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Nuclear News - (04/21/00)
RANSAC Nuclear News, 21 April 2000


A.  Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

    1. Russian Duma Seeks To Upstage U.S. On Arms, Martin Nesirky,Reuters (04/18/00)
    2. Russian Duma Gives Easy Victory To Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,Associated Press (04/21/00)
B. START
    1. Putin's non-STARTer, Frank J. Gaffney Jr., WashingtonTimes (04/18/00)
    2. Russia's Goodwill Pacts Come With A Bite, Justin Brown,Christian Science Monitor (04/21/00)
    3. The Restarting of START, Christian Science Monitor(04/21/00)
C.  Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Deal
    1. News Briefing [USEC Congressional Hearing], Uranium Institute(04/18/00)



A. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

1.
Russian Duma Seeks To Upstage U.S. On Arms
        Martin Nesirky
        Reuters
        April 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)
 
MOSCOW, April 18 (Reuters) - Russia's parliament decided on Tuesdayit would vote on ratifying the global nuclear test ban treaty on Fridayand looked set to approve the deal just a week after backing another majorarms control agreement.

Assuming the State Duma or lower house ratifies the test ban treatyas expected, Russia will then be able to upstage the United States at animportant U.N. review conference next week on halting the spread of nuclearweapons.

``If this treaty is ratified now, Russia will have a clear advantageat the international conference,'' Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Duma'sinternationalaffairs committee, told reporters.

Given Russia's limited finances, arms control is a crucial area forPresident-elect Vladimir Putin and he has already started to force thepace even before his May 7 inauguration. Arms control serves the dual purposeof freeing up funds for new weapons and presenting a more accommodatingface to the West.

That will be important as he tries to attract foreign investment. Withtwo major arms accords under his belt, Putin would also be well placedfor his first summit with President Bill Clinton in Moscow in June.

Rogozin said the Duma's agenda-setting council had decided to vote onthe Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) on Friday.

Clinton failed last October to persuade the Senate to ratify the CTBT,which outlaws nuclear tests. It is not an arms-cutting treaty but if theDuma ratifies it, Russia will be a step ahead.

``The spotlight will be on us,'' a U.S. diplomat said last week. RIAnews agency quoted Putin's representative in the Duma as saying the chamberwas likely to approve the treaty.

Last Friday, the Duma comfortably ratified the U.S.-Russian START-2nuclear arms reduction treaty, smoothing the way for Putin before he startedhis first visit abroad on Sunday.

The Federation Council upper house is scheduled to vote on START-2 onWednesday and is likely to follow the Duma's suit.

Under START-2, the two sides agree to slash the number of warheads from6,000 to no more than 3,500 each by 2007.

DISARMAMENT DEBATE REACTIVATED

The two powers are now discussing a new round of talks on a follow-onSTART-3 treaty that would cut arsenals still further.

The Clinton administration wants to cut back to 2,000-2,500 warheadseach. Putin has said Russia, faced with scarce funds and ageing weapons,was ready to go even lower, to 1,500 each.

In addition, Putin said last Friday the arms control ball was now firmlyin Washington's court. The Duma underscored this point by approving motionsauthorising Putin to abandon START-2 if the United States goes ahead witha missile defence plan.

Washington wants to modify the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty toallow it to deploy its missile defence system. Moscow has so far ruledany changes to that treaty but Putin hinted at a possible compromise duringa visit to London on Monday.

It remains to be seen what form that compromise will take, althoughit looks as though it may hinge on what is defined as a legitimate defencesystem against missile strikes from so-called rogue stages such as Iraqor North Korea.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told CNN ahead of a visit to the UnitedStates that what he dubbed the ``Putin Plan'' would involve START-3 talksand looking into cooperating on nonategic anti-missile systems as wellas other measures.

If the Duma ratifies the test ban treaty, Putin and Ivanov will be ableto clamber further on to the moral high ground in negotiations on cuttinga deal on ABM.

Yet in a sign those talks will not be easy, the Russian Foreign Ministrycomplained again on Tuesday Norway was setting up a missile-watching stationas a proxy for the United States.

Oslo says the Arctic station is to track space debris but Moscow doesnot believe this. It says the station violates ABM.

As they did last week, Ivanov and Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev willbe on hand in the Duma this week to brief deputies ahead of the vote onthe test ban treaty.

Sergeyev will also explain to deputies about Russia's problems fulfillingthe terms of a major chemical weapons destruction pact because of underfundingin the military.
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2.
Russian Duma Gives Easy Victory To Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
        Associated Press
        April 21, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- The lower house of parliament on Friday overwhelminglyapproved the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which would obligeRussia to end all nuclear test explosions.

The State Duma easily approved ratification of the treaty after a briefclosed-door hearing during which government officials urged lawmakers topass the measure. The treaty was ratified by a vote of 298-74.

