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Nuclear News - 02/15/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, February 15, 2002
Compiled by David Smigielski


A. U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement
    1. Facing A Meltdown, Carter Dougherty, The Washington Times (02/13/02)
B. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Nunn Takes Private Anti-Nuclear Effort, Charles Digges, The Russia Journal (02/15/02)
C. Russia-U.S.
    1. Doing For, Not Doing To (excerpted), Paul J. Saunders, Moscow Times (02/13/02)
D. Russia-Iran
    1. Unit 1 Of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant In Iran To Be Put Into Operation In Sept. 2003, Interfax (02/15/02)
    2. Official: Russia Will Finish Reactor, Associated Press (02/14/02)
E. Russia-India
    1. Nuclear Navy, United Press International (02/15/02)
    2. India Signs Nuclear Reactor Deal With Russia, PTI via BBC Monitoring Service (02/13/02)
F. Russian Nuclear Industry
    1. Russia Relaxes Terms For Nuclear Fuel Supplies To Ukraine, Vitaliy Matarykin, ITAR-TASS (02/14/02)
G. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Lack Of Funds Delays Scrapping Of 98 Russian Nuclear Submarines, ITAR-TASS (02/14/02)
H. Russian Nuclear Waste
    1. Russia To Take Back Spent Fuel From Nuclear Stations Abroad, ITAR-TASS (02/14/02)
    2. Russian Nuclear Plant Set To Open Training Centre For Waste Disposal, Boris Ivanov, RIA via BBC Monitoring Service (02/14/02)
    3. Russia Soon To Be Flooded With Nuclear Waste!, Vasily Bubnov, PRAVDA.Ru (02/14/02)
    4. Radiation Source Removed From Military Site In Western Georgia, Iprinda via BBC Monitoring Service (02/13/02)
    5. Lithuania Considering Where To Store Nuclear Waste, RFE/RL Newsline (02/12/02)
I. Nuclear Safety
    1. Ecological Monitoring Service Detects Radioactivity Leak In Moscow, RFE/RL Newsline (02/15/02)
    2. Putin Envoy Calls For Tighter Security At Russian Nuclear Power Stations, Eduard Puzyrev, RIA-Novosti (02/12/02)
J. Announcements
    1. Opening Statement by Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell to the House Appropriations Subcommittee On Foreign Operations, Export Financing, And Related Programs (excerpted), U.S. Department Of State, Office of the Spokesman (02/13/02)
    2. Russia's Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, On The Results Of The Paris Meeting On The Draft International Code Of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (02/13/02)
    3. Press Release: DOE Awards New Grant To Advance ECD Technologies In Russia, Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (02/12/02)
K. Links Of Interest
    1. Responses To "Improving U.S.-Russian Nuclear Cooperation," Issues in Science and, Technology Online, Winter 2001
    2. Bureau of Export Administration Annual Report
    3. Iran, Israel and Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East, Michael Donovan, Center for Defense Information (02/14/02)
    4. Faking Nuclear Restraint: The Bush Administration's Secret Plan For, Strengthening U.S. Nuclear Forces, Natural Resources Defense Council (02/13/02)
    5. A New Agenda For Nuclear Weapons, Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay, The Brookings Institution, February 2002

A. U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement

1.
Facing A Meltdown
Carter Dougherty
The Washington Times
February 13, 2002
(for personal use only)


The only U.S. company that produces fuel for nuclear-power plants facesa bleak financial future and could go bankrupt within six years,according to a confidential report prepared for the Nuclear RegulatoryCommission.

USEC Inc., based in Bethesda, is suffering from high operating costs anda failure to invest in new, more-efficient technology that would allowit to compete with foreign companies, the report states. "USEC'sfinancial condition may not allow the expectation that the company canremain in business for an additional five years" after 2003, when theNRC will conduct a regular review of its five-year operating permit, thereport states.

The NRC regulates the nuclear-power industry.

USEC spokesman Charles Yulish dismissed the assessment as part of a"cottage industry of reports predicting USEC's demise," he said.

USEC was created in 1998 through the privatization of the U.S.Enrichment Corp., the former government monopoly in charge of turninguranium into nuclear fuel. It operates a single plant, in Paducah, Ky.,which is owned by the Department of Energy. It recently closed anotherfacility in Ohio. The company also administers a program called"Megatons to Megawatts" that funnels Russian uranium recovered fromdismantled nuclear warheads to electric utilities. The failure of USECwould leave American utilities completely dependent on imported uraniumto run their plants, said John Longenecker, a nuclear-industry analystand former Department of Energy official who was involved in theprivatization of USEC.

"If USEC were to go out of business, the Russians would meet the[American] demand easily," he said. "We ought to have a debate aboutthat."

