1. U.S. Probing Energy Firm's Links To Russians' Company
Stephen J. Hedges
March 20, 2002
(for personal use only)
The Energy Department is investigating the relationship between thenation's leading nuclear fuel supplier and a Pittsburgh consultingbusiness that was established by a top Russian nuclear official.
Under an agreement with the U.S., Russia provides most of the uraniumpurchased by U.S. Enrichment Corp. of Bethesda, Md. The uranium, whichsupplies fuel to about 70 percent of the nation's nuclear power plants,is taken from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons, processed to be usedin power plants and sent to the United States.
Recent stories by the Tribune and the Los Angeles Times reported thatUSEC, which is the U.S. government's agent in the uranium trade withRussia, gave a Pittsburgh nuclear consultant a $90,000 contract that ranfrom January 2000 to March 2001.
The consultant, Mark Kaushansky, was a business partner of YvgenyAdamov, who was Russia's minister of atomic energy from 1998 to 2001.They had formed the Omeka Ltd. consultancy in 1994, but Adamov left thefirm before he took his ministerial post. Adamov's wife, Olga, also wasthe Moscow business manager for the consulting firm.
During the time that Kaushansky, a Russian who came to the U.S. in 1979,was a consultant for USEC, the company was trying to persuade Adamov tolower the price Russia was charging for its uranium, which was set by acontract with the U.S. In early 2000, the terms of the contract meantthat USEC had to pay Russia more than the world market price foruranium.
In May 2000 the company announced that Russia had agreed to a newpricing agreement, but the contract was never ratified by the U.S. andRussian governments.
Senators hear the case
During a U.S. Senate hearing last week, Energy Secretary Spencer Abrahamsaid that his department was looking into Kaushansky's work for USEC andthat it may affect the company's status as the U.S. government's agentin the Russian uranium trade.
"There have been some allegations made very recently that place inquestion USEC's activities as the [U.S.] agent in recent years," Abrahamtold the Senate Armed Services Committee. "And so obviously ournegotiations are continuing. I think before they are complete that wewill seek to resolve any issues that are raised by these allegations."
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibits U.S. companies from payingforeign officials for favorable treatment in business dealings. Aspokesman for Abraham declined Tuesday to describe steps taken by EnergyDepartment to examine the consulting arrangement.
USEC spokesman Charles Yulish said: "If there were to be any inquiry, wewould certainly cooperate on that. We are very open about the facts, andwe feel very strongly about the facts."
USEC told the Tribune last week that its contract with Kaushansky, anuclear engineer, was legal and that it involved a project unrelated tothe Russian uranium deal.
"We got very full value for his services," Yulish said in a previousinterview. "He has a pretty unique skill set. His reputation is verystrong. He worked in exactly the areas he was needed."
Yulish declined to describe the project that involved Kaushansky. Hesaid Kaushansky's contract prohibits him from paying any foreigngovernment officials. He also said that, at the time it hiredKaushansky, USEC did not know he had been a business partner withAdamov.
Nonsense, critics say
USEC's critics said the relationship between Adamov and Kaushansky waswell-known in government and energy circles.
"Adamov and Kaushansky said that anyone who wanted to deal with Adamovshould deal with Kaushansky," said one attorney who represents U.S.energy companies but who asked to remain anonymous. "I advised myclients to stay away from that. But almost every place that Adamov went,there was Kaushansky."
U.S. government officials also said Adamov was accompanied by Kaushanskyat government meetings, though Kaushansky's role was not clear.
"Mark Kaushansky was at at least a couple of meetings here in theStates, and he was called a consultant," said former EnergyUndersecretary Ernest Moniz. "Adamov's English was good enough, butoccasionally he would ask Kaushansky to translate."
Until 1998, USEC was part of the Energy Department and was responsiblefor managing the nation's uranium stocks. That year, the Clintonadministration chose to make USEC a publicly traded company.
USEC's portfolio included the Megatons-to-Megawatts program created bythe U.S. and Russian governments in 1993. Under the program, the U.S.agreed to pay $12 billion over 20 years to import 500 tons of uranium.
