1. Hard Choices For America's Future: Strategic Opportunities For A NewCentury (Excerpted)
Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
February 04, 2002
(for personal use only)
Today, with delivery of the President's little blue budget book, it'snot too soon to begin prioritizing the most pressing threats to oursecurity. In my book, not to mention that of the Joint Chiefs and theNational Intelligence Estimate, terrorism with weapons of massdestruction - but without ICBMs - is the greatest threat we face.
There are many sources for these weapons, and it takes years to get orbuild them. But there's a shortcut, a place that has it all. It's "thecandy store." Other people call it "Russia."
A year ago, Howard Baker and Lloyd Cutler issued a report on the stateof Russia's nuclear materials. Baker testified to the Foreign RelationsCommittee regarding "the enormity of this danger." He said: "And thefact that we have not blown ourselves up so far is no guarantee that wecould not still; or that some rogue nation or rogue group has not yetsuccessfully stolen a nuclear weapon does not mean that they cannotstill do it if all you have is a padlock out there."
How shall we meet that threat, along with the threat that chemical orbiological weapons might find their way from Russia to the rogues?
Senator Richard Lugar and I believe one way is to reduce Russia'sSoviet-era debt, in return for Russia investing the proceeds innon-proliferation programs. We hold over $3 billion in such debt, andour allies hold several times that. Debt reduction could help Russiasecure its sensitive materials and technology - and avoid an expectedpayment crunch next year.
Baker and Cutler proposed spending 30 billion dollars over 8-to-lO yearsto secure Russia's nuclear materials and technology.
I would add another $10 billion for our share of chemical weaponsdestruction in Russia, a few billion dollars to keep their chemical andbiological weapons experts out of harm's way, and some more to trackdown and secure their missing radioactive materials that could be usedto make a radiological "dirty bomb." That adds up to roughly $ 45billion - which is still less than the price of that mid-courseintercept system to defend us against ICBM's. Does anyone doubt that ourfirst priority must be to close Russia's candy store? return to menu
2. Bush Budget Allots Extra $26M For Lab
February 4, 2002
(for personal use only)
Brookhaven National Laboratory would get a $26-million increase for twokey projects, an ion collider in international demand and a nationalsecurity program, according to Rep. Felix Grucci (R-East Patchogue) in apreview of today's release of President George W. Bush's proposedbudget.
The lab's nonproliferation and national security programs, part of whichhelp Russia reduce the chances of weapons-grade nuclear material beingstolen, would receive $16 million more, for a total of $49.1 million, inthe president's proposal.
The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, which tries to recreate conditionsin the universe a few millionths of a second after its birth, would get$10.3 million more, or about $149 million.
"The value of basic science seems to be more appreciated than lastyear," said Peter Paul, the lab's interim director.
The funding is a change from just a year ago, when Bush outlined cutsfor Energy Department research centers. Back then, he wanted to scrimpon dollars for Brookhaven lab's toxic cleanup, and while lab officialshad sought millions more for its ion collider, the president proposedjust a $1-million increase.
But this year, Bush's spending plan for the lab is also expected tocover the full $35.6 million for accelerated cleanup of the radioactiveleak in the pool holding spent fuel from the nuclear reactor.
Paul and Grucci believe three factors shaped Bush's change in tone.First, Bush had more time this year to draft his budget than last year,when his transition period was shortened because of disputes over whowon the election. Then, he hired a science adviser, John Marburger, wholeft his job as head of Brookhaven Lab to take the post. Last, thepost-Sept. 11 terrorism fears have prompted the administration to funnelmore money to homeland protection.
"Brookhaven possesses all the component parts to fight this war onterrorism," Grucci said. "Until America focused on the need for answers,it was difficult to break through" on calls for increased funding.
Paul hopes some of the money will allow the lab to move forward ondiscussions about safeguarding New York City's harbor by analyzing risksand creating ways to detect hazardous materials being smuggled in. Someof the dollars also could be spent as part of the lab's contract withthe Energy Department in helping Russia consolidate and secure itsnuclear material so it doesn't fall into the hands of arms merchants andterrorists.
The ion collider, so named because it smashed electronipped atoms,started up in 2000 and has a list of hundreds of scientists around theworld waiting to use it for their experiments. The machine can be runfor 37 weeks, but last year, it was in operation for less than 18 weeksbecause of funding cuts. return to menu
3. Kazakh Nuclear Fuel Plant To Benefit From New US-Kazakh Joint Project
Interfax-Kazakhstan via BBC Monitoring Service
February 4, 2002
(for personal use only)
Two US companies and the Brookhaven National Laboratory will help theUlba Metallurgical Plant (UMP, in eastern Kazakhstan) to develop asystem of extracting low-enriched uranium from uranium concentrates andsubsequently using the processed uranium as a source of energy incivilian nuclear reactors throughout the world.
The information agency of the US embassy in Kazakhstan told this to theInterfax-Kazakhstan agency today, quoting a press release by the USDepartment of Energy.
The UMP is one of the former Soviet plants that produced nuclearweapons.
The report said that Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas (GNF) from Wilmington(North Carolina) and RWE Nukem from Danbury (Connecticut) will help theUMP to use its advanced solvent extraction technology to producelow-enriched uranium from uranium concentrates.
Under its Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention [IPR], the USNational Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) [in the Department ofEnergy] has allocated 1.2m dollars for three years to fund the jointwork by the UMP and Brookhaven National Laboratory to design and installa production system based on the technology, the report says.
Recovered uranium will be used by GNF and other industrial producers ofnuclear fuel in boiling water reactors. Partners from the US industryhave already allocated funds equal to NNSA's contribution for theproject.
The project is part of a programme of non-proliferation of nuclearweapons with the participation of Kazakhstan and the US private sector,the report by the American side says. In Washington's opinion, theproject "will strengthen the country's energy security, support theworld economy and will promote international cooperation".
The programme participants, the report says, have been attracted by theNNSA of the US Department of Energy which will continue to assist themto implement the programme.
The programme is expected to immediately create 50 civilian jobs forformer nuclear weapons specialists in Kazakhstan and hundreds ofadditional jobs, over the next few years, for the former staff of theenterprises for developing and producing nuclear weapons.
The NNSA's Initiative for Proliferation Prevention programme helps toattract former Soviet experts in weapons of mass destruction todeveloping industrial technologies for peaceful purposes. return to menu
B. Nuclear Nonproliferation
1. Know Thine Enemy
January 31, 2002
(for personal use only)
"AN AXIS of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world." ThusPresident George Bush, this week, in his state-of-the-union address toCongress, describing America's expanded view of its enemies. Over recentweeks, the global war on terrorism has broadened to become a war on bothterrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The objective, Mr Bushexplained, is to "prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threateningAmerica, or our friends and allies" with nuclear, chemical andbiological weapons.
The president has made this point before. "Rogue states", he told theUnited Nations General Assembly in December, are also "the most likelysources of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons for terrorists."This week, by picking out three of the worst offenders against globalanti-proliferation norms, North Korea, Iran and Iraq, he seemed tosignal that some sort of action-whether diplomatic, economic ormilitary-was soon to come. "I will not wait on events while dangersgather," he said. "I will not stand by as peril draws closer andcloser."
Just a ruse to justify settling old scores with Iraq, which has longdefied United Nations efforts to strip it of its illicit weapons of massdestruction? Or a ploy to help justify Mr Bush's decision to scrap theAnti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia and build new missiledefences? To many a seasoned anti-proliferation warrior, the presidentwas simply stating the obvious: in a world of terrorism withoutconstraint, tackling the proliferation of nuclear, chemical andbiological weapons is just as urgent as ripping up the terroristnetworks that might seek to make use of them.
As in any war, it helps to know the enemy. There are more than three ofthem. In a report published just before the Bush administration cameinto office, America's then secretary of defence, William Cohen, pickedout "at least 25" countries that either possess, or are trying todevelop, weapons of mass destruction or the means to deliver them. Sincechemical and biological weapons are outlawed, and the NuclearNon-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allows for only five official nuclearpowers-the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France-plenty ofgovernments are clearly up to no good.
Particularly troubling, however, are the seven countries long fingeredby the State Department as sponsors of international terrorism: Iran,Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan. All but Iraq publiclycondemned last September's assault on America. But as Mr Cohen'ssuccessor, Donald Rumsfeld, has argued, "It doesn't take a leap ofimagination" to see the dangers in a list of regimes both sofundamentally unfriendly, and so keen to have the worst kind of weapons.
Concealing the stocks
Whether or not it finds itself an American target-for now, at least, theemphasis is on diplomacy-Iraq tops everyone's proliferation worryleague. One reason is the sheer scale of its past clandestine weaponsprogrammes; another is its determination to hang on to remainingsecrets, particularly biological ones, despite years of sanctions andlost oil revenues.
After the 1991 Gulf war it was discovered that Iraq's president, SaddamHussein, had spent perhaps $10 billion over a decade pursuing differentways of producing weapons-grade fissile material. Despite solemn NPTpromises, Iraq had been only months away from producing a fission bomb,and had already tested a radiological device-a "dirty bomb" designed tospread contamination over a wide area by packing radioactive materialaround conventional explosives. Although International Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA) inspectors tracked down the key parts of this nuclearprogramme, the pool of trained scientists remains and Iraq has continuedto try to procure weapons-related nuclear equipment on the black market.Left to its own devices, it would need only a few years to produceenough weapons-grade material for a fission bomb, and even less time ifit found a willing supplier.
By now Iraq has had time, too, to rebuild the vast chemical-weaponstocks that the inspectors destroyed. When they left, three years ago,the inspectors were convinced that Iraq was still concealing the truescale of its production and weaponisation of VX, a potent nerve gas. Ithas also hung on to key elements of its biological programme, failing toaccount for a whopping 17 tonnes of biological growth medium. In thepast it has produced a whole range of potent biological agents andtoxins, including anthrax (using strains originally ordered fromAmerican germ banks) and botulinum toxin. Some of these it loaded intowarheads and bombs before the Gulf war. It has experimented with thecamelpox virus and it may also have the smallpox virus, a formidablekiller.
A recent Iraqi defector, a civil engineer, described how he worked onnuclear, chemical and biological facilities concealed underground,sometimes under private houses and hospitals. He claims that equipmentbought with UN approval has sometimes been turned over to the secretweapons programme, though that is hard to verify. Iraqi technicians arealso thought to have continued working secretly on, and trying to buyparts for, longer-range missiles than are allowed under UN resolutions.
Although Iran signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997, ithas declared no weapon stocks or production facilities. It is believedto have had both since at least the 1980s, when it was at war with Iraq.According to the Monterey Centre for Nonproliferation Studies, theseinclude cyanogen chloride, phosgene and mustard gas, and some nerveagents. In November,at an acrimonious review of the Biological WeaponsConvention (BWC), America publicly accused Iran (alongside Iraq andNorth Korea) of having illegally produced biological agents and turnedthem into weapons.
The greatest concern is over Iran's nuclear and missile ambitions. WithRussian help, it is building civilian nuclear-power reactors thatwestern intelligence officials fear could mask a clandestine weaponsprogramme. Iran barely disguises its nuclear ambitions, and has shown akeen interest in the uranium-enrichment technology required forweapons-making.
Iran's declared nuclear facilities are all under IAEA safeguards, asrequired by the NPT. But like many countries, it has yet to submit tonew checks that can pick up clandestine activity more effectively. Themore Iran learns from its Russian helpers, the greater the danger thatit could some day attempt a sudden break-out from the NPT, whichrequires only three months' notice of withdrawal.
Some Russian missile specialists helping Iran are sniffy about itstechnological prowess. Opinions in America's intelligence community arealso divided, but a recent CIA-sponsored national intelligenceassessment again predicted (over State Department dissent, it was said)that before 2015, Iran, along with North Korea and possibly Iraq, couldhave missiles capable of hitting the United States.
So far Iran has the 1,300km Shahab-3 medium-range missile, aliquid-fuelled rocket which relies extensively on outside help fromRussian firms for guidance technology and from North Korea for rocketengines. Work has begun, this time with Chinese help on a differentguidance mechanism, on a solid-fuelled version with a slightly longerrange. It is not yet clear whether Iran has decided to move into theintercontinental-range missile business. If Russia and China were toclamp down on firms providing technology and equipment, as promised, themissile programme would slow considerably. But Iran itself may beoffering missile help to others, notably Syria and Libya.
Salesman to the world
Third, but by no means least, of this most troublesome trio, North Koreawas caught out by the IAEA in 1992 producing more plutonium, from whichnuclear weapons can be made, than it had owned up to. After a face-off,the regime in 1994 signed a framework agreement with the United Statesthat froze (and should eventually dismantle) its plutonium production inreturn for a promise of two western-designed, less proliferation-pronereactors and interim supplies of heavy fuel oil. The first reactor wasmeant to start working next year, but North Korea's threateningbehaviour, and the difficulties of talking to a hermit regime, havedelayed the project by at least five years. Further delay is inevitableunless North Korea starts to honour its obligation to letinspectors delve into its past plutonium dabbling. Periodically, NorthKorea threatens to abandon the 1994 deal. It may already have enoughmaterial for at least a couple of bombs.
North Korea has not signed the CWC and, according to both American andRussian estimates, possesses large stocks of chemical weapons and theirprecursors, as well as nerve agents such as sarin and VX. It joined theBWC in 1987, but Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service has reported thatit has a well-developed biological weapons research programme and hasexperimented with anthrax, cholera, plague and smallpox. America'sDefence Department thinks some of these horrors may have been made intousable weapons.
North Korea's missile programme has literally come a long way. It nowdeploys and sells the 1,300km Nodong missile. And it alarmed the worldin August 1998 by firing off a three-stage longer-range Taepodong-1rocket, which it claimed was a satellite launcher but which Americaconcluded was a ballistic missile. Although it has declared a moratoriumon testing until 2003, it is also working on a Taepodong-2 which, it isfeared, may be able to reach parts of the United States with anuclear-sized warhead.
Desperate for hard currency to prop up its sickly regime, North Koreahas demanded $1 billion a year from America to end its destabilisingmissile sales to countries such as Iran, Syria, Libya, Egypt andPakistan. That demand was reportedly knocked down by the Clintonadministration to a series of satellite launches and some food aid, butthe potential deal still lacked a key component-how to verify that NorthKorea was honouring the bargain-when the Clinton team ran out of time.So missile sales still flourish. And while North Korea may have held offfurther flight tests, there are worries that Pakistan, Iran, Egypt andothers working with it on missile development may be chipping invaluable data (and in Pakistan's case, possibly even nuclear tips too?).
Of the other miscreants on the State Department's list, Cuba remainsoutside the NPT, Libya and Syria are among the few states that have notsigned the CWC (though Egypt is another, and Libya has said it will doso soon), and Sudan remains outside the BWC. Libya and, lessenergetically, Syria have both flirted with nuclear research; these two,plus Sudan, have biological research programmes; all are thought to havechemical weapons. Libya especially shows ever keener interest indeveloping ballistic missiles (in co-operation with North Korea, afterpreviously working with Serbia and Iraq) with ranges that could threatenIsrael and also parts of Europe.
Officially, more friendly regimes can pose a proliferation problem too.Egypt has stockpiled chemical weapons, may be developing biologicalweapons and has shown an interest in nuclear research that could beuseful in a weapons programme. Its recent co-operation with North Koreaon missile development follows previous work on a joint programme withArgentina and Iraq.
In the 1980s Saudi Arabia bought a number of medium-range missiles fromChina. It makes no sense to invest in expensive and far-flying rockets,unless they pack a big punch. The Saudis may have acquired chemicalwarheads, but senior officials have also visited Pakistan's missile andnuclear facilities.
For its part, Israel remains outside the NPT (although it has signed theComprehensive Test-Ban Treaty), and is thought to have a stockpile ofperhaps 200 or so nuclear weapons. It has signed the CWC, but not theBWC, and like many others would have the capability to produce bothchemical and biological weapons. It holds such secrets close, but hasbeen less tight with its missile know-how: ironically, the accuracy ofthe missiles China sold to Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, which can threatenIsrael, had earlier been improved with Israeli help.
Both India and Pakistan publicly blasted their way across the nuclearthreshold in 1998 but are more coy about the warheads they possess.Recent estimates by the Institute for Science and International Securityare that India could have built up to 95 and Pakistan over 50, thoughboth may well have fewer.
Pakistan is the greater proliferation concern, partly because its exportcontrols are far more primitive than India's and partly because ofsuspicions that, one way or another, it could be helping possiblebomb-seekers, such as the Saudis and North Koreans. There are concernstoo about the loyalties of some of its scientists: two retired nuclearscientists have admitted to supposedly "academic" discussions with Osamabin Laden about nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Pakistan'sinstability means that its nuclear stockpile may not be physicallysecure.
Having long denied that it had chemical weapon stocks, India reverseditself on joining the CWC in 1996, and is now obliged to destroy them.Pakistan is also a member, but has declared no such weapons. Bothcountries have signed the BWC, though both are thought to have militaryresearch programmes. They may also be tempted to hawk their militaryexpertise about for profit. Both have new medium-range missiles. India's2,000km Agni is said to be nearly ready for deployment, and itsspace-launch programme could be adapted to build intercontinental-rangemissiles; Pakistan has the 1,300km Ghauri, and is working on anAgni-matching Shaheen-2. India has had plenty of help over the yearsfrom Russia; Pakistan has had help from China and, now, North Korea.
The proliferation threat itself is changing in troubling ways. Smallercountries that yearned to be nuclear, such as Iran, Pakistan, NorthKorea and Libya, once depended entirely on help from a big-powersponsor, such as Russia or China, or a blind eye from America. Now theyare increasingly developing technology ties to each other and poolingexpertise. Such secondary supplier-chains make tracking, let aloneblocking, proliferation much more difficult.
Meanwhile, export controls need tightening up all round. Althoughcompanies in Russia, China and North Korea have long beenarmourers-in-chief to some of the world's dodgier regimes, over theyears America's friends have contributed to the danger. Plenty ofEuropean dual-use goods, as well as American ones, have ended up inclandestine military programmes overseas. Indeed, the black market forweapons technology, materials and know-how, like Mr bin Laden'sterrorist network, has gone global-a fact that both he, and thosegovernments anxious to get their hands on forbidden materials andtechnologies, have long sought to exploit.
Most attention over the past decade has focused on stemming thepotential leakage of materials and disgruntled scientists from theformer Soviet Union's sprawling weapons complexes. America now spendsabout $1 billion a year to that end. But the problem goes much wider.One of the original sponsors of the threat-reduction programme forRussia, Senator Richard Lugar, now calls for similar action on a globalscale. "Every nation that has weapons and materials of mass destructionmust account for what it has," he argues. Then, he says, it must safelysecure it, and pledge that "no other nation, cell or cause" will beallowed to get near it.
As yet, there is no evidence that any state on America's list wasdeliberately feeding al-Qaeda's weapons habit. Yet whatever Mr bin Ladenhad been secretly working on, he needed to filch materials and expertisefrom government-run weapons laboratories around the world. Not all suchleaks can be plugged. Testimony from the trial in New York of four binLaden operatives convicted for the 1998 bombing of America's embassiesin Kenya and Tanzania included the admission that al-Qaeda had beenshopping around for uranium, in this case from South Africa. Mr binLaden may eventually have succeeded in his quest: reports and documentsfrom Afghanistan suggest he may have acquired enough material, possiblyvia associates in the radical Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, to make aradiological device.
Clearly, the wider such nuclear, chemical and biological know-howspreads, the greater the danger that such weapons will one day bebrandished by someone. All the non-proliferation treaties, bar the onefor biological weapons, have compliance mechanisms. The Bush team hassignalled that it will make greater use of these to investigatesuspicious activity.
And then? Military force will not always be the ideal weapon for theanti-proliferation battleground. Iraq's nuclear andunconventional-weapons programmes were set back a bit by bombing in 1981and 1998 respectively, but it is still in both businesses. When it comesto curbing such weapons, prevention-through patient diplomacy, exportcontrols and painstaking intelligence work-is more cost-effective than acure.
In some cases it has worked. Plenty of countries that are capable ofbuilding nuclear, chemical and biological weapons have not done so, orelse have abandoned past programmes. Yet others have no intention ofdoing so. Defeating proliferation will be no easier than defeatingterrorism. In this war, too, no end is in sight. return to menu
C. Debt for Nonproliferation
1. Viktor Supyan: "The U.S. Could Set A Serious Precedent In Solving TheProblem Of Russia's Debts"(Excerpted)
January 31, 2002
(for personal use only)
Q: Do you anticipate a tough stance on the problem of Russia's debts?
A: This is a problem not so much of Russia's debt to the United States.It is a much broader problem. According to various estimates, ouroverall debt to America stands at around $8 billion, which, against thebackground of all our debts is not such a big sum after all. Thisquestion may be brought up in a much broader context: the possible needto reschedule our debt, first of all, to the Paris Club of creditorstates to whom we owe a great deal more - tens of billions of dollars.And the stand of the U.S. in this Club is very important.
Even now, the burden on our budget for servicing these debts isextremely heavy. It amountsto practically a third of our budget. The crucial year for payments -2003 - will be very indicative in the sense of proving our ability tohonor all our debts. This question may be discussed from the followingangle: if Russia, due to its internal economic situation, is unable tosuccessfully service its debts as it has been during the past two years,then Russia may ask for support from the world community and the U.S. torestructure that debt in some way.
There is yet one other circumstance: in the U.S. Senator Biden hastabled an initiative to write off part of Russia's debt (the matterhere, of course, concerns the debt to the U.S.) inexchange for scrapping mass destruction weapons. Not all the weapons, ofcourse, but onlythat part that is to be reduced on the basis of bilateral treaties andagreements. What is meant here is that Russia would not be paying offthe debt, but rather using these sums instead for utilizing chemical,bacteriological and other weapons. In fact, the corresponding proposalsfor the coming two years have already been placed on the table: the sumof the debt to be written off in this manner is not very large -something around $150 million. However, if this proposal materializes,this may set a serious precedent that could be used in respect toRussia's other debts. And this too, in my opinion, is a very importantaspect of solving Russia's debt problem. return to menu
1. What Is To Be Done With Axis Of Evil?
Jon B. Wolfsthal
February 5, 2002
(for personal use only)
President George W. Bush's State of the Union remarks labeling Iran,Iraq and North Korea as an axis of evil quickly circled the globe andreignited fears of a more aggressive brand of U.S. unilateralism. No onein the United States, especially in the wake of Sept. 11, should be shyabout openly defending U.S. security, but the administration has aresponsibility to do more than, as they say, "put states on notice."True leadership means being a catalyst for changing behavior thatthreatens U.S. interests. In all three cases, the United States has manyoptions other than military force or public condemnation at itsdisposal. Many of these other steps would benefit from recapturing thetraditional U.S.-Russian shared interest in stemming the spread ofweapons of mass destruction.
The most promising, but delicate case is North Korea, where negotiationsunder former U.S. President Bill Clinton's administration succeeded inheading off North Korea's production of a sizable and uncontrollednuclear arsenal, suitable for use or export. The U.S.-North KoreanAgreed Framework of 1994 froze Pyongyang's nuclear program in its tracksand showed that North Korea can be reasonable and is willing to endprograms that threaten U.S. interests if appropriately motivated. TheBush administration has offered to resume contacts with North Korea, butits public comments and condemnations have signaled to Pyongyang thattalks are not likely to be a pleasant experience, filled with morelectures than constructive proposals. If it is serious about modifyingNorth Korean behavior, the Bush administration needs to engage in apositive dialogue with Pyongyang and take steps to support efforts bySouth Korea to resume a peaceful dialogue with the North. PresidentVladimir Putin helped frame the outlines of a negotiated ban on missiledevelopment and exports before Bush took office and, if the Bushadministration feels it cannot send an emissary of its own to Pyongyang,Russia should be considered as an intermediary to resume a productivedialogue.
In Iran and Iraq, two states with ongoing proliferation programs, theUnited States has several tough, but potentially productive options. InIraq, a serious attempt to reinstate an inspection regime backed bymilitary assets to protect inspectors, is a more attractive alternativeto the forceful removal of Saddam Hussein. While Saddam's continued rulein Iraq makes each day an adventure, unless the United States has theclear mandate and support of its allies in the region and elsewhere(especially Moscow and in Europe), occupying Iraq and rebuilding thatcountry in the U.S. image threatens to be more than even Washington canhandle without a major commitment of time, energy, money and lives.Baghdad is not Kabul and the Republican Guard is not the Taliban. Russiahas been, and continues to be, the key to an improved inspections andsanctions regime. By taking the lead in reinstituting inspections,Moscow could do much to improve its non-proliferation standing inWashington and pave the way for the adoption of smart sanctions againstIraq that would improve the flow of Iraqi payments to Moscow. In return,Washington should reassure Moscow that steps will be taken to ensurethat Iraqi debts to Moscow are honored.
Iran is the definition of a Catch-22, where the United States is damnedif it tries to support the reformers, and damned if it does not. Anypraise of the elected regime only weakens those rulers in their battleagainst the oppressive religious clerics, but still more needs to bedone if the future is to bring about true reform in Iran before itsprograms to develop long-range missiles and a nuclear option bear fruit.Here, the true value of the U.S.-Russian relationship can shine through.Repeating old arguments about Iran's nuclear program will do nothing toimprove U.S.-Russian relations, but facts are facts. Iran has publiclydeclared its desire to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran's acquisition ofnuclear weapons and long-range missiles threatens both Moscow's andWashington's interests, regardless of its source. This, in itself,should be enough to give Moscow pause in helping Iran's civilian nuclearprogram. Moscow's refusal to acknowledge this fact is as stubborn asWashington's misplaced opposition to Tehran's acquisition of advancedconventional weapons from Moscow, for which Russia will receive moremoney than it will from the completion of the Bushehr reactor. Workingconstructively, Bush and Putin should be able to cooperatively constrainIran's access to nuclear technology while easing controls on lessdestabilizing conventional weaponry.
None of these steps will be easy, and none are as attractive to adomestic U.S. audience as "rogue state" bashing. Grandstanding against"rogue regimes" is good politics in the United States after Sept. 11,but does little to make the country more secure, and weakens prospectsfor working with U.S. allies on real solutions to these seriousproliferation problems. By working with Russia, the United States canaccomplish a lot more than it can by working alone. In the process, theBush administration can go a long way toward making the promise of thenew partnership with Moscow a reality.
Jon B. Wolfsthal, an Associate with the Non-Proliferation Project at theCarnegie Endowment for International Peace and a policy adviser to theU.S. Department of Energy on nonproliferation during the Clintonadministration, contributed this comment to The Moscow Times. return to menu
2. Russian Diplomats Show No Reaction To "Bush Doctrine"
February 1, 2002
(for personal use only)
George W. Bush's first State of the Union address has provoked variousresponses around the world. The new "Bush Doctrine" poses complicatedquestions to Russian diplomats. However, Russia has chosen its ownpeculiar way of behavior even in this case. It has become the world'sonly "significant" nation whose political leadership has come up with aprompt reaction.
The head of the Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, DmitryRogozin, was the only Russian politician to comment on Bush's speech thenext day. It was an unusually constructive comment for Rogozin, famousfor his anti-Western rhetoric, and proves that he may really be hintingthat his post in the State Duma has become too small for him. Rogozinsaid that President Bush's readiness to publish new information aboutal-Qaida terrorists' plans were "rather interesting." He alsoappreciated America's attention to other terrorist groups such as theIslamic Jihad, the Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. The harsh words against theso-called "rogue states" - Iraq, North Korea and Iran - that PresidentBush cited as being part of an "axis of evil" shows that extremelyconservative forces have taken the upper hand in the presidentialentourage, Rogozin went on to say.
Rogozin's colleague, Mikhail Margelov, the head of the FederationCouncil International Affairs Committee, said on Thursday that Bush hadmentioned Russia only once in his speech. Together with India and China,Bush is more inclined to regard Russia at a U.S. ally.
Not a single representative of the Russian executive agencies, such asthe Foreign Ministry, was able to give any intelligible and promptanswer to the keynote speech of Russia's major foreign policy partner.Perhaps, President Putin's indirect reaction to the speech came at ameeting with foreign ambassadors in Moscow on Tuesday. "A system ofinternational relations that would respect the interests of every stateand would provide equal security for all countries and peoples should becreated," he said. Putin added that a model of international relationsbased on the domination of a single center has no future.
The mass media in nearly all of the Arab countries has regarded Bush'sspeech as a confrontation to Islam. The North Korean, Iraqi and Iranianleaderships have reacted sharply. Despite the general negative tonetowards those nations, it was wrong to lump them together. The fact thatBush's harsh speech has forced the U.S. State Department to come outwith soothing explanations is evident of discrepancies within the U.S.foreign policy team. This lack of unity occurs in the midst of talkswith Russia on radical offensive weapons cuts. This document is supposedto be ready by President Bush's visit to Russia this summer. AsPresident Putin stressed on Thursday, the new agreement should belegally binding. Dominant forces in Washington are actively opposed tothis action.
It is unclear how America is going to renew its dialogue with NorthKorea on the non proliferation of nuclear and cruise technologies andthe Korean unification process if it has been included in the "axis ofevil." President Bush has apparently forgotten about the North Koreanmoratorium on long-range missiles. And what about the U.S. hints atlowering tensions with Iran? Teheran's efforts to help the newAfghanistan within the framework of the Bonn conference were praised andwelcomed by the U.S. State Department not so long ago. Finally, Iraq andthe U.N. Security Council permanent members are holding regularconsultations on the so-called smart or selective sanctions, which couldbe lifted altogether in exchange for good behavior. Will these sanctionsever end? On the other hand, countries like Cuba, Libya, Syria andSudan, which used to be on the State Department's list of terroristsponsors, have been left out of the "axis of evil." Have they fullyimproved and turned over a new leaf?
The U.S. State Department said on Thursday that the sharp wordsregarding the aforesaid three countries didn't mean an immediate waragainst them. The United States primarily meant Iraq. However, if theUnited States is not planning a campaign against Iraq, let alone againstIran, then in what direction will the "steam" let off by President Bushdrift? To all appearances, Russia will also fall victim to the impulsesof the U.S. rhetoric that implies that a country can win a global waragainst terrorism on its own. That is exactly how the present situationin the world is being interpreted by George W. Bush, if not in form thenat least in spirit. Washington is concerned about Russia's relationswith the abovementioned countries. It has always been painfullysensitive about our contacts with Teheran and Russian-French attempts tosoften sanctions against Iraq. Will it become even more sensitive? Whatexternal forms will this touchiness take?
Moscow's silence is significant not only in this particular case, but inthe whole spectrum of Russia's strategic relations with the West orEast. After the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States,Russian President Vladimir Putin made a willful, individual decision tochoose sides in the war against terrorism. However, his strategic choicewas not filled by any concrete content and has not evolved into anythingresembling "Putin's Doctrine."
What will our further actions towards North Korea's nuclear and missileprograms be? Some outlines for cooperation with the United States havetaken shape in this sphere. Will Russia adjust its programs with Iranunder U.S. pressure? What are Moscow's views on Bosnia and the Balkans?We haven't heard about them ever since our former friend SlobodanMilosevic was arrested and put to trial. The Russian Foreign Ministry'spolicy in the Middle East died together with its chief Mid-East expert,Viktor Posuvalyuk, several years ago. The country has no foreign coursein the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The fact that the United Statesdoes not have it either is a weak consolation. What will we do if thePentagon chief outplays Igor Ivanov's dovish friend, Secretary of StateColin Powell, in persuading President Bush to strike against Iraq? IfMoscow has already chosen isolation, why it is keeping silent? It wouldbe more logical to openly announce its intentions instead of hiding itshead in the sand. return to menu
3. Putin Steps Up Pressure On US For N-Arms Accord
January 31, 2002
(for personal use only)
President Vladimir Putin stepped up pressure on the US on Thursday togive ground to Russia in strategic arms talks, saying a proposedagreement to cut nuclear warheads "must have a legally-binding,irreversible, and verifiable character".
Top Russian officials have said already Russia wants an accord on thoseterms. But the words chosen on Thursday by Mr Putin, in a meeting withhis defence minister, Sergei Ivanov, strike a newly uncompromising note.
The US wants an informal agreement or a declaration, diplomats say,though it has not ruled out the possibility of a legally-binding one. Italso wants to put surplus warheads into storage rather than destroyingthem, contradicting Russia's wish for an "irreversible" reduction.
Russian and US diplomats met for a first round of talks this week. Afurther round is set for February 19.
The accord, as envisaged, would leave each country with less than 2,200nuclear warheads, down from 6,000-7,000 at present. This would benefitmainly Russia, with an ageing arsenal it cannot afford to maintain orrenew.
An acceptable arms agreement has become increasingly vital to theKremlin politically, as evidence that it is getting something back fromthe new pro-western foreign policy adopted last year by Mr Putin.
A success would offset Mr Putin's embarrassment in December, when the USsaid it was withdrawing from the anti-ballistic missile treaty in orderto pursue national missile defence, despite strong Russian objections.
Diplomats said the coming months may be especially delicate ones forRussian-US relations, as three difficult issues converge.
The first is the arms accord. Russia wants it ready in time for aplanned visit by President George W. Bush, probably in late May. OnThursday Mikhail Kasyanov, the Russian prime minister, met Colin Powell,US secretary of state, in Washington, to discuss preparations for thevisit.
The second issue is further Nato enlargement, and Russia's ties with thewestern military alliance. Both will be discussed at a Nato foreignministers' meeting in May.
The third is policy towards Iraq. United Nations Security Councilmembers are due to agree and implement a new sanctions regime by June.But Russia would prefer to keep the existing one, or lift sanctionsentirely in exchange for an Iraqi agreement to re-admit arms inspectors.
And relations could be tested even sooner, if the US takes any militaryaction against Iran, Iraq or North Korea, denounced this week by Mr Bushas an "axis of evil". Although it supports in principle the US "waragainst terrorism", Russia has cordial relations with all threecountries named by Mr Bush. This week alone it played host to the mayorof Pyongyang and to Tariq Aziz, Iraq's deputy prime minister. return to menu
1. Russian Defence Minister Defends Technical Aid For Iranian Nuclear PowerStation
AVN Military News Agency via BBC Monitoring Service
February 4, 2002
(for personal use only)
Moscow does not plan to cut back its military-technical cooperation withTehran, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov said at a Monday [4February] press conference in Rome...
"Iran is our neighbour, and we have normal relations with this nation,"the minister noted. "Our turnover is growing, and military-technicalcooperation does not play the main part. Military technical cooperationwith Iran is incomparable with the volume of arms that Russia sells tomany other states," he said.
Ivanov discarded concerns of several western nations regarding theconstruction of a nuclear power plant in Iran by Russian specialists."The construction of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr meets allcommitments that Russia has undertaken to the global community. I thinkI should mention that the United States is building a similar nuclearpower plant in North Korea," he said. return to menu
2. Israeli Deputy Premier Urges Russia To Review Policy On Iran
Interfax via BBC Monitoring Service
February 4, 2002
(for personal use only)
A senior Israeli minister on Monday [4 February] criticized Russia'sIranian policy.
"Russia should verify and reverify its policy towards Iran," [Israeli]Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky told a news conference in Moscow.
"We are holding a lengthy dialogue with Russia on this subject, andthere have been certain improvements in this dialogue. There is a mutualunderstanding of the danger and the need for measures against atechnology leak," but "a lot more can be done".
"In a situation where global terror is fighting democratic regimes,where countries are emerging and declaring it their aim to use weaponsof mass destruction to annihilate whole countries, it is clear that thisis a danger for everybody, and Russia should understand its interestsand its responsibility," Sharansky said... return to menu
F. Russian Nuclear Waste
1. IAEA Says Georgia Nuclear Devices Now Safely Stored
February 5, 2002
(for personal use only)
The United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency said yesterday it hadcompleted a mission to Georgia to recover two containers filled withdeadly radioactive material and has stored them at a safe location.
"The team we had there, along with the Georgian authorities, haverecovered the sources and safely contained and secured them at a storagesite," Lothar Wedekind, spokesman for the international Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA), told Reuters.
Wedekind would not disclose the location of the storage site, but saidthat it was safe and secure. The team, supervised by the Vienna-basedIAEA, launched the recovery mission on Saturday. The containers werediscovered in December. return to menu
2. In Georgian Region, Race To Recover Nuclear Fuel
William J. Broad
New York Times
February 1, 2002
(for personal use only)
An international team of experts has flown to the former Soviet republicof Georgia to try to recover two highly radioactive objects that werefound near a mountainous region controlled by Muslim rebels, officialssaid yesterday.
The objects, cylinders not much larger than cans of string beans, caughtthe attention of three woodsmen because the snow nearby was melting. Themen lugged the surprisingly heavy objects to their campsite for warmthand soon became dizzy and nauseated. A week later, they had radiationburns. All three men are now in a hospital in the Georgian capital,Tbilisi, and one is fighting for his life.
The incident, which unfolded with little attention in December, has setoff a monthlong international hunt through snowy mountains for thedevices, which, it turns out, are abandoned Soviet nuclear batteries.
Eager to keep them out of the hands of terrorists, the recovery teamfrom the International Atomic Energy Agency is planning to haul heavylead shields into the Georgian woods and recover the radioactive devicesthis weekend, weather permitting. The cylinders are filled withstrontium 90, which has a half-life of 28 years and binds readily withhuman bones.
"These sources are very powerful," said Abel J. González, director ofthe atomic agency's division of radiation and waste safety. "The goodnews is that the place is so remote, so difficult to reach, even for us.So I believe it is not so easy to reach for terrorists."
If terrorists try to take the radioactive cylinders, he added, "theywill probably kill themselves."
The Soviets created and, when the union broke up, abandoned hundreds ofthe nuclear batteries in Georgia, most much less radioactive.
The two cylinders found in the snowy woods are unshielded, officialssaid. About four inches wide and six inches long, they are the cores ofabandoned nuclear batteries that use natural radioactive decay and heatto produce electrical power, rather than actively breaking atoms apart,as nuclear reactors do.
During the cold war, American and Soviet military forces used nuclearbatteries to power satellites in space and spy devices and clandestineradio gear on the ground.
In 1998 and 1999, four highly radioactive devices were recovered. But inthe wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, American and internationalofficials have developed new jitters about the remaining nuclearbatteries and are taking aggressive steps to round them up.
"It's a bigger deal, post 9/11," said a Bush administration official."We're trying not to do this in an alarmist way. We're taking reasonablesteps to help the Georgians deal with these and other sources so theyare appropriately controlled."
The fear is that the old batteries could be turned into radiologicalweapons, sometimes known as "dirty nukes." The poor cousins of nucleararms, such weapons use conventional high explosives to scatterradioactive materials to poison an area, rather than harness theirenergy to create heat and a blast. Their effects on people can rangefrom virtually nothing to radiation sickness to slow death.
The radioactive devices to be recovered are near Abkhazia, a mountainousprovince in western Georgia where Muslim rebels for years have beenseeking to break away. "It is clearly a concern, the proximity toAbkhazia," said an official of the international atomic agency inVienna. The radioactive devices are "right on that border," the officialadded. "It's a turbulent area."
The Georgian incident is reported in today's issue of the journalScience, which said the men are the first confirmed victims of lostSoviet nuclear batteries.
On Monday, American, French, Russian, Georgian and possibly Germanofficials are planning to meet in Tbilisi to discuss the recovery effortand the lingering danger.
"It's a serious threat," Tom Clements, executive director of the NuclearControl Institute, a private group in Washington, said of the materialfalling into terrorist hands.
Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman in Vienna for the atomic agency, said themen made their discovery in early December. Georgian authorities,alarmed by the find and the men's growing sickness, contacted the agencyon Christmas Eve to ask for help.
On Jan. 4, the agency sent in a medical and recovery team to Tbilisi.The doctors helped treat the men while the recovery team, Ms. Flemingsaid, linked up with Georgian officials and experts. However, the teamwas unable to reach the radioactive source because of heavy snow.
"The roads are primitive," she said. "It was impossible to reach thearea. Now the weather has improved."
The delay let the team do more preparatory work, readying trucks,shielding and remote manipulators. "They're confident they'll be able toget there," she said. If all goes as planned, the recovery should bedone by the middle of next week.
Each battery contains 40,000 curies of radiation, she said. Bycomparison, the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant releasedabout 50 million curies, and the accident at Three Mile Islanddischarged a minimal 50 curies.
Dr. González said the strontium 90 in the nuclear batteries was in aceramic form and thus hard to pulverize into the kind of fine dustneeded for the most effective terrorist weapons. Instead, he said, ahigh explosive would shatter most of it into chunks.
Dr. Frank von Hippel, a physicist who advised the Clinton White Houseand now teaches science policy at Princeton, also said there was littledanger that a terrorist could turn the device into a weapon that wouldkill many people.
"Maybe one thousandth of the strontium would be shattered into dust thatcould be inhaled, unless you did something fancy," he said yesterday."It's more a psychological weapon" that, if successful, would play uponpopular fears about radiation, he said.
Officials at the agency said that so far 280 radioactive sources hadbeen recovered in Georgia, most of them low level and only fourcontaining the dangerous strontium 90. Dr. González said that anunknown, small number of the powerful ones are still missing.
At the Monday meeting, he added, officials would discuss the long-termproblem of missing nuclear batteries.
"We're going to try our best to find the sources, bring them undercontrol and put them in safe locations," Dr. González said. The agencyis considering a proposal to let hospitals use some of the strontium 90for cancer radiation treatments. return to menu
G. Russian Nuclear Industry
1. Russia's nuclear plants increase share of electricity exports
Interfax via BBC Monitoring Service
February 4, 2002
(for personal use only)
The share of nuclear power plants in Russia's electricity exportsincreased to 32.9 per cent in 2001 from 24.9 per cent in 2000, powermonopoly Unified Energy Systems of Russia (UES) has announced in a pressrelease.
It said it is continuing efforts to optimize exports, laying specialemphasis on cooperation with the power generating enterprises of theMinistry of Atomic Energy and other electricity producers... return to menu
1. What Are The Plans Of Minatom For 2002?
February 5, 2002
(for personal use only)
Alexander Rumyantsev, the Minister of Atomic Energy for the RussianFederation:
"Our main goal for the year 2002 is to strengthen the defensive capacityof Russia, its energetic and ecological security, and scientificindependence. According to our calculation the growth of the industrywill consist 3.5%. Special attention will be paid to antiterroristmeasures and physical protection of radioactive materials. Socialproblems will also be taken care of, especially in the regions where theMinatom enterprises are located.
We are planning to carry out the following actions in 2002:
Keeping of the nuclear armed forces of Russia on the necessary level; Keeping and developing of scientific and engineering potential,production and test bases to perfect the nuclear armed forces of Russia; Increasing of production of electricity on N-plans by 6% thus reachingthe figure of 144 billion KWh; Finishing of renovation of Novovoronezh-4 and Kursk-1 units andprolongation of their work; Building new units (Kalinin-3, Volgodonsk-2, Kursk-5, and Balakovo-5); Building long-term dry repositories for the spent fuel; Widening export of nuclear technologies and perfecting control over thisprocess; Widening range of services in the fuel market; Continuing construction of N-plants in China, Iran and India; Completion of construction of complexes for unloading of nuclearsubmarines in the Arctic and the Pacific regions; Utilization of decommissioned submarines including "Kursk"; Working on building of the reactors of new generation; Completion of technical renovation of research and test enterprises ofthe industry; Conducting fundamental research in nuclear science and technology." return to menu
2. Answers By Minister Of Foreign Affairs Of The Russian Federation IgorIvanov At Press Conference Following Meeting With Indian Minister OfExternal Affairs Jaswant Singh (Excerpted)
February 3, 2002
(for personal use only)
Question: Were any deals discussed in the field of military supplies?Reports have been appearing in the press on India's leasing of twonuclear submarines and purchases of longer range bombers. If thesequestions were not touched on in the course of your talks, will they bediscussed in the course of the visit of Mr. Ilya Klebanov?
Answer: These questions were not a subject of our talks today. At thesame time I want to stress that military-technological cooperationbetween Russia and India is developing within the framework of theinternational obligations which our countries have assumed. We believethat military-technological cooperation is one of the components of ourbroad cooperation in all fields. return to menu
3. Upgrading The Safety And Security Of Radioactive Sources In The RepublicOf Georgia
IAEA Division of Public Information
February 1, 2002
(for personal use only)
Experts from the IAEA are working closely with authorities in theRepublic of Georgia on the next stages of a difficult operation tosafely recover and secure two powerful radioactive sources found in aremote northwest forested area of the country late last year.
The sources were found in December 2001 by three men who apparently wereunaware of the dangers the sources posed to them. The men consequentlysuffered serious injuries from overexposure and were hospitalised inGeorgia. Two remain hospitalized.
The encased but unshielded cylindrical sources are about the size of aperson's hand and contain the radioactive element strontium-90. Thoughsmall in size, each source emits heat and a large amount ofradioactivity, on the order of 40,000 curies (one curie is equivalent to37 billion bequerel, the international measurement unit ofradioactivity).
Unless their titanium-based ceramic encasement is breached, the sourcescannot be dispersed into the environment or endanger anyone not cominginto close and direct contact with them. IAEA experts say that thesources were originally shielded and housed in portable electricalgenerators (known as radiothermal generators, or RTGs) that were idelyused in the former Soviet Union for such applications as generatingelectricity, heat, and battery power for remote communication systems.
In late December, both of the strontium sources were located by Georgianauthorities who subsequently requested the IAEA's assistance with therecovery effort; the Agency sent expert teams in January. But finaloperations since then have been difficult, especially hampered by severewinter weather and rough terrain that has limited access of responsecrews. The IAEA presently has emergency response experts in Georgia whoare working with national counterparts to safely retrieve and transportthe sources to a secure interim storage site.
In the coming week, experts from the IAEA, France, Germany, the RussianFederation, and the United States are meeting with Georgian authorities,from 6-8 February, to review the recovery operation; measures to improvethe management, safety, and security of radioactive sources in thecountry; and plans to search for, locate, and secure other lost orabandoned radioactive sources.
As previously reported by the IAEA, discarded or "orphan" radioactivesources have been found before in Georgia over the past decade, andexperts estimate that many others remain lost, abandoned, or otherwiseoutside of regulatory control. At the request of Georgian authorities,the IAEA has responded in recent years to a number of emergencies thecountry has faced involving orphan radioactive sources, and from May toJuly 2000 conducted, with France's support, an aerial survey of selectedareas as part of concerted efforts to find discarded sources.
The latest incident has heightened concerns over the safety and securityof radiation sources, not only in Georgia but elsewhere. The IAEA ismoving to further strengthen its security-related programmes andassistance services, and important steps have been taken since September2001. The Agency's Board of Governors is next meeting in mid-March on adetailed set of measures that were proposed and outlined by IAEADirector General Mohamed ElBaradei in November 2001. They are aimed toreduce threats from potential acts of nuclear terrorism and upgrade theAgency's programmes for the security of nuclear material, radioactivesources, and nuclear facilities. return to menu
4. Transcript: Rice Warns Of Dangerous Powers Pursuing Dangerous Weapons(Excerpted)
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
January 31, 2002
As the President said, we must not and we will not wait on events whiledangers gather, and we will use every tool at our disposal to meet thisgrave global threat. We will work to strengthen nonproliferationregimes and export controls. We will use our new and buddingrelationship with Russia to redouble our efforts to prevent the leakageof dangerous materials and technologies. And we will move ahead with amissile defense system that can do the job, unconstrained by theAnti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. (Applause.)
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