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Nuclear News - 03/20/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, March 20, 2001
Compiled by Terry C. Stevens and Benjamin D. Wampold


A. U.S. Disarmament Budget
    1. Bush Targets Russia Nuclear Programs for Cuts, Walter Pincus, Washington Post (03/18/2001)
B. Russian - Iranian Relations
    1. Iran Leader's Russia Visit Short on Results, Reuters (03/20/2001)
    2. Powell Delivers Stern Warning to Russia, Iran, Agence France Presse (03/19/2001)
    3. Arms Deal With Iran Stirs Chaos, AP (03/19/2001)
    4. Transcript: State Department Noon Briefing [Russia, Iran], Washington File (03/16/2001)
C. Nuclear Waste
    1. Cash-poor Russia lobbies for nuclear waste, Susan B. Glasser, Washington Post (03/17/2001)
    2. Federation Council Chairman Slams The Importing of Spent Nuclear Fuel to Russia, Interfax (03/07/2001)
D. U.S. - Russian Relations
    1. Bush and Putin [Op-Ed], New York Times (03/19/2001)
    2. U.S. "is not Russia's Enemy", Says Security Adviser Ivanov, Agence France Presse (03/17/2001)
    3. Moscow Calls CIA Report "Anti-Russian", Agence France Presse (03/16/2001)
E. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Russia opens new nuclear power plant, Angela Charlton, AP (03/19/2001)
    2. Russia rejects G-7 concern over nuclear regulatory body, Kyodo News (03/19/2001)
F. Publications
    1. English translation of Duma report on Adamov corruption
    2. CITS Monitor Released [Special focus upon Russia-Iran Relations]
G. Russian - EU Relations
    1. EU Offers to Help Russia Dispose of Nuclear Submarines, Agence France Presse (03/16/2001)
H. Plutonium Disposition
    1. Russia wants aid on nuclear plant; gas-cooled reactor aimed at disposing of weapons-grade plutonium, Japan Times (03/18/2001)

A. U.S. Disarmament Budget

1.
Bush Targets Russia Nuclear Programs for Cuts
Walter Pincus
Washington Post
March 18, 2001
(for personal use only)


U.S. programs that pay to help Russia reduce and safeguard its nuclear weapons and materials have been targeted by the Bush administration for cuts of 12 percent below this year's level and 30 percent below the figures proposed in the Clinton administration's fiscal 2002 budget, according to congressional and nongovernmental sources.

Rose E. Gottemoeller, former director of nonproliferation and national security at the Energy Department, said she has been told that the $1.2 billion proposed by the previous administration for Russian programs had been reduced by President Bush's Office of Management and Budget to $800 million, which is $73 million below the current year's figure.

Gottemoeller, now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, called the proposed budget cuts a "shame." A spokesman for Energy, Joe Davies, said Secretary Spencer Abraham "is still working on budget figures" and that no final number is expected until April.

Gottemoeller said the "Nuclear Cities" program, which this year provided $30 million to help former nuclear scientists get nonmilitary work, would be cut to $6 million.

The nuclear materials protection and security program, which helps pay for improved security over Russia's stockpiles of plutonium and enriched uranium, received $154 million this year. Under the Clinton budget, it would have risen to $217 million. Under Bush, it is set to drop to $139 million.

Energy's plutonium disposal program, in which the United States and Russia change weapons-grade material so it cannot be used for bombs, is set to rise from $200 million this year to $217 million under Bush. That is well below the $400 million proposed by the Clinton administration to enable construction of a facility to begin processing the nuclear materials.

Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that handles the Energy nonproliferation budget, said Friday that the Russian programs "don't deserve to be cut as much as they are thinking."

In the House, Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), whose district includes Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which participates in the programs, said that "dramatic cuts to these programs . . . may cripple our efforts to secure nuclear material in Russia and ensure that Russia's nuclear physicists are gainfully employed in non-defense-related industries."

But sentiment appears to be growing in Congress to cut aid to Russia in response to Russian sales of weaponry and nuclear power plants to Iran. Last week, Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel III (D-Pa.), a member of the House International Relations Committee, sent Bush a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 29 House members calling for a halt in Russian aid programs.
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B. Russian-Iranian Relations

1.
Iran Leader's Russia Visit Short on Results
Reuters
March 20, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW, Mar 20, 2001 -- (Reuters) Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Moscow last week was supposed to propel ties to a higher level but achieved little because of poor preparatory work, a leading Russian expert said on Monday.

Khatami's trip to Russia, the first by an Iranian head of state in nearly 30 years, upset the United States which sees Tehran as a "rogue state" and is alarmed by Moscow's pledges to develop military and civil nuclear cooperation with it.

