1. U.S.-Russia: Congress Considers Swapping Russian Debt ForNonproliferation
Global Security Newswire
April 18, 2002
(for personal use only)
Lawmakers are considering two bills to allow the U.S. president toreduce, cancel or sell part of Russia's debt to fund jointnonproliferation programs in Russia (see GSN, March 8).
A Senate-House conference committee is expected to meet in the nearfuture to consider the Senate Security Assistance Act, which includesprovisions to authorize the president to swap Russian debt fornonproliferation programs, according to an aide for the Senate ForeignRelations Committee.
Although the companion House bill does not include a debt-swappingprovision, some legislators are hoping conferees will include suchprovisions in the final legislation. Representative Ellen Tauscher(D-Calif.) plans to send a letter to the conference committee asking toinclude the debt for-nonproliferation language in the final bill, aTauscher staffer told GSN this week.
Meanwhile, Tauscher and Representative John McHugh (R-N.Y.) introduced astand-alone bill March 4 in the House that containeddebt-for-nonproliferation language nearly identical to the Senateprovisions contained in the security assistance bill.
The House Russian Federation Debt Reduction for Nonproliferation Act isthe first bipartisan nuclear nonproliferation bill in the House sinceU.S. President George W. Bush began his term last year, according to apress release from Tauscher and McHugh.
The Bush administration has said it has no official position on theSenate and House bills, and Russia has indicated caution - preferring tofirst consider the terms of the swap in more detail - but the idea hasdrawn praise from several economic and arms control analysts.
The legislation addresses several issues, including flexibility fornegotiating terms with Russia, debt to non-U.S. creditors and arequirement to ensure that Russia continues to demonstrate commitment tononproliferation.
The legislation would provide flexibility to the president regardingexactly how to reduce the Russian debt, according to a Tauscher aide.The first challenge, he said, would be to reach an agreement withRussia. Negotiations would be necessary to determine exactly how toreduce the debt and which cooperative nonproliferation programs wouldreceive the funds.
Both the Senate and House debt-for-nonproliferation bills call on thepresident to work with members of the Paris Club, an informal group ofcountries that have agreed to reschedule debts.
The United States can forgive or reduce any debt Russia owes to theUnited States bilaterally, said Brian Finlay of the Vietnam Veterans ofAmerica Foundation's Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign.
Much of Russia's debt, however, is owed to creditors in the Paris Club.The United States holds only a small percentage of total Russian debtthrough the Paris Club. European countries, such as Germany and Italy,are the biggest Paris Club creditors to Russia.
The congressional legislation would encourage Paris Club members toreduce Russian debt and put the money toward nonproliferation programs.It would require the United States to talk with other creditors to reachan agreement that each creditor "is authorized to negotiate debtexchanges with the Russian Federation covering a portion of itsbilateral debt to finance the accomplishment of nonproliferation andarms reduction activities."
Working together with the United States to shift Russian debt towardthreat reduction programs is an opportunity for European states - whichtraditionally have been only minimally involved in such programs - tobecome more involved, Finlay said. Poorly protected or unguardedweapons of mass destruction in Russia are a threat to European states aswell as to the United States, he said.
Persuading Paris Club members to support nonproliferation programs usingRussian debt may not be easy, however.
"Although the United States could theoretically effect a debt swapitself, in reality a swap would involve these forums [Paris Club andother creditors] because unilateral U.S. action could harm the economicinterest of other creditors left holding Russian debt," James Fuller,director of the Center for Global Security at the Pacific NorthwestNational Laboratory, wrote in the winter 2002 issue of Arms ControlToday.
The legislation would also require the president to certify Russia ismaking progress toward halting transfers of WMD material, knowledge andtechnologies to countries the United States suspects sponsor terrorism.If the president does not certify Russian attempts to control suchtransfers, debt swap could be suspended and Russia would have to payback the money to the United States under normal terms, said Tauscher'saide.
The United States and Russia have disagreed over Russian assistance tobuild nuclear power plants in Iran, which could potentially hold upfunds under the legislation (see GSN, April 5). The Bush administrationannounced earlier this month that it would not certify Russiancompliance with the treaties banning chemical and biological weapons, adecision that means funds for certain cooperative threat reductionprograms will be suspended.
Current law, however, does not allow the president to waive thosecertification requirements (see GSN, April 8). In the past, thepresident has shown a belief that threat reduction programs in Russiaare in U.S. national interests, said Tauscher's aide. The debt swaplegislation would provide the president with authority to waive thecertification requirement if the president believes providing the fundsto nonproliferation programs is necessary for U.S. security interests.
The Bush administration has no formal position on whether swapping debtfor nonproliferation is a good plan, said Energy Department officialLinton Brooks earlier this month (see GSN, April 8). Brooks said,however, there is a large need for cooperative threat reductionprograms, and finding ways to help fund the programs is important.
Defense Department official Thomas Kuenning said Russia needs more moneyto meet its obligations for chemical weapons dismantlement, and thereare good reasons to put money toward such programs.
There is a divergence of opinion on the idea of swapping debt fornonproliferation among Russian officials, said Russian diplomat OlegNovikov. Russia is interested in the subject and will followdevelopments closely, he said.
Russian interest in the program would probably depend on the U.S. terms,said John Williamson, a senior fellow at the Institute for InternationalEconomics. For example, if the United States offered to sell some ofthe debt to Russia at a price close to the debt's face value, Russiawould probably not consider the deal conducive to its interests, hesaid. If the United States offers a price at a significantly lowervalue, then Russia might see a lot of benefit to the proposal.
Several economic and arms control analysts called the legislation a goodidea.
"This is perhaps the most cutting edge piece of legislation that's comethrough Congress since the advent of the Nunn-Lugar program," saidFinlay. "It's win-win. . We're investing in our own security for thefuture."
"If the Russians agree, I think it's an excellent idea," saidWilliamson.
"I think it's a great idea," said Joe Cirincione of the CarnegieEndowment for International Peace.
Two analysts said that although nonproliferation programs are definitelyin U.S. security interests, there are important problems withtransparency and financial accountability, and simply providing moremoney will not solve those problems.
The proposed legislation requires that each program funded through thedebt swap be subject to U.S. audits, but Ariel Cohen, a research fellowat the Heritage Foundation said "the Russian Ministry of Defense bookson nuclear threat reduction were as opaque as the Volga waters inAugust."
"While there is a security imperative to drastically reduceproliferation activities which include all kinds of WMD - nuclear,chemical, radiological (a dirty bomb) and biological - these activitieshave to be paid for in a transparent way," Cohen said.
He said that Russian compliance with U.S. legislation and financialaccountability is important. "After all, this is the U.S. taxpayers'money."
Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation PolicyEducation Center, also said that whether the United States providesmoney directly or indirectly, it must be subject to auditing - adifficult task to accomplish in Russia. While funding nonproliferationprograms is important, simply providing more money will not encourage"more sober financial behavior," he said.
Using money from debt reduction to pay for nonproliferation solves theimmediate problem of how to provide more money for such programs butdoes not address criticism over auditing problems, Sokolski said.
