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Nuclear News - 06/06/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 06 June 2000

A. Plutonium Disposition

    1. Joint Statement Concerning Management And Disposition Of Weapon-GradePlutonium Designated As No Longer Required For Defense Purposes And RelatedCooperation, The White House (6/4/00)
    2. United States - Russian Federation Plutonium Disposition Agreement-FactSheet, The White House (6/4/00)
    1. A Longer Nuclear Fuse, Frank von Hippel and Bruce Blair,Washington Post (6/6/00)
C. ABM, Missile Defense
    1. Russia 'Blind' To Attack by U.S. Missiles Satellites' DeficienciesFuel Fears of Shield, David Hoffman, Washington Post Foreign Service(6/1/00)
    2. Agreement On The Establishment Of A Joint Warning Center ForThe Exchange Of Information On Missile Launches And Early Warning,The White House (6/4/00)
    3. Clinton Assure Russian Duma on U.S. Missile Defense Plans,Associated Press (6/5/00)
    4. Gore: Russia Will Modify Treaty, Associated Press (6/5/00)

A. Plutonium Disposition

Joint Statement Concerning Management And Disposition Of Weapon-GradePlutonium Designated As No Longer Required For Defense Purposes And RelatedCooperation
        The White House
        June 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation announcedtoday completion of the bilateral Agreement for the management and dispositionof weapon-grade plutonium withdrawn from their respective nuclear weaponprograms and declared excess to defense purposes. This Agreement will ensurethat this plutonium will be changed into forms unusable for nuclear weaponsby consumption as fuel in nuclear reactors or by immobilization renderingit suitable for geologic disposal.

Based on the 1998 Summit Joint Statement of Principles for Managementand Disposition of Plutonium, this Agreement charts the course and setsthe conditions for such activities. It reconfirms our determination totake steps necessary to ensure that it is never again used for nuclearweapons or any other military purpose and is managed and disposed of ina way that is safe, secure, ecologically sound, transparent and irreversible.It reaffirms our commitment to nuclear disarmament.

This Agreement will ensure that the management and disposition activitiesare monitored and, thus, transparent for the international community. Itprovides for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification onceappropriate agreements with the IAEA are concluded.

This Agreement builds on the approaches to such plutonium managementand disposition agreed at the 1996 G-8 Moscow Nuclear Safety and SecuritySummit. We reaffirm our intentions to continue to work closely with othercountries, in particular other G-8 leaders, who have provided  strongsupport over past years for initiation and implementation of these programs.In this regard, we hope that significant progress will be made as wellat the G-8 Summit this July in Okinawa.

This Agreement will enable new cooperation to go forward between theUnited States and the Russian Federation. We note that the United StatesCongress has appropriated 200 million USD for this cooperation and theU.S. Administration intends to seek additional appropriations.

This Agreement will soon be signed by Vice President Gore and PrimeMinister Kasyanov.

Moscow June 4, 2000
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United States - Russian Federation Plutonium Disposition Agreement-FactSheet
        The White House
        June 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)


United States - Russian Federation Plutonium Disposition Agreement

President Clinton and President Putin today announced that the UnitedStates and the Russian Federation have completed a key arms control andnonproliferation agreement providing for the safe, transparent and irreversibledisposition of 68 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium -- enough plutoniumto make thousands of nuclear weapons.

The United States and Russia have already agreed to nuclear arms reductionsthat have led to the removal of weapons-grade plutonium from their militaryprograms. This new agreement details the goals, schedules, monitoring principlesand conditions for the irreversible disposition of that plutonium.

Unlike weapons-grade uranium, which is being blended down for use asnuclear power fuel both in the United States and in Russia, plutonium cannotbe blended with other materials to make it unusable in weapons. Under theagreement, each Party must dispose of at least 34 metric tons of weapons-gradeplutonium by irradiating it as fuel in reactors or by immobilizing it withhigh-level radioactive waste, rendering it suitable for geologic disposal.The United States intends to use 25.5 tons as fuel and to immobilize 8.5tons; the Russian Federation intends to use 34 tons as fuel.

Both Russia and the United States will accelerate their work leadingtoward construction of new industrial-scale facilities for conversion ofthe plutonium and its fabrication into fuel. The Agreement requires eachParty to seek to begin operation of such industrial-scale facilities by2007, to achieve a disposition rate of at least 2 metric tons of weapons-gradeplutonium per year and, working with other countries, to identify additionalcapacities at least to double that disposition rate.

The agreement establishes certain rights, obligations and principlesfor monitoring and inspecting the disposition and the end products to ensurethe plutonium can never again be used for nuclear weapons or any othermilitary purposes. The agreement bans reprocessing of this plutonium untilthe entire 34 metric tons have been disposed. After that, any reprocessingof this plutonium must be done under effective, mutually agreed monitoringmeasures.

The agreement also anticipates that any additional plutonium designatedin the future as excess  to defense needs can be disposed under thesesame terms and conditions.

The Russian program is estimated to cost over $1.7 billion over twentyyears. The U.S. program, which includes immobilization facilities as wellas conversion and fuel fabrication facilities, is estimated to cost $4billion.

The agreement recognizes the need for international financing and assistancefor the Russian Federation to fulfill the obligations of the agreement.There is strong international support, particularly among G-8 nations,for the initiation and implementation of plutonium disposition. The UnitedStates and the Russian Federation will work with other countries to developan  international financing plan for the Russian program and multilateralarrangements to integrate and coordinate this extensive cooperation withRussia. This will be on the agenda for the G-8 Summit in Okinawa in July. The U.S. Congress has already appropriated $200 million for
plutonium disposition in Russia, which will now be used for pre-constructiondesign work for industrial-scale facilities in Russia. Today's agreementwill also accelerate research, development and demonstrations under the1998 technical agreement for plutonium disposition between the United Statesand Russian Federation.

The agreement is a critical, indispensable step toward the goal of ensuringproper disposition of this plutonium from weapons programs. Next stepsinclude negotiating multilateral cooperation arrangements, establishinginternational financing, and developing plans to accelerate plutonium disposition.
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A Longer Nuclear Fuse
        Frank von Hippel and BruceBlair
        Washington Post
        June 6, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Frank von Hippel is a professor of public and international affairsat Princeton University. Bruce Blair is president of the non-governmentalCenter for Defense Information.

START II, the latest U.S.-Russian strategic arms reduction treaty, didnot take effect when the Russian parliament finally voted approval in April.Conditions were attached. One is that the U.S. Senate first ratify amendmentsto the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty negotiated by the Clinton administrationin 1997 to allow theater missile defenses. The Senate's Republican leadershipseeks instead to jettison the ABM Treaty, in order to clear the way foran ambitious U.S. national missile defense. Therefore, seven years afterPresidents Bush and Yeltsin agreed to reduce deployed  ballistic-missilewarheads by about 60 percent, implementation of START II may still be manyyears away.

This means that the United States and Russia are each likely to keepan extra 1,000 missile warheads on alert, ready to launch within minutesif space- or  ground-based sensors report an  incoming missileattack.

The U.S. nuclear bureaucracy continues to be heedless of the dangersof this hair-trigger configuration. This was recently revealed in leakedU.S. government "talking points" from the January session of the negotiations aimed at persuading Russia to accept a "thin" U.S. national missile defense. Incredibly, the United States argued that, if Russia launched its missileson warning of an incoming U.S. missile attack, enough would survive evena  surprise attack to overwhelm U.S. defenses. This would only reinforceRussia's reliance on hair-trigger readiness and increase the risk of accidental firing of hundreds to thousands of nuclear warheads at the United States.

Presidents Clinton and Putin could dramatically reduce the risk of accidentallaunch by repeating the bold actions of Presidents Bush and Gorbachev when faced with a similar conundrum over START I implementation in 1991. Toreduce  the danger quickly, the presidents ordered  immediateremoval from launch  readiness of a large fraction of the missilesslated for  elimination.

Presidents Clinton and Putin should similarly accelerate the downloadingand  storage of the approximately 3,000 warheads to be taken off missileson each  side by START II. This could be verified during the short-notice,on-site  inspections allowed by START I. Final irreversible measures,such as  destroying missile launchers, would be taken only after theSTART II treaty officially comes into force.

President Clinton, as the head of the country with much more invulnerableforces, should initiate this action, just as President Bush did in 1991.Wearing his hat as commander in chief, Bush announced that redundant U.S.missiles and bombers would unilaterally be taken off alert, and calledon President Gorbachev to reciprocate. Russia's nuclear forces have becomemuch more vulnerable since then, and President Putin probably cannot takethe first step. If the United States led, however, world opinion wouldpress Putin to follow suit.

In a recent speech, presidential candidate George W. Bush urged therapid, even unilateral, de-alerting of nuclear missiles. He should joinforces with a bipartisan effort to overturn Republican legislative stricturesthat attempt to limit the president's authority to change missile alertlevels and warhead loadings. Former president Bush enjoyed wide latitudein this area. So should the sitting and future presidents.

Last weekend, at the Moscow summit, Presidents Clinton and Putin announced plans for a center in Moscow where early-warning data will be shared to address the growing danger of false warnings from Russia's crumbling missile-attack early-warning system. This is a constructive move. But theUnited States has only offered data that have been filtered through U.S. computers. The Russian military would surely disregard such data if it suspected a deliberate U.S. attack. In any case, this plan leaves the nuclearhair-trigger in place.

The immediate removal of the warheads in excess of the START II deploymentlimits would substantially reduce the risk of accidental nuclear attack.The United States would still have an enormous deterrent, including morethan 1,000 survivable nuclear warheads in submarines at sea. Whoever occupiesthe  White House after the election should take additional actionsto lengthen the nuclear fuse.
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C. ABM, Missile Defense

Russia 'Blind' To Attack by U.S. Missiles Satellites' DeficienciesFuel Fears of Shield
        David Hoffman
        Washington Post ForeignService
        June 1, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW—To understand Russia's anxiety over the national missile defensesystem being proposed by the United States, consider the lonely wanderingsof a military satellite named Cosmos-2224.

Cosmos-2224 is the last working model of a generation of Russian satellitesthat were parked over one spot on the globe, in so-called geostationaryorbits, to watch for U.S. missile launches. But according to a source,the latest data available, for February, located Cosmos-2224 outside theeight points of space reserved by Russia for these satellites.

Although it is believed to be functioning, Cosmos-2224 is no longerpart of the "operational constellation" that keeps an eye out for missilelaunches,  the source said. Russia's only other geostationary satellite,Cosmos-2345, apparently failed sometime last year or late in 1998.

Moreover, Russia also has difficulties with another part of its earlywarning network. The satellites that move in what are called high-ellipticalorbits and scan for launches of U.S. land-based missiles but cannot seethose launched at sea, now number four on duty instead of the nine originallyplanned.

The deterioration of Russia's satellite network has contributed to "blindspots" in its early warning system against missile attacks, specialistssay, especially in detecting possible ocean launches from super-accurateU.S. Trident submarines.

Such gaps, at least in theory, could make Russia feel more vulnerablein a time of crisis to a possible first strike from the United States.Russia's concern is that this erosion of its capabilities, combined witha U.S. proposal to deploy an expanded missile defense and enhanced earlywarning system, could mean that Russia is growing more vulnerable whilethe United States grows more secure.

"Currently, Russia is totally blind to a Trident attack from the Atlanticand Pacific, and, for all practical purposes, it is equally blind to aMinuteman or MX [missile] attack from the continental United States," concludedthree specialists, writing recently in Spectrum, the bulletin of the Instituteof Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The authors noted that the Congressional Budget Office has estimatedthat the Russian satellites can monitor U.S. missile fields no more than17 hours a day, and perhaps less, although estimates vary. They also reportedthat Russia has built but never launched seven satellites, apparently becauseof a lack of resources. The article was written by Geoffrey Forden, a nationalsecurity specialist at the Congressional Budget Office; Theodore A. Postol,a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Pavel Podvig,a researcher at the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studiesat the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Both the United States and Russia seek to maintain viable early warningsystems because they rely on the doctrine of mutual assured destruction,a Cold War formula under which each side is held in check by the threatof annihilation by the other. To make that threat credible, both countriesremain on hair-trigger alert.

Out of concern about the possibility of an accident, perhaps resultingfrom a false report of a nuclear launch, President Clinton and then-PresidentBoris Yeltsin agreed in September 1998 to establish a joint, permanentcenter to share early warning information and reduce the risk of miscalculation.Later, though, talks were disrupted by Russian anger over the Kosovo conflict.A temporary prototype was created in the United States to deal with theyear 2000 computer  problem, but a permanent center was not established.The countries are now negotiating the details, and sources said Clintonand President Vladimir Putin may announce an agreement at their summitin Moscow this weekend.

The Americans hoped earlier this year that the summit might also yieldsignificant progress toward an agreement to amend the 1972 Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty to permit the United States to expand its missile defensesystem. The Russians have opposed the proposal under review in Washingtonto build a missile defense system, partly because Moscow fears imbalancesbetween the world's two principal nuclear powers could result.

Russian officials have said they believe the U.S. system will not belimited to the 100 interceptors that the Clinton administration has suggested deploying in Alaska, but that it could be expanded relatively quickly togive the United States a national defense, and a possible firstikecapability, using enhanced radars and early warning systems as well.

Adding to Russian concerns has been the deployment of a radar code-namedHAVE STARE in Vardoe, Norway, near the Russian border. The radar's ostensiblepurpose is to track space "junk," but experts say it will provide highlydetailed information on Russian missile tests. The Russians have expressedconcern that it could eventually be used for a missile defense system.According to Postol, "the Vardoe radar can provide critical informationfor a national missile defense system aimed specifically at Russia."

Moreover, the radar is being built at a time when Russia's early warningsystem is weaker and its strategic forces have been undergoing an inexorabledecline due to obsolescence and a lack of money to build new submarines,airplanes and missiles as fast as the old ones are ready to be retired.Russia is expected to have fewer than 1,000 warheads later this decade,fewer than even a prospective START III treaty envisions, while the UnitedStates can afford a larger arsenal and a standby reserve of warheads.

The U.S. argument is that a "limited" missile defense system is notaimed at Russia, and that it would be so small as to be ineffective againsta major Russian missile attack. In talking points prepared for the Russiansin January and later published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, atop Pentagon official said the planned U.S. system could, "in the bestcase," knock out 20 to 25 warheads among the hundreds he said Russia hasthe capability to fire.

Russia also has countermeasures that it has only hinted at in public--theuse of decoys and other tricks developed in the 1980s to foil PresidentRonald Reagan's proposed missile defense shield. Russian officials haveboasted that the new single-warhead Topol-M intercontinental ballisticmissile could defeat missile defenses, apparently by releasing space-baseddecoys as well as using a highly maneuverable warhead and low trajectory.Russia has, however, deployed only 20 of the new missiles so far.

Russia has also faced problems in other aspects of its early warningsystem. It was forced to close an early warning radar station in Latvia.While testing of a long-planned radar has begun at Baranovichi, in Belarus,and is expected to become operational by the end of the year, it is notclear whether it will be able to replace the northern coverage of the Latvianradar. Russia has also experienced difficulties in maintaining other radars,some now outside its borders.

Podvig, of the Moscow arms control center, said: "I am convinced thatso far everything shows the Russian military is trying very hard to keepthe system operational. It looks like they have been successful so far,given very difficult circumstances."

He said the Soviet and Russian mechanism for nuclear decision-makingis "geared to crisis scenarios" and added: "I really think the possibilityof miscalculation in peacetime is close to zero. In a crisis, we couldbe in very big trouble--that's the reason to stay out of a crisis."
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Agreement on the Establishment of a Joint Warning Center for theExchange of Information on Missile Launches and Early Warning
        The White House
        June 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)


President Clinton and President Putin today signed the Memorandum OfAgreement Between The Government Of The United States and Government OfThe Russian Federation On The Establishment Of A Joint Center For The ExchangeOf Data From Early Warning Systems And Notifications Of Missile Launches.
This agreement - which is the first time the United States and Russiahave agreed to a permanent joint operation involving U.S. and Russian militarypersonnel -- is a significant milestone in ensuring strategic stabilitybetween the United States and Russia. It establishes a Joint Data ExchangeCenter (JDEC) in Moscow for the exchange of information derived from eachside's missile launch warning systems on the launches of ballistic missilesand space launch vehicles.

The exchange of this data will strengthen strategic stability by furtherreducing the danger that ballistic missiles might be launched on the basisof false warning of attack. It will also promote
increased mutual confidence in the capabilities of the ballistic missileearly warning systems of both sides.

The JDEC will build upon the successful establishment and operationduring the millennium rollover of the temporary joint center for Y2K StrategicStability in Colorado Springs. The JDEC will be staffed 24 hours a day,seven days a week, with American and Russian personnel.

The JDEC is also intended to serve as the repository for the notificationsto be provided as part of an agreed system for exchanging pre-launch notificationson the launches of ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles. This agreementis currently being negotiated separately.
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Clinton Assure Russian Duma on U.S. Missile Defense Plans
        Associated Press
        June 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Clinton assured Russian legislators Mondaythat combatting nuclear threats from terrorists and emerging nations neednot threaten Russia's own nuclear position.

Clinton's speech to the Russian Duma came a day after he and RussianPresident Vladimir Putin acknowledged the "dangerous and growing threat"but failed to agree on what to do about it.

The president told the legislators that he will soon decide whetherto pursue a missile defense system intended to shoot down a rogue missile.

"This system we are contemplating would not undermine Russia's nucleardeterrent," Clinton said.

"The fundamental threat to our security is not the threat that we poseto each other, but instead threats we face in common," Clinton said. Heticked off the possibilities, from terrorists unleashing biological weaponsto public health threats such as AIDS.

Clinton had made much the same argument Sunday at the Kremlin, withPutin by his side.

"The Russian side disagrees," Clinton said at a joint news conference.

"We're against having a cure which is worse than the disease," Putinadded, tersely.

Clinton told the legislators he understands that many Russians believeAmerica does not wish them well. "That is not true," he said, emphatically."The United States wants a strong Russia."

As legislators hunched in their seats, listening to a Russian translation,Clinton reminded them that he has visited the country five times as president,and said he has a personal stake in U.S.-Russian good will.

"We are not destined to be adversaries but it is not guaranteed thatwe will be allies," Clinton said.

While he said only Russia can decide its course, Clinton suggested severalthings the country can do to promote trade, investment and its own internationalposition.

Russia should pass a tougher law to combat money laundering, improveprotections for property rights, streamline the tax code and join the WorldTrade Organization, Clinton said.

"Russia should not be the only major industrialized country standingoutside the system," that regulates international trade and imposes sanctionson members, Clinton said.

"We will support you, but you must know too that the decision to jointhe WTO requires difficult choices that only you can make."

Clinton planned a farewell visit to Putin on Monday, as well as a courtesycall on former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, before ending his weeklongEuropean trip in Ukraine.

At the conclusion of two days of summit talks, Clinton and Putin issueda statement of principles that left open the possibility for modificationsin the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty "to preserve strategic stabilityin the face of new threats."

U.S. officials characterized that as an important concession on Russia'spart. The treaty would have to be amended to allow the proposed U.S. system.

Despite their differences, the two leaders -- meeting in the Kremlinfor the first time since Putin was sworn in last month _ adopted a statementpledging intensified cooperation on missile-related issues.

