1. Bush, Congress Differ Over Nonproliferation Funding
Global Security Newswire
April 29, 2002
(for personal use only)
The Bush administration and Congress differ over how much to fundnonproliferation programs designed to keep weapons of mass destructionout of the hands of terrorists, but both have proposed far less fundingthan previously recommended by a bipartisan commission, Aviation Weekand Space Technology reported this week (see GSN, April 24).
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-Del.) hasproposed spending $2.5 billion for nonproliferation programs in Russia.The Bush administration's fiscal 2003 budget proposal included $1.6billion for such programs. Both proposals, however, are less than the$30 billion over eight to 10 years proposed by the Baker-CutlerCommission before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to AviationWeek.
Although Biden's $2.5 billion proposal is at least closer to the ideallevel of funding, it would still be $5 billion less overall than thecommission's recommended $3 billion per year, according to onenonproliferation expert.
"That's less than we spend on cotton subsides every year," said RoseGottemoeller, former head of the U.S. Energy Department's nuclearnonproliferation office.
Even with increased concerns resulting from the Sept. 11 attacks, it isunlikely that Congress will increase the Bush administration'sCounterproliferation proposal by more than a few hundred milliondollars, Aviation Week reported, in part because of a debate overwhether Russia's nuclear complex is vulnerable to terrorist attack andtheft, and whether the United States should be more concerned withpotential threats in other parts of the world, according to AviationWeek.
"Today, the nuclear security challenge outside Russia is even moreurgent than that within Russia itself," Siegfried Hecker, senior fellowat the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said last week during a hearingchaired by Biden.
Israel, which is not a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, isbelieved to have enough nuclear material to make more than 170 nuclearweapons, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Both Iraq and Iran have actively tried to obtain weapons of massdestruction, and Iran also has links to terrorist groups such asHezbollah and Hamas, Aviation Week reported.
The situation in Colombia has also caused concern. The country's mainrebel group - the Revolutionary Armed Force of Columbia (FARC) - haslabeled U.S. aid to the Colombian government an act of war, said HouseInternational Relations Committee Chairman Representative Henry Hyde(R-Ill.) during a hearing on global terrorism last week.
"Some caution us against providing assistance to Colombia, invoking thespecter of Vietnam," Hyde said, "But the true comparison is withAfghanistan under Taliban rule - only this time located in our ownhemisphere."
In order to address the worldwide threat posed by terrorists obtainingweapons of mass destruction, Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) hasintroduced legislation that would give the administration the ability tolaunch emergency operations to stop proliferation threats (see GSN,March 20). Under this bill, the defense secretary could spend up to $50million of unused funding from the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative ThreatReduction Program for projects outside the former Soviet Union.
"It is time to think big, not small," and it is no longer enough todestroy terrorist cells, Lugar said. "We must also undertake theambitious goal of comprehensively preventing the proliferation ofweapons of mass destruction."
There is probably enough support within Congress to expand theNunn-Lugar program beyond the former Soviet Union, said JosephCirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Congressalso probably will approve a plan by Biden and Lugar to allow "debt-fornonproliferation" swaps with Russia, Aviation Week reported (see GSN,April 18).
The Bush administration has proposed $416.7 million for the Nunn-Lugarprogram, a 3.4 percent increase. When added with related EnergyDepartment nonproliferation programs, the total comes to $1.113 billion,an 8 percent increase, according to the Center for Arms Control andNonproliferation. This amount, however, is still only a third of thetotal recommended by the Baker-Cutler Commission. Congress willprobably increase the administration's Nunn-Lugar program request by anadditional $100 million to $200 million, Cirincione said.
The Nunn-Lugar program is "one of the few areas in which you getimmediate, concrete results for your money," he said. "If you want toactually do something now about the risk of nuclear terrorism, this isit - before something else happens" (Paul Mann, Aviation Week & SpaceTechnology, April 29). return to menu
B. Debt For Nonproliferation
1. Russia Offers To Pay Part Of Debt To Slovaks In Cash
April 29, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia will speed the payment of its debt to Slovakia this year, addinga cash payment to the already agreed $135 mln to be paid in goods.
Russia made the proposal during the most recent meeting between the twocountries. Vladimil Podstransky of the Slovak Finance Ministry says theRussian's have offered to pay $185 mln in cash.
Of the $135 mln to be paid in goods, $30 mln will take the form ofnuclear fuel for the Slovenske elektrarne company.
Moscow owes Slovakia $1.1 bn, of which $700 mln is overdue. return to menu
U.S. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said Monday that al-Qaidaterrorists are seeking nuclear weapons and if they succeed in theirquest "I don't have any doubt they would try to use" them.
Ridge, in an address and question-and-answer session with publishers atThe Associated Press annual meeting in New Orleans, said terrorism inAmerica is a "permanent condition" and outlined goals for a long-termsecurity strategy.
"We are at war. If we think there are only 20 terrorists - the one wejust caught and the 19 others" who attacked on Sept. 11, he said, "weare naive. We have got to believe there are more here."
For the first time, Ridge reviewed plans to release this summer or falla national strategy to rank the United States' homeland defense needs.The plan will focus government resources where the risks are thehighest, where most lives can be saved and most property can beprotected, he said.
"It will reveal, in our judgment, what we need to protect. It willoutline the resources available to us and point the way for their bestuse," Ridge said.
Bioterrorism, for example, poses one of the greatest threats for massiveloss of life "and our preparedness has historically lagged behind thethreat," Ridge said.
He told the news executives the homeland defense strategy "will answertwo questions often asked by your reporters, and rightly so: `Whose jobis it - and who pays for it?'"
Following the terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush (news - websites) named the former Pennsylvania governor to be the White Housepoint man for domestic defense programs. The assignment touches onscores of federal activities, including border control, intelligence andsafeguards against bioterrorism strikes.
Some in Congress want to give the position Cabinet-level status, whichwould grant lawmakers oversight power and, they say, increase Ridge'sinfluence. Bush has balked, insisting that he has given Ridge enoughpower to overhaul homeland security from his working space just a fewsteps from the Oval Office.
Ridge recently unveiled a color-coded warning scheme to keep the nationon guard for terrorism. He told publishers that the warning system maybe "tweaked" to adjust for suggestions raised during a public commentperiod.
Ridge was asked about the potential threat of terrorists getting theirhands on nuclear weapons or exploding nuclear materials in a "dirtybomb." He replied that there is evidence the al-Qaida are seekingnuclear technology.
"If they obtain it one way or another I don't have any doubt they willtry to use it," he said.
In his address, Ridge said the fear of terrorism has receded for manyAmericans since Sept. 11.
"The world is just as dangerous today, if not more so," he said. "Thethreat is real; it's as real as it was seven months ago. In fact, it isa permanent condition to which this country must permanently adapt."
Ridge said his office is working with states and the private sector tostudy the nation's infrastructure and determine where the greatest risksare.
"The challenge is vast. It encompasses so much - oil and gas refineries,power plants and electrical substations, water treatment plants andreservoirs, dams, pipelines, just to name a few. Add to that our schoolsand hospitals, our banks and financial institutions, our airports andseaports, our bridges and highways," Ridge said.
He said many communities are already at work securing potential targetsand preparing emergency workers to respond to attacks. return to menu
2. A Radioactive "Dirty Bomb" Could Be Headed For Your Neighborhood
San Francisco Chronicle
April 28, 2002
(for personal use only)
American officials say a top al Qaeda field commander has just braggedto interrogators that his network now knows how to cook up aradiation-spewing "dirty bomb" and could smuggle it into the UnitedStates. If you're still sleeping soundly knowing that, consider this:
Nearly five pounds of highly enriched uranium missing from a researchreactor in the former Soviet Union years ago remains unaccounted for.
And if it's unsettling to think nobody knows the whereabouts of a chunkof hazardous material, it's even more unnerving in the post-9/11 worldto imagine the alternative: Someone does.
It wouldn't be the first time radioactive material passed into thepossession of someone with ill intent.
There was the U.S.-made nuclear fuel rod smuggled from a reactor in theCongo - Italian mafiosos were arrested for trying to peddle it to anintermediary for a Middle Eastern buyer. There were the Chechen rebelswho planted a container holding the cesium-137 core of a medical devicein a Moscow park and then tauntingly alerted Russian reporters.
And there was the Texas petroleum engineer convicted of pilferinglicensed radioactive cesium pellets from his job site, slipping theminto socks and putting them between his 11-year-old son's legs - leavinghim burned and sterilized.
The frightening reality is that it is a mystery how much radioactivematerial goes missing worldwide every year. But missing materialanywhere is a threat to everyone everywhere - as evidenced by the 1,000American customers who bought La-Z-Boy recliners manufactured withBrazilian steel accidentally contaminated with low levels ofradioactivity. (The chairs were swiftly recalled.)
Shocked at the lapses - and determined to force greater accountability -three researchers at the Institute for International Studies on theStanford University campus have transformed themselves into loose-nukesleuths. They have just announced creation of the world's mostcomprehensive database to track missing, stolen and recoveredradioactive material globally.
Their Database on Nuclear Smuggling, Theft and Orphan Radiation Sourceslogs some 850 incidents from the past decade - everything fromradioactive trash cavalierly tossed out by a cancer clinic toweapons-usable plutonium and uranium smuggled out of the dismantledSoviet Union.
Terrorism quickened the pulse of the project. Although most expertsregard Osama bin Laden's boast of nuclear capability as a bluff, they'remore willing to believe al Qaeda field commander Abu Zabaydah's claim tohis interrogators that the group can build a "dirty bomb" out of thekind of radioactive material available in clinics, colleges and thelike.
Rigged with ordinary explosives and then detonated, such a device couldshower an area with radioactive contamination.
It wouldn't truly be a weapon of mass destruction, but it would causemass disruption - and probably mass hysteria.
"Within the United States, you're losing track of radioactive materialliterally every other day. Every other day. And controls here are amongthe highest in the world," says Austrian nuclear physicist FritzSteinhausler, who fostered the database as a visiting professor atStanford. He notes that the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission lists anaverage of 200 radiation sources that are stolen, lost or abandonedwithin the country every year.
Some countries -don't even have a central register of radioactivematerials - and thus no way of tracking their whereabouts.
Kazakstani researcher Lyudmila Zaitseva spends her days perusingdatabases, government records, technical journals and newspapers to pickup cases and assess their credibility. She then enters them into adatabase that categorizes incidents 21 ways: by material, type ofincident, perpetrators, origin, presumed destination and intended use,etc.
Her conclusion: Accounting, protection standards and border detectioncapabilities have been so weak in the former Soviet Union and elsewherethat the database probably lists only a fraction of the incidents thatoccur every day somewhere around the globe.
Some 650 of the incidents she's established to date involve nuclearsmuggling.
"Right now, law enforcement is picking up only about 10 to 30 percent ofother illicit contraband" such as smuggled drugs or conventional arms,says Zaitseva. Extrapolating, "we calculate that what (radioactivematerial) is being detected as missing or stolen is probably 10 to 30percent of what's really gone. So much goes unreported, so much wesimply don't know about."
And clearly, when the missing merchandise is this "hot," what we don'tknow can hurt us.
Still, individual countries are loath to admit their snafus to theworld. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports 18 cases ofnuclear trafficking in the past decade involving small amounts ofplutonium or enriched uranium - virtually all from the former SovietUnion - but each time material was seized,accounting logs at theplundered facilities indicated that nothing was missing.
Thus far only one country has fully cooperated to provide information tothe Stanford database - although the researchers -won't say which one.The United States -hasn't yet complied. Information on cases in closedsocieties like China is virtually nil.
Estimates put the world stock at hundreds of tons of plutonium andhighly enriched uranium (it becomes weapons-grade only if highlyenriched). A small nuclear bomb conceivably could be fashioned from lessthan 50 pounds of highly enriched uranium, or from a sample of plutoniumsmall enough to fit inside a Coke can.
"Those seeking to acquire nuclear material will go wherever it iseasiest to steal, and buy it from anyone willing to sell - and theterrorists of Sept. 11 have demonstrated global reach," says GeorgeBunn, a veteran U.S. arms control negotiator, now a Stanford professorand the third member of the new database triad.
To the lay person, the words "terrorist" and "nuclear bomb" together mayconjure visions of a mushroom cloud like that over Hiroshima, but mostexperts consider such a fear unwarranted. The bulk of known smuggledmaterial is not close to weapons-grade. Some of the peddled plutoniumhas been extracted from trace amounts in overseas home smoke detectors.
Even potent nuclear material is unusable or uncontrollable outside thehands of a fairly sophisticated bomb-builder.
And security at the old Soviet sites -isn't as lax as it was, say, adecade ago, when a thief outside a "secure" shipyard near Murmansksqueezed through a fence hole and used a hacksaw to cut the padlock on acontainer of nuclear submarine fuel - absconding with almost 30 poundsof enriched uranium. Mikhail Kulik, chief investigator of the incident,reported there were no alarm systems, no lights and few guards. "Evenpotatoes," he concludes, "are probably much better guarded today thanradioactive materials."
Law enforcement officers have seized more than 80 pounds of missingRussian uranium and plutonium since the Soviet Union crumbled. Somevolatile stockpiles have been relocated to more secure sites in theWest, and the United States has spent millions to help upgradefacilities there by bricking up windows, installing motion detectors andthe like.
Even so, only a third of former Soviet stockpiles have been secured -meaning that in some quarters the old Soviet Union retains its nicknameas the "Home Depot" of nuclear bomb shopping.
Nor is there any shortage of alienated, underpaid nuclear scientiststhere -and plant workers and guards protecting materials worth millionsearn the equivalent of $200 a month.
Russia's nuclear security system, which suited a police state, is morevulnerable now. That was made glaringly apparent in 1998, when a localpolice official in the Chelyabinski region took credit for cracking aconspiracy to swipe more than 40 pounds of weapons-usable uranium.
"That one was serious because it was a group of people probably workinginside the nuclear facility - the Russians still -won't say whichfacility - and the quantity of material involved was so great," saysScott Parish, senior research associate at the Monterey Institute ofInternational Studies, whose database on nuclear materials in the SovietUnion is a prime source for the Stanford database.
"The Russians probably -didn't intend for the world to learn about theincident," he added, noting that his Moscow sources say Russianauthorities called the police official on the carpet for blabbing.
While authorities recently have reported fewer theft attempts andseizures of nuclear material, perhaps thieves are getting more clever orredirecting their supply routes to the Middle East and Central Asia,where detection is less likely.
Just weeks ago, an intelligence report to the CIA warned that nuclearmaterial inside Russia remains vulnerable. It noted several incidentssuch as the day last year when U.S. investigators found a storage sitefence gate open and unguarded.
"The truth of the matter is, we are not very sure of how much should bethere," says Steinhausler. He noted the old Soviet system was " 'Youaccount for it, you seal it, and you forget it.' But if you had fraudcommitted years ago, you may be guarding an empty container."
Nor is the United States' own nuclear stock truly secure. The WhiteHouse cut 93 percent of a recent Energy Department request for $380million to better safeguard nuclear weapons and waste - ignoring EnergySecretary Spencer Abraham's letter warning that "failure to supportthese urgent security requirements is a risk that would be unwise."
But even the patchy security at nuclear facilities is more rigorous thanat the millions of businesses and research organizations around theglobe that use and store radioactive materials for sterilizingequipment, disinfecting food, treating cancer and finding fuel deposits.
In recent days, that fear drove an unprecedented international air,ground and road search in the woods in the former Soviet Georgia - aweak state menaced by Muslim extremists - for two flashlight-sizedcontainers of radioactive strontium-90. The radioactive material wasencased in small power generators that vanished from an abandonedmilitary base.
The frenzied search began after lumberjacks in a snowy forest near theBlack Sea stumbled upon one of the missing containers in December.Unaware, they warmed their bodies next to its heat - and are nowfighting to survive radiation burns. At last, the other canisters werefound and, as of last week, secured.
The Federation of American Scientists recently offered Congress somedisturbing scenarios. One example: What if the amount of cesium justdiscovered abandoned in a North Carolina scrap yard had fallen into theclutches of terrorists who exploded it with TNT near the NationalGallery in Washington?
"Materials that could easily be lost or stolen from U.S. researchinstitutions and commercial sites could easily contaminate tens of cityblocks at a level that would require prompt evacuation and create terrorin large communities even if radiation casualties were low," HenryKelly, the federation's president, testified.
"Since there are often no effective ways to decontaminate buildings thathave been exposed at these levels, demolition may be the only practicalsolution" - devastating in, say, midtown Manhattan or downtown SanFrancisco.
Other experts are more skeptical about terrorists' propensity to concocta dirty bomb. Parish says even someone volunteering to dieinstantaneously in a flame of martyrdom might be more squeamish aboutexposure to the agony of radiation sickness. Still, nobody argues fordismissing the threat.
But forget terrorism for a moment. Even without it, the world ought toworry about the amount of radioactive material floating around, ready totrigger accidents that wreak havoc on health and the environment.
The Stanford database lists more than 80 cases in which villains likethat Texas father used, or attempted to use, radioactive material tocommit murder, injury, blackmail, fraud and the poisoning of food andwater supplies.
Even more common are incidents of orphaned radioactive sources, whichoften aren't reported missing and simply turn up in scrap yards or thewoods- often with tragic results.
Perhaps the most harrowing illustration is the case of Goiania, Brazil.In 1987, scavengers sold a junkyard operator a canister from anabandoned cancer clinic's radiotherapy machine. He pried open the topand discovered vivid blue granules that "glowed" in the shade.
As news spread, the neighborhood was enchanted with the mysterioussubstance. Children dabbed it on their faces like carnival glitter. Oneman even applied the "magic dust" to his penis to enhance his sexualprowess. It was radioactive cesium-137.
More than 100,000 people were tested for exposure, 249 of them werefound to be contaminated, four people died and, at the time, much of therest of Brazil viewed Goiania as a leper colony.
"The level of effort devoted to securing and accounting for stocks ofeven a few kilograms of fissile material should be even higher than thatdevoted to protecting stores of millions of dollars worth of cash, goldor diamonds," Stanford's Bunn maintains in a recent scientific article."This is manifestly not the case at many facilities in many countriestoday. Indeed, a strong case can be made that the essential ingredientsof nuclear weapons should be protected roughly as rigorously as nuclearweapons themselves are," as a committee of the U.S. National Academy ofSciences recommended in 1994.
Although the 1980 Convention on the Physical Protection of NuclearMaterials sets international standards for transportation betweencountries, it says nothing about what countries do with nuclear materialwithin their borders. Reformers say that's got to change.
They also advocate drastically better site security, interdictionefforts and stiffer penalties for the theft, illegal possession ortransfer of plutonium or enriched uranium - typically only a few yearsin prison - to make the crime comparable to treason and murder.
The terrorist attacks, Bunn says, made it apparent that "the costs andrisks of failing to act are far higher than the costs of acting now." return to menu
1. On Russia, Think Bigger
May 1, 2002
(for personal use only)
It seems only yesterday that the Bush presidential campaign had scathingthings to say about American Russia policy as conducted during theClinton/Gore administration. The idea of a strategic partnership betweenthe two countries was dismissed as "romanticism," the product of anoverheated relationship between Clinton and Yeltsin, neither of whomcould be said to really be defending the core interests of theirrespective countries. But that was then, and this is now -- and latenext month there will be yet another summit between presidents Bush andPutin, working on their version of a strategic partnership.
Much of the credit for this development goes to Putin, who took 9-11 asthe moment to turn Russian policy decisively toward cooperation with theUnited States. But that arrangement is far from being a partnership ofequals.
We wanted full Russian cooperation in the war against terror and we havereceived it.
Putin wanted to keep the ABM Treaty, and the United States announced itsabrogation and an intention to weaponize outer space. He wanted deep,irrevocable and binding cuts in strategic nuclear weapons. We, at leastinitially, wanted only to take such reductions as suited us, underarrangements designed to be reversible, and in any event not legallybinding.
He wanted some means to make Russia's voice heard in NATO's councils,especially as the alliance prepares to expand. We offered a reinventedversion of what already exists, in the form of yet another forum withcircumscribed authority.
He wanted to develop trade and investment with the United States. Weimposed an exclusionary tariff on Russian steel. (The U.S. industry isin real trouble, but we need to recognize the impact of our actions.)
He wanted an end to U.S. criticism of how Russia conducts its operationsin Chechnya. We gave him a massive State Department exposé (one can beglad for honesty on our part, yet recognize what this means for him).
It is the kind of treatment you get when you play with a particularlyweak hand. The Bush administration knows this and exploits it. Putinknows it and has to bargain for the best deal he can get. But solidpartnerships are not built on winner-take-all rules; they require asearch for win-win outcomes. Putin does have critics at home, and theyhave taken note of the unequal returns to Russia on his investment inthe Bush administration. If the administration does not begin to findways to restore a real sense of give and take, it may lose its chance tobuild the solid relationship to which it now aspires.
In the long term, Russia will regain its stature as a major power. Thatmakes it important to determine whether we are building a relationshipthat will work for us when that time comes. The May summit offers achance to put win-win to work.
In arms control, it should be made possible for Putin to bring homeagreements that are not only substantial but verifiable, irreversibleand fully binding. And that's not just because Russia needs thesethings. We should want them, too. The Bush administration, which tookoffice intent on avoiding anything but tacit agreements on nuclearweapons, has been giving ground on this position only reluctantly. It'stime to accept the idea that we need the structure provided by an armscontrol agreement -- whatever the administration chooses to call it. Inparticular, the Russians have been right to want such an agreement toextend to nuclear warheads and to provide for their dismantling, notstorage.
We should also be looking for ways to promote the downsizing of Russia'shuge plant for the production of nuclear weapons. That's part ofirrevocability too, and we have long since cut our own establishmentdown to post-Cold War size. The Russians might resist such a drasticchange, but they would have little basis for doing so, given the U.S.reductions. They might also ask who would help them foot the enormousbill for carrying out such a cutback. Will we be ready to provide thathelp?
The ABM Treaty is dead, but the need to address the role of defenses inour strategic relationship is still very much present, even greatlyintensified. We need a truly imaginative approach designed to engageRussia in the construction of a defensive system capable of offeringprotection to the United States, Russia and Europe against a possiblenuclear/missile threat from rogue states. According to the press, theissue of missile defense will be one of the first agenda items for theproposed new NATO-Russia council. But what specific ideas will we bringto the table? Proposals could include helping the Russians fill gaps intheir long-range ballistic missile warning system. We could also proposejoint work to develop and deploy limited ground-based systems againstvery basic threats from rogue states, to be followed by a jointlydeveloped boost-phase defense against more sophisticated threats. If so,the latter should be ground-based; the United States needs to avoid, notpromote, space-based defensive systems, because these can be brought tothe point where they threaten the Russian Federation's retaliatorycapability, something ground-based systems can't do.
Further expansion of NATO is justifiable, and in the end Russianinvolvement with NATO cannot be permitted to become a Russian right toveto action from within the alliance. But the expansion underscores aproblem Russia has with old treaty restraints on its placement of majormilitary equipment near what used to be the NATO/Warsaw Pact front lineand flanks. The Russian Federation inherited these constraints onConventional Forces in Europe from its predecessor and is living withthem -- but not happily. After all, three of the countries that used tobe military allies of the Soviet Union are now members of NATO, and morewill certainly be coming on board in the next few years. In light of theradically changed circumstances, the Bush administration ought to beopen to some kind of easing of these treaty provisions.
The administration, like its predecessor, has promised to "graduate"Russia from provisions of the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment, which soughtto promote free emigration from certain countries. The time has come tohonor that promise, but it won't be easy, and a substantial investmentof political capital may be needed to get it done. The administrationshould make that investment. Russia also needs to join the World TradeOrganization, and while membership is not ours to confer -- it isRussia's to earn through compromise and reform -- we can make it clearwe strongly favor Russian entry.
Measures that the Clinton administration proselytized to a skeptical andpreoccupied Yeltsin government are now the core agenda of the Putinadministration -- for its own good and sufficient reasons. Much remainsto be done in the reform, but a great deal has been accomplished. Andyet, American private investment in Russia remains relatively minute.Our president ought to use the summit to help revive and expand theinterest of American investors in Russia.
This summit can be a point of departure for U.S.-Russian relations. Butif it is anything less, Putin may have to reassess his policy toward us.Combating terrorism is a true mutual interest. But as we are seeing, itis not enough to sustain the whole weight of American concerns in theworld -- nor can it serve as the one load-bearing wall in U.S.-Russianrelations. It is time for the Bush administration to finally present itscase for a larger vision of our relations with Russia.
The writer was national security adviser to former vice president AlGore and is now Shapiro visiting professor of international relations atthe George Washington University. return to menu
2. Russian And American Defense Ministers Make Progress
April 30, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and U.S. Defense Secretary DonaldRumsfeld met yesterday (April 29) in the VIP lounge of Moscow'sSheremetyevo-1 Airport. At the end of their meeting, both of themannounced that certain progress had been made in the talks on reducingarms. However, neither man offered any details. The Pentagon chief madeit clear that Presidents Bush and Putin themselves would decide whetheror not any agreement on reducing strategic arms would be signed whenthey meet at the Russian-American summit on May 23-26.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and U.S. Defense Secretary DonaldRumsfeld met yesterday (April 29) in the VIP lounge of Moscow'sSherementyevo-1 Airport. At the end of their meeting, both of themannounced that certain progress had been made in the talks on reducingarms. However, neither man offered any details. The Pentagon chief madeit clear that Presidents Bush and Putin themselves would decide whetheror not any agreement on reducing strategic arms would be signed whenthey meet at the Russian-American summit on May 23-26.
Rumsfeld dropped into Moscow on his way home from his tour of CentralAsia during which he visited four countries: Kyrghyzstan, Turkmenistan,Afghanistan and Kazakhstan. Arriving at Sheremetyevo-1 at around 11.00a.m., Rumsfeld had a one-hour talk with American ambassador AlexanderVershbow directly on board his plane and then talked to Sergei Ivanovfor about three hours in the VIP lounge.
According to the Russian defense minister, the initiative to hold themeeting came from the American side. Sergei Ivanov told journalists thatsome four or five days ago the Russian side had submitted to theAmericans several new ideas that could be placed at the basis on anagreement on reducing arms. Rumsfeld pointed out that irrespective ofwhether an agreement is signed in Moscow or not, the American side wouldstrive to reduce the number of its warheads to 1,700-2,200 by 2012 (atthe moment, each side has approximately 6,000 warheads). True, thePentagon chief sidestepped the question concerning what would be donewith the 2,400 warheads Washington plans not to destroy but to stockpilethem. It is precisely Washington's intention to keep in reserve part ofthe warhead's that are to be removed from patrol duty that arouses themost friction between Moscow and Washington in the process of drawing upa new treaty on reducing strategic arms.
The Russian minister promised that Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov wouldfly to Washington to hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State ColinPowell. "I think that by that time the Russian side will be prepared torespond to the commentaries and proposals that the American sideexpressed at today's meeting, and I hope that even greater progress willbe made," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov remarked with optimism. return to menu
3. Russia Offers U.S. Alternatives On Reduction Of Warheads
New York Times
April 30, 2002
(for personal use only)
The Russian defense minister, Sergei B. Ivanov, said today that Russiahad offered the United States "a number of new ideas" on nuclear armsreduction to resolve disagreements in arms talks between the countries.
Mr. Ivanov made the comments at a news conference here with DefenseSecretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who was here today on a stopover during atrip to Central Asia. The two men met for more than two hours.
Russia's proposal, submitted to American officials last week, "couldprovide the basis for an agreement" on nuclear arms cuts, Mr. Ivanovsaid at the news conference, at Sheremetyevo airport.
Mr. Rumsfeld, in his remarks, said, '`We're making progress, and themeetings will continue later this week in Washington."
He also noted that America's relations with Russia have changed. InSoviet times, arms control defined the relationship, he said, whiletoday the relationship is "between two nations that are no longerenemies."
A person close to the negotiations today said American officials gave a"largely positive" reaction to the Russian proposals.
"There is a clearer road map to an agreement than there was before lastweek," when "some pretty big differences still existed," this personsaid.
More detailed discussions on the proposal will take place later thisweek, when Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov meets with Secretary of StateColin L. Powell in Washington.
Both officials said the final decision on arms reductions would be leftto President Bush and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who are tomeet in Moscow in late May.
American officials have said that even after the United States cuts its6,000-warhead nuclear arsenal to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads- theplan announced by Mr. Bush during a summit meeting with Mr. Putin inNovember - it would store hundreds of warheads so that it would have thepotential to respond to future threats.
Russia has repeatedly warned that it will not accept that plan and haspressed for a formal agreement on arms reductions, a condition that Mr.Bush, in a policy turnaround last month, embraced during Mr. Ivanov'slast trip to the United States. Russia has also said it wants a systemto verify American reductions.
The Russian proposal announced by Mr. Ivanov today sets out "ways to tryto avoid having those issues become hang-ups," said the person close tothe negotiations, who added that "the odds have increased," for a treatynext month, "although it is far from a done deal."
Under Secretary of State John Bolton left Moscow unexpectedly last week,ahead of his planned departure date, after receiving the proposal fromRussian negotiators.
At times during the news conference today Mr. Ivanov, who has expressedstrong opposition to the American intention to store nuclear warheads,seemed to hint that Russia had become more flexible.
"We are not simply thinking mechanically, maybe like we did before,about the number of carriers, warheads and so on," he said. "We aretrying to forecast the situation in the world in our bilateral relationsfive, seven, nine years from now."
Russian nuclear experts remained skeptical that a quick solution couldbe reached.
"The rules of how to verify, and of storage versus destruction - theseare very serious problems," said Anatoly Dyakov, director of the Centerfor Arms Control at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology."Saying we are friends, not enemies, and don't need treaties anymore -it is just not true yet." return to menu
4. Rumsfeld, Ivanov Meet In Moscow
Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
April 29, 2002
(for personal use only)
The relationship between the United States and Russia today goes beyondarms control, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said here today.
It is "different in breadth and dimension" from the past, he said.
After meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov for more thantwo hours, the two met with reporters.
"Over the decades the relationship has tended to be about arms control,"Rumsfeld said. "I wouldn't want to leave the impression that that's theway it is."
The relationship is "evolving in a way that the discussions we havetoday are not simply about arms control," Rumsfeld said, "but rather itis a multifaceted relationship that involves political, economic as wellas security issues. The discussions Minister Ivanov and I have fromtime-to- time cover a full-range of subjects, as they should between twonations that are no longer enemies."
Rumsfeld arrived at Moscow International Airport this morning. It washis final stop on a five day trip to Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan,Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
The two defense leaders discussed the situation in Afghanistan andCentral Asia, the global war on terrorism and strategic arms reductions.
On Afghanistan, Rumsfeld cited the progress to date. "The Taliban are nolonger running the country. The al Qaeda is not currently usingAfghanistan as a training camp and bases for launching terrorist attackson innocent people around the world. An interim government is in placeand taking a series of steps in the process of stabilizing the country.
"A transitional government should follow the interim government in themonths ahead," he continued. "That's on the plus side. The last plus isthat the people of Afghanistan are a lot better off than they were sixmonths ago."
On the minus side the task in Afghanistan is far from over, he said. Heemphasized that the country "is still a dangerous place" and thatTaliban members who haven't been captured or killed have crossed"borders and gone into the mountains and into the villages."
"There's no doubt in my mind that they'd like to come back and take overthat country," he said. "The coalition partners, from countries acrossthe globe that are cooperating, intend to see that that doesn't happen.There's still a lot to do. And there will be more violence between nowand the time it's over."
Ivanov said Russia is also interested in seeing the situation inAfghanistan stabilized. Russian officials assessment of the situation isvery close to that of the United States, he said.
The two defense ministers then discussed the status of negotiations toreduce strategic nuclear weapons.
Defense and State department officials are crafting a legally bindingstrategic arms agreement that might be ready for presidents George Bushand Vladimir Putin to sign at a summit in May. The American and Russianleaders are slated to meet May 23-26 in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The United States has about 6,000 nuclear warheads. The plan, based onthe Bush administration's Nuclear Posture Review, would cut the arsenalto around 2,800 warheads by fiscal 2007 and to between 1,700 and 2,000operationally deployed warheads by fiscal 2012.
"Both sides are pretty relaxed about the fact that we are taking thereductions," a senior official traveling with Rumsfeld said. "We'vestarted the reductions. They're continuing their reductions. Whether ornot we have the details worked out in this agreement, in this timeframeanyway, is not necessarily going to be a make-or-break issue for thesummit."
The Nuclear Posture Review concluded the United States must be able torespond to unforeseen changes in the security environment, the officialtold reporters. U.S. officials concluded that a U.S. strategy thatrelies solely on offensive nuclear forces is inappropriate for deterringpotential 21st century adversaries.
The official said the U.S. nuclear weapons complex is not in a positionto respond well to those changes by producing new weapons or warheadsthat might go on existing systems.
"We felt it was prudent to hang on to a portion of those systems andgive us the flexibility to respond to those changes, if necessary, as wedraw down the operationally deployed force," he said.
For the last 20 or 30 years, he added, the focus of arms control hasbeen on drawing down "those weapons that are actually on top of existingmissiles and that are available for use on bomber weapons or in bomberforces." Previous arms control agreements did not require thedestruction of warheads, he said.
The Russians want a legally binding arrangement that will go beyond theterms of the two presidents, the official said. "We're trying to . workwith them and fashion an arrangement that satisfies (their) requirement,but at the same time provides the flexibility that we think is necessaryin the uncertain security environment we are in today."
Bush believes Putin has made "a strategic decision to move toward theWest, and it's important that we attempt to reinforce that in ways thatstrengthen him," the official said. The arms agreement would be one wayU.S. officials think would help support Putin, he said. return to menu
1. Russia To Supply India With Two New Nuclear Reactors
April 29, 2002
(for personal use only)
Atomstroieksport, the construction department of the Atomic EnergyMinistry, has signed a contract to supply two new reactors for India'sKudankulam nuclear power plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu,screen.ru and abnews.ru reported on 27 April. Under the terms of the$294 million deal, an Atomstroieksport subcontractor, UnitedMachine-Building Works (OMZ), is due to deliver the reactors and theother equipment in 2005. return to menu
F. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Bear H Intercept
Bill Geertz and Rowan Scarborough
April 26, 2002
(for personal use only)
Two Russian strategic nuclear bombers flew within 37 miles of Alaskarecently in a rare probe of U.S. air defenses, according to U.S.intelligence officials.
The Tu-95 Bear H bombers were part of a group of four bombers thatdeployed recently to the military air base near Anadyr, a port in thenorthern Far East of Russia. The bombers can carry up to 16 Kh-55strategic cruise missiles, which are equipped with 200-kiloton nuclearwarheads.
The bombers flew north along the coast of Alaska. The Air Forcescrambled two F-15 jet fighters to intercept the propeller-drivenbombers. The F-15s shadowed the bombers for a short distance and thenbroke off.
It was the first time since September 11 that the Russian military madea run at U.S. air defenses. Russian military forces in the Far East wereinvolved in strategic nuclear forces exercises when the terroristattacks occurred. They halted the maneuvers, which U.S. militaryintelligence expected would have included air defense probes like theone that occurred recently.
The Russian bomber probe took place as U.S. and Russian officials inMoscow failed to reach the terms of a new accord on strategic armsreduction. It also took place amid recent criticism by officials inMoscow of U.S. intelligence-sharing on terrorism.
Viktor Komogorov, deputy director of Russia's Federal Security Service,formerly the domestic branch of the Soviet KGB, said Russia provided theCIA with 100 reports in February but received only 50 from the agency,the Interfax news agency reported. He criticized the CIA report as "barefacts" and said Russia's reports included terrorist plans andintentions. "This is not the kind of cooperation in resistinginternational terrorism that we had counted on," he said, noting thatRussian requests for more U.S. intelligence were denied. return to menu
G. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
1. Russia Shuts Down World Oldest Nuclear Power Station
April 30, 2002
(for personal use only)
The first nuclear power station in the world, located in the Russiancity of Obninsk, has been shut down, the press service of the AtomicEnergy Ministry reported to RBC. The source explained it waseconomically inexpedient to continue operating this station, which wasworking since 1954. The press service stressed this shutdown would haveno impact on energy supplies to the surrounding region.
The removal of fuel from the station's nuclear reactor and the station'sdismantling will cost about $1m. Authorities reported a nuclear energymuseum would be created in premises of the first nuclear power stationby 2004. return to menu
H. Nuclear Safety
1. Radiation In Center Of Tajik Capital
Asia-Plus Press Review
April 11-17, 2002
(for personal use only)
Almost a month ago newspaper "Asia-Plus" reported about a fact ofdetention by Tajik law enforcing agencies of a criminal group, which wasdealing with traffic in radiation substances. The Academic Secretary ofthe Agency for Atomic Energy of the Tajik Academy of Sciences AkramJurayev said in his interview with "Asia-Plus" # 16 that Tajikistandidn't have nuclear weapon and atomic electric power stations, but henotes that Tajikistan has lost control of safety of radioisotopesources.
Akram Jurayev says "loss of some radioisotope sources - caesium-137 atthe Yovon Chemical Plant and an incident at the Tajik Aluminum thatresulted in death may be evidence of it".
According to him, to date, at least seven powerful radioisotope sourcesbeing of danger to human have disappeared from enterprises of therepublic. Some cases of uncontrolled privatization put us on our guardsat the beginning of the 90-s already", said Jurayev, "We began toreceive applications for "placing" privatized special devices, or fordefining the cost of some radioactive isotopes".
Akram Jurayev says that one such a "businessman" told them that he hadmanaged to purchase a radioactive source caesium-137 at the TajikAluminum Plant. The buyer has happened to be found in the SurkhandaryaRegion of Uzbekistan. Before taking medical advice the "businessman" hasmanaged to make several trips to Uzbekistan with the radioactive sourcesin his pocket. He has sustained a radiation burn.
The facts that are stated below were secret until a certain time. In1997, officers of the Ministry of Emergencies and Civil Defense andspecialists of the Sanitation Epidemiological Station registered araised gamma radiation in the territory of the Tajik MeteorologicalStation. As it turned out to recharge accumulators and provide automaticoperation of remote meteorological stations specialists of theMeteorological Station had been using radioisotope thermo-electricgenerators. The radioactive isotope strontium serves in such a generatoras a "hot element", and earth serves as a "cold element". Undertechnical norms the term of operation of the hot element is ten years,while a period of decay of the radioisotope is 30 years. It happenedthat this term at our station coincided with the time of collapse of theSoviet Union. The Tajik Meteorological Station has been noticed of thefact that it will be necessary to pay for replacing elements, anddumping of the elements is a problem of the sovereign Tajikistan. Whilemeteorologists were deciding what to do with, three radioisotopethermo-electric generators have been kept at the coal storehouse of theStation in the center of the Tajik capital. When the generators were atthe storehouse somebody has contrived to dismantle the protectivecapsule, while according to technical documentation it cannot bedismantled. The unit was found to be quite a heavy, about 100 kilograms,and malefactor could not take it with them. This radioactive piece couldbe enough to contaminate about 100 cubic kilometers of water. It isabout 10 Nurek or 30 Kairakum reservoirs. Removal of effects of thisaccident has taken about a week of work. At present, the emergencycapsule and the rest two generators are at the republican dump ofradioactive wastes. But as it has been revealed recently illegaltrafficking of the radioisotope sources is not the only "radiation"problem of Tajikistan.
According to report of the Director of the Institute of Nuclear Physicsof Uzbekistan B. Yusldoshev (at present he is the President of theAcademy of Sciences of Uzbekistan), after the last nuclear weapon testin Pakistan a level of radiation in the area of the Institute, which islocated in the Ulughbek Settlement, Uzbekistan, has increased severaltimes as much. Therefore, a level of radiation on the Tajik-Afghan andTajik-Chinese border must be higher. return to menu
1. On IAEA Conference To Discuss National Reports From Parties ToConvention On Nuclear Safety
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
April 27, 2002
The second conference to discuss the national reports of the parties tothe Convention on Nuclear Safety took place on April 15-26 at theInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
This conference is a unique forum at which the experts from the 54states parties to the Convention every three years have a realopportunity to exchange information on the achievements and problems inthe field of ensuring nuclear plant safety. It is crucial that thediscussion is held on a basis of equality and professionally, in abusiness-like manner, without unnecessary politicization. The conferenceis a good mechanism for the consideration of the internationalexperience in further work on improving national systems of nuclearsafety.
Presenting the national report of the Russian Federation, our delegationsaid Russia is fully honoring its obligations under the Convention andattaches full priority importance to the safe utilization of nuclearenergy in keeping with the Declaration of the Moscow 1996 G8 NuclearSafety and Security Summit. It was stressed that the nuclear technologyof the future must comply with the highest requirements of nuclearsafety, as envisaged in the initiative for ensuring energy supply forsustainable development of mankind, radically solving the problem ofnonproliferation of nuclear weapons and improving the ecology of theplanet Earth, advanced by President Vladimir Putin at the UN MillenniumSummit.
The national report of the Russian Federation received at the conferencehigh praise for the quality and fullness of the information submitted. return to menu
2. Testimony Before The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee On ForeignOperations, Export Financing - FY 2003 International Affairs Budget(Excerpted)
Secretary Colin L. Powell
Department of State
April 24, 2002
Mr. Chairman, to fight terrorism, as well as alleviate the conditionsthat fuel this kind of activity, violent terrorism, we are requesting anestimated $5 billion in addition to the initiatives outlined in ourBudget Request for the State Department and Related Agencies. Thisfunding includes $3.6 billion for economic and security assistance,military equipment and training for the frontline states and for ourother partners in the war on terrorism. And as you noted, SenatorMcConnell, Israel is not included in this, but I take your point thatthis is something we should look at as we move forward.
These dollars also include $3.4 billion out of the 3.6 from foreignoperations accounts such as the Economic Support Fund, InternationalMilitary Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing, and theFreedom Support Act; $88 million for programs in Russia and other statesof the former Soviet Union to reduce the availability to terrorists ofweapons of mass destruction -- our ongoing programs engage formerweapons scientists, now putting them in peaceful research and to helpthis way to prevent the spread of the material's expertise required tobuild such weapons; $69 million for counter-terrorism engagementprograms, training and equipment to help other countries fight globalterror, thereby strengthening in turn our own national security; $50million to support the International Atomic Energy Agency in activitiesdesigned to counter nuclear terrorism and implement strengthenedsafeguards; and $15 million to allow us to respond quickly andeffectively to unanticipated or unusually difficult nonproliferationprojects or opportunities; $4 million for the Treasury Department'sOffice of Technical Assistance to provide training and assistance andother expertise to foreign finance officers to halt terrorist financing.
3. Former Ballistic Weapons Scientists Find Medical Application For RocketTechnology
Russian scientists have used their expertise in rocket nozzle design todevelop a needleless vaccine injection system. With NNSA's help theyhave commercialized this new technology.
NNSA's Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP) helped bringtogether Felton International of Lenexa, Kansas and its Russian partner,Chemical Automatics Design Bureau (CADB). The two partners recentlysigned a $2.4 million contract to supply 1200 units of the needle-freevaccine injectors to Iowa Vet Supply. Iowa Vet Supply will distributethe equipment in the North American veterinary market.
As a result of this contract, at least 50 permanent jobs will be createdfor former weapons workers at CADB in Russia. Additional contracts couldcreate employment for at least 150 additional Russian weaponsscientists, while bringing a new product to market which substantiallybenefits agriculture and public health. CABD was formerly a key part ofthe Soviet ballistic missile complex.
IPP's contribution of $1.2 million was matched by Felton International.Providing fast, large-scale inoculations without spreading bloodbornepathogens is a longstanding veterinary and human health-care challenge.While the initial venture is for veterinary applications-the injectoroffers great benefits in maintaining the health of animalherds-longer-term plans are to apply this technology to human vaccinedelivery. The human vaccine component is expected to increase revenuesby as much as $50 million per year.
The IPP program helps to stem the spread of weapons technologies byengaging former Soviet weapon scientists in peaceful activities thathave long-term commercial potential. Russian designed needless vaccinesystem to be marketed in the U.S. by Felton International. The partnerswere brought together with the help of NNSA. return to menu
J. Links of Interest
1. NPT 2002 Preparatory Committee Concludes
Mary Beth Nikitin
Monterey Institute of International Studies, Center for NonproliferationStudies
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