Partnership for Global Security: Leading the World to a Safer Future
Home Projects Publications Issues Official Documents About RANSAC Nuclear News 4/15/13
Location: Home / Projects & Publications / News
Sitemap Contact
Google www PGS
Nuclear News - 02/12/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, February 12, 2002
Compiled by David Smigielski

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Kasyanov Cites 'Considerable Progress' (Excerpted), Yury Sigov, Russia Journal (02/14/02)
    2. U.S. Moves To Quickly Secure Russia's Vast Nuclear Stockpile, Gary Polakovic, Los Angeles Times (02/09/02)
    3. Nukes, Made Less Loose, National Post (02/09/02)
B. U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement
    1. Energy Department, USEC Near Pact On Nuclear Power, Carter Dougherty, The Washington Times (02/11/02
    2. Limited Progress Reported At Russian-Us Uranium Talks, ITAR-TASS (02/10/02)
C. Russian Nuclear Industry
    1. Russia Can't Go Forward Without Resolving Nuclear Issues - Deputy Premier, ITAR-TASS (02/12/02)
D. Russian Nuclear Waste
    1. Russia Chooses Novaya Zemlya Site For Nuclear Burial, Interfax (02/10/02)
    2. Russian Cargo Handlers To Send Radioactive Scrap Back To Japan, ITAR-TASS (02/08/02)
    3. Radioactive Metal Seized On Russian-Chinese Border To Be Buried, ITAR-TASS (02/07/02)
    4. 'Hot' Legacy Raises Alarm In The Caucasus, Richard Stone, Science (02/01/02)
E. Russia-Burma
    1. Planned Reactor Ruffles Global Feathers, Richard Stone, Science (02/01/02)
F. Announcements
    1. Secretary Of Energy Addresses Future Of Nuclear Nonproliferation In Los Angeles Office of Public Affairs U.S. Department of Energy (02/08/02)
G. Links of Interest
    1. Nuclear Terrorism, Ira Helfand, Lachlan Forrow, Jaya Tiwari, British Medical Journal (02/09/02)
    2. The Human Consequences Of The Chernobyl Nuclear Accident, A Report Commissioned by UNDP and UNICEF (01/25/02)

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

Kasyanov Cites 'Considerable Progress' (Excerpted)
Yury Sigov
Russia Journal
February 14, 2002
(for personal use only)


RJ: What about the situation with exporting high-technology goods toRussia? Russia figures alongside India, Pakistan and Iran on the StateDepartment list of countries suspected of using such technologies formilitary purposes.

MK: We've been fighting for a long time now to have all restrictionsremoved, including the export controls that prevent us from importingcutting-edge Western technology. There are Russian companies unable tosuccessfully carry out joint projects with foreign partners because ofrestrictions on importing computers and some electronic andhigh-technology systems. But, during our meeting, Vice President RichardCheney assured me that the U.S. administration has already introduced abill to Congress to have these restrictions abolished. I hope then thatwe are going to see some progress on this issue now.

return to menu

U.S. Moves To Quickly Secure Russia's Vast Nuclear Stockpile
Gary Polakovic
Los Angeles Times
February 9, 2002
(for personal use only)

The Bush administration is speeding efforts to safeguard Cold War-eranuclear stockpiles before terrorists can get hold of them, EnergySecretary Spencer Abraham said Friday.

Addressing the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in Beverly Hills,Abraham outlined a series of measures aimed primarily at securing theformer Soviet Union's vast stockpiles of weapon-grade radioactivematerials.

"We are facing a situation we think is, frankly, more harrowing than itwas a decade ago. . . . I don't believe I have any higher priority,"Abraham said. He acknowledged that some efforts to contain theproliferation of nuclear weapons were undertaken during the Clintonadministration but said that the attacks on the World Trade Center andthe Pentagon on Sept. 11 demonstrated the need to expand and acceleratethose efforts, especially in Russia.

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to breakdowns in the protections of40,000 nuclear weapons, plus assorted nuclear materials, some of whichare coveted by terrorist groups and other countries.

Abraham said many of the scientists and technicians who oversee thosematerials have gone with little or no pay for months at a time, raisingconcerns they might exchange nuclear products for bribes. Authoritieshave documented about 200 illicit attempts to acquire nuclear materialsin recent years, he said.

Abraham said heightened security measures will include betterhousekeeping and accounting practices, new technologies and incentives.While they are focused on Russia, they also deal with nuclear materialsin Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, as well as in the United States.

Under an agreement worked out with counterparts in Russia, U.S.officials will help accelerate a program to enhance security for trucksand trains hauling weapon-grade material and to store it in fewerlocations to make it less vulnerable to sabotage or terrorist attack.The program will be completed by 2008, two years ahead of schedule,Abraham said.

Other measures he cited include installation of radiation detectors attransit and border crossings to prevent smuggling. President Bush'sbudget proposal seeks $1.2 billion for nonproliferation programs,two-thirds of which is earmarked for programs in Russia. A quarter of abillion dollars more is earmarked for research and development of newtechnologies to help counter nuclear proliferation and terrorism,Abraham said. Russia and the United States have reached agreement on acontroversial plan to convert 68 tons of plutonium in both countriesinto fuel for atomic reactors. Critics challenged the costs to theUnited States, but Abraham said the administration lopped $2 billion offthe program and can complete it within three years.

"If one good thing can come out of the tragedy of Sept. 11, it's thatour nation is now working more closely with Moscow on issues of nationalsecurity--ours as well as theirs--than we have done at any time in thepost-Soviet era," Abraham said.

A yearlong review of controls led administration officials to concludethat the threat of nuclear materials getting into the wrong hands isgreater today than ever, Abraham said.

In the war in Afghanistan, documents left by Al Qaeda and Taliban forcesreveal diagrams and information for the construction of crude nucleardevices. Authorities believe terrorists are capable of assembling a"dirty bomb" by using conventional explosives to disperse plutonium orother radioactive materials in an urban area.

In an address before Congress last week, Bush blasted an "axis of evil"consisting of North Korea, Iraq and Iran for promoting terrorism andpursuing weapons of mass destruction.
return to menu

Nukes, Made Less Loose
National Post
February 9, 2002
(for personal use only)

The most sensible argument against George W. Bush's national missiledefence proposal has always been that rogue states and terrorist groupswould not need a missile to attack the United States with a weapon ofmass destruction: They might simply steal a nuclear weapon, or buildone using stolen uranium or plutonium, and send it to Brooklyn Harbor ina shipping container. A single bomb would take out everything betweenFlatbush Avenue and Governors Island.

This argument has always been unconvincing for the same reasonhomeowners find it sensible to lock their doors even if their windowsare unbarred: Some protection is better than none. But in the light ofMr. Bush's proposed 2003 Budget, which provides increased funding forprograms aimed at safeguarding loose nukes, the shipping-crate argumentagainst missile defence seems even less plausible.

Russia possesses over 1,000 tonnes of bomb-grade plutonium and uranium,only half of it contained in weapons. In the nations of the formerSoviet Union, authorities have several times broken up conspiracies tosmuggle nuclear material. Two years ago, for instance, police in Georgiaseized almost a kilogram of highly enriched uranium. That is asignificant quantity: A terrorist would need only 25 kilograms ofuranium, or eight kilograms of plutonium, to make a bomb. It is hardlyinconceivable that one of Russia's many powerful, well-connectedorganized crime syndicates would be able to successfully play the roleof middleman.

Washington has set up programs to help Russia build secure facilitiesand surveillance systems to protect its radioactive material. But in thepast, Congress has balked at providing adequate funding. In the wake ofSept. 11, however, all lawmakers have a proper appreciation of theurgency of such programs, and will presumably have little interest inobstructing them.

Mr. Bush's proposed 2003 Budget would not only maintain existingprograms, but expand them. He has allocated US$549-million to secure anddestroy weapons of mass destruction; US$235 million to destroy fissilematerials; and US$101-million for programs to engage former Sovietweapons scientists in peaceful projects -- to ensure they do not, forwant of employment, put their expertise at the service of rogue nations.

In a speech delivered two years ago, General Anthony C. Zinni, a formerCommander-in-Chief of the U.S. Central Command, lamented that "my son islikely to see a weapon of mass destruction event. Another Pearl Harborwill occur somewhere in the world where Americans are gathered, when anasty bug or gas or nuke is released it will forever change him and hisinstitutions."

Thanks in part to Mr. Bush's increased support for programs designed tokeep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorist groupsand rogue nations, Mr. Zinni's prediction may prove wrong. All civilizedpeople will hope so.
return to menu

B. U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement

Energy Department, USEC Near Pact On Nuclear Power
Carter Dougherty
The Washington Times
February 11, 2002
(for personal use only)

The Bush administration and the nation's only producer of fuel fornuclear power plants are nearing a deal aimed at ensuring a steadyU.S.-produced stream of the crucial material, according to a senioradministration official. The Department of Energy and Bethesda-basedUSEC are negotiating how to preserve a domestic industry for enrichinguranium into commercial fuel, which is used to generate 20 percent ofthe electricity in the United States. In particular, the departmentwants USE to develop new, more efficient technology for this process toavoid complete dependence on imports, which already account for 77percent of the U.S. nuclear fuel market.

"It's an energy security question," a senior administration officialsaid. "It's the same principle as not being reliant on all the MiddleEastern countries for our oil." USEC is the company created through theprivatization of the United States Enrichment Corporation in 1998. Themove, heavily criticize at the time by national security analysts whofeared overdependence on foreign uranium, resulted in a company that hasfaced repeated financial difficulties. USEC spokesman Charles Yulishdecline to comment on the negotiations with the government.

Its stock closed on Friday at $5.96, up 16 cents but well below theprice of $14.25 in its June 1998 initial public offering. Standard &Poors rates USEC bonds as junk, severely limiting its ability to raisenew funds.

USEC is also the sole steward of a program created by the American andRussian governments - known as "Megatons to Megawatts" - in which itmarkets uranium that has been converted int commercial reactor fuel fromold Russian nuclear warheads. The plan was developed in the early 1990sto stop fissile material from falling into the hands of terrorists.Importantly for USEC, the deal gives it access to cheap nuclear fuelthat it can then resell to its American customers.

"They live off the cheap Russian material," the senior official said."When it runs out, they're in trouble." USEC and the government areclose to resolving the main issues that had divided them said sourcesclose to the negotiation. "We're progressing nicely," the official said."It will happen."

The company's main problem is its technology for manfacturing nuclearfuel; it is outdated an much less efficient than its Europeancompetitors, the senior official said. But USEC has been reluctantcommit to a date by which it would develop new technology.

"If our technology is going to be competitive, we need to get it tomarket fast," the official said "Otherwise, we're reliant on overseassuppliers."

To force USEC's hand, the Bush administration has told the company itwill lose its role I administering the Russian program if it does notdevelop new ways to produce nuclear fuel in th United States by a datecertain, the senior official said.

In the past, USEC has bitterly opposed attempts by the Bushadministration to force the company to take these steps. "No U.S.corporation could subject itself to such unprecedented and unnecessarygovernment authority and remain accountable to its shareholders orremain in business," USEC Chief Executive Officer William Timbers wrote

Undersecretary of Energy Robert Card in a Jan. 10 letter. The departmentand USEC have reached a tentative agreement on allowing the Departmentof Energy to take over USEC's plant in Paducah Kentucky if the companyceases production there. That facility, government-owned but operated byUSEC, is currently the only operating plant in the United States forenriching uranium into nuclear fuel.

"We want to be able to step in before the plant is shut down and cannotbe started up again," the senior official said. The two sides are stillhaggling over how to dispose of excess uranium stock that USEC inheritedfrom the government when it was privatized, he said.
return to menu

Limited Progress Reported At Russian-US Uranium Talks
February 10, 2002
(for personal use only)

Some progress was achieved on prices during talks on the drafting of anew contract for deliveries of Russian low-enriched uranium to the USA,ITAR-TASS was told on Friday [8 February] at the press service of theRussian Atomic Energy Ministry. "But no final result has been achievedso far," press service officials noted.

The latest round of the negotiations was held in Moscow, and pressservice officials said they would be "continued in the Russian capitalnext week".

The previous round of negotiations between representatives of theRussian Atomic Energy Ministry, including Tekhsnabeksport andrepresentatives from the American USEC Corporation, which was also heldin Moscow, had yielded no results. The sides failed to reach amutually-beneficial agreement on the terms for the implementation of theintergovernmental LEU-HEU [low-enriched uranium - high-enriched uranium]agreement for the next term.

The agreement on the use of Russian low-enriched uranium, extractedfrom nuclear weapons, was concluded in 1993. Russia has delivered to the USA 4,000 tonnes oflow-enriched uranium I accordance with this 20-year agreement, estimated at 12bn US dollarsand unofficially dubbed Megatons into Megawatts, since it was to be used as fuel at Americannuclear power plants. This uranium was made from 140 tonnes of high-enriched uranium, which isenough to produce mor than 5,600 nuclear warheads.
return to menu

C. Russian Nuclear Industry

Russia Can't Go Forward Without Resolving Nuclear Issues - DeputyPremier
February 12, 2002
(for personal use only)

Russia can't go forward unless the problems of the nuclear sector areresolved.

Ilya Klebanov, deputy chairman of the Russian Federation's government,said this today when he opened an interdepartmental coordinatingconference in Chelyabinsk.

"We have to discuss the most serious problems connected with thedevelopment of the entire sector, the deputy prime minister said. I meanboth science and production and technologies."

The most important landmarks in the development of the Russian economyas a whole are created in the structures of the Atomic Energy Ministry.For the Urals there are very serious social and ecological problems thathave accumulated over decades. They need to be resolved not separately,but comprehensively, with the aim of developing the sector.

We will also discuss issues connected with the physical safety ofnuclear installations which have become particularly topical since 11September [2001, Klebanov said]...
return to menu

D. Russian Nuclear Waste

Russia Chooses Novaya Zemlya Site For Nuclear Burial
February 10, 2002
(for personal use only)

A burial site for radioactive wastes is to be built in Novaya Zemlya, anarchipelago in the Arctic Ocean in Archangel Region. This was decided ata session of an expert commission of the Russian state ecologicalexamination service [presumably the Federal Service for Hydrometeorologyand Environmental Monitoring].

Taking part in the session were representatives from Severodvinsk inArchangel Region, ecological organizations, defence enterprises, theMinistry of Atomic Energy, for which the burial site will be built, theMoscow design institute Gidrospetsgeologiya, the Kurchatov Institute andthe Moscow Sechenov Medical Academy, Oleg Korotkov, of the Severodvinskcity hall press service, told Interfax on Friday [8 February].

In the view of the participants in the session, the burial site forradioactive wastes will meet all the standards of the InternationalAtomic Energy Agency. Moreover, "the subsurface at Novaya Zemlya isperfect for long-term storage of radioactive wastes, as permafrost makesit impossible for water to leak into the storage facility and, as aresult, this prevents radionuclides from migrating".

It is planned to set up the burial site on the territory of a formernuclear weapons test range.

The wastes will be transported only by sea.
return to menu

Russian Cargo Handlers To Send Radioactive Scrap Back To Japan
February 8, 2002
(for personal use only)

Specialists of a local company, Primtechnopolis, are now packingradioactive objects received from Japan and due to be returned to theircountry of origin.

More than half of the objects have already been packed in polythene bagsplaced in wooden boxes which fill 20-feet containers that are now heldin the port territory.

The Japanese hauliers are obliged to take the load out of Russia, but inFebruary their representative asked for more time to take additionalprecautionary measures. A ship from Japan will only sail to Russia'sMaritime Territory after all the objects are securely packed. Theprocess is expected to last at least a fortnight.

The radioactive non-ferrous scrap metal - 346 tonnes - was brought tothe Russian port of Nakhodka from Japan's port of Kashima aboard theGrace-1 vessel on 3 December, 2001. It was to be taken to China bylorries. But radiation control in the Russian port revealed that 52aircraft engines and a multitude of small fragments emitted radiationthat exceeded the natural background level by 100-150 times.
return to menu

Radioactive Metal Seized On Russian-Chinese Border To Be Buried
February 7, 2002
(for personal use only)

A load of radioactive ferrous and nonferrous scrap metal seized byRussian customs officers at the railway station of Grodekovo, Maritimeterritory, two days ago, has been shipped to a burial site in Khabarovskterritory.

A source in the press service of the Far Eastern customs administrationtold ITAR-TASS on Thursday [7 February] that an inspection of aChina-bound freight train two days ago showed that the scrap metal itwas carrying was emitting radiation that registered a level thatexceeded the natural radiation background 200 times.

The dangerous scrap metal had been shipped by an incorporated companybased in the village of Pokrovka to a trade and industrial companyoperating in the city of Dongjuing [untraced - possibly Dongxing orDongyang, both of which are in Heilongjiang province], Heilongjiangprovince.

The source in the press service of the Far Eastern customsadministration said the local law enforcers will work to clarify theorigin of the radioactive metals shipped by the Russian company.
return to menu

'Hot' Legacy Raises Alarm In The Caucasus
Richard Stone
February 1, 2002
(for personal use only)

Can a crack international team secure two tremendously radioactiveobjects in the mountains of a strife-torn former Soviet republic beforethey fall into the hands of nuclear terrorists? The question may soundlike a trailer for a James Bond movie, but it's for real. Science haslearned that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) early thisweek dispatched a team to a remote area near Georgia's breakawayAbkhazia region to help local officials grab the dangerous, portabledevices.

Georgia is a hot spot for illicit trafficking of nuclear materials(Science, 1 June 2001, p. 1632). Although Western governments haveworked hard to help Russia and other countries secure their fissilematerial, the 11 September attacks have heightened fears of terroristsusing other radioactive materials, from discarded medical isotopes touranium mining tailings, to make "dirty bombs" that could spreadradioactivity over large areas. Feeding those fears is the fact that thematerials are usually less secure than weapons-grade nuclear caches andoften have been abandoned by former owners.

The crisis began with a fax on Christmas Eve from Georgian authorities.Three men gathering wood near Lja on 2 December 2001 had found twocontainers that appeared to have melted the nearby snow. Lugging thecontainers back to their campsite for warmth, the men soon became dizzyand nauseous and started vomiting. Within a week, radiation burns beganto develop on their backs. On 4 January 2002, IAEA dispatched threeinvestigators to Tbilisi, but heavy snows and rough terrain preventedthem from reaching the objects.

This is not the first time such containers have been found. In 1998, notfar from Lja, a fisherman found one in a riverbed. Physicists in Tbilisilater discovered that it was packed with strontium-90 emitting awhopping 40,000 curies of radiation, equivalent to the radiation fromstrontium-90 released during the 1986 Chornobyl explosion and fire. "Myshock was so great when I was informed of this," says Abel JulioGonzález, director of IAEA's division of radiation and waste safety. "Iwas convinced they had made a mistake." But an IAEA team confirmed thereadings and whisked the object --along with a second one found soonafter--to a guarded location in Tbilisi.

Western officials initially did not know what the containers were usedfor nor how many had been built. A request for information from Russiayielded sympathy but few answers, says an IAEA official, as Russianauthorities insisted they were not liable for nuclear materials found inother former Soviet republics.

Slowly, however, González and his team began to piece together thepuzzle. They obtained a schematic of a device that used the mysterycontainers to generate electricity from the strontium's heat, possiblyto power remote radio transmitters. The units recovered so far areencased in a titanium-based ceramic. As the beta particles streamingfrom the strontium-90 slam into the metal shielding, part of the energyis converted into x-rays and part into heat. Soviet labs apparentlyproduced several hundred of the generators, including some withradioactivity levels as high as 100,000 curies. None of thesehigh-powered models have yet turned up, and only a handful of the40,000-curie devices have been recovered in covert operations in fourcountries: Georgia, Belarus, Estonia, and Tajikistan.

