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Nuclear News - 07/05/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 05July 2000

A. Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI)

    1. From Enemies To Sisters Livermore BondsWith Russian City, Also Home To Nuclear Lab, Benjamin Pimentel, SanFrancisco Chronicle (7/4/00)
B. Plutonium Disposition
    1. Plutonium Reactor Continues OperationWithout Conversion, Igor Kudrik, Prime-Tass (6/23/00)
    2. U.S.-Russian Plutonium Accord CouldMean Catastrophe, Say Russian Experts, Agence France Presse (6/26/00)
    3. US: Lead Test Assemblies (Ltas) ForThe MOX Programme Will Not Be Made At The Los Alamos National Laboratory,The US Department Of Energy Announced, SpentFUEL (6/26/00)
C. Loose Nukes
    1. Transcript: U.S. Arms Control Advisoron National Missile Defense [excerpt], John Holum, USIA (7/3/00)
    1. Russia, U.S. Ready For Start III Talks,RFE/RL (7/3/00)
E. Russian Economy
    1. Growing Economy Allows For MilitaryModernization, RFE/RL (7/3/00)
F. Russia - Iran
    1. Moscow Invites Iranian President Khatamito Visit, Agence France Presse (6/29/00)
    2. Russia, Iran Boost Military Ties,Plan Summit, RFE/RL (7/3/00)
G. Nuclear Waste
    1. Russia To Become Radwaste BusinessLand, Igor Kudrik, Bellona (7/4/00)
H. Department of Energy (DOE)
    1. Secretary Richardson Announces Changeswith University of California Contract, Department of Energy (6/30/00)
I. Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Russian-French Nuclear Cooperation,Reuters (6/20/00)
    2. Nuclear Facilities Around Moscow RaiseSafety Concerns, BBC (7/3/00)

A. Nuclear Cities Initiative(NCI)

From Enemies To Sisters Livermore Bonds WithRussian City, Also Home To Nuclear Lab
        SanFrancisco Chronicle
        July4, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

In November 1998, Livermore Mayor Cathie Brownarrived in a small, remote city that the Russians kept secret during theCold War -- so secret that it still can't be found on many maps.

Snezhinsk was the site of a weapons laboratorywhere the Soviet Union designed nuclear missiles intended to destroy theUnited States. And Brown, who ducked under desks during nuclear war drillsas a schoolgirl in the 1950s and learned to hate and fear the Russians,felt uneasy.

``I called my mother to tell her I was goingto Russia -- and she cried,'' Brown said recently. ``I told my husbandI was going to a city that's not even on the map and I probably won't beable to communicate for a week to 10 days. It was like 007 or something.''

In fact, Livermore's top elected official wasleading a delegation from the East Bay city on an important post-Cold Warmission at the request of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: tobuild a bond between her city, site of the one of largest U.S. nuclearweapons labs, and its Russian counterpart.

The trip was the first fallout from the NuclearCities Initiative, signed by Russia and the United States in 1998 in anattempt to create civilian jobs for former nuclear scientists and techniciansin 10 former Soviet secret cities, including Snezhinsk.

The program is also intended to help the formersecret cities evolve into open, vibrant communities. During the past twoyears, Congress has allocated about $20 million for projects includinga business center in Snezhinsk to help entrepreneurs, said Elena Sokova,a research fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey.

On their trip, Brown and the Livermore delegation-- which included lab and business representatives -- toured Snezhinsk'sschools, a former training camp for young communists and a nuclear weaponsmuseum, where she touched missiles that were once pointed at the UnitedStates.

From her hotel room window, Brown saw Livermore'sflag flying next to a statue of Lenin.

Last month, officials from the Russian sistercity returned the visit, spending two weeks in Livermore to get some tipson how to form a Rotary Club, seek help for dealing with drug use amongyouths and even watch the annual Livermore Rodeo Parade.

Livermore officials plan to return to Snezhinsklater this year.

Located in the Ural Mountains in the Chelyabinskregion east of Moscow, Snezhinsk was once so secret that it was code-namedChelyabinsk-70.

The city of about 48,000 began as a weapons designlaboratory where half the nuclear warheads in the former Soviet Union'sarsenal were designed, said Nikolai Sokov, a senior research associatewith the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Chelyabinsk-70was declassified and became known by its original name, Snezhinsk, whichin Russian roughly means ``a place with a lot of snow.'' It can now befound on newer maps.

But the 139-square-mile community of mostlyscientistsand technicians has remained a closed city, surrounded by barbed wire andpatrolled by federal Russian police. Even Russian citizens from neighboringcities need a visa to enter.

The fence and guards were meant to secure theformer superpower's nuclear arsenal, which is slowly being reduced -- andto keep the city's struggling scientists and technicians, many of themstruggling to survive Russia's economic slump, from leaving and sellingwhat they know to countries such as Iraq or Libya.

It is a fear shared by U.S. officials, and scientistsfrom the Los Alamos and Livermore laboratories have been working with theRussians to keep their nuclear weapons from landing in the wrong hands.That almost happened in 1992, when Russian authorities intercepted a charteredplane set to take several dozen Russian scientists who had been hired towork in North Korea, Sokov said.

Despair and discontent have rocked Snezhinsk.The director of the city's weapons laboratory, distraught over its shrinkingfunds and the Russian government's inability to pay scientists and technicians,committed suicide in 1996. Two years later, 3,000 workers at the Snezhinsklab went on strike to demand back wages.

When the Livermore delegation arrived in 1998,they met with sub- zero temperatures and Russian federal authorities whotook their passports and took them to their hotels.

``Here I am in my hotel with no idea where wewere and with no identification and I'm thinking, `Woooo,' '' Brown said.``We're not just talking about any city. (American U-2 pilot) Gary Powerswas shot down'' while spying on the region in 1960.

But whatever misgivings she, Police Chief RonScott and other Livermore visitors had were soon dissolved. The next day,the mayor of Snezhinsk, Anatoly Oplanchuk, a former weapons laboratoryengineer, met Brown and ``literally rolled out the red carpet,'' she said.

``He was just wonderful,'' she said. ``I flewacross the world with the idea that this country had been a childhood enemy-- and I met people who are just like us.''

Scott shared ideas with members of the Snezhinskpolice, and he immediately struck up a friendship with the city's policechief, Nikolai Prokopiev.

``We thought, what a waste of time it had beenall those years we lived in fear of each other,'' he said. Prokopiev recentlycalled Scott to share the news that he had just been promoted to colonelof the Russian federal police.

Before returning to the United States, Brownpledged to learn Russian. It came in handy when it was Livermore's turnto welcome the Russians.

The exchanges have helped Snezhinsk's leadersdevelop ideas for setting up private civic organizations, community crimeprevention programs and health care systems.

At a meeting with chief Scott, the Russians askedabout Livermore's drug prevention program.

``I'm concerned about potential problems becausethe city is becoming more open,'' said Angelina Onopa, a former medicaldoctor who is now trying to help Snezhinsk develop a medical insurancesystem.

Brown's passion for her new Russian friends wasevident at the Livermore Rodeo Parade. In a purple blouse and boots, Brown,56, sat next to Onopa as they watched the parade from the makeshift grandstand.

Like two schoolgirls, they laughed, cheered andwaved to Boy Scouts, girls in cowboy apparel and dads in goofy barbecuegrill outfits dancing to a modified version of ``Mambo No. 5.''

Onopa, a 53-year-old mother of two, smiled asshe leaned toward Brown and in halting English said: ``I like you verymuch.''

``I feel I have a Russian family,'' Brown said.``The Cold War is over, and the Soviet Union has broken up. But many ofus who live so far away only know that through the news. With this personalexperience, we really know and understand that.''
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B. Plutonium Disposition

Plutonium Reactor Continues Operation WithoutConversion
        June23, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

Krasnoyarsk Mining and Chemical Combine intendsto operate Pu-production reactor for at least ten more years.

PRIME-TASS reported that the operational lifetime of the third Pu-production reactor at Krasnoyarsk Mining and ChemicalCombine (Zheleznogorsk) will be prolonged for a period of not less than10 years. Such an opportunity was confirmed by the commission of the RussianMinistry for Atomic Energy (Minatom), said Vasily Zhidkov, general directorof the combine.

The two other reactors were shut down in 1992.At that time the preparations for taking the third reactor out of servicewere started. In consent with the intergovernmental agreement, signed byRussia and the USA in 1994, the last reactor was to be taken out of servicein 2000. The agreement also stipulated the shut-down of two more plutoniumreactors in Seversk (former Tomsk-7). Due to the fact that these reactorsprovided heat and electricity for the city, the parties agreed on constructionof energy sources using organic fuel as alternative to the 'peaceful' atom.

In 1996, the agreement was amended. It now stipulatesconversion of the reactor cores to be fuelled with highly enriched uranium,preventing the spent fuel from containing weapons grade plutonium afterreprocessing.

In February this year, representatives of Minatomclaimed that conversion of the reactor cores was inexpedient and suggestedconstruction of alternative energy sources.

In March this year, Minatom's position shiftedagain. Minatom officials told Americans about the necessity to prolongthe operational time for the reactors by redesigning them to burn RBMKtype fuel. Plutonium reactors in Seversk and Zheleznogorsk are graphite-moderated;they can thus theoretically use RBMK fuel.

Position shifted again
Today, Minatom changed back to its originalposition: to maintain the reactor in Zheleznogorsk without conversion.According to the director of the Mining and Chemical Combine, the pricetag for conversion is $100 million. Due to the fact that the reactor isto be closed in 2010, such investments are inexpedient.

It is not clear yet whether the same conclusionsare made regarding the two remaining reactors in Seversk. In any case,information about Zheleznogorsk will not be a pleasant surprise for theUnited States. The U.S. government has already spent $22 million.

The possible compromise may be to maintain thereactor in operation as before but under supervision of U.S. experts, VasilyZhidkov said.

The director also claims that the operationaltime of the reactor, which has been working since 1964, designed to operateuntil 2010. Yury Vishnevsky, head of the Russian Nuclear Regulatory Agency,expressed his disagreement with this point of view. He said that all threereactors exceeded the limits of operation two times and should be takenout of service.
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U.S.-Russian Plutonium Accord Could MeanCatastrophe, Say Russian Experts
        AgenceFrance Presse
        June26, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

An accord signed at the US-Russian summit herethis month to destroy 68 tons of weapons-grade plutonium, enough to makethousands of nuclear warheads, could have catastrophic consequences, Russianexperts warned Monday.

Under the plan Russian plutonium will be convertedinto nuclear reactor fuel, while in the United States some will be usedfor fuel and the remainder will be mixed with highly-toxic nuclear wasteand stored.

But the risk of contamination in cases of accidentsinvolving plutonium was two and a half to three times higher than withother nuclear fuel, ecologists Vladimir Kuznetsov and Vladimir Sliviaktold a press conference here.

Russian VVER-1000 reactors earmarked for recyclingplutonium had been originally intended for use with enriched uranium, andit would be dangerous for them to use weapons-grade plutonium, they said.

Under the accord signed by President Bill Clintonand Russia's Vladimir Putin, the two countries will each use 34 tons ofplutonium in their respective civilian reactors.

The cost of the operation is to be paid partlyby western countries.

"Moscow's aim is obtain as much money as possible,"said Sliviak, representing the Russian environmentalist group Defense.

He said Russian nuclear installations could notbe relied on to use weapons-grade plutonium in satisfactory safety conditions.

In 1999 alone, some 840 cases of violations ofsafety rules had been uncovered in Russian nuclear power stations, saidKuznetsov, head of the Russian environmentalist lobby group Chernobyl Fund.
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US: Lead Test Assemblies (Ltas) For The MOXProgramme Will Not Be Made At The Los Alamos National Laboratory, The USDepartment Of Energy Announced
        June26, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

The DOE said the laboratory 'couldn't meet schedulerequirements', even by going over-budget. The LTAs could now be built inEurope, or even at the MOX facility itself. Another option is for the assembliesto be built at another US laboratory, such as Pacific Northwest NationalLab.
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C. Loose Nukes

Transcript: U.S. Arms Control Advisor onNational Missile Defense [excerpt]
        July3, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

Q: Viktor Pulimov (ph) -- (inaudible) -- newspapercorrespondent. To what extent are Russian actions successful about preventingleaks from nuclear uranium and brain drain of Russian personnel going tosuch countries as Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Pakistan and so forth?

MR. HOLUM: This is an extremely important areaof common effort, and I think there has been a great deal accomplished,but there is still a great deal yet to do. My sense is from monitoringthe various programs that are underway that we have been -- that Russiahas been with some U.S. support very successful in protecting actual weapons.They are safeguarded very closely in Russia as they are in the United States.The risk comes from weapons-grade material either that is coming out ofweapons that are being dismantled or that is available in research reactorsor other parts of the military program. And if I were a country of concerninterested in getting nuclear weapons, I would be less inclined to wantto acquire a whole weapon -- it's hard to transport, it's hard to handle,it's large and bulky, it includes high explosives, so it would be riskyto deal with and it's fairly easily detectable. What I would like to dois try to get access to the highly enriched uranium or plutonium that iscoming out of weapons, and then make my own weapon.

So what is of great concern is to have fullysufficient protections of the fissile material, the special nuclear materialthat is coming out of weapons, as well as the expertise that is residentin thousands of Russian scientists and engineers who have been part ofthe nuclear program.

We have, for the human element, the internationalscience and technology centers that are employing and providing alternativemeans of sustenance to scientists and technical people who come out ofthe weapons program, and I think that's proving quite successful. Frankly,we are also jointly relying on the patriotism and the nationalism of thescientists themselves. In most cases they wouldn't be inclined to pickup and move off to another country and take their expertise with them,but they certainly need a way to support themselves and their families.

In terms of the materials, there has been a concertedeffort to consolidate the weapons-grade material into a much more limitednumber of sites and provide additional protection at those sites througheven relatively simple devices like chain-link fences and code-readinggates in order to prevent access by unauthorized people.

Now, you recall in the early '90s -- '94 period-- there were a number of reports of weapons-grade material, or allegedweapons-grade material being smuggled through Germany or through the CzechRepublic and elsewhere. We haven't seen reports of that kind lately. Manyof those reports were stings -- were the authorities entrapping or catchingpeople by offering to purchase those kinds of materials. And a lot of thematerial was not weapons grade. And those cases have largely disappearedfrom the radar screen. Does that mean that it is not happening any longer?I am not confident. I think there is a much better job being done to guardthe material, but that it is by no means iron-clad. And I also worry thatif smuggling were to occur it would be unlikely to go through Western Europe.It would be more likely to go south through traditional routes. So I don'tthink we have got this problem resolved. There is a large focus on it inthe President's enhanced threat reduction initiative, in the CooperativeThreat Reduction program and programs that the Department of Energy isconducting and the Department of State is conducting to work cooperativelyto try to get a handle on this.
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Russia, U.S. Ready For Start III Talks
        July3, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

Deputy Prime Minister Klebanov said in Moscowon 30 June that Russia and the U.S. are ready to begin START III talks,Interfax reported. His comment came after Russian and U.S. experts heldconsultations on that subject in Geneva from 28-30 June.
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E. Russian Economy

Growing Economy Allows For Military Modernization
        July3, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov said on 30June that Russia's strengthening economy will allow the country to modernize its military, reduce the number of defense plants from 1,700to 400-500, and increase its  competitiveness as an arms exporter,AP reported. He said that military payments will be fulfilled "100 percent"in 2000 and in future years. And he indicated that Russia expects to sell$4.3 billion in arms abroad this year. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kasyanovsaid that the government will put more money into defense technology becausesuch investments will pay off across the entire economy.
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F. Russia - Iran

Moscow Invites Iranian President Khatamito Visit
        AgenceFrance Presse
        June29, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has invitedhis Iranian counterpart Mohammad Khatami to make an official visit to Moscow,the state news agency IRNA said Thursday.

The invitation was issued to Iranian Deputy ForeignMinister Morteza Sarmadi by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in theRussian capital Wednesday, IRNA said.

The two officials had also discussed use of theresources of the Caspian Sea, economic cooperation, including nuclear,and the war in Chechnya, which Iran, as current head of the Organizationof the Islamic Conference, has been trying to stop.

For Khatami, who has just returned from a visitto China and is expected to go to Germany before long, it would be thefirst trip to Moscow since his election in 1997.
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Russia, Iran Boost Military Ties, Plan Summit
        July3, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, who led the firsthigh-level Russian military delegation to Tehran since 1991, said on 30June that Russia and Iran plan to expand military cooperation, Russianagencies reported. Meanwhile, a Russian Foreign Ministry report said thatwork on a friendship treaty between the two is under way and that a summitmay take place either this year or next.
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G. Nuclear Waste

Russia To Become Radwaste Business Land
        July4, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

Documents revealed last week suggest that agenciesin Russia resolved to importing not only spent nuclear fuel but also radioactivewaste for payment.

The Russian legislation might be amended in Septemberto allow imports of both spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste intothe country. The Russian Nuclear Ministry is not the only actor in thenuclear waste business.

Russian leading nuclear research centre, theKurchatov Institute, is pushing a project to build a radwaste storage siteat Simushir Island, one of the Kuril Islands in the Russian Far East. Inan attempt to obtain the Russian government's endorsement of the project,the institute says it will only store its own waste there, but the documentsobtained by the Russian envirogroup Ecodefence! reveal that negotiationshave been conducted behind the scenes with potential clients from Taiwan.

In early June this year, the leaders of the majorState Duma factions, the lower house of the Russian parliament, the headof the Russian Cabinet and the Minister for Natural Resources receiveda letter from Sergey Shashurin, Deputy Chairman of the Duma EnvironmentalCommittee. They were all asked to support construction of a storage sitefor Kurchatov Institute radioactive waste at the Kuril Islands. And sothey did, except for the Union of Rightist Forces headed by Boris Nemtsov.

Sergey Shashurin is a deputy from Tatarstan witha criminal record and, according to various reports, he has a number ofloans he is unable to pay back.

The Kurchatov Institute had previously drafteda presidential decree that suggested transfer of Simushir Island territoryunder the supervision of the institute in order to conduct there "researchand long term testing of new technologies for management of, primarily,low and medium active waste."

The project was to be funded through the federalbudget and state investment programs. The decree did not explicitly discussforeign participation in the project with regards to waste shipment andfunding. It mentioned, however, in one of the line items that the KurchatovInstitute should give priority to cooperation with Asian countries in thePacific region in terms of operating the storage site.

A note attached to the drafted decree explainedwhy Kurchatov was interested in the land on Simushir Island. The note saidthat the institute was situated at the outskirts of Moscow when the firstreactor was launched in 1946, but with the city's expansion over the years,the research centre is now located almost in the heart of Moscow. The centrehas nine research reactor, three of which are being taken out of operation.On the centre's premises, around 900 spent fuel assemblies are stored (6tons), containing three million Curie of radioactivity. The institute hasa radioactive waste storage site with the size of more than two hectares.Around 1,200 cubic meters of waste (2,000 tons) with an activity amountingto 100,000 Curie are stored there. To remediate the area from radioactivecontamination, around 40,000 cubic meters of soil will have to be removedas well.

The practice used in Russia in terms of civilianlow and medium radwaste management has been such that the waste was sentto a network of storage sites called RADON spread around the country, undercontrol of a central authority in Moscow. The Kurchatov Institute believesthat it cannot send its waste to the nearest RADON storage site due tothe fact that it is located near Sergiev Posad, a sacred place for orthodoxChristians. Thus, the optimal solution, according to the institute, isto use Simushir Island.

Deal with Taiwan Power Company
The argument against sending the waste to RADONis weak at first glance, since the storage site is already there and hasnot caused any problems with the worshippers before. The real reason forthe proposal was the agreement signed between Kurchatov and three otherparties. The first one was Neftegas Komiani Co. Ltd., an oil and gas tradingcompany. The second party was Asia Tat Trading Co. Ltd., representing TaiwanPower Company, the operator of Taiwanese nuclear power plants, and finallyDuma member Sergey Shashurin, representing, as it says in the protocol,a group of Duma members. The protocol, signed in October 1998, stipulatesthe responsibilities of the four parties involved. The first responsibilityfor all the parties was the maintenance of strict confidentiality at allstages of work on the project.

The Taiwanese side's main responsibility wasto provide funding for the whole project, while the Russian participantswere to focus on pushing the project through the Russian state system,which includes providing for amendments to the Law on Environmental Protectionthat today outlaws the import of any "radioactive materials."

The project description was drafted and postedby the Taiwanese company to the Russian counterparts in the second partof 1999. The total cost of the project was around $2.5 billion. Most ofthe waste was to come from Taiwan - the split was not specified, however.

As it becomes clear from the letter attachedto the project description, the Russian Duma lobbyists headed by Shashurinpromised to amend the law to permit radioactive waste imports by the endof 1999. Those attempts failed. The new round started in early summer ofthis year.

Express endorsement
It took just a few days for the leaders of themajor Duma factions to respond positively to the request for support ofthe draft of the presidential decree sent out by Shashurin on June 2. Therewere no objections from the Ministry of Natural Resources either. The ministrytook over the responsibilities of the Federal Environmental Committee,which was abolished several months ago. It is not quite clear, however,whether all the leaders of the various Duma factions realised what theywere approving. As was mentioned before, the draft decree did not stipulateexplicitly the intention of Kurchatov to use Simushir Island for storageof foreign radioactive waste.

Moreover, neither Kurchatov nor the Duma memberspromoting the project realised until recently that they had no rights havingany negotiations with Taiwan without prior consent from the Russian ForeignMinistry. Russia does not have any intergovernmental relations with Taiwanas stipulated by the decree of the Russian President singed in 1992.

Competition getting hot
Parallel to the Kurchatov Institute projectaimed at turning Simushir Island into an international radwaste dumpsite,the Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy (Minatom) has been working hardon another program the past few years. Minatom's objective has been toamend the Russian legislation in favour of spent nuclear fuel imports.The current version of the Law on Environmental Protection (Sec 3, Art.50) says that any import of radioactive materials is prohibited. Once 'spentfuel' and 'radioactive waste' are separate issues, fuel will be considereda resource eligible for import.

Minatom says that amendment of the legislationwill allow Russia "to enter the world market of spent fuel reprocessing"occupied today only by France and Great Britain. The earnings are estimatedto be as high as $21 billion for shipping in around 20,000 tons of spentnuclear fuel. $10,5 billion would be spent on management of the spent fuelshipped in, while $3,3 billion would go to the state budget. The remaining$7,2 billion could be used, according to Minatom's plan, on various socialand environmental programs.

Even though Minatom always stresses that importof foreign radioactive waste is out of the question, the program descriptionleans towards the option that does not suggest the return of waste generatedduring reprocessing to the countries of origin.

The problem Minatom has encountered is the factthat most of the fuel in Asia - the most promising market - is manufacturedand owned by the United States. The U.S. non-proliferation policy doesnot accept reprocessing that leads to generation of so-called energy plutoniumsuitable for making nuclear weapon.

To meet the requirement from the U.S., Minatomagreed to declare a moratorium on reprocessing for at least 20 years. Theagreement on this matter was drafted by Minatom and presented to the U.S.Department of Energy at a meeting in Moscow on April 4 this year.

But the negotiations have reportedly stalledafter the United States demanded Russia stop the construction of the controversialBushehr nuclear power plant in Iran in exchange for signing the moratorium.

The bill amending the Russian Law on EnvironmentalProtection is due to be considered in the Russian Duma in September orOctober this year. It seems that the bill will not separate issues of "radioactivewaste" and "spent nuclear fuel," but rather declare all radioactive materialeligible for import given, for example, a presidential and Cabinet decreeis available on a particular project.

Thus, taking into account the difficulties Minatomis experiencing with the United States, the Kurchatov Institute is apparentlythe first to start making money on the foreign radwaste flow into Russia.

Russian envirogroups outraged
"Simushir is an island with unique ecosystemand nuclear waste storage will make this beautiful land dead," said VladimirSlivyak, co-chairman for ECODEFENSE!, who obtained the project documents.

"There is a danger of earthquakes and tsunamiat the island, which can cause destruction of any building located there,"Slivyak added. "Storing nuclear waste there can cause a catastrophe resultingin radioactive contamination of the area."

Sakhalin Island administration that also governsSimushir Island turned out to be uninformed about the project when reachedfor comment by Russian daily Segodnya. An official from the administrationsaid that Simushir is a seismically active area and construction of a radwastestorage site there could pose a danger.

"Commercial moves of Kurchatov Institute relatedto foreign radioactive waste are completely illegal," stated Vladimir Slivyak."Nuclear waste import is banned by the Russian Law on Environmental Protection."

Whether the import ban stays intact remains tobe seen when the Russian State Duma starts considering the bill to amendthe law in autumn this year.
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H. Department of Energy (DOE)

Secretary Richardson Announces Changes withUniversity of California Contract
        Departmentof Energy
        June30, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson today informedthe University of California that its contract for managing the department'snational weapons laboratories must be restructured in order to make much-neededimprovements to security and other facility operations. The Energy Departmentwill immediately begin negotiations with the University to bring into theiroperations specific security and management expertise to implement theseimprovements.

Secretary Richardson recognizes the University'sunparalleled scientific reputation and its contribution to the scientificvitality of the laboratories, but he was sharply critical of their failureto bring the same degree of expertise to the management of security andfacility operations.

"The University of California's performance inmanaging security at our weapons laboratories is unacceptable and mustbe immediately addressed," said Secretary Richardson. "Safeguarding securityat our nation's weapons laboratories warrants nothing less."

Secretary Richardson has asked Under SecretaryJohn Gordon to oversee this and to work with the University to identifynew mechanisms and procedures to address the serious shortcomings of theUniversity of California at the weapons laboratories. General Gordon willmake his recommendations to the Secretary by September 5.

"Finding an effective way to improve the securityand management at the laboratories without compromising the strength oftheir cutting-edge science and research will be one of my top priorities,"said Under Secretary Gordon.

Today's announcement is the latest step takenby Secretary Richardson to further strengthen security management at thenational weapons laboratories. Since the fall of 1998, he has approved46 counterintelligence recommendations and implemented two dozen majorsecurity initiatives across the DOE weapons complex. From polygraphingof employees and contractors to bolstering cybersecurity, a series of wide-rangingsteps have been taken to strengthen the protections guarding the nation'snuclear secrets.
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I. Nuclear Power Industry

Russian-French Nuclear Cooperation
        June20, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

A nuclear cooperation accord has been signedby Russia and France, enabling large-scale supply of French nuclear equipmentto Russia, the Russian embassy in Paris announced. The two countries alsoagreed to study the feasibility of building a new generation nuclear reactor,the European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) in Russia; to cooperate onstabilising the world uranium market; and compare notes on MOX fuel technology.
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Nuclear Facilities Around Moscow Raise SafetyConcerns
        July3, 2000
        (forpersonal use only)

[Presenter] The argument over the use of nuclearenergy has been under way since the creation of the first nuclear reactor.Both the supporters and adversaries of the peaceful use of nuclear energygive their pros and cons about the development of this type of power.

[Correspondent] Moscow can be rightly calleda nuclear city. There are over 50 nuclear installations in Moscow and theMoscow Region. The majority of them were built at the dawn of the nuclearera.

[Vladimir Kuznetsov, captioned as the head ofthe department dealing with the security of nuclear facilities of the Moscowinstitute of humanitarian and political research, IGPI] The [nuclear] reactorsover 50 years old are just a crime I don't want to talk about.

[Correspondent] Kuznetsov has been dealing withthe security of nuclear installations all his life. He is worried thatnone of nuclear installations the [Moscow] Kurchatov institute is in chargeof have protective concrete domes, which is a must the IAEA demands ofany nuclear facility after the Chernobyl accident.

Experts say that some of the Kurchatov institutenuclear installations can be closed or dismantled without any harm.

[Kuznetsov] I can't say that [Academician Yevgeniy]Velikhov does not realize these problems. The other thing is what willhappen to those chiefs of the Kurchatov institute when their nuclear reactorsare gone. Such installations always allow people to show off and to provetheir significance.

[Correspondent] Academic circles are of a differentopinion.

[Viktor Mikhaylov, captioned as the head of theRussian federal nuclear center] As for research [nuclear] reactors, theyhave existed and will continue to do so. This is part of the studying processfor students and postgraduates, thus colleges of higher education and institutesmust have them, at least one for all, as a base for training specialists.

[Correspondent] While nuclear scientists arguewith environmentalists, Moscow continues to be the only city in the worldthat has 28 nuclear installations.

[Video shows Moscow nuclear facilities, scientistscommenting]
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