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Nuclear News - 12/29/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, December 29, 2000
Compiled by Terry C. Stevens

A. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Shift Seen in Russian Nuclear Policy, David Hoffman, Washington Post (12/27/2000)
    2. Russia Launches ICBM From Barents Sea, Agence France-Presse (12/27/2000)
    3. Third Topol-M Regiment Becomes Operational, Military News Agency (12/27/2000)
    4. Russia Tests New Nuclear-Powered Submarine, Reuters (12/26/2000)
B. Nuclear Waste
    1. Legislators Move Toward Accepting Other Nations' High-Level Nuclear Waste, Salt Lake Tribune (12/26/2000)
    2. Russian Share of Spent Nuke Fuel 8%, AK&M (12/26/2000)
    3. Duma Sells Out Next 200,000 Years, Igor Kudrik, Bellona (12/21/2000)
C. Russian - Iranian Relations
    1. U.S. Worried about Russian Plans to Sell Arms to Iran, Reuters (12/29/2000)
    2. Iran and Russia Ink Military Cooperation Deal, The Russia Journal (12/29/2000)
    3. Washington Cannot Stop Russian Nuclear Deals With Tehran, Brenda Shaffer, International Herald Tribune (12/28/2000)
D. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
    1. News Update [Russian Power Plant Output], Uranium Institute (12/19/2000)
E. Russian - Indian Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Russia, India in Biggest Yet Warplane Deal, Reuters (12/29/2000)
F. U.S. - Russian Relations
    1. Russia Rocket Chief Warns U.S. on Missile Defense, Reuters (12/27/2000)

A. Russian Nuclear Forces

Shift Seen in Russian Nuclear Policy
David Hoffman
Washington Post Foreign Service
December 27, 2000
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Dec. 26 -- Russia officially deployed a new complement of its most modern strategic nuclear missiles, but in smaller numbers than in the past two years, suggesting a shift in priorities under President Vladimir Putin.

The single-warhead, silo-based Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile was designed to replace the aging Soviet-era multiple-warhead missiles in Russia's arsenal. In 1998 and 1999, Russia deployed 10 Topol-M missiles a year.

Only six of the new missiles were put in place today, and the cutback appears to be not only a response to budget pressures, but a change in priorities as well.

Alexander Pikayev, a nonproliferation and arms control specialist at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said the reduced deployment of missiles is "symbolically" important, marking a possible shift from expensive nuclear weapons and toward conventional, or nonnuclear, forces.

Putin has been refereeing a vigorous and sometimes public debate among Russia's top defense officials over the allocation of resources between nuclear and conventional arms. The chief of the general staff, Gen. Anatoly Kvashnin, has argued that Russia could do with far fewer nuclear warheads than envisioned by Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, former head of the strategic missile forces. Kvashnin wants to direct money into building new high-tech conventional weapons.

The number of Russian nuclear warheads is expected to decline to 1,000 or fewer in the next five to seven years as a result of obsolescence and arms control treaties. A ceiling of 2,000 to 2,500 warheads would be called for under the prospective START III arms control treaty, still to be negotiated with the United States.

Putin has not accepted Kvashnin's recommendations for nuclear reductions to as few as 550 warheads, but he appears to be leaning away from heavy new investments in long-range nuclear missiles to keep the levels higher.

The six missiles deployed today joined others previously sited near the Volga River city of Saratov. Pikayev said that producing six missiles a year probably would not yield major savings because such a small output is inefficient for a factory capable of making dozens or hundreds a year.

By comparison, the government of former prime minister Yevgeny Primakov was suggesting in early 1999 that Russia could and should deploy 30 new Topol-M missiles each year. That goal was never formally accepted, and it appears that Russia will not maintain the pace of even 10 new missiles a year.

The cost of the Topol-M program has not been made public. In general, Russia's fiscal situation is better than at any time in recent years because of windfall revenues from high global oil prices, but there is still competition over resources between branches of the military.
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Russia Launches ICBM From Barents Sea
Agence France-Presse
December 27, 2000
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Dec 27, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) A Russian submarine successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile from the Barents Sea on Wednesday, the first such test since the Kursk nuclear submarine disaster last summer, military officials said.

The missile was launched by the Novomoskovsk at 11:00 am (0800 GMT) and successfully hit its target in Kamchatka, in Russia's far east, Northern Fleet spokesman Igor Degalo told AFP.

It was the first such test since the Kursk sank in the Barents Sea on August 12, killing all 118 sailors on board.
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Third Topol-M Regiment Becomes Operational
Military News Agency
December 27, 2000
(for personal use only)

TATISHCHEVO, Saratov Region, Dec 27, 2000 -- (Military News Agency) The third regiment of the RS-12M2 Topol-M silo-based missiles under the Taman missile division of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) became operational Tuesday.

SMF Commander Vladimir Yakovlev told reporters his service had timely accomplished the mission assigned by President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev to deploy three Topol-M regiments by the end of 2000.

"It is a serious achievement and an example of efficient concentration of efforts at top-priority directions of troops development under conditions of limited financing," Yakovlev said. Adoption of Topol-M missiles by the SMF enables Russia to gradually modernize its guaranteed nuclear containment potential, as these missiles nowadays define the strength and prospects of the strategic nuclear forces' group, he stressed.

The RS-12M2 (NATO codename SS-X27) solid fuel three stage intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was designed for silo and ground mobile launchers by the Moscow Heat Engineering Institute (designer-general Yuri Solomonov). Its first tests took place at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern European Russia in December 1994, only 10 months after the work on the missile began.

The missile's take-off weight is 47 tons, while the re-entry vehicle weighs over 1 ton. Its range is over 10 kilometers. The missile is equipped with a single warheadand features an inertial independent guidance system.

The crews of the first two Topol-M systems were put on trial service on December 23, 1997. In December 1998, the first regiment became operational, while the second one was declared operational in December 1999.

Both regiments are part of the Taman missile division stationed in the vicinity of Tatishchevo, Saratov region, central European Russia.
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Russia Tests New Nuclear-Powered Submarine
December 26, 2000
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Dec 26, 2000 -- (Reuters) Just four months after the dramatic sinking of the Kursk nuclear submarine with 118 men on board, Russia has started testing a new nuclear-powered submarine, a navy spokesman said on Monday.

The spokesman said by telephone that tests of the Gepard (Cheetah), which is designed to carry cruise missiles with nuclear warheads, had started in Arctic waters in early December.

The Gepard will be Russia's 13th submarine of what NATO classifies as the Akula class.

The spokesman said the Gepard was half the length of the 154-meter (505-foot) Kursk and would have a crew of 67.

He said it would take several months of sea tests before the Gepard was commissioned.

The sinking of the Kursk in the Arctic Barents Sea in August has raised questions about Russia's ability to maintain its nuclear-powered submarine fleet.

The Kursk is still lying on the sea bed, but Russia plans a risky and expensive operation to raise it next year.
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B. Nuclear Waste

Legislators move toward accepting other nations' high-level N-waste
Salt Lake Tribune
December 26, 2000
(for personal use only)

ST. PETERSBURG -- In a major defeat for environmentalists, legislators have given preliminary approval to a new law that would let Russia import and store high-level nuclear waste.

The proposal, under which Russia could conceivably earn billions of dollars for accepting other nations' spent nuclear fuel rods, faces further debate in Russia's lower house of parliament.

But the initial approval delivered Thursday showed how little influence environmentalists now have in a nation plagued by ecological problems.

Since Vladimir Putin took over as interim president nearly a year ago, authorities have subjected environmentalist groups to pressure unprecedented since Soviet times.

Just two weeks after being formally inaugurated in May, Putin abolished the state's environmental and forest protection agencies. He folded both into the ministry of natural resources, which licenses oil drilling and metals mining.

