WASHINGTON The United States has spent as much as $5 billion since1991 to help secure the former Soviet Union's vast nuclear, chemical andbiological arsenal, but U.S. officials say they still can't account forall the weapons.
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the United States should be veryconcerned that some of these Soviet weapons of mass destruction may haveslipped into the wrong hands, said Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind.
"That is the worst-case scenario," he said. "That is the one thing wemust make certain did not happen."
Lugar co-authored legislation a decade ago that launched the U.S. effortto safeguard the Soviet arsenal during the political, economic andsocial chaos that surrounded the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Sincethen, he said, roughly half the Soviet nuclear warheads have beendestroyed.
The secure disposal of the materials that those weapons use for nuclearexplosions plutonium and highly enriched uranium is still difficult,he said, and the progress of securing the chemical and biologicalstockpiles has proceeded far more slowly than the destruction program.
The United States has upgraded security systems that cover aboutone-third of the almost 700 tons of weapons-grade nuclear materialidentified as at risk of theft or diversion from Russia, according tothe General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
Restrictions imposed by Russia have kept the U.S. Department of Energyfrom installing security systems at about 100 buildings that containhundreds of metric tons of nuclear material, according to a February GAOreport. The report cites a wide-open gate at one Russian nuclearfacility.
Ken Alibek, a former top scientist in the Soviet biological weaponsprogram who came to the United States in 1992, said economicallystruggling Soviet weapons scientists pose the greatest threat.
Finding raw materials for biological weapons is easy because eachcountry has its own pathogenic microorganisms, Alibek said, but suchmaterials are worthless without the ability to transform them intoweapons.
"In the field of biological weapons, the real threat is knowledge," hesaid.
The State and Defense departments have programs to put Soviet weaponsscientists to work on beneficial research to reduce the risk they willbe recruited by terrorists or smaller nations out to developmass-destruction armaments.
Alibek said the money from those programs doesn't always go to the rightpeople in the biological weapons area. Hundreds of bioweapons scientistshave received not a penny.
In addition, he said, security remains lax at some Soviet facilitiesthat work with deadly biological agents.
Chris Kessler, spokesman for the State Department's nonproliferationbureau, said the agency "has no reason to believe that Russia or anyCentral Asian country has been the source of anthrax or any otherpathogen" used in the mail attacks in the United States. He declined toelaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.
Former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said U.S. programs to supportSoviet weapons scientists are a good start but are insufficient giventhe magnitude of the problem. An international effort is needed, hesaid.
"Now, hopefully, the warming of relationships between the U.S. andRussia will enhance cooperation," he said, "but you still cannot preventa hungry Russian scientist who cares about feeding his family fromdefecting for the right price to Iraq, Iran, North Korea or even" Osamabin Laden.
Former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., who authored the Soviet nonproliferationlegislation with Lugar, said Americans are safer than they were duringthe 40 to 50 years that the threat of a Cold War-driven nuclearholocaust hung over their heads.
Still, he said, the United States cannot be sure some weapons andexpertise have not leaked out of the former Soviet Union.
"We'll never be sure, and we'll never be absolutely safe," said Nunn,who now heads the Nuclear Threat Initiative foundation. return to menu
2. Ukraine Destroys Last Missile Silo
October 30, 2001
(for personal use only)
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine destroyed its last nuclear missile silo onTuesday, fulfilling a pledge to give up the vast nuclear arsenal itinherited after the breakup of the former Soviet Union.
The silo was blown up at a military range in the southern Mykolaivregion near Pervomaisk, according to the Interfax news agency. TheU.S.-Ukrainian Cooperative Threat Reduction Program oversaw thedestruction.
A team of U.S. and Ukrainian officials joined three schoolchildren inturning six keys to detonate the explosives that blew up the silo, thelast of 46 to be dismantled.
"So far, Ukraine confirmed its commitment to secure peace andstability, and made a significant contribution to strengthening theinternational regime of arms nonproliferation," said Serhiy Borodenkov,spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.
The land beneath the silo will be cleaned and converted for agriculturaluse, officials said.
Ukraine inherited the world's third-largest nuclear stockpile with the1991 Soviet collapse, including 130 SS-19 missiles, 46 SS-24 missilesand dozens of strategic bombers. The country later renounced nuclearweapons and transferred all missiles and its 1,300 nuclear warheads toRussia. After processing, the nuclear materials from the warheads werebrought back to Ukraine as nuclear fuel for power plants.
In 1997, Ukraine and the United States signed a treaty on Americanassistance in dismantling 38 Tu-160s and Tu-95s bombers and more than480 Kh-55 air-launched cruise missiles. The last two bombers weredismantled in February.
The United States initiated the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program in1991 to reduce the nuclear capability of former Soviet Union nations.
All work under the disarmament program is scheduled to be completed byDec. 4. return to menu
3. House Dems Lose Russian Nukes Move
October 30, 2001
(for personal use only)
House Democrats lost an effort Tuesday to add money to a program aimedat keeping Russian nuclear weapons away from terrorists.
By voice vote, House lawmakers working with senators to craft acompromise energy and water spending bill rejected an effort by Rep.Chet Edwards, D-Texas, thatwould have added $131 million to a $173 million program that helpsRussia guard its nuclear facilities.
The $173 million is the same amount that was provided for the programlast year.
"That's business as usual," Edwards said after the meeting. "We'refaced with a war against terrorism, and the terrorists have declared waron us."
Opponents objected to Edwards' plan to take the money from a separateprogram for nuclear-armed cruise missiles. But they also agreed thatnuclear nonproliferationefforts must be strengthened and told him they look for extra money infuture bills.
"There's no question we should be helping the Russians," said Sen.Harry Reid, D-Nev., who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommitteethat oversees energy andwater spending. "It's really in our interest to help them."
Overall, the bill contains $803 million for nuclear nonproliferation,including money for other programs that create jobs for Russian nuclearscientists so they won't betempted to work for terror groups. That is $69 million less than thisyear, but $29 million more than President Bush requested.
