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Nuclear News - 05/03/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, May 3, 2002
Compiled by David Smigielski

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. U.S. Response: Legislators Propose Presidential Waiver On CTR, Kerry Boyd, Global Security Newswire, May 2, 2002
B. HEU Purchase Agreement
    1. USA Lifts Limits On Kazakh Uranium Imports, Set To Monitor Customers, Kazakh Commercial Television, May 3, 2002
C. Russia-U.S.
    1. Russia-US Nuke Pact Could Be Near, Associated Press, May 3, 2002
    2. Powell, Russian To Talk Nuke Pact, Las Vegas Sun, May 3, 2002
    3. Russian Duma Will Ratify START-3 Only After US Congress - Speaker, ITAR-TASS, May 3, 2002
    4. FM: US Arms Deal "Entirely Realizable" Associated Press, May 2, 2002
    5. Russian Defense Minister Meets With Rumsfeld, RFE/RL Newsline, May 2, 2002
    6. U.S. Takes Russia For Granted At Its Peril, Katrina Vanden Heuvel And Stephen F. Cohen, Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2002
    7. Russian Expert Warns Against Compromise With U.S. On Strategic-Arms Cuts, RFE/RL Security and Terrorism Watch, May 1, 2002
D. Russia-Iran
    1. IAEA Deems Iran's Nuclear Activities Peaceful, Tehran Times, May 2, 2002
E. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. Nuclear Ambiguities, Daniel Schorr, Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2002
F. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
    1. Armenia Seeks Russian Help To Run Nuclear Power Plant, ITAR-TASS, May 1, 2002

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

U.S. Response: Legislators Propose Presidential Waiver On CTR
Kerry Boyd
Global Security Newswire
May 2, 2002
(for personal use only)

Citing reports that an al-Qaeda leader has told U.S. officials thatterrorists are close to obtaining a nuclear device to be used againstthe United States, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives thisweek filed legislation aimed at strengthening U.S.-Russian cooperationto lower the nuclear threat.

The proposed Nuclear Threat Reduction Act, sponsored by RepresentativesEllen Tauscher (D-Calif.) and John Spratt (D-S.C.), would allow thepresident to waive certification requirements on Cooperative ThreatReduction programs, a change the administration has requested.Currently lacking power to waive certification, the Bush administrationinformed Russia last month that it would suspend some funds due toquestions about Russian compliance with chemical and biological weaponstreaties (see GSN, April 8).

The bill would authorize increased funding for CTR programs in Russiaand for research at U.S. laboratories on technologies to prevent attacksinvolving weapons of mass destruction (see GSN, April 23). The billwould provide:

  • $1.4 billion for Energy Department threat reduction andnonproliferation programs, including $340 million for nonproliferationverification and research and development, $295 million for nuclearmaterials disposition and $520 million for "weapons activities,campaigns and high energy density physics;"
  • $600 million for Defense Department CTR programs, including$180 million for efforts to destroy chemical weapons in Russia, such asconstructing a chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuchye (seeGSN, April 3) and
  • $300 million for State Department programs.
The bill would also call on the president to clarify how plans to reducenuclear weapons could be accomplished by 2006, 2008 or 2010, compared tothe current 2012 target date. Bush has said the United States will cutits operationally deployed nuclear warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200warheads within the next decade (see GSN, Nov. 14).

According to the legislation, the administration would be required toreport the numbers of operationally deployed nuclear weapons, weapons tobe held in a reserve force (see GSN, April 9), active and inactiveweapons in the reserve force and weapons to be dismantled, said aTauscher press release.
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B. HEU Purchase Agreement

USA Lifts Limits On Kazakh Uranium Imports, Set To Monitor Customers
Kazakh Commercial Television
May 3, 2002
(for personal use only)

[Presenter] The USA has lifted the limits imposed on imports of Kazakhnatural uranium. The court proceedings between Kazakhstan and the USEC[US Enrichment Corp] that have been going on for over 10 years have nowbeen completed in full.

[Correspondent over video of street scenes] Kazakhstan has annually beenincurring tens of millions of dollars of losses because of therestrictions imposed on Kazakh uranium exports to the USA. The limits onKazakh [uranium] imports were imposed on Kazakhstan as successor of the[former] Soviet Union which used to be the USA's main competitor on theuranium market.