The U.S. Senate rejected the treaty last year, with opponents arguingthat it would undermine the country's weapons program and that complianceby other countries could not be ensured.

Friday's approval came one week after the Duma ended years of stalemateand approved the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II, which cleared theway for scrapping thousands of U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads.

President Vladimir Putin, who won election last month, has made nucleararms reduction a key part of his foreign policy. Putin personally headedthe drive to get quick approval of START II and other pending nuclear measures.

The Communists, still the largest faction in the Duma, raised some objectionsFriday to instant ratification of the test ban treaty, but their effortsto link Russian approval to U.S. approval of the measure was rejected.

The treaty has been signed by more than 150 countries, but only 51 countrieshave ratified it. The treaty will not go into effect unless it is ratifiedby all 44 countries considered to have some degree of nuclear capability.

Besides the United States and China, other holdouts include Egypt, Pakistan,India and North Korea.

Russia strongly criticized the Senate's vote although it had not atthat time ratified the pact. But under Putin, Russia appears to be tryingto seize the initiative in pushing arms control issues.

The ratification of START II, which was completed on Wednesday withapproval by the upper house, ended years of Russia obstructing the treatyand bounces the issue back to the United States, where the Senate mustapprove amendments worked out by U.S. and Russian negotiators after theSenate ratified the pact in 1996.

START II ratification also cleared the way for talks to begin on furtherarms reductions under a proposed START III.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is to leave for the United States on Sundayfor meetings on arms control issues, including the tense disagreement betweenWashington and Moscow over the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.

The Kremlin opposes the United States' proposal to amend that treatyto allow construction of a limited missile-defense system. Meanwhile,conservativesin the U.S. Senate claim ABM became obsolete with the collapse of the SovietUnion.

Putin has warned the United States that he will abandon START II andall nuclear arms control treaties if Washington breaks with ABM.
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B. START

1.
Putin's non-STARTer
        Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
        Washington Times
        April 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Vladimir Putin's opening foreign policy gambit, after his victory atthe polls last month, says a lot about what sort of leader of Russia hewill be. President Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and othershave been quick to portray the newly elected president's success in securingratification of the START II Treaty — after seven years of studied inactionby the Duma — as evidence that Mr. Putin is a man with whom we can safelydo business.

On closer inspection, however, this action is evidence less of a hearteningsea change in Russia than the sort of maneuver — jujitsu — that one wouldexpect from a man who prides himself not only on his black belt in martialarts, but on his career in the front lines of Soviet intelligence in ColdWar operations against the West. We should take little comfort from signsthat the most dangerous master of the Kremlin since the last KGB man torule there, Yuri Andropov, is now able to bend the Duma to his will ashe shrewdly works to undermine our advantages and turn Russia's liabilitiesinto strengths.

Take, for example, Mr. Putin's machinations on the START II Treaty.In its original form, this accord — while defective in important respects— could be said to have had some redeeming features from the U.S. pointof view. In particular, it was supposed to result in the early eliminationof all of the former Soviet Union's vast arsenal of SS-18s, heavy ballisticmissiles capable of preemptively attacking the United States with largenumbers of independently targetable warheads. This was the treaty ratifiedby the U.S. Senate in January 1996.

Unfortunately, the Clinton-Gore administration agreed in September 1997to defer the dismantling of these and other threatening Russian missilesuntil as late as 2007. And that was the arrangement the Duma approved lastFriday. Lest the impact of this change be lost on anyone, Mr. Putin subsequentlyindicated that none of Russia s long-range missiles will be retired untilthey reach the end of their useful service life. Some deal.

What is more, Mr. Putin has asserted that Russia will not implementthe START II Treaty at all unless and until the United States ratifieswhat the Duma has just done. That would mean accepting several other troublingprovisions, notably steps aimed at breathing new life into the strategicallyobsolete, legally defunct 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

For example, the Russians have attached to their resolution of ratificationtwo other ill-advised agreements also signed by the Clinton-Gore administrationin September 1997. One would effect an extraordinary makeover of the ABMTreaty, from the bilateral accord signed with the Soviet Union — a countrythat ceased to exist nine years ago — into a multilateral accord betweenRussia, Ukraine and Belarus on the one hand and the United States on theother. An insight into the Clinton-Gore administration's actual attitudetoward defending the United States against missile attack may be foundin its motivation for seeking this change: Creating multiple foreign vetoeswould make it even more difficult for the ABM Treaty to be modified soas to permit U.S. missile defenses to be deployed.

The second agreement addresses the question of demarkation: Where isthe technological line to be drawn between so-called theater missile defensesthat were not supposed to be covered by the ABM Treaty and strategic defensesthat were? In practice, this accord would have the effect of imposing newlimitations on a whole class of promising anti-missile systems. It hasalready contributed to actions that have dumbed down the Navy's sea-basedtheaterwide missile defense program, rendering it less capable of providingnear-term protection for U.S. forces and allies overseas than it could— and than it needs to do.

