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Nuclear News - 09/12/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, September 12, 2001
Compiled by G. J. Marsh

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. U.S.-Russia Nuclear Programs Questioned, Walter Pincus, Washington Post (09/11/01)
    2. Nuclear Legacy: Proliferation Worries Persist, Andrea Widener, Contra Costa Times (09/09/01)
    3. U.S. Firms Get $5 Billion to Destroy Soviet Arms, Charles Aldinger, Reuters (09/08/01)
B. National Missile Defense
    1. Missile Defense Debate Resumes, Carolyn Skorneck, AP (09/12/01)
    2. Defense Official Holds Missile Talks, Vladimir Isachenkov, AP (09/11/01)
    3. Russia Readies for U.S. Arms Talks with ABM Hint, Richard Balmforth, Reuters (09/10/01)
    4. Defense Chief Unsure of U.S.-Russia Missile Talks, Reuters (09/09/01)
    5. Rumsfeld Defends Missile Defense, AP (09/09/01)
    6. Analysis: Deadlock Seen in U.S.-Russia Arms Talks, Ron Popeski, Reuters (09/09/01)
C. Nuclear Waste
    1. Spent Nuclear Fuel Imports Will Have Only Negative Consequences, Interfax (08/23/01)
D. U.S. Nuclear Forces
    1. NORAD to Eye Russia Air Force, AP (09/09/01)
E. Russia-Iran Cooperation
    1. Iran Denies Seeking Nuclear Weapons, Reuters (09/10/01)
    2. CIA: Iran Has Active Weapon Program, John J. Lumpkin, AP (09/07/01)

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

U.S.-Russia Nuclear Programs Questioned
Walter Pincus
Washington Post
September 11, 2001
(for personal use only)

Nearly three dozen U.S.-Russian programs designed to prevent the spread of Russian nuclear weapons and materials have foundered because of disorganization and a loss of trust between the two countries, according to an official who was instrumental in creating them.

The programs, which have cost the United States more than $5 billion to date, have "often lacked coordination not only with Russia but also within" the U.S. government, said Siegfried S. Hecker, former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Nothing really terrible has happened," Hecker said, but a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's nuclear complex "is largely intact, vastly oversized and overstaffed."

With the election last year of President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB official, and the resurgence of Moscow's security services, access to once-secret nuclear facilities has tightened, according to Hecker. "Today, the window of opportunity appears to be closing, both because Russia does not need our money as desperately and because the security services have begun to close up the complex," he said in a lengthy article published recently in The Nonproliferation Review, a journal of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

Hecker, currently a consultant at Los Alamos, established early contact with Russian nuclear scientists after the collapse of the Soviet Union and was among the architects of the U.S. effort to avert the spread of Russian nuclear weapons. His comments come as the National Security Council is nearing completion of a review of the U.S.-Russian nonproliferation programs ordered by President Bush in March.

The administration already has signaled doubts about the effectiveness of the effort by cutting the budget proposed by the Clinton administration by $100 million. The programs, which will cost $872 million this year, have also been criticized by some lawmakers on Capitol Hill and by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

The nonproliferation effort began in the early 1990s to keep Russian nuclear materials from spreading, and to stop nuclear scientists from selling their knowledge to other countries. That was quickly complemented by the Nunn-Lugar program, which partially funded the destruction of Russian nuclear bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines, as required by arms control treaties.

Overall, the effort gave rise to about 30 U.S.-Russian programs, managed by the Defense, Energy and State departments, aimed at tightening security at Russian nuclear facilities and providing money as an incentive to keep Russia's weapons scientists and engineers from moving abroad.

Speaking Friday at a meeting sponsored by the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Hecker said that although he remains a supporter of the programs' nonproliferation goals, a major overhaul is warranted. "What is needed is a coherent, comprehensive, integrated strategy," he said.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union built nearly 20,000 nuclear warheads. Today, although the Russian strategic force is declining, many thousands of warheads remain deployed at dozens of locations and more than 60 storage sites. In addition, 1,000 metric tons of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium and between 125 and 200 metric tons of plutonium are spread throughout the country at various facilities. Russia maintains a large network of production facilities for uranium enrichment and nuclear reactors that continues to produce weapons-grade plutonium, as well as a network of three dozen nuclear weapons labs and dozens of specialized defense institutes.

Hecker warned that the primary joint program for protection, control and accounting for nuclear materials and warheads at many of these facilities "has all but come to a standstill." He blamed not only increased Russian security, but also U.S. bureaucratic demands that have "lost sight that these are Russian nuclear materials in the Russian nuclear complex."

He said a multinational effort to provide Russian scientists and engineers with civilian job opportunities has been a success, but an Energy Department initiative that teamed Russian institutes with Western businesses has floundered, in part because of Russian security concerns.

The Energy Department's nuclear cities program, aimed at helping Russian scientists in regions once closed to the West, has also run into trouble. Newly aggressive Russian guards have made it difficult for American businessmen to gain access to scientists with whom they are attempting to arrange deals. In addition, funding limitations on the U.S. side -- including a sharp cut by the Bush administration in the Clinton-proposed $30 million budget for next year -- have made it less attractive to the Russian government.

