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Nuclear News - 03/14/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, March 14, 2001
Compiled by Terry C. Stevens and Benjamin D. Wampold


A. Russian - Iranian Relations
    1. Putin to Sell Arms and Nuclear Help to Iran, Michael Wines, The New York Times (03/13/2001)
    2. Moscow Rejects U.S. Criticism of Iran Ties, RFE/RL (03/14/2001)
    3. Iran and Russia negotiate missile defence accord, Astrid Wendlandt, The Financial Times (03/14/2001)
    4. A relationship based on shared enmities: What do Russia and Iran see in each other?, The Financial Times (03/13/2001)
B. START
    1. Interview: Arms diplomat says Russia ready for US START talks, Martin Nesirky, Reuters (03/12/2001)
    2. Russia suspends dismantling weapons, Dana Lewis, MSNBC.com (03/11/2001)
C. U.S. - Russian Relations
    1. Foreign Minister Dismisses U.S. Missile Defense Name Change, RFE/RL (03/12/2001)
    2. Ivanov Outlines Moscow's Ideas for START III Talks, RFE/RL (03/12/2001)
    3. U.S.-Russia Unnerved by Spying Flap, Tom Raum, AP (03/10/2001)
D. U.S. - General
    1. CIA Is Stepping Up Attempts To Monitor Spread of Weapons, Vernon Loeb, The Washington Post (03/12/2001)
E. Nuclear Waste
    1. Russian MPs fight nuclear fuel import bills, Bellona (03/12/2001)
    2. US Group seeks home for nuclear waste, Charles Clover, The Financial Times (03/09/2001)
F. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Two Reports: Kaliningrad Has Arms, Doug Mellgren, The Moscow Times (03/12/2001)
    2. Moscow Reserves Right to Put Nukes in Kaliningrad, ITAR-TASS (03/09/2001)
G. Nuclear Seizures
    1. Russian Police Seize Radioactive Material in Smuggling Swap, Agence France-Presse (03/11/2001)
H. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Russia Plans Floating Nuclear Power Station, RFE/RL (03/14/2001)

A. Russian-Iranian Relations

1.
Putin to Sell Arms and Nuclear Help to Iran
Michael Wines
The New York Times
March 13, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW, March 12 - Breaking openly with both the United States and his predecessor Boris N. Yeltsin, President Vladimir V. Putin formally agreed today to resume sales of conventional arms to Iran after a hiatus of more than five years.

At a meeting in the Kremlin with President Muhammad Khatami of Iran, Mr. Putin also reiterated Russia's intention to help Iran complete a long-stalled nuclear power plant that some American experts contend could advance Iran's nuclear weapons program.

The two announcements, neither unexpected, came during the first meeting in four decades between Iranian and Russian heads of state, a warm session billed in advance as a diplomatic turning point.

Just as clearly, it was a pointed signal to the Bush administration that the Iranians and the Russians intend to limit American influence in the Middle East by both diplomatic and military means.

"Economically, Russia is interested in cooperation," Mr. Putin said. "And politically, Iran should be a self-sufficient, independent state that is ready to protect its national interests."

The chief foreign affairs official at the Russian defense ministry, Gen. Leonid Ivashov, said the scope of the arms accord was a private matter between two sovereign states. "Some may like this cooperation, some not," he said. "Our countries will continue working together to our advantage."

The advantages for Russia are considerable: hard currency from the sales, work for idle weapons factories and more influence from military training and repair work in a crucial Persian Gulf nation. Mr. Putin has employed much the same formula of arms sales and diplomacy to revive faded alliances with India, China and other nations that drifted from the Russian orbit after the end of the cold war.

For its part, Iran finds an ally who shares many of its predilections, among them opposition to Turkey and expansion of NATO, and a desire to limit American influence in central Asia, where American- and Russian-backed oil pipelines are fiercely competing to control the flow of new finds in the Caspian Sea.

Washington has quietly sought to improve relations with Iran but to little avail. Officially, Iran remains on a list of rogue nations that American experts believe could threaten the Middle East with nuclear or chemical weapons and ballistic missiles within a few years.

The United States said today that it was disappointed at Mr. Putin's announcement. But its immediate effect on American relations with Moscow is unclear, in part because the scope of cooperation with Iran remains unclear. No deals were actually signed today, and it was not clear when arms deliveries would begin.

"We are particularly concerned about sales of advanced conventional weapons or sensitive technologies, things like nuclear technology," said the State Department spokesman, Richard A. Boucher. "It's up to the Russians and the Iranians to specify in more detail what they may or may not be doing."