In addition, at Mr. Putin's direction, the Duma has served notice thatif the United States withdraws from the ABM treaty, Russia will abrogatenot only the START I and II treaties but from other arms-control accordsas well. This audacious move takes advantage of the Clinton-Goreadministration'srefusal to acknowledge the fact that the ABM treaty is no longer in effectas a matter of international law. It also would, as a practical matter,eliminate a right the United States was explicitly afforded by the ABMTreaty, namely that of withdrawing from the accord on six-month noticeif U.S. supreme interests are jeopardized.

As the New York Times reported on Saturday: "Washington has a choice,[Mr. Putin] said. The United States will have to renounce its plans todevelop a national ABM system in order to preserve START II and the agreementlimiting conventional forces in Europe. If it does not and discards theABM treaty, Mr. Putin said, the United States will become in the eyes ofthe world the party that is guilty for destroying the foundations of strategicstability.

It remains to be seen what Mr. Putin's jujitsu will mean for the Clinton-Goreadministration's highest foreign policy priority: negotiation of a grandcompromise on strategic arms. This would package a follow-on START IIIagreement (involving far more radical, unverifiable and ill-advised reductionsin U.S. offensive nuclear arms) together with Russian permission for anexceedingly limited American anti-missile deployment in Alaska, providedWashington foreswears any interest in more comprehensive layered defenses.

Before President Clinton makes matters worse — either in negotiationsleading up to or during the summit he plans to hold with Mr. Putin sometimenext month — he should heed a lesson offered by the bruising fight thatled to rejection of his 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: Under theConstitution,the Senate is a coequal partner with the executive branch in the makingof international treaties. It would be a serious mistake to enroll, withoutserious debate let alone prior agreement from the Senate, in a new agreementeffecting dubious reductions in U.S. nuclear forces and precluding thesort of layered missile defenses that even the director of the ClintonPentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish,says are likely to be necessary.

Alas, a president more interested in securing an arms-control legacyirrespective of the cost is likely to prove an easy mark for a cunning,ruthless operative like Vladimir Putin. The Senate must therefore promptlystep into the breach, performing the vital check-and-balance role envisionedfor it by the Founding Fathers. It should insist upon Mr. Clinton finallysubmitting for the Senate's advice and consent the September 1997 agreementsthe Duma has now approved. By rejecting these accords on the grounds thatthey will make it harder for the United States to achieve the missile defenserequired by it and its forces and allies overseas, the Senate can makeclear the unacceptability of the grand compromise that Mr. Clinton nowseeks — a deal that might just be sufficiently inimical to U.S. nationalsecurity interests to be acceptable to Mr. Putin.
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2.
Russia's Goodwill Pacts Come With A Bite
        Justin Brown
        Christian Science Monitor
        April 21, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Its recent actions to ratify two antinuclear measures back the US intoa corner on its national missile-defense plan.

On the surface, Russia's recent arms-control initiatives seem to begestures of goodwill from the country's president-elect, Vladimir Putin.

By ratifying START II, and in all likelihood approving the ComprehensiveTest Ban Treaty today, Moscow has done more on paper in days than it previouslydid in years.

But, as more of the implications become clear, analysts here say therecent moves could back the US into an uncomfortable corner where no sidecan win.

"This is an offensive diplomatic move," says Joseph Cirincione, anarms-controlexpert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington."It puts the nuclear ball back in the US court."

Last week, the Russian Duma, or lower house, overcame seven years ofsquabbling and voted in favor of START II, which would require the US andRussia to lower their number of nuclear weapons from 6,000 to 3,500 by2007. Today, the Duma is set to vote on the test ban treaty, the same measurethe US Senate rejected last year.

Immediately, the measures will put the pressure on the US. Talks nextweek in New York will review the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.In the long term, the moves are likely to put the US into a bind. All themajor arms-control treaties will be tied together, yet President Clinton,facing a hostile Senate, may be unable to act.

Moreover, analysts say, it appears unlikely the US will be able to amenda third agreement, the 1972 Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. The USneeds to change it to build a national missile-defense system.

"This puts a lot of pressure on Clinton not to take any new actionson arms control," says Mr. Cirincione.

Senate's stumbling blocks

The problems stem from protocols that the Russians attached to STARTII. They make the accord difficult for the US Senate to approve. Essentially,the Russians say they will not stick to START II unless the US sticks tothe ABM treaty. And the protocols, which were approved by Mr. Clinton andBoris Yeltsin in 1997, make the ABM treaty multilateral, drawing in theUkraine, Belarus, and Kazakstan, along with Russia.

"The idea that the Senate would vote on [all of these protocols] isa nonstarter," says Baker Spring, a researcher at the Heritage Foundationin Washington.

If Clinton cannot get the Senate to approve START II, as was the casewith the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, it will make it hard for him togo ahead with the controversial national missile-defense plan, say experts.

National missile-defense, a system in which interceptors try to shootdown incoming antiballistic missiles, would provide a shield from attackby rogue nations, US officials say.

But the Russians, along with the Chinese, oppose the plan because theysay it would limit the ability of their missile arsenals to act as a deterrentagainst the US. The Europeans oppose the plan, because they say it wouldtrigger a new weapons buildup.

Furthermore, national missile-defense technology is still in the developmentstages. It will be tested one more time before Clinton can decide whetherto deploy it.

For Clinton, much will ride on a June summit he has planned with Mr.Putin. It is expected that he will discuss, among other topics, the ABMtreaty and further nuclear-weapons reductions.

Missile defense: At what price?

For arms-control advocates, the concern is that Putin and Clinton willbe facing an all-or-nothing scenario, in which the two countries will eitherwork together, or suspend crucial arms-control measures.

"This is a very critical point in international security and US nuclearpolicy," says Spurgeon Keeny, the president of the Arms Control Associationin Washington.

An increasingly likely scenario is that Clinton will have to postponea decision on national missile-defense and leave it up to the nextadministration,analysts say.

Republicans, including Texas Gov. George W. Bush, tend to favor a fasterdeployment, even if it is at the expense of arms-control agreements.

Vice President Al Gore, on the other hand, has taken a wait-and-seeapproach, much like Clinton. "This is an unintended mess," says DanielGoure of the Center for Strategic and International Studies here.
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3.
The Restarting of START
        Christian Science Monitor
        April 21, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Nearly a decade after the end of the cold war, Moscow and Washingtonstill struggle with two major aftereffects. One is lingering mistrust.The other is an overkill in nuclear missiles.

Reducing both of those will require patient persuasion by the US anda better democracy and economy in a Russia that still views itself as aput-upon superpower.

Last week marked some progress in building trust and reducing the numberof missiles. The Russian parliament belatedly ratified a nuclear-arms reductiontreaty known as START II.

When the START arms-controls talks began 18 years ago during the coldwar, both countries had well over 10,000 warheads - enough to waste theworld many times over. START I took the number down to 6,000, a goal thathas nearly been attained. START II's target is 3,000-3,500.

The US and Russia can now work on a START III treaty that could reducewarheads to around 2,000 each. The Russians, hard pressed to maintain theirweapons, want even deeper cuts, down to 1,500.

Why did both sides have so many to begin with? Because of the bizarrelogic of the cold war that one side would never trigger a nuclear conflictbecause the other could easily destroy it. This mutually assured destruction,or MAD, led to warhead overkill.

With their ideological contest now over, both sides are looking fora new concept of security. In the meantime, however, several small anti-Americanstates, such as North Korea, have tried to build nuclear missiles thatmight reach the US.

The US now wants to set up a "limited" defense system to intercept suchmissiles. But Russia believes that shield could be easily expanded to knockout its missiles and neutralize it military prowess. What's more, Russiaclaims the proposed US system would violate a keystone of the cold-warMAD logic: the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.

Russia's new leader, Vladimir Putin, threatens to halt all arms-controlmoves if the US deploys the nuclear shield. That leaves the US with a difficultchoice: Defend itself from a few nuclear missiles (maybe), or risk a newarms race with Russia and turn it into a competitor again.

Both sides can probably find room to bend. At the least, they shouldcontinue reducing their nuclear arsenals.
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C. Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Deal

1.
News Briefing [USEC Congressional Hearing]
        Uranium Institute
        April 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)

[NB00.16-3] US: A hearing to review the activities of USEC Inc was heldby a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives on 13 April. Membersof the House Commerce subcommittee heard testimony from USEC PresidentWilliam Timbers, officials from the Treasury Department, and several USnuclear industry representatives. Mark Stout, representing the UraniumProducers of America, accused USEC of 'uncontrolled dumping' of uraniumit had obtained from the US government as part of its privatisation planin 1998. (Nuclear Market Review, 14 April, p2) At the meeting, membersof the subcommittee agreed that government involvement is the only wayto safeguard US domestic enrichment capabilities, the domestic mining andconversion industries, and the US-Russian HEU agreement. The subcommitteeis expected to hold a further hearing on the national security implicationsof USEC's poor financial situation later in 2000. (FreshFUEL, 17 April,p1; see also News Briefing 00.12-6) According to a report from Bank ofNew York Capital Markets, USEC must shut down one of its gaseous diffusionplants - in either Paducah or Portsmouth - by July 2001 in order to saveUS$65 million annually in power and labour costs. (Associated Press, 11April; see also News Briefing 00.06-3)
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