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Nuclear News - 01/03/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, January 3, 2002
Compiled by Michael Roston


A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Why It's Vital to Help Russia Guard Nuclear Stockpiles, John Hughes, Christian Science Monitor (01/02/02)
    2. Battelle Chemist Breaking Ice Abroad, John Stang, Tri-City Herald (01/02/02)
    3. Weapons of Mass Destruction, Rocky Mountain News (12/31/01)
    4. USA to Allocate 200m Dollars to Eliminate Kazakh Nuclear Arsenal, BBC Monitoring Service (12/28/01)
    5. Russia Monitors Its Stocks of Radioactive Products and Chemical Weapons Poorly, Natalie Nougayrede, Le Monde (12/22/01)
B. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. Scientists Confirm Bin Laden Weapons Tests, Anthony Loyd, Times of London (12/29/01)
C. Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Burma Joins the Nuclear Club: Russia Muscles in on China's Turf with a Reactor for Burma, Bertil Lintner, Far Eastern Economic Review (01/03/02)
    2. Russian Plant Begins Work on Two Atomic Reactors for India, BBC Monitoring Service (01/03/02)
    3. Armenia, Russia Do Not Discuss Nuclear Station Handover, BBC Monitoring Service (12/28/01)
D. Nuclear Submarine Dismantlement
    1. Russia Pledges Progress in Scrapping of Nuclear Submarines, BBC Monitoring Service (12/28/01)
E. Nuclear Safety
    1. Russia Stops Assisting in Disposal of Nuclear Waste from Kazakh Test Site, BBC Monitoring Service (01/03/02)
    2. Russian TV Looks at Kazakh Nuclear Waste Storage Activity, BBC Monitoring Service (12/29/01)
F. Announcements
    1. Changes to U.S. Dual-Use Export Controls, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary (01/02/02)
    2. In Connection with the White House Statement on Cooperation with Russia in the Sphere of Reducing the Threat of Proliferation of WMD, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (12/29/01)
G. Links of Interest

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction



1.
Why It's Vital to Help Russia Guard Nuclear Stockpiles
John Hughes
Christian Science Monitor
January 2, 2002
(for personal use only)


In his latest propaganda tape, Osama bin Laden revels in the contrastbetween America's sophisticated weaponry and the relativeunsophistication of the plane hijackers who attacked the United Stateson Sept. 11.

But his interest in acquiring sophisticated weaponry, specifically anuclear device, is well documented. The Bush White House believes thathas not happened yet. But last week, it took new action to try to seethat neither Mr. bin Laden nor other terrorists ever get theopportunity.

The likeliest place from which terrorists could steal or buy a nuclearweapon or material to make one is Russia or one of the states of theformer Soviet Union. Iran or Iraq are other prospects. And volatilecountries like India and Pakistan have nuclear stockpiles that could betargeted. But the US focus is on Russia because, outside the US, that iswhere most of the world's nuclear arsenal is lodged. (The former SovietUnion produced more than 40,000 nuclear weapons and has enough enricheduranium and plutonium to make 40,000 more.)

Does buying or stealing nuclear material or weaponry from Russia seemfanciful?

Then consider this: In late 1998, an employee at Russia's premiernuclear weapons laboratory in Sarov was arrested and charged with tryingto sell secret nuclear-weapons designs to agents of Iraq and Afghanistanfor $3 million.

About the same time, conspirators at Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energyfacility in Chelyabinsk were caught trying to steal material just alittle short of what would be needed for a nuclear device.

In the same year, officials in the closed Russian "nuclear city" ofKrasnoyarsk-45, which stored enough highly enriched uranium for hundredsof nuclear weapons, warned that nuclear scientists there had remainedunpaid for several months. A "social explosion" (doublespeak for sellingoff nuclear secrets to the highest bidder) was unavoidable unless urgentaction was taken.

In 2000, security agents arrested four Russian sailors at a nuclearsubmarine base on the Kamchatka Peninsula with a stash of radioactivematerial stolen from an armored safe in their submarine.

Isolated incidents? No, just a few of dozens documented by an officialUS government task force assigned to look into the problem of thousandsof nuclear weapons and tons of nuclear materials littering the formerSoviet Union, in the care of ill-paid, and often unpaid, scientists andmilitary men, perhaps sometimes tempted to sell them.