The two leaders also signed agreements putting in force initiativesbegun by Clinton and Yeltsin: To reduce weapons-grade plutonium stockpilesby 34 tons each; and to set up a joint center in Moscow to monitor missilelaunches.

They appeared to hit it off fine, even if they weren't yet on a first-namebasis.

Clinton said he believes Putin, a former KGB official, "is fully capableof building a prosperous, strong Russia." Putin said Clinton is "a personwho is a very comfortable and pleasant partner in negotiation."

The administration had lowered expectations for a breakthrough on missiledefense in advance of the session, and none was achieved.

"President Putin made absolutely clear to President Clinton that Russiacontinues to oppose changes to the ABM Treaty that the United States hasproposed since last September," Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbotttold reporters.

Talbott, Clinton's special adviser on Russia, said the summit produced"neither a dead end ... nor a destination" on the subject.

In the joint statement, Clinton and Putin agreed that "the internationalcommunity faces a dangerous and growing threat of proliferation of weaponsof mass destruction and their means of delivery, including missiles andmissile technologies."

The missile shield concept also has critics in the United States, fromarms control activists worried about a new arms race to conservatives whofavor a more ambitious program along the lines envisioned by Ronald Reaganin the 1980s.

Reagan's proposal for a space-based missile defense program was ridiculedby Democrats at the time as "Star Wars." Clinton, an earlier opponent ofsuch a system, last year reversed course to support a limited missile shield.

Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, who favors a moreexpansive program, had urged Clinton to leave negotiations with Putin tothe next president.

Putin took notice of the U.S. presidential campaign, saying, "We'refamiliar with the programs of the two main candidates." He suggested hewas willing to improve US-Russian ties "no matter who gets to be president."

Clinton also reiterated U.S. opposition to the continuing Russian militarycrackdown in the separatist region of Chechnya. They talked about tensionsin the Balkans, and Russia's economic plight.

Clinton said that although they couldn't agree on everything, the twopresidents at least explained their differences with "clarity and candor.And I appreciate that."

Putin, speaking through an interpreter, said the talks were "very candid,very open, and very topical."

Later Sunday, Clinton spent 25 minutes on a call-in radio program, fieldingquestions from Russians who appeared more eager to learn about his personallife than weighty foreign policy issues.
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Gore: Russia Will Modify Treaty
        The Associated Press
        June 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

NEW YORK –– Vice President Al Gore said Monday he believes Russia willeventually agree to modify an anti-ballistic missile treaty to allow theUnited States to build a limited missile defense system.

"I think eventually they will change. There's a difference between rippingit up and throwing it away and making some small modifications to it,"Gore told reporters between presidential campaign stops.

Gore, the likely Democratic nominee, suggested the administration wasn'tdiscouraged by the inability of President Clinton and Russian PresidentVladimir Putin to agree on changes to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treatyduring arms talks in Moscow over the weekend.

Putin's government fears changes could undermine its strategic nuclearthreat, while the Clinton administration wants to build a system to shootdown missiles from so-called rogue nations.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the likely Republican presidential nominee,supports a far more extensive missile defense than what Clinton and Goreare considering, and he says he would go forward with or without Russianapproval. Bush also has suggested reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal toits lowest level without jeopardizing national security – a move he alsosaid he would make whether or not Moscow went along.

Gore, who has played a large role in U.S.-Russia policy, said Americanofficials recognize that "this is going to take some time" to convincethe Russians that America's defense plans are no threat to Moscow.

"The good news is that they're acknowledging and recognizing the problemsthey could face in the future ... similar to the ones we recognize andare preparing for," Gore said of the rogue nation threat.

Meanwhile, the vice president said the United States will continue tomove forward on research and development of a limited missile defense system.Clinton has a summer deadline to decide on the next step.

As for the Russians, Gore said the United States will "make a decisionthat takes their views into account, but our principle decision will bebased on what's right for our country."
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