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Nuclear News - 06/01/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, June 1, 2001
Compiled by Greg Marsh and Kelly Turner


A. Nuclear Cities
    1. A City Struggles to Find Formula for Success, Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor (05/29/01)
    2. The Tomsk Business Partnership, Alan Moseley, Eurasia Foundation (5/01)
B. Nuclear Waste
    1. Norwegian Experts Enter Nuclear Waste Site, Vladislav Nikiforov, Bellona Foundation (05/29/01)
C. International Nuclear Cooperation
    1. EU Invested $110 Million in Nuclear Safety in Ukraine in Past 10 Years, Bellona Foundation (05/31/01)
    2. A Facility for Solid Radwaste Reprocessing to Be Built in Chernobyl, Bellona Foundation (05/28/2001)
    3. European Atomic Energy Community to Cooperate with Russia, Bellona Foundation (05/24/01)
D. Russia - NATO Relations
    1. Russia, NATO Reaffirm Commitment to Cooperation in Budapest, ITAR-TASS (05/30/01)
E. U.S. Nuclear Stockpile
    1. N-Weapons Need Costly Overhaul, Jonathan S. Landay, Salt Lake Tribune (Knight Ridder News Service) (06/01/01)
F. U.S. - Russian Relations
    1. Russia Hails Missile Elimination, Associated Press (06/01/01)
    2. Russia Seeks to Prevent Espionage, Anna Dolgov, Associated Press (06/01/01)
G. Plutonium Disposition
    1. Greenpeace Urges Canada to Stay Out of Russian Plutonium Disposal Plan, Dennis Bueckert, Montreal Gazette (05/30/01)
H. Nuclear Smuggling
    1. Number of Uncovered Rad Source Smuggling Attempts Increased Three Times, Bellona Foundation (05/26/01)

A. Nuclear Cities

1.
A City Struggles to Find Formula for Success
Fred Weir
The Christian Science Monitor
May 29, 2001
(for personal use only)


Once-secret Russian research hive opens for business, offering commercial spinoffs.

OBNINSK, RUSSIA

Alexander Sorokin is a physicist by training. But these days, he is something of an alchemist as well, determined to turn leftover Soviet military know-how into capitalist gold.

A physicist who spent his life working on secret nuclear programs in the formerly closed "atomic city" of Obninsk, Mr. Sorokin is deputy head of the local Science Council, dedicated to making commercially viable entities of the city's 12 impoverished state-run institutes, which still employ thousands of atomic specialists and engineers.

"We once designed nuclear reactors for submarines and spaceships here in Obninsk," he says. "I think we could figure out how to make a better mousetrap, too."

The Obninsk Science Council currently has a portfolio of 300 ideas drawn from the city's formerly secret research projects, some of which could revolutionize the way things are done if implemented in the civilian economy, Sorokin says.

Among these are aerosol filters used in atomic-power plants, now being tried experimentally in processing dairy products. One Obninsk institute is producing a popular brand of iodized bread, and preparing to market a line of biologically active mineral food supplements said to be more digestible than current types. Also in the works are new industrial methods for handling radioisotopes and heavy metals, he says.

More than Russia's economic fate may ride on the success of efforts to turn the heavily militarized former Soviet scientific complex to civilian pursuits.

Obninsk, 100 kilometers south of Moscow, is one of a score of closed towns built by the USSR, often in remote regions, which still house tens of thousands of nuclear-bomb and missile experts.

Under the Soviet regime, they led a privileged life, but with the 1991 collapse of Communism, government support evaporated.

A recent survey by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace found many of those communities in an advanced state of social and economic collapse. Significant numbers of bomb and missile experts expressed a desire to emigrate, and some said they would work for anyone who paid them.

"You can't attach security guards to all the Russian scientists who possess dangerous knowledge and therefore pose a risk of nuclear proliferation," says Vladimir Orlov, an atomic physicist and director of the independent Pir Center in Moscow, a think tank on nuclear-security issues. "Ultimately we must find new employment that rewards them with appropriate salaries and status. We're still a long way from that."

At least one nuclear-bomb expert recruited from a former Soviet Central Asian republic is known to be working for international terrorist Osama bin Laden, Mr. Orlov says, citing sources in the Kremlin's Security Council.

Seven years ago, the Federal Security Service, the former KGB, stopped a planeload of Russian atomic scientists just as they were departing for North Korea. "Things are under better control now, because our current leadership understands how crucial this problem is," Orlov says.

Many Russian security experts lament the apparent determination of the Bush administration to cancel subsidies Washington has been paying to Russian military scientists to tide them over the financial crisis and keep them from leaving their posts.

";Obninsk has been a minor recipient of American aid, yet it has made a real difference to some scientists here," says Sorokin. "Some of our sister cities are still under a closed regime and in far more difficult straits than we, and are much more dependent on external aid. I don't know what they'll do if it's cut off."

In contrast to most of its sister communities, the efforts of scientists in Obninsk were directed mainly toward the Soviet Union's "peaceful" nuclear program. The world's first civilian atomic power reactor went online here in 1946. Obninsk experts have been heavily involved in studying and cleaning up the effects of the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown and other Soviet-era nuclear disasters.

"It was the good fortune of Obninsk to be given nonmilitary tasks," says Yelena Kolotikina, the city council's chief spokeswoman. "In Soviet times it meant lower prestige, but it is the main reason we are open to the world today while most of those military towns are still tightly closed."

About half of Obninsk's specialists have left their scientific jobs over the past decade. The average salary for those remaining is just 1,800 rubles (about $60) per month.

"Young people are not coming into physics any more," says Alexander Savelyev, vice president of the independent National Security and Strategic Research Institute in Moscow. "Russian science is falling behind and could die within a generation. If things don't soon change, we may not even have enough specialists to maintain the nuclear infrastructure that we inherited from the Soviet Union."
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2.
The Tomsk Business Partnership
Alan Moseley
Eurasia Foundation:
May 2001
(for personal use only)


A Tomsk organization helps local entrepreneurs secure investment capital.

In an unused assembly plant on the outskirts of the Siberian city of Tomsk, Dmitry Tuzovsky is making plans." On this side we'll set up all the equipment for making paint and varnish," he explains confidently, pointing to the barren wall inside a cold and half-empty warehouse. "Everything will be up and running by the end of the year." Looking around the warehouse-formerly part of a manufacturing center for instruments used in the Soviet Union's space program-it would be easy to take Dmitry's plans for ambitious daydreams.

In Tomsk, however, people who know the 29-year-old businessman know that his plans have a way of becoming reality: on the other side of the warehouse sits a cluster of shiny steel tanks sprouting pipes and gauges, together with a long row of fifty-gallon metal drums. The drums will soon be filled with drying oil for staining and protecting wood and distributed to vendors throughout the vast area surrounding Tomsk. The fifteen employees at Dmitry's company, Oxidant, currently process and sell nearly $50,000 in paint and varnish every month. For a company that started a year and a half ago as nothing more than an idea, Oxidant is doing impressively well. As Dmitry is quick to acknowledge, none of it would have been possible were it not for the help of the Tomsk Business Partnership and its grant from the Eurasia Foundation.

The Tomsk Business Partnership is an unusual organization. In an era when many efforts to support entrepreneurship and small business come as top-down initiatives from the government or as projects organized and sponsored by foreign aid organizations, the Tomsk Partnership was founded at the grassroots level by fifteen of Tomsk's more successful entrepreneurs. As Olga Koneva, the partnership's deputy director, explains, "The founders of the Tomsk Partnership were entrepreneurs who started their businesses at the very beginning of perestroika. They've gone through all the different challenges and crises, and today they're well established. They have good working relationships with our local government and financial institutions. They understand that there are certain problems that business people need to solve together, and that they have to share their experience with those who are just beginning."

Since it was founded in the spring of 1999, the partnership has seen its list of members grow from its original fifteen to more than eighty. One reason for such rapid growth is that the Tomsk Partnership offers local entrepreneurs an invaluable service: its staff of experts provide training and consulting services on all aspects of running a small business-from legal issues and tax regulations to financial analysis and business plans. In Russia, where the vast majority of business people have no formal business education and often very little business experience, such help is badly needed. Perhaps more important than the problem of education, however, is the lack of investment in good business ideas. Realizing this, the partnership's directors applied to the Eurasia Foundation in August 1999 to support a new project.

The Tomsk Partnership had a simple goal for its project: to increase access to investment capital for small and start-up businesses in Tomsk. They decided to take a two-pronged approach to the problem: the partnership's experts helped entrepreneurs develop strong business plans, while its members combined their financial resources to set up a loan guarantee fund, providing security to lenders who might be wary of working with entrepreneurs lacking a credit history. A $35,000 grant from the Eurasia Foundation made it possible for the Tomsk Partnership to hold more than 1,440 hours of free individual consulting sessions, plus a series of seminars teaching more than 130 local businessmen the fundamentals of writing and implementing effective business plans. The partnership then chose sixteen promising investment projects and helped them receive loans worth more than $250,000 from local commercial banks and regional funds for small business support. Dmitry Tuzovsky's company, Oxidant (which received a start-up loan of $14,000, partly guaranteed by the partnership), is indicative of the success these projects have had: collectively, they have created more than 158 new jobs and, on average, every $3,700 of investment has resulted in almost $12,000 in increased sales.

Another firm that benefited from working closely with the Tomsk Partnership's consultants in developing a business plan was Tomsk Fish, which ultimately received a bank loan of over $11,000 (also partly guaranteed by the partnership's fund). To stay competitive in the local market for fish, Oleg Fillimonov, the firm's director, saw that his company desperately needed to vary its product line. Oleg, like many of the partnership's clients, had never turned to banks as a source of credit. As Ekaterina Kalmikov, one of the partnership's consultants, explains, "A lot of Russian business people have the idea that it's bad to be in debt to anyone. Part of what we have to teach them is that it's standard business practice to work with banks and take out loans to develop their companies. "With the new, more modern equipment that Tomsk Fish was able to buy, the company has been able to increase the range of its products from six to twenty-three, and it has tripled its sales volume. No less important for the firm's future growth, Ekaterina points out, is that it now has the beginnings of a good credit history. "The next time Oleg needs capital to expand his business, the process will be much easier-now the banks can look at the record to see that Tomsk Fish is a good prospective client."

After the Tomsk Partnership got its small-credit program off to a start with the help of the Eurasia Foundation grant, its loan guarantee fund and consulting services for writing business plans have become standard features of the services it offers clients. Elena Ulyanova, director of the video production firm Alica TV, recently turned to the partnership for help in realizing one of her dreams: to expand her company to create a new, independent TV channel in Tomsk. Elena and her financial manager worked intensively with the partnership's consultants to develop a business plan, and Alica TV ultimately received a $92,000 bank loan to purchase new equipment and set up a studio. The company's staff has grown from twelve employees to forty, and they soon plan to move their "Family TV" channel to a new frequency that will enable them to reach the entire Tomsk broadcasting area. Elena adds that, as the director of an aspiring independent TV channel, she had to overcome a certain prejudice held by many creditors. "A lot of people in Russia think that a television company can't be self-supporting-that it can only exist on state funds." With healthy advertising sales and a strong business plan, Alica TV is showing viewers in Tomsk that local television can be a profitable business, too.

The partnership's clients and members represent the entire spectrum of small business life in Tomsk, from industrial manufacturers to street cafes. Despite their differences, they all come to the Tomsk Partnership with the same hope: that they can find help to make their ideas and plans reality. With business training and access to capital, many are doing just that-and building a healthy private sector in the process. The staff of the Tomsk Partnership realize what is at stake in their work. "Everyone can see that the future lies in small business," says Olga Koneva, "and we have to support it."
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B. Nuclear Waste

1.
Norwegian Experts Enter Nuclear Waste Site
Vladislav Nikiforov
Bellona Foundation
May 29, 2001
(for personal use only)


First in the history secret nuclear site in Andreeva bay was opened for Western experts, after the funding had been promised.

Russia's Northern Fleet opened a secret nuclear waste dump in the Arctic to the Western officials for the first time. After Norway had promised decent investments in clean-up operation, Russians allowed access to the closed military site. If other Western countries want to make contributions, they are welcome to visit Andreyeva bay, promised Russian nuclear deputy minister, Valery Lebedev.

A Norwegian delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide was allowed into the Andreeva Bay base, where tons of highly radioactive waste and spent nuclear are stored roughly 55 kilometres from the Russian-Norwegian border.

"This really is an area we must do something about. Very large amounts of radioactive waste are stored here under very unfavourable conditions, and we have seen a facility marked by such decay that there is reason to take action as soon as possible," Eide said from Russia in an interview broadcast by the Norwegian state radio network NRK.

This year Norway plans to allocate more than $1 million to solve nuclear waste problems in Andreeva bay, more money to come later, Norwegian daily Aftenposten reports. Total Norwegian investment into Russian nuclear safety equals nearly $15 million by this year.

The work will be done by the Russian civilian company SevRAO under the management of the Russian Ministry for Nuclear Energy (Minatom). The nuclear waste site will be handed over from the Northern Fleet to the authority of Minatom, represented by SevRAO.

By the end of 2000, fuel from 118 reactor cores were being stored at onshore bases and nuclear service ships of the Northern Fleet, and a further 130 reactor cores still remained in the retired submarines. A total of 248 reactor cores are stored at the Northern Fleet, corresponding to 99 tons of spent nuclear fuel with radioactivity of 74.5 million Ci.

The largest storage for spent nuclear fuel is located in Andreeva Bay, which is situated on the north-western side of the Kola Peninsula.

21,640 spent nuclear fuel assemblies (93 reactor cores) containing 35 tons of fuel materials are stored in Andreeva Bay with a total radioactivity of 26,8 million Ci. Spent nuclear fuel assemblies are stored in three dry concrete tanks and in containers placed in the open on a storage pad. Bellona Foundation researchers estimate that at least 40-50% of total number of assemblies are is damaged. There is also a number of storage sites for solid and liquid radioactive waste.

The rain and snow wash radioactivity out from spent fuel storage tanks into the Litsa Fjord. To prevent that one of the projects Norwegian Foreign Ministry intends to fund is building a roof over the tanks.

The whole area in Andreeva Bay is radioactively contaminated and in the long-term perspective the remediation of the whole site is required. The most modest estimates say that as much as $10 million must be cashed in to secure the site and recover the area. The opening up of the site for the Western contributors may let the funding coming in and boost the international cooperation to clean up the most nightmarish nuclear storage site of the Northern Fleet.
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C. International Nuclear Cooperation

1.
EU Invested $110 Million in Nuclear Safety in Ukraine in Past 10 Years
Bellona Foundation
May 31, 2001
(for personal use only)


European Union TACIS program invested about $110 million in nuclear safety in Ukraine in 10 years, except for Chernobyl and nuclear regulatory programs, UNIAN reports. Programs connected with Chernobyl closure received more than $200 million. Ukraine was also supplied with equipment for the sum of $24.5 million. Most of the programs are carried out at Rivno NPP in the western part of Ukraine, nearest to EU. A new project for safety upgrade at South-Ukraine NPP and Rivno NPP is planned for a total cost of $10 million. European Union plans to continue TACIS programs in former Soviet republics for the sum of $4 billion until 2006. Aid to Ukraine will be primarily directed to upgrade nuclear safety, support nuclear regulatory, nuclear fuel management as well as 3-year operational safety programs at Ukrainian NPPs.
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2.
A Facility for Solid Radwaste Reprocessing to Be Built in Chernobyl
Bellona Foundation
May 28, 2001
(for personal use only)


An industrial complex for solid radioactive waste storage and reprocessing will be built at the territory of the closed Chernobyl NPP, UNIAN reports. Life time for the complex is estimated at 30 years. NUKEM (Germany) got the contract. Their partners are BNFL (UK) and ANTIK (Spain). The basic works will start in March, 2002. Total cost is exceeding 30mln euro, the funds have been allocated by the European Commission under the TACIS-program. Chernobyl NPP is already building three facilities at its territory: a spent nuclear fuel storage, a heating boiler-house, and a plant for liquid spent radioactive fuel reprocessing. All the projects, designed by Aea Technology (UK), have been submitted for the European Commission's approval.
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3.
European Atomic Energy Community to Cooperate with Russia
Bellona Foundation
May 24, 2001
(for personal use only)


Russia and European Atomic Energy Community will cooperate in the field of nuclear safety, RIA Novosti reported. The head of Russian government Mikhail Kasyanov signed the agreement on cooperation with European Atomic Energy Community. The agreement stipulates the legal base for mutually co-operation in the field of nuclear safety, including reactor safety research, radiation protection, radioactive waste management, decommissioning of nuclear reactors as well as accountability of nuclear materials. The parties will create a co-ordination committee consisting of equal quantity of representatives from each side. The Russian President will later have to sign a decree approving the agreement.
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D. Russia - NATO Relations

1.
Russia, NATO Reaffirm Commitment to Cooperation in Budapest
ITAR-TASS
May 30, 2001
(for personal use only)


Russia and NATO reaffirmed commitment to further military co-operation at a session of the joint permanent council at a level of foreign ministers on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement circulated on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the sides welcomed the opening of a NATO information office in the Russian capital last February, which is to promote awareness of progress in the bilateral ties, and the current talks on setting up the alliance's military communication mission in Moscow.

The ministers highlighted the progress achieved since they met last December, considered the council's agenda for this year, and confirmed commitment to promoting security and stability in Europe and the North Atlantic region in line with the Russia-NATO Founding Act.

The session also focused on the Balkans developments and stressed the value of an intensive dialogue and co-operation in achieving mutual understanding, the statement said.

The sides appreciated a dialogue pursued within the council over the past year on nonategic anti-missile defence proposed by Russia, NATO-drafted measures to promote trust and confidence in nuclear matters, the issues of armaments control, combatting terrorism, non-proliferation, retired servicemen retraining, and joint sea rescue operations.

Next NATO-Russian meeting is to be held on December 6 this year in Brussels.
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E. U.S. Nuclear Stockpile

1.
N-Weapons Need Costly Overhaul
Jonathan S. Landay
Salt Lake Tribune (Knight Ridder News Service)
June 1, 2001
(for personal use only)


WASHINGTON -- Although President Bush is promising deep cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, his administration also is considering a six-year plan that could exceed $2 billion to renovate and improve the nation's aging nuclear weapons laboratories, assembly plants and testing facilities. Officials who manage the Department of Energy's Stockpile Stewardship Program, which maintains the country's estimated 10,500 nuclear weapons, say they need the money to fix crumbling buildings, install modern equipment and attract a new generation of nuclear scientists. Critics oppose the new spending, charging that the program is bloated by mismanagement and cost overruns and is really intended to design new nuclear weapons. DOE and laboratory officials deny those allegations.

Stockpile Stewardship uses computer simulation and other experimental methods to monitor nuclear weapons to make sure they remain safe and will still work as designed as they get older. Warheads periodically are taken apart and checked for corrosion and other problems, and defective parts are replaced. The average U.S. nuclear warhead is about 18 years old. The oldest is 30.The program is used today instead of underground nuclear testing. The United States declared a moratorium on nuclear test explosions in 1992.The DOE has certified every year since that the nuclear arsenal is reliable, but its managers say that unless they get more money for renovations, they may not be able to continue certifying the arsenal without resuming underground tests.

DOE officials who oversee Stockpile Stewardship refused to reveal the overall cost of their six-year plan to renovate the nuclear weapons complex, but they said it would cost $300 million the first year and $500 million a year for the last several years. In congressional testimony and in interviews with Knight Ridder, DOE and laboratory officials said the stockpile program is threatened by mounting problems at three national laboratories, Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico, and Lawrence Livermore in California. They also said the nation's underground nuclear-test site in Nevada and the four plants where nuclear warheads are assembled and serviced or components are made -- Pantex near Amarillo, Texas; the Savannah River Site near Augusta, Ga.; the Kansas City Plant in Kansas City, Mo.; and the Y-12 plant at Oak Ridge, Tenn. -- need to replace buildings, unsafe work spaces and equipment. The United States already is spending more every year on average to maintain its nuclear arsenal than it did during the Cold War -- when an average of $4 billion in 2001 dollars was spent each year -- according to a study by the Brookings Institution, an independent Washington think tank.
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F. U.S. - Russian Relations

1.
Russia Hails Missile Elimination
Associated Press
June 1, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW - Russia's Foreign Ministry on Friday hailed the successful elimination of nearly 2,700 Russian and American nuclear missiles and the end of 13 years of inspections under a landmark U.S.-Soviet disarmament treaty.

Then-President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty in December 1987, ordering the destruction of an entire class of missiles and an unprecedented monitoring program.

The inspection regime ended Thursday, though the treaty has unlimited duration U.S. and Russian officials carried out the final checks last month.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said Russia had dismantled 1,846 missiles around the former Soviet Union and the United States had dismantled 846, in addition to missile silos and training equipment. The rockets destroyed had ranges of 300 miles to 3,000 miles.

The ministry also used the statement to indirectly criticize U.S. plans for a missile defense system, which would require amending or scrapping the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.

"The work on the INF treaty and its successful implementation has served as unprecedented, valuable experience, which is widely used in preparing many other international agreements," the statement said.

"From the very beginning, this treaty was agreed upon and carried out as an integral, fundamental part of the 'architecture of strategic stability,' based on cornerstone agreements on nuclear arms and anti-missile defenses," it said.

Russia says the U.S. plans could prompt a new arms race. Washington insists the defense system is not aimed at Russia's large arsenal, but at threats from smaller states such as North Korea and Iran.

In West Jordan, Utah, where Russian inspectors had monitored a missile plant under the treaty to make sure banned weapons weren't built, Russian dignitaries presented books and flowers Thursday to mark their departure.
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2.
Russia Seeks to Prevent Espionage
Anna Dolgov
Associated Press
June 1, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW - In an eery revival of Iron Curtain practices, the Russian Academy of Sciences has ordered "constant control" over scientists' cooperation with foreigners, citing the need to prevent espionage, a lawmaker said.

The directive by the academy's presidium, or governing council, was made public by Russian parliament deputy and human rights advocate Sergei Kovalyov. It was being sent to all research institutes that are members of the academy, Kovalyov said Thursday.

The vast majority of Russia's scientific establishments are part of the Academy of Sciences system.

The directive orders the academy's "special departments" and the directors of research institutes to "carry out constant control over trips abroad by Academy of Sciences researchers who have access to state secrets," to increase control over international scientific conferences in Russia, and to "tighten control over researchers' filing of reports about their trips abroad."

The orders come amid a spate of high-profile spy cases and amid fears that Russian secret services have begun to re-establish Soviet-era restrictions on foreign contacts since President Vladimir Putin, a 16-year KGB veteran, came to power.

Russian arms control researcher Igor Sutyagin is on trial on charges of spying for the United States and physicist Valentin Danilov is accused of spying for China.

Sutyagin and his colleagues say he had no access to secrets and therefore could not be a spy. Sutyagin works at the respected Institute for USA and Canada Studies, part of the Academy of Sciences system.

"What seems dangerous to me is that this directive is quite in line with today's Kremlin policy," Kovalyov said on independent Echo of Moscow radio Thursday.

The vaguely phrased directive lists no specific measures for the tightening of control, and does not specify punishment for failure to comply.

But the orders have already prompted at least one research institute in Moscow, the Institute for General Genetics, to issue a memo to its scientists, ordering them to report to their supervisors all contacts with foreign colleagues. The memo, also made public by Kovalyov, was published by Russian news media.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko on Thursday tried to dispute Kovalyov's statements. "I respect Sergei Kovalyov, but unfortunately he sometimes uses information that is not quite reliable," Matviyenko was quoted as saying in Russian news reports. "In this case, too, his statement is groundless."

But deputy director of the Genetics Institute, Ilya Zakharov, confirmed in a telephone interview that he had issued the memo, which was read to him by an Associated Press reporter. He declined further comment, saying the document was "stolen" from the institute.

Zakharov would not say what punishment would be envisaged for researchers who fail to comply.

"I think the Academy of Sciences will tell us that," he said.
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G. Plutonium Disposition

1.
Greenpeace Urges Canada to Stay Out of Russian Plutonium Disposal Plan
Dennis Bueckert
Montreal Gazette
May 30, 2001
(for personal use only)


OTTAWA (CP) - Greenpeace is urging Canada to stay out of an international program that would help Russia dispose of plutonium from surplus nuclear warheads by converting it into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel.

The group says the $2-billion plan would increase the risk of nuclear proliferation because MOX fuel can be used to produce weapons.

The proposal, by the G-8 group of major industrialized countries, would involve the construction of a MOX plant in Russia at international expense, Greenpeace nuclear expert Tobias Munchmeyer said Tuesday.

It would be better to immobilize the plutonium in glass, a process known as vitrification, he said.

The G-8 proposal is supported by the United States, Britain, France and Japan, Munchmeyer said, but opposed by Germany. Canada and Italy have not made a decision, he added.

Michael O'Shaughnessy, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Department, confirmed the government has not taken a position on whether to support the program, but it is on the agenda of the next G-8 meeting in Genoa.

"If the government decided to support the program it would be on the condition that the program is safe, environmentally sound, and would not contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation," said O'Shauhgnessy.

"We have met with representatives of Greenpeace on several occasions, are aware of their concerns and indeed share many of them."

Donna Roach, a spokeswoman for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., said she was not aware of the G-8 proposal.

But she disputed the claim that MOX fuel can be easily converted into weapons-usable material, saying sophisticated industrial facilities would be required to convert the fuel.

However, Damon Moglan, an activist with Greenpeace U.S.A., cited a document of the International Atomic Energy Agency describing MOX as "a material that can be used for the manufacture of nuclear explosives components without transmutation or further enrichment."

Atomic Energy of Canada is currently carrying out tests to determine how well MOX fuel from Russia performs in Candu reactors.

Jo Du Fay of Greenpeace Canada said Canada has already spent $90 million on failed attempts to clean up environmental disasters or close dangerous plants.

Most of that money has wound up in the pockets of Western nuclear consultants and the Russian mafia, she charged.
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H. Nuclear Smuggling

1.
Number of Uncovered Rad Source Smuggling Attempts Increased Three Times
Bellona Foundation
May 26, 2001
(for personal use only)


Number of uncovered and prevented attempts of illegal import of radioactive sources to Russia increased thrice in 2000, comparing with 1999, "Lenta Novostei" informs, referring to the documents of a meeting of regional branches of the customs supervision for radioactive and fossil materials. More than 500 facts of illegal radioactive and ionizer imports were uncovered in 2000, which amounts to 60% of the total number of such attempts in the last 5 years. 6 criminal cases have been started. Subjects of infringements of the customs rules are as following: Uranium (19.7%), ores and concentrates (15.3%), scrap metal (12.3%), building materials (13.4%), consumer goods (13.6%), other goods and radionuclid sources (ca. 8%). During the recent years, amount of illegally imported radioactive scrap metal was very high, but now it decreases. 80% of the goods of increased ionizing radiation are transits.
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