But Rajab Safarov, head of the independent Center for Coordination of Russian-Iranian Cooperation, said Khatami's visit was more symbolic in value and produced few of the long-awaited practical deals and agreements.

Safarov, whose center compiles and sells research on Iran to official bodies, told a news conference that of four anticipated major agreements only two were signed and even those merely fixed the existing state of relations.

"Initially, four documents were due to be signed: the main one setting out the path of future relations..., a special agreement on military cooperation..., a document on scientific and technological cooperation... and one setting out the two countries' positions on the Caspian," he said.

An agreement on military cooperation fell through because working groups relied too much on Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev's statement last year that the deal was all but ready, Safarov said. Both sides still had work to complete and signature of the document was postponed.

Signature of an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation was also put off on similar grounds, as Russian ministries had missed deadlines, he said.

"Two other agreements which were signed in essence reflect the current level of relations," Safarov said.

Tehran's request to push the visit, planned for May, forward by two months to give Khatami more time to concentrate on a June 6 presidential election put experts on a very tight schedule and made it more difficult to meet deadlines.

On the Caspian Sea, a bone of contention between five littoral states seeking to divide its oil-rich seabed, a Russian-Iranian statement was unlikely to yield any progress in the absence of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

Khatami visited a Russian plant building a nuclear reactor for Iran's Bushehr power station and a Russian official said Iran would sign up for a second unit.

Moscow says its deals with Iran are within international law and has criticized Washington for renewing sanctions on companies doing business with Tehran.
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2.
Powell Delivers Stern Warning to Russia, Iran
Agence France Presse
March 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


WASHINGTON, Mar 19, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered a stern warning to Russia and Iran Monday, putting both nations on notice that the United States was watching their actions closely and would respond should they make moves that could destabilize the Middle East.

In an address before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Powell said Washington would not turn a blind eye to repression by Tehran or arms sales by Moscow to the Islamic Republic.

The secretary said while President George W. Bush's administration was reviewing its policy toward Iran, it was troubled by Tehran's continued support for terrorism, opposition to Middle East peace efforts and its treatment of minorities, particularly Jews.

"It is apparent that certain aspects of Iranian government behavior ... are of deep concern," Powell said, adding that Iranian Jews had been "unfairly charged and harshly imprisoned" in a series of recent criminal cases.

"This is of deep concern to the United States and to the American people, and we will not turn aside and ignore this kind of behavior," he said to enthusiastic applause from the pro-Israel crowd attending the speech.

At the same time, Powell said the Bush team was intrigued by recent events in Iran that indicated a resurgence of moderate sentiment against the conservative Islamic government.

"We are aware of the intellectual and political foment taking place within Iran," he said. "Things are happening, things are changing and we will continue to watch these developments closely and hopefully."

Powell also picked up on heavy criticism of Russia levelled by U.S. officials last week after Moscow announced plans to boost military and nuclear cooperation with Iran.

"We are also concerned about Iranian efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction and to increase its conventional military strength," he said, noting that he had raised the issue in meetings with Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and national security advisor Sergei Ivanov.

"I have gone so far as to raise with senior Russian officials the role that Russia is playing in these dangerous and destabilizing efforts," Powell said. "We will not overlook what Russia is doing to cause this sort of problem."

Washington has warned Moscow that it may face U.S. sanctions should it sell advanced conventional weapons or sensitive technology to Tehran.

Russia has dismissed the U.S. concerns saying any weapons sales to Iran will be defensive in nature, will not violate non-proliferation agreements and will not affect the balance of power in the Middle East.
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3.
Arms Deal With Iran Stirs Chaos
The Associated Press
March 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Iran's latest arms deal with Russia, underpinned by a surge in its oil revenue, has troubling implications for its neighbors, almost all of whom are embroiled in quarrels with Tehran that could turn violent.

Moscow and Tehran insist the deal is for defensive purposes only, but the United States, itself a big weapons supplier to the region, has expressed alarm.

News of the latest agreement came during a four-day visit by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami last week. Russia agreed to supply $7 billion worth of weapons over the next few years and to complete Iran's only nuclear reactor by 2003.

Iran covets Russia's missile technology and its Su-25 warplanes that could narrow the gap with its U.S.-supplied Gulf Arab neighbors. In a single deal last year, the tiny United Arab Emirates placed a $6.4 billion deal with the United States for 80 F-16 fighter planes.

