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Nuclear News - 09/13/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 13 September 2000


A.  Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

    1. Russo-US Uranium Contract Profitable To Russia -- Minister,Andrei Yarushin, Itar Tass (09/12/00)
B. Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR)
    1. Text: Cohen Salutes Nobel Peace Prize Nominees Nunn and Lugar,USIA (09/11/00)
C. MPC&A
    1. Naval Spent Fuel Storage Facility - Sites 32 And 34 [PreparedRemarks], Bill Richardson, U.S. Department of Energy (09/01/00)
D. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Energy Supplier Cuts Power To Military Base, RFE/RL (09/13/00)
    2. Russian Troops Block Power Shutoff, Vladimir Isachenkov,Associated Press (09/12/00)
    3. Power Company Turns Off Lights At Russian Army Base, Reuters(09/12/00)
    4. Russian Arms Stockpiles Both Timebomb And Economic Opportunity,Agence France Presse (09/12/00)
E. Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Dirty Rotten Reactors, James O. Jackson, Time Europe (09/18/00)
    2. Atomic Minister Substantiates Putin’s Nuclear Initiative,Gazeta.Ru (09/13/00)
F. Nuclear Waste
    1. Russia Acquits Nuclear Dissenter Nikitin, Michael Steen,Reuters (09/13/00)
    2. Deputies Dump Kuriles Nuclear Tomb Plan, Itar Tass, (09/13/00)
    3. News Briefing [Floating Radioactive Waste Facility],Uranium Institute (09/12/00)

A. Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)

1.
Russo-US Uranium Contract Profitable To Russia -- Minister
        Andrei Yarushin
        Itar Tass
        September 12, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The highly enriched and low enriched uranium (HEU-LEU) contract implementedin the framework of an the Russo-US agreement on utilization of highlyenriched uranium obtained from Russian nuclear weapons proved very profitableto Russia and has done a lot of good to this country, said Russian AtomicEnergy Minister Yevgeny Adamov at a press conference at the Itar-Tass newsagency on Tuesday. Under the contract, around 30 tons of highly enricheduranium obtained from nuclear warheads are utilized annually, the ministersaid.

The minister declared that the deal made in the early 1990s is absolutelyopen for checks and that it had been checked many times by the RussianAudit Chamber and other commissions. Thanks to the realization of the contractthe activities for conversion or our eneterprises and creation of workplaces for the personnel of the nuclear defence complex have been financedat the amount reaching two billion roubles year, Adamov said. Until thecontract is over, it is quite realistic to provide work places to all thosedismissed from the nuclear fence complex, Adamov said. The realizationof the contract will continue for ten more years, and by the year 2005,a total of 40,000 work places are expected to be created, Adamov said.

Another advantaged offered by the contract is to sharply increase theexpenditures on ecological projects. Earlier, approximately 20-50 millionroubles a year had been allocated for ecological projects, whereas now,we have much more funds for this purpose -- over one billion roubles raisedthanks to the HEU-LEU contract.

A third advantage is the possibility to increase expenditures on utilisationof Russian nuclear submarines. Earlier, the Russian Defence Ministry hadallocated around 100 million roubles for this purpose, whereas over thepast two years the same allocations are nearing a billion rouble mark,to say nothing of workers employed at industries converting highly enricheduranium into low enriched uranium and whose wages are going up to the levelof 9,000-10,000 roubles a month, Adamov said.
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B. Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR)

1.
Text: Cohen Salutes Nobel Peace Prize Nominees Nunn and Lugar
        USIA
        September 11, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The "groundbreaking legislation" that bears the names of former SenatorSam Nunn (Democrat, Georgia) and Senator Richard Lugar (Republican, Indiana)has enabled the Department of Defense to make "huge strides towards reducingthe threat to the United States posed by nuclear weapons in Russia, Ukraine,Kazakhstan and Belarus," Defense Secretary Cohen said September 11 in awritten statement welcoming their nomination for the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize.

He said that through the 1991 legislation, the Defense Department'sCooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program has been able to enhance safety,security, control and accounting of nuclear weapons and fissile materialsto prevent dangerous proliferation.

Following is the text of Cohen's remarks:
(begin text)

"I was glad to learn of the nomination of my friends and former colleaguesSenators Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar for the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize. The groundbreakinglegislation that bears their names is a lasting testament to the valueand power of bipartisan action on foreign and defense policy.

"Under authorities granted by the Nunn-Lugar legislation in 1991, theDepartment of Defense has made huge strides towards reducing the threatto the United States posed by nuclear weapons in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstanand Belarus. The Department's Cooperative Threat Reduction program hasassisted Russia in accelerating its strategic arms reductions to STARTlevels, and enhanced safety, security, control and accounting of nuclearweapons and fissile materials to prevent dangerous proliferation.

"The foresight and leadership shown by Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar has enabledU.S. assistance to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus to deactivatemore than 5,000 strategic warheads, destroy more than 400 ICBMs (intercontinentalballistic missiles), eliminate more than 60 heavy bombers and destroy 15Russian ballistic missile submarines. This is a vast array of weapons thatno longer endanger the United States, our allies or our friends.

"I salute Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar for their lasting contribution toour national security and that of the entire world."
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C. MPC&A

1.
Naval Spent Fuel Storage Facility - Sites 32 And 34 [Prepared Remarks]
        Bill Richardson
        U.S. Department of Energy
        September 1, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Vladivostok, Russia  - Prepared Remarks

This is an occasion for celebration, but one also of sadness. I firstwant to offer my personal condolences, and those of the American people,for the loss of the brave sailors aboard the Kursk. We in the United Statessympathize deeply with your loss, as we have also felt the pain of suchtragedies. The 1960s saw the sinking of the U.S. submarines the Thresherand the Scorpion, with great loss of life. We grieved then as you are grievingnow. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

This tragedy should remind us of the dangers we face and the grave importanceof the urgent work that is needed to secure nuclear materials for the healthand welfare of the world's people. That work we do today as we commissionthe completed Material Protection Control and Accountancy improvementsfor the Nuclear Fuel Storage Facilities at Sites 32 and 34. This is thelatest chapter of the successful cooperation between the U.S. Energy Departmentand the Russian Navy.

I thank you for giving us another unique opportunity to visit importantsites such as this one in our joint work. Continued access to sites isvital to our technical teams as they work with you to do the best, safestjob possible.

With the Navy Northern Fleet Refueling Ship PM-63 and Site 49 StorageFacility commissioned last September, and with the Pacific fleet refuelingship PM-74 commissioned just yesterday, the U.S. Government and the RussianFederation have important models that show us how to contain costs forthe Material Protection Control and Accountancy program while providingsecure facilities in which to store proliferation-sensitive fuel.

Our cooperation in this sensitive arena requires a great deal of trustbetween our Russian colleagues and ourselves. Through sheer effort anda shared understanding of how important this work is to the security ofboth our nations, we have forged this trust.

The success of our joint cooperation here is further evidence that wecan cooperate, no matter the sensitivity of the site, to achieve importantresults. Site 32, and Site 34, are models for our cooperation. Thank you.
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D. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
Energy Supplier Cuts Power To Military Base
        RFE/RL
        September 13, 2000
        (for personal use only)

In a dispute over unpaid bills, the Ivanovo energy distribution company,Ivenergo, cut off electricity supplies to a Strategic Rocket Forces basein the oblast on 11 September, until troops seized the power station andresumed those supplies, Russian agencies reported the next day. Agreementhas since been reached between the supplier and the base on the paymentof the latter's 19.25 million ruble ($692,000) debt. A spokesman for theStrategic Rocket Forces was quoted as saying that the temporary power cuthad not affected the military capability of the base, only the homes ofpersonnel and staff headquarters. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov slammedthe cut-off as "inadmissible," saying that the base was on the list oftop priority energy consumers not to be disconnected. In June, StrategicRocket Force troops took over four power plants after the Altaienergo companythreatened to cut off electricity supplies to a local unit of the force(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 June 2000).
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2.
Russian Troops Block Power Shutoff
        Vladimir Isachenkov
        Associated Press
        September 12, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW –– Under intense pressure to collect unpaid bills, a Russianelectrical utility cut off power to a strategic missile base – which retaliatedby sending troops to seize a switching station and turn the lights backon.

The drastic moves were a symptom of Russia's chronic web of nonpayment,in which large companies and government agencies don't pay cash for energy,raw materials and taxes – a habit that economists say drags down the economy.

A local branch of the national electricity utility, Unified Energy Systems,cut power Monday to a Strategic Rocket Forces base about 60 miles northeastof Moscow, saying it owed about $683,000.

"We have been pushing them for one year to pay for the energy on time,with no result," Yuri Kozlov, the head of the Teikovo power grid, saidon RTR government television.

The military responded quickly, capturing a switching station. "We haveorders not to let any operator switch off the power," said Lt. Sergei Nikiforov,who commanded the platoon that occupied the station.

The military later agreed to talks on settling debts and recalled thesoldiers, and the utility agreed to keep the power on, according to a powercompany statement.

The company, which controls most of Russia's power grid, is a key linkin a vast chain of barter, offsets and in-kind payments that economistssay creates hidden subsidies that keep Soviet-era industrial dinosaursalive for political reasons.

Dmitry Korshunov, the power company's spokesman in Moscow, told TheAssociated Press the cutoff had only affected non-combat units at the base,"and only after repeated warnings."

Institutions subjected to blackouts for unpaid bills in recent yearshave at times included hospitals, an air traffic control center, coal minesand a city sewage plant. In 1995, sailors at an Arctic submarine base forcedengineers to turn the power back on at gunpoint after a cutoff threatenedto disrupt the cooling system on a submarine's nuclear reactor.

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov assailed this week's cutoff, sayingit was "impermissible" since military bases were on a list of institutionsthat could not be cut off.

The electricity utility, headed by the government's former chief economicpolicy-maker, Anatoly Chubais, has been trying to collect unpaid bills,in part because it is facing pressure from natural gas giant Gazprom topay its own bill for the gas it uses.

Korshunov said the utility would continue pushing all customers, includingthe military, to pay. "We will act in a very tough manner," he said. "Ifwe don't collect debts, we will have no money to buy fuel during the winter."
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3.
Power Company Turns Off Lights At Russian Army Base
        Reuters
        September 12, 2000
        (for personal use only)
 
MOSCOW, Sept 12 (Reuters) - A Russian power company said on Tuesdayit had temporarily cut off electricity to a military base due to a rowover debts, but soon restored it.

The base belongs to the Strategic Rocket Forces, which controls Russia'sland-based arsenal of nuclear weapons.

``We cut them off yesterday but almost immediately reconnected them.Last night, we came to an agreement and they promised to pay up,'' saidVladimir Kazbayev, the main engineer at the Ivanovo energy distributioncompany (Ivenergo).

The base is in the town of Teikovo, northeast of Moscow. It owes about15 million roubles ($540,000) to his company, Kazbayev told Reuters.

It was not clear if there were nuclear weapons at the base.

A spokesman for the Strategic Rocket Forces, Vyacheslav Davidenko, saidthe power cut had not affected the military capability of the base, onlythe homes of personnel and the staff headquarters.

``Everything has now been resolved,'' he said.

Russian power companies frequently resort to power cuts in order topersuade cashapped customers to pay up. Such disputes have in the pasthalted trams in major cities.

Strategically important installations, such as military bases, are usuallyspared such tactics, although Davidenko said it was by no means the firsttime that electricity supplies had been halted to military bases becauseof financial problems.

Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov was quoted by Itar-Tass news agencyas saying the incident was intolerable and that the Finance Ministry paidthe Defence Ministry sufficient funds to cover its electricity bills.

``This is a sad, completely mistaken and categorically intolerable incident,''he said.

Russia's vast armed forces have been suffering a big shortfall in fundssince the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev was recently quoted as saying the armedforces would be cut by almost a third by 2003 to save money. Among theareas to be trimmed are the Strategic Rocket Forces, which Sergeyev usedto head.

Over the weekend, a failure in Russia's creaking electricity grid forcedRussia to shut down several nuclear reactors, including those at a gargantuantop-secret fuel reprocessing plant, officials disclosed on Monday.

They assured the public there was no danger, but the head of the huge,secret Mayak reprocessing plant, in the remote Ural mountains, said onlyhis staff's ``near-military'' vigilance had prevented serious trouble,such as harmful emissions.

($-27.84 roubles)
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4.
Russian Arms Stockpiles Both Timebomb And Economic Opportunity
        Agence France Presse
        September 12, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MURMANSK, Russia, Sept 12 (AFP) - The Russian Northern Fleet has builtup huge stocks of obsolete missiles, torpedoes and shells that are simultaneouslytimebombs and a golden economic opportunity for local residents.

Many of the arms depots here are laxly guarded, a nearly open invitationto thieves to make off with thousands of tonnes of weaponry, quite asidefrom the explosive danger these stockpiles present to people living nearby.

But at this northwestern Russian port on the Arctic Ocean, about 200former military officials and their families are taking advantage of theeconomic opportunities that come with dismantling the weapons.

They earn up to 2000 rubles (72 dollars) a month in addition to theirmonthly pension of 4000 rubles, nearly double the average local salaries.

That is an enviable income in an area battered by an economic crisisand major cutbacks in the defense budget.

The cashapped Russian army is no longer able to adequately guardthe depots, and barbed wire on top of the fences and walls does not deterthieves.

"The number of (military) units charged with guarding the stocks hasgone down and the security has gravely deteriorated," Georgy Brusilovsky,a former Russian military officer, told AFP.

He is now the chief engineer for the Metpererabotka-Sever company, whichhas since February of this year been in charge of dismantling and recyclingweapons.

"The only solution is to recycle," he said.

The security problems became particularly acute to the 400,000 residentsof Murmansk towards the end of last year, when a shell was found in thestairwell of a local building.

The investigation revealed that children had put the shell there afterstealing it from a nearby depot, which showed police how easy it was toget into such places.

In May and June of this year, residents in Saint Petersburg learnedhow dangerous such depots can become, when a series of explosions was onlybrought under control at the last minute.

An explosion at a weapons depot in the Ural region in June 1998 killed14 people.

In a red brick building in the middle of the Northern Fleet base, employeesdismantle weapons of all shapes and sizes, removing explosive charges fromshells and recycling the brass from cartridges, all under the watchfuleyes of security forces.

The company plans to recycle about 6,000 weapons every day.

About 50 people work here, all of them former Russian military officers,their wives or other members of their families.

The company belongs to Metpererabotka, a group founded in Moscow in1998 by former high-ranking military officials.

Residents welcomed the company to Murmansk, especially for the economicopportunities it brought them.

But "we're not engaged in altruism," said Garegin Tsaturov, also a formermilitary officer, who now heads the main shareholder bank for Metpererabotka.

"Recycling weapons is an attractive activity from an economic pointof view," he said.

The bank will recoup the initial investment of 500,000 dollars withina year, he said.

One tonne of brass can fetch between 700 and 900 dollars on the Russianmarket, Andrei Vassiliev, who heads the Murmansk recycling company, said.

The integrated systems of many of the torpedoes and ballistic missilesbeing recycled are also rich in gold and other precious metals.
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E. Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Dirty Rotten Reactors
        James O. Jackson
        Time Europe
        September 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)

While the West phases out nuclear power, Russia refurbishes its oldplants and builds new ones

West Europeans may think that shutting down nuclear power stations innearly every country but France will make Europe a safer place. But thiswell-intentioned initiative may actually serve to increase the danger ofa nuclear accident. For every relatively safe Western plant to be shutdown in coming years, Russia plans to build at least one new one or refurbishan obsolete and potentially dangerous one.

The logic is simple. Western Europe will have to import energy, largelyin the form of natural gas, to fill the gap left by its decommissionednuclear plants. The Russian government has figured out that its nucleargenerators - lacking the sophistication and elaborate safety features imposedon Western nukes - can produce electricity more cheaply than gas- or coal-firedstations. Thus, the plan is for Russia to use nuclear power for much ofits own electricity needs while the government-owned monopoly Gazprom sellsits vast natural gas reserves in the West. "We plan to develop nuclearenergy in such a way that it is both good for the country and advantageousfor Gazprom," says Vladimir Vinogradov, deputy minister at the RussianMinistry of Atomic Energy. "Given the impact of fossil fuels on the climateand environment, we must develop nuclear power."

