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Nuclear News - 08/09/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 09 August 2000

A.  Highly Enriched Uranium

    1. USEC’s Enrichment Deal with Tenex, Nuclear Fuel (8/7/00)
    2. Increase of U-235, FreshFUEL (8/7/00)
B.  Russia - Iran
    1. Russia's Missile Assistance to Iran, Proliferation Brief22, Carnegie Non-Proliferation Project (08/07/00)
C. Russian Military
    1. Defense Minister to be Ousted, Again? , (8/7/00)
D. Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Security Stepped up at Russia's Nuclear Facilities, AgenceFrance Presse (8/9/00)
E. Nuclear Waste
    1. Report on Long-Term Management of Nuclear Waste Sites,USIA (8/8/00)
F.  U.S. - Russia General
    1. Russia, USA To Discuss Strategic Stability At UN Summit InNew York, Interfax (08/07/00)
G. ABM, Missile Defense
    1. Cohen Delays His Finding on Building Missile Radar, StevenLee Myers, New York Times (8/8/00)
    2. Moscow, Washington To Discuss Future Of ABM, RFE/RL (8/8/00)

A. Highly Enriched Uranium

USEC’s Enrichment Deal with Tenex
        Nuclear Fuel
        August 7, 2000
        (for personal use only)

US: USEC's new SWU deal with Tenex did not receive approval when theEnrichment Oversight Committee (EOC) met on 28 July but is 'still underactive consideration', according to a 'government source'. The proposeddeal would enable USEC to buy up to 5.5 million SWU per year from downblendedRussian ex-military HEU, over the period 2002-2013, at a discount belowmarket prices. A commercial purchase by USEC of about 3 million SWU fromRussia over a three-year period at a 'substantial' discount, and this isseen as the most controversial aspect of the deal. This would require amendmentof the US-Russia antidumping suspension agreement and both the Departmentsof Energy and Commerce are reported to have recommended EOC to instructUSEC to find other solutions.
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Increase of U-235
        August 7, 2000
        (for personal use only)

U.S: Work to upgrade USEC's Paducah enrichment plant to increase U-235assays from the current 2.75% to 5.5% is reported to be on track for completionby the end of 2000. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval, expectedin March 2001, is required before the enrichment level can be increased.USEC is keen to start production at the higher assay as soon as possibleto gain some experience before the Portsmouth plant closes in June 2001.
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B. Russian - Iran

Russia's Missile Assistance to Iran
        Proliferation Brief 22
        Carnegie Non-ProliferationProject.
        August 7, 2000
        (for personal use only)

On July 15, Iran successfully tested its medium range "Shahab-3" missile.The first test missile in 1998 exploded after launch.  Russia is suspectedof aiding the Iranian program. The following exchange between American,Israeli and Russian experts, dated January 1999, is excerpted from a chapterin the new book Repairing the Regime, edited by Joseph Cirincione. To viewthe table of contents and complete chapter, please visit

The Honorable Robert Gallucci is the Dean of Georgetown's School ofForeign Service and the U.S. State Department's special envoy for ballisticmissile and weapons of mass destruction proliferation. These are his personalviews.

"In 1997, the issue of Russian entities’ assistance to Iran in the areaof ballistic missiles found itself prominently featured on the agenda ofthe Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission."

"Through this process, the United States made demarches to Russia aboutactivities that the U.S. officials observed, and shared information andintelligence about interactions between Russian entities and the Iranianballistic missile program.  For one full year, from the summer of1997 through the summer of 1998, the process achieved steady progress .. . "

"Later in 1998, however, this progress came to a halt, as measured byboth input and output.  In terms of input, the export groups and technologygroups that were supposed to meet following the Moscow summit in September1998, really have not met effectively.  The investigation of thosenine entities that was launched with such optimism in July 1998 has notproduced any real results, such as a conclusion that anyone acted inappropriatelyor illegally; there has been no prosecution.  On the output side,in the summer of 1998, Iran tested its so-called Shahab-3, a medium-rangeballistic missile (MRBM).  Many of the problem cases that the UnitedStates had identified as much as a year ago continued, while some new casesof assistance were identified. "

"What is the significance of Russian-entity assistance in the Iraniancase? . . . Russian assistance was extremely important in shortening theamount of time in which the Iranians would be able to develop, manufacture,and deploy their own MRBMs, and do so presumably with some improvementin quality.  Continued Russian assistance will allow not only forthe rapid deployment of the Shahab-3 but also for the Iranians to moveonto intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles."

The Honorable Robbie Sabel is the Deputy Director General, Departmentof Arms Control and Disarmament at Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"For the Shahab-3 to enter Iran's arsenal, the missile has to be producedin usable quantities.  Iran is not yet in a position to do so. The missile has to be completely reliable.  Iran has not yet developedit to this stage.  The missile will, presumably, be adapted to carrynonconventional warheads.  This has not yet been done, and requiressophisticated technology.  All these additional refinements requirein the foreseeable future, outside help.  That help can only comefrom Russian companies and entities.

"At present, Russian companies and entities continue to provide assistanceto the Iranian missile development project and to the development of anIranian nuclear infrastructure.  The U.S. government has devoted considerableefforts in trying to persuade the Russian government to prevent such proliferation. Russian colleagues acknowledge their awareness that it is not in Russia'sinterest to see Iran with long-range missiles equipped with nonconventionalwarheads.  Yet, is Russia doing everything in its power to preventsuch leakage of technology, know-how and material?

"The Russian Government is not making such an all-out effort. There may in fact be elements in Russia that believe there is economicand even strategic gain in such deadly trade.  Despite the acknowledgedinternal problems of the Russian government, proliferation could be preventedif the will existed.  If the Russian government reached the conclusionthat such proliferation is a dire threat to Russia, the leakage would beprevented. Instead, there is an opposite trend, and the much-publicizedtrip of Russian minister Adamov to Tehran appears to be flaunting nuclearties rather than limiting them."

Dr. Viktor Mizin heads the office for U.N. Peacekeeping and Sanctionsat the Russian Federation's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"It is interesting that the Russian official reaction moved from officialdenial from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Chernomyrdin, to reluctantrecognition, and then to reports of the successful apprehension of someIranian spies that contacted Russian missile manufacturers.

"The problem is, how does one stop this process?  The logical answeris to improve existing export controls.  Unfortunately, as the recentrevelations show, export controls in Russia are not operational. The problem is enforcement, enforcement, and enforcement.

"So the emphasis should be placed on providing more competent personnelon export control services, equipping them with state-of-the-art technology,ensuring the real time exchange of data and information from Moscow tocustom checkpoints.  Also, another problem is the bureaucratic wrangling.Russia needs a governing body to oversee export controls.

"Finally, a significant part of the proliferation problem is the people.The major threat is that Russian specialists will flee abroad because theyare unemployed at home.  One possible solution is the developmentof a joint U.S. Russian project that could employ these Russian specialists.For example, many years ago President Yeltsin proposed that the UnitedStates and Russia developed what was termed a 'Global System of Protection,'that is, an antiballistic missile or another sort of space tracking system.… Another project that was discussed was the employment of Russian missilescientists in joint commercial efforts, similar to efforts in the nuclearsphere.  American companies could employ the best and brightest Russianmissile engineers and foremen, thus preventing them from fleeing to proliferantcountries."
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C. Russian Military

Defense Minister to be Ousted, Again?
        August 7, 2000
        (for personal use only)

"Izvestia" says Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev may be ousted and replacedby Iliya Klebanov, a vice premier supervising the military industrial complex.An open conflict between Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev and chief of theGeneral Staff Anatoly Kvashnin who are in deep disagreement over the militaryreform issues might be the pretext for such decision. Igor Sergeyev declinedthe General Staff's plan to reduce Strategic Missile Forces. He arguedthat would cause the Russian Army's collapse and threatened to resign.Although he and his opponent Kvashnin were summoned to the Kremlin andannounced there were no more causes for further dispute, the hidden conflicthas smoldered ever since. Earlier this week, "Segodnya" and "Profil" magazineargued the only way to settle the conflict was to oust both defense ministerand chief of the General Staff. At the same time, much attention has beengiven to the Kremlin's alleged plan to appoint a civilian to the post ofdefense minister. Among many candidates, Ilya Klebanov was mentioned mostoften as the most likely candidate. He is an expert in defense matters,he knows the situation in the armed forces; also, he belongs to "the Piter'steam", the RF President is affiliated with. Igor Sergeyev's stature wanedwhen 10 generals closely connected with him were ousted last Monday.