Though the NRC prepared the report with outside consultants in August2000, the document has remained under wraps, labeled "sensitive andproprietary information." At the time, the NRC said the study of USEC'sfinances could be expanded, but that it probably lacked the legalauthority to do so. But nuclear-industry analysts said little haschanged in the last 18 months that would change the report'sassumptions.

"USEC is the high-cost supplier," Mr. Longenecker said. "And that's thevendor that usually exits the market first."

The company uses an outdated technology to "enrich" uranium into nuclearfuel. The company's financial weakness means it does not have the meansto invest in new facilities that would make it more competitive, the NRCreport states.

USEC's profits, which hit $9.5 million in the last quarter of 2001, aredue largely to the liquidation of its inventories rather than efficientoperations, the report adds. As a result of its finances, USEC facestougher terms from its creditors. The company currently has a $150million credit line for which it does not have to put up any collateral.Now, its creditors are demanding that it put up "certain assets" assecurity for the money, according to documents it filed with theSecurities and Exchange Commission in January. The NRC also has imposedtough financial conditions on USEC.

Federal regulators want to make sure that USEC takes care of lingeringbyproducts from the fuel-manufacturing process if the company abandonsthe Paducah plant. The NRC required the company to pay an "insurancedeposit" of $21.4 million to cover any clean-up costs, according toSEC documents. "It's like saying if you have a $200,000 insurancepolicy, you don't just pay premiums, you pay $250,000 up front," anuclear-energy industry source said.

Steven Toelle, USEC's director of regulatory affairs, dismissed suchinterpretations of the NRC's move. "This requirement is made of allsorts of facilities in the nuclear industry," he said.

Financial markets recently have reached similar judgments about USEC,whose stock is now worth one-third of its value at privatization in June1998. Standard & Poor's rates the company's debt as junk status. On Jan.23, the investment service put USEC on a "creditwatch negative" list,meaning its credit rating stands a good chance of being lowered in thenext three months. Most critically for USEC, the prices it receives forthe uranium that it enriches into nuclear fuel are not enough to meetits cost of production, the report states. Though prices have risen overthe past year, USEC is still locked into contracts that put it at adisadvantage, according to Scott Sprinzen, an S&P analyst. "Marketprices are improving, but the prices in their contracts are gettingworse," he said. USEC stock fell 5 cents to $5.84 on the New York StockExchange yesterday.
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B. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Nunn Takes Private Anti-Nuclear Effort
Charles Digges
The Russia Journal
February 15, 2002
(for personal use only)


Former U.S. senator and nuclear-arms reduction crusader Sam Nunn paid awhirlwind visit to Moscow this week to unveil a privately funded aidpackage worth nearly $6 million to help Russia minimize the threat ofnuclear and chemical weapons.

The $6 million is just the first installment of an ambitiousrisk-reduction plan that would eventually disburse $250 million ingrants over the next five years through the Nuclear Threat Institute, orNTI, which Nunn co-chairs with media magnate Ted Turner. The project,Nunn told a Moscow news conference, should assist efforts to secure anddismantle weapons of mass destruction, prevent their spread and fostercooperation between scientists on anti-terrorism projects.

"Our governments have to deal with threats of chemical, biological andnuclear programs," said Nunn, a Democrat who, along with Republican Sen.Richard Lugar, spearheaded the Cooperative Threat Reduction Act inCongress in 1991 - a program dedicated to slashing Russia's nuclearweapons stockpile. Nunn served on the Armed Services Committee untilretiring from the Senate in 1997.

"Our job is to help identify the threat and stimulate our governments todo more," Nunn said.

Among the threats Nunn identified were the abundance of nuclear weaponsleft over from the Cold War and stockpiles of biological weapons.Through a series of collaborative efforts between Russian and Americanscientists, as well as efforts to engage unemployed nuclear scientists,NTI hopes these risks will be mitigated.

The program is also considering a proposal that the United States andWestern European countries write off a portion of Russia's foreign debt,provided the money is spent on securing weapons of mass destruction,Nunn said.

But Nunn's remarks came during a cold snap in the warm post-SeptemberU.S.-Russia relations over Russia's supposed support of an Iraniannuclear program, which was detailed in a declassified CIA reportreleased Wednesday, on the eve of Nunn's trip to Moscow.

The report, which CIA Director George Tenet released to Congress,alleges that Russia remains one of the leading suppliers of nucleartechnology to nations hostile to the United States. It is also "thefirst choice of nations seeking nuclear technology and training," Tenetsaid, the Associated Press reported.

The CIA report, covering the first half of 2001, the AP reported, saidthe Russian government's commitment, willingness and ability to curbproliferation-related transfers "remained uncertain." It also said thatRussia was selling sensitive missile and nuclear know-how to helpTehran's nuclear program.

The Foreign Ministry blasted the report, calling it "complete rubbish"when contacted earlier this week, adding that it was "categoricallyunacceptable" that a CIA report would have indicated that Russia wasselling nuclear technology to Tehran.

Russia is engaged in a $800 million deal to build a nuclear power plantin Bushehr, southern Iran, a facility the CIA report said "enhancedIran's ability to support a nuclear weapons development effort." Russianand Iranian officials have denied this claim for some time.

The report cast something of a pall over the opening of the new NuclearThreat Institute, whose aim will be to provide grants and educationalprograms toward bilateral nuclear disarmament.

But the tone Nunn struck was conciliatory, suggesting that the UnitedStates was prepared to share some intelligence data with Moscow topersuade Russia to drop controversial deals.

He also suggested that some form of a written agreement must bedeveloped to replace the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which U.S.President George W. Bush announced in December the United States wouldwithdraw from in six months. Nunn took up the issue of the impendingU.S. withdrawal in discussions with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

Nunn began working on nuclear nonproliferation issues in the Senate in1991. Teaming up there with his colleague Lugar, the Georgia Democratdrafted legislation known as the Cooperative Threat Reduction Act, orCTR, the primary purpose of which was to finance the destruction ofnuclear and biological weapons in the former Soviet Union and in theUnited States.

Since its inception, CTR - more commonly known as the Nunn-Lugar Act,after its co-authors - has spent $3.1 billion of the $4.7 billion itallotted in 1991 for dismantling nuclear weapons in former Sovietstates.

It seems, though, NTI's mission is very much the same as the Nunn-Lugarlegislation, said Alexander Pikayev of the Moscow office of the CarnegieEndowment for International Peace.

"If it were not for the fact that Ted Turner was involved, the projectswould be basically the same - and of course CTR has more money," Pikayevsaid.

"Because its money is private, NTI will have more latitude to deal withother governments than its counterparts at CTR," he continued. "Eventhough NTI has less for the next five years - only $250 million - moredoors will open for them because they have to be more focused inspending."

Alexei Yablokov, a Duma deputy and president of the Ecological PolicyCenter of Russia, agreed, saying in a recent interview: "Big governmentmoney always leads away from what needs to be done. The people who willspend the money where it needs to be spent" are nongovernmentalorganizations such as NTI.

Indeed, CTR, though it has the support of both parties in Congress, hascome under the scrutiny of the General Accounting Office, thelegislature's investigative agency and private experts for pooraccounting and reporting practices as well as excessive cost growth forprograms not clearly related to national security.

"Hopefully, NTI won't have the same difficulties," Pikayev said.
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C. Russia-U.S.

1.
Doing For, Not Doing To (excerpted)
Paul J. Saunders
Moscow Times
February 13, 2002
(for personal use only)


Though the official purpose of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell'stestimony last week before the Senate and House committees that overseehis department was to justify his budget for the next fiscal year,Powell's remarks were an important policy statement -- particularly fromthe perspective of the U.S.-Russian relationship. In fact, for those whoseek closer and more effective cooperation between Washington andMoscow, Powell's comments were downright encouraging.

[.]

The third important aspect of Powell's statements was his affirmationthat the Bush administration is now pursuing discussions with Russia ona legally binding agreement to reduce each side's nuclear arsenal. Inits substance, the administration's new willingness to consider signinga binding document resolves a major obstacle to an important agreementin the interest of both countries; as a result, a deal may be possiblequite soon. In a sense, however, the implications of theadministration's decision may be even more consequential than whateveragreement eventually emerges. During the last decade, one of theprincipal Russian concerns about the U.S.-Russian relationship has beenits alleged one-sidedness. Former President Boris Yeltsin and Russia'sradical reformers were widely discredited by the perception that theyhad surrendered key national interests to the United States withoutreceiving anything in return. Since Sept. 11, some new commentary hastaken a similar tone in characterizing Putin's support of the U.S. waron terrorism. In this context, the abandonment of the concept ofparallel unilateral cuts in nuclear weapons -- a notable U.S. concessionto Putin -- demonstrates the benefits of cooperation with the UnitedStates in an area of interest to Moscow. Such a signal will not be loston Putin; it will also have an impact on at least some portion ofRussia's attentive public.

Over the long term, the disparity in power between the United States andRussia makes some degree of Russian concessions to Washington more orless inevitable in the foreseeable future. In many areas, Russia simplydoes not have the levers to resist U.S. policies even if it objectsstrongly. The key to achieving the greatest level of cooperation,however, is to display sufficient flexibility in areas less important tothe United States to ensure that Moscow continues to view itsconcessions as justified by the return they bring.

That kind of a relationship -- one that focuses on what we can do witheach other and for each other rather than what we can do to each other-- would be profoundly advantageous to both Russia and the UnitedStates. In accepting talks on binding nuclear arms cuts, the Bushadministration has taken an important step to build it.

Paul J. Saunders is director of the Nixon Center in Washington. Hecontributed this comment to The Moscow Times.
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D. Russia-Iran

1.
Unit 1 Of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant In Iran To Be Put Into OperationIn Sept. 2003
Interfax
February 15, 2002
(for personal use only)


The VVER-1000 nuclear reactor at power unit 1 of the Bushehr nuclearpower plant in Iran is scheduled to be put into operation in September2003, a source with the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy told Interfax.

This facility, at which the main equipment is being assembled at themoment, is currently 60% ready, the source said.

As was reported earlier, Russian specialists first had some problemserecting the Bushehr plant, somewhat slowing down the construction,which was originally conducted under a German project. It was furthertransformed to be compatible with Russian equipment, which is a uniqueoccasion in the history of nuclear power construction, the RussianAtomic Ministry said.

The Ministry has already presented Iran with a feasibility study of theconstruction of another VVER-1000 power unit. Iran is to determine theconstruction site on its own.

At the same time, experts from the Russian Atomic Ministry take the viewthat the construction of the second power unit at the Bushehr nuclearpower plant would be the most optimal choice.

At the moment, Russian specialists are working in Bushehr under aRussian-Iranian contract worth $800 million, which envisions thebuilding of only one power unit.

Russia and Iran also have an agreement that Russia will ensure fuelsupplies for the Bushehr plant. In addition, the Russian Atomic Ministryplans to organize thetraining of Iranian nuclear specialists in Russia.
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2.
Official: Russia Will Finish Reactor
The Associated Press
February 14, 2002
(for personal use only)


A top Russian official said Thursday that Russia intends to fulfill itscontract to help build a nuclear reactor in Iran, despite U.S. calls forMoscow to break the deal.

Deputy Nuclear Energy Minister Valery Lebedev said Russia plans tocomplete construction of the nuclear plant at Bushehr in late 2004 orearly 2005, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

The United States has long urged Russia to terminate the 1995 contractfor the Bushehr nuclear reactor, worth about $800 million, saying itcould advance Iran's efforts to build nuclear weapons.

Moscow has dismissed the U.S. warnings, saying that the Iranian reactorcan be used only for civilian purposes and will be under internationalcontrol.

Russia's nuclear ties with Iran have been a strain on Moscow'srelationship with Washington, which have been dramatically bolstered byRussian President Vladimir Putin's support for the U.S.-led war inAfghanistan.

President Bush recently referred to Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an"axis of evil" - an embarrassment to Russia, which has close ties withall three.

Lebedev said Thursday that Russia would take back all the spent nuclearfuel from the Bushehr reactor for reprocessing in compliance with theinternational nuclear nonproliferation regime. The same practice will beapplied to nuclear power plants Russia has agreed to build in China andIndia, he said.
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E. Russia-India

1.
Nuclear Navy
United Press International
February 15, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Indian Navy repeatedly has refused to confirm or deny it has anyrole in India's nuclear weaponry. Now their cover is blown. A jointtraining course for Air Force and Navy officers has started at theBhabha Atomic Research Center in Trombay, on storage and handling ofnuclear devices. The courses are supervised by Atomic Energy ChairmanAnil Kakodkar and BARC director B. Bhattacharjee.

Under the Indian nuclear safeguard system, the nuclear cores to bombsand warheads are kept with the scientists under Kadodkar's civiliancontrol, while the military look after the weapons and deliverysystems. This is a standard "scattering" procedure to preventpre-emptive strikes on India's nuclear capability, and also ensuringcivilian political control over the arsenal. This appears to confirmreports India has adapted 185-mile range Klub missiles (known by NATOas the SS-N-27), purchased last year from Russia, to carry nuclearwarheads.
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2.
India Signs Nuclear Reactor Deal With Russia
PTI via BBC Monitoring Service
February 13, 2002
(for personal use only)


In a major step towards the implementation of Kudankulam nuclear powerproject in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, the Nuclear PowerCorporation of India Limited (NPCIL) has signed a 500m-dollar contractwith Russia's "Atmostroy" corporation for the supply of two advancednuclear reactors and other power-generation equipment.

"This is the biggest-ever deal signed by NPCIL with any country andprovides for the supply of two most advanced VVER-1000 reactors with2,000 MW total capacity and other equipment with long production cyclelike steam turbines and generators," Chairman and Managing Director ofNPCIL V.K. Chaturvedi told Indian media persons in Moscow Tuesday [12February] after the signing ceremony.

Next month another major contract is expected to be signed for thesustained supply of nuclear fuel by Russia for the Kudankulam powerplant after its completion in about five years, Chaturvedi said.

Most modern infrastructure has already been created at the site andexcavation work is nearing completion for the beginning of concreting on31 March, when Russian Atomic Energy Minister Aleksandr Rumyantsev isexpected in India, Chaturvedi added.

The initial memoranda for the sale of two nuclear generation units wassigned in November 1988 by then Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev andthe then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Following several years of delay, on account of the disintegration ofthe Soviet Union, Russia finally renewed the deal in June 1988, a monthafter Pokhran-II, despite strong pressure from the US.

During Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's Russia visit in November2001, an Indo-Russian memorandum was signed at Moscow, which became thekicking point in the implementation of Kudankulam project.

Russia will provide 1.535bn US dollars worth of equipment and servicesfor the construction of Kudankulam plant, 50 per cent of which would becovered by Russian state credit, though initially it was to cover 85 percent cost of the Russian agencies.

However, NPCIL decided to do most of the construction work worth 900m USdollars by itself under Russian supervision to scale down the cost ofthe power plant, Chaturvedi said.

India is also placing orders worth 220m US dollars in Ukraine and otherCIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries, which were part ofthe integrated Soviet nuclear power complex.

Stating that the Kundakulam site can accommodate six nuclear powerunits, Chaturvedi said India was exploring the possibility of aquiringtwo additional reactors from Russia.
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F. Russian Nuclear Industry

1.
Russia Relaxes Terms For Nuclear Fuel Supplies To Ukraine
Vitaliy Matarykin
ITAR-TASS
February 14, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russia has improved the terms of payments for fresh nuclear fuel forUkraine, Olga Kravets, the vice-president of the [Ukrainian] nationalatomic energy generating company Energoatom, announced today. Accordingto Kravets, plans have been made for the conclusion of a final agreementon issues relating to supplies of fuel to Ukrainian atomic powerstations, to be signed at ministerial level in Kiev in February.

According to Kravets, the price of Russian fuel will rise somewhat in2002. However, Russia has agreed to receive direct payment for supplieswithout the issue of a bank guarantee, which simplifies the procedurefor Ukraine. Meanwhile, preferential terms for supplies will remain inplace for three further years.

In 2002, Energoatom intends to supply all 13 blocks of its atomic powerstations with nuclear fuel. According to specialists, the supplies willnot cost more than 250m dollars.
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G. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
Lack Of Funds Delays Scrapping Of 98 Russian Nuclear Submarines
ITAR-TASS
February 14, 2002
(for personal use only)


Ninety-eight nuclear-powered submarines are yet to be scrapped toRussia. Their nuclear reactor fuel still remains intact, ValeriyLebedev, deputy minister of atomic energy, told ITAR-TASS on Thursday[14 February].

All the decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines remain at their navalstations so far and each of them is served by special crews who ensurethe fireproofing and buoyancy of the submarines. The servicing of eachsuch submarine costs Russia R5-6m a year, Lebedev pointed out.

The work to scrap submarines and their reactors must be expedited, butit is hindered by the lack of the necessary means, the deputy ministeremphasized.
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H. Russian Nuclear Waste

1.
Russia To Take Back Spent Fuel From Nuclear Stations Abroad
ITAR-TASS
February 14, 2002
(for personal use only)


Spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power stations which are being built byRussia in Iran, China and India is to be brought back to Russia.

The stations will use Russian nuclear fuel which, under the provisionsof the nuclear non proliferation treaty, should be returned to thecountry of origin, Valeriy Lebedev, deputy minister of atomic energy,told ITAR-TASS on Thursday [14 February].

The construction of a nuclear power station in Iran is to be completedat the end of 2004 or early in 2005, Lebedev pointed out. Specialnuclear-fuel assemblies are to be supplied there by that time.

After the service length of each such nuclear-fuel assembly expires, itis subject to return to Russia for reprocessing. Similar operations willbe carried out at the nuclear power stations in India and China.

Russia has signed three contracts to build nuclear power stations inthese countries and each station will have two reactors.
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2.
Russian Nuclear Plant Set To Open Training Centre For Waste Disposal
Boris Ivanov
RIA via BBC Monitoring Service
February 14, 2002
(for personal use only)


A special training centre to handle radioactive waste, mainly ofmilitary origin, is being set up in the closed town of Zheleznogorsk,near Krasnoyarsk [formerly Krasnoyarsk-26], Vasiliy Zhidkov, thedirector-general of the Mining and Chemical Combine that will host thecentre, has told RIA.

Zhidkov said that the centre will deal, in the first place, with liquidnuclear waste. Enormous volumes of it have already been accumulated inthe world, and in order to process it one requires not just "big money",but special technologies as well, he said.

"We won the international tender, as our methods were considered to beclose to ideal," Zhidkov said.

The new centre will provide paid services by training nuclearspecialists from any country. It will demonstrate the entiretechnological process of handling nuclear waste, from its extractionfrom underground tanks, where it has been stored for decades, up totransforming it into the solid state and placement in a specialglass-concrete jacket for final burial.
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3.
Russia Soon To Be Flooded With Nuclear Waste!
Vasily Bubnov
PRAVDA.Ru
February 14, 2002
(for personal use only)


Last year, despite the protests of environmental groups and thesmouldering discontent of Russians, the law on the importation andprocessing of spent nuclear fuel was passed in Russia. Officials fromthe RF Nuclear Ministry persistently persuaded people of the project'seconomic advantage. It was said that Russia would earn $20 billionwithin the next twenty years by processing spent nuclear fuel. It wassaid that the money could be spent then on the development of nuclearpower enterprises. However, the questions regarding the protection ofthe earned money from theft remained unanswered.

The scale of the project is rather impressive. Deputy Nuclear MinisterValery Lebedev said in an interview to ITAR-TASS that spent fuel fromnuclear power plants in Iran, India, and China "will certainly make itsway back to Russia." In addition, those plants are being built byRussian specialists, and they will be supplied with fuel from Russia.According to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, this fuel is to be returnedto the country of origin.

The construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran is to be completed bythe end of 2004 to the beginning of 2005. By that time, specialinstallations with nuclear fuel will be delivered there. Eachinstallation is to be delivered back to Russia for reprocessing when itslife expires. Similar operations will be performed at the nuclear powerplants in India and China. Russia has signed three contracts, accordingto which nuclear power plants are to be constructed in these countries.Two reactors will operate at each of the plants.

This means that Russia will not greatly profit from the reprocessing ofthe spent fuel delivered from the countries mentioned above. However,Western countries are paying special attention to the project. Germanyis very attractive from this point of view. The German governmentdecided to gradually close all nuclear power plants on its territory.Trains with spent fuel from Germany are likely to be transported toRussia soon.

However, the problem of the importation of spent nuclear fuel is stillpressing for most people in Russia. Opponents tried to organize anenvironmental referendum, but the failed: according to the law, not lessthan 2 million signatures need to be collected to initiate a referendum;the ecologists collected 2.5 million, but 600,000 of them were rejectedas defective by the RF Central Election Committee. As a result, the casewas submitted to the European court in Strasbourg. If the court takesthe environmentalists' side, the referendum may still take place.

However, nothing hampers the importation of spent nuclear fuel to Russiaso far. The hypothetical sum of $20 billion is extremely tempting.However, the money is not easy to earn, as the market has been sharedlong ago. And Russia still fails to conclude an agreement according towhich it will see real money.
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4.
Radiation Source Removed From Military Site In Western Georgia
Iprinda via BBC Monitoring Service
February 13, 2002
(for personal use only)


The radioactive material strontium-90 which was discovered on 12February was removed from the Zestaponi motor-rifle battalion garrisonterritory today. The strength of the source is 10 microroentgen perhour.

The source was put into a safe container and prepared for transportationto a special waste processing site by employees of the nuclear andradiation service of the Georgian Civil Defence Department.

According to preliminary reports, none of the military personnel havebeen affected by radiation. Experts inspected the whole area but couldnot find any other radiation source.

According to information available to Iprinda, a Russian chemicalwarfare unit was stationed in the area in the past. Several radiationsources have been discovered in the area since the Russian unit left andthe base was transferred to the Georgian Defence Ministry. The radiationsources found in the area were transported to a nuclear reactor inMtskheta.
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5.
Lithuania Considering Where To Store Nuclear Waste
RFE/RL Newsline
February 13, 2002
(for personal use only)


Dainius Janenas, the director of the recently formed Radioactive WasteRegulation Agency, told a press conference in Vilnius on 12 Februarythat the agency's most important task is to find a permanent storagesite for the fuel used by the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) onceit is closed, "Lietuvos rytas" reported the next day. He noted that theplant produces about 1,100 cubic meters of solid waste and 1,000 cubicmeters of liquid nuclear waste each year, and that there are now about60 intermediate containers at the INPP suitable for holding nuclearwaste for 50 years. The number of containers would increase to 700 afterthe plant's closure and cost about 70-90 million euros ($62-$79million). Some geologists have suggested a more secure undergroundburial site near Kaunas, but costs for using that site are estimated atbetween 100 and 250 million euros. The other suggested alternative ofsending the nuclear waste to Russia has the drawback that Russia willagree only to temporary storage.
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I. Nuclear Safety

1.
Ecological Monitoring Service Detects Radioactivity Leak In Moscow
RFE/RL Newsline
February 15, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Moscow state service responsible for monitoring radiation announcedon 14 February that it has discovered the presence in the air over thenorthern part of the city radioactive isotope of iodine-131."Komsomolskaya pravda" and NTV reported on 14 February. Although thecurrent quantity of the isotope poses no immediate danger, greaterconcentrations in the air could prove very harmful to human internalorgans and the hormonal system. The specialists say they cannot explainthe presence of iodine-131 in the atmosphere other than by a leak from anuclear reactor, and that they have already begun checking functioningreactors in research and medical institutions in Moscow.
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2.
Putin Envoy Calls For Tighter Security At Russian Nuclear Power Stations
Eduard Puzyrev
RIA-Novosti
February 12, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Russian president's plenipotentiary representative in the UralsFederal District (UFD), Petr Latyshev, has called on specialists to bevigilant at installations of the Russian nuclear industry. He wasspeaking in Chelyabinsk on Tuesday [12 February] at an interdepartmentalcoordination meeting on the development of Russia's nuclear industry andways of maintaining radiation safety and guaranteeing the social welfareof citizens who have suffered the consequences of radioactivecontamination in the UFD. The conference was attended by Deputy PrimeMinister Ilya Klebanov, Atomic Energy Minister Aleksandr Rumyantsev andheads of a number of central departments and constituent parts of theRussian Federation in the UFD.

The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry told RIA-Novosti that Petr Latyshevnoted the importance of developing up-to-date ways of guaranteeingsecurity at vital state installations, such as enterprises of thenuclear industry. "At a time when terrorism is resorting to moresophisticated methods in its inhuman activities, guaranteeing thereliability and operational safety of all systems in the nuclearindustry assumes special importance and the state must ensure thisreliability," Latyshev noted.

The participants also examined cooperation between the Atomic EnergyMinistry, the Emergencies Ministry, the Ministry of Health, the Ministryof Natural Resources and the local authorities in constituent parts ofthe Russian Federation in the context of ensuring tighter security atAtomic Energy Ministry installations, as well as measures to providefunding for the construction of a BN-800 unit [an 800-MW fast-neutronreactor] at the Beloyarsk nuclear power station. They also discussedquestions of the completion of geological prospecting work in KurganRegion.

Special attention was paid to the social support of individuals whosuffered as a result of the 1957 accident at the Mayak nuclearenterprise in Chelyabinsk Region, as well as local ecological issues,the Atomic Energy Ministry said.
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J. Announcements

1.
Opening Statement by Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell to the HouseAppropriations Subcommittee On Foreign Operations, Export Financing, AndRelated Programs (excerpted)
U.S. Department Of State
Office of the Spokesman
February 13, 2002
(for personal use only)


With regard to Russia, President Bush has defied some of our critics andstructured a very strong relationship. The meetings that he had withPresident Putin and the dialogue that has taken place between RussianForeign Minister Ivanov and me and between Secretary of Defense Rumsfeldand his counterpart, and at a variety of other levels, have positionedtheUnited States for a strengthened relationship with the land of eleventimezones.

[.]

But we have also demonstrated that when it is a matter of principle, wewill stand on that principle. In his first year in office PresidentBushhas shown the international community who he is and what hisadministration is all about. That is an important accomplishment - andone that is appreciated now everywhere I go. People know where Americaiscoming from and do not have to doubt our resolve or our purpose. Theymaynot always agree with us, but they have no doubt about our policy or ourposition. We want to ensure that this policy clarity and this firmnessofpurpose continue to characterize our foreign policy, and not just withtheEuropeans but with all nations.

Let me just note that this sort of principled approach characterizes ourdetermined effort to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction[WMD] - an effort well underway before the tragic events of September 11added even greater urgency. We and the Russians will reduce our owndeployed nuclear weapons substantially. In the meantime, we are using acomprehensive approach, along with our friends and allies, to tackle WMDelsewhere, an approach that includes export controls, non-proliferation,arms control, missile defenses, and counter-proliferation. As you heardPresident Bush say in his State of the Union address to the Congress,"theprice of indifference [to WMD] would be catastrophic."

Director of Central Intelligence Tenet emphasized in his testimony lastweek that there are terrorists in the world who would like nothingbetterthan to get their hands on and use nuclear, chemical, or biologicalweapons. So there is a definite link between terrorism and WMD. Not torecogize that link woul be foolhardy to the extreme.

[.]
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2.
Russia's Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, On The Results Of The ParisMeeting On The Draft International Code Of Conduct Against BallisticMissile Proliferation
February 13, 2002
(for personal use only)


Question: Alexander Vladimirovich, please comment on the results of theParis meeting on the Draft International Code of Conduct AgainstBallistic Missile Proliferation.

Answer: We on the whole are satisfied with the results of the firstmultilateral meeting just held in Paris on the Draft International Codeof Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.

We are grateful to the government of France, which exerted a lot ofeffort for its preparation and successful holding.

It is important that most of the countries possessing missilecapabilities took part in the meeting, and that they were given anopportunity to state their approaches to solving the problem of missileproliferation.

The participation in the Paris forum of the representatives of 78 stateshas strikingly demonstrated the urgency of the task of counteringmissile proliferation and the readiness of the majority of countries toparticipate in the search of a solution to this problem on the basis ofa multilateral approach. This is particularly important for the fillingof an international legal vacuum that may form after the unilateraldecision by the United States of America to withdraw from thecornerstone ABM Treaty for strategic stability and nonproliferation.

The discussion that took place has shown a fairly broad range ofopinions. Proposals were heard for placing work on the Draft Code underthe aegis of the United Nations or transferring it to the Conference onDisarmament. Quite a few remarks also were made on the text of the DraftCode.

The Russian delegation emphasized the support of the internationalefforts to prevent missile proliferation. Apart from Russia's initiativefor creating a Global Control System (GCS) for the Nonproliferation ofMissiles and Missile Technologies, important work is being conducted inthe Group of Government Experts to assist the UN Secretary General inpreparing a report on the question of missiles in all of its aspects.Taking into account the Draft Code, the talk is thus about three tracksof solving the problem of missile proliferation by politico-diplomaticmeans.

We note with satisfaction the wishes expressed by the representatives ofa number of countries to continue work on the Russian initiativerelating to GCS.

In the opinion of the Russian side, the text of the Draft Code could beimproved by including in it more detailed wordings on such issues astechnological cooperation and the provision of guarantees for countriesvoluntarily abandoning their own missile programs. Of great significancewould be the statement in the Code of the commitment by participatingcountries to the purposes and principles of the UN.

Now a serious analysis will have to be made of the outcomes of thediscussion held so as to continue work in Spain, which as the EUPresident has offered to organize the next meeting on the Draft Code.

We understand that the process of achieving consensus on this documentwill not be simple, but the seriousness of the problem requires ofeveryone the exercise, on one side, of perseverance, and, on the other,tolerance for the opinions of other participants of the multilateralnegotiation process that began in Paris.
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3.
Press Release: DOE Awards New Grant To Advance ECD Technologies InRussia
Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.
February 12, 2002
(for personal use only)


Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) (Nasdaq: ENER - news) announcedtoday that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a new$750,000 cost-shared grant to Sovlux Battery, ECD's U.S.-Russian jointventure with the Chepetsky Mechanical Plant in Glazov, Russia and theRussian Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom) for the further developmentof ECD's proprietary metal hydride technology to provide clean energyfor the Russian market.

The grant was awarded under the DOE's Initiatives for ProliferationPrevention (IPP) program which provides funding to employ scientists andengineers, formerly engaged in the production of metal alloys fornuclear weapons, in the pre-production and qualification of materialsfor use in nickel metal hydride batteries for a wide range ofapplications, including hybrid electric vehicles and electric scooters.A variation of the materials may be used for hydrogen storage systems.The metal hydride materials being qualified enable Sovlux Battery to bean economically attractive supplier of materials to ECD's batterysubsidiary, Ovonic Battery.

Stanford R. Ovshinsky, ECD's president and chief executive officer,said, ``This award will help to convert Russia's previously largenuclear weapons industry to build new, needed industries for cleanenergy production. It will also contribute to U.S. economic growth,U.S.-Russian scientific collaboration, a safer and more sustainableenergy future, and reduction of environmental pollution and greenhousegases.''

ECD is the leader in the synthesis of new materials and the developmentof advanced production technology and innovative products. It haspioneered and developed enabling technologies leading to new productsand production processes based on amorphous, disordered and relatedmaterials, with an emphasis on advanced information technologies andalternative energy, including photovoltaics, fuel cells, hydridebatteries and hydride storage materials capable of storing hydrogen inthe solid state for use as a feed stock for fuel cells or internalcombustion engines or as an enhancement or replacement for any type ofhydrocarbon fuel. ECD designs and builds manufacturing machinery thatincorporates its proprietary production processes, maintains ongoingresearch and development programs to continually improve its productsand develops new applications for its technologies. ECD holds the basicpatents in its fields. ECD's web site address is http://www.ovonic.com.

This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaningof the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigationreform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are based onassumptions which ECD, as of the date of this release, believes to bereasonable and appropriate. ECD cautions, however, that the actual factsand conditions that may exist in the future could vary materially fromthe assumed facts and conditions upon which such forward-lookingstatements are based.
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K. Links of Interest

1.
Responses To "Improving U.S.-Russian Nuclear Cooperation"
Issues in Science and Technology Online
Winter 2001
http://stills.nap.edu/issues/18.2/forum.html


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2.
Bureau of Export Administration Annual Report
http://www.bxa.doc.gov/press/2001/AnnualReport/TableofContents.html

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3.
Iran, Israel and Nuclear Weapons in the Middle East
Michael Donovan
Center for Defense Information
February 14, 2002
http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/menukes-pr.cfm

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4.
Faking Nuclear Restraint: The Bush Administration's Secret Plan ForStrengthening U.S. Nuclear Forces
Natural Resources Defense Council
February 13, 2002
http://www.nrdc.org/media/pressreleases/020213a.asp

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5.
A New Agenda For Nuclear Weapons
Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay
The Brookings Institution
February 2002
http://www.ceip.org/files/projects/npp/pdf/pb94.pdf


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DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only.Views presented in any given article are those of the individual authoror source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for thetechnical accuracy of information contained in any article presented inNuclear News.



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