Partnership for Global Security: Leading the World to a Safer Future
Home Projects Publications Issues Official Documents About RANSAC Nuclear News 4/15/13
Location: Home / Projects & Publications / News
Sitemap Contact
Search
Google www PGS
 
Nuclear News - 10/22/01
RANSAC Nuclear News, October 22, 2001
Compiled by Michael Roston


A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Bush and Putin to Deny Terrorists Access to Nuclear and Biological Arms, The Irish Examiner (10/22/01)
    2. A Leading Role for the Security Council, New York Times, Mikhail S. Gorbachev (10/21/01)
    3. Radiation Bomb Seen as Big Threat, Frances Williams, Financial Times (10/19/01)
B. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. Thinking the Unthinkable: Is Nuclear Terrorism Next? Olivia Ward, Toronto Star (10/21/01)
    2. Uranium Seized in France Could Have Made Low-Grade Bomb, Agence France-Presse
C. Russia-Iran Cooperation
    1. Russia Completing Iran Nuclear Plant, Planning Another, BBC Monitoring Service (10/20/01)
D. Russia-India Cooperation
    1. Russia, India to Sign Nuclear Power Plant Contract in Weeks, Veronika Voskoboinikova, ITAR-TASS (10/19/01)
E. Spent Fuel Imports
    1. Minatom Forgets to Inform President About Spent Fuel Import, Rashid Alimov, Bellona Foundation (10/22/01)
    2. Rebalancing Priorities, Joseph Stiglitz, Ha'Aretz Daily (10/19/01)
F. Nuclear Waste
    1. Kazakh Ecology Official Slams Proposal to Store Nuclear Waste, RFE/RL Newsline (10/22/01)
    2. Kazakhstan Raises Possibility Of Storing Nuclear Waste, RFE/RL Newsline (10/19/01)
    3. Nuclear waste disposal plant commissioned in Russia's far north, BBC Monitoring Service (10/19/01)
    4. Duma Imposes New Restrictions On Handling Of Imported Nuclear Waste, RFE/RL Newsline (10/19/01)
G. Nuclear Safety
    1. Ecologist Warns of Growing Environmental Threat to Health, RFE/RL Newsline (10/22/01)
    2. Romania, Russia Sign Agreement on Warning in Case of Nuclear Accidents, BBC Monitoring Service (10/19/01)
H. Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Ukraine to Extend Service Life of its Nuclear Reactors, BBC Monitoring Service (10/20/01)
    2. Armenian Nuclear Power Plant to Resume Operations, RFE/RL Newsline (10/19/01)
I. Nuclear Forces
    1. Rep. King: Nukes Should Be an Option in Afghanistan (excerpted), Newsmax.Com (10/21/01)
    2. Peers Oppose Buyer's Idea to Use Nuclear Device, Sylvia A. Smith, Journal Gazette (10/20/01)
    3. Russia Successfully Launches Two ICBMs From Submarine, RFE/RL Newsline (10/19/01)
    4. GOP Congressman Suggests Limited Nuclear Retaliation, Jim Burns, CNSNews.com (10/18/01)

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Bush and Putin to Deny Terrorists Access to Nuclear and Biological Arms
The Irish Examiner
October 22, 2001
(for personal use only)


RUSSIA and the United States pledged yesterday to prevent nuclear,biological and chemical weapons being used for terrorism and to stopmoney funding those involved. In a joint statement released after USPresident George W Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin held morethan an hour of talks, the two nations said they would co-operate inmany fields in the anti-terrorism fight.

The statement also urged the formation of a coalition government inAfghanistan, the target of three weeks of US air strikes and at leastone ground operation.

The coalition should include groups that would bring stability, thestatement said.

"The presidents of the two countries are fully resolved to increaseco-operation in the fight against new terrorist threats in the nuclear,chemical and biological fields, as well as in the field of computers,"said the statement, released by the Kremlin after the leaders held anews conference in Shanghai.

Mr Bush and Mr Putin came together after participating in a weekendsummit of leaders from the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC)grouping.

APEC leaders issued an unprecedented anti-terrorism statement. However,the Russian-United States declaration went much further. "They agreed toincrease bilateral and multi-lateral actions to prevent the export anddistribution of nuclear, chemical and biological materials, thetechnology connected with them and the means for their delivery...," theUS-Russian statement said.

With an anthrax scare sweeping the United States in the wake of thelaunch of the strikes on Afghanistan, the issue of biological andchemical warfare has been on the minds of many.

However, it is not clear who is sending letters containing anthraxspores in the United States. Mr Bush has said there is no firm evidencelinking them with Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born militant accused ofthe September 11 suicide attacks on Washington and New York. Anthrax ispotentially deadly bacteria that can be used in germ warfare.

The two leaders said they would strike at the roots of groups involvedin terrorism by choking off their funding. "The presidents agreed thatthe networks of financing, communications, organisational andtechnological support of terrorist organisations should be destroyed,"it said, calling on other nations to help the United States and Russiain this endeavour.

Russia, a signatory to the international chemical weapons convention,has said nations which do not sign the pact are promoting terrorism.

Russia itself has the biggest stockpile of chemical weapons, inheritedfrom the Soviet Union. It aims to destroy its 40,000 tonnes of chemicalwarfare agents by 2012.

Russian officials say the United States has around 32,000 tonnes ofchemical weapons.
return to menu


2.
A Leading Role for the Security Council
New York Times
Mikhail S. Gorbachev
October 21, 2001
(for personal use only)


In the past month, the world has witnessed something previously unknown:a common stand taken by America, Russia, Europe, India, China, Cuba,most of the Islamic world and numerous other regions and countries.Despite many serious differences between them, they united to savecivilization.

It is now the responsibility of the world community to transform thecoalition against terrorism into a coalition for a peaceful world order.Let us not, as we did in the 1990's, miss the chance to build such anorder.