The bill has a $24.6 billion price tag, $573 million more than last yearand $2 billion above Bush's request. The measure must now be approved bythe full House andSenate.
The legislation includes $60 million for new water projects, a favoriteof lawmakers, and extra money for renewable energy research and cleanupsof EnergyDepartment nuclear waste sites.
Bargainers also decided to drop House-approved language that would haveblocked the Army Corps of Engineers from seasonally altering water flowson the MissouriRiver, a battle that has pitted upstream and downstream businessinterests against each other.
A Senate-passed provision, which remains in the bill, lets the Corpsstudy various alternatives. The battle will be fought again next year.
House-Senate bargainers also adopted a second spending bill, a near $3billion measure to finance Congress' own operations. It is $245 millionhigher than was spent lastyear, and $13 million more than Bush sought. return to menu
B. Nuclear Terrorism 1. Container with Radioactive Materials Stolen in Siberia
November 1, 2001
(for personal use only)
The Emergency Situations Ministry reported on 31 October that an80-kilogram container of radioactive Cesium-137 has been stolen from amining facility in Chita Oblast, RIA-Novosti reported. The container hadbeen used as a source of gamma radiation to measure the quantity ofmetals in ores. The Interior Ministry has launched a criminalinvestigation. VY return to menu
2. Assessing Risks, Chemical, Biological, Even Nuclear(excerpted)
William J. Broad, Stephen Engelberg and James Glanz.
New York Times
November 1, 2001
(for personal use only)
Since being jolted by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and thepersistent, mysterious spread of anthrax, the government has beenstruggling to discern what weapon, if any, might be aimed at the nationnext.
Government analysts have been forced into broad agreement that thethreat of terrorists wielding mass-casualty weapons chemical,biological or even nuclear is more serious than they had believed. Atthe same time, they say a widespread attack with any of thesesophisticated weapons would be difficult to achieve.
But there is little precision behind these judgments, and officialsacknowledge that the next attack by Al Qaeda or some other group couldwell involve conventional weapons truck or car bombs.
The assessment of threats, the effort by government analysts to forecastthe behavior of unseen enemies, even unknown ones, is at best animprecise art that depends largely on the quality of the intelligencefrom which it is drawn. Many agencies do it, and they often disagree.
"Can we assess threats? Yes, we can and we've done so in the past. We'vefigured out things that people might try do to us and closed them off,"said Kenneth M. Pollack, deputy director of national security studies atthe Council on Foreign Relations and a former official at the CentralIntelligence Agency. "But ultimately, when you have a very creativegroup of people like Al Qaeda, they are capable of surprising us."
"We may come up with a thousand scenarios of what they can do to us,"Mr. Pollack said. "But the only one that matters is the one that the AlQaeda person comes up with."
Nonetheless, a host of officials, from the intelligence agency to theFederal Bureau of Investigation to the Pentagon, are trying to deliverthe analysis that would help both fend off attacks in the near futureand defend against longer-term threats.
The possibilities are almost limitless. The Japanese Aum Shinrikyo culttried several attacks with germ weapons, including anthrax, beforeturning to the nerve gas sarin, which they released in the Tokyo subwaysin 1995, killing 12.
Experts say that chemical weapons offer terrorist groups a chance toinflict mass casualties and spread panic, much as the release of a smallamount of anthrax has stirred panic among a jittery public.
John Bolton, the State Department's top arms control official, toldreporters that he was significantly more concerned about the possibilityof nuclear, chemical or biological attack since Sept. 11.
A group that would ram airplanes into the World Trade Center, he said,was "not going to be deterred by anything."
"Had these people had ballistic missile technology, there is not theslightest doubt in my mind that they would have used it," Mr. Boltonsaid.
Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda group is believed to have what one seniorPentagon official recently termed a "crude chemical and possiblybiological capability." The group also attempted to obtain nuclearmaterials in the mid-1990's. That effort was not successful, butofficials viewed it as a clear indication of Mr. bin Laden's intentions.
The quest to imagine the unimaginable can have side effects. Richard K.Betts, a Columbia University professor who served on the NationalCommission on Terrorism, noted that the practitioners of threatassessment can produce a haze of lurking dangers.
"Which of the three dozen `out of the box ideas' do you decide to makethe focus?" Professor Betts asked.
The terrorism commission, which produced its report in June 2000,reviewed the government's pre-Sept. 11 assessments of the terroristthreat. Professor Betts and others on the commission said they foundmuch that could be improved with some low-cost steps.
"You can keep better track of who is ordering questionable biologicalagents," he said. "You can keep track of what foreigners are in thiscountry working in sensitive industries."
There are, of course, limits to what can be accomplished with betterthreat assessment. "You can invest more to find out what kinds ofthreats are developing, but you're talking for the most part aboutreducing the odds at the margins," Professor Betts said. But in thebusiness of forecasting terrorist threats, he said, even that would bevaluable.
Nuclear terrorism may represent the darkest fear of all, simply becauseof the degree of destruction and huge number of casualties that arepossible.
After Sept. 11, experts began taking a fresh look at studies thatlargely ruled out the possibility that terrorists could obtain a nucleardevice, said David Albright, an expert on nuclear proliferation who ispresident of the Institute for Science and International Security inWashington, a nonprofit organization that works against the spread ofnuclear weaponry.
"You'd always reach the point where you say, yes, a terrorist couldtheoretically do it," Mr. Albright said. "And you'd look at theterrorists and say `Nah, they're not capable or they don't want to.'That's what's changed. Al Qaeda could do it, and they want to."
Advances in nuclear weapon design have made bombs simpler to build. Buteven so, any terrorist group attempting a nuclear attack would facemajor barriers.
Among those obstacles are a lack of an industrial base available toterrorist groups that would enable the fashioning of a weapon, and areluctance on the part of any host country to risk nuclear retaliation.
And if terrorists did obtain a nuclear device, the United States hasprograms to detect and disarm any weapon within its borders.
Given the difficulties involved in building a nuclear device, aterrorist would probably prefer to buy or steal a complete weapon. Onemight be obtained from a rogue scientist in a nuclear-armed nation likePakistan or Russia.
If that is not possible, then obtaining a relatively pure form of thefissionable material at the heart of a nuclear weapon is a morecomplicated possibility that would require building the rest of theweapon. Obtaining lower-grade material and refining it would be stillmore complicated.
Experts no longer believe that getting a complete weapon is impossible.Pakistan has tested nuclear weapons, probably Hiroshima-size bombsfueled by enriched uranium, and the country's military and intelligenceservices are salted with sympathizers of the Taliban. Pakistan recentlyarrested three of its senior nuclear scientists because of concerns overpossible connections with the Taliban.
The Hiroshima bomb had the explosive equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT.Robert S. Norris, a researcher and analyst at the Natural ResourcesDefense Council, said the Pakistani weapon is thought to weigh around1,500 pounds and be far from compact. "It's your basic starter model,"Mr. Norris said.
Russia is believed to have developed extremely small nuclear weapons "suitcase" bombs probably with yields equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNTor fewer. If those weapons were stolen or bought, Mr. Norris said,nuclear experts from the country of origin may be needed to detonatethem.
Another possibility would be to obtain the grapefruitlike core ofuranium from, say, the Pakistanis, which would be easier to smuggle outof the country than an entire bomb. It is no longer out of the questionthat Al Qaeda could somehow build the rest of the bomb, Mr. Albrightsaid.
He said that if the terrorists could not get the core of a bomb, theymight consider obtaining spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors in anynumber of countries. Concentrating the fissionable uranium from thoserods would be a monumental task, but separating plutonium, which canalso fuel a nuclear weapon, is just within the realm of possibility, Mr.Albright said.
"It's possible they could build a crude, plutonium enrichment plant,"Mr. Albright said.
Over the years, countries have come up with simpler designs for nuclearweapons, making it much more likely that a shoestring operation insideAfghanistan could build one, Mr. Albright said.
Except for the suitcase bomb, any one of those weapons would probablyhave to be brought to the United States in a ship, perhaps hidden in acontainer on a freighter. The bombs could fit into a large van and, ifexploded in downtown Manhattan, might cause tens of thousands to ahundred thousand deaths, Mr. Albright said.
A cruder but simpler way to use radioactive materials as a weapon wouldbe to construct a radiological bomb, sometimes called a dirty bomb. Theidea is to kill and terrorize with radiation alone, by packingradioactive material around an ordinary explosive and detonating itabove a city.
The radioactive material could spread as a dust emanating from theexplosion, falling on a wide area of a city, perhaps killing hundredsand requiring a cleanup that could run to billions of dollars. Without acleanup, the material would cling to surfaces and contaminate the areafor decades.
These dirty bombs are much easier to engineer than nuclear bombs. Butbecause of the known sympathies of many Pakistanis for Al Qaeda, onethreat easily stands out, said Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of theInstitute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, Md.
"There's so many vulnerabilities," Dr. Makhijani said, but "the mostimmediate danger relates to Pakistani nuclear weapons." return to menu
3. U.S. Sees Increased Potential for Nuclear Attack (excerpted)
October 31, 2001
(for personal use only)
The Sept. 11 attacks have increased concerns that extremists would useweapons of mass destruction including possibly nuclear weapons against the United States, Undersecretary of State John Bolton said onWednesday.
Answering questions at a breakfast with defense writers, Boltonpredicted that if extremists possess weapons of mass destruction aterm that encompasses nuclear, biological and chemical arms they willuse them.
NUCLEAR QUESTION MARK
He refused to say if the United States knew whether Saudi dissidentOsama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network of Islamic extremists blamedby Washington for the Sept. 11 attacks that killed more than 5,000people were in possession of nuclear weapons.
But he said one consequence of the U.S. attacks was a heightenedawareness of the interrelationship between nonproliferation andterrorists and that as a result, efforts to halt the spread of nuclear,chemical and biological arms will receive more attention in comingmonths.
"Essentially every state on the U.S. list of state sponsors ofterrorism is also an aspirant to obtain weapons of mass destruction ormay already have them," he said.
"So dealing with global terrorism ... will inevitably get us into thebusiness of dealing with weapons of mass destruction proliferation," atopic now under discussion with Russia and China, he added.
It could have been much worse. On Sept. 11, the terrorists could havedetonated a "small" nuclear weapon inside the World Trade Center. Notonly the two towers and their adjacent buildings would have collapsed,but many more to a radius of more than a mile; perhaps 100,000 peoplewould have lost their lives immediately and many more over time as aradioactive cloud would sail downwind depositing lethality hundreds ofmiles away. Preventing nuclear weapons from falling into the hands ofrogue states and terrorists groups have been only an academic matter formost Americans. It now must become a matter of grave concern.
If we are to lead the world away from further proliferation of theseweapons, we must drastically reduce the roughly 12,000 nuclear warheadswe now have. We, the most powerful nation by far, cannot insist onweaker nations forgoing these weapons entirely if we need anything like12,000 of them. Fortuitously, President Bush and Russian PresidentVladimir Putin have agreed to look at reducing nuclear warheadinventories in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 each. That would beconsiderable progress, but with two reservations.
The first is that the numbers 1,500 and 2,000 do not include allwarheads. Under the traditional counting rules, each side may retain anynumber of "spare" warheads, that is warheads not mounted on deliveryvehicles, plus any number of smaller "tactical" warheads. Setting anumber of 2,000 for instance, would likely result in an inventory of5,000 total warheads.
The second reservation is that just pledging reductions to 1,500 to2,000 is not enough. The U.S. can demobilize only about 2,000 warheads ayear and the Russians probably less. We need to demonstrate a greatersense of urgency. Only if we do can we persuade the world that we areserious about downgrading nuclear weapons and that, hence, others do notneed them.
Even more important, one likely source of proliferation is Russia.
Nuclear components and even weapons there are inadequately guarded. Andwe just cannot forecast what economic and political conditions withinRussia will be like in the years ahead. It is very much in our interestthat as many Russian weapons as possible be demobilized as soon aspossible in order to reduce the risks of weapons being stolen, sold,fired accidentally, or fired by rogue officers without authorization.
We should certainly, then, agree to the 1,500 number the Russiansproposed and set a date of only 18 months for neutering all otherwarheads. We could do that by separating the warheads from theirdelivery vehicles and removing them to storage sites at least 300 milesaway to await demobilization. Doing this in 18 months would take a majoreffort, as sufficient storage space may not exist.
Concrete bunkers on remote military bases are all that is needed. Eachside would invite the other to place observers at the storage sites.Thus, any moves to return warheads to their delivery vehicles beforethey are demobilized would be detected.
This process, known as "strategic escrow," would be a big step forward,but not nearly enough. We have no conceivable need for 1,500 readywarheads and we definitely do not want an unstable Russia sitting on anymore of these than we can talk them down to.
Thus a second step we should take is to engage the Russians innegotiating a treaty to carry both sides to 750 ready warheads. At thatlevel, whether we really need it or not, we would want the assurance ofa treaty with provisions for verification. We have found over the yearsthat such treaties are painfully slow to negotiate. We should, then,commence these negotiations almost simultaneously with the discussionson going down to 1,500 ready warheads.
Finally, at the point of 750, we would need to deal with the other sixnuclear powers, all of which are believed to have less than 750 warheadseach. Surely the present crisis has focused our attention on the gravedangers of nuclear weapons in the hands of Pakistan and India. It is ineveryone's interest that all nuclear weapons of these six other powersbe neutered by being placed in escrow. A third simultaneous negotiationshould be started with that objective, plus a reduction of all nucleararsenals to some number like 200 warheads. This could lead to a world inwhich, although there would be eight powers with nuclear weapons and allothers without, there would be no weapons immediately ready to fire, andthere would be international observers to warn of any preparations tofire.
These three steps are a big order. The World Trade Center and Pentagonbombings tell us the world faces a great challenge. As a result of thosebombings, however, we are witnessing an unprecedented cohesiveness ofthe responsible nations of the world.
We need to take advantage of this and move rapidly to ward off the mostominous threat terrorists could pose. return to menu
5. Bush: Fear Of Bin Laden Nukes
United Press International
October 29, 2001
(for personal use only)
The Bush administration is concerned that the al Qaida network ofaccused terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden might try to use a smallnuclear weapon in a super-spectacular strike to decapitate the U.S.political leadership, according to a half dozen serving and former U.S.government and intelligence officials.
"They believe it's a real possibility," said one former senior U.S.government official, adding that secret plans for protecting the U.S.president and his successors in the event of a nuclear attack were inplace.
The Bush administration believes that bin Laden the prime suspect inthe Sept. 11 terror attacks may be in possession of one or moresmall, portable nuclear weapons, according to one former senior U.S.intelligence official. Other experts agree that the danger is real."We're not at all discounting that possibility," agreed RoseGottemoeller, senior associate and Russian weapons expert at theWashington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Bin Laden's efforts to get hold of nuclear material are no secret. PeterProbst, an anti-terrorism analyst formerly with the Pentagon's Office ofSpecial Operations Low-Intensity Conflict says the Saudi fugitive "hasbeen obsessed with nuclear weapons."
During his trial for involvement in the 1998 bombing of two U.S.Embassies in East Africa, Jamal Ahmad al-Fadl, an al Qaida operative,outlined bin Laden's efforts to spend $1.5 million to obtain a cylinderof enriched uranium. Plans were made, said al-Fadl, to test uraniumsamples to see if they could be made into a bomb. The project fellthrough, he said, according to court documents.
But Monday, the Times of London cited unnamed Western intelligencesources as saying bin Laden had obtained nuclear materials fromPakistan.
And there have also been several reports variously citing unnamedintelligence sources from Israel, Russia and Arab nations about binLaden's attempts to purchase a small nuclear device from the arsenal ofa former Soviet republic, through terrorist or mafia groups in Chechnyaor Central Asia.
According to Probst, what the U.S. intelligence community fears is thattactical nuclear weapons of one kind or another have been sold toterrorists via corrupt Russian military officers or the Russian orChechen mafias with whom bin Laden is known to have had contact.
Probst explained that portable nuclear weapons were developed by theSoviets in the 1960s. They were designed for use by their Spetznatzspecial operations forces against NATO command and control sites.
Until recently, the best information the United States had about theseweapons described them as "suitcase bombs," although former CIAcounter-terrorism expert, Vince Cannistraro, says that they are the sizeof a footlocker and Gottemoeller adds that they actually come in twosections, "both rather cumbersome."
Cannistraro denounces reports that bin Laden has obtained such weaponsas "total crap."
But a former senior U.S. intelligence and Eastern Bloc specialistcautioned that "the Soviets were able to build weapons of such smallnessand lightness that they could be carried by one person," pointing outthat one U.S. nuclear warhead weighs less than 60 lbs.
While much has been written about suitcase bombs, until now, nothing hasappeared in any public report about these smaller "backpack" nuclearweapons, according to several U.S. government sources.
One U.S. government expert said that the United States gained newknowledge of the backpack weapons in the 1990s through Russian doubleagents run by the CIA. One U.S. source familiar with the program said:"We had defectors who trained on backpack weapons and who bluntly toldthe agency that everything they knew about the devices was wrong. Wedidn't understand how they were assembled or how they were to be used."
In 1998, this new information was put into a CIA "blue border" report,meaning it "contains material from a foreign source of the greatestsensitivity," a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. Thereport was presented to then President Bill Clinton and his NationalSecurity Advisor Sandy Berger. The report was so secret, the two menwere only allowed to initial the document before it was returned to theagency's custody, U.S. government officials said.
Berger's assistant told United Press International that he declined tocomment because, "It's an intelligence matter."
But the Federation of American Scientists says, "nuclear weapons thatcan fit in a very heavy, normal-sized suitcase are a real possibility."
"The possibility that these devices have been stolen and sold toterrorist groups is nearly anyone's worst nightmare," said CareySublette of the Federation of American Scientists.
General Aleksandr Lebed, the former Russian security czar, said in 1997that several nuclear suitcase bombs and tactical nukes had disappearedfrom the Russian arsenal.
In testimony before the Congressional Military Research and DevelopmentSubcommittee in October 1997, Lebed said there were bombs made to looklike suitcases that could be detonated by one person with less than30-minute preparation.
Lebed also said that nuclear bombs only 24 x 16 x 8 inches weredistributed among Soviet military intelligence units. He made no mentionof nuclear backpack bombs.
Probst told UPI he believes that Lebed is accurate about missing Soviettactical nuclear weapons. "I firmly believe that some were sold togroups by corrupt Russian military, probably in the Central Asianrepublics," he said. On Oct. 28, 1999, Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) saidthat he believed that some 48 Russian nuclear devices remainedunaccounted for.
"We simply don't know what was floating around out there when the SovietUnion dissolved," especially in the Central Asian republics, anadministration official said. "That's one of the questions we need toask: what are the threats?" return to menu
6. Volynkin Says Russia Knows Where its Nuclear Weapons Are.
October 29, 2001
(for personal use only)
Suggestions by former Russian Security Council Secretary and KrasnoyarskGovernor Aleksandr Lebed that some special super-small Soviet nucleardevices are missing are "nonsense," Igor Volynkin, the chief of theDefense Ministry administration responsible for the nuclear arsenal, aidin an interview published in "Izvestiya" on 26 October (see "RFE/RLNewsline," 26 October 2001). Volynkin said Moscow did have 84 nuclearmunitions weighing 30 kilograms or less each, but that it has eitherdestroyed or put under tight control every one of them. VY
1. Russian Experts Call for Cut in Number of Nuclear Warheads in High Readiness
BBC Monitoring Service
October 31, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Russian AVN Military News Agency web site
Moscow, 31 October: Russia and the United States have 6,000 strategicweapons each, a report entitled "Reduction of combat readiness ofRussian and US nuclear forces is a way to step down nuclear threat"says.
The report was elaborated by the armament non-proliferation andreduction sector of the Political and Military Forecast Centre under theRussian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Global Economy andInternational Relations.
A deputy director of the institute, Vladimir Baranovskiy, a co-author ofthe report, said a major share of nuclear munitions was permanently in ahigh degree of combat readiness. It means that Russian and USintercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) can be launched severalminutes after the order, and ballistic missiles deployed on patrollingsubmarines 15 minutes after the order. The total number of Russian andUS warheads in a high degree of combat readiness makes 3,500 to 4,000.
The report's authors believe that stepping up combat readiness ofstrategic nuclear forces and extending the term of nuclear strikeauthorization is the most obvious way of preventing a mistake orincorrect interpretation of data from missile launch early warningsystems. Reduction of combat readiness would also contribute to thestrategic nuclear weapons cut without affecting the containmentpotential, Baranovskiy stressed.
The report will soon be forwarded to Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russiaand George W. Bush of the United States, as well as to interestedfederal and legislative bodies of the two nations. The research directorof the Strategic Nuclear Forces Centre under the Russian Academy ofSciences, Vladimir Dvorkin, told Interfax-Military News Agency that "aconsolidated agreement and decision of all nuclear nations, not onlyRussia and the United States" would be a real contribution to theproblem's solution.
The parties have even discussed the possibility of reducing the numberof Russian and US nuclear warheads in a high-degree of combat readinessto 300 to 350 units, as in the inventory of France, Great Britain andChina, Dvorkin said. "This measure is possible, but it will have noeffect on theoretical risks of accidental launchers if a part of nuclearmissiles is in the combat-ready mode," he said. "The making of suchconsolidated decision is possible as a small step towards strengtheningof general trust, but it will not have a serious effect at once,"Dvorkin stressed.
Russia and India are set to sign a lease agreement for four TupolevTu-22M3 bombers within the next few months, in a deal that is likely toalter the naval balance of power in the Indian Ocean.
The deal was announced by Russian Vice Premier Ilya Klebanov on a visitto Delhi last week. No firm date or price has been given for the deal,nor has any possible sale or lease of weaponry for the aircraft.
The deal, which was first mentioned last year as part of a wider armspackage to India, is likely to evoke concern in neighboring states,especially Pakistan and China, because of the capabilities of theTu-22M3, which has not previously been exported.
The aircraft also known by its NATO codename "Backfire" is asupersonic cruise-missile carrier, which was built by the Soviet Unionfor attacking NATO fleets with the Raduga Kh-22 supersonic missile.
The twin-engine, swing-wing aircraft combines long range with asupersonic "dash" speed that makes it hard for defensive fighters tocatch it. It is fitted with long-range surface-search radar for findingtarget ships, and has advanced electronic-warfare equipment to jam enemyradar.
Around 280 Tu-22s are thought to remain in service with the RussianNaval Air Force.
The concern is likely to be heightened by the fact that India is in theprocess of developing and producing its own version of the Russian-builtNPO Mashinostroeniye Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missile, knownas Brahmos, which could be fitted to the aircraft.
Yakhont is one of the most advanced anti-ship cruise missiles in theworld, combining high speed, long range and a variable attack profile meaning it can attack from various angles to evade defenses.
India confirmed the existence of an air-launched version of the missileat the Moscow Air Show this year, although neither Russia nor India haveyet put an air-launched version of the Yakhont/Brahmos into service.When the missiles are ready to go, however, it is likely that they willbe compatible with the Tu-22M3. And that combination, experts say, islikely to drastically improve India's strike capability.
Neither the Pakistani nor the Chinese navy has the defensive systems tocounteract the Yakhont/Brahmos missile.
The lease will be the first export transaction involving the Tu-22M3. Aless-advanced model, the Tu-22, has been sold to Iraq and Libya, whileUkraine inherited its own Tu-22M3s.
India has also upgraded its Russian-built Tu-142 maritime patrolaircraft to carry air-launched cruise missiles. return to menu
E. Nuclear Waste
1. Russia Tightens Nuclear Waste Transportation Safety Requirements - Official
BBC Monitoring Service
October 31, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax
Novosibirsk, 31 October: The Russian Nuclear Safety Inspectorate hastightened the requirements on the transportation of spent nuclear fuelon the territory of Russia, head of the inspectorate's Siberian sectionValentin Denisov told today's news conference in Novosibirsk.
A train with solid spent fuel to be delivered to the Zheleznogorskreprocessing plant in Krasnoyarsk territory, Siberia, is being currentlyformed in Kozlodui, Bulgaria. Denisov said additional precautions willbe adopted during its transportation.
The Mayak combine in the southern Ural has reportedly commissioned avitrification facility, which originally was scheduled to startoperation in 1998.
The vitrification facility is processing high-level liquid radioactivewaste, which is the by-product of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing. Atthe output, the waste is mixed with glass. In such form it can be storedrelatively safe. Each tonne of reprocessed fuel results in around 45cubic meters of high active liquid waste.
The old vitrification facility at Mayak was taken out of operation inearly 1997. At that time the plant was 2.5 years past its operationallimits. The closure of the plant prompted the Russian State NuclearRegulatory, GAN, to withdraw the reprocessing licence from the Mayakcombine in spring 1997. GAN officials said that the licence was given onthe condition that the waste is vitrified. Otherwise Mayak would have toaccumulate the waste in the storage tanks for highly radioactive waste,and the capacity of those tanks was limited. The licence was returnedlater the same year after Mayak proved they had the capacity to storethe waste temporarily before installing a new vitrification facility.
The newly built vitrification facility has the same capacity as itsformer prototype - 500 litres of waste per hour, outputting 70kg ofglass. The glass is placed into a temporary storage which is now onethird full. Mayak officials say the plant will be able to process allthe stored high active waste in five to six years to come.
Vitrification will not get Mayak better offBut the vitrification facility will not solve the disastrousenvironmental situation around Mayak. 150 cubic meters of medium and2,000 cubic meters of low active liquid waste generated per tonne ofreprocessed fuel are dumped into the Karachay Lake in the vicinity ofMayak. At the bottom of the Karachay Lake there is a lens-form formationwith the dense concentration of highly radioactive waste. The 'lens' isgradually moving towards river system posing a threat of vastcontamination.
The system of Techa River reservoirs located six kilometres from Mayakcontain huge amount of highly radioactive waste in sediments resultedfrom direct discharge in 1950s. The reservoirs are separated from theriver system by dams. Each year, depending on the level ofprecipitation, there is a risk that the water level will increase highenough to flow over the dams. This year the water at one of the dams was30cm from the critical mark.
The management at Mayak say they can solve the problem if the South-Uralnuclear power plant is built in the area, which could use water fromTecha reservoirs to cool the reactors. The construction of the SouthUral NPP was launched in 1984. It was designed to operate on BN-800 typefast-breeder reactors. In 1987, the project was halted, but during thepast couple of years the management of Mayak has been trying to put theconstruction of the plant back to the agenda. The main argument was themanagement's 'concern' for the environmental situation around the Techareservoirs.
Mayak fazing out
The RT-1 reprocessing plant at Mayak is in operation since 1956.Originally designed to reprocess weapons grade plutonium from militaryreactors it was later modified to handle spent nuclear fuel fromVVER-440 reactors, BN-30 and BN-600 reactors, as well as PWR maritimereactors installed onboard nuclear powered submarines and nuclearpowered icebreakers. RT-1 can also reprocess spent fuel from someresearch reactors. The plant has design capacity of 400 tonnes of spentfuel per year. But the past ten years the plant's production level wasrarely higher than 150 tonnes per year. The plans to upgrade RT-2 arenot cheerfully accepted by the Ministry for Nuclear Energy, whichsupervises Mayak. The available reports suggest that the ministry wouldrather prefer to store spent nuclear fuel both from the domesticreactors and imported for a period of 20 years before a new reprocessingplant is built. The new plant - RT-2 - is located inKrasnoyarsk county. Its construction was launched 30 years ago but puton freeze in 1990s. return to menu
G. Submarine Dismantlement
1. Used Nuclear Fuel Discharged from 12 Russian Submarines this Year
BBC Monitoring Service
October 31, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Russian AVN Military News Agency web site
Moscow, 31 October: During the 10 months of the current year RussianAtomic Energy Ministry experts discharged used nuclear fuel from 12Russian navy submarines that are to be scrapped, Deputy Atomic EnergyMinister Valeriy Lebedev told Interfax-Military News Agency on Wednesday[31 October]. Lebedev said that in the years to follow nuclear fuelwould be discharged from approximately 90 submarines of the Russian navythat are to be scrapped. Twenty of the submarines are based at thePacific Fleet and ninety at the Northern Fleet. Lebedev also stressedthat financing of the scrapping programme began early last year, withR1bn (33.66m dollars) having been allocated in 2000. Part of the sum wasspent on equipment repairs and additional works necessary for speedingup fuel discharging and maintaining better safety standards. Nuclearfuel was discharged from 17 nuclear submarines in 2000. A total ofR1.2bn (40.38m dollars) has been allocated for the programme this year.Nuclear fuel is to be discharged from 18 or 19 strategic submarinesbefore the end of the current year. Lebedev said Russia had refused USassistance in the scrapping programme, for Americans demanded access toevery cycle of fuel discharging process, with some of its elements beingstate secret. The term of the programme will be reduced from 15-20 yearsto 7-10 years provided the scrapping is funded the way it is financednow. Experts believe 35 submarines will have been cleared of nuclearfuel by 2005-2006.
1. Some Major Challenges: Nuclear Non- Proliferation, Nuclear Arms Control and Nuclear Terrorism
IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei
Statement to the Symposium on International Safeguards:
Verification and Nuclear Material Security
October 29, 2001
Today I would like to share with you a few thoughts on some of thechallenges the international community and the IAEA face in the fieldsof non-proliferation, nuclear arms control and nuclear terrorism.
Ensuring an Effective, Universal and Adequately Financed System for theVerification of Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Let me start by referring to a major challenge that is the focus of thissymposium, namely to ensure that the IAEA safeguards system - the systemthat verifies States' non-proliferation commitments - is effective,universally adhered to and adequately financed.
Effectiveness of the system As you are aware, the Agency safeguards system verifies thenon-proliferation commitment made under the 1970 Treaty on theNon-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the most adhered tointernational agreement after the United Nations Charter. As such theAgency plays a key role - as an objective and technically credible body- in building mutual confidence among parties to the NPT by providingassurance of their compliance.
The discovery of the clandestine nuclear weapon programme in Iraq afterthe 1991 Gulf War made it, however, painfully clear that the safeguardssystem developed in connection with the NPT was not adequate in and byitself to enable the Agency to detect possible undeclared activities andprovide the comprehensive assurance expected under the NPT. This isbecause the Agency's rights of access to information and sites underthat system is rather limited and mainly focused on the detection ofdiversion of declared material and activities. This discovery jolted theinternational community into agreeing to empower the Agency withadditional verification rights that correspond to its responsibilities.These rights are designed to provide the Agency with the tools necessaryto verify not only declared nuclear material and activities, but alsothe absence of undeclared material and activities. These rights wereincorporated into a model protocol additional to safeguards agreements,approved in 1997 by the Agency's Board of Governors.
The additional protocol authorizes the Agency to receive a broad rangeof information about all aspects of a State's nuclear fuel cycle andnuclear related activities. It also provides for a broad right of accessfor Agency inspectors to nuclear related facilities and locations, aswell as to fuel cycle related research and development locations.
Currently, the Agency's priorities are two-fold: the implementation ofthe additional protocol measures in States that are party to theprotocol, and the meshing of existing and new safeguards measures with aview to have an integrated safeguards system that is both effective andefficient. "Integrated safeguards" promises to usher in a smart,information driven, non-discriminatory system that is designed to drawcomprehensive conclusions regarding compliance by a State with itsnon-proliferation obligations. It adopts new approaches, including afocus on the State as a whole, and increased interaction between theAgency and the State's System of Accounting and Control. The overridingobjective continues to be a safeguards system that is effective inproviding the required assurance. The conceptual framework of integratedsafeguards is nearing completion, and shortly the Agency will be readyto apply the full framework to those States which qualify for itsapplication, namely States that have a comprehensive safeguardsagreement and an additional protocol in force, and for which the Agencyhas completed the necessary evaluation and has drawn the requiredconclusions.
Given the fact that we are charting new territory, it is necessary thatintegrated safeguards continue to evolve as we gain experience. In thisconnection, I trust that the discussions this week will provide insighton some of the important questions that are relevant to our efforts tostrengthen the safeguards system. For example:
How well and to what extent does the safeguards system balance itsquantitative elements with those features requiring more qualitativejudgment - and how should the balance between the two be decided? Thisis a particularly important question for integrated safeguards whichsees an increasing reliance on qualitative judgment.
What is the proper balance between direct inspection and remotemonitoring and why, in the year 2001, does the development of aneffective camera system remain apparently so difficult, and when can weexpect the current problems to be resolved?
How credible is wide-area environmental monitoring, and when will itbecome feasible to make use of it?
To what extent can the safeguards system make further use of satelliteimagery?
Answers to these and other technical and policy questions will beespecially helpful to theSecretariat as we move forward.
Participation in the system In the Safeguards Implementation Report (SIR) for 2000, the Agency wasable to conclude that for all 140 states with safeguards agreements inplace the nuclear material and other items placed under safeguardsremained in peaceful nuclear activities or were otherwise adequatelyaccounted for. Moreover, for seven States the Agency's evaluation wasable to provide broader assurance: not only that there had been nodiversion of declared nuclear material, but also that there was noindication of the presence of undeclared nuclear material or activities.In the process of reaching these conclusions, the Agency was able toachieve more of its inspection goals than ever before, while stilladhering to the "cost neutrality" objective - despite continuousincreases in the amount of nuclear material and the number of facilitiesunder safeguards.
These achievements are noteworthy. However, it should not divert ourattention from the fact that for the safeguards system to fully achieveits objective all non-nuclear-weapon States should subscribe to thestrengthened safeguards system. Of the 187 States party to the NPT, atotal of50 remain without a comprehensive safeguards agreement in force, andonly 22 additional protocols have entered into force. This clearly is anunacceptable situation. As I said, if the Agency is to be able toperform its responsibilities it must be given the correspondingauthority. All States need to take seriously their non-proliferationobligations. In the past year, we have increased our efforts to promotethe conclusion of safeguards agreements and additional protocols, bymeans of regional seminars, and by systematically approaching capitals,but the response by States is disappointingly slow.
In that connection, I have for a number of years been entrusted by theAgency's GeneralConference to promote the application of Agency safeguards to allnuclear facilities in the Middle East as a step towards theestablishment of a nuclear weapons free zone in that region.Regrettably I have not yet been able to make progress in fulfilling thismandate. I do hope, however, that future progress in the Middle EastPeace Process will enable me to make parallel progress in this importantsecurity issue.
Financing of the system Effective implementation of safeguards is also dependent on theavailability of the necessary financial resources. The Agency currentlysafeguards over 900 facilities in 70 countries on a regular safeguardsbudget of approximately US $80 million per year. And while ourverification responsibilities have continued to grow, our safeguardsbudget, like the rest of the Agency budget, has been one of "zero realgrowth." This has forced us to rely on unpredictable "voluntary" fundingfor almost one-fifth of our safeguards activities, and has left usincreasingly short of essential human resources, and technology needs.It is clear that if we are to continue to provide credible verificationassurances, the complexity of our verification mission must be matchedby the required resources.
Making Progress in Nuclear Arms Control I now turn to a second major challenge, namely making progress on thenuclear arms control and disarmament front. This, we should continue toremember, is an essential part of the mutual commitment made under theNPT: universal adherence to the non-proliferation regime by all thenon-nuclear-weapon States; steady progress towards nuclear disarmamentby the five weapons States; and equal access by all to peaceful nucleartechnology. While the end of the Cold War helped to motivate goodprogress on nuclear arms control in the early and mid 1990s, the processunfortunately slowed in the latter part of the decade. The START I andII Treaties made significant cuts in the level of deployed strategicweapons but START II has yet to enter into force. Efforts to end nuclearweapons development achieved an important milestone in 1996, with theComprehensive Test Ban Treaty; however, the reluctance of a number ofkey States to take the steps needed to bring it into force - togetherwith the ongoing debate on the continued relevance of the Treaty on theLimitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM Treaty) - has led toalmost complete stagnation in the nuclear arms control efforts.
For a number of years the IAEA has been supporting an initiative tosubmit to Agency verification weapon usable nuclear material releasedfrom the military programmes of the Russian Federation and the USA.Although progress has been slow, consultations have continued in aneffort to resolve various legal and technical issues. In the last year,some progress has been made on developing technical criteria and methodsfor implementing verification measures. Agreement, however, is still tobe reached on the scope of the verification measures, the nature of thematerial subject to verification, and the duration of verification underthe agreements. Last month, I met here in Vienna with the RussianFederation Minister of Atomic Energy and the United States Secretary ofEnergy to take stock of progress and to give impetus to this importantarms control initiative - which, if successful, would ensure that largeamounts of weapon usable material are irreversibly removed from thesemilitary programmes.
In my view, progress towards nuclear arms control is not only overduebut is essential to the sustainability of the non-proliferation regimein the long run. The "unequivocal commitment" by the nuclear weaponStates during the 2000 NPT Review Conference to "accomplish the totalelimination of nuclear weapons" is certainly a positive sign, but willhave to be translated soon into concrete steps to gain credibility.Examples of those steps would include, inter alia, ratification of theSTART II treaty and the conclusion of START III, universal ratificationof the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the commencement ofthe long anticipated negotiation towards a treaty that would prohibitthe further production of fissile material for weapons purposes (theso-called "cut-off" treaty).
With regard to the three States - India, Pakistan and Israel - that havedecided, for their own perceived security reasons, to retain the nuclearweapons option, I believe it is essential to actively engage them in theefforts to consolidate the non-proliferation regime and move towardsnuclear disarmament. As we have been made amply aware by recent events,security is a global concern that requires global solutions and globalparticipation.
As I have proposed in other forums, the feasibility of moving towardsthe elimination of the current nuclear arsenals depends critically onour ability to develop a credible alternative to nuclear deterrence. Inmy view, the best disincentive to acquiring nuclear weapons and otherweapons of mass destruction will be a security system that is rooted ineconomic and social development, good governance, and respect for humanrights and cultural differences, with agreed mechanisms in place for thepeaceful settlement of disputes, and for credible and independentverification of arms control agreements.
Protection Against Nuclear Terrorism I turn now to a third major and recent challenge, that is protectionagainst nuclear terrorism. TheAgency has long been active in encouraging States to make security anintegral part of the management of their nuclear programmes. The recentattacks in the United States were, however, a wake-up call to us allthat more can and must be done. In the week immediately following thetragedy, the IAEA General Conference adopted a resolution whichrequested that I initiate a thorough review of Agency activities andprogrammes relevant to preventing acts of nuclear terrorism.
We are already engaged in a variety of activities relevant to combatingnuclear terrorism - including of course the safeguarding of nuclearmaterial, but also including our activities to ensure physical security,to prevent and respond to illicit trafficking of nuclear material andother radioactive sources, to enhance the safety of nuclear facilities,and to respond to emergencies. In each of these areas of activity, theAgency develops legal norms and guidelines, promotes internationalco-operation, provides expert advice, training and equipment andperforms varying degrees of oversight.
We are currently reviewing in depth each of these programmes to identifyadditional measures that need to be taken. Specifically, we areconsidering expanding the scope and reach of many of our services with aview, in particular, to upgrade physical protection of nuclear materialand radioactive sources, to enhance accident prevention and mitigationin nuclear facilities, and to reinforce the emergency responsemechanisms. Equally, we will review existing conventions and guidelines- including the Convention on the Physical Protection of NuclearMaterial - to ensure that they are comprehensive and effective, and wewill make every effort to promote their universal application. To enablethe Agency to enhance its services in all these areas, and with a viewto assist States that lack the resources to upgrade the security oftheir nuclear facilities and material, we are exploring the feasibilityof establishing a Fund for Protection Against NuclearTerrorism. A preliminary paper that outlines our proposed response tothe threat of nuclear terrorism will be submitted to our Board ofGovernors next month.
Clearly, these are unconventional threats that require unconventionalresponses. And it is my hope that the Friday special session of thissymposium will help us in shaping our response.
Conclusion We live in a critical time - a time in which the global community facescomplex challenges and difficult agendas. Recent events have, however,catapulted security concerns to the very top of every agenda. Thisnaturally lends a heightened sense of relevance to your discussions thisweek. I encourage your thoughtful participation, and I wish you a mostproductive symposium. return to menu