Comment: Besides Iliya Klebanov, "Izvestia" names other candidates fordefense minister: deputy secretary of the Security Council Col.-Gen. AlexeiMoskovskiy, a Security Council man in charge of the military industrialcomplex; former minister of commerce Mikhail Fradkov, an experienced expertin arms exports. At the same time, "Izvestia" remarks, it is likely "ifthe President has to make his decision in near future (the media refersto mid-September) he would prefer to choose the least evil and would preservethe status quo". Russia has long needed a civil defense minister. Sincethe top brass has elaborated the military reform concept, the reformershave been trying to do favors to whatever forces they came from. Unfortunately,nobody among those who can claim to be the next defense minister (includingIliya Klebanov) holds a fully unbiased point of view on the reform. Theyall are experts in particular military areas. So, rumors about Sergeyev'simminent ouster remain just rumors.
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D. Nuclear Power Industry

Security Stepped up at Russia's Nuclear Facilities
        Agence France Presse
        August 9, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Russia's atomic energy ministry on Wednesday ordered that security bestepped up at all of its facilities following a deadly bomb blast in Moscow,Interfax reported.

Police earlier Wednesday reported that a second explosive device hadbeen located in a major Moscow train station.

On Tuesday, a central-Moscow blast killed at least seven people andinjured nearly 100.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov blamed the blast on rebels from Chechnya,who have threatened to launch a wide-scale bombing campaign on Russianterritory.
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E. Nuclear Waste

Report on Long-Term Management of Nuclear Waste Sites
        August 8, 2000
        (for personal use only)

A new report says that the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) plansfor long-term stewardship to oversee its contaminated nuclear weapons sitesare problematic, with no convincing evidence that surveillance of radioactiveand other hazardous wastes left at sites will prove reliable over the longrun. The report says lack of adequate funding is also a problem.

The report by a committee of the National Research Council – the principaloperating arm of the National Academy of Sciences – is described in anAugust 7 press release. The report calls on the Energy Department to beginplanning immediately for a broader institutional management framework thatequally balances contaminant reduction, physical isolation of waste, andcustodial activities such as surveillance of waste migration and humanactivity around the site.

The long-term institutional management approach outlined in the reportalso calls for periodic reevaluation of plans, and research and developmentof new remediation technologies.

There are nearly 150 contaminated nuclear weapons sites around the country.The Energy Department recently established the Office of Long-Term Stewardshipto protect the people and environment surrounding these sites, which arelocated in 27 states, Puerto Rico, and territorial islands in the Pacific.
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F. U.S. – Russia General

Russia, USA To Discuss Strategic Stability At UN Summit In New York
        August 7, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Moscow, 7th August: Moscow and Washington will hold a series of consultationson strategic stability in the framework of the meeting of Russian and USpresidents in September at the UN Millennium Summit in New York.

Experts from the two countries will meet in a third country in mid-Augustto discuss missile defence and the future START-3 Treaty, diplomatic sourcesin Moscow told Interfax today.

The Russian delegation will be led by director of the Foreign Ministrydepartment for security and disarmament Yuriy Kapralov and the US one byadviser to the Secretary of State for disarmament and arms control JohnHolum.

The sources said that the consultations are expected to carry on theexchange of opinions on the concept of the START-3 Treaty and concreteproposals on key aspects of the future treaty.

Later, shortly before the summit, the strategic stability group willmeet in September in New York. On the Russian side it will be led by DeputyForeign Minister Georgiy Mamedov and on the US side by Deputy Secretaryof State Strobe Talbott.

Sources say Mamedov and Talbott will discuss "the whole range of questionsof strategic stability, including existing and possible new initiativesin bilateral and multilateral cooperation in strengthening internationalsecurity, continuing the process of reducing armaments, improving nuclearmissile nonproliferation".

The upcoming meetings of Russian and US diplomats might also addressthe initiative of North Korea to curtail its missile programme, if othercountries help it to launch satellites.

Diplomatic sources stress that the upcoming consultations "will relyon understandings to intensify the dialogue on strategic stability" reachedduring the latest meetings of the presidents of the two countries in Moscowand during the G8 summit in Okinawa.

