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Nuclear News - 01/11/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, January 11, 2002
Compiled by David Smigielski

A. U.S. Non-Proliferation Budget
    1. White House Seeking Funds to Dismantle Nuclear Arms, Adam Clymer, New York Times (01/09/02)
    2. Bush To Request More Non-Proliferation Funding, Global Security Newswire (01/09/02)
B. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
    1. The U.S. Is Unlikely To Agree To Ban Nuclear Arms Testing, Andrei Lebedev and Dmitry, Safonov, Izvestia (01/09/02)
    2. Expert Says Russia Would Follow Suit If U.S. Resumed Nuclear Testing, RFE/RL Newsline (01/09/02)
C. Russia-U.S. Relations
    1. Russia Takes Stand On Nuclear Arms, Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press (01/10/01)
    2. U.S. May Store, Not Destroy, Warheads Cut In Accord, Warren P. Strobel, Philadelphia Inquirer (01/09/02)
D. Nuclear Safety
    1. Lithuania Launches Nuclear Awareness Campaign Aided By Sweden, Baltic News Agency BNS (01/09/01)
E. Russian Nuclear Waste
    1. World's Oldest Nuclear Power Plant To Store Liquid Waste On Its Premises Russian Centre TV/BBC Monitoring Service (01/10/02)
F. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. FSB Disrupts Illegal Sale Of Rare Strategic Metal, RFE/RL Newsline (01/09/02)
G. Announcements
    1. Concerning US Administration Decision On Computer Export Controls, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (01/11/02)
H. Links of Interest
    1. Special Briefing on the Nuclear Posture Review, U.S. Department of Defense (01/09/01)
    2. A New Agenda for Nuclear Weapons, Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay, Brookings Institution (01/09/02)

A. U.S. Non-Proliferation Budget

White House Seeking Funds to Dismantle Nuclear Arms
Adam Clymer
New York Times
January 9, 2002
(for personal use only)

The Bush administration, initially dubious about the nuclearnonproliferation programs it inherited, plans to ask Congress for 37percent more money this year than it sought a year ago for EnergyDepartment programs to safeguard and dispose of weapons- grade nuclearmaterials.

Lesser increases will be sought for parallel operations by the Defenseand State Departments, which are considerably smaller than those atEnergy. The Defense Department deals with the dismantling of formerSoviet weapons, and the State Department handles programs that find jobsfor displaced Soviet nuclear and biological scientists so they will notbe tempted to peddle their expertise to unfriendly countries.

While declining to discuss numbers, Mitchell E. Daniels, director of theOffice of Management and Budget, said last week, "We will be requestingsome additional growth" in fiscal year 2003, which begins Oct. 1.

This decision was signaled on Dec. 27 by a White House announcement thatit had concluded that most of the programs "work well, are focused onpriority tasks and are well managed." The statement cited four programsthat should be expanded but gave no hint about how much.

For the Energy Department programs, President Bush's budget for fiscal2003 will seek $1.04 billion, up from $750 million requested for thecurrent year, according to experts who have been briefed on the figures.

Congress is likely to approve at least that much. Last year it all butignored the administration's request and settled on $847 million inregular appropriations in October, then added $223 million in asupplemental bill last month. In all, the proposed $1.04 billion is 3.2percent less than Congress voted last year.

Senator Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico, one of many Republicans whochallenged the administration on the issue, said: "The president isdoing the right thing to continue the upward trend. Whether it's enough,I don't know."

One program in particular, to degrade and dispose of plutonium andenriched uranium, is slated for a 27 percent increase, to $384 million.

Administration officials insisted that neither Congressional pressurenor requests for help from President Vladimir I. Putin of Russia causedthe increases. "The idea that we have been bludgeoned into supportingthese programs is just plain wrong," a senior official said.

The new requests will include increases in spending by the DefenseDepartment (above the $403 million appropriated for fiscal 2002) and bythe State Department (above its $54 million, before the supplementalappropriation of $30 million).

