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Nuclear News - 01/24/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, January 24, 2001
Compiled by Terry C. Stevens and Benjamin D. Walpold


A. Nonproliferation Policy and Implementation
    1. No Fixed Deadlines for Nuclear Disarmament, Says Russian Foreign Ministry, Agence France Presse (01/24/2001)
    2. Russia Committed to Nuclear Non-Proliferation, ITAR-TASS (01/24/2001)
    3. The Most Urgent Security Threat?, Dimitri K. Simes and Paul J. Saunders, The Washington Times (01/19/2001)
B. HEU Purchase Agreement
    1. Russia, U.S. Hold Talks on Enriched Uranium Sales, Agence France Presse (01/24/2001)
C. U.S. - Russian Relations
    1. Moscow Plans Response if U.S. Withdraws from ABM Limits, RFE/RL (01/24/2001)
    2. Russian Foreign Policy: What Should be Done?, Segodnya (01/20/2001)
    3. Trying To Keep Russia On Track obe Talbott, Andrew Nagorski, Newsweek International (01/22/2001)
    4. Bush To Have New Approach on Russia, Barry Schweid, AP (01/24/2001)
    5. Russian Scientist Warns Against AMD Illusion, ITAR-TASS (01/24/2001)
D. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Partial Shut-Down in Russian Nuclear Power Plant, AFP (01/23/2001)
    2. Atomic Power Station Ready for Start-Up, ITAR-TASS (01/21/2001)
E. Export Controls
    1. National Security Roulette, Kenneth R. Timmerman, The Washington Times (01/19/2001)
F. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. UN: Reports Of Russian Tactical Nukes Underscores Risk, AP (01/24/2001)
G. Nuclear Waste
    1. Russia unable to reprocess foreign nuclear waste: ecologists, Agence France-Presse (01/23/2001)
    2. 14,000 tons of used nuclear fuel, Oreanda (01/23/2001)

A. Nonproliferation Policy and Implementation

1.
No Fixed Deadlines for Nuclear Disarmament, Says Russian Foreign Ministry
Agence France Presse
January 24, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW, Jan 24, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) Russia is doing everything it can to prevent the proliferation of nuclear arms, but sees no need to set exact deadlines for the destruction of its nuclear stockpile, a foreign ministry spokesman said Tuesday.

"We're still against counterproductive and unrealistic attempts by the radicals to force us into drawing up a fixed schedule for liquidating our nuclear arms," the foreign ministry's spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said.

"Still, we are prepared for reasonable compromise in order to meet the demands for further steps in the nuclear disarmament process," he added.

Yakovenko said that Russia "treats the disarmament process in a responsible and practical manner" and called for coordinated efforts by all countries to help implement the non-proliferation system.

Russia had recently said it was ready to accept further limits to its missile arsenal provided the United States abandons its controversial plan to set up a national anti-missile defense shield.

Moscow had repeatedly warned that creating such a shield could spark a new arms race, endangering the implementation of disarmament treaties.
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2.
Russia Committed to Nuclear Non-Proliferation
ITAR-TASS
January 24, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW, January 24 (Itar-Tass) - Russia regards the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as "a stronghold of the appropriate international regime, a major factor of security and stability, both at global and regional levels."

Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko told journalists on Wednesday that Russia "has taken a responsible and pragmatic stance to nuclear disarmament."

The country opposes counter-productive and unrealistic attempts to impose commitments concerning the deadline for nuclear weapons elimination and will "pursue a persistent search for ways of making this treaty universal," Yakovenko said.

According to the diplomat, Russia came up with a comprehensive initiative at the Millennium Summit last September that was meant to improve energy supplies for sustainable human development and to find radical solution to nuclear non-proliferation and the world's environmental hazards.

The initiative "has become a new move towards better nuclear non-proliferation international regime," Yakovenko said.
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3.
The Most Urgent Security Threat?
Dimitri K. Simes and Paul J. Saunders
The Washington Times
January 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


Although Russian nuclear weapons and nuclear materials present a great danger, overstating the threat does a disservice to broader American interests. A recent draft report released by the Secretary of Energy's Russia Task Force-the Clinton administration's eleventh-hour guidance to its successors-is a case in point.

