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Nuclear News - 12/15/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, December 15, 2000
Compiled by Christopher Ficek


 
A. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. New Batch of Russian Strategic Missiles to Go on Duty,Agence France Presse (12/15/00)
B.  START
    1. Two Sets of Arms Control Agreements Signed in Geneva,Wendy Lubetkin, Washington File, Office of International Information Programs,U.S. Department of State (12/14/00)
    2. U.S, Russia End INF Missile Inspections¸ StephanieNebehay, Reuters (12/14/00)
C. Russian - Iranian Relations
    1. Russia, Iran Discuss Global Security, Arms Control, AgenceFrance Presse (12/15/00)
D. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
    1. RAO UES Categorically Opposes Merging Russian Nuclear PowerPlants, RBC News Online (12/15/00)
E. Nuclear Waste
    1. Duma In Favour Of Storage Of Radioactive Waste, AllNews.Ru(12/15/00)
    2. Why Spent Nuclear Fuel Import Represents Danger For Russia,Alexey Yablokov, Bellona, (12/12/00)
    3. Izhora Plants To Complete Construction Of Casks For SpentNuclear Fuel, Bellona (12/06/00)
    4. Dry Storage To Be Built In Zheleznogorsk¸ Bellona(12/05/00)
F.  U.S. - Russian Relations
    1. Russia Hopes for Fresh Start With Bush¸ Reuters(12/15/00)
G. New Publications
    1. Managing the Nation's Nuclear Materials: The 2025 Visionfor the Department of Energy, D. C. (Dana Carl) Christensen, Los AlamosNational Laboratory, Week of 12.03/00 to 12/09/00



A. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
New Batch of Russian Strategic Missiles to Go on Duty
        Agence France Presse
        December 15, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Dec 15, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) A new regiment of Russia'sTopol-M ballistic missile systems will join active duty later this month,the strategic missile force's spokesman said Thursday.

"The third regiment of these systems will be put on alert at the Tatishchevomilitary unit at the end of December," the spokesman was quoted by theInterfax news agency as saying.

The Topol-M is expected to become the backbone of Russia's strategicnuclear force, the spokesman said.

According to the Russian military, the Topol-M missiles, part of a newgeneration of intercontinental weapons, are capable of evading all anti-missilesystems currently in use or in development.

Six test flights of intercontinental missiles were successfully launchedthis year, among them three Topol-M missiles, military officials have saidlast month.
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B. START

1.
Two Sets of Arms Control Agreements Signed in Geneva
        Wendy Lubetkin
        Washington File, Officeof International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State
        December 14, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Geneva -- Arms control negotiators from the United States, Russia, Ukraine,Belarus and Kazakhstan signed a set of documents in Geneva December 11that provide for the phased elimination under the START Treaty of the lastSS-24 ICBMs remaining on Ukrainian soil.

The same five nations are set to sign a separate agreement December14 related to the dismantling of infrastructures used as part of the INF(Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty's extensive inspection regime.

Both the START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) and the INF Treaty-- landmark treaties which launched the process of nuclear disarmamentbetween the United States and the former Soviet Union -- face importantmilestones next year.

The INF Treaty's successful inspection regime is set to expire on May31, 2001. Although INF's ban on ground-launched missiles with ranges between500 and 5,500 kilometers is permanent, its inspection regime and relatedinfrastructures must be disassembled by the May 31 deadline.

The deadline for eliminations under the START treaty falls on December4, 2001. The final START limits of 1,600 deployed strategic nuclear deliveryvehicles and 6,000 deployed strategic warheads on each side must be metby that date. "Both we and the Russians are down to something a littlebit over 6,000 deployed strategic warheads," said a senior U.S. officialwho spoke on background. "We will both easily be down below the 6,000 limitby next December. But the key thing is that those limits are obviouslytoo high since the U.S. and Russia already have agreed to lower levels."

START II would bring levels almost 50 percent lower than START, settingthe total number of deployed strategic warheads at 3,000-3,500. In addition,START II would ban the deployment of the most destabilizing type of strategicweapons system: land-based ICBMs with multiple, independently targetablewarheads. Although both the United States and Russia have ratified STARTII, the Treaty has not yet entered into force.

START III parameters agreed to by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin inHelsinki in 1997 call for bringing the level down even further to a rangeof between 2,000 and 2,500, but formal negotiations have not yet begun.

Although major issues on the future direction of strategic arms controlwill need to be decided at the highest level by the next administration,the official emphasized that, in the meantime, essential work on the implementationof existing agreements is continuing smoothly. "We are working here ina cooperative manner, getting implementing agreements signed, and makingthe adjustments that we need to get the job done," the official said.

The agreement in Geneva on a two-phased approach to dismantling of themissiles in Ukraine was "in the national security interest" of the UnitedStates, he said. "Remember that these missiles were once aimed againstthe United States. It would have taken them between 15 and 30
minutes to reach the U.S., and each one could have destroyed a majorU.S. city."

The agreement provides that a party to the treaty may request a phasedprocedure for its own mobile missiles. After the dissolution of the SovietUnion, Ukraine was left with about 200 ICBMs and hundreds of nuclear warheadson its soil. All nuclear warheads, both strategic and tactical, have alreadybeen removed from Ukraine. The missiles are being eliminated in Ukrainein cooperation with the United States under the U.S. Cooperative ThreatReduction (CTR) Program.

All ICBMs and related infrastructures based in Belarus and Kazakhstanhave already been either dismantled or removed from the country under START.Around 40 SS-25 mobile missiles and their launchers were removed from Belarusand returned to Russia, and 104 huge SS-18s were removed from Kazakhstanand returned to Russia by the end of 1996 and their silo launchers wereeliminated.

The official said that 50 to 60 missiles remain to be eliminated inUkraine, most of which are SS-24s, "a fairly modern missile capable ofcarrying ten warheads each." The main obstacle to getting on with the dismantlingeffort has been wording in the START treaty implying that the entire missileshould be eliminated at one time.

American personnel are already in Ukraine to assist with the effortunder the CTR program but the process had become stalled over the questionof defueling the missile stages. The United States is still working withUkraine to find methods for safe defueling and for Ukraine to use the fuelin its civilian economy.

The agreements signed December 11 in Geneva provide specific proceduresfor the SS-24 ICBMs to be dismantled in two phases. "The first phase ofthe elimination will destroy major components that are essential to theintegrity of the missiles. After completion of this first phase, the missilewill no longer be useable," the official explained.

"The removal of all nuclear weapons from the territory of these threeSoviet successor states is a huge success in the history of nuclear disarmament,"the official said.

In a separate agreement, the same five countries will initial on December14 an amendment to the INF Treaty's Memorandum of Agreement outlining "principlesand procedures" for completing the continuous monitoring inspection regime.

INF, the first treaty to lead to the complete elimination of an entireclass of missiles, places a permanent ban on the deployment of ground launchedballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Althoughthe Treaty itself has no time limit, its comprehensive and successfullyimplemented thirteen-year inspection regime will end on May 31, 2001.

The INF Treaty established continuous "portal" monitoring at gates tomajor missile assembly plants in the United States and Russia. That monitoringwill end on May 31, although other types of monitoring will continue underthe START treaty.

"We are going to begin dismantling the INF specific equipment on April15 and will conclude by May 31," the U.S. official said. "It has been athirteen year, successful inspection regime. And remember, it was signedduring the Cold War."
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2.
U.S, Russia End INF Missile Inspections
        Stephanie Nebehay
        Reuters
        December 14, 2000
        (for personal use only)

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States and Russia signed an agreementThursday to end inspections of each other's missile assembly plants begununder the landmark INF treaty which scrapped medium-range missiles anddenuclearized in Europe.

Under INF, the missiles were due to be eliminated by May 1991 and theinspections by May next year.

"Although the INF treaty is of unlimited duration, the treaty's extensiveinspection regime, including continuous monitoring at missile assemblyplants at Magna, Utah, USA and Votkinsk, Udmurtia, Russia, will be concludedat midnight on May 31, 2001," a joint statement said.

U.S. officials will continue to monitor the Votkinsk plant under theSTART treaty, while Russia has no such rights at the Magna facility underthe 1991 START pact, U.S. officials said.

U.S. Ambassador Steven Steiner told Reuters: "This agreement ends a13-year regime of 24-hour 'portal monitoring' (under INF) at the gatesof missile assembly plans in Magna, Utah and Votkinsk.

"Every truck, container, vehicle or cargo big enough to carry a missilethat came out was inspected."

Steiner and Russian envoy Mikhail Streltsov signed the agreement todismantle from May 31, 2001 the round-the-clock on-site INF inspectionsat the production facilities.

The first on-site nuclear inspection regime between the two superpowerswas set up by the United States and the Soviet Union under the IntermediateRange Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former U.S. President RonaldReagan signed the 1987 pact to ban and destroy their 2,600 nuclear-armedland-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 km (310 miles)to 5,500 km (3,420 miles).

The Cold War era pact, which went into force in June 1988, was the firstto eliminate an entire class of missiles. It covered SS-20 missiles deployedin the Soviet Union -- which Washington said threatened Western Europe-- and U.S. Pershing II missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles deployedin then West Germany, Italy and Britain.

Senior arms control officials from the former Soviet republics of Belarus,Kazakhstan and Ukraine also signed the accord struck by the five-partySpecial Verification Commission which oversees INF implementation.

"We have worked for the completion of the very successful 13-year inspectionregime which was pace-setting and helped lead the way to START (StrategicArms Reduction Treaty)," Steiner said at the signing ceremony at the U.S.mission in Geneva.

INF HELPED DENUCLEARIZE EUROPE

Steiner, in an interview with Reuters, said: "The INF made history,it went a long way to denuclearizing Europe and took out Soviet SS-20strained on Europe and Asia, too."

He added: "It set up the first real on-site inspections between theU.S. and Soviet Union. It also eliminated a whole class of missiles ina verifiable way."

Monday in Geneva, arms negotiators from the United States, Russia, Ukraine,Belarus and Kazakhstan also signed an agreement providing for the phasedelimination of the last SS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles remainingon Ukrainian soil.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Ukraine was left withabout 00 ICBMs and hundreds of nuclear warheads. All nuclear warheads,both strategic and tactical, have already been removed from Ukraine. U.S.officials say 50 to 60 missiles remain to be eliminated in the former Sovietrepublic.
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C. Russian - Iranian Relations

1.
Russia, Iran Discuss Global Security, Arms Control
        Agence France Presse
        December 15, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Dec 15, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) A group of Russian diplomatswere returning to Moscow from Tehran overnight after talks on global andregional security, Russia's foreign ministry said.

The delegation, led by the head of Russian foreign ministry's securityand disarmament department Yuri Kapralov, discussed topics such as settingup a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East and nuclear non-proliferation,foreign ministry officials said Thursday.

"Both sides have confirmed their commitment to international obligationsin the field of non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons," the foreignministry statement said.

The next round of regular consultations will be held in Moscow nextyear.

Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev is planning to travel to Tehranin late December or early January to negotiate military cooperation projectsworth some seven billion dollars.

Moscow announced last month it was scrapping a five-year-old agreementwith Washington that banned conventional arms sales to Iran, a decisionthat prompted a White House warning that trade ties could suffer as a result.
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D. Russian Nuclear Power Industry

1.
RAO UES Categorically Opposes Merging Russian Nuclear Power Plants
        RBC News Online
        December 15, 2000
        (for personal use only)

RBC, 15.12.2000, Moscow 19:28:12.RAO UES of Russia categorically opposesthe plans of the Nuclear Energy Ministry to merge the Russian nuclear powerplants into one unified company, RAO UES Executive Board Chairman AnatolyChubais said at a news briefing after a government meeting today. Accordingto him, representatives of the nuclear energy industry say that the industrygenerates only 14% of the total volume of electricity in Russia, and accordinglysuch a unified company will not be an obstacle to competition. Yet, nuclearpower plants supply electricity only to the Federal Wholesale ElectricityMarket, and their share in this market is 40%, Chubais underlined. Moreover,almost all the nuclear power plants are located in the European part ofRussia and in Ural. Their share in this part of the market is 70%. Takinginto account the low cost of power generation by nuclear plants, establishingof such a unified generating company by the nuclear industry "would completelydestroy the competitive market." He underlined that the nuclear industryneeds the plan for the energy industry restructuring "more than anyoneelse, because they have been supporting the separation of energy generationfrom the grids in the past few years," Chubais emphasized.
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E. Nuclear Waste

1.
Duma In Favour Of Storage Of Radioactive Waste
        AllNews.Ru
        December 15, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Russia's State Duma has prepared a bill, removing a ban on imports ofnuclear waste from other countries, in force since 1992.

The deputy Chairman of the Duma's environmental committee, Anatoly Greshnevikov,said a decision on the issue can be taken in the shortest delay.

According to Greshnevikov, "the main argument of those in favour ofthe ban's removal is that the reprocessing and storage of radioactive materialscan bring the country some $20 billion."

Environmentalists say the import of radioactive waste from other countrieswould create problems that Russia is not prepared to solve.

Greshnevikov told Itar-Tass news agency that Russian civilian and militarynuclear facilities have accumulated a huge amount of radioactive wasteand the country's reprocessing facilities are already clearly unable todeal with it.

Greshnevikov said that "this is a typical case, when the commercializationof an issue goes directly against Russia's national interests."
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2.
Why Spent Nuclear Fuel Import Represents Danger For Russia
        Alexey Yablokov
        Bellona
        December 12, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The Russian State Duma is to consider a bill calling for amendmentsin the Russian legislation in favour of spent nuclear fuel imports on December22. Commentary by the prominent Russian environmentalist, Alexey Yablokov.

Around three million Russians supported referendum on the issue of spentnuclear fuel import.  Environmental groups had to address the peopleas the arguments against this dangerous initiative of the Russian Ministryfor Nuclear Energy, Minatom, fell on deaf ears in the Russian government.

The plans to reuse plutonium after spent nuclear fuel is being reprocessedwere rejected by unsuccessful attempts to operate breeder reactors in theUSA, Great Britain, France, Germany and Japan. On the other hand, it turnedout that fresh uranium fuel is much cheaper than the reuse of fuel afterreprocessing.

The statements that Russia should enter the world’s fuel reprocessingmarket are ridiculous. The nuclear fuel reprocessing plants in France andGermany may face shutdown as soon as the long-term contracts are completed.After having paid forfeit, Germany stopped shipping spent nuclear fuelfor reprocessing to France. Finland refused to reprocess nuclear fuel.The United States, Canada and Sweden have never intended to do that. Infact, no ‘world’s spent nuclear fuel reprocessing market’ even exists,but the Russian nuclear minister prefers to state the opposite over andover again.

Naturally, there are some countries wishing to get rid of their spentnuclear fuel, which is expensive and dangerous to manage. Around five countriesare ready to give cash to Russia to solve their problems. But it is hardto believe that after 40-year storage in Russia, as it stands in the projectdescription, somebody would take back the spent nuclear fuel or the by-productsafter its reprocessing. Therefore the environmentalists are right, sayingthat Minatom intends to turn Russia into an international nuclear dump.It should be mentioned that after import and especially given spent nuclearfuel is reprocessed, Russia would experience higher risk of radioactivecontamination.

