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Nuclear News - 10/04/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, October 4, 2001
Compiled by Michael Roston

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. The Nunn-Lugar Act: Old Fears, New Era, Jessica Reaves, Time (10/01/01)
B. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. Report: Bin Laden Linked to Russia, St. Petersburg Times, (10/02/01)
    2. Fight Against Terror Politics: Annan Urges Tighter Curbs On Germ And Nuclear Arms, Carola Hoyos, Financial Times (10/02/01)
    3. Spanish Police Looking Into Possibility Russian Mafia Figure Sold NuclearWeapon To Taliban, RFE/RL Newsline (10/02/01)
    4. Iraqi's Mission: To Get Bin Laden A Nuke: Jailed Associate A Feared Zealot, Bob Port and Greg B. Smith, New York Daily News (10/01/01)
C. Russia-Iran Cooperation
    1. Russia and Iran Sign Arms Deal; Nuclear Reactors on the Way, Michael Wines, New York Times (10/03/01)
    2. Russia: Ivanov and Iranian Defense Minister Sign Military Cooperation Accord Francesca Mereu, RFE/RL (10/02/01)
D. Nuclear Waste
    1. Russia needs 10 years to remove nuclear waste from Kola peninsula, BBC Monitoring Service (10/01/01)
E. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Russia Tests Modified ICBM..., RFE/RL Newsline (10/04/01)
F. Links of Interest

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

The Nunn-Lugar Act: Old Fears, New Era
Jessica Reaves
October 1, 2001
(for personal use only)

When the Cold War ended, two Senators pieced together a plan to divest the former USSR of its nuclear and chemical weapons. Is it time to reprise Nunn-Lugar?

Largely ignored in recent years and stripped of critical funding as recently as July, the Nunn-Lugar Act, or "Cooperative Threat Reduction Program" has garnered public attention since the September 11th attacks. Once regarded as peripheral, the Nunn-Lugar now looks not only prescient but absolutely essential.

Co-sponsored by Sam Nunn, former Democratic Senator from Georgia, and Indiana Republican Richard Lugar, the Act was first approved in 1991 in response to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Designed to limit the threat of suddenly itinerant weaponry, Nunn-Lugar established a fund to pay for the identification, destruction and disposal of nuclear and chemical weapons. The initiative also actively welcomed former Soviet scientists into the American community, hoping to lure prospective bomb-makers and chemical-mixers away from rogue nations.

Nunn and Lugar also co-sponsored the 1996 Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Domestic Preparedness Initiative, which builds on the goals of the original Nunn-Lugar Act and also trains civilians to assist disaster workers after an attack by a weapon of mass destruction, including any biological agents. According to press secretary Andy Fisher, Senator Lugar expects the program to be rolled into the larger homeland defense effort headed by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. Once again, Nunn and Lugar were ahead of the curve.

Advocates of the program are quick to point out Nunn-Lugar’s impressive cost-benefit ratio: For slightly less than three-tenths of one percent of U.S. military expenditures, Nunn-Lugar has been responsible for deactivating 5014 warheads, destroying 384 ICBMs and eliminating 365 ICBM silos. And while Lugar a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, continues to lobby for funding for the program, the 2002 federal budget calls for cuts of about $140 million. That’s quite a hit for an initiative whose seven-year operating costs were only $3 billion — less than the annual cost of missile defense research and development efforts.

Given the events of September 11th, and increased awareness and fears of terrorism, will Nunn-Lugar score increased funding, or at least enhanced visibility? Andy Fisher, Lugar's press secretary, insists the initiative has never been in any danger of falling by the wayside and continues to receive the money it needs. "The funding for this program has been constant every year," Fisher says. "At the moment, the Senate is set to approve $400 million for Nunn-Lugar."

That’s not to say Lugar wouldn’t be pleased to see an increase, but realism prevails. "Of course the Senator would love to have more money for the program," Fisher says, "but Congress felt they could afford $400 million in the Defense Department budget — and it doesn’t make sense to ask for more money if it just isn’t out there."