The report argues that "the most urgent unmet national security threat to the United States" is the possible theft of nuclear weapons or weapons-usable material from Russia for use against Americans. On this basis, it calls for a significant expansion in the Clinton administration's non-proliferation programs in Russia in order to "secure and/or neutralize in the next eight to ten years all nuclear weapons material in Russia" and to stop the flow of dangerous technologies out of the country.

Though high-powered official commissions are rarely willing to admit that their topic of study is not the greatest challenge facing America today, Russia's "loose nukes" are indeed a major problem with potentially devastating consequences for the U.S. But the notion that protecting Russia's nuclear materials from its own population is our "most urgent" priority, as the report argues, is a dangerous one-particularly coming from a prominent and bi-partisan (though not fully balanced) group.

Most troubling, it suggests that American policy toward Russia-and other matters that affect it-should be subordinated to the goal of maintaining and expanding U.S. access to super-secret Russian nuclear facilities. This would have a profound effect on other American objectives, including national missile defense, further NATO enlargement, and Russia's payment of its debts. How could we then risk alienating or undermining the Russian government by taking positions contrary to Russian preferences? It would also give Moscow enormous leverage once Kremlin leaders sensed the depth of our commitment to such programs.

Offering the Kremlin such leverage is particularly inappropriate because the nature of Russia's evolution makes the nuclear stockpile, like everything else under Vladimir Putin's rule, subject to greater state control. Boris Yeltsin's Russia-simultaneously anarchic and semi-authoritarian-is giving way to the growing stability of Putin's "guided democracy." As prominent Russian journalist Masha Gessen writes, the result has been that "safety-or at least stability of a sort-is not so unattainable" and "trains run on time, planes fly, and the postal service works once again." This trend affects "loose nukes" as well.

Though the growing role of the security services is (to put it mildly) not a universally encouraging development, it has a clear silver lining with respect to the security of Russian nuclear materials. Russia need not become a totalitarian police state for its security agencies to perform adequately in the area of nuclear safety. In fact, they seem to have been quite capable of rounding up suspects when it is a political priority. The relative effectiveness of the Russian security apparatus in "political" cases calls attention to a fundamental point: as Russia's transition comes to an end, the deliberate decisions of its leadership will become more important than potential accidents resulting from its decreasingly chaotic internal condition. For example, Russia's atomic energy ministry, Minatom, has been a vocal champion of expanding technology transfers to Iran; the Russian government more generally has tolerated if not encouraged the provision of nuclear and other sensitive technologies to the Islamic Republic. Moscow also recently reneged on an agreement between Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin that was to have restricted Russian dealings with Tehran.

To its credit, the Russia Task Force acknowledged the problem of Russian cooperation with Iran, noting that further developments could "have a major adverse effect" on U.S. nonproliferation programs in Russia. But the problem is much broader: Russia is also renewing its ties with former Soviet client states, like North Korea, Libya, and Cuba, and according to some reports has moved tactical nuclear weapons to Kaliningrad. In this context, short of abandoning its other important interests and principles, the U.S. seems likely to enjoy less rather than more access to Russian nuclear materials, weapons complexes, and research centers.

Putin's Russia is increasingly capable, both economically and politically, of ensuring the security of its nuclear stockpile. It is counterproductive to continue to treat Russia, as Clinton has, like an adolescent unqualified even to perform the most basic functions of a state without U.S. guidance and subsidies. If Mr. Putin wants Russia to be viewed as a serious power, he should be told that reliably controlling nuclear materials, rather than the media, would win him respect in Washington.
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B. HEU Purchase Agreement

1.
Russia, U.S. Hold Talks on Enriched Uranium Sales
Agence France Presse
January 24, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW, Jan 24, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) Russian nuclear energy ministry officials and their U.S. counterparts are negotiating a new price for the enriched uranium Russia exports to the United States, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.

The two sides are expected to settle on a new price for the enriched uranium exported under a 20-year deal and draw up a new agreement outlining the supply schedule, the Russian nuclear ministry's spokesman said.

