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Nuclear News - 07/06/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 06 July 2000


A. Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI)

    1. Nuclear Cities Newsletter, Sharon Weiner, Princeton University(7/6/00)
B. Material Protection, Control, and Accounting (MPC&A)
    1. Livermore Lab Helps Curb Russian Nuke Smuggling, GlennRoberts Jr., ANG News (7/5/00)
C. Department of Energy (DOE)
    1. U. California Under Fire After Five Quiet Decades, SashaTalcott, Daily Californian (7/5/00)
D. ABM, Missile Defense
    1. U.S. Ready for Friday Missile-Defense Test, Reuters (7/6/00)
    2. China Slams U.S. Missile Shield Before Talks, Reuters(7/6/00)



A. Nuclear Cities Initiative

1.
Nuclear Cities Newsletter
        Sharon Weiner
        Princeton University
        July 6, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The second issue of Nuclear Cities Newsletter should be available bythe end of August.  In the interim, you may find of interest the FinalReport from Princeton University's March 2000 conference on "Helping RussiaDown-Size Its Nuclear-Weapons Complex:  A Focus on the Closed NuclearCities."  This Report, written in June 2000 by Oleg Bukharin, HaroldFeiveson, Frank von Hippel and Sharon Weiner (all of Princeton University);Matthew Bunn (Harvard University); William Hoehn and Kenneth Luongo, (RANSAC),can be downloaded from the web at http://www.princeton.edu/~cees/arms/conference.shtml(click on "HELPING
RUSSIA DOWN-SIZE ITS NUCLEAR-WEAPONS COMPLEX : A FOCUS ON THE CLOSEDNUCLEAR CITIES, FINAL REPORT" to link to the pdf file).

The Executive Summary of this report follows as text in this message.

Sincerely,
Sharon K. Weiner
 

Helping Russia Down-Size Its Nuclear-Weapons Complex:
A Focus on the Closed Nuclear Cities

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.  Russia is struggling both to keep its nuclear-weaponscomplex from collapsing and to down-size it to an affordable size thatis appropriate to its post-Cold War security requirements.  Productionof highly-enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons have ended but theRussian Ministry of Atomic Energy (MinAtom) would like to shut two of fourwarhead-assembly plants , one of two fissile-component-production facilitiesand shrink its remaining nuclear-weapons facilities and their staffs. It hopes by 2005 to reduce the current number of nuclear-weapon workersby half.

The rate of implementation of these plans is limited by lack of funds.The federal budget for Russia's nuclear-weapons facilities is one seventhof what it was ten years ago and the average weapons worker gets a salaryof only $56 per month.   It will take additional funds to cleanout excess facilities to make them available for non-weapons projects,to help create civilian jobs for excess weapons workers, and to allow olderworkers to retire with dignity.

The US is playing an important role in helping stabilize the Russiancomplex and in securing the experts and nuclear materials that could findtheir way into the black market if the level of desperation were to reachthe breaking point.   Income from the "HEU [highly-enriched uranium]deal," under which the US is buying over a period of 20 years 500 tonsof excess weapons uranium, after it has been blended down to low enrichmentfor use in reactor fuel, is helping Russia's enrichment and plutonium-productioncomplex transition to civilian work.   The Department of Energy'sMaterials Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A) program is helpingto strengthen the security of Russia's huge stockpile of weapon-useableuranium and plutonium.   The Department of Defense is buildinga secure storage facility for some of Russia's excess weapons plutoniumand his co-funding the conversion or replacement of three plutonium-productionreactors which are still operating to produce heat to local populations. The International Science and Technology Center is providing non-weaponswork and salaries to key scientists in Russia's weapons-design institute.

It is generally recognized, however, that US assistance has not yet been effective in facilitating the downsizing of Russia's nuclear-weaponsdesign, fabrication and assembly complex.  In particular, the US NuclearCities Initiative, which was established in 1998 within the Departmentof Energy to help facilitate the transition of the ten "nuclear cities"that house the core of the complex, has made too slow a start and has beenfunded at too small a scale.   Princeton University thereforehosted a conference on "Helping Russia Downsize its Nuclear Complex" onMarch 14-15, 2000 to understand better the obstacles to down-sizing andshare ideas as to how the international community can provide more effectiveassistance.

At the conference Lev Ryabev, First Deputy Minister of MinAtom, outlinedthe plan that the Ministry had developed over the past two years to downsizethe complex and create jobs for the 50 percent of the weapons workers whoit would make redundant.  He estimated that each of these two taskswould cost about $500 million.   It was agreed subsequently thatthere would be a followup workshop in Moscow at the end of  June atwhich experts from seven of Russia's ten nuclear cities would provide moredata about the downsizing and conversion plans.  (MinAtom excludedas "too sensitive" participation from the three nuclear cities which specializein nuclear- warhead assembly and disassembly.)

Senator Domenici, who plays a key role in the appropriations processfor US nuclear programs, sent a message to the Conference in which he saidthat he would support a greatly enlarged Nuclear Cities Initiative if Russiawould would establish "verifiable milestones" for its downsizing program.  Subsequently, on May 1, 2000, Senator Domenici submitted the "Nuclear WeaponsComplex Conversion Act of 2000" to the Senate Armed Services Committeefor consideration as an amendment to the FY 2001 Defense AuthorizationAct.  Plans with such downsizing milestones are being developed bythree of Russia's nuclear cities (Sarov, Snezinsk and Zheleznogorsk) incooperation with senior officials from three US nuclear labs (Los Alamos,Livermore and Sandia respectively).

It was generally agreed that new business ventures will not providejobs rapidly enough to absorb the excess weapons workers.  Until Russia'stax system is rationalized and legal protections for investments are strengthened,both foreign and domestic investment will continue to be low.  Indeed,even in the US where conditions for investment are much better, when majornuclear-weapons facilities were shut down, the vacuum was filled with ahuge cleanup program (currently running at about $6 billion per year) anda major new nonproliferation programs, including the MPC&A programand other technical assistance programs in Russia.   Russia cannotafford such programs but salaries are so low in Russia that the US andother industrialized countries could employ a considerable number of excessRussian weapons personnel if they contracted a few percent of their cleanupand nonproliferation R&D funds at the Russian nuclear facilities. In fact, small initiatives of this type have been launched.

Energy efficiency was also identified as a major opportunity for employment.  As energy prices have climbed to world market levels, energy has becomea major expense for the nuclear cities and facilities as it is for therest of Russia.   The low energy efficiency of Russia's infrastructurecreates opportunities for high rates of return in terms of saved energycosts on well-design investments.   Indeed, the World Bank ismaking major loans for energy-efficiency upgrades in Russia. This effortshould be extended to the nuclear cities, starting with the establishmentof analystical centers that could develop the necessary investment proposals.

A perennial complaint about the US assistance effort in Russia is thatit is not coordinated.  Each agency develops its owns program withlittle consideration of overlaps and possible synergisms with other programs. Stronger Presidential backed coordination could result in much more "bangfor the buck.   Such coordination could start with the developmentof a Presidential Decision Directive on the objectives and organizationof US programs.

Finally, other possible sources of funding for conversion were canvassed,including additional or accelerated sales of blended down excess RussianHEU,  lowered barriers in other industrialized countries to importsof Russian natural uranium and enrichment work, storage of foreign spentfuel, a "debt for security" swap, the stripping of additional U235 from US depleted uranium.
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B. Material Protection, Control, and Accounting (MPC&A)

1.
Livermore Lab Helps Curb Russian Nuke Smuggling
        Glenn Roberts Jr.
        ANG News
        July 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

A research effort by the United States and Russia is designed to derailillegal shipments  of nuclear materials by train.

Lawrence Livermore Laboratory researchers are part of a team that testeda Russian-developed radiation-detection system designed to stop nuclearsmuggling on trains. Los Alamos Laboratory had a  leading role inthe testing, and Sandia National Laboratories also played a role.

Since the fall of communism and the division of the Soviet Union intorepublics in 1991, the U.S. government has set up several programs to thwartRussian scientists from selling nuclear secrets and  materials toother nations.

William Cliff, manager of the International Border Security Programat Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a federal lab in Washington,said the Russian radiation detectors were tested during a trial-run atthe lab this month.

The detectors, known as "portal monitors," feature two panels, placedon either side of railroad tracks, to sample the air for signs of radioactiveparticles.

Cliff said the Russian states "have a very large customs staff, a verylarge border guard staff. They have  a special group of people whoare dedicated and trained in the radiation (monitoring)."

Livermore Lab workers helped to install similar radiation detectorsin Astrakhan, the Russian gateway to  Iran, and Sheremetyevo, an internationalairport in Moscow, according to a report in Newsline, a lab  newsletter.

Livermore Lab researchers also surveyed and set priorities for futuremonitoring sites, and helped to train  Russian inspectors to use theequipment, according to the report.

Cliff said there were worries that "quite a bit" of nuclear materialswere being illegally shipped to Russia.

In addition to the national security threat of nuclear materials shipmentsin and out of Russia, there are  also potential environmental consequencesof the shipments, Cliff added.

Tri-City Railroad Co. lent a train for the week of testing. Quantitiesof plutonium, californium, cobalt and  cesium were brought aboardduring the tests. The results of the tests were not available Monday.

The U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Energy sponsored thetest of the Russian equipment.

In 1998, U.S. officials helped to place radiation detectors at majorRussian airports. It was the first effort  in a Second Line of DefenseProgram, which aims to keep Russian nuclear materials in good hands.
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C. Department of Energy (DOE)

1.
U. California Under Fire After Five Quiet Decades
        Sasha Talcott
        Daily Californian
        July 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Department of Energy's decision to strip the University of Californiaof sole management of the nation's biggest nuclear laboratories marks theend of a year filled with high-profile security lapses, independent investigationsand congressional hearings.

The UC system has overseen the nation's two largest nuclear weaponslabs since the 1943 Manhattan Project, when its scientists spearheadedthe drive to develop the world's first atomic bomb.

Since then, day-to-day management of the labs has become a financialwindfall.

The university has the sole right to contract with the Department ofEnergy. Department officials estimated that management of the two labsnets the UC system $2.8 billion a year.

But UC management of the labs has come under intense scrutiny in thelast year and a half, as the FBI continues investigation into the disappearanceand subsequent recovery of highly classified nuclear weapons data.

Last month, two computer hard drives containing classified informationvanished from the Los Alamos National Laboratory's X division. Althoughthe drives were later found behind a copy machine, six scientists wereplaced on paid leave and the episode renewed calls to restructure oversightof the labs.

In another incident last year, nuclear weapons scientist Wen Ho Leewas fired from Los Alamos after allegations that he downloaded nuclearweapons secrets onto a computer disk. Lee, whose trial is scheduled forNovember, has not been charged with espionage.

The Clinton administration admitted in March last year that the Chinesegovernment used information stolen from Los Alamos to make significantgains in nuclear weapons technology. And, in 1998, the Energy Departmentgave Los Alamos a less-than-satisfactory security rating.

These widely publicized lapses spurred a slew of independent investigationsand
congressional hearings.

In a report this week to a House of Representatives subcommittee, PaulRedmond, former director of the CIA, said the UC system "failed dismally"to prevent espionage.

He said the university did not fulfill its obligation to enforce securityat the labs.

"In some instances, the University of California was not consciouslyaware of the fact that it was contractually responsible for certain securityprovisions, even though these were explicitly stated in the contract,"the report states.

Friday's announcement also prompted some to question whether a well-respecteduniversity has any proper role in developing nuclear weapons.

Marylia Kelley, director of Tri-Valley CAREs, a Livermore-based nuclearwatchdog group, accused the university of carrying out government policywithout questioning whether or not it will work. She said the universityshould use its top-notch scientists for more productive efforts.

"The University of California improperly lends its academic reputationto the dirty work of developing nuclear weapons," she said. "We'd liketo see that end. We don't think that the University of California is anappropriate manager."
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D. ABM, Missile Defense

1.
U.S. Ready for Friday Missile-Defense Test
        Reuters
        July 6, 2000
        (for personal use only)

High-tech systems are ready to go for Friday's major 30-minute testhigh over the Pacific Ocean of a planned U.S. National Missile Defensesystem, the Defense Department said Thursday.

With Russia, China and Europe watching warily, the military late Fridaywill try in a $100 million test to shoot down a missile warhead in space-- a key step toward deciding whether to begin building a limited missiledefense against states such as North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

The plan is bitterly opposed by Moscow and Beijing and is causing deepconcern in Europe. One previous U.S. anti-missile test succeeded and anotherfailed, and President Clinton is expected to decide within the next fewmonths whether to start building "NMD" in Alaska next year for deploymentin 2005.

Weather permitting, a Minuteman intercontinental missile with a dummywarhead on top is scheduled to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base,California, toward the Pacific Marshall Islands sometime during a four-hourwindow beginning at 7 p.m. California time Friday.

A U.S. "hit-to-kill weapon will be fired atop its own rocket from KwajaleinAtoll 4,300 miles away about 20 minutes after the Vandenberg launch inan attempt to maneuver, intercept and smash into the "enemy" warhead 144miles above the earth.

If the small weapon pulverizes the target into space dust at 15,000mph, it would be a major step toward Clinton's decision on whether or notto begin building the yet-unproved system.

"All systems for the test are 'go' as of now," Cheryl Irwin, a Pentagonspokeswoman, told Reuters Thursday.

The United States conducted a successful similar test of the systemin October 1999 over the Pacific. But the weapon missed a warhead in alater attempt in January in work on the planned limited defense.

Russia and China worry that even a limited system could evolve and neutralizetheir nuclear missiles in years ahead, and have said they would simplybuild more nuclear warheads to overwhelm the system.

The latest test has international implications for Washington, withAmerica's European allies worried that nuclear arms control could unraveland a new arms race begin if Washington breaks the 1972 Anti-BallisticMissile (ABM) Treaty.

Meanwhile, critics at home say it is much too early to begin buildinga $60 billion missile defense based in Alaska because the technology isnot ready, the test will be watched closely by Boeing Co., integrator ofthe proposed NMD system, and Raytheon Corp., which builds the 121-poundanti-missile weapon.

Russia has said a national missile defense would violate the ABM treatyand has repeatedly refused a U.S. request to modify the treaty to allowWashington to begin building the system.

The United States has said the "limited" NMD would be designed onlyto shoot down small numbers of missiles from potential foes and that itcould not neutralize Russian and Chinese nuclear arsenals.

The Republican-controlled U.S. Congress is pressing the White Houseto deploy NMD as soon as technologically feasible, but criticism is mountingin Washington against the speed with which the Clinton administration andDefense Department are moving with unproved technology.

Experts said the system is not capable of discerning real warheads fromdecoys that would be fired to fool defenses. They say that even if Friday'stest is successful the carefully controlled conditions will not prove anything.

Former Defense Secretary William Perry and others urged Clinton to leavea decision on missile defense to his successor, who will be elected inNovember.

Clinton is expected to decide by November whether to issue contractsfor pouring concrete on Shemya Island off Alaska, where a new X-Band radarguidance system for the first phase of NMD would be built. Anti-missileweapons would be based elsewhere in Alaska.

Pentagon officials argue that because of extremely harsh winter conditionson the island, barges must begin ferrying equipment there next spring ifthe radar is to be completed by 2005.

Washington's NATO allies and other countries in Europe fear not onlythat Russia would will begin scrapping nuclear arms reduction treatiesif the United States goes ahead, but that any such unilateral decisionby Clinton or his successor might relegate them to a second-class levelof security.

Critics also charge that the the perceived threat from states such asNorth Korea or Iran is exaggerated and, if anything, will diminish in comingyears.
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2.
China Slams U.S. Missile Shield Before Talks
        Reuters
        July 6, 2000
        (for personal use only)

China thundered its opposition to a U.S. missile defence plan for Asiaon Thursday, saying it could be used to protect Taiwan in what would amountto "blatant interference" in Beijing's affairs.

Prime Minister Zhu Rongji took aim at two U.S. anti-ballistic missileschemes -- the domestic National Missile Defence (NMD) shield and the TheatreMissile Defence (TMD) for its allies and troops in Asia.

"China is categorically opposed to the TMD (Theatre Missile Defence)system," Zhu told a news conference in Rome during a tour of European states.

"The system would aim to put Taiwan in a sphere of protection. Thiswould be blatant interference in Chinese affairs," he said, speaking throughan interpreter after talks with Italian premier Giuliano Amato.

Zhu said he and Amato had discussed both schemes.

"As Prime Minister Amato said, we have assumed common positions on NMDand TMD," Zhu said.

Earlier in Beijing, where an American delegation arrived to resume armscontrol talks after a year's hiatus, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesmanSun Yuxi said the U.S. plan would be a step in the wrong direction.

"America's NMD plan goes against the trend of the times, harms internationaldisarmament and arms control efforts and will have a negative impact onthe global strategic balance," Sun said.

"U.S. plans to study a TMD system for its military allies will greatlyincrease the defence needs of other countries and harm peace and stabilityin the Asia-Pacific region," he said.

U.S. DELEGATION ARRIVES IN BEIJING

The Chinese remarks came on the eve of July 7-8 talks in Beijing betweena U.S. delegation headed by President Bill Clinton's senior arms controladviser John Holum and Chinese officials headed by Vice Foreign MinisterWang Guangya.

Holum arrived in Beijing on Thursday but made no comment to reporters.

Amato said Italy was concerned some states could perceive military spendingon TMD as a threat, but praised the United States for the sensitivity withwhich it had mooted the plan.

"We spoke, with convergent points of view, about the question of TMD,the so-called stellar shield, and the worry that could arise if it wereseen as a threat rather than an instrument of defence," Amato said.

"We both recognised, with pleasure, the prudence with which the UnitedStates, aware of this risk, is managing its project."

China fears the TMD, intended to defend U.S. troops and Asian alliesagainst perceived missile threats from North Korea, will be used to shelterTaiwan and embolden resistance there against Beijing's determination tobring it back into the fold.

U.S. officials have said Holum's team aims to improve relations overallwhile deepening the bilateral arms control and non-proliferation dialogue.

China suspended the dialogue on non-proliferation and human rights,as well as military-to military contacts, following NATO's bombing of theChinese embassy in Belgrade in May 1999.

Military contacts were resumed in January with the visit of a top Chinesegeneral to the United States and the return to normality will be completednext week when Defence Secretary William Cohen travels to Beijing.

Holum will be accompanied by three assistant secretaries of state --Avis Bohlen, responsible for arms control, Robert Einhorn, who covers non-proliferationand Eric Newsom of the bureau of political-military affairs.

White House Senior Director for Non-Proliferation Gary Samore and DeputyAssistant Secretary Darryl Johnson, Pentagon representatives and otherstaff will also join the group.

The delegation will also travel to Singapore and Japan.
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