-Tass) - There is no leak of liquid radioactivewaste (LRW) from the tanker Pinega, which is mooored at the Zvezdanuclear-poweredsubmarine repairing yards, the management of the enterprise said in a statementon Tuesday.

Accoridng to the statement issued by Yuri Shulgan, acting Director ofthe Zvezda (Star) yards, specialists of the repair yards on August 9 checkedradiation safety conditions at the moorage of the tanker Pinega, whichbelongs to the Pacific Fleet. It was established that the amount of LRWat the inspection moment corresponded to that mentioned in the stock-takingreport dated July 23, 1999.

The fittings of the contaminated-water tanks drying system are closedand sealed. No leak from the tanker was discovered. The radiological situationat the yards, which are located in the town of Bolshoy Kamen (Big Stone)in Russia's Maritime Territory, is monitored by the nuclear radiation safetydepartment and
does not exceed background levels. "Thus, information on a radiologicalbreakdown at the Zvezda yards is not true to facts," Shulgan stated.

For its part, the press service of the Pacific Fleet has also deniedan alleged leak of LRW from the special storage of the tanker Pinega intoan unshielded hold. "This is not true. All LRW on board are kept in a thoroughlyshielded area. Radiation safety in the area of the ship is maintained andis within norm," the
Fleet press service statement said.

These statements by the management of the Zvezda yards and the PacificFleet press service were prompted by some media reports which alleged thatmore than 700 tonnes of LRW spilled from the tanker's special storage intoan unshielded hold.

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Naval Tanker Suffers Accident
    Igor Kudrik
    August 10, 1999
    (for personal use only)

Officials deny, but journalists confirm accident onboard naval radwastestorage tanker in the Far East.

A naval tanker for liquid radioactive waste suffered an accident inthe Russian Far East, Russian daily Izvestiya reported last week. PacificFleet officials denied the reports but local journalists in Vladivostok
confirmed the information.

According to the Far East daily Vladivostok, a Belyanka class navaltanker the Pinega suffered an accident. Liquid radioactive waste leakedout of the 800 cubic meters storage tank and flooded the ship's compartments.The accident reportedly occurred on August 5. The amount of the leakedwaste is not specified in the reports. The tanker was stationed in thevicinity of Zvezda shipyard, the city of Bol'shoy Kamen, in UssuriyskiyBay.

This Monday, Pacific Fleet and Zvezda shipyard officials denied anyradioactive water leaking out into the sea but would not elaborate on thepossible accident onboard the Pinega.

The Russian Navy has two Belyanka class tankers in operation: the Pinegain the Pacific Fleet and the Amur in the Northern Fleet commissioned in1987 and 1984 respectively. Each ship has a storage capacity of 800 cubicmeters of liquid waste. The ships are outfitted with special filteringinstallations to treat the waste, but the installations have been out oforder the past years.

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U.S., Russia to Resume Arms Talks
    Barry Schweid
    Associated Press
    August 10, 1999
    (for personal use only)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States and Russia intend to go ahead witha new round of negotiations to reduce their arsenals of long-range nuclearwarheads despite another shakeup in the Russian leadership.

Undersecretary of State John D. Holum will head a delegation to Moscowon Monday, planning on two days of talks looking toward a START III treatyto cut the arsenals to 2,000 to 2,500 warheads each.

The talks were announced here two weeks by Vice President Al Gore andRussian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin as the heads of a U.S.-Russiancommission for cooperation in science, economics and other topics.

Yeltsin sacked Stepashin and the rest of his Cabinet on Monday, choosinga former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, as acting prime minister and potentialsuccessor as president.

The arms talks were cited by Clinton administration officials as evidencethe shakeup would not have a severe impact on U.S.-Russian relations.

But Thomas Graham, senior associate at the private Carnegie Endowmentfor International Peace, said he doubted there could be much progress onarms reductions and other key issues before the Russian presidency changeshands.

In 1993, the United States and Russia agreed to shrink their arsenalsof long-range nuclear warheads so neither side would have more than 3,000to 3,500. But the Russian parliament has refused to ratify the START IItreaty.

Clinton administration spokesmen on Monday backed Yeltsin's right toshuffle his prime ministers again.'' I don't think we should blow thisout of proportion,'' State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said.

But analysts Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation and Graham at Carnegieraised the corruption issue as at least one reason for Stepashin's ouster.

``Yeltsin's move was shrewd and logical,'' Cohen said. ``He is strugglingfor his own survival as well as for the survival of his family clan, whichis under investigation for abuse of power and corruption.''

He ``is trying to save his skin as well as those who are around himby putting a man with extensive security background, a seasoned intelligenceofficer, in power in hopes of a cover-up,'' Cohen said.

Graham, agreeing, said ``corruption is part of this. It is one of thereasons Stepashin was dismissed now and not later.''

Graham said Stepashin was not moving quickly enough to cut off theinvestigations.

But also, the analyst said, Yeltsin is looking for a successor and Stepashinwas not going to be it. ``He did not create a good impression abroad,''Graham said. ``They had doubts Stepashin was their man and they had tofind someone else.''

Helmut Sonnenfeldt, at the Brookings Institution, meanwhile, said theshakeup ``must have something to do with the intensifying electoral maneuveringgoing on in Russia.''

Parliamentary elections will be held in December and there is speculationin Russia that former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov may be induced tojoin insurgents as a possible successor to Yeltsin in the presidency.

``You never know with Yeltsin, what makes him do these things,'' Sonnenfeldtsaid.

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