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Nuclear News - 02/26/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, February 26, 2002
Compiled by David Smigielski


A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Transcript: Breakfast Meeting With The Defense Writers Group And Under Secretary Of Defense For Policy Douglas J. Feith (excerpted), U.S. Department of Defense (02/20/02)
B. U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement
    1. US And Russia Set For Uranium Deal, Nancy Dunne, Financial Times (02/26/02)
    2. USEC Likely Has Russian Deal, Joe Walker, Paducah Sun (02/23/02)
C. Debt For Nonproliferation
    1. $133M Debt Deal Eases Tense Bulgaria Relations, Reuters (02/26/02)
D. Russia-U.S.
    1. Russian And American Export Control Experts Agreed On Perspectives Of Cooperation, RBC News (02/22/02)
E. Russia-Iran
    1. Iran: MP Says Russians Are Not Leaving Iran Under American Pressure, Norooz via BBC Monitoring Service (02/26/02)
    2. Iran: Foreign Ministry Spokesman Rejects Shift In Tehran-Moscow Nuclear Cooperation, IRNA via BBC Monitoring Service (02/26/02)
    3. Iran: Reformist Paper Says Russians At Nuclear Power Station May Be Leaving, Bonyan via BBC Monitoring Service (02/24/02)
F. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. U.S. Analysts Find No Sign Bin Laden Had Nuclear Arms, Thom Shanker, New York Times (02/26/02)
    2. Russia's Nuclear Arms Deemed Vulnerable, Bill Gertz, The Washington Times (02/23/02)
G. Russian Nuclear Industry
    1. Russian Urges Labs To Back Push For Nuke Power, Scripps Howard News Service (02/22/02)
    2. Russian-Ukrainian Protocol On Collaboration In Nuclear Energy Sphere To Be Signed, RBC News (02/22/02)
H. Russian Nuclear Waste
    1. Court Scraps Resolution On Storing Spent Nuclear Fuel From Hungary Interfax (02/26/02)
    2. Minatom Lobbies For Import Of Nuclear Waste, RFE/RL Newsline (02/26/02)
    3. Russian Minister Urges Funds To Deal With Nuclear Waste, Interfax (02/25/02)
    4. Kyrgyzstan Seeks Funding To Tackle Radioactive Dumps, Vecherniy Bishkek via BBC Monitoring Service (02/22/02)
I. Announcements
    1. Russian Deputy Minister Of Foreign Affairs Georgy Mamedov Meets With Canadian G8 Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (02/26/02)
    2. In Relation To US Vice President Richard Cheney's Policy Speech, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (02/22/02)
J. Links of Interest
    1. Arms Control In A New Era, Rose Gottemoeller, The Washington Quarterly, Spring 2002
    2. Russian Basic Science After Ten Years Of Transition And Foreign Support, Irina Dezhina & Loren Graham, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Transcript: Breakfast Meeting With The Defense Writers Group And UnderSecretary Of Defense For Policy Douglas J. Feith (excerpted)
U.S. Department of Defense
February 20, 2002
(for personal use only)


[.]

Feith: The issue of Russian tactical nuclear weapons. You're correct,it gets very little attention. The Russians have lots of tacticalnuclear weapons. We view them at this point not as a big militaryheadache for us but as a, more from the point of view of the danger ofnuclear proliferation. But it is a very large arsenal and I don't knowwhat more -- your general point that it's not paid a lot of attention tois true.

Q: What are you going to do?

Feith: What are we going to do?

Q: Is this on your radar screen? Do you have a plan of action? Okay,now that we've done this whole ABM thing let's move over to tacticalnukes?

Feith: In general the idea, if the Russians -- When the Russians areinterested in demilling items like that we do have a mechanism throughwhat's called the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the Nunn/Lugarprogram --

Q: Are you interested in pressuring them to demilitarize?

Feith: We're interested in -- if they want to work with us on helpingto demil those, we'd be happy to do it. As I said, we're not viewingthem as an immediate threat to us. They are mainly a threat because ofthe proliferation problem. But I don't think -- we're not in thebusiness of pressuring the Russians. We actually have quite acooperative relationship with them.

Q: The immediate threat I think is very clear, especially with alQaeda, and there's a great deal of concernabout weapons of mass destruction getting out there. You say there's noimmediate threat, but that really doesn't jive with what's in the news.

