PRESIDENT BUSH has warned the world that Osama bin Laden is ''seeking todevelop weapons of mass destruction.'' To meet this threat, the UnitedStates and Russia should take the lead in establishing an AllianceAgainst Megaterrorism. What should have been a crowning achievement ofthis week's summit was sadly a missed opportunity.
Presidents Putin and Bush are now actively transforming relationsbetween the United States and Russia. Putin was the first internationalleader to call Bush after the Sept. 11 assault. Recognizing that USforces would go to alert status, Putin cancelled a Russian militaryexercise to avoid any possible confusion. As National Security AdviserCondoleezza Rice noted: ''If you think back 25 years ago, this wouldhave been a spiral of alerts between two heavily armed, ideologicallyopposed camps.'' This was, she said, ''the crystallizing moment for theend of the Cold War.''
As participants in building relations between Russia and the UnitedStates, we believe the current crisis presents a historic window ofopportunity. In earlier discussions, both presidents searched for a''new strategic concept'' for their post-Cold War relations. While weapplaud the announcement of significant reductions in numbers ofoperational strategic offensive nuclear arms, that numbers game is aholdover from the Cold War, not the stuff of a ''new relationship forthe 21st century.''
Post-Cold War relations should begin with shared vital nationalinterests that require cooperation for their fulfillment. The urgencyand importance of one such interest was made vivid by Sept. 11: tominimize dangers of nuclear and other weapons of mass destructionterrorism. As the inventors and builders of 99 percent of the world'sweapons of mass destruction, Russia and the United States have a specialresponsibility to exercise leadership in this arena.
The surest way to prevent terrorist assaults with weapons of massdestruction is to prevent terrorists from gaining control of nuclear,biological, or chemical weapons. The readiest source of such weapons andmaterials are the vast arsenals and stockpiles Russia and Americaaccumulated in the Cold War. America and Russia should act now to assureeach other that their own houses are in order: securing and/orneutralizing all nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material to agreedinternational security standards on the fastest timetable technicallyfeasible. An ambitious program of action to achieve this objectiveshould be jointly funded by the United States, Russia, and other membersof the international coalition against terrorism.
The starting points for a high priority program of specific actions tothis end have already been stated by the two presidents. In his majorforeign policy campaign address at the Ronald Reagan Library,then-presidential candidate George W. Bush called for ''Congress toincrease substantially our assistance to dismantle as many of Russia'sweapons as possible, as quickly as possible.'' In his September 2000address to the UN's Millennium Summit, Putin proposed, ''The world mustfind ways to block the spread of nuclear weapons by excluding use ofenriched uranium and plutonium in global atomic energy production.'' Athis joint press conference with Putin on Tuesday, Bush offered that,''Our highest priority is to keep terrorists from acquiring weapons ofmass destruction.''
What the two presidents failed to announce, however, are concreteactions to achieve this objective. A specific program for minimizing thedanger of nuclear weapon terrorism has been developed by the bipartisanBaker-Cutler Task Force Report(www.hr.doe.gov/SEAB/rusrpt.pdf).Initiatives should concentrate weapons and materials in the fewestpossible sites, secure them by the most technically advanced means, andneutralize highly enriched uranium by blending it down for subsequentuse in civilian nuclear power plants. This program could essentiallyeliminate the risk that nuclear weapons could be stolen, sold toterrorists, and used to attack America or Russia or others.
Further elements of this new alliance must include a US-Russian ledinternational coalition to cause all other nuclear-weapons states -including Pakistan - to secure their weapons and weapons-usable materialwithin their borders. A complementary international effort to preventproliferation of nuclear weapons to additional states should focus onNorth Korea, Iran, and Iraq through joint political efforts to reinventa more robust nonproliferation regime of controls on sale and export ofweapons of mass destruction and missile technologies.
No one can doubt bin Laden's aspirations to acquire nuclear weapons,which he has called a ''religious duty.'' As the international noosetightens around Al Qaeda's neck, it will become more desperate andaudacious. The time to act to prevent nuclear terrorism is now. return to menu
2. Senate Oks Russia Debt Reduction
November 14, 2001
(for personal use only)
Legislation approved Wednesday by a Senate committee would let Russiareduce its $3.5 billion debt to the United States by working to limitproliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
The proposal can "generate some benefit to us and ease Russia'sfinancial situation," said Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the SenateForeign Relations Committee. The debt swap idea, developed by Biden,D-Del., and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is part of a foreign securityaid measure that won unanimous approval.
Separately, the committee approved, by voice vote, two anti-terrorismtreaties adopted by the U.N. General Assembly long before the Sept. 11attacks.
They are "critical to the efforts of the United States to prevent, deterand combat terrorist acts," Michael Chertoff, assistant attorney generalfor the criminal division, told a House Judiciary panel Wednesday thatis considering new criminal laws to implement the treaties.
The Senate bill includes additional money for programs that provideinternational military training and pay for arms for allies. But unlikeHouse legislation approved in May, the Senate also measure offers thedebt swap for Russia; it could be in the final bill that emerges fromnegotiations between the House and Senate.
Under the swap, Russia would propose actions to destroy, secure orprevent the spread of its weapons of mass destruction, many of which arevulnerable to theft or illicit sale. The U.S. president would have tosign off on it before the money Russia spends is deducted from its debt,Biden said.
The effort would be in addition to the approximately $1 billion a yearthe United States spends to help Russia secure or destroy such weapons,and find legitimate work for former Soviet nuclear and other weaponsscientists.
Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., the committee's top Republican, insisted on aprovision requiring the president to certify that Russia was "makingsubstantial progress" in impeding the transfer of weapons and materialto countries that commit or foster terrorism, such as Iran.
Biden said Russia's arms sales to Iran result largely from its need forhard currency to pay foreign debts of some $30 billion.
He noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin told congressionalleaders Tuesday that he realizes any weapon of mass destruction gainedby its neighbors is far more likely to strike Russia than New York City.
Russia is facing a large payment on its debt in 2003. If it cannot pay,it will fall afoul of many international organizations' financial aidrequirements, Biden said.
The debt swap plan does not extend to other former Soviet states becauseRussia assumed the entire Soviet debt, a decision Putin decried Tuesday,Biden said. return to menu
B. U.S. Non-Proliferation Budget
1. Security Plan for Russian Plutonium Has Foes
Jonathan S. Landay
November 16, 2001
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon and House Republicans are trying to blockdefense funding for a program whose ultimate goal is to preventterrorists and rogue nations from buying or stealing plutonium fromRussia.
Under the program, Russia would pay for closing three aging,defect-plagued plutonium production reactors in Siberia, and the UnitedStates would pay to build and refurbish fossil-fuel plants to supplyhundreds of thousands of people with heat and electricity now providedby the reactors.
The reactors together add 1.5 metric tons of plutonium - enough to makeas many as 500 thermonuclear warheads - annually to a mountain of excessRussian nuclear weapons fuel that U.S. studies warn is poorly guardedand vulnerable to theft. Many experts also say these reactors are amongthe most unsafe in the world.