When the task force, cochaired by former US Sen. Howard Baker and formerWhite House counsel Lloyd Cutler, reported in 2001, its conclusion wasdire: "The most urgent unmet national security threat to the US today isthe danger that weapons of mass destruction or weapons-usable materialin Russia could be stolen and sold to terrorists or hostile nations andused against American troops abroad or citizens at home."

The US has been working for some years with Russia to downsize andsafeguard its nuclear arsenal and find alternative employment for theRussian nuclear scientists hitherto engaged in military work. That costthe US $3 billion through 1999, but the task force argued that much moreis needed over the next decade to prevent Russia's nuclear weapons andexpertise from flowing to hostile forces.

For "much more," read $30 billion. That focused the attention of thebudget accountants in the White House, which contemplated cutbacks oreven ending the program. But last week, undoubtedly impelled by Sept.11, President Bush announced the program will go on.

The Russians know that nuclear devices in terrorist hands are also athreat to them, so they can expect the US to press them to foot some ofthe bill as their economy improves.

Why should American taxpayers shoulder this burden? Because the US is atwar with terrorism and this is part of the cost of fighting the war. Ifa terrorist group could acquire a lump of highly enriched uranium thesize of a grapefruit, or a chunk of plutonium the size of an orange, anuclear engineer graduate could, according to the experts, theoreticallyfashion a crude nuclear device that could be smuggled into the US insomething little larger than a suitcase.

As recently as September, Russian authorities reported two incidents inwhich terrorist groups tried to break into Russian nuclear-storagesites. Fortunately, they failed. Hopefully, Bush's decision last weekwill help continue the thwarting of such efforts.
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2.
Battelle Chemist Breaking Ice Abroad
John Stang
Tri-City Herald
January 2, 2002
(for personal use only)


It was seat-of-the-pants construction.

And it took Battelle chemist Dennis Wester a while to get used to it.

The scene: Murmansk, Russia. A major seaport only a snowball's throwfrom Norway and the Arctic Circle.

The job: design and build a bigger and better plant to decontaminateslightly radioactive water taken from a small fleet of nuclear-poweredicebreaker ships based at Murmansk.

Wester's role: advise Russian engineers and managers on an ion exchangeprocess that is the core of the decontamination treatment. After almostseven years, the project is nearly done.

It promises to help Russia avoid dumping radioactive water from theicebreakers into the Arctic Ocean in violation of international law.

Oceans have currents that can take radioactive water to where planktoncan absorb it. Fish eat plankton. People eat fish.

"When you dump radioactive material in an ocean, it can come back tobite you. It can spread through the food chain," Wester said.

Rewind back to spring 1994 at Hanford.

Norway fretted about Murmansk harbor's original decontamination plantbeing inadequate and wanted a replacement.

The new plant is supposed to handle not only the icebreakers'radioactive water, but similar wastes from deactivated Russiansubmarines, too.

During planning stages, Russian and Norwegian scientists visited Hanfordto study plants there that treat low-level radioactive water.

The budding relationship eventually led Battelle to assign Wester toadvise the Russians on separating radioactive and hazardous substancesfrom water.

Wester, 52, studied Russian in high school in St. Louis in the 1960s,spurred by the space race between the United States and the SovietUnion.

The language studies came easy to him, and he kept studying it incollege as he pursued an eventual doctorate in chemistry.

For a while, Battelle had stationed Wester in Moscow to work on variousinitiatives -- to which the Murmansk plant was added. He later moved toRichland, but still visits Murmansk every few months.

Except for some instruments available only in the West, the entireproject used Russian equipment, labor and manufacturing. The total pricetag was $3 million to $4 million.

Meanwhile, Wester had to adapt to the Russian style of building anuclear-related plant. Designs constantly changed, which made itdifficult to keep track of the most up-to-date documents.

"It's a very unique design. It's a totally Russian design. It'sdifferent from what we have in the West, but it works fine," Westersaid.

The Russian economy slumped during construction, and manufacturers hadtrouble getting equipment to the plant on time.

Vendors demanded large advance payments, unlike American firms thatdeliver items on credit. The Murmansk project sometimes stalled until ithad enough cash on hand to make those big advance payments. Somesuppliers folded before the plant was done.

Construction was supposed to be done in 1997. It was finished last June.

However, Wester said the project's managers, engineers and workers did agood job dealing with difficult circumstances.

"They obviously knew what they were doing. They were doing it their way,and we were learning how they do it," he said.

The project thrilled him professionally.

There was the opportunity to work in a faraway city and at a closelyguarded submarine base that few have visited. The sheer size of theicebreakers -- which carry 20-story-tall cranes --fascinated Wester.

Finally, he enjoyed the scientific challenges and working with hisRussian counterparts.

And the job is not done. The Russians have yet to test the new plant.

"It's capable of operating. But they don't have the money to operateit," Wester said.
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3.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Rocky Mountain News
December 31, 2001
(for personal use only)


The Bush administration, which before Sept. 11 was unsure howenthusiastic it was about financing weapons-destruction programs inRussia, has finished a review of them and has found them mostly worthexpanding. The United States will send more money, along with experts,to aid Russia in destroying some of its nuclear, chemical and biologicalweapons of mass destruction.

This move probably does reflect in part the results of an assessment ofthe effectiveness of the U.S.-backed programs, but it obviously alsoreflects the realities that were made inescapable by the terroristattacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Terrorists, we allnow know deep in our bones, are eager to kill vast numbers of Americans,even if it means they will lose their own lives in the process. Keepingthese weapons out of their hands is absolutely crucial.

Because Russia built so many nuclear weapons during the Cold War, it isone of the chief places where terrorists could obtain what they want.And Russia, it has been noted, has not had the wherewithal even to makesure its stockpiles are kept secure. There have, in fact, beenfrightening reports indicating that terrorists may already have walkedoff with some of what they need for the murder of thousands. It wouldbe next door to madness for the United States to do anything less thanto support preventive measures in which it has reasonable faith.

The Russian programs will not be enough, however. Sen. Richard Lugar,R-Ind., an author of legislation establishing the Russian programs, haspointed out in an incisive op-ed piece that weapons of mass destructionare to be found in any number of countries all over the world. He notesthat programs akin to the ones in Russia are nonexistent. He insiststhat countries with weapons of mass destruction must "account" for whatthey have and show that steps have been taken to store the weaponssafely, out of the reach of other nations or terrorist cells.

The Bush administration no doubt understands that the war on terrorismdoes require a sweeping weapons-control approach along the linessuggested by Lugar. As Lugar concedes, none of this will be easy. Buteasy or not, a confident American future could very well depend on theadministration's making its expansion of the weapons programs in Russiaonly the first step in putting together a weapons program with a globalreach.
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4.
USA to Allocate 200m Dollars to Eliminate Kazakh Nuclear Arsenal
BBC Monitoring Service
December 28, 2001
(for personal use only)


Text of report by Kazakh Commercial TV on 28 December

Next year, the USA intends to considerably increase financing ofprojects for the final elimination of the nuclear arsenal in Kazakhstan.According to a White House statement released today, America iscommitted to eliminating weapons of mass destruction and will finishthis matter. On President George Bush's personal instructions,Kazakhstan will be allocated several hundred million dollars [accordingto the news headlines, 200m dollars] to implement five antinuclearprogrammes. The experts link the American initiative with the WhiteHouse's intention to improve the peacekeeping image of their countryafter the USA opted out of the ABM treaty.

Source: Kazakh Commercial Television, Almaty, in Russian 1230 gmt 28 Dec01
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5.
Russia Monitors Its Stocks of Radioactive Products and Chemical Weapons Poorly
Natalie Nougayrede
Le Monde
December 22, 2001
(for personal use only)


The six men, one of whom was a member of the Russian services who hadinfiltrated the group, were standing near the "Harvest" café. Thatevening, 8 December, in the suburb of Balachikha southeast of Moscow.The merchandise they wanted to sell was one kilogram and 68 grams ofuranium-235 in the form of tablets. The asking price: $30,000. Theirarrest by the police led to a few short paragraphs in the press. Thedegree of enrichment of the seized uranium, which is a crucial detailfor knowing whether it could help manufacture a bomb, was notrevealed. The result of the expert analysis would not come "for amonth," one police source told us.