Consultations on strategic stability have been held regularly sinceFebruary of last year, however, the sides still have not overcome differenceson the key matter - the future of the ABM treaty.

The USA wants the treaty amended so it can deploy a national missiledefence system, while Russia believes that the implementation of this planwould undermine the entire world system of strategic stability and sparka new arms race.
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G. ABM, Missile Defense

Cohen Delays His Finding on Building Missile Radar
        Steven Lee Myers
        New York Times
        August 8, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Defense Secretary William S. Cohen postponed his recommendation todayto President Clinton on whether to proceed with a limited national missiledefense, citing "a number of difficult issues" that still have to be resolved.

Mr. Cohen, who had been widely expected to make his recommendation tothe White House this week, did not specify the reasons for the delay ofat least a month.

Officials said the Pentagon and its Ballistic Missile Defense Organizationhad not reached a consensus on critical aspects of the program to buildthe antimissile system. Those aspects, discussed in a flurry of meetingsat the Pentagon in the last week, include the costs of building the system,the building schedule and the need for new tests, the officials said.

"Components of the Department of Defense are currently completing theirassessment of the program to develop a national missile defense system,"Mr. Cohen said in a statement released this afternoon. "A number of difficultissues remain to be resolved before they can report to me."

Mr. Cohen said there was "no immediate or artificial deadline for arecommendation to the president," even though administration officialshad previously indicated that Mr. Clinton would make his decision thissummer or in the early fall.

At best, the postponement compresses the time left for Mr. Clinton todecide whether to continue with the system. It also means that he couldbe faced with a decision in the middle of a presidential election in whichbuilding a missile defense has emerged as a divisive issue. Mr. Cohen notedin his statement that "the president fully supports this approach," referringto the postponement.

Mr. Cohen and other officials have indicated that the administrationcould begin work on the system -- clearing ground in Alaska to build anadvanced radar station -- without violating the Antiballistic Missile Treatyof 1972, the agreement between the United States and the former SovietUnion that prohibited national missile defenses.

That would leave the final decision on building the system -- with orwithout the agreement of the Russians -- until next year, when a new administrationwill take office.

To meet the Pentagon's schedule for building a system by 2005, a decisionto award contracts has to be made this fall for work to begin in the springat the radar site, on a remote island in the Aleutians, administrationofficials said.

Mr. Cohen's recommendation has been complicated by the failure of acrucial test of the system last month, the officials said. In that test,a high-speed "kill vehicle" that was supposed to have intercepted a dummywarhead in space failed to separate from its booster rocket. The BallisticMissile Defense Organization has attributed the failure to an error inthe rocket's "databus," which transmits signals to the warhead, the officialssaid.

The officials played down the failure, saying it was caused by relativelyold technology in the booster rockets that was not essential to the defensivesystem that the Pentagon is designing. Still, the failure denied the Pentagoncritical information about the feasibility of the system that, one officialsaid, could make it more difficult to argue for moving ahead.

"The part of the test that followed" the error "would have been useful,"the official said.

The next test, scheduled for November, will almost certainly be postponedas officials make adjustments after the last failure.

In June, even before the failure of the test, an independent panel ledby a retired Air Force general, Larry D. Welch, found that the proposedsystem was technologically feasible against an unsophisticated threat.The panel also recommended that additional tests be conducted before puttingany system in the field.

One administration official said senior Pentagon and Ballistic MissileDefense Organization officials were divided over the need for more tests.Another official said delays in developing the new booster rockets forthe system could also affect its deployment.

Several officials said they still expected Mr. Cohen to recommend movingahead with the first steps of the system this year, keeping it on schedulefor 2005, the year by which, intelligence officials said, North Korea couldbuild a ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States.

One senior official said, however, that the date for putting a systeminto operation could still be pushed back.
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Moscow, Washington To Discuss Future Of ABM
        August 8, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Russian and American officials plan to hold a series of consultationson the ABM treaty prior to the mid-September meeting of Presidents Putinand Bill Clinton at the UN Millennium Summit in New York, Interfax reportedon 7 August. Russian diplomatic sources told the news agency that thesetalks "will rely on understandings to intensify the dialogue on strategicstability" reached at the G-7 plus Russia meetings in Okinawa.
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