But senior Pentagon officials, with the blessing of Defense SecretaryDonald H. Rumsfeld, are working with GOP members of the House ArmedServices Committee to block the use of Pentagon funds for the program,said government officials who follow the issue and spoke on condition ofanonymity.
The Pentagon and its congressional allies say that while they support ashutdown of the three reactors, U.S. defense dollars are too precious tobe used to build and refurbish replacement fossil-fuel plants.
Advocates respond that the plan is the cheapest and fastest way toeliminate sources of Russian nuclear weapons fuel that might find itsway into the hands of terrorists or nations such as Iraq.
In recent weeks, President Bush and senior U.S. officials have warned ofthe growing danger of nuclear terrorism and of suspected terroristleader Osama bin Laden's efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge yesterday said information aboutnuclear weapons that could have been obtained on the Internet was foundin a suspected al-Qaeda safehouse in Afghanistan.
At a news conference Tuesday with visiting Russian President Vladimir V.Putin, Bush pledged to "strengthen our efforts to cut off every possiblesource of . . . nuclear weapons materials."
Yet the President on Nov. 6 told lawmakers he would veto proposedadditional spending that included a $221 million increase in funds forimproving the security of Russian nuclear arms.
Bush has declined to overrule the Pentagon's opposition to thereactor-replacement program, said the government officials andcongressional aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Pentagon opposed the program even though it passed a White House-ledreview of U.S. efforts to help Russia dispose of excess nuclear weaponsand boost the security of its arsenal, they said.
"We have heard from the Defense Department that absent a direct orderfrom the President, they will not be executing this program," said acongressional staffer who follows the issue.
Requests for comments from the Pentagon and the White House wentunanswered.
The reactor replacement plan is among a raft of initiatives dividedamong the Defense, Energy and State Departments that are collectivelyknown as the Cooperative Threat Reduction program.
Since the program began a decade ago, the United States has spentbillions helping cashapped Russia dismantle much of its Cold Warnuclear arsenal, protect its highly enriched uranium and plutonium, andfind new work for Russian weapons experts.
In 1997, Washington and Moscow agreed to cooperate in closing Russia'slast three working reactors producing plutonium for the triggers ofthermonuclear bombs. Ten similar plants had been closed, but Russianauthorities kept the trio - two in the city of Seversk, one in the cityof Zheleznogorsk - operating because they also supplied the surroundingregions of Siberia with electricity and heat.
Under the plan eventually agreed upon, the United States would pay anestimated $300 million to $350 million to refurbish existing fossil-fuelplants and build new energy-production facilities. Experts say Russia'scost of safely shutting down the plants would be far greater and wouldinvolve the risk of radioactive leaks.
2. House Committee Rejects Increase in Emergency Funding
November 15, 2001
(for personal use only)
The House Appropriations Committee yesterday rejected impassioned pleasto increase emergency funding for New York City, the military andhomeland security after Vice President Cheney personally lobbiedwavering Republicans to support the administration's more limitedpackage for coping with the Sept. 11 attacks.
In nearly straight party-line votes, the committee rejected a Democraticproposal to add $7.1 billion for homeland security, as well as a secondamendment from New York members to increase emergency aid to the city by$9.73 billion. A proposal by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) to add $6.5billion for the military and intelligence services was defeated by avoice vote.
The action left intact a $20 billion package that closely resembles theWhite House proposal. The only two Republicans siding with the Democratswere two New Yorkers, Reps. John E. Sweeney and James T. Walsh.
Before the voting, committee Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) exhortedhis colleagues to stand by the president and "avoid divisions inwartime."
"There can only be one driver in this war, and we can't be the driver,"said Young, who asked members to wait until another day to obtain thefunds they wanted. "Stay in lockstep, stay behind the president," hesaid.
But it was Cheney's sudden involvement in the developing fray over thebudget that appeared to solidify GOP ranks yesterday. In an unusualstep, the vice president this week took away control of the White Houselobbying effort from White House budget director Mitchell E. DanielsJr., whose relations with congressional appropriators have been severelystrained over the emergency-funding issue.
Republicans as well as Democrats have expressed bitterness over whatthey contend are Daniels's summary rejections of congressional spendingproposals to deal with the emergency. "I certainly don't think he'shelped himself or the president," Sweeney said.
On Tuesday, Cheney came to Capitol Hill to meet with Young, andyesterday morning he met at the White House with Sweeney, Walsh and Rep.Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) about their proposal to increase aid to thestricken city.
Sweeney said Cheney repeated a warning by President Bush to veto thisyear's $317 billion defense bill if it contained any of the unsoughtemergency aid provisions. Sweeney said Cheney indicated that the cityeventually would get all the aid it has been promised.
The battle is centered on the final $20 billion of a total $40 billionanti-terrorism package before Congress. Many in both parties have saidthe amount is too small. The proposals put forward yesterday would haveadded money for everything from port security, Tomahawk cruise missilesand government linguists, to the control of nuclear materialsproliferation in Russia.
But with the administration determined to hold the line at $20 billion,Republicans acquiesced.
Nonetheless, at an emotional session of the committee, the New Yorkerspressed their case, arguing that Bush had not made good on a promise tochannel to New York half the $40 billion emergency package tied to theSept. 11 attacks.
The extra $9.7 billion for New York would have extended workers'compensation and unemployment and health benefits for workers andbusinesses affected by the attacks. It would also have providedadditional money for federal disaster relief, the tourist industry,hospitals and utility companies.
"We need to have this commitment today, not three months from now, so wecan stop the bleeding," Walsh said. Congressional action, he said, wouldsend to businesses considering abandoning the city a critical signalthat more federal help is on the way.
Pleading for the aid, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) noted that four ofher children had been born in New York. "New York took a punch for us,"she said. Several supporters of the added aid reminded colleagues oftheir support for states ravaged by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes.
Republicans insisted, however, that the administration has ample fundsto help New York, resupply the military and beef up homeland defense.
The GOP version of the bill approved yesterday still contains extraanti-terrorism funding for dozens of federal departments and agencies.But House appropriators cut the administration's proposals forexplosive-detection systems and cockpit door locks on airplanes from$409 million to $150 million.
Rep. Ernest J. Istook Jr. (R-Okla.) noted that the GOP package beforethe committee funded important first steps in improving port securityand the security of the U.S.-Canada border. "This isn't all; we'relooking at one chapter of the book," he said.
But Rep. David R. Obey (Wis.), the committee's ranking Democrat andchief sponsor of an expanded, comprehensive homeland defense plan,paraphrased the late Barry Goldwater: "In your hearts, you know we'reright." return to menu
3. In Congress, Pork Stays on Menu: Pet Projects Sometimes at Odds With New Spending Demands
John Lancaster and Dan Morgan
November 15, 2001
(for personal use only)
Last month, lawmakers rejected a proposal to add $131 million to aprogram that helps Russia keep track of its nuclear stockpile. It's notthat they didn't like the idea: After Sept. 11, almost everyone inCongress agrees on the need to do more to stop terrorists from acquiringnuclear bombs.
But House and Senate negotiators meeting to decide the final shape of a$24.6 billion spending bill covering the nation's nuclear and waterprograms could not find room for the increase. They had otherpriorities, including:
A museum at the Atomic Testing History Institute in Las Vegas ($1million).
Aquatic-weed removal in the Lavaca and Navidad rivers in Texas($300,000).
A study of erosion on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii ($350,000).
Targeting funds for specific projects at the request of individuallawmakers is a time-honored ritual on Capitol Hill, and this year is noexception. But as Congress completes work on 13 annual spending bills,its business-as-usual approach to managing the federal budget iscolliding with the new demands of fighting terrorism.
The soaring costs of responding to the attacks -- Congress has alreadyapproved $40 billion for the purpose -- have done little so far to curbcongressional appetites for courthouses, highways, dams, parks and otherpurely parochial items. According to congressional aides, the number ofsuch "earmarks" in this year's crop of spending bills is likely toapproach or even exceed last year's record number, which was estimatedby the White House budget office at 6,400 (a threefold increase from1995).
Many of the earmarks, as in previous years, reflect political clout morethan national need. Money is flowing disproportionately to the districtsof appropriations committee members and congressional leaders --including self-described fiscal conservatives such as Senate MinorityLeader Trent Lott, who secured millions for projects in his home stateof Mississippi.
"These legislative hijinks are bad enough in peacetime," Sen. JohnMcCain (R-Ariz.) told the Senate last week, after noting acidly that onSept. 13, while the Pentagon and the World Trade Center "stillsmoldered," the Senate approved $2 million for the Oregon GroundfishOutreach Program. "America is at war. . . . Congress should grow up andstop treating the domestic budget as a political Toys R Us."
There is no shortage of examples: $510,000 for a chapel at Kaneohe BayMarine Corps Base in Hawaii; $100,000 to study the feasibility ofconverting a building in Martinsburg, W.Va., to a museum for Armyartifacts; $70,000 to refurbish a bird observatory in Montgomery County,Pa.; $500,000 for the Montana Sheep Institute.
"Pork thrives in good times and bad times," said Allen Schick, acongressional expert at the the Brookings Institution. He added, "Theproblem is not the individual project, but the cumulative effect. . . .When you add up the total, it just blows your mind."
Earmarks do not automatically swell the federal budget, because in somecases they merely direct government agencies to spend money for specificpurposes within the limits of available funds. But many of this year'sitems were added on top of President Bush's budget request, sometimes inHouse-Senate conferences where they received little scrutiny. Successiveadministrations have insisted that such choices are better left tofederal agencies, complaining that earmarks create upward pressure onthe budget by crowding out more important needs.
Members of the appropriations committees -- who note that theConstitution grants Congress authority over spending -- say they canjudge local needs better than federal bureaucrats because they havetheir ears to the ground back home.
Several congressional aides defended this year's earmarks, observingthat spending legislation was largely drafted -- and in some cases votedon by one or both chambers -- before Sept. 11. They also noted that,whatever the particulars of individual bills, spending is on track tostay within the overall budget ceiling of $686 billion negotiated by theBush administration and congressional leaders last month.
There is little question, however, that the fat surplus projections ofrecent years, now fading into memory, have eased pressure on Congress toshow restraint. White House budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. hasall but abandoned the quest he launched earlier this year to contain thepractice of earmarking. "To be honest, the appropriators weren't thatreceptive," an administration official said.
Despite broad bipartisan agreement on the need to spend more to fightterrorism -- lawmakers have tried without success to persuade the WhiteHouse to lift the $40 billion ceiling on emergency spending related tothe Sept. 11 attacks -- they have been reluctant to do so at the expenseof pet projects back home.
During a House-Senate conference on the energy and water bill Oct. 26,for example, Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Tex.) offered an amendment that wouldhave added $131 million to an Energy Department program to help Russiasafeguard its nuclear materials. He was responding, in part, to aJanuary warning by a department task force -- chaired by former SenateRepublican leader Howard H. Baker Jr. (Tenn.) and former White Housecounsel Lloyd Cutler -- that lax nuclear security in Russia was "themost urgent unmet national security threat to the United States today."
But conferees rejected Edwards's proposal to shift the money from aprogram to refurbish nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal. Nor did theyconsider taking funds from hundreds of local water projects or otherearmarks, such as the atomic history museum.
"That's a very fair question to ask," Edwards said when queried aboutwhy he did not suggest the option.
Edwards said that while he would have been open to an across-the-boardcut in water projects to fund the nonproliferation program, "it ispolitically very difficult" to eliminate individual earmarks -- some ofwhich, he acknowledged, he sought on behalf of his own constituents.
The $1 million earmark to pay for exhibits at the Atomic Testing HistoryInstitute was added by Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), the assistantmajority leader, who chairs the energy and water panel of theAppropriations Committee. Reid's hand is evident throughout the finalbill, which adds 50 Nevada-specific items worth $146 million to Bush'soriginal budget request.
According to a spokesman, Reid strongly supports the Energy Department'snonproliferation efforts but objects to shifting funds for the purpose"at the eleventh hour." The spokesman, Nathan Naylor, said it was notsurprising that a bill to fund nuclear programs would steer a lot ofmoney to Nevada, given the state's central role in nuclear testing.
Naylor said the atomic history museum would "chronicle the historicsacrifice that Nevada has made for the country during the Cold War,"when some of its residents were poisoned by radiation from above-groundtests in the 1950s. "This is part of our history, and if this is what itcosts to protect that legacy, so be it," he said.
Reid is hardly alone in using his leadership post to channel federalresources to the folks back home.
Lott, for example, has joined the Bush administration in opposingadditional spending for homeland defense, the military and New York Cityin a pending supplemental appropriations bill. "He's concerned aboutspending just spiraling completely out of control," Lott told reporterslast week. "And I share that concern."
But even as Lott was making that comment, the Senate was giving finalapproval to a spending bill that included $10 million for the StennisSpace Center in Bay St. Louis, Miss.; $50,000 for a street extensionthat will "link cultural and entertainment districts" in Jackson, Miss.;$500,000 for Lott's alma mater, the University of Mississippi; and morethan $1 million for water systems in Jackson and Picayune, Miss.
In a similar vein, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) used his power aschairman of the Appropriations defense subcommittee to steer a $10million grant to the city of San Bernardino, in his district, to cleanup the underground water supply., The bill would direct the Army toclean up radioactive waste at a site in the district of Rep. John P.Murtha (Pa.), the ranking Democrat on the panel.
Senate appropriators, meanwhile, used the $10.5 billion militaryconstruction bill, signed by the president on Nov. 5, to speed upstalled environmental projects in their states and districts. Forexample, the report attached to the enacted bill gives the Pentagon 90days to submit a master plan for "environmental remediation" of HuntersPoint Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, home town of the chairman of themilitary construction panel in the Senate, Dianne Feinstein (D).
According to a Senate study, the nine states that will receive the mostearmarked military construction money are represented by senior membersof the defense or military construction panels, or the two armedservices committees.
To pay for earmarked projects while staying within a $10.5 billionceiling established by the appropriations committees, House and Senateconferees adopted a 1.127 percent across-the-board cut in regularmilitary construction accounts. return to menu
C. Nuclear Terrorism
1. Nuclear Warhead Reduction Could Leave Plutonium At Risk
November 15, 2001
(for personal use only)
The US and Russia may have promised to take 9000 nuclear warheads out ofservice but they have no idea of how to dispose of the plutonium theycontain, experts say.
Programmes for locking the plutonium into radioactive waste or burningit in nuclear reactors are being abandoned by the Bush administrationbecause of their high cost. The default option, storage, could leave theplutonium more vulnerable to being stolen and made into bombs byterrorists.
This is particularly worrying given recent revelations of Osama BinLaden's keen interest in nuclear weapons. And on 1 November, theInternational Atomic Energy Agency gave a stark warning about theincreased risks of nuclear terrorism.
On Tuesday, President George Bush said he would cut the number of USnuclear weapons "operationally deployed" from about 7000 to between 1700and 2200 over the next 10 years. In response, Russian President VladimirPutin suggested that he would reduce the number of his country's nuclearwarheads from 6000 to around 2000, but gave no timescale.
However Matthew Bunn, a nuclear policy advisor to the Clintonadministration, says: "The two presidents sit at a summit getting rid ofthousands of nuclear weapons when they have no idea what to do with theplutonium if the weapons are dismantled."
Storing the warheads creates a particular security problem in Russiawhere weapons compounds have twice been reconnoitred by terrorists inthe last year, according to the general in charge of them, IgorValynkin.
"The key role of nuclear weapons now is not as a deterrent but as atarget for theft," argues Bunn, who is at the Belfer Center for Scienceand International Affairs at the University of Harvard.
If the warheads are dismantled, the problem is then what to do withtheir nuclear explosives: plutonium and highly enriched uranium. FormerPresident Bill Clinton agreed an $8 billion programme with Russia fordisposing of 68 tonnes of plutonium from both countries.
But this is now under review by the Bush administration. One option-immobilising the plutonium by solidifying it into blocks of glass withradioactive waste - has already been abandoned. The other option -mixing it with uranium and burning it as MOX fuel in reactors - has beenrejected by Bush's National Security Council as too expensive.
William Walker, a nuclear specialist at St Andrews University inScotland, suspects that the main option will be to store the weapons orthe plutonium. But whatever happens, he points out, plutonium onlychanges its form. "You never really get rid of it."
Disposing of the highly enriched uranium presents a different problem.An existing programme to blend 500 tonnes from Russia with low enricheduranium to make fuel for commercial reactors in the US and Europe hasbeen so successful that it is creating a world glut of nuclear fuel. return to menu
2. Cheney: U.S. Fears Massive Attack
United Press International
November 15, 2001
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday evening that heand President Bush are kept apart because the United States fears adecapitation attack by terrorists armed with weapons of massdestruction.
"You've got people able to organize a conspiracy, able to come into thecountry and perhaps smuggle weapons of mass destruction in with them andthreaten, in effect, not just one individual, but threaten thegovernment and conceivably be able to try to decapitate the federalgovernment," Cheney told CBS' "Sixty Minutes II."
The comments mark the growing concern in the Bush administration overthe possible use by terrorists of either radiological bombs or small,portable nuclear weapons, several administration officials told UnitedPress International.
Bin Laden's Nuclear Plans
In Afghanistan, a reporter for a British newspaper found what the Timescalled al-Qaeda plans for an atomic bomb similar to the ones the UnitedStates dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki more than 56 years ago.
The reporter discovered partially burned documents in a house in Kabulthat residents said had been an al-Qaeda safe house. The plans writtenin Urdu, Arabic, English and German give detailed instructions on howto use TNT to force together enough uranium to create critical mass andan explosion, the Times reported.
Experts said the technical expertise and precision necessary to producean atomic bomb most likely is beyond the terrorists hiding in a war-torncountry. Western experts and intelligence officials have said Osama binLaden has been seeking nuclear material to make explosives for at leastthe last five years.
U.S. groups created to respond to nuclear threats such as the Departmentof Energy's Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST) and the Pentagon'sJoint Tactical Operations Team are "in stand-by mode, on major alert,"according to one administration source.
A former senior U.S. intelligence official added: "The level of concernhere is very high."
Last week, bin Laden told a Pakistani journalist that he had chemicaland nuclear weapons.
While many U.S. experts scoffed at the claim, even the possibility of itbeing true has proved profoundly unsettling to Washington's major policymakers, according to several sources.
"It's hard to say for certain that bin Laden has no nuclear devices whenwe do know he has had multiple sources over many years for acquiringthem," said Peter Probst, a terrorism analyst formerly with thePentagon's Office of Special Operations Low-Intensity Conflict. ButLarry Johnson, a former deputy director in the State Department's Officeof Counter-terrorism and a onetime CIA employee, cautioned, "Americansare needlessly scaring themselves" about the possibility of a nuclearterrorist attack.
"There is a ratcheting up of concern being pushed by certainindividuals" in the Bush White House, he said.
While most administration officials said they believe that bin Laden hasnot been able to acquire a finished nuclear weapon, they also said theydid not rule it out. Nor did they rule out the possibility that binLaden had been able to acquire enriched uranium and hired rogue Russianweapon designers to fashion it into a "workable fission device," in thewords of one U.S. intelligence expert.
But there is even greater concern about a radiological bomb aconventional explosive device containing radioactive material whichcould contaminate a city center and make it uninhabitable for dozens ofyears, as well as potentially killing thousands of people.
A former senior CIA official said, "Detonating a conventional bomb thatwould strew radioactive waste around would make a terrible mess indowntown Washington, even if no one were killed."
According to U.S. intelligence officials, administration concern isincreasingly centering on the nuclear arsenal and weapons facilities ofthe former Soviet Union, which many experts believe were and still areinadequately protected, making it possible for rogue nations orterrorists using criminal organizations, such as the Chechen mafia, tosteal nuclear weapons-grade materials, hire corrupt Russian nucleartechnicians, or even buy finished Russian fission weapons.
According to published reports, the countries of the former Soviet Unionhave 123 sites that house more than 1.100 metric tons of weapons-grade,highly enriched uranium and 160 metric tons of plutonium. Four kilogramsare all that are needed to build a nuclear device, analysts said.
Jim Ford, a former Department of Energy intelligence official who dealtwith nuclear smuggling, said that in 1994, there were deep concernsabout security at Russian nuclear facilities: "There were a number ofincidents where Russian technicians or bureaucrats smuggled outmaterials and sold them in places like Munich or Prague."
He added, "The big, big fear is that nuclear weapons have been sold."Stefan Leader, president of Eagle Research Group, Inc., and a terrorismspecialist for a government agency, said that theft and trade of Russiannuclear materials "is an old story, but very worrying because securitywas so poor in many places and the Russians were in desperate straits."
DOD's Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, known as the Nunn-Lugarprogram, has spent $4 billion to render harmless 5,708 nuclear warheads,destroy 483 surface-to-air missiles, and turn to junk other Russianweapons systems.
Nunn-Lugar and other programs run by the energy and defense departmentsaim at reducing the threat from former Soviet installations.
Advocates of these programs such as Rose Gottemoeller, who served asassistant secretary of Energy for non-proliferation and nationalsecurity during the Clinton administration admit that since December1991, when the Soviet Union dissolved into 14 independent states, withthousands of nuclear weapons, there has been no comprehensive andreliable inventory made of such weapons.
Gottemoeller also concedes that improved security had been installed atonly 55% of former Soviet Union nuclear sites.
Peter Probst and several U.S. intelligence officials voiced the fearthat bin Laden has used contacts in the Russian mafia or the Chechenmafia to broker a deal that brought him a Russian nuclear weapon.
U.S. intelligence officials said only that they were aware of reports ofefforts by bin Laden to acquire such weapons.
An expert in nuclear smuggling and a government consultant to DOE on thesubject, Rensselaer Lee, discounted the widespread belief that mostvendors on the black market are selling junk or have been stopped bysting operations: "I think behind the visible market of nuclearsmugglers, you have a shadow market that's well-organized and involvesnation-states."
Probst and Lee believe that bin Laden has approached Iran or Iraq andattempted to purchase weapons-grade materials from them.
"In terms of a nuclear buyer, we live in a post-proliferationenvironment," Lee said. "The proliferation of these nuclear weapons is areality. Trying to stop fissile experts from Russia from selling theirknowledge or materials is like trying to stop cocaine coming in fromColombia. We catch only about 25% of Colombia's product."
The real question is "what are we going to do for damage control?" hesaid. return to menu
3. Russia's Inner Chaos a Threat to the West
November 15, 2001
(for personal use only)
As President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin work out theframework of a new U.S.-Russian relationship, it is important to bear inmind that the U.S. needs not only cooperation in foreign policy fromRussia but also measures to stem the inner lawlessness that has leftentire sections of the country under the control of organized crime.
Russia today presents a serious danger to the U.S. because it has hugestores of poorly guarded weapons of mass destruction and powerfulcriminal syndicates prepared to sell anything to anyone, for a price.
The danger that Russian criminals may sell weapons of mass destructionto terrorists for use against the United States is the reason why someof the enthusiasm for Mr. Putin's turn to the West is misplaced.Russia's willingness to accept a U.S. military presence in Central Asiais very important but unless Russia also cracks down on its rampantlawlessness, it could join NATO and by remaining a base area forIslamic terrorism still represent a threat to the West.
Russia has enough plutonium and uranium to make 33,000 nuclear weapons.These materials are stored at 50 scientific centers guarded by soldierswho, in the past, have gone months without being paid. It also has vastquantities of nuclear waste that can be used to make crude bombs capableof contaminating large areas. It has the world's largest inventory ofchemical weapons 40,000 tons and a wide variety of biologicalweapons, including drug-resistant anthrax, smallpox and plague.
At the same time, Russia's organized crime groups have a history ofcooperation with terrorist organizations. Russian and Chechen criminalorganizations cooperated in the transport and marketing of heroin fromAfghanistan and, according to the Russian newspaper Izvestiya, after theTaliban came to power Osama bin Laden used these criminal organizationsto launder money for the Taliban, receiving from $133 million to $1billion a year.
In the sarin nerve gas attack by the Japanese doomsday sect Aum ShinriKyo on the Tokyo subway in 1993, the only case where terrorists haveever used nerve gas successfully, the production design for themanufacture of sarin was given to the sect by Oleg Lobov, Russia'sformer first deputy prime minister, for $100,000, according to testimonyby cult members at the trial of the group's leaders in Tokyo. There aresome reports that Mr. Lobov, a close associate of former RussianPresident Boris Yeltsin, was given $100 million for his many services toAum Shinri Kyo. The Japanese "businessmen" were allowed to train onRussian military bases and attended lectures at the Institute ofThermodynamics of the Academy of Sciences in Moscow where they studiedthe circulation of gases.
In recent weeks, it has been reported that bin Laden has bought severalsuitcase nuclear bombs from Russia which have not been used only becausethey are protected by Soviet codes that require a signal from Moscowbefore the bomb can be detonated. Izvestiya has reported that bin Ladenhas already spent considerable sums on the recruitment of Russianscientists and former KGB agents capable of helping him with thebreaking of these codes.
The Russian authorities deny the existence of suitcase nuclear bombs,but organized crime has been involved in nuclear smuggling from Russiasince 1992. Recently, smugglers were arrested in Turkey after trying tosell 41/2 kilograms of unprocessed uranium and 6 grams of plutonium.Russian gangsters have sold combat helicopters to Colombian drug dealersand have attempted to sell not only surface-to-air missiles and aTango-class submarine.
Under these circumstances, it is just as important for the Russiangovernment to crack down on organized crime as it is for the Muslimworld and the West to eliminate any network capable of facilitatingterror. In the case of Russia, this would be relatively easy. Theactivities of Russia's criminal syndicates have been exhaustivelydocumented not only by the organs of law enforcement but also by thesecurity services of their commercial competitors. For years, under Mr.Yeltsin, a massive crackdown on Russian organized crime awaited only asignal from the political authorities. Unfortunately, that signal nevercame.
Under Mr. Putin, the indifference to the role of organized crimecontinues.
In 1997, then FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, in testimony before the HouseInternational Relations Committee, said U.S. law enforcement agenciestook very seriously the possibility nuclear weapons could fall into thehands of Russian criminal gangs and that Russian organized crime, byfostering instability in a nuclear power, constituted a direct threat tothe national security interests of the United States.
Now, with the entire world under direct threat from Islamic extremists,the United States needs to ask our new ally, Vladimir Putin, to begin toeradicate this danger even at the expense of the system of robbercapitalism that has grown up in Russia during the last decade. return to menu
4. Russia is a Source of the World Terrorism
November 13, 2001
(for personal use only)
This is what the Western media are trying to convince the public of.PRAVDA.Ru has already reported about the scandalous article from theBritish Telegraph newspaper. This publication cited the words from thewell-known Russia scientist and head of the scientific Vektor virologycenter, academician Lev Sandakhchiyev; the translation of his words werea bit "messy." As a result, the scientist's points of view turned intoscary confessions: Russian low-paid virology scientists could sell viruscultures to terrorists.