"There is nothing accidental about this case," Vladimir Chouprov, one ofGreenpeace's officials in Russia, said, in an office full of files. "Itis the result of the situation that this country finds itself in ingeneral, and the nuclear sector in particular. There is old equipment,terrible salaries that make corruption easier, and alcoholism.Furthermore MINATOM (the nuclear energy ministry) is one of the mostclosed and most secretive agencies. What we are learning is only thetip of the iceberg."

Mr. Chouprov enumerated the different sources of uranium-235 in thecountry, ranging from the best guarded sites to those that presented thegreatest risks. They were, in order: the 6,000 nuclear warheads fromRussia's nuclear arsenal, the 30 or so nuclear power plants, the 80nuclear submarines that have reverted to the state in the KolaPeninsula's (northern) ports, and, finally, the research institutesspread across the country, some of which have experimental nuclearreactors.

The possibility cannot be ruled out that the uranium that was seized inBalachikha came from one of the three institutes of this kind that theMoscow area has (Kurchatovsky, Troitsky, and Obninsk). In Balachikhain March 2001, the police proceeded to arrest a criminal group that wastrying to sell 200 grams of cesium-137, a radioactive material.

After 11 September, President Vladimir Putin stepped up the reassuringstatements about the security of sensitive Russian sites. "What riskare people talking about?" he said recently. "We are talking about theuse of weapons of mass destruction that terrorists might seize,chemical, biological weapons, etc. Russia is convinced that thisshould remain a topic for serious thought." During his recent trip tothe United States, Mr. Putin said that stocks of biological weapons were"safe" and termed a "myth" the notion that terrorist might have beenable to get hold of portable Russian nuclear bombs.

Two recent developments worry ecologists, for whom, on the contrary, therisks of proliferation are heightened. On the one hand, Moscow hasstarted to implement its program to import 20,000 tonnes of nuclearwaste over 10 years, which was decided on last year despite a wave ofprotests.

A 40-tonne shipment of radioactive waste coming from Bulgaria happenedthis past 9 November, via barges on the Danube up to the port of Ismailin Ukraine, then by train to Krasnoiarsk, in Siberia. The thousands ofkilometers that were covered, the cars' uncertain security conditions,and also the opaque financing channels that were involved have raisedconcerns.

On the other hand, the issue of the destruction of Russian chemicalweapons (40,000 tonnes, the biggest arsenal in the world) isexperiencing new delays. In early December Russia announced that itwas not able to liquidate those stocks of toxic weapons before 2007, asit had pledged to do by signing the international 1997 convention. Thenew deadline is 2012.

It is in Gorny, a remote community in the Volga region, that the firstplant where chemical weapons will be eliminated is supposed to open (inMay 2002, according to the authorities). But Russian financing, whichwas supposed to supplement European aid from the Tacis program, has beenslow to materialize. So we are only at the very beginning of aninterminable process, with just 2.9 percent of the total of the toxicstock supposed to be processed in Gorny. The other two expectedplants, in Shoushey (Ural) and Gambarka (Oudmourtie), exist on paperonly.

Some western aid programs exist. US assistance to Cheliabinsk toreduce stocks of plutonium can be mentioned as well as the payment ofdecent wages to nuclear scientists in the "closed cities" so they willnot be tempted by offers of jobs in Syria or Iraq; and also European aidto monitor radioactive sites in the Murmansk region. But these areonly drops of water, and certain initiatives have been hit by budgetcuts.

More broadly speaking, fear exists that with Russia's return toacceptance with Westerners, ever since Mr. Putin positioned himself asan "ally" in the world antiterrorist campaign, it may have become evenmore complicated to follow the Russian authorities' actions in the areaof non-proliferation. "Since the US wants to maintain good relationswith Russia, any information on the possibility that terrorists mightseize highly toxic substances in Russia is perceived as a criticism,"said Chouprov, the Russian Greenpeace representative.

However one Russian expert who cannot be suspected of complacency towardthe authorities, since he was charged with "divulging state secrets"post-1991, for having signed an article on the Russian biological andchemical weapons programs, stated that, on these issues, one should notsee everything in negative terms. Lev Fiodorov, a chemistry professor,is the chairman of a small association (the "Union for Chemical Safety,"which publishes information on the size of toxic stocks in Russia)."Four hundred sites exist where chemical weapons are kept. Many havebeen kept secret. The real quantity is 170,000 tonnes, according toour data. The official figure of 40,000 tonnes of chemical weaponscovers only those produced by the USSR after 1946," he said. "But whenit comes to biological weapons, they are under fairly good monitoring,and kept in five institutes, three of which are military. For aterrorist to get his hands on this, there would need to be widespreadcomplicity, you would have to buy the whole chain leading to theproduct," he said.
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B. Nuclear Terrorism

1.
Scientists Confirm Bin Laden Weapons Tests
Anthony Loyd
Times of London
December 29, 2001
(for personal use only)


Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organisation were not onlyinvestigating the use of nuclear, biological and chemical weaponsagainst the West, they had conducted preliminary experiments on animals.

These unnerving revelations are the conclusion of detailed examinationof documents discovered by The Times in abandoned al-Qaeda houses inKabul last month.

The documents, which have been translated in full, prove that amongother atrocities, al-Qaeda was studying how to produce botulin poison inbatches strong enough to kill 2,000 people.

The hundreds of pages of photocopied, handwritten and printed matterwere in a mixture of Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Mandarin, Russian andEnglish. They came from a number of al-Qaeda houses in the Afghancapital a day after it fell to Northern Alliance forces on November 13.

Samples were photographed and sent to British-based professionaltranslators with scientific qualifications, and to experts in the fieldof weapons of mass destruction, including John Large, a British nuclearconsultant.

They confirm that al-Qaeda cells were examining materials to make alow-grade, "dirty" nuclear device; they had an understanding ofbomb-related electronic circuitry to a level that matched, and in someareas exceeded, that of the Provisional IRA's experts; they wereinvestigating "supergun" theories; and they were training terroristunits to assassinate Middle Eastern leaders sympathetic to the West.

According to Mr Large, while the organisation would not have been ableto make a large-scale missile or nuclear device from the documentsfound, "it was obviously prepared to consider the use of such weapons,so that if it could not manufacture such for itself then, given theopportunity, it would acquire such for use".

Among the documents obtained by The Times pertaining to nuclear physicswas a chart showing a portion of a periodic table dealing solely withradioactive materials. "It contains all the elements you would need ifconstructing a 'dirty' domb. This type of table is only of interest to anuclear scientist," Mr Large said.

The experts' reports reinforce claims by the British and AmericanGovernments that bin Laden had been looking into ways of making anuclear bomb. On November 9, President Bush said of al-Qaeda: "They areseeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons." Days later, after thediscovery of the documents in Kabul, Donald Rumsfeld, the US DefenceSecretary, dispatched specialist units to Afghanistan to conduct theirown studies.

Subsequently, American intelligence services learnt that earlier thisyear a member of al-Qaeda had left Afghanistan after flourishing acanister containing what he claimed was radioactive material at ameeting attended by bin Laden.

The breadth and detail of al-Qaeda's aspirations have taken the securityservices by surprise. At one point the documents discuss creating anexplosion using 500kg of TNT - almost twice the amount that killed twopeople in the London Docklands bomb in 1996. Similarly, al-Qaeda's plansfor chemical weapons were drawn up with large-scale production in mind:each recipe contained a step-by-step guide explaining how to producebatches that would kill thousands of people.

Many of the pages had the feel of teachers' handouts, such asphotocopies explaining how a device or chemical could best be put toterrible effect. Others asked questions about terror techniques thatthey themselves used. Only time will tell what they have been able tolearn.

The experts concluded that in the field of chemical and biologicalwarfare, al-Qaeda's studies were so far crude, but that their intent wasclear. Although the dispersal of chemical and biological weapons wasdifficult, they said, some of the terrorists' literature about theirmanufacture was easily available in public libraries.

However, they observed that the documents showed that al-Qaeda had goneso far as to manufacture and test certain types of chemical weapons onrabbits, including cyanide gas, which was used by Saddam Hussein to killhundreds of Kurds in Halabja in 1988.

As disturbing as the substance of these findings is their context. Thedocuments did not come from a single source of expertise. They includedmaterial produced by men of several nationalities at different stages ofeducation, varying from recruit to degree level student and professor,and were being reproduced for wide distribution. They were the work of avariety of autonomous cells, who conducted their own experiments,without collusion.

"Rather than being assured by al-Qaeda's diversity, in fact this provesa huge problem to the Western security forces," one intelligence expertsaid. "What we can see is the work of different, potentiallyself-replicating cells, united only by an ideal. They will be far moredifficult to extinguish than a centrally organised terrorist force."

Another source revealed that although the public in the West may beencouraged by the success of the war in Afghanistan, intelligenceagencies estimate that as many as 70,000 recruits may have passedthrough al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in the past six yearsbefore dispersing to countries that include the US, Canada, Britain,France, Germany and Russia.

"Even were bin Laden to be killed or captured soon," the source added,"he is only a figurehead, and the worst may yet be far from over."
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C. Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Burma Joins the Nuclear Club: Russia Muscles in on China's Turf with a Reactor for Burma
Bertil Lintner
Far Eastern Economic Review
January 3, 2002
(for personal use only)


Burma is one of the world's poorest and least developed countries, yetit is apparently embarking on a nuclear-power project with the help ofRussian and, possibly, Pakistani scientists. And Beijing is none toohappy at seeing Moscow muscling in on its turf, according to diplomats.

The project was initiated by Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry, which inFebruary announced plans to build a 10-megawatt research reactor incentral Burma.

In July, Burma's Foreign Minister Win Aung, accompanied by themilitary-ruled country's ministers of defence, energy, industry andrailways, travelled to Moscow to finalize the deal. At the time, Russiannews agencies quoted Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov as saying that Russiaconsiders Burma a "promising partner in Asia and the Pacific region."

He had reason to be pleased as Russia also managed to sell 10 MiG-29fighter aircraft for $130 million to Burma. Rival China is Burma's mainmilitary supplier, while the West shuns the country.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the nuclear facility is scheduled totake place at a secret location near the town of Magwe in January. Theequipment and reactor will be delivered in 2003, while more than 300Burmese nationals have received nuclear technical training in Russiaover the past year, according to Russian diplomats.

Tight secrecy surrounds the fledgling nuclear programme and there islittle noticeable activity around the recently established Department ofAtomic Energy in Rangoon, residents say. The project is believed to bethe brainchild of Burmese Minister of Science and Technology U Thaung,who is reported to believe that nuclear research is necessary for "amodern nation."

But while Burma suffers from a chronic power shortage, it's not clearwhy it would need a research reactor, which is used mainly for medicalpurposes.

The programme came under the spotlight recently after two Pakistaninuclear scientists, with long experience at two of their country's mostsecret nuclear installations, showed up in Burma after the September 11terrorist attacks in the United States.

According to Asian and European intelligence sources, Suleiman Asad andMuhammed Ali Mukhtar left Pakistan for Burma when it became clear thatAmerican officials were interested in interrogating them about theirlinks with suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. The U.S.believes bin Laden wants to develop a nuclear weapon.

A Pakistani news agency reported that the duo went to Burma to assistlocal scientists in "some kind of research work," leading many observersto believe they had joined the nuclear project.

There is no clear evidence linking them to the Russian-supported nuclearprogramme. But one Asian diplomat speculates that if the Pakistanis areindeed assisting Burmese scientists it could be in the field of takingcare of nuclear waste.

This is a highly lucrative business, and Burma desperately needs foreignexchange to help to prop up its moribund economy.
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2.
Russian Plant Begins Work on Two Atomic Reactors for India
BBC Monitoring Service
January 3, 2002
(for personal use only)


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

St Petersburg, 3 January: The Izhora Plants joint-stock company here hasbegun work on two VVER-1000 atomic reactors for the Kudankulam nuclearpower plant in India.

ITAR-TASS was told at the company's directorate that equipment for twounits of the plant were to be built here, each with a generatingcapacity of 1,000 MW. The No 1 reactor billets were already cast. Ittakes 36 months to manufacture a reactor casing.

The agreement between Russia and India on the construction of a nuclearpower plant was signed on 6 November 2001. All the necessary documentswere later signed by the atomic energy ministries of the two countries.The Russian Atomstroyeksport company, which is responsible for theconstruction of the nuclear power plant, is to sign a contract with theIzhora Plants company on the production of all the necessary equipment.

In keeping with a contract that was signed in 1999, the latter hasalready manufactured equipment for two units of the Tianwan nuclearpower plant in China and for the Bushehr plant in Iran. All in all, theIzhora Plants company has produced more than 20 sets of equipment,including VVER-1000 reactors, for nuclear power plants in Russia,Ukraine and Bulgaria.

Source: ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in English 1112 gmt 3 Jan 02
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3.
Armenia, Russia Do Not Discuss Nuclear Station Handover
BBC Monitoring Service
December 28, 2001
(for personal use only)


Text of report by Armenian news agency Mediamax

Yerevan, 28 December: Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan saidtoday that the Armenian side is not discussing with Moscow the issue ofadding the Armenian nuclear power station to the list of enterprises tobe handed over to Russian management in repayment of Armenia's debts.

A Mediamax correspondent reported from parliament that Markaryan saidthat the Russian side is showing an interest in Armenia's electricitytransmission lines.

Source: Mediamax news agency, Yerevan, in Russian 1400 gmt 28 Dec 01
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D. Nuclear Submarine Dismantlement

1.
Russia Pledges Progress in Scrapping of Nuclear Submarines
BBC Monitoring Service
December 28, 2001
(for personal use only)


Text of report in English by Russian AVN Military News Agency web site

Moscow, 28 December: The problem of Russian nuclear submarines scrappingmust be solved by 2007, Vladimir Pospelov, director general of theRussian shipbuilding agency, said on Friday [28 December].

The pace of scrapping written-off submarines is growing with each year,Pospelov told Interfax-Military News Agency. Several difficultiesrelated to the problem have been resolved thanks to assistance offoreign partners, including the United States, the director stressed.

Foreign partners understand that Russia's nuclear technologies are anelement of security in the northwest Atlantic and Pacific regions. Thefour facilities directly involved in the scrapping were modernized inthe late 1990s. The Ministry of Atomic Energy provided assistance in themodernization. Development of installations processing solidradioactive waste is among the agency's main tasks for the near future,Pospelov said.

"The submarine scrapping cycle is not closed. The three-section variantis not the best. We must adopt a single- section scheme and settleissues pertaining to stockpiling points. Money is needed for all that,and there is no chance to solve all problems in one or two years, butthe dynamics is positive," he stressed.

Source: AVN Military News Agency web site, Moscow, in English 1141 gmt28 Dec 01
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E. Nuclear Safety

1.
Russia Stops Assisting in Disposal of Nuclear Waste from Kazakh Test Site
BBC Monitoring Service
January 3, 2002
(for personal use only)


Text of report by Kazakh Commercial TV on 3 January

Russia will no longer take part in the disposal of nuclear waste at theSemipalatinsk [nuclear test] site. Russian Atomic Energy MinisterAleksandr Rumyantsev said that Kazakhstan had itself rejected Russia'sassistance. Our country has signed a number of contracts with [other]foreign states to tackle the Semipalatinsk site. That is why the RussianAtomic Energy Ministry thinks that now there is no need for assistancefrom Russia, which is fully responsible for the test site as thesuccessor to the USSR.

Source: Kazakh Commercial Television, Almaty, in Russian 1130 gmt 3 Jan02
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2.
Russian TV Looks at Kazakh Nuclear Waste Storage Activity
BBC Monitoring Service
December 29, 2001
(for personal use only)


Text of report by Russian NTV on 28 December

[Presenter Natalya Zabuzova] Like Russia, other states of the formerUSSR are facing problems with radiation safety. The Mangyshlak Peninsulain Kazakhstan is threatened by an environmental disaster. The uraniumores mined here for decades are turning into dust now. Radioactivesubstances are blowing in the wind of local towns and villages. Thelocal authorities want to generate money needed to clean up contaminatedareas by burying imported nuclear waste. The public strongly opposes theidea. Our corespondent Sergey Ponomarev reports.

[Correspondent] Over 200m tonnes of radioactive waste lie in the open inKazakhstan. In Soviet times, uranium was mined in the MangyshlakPeninsula. Now, the wind takes radioactive dust from abandoned open-cutmines all across the region, including the city of Aktau, formerShevchenko.

Local janitors are covering their faces thoroughly when working toprevent radioactive beta- particles from getting into respiratorysystem. Health officials are carrying out regular radiation checksaround the city. Five kilometres outside Aktau, dosimeters indicateirradiation dozens of times above the norm. Kazatomprom specialists saythat over 1bn US dollars are required to stop the dangerous spreading ofradiation in Kazakhstan. The state budget does not have that amount ofmoney.

[Askar Kasabekov, captioned as president of the Kazatomprom nationalatomic company, speaking in Russian] All these "tails" keep on dustingup to now. We must clean it up anyhow. In order to do this, we proposethe following. We say: we shall bring here a little bit of alien [waste]and bury it over here, however, for the same money [received] we shallreconstruct what used to be here before the uranium mining started. Weshall recultivate the land the way it used to be. For the same money, weshall also recultivate many other sites in this country.

[Correspondent] This smoke is an obvious sign of a uranium stratumcoming up to the surface and getting in touch with the air moisture. Theuranium ore has been mined over here for over 30 years. The open-minehas been abandoned since 1995. This is the very place where the Kazakhauthorities are planning to store imported radioactive waste.

Camels wearing winter pea-jackets are grazing here now while localstalkers are digging radiation contaminated soil in search of copper andaluminium cables. Residents of the village of Kyzyl-Tube next to theuranium open-mine categorically oppose the idea of importing nuclearwaste itself.

[Unidentified local resident, speaking in Russian] Why should we storeit here? Don't they have other sites, or what? We have enough ofradiation of our own here.

[Correspondent] Nevertheless, the Kazakh government is mooting the issueof importing nuclear waste. Several countries, such as [South] Korea,Japan, and Taiwan, have stated their wish to pay up to 7,000 dollars foreach cu.m. of low-radioactive waste to be stored in Kazakhstan.

Source: NTV, Moscow, in Russian 0900 gmt 28 Dec 01
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F. Announcements

1.
Changes to U.S. Dual-Use Export Controls
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
January 2, 2002


President Bush today announced changes to the Administration's exportcontrols on computers and microprocessors. These changes will advancethe President's goal of updating the U.S. export control system so thatit protects U.S. national security, and at the same time, allowsAmerica's high tech companies to innovate and successfully compete intoday's marketplace.

Specifically, the United States will raise the level above which itrequires individual licenses for computer exports to Tier 3 countries(which include Russia, Israel, India, Pakistan, and China) from thecurrent level of 85,000 Millions of Theoretical Operations Per Second(MTOPS) to 190,000 MTOPS. Latvia will be moved from Tier 3 to the groupof countries for which no prior review is required for computer exports.The President has notified Congress of these changes, as required bylaw. These changes require a 60- and 120-day Congressional notificationperiod. The United States also will raise the level at which it requiresindividual licenses for exports to many destinations of general purposemicroprocessors from 6,500 MTOPS to 12,000 MTOPS. The new computer andmicroprocessor levels will become effective when published by theDepartment of Commerce in the Federal Register.

These reforms are needed due to the rapid rate of technological changein the computer industry. Single microprocessors available today by mailorder and the Internet perform at more than twenty-five times the speedof supercomputers built in the early 1990s. Computer performance thatonce cost millions of dollars is now available in inexpensive systemsused in homes, schools and businesses, and made by companies around theworld.
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2.
In Connection with the White House Statement on Cooperation with Russiain the Sphere of Reducing the Threat of Proliferation of WMD

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
December 29, 2001


The Bush Administration has publicly confirmed the readiness of the USto further develop cooperation with Russia in reducing the threat ofproliferation of mass destruction weapons declaring continuedimplementation of the corresponding bilateral programs.

The Russian side welcomes this statement of the White House and views itas a real step toward forming a new strategic relationship between thetwo countries. The Russian Federation consistently adheres to the linefor strengthening the regimes of non-proliferation of which a keyelement is the interaction with the US in the sphere of elimination anddisposal of the mass destruction weapons being reduced under treatyobligations and means of delivery thereof. Unfortunately,non-proliferation problems are becoming more relevant in the light ofthe unilateral decision of the US to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.
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G. Links of Interest

1.
NNSA Management: Progress in the Implementation of Title 32General Accounting Office
December 12, 2001
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0293r.pdf
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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.



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