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Nuclear News - 11/03/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 03 November 1999


A.  Nuclear Cities Initiative

  1. Russians Balk at Opening Nuclear Sites to U.S. Eyes, NewYork Times (11/03/99)
B.  CTR
  1. Text: Joint U.S.-Russia Nuclear Security Training Center Opens,USIA (11/01/99)
C.  Nuclear Power Industry
  1. Could Terrorists Hit Sosnovy Bor? St. Petersburg Times(11/02/99)
D.  Russia – Iran
  1. Russia, Israel In Standoff On Arms To Iran, Reuters(11/02/99)
E.  ABM, Missile Defense
  1. Russia Flexes Muscles, Test Fires Anti-Missile Rocket,Reuters (11/03/99)
 

A. Nuclear Cities Initiative

1.
Russians Balk at Opening Nuclear Sites to U.S. Eyes
        Michael R. Gordon
        New York Times
        November 3, 1999
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- Tuesday was supposed to be a banner day for U.S.-Russiancooperation.The U.S. ambassador was scheduled to cut the ribbon at a gala opening ofa U.S.-financed business center in one of Russia's closed nuclear cities.

But after Russian authorities barred him last week from bringing histop science adviser or inspecting other U.S.-Russian projects at the site,known as Krasnoyarsk-26, Ambassador James Collins angrily canceled hisvisit.

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson protested the Russian restrictionsin terms so strong last weekend that Russian Atomic Energy Minister YevgenyAdamov stormed out of the room in Denver, Colo., where both were attendinga conference.

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has worked hard toprotect nuclear materials in Russia and to prevent them from falling intothe hands of Iran, Iraq or other aspiring nuclear powers. But the questionof access to Russian nuclear sites, always a sensitive issue, has becomeincreasingly troublesome of late.

There are a variety of reasons, including the frustration of the Russiansover restrictions placed on their visits to the U.S. Energy Department'sheadquarters and laboratories, the sheer number of American visitors tothe Russian weapons complex, and a residual distrust within Russia's Ministryof Atomic Energy of U.S. intentions.

Another key factor is the influence of Russia's internal security service,the FSB no friend of expanded cooperation with the West.

"At the same time that we are making significant progress on the nuclearcities initiative we are starting to experience more access problems,"Richardson said in a telephone interview. "We have set up a task forceto examine access questions and resolve what is becoming a problem: thecontinued interference by the FSB with our joint operations."

None of this means that nuclear cooperation is on the verge of breakingdown. Experts from U.S. nuclear laboratories and the Pentagon work withtheir Russian counterparts in ways that were unthinkable during the ColdWar.

But Russia's uneven policy on access is threatening to erode supportin the U.S. Congress for the Clinton administration's program to createcivilian jobs within Russia's closed nuclear cities -- nuclear-weaponscomplexes where 750,000 Russians live, but which remain off-limits to foreignersand Russians lacking special permits.

Even before the latest dispute over access, Congress slashed theadministration'sprimary program of assistance to the closed cities to $7.5 million fromthe $30 million proposed for fiscal year 2000.

Certainly, the access problems at Krasnoyarsk-26 came as an unpleasantsurprise to Collins.

The aim of the center he was to inaugurate is to help develop new businesses,an important step toward creating employment for former weapon scientistsand reducing their temptation to sell bomb-designing skills abroad.

Russian authorities approved a two-day visit by Collins to Krasnoyarsk-26and, after some importuning, allowed him to bring his interpreter. Butthey would not allow his main science adviser, Thomas Maertens, to go.Maertens had been in Krasnoyarsk-26 earlier this year, and Russian authoritiessometimes like to limit the frequency of such visits.

Collins insisted that he, not the Russians, should be able to determinethe composition of his team.

In canceling his visit, the U.S. Embassy sent Russia's Atomic EnergyMinistry a blunt letter noting that the restrictions were hampering theambassador's ability to monitor United States assistance to Krasnoyarsk-26.Still, the business center was inaugurated as scheduled by mid-level U.S.Energy Department officials

Russia's atomic energy minister declined comment. But Andrey Katargin,the mayor of Zheleznogorsk, the civilian area within the Krasnoyarsk-26complex, complained that that some of the restrictions Russian authoritieshave imposed on access to his city are excessive.

"The U.S. ambassador is an important person," Katargin said in a telephoneinterview. "His presence would have increased the status of the opening."

Krasnoyarsk-26 is not the only place where U.S. officials have run intoproblems. Richardson has pressed unsuccessful to visit Avangard, a factoryfor assembling and disassembling nuclear warheads, which is located inthe closed city of Arzamas-16.

The United States has offered to provide funds to convert the plantto civilian production if the Russians agree to shut it down ahead of schedule.

There have also been problems at Mayak, where the United States is fundingthe construction of a warehouse to protect bomb-grade plutonium extractedfrom nuclear warheads.

Thomas Kuenning, a retired U.S. Air Force general who directs a Pentagonprogram to help the Russians reduce their strategic arsenal, said the Russiansstill have not provided the necessary access for the new American projectmanager at Mayak. Russia's Defense Ministry, he said, tends to be morecooperative than its Atomic Energy Ministry.

"Access needs to be answered on a ministry by ministry basis," Kuenningsaid. "We try to develop trust and chip away at it.

Some former U.S. officials said the Russians are not the only ones atfault.

"This is a problem that exists on both sites," said Kenneth Luongo,a former Energy Department official and the head of the Russian-AmericanNuclear Security Advisory Council, a private group that focuses on theproblems of Russia's closed cities.

Luongo said that the U.S. Energy Department headquarters has imposeda new series of background checks for Russians. And while foreign reportershave been allowed to visit Pantex, the U.S. warhead disassembly plant,Russian visitors are not allowed.

"The Russians are slowly tightening the noose, but the United Statesis doing the same thing," Luongo said.

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B. CTR

1.
Text: Joint U.S.-Russia Nuclear Security Training Center Opens
        USIA
        November 1, 1999
        (for personal use only)
 
The United States and Russia announced the opening November 1 of ajoint Security Assessment and Training Center (SATC) at Sergiev Posad,Russia.

According to a Defense department press release, the center will servetwo functions: as a test site for security procedures and technology --including physical security devices -- and as a facility for training theguard forces to use the devices at Russian nuclear weapons storage sites.

The center will also provide support to upgrade Russia's PersonnelReliabilityProgram (PRP), which will help assure the reliability of personnel responsiblefor safeguarding nuclear weapons.

This effort is a part of the weapons protection, control, and accountingproject, under the DOD Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. TheCTR program began in 1992 as a result of an initiative by former SenatorSam Nunn and Senator Richard G. Lugar to provide assistance to eligiblestates of the former Soviet Union to dismantle weapons of mass destructionand to reduce the threat of their proliferation. The U.S. and Russia signedan agreement in 1995 concerning cooperation in nuclear weapons storagesecurity through the provision of material, services and related training.

Following is the text of the press release:

(begin text)

November 1, 1999

Nuclear Weapons Security Assessment and Training Center Opens

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Russian Ministry of Defense(MOD) 12th Main Directorate established the Security Assessment and TrainingCenter (SATC) today in a ceremony at Sergiev Posad, Russia. The centerwill serve as the central site for testing security technologies and procedures,including interior and exterior physical security equipment. This equipmentwill be deployed to Russian nuclear weapons storage sites to facilitatefurther security enhancements. Russian guard forces will be trained tooperate and maintain this equipment at the center.

The SATC will also incorporate related capabilities to support MOD'sPersonnel Reliability Program (PRP). The PRP will help the MOD to assurethe reliability of its personnel charged with safeguarding nuclear weapons.DOD has provided drug and alcohol field testing kits, and polygraph systemsand training. The SATC will also include a small arms training center,as well as a software tool for assessing the integrity and vulnerabilityof nuclear weapons storage sites.

The center is located approximately 30 miles northeast of Moscow nearSergiev Posad.

Officials attending the opening ceremony include General Colonel IgorN. Valynkin, chief of the 12th Main Directorate of the Russian MOD, andretired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas E. Kuenning Jr., director of theCooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, Defense Threat Reduction Agency(DTRA).

This effort is a part of the weapons protection, control, and accountingproject, under the DOD CTR program. The CTR program began in 1992 as aresult of an initiative by former Sen. Sam Nunn and Sen. Richard G. Lugarto provide assistance to eligible states of the former Soviet Union todismantle weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to reduce the threat ofWMD proliferation. In 1995, DOD and the MOD signed an agreement concerningcooperation in nuclear weapons storage security through the provision ofmaterial, services and related training. Through fiscal 1999, Congresshas appropriated $133.2 million for this agreement, which has fostereda variety of projects to assist the MOD in upgrading the security of itsnuclear weapons
while in storage. Nuclear weapons security has been a key element ofDOD's CTR program from its beginning. To date, DOD has contracted for 123kilometers of an alarmed fence and microwave security system called "QuickFix," which is the first phase of the comprehensive site security enhancementssystem. Other efforts under the program include development of a nuclearwarhead automated inventory control system to improve accounting for nuclearweapons.

The early phase of this cooperation focused on improving safety andsecurity for the movement of nuclear weapons when the Russians wereconsolidatingtheir arsenal in central storage sites. To assist this effort, DOD delivered3,020 armored blankets from 1992 to 1993 to provide ballistic protectionfor weapons during shipment. From 1995 to 1996, CTR provided and helpedinstall modification kits to upgrade safety and security for 100 nuclearweapons cargo railcars and 15 guard railcars. DOD has also delivered 150supercontainers to enhance protection against fire and small arms assaultsduring weapons shipments. DTRA consolidates and streamlines all aspectsof management and implementation of the CTR program. This initiative tohelp deal with the legacy of the former Soviet Union provides the UnitedStates with crucial "defense by other means" to complement other DOD programs.

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C. Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Could Terrorists Hit Sosnovy Bor?
        Anna Badkhen
        St. Petersburg Times
        November 2, 1999
        (for personal use only)

Russian Nuclear Ministry say they have boosted security measures atthe country's nuclear power plants in order to prevent acts of terrorism.

But environmental activists say that the federal order to increase safetyhas little effect at the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, and that the existingprotection can be easily sidestepped by potential terrorists.

According to the environmental group Green World, since the NuclearMinistry issued an order in September to increase safety at nuclear sites,trucks have been allowed unchecked into the hometown of the plant, SosnovyBor, guards at the plant have been seen drunk on duty, and a temporaryentrance to the spent fuel storage area remains unprotected.

The plant - widely known by its Russian acronym, LAES - is located about80 kilometers to St. Petersburg's west, and supplies electricity to two-thirdsof Northwest Russia, also providing a major share of Finland's energy.

Last week, Interfax reported Deputy Nuclear Minister Valery Lebedevas saying that the ministry has boosted security at all nuclear sites inRussia. According to LAES spokesman Mikhail Mikhailov, the entrance toSosnovy Bor is now watched over by larger patrols of guards, while theentrance and the territory of the plant is guarded by Federal SecurityService officers and by the police.

The only way to get past the border guards and into Sosnovy Bor forpeople who don't live in the town, according to Mikhailov, is to receivea special pass from the town's authorities. The pass should be also clearedby the Federal Security Service - the FSB, successor to the KGB. And eventhen, according to an order issued by the Sosnovy Bor administration, theguards must check the cargo of each car and truck they allow inside thetown.

But according to Oleg Bodrov of Green World - an environmental groupbased in Sosnovy Bor - two trucks carrying fruit were allowed without checksinto the town in September.

"The drivers of these trucks said their cargo was fruit and the guardslet them enter the city," Bodrov said. "They were not checked for explosivesor anything like that ... We are lucky these trucks in fact only carriedfruit."

In a telephone interview last week, Mikhailov confirmed that the incidenttook place, saying that "It should all be blamed on the border guards."

When asked whether it was likely that such an incident could occur again,Mikhailov said only that it is "relatively hard" to get into Sosnovy Bor.

"Besides, terrorists would not use trucks to come to LAES. They aremore likely to come on foot," Mikhailov said.

Mikhailov said that the entrances to LAES were "heavily guarded." However,Sergei Kharitonov, an operator at the plant's spent fuel storage and amember of Green World, said a guard watching one of the side entrancesto the plant was seen drunk on duty two weeks ago.

"I talked to several people who had seen the guard that day [Sept. 25],and they all said that he had been visibly drunk," Kharitonov said. "Insuch a condition, he could not provide security at the plant."

Kharitonov said that when the incident was reported to the officer'ssuperior, he explained the officer was "ill." Kharitonov said the guard,whom he refused to identify, still works at the plant.

Although Mikhailov denied Kharitonov's report, the incident does notseem unlikely. Over the past two years, officials at the plant have confirmedthat at least three LAES employees turned out to be heroin addicts. Oneof them died of a heroin overdose last winter, and two others were hospitalized.

According to LAES officials, no accidents on the plant have ever beencaused by intoxicated personnel.

LAES uses four Chernobyl-style reactors, RBMK-1,000, which have beenoperating for more than quarter of a century. The spent nuclear fuel storagefacility at LAES is overburdened and leaking. According to Bodrov andKharitonov,the contamination potential of the storage facility alone exceeds thecontaminationcaused by the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe by 50 times.

And according to Kharitonov, this facility is now unprotected. Althoughthe storage is equipped with a modern safety monitoring system, and itsentrance is watched by an armed patrol, a large shaft designed for theconstruction of new pipes in the storage has been abandoned, unguarded,since the summer, Kharitonov said.

He said that the shaft is about two meters high and two meters wide,and could be used to enter the storage facility without being noticed bythe guards or by the monitoring equipment.

Mikhailov denied allegations that the shaft could be used by terrorists.

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D. Russia – Iran

1.
Russia, Israel In Standoff On Arms To Iran
        Reuters
        November 2, 1999
        (for personal use only)

OSLO, Nov 2, 1999 -- (Reuters) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putinshrugged off Israeli pressure to halt the passing of nuclear technologyto Iran on Tuesday, saying Moscow wanted to ensure its defense contractorsa place in the lucrative arms market.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister EhudBarak after they met in Oslo, Putin offered to ease Israeli concerns byforging a joint committee to deal with the issue but said Israel had yetto respond.

"It would be stupid to allow under this pretext our defense contractors,our defense companies, being forced out of the very attractive and lucrativemarket being replaced by other suppliers, mostly from the West," Putintold reporters.

A former army chief elected prime minister in May, Barak voiced concernat the spread of nuclear and missile technology to Iran, Israel's MiddleEast arch-foe.

"I have raised with Prime Minister Putin our worry in regard to thedevelopments in the activities of Iran toward acquiring of nuclear capabilityand missile technology and our expectation that whatever could be doneto stop this activity we believe should be done," Barak told the jointnews conference.
 
Speaking through a translator, Putin said: "I made a practical proposalto my Israeli colleague during our negotiations.

"We suggest to make our relations more transparent and to this end wepropose establishment of a joint commission within the framework of whichwe are prepared to involve in frank exchanges of information in the areasof concern to both countries.

"So now to use the sporting terminology: the ball is in the court ofour colleagues now," Putin said.

The Russian prime minister, asked about Israeli concern about the transferof technology to Iran, said: "We have no interest in expanding the clubof nuclear powers...Russia has always abided by and will always abide byits commitment in the area of nuclear non-proliferation.

"And all our actions, be it in the political area or in the area ofdefense, are not guided or aimed at creating any concerns or apprehensionson the part of Israel."

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E. ABM, Missile Defense

1.
Russia Flexes Muscles, Test Fires Anti-Missile Rocket
         Reuters
         November 3, 1999
         (for personal useonly)

MOSCOW, Nov 3, 1999 -- (Reuters) Russia has test fired one of its short-rangeanti-missile rockets for the first time in six years and a general linkedthe test to an arms control row between Moscow and Washington, Interfaxnews agency said on Wednesday.

Interfax quoted Russia's Strategic Missile Forces as saying they launchedthe missile from a base in Kazakhstan. It quoted the head of the forcesas saying the launch could be seen in the context of Russia's possibleresponse if the United States withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile(ABM) arms treaty.

The missile forces head, Vladimir Yakovlev, was quoted by Interfax assaying the test was a check of the missile's military readiness and meantits working life could be extended. He said the missile was part of Moscow'sdefense system.

He was quoted as saying the test could also be seen as one of the possible"symmetrical and asymmetrical response measures," if the U.S. unilaterallyquit the ABM treaty, which Moscow calls the bedrock of the arms controlprocess.

Russia has carried out a vociferous campaign against any changes tothe treaty, which Washington wants to amend so it can build a missile defensesystem.

On Tuesday Russian President Boris Yeltsin sent President Bill Clintona warning of "extremely dangerous consequences" if the United States proceededwith plans for its anti-missile defense system.

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