Last month, in an annual report on weapons proliferation, the Central Intelligence Agency identified Russia as a supplier of ballistic missile technology to Iran. Russia strongly denies the accusation, although officials at some Russian research institutes have acknowledged training Iranians in areas the United States considers sensitive.

Mr. Putin said today that Iran seeks only defensive arms and that Russia would adhere strictly to international weapons-proliferation restrictions.

Russia sold some $5 billion in weapons to Iran from 1989 to 1995, in no small part for defense against President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and his army, which waged war against Iran for much of the 1980's. The sales stopped after 1995, when Mr. Yeltsin, then the president, signed a secret accord with the United States foreswearing further sales or technical aid to Iran's military programs.

The Kremlin repudiated that accord after it became public last year, and in December the Russian defense minister, Igor Sergeyev, paid the first high-level Russian visit to Iran since 1979 to lay the groundwork for new arms sales.

The Moscow daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that weapons shipments could begin in the second half of this year, and include spare parts for existing Russian-made aircraft and cold-war-era tanks.

Russia's deputy prime minister, Ilya Klebanov, told the Interfax news service that Iran hopes to buy one of Russia's most advanced air-defense systems, the S-300 antimissile complex, which is said to track and destroy as many as six low-flying cruise missiles or aircraft at a time.

"The question is what this does for the regional military balance," said Thomas Graham, a political analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Does it give Iran a certain capacity in the Persian Gulf region that it didn't have before? And will it be destabilizing or not? That's what we'll be looking to find out."

The agreement to finish a nuclear reactor at Bushehr, the Persian Gulf military port, raises different issues.

The United States has argued that Iran has little need for new nuclear generating capacity and that the reactor could be used to aid what it says is Iran's clandestine nuclear- weapons program. In 1999 the United States placed sanctions on seven Russian companies and three institutes that it accused of aiding Iran's nuclear efforts.

Both Russia and Iran adamantly deny that the Bushehr reactor has any military use, and Russia says its construction work is supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran says it is prepared to spend some $1 billion with Russian companies for work on the plant and related facilities.
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2.
Moscow Rejects U.S. Criticism of Iran Ties
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
March 14, 2001
(for personal use only)


Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said on 13 March that "relations between Russia and Iran are not directed against third countries," ITAR-TASS reported. "On the contrary," he said, "they are meant to stabilize the situation in the region where our countries cooperate." And he criticized what he said are deliberate attempts "to cast Iran and Russia in a bad light." Ivanov's comments came on the second day of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Russia, a visit that has already resulted in arms and nuclear equipment deals that have been criticized by the U.S. Department of State.
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3.
Iran and Russia negotiate missile defence accord
Astrid Wendlandt
The Financial Times
March 14, 2001
(for personal use only)


Iranian military officers accompanying President Mohammad Khatami on a visit to Moscow yesterday expressed interest in buying Russia's latest generation of anti-aircraft and missile defence systems, the Tor-M1.

Negotiations this week over missile purchase highlight Russia's readiness to press ahead with arms contracts with Iran, expected to be worth around $300m this year, in spite of the US concern about transfers of sensitive military technology.

"Relations between Russia and Iran are not directed against third countries," said Igor Ivanov, Russia's foreign minister, yesterday. "On the contrary they are intended to stabilise the situation in the region where our countries co-operate."

Mr Khatami's four-day visit, the first by an Iranian leader since the Shah visited Russia in 1974, is aimed at deepening trade and technical relations with Russia.

The talks between the two countries have also underscored Mr. Putin's commitment to strengthen Russia's position on the global arms market. "Mr. Putin is spending a lot of his time trying to sell arms to other countries," says Vitaly Shlykov, a former deputy defence minister and a member of Russia's influential Council on Foreign and Defence Policy. "It shows his support for Russia's defence industry."

The country's military industry feeds 2m people or 1.4 per cent of the population and support entire towns across the country.

Arms sales have become a significant source of hard currency for Russia particularly as oil prices have weakened. The country needs to find $10bn to service its foreign debts this year, rising to $17bn in 2003. Thanks to Mr. Putin's efforts, Russian arms exports are set to earn a record of $3.8bn this year, or nearly twice 1995 figures.

