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Nuclear News - 04/01/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, April 1, 2002
Compiled by Michael Roston and David Smigielski


A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Russia: US Inspectors Check Krasnoyarsk Atomic Centre, RIA (03/29/2002)
B. Russian Nuclear Scientists
    1. Danger seen in sale of nuclear savvy: Moscow is pushing to capitalize on nuclear expertise - with few safeguards, Olivia Ward, Toronto Star (03/01/2002)
C. US-Russia Relations
    1. Putin, Bush May Sign 2 Arms Deals At Summit, Carolyn Skorneck, Associated Press (04/01/2002)
    2. Marking end of an era, Alexander Golts, Russia Journal (03/29/2002)
    3. CIA a tool of anti-Russian U.S. pols? - Moscow blasts Director Tenet over testimony before senators, Toby Westerman, WorldNetDaily.com (03/29/2002)
    4. Ivanov To Meet Powell In Madrid, Reuters (03/29/2002)
D. Russia-North Korea Cooperation
    1. US Dismayed By Russia-N.Korea Project, Reuters (03/29/2002)
E. Russia-India Cooperation
    1. Moscow eyes more Russian-made nuclear reactors in India, BBC Monitoring Service (04/01/2002)
F. Russia-Vietnam Cooperation
    1. Russia approves draft nuclear agreement with Vietnam, BBC Monitoring Service (04/01/2002)
G. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers To Be Capable Of Carrying Conventional, Nuclear Warheads, Interfax (03/28/2002)
H. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
    1. Russia's Ex-Nuclear Minister Speaks For Resumption Of Nuclear Tests, Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press (03/28/2002)
    2. Russia Voices Concern Over US Position On Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Interfax (03/28/2002)
I. Submarine Dismantlement
    1. Nuclear Minister Laments Shortage Of Funds For Submarine Dismantling, Associated Press (03/29/2002)
J. Nuclear Safety
    1. Japan to give nuclear safety training to Russia, Asian countries, BBC Monitoring Service (04/01/2002)
    2. Chernobyl still priority for Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, BBC Monitoring Service (03/31/2002)
    3. Russian Radioactive Waste Plant Treats 800 Tonnes Since November, Interfax (03/28/2002)
K. Nuclear Energy
    1. Russian atomic energy minister stresses need for balanced power market, BBC Monitoring Service (03/31/2002)
L. Announcements
    1. On the Destruction of Russia Chemical Weapons (Fact sheet), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Daily News Bulletin (03/29/2002)
M. Links of Interest


A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Russia: US Inspectors Check Krasnoyarsk Atomic Centre
RIA
March 29, 2002
(for personal use only)


A commission from the US Department of Energy consisting of nine expertshas got down to work in the closed town of Zheleznogorsk nearKrasnoyarsk city. The head of the Public Relations office of themining-and-chemical works, Pavel Morozov, confirmed the news.

Acting within the framework of an agreement signed 23 September 1997between the governments of Russia and the USA, the commission ischecking how the plant produces weapons-grade plutonium, keeps count ofstocks, stores it and protects it physically from theft.

Morozov said that during the 1990s two other nuclear reactors at theworks - which also produced plutonium for military purposes - werestopped. And one reactor continues to work only because it provides the100,000 people of the town of Zheleznogorsk with hot water andelectricity. It, too, will be stopped after a new source of hot waterand electricity becomes available to the town.

The commission's work will last until 7 April. Previous checks producedno complaints against the works.
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B. Russian Nuclear Scientists

1.
Danger seen in sale of nuclear savvy: Moscow is pushing to capitalizeon nuclear expertise - with few safeguards
Olivia Ward
Toronto Star
March 31, 2002
(for personal use only)


AT RUSSIA'S oldest nuclear power station, a rundown establishment nearSt. Petersburg, some despondent employees have taken to vodka to getthem through their shifts.

Others have joined the country's growing legion of hard drug users. Twohave died of heroin overdoses.

Meanwhile, in the once-elite, closed "nuclear cities" that dot theSiberian landscape, more than 100,000 skilled nuclear scientists andweapons technicians are figuring out ways to survive on pay that islower than the cost of living.

Western officials have long known about the potential dangers thatabound in the former Soviet Union's nuclear complex.

Now, there is added cause for alarm: the threat of deadly nuclearsecrets, technology and materials finding their way to rogue states andterror groups eager to join a jihad against the West.

"The danger certainly exists," warns Maxim Shingarkin, a GreenpeaceRussia anti-nuclear campaigner. "The nuclear industry wants to makemoney, so it is becoming commercialized. The scientists and techniciansare only part of the problem."

Since Sept. 11, people around the world have looked on in horror as onescience-fiction threat after another surfaced as a real possibility.

U.S. President George W. Bush has warned that three nations in an "axisof evil" - North Korea, Iraq and Iran - are trying to acquire newweapons of mass destruction to use against the West.

At the same time, there are persistent reports of plans by Osama binLaden's Al Qaeda network to build nuclear, chemical and biologicalweapons. And bin Laden has publicly stated it is a "religious duty" todo so.

All those interested in developing such deadly weapons know the benefitsof hiring experts who could save them years of trial and error. And theyare also aware that the former Soviet Union is awash with personnel andmaterials vital for their devastating schemes.

The nuclear ministry, Minatom, denies that it has had any dealings withNorth Korea. But Russia has in the past worked with Iraq onnuclear-power projects and its co-operation with Iran to develop anuclear reactor program goes back to 1992.

Russian scientists and nuclear personnel are a common sight in Tehranand other Iranian cities, sparking anxiety in Washington.

Moscow is also training Iranian scientists at Russian nuclear plants andeducating young Iranian physicists and mathematicians at a prestigiousRussian scientific institute.

"This is very alarming," says Alexei Yablokov, a former presidentialadviser and head of the Environmental Policy Institute.

"The plans that Iran has for developing atomic energy are, of course,aimed at the goal of creating a nuclear bomb."

Yablokov is one of the few high-profile Russians to speak out againstthe danger of selling nuclear secrets and materials to unstable, if notbelligerent, states.

Most politicians are silent on the issue or publicly support a policythat seeks to capitalize on nuclear expertise - a policy that theRussian nuclear ministry says is necessary to keep the country's saggingnuclear complex afloat.

Officials insist their contracts are strictly for peaceful nucleardevelopment, to aid countries that need help in supplying their peoplewith heat and electricity.

They also point out such trade partnerships are geopoliticallyadvantageous to Russia and symbolize independence from the West.

Minatom and its business arm, Rosenergo, show no signs of slacking intheir pursuit of commercial contracts. Some would argue they have littlechoice.

In 1998, when a new civilian director, Yevgeny Adamov, took overMinatom, the ministry faced a deep financial crisis. Its governmentsubsidies were declining as the Russian markets crashed and only 20 percent of the operating expenses for designing, building, overseeing anddismantling Russia's domestic power plants and nuclear weapons werebeing met.

Strikes, layoffs and plummeting morale resulted, along with anescalating number of safety violations at nuclear plants. Some of thepower facilities were threatened with bankruptcy.

Under such dire conditions, Adamov made strenuous efforts to cut costsand find new sources of money. Not surprisingly, he looked outsideRussia for revenue. As a result of these changes and an upturn in theRussian economy, the ministry has recently been able to raise salariesand begin the mammoth task of updating antiquated equipment in nuclearplants.

But some observers do not share the new confidence in Russia's nuclearindustry.

"The ministry is the controller of all the nuclear resources - and thatincludes people," says Shingarkin. "Minatom is exporting people. Theycan make a profit that way. And later, when the power stations are builtin countries like Iran, they have long-term agreements to service them."

Although there is no evidence that the ministry is sending itsscientists to build nuclear weapons in rogue states, control overskilled personnel in post-Communist Russia is no longer iron-clad.

The possibilities for freelance peddling of nuclear expertise areconsiderable in the 21st century, especially when the experts havelittle to look forward to at home.

"The contracts in foreign countries are very advantageous for ourspecialists," says Ivan Gradobitov of the Union of Atomic EnergyWorkers. "They get paid by those countries and make better wages.

"Of course, there's always danger (of selling secrets). But we hope it'sgoing to be possible to control it."

Iran, Iraq and China are the main countries that hire Russian experts,Gradobitov says. And among the travelling scientists and technicians areemployees of the cashapped St. Petersburg nuclear plant.

"About 10 experts went to foreign countries from the plant," says OlegBodrov of the Green World environmental group in nearby Sosovny Bor. "Iknow that they participated in work on a power station in Iraq, forinstance. They were outstanding specialists and their work was verysuccessful."

Russia steadfastly denies it is taking part in any military nuclearprograms in the countries where its experts are working.

But the United States, which is embarking on a massively expensivemissile defence program to counter intercontinental ballistic missiles,has played up the possibility that hostile countries might be on theroad to developing the catastrophic weapons.

However, Russian scientists familiar with nuclear weapons programs saynone of the "axis of evil" states has the kind of delivery systemsneeded to attack the United States.

In the case of Iran, the program was moving slowly and haphazardly, saidone missile scientist who spent five years observing Tehran's progresstoward developing new weapons systems.

"It was a huge mess," Vadim Vorobei recently told the New York Times,explaining that Iran's missiles could travel little more than 1,000kilometres and were incapable of landing anywhere near the UnitedStates, nearly 10,000 kilometres away.

North Korea, whose missile program is more advanced, has recently cutback. And Iraq is under heavy scrutiny from the international communityand faces imminent attack from the United States.

More immediately worrying than large-scale national programs to developnuclear missiles are reports Al Qaeda has been working toward obtainingsmall, portable nuclear weapons or radioactive materials for a "dirtybomb" that could be set off with conventional explosives but contaminatea large territory.

Over the past five years, articles in the Arabic press have claimed thatbin Laden hired Russian and Iraqi scientists to develop a reactor thatcould produce nuclear materials for a "suitcase bomb."

Notes and blueprints seized from Taliban strongholds during the war inAfghanistan contained diagrams and instructions on creating nuclearweapons and radioactive conventional bombs.

A small nuclear bomb weighing about 60 kilograms is capable ofdestroying several city blocks and contaminating the area where it wasdetonated for decades.

There have also been allegations that money gained from large-scaleAfghan drug sales was used by Al Qaeda to finance a nuclear program.

According to the news magazine Al-Watan Al-Arabi, bin Laden created anunderground laboratory to convert stolen, highly radioactive nuclearwarheads from the former Soviet Union into miniature nuclear weaponsthat could be used for terror attacks.

The process could take many years to complete, however, and scientistssay creating a portable nuclear bomb is more complex and technicallychallenging than making a simple "dirty" weapon that would accomplishthe same effect for a terrorist.

Either way, the very mention of nuclear terrorism strikes fear into thehearts of politicians and ordinary people.

The United States feels especially vulnerable. Even before the Sept. 11attacks, Washington was well aware of the dangers posed by nuclearterrorism.

"The most urgent, unmet national security threat to the U.S. today isthe danger that weapons of mass destruction or weapons-usable materialin Russia could be stolen and sold to terrorists or hostile nations andused against American troops abroad or citizens at home," concluded aU.S. government task force in 2001.

It cited hair-raising examples of attempted nuclear smuggling, includinga plan by four Russian sailors from a nuclear submarine in the Far Eastto make off with radioactive material stolen from the vessel's safe.

As well, an employee of a Russian nuclear research centre was caughttrying to sell secret nuclear weapons designs to Iraqi- and Afghan-basedagents for the equivalent of $4.5 million.

Such discoveries led American opponents of the lavishly expensiveStrategic Defence Initiative to suggest that, instead of worrying abouta spaced-based missile defence system, Washington's money would bebetter spent helping Russia safeguard its nuclear weapons, material andpersonnel, including finding decently paying jobs for impoverishednuclear experts.

Several nuclear aid programs have been launched since the end of theSoviet Union, but American politicians have not supported them with muchenthusiasm and the Bush administration appears to be on the verge ofcancelling some of them.

The task force called for as much as $30 billion (U.S.) to be set asideto boost aid, but at present, even a fraction of the sum seems unlikelyto be allocated.

The timing of the cuts seems especially bad, because although Russia'snuclear safety may have improved somewhat with the strengthened economy,the increasing loss of control over nuclear materials and personnelthrough creeping commercialization is creating more hazards than ever.

Apart from securing its nuclear plants, Russia also has a problemsafeguarding its huge stockpile of poorly monitored radioactive waste.

In the former Soviet republic of Georgia, on the Black Sea, a search isunder way for at least two small nuclear generators believed to behidden in a forest after being apparently abandoned when a Sovietmilitary base was shut down.

In the far-eastern Russian region of Chukotka, investigators found amore horrifying scenario - the remains of 85 generators left along theArctic coast in the 1960s and '70s lying exposed on the shore of theBering Sea.

Some of the highly radioactive devices had been stripped down for scrapmetal. A local politician called them "easy targets for a terroristattack."

The combination of loose nuclear materials and hungry nuclear scientistsis a perilous one for Russia and for the West. And in spite ofheightened fear of terrorism, it has not got through to the leaders ofeither side.

"Even peaceful nuclear plants and materials can be dangerous, and thereis a real failure to understand that," Yablokov says.

"The most effective way to stop nuclear proliferation is to payattention to the public and environmentalists. They are the first peoplewho notice the danger and they're not afraid to speak out. But theauthorities are not listening."
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C. Russia-U.S.

1.
Putin, Bush May Sign 2 Arms Deals At Summit
Carolyn Skorneck
Associated Press
April 1, 2002
(for personal use only)


U.S. and Russian negotiators have made so much progress on offensiveweapons and a new strategic framework that Presidents George W. Bush andVladimir Putin may sign agreements on both at their Moscow summit inMay, the U.S. State Department said.

"There are issues that remain to be discussed, as there always are inthis sort of affair," John Bolton, undersecretary for arms control andinternational security, told reporters Friday at the Foreign PressCenter.

"But we're making good progress, and I think it accurately reflects thematuring and merging relationship that is both strong and deep andhopefully will culminate in being able to sign and release thesedocuments in May," he said. "Their determination to move forward isquite evident."

Among the issues still to be worked out are the proliferation of weaponsof mass destruction and a U.S. proposal for a new way to count warheadsas the United States and Russia reduce their strategic arsenals to 1,700to 2,200 each.

"The nonproliferation question is a very high priority for us," Boltonsaid. He said the Bush administration is focusing on sales to Iran andother "countries of concern" that could lead to new nuclear-armedmilitaries.

Although the United States suspects Russia of helping Iran developnuclear weapons, Bolton indicated the two generally worry about many ofthe same countries.

When U.S. and Russian officials spoke last fall about Bush's plan toforge ahead with missile defense, the United States said the twocountries were not a danger to each other, but "we both faced threatsfrom other states, from rogue states," Bolton said.

"On the Russian side, their threat assessment ultimately was not thatdifferent than ours," he said. Russian military officials recognizedthey faced even greater danger. "The countries we're concerned about arecloser to Russia than they are to the United States," Bolton said.

He said the United States hopes to work with Russia to develop defensesagainst the common threat, but that cannot happen until the 1972Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty expires June 13, six months after Bushannounced the United States was withdrawing from the pact.

Calling the ABM Treaty a curiosity, Bolton said it "precludes thesharing of technology and research and development on missile defensefrom one country to another." So cooperation must wait until the treatyexpires.

Another matter under negotiation is how to count the 1,700 to 2,200warheads that will remain after the two sides make the cutbacks theirpresidents have vowed to make. The United States wants to change thecounting procedure so that the arms agreement will focus on weapons bothsides worry about the most, he said.

Their descriptive, though cumbersome, name is "operationally deployedstrategic nuclear warheads." That means warheads installed inintercontinental ballistic missiles or submarine-launched missiles orthose near heavy bombers and heavy bomber bases -- weapons that can beused immediately.

Under START I, the arms-control agreement now in place, counting wasbased on warhead delivery systems, not the number of warheads.
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2.
Marking end of an era
Alexander Golts
Russia Journal
March 29, 2002
(for personal use only)


Moscow and Washington look to be heading fast toward a new strategicarms limitation agreement. "Negotiations were very productive and wemanaged to resolve a number of serious differences," said U.S. DeputySecretary of State John Bolton after the talks he held with his Russiancounterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov. Mamedov, for hispart, assessed prospects for an agreement to be signed during GeorgeBush's visit to Russia in May as "very optimistic."

Only recently, the differences between the two sides seemedinsurmountable. Above all, this concerned the issue of operationallydeployed warheads. When the United States announced its plans to cut itsnuclear arsenal to 1,700-2,200 warheads, it said that this would be doneby a process of "unloading." Single warheads would replace multiplewarheads on surface missiles, for example. Strategic missiles would beremoved from four nuclear submarines and several dozen bombers wouldhave their missiles removed. The nuclear submarines would be re-equippedto perform other, nonategic tasks, while the bombers would be takenout of service. As for the warheads, they would be stockpiled.

In the Russian interpretation, however, this is called not reduction,but maintaining return potential. Washington hasn't abandoned theseplans and says it will keep the warheads and their delivery vehicles soas to respond in the event of unexpected change in the internationalsituation. None of this was to Moscow's liking. Indeed, Defense MinisterSergei Ivanov said that these plans amounted to no more than a virtualarms reduction.

But talk of "return potential" has suddenly died down. U.S. ambassadorto Moscow Alexander Vershbow and then Mamedov said that the futureagreement could take the form of a three-to-four-page additionalprotocol to the START I Treaty, the last strategic arms-limitationtreaty officially in force.

That both sides should refer to the START I Treaty suggests that theAmericans have found some loophole in this treaty enabling them to avoidliquidating the warheads up for the cut. It's not just chance that inNovember, when he announced that Russia had fulfilled its obligationsunder START I, Yury Baluyevsky, first deputy head of the General Staff,said he wasn't happy with the way the Americans had counted warheads.

This was followed by a statement from Ivanov during his visit to theUnited States that if such a loophole exists, Russia could also beginstockpiling warheads. This, it seems, became the foundation for a newRussian-American agreement. If this is so, then Moscow has simply madeconcessions to Washington.

The fact is that delivery vehicles were always the most importantcomponent of all strategic arms limitation agreements. This was why thenumber of warheads that could be deployed on a particular deliveryvehicle was always set very strictly. The idea was always to reduce thenumber of missiles rather than the number of warheads.

The Americans know full well that by the beginning of the next decade,Russia will be forced to take all its heavy missiles off duty. TheTopol-M missile-production program is practically at a standstill.Rumors that President Vladimir Putin has given the program the greenlight in order to maintain parity with the United States seem doubtful.Even when former Chief of the Missile Forces Igor Sergeyev was DefenseMinister, no more than 10 new missiles a year came on duty.

In this situation, it doesn't matter how many warheads Russiastockpiles, it still won't have the delivery vehicles on which to deploythem. To put things frankly, Russian and American diplomats are nowworking on an agreement that will give legal form to unilateral U.S.strategic-arms reduction. Russia's participation isn't so much out ofmilitary necessity as out of U.S. President George Bush's desire to dosomething nice for Putin and keep the illusion of a bilateral agreement.Moscow, meanwhile, has virtually nothing to bargain with.

What's important to remember is that this strategic-arms agreement willprobably be the last signed by Russia and the United States. When theLos Angeles Times published excerpts of a Pentagon report on U.S.nuclear-arms policy, hysteria broke out in Russia over the idea thatU.S. military officials still conceive of nuclear war against Russia.But few pointed out that such a turn of events could be envisaged onlyif Russia returned to a totalitarian regime. Hysterical commentatorsalso neglected to say that the report makes it clear the United Statesdoes not see any direct military threat from Russia and that this is thefoundation for the Americans' new nuclear strategy. Washington hasdecided that Russia is no longer dangerous.

This would be worth celebrating if it weren't for the fact it does awaywith what has long been the foundation of Russian-American relations.Our two countries' relations have been based on a system of treatiesreducing strategic arms - and reducing a mutual threat. But now thatWashington has decided this threat is highly minimal, it no longer paysas much attention to Moscow. The era of nuclear confrontation is over.Even possessing the world's second-largest nuclear arsenal doesn'tautomatically make Russia a great power, but Russian diplomats haveplaced too much hope on this status for too long.

The Sept. 11 events and Moscow's active participation in theanti-terrorist operations have given Russia the chance to show that itis still an important player for the United States. But this is atemporary factor and it's no good counting on a repeat of suchcircumstances in the future. So instead of concentrating ondoomed-to-fail disputes about operationally deployed warheads and returnpotential, Moscow should turn its efforts to establishing a new agendafor Russian-American relations not based on mutual deterrence.
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3.
CIA a tool of anti-Russian U.S. pols? - Moscow blasts Director Tenetover testimony before senators
Toby Westerman
WorldNetDaily.com
March 29, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Central Intelligence Agency and its director, George Tenet, "are thetools" of "some political and military circles" seeking to undermineU.S./Russian relations, according to official Russian sources.

During recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee,Tenet sought "to frighten" the senators when he identified Russia as the"first choice" of nations seeking "to obtain the latest technologies forthe development of chemical, germ and nuclear weapons" and their meansof delivery, Moscow declared.

The statements were carried by the Voice of Russia World Service, theofficial broadcasting service of the Russian government.

Tenet also informed the committee that the sale of these technologies"are a major source of funds for commercial and defense industries," aswell as for Russian military research and development.

Moscow claimed that Tenet's remarks were made to adversely affect theupcoming May summit between U.S. President George W. Bush and RussianPresident Vladimir Putin.

"Cooperation between Russia and the U.S. is becoming more constructive,"Moscow observed. "It is this process," Moscow then asserted, "thatcauses undisguised discontent in some political and military circles."

The "political and military circles" to which Moscow alluded were notidentified.

Detecting a pattern of "negative" comments when "[positive] prospectsappear for bilateral cooperation," Moscow characterized Tenet and theCIA as "tools of those circles which would like to complicate thepresent political process."

Tenet was also criticized in the Moscow broadcast for not providing"evidence to confirm his statement." When contacted by WorldNetDaily,CIA press spokesman Tom Crispell maintained agency silence on themethodology and the sources for Tenet's report.

Ironically, Moscow's attack on the CIA and its director came after CIAparticipation in an unprecedented international spy conference just heldin St. Petersburg, Russia, which called for "unification" in the waragainst terrorism and a permanent spy coordination organization.

Russia and its closest allies, however, have been for years continuouslyimplicated in the illicit sale of technology and materials for weaponsof mass destruction.

Russia's chemical and biological facilities have long been regarded asvulnerable to those seeking to acquire or develop weapons of massdestruction, while Russia's handling of its nuclear stockpile has causedeven greater concern.

In 1997, Alexander Lebed, former chief of national security and hero ofthe Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan, warned the world that some 100 ofRussia's small nuclear devices were lost.

Two months following the attacks of Sept. 11, reports surfaced that anumber of "briefcase nuclear weapons" could have come into the U.S.,along with biological weapons - all of Russian origin.

Belarus, united with Russia in a still-developing union state, was citedby U.S. and Israeli intelligence as "the largest supplier of weapons toIslamic radicals," according to an October 2001 report from Radio FreeEurope/Radio Liberty.

The same report found Belarus to be "one of the most secretive countriesin its weapons deals, and probably one of the most irresponsible."

Ukraine, under the leadership of President Leonid Kuchma, is both aclose friend of Moscow and reputedly a major supplier of arms to Iraq,which is habitually identified as a supporter of terrorism as well as adeveloper of weapons of mass destruction. The range of material providedto Baghdad includes antiaircraft missile systems and weapons-gradeuranium.

The level of weapons availability in Russia is reflected by the arrestof a 26-year-old heroin addict in St. Petersburg for possession of anoperational, shoulder-held antiaircraft missile launcher. According toRadio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the man claimed he only wanted to showit to his friends. Local police believe he was attempting to sell theweapon.
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4.
Ivanov To Meet Powell In Madrid
Reuters
March 29, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov will meet U.S. Secretary of StateColin Powell in Madrid next month to discuss preparations for a Maysummit between their two presidents, Russia's Foreign Ministry said onFriday.

A ministry statement said the April 11 meeting in the Spanish capitalwould focus on disarmament, with both sides hoping to clinch an accordon reducing strategic weaponry in time for the summit.

Another ministry statement issued late on Thursday said the two men hadspoken by telephone and noted "some progress" in talks aimed atclinching such an accord in time for the May 23-26 summit in Moscow andSt Petersburg.

They also discussed improved chances for lifting a Russian ban on U.S.poultry imports and closer positions in altering procedures inmaintaining U.N. sanctions on Iraq.

Both Russia and the United States have agreed that there must be aformal agreement to underpin plans to reduce arsenals to between 1,500and 2,200 warheads each from current levels of between 6,000 and 7,000.

But senior officials in Moscow have expressed scepticism that a deal canbe struck soon in view of differences, particularly over U.S. plans tostore rather than destroy warheads removed from weapons systems.
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D. Russia-North Korea Cooperation

1.
US Dismayed By Russia-N.Korea Project
Reuters
March 29, 2002
(for personal use only)


A Russian move to build a nuclear power plant for "axis of evil" stateNorth Korea after already constructing one in "co-axis' Iran couldthreaten Moscow's improving relations with the United States, a seniorU.S. official said on Thursday.

"For the Russians to do this is a very, very bad sign and would add onemore burden to the relationship on non-proliferation and one moreimportant topic we've got to get straight with them," he told Reuters.

The move would leave only Iraq among the three countries PresidentGeorge W. Bush branded an "axis of evil" in his State of the Unionmessage in January without an active nuclear relationship with Russia.

"This is very bad news at a time when we were expressing our doubtsabout North Korean compliance with the Agreed Framework," the officialsaid, referring to a 1994 accord under which Pyongyang pledged to freezeits nuclear program.

Russian Nuclear Energy minister Alexander Rumyantsev told a newsconference in Moscow on Wednesday Russia would complete a nuclear powerplant reactor in Iran despite U.S. opposition.

And, in what would be an expansion of Russian nuclear activities, hesaid Moscow was also considering a tentative North Korean request for asimilar plant.

A day earlier, a senior U.S. official told Reuters that while the Bushadministration has made little progress in persuading Moscow to endnuclear assistance to Iran, this was unlikely to disrupt U.S.-Russiaties that warmed considerably since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York andWashington.

"Now is it (Russia-Iran nuclear cooperation) enough to derail the(U.S.-Russia) relationship? Not if the Russians don't expand cooperationand proliferation with this and other countries," he said in aninterview.

EXPANDED COOPERATION OPPOSED

If the status quo holds, "it's possible it would simply be a continuingproblem," said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

However, if Russia "expanded their (nuclear) cooperation ... it would bea big problem," he added.

Rumyantsev predicted the $800 million Iranian plant at Bushehr would befinished in the year 2005.

As for the North Korean project, "We are holding discussions and tryingto find out whether it would be economically feasible," he said.

"But these are only discussions without any specific foundation,"Rumyantsev added.

The comments surprised and dismayed U.S. officials who have beendiscussing nuclear and other matters with Moscow.

Bush has toughened the rhetoric toward all three "axis of evil" states,saying they are determined to acquire nuclear, chemical and biologicalweapons and the means to deliver them.

The administration maintains that after Sept 11, there is a much greaterthreat that extremists would try to acquire a weapon of mass destructionto strike America.

Bush recently broke with the preceding Clinton administration and toldCongress he could no longer certify North Korea as complying with the1994 Agreed Framework.

Under that accord, Washington guaranteed regular U.S. oil shipments plusconstruction in North Korea of two advanced nuclear power reactors thatcannot produce weapons-grade plutonium if Pyongyang froze its allegednuclear arms program.

Bush aides have demanded that Moscow halt work on the Bushehr project,which they view as a way to "mask" Russian cooperation with Iran'snuclear weapons program.

Russian officials have long argued they are not abetting Iran's nuclearweapons program and there should be no prohibitions on their work sinceIran eschewed nuclear arms as a member of the Nuclear Non-ProliferationTreaty.

COMPROMISE OPTIONS

If Iran ended its nuclear weapons program, Washington might withdraw itsobjections to Russia completing the Bushehr power plant. But "that's abig if" to be dealt with only in the future, a senior U.S. officialsaid.

Despite the differences, Rumyantsev told reporters Russia viewed U.S.concerns with "great attention" and hoped for a compromise that couldbenefit Russia economically.

While non-proliferation concerns may be raised when Bush meets RussianPresident Vladimir Putin in Moscow May 23-25, U.S. officials said theircurrent focus is on ensuring a harmonious summit that would enshrine anagreement that would slash both sides' offensive nuclear weapons.

After that, the Bush administration plans to place more emphasis onresolving non-proliferation differences, which could prove morecontentious, officials said.
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E. Russia-India Cooperation

1.
Moscow eyes more Russian-made nuclear reactors in India
BBC Monitoring Service
April 1, 2002
(for personal use only)


Text of report by Indian news agency PTI

Kudankulam (TN [Tamil Nadu]), 1 April: Russia is keen on setting up atleast four more advanced light-water nuclear reactors in India tofurther strengthen the techno-commercial ties between the two countrieswhich would be discussed during President Vladimir Putin's forthcomingvisit to India.

This was stated here by the Russia's deputy minister of atomic energy,E.A. Reshetnikov, Sunday [31 March] at a press conference after the"first concrete pouring" of the country's first two 1,000 MW each atomicpower plants.

"Since India is our strategic partner, cooperation between the twocountries in nuclear energy sector will be mutually beneficial in thecoming years," he said.

On the importance of nuclear reactors for Kudankulam, 25 km fromKanyakumari (southernmost tip of India) along the coast of Gulf ofMannar, he said it was very important as it gave immense benefits to thelocal people in socioeconomic and health spheres.

It was safe in having Russian nuclear reactors in India as the level ofexpertise and safety records were very high.

In fact, there was a rethinking at the global level to go in for nuclearpower in a big way as it has been shown to be a clean energy, he said.

"Both Russia and US have come out with their ambitious projects," hesaid.

Source: PTI news agency, New Delhi, in English 0844 gmt 1 Apr 02
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F. Russia-Vietnam Cooperation

1.
Russia approves draft nuclear agreement with Vietnam
BBC Monitoring Service
April 1, 2002
(for personal use only)


Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax

Moscow, 1 April: The Russian government has approved the draft of anintergovernmental agreement with Vietnam on cooperation in the peacefuluse of nuclear energy.

The government information department reports that the Atomic EnergyMinistry was instructed to hold talks with Vietnam and sign theagreement on behalf of the government.

In the framework agreement, the sides are expected to cooperate infundamental and applied nuclear energy research, studies in designing,building and operating nuclear power plants, the safe operation of theresearch reactor in Dalat, Vietnam, prospecting and development ofuranium deposits, handling of radioactive wastes, nuclear safety, andthe production and application of radioisotopes.

Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 0826 gmt 1 Apr 02
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G. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers To Be Capable Of Carrying Conventional,Nuclear Warheads
Interfax
March 28, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russia will not only preserve its strategic aviation, but will alsomodernize Tu-160 strategic bombers.

"All the 15 Tu-160 missile-carrying bombers will be modernized so thatthey are able to carry new types of missiles with conventional andnuclear warheads," Air Force Commander-in-Chief Col. Gen. VladimirMikhailov told Interfax on Thursday.
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H. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

1.
Russia's Ex-Nuclear Minister Speaks For Resumption Of Nuclear Tests
Vladimir Isachenkov
Associated Press
March 28, 2002
(for personal use only)


Disputing the Russian government's strong support of a global nucleartest ban, a former atomic energy minister said Thursday that theresumption of test explosions is vital for preserving the combatreadiness of Russian nuclear weapons.

"If we decide to keep nuclear weapons, nuclear tests are inevitable,"said Yevgeny Adamov, who served as nuclear power minister untilPresident Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) fired him a year ago.

"A nuclear device comes through a certain life cycle, it's beingperiodically disassembled and certain materials are changed ... so noone can be sure that it functions properly if not tested," Adamov saidat a news conference.

Russia conducted its last nuclear test explosion in 1990, and the UnitedStates has banned underground nuclear testing since 1992. The U.S.administration, although committed to the test moratorium for now, seeksa reduction in the time it would take to resume such tests in case theyare needed to ensure the reliability of nuclear warheads as the UnitedStates and Russia trim their arsenals. It currently would take about twoor three years.

U.S. officials haven't ruled out nuclear tests in the future, but saidthere are no current plans to resume testing. Russia has voiced itsstrong adherence to the moratorium and urged the United States to do thesame.

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, signed by 161 nations and ratified by84 of them, will only become binding if all 44 countries that possessnuclear weapons or have nuclear power programs ratify the treaty. Only31 such nations, including Britain and France and Rusisa, have ratifiedthe 1996 accord that bans nuclear tests in any environment. The UnitedStates is among 13 non-ratifiers.

In order to ensure the reliability of its weapons, Russia has relied onlab modelling and the so called sub-critical tests, which aren'tprohibited by the comprehensive ban because the amount of plutonium usedis not enough to create a nuclear explosion. But Adamov has argued thatsuch tests along with other methods aren't enough to sustain confidencein nuclear weapons.

Adamov said that some experts believe that Russia's need to resumenuclear tests could be even more pressing than that of the UnitedStates, because Russian nuclear weapons used to include components builtin other ex-Soviet republics and were modernized with home-made partsafter the 1991 Soviet collapse.

His successor, Alexander Rumyantsev, said Wednesday that nuclear testexplosions would be necessary to modernize nuclear weapons, but toed theofficial line saying there is no need to resume testing.
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2.
Russia Voices Concern Over US Position On Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
Interfax
March 28, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russia "is especially concerned about" the US position on theComprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), sources in the ForeignMinistry told Interfax on Thursday [28 March].

The treaty "is a key barrier in the path of proliferation of nucleararmaments and their modernization", they said.

"However, the United States is not in a hurry to ratify it and seems tobe preparing the ground for quitting the accord."

"Washington has decided to upgrade the alert at the Nevada nucleartesting grounds for the possible resumption of tests. Appeals fortesting small nuclear devices are mounting," the sources said.

"This position casts a shadow on the very idea of the treaty and,consequentially, does not promote confidence of our states in thedocument, which actually dooms the treaty to death," they said.
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I. Submarine Dismantlement

1.
Nuclear Minister Laments Shortage Of Funds For Submarine Dismantling
Associated Press
March 29, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Russian government is short of funds to quickly get rid of itsrusting fleet of mothballed nuclear submarines and deal with otherleftovers of the nuclear era, the top nuclear official said this week.

"We carry a heavy burden left by the nuclear weapons program andindustrial use of nuclear power," Alexander Rumyantsev said. "We havethe necessary technology to dismantle and bury the nuclear waste, but weare short of money."

Russia has decommissioned 190 nuclear-powered submarines, but nuclearfuel has been removed from only 97 of them, and most are languishingdockside, waiting to be dismantled, officials said. The entiredismantling effort is estimated to cost US$2.5 billion to $3 billion - alarge sum for the cashapped Russian government.

"Our state isn't ready for the task, and dismantling programs havelagged behind schedule," Rumyantsev said.

Last year, the nuclear ministry unloaded spent nuclear fuel from 18nuclear submarines. Fuel from 18 more will be unloaded this year, butthere is no money for any more this year, Rumyantsev said.

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.

Rumyantsev said that the number of dismantled submarines could increasestarting from 2004, and all submarines could be dismantled around 2007.

Environmental groups have repeatedly criticized the deterioratingcondition of the decommissioned submarines, some of which have sat inports for as long as 15 years, with fuel aboard and their hulls rustingthrough.

Rumyantsev voiced hope that imports of spent nuclear fuel forreprocessing would let his ministry earn funds to speed up nucleardismantling programs. He said that a project of building a storage forlow-active nuclear waste at Russia's Shimushir Island was economicallyfeasible but stands little chance of implementation because of strongprotests by environmentalists.
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J. Nuclear Safety

1.
Japan to give nuclear safety training to Russia, Asian countries
BBC Monitoring Service
April 1, 2002
(for personal use only)


Text of report in English by Japanese news agency Kyodo

Tokyo, 1 April: Japan will invite nearly 50 trainees annually from Chinaand other parts of Asia as well as Russia and eastern and central Europein an enhanced international cooperation programme on nuclear safetystarting in fiscal 2002, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry(METI) said Monday [1 April].

The five-year programme consists of seminars, tours to nuclear plants,training at dedicated centres and the dispatch of experts to thecountries, the ministry said.

Japan will accept trainees from Asian countries planning to launchnuclear power generation, such as Indonesia and Vietnam, if requested bythe countries, METI officials said.

The government has appropriated 250m yen for the programme for thisfiscal year, which began Monday.

The planned programme is an updated version of the government's 10-yearprogramme ended in fiscal 2001, under which Tokyo accepted 1,042trainees from Russia, China and eight East European nations or formerSoviet republics.

The original programme was designed to prevent nuclear accidents such asthe one at Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union in 1986, the world'sworst nuclear disaster.

Source: Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 1137 gmt 1 Apr 02
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2.
Chernobyl still priority for Russia, Ukraine and Belarus
BBC Monitoring Service
March 31, 2002
(for personal use only)


Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax

Moscow, 31 March: Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergey Shoyguand UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kenzo Oshima areexpected to meet on Monday, April 1, to discuss ways of coordinatinginternational efforts to deal with the aftermath of the Chernobylnuclear disaster.

The two officials will also discuss a report by a UN mission on thehumanitarian aspect of the Chernobyl nuclear accident and on therehabilitation strategy, based on the conclusions of an internationalmonitoring commission which examined the contaminated territory. Thisdocument has been drawn up at the request of Belarus, Russia andUkraine.

Russian Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Nadezhda Gerasimova hastold Interfax that the nuclear disaster resulted in the contamination ofan area of over 207,000 sq m in a total of 17 countries. About 800,000Russian citizens still live in contaminated territories.

"Even though 16 years have passed since then, the effects of theChernobyl accident are still arousing concern in Russia, Ukraine andBelarus, and in the rest of the world," Gerasimova said.

According to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, an area of morethan 6m square kilometres has been examined in Russia since theChernobyl nuclear accident.

The territories affected the worst are Bryansk Region (11,800 sq km),Kaluga Region (4,900 sq km), Tula Region (11,600 sq km) and Orel Region(8,900 sq km).

The governments of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine are currently reviewingtheir policy to deal with the aftermath of the Chernobyl nucleardisaster, Gerasimova said.

Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 0637 gmt 31 Mar 02
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3.
Russian Radioactive Waste Plant Treats 800 Tonnes Since November
Interfax
March 28, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Far Eastern Landysh floating complex for reprocessing liquidradioactive waste has disposed of more than 800 tons of radioactivewaste since it was put into operation, Russian Atomic Energy MinisterAleksandr Rumyantsev [has] told Interfax.

The floating complex, designed for reprocessing low-radioactivity liquidradioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear submarines, was put intooperation in November 2001.

The Landysh complex is located on an autonomous barge anchored near theFar Eastern plant for decommissioning nuclear submarines Zvezda in thetown of Bolshoy Kamen in Maritime Territory. The complex has a capacityof 7,000 cu.m. of liquid radioactive waste a year.
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K. Nuclear Energy

1.
Russian atomic energy minister stresses need for balanced power market
BBC Monitoring Service
Mar 31, 2002
(for personal use only)


The restructuring of the Russian nuclear industry is going on inparallel with the reorganization of the country's power market. Someindustry operators fear that they will not be granted free and equalaccess to the new power market. However, as Russian newspaper Izvestiyareports, Russian Atomic Energy Minister Aleksandr Rumyantsev says hewill defend the industry's interests and is happy with the waynegotiations are proceeding with the head of Unified Energy Systems ofRussia, Anatoliy Chubays. He also spoke of plans to set up a storagefacility for low-level radioactive waste on the seismically activeisland of Simushir, adding that he thought environmentalists wouldeventually accept this decision. The following is an excerpt from thereport by Izvestiya on 28 March:

At an enlarged session of the board of the Ministry of Atomic Energy,figures from the nuclear sphere summed up the results of work over thepast year. Aleksandr Rumyantsev, the head of the ministry, made severalimportant statements...

Over the last year there has been a lot of news from people in theRussian nuclear energy industry. In the past year a law was adopted onthe burial of nuclear waste on the territory of Russia. The governmentdecided to create a unified generating energy company on the basis ofthe Rosenergoatom concern which would be unparalleled in terms of itssize and the low prime cost of its products. This is going on inparallel with the restructuring of the RAO YeES Rossii [Unified EnergySystem of Russia - UES]. All of this presupposes, aside from everythingelse, the establishment of a proper electric power market, on whichoperators in the atomic sphere will be separate players, and of theFederal Network Company in which nuclear-generated electricity has to beguaranteed access to the distribution grids on a non-discriminatorybasis...

The nuclear industry operators had earlier repeatedly expressedindignation over the fact that Anatoliy Chubays' department haddiscriminated against nuclear-generated electric power. Noorganizational changes will take place in this area until Russianelectric power generation has been restructured, but yesterdayRumyantsev stated that "the nuclear industry operators are living inharmony with Anatoliy Chubays and we are coming to an arrangement thatour electric power will also be taken for export. I hope that this yearthe proportion of our electric power in export deliveries willincrease". In answer to a question from Izvestiya as to whether thenetwork company being set up in the country will infringe on the rightsof electric power producers who are independent of UES, the ministerreplied that he himself belongs to the board of directors of the FederalNetwork Company and intends to uphold the interests of the atomicsector, "so that it may have equal access to the grid. But the market isthe market and winter has gone by, it was warm, and an enormous quantityof coal has been accumulated. It needs to be burnt in such a way as notto be ecologically harmful. Still nuclear-generated electricity is thecheapest. This is where the balancing of interests begins and also botha struggle and competition."

Rumyantsev stated that the construction of the storage facility on theisland of Simushir is technically perfectly possible: "Because in Japan,as you know, there is also a seismically active zone and everythingworks fine. We are even prepared to reproduce Japanese technology onSimushir. We might even acquire technologies from Japan and conclude along-term contract for the construction work. We could, of course, alsodo this ourselves, but we are prepared to show the world community thatwe have invited the most experienced people for construction in thiszone. It is possible to create on the island of Simushir a storagefacility for low-level radioactive wastes but not for spent nuclearfuel. And this would be a substantial relief for the economies of SouthKorea, Japan, Taiwan, and maybe the coastal regions of mainland China.In principle this idea is absolutely correct but the Greens will not letus do this. I have the feeling that they will acquiesce in theconstruction site there and that will be that."

Source: Izvestiya, Moscow, in Russian 28 Mar 02
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L. Announcements

1.
On the Destruction of Russia Chemical Weapons (Fact sheet)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Daily News Bulletin
March 29, 2002


International Control of the Destruction of Russian Chemical Weapons

In 2001 Russia lent vigorous assistance in carrying out checks of itsfacilities subject to inspections of the Organization for theProhibition of Chemical Weapons. During the year, 8 former plant for theproduction of chemical weapons (CW), 6 storage facilities and 7 plantsfor the destruction of Category 1, 2 and 3 CW. The overall duration ofinspections at the plants for Category 2 and 3 CW destruction was morethan 9 months. Over 35 million rubles were paid for the 2001inspections.

Category Three Chemical Weapons Completely Destroyed

The total amount of destroyed Category 3 CW is: unfilled aviationmunitions - 4,737, unfilled casings of parts of rockets - 3; powdercharges - 85,324; and explosive charges - 239,960, which corresponds to100% CW storage units. The bulk of the CW of this category was destroyedat destruction plants within the storage arsenals Leonidovka,Maradykovsky and Pochep. Work was done in strict compliance with thenormative legal acts for ensuring the life and health protection ofstaff at the facilities, and the people living within the zone ofprotective measures and environmental protection, and in the constantpresence of, and instrumental analytic checking of the CW destructionprocesses by international inspection groups of the Organization for theProhibition of Chemical Weapons.
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M. Links of Interest

1.
Iran's Burgeoning WMD Programs
Michael Rubin
Middle East Intelligence Bulletin
March/April 2002
http://www.meib.org/articles/0203_irn1.htm


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2.
Sisters Are Right On Space Weaponization
Gordon R. Mitchell
Hartford Courant
March 29 2002
http://www.pitt.edu/~gordonm/JPubs/Sistersoped.html


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3.
Non-proliferation, Nuclear Power and US-Russia Relations
Ernest Moniz
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
March 22, 2002
http://www.ceip.org/files/events/events.asp?EventID=470


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4.
International Reactions to Leaked Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)
BASIC
March 2002
http://www.basicint.org/NPRReactions.htm


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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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