Feith: The word is immediate. What I mean by immediate is the Russiansthreatening us. I said there's a significant threat from the point ofview of proliferation.

Q: Is it better not to demil them? Are they safer sitting on top of abig old rocket than they are unpackaged and put in a nice smallcontainer and put on a rail car to some storage center when they can bestolen?

Feith: They're better off being properly secured.

Q: Are you confident in the command and control (inaudible)?

Feith: Confident. The issue of command and control of anybody else'sweapons is always an issue. We're confident of our own. And whenweapons are in anybody else's hands there's always an issue.

[.]
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B. U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement

1.
US And Russia Set For Uranium Deal
Nancy Dunne
Financial Times
February 26, 2002
(for personal use only)


Agents for the US and Russia have negotiated new terms on a key armsnon-proliferation pact in a deal which appears highly favourable to theUS industry but which has aroused concerns within the sector.

Under the agreement, Russia would drop the price of downgraded atomicbomb fuel retrieved from dismantled warheads. The deal would lower theRussian price for low-enriched uranium from $90 dollars per separativework unit (SWU) in 2002 by at least $20 a SWU, according to industrysources. Shipments, delayed by the negotiations, could resume nextmonth.

Spot prices are now $105 per SWU. A formula has been agreed under whichthe Russian company would gain higher returns if US and world spotprices rose.

The pact was initialled last Thursday - but has yet to be made public -by officials from the US Enrichment Corporation (Usec), the privatisedUS uranium enrichment company, and the Russian Atomic Energy Ministryand Techsnabexport, a Russian company.

Usec is the US government's agent for the "megatons into megawatts"pact, which provides for the sale of 500 tonnes of highly enricheduranium over 20 years. In the first seven years of the deal Russia hasearned $2.5bn, US officials say.

Both governments must still sign the pact. Ron Witzel, a nuclear fuelconsultant with John Longenecker & Associates, said Russia might seekbetter terms because of "the lack of responsiveness to changes in themarket". Furthermore, the deal would allow the Russian company tosubsidise the higher-cost operation of the lone US uranium enrichmentplant in Kentucky, operated by Usec.

Mr Witzel said such a subsidy was in direct contravention of theoriginal agreement signed in May 1993.

The terms of the agreement alarmed some nuclear industryrepresentatives, who are worried about the potential for high enricheduranium prices. Richard Miller, a foreign policy analyst and nuclearindustry specialist, on Monday said there was also concern that the highprofits to be earned from the pact could encourage USEC to close its USuranium enrichment facility. The US would then be dependent on foreignsuppliers.
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2.
USEC Likely Has Russian Deal
Joe Walker
Paducah Sun
February 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


USEC Inc. has struck a deal to buy cheaper uranium from Russia, whichhas major implications for the future of the 1,500-employee Paducahuranium enrichment plant.

Although company officials declined comment Friday, various Washingtonsources said USEC and Russia reached a tentative pact this week.

"All I know for certain is that USEC and Tenex, the Russian agent, haveinitialed a new long-term agreement that both governments have toapprove," said Phil Potter, Washington, D.C.-based policy analyst forthe plant energy workers' union. "There's no question they've initialeda deal, the State Department has received it and faxed it to variousagencies in the U.S. government involved in this."

Potter said he was uncertain of details and had heard various pricesspeculated, but couldn't confirm any of them. He said he expectedgovernmental review to be fast because of the importance the deal has toAmerica's uranium enrichment industry.

The deal, reached Thursday, was confirmed by a senior Bushadministration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, andMassachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Thomas Neff, whoconceived the program and has consulted with both governments. Neff saidsome Russian officials are concerned the new price is too low and won'tincrease enough annually to keep up with future spikes in the market.

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Southgate, said during a Paducah visitWednesday that USEC was closer than ever to a new contract with Russia.He said the Department of Energy was pushing the deal as part of anoverall agreement to protect the Paducah plant, the nation's soleremaining enrichment facility.

USEC is middleman for sales of the Russian material, recycled fromformer Soviet warheads and accounting for about half the enricheduranium used by U.S. nuclear plants. About a third comes from thePaducah plant and the rest from European competitors.

