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Nuclear News - 03/06/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 06 March 2000


A. START

    1. Russia Links Start-3 To Unchanged ABM Treaty, Reuters(03/04/00)
    2. Duma to Ratify Start-2 on Security Conditions Nikolayev,Itar Tass (03/06/00)
    3. Missile Shield Would Unravel Arms Pact, Claims Russia,Reuters (03/06/00)
B. Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Russia To Supply Nuclear Fuel To China, Reuters (03/03/00)
C. Nuclear Waste
    1. Prosecutors Are Looking Into Greens Nationwide, SimonSaradzhyan, Moscow Times (03/01/00)
    2. Russia 'Wants Nuclear Waste,' Alice Lagnado, The Times(UK) (03/02/00)

A. START

1.
Russia Links Start-3 To Unchanged ABM Treaty
        Reuters
        March 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Mar 4, 2000 -- (Reuters) Russia said on Friday that it ruledout any discussions on
changing the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) at arms talkswith the United States this week and linked preservation of the agreementto other treaties.

Russian and U.S. delegations held talks in Geneva on February 29 toMarch 2, the latest in several rounds of discussions between the twonuclear-armednations.

Russia sees the 1972 ABM treaty as a corner stone of strategic stability.The two sides also discussed the START-2 and START-3 treaties on reducingnuclear arsenals.

"The Russian side demonstrated that the changes in this (the ABM) treatyproposed by the U.S. would make it senseless, unable to limit offensivestrategic arms, so it cannot be considered a subject of negotiations",the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The United States wants to change the ABM treaty in order to build anational missile defense system, which the treaty bans. The logic of theban was that rival nations would simply deploy more and more missiles topenetrate such a shield.

The Foreign Ministry said any progress in the START talks was linkedto the ABM question.

"Russia confirmed its readiness after the ratification of START-2, andon condition of keeping and following the ABM treaty, immediately to proceedto official negotiations on START-3," the statement said.

Russia has yet to ratify START-2, which provides for reductions in nucleararsenals to 4,500 each by the end of 2007.

The two sides have disagreed about how deep the cuts under START-3 shouldbe. Washington has said Russia prefers proposals to cut arsenals to 1,500,although the United States has stated it favors 2,000-2,500.
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2.
Duma to Ratify Start-2 on Security Conditions Nikolayev
        Itar Tass
        March 6, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, March 6 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian parliament will ratify theRussian-American strategic arm reduction treaty, or Start-2, only if thisdoes not affect national security, State Duma defense committee chairmanAndrei Nikolayev said.

He met the US ambassador to Russia, James Collins, in the State Dumalower house of parliament earlier in the day.

Nikolayev stated Russia's concern over the U.S.' plan to revise theRussian-American Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972.

"This is a fundamental document which we would want to retain," Nikolayevtold reporters after the meeting.

He said the U.S.' drive to set up a national missile defense system"in fact upsets the established balance of forces, which cannot but alarmall of us in Russia".

Nikolayev added that "it is not clear to us how Russia could get guaranteesof its security in these circumstances".

He infformed Collins that parliamentary hearings on Start-2 will beheld on March 21 with participation of three Duma committees.

Nikolayev said he and Collins touched on the acting President VladimirPutin's statement that Russia does not rule out the possibility of joiningNATO.

"I think that in this case, the talk is that Russia considers the OSCE(the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) as a comprehensivesystem which should ensure international, including European, security,"Nikolayev said.

"The military organisation NATO should remain in the 20th century, andwe should take into the 21st century only the instruments that NATO couldturn over to the OSCE," he said.
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3.
Missile Shield Would Unravel Arms Pact, Claims Russia
        Reuters
        March 6, 2000
        (for personal use only)

GENEVA, Mar 6, 2000 -- (Reuters) Russia is trying to persuade the UnitedStates that there are alternatives to a U.S. national missile defense system,to which Moscow is strongly opposed, a Russian foreign ministry officialsaid on Sunday.

"We are trying to show them that this is not the right way to go forthem," the official, who took part in U.S. Russian arms talks in Genevalast week, told Reuters.

A U.S. decision to build such a system would unravel major bilateralarms control treaties agreed over the past 30 years, and force Russia toboost its own nuclear deterrent, diverting scarce funds from economic andpolitical reforms, he said.

Moscow has refused to accept U.S. proposals to modify the 1972 Anti-BallisticMissile (ABM) treaty, which bans building national systems of the typeWashington now wants.

A U.S. move to proceed with the missile defense system would also haltprogress in reducing the two nations' arsenals of long-range strategicnuclear weapons, he said.

The official, who declined to be identified, stressed that Moscow wastrying to help Washington find alternatives to a missile defense shield,such as cooperating to address perceived threats from so-called rogue stateslike Iraq and North Korea.

"Our position is two-fold. We are against undermining the ABM and atthe same time we try to show a constructive, positive alternative to that.It includes rapid ratification of START-2 and rapidly beginning START-3negotiations," the official said, referring to treaties on reducing nucleararsenals.

Russia's Duma will vote in the coming weeks on START-2, and if Moscowratified START-2, it would move quickly to begin START-3 negotiations,he said.

But if the United States deployed a national anti-missile shield, whoseradar would "cover all potential directions for Russian and Chinese forces",Moscow would probably increase its deterrence force to maintain credibility,he said.

"We should not forget that if we choose that path, certainly the reductionof strategic offensive weapons will not be possible," he said. The START-2treaty would not be implemented, and START-3 negotiations, on further cutsin missile numbers, would not be practical.

The proposed U.S. anti-missile system "would be tantamount to throwingaway the (ABM) treaty, to abrogation of it," the official said. "We aretrying to show them that this is not the right way to go for them, it isnot good a thing...," he added.

President Bill Clinton is due to decide this summer whether to orderdeployment. The $12.7 billion program would start with the building ofa base in Alaska equipped with 100 interceptors able to shoot down ballisticmissiles aimed at the United States.

In Brussels on Friday, the United States told its NATO allies that itneeded a limited national missile defense system to counter enemies whomight try to blackmail Washington into staying out of regional conflicts.
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B. Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Russia To Supply Nuclear Fuel To China
        Reuters
        March 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)

BEIJING, Mar 4, 2000 -- (Reuters) Russia has agreed to supply Chinawith nuclear fuel for the Tianwan nuclear power plant, which is currentlyunder construction, the official People's Daily said on Saturday.

The agreement was signed on Friday before a meeting between ChinesePremier Zhu Rongji and visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov,the newspaper said.

China and Russia are jointly building the nuclear plant in the cityof Lianyungang in the eastern province of Jiangsu.

China would "push forward the expansion and deepening of all-roundcooperationbetween the two countries", the newspaper quoted Zhu as saying.

Klebanov also met President Jiang Zemin and other top Chinese officials,the newspaper said.
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C. Nuclear Waste

1.
Prosecutors Are Looking Into Greens Nationwide
        Simon Saradzhyan
        Moscow Times
        March 1, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Prosecutor General's Office has ordered its investigators to lookinto environmental groups across the nation, in what ecology activistssay is an attempt to hinder their work.

Groups being audited include Zelyony Mir, which has offered criticalreports over the years of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant, or LAES; theAriston Fund, which keeps an unofficial eye on Karelia's Nadvoitsk AluminumPlant; and Ecological Watch of Sakhalin, which has reported on the dumpingof industrial waste in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Officials at the Prosecutor General's Office confirmed Monday that theyhave ordered a nationwide check into ecological organizations.

Yelena Ushakova, who oversees ecological organizations for the prosecutor'soffice, said the audits were planned last year and now are being carriedout.

In a telephone interview Monday, she denied that the aim was to curtailenvironmental activism. But she would not explain the logic behind theaudits.

Zelyony Mir's chief, Oleg Bodrov, said in a telephone interview Mondaythat he understands the logic already: "to gag ecological movements."

Noting the spectacularly failed efforts to convict as traitors theenvironmentalistsAlexander Nikitin and Grigory Pasko - who both documented navy negligencewith nuclear waste - Bodrov said, "Now they are trying a different methodto see what works best."

Zelyony Mir is located, along with the LAES nuclear power plant, inthe village of Sosnovy Bor, 80 kilometers outside St. Petersburg. SosnovyBor prosecutors last week audited the group's founding documents; thisweek they are going through the accounting books. Bodrov said the localtax inspectorate is also separately auditing those books, even though ZelyonyMir employs just three people.

Taisia Astafyeva, an aide to the Sosnovy Bor prosecutor, confirmed thatin a telephone interview Monday.

She said prosecutors were simply following orders from the higher-upsin the Leningrad region to check into local ecological organizations. Astafyevacould not explain what they were supposed to be looking for, or why.

The prosecutor's office of the Leningrad region began investigatinglocal greens last December, and will continue doing so into March, saidan official there who oversees ecological organizations. The official,who asked not to be named, would not explain why.

In neighboring Karelia, similar stories are unfolding with the AristonFund, which has filed lawsuits accusing the Nadvoitsk aluminum plant ofcontaminating nearby reservoirs and poisoning dozens of locals.

Ariston's chief, Andrei Kozlovich, said in a telephone interview Tuesdaythat prosecutor's have brought two court cases against his group - oneaccusing Ariston of undermining Karelia's economy by attacking the aluminumplant, the other accusing Kozlovich of violating his fund's founding charter.

Kozlovich said a court in Petrozavodsk threw both cases out late lastyear.

According to the Moscow offices of Greenpeace, prosecutors are investigatingEcological Watch of Sakhalin. Activists at the group this week did notanswer telephone calls or respond to fax or e-mail messages.

Greenpeace spokesman Yevgeny Usov said his office has not been visitedby prosecutors, adding, "but we would not be surprised to see them."
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2.
Russia 'Wants Nuclear Waste'
        Alice Lagnado
        The Times (UK)
        March 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)
 
MOSCOW is intensifying efforts to attract countries the world overto dump nuclear waste in Russia for cash, according to reports.

Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry has long vied for contracts to storeand reprocess nuclear waste. But reports in Berliner Zeitung and Russia'sSegodnya newspaper suggest that in recent months a Russian government company,Kozhema, has held intense negotiations with French nuclear officials tosecure reprocessing contracts. Under the deal France will provide Russiawith modern equipment and technology in return for reprocessing at a formerfactory at Zheleznogorsk in the Krasnoyarsk region, which is currentlyunder construction.

Igor Farafontov, a spokesman for Greenpeace in Russia, said that dealsto reprocess nuclear waste from across the world were closer to confirmationthan ever before although the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry has deniedthe plans. Yuri Bespalko, a spokesman, told Segodnya on February 23 thatthe reports were untrue. He said that at the moment Russian law forbidsthe reprocessing and storage of waste from abroad. But nuclear officialshave in the past expressly advocated dumping foreign waste in Russia inorder to bring in cash and the strength of the nuclear lobby in Russiameans that the law can probably be changed.

Yevgeni Adamov, the Atomic Energy Minister, claimed that Russia couldmake £30 billion in foreign contracts if the laws on the environmentchanged and remove the need for IMF loans.

Mr Adamov believes that Russia could make more money than other countriesby offering cheaper reprocessing and then leaving the waste in Russia fora fee. European countries normally send back waste to its host countryonce it has been reprocessed.

An American company, the Non-Proliferation Trust, is already courtingMoscow. It plans to build and operate a temporary storage facility in Russiaand donate the projected £7 billion in profits to Russia during thenext 40 years.

However, Russian environmentalists say that there is a danger of nuclearaccidents while the fuel is being transported to Russia, a chance the plutoniumyielded by reprocessing could be used to make crude nuclear bombs, andthat the dumping could be exploited to provoke anti-Western hysteria. Butby far the worst fear centres on Russia's poor record of managing its ownnuclear waste.
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