Two programs to reduce nuclear materials have had mixed success. One to turn highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium into fuel has been successful, and there is competition within the U.S. to get it expanded. The other, to burn plutonium or immobilize it so it cannot be used for weapons, has never gotten started, in part because the Russian plan for burning would cost $2 billion or more. In addition, the Russians continue to produce plutonium from reactors they use for energy generation and see plutonium as part of their broader plan to encourage nuclear power.
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Nuclear Legacy: Proliferation Worries Persist
Andrea Widener
Contra Costa Times
September 9, 2001
(for personal use only)

AKADEMGORODOK, Russia -- To uncover the impact of nuclear nonproliferation programs here, drive south past solitary ice-fishers, empty bus stops and leafless Siberian birch forests to a muddy field where rusting metal machines lie like old Datsuns in a mechanic's back yard.

Then wait for the shaking to begin.

Amid the thick mud and slush-filled puddles typical of April in southwest Siberia, Boris Glinsky said he and fellow researchers could build machines 10 times the size of the large one now rumbling like a small, nonstop earthquake.

All they need is a sponsor, said the project's patriarch, with his spiky shock of thick, white hair and ready smile, maybe someone from the West to fund their ideas.

Here at the Bystrovka Vibroseismic Test Site, of more than 30 machines that shake the earth to map its surface and test detectors for nuclear test ban treaties, only a dozen still work. The money to maintain them ran out first, followed closely by funds for scientists' wages, now less than $56 a month on average.

"Everything was much easier under the Soviet power," Glinsky said.

While crumbling infrastructure and below-poverty salaries are prevalent throughout Russian science, 21 of the 31 scientists working on these massive machines are former weapons scientists. That makes their future a global concern.

The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 left a political and financial maelstrom that surged over the country's colossal nuclear weapons industry. Never before had a world power, bolstered by a 35,000ong nuclear weapon stockpile and unknown stores of chemical and biological weapons, been forced by withering federal coffers to abandon its weapons development work force.

At the time of the breakup, 100,000 Russian scientists, engineers and other officials had access to nuclear weapons information.

Panicked world observers feared the worst: desperate weapons scientists taking their knowledge to aspiring weapons nations such as Iran or Iraq, unpaid guards stealing from the untallied stores of uranium and plutonium, entire nuclear weapons cities collapsing as financial support disappeared.

What keeps these vibrating machines running is international funding, first envisioned during those frightening years after the crash, that turns weapons researchers such as these Siberian geologists to basic science and trains them in Western grant-writing and entrepreneurship. It is one of a half dozen U.S.-supported efforts that protect nuclear materials and prop up Russian weapons designers.

Although small compared to other defense initiatives, with $1 billion in U.S. spending a year, these cooperative programs have been the bedrock of efforts to prevent the spread of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and technologies.

Nearly a decade after the breakup of the Soviet Union left weapons programs in limbo, the Russian economy and U.S.-Russian relations continue to sputter. That has left the U.S. struggling to define its role in rescuing Russian weapons scientists and halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

"It is much easier when you have a hostile relationship," said Kenneth Luongo, director of the Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council, a joint nonprofit nuclear think tank. "When you are trying to help nurse a wounded country back to health, it is not so easy."

In most of Russia, the infamous bread lines or empty shelves in stores are no longer common, but most citizens have little or no money. In 1999, Russia's gross domestic product had shrunk 45 percent from 1991 levels, and is now smaller than that of Los Angeles County. Even at 12.4 percent, Russia's unemployment rate is largely believed to be unrealistically low because of underemployment.

Those economic problems -- as well as rampant health problems reflected in a death rate almost double the birth rate, in part because of widespread alcoholism -- have impacted weapons scientists, who once held an elite status in society.

Cooperative program supporters -- including some U.S. and Russian nonproliferation experts, U.S. nuclear scientists, and former and current members of Congress -- say these programs are the only serious effort to fight what may be the most menacing national security threat: the spread of weapons to rogue nations and terrorists.

Opposition often comes down to a matter of trust. Most congressional opponents fear any aid will free Russia to spend its own meager resources on developing weapons of mass destruction, while others fight any U.S. money going overseas. Russian critics doubt U.S. motives, saying their goal is to gather intelligence and steal the country's best minds.

From both sides, the most outwardly successful programs are those dealing with tangibles: cutting up submarines, transforming weapons-ready fuel into less dangerous material, and securing Russian weapons storage and design areas. Pushes to prevent weapon makers from taking their knowledge to developing-weapons states are more controversial, and their success is harder to prove.

"We won, but we are not the only treasure trove of secrets," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, who has been an outspoken supporter of these programs.

Despite this support, President Bush's proposed budget cut nonproliferation programs by $100 million. Hardest hit is money for Russian weapons scientists. While Congress has restored much of that, annual fluctuations in budgets and plans have some Russian officials wondering if they should continue to open weapons facilities to U.S. scientists.