Following the break-up of the USSR, the limits were automaticallyimposed on all the former Soviet uranium-extracting republics.

[Markhaba Barguzhina, captioned as director of the judicial departmentof the national atomic company Kazatomprom (Kazakh nuclear industry)closed joint-stock company] Then our lawyers started presenting proofthat Kazakh uranium is not part of Russian uranium i.e. that the amountof [Kazakh] uranium exported is not as great as it was during the SovietUnion, that we are an independent state and that we have our ownuranium. [Kazakh lawyers also said that] the proportion of our uraniumon the Kazakh [presumably, the US] market was so small that this had noinfluence on prices on the US market. It was this argument that hadcarried weight in the entire court proceedings.

[Correspondent] Experts consider that in addition to [ensuring that]Kazakh [uranium]-extracting companies have no relations with Russia,Washington intends to ensure that [Kazakh] uranium does not fall in thehands of its potential enemies. The USA hopes that Kazakhstan, whichwill from now on have an opportunity to work freely on the US market,will not sell nuclear raw materials to Iraq or North Korea.
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C. Russia-U.S.

Russia-US Nuke Pact Could Be Near
Associated Press
May 3, 2002
(for personal use only)

U.S. officials held out hope Wednesday of wrapping up a new agreement onnuclear arms reductions in time for President Bush's meeting this monthwith Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who has said the United Statesintends to reduce its nuclear arsenal from more than 6,000 warheads toas few as 1,700 regardless of when - or even if - a deal with Russia isconcluded, declined to predict how soon the final details would beworked out.

"I'm not going to try to put a smile or a frown on it," Rumsfeld told aPentagon news conference. "It's a process. It's been going along verywell."

One of Rumsfeld's top aides, J.D. Crouch, said in separate remarks toreporters that the final roadblocks to an agreement with Russia arerelatively minor and could be overcome in time for the Bush-Putin summitin late May.

"The problems are typical of the endgame in a negotiation in the armscontrol process - things that may in fact be more important to the armscontrol bureaucracies than they are to senior officials and thepresidents," said Crouch, assistant defense secretary for internationalsecurity policy.

Bush has said he intends to reduce the U.S. long-range nuclear arsenalto between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads over the coming decade, regardlessof whether Russia reciprocates. Putin has said Moscow would be willingto reduce to 1,500 warheads, but has insisted that the U.S. and Russianreductions be made legally binding so the commitments would remain afterhe and Bush leave office.

Bush initially resisted the idea of codifying the cuts, arguing thatsince the United States and Russia no longer are adversaries there is noneed for detailed, Cold War-style arms treaties. Rumsfeld also holds theview that arms treaties should not be a focus of the U.S.-Russianrelationship.

"What's taking place between the United States and Russia is thedevelopment of a new relationship, a new framework between our twocountries. Does it all have to be in writing? No.," Rumsfeld said.

Rumsfeld and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Ivanov, discussed thenuclear arms cuts in Moscow on Monday and told reporters afterward theyhad made modest progress. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov wasresuming the discussion Thursday and Friday in Washington with Secretaryof State Colin Powell.

One of the remaining sticking points is the Russians' insistence thatthe weapons reductions be made "irreversible," Crouch said. The Russianswants the Americans to destroy, rather than put in storage, the warheadsthey take out of service; the Americans say they will destroy some andkeep others.

"A point we've been trying to make is that in fact the reality is thatthere is no such thing as `irreversible.' Given enough time and givenmoney and given will, anything can be reversed," Crouch said.

Crouch provided some new details on the Bush administration's plan forreducing nuclear weapons. He said the D5 missiles aboard Trident nuclearsubmarines, which now carry eight warheads each, will be reduced tobetween four and six warheads each. The number of Trident subs will bereduced from 18 to 14, although there will only be enough warheads toequip 12 submarines, he said.

As previously announced, the United States will retire all 50 of itsland-based Peacekeeper missiles, Crouch said.

He also said the United States probably will keep 500 Minuteman IIIland-based intercontinental ballistic missiles in active service, alongwith about 75 nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and 20 B 2 bombers. Decisionsabout how many nuclear weapons will be assigned to each type of deliverysystem have yet to be made, he said.