Why U.S. wants deal
>From the U.S. standpoint, the program encourages the destruction ofSoviet-era nuclear weapons and reduces Russia's weapons-ready uraniumstockpile. For Russia, the uranium trade provides much-needed cash.
Once it brings the uranium to the U.S., USEC sells it to energycompanies as fuel for nuclear power plants.
USEC's purchases of Russian uranium make up 52 percent of its stock, andthat is expected to grow to 60 percent this year.
USEC's first, seven-year import contract with Russia expired in October.Since then, the company and Russia have struggled to reach new terms. OnFeb. 26, USEC announced it had a deal, though it declined to disclosethe terms. Both governments must still ratify the agreement.
Competitors want in
While USEC was negotiating, its competitors complained about the Russianuranium monopoly and pressed the Bush administration to open the tradeto other companies. They said USEC's exclusive arrangement stiflescompetition, restricts supply and compromises national security.
"We believe that it's not in the best interest of anybody except USECfor there to be one executive agent dealing with the Russians onmaterial obtained from the dismantling of Russian nuclear weapons,"said Jim Malone, vice president for nuclear fuels at the Chicago-basedExelon Corp. "Quite honestly, we believe that the way the currentcontract terms are stated, USEC is asking the Russian people tosubsidize their operation."
USEC's Yulish rejects such criticism.
"They want to pick up a part of it," Yulish said. "A number of differententities have been doing everything they can to destabilize thesenegotiations and get the government to name a second entity. There'smoney involved here." return to menu
1. Nuclear Weapons Pact Nears Approval
March 22, 2002
(for personal use only)
Top Russian and U.S. arms negotiators began a two-day round of talksThursday aimed at agreeing on a new reduction in the two countries'nuclear arsenals, officials said. Deputy Foreign Minister GrigoryMamedov and U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton could wrap up theformal agreement in the two days of talks so it is ready for theU.S.-Russian summit meeting in May, officials said. The talks in Genevaare to flesh out an agreement reached between Presidents George W. Bushand Vladimir Putin in December. Bush has agreed to cut U.S. long-rangenuclear warheads to between 1,700 to 2,200 from the current 6,000allowed each country under START I. Putin has said Russia could go aslow as 1,500 warheads. Powell said last week that the agreement would beabout three pages long and would be legally binding. return to menu
2. Of Nukes, Maneuvers And Stubborn Perceptions
Gordon M. Hahn
The Russia Journal
March 22, 2002
(for personal use only)
With the next Russian-American summit two months away, the West hasstill failed to squarely face the fundamental and by now decade-oldquestions undermining its relationship with Russia. Which side hasgreater capabilities, the West or Russia? If the tables were turned, howwould U.S. decision-makers, as "rational actors," respond to theoverwhelming countervailing capabilities Russia "perceives" andencounters from the West?
The news that the United States has included Russia on a list ofcountries to be targeted by American nuclear weapons - along with China,North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya - has sent shock waves throughpolitical elites here and across the Big Pond. On the one hand, this"news" is not surprising; on another, it is shocking, raising seriousdoubts about the ability of Western bureaucracies to overcome oldhabits.
It has been known for a long time that Russia was not "de-targeted" bythe United States after the Cold War. That Russia has preserved suchstatus might be regarded an achievement of sorts: It has retained onetrait that marked its superpower greatness. The cycle in which theUnited States annually rediscovers that the Cold War is over andpromises to develop a "new relationship" with Russia is more striking.
This is news because it spectacularly debunks a fashionable argumentmade by U.S. officials and analysts. Russia should not be so disturbedby America's nuclear arsenal, the argument goes, because the UnitedStates is not unsettled by British or French nuclear warheads and viceversa. Friends do not begrudge friends' "defense capabilities."Unfortunately, this formula leaves out he most important variables:U.S. weapons are not zeroed in on London or Paris, nor are British andFrench nuclear projectiles aimed at Washington.
To understand Russian reaction to the West's military posture, we shouldconsider a concise statement made by George Shultz, who served assecretary of state during Ronald Reagan's presidency. In regards to thefundamental principle that should inform national security decisionmaking, he noted that states design policy not on the basis of theintentions of other states, but on the basis of their capabilities.Repeat this to yourself, several times if need be, and then take agander at the world through the security calculus of the Kremlin or,say, from Arbatskaya Ploshchad, where Russia's General Staff divinesdefense policy.
U.S. nuclear weapons target some 2,000 sites in Russia. Others are thetargets of British and French nuclear arms. American troops are nowbeing stationed across the C.I.S. - as of now "only" in four states:Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. NATO member Turkey isethnically close to Azerbaijan, and some leaders in Baku have called fora NATO presence in their country.
A high-ranking delegation of U.S. officers recently visited Armenia todiscuss stepping up military cooperation. The U.S.-Georgian operation inthe Pankisi Gorge will target only Taliban and al-Qaida forces, givingChechen terrorists a pass. Later this year, the three former SovietBaltic republics, along with as many as four other countries nearRussia's western borders, will join NATO, already the most powerfulmilitary machine in history.
All of this heightens the effect of another recent event. Last week,NATO conducted military maneuvers near Russia's borders. Besides NATOmembers, the exercise, "Strong Resolve 2002," involved Estonia,Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia,Slovenia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The scenario envisioned an enemyattack on NATO from the north and a simultaneous invasion of a CentralEuropean NATO member state. Unless Latvia - the only northern statebesides Russia not included in the exercise - is regarded as a potentialenemy of the very alliance it is about to join and, unless Belarus isconsidered a potential invader, the only possible enemy in this scenariois Russia.
This is reminiscent of another NATO celebration held two years ago,which involved supporting Ukraine's state integrity against an uprisingby a national minority supported by a foreign compatriot state. Unless aCrimean Tatar state that I do not know about has materialized, the onlypossible enemy in that scenario also was our "partner" Russia.
In short, it does not take much, if any, paranoia for a Russian, not tomention a Russian general, to feel threatened by the United States andNATO.
Capabilities are always malignant. If Russian generals subscribe to theShultz Principle, they are simply duty-bound to muster all resources tocounter the hard facts of the potential Western threat. A general'scharge is not to protect an economic transition or the consolidation ofdemocracy. He can rationally conclude that any capability is a potentialthreat, regardless of its improbability.
Moreover, perceptions are stubborn things, especially when they have ahistory behind them. They can persist long after the reality they oncereflected has changed. In the case of the end of the Cold War, thepersistence of old perceptions has been evident on both sides. Thepolicy of mutual threat reduction that used to define Soviet-Americanrelations has not eliminated "mutual threat perception."
Given the preponderance of Western power, Russian "perceptions" are arational reaction to Western capabilities, prolonging the inertia of theCold War legacy and traditional "zapadnophobia." Western and Americanperceptions reflect mostly the memory of Soviet capabilities on top ofancient European Russophobia.
Irrational misperceptions should be more easily shed by the Cold War'svictors than by its vanquished. The historical lessons of Weimar,Versailles and the Marshall Plan counsel magnanimity in victorioushegemony and efforts to assuage the suspicions of beleaguered formerfoes.
Dr. Gordon M. Hahn is The Russia Journal's political analyst and avisiting research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. return to menu
3. Crisis Looming Between U.S., Russia
March 20, 2002
(for personal use only)
CIA Director George Tenet recently singled out Russia as a massivecontributor to the spread of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.Despite the cooperation Moscow has given to Washington's anti-terrorismcampaign, the Bush administration is putting the Russian government onnotice. A severe crisis between the two sides may now be forming.
While speaking to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee March 19, CIADirector George Tenet singled out Russia as "the first choice ofproliferant states seeking the most advanced technology and training"for weapons of mass destruction, Agence France-Presse reported. Tenetadded that Russian sales of technology and expertise applicable tochemical, biological and nuclear weapons were "a major source of fundsfor commercial and defense industries and military research anddevelopment."