Warnings that Russia could be turned into the world's nuclear waste dump resonate with a nation whose environment was severely abused during Soviet times. Officials estimate that 60 million of Russia's 145 million people live in environmentally dangerous conditions.
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Russian share of spent nuke fuel 8%
December 26, 2000
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- According to the press center of the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy, the share of Russia on the world market of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing and storage is about 8% now. The amount of used nuclear fuel rods in the world increases by 11-12 tons annually. About 10% of the stock of used nuclear fuel rods have been reprocessed already.

According to expert assessment of the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy and the French COGEMA company, there is additional annual demand for about 1,000 tons to be reprocessed. About 40% of the above amount is nuclear fuel rods used in the BWR-type reactors, and 60% are the waste of the PWR-type reactors.

Thus, Russia may make at least $20 billion within 15 years rendering storage and reprocessing services. At that, the amount of spent nuclear fuel to be imported will not exceed 50% of that from Russia's own nuclear power plants.
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Duma sells out next 200,000 years
Igor Kudrik
December 21, 2000
(for personal use only)

The Russian State Duma votes in favour of spent nuclear fuel import. The immediate revenue will by no means match the long term costs.

The State Duma, lower house of the Russian parliament, voted for amendments to the Law on Environmental Protection in favour of spent nuclear fuel imports in the first reading on Thursday. The Duma also approved in the first reading amendments to the Law on Application of Nuclear Energy opening the way for Russia to lease spent nuclear fuel to other countries.

320 Duma members voted for the amendments, 30 cast their votes against, while 8 sustained. The most part of those who voted against represented the Yabloko faction in the parliament.

Thus, the lobbying with Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy, Minatom, as the driving force has finally succeeded. Russia is about to enter the international spent fuel management market, said satisfied Minatom's officials.

According to the scheme developed by Minatom, Russia may earn up to $20 billion in 10 coming years by taking into the country around 20,000 tons of foreign spent nuclear fuel. Russia's own spent nuclear fuel stock is estimated at 14,000 tons.

Minatom says that around $7 billion will be used on recovering the radioactively contaminated areas. The rest of the funds will be spent on building up the infrastructure and on payments to the federal government. Minatom's intentions regarding the fuel are uncertain. The known plans, however, suggest that the fuel will be stored for at least 50 years and then reprocessed to extract the raw material to manufacture fresh nuclear fuel.


Being totally preoccupied by the propaganda campaign, Minatom's press spokesman, Yury Bespalko said to radio Echo Moscow Thursday that spent nuclear fuel represents no danger to environment. He also said that "environmentalist act unfair" when they compare spent nuclear fuel to radioactive waste. Those are two different things, assured Bespalko.

And they are indeed. Spent nuclear fuel is the most dangerous element in the nuclear industry, which has to be taken care of for thousands of years. The environmental danger of spent nuclear fuel is added up by the non-proliferation concerns. When spent fuel is reprocessed, in addition to radioactive waste and uranium for making fresh nuclear fuel, reactor grade plutonium can also be extracted. This plutonium can be used to make so-called 'dirty' nuclear weapon.

Only three countries in the world are doing commercial reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel: Great Britain, France and Russia.

Great Britain and France reprocess their own fuel as well as take fuel from other countries for reprocessing. Russian plant in the southern Ural, Mayak, is capable of reprocessing domestically manufactured spent fuel from some of the nuclear power plants and maritime reactors - submarines and icebreakers.

Spent fuel reprocessing is the most waste producing part of nuclear industry. The Sellafield reprocessing plant in Great Britain is one of the main contributors to the radioactivity presence in the Arctic Ocean, while the area around the Mayak plant is believed to be the most radioactively contaminated place on earth.

Other countries, which use nuclear energy, the biggest of them is the United States, store their spent fuel in centralised or onsite storage facilities. None of the countries have come to a permanent solution for spent fuel, i.e. repository.


Russian environmental groups collected around 2.5 million signatures in support of a national referendum to restore state environmental agencies and to ban nuclear waste/materials import into the country in Autumn 2000. The Russian Central Electoral Committee rejected around 600,000 signatures and declared that 127,000 lacked to meet the required 2 million criteria for starting the vote. The decision of the Electoral Committee is believed to be authorised by the Kremlin.

Prior to the voting day, the Yabloko faction in the Russian parliament decided unanimously not to support the fuel import amendments. The leader of the faction, Gregory Yavlinsky, said Minatom has provided huge funds to cheer up its lobbyists in the Duma. He also said that Minatom submitted neither the accounting for the project nor a detailed break down for how the funds will be used.

"We are not greens, we are politicians. And politicians have one rule: if 99% of the population are against the waste import, we have no further arguments in favour of the project," Yavlinsky added.

American consent required Even though Minatom has managed to push through the legislation amendments, it will take some efforts to start implementing the project. Some Asian countries - considered by Minatom as the most lucrative market - use fuel manufactured mainly in the United States. The US has the property right for the fuel, which does not allow those countries to export it to a third country.

The next step for Minatom will be thus to persuade the United States to grant the permission for shipping the fuel to Russia. The security policy of the US considers reprocessing as a danger to non-proliferation of nuclear materials. Keeping that in mind, Minatom drafted an agreement in 1999 intending to conclude it with its overseas counterpart - the US Department of Energy. The agreement declared a moratorium on reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel in Russia with exception to maritime nuclear fuel. The fate of the agreement is unknown.


Countries, which operate nuclear power plants, will be glad to take the spent nuclear fuel away from their territories and are ready to pay for it. And here comes Minatom with a good business proposal difficult to resist. Minatom has always stressed in its PR-campaign that Russia will benefit from the project as well. The promised $20 billion look tempting indeed, but one has to always remember that spent nuclear fuel contains materials, which has to be managed with great care for 200,000 years. Thus, it will cost Russia much more to in the long run, than the immediate earnings.

Head of the Russian State Nuclear Regulatory, Yury Vishnevsky, said about the fuel import project that money earned would be "either eaten up or stolen". The agency opposed the Minatom's plans but its weak position in the Russian state hierarchy did not lead to any change. The dramatic downgrade of the agency's status also proves that no effective nuclear safety control will be in place should Minatom start shipping foreign spent fuel into Russia.
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C. Russian-Iranian Relations

U.S. Worried about Russian Plans to Sell Arms to Iran
December 29, 2000
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON, Dec 29, 2000 -- (Reuters) The United States said on Thursday it was very worried about reports Russia was planning to sell arms to Iran, saying they would pose a threat to its interests in the Middle East.

"We are particularly disturbed by Russian press accounts that we've seen today of Defense Minister (Igor) Sergeyev's discussions with the Iranians which suggest that Russia is ready to sell Iran missiles, submarines and other equipment," State Department spokesman Philip Reeker told a news briefing.

The U.S. embassy in Moscow will seek an opportunity to clarify Russia's intent "sooner rather than later," another State Department official said, just hours after Sergeyev and his Iranian counterpart agreed in Tehran on broad, long-term military cooperation.

They also declared a 1995 Russia-U.S. deal that prevented Moscow from selling Iran conventional arms effectively dead.

Such sales would "clearly place the national security interests of the United States, its allies and friends in the region at risk," said Reeker.

On Wednesday, Sergeyev said in Tehran that Moscow would honor its international agreements and any arms sales would not "prejudice a third country".

Russian officials have also offered assurances that any arms sales would be "defensive" in nature, mostly spares for Soviet-era equipment.

Reeker did not specify which Russian media reports he was referring to and administration officials say they have not yet had a chance to seek clarification about them from Moscow.

But Reeker said, "It's not sufficient for Russia to simply call this type of equipment, quote, "defensive." Some of the equipment reportedly being discussed ... would pose a serious threat."


As President-elect George W. Bush prepares to take office, U.S. officials have pointed out to Moscow the inconsistency in their relations, with solid coordination on the Middle East peace process but mixed signals on Iran, U.S. officials say.

The United States views with suspicion any sales of military technology to Iran, which it sees as a destabilizing influence because of its stance on the peace process, nuclear activities and backing for anti-Western "terrorist" groups.

Iran denies Washington's assertion it has an active nuclear arms program and says all work in that field is for peaceful purposes such as power generation.

Worries in Washington about Russia's stance on Iran are heightened because of Russia's withdrawal from the pact struck by Vice President Al Gore and former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin not to sell conventional arms to Iran.

Bush is expected to take a tougher line with Moscow than President Bill Clinton's administration did earlier in the post-Soviet years.

But even before Bush was declared president, U.S. officials were warning of possible sanctions against Moscow if arms sales to Iran went ahead.

"This is something, obviously, we will watch very closely and continue to monitor," Reeker said.
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Iran and Russia ink military cooperation deal
The Russia Journal
December 29, 2000
(for personal use only)

TEHERAN -- Iran and Russia said on Thursday they had agreed on broad military cooperation and declared that a 1995 Russia-U.S. deal that prevented Moscow from selling conventional arms to Iran was effectively dead. The announcement was likely to anger Washington, which has put pressure on Russia not to sell arms to the Islamic republic.

"IT WAS agreed that a new phase of military and technical cooperation would begin between the two sides," Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev told journalists at a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart Ali Shamkhani.

The ministers said that the deal made in 1995 between Russia and the United States, in which Russia had agreed not to sell conventional arms to Iran, was no longer a factor.

"The 1995 agreement has been buried by history," Shamkhani said as a tired-looking Sergeyev looked on. "It has been proven today that independent countries will choose their partners without taking into account extraneous issues."

Russia alarmed Washington by announcing last month that it was abandoning the 1995 pledge not to sell tanks and other battlefield weapons to Iran. Washington, which accuses Tehran of sponsoring terrorism, is trying to persuade Moscow to change its mind and has threatened economic sanctions. The United States and other countries also have raised concerns that Russia's construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran could give it access to materials and knowledge for making nuclear weapons. Both Moscow and Tehran have denied the claim.

Shamkhani said Iran and Russia shared a common security viewpoint because of NATO expansion, the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan and increased Western influence in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

He said those issues had caused the two sides to "develop and deepen long-term security and Defense cooperation," including the training of Iranian military officers in the Russian federation.

But Iran and Russia did not discuss sales of specific military hardware during Sergeyev's three-day visit, the first by a Russian Defense minister since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, Shamkhani said.

"The general agreement is to cooperate in all defensive issues because of the common understanding between the two countries. Against such a background, there was no need to discuss specific items." You will learn of its success the day we test-fire it," he said. "Just as you learnt of the success of the Shahab-3 (intermediate range ballistic missile) when it was test fired.

"We are producing solid fuel (for missile propulsion) in Iran," Shamkhani told Reuters after the news conference. "We are producing the raw materials for solid fuel ourselves."

"In the Defense sector, we are determined to elevate Iran to the position it deserves. We will make every effort to do so."

Shamkhani said Iran's missile capabilities were totally dependent on domestically produced hardware, technology and know-how.

"Our domestic potential and capabilities are strong compared to the technology of eastern Europe," he said. "We do not need foreign assistance in developing missile technology."

Shamkhani said it was Iran's natural right to enter space and Iran was developing a non-military missile, the Shahab-4, to carry satellites into orbit. "You will learn of its success the day we test-fire it," he said. "Just as you learnt of the success of the Shahab-3 (intermediate range ballistic missile) when it was test fired.

"We are producing solid fuel (for missile propulsion) in Iran," Shamkhani told Reuters after the news conference. "We are producing the raw materials for solid fuel ourselves."

"In the Defense sector, we are determined to elevate Iran to the position it deserves. We will make every effort to do so."
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Washington Cannot Stop Russian Nuclear Deals With Tehran
Brenda Shaffer
International Herald Tribune
December 28, 2000
(for personal use only)

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts Throughout the past decade, Russian-Iranian cooperation in the nuclear sphere has puzzled Washington. Moscow is constantly discovering Iranian attempts to illicitly attain technology related to weapons of mass destruction, yet does little to stop these efforts, and officially cooperates with Iran on civil nuclear projects, which provide Iran with knowledge to advance its military programs.

But Russia and Iran are neighboring states, so wouldn't Moscow be one of the first at risk if Iran acquired nuclear weapons? And, isn't the government in Iran called the Islamic Republic? Moscow is oppressing Muslims in Chechnya and both Russia and Iran want influence among the Muslim peoples of Central Asia and the Caucasus. Wouldn't these factors put them on a collision course and bring Moscow to the idea that Iran's acquisition of weapons of mass destruction hurts its own security?

In fact, Russia needs Iran and Iran needs Russia - a fact that has eluded the United States.

Washington assumes that Russia fears Iran and its ability to stir up trouble for Moscow in the Caucasus and Central Asia and thus will actively cooperate with the U.S. to combat the advance of Iranian weapons programs. What Washington fails to understand in this line of thinking are a few facts.

First, Iran is an extremely pragmatic state. When its state geopolitical interests collide with its Islamic agenda, the state interests almost always take precedence. As far is Tehran is concerned, so what if Moscow is slaughtering Muslims in Chechnya? Russia has resources and technology that Iran wants.

Also, cooperation with Russia could help offset U.S. hegemony in the international arena, and together Iran and Russia could better prevent expansion of U.S. influence.

Moscow's vulnerability in Chechnya is pivotal to understanding its commitment to cooperation with Tehran. Iran's pragmatic perception of the importance of cooperation with Russia is crucial as well.

Overall, official Iranian statements have been mild in their criticism of Russia in the Chechen wars, considering the Muslim background of the Chechen rebels. Tehran, which now chairs the Islamic Conference Organization, has ensured that Chechnya stays off the agenda of many Islamic forums. In fact, Russian pledges to cooperate with Iran in the nuclear and security fields have surged during Russia's heightened military engagements in Chechnya. Iran's prevention of a Muslim backlash against Russia over the Chechen issue was often rewarded by Moscow with public reaffirmations of its commitment to supply Tehran with the civil nuclear reactors Iran had long sought.

Moscow views Tehran's cooperation in containing Muslim backlash as essential to its internal security and for maintaining good relations and trade with many Muslim states. As a cornerstone of its current security conception, Russia is reluctant to take steps that could jeopardize this cooperation. As long as Russia is involved in a conflict with Chechnya, it will do little that could upset its relations with Tehran.

Thus it is futile for the United States to build its nonproliferation hopes for Iran on Russia's cooperation.

Washington may be able to convince Russia to refrain from providing certain technologies most directly applicable to nuclear weapons, but it is it is naive to suppose that Russia will cut off its broader military and nuclear cooperation with Iran in response to U.S. pressure.

The recent announcement by Igor Ivanov, Russia's foreign minister, that Moscow's previous commitments to the United States to refrain from concluding new arms deals with Iran were now null and void, was a clear sign Moscow is no longer interested in serving as a subcontractor for U.S. interests. The Bush administration will have to think of something new, and, hopefully, improved.

The writer, research director at the Caspian Studies Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.
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D. Russian Nuclear Power Industry

News Update [Russian Power Plant Output]
Uranium Institute
December 19, 2000
(for personal use only)

[NB00.51-7] Russian nuclear power plants have generated 119.3 billion KWh of electricity since the start of 2000, according to the Press Centre of Rosenergoatom. Capacity utilisation has been 68.4%. There are currently 29 reactors at nine sites, with a total capacity of 21 242 MWe. Of those, 26 reactors with a combined capacity of 16 021 MWe are operating. (Russia Today Online/RosBusinessConsulting, 13 December; see also News Briefing 00.22-5)
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E. Russian-Indian Nuclear Cooperation

Russia, India in Biggest Yet Warplane Deal
December 29, 2000
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Dec 29, 2000 -- (Reuters) Russia signed a record arms deal with India on Thursday which will allow New Delhi to build 140 Su-30MKI warplanes under license, Russia's defense export monopoly said.

India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will build the state-of-the art, twin-seater fighter jets as part of a 15-year military cooperation plan agreed by the two sides.

The deal follows a four-day visit to India in early October by Russian President Vladimir Putin in which boosting military ties was high on the agenda.

The exact value of Thursday's contract was not released but Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy head of the Russian Center for Strategic and Technological Analysis, said it could be worth $3.3 billion, Interfax reported.

"This contract is the biggest in the history of Russian-Indian military-technical cooperation," a spokesman for Russia's monopoly arms seller, Rosoboronexport, told Reuters.

Under the terms of the contract New Delhi will fit Western and Indian instrumentation into the multi-purpose fighter, which is capable of engaging two airborne targets simultaneously.

New Delhi is already constructing MiG warplanes under contract and is thought to be interested in a similar deal to build Russia's T-90 main battle tank.

In November 1996, India signed a $1.4 billion dollar contract to buy 50 Sukhoi warplanes from Russia, and has already received 18 of the aircraft.

India has also expressed an interest in purchasing Russia's advanced S-300 missile defense system, which some European and American military experts say is better than the U.S. Patriot missile which came to notice during the Gulf crisis of 1990-91.
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F. U.S. - Russian Relations

Russia Rocket Chief Warns U.S. on Missile Defense
December 27, 2000
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Dec 27, 2000 -- (Reuters) Moscow will respond to any unilateral move by the incoming U.S. administration to deploy a national missile defense shield without Russia's consent, the head of the country's nuclear rocket force said on Wednesday.

"I am afraid that if that happens, then positive initiatives will, unfortunately, be lost," the Interfax news agency quoted General Vladimir Yakovlev as saying.

"Then we will simply be forced to speak in a different language and a different tone of voice," the Strategic Rocket Force commander said.

Yakovlev's comments were a direct response to U.S. Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell, a supporter of national missile defense known as NMD. Outgoing U.S. leader Bill Clinton ducked a decision on deployment of the "Star Wars"-style missile shield.

Moscow has steadfastly refused to amend the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) which bans NMD, saying it would undermine Russia's own deterrent and trigger a new arms race that would suck in China.

President Vladimir Putin has vowed to tear up all arms control accords with Washington if it deploys the $60 billion dollar system regardless of Moscow's security concerns.

He has offered instead sharply lower nuclear arsenals and joint work on a nonategic missile defense system.

Moscow believes that, and diplomacy, could provide adequate protection against "rogue states" like North Korea and Iraq, that the United States says it needs protection from.


Last month, Yakovlev flagged a significant shift in Russia's position, saying Moscow could agree a fixed ABM tariff with the United States under which improved missile defense would be compensated for by cuts in offensive capacity.

The Foreign Ministry later played down the remarks.

Yakovlev's comments on Wednesday coincided with the successful test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile by the Novomoskovsk cruiser in the Barents Sea.

A spokesman for Russia's Strategic Rocket Force confirmed that the rocket, launched at 0800 GMT, had hit its target in the Kamchatka region in Russia's far east. But he declined to say whether the test involved one of Russia's sophisticated new Topol-M missiles which Yakovlev said could form the vanguard of any Russian response to NMD. "The Topol-M gives us the possibility of a symmetrical and asymmetrical response to any breach of the START-2 or ABM treaties," Interfax quoted Yakovlev as saying.

The Topol-M, a 47-ton, single warhead rocket with a range of 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles), is seen by Russia as capable of breaching any defense system.
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