In the space of two months, Mr. Putin and his representatives have traveled all around the world to secure arms trade and production agreements with several countries. Russia has agreed with Germany to modernise MiGs-29 in co-operation with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, which is partly owned by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace of Germany, and upgrade other MiG aircraft based in eastern Europe. It has sold to India $650m worth of tanks, $50m of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and signed a $3.3bn agreement to co-produce one of its most advanced fighter jets, the Sukhoi 30 MKI.

Two weeks ago, Mr. Putin agreed to ship to South Korea $700m worth of anti-aircraft missiles and other military equipment to pay back part of its $1.5bn debt to the Asian peninsula. Russia has also received interest from Vietnam, with which it signed a strategic partnership this month for replacement parts and hardware.
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4.
A relationship based on shared enmities: What do Russia and Iran see in each other?
Charles Clover (Moscow) and Guy Dinmore (Tehran)
The Financial Times
March 13, 2001


Despite a great deal of attention from scholars over the centuries, the theory of alliances has developed very little from the original Arab proverb: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

The rapidly developing relationship between Russia and Iran may be the best example of this eternal logic at work. The two countries have very little in common, aside from adversaries.

At a summit in Moscow yesterday, Mohammad Khatami became the first Iranian president to visit Russia since the 1979 Islamic revolution, hailing his meeting with Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, as a big success, and declaring that Russia and Iran would reach agreement on "all themes under discussion".

Mr Putin, meanwhile, denied that Russia-Iran co-operation was "aimed at any third party", but said the two countries shared a "coinciding analysis of the situation in the world today".

A large part of that analysis is likely to involve the US, which is increasingly concerned by the development of the two countries' ties.

Iran is already Russia's third largest customer for arms and military training, after China and India. Diplomats expect further military agreements to be signed when Vice-Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Iran's defence minister, travels to Moscow in Mr Khatami's wake.

An arms embargo imposed by western governments denies Iran access to their weapons and technology, while Russia needs exports to develop its arms industry in the face of increasing competition from the west. Several hundred Russian military advisers are reported to be working in Iran and engineers are helping build its first nuclear powered reactor.

"Russia will co-operate in the providing of security to Iran," said Mr Putin yesterday, in response to questions about military sales, which Russian officials have previously said could be up to Dollars 300m a year.

The security relationship is not just an economic one. During the past turbulent decade, Russia and Iran have found themselves on the same side in regional conflicts.

In Afghanistan's bloody civil war, the 1996 capture of Kabul by the Taliban, the Pakistani-backed fundamentalist militia, brought Iran and Russia into the same coalition, backing the anti-Taliban alliance led by Ahmad Shah Masood.

In the Caucasus, both Russia and Iran have backed Armenia against its opponent Azerbaijan in the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. And Iran has remained largely uncritical of Moscow's bloody campaigns in Chechnya.

"Russia and Iran have a coincidence of interests in the Caucasus region," said Leonid Ivashov, head of the international department at Russia's ministry of defence, yesterday. "And we have virtually identical positions on the Afghan and Tajikistan conflicts."

Analysts doubted that a combination of realpolitik, summitry, and arms deals could resolve the impasse over the key question of the Caspian Sea, however.

Public statements from both sides have emphasised how far apart they still stand on division of the Caspian Sea's oil wealth. Iran has proposed that the sea bed be divided equally among the five littoral states, leaving each with 20 per cent for oil exploration.

Russia, however, has already made bilateral deals with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan according to a "modified median line" principle that would leave Iran with a mere 13 per cent.

Tehran's pro-reform Iran News said Russia's policy toward the Caspian had been "misleading and disappointing". Victor Kaliuzhny, Russia's deputy foreign minister in charge of Caspian Sea negotiations, said at the weekend that negotiations with Iran were at an "impasse" over the question of status.

"Iran's position is somewhat surprising, unfortunately, because it wants the sea to be divided into equal parts," he said.

Russian officials have said that the dividing lines could be moved slightly to enlarge Iran's share, but this would come at the expense of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, which makes the plan highly unlikely to succeed.

"The issue of Iran's share in the Caspian is not a question for Russia and Iran, but for Iran and its neighbours: Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan," said Yuri Fedorov, an expert on the Caspian problem at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Iranian political activists arrested

Iranian security forces arrested 21 political activists holding a meeting in Tehran on Sunday as part of a crackdown on nationalist groups opposed to absolute clerical rule, relatives of the detainees said yesterday, Guy Dinmore reports.

The activists met at the home of Mohammad Basteh-Negar, a member of the Freedom Movement of Iran, who was arrested.

His daughter, Mariam Basteh-Negar, said the raid was carried out by members of the security forces in plain clothes, acting on the orders of Branch 26 of Tehran's Revolutionary Court.

