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Nuclear News - 01/23/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, January 23, 2002
Compiled by David Smigielski


A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Fuzzy Math in Arms Reductions, Charles V. Peña, The Cato Institute (01/18/02)
B. U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement
    1. U.S.-Russia Uranium Crisis Set to Be Defused, Valeria Korchagina, Moscow Times (01/21/02)
    2. Price Clash Stalls Renewal of U.S.-Russia Uranium Pact, Martha McNeil Hamilton, Washington Post (01/21/02)
C. Russia-U.S.
    1. Russia, US To Set Up Working Committees On Disarmament, Zawya (01/21/01)
D. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. 'Dirty Bombs': Simple Devices Could Play Havoc, Jane O. Hansen, Atlanta Journal Constitution (01/22/02)
E. Russia-Burma
    1. Burma to build nuclear reactor, BBC (01/21/02)
    2. Yangon's Nuclear Ambitions Alarm Asia And Europe, Larry Jagan, The Straits Times (01/18/02)
    3. Reactor For Burma Unlikely, Says Army, Bangkok Post (01/18/02)
F. Russian Nuclear Industry
    1. Water Supply To Chernobyl Nuclear Station Interrupted Over Debt, UNIAN via BBC Monitoring Service (01/22/02)
    2. Power Units Stopped At Two Russian Nuclear Power Plants, RIA via BBC Monitoring Service (01/22/02)
    3. Russian Ambassador Visits Ukrainian Reactor, Pledges Funds, Ukrainian Television via, BBC Monitoring Service (01/20/02)
G. Announcements
    1. Secretary Abraham Announces Administration Plan to Proceed with Plutonium Disposition & Reduce Proliferation Concerns U.S. Department of Energy (01/23/02)
    2. Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Georgy Mamedov Meets with US Assistant Secretary of State John Wolf, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (01/21/02)
H. Links of Interest
    1. Nuclear Safety, Nuclear Stability And Nuclear Strategy In Pakistan, Landau Network - Centro Volta, January 2002
    2. Multilateral Approaches To WMD Threats After September 11, Jayantha, Dhanapala, Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations, Annual Luncheon of the Arms Control Association, January 22, 2002
    3. Summary Of Major U.S. Nonproliferation Programs- FY 2002 Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
    4. Arms Control Chronology, Center for Defense Information, Winter 2002

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Fuzzy Math in Arms Reductions
Charles V. Peña
The Cato Institute
January 18, 2002
(for personal use only)


Candidate Bush pledged that he would unilaterally reduce the U.S.strategic nuclear arsenal if he became president. Last November,President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin both declared thatthe United States and Russia would reduce their nuclear weapons byroughly two thirds over the next decade, leaving each side with no morethan 2,200 warheads. While not a formal agreement, this was considered amilestone in strategic relations between the two countries, swiftlyachieving deep weapons cuts that could not be agreed to by a priordecade of formal negotiations. What got lost in the shuffle, amidst allthe good news, was a statement released by the White House that changedhow those weapons would be counted -- from "weapons" to "operationalnuclear weapons."

Now the Nuclear Posture Review reveals that many of the warheads, bombs,and missiles included in President Bush's promised nuclear reductionswill be retained and kept in reserve, i.e., they will not be operationalnuclear weapons and thus not count towards the 2,200 maximum. As such,they will be available for redeployment and potential use. This is anaccounting sleight of hand, bad arms control, and bad policy.

The primary rationale for retaining more weapons in reserve is as ahedge against some unforeseen future threat. The perceived need for areserve seems to reflect the thinking of many conservatives and militaryofficials that Russia could one day again become a nuclear rival or thatChina could pose a future nuclear threat. But such thinking runs counterto the joint statement issued by Bush and Putin during their November2001 summit meeting: "The United States and Russia have overcome thelegacy of the Cold War. Neither country regards the other as an enemy orthreat."

If the United States and Russia have truly entered a new stage in theirrelationship, then actions should match the rhetoric. Even worse, thislogic becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the United States retainsmore weapons, so will Russia. And the Chinese will likely view theentire U.S. strategic arsenal - not just deployed weapons - as a threatand react accordingly. Counting rules that allow the United States toretain more weapons creates an incentive for Russia, China, and othersto do the same.

According to Paul D. Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense,"Recognizing that the world can change in dangerous and unpredictableways, we are putting more emphasis than we have in the last 10 or 15years on that underlying infrastructure that allows you, including inthe nuclear area, to rebuild capabilities or build new ones if the worldchanges." But future large-scale nuclear threats are not going to appearovernight. Strategic warning about such developments is likely and willgive the United States adequate time to respond. And if there issufficient rationale to expand the nuclear arsenal (which, even at theproposed lower levels, would be large enough to incinerate any country),the United States does not need to have weapons on-hand for immediatedeployment - new, more modern weapons could be built.

If the Russians decide to retain more weapons in storage, there arelegitimate concerns about the safety and security of those weapons. Bydefinition, they will be less secure than deployed weapons guardedregularly by military personnel. As such, they become attractive targetsfor terrorists seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction. So takingthe weapons off operational deployment without destroying them couldpossibly lessen U.S. security rather than enhance it.

There is also a potential cost consideration. Under the Nunn-LugarCooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, the U.S. Departments ofEnergy, State, and Defense provide financial and technical assistancefor the safety and security of Russian and former Soviet nuclearweapons. Congress has appropriated more than $3.5 billion for CTR sincethe program's creation in 1991. If Russia decides to retain more weaponsin storage and the United States continues the CTR program, it willlikely cost the American taxpayer more than if the weapons were simplydestroyed. No matter how you slice it, decreased security and increasedcost is not a good deal.

Thus, when both Russia and the United States agree to "reduce" theirstrategic arsenals by removing weapons from operational status, thoseweapons should be destroyed not stored. With so many weapons in storage,saying that each country has "reduced" its arsenal to a maximum of 2,200warheads is fuzzy math.

Charles V. Peña is a senior defense policy analyst at the CatoInstitute.
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B. U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement

1.
U.S.-Russia Uranium Crisis Set to Be Defused
Valeria Korchagina
Moscow Times
January 21, 2002
(for personal use only)


A standoff between the Nuclear Power Ministry and a private U.S. companyover Russian uranium supplies used to produce some 10 percent ofAmerica's electricity looks set to be resolved before deliveries areinterrupted.

The deliveries, part of the so-called "Megatons to Megawatts" programcreated in 1993 to purchase 500 tons of highly enriched uranium strippedfrom dismantled Soviet warheads, was put in doubt after the U.S. firmUSEC Inc. demanded a 15 percent reduction from 2001 prices after theprevious contract expired Dec. 31, the Los Angeles Times reported lastweek.

Dmitry Kovchegin, an expert with the Center for Policy Studies inRussia, said the deal is "too important to fail for both sides, so anagreement should be reached."

Fuel created from Russian uranium is used to run up to 50 percent ofU.S. nuclear power stations, the equivalent of 10 percent of allelectricity consumed in the United States, said Kovchegin.

Since 1995, the deal has been worth some $500 million yearly, a majorsource of cash for the Nuclear Power Ministry.

"The uranium deal is the only thing that stands between anarchy andstability in the Russian nuclear weapon complex," the Los Angeles Timescited Thomas Neff, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist whofirst proposed the program in 1991, as saying. The Nuclear PowerMinistry is responsible for safeguarding nuclear material at productionand research facilities.

The Russian side said an agreement is likely to be reached before thenext shipment -- usually about 3 metric tons of blended-down, bomb-gradeuranium -- is due to set sail in March.

"We are still negotiating, and I am sure that the deal will be signed,"said Nikolai Shingaryov, the head of the Nuclear Power Ministry'sdepartment for information policy.

Shingaryov also said the ministry will be working only with USEC andwill not divert sales to any other buyers as long as USEC remains theofficial U.S. government agent for Russian uranium.

Kovchegin said speculation that Russia might be willing to unilaterallybypass currentagreements are unfounded. "The nuclear fuel market is not the oil or gasmarket, it is strictly regulated and all deals have to be guaranteed bythe International Atomic Energy Agency," he said. "Any deals on the sidewould simply bring more harm to Russia then any possible benefits."

Behind the current stall could also be Russia's desire to achievegreater access to the North American market to sell low-enricheduranium, which is not a part of the Megatons for Megawatts program.Russia's access to the U.S. market was blocked following accusations ofdumping after an earlier windfall from sales of natural mildly enricheduranium in the early 1990s. Russia could be trying to tie in the USECdeal to the trade limitations imposed by the U.S. government, a sourceclose to Nuclear Power Ministry said. Ministry officials declined tocomment.

USEC spokesman Charles Yulish said that USEC is not related to theanti-dumping measures and thus is not a part of any possiblenegotiations on that matter. "[Both sides] have a mutual interest incontinuing this important program, and after eight years of a successfulbusiness and working relationship, we are confident that the partieswill reach agreement on new long-term financial terms for the Megatonsto Megawatts contract," Yulish said by telephone. He also pointed outthat the deal's importance is growing in the aftermath of the Sept. 11attacks on the United States and the ensuing global terrorist threat.

Over the past seven years, the equivalent of nearly 5,600 nuclearwarheads have beenconverted and used as fuel for nuclear power stations, Yulish said.
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2.
Price Clash Stalls Renewal of U.S.-Russia Uranium Pact
Martha McNeil Hamilton
Washington Post
January 21, 2002
(for personal use only)


USEC Inc., the Bethesda company that takes uranium from Russian nuclearwarheads and sells it o nuclear power plants in the United States, islocked in a isagreement with the Russians over terms for continuing thecontract that expired at year-end.

USEC negotiators are to meet with Russian officials next week in whatmay be a critical onference, although a spokesman for USEC played downits significance.

The Moscow meeting "is part of our continuing negotiations with them,"Charles Yulish said. What happens now is that, as with any negotiations,both parties have o display flexibility and be willing to negotiate anagreement that is good for both parties."

Reaching that agreement has been complicated, according to industry andgovernment officials who have kept tabs on the process. The federalgovernment has a een interest in the ways in which Russia is disposingof its nuclear material and in assuring there is a ready domestic supplyof fuel for nuclear power plants. "They're oth playing hardball," saidone administration official who is familiar with the exchange.

The Bush administration is involved in the negotiations, and relationsbetween the Energy Department and USEC are not cordial, a recentexchange of letters has demonstrated.

The stakes are complicated because the deal has implications forinternational security and affects the fortunes of utilities withnuclear power plants, which can choose among only a handful of fuelsuppliers internationally.

"I am concerned that if the outstanding issues in the negotiation arenot resolved expeditiously, the United States could find itself with anuclear power fuel shortage," Undersecretary of Energy Robert G. Card,wrote to USEC's president on Jan. 8. "I am also concerned that U.S.strategic interests may be at risk if the USEC cannot ensure continuityof shipments of Russian down-blended (highly enriched uranium) to theUnited States."

"I am saddened by the additional distortions and efforts to misrepresentUSEC's positions and capabilities as underscored by your letter to me ofJanuary 8," USEC President William H. Timbers replied two days later.

According to several sources, the Russians are resisting USEC proposalsto lower the price they receive for the uranium because a higheranticipated price was included in the budget that Russian PresidentVladimir Putin sent to the Russian legislature. At the same time, USECis committed to negotiating a lower price for the Russian materialbecause it is already losing money on its deal.

Under an agreement negotiated in 1994, USEC buys processed uranium fromRussia in a deal designed to make the world safer by reducing thesupplies of nuclear weapons. USEC, formerly the U.S. Enrichment Corp.,was a wholly owned government corporation until it was privatized in1998 under a Clinton administration initiative.

USEC has about 70 percent of the market for selling fuel to nuclearpower plants, according to utility companies watching the negotiationsand a complaint filed with the Commerce Department.

In the complaint, USEC claimed that two European suppliers were"dumping" fuel in the United States -- or selling it at lower pricesbecause of unfair government subsidies. Preliminary decisions have sidedwith USEC, resulting in duties being imposed on fuel sold by Eurodif SA,a company controlled by the French government. If USEC wins a finalruling that it has been damaged by the dumping, the cost of fuel islikely to rise.

The combination of events has alarmed utility companies that operatenuclear power plants. Several utility officials wrote the White Houselast week suggesting that USEC needed more competition. "In USEC'sapparent attempt to negotiate a well-below market price with theRussians, the contract authorizing the terms for this year's deliverieshas yet to be concluded, likely resulting in an interruption to this keysupply as early as March," J.A. Stall, chief nuclear officer for FloridaPower & Light Co. said in a letter to President Bush dated Jan. 16.

In the short term, USEC can continue to supply the utilities with fuel,said James P. Malone, vice president for nuclear fuels for Exelon Corp."However, the inventory isn't infinite."

Apart from the negotiations with Russia, the Energy Department has beeninvolved in negotiating with USEC for guarantees it says it needs toensure a continuing domestic source of nuclear power plant fuel. Theissues include ensuring that production will be maintained at USEC'soperating plant in Paducah, Ky., where a shutdown might hurtconstituents represented by two Kentucky Republicans headed intore-election campaigns, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Edward Whitfield.

"The decision the government needs to make is whether we want to havedomestic uranium enrichment in this country," said John Longenecker ofLongenecker & Associates Inc. in Del Mar, Calif. He managed USEC duringpart of its transition to a private company and is a consultant in theindustry. "Then, if it does, what is needed to pay for it."
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C. Russia-U.S.

1.
Russia, US To Set Up Working Committees On Disarmament
Zawya
January 21, 2001
(for personal use only)


Russia and the United States are to set up three working groups onmilitary cooperation focusing on strategic disarmament, a leadingRussian negotiator said Monday.

"These groups will work under my responsibility on the Russian side andunder the deputy defence minister (undersecretary for defence) DouglasFeith on the American side," said General Yury Baluyevsky, first deputychief of the army general staff.

Baluyevsky last week headed a Russian delegation that travelled toWashington for talks on slashing nuclear arsenals following an agreementby presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush to reduce theirstockpiles of strategic offensive weapons.

"The first group, dealing with issues relating to strategic armsreductions and anti-missile defence, will be tasked with framingagreements and packages of agreements on these issues," Baluyevsky said,as quoted by the Interfax news agency.

On Saturday the chief of the Russian armed forces general staff GeneralAnatoly Kvashnin said Russia and the United States were preparing anagreement on reducing their offensive nuclear stockpiles that could befinalised by the summer.

The second working group, Baluyevsky said, "will deal with military andtechnical-military cooperation."

US officials have recently expressed an interest in Russia-UScooperation in anti-missile defence.

The third working group will examine cooperation in the fight againstterrorism.

"We are planning to draw up a set of joint measures with the UnitedStates in the fight against terrorism, including carrying out jointinvestigations into terrorst acts," Baluyevsky said.

Meanwhile, US State Department aide John Wolf began consultations Mondaywith Russian officials on non-proliferation issues regarding weapons ofmass destruction, diplomatic sources said.

US experts met a Russian foreign ministry delegation headed by a seniorsecurity and disarmament official, Mikhail Lysenko, the Interfax newsagency reported.

The talks were expected to deal with nuclear, chemical and biologicalweapons, their means of delivery, and also with export controls, itsaid.

Wolf, assistant undersecretary in the State Department'snon-proliferation bureau, was due Tuesday to meet Deputy ForeignMinister Georgy Mamedov and officials at the atomic energy ministrybefore leaving Moscow on Wednesday, the sources said.

Washington is particularly concerned at Russian arms supplies tocountries it considers as rogue states.

One state on Washington's list is Iraq, whose Deputy Prime MinisterTareq Aziz is due to visit Moscow later this week.

Moscow has significant trade with Baghdad under the UN oil-for-foodprogramme, which allows Iraq to export oil in exchange for food,medicine and unspecified other essential goods needed by the country.

But US representatives on the UN Security Council's sanctions committeeregularly block Russian contracts for imports into Iraq, concerned thatthey have a dual civilian-military use.

Russia and the United States are holding talks on a new Iraqi sanctionsregime that would establish a list of goods with a military potentialthat would require authorisation from the Security Council before beingsold to Iraq.
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D. Nuclear Terrorism

1.
'Dirty Bombs': Simple Devices Could Play Havoc
Jane O. Hansen
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


It is a weapon of mass disruption rather than a weapon of massdestruction, but it is a terrorist's dream nevertheless.

Although no new terrorist attacks have hit the United States since Sept.11, experts consider radiological dispersal devices called "dirty bombs"a true threat.

"This is not a dream. It's not fiction you see in a James Bond movie,"said Yonah Alexander, a terrorism expert at the Potomac Institute ofPolicy Studies in Virginia. "The genie is out of the bottle. Theradioactive material is there. And if you mix it with conventionalexplosives, clearly you can cause a great deal of damage."

A dirty bomb --- or the "poor man's nuclear weapon" --- is aneasy-to-make device that wraps radioactive material around aconventional explosive, such as dynamite or hand grenades. The explosionthen disperses the radioactive, or "dirty," material.

Unlike a true nuclear or atomic bomb, a dirty bomb would not trigger anuclear reaction, creating the fire, devastation and telltale mushroomcloud of the Hiroshima bomb. A dirty bomb might not kill the hundreds ofthousands or even millions that a true nuclear device could. But if theradioactive material were plutonium or weapons-grade uranium, many couldget sick or die from radiation poisoning, and some areas could berendered uninhabitable for decades or longer. At the very least, a dirtybomb explosion would wreak havoc and fear on the American psyche.

"As soon as a bomb goes off with radioactive material, the terroristsachieve what they wanted," said Charles Dawson, field operations managerfor the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. "People would be scared todeath."

But how real a threat is the dirty bomb?

"It's certainly a bigger threat than a clean nuclear bomb," said Dr. TomBevan, director of Georgia Tech's Center for Emergency ResponseTechnology, Instruction and Policy. "Technically, it's a piece of cake.It's all a matter of getting the materials."

The best place to get the materials is from Russia, where a sizablenuclear arsenal left over from the Cold War remains a huge concern forAmerican officials. Security weakened with the collapse of the SovietUnion, making plutonium and weapons-grade uranium vulnerable for sale onthe black market. Expertise also is for sale, officials fear, fromunemployed Russian scientists desperate to feed their families.

Under the 10-year-old Nunn-Lugar program, sponsored by former Sen. SamNunn (D-Ga.) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the United States hasspent more than $400 million a year to dismantle and safeguard Russia'snuclear missiles and warheads. But no one knows how much already mighthave been acquired by terrorists or rogue nations bent on developingnuclear weapons.

"There is a real threat that nuclear and other dangerous materials andtechnologies are getting into the hands of the wrong people," said GaryBertsch, director of the Center for International Trade and Security atthe University of Georgia. For more than a decade, the center hasstudied how well Russia and other countries have guarded against nuclearmaterials getting into the wrong hands.

Late last year, Russian police arrested six men who were attempting tosell highly enriched uranium. In a separate incident, two Turkish menwere found with weapons-grade uranium, presumably planning to sell it.In abandoned al-Qaida hideouts, American forces recently foundinstructions for building a nuclear device. Osama bin Laden told aPakistani newspaper that al-Qaida was prepared to use nuclear weaponsagainst the United States "as a deterrent." And one of the organizationswhose assets were frozen by President Bush in December was a charitysuspected of giving bin Laden information on nuclear technology.

"They have the mind-set to go nuclear, to use whatever force they haveto attack the enemy," Alexander said. "We know they've attempted toobtain it in the past."

Radioactive materials might be smuggled into the United States. But theyalso could be obtained here through a number of sources, includingmedical facilities. Hospitals that treat cancer patients with radiation,and doctors' and dentists' offices that have X-ray machines, havelower-level radioactive materials.

"If a dirty bomb were released in the Atlanta metropolitan area, you'retalking about thousands of people being very ill or killed," Bertschsaid.

Experts say the most dangerous dirty bomb would be constructed fromspent nuclear reactor fuel. But security is so tight around power plantsthat that scenario is unlikely. And terrorists would face the challengeof transporting the material without dying in the process.

That same Catch-22 is why many experts say it is even more unlikely thatbin Laden or others have created or obtained "suitcase bombs," truenuclear devices the size of a suitcase. If detonated in a city the sizeof Atlanta, such a device could annihilate everything inside thePerimeter.

"You would not want to be in downtown Atlanta if anybody had one ofthose," said William Hoehn, visiting professor at Georgia Tech's SamNunn School of International Affairs. "I think the likelihood is verysmall."

SPREADING RADIATION, AND WITH IT TERROR
An explosion of TNT could be used to spread radioactive materials.Beyond the damage done by the blast, the effects of such a crude nuclearattack would probably be more psychological than physical. But so-called"dirty bombs" are a real threat, experts say. Every year, 200 sources ofradioactive material for industrial or medical use are listed as stolenor missing in the United States. Deadly, but less likely 100 pounds ofconventional explosives bundled with spent fuel rods from a nuclearreactor. Intense gamma rays make this material extremely lethal. Withoutproper protection, handlers would soon die of overexposure. Gamma rayswould permeate a 300 foot area, exposing victims to about 3,000 rem --six times the lethal dosage. One rem equals 100 medical X-rays. Outsidethe blast area, dosages would drop. But prevailing winds could carry alethal plume up to two-thirds of a mile. This type of powerful radiationwould be capable of penetrating the body. Powerful, in terms of terror100 pounds of conventional explosives bundled with cobalt-60, which isregularly used in cancer therapy. The radioactive material would beground, then further pulverized and dispersed by the blast. Ingestedparticles could cause cancer. A maximum dosage of 12 rem would notresult in any radiation-related deaths.

Weather conditions dictate the spread of fallout. Winds could loft andcarry particles small enough to be inhaled. Adverse health effects wouldbe long-term, with risks of sickness rising with the amount of particlesingested.

Sources: Center for Defense Information; Institute for NationalStrategic Studies; Los Alamos National Laboratory
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E. Russia-Burma

1.
Burma to build nuclear reactor
BBC
January 21, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Burmese military government has confirmed that it plans to build anuclear reactor with help from Russia.

In the first official statement on the issue, the deputy foreignminister Khin Maung Win said it would be used for peaceful purposes.

He said it was imperative for developing countries like Burma to seek tonarrow the development gap and avoid their being marginalised.

He also pointed out that all Burma's neighbours, with the exception ofLaos, were reaping the benefits of nuclear research reactors.

The deputy foreign minister dismissed reports that the InternationalAtomic Energy Agency had raised concerns about safety standards inBurma. Kin Maung Win also rejected reports that two nuclear scientistsfrom Pakistan had been given sanctuary in Burma.
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2.
Yangon's Nuclear Ambitions Alarm Asia And Europe
Larry Jagan
The Straits Times
January 18, 2002
(for personal use only)


Myanmar's wish to develop a nuclear research reactor has alarmed many ofits Asian neighbours as well as the European community.

'Myanmar is committed to developing a nuclear research reactor formedical purposes,' Foreign Minister Win Aung said recently.

While he said that 'it will be some time' before the reactor is built,his words have been startling nonetheless.

This is especially so following numerous reports in recent weeks thatRussia has signed a deal with Myanmar to supply a reactor.

The Myanmar authorities have also admitted that more than 200technicians have received nuclear training in Moscow over the past 12months.

There is an acute shortage of isotopic manufacturing ingredients inSouth-east Asia, and Australian companies have been consideringexpanding their nuclear facilities to boost production.

A diplomat in Yangon said: 'It may be that cashapped Myanmar sees along-term export need which they could meet.'

However, there are doubts that Myanmar has the necessary infrastructureand know-how to operate a nuclear reactor safely.

British nuclear expert John Large said: 'They have good cause to worry.'

'There is little evidence that the Myanmar authorities understand, letalone would be able to implement, the necessary safety regime to be ableto prevent the dangerous accumulation of radioactive material.'

While Mr Large conceded that it 'could only be a small reactor, probablyfor the use of pharmaceutical production', he stressed that Myanmarlacked the necessary infrastructure and know-how to deal with thenuclear waste that 'any reactor, no matter how small, will produce'.

A Western diplomat in Yangon pointed out: 'Myanmar's safety recordleaves a lot to be desired. They have trouble maintaining existingelectricity generators, let alone a nuclear reactor.'

Indeed, a team sent from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)in Vienna last November found safety standards to be 'well below theminimum the body would regard as acceptable', said an IAEA official whodid not want to be identified.

The team had been sent to assess Myanmar's preparedness to use andmaintain a nuclear reactor safely, following Yangon's request for helpin financing and securing a nuclear research reactor.

Myanmar has yet to respond to the IAEA report, but nuclear officials inVienna fear this means that the country plans to proceed with itsnuclear ambitions without the necessary attention to safety.

Nuclear experts are certain that Moscow will supply the nuclear reactor,as it will be several years before Yangon is able build its own.

'They would have to import it lock, stock and barrel from Russia,' saidMr Large, 'and even then it would only be operational within about threeyears.'

NUCLEAR COMMITMENT

'Myanmar is committed to developing a nuclear research reactor formedical purposes.'- Myanmar Foreign Minister

RADIOACTIVE RISK

'There is little evidence that the Myanmar authorities understand, letalone would be able to implement, the necessary safety regime to be ableto prevent the dangerous accumulation of radioactive material.'- British nuclear expert John Large

SAFETY RECORD WANTING

'Myanmar's safety record leaves a lot to be desired. They have troublemaintaining existing electricity generators, let alone a nuclearreactor.'- Western diplomat based in Yangon

SAFETY: Below standards

YANGON told the IAEA - the international body which supervises theproduction of nuclear energy - that it planned to acquire a nuclearresearch reactor last September, said an official in the organisation.

Yangon also asked the IAEA to help it finance and secure one.

Two months later, the IAEA sent an inspection team to check thecountry's preparedness to use and maintain a nuclear reactor safely.

'The team concluded that the safety standards in place were well belowthe minimum the body would regard as acceptable,' said an IAEA officialwho did not want to be identified.--Larry Jagan
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3.
Reactor For Burma Unlikely, Says Army
Bangkok Post
January 18, 2002
(for personal use only)


The army is wary of any move by Rangoon to obtain a nuclear reactor, butdoes not think it likely, says an intelligence source.

On Wednesday, Burma's Foreign Minister Win Aung said Burma wanted anuclear medical research reactor and would look into generating nuclearpower.

Army intelligence units are checking the reports, but thought Burma wasnot wealthy enough to buy or develop a nuclear system.

Unconfirmed reports last year said Burma had sought help on nuclearmatters from Pakistan with Burmese military leaders meeting PakistaniPresident Gen Pervez Musharraf.

"This news is funny rather than frightening," the source said.
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F. Russian Nuclear Industry

1.
Water Supply To Chernobyl Nuclear Station Interrupted Over Debt
UNIAN via BBC Monitoring Service
January 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Chernobyl Electricity Networks enterprise suspended process anddrinking water supplies to generating sets No 1 and 2 of the Chernobylnuclear power station yesterday, UNIAN learnt at the information centreof the State Nuclear Regulation Administration of Ukraine. Watersupplies were suspended because the Chernobyl nuclear power station didnot pay for them.

A number of fire hydrants remained without water after the supply wascut. Due to the importance of process and drinking water supplies forthe generating sets' safety, water supplies were resumed at 2210 onMonday [2010 gmt on 21 January]. The interruption of water supplies didnot affect the condition of the halted generating sets of the Chernobylnuclear power station.

Eleven out of 13 generating sets of the other four Ukrainian nuclearpower stations are currently in operation. Generating set No 4 of theZaporizhzhya nuclear power station and generating set No 3 of the Rivnestation are under scheduled repair.
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2.
Power Units Stopped At Two Russian Nuclear Power Plants
RIA via BBC Monitoring Service
January 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


The third power unit of the Novovoronezhskaya powerplant has beenstopped as a result of the activation of the [automatic] protectionsystem. The press service of the Emergencies Ministry told RIA that thishappened at 1737 [1437 gmt on 21 January]. There is no threat to thepopulation or the environment. The radiation level is normal.

At 2017 [1717 gmt] on the same day the first power unit of theLeningradskaya power plant was stopped as a result of the activation ofthe [automatic] rapid protection system. The reactor was stopped withoutany hitches. The radiation level is normal. Power supplies to thepopulation have not been interrupted.

In both cases, commissions are investigating why protection system havebeen activated.
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3.
Russian Ambassador Visits Ukrainian Reactor, Pledges Funds
Ukrainian Television via BBC Monitoring Service
January 20, 2002
(for personal use only)


[Presenter Yevhen Salnykov] After six years of talk and pledges byWestern creditors to help Ukraine finish the construction of two powergenerating sets [to compensate for the closure of Chernobyl], the No 4set at the Rivne nuclear power plant and the No 2 set at theKhmelnytskyy plant, a real opportunity to complete the reactors has atlast turned up.

The Ukrainian and Russian presidents agreed on loans for the nuclearplants during their December meeting in Kharkiv. Specifically, Russiapromised to disburse no less than 100m dollars for the No 4 reactor atthe Rivne plant. Prior to finalizing the terms of the loan, the Russianambassador to Ukraine and special trade and economic representative,Viktor Chernomyrdin, visited the Rivne nuclear power plant.

[Passage omitted: background]

[Viktor Chernomyrdin, in Russian] Based on preliminary accords, we haveincluded in this year's budget the funds envisaged under our agreementfor the completion of the Rivne nuclear power plant. The commitmentundertaken by Russia is up to 170, from 150 to 160 [million dollars] -well, as much as needed, let us say. The credit is mainly in supplies.It is money, equipment in full, raw materials in full and othersupplies.

[Passage omitted: experts say the Rivne plant could be completed in 2003and turned into an independent business entity]

[Correspondent] Speaking about the tradition of Ukraine's previouscreditors to demand a raise in electricity tariffs, the Russians holdtheir own philosophical view.

[Viktor Chernomyrdin, in Russian] The sooner we build it, the soonerthis facility goes on line, the sooner the tariffs will be reduced. Weshould be speaking about a reduction.

[1010-1320 Video shows Chernomyrdin inspecting facilities at the Rivnenuclear power plant]
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G. Announcements

1.
Secretary Abraham Announces Administration Plan to Proceed with Plutonium Disposition & Reduce Proliferation Concerns
U.S. Department of Energy
January 23, 2002


WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announcedtoday that the Department of Energy and the Bush Administration willdispose of 34 metric tons of surplus weapons grade plutonium by turningthe material into mixed oxide fuel (MOX) for use in nuclear reactors.The decision follows an exhaustive Administration review ofnon-proliferation programs, including alternative technologies todispose of surplus plutonium to meet the non-proliferation goals agreedto by the United States and Russia.

"Today's announcement is central to enhancing our national security andadvancing our nonproliferation goals," Secretary Abraham said. "Thispath forward is a workable, technologically possible, and affordablesolution, that meets our commitments to environmental= improvement,energy and national security, and the nuclear nonproliferation policiesagreed to by the United States and Russia."

In September 2000, the United States and Russia signed the PlutoniumManagement and Disposition Agreement committing each country to disposeof 34 metric tons of surplus plutonium.

The decision on plutonium disposition comes after a thoroughreexamination of more than 40 disposition alternatives that consideredcosts, workable technologies, national defense requirements, andcompliance with nuclear non-proliferation agreements directed by theDepartment in cooperation with the National Security Council and theDepartment of State. The program has been under review since early lastyear.

Previously, the government endorsed a dual-track approach to dispose ofthe plutonium including turning some of the material into MOX reactorfuel and immobilizing the remaining plutonium in self-protectingradioactive glass logs for long-term storage. Eliminating immobilizationfrom the disposition pathway saves nearly $2 billion in funding,decreases plutonium storage costs, and facilitates the closure of theDepartment's former Nuclear Weapons Complex sites.

"There is an increased urgency to move forward with the elimination ofsurplus weapons grade material like plutonium," Abraham said. "Focusingon proven technologies to eliminate this material, reducing costs in theprocess, and keeping our commitment to national security and theclean-up of former weapons sites is the right path to follow," Abrahamsaid, noting that European countries have used MOX fuel in theirreactors for over 20 years.

The MOX conversion process is expected to cost $3.8 billion over 20years, including the construction of two new conversion facilities atthe Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in South Carolina,including disassembly and fuel fabrication facilities. Construction ofthe facilities, set to begin in Fiscal Year 2004, will create on average500 new jobs and operation of the facilities will result inapproximately 800 new jobs.

The Department of State and the Department of Energy's National NuclearSecurity Administration will work with their counterparts in Russia toachieve the disposition of Russian surplus plutonium through the MOXprocess. Bilateral cooperation and inspections will ensure progress.

Release No. PR-02-007
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2.
Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Georgy Mamedov Meets with USAssistant Secretary of State John Wolf
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
January 21, 2002


On January 21 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RussianFederation Georgy Mamedov received US Assistant Secretary of State JohnWolf, in Moscow for interagency Russian American consultations on theproblems of the nonproliferation of WMD and their delivery means andexport controls. These are the first such consultations, on which thedecision was taken at the Russian-American summit in November 2000 andwhich will be held twice a year.

A substantive consideration, with an eye to the early achievement ofpractical results, of bilateral cooperation in the field of ensuring thesafety of nuclear materials and disposition of weapons grade fissilematerials released as a result of nuclear arms reduction took place.

The sides exchanged views on the process of the preparation for thenext, 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on theNonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which is beginning this year. Itwas noted on the Russian side that the USA's unilateral withdrawal fromthe ABM Treaty and refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test BanTreaty hinder the preservation and strengthening of the internationalregime for nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and their delivery means.

The sides spoke up for further coordination and exchanges of nationalexperience in the area of export controls as an important element incommon efforts to strengthen the nonproliferation regimes, with theRussian side pointing out the need to solve the question of lifting theunwarranted sanctions against a number of Russian organizations andenterprises as soon as possible.

John Wolf again mentioned the US concerns about Russia's cooperationwith Iran in atomic energy and their military technological cooperation.The Russian side stated its principled stand: equipment and technologyexports, and the development of military-technological and technicalcooperation by Russia with Iran, just as with other countries, are beingaccomplished in strict compliance with its international obligations andthe nonproliferation and export control agreements. This cooperationdoes not lead to a destabilization of the regional situation and is notdirected against any third countries.

95-21-01-2002
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H. Links of Interest

1.
Nuclear Safety, Nuclear Stability And Nuclear Strategy In Pakistan
Landau Network - Centro Volta, January 2002
http://www.mi.infn.it/~landnet/Doc/pakistan.pdf


2.
Multilateral Approaches To WMD Threats After September 11
Jayantha Dhanapala, Under Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations, AnnualLuncheon of the Arms Control Association, January 22, 2002
http://www.ceip.org/files/projects/npp/pdf/ACAspeech.pdf


3.
Summary Of Major U.S. Nonproliferation Programs- FY 2002
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
http://www.ceip.org/files/projects/npp/pdf/CACNsumFINAL.pdf


4.
Arms Control Chronology
Center for Defense Information
Winter 2002
http://www.cdi.org/acc.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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