Partnership for Global Security: Leading the World to a Safer Future
Home Projects Publications Issues Official Documents About RANSAC Nuclear News 4/15/13
Location: Home / Projects & Publications / News
Sitemap Contact
Google www PGS
Nuclear News - 10/19/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 19 October 2000
Compiled by Ethan Penfield and Christopher Ficek

    1. Moscow Pushes For Start-III Talks To Begin, RFE/RL (10/19/00)
    2. Russia Repeats Calls for Deeper Nuclear Arms Cuts, AssociatedPress (10/19/00)
    3. Russia Sees No Argument Against Quick Missile Cut, Reuters(10/18/00)
    4. No Political, Military Obstacle to U.S.-Russia Arms Accord,Reuters (10/18/00)
    5. The Nuclear Agenda: Arms Control and Missile Defense Are Backin the News, James M. Lindsay, The Brookings Review (10/18/00)
B. Russia - Iran
    1. Report: Gore Hid Russia's Iran Deal, Associated Press(10/18/00)
    2. Russian Security Chief Hails Growing Ties With Iran, AgenceFrance Presse (10/18/00)
    3. Letter Shows Gore Made Deal, Bill Gertz, Washington Times(10/17/00)
C.  Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Unified Powerhouse Rosatomprom In The Making, MikhailKlasson, Moscow News (10/18/00)
    2. News Update [New Russian Nuclear Power Reactor], UraniumInstitute (10/17/00)
D. Submarine Dismantlement
    1. Russia Opens U.S.-Funded Nuclear Waste, Reuters (10/18/00)
E.  Department of Energy
    1. Energy Dept. to Extend Contract on Labs, Los AngelesTimes (10/18/00)
F.  Publications
    1. [Publication Notice] - Nuclear-Missile Complex Of Russia:Mobility of Personnel and Security, Valentin Tikhonov, (Working Papers#1, 2000) - Carnegie Moscow Center (10/18/00)


Moscow Pushes For Start-III Talks To Begin
        October 19, 2000
        (for personal use only)

At the latest round of arms control talks between the U.S. and Russia,which concluded in Moscow on 18 October, Russia insisted that talks onthe START-III treaty begin as soon as possible, Russian Foreign Ministrysources told Interfax. A statement issued by the ministry after the talks,which were conducted by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Mamedovand John Holum, U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control, said thereis "no objective political or military reason" why the U.S. and Russiashould not reduce their warheads to 1,500 each under START-III. At thesame time, the statement stressed that Moscow remains opposed to any amendmentsto the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, while noting that the Russiaside had made some proposals on how "goals in the arms control sphere"defined by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Bill Clinton could be achievedwithout altering ABM.
return to menu

Russia Repeats Calls for Deeper Nuclear Arms Cuts
        Associated Press
        October 19, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- In the latest session of arms control talks, Russia repeatedits proposal of  deep cuts in U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads to1,500 each, and rejected U.S. plans for a missile defense system.

A Foreign Ministry statement said Russia supported the deeper cuts undera potential START III treaty, which originally envisaged both sides reducingarsenals to about 2,000-2,500 warheads.

But Russia warned that such a marked reduction would depend on the UnitedStates not breaking the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.

The Foreign Ministry's statement came after the end of meetings Wednesdaybetween U.S. Undersecretary of State John Holum and Russia's Deputy ForeignMinister Grigory Mamedov. Holum has been in Moscow since Monday for talkson nuclear disarmament and missile defense.

Washington has proposed amending that ABM treaty to permit a limitednational missile defense. Russia is strongly opposed to the U.S. missiledefense plans, warning it could spark a new arms race. President Clintonhas decided to leave the decision to build such a U.S. system to his successor.

The START II treaty, concluded in January 1993, calls for cuts in warheadsto 3,000-3,500 on each side. It has yet to take effect.
return to menu

Russia Sees No Argument Against Quick Missile Cut
        October 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)
MOSCOW, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday it had stuck toits proposal of quick cuts to nuclear arsenals during arms control talkswith U.S. envoys this week.

The Foreign Ministry also said in a statement Moscow had presented someideas on how arms controls agreements by President Vladimir Putin and PresidentBill Clinton could be achieved without altering the key Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty.

"There is no objective political reason not to go to a common ceilingof a maximum 1,500 warheads for each side," it said after talks betweenDeputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov and John Holum, the State Department'sunder secretary for arms control and international security.

The statement reiterated Moscow's long-held position that such armscuts could only be made if the 1972 ABM Treaty, which it sees as the bedrockof stability, was maintained unchanged.

"In this connection, the American side was presented with several conceptson how goals in the arms control sphere set out by Putin and Clinton couldbe achieved without altering ABM," the ministry added, without giving details.

Some of the heat has gone out of the debate over U.S. proposals to amendABM so it can build a missile defence shield after Clinton left a decisionon the system to his successor.

But the United States has not given up on attempts to persuade Moscowto agree to some modifications.

The Clinton administration has said it wants a missile defence shieldto stop attacks by what it calls rogue states, such as North Korea andIraq.

But the statement said Mamedov and Holum had discussed options for aso-called theatre defence, placing anti-missile systems near the countryfrom where the attack was feared rather than one large shield over theUnited States.

Mamedov and Holum also discussed an upcoming meeting between Clintonand Putin at an Asia-Pacific economic meeting in Brunei.
return to menu

No Political, Military Obstacle to U.S.-Russia Arms Accord
        October 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)
MOSCOW, Oct 18, 2000 -- (Reuters) Russia said Wednesday there wereno political or military obstacles preventing the signature of a disarmamentaccord slashing U.S.-Russian nuclear stockpiles to 1,500 warheads each.

But the foreign ministry repeated Moscow's insistence that any accordkeep intact the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty which has servedas the cornerstone of arms reduction agreements for three decades.

The statement followed talks here between the United States' top armscontrol official John Holum, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister GeorgyMamedov.

"There is no objective political or military reason preventing a generalaccord on a ceiling of 1,500 nuclear warheads on each side," the foreignministry said in a statement faxed to AFP.

"It goes without saying that such deep cuts are possible only if thestability provided by the 1972 ABM treaty is retained and strengthenedas the basis for strategic stability in the world in general," the ministrysaid.

Mamedov and Holum had discussed Russian ideas on how to make progresson disarmament questions without breaching the ABM treaty, the statementsaid.

They also raised military and technical cooperation with third states,code for US concerns over reports of Russian nuclear and missile know-howleaking to Iran.

Washington wants to update the ABM accord to allow it to build a limitednational missile defense shield to defend against the perceived threatposed by so-called rogue states like Iran, Iraq and North Korea.

But Moscow says the danger is exaggerated and warns such a system, bannedby the ABM treaty, would undermine its own nuclear deterrent and triggera new arms race that would suck in China.

Moscow has signaled it could agree to limited changes to the agreementif Washington agreed to cut nuclear stockpiles from the current 3,000-3,500level to around 1,500. The US military has so far balked at such deep cuts.

US President Bill Clinton, who leaves office in January, said on September1 he would leave to his successor a decision on whether to push ahead withthe controversial national missile defense plan.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has vowed to tear up all arms controlaccords with the United States if it deploys the system without Moscow'sagreement.
return to menu

The Nuclear Agenda: Arms Control and Missile Defense Are Back inthe News
        James M. Lindsay
        The Brookings Review
        Fall 2000
        (for personal use only)

The nuclear debate is back. After fading from the public eye in the1990s, arms control and missile defense are once again at the forefrontof the American national security agenda. Not surprisingly, the debatehas broken down along well-worn lines. Arms control advocates argue thatthe United States should seek to limit and eliminate nuclear weapons, andthey dismiss the idea of missile defense as a dangerous and costly folly.Missile defense advocates in turn question the value of arms control andargue that the United States should move aggressively to defend itselfagainst missile attack. Which side is right? Neither and both. And thereinlie the political and diplomatic challenges facing the next administration.

Multilateral Arms Control

The first major issue on the nuclear agenda is the future of multilateralarms control, which the Senate threw into doubt with its rejection of theComprehensive Test Ban Treaty last year. Substantive opposition to thetreaty focused on the test ban's verifiability and on the need for teststo ensure the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. Butthe treaty's rejection ultimately had more to do with the bitter partisanshipthat now characterizes executive-legislative relations than with policy.In a less divisive political environment, a compromise probably could havebeen achieved.

The consequences of the Senate vote are all too often exaggerated. Asthe opponents correctly point out, the test ban treaty was never goingto be a cure-all. No paper pledge can end nuclear proliferation by itself,and the countries most likely to acquire nuclear weapons are the ones leastlikely to abide by the treaty's strictures. At the same time, the establishednuclear powers continue to abide by the informal test ban that has beenin place since the early 1990s. None looks poised to resume testing.

But on the whole the test ban's defeat does represent a missed opportunityto advance U.S. interests. Making the informal test ban binding would haveraised the diplomatic costs to any country wishing to resume testing and(ironically enough) locked in U.S. nuclear superiority. The treaty alsowould have made it easier for the United States to detect clandestine nuclearexplosions. It would create a worldwide monitoring system, including sensorsin countries such as Russia, China, and Iran that are closed to U.S. intelligence.And nuclear tests have only limited value in checking the safety and reliabilityof the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The U.S. weapons laboratories estimate thatless than 1 percent of the defects found in the weapons stockpile havebeen uncovered through testing.

The Senate vote has also damaged U.S. diplomacy on nuclear proliferation.This is most evident in the foundering effort to strengthen the inspectionprovisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In 1997, the signatoriesto the NPT agreed to develop more intrusive inspections in exchange fora written pledge by the established nuclear powers to negotiate and ratifya test ban treaty. With the United States unwilling to live up to its endof the bargain, many other countries are unwilling to live up to theirs.Today, more than 120 countries have still not reached agreement with theInternational Atomic Energy Agency on the specifics of the new inspectionregime. The administration's decision to join Russia, China, Britain, andFrance at the NPT review conference earlier this year in renewing theirjoint commitment to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons did littleto restore momentum to the push for tougher inspections.

The arrival of a new administration creates an opportunity to depoliticizethe test ban treaty and to reconsider it on the merits. Some Senate opponentshave expressed regret that the vote took place-62 senators had publiclycalled for postponing it-and have suggested they might reassess their oppositionif their substantive concerns are addressed. The Clinton administrationtook a step in this direction by asking former Chairman of the Joint Chiefsof Staff Gen. John Shalikashvili to lead a bipartisan dialogue with theSenate on ways to make the treaty acceptable. The challenge is that withthe Senate now formally on record against the treaty, addressing its concernsmay require more than high-level briefings and cosmetic amendments. Butif the price of Senate approval means rewriting core elements of the treaty,the whole enterprise is probably doomed. There are no signs that the othermajor powers are willing to reopen the treaty, and Russia, China, and othercountries would undoubtedly exploit any American decision to do so fortheir own diplomatic advantage.

The START Talks and Deep Cuts

The second major issue on the nuclear agenda is reducing the size ofthe U.S. and Russian offensive nuclear arsenals. During the 1990s, bothcountries agreed to cut their forces sharply. The 1991 Strategic Arms ReductionTreaty (START I) required each side to reduce its stock of strategic offensivenuclear weapons by more than a third, down to 6,000 warheads apiece. TheSTART II Treaty, signed during George Bush's last month in office, requiredboth countries to cut their arsenals further, to between 3,000 and 3,500warheads. And in March 1997, Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsinagreed at the Helsinki summit to commit their governments to negotiateanother reduction, to 2,000 to 2,500 weapons each.

The relatively quick presidential agreement, however, was not matchedby similar legislative dispatch. The Senate and the Duma easily approvedSTART I, but START II became embroiled in a power struggle between Yeltsinand the Duma's communist-led opposition. In 1997, when it was clear thatthe Duma would not approve the treaty in time to implement all its termsby the deadline of 2003, Moscow and Washington agreed to extend the treaty'scompletion date to 2007. Russian irritation over NATO expansion and theKosovo War further delayed action on START II. After seven years of squabbling,the Duma finally approved the treaty and the extension protocol last March.Even then the Duma conditioned its approval on the willingness of the UnitedStates to ratify two amendments to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treatyand to continue to abide by that treaty's provisions. The Senate, whichhas approved START II, has yet to take up either the agreement extendingits implementation or the two ABM amendments.

Although action on START II remains to be completed, talks on STARTIII have begun. Moscow now proposes reducing each side's force to between1,000 and 1,500 warheads. The proposal reflects Russia's interests. Bymost estimates, budgetary pressures will force it to cut its arsenal to1,000 warheads or less by the end of the decade.

The Clinton administration has stuck by the original Helsinki numbers,pointing out that top American military officers insist that the UnitedStates needs at least 2,000 warheads to maintain its nuclear deterrent.Other opponents of going down to 1,000 warheads argue that deep cuts wouldforce the military to abandon the land-based leg of the nuclear triad,thereby making it theoretically easier for an aggressor to wipe out theU.S. deterrent in a first strike. And some opponents argue that it amountsto trading something for nothing because Moscow will go down to 1,000 warheadsno matter what the United States does.

None of these arguments against deep cuts is compelling, and the UnitedStates should seek over the long term to reduce its nuclear arsenal tobelow a thousand warheads. The Pentagon's estimate of what it needs fora robust nuclear deterrent itself depends on presidential planning guidance,guidance that still reflects Cold War thinking. No one seriously contendsthat Russia is planning a deliberate first strike, and whatever residualthreat Russia poses will fall as its arsenal shrinks. Nor is it plausibleto argue that the United States can deter the rest of the world with 2,500warheads but not 1,000 or 1,500. As for the triad, it could be maintainedwith as few as 1,500 warheads, and its eventual disappearance should notbe a cause for alarm but a source of relief that the United States no longerfaces a Soviet-style threat.

In embracing the Russian call for deep cuts, the United States wouldnot be doing Moscow a favor but advancing its own interests. The DefenseDepartment expects to save $1.5 billion a year by going down to 2,500 warheads.It would save hundreds of millions of dollars more by going down to 1,000.These are not huge sums by Pentagon standards, but they will help the servicesmeet their growing procurement needs in the years to come. A firm commitmentto deep cuts would also enable the United States to counter critics whocharge that it has abandoned the cause of arms control and regain the moralhigh ground in the effort to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. And mostimportant, deep cuts would improve American security by reducing the numberof missiles aimed at the United States.

But numbers of warheads tell only part of the story. As important asreducing the size of Russia's arsenal is reducing the chances of accidentallaunch. Russia continues to maintain its nuclear forces on high alert evenas its early warning system falls into increasing disrepair-a combinationthat invites disaster. Both countries recognize the problem, and in Junethey agreed to set up a shared early warning center in Moscow. Much morecan be done, however, particularly in the area of reducing alert levels.The United States and Russia should take steps such as separating warheadsfrom launchers, which would slow down the rate at which a crisis coulddevelop.

The question remains, of course, how best to achieve the goals of slashingoffensive weapons and reducing the chances of accidental launch. The Clintonadministration relied on the traditional approach of negotiating formalarms control treaties. While such agreements provide clarity about eachside's obligations, they are time consuming to negotiate. Governor Bushhas proposed reducing the U.S. arsenal unilaterally-though he has not saidto what number-and inviting the Russians to follow suit. The main questionhere is whether Congress would tolerate unilateral reductions, especiallyif it believes Moscow is dragging its feet in response. Congress barredClinton from unilaterally reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal to START IIlevels until the Duma approved the treaty.

National Missile Defense

The third issue on the nuclear agenda and the one with potentially themost far-reaching consequences is national missile defense. President Clintonhas pushed development of a ground-based defense that uses "hit-to-kill"technology to destroy warheads in space, though he has left the decisionwhether to deploy it to his successor. Unlike the more ambitious StrategicDefense Initiative, the Clinton system would be capable of shooting downno more than a couple of dozen warheads. The rationale for this limitedsystem is the fear that North Korea, Iran, or Iraq might soon acquire theability to threaten the United States with long-range missiles.

Despite its limited capabilities, the Clinton system has come undersharp attack abroad for potentially fueling a new arms race. Moscow rebuffedthe administration's proposal to modify the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treatyto allow for deployment, arguing that the treaty is a cornerstone of strategicstability. Beijing has been an even more bitter critic for a very simplereason: if the Clinton system works, it would in theory render China'sforce of some 20 long-range missiles obsolete. European capitals have alsobeen hostile. They dismiss the threat from North Korea, fear the startof a new arms race, and worry that they will become a more tempting targetfor attack.

The Clinton administration's system is proving to be increasingly controversialat home as well. The domestic coalition that pushed a reluctant presidentto embrace missile defense is fraying. Some missile defense proponentsagree with the administration's decision to pursue a limited defense butargue that it has chosen the wrong architecture. They call for developingboost-phase interceptors that shoot missiles down shortly after launchbefore they can deploy any countermeasures. Other proponents dismiss theClinton system as too limited. They favor larger defenses that could defeata Chinese attack or handle a large-scale accidental launch from Russia.And still others cling to Ronald Reagan's vision of building an anti-missileshield that would render nuclear weapons "impotent and obsolete."

So the real debate over missile defense is just beginning. Arms controladvocates hope to frame the debate as a question of whether to build defensesat all. But that is not likely to be the debate, notwithstanding NorthKorea's suddenly more moderate behavior. Both Al Gore and George Bush acceptthe need for missile defense in principle, though they differ sharply onthe specifics, and the problem of missile proliferation is not going tofade away. Just as important, the Cold War is over. Washington and Moscoware no longer mortal enemies, and there is room to rethink the role ofdefense in American security. Russian President Vladimir Putin concededthis point himself with his proposal last June in the wake of the Moscowsummit that Russia and NATO work together to develop a defense againstthe growing missile threat.

That is not to say that missile defense technology is ready today, thatall defenses make sense, or that defensive deployments can be done cavalierly.Quite the contrary. The difficulties plaguing the Clinton administration'slimited anti-missile system-it flunked two of its first three tests-showthat the Pentagon has a long way to go in perfecting defenses against evenvery small attacks. For that reason, talk about defenses that will negatethe nuclear balance of terror or do away with mutual assured destructionis wildly premature.

Even if more ambitious defenses become practical faster than anyoneexpects, they still may not be desirable. The effort to build a defenseagainst China is unlikely to produce any lasting U.S. advantage and couldwell undermine U.S. security. Beijing is technologically and financiallycapable of developing missiles that could penetrate any American defense,and it could become more disagreeable on other issues (such as nuclearproliferation) that matter to the United States. Proposals to build ambitiousdefenses to handle a large-scale Russian accidental launch are of similarlydubious value. Building anything other than a clearly limited defense risksderailing efforts to make deep cuts in offensive forces because at somepoint Russia will need to keep more offensive weapons to preserve its nucleardeterrent. In short, it is simpler, cheaper, and far less destabilizingto work with Russia to cut its arsenal, to lower alert rates, and to strengthenits command and control and early warning systems.

Washington should also take the diplomacy of missile defense very seriously.The wisest course of action would be to negotiate modifications of theABM Treaty with Moscow and possibly even conduct joint programs with Russia.The reason for so doing is not that the ABM Treaty is sacred but that formalagreement reassures Moscow about American intentions and substantiallyreduces the diplomatic costs of deployment. After all, Europe can hardlyobject to a missile defense if Moscow doesn't.

Of course, Moscow may prove intransigent on missile defense and leavethe United States with no choice but to withdraw from the treaty. But ifso, Washington should still seek to allay Russian concerns. At a minimum,it should pursue a tacit arms control policy that keeps Moscow informedof its plans and unilaterally accept intrusive verification procedures.No one should be under any illusion, however, that tacit arms control willbe easy to establish. Not only is treaty abrogation an inauspicious foundationon which to build a new relationship with Moscow, but also domestic politicalsupport for tacit arms control could prove elusive. Critics will ask whythe United States is sharing sensitive information with countries thattarget American cities and that are under no legal obligation to open theirown nuclear arsenals up for inspection. The net result might be no armscontrol at all. Both Washington and Moscow should keep this in mind asthey discuss the future of the ABM Treaty.
return to menu

B. Russia - Iran

Report: Gore Hid Russia's Iran Deal
        Associated Press
        October 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Vice President Al Gore kept Congress in the darkabout details of Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran after receivinga letter from then-Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin urging him to keepit secret, The Washington Times reported.

The paper reported in Tuesday's editions that it has obtained a classified"Dear Al" letter in which the Russian official told Gore about Moscow'sconfidential nuclear deal with Iran and said it was "not to be conveyedto third parties, including the U.S. Congress."

The Times quoted sources on Capitol Hill as saying Gore withheld theinformation from key senators who normally would be told of such matters.

Disclosure of the letter, which the Times said was labeled "secret,"comes less than a week after The New York Times reported on a deal Gorereached with Chernomyrdin governing conventional arms sales to Iran.

The Washington paper said both arrangements were kept from Congress,although a spokesman for Gore's presidential campaign insisted membersof Congress were briefed on the conventional arms deal.

Responding to the new development, Gore spokesman Jim Kennedy told TheWashington Times: "It's obvious that the motivation for this leak is political."

He gave the paper a statement Monday evening saying the letter "simplyappears to be part of the overall United States effort to encourage theRussians to break off or limit their nuclear relationship with Iran."

The Dec. 9, 1995, letter to Gore on Iranian nuclear cooperation statesthat the two leaders' discussions as part of a special commission had resultedin "clarity and mutual understanding" on the matter, The Washington Timessaid.

The letter added that there were "no new trends" in Moscow's sale ofnuclear equipment to Iran since a 1992 agreement and that Russia and theUnited States would seek to prevent the "undermining of the nuclear armsnonproliferation program," the paper said.

It said Chernomyrdin assured Gore that Moscow's program of buildinga nuclear reactor in Iran would be limited to training technicians in Russiaand the delivery of "nuclear fuel for the power plant for the years 2001through 2011."

"The information that we are passing on to you is not to be conveyedto third parties, including the U.S. Congress," the paper quoted the Russianletter as writing. "Open information concerning our cooperation with Iranis obviously a different matter, and we do no[t] object to the constructiveuse of such information. I am counting on your understanding."

The Times said a classified analysis accompanying the letter said Russianassistance "if not terminated, can only lead to Iran's acquisition of anuclear weapons capability" and that "such a development would be destabilizingnot only for the already volatile Middle East, but would pose a threatto Russian and Western security interests."

The Washington Times also quoted from another secret letter in whichU.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright indicates that Russia was notliving up to its promise outlined in the earlier Gore-Chernomyrdin agreementto halt conventional arms deliveries to the Iranians by Dec. 31, 1999."Russia's unilateral decision to continue delivering arms to Iran beyondthe Dec. 31 deadline will unnecessarily complicate our relationship," shewrote Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, according to the Times.
return to menu

Russian Security Chief Hails Growing Ties With Iran
        Agence France Presse
        October 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Oct 18, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) The head of Russia'spowerful advisory Security Council said here Wednesday that Moscow is determinedto expand its relations with Iran, the official IRNA news agency reported.

