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Nuclear News - 07/24/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 24 July 2000

A. Plutonium Disposition

    1. G-8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit Communiqué [excerpt],USIA (7/23/00)
    2. UK Offers £82 Million Pounds To Assist With DispositionAnd Destruction Programme In Russia, 10 Downing Street (7/21/00)
    3. White House Fact Sheet on the Disposition of United Statesand Russian Federation Weapon-Grade Plutonium, U.S. Newswire (7/21/00)
    4. G-8 Agrees to Pay for Russian Plutonium Disposal, UPI(7/21/00)
B. Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI)
    1. Town Where A Soviet Dream Turned Sour, Amelia Gentleman,The Guardian (UK) (7/24/00)
C. Arms Control - General
    1. Russia, U.S. Pledge Cooperation On Arms Control, Reuters(7/21/00)
D. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
    1. Putin, Clinton Pledge Support to Nuclear Non-Proliferation,Itar-Tass (7/21/00)
E. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Did General Staff Cancel Topol-M Missile Launch?, RFE/RL(7/24/00)

A. Plutonium Disposition

G-8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit Communiqué [excerpt]
        July 23, 2000
        (for personal use only)

“. . . The transparent, safe, secure, environmentally sound and irreversibledisposition and management of weapon-grade plutonium no longer requiredfor defence purposes remains vital. The agreement on plutonium dispositionreached between the United States and Russia, reinforced by their statementof intention concerning non-separation of additional weapon-grade plutonium,marks a critical milestone. The co-operation among the G8 countries hasyielded significant results and our next steps should build on this co-operationand related international projects.

Our goal for the next Summit is to develop an international financingplan for plutonium management and disposition based on a detailed projectplan, and a multilateral framework to co-ordinate this co-operation. Wewill expand our co-operation to other interested countries in order togain the widest possible international support, and will explore the potentialfor both public and private funding.”
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UK Offers £82 Million Pounds To Assist With Disposition AndDestruction Programme In Russia
        10 Downing Street
        July 21, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Prime Minister Tony Blair today told G8 leaders the United Kingdom wasoffering 82 million pounds of UK assistance to help Russia with plutoniumdisposition and chemical weapons destruction.

Speaking at the G8 Summit in Okinawa, Mr Blair said:

“The legacy of the Cold War has left countries of the Former SovietUnion with enormous nuclear problems. The environmental, security and proliferationthreats they pose do not respect international boundaries.

“That is why the UK is committing 70 million pounds over the next tenyears to plutonium disposition in Russia. We are also committing 12 millionpounds over the next three years to assist Russia with the destructionof its chemical weapons stockpile.

“The scale of Russia’s problems mean that they can only be tackled bythe international community working together. G8 has already offered strongsupport. I hope that G8 will maintain its momentum by agreeing a scheduleof action on plutonium disposition before next year’s Summit.”

This makes good an offer of help made by the Prime Minister to formerPresident Boris Yeltsin, and was one of the items on the agenda for thePrime Minister’s meeting with President Putin this evening.
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White House Fact Sheet on the Disposition of United States and RussianFederation Weapon-Grade Plutonium
        U.S. Newswire
        July 21, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The following fact sheet was released today by the White House:


The G-8 today took an important step toward disposition of weapon-gradefissile material designated by the United States and Russia as excess todefense needs so that it will never again be used for weapons. The G-8called for the development, by the 2001 Genoa Summit, of an internationalfinancing plan and multilateral cooperation arrangements for Russia's dispositionprogram. This announcement builds on the June 5 announcement in Moscowby President Clinton and President Putin regarding completion of a bilateralAgreement for the management and disposition of weapon-grade plutoniumwithdrawn from their respective nuclear weapon programs.

Today's announcement carries forward the sustained G-8 efforts launchedat the 1996 Moscow Nuclear Safety and Security Summit and continued atthe Cologne Summit last year. The new U.S.-Russia agreement charts thecourse for the safe and transparent disposition of a total of 68 metrictons of weapon-grade plutonium declared excess to U.S. and Russian defenseneeds -- an amount that represents thousands of nuclear weapons. It advanceskey arms control and non-proliferation interests.

The Agreement requires each Party to dispose of no less than 34 metrictons of weapon-grade plutonium from its nuclear weapon program by irradiatingit as fuel in reactors, or by immobilizing it with high-level radioactivewaste, rendering it safe for geologic disposal. The goal is to begin operationof industrial-scale facilities by 2007 to achieve a disposition rate ofat least 2 metric tons of plutonium per year in rough parallel and, workingwith other countries, to identify additional capacities at least to doublethat disposition rate. The Agreement also provides for monitoring and inspectionthroughout the disposition process, and allows for equivalent InternationalAtomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verification measures in lieu of bilateralmonitoring activities, as may be agreed by the Parties.

Preliminary estimates for the Russian Federation's disposition programare $1.7-1.9 billion over twenty or more years. The U.S. Congress has appropriatedmore than $200 million for cooperation with Russia's plutonium dispositionprogram. The Clinton Administration is requesting another $200 millionin funding for 2001.
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G-8 Agrees to Pay for Russian Plutonium Disposal
        July 21, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The world's leading industrial nations Friday agreed to help Russiapay for a multibillion-dollar agreement with the United States to destroy68 tons of plutonium that could otherwise be used for nuclear weapons.

President Clinton signed a deal in June with Russian President VladimirPutin committing the United States to helping Russia destroy no less than34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium. Under the deal, the plutoniumis to be burned as fuel in reactors or immobilized with radioactive waste,at a total cost of nearly $2 billion over 20 years. The United States isto destroy an equivalent amount of plutonium.

The other nations of the Group of Eight - France, Italy, Canada, Britain,Germany and Japan - agreed at their summit here Friday to develop by nextyear "an international financing plan" to help defray the cost of the deal.

The agreement also includes a commitment to provide "multilateral cooperationarrangements for Russia's disposition program" - presumably in-kind assistanceother than cash.

The announcement by the G-8 leaders did not set any specific targetfor financial assistance from any particular nation or from the whole group.The U.S. Congress has already approved more than $200 million in aid tothe Russian plutonium destruction project, and Clinton has requested another$200 million for next year, according to a White House fact sheet.

The plutonium-destruction plan is a major arms control and non-proliferationissue, White House officials said, because the amount of plutonium involvedrepresents thousands of potential nuclear warheads that will now not bebuilt.
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B. Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI)

Town Where A Soviet Dream Turned Sour
        Amelia Gentleman
        The Guardian (UK)
        July 24, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Its scientists were the envy of the world. Now some of the top brainsare manual workers. Our three-part series on the decline and rebirth ofRussian science begins in Siberia.  Beneath the streets of Akademgorodoka maze of tunnels links key buildings so that academics in Russia's sciencetown never need emerge into the harsh Siberian temperatures outside.

In winter, workers at the institute of nuclear physics make their wayalong curving dimly lit walkways. The rationale of the underground system,one scientist explained, was to prevent research time being wasted in therigmarole of wrapping up against the cold.

When Akademgorodok was created from nothing in 1957, its founders spentconsiderable time assessing how to make life easier for the thousands ofscientists who were to abandon their comfortable lives in Moscow to labourfor the good of Russian science in bleak Siberia.

On a site 30 miles south of the polluted industrial city of Novosibirsk,trees were planted, flats were built and spacious, well-equipped laboratorieswere set up. Academics were given a concert hall and a club - the Houseof Scientists - where they were to spend sober evenings together discussingresearch developments.

Hundreds of tonnes of sand were imported at great expense and scatteredon the stony shores of the nearby Ob sea to create the illusion of a beachon which the scientists could relax at weekends.

For the first 30 years the town - with its 37 institutes and thousandsof researchers working together to push back the boundaries of knowledge- was a symbol of the grandiose intellectual ambition of the Soviet regime.

Scientists were treated with deference in the USSR. Lenin began to promotetheir interests immediately after the revolution, aware of their importancein the creation of a powerful new society. In the lean years they receivedextra rations.

Later, under Stalin, a sense of national insecurity boosted the state'sdevotion to science. Most scientists escaped the repressions because theywere needed to develop the country's ability to make weapons. Even thosewho were imprisoned continued to work in specially developed research camps.

"We were slaves to the totalitarian state, but we didn't mind becausewe were doing interesting work and we felt that the state needed and respectedus," said Vitaly Ginzburg, a physics professor, who worked during the 1940sto develop the Soviet atom bomb.

Science was not a mere adjunct of Soviet life - it was at its core,the key to transforming Russia from a backward agricultural country intoan industrialised mighty world power, equipped to defend itself againstthe capitalist enemy.

The government poured large measures of the budget into cultivatingthis scientific base, squeezing ideological pride from internationallyacclaimed - and feared - advances: pioneering aeroplanes, and later rockettechnology; the first man in space; the first atomic power station; thehydrogen superbomb.

For most of the 20th century the Soviet Union raced on, matching theachievements of America.

Akademgorodok - meaning small town of academics - was part of that tradition.Sophisticated space technology was developed in one institute, while downthe road mathematicians pioneered computer technology and biologists wrestledto make Russia's crops sturdier, using new genetic engineering techniques.

But in the past 10 years it has come to symbolise the disastrous declineof Russia's academic tradition.

It is generally accepted that there are two reasons why Russians moveto Siberia - either they are romantics or they come as prisoners. The scientistswho founded Akademgorodok in 1957 were romantics. Many who remain see themselvesas the prisoners of their own shattered project.

No one has forgotten the early optimism. Towards the end of the 50sit had become obvious that Siberia had massive natural resources: petroleum,gas, coal, timber, diamonds and minerals. But with the country's brainpowerconcentrated in Moscow and Leningrad - now St Petersburg - there was nobodyto exploit its potential, so President Nikita Khrushchev backed a schemeto move leading scientists and research students from western Russia tothe Siberian wilderness.

Just 12 years after the ravages of the second world war, the state somehowfound enough money to establish the science oasis. The scale of the projectwas phenomenal. The main street, Lavrentiev Prospect, named after the town'sfounder Mikhail Lavrentiev, was once listed in the Guinness Book of WorldRecords as "the most scientific street in the world", because of its highconcentration of institutes.

As well as undertaking research aimed at developing Russia's conventionaland nuclear military potential, scientists were encouraged to focus onpure science, to find answers to the big questions, simply for the sakeof academic advancement.

Today the institutes - physics, chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, mathematics,electronics and more - all remain. A few, run by energetic directors, havetransformed themselves into profitable enterprises by winning lucrativeresearch contracts from western companies.

But they are a minority. As their funding dwindles, the rest have hadto abandon research rojects and survive on a fraction of their former income.Many are dusty shells, virtually abandoned by their scientists, some ofwhom have been forced to turn to manual labour to supplement their miserlyor non-existent income. Meanwhile the most talented of the younger generationhave slipped abroad and students, disheartened by poor job and salary prospects,stay away.

With a shortage of money for laboratory equipment, there is no questionof even attempting to keep up with developments in Europe and America.And with the influx of rich communiting businessmen, many young scientistscan no longer afford the rents.

The privations suffered by scientists in this town echo the hardshipsof colleagues throughout the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union.In real terms Russian science now receives a seventh of the governmentfunding it did in 1990, leaving hundreds of institutions struggling tosurvive.

Genady Kulipanov, vice-chairman of Akademgorodok's governing body anda professor of nuclear physics, said: "In the late 1980s I found it hardto explain to friends in the west what the process of perestroika [rebuilding]really meant. Now I tell them perestroika - it was destroyka. We didn'treally rebuild anything, we just destroyed a great deal.

"The government stopped funding pro jects. There were no new institutes.A lot of the more energetic and best-qualified people left and went abroador went into business. The spirit of the town changed."

Scientists here remember the lean years from 1991 to 1996 with horror,proferring graphs with drooping curves -testimony to the funding collapseand - charts with soaring curves to demonstrate the flow of scientistsabroad.

Desperate to approach the future with optimism, many of Akademgorodok'sworkers are hopeful that Vladimir Putin is the man to restore the prestigeof Russian science. They interpret the new president's commitment to restoringa powerful Russian state as an indirect pledge to boost their funding.

Mr Putin's advisers are making all the right noises - stressing theurgency of developing Russia's scientific, technological base to revitalisethe economy. But the president does not have long to contemplate the disarrayhe has inherited. Academics agree that an increase in funding must beginimmediately, before the crumbling structures of Russia's scientific basedisintegrate.

"It is impossible to go on like this. If the process of the last 10years continues for another 10 years then there will be total collapse,"said Professor Vladimir Likholobov, deputy director of one of Akademgorodok'smore succesful institutes, the Institute of Catalysis.

But for men such as the founder of the town's medical institute, ProfessorVlail Kaznacheev, 75, who devoted their lives to developing the Sovietscientific dream, the changes have come too late. Sitting in the bare lobbyof the House of Scientists Mr Kaznacheev is despairing about the eventsof the last 15 years.

"Our salaries have dropped radically, but we've lost everything elsetoo. We used to get money for animals, laboratories, materials, equipment,expeditions and flats," he said.

"Without expeditions and new equipment, we can't continue the research.The process has been devastating."
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C. Arms Control - General

Russia, U.S. Pledge Cooperation On Arms Control
        July 21, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The presidents of the United States and Russia pledged to continue cooperationin the field of arms control on Friday on the sidelines of the annual summitof the Group of Eight on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

"The United States and Russia are prepared to renew and expand cooperationin the field of theatre missile development and to consider the possibilityof involving other states," Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin said in a jointstatement after their meeting.

The statement comes amid strong Russian pressure on the United Statesto abandon plans to deploy an anti-missile defence shield Moscow says wouldviolate the 1972 Anti-Missile Missile (ABM) treaty and spark a new globalarms race.

Washington says the proposed shield would provide limited defence againstpossible attack from what it calls "rogue states" like North Korea.

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told reporters Putin had also briefedClinton on the results of his landmark visit to North Korea earlier thisweek. During that trip, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il offered to abandonhis country's missile programme in return for help from other ountriesto explore space.

President Bill Clinton and President Vladimir Putin also reiteratedtheir pledge to uphold the treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weaponsand to ensure the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear TestBan treaty.
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D.  Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty  (CTBT)

Putin, Clinton Pledge Support to Nuclear Non-Proliferation
        July 21, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The presidents of Russia and the United States confirmed on Friday thatthey consider the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to be the basis of globalnuclear disarmament.

Vladimir Putin and Bill Clinton met here on the sidelines of the annualGroup of Eight summit and signed a joint statement, pledging to do theirbest so that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) could come into forceas soon as possible.

The parties also undertook to expand co-operation in order to effectmutually profitable technical exchanges which can contribute to the CTBTimplementation after it comes into force.

For 12 months, Moscow and Washington will pool efforts to set up andput into operation a joint centre for exchanging data of early warningsystems and warnings of missile launches. They will also strive to completethe agreement on early warning of ballistic missile and space booster launches,as well as to draft the principles of making it open for voluntarily participationof all interested parties.

Putin and Clinton praised the joint statement on the strategic stabilityprinciples signed in Moscow on June 4, 2000, saying it established a basisfor "making progress in further reduction of nuclear weapons arsenals,preservation and strengthening of the ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) Treatyand counteraction to new challenges to international security."
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E.  Russian Nuclear Forces

Did General Staff Cancel Topol-M Missile Launch?
        July 24, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Russian media speculate that the decision to postpone a test launchof the Topol-M ballistic missile from the Plesetsk base, Arkhangelsk Oblast,planned for late last week may be linked to ongoing tensions between DefenseMinister Igor Sergeev and chief of the General Staff Anatolii Kvashnin(see "End Note," "RFE/RL Newsline," 20 July 2000). Kvashnin has proposedbringing the Strategic Rocket Forces under the direct control of the GeneralStaff, a proposal that Sergeev, a former commander of the forces, stronglyopposes. On 22 July, "Kommersant-Daily," which is controlled by Boris Berezovskii,quoted officers from the rocket forces as saying "off the record" thatthe General Staff prevented them "at the last moment" from launching theTopol-M missile. According to the newspaper, a successful launch mighthave undermined Kvashnin's arguments ahead of an important Security Councilmeeting. The launch has been rescheduled for later this month, a rocketforces spokesman was quoted by Interfax as saying.
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