The U.S. signed an accord with Russia in 1993 to buy 500 tons of enriched uranium extracted from Russia's nuclear weapons and use it as fuel for U.S. power plants, but the concrete supply agreement expires this year.

The spokesman, quoted by the agency, said he could not reveal any details of the proposed change in price, but said that Russian nuclear ministry "hoped that this strategic issue could be resolved in a positive way."

Russia exports some 600 million dollars worth of enriched uranium to the United States every year, the spokesman said.
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C. U.S. - Russian Relations

1.
Moscow Plans Response if U.S. Withdraws from ABM Limits
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
January 24, 2001
(for personal use only)


Defense Minister Igor Sergeev said in an interview published in the 23 January "Parlamentskaya gazeta" that there is no basis to American arguments in favor of scrapping the ABM Treaty, but that if Washington leaves the treaty, Russia will respond. Meanwhile, Major General Vladimir Dvorkin, the director of the Defense Ministry's Fourth Research Institute which deals with nuclear weapons planning, said in an interview published in "Izvestiya" on 22 January that an American withdrawal from the ABM Treaty might force Russia to "build up its strategic Missile Forces" and to "abolish numerous restrictions" on some of its high-tech weapons. Such asymmetric measures," he said, "are what Russia in its current position can afford."

...BUT HOPES FOR U.S.-RUSSIA NUCLEAR COOPERATION. Meanwhile, Unity faction leader Boris Gryzlov told ITAR-TASS on 23 January that he believes Washington is prepared to consider the creation of a collective ABM system. And a spokesman for the atomic power ministry said that it hopes for an extension of an agreement allowing Russia to export low-enriched uranium to the United States, the Russian news agency said.
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2.
Russian Foreign Policy: What Should be Done?
Segodnya (translated from Russian)
January 20, 2001
(for personal use only)


Segodnya analyst Avtandil TSULADZE asked this and some other questions to Sergei KARAGANOV, who serves as president of the Foreign and Defense Policy Council.

Question: Mr. Karaganov, what can you say about the results of the Clinton Administration's Russian policy?

Answer: On the one hand, Bill Clinton used to sympathize with us; on the other hand, though, he didn't forget about US interests either. But, most importantly, he sympathized with those incorrect and abortive Russian policies. Consequently, this period of Russian-US relations has a rather bitter ending. US attempts to supervise a priori unsuccessful reforms have entailed greater anti-American sentiments in this country. At the same time, the people of America got the impression that the United States was wasting its money on Russia, which, in turn, kept misusing it. Unfortunately, Russia now has a tremendous desire to take its revenge on America for all those humiliations that Russia had inflicted upon itself.

Question: George Bush Jr. has already made a statement dealing with America's Russian policy. How will this affect our relations?

Answer: The new White House Administration's statements still tally with its promises. Washington doesn't intend to help Moscow in its efforts to implement some kind of an incomprehensible policy. The Republicans believe that Russia should cope with specific domestic problems all on its own.

Question: On what will the new US Administration's actions depend?

Answer: Much will depend on the assessment of our foreign policy. If the United States perceives such a policy as anti-American, then it would have ample opportunities for exerting tough, albeit correct, pressure on Russia. Vladimir Putin apparently doesn't want to confront the United States.In the meantime various efforts to patch up specific holes and to restore certain positions give the impression that Russia is trying to push the United States back where possible. Top political circles have once started discussing the multi-polar world concept. This idea is absurd because there can be no multi-polar world; in fact, a bipolar world alone can exist. This rather harmful idea directly counterposes Russia to the United States. Quite possibly, the United States might perceive Russia's policy as anti-American, reacting accordingly.

Question: Putin was expected to conduct a pragmatic policy. And are such expectations coming true?