There is no disagreement, however, that the security threat remains unresolved.

"We need to get out and tell people that the work of dealing with the legacy of the Cold War is not done. It simply is not done," said Jesse James, a senior associate at the Stimson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based arms-control research group.

At the entrance to Russia's founding nuclear laboratory stands a somewhat startling 10-foot-tall likeness of Igor Kurchatov's head, complete with his distinctive long, rectangular beard. The Soviet nuclear program began in earnest at this institute named for Kurchatov, the father of Russia's weapons program, whose presence looms as large as the statue in what was once the birch-forested outskirts of Moscow.

"Everything that turned out to be a massive nuclear industry started here," said Victor Tufyaev, a technician in a tight white lab coat.

The lab's control room has been preserved since the moment of that first chain reaction, down to the notebooks on the tables, the chair where Kurchatov sat, the black-and-white wall clock, which still marks 6 p.m. Even the reactor is still running 54 years later.

"You'll have to help us get this in the Guinness Book," joked V.S. Dikazev, the lab's head of nuclear safety.

In 1946, a year after two nuclear bombs devastated Japanese cities, Russia created its first plutonium here in the country's first nuclear reactor.

Fed by the best of Russia's scientists, generous funding and help from U.S.-based spies, the Russian program soon caught up with the United States'. It even surpassed the United States in the total number of people working on weapons projects, and the number of bombs created.

"During 10 years, we finished research from the nuclear bomb to the hydrogen bomb. It is one example of bad competition," said Dikazev, who wore a green and white pin with Lawrence Livermore Laboratory's logo, a gift from a previous lab visitor. "Now we are collaborators."

Once the Soviet Union collapsed, many Americans, hearing stories of bread lines and worthless rubles, assumed the nuclear threat had disappeared. But American experts knew the Soviet security system relied on guards and gates, keeping both scientists and weapons behind closed doors. That system faltered when guards weren't paid and gates weren't maintained. The country didn't have a system to track the amount or movement of nuclear materials or protect them adequately.

Amid this chaos, some U.S. leaders quickly established a connection with Russian weapons scientists. U.S. and Soviet scientists first met as technical advisers to arms control talks.

In February 1992, directors of U.S. weapons labs visited two secret Russian cities known only by their post box numbers in nearby towns: Arzamas-16 and Chelyabinsk-70. Few, if any, Americans had visited these remote Russian weapons lab cities.

"There was a lot of the feeling, at the end of the Cold War, that we could all work together," remembered John Nuckolls, then director of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, who visited both historical and scientific sites during that frigid winter.

That same year, then-Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., sponsored legislation creating the Cooperative Threat Reduction programs to address the basics: dismantling weapons and protecting and storing nuclear materials. It later expanded to include conversion of military and nuclear facilities and other efforts from the departments of Defense, State, Commerce and Energy.

Supporting weapons scientists was then, and remains now, a small part of this monumental task. But as U.S. scientists learned that their Russian colleagues were not being paid for months at a time, fear grew that these scientists could be wooed by high-paying jobs in rogue nations.

The first real effort to address this threat was the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), a collaboration between the United States, the European Commission, Japan and other nations that fund science projects in Russia and other former Soviet countries. ISTC money from the United States supports the Siberian geologists in their shaking research on the rolling plains. A sister project operates in Ukraine.

Since then, other civilian science programs have been started. The Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention aim to make applied science projects attractive for Western business investment. It then hands projects over to the U.S. Industry Coalition, a U.S. government-funded nonprofit group that helps businesses work in Russia.

A Department of Energy program to help Russia's 10 closed nuclear weapons cities turn to civilian endeavors has come under the most criticism by both Russians and Americans. This 3-year-old effort, called the Nuclear Cities Initiative, has gone through multiple reviews and has seen its budget swing drastically -- from $6 million to $30 million -- during its short lifetime because critics say it is ineffective and its funds go to U.S. labs rather than Russian researchers.

After a rocky start, ISTC is now the most accepted of these programs, which says a lot in light of touchy U.S.-Russia relations.

"When the Russian government for several months failed to pay the salaries of its nuclear scientists, for several months they survived on ISTC grants," said Alexander Pikayev, who studies the nuclear threat at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

ISTC provides links with leading Western scientists and conferences on how to apply for grants, said Anatoli Iskra, a leader in a project to compile radioactive waste data from former Soviet sites. The salary system sends money directly to scientists rather than to federal bureaucracies. Unlike Russian research grants, ISTC salaries are not taxed at the typical 40 percent.

"Our projects are a very good model of living in the real market economy," Russian executive director Sergey Zykov said, explaining many weapons scientists never faced the kind of scrutiny typical of Western grant-making agencies and businesses. "There is a sort of teaching by real work." However, ISTC faces the same criticism as other scientist assistance programs. It must prove its salary supplements are not furthering weapons research, something ISTC officials say they prevent with hands-on, highly accountable management.

"We can honestly say we are not proposing to do enormous things," said Peter Falatyn, who for three years has been an ISTC senior adviser. "It is still on a person-by-person-by-person basis."

And that's a good thing. In the decade since the Soviet Union fell, relations between the U.S. and Russian governments have gone up and down like dot-com stock prices. And if news of National Missile Defense and FBI spies is any indication, that won't change anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the long-hoped-for comeback of the Russian economy has not materialized, leaving once-hopeful scientists -- especially weapons specialists, who were well off during the Cold War -- pushing for a return to the good old days of designing new weapons.

All of this has an impact on nuclear nonproliferation programs. U.S. lab scientists who once had access to Russian closed cities now have to cancel trips or put them off for months. However, officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow point out that the most tense time in recent relations, the war in Kosovo, had little impact on nonproliferation efforts.

Nonproliferation problems were much more complicated than anyone suspected 10 years ago. More nuclear materials are in more abysmal security and storage conditions than was predicted. The expected threat from rogue nations has intermingled with threats from terrorists.

But the doomsday predictions have not yet come true. Some Russian weapons scientists have tried to flee for better-paying jobs in rogue nations, as documented by nuclear think tanks, but they are few and far between.

Experts now understand, however, that Russians don't have to leave their labs to work for those nations. U.S. and European visitors have seen business cards of scientists from Iran and Iraq inside Russia's closed nuclear cities. And conditions have not improved much for weapons scientists, especially in those neglected weapons cities that are home to 760,000 residents.

"There is a dangerous gap between this threat and our response," said Rose Gottemoeller, a former Energy official and analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Most of today's threats can only be met by cooperation with Russia."

In some ways, that makes nonproliferation programs more important.

"Above all, it is in the U.S. interests, the shrinking of the Russian complex," said Pikayev of the Carnegie Moscow Center. "If Russia changes its policy to anti-American, it would have less chances to reconstitute its nuclear capabilities."

The question of whether these programs, designed as short-term fixes, are good for long-term problems also must be addressed. The Bush administration is re-evaluating nonproliferation efforts, and preliminary reports say that review suggests at least two programs, including the Nuclear Cities Initiative, be eliminated.

"You have to ask yourself, what signal are we sending to the Russians?" said James, the Stimson Center analyst. "If you think that spending money to address these dangers is a good thing, why are we cutting back money on it?"

At least some Russian experts realize the threat and say they are working to do something about it. Officials at the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy say they are putting money earned by converting weapons-grade uranium to nuclear power-plant fuel back into transforming their weapons complex. They also are looking to two highly controversial plans to raise money: Selling a nuclear power plant to Iran and importing the world's nuclear waste for storage in Russia.

"From the Russian side, we have to solve this," said Alexander Antonov, head of conversion for the Ministry of Atomic Energy, the Russian equivalent of the Department of Energy. He said the question for the United States is, "Will it take a long time to develop this (conversion), or can we speed it up?"

Back at the Siberian test site, a mere 52-hour train ride southeast of the power players in Moscow, the geologists are celebrating the present with an elaborate meal of butter-soaked Russian dumplings, known as "pilminy," red caviar on dark brown bread and, of course, vodka toasts all around.

"Perestroika was not good for science," said Victor Soloviov, another researcher at the test site, as he stood, glass raised, to make his ritual toast.

He spoke of days when money flowed, when machines ran and twice as many scientists were seated at the long food-filled table in the bunkhouse here. But he is hopeful for the future of Russian science and the test site, he said, because the research is strong and has support from the West.

Everyone raised their glasses as his voice crescendoed to the final words:

"To the ISTC."
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U.S. Firms Get $5 Billion to Destroy Soviet Arms
Charles Aldinger
September 8, 2001
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- Five U.S. engineering and management firms have been awarded a defense contract totaling $5 billion to eliminate Russian nuclear and other arms and protect nuclear warheads, the Pentagon said on Friday.

The contract, which will run through 2006, is part of a decade-old effort authorized and financed by Congress to help safely destroy former Soviet weapons of mass destruction in Russia and assure that they are not stolen.

The latest step to eliminate such weapons under arms treaties comes as the United States and Russia are embroiled in a bitter dispute over President Bush's plan to develop a controversial U.S. defense against missile attack.

The Pentagon said the new contract work will be shared by Brown and Root Services Division of Halliburton International Co., Raytheon Co., Bechtel National Inc., Parsons Delaware Inc., and Washington Group International Inc. The last three are privately-owned companies.

The work will include elimination of Russian missiles, bombers, and submarines, most of the designated for destruction under treaties, as well as accounting for and safely storing of dangerous byproducts such as nuclear warheads.

The Pentagon said the work, part of the Nunn-Lugar law authorized by Congress, will also include efforts to eliminate facilities in Russia used to produce and store chemical and biological weapons.

The firms will help coordinate collaborative efforts between experts in the two countries aimed at non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The United States has about 7,000 nuclear warheads and Russia has some 6,000. But those totals are supposed to be brought down to about 3,500 each under the planned START-2 strategic arms reduction treaty.

Moscow, however, has warned that arms reduction treaties between Moscow and Washington could be in danger if the Bush administration goes ahead with a threat to withdraw from the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty so that it can move ahead on missile defense.

The Bush administration wants Russia to agree to jointly "move beyond" the ABM treaty, which forbids deployment of a national missile defense by either country, but Moscow has so far refused.

Senior officials from the two countries have been discussing the issue and Presidents Bush and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed at a meeting this summer to link talks on missile defense with further deep nuclear arms cuts.

Russia cannot afford to maintain its massive nuclear arsenal and Putin wants to cuts the number of warheads to 1,500 on each side.

Bush has vowed to make deep cuts in U.S. nuclear weapons, but no decision has been made on a new number while the Pentagon conducts a major review of the American nuclear arsenal and how it fits into the nation's strategic planning.
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B. National Missile Defense

Missile Defense Debate Resumes
Carolyn Skorneck
September 12, 2001
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- The terrorist attack on America was used Wednesday to support arguments for and against President Bush's prized missile defense plan.

Democratic lawmakers said the fact that airlines, not missiles, were the weapon of choice demonstrated that more attention should be paid to non-missile, terrorist threats. But Republicans said the attack showed more than ever why a missile defense is needed.

"Unfortunately, today our threat is not a threat of somebody launching nuclear missiles at us," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., an opponent of Bush's emphasis on missile defense.

Leahy noted that a nuclear bomb would be more likely to carry "a return address" that would invite a certain and swift counterattack.

"The problem with an open, complex society like the United States is our Achilles' heel has always been well-organized terrorist attacks," he said.

But House Armed Services Committee Chairman Bob Stump said the next terrorist attack could easily take the form of a relatively short-range missile carrying chemical or biological weapons.

"They have the capability, they have chemical warfare materials, they have biological warfare materials," said Stump, R-Ariz. "And they have, through China and Russia, the technology to deliver that on a missile."

"It's only a matter of time before we face that," he said. "I think we're only fortunate that they didn't employ chemical or biological weapons in this last attack."

Stump acknowledged the need for more work in areas such as human intelligence, which relies on people, in addition to technology, to uncover crucial information. He bemoaned Congress' reluctance to approve more money to put people on the ground abroad.

"People don't like to vote for human intelligence or a lot of intelligence generally because they don't a get a big shiny plane or a big tank out of it," Stump said.
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Defense Official Holds Missile Talks
Vladimir Isachenkov
September 11, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- Attempting to soften Moscow's resistance to U.S. missile defense plans, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith held talks Tuesday with Russian officials on modifying the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

Feith's consultations with Col. Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, the deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, were expected to last several hours, said Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Vyacheslav Sedov.

At a meeting in Genoa, Italy in July, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to discuss the future of the ABM treaty in the context of potential cuts in nuclear arsenals, which cashapped Russia has been pushing for.

Several rounds of talks have produced no visible results as Russian officials have pushed for specific details of U.S. missile defense plans and its opinion on the proposed nuclear cuts. The Pentagon has said it cannot yet offer specific details because it is still assessing how many nuclear weapons the United States needs.

Despite the lack of progress, U.S. officials have voiced hope that Russia would warm up to the missile defense plans by November, when the two presidents are scheduled to hold a summit at Bush's ranch in Texas.

But Russian officials remain strongly opposed to the planned U.S. missile shield. On the eve of the talks Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Moscow might agree to some modifications to the ABM, but wouldn't accept the sort of national missile defense Washington wants to build.

The ABM treaty allows each country to protect one area with missile interceptors, but bans nationwide defense on the assumption that the fear of retaliation would prevent each nation from launching a first strike.

Washington says the planned limited missile defense is needed to protect the U.S. territory from missile threats posed by such nations as North Korea and Iran. But Moscow dismisses such threats as hypothetical and says the national missile defense would tilt the strategic balance in the U.S. favor.

U.S. Russian consultations on the ABM will continue later this month as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell meet separately with their Russian counterparts. Prior to their meeting in November, Bush and Putin will meet next month on the sidelines of the Pacific economic summit in Shanghai, China.
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Russia Readies for U.S. Arms Talks with ABM Hint
Richard Balmforth
September 10, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, speaking Monday on the eve of arms talks with the United States, held out a prospect that a landmark arms treaty could be adjusted to keep Washington from abandoning it.

The head of Russia's air force, adopting a tougher tone, said that if Washington broke out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty Russia might be forced to beef up the strike-power of its long-range nuclear-capable bombers.

The comments, though breaking no new ground in arms policy with the United States, set out Russian positions ahead of talks opening in Moscow Tuesday on Washington's missile defense plan against strikes by rogue states.

U.S. Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith was to meet General Yuri Baluyevsky, first deputy chief of staff, at Russia's Defense Ministry at the start of a series of high-level U.S.-Russian contacts.

The administration of President Bush, conceding that the new missile defense system will eventually run across the ABM accord, says it wants to abandon the treaty altogether. It has urged the Russians to dump it as a relic of the Cold War.

Russia clings to the ABM treaty as a cornerstone of arms control and sees Washington's perceived threats from states like North Korea, Iraq and Iran as exaggerated.

Ivanov, speaking to Interfax news agency in Astrakhan near the Caspian Sea, said modifications could be made to the ABM treaty which would not affect the essence of the agreement.

"Theoretically I do not exclude such a possibility," he said.

"But this is theoretical: it has to be clearly understood what anti-rocket defenses are planned by the United States, what technical capabilities are formed there, what environment -- air, sea, land, space -- is envisaged."

Air force Commander-in-Chief General Anatoly Kornukov, echoing tough comments earlier by President Vladimir Putin, said that if Washington abandoned the ABM treaty "the combat potential of long-range aircraft could be strengthened."

Putin said last June that Russia could respond by adding multiple warheads to its nuclear missiles.

Talks last month in Moscow yielded little progress, though experts had in hand an agreement by Putin and Bush made at their Genoa summit to link missile defense with strategic arms cuts.

Ivanov was at pains to appear buoyant on the eve of new talks.

"This does not mean that we are in a pessimistic mood. We expect the delegation of Pentagon bring new proposals to Moscow," he said.

Thursday, the focus in U.S.-Russian arms talks will shift to London, where Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov meets U.S. Under-Secretary of State John Bolton.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov flies a week later to the United States, where he meets Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The Feith visit will be watched closely to see whether the continued impasse over U.S. missile defense plans will detract from a recent warming of ties and affect future summit meetings between Putin and Bush.

At Bush's initiative, the two men spoke by telephone on Monday and talked over arrangements for their planned meeting next month in Shanghai on the sidelines of a summit of Asian countries, the Kremlin press service said.

The Kremlin statement, while indicating the conversation was very cordial, made no specific mention of a planned November visit by Putin to Bush's Texas ranch which an unnamed source in Putin's camp recently put in doubt.
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Defense Chief Unsure of U.S.-Russia Missile Talks
September 9, 2001
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Sunday it was "not knowable" whether talks with Russia to alter a landmark nuclear deterrence pact would succeed by year's end.

With high-level talks on the question set to resume and a Senate panel attempting to curb the missile defense plans of President Bush, Rumsfeld said Bush may exercise the U.S. right to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty if the effort fails.

Appearing on the "Fox News Sunday" program, Rumsfeld said while it was "entirely possible" that negotiations with Moscow to change the treaty would achieve agreement, "it's not knowable."

"If we're not able to find a framework that can be appropriate for our two countries going forward between now and the end of the year, the president has indicated he'll have to give consideration to giving a six-month notification for withdrawal," Rumsfeld said.

"But whether or not, when or how he'll do that, or whether or not we'll be able to find a new framework is really a matter for the discussions."

U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told NBC's "Meet the Press" program that the president felt he had to move beyond the "very restrictive" ABM treaty that prohibits missile defense tests in order to have a robust testing and evaluation program.

"It is very important to move beyond the treaty," she said while acknowledging there was "a lot of work" to do.

"We are going to make to the Russians and others an offer about a new strategic framework that we think is appropriate ... we hope it is an offer they can't refuse," Rice said.

The officials discussed Bush's stated desire to protect against missile attacks from "rogue nations" as Russian and U.S. experts get down to fresh talks this week on the missile defense scheme and following attempts by a Senate panel last week to limit Bush's ability to abandon the treaty. Rumsfeld is to meet the Russian defense minister, Sergei Ivanov, later this month.

The meetings get under way on Tuesday in Moscow and will be watched closely to see whether further impasse will detract from a recent warming of ties and affect future summits, including a planned November visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Bush's Texas ranch.

Talks last month yielded little progress, despite an agreement by Putin and Bush made at the Genoa summit to link missile defense with strategic arms cuts.

Bush and U.S. officials have urged the Russians to shed ABM as a relic of the Cold War. Russian officials say they would agree to alter the ABM treaty but not abandon it and dismiss as exaggerated Washington's perceived threats from states like North Korea, Iraq and Iran.

Rumsfeld also took issue again with the Senate Armed Services Committee move on Friday to slice $1.3 billion from U.S. missile defense spending and require Congress to approve any missile defense tests that would violate the ABM treaty.

Under a provision authored by committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, Bush would have to seek congressional approval before spending funds on missile defense tests that violate the treaty.

"That type of an amendment basically ties the president's hands in the discussions with the Russians," Rumsfeld said in again warning of a presidential veto.

Bush's proposal to spend $8.3 billion for missile defense systems, a $3 billion increase over last year, has met resistance from Democrats who have voiced strong reservations about any effort to unilaterally back out of the treaty Moscow says is a cornerstone of key international arms agreements.

"Absolute disaster," Sen. Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat, said of such a withdrawal. "Big nations have obligations to keep their commitments," he told NBC.
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Rumsfeld Defends Missile Defense
September 9, 2001
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Sunday he would recommend that President Bush veto a military spending bill that cuts $1.3 billion from his request for missile defense and restricts testing.

"There is a hard core of people who, for whatever reason, are determined to kill missile defense. And I just don't believe that vulnerability of the American people to ballistic missiles is a rational policy," Rumsfeld said.

Last week, the Democratic-run Senate Armed Services Committee voted along party lines to reduce by $1.3 billion Bush's request to increase missile defense funds by $3 billion, to $8.3 billion.

The legislation also would limit the president's ability to conduct missile defense activities that would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.

"I certainly would recommend a veto to the president," Rumsfeld said.

The restrictions would require a special vote by Congress before any money could be spent on an activity that the president tells Congress would violate the ABM treaty, even if the United States is no longer a party to that treaty.

The provision was part of legislation authorizing defense spending of $343 billion in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Rumsfeld was hopeful that when the House and Senate resolve differences in each chamber's defense spending plans, missile defense money will be restored.

"I have found over time that the American people care about their national security, they understand its importance, and that the Congress tends to be supportive," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

"So I think that a presumption that what came out of the Senate committee will necessarily end up as the final decision may very well prove to be wrong."

The House Armed Services Committee last month voted to trim $135 million from the missile defense request.

Rumsfeld said the limit on missile defense in the Senate committee's bill "basically ties the president's hands in the discussions with the Russians."

"It says to the Russians that there are those in the Senate who are not willing to give the president the freedom to go forward with a test program that he intends to go forward with," he said. "So it's important that that be defeated in the House and Senate."

Bush is trying to strike a deal with the Russians to replace the ABM treaty with an arrangement that allows for national missile defense.

Rumsfeld, who plans to meet again later this month with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, said the administration was keeping an open dialogue with Moscow.

"It is entirely possible that we will be able to find a framework that we can establish between our two countries that is not Cold War-oriented," he said.

Rumsfeld, however, also said: "If we're not able to find a framework that can be appropriate for our two countries going forward between now and the end of the year, the president has indicated he'll have to give consideration to giving a six-month notification for withdrawal."
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Analysis: Deadlock Seen in U.S.-Russia Arms Talks
Ron Popeski
September 9, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- Russian and U.S. experts get down to fresh talks this week on Washington's planned missile defense scheme, complicated by President Bush's stated determination to abandon a landmark 1972 arms treaty.

Russian analysts offered little hope that either side would give way on issues of principle over the U.S. plan to protect against missile strikes by "rogue states."

The meetings will be watched closely to see whether further impasse will detract from a recent warming of ties and affect future summits, including a planned November visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Bush's Texas ranch.

The meetings get under way Tuesday, with U.S. Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith meeting General Yuri Baluyevsky at Russia's Defense Ministry. Thursday, the focus shifts to London, where Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov sits down with U.S. Under-Secretary of State John Bolton.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov flies a week later to the United States, where he meets Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Talks last month in Moscow yielded little progress, though experts had in hand an agreement by Putin and Bush made at the Genoa summit to link missile defense with strategic arms cuts.

The latest round starts out under the cloud of Bush telling reporters that the United States would pull out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile pact "at a time convenient to America."

"I don't think much progress is likely at these talks. Big changes cannot be expected at this level," said independent military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer. "But nor do I think summits are in jeopardy. Moscow is too keen on them taking place."

Bush and U.S. officials have urged the Russians to shed ABM as a relic of the Cold War and adapt strategies to new threats.

Russian officials say they would agree to alter ABM but not abandon it and dismiss as exaggerated Washington's perceived threats from states like North Korea, Iraq and Iran.

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said he was not alarmed by Bush's comments, as it was Washington's right to withdraw at six months' notice.

The change in tone prompted an unnamed source in Putin's administration to tell Interfax news agency there might be no point in Putin visiting Bush at his ranch.

The source suggested that specifics on future relations would have to be achieved at a meeting the presidents plan next month in Shanghai on the sidelines of a summit of Asian nations.

But that could be no more than a negotiating tactic and a Kremlin source said preparations for the summit were proceeding.

But with the future of ABM seemingly decided, the focus of this week's talks could shift to broader security issues.

Baluyevsky, first deputy chief of staff, told Interfax that Russia would stress arms cuts and the link with missile defense.

"It is at the very level of experts from both countries that we must eliminate all the political undertone which the missile defense issue has taken on," he was quoted as saying.

Moscow wants arms cuts to be spelled out in a formal document, but Washington is wary of new treaties.

Feith stuck to Washington's line in discussions with reporters at the Pentagon last week, saying the Russians would have no veto power over U.S. plans. But the United States, he said, was "very happy" to be holding the talks.

"We would be very happy to reach various types of agreements with the Russians to...provide for the kind of openness, dialogue, transparency and other benefits traditionally viewed as the benefits of the arms control process," he said.

"We are not interested in protracted negotiations aiming at a Cold War-style arms control agreement."

Defense analyst Alexander Golts said Russia was increasingly frustrated at what it felt was the U.S. inability to produce a concrete idea of what its missile defense scheme would entail. He also warned against Russia overestimating opposition to the scheme within the U.S. Congress or in Western Europe.

"Russia feels that the United States is simply not prepared to discuss any proposal it might come up with on ABM and both sides are running out of time," he said. "But any suggestion that the summit may fall through should be viewed as a bluff. It is important for Putin to be viewed as a member of the club."
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C. Nuclear Waste

Spent Nuclear Fuel Imports Will Have Only Negative Consequences
August 23, 2001
(for personal use only)

Moscow -- Leader of the Russian Environmental Union Viktor Danilov-Danilyan has warned about the negative consequences of importing spent nuclear fuel to Russia.

Russia does not have enough capacity to process the fuel it has, Danilov-Danilyan has told Interfax. "The way in which the bills on spent nuclear fuel imports have been adopted does not provide for building new capacities," he said.

Therefore the fuel will be imported for storing instead of processing, and that will require huge additional spending, he said.

"The $ 20 billion about which they spoke at the start was lies, because nobody had calculated how much they would have to spend to store the spent fuel," Danilov-Danilyan said.
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D. U.S. Nuclear Forces

NORAD to Eye Russia Air Force
September 9, 2001
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- The Air Force said Sunday it will be sending fighter aircraft to locations in Alaska and Northern Canada to monitor a Russian air force exercise in the Russian arctic and North Pacific Region.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, based at Colorado Springs, Colo., said in a statement it conducted a similar operation during the first two weeks of December last year in response to a similar, but smaller Russian deployment of long-range bombers at northern Russian air bases.

It said that NORAD operation involved more than 350 U.S. and Canadian military personnel.

"NORAD is the eyes and ears of North America and it is our mission to ensure that our air sovereignty is maintained," said Lt. Gen. Ken Pennie, the deputy NORAD commander. "Although it is highly unlikely that Russian aircraft would purposely violate Canadian or American airspace, our mission of vigilance must be sustained."

NORAD did not say when the Russian exercises were expected to begin.
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E. Russia - Iran Cooperation

Iran Denies Seeking Nuclear Weapons
September 10, 2001
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TEHRAN -- Iran Monday strongly rejected charges by the United States that it was seeking nuclear weapons and said Iran itself was a victim of weapons of mass destruction.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran, which has suffered from the use of chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction, has never embarked on production of such weapons," state television quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying.

"The effects of chemical weapons used against Iran (during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war) can still be seen," Asefi said.

The spokesman's comments followed a CIA report Friday which accused Iran of being one of the most active seekers of foreign technology for developing and delivering weapons of mass destruction.

"Iran's defensive and nuclear cooperation with other countries is in the framework of international laws and conventions...and Iran will use nuclear power for peaceful purposes only," Asefi said.

Tehran has repeatedly said its nuclear energy installations are under the full supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"U.S. and Israeli accusations come as Israel's clandestine nuclear programs pose an imminent threat to the peace and security of the region," Asefi said. "Israel is not opening up its nuclear facilities to inspections under the IAEA safeguards system."
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CIA: Iran Has Active Weapon Program
John J. Lumpkin
September 7, 2001
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- Iran maintains one of the world's most active programs to acquire weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles to deliver them, a CIA report says.

Last year, Iran sought help from Russia, China, North Korea (news - web sites) and countries in Western Europe, says the report, which the CIA delivered to Congress on Friday.

"Tehran is attempting to develop a domestic capability to produce various types of weapons ... and their delivery systems," the CIA says.

The report, issued every six months, tracks several countries' efforts to obtain nuclear, chemical, biological and high-tech conventional weapons. Friday's report covers proliferation of those weapons during the second half of 2000.

During that time, Russia continued to help Iran build a 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor at Bushehr. The assistance gives Iran more nuclear know-how, the report says.

"The expertise and technology gained, along with the commercial channels and contacts established - particularly through the Bushehr nuclear power plant project - could be used to advance Iran's nuclear weapons research and development program," it says.

Iran already has stocks of chemical weapons and was seeking more, as well as the ability to make their own, from "entities in Russia and China," the report says. The "entities" are unidentified.

The country may also have a few biological weapons, and it sought "dual-use" biological technology from Russia and Western Europe. Such technology may have benign purposes but could also be used in weapons.

The report describes the efforts of other countries to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Iraq may again be producing biological warfare agents, the report says, although confirming this is difficult without United Nations weapons inspectors.

Iraq was also working on an unmanned drone, called the L-29, that could deliver biological or chemical weapons, it says. Concerns about a rejuvenated Iraqi nuclear program have increased since Iraq President Saddam Hussein in September 2000 "exhorted his 'nuclear mujahidin' to 'defeat the enemy,'" the report says.

Libya, Syria and Sudan also worked to obtain the ability to produce weapons of mass destruction, the report says. India and Pakistan continued to upgrade their ballistic missiles, enabling them to deliver their nuclear weapons at greater distances. Russia and some Western European nations helped India; China aided Pakistan.

India is looking to buy, lease or build fighter jets, tanks, bombers, airborne radar, a nuclear-powered attack submarine and an aircraft carrier, the report says.
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