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Nuclear News - 07/11/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 11 July 2000


A. Loose Nukes

    1. Nuclear Fuel Smugglers Blocked, Ananova  Press Service(7/7/00)
B. ABM, Missile Defense
    1. Text: Update on National Missile Defense Intercept Test July8, USIA (7/8/00)
    2. Russia Says Effective ABM Defense 'Impossible,' RFE/RL(7/10/00)
    3. Both Parties Tell Clinton To Press Missile Defense, JoyceHoward Price, Washington Times (7/10/00)
C. Nuclear Waste
    1. Russia Lined Up For Nuke Waste Deal, Chin Yu-Tzu, TaipeiTimes (7/7/00)
D. Department of Energy (DOE)
    1. Classified Work At DOE Lab Suspended After  SecurityLapse, Associated Press (7/10/00)

A. Loose Nukes

1.
Nuclear Fuel Smugglers Blocked
        Ananova  Press Service
        July 7, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Smugglers aiming to transport nearly nine pounds of uranium-containingmetal rods into Afghanistan have been blocked by authorities in Kazakstan..

Talgat Kerimbayev, a security service spokesman, said that the rodswere 3.6% enriched uranium-235, which is used as fuel in nuclear reactors.

He said the criminal group that was trying to smuggle the rods was ledby an ethnic Uzbek.

The rods appeared to be unused, and their radiation was 25 times thenorm, Kerimbayev said.

A criminal case has been opened, and authorities are trying to determinethe rods' origin, Kerimbayev said. Such rods are produced in KazakstanRussia and Ukraine, he said.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, concerns have been high aboutthe possibility that nuclear materials could be taken from unguarded orpoorly monitored facilities in the former Soviet republics and smuggledto other countries.
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B. ABM, Missile Defense

1.
Text: Update on National Missile Defense Intercept Test July 8
        USIA
        July 8, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Defense Department issued the following press release July 8 updatingthe national defense intercept test.

Following is the Defense Department text:

(begin text)

Update On National Missile Defense Intercept Test

The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization's (BMDO) National MissileDefense (NMD) Joint Program Office announced July 8 that preliminary analysisfrom the planned intercept of a ballistic missile target early this morningover the central Pacific Ocean concluded that no separation occurred betweenthe Payload Launch Vehicle (PLV) booster rocket, and the ExoatmosphericKill Vehicle (EKV). Reports from program officials indicate that whilethe first and second stages of the booster separated successfully, thePLV started to tumble slowly after it made an energy management maneuverdesigned to keep it safely within the confines of the missile test range.The second anomaly was that the EKV never received a message from the PLVindicating that the second stage rocket motor had completed its propellantburn. Receipt of this signal is required for the EKV to separate and performits intercept function. Initial cooldown of the EKV's infrared sensorsand all other functions of the EKV were performing as designed up to thepoint where separation was to occur.

All other elements, including the sensors, the in-flight interceptorcommunications system (IFICS) and the battle management, command and controland communication systems performed as expected. Preliminary indicationsare that the prototype X-band radar at Kwajalein Atoll performed well anddiscriminated the mock warhead from all other objects, including the debrisfrom an improperly inflated decoy balloon.

Government and industry program officials will conduct a thorough reviewof the test data to determine the reason for the anomalies and any othertest objectives that were or were not met. It will be at least severaldays until this review is completed.

The flight test began with the launch of a modified Minuteman intercontinentalballistic missile (ICBM) with a target warhead from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.,at 12:19 a.m. EDT July 8, and the PLV with the EKV on board was launchedapproximately 20 minutes later about 4,300 miles away from Kwajalein Atollin the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
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2.
Russia Says Effective ABM Defense 'Impossible.'
        RFE/RL
        July 10, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Following the failed test of a U.S. limited national missile defensesystem on 8 July, Russian military leaders were quick to launch a renewedbroadside against Washington's plans to implement such a system. ColonelGeneral Leonid Ivashov, the head of the Defense Ministry's internationalmilitary cooperation department, commented that anti-ballistic missileexperts, both in Russia and the U.S., are "perfectly aware that it is impossibleto create a system of absolute protection." He added that Russia will "alwayshave the means to counteract any U.S. anti-missile system." General VladimirYakovlev, commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, similarly argued thatthe U.S.'s proposed missile defense will be "unable to secure protectionof U.S. territory, and attempts to deploy such a system will be an emptywaste of money." Interfax also quoted Yakovlev as saying that the 8 Julytest was a "challenge to all of progressive mankind."
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3.
Both Parties Tell Clinton To Press Missile Defense
        Joyce Howard Price
        Washington Times
        July 10, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Democratic and Republican senators yesterday urged President Clintonto press ahead with a missile defense system and let his successor decidewhether to deploy it.

The advice came one day after a test in which a  "hit-to-kill"missile did not separate from the second stage of its liftoff rocket andfailed to intercept and destroy a dummy warhead in space over the PacificOcean.

"President Clinton, notwithstanding this disappointment on Saturdaymorning, ought to decide to at least keep the process moving forward,"Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, told interviewers on "FoxNews Sunday."

Mr. Lieberman, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said the presidentshould at least authorize the beginning of the construction of radar facilitieson Shemya Island in the Aleutians.

"That may mean nothing more than putting out the contract to turn theearth in Alaska for bids from contractors and then to let the incomingpresident next year decide whether we should actually begin to turn theearth," said Mr. Lieberman, who noted that no deployment decision has tobe made before 2003. Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, who serveson the Foreign Relations Committee, agreed that the next president shouldmake the call. "The technological piece of this is not yet in place,” hesaid on CBS' "Face the Nation" program. "The cost obviously is not in place.I don't think we've brought our allies on, I don't think we've handledthat very well, and how we're dealing with the Russians and Chinese onthis are important.

"So therefore it's only responsible in my opinion to allow the nextadministration working with the new Congress, to start making these decisions."National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger said the latest failure willbe an "important" factor in deciding whether the system should be deployed.Mr. Clinton plans to make that decision by late summer or early fall afterhearing recommendations from Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, Secretaryof State Madeleine K. Albright and Mr. Berger. "Clearly the failure ofthe test on Saturday is important in assessing how far along this systemis technologically . . . Obviously, this does go to the question of technicalfeasibility," Mr. Berger said yesterday on CBS' "Face the Nation." Themissile defense system —estimated to cost  $60 billion — has beentested three times, failing twice. Few, however, think the results spellthe end of the project.

"Too much has been made of this test over the weekend," Mr. Liebermansaid. He called the failure  "disappointing," but said, "There aremore tests to come . . . there are 16 more tests in the program." Sen.Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican, who appeared on Fox, agreed testsof the system should continue. "We need it. . . . We've had one successfultest, and a couple of unsuccessful tests. We're simply going to have tocontinue until we perfect it." The senator, who chairs the Government AffairsCommittee, said: "I'm more concerned the president will cut a quick dealfor an inadequate system than I am that we don't have the technologicalcapability of perfecting the system."

Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican and a member of the intelligence committee,said the latest test mishap "really didn't establish that the program can’twork.

"The thing that failed in this test is something that we’ve done hundredsof times before . . . it's not something that technologically we don'tknow how to do," Mr. Kyl said. The enthusiasm so many lawmakers have forthe missile defense system is not surprising. Last year, Congress adopteda statement of policy that said the United States would develop a nationalmissile defense as soon as it's technologically possible. "We've decidedthat we want to protect our people from incoming missiles. And that's theright decision, and we ought to pursue it," said Mr. Lieberman, who isbelieved to be under consideration as a running mate for Vice PresidentAl Gore, the prospective Democratic presidential nominee.

Mr. Lieberman asked whether the enactment of that legislation, whichthe administration also supported, means that the system will go forwardno matter what.

The law, he said, stipulates that it is U.S. "policy to develop a nationalmissile defense" and "deploy when it’s technologically possible." Nevertheless,he said, the law is "subject to the annual authorization and appropriationprocess, meaning we'll always make priority decisions."

The system is meant to protect the United States from missiles firedby rogue nations, such as North Korea, Iran and Iraq. The CIA has saidNorth Korea could be capable of such an attack by 2005, and system advocateswant it to be in place by then.

Russia and China strongly oppose such a plan, and many of the UnitedStates' NATO allies find it worrisome. They fear it would trigger an armsbuildup. On CBS yesterday, Mr. Berger reiterated that Mr. Clinton wouldbe considering four criteria in deciding whether to go forward with themissile system — the threat of missile attack, technological capability,the system’s cost, and the impact on allies and the arms race.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, ranking Democrat on the ForeignRelations Committee, is concerned about a repudiation of the Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty the United States signed with the former Soviet Union in1972. That treaty prohibits either party from developing a national missiledefense system. "Right now, you have China with 18 intercontinental missiles. . . if we break the ABM Treaty, they are going to go to 250 to 500 overnight,”he said.
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C. Nuclear Waste

1.
Russia Lined Up For Nuke Waste Deal
        Chin Yu-Tzu
        Taipei Times
        July 7, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Nuclear Secrets: Taipower has confirmed a tentative agreement with aRussian weapons center to store its nuclear waste, but denies a Japanesefirm is involved in the deal

Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) denied yesterday that a Japanese agencyhad reached an informal agreement with a Russian atomic research centerconcerning dumping nuclear waste for the company.

Instead, Taipower insisted no third party was involved, but confirmeda memorandum had been signed with a Russian organization to transfer wasteto the country.

According to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday, Taiwan's nuclear waste maybe deposited in Russia if an embargo on importing nuclear waste is lifted.

In a press release dated June 30 from ECODEFENSE! -- a Russia-basedinternational non-governmental organization founded in 1990 -- it was revealedthat officials were planning to approve a nuclear waste dump on SimushirIsland, one of the islands comprising Sakhalin province, off Russia's eastcoast.

The project is reportedly being organized by the Kurchatov Institute(KI), Russia's largest nuclear weapons center, and Asia Tat Trading CoLtd (ATT). Profits for the venture have been projected at around US$10billion.

According to the press release, KI officials lobbied for changes inRussia's legislation in exchange for financial support by ATT.

But, Taipower officials told the Taipei Times yesterday the memorandumwas signed by Taipower and KI and it "had nothing to do with a Japanesefirm at all."

"It's just a preliminary plan involving 5,000 barrels of nuclear waste,"said Huang Huei-yu, division head of Taipower's public affairs department.

"The idea of shipping waste to Russia has been held up by its laws thatban the import of any nuclear waste," said Huang.

But according to Taipower documents -- written in Chinese and publicizedby ECODEFENSE! on the Internet – the project includes technology providedby ATT.

The documents, dated May 19, 1998, show that 200,000 barrels of Taipower'snuclear waste will be shipped to Russia via Japan within 10 years.

Taipower will pay NT$800 million, or an average of NT$4,000 per barrel.

Benefits to the three parties were also mentioned in these documents.For Taiwan, problems caused by the lack of dump sites for nuclear wastewould be solved, while thousands of job opportunities would be createdfor Russians. As for Japan, documents show that as the agent, ATT wouldmake a handsome profit.

Taipower's Huang said it was too early to say whether the memorandumwould become a workable contract. "Since the uncertainty regarding transportingnuclear waste to other countries continues to exist, Taipower has not givenup building a final storage site for its nuclear waste," said Huang, addingthat an environmental impact assessment for a disposal site at Wuchiu island,near Kinmen, was scheduled to be filed by the end of this year.

It has been reported that Taipower plans to begin operating the nuclearwaste dump in 2012, but that these plans could be affected by local protestersasking for compensation.

In related news, the Atomic Energy Council is uncertain when approximately97,000 barrels of nuclear waste temporarily stored on Orchid Island willbe removed.

Taipower said it was working with other countries, including North Koreaand China, to find sites for final disposal.
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D. Department of Energy (DOE)

1.
Classified Work At DOE Lab Suspended After  Security Lapse
        Associated Press
        July 10, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Classified work at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory was temporarilyhalted after a secret document was mistakenly photocopied and left in anunsecured but locked office.

The security breach occurred June 29 when an employee at the lab inRichland copied several unclassified drawings along with a classified onein a secure area, then took the papers to an office outside the securearea and left them locked up there, lab spokesman Greg Koller said Monday.

The lapse was discovered the next day by another employee, and lab staffreported it to the U.S. Department of Energy, Koller said. The employeeinvolved in the lapse was not disciplined.

"These security concerns happen occasionally," Koller said.

A security stand down, in which managers meet with staff to review securityprocedures involving classified projects, was ordered July 3. Some classifiedwork has resumed and the remainder should start again later this week,Koller said.

The security flap comes on the heels of the national uproar over a securitybreach at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. In May, a hugewildfire threatened the lab where two computer hard drives with informationused to disable nuclear weapons went missing before the site was evacuated.The breach was not reported to DOE for more than three weeks. The harddrives later reappeared mysteriously in June.

In December, former Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee was charged withillegally copying top-secret nuclear weapons files. He is in jail awaitingtrial.

The Northwest lab is operated by Battelle for the DOE. It does classifiedwork both at the Hanford nuclear reservation and at its main campus justsouth of the reservation.

The incident occurred as a range fire swept across the nearby Hanfordnuclear reservation, but the security lapse was unrelated to the blaze,Koller said.
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