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Nuclear News - 09/08/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 08 September 1999


A. Loose Nukes

  1. Russia Seize Six Trying To Sell Radioactive Materials,RFE/RL(09/02/99)
  2. 6 Uranium Sellers Arrested, Vladivostok News(09/03/99)
B. Nuclear Waste
  1. Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Insists on Reprocessing; RulesOut Storage-Only Option, Bellona (09/02/99)
  2. Moscow Pledges Not To Dump Radioactive Waste Into Sea Of Japan,RFE/RL(09/02/99)
  3. Agreement Reached on Joint Non-Proliferation Experiment, DOE(09/02/99)
  4. Canada To Test U.S., Russian Plutonium Fuel, Reuters(09/03/99)
C. Nuclear Power Industry
  1. Nuclear Plant Whistleblower 'Silenced', St. PetersburgTimes (09/07/99)
  2. RBMK Spent Fuel Piles Up, Bellona (09/07/99)
D. Russian Nuclear Forces
  1. Moscow To Sell Two Nuclear Subs To China, RFE/RL(09/02/99)
  2. Russia Denies Plan To Sell China Two Nuclear Submarines,Agence France Presse (09/03/99)
  3. Russia Denies Plan To Sell N-Subs To China, The Hindu(09/03/99)
E. Russia – Iran
  1. Iran Says May Not Give Russia New Nuclear Deals, Reuters(09/06/99)
  2. Iran Denies Russia Nuclear Cooperation Threatened, Reuters(09/08/99)
F. Y2K
  1. Russian TV on Likely Impact of Y2K Bug, NTV (09/02/99)
G. U.S. – Russia General
  1. Don't Jettison Russia Just Yet,  New York Times(09/03/99)
  2. Politics Of the Russia Scandal,  Washington Post(09/03/99)
  3. Getting The New Russia On Its Feet: Our Assistance Is MakingThe American People More Secure, Washington Post (09/05/99)
  4. Talbott Opposes 'Quarantine' Against Russia, RFE RL(09/07/99)
  5. Was the Looting Of Russia Avoidable? Washington Post(09/08/99)
H. START
  1. Arms Control Is Dying. Unless It's Reviving, New York Times(09/05/99)
  2. Russian Military Skeptical On US Arms Talks, Reuters(09/08/99)
I.   ABM, Missile Defense
  1. U.S. To Go Slowly On Treaty: Quick ABM Overhaul Rejectedby Clinton,Washington Post (09/08/99)

A. Loose Nukes

1.
Russia Seize Six Trying To Sell Radioactive Materials
        RFE/RL
        September 2, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Authorities in Vladivostok arrested six people who sought to sell 6kilograms of Uranium 238 and nickel to undercover officers, AP reportedon 1 September. The six had stolen the material from a plant that repairsand dismantles nuclear submarines and wanted to sell it for $130,000.

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2.
6 Uranium Sellers Arrested
        Anatoly Medetsky
        Vladivostok News
        September 3, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Six people were arrested for trying to sell highly radioactive uraniumalloy stolen from military facilities, police reported.

The alloy, a mix of uranium-238 and nickel, was stolen from one of theregional yards to repair or dismantle submarines, police said September1.

The suspects tried to sell six kilograms of the alloy to undercoverpolice for $65,000, said Georgy Kulakov of the regional police press center.The group included three intermediaries who were arrested first with twokilograms of the uranium alloy on hand August 24.

After arrest in the Razdolnoye village near Vladivostok, they pointedthe police and agents of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, to threeowners of the radioactive materials. They were detained later that daywith four kilograms of the nuclear alloy in the Pokrovka village near BolshoiKamen.

The substance extended radiation that was 2,500 times higher than theadmissible level, a test found later. All who were detained in the bustswere released on the condition that they wouldn't leave their  communities,police said.

One woman from the group works as an engineer at a closed submarinerepair yard Zvezda in Bolshoi Kamen. Investigators believe that the alloycould have been stolen from there, but a study is underway to show if itcould come from another regional plant to repair or dismantled submarines.

Despite an extremely high health risk, the group did not bother to shieldthemselves or others from exposure to radiation. According to various reports,the thieves kept the uranium alloy in a plain metal box and even in a plasticbag.

Law enforcement agencies first got wind of uranium trafficking in Primoryeearlier, when 300 grams of a uranium and lutetium alloy changed hands onthe black market through the same intermediaries, the reports said. Itwas decided to wait until the second sale to locate suppliers.

Police are investigating the case, but the punishment for illegallyhandling radioactive substances is too mild by Russian law, they say. Ifconvicted, the perpetrators will only face up to two years in prison, saidFyodor Asalkhanov, chief of the regional police press center.

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B. Nuclear Waste

1.
Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Insists on Reprocessing; Rules OutStorage-Only Option
        Bellona
        September 2, 1999
        (for personal use only)

NPT's fuel storage impossible under Adamov scenario Minatom positionconfirms Bellona's predictions about NPT project

 Hoping to earn billions from international utilities for "spentnuclear fuel services," Russia's Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeniy Adamovtried to sell a law change to the Cabinet in late August. The amended Lawon Environmental Protection would make it possible for Russia to importforeign spent fuel in return for hard currency payments. The Cabinet rejectedthe idea, but Adamov said he would keep trying.

The change would theoretically allow the Non-Proliferation Trust (NPT)proposal to store international nuclear fuel in Russia (seehttp://www.bellona.orgfor details). But at a press conference following the Cabinet session,Adamov revealed a poison pill. According to a transcript of the pressconference,Adamov pointed out that Russia would not allow the import of foreign nuclearmaterials for storage only, but would insist on a full range of fuel services,that is, reprocessing and re-export of the fuel.

This position is directly opposed to the draft agreement between Minatomand NPT, which includes guarantees that the fuel NPT brings into the countrywill never be reprocessed, but stored in Russia. Adamov's position confirmsBellona's predictions that NPT lacks the clout to enforce any agreementthat would bar Russia from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel. Adamov alsospeaks about the "technical inexpediency" to reprocess fuel within thenext 30 years, so that intermediate storage would be in Russia's interest.That position has also been accurately predicted by Bellona's PositionPaper from August 12, 1999.

Money for 'fuel services' goes to nuclear industry upgrades In anotherblow for NPT, Adamov was very specific about the use for the money Russiawould earn from its 'fuel services' to other nations (Adamov mentionedJapan repeatedly - Japan is one of the three main targets of the NPT project).While NPT wants to channel money into environmental projects, Adamov seesa need for upgrades in Russia's nuclear industry, whose reactors are nearingthe end of their service lives.

In addition, Adamov foresees tax revenues of $3.3 billion for the Treasury.The demand for substantial tax payments would invariable cut short anymoney NPT could spend on what the agreement terms "worthy causes."

But, still according to the transcript of the press conference, it appearsunlikely that Minatom really wants money spent on environmental cleanup.First Deputy Minister for Atomic Energy Valentin Ivanov told reportersthat "Maybe it's an exaggeration, but you can drink water from the poolwhere [spent fuel] is kept."

Ivanov may be right - on the exaggeration part.

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2.
Moscow Pledges Not To Dump Radioactive Waste Into Sea Of Japan
        RFE/RL
        September 2, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Primore Governor Yevgenii Nazdratenko said in Tokyo on 1 September thatRussia will never dump liquid radioactive waste into the Sea of Japan,ITAR-TASS reported. He then cut short his visit to the Japanese capitalbecause of the impact of torrential rains in his home area.