The increases reflect a deep change in thinking about Russia, especiallysince Russia supported the United States' response to the Sept. 11terrorist attacks. These programs matter to Russia, both because of whatthey do and because they provide a stream of dollars.

But the administration came into office more concerned with European andAsian allies, pursuing a tough, somewhat distant relationship withMoscow and announcing a review of the programs.

The measures are known as Nunn- Lugar, after the former Senator Sam Nunnof Georgia and Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who led the effort tohelp Russia safeguard its nuclear facilities with legislation in 1991.Those measures appeared to be one casualty of the chilly relations.

Washington announced that it would review the 30 or so programs to seeif they were working, and called for spending cuts of about $140 millionfrom 2001 levels.

Mr. Daniels insisted Friday that those cuts were independent of thereview, but were made because hundreds of millions appropriated in pastyears had not yet been spent.

He cited as one reason for the delay the time it took to makearrangements with Russia. Another is the failure or delay by the DefenseDepartment in submitting reports to Congress that are required beforesome operations can begin.

Those backlogs have not disappeared. Indeed, counting the $403 millionappropriated last month, the Defense Department has $1.03 billion onhand to help dismantle and secure former Soviet nuclear weapons, mainlyin Russia but also in Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Regardless of the cause, the proposed cuts produced sharp criticism fromsenators, including Mr. Lugar and Mr. Domenici, who considered theprograms effective.

But by the time they were adding funds in the supplemental appropriationbill, the administration was coming around to their view and did notfight the increases.
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Bush To Request More Non-Proliferation Funding
Global Security Newswire
January 9, 2002
(for personal use only)

The Bush administration plans to ask the U.S. Congress for more fundingin fiscal 2003 for nuclear nonproliferation programs, the New York Timesreported today (see GSN, Dec. 20).

The Bush administration is expected to ask for $1.04 billion for EnergyDepartment nonproliferation programs, a 37 percent increase from therequest for fiscal 2002, according to the Times. Congress, whichapproved funds for 2002 that exceeded the administration's request, isexpected to approve the request for fiscal 2003. In all, theadministration's request for the coming year is 3.2 percent less thanCongress's fiscal 2002 allocation.

The White House is also expected to request funding increases for twosmaller nonproliferation programs run by the State Department andDefense Department, the Times reported. The requested increases areexpected to be above the current $403 million allocated for the DefenseDepartment programs and above the $54 million appropriation for theState Department, the Times reported.

The State Department program helps find employment for former Sovietnuclear and biological scientists so they will not find work in hostilecountries. The Defense Department program works to dismantle formerSoviet nuclear weapons.

"The president is doing the right thing to continue the upward trend,"said Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.). "Whether it's enough, I don'tknow" (Adam Clymer, New York Times, Jan. 9).

The Bush administration has also recommended making several changes tothe programs themselves, according to Jane's Defence Weekly. Thosechanges include:

  • Reviewing U.S. efforts to aid Russia in plutonium disposal. Thisreview is needed because of cost concerns, a senior administrationofficial said. He added that the United States is still committed tothe destruction of 34 metric tons of plutonium and that the study is"nearing completion."
  • Changing the oversight of a program to shut down Russianmilitary reactors that produce plutonium from the Defense Department tothe Energy Department.
  • Speeding up efforts to help Russia destroy 40,000 tons ofchemical weapons agents.
  • Expanding the Redirection of Biotechnical Scientists and theInternational Science and Technology Center programs, which help employformer Soviet weapons scientists. The ISTC is "a particularly usefulmechanism" because of its record of cooperation and its work with othercountries, said the administration official.
  • Consolidation of the Energy Department's Nuclear CitiesInitiative program with its Initiatives for Proliferation Preventionprogram. The NCI was "designed to consolidate the [Russian] nuclearweapons complex," said the senior official. "NCI had perhaps wanderedfrom its core focus."
  • Expanding the Energy Department's Warhead and Fissile MaterialTransparency program and its Material Protection, Control and Accountingprogram, both which work to secure Russian weapon-grade nuclear material(Andrew Koch, Jane's Defence Weekly, Jan. 9).
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B. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

The U.S. Is Unlikely To Agree To Ban Nuclear Arms Testing
Andrei Lebedev and Dmitry Safonov
January 9, 2002
(for personal use only)

The United States is going to resume underground nuclear tests. This isclearly seen from the document submitted Tuesday by the Bushadministration to Congress. According to that report, Washington intendsto make the Nevada Proving Ground ready for conducting undergroundnuclear tests six months after the decision to go ahead with testing ismade.

Today this time limit is no less than two years, says Washington Post.Russian experts have different information. The U.S. proving groundswill be prepared for testing in merely half a year, Colonel-General IgorValynkin, chief of the 12th Defense Ministry Department in charge ofRussia's nuclear arms, told Izvestia. A few more months will be addedfor bureaucratic procedures (lifting the ban on such testing andappropriating the required funds) to add up to one year.

The time for starting the testing is not what matters most here. U.S.officials stress the need to conduct testing for checking theserviceability of nuclear ammunition in service. This is especially thecase when its arsenal is being reduced, advisor to the U.S. DefenseSecretary, Richard Pearl, said. Russian Defense Ministry experts disputehis statement, saying no nuclear tests are needed to check theserviceability and safety of nuclear ammunition. There are the so calledsub-critical or hydrodynamic laboratory experiments for that purpose.With their help, scientists and military in both states have beenmonitoring nuclear arms efficiency for many years.

The only purpose for the U.S. to conduct underground explosions will beto develop new types of weapons. Most likely they will be warheads forthe future National Missile Defense system. The problem is that the U.S.project of intercepting enemy missiles with the help of U.S.anti-ballistic missiles is ineffective. The latest tests conducted inthe U.S. have shown that the U.S. homing warheads cannot detect anattacking bloc without being prompted from the ground. In the SovietUnion, the problem of intercepting enemy ballistic missiles was solvedwith the help of a contrary nuclear blast. In that way, practically 100%reliability of interception was achieved; the U.S. has decided to usethis method.

Chief of the Nuclear Arms Development and Testing Department at theNuclear Power Ministry, Nikolai Voloshin told Izvestia that he had noinformation about Washington's plans to resume nuclear testing. Asregards full-scale testing in Russia, a political decision on thehighest level would be required for that. Russia ratified theComprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty back in April 2000, but Washingtonstill refuses to ratify it.
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Expert Says Russia Would Follow Suit If U.S. Resumed Nuclear Testing
RFE/RL Newsline
January 9, 2001
(for personal use only)

Mark Urnov, the head of the Center for Political Technologies and knownfor his close ties with the Kremlin, said that Russia would not objectif the U.S. were to resume nuclear weapon testing but continue dialoguewith Russia on the reduction of strategic weapons, reported on8 January. He also said that reducing the countries' nuclear arsenals tothe proposed level of 1,500 2,000 warheads would require an analysis ofthe reliability and safety of the remaining nuclear munitions. Thus, ifthe United States were to conduct nuclear testing, Russia would likelydo the same, according to Urnov.

In any event, the resumption of nuclear testing would not cause anyinternational complications because such testing is the subject ofbilateral agreements between the two counties and is not subject toconsent by any third parties, he said.
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C. Russia-U.S. Relations

Russia Takes Stand On Nuclear Arms
Vladimir Isachenkov
Associated Press
January 10, 2002
(for personal use only)

Setting the stage for tough talks on nuclear disarmament, Russiabristled Thursday at the Pentagon (news - web sites) plan to downsizeU.S. nuclear arsenals by putting weapons in reserve rather thandestroying them.