A Russian official visiting Washington last week didn't mention warplanes when asked about the Iran arms deal. "All defensive," insisted Sergei Ivanov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's national security adviser. "Personnel carriers, tanks, anti-air missiles, which are very legitimate."

But Russia already has helped Iran tip the regional naval balance by selling it three Kilo-class submarines, the only subs owned by a Gulf country, and between 1989 and 1999 it supplied a reported $5 billion worth of weapons to Iran, the bulk of Tehran's recent purchases.

Iran's military ambitions are not new. They can now be realized, however, because of a windfall from oil revenues.

Russia makes no secret of its need for big customers to prop up its flagging defense industries. By engaging with Iran, a major and influential player in the region, Moscow also retains powerful influence in the Gulf and beyond.

But weapons sales to Iran at this time raise concern because the Islamic Republic is more unstable now than at any time since it rose out of the 1979 revolution.

Religious hardliners who still believe in holy war and exporting the revolution are waging a power struggle with pro-Khatami reformists.

Despite a thaw with Iraq, neither country can forget their devastating 1980-88 war.

Across the Gulf, Iran is locked in a territorial dispute with the Emirates.

Ties with Turkey are strained over Tehran's support for rebel Kurds and Ankara's military ties with Israel, Iran's arch foe.

In 1998, Iran came close to war with Afghanistan's Taleban rulers following the killing of seven Iranian diplomats and an Iranian journalist by renegade Taleban troops.

And then there's the Mideast conflict. Iran's defense minister, Ali Shamkhani, said in December that his country would retaliate in an "astounding and unexpected" way if Israel attacked Syria or Lebanon.

Iran has built and tested a number of missiles. Its latest, the Shahab-3, has a range of 1,250 kilometers and can reach Israel or U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.

Israeli leaders repeatedly warn that Iran is close to developing a nuclear weapon, despite denials by Tehran. Ignoring U.S. concerns, Russia is building Iran's only nuclear reactor at a power plant in the city of Bushehr.

Both countries insist the technology cannot be used to make bombs, and can point out that Israel too is reported to have nuclear warheads, plus the missiles to deliver them.

Russia has said Iran agreed to sign up for a second nuclear reactor during Khatami's visit.

Moscow disregarded a 1995 agreement with Washington that called for a ban on more arms sales to Iran.

"It is not wise to invest in regimes that do not follow international standards of behavior," Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday, criticizing the latest arms deal with Iran. The Russians, he said, should not be "investing in weapons sales in countries such as Iran, which have no future."
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4.
Transcript: State Department Noon Briefing [Russia, Iran]
The Washington File
March 16, 2001
(for personal use only)


Q: Do you have any reaction to the call in Congress for Russian aid to be possibly cut if Russia does sign new arms deals with Iran?

MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't really seen it.

Q: It's a letter from Congress to the White House, but I'm certain that it comes here as well. Have we been discussing it as possible sanctions?

MR. BOUCHER: What the Secretary made clear in the meeting the other day and what we've made clear to the Russian Government and in our public statements is our view that selling arms to Iran could destabilize a region in a way that could be a serious threat to the national security interests of the United States and our allies and friends in the region. Selling advanced arms and sensitive technology is our particular concern. Iranian weapons of mass destruction and missile programs are also a serious threat to Russia.

So preventing Iran from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and missile delivery technology is clearly one of our top foreign policy priorities, and we have made clear that any Russian nuclear or missile cooperation with Iran is and would remain a serious impediment to improving our bilateral relationship.

In addition, the Secretary made clear the other day in his meeting with the Russian National Security Advisor that sales of advanced conventional weapons or things that contribute to programs for weapons if mass destruction could have legal implications; indeed, selling any Russian weapons to Iran could have legal implications and that we would intend to abide by our law in that respect.

Q: Including financial implications?

MR. BOUCHER: The different laws are written in slightly different ways in terms of the kind of sanctions, the kind of assistance to governments it might not permit. So it would depend on the item. There are waiver authorities, but clearly the high degree of American concern has been registered, has been made quite clear by the Secretary and by many others in terms of what the United States is doing; and second of all, that the Secretary also made quite clear that we have laws that pertain to these transfers, and were there to be transfers or weaponry we would have to follow -- we would have to look at them in accordance with our law, which could involve sanctions.

Q: Has the Secretary spoken with Foreign Minister Ivanov recently?

MR. BOUCHER: Not since --

Q: Not since Sergei Ivanov?

MR. BOUCHER: I can't remember when the last time was. They might have talked on the phone. Obviously he talked to the Russian National Security Advisor just a day or two ago.

Q: I'm sorry, he has spoken to him since then, or he hasn't?

MR. BOUCHER: No, he hasn't talked to the Russian Foreign Minister since he talked to the Russian National Security Advisor. I don't want to get the Ivanovs confused.
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C. Nuclear Waste

1.
Cash-poor Russia lobbies for nuclear waste
Susan B. Glasser
The Washington Post
March 17, 2001
(for personal use only)


MUSLYUMOVO, Russia - As a Red Army draftee in the 1950s, Nikolai Gidenko helped build a dam on the Techa River, sometimes immersed in water up to his knees.

What Gidenko didn't know then was that the Techa River was a nuclear-waste dump, a river of radioactivity carrying contamination from the top-secret nuclear facility nearby. Today, Gidenko receives 200 rubles a month - less than $8 - as compensation for the radiation to which he was exposed. In his village of 4,500 people are six cemeteries, five already full.

Which makes it all the more surprising when Gidenko unhesitatingly answers yes when asked if he favors the latest plan of Russia's cash-poor leaders: creating a haven for the world's nuclear leftovers.

In exchange for what the government estimates could be a $21 billion windfall, the Russians intend to open their doors to more than 20,000 tons of spent fuel from foreign nuclear reactors for storage and possible reprocessing. Some likely will end up in Gidenko's back yard.

Nationwide, the proposal has spurred the biggest grass-roots opposition movement in Russia's 10 years of democracy.

But this region of the Ural Mountains almost 1,000 miles east of Moscow, which environmentalists call "the most polluted place on Earth," has more radioactive waste than 20 Chernobyls. And here, local leaders are lobbying for their share of the radioactive paycheck.

"I am in favor of importing the nuclear waste," Gidenko said last week in his wooden cottage, the temperature outside 20 degrees below zero. "They will reprocess it into fuel, and it will be cheaper for the population. They claim that electricity will be free."

With the apparent support of President Vladimir Putin, the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, gave preliminary approval in December to the nuclear imports. More than 90 percent of the lawmakers voted for it, despite polls showing more than 90 percent of Russians against it.

"They have dollar signs in their eyes," said activist Natalya Mironova, who belongs to an environmental movement that gathered an unprecedented 2 1/2 million signatures for a national referendum to block the foreign waste - only to see the Central Election Commission invalidate just enough signatures to throw it off the ballot.

To opponents, the fight is a morality tale about a country whose leaders are so cynical they would mortgage their land's health for some ready cash. It's also a political puzzle: In the increasingly authoritarian politics of the Putin era, no one is sure whether, or how, public pressure can influence the small group of policy-makers that will decide the matter.

Experts on both sides of the debate agree that Russia's stated reason for getting into the nuclear-waste business is legitimate: Nearly 60 years into the Atomic Age, Russia has a huge stockpile of nuclear waste from its own reactors and insufficient money to handle it. Even without importing waste, some experts say, Russia's storage facility near Krasnoyarsk could be full in a few years.

Several nuclear specialists argued that the importing plan might not be as bad as the alternative: a nuclear-waste-storage crisis and no resources to deal with it.

"Our problem is we have no money," said Nikolai Ponomarev-Stepnoi, deputy director of the Kurchatov Institute, the leading Russian state nuclear-research facility on Moscow's outskirts.

Taking in spent fuel from abroad is the only commercially sensible solution, he said

But numerous logistical and diplomatic problems confront Russia's entry into this business. Most significant is whether Russia intends to store the fuel, or recycle it for nuclear-power stations.

The United States opposes reprocessing spent fuel because the process extracts plutonium that could be used in nuclear weapons. As much as 70 percent of the world's spent nuclear fuel originated in U.S.-designed reactors, so even though it sits at nuclear-power plants from Asia to Western Europe, the contracts give final say to the United States on where it ends up. If Washington, D.C., doesn't approve, Russia's $21 billion dream will go unrealized.

In Russia, however, the Atomic Energy Ministry has talked almost exclusively about processing, not storing, the spent fuel.

In Moscow, critics say the Atomic Energy Ministry's plan is to use the foreign funds not for storage, or even to clean up existing environmental disaster zones, but to finance nuclear empire-building. Already, the ministry has announced plans to finish 10 new nuclear reactors.

"The atomic ministry is acquiring the power it had in Soviet days, when it was an empire inside the empire, untouchable by anyone," said Alexei Yablokov, a founder of Russia's modern environmental movement. "But in reality, the ministry lacks money to finance its grand plans. To get the money, they will have to store this nuclear waste. Of course, it's very difficult for them to explain to people that we are taking for storage everybody's waste. So they pretend they will be reprocessing it and gaining valuable resources."

The government's nuclear-safety commission has feuded with the ministry in hopes of blocking the foreign-waste proposal.

Such policy nuances are lost here in the Urals, where nuclear pork-barrel politics has taken hold in anticipation that Mayak, the secret nuclear facility up the river from the tainted village of Muslyumovo, will be the recipient of foreign spent fuel.

In the capital, Chelyabinsk, a government-run newspaper proclaimed that "billions of dollars for the region" await.

Two hours north of Chelyabinsk, in the closed city of Ozersk, the same argument is being made to the 10,000-plus workers at the Mayak nuclear plant, Russia's most important nuclear facility.

Mayak houses the country's only factory for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel but is equipped to work only with fuel from Soviet-built reactors. Accepting spent fuel from other countries will require a major upgrade Mayak cannot afford.

"They say, `It is necessary to do this. Then everyone will live here like in a fairy tale,' " said Ozersk sociologist Nadezhda Kutepova. Her father came here to clean up a 1957 explosion that was the second-largest nuclear accident in history; he died 20 years later of colon cancer.

Among Ozersk's more than 80,000 residents, she said, nostalgia flourishes for Soviet times, when the dangers of working at the nuclear plant were accompanied by higher wages, unrationed food and such luxuries as candy. "In Ozersk, people think those golden times will return," she said. "No one is thinking about the ecological damage; no one is thinking about nuclear weapons. We are only interested in our wages."

In a rare interview, Mayak General Director Vitaly Sadovnikov portrayed the proposal as a matter of economic survival. "Mayak is definitely interested in such an activity, as any enterprise is interested in work," he said.

Mayak's nuclear catastrophes - the 1949-56 dumping in the Techa River, the 1957 explosion and a 1967 cloud of radioactive dust from a nuclear waste-filled lake - have exposed more than 450,000 people to dangerously high levels of radiation, according to scientists who have studied them. The environmental disasters were a state secret until the waning days of communism. Sadovnikov insists safety is no longer an issue at Mayak.

Even among Mayak's relatively privileged workers, 64 percent of 700 Ozersk residents said they were against the proposal in a survey Kutepova conducted last fall.

"But they will not speak up," she said. "There is a code of silence. `Yes, my father died. Yes, my relatives are ill. But I'll be paid my wages and I'll be silent.' "

Ramses Faizullin, 16, decided not to be silent. He lives in one of the villages near Mayak that was relocated from the banks of the Techa years before he was born. Even so, Ramses was born with radiation disease; his head is abnormally large and he coughs incessantly. He was hospitalized three times last year.

In December, Ramses wrote to Putin and the State Duma, pleading with them to block the plan.

"I do not want to have children like myself," he wrote. "We have suffered our fill from this radiation as it is; every week, they bury somebody in our village."
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2.
Federation Council Chairman Slams The Importing of Spent Nuclear Fuel to Russia
Interfax News Agency
March 7, 2001
(for personal use only)


Moscow -- Federation Council Chairman Yegor Stroyev has said he is categorically against the passage of a law giving the go-ahead to bringing spent nuclear fuel into Russia.

The draft is to be debated by the State Duma in a second reading in late March or early February. If the lower house approves it, the draft will be submitted to the Federation Council.

"Only the mafia could be interested in laws that actually open the way to imports of nuclear wastes and turning Russia into a nuclear dump," Stroyev told the press on Wednesday. "The idea of importing nuclear wastes to Russia is insane."

Oryol region Governor Stroyev said that he is very well versed on the consequences of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, which is still impacting negatively on the health of the children born more than ten years after the catastrophe. "Many facts of this tragedy and its consequences are being hushed up. No one is saying that to this day jaundiced children and children with inborn health problems and defects are being born in the regions that were covered by the radioactive cloud," he said.

Only "insane people" who do not care for the future of their people or the state as a whole could seriously argue that our country might be saved if it is turned into a dump for nuclear wastes, he said.
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D. U.S. - Russian Relations

1.
Bush and Putin [Op-Ed]
Editorial Board
The New York Times
March 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


After the erratic but generally pro-Western leadership of the Yeltsin era, President Vladimir Putin has brought a more nationalist tone to Russian diplomacy. In some areas, like last week's announcement of renewed conventional arms sales to Iran, his policies run directly counter to Washington's. In others, like arms control and his efforts to bring Russia into the global economy, he hopes for cooperation.

These mixed messages pose a challenge for the Bush administration, which came into office promising a tougher, more realistic relationship with Russia. When Moscow's policies collide with America's national interests, Washington must oppose them. But the United States should not turn away from encouraging Russia's transition to a market economy and democracy and from working with Mr. Putin to reduce nuclear dangers left over from the Cold War.

Russia should not be offering Tehran spare parts for its planes and tanks and an advanced new air defense system. Nor should it be building a civilian nuclear power reactor in Iran that could become a conduit for sharing nuclear weapons technology with Iranian scientists. Iran's military is still dominated by clerical conservatives who support international terrorism, oppose peace between Israel and the Palestinians and are driving to develop nuclear weapons.

Moscow is also acting irresponsibly in its relations with former Soviet republics like Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, using its choke hold over energy supplies to press these governments for military, economic or political concessions. Further east, Russian troops are stationed in former Soviet Central Asia to help fight Islamic insurgencies. Mr. Putin, who spent his formative years as a Soviet intelligence officer, seems determined not only to restore the authority of the Russian state but also to rebuild some of Moscow's old international ties, and he has made a point of visiting Soviet-era allies like Cuba and Vietnam.

But he seems to understand that Russia's most important security relationships are with the West, including the nuclear arms and ballistic missile agreements with the United States. In recent months, he has softened his opposition to America's missile defense plans and signaled a willingness to negotiate with the Bush administration about both offensive and defensive missile systems. Washington should explore this possibility.

Mr. Putin also appears to recognize that despite the lift that Moscow has received from high oil prices, Russia's economic vitality depends on increased trade with and investment from the West. That will require sterner measures against corruption and a radical simplification of business licensing rules. The West should encourage these steps.

There should be no illusions in Washington about Mr. Putin. He is steering Russia on a more assertive and independent course than his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. But it may also prove to be a more predictable and pragmatic course. The Bush administration should encourage cooperation in areas where it is possible, for Russia's integration into the global economy and its support for arms control measures would benefit both Washington and Moscow.
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2.
U.S. "is not Russia's Enemy", Says Security Adviser Ivanov
Agence France Presse
March 17, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW, Mar 17, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) The United States "is not the enemy" of Russia, national security adviser Sergei Ivanov said here on his return from a three-day visit to Washington.

In an interview published Saturday in the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda, Ivanov said: "The United States is not the enemy. And from what I understood from the latest statements by the American president, they do not consider Russia their enemy either."

President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that Russia was no longer the enemy of the United States, but that its nuclear arsenal made it a potential threat.

A visit to Russia this week by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and the decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to resume arms sales and nuclear cooperation with Iran sharpened tensions between Washington and Moscow.

"We have once again confirmed that Russia will observe the international laws governing non-proliferation," Ivanov said.

"The sale of arms is the sovereign right of any country. And although often we are not given access to some markets for political reasons (...) we do not intend to lose them because the United States does not like any country," the security adviser said on board the plane bringing him back to Moscow.

Moscow's supply of equipment that would enable Iran to boost its military potential, attaining nuclear weapons status or developing its long-range missile program, is a source of constant worry to Washington.
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3.
Moscow Calls CIA Report "Anti-Russian"
Agence France Presse
March 16, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW, Mar 16, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) The Russian foreign ministry Thursday slammed as "openly anti-Russian" a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency report that accused Moscow of being largely to blame for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The ministry said in a statement it was "astonished" at "the openly anti-Russian slant of this document which tries without any grounds principally to blame Russia for the proliferation of these weapons."

In a report to Congress covering the first six months of 2000, the CIA identified Russia as the chief supplier of ballistic missile-related goods and technical know-how to Iran, India, China and Libya.

"Despite overall improvements in Russia's economy, the state-run defense and nuclear industries remain strapped for funds, even as Moscow looks to them for badly needed foreign exchange through exports," the report said.

The Russian ministry retorted: "They are apparently trying to create a new enemy image so as to cast suspicion on Russia's economic, military and technical cooperation with other countries."

It said the CIA report had "evident political aims, which have nothing to do with the setting up of a constructive Russian-American dialogue on international security, strategic stability and non-proliferation."
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E. Russian Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Russia opens new nuclear power plant
Angela Charlton
The Associated Press
March 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


VOLGODONSK, Russia - For Yuri Kormushkin, the opening of Russia's first new nuclear-power plant since the 1986 Chernobyl accident is a colossal accomplishment. Now chief of nuclear safety for the station, he nursed it for most of the 22 years since its conception.

For Alexander Filipenko, the opening is a colossal mistake. The hair on his arm bristles when he describes the intense heat and destruction the reactor's fuel rods can produce. He speaks from memories of sealing the charred gash in Chernobyl's reactor No. 4, and of once-hardy comrades withered from radiation exposure.

Amid increasing power blackouts and deepening energy shortages across this vast country, Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry wants to build 20 new nuclear reactors by 2020 and double reliance on nuclear power.

Officials hope the start-up of the Rostov plant in southern Russia is just the beginning. It also marks an end to what many call the Chernobyl era, nearly 15 years of fear that emerged from the radioactive ashes of the world's worst nuclear accident.

Despite warnings from environmental groups about the risks of nuclear power, Russia's government appears to be winning its campaign to convince Russians that nuclear power means jobs and electricity, not death and destruction.

"It really feels like a breakthrough. Other nuclear workers are looking at us with hope," Kormushkin said of the moment when Rostov's Soviet-designed, cylindrical orange reactor was switched on for the first time in mid-February.

Plant officials insist Rostov will never see a Chernobyl-style accident.

Its VVER-1000 reactor has a concrete containment structure that the RBMK model at Chernobyl lacked. That is supposed to hold in any damage from explosions and withstand a magnitude 7 earthquake or the crash of a 20-ton aircraft. The Rostov reactor's fuel rods also are cooled by pressurized water instead of the less-stable graphite used in RBMKs.

International industry-trade groups and environmental watchdogs acknowledge the VVER-1000 model is the safest of Russia's reactors but say it still is less reliable than modern Western counterparts.

Kormushkin, 56, remembers when the Rostov reactor was just a mass of metal, and saw it nearly completed before construction was halted on government orders in 1990. Fighting off depression from seeing his life's work come to naught, he survived the nine ensuing years when padlocks on doors to the reactor hall rusted shut.

"The politicians all became populists" in the democratic reforms of the late 1980s and early '90s and caved in to popular concerns about nuclear power, he said. "Eventually the moral climate changed. They realized what it means to have responsibility for a population that needs light and jobs."

Others say what turned things around for the Rostov plant was money, not public attitudes.

The government's chronic cash shortages amid Russia's post-Soviet decline kept development at a standstill in many sectors. Then in 1999, the government saw a windfall from high world prices for oil. Financing for the Rostov plant and other projects resumed.

Environmental groups warn that the Rostov plant was built on earthquake-prone land and worry that it sits on the shore of the Tsmilyansk Reservoir, a key water source.

The Atomic Energy Ministry "has invested considerable energy to suppress opposition to the plant, but serious dangers remain," said the Norway-based environmental group Bellona, which monitors Russia's nuclear industry.

There is homegrown opposition, too.

"The government's cynicism is striking. They close their eyes to what they know is life-threatening," said Filipenko, who heads the Rostov Chernobyl Union, composed of 20,000 people in Rostov province who helped clean up after the 1986 disaster.

After he returned from Chernobyl, Filipenko gave up bicycle racing and struggled through shifts as a coal miner that just months earlier he had handled with ease. Now 50, he says his weakened lungs and heart sometimes leave him bedridden.

Government subsidies to those disabled by radiation exposure at Chernobyl have shriveled in recent years, fueling fears the government won't take responsibility if something goes wrong at Rostov.
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2.
Russia rejects G-7 concern over nuclear regulatory body
Kyodo News
March 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW March 19 Kyodo - Russia has dismissed Group of Seven (G-7) major nations' concern over its preparations to review laws to diminish the power of an independent nuclear regulatory body, sources close to the case said Sunday.

Russia has sent documents on its stand to the Nuclear Safety Working Group of nuclear experts of the G-7 nations, which will study the documents and decide what to do, the sources said.

It is possible the G-7 nations -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- will reiterate their concern to Russia in the Group of Eight (G-8) summit in Genoa, Italy, in July, the sources said.

In the documents, Russia rejected G-7 concern by claiming the law amendment is to confirm Russia's principle of putting priority on safety in the use of nuclear energy, the sources said.

Russia is planning to transfer the power to issue licenses for nuclear installations from the Federal Nuclear and Radiation Safety Authority to the Atomic Energy Ministry.

In December, the G-7 nuclear safety group sent the Russian government a letter expressing concern over the plan, saying it violates a 1996 international treaty that seeks to separate government functions in nuclear power policy.

The Nuclear Safety Convention, adopted in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, commits member nations to separating government machinery responsible for promoting nuclear energy from the regulatory body in charge of nuclear safety. Russia is a member of the Nuclear Safety Convention along with Japan and 51 other nations.
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F. Publications

1.
English translation of Duma report on Adamov corruption

The full text of this document, which requires Adobe Acrobat to view, can be found on the Internet at: http://www.greenpeace.org/%7Enuclear/waste/adamov.pdf
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2.
CITS Monitor Released [Special focus upon Russia-Iran Relations]

The Center for International Trade and Security has issued the winter edition of its publication The Monitor. This issue focuses on U.S.-Russian tension over Russia's nuclear, arms and technology trade with Iran.

The full text of this document, which requires Adobe Acrobat to view, can be found on the Internet at http://www.uga.edu/cits/publications/Monitor_W2001.webversion.pdf
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G. Russian - EU Relations

1.
EU Offers to Help Russia Dispose of Nuclear Submarines
Agence France Presse
March 16, 2001
(for personal use only)


MURMANSK, Mar 16, 2001 -- (Agence France Presse) The European Union will help Russia to decommission its nuclear submarines, Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh said Thursday at a regional conference in this northwestern Russian city.

"The European Union has to be more active" in this field, Lindh told reporters after a meeting of the Barents Sea Euro-Arctic Council which groups Russia, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland.

Sweden currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union.

Moscow's and the EU's positions on the adoption of a joint nuclear and ecological program for Russia "are getting closer," said Russian Foreign Minster Igor Ivanov.

The cashapped Russian government is unable to finance fully the decommissioning of some 100 nuclear-powered submarines taken out of service. The cost is estimated at 1.5 billion dollars.

Russia, which has chaired the Euro-Artic Council since March 15, 2000, handed over the rotating presidency to Sweden.
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H. Plutonium Disposition

1.
Russia wants aid on nuclear plant; gas-cooled reactor aimed at disposing of weapons-grade plutonium
The Japan Times
March 18, 2001
(for personal use only)


BRUSSELS (Kyodo) Russia has asked Japan to contribute to the construction of a nuclear reactor in Russia to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium removed from its nuclear arsenal, officials and diplomats have said.

Evgeniy Adamov, Russian nuclear energy minister, sent a letter to the Japanese government in the fall requesting Japan's cooperation in the project, one of the sources said Friday.

"The project could (cost) a huge amount. It (the letter) was a virtual request for financial support" though it did not mention a specific figure, one of the diplomats said.

The U.S.-proposed project aims to build a high temperature gas-cooled reactor in Russia to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium, the sources said.

The design stage of the project, in which Russia, the United States and France are participating along with a Japanese power company, started in 1999.

The high temperature gas-cooled reactor can efficiently dispose of plutonium but is estimated to cost more than $700 million, one official said.

In light of the country's economic problems, it is assumed the project might not be realized if Russia is unable to raise enough money to build the reactor, the officials said.

Japan's own economic slump has made it reluctant to finance the project, the sources said, adding that Tokyo may assist by providing data collected at its own high temperature engineering test reactor.

The reactor, located in Ibaraki Prefecture, first attained criticality in 1998. It is one of the few high temperature gas-cooled reactors in the world in operation.

Russia is meanwhile seeking to provide mixed oxide nuclear fuel made from weapons-grade plutonium to Japan and some European nations, environmental group Greenpeace International said.

According to a recent Russian government document obtained by Greenpeace, Moscow is considering providing its MOX fuel for electricity production in nuclear power plants owned by "Western utilities, in particular Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium and Japan."

"I have never seen such an open and clear statement (from the Russian government) saying we have this plan, we do not have money, so let's take money from foreigners," Tobias Muenchmeyer of the environmental group said of the document.

Russia and the U.S. agreed in June to each dispose of 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium extracted from dismantled nuclear missiles.

The leaders of the Group of Eight major countries called the agreement a "critical milestone" at their summit in Okinawa in July.

Apart from Russia's high temperature gas-cooled reactor project, they also committed themselves to "develop an international financing plan for plutonium management and disposition based on a detailed project plan" for the next summit, due to be held in Italy in July.

Nuclear aid decried

MOSCOW (Kyodo) Japan on Friday expressed its opposition to a Russian commitment to help Iran build a nuclear power plant.

Yuji Miyamoto, director general for arms control and scientific affairs at the Foreign Ministry, said he raised the issue during a bilateral meeting on nuclear energy and told the Russian side that "the international community is greatly concerned" about Iran's nuclear policy.

Russia made the commitment to support Iran's nuclear power program during Iranian President Seyed Mohammad Khatami's visit to Moscow earlier this week.

Miyamoto said he also conveyed Japan's concern over Russia's commitment to help India develop nuclear energy, noting that India has not ratified the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

Russia in return told Japan that the Russian government is interested in helping Japan reprocess its used nuclear fuel.

Miyamoto said he told the Russians that the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is a matter to be decided upon by the private operators of nuclear plants in Japan.
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