Answer: Putin used to act rather successfully until now, patching up holes and restoring Russia's reputation (that was shaken over the 1998-1999 period) all the same. His activities were quite justified. However, our powers-that-be can now become dizzy with success. Besides, some excesses might well take place within the framework of our foreign policy. Some outward signs of this already exist. Russia is now negotiating more actively with Iraq; besides, Igor Ivanov has sent a rather defiant letter to Madeleine Albright in connection with Russia's decision to scrap the Gore-Chernomyrdin deal. That not very useful Cuban trip should be mentioned, as well. We should now subordinate our foreign policy to domestic development. Meanwhile Putin has already used up his reserves.

Question: But isn't Russia becoming part and parcel of the international community?

Answer: Putin's first steps aimed to incorporate Russia into the global system. However, Russia should now take specific actions for the sake of joining international organizations, opening up its economy and implementing data-exchange programs. But, most importantly, law and order should be re-established on Russian territory, thus making Russia's economy competitive and attractive for the rest of the world. But we have so far accomplished little in this sphere.

Question: Doesn't the Russian elite want to create an enemy image in the person of the United States?

Answer: Quite a few Russians would like to implement mobilization plans or to retain their political and economic positions by creating a foreign enemy image and by turning Russia into a partial enemy. That policy was manifested rather clearly throughout the 1999 period; still I hope that it will suffer a defeat. However, such an ideology should not be overlooked either.
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3.
Trying To Keep Russia On Track obe Talbott
Andrew Nagorski
Newsweek International
January 22, 2001
(for personal use only)


Deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott served as point man for Russia policy during the Clinton era. A former Time magazine columnist and author of several books on arms control, Talbott has been both praised and castigated for his performance.

Last week, as he prepared to leave for Yale, where he will head a new think tank on globalization, Talbott talked with NEWSWEEK's Andrew Nagorski.

Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: There was a lot of hope for Russian democracy when your team came into office. Now most of that hope has evaporated or at least dimmed. What went wrong?

TALBOTT: I don't accept the premise of your question. Russia has gone through a lot of trauma, several near disasters. But Russia has also undergone a transformation of a fundamentally positive kind. Fifteen, 10 years ago, it was a system based on dictatorial principles with a hostile ideology towards the rest of the world. Russia today is a democracy. Not a pure democracy, not a pretty democracy. Nonetheless, there has been significant movement in the right direction. A lot has gone wrong, a lot has gone right, a lot is very ambiguous.

Under Yeltsin, what went right?

Yeltsin dismantled the Soviet command economy, defanged the Communist Party, adopted a posture towards the other states of the former Soviet Union of basically letting them go their own way. He also developed a relationship with the United States that allowed us to work some extremely tough issues together. There are no nuclear weapons outside of Russia in the former Soviet Union today, no Russian troops in the Baltic states. There's an institutionalized cooperative relationship between NATO and Russia. Russian troops are working on peacekeeping in the Balkans with American and NATO troops.

And on the negative side?

I don't think he or his leadership ever came up with the right answer to the problem of what ratio of shock to therapy to have. I don't think that the United States and the international financial institutions ever came up with the perfect recipe for them either. He never came to grips with the problem of the oligarchs. There was a kind of Faustian pact between Yeltsin and the oligarchs on the eve of his re-election in 1996 that put much too much power and wealth in the hands of too few people. I don't think he ever came to grips with the security services and their role in Russian life. And finally, he led Russia into two wars in Chechnya.

Could the United States have done more to prevent the criminalization of the economy?

Sure, we could have done things sooner, better, differently. [But] when we saw evidence of criminalization of the economy, we used what influence we had to try to convince the Russians that this was going to hurt them over the long run. The word "kleptocracy" was coined to describe the old Soviet system. There was a lot of crime in that system before, and it went from what had been the government sector into what became a very messy private sector.

The Yeltsin legacy will also be determined by Putin. What does Putin stand for?

Whether those positive accomplishments of Yeltsin are legacies depends on whether or not they turn out to be reversible. It's one thing for them to survive his tenure; it's another whether they survive some troublesome trends we see under President Putin. I'd put particular emphasis on civil society and the free press, because there's unquestionably a crackdown taking place now on the free media.

You mean the attacks on [media magnate] Vladimir Gusinsky?