Russia's Foreign Ministry insisted the cuts must be "irreversible"when the United States goes through with a promise by President Bush(news - web sites) to reduce the number of operational nuclear warheadsby two-thirds, to 1,700-2,200, by 2012.

The issue of what to do with nuclear weapons removed from duty - theso-called buildup potential - has been a major point of contention inprevious U.S.-Russian negotiations. The latest statements from bothsides signal tough bargaining ahead.

U.S. and Russian diplomats are expected to meet in Washington next weekto discuss the details and timetable for the cuts in preparation forBush's trip to Russia later this spring or summer.

"Russia will push strongly for the nuclear cuts to be irreversible, butthe United States is unlikely to make any major concessions," saidAlexander Pikayev, a military analyst with the Carnegie Endowment'sMoscow office. "Unfortunately for Russia, its position in talks israther weak because its aging nuclear weapons are to go off-dutyanyway."

Bush promised Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) inNovember that his administration would make the cuts in the numbers ofoperational warheads - putting the arsenal far below the 6,000 nuclearwarheads each country is currently allowed under the START I agreement.

Putin has promised to cut the number of Russian warheads to as low as1,500. He has also pushed for the cuts to be written into formal treaty,something Bush opposes.

On Wednesday, a top Pentagon planner said that in the reduction plan,some warheads would be destroyed - how many was not announced - whileothers would be rendered inactive, meaning it would take several monthsto get them ready to fire.

J.D. Crouch, assistant secretary of defense for international security,said the United States needs to keep the warheads in reserve in case theworld situation changes. Most previous arms control treaties do notrequire warheads to be destroyed, he said.

Russia's Foreign Ministry responded sharply Thursday. Ministry spokesmanAlexander Yakovenko said cuts must be "irreversible, so that strategicoffensive weapons aren't just reduced 'on paper."'

Retired Maj.-Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, a former top Russian arms controlnegotiator, said he expected a compromise, given the recent warmth inRussian-U.S. ties.

"I wouldn't dramatize the situation. A solution can be found by thetime of Bush's visit," said Dvorkin, now an adviser to the PIR-Center,an independent Russian military policy think-tank.

But Pikayev and some other analysts predicted that the United Stateswould firmly defend its plan to keep nuclear weapons in reserve andrefuse to make any major concessions.

"The resulting agreement will not be about real nuclear disarmament. Itwill only deceive the public," Pikayev said.

Ivan Safranchuk, who heads the Moscow office of the Washington-basedCenter for Defense Information, said the Pentagon wants to keep itsnuclear weapons as a hedge against any new chill in U.S.-Russianrelations and also as a deterrent against a potential increase inChina's nuclear capability.

"Besides, it's much cheaper to keep weapons in reserve than to destroythem," he said.

It was the second time in two days that a U.S. statement on nuclearissues drew criticism from Moscow. On Wednesday, Russia firmlyreiterated its commitment to a nuclear testing ban amid indications thatthe United States wants to reduce the time it would take to resumetests.

Safranchuk said Russia would continue protesting even if it lacks thepower to prevent the United States from going its own way.

"Russia wants to show the harm of unilateral approaches to nucleardisarmament," he said.
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U.S. May Store, Not Destroy, Warheads Cut In Accord
Warren P. Strobel
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 9, 2002
(for personal use only)

Thousands of nuclear warheads that President Bush plans to take out ofoperation in a disarmament agreement with Russia may be put into storagefor possible later use rather than destroyed, according to a classifiedPentagon nuclear-weapons plan presented to Congress yesterday.

The plan, described by U.S. officials who were briefed on its contents,appears to raise new questions about the finality of Bush's pledge tocut the U.S. nuclear arsenal to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads fromits current level of almost 6,000.

It also could provoke a storm of protest from Moscow, where RussianPresident Vladimir V. Putin would like a formal treaty permanentlyenshrining the cuts, as opposed to the more informal accord Bushprefers.