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3.
Agreement Reached on Joint Non-Proliferation Experiment
        Department of EnergyNews Release
        September 2, 1999
        (for personal use only)

United States and Russian Fuel to be Used in Canadian Test Reactor

The Department of Energy (DOE) has reached agreement with the Governmentof Canada to ship a small quantity of mixed oxide nuclear fuel to Canadafor a one-time test called Project Parallex. This effort is part of a Departmentof Energy non-proliferation project to obtain, with the cooperation ofthe Canadian Government, the technical information that would become partof potential international agreements that use the Canadian Deuterium Uranium(CANDU) reactors to help dispose of Russian weapons-grade plutonium.

The agreement involves the shipment of nine fuel rods, containing lessthan 120 grams of plutonium, from the Department of Energy’s Los AlamosNational Laboratory in New Mexico to the Atomic Energy of Canada, Limited,test reactor in Chalk River, Ontario. The material will cross into Canadaat Sault Saint Marie, Mich. The shipment of United States and Russian fuelis expected to take place this fall.

Prior to reaching the agreement, DOE conducted an environmental reviewof seven possible routes from
Los Alamos to Chalk River. The potential environmental impacts werereviewed and a determination was made that none of the routes pose a significantimpact to the environment. Copies of the Environmental Assessment and theFinding of No Significant Impact are being released today and are availableupon request at 1-800/820-5156 or on DOE’s web site: http://www.doe-md.com/

The fuel rods to be tested at Chalk River were made at the Bochvar Institutein the Russian Federation and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory inthe United States. The tests will provide information on the performanceof these fuel rods in CANDU reactors.

The test fuel rods will be shipped in specially designed transportationcontainers which conform to strict safety standards set by the U.S. NuclearRegulatory Commission and the Canadian Atomic Energy Control Board. Thestandards ensure that the container will not break open even in a severeaccident and that the public will not receive a radiation dose above regulatorylimits during transport of the fuel rods.

The container will be shipped by a dedicated truck that will have noother cargo aboard. All aspects of the shipment will meet standards setby the U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada in Canada.The trucking firm used for this shipment will be selected after a thoroughreview of their safety record, insurance, emergency response capabilities,hazardous material shipping experience, equipment maintenance, driverqualifications,and driver training.

Before the shipment begins, tribal, all state and local emergency responseand law enforcement personnel will be notified. The law enforcement personnelfrom the United States and Canada will cooperate to protect the shipmentfrom terrorist action. The shipment will be tracked by satellite and thetruck drivers will be in continuous radio communication with the Departmentof Energy and their company.

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4.
Canada To Test U.S., Russian Plutonium Fuel
        Reuters
        September 3, 1999
        (for personal use only)

OTTAWA, Sep 3, 1999 -- (Reuters) Canada said on Thursday it has agreedto test-burn excess weapons-grade plutonium from the United States andRussia, despite calls from parliament last year to refuse trade of thenuclear ingredient.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy said tests of the mixed oxidefuel, which contains less than three percent weapons-grade plutonium, isconsistent with Canada's G7 commitment to help with the safe  disposalof the nuclear weaponry.

Under the scheme, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. will test the fuel atits Chalk River, Ontario, laboratories to determine its usefulness in Canada'ssignature CANDU reactors. Once the fuel is used in a power reactor, theplutonium becomes inaccessible for use in nuclear weapons.

"The MOX fuel test is a step forward in getting rid of nuclear weapons,and the Government of Canada is committed to decreasing the number of nuclearweapons in the world," Axworthy said. "Eliminating the risk of theft andproliferation posed by plutonium weapons helps us reach this goal."

Tests of the fuel, which is made from uranium oxide, are also plannedin the United States and Russia. The Canadian tests, to be conducted overseveral years, are unique because they will combine fuels from the two countries.

A parliamentary committee last year unanimously recommended that Canadareject the project because it would set a precedent for the trade ofweapons-gradeplutonium that the producer countries - Russia and the
United States - should deal with themselves.

"This project will secure a longer life to the nuclear industry, butmake Canada the dumping ground for roughly one-third of the excess plutoniumgenerated by the U.S. and Russia," said Bill Blaikie, a spokesman for theopposition New Democratic Party, adding that Canadians along the shippingroutes for the fuel are being put at risk.

The tiny shipments, weighing about 120 grams - about the size of twopenlight batteries - are arriving by truck from the United States and byship from Russia, and would then be trucked several hundred kilometersto Chalk River.

Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale stressed that the shipmentsare extremely low-risk.

"MOX fuel is stable. It is a solid. It is not soluble. It can't spill.It can't ignite or burn, and it's not a powder that can be inhaled," hesaid in a statement.

"The greatest threat from this is literally being hit by the truck,"added his spokesman, John Embury.

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C. Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Nuclear Plant Whistleblower 'Silenced'
        Anna Badkhen
        St. Petersburg Times
        September 7, 1999
        (for personal use only)

A storage operator of spent nuclear fuel at the Leningrad Nuclear PowerPlant, who also happens to be an outspoken critic of the plant's safetyprocedures, says he has been restricted to the plant's locker room forthe past 21 months.

Sergei Kharitonov, the plant's senior operator and a volunteer in thefight to contain the radioactive fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster,claims he is being silenced for trying to alert the public about the dangerousand deteriorating conditions at LAES, as the plant is known by its Russianacronym.

"For 21 months, I have been trapped at a table in a 12-square-meterlocker room. I am not listed on the work schedule, and I don't have permissionto work," he said at a news conference at the National Press Institutelast week. "I am not allowed to do my job! This is all done to preventme from distributing information about the situation at the plant."

Kharitonov has been documenting environmental hazards at LAES for years.In 1995, Kharitonov and Green World Council, his non-governmental environmentalorganization, protested the plant's attempt to cram twice as much wasteinto its nuclear waste storage building than it was designed to hold. Andin 1996, Kharitonov distributed photographs of the facility's cracked concretewalls which also showed ground waters seeping through the floor of thestorage area. Environmentalists evaluate the storage facility's maximumpotential contamination level at 50 times that of Chernobyl.

Kharitonov was eventually fired from his current position in November1997, just three days after he published an article in a newspaper in SosnovyBor - the town where LAES is located, 80 kilometers west of St. Petersburg- in which he criticized the plant's safety procedures and called for thesuspension of its operating license.

Kharitonov took LAES to court for illegally firing him and won in Decemberof 1997. As a 25-year veteran of the plant, and because he is legally considereda Chernobyl "liquidator," Kharitonov successfully claimed that he shouldnot have been fired without at least two-months warning. The court agreed,citing the Russian labor code, which stipulates that because of their exposureto dangerous levels of radiation, volunteers in the Chernobyl cleanup shouldbe the last people to be sacked in any lay off.

The court gave Kharitonov his old job back within a matter of days,and even awarded him 5,000 rubles (about $1,000 at the time) for "moraldamages." However, the activist has not been allowed to set foot in thestorage area or other working facilities at the plant ever since.

Kharitonov claims that LAES - because it is either unwilling or unableto improve its waste handling - chose to silence him by forbidding himaccess to the plant's run-down facilities.

"I am deprived of the right to fulfill my constitutional obligationto work," Kharitonov said.

Located just 90 meters off the Gulf of Finland, LAES is Northwest Russia'smajor source of electricity, and provides roughly a third of Finland'spower. It has four Chernobyl-style RBMK-1,000 reactors that have been operatingfor more than a quarter of a century. Although the plant has many critics,Kharitonov is the only employee to ever voice concerns about safety atthe facility.

"A lot of other employees [at LAES] might have spoken up, but as theysee the repression against me, they simply don't dare," Kharitonov saidFriday.

When reached by telephone Monday, Mikhail Mikhalyov, a spokesman forLAES, said he "could not confirm" the fact that Kharitonov is restrictedfrom his job. Mikhalyov said he had not heard about the situation before.