Reducing or forgiving debt is still spending U.S. taxpayers' money, hesaid. "It's just another form of free money." return to menu
B. Spent Nuclear Fuel
1. Bush And Putin Likely To Discuss Spent Fuel Import To Russia
April 22, 2002
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Of the bilateral nuclear waste disposal plans that are likely to end upon next month's summit agenda, one has struck a special chord ofcontroversy among Duma deputies, the Bush administration, the RussianNuclear Ministry, and environmental groups alike. All have theirparticular objections to the plan, but all, too - say the purveyors ofthe plan - have reasons to support it.
This plan was developed by an American corporation called the NonProliferation Trust, Inc. (NPT), whose associates include former CIAchief William Webster. In broad terms it calls for the 40-year storagein Russia of 10,000 tonnes of fissile waste from a number of countries.At the end of those 40 years - or during this period - the waste wouldbe resettled in a geologic repository, also in Russia, where it wouldremain permanently, never to be reprocessed.
In return, Russia would receive $11 billions dollars not only to buildthe repository and clean up and enhance the security of its nuclearinfrastructure, but also to employ nuclear workers in the closed citiesin civilian and ecological capacities. It also provides tidy sums towardsocial relief for the elderly and orphans. Likewise, there would besignificant funds allocated to the region in which the permanent wasterepository would be eventually located. It would also have to adhere toa bilateral 30-year moratorium between the Kremlin and Washington oncommercial reprocessing.
Environmentalists have dumped cold water on the idea, saying that NPToffers only a short-term benefit for Russia, which will have to livewith the consequences of the permanently interned waste for thousands ofyears. But it has received a warm reception from members of thegovernment of President Vladimir Putin - particularly Ilya Khlebanov,who met last November with members of the NPT board. It also wasgreeting approvingly - but with more reservation - by US NationalSecurity Advisor Condolezza Rice, US Vice President Dick Cheney andSecretary of State Colin Powell.
Indeed, according to NPT representative Thomas Cochran, as well as theUS White House press office, NPT was on the agenda at the first summitbetween Putin and George Bush last November in Crawford, Texas, but wasscotched when events related to Sept. 11 took precedence.
All of this ratchets up the likelihood that it will be included on thedocket at the May summit in Moscow, where - in the shadow of the Bushadministration's reconsideration of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Act(CTR) - a number of issues regarding the safety of Russia's nuclearwaste are expected to be discussed.
But many environmentalists in Russia and abroad are still smarting overlast year's dubious passage of legislation that allows the Russiangovernment to turn a profit by importing and reprocessing spent nuclearfuel (SNF). The legislation had no direct link to the NPT proposal andset no limit on the amount of spent nuclear fuel, allowed to be importedinto Russia. At the time the legislation was passed, environmentallobbies across Russia had collected 2.5 million signatures - 500,000more than were needed to force the question to a nation-wide referendum- only to see 800,000 of those signatures disqualified by the CentralElection Commission (CEC) on minor technicalities, some as minor as"incorrect" abbreviations for street names.
Former Nuclear Minister Yevgeny Adamov's aggressive lobbying of the Dumaalso brought about speculation the deputies had been cajoled withpromises and, in some cases, bribes, to pass the bills. Though Russia'sNuclear Ministry, or Minatom, has yet to sign any significant importcontracts - because from 70 to 90 percent of the world's SNF iscontrolled by the United States - environmentalists are anxious to handbillions of dollars, even with contractual strings attached, plus tonnesof fissile material over to a Minatom.
But NPT and its opponents agree on one thing: Russia desperately needsmoney to keep nuclear materials safe and to clean up the radioactivepollution left by more than 50 years of nuclear power generation andweapons production. Joint Russia-US projects that address this, likeCTR, have been criticized by many for moving at glacial pace.
The $11 billion on offer from NPT would be divided as follows: $1.8billion to site and build a geological repository; $3 billion forecological clean up in Russia; $1.5 billion to increase the physicalsecurity of fissile materials in Russia; $2 billion to reemploy nuclearworkers in Russia's closed cities with jobs related to ecological cleanup and other civilian sector employment; $2 billion in aid for Russianpensioners and $250 million for Russian orphans.
An additional $500 million would be held in escrow to collect interestduring the 40-year temporary storage phase in order to cover the waste'sremoval to the permanent geological site. If no geological site islicensed and built within that time, the waste can, at NPT's discretion,be removed to another country or another 40-year lease can be signedwith Russia to allow more time for a geologic repository to be realized.The reason for the waiting period, as opposed to simply financing apermanent repository from the outset, Cochran said, is that NPT couldnot attract customers or begin to finance clean up, fissile materialcontrol and alternative jobs for nuclear workers.
Customers to foot the bill would be selected on the basis of theirability to pay the minimum prices for the project to go forward, and onthe non-proliferation benefits associated with their selection.According to Cochran, ideal customers would include countries likeTaiwan, South Korea, Armenia and Iran, which either lack the necessaryland resources for permanent storage facilities of their own, or pose anon-proliferation risk to the United States. Two of these countries -Armenia and Iran - already receive fuel from Russia. But built into theNPT contract is a clause preventing Minatom from competing with NPTwhile NPT assembles its customer base.
As unpalatable as that might seem from Minatom's perspective, Cochranand Minatom officials said in recent interviews that Russia has alreadystarted rudimentary work in scooping out a geologic repository.According to Cochran, "[t]he Krasnoyarsk site looks the most promising,"but he added that "Russia is a long way from characterizing a site anddemonstrating its adequacy. Russia does not even have any site selectioncriteria or licensing regulations."
Aleksandr Dmitriev, deputy director of Russia's nuclear regulatory bodyGosatomnadzor (GAN), confirmed this in a telephone interview withBellona.
Until the site is located and licensed by GAN and the InternationalAtomic Energy Association (IAEA), the waste would be likely be stored inthe Primorsk region at or near a site used by the Russian navy to storefresh and spent fuel, Cochran said.
Implementing the plan
For such a far reaching long term plan to be put into play, however,would require the heft of the Russian government and series ofagreements with the US government, including the participation of USCongress, to form a formal "Agreement of Cooperation on the PeacefulUses of Atomic Energy," as it is spelled out in the US Atomic EnergyAct, Cochran said.
By US law, once an agreement for cooperation is negotiated, it is sentto the president for 30 days. During that time, the president checkswith other departments, including the Department of Energy (DoE) and theNuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) before determining in writing thatthe agreement poses no risks to US security. It is then sent to congresswere it sits for 30 days of continuous session. If congress doesnothing, the agreement is approved. If, however, the agreement isoverridden by a simple majority, the president can force it to a vote byvetoing congress, where a two thirds majority would be required tooverride him.
According to a spokesman for the US State Department, the Agreement forCooperation proposed by NPT "could have an easy time in congress,especially in the wake of protests surrounding the Yucca Mountainproposal in this country." Yucca mountain in Nevada has been proposed asa geologic repository for thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste inthe United States, and has drawn the outrage of the environmentalcommunity there.
It is likely that the Russian public would react in a similar fashion -from residents of the prospective permanent storage site to people wholive along the route the radioactive waste would be shipped. For thisreason, Cochran noted that NPT would not oppose that the question be putto a regional or even national referendum in Russia.
"I believe there has to be a meaningful site selection process for boththe temporary dry cask storage facility and the geologic repository andthese processes have to include meaningful public participation,"Cochran said.
