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Nuclear News - 10/20/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 20 October 1999

A.  Russian Nuclear Forces

    1. On The Safety Of The Nuclear Arsenal, Krasnaya Zvezda(10/16/99)
    2. Russia Tests Ballistic Missile, Associated Press(10/20/99)
    1. Deltas Cut in Pieces, Bellona (10/20/99)
C.  Loose Nukes
    1. In Brief: [Uranium Smuggling], Bellona (10/20/99)
D.  Arms Control – General
    1. Arms Control Specialists See Risk In US Treaty Moves,Boston Globe (10/19/99)
E.  ABM, Missile Defense
    1. Russia Apparently Snubs U.S. Radar Offer, WashingtonPost  (10/20/99)
F.  U.S. – Russian General
    1. Russia: U.S. Proposal Could Renew Arms Race, AssociatedPress (10/19/99)

A. Russian Nuclear Forces

On The Safety Of The Nuclear Arsenal
        Krasnaya Zvezda
        October 16, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Nikolai VOLOSHIN, Head of the Department of the Design and Testing ofNuclear Munitions at the Ministry of Atomic Energy, interviewed by VladimirDERNOVOI

Question: Your department implements the state's policy in thesphere of nuclear deterrence. Will you speak about your work with nuclearweapons?

Answer: Our main task is to maintain the safety and reliabilityof the nuclear arsenal. The thing is that under treaties signed by Russiawe are reducing nuclear weapons, so that the strategic burden on the remainingstock is increasing. The fewer nuclear warheads we will have, the morereliable they must be. We are working to prolong the service and the storagelife of bombs and warheads.

By storing tested and checked nuclear warheads, we ensure their protectionfrom unwarranted use. No nuclear tests are envisaged for the modernisationof nuclear warheads. We mostly use old achievements, providing new elementsto the automatic blocks and other equipment. We proceed from the assumptionthat the men who service them can make mistakes. This is why each chargehas a protection against accidents and other unforeseen circumstances.

We are also working to improve the nuclear blocks using computer modelling.We hold tests at physical, electro-physical and laser stands which reproducea part of the processes which take place during a nuclear explosion. Wealso experiment with fissionable materials. Only the energy of the explosiveis released during such tests, no nuclear energy. These experiments areheld to prove the safety and security of our arsenal and check on the agingof materials in the charge. No respected designer of nuclear weapons willsay that they can be developed without tests for 15-20 years.

In a word, we are not engaged in a global modernisation of nuclear weapons,but we are doing our best to keep up with the industrialised countriesin terms of technology.

Question: Russia and the other leading nuclear powers have pledgednot to test nuclear weapons, and now the accent in their development hasshifted to virtual modelling. Can it happen that Russia will lag behindother powers in this sphere because our computer base is weaker?

Answer: Our computer are three times slower than those used inthe USA, and we are doing everything possible to preclude the growth ofthis gap. And then, we have been using our own methods to create nuclearweapons for over 40 years now.

The treaty on the nuclear moratorium says that Russia reserves the rightto withdraw from it in case of threat to national security and hold therequisite nuclear explosions. The situation is completely different nowas compared to what we had in 1945-92, when numerous tests were held. Thisrather lengthy moratorium period will end in short-term test explosions,provided the sides' trust for each other is maintained.

Question: Who pays for your work with nuclear weapons?

Answer: Allocations on the creation and production of nuclearcharges is approved by the client and stipulated in a separate item ofthe state budget as the military programme of the Ministry of Atomic Energy.The Defence Ministry is the only client who determines the type, numberand yield of nuclear weapons, but it does not pay for this work. Last yearwe received 80% of allocations and used loans to continue working on ourprojects. These debts were repaid by the middle of this year.

Question: Do we still have the world's most powerful nuclearbombs?

Answer: When we tested a 50-megaton bomb in 1961, we learnedhow to make large-yield charges. We can create an even more powerful bombif necessary. But the current projects focus on the creation of smaller-yieldcharges. Although large-yield charges can be useful, too, for example,to combat asteroids and other space objects. We have such charges.

Question: Are you working on super-small nuclear charges?

Answer: We have tested the possibilities of small-yield chargesand can produce them, in principle. We can produce one-ton yield chargesnow. We have checked the entire range of possible yields.

Question: How do you see nuclear weapons of the 21st century?

Answer: They will be protected from unwarranted use and technogenicand natural catastrophes, and will be stored in small amounts. We willcontinue to try to convince Britain, France and China of the need to reducethe overall number of nuclear charges. Let there be nuclear weapons, saytwo charges per each nuclear country -- a hundred years from now.

Question: The 1987 Soviet-American treaty on the liquidationof intermediate- and smaller-range missiles affected Russia's security.

Answer: While our troops were stationed in Germany and the NATOborders were relatively far away from us, we could accept the mutual liquidationof such missiles. It was believed then that we have the possibilities andthe bridgeheads for a counterike. The flight time of tactical missilesto our borders dwindled after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The role of strategic and tactical weapons is completely different inRussia and the USA. Today tactical weapons targeted at Russia are playinga strategic role because they are located relatively close to our borders.But the USA is located overseas. However, the situation can change andthe Americans might regret some things. We are actively developing cooperationwith American specialists.

Question: What are your doing now that NATO is moving east?

Answer: All documents on the security concept and nuclear deterrencesay that the role of Russian nuclear weapons will grow with the eastwardadvance of NATO, although we are reducing our strategic weapons. The fewerwarheads we have, the higher demands are placed on each of the remainingcharges.

Question: Is it possible that you will have to revive Temposand Pioneers?

Answer: The designers of these systems are still working. Theyhave new ideas and in case of need we can create analogues of the abovesystems.

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Russia Tests Ballistic Missile
        Associated Press
        Oct. 20, 1999
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW –– Russia successfully test-launched a ballistic missile Wednesdayfrom neighboring Kazakstan.

The RS-18 Stiletto intercontinental ballistic missile was launched fromthe Baikonur cosmodrome, a spokesman for Russia's strategic forces said,on condition of anonymity. It successfully hit a target at the Kura testingground in the Kamchatka peninsula, on Russia's Pacific coast.

Russia leases Baikonur from Kazakstan, which was part of the formerSoviet Union.

The RS-18, which can be equipped with up to six warheads, is known inthe West as the SS-19 or Stiletto. It will have to be decommissioned ifRussia signs the START-II nuclear arms reduction treaty, which has stalledin the parliament.

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Deltas Cut in Pieces
        Igor Kudrik
        October 20, 1999
        (for personal use only)

The U.S. Co-operative Threat Reduction program is in the process tocomplete decommissioning of 16 nuclear powered submarines; 16 more to go.

Four Delta class nuclear powered submarines arrived at Zvezda shipyardin the Russian Far East to undergo decommissioning. The U.S. Co-operativeThreat Reduction program foots the bill to dismantle the submarines.

CTR was founded in 1991 when the U.S. Congress directed the Departmentof Defense to help secure former Soviet weapons of mass destruction. Since1991, Congress has provided $2.3 billion to support CTR's efforts. In 1992,CTR developed a specific program for dismantling ballistic missile submarines(SSBN) required under START- 1 arms reduction treaty. In 1997-98 CTR realisedthat the Russian government was unable to pay workers to carry out thescrapping of submarines. As a result, CTR was on contract for seven strategicsubmarines: one Yankee and six Delta-class submarines. In 1999, CTR plannedto sign contracts for nine additional submarines. The decommissioning takesplace at Nerpa and Zvezdochka shipyards in the Russian Northwest and atZvezda shipyard in the Far East of Russia.

In 1998, Zvezda shipyard decommissioned two Delta class submarines,while Nerpa shipyard at the Kola Peninsula melted down three Delta's. OneYankee class submarine was reportedly decommissioned at Zvezdochka shipyardin Severodvinsk the same year. This year, CTR is on contract to dismantlefour Delta class submarines at Zvezda and five Delta's at Nerpa shipyard.

In July this year, the first Typhoon class submarine arrived at Severodvinsk,Arkhangelsk County, to get scrapped. Four more Typhoons are expected tobe decommissioned. CTR's objective so far is to dismantle 32 SSBNs: oneYankee, 26 Deltas, and 5 Typhoons.

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C. Loose Nukes

In Brief: [Uranium Smuggling]
        October 20, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Two Russian citizens were apprehended by police in western Ukraine foralleged smuggling of uranium. The police investigators said those two broughtinto Ukraine 24 kilograms of uranium from Krasnoyarsk County in Russiaand attempted to sell it for $100.000, IMA-press reported.

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D. Arms Control -- General

Arms Control Specialists See Risk In US Treaty Moves
        John Donnelly
        Boston Globe
        October 19, 1999
        (for personal use only)

WASHINGTON - Since 1945, only months after the United States droppedatomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, world leaders have sought to haltthe use and spread of nuclear weapons with the deterrence of treaties.

Now, those treaties are in danger of falling apart, say a range of armscontrol specialists. Some in Congress, mostly Republicans, are arguingfor the breakup of some of the treaties, saying their Cold War terms areoutdated and put America at risk.

With the US Senate's rejection last week of the test ban treaty as wellas US talks with Russia about reopening terms of the 1972 AntiballisticMissile Treaty, many nonproliferation analysts believe such US moves couldcreate a domino effect and jeopardize all the treaties.

''You can feel it already,'' said Joseph Cirincione, director of thenonproliferation project at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,a Washington think tank. ''In the interconnected framework of treatiesand agreements, if you take one of the key elements out, you risk the wholestructure and it could collapse. That's what's happening here.''

Cirincione and other arms control specialists, as well as some Clintonadministration officials, see various possible grim consequences ahead.

They foresee Russia abandoning all talks on cutbacks of weapons. Theypredict nonnuclear states, especially some in Asia such as Japan, willreevaluate whether to acquire nuclear weapons. Many also forecast new nucleartests by India, prompted by the Pakistan military coup, and politicallymore easily undertaken in the wake of the US Senate rejection of a testban treaty.

The movement to control nuclear weapons began in the ashes of WorldWar II, when the leaders of the United States, United Kingdom, and Canadacalled for ''entirely eliminating the use of atomic power for destructivepurposes.''

It took 23 years for world powers to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty,and from that trunk grew branches of bilateral deals between the UnitedStates and Soviet Union known best by acronym and abbreviation: SALT, ABM,START.

Nonproliferation efforts flourished even as the Cold War faded, reachingout to include biological and chemical weapons treaties and the comprehensivetest ban treaty, signed by President Clinton in 1996.

But in recent weeks and months, the long unhappiness over the treatiesin the United States burst open.

The Senate Republican drive against ratification of the test-ban treatyand the Clinton administration's negotiations with the Russians aboutinstitutinga system of missile defense share one common theme: a belief the treatiesdon't best serve American interests.

Aside from partisan motivations, several GOP moderates believed thetest-ban treaty turns the US aging stockpile of nuclear missiles into anincreasingly unreliable arsenal.

Both liberals and conservatives favor rewriting the 27-year-old ABMtreaty, which prohibits widespread deployment of missile defense, becauseof emerging threats from unpredictable regimes such as North Korea, Iran,and Iraq.

Said centrist Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, yesterday:''The treaties that were negotiated in a context of a two-power, bipolarCold War world have less relevance.  They're outdated. The ABM treatyis the best example of that. The danger now is more from rogue nations,and we're trying to convince the Russians they should have equal concernabout it.''

Representative Floyd D. Spence, a South Carolina Republican and chairmanof the House Armed Services Committee, said in a hearing last week thatthe missile defense system should be a national priority. He said the ABMtreaty was ''designed to perpetuate Americans' vulnerability to missileattack.''

''Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security by eithera belief that we already have the defense or by assertions that the ballisticmissile threat to our country is decades away,'' he said.

As Clinton said last Thursday at a news conference, changing any ofthe nonproliferation treaties risks new dangers. One is a possible negativereaction from Russia. Another is China's response, and whether Russia andChina would move closer together if the United States deploys a missiledefense that could be interpreted in Moscow and Beijing as protection fromRussian and Chinese missiles, not just those from Iran or North Korea.

Yet another threat, which could become glaringly apparent next springwhen more than 180 nations review the Non-Proliferation Treaty, is whetherall the countries that have sworn against building a nuclear bomb keepthat promise. Only eight nations now have nuclear power.

Clinton said work on missile defense - including a successful test earlierin the month of an interceptor system - has been encouraging. ''If we havethe potential to protect our people against missiles that could be loadedwith nuclear weapons or chemical or biological weapons, coming at us fromother countries, ... it would be the responsible thing to try to deploysuch a system.

''The problem is, any such system, even a ground-based one, would violatethe literal terms of the ABM treaty. Now, there are people in the UnitedStates Congress who would like to just tear up the ABM treaty and go on.I think that would be a terrible mistake.''

US officials have offered to help Russia build a large missile trackingradar if Moscow agrees to renegotiate the ABM pact. But Russia has reactedicily to any proposed change. Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev, the commanderof Russia's strategic missile forces, said only two weeks ago that anychange could trigger a Cold War-style arms race.

The theory is that a missile defense system would prompt other nationsto add offensive firepower, enabling them to overwhelm a defensive systemin order to keep the balance of power intact.

Tom Z. Collina, director of arms control for the Cambridge-based Unionof Concerned Scientists, said the United States needs ''some world viewthat balances all these threats'' and should actively use diplomacy toreduce the threats. He feared that the focus on perceived threats fromlong-range ballistic missiles from North Korea and Iran had caused someto overlook
danger in Russia.

''The last thing the administration should want to do is pull out ofa treaty with Russia,'' Collina said yesterday. But he said that couldhappen in the coming months.

''I see this as a train wreck in the making,'' he said.

A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said there isa ''pretty active front'' among US and Russian officials talking aboutreopening the ABM treaty terms. But he said if Russians ultimately rejectany missile defense system, a confrontation is likely.

''The reality is if they don't renegotiate, we have hard-liners in Congresswho will want to dump ABM, and we may be going forward without the Russians.''

The official acknowledged the administration also will have little diplomaticleverage in case nonnuclear states opt to leave the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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E. ABM, Missile Defense

Russia Apparently Snubs U.S. Radar Offer
        David Hoffman
        Washington Post
        October 20, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Aid to Complete Siberian Site Was Made in Exchange for ABM Treaty Changes

MOSCOW, Oct. 19—Russia today poured cold water on the idea of receivinghelp from the United States to complete a Siberian missile-tracking radarstation in exchange for agreement on changes to the 1972 Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty.

In a brief statement, the Foreign Ministry said "there are no grounds"for American newspaper reports about the U.S. offer of assistance thatwere published on Sunday. The ministry refused to elaborate, but Russianexperts said the statement, while not an outright rejection, indicatedthat such a trade-off is unlikely.

The specialists said the Russian military remains adamantly opposedto any changes in the missile treaty. Although the United States and Russiahave agreed to discuss possible changes in the treaty, the Russian specialistssaid formal negotiations have not started, and a deal may be a long wayoff.

"I have a very strong impression that the Russian military, and theForeign Ministry as well, have taken this issue to heart, and they aredetermined to stand firm on ABM no matter what," said Paul Podvig, a researcherat the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies here. "The United States should understand what the situation is. Thereshould be a clear understanding Russia is not at all happy with all thistalk about changing the ABM treaty, and some in Russia seem to be willingto go as far as to pull out of the START I treaty."

That nuclear reduction pact is already in force. START II, which furtherslashes both countries' strategic arsenals, was signed in 1993 but neverratified by the Russian parliament. Both countries have expressed interestin moving to a third arms reduction treaty, START III, but it has not yetbeen negotiated.

Some arms control experts fear the entire arms reduction process couldbreak down in a dispute over the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. Conservativesin Congress are arguing that the missile treaty is outdated and the UnitedStates must be ready to go it alone to build a national missile shieldto protect against possible launches from North Korea and other nations.

The Clinton administration has said it will decide by next June whetherto build the national missile defense system, which would require changesin the 1972 treaty, and has begun sounding out Russia on possible amendments.Russia has insisted that the treaty is a cornerstone of deterrence, andopposed any changes.

The treaty sharply limits the ability of either country to build ballisticmissile defenses, in theory leaving both equally vulnerable to attack,which was viewed as a stabilizing factor during the Cold War.

Russia cannot compete technically or financially with the United Stateson missile defenses and its existing early warning system, composed ofboth radar and space-based satellites, is falling apart.

The U.S. offer was to help Russia complete a radar station near Irkutsk,and possibly others elsewhere, in exchange for support on treaty modifications.But one Russian specialist said the official reaction was that the proposalis "not sufficient" for changes in the treaty. Any treaty modificationswill need to be accompanied by a START III agreement that reduces the numbersof nuclear warheads, this expert said.

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F. U.S. – Russia General

Russia: U.S. Proposal Could Renew Arms Race
        Barry Renfrew
        Associated Press
        October 19, 1999
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- Russia is warning that the world could be pushed into a newnuclear arms race because the United States wants to change a key agreementthat has helped control nuclear weapons for the past 25 years.

The U.S. proposal has alarmed and outraged Russian political and militaryleaders, who claim that Washington wants to attain nuclear invincibilityat a time when Russia's nuclear forces are in shambles. Moscow may haveto build new atomic weapons to counter what it sees as a major threat,they say.

All pacts at risk

If Washington persists with its proposal, Russian officials say, itcould endanger the whole framework of nuclear agreements on limiting orscrapping nuclear weapons that took decades to construct.

``All agreements that have been signed or are being prepared, will comeunder threat -- namely, START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) 1, START2 and consultations on START 3,'' said Col. Gen. Vladimir Yakovlev, commanderof Russia's strategic rocket forces.

At the heart of the Russian fears is a U.S. proposal to amend the 1972Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty so that both countries could build missiledefense systems to protect themselves against limited nuclear attacks.The bedrock treaty was key to starting arms control pacts during the ColdWar.

After denouncing Washington's ABM proposal when it was announced thissummer, Moscow was furious after the U.S. Senate rejected the ComprehensiveTest Ban Treaty on Wednesday. The vote made the United States the firstnuclear power to reject the 154-nation agreement on ending nuclear weaponstesting.

Russia was ``disillusioned and seriously concerned'' by the vote, theForeign Ministry said, calling the Senate's decision part of a trend thatindicates the United States is trying to ``destabilize the foundationsof international relations.''

Washington says it wants to amend the ABM treaty so that both countriescan defend themselves against nuclear attacks by rogue nations. It hastried to allay Moscow's fears by offering to help build a Russian defensesystem -- a proposal to which Moscow has yet to respond.

Moscow says the United States is exaggerating the threat from minornuclear states. Instead, Russian officials fear, Washington wants to developan ABM defense that could defeat a major missile attack. This would makeMoscow's nuclear arsenal useless and leave Russia vulnerable because itdoes not have the resources to build a defense system of its own.

Rearming possible

Russia may be forced to abandon arms control pacts to ensure its nuclearforces remain effective, officials say. One option is rebuilding multi-warheadland-based ballistic missiles, which have been banned by arms control deals.

``The U.S. approach might destabilize the international situation andcall into question all existing arms treaties between the two countries,''said Pavel Felgenhauer, a prominent military analyst.

U.S. officials say the defense system they want to build would be effectiveagainst only a minor attack, and Russia, with its huge nuclear arsenal,has nothing to worry about.

Russian officials say breaking the ABM treaty could mean the end ofall nuclear control agreements, including the long-stalled START 2 treaty.

The 1993 treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1996, would halve U.S.and Russian nuclear arsenals to 3,000-3,500 warheads each. But its passagehas been blocked by Communists and nationalists in the Russian lower chamberof parliament, the Duma, who say the treaty would hurt Russia's security.

START 2's passage would clear the way for START 3, which would reduceboth sides' nuclear arsenals to as few as 2,000 warheads each.

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