LAES has a long history of accidents. In 1997, the Finnish Center forRadiation and Nuclear Safety, which monitors LAES, said small leaks werediscovered in November 1996 in reactor-cooling turbine condensers. Thecenter attributed the leaks to the corrosive salt water the plant drawson to lower reactor temperatures.

In 1995, the plant confirmed that its storage facilities were leakingmore than 140 liters of radioactive water into the gulf per day. At thesame time, an independent investigation done by Kharitonov indicated thatthe plant leaked about 300 liters of contaminated water per day.

In 1992, the officials at the plant were silent when a cloud of highlytoxic radiation was released into the atmosphere during a routine shut-downof one of its reactors. The accident remained secret until reports fromNorwegian media filtered into the Russian press three days later, whichcoincided with rainy weather and caused many St. Petersburgers to panicat the prospect of radioactive fallout.

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2.
RBMK Spent Fuel Piles Up
        Igor Kudrik
        Bellona
        September 7, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Leningrad nuclear power plant violates spent fuel storage procedures,suppresses whistleblower.

The storage facility for spent nuclear fuel at Leningrad Nuclear PowerPlant is full and poses danger to the environment, Oleg Bodrov, chairmanof Green World envirogroup, said at a press-conference in St. Petersburglast week. An employee of the plant, Sergey Kharitonov, who attempted toalert the public about the dangers, is suspended.

During the 26-year working period of the plant, around 50,000 spentfuel assemblies were generated. Russia does not reprocess spent fuel fromRBMK-type reactors, nor has any centralised storage facility for this fuel.The fuel from Leningrad NPP is stored in a storage facility built in thebeginning of 80-s. The storage is located in 90 meters from the Gulf ofFinland. By the end of 1996 the five storage ponds of the facility werefilled to capacity prompting engineers of the plant to seek solutions.The solution was found later: the distance between each fuel assembly inthe ponds was halved, something that entails a further safety risk. Thestorage facility is in an extremely bad state of repair, with large cracksin the walls and roof. 22,834 spent fuel assemblies are stored in the storagetoday. It exceeds by more than 30% the original design capacity. Noenviroassessmentwas conducted before the implementation of the "tightening" solution.

NPPs management silences whistleblower
Sergey Kharitonov, the plant's senior operator and a volunteer in thefight to contain the radioactive fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster,told The St. Petersburg Times he is being silenced for trying to alertthe public about the dangerous and deteriorating conditions at LeningradNPP.

The plant's management fired him, but the court gave him his workingplace back. The outcome was that Kharitonov was just deprived the rightto access the fuel storage and spends his working day sitting in the plant'slocker room for the past 21 months.

"A lot of other employees [at Leningrad NPP] might have spoken up, butas they see the repression against me, they simply don't dare," Kharitonovsaid at a press conference last week.

GAN sees no trouble
The Russian State Nuclear Regulatory, or GAN, said they saw no troublewith the way spent nuclear fuel is stored at Leningrad NPP. As reportedby Itar-Tass, GAN considers the "tightening" procedure at the plant's storagefacility as "modernisation" that does not require enviroassessment.

Leningrad NPP
Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant has four RMBK-1000 reactor units in operation.It is situated in the city of Sosnovy Bor, some 70 kilometres west fromSt. Petersburg. The units were commissioned in 1973, 1975, 1979 and 1981respectively. In 1989 the safety upgrade of unit no.1 started. Two yearslater, in 1991, the upgrade on unit no.2 was launched. The upgrade of thesefirst two units was finished in 1994-1995. Unit no.3 was under upgradefrom 1995 till 1996. The whole set of works aimed at safety upgrade wasto be over by 1998. The lack of funding postponed the final span of upgradingtill the year 2001. Nevertheless, the management of the plant has alreadystated on several occasions that the planned decommissioning of the twofirst reactor units will not occur in 2003 as it was defined when the plantwas brought into
operation. The management is confident that upon completion of allthe safety upgrade works the plant will be able to continue its operationfor 10-15 years beyond the year 2003.

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D. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
Moscow To Sell Two Nuclear Subs To China
        RFE/RL
        September 2, 1999
        (for personal use only)

According to the "Hong Kong Standard," as reported by dpa on 1 September,China has reached a tentative agreement with Russia to purchase twoTyphoon-classnuclear submarines. Such ships can carry up to 20 SSN-20 ballistic missileswith a maximum range of 8,300 kilometers.

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2.
Russia Denies Plan To Sell China Two Nuclear Submarines
         Agence France Presse
         September 3, 1999
         (for personal useonly)

MOSCOW, Sep 3, 1999 -- (Agence France Presse) Moscow denied Thursdaynewspaper reports that it had agreed to sell China two nuclear submarinescapable of carrying ballistic missiles amid worsening relations betweenBeijing and Taipei.

"No talks are being held or could be held on the delivery of nuclearsubmarines to China," a foreign ministry official told AFP. "This is absolutelyuntrue," he said.

The state arms supplier Rosvooruzheniye refused to discuss the report,saying "in general we do not comment on military-technical cooperationwith China," a company official told the agency Interfax.

Hong Kong media have suggested that Russian Deputy Prime Minister IlyaKlebanov signed a sale
agreement during a recent trip to Beijing.

But Chinese officials have also flatly rejected talk of the allegedbillion dollar deal, which comes against a backdrop of worsening relationsbetween mainland China and Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegadeprovince.

China, a leading buyer of Russian military hardware, has recently agreedto buy 50 Russian-built Sukhoi SU-30 advanced fighter jets valued at about$2 billion.

China already has 48 SU-27s jets and a license to build another 200,but experts say its needs a warplane to match the US F-16 and the FrenchMirage 2000-5 fighters in Taiwan's airforce.

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3.
Russia Denies Plan To Sell N-Subs To China
        Vladimir Radyuhin
        The Hindu
        September 3, 1999
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, SEPT. 3. A senior Russian military official has denied newspaperreports that Russia is planning to sell two nuclear- powered submarinesto China. A general in the Defence Ministry's international departmentdescribed as ``rubbish'' reports in the Taiwanese press this week thatRussia had agreed to sell China two Typhoon-class submarines, capable oflaunching ballistic missiles. The $1-billion deal was allegedly reachedduring the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Ilya Klebanov's recent visitto Beijing.

The Russian media confirmed that Mr. Klebanov had finalised a deal tosell up to 60 SU-30 MKK fighter jets to China.

The official, who asked not to disclose his name, told the Kommersantbusiness daily on Friday that Russia could not possibly sell nuclear-armedsubmarines to any country because this would violate two internationaltreaties signed by Russia: the nuclear non- proliferation treaty (NPT),which bans the export of nuclear arms, and the missile technology controlregime (MTCR), which prohibits sales of missiles with a range of above300 km. Russia has six Typhoon-class submarines, which are the world'slargest nuclear-powered submarines, equipped with 20 launchers capableof hauling SSN-20 ballistic missiles armed with 10 nuclear warheads eachto a distance of 8,300 km.

The Russian general said the Typhoon-class submarines were not evenon the list of weapons allowed for export. He suggested the report wasa ``trial balloon'' launched by Beijing.

The Kommersant daily said the report could also be Beijing's warningto its neighbours, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India, to showrestraint in upgrading their defense potentials. The newspaper referredto U.S. plans to set up a theatre missiles defence system in Asia togetherwith Japan, and possibly South Korea and Taiwan, as well as India's plansto acquire Bars-class nuclear-powered submarines and TU-22 strategic bombersfrom Russia.

