B. Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Deal
- START II Is a Non-Starter, Pavel Felgenhauer, Moscow Times(04/13/00)
- Russia Lawmakers OK START II, Anna Dolgov, AssociatedPress (04/14/00)
- Federal Law On Ratification Of START II [Unofficialtranslation],PIR Arms Control Letters, Letter Of April 2000, Issue #2 (04/14/00)
- Putin Says Ball In US Court After START-2 Vote, Reuters(04/14/00)
- Russia, U.S. Set for New START Talks, Stephanie Nebehay,Reuters (04/14/00)
C. Multilateral Threat Reduction
- Russia Nuke Program Said Intact, H. Josef Hebert, AssociatedPress (04/14/00)
D. Nuclear Waste
- G-7 To Assist Russia In Dismantling Of Nuclear Weapons,Vladimir Solntsev, Itar Tass (04/12/00)
- Nuclear Waste Clean Up In Jeopardy, Sergei Blagov, InterPress Service (04/07/00)
[Editors Note: For additional news and analysis regardingSTART II, please visit the PIR - Center for Policy Studies in Russia -website, www.pircenter.org
START II Is a Non-Starter
April 13, 2000
(for personal use only)
Once again, the START II arms reduction treaty seems to be on the vergeof being ratified by the State Duma. President-elect Vladimir Putin apparentlyhas ordered Duma deputies to stop their monkey business and ratify STARTII, signed in 1993 by U.S. President George Bush and Russia's Boris Yeltsin.Actually, START II may be ratified Friday.
So where's the catch? Why the hurry? Why was START II not ratified before,and how will this ratification influence long-term Russia-U.S. relations?
To the outside world, Russian officials and television propaganda outfitsare saying that ratification of START II proves Russia's good intentions,its desire to be a reliable partner of the West, and so on. But tonationalisticallyminded Duma deputies, the Kremlin is telling a different story.
Last October, one of Russia's deputy foreign ministers told me: "Wetell the Duma deputies - ratify START II and give us a propaganda ployto expose the evil Americans. Anyway, START II will never be actuallyimplemented,because the U.S. will either abandon the ABM Treaty, or the U.S. Senatewill not ratify START II and ABM amendments."
Apparently, this scenario of ratification of a treaty that will neverbe implemented is being realized today.
The U.S. Senate ratified START II in 1996. But since then, Russia andthe U.S. government have modified the treaty. In New York, in September1997, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Foreign Minister YevgenyPrimakov signed a protocol postponing until 2007 - instead of the originaldeadline of 2003 - the time period for final destruction of Russian land-based,
intercontinental ballistic missiles, banned under START II. Albrightand Primakov also signed a letter reaffirming U.S. and Russian commitmentto uphold the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and, at the same time,distinguishing the characteristics of so-called "theater of war" or "tactical"anti-ballistic systems allowed under ABM.
The catch for a speedy ratification of START II by the Duma is thatthe treaty will be ratified together with the 1997 agreements and alsowith a special resolution that will declare Russia's intention to makeSTART II null and void if the United States scraps the 1972 ABM Treaty.Of course, the resolution attached by the Duma is not legally binding.But if the 1997 agreements are in fact ratified by the Duma, START II willnot go into force before the U.S. Senate ratifies them in turn.
To date, the U.S. Senate has refused to consider the 1997 U.S.-Russianagreements, and Republican Senate leaders say they may not ratify themat all, especially the ABM amendments, which are seen as a ploy by Russiansand Clintonian Democrats to prevent the deployment of a national missiledefense.
In 1993, Russian military leaders agreed with their U.S. counterpartson START II limitations (3,000 to 3,500 strategic nuclear warheads) becausethey hoped to deploy hundreds of new ICBMs in the mid-1990s. But todayit's obvious that Russia cannot implement START II fully and fill all theslots allocated by the treaty with real weapons.
A follow-up START III arms control treaty has been agreed in principlebetween Moscow and Washington. But this treaty has also become a sourceof discord. Moscow wants more drastic cuts in nuclear armaments, with bothsides allowed no more than 1,500 strategic warheads; the U.S. says it wantsto keep at least 2,500.
U.S.-Russian wrangling on nuclear arms limitations has become ridiculous.During the Cold War, the strategic nuclear balance prevented local proxywars from developing into global holocaust. Arms-control agreements helpedkeep the balance and were vitally important. Today's Russia cannot possiblycounterbalance the U.S. worldwide or resume a full-blown arms race. Thepossibility that a conventional war in Europe can go global is zero. U.S.and Russian strategic nuclear military forces that for decades kept globalpolitical rivals at arm's length are today deterring only each other.
As the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals were diminished after the endof the Cold War, arms agreements have become more complex and increasinglyinsignificant politically. START treaties are only a cause of senselesssquabbles between nationalistic morons.
In the future, the United States and Russia most likely will keep asmany nuclear weapons as each side sees fit and affordable, while politicalrelations between East and West will be determined by Russia's internalpolicies, including its behavior in Chechnya, as well as the successesor failures of its economy.
Pavel Felgenhauer is a Moscow-based, independent defense analyst.
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Russia Lawmakers OK START II
April 14, 2000
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian lawmakers today approved the long-delayed STARTII treaty on scrapping thousands of U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads,clearing the way for further arms reduction.
The State Duma, the lower chamber of parliament, voted 288 to 133 toapprove the treaty after President Vladimir Putin urged lawmakers to passthe measure. He said Russia did not want to be dragged into a new globalarms race.
The measure, which was approved by the U.S. Senate in 1996, must nowbe approved by the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russianparliament, where swift approval is expected.
START II would halve U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to about 3,000-3,500warheads each by the end of 2007 and enable both nations to step up effortson working out an additional treaty, START III, for even deeper cuts.
But Putin warned that Russia would pull out of all nuclear and conventionalarms control agreements if the United States does not adhere to the 1972Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Washington wants to amend the treaty soit can build a limited missile defense system.
``I want to stress in this case, we will have the chance and we willwithdraw not only from the START II treaty, but from the whole system oftreaties on limitation and control of strategic and conventional weapons,''he told the Duma shortly before the vote.
The Communists and their allies urged lawmakers not to approve STARTII, saying it would fatally weaken Russia and give the United States ahuge military advantage. Centrist lawmakers rejected the plea, saying approvalwas in Russia's best interests.
The Communists blocked approval of the treaty for years, but lost theirmajority in the Duma after elections last December. Putin, who won presidentialelections in March, called for swift approval of the measure and the newcentrist majority in the Duma was quick to back the treaty.
Russia fears the U.S. plan to build a limited nuclear defense systemwould make their nuclear forces ineffective.
About 150 mostly elderly Communists demonstrated outside the Duma beforethe vote, urging lawmakers not to approve the measure. They carried placardsdenouncing Putin and the United States.
U.S.-Russian relations, troubled by a series of recent disputes, willreceive a boost from ratification, but not resolve a growing dispute overWashington's call to amend the ABM treaty.
Washington wants to change the 1972 treaty so it can build a limitedmissile-defense system to protect against possible missile attacks from``rogue nations'' such as North Korea.
Russian officials had said that approving START II would strengthenRussia's position on the ABM debate. Ivanov said today that Russia wouldpropose several alternatives to changing the ABM treaty in talks at theend of the month in the United States.
Russian supporters of START II said that many Russian strategic missilesare past their service lifetime and will have to be scrapped soon anyway.Short of everything from new weapons to uniforms, the Russian militaryis in a shambles and the government cannot afford massive new militaryspending.
The Russian government and centrist lawmakers say the country's nuclearprogram should shift to developing a smaller arsenal of modern weapons,such as Russia's new Topol-M missile.
``A few modern missiles, capable of breaking through a missile-defensesystem in a retaliatory strike, would be a much more effective deterrent,''centrist lawmaker Andrei Kokoshin said.
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Federal Law On Ratification Of START II [Unofficial translation]
PIR Arms Control Letters,Letter Of April 2000, Issue #2
April 14, 2000
(for personal use only)
Federal Law On Ratification Of The Treaty Between The Russian FederationAnd The United States Of America On Further Reduction And Limitation OfStrategic Offensive Arms
To ratify the Treaty Between the Russian Federation and the United Statesof America on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms,done at Moscow on January 3, 1993, hereinafter referred to as the STARTII Treaty, including its integral parts:
Memorandum of Understanding on Warhead Attribution and Heavy BombersData Relating to the Treaty Between the Russian Federation and the UnitedStates of America on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic OffensiveArms, done at Moscow on January 3, 1993;
Protocol on Procedures Governing Elimination of Heavy ICBMs and on ProceduresGoverning Conversion of Silo Launchers of Heavy ICBMs Relating to the TreatyBetween the Russian Federation and the United States of America on FurtherReduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, done at Moscow onJanuary 3, 1993;
Protocol on Exhibition and Inspections of Heavy Bombers Relating tothe Treaty Between the Russian Federation and the United States of Americaon Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, done atMoscow on January 3, 1993;
Protocol Relating to the Treaty Between the Russian Federation and theUnited States of America on Further Reduction and Limitation of StrategicOffensive Arms of January 3, 1993, done at New York on September 26, 1997.
Extraordinary events giving the Russian Federation the right to withdrawfrom the Treaty in exercising its national sovereignty and in compliancewith Article VI of the START II Treaty shall be:
- breach of the START II Treaty on the part of the United States of America,which jeopardizes the national security of the Russian Federation;
- the United States of America's withdrawal from the Treaty Between the Unionof Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America on the Limitationof Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems, done at Moscow on May 26, 1972, hereinafterreferred to as the ABM Treaty, or the infringement of the aforesaid Treatyand respective agreements;
- build-up of strategic offensive arms of the states that are not partiesto the START II Treaty in a way that poses a threat to national securityof the Russian Federation;
- taking and implementation by the United States of America, or any otherstate whatsoever, or alliances, and North Atlantic Treaty Organizationamong them, of decisions in the field of military development, which threatenthe national security of the Russian Federation, including deployment ofnuclear weapons on the territory of the states having joined NATO afterthe date of the START II Treaty signature;
- deployment by the United States of America or any other state whatsoeverof armaments, preventing the normal functioning of the Russian system ofearly warning of missile attack;
- extraordinary events of economic or technical origin, which make it impossiblefor the Russian Federation to fulfil its obligations under the START IITreaty or jeopardize the environmental security of the Russian Federation.
1. In case of extraordinary events, provided for in Article 1 of thisFederal Law, or in any other extraordinary situation whatsoever, jeopardizingthe supreme interests of the Russian Federation, the President of the RussianFederation shall:
- take political, diplomatic and other measures in order to eliminate theaforesaid threats or neutralize their consequences;
- provide for immediate consultations with the Chambers of the Federal Assemblyof the Russian Federation and, taking into account the results of theseconsultations, take decisions relating to the START II Treaty, includingintroduction of motions under the Federal Law "On International Treatiesof the Russian Federation".
2. The Chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation,if they consider events to be extraordinary and subject to immediate actionunder Article VI of the START II Treaty, shall address the President ofthe Russian Federation with a proposal to begin consultations, advise himor undertake any other steps, provided for in the Federal Law "On InternationalTreaties of the Russian Federation".
The President of the Russian Federation shall hold consultations withthe Chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and, takinginto account the results of these consultations, take decisions relatingto the START II Treaty, including the introduction of motions under SectionV of the Federal Law "On International Treaties of the Russian Federation",if no later than December 31, 2003 the Parties conclude a new Treaty Betweenthe
Russian Federation and the United States of America on Further Reductionand Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, which shall:
- envisage the preservation and further enhancement of strategic stabilityat the lowest possible levels of strategic offensive arms of the RussianFederation and the United States of America;
- enable the Russian Federation to apply multifarious approaches to thedevelopmentof its strategic nuclear forces, including their organization and structure,necessary to maintain national security of the Russian Federation withregard for existing economic situation;
- exclude the possibility of rapid increase in the number of nuclear warheadsattributed to all types of launchers;
- provide for equal rights and opportunities for the Parties in the processof elimination and disposal of nuclear warheads;
- secure the optimal economic use of the existing infrastructure of the strategicnuclear forces of the Russian Federation, essential cost reduction forthe implementation of the programs of elimination and disposal of strategicoffensive arms, and broadening of the Russian capabilities to use the reducedcomponents of the aforesaid arms and their infrastructure in the interestsof national economic development.
- provide for accounting of all types and systems of strategic arms.
The obligations under the START II Treaty are fulfilled on the basisof:
- preservation of the might of Russian strategic nuclear forces, at a levelwhich provides for the maintenance of national security of the RussianFederation;
- appropriate financing of the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federationand of the works on safe elimination and disposal of strategic offensivearms;
- the United States of America's compliance with the provisions of the TreatyBetween the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States ofAmerica on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, doneat Moscow on July 31, 1991, hereinafter referred to as the START I Treaty;
- reduction of the strategic offensive arms of the Russian Federation, providedfor in the START II Treaty, taking into account their period of operation;
- maintenance of combat readiness of the Russian strategic nuclear forces,irrespective of any development of strategic situation, preservation oflaboratory and experimental base and production capabilities;
- providing for the safe use, storage, elimination and disposal of strategicoffensive arms;
- equal rights and opportunities for the Parties of the START II Treaty incarrying out inspections and other verification procedures; preservationand improvement of the Russian Federation’s national technical means ofverification in order to observe the United States of America's fulfillmentof the START I and the START II Treaties, and the ABM Treaty.
The Russian Federation fulfils its obligations, provided for in theSTART II Treaty, in compliance with this Federal Law and other legal documentsof the Russian Federation regulating measures and procedures relating tothe implementation of the START II Treaty.
Financing of the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federationas well as of the production, use, elimination and disposal of nuclearweapons is carried out in compliance with the federal legislation.
The President of the Russian Federation shall approve the Federal Programof Development of the Strategic Nuclear Forces of the Russian Federationand present it to the Chambers of the Federal Assembly no later than twomonths after entry into force of this Federal Law.
No later than three months after entry into force of this Federal Law,the Government of the Russian Federation shall work out and present tothe President of the Russian Federation the Special Federal Program forElimination and Disposal of Weapons and Materiel of Strategic Nuclear Forces,subject to his approval and providing for use of reduced components andinfrastructure in the interests of national economic development.
In the process of implementing the START II Treaty:
1. The President of the Russian Federation shall:
2. The Government of the Russian Federation shall:
- determine the principal directions of the state policy in the field ofdevelopment of the Russian strategic nuclear forces and nuclear disarmament;define procedures and deadlines for the activities in fulfilling the STARTII Treaty which imply preservation of the Russian strategic nuclear forces'potential and maintenance of their combat readiness at a level, providingfor guaranteed deterrence from aggression against the Russian Federationor its allies;
- take decisions on the terms and procedures of decommissioning and deactivationof strategic offensive arms, provided for in the START II Treaty, and oncommissioning of the new models of strategic offensive arms;
- formulate the Russian policy for further international negotiations inthe field of strategic offensive arms and anti-missile defense, holdconsultationsand parley with the heads of other states desiring to enhance strategicstability and maintain the national security of the Russian Federation.
3. The Chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation shall:
- provide for stable and primary financing of the Russian strategic nuclearforces, of the works on safe elimination and disposal of strategic offensivearms, and of activities in carrying out the obligations under the STARTI and START II Treaties, in compliance with the federal legislation andspecial federal programs;
- ensure the preservation and development of the laboratory and experimentalbase and production capabilities, required to maintain the nuclear mightand combat readiness of the strategic nuclear forces of the RussianFederation;
- present to the Chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federationa regular report on the state of the Russian strategic nuclear forces andon the course of implementation of the START I and START II Treaties, andthe ABM Treaty, as provided for in the Article 8 of this Federal Law;
- present to the Chambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federationthe data specified in the Memorandum of Understanding on Warhead Attributionand Heavy Bombers Data Relating to the START II Treaty;
- secure the effective use of national technical means of verification underthe START I and START II Treaties, and the ABM Treaty, the technical improvementof the aforesaid means and fulfillment of verification procedures, providedfor in the above-mentioned treaties.
- take measures to ensure the safe use, storage, elimination and disposalof strategic offensive arms, nuclear warheads and rocket fuel, and to excludeunauthorized access to nuclear warheads;
- take measures to use optimal economic methods and means of eliminationand disposal of strategic offensive arms;
- implement, on the instructions of the President of the Russian Federation,foreign policy decisions in the field of reduction and limitation of strategicoffensive arms and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons;
- invite the representatives of the Chambers of the Federal Assembly of theRussian Federation to participate, if they so wish, in discussing the courseof negotiations in the field of strategic offensive arms and anti-missiledefense.
- in considering the annual Federal Bill "On the Federal Budget", participatein taking decisions on the amount of allocations for the purposes of scientificresearch and experiments in the field of strategic offensive arms, of theirpurchase, of the development, repairs and modernization of major basesfor the Russian strategic nuclear forces and their managing, as well asof the works on safe elimination and disposal of strategic offensive armsand activities to implement the START I and the START II Treaties;
- take part in elaborating federal laws and special federal programs, passfederal laws, required to maintain strategic nuclear forces of the RussianFederation at the level providing for national security of the RussianFederation, and carry out activities in the field of reduction of nucleararms;
- consider the annual report of the Government of the Russian Federationon the state of strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation andthe course of implementation of the START I and the START II Treaties,and the ABM Treaty, and take decisions as appropriate;
- charge, as is deemed necessary, the Board of Auditors of the Russian Federationwith the mission to audit the spending of the financial means allocatedfor the implementation of the START I and the START II Treaties;
- if necessary, take measures provided for in Section V of the Federal Law"On International Treaties of the Russian Federation.”
After entry into force of the START II Treaty, and no later than October1, each year, the Government of the Russian Federation shall send to theChambers of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation a report onthe state of strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation and onthe course of implementation of the START I and the START II Treaties,and the ABM Treaty, which shall include the following information:
- the changes in the organization and structure of strategic nuclear forcesof the Russian Federation, financial provisions and the results of thecompleted works on maintaining their potential and combat readiness;
- the fulfillment on the part of the Russian Federation and the United Statesof America of the obligations set out in the START I and START II Treaties,and the ABM Treaty;
- the course of elimination and disposal of decommissioned strategic offensivearms of the Russian Federation, the state of financing of activities underthe START I and the START II Treaties, including the use of foreign aid;
- environmental conditions in the locations of storage, elimination and disposalof strategic offensive arms, above all nuclear warheads and rocket fuel;
- the course of negotiations on elaborating new agreements in the field ofreduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms and in the field ofanti-missile defense;
- the state of development of projects in the field of strategic offensivearms and anti-missile defense, the situation regarding the nonproliferationof nuclear weapons and missile technology in the United States of Americaand any other state or alliance whatsoever.
The exchange of instruments of ratification of the START II Treaty bythe Russian Federation shall be done upon completion by the United Statesof America of the procedure of ratification of the START II Treaty, includingthe Protocol Relating to the START II Treaty of September 26, 1997, doneat New York, Memorandum of Understanding Relating to the ABM Treaty of
September 26, 1997, done at New York, First Agreed Statement Relatingto the ABM Treaty of September 26, 1997, done at New York, Second AgreedStatement Relating to the ABM Treaty of September 26, 1997, done at NewYork, Agreement on Confidence-Building Measures Related to Systems to CounterBallistic Missiles Other Than Strategic Ballistic Missiles of September26, 1997, done at New York.
This Federal Law shall enter into force upon the date of its officialpublication.
President of the Russian Federation
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Putin Says Ball In US Court After START-2 Vote
April 14, 2000
(for personal us eonly)
MOSCOW, April 14 (Reuters) - President-elect Vladimir Putin said onFriday he was pleased Russia's parliament had ratified the START-2 nuclearweapons reduction treaty and now the arms control ball was firmly inWashington'scourt.
Speaking to reporters after the State Duma lower house voted by a clearmajority to back the treaty, Putin said the decision would allow Russiato retain and modernise its nuclear shield and also divert scarce fundsto conventional forces.
``For this reason I not only welcome but fully support the decision,''he said. ``Our partners should make the next steps. The ball is in theircourt. We are now in a very good position diplomatically and politicallyto continue dialogue and strengthen international security.''
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Russia, U.S. Set for New START Talks
April 14, 2000
(for personal use only)
GENEVA -- U.S. and Russian arms control officials are to hold talksin Switzerland next week after the expected ratification by the State Dumaof the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty, diplomats on both sidessaid Thursday.
John Holum, senior arms adviser at the U.S. State Department, and hisRussian counterpart, Yury Kapralov, are to meet in Geneva on Monday andTuesday to assess prospects for launching negotiations on START III, diplomatssaid.
But looming over the unannounced talks is the proposed U.S. nationalmissile defense system, a tentative plan that is strongly opposed by Russia.
Moscow has said its deployment would unravel the Anti-Ballistic MissileTreaty and efforts to reduce the two powers' offensive nuclear arsenalsthrough Strategic Arms Reductions Talks.
On Friday, the Duma is likely to vote to ratify the long-delayed STARTII pact despite Communist Party opposition.
This would pave the way for work on a new START III accord f which wasagreed in outline three years ago by presidents Bill Clinton and BorisYeltsin.
"If the Duma ratifies START II, it would be the logical time to announcepreparations for START III," a diplomatic source said.
Another diplomatic source, who asked not to be identified, said:"Ratificationwould knock the ball back in the U.S. court."
START II would cut nuclear warheads from 6,000 to no more than 3,500on each side by 2007.
The U.S. Senate ratified the 1993 START II treaty in 1996, but two protocolsnegotiated in New York a year later have not yet been ratified by eitherside.
The two powers have disagreed about how deep the cuts under START IIIshould be. Washington has called for cutting arsenals to 2,000 to 2,500warheads each, while Russian officials have said they are prepared to cutarsenals to 1,500 each.
The Geneva round will be the fifth at expert or technical level sinceClinton and Yeltsin agreed at a summit in Germany last June to work toresolve differences over the ABM Treaty and strategic nuclear arms.
Washington has pressed for modifying the 1972 bilateral ABM Treaty toallow for development of the proposed U.S. national missile defense system,which would knock incoming warheads out of the sky.
Russia strongly opposes the system, which would breach the ABM Treaty,a Cold War-era pact limiting the type of systems Russia and the UnitedStates may deploy to intercept incoming missiles.
China is also bitterly opposed to the controversial U.S. missile defensesystem and to any changes in the ABM Treaty, hailed as a cornerstone ofstrategic stability.
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B. Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Deal
Russia Nuke Program Said Intact
H. Josef Hebert
April 14, 2000
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON –– The financial problems facing USEC Inc., the country'sonly provider of enriched uranium, will not jeopardize a key nuclearnonproliferationprogram with Russia, or threaten the domestic uranium industry, the company'spresident insists.
But lawmakers at a congressional hearing Thursday said they were farfrom assured that USEC would not move to close one of its two enrichmentplants or take the steps necessary to comply with the Russia deal if itconflicts with the company's financial interests.
The company was created in 1998 when the government decided to sellits uranium enrichment enterprise in a public stock offering. It providesuranium fuel for civilian power plants, accounting for about a thirdof the worldwide market.
But its profits have been declining sharply because of a slump in theuranium market and USEC's increasing costs at the aging enrichment plantsin Paducah, Ky., and Piketon, Ohio. The company also has said it is losingmillions of dollars as U.S. agent for the uranium agreement with Russia.
USEC president William "Nick" Timbers told a House Commerce subcommitteethat the company is meeting its obligations in buying Russia's dilutedweapons-grade uranium under a key U.S.-Russia nonproliferation agreement.
And he denied allegations that USEC has been dumping uranium on themarket, helping to depress prices. He said USEC had promised to limit uraniumsales "and we have lived up to those commitments."
However, other industry representatives testified that USEC's marketingstrategies are threatening the U.S. uranium industry.
Mark Stout, representing the Uranium Producers of America, accused USECof "uncontrolled dumping" of uranium it had obtained from the governmentas part of 1998 privatization.
Another industry witness, James Graham, president of ConverDyn, a uraniumprocessing company, said USEC's "aggressive selling ... to generate cash"has threatened to drive his company out of business. This has been possible,he said, because of the large amount of uranium USEC obtained from thegovernment.
"Many people are concerned that the long-term viability (of the U.S.domestic uranium industry) is in danger. That's our primary concern," saidRep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., whose districts includes USEC's Paducah plant.
Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it was reexaminingUSEC's operating licenses because of the company's financial difficulties,especially the recent downgrading or USEC's credit rating to below investmentgrade levels.
"We've asked USEC to submit financial data to us to show that they cancontinue to provide enrichment services. We have not made any determinationon the matter," NRC Chairman Richard Meserve said in an interview.
But Meserve ruled out closing any of the plants, even if the financialdata suggests a problem. Instead of lifting the license, he said, "we wouldreport the matter to Congress and it would be up to Congress to decidehow to proceed."
Timbers, testifying at the House hearing, said the company's financialdifficulties stem from "a triple whammy of fewer sales, reduced revenuesand greatly increased costs." Nevertheless, he said "everything is on thetable" in its search for ways to cut costs. The company already has
announced the planned layoff of 850 workers this summer at its twoplants.
Noting that USEC last fall had unsuccessfully sought a $200 millionbailout from the government, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., said when Lee Iacoccacame to Washington, asking for money for ailing Chrysler in the 1970s,he was earning a symbolic $1 a year as the carmaker's chairman.
Timbers earned $1.2 million in salary and bonuses last year and $151,000from dividends on stock given to him as part of the government sale. Healso has negotiated a $3.6 million "golden parachute" should he leave thecompany.
Would he consider taking a pay cut, Rep. Richard Burr, R-N.C., askedTimbers.
"My salary has not been discussed in that context," replied Timbers,adding that all but his $600,000 a year base salary is linked to companyperformance and is at risk.
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C. Multilateral Threat Reduction
G-7 To Assist Russia In Dismantling Of Nuclear Weapons
April 12, 2000
(for personal use only)
The world's seven leading industrialised countries will assist Russiain the dismantling of the nuclear weapons that used to belong to the formerSoviet Union.
The stocks are to be eliminated in the process of mutual reduction oftheir nuclear arsenals by Russia and the United States. A provision onthe assistance to Russia in this field is expected to be included in thefinal documents of the G-8 summit scheduled to be held in Okinawa in July.
Japan's government will work in this direction as the current chairmanof the Group of Eight, the newspaper Yomiuri reported on Wednesday. Japanwill see to it that a provision of financial and technological assistanceto Russia is incorporated in the final declaration of the Okinawa summit.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori will voice Tokyo's approach tothis matter at his unofficial meeting with Russian President-elect VladimirPutin. The meeting is to take place in St. Petersburg on April 29.
In the past few years, the West has been assisting Russia in the eliminationof its nuclear weapons subject to reduction. Japan also took part in theprocess. In February 2000, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono announced Japan'sdecision to allocate 120 million U. S. dollars for utilisation of written-offnuclear submarines of the Russian Pacific Fleet.
Tokyo also undertook to contribute 20 million dollars to the Moscow-basedInternational Scientific and Technical Centre. It was established in 1994to help develop conversion projects of Russian nuclear physicists and prevent"brain drain" from Russia to the countries longing to obtain their ownnuclear weapons. The United States, Germany, France and other countrieshave also promised contributions to the Centre.
According to the latest estimates, Russia will need 1. 5 billion dollarsto guarantee security of plutonium released from dismantled nuclear weaponsand process it into fuel for nuclear power plants.
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D. Nuclear Waste
Nuclear Waste Clean Up In Jeopardy
Inter Press Service
April 7, 2000
(for personal use only)
As Europe's top human rights body is considering sanctions against Russiafor its military action in Chechnya, there are concerns that such a movecould negatively affect funding for programs involved in cleaning up post-Sovietnuclear waste. Russian scientists, officials, non-governmental organizationsand environmental activists agree the country urgently needs to monitorand control its post-Soviet nuclear legacy.
But the issue is that the state coffers lack money, and relevant projectstend to be funded by overseas, mainly European institutions. "The worldcommunity, including European nations, continues to fund Russian projectsto reprocess nuclear waste," says Uwe Mayer, the European Union Commission'srepresentative and deputy director of International Science and Technology(ISTC), the Moscow-based multilateral body which deals with nuclear waste.
However, the Council of Europe's recommendation on April 6 to suspendRussia unless it calls a cease-fire in Chechnya, casts some doubt overthe future of multilateral scientific projects. Although analysts say theexclusion of Russia from the Council of Europe does not necessarily meanssanctions by the EU Commission. Within the past decade the ISTC has funded-- in full or partially -- a total of 167 projects, providing $ 55 million.
"So far the ISTC has played an extremely positive role in tackling theissues of Russia's nuclear legacy," said Nikolai Laverov, vice-chairmanof Russia's Academy of Sciences. He singled out the Chelyabinsk-65 siteas a matter of particular concern. Chelyabinsk-65 Reprocessing Plant,or NPO Mayak, had a series of dangerous accidents. In 1957, a high-levelwaste storage facility exploded, causing widespread contamination and requiringthe evacuation of over 10,000 people. Furthermore, Karachay Lakehas been used for decades to dump untreated toxic waste. In 1967, therewas a dramatic off-site contamination when Karachay Lake dried up and windsblew highly radioactive silt over a 75-km-long tract.
About 3,000 square km and over 40,000 inhabitants were affected. KarachayLake, with its 400 million cubic meters of radioactive water, is widelyviewed as an unprecedented ecological disaster. Russian nuclear facilitiescontinue pumping liquid radioactive waste into the soil, even though thispractice has been abandoned worldwide. "RadLeg (Radiation Legacy) project-- mainly sponsored by the EU and Sweden -- is designed to carry out athorough study of the post-Soviet nuclear legacy," said Anatoly Iskra,head of the RadLeg project. Now, one of RadLeg's priorities is monitoringthe situation in the area of Krasnoyarsk, Iskra said. NGOs argue that Russia'slargest waste storage facility -- Krasnoyarsk-26 -- has some 3,000 tonsof unused capacity.
The country's Nuclear Power Ministry, Minatom, is now seeking much-neededfunds by reprocessing and storing other countries' nuclear waste. It hasoffered to reprocess $ 10 to $ 12 billion worth of nuclear waste from aroundthe world at its Chelyabinsk plant.
Russian law forbids the importing of radioactive waste or nuclear materialsfrom other countries for long-term storage or burial. Only countrieswith Russian-built nuclear power plants can send nuclear waste to Russia-- in line with bilateral deals. Nonetheless, Minatom promised itspotential customers that it will lobby to amend the legislation.
Another matter of concern is the naval nuclear legacy. Until 1990, theSoviet Navy routinely dumped radioactive waste in the Far Eastern and Arcticwaters. There were 13 areas of nuclear waste dumps in Arctic seas and 10areas off-shore in Russian Far East. Between 1964 and 1991, the formerSoviet Union dumped some 5,000 containers with solid nuclear waste in Arcticseas, and about 7,000 containers in the Pacific.
The Russian Navy continued the practice of dumping liquid nuclear wastein the Far East until Japan agreed to assist in a waste disposal project.According to Vladimir Goman, former head of the parliamentary committeeon northern Russia, who now chairs Federal Committee on northern Russia,the proper disposal and reprocessing of all the subs and waste accumulatedin Russia is likely to cost up to $ 100 billion.
Russia is planning a new nuclear waste storage site in a remote northernregion because existing facilities have been filled to capacity.
The new storage site could be built either on the Novaya Zemlya archipelagoin the far north or the Chukotka Peninsula in the far northeast.
There is no date yet for beginning the construction, and the cost andcapacity of the site have not been finalized, while the government hasnot yet earmarked funds. International funding also helps Russianscientists to come up with new technologies to clear the mess left by theChernobyl catastrophe, 14 years after the world's worst nuclear disaster.
"There are 1.5 million tons of irradiated waste in the vicinity of Chernobyland the ISTC helped us to work out a relatively safe technology to disposethis waste," argues Georgy Manelis, deputy director of the Chemical PhysicsInstitute in Moscow.
The Chernobyl nuclear plant's fourth reactor exploded on April 26, 1986,sending up a poisonous radioactive cloud over Europe, and contaminatinglarge parts of the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. The ill-fated nuclear plantstill poses considerable danger as Chernobyl plant officials say the"sarcophagus"entombing reactor Number 4 is in bad condition, and its collapse wouldlikely release hundreds of tons of highly radioactive dust. On March30, Ukraine's government gave in to Western demands and announced the decisionto close down the Chernobyl nuclear plant by the end of the year.
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