Spent nuclear fuel can become energy resource only after reprocessing,which can give plutonium and enriched uranium. But why does Russia needexpensive enriched uranium and plutonium? It is well-known that availablestocks of weapon-grade uranium and plutonium can provide Russian powerplants with fuel for many decades. High scale disarmament will even increasethose stocks.

Speaking about reprocessing of foreign spent nuclear fuel, it slipsthe minds of the nuclear ministry officials to remind that such reprocessingis only needed if dozens of new nuclear power plants are built in the yearsto come. The price tag of building one nuclear power plant is around $2billion. Minatom plans to build up to 29 new nuclear power plants until2030. The total project cost runs as high as $58 billion. Minatom dreamsto get $20 billion for spent fuel import what can allow launching the constructionof just a few nuclear power plants.

But does Russia need new nuclear power plants? Only ignorant peoplecan believe that nuclear energy can prevent climate change. All regions,where nuclear power plants are planned, have fossil fuel stocks enoughfor decades. Alternative energy sources could be used more extensively.Energy saving programs can supply three times more energy than all Russiannuclear power plants produce today. The minister for nuclear energy, EvgenyAdamov, confirms himself that Russia has enough electricity. The nuclearenergy, according to the minister, will be sent for export and this isthe core of the strategic development of the Russian nuclear energy sector.The concept of nuclear energy export, however, which assumes that the neighboursget clean energy, Minatom gets the money, and the future generations ofRussians get radioactive contamination, will never be accepted by the society.

Another issue relates to spent nuclear fuel reprocessing. What to dowith the tons of generated radioactive waste? One ton of spent nuclearfuel generates several thousand cubic meters of solid and liquid radioactivewaste, and hundreds of cubic meters of gaseous radioactive wastes. Beforethe reprocessing plants in Britain and France discharged radioactive wastesinto the Atlantic using the blanks in the international regulations, whilesuch practice in the USSR was a state secret. It is not enough just tohave technologies of treating spent nuclear fuel, what Minatom is boastingof. Those technologies must also be safe. But today no safe technologiesare available either in Russia or other countries. More and more Westerncountries protest against discharge of radioactive waste into the Atlanticconducted by Britain and France. Lake Karachai in southern Ural is themost radioactively contaminated place in the world. Waste will be stilldumped there should the reprocessing continue at the Mayak plant. Tryingto go away from critics, Minatom again classified the information aboutgeological structure and radionuclides behaviour pumped underground asstate secret.

We cannot trust statements from Minatom’s officials that the money receivedfor spent nuclear fuel import will help solving environmental problemsin the contaminated areas. The environmentalists have been requesting Minatomduring the past three years to show the project description. But all Minatomcame up with was proposal to construct South-Ural nuclear power plant.

These and other arguments, which could not be listed in this article,make the environmentalists protest against amendments to the Russian Lawon Environmental Protection, which bans import of radioactive materialsfrom foreign countries as well as against possible nuclear fuel leasing,virtually meaning the same as spent fuel import.
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3.
Izhora Plants To Complete Construction Of Casks For Spent NuclearFuel
        Bellona
        December 6, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Izhora plants will soon finish the contract on construction of metal-concretecasks for storage and transportation of spent nuclear fuel. Constructionof 40 casks is completed. 8 more will be manufactured until the end ofthe year. The casks were ordered by St Petersburg based Nuclide enterpriseand Russian Ministry for Nuclear Energy. The price tag for one is $150.000.The Russian Nuclear Regulatory withdrew manufacturing licence for thesecasks in spring this year. Construction of the casks is sponsored by AMEC,the acronym for Arctic Military  nvironmental Co-operation, and supervisedby Russia, USA, and Norway.
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4.
Dry Storage To Be Built In Zheleznogorsk
        Bellona
        December 5, 2000
        (for personal use only)

TV company Centre of Russia reported that the Russian Nuclear Ministryis planning to build dry storage site for spent nuclear fuel at the Miningand Chemical Combine in Zheleznogorsk. The construction will be split inseveral stages. The funding will come from the increased electricity priceat those nuclear power plants, which are going to ship spent nuclear fuelto the storage site.
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F. U.S. - Russian Relations

1.
Russia Hopes for Fresh Start With Bush
        Reuters
        December 15, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Dec 15, 2000 -- (Reuters) George W. Bush's first day as presidentelect happened to be a tricky one in Russian-U.S. ties, a sign of the multitudeof divisive issues separating Moscow and Washington a decade after theCold War's end.

