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Nuclear News - 01/17/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, January 17, 2001
Compiled by Terry C. Stevens

A. U.S. - Russian Relations
    1. In His First Days, Bush Plans Review of Clinton's Acts [Excerpt], The New York Times (01/13/2001)
    2. Excerpts From the Interview With President-Elect George W. Bush, The New York Times (01/14/2001)
    3. Russian Reactions to Bush Interview, RFE/RL (01/16/2001)
    4. Russia Braces for Tougher U.S. Line on Aid, Reuters (01/16/2001)
    5. Powell's Perspective, Thomas Friedman, The New York Times (01/16/2001)
    6. Focus Shifting in U.S.-Russia Relations, The Washington Post (01/15/2001)
    7. Moscow press bristles at Bush aid threat, Agence France-Presse (01/15/2001)
    8. Experts Call For Fresh Start In Relations With Russia, RFE/RL (01/12/2001)
B. Plutonium Disposition
    1. Canada To Test Arms-Grade Russian and U.S. Plutonium, Reuters (01/16/2001)
    2. Russians to Discuss Peaceful Plutonium Use with Canadians, People's Daily (01/16/2001)
    3. Russia Requires Financial Aid to Dispose of Weapons-Grade Plutonium, Agence France-Presse (01/13/2001)
C. Nuclear Waste
    1. Russians in 20 Cities Protest Nuke Waste Import Plan, Topica/Environment News Service (01/16/2001)
    2. Chelyabinsk court to examine Mayak plant, Bellona (01/15/2001)
    3. Radioactive Waste May Reach Neva, The Russia Journal (01/12/2001)
D. Russian - Iranian Relations
    1. Russia Building 2nd Iran Reactor, Alla Startseva, The Moscow Times (01/17/2001)
    2. Nuclear parts shipped to Iran, The Russia Journal (01/16/2001)
E. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Minister Denies Illegal Export of Nuclear Technologies, ITAR-TASS (01/16/2001)
    2. New Submarine to Be Launched This Year, RFE/RL (01/17/2001)

A. U.S. - Russian Relations

In His First Days, Bush Plans Review of Clinton's Acts [Excerpt]
David E. Sanger and Frank Bruni
The New York Times
January 13, 2001
(for personal use only)

CRAWFORD, Tex., Jan. 12 - President-elect George W. Bush … described what could well become a new, tougher approach toward Russia, limiting aid for its conversion to a market economy, and he elaborated on several other foreign policy issues.


Mr. Bush was dismissive of the Clinton administration's eight-year- long use of direct financial aid to Russia, part of a broad Western effort to coax the country toward a market economy. He suggested he would try to stop the money - except for that used to dismantle nuclear weapons - until Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, cleaned up corruption and enacted far-reaching economic and legal reforms.

"It's hard for America to fashion Russia," Mr. Bush said. "It just seems like to me that we don't want to be lending money and/or encourage the lending of money into a system in which the intention of the capital is never fulfilled," he said. "The intent of the capital was to encourage entrepreneurship and growth and markets."

According to the General Accounting Office, the United States has spent roughly $2.3 billion since 1992 promoting democracy, the rule of law and market reforms in Russia, but the annual disbursements have tailed off steeply since the Russian financial crisis of 1998. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, institutions in which the United States is the largest single shareholder, have issued loans to Russia over the same period worth approximately $30 billion.


He said he was prepared for objections from Moscow and Beijing to his plan to build a national missile defense, but he insisted it should not be seen by either capital as a threat.

"We've just got to explain why we are doing what we are doing," he said. "The Chinese know and the Russians know that there will be no system developed in the immediate future or the foreseeable future, is a better word, that can conceivably intercept a multiple launch" of missiles at the United States.

"You know that. They know that," he said. His real intent, he said, was to intercept an accidental launching of one or two nuclear weapons, or to deprive "some nation like Iran to eventually say to us, `And we've got one aimed at Israel.' " He would not discuss what kind of incentive he might offer China or Russia to accept the system, other than decreasing the size of America's own nuclear missile fleet. And how many warheads could he eliminate from America's arsenal?

"That's what we are going to find out," he said.
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Excerpts From the Interview With President-Elect George W. Bush
New York Times
January 14, 2001
(for personal use only)

Excerpts from a 75-minute interview with President-elect George W. Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Tex., on Friday.

Q. Would you go ahead even if it looked like the Chinese would build up their nuclear forces [to overwhelm the missile defense system]?

A. They are building up their nuclear forces. . . .

Q. But right now, they are nowhere near what Russia, for example, has deployed. . . .

A. Correct. But nevertheless . . . Russia's nuclear force load is decreasing. They [China] are increasing. And we've just got to explain why we are doing what we are doing. National missile defense is - let me start over. . . .The Chinese know and the Russians know that there will be no system developed in the immediate future or foreseeable future, is a better word, that can conceivably intercept a multiple launch regime. . . . You know that. They know that. . . . I'm kind of rambling on here. But I thought it was very interesting when at some point [Russian President Vladimir V.] Putin said, "You start talking about interception on the launch and theater-based protections." I found that to be an interesting statement. When I ever visit, I look forward to exploring that discussion with him, because it's precisely what I told [Russian Foreign Minister Igor S.] Ivanov in my meeting with him prior to the election.

And they've raised great objections about missile defense, but I explained to them that I understand that the technology and the will, for that matter, of some in Congress will really mean that initially we will be deploying systems that will prevent the accidental launch of the ones and twos, with the ability for some nation like Iran to eventually say to us, "And we've got one aimed at Israel. And what are you going to do about it? . . . "

One thing I did talk about in the campaign that hasn't gotten much focus is our willingness to reduce our own nuclear capacity, to reduce the offensive nature of our inventory and enhance the defensive posture of America.

Q. Did that issue come up in your Pentagon discussions?

A. No, it didn't, interestingly enough.

Q. How low do you think you could bring the American arsenal?

A. That's what we are going to find out. I'm going to make our case to parties involved. . . . I have said that one of our top priorities with Russia is to work with them on the spread of technologies, as well as nuclear safety. . . . I also have said it's going to be up to Russia to decide whether or not it is a place for - it's a welcoming place for our capital. They have to make the decisions on matters of real law and sound accounting principles. They have to assure capital that it is a safe haven. That you can get a reasonable rate of return. That's up to Russia.

Q. Are they heading in the wrong direction on that?

A. Well, you mean in terms of, for example, stifling free press? Yeah, that concerns me. As much as I'd like to stifle it occasionally. [Laughter.] He [Putin] has pledged to root out corruption. I think that's going to be a very important part, but it's his choice to make. That's the point I'm trying to make. It's hard for America to fashion Russia. . . .

Q. If you look back now at Russia, Mexico, the Asia crisis, clearly there will be financial crises in your time as president.

A. Absolutely. Yeah, particularly if our own economy continues to sputter. . . . As I understand, part of the issue in Russia was we kind of encouraged them to raise taxes on a system that people were avoiding taxes to begin with, and then the tax load became so unbearable that it was impossible to pay, as opposed to restructuring taxes, to have low taxes that would really encourage growth and more tax revenues into the economy. . . .

The I.M.F. at times has made kind of decisions that really have affected growth of economies and really have been clobbered savers and the middle class. The other thing I think the I.M.F. can do a better job of is anticipating issues. The problem is that that's easy to say, but I also recognize that globalization causes capital just to stampede throughout the world now like never before....
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Russian Reactions to Bush Interview
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
January 16, 2001
(for personal use only)

MORE RUSSIAN REACTION TO BUSH INTERVIEW. Political figures and journalists continue to comment on "The New York Times" interview given by U.S. President-elect George W. Bush (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 January 2001). Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev said on 16 January that Bush is "absolutely right" to say that the U.S. will not send more aid to Russia unless Russia reforms, Interfax reported. "We are tired of corruption and of our criminal leaders, who have concluded transactions to Russia's detriment," he said, adding that Bush's position will prevent Russians "from thinking that the IMF or World Bank will always be feeding us." But "Kommersant-Daily" on the same day said that Bush's statement not only ends any hope of restructuring Russia's debt but is likely to generate an anti-reform reaction in Russia itself. And "Nezavisimaya gazeta" added that Russia's own position on the Paris Club had virtually invited Bush's stance by making Moscow more vulnerable to outside pressure.

RUSSIANS ANGERED BY BUSH REMARKS... Moscow analysts, politicians, and media outlets reacted angrily on 15 January to U.S. President-elect George W. Bush's remarks in "The New York Times" that his administration might reduce or cut off aid to Russia. Liliya Shevtsova of the Carnegie Moscow Center told "Vedomosti" that "it is unpleasant that this statement is made when we still have not rebuilt our relations with the International Monetary Fund." That paper noted that words like those used by Bush "have never before been pronounced at such a senior level." "Izvestiya" described Bush's remarks about Russia as "a perestroika" in relations between the two countries. Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin told ITAR-TASS that Moscow understands that such a shift could have an impact on Russia's negotiations with the IMF. And, in a rejoinder to both Bush and "The New York Times," a Kremlin official told Interfax on 15 January that "this respectable newspaper may be wrong" in asserting that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not bury Vladimir Lenin.

...AS GROWING DIFFERENCES ACKNOWLEDGED... Writing in "Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie," no. 1, Vadim Solovev said that since the beginning of 2001, Russian and American officials have been exchanging charges about violations of military agreements, with each side responding to the other's suggestions with new ones.

...AND MORE CONFLICTS SEEN AHEAD. "Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie," no. 1, said that Russia's weakness combined with the new American attitudes mean that there is "no point" in continuing talks over further cuts in nuclear arms. And Sergei Markov, the director of the Moscow Institute of Political Research, told Interfax on 15 January that he does not exclude the possibility that the incoming Bush administration's plan to erect a national missile defense (NMD) could in fact trigger a new nuclear arms race. On the same day, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in Rome that Moscow will keep its proposals to cut back the number of nuclear weapons if Washington would agree not to build NMD.
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Russia Braces for Tougher U.S. Line on Aid
January 16, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Jan 16, 2001 -- (Reuters) Russia on Monday pondered the prospect of tougher economic relations with the United States after suggestions by President-elect George W. Bush that financial aid should be linked to guarantees against corruption.

Commentators said the tougher line in a weekend interview with the New York Times represented a major change after eight years of Bill Clinton's administration in which aid was aimed at developing post-Soviet markets.

In a front-page commentary, the daily Vedomosti said Clinton's emphasis on democracy and human rights had given way to a hard-nosed approach emphasizing the economy.

"Judging from his interview, Bush, who has included top business magnates in his team, intends to view relations with Russia more in economic than in military-political terms," the daily said. "Bush's approach is that of a businessman."

Bush's wide-ranging interview touched on concerns over press freedom in Russia, but put the emphasis on the economy, saying aid would be limited to helping dismantle nuclear weapons until the Kremlin proved Russia was safe for U.S. investors.

"It just seems like to me that we don't want to be and/or encourage the lending of money into a system in which the intention of the capital is never fulfilled," he told the New York Times.

"The intent of the capital was to encourage entrepreneurship and growth and markets."

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, addressing a news conference in Rome, said Moscow wanted a direct dialogue with the Bush administration once it was formally in office, rather than pursuing debate through the media.

"In the course of this dialogue we are willing to examine any question that may arise from either one side or the other," he said.

Bush had made plain his intention to toughen up on assistance during the presidential campaign by denouncing as wasteful Vice President Al Gore's joint stewardship of a commission overseeing the development of aid and economic ties.

Bush told the newspaper it was up to President Vladimir Putin's administration to demonstrate whether Russia was "a welcoming place for our capital. They have to make the decisions on matters of real law and sound accounting principles. They have to assure capital that it is a safe haven".


Experts said the emphasis showed Russia would have trouble securing fresh financing from lenders like the International Monetary Fund as Washington was its biggest shareholder.

"In the short term, Russia will not be able to count on fresh IMF credits," Vyacheslav Nikonov, president of the Politika think tank, told Ekho Moskvy radio. "In any case, it is vital to hold talks with the new U.S. administration as this could ease our problems in making quick debt repayments."

An IMF mission is expected in Moscow next month to discuss fresh credits. The current $4.5 billion program was suspended in 1999 with only a single tranche dispensed after the Fund demanded implementation of structural reforms in the economy.

Further complications have been caused by Russia's announcement that it will not meet its $1.6 billion repayment obligations to the Paris Club of creditor nations in the first quarter of the year on grounds of falling budget revenues.

That decision has drawn a sharp response from the Paris Club, which says Russia should make its debt payments in full.

Relations with the new administration have also been clouded, even before Bush's inauguration, by his inclination to proceed with a missile defense system denounced by Moscow.

Bush's nominee for defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, told Senate hearings last week that he favored the system, which would involve amending the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Ivanov told reporters in Rome that Russia stood by proposals for deeper cuts in strategic weaponry if ABM was left intact.

French Defense Minister Alain Richard is due in Moscow this week for talks expected to focus on the system, viewed with considerable suspicion by many of Washington's NATO allies.
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Powell's Perspective
Thomas Friedman
The New York Times
January 16, 2001
(for personal use only)

Secretary of State-designate Colin Powell has his Senate confirmation hearing this week. I doubt Mr. Powell will say much about specific policies. What I'd listen for is whether he offers a big-picture view of the world, as we really don't know what his views are since he left Army service in 1993.

One way to think about Mr. Powell is this: He spent 35 years of his life with America Onduty, as a military officer. But for the past two years he's been associated with America Online, as a member of the AOL corporate board. So which perspective will Mr. Powell bring to his job as secretary of state - the perspective he gleaned with America Onduty during the cold war or the perspective he gleaned with America Online in the post-cold-war?

These are two different perspectives: America Onduty tends to see the world as being built around walls and America Online tends to see the world as being built around webs.

That is, America Onduty believes that U.S. foreign policy has been, and continues to be, about defending, erecting and bringing down walls. That means building walls of containment around enemies or rivals, from North Korea to Iraq to China. It means being largely indifferent to what goes on behind the walls of countries as long as they are not bothering us - e.g., not really caring how Russia's internal reform plays out - and it means working to bring down the last few walls of Communism around North Korea and Cuba.

America Online, by contrast, sees America at the center of an increasingly integrated global web - a web of trade, telecommunications, finance and environment. For America Online U.S. foreign policy is about protecting that web from those who would disrupt it, strengthening that web and expanding it to others - because, after all, America is now the biggest beneficiary of that web, since American products, technologies, values, ideas, movies and foods are the most widely distributed though it.

One way you preserve that web is by being prepared to defend it from those who would disrupt it, such as Saddam Hussein. Another way is by being ready to promote the expansion of free trade, to join with others in protecting the global environment, or to help with bailouts when key strands of the web - such as Mexico or Thailand - are threatened with financial crises that could infect the whole network. Still another way is by putting a higher priority on working with Russia to solve web problems that endanger us both - such as nuclear or missile proliferation - rather than expanding NATO's wall to Russia's border, thus making cooperation with Moscow impossible.

The wall people, the America Onduty people, love the movie "A Few Good Men," particularly the closing scene where Jack Nicholson, the tough army colonel, sneers at Tom Cruise, the army lawyer who has Mr. Nicholson on trial for the death of a weak U.S. soldier on a U.S. base in Cuba during the cold war. Mr. Nicholson says: "Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? . . . Deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall."

The web people, the America Online people, love the movie "You've Got Mail," because they know that in today's more integrated world we can, and do, get mail from all kinds of strangers that can suddenly change our lives. When Russia has a financial crisis now, we've got mail. When a networked world enables small terrorist groups to become super-empowered so they can blow up a U.S. destroyer in Yemen with a dinghy, we've got mail. When two Filipino computer hackers put their "Love Bug" virus on the World Wide Web and melt down 10 million computers and $10 billion in data in 24 hours, we've got mail.

For the America Onduty people, the world is divided between friends and enemies. For the America Online people, it is divided between members and non-members of the network. The America Onduty people focus on who's on America's terrorism list. The America Online people focus on who's on America's buddy list.

Yes, these are caricatures. But there's something to them. They reflect two different ways of looking at the world. So which lens is Mr. Powell wearing - the one he developed with America Onduty or with America Online?
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Focus Shifting in U.S.-Russia Relations
Peter Baker and Susan B. Glasser
The Washington Post
January 15, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- The last leader of the Soviet Union returned recently to the Kremlin, a decade after the fall of communism, and asked the new president of Russia a simple if pointed question: Do you plan to take the country back to an authoritarian regime?

"His answer was a very definite 'no,' " Mikhail Gorbachev recalled in an interview last week.

In President Vladimir Putin's Russia, though, Gorbachev's question remains very much unresolved and touches on what may become one of the most vexing foreign policy challenges facing the son of the American president who was in office at the end of the Cold War.

In a sharp diplomatic course change, George W. Bush will enter the Oval Office signaling a renewed emphasis on the issues of nuclear security and geopolitics that so preoccupied his father, while abandoning the Clinton administration's mission to reinvent the fitful, corruption-plagued Russian economy. But at a time when Putin is cracking down on the independent media and consolidating state power, it may not be so simple to turn away from the internal struggle that still roils Russia's incomplete transition to Western-style democracy.

Bush's determination to build a national missile defense system in the face of loud Russian objections heralds a new era of nuclear tensions. Yet arms control talk may be a welcome diversion for a Moscow leadership that has grown tired of high-minded lecturing from Washington. A pragmatic dose of realpolitik might be a tonic after what many here consider the idealistic but alternately intrusive, naive or uninterested approach of the last eight years under President Clinton.

"The Kremlin was extremely happy" that Bush won, said Sergei Karaganov, deputy director of the Institute of Europe and an influential voice in Moscow foreign policy circles. "Their view of the Bush team is that you can deal with them, there will be a clear set of rules. The Kremlin people are more or less traditionalists, as are the Bush people. It's easy for this kind of people to talk to each other."

For Bush, this is not his father's Russia. The new president will have to confront a country where U.S. national interests are not always so clear, a deeply troubled, nuclear-powered state that today is neither partner nor enemy, as his new secretary of state, Colin L. Powell, put it the other day.

The Russian economy remains smaller than Portugal's and anathema to most foreign investors since the 1998 crash of the ruble. Democracy and civil society appear to be tenuous concepts under Putin, who touts his commitment to a free press over dinner with Westerners at New York's 21 Club while his government back home jails the leading independent television network owner. Russia still wrestles with freedom of speech and religion, basic laws on private property and the rule of law.

From the point of view of some democracy activists here, any U.S. disengagement from Russia's internal issues could encourage Putin's autocratic streak even as he tries to take control of Russian broadcast networks and continues a brutal war in Chechnya. "It would be seen as carte blanche for the possibility of authoritarian rule inside Russia," said Oleg Orlov, a leader of the human rights group Memorial.

"I don't remember a period in our relationship when the United States was deaf, dumb and blind to what happened in Russia," said Andrei Richter, director of the Media Law and Policy Center at Moscow State University. "Democracy in Russia is as important to America as it is to Russia."

Bush has little personal knowledge of Russian affairs, but the rest of his team brings a wealth of experience. Condoleezza Rice, a longtime Soviet scholar who served in the last Bush White House, is returning to be national security adviser.

In interviews last year, Rice sketched out the basis of a Bush policy toward Russia that would focus on creating a new arms control regime allowing construction of a national missile defense -- either by renegotiating the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 or abrogating it if necessary. "I'm not too optimistic that we Americans can do much on the economic side and I'm perfectly happy to let markets take care of that," she said.

Rice made clear that Russia's internal woes continue to concern the United States, criticizing for instance "the perilous state of the Russian military" and bemoaning Putin's return to "the really bad habits" of Soviet times during his devastating military campaign in Chechnya. But in terms of policy, she subordinated such issues to the geopolitics of nuclear arms control and nonproliferation.

Putin is not especially knowledgeable about the United States, but he has proved a more energetic player on the world stage than his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, going out of his way to court China and countries that Washington would rather isolate or contain, including North Korea and Cuba. And he accomplished little in several meetings with lame duck Clinton last year, seemingly waiting for his successor. Now Putin is reportedly studying English in preparation.

The consensus in Moscow is that relations with the United States have reached a dangerous low. Gorbachev, for example, said he considered the 1990s to be a time of squandered opportunity. "There were a lot of smiles, but it really went downhill," he said. "The blame goes equally to Russia and America."

Gorbachev, who in the dwindling days of the Soviet Union forged a close relationship with President George Bush, welcomed the credentials of the new team but suggested that the son not make the mistake of his father and wait many months before reaching out to Moscow. And Gorbachev, too, was critical of the prospect of American withdrawal from Russian affairs.

"That would be wrong," he said. "That would be a mistake. Security issues will be addressed more effectively if they are part of a broad agenda within which we will be cooperative." He added, "The U.S. does not have a strong foreign policy for the post-Cold War world. America has not yet decided what kind of Russia it wants."

Gorbachev said the onus is on Bush to take the first step. "I think it is essential that the new president take the initiative and make a gesture to Russia," he said. Putin is ready to talk, added Gorbachev, who has informally advised the new Russian leader. "He does want the relationship to change, I do know that. He believes the relationship has deteriorated in recent years."

In a bit of geopolitical deja vu, just as Gorbachev dueled with Washington over the prospect of a "Star Wars" missile defense system, so now will Putin confront the issue, if in different form. The program envisioned by President-elect Bush is more limited, avowedly aimed at potential strikes by rogue nations rather than Russia's giant nuclear arsenal.

But Russia considers any anti-missile program to be a direct threat to its last claim on great-power status and has threatened to withdraw from other arms control agreements if Bush vacates the ABM Treaty.

"I think we will enter into some pretty harsh polemics," said Dmitri Trenin, a Russian military expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center. "I think you can envision a complete rupture." In that case, "for the first time in 30 years you have a situation where the strategic forces of the United States and Russia will develop totally separately without any treaty framework. Arms control in that sense will be dead."

But Trenin said he believes Putin knows Bush is not bluffing and therefore will find a way to negotiate. As trade-offs, Putin could insist on repealing the ban on multiple warheads on land-based missiles in the START II treaty or creating a joint theater-based missile system to cover Europe. Gen. Vladimir Yakovlev, the head of Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces, recently floated an "ABM tariff" exchanging deeper cuts in nuclear missiles for defensive systems.

"We believe the Republicans will have a more pragmatic and concrete approach toward setting up national missile defense," said Boris Gryzlov, head of Putin's Unity party in the State Duma. "If Democrats did not want to discuss it with us, the Republicans are more prepared to do so."

The new emphasis on arms control comes after eight years in which Clinton failed to negotiate a major disarmament treaty with Russia. Instead, his administration attended to the economic travails of the former superpower, something Bush plans to avoid as much as possible.

That could be easier for the moment since Russia's economy, driven by high oil prices, has begun growing for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, leaving it less reliant on loans from the International Monetary Fund. But that could be a short-lived respite, given that Putin has not enacted many economic reforms. Just last week, Russia announced it would not be able to make its full payment of Soviet-era debt this quarter to the Paris Club of creditor nations.

Without U.S. pressure, some reformers worry whether Russia will ever push forward with structural changes. The country remains without a federal law on private ownership of land or genuine guarantees of investor rights. In their absence, foreign businesses remain deeply wary of returning.

Likewise, democracy activists fear Putin will roll back the gains of the last decade. Putin's government already has forced two media-owning oligarchs into exile in Western Europe and may be able to take control of all three national television networks soon.

Vladimir Gusinsky, the founder of independent NTV, now sits in house arrest in Spain on a Russian extradition request and is struggling to keep the network out of government hands. When word leaked out last week that CNN founder Ted Turner might buy a share of the network, Russian prosecutors searched the Moscow offices of NTV's holding company and the state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom, which owns a large stake in NTV, blocked any potential sale.

"Unless the United States supports freedom of speech in Russia," warned Alexei Venediktov, editor in chief of Echo Moskvy, a Gusinsky radio station, "they will end up dealing not with a civilized country but with a nuclear barbarian."
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Moscow press bristles at Bush aid threat
Agence France-Presse
January 15, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Jan 15 (AFP) - Moscow's press declared Monday that a damaging "perestroika" in reverse has entered relations with Washington following US President-elect George Bush's threat to cut off Russian aid.

"These words have never before been pronounced at such a senior level in the United States," the Vedomosti business daily noted in reference to Bush's warning published in Sunday's edition of The New York Times.

"The previous administration spent a lot of time talking about democracy in Russia, human rights, the war in Chechnya and the future of reforms. But the approach of Bush is that of a businessman," the newspaper added.

The Russian foreign ministry said it had not yet prepared an official response to Bush's comments and President Vladimir Putin failed to address the subject during a regular meeting of his ministers Monday.

However the Moscow press agreed that the new US administration appears to have quickly adopted a surprisingly hawkish stance towards Russia and the way business is conducted here.

"George Bush has declared a perestroika," said the Izvestia daily, comparing Bush's stance to the "restructuring" of Russia's economy carried out in the late 1980s by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

"The new head of the White House has started off by delivering an unpleasant surprise to the West," Izvestia said.

Bush did not mince his words in The New York Times interview as he flatly declared that Western investors were fed up with the anarchy that appears to have reigned over Russian business since the Soviet Union's collapse.

And he warned that Moscow should expect no future economic aid except for strategic investments in nuclear non-proliferation projects unless Putin followed through on promises to clean up Russia's investment climate.

"It is going to be up to Russia to decide whether or not it's a welcoming place for our capital," Bush said.

"He (Putin) has pledged to root out corruption. I think that's going to be a very important part, but it's his choice to make," said Bush. "It's hard for America to fashion Russia."

The comments were interpreted as a slap in the face by the Moscow press.

"Bush has ruled out aid for Moscow," the liberal Sevodnya daily announced in a headline. "The new US president has announced that Russia does not use its money as it is intended."

Analysts meanwhile said Bush's remarks hurt Russia's cause as it struggles to renew formal cooperation with the International Monetary Fund.

Moscow desperately needs an IMF stamp of approval before it can work on a restructuring program of its massive debt to the Paris Club of creditor nations.

"It is unpleasant that this statement is made when we still have not rebuilt our relations with the International Monetary Fund," Liliya Shevtsova of the Carnegie Moscow Center told Vedomosti.

"Such a statement issues a wakeup call to international financial organization," she added.

Moscow so far has only agreed to pay interest on the 48.3-billion dollar debt inherited from the former Soviet Union and announced last week that it was postponing a 285-million dollar payment due this month.
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Experts Call For Fresh Start In Relations With Russia
K.P. Foley
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
January 12, 2001
(for personal use only)

Leading foreign policy experts in Washington say the United States has an opportunity to revitalize U.S.-Russian relations, which they contend have weakened over the past decade. They made some policy suggestions for President-elect George Bush at a conference Thursday. RFE/RL correspondent K.P. Foley summarizes their views.

Washington, 12 January 2001 (RFE/RL) -- A panel of experts is calling on the new U.S. presidential administration to make a fresh start with Russia and stop what they contend is an erosion of bilateral ties that has developed over the past decade.

They spoke Thursday at a Washington conference sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, a private policy research institute, that tends to support a conservative point of view. While not denouncing the Russia policies of President Bill Clinton, who leaves office 20 January after eight years, the panelists contended the Clinton Administration failed to engage Russia on a broad range of issues and did little more than watch as democratic and market reforms stalled.

The Clinton White House and State Department has frequently been criticized for what some commentators call a romantic view of Russia. However, senior administration officials contend the U.S. has made great progress on important issues with Russia and has provided crucial support for reforms.

Heritage panelist Fritz Ermarth said there are serious problems besetting Russia, and he says that realistically, the United States does not have great influence over what happens in Russia. But, he says it does have influence, and this influence must be employed.

Ermarth -- former director of the National Intelligence Council, a government agency that, among other things, provides information and analyses to the director of the Central Intelligence Agency -- says President-elect George W. Bush has a chance for a fresh start.

"The Bush administration comes into Washington with the opportunity to review and revise and reform, in many ways start over, our Russia policy."

He suggested that Bush and his foreign policy team manage their Russian policy in a fashion similar to the guidelines used by former President Ronald Reagan and former Secretary of State George Shultz in the second Reagan administration from 1985-89.

Ermarth said this policy was based on a four-point agenda. The agenda's main components were: strategic issues such as nuclear arms control, regional affairs, human rights concerns and bilateral matters. This four-point agenda enabled the Reagan administration to craft what Ermarth called an integrated, whole policy toward Russia.

"I see a real opportunity to put a compelling, four-part policy architecture together using the inspiration, if not all the concrete experiences of the late Reagan years."

Thomas Graham, a foreign policy analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, another well-known research institute, says the Bush administration will face many challenges while formulating its Russia policy. One of these issues, he says, is that Russian President Vladimir Putin's grip on the levers of power may not be as strong as Putin would like.

Graham says that Putin spent his first year in office trying to re-establish the central authority of the Kremlin. He says that despite some moves in that direction, Putin is not in charge in the Kremlin and has not, in his words, tamed the regional governors in Russia.

"He is probably of any recent Russian leader the one who understands his own country least of all."

This does not bode well for Putin, said Graham.

"Mr. Putin's inexperience complicates the problem that's going to arise out of the very severe resource problem that the Russian government faces and is going to face, even if the economy continues to grow over the next several years."

Stephen Blank, a lecturer at the U.S. Army War College, said that while the U.S. must engage Russia, it must also pursue policies that promote U.S. national interests.

Blank said those interests include the construction of a national missile defense system, regardless of objections to the concept from Russia and China, and even some U.S. allies. He said the U.S. should also work to strengthen the cohesion of the NATO alliance, and extend NATO's Partnership for Peace Program.

Blank said the U.S. also should offer support to former Soviet republics which he said are "most threatened by Russia." He named them as Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine.

He warned that civilian control of the military in Russia has regressed, and he contends that the military establishment in Russia has become thoroughly politicized. Blank places a great deal of blame for that on Russia's campaign against Chechen separatists. He called the conflict an endless war which Russia cannot win.

Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation agreed that the U.S. should put its own national security interests first in its Russia policy considerations. He also called for broad bilateral contacts at all levels of government and society. Cohen said that while U.S. influence may have waned, the U.S. can still offer important support for pro-democracy groups.
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B. Plutonium Disposition

Canada To Test Arms-Grade Russian and U.S. Plutonium
David Ljunggren
January 16, 2001
(for personal use only)

OTTAWA - Canada said on Monday it was about to start a unique test to see whether Russian and U.S. weapons-grade plutonium could be burned in a civilian nuclear reactor and thereby help boost nuclear disarmament.

Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. (AECL) plans to use its Chalk River nuclear laboratories to burn around 450 grams of Russian weapons-grade plutonium, which has been mixed in with 14 kg of regular uranium oxide reactor fuel to produce mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel.

"I'm pretty sure the test will start this month," AECL spokesman Larry Shewchuk told Reuters.

A team from Russia will visit Chalk River - in a remote part of eastern Ontario - this week for final consultations before the test begins.

The test could have a significant impact on Moscow's program to disarm its nuclear warheads since if it succeeds, Canada could eventually help dispose of the 50 tons of weapons-grade plutonium that Russia has identified as excess.

And if Russian reactors could be converted to burn MOX fuel, it could also help generate much-needed electricity in a country hit by periodic power shortages.

Chalk River will also burn a smaller amount of U.S.-produced MOX in a side-by-side test that will take three years followed by a cooling-off period.

Initial results will be available in about four years' time and if all goes well, some of the weapons-grade plutonium will have been destroyed and the rest will no longer be pure enough to use in warheads.

Washington, which is confident it can take care of the 34 surplus tons of U.S. weapons-grade plutonium, is paying for the test of the Russian MOX. Shewchuk would not reveal the amount.

"Why this experiment is unique is that Russian and U.S. fuels have never been tested together before. People want to know the differences between the two," he said.

"It is important for the two countries to have their fuel tested side by side for verification purposes. Canada is a country capable of doing this and which is deemed trustworthy by both countries."

Environmentalists say the test could turn Canada into a nuclear dumping ground but Ottawa says it will help increase security around the world by speeding up the process of destroying weapons-grade plutonium.

"No one will steal U.S. plutonium because it is very well-guarded but the same is not true in Russia, where there is no great security," Shewchuk said.

MOX has been used commercially for years in Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland but the tests in Canada are a first because they will involve weapons-grade rather than reactor-grade plutonium.
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Russians to Discuss Peaceful Plutonium Use with Canadians
People's Daily
January 16, 2001
(for personal use only)

A Russian delegation will fly to Canada on Monday to discuss ways of peacefully using arms-grade plutonium, withdrawn by Russia under a nuclear weapons reduction pact with the US, Tass reported Sunday.

During the trip, the delegation, consisting of experts form the Russian Nuclear Energy Ministry and the All-Russian Non-Organic Materials Institute, will study progress in experiments on the use for energy production of arms-grade plutonium, the ministry press center was quoted as saying.

A program titled "The Parallex Project" provides for burning experimental uranium-plutonium fuel in a Canada reactor, using heavy water as a moderator and coolant. The experimental fuel was made by the Russian research institute and by the US Los Alamos National Laboratory.

It is expected that the experiment will result in receiving unique data on burning the fuel as well as on the behavior of and interaction between fuel and the reactor's shell, according to the press center.

The Russian ministry reported that implementation of the Parallex Project will help to realize a joint Russian-American agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of arms-grade plutonium.

Russia's Parallex is being implemented with financial support from the U.S. Energy Department and organizational support from the Canadian Ministry for External Affairs.

Russia and the U.S. signed an agreement on September 1, 2000 to reprocess 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium each into nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. The Western countries promised to provide funds and technical support for implementing this program.
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Russia Requires Financial Aid to Dispose of Weapons-Grade Plutonium
Agence France-Presse
January 13, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Jan 13, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) It will cost two billion dollars for Russia to meet its international obligations on disposing of weapons-grade plutonium, and international aid is vital, nuclear energy ministry officials said Friday.

Russia cannot even start on the disposal program unless the U.S. administration provides the 200 million dollars which Washington has promised to finance the program, the officials were quoted as saying by the AVN military news agency.

The disposal process, which should be completed by 2020, could continue only if Britain, France and Japan also fulfill their promises and provide a further 300 million dollar.

The nuclear energy ministry was confident that Russia would be able to come up with the rest of the money and fund the program out of its own state budget in a couple of years.

Industrial scale plants will be needed to convert the plutonium into usable nuclear fuel, a process that is set to begin in 2007 with a minimum disposal rate of two tons a year.

The United States has been urging the international community, especially wealthy G7 members, to stump up funds to help Russia meet the bill for the 20-year operation.
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C. Nuclear Waste

Russians in 20 Cities Protest Nuke Waste Import Plan
Topica/Environment News Service
January 16, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Russia, January 16, 2001 (ENS) - Russian environmental groups organized their first day of actions Monday against a proposal of the Ministry of Atomic Power (Minatom) import nuclear waste on a commercial basis.

Actions took place in 20 cities across western and central Russia, the Ural district and Siberia.

The environmentalists are protesting approval given by the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, for a first reading of three laws that would allow Minatom to store and reprocess foreign spent nuclear fuel in Russia. Current Russian law does not permit the import of nuclear waste.

The laws must now be approved now in second and third readings. Then they will need approval from President Vladimir Putin and the Federation Council. The Duma has scheduled second reading of the waste import bills next Monday, January 22.

On Monday, Yabloko, the only political party which strongly opposed the nuclear waste import in the Duma, called for nationwide resistance to the Minatom plan.

In most of Monday's actions, members of the local branches of different political parties from Democrats to Communists joined the protests.

On January 22, environmental activists plan a fax blitz of all political factions in the Duma to demonstrate their opposition to the nuclear waste import bills.

Anti-Nuclear campaign and Press-Service, which both belong to the environmental coalition known as the Socio-Ecological Union, intend to publish action updates on resistance to the waste imports in Moscow every day until January 22.

A new report on the transportion of radioactive materials across Russia will be released next week at the National Press Institute in Moscow. The report, by analysts that the environmental groups refer to as "independent," says nuclear transport is extremely dangerous in Russia with dozens of serious accidents happening every year.

The Socio-Ecological Union and EcoDefense! have been working since 1994 to stop the development and spread of nuclear technology, and replace it with renewable sources of energy and efficiency technologies.
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Chelyabinsk court to examine Mayak plant
Edward Meilakh, Vladislav Nikiforov
Bellona Foundation
January 15, 2001
(for personal use only)

On January 4, the Arbitration court of Ural county agreed with the appeal of the local greens to examine the legality radwaste discharges from Mayak plant at Chelyabinsk court of arbitration. The court hearing on this case should take place not later than in one month.

Chelyabinsk environmental groups, among them Movement for Nuclear Safety, filed a suit against the Mayak reprocessing plant to Chelyabinsk regional court of arbitration in October 2000. Courts of arbitration in Russia deal with cases related to economical disputes. The groups wanted the court to acknowledge that radioactive discharges from the Mayak plant into the Lake Karachai and other reservoirs are illegal. The main argument of the greens was the lack of appropriate licence for such activity of the reprocessing plant from the Russian State Nuclear Regulatory.

The court turned down the suit arguing that the claims are not of economic character and thus the case should be examined by the courts of common jurisdiction. A note prepared by Committee on Radiation and Environmental Safety of Chelyabinsk county in 1998 said, however, that activity of the Mayak plant, including the discharge of liquid radioactive waste, caused a damage to the region equal to $9 billion. On January 4th, the Ural county court of arbitration in Ekaterinburg agreed with the appeal of the greens and obliged the Chelyabinsk regional court of arbitration to examine the case anyway.

According to the Russian legislation, the decision of Ural county court of arbitration is final and is not a subject for appeal. The new hearing should take place within a month from the date of the decision announcement.

Mayak plant's press-spokesman, Yevgeny Ryzhkov, said to RIA News the suit filed by the groups is "politically motivated". Ryzhkov also added that the current Russian legislation does not prohibit dumping of radioactive waste into closed reservoirs, f. ex. lakes. "We have never had licence [for dumping radwaste into the Lake Karachai] because it is not required by the current laws or regulations," Ryzhkov said. The administration of the Mayak plant, Ryzhkov added, wants to stress that banning the dumping practice would lead to the closure of the Mayak plant, which employs around 15,000 people.

Mayak Chemical Combine (MCC) used to operate six reactors for the production of weapons-grade plutonium. Five of them were graphite-moderated while the sixth was originally a heavy water reactor. These reactors have now been shut down. The heavy water reactor was later modified to a light water reactor, which remains in operation today. An additional light water reactor produces isotopes for civilian use. The plant has a reprocessing facility (RT-1) in use and about 100 storage tanks containing high level radioactive waste.

From 1949 until November, 1951, all liquid waste from reprocessing activities were discharged into the Techa River. Since these discharges led to the contamination of large areas, the most highly radioactive waste was dumped into Lake Karachai instead. The waste was discharged directly into the lake until 1953, when a temporary storage facility was taken into use, however, low and medium level waste still continue to be dumped into the lake.
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Radioactive Waste May Reach Neva
The Russia Journal
January 12, 2001
(for personal use only)

ST.PETERSBURG, RUSSIA. The accident has taken place at the research plant "Prickladnaya Himiya" in the suburb of St.Petersburg. The warehouse for the liquid radioactive waste has not been repaired for a long time, and there are leaks in several tanks. The largest negative in this situation is that the warehouse is on the shore of Kamensky stream, which runs into the Okhta river, which in its turn flows into the Neva river" - reports the State Committee of Nuclear Supervision. Should the waters of the Neva river be polluted, St.Petersburg won't be able to take drinking water from it.
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D. Russian - Iranian Relations

Russia Building 2nd Iran Reactor
Alla Startseva
The Moscow Times
January 17, 2001
(for personal use only)

Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov on Tuesday dismissed as "all politics" staunch U.S. opposition to Russia building a nuclear reactor in Iran and announced that work on a second one was already under way.

"There is not a single piece of evidence that we are helping or might help Iran strengthen nuclear weapons potential," Adamov said at a press conference.

He said that construction of the first 1,000-megawatt reactor at the Persian Gulf port city of Bushehr, which began in 1995, is 90 percent completed.

The reactor is expected to be fully operational by 2003, when Iran is due to pay Russia $800 million, according to the agreement.

Iran already has two small research reactors of its own, but the Bushehr reactor would be Iran's first powerful enough to produce weapons-grade plutonium - the reason the United States says it opposes the project.

In the past, both Iran and Russia have insisted that the plant will be used only for civilian purposes. And Adamov reiterated that position again Tuesday.

The Nuclear Power Ministry is building six reactors outside Russia - the two in Iran, plus two in India and two in China.

"Not a single foreign corporation has that many orders for constructing nuclear power plants in a foreign country," said Adamov.

Alexander Pikayev, editor of the Moscow Carnegie Center's magazine Nuclear Non-Alignment, said that although Russia's reactor deal in Iran is "absolutely legal," the United States continues to oppose it - a position that may become more resolute under U.S. President-elect George Bush.

Pikayev said that the United States has expressed little concern for Russia's projects in India and China. But that, too, could change under Bush, he said. The United States is also building reactors in China and is competing with Russia to help meet China's swelling energy demand.

Back at home, Adamov said his ministry is planning to double domestic nuclear energy capacity over the next 20 years.

Last year the ministry spent 4 billion rubles ($140 million) on nuclear industrial science development, and 1.5 billion rubles on upgrading production. As a result the nation's nuclear power plants produced a total of 130 billion kilowatt hours of electricity - up about 8 percent from 1999 and 30 percent from 1998.

The growth from 1998 is the equivalent of adding five new reactors and saved 10 billion square meters of gas, said Adamov. He also said nuclear fuel was removed from 17 nuclear submarines in 2000, compared with just two to four in previous years.

"The year 2000 was very successful," he said.
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Nuclear parts shipped to Iran
The Russia Journal
January 16, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- Russia's largest producer of equipment for nuclear power stations has made its first shipment to Iran, ITAR-TASS reported late Friday.

The Atommash factory at Volgodonsk, in southern Russia, has shipped a platform that will support a reactor at Iran's Bushehr station, the news agency said.

Atommash has been commissioned to make parts for the Bushehr station which is now being adapted to Russian standard equipment, the factory's press spokesman said.

The spokesman added that the contract was important for Atommash which has received no other commissions for several years.

He said the company had committed itself to meeting Iranian deadlines.

The German group Siemens was the initial contractor for the longstanding Bushehr project but pulled out at the request of the German government after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

The site, repeatedly bombed during the 1980-1988 war with Iraq, lay dormant prior to a 1995 deal with Moscow to supply two Russian-made reactors.

Iran's nuclear program has been strongly criticized by Washington which accuses Tehran of attempting to develop nuclear weapons and has criticized third parties including Russia for alleged technology transfers to the Islamic regime.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's administration had stepped up Moscow's ties with its former Soviet-era allies, specifically focusing its attention on the strategic Caspian Sea despite Washington's expressions of concern.
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E. Russian Nuclear Forces

Minister Denies Illegal Export of Nuclear Technologies.
January 16, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, January 16 (Itar-Tass) - Russia's Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov said there had been no facts of illegal transfer of secret technologies or scientific data from Russia to other states.

Adamov made the statement at a news conference on Tuesday, in connection with reports that said he had been questioned, as a witness, in a criminal case opened last year over the illegal export of technologies and technical information.

He said he had recently met with prosecutors over environmental issues and economic activities of the nuclear industry.

"We operate in a very sensitive field," the minister emphasized, noting that one has to interact often with prosecutors, the Federal Security Service and other bodies concerned.
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New Submarine to Be Launched This Year
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
January 17, 2001
(for personal use only)

NEW SUBMARINE TO BE LAUNCHED THIS YEAR. The Northern Works yards told ITAR-TASS on 16 January that it will launch a new nuclear-powered submarine in July. The submarine, described as a general-purpose submarine of the third generation, currently is being prepared for additional sea trials.
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