Even as the West cuts back, Russia plans to triple its nuclear powergenerating capacity with a $25 billion expansion strategy that by 2030will increase the number of operating reactors from 29 to 59, some of themto be financed with the help of E.U. loans. At the same time, Russian engineerswill be upgrading old reactors, including the country's dangerous rbmkunits similar to the one that exploded at Chernobyl in 1986. Ukraine hasannounced plans to shut down the remaining units at Chernobyl itself byDecember 2000, but even older rbmk units at Kursk and St. Petersburg areto be overhauled and equipped with stopgap safety improvements to prolongtheir lives for another three decades.

The Russians also plan to earn huge fees for storing and reprocessingradioactive waste piling up unwanted in the West - including spent fuelfrom the European reactors that will be decommissioned in coming years.That means building and expanding controversial fast-breeder reactors,a technology largely abandoned in the West, to make use of reprocesseduranium fuel as well as the plutonium from the 20,000 Russian nuclear warheadsbeing dismantled under arms control treaties.

"The Nuclear Energy Ministry believes that the future of nuclear energylies with fast reactors," says Vladimir Kuznetsov, a former official ofGosatomnadzor, the Russian nuclear safety service who is now an adviserto the Russian ecological organization Green Cross International, headedby Mikhail Gorbachev. He says the ministry plans to use weapons-grade plutoniumfrom decommissioned warheads to produce mox - mixed plutonium and uraniumoxides - as fuel for fast breeders. "Handling uranium is not a problem,"he says. "But plutonium is highly toxic, and it is not yet clear how itshould be handled and what consequences its use might have."

The consequences of operating Soviet-designed and operated nuclear plantswere dramatically illustrated at Chernobyl, but that was not the only nuclearaccident in the former Soviet Union's history. A confidential report preparedby a group of experts earlier this year for the Russian government saidthat during the past 50 years there have been 384 reactor accidents withrelease of radiation, causing 58 deaths and 214 cases of acute radiationpoisoning - and that does not count the Aug. 12 sinking of the nuclearsubmarine Kursk.

By comparison the French nuclear power industry, with twice as manyreactors as Russia, has had just one accidental release of radiation withno deaths. "Reactors of Russian design would not be licensable in Westerncountries because they do not have all of the safety features that aremandatory, such as a containment dome over the top," says David Kyd, spokesmanfor the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. He says the morerecent Russian designs use "confinement," a tower containing a cascadeof tanks intended to capture and condense radioactive steam escaping froman out-of-control reactor. But the system, says Kyd, "has never been testedon a full-scale model and has never been tested - thank goodness - in reality."

Many Russian reactors are deficient even by Moscow's lax standards."None of the Russian nuclear plants fully meets current safety requirements,"Kuznetsov asserts. "None has gone through a procedure of thorough examinationfor safety." The worst are the Chernobyl-type rbmk reactors. They lackeven the "confinement" cascades built into other Soviet-era designs. Theyalso rely on flammable graphite, a form of carbon, to moderate the speedof neutrons so a controlled nuclear reaction can take place. Most otherreactors, including the latest Russian designs, use water both as the moderatingelement and coolant. If a water-moderated reactor loses coolant there maybe overheating and even an explosion, but the reaction slows down whencoolant is lost.

When an rbmk reactor loses its water coolant the graphite remains inplace and a nuclear reaction continues producing heat that, combined withoxygen, can set the graphite on fire. In the Chernobyl accident a furiousblaze in the uncovered core burned for nine days, sending vast clouds ofhighly radioactive particles into the atmosphere and around the world."They should be shut down," declares Kuznetsov. He says plans to upgradeold rbmks and complete others, such as the half-finished unit 5 at theKursk power station that was mothballed after the Chernobyl disaster, shouldbe scrapped. "The commissioning of Kursk 5 should not even be discussed,"he says. "It's criminal."

But Russian officials insist that new safety measures like trainingsimulators, faster-acting control rods and upgraded control computers makeeven rbmks safe to operate. And thanks to the West's high-minded decisionto phase out nuclear power and the resulting hunger for natural gas, Russia'smost dangerous reactors will continue operating for decades to come. Ifanother one goes the way of Chernobyl, West Europeans may come to regretdecisions to scrap their unloved - but safer - nuclear reactors.

With reporting by Jan Stojaspal / Prague and Yuri Zarakhovich / Moscow
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2.
Atomic Minister Substantiates Putin’s Nuclear Initiative
        Gazeta.Ru
        September 13, 2000
        (for personal use only)

On Tuesday the head of Russia’s Atomic Power Ministry Yevgeny Adamovheld a press conference to further explain the objectives of the “nuclearinitiative” proposed by Vladimir Putin at the United Nations MillenniumSummit in New York. The ambitious proposal is unique in so far as Russianscience has taken the political initiative.

Given that it was Russian nuclear power experts who conceived and elaboratedthe proposal put forward by Vladimir Putin at the UN summit in New York,Adamov said he felt somewhat insulted by the media’s lack of attentionto the global initiative. He said the proposal could exert a major influencenot only on politics and the environment, but also on the global economy.

The minister began the briefing by complaining that the Russian presshad failed to pay due attention to the new “nuclear initiative” proposedby Vladimir Putin at the UN Millennium Summit.

Adamov said that the reports that had emerged were written by “peoplewho could not distinguish an electrode from an electron, or reactivityfrom radiation.”

Adamov noted that Vladimir Putin’s proposal had been received with interestall over the world and that the International Atomic Energy Agency andis on the list of top priority issues in the agenda of the agency’s summitto open next Monday.

The essence of the initiative, reportedly the result of 15 year’s work,comes down to three vital points. At least for Vladimir Putin and otherleaders of ‘nuclear power states’, the political aspect is the most significant.

The Russian atomic experts’proposal, endorsed by Putin, calls for aban on the deployment of weapon-grade materials such as enriched uraniumand plutonium. They claim universally adopted, the ban would make the proliferationof nuclear weapons practically impossible.

As for the environmental aspect of the proposal, the scientists claimthat if all resources were concentrated exclusively on the ‘peaceful’ useof nuclear materials, new technology could ensure that atomic energy wouldbe made absolutely safe.

Adamov explained that this could be achieved through arranging so-calledclosed cycle, whereby detrimental elements would be almost completely burnt,which would ensure that the radiation levels of nuclear waste not wouldnot exceed natural radiation levels. Adamov also claimed that the environmentwould benefit enormously from a full conversion to nuclear power.

As for the economic aspect, according to the experts’ estimations, nuclearpower is potentially far cheaper than any oil, gas and other recyclablenatural resources.

Admittedly, uranium reserves are also limited, but, according to theexperts, this is no big problem for closed cycle generation would providefor the use of recycled nuclear materials, thus saving reserves and significantlycutting the cost of nuclear energy.

The Atomic Ministry is not demanding any subsidies from the state budget.The Ministry has enough funds to conduct large-scale scientific research.However, according to the Ministry’s forecasts, if power stations are notduly maintained and further developed, in some 25 years their resourceswill be fully depleted and thus the Ministry would be deprived of its sourceof income. If the existing nuclear power stations are renovated, theirlifespan will be increased, but production capacities will steadily decrease.Thus the Atomic Ministry has put forward the plan to implement new technologiesthat would provide for a three-fold increase in the production of nuclearpower within a 30-years period.

The concept is a component of the “nuclear power development strategyof Russia in the 1st half of the 21st century”, approved by the governmentat the end of May, and now Putin.

The main problem with nuclear power production is the danger of accidents.At the conference the chief of the Atomic Ministry said that in recentyears the danger has decreased, but still it is much higher compared toother energy sources. The Minister also noted, that “notwithstanding thelow probability, the Chernobyl disaster happened all the same.” Adamovis convinced that in the past years the situation has improved and, infact, there is nothing to worry about.

The Minister calmly replied to the journalists’ question concerningthe shut down of a reactor at the Beloyarsky nuclear power plant last Saturday.Adamov said the reactor was shut down after a power surge. No radiationsleaks were reported. The Minister blamed the incident on RAO Unified EnergySystems.

Yevgeny Adamov is far more concerned about “the incomprehension withinsociety” about the necessity of implementing new technologies. The Ministerdrew a comparison between nuclear fuel and electricity. “Electricity isalso potentially very dangerous.” He said he hoped that people would getused nuclear power in the same way as we have become used to electricity.
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F. Nuclear Waste

1.
Russia Acquits Nuclear Dissenter Nikitin
        Michael Steen
        Reuters
        September 13, 2000
        (for personal use only)
 
MOSCOW, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Russia's Supreme Court rejected on Wednesdaya bid by prosecutors to reopen the long-running case of anti-nuclear activistAlexander Nikitin, acquitted of espionage charges.

To applause from the public gallery, a judge leading the court's presidium-- the highest judicial body in Russia -- finally put an end to prosecutors'attempts to reopen a trial for high treason that captured internationalattention.

``We've finished this case that's lasted five years and today I'm veryhappy,'' Nikitin told reporters outside the courtroom. ``What happenedwas a celebration of law and justice.''

The former navy captain was arrested in 1996 by the FSB security service,a successor to the Soviet-era KGB, after publishing information about radioactivepollution in Arctic seas in reports for the Norwegian environmental groupBellona.

He was imprisoned for 10 months before being freed pending trial.

The presidium's decision, confirming an earlier Supreme Court ruling,is final and marks the first ever acquittal of a Russian detained on chargesof high treason in Soviet or post-Soviet times.

``This is a very, very small step towards creating a state ruled bylaw,'' Nikitin said.

Russia's General Prosecutor's office was accused last August by theU.S. State Department of ``the appearance of political manipulation ofthe legal system'' when it moved to review Nikitin's case.

He was acquitted by a St Petersburg court last year, a ruling laterupheld by the Supreme Court.

KURSK SUBMARINE'S NUCLEAR REACTORS

Nikitin provided Bellona with information about the safety systems for``third generation'' nuclear naval reactors similar to those fitted onboard the Kursk submarine, which sank in the Barents Sea a month ago, killingall 118 crew members.

He also passed on details of the dumping of nuclear waste from 1965-89and Soviet nuclear submarine accidents.

Prosecutors said this amounted to high treason, while Nikitin and Bellonasaid the information was of environmental importance and was not subjectto Russian secrecy laws.

Frederic Hauge, the president of Bellona, said the court's decisionshowed Russia's constitution could beat the security services.

``We have shown young Russians that if you fight, you can win. And theyneed to see that in this country,'' he said.

Nikitin hugged and kissed friends and supporters and said he blamedhis five-year-long legal battle on vested interest groups who had not cometo terms with the end of the Soviet Union.

``There are still forces in this state who will not give ground. Theseare people living in the past, these are people who won't give us informationwhich affects the environment and our health,'' he said.

He would live and work in Russia, he said, and continue to campaignon ecological issues for Bellona. Hauge said the group would see througha complaint filed by Nikitin to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
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2.
Deputies Dump Kuriles Nuclear Tomb Plan
        Itar Tass
        September 13, 2000
        (for personal use only)

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, September 13 (Itar-Tass) - Plans to entomb nuclearwaste from other countries in Russia's Far East Kurile Islands have beenrejected by the Sakhalin Regional Duma.

The idea was thrown out by the Duma commission on the use of naturalresources and ecology, a spokesman for the Duma press service told Tass.

Russia's State Duma had submitted for Sakhalin's review three draftlaws providing for the creation by Russia's Kurchatov research instituteof a nuclear waste entombment facility on Simushir Island. Sakhalin Dumadeputies voiced surprise that Russian scientists had lobbied for a Japanese-Taiwanesecompany, Asia TAT Trading, planning to bring used nuclear fuel from Asiannuclear power plants to the Kuriles. Simushir is in one of the most seismic-activezones of the world. Sakhalin deputies said this posed the threat of nuclearcontamination far worse than the Chernobyl catastrophe.
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3.
News Briefing [Floating Radioactive Waste Facility]
        Uranium Institute
        September 12, 2000
        (for personal use only)

[NB00.37-12] Russia: The commissioning of a floating complex for processingliquid radioactive waste from nuclear powered submarines in the Primoryeregion has been given the go-ahead by Russian nuclear regulators. The Landyshfacility - built in cooperation with Japan - will process 7000 cubic metresof liquid radwaste annually. The facility will officially be transferredto Russian ownership on 6 October. (NucNet News, 293/00, 6 September; seealso News Briefing 97.24-14)
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