President Vladimir Putin sent Bush the required warm congratulations,saying he was "counting on an intensive and constructive dialogue" withthe 43rd U.S. president.

But the telegram came from Havana, where Putin happened to be the guestof Fidel Castro, denouncing the U.S. embargo on Cuba and pledging to beefup ties with an old Soviet ally.

Back in Moscow, Putin's security police freed a U.S. businessman convictedlast week as a spy. Putin said he pardoned former naval intelligence officerEdmond Pope as a gesture of friendship. But an angry Washington has saidPope should never have been jailed in the first place.

In his campaign, Bush hardly singled himself out as a friend of Russia:he has accused the Russian leadership of corruption and vowed to builda missile defense shield despite Moscow's fierce objections.

But with ties under an ostensibly more friendly President Bill Clintongrowing testy and unpredictable, Russians have welcomed Bush's electionas a chance to make a new start.

"Our relations will become more clear now. The Democrats left much shroudedin fog. Sometimes Russia was a friend, sometimes it represented a threat,"said Gennady Seleznyov, Communist speaker of the State Duma lower houseof parliament.

"Under the Republicans, this won't happen. We know which aspects offoreign policy suit them and which ones don't."

PUTIN AND BUSH UNITED BY REALISM

Several Russian experts have said Putin and Bush could get on well,sharing a view of the world dominated by issues of national interest andpragmatism.

"We believe it highly symbolic that (the 20th century) ends with thecoming to power in the United States and Russia of realists representinga new generation of politicians," Boris Gryzlov, head of the pro-PutinUnity Party in parliament said in a statement.

"This allows us to look forward with optimism to both our bilateralrelations and other developments in the world."

For much of the 1990s, ties between Moscow and Washington were dominatedby cheery summits between presidents Clinton and Boris Yeltsin. But disagreementsover arms control, NATO enlargement, Kosovo, Iraq and Russia's militarycampaign in Chechnya have made relations frostier in the past two years.

Bush has pledged a tougher line on arms control, threatening to withdrawfrom the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty if Russia does not agree toamend it to allow the United States to deploy an anti-missile shield.

Sergei Rogov, Director of Russia's USA and Canada institute, said theRepublicans would adopt tougher stands, but this would not necessarilybe to Moscow's detriment.

"I think it is possible to do business with a Republican administration.Unlike the Democrats they can deliver. A lot depends on their -- and our-- ability to compromise."

Vladimir Lukin, a former ambassador to Washington and now a member ofthe Duma, said Russia would have to take account of a more rational, orcynical, approach.

"We have experts who know all about Republicans," he told ORT television."We have to make use of them."

Ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who often backs Kremlin policydespite flamboyant public statements, predicted confrontation would beundiminished with the new administration.

"Nothing will change, not a single centimeter, not an iota. We are rivals,enemies," he said.

"We are getting ready for a war of mutual destruction. This will goon for 10 years."
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G. New Publications

1.
Managing the Nation's Nuclear Materials: The 2025 Vision for theDepartment of Energy
        D. C. (Dana Carl) Christensen
        Los Alamos National Laboratory
        Week of 12.03/00 to 12/09/00

This report can be found at the Los Alamos National Laboratory website,filed in the 'LANL Research Library: Technical Report Resources' underthe heading ' New Unclassified Reports' for the week of December 3, 2000to December 9, 2000.  The report number is LA-UR-00-3489.  Thereport can be accessed directly at the following URL:

http://lib-www.lanl.gov/la-pubs/00393665.pdf
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