B. Plutonium Disposition
- Russia, U.S. Open Nuclear Security Training Center, Reuters(11/01/99)
- Canada Plan Called Blueprint for Nuclear Instability,Reuters (11/01/99)
D. Arms Control – General
- Uranium Company Seeks Federal Aid, Washington Post(10/30/99)
E. U.S. – Russia General
- A Loss for the U.S. in World, L.A. Times (10/31/99)
- America The Menacing, Washington Post (10/31/99)
- Russia's Nuclear Nightmare, CBS News (10/29/99)
- FSB Questions Nuclear Researchers, Moscow Times (10/30/99)
- Russia Detains Arms Expert, Washington Post (10/31/99)
Russia, U.S. Open Nuclear Security Training Center
November 1, 1999
(for personal use only)
SERGIEV POSAD, Russia — The United States and Russia opened a U.S.-fundednuclear security center Monday to train Russian officers to guard atomicweapons storage sites and use high-tech detection equipment.
Officials hailed the Security Assessment and Training Center in woodsnortheast of Moscow as a milestone in efforts to reduce the risk of nuclearweapons being stolen and a stark recognition Russia simply could not affordsuch a base alone.
"When we started (cooperating) seven years ago, we didn't think it wouldbe possible to work in such areas as nuclear security, transporting nuclearwarheads and guarding important military sites,'' Colonel-General IgorValynkin told reporters after a ribbon-cutting ceremony. "Today, it isa reality.''
Builders began work at the site in February 1998 and are close to completion.Freshly painted buildings stand in a stark compound surrounded by triplefences of the kind the United States has given to Russia to ring actualnuclear bases.
Russian and U.S. staff at the center will assess new security equipmentand design packages of systems to deploy at Russian bases. Officers arealready being trained on some of the equipment, including infra-red detectiondevices. The center will also house a drug-testing laboratory.
Retired U.S. Air Force General Thomas Kuenning, who heads the DefenseDepartment's Cooperative Threat Reduction program, said the United Statesand Russia had common cause in keeping Russia's stored weapons safe, butMoscow was short of cash.
"We are doing with him the things he would do on his own if he had theresources,'' he said, referring to Valynkin.
The Russian general, who heads the Russian Defense Ministry's directoratein charge of nuclear security, echoed this, saying: "We really haven'tgot the funds to carry out such large-scale work on the problem of nuclearweapons security.''
He reiterated Russian nuclear bases were safe despite threats from Chechenguerrillas to attack them.
"We have increased the number of guards. In addition to guard battalionswe have mobile units which can react to any security system violation orattempted intrusion,'' he said. ''We consider our system is reliable andwill prevent terrorists entering our sites.''
The center is part of an annual $400 million U.S. program to fosternuclear security and help dismantle atomic weapons in Russia, which isdeep in an economic crisis that has sapped the armed forces of funds.
Kuenning was asked about differences with Russia over U.S. calls fora change in the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty. Russian officialshave called for all cooperation to be halted if the United States violatesthe treaty.
"The (Russian) general and I are both servants of the political systemand if the political system says we can't cooperate together for any particularreason then that's the way it'll be,'' he said. "But it is in our interestto cooperate fully for as long as that is possible.''
He noted differences — such as those over NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia— had not even caused a hiccup in cooperation on building the center.
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B. Plutonium Disposition
Canada Plan Called Blueprint for Nuclear Instability
November 1, 1999
(for personal use only)
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada, often the boy scout on the world scene,undoubtedly thought it was doing the right thing when it offered in 1996to burn weapons-grade plutonium, fallout from superpower disarmament agreements.
But the good deed from the heart of Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretienis turning into a glowing hot potato. Environmentalists say it will providecountries that have bought nuclear power plants from Canada with a blueprintwith which to tap their own plutonium supplies to build nuclear weapons.
And Canadian Indians, along with other groups, are up in arms over theidea of transporting even tiny amounts of radioactive material throughtheir communities.
Some time in the next few weeks, Transport Canada will oversee deliverythrough Ontario of nine small tubes of uranium dioxide and weapons-gradeplutonium from dismantled Russian and U.S. warheads.