Some would argue the money is out there — or it was when the administration released its first budget figures, which granted the military a $33 billion increase for 2002. It’s all a question of priorities, and while Nunn-Lugar may have to make due with its pre-attack allotment, the grim events of the past three weeks have cast the 10-year-old program in a new light. This time around, there is a renewed sense of purpose: No one wants to see a disillusioned Ukrainian biochemist drift into the wrong laboratory.
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B. Nuclear Terrorism

Report: Bin Laden Linked to Russia
St. Petersburg Times
October 2, 2001
(for personal use only)

U.S. intelligence agencies have uncovered information that Russian criminal groups have been supplying Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist group with components for chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons, The Washington Times reported.

The Foreign Ministry called the report an attempt to undermine relations between the United States and Russia at a time of increased cooperation.

The Washington Times, citing U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity, reported last Wednesday that bin Laden is believed by U.S. intelligence to have a secret nuclear-weapons laboratory inside Afghanistan. This is believed to be one of the sites sought for U.S. military strikes, the newspaper said.

There is no hard evidence that bin Laden or his followers have actually produced chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. But bin Laden has worked with Russian mafia groups in obtaining components for weapons of mass destruction, according to officials familiar with the intelligence reports.

The U.S. State Department's latest report on international terrorism says that al-Qaeda continued to seek chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear capabilities, the newspaper said. Intelligence officials say al-Qaeda is probably trying to produce the nerve agent Sarin or biological weapons made up of anthrax spores.

A former State Department counterterrorism official, Larry Johnson, said the contacts between the Russian mafia and bin Laden could be related to drug trafficking and that such cooperation would not be surprising, the newspaper said.

The Foreign Ministry said the new report raises a question: "Why should such information be splashed out on newspaper pages instead of discussing it through the channels existing between our countries, including confidential ones?"

"One may get the impression that some in the United States oppose the positive tendency in Russian-American relations that has made itself felt recently," the ministry said in a statement carried by Interfax.
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Fight Against Terror Politics: Annan Urges Tighter Curbs On Germ And Nuclear Arms
Carola Hoyos
Financial Times
October 2, 2001
(for personal use only)

Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general, yesterday called on the UN's 189 member countries to tighten their restrictions on biological and nuclear weapons.

He singled out terrorists' use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons as the gravest threat the world faces following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"The truth is that a single attack involving a nuclear or biological weapon could have killed millions," Mr Annan said in his opening speech to the General Assembly. "The greatest danger arises from a non-state group - or even an individual - acquiring and using a nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon." noted.

Mr Annan called on countries to tighten laws governing the exports of goods and technologies used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles. Governments must also develop ways to criminalise the acquisition or use of weapons of mass destruction by individuals, he said.

Some of the suggestions - including banning the sale of small arms to non-state groups - are likely to encounter resistance from the White House, which before the attacks worked against confining itself to international treaties.

Since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the World Health Organisation has upgraded its procedure for helping countries respond to suspected biological and chemical attacks, noting that proper surveillance and a quickly co-ordinated response would be vital in stopping large numbers from being affected.

Almost any infectious agent or toxic chemical could be engineered for deliberate use as a weapon. Governments are most concerned over the possibility of a biological attack, but experts say it would be difficult for terrorists to produce effective germ weapons.

Concern over a possible biological or chemical attack was echoed by several delegates on the first day of the General Assembly's week-long debate on formulating a long-term strategy against terrorism.

Mr Annan suggested the group's first order of business should be to sign and ratify the 12 existing UN conventions on terrorism, in particular, the convention on terrorist bombings, which came into force earlier this year, and the 1999 convention against the financing of terrorism, which has garnered only four of the 22 ratifications it needs to come into force.

Meanwhile, the General Assembly is working on the draft of a more general 13th convention, which would address some of the unresolved issues in the existing resolutions.

In his speech, Mr Annan referred to the most contentious problem that has stymied agreement on an umbrella terrorist text for decades: "Some of the most difficult issues relate to the definition of terrorism," he said. However there was a need for moral clarity as well as legal precision. "There can be no acceptance of those who would seek to justify the deliberate taking of innocent civilian life, regardless of cause or grievance. If there is one universal principle that all peoples can agree on, surely it is this."

But diplomats are not so optimistic. Even the 15-member Security Council side-stepped the issue when it passed a ground-breaking anti-terrorism resolution late last Friday. Instead of defining terrorism, the group established a committee to decide on a case-by-case basis what, or who, constituted a terrorist threat.

Rudolph Giuliani, New York's mayor, yesterday became the first mayor since 1952 to address the General Assembly. He said the city was ready for the arrival of dozens of heads of state for the high-level General Assembly debate. Copyright: The Financial Times Limited
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Spanish Police Looking Into Possibility Russian Mafia Figure Sold Nuclear Weapon To Taliban
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Newsline
October 2, 2001
(for personal use only)

"Vremya novostei" reported on 28 September that Spanish security officials, with support from agencies in the U.S., Great Britain, France, and Israel, are seeking to arrest Russian national Semen Mogilevich, who is reputed to be an organized crime figure and may have some connection to the disappearance of a small nuclear device supposedly lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The agencies are concerned that Mogilevich might have sold this portable nuclear weapon to the Taliban. VY
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Iraqi's Mission: To Get Bin Laden A Nuke: Jailed Associate A Feared Zealot
Bob Port and Greg B. Smith
New York Daily News
October, 01, 2001
(for personal use only)

In a 10th-floor high-security jail cell a few blocks from the ruins of the World Trade Center sits a man Osama Bin Laden was counting on in his quest to buy a nuclear bomb.

Mamdouh Mahmud Salim is the only member of Bin Laden's inner circle in custody, and in many ways, he's one of the most frightening characters in Bin Laden's terrorist confederacy, Al Qaeda.

Last November, Salim briefly made headlines when he allegedly stabbed a Metropolitan Correctional Center guard in the eye with a carefully sharpened plastic comb.

But the most disturbing allegations concern Salim's participation in Bin Laden's long and serious effort to acquire a nuclear device that would make the Sept. 11 attack seem like a practice run.

Experts agree that Bin Laden probably has not yet acquired the ability to set off a nuke in his effort to drive America and Israel from what he views as Muslim holy land.

But law enforcement sources and experts on nuclear weapons agree that Bin Laden has certainly made a sustained effort to buy the enriched uranium that is the essential ingredient of any nuclear effort.

Could Bin Laden make an A-bomb?

"It's much harder than hijacking an airplane with a knife," said Leonard Spector, of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. "[But] it's probably true that with enough time and effort, one could make a bomb. It is a big challenge, though. People have debated this for a long time."

Sidetracked in Germany

There have also been reports — none confirmed — that the terrorist leader was seeking to buy a small nuclear device.

At the center of the controversy over Bin Laden's "Manhattan Project" nuclear schemes is Salim, a 41-year-old Iraqi-trained engineer.

Details of Bin Laden's nuclear efforts first came to light after Sept. 14, 1998, when German law enforcement apprehended him.

Days after the Aug. 8, 1998, bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, Salim traveled from Khartoum, Sudan, to Istanbul to Majorca, Spain, to Stuttgart, Germany. A friend then took him by car to Munich, where German police detained him.

He was held there for days while first German and then U.S. law enforcement grilled him. Since then, evidence gathered by the FBI makes clear that Salim was an elite member of Bin Laden's ultra-secret organization.

He allegedly controlled bank accounts for Al Qaeda and ran one of Bin Laden's construction companies. He has even been identified as a founder of Al Qaeda by Manhattan Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Karas, who is now investigating the Sept. 11 attack for the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office.

Unholy Alliance

In extradition papers filed in Germany, Karas listed Salim as a member of Bin Laden's majlis al shura, a council that advises terrorist groups from Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Algeria and elsewhere affiliated with Al Qaeda.

One of Salim's most frightening missions involved a joint operating agreement between Al Qaeda and the Islamic governments of Iran and Sudan.

The three agreed to produce weapons in Sudan, including "an effort to develop chemical weapons," Karas alleged.

Salim — who says he trained as an electrical engineer at the University of Baghdad — has been linked to the pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum that was bombed by U.S. forces on Aug. 20, 1998.

The bombing took place shortly after the Aug. 8 Bin Laden-led attacks on the two U.S. embassies in East Africa. The Clinton administration said the plant was manufacturing chemical weapons — an allegation plant management denied.

But a chemical attack was only part of the plan.

As long ago as 1993, Bin Laden's network began trying to make or acquire nuclear weapons, according to FBI informers and U.S. intelligence reports.

By 1998, Bin Laden acknowledged his effort openly.

In May that year, he issued a statement titled "The Nuclear Bomb of Islam," translated by the U.S. State Department as declaring "it is the duty of Muslims to prepare as much force as possible to terrorize the enemies of God."

Mystery Cylinder

In testimony during the embassy bombing trial last year, informant Jamal Ahmed Mohamed Al-Fadl vividly recalled Salim's involvement in Bin Laden's 1993 effort to buy a nuke.

Al-Fadl — who left Al Qaeda in 1996 after he was caught embezzling money — claimed he met with a former high Sudanese official to discuss buying enriched uranium.

He described meeting with intermediaries who demanded $1.5 million, then driving in a jeep to an anonymous address in a Khartoum neighborhood called Bait al Mal.

There, inside a house, a bag was brought out and opened. Inside, Al-Fadl said, was a 2- to 3-foot long metal cylinder with South African markings.

He said he was instructed to go to Salim with a document spelling out this transaction, and that Salim reviewed the document and approved it.

Uranium Passed Test

Though Al-Fadl never saw money change hands, he got $10,000 and praise for arranging an inspection of the uranium before it was shipped to Cyprus for quality testing. Al-Fadl said he later learned, second-hand, that the uranium was good and the deal was consummated.

It's unclear what became of the uranium.

To make an atomic bomb, at least 7 pounds of an extra-radioactive form of uranium that exists as a small fraction of mined uranium is needed. This highly purified U-235 is enriched, or weapons-grade, uranium.

Enriched uranium, which is hard to make, is placed in a container that implodes, compressing the uranium to a critical mass and triggering an atomic chain reaction that releases a blast equal to thousands of tons of dynamite.

A crude device might likely resemble Little Boy, the bomb crafted by America's secret Manhattan Project during World War II and dropped on Hiroshima. Little Boy was 10 feet long and weighed nearly 10,000 pounds.

Since the 1993 effort to buy uranium, Bin Laden's 'Manhattan project' has focused on acquiring a nuke from the former Soviet Union's arsenal, according to an October 1998 article in the Arabic magazine Al Watan Al Arabi.

The magazine claimed that at a meeting between Bin Laden followers and Chechen mobsters, $30 million cash and 2 tons of opium were exchanged for about 20 nuclear warheads. It quoted sources as saying Bin Laden planned for his scientists to convert the warheads to small "suitcase nukes."

A month earlier, Israeli intelligence sources told Time magazine that Bin Laden paid $2 million in British pounds to a man in Kazakhstan who promised to deliver a suitcase bomb within two years.

Ever since, a spate of alarming, unconfirmed and exaggerated news reports have played off those original news items, which remain unconfirmed.

80 Nuclear Weapons

The mere mention of "suitcase bomb" caused speculation Bin Laden might acquire one of some 80 1-kiloton tactical nuclear weapons allegedly made by Russia in the 1970s, as claimed in a 1997 "60 Minutes" interview with former Russian Security Council Secretary Alexander Lebed.

"My impression was that this issue was checked out pretty thoroughly," said Spector, of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies. "Nobody inside the U.S. government became alarmed once they did some investigating. ... This did not lead to an enormous amount of anxiety. Nobody was losing sleep over it."

Last week, U.S. officials in Washington declined to respond to any questions about Bin Laden and nukes.

But one source said the prospect of Bin Laden building a nuke, while distant, is to be feared.

For years, the United States has been buying Russia's stock of weapons-grade uranium to remove it from the market, but the purchases are a fraction of what exists.

"The threat is taken very seriously because the quantities of uranium in Russia are enormous. ... We've been worried for some time that security there is a problem," said one defense source. "Nobody wants to talk about it."
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C. Russia-Iran Cooperation

Russia and Iran Sign Arms Deal; Nuclear Reactors on the Way
Michael Wines
New York Times
October 3, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Oct. 2 — Six years after it stopped major arms sales to Iran under pressure from the United States, Russia signed a new military accord with Iran today that the Kremlin said could lead to $300 million in annual sales of jets, missiles and other weapons.

Russia's atomic energy ministry also announced that it plans to deliver next month the first of two nuclear reactors for a 1,000-megawatt power station being built largely by Russian technicians at Bushire, an Iranian port on the Persian Gulf.

The actions, announced as the Iranian and Russian defense ministers met in Moscow, had been in the works for close to a year and were not unexpected. But they took on new meaning in light of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, which not only prompted Russia to join an American-led antiterrorism coalition, but also led Iran to issue its own condemnation of the attacks and an unusual expression of sympathy for the United States.

Washington, which still regards Iran as a leading sponsor of terrorism, strongly opposed the moves announced today. It now finds itself condemning a weapons deal whose seller, Russia, has become a crucial ally, and whose buyer, Iran, is a potentially crucial recruit to the antiterrorist front.

The Iranian defense minister, Adm. Ali Shamkhani, and Russia's defense minister, Sergei Ivanov, discussed the two nations' roles in an antiterrorism campaign today, the second day of Mr. Shamkhani's five- day visit, but offered no details of their conversation.

Both Russia and Iran are enemies of the Taliban government in Afghanistan and of Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Ivanov said last week that the two countries could find common ground in battling international terrorism. The United States sees Russia, a supporter of Western military action against the Taliban, as a potentially valuable go-between in persuading Iran to support its military actions there, or at least to refrain from attacking them.

Mr. Shamkhani said this afternoon that Iran would support military strikes against Afghanistan, but only if they were authorized by the international community acting through the United Nations.

Terrorism, he said, could not be defeated in a society "under the influence of superpowers."

One expert on Middle East policy, Daniel Brumberg of Georgetown University, said today that Iran was threading the loopholes in American policy, hoping to reap the benefits of a Western defeat of the Taliban without having to support it explicitly.

"There's still a plausible case from an American standpoint that Iran hasn't given up" targeting civilians to achieve its goals, he said.

Sergei Yastrzhembsky, President Vladimir V. Putin's spokesman, disagreed with that. "I have not seen any proof so far," he said today. "At least no one has given us this proof."

The military accord reached today sets out only an agenda for cooperation. But tonight Russia's NTV television network reported that the total value of arms deals between Russia and Iran could reach $1.5 billion, making Iran Russia's third-largest arms customer, behind India and China.
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Russia: Ivanov and Iranian Defense Minister Sign Military Cooperation Accord
Francesca Mereu
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
October 2, 2001
(for personal use only)

The defense ministers of Russia and Iran today signed a military cooperation agreement that is believed to include arms sales that will earn Russia up to $300 million a year. While Russia offered assurances that the agreement would not include technology to support weapons of mass destruction, the deal may cause some consternation in the U.S., where the administration has accused Iran of supporting terrorism.

Moscow, 2 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani and his Russian counterpart Sergei Ivanov signed an agreement today on Russian weapons sales to Iran.

The agreement, which may earn Russia as much as $300 million a year, comes amid concerns in the West that Iran may be among the countries supporting terrorist activity.

Both the United States and Israel have, in the past, expressed particular concern that improving ties between Russia and Iran could help spread weapons of mass destruction.

Speaking to reporters after the signing, Ivanov said Russia decided to sign the agreement in March -- when Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, was visiting Moscow -- and long before last month's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Ivanov also stressed that today's agreement is in full compliance with international law, saying: "This agreement is no secret. It conforms to all the norms and standards of international law, and is practically identical to other documents that Russia has signed with many other countries."

International law prohibits the sale of weapons of mass destruction. According to Ruslan Pukhov, the director of Russia's Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, Moscow is likely to respect the ban.

"It is forbidden to sell atomic weapons. Russia respects the international agreement concerning atomic weapons and atomic energy. So [Russia] is not going [to violate it] -- these are just groundless suspicions that appear from time to time [in the media]. As far as ordinary weapons are concerned, Iran is interested in a wide range [of weapons], beginning with the armament of its ground forces to that of its air forces."

Iran is reportedly looking to buy anti-aircraft systems, in particular, portable Igla missiles and Tor-M1 systems. It may also be looking to purchase S-300 long-range missile systems, as well as Moskit and Yakhont antiship missiles.

Pukhov says a deal with Iran will be profitable for Russia at a time when its defense industry is sagging.

"Iran is also very important for the Russian arms market. Hypothetically, Iran may spend between $300 and $400 million a year [on arms]. Within five years, the total sum could rise to $1.5 billion or more."

Such figures could make Iran the third-largest purchaser of Russian arms after China and India. Arms supplies to China and India account for more than $4 billion a year. Russia is the world's fourth-biggest arms exporter, after the United States, Britain, and France.

In related developments today, Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry announced that Moscow would soon deliver the first reactor for a nuclear power station it is building for Tehran at Bushehr in western Iran.

Today's agreements are part of warmer relations between the two countries, which began last November when Russia decided to lift a ban on arms sales to Tehran. Russia suspended arms sales to Iran in 1995 under a secret agreement brokered by then-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

Iranian Defense Minister Shamkhani thanked Russia today for "liquidating the Gore- Chernomyrdin memorandum." He called relations between Russia and Iran "historical and long-term," and said: "I am very glad that today we have managed to sign an agreement on military-technical cooperation. This document is not aimed against any country but is aimed at ensuring peace and stability in our region." Pukhov says that Iran is Russia's closest ally in the Middle East region:

"Iran, together with Armenia, is the only full Russian ally in the Middle East region. Even if Iran has a very important role in the Muslim world, it openly backed the Russian military operation in Chechnya. [Iran] never condemned it -- [on the contrary,] several times it condemned Chechen terrorism and separatism."

Independent defense analyst Pavel Felgenhauer says that now -- at a time when the international community is fighting against global terrorism -- is not the appropriate moment for Russia to sign an arms deal with Iran.

"[Putin] repeats what he said before: 'We are fighting a common enemy and we should fight together.' But at the same time, Russia wants to throw billions of dollars worth of arms to Syria and Iran, which the United States believes to be terrorist-supporting states."

Aleksandr Gurov, the chairman of the Duma's Committee for Security, said yesterday that Russia would work to ensure that the weapons it sells do not fall into the wrong hands:

"We may sell [Iran] weapons for money -- the same way America does [with other countries]. But we are a big, civilized country and, of course, we will consider the issue of where the arms [we sell] end up. If there is even a very small doubt that the arms may end up in the hands of some terrorist organization, in my opinion there shouldn't be any contacts."

The meeting between the two defense chiefs took on a new significance in light of last month's attacks on the U.S. Ivanov said Russia and Iran have been battling international terrorism and drug trafficking for many years -- a reference to Afghanistan, which Ivanov called the "main harbor" for many terrorist groups and drug manufacturers.

Shamkhani was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying Iran would support an eventual attack against terrorist bases in Afghanistan, "if this were within the framework of the international community and in the framework of the United Nations."

Shamkhani also said that it is important to clarify what terrorism really is. He accused Israel of being a "university of terrorism" and called Prime Minister Ariel Sharon its "teacher."

Shamkhani, who will remain in Russia through 5 October, is scheduled to visit weapons factories in the Moscow region and St. Petersburg.
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D. Nuclear Waste

Russia needs 10 years to remove nuclear waste from Kola peninsula
BBC Monitoring Service
October 1, 2001
(for personal use only)

Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax

Murmansk, 1 October: As many as 10 years are necessary to solve the problem of removing spent nuclear fuel from the Kola Peninsula, Deputy Minister of Atomic Energy Aleksandr Lebedev said at a briefing in Murmansk on Sunday [30 September].

One hundred and eighty-eight nuclear-powered submarines have been removed from operation in the Pacific and Northern Fleets, including 109 from the Northern Fleet, Lebedev said. Forty-four nuclear-powered submarines have been dismantled on the Kola Peninsula, and fuel has been removed from another 57 subs.

More budget funds are being assigned to dismantle nuclear-powered submarines, Lebedev said. The allocations amounted to R1.2bn in 2001, including 650m for the Kola Region.

As for the refusal of Russia to take part in an international programme for nuclear safety, Lebedev said, the programme stipulates the responsibility of a country for possible nuclear damage. The Vienna convention sets the minimum responsibility for such damage at 50m dollars. "Russia does not have this money," he remarked.

Spent nuclear fuel was unloaded from four submarines in the Russian north in 1998. This year it is planned to unload 16 subs, Lebedev said. Russia plans to maintain this rate in the future in order to unload spent nuclear fuel from all the discarded submarines by 2007.

The main problem in handling the submarines' reactors is the absence of a long-storage facility and the technical means for transportation. A feasibility study of a storage site for submarine reactor waste in the Saida bay was drafted in 2001. The project cost is 75m dollars.

A feasibility study of a regional centre for processing and storing conditioned solid radioactive waste has been done, as well. The centre will be located on the premises of the Polyarninskiy and Nerpa ship-repairing docks, Murmansk Region.

The centre will treat all types of waste, including conditioned liquid radioactive waste resulting from the everyday activity of nuclear facilities and the rehabilitation of former coastal bases of the Navy. The centre for solid radioactive waste is intended for storing conditioned waste of low and medium emission for 50 to 70 years. The total cost of the project is 85m dollars.

Enterprises of the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry have drawn up a project for a permafrost burial site on the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago. An international examination of the project's safety will be done in 2001, and will help to decide whether to build the burial or to consider alternatives.

Russia will have to complete the construction of a centre for liquid radioactive waste processing on the premises of the Atomflot enterprise in 2001, design special containers for storing solid radioactive waste and technical means for its transportation, and reconstruct the storage of the Murmansk-based Rodon enterprise for meeting the modern requirements of environmental safety of radioactive waste treatment, Lebedev said.

"Despite the obviously successful implementation of the programme for dismantling nuclear-powered submarines, the total cost of dismantling and rehabilitating hazardous nuclear facilities is nearly 1.5bn dollars," sources in the Murmansk Region administration have told Interfax.

"If the financing remains unchanged, the shortage of funds will reach 60 per cent within 10 years," they noted.

Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1002 gmt 1 Oct 01
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E. Russian Nuclear Forces

Russia Tests Modified ICBM...
RFE/RL Newsline
October 4, 2001
(for personal use only)

Russian space troops conducted a successful launch and flight of a modified SS-22 (Topol-M) intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk base to Kamchatka, Interfax reported on 3 October. The flight was intended to test the reliability of a booster that Russia could use to again use multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles [MIRVs] for its nuclear forces if the U.S. pulls out of the 1972 ABM Treaty. This test follows the 18 September test of a submarine-launched missile on a flight from the Pacific to the Barents Sea. VY
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F. Links of Interest

USEC Tells NEI's Nuclear Fuel Conference that the Company Is Paving the Way for Advanced U.S. Uranium Enrichment Technology United States Enrichment Corporation
October 2, 2001

The Geopolitical Price of War
George Friedman

What if the Terrorists Go Nuclear?
Bruce Blair
Center for Defense Information

Non-Proliferation Policy and the War on Terrorism
John Parachini
Arms Control Today

U.S. and Russian/Soviet Strategic Nuclear Forces
Arms Control Today

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