Tenet's statement -- coming in the wake of a recent Pentagon reportnaming seven countries, including Russia, as potential nuclear targets-- was a bombshell. It places responsibility for the spread of Russianweapons of mass destruction squarely on the shoulders of the governmentin Moscow and sets the stage for a coming confrontation with RussianPresident Vladimir Putin.
STRATFOR has previously said that a new doctrine is emerging within theBush administration that is based on the following logic: Al Qaeda isnot dead and is dedicated to further attacks on the United States. Ithas demonstrated the desire to obtain chemical, biological or nuclearweapons, which represent a threat to millions of American citizens.
The United States must therefore both destroy al Qaeda and eliminate anystockpiles of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons that could findtheir way into the group's hands. The fact that most of these stockpilesbelong to sovereign nations like Syria, Pakistan and Russia complicatesthe problem for Washington but does not change the Bush administration'spolicy.
If anything, ending the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction(WMD) actually takes priority over destroying the al Qaeda network.Terrorist networks can be badly hurt, but it is incredibly difficult todestroy them completely. WMD stockpiles, plus the accompanyingfacilities and skilled personnel, are finite and are harder toregenerate than a terrorist network.
Now the director of the CIA has named Russia as the key source of WMDproliferation. Tenet stopped just short of explicitly placing the blameon the Russian government, but at the same time, he also did not blamerogue elements in the Russian security services or mafia syndicates.This would have given Putin a certain amount of deniability and raisedthe potential for Russia to work with the United States -- like it didin the early 1990s -- on decommissioning weapons of mass destruction.
Instead, Tenet delivered a blunt message to Putin: the United Statesbelieves that WMD proliferation is official Russian policy. Thegovernment in Moscow must either immediately halt this policy or facethe consequences.
Gone is any residual U.S. gratitude for Russian cooperation during theearly phases of the war in Afghanistan. The Bush administration ismaintaining that the threat posed to the United States is so great thatany and all other considerations -- including diplomatic niceties --must take a backseat.
This represents the beginning of a severe crisis between the UnitedStates and Russia. Putin must weigh his choices very carefully. If heaccepts U.S. demands and subordinates Russian foreign policy toWashington again, he acknowledges that his country has effectivelybecome subservient to the United States. This not only would be a bitterpill to swallow but also would feed nationalist political and militaryelements within Russia that currently challenge Putin's agenda. Thepresident has managed these groups so far, but a gesture of appeasementon this scale would inflame the passions of even the most pro-WesternRussians.
However, if Putin does not accept U.S. demands, he faces the distinctpossibility of attacks on Russian weapons facilities and the potentialelimination of his country's nuclear capability. Such an outcome couldvery easily spark a coup in Russia, which Putin would probably notsurvive. Even if he did manage to stay in power, Putin's plan to rebuildRussia through economic integration with Europe and closer short-termties to the United States would be destroyed. And in the worst-case --but still quite likely -- scenario, Russia would respond by launching anuclear attack on the United States.
We are not yet at the point of crisis. The Bush administration wentpublic in order to put more pressure on Putin, likely after getting fewresults from private consultations. Putin is in the process of feelingout American resolve. He knows that Washington has the means to carryout its threat; Putin is now trying to figure out if it has the will. return to menu
C. Russia-North Korea
1. N. Korea Asks Russia To Build Nuke Plant
March 21, 2002
(for personal use only)
North Korea, branded part of an "axis of evil" by U.S. President GeorgeW. Bush, has asked Moscow to build a nuclear power station, but Russianofficials said on Thursday no deal had been struck.
A spokesman for Industry Minister Ilya Klebanov told Reuters that ahigh-ranking North Korean delegation, visiting Moscow earlier this week,had "expressed a desire for Russia to build a nuclear power station inNorth Korea".
But he said the meeting had been only an exchange of opinions and noformal documents had been signed. Pyongyang also asked Russia for helpin upgrading infrastructure and energy plants built with Moscow'sassistance in the Soviet era.
The talks between Moscow and Pyongyang come as Washington said for thefirst time that it was unable to confirm North Korea was abiding by a1994 agreement designed to contain its weapon programmes.
Last week North Korea threatened to pull out of the deal altogether inresponse to a U.S. nuclear review that sketched contingency plans forU.S. use of nuclear weapons against seven countries, including NorthKorea.
The review also singled out Russia as a possible target.
Under the 1994 agreement, North Korea was to halt its nuclear programmein exchange for oil and Western-built light-water reactors, whose fuelis harder to convert to military use.
Pyongyang has often said it is keen to take reactors from Russia, whichhas also supplied India and Iran with light-water reactors.
Russia had in the early 1980s agreed to build a nuclear plant in NorthKorea, but the deal was put on hold indefinitely after the demise ofSoviet Union in 1991.
Russia established ties with South Korea later that year, angering theCommunist North and chilling relations with its former ally. But a visitto Russia by North Korea's reclusive Stalinist leader Kim Jong-il inAugust 2001 served to rekindle neighborly links. return to menu
1. Russia To Supply India With Equipment To Build Nuclear Plant In TamilNadu
PTI News Agency (New Delhi)
March 21, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia and India have signed a contract for delivery of major equipmentfor construction of the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu (southernIndian state), New Delhi said Thursday [21 March].
"The agreement is for supply of equipment for the 2x1000 MW nuclearpower project," Junior [Minister] for Atomic Energy Vasundhara Raje saidin a written reply in Rajya Sabha (upper house of Indian parliament).
The targetted dates for completion of the project are December 2007 forUnit-1 and December 2008 for Unit-2, she said.
"For the present, construction of only two units of 1000 MW each areapproved by the government of India. Infrastructural works at site forthese units are nearing completion," Raje said... return to menu
E. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Russia Not To Deploy Its Own National Missile Defense System
March 21, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia has no intention of deploying its own national defense system inresponse to the United States doing so.
"I think that making statements about developing a Russian system as areaction to the United States deploying an NMD system would bepremature," Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo told anews conference in Moscow on Thursday.
"If needed, we could give a thought to this issue," he said.
Russian and U.S. negotiators are engaged in discussing restrictingoffensive weapons, Rushailo said. The upcoming visit by the U.S.president to Russia will hopefully provide answers to numerous importantquestions in Russian-U.S. relations, he said. return to menu
2. Parliamentarians Comment On Russian-EU Collaboration On New ABM System(excerpted)
March 21, 2002
(for personal use only)
Representatives of the Russian parliament and the NATO parliamentaryassembly held a meeting in Moscow today. After the meeting, first deputyspeaker of the Russian State Duma Lyubov Slizka met with journalists andcommented on possible collaboration between Russia and Europeancountries in the establishment of a European missile defense system. Shecalled this collaboration promising and stressed that Russia shouldcoordinate its steps concerning national security with the EU. Thedeputy speaker stated that the creation of a European missile defensesystem would be an expensive and difficult task, however, the USA hadalready starting testing a new national missile defense system. In histurn, deputy speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who is also the leader of theLiberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), announced that the creationof a European missile defense system was no more realistic thancommunism. In addition, he stressed that such defense systems were anout-of-date decision, as totally new types of weapons would be createdsoon.
It will cost Russia up to $3 billion to dispose of its scores ofdecommissioned nuclear submarines, a top Nuclear Energy Ministryofficial said Tuesday.
Russia has decommissioned 190 nuclear-powered submarines, but nuclearfuel has been removed from only 97 of them and most are languishing inports waiting to be dismantled, Viktor Akhunov, head of the ministry'sdepartment in charge of decommissioning the nuclear vessels, was quotedby the Interfax-Military News Agency as saying.
The entire dismantling effort will cost $2.5 billion to 3 billion,Akhunov told the lower house of parliament. Disposing of the enginesalone costs 2.5 billion rubles ($80 million) annually, he was quoted assaying.
Environmental groups have repeatedly criticized the deterioratingcondition of the abandoned submarines, some of which have sat docksidefor as long as 15 years with fuel aboard and their hulls rustingthrough.
Russian officials insist that the risk of a nuclear accident isextremely slight, and say they don't have the money for speedydismantling.
Some European nations have offered to help Russia build waste storagefacilities to speed up the process, but Russian officials bristle atgiving foreign experts unlimited access to naval facilities.
The wrecked Kursk nuclear submarine is to be among those dismantled thisyear. The Kursk sank during naval maneuvers in August 2000, killing itsentire 118-man crew, and was hoisted from the Barents Sea bottom lastOctober. return to menu
F. Nuclear Terrorism
1. Chechens Gain Access To Nuclear Warheads
March 22, 2002
(for personal use only)
When three armed Chechens were detained in the Sverdlovsk regionThursday, one of them was carrying a pass allowing free access to thetown of Lesnoi, where nuclear warheads are manufactured. Much to theirsurprise, investigators established that the pass was not a fake.
The Chechens were caught red-handed when they were trying to sell twoMakarov guns for $1,500 each. The buyers were in fact operatives of theSverdlovsk police department, who were fighting illegal arms possession.
When operatives searched the Chechens' homes, they found an impressivearsenal: a Kalashnikov with a silencer and special cartridges, eightgrenades, 400 grams of explosives, detonators, remote-controlledexplosive devices and cold steel. They also found 900 dollars, handfulsof raw emeralds, and a finished ruby weighing 20 grams. The finishingtouch was Honor is More Valuable Than Life, a book written by AslanMaskhadov.
The most important find was the pass allowing access to Lesnoi, arestricted area in the north of the Sverdlovsk Region where nuclearwarheads for Russian missiles are manufactured. That is whyinvestigators at first refused to comment on the situation.
At first, both security and police officers suggested that the pass wasmost likely a fake or that it might have been found or bought. Whateverthe case may be, Roman Tasukhanov (the Chechen who was carrying it atthe time of the arrest) or anyone else could have entered Lesnoi withoutmuch difficulty. This is how Lesnoi's security arrangements work: aturnstile at the checkpoint opens when the pass is inserted in a slot.The passes are issued only to Lesnoi residents and close relativesstaying with them. A guard standing behind the turnstile is supposed tocheck the identification cards, but he does not do that all the time.
Investigator Nikolai Sorokin agreed to talk to an Izvestia reporterafter all. He said experts had established the authenticity ofTasukhanov's pass. Because Tasukhanov's father was an army serviceman,his family had lived in Lesnoi before moving to Chechnya. Tasukhanovkept the pass; therefore, he could have entered Lesnoi any time hewanted to. The investigator quoted the three Chechens as claiming theywere not going to stage terrorist acts and that a man by the name ofMagomed had supplied them with the weapons for sale. They said he hadbrought them from Chechnya.
For his part, the deputy head of the Sverdlovsk Region's Department ofInvestigation, Andrei Taranenko, told Izvestia that trying to find outhow the Chechen had got hold of the pass was not his department's jobbecause a special service was responsible for issuing passes for Lesnoiand other restricted areas. Taranenko said that most likely the FSBwould have to deal with that aspect of the case. return to menu
1. Norway To Re-Furbish Nuclear Aid To Russia
March 20, 2002
(for personal use only)
The Norwegian Control and Constitutional Committee in the Parliament hasevaluated the Norwegian Plan of Action for nuclear safety projects inRussia and made a list of requirements to be implemented in the futureprojects supported by Norway. Prior to the evaluation Bellona hadsubmitted a list of changes. All Bellona's proposals were included intothe final document released by the Committee.
The result of the parliamentary discussion was based on a report fromthe Norwegian General Accounting Office regarding the Plan of Action fornuclear safety support from Norway to Russia.
Bellona made a list of nine important proposals and suggestions tochanges in the Norwegian nuclear safety aid package for projects tocome. The parliamentary committee adopted all nine Bellona's points.
>From the early 1990s, Norway has spent some $65m in its program forimproving nuclear safety in north-west Russia. For Norway it has beenimportant to go in front internationally to assist Russia in securingits nuclear installations and improve radioactive waste treatment.
The majority in the parliamentary committee underlines the importance ofeconomical and political support to Russia's nuclear regulatory,Gosatomnadzor (GAN). Improved working conditions for GAN is a key-factorto reach the goal of improved nuclear safety in Russia. So far, many ofthe Norway supported projects have not been under supervision of GAN.>From now on, all Norwegian funded projects must have a writtenprovision, stipulating GANs participation during the planning andimplementation stages of each project.
The committee criticises the Ministry of Foreign Affairs way forimplementing projects, saying that too many of the projects have notbeen passed an environmental evaluation before they were given ago-ahead. Future project must have an independent environmentalevaluation before they are approved.
Bellona has called for such evaluations during many years. Those callsconcerned specifically the Norwegian support to ship submarine spentnuclear fuel from naval bases to the Mayak reprocessing plant in thesouthern Ural. The reprocessing in Mayak leads to radioactivecontamination of Chelyabinsk area and reprocessed waste is much harderto deal with than with spent fuel in dry-storage.
In autumn 1994, Bellona and Chelyabinsk based NGO Movement for NuclearSafety arranged a hearing in the Norwegian Parliament, where it was saidthat the worst way of dealing with spent nuclear fuel from navalreactors was to ship it to the Mayak plant. Despite this, the NorwegianMinistry of Foreign Affairs gave several million US dollars to build atrain for such spent fuel transport from Kola to Mayak.
Today, the parliamentary committee agrees with Bellona that the entirespent fuel train project was a failure, since it did not improve nuclearsafety, instead it just moved the problems from the Murmansk area toChelyabinsk region.
The committee also says directly that in the future, Norway shall not beinvolved in any projects dealing with the Mayak-plant.
The parliamentary committee supported the following nine points fromBellona:
All Norwegian financed projects for improving nuclear safety in Russiamust have an independent environmental evaluation before they areadopted.
There must be a written provision in all future projects, involvingNorwegian support, that GAN should have the right to approve theprojects, before, under and after their implementation.
There must be a written provision in all projects, involving Norwegiansupport, that Norwegian and/or international experts are allowed toinspect the implementation of the projects before, under and after theyare developed to make sure that the installations are used in the termsof their initial plan and that they are used in accordance with Russianradiation protection norms.
Norway shall not support any infrastructure projects which later on canbe used as a part of the planned importation of spent nuclear fuel toRussia from other countries.
Norway will only allocate financial support to nuclear power plants aslong as there exists a written agreement that the money will be spent onclosing down the power reactors and their coming decommissioning.
Norway will increase its support to develop alternative energy resourcesin northwest Russia, including energy efficiency, bio energy, upgrade ofhydropower plants and new energy development like hydrogen andwindmills.
Norwegian and Russian NGOs (such as Bellona) must have the opportunityto participate as observers in the joint Russian-Norwegian meetings onimplementing nuclear safety projects. All relevant documents andinformation should be open to public as long as they do not containinformation that can damage the national security of the countries.
Norway shall not support any projects, which presume continuousreprocessing at the Mayak plant.
Norway should improve the economical and political support to theRussian civilian nuclear watchdog agency Gosatomnadzor so that theirinternal position in Russia will be stronger. return to menu
2. IAEA Board Of Governors Approves IAEA Action Plan To Combat NuclearTerrorism
International Atomic Energy Agency
March 19, 2002
(for personal use only)
The IAEA Board of Governors today approved in principal an action plandesigned to upgrade worldwide protection against acts of terrorisminvolving nuclear and other radioactive materials. In approving theplan, the Board has recognized that the first line of defense againstnuclear terrorism is the strong physical protection of nuclearfacilities and materials.
"National measures for protecting nuclear material and facilities areuneven in their substance and application," the IAEA says. "There iswide recognition that the international physical protection regime needsto be strengthened."
In his remarks to the Board, Mr. ElBaradei emphasized that these newactivities will not "diminish the primary responsibility of the State onall matters of security; rather they are designed to supplement andreinforce national efforts in areas where international co-operation isindispensable to the strengthening of nuclear security."
A number of States, including Australia ($100,000), Great Britain($350,000), Japan ($500,000), the Netherlands (EUR 250,000), Slovenia(EUR 14,000), USA ($1 Million) pledged specific sums of money to aspecial fund set up to support the plan. A number of other Member Statesannounced in-kind support to the plan, including Finland, France,Germany, India, Romania, and Turkey. Other countries expressed hope tofinance or provide support to the plan in the near future. Also, inNovember 2001, the United States and the Nuclear Threat Initiative eachpledged $1.2 million for the fund. The Agency has calculated its annualfunding needs at $12 million for its programmes and an additional $20million per year to enable the Agency to respond to urgent situationsthat require immediate security upgrades. The Board of Governors calledupon IAEA Member States to contribute to the fund as a matter ofurgency.
"This modest investment in nuclear security will bring benefits for allStates. "Mr. ElBaradei said. "All of us are vulnerable because all of ususe nuclear materials and radioactive materials can easily move acrossborders." return to menu
3. Excerpts From The Introductory Statement IAEA Director General Dr.Mohamed Elbaradei
IAEA Board of Governors
March 18, 2002
(for personal use only)
Protection Against Nuclear Terrorism
The question of nuclear security to protect against terrorism has beenon our minds for the past few months, and I am pleased now to present tothe Board a concrete plan of action... The plan covers eight areas:physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities;detection of malicious activities (such as illicit trafficking)involving nuclear and other radioactive materials; strengthening ofState systems for nuclear material accountancy and control; security ofradioactive sources; the assessment of safety and security relatedvulnerabilities at nuclear facilities; response to malicious acts orthreats thereof; the adherence to international agreements andguidelines; and enhancement of programme co-ordination and informationmanagement for nuclear security related matters.
I should emphasize that the activities proposed are not a substitute fornational measures, nor can they diminish the primary responsibility ofthe State on all matters of security; rather they are designed tosupplement and reinforce national efforts in areas where internationalco-operation is indispensable to the strengthening of nuclear security.
The financing of an action plan for nuclear security will bring benefitsfor all States - regardless of the existence or size of their nuclearprogrammes - by contributing to improved protection of nuclear materialand other radioactive sources, better border controls, and enhancednational and international mechanisms for responding to radiologicalemergencies. Those benefits should be an encouragement for all tocontribute.
Safety of Radioactive Sources
A specific safety issue that has received recent media attention is thesafety of radioactive sources. Particular vulnerability exists forsources that, due to neglect or disuse, have fallen outside ofregulatory oversight. In the November Board, I highlighted our concernthat such so called orphan sources could be employed in malicious acts.That concern remains, but public health effects due to inadvertentexposure is an equally important concern, as was demonstrated late lastyear when two powerful radioactive sources were found unshielded in aremote area of the Republic of Georgia.
The Georgian incident should serve as an illustration of the much largerproblem of orphan sources. Estimations differ as to the number andnature of such sources that remain at large but it is clearly a problemthat deserves prompt attention and has been included in our plan ofaction to combat nuclear terrorism.
Nuclear Verification Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols
The universalization, consolidation and strengthening of thenon-proliferation regime, including concrete steps to reduce the numberof and dependence on nuclear weapons, are more than ever important forthe continuing sustainability and credibility of the regime. The Agencycontinues to be central to that regime through its verification ofnon-proliferation obligations. But, as I have mentioned repeatedly, onlywith comprehensive safeguards agreements in force can the Agency provideany non-proliferation assurance, and only with safeguards agreements andadditional protocols in force can the Agency provide assurance not onlyabout declared but also about possible undeclared activities. I regret,however, to report that the conclusion of comprehensive safeguardsagreements and additional protocols remains slow. Fifty-one States haveyet to fulfil their obligations under the Treaty on theNon-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to bring safeguardsagreements with the Agency into force, and out of the protocols approvedfor 61 States, only 24 have entered into force.
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