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Nuclear News - 09/05/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 05 September 2000


A.  Plutonium Disposition

    1. Deal Inked to Destroy 68 Tons of Plutonium, Reuters (09/05/00)
    2. D.C.-Based Disarmament Group Raps Plutonium-Recycling Deal,CNN Online (09/02/00)
    3. Vice President Al Gore Signs U.S.-Russia Plutonium DispositionAgreement, Office of the Vice President (09/01/00)
B. Submarine Dismantlement
    1. U.S. Energy Secretary Praises Russian 'Courage' In OpeningUp Sub Bases, RFE/RL (09/04/00)
    2. Will The Kursk Sink The Akula? Christopher Pala, MoscowTimes (09/01/00)
C. Loose Nukes
    1. 6 Allegedly Steal Radioactive Metal, Associated Press(09/01/00)
D. Nuclear Waste
    1. U.S. Backs Plan to Store Nuclear Fuel in Far East, MichaelWines, New York Times (09/05/00)
    2. U.S. Energy Secretary Visits Russian Submarine Base, Reuters(09/04/00)
    3. Groups Rally Against Nuclear Storage Plan, Galina Stolyarova,Moscow Times (09/01/00)
E.  U.S. - Russia General
    1. Russia Wants More Arms Reductions, Associated Press (09/02/00)
    2. Russian-U.S. Strategic  Stability Group  To Meet In New  York In  Early September, Interfax (09/01/00)

A. Plutonium Disposition

1.
Deal Inked to Destroy 68 Tons of Plutonium
        Reuters
        September 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Russia and the United States have formally signed an agreement to destroya total of 68 tons of weapons-grade plutonium, the Russian government saidover the weekend.

A government statement said U.S. Vice President Al Gore signed the agreementin Washington on Friday and Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov signed it inMoscow on Aug. 29.

The deal was agreed between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. PresidentBill Clinton during their summit in Moscow in June.

The West has doubted the ability of post-Soviet Russia to properly controldepots where weapons-grade plutonium is stored and has expressed fearsthat it could get into the wrong hands.

"The agreement stipulates that the activities of Russia and the UnitedStates connected with the destruction of weapons-grade plutonium will beopen for the international community and will be under control of the InternationalNuclear Energy Agency," the government statement said.

The plutonium pact obliges each country to render the weapons-gradeplutonium into a form unusable for nuclear weapons and to pledge neverto use it for that purpose again.

According to U.S. officials, the 34 tons to be destroyed by each countryrepresents about one quarter of Russia's military plutonium stockpile andabout one third of that of the United States. The program will cost $5.7billion to implement and take about 20 years to complete, officials said.The Russian program is estimated to cost more than $1.7 billion and theU.S. program $4 billion.

Agreement Highlights

  • Each country agreed to dispose of and remove from circulation 34 tons ofweapons-grade plutonium.
  • The new pact expands on an agreement dating from 1998. It details goals,schedules and conditions for plutonium disposal.
  • Each country must either irradiate the plutonium as fuel in reactors orimmobilize it for disposal. The United States plans to use 25.5 tons asfuel and to immobilize 8.5 tons; Russia will use all 34 tons as fuel.
  • Each country must construct facilities to convert the plutonium into fuel.The facilities must begin operation by 2007 and dispose of at least twotons of weapons-grade plutonium per year.
  • The Russian program is estimated to cost over $1.7 billion and take 20years to implement. The U.S. program is projected to cost $4 billion.
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2.
D.C.-Based Disarmament Group Raps Plutonium-Recycling Deal
        CNN Online
        September 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)

A leading independent U.S. disarmament group on Saturday criticizedan agreement by the United States and Russia to recycle plutonium fromnuclear weapons as fuel for electricity.

The Washington-based Nuclear Control Institute said burying used plutoniumwould be a better option.

U.S. Vice President and presidential candidate Al Gore signed the agreement,which has already been counter-signed by Russian Prime Minister MikhailKazyanov.

The agreement was first announced during President Bill Clinton's Moscowsummit with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on June 4.

Under the deal, each nation will provide 34 tons of weapons-grade plutoniumfor peaceful purposes.  U.S. officials say the entire project willcost nearly $6 billion.

But the Nuclear Control Institute said the agreement failed to providea means of verifying plutonium would be used in Russian reactors.

It said it would have been quicker and cheaper to bury the plutoniumin secure dumps and that reprocessing served only to revive a plutoniumindustry that was already in decline.

Reprocessing to take 20 years

A statement issued from Gore's office said: "This accomplishment advancesthe critical task of reducing stockpiles of excess weapons plutonium andcontributes to key U.S. arms control and non-proliferation objectives."

Factories will be required to process the plutonium into usable nuclearfuel, costing Russia $2 billion and the U.S. $3 billion, according to U.S.officials.

The U.S. has been urging the international community, including G7 members,to help fund Russia's bill for a reprocessing operation which will take20 years.

The statement added that plutonium disposal will commence in 2007 witha minimum rate of two tons a year.
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3.
Vice President Al Gore Signs U.S.-Russia Plutonium Disposition Agreement
        Office of the Vice President
        September 1, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Washington, D.C. -- Vice President Gore signed today the United States-RussianFederation Agreement for irreversibly transforming excess weapons plutoniuminto forms unusable for weapons, announced by President Clinton and PresidentPutin at the June 4 Moscow Summit. With this action and Prime MinisterKasyanov's signature, the Agreement shall be applied as of today's date.This accomplishment advances the critical task of reducing stockpiles ofexcess weapons plutonium and contributes to key U.S. arms control and non-proliferationobjectives.

The Agreement requires that 68 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium,34 tons for each Party, be disposed. This is enough plutonium for thousandsof nuclear weapons. It will be disposed by irradiating it as fuel in reactorsor by immobilizing it with high-level radioactive waste, rendering it suitablefor geologic disposal. Implementation will require the construction ofnew industrial-scale facilities to convert and fabricate this plutoniuminto fuel in both countries, and to immobilize a portion of the U.S. material.The Agreement sets 2007 as the target date to begin operating such facilitieswith a minimum disposition goal of 2 metric tons per year and an obligationto seek at least double that rate.

The Agreement establishes the goals, timelines, and conditions for ensuringthat this plutonium can never again be used for weapons or any other militarypurposes. Both the process and the end products will be subject to monitoringand, thus, transparent. The Agreement bans reprocessing of any of thisplutonium prior to the disposition of all 34 metric tons. Any reprocessingthereafter must be under mutually-agreed, effective monitoring measures.Plutonium immobilized under the program must never be separated from theimmobilized forms. The Agreement allows plutonium that may be designatedas excess to defense needs in the future to come under the same program.

As the Presidents' Joint Statement noted, the Agreement will enablenew cooperation to go forward between the United States and the RussianFederation. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Domenici and others inthe U.S. Congress, $200 million has already been appropriated to help implementthe Russian program.

Other G-8 countries have strongly endorsed and advanced this cooperation.The United States and Russian Federation have urged the G-8 leaders attheir recent summit to accelerate this cooperation by directing developmentof necessary multilateral arrangements and an international financing planfor assisting Russia's program. The plan will consider both public andprivate sector financing mechanisms.

Also present at today's signing was Michael Guhin, U.S. negotiator.
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B. Submarine Dismantlement

1.
U.S. Energy Secretary Praises Russian 'Courage' In Opening Up SubBases
        RFE/RL
        September 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Bill Richardson was shown rows of decommissioned nuclear submarinesduring a trip to the Kamchatka Peninsula on 3 September. He also inspectedsix Oscar-class nuclear submarines there. Richardson praised the Russiansfor their "courage" in opening up their "most secret of sites." The energysecretary was speaking at the end of a tour of Russia aimed at ensuringthe safe disposal of nuclear materials.
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2.
Will The Kursk Sink The Akula?
        Christopher Pala
        Moscow Times
        September 1, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The sinking of Russian submarine Kursk comes at an awkward time forwhat is surely the boldest swords-to-ploughshares project in history: thetransformation of three Russian nuclear-powered submarines into cargo carriersthat would haul thousands of tons of nickel under the ice off Russia'sArctic coast.