Very much. Not to say that Gusinsky would pass every litmus test on sound business practices. That's not the point. There are a lot of oligarchs out there, and Putin has zeroed in on one, who just happens to be the proprietor of a lot of media outlets, many of which have been critical of Putin. The other issue is Russia's treatment of its neighbors. Georgia has been subject to a definite escalation of pressure from Russia in recent months.

And your advice for the Bush team?

First of all, engage. No pauses. No benign neglect. This is not just another bilateral relationship. For good or ill, it continues to be in a class by itself. Russia matters big time. Clinton had about as many meetings with his counterpart in the Kremlin as all nine of his predecessors had with Soviet leaders going back to Stalin.

There was a personal chemistry between Clinton and Yeltsin, which hasn't existed with Putin. Could it exist between Putin and Bush?

We don't know the answer to that. In McLuhan terms, Yeltsin was hot and Putin is cool. And cool is fine. In the final analysis, though, it's not about temperature and chemistry, it's about the substance of policy. Clinton and Yeltsin were able to do a lot together. Clinton only had a year to establish the basis for some positive developments [with Putin]-particularly in the area of arms control and NMD [national missile defense]. Now it's a question whether President Bush, through a combination of personal diplomacy and hard-headed policy, can build on that basis.
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4.
Bush To Have New Approach on Russia
Barry Schweid
The Associated Press
January 24, 2001
(for personal use only)


WASHINGTON (AP) - The key to the Bush administration's new relationship with Russia is likely to be Bush's determination to push ahead with a national defense against missiles.

Russia won't like it - nor will many U.S. allies.

Overall, more than a tactical adjustment is expected from the new president in Russia policy, although little has been revealed in Bush's first few days in the White House.

Like former President Clinton's decision to expand the NATO military alliance, the ambitious missile defense program is sure to unnerve Russia and prompt the new administration either to respond with no more than a few placating words or to pursue a deal designed to entice the Russians into going along.

One approach could be to negotiate deep cutbacks in U.S. and Russian long-range nuclear warheads beyond the 50 percent reduction called for by the 1992 START II treaty.

That might help ease Russia's anxieties about the U.S. arsenal. But whatever choice Bush makes, Secretary of State Colin Powell made clear at his Senate confirmation hearing last week that "our relations with Russia must not be dictated by any fear on our part."

For example, he said, if the new administration decides on another expansion of NATO, "we should not fear that Russia will object; we will do it because it is in our interest."

Powell depicted Russia as "a great country" that could derive enormous benefits from its relations with the United States. He did not describe the relationship in terms of benefit to the United States, though.

Eight years ago, the Clinton administration went out of its way to greet the new Russia that emerged from the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Critics complained that the warmth bordered on naive exuberance - it was as though President Boris Yeltsin and the new capitalist oligarchy could do no wrong.

During last year's presidential campaign, Bush accused his opponent, Vice President Al Gore, of looking the other way while Russia sold potent weapons to Iran.

The new administration has set as a goal stopping such sales.

Further pinching the hard-pressed Russian economy, Bush warned after his election that he would cut off direct U.S. financial aid that is aimed at stimulating a market economy until significant reforms are carried out.

Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies does not expect serious changes until the new administration completes its intelligence and policy assessments, a process that could take months.

One policy Cordesman expects to see continued is a joint project with Russia to help dismantle nuclear weapons banned by treaties. Cordesman said the Bush administration might try to expand it to cover biological weapons as well.

And, he said, "they are going to have to renegotiate the whole issue of arms traffic with Iran."

Michael Mandelbaum of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies said he expected two major changes: Going ahead with a ballistic missile defense and extending membership for the Baltic nations in NATO.

"To the Russians this is unacceptable and will put us on a collision course," he said.

Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation foresees likely cooperation with Russia in at least four areas: strategic arms reduction, economic development, space exploration and fighting international terrorism.

In other areas, such as a national missile defense and the spread of weapons of mass destruction, he said, "Washington will need to be both careful and cautious in addressing its concerns with Moscow."

Ivo Daalder of the Brookings Institution said the biggest change he expects in U.S. foreign policy is disagreement among Bush's advisers after eight years of Clinton-era unity.