Spokesmen for high-ranking members of the Bush administrationinterviewed for this article said that they fundamentally agree with theplan. The State Department spokesman said NPT "offered a direct route toa geologic repository, which is something that the world needs."
"The State Department also supports the notion of a cash infusion tohelp Russia clean up its nuclear infrastructure and to make it safer,"he added.
But spokesmen for Vice President Cheney and National Security AdvisorRice - while agreeing with the State Department on that point -emphasised that Russia's current support for the Iranian nuclearindustry could derail discussions.
"A final solution for tonnes of fissile material is surely needed,"wrote a spokesman for Rice in an email interview. "But the notion ofturning that material over to a Russia that is still providing materialsand support for the growth of the Iranian nuclear industry is againstthe interests of [US] national defence. This would have to be discussedin a summit setting."
These arguments do not surprise local businessman Dr Vitaly Keonjian,who heads the Non Proliferation and Ecological Improvement (NP&I)association in Moscow, which is NPT's Russian counterpart.
"I have met with Cheney, Rice Powell, and they all see the fundamentalbenefit [of the NPT proposal], but they always come back to 'what isRussia going to do about Iran?'" said Keonjian in a recent interview.
"But Iran is a separate question altogether, and the NPT option is theonly way to guarantee that fissile material gets locked up for good anddoesn't fall into the wrong hands."
What the Kremlin thinks
The Russian government's support for the NPT project is more ambiguousthan America's, not for reasons of US national security or potentialenvironmental hazards in Russia, but because the built-in moratorium onreprocessing may cramp its style.
On the level of Putin's cabinet, a spokesman for Khlebanov said thedeputy prime minister "supports the idea and has fully briefed thepresident, who supports it, too." Khlebanov's office nonetheless farmedout questions about the reprocessing moratorium to Minatom.
Deputy Nuclear Energy Minister Bulat Nigmatulin said in a telephoneinterview last week that "questions about reprocessing - and the projectas a whole - would have to be discussed at the summit [between Bush andPutin] in May."
"Of course there is a desire at Minatom to reprocess. It would make theproject more profitable," he added.
Nigmatulin early last week announced that negotiations were underway tobuild a raft of new reactors in China, India and the hotly contestedBushehr facility in Iran. Speaking with Bellona, he said he "wouldn't besurprised if [the new reactors] lead to eventual reprocessingcontracts."
This is precisely the kind of thinking that NPT - as well as members ofthe American government - hoped to avoid, but it is a mindset manyenvironmentalists say would be foisted on the NPT plan if it isapproved. It is also a clear indication that Russia does not intend toabandon subsidizing the Iranian nuclear industry any time soon.
Environmental opposition in Russia
Yabloko party Duma Deputy Sergei Mitrokhin - who recently made headlinesby marching past security with a camera crew into a Siberian nuclearwaste storage facility - voiced a familiar concern about NPT in a recentinterview with Bellona.
"It's not feasible from the point of view of national prestige," hesaid. "It is a terrible political precedent to set when we say Russia isopen for paid waste storage to richer nations."
He was also "convinced" that the money - spread out over such a longperiod of time and administered by successive groups of hands - wouldnot be spent where it is supposed to be.
"Minatom is ready to move on this because they want the money. It's theAmerican side getting in the way," he said. "But once [Minatom] gets thecash, what they spend it on will be anyone's guess."
Bellona Director Fredric Hauge agreed with Mitrokhin, adding "there isenough waste in Russia right now that has to be taken care of before weadd another 10,000 tonnes of it."
"[The NPT plan] also shows little respect for the principles ofdemocracy - even if the question were proposed for a referendum,experience shows that referendums on such questions in Russia simply getderailed."
NP&I's Keonjian, however, pointed to what he called "the responsibilitythat the nuclear nations [Russia, the United States, England and France]have toward the rest of the world" to solve waste problems as a group.
"This is a question of practical ecology," he said. "These countries areprimarily responsible for the waste problem the world has and theyshould work together to figure it out."
But why Russia and not the United States? Because at present, Keonjiansaid, the United States has 70,000 tonnes of waste on its hands wereRussia only has 14,000 tonnes. Also, he said, Russia needs the funds forclean up and for its nuclear workers more than America.
"Choosing Russia is not political, it's practical," he said.
But according to Vladimir Slivyak, co-chairman of the Moscow office ofEcodefence!, the NPT choice is also "utopian."
"NPT is naive to assume it can not only change the politics of Minatomtoward reprocessing but also the politics of the Russian government,which gave Minatom a green light to realise its reprocessing dreams bysinging the law permitting imports of radioactive waste."
He added that Minatom would not sign any agreement that forbadereprocessing, or that they may sign it and slowly begin to bend therules. As an example of this, he cited a Bellona publication about howMinatom managed to foist reprocessing on CTR, despite US policy againstit. CTR, which has spent $3.1 billion in Russia over the last ten years,granted Minatom a waiver from reprocessing once the Russian side beganstalling on the project.
"That took only ten years to happen. Think of how far Russia could bendthe NPT plan away from its original form in 40 years," Slivyak said inan interview with Bellona. "Even government to government plans getdistorted. I can only imagine what they'd manage to do to an agreementwith a private corporation."
But both Keonjian and Cochran remain unmoved by such an objection,pointing to the fact that breaching an agreement with NPT would meanbreaching an agreement for cooperation with the American government. Ifthe contract is breached, Russia gets no further funds and the waste,presumably, would be taken elsewhere.
"Certainly, this is something that would have to be discussed by thepresidents in a summit setting," said Keonjian.
"That is the only place it can be discussed with any finality." return to menu
2. Russia's Atomic Energy Minister Details Spent Nuclear Fuel Plans
April 16, 2002
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Russia's first contract for the import of spent nuclear fuel will bewith the UK and signed in about a year. The Americans prefer to exporttheir spent fuel to other countries, but Russia badly needs cash tomaintain security at its nuclear sites and installations - and seestaking in American nuclear waste as a good way of raising that cash. Inthe wake of 11 September this linkage "should work", according to theRussian atomic energy minister. The following is an excerpt from areport by the Russian newspaper Izvestiya:
Aleksandr Rumyantsev, minister of atomic energy of Russia, met yesterdayfor the first time since he has been in office with representatives ofenvironmental organizations. His predecessor, Yevgeniy Adamov, did sucha thing only once. The meeting was held in an atmosphere of relativelystrict secrecy. As expected, reporters were not admitted. But Izvestiyagreatly needed to obtain from Rumyantsev several answers. It had to findsecret way of infiltrating Izvestiya's questions, and we found them. Thequestions were put, the answers were obtained.
Representatives of six environmental organizations were present at themeeting, which went on for two hours.
"The minister tried to be very amicable, he smiled often and retreatedinto peaceful topics. But the discussion sometimes switched to elevatedtones, particularly when the issue of the import and reprocessing ofspent nuclear fuel was broached. We are categorically opposed to this,and Rumyantsev hardly hopes to achieve a compromise here," VladimirSlivak, cochairman of the Ekozashchita [Ecodefense] group, toldIzvestiya.
The main sensation of the meeting was the minister's statement that thefirst contract for the import of spent nuclear fuel would be signed onlyin a year's time - with Britain. The fuel will be coming to us fromlow-power research reactors. It is notable that representatives of theMinistry of Atomic Energy have repeatedly called Britain and Francetheir fiercest competitors when it comes to importing fuel. Now Russia'snuclear scientists are about to give refuge to the spent fuel of theircompetitors. Rumyantsev observed here that it is not worthwhile for theUK to reprocess this fuel.
This is the sole contract that awaits Russia in the immediate future.Rumyantsev said about spent nuclear fuel from conventional nuclearplants: "I do not see this nuclear fuel." According to the ministereverything has been snatched by competitors and there is no place in thesun for the Russian ministry. In addition, 80 per cent of peacefulnuclear fuel is produced by the Americans. The United States sells it toother countries but reserves the right to dispose of the spent product.Russia cannot unbeknownst to it [this appears to mean "without theAmericans knowing"] import fuel from Japan, China, and other countries.Rumyantsev says that he is attempting to persuade the Americans topermit Russia to import this fuel. And is employing an iron-cladargument for this: Russia has nowhere from which to get the money toguard its nuclear facilities. After 11 September, this should work, theminister believes.
Aleksandr Rumyantsev also said that he considers very favourable theidea of construction of a burial site on the Kurils and import oflow-level waste from Taiwan...
At the meeting with the environmentalists Rumyantsev attempted to defendthe agreement with Hungary on fuel storage. The Supreme Court of Russiarecently ruled the agreement illegal and required Hungary to take thefuel back, but it refused. The Hungarian spent fuel will remain inRussia, by all accounts. But the waste from reprocessing fuel that camein autumn from the Bulgarian Kozloduy station, the minister intends toreturn to its owners. Only this will not be happening any time soon:Russia has no plant that reprocessed this type of fuel (from a VVER-1000reactor). And it will not be built, as Rumyantsev said yesterday, for atleast 20 years. This is why a future generation of atomic energyministers will have to be responsible for the imported fuel. return to menu
1. Russia, U.S. In Bid To Clinch Arms Pact For Summit
April 23, 2002
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Russian and U.S. negotiators embarked on Tuesday on what could be thelast opportunity to narrow differences and clinch a deal to slashstrategic nuclear arsenals ahead of a summit next month.
The delegations opened two days of talks certain to focus on Russianobjections to U.S. proposals to store, rather than destroy, nuclearwarheads to be removed from missiles and other delivery systems.
Both sides hope a deal can be completed before the May 23-26 summit inMoscow and St. Petersburg, designed to underpin the new relationshippredicated on Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites)'ssupport for the U.S.-led war on terrorism.
Russia's Foreign Ministry, in a statement issued as the talks got underway, said Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Secretary of State ColinPowell (news - web sites) had spoken by telephone on Monday aboutprogress in securing the accord.
Itar-Tass news agency quoted a top Russian expert as saying thatdiscussions were "entering a decisive phase." But it also quoted amilitary expert as saying that differences persisted on how to deal withwarheads taken out of service.
"The new agreement on strategic weapons must foresee not the storage ofdelivery systems as proposed by the United States, but their physicaldestruction subject to strict controls by the other side," the expertwas quoted as saying.
Destruction, the expert said, meant eliminating a threat to security as"warheads could not be delivered to their target."
RIA news agency quoted analyst Vladimir Dvorkin, head of the Centre forProblems of Strategic of Nuclear Forces, as saying that differences alsofocused on the exact count of warheads held by each side.
The delegations, led by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedovand U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton, are holding their thirdset of talks this year.
Both Putin and President Bush (news - web sites) are committed toreducing current strategic arsenals to between 1,500 and 2,200 warheadseach from current levels of 6,000 to 7,000.
FORMAL PACT AT RUSSIAN INSISTENCE
At their last summit in November in Washington and Bush's Texas ranch,Bush initially pressed for an informal agreement on cutting warheads onmissiles, bombers and submarines.
At Russian insistence, he has since agreed to a formal and legallybinding pact, though officials on both sides say the document is likelyto be a short and general one.
Russia has kept matters on an even keel by reducing to a minimum itsobjections to the U.S. decision last December to withdraw from the 1972Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty -- enabling Washington to proceed withbuilding an anti-missile shield.
But talks have run up against U.S. calls to keep warheads in reserve sothat they may be brought into service again to guard against theemergence of new security threats.
U.S. officials refer to Iran, Iraq or North Korea (news - web sites),described by Bush as an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union speechearlier this year, and cited in connection with the need to build ananti-missile shield.
Western analysts believe that the need to consolidate post-Cold Warrelations and rejuvenate disarmament, stalled since the early 1990s,will probably spur both sides to overcome their differences and sign thepact next month. "The forthcoming summit...could become a turning pointin building a new strategic relationship between the two nations, butits failure would deal a serious blow to Russia-America relations," TheCarnegie Endowment think tank and Russia's Centre for Political Studiessaid in a statement issued last week. return to menu
2. Warhead Verification On Agenda Of Summit
April 17, 2002
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A nuclear arms provision on the agenda of next month's US-Russian summitfor the first time will include ways to verify the dismantling of thewarheads themselves, arms control analysts said yesterday. Earlierarms-control agreements contained ways to verify the dismantling ofnuclear submarines, missiles, and bombers, but not warheads, said RoseGottemoeller, an arms control expert at the Carnegie Endowment forInternational Peace. ''In this new agreement there will apparently besome measures to monitor warheads cooperatively,'' Gottemoeller, whoserved on the National Security Council staff under former PresidentBill Clinton, said at a news conference. ''This is a very welcomeinnovation in the strategic arms control process and the first in manyyears.'' return to menu
1. Iran: Russian Official Says Documents For Another Two Nuclear ReactorsReady
Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran
April 20, 2002
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The deputy Russian atomic energy minister has, once again, emphasizedthat his country was determined to complete the Bushehr nuclear powerreactor. He said: All the necessary documents on the construction ofanother two reactors in Iran have also been prepared. return to menu
1. Russian Work On Chinese Nuclear Power Stays On Course
April 20, 2002
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Russian specialists have installed the first reactor at the Tianwannuclear power plant that is under construction in China and are makingpreparations to install the second, Russian Deputy Atomic EnergyMinister Yevgeniy Reshetnikov told ITAR-TASS in Beijing on Saturday [20April]. Reshetnikov is participating here in the work of the bilateralcommission preparing regular meetings of the Russian and Chinese primeministers.
The work at the Tianwan plant construction site is proceeding accordingto schedule, the official said. It is the biggest Sino-Russianconstruction cooperation project for the present day. Two thirds of theequipment for the station will be supplied this year, Reshetnikov said.
1. Russia May Build Nuclear Power Plant Near, Not In, North Korea
April 23, 2002
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Russia may not build a nuclear power plant in North Korea, as Pyongyonghad earlier suggested, but rather set up the facility near its borderwith the Stalinist state, according to an official with the Russiannuclear energy ministry.
Building the plant on Russian soil would prevent the disseminating of"advanced nuclear technology on the territory of a foreign country" andallow Russia's energyapped far East to benefit from the facility,the RIA Novosti news agency quoted the official as saying Tuesday.
A decision may be made when President Vladimir Putin's envoy to theRussian far east makes a visit to neghbouring North Korea later thismonth.
A top North Korean official on a visit to Russia last month urged Moscowto build a nuclear power plant in the hermit state.
Russia said it would study the proposal made by North Korean parliamentspeaker Choe Tae Bok.
North Korea along with Iraq and Iran has been branded by US PresidentGeorge W. Bush an "axis of evil" seeking to develop weapons of massdestruction.
Russia is building a nuclear plant at Bushehr in southwestern Irandespite objections from the United States, which fears Tehran is usingthe project to develop nuclear weapons.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il made a lengthy official visit toRussia last year, his first known trip abroad as leader apart fromcommunist China.
Under a 1994 accord with the United States, North Korea froze thesuspected development of atomic weapons in exchange for receiving twonuclear energy reactors which produce less weapons-grade plutonium.
The 4.6-billion-dollar project was due to be completed by 2003, butdelays have pushed back completion until at least 2008. return to menu
1. New Council To Forge Closer NATO-Russia Tie
April 21 2002
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Nato and Russia, former cold war enemies, will launch a new relationshipwhen they hold a summit near Rome next month.
Endorsed by Nato last week, the summit was requested by Vladimir Putin,Russia's president, who personally lobbied European capitals to mark theestablishment of a Nato-Russia Council. The NRC will discuss issuesranging from peacekeeping missions and fighting terrorism to sharingintelligence and monitoring weapons of mass destruction.
The summit will allow Mr Putin to show how much closer Russia and thewest have grown under his presidency. Equally it could help himdomestically to take the sting out of Nato's planned enlargement when upto seven members will be invited to join the alliance next November. TheRussian defence ministry and the public still harbour suspicions aboutNato.
>From the other side, some Nato members and the Pentagon have beensuspicious about forging closer ties with Moscow, arguing that Russiawants to undermine the west's collective defence alliance.
The NRC will replace the Permanent Joint Council, or "19+1", whereNato's 19 ambassadors meet regularly with Russia. The PJC has givenRussia little say as agenda and decisions were agreed in advance amongthe 19.
Decisions in the NRC will not be "pre-cooked" by the 19 but will bethrown open to debate among the 20 ambassadors - and Russia, like itsNato counterparts, will have veto powers.
Nato, however, has insisted the NRC would not replace the North AtlanticCouncil, or NAC, the alliance's highest political authority representedby the 19 ambassadors. In fact the NRC is a confidence-buildingmechanism aimed at breaking down old taboos and expectations on bothsides and a testing ground for exposing Russia to the consensual natureof decision-making in Nato.
According to the agreement, the NAC will be able to "retrieve" topicsfrom the NRC if agreement with Russia is impossible or if a Nato countrybelieved the alliance would be militarily compromised.
Diplomats said the NRC would start out cautiously since Nato did notwant to raise issues that could force Russia to impose its veto. And foras long as possible Nato would want to avoid using the "retrieval"clause. "The retrieval clause has to be used very carefully," said a USofficial. "If exploited, Russia could see the NRC as a revamped PJC."
To prevent this from happening, Russia wants to retain the old 19+1council. Nato wants to scrap the PJC altogether so as to make a freshstart with Moscow.
The NRC will also be extended to the military committee, Nato's highestmilitary authority that provides advice and military policy to the NACand also assesses the strengths and capabilities of member states. return to menu
H. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Russian Expert Advocates Preservation Of Strategic Nuclear Forces
April 23, 2002
(for personal use only)
The preservation of the powerful potential of the Strategic MissileTroops will allow Russia to use a weighty argument at the forthcomingtalks with the USA on the reduction of nuclear arsenals. The head of theRussian Academy of Military Sciences' centre for studying the problemsof strategic nuclear forces, Vladimir Dvorkin, voiced this opinion attoday's news conference on prospects for reaching an agreement on thereduction of strategic offensive weapons at the forthcoming meeting ofthe Russian and US presidents in May 2002.
In his opinion, "we have the opportunity to formulate weighty argumentsat these talks because the ceiling of 2,200 warheads, proposed by theAmericans, is quite within our capabilities if we have a wellthought-out programme for building nuclear forces."
"We can maintain this level at the expense of ground and navalcomponents of the strategic nuclear forces. As regards the air forcecomponent, we can mothball all airborne cruise missiles and keep them inreserve. These are many hundreds of nuclear warheads."
Vladimir Dvorkin pointed out that "if we proceeded from these plans, wewould have weighty arguments in favour of holding the talks on an equalfooting". He believes that neither our relations with the USA nor the USstand will undergo any changes if Russia does not change it plans andcontinues to reduce unfoundedly the ground component of strategicnuclear forces, regardless of whether or not we agree to sign a treatyin May, the treaty which is mostly tied to the US position. return to menu
2. Russian Nuclear-Powered Submarine Is Back In Service
April 21, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia's strategic nuclear submarine Yekaterinburg, Project 667 BDRM,has been put back in the water at the Zvezdochka shipyards inSeverodvinsk on Sunday [21 April]. The submarine's mooring trials are tobegin in September and running trials in December 2002, an Interfaxcorespondent has reported.
The shipyards' General Director, Nikolay Kalistratov, has told Interfaxthat "after repairs the submarine may be used by the Russian navy for aminimum of ten-fifteen years." "The submarine has been put throughnormal repairs during which all of its mechanisms and facilities weregiven a new life," Kalistratov said. return to menu
I. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
1. Report: Russia To Build 10 Nuclear Reactors Abroad In Next Decade
April 18, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia plans to build 10 nuclear reactors in foreign countries over thenext decade, Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Bulat Nigmatulin toldInterfax news agency on Thursday.
"Russia is already building five nuclear reactors abroad, including inChina, Iran and India," he was quoted as saying. "In the future, we canexpect to build another five nuclear reactors."
He did not name which other countries might be interested.
The cost of building a nuclear reactor is about dlrs 800 million to dlrs900 million, Nigmatulin said.
Russia's dlrs 800 million deal to build a nuclear reactor in the Iraniancity of Bushehr has angered the U.S. administration. The United Stateshas warned it could help Iran build nuclear weapons.
However, Moscow has refused to drop the deal, saying the light-waterreactor couldn't be used for developing a nuclear bomb and would remainunder international control. return to menu
J. Nuclear Terrorism
1. Al-Qaida 'Dirty' Bomb Threat Alleged
April 22, 2002
(for personal use only)
A captured key strategist for the al-Qaida network told interrogatorsMonday that al-Qaida was working to obtain fissionable material forradiological weapons - so-called "dirty" bombs - to be exploded in theUnited States, NBC News has learned. U.S. officials could not confirmthe assertions of the strategist, Abu Zubaydah, but said they weretaking him at his word.
Zubaydah said al-Qaida operatives already knew how to build the bomb,but he did not say one had already been delivered to the United States,sources said.
Sources told NBC News that Zubaydah - believed to be one of the toplieutenants of Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11terrorist attacks in the United States - was cooperating with hisinterrogators. Officials said they did not know how to evaluate hisinformation but were taking him seriously. The officials said they wouldgive Zubaydah's information about al-Qaida's quest for fissionablematerial the same consideration they gave a warning the U.S. governmentissued to banks Friday. In that warning, the government said"unsubstantiated information" pointed to a possible terrorist threatagainst financial institutions. The FBI did not elaborate on thatthreat, but administration officials told NBC News that Zubaydah hadrevealed a possible plot to send suicide bombers into banks in thenortheastern United States.
In the warning Monday, Zubaydah told U.S. investigators that al-Qaidaoperatives already had the knowledge to build the bomb, but he did notsay that such a weapon had already been delivered to the United States,sources said. Zubaydah is in U.S. custody at an undisclosed location. Heis being treated for gunshot wounds he suffered when he was capturedduring a raid by Pakistani forces in Faisalabad on March 28.
Court testimony in the United States and in Jordan showed that Zubaydaheffectively directed the so-called Millennium Plot, a plan to attackhotels and tourist sites in Jordan and at Los Angeles InternationalAirport on New Year's Day 2000. He has been sentenced to death inabsentia in Jordan. He is also believed to have directed from the fieldthe deadly bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, in October 2000. SeventeenU.S. sailors were killed in that attack.
Such a "dirty" weapon - also called a radiological dispersal device -would use conventional explosives to spread industrial or medical-graderadioactive material in a populated area to cause widespread fear ofexposure.
EASY TO CONSTRUCT
A radiological device detonated by terrorists would require evacuationand decontamination of the immediate area, officials from U.S. nuclearlaboratories said.
They are not thought to be difficult to build. Acquiring enoughradioactive material to do harm is regarded as the greatest challengefor terrorists. A radiological device detonated by terrorists wouldrequire evacuation and decontamination of the immediate area and disruptthe local economy, officials from U.S. nuclear laboratories said at arecent Senate committee hearing. Hospitals would be overrun by worriedpeople from the affected area. Depending on factors ranging from thebomb's construction to wind direction on the day such a weapon was used,a potent dirty bomb could kill a few people quickly if they were exposedto enough radiation, officials said. Others would face a greaterlikelihood of developing cancers later in life.
Severe contamination could require that buildings be razed, and theeconomic fallout could reach billions of dollars in a big city,officials said. An orderly evacuation would limit the population'sexposure to radioactive materials, and health effects would be minimalas long as victims avoided the contaminated area. Much of the U.S.government's thinking on the subject is theoretical, because no one hasdetonated a radiological weapon. They do exist. In 1995, separatistsfrom Russia's embattled Chechnya region announced they had placedCesium-137 in a Moscow park; it was recovered by authorities. TheChechens, who are believed now to have links to al-Qaida, threatened tocovertly release additional materials. return to menu
2. Nuclear Plot - Or Just Hot Air?
April 23, 2002
(for personal use only)
CBS News has learned that a key lieutenant of Osama bin Laden arrestedin Pakistan last month has provided interrogators with alarminginformation pertaining to al Qaeda's ability to build a radiologicaldevice and smuggle it into the United States.
CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin reports AbuZubaydah, who until his capture March 28 was bin Laden's chief ofoperations, has told interrogators al Qaeda knows how to build aso-called dirty bomb that would spew radiation into the atmosphere. Healso said al Qaeda knows how it could be smuggled into the UnitedStates.
On Friday, the FBI issued a public warning to 1,200 banks in 12Northeastern states to be on heightened security based on a claim byZubaydah that al Qaeda is planning attacks on financial institutions inthe northeast.
The FBI said Monday the warning remains in effect although thegovernment has no new information that would substantiate reports of anyspecific threats or plots.
The public alert was being "constantly evaluated" and FBI agents wereinvestigating any potential leads before senior U.S. officials willdecide whether to cancel the warning, FBI spokesman Bill Carter said. Hecould not say how long that might take.
No warning was issued about a dirty bomb, apparently because Zubaydahdid not say al Qaeda actually has one. But it is certainly possible.
Such a weapon - also called a radiological dispersal device - would useconventional explosives to spread industrial or medical-graderadioactive material in a populated area to cause widespread fear ofexposure.
They are not thought to be difficult to build. Acquiring enoughradioactive material to do harm is regarded as the greatest challengefor terrorists.
A radiological device detonated by terrorists would require evacuationand decontamination of the immediate area and disrupt the local economy,officials from U.S. nuclear laboratories said at a recent Senatecommittee hearing. Hospitals would be overrun by worried people from theaffected area.
Depending on factors ranging from the bomb's construction to winddirection on the day such a weapon was used, a potent dirty bomb couldkill a few people quickly if they were exposed to enough radiation,officials said. Others would face a greater likelihood of developingcancers later in life.
Severe contamination could require that buildings be razed, and theeconomic fallout could reach billions of dollars in a big city,officials said. An orderly evacuation would limit the population'sexposure to radioactive materials, and health effects would be minimalas long as victims avoided the contaminated area.
Much of the U.S. government's thinking on the subject is theoretical,because no one has detonated a radiological weapon.
They do exist. In 1995, separatists from Russia's embattled Chechnyaregion announced they had placed Cesium-137 in a Moscow park; it wasrecovered by authorities. The Chechens, who are believed now to havelinks to al Qaeda, threatened to covertly release additional materials.
Officials don't know whether Zubaydah is telling the truth or bragging-- or both. Although he was badly wounded during his apprehension and isnow being subjected to hostile interrogation, one U.S. official says heis a very tough customer.
The same can be said for most of the other al Qaeda terrorists now inU.S. custody, who have been well trained in how to resist interrogation,officials tell CBS News.
An English translation of an al Qaeda training manual says "the brothershould not disclose any information, no matter how insignificant hemight think it is." His best hope, even under torture, the manualadvises, lies in "executing the security plan -- or cover story -- thatwas agreed upon prior to ... the operation and not deviating from it."
Most of the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, seem to be going bythe book. None of them has given up information that has allowed theU.S. to break up a terrorist cell or plot, and only 6 out of 300 haveadmitted to crimes which could be prosecuted by a military tribunal. return to menu
1. Search For Radiation Sources In Georgia
International Atomic Energy Agency
April 22, 2002
Teams of IAEA and international specialists are preparing to provideadditional assistance to the Republic of Georgia to locate and recoverradioactive sources known or suspected of being lost or abandoned in thecountry. The steps are part of ongoing efforts to upgrade levels ofradiation safety and security in Georgia. In February 2002, a Georgianteam supported by the IAEA successfully recovered two powerfulradioactive sources that were found in the country late last year.
Among the latest steps, agreement was reached on a multi-step actionplan to conduct IAEA supported radiological surveys of selected areas inGeorgia. The plan was put into place at a three-day IAEA TechnicalMeeting concluding 11 April in Paris, France. Participating wererepresentatives from Georgia, France, India, Japan, Russian Federation,Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Organization forSecurity and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the IAEA. The action plancovers two phases of a search campaign to survey selected areas ofGeorgia with sensitive radiation detectors and instruments to locateso-called "orphan" radiation sources that are outside of regulatorycontrol. Experts, training, and equipment are being provided by theparticipating countries and organizations.
The first phase specifically seeks to recover two strontium-90 sourcesknown or suspected of being at large. Radiological surveys of selectedareas will be carried out by teams including more than 30 Georgianspecialists who are being trained with the assistance of the IAEA'stechnical cooperation programme in Tbilisi in May. The surveys areplanned over a two-week period in June.
The second phase, details of which are being worked out, providesassistance to Georgian authorities to locate and recover other known orsuspected orphan sources in the country. Further meetings are scheduledover the coming weeks in Tbilisi involving IAEA experts, Georgianauthorities and specialists from participating countries andorganizations. return to menu
2. On Democratic Senators Carl Levin And Jack Reed Letter To US PresidentGeorge W. Bush Concerning Russian-American Treaty On Reduction OfStrategic Offensive Arms
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
April 16, 2002
The authoritative Democratic Senators - Carl Levin, head of the ArmedServices Committee, and Jack Reed, head of the Strategic ForcesSubcommittee - have sent a letter to US President George W. Bush on thequestion of the accord with Russia concerning a reduction in strategicoffensive arms, in which they expressed support for the readiness of thePresident to conclude with Russia a legally binding agreement onreducing strategic offensive arms to the levels of 1,700-2,200 warheads.The US Senators believe such reductions must be verifiable andirreversible, and that the agreement should envisage dismantling andliquidation of warheads taken off their delivery vehicles in theconditions of comprehensive control. In the opinion of Levin and Reed,this kind of document could be a constructive contribution to theprocess of strengthening confidence, predictability and cooperation bythe US with Russia, which has been gathering momentum since the eventsof September 11.
It will be recalled that the Russian side has - from the very beginningof the negotiation process to work out a new agreement with the US oncuts in strategic offensive arms - stood for real, not "virtual"strategic arms reductions and limitations, which would be carried outaccording to the strict rules laid down in the operative START-1 Treaty,ensured by proper measures of control and generally lead topredictability and the consolidation of strategic stability andinternational security. return to menu
3. On Russia's Submission Of A Declaration Related To Convention OnProhibition Of Biological Weapons To United Nations
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
April 17, 2002
On April 15, Russia submitted to the UN a Declaration for 2001 on thefacilities and biological activities of the Russian Federation relatedto the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons (BTWC). Thisinformation is required to be submitted to the UN annually by May 15 inaccordance with the decision of the BTWC Third Review Conference.
Russia has thus once again demonstrated its adherence to compliance withthe Convention and our striving to maintain a climate of mutualconfidence among the BTWC Party States. We hope for the same approachfrom other Party States as well. return to menu
4. Statement Of The Delegation Of The Russian Federation At The FirstSession Of The Preparatory Committee For The 2005 NPT Review ConferenceUnder Article VI Of The Treaty
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
April 11, 2002
In accordance with recommendations of the Final Document of the 2000Review Conference and taking into consideration para. 15, subparagraph12 of the Document, our delegation would like to inform the participantsof the Preparatory Committee about the progress made by Russia regardingArticle VI of the Treaty and para.4(c) of the 1995 decision "Principlesand Objectives of Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament".
Having passed the test of time, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty hasconfirmed its role as the most important instrument of deterrenceagainst the threat of nuclear arms spread. Its action promoted theenhancement of both, regional, as well as global strategic stability.
Taking into account obligations under Article VI of the NuclearNon-proliferation Treaty, Russia takes consistent steps towards finalobjective - the complete nuclear disarmament. However, as we havealready more than once emphasized, it is necessary to move in thatdirection step-by step on the basis of a complex approach and withparticipation of all the nuclear powers.
At present the process of nuclear reduction is being implemented in theframework of agreements between the U.S.S.R, and the U.S.A., as well asunilateral initiatives.
The Treaty Between the U.S.A and the U.S.S.R. on the Elimination ofTheir Intermediate-range and Shorter-range Missiles has been anessential step in that direction. In the framework of the Treatyground-launched missiles of two classes with ranges between 500 and 5500km have been completely eliminated and the ban on production and testingof such missiles was put in place.
The Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms -START I, which entered into force on December 5, 1994 when all thenuclear weapons of the former U.S.S.R were brought back to the territoryof Russia, and Kazakhstan, Byelorussia and Ukraine acceded to the NPT asnon-nuclear states - has become the next step in the reduction ofnuclear armaments.
The START I foresaw the establishment of lower levels of nuclearmunitions quantities on deployed strategic vehicles. By the present timethe nuclear arms reduction process in its framework has been completed.Ahead of the schedule Russia reached the level of 6000 munitionsdeployed on ICBMs, SLBMs and heavy bombers. Within the obligations takenby us, by the present time more than 1200 ICBM and SLBM launchers, morethan 2350 ICBMs and SLBMs, more than 40 nuclear submarines and more than60 heavy bombers have been eliminated. The control mechanism, foreseenby the START I, will stay in force till the end of 2009.
The START II, which foresaw even more significant reduction of nucleararsenals of Russia and the U.S.A., was signed on January 3, 1993. TheTreaty foresaw the elimination of ICBMs equipped with MIRVs and asummary reduction of the number of munitions accounted with deployedICBMs and SLBMs and heavy bombers down to the level of 3000-3500 units.If the START II were implemented, the total reduction of SOW in Russiaand the U.S.A. would make approximately two thirds as compared to 1990.
In May 2000 the Russian Federation ratified the said Treaty togetherwith the New York package of arrangements regarding the ABM. However, toour regret, the START II has never entered into force and it is not wewho should be blamed for that.
In December 2001 the U.S. administration announced its decision towithdraw unilaterally from the 1972 ABM Treaty. On the same day thePresident of Russia said, that he considered such a unilateral decisionas mistaken.
Our country made everything dependent upon it to maintain the Treaty. Inso doing, Russia was first of all guided by considerations ofmaintenance and enhancement of international law foundations in the areaof disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. TheAnti-Ballistic Missiles Treaty is one of the core structures of thelegal system in this area. This system was being created by jointefforts all during three decades.
We are convinced that today when the world is facing new threats, weshould not allow a legal vacuum to surge in the area of strategicstability. Keeping that in mind, the present-day level of bilateralrelations between the Russian Federation and the United States should beused to elaborate new framework of strategic interrelations as soon aspossible. It goes without saying that the military component of thisframework is connected with a prospect for the achievement of newagreements regarding further reductions and limitations of strategicarms.
Today it is quite clear that together with the U.S. withdrawal from theABM Treaty limitations for strategic defensive arms can disappear. Weare convinced that in the resulting situation it is necessary to reflectan interconnection between strategic offensive and defensive armamentsin a new arrangement. Such an interconnection has already been fixed inthe Joint statement of the Presidents of Russia and the U.S.A. after theresults of their meeting in Genoa on July 22, 2001.
In the course of their last meeting in Washington the Presidents ofRussia and the U.S.A. jointly underscored that a new level of strategicsituation in the world required the creation of a new framework for thepromotion of security of Russia and the U.S.A. and the world communityat large, Both Presidents confirmed their commitment to considerablereductions of strategic offensive arms down to 1700-2200 warheads. As itis well known, previously Russia declared that she was prepared toimplement even more radical reductions.
We would like to see the maximum rapid progress in the elaboration of arespective legally binding agreement on a real, irreversible andmonitored reduction of nuclear arsenals, which could be signed duringU.S. President's visit to Moscow next May. At present experts of ourcountries are actively working to elaborate such an agreement.
As regards the reduction of nonategic (tactical) nuclear weapons(NSNW), Russia is guided by the unilateral initiatives of the Presidentof the Russian Federation (1991-1992). These initiatives of the RussianFederation are being implemented in accordance with the Federalobjective-oriented program of elimination and disposal of nuclearwarheads for strategic and tactical arms.
In the course of the implementation of the Program:
- all NSNW has been dismantled from surface ships and multiple-purposesubmarines, as well from ground-based naval air force and placed forcentralized storage; more than 30% of nuclear munitions of the totalnumber designed for tactical sea-launched missiles and naval air forcehave been eliminated;
- all tactical nuclear munitions previously deployed outside Russia havebeen brought back to her territory and are being eliminated;
- production of nuclear munitions for tactical ground-launched missiles,nuclear artillery shells and nuclear mines has been completely stopped;the destruction of nuclear reentry vehicles for tactical missiles andnuclear artillery shells, as well as nuclear mines continues;
- 50% of nuclear reentry vehicles for surface-to-air missiles and 50% ofnuclear air bombs of their total number have been destroyed;
- all Russia's NSNW has been placed only within national territory.
So, Russia has practically implemented all the declared initiatives toreduce NSNW with the exception of elimination of nuclear weapons of theArmy. The elimination of nuclear reentry vehicles for ground-launchedmissiles, nuclear artillery shells and nuclear land mines is meanwhilerestrained by insufficient financing, as well as by non-fulfillment ofthe treaty provisions on the elimination and reduction of conventionalarms, strategic offensive arms (START I) and elimination of chemicalweapons.
Russia plans to complete implementation of the initiatives in the sphereof NSNW by 2004 on condition of adequate financing.
As of today, all Russia's nuclear weapons are placed within the limitsof her national territory. In this connection we would like again todraw the attention to Russia's proposal that all nuclear weapons shouldbe brought back to the territories of possessor-states.
At the same time it is necessary to note that the nuclear weaponsavailable in Russia are under reliable control. Higher effectiveness ofthis control is made through the adoption of organizational andtechnical measures. In particular, during the period from 1991 to 2001the overall stockpiles of the available nuclear weapons has been reducedmore than 5 times and the number of nuclear munitions storage sites - 4times. All nonategic nuclear munitions have been transferred to thecentral storage facilities of the Ministry of the Defense. It allowed toconcentrate all the financial resources on providing for nuclear safetyand secured safeguarding of nuclear munitions storage sites by usingmodem technical means of protection.
Now I would like also to draw your attention to a number of otherimportant issues.
The statement of the President of Russia of May 27, 1997 regardingdetargeting of strategic nuclear weapons has become one of Russia'ssteps in the area of reducing the nuclear threat. At present as a resultof implementation of that initiative all Russia's ballistic missiles areequipped with a so-called "zero" launch mission.
Side by side with treaties on limitation and reduction of nuclear arms,we attach a special attention to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-BanTreaty.
Russia, having ratified the CTBT in the year 2000, maintains the policyline of principle to promote the entry of that Treaty - the mostimportant instrument in the area of nuclear arms limitation andenhancement of the nuclear arms non-proliferation regime - into force assoon as possible.
At the same time the situation around the entry of that Treaty intoforce is viewed in Moscow with concern. As the second Conference onpromoting the entry of the CTBT into force, which confirmed the supportof the Treaty on the part of a predominant majority of states,demonstrated, a concern prevailed in the international communityregarding the attitude to the CTBT in the United States - in thatnuclear power whose participation in the nuclear test ban regime iscritically important for the destiny of the Treaty.
We would like to express our hope that the U.S. administration will yetreconsider its position on the CTBT. An alternative to that can becomenot only a crisis of the said Treaty, but also of the whole regime basedon the NPT. It should not allowed to happen,
It is important that also other countries, and first of all those theentry of the CTBT into force is dependent upon, signed and ratified theTreaty without any conditions and as soon as possible.
Our steps in the area of nuclear disarmament are accompanied byrespective structural reductions in the nuclear weapon sector of theRussian Federation. The production potential, which is excessive fordefense objectives, has been reduced by half.
Jointly with the United States we carry out the work to stop Russia'sindustrial uranium-graphite reactors - producers of weapon-gradeplutonium. Russia does not use the material, which is being producedthere, for military purposes.
In Russia production of uranium for nuclear weapons has been longdiscontinued.
Since 1990 the strength of the staff employed in Russia's federalnuclear centers and occupied with defense matters has been reduced byapproximately one and a half times.
The Russia-U.S Intergovernmental Agreement signed in the year 2000foresees disposal by each side respectively of 34 tons of weapon-gradeplutonium no more needed for defense purposes. We attach greatimportance to the soonest beginning of its implementation, as it wouldpromote the start of the process of irreversible transformation of theexcessive weapon-grade plutonium in Russia and the U.S.A. into a formunfit for production on nuclear weapon, We think that today the disposalof weapon-grade plutonium through mixed uranium-plutonium MOX-fuel isthe most acceptable technology, which has recommended itselfsufficiently well.
Joint research programs for the use of mixed uranium-plutonium fuel inRussia's reactors and for the creation of plutonium conversion plantsare continued within the framework of the tri-lateralRussia-France-Germany Intergovernmental Agreement.
A practical possibility to use uranium-plutonium fuel in the CANDUreactors is being studied jointly with Canada's experts.
At the Conference on Disarmament Russia consistently supports thebeginning of negotiations regarding the elaboration of a draft FissileMaterial Cut-Off Treaty.
The Russian Federation speaks also consistently against militarizationof outer space. Placement of weapon in outer space would not only meanan expansion of spheres of military competition, but also itsqualitative thrust forward fraught with unpredictable consequences forthe process of arms control, strategic stability and internationalsecurity as a whole. We cannot agree with the arguments that puttingweapons in outer space is an unavoidable fatality, which is broughtabout by technological progress and the logic of development ofcontemporary world. The outer space has once been considered as apotential source of conflicts. Happily, the world community was able tofind strength of its own not to allow turning of outer space into apotential theatre of military actions, and so today it has become anarena of broad international cooperation,
We are deeply convinced that the use of outer space should be consideredfrom a position of providing for a comprehensive security of mankind andserve two objectives, which are namely the maintenance of internationalpeace and security and promotion of international cooperation. Russia'sinitiative with regard to an inadmissibility of putting weapons intoouter space, refusal from the use of force and threat of force in outerspace have been presented by Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs IgorS. Ivanov in September 2001 at the 56th UN General Assembly session. Itis important that we propose practically to introduce moratorium forputting combat objects into outer space before respective arrangementsare elaborated. We support important specific proposals voiced by thePeoples Republic of China, Canada and a number of other states toprevent putting weapons into outer space.
So, the Russian Federation demonstrates its resolute intention to bringthe matter really towards reduction of nuclear armaments anddisarmament. We also call upon other nuclear countries to join us inthis process.
At the same time it is necessary to underscore that the reduction ofnuclear armaments requires tremendous both, financial expenditures, aswell organizational efforts. That is why a forceful acceleration of thisprocess may result in putting to its participants unrealistic tasks thatwould be difficult to fulfill.
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.