In the eighth year of a $12 billion, 20-year pact with Russia, USEC haspinned the future of the Paducah plant on lowering prices for thecheaper Russian uranium. It says lower prices help offset the plant'shigh production costs from using massive amounts of electricity.

USEC leases the plant from the Energy Department. Tentative termsbetween the two call for USEC to run the facility at guaranteedproduction levels or turn it back to government operation. The companywould be removed as agent for the Russian uranium if it defaulted on anyof various terms of the agreement.

Union officials have expressed concern whether the cheaper Russianuranium will help or hurt plant jobs. They had hoped the Paducah plantagreement would precede the new Russian deal because too much Russianuranium could displace plant production.

Bunning said Wednesday that DOE Deputy Secretary Francis Blake hadreplaced Undersecretary of Energy Robert Card as chief negotiator in thePaducah plant agreement. That came after Card and USEC President WilliamTimbers exchanged heated criticism in letters about the talks.
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C. Debt For Nonproliferation

1.
$133M Debt Deal Eases Tense Bulgaria Relations
Reuters
February 26, 2002
(for personal use only)


Bulgaria said Monday it had solved a long-standing dispute with Russiaover Moscow's debt to Sofia, agreeing that $88.5 million should berepaid in the next two years and the remaining $44 million should bewritten off.

Deputy Finance Minister Krassimir Katev told reporters Bulgaria wroteoff the $44 million to cover various Russian claims and losses thatemerged from a previous debt agreement signed in 1995 that was notfulfilled. "We've managed to close down a page in Bulgarian-Russianrelations, which the previous governments did not do for seven years.This is the first step in melting the ice between the two countries,"Katev said.

Under a memorandum signed over the weekend, Russia would repay $15million in cash by June, $49.5 million in the form of nuclear fuelsupplies this and next year and $24 million in the form of militarysupplies and arms repairs by early 2004. Talks on the debt were indeadlock over the past decade as economic relations with Russia, oncethe region's communist master and still Bulgaria's only supplier of gasand oil, were significantly reduced following dismantling of theSoviet-led trading bloc, COMECON.

Under the previous 1995 agreement, Russia's debt to Bulgaria wasestimated at $100 million and was due to be repaid by equipment suppliesworth $52 million to Bulgaria's biggest steel plant, Kremikovtzi, andmilitary supplies worth $49 million.

"We decided to give up the steel plant equipment and instead agreed toreceive some cash and highly liquid goods such as nuclear fuel," saidKatev. He said the fuel would be used by Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclearpower plant, which produces 44 percent of the country's annual power.The military supplies are needed mainly to bring Bulgaria's air force upto NATO standards, he added. Katev said a final debt agreement withRussia was expected to be signed around the middle of the year whenBulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg was expected to visitMoscow.

Bulgaria's government, which took office in July last year, as well asnew President Georgi Parvanov have set reviving ties with Russia amongforeign policy priorities along with European Union and NATO membership.
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D. Russia-U.S.

1.
Russian And American Export Control Experts Agreed On Perspectives OfCooperation
RBC News
February 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


The meeting of the Russian and American export control experts, whorepresented different Ministries and other official bodies of the twocountries, were held on February 21st-22nd in Moscow. According to theinformation and press department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, theparties discussed practical aspects of cooperation in export control,which is a key tool in providing national and international security andmaintaining the bilateral regimes of non-distribution of nuclearweapons. The parties have determined the perspectives of the futurefruitful collaboration. Both the Russian and the American delegationshared a common view on the creation of a flexible, non-formal mechanismof the future collaboration in this area. The collaboration of theparties is based on the Russian-American bilateral memorandum about theexport control cooperation of 1994.
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E. Russia-Iran

1.
Iran: MP Says Russians Are Not Leaving Iran Under American Pressure
Norooz via BBC Monitoring Service
February 26, 2002
(for personal use only)


Following the news published in foreign newspapers and reflected insideIran indicating that there were pressures exerted on Russia by theUnited States about cooperation with Iran in the area of building theBushehr nuclear power plant, the parliamentary correspondent of Noroozasked a number of MPs about the matter.

Hamideh Edalat, MP from Bushehr said: It is not true that Russianexperts are leaving Iran after pressures were exerted by America.

She added: Parts of executive operation that were to be handed over toIranians according to the contract are being handed over and the Russianexperts are leaving the country for this reason.

Elaheh Kula'i, the reporter of the National Security Committee said shedid not know about this. However, she added that official Iraniansources have denied the matter.

Mohammad Dadfar, MP from Bushehr, too has said that he does not knowabout this issue.
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2.
Iran: Foreign Ministry Spokesman Rejects Shift In Tehran-Moscow NuclearCooperation
IRNA via BBC Monitoring Service
February 26, 2002
(for personal use only)


There has been no change in Tehran-Moscow cooperation in the peacefuluse of nuclear energy, announced Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid RezaAsefi.

The Persian daily 'Bonyan' on Tuesday [26 February] quoted Asefi assaying that Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant aims certain peaceful goals,adding that Russian experts are still continuing their work to completethe plant.

He stressed that Iran-Russia nuclear cooperation would not threaten anycountry, and said there had been basically no reason to stop suchcooperation.

Earlier, citing remarks of the Russian energy minister on the change ofpolicy for mutual nuclear cooperation, Bonyan had reported on Mondaythat Russian experts are leaving Bushehr plant.
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3.
Iran: Reformist Paper Says Russians At Nuclear Power Station May BeLeaving
Bonyan via BBC Monitoring Service
February 24, 2002
(for personal use only)


Only a few days after the publication of a report on the Russian energyminister's changing of the policy of nuclear cooperation with Iran, itis being said that Russian specialists at the Bushehr Nuclear PowerStation are leaving Iran and returning to Russia.

The weekly, Marianne, which is published in Paris, reported last weekthat the Russian atomic energy minister has imposed severe restrictionson the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran. According to a report bythe correspondent of Bonyan, media circles are discussing the reports onthe return of Russian specialists to their country and they arewhispering in each others' ears. However, no official is prepared toeither deny or confirm the report. Our correspondent contacted ForeignMinistry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi who did not deny the veracity of thereport. He merely refused to confirm it. He said: Such reports are notconfirmed.

Our correspondent also contacted Musavi, who is the spokesman anddirector-general of public relations at the State Atomic EnergyOrganization. He said: That is not a particularly important matter. Agroup of people are always coming here, while others may be leaving.

He added: Experts do not stay in one place all the time. Those whoseexpertise is required come here, while others may leave and goelsewhere.

At the same time, he did not deny the veracity of the aforementionedreport and said: In our view, that is not something on which we need totake a position.

The Majlis deputy from Bushehr, Mohammad Dadfar, told our correspondent:There have been reports on this here and there. However, what is clearis that the Russians do not have one policy on the Bushehr PowerStation. Sometimes, they increase the number of their personnel.However, at other times, they recall their specialists.

He refused to elaborate further.
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F. Nuclear Terrorism

1.
U.S. Analysts Find No Sign Bin Laden Had Nuclear Arms
Thom Shanker
New York Times
February 26, 2002
(for personal use only)


An analysis of suspected radioactive substances seized in Afghanistanhas found nothing to prove that Osama bin Laden reached his decade-longgoal of acquiring nuclear materials for a bomb, administration officialssay.

The analysis of suspicious canisters, computer discs and documentsconducted by the government suggests, in fact, that Mr. bin Laden and AlQaeda may have been duped by black-market weapons swindlers sellingcrude containers hand-painted with skulls and crossbones and dipped,perhaps, in medical waste to fool a Geiger counter, officials said.

More than 110 government buildings, military compounds, terrorist camps,safe houses and caves in Afghanistan have been searched for clues aboutAl Qaeda's plans and development of advanced terror weapons. Americanintelligence officers and Special Forces found three containers withcontents worrisome enough to be shipped back for detailed analysis bynuclearscientists.

No significant amount of radioactive material was found in thecontainers, two seized at the Taliban Ministry of Agriculture in Kabuland one at an Al Qaeda compound in the Kandahar region, officials said.

"We did not find any type of serious radiological material," onePentagon official said. "The stuff we found in Afghanistan was not thereal stuff. They were swindled, like a lot of other people."

Another administration official who has been briefed on the materialsseized in Afghanistan said, "Their value for a weapon was zero."

The analysis, officials at other departments and agencies said,represented the consensus of the government-wide intelligence community.But those officials cautioned that it is impossible to make a blanketassertion that Al Qaeda possesses no nuclear material.

Despite the analysis and Al Qaeda's rout from Afghanistan, the groupstill has the desire, resources and global network of operatives to seekand, perhaps someday, acquire nuclear materials, or biological orchemical ones, that could be used in a terror attack, officials said.

Still, the cannisters obtained in Afghanistan did not indicate that thegroup had yet accomplished that goal. The canisters were in fact socrude - made of thin metal but not lead or lead-lined - that any couriertransporting them would have been exposed to harmful levels of radiationhad the containers actually held prized nuclear material.

The containers were not imprinted with yellow labels accepted worldwideas radiation warnings or even the more common markings for medicalwaste, either of which might have indicated that the contents werepurchased or stolen from a weapons laboratory, nuclear reactor, militaryinstallation or hospital.

"One just had a skull and crossbones painted on it by hand," a DefenseDepartment official said. "It was a very primitive container. The peoplecarrying it would have been exposed to radiation."

The search for weapons of mass destruction in Afghanistan providedevidence of how hard it is to acquire sufficient fissionable materialsfor a small atomic weapon, or even enough radioactive material for a"dirty bomb" in which laboratory waste or civilian nuclear fuel rodswould be wrapped around a conventional explosive and detonated,spreading poison and contamination.

Officials said this analysis helps explain a notable section inPresident Bush's State of the Union address, in which he warned ofterrorists joining forces with states possessing biological, chemical ornuclear weapons. The alliance would be a logical one for terrorists whohave found they are unable to purchase those weapons or their componentson the black market.

"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis ofevil, arming to threaten the peace of the world," Mr. Bush said before ajoint session of Congress on Jan. 29. "By seeking weapons of massdestruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They couldprovide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match theirhatred."

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and George J. Tenet, the directorof central intelligence, have routinely warned that any terrorist groupable to hijack airliners and slam them into office buildings would useeven deadlier means of destruction if they could.

In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence thismonth, Mr. Tenet said Mr. bin Laden had declared that acquiringunconventional weapons was a "a religious duty."

"We know that Al Qaeda was working to acquire some of the most dangerouschemical agents and toxins," Mr. Tenet said. "Documents recovered fromAl Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan show that bin Ladin was pursuing asophisticated biological weapons research program. We also believe thatbin Laden was seeking to acquire or develop a nuclear device. Al Qaedamay be pursuing a radioactive dispersal device - what some call a `dirtybomb.' "

American officials also disclosed today that the United States has yetto find evidence that Al Qaeda was able to create a chemical orbiological weapon at any of its camps, command centers or caves inAfghanistan.

Gen. Tommy R. Franks, who commands American forces in the Afghan warzone, said today that searches have been conducted at about 60 locationssuspected as sites for production of weapons of mass destruction andanother 50 or so that he described as "sensitive sites."

"We have seen evidence that Al Qaeda had a desire to weaponize chemicaland biological capability, but we have not yet found evidence thatindicates that they were able to do so," he said at a news conference.

Much of the trafficking in nuclear materials is by swindlers, Pentagonofficials report. An internal Defense Department document records thatalmost 1,000 cases of alleged illicit nuclear trafficking have beentracked since 1991. "Most cases involve at least some degree of swindle,but small amounts of various genuine nuclear materials have beenintercepted, including plutonium," the report states.

One Defense Department official described the standard ruse. "All youneed is a small amount of radioactive medical waste," the official said."Pass a Geiger counter over it, and you get a positive reading. You cansell it to an uneducated person as radiological."

Even so, administration officials said they worry most about Al Qaedareceiving bona fide nuclear materials or scientific know-how fromillicit sources inside Russia or Pakistan, although the leaders of bothnations strenuously state that there is nothing to fear.

However, in a new report to Congress, the National Intelligence Council,which conducts strategic analysis for Mr. Tenet, said some high-gradenuclear material has been stolen inside Russia.

"Weapons-grade and weapons-usable nuclear materials have been stolenfrom some Russian institutes," the report said. "We assess thatundetected smuggling has occurred, although we do not know the extent ormagnitude of such thefts. Nevertheless, we are concerned about the totalamount of material that could have been diverted over the last 10years."
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2.
Russia's Nuclear Arms Deemed Vulnerable
Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
February 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


The system used to protect Russian nuclear weapons is "stressed" bymilitary funding shortfalls and is vulnerable to an "insider" who couldcircumvent nuclear-missile launch controls, according to a U.S.intelligence report. The report to Congress also said thieves havestolen an unknown amount of weapons grade nuclear fuel over the pastdecade.

"Russia employs physical, procedural, and technical measures to secureits weapons against an external threat," the unclassified report says."But many of these measures date from the Soviet era and are notdesigned to counter the pre-eminent threat faced today - an insider whoattempts unauthorized actions."

An unauthorized or accidental missile launch is "highly unlikely" aslong as the current safeguards are enforced and the central politicalauthority exists, said the report by the National Intelligence Council,an analysis arm under CIA Director George J. Tenet.

Yesterday's release of the 12-page report comes as the Bushadministration has warned that terrorists are seeking to developnuclear, chemical and biological weapons, possibly using stolen nuclearmaterial.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that since September 11security has been increased at nuclear weapons storage sites and that"terrorists have not acquired Russian nuclear weapons," the report said.Italso said security at Russia's nuclear-power plants has been increasedas a result of Moscow's war against Chechnya.

The report said that, "we are concerned about the total amount ofmaterial that could have been diverted over the last 10 years." Therehave been published reports indicating that al Qaeda terrorists haveattempted to purchase stolen Russian nuclear arms on the black market.

Among the incidents identified in the report are:
  • Theft in 1992 of 1.5 kilograms of enriched uranium from the LuchProduction Association.
  • Theft of 3 kilograms of enriched uranium from Moscow.
  • The 1998 theft from Chelyabinsk province of an amount of nuclearmaterial to produce a nuclear device, according to a Russian nuclearofficial.


  • Current warhead-security efforts are aimed at preventing threats "fromoutside the country," the report said, and "may not be sufficient tomeet today's challenge of a knowledgeable insider collaborating with acriminal or terrorist group." Col. Gen. Igor Valynkin, the DefenseMinistry official in charge of warhead storage, stated in August 2000that "there have been no incidents of attempted theft, seizure, orunauthorized actions involving nuclear weapons."

    "Even with the enhancements, security problems may still exist at thenuclear-weapons storage sites," the report said.

    One Russian military officer told a Russian television station in Augustthat security at warhead-storage facilities was lax, including personnelshortages and broken alarm systems.

    The report said the United States is working with the Russian governmentto increase the safety and security of nuclear-related facilities,infrastructures and personnel. According to the report, Moscow currentlyhas fewer than 5,000 strategic nuclear warheads, but will reduce itsstrategic forces to around 2,000 warheads because of funding problemsand aging systems.
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    G. Russian Nuclear Industry

    1.
    Russian Urges Labs To Back Push For Nuke Power
    Scripps Howard News Service
    February 24, 2002
    (for personal use only)


    U.S. and Russian nuclear scientists hope by June to submit a formalappeal to the presidents of both nations asking them to collaborativelyjump-start nuclear power.

    An informal agreement to produce a joint Russian-American report onnuclear power to the two presidents followed the appeal late last weekof prominent Russian physicist Evgeny Pavlovich Velikhov to hiscounterparts at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.

    In a formal address, Velikhov specifically asked his Sandia colleaguesto help prepare a joint report within two months for President Bush andRussian President Vladimir Putin stressing the urgency of revitalizingnuclear power research and development.

    One of three U.S. nuclear weapons labs, Sandia has played a majorresearch role in nuclear energy, particularly in the realm of safety andtesting.

    President of the prestigious Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, Velikhovsaid, "Nuclear energy has a very important role to stabilize things(economically) in Russia."

    Soon, he said, it will be crucial as well to the economy and security ofthe United States and could play a central role in enhancing globalsecurity and environmental integrity.

    In addition to references to energy insecurity fueling global conflict,Velikhov said that human health and the threat of global warming - bothat risk because of traditional fossil fuels - should motivate the twonations to lead a resurgence of nuclear power that he noted does notpollute the atmosphere.

    Critics of nuclear power argue that radioactive waste is a big problemwith nuclear energy.

    Sandia President C. Paul Robinson pledged his labs' support in theendeavor, saying his scientists hold similar views and concerns aboutthe long-term energy supply for the United States and the world.

    Robinson in recent years has stressed that U.S. national security isfundamentally linked to the country's energy, environmental and economicsecurity.

    Saying Sandia's own studies show there are national security, economic,environmental and geopolitical reasons supporting a resumption ofnuclear energy development, Robinson said: "The time is ripe for that (abinational research effort)."

    While Sandia also has been a world leader in developing green energyalternatives, like solar and wind power, many scientists there believethat these sources remain immature and incapable of supplying the vast,growing and unlimited demand for instant energy at the flick of aswitch.

    Sandia Vice President Joan Woodard, however, warned that scientists havea major task in convincing a fearful public that nuclear energy is safeand can be made even safer.

    Velikhov agreed but said the first hurdle is convincing governmentleaders, noting his scientists already are making strides in the RussianDuma, or congress.

    He suggested Americans should have a much easier task because theproblem in Russia, since the Chernobyl nuclear reactor incident, "isfive orders of magnitude" worse than here.

    "We must have a very comprehensive program of public education," hesaid.

    Velikhov warned that the task must be undertaken soon because bothcountries are rapidly losing their nuclear expertise, as nuclearphysicists and engineers age and die.
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    2.
    Russian-Ukrainian Protocol On Collaboration In Nuclear Energy Sphere ToBe Signed
    RBC News
    February 22, 2002
    (for personal use only)


    The last round of negotiations, during which a Russian-Ukrainianprotocol will be signed on thecollaboration in the sphere of using nuclear energy for peacefulpurposes, will take place in Kiev today. The document will be signed byAtomic Energy Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Rumyantsevand Fuel and Energy Minister of Ukraine Vitaly Gayduk, the press serviceof the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry reported to RosBusinessConsulting.

    According to the protocol, Russia confirms its decision to build and putinto operation two generators at the Rovensky and Khmelnitskiy nuclearpower stations. In addition, the document provides for the establishmentof a Russian-Ukrainian-Kazakh joint venture that will be producingnuclear fuel.
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    H. Russian Nuclear Waste

    1.
    Court Scraps Resolution On Storing Spent Nuclear Fuel From Hungary
    Interfax
    February 26, 2002
    (for personal use only)


    Russia's Constitutional Court on Tuesday invalidated a governmentresolution that allowed the storage of waste from the Paks nuclear powerplant in Hungary.

    Chelyabinsk region residents, the For Nuclear Safety regional movementand Greenpeace Russia had filed a lawsuit against the Russiangovernment.

    "The terms of importing spent fuel from Hungary grossly violated theConstitution and Russian laws," Greenpeace coordinator Vladimir Chuprovtold Interfax. In keeping with current requirements, nuclear waste mustbe shipped back to the country of origin after it is processed, Chuprovsaid. "Contrary to this ban, the Atomic Energy Ministry pushed through aspecial resolution that paved the way for conservation of the waste fromHungary," he said.

    "This arrangement has not been made public yet, but it is an outrageousfact," For Nuclear Safety leader Natalya Mironova said. Today'sConstitutional Court ruling will ameliorate the situation in theChelyabinsk region. Hungary will have to take back the thousands ofcubic meters of highly radioactive waste resulting from the spent fuelprocessing, Mironova said.

    The number of people suffering from malignant tumors is on the rise, theregional oncology center reported. The increase went from 45 sufferersper 100,000 residents in 1950 to 120 people in 1960, 197 in 1970, 243 in1980, 294 in 1990 and 360 in 2000. Over 13,000 residents of the regionare diagnosed with cancer annually, and 8,000 people die of cancer everyyear, the center said. The number of active years lost to cancer hasreached 7.5 among men and 10 among women, the center said.

    The Guinness Book of Records lists the Chelyabinsk region as a territorywith the highest level of nuclear contamination in the world.
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    2.
    Minatom Lobbies For Import Of Nuclear Waste
    RFE/RL Newsline
    February 26, 2002
    (for personal use only)


    Speaking at an ecological conference devoted to the problems posed bynuclear waste, Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Valerii Lebedev said on 25February that Russia should take advantage of the money it can earn fromimporting foreign nuclear waste in order to earn enough to process itsown waste, Interfax reported. He suggested that through these funds,Russia could build a second nuclear waste-processing facility to helpease the burden on the current facility, which he said is only able toprocess 200 tons of nuclear waste a year. However, Lebedev's plan willface strong opposition from environmentalists, smi.ru reported the sameday. Renowned ecologist Aleksei Yablokov argued that Russia should notimport any foreign nuclear waste, saying that processing just one ton ofspent nuclear fuel produces 4.5 tons of nuclear waste, according to thewebsite.
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    3.
    Russian Minister Urges Funds To Deal With Nuclear Waste
    Interfax
    February 25, 2002
    (for personal use only)


    Russia has accumulated nearly 14,000 tonnes of nuclear waste, and atremendous amount of waste has accumulated in building nuclear weapons.For-profit processing of imported nuclear waste would finance theprocessing of the country's own waste, officials in the Atomic EnergyMinistry believe, Deputy [Atomic Energy] Minister Valeriy Lebedev toldan interregional ecological conference that was held in the settlementof Cherkizovo, Moscow Region, on Monday [25 February].

    The conference was organized by the institute of humanitarian andpolitical studies headed by State Duma member Vyacheslav Igrunov and theRussian association of design and intellectual activities headed byAndrey Sharomov, former leader of the Yabloko party's youth wing.

    Large amounts of money are needed if the ecological situation atenterprises that produce weapon-grade uranium and plutonium is to beimproved, Lebedev said. Because the state is cashapped, the industrymust work for the needed funds, he believes.
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    4.
    Kyrgyzstan Seeks Funding To Tackle Radioactive Dumps
    Vecherniy Bishkek via BBC Monitoring Service
    February 22, 2002
    (for personal use only)


    Russian experts have prepared a feasibility study for tackling theproblems of some Kyrgyz radioactive dumps and submitted it to the KyrgyzMinistry of Ecology and Emergencies.

    Such is the result of the studies carried out last year byrepresentatives of the All-Russia Research Institute of IndustrialTechnology of the Russian Federation Ministry of Atomic Energy at theMin-Kush [northern Kyrgyzstan], Kadzhi-Say [northeast] and Mayli-Say[southeast] waste dumps. The question of necessary investment in thereclamation of such sites was discussed, amongst other things.

    According to the documents by the Russian atomic scientists, theestimated total cost of the work to be done is 8.8m dollars. Reclamationof the Kadzhi-Say area, consisting of a tailing dump and a tip will take657,000 dollars, eight such dumps in Min-Kush will cost 3.6m and the twothe most dangerous tailings dumps in Mayli-Say will cost 4.5m to tackle.

    Now the problem is to find an investor.
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    I. Announcements

    1.
    Russian Deputy Minister Of Foreign Affairs Georgy Mamedov Meets WithCanadian G8 Political Director James Wright
    Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    February 26, 2002


    On February 26, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the RussianFederation Georgy Mamedov received the Canadian G8 Political Directorand Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, James Wright.

    The main theme of the talk was the preparations for a G8 summit to beheld in Kananaskis, Canada, in June 2002. In particular, Canada'sproposal to transform the G7 Nuclear Safety Working Group into a G8organ with the full-format participation of Russia, the need for whichthe interlocutors agreed is long overdue, was discussed. The sidesconsidered also some topical questions of international security(especially the Russian-American talks on START-ABM) andRussian-Canadian relations in the light of the recent successful visitof Team Canada to Russia.
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    2.
    In Relation To US Vice President Richard Cheney's Policy Speech
    Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    February 22, 2002


    Moscow has taken note of the programmatic statement of US Vice PresidentRichard Cheney on priorities in national economic policy, which he madein the American Council on Foreign Relations.

    Special emphasis was laid in it on the USA's energy strategy, which hasmuch in common with Russia's approach to energy policy. DeepeningRussian-American energy cooperation, of which the key aspects werediscussed in the course of the recent meeting in Washington betweenChairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Kasyanovand Cheney, appears very promising in this context.

    Russia and the USA can be natural and effective partners in the energydialogue. All the objective prerequisites have evolved for that.

    We hope that this theme will receive its further development in thecourse of the upcoming (May 2002) official visit of US President GeorgeW. Bush to Russia.
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    J. Links of Interest

    1.
    Arms Control In A New Era
    Rose Gottemoeller
    The Washington Quarterly
    Spring 2002
    http://www.twq.com/02spring/gottemoeller.pdf


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    2.
    Russian Basic Science After Ten Years Of Transition And Foreign Support
    Irina Dezhina & Loren Graham
    Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    http://www.ceip.org/files/Publications/wp24.asp?from=pubdate


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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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