The raid came hours after President Mohammad Khatami defended democracy and civil liberties before parliament, saying he would not retreat under pressure from his hardline opponents.

Associates of those arrested saw the crackdown as the first reply by the president's rivals to his address to parliament. Although the religious-nationalists broadly oppose absolute rule by the Shia Moslem clerics, many of them support the pro-reform policies of the president, also a cleric.
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B. START

1.
Interview: Arms diplomat says Russia ready for US START talks
Martin Nesirky
Reuters
March 12, 2001


MOSCOW (Reuters) - A senior Russian arms control diplomat said Monday the West was deluding itself if it thought Moscow's European anti-missile defense proposal meant Russia now saw a post-Cold War threat from rogue rockets.

Last month, Russia handed NATO a broadbrush anti-missile proposal on assessing potential threats, working out how to deal with them and only then deploying defense systems if necessary.

President Bush subsequently said he was encouraged because Russia had indicated there were new threats in the post-Cold War era. A NATO official made similar remarks.

"We are now hearing reactions, even comments from officials, that the Russian proposal on European anti-missile defense is interesting and allegedly proves two things -- a recognition of threats and a recognition these threats should be tackled by military-technical means," Yuri Kapralov told Reuters.

"I tell you, this absolutely does not correspond to our view," he said in an interview in his 18th-floor office in the vast Stalin-era Foreign Ministry. "It's wishful thinking."

Kapralov, director of the Foreign Ministry's Security Affairs and Disarmament Department, said Russia's proposal -- unlike the U.S. national missile defense (NMD) plan -- did not envisage building an umbrella to shield Europe.

"It is aimed at cooperation, if such cooperation is deemed necessary, to confront nonategic missiles," he said.

Moscow remains opposed to U.S. plans for a Star Wars-style defense against strategic missiles and says that scheme would undermine the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty which Russia views as a cornerstone of all disarmament agreements.

Kapralov said ditching ABM could mean a game without rules.

"What that game without rules would look like in the nuclear sphere it is better not to think about, even in one's worst nightmares," he said.

Ready at day's notice

On nuclear disarmament, Kapralov said Moscow was ready to begin talks at a day's notice on cutting strategic arsenals.

"A lot of preparation has been done and if talks on START-3 began now they would proceed rather quickly," he said. "That doesn't mean we would agree and there wouldn't be differences."

START-3 -- outlined by then-presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin in 1997 but not yet negotiated -- envisages cuts in arsenals to between 2,000 and 2,500 warheads each.

"I can tell you our delegation has been ready for a long time," Kapralov said. "If you said we should start tomorrow, we could start tomorrow."

But he said Russia was patient as it understood the new Bush administration needed time to work out its position. He said Russia needed U.S. -- and European -- help to carry out reforms. That meant ensuring the United States and Europe felt secure.

On Russia's own anti-missile proposal, Kapralov said it had been handed to NATO Secretary General George Robertson but was not intended just for the alliance.

"It's a proposal for all European countries, first of all," he said. "Secondly, it is a proposal not just for Europe. We consider it is a pilot project that, with this or that modification, could be considered for use in other regions."

Kapralov said he had visited NATO headquarters five years ago with a Russian colonel and they had made an offer to cooperate on nonategic missile defense. But it was only when high-level interest surfaced that NATO woke up to the idea.

He said it was too early to talk about technical details of the latest Russian proposal in more concrete terms.

"Only after assessing possible threats, if they exist, will it be possible to talk about what to use," he said, although he noted Russia already had useful technology, including S-300 and S-400 missile interceptor systems.

Kapralov said Russia was mystified why Washington had given South Korea approval in January to extend the range of its missiles while at the same time worrying about North Korean missile plans -- one of the main arguments for NMD.

"Doesn't that strike you as rather contradictory?" he said. "It seems very strange to us."
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2.
Russia suspends dismantling weapons
Dana Lewis
MSNBC.com
March 11, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW, March 11 - Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended the dismantling of nuclear warheads called for under the START II treaty with the United States on President Bush's inauguration day, NBC News has learned. And Russian officials insist that Moscow will end cooperation on nuclear disarmament if Washington presses forward with plans to build a national missile defense system.

"If the NMD (national missile defense) is deployed in the United States, we will have to forget about reductions of strategic offensive weapons," said Yuri Kapralov, director of Russian Security and Disarmament.

Russia also has rolled out its counter-threat, the Topol-M missile. Although it is ostensibly a single-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile, experts believe it could be converted to carry several warheads, which would violate the Start II agreement. Under the arms-reduction pact, which the United States and Russia signed in 1993, both countries committed to eliminating missiles with more than one warhead.

"The Topol-M already has the capability to overcome any anti-missile defense," said Gen. Vladimir Yakovlev, commander of Russia's rocket forces. He added that the next move was up to the United States.

High-stakes battle

In the high-stakes game of sword vs. missile shield, Putin has mounted a diplomatic offensive, arguing that North Korea and Iran are not as great a threat as argued by the United States. He's even proposed a limited missile defense plan for Europe.

"The 1972 ABM treaty is like an axis to which a whole series of international security agreements is attached," Putin said last week. "As soon as we pull out this axis, all of them will automatically fall apart. The whole of today's international security system will collapse."

Former President Mikhail Gorbachev - who confronted the Reagan administration's campaign on behalf of the "Star Wars" defense shield - has warned that the U.S. system would spark a new arms race - "a new spiral of militarization with unpredictable consequences." Critics say the Kremlin is reverting to Soviet-era tactics, using the missile shield to try to drive a wedge between Washington and its European allies. But the Russians counter that the real risk is to advances made through arms control over the past three decades.
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C. U.S. - Russian Relations

1.
Foreign Minister Dismisses U.S. Missile Defense Name Change
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
March 12, 2001
(for personal use only)


After earlier saying that President George W. Bush's dropping of the word "national" before missile defense could be "a nuance" that would provide an opening for talks, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in Stockholm on 9 March that a statement by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that the term "national" will not be used with the missile defense system does not change the essence of the concept, Interfax reported.
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2.
Ivanov Outlines Moscow's Ideas for START III Talks
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
March 12, 2001
(for personal use only)


Foreign Minister Ivanov said Moscow is prepared to discuss tactical nuclear arms during future strategic arms reduction talks and proposes that Russia and the United States agree not to base nuclear weapons on any territories but their own, ITAR-TASS reported on 9 March. He suggested that this would be "a very important step in the interests of stability and confidence."
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3.
U.S.-Russia Unnerved by Spying Flap
Tom Raum
The Associated Press
March 10, 2001
(for personal use only)


WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush has yet to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and seems in no rush to do so. As they wait, grievances on both sides multiply.

New spy revelations- disclosures of an alleged longtime Russian mole at the FBI and a U.S.-built eavesdropping tunnel beneath the Russian Embassy -are just the latest irritants.

"Our relations with the Russians haven't been this bad since the Cold War," said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., a leading congressional authority on Russia.

The Bush and Putin governments have sparred over missile defense, NATO expansion, International Monetary Fund loans and dealings with Iran and Iraq.

The White House wants "good relations with Russia, straightforward and direct," spokesman Ari Fleischer said.

But it has yet to announce any plans for a Bush-Putin meeting. Their first get-together may be in late July, on the sidelines of an annual summit of the largest industrial democracies in Genoa, Italy.

Weldon, just back from his 23rd visit to Moscow as head of a bipartisan panel that meets regularly with the Russian parliament, considers this a mistake.

"Bush is going to have a real challenge putting things back on track" and should not wait until the Italy conference for a face-to-face meeting, he said. "It should be sooner rather than later."

Other advisers suggest the Bush national security team is purposely taking its time - to signal an intention to put relations with Russia on a more normal footing.

For instance, Bush has no plans to name a special envoy to Russia, as former President Clinton did.

Clinton and former Russian President Boris Yeltsin forged a warm personal friendship, marked by bearhugs and backslapping in public. Few expect such behavior between the cool, pragmatic Putin and the cautious Bush.

The latest spying revelations are dramatic, but may pose little long-term damage to relations between the two nuclear powers.

"People in both countries know spying goes on all the time. We dig tunnels, they dig tunnels," said Keith Bush, an expert on Russia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Relations turned frosty with the U.S.-led NATO campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999. More recently, Moscow condemned Bush's ordering last month of U.S. and British airstrikes in Iraq.

Russians voice particular alarm over Bush's advocacy for a multibillion-dollar national missile defense shield, considering it a violation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and a threat to Global stability. Putin has countered with his own missile defense plan for Europe.

"The 1972 ABM treaty is like an axis to which a whole series of international security agreements is attached," Putin said last week. "As soon as we pull out this axis, all of them will automatically fall apart. The whole of today's international security system will collapse."

Other areas of contention:
The administration's opposition to further easy-money terms for Russia. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill called efforts by the IMF and the Clinton administration to rescue Russia during the 1998 ruble crisis "crazy."

Russia's sale of missile technology to Iran, North Korea and other countries. Putin's visits to Iraq, Cuba and North Korea also raised eyebrows.

U.S. support for additional eastward expansion of NATO.

Many congressional conservatives want the three Baltic republics - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia eventually included in the alliance. That would infuriate the Russians, who view them as part of the former Soviet Union.

Secretary of State Colin Powell conceded "a unique set of sensitivities" on the Baltic states. But he told the House International Relations Committee, "Russia will never be given a veto as to whether they come in or not come in."

"The U.S.-Russia relationship is troubled both ways," said retired Rep. Lee Hamilton, a one-time chairman of that committee. Americans are frustrated by Russian's failure to more fully embrace democratic reforms, dismayed by widespread corruption and nervous about Putin, the Indiana Democrat said.

"But you could flip it around," said Hamilton, now director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center. "The Russians are suspicious of Americans, too.

They think we engineered the collapse of the Soviet Union and that we're now holding back their development."
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D. U.S. - General

1.
CIA Is Stepping Up Attempts To Monitor Spread of Weapons
Vernon Loeb
The Washington Post
March 12, 2001
(for personal use only)


Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet last week created a unit with 500 analysts, scientists and support personnel to focus on nonproliferation and arms control issues, calling the spread of missile technology and "weapons of mass destruction" a growing global threat.

The Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center will bring three existing CIA analytic staffs together under Alan Foley, a veteran Soviet military analyst. As head of the Arms Control Intelligence Staff, he has spent the last three years supporting arms control treaty negotiators.

In his new role, Foley will assume responsibility as well for the existing Nonproliferation Center, which dealt with a broad range of proliferation issues, and the Office of Transnational Issues' Weapons Intelligence Staff, which is composed largely of scientists and engineers. He will report to Tenet.

One senior CIA official said last week in an interview that 500 people sounds like a large staff to deploy directly on nonproliferation issues.

In reality, the official said, the U.S. intelligence community is stretched "very thin" trying to keep pace with the spread of nuclear arms in South Asia; proliferating ballistic missile technology throughout Asia and the Middle East; and attempts by terrorist groups and numerous countries to acquire or develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Delivering the CIA's annual assessment of worldwide threats last month, Tenet told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that Russia, China and North Korea have continued in the past year to sell missile technology to Iran, Pakistan and other countries.

In discussing the spread of weapons of mass destruction, Tenet singled out the activities of Russian defense firms. He said they supplied ballistic missile technology last year to Iran, India, China and Libya, although he did not name the companies or specify what they sold.

He also said Russia provided assistance to Iran's civilian nuclear program that "could be used to advance its weapons programs as well."

Last week, in announcing creation of the Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center, Tenet said he was striving for "increased synergy on key missile and nuclear issues as well as better integration between payload and delivery system analyses."

"By including all weapons, we will also be better able to surge and grow on issues such as advanced conventional weapons, missile defense and space-related systems," Tenet said. "This is a move that many in the weapons field have endorsed and called for over the years."

Tenet's creation of the center and increased emphasis on nonproliferation also reflect heightened focus in this area on Capitol Hill. Conservative members of Congress, in particular, have grown concerned in recent years by China's weapons proliferation activities and its efforts to acquire through espionage advanced U.S. nuclear and conventional weapons technology.

In 1999, a House select committee chaired by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) concluded that China had "stolen or otherwise illegally obtained U.S. missile and space technology that improves [its] military and intelligence capabilities."
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E. Nuclear Waste

1.
Russian MPs fight nuclear fuel import bills
The Bellona Foundation
March 12, 2001
(for personal use only)


The resistance to the bills favouring spent nuclear fuel imports, passed in the first reading in December 2000, is growing in the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament.

Under the initiative of MP Sergey Apatenko, a group of Duma members from various factions was established to fight the nuclear bills. Today the group includes 12 MPs, among them member of the Duma Legislation Committee, Yuly Rybakov, deputy chairman of the Property Committee, Michael Yemelyanov, member of the Committee for Energy, Transport and Communication, Vladimir Semyonov, and MP Viktor Pokhmelkin from Righteous Forces faction.

The antinuclear opposition, growing in the Duma, claims, that the amendments proposed by the Ministry for Nuclear Energy, or Minatom, had not passed the required state environmental evaluations before the first reading. It impeded the MPs to estimate the real danger of the Minatom's projects.

Now, after a long delay, new bills, which differ strongly from the documents, passed in the first reading, have been put forward for an expert commission. New variant of the bill should also pass the state environmental evaluations, the MPs say.

The Energy Committee versus the Anti-corruption Commission

According to Russian daily Vremya MN, Minatom tries to facilitate passing the nuclear import bills in the second reading, allying with Duma's Committee for Energy, Transport and Communication. At the same time, a scandal is taking off around the private commercial activity of the nuclear minister, Yevgeny Adamov.

Duma's anti-corruption commission, after having verified minister's activities, ascertained, that the facts "of his involvement in commercial activity, while working as the head of secret NIKIET Institute and in the capacity of the minister for nuclear energy, have found confirmation".

Anti-corruption commission stated, that Adamov's manpower policy, while being in the rank of the minister for the nuclear energy, is characterised by "the replacement of highly skilled professionals with exterior persons connected with him by their common enterprise activity". The idea of spent nuclear fuel import to Russia, which is actively promoted by Adamov, may also be a part of his private commercial interest.

Duma's anti-corruption commission recommended that all information related to Adamov's activities be submitted to the President, the Security Council, Russian Federation Government, the Federal Security Service, and Prosecutor General's office. The second reading of the spent fuel import bills scheduled for February 22nd was postponed until March 22nd. The reason for postponement may well be the anti-corruption commission report.

Adamov inspects Mayak reprocessing plant

In the meantime, nuclear minister Adamov is arriving to Chelyabinsk region on March 16th -17th. The primary purpose of this trip will be a visit to the Mayak reprocessing plant, located in the closed city of Ozersk, RBC reported.

The plant specialises on reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants and nuclear submarines. Adamov is particularly interested in construction of a vitrification plant for highly active liquid waste generated during reprocessing. The plant is to be launched during the year 2001. Without the vitrification plant the reprocessing may halt as the storage tanks for high active liquid waste are filling up.

In case the nuclear fuel import bills are passed, the Mayak plant counts on managing the major share of the imported spent fuel.
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2.
US Group seeks home for nuclear waste
Charles Clover
The Financial Times
March 9, 2001
(for personal use only)


At first glance, the mission of the Non-Proliferation Trust, a Delaware-registered company that consists mainly of a website (www. nptinternational.com) and the goodwill of a number of prominent US Republicans, seems a little far-fetched.

The trust would like to ship 10,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel rods to remote sites in Russia for permanent storage, generating $15bn (#10.2bn), which it would then administer as aid to Russia through its Bermuda subsidiary, "which is similar to a non-profit organisation, though not really non-profit", admits Joseph Egan, the trust's spokesman.

Intriguingly, it is not the first attempt to combine prominent Republicans, thousands of tons of nuclear waste, an exotic locale and a slightly screwball plan. But this one, against all odds, might just work.

All told, the trust's management includes two admirals, a former director of both the CIA and the FBI, a former head of the US Marine Corps, a former chief of staff when George Bush was vice-president, and a host of high-powered lawyers and lobbyists.

One of the main hurdles to the project could be removed this month, when the Russian parliament is expected to vote on a law that would allow the country to import vast quantities of spent nuclear fuel from around the world.

If it is passed and the amendments are approved, the vote would be a big victory for Russia's minister of atomic energy, Yevgeny Adamov, who recently said that Russia "should fight for its share" of the spent nuclear fuel market, which he estimates could be worth $150bn over the next few decades.

Mr Adamov would like to charge nuclear utilities $1,000-$2,000 a kilogram to reprocess or store permanently spent fuel in facilities at Krasnoyarsk-26 and Mayak, two nuclear dumping sites in Siberia. The ministry calculates that the two sites can store or reprocess 20,000 tons of spent uranium over the next 10 years, roughly 10-15 per cent of the world's total accumulation.

For Russia, working with the Non-Proliferation Trust (NPT) could negotiate one big obstacle, if it helped win the US State Department's approval for the re-export of the spent fuel from countries such as Taiwan and South Korea. These countries - and most of Russia's other prospective customers - use nuclear fuel made in the US, which has put restrictions on its re-export, in order to prevent potentially fissile material from falling into the wrong hands.

"NPT's project is an essential US catalyst to make spent fuel imports to Russia a reality," says Mr Egan, "The vast majority of spent fuel is subject to US consent rights."

Mr Egan says NPT has been in talks with Taiwan, South Korea, Switzerland and Italy on the export of spent fuel to Russia.