The Pentagon plan, called the Nuclear Posture Review, says that somewarheads taken off land based missiles, bombers and submarines could bestored "as a hedge force" and redeployed if needed, according to a U.S.official speaking on condition of anonymity.

"They would always have the flexibility to redeploy those warheads ifcircumstances change," the official said.

On another topic, nuclear testing, the Pentagon document says the EnergyDepartment's nuclear weapons labs should be in a position to resumeunderground testing more rapidly than they can now if the Presidentdecides to do so. The report does not recommend actually resumingtesting, the official said.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that Bush wouldcontinue, for now, to observe a self-imposed moratorium on undergroundnuclear testing that former President George Bush initiated in 1992.

But, Rumsfeld said, "any country that has nuclear weapons has to berespectful of the enormous lethality and power of those weapons, and hasa responsibility to see that they are safe and reliable. . . . To theextent that can be done without testing, clearly that is thepreference."

Under current U.S. policy, the labs must be able to resume testingwithin 24 to 36 months of a decision by the President to test. The newPentagon report says the labs should prepare so that the window could beshortened, perhaps to a year.

The United States and Russia agreed last month to try to finish anagreement slashing their nuclear arsenals during the first half of 2002.

But a senior Bush aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, recentlytold the Inquirer Washington Bureau that, in the proposed agreement,Washington wanted the flexibility to deploy nuclear weapons above the1,700-to-2,200 level that Bush promised Putin at their November summit,if circumstances warranted.

That, some Democratic lawmakers and arms-control advocates protest,would give Russia no incentive to destroy its own warheads that aretaken off active duty. Warheads stored in Russia are likely to be lesssecure than those stored in the United States, they noted.
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D. Nuclear Safety

Lithuania Launches Nuclear Awareness Campaign Aided By Sweden
Baltic News Agency BNS
January 9, 2002
(for personal use only)

Lithuania's Radiation Safety Centre has released new educationalpublications in the country to teach the public about ionizingradiation, proper use of sources of radiation and actions to take in theevent of a nuclear or radioactive event.

Lithuania's Health Ministry reported the print-run of 30,000 [apparentlybooklets] would be distributed in all of Lithuania's counties. Thelargest share of copies is earmarked for people living near the Ignalinanuclear power plant (INPP) to the north of Vilnius.

The Swedish government paid 3,000 dollars for the publishing costs ofthe Lithuanian booklet under the aegis of a cooperation programmebetween Lithuania and Sweden's radiation safety centres. The programmehas been in operation for 5 years.

The Swedish government spent 200,000 Swedish kronor, or around 19,000dollars, to buy iodine tablets for Lithuania, to be sent to the city ofVisaginas and surrounding environs where many of the INPP's workerslive.

The director of the Lithuanian Radiation Safety Centre, AlbinasMastauskas, told BNS the iodine tablets should arrive in Lithuania thisMarch and will be handed over to the police, health care agencies,rescue services, schools, kindergartens and day care centres andhospitals.

He explained such tablets are used in the event of radioactive releases.Iodine in the tablets is effective in guarding the human body fromtaking in radioactive isotopes of iodine which can be released intoenvironment in large quantities during nuclear accidents.

Radioactive iodine can enter the human body through the respiratorytract or with food. The material concentrates in thyroid glands. Normaliodine doses ensure thyroid does not draw in large amounts ofradioactive iodine isotopes.

"There has not been any need for these tablets in Lithuania yet, but wehave to be prepared for everything," Mastauskas said.

Actually, Lithuania did receive radioactive fallout from the Chernobyldisaster, and has two Chernobyl-model high-power pressure-tube unitsoperating at INPP, which the country is making moves to close by 2009under pressure from the EU.
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E. Russian Nuclear Waste

World's Oldest Nuclear Power Plant To Store Liquid Waste On Its Premises
Russian Centre TV/BBC Monitoring Service
January 10, 2002
(for personal use only)

[Presenter] Russia is planning import spent nuclear fuel. Meanwhile, ithas not solved the issue of storing its own nuclear waste.

[Correspondent] Nuclear power plants cannot exist without producingwaste. One can only guess how many tonnes of spent nuclear fuel haveaccumulated on the premises of the Obninsk Institute of Physics andEnergy where the world's oldest nuclear power station and several testfacilities are still working.

All the solid waste has been stored in special containers for decades.

[Yuriy Khrizomenov, captioned as chief engineer-physicist] As far as Iknow, it is still being kept there without being recycled.

[Correspondent] It is cheaper for the institute to store the waste onits own premises than to pay for its removal and recycling. But solidwaste is only half the trouble.

More than 1,500 cubic metres of liquid waste has been accumulated in theinstitute over years. Nobody knew what to do with it, because there isno nuclear storage facility in Kaluga Region. Now the institute hasdecided to solve the problem itself. The waste will be cemented inspecial containers and buried in a huge underground storage area locatedright under where I am standing.

Local scientists have invented a facility that will recycle liquid wastemaking it less dangerous. After that, it will be mixed with cement. Theresulting cocktail will be poured into special containers which will bestored at a depth of 6m under the floor of this huge shop.

[Vasiliy Lazarev, captioned as the deputy head of the nuclear wasteshop] It is safe to store this waste here for the time being, but in afew years we will need to make a decision on this waste so as not tocreate problems for our descendants.

[Correspondent] According to environmentalists, our country developedthe nuclear industry in a typical Soviet manner - moving forward atwhatever cost and putting aside most vital issues.

[Vladimir Kuznetsov, captioned as the director of the Russian GreenCross programme of nuclear and radiation security] Our nuclear industryhas been working like an office that does not have a lavatory. Theproblem of waste and spent fuel storage has simply never been discussed.Nobody ever bothered to tackle it. The waste was either dumped into thesea or it was pumped into the soil.

[Correspondent] By the way, our country is the only one in the worldwhich pumps nuclear waste into the soil instead of building saferecycling plants. Storing this poison is not a way out. If nothing isdone than the nuclear dump will explode in a much nastier way than anSS-20 missile, and it will hit our descendants.
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F. Nuclear Terrorism

FSB Disrupts Illegal Sale Of Rare Strategic Metal
RFE/RL Newsline
January 9, 2001
(for personal use only)

Officers of the Moscow branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB) havedetained five individuals who tried to sell six grams of the rarestrategic metal osmium for $800,000, RosBalt reported on 8 January.Osmium is a metal in the platinum group that is used in nuclear weaponsproduction as well as in the aerospace industry. Because of itsextremely high market price (up to $600 thousand per gram) and lack ofradioactivity, it is also used as a reserve asset in the banking sector.According to an FSB spokesman, there is only one osmium ore deposit onthe territory of the former Soviet Union, and an investigation has beenlaunched to determine how the metal was brought to Moscow.
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G. Announcements

Concerning US Administration Decision On Computer Export Controls
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
January 11, 2002

A few days ago yet another "liberalization" of US high performancecomputer hardware exports was announced in Washington.

It does not escape our attention, however, that the announcement retainsthe openly discriminatory system that has been continuing unchangedsince the times of the Cold War, of dividing potential country importersof US computer hardware into different tiers by the "degree of risk" ofproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means.Significantly, Russia is again assigned to the last but one - third -tier of countries far from the most "trustworthy," in the USA's opinion,in the nonproliferation field.

We would like to hope that in the conditions of the line proclaimed bythe President of the Russian Federation and the US President for theformation of a new strategic relationship, the US administrate will inthe nearest future revise this discriminatory decision as well.
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H. Links of Interest

Special Briefing on the Nuclear Posture Review
U.S. Department of Defense
January 9, 2001

A New Agenda for Nuclear Weapons
Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay
Brookings Institution
January 9, 2002

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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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