Canada is taking the tubes -- containing 97 percent uranium dioxodeand 3 percent plutonium -- to its Chalk River, Ontario, research facilityto burn as part of its contribution to nuclear disarmament. The plan isto see whether the mixture, called mixed oxide fuel, or MOX, can safelybe used in Canadian Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactors, which are designedto operate on natural uranium.
If the three-year test is successful, Canada says it could remove moreexcess military plutonium from Russia.
But watchdog group Energy Probe claims the test will simply providea how-to manual for other CANDU-owners that aspire to become nuclear powers.Canada has sold CANDU reactors to Romania, South Korea, India, China, Argentinaand is negotiating to sell more to Turkey.
"The worst thing about the test is that it will prove the feasibilityof something nice intelligent people don't want to prove," said Norm Rubin,director of nuclear research at Energy Probe. "If you prove that the CANDUis really good at using plutonium fuel, there are nasty intelligent peoplewho would love to make nuclear weapons under the peaceful camouflage.
"This just gets you too close to this dual use, ambiguous thing thatwould-be nuclear weapons states are so fond of."
Larry Shewchuk of Atomic Energy Canada Ltd., the organization conductingthe test, dismissed that suggestion, citing stringent international safeguardsthat would catch any offenders very quickly.
"You would be found out so quickly, and you would have so many internationalsanctions slapped on you, to the point of running your economy into theground," Shewchuk told Reuters. "From a practical point of view, I couldnot see anyone going down that path."
Calling the test-burning "irresponsible," environmental group Greenpeaceaccuses AECL of trying to create a new industry for itself.
"AECL is setting Canada up as the nuclear waste dump for the world,"said Greenpeace's Mary MacNutt. "AECL is desperate for ways to market theirproduct abroad and this adds value to their reactor."
AECL's Shewchuk said Canada only offered to burn the Russian plutoniumbecause it would take Russia too long -- 25 years -- to dispose of the50 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium it has identified as excess. Canada'ssole intent is to further nuclear disarmament, he said.
He said AECL is being paid "less than C$5 million" by the U.S. Departmentof Energy to conduct the tests and will hand over responsibility for anyprogram that develops to Ontario Power Generation, a spinoff from thedebt-laden,chronically troubled public utility Ontario Hydro.
Ontario Power operates three nuclear power complexes in the provincewith 20 CANDU reactors, only 12 of which are operational.
Ironically, even Ontario Power wants nothing to with the plutonium.In published reports, Ontario Power has said the program was not a priority.In addition, MOX fuel is more expensive than natural uranium fuel, leavingno cost advantage for the utility.
Shewchuck conceded that was among the wrinkles that needed to be ironedout, adding any dialogue involving Ontario Power is years away.
Indian communities in eastern Ontario and Quebec, where one shipmentis expected to arrive by ship from Russia, say they are tracking the deliveryto ensure it does not go through their lands.
"We have put out a resolution that it is not going through Akwesasne(Indian reserve) and it's not going through Kahnawake either. Whateverit takes to stop the shipment, that's what we're going to do," said LarryWhite, emergency measures coordinator for the Mohawk council on the Akwesasnereserve.
Akwesasne, near Cornwall, Ontario, straddles the U.S.-Canada borderwhile the Kahnawake native community is located near Montreal.
White said the matter was not a "Mohawk versus the government problem,"adding his community was working in tandem with other groups opposed tothe plan.
"It's plutonium, it's a radioactive thing and it's going to set a precedent,"White said. "It's not going to come through because we know the resultsof what's going to happen." ($1-$1.47 Canadian)
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Uranium Company Seeks Federal Aid
Martha M. Hamilton
October 30, 1999
(for personal use only)
Privatized USEC Warns of Losses
Last year, the federal government sold off to investors a company ithad created to process uranium on the theory that the new firm, Bethesda-basedUSEC Inc., would thrive in the competitive marketplace. But now USEC, itsstock price under assault, is making the rounds of Washington with itshand out, seeking as much as $200 million in relief from the Clintonadministrationand Congress.
Already, USEC has spent about $100 million this year buying back sharesin a battle to prop up its stock price. It also pays a relatively highdividend to its investors--about $100 million a year, or more than itsprofit.
But according to sources who have heard the pitch, USEC--which is akey player in reducing the number of stockpiled nuclear weapons in Russia—iswarning that it could lose $200 million to $300 million over the next twoyears because of a deal that requires the company to buy processed uraniumfrom Russia.
Sources said the company has proposed several forms of relief, includingtax credits for utility companies that buy the Russian uranium, relieffrom potential environmental liability, help in renegotiating the lasttwo years of the contract with the Russians or even flat-out appropriations.
So far, according to Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson and CapitolHill sources close to the discussions, the company hasn't won key backingin either the Clinton administration or Congress. But neither has aid forUSEC been ruled out.
Richardson said the administration wants to protect the agreement withthe Russians that DOE negotiated, but he first wants to see "justificationfor the $200 million." Richardson said that no decision has been made,but that—in addition to more data and justification of the request--theDOE needs "to be convinced that [USEC] will continue to operate" the company'stwo U.S. plants "without disruptions or layoffs."
USEC officials declined to comment.
The company, once under the umbrella of the Department of Energy, wentpublic on July 28, 1998, at $14.50 a share, bringing in a total of $1.9billion to the federal government. Since then the stock price has declined,closing at $9.25 a share yesterday.
USEC investors collect a dividend that is high even by the standardsof the utility industry, which historically has paid higher dividends thanother industries. Based on the current stock price, USEC investors receivea yield of more than 12 percent, compared with an average for the utilityindustry of 4.9 percent.
Both the dividends and increases in management compensation since theprivatization have provoked questions by the union that represents USECworkers, and others, about why the company needs federal relief.
"These guys are trying to jam the administration, and it's not goingto happen," said one high-level Clinton administration official who askednot to be identified by name.
When it was privatized, USEC inherited a deal with Russia that was partof a historic agreement to help rid the world of nuclear weapons. So far,USEC has converted the equivalent of more than 3,000 Russian nuclear warheadsinto fuel under the program.
Under the Russian agreement, USEC is the federal government's executiveagent responsible for carrying out a 1993 accord between the Russian andU.S. governments to convert highly enriched uranium (HEU) from dismantledSoviet nuclear warheads into low-enriched uranium to be used as fuel innuclear power plants.
"Congress required the administration to proceed with the USEC privatizationin a manner that preserved national security, kept both uranium enrichmentplants open and maintained a reliable enrichment supply," said Rep. ThomasJ. Bliley Jr. (R-Va.), chairman of the House Commerce Committee, whichis investigating the USEC privatization.
"But it appears the administration didn't do its homework," Bliley said."Just 15 months after the Clinton administration proceeded with the USECprivatization, the historic U.S.-Russian HEU agreement may be in jeopardy,and now the livelihood of thousands of USEC employees is on the line."
During the first years of the agreement, USEC made money under its terms,but since then the market price for low-enriched uranium has fallen. Inaddition, according to USEC, the price it pays the Russians is "substantially"higher than the cost of processing uranium in its two U.S. plants. (Oneof the two plants is in Paducah, Ky., where a Washington Post investigationfound that thousands of uranium workers were exposed to radioactive materialswithout their knowledge. However, USEC is exempt from liability on claimsarising from when the plants were government-owned.)
USEC says it is under increasing pressure because long-term contractswith utilities to provide them with uranium are expiring and being replacedwith shorter contracts at lower prices.
"The average price of separative work units [the measure of the processing]in our backlog of contracts exceeds the price we pay under the RussianContract," the company said in an August filing with the Securities andExchange Commission. But "the current trend is for such average price todecline as our contract backlog becomes more heavily weighted with newer,lower-priced contracts."
The company also noted that it has operated its own plants less becauseof the Russian contracts, thereby spreading fixed costs over less output.In talks with members of Congress and others, the company has raised theprospect that it might have to either walk away from its role as executiveagent or close one of its plants, sources said. Those arguments haveconsiderablesway with some members of Congress.
The company has taken several steps to reduce costs since privatization,including reducing its costs for electric power, one of its major expenditures,and taking over direct operation of its production plants from LockheedMartin Corp. USEC also scuttled plans to develop a new uranium enrichmenttechnology, saying that it didn't appear to be commercially viable.
Despite those steps, Standard & Poor's downgraded USEC'scorporate-credit,senior-unsecured and bank-loan ratings in August from triple-B-plus totriple B with a negative outlook. Last week, USEC reported earnings forthe three months ended Sept. 30 of $16.1 million (16 cents per share),compared with net income (minus a special tax benefit) of $8.6 million(9 cents) the previous year.
While this year's earnings represent an improvement, the company isn'tearning as much per share on a quarterly basis as it is paying out in dividends,said Richard Miller, a policy analyst with the Paper, Allied-IndustrialChemical & Energy Workers International Union, which represents USECworkers. The union has been critical of the privatization of USEC becauseof its concerns that it might result in the shutdown of one of the company'stwo plants.
"I think they are probably looking for ways the government can stepin and bail them out of a bad situation," said Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio),whose district includes USEC's Portsmouth plant. As USEC was being privatized,Strickland raised questions about the tension between the company's nationalsecurity role and its imperative as a private company to maximize returns."If I was a less gracious person, I would say I told you so," he said.Strickland said that his goal is to ensure that there is a domesticbenefit--suchas additional assurances about the continuing operation of the plants--ifUSEC receives federal aid.
"People do sign contracts with prices in them and sometimes it turnsout later they may not have been as smart as they thought they were, andthat's too bad," said Thomas L. Neff, a senior member of the Center forInternational Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Neffwas one of the architects of the original deal with Russia.
"The question is, does it create an impossible situation for the performanceof the Russian deal?" he said. "Given that they paid dividends, boughtback stock and have made other expenditures, what evidence is there ofa financial crisis?"
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D. Arms Control -- General
A Loss for the U.S. in World
Los Angeles Times
October 31, 1999
(for personal use only)
Raymond Garthoff, Retired Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute,Served as Counselor to the U.s. Mission to Nato and as U.s. Ambassadorto Bulgaria. His Books Include "The Great Transition: American-soviet Relationsand the End of the Cold War."
WASHINGTON--Real U.S. security interests were damaged not only by whatthe recent Senate rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty does,but also by what the stand represents. In effect, the Senate jeopardizeda half century of bipartisan support for a responsible international U.S.role. To be sure, it was easier to create consensus during the Cold War,when the United States faced an implacable foe, but that is the point:We are defining the U.S. role in the post-Cold War world. The Senate'saction goes a long way toward telling the world that the United Statesplaces not only its own parochial interests, but even domestic partisaninterests, above its responsibilities in the world.
The Senate's rejection of the test-ban treaty does not stand alone incultivating that impression. The world's wealthiest country persists inthumbing its nose at the international community by failing to pay itsagreed share of financing for the United Nations. Now, the world's mightiestnation, which has conducted more nuclear-weapons tests than all other countriescombined, airily declines to ratify a treaty that would require us to accepta modest constraint on what remains an unparalleled technological capabilityfor preserving and even enhancing U.S. nuclear-weapons superiority. Washingtondeclares it will not even join the lesser nuclear powers (committed toreal constraints) in taking a cautious step toward our end of the dealwith nonnuclear countries in forging an international regime of nuclearweapons nonproliferation, a matter of great mportance to U.S., as wellas world, security.
The most dedicated opponents of the test-ban treaty saw its defeat asthe first major step in rolling back the existing arms-control regime.They do not just oppose a test ban; indeed, it probably doesn't even rankhigh in their concerns. But it was the most vulnerable. The Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty is next. If so, then strategic-arms limitations: the StrategicArms Limitations Treaty of the 1970s, through the Strategic Arms ReductionTreaty I, the START II Treaty still awaiting Russian ratification and,prospectively, a START III treaty.
The same hard-line opponents of the test-ban treaty already argue thatthe ABM treaty is defunct because the Soviet Union no longer exists. Itis an untenable position, but Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) has insisted thatthe protocols on ABM treaty succession be considered by the Senate togetherwith amendments to START II and promised to press for renunciation of theABM
treaty. The greater threat, however, is that the pursuit of a nationalmissile defense system, now accepted by both Congress and the Clintonadministration,may lead Russia to renounce all strategic-arms control.
The rejection of the test-ban treaty is a challenge to strategic stabilitythat defies common sense. The purported reasons for rejecting the treatyare, if not contrived, weak. If some small nuclear tests could evade detectionby our existing technical means, that would, of course, also be true underthe treaty--but the treaty provides additional verification and recoursefor clarifying possible noncompliance, as well as the sanction of aninternationallyapproved repudiation of any testing. In the unlikely event that U.S.national-securityinterests were threatened by any evasion of compliance (or the actionsof a nonsignatory) the treaty provides for withdrawal. We would be no worseoff then had the treaty and its powerful inhibitions on testing not beenin effect.
There is no need for testing for the United States to assure reliabilityof proven nuclear weapons, and no identifiable requirement for anynuclear-weaponsdesigns that would require testing. The test ban would, however, constrainpotential proliferation. The real concern underlying these objections isone of principle: Blanket opposition to U.S. participation in a globalsecurity regime. There are those who do not favor international arms controlany more than they do gun control at home.
The impact of the Senate action on U.S. relations with Russia is indirect,but not inconsequential. It was seen as but the latest sign of U.S. arroganceand unilateralism. From the Russian standpoint, the United States firstchose the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, rather than the Organizationof Security and Cooperation in Europe, which includes Russia, as the principalsecurity organization in Europe; then it expanded NATO to the East overRussian objections and with no evident need to do so; and, finally, itabandoned its reassurances that NATO was just a defensive alliance andbulldozed through a NATO intervention in Kosovo without mandate from eitherthe U.N. Security Council or the OSCE. Now, the United States has abandonedthe collaborative effort to build a global nonproliferation regime withthe comprehensive test ban as a key component. And it has announced another"not whether but when" decision to proceed with a national missiledefense--regardlessof the outcome of talks with Russia on amending the ABM treaty.
Senate rejection of the test-ban treaty is widely recognized to havebeen a serious failure of U.S. responsibility as a world power. Even manywho had reservations about terms of the treaty, including some senatorswho voted against ratification, have conceded that there would be adverseinternational repercussions. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of the senatorssigned a letter
urging that a vote not be taken at this time. Yet, it was held, and,on nearly straight party lines, the treaty was rejected.
Predictably, Democrats (and some Republicans) blamed the rejection onthe capitulation of GOP leadership to a strident minority determined toboth trash the treaty and deal a blow to President Bill Clinton and theDemocrats. And Republicans (and some Democrats) have put much of the blameon Clinton for a poorly managed effort to push the treaty through, gamblingon
traditional reluctance to undercut not only a president but also U.S.standing. Blame enough to share there may be, but the rejection of thetreaty bespeaks insufficient awareness in the Senate, and the country,of the wide repercussions and extent of the damage.
It is ironic that the strategic-arms-control regime now threatened byGOP attack largely rests on achievements of GOP administrations (albeitwith Democratic support): SALT and the ABM treaty under President RichardM. Nixon; the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty under PresidentRonald Reagan; and START under President George Bush. And, of course, theComprehensive Test Ban has been a goal of all administrations, beginningwith President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 41 years ago.
But, as Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) remarked after the Senate vote,"There are some who just want to have Fortress America." This reflectsthe real agenda of those who maneuvered a minority of Republicans intoa partisan majority. They are not isolationist, as some have labeled them.They are unilateralists, who want the United States to call the tune, andgo it alone when necessary. Many are also supremacists, who think Washingtoncan, and should, use its power, unfettered, to manage the new world order.
Paradoxically, this turn toward unilateral supremacism undermines theU.S. leadership role in the world. This was clear when the Senate ignoreda rare appeal by President Jacques Chirac of France, Prime Minister TonyBlair of Britain and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany, all staunchU.S. allies.
Another disturbing aspect of the Senate action is its reflection ofa new partisanship. It is sad when knowledgeable and responsible membersof either party, in this case, Republicans such as Sen. Richard G. Lugarof Indiana, Sen. Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico, Sen. John W. Warner ofVirginia and Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, bow to partisan discipline insupport of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's deference to such hard-linersas Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Helms.Rancor is high, and some Republicans are too eager to find any way to venttheir hostility to Clinton.
The test-ban treaty was, in effect, a stand-in victim of impeachment.Nonetheless, it is a sad and dangerous matter when U.S. security interestsand a constructive role in the world become a political football. Worldpolitics do not wait on hold while U.S. politics are indulged. We needto think more seriously about creation of a new world order and our rolein the process. We must all strive to make the Senate's recent action onthe test ban an exception rather than see it establish a new broader pattern.
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America The Menacing
October 31, 1999
(for personal use only)
Escalating foreign policy conflicts between a narrow, mean-spiritedCongress and an inept, breathtakingly partisan White House now cloud U.S.strategy on nuclear deterrence. Strategic splintering threatens to replaceconsensus in Washington and undermine U.S. leadership abroad.
The question of endangered leadership lies at the heart of a privateletter written in September to President Clinton by French President JacquesChirac, who has seen his worst fears confirmed in the five weeks that havepassed without any reply from Clinton to the French leader.
In that time, Senate Republicans rejected U.S. participation in a globalban on nuclear testing. The administration accelerated its search formodificationto the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty. And the White House launcheda politically driven effort to brand all Republicans as "new isolationists,"reducing even more the chances for bipartisanship on deterrence--a policythat depends on unity and clarity of purpose.
Perhaps the big news in all this is that 10 years after the Cold Warbegan to end, nuclear arsenals and the strategies that govern them stilloccupy a central place in global and American politics. The Berlin Wallwent quietly into history's long night. But Dr. Strangelove is alive andflitting—stirring ambitions and concerns on Capitol Hill, at the Kremlin,in grubby think tanks in New Delhi and in gilded salons at the Elysee Palace.
Congress and the White House must now look at the cumulative andschizophreniceffect of their recent political sparring and piecemeal decision-makingon strategy. The result is increasingly to isolate the United States andto bring together the world's other declared nuclear powers in oppositionto a growing strain of U.S. unilateralism.
America is becoming a far more domineering abroad than most Americanscan comprehend. Congress requires the Pentagon to keep 6,000 warheads deployedand available for launch on intercontinental missiles, bombers andsubmarines--eventhough the Pentagon says it does not need more than 5,000 to destroy allpossible adversaries. It could in fact live with many fewer warheads.
At the same time the Senate insists on keeping the option to increaseU.S. dominance by new testing, and the administration and Congress bothdemand that Russia agree to ABM treaty changes to permit building of aU.S. national missile defense system no other nation can match on its own.
Strong arguments can be made for each of these steps on its own merits.But U.S. policymakers and legislators are missing the wider repercussionsof their deeds and words on cooperative international efforts to limitthe spread--and importance--of nuclear weapons as the 21st century begins.
China, Russia and France now form a united front in opposing U.S. effortsto change the ABM treaty. Beijing and Moscow have drafted a U.N. resolutionto prohibit any treaty changes. Even in Britain there is unease in officialcircles with the direction of U.S. strategy, although Prime Minister TonyBlair is too close to President Clinton to permit any expression of disquietat a political level.
Chirac is not so inhibited. He wrote Clinton in September to warn ofthe risks of an emerging strategic incoherence. The pressure to changethe ABM treaty had to be seen in the light of U.S. failure or reticenceto ratify a string of other international arms control accords, Chiraccounseled.
A Clinton response to Chirac's letter is finally in the pipeline, Iam told. But Chirac has gone public in the meantime. Standing beside ChinesePresident Jiang Zemin at the Elysee last week, the French leader describedtheir common view that "any calling into question of the ABM treaty wouldbring danger and destabilization" for the rest of the world.
France, Russia and particularly China have their own axes to grind onthis score. But Chirac touches on a genuine problem. The United Statesneeds to show that it is not embarked on a selfish, self-protective policyof deterrence that disregards everyone else. The image being created feedsthe efforts of Chirac, Jiang and others to reduce U.S. domination and createa "multipolar world."
A meaningful first step in a new U.S. approach would be an immediateunilateral reduction of 1,000 strategic warheads in the U.S. arsenal, withmore cuts related to progress on a more verifiable test ban treaty, modestchanges in the ABM regime worked out not only with Russia but also Franceand Britain and greater cooperation from other countries with U.S. effortsto contain the arsenals of rogue states.
The United States can go it alone in setting deterrence strategy andcounterproliferation if it must. But Congress and the White House mustnot let unilateralism be the only option available to Americans. Like economics,security is a global matter now.
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E. U.S. – Russia General
Russia's Nuclear Nightmare
CBS News [transcribed]
October 29, 1999
(for personal use only)
Could Terrorists Seize A Russian Nuke Plant? Energy SecretarySays Such A Threat Is Credible; War In Chechnya Could Prompt An Attack
(CBS) The war in Chechnya is a war without mercy. Russians shell theChechen capital killing civilians. Chechens allegedly bomb apartment buildingsin Moscow. And, according to Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, there isthe threat of a nuclear nightmare – an attack on one of Russia's nuclearpower plants, reports CBS News Correspondent David Martin.
"We think it's credible threats because this is a very serious conflict.We think that those plants have shown some vulnerabilities," Richardsonsaid.
If terrorists seized a nuclear power plant, they could at a minimumcut off electricity in the Russian winter. At a maximum, they could causea Chernobyl-like disaster that would spew radioactive debris into theatmosphere.
"We have taken all necessary measures to prevent this from happening,"said Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushaylo.
Rushaylo was in Washington this week for meetings with the FBI and StateDepartment. But in 1995, when Chechen rebels seized a Russian hospital,they were able to hold off the Russian army until the government was forcedto negotiate. Are the Russians any better prepared to deal with an attackon a nuclear power plant?
"Because of the economy, those workers who guard the plants aren't beingpaid. We're in general concerned about a lot of safety and security issuesat some of these facilities," Richardson said.
But, says Richardson, there's not much the U.S. can do about it.
"We don't want to be responsible for containing terrorism in an internalstruggle at Russian nuclear power plants," he said.
The threat will probably last as long as the fighting lasts, and despiteAmerican pleas for restraint, the latest intelligence shows the Russiansare gearing up for a major offensive against the Chechen capital.
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FSB Questions Nuclear Researchers
October 30, 1999
(for personal use only)
Russian security services this week detained a researcher who studiesnuclear nonproliferation issues and searched the apartments and an officeof two of his colleagues, including one American, the researchers said.
Russian environmental activists denounced the searches, saying theywere part of a crackdown on environmentalists and researchers working inthe area of nuclear disarmament.
"I think these FSB actions are part of a large-scale plan to teachenvironmentalistsand researchers not to stick their noses into issues surrounding Russiannuclear facilities," said Karen Narsisyan, a lawyer who represented GrigoryPasko.
Pasko, a military journalist from Vladivostok who wrote about the PacificFleet's practice of dumping nuclear waste, was acquitted of espionage chargesin July after spending 20 months in jail.
Alexander Nikitin, a former naval officer who was charged with treasonand accused of revealing state secrets in a report on the nuclear safetyof Russia's Northern Fleet, said the events this week resembled his situationfour years ago.
At 8 a.m. Wednesday, Federal Security Service, or FSB, officers in theKaluga region came to the apartment of Igor Sutyagin, a researcher at theUSA/Canada Institute who worked on issues of strategic and nuclear armscontrol.
The officers escorted him to an FSB facility and spent the rest of theday searching his Obninsk apartment and seizing his research materials,his wife, Irina Sutyagina, said. Obninsk, where the secret Institute forPower and Physics Engineering is located, is some 200 kilometers from Moscow.
As of Friday evening, he had not yet been charged with any crime buthe had not returned home, his wife said. She said that until Thursday night,Sutyagin was able to call relatives and colleagues, but she has not heardfrom him since then.
On Friday, an officer with the Kaluga FSB investigation department confirmedthat Sutyagin was at one of the FSB's temporary detention centers and wasbeing questioned. He declined to provide any details and refused to givehis name.
At 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, a group of FSB officers came to the one-roomMoscow apartment of Josh Handler, a U.S. researcher from Princeton University,he said. Handler, who has been in Russia since early February gatheringmaterial for his Ph.D. dissertation on why U.S.-Russia disarmament workdid not go further in the 1990s, said the officers discouraged him fromcontacting embassy representatives or a lawyer during the search.
The search lasted for seven hours and the FSB officers took away scholarlyarticles, notebooks, a Toshiba computer with most of Handler's researchand newspaper articles, including clippings from The Moscow Times. LikeSutyagin, Handler is affiliated with the United States and Canada Institute.
Also Wednesday afternoon, FSB officers searched the office of PavelPodvig, an independent researcher of nuclear arms and safety. The FSB seizedresearch materials and computers, Podvig confirmed in a telephone interviewFriday.
