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Nuclear News - 10/02/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 02 October 2000


    1. Nuclear Materials Controls To Be Tightened, Mikhail Kotov, (10/02/00)
    2. Ministry Notes Drop in Nuclear Material Theft, Reuters(09/30/00)
    3. Russian Premier Says All Fissile Materials Under State Control,Doubts Remain, Segodnya (reported by BBC Monitoring) (09/29/00)
B. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Russia Extends Service Life Of Its SS-18 Missiles, Itar-Tass(10/02/00)
C. Russia - Iran
    1. Statement on Iran's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs tothe International Security, Proliferation and Federal Services Subcommitteeof the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Deputy Director, DCINonproliferation Center A. Norman Schindler, U.S Department of State, InternationalInformation Programs (09/21/00)
D. U.S. - Russia General
    1. No Simple Truths About Russia, Michael McFaul, WashingtonPost (09/30/00)


Nuclear Materials Controls To Be Tightened
        Mikhail Kotov
        October 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Russian cabinet has admitted that state authorities have failedto exercise sufficient control over nuclear materials and as a consequence,there have been numerous attempts to steal nuclear materials. Prime MinisterKasyanov has promised to improve the situation and promised that consolidatedcontrol over the nuclear materials will be established by 2001.

At Thursday’s cabinet meeting the Russian government ministers discussedthe blueprint for a federal system of registration and control of fissionablematerials.

According Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, in the Soviet Union a strongand highly efficient system of consolidated control over nuclear materialsexisted and persons who had access to those materials were personally liablefor the safe use of those materials.  From 1945 till 1991 there wereonly two attempts to steal registered nuclear materials, whereas in 1991-1999,there were twenty-three such attempts.

An official with the Atomic Ministry Vitaly Nassonov has informed Gazeta.Ruthat at present there is no consolidated system of nuclear materials registrationand therefore, it is very difficult to track the quantity, deployment andtransportation of nuclear materials.

Currently, control of nuclear materials is the responsibility of severalgovernment agencies and state-controlled organizations: Amongst othersthose are the Atomic Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the Ministry of EmergencySituations, State Atomic Inspectorate (Gosatomnadzor).

At present, the agencies which deal with fissionable materials use twomethods of regulation: bookkeeping and technical registration. The secondmethods provides for registering quantities at all stages of processingand storing.

The enterprises that produce and store and distribute nuclear materialshave to present quarterly reports on the amount stored and distributionetc.

There are 61 enterprises in Russia that store nuclear materials. 14of those are beyond the Atomic Ministry’s jurisdiction. According to theMinistry’s estimations, it is necessary to establish control over approximately70 enterprises and organizations that belong to 13 federal executive powerorgans.

The Russian government has since long attempted to create a consolidatedsystem of control over nuclear materials. This goal was set in 1996.

The government’s latest initiative stipulates that all data concerningnuclear materials will be accumulated in the federal nuclear control datacenter.

In order to implement the new measures, special legal acts stipulatingthe liability of the persons granted access to nuclear materials need tobe devised and passed.

According to Kasyanov, the necessary paper work is being completed butthe main obstacle is a poor state of finances.

Two years ago the concept of the unified system of nuclear control waselaborated. The concept outlined the jurisdiction of the Atomic Ministry,State Atomic Inspectorate, Interior Ministry and other agencies, and ofthe State Academy of Science.

However, resulting from dispute with the Atomic Inspectorate, the conceptremained merely a concept.

Besides, the governmental resolution dated July 10, 1998 did not stipulatefor allotting any financing for the implementation of the concept fromthe state budget and therefore, control over nuclear materials was in factfinanced by the enterprises concerned.

Eventually, in January this year, the state allotted 70 million rublesfor a period of 7 years. However, according to experts’ estimations, 30times that amount is required for the measures to be effective.

Nevertheless, in July 2000 the Atomic Ministry launched a pilot modelof the Federal nuclear control data center into operation.

At Thursday’s cabinet meeting, the ministers drew up instructions foragencies in charge of control over nuclear materials, first and foremostthe Atomic Ministry, to speed up the solution of outstanding problems.

The government also promised to raise additional funding for nuclearmaterials control program.
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Ministry Notes Drop in Nuclear Material Theft
        September 30, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Nuclear officials said that attempted thefts of fissile nuclear materialshad fallen in recent years, but also complained that funds were short toestablish a proper accounting system for them.

Deputy Nuclear Energy Minister Valentin Ivanov told a news conferenceafter a Cabinet meeting Thursday that only two attempted thefts of suchmaterials had been recorded between 1995 and 1999 compared to 21 over thefour previous years.

Ivanov said Western reports of 90 such instances were untrue.

Nuclear Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov later told ORT television thatthefts were still theoretically possible. But it was difficult to disposeof nuclear materials and turn a profit.

"It is possible, of course, to steal anything to a certain extent,"he said. "The events of recent years show this.

"But there have only been a few instances, mainly between 1992 and 1995.Interest in this has since fallen off. You might steal nuclear fuel rods,for instance, but what do you do with them then?"

The press periodically reports on the theft of nuclear materials fromarmy bases or other sites, usually blaming criminals or servicemen or individualslooking for a quick source of cash.

Ivanov said nuclear materials were held by 61 different institutionsin the country and the government lacked funds to establish modern accountingmethods to keep track of stocks.

He said more than 2 billion rubles (about $70 million) was requiredover five years to create such a system, but that only 70 million rubles($2.3 million) had been allocated.
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Russian Premier Says All Fissile Materials Under State Control,Doubts Remain
        Segodnya (reported by BBCMonitoring)
        September 29, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Russian Federation Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov assured the publicyesterday that all Russian fissile materials are under the state's control."There is constant monitoring of the functioning of sectors associatedwith nuclear energy," the head of government reported. This, ideally, ishow it should be: Whichever department uranium or lithium pass through,they remain the property of the Russian Federation. In fact, however, itturns out that everything is not so simple.

Control on the part of the Russian government is kept afloat by financialtransfusions from Russia's "foreign friends" in the United States and Europe,who pay for 90 per cent of it, and is exercised using Western equipment.This was reported yesterday by Valentin Ivanov, first deputy minister ofatomic energy.

The government was meeting to examine the concept of the federal systemfor recording and controlling fissile materials, whose coordination hasbeen entrusted to the atomic energy ministry. Ivanov reported that theproposals submitted mainly boil down to how to collect nuclear materialsfrom 61 enterprises scattered around 44 Regions and to concentrate themin the atomic energy ministry's structures equipped with modern means ofrecording and control. Supervision is planned with the help of Russianequipment. In particular, it is necessary to monitor by satellite the movementof loads.

It is an excellent plan, but almost unrealizable - primarily becauseof the lack of a normative-legal base, which would enable the atomic energyministry to exercise undivided "sway" over nuclear materials. This is preciselywhat the ministry is seeking: Ivanov reported that the atomic energy ministryhas drawn up and submitted to the government an intersectoral programme,in which it will act as both the client and the executor.

The second difficulty is that Russia does not possess the necessaryequipment to create the system. The few instruments which do, nonetheless,exist are nothing more than experimental models. To judge from what thedeputy minister said yesterday, the state allocates almost no money todeveloping them. In all, according to the deputy minister, it has beendecided to allocate R70m over six years to creating the system. Accordingto the atomic energy ministry's estimates, it is necessary to find R2bnover five years. Thus, Russia cannot afford the peaceful atom.
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B. Russian Nuclear Forces

Russia Extends Service Life Of Its SS-18 Missiles
        October 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Moscow, 2nd October, ITAR-TASS correspondent Nikolay Novikov: The commandof the Strategic Rocket Troops has decided to extend the service life ofthe group of RS-20 intercontinental ballistic missiles (SS-18 Satan inNATO parlance) to 24 years.

The decision was taken following the successful launch on 26th Septemberof an RS-20 that had been upgraded as part of the "Dnepr" programme, ITAR-TASSwas told today by a spokesman for the Strategic Rocket Troops general staff.That launch took five small satellites from Italy, Saudi Arabia and Malaysiainto orbit.

Depending on the outcome of the next RS-20 launch, the plan is to extendthe missile's service life to 25 years, the spokesman said.

The RS-20 is the most reliable of Russia's intercontinental ballisticmissiles. It has been in service with the military for over 20 years, duringwhich time 159 practice launches have been carried out with just four failures.
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C. Russia - Iran

Statement on Iran's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs to theInternational Security, Proliferation and Federal Services Subcommitteeof the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
        Deputy Director, DCI NonproliferationCenter A. Norman Schindler
        U.S Department of State,International Information Programs
        September 21, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Mr. Chairman, as Mr. Walpole indicated, I will provide a summary ofIran's WMD programs -- the programs designed to produce the weapons tobe delivered by the missile systems Mr. Walpole described, as well as byother delivery means. The Iranians regard these as extremely sensitiveprograms and go to great lengths to hide them from us. As a result, ourknowledge of these programs is based on extremely sensitive sources andmethods. This precludes me from providing many details on the programsin open session. But I hope this summary will be of use to the Committee,and we are prepared to provide additional details in classified briefings.


Mr. Chairman, I'd like to begin with a few comments on Iran's nuclearand nuclear weapons program. The Intelligence Community judges that Iranis actively pursuing the acquisition of fissile material and the expertiseand technology necessary to form the material into nuclear weapons. Aspart of this process, Iran is attempting to develop the capability to produceboth plutonium and highly-enriched uranium.

Iran is seeking nuclear-related equipment, material, and technical expertisefrom a variety of foreign sources, especially in Russia. Tehran claimsthat it is attempting to master nuclear technology for civilian researchand nuclear energy programs. However, in that guise it is developing wholefacilities -- such as a uranium conversion facility -- that could be usedto support the production of fissile material for a nuclear weapon.

-- Despite international efforts to curb the flow of critical technologiesand equipment, Tehran continues to seek fissile material and technologyfor weapons development and has established an elaborate system of covertmilitary and civilian organizations to support its acquisition goals.

Cooperation with foreign suppliers is helping Iran augment its nucleartechnology infrastructure, which in turn will be useful in supporting nuclearweapons research and development. The expertise and technology gained,along with the commercial channels and contacts established -- even fromcooperation that appears strictly civilian in nature -- could be used toadvance Iran's nuclear weapons effort.

-- Work continues on the construction of a 1,000-megawatt nuclear powerreactor at Bushehr that will be subject to International Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA) safeguards. This project will not directly support a weaponseffort, but it affords Iran broad access to Russia's nuclear industry.

-- Russian entities are interacting with Iranian nuclear research centerson a wide variety of activities beyond the Bushehr project. Many of theseprojects have direct application to the production of weapons-grade fissilematerial.

-- China pledged in 1997 not to engage in any new nuclear cooperationwith Iran but said it would complete two ongoing nuclear projects, a smallresearch reactor and a zirconium production facility that Iran will useto produce cladding for reactor fuel. As a party to the Nuclear NonproliferationTreaty (NPT), Iran is required to apply IAEA safeguards to nuclear fuel,but safeguards are not required for the zirconium plant or its products.

Mr. Chairman, the Intelligence Community continues to monitor developmentin the Iranian nuclear and nuclear weapons programs carefully. We regularlyprovide classified assessments of the progress Iran is making to the administration,U.S. warfighters, and the Congress. We are reluctant to provide additionaldetails on the Iranian program -- including when Iran might develop a nuclearweapon -- in an unclassified setting.


I'd like to turn now to Iran's chemical warfare (CW) program. Iran launchedits offensive CW program in the early 1980s in response to Baghdad's useof CW during the Iran-Iraq war. We believe the program remains active despiteTehran's decision to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Iranhas a large and growing CW production capacity and already has produceda number of CW agents, including nerve, blister, choking, and blood agents.We believe it possesses a stockpile of at least several hundred metrictons of weaponized and bulk agent.

Tehran's goals for its CW program for the past decade have been to expandits production capability and stockpile, reach self-sufficiency by acquiringthe means to manufacture chemical production equipment and precursors,and diversify its CW arsenal by producing more sophisticated and lethalagents and munitions.

-- Tehran continues to seek production technology, training, expertiseand chemicals that could be used as precursors from entities in Russiaand China. It also seeks through intermediaries in other countries equipmentand material that could be used to develop a more advanced and self-sufficientCW infrastructure.

-- Thus far, Iran remains dependent on external suppliers for technology,equipment, and precursors. However, we judge that Tehran is rapidly approachingself-sufficiency and could become a supplier of CW-related materials toother nations.


Iran's BW program also was initiated in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraqwar. The program is in the late stages of research and development, butwe believe Iran already holds some stocks of BW agents and weapons. Tehranprobably has investigated both toxins and live organisms as BW agents,and for BW dissemination could use many of the same delivery systems --such as artillery and aerial bombs -- that it has in its CW inventory.

-- Iran has the technical infrastructure to support a significant BWprogram. It conducts top-notch legitimate biomedical research at variousinstitutes, which we suspect also provide support to the BW program.

-- Tehran is expanding its efforts to acquire biotechnical materials,equipment, and expertise from abroad -- primarily from entities in Russiaand Western Europe. Because of the dual-use nature of the equipment, Iran'sability to produce a number of both veterinary and human vaccines alsogives it the capability to produce BW agents.

-- Tehran continues to develop its BW capability despite being a partyto the Biological Warfare Convention (BWC).

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to say a word about Iran's motivationsfor pursuing its WMD programs.

We assess that Tehran -- no matter who is in power -- will continueto develop and expand its WMD and ballistic missile programs as long asit perceives threats from U.S. military forces in the Gulf, a nuclear-armedIsrael, and Iraq. In addition, the deterrence posture or prestige factorassociated with some of these programs are probably viewed by Iranian leadersas a means to achieve their goals of becoming the predominant power inthe region, asserting Iran's ideological leadership in the Muslim world,and diminishing Western -- particularly U.S. -- influence in the Gulf.
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D. U.S. - Russia General

No Simple Truths About Russia
        Michael McFaul
        Washington Post
        September 30, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The writer is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for InternationalPeace.

Last week a commission headed by Republican Rep. Christopher Cox ofCalifornia released a report sharply critical of the conduct of U.S. policytoward Russia. On the eve of an election and a new administration, thereport does the country a service in sparking a debate on Russia policy.

While assailing the means pursued by the Clinton administration, theCox report endorses its basic objectives: promotion of democracy and marketsin Russia and integration of Russia into the West. Apparently, George W.Bush and his advisers disagree, since they have advocated less engagementin these areas and a return to a more traditional, Realpolitik approachto foreign affairs in which the internal composition of other states isnot considered important.

But to have a real debate, some omissions of the report need to be corrected.The first is the beginning of the story. The missed opportunities in U.S.-Russianrelations did not begin in January 1993, when Clinton took office, butin December 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.

The Cox report rightly states that the Soviet dissolution "presentedAmerica with its greatest foreign policy opportunity since the end of WorldWar II." This euphoric moment ushered in a new, truly reformist governmentthat initially had the backing of the people. The Bush administration hadmore than a year to work with and support this new team. It did not. Bythe time the Clinton administration took over, the Russian reformist governmenthad been ousted.

The second error of omission is a failure to acknowledge the real menuof choices foreign policymakers face, especially when dealing with a revolutionin midstream such as Russia's in the '90s. The same Mikhail Gorbachev wholet the Warsaw Pact fall apart and helped Germany reunite also let hisgovernment loot Soviet gold reserves and allowed his armed forces to killinnocent people in Georgia and the Baltic states. Was George Bush wrongto deal with such a leader? The same Boris Yeltsin who bombed his parliamentin 1993, invaded Chechnya twice and allowed corruption to flourish alsodestroyed the Soviet empire, introduced markets and democracy to Russia,destroyed thousands of nuclear weapons, acquiesced to NATO expansion andcooperated with the United States to end the Kosovo war.

In retrospect, Clinton should have criticized Yeltsin's horrible mistakesmore vociferously, but then what? Work with the communist opposition onNATO expansion or Kosovo?

Congressional leaders, in fact, know about these hard choices becausethey too had to make them. Though the Cox report rightly calls for lessmoney to the Russian state, Congress continues to earmark multimillion-dollarsubsidies to the Russian state through the Nunn-Lugar program--designedto destroy and make more secure Russian nuclear weapons. Congress surelyunderstands that Russian military officials are no less corrupt than otherRussian officials, but probably calculates--rightly--that this programadvances U.S. security interests even if it may also have indirectly supportedbad people and bad practices. Choices regarding Russia are not black andwhite. Under Russia's new president, Vladimir Putin, they will become evengrayer.

A third omission is a critical actor in this drama--Congress. The reportcalls for more aid to the Russian people when in fact Congress has steadilycut grass-roots assistance programs in Russia during the past decade. Thereport's call for more attention to the Russian opposition in parliamentwould have been blocked by Congress just a few years ago. I remember. Asthe field representative in Russia in the early 1990s for a congressionallyfunded nongovernmental organization, I was reprimanded for working withcentrist and leftist groups in the Russian parliament. "Congress," I wastold, "does not fund aid to communists."

The fourth omission is the absence of Russia in the narrative. In thegreat international drama of our lifetime--the end of communism--the UnitedStates played only a marginal role. The report chastises the Clinton teamfor failing to transform Russia into an ally like Germany and Japan. Butwe did not occupy Russia! At the end of the day, when we can finally makea determination whether Russia has been won or lost, it will be Russianswho should be primarily blamed or praised, not U.S. officials.

The final omission is a clear guide to the future. The report ends withsound and obvious recommendations for land reform, more rule of law anda better investment environment in Russia. To encourage change in any ofthe areas, however, the next administration will face the same set of toughchoices that confronted Bush and Clinton. After pages and pages about thecorruption of the Russian government, Recommendation Five of the reportcalls for more frequent high-level meetings with the Russian government!A contradiction? Yes. Easy to avoid? No. Welcome to the real world of internationaldiplomacy.
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