Concepts like solidarity and helping third world countries to fightpoverty and backwardness have disappeared from the political vocabulary.But if these concepts are not revived politically, the worst scenariosof a clash of civilizations could become reality.

I believe the United Nations Security Council should take the lead infighting terrorism and in dealing with other global problems. All themain issues considered by the United Nations affect mankind's security.It is time to stop reviling the United Nations and get on with the workof adapting the institution to new tasks.

Concrete steps should include accelerated nuclear and chemicaldisarmament and control over the remaining stocks of dangeroussubstances, including chemical and biological agents. No amount of moneyis too much for that. I hope the United States will support theverification protocol of the convention banning biological weapons andratify the treaty to prohibit all nuclear tests — though both stepswould reverse the Bush administration's current positions.

We should also heed those who have pointed out the negative consequencesof globalization for hundreds of millions of people. Globalizationcannot be stopped, but it can be made more humane and more balanced forthose it affects.

If the battle against terrorism is limited to military operations, theworld could be the loser. But if it becomes an integral part of commonefforts to build a more just world order, everyone will win — includingthose who now do not support American actions or the antiterrorismcoalition. Those people, and they are many, should not all be branded asenemies.

Russia has shown its solidarity with America. President Vladimir Putinimmediately sent a telegram to President Bush on Sept. 11 condemning the"inhuman act" of that day. Russia has been sharing information,coordinating positions with the West and with its neighbors, opening itsair space, and providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan peopleand weapons to the Northern Alliance.

This has been good policy. But we should bear in mind that both in theRussian establishment and among the people, reaction to it has beenmixed. Some people are still prone to old ways of understanding theworld and Russia's place in it. Others sincerely wonder whether theworld's most powerful country should be bombing impoverishedAfghanistan. Still others ask: We have supported America in its hour ofneed, but will it meet us halfway on issues important to us?

I am sure Russia will be a serious partner in fighting internationalterrorism. But equally, it is important that its voice be heard inbuilding a new international order. If not, Russians could conclude thatthey have merely been used.

Irritants in American-Russian relations — issues like missile defenseand the admission of new members to the North Atlantic TreatyOrganization — will be addressed in due course, but they will be easierto solve once we have moved toward a new global agenda and a deeperpartnership between our two countries.

Finally, it would be wrong to use the battle against terrorism toestablish control over countries or regions. This would discredit thecoalition and close off the prospect of transforming it into a powerfulmechanism for building a peaceful world.

Turning the coalition against terror into an alliance that works toachieve a just international order would be a lasting memorial to thethousands of victims of the Sept. 11 tragedy.
return to menu


3.
Radiation Bomb Seen as Big Threat
Frances Williams
Financial Times
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


Tighter controls on stockpiles of tactical nuclear weapons and fissilematerial are needed to prevent theft by terrorist groups, the UnitedNations Institute for Disarmament Research (Unidir) says in a reportpublished today.

A small nuclear or radiological device placed in Manhattan or any otherbig city, as well as killing perhaps thousands of people on impact,could spread deadly radiation over a large area and make ituninhabitable for many years.

The report, prepared for the UN General Assembly's disarmament committeewhich will discuss the issue next week, points out that tactical nuclearweapons are subject to no formal arms control agreement, unlike theirstrategic counterparts that are all accounted for.

While the US has retained fewer than 1,000 tactical nuclear warheads,held in the US and sevenEuropean countries, Russia is thought to possess up to 16,000 weap onsbut has not disclosed their numbers or whereabouts.

Some of these battlefield weapons, which include nuclear artilleryshells, nuclear land mines, tactical bombs and cruise missiles, aresmall enough to be carried in a backpack or in the back of a pick-uptruck. In addition, some older weapons do not require codes to makethem operational.

In its report Unidir urges the US to repatriate its European warheadsand calls on Russia to reveal the extent of its armoury and accelerateits weapon reduction programme. However, Unidir does not give credenceto rumours that Osama bin Laden may already have a nuclear device.

Stealing enriched uranium or even plutonium would be a simpler matter,they say, noting that Mr bin Laden is said to have tried to buy uraniumin Khartoum, Sudan, as early as 1993. Though reported incidents of thefthave involved relatively small quantities of fissile material, largeramounts could have slipped through the security net.

Making a crude atomic bomb would be possible but even easier would be aradiological weapon — a conventional bomb with a radioactive core -which could contaminate large areas.

To combat this threat, analysts are recommending radiation scanners atports and border crossings, and tighter security at nuclear facilitiesincluding power plants and naval depots. Pakistan needs to takeparticular care to safeguard its nuclear weapons systems and fissilematerial, the report says.
return to menu


B. Nuclear Terrorism

1.
Thinking the Unthinkable: Is Nuclear Terrorism Next?
Olivia Ward
Toronto Star
October 21, 2001
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW - Nuclear terrorism used to be the domain of thriller writers andscience fiction buffs.

But thinking the unthinkable is now the stuff of everyday life, as atraumatized public wonders what may come next. If biological terror ishere now, people reckon, will the ultimate threat, nuclear attack,happen tomorrow?

Anxiety is heightened by replays of testimony from Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl,a member of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network, who was on trial for the1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa.

He told a New York district court that he arranged meetings withsmugglers in Sudan in the 1990s, offering $1.5 million for weapons-gradeuranium for a nuclear attack.

The revelations have sent American officials speeding to tightensecurity in U.S. nuclear facilities.

But in Russia and the former Soviet republics, where the past decade hasseen an unsettling decline in nuclear security, there is more cause foralarm.

For years rumours have circulated of small "briefcase bombs" goneastray, and of loose nuclear material for sale on the black market.