Powell's view of the world is very different from the view of Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Daalder said. "Powell, first and foremost, talks about opportunities. They talk about threats and challenges."
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5.
Russian Scientist Warns Against AMD Illusion
ITAR-TASS
January 24, 2001
(for personal use only)


SNEZHINSK (Chelyabinsk region) - Head of the Russian federal nuclear centre Yevgeny Avrorin has branded the US intention to set up the National Anti-Missile Defence (AMD) as "an extremely dangerous idea generating the illusion of impunity."

He told a local paper on Wednesday that the AMD "is a purely political move." "The only sensible explanation for it is that this is the way the Americans wish to maintain their scientific potential in the area of armament," he said.

According to Avrorin, the AMD is " an illusion of the last decade." When the Soviet Union had up to 20,000 strategic nuclear warheads, Americans could not dare think of creating the AMD, he said.

"It is an open secret that the anti-missile defence aims solely at protection against a retaliatory strike by Russia," the scientist said.

"Our goal is to debunk this illusion and make a retaliatory strike effective even if the AMD exists, and we are working on it" he said.
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D. Russian Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Partial Shut-Down in Russian Nuclear Power Plant
Agence France Presse
January 23, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW, Jan 23, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) One of the reactors in a Smolensk nuclear power plant, near Russia's border with Belarus, shut down automatically Tuesday because of an unidentified fault, the atomic energy ministry said.

Reactor number one shut down at 6:42 a.m. (0342 GMT), the ministry said in a statement, and the plant's workers were investigating what caused the safety malfunction.

The ministry statement reported no radiation leaks, and said the rest of the plant was working as usual.
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2.
Atomic Power Station Ready for Start-Up
ITAR-TASS
January 21, 2001
(for personal use only)


VOLGODONSK, Rostov region, January 21 (Itar-Tass) - Nuclear fuel is being loaded into the reactor of the Rostov nuclear power plant, which has been conserved for ten years.

The reactor has undergone a hydraulic test, a test of the containment shell, a test-run and the second revision of reactor and turbine equipment. The tests displayed a high quality of the construction and assembly works.

Highly-skilled experts from almost all functioning nuclear power plants of Russia and Ukraine did the tests. This is not accidental, as not a single nuclear power plant unit has been put into commission on territory of the former Soviet Union since 1992, Rostov nuclear power plant director Vladimir Pogorelov has told Itar-Tass.

The Rostov power plant has a VVER-1000 reactor manufactured by the Atommash plant in Volgodonsk. All of the equipment and pipes are under a containment shell to protect them from an external impact, for instance, the fall of an airplane weighting up to 20 tonnes and the water impact in case of rupture of hydro- systems.

The beginning start of the power plant is another test of all equipment at the minimum capacity. The unit will be connected to the energy network later and supply electricity to the unified energy system of Russia. The first unit will reach its full capacity, 1 million kilowatt per hour, only after a comprehensive examination.
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E. Export Controls

1.
National Security Roulette
Kenneth R. Timmerman
The Washington Times
January 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


Among the many last-minute regulations, rules and executive orders of the outgoing administration is a Commerce Department bid that lifts export controls on military grade computers, virtually guaranteeing that the United States will face dangerous new threats in the coming years that our defense planners are ill-prepared to meet.

The new regulations, announced amid yawns by the White House on Jan. 10, allow a handful of U.S. companies to export super-computers more powerful than those used in most Defense Department weapons labs to Russia, China and other nations that do not have the best interests of the United States at heart.

This is the sixth time the Clinton-Gore anti-defense team has raised the limits on exports of high-performance computers (HPCs) to please a handful of computer manufacturers and their cronies who have contributed millions of dollars to the Democratic National Committee. As a result of these earlier steps, the White House now concludes - gee whiz - that there are "no meaningful or effective control measures" any more.

Why should Americans care? Isn't my desktop PC far more powerful today than it was in 1993?

Unfortunately for that argument, the export of a handful of high-performance computers has little to do with the price or power of desktop PCs. In fact, HPCs are designed for very different tasks and do not use the same architecture as consumer PCs. At the very low end, these machines are 80 times more powerful than current desktops. At the high end, they are several thousand times more powerful and are custom-built for specific applications.

A 200,000 MTOPS (million theoretical operations per second) machine, which can now be exported to Russia under the new on-Gore rules, bears as much resemblance to a desktop PC as that PC resembles an abacus. Top-grade desktops run at around 1,000 MTOPS.

Countries such as China, North Korea, Iran and Iraq use HPCs to build more accurate ballistic missiles and test new nuclear warhead designs using computer simulations instead of actual tests, thus blind-siding our intelligence community. We will have no way of knowing what's going on in the weapons programs of these countries until they use their new weapons on the battlefield against us and our friends.

In the Jan. 10 fact sheet, the White House admits that "the administration would prefer to remove most controls on computer hardware exports, including the existing controls on exports to Tier 3 countries," a group that includes India, Pakistan, China, Russia and most of the Middle East.

Instead, they grudgingly require that exporters seek a license for sales of HPCs above 85,000 MTOPS, way above the level needed for most forms of ballistic missile simulation and nuclear weapons design work.

But there is good news. The truly bad players - Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan and Syria - will not be able to buy American supercomputers, not ever-ever-ever. "The United States will maintain a virtual embargo on computer hardware and technology exports to these destinations," the fact sheet states.

Of course, since the administration has now lifted all restrictions on supercomputer sales to most of Europe, Africa and Central and South America, the bad guys can simply buy through third parties. In case you doubt that our "friends" would be so unfaithful, ask the Sun Microsystems dealer in Tehran to buy you a new supercomputer for your nuclear weapons lab in Isfahan. He'll complain that the U.S. restrictions have made life so difficult that it could take up to a month to get delivery.

Meanwhile, both Russia and China recently announced that they were upgrading "scientific and technology" exchanges with Iran, and would be signing a political treaty later this year to cement their budding strategic alliance.

President Clinton's midnight regulations pose a clear and present danger to America's national security. They should be rescinded immediately by the new administration and replaced with a common-sense approach that allows businesses to expand overseas markets but places national security first.

First, the new administration should facilitate instant export reporting by generalizing an electronic form of the shipper's export declaration that all exporters are currently required to file with Customs. This was a reform I initially proposed in 1993 that has been implemented only gradually by the current administration. This information should be broadly disseminated within the intelligence community and coded in ways to make potentially troublesome exports stand out instantly from the mass of innocuous transactions carried out each day.

Next, the new administration needs to conduct a thorough review of the existing export-licensing system, and consider replacing it with a more flexible and discretionary system driven by the actual threats to our national security, not specific technologies. For example, there is no conceivable threat to U.S. security posed by the sale of a supercomputer to Israel; however, damage could be done through the clandestine transfer of used metalworking machinery to Syria, Pakistan or Iran.

Finally, once order and common sense have been restored to our own house, the administration needs to rebuild a consensus among our allies of the common threats we face, and where that fails, work unilaterally to defend that United States by deploying missile defenses and proactively denying exports to countries of concern.

As Secretary of Defense-designate Donald Rumsfeld pointed out in 1998, U.S. enemies are actively building new missiles and nuclear weapons. These reforms require urgent attention, because U.S. security is at risk.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is the author of four books on foreign policy, and was a candidate in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Maryland.
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F. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
UN: Reports Of Russian Tactical Nukes Underscores Risk
The Associated Press
January 24, 2001
(for personal use only)


GENEVA (AP)--Concerns that Russia could redeploy tactical nuclear weapons it withdrew from Europe in the 1990s underscore the risks the world faces from the long-overlooked class of arms, U.N. officials said Tuesday.

"This is a very worrying possibility," said Patricia Lewis, director of the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research, noting recent fears expressed in Washington and elsewhere that Moscow might want to rely on the shorter-range weapons because it perceives itself as weaker in the face of an expanding NATO.

Lewis said the U.N. think-tank commissioned a study into the problem more than a year ago after a spate of reports that Russia was placing new value on the weapons.

Both the U.S. and Russia withdrew many of their tactical weapons from Europe following individual declarations in 1991 by then Presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Tactical nuclear weapons are "the least regulated by arms control agreements," said the 84-page study by scholars at California's Monterey Institute of International Studies and Germany's Peace Research Institute.

Because they are not controlled by treaty they can be redeployed without violating international law, the study concluded.

The U.S. and Russia continue to work on efforts to further limit long-range "strategic" missiles already governed by a series of accords between Moscow and Washington, but they have paid little attention to tactical weapons.

The arms also are vaguely defined. "Tactical" can cover anything from a battlefield round of nuclear artillery meant to destroy a military headquarters to a missile that could be fired between Western Europe and Russia or between India and Pakistan, wiping out a city or region, the study noted.

It said the U.S. still has about 150 tactical warheads deployed in seven European countries - Belgium, Germany, Greece, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

"Great Frustration" Found Among Nations

Less is known about the number or location of Russian weapons, but the study estimated that around 4,000 are deployed.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen recently expressed fears about Russian plans for the weapons because of "the continued deterioration in Russian conventional and strategic forces."

He said this deterioration has caused Russian military planners to emphasize threats to use tactical nuclear weapons to deter a large-scale conventional attack.

The study was released as the 66-nation Conference on Disarmament opened its annual session with the body still deadlocked about choosing a new class of weapons for an arms-control treaty.

Christopher Westdal of Canada, current president of the conference, said he had talked with officials in Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and elsewhere and found "great frustration."

But Westdal said he had no assurance that he can break the logjam that has blocked the conference since it negotiated the 1996 treaty to ban tests of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. continues to push for negotiating a ban on the production of the "fissile material" - plutonium and enriched uranium - needed to make nuclear weapons.

Some countries, including many non-nuclear states, have been insisting that the U.S. and other big powers first agree to get rid of their nuclear weapons.
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G. Nuclear Waste

1.
Russia unable to reprocess foreign nuclear waste: ecologists
Agence France-Presse
January 23, 2001
(For personal use only)


MOSCOW, Jan 23 (AFP) - Russia does not have the necessary technology to reprocess spent nuclear fuel imported from abroad, even if the Russian parliament modifies the law accordingly, Russian ecologists said Tuesday.

Russian lawmakers last month strongly backed the government's controversial plans to earn billions of dollars by treating the world's nuclear waste, provoking sharp criticism from ecologists.

The State Duma lower house of parliament approved by 319 to 38 votes the first reading of an amendment to a 1991 environmental protection law that prohibits importing nuclear waste either for reprocessing or disposal.

The second reading is scheduled for the end of February.

However, Russian ecologists said Tuesday that the outcome of the vote would not affect the country's lack preparation to handle nuclear waste.

"Russia is not ready. It does not have the necessary technology," Vladimir Kuznetsov, an expert on the State Duma's ecology committee, told a press conference here.

"The spent nuclear fuel that could be delivered by the foreign countries has an isotopic and chemical composition totally different" from the kind the only Russian reprocessing plant, at Mayak in the Urals region of Chelyabinsk, could treat, he added.

The technology used at the Mayak plant "dated from the 1950s," he said.

The plant is able to retreat 400 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel a year.

The construction of a second plant, able to reprocess 1,500 tonnes a year, has been halted due to financial shortages.

The Russian authorities say the amended legislation would permit Russia to sign contracts with China, Germany, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan, earning 21 billion dollars over the next 10 years.
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2.
14,000 tons of used nuclear fuel
Oreanda
January 23, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW - The volume of Russia's used nuclear fuel stock is 14,000 tons, First Deputy Nuclear Energy Minister Valentin Ivanov said at a news conference.

He emphasized that used nuclear fuel from decommissioned nuclear submarines is not considered nuclear waste and is processed in accordance with a technology that was successfully tested in Russia and other countries.

After processing, this fuel is used for civil purposes, for example in reactors of nuclear power plants. The deputy minister pointed out that a similar technology would be used for processing used nuclear fuel from foreign countries.

According to him, the US used nuclear fuel stock of 70,000 tons exceeds that of Russia by several times, but the current US law bans processing of this fuel.
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