Some call the project crazy, others say it's feasible. In any case,the Russian Navy is behind it.

"Of course we're very concerned about the causes of the Kursk disaster,"says Anatoli Komrakov, spokesman for RAO Norilsk Nickel, the Russian miningand smelter conglomerate behind the plan. "But we believe we have an excellentsubmarine and whatever sank the Kursk (on August 12, with the loss of itscrew of 118), we don't think it was a design flaw, so we are definitelynot freezing our project."

The submarine in question is a "boomer," a stealthy behemoth carryinglong-range ballistic missiles -- as opposed to a boomer-hunting attacksubmarine or a cruise missile launcher like the Kursk. The boomer is arguablythe most lethal weapon ever built, and the biggest of them all - NorilskNickel's object of desire - is the one the Russians call Akula (shark)and NATO calls Typhoon.

Designed with unique ice-breaking capabilities, it carries 20 SS-N-20missiles, each with ten warheads, for a total of 200 independently targetednuclear bombs seven times more powerful than the one that hit Hiroshima.It's no wonder that it inspired the best-selling book "The Hunt for RedOctober."

Three Akulas are more or less operational and the other three were headedfor destruction under a U.S.-funded, $250 million program to help the impoverishedRussian navy pay for the costly dismantling.

The Akula caught the eye of the management of Norilsk Nickel, the world'sbiggest producer of nickel, an essential ingredient of steel. Built inthe 1930s with prison labor at the cost of thousands of lives, the sprawlingNorilsk "kombinat" today is one of Russia's most profitable enterprises,with 1999 sales of $2.944 billion and profits of $1.278 billion. Its 103,000employees produce 22 percent of the world's nickel, along with 60 percentof its palladium and 40 percent of its platinum, plus copper and cobalt.

But getting these valuable metals - nickel topped $10,000 a ton lastyear - to their markets is no easy task. The ore is loaded onto ships inDudinka, a bleak port on the vast Yenisei river, for the 350 miles northto the Kara Sea, where they turn west for the 1,100-mile voyage to Murmansk,Arctic Russia's main ice-free port. River and sea are covered with thickice for nine months of the year, so the cargo ships must follow one ofRussia's nuclear-powered icebreakers for most of the trip.

There are now six icebreakers in operation; all are owned by the statebut operated by Murmansk Sea Line, a subsidiary of oil company RAO LUKoil.The fleet is overextended and under-maintained and one icebreaker is dueto be retired in a few years, says Norilsk Nickel spokesman Komrakov.

Norilsk Nickel managers worry that at that time, LUKoil may give preferenceto oil over metal in its allocation of icebreaker time, especially sinceLUKoil is developing its Arctic fields and rapidly expanding its fleetof tankers. And building a new nuclear icebreaker would cost at least $150million.

So last year, according to Komrakov, the company commissioned St. Petersburg'sRubin Design Bureau, designer of the Akula (and, incidentally, of the Kursk)to study the feasibility of turning Akulas, minus missile- and torpedo-launchers,into cargo ships.

In the meantime, Norilsk Nickel General Director Alexander Khloponinheaded for the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, near Arkhangelsk, wherethe Akulas were built in the 1980s and where the first one was being dismantled.He had no trouble convincing the navy brass to delay the cutting up ofthe next one scheduled for the blow-torch while the study was underway:they love his plan, just as they hate losing the gem of their strategicsubmarine fleet.

Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, commander of Russia's Navy, recently tolda television interviewer that the project "is the best way to use surplussubmarines."

The designers delivered their verdict in February: for $80 million,an Akula can be made to carry 12,000 tons of cargo safely and reliably.

First, it would plow through the surface ice while descending the shallowYenisei River. Then it would slide below the ice and, at a speed of 25knots, three times faster than an ice breaker-led convoy, head for Murmansk,where its load would be trans-shipped to surface vessels. The entire operationwould take place in or near Russian waters.

With three all-weather Akulas plying the Dudinka-Murmansk route, NorilskNickel wouldn't need to depend on LUKoil's icebreakers any more.

Norilsk Nickel chairman Yuri Kotlyar has been downright enthusiastic."I think this project is absolutely realistic," he told a wire servicelast February. "I am certain we will have our first sea trials next year."Meanwhile, a second study is being done to more precisely evaluate thecost of modifying the company's docks and of operating the subs. Resultsare due in January, says Norilsk Nickel's Komrakov.

He says his company favors creating a joint venture with the navy. Thesubmarine crews would work as civilians - and presumably be paid more thanthe paltry $50 a month they now receive.

But others are not so sure the project is viable.

"It's a crazy idea - it's far too dangerous," says researcher ThomasNilsen of Norway's Bellona Foundation, which monitors environmental threatsposed by Russia's Northern Fleet. "Navigating the Kara Sea is very trickybecause it's so shallow."

U.S. submarine expert and author Norman Polmar differs. "It's a greatidea: these are marvelous ships that include tremendous feats of engineering,"he said. "I know the designers at Rubin (Design Bureau) well, and if theysay they it can be done, I believe them."

"But I doubt it would be economical," he adds, "because these thingsare horribly expensive to run."

"It's economically unrealistic," agrees analyst Mikhail Selesnev ofMoscow's United Financial Group. "They should use their healthy cash flowto build ice-breakers."

Still, suggests defense analyst Robert Norris of the Natural ResourcesDefense Council in Washington, D.C., "We should support commercial conversion."

Ambassador Thomas Graham, a former head of the Arms Control Agency wholives in Washington, says U.S.-Russian treaties involve only the destructionof launchers. "The owning nation can dispose of the ship as it wishes,"so U.S. permission would not be required.

One thing is sure. Whatever fantasies Norilsk Nickel executives mayhave once had of someday having Akulas deliver to clients in Rotterdamand farther afield, they have been fatally torpedoed by the sinking ofthe Kursk.

"No European country is going to want a Russian nuclear submarine inits waters now, that's for sure," says Princeton University submarine researcherJoshua Handler."
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C. Loose Nukes

1.
6 Allegedly Steal Radioactive Metal
        Associated Press
        September 01, 2000
        (for personal use only)

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukrainian police have detained six citizens ofBelarus on suspicion of trying to steal radioactive metal from the Chernobylzone, site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, officials said Friday.

The six were detained while driving a truck loaded with 1.1 tons ofnonferrous metals, the Interior Ministry said, according to the Interfaxnews agency.

They were apprehended near the village of Benivka, within the 19-mile-radius"exclusion zone" around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the report said.It did not specify when the Belarusians were detained and the ministry'spress service could not immediately elaborate.

All settlements in the zone were evacuated following the April 1986explosion and fire at Chernobyl, which contaminated large areas in Ukraineand neighboring Belarus and spread a radioactive cloud over Europe.

Enterprising thieves who sneak pass military cordons have long emptiedthe zone of most valuables. Some poor Ukrainians gather mushrooms and berriesthere, hoping to sell them to unsuspecting customers.

Aluminum, copper and nonferrous metals are targeted by scavengers acrossthe former Soviet Union, who sometimes even attack vital installationsand then sell the metal to private companies
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D. Nuclear Waste

1.
U.S. Backs Plan to Store Nuclear Fuel in Far East
        Michael Wines
        New York Times
        September 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

After touring a secret nuclear submarine base in the Far East, U.S.Energy Secretary Bill Richardson indicated over the weekend that he willsupport a Kremlin request for help in building a high-security storagesite for nuclear fuel from decommissioned subs.

Richardson and other American experts, including Assistant Secretaryof Defense Ted Warner, were given broad access to the naval base at Petropavlovsk,on the Kamchatka Peninsula, where roughly 20 submarines already are dockedand awaiting dismantling.

The Russian navy has asked the United States to assume half the costof building a $200 million floating dry-dock that would store radioactivereactor casings and nuclear fuel. U.S. law allows for such aid, but onlywhen it can be clearly shown to benefit American national security.

In a telephone interview Sunday from Anchorage, Alaska, a stopover onhis return flight to Washington, Richardson said he believes the site isneeded to protect Russian reactor fuels from the dangers of terrorist theftand so-called insider sales byRussians desperate for money.

"It's going to take some hard work'' he said, to convince the U.S. Congress"that this is a worthy project; that it makes sense to defuel and decommissionthese nuclear subs on the basis of nonproliferation. But we think it makessense to make this a priority.''

A senior Energy Department official said the navy has made a convincingcase that it lacks the money to dismantle and defuel the subs by itself.Nor do the 20 submarines appear sufficiently seaworthy to be towed to thenearest port, at Vladivostok, where another American-built site could accommodatethe fuel and reactor parts.

"The navy says that if you try to tow these subs, they'll break apartand we'll end up with reactors on the bottom,'' that official said. "Andnobody wants that.''

Richardson's Kamchatka stop concluded a weeklong swing through the formerSoviet Union that was largely devoted to promoting nuclear nonproliferationand improving good will with his Russian counterparts.

Americans on the trip have said they are impressed with the opennessof the Russians, who have escorted them through a nuclear weapons plantand, on Sunday, a nuclear sub base despite obvious tensions in American-Russianrelations.

Most recently, some Russian military leaders have stopped barely shortof accusing the United States or other NATO powers of sinking the Kurskin a covered-up collision.

"The signal thing about this trip today was the degree to which thenavy was willing to come forward and say, We have a huge problem and allour historic concerns about secrecy, we're going to drop," the senior EnergyDepartment official said.

Under the proposal outlined Sunday, the U.S. money would help builda so-called interim storage site for reactor parts and fuel, while theRussians would pay for dismantling the remainder of the subs.

The reactor fuel, which the Russians say is pure enough to be used innuclear weapons, would be shipped to a plant in the Ural Mountains forreprocessing into fuel for nuclear power plants.
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2.
U.S. Energy Secretary Visits Russian Submarine Base
        Reuters
        September 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Sep 4, 2000 -- (Reuters) U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardsonpraised the "courage" of Russian authorities on Sunday after visiting aonce top secret submarine base at the close of a tour aimed at making nuclearsupplies more secure.

Richardson was taken across a foggy bay to view rows of aging nuclear-poweredsubmarines due to be dismantled in the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskyon the remote Kamchatka peninsula in Russia's far east.

He was then shown six modern Oscar-class submarines similar to the Kursk,which sank with the loss of 118 lives last month in the Barents Sea offRussia's Arctic coast.

"Seeing what we saw, which would have been unthinkable 10 years ago,represents clear progress in our continuing evolving relationships," Richardson'sspokesman Stu Nagurka, speaking from Anchorage in Alaska, quoted him assaying.

"It is clear that it has not been easy for the Russians to have openedup their most secret of sites for us to see. We respect their courage andknow the world will be a safer place because of the steps they and we aretaking."

Richardson was the first ranking foreigner to visit the base, whereRussia hopes to create a facility with U.S. help to dismantle submarinereactors and dispose of their fuel.

He spent five days touring sites to help safeguard nuclear materialsagainst theft, praising a spirit of cooperation despite problems last yearsparked by Russian opposition to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

COMMISSIONS PLANTS NEAR VLADIVOSTOK

Richardson commissioned two plants near the Pacific port of Vladivostokaimed at improving security for active and spent fuel from nuclear submarines.He visited the Avangard nuclear weapons plant in Sarov in the Volga region,part of which is to be turned into a factory producing kidney dialysisequipment.

His tour included a stop in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan,which along with Ukraine and Belarus, gave up its nuclear arsenal afterthe 1991 collapse of Soviet rule.

A top Department of Energy official, Rose Gottemoeller, said the triphad gone a long way to reduce risks of post-Soviet proliferation of nuclearmaterials, sometimes by sailors trying to sell them to supplement meagerearnings.

"There is very close cooperation between the Department of Energy andthe Russian navy to secure sensitive nuclear materials," Gottemoeller,Deputy Under Secretary for Defense and Nuclear Non-Proliferation, saidby telephone from Tokyo.

"There are some quite desperate situations out there and that's whywe're so concerned about the overall security of nuclear fuel.

"It's not feasible for an individual to try to dismantle a reactor butwe consider pulling out some fuel rods a feasible proliferation threat.If you sell a couple of fuel rods one can get some materials directly usablein nuclear weapons."

Officials said the United States had allocated up to USD 7 million forthe project in Sarov, with USD 30 million set aside for the two Vladivostokplants and financing of at least USD 100 million required to complete anyfacility in Petropavlovsk.
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3.
Groups Rally Against Nuclear Storage Plan
        Galina Stolyarova
        Moscow Times
        September 1, 2000
        (for personal use only)

ST. PETERSBURG  -- As the Nuclear Power Ministry prepares to pushfor a new law to allow Russia to profit from the import of nuclear waste,200 organizations are trying to force the government to hold a referendumon the subject.
 
To do so, the organizations -- which include Greenpeace, the humanrights group Citizen's Watch, the St. Petersburg Center for Gender Studiesand the Association of Environmental Journalists --  are attemptingto gather 2 million signatures from people across the country. But someof those out canvassing say the indifference of the population is greaterthan they expected.
 
Russian environmental law bans the import of spent nuclear fuel forstorage or burial. It also forbids the disposal of imported waste at seaor in space.
 
But during the upcoming fall session of the State Duma, Nuclear PowerMinister Yevgeny Adamov plans to try to get the law amended so that Russiacan import, store and reprocess other countries' spent fuel as a way tobring in money.
 
At the moment, the law does allow spent-fuel reprocessing on Russianterritory -- which yields uranium and plutonium -- but not the storageof the subsequent and highly radioactive waste product. Technically speaking,that waste has to be shipped back to its country of origin. Ministry figuresmention the possibility of importing 20,000 tons of spent fuel over a periodof 10 to 15 years, using prepayments to improve existing storage facilitiesand build new ones.
 
The Nuclear Power Ministry has said the amendment would bring as muchas $21 billion to Russia. Dr. Claire Maden, spokeswoman for the UraniumInstitute in London, said that countries such as the United States andSweden have disposed entirely of their nuclear waste without reprocessingit, on the grounds that the by-products increased the risk of weapons proliferation.
 
"The space they have to store the spent fuel is running out, and thisis probably where the Russian plan comes in," she said.
 
During a conference on nuclear issues in St. Petersburg in June, VladimirKlimov, head of the Duma's committee on power, industry and transport,said the scheme was the perfect solution to the nuclear sector's financialproblems.
 
But Natalya Mironova of the Chelyabinsk-based group For Nuclear Safetysaid Russia needs to improve its own record on handling nuclear materialsbefore it can even think of dealing with those of other countries.
 
Viktor Danilov-Danilyan, former head of the now disbanded State Committeefor the Environment, said there is no orderly system of storing nuclearwaste in Russia. "We don't have modern storage facilities that meet eventhe most basic safety requirements," he said.
 
The petition's organizers also question the economic wisdom of theplan. "In France, storage sites have to be repaired fairly often to preventleakages [of nuclear waste]," said Alexander Karpov of the St. PetersburgNatural Science Society. "To make storage safe, we would have to spendthe lion's share of revenue raised on repairs to our sites."
 
Russian law states that 2 million signatures have to be gathered in61 of the 89 subjects of the federation before a referendum proposal cango to the Central Election Committee.
 
Karpov said signatures are now being gathered in 62 regions -- includingMoscow and St. Petersburg -- which were chosen because they have the strongestenvironmental movements.
 
But college student Dmitry Bagamov, who volunteered to gather signaturesin St. Petersburg, said most people signing are either youngsters or pensioners,with most others uninterested.
 
"Frankly, I expected more people to care about the environment," hesaid. "I have been stunned by such an indifferent attitude. It was particularlyfrustrating to find out that so many people refuse to give their passportdetails, being afraid that we will try to swindle them somehow."
 
The petition's organizers said they have gathered only about 7,000signatures in St. Petersburg so far. Nationwide numbers were not available.
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E. U.S. - Russia General

1.
Russia Wants More Arms Reductions
        Associated Press
        September 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW –– Issues of strategic stability, including a START III arms-reductiontreaty, will be a focus of President Vladimir Putin's meetings with otherworld leaders during this month's Millennium Summit,
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Saturday.

Putin will also focus on the issue in a trip to Japan ahead of the summit,which begins on Wednesday in New York.

Ivanov's statement came a day after President Clinton put off deploymentof a national missile-defense system that Russia adamantly opposed andsaid could wreck arms-control agreements.

Russia this year ratified the START II nuclear arms-reduction treaty,which the U.S. Senate ratified in 1996, and U.S. and Russian negotiatorshave discussed further reductions under a proposed START III.

But Putin has said Russia would abandon START II if the United Stateswent ahead with the missile-defense system, which would require amendingor scrapping the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that Russia considersa cornerstone of world stability.

"The conclusion of START III is possible only provided that the ABMtreaty of 1972 remains inviolable," Ivanov said, according to the newsagency Interfax.

Ivanov said Russia also wanted negotiations with other governments onreducing the arms threat around the world.

"Russia supports an intensive dialogue on questions of strategic stabilitywith other interested countries, and before all, nuclear ones," Ivanovsaid, according to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry.
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2.
Russian-U.S. Strategic  Stability Group  To Meet In New  York In  Early September
        Interfax
        September 1, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW. Sept 1 (Interfax)  - The Russian-U.S. strategic stabilitygroup is expected to convene in New York at the beginning of September,Interfax has learned.
 
Sources said the session will be held on the eve of a meeting betweenRussian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Bill Clinton that willtake place at the Millenium Summit.
 
In the strategic stability group, Russia will be represented by DeputyForeign Minister Georgy Mamedov, and the U.S., by U.S. Deputy Secretaryof State Strobe Talbot.
 
At the meeting, "a whole complex of strategic stability issues willbe discussed, including already available and new initiatives in the sphereof   bilateral and   multi-lateral cooperation to strengtheninternational security, to continue the reduction of arms, and to improvemissile-nuclear non-proliferation regimes," the sources said.
 
It is possible that North Korea's initiative to curtail its missileprogram in exchange for international assistance in launching North Koreansatellites will be addressed as well.
 
The sources laid special emphasis on the fact that the upcoming Russian-U.S.consultations  "will be based on agreements to step up dialogue onstrategic stability issues" that were reached in the course of the lastmeetings between the Russian and U.S. presidents in Moscow and at the Okinawasummit.
 
The sources recalled that in their joint statement on cooperation inthe field of strategic stability, which was adopted at the Okinawa summit,the leaders of both countries stressed their "adherence to the search fornew ways of cooperation to limit the proliferation of missiles and missiletechnologies” and said they were starting a more intensive discussion ofissues relating to the promptest possible enforcement of the START II Treatyand the further reduction of strategic forces under the future START III Treaty,  as well  as  ABM issues.
 
Moscow and Washington have said they are ready to resume and expandcooperation in the sphere of theater ABM, as well as to consider the possibilityof involving other states in it.
 
Russian-U.S. consultations on strategic stability issues have beenheld regularly since February 1999. However, so far the parties have notbeen able to reach an agreement on the destiny of the ABM Treaty.
 
Washington wants amendments, which will allow the deployment of a limitednational ABM system, to be made to the Treaty. Moscow opposes reconsiderationof the ABM Treaty and believes that the implementation of the U.S. planswill destroy the entire system of strategic stability in the world andwill initiate a new arms race.
 
Russia's position on the ABM Treaty "remains unchanged," diplomaticsources have told Interfax.
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