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E. Russia -- Iran

1.
Iran Says May Not Give Russia New Nuclear Deals
         Reuters
         September 6, 1999
         (for personal useonly)

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Tehran has threatened to withhold further nuclearcontracts from Russia, accusing it of failing to fulfill commitments onbuilding an atomic power plant in Iran, an Iranian newspaper reported Monday.

"As long as the Russians do not fulfill their initial commitment tocomplete the Bushehr plant, no new contract will be signed with them,"the English-language Iran Daily quoted Mehdi Safari, Iran's ambassadorto Moscow, as saying.

"Delays have occurred in this project, but we hope that the Russianswill carry out their responsibilities as planned," it quoted Safari astelling a Russian television station last week.

Tehran and Moscow have blamed each other for delays in the $800 milliondeal, signed in 1995, to complete the 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor inthe Gulf port of Bushehr. The plant was initially due for completion by2002, but Russian officials have said the first unit would be finishedby May 2003.

"No significant progress has been made in the nuclear project becauseof some differences," said Iran Daily, published by the official news agencyIRNA. It did not elaborate.

Israel and the United States have pressured Russia to abandon the project,saying Iran could use the technology to develop nuclear weapons. Tehranand Moscow insist their nuclear cooperation is of a strictly civilian nature.

Washington has imposed sanctions on several Russian scientific institutesand companies which it accused of helping Tehran acquire weapons of massdestruction.

Safari said the Russians had asked to be given the contract to completethe plant's other phases. Iran has reportedly asked Russia to study buildingthree more nuclear reactors in Bushehr.

"Russia's reasoning is that if they are assigned the next phase in advance,they can finish the project in time," he said, adding that the issue wasto be resolved during a visit to Moscow by the head of Iran's Atomic EnergyOrganization, Gholamreza Aghazadeh.

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2.
Iran Denies Russia Nuclear Cooperation Threatened
        Reuters
        September 8, 1999
        (for personal use only)

TEHRAN, Sep 8, 1999 -- (Reuters) Iran on Tuesday denied reports itsambassador to Moscow had threatened Tehran might suspend nuclear cooperationwith Russia over delays in building an atomic power plant, the officialnews agency IRNA reported.

It quoted the Iranian embassy in the Russian capital as denying an Iraniannewspaper report which quoted ambassador Mehdi Safari as saying Tehrancould withhold further nuclear contracts from Russia, after accusing itof failing to fulfil commitments on building the plant in southern Iran.

IRNA said the embassy told the Russian Interfax news agency: "Iran,as before, is prepared to expand its cooperation with Russia in all fields."

The newspaper Iran Daily, published by IRNA, had on Monday quoted Safarias making the threat during an interview with a Russian television stationafter complaining of delays in the construction of the $800 million1,000-megawattnuclear plant.

The plant, in the Gulf port of Bushehr, was initially scheduled forcompletion by 2002, but Russian officials have said the first unit wouldbe finished by May 2003.

Israel and the United States have pressured Russia to abandon the project,saying Iran could use the technology to develop nuclear weapons. Tehranand Moscow insist their nuclear cooperation is of a strictly civilian nature.

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F. Y2K

1.
Russian TV on Likely Impact of Y2K Bug
        NTV
        September 2, 1999
        (for personal use only)

[Presenter Grigoriy Krichevskiy] There is a computer problem which worriesspecial services, namely a possible computer failure at the beginning ofthe year 2000. Our correspondent Konstantin Mylnikov presents the details.

[Begin recording] [Correspondent] Will Russia be able to avoid failureof computer networks on the night of 1st January 2000? How serious is thisdanger facing all developed countries?

The millennium bug, as computer programmers now call it, was implantedin the early 1960s. The year in a number of programmes developed at thattime was indicated by the two last digits only. Now that two zeros willreplace two nines, nobody knows how these programmes will behave. Computersmay understand it as the beginning of the year 0000. All the dates willbe in a mess. This may happen with millions of programmes at once. However,it is not known what exactly will happen then. In the same manner, it isnot known exactly in what old programmes the date was written with thehelp of two digits only.

[Aleksey Salnikov, captioned as the director of Information Technologies'Centre at Moscow State University] In this country the majority of programmes,say those used by banks, was written in the 1990s. The people who developedthem realized pretty well that the year 2000 would come soon and theseprogrammes would survive until the year 2000. Those programmes were writtenwith the year 2000 in mind. But we still have old programmes, most probablyin power engineering.

[Correspondent] The nuclear power station is a special risk facility.All security systems are duplicated. In case of failure of any system,the reserved one is activated automatically. Computers do not run the station,but the decisions and actions of people depend on their indications.

[Correspondent, facing the camera] This is a modular control panel.Similar panels exist on all Russian nuclear power stations. All the dataon module's work is received here. Engineers on duty keep an eye on theinstruments' readings 24 hours a day.

[Correspondent] Computers are wholly Soviet made. This is the so calledUran complex, manufactured in the early 1980s. The machines are cumbersomeand the data is being recorded onto magnetic tape. But they say here thatthese computers are quite reliable.

[Vladimir Vysotskiy, captioned as leading instrument engineer of KalininNuclear Power Station] We guarantee that the computer systems of the Kalininnuclear power plant will operate normally on the first night of the year2000.

[Correspondent] After a thorough check-up of other nuclear power stations,Atomic Energy Ministry experts came to similar conclusions.

[Valentin Ivanov, captioned as Russian atomic deputy energy minister]At the Atomic Energy Ministry, at all nuclear and radiation risk productionfacilities, there is no problem with the date change [words indistinct].

[Correspondent] Energy production is just one of the areas, where thefailure of information systems may lead to catastrophic consequences. TheUS and Russian military are seriously worried that on the first night ofthe year 2000 computers of several strategic systems may fail at once.The possible consequences are so serious, that one cannot rely on equipmentonly, even on a reliable one. Some time ago Russia and the USA were carryingout negotiations on an exchange of military delegations on the New Yeareve. They are supposed to celebrate the New Year at command posts. Thesenegotiations were put on hold due to NATO's air strikes against Yugoslavia.However, they may resume now.

[Aleksandr Volokitin, captioned as deputy chairman of the State Committeeon Telecommunications] Suppose we have a failure somewhere. We immediatelytell this to this US headquarters officer: look, we have a failure here,and it may result in this and this. In order not to trigger off a worldcatastrophe, please send this information immediately. It may happen theother way round.

[Correspondent] A failure may occur not only in the power engineeringor defence systems. It may take place in transport, finance and economy.The West believes that Russia will not be able to solve this problem bythe year 2000. By certain estimates, more than two thirds of all computerprogrammes have to be checked. The old ones should be replaced. Russiadoes not have enough time or money for that. The situation is much moreserious than many think. A failure in one faulty system may result indisturbancesin the whole network, where other programmes are in good order. The economicdamage may be much worse than that of any crisis.

So what will happen in reality? The forecasts are contradictory, rangingfrom the most unpleasant ones to reserved optimistic. We shall find itout soon, in the first days of January 2000.

[Video shows computers, city views, nuclear power station interiorsand its computer centre, military hardware] [end recording]

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G. U.S. – Russia General

1.
Don't Jettison Russia Just Yet
        Boris Nemtsov and Ian Bremmer
        New York Times
        September 3, 1999
        (for personal use only)

With the year 2000 bringing presidential elections in both the UnitedStates and Russia, the emerging scandal over the possible laundering ofbillions of dollars from Russia through the Bank of New York has, predictably,already prompted a politically tinged search for scapegoats. And in bothcountries, the leading culprits are the same -- the Democrats and the"democrats."

In Russia, President Boris Yeltsin's administration, through inept governanceand suspected corruption, has managed to give reform a bad name. The opposition,frustrated in its efforts to break Mr. Yeltsin's power, has taken to blaming"democrats" and their accomplices in the West for the country's many troubles.

In the United States, the problem is different, but the tactic of theopposition is the same. A strong economy, victory in Kosovo and the naggingsuspicion that Monicagate may have helped more than hurt the Democratshave left the Republicans in a quandary: how to set upon the Clinton recordwithout seeming priggish, pharisaical and small? The answer of the momentseems to be to focus on the Administration's fascination with and supportfor a limping Russia, particularly the prominent role of Vice PresidentAl Gore.

Is this the end of the entente between the United States and Russia?Should the West continue to provide aid? Won't International Monetary Funddollars end up in the hands of Russian mobsters?

Before we write off the relationship, we should remember that the Russianeconomy is moving very slowly to a free market. The billions of dollarsthat have left Russia in the past decade will never come back if Westerngovernments bury their heads in the sand, and they will come back onlyif and when Russia becomes an integrated part of the global economy.

Western governments should recognize this and focus spending where itcan make the greatest difference. The West could finance institutionalsupport through Western nongovernmental organizations -- NGO's -- andmultinationalcorporations operating in Russia, keeping money out of the hands of thecorrupt elite while providing the intellectual and physical infrastructureof a market-based economy. The I.M.F. could take the money earmarked fordefending the ruble and use it to finance a micro-loan program aimed atbuilding a middle class, creating a tax base so that the Government canmeet it debt obligations (finally putting the horse in front of the cart).Russia's Soviet-era debt could and should be forgiven.

But at the same time, there must be accountability. The I.M.F. has madeclear that it hasn't the ability to follow money once it goes overseas.The American and Russian intelligence communities should form a jointinvestigativebody to track Western money -- through Russia, through the West and throughoffshore sources.

Yuri Skuratov, who was dismissed as Russian Prosecutor General earlierthis year after pressing an investigation of Mr. Yeltsin's inner circle,has said that the Russians will not cooperate in such an effort. Certainlythere is little reason for President Yeltsin to initiate it. But if anofficial proposal comes to Moscow from the Clinton Administration, it wouldbe politically difficult for Mr. Yeltsin to say no.

The investigation now under way in the United States will, it is hoped,determine where the money that went through the Bank of New York came from.Our theory is that Russia's ill-fated treasury bills -- the G.K.O.'s --will account for much of it.

The bills were canceled after the fiscal crisis in August 1998, butconvertibility continued for several months. Russia's elites knew thatthey needed to get their money out fast, and as insiders they knew exactlywhat to do. Insider trading is deplorable, especially given its compoundingeffect on the long list of ills brought upon Russia's economy by its oligarchs.But there is a big difference between the politically savvy flight of capitaland money laundering. Russia simply doesn't have the institutions in placeto regulate these transactions properly. This should be a priority forthe future.

All of this is very different from the allegations of corruption involvingthose in and around the Yeltsin family. Here America's role must be carefullybalanced. The United States has been remiss by supporting the firstdemocraticallyelected head of the Russian state instead of the processes and institutionsof democracy. The corruption allegations surrounding the Yeltsin familyshould be discussed frankly and with vigilance. This does not mean Russianreform is at an end.

We should keep our heads about us. Michel Camdessus, the I.M.F.'s managingdirector, has stated that in its initial scrutiny of the Bank of New Yorkcase, the I.M.F. has found no indication that loan money was involved.Russia's relationship with the West is much more important than presidentialpolitics in either country. Let's not blame the D/democrats for that.

Boris Nemtsov is a former First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia. IanBremmer is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute and presidentof Eurasia Group.

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2.
Politics Of the Russia Scandal
        Jim Hoagland
        Washington Post
        September 3, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Corruption has replaced cooperation as the central item on the U.S.-Russianagenda. As a result, the Clinton and Yeltsin presidencies stumble towardtheir final days with diminishing hopes of improving adisappointing sevenyears of political intimacy and strategic estrangement.

Corruption investigations in New York, Switzerland and Moscow have spawnedpress allegations that threaten to undermine a set of September high-levelcontacts that once promised to repair the battered strategic relationship.

The investigations have taken on a life of their own as the corruptionreports reach a journalistic critical mass. They could poison the politicsof both nations in presidential election years, whatever the final criminaloutcomes.

Instead of moving forward on arms control, military-to-military relationsand economic aid this month, the U.S. architects of the Bill-and-Borispartnership are busy defending their own reputations and trying to haltthe spread of political damage from these scandals to Vice President AlGore.

Seehowtheyrun.

The policy outlook is just as dismal on the Russian side. In Moscow,Yeltsin's latest prime minister and his chief diplomat have rallied roundthe Russian oligarchs caught in the investigators' sights. They accuse"political forces" here of mounting a campaign to "besmirch our country,besmirch our society, besmirch our business community and our entrepreneurs,"in the words of Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

"Political forces" is barely encrypted code for the Republican Party,which does have much to gain from playing up Gore's involvement with theYeltsin government -- and may gain even more from the Russians' veileddefense of the vice president in this political season.

A Russian attack on the FBI inquiry at the Bank of New York is mannafor George W. Bush and company. Bush now has a key element any outsidefront-runner needs to dislodge an incumbent regime: a mess to clean uponce he is elected.

In the era of globalization, the fact that the mess is in Moscow isa detail: Bush can rush to defend the Bank of New York investigation against"political circles" who would "besmirch our society," i.e., the KremliniteFriends of Al.

This is the political baggage Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbottmust now carry on his once greatly anticipated trip to Moscow on Sept.7, where Talbott was due to try to nail down a significant arms controlagreement with the Russians. That strategic accomplishment has eluded theClintonites, who had seen signs in recent weeks of a potential legacy-enhancingdeal taking shape.

Russian politicians have been signaling that Moscow would be willingto discuss U.S.-suggested changes in the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treatyin return for consideration of the Russian desire to move directly to aStrategicArms Reduction Treaty (START III) that would limit each nuclear superpowerto the Russian-suggested total of 1,500 intercontinental nuclear warheads.

Talbott was reportedly authorized to explore this linkage, which wouldinvolve leapfrogging the START II treaty now stalled in the Russian Duma.

Two other key meetings are to follow in quick succession:

Defense Secretary William Cohen is scheduled to visit Moscow on Sept.13, in part to reduce the tensions that developed between the U.S. andRussian military establishments over the NATO war in Kosovo.

And President Clinton will have his first meeting with Vladimir Putin,Yeltsin's fifth prime minister in the past 18 months, on the sidelinesof a Pacific Rim trade summit in New Zealand in mid-September.

Clinton and Gore quickly found previously hidden streaks of brillianceand statesmanship in each of Putin's predecessors -- right up to the momentYeltsin brutally pushed them overboard as they began to threaten him orproved insufficiently zealous in protecting him from spreading corruptioninvestigations.

Putin, a career KGB officer before entering politics, does not seemto have been effective in shutting off the Moscow investigations. Clintonmay not want to invest much time on long-term matters with Putin, or inbuilding him up as the administration did Yeltsin's presumed successivesuccessors.

You don't need the FBI to uncover this administration's appalling misjudgments over the past two years on what (as well as who) would comenext in Russia. Strategic matters were too important to Clinton's teamto be derailed by concerns over corruption. Now uncovering and punishingcorruption threatens to become the driving force in U.S.-Russian relations,leaving strategic affairs twisting in a politically driven, unpredictablewindstorm.

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3.
Getting The New Russia On Its Feet: Our Assistance Is Making TheAmerican People More Secure
        Samuel R. Berger
        Washington Post
        September 5, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Not for the first time, people are pointing to trouble in Moscow --to evidence of corruption, malfeasance and capital flight -- to questionwhether we have been right to engage with Russia and whether we engagedin the right way.

There are indeed plenty of troubles in Russia today. But they shouldnot obscure what U.S. engagement has produced for the American people.Since 1992 our efforts have helped deactivate almost 5,000 nuclear warheadsin the former Soviet Union; eliminate nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarusand Kazakhstan; safeguard sensitive technologies; engage more than 30,000weapons scientists in civilian research; and obtain hundreds of tons ofuranium from dismantled Russian weapons.

Today three-quarters of our aid to Russia is devoted to programs thatdiminish the danger of nuclear war and proliferation. Russia also has withdrawnits troops from Central Europe and the Baltics -- not a forgone conclusionwhen the Soviet Union collapsed -- respected Ukrainian sovereignty, begunto forge a cooperative relationship with NATO, joined us in peacekeepingmissions in Bosnia and Kosovo and made some -- though not yet sufficient-- progress in controlling the export of lethal technology to rogue states.We have agreed to begin discussions this year on a START III treaty, evenas we work to get START II ratified and preserve the ABM Treaty.

None of this would have happened without our diplomatic engagement.And none would have been possible had we not simultaneously supported Russia'stransformation into a more stable, open and prosperous society, despitethe frustrations of that undertaking.

Our approach to Russia's transition is based on a still valid premise:Reform will take a generation or more. Neither success nor failure ispreordained.But encouraging success is in our interest. At this early stage, the onlyway to lose Russia is to give it up for lost.

To understand corruption in Russia, we must understand that it is rootedin the legacy of Soviet communism. The communist elite expropriated stateassets to enhance its wealth and power. Soviet citizens grew accustomedto stealing from the state to squeeze out a better existence.

So among the first and most important tasks facing Russian reformersat the beginning of this decade was to place state assets under privatecontrol. This was a political as well as an economic imperative, for breakingthe state's stranglehold on Russia's economy was a prerequisite to breakingits stranglehold on the country's society.

Today some argue that it would have been better to delay privatizationuntil Russia's political culture and legal institutions were more mature.But after decades of communism, it would have taken years for Russia'sfractured institutions to agree on the necessary steps and still longerfor the culture to change.

When Russia's democratically elected leaders decided to begin privatization,rather than wait and hope for a better day, we tried to help make thatprocess work. So we helped Russia create a securities and exchange commissionand a national electronic trading system that would allow shares to betraded openly. We helped the development of small businesses and channeledaid through nongovernmental organizations and local governments.

Unfortunately, a system with too many bad rules gave way to a systemwith too few good rules. Many Russians associate privatization with insiderdeals on a handful of large enterprises in 1995 -- a program we refusedto support.

But if Russia has made less progress than the optimists hoped, it hasmade more than the pessimists feared. Tens of thousands of private businesseshave been created. Russia's first modern middle class has emerged. WithIMF help, Russia has beaten hyperinflation.

Most important, the Russian people speak freely, choose their leaders,hold them to account. They repeatedly have rejected a return to communism.My bet is they will again.

As for corruption, we have spoken out bluntly, early and often. Whilein Moscow in 1995, President Clinton called for an "all-out battle to createa market based on law, not lawlessness." In 1998, he made clear that investmentin Russia depended on "strong checks on corruption and abuse of authority."

Long before allegations surfaced, U.S. law enforcement officials wereinvestigating Russian financial and organized crime and preparing indictments.In early 1997 Vice President Gore pressed Prime Minister Chernomyrdin toback money-laundering and anti-crime bills, which the Russian Duma andFederation Council subsequently approved. We feel President Yeltsin shouldnot have vetoed the money-laundering law, and we urge the Russians to getnew legislation passed.

Last year Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that foreign funds"should be used to support policies that help the neediest Russians, notenrich foreign bank accounts." While we have no evidence that IMF fundshave been stolen, we will continue to insist on safeguards and accountabilityof IMF programs as a prerequisite for disbursements. Today IMF funds canbe used by Russia only to refinance its debt to the IMF.

Ultimately, accountability must come from the Russian people. That theynow have the freedom and power to provide it, that the truth is no longerhidden from them but exposed by an energetic press, that they have brokenthe back of communism and chosen to pursue their aspirations with, notagainst, the world, remains among the most hopeful developments of ourtime. By standing with them when possible, while standing up for our interestswhen necessary, we have made the American people immeasurably more secure.This remains the right course for America.

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4.
Talbott Opposes 'Quarantine' Against Russia
        RFE/RL
        September 7, 1999
        (for personal use only)

In an interview with NTV's "Itogi" program, US Deputy Secretary of StateStrobe Talbott said Washington is opposed to any "quarantine" against Russia,Interfax reported on 6 September. He said that that word and "deterrence"are not used in any reasonable discussion of Russian-U.S. relations. Instead,Talbott suggested, one should talk about involvement, cooperation, commoninterests, mutual respect, and an open and honest exchange of views. TheU.S. official added that Washington has repeatedly raised with Russianofficials the question of corruption in Russia, and he noted that financialmisconduct by some Russians has become an obstacle to future U.S. assistance.

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5.
Was the Looting Of Russia Avoidable?
        David Ignatius
        Washington Post
        September 8, 1999
        (for personal use only)

To critics who ask why the Clinton administration has done so littleto curb the looting of Russia, the administration has responded with apragmatic question of its own: What would the critics have done differentlythat might have prevented the Russian debacle?

Yes, the administration concedes, things in Russia haven't worked outas the West had hoped: The country is weak and demoralized; its resourceshave been plundered by corrupt oligarchs and outright thieves; and now,it appears, its crooks have been using our banks to hide their money. Asnational security adviser Sandy Berger said on this page Sunday, "Thereare indeed plenty of troubles in Russia today." But Berger and others haveimplicitly asked: What alternatives might have spared Russia this fate?

Good question. Because unless we understand what went wrong during thepast few years in Russia -- and how our mistakes or inaction contributedto the mess we now encounter -- we have little hope of helping the Russiansget it right in the future.

Russia's transition from communism was bound to be messy, no matterwhat the United States did. One observer likens the administration's dilemmato that of a gambler who has to bet on a roll of the dice with these rules:If a 1, 2 or 3 comes up, you lose $5,000. If you get a 4, 5 or 6, you lose$10,000. Obviously you'd make the first bet, but you wouldn't feel goodabout the choice, or the outcome.

But privately, some of the people who have been intimately involvedin framing our Russia policy concede that they'd like to do some thingsover again. Here's my list of those misjudgments, drawn from conversationswith policymakers and Russians who were on the receiving end:

(1) The Clinton administration should have been warier about the short-termscheme the Russians adopted to finance their budget deficit. The U.S.-backedplan was to sell ruble-denominated bonds, known as GKOs," bearing veryhigh interest rates. The GKOs were a form of Russian junk bonds, and theywere certainly a better idea than simply printing money.

But short-term financing schemes often come a cropper, whether in Mexicoor Russia. And the GKOs blew up disastrously. Indeed, they appear to beat the center of both aspects of the Russia problem -- the policy failuresymbolized by the Russian government's Aug. 17, 1998, default on the GKOs,and the corruption scandal symbolized by the alleged $10 billion moneylaundering scheme through the Bank of New York. Indeed, some insiders speculatethat the $10 billion may have included flight capital from Russian oligarchswho were tipped off about the impending GKO default.

A better way to finance the Russian deficit would have have been moreaggressive tax collection. In addition to reducing the GKO mess, a workabletax system would have checked Russia's gangster capitalism and made ita more lawful society.

(2) The administration should have pushed harder to stop Yeltsin's"reformers"from embracing a 1996 privatization scheme known as "loans for shares."This corrupt deal allowed Russia's new business tycoons to acquire thecrown jewels of the economy -- the mining and natural resource companies-- in exchange for cheap loans to the government.

Loans for shares was "the reformers' original sin," argues journalistChrystia Freeland. In the mind of ordinary Russians, it linked capitalismwith thievery.

The worst of it was that key U.S. Treasury officials suspected thenthat loans for shares was a potential disaster. The administration protested-- but not loudly, because it feared that without U.S. support, Yeltsinmight lose the elections. The Russian people are now paying for our mistake.

(3) The administration should have allied directly with the Russianpeople, rather than with Yeltsin and his reformers and the corrupt oligarchswho stood behind them.

In practical terms, this would have meant relying less on macroeconomicpolicies -- and the hope we could create instant capitalism -- and moreon grants and aid programs. Targeted aid programs, focused on such areasas health care, would have helped ordinary Russians feel their lives wereimproving in measurable ways, thanks to help from the United States.

Administration officials accept this criticism. But they are right thatmuch of the blame should go to the Republican Congress, which wouldn'tfund even the modest aid programs the administration requested.

(4) The administration should have been more honest. Perhaps it wasinevitable that Russia's transition to a market economy would produce ageneration of robber barons. But we didn't have to embrace them quite soenthusiastically. We didn't have to call Boris Yeltsin another AbrahamLincoln, as Clinton did. And we didn't have to watch quite so idly as supposedcapitalists looted Russia's wealth.

Truth, in the end, is America's most powerful weapon. When Ronald Reagancalled the Soviet Union an "evil empire" in 1983, critics laughed. Buthis blunt remark gave hope to a generation of Russians. We need that kindof honesty now.

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H. START

1.
Arms Control Is Dying. Unless It's Reviving
        Eric Schmitt
        New York Times
        September 5, 1999
        (for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- By many measures, international arms control seems tobe on the verge of unraveling.

A global treaty banning all nuclear testing is bottled up in the UnitedStates Senate.

Another pact to reduce the atomic arsenals of Russia and the UnitedStates is stalled in the Russian Parliament.

Iraq, Iran and North Korea are racing to build new biological, chemical,nuclear weapons or long-range missiles, American intelligence analystssay. Finally worn down by Iraqi non-cooperation, the United Nations hasdismantled its efforts even to monitor Iraq's terror-weapons programs.And India and Pakistan are menacing each other with nuclear-tipped missiles.

"We're heading downhill," said Michael Krepon, president of the HenryL. Stimson Center in Washington, a group that researches arms control andinternational security.

"All of the major fault lines of nuclear danger are growing."

Why then are many arms control advocates echoing the bullish declarationof Adm. Stansfield Turner, a past director of Central Intelligence: "Thisis the most opportune moment in the past 40 years for nuclear arms control"?

The answer is simple: Russia, which is still the only country that canclaimparity with America's own nuclear arsenal, has serious reasons for wantingto cut back its stock of warheads.

Russia's strategic forces are declining fast and Moscow lacks the moneyto pay for new systems.

It badly wants a new strategic arms reduction agreement, Start 3, thatcould take both countries down to 1,500 long-range nuclear warheads frommore than 6,000 currently; from the Russian point of view, that would atleast allow Russia to keep even with the United States despite all itstroubles.

roponents of such a deal argue that it would have advantages for theUnited States as well: It would shrink the nuclear stockpile of the countrythat still harbors the single biggest threat to American security, andfrom which American security officials fear that terrorists may even nowbe shopping for nuclear material.

And with instability engulfing Russia, including growing public cynicismtoward the government, rising corruption with allegations of Russian launderingof billions of dollars through the Bank of New York and the economy shakierthan ever, time may be running short to strike a bold new arms deal beforeboth countries hold presidential elections next year, experts say.

"We have a way to secure extremely deep cuts, and make them verifiableand irreversible," said Mr. Krepon.

"In return for doing Russia that favor, which is a favor to ourselves,we can get a number of things we want."

But the Administration is proceeding gingerly, still insisting thatRussia's Communist-dominated Parliament first ratify the Start 2 treaty,which brings both nations' strategic forces to 3,000 to 3,500 warheads,before seriously negotiating any follow-on pact to further reduce the weaponry.

And even though the cold war is over, the logic of nuclear arms controlhas detractors. The Pentagon and many conservatives fear that dipping muchlower than 3,000 warheads would jeopardize the American nuclear advantageover the rest of the world, and encourage other countries to seek the statusof first-tier atomic powers.

Moreover, Washington's insistence that the Russian Parliament act onStart 2 may have backfired, angering many Russian lawmakers who complainof American coercion.

"They are trying to portray us as a country unwilling to divest itselfof nuclear arms, a kind of nuclear monster that does not want to disarm,"Roman Popkovich, chairman of the defense committee of Russia's lower houseof Parliament, said last month.

Yet another hurdle is the strained relationship between Moscow andWashington,frayed most recently by the air war in Kosovo. "Things are at such a lowlevel of credibility with Russia right now," said Senator Pete Domenici,a senior Republican from New Mexico.

"A lot of work has to be done."

That is why Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, the Administration'stop Russia expert, plans to fly to Moscow this week to try to smooth outdifferences in advance of a more important meeting in Washington on Sept.17 with a Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Georgi Mamedev.

Against long odds, Mr. Talbott is trying to broker a deal to modifythe 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to allow the United States to builda limited national defense against long-range missile attacks -- in exchange,
perhaps, for a Start 3 agreement.

Russia has long opposed such a shield, fearing it could lead to a broader"Star Wars" space-based defensive system.

But missile defenses are a top foreign-policy priority of Senate Republicanslike Jesse Helms of North Carolina, whose Foreign Relations Committee islikely to hold the nuclear-test ban treaty hostage until President Clintonsubmits two other treaties that Mr. Helms wants to kill, including amendmentsto the A.B.M. Treaty.

The Administration's deliberate approach illustrates a shift in thepolitics of arms control, which became the lifeblood of America's foreignpolicy during the last half of the cold war, arms control advocates say.

It was just a few years ago that President Clinton presided over theextension of a treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and signedthe Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Those accomplishments capped an astonishing10-year period for American arms control policy that included landmarkstrategic arms reductions treaties negotiated by President George Bush.

Mr. Clinton, arms control advocates say, has lost the momentum createdin his first Administration. Gone is the initiative of President's firstfour years, they say, replaced by drift and a reluctance to challenge Senateconservatives.

"It's a very timid approach and time is running out," said SpurgeonM. Keeny Jr., president of the Arms Control Association, a research andadvocacy group.

"They've had a failed policy in dealing effectively with the Senate,because of a feeling that a confrontation on this would hurt the rest oftheir domestic agenda."

If the Administration is to pull off one more arms control victory inits waning months, it can expect little or no help from Senate Republicans,who are moving away from the arms control legacy of the Bush and ReaganAdministrations, to push for national missile defenses.

"We don't want to unnecessarily antagonize the Russians, but they arenot the Soviet Union," said Senator Gordon H. Smith, an Oregon Republicanon the Foreign Relations Committee.

"They're not the threat they once were.

The threat is more dispersed now."

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2.
Russian Military Skeptical On US Arms Talks
        Martin Nesirky
        Reuters
        September 8, 1999
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Sept 8 (Reuters) - An upbeat U.S. Deputy Secretary of StateStrobeTalbott arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for arms talks but a Russianmilitary official made clear the going would be tough.

Diplomatic sources said Talbott was meeting Russian Deputy Foreign MinisterGeorgy Mamedov and they would meet again on Thursday morning before Talbottreturned to the United States.

``I'm going to be concentrating particularly on strategic matters, layingthe ground with my colleagues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for talksthat are coming up,'' Talbott told reporters after arriving at Moscow'smain international airport.

The talks will focus on the prospects for a START-3 nuclear weaponsreduction pact and Washington's desire to change the 1972 Anti-BallisticMissile (ABM) treaty, diplomats said.

The Cold War-era ABM treaty banned defence systems designed to shootdown enemy missiles, under the logic that such shields would only temptthe United States and the Soviet Union to build more missiles in the hopeone might pierce the enemy's umbrella.

The White House wants to review the treaty to allow it to develop ashield to protect its troops and Asian allies from possible attack by roguestates. Republicans in the U.S. congress have said they want to ditch thetreaty altogether.

But Russia regards the treaty as a cornerstone of arms control and stronglyopposes making major changes to it.

Talbott said he planned ``to continue the good discussions we have beenhaving with our counterparts in the Russian government over the last severalmonths.''

But an unnamed senior Russian military official sounded decidedly lessenthusiastic in comments to Interfax news agency.

``The Americans are trying to drag us into negotiating on ABM to secureRussian agreement for the United States to deploy its own limited nationalanti-ballistic missile defence,'' the official was quoted as saying.

``The Russian side will not go along with this,'' he said. ``Our positionis that deploying a national ABM system would lead to an arms race, includingin missiles.''

Itar-Tass news agency quoted diplomatic sources as saying both sideshad agreed not to disclose where they would meet on Wednesday and Thursday.It is not yet clear whether either side will brief reporters.

After a previous round of preliminary talks on ABM and START-3 in Moscowin  mid-August, a top Russian military official lashed out at theUnited States.

Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, head of the Defence Ministry's internationalrelations department, said that meeting had been unproductive and Washington'sinsistence on altering the ABM treaty could undermine the whole disarmamentprocess.

The sides were also expected to discuss START-3, a new treaty aimedat adding to cuts in nuclear arsenals agreed under the 1993 START-2 treaty,which has yet to be ratified by Moscow.

The military official told Interfax Russia was ready to discuss START-3because it would cut the U.S. arsenal and make it easier for cashappedMoscow to maintain rough parity.

Mamedov is scheduled to visit Washington later this month for more detailedtalks.

U.S. Defence Secretary William Cohen is scheduled to visit Moscow onMonday for talks with Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev. Russian PrimeMinister Vladimir Putin is expected to meet U.S. President Bill Clintonat an Asian-Pacific summit in New Zealand next week.

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I.  ABM, Missile Defense

1.
U.S. To Go Slowly On Treaty: Quick ABM Overhaul Rejected by Clinton
        Bradley Graham
        Washington Post
        September 8, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Rejecting calls from Republican lawmakers to overhaul the Anti-BallisticMissile (ABM) Treaty all at once, President Clinton has decided to askRussia to agree initially to relatively modest changes in the 27-year-oldagreement, administration officials said yesterday.

The decision follows months of debate within the administration overwhether to seek wholesale changes in the treaty immediately or take a two-stepapproach as the United States attempts to build a nationwide defense againstmissiles.

Administration officials said the gradual approach would improve thechances of reaching an agreement before presidential elections next yearin both countries.

The first set of changes sought by the administration would permit theUnited States to place 100 interceptor missiles in Alaska, which is thePentagon's latest plan for defending the country against, at a bare minimum,a few incoming warheads from a state such as North Korea, Iraq or Iran.

As the missile threat is perceived to grow and as U.S. technologiesimprove, officials said, the United States would seek further treaty amendmentsto permit more than 200 interceptors, at least two launching sites, advancesin radar and the use of space-based sensors.

But congressional Republicans attacked the strategy, accusing theadministrationof squandering an opportunity to alter the treaty substantially now andarguing that the phased approach would only prolong tensions with Russia.They said that Moscow, which has long opposed U.S. defenses against long-rangemissile attack, likely would reject even the limited proposal for modifications.They also predicted trouble in Congress.

"The administration is very clear on what would be acceptable, and theminimalist approach is not acceptable," one senior Senate Republican staffmember said.

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, the administration's top Russiaexpert, flew to Moscow yesterday to begin discussions on the phased negotiationplan. Other high-level exchanges are due next week when Defense SecretaryWilliam S. Cohen visits Moscow and Russia's deputy foreign minister, GeorgiMamedov, comes to Washington.

European allies also were being informed of the U.S. plan this week,officials said. Concern that the Europeans might take issue with a moreaggressive U.S. approach was a major factor in the decision to proceedin steps, according to officials involved in the decision.

"We also have to get the concurrence of our allies in order to makean effective anti-missile system," Cohen said in an interview yesterday."They still look on the ABM Treaty as being one of the stabilizing factorsin the relationship with Russia. It's important for us to proceed in aresponsible fashion."

Some senior defense officials reportedly argued within the administrationfor a broader negotiation with Moscow. But Cohen insisted that he and Clinton'sother top national security aides were unanimous in their support for thephased approach.

"This first phase will give us the kind of protection we'll need forthe immediate missile threat," he said.

At the same time, Cohen stressed that the Russians would be told oflonger-term U.S. plans to expand the anti-missile system and to seek furthertreaty changes in a second set of negotiations at a future date.

While Clinton has yet to approve the deployment of any national missiledefense system, he has come closer in the past year to a decision to buildone under pressure from Republican lawmakers and amid evidence that a growingnumber of nations are acquiring ballistic missiles.

In January, Clinton pledged $6.6 billion over the next six years forconstruction of a network of radars and interceptor missiles. The administrationalso announced then that it would ask Russia to renegotiate the ABM Treatyto permit a limited system of missile defenses. Months of debate ensuedover how to structure the talks.

The ABM Treaty, signed by President Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev,strictly limits the number, type and placement of missiles that Washingtonor Moscow can deploy to shoot down incoming missiles. Its fundamental premise,which held throughout the Cold War, was that limiting missile defense woulddiscourage development of more offensive nuclear weapons and make eachside confident that it had a credible deterrent against attack.

Despite mounting calls by Republican lawmakers to scrap the treaty asa Cold War relic, the Clinton administration has opted to preserve it asa cornerstone of nuclear strategy, essential to avoiding a new nucleararms race.

U.S. officials have urged the Russians to view the deployment of a limitedU.S. antimissile system not as a threat to the strategic balance betweenthe two nations, but rather as a weapon against attack from "rogue states."But the Russians regard the scaled-down plan as a forerunner to revivingthe more ambitious "Star Wars" system proposed by President Ronald Reaganin 1983--a space-based shield to protect the entire country from thousandsof incoming nuclear missiles.

To entice Moscow into a deal, U.S. officials plan on trying to couplea new ABM Treaty agreement with a new strategic arms reduction treaty,START III, that the Russians want and that could reduce each side's nucleararsenal to 1,500 warheads from about 6,000.

There are still enormous technological and financial obstacles to anational missile defense system. Chief among them: The Pentagon has yetto prove it can build a system that works. Clinton faces a decision nextsummer over whether to authorize deployment, but many experts predict thedeadline will slip because of testing delays.

To permit the initial system that the Pentagon envisions, U.S. officialssaid they need agreement from Russia to designate a new site, substitutingAlaska in place of Grand Forks, N.D., which was picked in the mid-1970swhen the United States briefly activated an antimissile system.

The treaty allows a single site for protecting either a set of strategicmissiles, as was the case in North Dakota, or a nation's capital. But itspecifically bans an antimissile system to protect all national territory.This prohibition also will have to be renegotiated, officials said.

Other similarly contentious provisions restricting radar locations andbasing as well as the use of space-based sensors would be postponed underthe U.S. plan until a later phase of talks.

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