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Nuclear News - (05/05/00)
RANSAC Nuclear News, 05 May 2000


A. START

    1. Russian President Ratifies START II, Associated Press(05/04/00)
B. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Moscow Puts Topol-M Missile, New Sub On Line, RFE/RL(05/02/00)
    2. Russia Adds Strategic Bomber To Fleet, RFE/RL (05/04/00)
C. Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) DealD. Nuclear Waste
    1. Minatom Strives After Spent Fuel Imports, Igor Kudrik,Bellona (05/04/00)
E.  ABM, Missile Defense
    1. Arms Talks End, Reuters (04/29/00)
    2. U.S. Tells Russia, Let's Keep Nukes Forever, Global Beat(05/01/00)
    3. Russia Says Missiles May Revive Cold War, John Diamond,Chicago Tribune (05/03/00)
    4. Russian General Cool on U.S. ABM Proposals, Reuters(05/05/00)
    5. Indefensible Decisions,  Zbigniew Brzezinski, WashingtonPost (05/05/00)

A. START

1.
Russian President Ratifies START II
        Associated Press
        May 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW –– President Vladimir Putin signed the START II treaty on Thursday,affirming the Russian parliament's approval of the plan to cut U.S. andRussian nuclear arsenals, the presidential press service said.

The treaty obligates Russia and the United States to slash nuclear stockpilesto 3,000-3,500 nuclear warheads each. It was approved last month by bothchambers of parliament, ending seven years of deadlock.

Putin, who won election in March, has made nuclear arms reduction akey part of his agenda. Boris Yeltsin, the previous president, failed toget the agreement approved by the parliament because of strong oppositionfrom Communists and nationalists.

Putin, however, has warned the United States that he will abandon allarms control agreements if Washington presses ahead with plans for a limitednuclear defense system. Putin claims the U.S. move would violate the 1972Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and lead to another major nuclear arms race.

New amendments to START II still must be approved by the U.S Senatebefore the treaty takes effect. But Russia's approval sets the stage fortalks on further arms cuts.
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B. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
Moscow Puts Topol-M Missile, New Sub On Line
        RFE/RL
        May 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Russian defense ministry announced on 28 April that it has addedthe Topol-M intercontinental nuclear missile to the country's arsenal,RIA reported. The Topol-M, known to NATO as the SS-27, has a range of 10,000km (6,200 miles) and is a single-warhead system. Meanwhile, the Russiannavy announced a new upgrade in the Piranha mini-submarine used forreconnaissanceand hit-and-run raids, ITAR-TASS reported. And the MiG aircraft enterpriseannounced plans for updating the MiG-29 jet in four versions, the Russianagency said.
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2.
Russia Adds Strategic Bomber To Fleet
        RFE/RL
        May 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Russian air force will soon take delivery of a new Tu-160 strategicbomber to bring its fleet up to 15, Interfax reported on 3 May. The airforce announced that "this is the first new strategic bomber that has reachedair crews from its producer, the Kazan aviation plant, over the last 12years.
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C. Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) Deal

1.
News Briefing [USEC]
        Uranium Institute
        May 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)

[NB00.18-9] USEC Inc reported earnings for its third quarter ended 31March 2000 of US$22.6 million, compared with US$16.2 million in the previousyear. Sales during the quarter totalled US$281.8 million, up from US$260.4million in 1999. During the nine-month period ended 31 March 2000, USECearned US$71.3 million, compared with US$56.9 million in the fiscal 1999period. The company forecasts full-year net income of US$107-110 million,before a special charge in June 2000 relating to job cuts. (USEC Inc, 26April; see also News Briefing 99.43-4)
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D. Nuclear Waste

1.
Minatom Strives After Spent Fuel Imports
        Igor Kudrik
        Bellona
        May 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Minatom says in Russia it wants to enter the world's spent fuel reprocessingmarket but proposes moratorium on reprocessing to the U.S.

The Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament consistingof regional representatives, voted down in mid April a bill calling toamend Russian legislation in favour of spent nuclear fuel imports. Thebill introduced by lobbyists of the Russian Ministry for Nuclear Energy,or Minatom, was first discussed in several regional legislative bodiesin early April but did not receive a unanimous approval to the greatdisappointmentof its supporters.

The amendments to the Russian Law on Environmental Protection, whichtoday effectively prohibits import of any 'radioactive materials' to thecountry, were disguised in the bill presented to the Federation Councilas "establishing of commission to study the development and incorporationof high technologies into the nuclear fuel cycle." The commission wouldhave consequently concluded that spent fuel imports must be allowed inorder to ensure high technologies incorporation into the fuel cycle.

Removing the legal roadblock, would, as was explained in a memo writtenby Minatom for the parliamentarians, allow Russia to enter the world marketof reprocessing. Earning $20 billion by importing around 20,000 tons offoreign spent fuel, Minatom planned to upgrade the reprocessing plant RT-1at Mayak in southern Ural, complete the reprocessing plant RT-2 in KrasnoyarskCounty, build new storage sites for spent fuel and divert a part of thefunds to solve environmental issues related to nuclear industry. Asiancountries, India, some European countries and even Iran would be the futurecustomers, according to Minatom's plans.

But behind the scenes Minatom is actively promoting another option thathas nothing to do with entering "the high technology market of spent fuelreprocessing." In a draft joint statement of Russia and the U.S., preparedby Minatom for the meeting with a delegation from the U.S. Department ofEnergy (DoE) on April 4, the Russian nuclear agency suggests announcinga 20-year moratorium on reprocessing. The initiative to declare moratoriumis explained by the Minatom's glorious striving to safe the world fromproliferation of nuclear materials that could be used to make a nucleardevice. One of the output products of the nuclear power plant spent fuelreprocessing is energy plutonium that falls under the category of the nuclearmaterials banned for proliferation.

Minatom suggests halting the reprocessing for at least 20 years butwith a few exceptions. The agency wants to continue reprocessing of spentfuel from submarine reactors, research reactors and experimental reactors.

The only operational reprocessing plant in Russia RT-1 is capable oftaking spent fuel from VVER-440 reactor, plus all the categories put byMinatom into the "exceptions list." The United States have a so-calledopen fuel cycle; i.e. does not reprocess spent fuel at all.

The United States, according to Minatom's plan, would help Russia inexchange for reprocessing moratorium build a dry storage facility for fuelfrom nuclear power plants. In other words, Minatom counts that the U.S.would finance the construction of such storage site.

The American response is not clear so far, although DoE was expectedto answer shortly. The reports of Minatom wishing to quit reprocessingwere released first in February this year. Yevgeny Adamov, Russian NuclearMinister, in an interview with Washington Post, confirmed these intentions.The minister, however, chose to deny them frantically when talking to theRussian press.

But should Minatom go further with the spent fuel import project, ithas to obtain the American official consent. The flaw in Minatom's fuelimport plan is that countries in Asia, such as Japan and Taiwan, acquiretheir nuclear fuel from the United States and therefore must get U.S. governmentapproval for its disposal. The European countries, such as Germany, areunlikely to break ranks with Washington on a sensitive non-proliferationissue. The United States officials, for their part, have stressed earlierthat the U.S. would not agree to any project that involved reprocessing"by Russia of American-origin nuclear fuels.

This approach leaves Minatom with few options, namely to declare a moratoriumon fuel reprocessing, receive the consent from the U.S. to import spentfuel from Asian countries - those are the most probable potential customers- and, having established a certain market for such services, come backto the idea of reprocessing being after higher hard currency profits. Thismight be what Minatom is trying to test by initiating the draft joint statementsubmitted to DoE in April.
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E. ABM, Missile Defense

1.
Arms Talks End
        Reuters
        April 29, 2000
        (for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- Russia and the United States ended days of intense armscontrol talks Thursday sounding determined to bridge gaps but no closerto compromise on U.S. plans for a national missile defense.

U.S. officials - faced with criticism from Moscow, Beijing and elsewhereabout efforts to amend a U.S.-Soviet pact allowing each signatory to shieldjust one site - have been trying to persuade visiting Foreign MinisterIgor Ivanov and his entourage that the proposed U.S. system would not neutralizeRussia's arsenal. But by Thursday Ivanov remained unconvinced.

To go ahead with the so-called National Missile Defense, the Clintonadministration must get Russia to agree to amend the Anti-Ballistic MissileTreaty of 1972, which was based on the idea that building defense systemsonly sparks new arms races as countries amass more missiles to overcomethem.
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2.
U.S. Tells Russia, Let's Keep Nukes Forever
        Global Beat
        May 1, 2000
        (for personal use only)

According to a document obtained exclusively by the Bulletin of theAtomic Scientists, the United States has attempted to ease Russian concernsabout a possible U.S national missile defense system by encouraging Russiato forgo any future reduction in its nuclear arsenal and to maintain itsnuclear forces on alert. The document, titled "ABM Treaty Talking Points,"is posted together with a commentary from Stephen Schwartz, publisher ofthe Bulletin. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists web exclusive, April 2000

Editors Comments:  the text of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientistarticle can be found at the following location:  http://www.bullatomsci.org/issues/2000/mj00/mj00schwartz.html
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3.
Russia Says Missiles May Revive Cold War
        John Diamond
        Chicago Tribune
        May 3, 2000
        (for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- Delivering a blunt warning cloaked in bear hugs and backslaps,Russian lawmakers came to Washington on Tuesday to lobby against constructionof a U.S. national missile defense, saying it could reverse a decade ofprogress on arms control and rekindle tension between the old Cold Warrivals.

"The American side needs to weigh the consequences" of going forwardwith missile defense, Vladimir Ryzhkov, a member of Russia's State Duma,or parliament, told Republican House and Senate members at a daylong conferenceon Capitol Hill.

"Think about not starting a new kind of Cold War with very strangeconsequences,"said Alexander Shabanov, deputy chairman of the Duma's foreign relationscommittee.

Precisely how Russia would respond if President Clinton decides to proceedwith a national missile defense system remains a matter of speculation.

But the Russian lawmakers, all senior Duma members, insisted that ifClinton goes forward, Russia would abandon the entire raft of strategicarms-reduction agreements dating to the Reagan administration. Some U.S.officials are concerned that Russia would join forces with China—the twocountries already are enjoying closer relations on security issues thanthey have in decades—and share technology that could be useful in defeatingwhatever missile defense system the United States fields.

More broadly, a rift over missile defense could derail efforts to developcloser ties with Russia, efforts that have hit other snags during the pastdecade over issues such as the enlargement of NATO and the U.S.-led bombingof Yugoslavia.

As an alternative, the Russian lawmakers emphasized their government'sproposal that a U.S. decision against going forward with missile defensecould lead to even deeper cuts in nuclear weapons stockpiles. The lawmakersalso raised the possibility that Moscow and the U.S. could share missiledefense technology.

The conference, held in a large hearing room in the Senate's Hart OfficeBuilding, was organized by the conservative Free Congress Foundation, headedby Paul Weyrich. The foundation is interested in exploring the possibilityof assuaging Russia's concerns by sharing missile defense technology, amove the Clinton administration has, as yet, not been willing to make.

"Played correctly, Russia can become a strategic ally of the West. Rightnow, she is anything but that," Weyrich said.

The session was marked by cordiality, even warmth, as U.S. and Russianlawmakers who have met many times during various trips and exchanges renewedold acquaintances.

But it also was marked by bluntness.

When the Russian lawmakers asked whether the Senate would ratify theversion of a strategic arms-reduction treaty that includes provisions attachedby the Duma limiting missile defenses, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was unambiguous.

"The answer to that question is no. That's very, very unlikely any timein the foreseeable future with the makeup of the Congress as it is," Kylsaid.

And although Clinton has yet to make a decision to deploy a nationalmissile defense, Kyl echoed the Republican view that Congress already hasspoken on the matter by passing a law establishing a national missile defensesystem as a fundamental national security aim.

"There will be a deployment of a national missile defense system," Kylsaid.

The visit of several Duma members to Washington came a week after Sen.Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,said in a Senate floor speech that he would block any arms-control pactbrought to the floor by Clinton as the president's second term nears itsend.

The START 2 pact has been ratified by the Senate and the Russian legislature.It would cut U.S. and Russian arsenals roughly by half, down to between3,000 and 3,500 long-range strategic nuclear weapons.

But the Russian legislature attached conditions relating to the relativecapabilities of theater and national missile defenses, conditions thatU.S. lawmakers say could limit the capability of both. The Senate mustnow accept START 2 with the Russian changes before the pact can take effect.

Economically strapped Russia can ill afford to continue to maintainits huge arsenal of nuclear weapons and favors sharp reductions, a pointthat leads some in Washington to view the threats from Moscow as bluster.

The Clinton administration insists the missile defense plan is not aimedat Russia but intends to stop potential attacks from smaller states suchas North Korea or Iran. In a Pentagon briefing last week for Russian ForeignMinister Igor Ivanov, U.S. officials went to lengths to describe the limitsand vulnerabilities of the missile defense system.

Tuesday's meeting of legislators put on display the wide gap betweenRussia's arms-reduction goals and the Republican-backed plans in Washingtonto build a national missile defense. The meeting also underscored thatwhile the Russian legislature closely follows the lead of newly electedPresident Vladimir Putin, the U.S. Congress could hardly be more hostiletoward Clinton.

"President Clinton does not enjoy the trust of the United States Senatewhen it comes to treaties that affect arms-control matters," said Sen.Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).

Konstantin Kosachev, deputy chairman of the Duma's foreign relationscommittee, said the Russian legislature and executive branch are "basicallyunanimous" in opposition to a U.S. missile defense system.

Kosachev said U.S. negotiators were, in effect, threatening Moscow bysuggesting that if Washington cannot win a change in the 1972 Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty to allow a national missile defense, the United States willscrap the entire treaty.

"Imagine two sides who made a contract. One side keeps its obligations,but the other side says, 'We'll pay you half price. Either you agree toit or we don't pay you anything at all,'" Kosachev said. "This is basicallythe U.S. position."

The three members of the Russian parliament who participated—otherswere in town meeting privately with U.S. lawmakers—said the United Statesand Russia should be strategic partners, not nuclear rivals. They saidRussia's views on arms control were expressed by recent Duma votes to ratifythe Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the START 2 nuclear arms reductions.

In one area of agreement between Russia and U.S. lawmakers, the Dumamembers urged the Clinton administration to postpone a decision scheduledfor this summer on deploying a national missile defense.

This viewpoint has drawn unlikely supporters. Arms-control advocateswant postponement because they fear a rushed decision would almost certainlymean a decision to deploy the missile defense. Republicans want postponementin hopes that Texas Gov. George W. Bush will be president and will be ina position to approve a much larger defensive shield than the one envisionedby Clinton.

Russia's decision to link the issue of missile defense to further armsreductions is merely an arbitrary grab for leverage, according to JamesCollins, the U.S. ambassador to Russia. Speaking to the Defense Writers'Group last week, Collins said Russia accepts U.S. explanations that theplanned missile defense system is not aimed at neutralizing Russia's nucleardeterrent.

The concern in Moscow, according to Collins, who has participated inhigh-level arms-reduction talks, is that once the United States buildsthe basic infrastructure of missile defense—the bases in Alaska and NorthDakota, the missile interceptors and radar—it will be easy enough to enlargethe system to the point where it could undermine Russia's arsenal.

If Russia is reducing the size of its nuclear force while the UnitedStates expands its missile defenses, the two could eventually meet in themiddle, leaving Russia vulnerable to a theoretical first strike to whichit would have no viable response.

Collins said U.S. negotiators are emphasizing that, practically speaking,the planned missile defense system could not be expanded in size andsophisticationto the point that it could ever cope with the kind of massive strike Russiacould launch.

"There isn't any way the system we are talking about is going to providea defense against that force," Collins said. "We don't intend to expandit to the point where it would be a threat."
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4.
Russian General Cool on U.S. ABM Proposals
        Reuters
        May 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, May 5, 2000 -- (Reuters) A leading Russian Defense Ministryofficial was quoted on Friday as saying that U.S. proposals on amendinga key Cold War nuclear arms pact were not constructive.

Russia is against U.S. plans to modify the ABM pact, a treaty on limitingnuclear missile arsenals which was signed in 1972 and viewed in Moscowas the base for strategic stability.

Washington wants to amend the pact so it can build a national defensemissile shield against what it calls rogue states such as Iran and Libya.

"The U.S. side has indeed tried to pull us into a negotiating processon the problem of ABM by sending its proposals to us," Interfax news agencyquoted Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, the head of the Defense Ministry'sinternational cooperation department, as saying.

"These proposals are not constructive and cannot be seen as the basisfor future consultations on this problem," said Ivashov, on the hawkishwing of Russian diplomacy.

Moscow says Washington's real intention is to give the U.S. strategicsuperiority.

A U.S. magazine, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, last week publishedwhat it said were the papers U.S. negotiators had submitted to Moscow.

The main proposal was to change the ABM treaty to allow Russia and theUnited States to deploy a national missile defense system for the purposeof defense of their national territory against limited long-range strikes.

The ABM treaty allows each side to have a defense shield around specificsites. Russia has one around Moscow while the United States had one arounda missile base, now closed.

Ivashov reiterated Moscow's position that the rogue states' theory putforward by the U.S. was a deception.

"It is unlikely that these states will have the guaranteed means todeliver weapons to U.S. territory in the coming years," he said.

Talks on modifying the ABM treaty, held last month by Russian ForeignMinister Igor Ivanov in Washington, ended in deadlock.
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5.
Indefensible Decisions
        Zbigniew Brzezinski
        Washington Post
        May 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Even prosperous American suburbs increasingly are demarcated into separatelyprotected super-rich zones. That phenomenon—which real-estate developerseuphemistically call "gated communities"--reflects a disturbing combinationof social paranoia and pretentious snobbery. Alas, the approaching U.S.decision to deploy a national missile defense system could transform Americaitself into an internationally gated community.

As of now, the decision to deploy is likely to be made either throughan agreement with Russia to partially revise the existing ABM Treaty orsimply by the United States acting alone. In either case the decision willbe premature and disruptive to America's key strategic relationships.

The Clinton administration gives evident signs of wishing to reach aspectacular accommodation with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, perhapsat the forthcoming summit, thus enabling it to proceed with the missile-defensedeployment. The decision to deploy, the White House senses, would be politicallypopular at home, trumping the Republicans who have tried to make themissile-defensesystem their own pet security project. To obtain Russia's agreement, theadministration has been notably passive regarding Putin's war against theChechens. In contrast, the United States was quite prepared to charge Chinawith human rights violations in the recent sesssion of the U.N. Human RightsCommission, and the administration prevailed on the Czechs and the Polesto do so against Cuba--while itself being willing to support only a verydiluted European criticism of Russia over Chechnya.

Yet the decision to deploy on the basis of an agreement with Russiacould prove troublesome. It would most probably involve an arrangementpermitting the United States to use Alaska as the site for a partial missiledefense deployment. That would provide protection for America against aneventual North Korean threat, though there are no intelligence estimatesregarding the pace of any North Korean efforts to deploy ICBMs armed withnuclear warheads. It would also protect America against the existing Chinesenuclear forces. But the Chinese quite naturally would view an Americandecision to deploy in the above-mentioned fashion as directed primarilyagainst them. That would intensify American-Chinese tensions (a matterhardly of regret to Moscow) and precipitate Chinese efforts to upgradetheir nuclear-armed ICBM capabilities, including the deployment of decoysto override the partial American missile defense. The American initiativeand the Chinese reaction would probably cause anxiety in Japan and SouthKorea.

Needless to add, the arrangement with Russia permitting a partial missiledefense would do nothing for Europe's security. It would, however, be likelyto stimulate European fears--admittedly often exaggerated and self-serving--thatAmerica is becoming excessively preoccupied with its own security whileEurope remains more vulnerable both to the Russians and also to some potentiallythreatening Middle Eastern states. Such European reactions, in turn, wouldmake it easier for President Putin to pursue his two-pronged strategy:to accommodate strategically with the eager Clinton while simultaneouslyencouraging growing rifts between Europe and America.

A unilateral decision would maximize such negative consequences. Itwould also give Moscow the added opportunity to posture as the defenderof stable strategic deterrence, which America would then be accused ofundermining. Such accusations would find a receptive audience not onlyin Europe but also here at home. This would precipitate a divisive andcontentious debate both with our allies and among ourselves. Given alsothe fact that the national missile defense remains a technological questionmark, the benefits of a unilateral decision are not easy to detect—exceptpolitically.

The bottom line is that at this stage there is no urgent strategic needfor a largely domestically driven decision regarding the deployment ofthe national missile defense. The issue should be left to the next president—tobe resolved after consensus is reached with our allies both in Europe andin the Far East, after more credible evidence becomes available regardingthe technical feasibility and probable costs of the national missile defense,and after compelling intelligence estimates are aired regarding the origin,scale and timing of likely new threats to the United States and its allies.

American preponderance in the world is a fact. It should not be coupledwith America's self-isolation in a gated community.

If the long-standing policy of nuclear deterrence is to be replacedwith missile defense, that strategic revolution should be pursued on acomprehensive basis, not just for America itself but also for its allies,and with its allies.

The writer was national security adviser to President Carter.
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