"We want to retain our flexibility," he said.
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Powell, Russian To Talk Nuke Pact
Las Vegas Sun
May 3, 2002
(for personal use only)

Facing lingering obstacles, the United States and Russia are attemptingto agree on a reduction in their nuclear arsenals in time for a Moscowsummit in less than three weeks.

Secretary of State Colin Powell was meeting Friday with Russian ForeignMinister Igor Ivanov, hoping to nail down what would be an arms controlbreakthrough for the two former rivals.

An administration official said broad outlines of an agreement arealready in place, but differences remain. While an agreement Friday isnot ruled out, the official said bargaining could continue right up tothe eve of the May 23 summit.

Bush will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 23. Heplanned to discuss the summit with Ivanov during a late-morning meetingFriday.

Bush has said he intends to reduce the U.S. long-range nuclear arsenalfrom 6,000 to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads over the coming decade,regardless of whether Russia reciprocates. Putin has said Moscow wouldbe willing to reduce to 1,500 warheads.

The two sides are at odds over the nature of reductions. The UnitedStates wants to put weapons cut from its arsenal in storage, to beavailable in an emergency. Russia believes the only serious weaponsreduction process involves destruction of armaments.

Ivanov said on arrival Wednesday night that Moscow and Washington havetwo major documents in preparation. One involves nuclear armsreductions, and the second would set terms for new strategic relationsbetween the United States and Russia.

The U.S. official said the first document is closer to completion thanthe second.

Ivanov and Powell focused Thursday on the Middle East, joining with U.N.Secretary-General Kofi Annan and foreign policy chiefs of the EuropeanUnion. They sought ways to end the stalemate between Israel and thePalestinians.

Washington and Moscow have made intense efforts to reach a nuclearagreement. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Russian DefenseMinister Sergei Ivanov discussed the arms cuts Monday in Moscow.

Chief U.S. arms negotiator John Bolton, who made two trans-Atlanticnegotiating trips to Moscow last week, will make another soon regardlessof whether an agreement is reached Friday, the official said.

If an agreement is reached, the official said Bolton's trip wouldinvolve drafting precise wording. If a breakthrough should elude Powelland Igor Ivanov, Bolton would attempt to overcome remaining obstacles,the official said.

Ivanov would not offer predictions. He said there was a "realpossibility" the agreement would be ready in time for the summit talks."The levels have been set by the presidents. The goal has been set bythe presidents," Ivanov said.
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Russian Duma Will Ratify START-3 Only After US Congress - Speaker
May 3, 2002
(for personal use only)

The Russian State Duma will ratify the agreement on the furtherreduction of strategic offensive weapons, which is expected to be signedduring the Russia-USA summit at the end of May, only after this is doneby the US Congress, speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliamentGennadiy Seleznev, who is on an official visit here, stated yesterday,replying to questions put to him by representatives of the US scientificand political elite at the Carnegie Foundation.

According to Seleznev, the Russian MPs already had "the sorryexperience" of work on START-2, which the Russian side ratified twoyears ago, but the US Congress has still not considered. Therefore,Seleznev noted, our MPs "will not be fools again" and will get down tothe ratification of the START-3 agreements only after a correspondingdecision is made by the American Congressmen.

The leader of the Russian delegation believes that the document on thebilateral reduction of strategic offensive weapons should envisage botha considerable reduction of nuclear warheads and their carriers, and amechanism for controlling the process. "A minimum number of strategicoffensive weapons should be left," Seleznev stressed, adding that"neither Russia, nor the United States have ever made use of thisterrible weapon, capable of destroying all the world."

The speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament had previouslystated that Russia pinned great hopes on the visit of the US presidentto Moscow on 23 May, during which the sides are to discuss a newRussian-US START-3 Treaty. He noted that the Russian MPs wereconsistently pressing for the reduction of nuclear arsenals, for thepromotion of mutual trust and for the nonproliferation of nuclearweapons.
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FM: US Arms Deal "Entirely Realizable"
Associated Press
May 2, 2002
(for personal use only)

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov arrived in the United States onWednesday on a big push to formalize nuclear arms cuts for the nextdecade of the post-Cold War era, saying the goal was "entirelyrealizable" in time for President George W. Bush's visit to Russia onMay 23.

"We have documents in a developed form. But there is also serious workahead of us to get the documents ready for the visit," Ivanov toldreporters outside the Russian Embassy.

However he did not rule out the possibility that a final agreementcutting arms by about a third to a range of 1,700 to 2,200 would fail tobe ready for President Bush's visit to Moscow and St Petersburg.

"Everything is possible," he said when asked if he could concede a dealmight not be ready in time. "But we are in the mood to have thesedocuments ready."

Pressed to say whether an arms control agreement would be ready forsigning with President Vladimir Putin, he said, "I think it is entirelyrealizable."

Asked to expand, he recalled that Bush and Putin at previous talks hadannounced strategic arms cuts to the range of 1,700 and 2,200 over 10years and charged their experts with agreeing a document - and it wastheir job to get it done.

The two sides have been at odds over U.S. plans to store rather thandestroy some decommissioned nuclear warheads and its desire to installcounting rules that would allow more nuclear platforms to be kept thanpreviously envisaged.

Russia objects to the U.S. view that nuclear platforms should only becounted as one even if they have the potential to carry multiplewarheads, unless the warheads are attached.

The two countries' defense ministers met in Moscow on Monday andannounced progress in negotiations toward the agreement after talks onnew proposals that Moscow said it had put forward.

But neither Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov nor U.S. DefenseSecretary Donald Rumsfeld held out any assurances that the two sidescould close their differences quickly enough to have an accord ready intime for the May summit.

Foreign Minister Ivanov, after arriving in Washington, did not answer aquestion about what the new ideas were. "There are ideas. We arediscussing them and we will continue our discussion the day aftertomorrow," he said, referring to his planned meeting with Secretary ofState Colin Powell on Friday.

Ivanov's first task on Thursday is to join a "quartet" of Middle Eastmediators, including Powell, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan andforeign policy chiefs from the European Union, in a hunt for progresstoward an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Defense Minister Ivanov said the talks with Rumsfeld had addressed "aset of new ideas" which Moscow had advanced a few days before.

He said progress had been made but it was hard to judge what it was asboth men declined to give details of the talks.


Foreign Minister Ivanov said two documents were in line for thepresidents to sign - a deal on strategic arms cuts and a declaration ona new framework of strategic partnership.

Other projects being considered covered industrial cooperation, energy,the war on terrorism and Afghanistan.

The plan to agree a legally binding document in time for the summit wasfirst announced during a visit by Powell to Moscow in December, shortlyafter which the Bush administration said it was pulling out of aSoviet-era treaty that blocked its path to building amultibillion-dollar missile defense.

Apparently to soothe Russian fears about the end of the Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty, which barred such defensive systems for fear they couldaccelerate the arms race, the United States agreed to forge a legallybinding pact on arms cuts.

Moscow wants to include an element covering missile defense in the newagreement. But a senior U.S. administration official has said recentlythis was not a realistic goal.
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Russian Defense Minister Meets With Rumsfeld
RFE/RL Newsline
May 2, 2002
(for personal use only)

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told journalists in Moscow on 29 Aprilthat Russia recently submitted to the United States several newproposals that Moscow hopes could form the basis for futurestrategic-arms reductions, reported on 30 April. Ivanov addedthat he received a positive reaction to the proposals from U.S. DefenseSecretary Donald Rumsfeld, who made a stopover in the Russian capitalafter a tour of several Central Asian states and met briefly with Ivanovat Sheremetevo Airport on 29 April. also commented that theRussian military is so eager to secure a formal treaty during the summitwith the United States between U.S. President George W. Bush andPresident Vladimir Putin later this month that would grant Russia thestatus of an equal partner that the Russian side will have to makeadditional compromises.
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U.S. Takes Russia For Granted At Its Peril
Katrina Vanden Heuvel And Stephen F. Cohen
Los Angeles Times
May 1, 2002
(for personal use only)

Unless American policy changes significantly before Presidents Bush andVladimir V. Putin meet in late May, the possibility of a historicU.S.-Russia partnership may be lost.

Indeed, in the seven months since Putin became the Bush administration'smost valuable ally in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, thissecond chance to establish a truly cooperative relationship withpost-Communist Russia--after the squandered opportunity of the1990s--has been gravely endangered by Bush's own policies.

Russia's contribution to the U.S. counter-terror operation inAfghanistan in the weeks after Sept. 11 exceeded that of all NATO alliescombined. Moscow not only provided intelligence information, it allowedthe Pentagon to use its airspace and crucial Soviet-built airfields inCentral Asia. It also stepped up its military assistance to the AfghanNorthern Alliance, which Russia had supported long before Sept. 11 andwhich did most of the ground fighting until recently.

But now, even Russia's pro-Western lobbies are asking: "What did we getin return?"

Revelations in March that the Pentagon's new nuclear doctrines continueto include Russia as a possible target were the lead story for days inRussia's media. Most of the headlines and commentary were angrilyanti-American. Such sentiments, which had diminished after Sept. 11,have been growing rapidly. Symptomatic is the widely expressed view thata U.S.-led plot had deprived Russian athletes of gold medals at theWinter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

More serious, however, is the opinion spreading across Moscow'spolitical spectrum that the Bush administration's war on terrorism hasless to do with helping Russia fight Islamic extremism on its bordersthan with establishing military outposts for a new American empire--"anew Rome," as one political insider called it. The primary goal of thisempire is believed to be control over the region's enormous oil and gasreserves. Even Russians who consider themselves pro-American are findingit increasingly difficult to counter this charge.

As seen from Moscow, the Bush administration since Sept. 11 has beensystematically imposing what Russia has always feared--militaryencirclement. That view is not surprising: It appears likely that by2003 there will be a U.S. or NATO military presence in at least nine ofthe 15 former Soviet republics.

Meanwhile, Putin is coming under increasing attack in Moscow for"losing" Central Asia and the Caucasus by succumbing to U.S.imperialism. Of special importance has been a series of published openletters signed by retired generals, including a former defense minister,accusing Putin of betraying the nation's security and other vitalinterests. A struggle over the wisdom of Putin's strategic choice of analliance with the U.S.--and perhaps over Putin's leadership itself--isclearly underway in Russia's political class.

If nothing else, the new U.S. strategic thinking, including its enhancedstatus for tactical nuclear weapons, strengthens elements in the Russianmilitary that have lobbied since the 1990s for giving "surgical"battlefield nukes a larger role in the Kremlin's own doctrine. As aleading Russian military specialist has contended, the new U.S. doctrinegives the Russian military additional incentive for new testing anddeployment.

All this suggests that the scheduled summit in Russia between Bush andPutin may turn out to be little more than a show designed to promote thetwo leaders' political fortunes while doing nothing to achieve today'smost urgent security need--sharp reductions in both sides' nucleararsenals.

Sept. 11 notwithstanding, the post-Cold War nuclear world is moredangerous than the Cold War period itself. The main reason is theinstability of Russia's nuclear infrastructures. CIA Director GeorgeTenet has emphasized, for example, that Russia's nuclear devices,materials and knowledge might become the primary source ofproliferation.

The Bush administration's policy of treating Russia not as a realpartner but merely as a helper when it suits U.S. purposes--not tomention a potential nuclear target--only increases the dangers.

In that fundamental sense, the U.S. today has an administration whosepolicies toward Russia are endangering America's national security.

Katrina vanden Heuvel is editor of the Nation. Stephen F. Cohen isprofessor of Russian studies at New York University.
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Russian Expert Warns Against Compromise With U.S. On Strategic-Arms Cuts
RFE/RL Security and Terrorism Watch
May 1, 2002
(for personal use only)

Sergei Kortunov, the vice president of the Russian Foreign PolicyAssociation, said Russia does not need to sign a treaty with the UnitedStates on radically reducing the two countries' strategic weapons "atany price," "Vremya novostei" and RIA-Novosti reported on 23 April.Kortunov said Russia should only sign a "good treaty" that shouldaddress all issues of concern and differences that Moscow has withWashington on the matter. He also said there is not enough time toovercome the differences before presidents Bush and Putin meet in May;thus, Russia should refrain from signing a strategic accord at thesummit, but keep the "negotiation process going."
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D. Russia-Iran

IAEA Deems Iran's Nuclear Activities Peaceful
Tehran Times
May 2, 2002
(for personal use only)

The general director of the Russian Nuclear Organization said in aninterview with Moscow Radio that construction of the Bushehr NuclearPower Plant will be completed by the end of 2003 or the beginning of2004. He added that there is no serious problem hindering the project.

The Russian official also said that the financial problems have beensolved and that the necessary equipment is being sent to Iran fromRussia. He added that the apparatus that is being constructed in Bushehrcan not be used to manufacture nuclear weapons and that, according to anagreement between Iran and Russia, the nuclear waste, which containsuranium, will be returned to Russia. Therefore, he said, Iran-Russiacooperation on nuclear energy will not help Iran develop weapons of massdestruction.

He also said that the Islamic Republic of Iran has already joined theComprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and therefore, theconstruction of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant has been supervised bythe International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from the beginning. TheRussian official added that a great number of U.S. experts work in thisagency and have traveled to Bushehr as part of IAEA delegations to carryout investigations. He said that over the past year, some 60 IAEAdelegations have thoroughly investigated the Bushehr Nuclear PowerPlant.
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E. Nuclear Terrorism

Nuclear Ambiguities
Daniel Schorr
Christian Science Monitor
May 3, 2002
(for personal use only)

We live with nuclear perils of several kinds. Russia and the UnitedStates agree on reducing nuclear stockpiles, but disagree on whether todestroy them or store them, as the Bush administration proposes to do.

Many observers say that Iraq may be on its way to developing a nuclearbomb, and periodic leaks from the Bush administration suggest militaryintervention to abort it.

A captured terrorist leader says that Al Qaeda is close to having acrude nuclear device that could be smuggled into the United States. Weare told that one dirty bomb - nuclear fuel wrapped around aconventional detonator - could affect half of Manhattan.

Even peaceful nuclear energy can set people on edge. April 16 happenedto be the 16th anniversary of the Chernobyl atomic-energy-plantexplosion in Ukraine. And today, children are being born with geneticmutations. Half a world away, people in south Nevada battle againstdepositing nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain.

A Brookings Institution report says that a successful attack on anuclear power plant could result in 10,000 fatalities.

The Bush administration has a peculiarly ambivalent attitude about thenuclear danger. On the one hand, the president is devoting his energiesto protecting us against the "axis of evil" and weapons of massdestruction.

On the other hand, his administration is moving closer to the edge ofthe nuclear abyss.

The most recent Nuclear Posture Review called for developing a smallhydrogen bomb - an "advanced-concept nuclear weapon." To that end,initial studies are already in progress on something called the RobustNuclear Earth Penetrator that could reach deeply buried targets. Theadministration seems unconcerned about possibly becoming the first sinceHiroshima and Nagasaki to explode a nuclear weapon in anger.

But the most mystifying of all is the way the White House is skimping onprotection from nuclear danger. According to The New York Times, theEnergy Department complained that budget director Mitchell Daniels cut93 percent of the money that Secretary Spencer Abraham had wanted fornuclear security.

The $380 million request was part of a $27 billion emergency bill, andit covered such items as security for weapons storage and cleanup,security for nuclear science facilities, and a National Center forCombating Terrorism.

Administration officials are quoted as saying that nuclear security isat a high level and adequate to meet the nuclear threat. Well, maybe,but you would think that an administration spending billions for tanksthat the military doesn't want might put a little extra effort intonuclear protection.

Daniel Schorr is a senior news analyst at National Public Radio.
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F. Russian Nuclear Power Industry

Armenia Seeks Russian Help To Run Nuclear Power Plant
May 1, 2002
(for personal use only)

Armenian Energy Minister Armen Movsisyan said it is hard for his countryto finance its nuclear power plant.

Armenia is now negotiating with Russian specialists for joint operationof the station. One of the ways of doing this is timely supplies ofnuclear fuel for the station. This is one of the main provisions in thelong-term agreement on economic cooperation with Russia, the ministersaid on Wednesday [1 April]. Armenia owes Russia about 29m dollars fornuclear fuel supplies.

In September of last year, the then energy minister of Armenia [KarenGalustyan] said the nuclear power plant would be handed over to Russiafor trust management. At that time, Armenian President Robert Kocharyanruled out the transfer of the station into anyone's ownership.

"The nuclear power plant must be only the property of the Republic ofArmenia," he said, adding that only joint operation of the plant waspossible.

Commissioned in 1979, the atomic power station was stopped in 1989 aftera devastating earthquake. In 1996, it was restarted with the assistanceof Russian specialists who helped resume the operation of power unit No2. Today the station accounts for almost 40 per cent of Armenia's energyoutput.
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DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only.Views presented in any given article are those of the individual authoror source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for thetechnical accuracy of information contained in any article presented inNuclear News.

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