Environmentalist groups complain that the plan is setting a dangerous precedent by opening up an international market for nuclear waste that would be difficult to regulate.

So far, neither Washington nor Moscow has officially endorsed NPT's plans, although Yuri Bespalko, spokesman for the Russian ministry of atomic energy, confirms the ministry has been in talks with the group.

The US State Department says only that NPT's plans appear to meet its criteria for re-export of spent nuclear fuel. However, they still require an agreement with Russia for peaceful nuclear co-operation for plans to go ahead.

But the project enjoys the support of powerful Republicans, notably Jesse Helms, head of the Senate foreign relations committee, who has written a letter to the State Department in support of the project.

NPT is the latest in a series of proposals making the rounds in Washington in the last decade aimed at storing spent nuclear fuel in remote foreign locations.

In the mid-1990s a similar proposal to store fuel on South Pacific atolls was pitched by US Fuel and Security Group, headed by Admiral Daniel Murphy, the former commander of the US Sixth Fleet, whose corporate counsel was James Baker, the former US secretary of state.

The plan fell through in the face of opposition from the islanders.
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F. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
Two Reports: Kaliningrad Has Arms
Doug Mellgren
The Moscow Times
March 12, 2001
(for personal use only)


OSLO, Norway - U.S. intelligence has comprehensive evidence that Russia moved nuclear weapons into Kaliningrad, a leading Norwegian newspaper claimed. The news media in neighboring Sweden has made similar claims. For months, Russia has denied reports that it secretly moved atomic weapons into Kaliningrad.

U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity in January, said there were strong indications of such a deployment, but Washington has offered no public confirmation.

The respected Oslo newspaper Aftenposten said last week that top military officers in Norway - a NATO member - confirmed the existence of U.S. intelligence reports on the deployment and said the reports cover a Russian nuclear weapons buildup in the Baltic Sea area.

Moscow opposed the 1999 expansion of NATO to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and it fears that a possible expansion to include the former Soviet Baltic states Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia could be a potential military threat.

Aftenposten said the weapons were transported to St. Petersburg on a special train, then shipped to Kaliningrad on Russian navy ships. The newspaper said all top Norwegian officers it talked to confirmed the report, but they refused to go on the record.

The Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet also last week said that U.S. satellites tracked the weapons on that route to a Kaliningrad airfield. "There are nuclear weapons there," a U.S. government representative was quoted as telling Svenska Dagbladet on condition of anonymity.

"If Russia has deployed tactical nuclear arms in Kaliningrad and at the same time denies this, it is very serious," said Stefan Noreen of the Swedish government's European Union unit. The Norwegian Supreme Defense Command and the Defense Ministry both declined comment.

"The defense minister has said he is aware of the claims about Kaliningrad but we can't comment on any intelligence reports as a matter of principle," said ministry spokesman Kirsti Skjerven.
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2.
Moscow Reserves Right to Put Nukes in Kaliningrad
ITAR-TASS
March 9, 2001
(for personal use only)


Speaking in Stockholm on 9 March, Foreign Minister Ivanov said there are no nuclear arms in Kaliningrad at the present time, ITAR-TASS reported, but he added that "by the way, Russia does not have an obligation not to place nuclear arms anywhere on its territory."
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G. Nuclear Seizures

1.
Russian Police Seize Radioactive Material in Smuggling Swap
Agence France-Presse
March 11, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW, Mar 11, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) Moscow police recently seized about 200 grams (seven ounces) of highly radioactive material from a group of smugglers as they were about to sell it, the independent NTV television reported Saturday.

Both buyers and sellers were arrested near Balashikha, east of Moscow, in the process of swapping a container of radioactive Cesium 137 against 250,000 dollars (268,000 euros), police told the network.

Police said the sale was being made to verify the quality of the radioactive material before a major purchase. They said the buyers planned to sell it to an unnamed Middle East country.
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H. Russian Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Russia Plans Floating Nuclear Power Station
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
March 14, 2001
(for personal use only)


To provide power to isolated places in the Russian north, the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry plans to build a floating nuclear power plant, AP reported on 13 March. A ministry official said that the plant "may become a prototype for a series of this type of station," and he dismissed fears about a possible accident: "there are nuclear submarines and icebreakers. The Americans even have nuclear aircraft carriers." Atomic Energy Minister Yevgenii Adamov was even more upbeat. In an interview published in "Kommersant-Daily" the same day, Adamov said that "atomic energy can work securely for thousands of years."
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