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Nuclear News - 10/06/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 06 October 2000


A.  Plutonium Disposition

    1. MOX Fuel Flight Arrived In Canada, Bellona (10/05/00)
    2. Russian MOX Fuel Arrives at AECL Facility Without Incidentin 'Problem-Free' Shipment, NukeEnergy.com (10/02/00)
B. De-Alerting; Deep Cuts
    1. Physicians Group Promotes Nuclear De-alerting At DanvilleDebate; Challenge Issued to Candidates to Support Action to Reduce NuclearDangers, U.S. Newswire (10/04/00)
C. Nuclear Power Industry
  1. Nuclear Fuel Cargo Stopped In Romania, Bellona (10/05/00)
D. Nuclear Waste
    1. Nuclear Lighthouses In Catastrophic Condition, Bellona(10/06/00)
E. CTBT
    1. India Pressed to Ban Nuclear Tests, Oleg Shchedrov, Reuters(10/06/00)
F. U.S. - Russia General
    1. Washington Warns Americans of Arms Business in Russia,Jonathan Wright, Reuters (10/06/00)
    2. Remarks by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen at the Centerfor Strategic and International Studies, William S. Cohen (10/02/00)
G. Russia - Iran
    1. Testimony of Robert J. Einhorn, Assistant Secretary of Statefor Nonproliferation, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,Robert J. Einhorn (10/0500)



A. Plutonium Disposition

1.
MOX Fuel Flight Arrived In Canada
        Bellona
        October 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The air-cargo flight from Russia to Canada with MOX-fuel has arrivedat the Chalk River Laboratories. A commercial air carrier shipped the MOXfuel, containing 15 kg of nuclear material, from Moscow to a Canadian militaryair base in Trenton, Ontario where it was transferred to a helicopter andflown to Chalk River. The test fuel contained 528 g of weapon-derived plutoniumto be tested as part of a program to investigate the feasibility of usingreactors to burn MOX fuel made from surplus plutonium.  Environmentalgroups have heavily protested the flight for safety reasons and also theMOX fuel program itself.
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2.
Russian MOX Fuel Arrives at AECL Facility Without Incident in 'Problem-Free'Shipment
        NukeEnergy.com
        October 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)

A shipment of Russian MOX fuel samples has arrived at Atomic Energyof Canada Ltd.'s (AECL) Chalk River Laboratories, AECL said Sept. 25. Thefuel was shipped from Moscow by commercial air carrier to a Canadian militarybase in Trenton, Ontario, then transferred to a helicopter and flown tothe Chalk River research facility 200 kilometers northwest of Ottawa.

"The shipment went according to plan and was problem-free," said BobGadsby, Director of AECL's MOX project, in a prepared statement. The containerused to transport the MOX fuel samples has been certified by Canada's nuclearregulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, for land, sea and airtransport of MOX fuel, the company explained. Canada's transportation regulatorsapproved AECL's shipment plan Sept. 21 (SpentFUEL, Sept. 25).

The arrival of Russian MOX fuel samples signals the start of the ParallexProject, a three-year program to assess how MOX fuel performs in CANDUreactors. By the end of the year, the Russian fuel will be tested side-by-sidewith U.S. MOX fuel samples in AECL's NRU reactor.

The U.S. Department of Energy is underwriting the testing and analysisproject, in conjunction with efforts to assist the Russian Federation withits surplus weapons-grade plutonium disposition program. AECL said Canadaagreed to perform the test "in view of the nuclear non-proliferation anddisarmament benefits of expanding Russia's capacity to dispose of its plutonium."The United States and Russia formalized in September a bilateral agreementto each dispose of 34 metric tons of excess plutonium from dismantled weapons(SpentFUEL, Sept. 11).

The Russian test samples contain 528 grams of weapons-derived plutoniuminside about 15 kilograms of fuel material. U.S. MOX fuel samples arrivedat Chalk River Laboratories in January.

Under AECL's earlier shipment plan, the Russian MOX would have beentransported across the Atlantic and through the St. Lawrence Seaway byship, then transferred to Chalk River by truck.
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B. De-Alerting; Deep Cuts

1.
Physicians Group Promotes Nuclear De-alerting At Danville Debate;Challenge Issued to Candidates to Support Action to Reduce Nuclear Dangers
        U.S. Newswire
        October 4, 2000
        (for personal use only)
 
WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Physicians for Social Responsibility(PSR), which won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for its citizen-diplomacy workfor disarmament, today issued a challenge to Vice-Presidential candidatesJoe Lieberman and Dick Cheney. PSR called on both to use their debate onOct. 5 to show their support for genuine global security through the de-alertingof the 5,000 Russian and American nuclear missiles currently on hair triggeralert.

PSR, in conjunction with the Back From the Brink campaign for de-alerting,has placed a full-page advertisement in the Danville Advocate-Messengerfor the day of the debate. The ad asks both candidates:

Are you ready to confront the real nuclear missile threat?

"Few people realize that both the U.S. and Russia maintain thousandsof nuclear weapons instantly ready to fire," said Martin Butcher, PSR'sDirector of Security Programs. "The U.S. and Russia are no longer enemies;why do both nations keep up this capability to wipe each other out? Thenext administration must act to ensure American, and global, security bydefusing this deadly missile threat."

PSR will be present in Danville for the debate. Copies of the newspaperad will be distributed, together with associated briefing materials andquestions for the candidates. PSR and its 20,000 physician members havebuilt up their expertise on nuclear weapons and nuclear war over 40 years.In a landmark New England Journal of Medicine article in 1998, PSR physiciansexamined the dangers of accidental nuclear war, concluding there couldbe no meaningful public health response to such a tragedy and recommendingde-alerting as the only sensible prescription for true security for America.

Today, both campaigns are confronted with the dreadful reality thataccidental nuclear war is more likely than ever. As the Russian militaryinfrastructure decays and confidence in their ability to maintain missilesor early warning radar safely decreases, the need to de-alert nuclear forcesincreases daily.

"This will be the central national security question for the next administration.It is vital to know where the candidates for the nations top offices stand,"said Robert K. Musil, Ph.D., Executive Director and CEO of PSR. "Todaywe asking the men who would be a heartbeat from the Presidency, what willyou do to make America safe?"
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C. Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Nuclear Fuel Cargo Stopped In Romania
        Bellona
        October 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)
 
A Russian cargo vessel transporting fresh nuclear fuel elements wasstopped Tuesday this week in the Danube river port in Romania because itlacked proper safety documents. The vessel (ST1315) was on its way fromRussia to the Bulgarian nuclear power plant Kozloduy. To enter Bulgariaby the river route from the Black Sea, the vessel has to pass Romania,but as long as the Romanian authorities are not given the documents ensuringthe cargo is safe, the vessel will continue to be blocked at the riverport. According to the inspectors, the shipping papers say that the shipcarries only "containers with equipment and spare parts" for the Bulgariannuclear station, without mentioning any nuclear fuel. The fuel concistof 36 tons of enriched uranium. The vessel also failed to give the required30-day notice to transport nuclear cargo, reports AP. The Russian newsagency RIA-Novosti reports that the cargo was sent by the "TVEL" plant(Moscow region), which is specializing in producing fuel assemblies fornuclear power stations.
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D. Nuclear Waste

1.
Nuclear Lighthouses In Catastrophic Condition
        Bellona
        October 6, 2000
        (for personal use only)
 
Scientists from the Russian Civilian Nuclear Regulatory, the GAN, haveexamined 60 of the nuclear thermoelectric generators (RTG) used to powerlighthouses along the Arctic cost of Russia. Their report, quoted in theVladivostok News, concludes that 14 of the 60 are in catastrophic condition.RTGs utilise heat from a Strontium-90 source to produce the power to thelighthouse. Strontium-90 is a beta-emitter with a decay-time of 28, 5 years.The activity in the RTGs used at lighthouse's range from 1.850 TBq (50kCi)to 9.620 TBq (260kCi). "If urgent measures for moving these generatorsto a safer place are not accepted, radioactive isotopes may escape intothe environment," says Anatoly Kononets, head of GAN. Throughout the costof the Russian Arctic there are 160 nuclear powered lighthouses, from Vladivostokin the east to the Kola Peninsula in the west. The specialists from GANcould only inspect the 60 lighthouses in the Far East; no reports are availableon the condition of those along the cost of northwest Russia. The lighthousesare located in very remote areas. Most of the lighthouses were set up inthe 60ties. A special decree was signed in 1997 to remove the RTGs, whichlifetime have expired, to the Mayak plant in the South-Ural, but nothinghappened because of budget shortages.
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E. CTBT

1.
India Pressed to Ban Nuclear Tests
        Oleg Shchedrov
        Reuters
        October 6, 2000
        (for personal use only)

BOMBAY, India -- Russia prodded India on Thursday to sign the treatybanning nuclear tests, but nevertheless promised a powerful presence inits nascent atomic energy industry.

President Vladimir Putin, glossing over global guidelines on the saleof reactor technology, said Russian cooperation in India's nuclear energysector would not end with its 1998 deal to build a power station in thesouth of the country.

"We will do our best to make our presence in the Indian nuclear sectorpowerful. We will offer the most modern things," he told hundreds of employeesat the Bhaba Atomic Research Center in
Bombay.

"Kudankulam is a major project but our cooperation will not end there."

The Kudankulam plant deal, estimated to be worth some $3 billion, wassigned between India and Russia just six weeks after New Delhi shockedthe world by conducting nuclear tests in 1998.

Russia, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council,joined global condemnation of India's nuclear tests and the counter-testingby its rival Pakistan, but opposed punitive economic sanctions againstthe two countries.

Speaking in a vast auditorium attached to the research center, Putinsaid Moscow would like to see India take part in talks on the ComprehensiveTest Ban Treaty.

India has so far refused to sign the CTBT on grounds that it would allowrecognized nuclear powers to fine-tune their arsenals while holding othersin check. India also says that it would not bind the powers to disarm withina specified timeframe.

India says it has the capability to conduct sub-critical and computersimulation tests not barred under the CTBT, and now it says it requiresonly a "domestic consensus" before it can sign.

Putin, who earlier this week forged a strategic partnership pact withMoscow's Soviet-era ally, trod carefully on the issue.

"We would like to see India taking part in talks on the ComprehensiveTest Ban Treaty," he said. "However, we understand that this step demandsa political decision to take into consideration national interests andpublic opinion."

He said the fact that he had been invited to visit the research centerwas "a sign of huge trust in me and a sign of special relations betweenour countries."

Putin declined to answer questions on the question of commitments underthe 1992 Nuclear Suppliers Group accord.

Under that pact, recognized nuclear states and others agreed only tosell reactor technology to countries that permit international inspections.

That effectively ruled out countries such as India from developing nucleararms.

Putin began his day in India's commercial capital with a conferenceof business leaders, where he spoke of opportunities for joint work inbiotechnology, the manufacturing of aircraft and the financial sector.

He said trade between Russia and India had risen in absolute terms sincethe Soviet era, but the share of high-tech commodities in trade was verysmall.

The Confederation of Indian Industry, which helped organize the meeting,has ambitions to increase trade between the two countries from $1.5 billionin 1999 to $5 billion by 2005.

The road to Putin's last stop on his visit, the atomic research center,was lined for 3 kilometers with children waving Indian and Russian flags.

Later, Putin and his wife left on an Ilyushin-96 for home, where thepresident was expected to resume efforts to help defuse a crisis over Yugoslavia'spresidential election.
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F. U.S. - Russia General

1.
Washington Warns Americans of Arms Business in Russia
        Jonathan Wright
        Reuters
        October 6, 2000
        (for personal use only)

WASHINGTON - Exasperated at Russia's treatment of an American businessmanaccused of spying, the United States warned Americans on Wednesday thatit could be risky doing business with the Russian arms industry.

"In Russia certain activities which would be normal business activitiesin the United States and other countries are still either illegal ... orare considered suspect," the State Department said in a consular informationsheet.

"Americans should be particularly aware of potential risks involvedin any commercial activity with the Russian industrial-military complex,including research institutes, design bureaus and production facilities,"it added.

"Any misunderstanding or dispute in such transactions can attract theinvolvement of the security services and lead to investigation or prosecutionfor espionage," it said.

The American, former naval officer and businessman Edmond Pope, hasbeen in jail since April and Russian prosecutors have given the go-aheadfor a trial on spying charges.

The main charge against him is that he tried to obtain underwater missiletechnology from a Russian scientist. He could face up to 20 years in prisonif convicted.

The United States says that it has not seen any evidence that he brokeRussian law and that he should go free.

The warning, under review in the State Department for many weeks, isbound to annoy the Russian government, which said in August that attemptsto link the Pope case with trade and economic relations would "give causefor serious worry".

The U.S. State Department, under pressure from members of Congress,has objected in particular to Pope's problems gaining access to medicalinspections to see whether he has completely overcome a rare form of bonecancer.

On Tuesday a U.S. House of Representatives committee approved a resolutioncalling on President Bill Clinton to cut all financial aid to Moscow andwork to block Russia's entry to the World Trade Organisation unless itreleases Pope.

The measure, which could come up for a vote by the full House as earlyas next week, was approved unanimously by the House International RelationsCommittee.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright last week described Russia's handlingof the case as "outrageous" and said Washington had raised it in Moscow"at the highest levels."

The updated consular information sheet said that several U.S. citizenshad been detained or arrested over the past few years on suspicion of spyingwhile doing business.

"Arrested Americans faced lengthy sentences - sometimes in deplorablecircumstances - if convicted. In the most recent case, the arrested American'shealth suffered and he has not been allowed to receive independent medicalevaluations or treatment despite the embassy's efforts," it added.

In a separate statement, the State Department said the Pope case raisedquestions about the risks t
o Americans engaged in such business dealings and about the abilityof the United States to protect their welfare in detention.

"Americans are well-advised to take this information into account beforeplanning business-related travel to Russia," the statement added.
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2.
Remarks by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen at the Center forStrategic and International Studies
        William S. Cohen
        October 2, 2000
        (for personal use only)

I think the biggest challenges facing the next administration and theadministration after that, in terms of foreign policy and defense policy-- and the two should, of course, be coherent and integrated -- will bethis: how we deal with Russia as a major power to contend with; not necessarilyas a superpower, but as a country of great size, of great natural resources,that covers 11 time zones. We will have to contend with [Russia] and [decide]how we manage that relationship with them, and what we will do in termsof continuing our relationship to reduce the level of nuclear weapons.

We have something called the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, theso-called Nunn-Lugar program. And yet I always find it somewhat stressing,or distressing, I should say, to hear it asked, "Why is it only the UnitedStates that's concerned about reducing the nuclear weapons with Russia?Why haven't other countries, other nuclear powers, volunteered to sharein that effort to help Russia dismantle
and dispose of their large stocks of nuclear weapons under the STARTI and START II treaties?"

We seem to be the only ones who are prepared to step forward to do that.And while other countries have complained about national missile defensein terms of the United States seeking to protect itself against a proliferationof weapons of mass destruction, it seems the United States has been leftto largely bear the burden as far as dismantling and getting rid of nuclearweapons. But how we manage that relationship with Russia is going to bevery important and very challenging, whoever is elected to the White House.

There is China. I just returned from China this July. And after a yearhiatus in our relationship for -- as what they said, obvious reasons --China wants to get back on a solid track with the United States. I hada very good meeting with the Chinese leadership, and they want to establishgood military-to-military relations. And it's important for us that wedo this.

It's also important how we manage the situation in Taiwan. Going backover history, many of you are familiar with Patrick Tyler's book, no doubt,about a Great Wall and how every president since Richard Nixon has hadto contend with the Chinese leadership over the issue of Taiwan. And itstill remains a major subject of debate. They are intensely interestedin the subject matter. I can tell you, if someone asked me, "What was onthe agenda?" I would say, "Three items: Taiwan, Taiwan and Taiwan." That'sexaggerating a bit, but it is something that they feel passionately about.And we have to deal with that issue and will continue to deal with that,hopefully in a constructive way.

I will tell you that I saw a change in both the tonality and also whatwas said during my visit to China. A year ago or less, China was talkingabout the possibility of their resorting to warfare, using arms, settinga deadline in terms of when these negotiations or discussions would becompleted or else they may be forced to use military force. When I wasthere in July, they said something that was different. They said that theydid not give up the right to use force, but they had no intent to use force.Now, some may say that's a distinction without a distinction, without muchof a difference, but I think it was quite a significant difference in boththe tone and the content of that message.

Secondly, I found that if you look at what is being said in China andTaiwan, the Chinese leadership will say, "It's one China, two systems."And if you listen to the new Taiwanese president, he has said, "One China,two interpretations." Somehow there is a way to breach that differenceif people of good will and creativity take advantage of the opportunityto find ways of bridging that peacefully. In the meantime, we maintainour posture. We have a one-China policy. We believe in the Three [Communiques],and support the Three Communiques. But we also support the Taiwan RelationsAct. That's hard for the Chinese leadership to reconcile, because, on theone hand, we're supporting the one-China policy. On the other, they believethat by supporting Taiwan or the Taiwan Relations Act, we're undercuttingthe policy. But nonetheless, we've tried to make it very clear that weexpect those tensions to be resolved peacefully and not through the useof arms and force. And that will continue to be our policy.

With regard to weapons of mass destruction, we are now seeing at least20, 24 countries let's call it two dozen countries who either have developedor are in the process of developing weapons of mass destruction. That'sa word that doesn't mean a lot, I suppose, to most people who hear it.And that's the reason why, when I went on television a couple of yearsago, I held up that five-pound bag of sugar, because it loses its meaningwhen you use that phraseology. If you take a five-pound bag of sugar andyou say, assuming this were filled with, let's say, anthrax instead ofsugar and you spread that with the right kind of temperatures and rightkind of wind over a city the size of Washington DC, you could wipe outalmost 70 percent of the population just with five pounds. There are tonsof anthrax in existence. There are tons that have been manufactured. Andso this is just one element that we have to contend with for the future.How do we gain control over these weapons of mass destruction, which areproliferating and will continue to proliferate? If you recall the wordsof the poet Auden, he talked about a "man clutching a little
case who walks out briskly to infect a city whose terrible future mayhave just arrived."

Those are the kinds of challenges that we will have to face in the future,as well as the threat of cyber-terrorism. We have a number of countrieswho are now not turning to amateurs or teenagers and hackers, but dedicatedprofessional cells, who are training in ways to disrupt our financial systems,our communication systems, our infrastructure, our power system.

You saw the fear that we had during the Y2K turnover. Thanks to JohnHamre, by the way, there were no tragedies. Some in the media asked, whatwas the big fuss all about? Why did we spend all of that money? And youcan imagine what would have happened if one plane went down or if we hadany kind of a tragedy involving multiple casualties, where the fingerswould have been pointing. But John Hamre, working with the executive branch,I would say, largely took that issue in hand. And we were able to makethat transition with no casualties. So that is something that we have tobe worried about for the future in terms of whether a country or groupcan shut down or cause Wall Street to certainly crash, whether you suddenlypick up your stock portfolio and find it says, "Zero. Thank you very much,but [your investment] is somewhere in the Bahamas" or the Cayman Islandsor maybe in a Swiss bank, but you don't have it anymore. Those are thekinds of critical infrastructure that we will have to protect. And again,John was in the forefront of our effort to protect the critical infrastructureof this country.

So those are, I think, the major challenges, in addition to reformingour military to make it more agile, flexible, easily deployable, more rapidlydeployable, and survivable. Doing all of that takes some time, but I thinkthat we have passed that point where we are now reaching sort of a criticalmass of innovation where we now have really integrated and ingrained jointnessin our training and our doctrine. And you will now see that start to multiplywith, I think, greater and greater efficiency.
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G. Russia - Iran

1.
Testimony of Robert J. Einhorn, Assistant Secretary of State forNonproliferation, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
        Robert J. Einhorn
        October 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Mr. Chairman, thank you for giving me this opportunity to discuss Iran'scontinuing efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and missile deliverysystems, foreign assistance to those programs, and the status of U.S. effortsto halt them.

Today Iran is undergoing important political developments. The UnitedStates welcomed the Iranian public's clear call for greater freedom anddemocracy in recent parliamentary elections. We hope that such encouragingdevelopments are a sign of a transition to a more open and democratic society.

However, as in any diverse society, there are many currents swirlingabout in Iran. Some are driving the country forward; others are holdingit back. Despite the momentum towards democracy, freedom, and openness,most of the elements of Tehran's foreign policy about which we are mostconcerned -- including the acquisition of destabilizing weapons systems-- have not improved.

Indeed, Iran's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and ballisticmissile delivery systems continues unabated, and has even accelerated inthe last few years. Despite its formal adherence to international armscontrol and nonproliferation treaties, Iran maintains active programs toacquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as the long-rangemissiles to deliver them. Iran is seeking aggressively to acquire equipment,material, and technology from abroad in an effort to establish the capabilityto produce non-conventional weapons indigenously and thereby to insulatethose weapons programs from outside pressures.

Even if democracy succeeds in Iran, there is little to suggest thatits quest for weapons of mass destruction and missile delivery systemswill end. As long as Iran believes that its arch-rival Iraq is pursuingWMD, that U.S. forces in the region constitute a major threat, and thatits own non-conventional programs bolster its aspirations for influencein the Gulf region and leadership in the Islamic world, there will be pressuresin Tehran, whoever is in power, to persist on the dangerous course on whichit is now headed. We will watch closely for any changes in Iranian proliferationpolicies as Iran's domestic evolution continues. But so far we have seennone.

Iran's WMD and missile programs constitute a serious threat to the regionand to U.S. interests more broadly. Impeding those programs has thereforebeen a top priority of U.S. policy. It is a subject we would like to takeup with Iranian officials directly. But in the absence so far of a willingnessin Tehran to establish an authoritative U.S.-Iran dialogue, we have hadto rely almost exclusively on a strategy of seeking to deny Iran the materialand technological wherewithal to acquire WMD and missiles. We have hada few public -- and a number of private -- successes in that effort. Butas with any nonproliferation effort focused primarily on denial of technology,we have managed to slow Iran's programs, but we have not stopped them.

Iran's Ballistic Missile Program

Iran has one of the developing world's most active and ambitious ballisticmissile programs. It is important to recall, in this regard, that Iranwas the first victim of Iraq's development of missiles and chemical weapons.But Iran's ballistic missile programs have long since gone beyond respondingto Iraq, and now threaten much of the Middle East and soon could threatenlocations more distant.

Iran already has deployed hundreds of SCUD missiles and can now produceSCUDs indigenously. Not stopping at short-range missiles, however, Iranhas conducted three tests of the 1,300 kilometer-range Shahab-3 missile,once in 1998 and, twice this year, including just last month. As NationalIntelligence Officer for Strategic and Nuclear Programs Robert Walpoletestified just two weeks ago, "Tehran probably has a small number of Shahab-3savailable for use in a conflict; it has announced that production and deploymenthave begun." In addition to the medium-range Shahab-3, Iran is workingon longer-range missiles. Its defense minister has spoken of Shahab-4 and-5, claiming those rocket systems would be used solely as peaceful, space-launchvehicles (SLVs). But given that any SLV has inherent military missile capabilityand can relatively easily be adapted to that role, few knowledgeable observerstake those claims at face value.

Iran's acquisition of long-range ballistic missile delivery capability,coupled with its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and other weaponsof mass destruction, poses a significant threat to U.S. forces and friendsin the region, and to regional stability generally.

Iran's ballistic missile program is heavily dependent on assistancefrom other countries. North Korea has been a major supplier to Iran, transferringSCUDs, SCUD production technology, and No Dongs. While we do not believeRussia has transferred long-range missiles to Iran, we judge that wide-rangingassistance from Russian aerospace organizations and individuals has enabledIran to make the Shahab-3 an improved version of the No Dong as well asto make substantial headway on longer-range missile systems. Chinese transfersto Iran's missile programs have largely been intended for tactical systemsbelow the Missile Technology Control Regime control level or have beendual-use items not specifically covered on international control lists.But as we have told the Chinese many times, such transfers can make --and indeed have made -- significant contributions to Iran's long-rangemissile programs.

Iran's Nuclear Program

We remain convinced that Iran maintains an active nuclear weapons developmentprogram, despite its status as an NPT party. Among the persistent indicatorsthat Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons development program is the factthat Iran is attempting to obtain capabilities to produce both highly enricheduranium and plutonium -- the critical materials for a nuclear weapon. Neitherof these capabilities is necessary to meet Iran's declared desire to havea civil nuclear power program to generate electricity, which is itselfsuspicious in light of Iran's abundant oil resources.

For the time being, Iran's nuclear program remains heavily dependenton external sources of supply. Because of this, the United States has playedthe leading role in developing and maintaining a broad international consensusagainst assisting Iran's foreign procurement efforts. We deny Iran accessto U.S. nuclear technology and material, and all major Western suppliershave agreed not to provide nuclear technology to Iran.

A number of supplier states have abandoned potentially lucrative salesto Iran's nuclear program. In 1997 China terminated work on a uranium conversionfacility in Iran and agreed not to engage in any new nuclear cooperationwith Iran after completing two small projects that posed no direct proliferationconcern. As a result of efforts by Vice President Gore and Secretary Albright,Ukraine likewise took a major step when it determined that it would notsupply electricity-generating turbines originally contracted for by a Russianfirm and destined for the new Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. TheCzech Government also recently made a decision not to supply componentsfor the turbine hall of this plant.

Russia remains the one significant exception to this virtual embargoon nuclear cooperation with Iran. The most visible nuclear cooperationbetween the two countries is Russia's construction of a 1000-megawatt nuclearpower reactor at Bushehr, Iran. We have opposed this project, not becausewe believe such a light-water reactor under International Atomic EnergyAgency safeguards itself poses a serious proliferation threat, but becauseof our concern that the Bushehr project would be used by Iran as a coverfor maintaining wide-ranging contacts with Russia nuclear entities andfor engaging in more sensitive forms of cooperation with more direct applicabilityto a nuclear weapons program.

While refusing to halt the power reactor sale, the Russians have arguedthat they are just as opposed as we are to an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.At the highest levels, they committed to limiting their nuclear cooperationwith Iran to the Bushehr reactor project during the period of its construction.

Despite these repeated assurances, we are aware that Russian entities-- most of them subordinate to MINATOM, the Russian Ministry of AtomicEnergy -- have engaged in extensive cooperation with Iranian nuclear researchcenters that is outside the bounds of the Bushehr project. Much of thisassistance involves technologies with direct application to the productionof weapons-grade fissile materials, including research reactors, heavy-waterproduction technology, and laser isotope separation technology for enrichinguranium. Russian assistance to Iran's nuclear program has accelerated inthe last few years and could significantly shorten the time Iran wouldneed to acquire weapons-usable fissile material.

Chemical and Biological Weapons

Iran's chemical weapons (CW) program is one of the largest in the developingworld. Iran began its offensive program during the Iran-Iraq war in responseto Iraq's use of CW. By 1987 Iran was able to deliver limited quantitiesof blister (mustard) and blood (cyanide) agents against Iraqi troops usingartillery shells. Since then Iran's CW production capability has grownand become more sophisticated. It has already produced a number of CW agents,including nerve, blister, choking and blood agents. Despite its 1997 ratificationof the CWC, we believe Iran's CW program continues and that it possessesa substantial stockpile of weaponized and bulk agent.

Throughout the life of its CW program, Iran has sought the ability toproduce indigenously more sophisticated and lethal agents. This trend towardself-sufficiency is worrisome, since it means that Iran could eventuallybecome a supplier of CW-related materials to other nations.

Over the past several years, Iran's procurement efforts have dwindledin countries of the Australia Group, the multilateral export control regimeresponsible for chemical and biological exports, as that Group's controlshave become more effective. Instead, Iran has concentrated on suppliersin countries outside of the Australia Group. As Iran moves to suppliersoutside the major industrialized countries and seeks less specialized (andhence less strictly controlled) items, our ability to stop Iran's CW-relatedprocurement efforts has also decreased.

Iran has been in the vanguard of efforts by some countries to weakenmultilateral export controls, especially on dual-use commodities. It hasinstigated attempts to delegitimize and even to abolish the nonproliferationexport control regimes. The United States has worked closely with our partnersin those regimes to rebut the Iranian arguments and to strengthen thoseregimes in the face of these efforts to weaken them.

We believe that Iran also has an offensive biological weapons programat least since the Iran-Iraq War, notwithstanding the fact that it hasbeen a party to the Biological Weapons Convention since August 1973. Thepace of Iran's biological weapons program probably has increased sincethe 1995 revelations about the extent of Iraq's biological weapons program.

While we assess that the Iranian BW program is largely still in theresearch and development stage, we believe Iran already holds some stocksof biological agents and toxins. It has considerable expertise in the infrastructureneeded to produce basic BW agents, and can make some of the hardware neededto manufacture those agents. Iran conducts top-notch legitimate biomedicalresearch at various institutes, which we suspect also provide support tothe BW program. It appears that Iran is actively seeking to acquire materials,equipment and expertise from foreign suppliers -- primarily from entitiesin Russia and Western Europe.

U.S. Policy Responses

In view of the serious risks to U.S. interests posed by Iran's WMD andmissile programs, we have given high priority to impeding those programsand have sought to do so through a wide variety of means. We have workedto strengthen and tighten the multilateral export control regimes, therebydenying Iran and other proliferators access to most of the world's bestsources of sensitive technology and forcing them to resort to elaborateand uncertain covert procurement methods that can result in slowing thepace, driving up the costs, and reducing the quality of their acquisitions.With Iran actively looking for weak links in the chain of control, we haveprovided substantial assistance to countries that are potential targetsof Iranian procurement efforts in order to help them bolster their nationalexport control systems and their border security. When we have receivedinformation about troublesome transactions involving Iran's weapons programs,we have been able on a number of occasions to intervene diplomaticallyand persuade the governments of supplying countries to step in and halta pending transfer.

To help secure sensitive materials and know-how at their source, wehave provided large-scale support for Russia's efforts to protect, store,and account for its nuclear materials and have funded civilian scientificwork by over 20,000 former Soviet weapons specialists to reduce their incentivesfor assisting countries like Iran. We have also sought to strengthen internationalarms control arrangements to promote our nonproliferation goals -- by supportingthe International Atomic Energy Agency's strengthened safeguards system,promoting an effective Chemical Weapons Convention inspection system, andpressing for a protocol to enhance confidence in compliance with the BiologicalWeapons Convention.

Impeding Iranian non-conventional procurement efforts has figured prominentlyin recent years in our bilateral relations with China, North Korea, andRussia. As noted earlier, China agreed to phase out all of its nuclearcooperation with Iran, even cooperation carried out under IAEA safeguards.We believe the Chinese have made good on this pledge. In 1997 we imposedsanctions on seven Chinese entities for providing dual-use chemicals andchemical production equipment and technology to Iran's chemical weaponsprogram. Subsequently, Chinese authorities took steps to tighten theirsystem of chemical controls, although enforcement remains uneven. Our currentefforts with China focus primarily on missile exports. We have held severalrounds of talks this year aimed at encouraging Beijing to augment its missile-relatedexport control system and prevent Chinese entities from transferring equipmentand technology that contribute to Iranian missiles capable of deliveringnuclear weapons. We have made progress, but more work remains.

Halting missile-related exports, to Iran and other countries, is a highpriority of our engagement with North Korea. In our several rounds of missiletalks with the North Koreans, we have repeatedly sought to gain its agreementto ban all missile exports and we will continue to do so. We have alsomade clear that continued missile exports would subject them to additionaleconomic sanctions (which we have imposed six times on the DPRK, threefor transfers to Iran), and that such sanctions would place a major obstaclein the way of economic normalization between the U.S. and DPRK.

Assistance by Russian entities to Iran's missile and nuclear programshas been a persistent problem in U.S.-Russian relations for over half adecade. Both the President and the Vice President, as well as the Secretariesof State, Defense, and Energy, and numerous other senior Administrationofficials have engaged on this issue on an almost continuous basis. EveryPresidential Summit meeting, and every meeting of the U.S.-Russian Bi-nationalCommission, as well as numerous letters, telephone calls, and meetingsin between, has placed these nonproliferation concerns at the top of theagenda. The Vice President, in particular, using the institutional machineryafforded by the Bi-national Commission, has played a central role in pursuingsuch nonproliferation goals as fissile material security, the purchaseof high enriched uranium, disposition of plutonium, and the destructionof chemical weapons -- all of which are crucial to denying Iran and otherstates of concern access to these WMD-related materials. These effortsbegan in the very first year of the Administration, when the CommercialSpace Launch Agreement was signed by the Vice President and the RussianPrime Minister as an incentive to Russian aerospace entities to forgo dangerousmissile proliferation.

In our bilateral engagement, we have stressed the high stakes involvedin resolving the Russia-Iran proliferation issue, both for the stabilityof the Middle East and the world at large and for the bilateral relationship.We have made clear that stopping highly sensitive cooperation with Iranwould expand opportunities for mutually beneficial and potentially lucrativecooperation between the two countries, including in the areas of commercialspace and nuclear energy. But we have also stressed that failure to solvethe problem would inevitably create obstacles to such cooperation. So farwe have used the Administration's executive authority to impose penaltieson 10 Russian entities for assisting Iran's nuclear or missile programs.

Our intensive efforts with the Russians over the last few years haveproduced some significant positive steps. We are beginning to see the emergenceof a more effective Russian effort at export control. Russia passed a newexport control law in 1999 providing legal authority to control the exportof any item that could contribute to a program of proliferation concern.It has reorganized export control responsibilities within the governmentto make the bureaucracy more effective in implementing Russia's laws andpolicies. At U.S. urging, it has instituted internal compliance programsin key Russian entities, and so far over 500 firms manufacturing itemsof proliferation concern have received training in their export controlobligations. It has established seven export control working groups withthe U.S. in such areas as law enforcement and dual- use licensing to helpstrengthen the Russian system. It has carried out investigations of problemcases we have brought to its attention and, in a number of those cases,halted Russian entities' cooperation with Iran, enabling us last Aprilto announce our intention to lift U.S. penalties against two of them.

While we have imposed penalties on organizations engaged in sensitivecooperation with Iran, we have also made important headway by holding outbenefits for responsible behavior. In this connection, we have used thecommercial space launch quota as an incentive to encourage important changesin Russia's legal and regulatory environment, and to make improvementsin its export control system and practices. Moreover, our Russian partnersin the International Space Station and in the major U.S.-Russian commercialspace launch joint venture well understand the value of their profitablecooperation with us, and they are on guard to avoid the kind of interactionswith countries of concern that could put that cooperation in jeopardy.It is clear that key players in the Russian government, such as the RussianAviation and Space Agency and the new Department of Export Controls ofthe Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, see an important stakein stopping assistance to Iran's non-conventional programs and are workinghard to get their arms around a very difficult challenge.

However, Russian enforcement of its export control laws and policieshas been very uneven. While some Russian aerospace entities have severedtheir cooperation with Iran, other individuals and entities have been fartoo willing to take their place. The situation is even worse in the nucleararea. Unlike in the aerospace field, where many of the entities assistingIran have little relationship to the Russian government, almost all nuclearcooperation with Iran is carried out by MINATOM or one of its many subsidiariesand affiliates. We have made clear to the Russians that we will not goforward with collaboration on advanced nuclear power reactors or othernew cooperation in the nuclear area until our concerns are resolved.

Clearly, many of the remaining problems involve shortcomings of therelatively new Russian system of export control. Even with greater resourcesand the best of intentions, it would be hard for Moscow authorities todetect and stop all attempts to circumvent Russian controls. But equallyclearly, part of the problem is a lack of determination in Moscow. We areconvinced that, if Russia's leaders gave the matter sufficient priority,Iran's nuclear and missile procurement efforts in Russia could be stopped.

Why does Moscow not seem to give the matter the priority we do? Theanswer is complicated. Part of the explanation seems to be that Russianentities that no longer receive adequate budgetary support from the centralgovernment have strong incentives to export. The number of Russian entitieswith technical experts out of work is overwhelming, and they will do virtuallyanything to stay afloat. Russia also believes it has strategic reasonsfor not wanting to jeopardize bilateral relations with Iran. Moreover,the Russians tend to take a more narrow view of their nonproliferationresponsibilities than we do and are more inclined to support transactionswe would regard as too risky, especially if they do not violate any Russianinternational treaty obligations.

Whatever the mix of motives for a less-than-fully-resolute approachto the challenge of stopping dangerous Russian interactions with Iran,we do not doubt the Russians when they say their interests would be harmedat least as much as ours by Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons deliverableby long-range missiles. But if the Russians believe that the nuclear andmissile cooperation now underway will not actually contribute materiallyto, and accelerate, Iran's acquiring such a capability, they are engagingin wishful or shortsighted thinking.

Recently we have seen some encouraging signs. At their July meetingat the Okinawa G-8 summit, President Putin assured President Clinton thathe would take personal responsibility for ensuring that Russia's laws andcommitments with respect to these nonproliferation matters are faithfullycarried out. Subsequently, when provided with information that Russia'sYefremov Institute was providing Iran with laser isotope separation technologyfor enriching uranium, Russian authorities suspended the transaction pendinga thorough investigation of its implications. We hope that this actionwill be a forerunner of concrete and decisive steps to halt assistanceby Russian entities to missile and nuclear programs in Iran.

Iran Nonproliferation Act

Recently Congress gave us new legislation intended to impede Iran'sWMD and missile programs -- the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000. TheAct establishes new criteria -- legal standards and procedures -- for evaluatingactivities of proliferation concern and imposing nonproliferation sanctions.The Administration has made significant progress toward completing thereview of the intelligence material necessary to make the report to Congressrequired by the Act. However, we have found that the information that mustbe reviewed in order to make the required report is considerably more detailedand voluminous than was contemplated when the bill was passed, and it hastherefore been impossible for us to submit our initial report by the datesspecified in the Act. A more detailed explanation of where we stand onthis matter has already been conveyed to the Committee.

Conclusion

In conclusion, impeding Iran's WMD and missile delivery systems willremain at the top of the U.S. national security agenda for some time tocome. (We cannot predict the direction political events in Tehran willtake, but should Iranian authorities accept the U.S. offer of an officialbilateral dialogue, nonproliferation will be a key focus. We would seekin those discussions to persuade the Iranians that their legitimate securityand other broad national interests would best be served by verifiably anreliably renouncing WMD and the long-range ballistic missiles that candeliver them.

In the meantime, we have no alternative but to continue an active strategyof seeking to thwart Iranian efforts to procure the material and technologiesthey need for their non-conventional programs. We will use a variety ofmeans to pursue that strategy, including strengthening multilateral regimes,carrying out energetic diplomatic efforts with key supplier governments,and, when warranted, utilizing our legal and other authorities to penalizethose responsible for assisting the non-conventional programs of statesof proliferation concern.

By the standards one must judge nonproliferation efforts, our policieswith respect to Iran have been effective. They have succeeded in slowingand complicating Iran's programs and driving up their costs. I They haveclosed off many of the world's best sources of advanced technology to Iranianprocurement efforts, and forced Iran to rely on technologies less sophisticatedand reliable than would otherwise be the case. And critically, we havebought additional time. Despite the gains Iran has made, we do not considerit inevitable that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons deliverable by long-rangemissiles. But avoiding that highly destabilizing outcome will require thecontinued leadership of the United States and the concerted efforts ofthe international community, including the cooperation of Russia, China,and North Korea. We will consult closely with this Committee as our effortsproceed.
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