Later, FSB officers moved onto Podvig's Moscow apartment and searchedit until 12:30 a.m.
An FSB spokesman, who declined to identify himself, said the searcheswere conducted as part of a criminal investigation against a Russian citizensuspected of revealing state secrets. He would not elaborate on Sutyagin'sarrest.
Podvig works at the Center on Arms Control, Energy and EnvironmentalStudies in Moscow. He is the editor of Strategic Nuclear Arms of Russia,a collection of scientific articles published in October 1998. Sutyaginwrote a chapter of the book.
Podvig said he and his co-workers were always very careful about followingthe letter of the Russian law on state secrets. They sent a copy of themanuscript to FSB and to the Defense Ministry for review before publication,Podvig said.
Podvig said he hoped the situation would be "sorted out soon."
But Nikitin, who spent several months in jail and whose trial is stilldragging on, warned against trusting FSB too much.
"This is the FSB's tactic: to keep people without charging them withanything, so they cannot use their right to have a lawyer present duringquestioning," Nikitin said.
He said the FSB questioned him as a witness for four months and laterdeclared him a suspect.
"The FSB probably already found something in their book and just wantsto charge them with revealing state secrets," Nikitin said. "My hair standson end now when I read the minutes of my first questionings: I naivelytold them so much."
Sergei Rogov, director of the USA and Canada Institute, said he knewthat the FSB had opened an investigation involving a researcher from hisinstitute and an American scholar visiting on an academic research exchangeprogram. He declined to name the researchers.
Rogov stressed that his institute and researchers had no access to statesecrets and he was certain that the institute's publications used onlyopen sources.
"But the FSB apparently is concerned about other activities that wedon't know about," he said. "We presume that the investigation is goingto be conducted objectively. We are sure that nothing secret was betrayedas the result of the work at the institute."
The FSB has a history of investigating researchers working on nuclearissues. In addition to Nikitin and Pasko, Vladimir Soifer, who has studiedthe effects of a 1985 nuclear accident in the Far East, found himself thetarget of an FSB raid on his apartment and office this year. The officersconfiscated many documents, including his international passport.
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Russia Detains Arms Expert
October 31, 1999
(for personal use only)
Two Others Searched Over Possible Secrets Leak
MOSCOW, Oct. 30—The Russian Federal Security Service has searched andinterrogated three arms control and nuclear weapons specialists--two Russiansand one American--and one of the Russians has been detained, the specialistssaid today.
Igor Sutyagin, a senior researcher at the Institute for the Study ofthe United States and Canada, has been taken into custody by the securityservice, or FSB, a successor of the Soviet KGB. The investigators havebeen asking questions about a possible leak of classified information,others said.
Sutyagin has not been formally charged, but the other specialists saidhe has been told he is a suspect in a criminal case, and, after severaldays of questioning, has been detained in the city of Kaluga, south ofMoscow.
A team of FSB agents also interrogated Joshua Handler, a Princeton Universityresearcher who has been gathering material in Russia for his PhD thesison disarmament in the 1990s. They confiscated a laptop computer, researchpapers and newspaper clippings, among other things, from his Moscow apartment,Handler said. Eight agents spent seven hours searching his apartment andquestioning Handler, who has been affiliated with the U.S.-Canada institute.
The agents also interrogated and seized materials from Pavel Podvig,a researcher and editor of a groundbreaking book published last year onRussian strategic nuclear weapons. Sutyagin contributed a chapter to thebook, which was reviewed in advance by the Russian military.
Handler, a one-time Greenpeace activist, said, "Over the last 10 or15 years of my work, all I have been trying to do is improve U.S.-Russianrelations and to encourage greater steps toward nuclear disarmament andto try to improve the international environmental situation and the environmentin Russia. I have never sought and never intended harming the securityof the Russian federation."
Podvig said neither he nor Sutyagin has done anything wrong.
The searches and detention are reminiscent of FSB arrests and chargesagainst two military men who sought to expose nuclear waste dumping andsafety risks by the Russian navy in recent years. The authorities had chargedAlexander Nikitin and Grigory Pasko with espionage for revealing what weresaid to be secrets. Pasko was acquitted of espionage but Nikitin's caseis dragging on.
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