The United States is pressing its key partners to sign on to a new $20billion plan to speed up nuclear nonproliferation projects in Russia inthe wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and thereby prevent hostile groups fromobtaining weapons-grade material, diplomats said. But they said somemembers of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations fearedWashington might be moving too quickly with its "10 plus 10 over 10"plan, under which the United States would give $10 billion while therest of the G-7 would also come up with $10 billion over 10 years.Washington, which has already committed around $1 billion next yearunder existing programs to help Russia decommission the vast formerSoviet nuclear arsenal, is determined to prevent al Qaida and otherorganizations from taking advantage of leaky security at Russian nuclearsites, the diplomats said. "This is a very ambitious nonproliferationplan. I think Sept. 11 focused people's attention as to how great thedangers of nuclear proliferation are," one G-7 diplomat said.
Details of the plan have yet to be worked out but it is designed toboost efforts to help Moscow deal with the 30,000 nuclear weapons andthe highly enriched uranium and plutonium stocks it inherited when theSoviet Union broke apart. Last year, a bipartisan U.S. task force saidthe need to secure Russian nuclear weapons, materials and scientificknowledge was "the most urgent unmet national security threat to theUnited States."
U.S. officials first put forward Washington's new plan in mid-April andare determined that it should be formally announced at a summit ofleaders of the Group of Eight nations -- the G-7 plus Russia -- in theCanadian Rocky Mountain resort of Kananaskis in late June. The focus onnonproliferation intensified with the announcement by U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush that he planned to sign a treaty with Russia this weekunder which the two nations would cut their nuclear stockpiles.
Diplomats said G-7 nations were of three minds about the new U.S. plan-- Germany and Canada supported it fully; Britain and France liked theconcept but wanted more details; while Italy and Japan were lessenthusiastic, in part because of the cost but also because of widespreadcorruption in Russia. U.S. officials are now suggesting that instead ofhanding over billions of dollars to Russia, G-7 countries could forgivesome of their Soviet-era debt on the understanding that Moscow spent anequivalent sum on nonproliferation efforts.
President Vladimir Putin on Monday urged the government to draftproposals for the disposal of aging nuclear and chemical weaponsstockpiles inherited from the Soviet Union, The Associated Pressreported. He ordered the Cabinet to allocate money for the purpose whenit writes next year's budget. return to menu
2. Russia Has Loose Grip On Nuclear Stockpiles
David Filipov and Anne E. Kornblut
May 20, 2002
(for personal use only)
Maxim Shingarkin wanted to prove a point about the security of Russia'svast network of aging and depressed nuclear facilities.
So one day in February, Shingarkin, an antinuclear campaigner forGreenpeace Russia, led a Russian legislator and a camera crew pastunwitting guards, around fences, and into the heart of a supposedlyhigh-security restricted area in Siberia where 3,000 tons of highlyradioactive, spent nuclear fuel are stored. Filming the whole way,traveling on well-worn footpaths, the six men spent several hours in thefacility and left unnoticed.
"There were no alarms, no signals, no cameras," Shingarkin said of hisbreak-in at the Krasnoyarsk Mining and Chemical Plant. "The guardsdrove past us several times and we passed by their sentry boxes, but wepretended to be locals and nobody bothered us."
"A group of armed men could go in as we did, control the building andapproaches, and set off an explosion here," he said. "It would be like100 Chernobyls."
The decade-old US effort to stem the flow of Russian nuclear technologyto nations such as Iran that the United States says are trying todevelop atomic weapons is likely to top the agenda when President Bushand Russian President Vladimir V. Putin meet in Russia on Friday.
US spends $5 billion to secure facilities
Nuclear cooperation with Iran is one of many problems Russia faces incontaining proliferation. No one has a ready answer on what to do aboutthe questionable security of Russia's vast, aging nuclear industry,where even the most impregnable facilities are vulnerable to break-insand where sensitive materials are vulnerable to theft by poorly paid,disillusioned staff members.
Shingarkin, a former major in the Russian military department thatoversees the country's huge nuclear arsenal, said he also knew the wayinto the highly guarded weapons-grade plutonium production facility inthe closed city of Zheleznogorsk. There, with the help of US financing,the Russians have installed a state-of-the-art security system, but itapparently has not made the facility impregnable.
"People have gone in undetected through the ventilation shafts,"Shingarkin said.
The United States has spent approximately $5 billion since the end ofthe Cold War to help Russia safeguard its nuclear materials and weapons,developing vast programs at the Defense Department, the Department ofEnergy, and other US agencies that provide paying work for unemployedscientists and basic security materials, such as fences and alarms.
Known broadly as the "Nunn-Lugar" program, after the two US senatorswho launched it in 1991, the effort is credited with securing weaponsfacilities and deactivating some 6,000 warheads and nearly 400intercontinental ballistic missiles in Russia and former Soviet states,weapons that were once aimed at the United States.
Despite that $400 million-a-year US effort, the Nunn-Lugar programs andtheir subsidiaries have secured only a portion of the facilities inRussia, leaving numerous aging, underprotected facilities in danger ofattack or sabotage, nuclear specialists contend. Among the biggestsource of concern: loose nuclear materials unattached to weaponry andguarded by civilian scientists in remote locations with littlesupervision.
"You've got dozens of stockpiles all over the country, and peoplesafeguarding them who don't get paid for months, and scientists who knowhow to make weapons of mass destruction who can't feed their families,"said former US senator Sam Nunn, the Democrat from Georgia who chairedthe Senate Arms Services Comittee and teamed up with Senator Richard G.Lugar, Republican of Indiana, to create the US-Russia joint venture.
Nunn and Lugar, along with about a dozen members of Congress, areholding their own summit in Moscow this week, timed to coincide withBush's summit with Putin in part to remind legislators from bothcountries that the problem still exists.
"The question of theft or sale is the most likely threat," Nunn said."I think a country that turned over nuclear materials to a terroristgroup would be putting its own survival in jeopardy ... It's not nearlyas likely as an illicit sale or a theft of this material."
That differs from the view of the White House. In the months followingSept. 11, Bush identified nations trying to build weapons of massdestruction - namely the "axis of evil" countries of Iraq, Iran, andNorth Korea - as the most dangerous threats to the United States becausethey might simply deliver nuclear weapons into the hands of terrorists.
"We will not wait for the authors of mass murder to gain the weapons ofmass destruction," Bush said last November.
But even in the seemingly transformed post-Sept. 11 era, as the focus ofconcern has shifted to the Middle East and Central Asia andinternational terrorist cells, the more traditional nuclear threatpersists in a uniquely old-fashioned place: Russia and the rest of theformer Soviet Union.
According to Sergei Mitrokhin, the legislator who accompanied Shingarkinon the break-in at the nuclear storage site, there is no federalfinancing for safety measures at most of Russia's 96 nuclear plants andresearch centers.
US says only a third of stockpile secured
The situation is little better at nuclear facilities in the formerSoviet republics.
Authorities in Lithuania are still looking for 90 pounds of highlyenriched uranium - more than enough to make a nuclear bomb - stolen adecade ago from the Ignalina nuclear power plant.
No one has ever found 84 nuclear "suitcase bombs" that AlexanderLebed, the former Siberian governor who died last month in a helicoptercrash, pronounced missing when he briefly became national securityadviser in 1996 and ordered an inventory of Russia's nuclear stockpiles.Those stockpiles include all of the warheads from Russia's arsenal of30,000 tactical nuclear weapons, plus more than 1,000 tons of highlyenriched uranium and at least 150 tons of plutonium still remaining inhigh-security Russian facilities - enough to build some 60,000 nuclearweapons.
According to US government estimates, only about one-third of thatstockpile has been secured through Nunn-Lugar and related programs. Theremaining two-thirds is scheduled to be handled in the next decade,leaving what security analysts describe as an appalling hole in Russia'sprotection of nuclear material.
Nine months before the Sept. 11 attacks, a blue-ribbon congressionalpanel described the risk this way: "The most urgent, unmet nationalsecurity threat to the United States today is the danger that weapons ofmass destruction or weapons-usable material in Russia could be stolenand sold to terrorists or hostile nation-states and used againstAmerican troops abroad or citizens at home." The panel, headed byformer senator Howard Baker of Tennessee and former White House counselLloyd Cutler, concluded that the threat required a $30 billion programin Russia over the next 10 to 12 years - far more than the United Stateshas ever been willing to commit.
In fact, before Sept. 11, the Bush administration prepared to slash itsfunding for Nunn-Lugar by about $140 million, funding that was restoredin Congress and approved after the attacks. Bush, who promised duringthe campaign to fully fund Nunn-Lugar, has proposed a full budget forthe program next year.
At the same time, the Bush administration told the Kremlin this springthat it may be forced to curtail a number of aid programs that helpRussia keep control of its weapons of mass destruction and technologiesbecause it could no longer certify that Russia complies with treatiesbanning the spread of such weapons.
In particular, the administration was forced to notify Russia that itcould not grant certification because of Russia's refusal to share abioengineered strain of anthrax developed by its scientists and itsfailure to provide a complete history of decades of secret work onbiological and chemical weapons, a US official in Moscow said.
Russia has denied Western scientists access to four military-controlledbiological laboratories where such weapons were made. Russia maintainsit is not violating the biological or chemical warfare conventions ithas signed in the last decade.
The Bush administration has said it would ask Congress for a waiver ofthe certification requirement so that it could keep financing Nunn-Lugarprograms that seek to prevent the theft of Russian nuclear materials.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reports 18 cases of nucleartrafficking in the past decade involving small amounts of plutonium orenriched uranium, virtually all from the former Soviet Union, but eachtime the missing material was seized. In 1998, a group of workers in arestricted nuclear facility tried to swipe more than 40 pounds ofuranium suitable for building weapons.
At Stanford's Institute of International Studies, researchers havecompiled a database of nearly 700 incidents of international smugglinginvolving nuclear or radioactive material that could be turned into aso-called dirty bomb (which is expected to cause mass panic but causefewer deaths than a nuclear bomb). Among the cases: a 2-kilo supply ofhighly enriched uranium, about 4.4 pounds, that was stolen in the formerSoviet Republic of Georgia and never recovered. Scientists contend theymay be aware of only a fraction of the missing nuclear goods, given howporous Russia's borders are.
Plant faces thefts, addiction, recruitment
At the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant in Sosnovy Bor, 50 miles from the 4million people who live in St. Petersburg, Russia's northern capital,the potential for more security breaches is evident.
Not long ago a worker showed up with a gun just to see whether he couldmake it through the security check, according to Charles Digges, aresearcher for a Norwegian environmentalist group, Bellona Foundation.The man got inside.
Like all Russia's important nuclear sites, Sosnovy Bor is closed toeveryone but staff members. But after a recent spate of thefts ofmetals, tools, and computers, Anatoly Volkov, the head of the localpolice department, acknowledged that the security procedures could notprevent crime by employees.
Because the plant does not carry out alcohol or drug screening,employees can and do drink and use narcotics on the job. In 1998, twoemployees died of heroin overdoses, said Oleg Bodrov, a former physicistat the plant and chairman of the local environmental group Green World.
And Bodrov said specialists at the reactor realized that better moneywas to be made abroad. Ten specialists had already left for projects inChina, Iraq, and Iran.
This points to a problem that better fences and security guards cannotfix: the potential for scientists to sell their knowledge to the highestbidder.
Alexander Pikayev, a specialist on proliferation issues for the CarnegieMoscow Center, said the Taliban have tried to recruit scientists atnuclear research centers in Central Asia.
"A guy with 1960s-era knowledge of nuclear physics is interestingenough for the bomb the Taliban would want to make," he said. return to menu
1. Still Missing: A Nuclear Strategy
Sam Nunn, William Perry and Eugene Habiger
May 21, 2002
(for personal use only)
This week in Moscow, President Bush and President Vladimir Putin willsign a treaty reducing the number of U.S. and Russian long-range nuclearwarheads over a 10-year time period. Reducing the numbers of nuclearweapons is vitally important and this is a strong step forward, butthere is clearly more urgent work to be done.
President Bush knows this. Well before Sept. 11, he cited the threatsfrom nuclear material that cannot be accounted for, from rogue nations,nuclear theft and accidental launch. He talked of the need to "constrictthe supply of nuclear materials and the means to deliver them" and theneed to "cut off the demand for nuclear weapons by addressing thesecurity concerns of those who renounce these weapons." He said theUnited States "should remove as many weapons as possible fromhigh-alert, hair-trigger status."
At his previous summit with Putin, Bush said, "Our highest priority isto keep terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction."
The administration's challenge is to put forward a coherent strategy forfulfilling the president's goals. So far it has not.
The most likely, most immediate, most potentially devastating threatAmerica faces is the threat of nuclear terrorism. This puts us in a newnuclear arms race -- between terrorist efforts to acquire nuclearweapons and our efforts to stop them. Acquiring weapons materials is thehardest step for the terrorists to take, and the easiest step for us tostop. We and our allies should be taking every possible action to helpmake the tons of nuclear materials in Russia and elsewhere secure fromterrorist theft or purchase. But we're not. The budget for these effortsremains essentially flat -- even though, at the current rate, it willtake years to secure the remaining 60 percent of nuclear material inRussia that is not adequately protected. The administration needsimmediately to put forward new ideas, come up with new funding andrecruit new partners to secure the raw materials of nuclear terrorism inRussia and elsewhere.
On the question of nuclear weapons policy, some in the Bushadministration are considering and openly discussing steps that wouldtake us in the opposite direction from the path pointed out by PresidentBush, including expanding options for nuclear attacks, widening thenumber of targeted nations and developing new nuclear weapons variants.While each of these ideas may have a plausible military rationale, theircollective effect is to suggest that the nation with the world's mostpowerful conventional forces is actually increasing its reliance onnuclear forces. If other nations follow this example, they will increasetheir reliance on nuclear weapons and undercut the cooperation we musthave to defend the United States against nuclear terrorism. If ournation moves in this direction, we will increase our ability to dealwith unlikely threats -- and decrease our ability to deal with thelikely threats.
We addressed the Cold War's threats by confrontation with Moscow. Therecan be no realistic comprehensive plan to defend America against today'sthreats that does not depend on cooperation with Moscow. It appears thatboth President Bush and President Putin understand this, but theirchallenge is to get their own teams heading in this direction. Thisweek:
(1) Both Bush and Putin should pledge to ensure that nuclear, chemicaland biological materials and weapons in both countries are safe, secureand accounted for -- with reciprocal monitoring sufficient to assureeach other and the rest of the world that this is the case.
(2) The United States and Russia should launch a global coalitionagainst catastrophic terrorism by encouraging and assisting allcountries in adopting the same high standards to keep weapons of massdestruction and their essential ingredients secure from terrorists. NATOshould make this its top priority, and the new relationship with Russiacould be a big help.
(3) The two presidents should insist on an accurate accounting andadequate safeguards for tactical nuclear weapons, including a baselineinventory of these weapons and reciprocal monitoring. These are thenuclear weapons most attractive to terrorists -- even more valuable tothem than fissile material, and much more portable than strategicwarheads; yet they are not covered by present treaties or agreements.
(4) Both presidents should order their military leaders, in jointconsultation and collaboration, to devise operational changes in thealert status of their nuclear forces that would reduce toward zero therisk of accidental launch or miscalculation and increase the decisiontime before each president would be required to make the fatefuldecision to launch. They should begin with an operational stand down ofthe weapons on both sides that are now scheduled for reductions.
(5) Both presidents should pledge that the treaty they are signing willbe supplemented by additional agreements to ensure transparency,verifiability, irreversibility and stability. The goals of stability andirreversibility would be substantially advanced by agreeing to dismantlenuclear weapons from each nation's stockpile.
This summit gives President Bush and our nation the opportunity toadvance our top national security imperatives. We are not assured ofhaving this opportunity tomorrow. We must seize it today. There is muchat stake.
Sam Nunn is a former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.William Perry is a former secretary of defense. Gen. Eugene Habiger,USAF (Ret.), is former commander of U.S. strategic nuclear forces. return to menu
2. Senior Lawmaker Predicts Swift Ratification Of U.S.-Russian Arms Deal InRussian Parliament
May 21, 2002
(for personal use only)
Despite nationalists' grumbling that Russia caved in to the UnitedStates to strike a nuclear arms deal set to be signed during this week'spresidential summit, a senior lawmaker on Tuesday predicted itstrouble-free ratification by the Russian parliament.
Alexei Arbatov, a deputy head of the parliament's defense affairscommittee, said that the lower house dominated by pro-governmentmoderates will quickly rubber-stamp the deal. "There are no doubts thatany treaty signed by the president will be easily approved," Arbatovsaid at a news conference.
The accord which is to be signed by President George W. Bush and RussianPresident Vladimir Putin during their summit in Moscow this weekforesees cuts in each country's nuclear arsenals to 1,700 to 2,200warheads from the approximately 6,000 that each is now allowed.
The U.S. administration, initially reluctant to codify the nuclear armsreductions, has agreed to Moscow's push for a formal treaty but brushedoff Russian complaints about the Pentagon'splan to stockpile some of the decommissioned weapons rather than destroythem.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met with lawmakers Tuesday togather support for the government's policy toward the United States,describing the nuclear deal as the best compromise that Russia couldhope for.
"It was the most that we could get," Ivanov said. "The main achievementis that we have managed to preserve the negotiation process."
Ivanov also said that the new treaty would free Russia from constraintson its strategic nuclear forces contained in previous agreements, suchas the ban on the deployment of land-based missiles with multiplewarheads - the kind of weapons preferred by the Russian military forcost reasons.
Ivanov said that a declaration to be signed by the two presidents duringthe summit would reflect the "limited character" of the conceived U.S.missile defense and the U.S. pledge that it wouldn't threaten Russia.
Ivanov also sought to allay lawmakers' concerns about U.S. militarydeployment in Central Asia for the war in Afghanistan, saying thatMoscow would try to "determine the timeframe for their presence." "Thisissue can't leave us unconcerned," he said.
Russia's Communists and other hardliners have assailed the nuclear dealand Putin's support of the deployment of U.S. forces in the ex-Sovietrepublics as national treason. Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganovsaid Tuesday that the party leaders would meet this weekend to condemnthe treaty and prepare a motion of no-confidence in the government - asymbolic move given the Communists' weak presence in the lower house.
Arbatov insisted that Russia negotiated the best deal it could after theRussian military had announced plans to cut its nuclear forces becauseof a fund shortage even without any agreement with the United States.
"The program of reduction of Russia's strategic nuclear forces has cutthe ground from under the feet of our negotiators," Arbatov said. "Whenyou try to bargain without having anything to offer, it's hard to getany concessions from your partner."
He said that the United States' consent to formalize cuts in a treatywas a victory for Russia given the fact that the Pentagon could affordhaving as many warheads as it wanted, unlike the cashapped Russianmilitary. return to menu
3. Exchanging Strategic Gifts
May 21, 2002
(for personal use only)
With the Russian and American presidents expected to sign a wide-rangingSTART treaty later this week, the magazine regards this move asWashington's gift to Moscow, considering that political and militaryleaders in the United States have so far been reluctant to formalizestrategic offensive arms reductions in any legally binding form.Strictly speaking, Moscow does not need a legally binding documenteither but it has been insisting that such a document be signed so thatit could please numerous critics of its foreign policy in Russia itself.
It is a fact that the United States is capable of deploying more than10,000 warheads, to say nothing of the 6,000 it is allowed to have underthe terms of the START-1 Treaty. But if the new START treaty is signed,the Americans will have to unload nearly 4,000 warheads, which is muchmore than the number of warheads they would have had to remove fromtheir carriers if the U.S. Congress had ratified the START-2 Treaty.
Russia stands to benefit economically from the proposed treaty. Thetreaty will allow it to equip each Topol missile carrier with up to fourwarheads, which is much cheaper than building a ballistic missile foreach warhead. Besides, the new treaty will make it possible for thecomponents of the nuclear triad - the strategic missile force, the navyand strategic aviation - to distribute warheads among themselves as theysee fit. Even Topols alone would ensure Russia's national security inthe foreseeable future: at least 250 new Topols carrying about 1,000warheads will go into service in the next 25 years. This is quite enoughto contain any potential aggressor and at a much lower cost too.
Critics of the new START treaty and Russia's foreign ministry alikemaintained that the U.S. plan to deploy NMD with the aim of protectingU.S. territory from limited nuclear strikes posed a threat to Russia'snational security and upset strategic parity. However, Russian militaryexperts say 200-700 interceptor missiles would at best be able todestroy 10 to 70 warheads but certainly not the 500 or 1,000 warheadsthat Russia would be able to use in response. Now that the new agreementallows Russia to have some 2,000 warheads, the United States would haveto build 20,000 anti-missile missiles to deal with that number, but somany missiles are beyond the potential of even such an economicallypowerful country as the United States.
Critics of the new treaty see the fact that it does not provide for thedestruction of the warheads that will have to be removed from theircarriers as one of the most important drawbacks. But then if warheadsare destroyed, this does not mean that they could not be replaced. Evenif the United States agreed to destroy all the warheads removed fromtheir carriers, in an emergency American industries would have nodifficulty building as many or even more.
However, there is one reason why the warheads that are due to be removedfrom their carriers should better be destroyed. If this provision isreflected in the final version of the treaty, this will give moreguarantees against nuclear warheads ending up in the wrong hands. Suchmisgivings concern not only the Russian nuclear potential if what themedia in the West says about its safety is anything to go by. U.S.special services are seriously concerned about the possibility of aterrorist act at an American nuclear power plant. The prospect ofterrorists gaining access to nuclear weapons in the United States is notall that unreal either. After all, terrorists might use a charteredplane to drop a nuclear charge over a designated area.
A new relationship between Russia and NATO has emerged against thebackground of the latest agreements on strategic offensive armsreductions. Optimists regard the new format as writing an end to theCold War and as a new era in relations. Pessimists on both sides arguethat Russia's role in the new format is far less important than that ofNATO members: it is confined to the process of nuclear nonproliferationand the fight against terrorism. They say Russia cannot influence eitherthe bloc's military activity or the process of NATO eastward expansion.They feel Russia has been admitted to NATO's "dressing-room" to cushionthe negative effect of the November accession of Baltic republics andother former socialist countries to the Alliance.
But there is little point in creating a problem in this situation.First, any kind of cooperation is better than an overt standoff. Second,As soon as Latvia and Estonia become NATO members, they will have toabandon their territorial claims to Russia (this is one of the mainpreconditions for NATO membership).
Also, the format of twelve countries is a first step toward NATO'sevolution from a military bloc with a clearly identifiable adversary(Soviet Union-Russia) to an organization in support of global security,an organization capable of reacting to all kinds of threats, somethingMoscow has been campaigning for. Making preparations for a virtual worldwar is not the best way of spending funds. In real military conflictsthe United States has to rely on countries other than NATO allies, andthe operation against the Taliban in Afghanistan is a graphic example.Most of NATO's official members took no part in the operation. return to menu
4. Moving Beyond The Last Nuclear Treaty
The Russia Journal
May 20, 2002
(for personal use only)
As the Russian-U.S. summit draws nearer, Russian diplomats' statementsare becoming more dramatic. Now they're saying the two sides havemanaged to overcome significant differences, and the two presidents willsign a historic agreement.
What the foreign ministry people prefer not to mention is the part notto Moscow's liking, namely, that the American position has hardlychanged. The Pentagon is not talking about destroying strategic arms,but about removing them from their delivery vehicles and storing them.
This goes against all principles of previous strategic arms-limitationtreaties. The number of warheads was important to these treaties, butwasn't the most significant aspect. The number finally settled upon wasessentially a common denominator that enabled Moscow and Washington tomake cuts to various types of arms: nuclear submarines, strategicbombers and land-based ballistic missiles. Cutting back strategic armsmeant destroying their delivery systems. But now Washington intends tokeep most of the delivery systems, and will simply remove the warheads.
Right from the start, Moscow had no hope of getting its own way. A yearbefore George Bush entered the White House, President Vladimir Putinfound himself forced to cut the Russian nuclear arsenal to 1,500warheads. The Americans know full well that by the end of the decade,Russia will have to take its heavy missiles off duty and destroy themdue to age. And Russia doesn't have the money to build new missiles. In1997, former Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said that design work alonewould take eight years and cost 12 trillion rubles (around 50 billionrubles today, or $1.6 billion dollars) annually.
This meant that negotiations amounted to a choice for the Kremlin: Letthe Americans make unilateral arms cuts, or make the whole thing looklike the result of some kind of bilateral agreement.
In reality, the new agreement is less about security than about the factthat the United States still thinks it necessary to support Russia'ssuperpower status. But what is important is that Washington is making itvery clear that this treaty (or agreement, since it's still not clearwhetherthe U.S. administration will risk submitting it to the Senate) is thelast concerning nuclear weapons. The era when Moscow and Washingtonbased their relations exclusively on finding reasonable limits to mutualdeterrence is over.
Now that military rivalry no longer makes sense, the new mission is tofind areas of security where the countries benefit from cooperation.Even after the Soviet Union collapsed, relations were still based onensuring Russia did not pose a threat to the United States. The mostsuccessful cooperation program was the Nunn-Lugar Program, aimed atensuring the safety of Russia's nuclear arsenals. At the same time, theAmericans are doing all they can to prevent Russia transferring militarytechnology to Iran.
Instead of finding things with which to reproach each other, the twocountries should be looking at how they can cooperate. One area forpotential cooperation is Central Asia. The temporary U.S. bases in thisregion send a large section of the Russian establishment into hysterics.Retired General Leonid Ivashov said these American bases are encirclingRussia like the rings of an anaconda.
If Washington is serious about fighting terrorism in this region,however, it will need Russia's support. The impoverished Central Asianrepublics, with their instability and harsh ruling regimes, are abreeding ground for terrorism and extremism. To return stability andorder to these countries, the United States will have to help themrebuild their industrial infrastructure. But even if it provides themoney, the United States is unlikely to send a large number ofspecialists to this troubled region.
Only Russia can help by sending the needed people. But for this, bothsides would have to abandon their prejudices. Moscow would have to stopseeing the U.S. military presence as a threat, and Washington would haveto stop worrying that cooperation between Russia and the C.I.S.countries will lead to a rebirth of the Soviet empire.
Another strategic area where the two countries could cooperate isRussian oil supplies to the United States. Experts say this projectwould require a lot of work by both sides. But at the same time, theUnited States needs an alternative energy supply in the event of adrawn-out conflict in the Middle East.
The United States sees China as one of its main rivals in the comingcentury, and it has an interest in seeing Russia develop its Far East.But again, it would take political will in Washington to help Russia inthis.
Finally, Russia and the United States will have to do most of the workneeded to turn the new Council of 20 into an effective instrument forcooperation between Moscow and NATO.
After the events of Sept. 11, it's clear that both Moscow and Washingtonstand to benefit from cooperation. No matter how you look at it, Russiais the last, albeit relatively, stable and democratic zone close to thecountries that Washington includes in its "axis of evil." This makescooperation with Moscow vital for U.S. interests.
But Russia will have to adjust to playing a new role, that of juniorpartner rather than equal to the United States. This will be painful forRussian foreign policy elite, raised in an era of confrontation with theUnited States. But this new cooperation is the only possible wayforward. return to menu
5. Tactical Weapons Next Topic
May 20, 2002
(for personal use only)
U.S. President George W. Bush may raise the issue of Russia's stockpileof short-range nuclear weapons when he meets with President VladimirPutin this week in Moscow. The arms reduction treaty that the twopresidents will sign sharply cuts each nation's arsenal of long-rangewarheads over the next decade but does not address so-called tactical,or battlefield, weapons.
A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity,expressed concern about the size of the Russian stockpile. The UnitedStates intends to ask Russia for an accounting of these weapons and whatit intends to do about them, but is not interested in engaging in formalnegotiations, the official said.
Russia has not said how many of these weapons it has, but estimates haveranged from 4,000 to 15,000. The U.S. stockpile is classified, but anongovernmental expert assessment puts the figure at 1,600. Of those,320 are deployed in Europe while the remainder are in storage, theassessment said.
Putin and Bush are expected to discuss ways to further reduce theproliferation of nuclear weapons and materials during their meetings.The official said the treaty to be signed Friday slashing the number oflong-range strategic warheads is the last of its kind. The Bushadministration does not envision further negotiations or arms controltreaties with Russia, given the warming of relations, the official said.
U.S.-Russian relations have improved dramatically in the aftermath ofthe Sept. 11 terror attacks. But sharp economic disputes remain overU.S. duties on Russian steel and Russia's ban on imports of U.S.poultry. The official suggested the poultry dispute is making it hard togrant Russia's request that the United States lift the Jackson-Vanikamendment to a 1974 trade law that ties Moscow's trade privileges to itspolicies on Jewish emigration and other human rights. The administrationdoes not have any problem with Russia's recent record on emigration, butit does have concerns about its trade practices, the official said. return to menu
1. Russia May Be Boosting Iran's Nuclear Arms
Anne E. Kornblut and David Filipov
Boston Globe Staff
May 19, 2002
(for personal use only)
It began as a promising business venture. The Russian government woulduse its reservoir of unemployed nuclear scientists to help Iran build anuclear power plant, a sophisticated but harmless civilian complexnestled on the eastern banks of the Persian Gulf.
But as work on the Bushehr power plant has progressed, so have Iran'sefforts to obtain nuclear weapons technology, according to awell-connected Russian scientist and several former Russian officials.Contradicting the Kremlin's assertions, these sources say Russia'sAtomic Energy Ministry, known as Minatom - a rogue force with almost noindependent oversight - is providing a direct boost to Iran's nuclearweapons program, under the guise of the power plant. And US officialssay Iran is on the cusp of reaching this dangerous goal because of theRussian help.
"So what?" said the Russian scientist, who has traveled to Bushehrseveral times, and who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. "TheIranians will acquire these weapons. Pakistan has them. Israel has them.Other countries have them. So what if Iran has them?"
That attitude, and the problem it reflects, is of escalating concern forUS officials who have labeled the state of Iran a charter member of the"axis of evil." It is also driving a wedge in US Russian relations,which both sides might prefer to portray as rosy as Bush prepares tovisit Moscow this week.
Above all, the Iranian nuclear weapons program is an example ofinconsistencies that President Bush, perhaps, should resolve as heenters a phase of his war on terrorism in a complex post-Cold War world,a place made murkier by autonomous relics like Minatom.
The gray textures of the post-Cold War world, with its globalcorporations, international terrorist organizations, and autonomousrelics like Minatom, can frustrate a search for clarity.
Russian officials argue that the Bushehr power plant is an innocuous,and lucrative, effort to bring power to Iran, similar to the light-waterreactor the United States is building for North Korea.
In fact, under the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency,countries with nuclear knowledge are required to help nonnuclear statesto build power plants, and to safeguard the spent fuel to prevent itfrom being turned into weapons-grade material. Russia and Iran have bothpledged to adhere to the agency's rules, to keep Iran from becoming anuclear power.
But evidence abounds of far more extensive exchanges of nuclearinformation, according to CIA documents and interviews with dozens ofsenior Bush administration and Russian officials over the last twomonths.
Beyond the $840 million that Iran is paying, officially, for the Bushehrpower plant, Russian officials and scientists are engaged in clandestinetechnology transfers, money-laundering schemes and other transactionsthat have made a fortune for Russian officials, according to severalofficials interviewed by the Globe.
And that, the scientist said, made it too dangerous to discuss in greatdetail.
"This is a super-Mafia," the scientist said. "Anything else I mighttell you could result in conditions not conducive for life, for me, youand anyone else involved, if you know what I mean."
And yet for all his threats to isolate nations that support terror inany form, Bush is unlikely to downgrade US ties to Russia over Moscow'sties with Iran, which in turn has ties to Hezbollah, which Bushconsiders a terrorist group.
Administration officials are weighing sanctions against Russia, and Bushmay raise the issue at his summit meeting with the Russian president,Vladimir V. Putin, US officials said.
Such concerns have been raised in Congress. "Russia continues to supplysignificant assistance to many of Tehran's nuclear programs," saidSenator Richard C. Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate SelectCommittee on Intelligence.
Of Russia, Shelby said: "I've been there, I've talked with them aboutthese programs, and the president will be talking about this on thehighest level. They have told us before that they would cooperate withus against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
"But," Shelby added, "what they say and what they do are twodifferent things."
Iran, which has signed nonproliferation treaties, denies that it isseeking nuclear weapons technology.
"There is nothing about production of nuclear weapons in the agreementsigned between Russia and Iran on use of the atom for peaceful purposes,for generating electrical power," Gholam Reza Shafei, Iran's ambassadorto Moscow, said at a news conference in February.
Publicly, officials in Moscow insist that Russia has no interest inseeing Iran, a country they see as a regional rival but not an evilsupporter of terrorism that is armed with nuclear weapons.
But Minatom, the Russian atomic energy agency that is cash-hungry, haslittle regard for official Kremlin policy, and it seems to have nocompunctions about any role it might have, or have had, in helping Iranto become a nuclear military power.
A legacy of the Cold War, cloaked in secrecy, Minatom has ignorednumerous agreements between Russian and US officials about Iran, and itis continuing to do so, many argue funneling sensitive technologies toIran on the side, under the cover of the Bushehr plant.
"It is a serious issue," a senior US official said. "We take it veryseriously. Russia should think again about what it's doing."
The matter has been a source of disagreement between the United Statesand Russia for almost a decade, and it had been a focus of almost everysummit meeting that President Clinton held with his Russiancounterparts.
But over the past year and a half, a new dynamic has emerged: Despitehis close relationship with Bush, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin isloath to be seen as bowing to US demands, especially by cracking down onan alliance with Iran that provides jobs for Russian scientists.
Conceived under Stalin as the complex of laboratories and secret"closed cities" where nuclear weapons were designed, built andmass-produced, Minatom is the epitome of Cold War-style secrecy.
Nominally under control of the Russian government, Minatom does not, infact, report to anyone on how it spends hundreds of millions of dollars,given the tight veil of confidentiality drawn over its operations. Thereare no independent regulatory agencies to monitor Minatom's activity,other than non-governmental organizations whose effect on Kremlin policyis limited.
The current head of Minatom, Alexander Rumyantsev, insisted during atrip to Washington earlier this month that the light water nuclearreactor under construction in Iran cannot be used to develop materialfor weapons and does not pose a proliferation threat. Instead, he said,the project provides jobs in Iran for over 1,000 Russian specialists, aswell as machine building firms in Russia, providing a much-needed boostto a sector that has suffered drastically since the end of the Cold War.Minatom is unable to sell its goods to western markets that remainclosed to it, and nuclear scientists, no longer employed by the Sovietgovernment, live in remote, impoverished communities, sometimes notreceiving a paycheck for months, their desolation a source of constantworry for non-proliferation specialists.
Bushehr, Rumyantsev told reporters in Washington, "is not a source ofproliferation of nuclear material." A Minatom spokesman in Moscow saidthe ministry needed 45 days to answer any further questions. The Bushehrplant is still under construction, and scheduled to be completed byearly 2005.
Iran, which has signed non-proliferation treaties, denies it is seekingnuclear weapons technology.
"There is nothing about production of nuclear weapons in the agreementsigned between Russia and Iran on use of the atom for peaceful purposes,for generating electrical power," Gholam Reza Shafei, Iran's ambassadorto Moscow, said at a news conference in February.
But "Bushehr is just the tip of the iceberg," a senior US official inMoscow said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We are quiteconvinced that dangerous tech transfers are still taking place. Theremay be some willful criminality in the Atomic Energy Ministry, and someagencies that are getting away with exports on their own."
"I have no doubt that the building of an Atomic reactor in Bushehr is acover-up for Iran's plans to build an atomic bomb," said AlexeiYablokov, a former senior adviser to President Boris Yeltsin onenvironmental issues, now the head of the Center for RussianEnvironmental Policy, a non-profit group. "It is madness to build themreactors."
He said that the spent nuclear fuel generated by any type of nuclearreactor contains enough uranium and plutonium for the creation ofnuclear explosive devices at low cost.
"In three months, 30 people with a college education could do it,"Yablokov said. "There is no distinction between civilian and militarynuclear programs; that is why handing nuclear technology to suchunstable countries as Iran is a suicidal step."
According to Yablokov, in 1995 Minatom contracted to build twofacilities that would allow the production of enriched uranium andplutonium needed to produce a nuclear weapon. Yeltsin halted this deal,but Yablokov said Iran's efforts to lean how to build a bomb have sincebeen augmented by student exchanges and the transfer of knowledge fromRussian specialists working in Iran.
A CIA report last year said Iran is aggressively pursuing nuclearfuel-cycle capabilities, which "can also support fissile materialproduction for a weapons program." US officials also charge that Russiais helping Iran build long-range missiles that could reach Europe andbeyond.
And Maxim Shingarkin, a former officer in the Russian military'ssecretive 12th Department, which is in charge of strategic weapons, saidthat with the right knowledge, the reactor in Bushehr could produceweapons-grade plutonium. By replacing the control rods in the nuclearfuel assembly with rods filled with uranium 238 and bombarding the rodswith neutrons, he said, the Iranians could produce enough plutonium,over time, to make several bombs. As a longtime purchaser of Russianconventional weaponry, Iran could obtain the uranium 238 from thedepleted uranium shells of artillery ordnance.
The Russian government does listen to US concerns about proliferation.After the US slapped sanctions on seven Russian firms it accused ofpeddling sensitive technologies or materials to Iran in 1998, Russiapassed tough legislation putting in place strict controls on the exportof sensitive technologies.
But in Iran's closed system, it is difficult for outside intelligence todistinguish civilian technologies from equipment that could be used todevelop nuclear weapons. For example, the US wanted to introducesanctions against TsAGI, a major Russian aeronautics firm, for a windtunnel supplied to Iran. But it was impossible for the US to tellwhether the tunnel was of the type needed to test nuclear bombs.
"From the early 1990s, our concern was that this large project wouldserve as a cover for more sensitive technical interactions betweenRussians and Iranians," said Robert Einhorn, the Assistant Secretary ofthe Bureau for Non-proliferation at the State Department in the Clintonadministration. Now, he said, "the concerns we had have materialized."
That presents a major set-back for weapons control programs, and a majorproblem for the Bush administration, partly of its own making: Bushdistanced himself from Russia at the start of his term, and then, afterfirst meeting Putin in Slovenia last summer, chose to focus on missiledefense and the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. According to oneformer Defense Department official, Bush raised the matter of Iran withPutin during one of their four meetings since last year, but it hasnever been a focus of US discussions in public.
Since January, however, when Bush first cited Iran as part of the "axisof evil" in his State of the Union address, the administration hasrenewed its focus on the Islamic state and its efforts to obtain nuclearweapons. Under pressure to prove its innocence, Minatom head Rumyantsevtraveled to Washington earlier this month to meet with US EnergySecretary Spencer Abraham and assure his US counterpart that Russiansare not slipping sensitive material to Iran. After one meeting withAbraham, Rumyantsev admitted it was still a "sensitive topic."
According to several former and current US and Russian officials,Minatom is still a central part of the problem - aware of technologytransfers and making a large profit from its illegitimate work,sometimes at the expense of the larger Russian budget.
In January, Russia's Accounting Chamber issued a report detailing how$270 million in US aid intended to help clean up and build safe storagefor the country's radioactive waste had disappeared. Tens of millions ofdollars had also been diverted to "research projects" that, because oftheir secret nature, remained a mystery.
The Accounting Chamber could not explain where this money goes, butShingarkin said it disappears in various book-cooking and moneylaundering schemes. Some of the lost funds actually go to researchinstitutes, which hastily rewrite old research reports and present themas work recently done.
He said that the Iran project is no different. Minatom, Shingarkinclaimed, had paid four times the going rate when it purchasedventilation systems from a Czech company for the Bushehr reactor.Shingarkin and the Russian scientist said officials had pocketed thedifference. They did not know the actual amounts involved, only that itinvolved "many millions" of dollars, as Shingarkin put it. A Minatomspokesman said the ministry needed 45 days to answer any questions.
"Sixty percent of the money is returned to Minatom officials in cash,which they pocket," said Shingarkin, who now works for the Moscowoffice of Greenpeace. "I know, because in the past I have carried it." return to menu
D. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Putin For Disposal Of Old Weapons Stockpile
May 20, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin urged the government Monday to draftproposals for the disposal of aging weapons stockpiles inherited fromthe Soviet Union.
"We must think about financing the destruction of excessive stockpilesof aging weapons which have become a liability and, sometimes, anenvironmental hazard," Putin said at a meeting with Cabinet officials inthe Kremlin. He ordered the Cabinet to allocate money for the purposewhen it writes next year's budget.
In particular, Putin mentioned the need to deal with the country'schemical weapons arsenal, which it has committed to destroy. His briefremarks carried by the ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies did notcontain any specifics.
Russia has some 40,000 metric tons (44,000 tons) of chemical weapons -the world's largest arsenal. Moscow pledged to destroy them within adecade when it ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. Butofficials have complained that Russia cannot afford the estimated dlrs 7billion program, despite pledges of aid from the United States, Europeand Canada.
Last year, the government approved a new, cheaper program that wouldallow Russia to destroy its arsenal by 2012 without having to seekinternational funding beyond what has already been pledged. The newprogram cuts the originally planned seven destruction sites to three,and halves the estimated cost to about dlrs 3.5 billion. return to menu
2. Russian Nuke Defences Maintained
May 19, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia would maintain the three ground, air and sea components of itsnuclear arsenal despite planned arms cuts under a new agreement withWashington, a top military official said overnight.
"The nuclear triad will be maintained with the parameters thatcorrespond to the national interests of the country," first deputy chiefof staff Colonel General Yuri Baluyevsky said, according toInterfax-Military News Agency.
Baluyevsky said US-Russian negotiators would continue to settle detailsof implementing the treaty after it was signed at a summit next week inRussia between President Vladimir Putin and US President George W. Bush.
"We are bound to move together with the United States regardless ofdisagreements that we have had, have and will have," Baluyevsky said.
He said the final text of the agreement had nearly been finalised andwas a "result of compromise that suits both parties".
Under the agreement, Washington and Moscow will reduce their number oflong-range strategic warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 by the end of2012, down from the about 6,000 each country has now. return to menu
3. Russia Hones Its Nuclear Skills
May 19, 2002
(for personal use only)
It was the sort of encounter that packed the pages of Cold War thrillersback when the arms race was hot.
Flying east late last month, two giant Russian bombers designed to carryup to 16 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles were only 60 kilometres off theAlaska coast before American F-15 jets intercepted them.
The Bear H bombers stayed on course into U.S. airspace just long enoughto make the American pilots sweat a little, then circled back to base.
The exercise was enough to remind Washington that although the Kremlin'ssuperpower pretensions crumbled with the collapse of the Soviet empirein 1991, Russia remains a nuclear colossus.
Over the last few months, Russia has sent a series of such signals,designed to deliver the message that, despite the treaty presidentsGeorge W. Bush and Vladimir Putin plan to sign here this week pledgingdeep cuts in U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, Russia is firmlycommitted to maintaining its status as a nuclear front-runner.
According to many observers, Putin has made refurbishing andstrengthening Russian nuclear forces a top priority.
Shortly after he was elected in 2000, he issued a national securityblueprint emphasizing Russia's need for "nuclear forces that are capableof guaranteeing the infliction of the desired extent of damage againstany aggressor state or coalition of states in any conditions andcircumstances."
According to Gen. Vasily Lata, who works at Russia's nuclear missileacademy, Putin has worked hard to honour that commitment.
"We'll win not with numbers but with skills," Lata says about plans tocut the number of warheads.
"Russia is not involved in disarmament. We're just reducing the numbersof warheads to a reasonable level. In the meantime, we're developing newnuclear weapons and modernizing the ones we have.
"Over the last few years, improving our land-based nuclear weapons hasbeen emphasized. In many ways, our systems are superior to the Americanones and can easily beat American missile-defence plans."
In the late 1990s, Russia launched a program to build up to 50 more ofits most advanced nuclear-capable missiles a year. On Feb. 6, the deputychief of Russia's general staff, Gen. Yuriy Baluyevskiy, announced thathis country's intercontinental ballistic missile force had beensuccessfully modernized during the 1990s and will remain "entirelysatisfactory" for the rest of this decade.
Baluyevskiy said the modernization of naval nuclear forces is now thecountry's top military priority.
This announcement had been expected since March, 2001, when the Russiangovernment put in an order for 40 sea-launched ballistic missiles, thefirst major order since 1992.
Russia is currently building two new ballistic missile submarines,having just refurbished a third.
Only weeks after the announcement about the naval nuclear build-up,Russian aircraft-industry officials announced plans to modernize all 15of their Tupolev-160 bombers, the backbone of the air force'snuclear-attack wing.
Along with the modernization of Russia's land, sea and airbornenuclear-delivery forces, research continues at 10 ultra-secret nuclearcities, where an estimated 75,000 specialists work on new nuclearweaponry.
According to a 2001 study of the secret nuclear and missile complex byRussian demographer Valentin Tikhonov, key weapons-research programshave survived Russia's economic collapse and competition for researchjobs in these centres is now growing.
Ivan Safranchuk, of the Centre for Defence Information in Moscow, saysRussian nuclear researchers intend to match U.S. plans for nuclearweapons that can be used in battlefield situations.
"They want to develop a less destructive nuclear weapon with limitedradiation effects," Safranchuk says about Russia's research aims.
Although Russian nuclear-weapons testing is forbidden by internationaltreaty, money has been invested in a sophisticated program to allowweapons designers to match U.S. programs that test weaponry innovationsin virtual settings using computer simulations.
Says Lata: "Russia has similar test methods and models to the U.S. Wesupport the idea of testing nuclear weapons virtually, maybe even morethan the U.S. We're creating new weapons that way."
Last week, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Joint Atomic EnergyIntelligence Committee says it has evidence Russia is preparing toresume live nucleartests.
Although the Russian government vigorously denied this claim, it hasadmitted conducting a series of so-called "subcritical" nuclearexperiments in 1999, which it says are not banned.
And while Bush has praised Putin's commitment to cut its nucleararsenal, numerous senior U.S. experts and officials have been expressingconcern about Russia's nuclear-weapons program.
According to Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the Los AlamosNational Lab, where U.S. nuclear weapons are designed, Russia has amajor nuclear edge over the U.S. because the Russians "are able toproduce and assemble nuclear-weapon materials and components atcapacities many times that of the United States."
The U.S. currently is not assembling any new nuclear weapons.
Testifying before the U.S. Senate on March 19, Thomas Wilson, directorof the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, said Russia will continue torely on nuclear weapons and is building new missiles while upgradingothers "to compensate for its diminished conventional militarycapability."
That same day, CIA director George Tenet warned the Senate that "Moscowis likely to pursue a variety of countermeasures and new weapons systemsto defeat a deployed U.S. missile defence."
The worries in Washington about Russia's nuclear ambitions appear tohave triggered a response all too familiar to readers of Cold War factand fiction.
A few a few days before Wilson and Tenet gave their warnings, U.S.Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham appeared before the Senate's ArmedServices Committee to answer questions about Russia's program to buildnew weapons.
He told the senators that the U.S. has decided to begin buildingwarheads again by 2007. return to menu
E. Nuclear Terrorism
1. A Risk Of Loose Nukes
May 27, 2002
(for personal use only)
The whole point of the new arms-reduction pact between the U.S. andRussia is to make the world a safer place. But some experts argue thatthe agreement will do just the opposite. After all, stripping thousandsof Russian nuclear weapons from well-guarded missiles, bombers andsubmarines and squirreling them away in less secure storage sites willmake them tempting targets for ambitious terrorists.
While President Bush argues that terrorism, not Russia, is the gravestthreat to U.S. security, it was his Administration that thwartedRussia's desire for both sides to destroy the nuclear warheads that areto be taken off alert under the new accord. As long as the U.S. insistson keeping some of those weapons intact to face future threats, Russiais likely to follow suit. That means even more nuclear weapons - retiredbut still potent - will be crammed into the more than 300 buildings inRussia now holding the Holy Grail of terrorists: atomic warheads or thefissile material critical to building them. "Our greatest danger nowisn't that Russia is going to attack the U.S. with nuclear missiles,"says Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear expert with the Carnegie Endowment forInternational Peace. "It's that some group is going to get its hands onthe growing number of nuclear warheads stored in less-than-secureconditions in Russia."
Dismantling the weapons isn't necessarily safer, argues Bruce Blair,president of the Center for Defense Information and an expert onMoscow's nuclear policy. He says the Russian military, which presumablywill continue watching over stored warheads, provides better securitythan the civilian agency that oversees warhead disassembly. Of course,better doesn't mean good. In a little-noticed report sent to Congress inFebruary, the National Intelligence Council, an umbrella panelrepresenting U.S. spy agencies, detailed the threat posed by storedRussian nuclear weapons. Poverty is rampant among Russiannuclear-weapons guards, it noted. Many are homeless, and some haveconducted hunger strikes because they have not been paid. Guardssometimes abandon their posts, and at one location an alarm system worksonly half the time. Russia's nuclear security, the report concluded,"may not be sufficient to meet today's challenge of a knowledgeableinsider collaborating with a criminal or terrorist group." The BushAdministration's response? Conditions can only get better, officialssay, as the U.S. continues to invest $1 billion annually in improvingRussia's nuclear warehouses. return to menu
2. Bush And Putin Must Confront Nuclear Terror
Graham Allison And Andrei Kokoshin
Los Angeles Times
May 20, 2002
(for personal use only)
The centerpiece of this week's Moscow summit will be the signing of atreaty cutting the number of deployed strategic warheads by two-thirdsover the next decade. But as both President Bush and Russian PresidentVladimir V. Putin have acknowledged, the agreement looks more to theCold War than to future dangers. Especially in the aftermath of Sept.11, their priority at this summit should be to act now to preventnuclear terrorism.
If the United States or Russia finds itself the victim of a nuclearattack next week or next year, the perpetrator will almost certainly bea terrorist group. Rogue states such as Iraq have serious nuclearambitions, but Saddam Hussein knows that attacking the U.S. would meannational suicide. The most urgent, direct nuclear threat is that AlQaeda or the Chechens might steal nuclear weapons or materials fromwhich a weapon can be constructed.
The good news about nuclear terrorism can be summarized in one line: Nohighly enriched uranium or plutonium means no nuclear explosion.Although the world's stockpiles of nuclear weapons and weapons-usablenuclear materials are vast, they are finite. The prerequisites formanufacturing fissile material are many and require the resources of amodern state. Technologies for locking up super-dangerous material arealso well-tested.
But we must still have a strategy to prevent nuclear terrorism. A decadeof Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat-reduction programs has accomplishedmuch in safeguarding nuclear materials. Unfortunately, bureaucraticinertia, bolstered by mistrust and misperception on both sides, leavesthese joint programs bogged down on a timetable that extends into thenext decade.
At the summit, the two presidents can seize the moment to make nuclearsecurity a presidential priority by forming a new alliance againstnuclear terrorism. Each should pledge that he will direct his governmentto do everything possible to minimize the risk of theft of nuclearweapons and hold his subordinates accountable. Understanding that eachcountry bears responsibility for the security of its nuclear materials,each should offer any assistance required to make this happen andprovide the other sufficient transparency to monitor performance.
To put this on the fastest possible timetable, both governments shouldname specific individuals, reporting directly to their president, toco-chair a group to develop an American-Russian strategy and report backwithin one month. Although this is a big demand, consider what thepresidents would demand if a weapon were stolen.
The nuclear superpowers should establish a new "international securitystandard" based on Putin's proposal at the U.N. Millennium Summit in2000 for new technologies that can produce electricity with low-enrichednuclear fuel from which it is impossible to make a nuclear weapon.
The next phase of this effort would make the alliance global, ensuringthat weapons and materials in all nuclear-weapons states meet this newsecurity standard.
Right now, the critical nation is Pakistan, from which Osama bin Ladenand Al Qaeda have sought nuclear weapons know-how and material.
A dozen countries--such as Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro) and Ghana-holdsmall caches of potential nuclear weapons in settings that aredangerously vulnerable to theft. They should be approached immediatelywith a demand that the material be removed or secured, conveyed as anoffer they cannot refuse.
Finally, the U.S. and Russia should construct an aggressive,multilayered program to prevent further proliferation of nuclear arms,beginning with Iran and Iraq. Adopting lessons learned in U.S.-Russiacooperation in the campaign against Bin Laden and the Taliban, the neweffort should be heavy on intelligence sharing, preemption, disruptionand active controls on the sale of materials and know-how to nuclearwannabes.
After Sept. 11, failure to confront the specter of nuclear terrorisminvites catastrophe. Preventing nuclear terrorism is a finite challengethat is susceptible to a finite solution if the presidents determine tojust do it.
Graham Allison is director of the Belfer Center for Science andInternational Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School. Andrei Kokoshin isdirector of the Institute for International Security Studies. return to menu
F. Spent Nuclear Fuel
1. Appeals Board Of Supreme Court Upholds Decision Blocking Import OfNuclear Waste From Hungary For Storage In Russia
May 21, 2002
(for personal use only)
The appeals board of Russia's Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an earlierdecision blocking the import of nuclear waste from Hungary for storagein Russia.
In February, the Supreme Court handed a major victory toenvironmentalists when it struck down a government decision that wouldhave allowed waste from the Paks nuclear power plant to be permanentlystored in Russia.
The environmentalists argued that under a 1992 law, Russia may importspent fuel rods from Ukraine, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary forreprocessing, but it must return the waste to the countries of originfor permanent storage. In 1998, the government proposed acceptingnuclear waste from the Paks plant for storage in the Urals mountains ina bid to earn much needed cash.
Greenpeace, the For Nuclear Safety environmental movement and citizensof the Chelyabinsk region in the Urals sued the government, accusing itof selling Russia's territory for nuclear waste storage and ignoringenvironmental and health dangers.
Last year, President Vladimir Putin signed a law that is expected towiden the practice of importing waste. It allows for the import of spentnuclear fuel from countries besides Ukraine, Bulgaria, Slovakia andHungary for reprocessing and storage. return to menu
1. On Nuclear Suppliers Group Plenary Meeting
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
May 21, 2002
A plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) took place inPrague on May 13-18. The chief objective of the Group, which is made upof 40 member countries, including Russia, is to prevent theproliferation of nuclear weapons by way of control over the export ofnuclear and nuclear-related materials and technologies.
The delegation of Kazakhstan participated in the meeting's work for thefirst time as a full fledged member.
Understanding has been reached that the NSG will continue efforts withrespect to the prevention of nuclear terrorism and make its contributionto the search of ways to combat it. In this context it was deemednecessary to raise the effectiveness of export controls, to ensurecloser cooperation between law enforcement agencies and to intensifysupport for the measures taken by the IAEA to counter terrorism.
It has been noted that the activities of the NSG should not hamperinternational cooperation in the field of peaceful utilization of atomicenergy. The Group reaffirmed the importance of demanding comprehensiveIAEA safeguards as the condition of supply, enhancing the physicalprotection of nuclear materials and nuclear facilities and preventingthe illicit trade in nuclear materials.
The Group has instructed its Chairman to continue the dialogue withnuclear-advanced non member countries that are potential nuclearsuppliers (China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico andPakistan) and to extend it to Israel with a view to strengthening theinternational nonproliferation regime.
To impart greater transparency to the activities of the Group an NSGInternet page was opened on May 13.
The Russian side regards the NSG as an important component element ofthe nonproliferation regime. Russia's delegation took an active part inthe work of the plenary meeting. Moscow positively assesses its results.We are open for further constructive cooperation with other stateswithin the NSC in order to realize the tasks facing this export-controlmechanism. return to menu
H. Links of Interest
1. Briefing Book On The Bush-Putin Summit And The U.S. Nuclear Posture Review
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