The Washington Post frightened their readers with a scary tale devotedto this subject. The newspaper "cited" the words of one of thesupervisors of the Russian Nuclear Supervisory Board, Yury Volodin, whoallegedly said that the nuclear arsenals in Russia were constantlysubjected to terrorists' attacks. Volodin said that there was at leastone serious attempt to steal "nuclear materials" from Russiandepositories within the last two years.
The report saying the Russian nuclear arsenal was subjected to seriousdanger appeared at the conference of the International agency for thenuclear power in Vienna. The conference discussed the possibilities ofacts of terrorism with respect to nuclear power plants and other similarobjects of a high level of danger. Yury Volodin caught the Westernexperts by surprise when he told them things that had never been saidbefore "about an incident that took place at one of the Russian nuclearobjects during the last two years that could lead to seriousconsequences" the newspaper wrote.
Volodin did not say anything about that incident and what actuallyhappened there. When today's issue of the newspaper came out, YuryVolodin made his own comment on the published material. He claimed, henever made any such remarks. Volodin added that he made a report aboutthe incident when a cargo of fuel arrived at one of the Russian nuclearobjects and the amount of that fuel did not comply with the datamentioned in the documents. "There was a certain discrepancy," Volodinsaid.
There was an investigation carried out after that. Of course, if thereis a certain discrepancy, then there are questions coming regarding thereason. One of the versions is surely a possible theft. However, as itwas said by the chairman of the administration of the State NuclearSupervisory board, the problem was a technical mistake in thedocuments. Volodin also stated that the incident happened with cargothat was carried over to a civil nuclear installation. Answering thequestion of whether the content of the cargo could be used in themilitary purposes, Volodin said that "there is such a notion of thematerial's direct usage," and it "did not go about such materials inthat case."
Thus, there is the translation issue. The Russian language is a verydifficult one, that's true. It is very difficult to clear up whatRussian scientists actually say at international conferences.
Therefore, the report about smallpox says that the terrorists alreadyhave the cultures of this virus and that they are about to use them.This information was immediately rejected by the Russian sanitary andepidemic supervisory board. The report about the discrepancy in theamount of the fuel for the nuclear power plants was the grounds for thematerial about the theft of the Russian nuclear arsenal. It is sodifficult to understand the point of the Russian scientists that largeparts of their reports are crossed out, changed, or even written forthem.
It is hard to understand what this is all for. Are they all tired offrightening the readers with Saddam Hussein or Bin Laden? Maybe theaverage Joe is no longer afraid of them anymore now. This seems the bestthing to do to publish a scary story in an American newspaper about aRussian biologist selling dangerous viruses to terrorists. return to menu
D. US-Russian Relations
1. The Nuclear Shadow Lightens
The Japan Times
November 16, 2001
(for personal use only)
The world took a giant step toward disarmament this week when U.S.President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart, President VladimirPutin, agreed to slash their nuclear arsenals. The deep cuts were themost significant outcome of a three-day summit that seems to herald anew era in relations between the two countries. The bold move could notovercome all the differences between the two leaders, but those thatremain, such as over the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, can be worked out-- if there is political will. It is up to Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin toprove to the world that they are willing to do just that.
The agreement to cut the two sides' nuclear weapons came on the firstday of the meeting. Although the decision will reduce each country'sstockpile by two-thirds -- each side will have fewer than 2,200 warheads-- it was not a surprise. Russia cannot afford to maintain its bloatednuclear arsenal and Mr. Putin had signaled that he was prepared to makedeep cuts to about 1,500 warheads. Mr. Bush's decision to match him waswidely anticipated, too. With Russian cuts forthcoming, there was noneed for the U.S. to maintain its huge stockpile of weapons. Moreover,cuts would encourage Mr. Putin to accept Mr. Bush's plans to develop amissile defense system and scuttle the ABM treaty.
Unfortunately for Mr. Bush, Mr. Putin has shown no inclination to be soaccommodating, although that might be a negotiating ploy. The Russianpresident knows that Mr. Bush is going to develop a missile defenseprogram and Mr. Putin cannot stop him. In this situation, it makes moresense to hold out to maximize his leverage. In previous comments, Mr.Putin indicated his willingness to deal, so more concessions might beforthcoming as the talks progress.
Moreover, to the dismay of U.S. conservatives, Mr. Putin insisted on awritten agreement to verify the deal. The U.S. administration views armscontrol treaties -- and the ABM treaty in particular -- as Cold Warrelics. In this, it seems that Mr. Putin is being the realist when heargued that "the world is far from having international relations basedsolely on trust. That is why it's so important today to rely on theexisting foundation of treaties and agreements in the arms control anddisarmament areas."
Although the exact size and timing of the nuclear cuts are stillundetermined, the agreement makes one thing clear: Political factors,rather than military ones, are the key determinants of nuclear arsenals.That means, by extension, that deeper cuts, and perhaps even eventualdisarmament, are possible if leaders have the political will. It isworth pointing out that the two governments have already agreed -- inthe START II treaty -- to cut their arsenals roughly in half, but thatwas never implemented because the will was lacking.
The two men discussed another dimension to the nuclear problem: Managingthe "loose nukes" that will be created by the decommissioning of so manynuclear weapons. Before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. wascutting funds that were being used to help Russia dismantle and disposeof its nuclear warheads. The danger that terrorists could get theirhands on that material has given a new urgency to those efforts. Intheir joint statement, the two presidents reaffirmed the importance ofthat goal and promised to do more in the future.
There were other security discussions. The two leaders conferred ondevelopments in Afghanistan and the efforts that could be taken to shapethe post-Taliban political environment in that shattered country.Although Mr. Putin has been a steadfast supporter of the U.S.-ledcampaign against Osama bin Laden and terrorism, he no doubt harborsconcern about the ties the U.S. is forging with Central Asiangovernments that have traditionally been considered within Moscow'ssphere of influence. Any effort by the U.S. to maintain a permanentpresence in the region is likely to raise eyebrows in Moscow.
While security issues dominated the meeting, other topics were on theagenda. They announced that they would strengthen ties between theireconomies and pledged to help Russia gain entry into the World TradeOrganization. Mr. Bush also promised to push legislation that would takeRussia off the list of countries that are subject to economic sanctionsunder the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a Cold War relic that targetednations that restricted emigration of Jews and others.
Remarkably, a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the UnitedStates and Russia are still dealing with the detritus of the Cold War.This week, Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin made important progress in dealingwith its most pernicious legacy: the bloated nuclear arsenals thatcontinue to threaten humankind. Good riddance. return to menu
2. Bear Hug: U.S.-Russian Relations Will Get Even Warmer ff Bush Meets Putin's Need for Flexibility
November 15, 2001
(for personal use only)
There is both more to the cuts in nuclear weapons announced Tuesday byPresident George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin - andless.
More, because if both sides can actually achieve a reduction to 2,000weapons or less it would be a significant diminution in the overallnumber of weapons the two major nuclear powers possess. At the height ofthe Cold War they each had more than 10,000 warheads on instant alertaimed at each other. Now it's somewhere around 6,000 each, althoughthere was an agreement, signed during the administration of Bush'sfather, to reduce that level to about 3,000. That still hasn't beenachieved.
But there is also less substance here, because Bush still seems to beinsisting on abrogating the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Putin hasindicated he would be willing to allow changes to the treaty soWashington could proceed with tests of a missile defense system, but heopposes discarding the ABM Treaty.
This is important, not only because of the insecurities the Russiansharbor about abandoning the treaty itself, but also because Putin mustdemonstrate to skeptics at home that he is not the only one makingconcessions. He must be able to show that Russia will get something outof his new flexibility in working with Washington.
Also, Bush and Putin are at odds over whether both sides should simplydeclare their intentions to reduce nuclear weapons or put the agreementin treaty form. Putin wants a treaty. Bush indicated he would be willingto put down something in writing short of a treaty.
It's significant, too, that both sides seem ready to make a renewedeffort to track and control nuclear weapons and material in Russia sothat they don't get into the hands of terrorists. In many ways, loosenukes are the most dangerous problem facing both nations. It should bethe highest priority - Bush's fantasies about missile defense should notget in the way.
The expectations for a dramatic improvement in relations between Moscowand Washington going into this summit were very high. Tuesday'sannouncements are helpful, but they don't go far enough. It could bethat a fundamental change in the relationship will take more time. Putinis gambling on flexibility from Bush. Bush shouldn't disappoint him. return to menu
E. Russia-Iran Cooperation
1. Putin: We won't sell Iran Weapons that Threaten Israel
November, 15 2001
(for personal use only)
Russia will not sell Iran weaponry that could be used to threatenIsrael, President Vladimir Putin told Jewish leaders this week.
Putin, here for a bilateral summit with President George W. Bush, metfor 45 minutes at the Russian embassy Tuesday night with leaders of theConference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations andNCSJ, an advocacy group on behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Balticstates, and Eurasia.
"He said they would not sell weapons that would endanger Israel," saidMalcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference ofPresidents.
Hoenlein said Putin expressed broad support for Israel's security,particularly since such a large percentage of the population is made upof Russian immigrants.
Putin gave examples of weaponry Russia would withhold from Iranincluding Stinger-like, hand-held missiles, which Israel advocates worrycould endanger Israeli towns if they fall into the hands of Iran's proxyin Lebanon, Hizbullah.
Last month Russia and Iran inked a conventional arms agreement that willallow for the sale of up to $300 million annually in conventionalweapons.
Under the deal, Russia declared Iran a historical partner and agreed tointensify bilateral military and technical cooperation.
No exact details of what Russia would sell Iran were released, butTeheran is reportedly seeking advanced missile and MiG-29 fighter jets.
On Russia's transfer of nuclear materials to Iran, which both theRussians and Iranians say are going toward production of a civiliannuclear reactor, Putin told the Jewish leaders that Russia was notselling weapons-grade material.
In an interview with Barbara Walters on 20/20 last week, Putin deniedRussia was helping Iran develop a nuclear weapon.
"We have some projects in atomic energy. The US has the same projects inits relations with North Korea. It has nothing to do with developingnuclear weapons. We are categorically opposed to transferring anytechnology to Iran that would help it develop nuclear weapons," he said.
But American and Israeli officials insist Russian scientists are workingwith their Iranian counterparts - some allege with the Kremlin'sknowledge - to develop nuclear weapons, and that the reactor project is,at least in part, cover for the collaboration.
US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice assured TransportationMinister Ephraim Sneh last week that Bush would make American concernsabout Iranian nuclear proliferation a top priority of his discussionswith Putin this week.
The Jewish leaders also expressed their support for President Bush'sgoodwill gesture to Putin to drop a Cold War-era link between Russia'semigration policies and trade status, an American law spurred by theformer Soviet Union's refusal to allow Jewish emigration.
Under the Jackson-Vanik amendment passed in 1974, and lobbied for byJewish American organizations, Russia and other countries with non-freemarket economies must show they do not restrict emigration before theycan have normal trading relations with the US. Elimination of theannual test would pave the way for Russia's entry into the World TradeOrganization. return to menu
2. First Unit of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant to Be Delivered Next Week
November 15, 2001
(for personal use only)
TEHRAN -- The equipment of the first electricity-producing unit of theBushehr Nuclear Power Plant will be delivered to Iran on November 16.
According to reports from Moscow, an informed source in an electricalengineering company said on Tuesday that the production of the equipmentof the Bushehr Power Plant, including the core casing, the upper unit ofthe reactor and some other units are finished and they will be deliveredto Iran next week.
He also said that the equipment is being produced in St. Petersburg andthat, according to the plans, production will be completed and theequipment will be sent to Iran by the end of 2002. He added that theBushehr Nuclear Power Plant will become operational in 2004.
In January 1995, Iran and Russia signed a contract to construct thefirst unit of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.
In another development, last week India signed a contract with Russiafor the construction of two nuclear power plants in India. return to menu
F. Russia-China Cooperation
1. China Installs Reactor in Sino-Russian Nuclear Power Project
BBC Monitoring Service
November 14, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (NewChina News Agency)
Nanjing, 14 November: Chinese and Russian technicians Wednesday [14November] installed the reactor containment for the No. 1 nuclear islandof the Tianwan Nuclear Power Station in the port city of Lianyungang,east China's Jiangsu Province.
Experts said the move marks the beginning of the project's equipmentinstalment from civil engineers.
The first phase of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Station has two nuclearpower generating units with a designed capacity of 1.06m kW.
Chen Zhaobo, chairman of the board of the Jiangsu Nuclear Power Co, saidthe Tianwan project has been going smoothly with the support of theChinese and Russian governments.
Speaking during his trip to the port city, Russian Nuclear PowerMinister Aleksandr Rumyantsev said Russia attaches great importance tothe construction of the nuclear power plant, and hopes to explore moreopportunities for cooperation between the two countries on nuclearenergy.
The new station, the largest cooperative project between the twocountries, is designed in strict compliance with the latest safetyregulations and norms from the International Atomic Energy Agency andalso takes into account the experience of Russia and other Westerncountries in building and operating nuclear power stations.
Key technology used for it has been modelled after that of nuclear powerstations in Russia and other countries.
Ouyang Yu, chief engineer of the Jiangsu Nuclear Power Co, said the newstation will have fourRussia-made pressurized water reactors, each with a generating capacityof 1m kW.
Siemens digital instrumentation and control systems, believed to be themost advanced in the world, will be adopted to ensure the sound, smoothoperation of the nuclear station.
Source: Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 1320 gmt 14 Nov 01 return to menu
G. U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement
1. USEC, union contract on table
The Paducah Sun
November 14, 2001
(for personal use only)
Negotiators will resume talks Monday trying to resolve issues that haveleft nearly half the 1,500 employees at the Paducah Gaseous DiffusionPlant working under a temporary agreement for 2-1/2 months.
Although the union could strike after the agreement ends Thursday, itsofficials have agreed to at least a four-day continuance, said DonnaSteele, president of Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and EnergyWorkers (PACE) Local 5-550.
"We've given (company officials) an extension until Monday at midnight.They called us and wanted to meet with us," she said. "I'm going to dothat before we go out on the street. I'm hoping this is a positive signand I've told the company that."
The union represents about 700 workers at the plant, operated by USECInc. to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel.
"I think there's a more positive feeling with the work force," Steelesaid. "We want a contract and we want it badly."
Joe Bock, a facilitator with extensive experience representing bothunion and management in contract issues, will attend Monday's meeting asa USEC consultant, said USEC spokeswoman Elizabeth Stuckle.
The seven-point pact set to expire Thursday was reached Aug. 29. Itprovided a 4 percent hourly wage increase retroactive from July 31 whenthe old five-year contract expired, and no strike or layoffs of hourlyworkers. If a contract was not reached, the union had the right tostrike and wages reverted to the old contract.
When the agreement was announced, union officials said USEC agreed toreturn in 30 days with an outline on how to make the plantself-sustaining.
"We gave the outline for the viability plan back about the time it wasdue and we've continued negotiations with the union about the plan sincethen," Stuckle said Tuesday.
The company also pledged to have a contract proposal between Oct. 1 andNov. 15 for the union to accept or reject, union officials said earlier.
Asked if USEC has provided a new proposal, Stuckle said, "Not as such.We're in discussions about the contract. Our discussions continue to tryto arrive at a contract that's suitable for all of us."
The two sides deadlocked Aug. 2 when the union soundly rejected the lastcontract offer. Calling wage and benefit provisions substandard, unionleaders said they staunchly opposed language that the contract wouldexpire after a year if USEC did not achieve any of three major goalsrelated to buying Russian uranium.
USEC says blending the cheaper Russian material with the more expensiveplant-enriched uranium holds down costs and preserves the life of theplant, which has expensive, outdated technology. Controlling the flow ofthe Russian material helps stabilize market prices, the company says.
Although the Russian issue was not a part of the temporary agreement,union and management officials had hoped the extension would buy enoughtime for the Bush administration to make decisions about the Russiandeal and the overall U.S. uranium enrichment business.
No decision has been formally announced, but recent union memos indicatethe primary White House plan would give USEC the option to remainexclusive agent for the Russian uranium in return for specificcommitments to keep the plant running for 10 years at minimum productionlevels while deploying replacement gas centrifuge technology.
If USEC is unable to run the Department of Energy-owned Paducah plantfor the balance of the 10 years, the government would assume operation,contingent on support from Congress and the Office of Management andBudget, memos show.
Stuckle declined comment on whether the Russian deal will remain on thebargaining table. "USEC is in almost daily conversation with theadministration regarding the Russian issues, seeking a resolution soon,"she said. return to menu
H. Nuclear Waste
1. Russia Sets Itself Modest Target for Reprocessing of Nuclear Fuel Imports
BBC Monitoring Service
November 14, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax
Moscow, 13 November: Russia will not have an opportunity to earn moneyby accepting foreign spent nuclear fuel in the near future, the chairmanof the Russian State Duma's supreme ecological council [listed as"Committee on Ecology"], Robert Nigmatulin [a Russia's Regions deputyfrom Bashkortostan], has said.
"It is so far too early to talk about the implementation of a project onbringing foreign spent nuclear fuel into Russia," Nigmatulin said at apress conference in Moscow on Tuesday [13 November]. The main point inthe recently adopted laws allowing spent nuclear fuel to be brought intoRussia is that Russian enterprises will from now on be able to take backfuel supplied for nuclear power plants constructed abroad by Russianspecialists, he said.
If Russia captures 10 per cent of the spent nuclear fuel market, it willbe able to earn up to 1bn dollars a year, Nigmatulin said. About 30 percent of the contracts' value will be spent on ecological rehabilitationof Russian territories contaminated during the arms race in pastdecades, he said.
Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1818 gmt 13 Nov 01 return to menu
I. Nuclear Power Industry
1. Armenian Nuclear Power Plant Resumes Operation
November 16, 2001
(for personal use only)
Armenia's Medzamor nuclear power plant resumed operation on 16 Novemberafter a four-month stoppage for maintenance and refueling, RFE/RL'sYerevan bureau reported. The original plan to bring it on line again inlate August was delayed by the lack of funds to pay for a newconsignment of nuclear fuel from Russia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5October 2001). The delay in reactivating Medzamor necessitated doublingimports of Russian natural gas to fuel thermal power plants; on 15November the Armenian government announced a $5 million emergency loanto Armgazprom to pay the ensuing debts to the ITERA gas exporter. LF return to menu
2. Russia Announces Plan to Rely on Nuclear Power Stations Over Next Decade
BBC Monitoring Service
November 14, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Russian news agency ITAR-TASS
Moscow, 14 November: Russia over the next 10 years will commission atotal of 10 nuclear power reactors, one every year, the first deputyatomic energy minister, Lev Ryabev, told the State Duma, lower house ofparliament, on Wednesday [14 November].
In other countries - Iran, India and China - Russia in the same periodwill put into operation six reactors, the official said.
By 2020 the pace of commissioning nuclear power units will be stepped up150 per cent, he said.
"By that time Russian nuclear plants will be generating an amount ofelectricity identical to that once produced by all of the former SovietUnion's nuclear plants," he said.
Ryabev recalled that Russia's 10 nuclear power plants accounted for 15per cent of the country's electricity output and for 50 per cent ofelectricity production growth.
Nuclear power plants' electricity production rates will be growing by 5per cent a year, twice the growth rate expected to be shown bythermoelectric and hydroelectric power plants.
"Russia is making a structural shift towards nuclear power," Ryabevsaid, adding that the government was determined to promote nuclear powerplants as ecologically safe and efficient. return to menu
J. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Strategic Rocket Forces Work to Prolong Life of Missiles
November 15, 2001
(for personal use only)
Major General Pavel Zolotarev, the president of the Inter-Regional Fundfor Support of Military Reform, told ITAR-TASS on 14 November thatRussia's Strategic Rocket Forces are working to prolong the useful lifeof strategic missiles by devoting more attention to repairs. PG return to menu
K. Links of Interest
1. Nuclear Nonproliferation: Coordination of U.S. Programs Designed to Reduce the Threat Posed by Weapons of Mass Destruction
Statement of Gary L. Jones, Director, Natural Resources and Environment,
DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only.Views presented in any given article are those of the individual authoror source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for thetechnical accuracy of information contained in any article presented inNuclear News.