"There is a determination among Russian leaders to have strong relationswith Iran on many fronts and we are serious about pursuing them," SergeiIvanov said in a meeting with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi.

"The current world situation calls for even more coordinated policiesbetween our two countries and it is necessary for us to work together inall fields," said Ivanov, winding up his three-day visit.

He added that a trip by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to Russiawould bring their relations "to a new chapter." Ivanov delivered the invitationfrom Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Russia has flatly rejected US allegations that it is providing weaponstechnology to help Iran develop ballistic and nuclear missiles.

Iran's state news agency said last month that Russia will cooperatewith Tehran on a project to liquify hydrogen as part of a bilateral programto develop new types of energy.
return to menu

Letter Shows Gore Made Deal
        Bill Gertz
        Washington Times
        October 17, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Vice President Al Gore, at the urging of Russian Prime Minister ViktorChernomyrdin, agreed to keep secret from Congress details of Russia's nuclearcooperation with Iran beginning in late 1995.

In a classified "Dear Al" letter obtained by The Washington Times, Mr.Chernomyrdin told Mr. Gore about Moscow's confidential nuclear deal withIran and stated that it was "not to be conveyed to third parties, includingthe U.S. Congress."

But sources on Capitol Hill said Mr. Gore withheld the information fromkey senators who normally would be told of such high-level security matters.

The Gore-Chernomyrdin deal, disclosed in a letter labeled "secret,"appears to violate a provision of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Act, whichrequires the Clinton administration to keep congressional oversight committeesfully informed of all issues related to nuclear weapons proliferation.

The Chernomyrdin letter on nuclear cooperation with Iran follows a reportin the New York Times last week showing that Mr. Gore reached a secretdeal with Russia several months earlier that appears to circumvent U.S.laws requiring the imposition of sanctions on Russia for its conventionalarms sales to Iran.

That arrangement also was kept secret from Congress, raising concernsamong some lawmakers that the administration may be hiding other secretdeals.

Gore spokesman Jim Kennedy said: "It's obvious that the motivation forthis leak is political."

The letter "simply appears to be part of the overall United States effortto encourage the Russians to break off or limit their nuclear relationshipwith Iran," Mr. Kennedy said in a statement last night.

The Dec. 9, 1995, letter on Iranian nuclear cooperation states thatthe two leaders' discussions as part of a special commission had resultedin "clarity and mutual understanding" on the matter.

The letter said there were "no new trends" in Moscow's sale of nuclearequipment to Iran since a 1992 agreement. It also states that Russia andthe United States would seek to prevent the "undermining of the nucleararms non-proliferation program."

Mr. Chernomyrdin said Moscow's program of building a nuclear reactorin Iran would be limited to training technicians in Russia, and the deliveryof "nuclear fuel for the power plant for the years 2001 through 2011."

"The information that we are passing on to you is not to be conveyedto third parties, including the U.S. Congress," Mr. Chernomyrdin said."Open information concerning our cooperation with Iran is obviously a differentmatter, and we do no[t] object to the constructive use of such information.I am counting on your understanding."

A classified analysis acompanying the letter stated that Russian assistance"if not terminated, can only lead to Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weaponscapability."

"Such a development would be destabilizing not only for the alreadyvolatile Middle East, but would pose a threat to Russian and Western securityinterests," the analysis stated.

Russian promises to limit cooperation with Iran's nuclear program havebeen undermined by numerous U.S. intelligence reports showing Moscow isproviding nuclear-weapons-related equipment to Tehran outside the scopeof its declared limits, according to U.S. officials.

A senior State Department official, Robert Einhorn, told a Senate subcommitteehearing earlier this month that Russian nuclear assistance is a "persistentproblem" and that Russian companies linked to the government are providingIran with "laser isotope separation technology" used to enrich uraniumfor weapons.

Asked about the letter, congressional aides close to the issue saidthey knew nothing about the details that the Russian leader gave Mr. Gore."All this nuclear cooperation is sanctionable," said a senior congressionalaide.

The secret Gore-Chernomyrdin dealings have become an issue in the presidentialelection campaign.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush stated during a campaign stop in Michiganlast week that the reported deal on Russian arms transfers to Iran was"a troubling piece of information." He demanded an explanation from thevice president.

An earlier Gore-Chernomyrdin agreement, also obtained by The WashingtonTimes, reveals that the United States would not impose sanctions on Russiarequired under U.S. law in exchange for Moscow's promise to end arms salesto Iran.

That agreement, called an "aide memoire" and signed by Mr. Gore andMr. Chernomyrdin on June 30, 1995, required Russia to halt all arms salesto Iran by Dec. 31, 1999.

In exchange, the United States promised "to take appropriate steps toavoid any penalties to Russia that might otherwise arise under domesticlaw . . .," says the agreement, labeled "secret."

The aide memoire also states that the United States would "pursue stepsthat would lead to the removal of Russia from the proscribed list of InternationalTraffic in Arms Regulations of the United States" — which limits U.S. armsand defense-related technology sales.

A third classified letter, from Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright,indicates that Russia is not living up to its promise to halt conventionalarms deliveries to the Iranians.

Mrs. Albright stated in a Jan. 13 letter to Russian Foreign MinisterIgor Ivanov, also labeled "secret," that "Russia's unilateral decisionto continue delivering arms to Iran beyond the Dec. 31 deadline will unnecessarilycomplicate our relationship."

"I urge that Russia refrain from any further deliveries of those armscovered by the aide memoire; provide specific information on what has beendelivered, what remains to be shipped and anticipated timing; and refrainfrom concluding any additional arms contracts with Iran," Mrs. Albrightstated.

She added that the United States had lived up to its commitment in the1995 Gore-Chernomyrdin aide memoire, including removing Russia from thelist of nations limited by munitions-export controls.

In the "Dear Igor" letter, Mrs. Albright stated that "without the aidememoire, Russia's conventional arms sales to Iran would have been subjectto sanctions based on various provisions of our laws."

The 1992 Iran-Iraq Nonproliferation Act requires the imposition of sanctionsfor "destabilizing" arms sales to either country. A 1996 amendment to the1962 Foreign Assistance Act also requires sanctions on nations that providelethal military assistance to a nation designated as a state sponsor ofterrorism. Iran is on the State Department's terrorism sponsor list.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, and SenateForeign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican,wrote to President Clinton on Friday asking about the 1995 aide memoire.

"Please assure us . . . the vice president did not, in effect, signa pledge with Victor Chernomyrdin in 1995 that committed your administrationto break U.S. law by dodging sanctions requirements," they stated.

Senate aides said the administration failed to notify the Senate aboutthe specific arrangements to cover up for Russian arms sales.

National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger said on Sunday, contraryto Mrs. Albright's classified letter, that U.S. sanctions did not applyto Russia.
return to menu

C. Nuclear Power Industry

Unified Powerhouse Rosatomprom In The Making
        Mikhail Klasson
        Moscow News
        October 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The new company will incorporate all of the country's nine nuclear powerplants

The Nuclear Energy Ministry is reorganizing its Rosenergoatom companywith a view to establishing a unified concern to be called Rosatomprom.A draft document regarding this transformation is on the government's table.By the end of this year or the beginning of 2001, Rosatomprom could bringtogether the financial resources of Russia's nine nuclear power plantsto become a serious rival to the national power monopoly Unified EnergySystems (UES).

The Nuclear Dwarf, as Nuclear Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov calls Russia'spresent nuclear energy company, will account for 40% of the increment inthe country's electricity output; the remaining 60% will come from "bigbrother" UES, which is ten times larger. UES power stations have so farbeen unable to outperform their nuclear counterparts (in terms of greateroutput and lower generating costs), Adamov says. The nuclear plants willbecome even more competitive after they unify into a single generatingcompany, Rosatomprom.

It will then be possible to pool together all investment resources scatteredover the nuclear power sector. At the moment, the nuclear plants disposeof almost all the payments from their customers at their own discretion,leaving Rosenergoatom only with the small sums deducted from tariffs forsafety engineering and investment purposes. The company's investment fundsare now being used, for example, to complete the construction of the firststage of the Volgodon nuclear power plant.

As Adamov said, Rosenergoatom has managed to get rid of all the intermediaryfirms which only two years ago clung to it like limpets. The nine nuclearpower plants, which use the services of several hundred intermediaries,will drop them upon amalgamation into Rosatomprom. Last year the plantsearned over 20 billion rubles; barter and mutual offset schemes loppedsome four billion rubles off that sum in favor of the middlemen.

In the opinion of Deputy Minister for Nuclear Energy Bulat Nigmatulin,the upcoming reorganization will cut nuclear power costs by 15% to 20%,and make it far easier to manage the plants. Rosatomprom will be so structuredas to have a single marketing arm - an arrangement that will make the nuclearpower plants' financial flows transparent. Moreover, the plants' activitieswill be subject to planning, and budgets will require endorsement by theirnew parent company. In other words, plant directors will have to come toRosatomprom in Moscow to explain their expenditures on repairs, new equipment,capital construction, higher wage payouts, and so forth.

Rosatomprom will also incorporate the Leningrad nuclear power plant,which is fully independent at the moment. Vremya asked Nuclear Energy MinisterAdamov how he had coaxed the Leningrad plant managers into joining. Hisreply: "Previously the plant was at great pains to keep away from Rosenergoatomso that there might be some measure of competition in the sector. For manyyears it won that competition thanks to its efficient director, AnatolyYeperin. Several years ago this man, who was one of the initiators of theplant's establishment, was "gobbled up" by the trade unions.

"The Leningrad plant's more circumspect new director, Valery Lebedev,has lost out to other nuclear power stations in terms of plant retooling.The service life of the plant's first unit, started up in 1973, will expirethree years from now. Only recently, the plant could not afford to prolongthat unit's life even by ten years. It has now managed to get the cashneeded for that purpose.

"But in 2013 the plant will have to replace its first reactor with anew one. Where can it get more than $1 billion needed for the replacement?Rosatomprom is here to come up with the cash. Can Lebedev refute this fact?No. So he had to jump on the bandwagon."
return to menu

News Update [New Russian Nuclear Power Reactor]
        Uranium Institute
        October 17, 2000
        (for personal use only)

[NB00.42-12] Russia: Cold operational testing has begun at Rostov-1and hot tests are expected to start this week at the 950 Mwe VVER-1000.Fuel loading is scheduled to begin on 24 November. (NucNet News, 340/00,16 October; see also News Briefing 00.34-3)
return to menu

D. Submarine Dismantlement

Russia Opens U.S.-Funded Nuclear Waste Facility
        October 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)

SEVERODVINSK, Russia--Russia and the United States unveiled Wednesdaytheir first joint project to render harmless Moscow's rusting fleet ofdisused nuclear submarines, which has raised serious fears of pollution.

The U.S.-funded facility in the town of Severodvinsk on the White Seawill help Russia reduce the risk of polluting its own and internationalwaters as it takes hundreds of nuclear vessels out of service under disarmamentagreements with Washington.

"This project will help make this area safer, the Arctic region safer,in fact, the whole world safer for the work that will be done at this plant,"Thomas Kuenning, director of U.S. Common Threat Reduction directorate,said at the opening.

The directorate oversaw the $17 million project, carried out jointlyby Russian, British and French companies with U.S. Lockheed Martin EnergyTechnologies as prime contractor.

The plant is due to help Russia tackle the problem of low-level radioactivewaste extracted from nuclear submarines scrapped under START strategicdisarmament agreements with the United States.

Some 185 such vessels, 55 of them already cut up, are waiting to berecycled in Russia's north.

Russia has the necessary capacity to deal with nuclear fuel but haslittle experience with storing low-level waste in the form of reactor coolingliquids, laundry wastewater and radioactive solids.
Up until 1992, Moscow simply dumped these into the sea until beingforced to stop under intense pressure from international environmentalorganizations and Nordic countries, whose economy depends heavily on fishing.

The waste has since been stockpiled in unsafe containers along the coastline,raising fears of massive pollution in case of disaster.

The plant in Severodvinsk, home to Russia's biggest military submarineshipyard which also built the sunken Kursk, is expected to process allthe waste stored in the area.
It is to be followed later by two similar plants in other parts ofRussia which officials say will allow the problem to be eliminated altogether.
return to menu

E. Department of Energy

Energy Dept. to Extend Contract on Labs
        Los Angeles Times
        October 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Energy Department announced yesterday that it intends to extendits contract with the University of California to manage the nation's twolargest nuclear weapons labs, despite a series of embarrassing securitylapses involving classified computer data.

Officials at the University of California and the Energy Departmentare negotiating the terms of a new contract that would extend the currentcontract by three years, through September 2005, and would be awarded withoutcompetitive bidding. The university would hire a subcontractor to carryout security functions at the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore laboratories.It also would hire a new vice president to oversee lab management, includingsecurity measures.

"We decided, since the fundamental science was not broken and was sound,it was important to continue on with the university," said Madelyn Creedon,deputy administrator for defense programs with the Energy Department'sNational Nuclear Security Administration. She said the ongoing negotiationswill focus on ways to improve operations, security and project managementat the labs.
return to menu

F. Publications

[Publication Notice] - Nuclear-Missile Complex Of Russia: Mobilityof Personnel and Security
        Valentin Tikhonov
        (Working Papers #1, 2000)- Carnegie Moscow Center
        October 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)

This issue is devoted to the problems of mobility of specialists inthe nuclear and missile industries in Russia and the impact of this processon the national and international security. The paper completes the project"Human Factor in the Nuclear Security of Russia" carried out by the CarnegieMoscow Center.

Electronic version in Russian:
return to menu

Section Menu:

© 2007 Partnership for Global Security. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement.