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Nuclear News - 08/16/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, August 16, 2001
Compiled by G. J. Marsh

A. U.S. - Russia Relations
    1. What to Do with the New Russia, Henry Kissinger, Washington Post (08/14/01)
B. National Missile Defense
    1. Why Russians Fear Missile Defense, Alexander Altounian, Washington Post (08/15/01)
C. U.S. Nuclear Forces
    1. Missile Maintainers Finish Treaty Requirement Early, Melissa Phillips, Air Force News (08/13/01)
D. Nuclear Waste
    1. Kazakhstan - Ideal Conditions for Radioactive Waste Burial, Oral Karpishev, ITAR-TASS (08/15/01)
    2. Kazakh Expert Urges Nuclear Fuel Storage in Semipalatinsk, BBC Monitoring Service (08/15/01)
    3. Russian Nuclear Recycling Test Held, AP (08/14/01)
    4. Kazakh Region Head Denies Plans to Bury Nuclear Waste at Nuclear Test Range, BBC Monitoring Service (08/14/01)
    5. Russian Nuclear Waste Storage Facility in Siberia Increases Capacity, BBC Monitoring Service (08/13/01)
E. New Reports, Links of Interest
    1. New MIPT/CACEES Report: "U.S.-Russian Relations in Nuclear Arms Reductions: Current State and Prospects"
    2. Additional U.S./Russia/ABM Coverage from USIA's Washington File

A. U.S. - Russia Relations

What to Do with the New Russia
Henry Kissinger
Washington Post
August 14, 2001
(for personal use only)

In its sixth month in office, the Bush administration stands on the threshold of a new era of post-Cold War international relations. Despite occasional tactical clumsiness, it has grasped the unique opportunity that, for the first time since World War II, no major nation is in a position to challenge the United States; and, more important, that every major nation has more to gain from cooperating with the United States than from confronting it.

A good example is the American relationship with post-Communist Russia, which has the potential to become as symbolic of the new era as the opening to China was after 1972. President Vladimir Putin's unexpected agreement to discuss both offensive levels of nuclear weapons and modifications of existing missile defense arrangements shows that the first leader of a genuinely non-Communist Russia is coming to grips with the emerging international realities.

Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin had made their careers in the life-and-death struggles that led to their positions on the Politburo. They were used to the Soviet Union as a superpower equal in reach -- at least in its own perception -- to the United States. Instinctively believing that Russia's turmoil was but a brief interruption before resumption of its mission, they oscillated between posing as a superpower side by side with the American president and fitful stabs at traditional Soviet policies based on opposition to the United States in regions such as the Middle East and the Balkans.

By contrast, Putin's career was made in the bureaucracy of the KGB and later as the deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. The former position placed a premium on analysis of the international situation; the latter brought Putin face to face with the dilemmas of post-Soviet reconstruction. Like his predecessors, he wants to restore Russia's role, but unlike them he understands this is a long-term process.

In terms of Russian history, Putin is best understood as comparable to Prince Alexander Gorchakov, who conducted Russian foreign policy for 25 years after the Russian debacle in the Crimean War in 1856. Patient, conciliatory policies and avoiding crises allowed Gorchakov to restore an isolated and gravely weakened country to a leading international position.

Thus Putin, in his first policy statements as premier in 1999 and later as president in 2000, appealed to Russian pride by putting forward the restoration of Russian greatness as a national objective. But he showed his understanding of the limited means available by admitting that even a heady annual growth of 8 percent for 15 years would allow Russia to reach only the per capita income of present-day Portugal.

Putin's priorities appear to be the recovery of the Russian economy; the restoration of Russia as a great power, preferably by cooperation with the United States but, if necessary, by building countervailing power centers; combating Islamic fundamentalism; establishing a new security relationship toward Europe, especially with respect to NATO expansion to the Baltic states; and solving the missile defense issue.

These priorities explain why Putin has not pushed this agreement on missile defense to the point of confrontation. A clash with the United States would drain Russian resources and encourage a return to postwar patterns. Cooperation would symbolize a new era and perhaps bring some technological progress in shared anti-missile technology. And the price would be tolerable: The size of the Russian nuclear and missile arsenal will prevent any missile defense foreseeable for the next quarter-century to threaten Russia's ultimate retaliatory capability.

On the political plane, the challenge of Islamic fundamentalism is probably the dominant Russian concern. Russia's leaders perceive Afghanistan's Taliban and to a lesser extent Iran and Pakistan as threats to the newly independent states of Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, formerly Soviet republics. Furthermore, Moscow fears that militant ideologies could stimulate irredentism in Russia's southern Muslim provinces. America has its own concerns about the spread of fundamentalism toward Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and into the Middle East. An effort should be made to achieve concurrent or at least compatible policies with Russia on the Middle East, including Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran and, at least as far as Russia is concerned, the Balkans.

During the Cold War, both the Soviet Union and the United States were convinced that a gain in influence by either would amount to a weakening of the global position of the other. The basic strategy of each side was to reduce the influence of the other. Under post-Cold War conditions, neither side can make lasting gains at the expense of the other in the Middle East. Russia may believe it is foreclosing an American option by tolerating assistance to Iran in the nuclear and missile fields. Some American policy-makers may perceive comparable opportunities in other regions of the Middle East. But in the end, the test of either country's policy will not be whether one or the other has greater influence in Tehran but whether the Tehran regime alters its policies and conduct. Unless such a change occurs, both Russia and America are under threat.

There are, however, clear limits beyond which neither country may be able to go. America cannot, in the name of opposition to Islamic fundamentalism, acquiesce in Russia's methods for suppressing the upheavals in Chechnya. Nor can America be indifferent should Islamic fundamentalism become a pretext to force the newly independent states of Central Asia back under Russian strategic domination. The safety of Israel remains a fundamental American goal. Russia has not in the past displayed a similar concern -- though this attitude may be changing on the part of some Russian leaders who are beginning to view Israel as a strategic counterweight to Islamic fundamentalism. Finally, it is possible that the competition for access to oil and the routes for its delivery will prove a major obstacle to policy coordination. In the end, the possibilities of Russo-American cooperation regarding Islamic fundamentalism depend on the ability to carve out a passage between Cold War tendencies and reigniting a new competition for dominance.

The most immediate challenge to Russo-American relations is NATO expansion, especially to the Baltic states, which is on the agenda for 2002. The Soviet subjugation of these states in 1940 was never recognized by the United States. And surely no group of nations is more deserving of protection by the Western democracies than these small countries incapable of posing a threat to any neighbor.

At the same time, for Russia, the advance of NATO to within 40 miles of St. Petersburg, into countries considered by it until the last decade as part of the Soviet Union, is bound to be disquieting no matter what reassurances are given. Baltic membership in NATO would produce a strong Russian reaction, if only to maintain the Putin government's domestic standing. On the other hand, it is morally and politically impossible to ignore or postpone the appeals of the Baltic democracies -- especially in view of the support given to their entry into NATO by President Bush in his recent Warsaw speech. Three options present themselves:

(1) To face down Russia by admitting all the Baltic states with some security assurances such as agreeing not to station NATO forces on Baltic territory (selective membership for some but not all Baltic states would solve nothing; it raises all of the psychological and political problems and creates a festering sore).

(2) If the European Union were serious about strengthening its defenses and if it were prepared to assign a meaningful mission to the projected European force, a solution might be accelerated membership of the Baltic states in the European Union, coupled with a security guarantee by both the European Union and the United States but without the formal machinery of the NATO military structure.

(3) Treating eligibility for NATO not so much as a security issue as a recognition of political and economic evolution. On this basis, any country meeting stated criteria could be declared eligible, including Russia some years after the Baltics, when its domestic evolution has progressed further. This has been hinted at by Putin and urged explicitly by various of his advisers.

It is a seductive proposition, but before embarking on this road, careful thought must be given to its implications.

Russian membership in NATO would end the guarantee against Russian intervention most desired by countries formerly under Soviet occupation, because NATO provides no guarantee against attacks from other members of the alliance. Indeed, it would put an end to NATO as heretofore conceived. For an alliance protects a specific territory; once Russia joins, the alliance will be either a general collective security system or an alliance of North Atlantic nations against China -- a step with grave long-range implications.

It is highly desirable for Russia's relations with NATO to improve to a point that the question of security disappears -- much as happened between Germany and France after World War II. But to formalize such an outcome to facilitate Baltic membership in NATO is both premature and ironic.

Russia should be welcomed immediately into a North Atlantic political system, but membership in the military arrangements should be deferred. This poses the following challenges:

  • Russo-American relations need to be lifted from the psychological to the political level; they cannot be made to depend on the personal relations of leaders. This requires concreteness of objective and substance. With respect to missile defense, it is unlikely that Russia will give us carte blanche, as President Putin has made clear in his conversations with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; discussions will have to revolve around some specific scheme or schemes; some form of understanding that has some binding quality has to evolve -- though I agree with the administration that the upcoming discussion should not give Russia a veto and that some time limit must be established.
  • In the political field, the necessities of the present must be related to hopes for the future. This applies especially to America's NATO relationship, which is our only institutional link to Europe. But it applies as well to America's relations with China, Japan and Israel.
  • By the same token, Russia will seek to maintain its influence in regions of geopolitical and historical importance to the Russian state and as a hedge should the effort to create a new basis for Russo-American relations flounder -- as is seen in its recent friendship treaties with China and North Korea.
  • All this imposes a new need for imagination in American foreign policy. With a wise foreign policy, America for the foreseeable future should be in a position to create incentives that cause both Russia and China to stand to gain more from cooperative relations with the United States than from confrontation with it.
  • The frozen relationships of the Cold War no longer fit a world in which there are no principal adversaries and in which the very distinction between friends and adversaries is in transition in many regions. In such circumstances, the United States needs to design a diplomacy that prevents threats to fundamental American interests and values without designating a specific adversary in advance, and above all by a policy based on the widest possible international consensus on positive goals.
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B. National Missile Defense

Why Russians Fear Missile Defense
Alexander Altounian
Washington Post
August 15, 2001
(for personal use only)

Why is Russia so afraid of national missile defense? At the meeting in Slovenia this past spring between presidents Bush and Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader made it clear he still regards missile defense as a "threat" to Russia.

After the American delegation returned to Washington, Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, repeated that the United States would proceed with missile defense with or without Russia. The next day Putin told American correspondents that in that case, Russia would eventually upgrade its strategic nuclear arsenal by "mounting multiple warheads on our missiles" to ensure that it would be able to overwhelm such a shield. Just this week, Putin and other Russian officials told the visiting American defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, that they were not interested in his proposals for a joint withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

As a Russian journalist I have a certain understanding of why my country reacts the way it does to missile defense. Russia is a nation that possesses nuclear weapons and is a member of the club of "untouchable" states. The mutual relations and behavior of members of this club are based on the presumption of mutual assured destruction in the case of a military conflict between two nuclear powers.

In recent years the United States and the international community have involved themselves in the internal conflicts of a number of different countries. But no one threatens to invade countries that possess nuclear arms -- obviously because of the possibility of nuclear retaliation.

If, however, one of the countries with nuclear weapons should succeed in constructing a reliable nuclear shield, then the traditional rule of mutual assured destruction would be broken. This country would be able to take a more aggressive stance toward the other members of the nuclear club -- which could include trying to "solve" their "internal" problems, and even using conventional weapons as an argument.

Many reasons against national missile defense have been expressed in the United States in recent months: It has a bad track record, is very costly and could destroy the ABM Treaty. Russia and others even threaten a new arms race if it is put into place. But why should Russia, which has no thought of threatening America with its nuclear arms, care if America wishes to protect itself? Has it any sound reason for being fearful? The answer is yes, it has.

In the past 10 years the United States has enjoyed the position of being the only remaining world power. During this time, the idea of an overseas invasion in order to protect human rights and defend U.S. interests has gradually become an acceptable and even commonplace understanding among the American political and security elite. Who, then, will decide whether Russian military atrocities in Chechnya threaten U.S. interests? Ultimately, it is the American president.

For Russian generals and politicians, who still fear their old enemies and imagine many plots, there are plenty of reasons to be suspicious. Like China, Russia suffers from a number of conflicts, both internal (Chechnya) and external (in the case of Georgia). This is a country that is more than ready to use its army to handle not only its own people but its neighbors as well.

International involvement in the cases of Tibet (for China) and Chechnya (for Russia) has usually been limited to political notes and "tough" questions posed by Western leaders during overseas meetings. By contrast, with interventions in places such as Serbia, Somalia or Iraq, Western-initiated military involvement has become almost routine.

Until recently, no member of the nuclear club has had to fear an external invasion aimed at stopping violations of basic human rights. Successful future deployment of a national missile defense could change this reality.

The Russian government might reasonably expect that its "national interests" in new areas of influence -- new bases in Georgia, Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union -- could be limited by the threat of NATO intervention.

Given the emergence of this new reality, it is surprising to me that the Bush team, at least on the rhetorical level, does not even try to camouflage its ambitions. Thus, for example, in February, during the annual Munich conference on Security Policy, Rumsfeld insisted that no one with peaceful intentions should fear missile defense.

These sentiments may sound peaceful to some, but to Russian generals and politicians, they are deeply disturbing. Who, they wonder, will decide whether Russia's "intention" to conquer Chechnya is "peaceful?" Who is to consider the extent of the humanitarian abuses, whether they are "severe and large-scale" or only "mild and small-scale." The American president will be the one to decide. And in the event he decides large-scale abuse has taken place, what is the next step?

On May 1 President Bush cited the war with Iraq as an argument for national missile defense: The alliance that rolled back Iraqi aggression, he said, "would have faced a very different situation had Hussein been able to blackmail [us] with nuclear weapons." That's one reason, Bush said, why the United States should build a national missile defense.

The logic of the president's argument is clear: The United States needs missile defense so it will be free to enter into a possible conflict without fear of being threatened by nuclear retaliation.

This is exactly the situation both Russia and China fear: an invasion to defend the independence of Georgia, or Taiwan, or to stop a "genocide," or whatever else the American president might take as evidence of a lack of "peaceful intentions." This is why the Russians fear missile defense.
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C. U.S. Nuclear Forces

Missile Maintainers Finish Treaty Requirement Early
Melissa Phillips
Air Force News
August 13, 2001
(for personal use only)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Missile maintainers from the 90th Space Wing have completed the field reconfiguration of the wing's Minuteman III missiles to adhere to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I four months early.

The Air Force's portion of the START I treaty called for F.E. Warren to reconfigure 150 Minuteman III missiles that contained three multiple re-entry vehicles to a single re-entry vehicle per missile by Dec. 5. The field work was completed Aug. 6.

The re-entry vehicle is the portion of the missile that houses the nuclear warhead.

"It's not every day that you go to work knowing you completed an international treaty," said Airman 1st Class David Glass, MMIII missile maintenance technician from the 90th Maintenance Squadron.

"Placing the final SRV into the last silo was a momentous occasion in U.S. history," said Col. Thomas Shearer, 90th Space Wing commander. "The fact that it happened months in advance of the deadline date is due to the dedication and expertise of all the maintainers at both the weapon storage area -- where they reconfigured all the missiles from a MRV to a SRV -- and to the missile maintainers, who placed the SRVs back into the silos. Their hardworking efforts, along with supporting security forces teams, missile crew members and medical personnel, brought every missile back to full operational capability with minimal delay."

The treaty mandates that the United States reduce its intercontinental ballistic missile force to 6,000 warheads and that Russia will do the same, said Rex Ellis, 90th Space Wing treaty compliance specialist.

"The SRV program is only one piece of the START I treaty puzzle, but it's a very important piece," Ellis said. "(F.E.) Warren's portion of the treaty was to decommission 300 RVs. Reductions are also being made to the bomber fleet and the sea launch ballistic missile structure."

The reduction will not detract from the deterrence of the force, Air Force Space Command officials said.

"The deterrence is sound," said Maj. Gen. Howard Mitchell, AFSPC director of operations at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. "The triad is still sound with bombers, land-based missiles and sea-based forces. We have adequate RVs to protect the nation, as we see the need, in today's environment."

F.E. Warren will not be considered treaty compliant until the 150 multiple re-entry vehicle bulkheads, the portion of the missile that connects the RVs to the rest of the missile, are destroyed and a formal paperwork process is completed, Ellis said. That process is expected to be completed near the original Dec. 5 deadline.

The method of destruction to demolish the bulkheads is a sledgehammer and a lot of muscle. Senior Airman Daika Dewolfe, munitions technician from the maintenance squadron, said she looks forward to the bulkhead destruction phase of the treaty compliance.

"It relieves stress," she said.

F.E. Warren began the reconfiguration process Nov. 23, 1998, and each re-entry system took four to six days to reconfigure.

"It basically took sweat and bones to comply with START I, and we put in extra hours when we needed to," said Staff Sgt. Todd Burnham, munitions team chief.

But, it is worth it, he said, knowing that they were able to complete this process four months early.

"During the nearly three years of the download program, we had five on-site inspections by Russian delegations," Ellis said. These inspections would normally add time to the overall process but the maintainers kept up with the set time schedule.

"Compounded with the fact that the silos are located in desolate areas in Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska that are often besieged with erratic weather changes, it was difficult to stay on course," Ellis said. "Sometimes, maintainers literally had to dig their way through snow just to start working, and they normally worked 12- to 16-hour days to get the job done. They are truly phenomenal workers."
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D. Nuclear Waste

Kazakhstan - Ideal Conditions for Radioactive Waste Burial
Oral Karpishev
August 15, 2001
(for personal use only)

ASTANA -- Kazakhstan has ideal conditions for the burial of medium-activity and low-activity waste, Zhabaga Takibayev, scientific supervisor of Kazakhstan's national nuclear centre, told a news conference in Almaty on Wednesday.

He said chiefs of the national nuclear centre go along with president of the Kazatomprom national nuclear company, Mukhtar Dzhakishev, who believes that it is necessary to amend Kazakhstan's legislation and permit the import of radioactive waste to be buried.

Dzhakishev said on July 25 that Kazakhstan can accept radioactive waste and materials for the burial in its territory.

He said this will give Kazakhstan funds to implement the programme for the burial of its own radioactive waste and for the recultivation of contaminated lands. Kazakhstan needs 1.11 billion dollars to implement the project.

Dzhakishev suggested that quarries of worked-out uranium deposits be used as storages. He believes that in 30 years radioactive elements will disintegrate and the storages will be absolutely safe.

At the same time Dzhakishev objected to the shipment of high-activity waste to Russia to be reprocessed. He believes this will require a sum of 450 million dollars while setting up long-term storages in the territory of the Semipalatinsk range will cost the treasury one-fifteenth of the sum.

According to the information of Kazatomprom company over 237 million tonnes of radioactive waste accumulated in Kazakhstan.
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Kazakh Expert Urges Nuclear Fuel Storage in Semipalatinsk
BBC Monitoring Service
August 15, 2001
(for personal use only)

Almaty, 15 August: Spent nuclear fuel from the Mangyshlak atomic power station in western Kazakhstan can be expediently and permanently stored in the hills not far from the Degelen mountain range on the territory of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear testing grounds [SNTG] in the eastern part of the republic.

The research director of the Kazakh national nuclear centre, Zhabaga Takibayev, presented this view at a Wednesday [15 August] news conference in Almaty.

The process of readying BN-350 (the fast nuclear reactor - agency add) fuel for storage took two and a half years before being completed this summer. The spent fuel is now contained in special containers at the station's specialized storage units. The plan is for it to be stored long-term (around 50 years - agency add) at the SNTG's 'Baykal' grounds. Special concrete bunkers will be built for this purpose, but so far financing of the work has not begun.

Takibayev noted that permanent storage of the fuel should be based on geological principles. However, it is absolutely necessary that conditions be such that the fuel cannot leak into the water table or atmosphere. For this reason, he suggested that fuel be stored permanently in the mountains, and not in the ground..

The nuclear centre's press service told Interfax that this permanent storage option had not been discussed either at the government level or in wider scientific circles.

The BN-350 reactor was commissioned in 1973, the world's first fast neutron energy generator. Now it is the first of such reactors to be taken out of usage.

According to various reports, the overall volume of radioactive waste in Kazakhstan, most of all the spent BN-350 fuel, is 450 tonnes of waste, radiating out 1.9 million curies.

Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1038 gmt 15 Aug 01
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Russian Nuclear Recycling Test Held
August 14, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- A Russian facility selected to process spent nuclear fuel that Russia plans to import has carried out the first test of a furnace for recycling the waste, an official said Tuesday.

President Vladimir Putin signed a law last month allowing Russia to import spent nuclear fuel, despite protests by liberals and environmentalists who insist it will turn Russia into the world's nuclear dump. Proponents say it will create jobs and bring in money.

For a fee, spent fuel will be sent by armored train to the Mayak facility near Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains. The recycling process extracts useable nuclear material from the spent nuclear rods, while improving safety by reducing the material's potential to be used in weapons, the Russian nuclear ministry has said.

Mayak has staged the first tests of a furnace for turning radioactive waste that remains after fuel processing into glass, the facility's deputy chief Yevgeny Kyzhkov told the Interfax news agency.

Engineers used ordinary glass in place of spent fuel during the trial run, but later this month will stage tests using solutions that imitate radioactive waste, Kyzhkov said. He did not specify when the test took place.

Mayak has done no vitrification - or processing into glass - of nuclear waste since 1997, the report said.

Mayak has been the site of several accidents, including a 1957 waste facility explosion that contaminated 9,200 square miles. The region has been called the most radioactive place on the planet due to accidents and Soviet-era nuclear waste dumping into lakes and rivers.
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Kazakh Region Head Denies Plans to Bury Nuclear Waste at Nuclear Test Range
BBC Monitoring Service
August 14, 2001
(for personal use only)

Text of report by the Kazakh newspaper Ekspress-K

[Newspaper headline] It is too early to bury!

The governor of East Kazakhstan Region, Vitaliy Mette, has denied reports that radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel from Mangyshlak [a nuclear power plant in western Mangistau Region] will be buried at the [former] Semipalatinsk nuclear test range.

The news about the completion of packing used nuclear fuel from the BN-350 reactor at the Mangyshlak nuclear power plant and that in two years it will be sent to the Semipalatinsk nuclear test range has caused a considerable reaction in East Kazakhstan Region, where there is enough of radioactive contamination spots as it is. Given this, Vitaliy Mette said:

"By burying radioactive waste, we mean exclusively radioactive sources that are used in industry and medicine. In time these sources will be disabled, however, they will still be dangerous. We will hide them in the Baykal storage in the town of Kurchatov [nuclear centre in East Kazakhstan Region]. There is no talk about anything else."[p3]

Source: Ekspress-K, Almaty, in Russian 10 Aug 01 p 3
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Russian Nuclear Waste Storage Facility in Siberia Increases Capacity
BBC Monitoring Service
August 13, 2001
(for personal use only)

Text of report by Russian Public TV on 13 August

[Presenter] After the Kursk submarine is lifted from the bottom of the Barents Sea, it will be cut up and the remaining nuclear fuel removed from its reactor. The reactor and all the contaminated parts will be then buried in special burial sites. There are several plants in Russia that are engaged in decommissioning nuclear submarines. Within the next few years they will have to turn about 200 decommissioned nuclear submarines into safe scrap metal. In order to bury all the nuclear waste, the storage capacity of the Radon special combine in Khabarovsk Territory will be considerably increased. Our correspondent Vladimir Voropayev visited the combine.

[Correspondent] The Radon's processing capacity will be increased several-fold. At present, about 1,000 cubic metres of various radioactive materials are stored in already filled burial sites and utility storage containers. These are mostly industrial isotope instruments well past their service life. New consignments of waste coming from the Zvezda plant in Maritime Territory will not change the combine's specialization. Metal taken from submarines, which had only limited contact with nuclear reactors, will be placed in a new storage facility. Liquid radioactive waste from nuclear submarines, which will be transformed in Maritime Territory into solid matter in a special installation, will also be taken to Khabarovsk. Experts claim that this form of waste is relatively harmless and for this reason it will not be buried underground.

[Aleksandr Kulakov, deputy director of Radon] The storage facilities built in the past were almost fully submerged underground, but they were constantly in danger of being affected by underground waters.

[Correspondent] The above-ground storage facilities are considered to be safer and to allow easier control over the radiation levels in the combine's grounds. In 37 years of the Radon's existence, there have never been any emergency situations either at the combine's premises, or within the five-kilometres protection zone around it.

[Vladimir Shchekolyugov, spectrometry engineer] We are constantly taking samples of soil, air, plants, water and silt. There have been no leaks of any kind.

[Correspondent] Nevertheless, the plans to increase several-folds the capacity of the Khabarovsk special combine Radon alarms ecologists and the local population. After all, these nuclear waste burial grounds are unique in a way - they are only 40 km away from the city of Khabarovsk and at the very centre of the Khevtsir natural reserve.

Source: Russian Public TV (ORT), Moscow, in Russian 1700 gmt 13 Aug 01
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E. New Reports, Links of Interest

Please see the new report "U.S.-Russian Relations in Nuclear Arms Reductions: Current State and Prospects" from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology's Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies here:

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the interest of keeping each issue of Nuclear News to a manageable length, I have made the decision to curtail coverage of the ongoing U.S.-Russian discussions over NMD and the ABM Treaty to a maximum of one or two particularly relevant stories per issue. As always, reader contributions and suggestions with regard to content are welcomed. For more detailed primary-source coverage, please see the following stories in USIA's Washington File (all at

13 Aug 01 - Transcript: Rumsfeld Media Availability with Russian Journalists
14 Aug 01 - Transcript: Rumsfeld, Ivanov Hold Intensive Talks August 13
14 Aug 01 - Rumsfeld: U.S.-Russia Relationship Must "Make Sense for the 21st Century"
15 Aug 01 - Transcript: Rumsfeld with Russian Political Scientists in Moscow Aug. 13
16 Aug 01 - Text: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and President Putin at Kremlin
16 Aug 01 - Text: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Russian Defense Minister Aug. 13

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DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for the technical accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.

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