Radiation injuries from orphaned sources are "a very real problem," saysGeorge Vargo of the U.S. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory inRichland, Washington. But the Georgian men being treated for severex-ray burns are the first confirmed victims of the Sovietthermogenerators.

The IAEA team members had planned to wait until this month to assist inrecovering the containers, but they decided to move more quickly afteran urgent appeal last week from the Georgian government. They arrived inTbilisi on 27 January. Officials from IAEA and Georgia, France, Russia,and the United States are expected to meet in Tbilisi on 4 February toreview the recovery effort and discuss the lingering threat of otherorphan sources. Although much of the strontium-90 will probably bestored as radioactive waste, the agency is also mulling a suggestion tosell some of it to hospitals as a source of the short-lived daughterisotope yttrium 90, an experimental treatment for cancer and arthritis.
return to menu

E. Russia-Burma

Planned Reactor Ruffles Global Feathers
Richard Stone
February 1, 2002
(for personal use only)

Western officials are raising safety concerns over Myanmar's plans tobuild its first nuclear reactor. The small reactor would produce medicalisotopes and test the feasibility of bringing nuclear energy to thepovertyicken country, formerly known as Burma. It would also giveRussia, which would supply the reactor and technical support, a largerpresence in the region.

A groundbreaking ceremony was scheduled for last week at a militarycomplex near Magwe, a central region bearing Myanmar's richest uraniumdeposits, a U.S. Defense Department official told Science. The reactorwould have a capacity of 10 megawatts and cost roughly $25 million. TheMyanmar government confirmed privately to the International AtomicEnergy Agency (IAEA) that more than 200 of its scientists andtechnicians have received nuclear training in Russia in recent months.

Both the Soviet Union and the United States built research reactorsaround the world during the Cold War as part of a competition to promotethe peaceful use of atomic energy. Some reactors became hugeproliferation risks. During the Vietnam War, for instance, U.S. SpecialForces tried to recover plutonium from a U.S.-made research reactor inthe south that had been seized by communist troops--only to find thatthe fuel was already gone, says Stanford University's George Bunn, aformer negotiator on the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. In recentyears the United States has striven to help other countries convertresearch reactors that use weapons-grade nuclear fuel into ones thatconsume low-enriched uranium (LEU).

The U.S. government reviews U.S.-led projects to build reactors inforeign lands but has little sway over deals that other countriesstrike. In a press conference last week, a State Department spokespersonsaid the government expects Myanmar "to not produce unsafeguardedfissile material." According to the Defense official, the government isworried that the reactor could increase the threat of radioactivematerials falling into the hands of terrorists.

Other analysts generally discount the proliferation risk. "From the sizeof it, it looks like an LEU reactor," says Fred Wehling of the Centerfor Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California. Indeed, as amember of the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone, Myanmar "hasaccepted significant restrictions on nuclear-related activities" underan agreement that allows member states to pursue peaceful research, saysRalph Cossa, president of the Center for Strategic and InternationalStudies' Pacific Forum. "I see very little real threat," he says,"especially if the Russians insist on proper safety and monitoringprocedures."

Whether that will happen is an open question. An IAEA team that visitedMyanmar in November 2000 concluded that the country's radiationprotection infrastructure was "not meeting the expected standards," saysan agency official, and followed up with a list of improvements neededto operate the reactor safely. The agency has not yet received aresponse. Myanmar's foreign ministry declined to make officialsavailable for interviews and referred inquiries to a press conferencetranscript on the government's Web site.

Perhaps most intriguing is what the deal may mean for regionalstability. "It shows some concern [in Myanmar] with not getting toodependent on China, as well as Russia's efforts to increase its ownfootprint in Southeast Asia," says Cossa. Others add that Russia'scashapped energy industry could be tempted to strike additionaldeals if the Myanmar regime deems nuclear power vital to the country'sfuture.
return to menu

F. Announcements

Secretary Of Energy Addresses Future Of Nuclear Nonproliferation In LosAngeles
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of Energy
February 8, 2002
(for personal use only)

Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham spoke to the Los Angeles WorldAffairs Council Luncheon today regarding future policy directions ofnuclear nonproliferation. After extensive reassessments ofnonproliferation programs and threats, Secretary Abraham set the stagefor the next step in nuclear nonproliferation.

Following are Secretary Abraham's prepared remarks:Good afternoon. I am honored to be with you today. In standing here Ifollow to the rostrum more than a few distinguished speakers over theyears, not the least being my boss, President George W. Bush.

When President Bush appeared here last May, he addressed several of thepressing issues of the day- tax cuts, free trade, and one of my particular interests, energysecurity.

Just two weeks earlier the Administration had proposed our NationalEnergy Policy, a roadmap for achieving energy security for the 21stCentury. And energy has been at the top of the president's list ofpriorities since Inauguration Day. So it was natural that he should havefocused on these topics.

President Bush talked about the need for new conservation efforts; hestressed the importance of boosting domestic production of energy; andhe noted the necessity for modernizing an increasingly outdated energyinfrastructure.

The topics he covered were ones the public would think of as beingcentral to what the Department of Energy is all about - namely, energy.

Indeed, because of its title, most of the attention my Departmentreceives tends to be related to traditional domestic energy issues thatrelate to energy supply.

Mention DOE and you think about electricity grids and gas pumps,hydroelectric dams and coalmines. And, on that front, the state of California contributed mightilyto my inbox since the day Itook office.

But what I want to discuss with you today are duties my Department hasthat don't receive as much attention as they should, though theirimportance can't be overstated.

I'm speaking of the Department of Energy's national securityresponsibilities.

By overseeing our nation's nuclear weapons capability and stockpile, aswell as many of the nation's non-proliferation efforts abroad, theDepartment of Energy performs essential national security missions.

It's the latter of these topics - nuclear nonproliferation - that Iwould like to address today. Our nuclear nonproliferation programs areabout preventing, detecting, and reversing the spread of weapons of massdestruction, while improving nuclear security worldwide. A large part ofour nonproliferation effort focuses on securing nuclear materials in theformer Soviet Union.

I don't believe I have any higher priority as Secretary than tosignificantly improve the reach and effectiveness of our programs inthis area.

That means making major progress toward ensuring that Russian weaponsand nuclear material are protected from theft; that Russian plutoniumproduction is ended, that excess Russian nuclear material is convertedto reactor fuel rather than weapons; that the United States continuesto lead international efforts to control proliferation, and that stillmore advanced technological tools are developed to detect and preventproliferation and terrorism.

By my lights, if we can continue to make real progress on this agenda,then my tenure as Secretary will have been a success, no matter whatelse I accomplish.

Let me begin by discussing a bit of the history of our nation'snonproliferation activities. I hope that doing so will supply somecontext when I discuss the new directions on which we are embarking.

The death of the Soviet Union a decade ago didn't just end the Cold Warand break up an empire. It left over 40,000 nuclear weapons as orphans,along with a vast quantity of unprotected nuclear materials. It alsoleft thousands of scientists and engineers from the former Sovietnuclear weapons complex faced with declining - or disappearing -paychecks.

Complicating this grave situation was the fact that some of theseweapons and materials were in places that were no longer part of Russia.And even those weapons and materials that could be found in the newRussia were no longer well secured; in the economic and political chaosthat followed the collapse of communism, this new nation lacked themeans to protect them effectively.

The United States recognized the importance of dealing with thischallenge. Under the leadership of my former Senate colleagues Sam Nunn,Richard Lugar, and Pete Domenici, we established the Cooperative ThreatReduction program and its counterpart at the Department of Energy.

Since then, working with Russia's new leaders, the United States hassafeguarded warheads, assisted in dismantling strategic weapons, andtaken a number of other important steps to prevent Russian weapons andmaterials from posing new threats to us and to our allies.

We have not undertaken these programs out of charity, but because theyare clearly in our national security interest. The theft of only a verysmall quantity of high-enriched Uranium or Plutonium, the deadlyingredients needed to fashion a nuclear device, would be enough for acrude but potentially devastating nuclear weapon.

That's why extra dedication and vigilance and determination are requiredto see that these materials don't fall into the wrong hands.

The situation has shifted somewhat since we embarked on this course adecade ago. Other factors have arisen to create a new sort ofvulnerability today.

The threats to our safety and security have worsened. For instance,there are simply more people interested in acquiring deadly materials,be they rogue states like Iraq, or terrorists like Osama bin Laden.

We know of almost 200 documented attempts to acquire illicit nuclearmaterials over this period - and that's just the known cases.

So, as the United States takes its first steps into the 21st Century, weare facing a situation we think is, frankly, more harrowing than it wasa decade ago.

Some credit must go to the previous Administration for shining a lighton some of these issues. Just ten days before President Bush assumed theOval Office, a bipartisan task force led by former Senate MajorityLeader Howard Baker and former White House Counsel Lloyd Cutlerdelivered a report - put together after nearly a year of study -assessing DOE's nonproliferation programs in Russia.

Among the most critical things facing the new Bush Administration wasthis conclusion from the Baker-Cutler report:

"The most urgent unmet national security threat to the United Statestoday is the danger that weapons of mass destruction or weapons-usablematerial in Russia could be stolen and sold to terrorists or hostilenation states and used against American troops abroad or citizens athome. This threat is a clear and present danger to the internationalcommunity as well as to American lives and liberties."

For that reason, and because of concerns of his own, the Presidentimmediately launched a comprehensive review of our nonproliferationprograms, particularly emphasizing those with Russia. We wanted tocompare their effectiveness and applicability today versus when theywere developed.

Working with National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, DefenseSecretary Rumsfeld, and Secretary of State Colin Powell, we undertook anexhaustive evaluation to see what was working, where everything stood,and what needed to be reconfigured. This was the first systematic,disciplined nonproliferation policy review in a decade.

We were nearing the end of this review when something occurred to put anenormous exclamation point on the work we were doing.

I am referring, of course, to September 11.

In the days afterward, when it was revealed that behind the attacks wasa network of terrorists, international purveyors of horror anddestruction, dedicated to killing Americans simply for being Americans.there was one matter on everyone's mind: What if they had nuclearweapons?

There was little question that these terrorists would use nuclearweapons if they could acquire them.

A movement that glories in wholesale slaughter could have no greaterambition than procuring nuclear weapons for use against innocentAmericans and our allies.

At a time when much of the world was paralyzed by the horror of what hadhappened, this Administration was quick to respond.

President Bush sent me to Vienna on September 17 to represent America ata meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the internationalbody that serves as the global focal point for nuclear cooperation. Muchof its work is dedicated to nonproliferation.

At the top of our agenda that day was what we could do to help prevent anuclear 9-11.

In my remarks to the IAEA, I made clear that the United States fullysupported a more robust physical and export controls over nuclearmaterials, greater accountability, and a greater acceptance ofresponsibility to ensure nuclear materials are used, stored and disposedof safely.

I also made clear that we expected all nations to do their part.Because after September 11th, there are no excuses left.

In the weeks and months that followed, one development in particulararose that gives me optimism that our efforts would succeed. And that isthe even closer ties between our nation and the Russian Federationforged by President Bush and President Putin.

It was obvious to the world that these leaders developed a deep bondafter 9-11, particularly during their summit in Crawford, Texas. Thisfriendship between our countries' leaders heralds a positive newfriendship for our nations.

In a joint statement, the two signified that a new internationalframework must hold for the 21st century, one of strategic partnership."Our countries are embarked on a new relationship," they said.

"The United States and Russia have overcome the legacy of the Cold War.Neither country regards the other as an enemy or threat. .. We affirmour determination to meet the threats to peace in the 21st Century.Among these threats are terrorism . [and] proliferation of weapons ofmass destruction."

They had special words to say about nonproliferation matters: "Bothsides agree that urgent attention must continue to be given to improvingthe physical protection and accounting of nuclear materials of allpossessor states, and preventing illicit nuclear trafficking."

Shortly thereafter, I was sent to Russia by President Bush to work onexpanding and accelerating the cooperation efforts cemented earlier bythe two presidents.

My partner in this effort is Russian Minister of Atomic Energy AlexanderRumyantsev. Our relationship embodies the new spirit of cooperation ofwhich our presidents spoke so eloquently. In Moscow, Minister Rumyantsevand I announced an agreement for an expanded and acceleratedU.S.-Russian effort to strengthen the protection of nuclear material.

As a result of this agreement we expect to improve by years the timewhen Russian nuclear materials are protected by comprehensive securityfeatures.

We also agreed to work together to enhance the international nuclearweapons nonproliferation regime and to improve measures on nuclearmaterials' physical protection.

The Minister and I are personally engaged in supervising this newagreement on a day-to-day basis, in order to ensure that bureaucraticobstacles and any residual Cold War suspicions are overcome quickly.

While in Moscow I also met with the Commander-in-Chief of the RussianNavy, Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov.

The United States has been working for years with the Russian Navy toimprove the security of their nuclear warheads; Admiral Kuroyedov and Idiscussed how to accelerate this work as well.

If one good thing can come out of the tragedy of September 11, it's thatour nation is now working more closely with Moscow on issues of nationalsecurity - ours as well as theirs - than we have done at any time in thepost-Soviet era.

On my way back to the United States, I once more stopped in Vienna tobrief the IAEA on these recent developments for internationalcooperation.

I pledged on behalf of the United States that we would contributefinancial support to further IAEA's efforts.

And I called for the international community to revise and strengthenthe Convention for the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which weview as an urgent matter.

Subsequently, our Administration finalized our internal reviews ofnonproliferation programs with Russia.

I'm pleased today to initiate for the first time a public discussion ofthe results of that review.

Accelerating our efforts to secure nuclear materials; re-orientingtechnical research and development; reworking our nuclear safetyprograms to have a global reach - these are just some of the steps we'retaking as a result of our reviews. I'd like to discuss each briefly.

I can't over-emphasize the importance of our research and developmentinitiatives to staying steps ahead of those who would harm us, or ourfriends and allies.

Detecting anthrax and other biological agents in hours, not days;deploying a biological detection capability at the Salt Lake CityOlympics; applying new detection technologies to chemical and biologicalagents - these activities are at the heart of our mission.

We're accelerating our Material Protection, Control and Accountingprogram, a unique initiative that provides "low-tech, high payoff"solutions to the problem of under-secured nuclear materials in Russia.

This is a program that is already a success story, with securityupgrades completed or underway on 600 metric tons of weapons-usablematerial; hundreds of trucks and railcars in Russia made more securethrough hardening and other measures; and material consolidated at fewerlocations, making it less vulnerable to sabotage or terrorist attacks.

This is truly where the rubber meets the road, and the results speak forthemselves. We are now planning to complete that program by 2008 - twoyears ahead of schedule. We're working with Russia to strengthen itsborders, for example by installing radiation detection equipment attransit and border sites throughout Russia, to better prevent smugglingof sensitive materials outside of that country.

And we're working to consolidate sensitive materials at fewer sitesthroughout Russia, thereby reducing its vulnerability to theft orsabotage.

And by employing these scientists for peaceful, viably commercialpurposes, we dramatically reduce the talent pool available to thosestates that would employ these individuals for their own evil ends.

And, finally, let me note one of the most important decisions we havemade with respect to our relationship with Russia.

After considerable study, we have reaffirmed plans to dispose of 34metric tons of Russian surplus weapons grade plutonium (as well as 34tons of American plutonium) by turning the material into mixed oxidefuel - or MOX fuel - for use in nuclear reactors.

Some challenged this program because of the cost of U.S. disposal. We'vecut the U.S. costs by revising our plans. Compared to the program weinherited, we will save almost two billion dollars and advance theprogram's completion by three years.

Russia has been unwilling to proceed with its own disposal without afirm U.S. commitment to comparable reduction.

Now we have that commitment, reaffirmed at the highest level of ourgovernment and fully funded in our new budget.

We are now working with Russia to improve the efficiency of the Russianprogram and are working with our allies to ensure adequate internationalsupport.

As a result of these efforts, Russia will eliminate enough plutonium tomake over 4,200 nuclear weapons.

I don't want to give the idea that our programs are only about Russia,however. DOE's initiatives have a worldwide reach.

We're securing materials in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Uzbekestan. We'reworking closely with the IAEA, as I mentioned. And I'm pleased with theprogress we're making.

An example of our progress can be found in our announcement last weekthat the government of Kazakhstan and the Department of Energy haveentered into a new agreement on a project at Kazakhstan's UlbaMetallurgical Plant to recover low-enriched uranium for use in civilpower reactors.

This project will benefit not only Kazakhstan, but U.S. industry aswell.

All this adds up to a series of initiatives that have enormous value ontheir own, but taken together form a cohesive and effective response totoday's pressing threats. It's an effort with which I'm extremely proudto be associated.

Funding for the Future

In hearing me lay out such an ambitious new plan of action, you mightask if the proof is in the pudding.

By "pudding," I mean our budget. I'm happy to tell you that thePresident's budget is totally consistent with this expanded,accelerated, comprehensive approach.

We requested almost $1.2 billion in FY 2003 for nonproliferation andrelated activities, the highest amount at which these programs have everbeen funded and one-third higher than the last budget of the previousadministration.

Within that total amount, we are asking for $800 million to support ournonproliferation programs with Russia, an increase of $115 million . 17percent above the Fiscal Year 2002 appropriated level.

In addition, we reversed the past decline in research and development,allocating over a quarter of a billion dollars to technology forcountering proliferation and terrorism.

All this follows on the heels of a significant FY '02 supplemental -over $220 million - for research and development, materials security,and other key programs. It's for no small reason that I am confidentthat the Department can meet the ambitious agenda I laid out at thebeginning of my talk.

This is a budget that reflects the President's total commitment to dowhat it takes to make our country secure, and is fully consistent withthe President's Homeland Security initiatives. I'm glad that DOE will beable to continue to do its part, and to do so in such an effective,fully supported fashion


Earlier I said my mission in this office was to effectively advance,maintain, and if possible expand the effectiveness of the nuclearnonproliferation program.

I strongly believe we are well on our way to achieving our goals.

I believe there is a growing consensus in Congress that will ensure thesupport necessary to achieve success.

And I believe, in Russia, we have an equally committed partner.

The nature of the war on terrorism is such that it is often difficult topinpoint success or highlight good news.

In the arena of nuclear non-proliferation, we have much work to do andhuge challenges before us.

But through the leadership of President Bush, the support of Congress,and the cooperation of Russia, we are making progress that can be justlydescribed as good news.

I'd like to leave you with a remark that John F. Kennedy was prepared todeliver in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

In the last few months I have been struck by how these words are asapplicable today - if not more so - than they were in the fall of 1963.

And they are words that have special resonance for us as we forge aheadwith our mission to keep dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands ofthe most dangerous people:

"America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have notabandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, ourvigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the military, thescientific, and the economic strength to do whatever must be done forthe preservation and promotion of freedom..We in this country, in thisgeneration, are - by destiny rather than choice - the watchmen on thewalls of world freedom."

President Kennedy never got to utter these words that day. But it is noless true today that we are again called by destiny to be the watchmenon the walls of world freedom.

And, as before, it is essential that we not shy from that challenge.
return to menu

G. Links of Interest

Nuclear Terrorism
Ira Helfand, Lachlan Forrow, Jaya Tiwari
British Medical Journal
February 9, 2002
return to menu

The Human Consequences Of The Chernobyl Nuclear Accident
A Report Commissioned by UNDP and UNICEF
January 25, 2002

return to menu

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.

Section Menu:

© 2007 Partnership for Global Security. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement.