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Nuclear News - 10/08/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, October 8, 2001
Compiled by Michael Roston

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Our New Security Framework, Sam Nunn, Washington Post (10/08/01)
B. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. The Terror Next Time?, The Economist (10/06/01)
C. US-Russia Relations
    1. Wartime Lies, Peter Beinart, The New Republic, (10/15/01)
    2. From Russia, With Realism, New York Times (10/07/01)
    3. Russian Interior Ministry Promises FBI More Information On Bin Laden, Wants Help On Chechnya, Associated Press (10/05/01)
D. Nuclear Waste
    1. World's Spent Fuel To Be Buried In Krasnoyarsk Region, Pravda (10/03/01)
E. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Armenian Government 'Borrows' From Privatization Funds To Pay For Nuclear Fuel, RFE/RL Newsline (10/05/01)
F. Links of Interest

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

Our New Security Framework
Sam Nunn
Washington Post
October 8, 2001
(for personal use only)

Yesterday's military strike in Afghanistan is the most dramatic andvisible decision President Bush has made so far in the campaign toprotect the world from terror. But it will not be the only one.

When an enemy strikes suddenly and catastrophically, decisions andactions that would normally take five to 10 years are made in a fewmonths. We have an imperative now to integrate this accelerated fightagainst terrorism into a new security framework that addresses the fullrange of dangers we face. This strategy must contain both short-termurgent initiatives and longer-term strategic thinking. To do so, we mustunderstand what changed on Sept. 11, and what did not change.

What changed was not our vulnerability to terrorism but ourunderstanding of it. To most Americans, the attack was unthinkable. Nowour nation knows better. The terrorists' capacity for killing is limitedonly by the power of their weapons. We lost our sense ofinvulnerability, but we also lost our sense of complacency.

What did not change is this: The most significant, clear and presentdanger we face is the threat posed by nuclear, biological and chemicalweapons. The question is not whether we must prepare for terrorism orfor attacks with weapons of mass destruction. These two threats are notseparate but interrelated and reinforcing, and if joined together,become our worst nightmare.

For a half-century, the people of the United States and much of theworld have lived under threat from nuclear weapons. Many believe the endof the Cold War was the end of that threat. It was not. The danger of aconventional war with the former Soviet Union escalating into a nuclearholocaust has almost disappeared, but other threats have multiplied andgrown more complex and dangerous. The specter of terrorists acquiringweapons of mass destruction is a clear case of this.

As these new threats have multiplied, both the United States and Russiahave continued to invest large resources in nuclear strategies left overfrom the Cold War days: maintenance of strategic forces with thousandsof nuclear warheads ready for immediate launch. In today's world it nolonger makes sense for either nation to stake its security sodisproportionately on its ability to promptly launch a nuclear attackwith thousands of warheads. These nuclear postures are not relevant instopping proliferation; they compress decision time for each presidentto a matter of a very few minutes; they make an accident or misjudgmentmore likely, particularly with Russia's diminished weapons survivabilityand decreased warning; and they multiply the consequences of a mistakeby either Russia or the United States. We must think anew.

The threats we faced during the Cold War -- a Soviet nuclear strike oran invasion of Europe -- were made more dangerous by Soviet strength.The new threats – false warnings, accidental launches, the risk ofweapons, materials and know-how falling into the wrong hands -- are mademore dangerous by Russia's weakness. We addressed the Cold War's threatsby confrontation with Moscow. There can be no realistic comprehensiveplan to defend America against weapons of mass destruction that does notdepend on cooperation with Moscow.

As the nation has begun to realize, we now face great danger from theproliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Osama binLaden has said acquiring weapons of mass destruction is a religiousduty. And so we find ourselves, at the dawn of the new century, in a newarms race: Terrorists are racing to get weapons of mass destruction; weought to be racing to stop them.

We also must come to an agreement on missile defense -- a debate thathas been set aside since the terrorist attacks, but not because it hasbeen resolved. The proliferation of missile technology poses the dangerthat a rogue state could develop the capability to launch a missile witha weapon of mass destruction at a U.S. city. From my perspective, thisthreat is not an immediate danger, but it cannot be dismissed because itis more distant or because it would -- for the attacking nation --amount to national suicide. I believe, however, that protecting ourdeployed military forces is a much more urgent threat, and mobiletheater defense should be our priority focus.

Over the longer run, to the extent we can develop the means to shieldourselves from attack through a limited missile defense, we should do so-- so long as it does not leave us more vulnerable to threats that aremore likely, more immediate and more potentially devastating. We mustunderstand that threat reduction, diplomacy, cooperation, military powerand intelligence are our first lines of defense against the spread ofweapons of mass destruction and terrorism. National missile defense isour last line of defense. We have to guard against overinvesting in ourlast line of defense and underinvesting in all the others.

Nuclear force posture, nonproliferation, missile defense and the fightagainst terrorism each address separate elements of the threat fromweapons of mass destruction. But they must be integrated into acomprehensive defense. In setting priorities, we must start with anobjective, comprehensive intelligence estimate that assesses each majorrisk, ranks every major threat and helps us devise a broad strategy thatconfronts the full range of significant dangers in a way that defendsagainst one without making us more vulnerable to another.

Presidents Bush and Vladimir Putin will be meeting soon in Texas. Theycould use the occasion to commit each nation to a course of actionensuring that our nuclear weapons and nuclear, chemical and biologicalweapons materials are safe, secure and accounted for with reciprocalmonitoring. Making sure that weapons of mass destruction and materialsdon't fall into the hands of rogue nations and terrorists is either apriority or an afterthought. If it's an afterthought, after what? Whatcomes before it? If it is a priority, is that reflected in our effortand investment? Are our friends in Asia and Europe doing their share? Ifnot, why not?

I also suggest that the two presidents issue an order directing theirmilitary leaders, in joint consultation and collaboration, to deviseoperational changes in the nuclear forces of both nations that wouldreduce toward zero the risk of accidental launch or miscalculation andprovide increased launch decision time for each president. Such an ordershould emphasize that it is the intention of the United States andRussia to stand down their nuclear forces to the maximum extentpractical consistent with their security interests.

Finally, when Russia was developing biological weapons, it also wasdeveloping vaccines and other pharmaceuticals. When it was devisingdissemination mechanisms, it also was working on detectors andprotective devices. At this moment, the United States and Russia couldcombine their biodefense knowledge and scientific expertise and applythese considerable joint resources to defensive and peaceful biologicalpurposes. The two presidents could promote a research endeavor thatcould motivate other nations to join.

If the United States and Russia begin working together as partners infighting terror and the threat from weapons of mass destruction, and ifthey encourage others to join, the world will be a different place forour children and grandchildren. We face major challenges, but a historicopportunity. We must seize it now.

The writer, a former Democratic senator from Georgia, is co-chairman ofthe Nuclear Threat Initiative. This article is adapted from a speech atThe Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
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B. Nuclear Terrorism

The Terror Next Time?
The Economist
October 6th, 2001
(for personal use only)

IN THE aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington,those whose job it is to think the unthinkable were conscious that, forall the carnage, it could have been far worse. Fuel-laden aircraftslamming into buildings was bad enough. But the sight of some among therescue workers picking over the debris with test tubes, followed by thesudden decision to ground all of America's crop-spraying aircraft forseveral days, pointed to an even more horrible possibility. Wereterrorists with so little calculation of restraint to get their hands onweapons of mass destruction—whether chemical, biological or evennuclear—they would surely use them. How real is that threat?

It is certainly not new. Among one of many warnings from Americanthink-tanks and government agencies in recent years, a report releasedlast December by the CIA's National Intelligence Council concludedbaldly that, when it came to chemical and biological weapons inparticular, "some terrorists or insurgents will attempt to use [these]against United States interests, against the United States itself, itsforces or facilities overseas, or its allies." Governments in Americaand Europe worry that Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda, theterrorist network thought to be behind the September 11th attacks, mayalready have access to such weapons, and be planning to use them inresponse to any American military strikes. TheWorld Health Organisation has called on governments around the world tobe better prepared for such an eventuality.

For groups prepared to engage in the kamikaze tactics seen on September11th, the easiest way to spread poisonous or radioactive materials mightsimply be to fly into repositories of them, or to use lorries full ofthem as suicide bombs. As Amy Smithson of the Stimson Centre inWashington, DC, observed in a report released last year, there are some850,000 sites in the United States alone at which hazardous chemicalsare produced, consumed or stored. The arrest in America last week of anumber of people who were found to have fraudulently obtained permits todrive trucks that carry such hazardous loads looks like a worryingconfirmation of such fears.

It is, nevertheless, likely that terrorist groups around the world areworking on more sophisticated approaches to mass destruction than merelyblowing up existing storage facilities, or hijacking lorry-loads ofnoxious substances. Mr bin Laden himself has, in the past, called it a"religious duty" to acquire such weapons. He is reported to have helpedhis former protectors in Sudan to develop chemical weapons for use inthat country's civil war, and has since boasted of buying "a lot ofdangerous weapons, maybe chemical weapons" for the Taliban regime inAfghanistan that now harbours him.

It's harder than you think

Even for determined terrorists, however, merely getting hold ofchemical, biological or nuclear materials is not enough. Do-it-yourselfmass destruction—whether of a nuclear, chemical or biological variety—isfar from easy (see article). First, you have to acquire or manufacturesufficient quantities of the lethal agent. Second, you have to deliverit to the target. And third, you have either to detonate it, or tospread it around in a way that will actually harm a lot of people.

The difficulties in doing all these things are illustrated by an attackcarried out in 1995 on Tokyo's underground railway. Aum Shinrikyo, aJapanese cult, released a potent nerve agent called sarin on fivetrains. The intention was to kill thousands. In fact, only 12 peopledied, and some 40 were seriously injured—bad enough, but no worse thanthe casualty list from a well-placed conventional bomb.

The cult's researchers had spent more than $30m attempting to developsarin-based weapons, yet they failed to leap any of the three hurdlessatisfactorily. They could not produce the chemical in the purityrequired. Their delivery mechanism was no more sophisticated thancarrying it on to the trains in person in plastic bags. And their ideaof a distribution system was to pierce those bags with umbrella tips torelease the liquid, which would then evaporate.

The attack, in other words, was not a great success. Yet, of the threeclasses of weapon of mass destruction, those based on chemicals shouldbe the easiest to make. Their ingredients are often commerciallyavailable (see table). Their manufacturing techniques are well known.And they have been used from time to time in real warfare, so theirdeployment is also understood.

Biological weapons are trickier; and nuclear weapons trickier still.Germs need to be coddled, and are hard to spread satisfactorily. (AumShinrikyo attempted to develop biological weapons, in the form ofanthrax spores, but failed to produce the intended lethal effects.)Making atomic bombs is an even greater technological tour-de-force.Manufacturing weapons-grade nuclear explosives ("enriched" uranium, orthe appropriate isotopic mix of plutonium) requires a lot of expensiveplant. Detonating those explosives—by rapidly assembling the "criticalmass" needed to sustain a chain reaction—is also notoriously difficult.

Joint ventures

Terrorist groups working from first principles are thus likely to runinto formidable obstacles if they want to get into the mass-destructionbusiness. Nevertheless, there may be ways round these. One quick fixwould be to buy in the services of otherwise unemployed or ill-paidweapons specialists from the former Soviet nuclear-, biological- andchemical-weapons establishments. At least some of these people are knownto have washed up as far afield as Iran, Iraq, China and North Korea,but none has yet been directly associated with any terrorist group.

In an attempt to reduce the risk of this happening, the United Stateshas, over the past ten years, spent more than $3 billion dismantlingformer Soviet nuclear weapons, improving security at Russia's nuclearstorage sites, and keeping former weaponeers busy on useful civilianwork. But, as Ms Smithson points out, only a tiny fraction of thismoney—itself a drop in a bucket when measured against the scale ofRussia's sprawling weapons complex—goes towards safeguarding chemicaland biological secrets. And even the nuclear side of things has sprungthe odd leak.

Over the past ten years there have been numerous attempts to smugglenuclear materials out of the former Soviet Union. There have beenunconfirmed suspicions that Iran, for one, may have got its hands on atactical nuclear warhead from Russia. So far, though, police and customsofficers have seized mostly low-grade nuclear waste. This could not beturned into a proper atomic bomb, but with enough of it, a terroristgroup might hope to build a "radiological" device, to spread radioactivecontamination around (see article). Fortunately, the occasional amountsof weapons-grade stuff that have been found so far fall short of the9-15kg of explosive needed for a crude but workable bomb.

Theories of deterrence

Yet even if a group got hold of enough such explosives, it would stillface the hurdle of turning them into a weapon. Hence the most effectiveway for a terrorist group to obtain one would be to find a sponsoringgovernment that is willing to allow access to its laboratories or itsarsenal.

After the Gulf war, UN special inspectors discovered that Iraq had beenpursuing not one but several ways to produce weapons-grade material, andhad come within months of building an atomic bomb. The effort, however,is thought to have taken a decade and to have cost Saddam Husseinupwards of $10 billion. Much of this was spent on acquiring the bits andpieces needed from foreign companies—sometimes through bribery,sometimes through deception.

In similar ways, he amassed the materials and equipment, much of it withlegitimate civilian uses in fermentation plants and vaccinelaboratories, for his vast chemical- and biological-weapons programmes.Although most of Iraq's nuclear programme had been unearthed anddestroyed, along with much of its missile and chemical arsenal, theinspectors were convinced, when they were thrown out of the country in1998, that important parts of the biological effort remained hidden.

A glance at the list of state sponsors of international terrorismmaintained by America's State Department makes troubling reading. Mostof the seven countries included—Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, NorthKorea and Sudan—have chemical weapons already. Five are suspected ofdabbling illegally in the biological black arts, and several have covertnuclear-weapons programmes, too. America's Department of Defenceestimated earlier this year that more than two dozen countries havealready built weapons of mass destruction, or else are trying to do so.

So far, there is no evidence that any of these governments has helpedterrorist groups to acquire such deadly goods. That may, partly, bebecause of widespread moral revulsion against their use. Butself-interest on the part of the states involved is also a significantfactor. It is one thing to give terrorist groups financial andlogistical support and a place to hide—a favoured tactic of governmentson the State Department's list as a deniable way of furthering their ownlocal or regional ends. It is quite another to share such awesomeweapons with outfits like al-Qaeda, which no government can fullycontrol.

On top of that, since the September 11th attacks, American officials,from the president down, have gone out of their way to emphasise thatnot only the terrorists involved in any future assaults, but also thestates that shelter them, can expect to find themselves in thecross-hairs.

Iraq has been the worst offender when it comes to wielding any of theseweapons. It used chemical weapons in its war with Iran and in attacksagainst its own Kurdish population. Yet Saddam Hussein's failure to usehis chemical and biological-tipped missiles, or the radiological weaponshe also had, against western-led coalition forces during the Gulf warshowed that, even when morality plays little part, deterrence can stillwork. America had made clear that, if he had deployed these weapons, hewould have brought down massive retribution on both his regime and hiscountry.

The big distinction between the dangers of states obtaining such weaponsand the danger of terrorists getting their hands on them, argues GarySamore of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in London,is precisely that, however hostile they may be, states are more"deterrable". Mr bin Laden's network has shown that it will stop atnothing. But are states such as Iraq and North Korea, which operate inother ways largely outside international law, deterrable enough toprevent them lending a secret helping hand to a group like Mr binLaden's?

Of intelligence and imagination

America's defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, argued this week that ittakes no "leap of the imagination" to expect countries harbouringterrorists to help them get access to weapons of mass destruction.Testimony from the trial of four bin Laden operatives convicted earlierthis year for the August 1998 bombing of America's embassies in Kenyaand Tanzania revealed that their past military interest in Sudan wentbeyond helping the regime make chemical weapons for its own war. In onecase, Mr bin Laden was attempting to purchase uranium viaintermediaries.

Meanwhile, intelligence officials trying to assess the range of threatsthey now face worry that Iraq's past military links with Sudan may havebeen no coincidence either. In 1998 America bombed a Sudanesepharmaceutical plant which it said showed traces of a precursor chemicalfor VX, a highly potent nerve gas that inspectors believe Iraq had putinto weapon form. Some observers speculate that, even if Sudan's denialsthat it was manufacturing any such stuff are true, the country may haveserved as a trans-shipment point for supplies to Iraq. Might someweapons assistance have flowed the other way, possibly reaching Mr binLaden's network? Iraq denies it has had anything to do with Mr binLaden, but there have been unconfirmed reports that one of the New Yorkhijackers met a senior Iraqi intelligence official earlier this year inEurope.

Yet even if no direct link is ever proved between a reckless foreigngovernment and last month's terrorist attacks on America, westernofficials have long fretted that groups such as Mr bin Laden's will beable to exploit emerging new patterns of proliferation to gain access tonuclear, chemical and bug bombs. Despite attempts by western-sponsoredsupplier cartels—the Missile-Technology Control Regime, the NuclearSuppliers Group and the Australia group, which tries to track the tradein worrying chemicals or biological agents—the number of such suppliershas expanded over the past decade. Countries that were once entirelydependent on outside help for their covert weapons programmes, mostlyfrom Russia and China, are now going into business themselves.

This is particularly disturbing in the context of the third obstacle tothe use of these weapons: delivery. Working from original Russian Scudmissile designs, North Korea has created a thriving missile- andtechnology-export business with Iran, Pakistan, Syria and others in theMiddle East. Iran, in turn, has started to help Syria and possibly Libya(which had past weapons ties with Serbia and Iraq) to improve theirmissile technology. Egypt is still building on the expertise developedby a now-defunct missile co-operation programme with Argentina and Iraq.

It is unlikely that such ballistic-missile technology would find its wayinto terrorist hands any time soon. But two things are true of almostall technologies: as the years pass, they get cheaper, and they spread.Even if there is no immediate threat, it may eventually not be justhijackedaircraft that are flying into places that terrorists have taken adislike to. And their "warheads" may consist of something even worsethan aviation fuel.
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C. US-Russia Relations

Wartime Lies
Peter Beinart
The New Republic
October 15, 2001
(for personal use only)

The war against terrorism is still in its infancy, but it has alreadyclaimed at least one casualty: the West's conscience about Chechnya.When the Bush administration called on Moscow for assistance in the daysafter the World Trade Center attacks, the Russians said they werealready on the case. In fact, they explained, they have been battlingterrorists for years. And they would gladly support America's new war aslong as America backed Russia's old one: in Chechnya. "The war onterrorism has been Russia's priority for years," explained YevgenyKozhokin, head of the Kremlin-funded Institute for Strategic Research."Now that the U.S. sees what we've been facing, perhaps they'llunderstand us better."

And, indeed, America and its nato allies have understood Russia'sposition on Chechnya a lot "better" since September 11. GermanChancellor Gerhard Schroeder explained last week that the West would"reevaluate" its position on the war. A top official in Schroeder'sparty put it more bluntly, telling The New York Times, "Silence onChechnya is the price for this new solidarity." As if on cue, PresidentBush the next day said, "To the extent that there are terrorists inChechnya, Arab terrorists associated with the Al Qaeda organization, Ibelieve they ought to be brought to justice."

In short, we're selling out Chechnya. And tactically we probably don'thave any choice. The people who killed 6,000 Americans must be punished.To punish them, we need Russia's military bases and Russia's militaryintelligence. And unless the Bushies hold their tongues about the mostbrutal war on the European continent, they won't get it. It's thatsimple.

But intellectually we have a very important choice. Vladimir Putin badlywants Americans to believe, as he put it, "We have a common foe." Andsuddenly many Americans are inclined to agree. They shouldn't. Morally,America's war on terrorism and Russia's war on "terrorism" are night andday. And if we conflate the two, our struggle against the perpetratorsof September 11 will not only fail, it will deserve to fail.

The war in Chechnya has, from the beginning, been about one thing:nationalism. At the end of Gorbachev, the Soviet Empire was peeling awaylike an onion. Eastern-bloc satellites like Poland and Hungary werebreaking free. Non-Russian territories within the ussr--such asLithuania, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan--were doing the same. And so severalethnically distinct territories within Russia itself—likeChechnya--followed suit. Chechnya's leaders were inspired by theindependence movements in the Baltics. And Chechnya's people--hundredsof thousands of whom were deported to Central Asia by Stalin--viscerallydistrusted Russia. And so in November 1990, a thousand Chechens conveneda national Congress and de-clared their homeland independent.

The declaration wasn't entirely serious. Even after the Chechens electeda president and a parliament in 1991, they still used Russian currencyand Soviet passports. Chechnya still competed in the Russian soccerleague. Tatarstan, which also declared independence, eventually agreedto stay within the Russian federation in return for political andeconomic autonomy. And there is evidence that the Chechen leadershipmight have accepted something similar. ButChechnya's erratic and authoritarian president, Jokhar Dudayev,repeatedly insulted Boris Yeltsin. And, as time passed without a deal,hard-line nationalists replaced reformers within Yeltsin's inner circle.After chauvinist demagogue Vladimir Zhirinovsky's stunning success inRussia's 1994 parliamentary elections, Yeltsin decided that a showdownwith Chechnya would help his reelection chances in 1996. And so, inDecember 1994, Moscow invaded--initiating a hideous war that ended instalemate two years later.

What does all this have to do with Osama bin Laden? Not a lot. TheKremlin calls the Chechen rebellion a fundamentalist jihad. But in theirexcellent book Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus, Carlotta Gall andThomas de Waal write that "Islam was not a big factor in the 1991nationalist movement." In fact, at the time of independence, they foundin the Chechen capital of Grozny a grand total of one shariatcourt--manned by an Islamic judge who smoked Marlboros.

It's true that as the years passed, religious zealotry gained afoothold. By 1996 Russia's assault had left barely a building standingin Grozny. And conditions deteriorated even further after 1999, whenPutin--facing an election campaign himself--whipped up nationalistsupport by invading Chechnya once again. The two wars have made roughlyhalf of Chechnya's population refugees or homeless. And this summer,even the commander of Russian forces in the area admitted that histroops had committed "widespread crimes" against civilians. So it's notsurprising that, as they have all over the world, Islamic zealotsexploited the chaos and hatred. In particular, fundamentalists beyondthe control of Chechnya's elected president launched raids intoneighboring Dagestan. (They may have blown up buildings in Moscow aswell, although many Russian liberals think they were framed.)

Putin has seized on this to portray the rebellion as the work ofoutsiders. Moscow has suggested that Arabs constitute as much as 70percent of the guerrillas fighting in Chechnya. But that's absurd.American intelligence recently estimated that the war involves no morethan several hundred Arab militants. In July of last year, The Economistnoted that of the thousands of Chechens captured during the war, Russiahad produced a grand total of four foreigners. As Sergei Grigoryants,head of the Russian human rights foundation Glasnost, puts it, "Theremay be terrorists in Chechnya, but to say the 10-year-old Chechenrebellion is an expression of Islamic terrorism is fundamentally wrong."

And until the World Trade Center fell, the United States understood thatit was fundamentally wrong. "We know," said a Bush official last week,"that Al Qaeda has exploited the war in Chechnya, [and] may have evenhelped to provoke it." But they seem not to have known it beforeSeptember 11, because as the Times pointed out, the administration hadnever before said anything of the sort. Indeed, during the campaign,George W. Bush considered Russia's Chechen war so indefensible that hedemanded that international aid be withheld in protest.

What was true then is true now: The idea that Russia—which is helpingIran build a nuclear reactor--is seriously concerned about internationalterrorism is laughable. Russia's leaders are concerned about theirsurvival, and since they have nothing genuine to offer their people, waris their best way to guarantee it. So they have resuscitated oldcultural and religious hatreds and sent them into battle. America mayhave to temporarily lower its voice about the Chechen war, buteventually, it must raise it again. Because Russia's war in Chechnya ispremised on a lie that America's war on terrorism must at all costsavoid: that every Muslim who takes up arms for his homeland is Osama binLaden. It wasn't true in Bosnia. It wasn't true in Kosovo. And it isn'ttrue in Chechnya, no matter what Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush say.
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From Russia, With Realism
New York Times
October 7, 2001
(for personal use only)

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has been quick to align himself withAmerican diplomatic and even military initiatives in the aftermath ofthe Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. For this, he deserves Washington'sgratitude and respect. But any substantive changes in American policiesinvolving Russia must still be evaluated on an issue-by-issue basis. Insome areas, like arms control and combatting terrorism, Washington'sinterests and Moscow's generally coincide. In others, like the defenseof human rights in Chechnya and nuclear assistance to Iran, they do not.

Arguing that both countries face a common threat from radical Islamicterrorism, Mr. Putin has taken dramatic steps that no recent Russianleader would have contemplated. He agreed, for example, to shareintelligence information on Afghanistan, and he approved the idea ofAmerica's stationing troops on the soil of Central Asia's former Sovietrepublics. In doing so, he has challenged the views of many Russianmilitary officers and of powerful nationalist and Communistparliamentary blocs.

Mr. Putin clearly expects that his friendship will be rewarded down theroad with more forthcoming American policies on a range of issues fromChechnya to missile defense to the future of NATO.

The Bush administration needs to be cautious about what kinds ofconcessions it will make. Already, Washington appears to bedeliberately, and wrongly, downplaying the issue of Russian human rightsviolations in Chechnya. Moscow has long claimed that Osama bin Laden andhis allies have been training Chechen independence fighters, and itportrays the Chechen fighting as primarily a battle against radicalIslamic terrorism. But the conflict between Russians and Chechens goesback centuries, and the two Russian military offensives there over thepast decade have been accompanied by the brutal and widespread abuse ofinnocent civilians. Washington should continue to protest thisinexcusable behavior.

There may be more room for mutual accommodation on missile defense. Theprominence of this issue has receded since Sept. 11. But the idea ofWashington's moving on its own to abandon the 1972 Antiballistic MissileTreaty makes even less sense now than it did a month ago. Theadministration should concentrate instead on a more modest plan to reachan agreement with Russia that would permit limited missile defenseswithout unraveling valuable arms control accords between the twocountries.

Mr. Putin also wants to reconsider Russia's traditionally adversarialrelations with NATO, as he indicated on his visit to the alliance'sheadquarters in Brussels last Wednesday. He suggested that Moscow maydrop its reflexive opposition to former Soviet republics, like theBaltic countries of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, ever joining NATO.Those countries' applications should be evaluated on their own merits.

But Mr. Putin stated that warmer Russian relations with NATO depended onchanges in the nature of the alliance that would make it more of apolitical organization than a military pact. That will need to becarefully explored. The importance of NATO's military dimension wasdemonstrated in Kosovo and newly underscored when the alliance invokedits mutual defense clause in response to last month's terror attacks onthe United States.

Mr. Putin's strong support for America in the fight against terrorismhas opened the way to a warmer, more constructive relationship betweenRussia and the United States. Much hard work will be needed, on bothsides, to fulfill that hopeful promise.
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Russian Interior Ministry Promises FBI More Information On Bin Laden, Wants Help On Chechnya
Associated Press
October 5, 2001
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's interior minister has promised the head of theFBI that Russia will provide information about Osama bin Laden, thesuspected mastermind of the terror attacks on the United States, andasked for U.S. assistance in international search for Chechen rebels.

Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov told FBI Director Robert Mueller in atelephone conversation late Thursday that his ministry would "transferall information on the activities of the so-called emissaries of Osamabin Laden in Russia," the interior ministry said in a statement releasedFriday.

Russian officials long have claimed that bin Laden had been funding andtraining rebels in breakaway Chechnya. An aide to President VladimirPutin claimed earlier this week that at least four suicide perpetratorsof Sept. 11 airplane attacks on New York and Washington had previouslyfought in Chechnya. No evidence of that claim has been made public.

Russia's support for the international anti-terror coalition hasbolstered its relations with the United States and other Westerncountries, and they have moderated their criticism of the war inChechnya. President George W. Bush has endorsed Russia's claim that somerebels in Chechnya had links with bin Laden's al-Qaida terroristorganization.

Gryzlov told Mueller about the "need for a closer bilateral cooperationin the search and detention of people who are members of internationalterrorist organizations."

"First of all, that concerns operations to detain people involved in theterrorist activities on the territory of the Chechen republic who are ona wanted list," Gryzlov said, according to the ministry's statement. "Asof now, the Russian law enforcement agencies have put 63 people on aninternational wanted list on charges of involvement in terroristactivities in Chechnya."

According to the ministry, Mueller promised to help and also pledgedthat the FBI would immediately alert Russia if it receives anyinformation about possible terror attacks being prepared against it.

Last March, a Chechen rebel envoy has visited Washington and spoke tosome officials, causing a salvo of angry protests from Moscow.
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D. Nuclear Waste

World's Spent Fuel To Be Buried In Krasnoyarsk Region
October 3, 2001
(for personal use only)

According to the information from the Moscow group Ecozashita(Ecodefense), the burial ground for the nuclear wastes from the wholeworld will be built in the Krasnoyarsk region. Ecologists said, therewere new documents found, which proved that the Ministry for NuclearPower was conducting the research 30 kilometers far from the mining andchemical works (Zheleznogorsk) pertaining to the issue of creating theburial ground to store the nuclear wastes of high activity. Thisresearch started in 1998. The site itself is situated 25-30 kilometersfrom the mentioned factory. The research is being funded together withFinland, Japan and the USA – the countries that experience seriousproblems due to the saved volumes of the spent fuel on theirterritories.

In the summer of the year 2001, despite the mass protest expressed fromGreenpeace and from several political organizations, 3 bills came intoeffect in Russia and the spent fuel was allowed to be imported forstorage or processing. However, the results show, the imported wastesare not going to be either processed or shipped back for the originalowners after the processing. So, most likely, the burial ground isneeded to simply bury the nuclear wastes.

The Ministry for Nuclear Power believes the plan to import the spentfuel will bring about $20 billion to Russia within 10 years. Pursuant tothe documents, exposed by the group Ecodefense and by the anti-nuclearcampaign of the Social-ecological union in the spring of 2001, thousandsof tons of spent fuel were going to be delivered to the mining andchemical works from Taiwan and other countries. The depot, which isdisposed at the factory itself is only good for 6 thousand tons ofnuclear wastes, it is half-filled and may solve the problem where tostore the wastes only within a limited period of time.

The works connected with building the nuclear burial ground have neverbeen publicized in Russia, but the nuclear specialists used to makeregular reports abroad regarding the work that had been done. Ecologistshave the documents about the research of a certain area not really farfrom the city of Krasnoyarsk. The papers were prepared at St.Petersburginstitute and presented at the 9th international radioactive wastesconference in Las Vegas.
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E. Russian Nuclear Power Industry

Armenian Government 'Borrows' From Privatization Funds To Pay For Nuclear Fuel
RFE/RL Newsline
October, 05, 2001
(for personal use only)

The Armenian government approved on 4 October the "temporary" use of $4million from the proceeds of privatization as an advance payment for anew consignment of nuclear fuel from Russia, RFE/RL's Yerevan bureaureported. Under an agreement reached in late August between the Armenianand Russian governments, Armenia was to pay $4 million immediately andthe remaining $9 million over a period of three months. The $4 millionwill be repaid to the state treasury within two weeks following thereceipt of a new $4 million loan from the CIS Interstate Bank. The delayhas led to a further postponement in reactivating the Medzamor nuclearpower station that was shut down for maintenance in July. LF
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F. Links of Interest

"Strange Bedfellows In A Strange Land: The International Coalition To Combat Terrorism"
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, transcripts by
Federal News Service
October 3, 2001

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