There are allegations that bin Laden, the suspected mastermind in theSept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S., paid millions of dollars tostockpile some of the portable weapons at a hideout near Kandahar insouthern Afghanistan.

Russian and Western experts are skeptical.

But they are now taking hard looks at the possibility of nuclearterrorism originating in their midst. And some of their conclusions arefar from reassuring.

"If you ask me if nuclear terrorism is possible, I think the shortanswer is yes," admits Ivan Safranchuk, director of the Centre forDefence Information's Moscow office.

"But if we're talking about using a sophisticated modern weapon, likethose in the hands of the U.S. and Russian special forces, it's veryunlikely."

In the mid-1990s, Gen. Alexander Lebed, then head of the RussianSecurity Council, said there were 84 missing "briefcase bombs" thatcould be strapped into backpacks and carried over short distances. Theywould be capable of killing some 100,000 people.

But the flamboyant military man, famous for terse and dramaticstatements, never proved his case, and was later fired fromthen-president Boris Yeltsin's administration.

Alexei Yablokov, head of the Russian Centre for Environmental Policy andYeltsin's former environmental adviser, did his own investigation, andconcluded the rumoured bombs existed.

But, he said, "I had several meetings with the military authoritiesresponsible for these weapons, and they assured me all were under strictcontrol."

Proof that the weapons would not be viable for terrorists, Yablokovsaid, was that they were developed and stored under top-secretconditions by the KGB in the 1970s, but never deployed.

"Now, I don't think (workable) suitcase bombs exist in Russia, becauseeach of them needs to have its fissile material replaced," Yablokovsaid, referring to the material that fuels an atomic reaction.

"A warhead needs replacement every five to 10 years. As these devicesare quite old, it doesn't seem feasible that they could be used today."

Terrorists would also have to contend with the security codes, stored inMoscow, that would allow the weapons to be fired.

More likely, experts say, a terror network like Al Qaeda could acquireenough nuclear material to make a small but dirty bomb of its own.

"They could create a primitive nuclear device based not exactly on achain reaction," said Safranchuk, "but an explosion of nuclear material.It's somewhere between an explosive device and a nuclear weapon."

That would kill people in a relatively small radius of a kilometre ormore. But the most devastating effect would be widespread terror.

Scientists say it would be difficult for a terrorist to put togethereven a simple atom bomb, such as those first developed in the U.S. andRussian nuclear programs.

That would require large resources to hire top specialists and build alaboratory where a chain reaction could be developed.

But a "primitive device" such as the one described by Safranchuk, couldbe more easily achieved - especially with loose nuclear material gleanedfrom Russia, the former Soviet Union, or any of the dozens of unstablecountries that have nuclear plants.

"All you'd need would be a graduate student specializing in physics,"said Safranchuk.

As for materials, there have been numerous reports of enriched andunenriched uranium, and plutonium, smuggled out of Russia since 1991.

"There have been several thousand attempts to sell radioactive materialto citizens," said Vladimir Slivyak of the environmental lobby groupNuclear Defence.

"Some of it was stolen from plants, some from research laboratories,even weapons-grade uranium."

And, he said, criminals are ready and waiting to help the terrorists -for a price.

"It's not a difficult job for a terrorist to find material. There's anuclear mafia operating in eastern Europe that specializes in smugglingnuclear materials."

In the mid-1990s, German police intercepted several containers of deadlyplutonium that were traced to Russia, and the government's own nuclearwatchdog Gosatomnadzor complained of an alarming "lack of a state systemfor accounting and control of nuclear materials."

The result, it said, was no "effective state control of transportation,security and treatment of nuclear materials."

Environmentalists have petitioned the government for years for help inshoring up nuclear safety. But the plummeting economy, and low priorityfor environmental matters, has meant that little has been done.

Although nuclear weapons were removed from former Soviet republics inthe late 1990s, lack of proper inventories, and lack of officialinterest, have boosted fears that tonnes of weapons grade materials arestill sitting in Russia's former fiefdoms.

"I just came back from Kazakhstan, and can tell you it's a big problemthere," Slivyak said.

"Once a year they catch people trying to sell off radioactive materialand those are only the attempts we know about."

Carelessly guarded material is vulnerable to buyers for black marketnuclear goods, ranging from warring ethnic groups to religious andpolitical extremists.

According to a recent study by Alex Schmid of the United NationsTerrorism Branch in Vienna, more than 130 terrorist groups pose anuclear, chemical or biological threat, and a number of those arecapable of developing a nuclear-based weapon.

Among them is the Al Qaeda network.

Sales of nuclear materials by black marketeers are a distinctpossibility, given the laxness of guarding nuclear materials in civilianplants in the former Soviet Union.

"There are plenty of security violations in nuclear power plants," saidSergei Kharitonov of the Centre for Human Rights and Ecology.

"Physical security is poor, especially checkpoints. When you enter andgo out of the plants, they aren't well organized."

Kharitonov, a former nuclear technologist in the Leningradskaya nuclearplant near St. Petersburg, said drunkenness and drug abuse are also rifeamong the workers.

And with low wages, which were sometimes months in arrears during the1990s, there was little incentive for guards to be honest orconscientious.

"I took big parcels through," he said. "Nobody checked."

After Kharitonov was fired for blowing the whistle on the sloppy plantpractises, his pass to enter the complex wasn't revoked.

The run-down operating condition of the plants is also a danger thatterrorists could exploit, experts say.

Even cutting power lines to the plants could set off a devastatingChernobyl-like explosion if emergency generators failed to start up.

Russian nuclear safety authorities deny the plants are unsafe. Butanecdotal evidence shows that the likelihood of a thief or saboteurentering a Russian plant remains a frightening possibility. "The problemis that financing for our nuclear installations is only 5 to 10 per cent(of what is needed)," said energy co-ordinator Vladimir Tchouprov ofGreenpeace's Moscow office. "In some places there are no fences."

But in the opinion of Russia's nuclear activists, the most dangerousexposure to nuclear terrorism is in the transfer of spent nuclear fuelthrough Russia for storage and reprocessing.

About 14,000 tonnes of high-level radioactive waste is currently storedin the country, and the only reprocessing plant, Mayak, in the Uralmountain region, has been condemned as a potential second Chernobyl.

The anti-nuclear activists are most disturbed about the import of atrainload of waste that is to set off from Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclearplant for reprocessing next week. The atomic energy agency Minatom plansto bring in some 20,000 tonnes of spent fuel, a business they hope willbe lucrative.

"Why we care so much is that a train is a very easy terror target," saidSliyak, whose group is urging the West to offer compensation for Russiato drop the contract.

"We have only one train that can carry spent fuel outside the country.If you have a well-trained surveillance team, you know exactly when itwill leave and how it can be tracked."

Although Russia has had surprisingly few threats of nuclear terrorism -the most well-publicized one was from Chechen rebels in the 1990s -there have been documented cases of nuclear crime using stolenmaterials.

In 1994, a Moscow company director was killed by when a smallradioactive device was implanted in his chair.

According to Moscow safety authorities, similar devices stolen fromplants, hospitals and construction sites pose dangers.

"For years we've had no luck alerting the authorities to nuclearthreats," said Tchouprov.

"Maybe now that they've seen how terrorists operate, they may changetheir minds. But something must be done quickly."
return to menu


2.
Uranium Seized in France Could Have Made Low-Grade Bomb
Agence France-Presse
October 21, 2001
(for personal use only)


PARIS - French authorities confirmed that five grams of Uranium 235seized in Paris in July are highly radioactive and could have been usedto produce a low-grade bomb, according to experts cited by a Frenchnewspaper on Sunday.

An expert report recently presented to Judge Francoise Travaillot, aFrench investigative judge, and cited in the weekly publication Journaldu Dimanche, said the material was "a highly radioactive substance... ofRussian origin."

While the uranium was not of a high enough quality to manufacture aproper nuclear bomb, it could have been use to make what experts call a"dirty bomb", a radioactive expolsive device that would not provokeextensive material damages but was meant to contaminate and pollute.

After extensive analysis by the experts, police authorities said theybelieved the Uranium 235 was likely to have come from the Ukraine,according to the newspaper.

In recent years, suspected radioactive material has been seized bypolice authorities in several European countries, including Turkey andFrance.

While in most cases the seized samples have turned out to be innocuoussubstances or low-grade radioactive materials which could not be used toproduce nuclear weapons, EU authorities are increasingly worried aboutthe possible use by terrorist organizations of nuclear material smuggledout of the former Soviet republics.

According to the report presented to the French authorities, the uraniumseized in Paris had been stolen from a research laboratory or adismantling center for nuclear submarines.

A French national and two people from Cameroon were arrested by theFinancial Research and Investigation Brigade (BRIF) in the course of theinvestigation.
return to menu


C. Russia-Iran Cooperation

1.
Russia Completing Iran Nuclear Plant, Planning Another
BBC Monitoring Service
October 20, 2001
(for personal use only)


Moscow, 17 October: The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry has provided Iranwith a feasibility study for the construction of a new VVAR-1000 typenuclear power-producing unit, Deputy Minister Yevgeniy Reshetnikov toldInterfax.

"The Iranian side asked a delegation from the Russian Atomic EnergyMinistry to set up a joint working group to consider the new Russianproject and to submit prepared documents to the Iranian government inDecember this year," he said, commenting on the results of negotiationsin Iran recently.

Reshetnikov stressed that Iran will independently decide on the locationof the construction site for the new nuclear power station.

The deputy minister noted that work on the first generating set atBushehr Nuclear Power Plant is being completed. "The actual launch willtake place in December 2003," he said.

According to Reshetnikov, one ship has already been sent to Iran withthe main equipment for the first set at Bushehr. Another ship willdeliver the reactor and other energy equipment, worth a total of 50mdollars, to Iran in December this year, he said...

Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1214 gmt 17 Oct 01
return to menu


D. Russia-India Cooperation

1.
Russia, India to Sign Nuclear Power Plant Contract in Weeks
Veronika Voskoboinikova
ITAR-TASS
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


Russia and India will sign a nuclear power plant construction contractlate October or early November, Russian Deputy Atomic Energy MinisterYevgeny Reshetnikov told Itar-Tass in an interview Friday.

Pre-contract negotiations are practically over and nearly all necessarydocuments have been drafted. The agreement is expected to be signed whena group of Indian specialists visits Moscow, presumably late October, hesaid. Under a future contract Russia will help India build a nuclearpower plant having two water-cooled VVER reactors. One unit is scheduledto go operational in 2005 and the other, in 2006, Reshetnikov said. TheRussian Atomic Energy Ministry will provide equipment and selectedspecialists, while most construction work be done by India on its own.

According to the Russian official, the nuclear power plant will be builton credit. The value of the contract is not disclosed.

According to analysts, construction costs of one reactor may lie withina range of 1.5 billion dollars to 2.5 billion dollars, depending on theregion's seismicity, construction site condition and terms of reference
return to menu


E. Spent Fuel Imports

1.
Minatom Forgets to Inform President About Spent Fuel Import
Rashid Alimov
Bellona Foundation
October 22, 2001
(for personal use only)


(St Petersburg:) Duma approved in second reading a bill, which allowsspent fuel import. Minatom sends a train to Bulgaria to collect spentnuclear fuel without following the regulations set by previouslyapproved laws.

The Ecodefence! envirogroup said that Tekhsnabexport, or TENEX, one ofMinatom's sub-units, is about to ship spent nuclear fuel from Bulgariato Russia.

A special train for transportation of spent nuclear fuel departed fromRussia two weeks ago and now is waiting at the terminal of BulgarianKozlodoy nuclear power plant.

According to the contract, signed by TENEX and Kozlodoy NPP in summer2000, 41 tonnes of spent fuel would be brought to the Russian Chemicaland Mining Combine in Krasnoyarsk-26.

This will be the first shipment of spent nuclear fuel after PresidentPutin signed bills, which legalised and structured the proceedings forstorage of foreign nuclear waste in Russia. But will those regulationsbe followed? Most likely not.

According to the information obtained by Ecodefence!, the head of theState Nuclear Regulatory (GAN), Yury Vishnevsky, sent a harsh letter toTENEX on October 16th, pointing out that such activities require anofficial licence. Moreover, the spent nuclear fuel bills stipulate thateach shipment must receive proper environmental evaluation. Besides,TENEX must prove that a part of funds earned on the imports will beallotted to the remediation of contaminated areas in Russia, even ifsuch programs have not been developed yet.

There is no information whether TENEX answered to GAN. But the companyhas nothing to answer anyway.

Signing the bills this summer, President Putin said that he wouldpersonally control each spent nuclear fuel import contract. Putin alsosaid that he would establish an independent commission to evaluate suchbusiness. The commission was to be headed by Nobel prize winnerphysicist Zhorez Alferov.

As of today, no commission has been set up, Putin most likely has notheard about the spent fuel coming from Bulgaria, whereas the remediationprograms have not been written yet.

Minatom's promises of huge revenues on the import operations (amountingto $20bn) are also fading away. Bulgaria is ready to pay $620 for onekilogram of spent nuclear fuel. Minatom used to say it would take notless than $1000 per kilo.

The environmental groups, GAN and reasonable politicians in the RussianState Duma warned earlier against the import plans. But the warningcalls were futile. Now Minatom has legalised its corporative business,which is under no independent control. The revenues of this businesswill be diverted to support post Soviet vast nuclear weaponry complex,which has been mostly useless after the cold war was over. Whereas thefuture generations will enjoy taking care of the hazardous waste for thecoming thousand of years.

Duma keeps approving

On Thursday, the State Duma passed the second reading of the Law OnEnvironmental Protection. MPs almost unanimously voted for spent fuelimports to Russia and abolished governmental environment funds,transferring money back to the common budget.

308 MPs voted for the bill, 36 voted against, and 99 did not cast theirvote. Earlier the nuclear lobby, supported by Minatom made amendments toarticle 50 of the Law On Environmental Protection, allowing spentnuclear fuel imports to Russia. In June 2001, these amendments weresigned by President Putin and came into force. But yesterday MPs had toconsider the law as a whole, and that is why they returned to thecontroversial amendments to the article 50.

The opponents of the spent fuel imports again tried to stop turning thecountry into an international nuclear dumpsite, but failed. The majorityof the MPs did not want to vindicate themselves before their electorate.Polls say more than 90% of Russians oppose the import of spent nuclearfuel.

Challenging the bills

The liberal Yabloko party keeps on criticising the idea of nuclearimports. Yabloko faction proposed two new amendments to the article 50,at least to minimize the damage from Minatom's activity and to baneternal storage of the imported spent fuel in Russia. Yabloko alsosuggested that all the waste generated during reprocessing of theforeign spent nuclear fuel and newly manufactured fuel should bereturned to the country of origin. But the MPs refused to discussYabloko's amendments and approved the article as it is.

Nuclear safety turns out to be particularly important issue in the wakeof the terror acts in the US. "It's a pity, the majority of the MPsdon't take the catastrophe in US as a warning... But the threat ofnuclear terrorism is very actual in Russia, and becomes increasinglyactual after the country has resolved to accept spent nuclear fuel fromall over the world," Yabloko faction member Sergey Mitrokhin said.

Referendum vs spent fuel, nuclear lobby vs referendum

The bills favouring spent nuclear fuel imports, approved by the StateDuma and signed by the President, may be abolished by a national vote.Yabloko is going to initiate it, supported by envirogroups.

Last year, environmentalists tried to start the referendum, but theCentral Electoral Committee said 0.6m of 2.5m of signatures collectedwere not valid. According to the Russian legislation, to start thereferendum 2m signatures must be collected in a period of three months.

But the Minatom lobby tries to prevent the coming vote. In earlyOctober, a group of little known MPs proposed bills, hampering citizens'initiative for the referendum.

Both bills are called "On the amendments and additions into the federalconstitutional Law On the Referendum in Russia". One of the amendmentsis that the questions, put forward for people's evaluation, should beapproved by the upper and the lower chambers of the Russian parliament.That violates article 3 of the Russian Constitution, which stipulatesthat referendum is the "supreme and direct expression of people'spower". Another amendment calls for that a group, who initiates areferendum, should be registered not in a centre of a federativesubject, where the majority of the group lives, but in the CentralElectoral Committee in Moscow.

According to the legislation in force, the initiative group may collectsignatures anywhere, but not in the places said specifically about. Thethird amendment stipulates, that the Central Electoral Committee willdefine the place for the collection of signatures on its own choice.
return to menu


2.
Rebalancing Priorities
Joseph Stiglitz
Ha'Aretz Daily
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


Weeks after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Americanscontinue to feel a level of anxiety not felt since the darkest momentsof the Cold War, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis or the BerlinBlockade. America's economy has almost certainly moved from a slowdowninto a full-fledged recession. Americans are rethinking the wisdom oftheir unilateralist approach to foreign policy.

Beyond these changes are two others which may be equally profound intheir implications. There is a greater sense of America as a community,a greater sense of social cohesion than has existed for years, perhapsdecades. With that is coming a long overdue re-examination of the roleof government. Pride in our firemen and our policemen, a recognition oftheir heroism and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for others,is broad and deep. There is a growing sense that we may have lost ourway, put too much emphasis on material self-interest, too littleemphasis on shared interests.

In retrospect, some of what both the Bush and Clinton administrationsdid in echoing market fundamentalists around the world - but carriedeven further - seems particularly absurd. It made no sense to"privatize" a vital area of public concern such as airport security. Thelow wages paid to private-sector airport security guards led to highturnover. Airlines and airports may have made more profits in the shortrun, but they, and the American people, lost in the long run, as we nowknow, to our horror.

It made no sense for President Bush's Secretary of the Treasury PaulO'Neill to spurn the Organization for Economic Cooperation andDevelopment (OECD) agreement on money laundering. Whatever Mr. O'Neillsaid, the true reasons for his objections were clear - protect financialinterests. The offshore banking centers were not an accident. They existbecause Wall Street and the other financial centers around the worldwanted safe-havens, protected from regulations and taxes. There has beenbi-partisan hypocrisy here - while America called for transparency inthe emerging markets in the aftermath of the East Asia crisis, bothLarry Summers (President Clinton's last treasury secretary) and Mr.O'Neill joined in efforts to protect offshore banking centers and hedgefunds.

Other actions, taken in secret or with almost no public discussion,remain equally troubling. In 1997, the United States privatized the USEnrichment Corporation (USEC). Only a few know what lies behind thatinnocent-sounding name: USEC enriches uranium to make both coreingredients for atomic bombs and nuclear power plants. It also wasresponsible for bringing out of Russia nuclear material from old Sovietwarheads and to convert that material into low-enriched uranium forpower plants, a true "swords to ploughshares" initiative.

Once privatization occurred, however, USEC had every incentive to keepthe material out of US markets for the Russian material would depressits prices and profits. As chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers,I saw the enormous risk in keeping the material in Russia, posingperhaps the most serious threat of nuclear proliferation. This was amatter not only of national interest but also of global interest. Butthe temptation of private firms to put profits above collectiveinterests is almost irresistible.

It made no sense to privatize USEC and thus expose its managers to thistemptation. My concerns were borne out - faster and in a manner farworse than I had ever expected. We uncovered a secret agreement betweenUSEC and Minatom (the Russian agency in charge of the nuclear materials)in which, in response to a Russian offer to send more of their nuclearmaterial to the United States for safekeeping, USEC said, "No, nothanks," and then went on to pay $50 million in hush-money to theRussians not to disclose the offer.

USEC repeatedly tried to hold the American taxpayer for ransom, sayingthat it would not continue to bring the Russian material into the UnitedStates unless it was paid additional money. How could America'sgovernment have proceeded with this privatization, which on its faceseemed so absurd? While the privatization ideology may have played arole, financial interests played their part, too: The Wall Street firmhandling the privatization lobbied hard and made a hefty profit.

Once again, America's Treasury (Mr. Summers as well as Robert Rubin) putWall Street's interests above the national interests. The thirst for anextra billion dollars in revenues in the budget in one year — eventhough revenues in future years would be lowered — sealed the deal. Inlight of the huge surpluses, this budgetary shortsightedness now looksparticularly foolish. The final outcome of this sad episode is yet to betold. Congress rightly felt nervous about turning over control ofnuclear production to a firm in weak financial condition, and requiredTreasury certification. It is not clear now whether USEC will continueto satisfy those conditions (unless the US Treasury turns a blind eye).Concern is mounting in Congress, with suggestions of the need forre-nationalization.

What should now be clear is that this decision by the Americangovernment, taken largely behind closed doors, affects more than WallStreet, more than America: It affects the whole world. When America getsthings wrong, as it did in its stance on money laundering andprivatizing responsibility for recycling nuclear weapons, it puts thewhole world at risk. America has heralded globalization. But it shouldnow recognize that with globalization comes interdependence, and withinterdependence comes the need for collective decision making in all theareas that affect us collectively.

Joseph Stiglitz, professor of economics at Columbia University andwinner of this year'sNobel Prize for Economics, was formerly Chairman of the Council ofEconomic Advisers toU.S. President William J. Clinton and Chief Economist and Senior VicePresident of theWorld Bank.
return to menu


F. Nuclear Waste

1.
Kazakh Ecology Official Slams Proposal to Store Nuclear Waste
RFE/RL Newsline
October 22, 2001
(for personal use only)


Kairat Aitekenov, the chairman of the Environment Protection Committeeof the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, told aconference in Almaty on 19 October on storing nuclear waste that hisministry opposes recent proposals by other Kazakh officials that thecountry should import and store nuclear waste, Interfax reported (see"RFE/RL Newsline," 26 July and 19 October 2001). He said doing so wouldbe tantamount to "solving economic problems while ignoring environmentalones." LF
return to menu


2.
Kazakhstan Raises Possibility Of Storing Nuclear Waste
RFE/RL Newsline
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


Echoing a proposal made three months ago by Mukhtar Djakhishev, whomToqaev dismissed as head of Kazatomprom (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 Julyand 15 October 2001), Toqaev told parliament deputies that Kazakhstancould import and bury low- and medium-radiation nuclear waste, Interfaxreported. But he added that no decision on doing so has yet been made.Toqaev also said that it is still premature to proceed withimplementation of a proposal to build a nuclear power station nearBalkhash in central Kazakhstan. LF
return to menu


3.
Nuclear waste disposal plant commissioned in Russia's far north
BBC Monitoring Service
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


Text of report in English by Russian news agency ITAR-TASS

Severodvinsk (Archangel Region), 19 October: A plant to handlelow-activity wastes was commissioned on Friday at the "Zvyozdochka"naval yards in Severodvinsk where nuclear-propelled submarines are beingrepaired or scrapped.

"Zvyozdochka" press secretary Nadezhda Shcherbinina told ITAR-TASS onFriday that the plant was built a year ago, but was being put intooperation only now after it got the required licence. It was built inkeeping with the most up-to-date world technologies and is able tohandle solid and liquid wastes. The obtained concentrate is to be packedin standard 200-litre barrels. The latter are to be put into specialcontainers for storing, transporting or burying the wastes.

The plant ranks among the most important projects implemented inaccordance with an agreement between Russia and the United States on thereduction of the mutual threat (Nunn-Lugar Programme). The main purposeof the project is to improve the ecological situation and to reduce therisks involved in handling radioactive wastes from scrapped nuclearsubmarines. Severodvinsk plants are to scrap about one hundred nuclearsubmarines within the next few years.

Source: ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in English 1322 gmt 19 Oct 01
return to menu


4.
Duma Imposes New Restrictions On Handling Of Imported Nuclear Waste.
RFE/RL Newsline
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)
The Duma also approved on 18 October on second reading a bill that wouldimpose significant restrictions on the import of nuclear waste byrequiring that importers observe strict ecological protection standards,ITAR-TASS reported. It also prohibits the permanent storage of nuclearmaterials in bodies of water or outer space. Deputies also approved onsecond and third reading a measure increasing the penalties for illegaluse of trademarks, found the work of the Audit Chamber in 2000 to havebeen satisfactory, and asked it to conduct an audit at the ForeignMinistry. VY/PG
return to menu


G. Nuclear Safety

1.
Ecologist Warns of Growing Environmental Threat to Health.
RFE/RL Newsline
October 22, 2001
(for personal use only)


Viktor Danilov-Danilian, the head of the Ecological Union of Russia, on19 October said that increasing environmental pollution -- which nowamounts to two tons per Russian per year -- threatens the health andwell-being of the people of Russia, Interfax reported. He argued thatthe current ecological protection bill being considered by the Duma willdo little to change this situation. Meanwhile, Russian officialsannounced the opening of a new plant in Severodvinsk to processlow-level radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear submarines,ITAR-TASS reported the same day. PG
return to menu


2.
Romania, Russia Sign Agreement on Warning in Case of Nuclear Accidents
BBC Monitoring Service
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


Text of report in English by Romanian news agency Rompres

Bucharest, 19 October: The Romanian executive endorsed the signing of anagreement between the Romanian and the Russian governments on the quicknotification of a nuclear accidents and the exchange of informationabout the nuclear installations.

The agreement provides for exchanging data in case a nuclear accidentoccurs on the territory of the two states and conveying technical dataabout the nuclear installations, the assessment of the consequences of anuclear accident and the taking of the necessary steps for the people'sprotection. The agreement refers to civil nuclear power stations and thewarehouses of fresh and used fuel on the territory of the two states.

The convention on the quick notification of a nuclear accident, adoptedin Vienna, on 26 September 1986, signed by Romania and the RussianFederation, encourages the conclusion of bilateral and multilateralagreements on the exchange of information and the notification of thenuclear accidents.

Source: Rompres news agency, Bucharest, in English 1255 gmt 19 Oct 01
return to menu


H. Russian Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Ukraine to Extend Service Life of its Nuclear Reactors
BBC Monitoring Service
October 20, 2001
(for personal use only)


Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax

Kiev, 18 October: Ukrainian national atomic generating companyEnerhoatom is to extend the operational life span of generating sets atUkrainian nuclear power plants by 10-15 years, company President YuriyNedashkovskiy told journalists.

"With our Russian colleagues - Rosenergoatom - we have prepared jointprogrammes to carry out work to extend the life spans of generatingsets," he said.

Nedashkovskiy explained that this work includes the development oflegislative documents and calculations for the reconstruction ofgenerating sets, with the replacement of obsolete equipment, in additionto steps to increase safety at power-producing units in accordance withmodern requirements.

"This work is very broad in nature and very expensive," he said.

According to Enerhoatom specialists, the cost of work to extend the lifespan of one VVAR-1000 unit by 10-15 years amounts to about 150m dollars,which the company considers to be economically viable. "Calculationsshow that this is very profitable," the company president said.

The 13 generating sets at Ukraine's four nuclear power plants werelaunched in 1981-1995 and have a 30-year life span. This means that 12of the units should be mothballed in 2010-2020.

Enerhoatom accounts for 45 per cent of electricity production inUkraine.

Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1031 gmt 18 Oct 01
return to menu


2.
Armenian Nuclear Power Plant to Resume Operations
RFE/RL Newsline
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


Following the receipt of a new consignment of nuclear fuel from Russia,Armenia's Medzamor nuclear power plant, which provides over 40 percentof the country's electric power, will resume operations next month,Energy Minister Karen Galustian told journalists in Yerevan on 18October, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. The plant's onlyfunctioning reactor was stopped in July for maintenance and refueling,but its reactivation was delayed due to disputes with Russia over theschedule for payment for past and future deliveries of nuclear fuel (see"RFE/RL Newsline," 4 September 2001). Galustian also downplayed threatsby the Gazprom subsidiary ITERA to cut gas supplies to Armenia, sayingthat Yerevan's outstanding $7.2 million cash debt for previous gasdeliveries will be cleared by the end of this month (see "RFE/RLNewsline," 17 October 2001). LF
return to menu


I. Nuclear Forces

1.
Rep. King: Nukes Should Be an Option in Afghanistan (excerpted)
Newsmax.Com
October 21, 2001
(for personal use only)


New York Congressman Peter King said Sunday that the U.S. shouldn't ruleout the use of tactical nuclear weapons to stop Osama bin Laden andAfghanistan's Taliban government from using chemical weapons againstAmerican troops.

"I would never rule out tactical nuclear weapons if I thought they coulddo the job and if they were needed," King told WABC Radio's SteveMalzberg.

The conservative Republican said going nuclear is "a question ofmilitary necessity."

"If the military people said that we think that certain chemical weaponsare going to be used, we know where they are and the only way we canstop their use is by using tactical nuclear weapons -- obviously we haveto use them," King told Malzberg.

The New York congressman warned that going nuclear "should always be alast resort," then added:

"But having said that, our national security has to come first if thatis what would be necessary to stop the use of chemical weapons."

King is the second member of Congress to voice support for the nuclearoption.

On Thursday, Indiana Republican Stephen Buyer told an Indiana televisionstation that if the United States can prove a causal link between therecent spate of anthrax-contaminated letters and bin Laden'sorganization, "I would support the use of a limited precision tacticalnuclear device."

"When there are hardened caves that go back a half a mile," Buyer said,"don't send in Special Forces to sweep. We'd be naive to think biotoxinsare not in there. Put in tactical nuclear devices and close these cavesfor a thousand years."
return to menu


2.
Peers Oppose Buyer's Idea to Use Nuclear Device
Sylvia A. Smith
Journal Gazette
October 20, 2001
(for personal use only)


WASHINGTON - Dropping nuclear bombs on Afghanistan - even little ones -would be overkill, Hoosier lawmakers said Friday after one of theircolleagues suggested using them against caves where Osama bin Laden'sforces are hiding.

In an televised interview, Rep. Steve Buyer, R-5th, said that if binLaden's network is responsible for the anthrax cases in Florida,Washington, New York and New Jersey that killed one person, "I wouldsupport the use of a limited precision tactical nuclear device."

A tactical nuclear weapon is not as powerful as the atom bombs used inWorld War II.

Rep. Mark Souder, R-4th, said the United States "needs to be reasonablein our responses. I believe that would be overreaching."

Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., said he is confident U.S. objectives could beaccomplished using conventional forces, and said all other possibilitiesshould be exhausted before the nuclear option is on the table.

"I don't think we have the evidence or the circumstances to warrant theuse of a weapon of mass destruction at this time in a way that would beacceptable to world opinion," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-2nd.

Pence said the world recognizes the "moral right" of a country toretaliate with weapons of mass destruction if it has been attacked thatway, but "I would think the evidence would not have to be clear andconvincing, it would have to be overwhelming."

"I certainly understand the emotion," Souder said of Buyer's comments."But I think it's important to factor in at this point we don't havelots of deaths. . . . If a half-million people were killed (from theanthrax attacks) or even 10,000 were killed, it would be one matter."

One American has died, eight have been infected, and dozens others havetested positive for anthrax exposure.

"We are already bombing the people we think are responsible forterrorism. . . . Presumably with nuclear bombs, even tactical nuclear,you're going to hit a lot more innocents," Souder said.

"Don't send special forces in there to sweep," Buyer said. "We'd be verynaive to believe that biotoxins and chemical agents were not in thesecaves. Put a tactical nuclear device in, and close these caves for athousand years."

Buyer said, "I am not someone who says use offensive nuclear weapons.We're the ones attacked. This is a bio-attack. It's also important tofigure out who is doing it. But I want you to know . . . if he(President Bush) has to make difficult decisions - like Truman did tosave lives - that he'd have support here."
return to menu


3.
Russia Successfully Launches Two ICBMs From Submarine
RFE/RL Newsline
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)


A spokesman for the Russian navy said that a Russian submarine hassuccessfully launched two ICBMs from the White Sea to targets inKamchatka in the Russian Far East 7,000 kilometers away, Interfaxreported. PG
return to menu


4.
GOP Congressman Suggests Limited Nuclear Retaliation
Jim Burns
CNSNews.com
October 18, 2001
(for personal use only)


(CNSNews.com) - Emphasizing that his idea is just an option, Rep. SteveBuyer (R-Ind.) believes the United States should consider using tacticalnuclear weapons against Osama bin Laden's terrorist network inAfghanistan if that network is linked to the recent anthrax incidents inthe United States.

Buyer, a Persian Gulf war veteran and member of the House VeteransAffairs Committee thinks small, specialized nuclear weapons, not aspowerful as the atom bombs that were dropped on Japan in World War Two,could be used on the caves where members of bin Laden's network havetaken shelter.

However, Buyer emphasized that the use of the weapons would only be aproper response if bin Laden's people are linked to the anthrax cases inFlorida, Washington, New York and elsewhere in the United States.

"Don't send special forces in there to sweep. We'd be very naive tobelieve that biotoxins and chemical agents were not in these caves. Puta tactical nuclear device in and close these caves for a thousandyears," said Buyer in an interview with Indianapolis television stationWRTV.

Buyer stressed that he doesn't advocate the use of full-power nuclearbombs, but acknowledged that much of the world wouldn't see thedifference.

Buyer's press secretary, Laura Zuckerman, told CNSNews.com Thursday,"This is not an option that the congressman has called upon the WhiteHouse or anybody of the military operations to take. He is just sayinghe would support it, if this an option that they would like to take.

"He's not advocating nuclear war. He's a gulf war veteran, he knows thehorrors of war and he would never look to escalate something in thisway. If they [were] quelled somewhat by the threat of a nuclear attack,then the threat itself might be enough," said Zuckerman.

Last Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes, National Security Advisor CondoleezaRice said the United States would remain on high alert for some timealthough there were no specific terrorist threats, she said, nor anyevidence that terrorists had gotten their hands on nuclear weapons.

"There are reports of all kinds of things, some true and some not. Butthere's no reason for the American people at this point to fear aspecific threat of that kind. We have no credible evidence of a specificthreat of that kind," Rice said.
return to menu



Section Menu:
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999


© 2007 Partnership for Global Security. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement.