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Nuclear News - 04/27/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, April 27, 2001
Compiled by Kelly Turner

A. Nuclear Safety
    1. Russia's 11 Chernobyl-Style Nuclear Reactors a Threat, Agence France Presse (04/25/01)
    2. East: EBRD Promises Aid To Protect Against Radioactive Pollution, Ron Synovitz, RFE/RL (04/25/01)
B. Nuclear Waste
    1. Editorial Russia Can Have It Both Ways, Moscow Times (04/26/01)
    2. Nuclear safety and spent fuel import in Russia, Rashid Alimov, Bellona (04/26/01)
C. Russian - Iranian Relations
    1. Foreign Spies Target Russian Defense Sector --FSB, Reuters (04/26/01)
D. Russia - North Korea Relations
    1. Update 1-N.Korean Defence Minister Arrives in Moscow, Reuters (04/26/01)
    2. North Korea Military Delegation Visits Russia, Reuters (04/26/01)
E. Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation Program
    1. Press Advisory on Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation Progra, United States Department of Defense (04/2501)
F. NATO - Russian Relations
    1. Statement on Meeting of NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council, The Washington File for Europe, Russia, and the New Independent States, (04/26/01)

A. Nuclear Safety

Russia's 11 Chernobyl-Style Nuclear Reactors a Threat
Agence France Presse
April 25, 2001
(for personal use only)

Russia's 11 nuclear reactors of the type that exploded at Chernobyl 15 years ago do not satisfy security standards, an official of the Green Cross ecology group warned Tuesday.

"These reactors cannot meet an acceptable level of security. It is impossible to wrap them in an envelope of security," Vladimir Kuznetsov told a news conference here.

Three nuclear plants at Smolensk and Kursk, in western Russia, and the northwest Leningrad plant -- are equipped with the RBMK type of reactor that went on line between 1974 to 1989.

In addition to the four RBMK reactors in operation at the Kursk plant, a fifth is currently under construction, Kuznetsov said.

Reactor number four at Chernobyl exploded on April 26, 1986, spewing a cloud of radioactive matter across much of Europe. Between 15,000 and 30,000 people died as a result of the disaster.

The last of the Ukrainian plant's four reactors was shut down for good on December 15, 2000.
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East: EBRD Promises Aid To Protect Against Radioactive Pollution
Ron Synovitz
April 25, 2001
(for personal use only)

Officials at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development say they expect soon to formalize their agreement with Ukraine on the design of a new protective shelter for the Chornobyl nuclear power plant -- site of the world's worst civilian nuclear accident, in 1986. Preliminary steps toward the decommissioning of Soviet-designed nuclear reactors in Lithuania and Bulgaria also have been taken this month. RFE/RL correspondent Ron Synovitz spoke with senior EBRD officials in London who are involved in financing the projects.

London - Jean Lemierre, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, says he expects a formal agreement on the design of a confinement shelter for the Chornobyl nuclear power plant to be signed in the very near future with authorities in Kyiv.

Ukraine's state-owned nuclear energy firm, Energoatom, gave informal approval to technical plans for the structure earlier this month. The EBRD is charged with releasing the finances for the project out of a fund from international donors who are helping Ukraine build an arched structure over unit four of the Chornobyl plant.

Lemierre described the latest developments on the safety program for Chornobyl yesterday at the conclusion of the EBRD's annual board meeting in London:

"There was a technical commission [including international nuclear experts, engineers and nuclear energy officials] in Ukraine about the building of a shelter over Chernobyl. There have been technical discussions about what would be the best technique and the best technical approach. It was a question of engineers -- how to do it. I understand that much progress has been made and that a decision, if it is not totally met, is very close to being met. The process is going on very well."

Once the technical plans for the project are formally approved in Kyiv, an international public tender is to be launched to determine the builders of the shelter.

Ukraine built a concrete and steel shelter around unit four of the Chornobyl plant after a fire and explosion there in 1986 released hazardous radiation across parts of Ukraine, Belarus, and areas further north and east. But that protective shell is beginning to crumble.

Joachim Jahnke, the EBRD vice president in charge of the bank's Nuclear Safety Account, says emergency repairs have been completed to support the original shelter in the short term. But he told RFE/RL that the existing shelter will deteriorate further if it isn't protected from the weather.

Jahnke says that with up to 90 percent of the radioactivity from unit four still encased inside the concrete shell, its collapse would release a fresh cloud of radioactive dust into the atmosphere. There also are concerns, he says, that rain leaking through cracks in the concrete could cause radioactive waste to seep into the ground water table and pollute the drinking water supply for the entire region of Kyiv.

"What [radioactive material that] is still there [inside unit four] is in a risky situation because the present shelter building was built in a hurry. It's decaying. It is rusting. You see it when you come close. And there is water dripping into it, and there is a risk of ground water contamination. The whole area of Kyiv, with many millions of people, take their drinking water from the same water [linked to the underground water tables]."

The design that has been informally agreed upon by Energoatom and the EBRD's nuclear advisors is a massive metallic structure shaped like a Quonset hut -- 100 meters high, 120 meters long and spanning an area some 260 meters wide.

By building an arched structure with an interior space that is uninterrupted by columns or supports, the EBRD says there will be more versatility both to cope with the future dismantling of Chornobyl and to manage its nuclear waste. The Bank says the design also is the most structurally efficient and cost-effective way to enclose a large space.

The structure is to be erected in a relatively safe area away from the Chornobyl plant. The aim is to minimize radiation exposure to the workers who build it, as well as to avoid the hazards of construction work directly above the concrete shell around unit 4. Once assembled, the new confinement shelter would be moved along tracks into position over unit 4.

Other projects related to the decommissioning of Chornobyl also have been moving forward since Ukrainian officials shut down Chornobyl's last remaining operational reactor in December.

Unusually mild winter conditions in Ukraine have allowed construction to progress well on a storage building for more than 20,000 spent nuclear fuel rods. The building's foundation is now complete and above-ground construction is underway. Work on the storage modules also is progressing according to schedule. The building is due to be completed in 2003.

Another facility under construction is designed to treat and store the large amounts of radioactive liquid waste that was produced when the reactors at Chernobyl were still operating. Its foundations also are in place, and work on the walls and rooms of the main building have begun.

The EBRD-administered Nuclear Safety Account last month also approved disbursement of an additional three million euros (about $2.7 million) to build a railway network at the Chornobyl site. The railway will be used to transport spent nuclear fuel from existing storage areas to the one that is now being built. A contract for that project already has been awarded to the Ukrainian firm UkrTransBud. The railway is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

At the same time, funds are being established to help finance the decommissioning of nuclear reactors in Lithuania and Bulgaria. Earlier this month, the EBRD and Lithuania signed a framework agreement that establishes the legal basis for an international fund to operate in Lithuania to support the decommissioning of the Soviet-designed Ignalina nuclear power plant.

More than 200 million euros was pledged for the decommissioning of unit one at Ignalina at a donor's conference in Vilnius last year. About 165 million euros are to come directly from the European Union's budget, while 12 Nordic and West European countries also have pledged contributions. The money can be disbursed after Lithuania's parliament, the Seimas, approves the framework agreement with the EBRD.

A non-governmental monitoring group, CEE Bankwatch Network, has praised the progress made on Ignalina. But Bankwatch also has expressed concern about Ignalina's final decommissioning because Lithuania has not yet approved detailed measures for shutting down the oldest reactor there.

Bankwatch spokesman Petr Hlobil notes that some political parties in Lithuania are attempting to revise an agreement between Vilnius and the EU that would shut down Ignalina's unit one before 2005. The main complaint in Vilnius is that the shutdown should not be approved until enough funds are guaranteed to complete the entire decommissioning process.

Hlobil says the success of decommissioning unit one at Ignalina will serve as an example for the closure of aging Soviet nuclear units in other countries across the region.

The European Union and individual donor countries also are expected to contribute to a decommissioning fund for Bulgaria that also will be administered by the EBRD. Jahnke of the Bank's Nuclear Safety Account told RFE/RL that this fund is expected to start operating soon to help decommission the oldest reactors at Bulgaria's Kozloduy plant on the Danube River.

"[For] Kozloduy, I will have the chair[man] of the [Bulgarian] energy committee with me in a few days, and we will go through the same exercise [as with Ignalina's framework agreement]. We are interested to settle this now relatively early because there are deadlines coming in Bulgaria. You need time to prepare the decommissioning. You can't just switch off. We have also a lot of donor [interest] to help Bulgaria."

Unlike Ignalina in Lithuania and Chornobyl in Ukraine, where all nuclear reactors are being shut down or have been taken off-line, Bulgaria plans to continue operating two of its newest Soviet-designed reactors at Kozloduy.
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B. Nuclear Waste

Editorial Russia Can Have It Both Ways
Moscow Times
April 26, 2001
(for personal use only)

Smart politicians know that half the job of getting any proposal approved is controlling how it is debated, just as smart generals know that most battles are won before they even begin.

The ongoing debate over the government's controversial plan to import and reprocess foreign nuclear waste is an excellent illustration of this truism. The proposal, which passed its second reading in the Duma last week and seems well on its way to adoption, is being improbably sold as the only conceivable way to raise the money Russia needs to modernize its dangerous nuclear plants and to clean up its many badly contaminated sites.

If we don't import spent fuel, advocates say, we'll never be able to help the millions of people now living in areas that, by any decent standard, are unfit for habitation.

They are, in effect, trying to link two very different topics and to force us to accept what is a patently dangerous plan in order to achieve an important and laudable goal.

We are not taken in by this demagoguery. We know perfectly well that it is possible - even logically consistent - to be simultaneously against the importing scheme and for the clean up of the environmental disaster areas that the nuclear program has already created.

The Nuclear Power Ministry's assertions that importing spent fuel is the only way to finance cleanups is simply disingenuous.

As far as we are aware, there is no law saying that each ministry must fund itself. The Defense Ministry does not fund the army by looting neighboring countries, and the Education Ministry doesn't underwrite textbook purchases by tutoring Japanese students in its spare time.

If the government is serious about decontaminating the land that its people live on and the water that they drink, it will allocate money for this purpose _ no strings attached. It is highly unlikely that taxpayers would complain.

But is the government serious? Last week Norway announced that it is cutting aid that had been allocated for a nuclear cleanup program in the Arctic. Why? Because Russia has used the funds to prolong the use of four Chernobyl-type nuclear reactors instead of decontaminating the Kola Peninsula. There is no reason to think that things will be any different with the proceeds of the government's importing plan.

Deputies, don't be fooled and don't think that you are fooling us. Say "no" to imports and "yes" to cleanups. Tell the Nuclear Power Ministry to shut up and get to work.
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2.Nuclear safety and spent fuel import in Russia
Rashid Alimov
April 26, 2001
(for personal use only)

After 15 years of Chernobyl disaster Russia prolongs life-time of the aged reactors, plans to import spent nuclear fuel, and develop dangerous MOX-technology.

Before the second reading of the "nuclear" bills, Institute for Press Development held a press conference "Safety of nuclear installations in the Russian Federation". The topic was reported by Vladimir Kuznetsov, director of a program for nuclear and radiation safety of Russian "Green Cross", ex-chief inspector for nuclear and radiation safety of the Nuclear State Regulatory, the author of a book "Russian nuclear energy: yesterday, today and tomorrow: independent expert's view".

Russian NPPs' safety

During the year 2000, 18,077 violations of safety rules at the NPPs were found. Kuznetsov states, that from January, 1st 1991 to December, 31st 2000, 1,188 operating failures took place at Russian NPPs. Although Minatom claims, the number of the failures is reducing, the seriousness of the failures is proliferating.

Vladimir Kuznetsov said, that capacity factor of the NPPs amounted to 63-64% in the last year, while world-wide this factor equals to 80-85%. That means, that Russian NPPs work "in a light duty".

In a number of times, energy of the NPPs has not been needed because of its high price, e.g. energy produced at Bamako NPP, equipped with 4 VVER-1000 reactors, was not demanded. The enterprises of the region preferred to buy electricity at a lower price from the Volga hydroelectric plant.

In last 15 years there have been constant failures of the steam generator of the VVER-1000 reactors. Maximum period of generator's life equals to 10-13 years. Recent replacement of all the 4 steam generators of Balakovo NPP after 12 years of exploitation, was too expensive, Kuznetsov says. Moreover, during the replacement the personnel of the NPP was heavily irradiated. But the cause of the failure in the generators has not been eliminated. Replacement activities seem to be needed soon also at the re-started reactor of Rostov NPP.

In 6 years capacity of the VVER-1000 reactors has been reduced for 90%, because design defects of the controlling and safety systems were found. During this period the cause of the malfunctions was not revealed and eliminated. That made units 1 and 2 of the Kursk NPP to limit the work till 70% capacity. Life time of units 3 and 4 of Novovoronezh NPP expires in the year 2001, although expensive operations of reactor roasting to prolong its life have been performed repeatedly. In 1989 the Nuclear State Regulatory commission advised to limit the capacity of the Kola NPP to 50%-70%, to make the units finish their life time gradually. But the management of the Nuclear State Regulatory and Rosenergoatom concern did not pay attention to the commission's report. Specialists from Sweden and Finland claim that Kola NPP's VVER-440 reactors are ones of the most dangerous in Russia, according to the commission's report and, Kuznetsov says.

The last operating reactor of Chernobyl NPP was shut down in December. Chernobyl NPP used RMBK reactors, which are still in operation in Russia: at Kursk, Smolensk and Leningrad NPPs. But in spite of poor safety of the reactors of this type, Minatom keeps building the RMBK units, e.g. at Kursk NPP, which will be put in operation after the Rostov NPP's launch.

Design defects of the RMBK-1000 are found in the forced multi-circulation metal circuit. Every planned repair reveals up to 300 defects in the reactor water tubings. Such defects have been found almost at all the NPPs, using such reactors.

Kuznetsov claims, that after the change of the standards, no NPP in Russia has a completed security blanket today.

Spent fuel import and nuclear safety

Vladimir Kuznetsov criticised parliament hearings on the spent nuclear fuel imports, held on April, 9th. He said, that having been working as an expert in all the three State Dumas, he has "never seen so disorganised hearings". Kuznetsov also expressed regret that head of the Nuclear State Regulatory Yury Vishnevsky, who participated in the hearings, did not clear out an issue of nuclear radiation safety of the Russian plants.

Kuznetsov quoted data on citizen nuclear energy objects, present in Russia on April, 1st 2001. There are 213 nuclear plants; 1,226 transporting containers; 454 storage for nuclear substances and radioactive waste; 16,675 radiation sources and 1,508 storage for radioactive substances and waste in industry. 4 m people live in about 1,300 settlements, situated in the 13-km areas of the NPPs and close to nuclear fuel plants.

Spent fuel import, reprocessing and storage facilities

Today Russian nuclear plants are waiting for spent nuclear fuel imports for reprocessing after the "nuclear" bills are passed. Minatom claims, the plants' activities are absolutely safe. According to Kuznetsov's information, 40 accidents took place during last 10 years, 3 of them in the year 2000 (2 failures at the Mayak plant, and 1 at Tomsk-7 industrial complex). 80 % of the accidents was followed by radioactive substance release. Russia is still pumping low- and medium-level radioactive waste in deep geological strata, e.g. in Dimitrovgrad, Chelyabinsk-65 and Tomsk-7. Chelyabinsk-65 keeps on dumping medium-level waste into open reservoirs. Low-level waste is also dumped into the Karachay lake.

Today in Russia there is no universal technology for spent fuel reprocessing. According to a version, there was a serious failure at Siberian chemical plant in Tomsk-7 with a radioactive waste release on April, 6th 1993. The accident was caused by French spent nuclear fuel reprocessing under the contract with Cogema, because isotopic composition of the fuel fell beyond the plant's flow sheet, designed for Russian fuel.

Russian plants reprocess mostly fuel from VVER-440 reactors. Fuel from RMBK-1000 and VVER-1000 reactors may not be reprocessed, and therefore it is stored in Krasnoyarsk-26. Total volume of the VVER fuel is equal to 2,500 tonn, and by the year 2025 it will reach the quantity of 8,400 ton. Total waste from the RMBK-reactors was equal to 10,000 ton in 2000, and by the year 2025 it will be 22,000 tonn. NPPs' storage facilities for spent fuel of RMBK reactors are almost filled up, and Minatom is going to perform fuel densification. But it is not the solution, Kuznetsov said.

NPPs' storage facilities for liquid radioactive waste are filled up for 90%. The storage of the Kalinin NPP is already filled up, says Kuznetsov, referring to the Nuclear State Regulatory documents, and the data niggardly and occasionally published by Minatom.

Total activity of the waste, produced by the nuclear plants, amounts to 1.8 bln Ci. Total capacity of the liquid radioactive waste exceeds 440 mln cubic meters.

In case the "nuclear" bills are passed, Russia will have to import about 2,000 ton of spent fuel annually during 10 years. The storage of Krasnoyarsk-26 will be filled up for 3,000 ton by the end of 2001, which is exactly a half of its project capacity. If Russia will be importing spent fuel, all the Russian storages will be filled in a year and a half. Referring to the former nuclear minister Evgeny Adamov, Kuznetsov said that in the last year, RT-1 Mayak plant in Ozersk, Chelyabinsk region, has reprocessed only 126 ton of spent fuel from 11 shipments of the Pacific and Northern Fleets, and from the Murmansk Shipping Company. In case the fuel will is imported, there will be no capacity for reprocessing of spent fuel of the Russian fleet. Mayak plant can reprocess only 440 ton of the spent fuel per year, but even this figure is overestimated because of the worn out equipment.

Today there is no program for spent fuel imports, where separate procedures would be defined step by step. One can assume, that after fuel is imported, Minatom will demand additional funds, e.g. to resume building of a reprocessing plant in Krasnoyarsk-26, suspended 10 years ago. In Kuznetsov's opinion, the aim of the Minatom's activity is creation and modernisation of nuclear weapon. Practically 80% of the extra-price of spent fuel cost supply military technologies. Kuznetsov drew attention to the MPs' unanimity supporting the "nuclear" bills, at the first reading, while previous State Dumas could not even approach this.

Plutonium treatment and MOX-fuel NPPs

From the spent fuel Minatom is going to extract reactor plutonium, which can be converted into weapon grade Plutonium. Reactor- and weapon-grade Plutonium can be converted into so-called MOX-fuel. Today the heads of Minatom want to change all Russian nuclear energy into BREST-reactors, working on the MOX. But no energy system in the world works on plutonium. The only exception is BM-600 reactor at Beloyarsk NPP. Cost of a kilowatt-hour, produced at this reactor, is 40% higher than one, produced at VVER reactors. In Kuznetsov's opinion, any plans to use Plutonium in reactors, including reactors not designed to that, will not worth funds invested.

Kuznetsov criticised Nuclear Energy Development program of ex-minister Adamov. The programme required 30 units of NPPs, most of them are BREST-300 reactors with lead-bismuth coolant, to be put in operation. The thesis of the BREST safety was doubted by academician Nikolay Ponomarev-Stepnoy in the "Yaderniy kontrol" (Nuclear control) magazine.

Storage of Plutonium may also become a matter of difficulty. There is from 4 to 10 kilos of reactor grade plutonium in every ton of spent nuclear fuel. Storage of 1 gram of plutonium costs $5-6. Russia is storing about 180 t of Plutonium, and after the spent fuel imports this number may reach 400 ton. Storage of the amount of plutonium extracted would require $2.5 bln annually.
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C. Russia-Iran Relations

Foreign Spies Target Russian Defense Sector --FSB
April 26, 2001
(for personal use only)

Russia's increasingly assertive domestic security agency said on Thursday that foreign spies were showing more interest in Moscow's defense secrets, notably anti-missile defense capabilities.

Interfax news agency quoted FSB spokesman Alexander Zdanovich as saying Russia's commercial ties with Iran were also interesting foreign agents.

Although no state was mentioned by name, the clear inference was that Western intelligence was at work.

Last year, the FSB arrested U.S. businessman Edmond Pope for seeking to buy designs of Russia's advanced "Shkval" torpedo. Convicted last December and jailed for 20 years, he was freed a week later after a pardon by President Vladimir Putin.

Sergei Balashov, head of the FSB investigations department, said the activities of Pope and a Russian academic from whom he allegedly purchased the designs had cost the navy 700 million roubles (around $24 million).

Moscow would soon launch a damages case in a Russian court to recoup the loss, he said.

Zdanovich said foreign spies were most interested in the "steps Russia could take in the event that the United States develops a national anti-missile defense system.

"We will continue fiercely to protect our secrets," the ranking secret service general said.

Moscow vehemently opposes U.S. plans to erect a $60 billion rocket shield, which it says will spark a new arms race, but also boasts that it has the technology to defeat it.

Russia-Iran Link

Zdanovich said Russian-Iranian military cooperation was another area of foreign interest, and accused Moscow's rivals of wanting "to keep Russia out of the international arms market."

The United States has expressed concern about Russia's construction of an atomic power plant in Iran. It has also been dismayed at Moscow's plans to renew conventional arms sales to the Islamic republic, viewed by Washington as a "rogue state."

Moscow has accused the West of double standards, saying that some NATO states have sold weapons to Tehran.

Over the past year the FSB, once headed by Putin, has been at the forefront of a spate of espionage cases.

On Monday, ex-intelligence officer Valery Ojamae was jailed for seven years after a Moscow court convicted him of spying for Britain and Estonia.

Earlier this month, the FSB said it had charged scientist Valentin Danilov with trying to sell space research secrets to China. He denies the accusations.

Another academic, Igor Sutyagin, is on trial for allegedly passing secrets about Russian submarines to the United States and Britain. The arms expert at Moscow's respected USA-Canada Institute denies the charges.

American student John Tobin, on trial in the Russian city of Voronezh on drug charges, has also been accused by the FSB of being a trainee secret agent, although the agency said it had no plans to press espionage charges against him.
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D. Russia - North Korea Relations

Update 1-N.Korean Defence Minister Arrives in Moscow
April 26, 2001
(for personal use only)

North Korean Defence Minister Kim Il-chol arrived in the Russian capital on Thursday for talks on defence cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow, Itar-Tass news agency quoted the North Korean embassy as saying.

Kim was expected to meet Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov during a three-day-long working visit, agencies reported earlier this week.

Neither Russian nor North Korean officials were able available to confirm Kim's schedule.

RIA news agency quoted a Russian Defence Ministry official as saying that Kim and Ivanov would sign two inter-government agreements on military cooperation. It did not give any details.

Russian media have said Moscow was eyeing increased arms sales to North Korea, which uses ageing Soviet equipment. A government source told Reuters that closer military ties could be a key feature of future bilateral relations.

Russia has been trying to boost its profile in Korean diplomacy under President Vladimir Putin, acting as a mediator between its former Communist ally in the North and its new trading partner in the South.

But the new U.S. administration of President George W. Bush is wary of Russian plans to play a greater role in easing tensions on the divided peninsular. Some Russian commentators have suggested this may be entirely deliberate on Moscow's part.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited North Korea in February and the country's sometimes reclusive leader Kim Jongi-il is expected to travel to Russia this year but no date for the visit has been announced.
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North Korea Military Delegation Visits Russia
April 26, 2001
(for personal use only)

North Korea dispatched a high-level military delegation to Russia on Thursday, Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.

The delegation was headed by Kim Il Chol, vice-chairman of the North's National Defence Commission and Minister of the People's Armed Forces.

KCNA gave no details about the trip but a report by Russia's Interfax said on Tuesday it was to be a three-day visit, citing unnamed sources.

KCNA noted the delegation was seen off by high-ranking officials including the North's vice-minister of foreign affairs, Pak Kil Yon, and Russia'a ambassador to the North, Valery Denisov.

The North's official media have stepped up anti-U.S. rhetoric since U.S. President George W Bush took office and expressed concerns about dialogue with the North.

Bush's open doubts about the accountability of North Korea in negotiating have drawn an angry response from the North.

That anger was stoked further this month by a joint military exercise staged by South Korea and the United States.

North Korea said the annual exercise was an affront to last June's joint declaration by the two Koreas to work on ending their half century of bitter confrontation.

The exercise involved South Korean forces, U.S. troops stationed in the South, and U.S. personnel brought in from overseas.

There are 37,000 U.S. troops stationed in the South, which remains technically at war with North Korea under a 1953 armed truce still in effect.
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E. Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation Program

United States Department of Defense
April 25, 2001

The principals of the trilateral Norwegian-Russian-United States Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation (AMEC) program will meet on April 26-27, 2001, in Norfolk, Va. A media availability to discuss the AMEC program is scheduled from 10-10:30 a.m. EDT in Perry Hall, Bldg 851, at the Norfolk Naval Base. Hosting the meeting is Rear Adm. Larry C. Baucom, director of the Navy's Environmental Protection, Safety and Occupational Health Division.

Established in 1995, AMEC's purpose is to reduce the environmental impact of military operations in the Arctic. AMEC projects cover radiological and non-radiological waste issues. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency provide technical management and support for AMEC projects.

Expected to attend are Lt. Gen. Boris Nikolaevich Alekseyev, chief of environmental security of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Rear Adm. Ole-Gerhard Ron, commander of Naval Forces North Norway.

One of AMEC's major, long-term projects is the safe transport and storage of spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned Russian strategic nuclear submarines. Items also to be discussed include project close-out procedures, the status of ongoing projects, the workability of proposed new projects, plans for the fourth annual Technical Guidance Group meeting, information exchange annex to the Program Management Manual, and the status of AMEC legal discussions.

Projects that will be fully completed upon the issue of a closeout report are the development and manufacture of a prototype transportable interim storage container for spent naval nuclear fuel; demonstration of sealant technology for radiological waste storage buildings in Arctic environments; and personnel radiation monitoring and safety methods.

During a visit to the naval station's waterfront, the AMEC principals are scheduled to examine pollution prevention equipment, such as solid waste processing equipment, plastic waste processors, pulpers and shredders, aboard USS Barry (DDG 53). They also will visit shore installations in the Norfolk area where they will be briefed on various environmental programs being carrier out there.

For more information contact Easter Thompson at (703) 604-5426.
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F. NATO - Russian Relations

Statement on Meeting of NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council
The Washington File for Europe, Russia, and the New Independent States
April 26, 2001

Following is the text of a press release on the April 26 meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council at Ambassadorial Level, where discussions focused on the Balkans, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, European nonategic missile defense, retraining of retired military personnel, and a recent NATO/Russia experts meeting on combating international terrorism:


Press Statement

Meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council at Ambassadorial Level

The NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC) at Ambassadorial level met on Thursday, 26 April 2001.

Following a briefing on the meeting of Military Representatives under the auspices of the PJC held on 5 April 2001, Ambassadors discussed the evolving situation in the Balkans and exchanged views on NATO-Russia cooperation in the international security presence in Kosovo (KFOR).

Ambassadors continued their consultations on the issue of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means. They discussed results of the expert group meeting held in Moscow on 23 April. In this context, the Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation, Marshall I. Sergeyev, explained the Russian proposal on European nonategic missile defence. Ambassadors held an initial exchange of views on this matter.

NATO and Russia addressed issues related to the retraining of retired military personnel and expressed their intention to develop practical co-operation in this area.

Ambassadors also reviewed the result of a recent NATO/Russia experts meeting on combating international terrorism.

The PJC on Ambassadorial level will meet again on 23 May 2001.
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