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Nuclear News - 05/28/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, May 28, 2002
Compiled by David Smigielski



A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Nunn And Lugar Look To Safeguard Weapons, Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press, May 28, 2002
    2. Priorities Completely Off Kilter, Matt Bivens, Moscow Times, May 27, 2002
B. Spent Nuclear Fuel
    1. $360M Facility For Spent Fuel, Moscow Times, May 27, 2002
C. Russia-U.S.
    1. Beyond The Moscow Treaty, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Washington Post, May 28, 2002
    2. Still Some Way To Go, Lilia Shevtsova, Moscow Times, May 28, 2002
    3. Friendship With Moscow For Ten Years To Come, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 27, 2002
D. Russia-Iran
    1. Iran Will Allow Inspections Of Nuclear Plant, Reuters, May 27, 2002
E. Nuclear Test Ban
    1. Russia Urges India, Pakistan To Sign Nuke Test Ban Treaty, Associated Press, May 28, 2002
F. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. Cold War Legacy Slows Terror Fight, David Filipov, Boston Globe Staff, May 28, 2002
    2. Nuclear Nightmares, Bill Keller, New York Times, May 26, 2002
    3. Heading Off Nuclear Terrorism, New York Times, May 25, 2002
    4. Russian Nuke Dangers Studied, Nicholas M. Horrock, United Press International, May 25, 2002
G. Nuclear Safety
    1. Nuclear Ministry Warns Against Attempts By Environmentalists To Enter Guarded Nuclear Facilities, Interfax, May 25, 2002
H. Links of Interest
    1. Briefing On Bush Europe Visit: U.S., Russia Discussing Inspectors For Iran, U.S. Department of State, May 26, 2002

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Nunn And Lugar Look To Safeguard Weapons
Vladimir Isachenkov
Associated Press
May 28, 2002
(for personal use only)


Worried about the apocalyptic prospect of international terroristsobtaining nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, U.S. and Russianofficials and analysts met Monday to help draft possible new safeguards.Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar, a U.S. senator fromIndiana -- who together launched the decade-old U.S. effort to helpcontain the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the former SovietUnion -- described the threat of "catastrophic terrorism" as possiblythe gravest challenge to global security.

"We are in a new arms race," Nunn said at a conference organized by theNuclear Threat Initiative foundation he co-chairs with CNN founder TedTurner. "Terrorists and certain states are racing to acquire weapons ofmass destruction, and we ought to be racing together to stop them."

The Nunn-Lugar program has helped Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus becomenuclear-free nations and provided assistance to Russia in costly effortsto dismantle its nuclear weapons, secure nuclear and chemical stockpilesand find civilian jobs for former weapons scientists.

Lugar noted that much remained undone: Only 40 percent of nuclearstorage sites in Russia have received U.S. assistance to upgradesecurity, and only 20 percent had received complete security systems.

Despite the program's success, Lugar said it faced some opposition inthe U.S. Congress because of Russia's failure to provide fullinformation about its activities in the chemical and biological weaponsarea -- including Moscow's refusal to allow monitors into fourbiological laboratories run by the Defense Ministry. "Continued[Russian] transfers of weapon technology to Iran are also disturbing andweaken support for an expanded and improved relationship," Lugar said.

The joint threat reduction program was launched in December 1991 and hasbeen promoted through more than two dozen projects. About $8.5 billionhas been earmarked for the program through 2003. Lugar proposed that theprogram be extended to further upgrade security at nuclear storagefacilities, help reduce the threats from tactical nuclear weapons,dismantle more nuclear-powered submarines and address other issues.

Alexei Arbatov, a deputy chief of the State Duma's defense affairscommittee, warned that the international community may face new toughdilemmas such as dealing with national liberation movements linked withterrorists. "If such a movement is spotted to have links withinternational terrorists, it must be destroyed by combined globalefforts," he said.
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2.
Priorities Completely Off Kilter
Matt Bivens
Moscow Times
May 27, 2002
(for personal use only)


There are crates in Russia full of fences, surveillance cameras, motionsensors and other security tools, all purchased by the U.S. governmentas a gift to the Russian people -- and lying unused. These supplies,provided under the Nunn-Lugar Act, were meant for security improvementsat nuclear facilities; instead they sit unopened, gathering dust. Why?The Russians say they can't afford to install the equipment. ThePentagon says it would be happy to help, but that this must be done bythe book; Federal Acquisitions Regulations prevent the U.S. governmentfrom paying for work it can't inspect. The Russians counter they can'thave the Pentagon snooping around "inspecting." So, stalemate.

The existence of the unopened crates was confirmed by current and formerNunn-Lugar officials, though no one would share much detail. Andunopened crates are an exception: Nunn-Lugar has upgraded securityaround a third of Russia's weapons-grade uranium and plutonium; it hasdismantled or destroyed more than 5,000 Soviet warheads, along withhundreds of ballistic missiles, bombers, submarines and silos. Butmindless bureaucratic roadblocks are also part of Nunn-Lugar and oddlythere's no sign they are being swept away by the winds of Sept. 11.

This spring, for example, as preparations loomed for the Moscow summit,the Pentagon quietly "unplugged" its Nunn-Lugar work -- because it wantsmore information about Russia's chemical and biological weaponsprograms. As Assistant Defense Secretary J.D. Crouch II testified beforethe Senate in March, one of the "emerging opportunities" for Nunn-Lugarwork is that it "can be leveraged to increase transparency." In otherwords: We can take our ball and go home if the Russians don't like ourrules. (Never mind that doing so hobbles the Bush-Putin arms controldeal -- Nunn-Lugar money has dismantled Russian weapons reduced underall recent agreements, and now it can't. So, the Kremlin will storenukes it would prefer to destroy.)

It's not enough to be able to cut up Russian nukes for pennies and toprotect America from the clear and present danger of, say, unsecuredplutonium? No, the Pentagon says, we need to something extra.

Consider a facility in the Ural Mountains town of Shchuchye to destroythousands of tons of sarin, the gas used in Aum Shinri Kyo's 1995assault on the Tokyo subway. (Many trace Aum's sarin to Soviet stocks.)Congress has allocated the money to build Shchuchye, but the Pentagonwon't spend it. According to Jon Wolfstahl, a former Energy Departmentofficial, the Pentagon is using Shchuchye to "leverage transparency" bydemanding 24-hour access to any facility of any kind anywhere in Russia(!) to look for chemical weapons -- including, presumably, in Putin'ssock drawer. With demands so extreme, it's hard to see how the Pentagonkeeps a straight face.

All this monkeying around seems unforgivable in a post-Sept. 11 world.Where are the presidents of Russia and the United States? Why aren'tthey demanding harsh new security for bomb-grade uranium, pushing thedestruction of sarin stocks, and opening those crates?

Laura Holgate, a former head of the Pentagon's Nunn-Lugar programs, sayscrate-opening compromises have been debated -- such as having someonehold a day's newspaper up next to a newly installed fence and take aPolaroid -- but to little result. "FAR rules were never designed togovern assistance to disarm a former enemy. Yet there's no authority toignore them," says Holgate, who is now with the Nuclear ThreatInitiative, a private group set up by Ted Turner and run by formerSenator Sam Nunn. The NTI will spend 250 million of Turner's dollars onnonproliferation work in Russia.

But, the Pentagon warns, they'd better be careful -- we don't want themsubsidizing the Rooskies! As Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary MarshallBillingslea -- a former staffer for Senator Jesse Helms and avowedskeptic of the Nunn-Lugar work -- told Congress, the NTI represents,among other things, a "challenge for the U.S. government." Yes, they canhelp, but they best not "wind up inadvertently subsidizing weaponsprograms."

Are we really resurrecting this long-dead "subsidy" argument? Let's beclear: gazillion-dollar cash drops to the Kremlin from the IMF? Yes,that subsidizes all sorts of marginal behavior, including war inChechnya. But paying contractors to perform concrete jobs, like puttingup fences and cutting up ICBMs -- jobs the Russians have shrugged at andneglected for years? That's merely buying our own priorities. It freesup no new money for "weapons programs" because the Russians aren'tspending any on this to begin with. (Intriguingly, candidate-forpresident Bush got this right: He slammed IMF loans as subsidizingcorruption, but praised the well-audited Nunn-Lugar work.)

Nunn-Lugar spending comes to about $1.3 billion annually -- or, asSenator Richard Lugar noted in a March speech, less than three-tenths ofa percent of the Pentagon's annual budget. Compare that to, say, theestimated $21.2 billion over 10 years in tax giveaways to the oil andgas companies Bush's party advocates -- or the $7.6 billion the WhiteHouse seeks for a national missile defense that probably won't work --and the administration's post-Sept. 11 priorities seem staggeringly offkilter.

Matt Bivens, a former editor of The Moscow Times, is a Washington-basedfellow of The Nation Institute.
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B. Spent Nuclear Fuel

1.
$360M Facility For Spent Fuel
Moscow Times
May 27, 2002
(for personal use only)


A $360 million facility to store spent nuclear fuel will be built in theclosed Siberian city of Zheleznogorsk, officials said Friday. PavelMorozov, spokesman for the city's chemical and metallurgical factory,said work on the $120 million first stage of the facility will startnext year. The facility will be ready to store 10,000 tons by 2006-07and eventually be able to store 40,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel,according to local news reports. The new facility, unlike an existingZheleznogorsk wet storage site in which some 3,000 tons of spent nuclearfuel is stored under a layer of water, will be dry. Dry storage systemsare cheaper to operate, are safer and have proven successful in theUnited States and France, Morozov said. St. Petersburg's All-RussiaScientific Research Institute for Energy Technology designed the center,which is to be built by the firm Spetstroi.
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C. Russia-U.S.

1.
Beyond The Moscow Treaty
Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Washington Post
May 28, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Moscow treaty signed Friday by presidents Bush and Putin is animportant step forward for U.S.-Russian relations and toward a moresecure world. Cutting the number of each country's strategic nuclearwarheads from about 6,000 to between 1,700 and 2,200 moves us away frompreparing to obliterate each other. President Bush should be applaudedfor his leadership on this issue, his partnership with President Putinand his willingness to codify the agreement in a binding treaty.

But while the treaty as a whole is a step forward, some of its specificsrisk moving us backward.

The treaty does not require the actual destruction of a single missileor warhead. Rather, each country may warehouse its weapons and redeploythem later. Unfortunately, persistent security shortcomings in Russiamean that warheads in storage are more likely to fall into the hands ofrogue states or terrorists than if they remained attached to missiles.The treaty allows Russia to place multiple warheads on itsintercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), contrary to long standingU.S. arms control goals. Multiple-warhead ICBMs are a cheap way tomaximize Russia's forces, but they are vulnerable because an attackercan destroy many warheads with only one or two of its own. Russia istherefore likely to keep those missiles on hair-trigger alert,increasing the risk of accidental war.

The treaty sets no schedule for reductions and provides no new tools toverify each side's compliance. Russia cannot afford to maintain itsstrategic forces. Without U.S. transparency, however, a weakened Russiacould fear a U.S. attack and keep a nervous finger on its remaininglaunch buttons. Nor does the treaty say how each country's strategicnuclear warheads should be counted. This omission could lead toacrimonious compliance disputes.

Can America move beyond the Moscow treaty? I believe that we can andmust. Here are some steps that the president can take and that theSenate can consider during the ratification process:

(1) Keep only the weapons we really need. Maintaining excessive U.S.nuclear forces is wasteful and would increase Russian anxiety,potentially increasing the risk of accidental war.

(2) Institute confidence-building measures that enable Russia to verifyU.S. compliance with the treaty. We don't want a nervous Russia thinkingwe have more warheads than we have. Let's make sure that we aretransparent.

(3) Offer Russia more Nunn-Lugar assistance to dismantle its excessweapons and nonproliferation assistance to safeguard or demilitarize itsexcess warheads. We don't want Russia to maintain excess weapons orwarheads. And we do want Russia to keep the weapons it maintains out ofthe wrong hands.

(4) Get a better handle on Russia's tactical nuclear weapons. The Moscowtreaty does not deal with these short-range systems. Russia maintainsthousands more of them than we do, and there is justifiable concernabout how well the Russian weapons are protected against theft orunauthorized use. It's time for increased transparency and a limited,but real, arms-control agreement on tactical nuclear weapons.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will convene hearings on thetreaty promptly upon its submission. President Bush has given us a goodstart, and in addressing the issues above, we should move beyond Moscowto fulfill the promise of a more secure future.

The writer is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
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2.
Still Some Way To Go
Lilia Shevtsova
Moscow Times
May 28, 2002
(for personal use only)


The U.S.-Russia summit has been a success, especially given the point ofdeparture. Remember the cold shower U.S. President George W. Bush gaveRussia when he came to the White House at the beginning of 2001? TheBush team seemed to be demanding a cold-turkey renunciation by Moscow ofits superpower ambitions and acceptance of the reality of "asymmetry."The message to Russia was: "We're putting you on hold. We'll call youwhen we need you."

Now Bush has met President Vladimir Putin halfway. He made a present toPutin by signing a treaty on nuclear cuts that he long had no intentionof signing, thus helping Putin to deal with critics at home who accusethe president of selling out Russia. Moreover, at least rhetorically,Bush is behaving as if Russia were a major U.S. ally.

The summit's success is even more evident if one looks at how Bush wasreceived in Europe, where thousands protested against U.S.unilateralism. And Putin delivered his share of the success story.

Putin and Bush have something more substantial to support their personalchemistry: They are the only world leaders who look at the world throughthe prism of "war on terrorism." Both are wartime presidents,consolidating their nations on the basis of a struggle against the sameenemy. But the fact that this war is gluing the new U.S.-Russianfriendship is a disturbing sign. History has proven that alliances basedon a common enemy end when that enemy ceases to exist. Some observersherald the fact that the security agenda dominated the summit and thatnuclear parity has been preserved. But this is exactly what shouldprovoke concern. Why do Russia and the United States need nuclear parityif we are no longer enemies? Five hundred or even 100 nukes should besufficient to neutralize potential threats from third countries.

However, the whole obsession with counting nukes clearly demonstrates asad truth: We have failed to go beyond the paradigm of U.S.-Russianrelations based on security threats and mutually assured destruction.Both presidents are hostages of their foreign policy and securityestablishments that were formed in the old days and are incapable of newkinds of cooperation.

The security challenges faced by Russia and the United States, though,are now different -- the threat of nuclear proliferation is currentlyatop the U.S. agenda. And discussion of the Iran issue shows theexistence of serious disagreements. Two more issues will soon becomepriorities in the relationship: tactical nuclear arsenals and the safetyof 1,000 tons of Russian highly enriched uranium and plutonium. Thesummit failed to touch upon prospects for cooperation in creating amissile defense shield. And this is where today's security agenda lies.So much time and energy has been spent on carving a niche for theRussia-NATO Council, but can this effort be productive given that NATOitself is in search of a new mission?

The dominance of security issues only proves that U.S.-Russian relationsare still based more on irritants than on an assessment of mutualbenefits. Unfortunately, the summit failed to transform Putin's foreignpolicy revolution -- his shift toward the West-- into a strategy ofintegration with the West. Ironically it seems both Putin and Bush aretrapped: Upgrading the relationship that both presidents evidently wantinevitably leads to security shoptalk simply because there is not muchimpetus for shifting to the economic agenda. Even discussion of energycooperation yielded nothing substantial.

That U.S. relations with Russia are now apparently better than U.S.relations with some U.S. allies also provides food for thought,particularly regarding the nature and longevity of Faustian bargains --that is, ones based on a limited coincidence of interests but not oncommon values. Both presidents seem sincere in their attempt to open anew page in relations between their countries, but they have been unableto get rid of the legacy of the previous era. So far, in both capitalswe are seeing a lack of political will, courage and vision, as well as alack of readiness to think big about Russia and the United States in thenew century. However, both countries face challenges that cannot behandled in the traditional manner -- one of them being the need forU.S.-Russian cooperation in Central Asia and the Caucasus. And not justmilitary cooperation, but also joint efforts to assist in buildingviable democratic states.

The danger of nuclear proliferation forces us to consider more radicalmeasures, such as Soviet debt swaps as an incentive for Russia torethink its policy toward Iran and Iraq (an idea being widely discussedin Washington). The Russian Far East and Siberia could become areas ofeconomic cooperation between Russia and the West, in which the UnitedStates might play a leading role.

Finally, there is need to make the U.S.-Russian relations moreproductive for ordinary people. Thus, an ambitious program of studentexchanges and U.S. help in developing Russia's health system andfighting AIDS should be encouraged. Otherwise, relations will be limitedto those between the leaders only. In order to move toward a moreconstructive partnership, Russia will have to consolidate a real,functioning democracy, not simply the facade of one; and the UnitedStates will have to define its role as the advantaged partner within arelationship of "benevolent asymmetry."

If Russia moves further toward the West and becomes a "normal country,"the United States may lose interest in the country -- that will mean anend to summits and the real close of the Cold War chapter. But it willopen prospects for a new type of alliance between United States, Europeand Russia, in which the latter, due to the presence of Europe, shouldbe able to feel itself a more viable and needed partner.

Lilia Shevtsova, a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment forInternational Peace, contributed this comment to The Moscow Times.
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3.
Friendship With Moscow For Ten Years To Come
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
May 27, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Putin-Bush summit left the existence of thousands of small nuclearcharges available both to the United States and Russia on the sidelinesof the main debates. The Americans claim Russia has more than 18,000such charges in the form of warheads, bombs, shells and mines but saythe United States has only some 1,700. Russia's tactical nuclear weaponsare far more important now that the United States and its allies areexpanding their presence along Russian borders and especially againstthe background of the continuing degradation of its ground forces.

The Putin-Bush summit left the existence of thousands of small nuclearcharges available both to the United States and Russia on the sidelinesof the main debates. The Americans claim Russia has more than 18,000such charges in the form of warheads, bombs, shells and mines but saythe United States has only some 1,700. Russia's tactical nuclear weaponsare far more important now that the United States and its allies areexpanding their presence along Russian borders and especially againstthe background of the continuing degradation of its ground forces.

During the Moscow summit Bush did offer help for the establishment ofproper control over the Russian arsenal so that it could not end up interrorist hands but the Americans did not talk much about the issue inview of the expected arrival of a new generation of nuclear mini-chargesthey want to use to suppress subterranean targets, notably in thecountries that they describe as "the axis of evil." Sudan is the latestaddition to the list.

Paradoxically, the summit did not discuss the build-up of the U.S.military presence in the republics of the former Soviet Union in anyconcrete terms. But in point of fact, it radically changes the status ofRussia's militaryategic and political potential, including ABMdefense, considering that field artillery is capable of reaching some ofthe components of Russia's strategic forces.

The Americans were so carried away by the prospects opening up in thewake of the recarving of Euro-Asia that they did not even raise theChechnya issue at the summit. Bush confined himself to the remark thatWashington was in favor of a political settlement. European commentatorswere unanimous in pointing out that the unsettled nature of the problemstood in the way of Russia joining "the family of civilized nations."The Americans, meanwhile, did not seem to be concerned about the futureof "family relations." Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, Bushsaid something to the effect that what would happen in ten years' timewas anyone's guess. By all appearances, neither Washington nor Moscow isready to look beyond that period.

The only sensation related to the summit was the decision of the U.S.Congress not to repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a decision thatdashed Moscow's hopes for activated bilateral trade. But not everybodywas surprised: experts in both delegations knew about an unexpecteddevelopment that took place just before Vladimir Putin's trip to theUnited States in November 2001. The Russian president had promised tobring an important document concerning chemical and biological weapons.But a day before Putin was due to go to the United States somebody inthe top echelon of power dissuaded him from doing that, and he arrivedin Washington empty handed. This time too the Americans may have decidednot to present a gift promised a long time ago.
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D. Russia-Iran

1.
Iran Will Allow Inspections Of Nuclear Plant
Reuters
May 27, 2002
(for personal use only)


International inspectors will monitor an Iranian nuclear power plant,under construction with Russian help and the main bone of contentionduring last week's summit between Moscow and Washington, a seniorIranian official told a conference Monday.

The head of Iran's parliamentary energy commission Hossein Aferideh saidthe International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) planned visits over thecourse of the year to the Bushehr plant.

The IAEA, an arm of the United Nations said Monday it was alreadyadvising on safe construction of the plant, though full inspectionscalled for under Iran's safeguards agreement with the IAEA from 1974would not begin until nuclear material was delivered to the facility.

"The IAEA has visited the site, but regular IAEA inspections will beginwith the initial receipt of nuclear material at the facility," IAEAspokeswoman Melissa Fleming told Reuters. "That should call for aboutfour to six inspections per year."

The IAEA safeguards agreement requires that a country declare allcivilian nuclear material and permit regular inspections by the agency.

Each visit from the Vienna-based IAEA would consist of severalinspectors and last a couple of weeks, Aferideh said. The site would bevisited monthly, he added.

The inspection plans should ease concerns in Washington about thereactor which Aferideh said was due to come online at the end of nextyear or early in 2004 to help satisfy growing Iranian electricitydemand.

However, the IAEA's Fleming said Iran had not signed on to the so-calledadditional protocol which permits far more invasive inspections aimed atrooting out secret nuclear weapons programs, though the agency wasurging Iran to adopt it.

"If they do not sign up for this, we still know quite a bit. But we donot have the same access as we would with this additional protocol," shesaid.

The issue was the main sticking point during an otherwise harmonioussummit last week between President Bush and Russian President VladimirPutin (news - web sites).

Bush has labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil," accusing Tehran ofseeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction and sponsoring terrorism.

Both Tehran and Moscow insist Iran's atomic energy program is confinedto civilian use.

Aferideh's comments followed a statement from Iranian Foreign MinisterKamal Kharrazi Sunday in which he told the official Iranian news agencythat the construction of the reactor was under the IAEA's supervision.

"So far the project is going very well. We have more than 1,000 Russianexperts there," Aferideh told delegates at a London conference oninvestment in Iran.

He insisted that Iran, rich in oil and gas, had the right to develop anuclear contribution to its energy mix and that the reactor was apeaceful application of nuclear technology.

A senior U.S. official last week called Russia's help in building theplant the current single biggest worldwide nuclear proliferation threat.
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E. Nuclear Test Ban

1.
Russia Urges India, Pakistan To Sign Nuke Test Ban Treaty
Associated Press
May 28, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov on Monday urged India andPakistan, the nuclear neighbors teetering on the verge of a war, toaccede to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a Foreign Ministry statementsaid.

Mamedov expressed hope that the two countries will join the pact in ameeting in Moscow with Indian Ambassador Krishnan Raghunath.

Mamedov made the statement in connection with the signing Friday of theU.S.-Russian Treaty on Strategic Arms Reductions, which "is designed tospeed up the entire international process of limiting and reducingarmaments," the Foreign Ministry said. Mamedov and Raghunath alsodiscussed Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to arrange aone-on-one meeting between the prime ministers of India and Pakistan inKazakhstan next month.

Also Monday, Russia sent Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Safonov toPakistan to discuss the same offer and Pakistan reacted positively,state-run Pakistan Television said.
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F. Nuclear Terrorism

1.
Cold War Legacy Slows Terror Fight
David Filipov,
Boston Globe Staff
May 28, 2002
(for personal use only)


The Cold War may be a thing of the past, but the hangover ofmisperceptions and mistrust between Russia and the United States hasbogged down a joint effort to prevent former Soviet stockpiles ofweapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands.

Cold War-era rules on both sides are holding up a decade -old US programto reduce the threat posed by Russian nuclear, chemical, and biologicalweapons by increasing security at storage facilities. The United Stateshas already spent $5 billion on the project.

US and Russian lawmakers and arms specialists gathered in Moscowyesterday to discuss forming an alliance to prevent terrorists fromacquiring chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons - which former USsenator Sam Nunn called ''possibly the gravest challenge to globalsecurity.''

''We are in a new arms race,'' Nunn said at a conference organized bythe Nuclear Threat Initiative, a foundation he cochairs with CNN founderTed Turner. ''Terrorists and certain states are racing to acquireweapons of mass destruction, and we ought to be racing together to stopthem.''

But both sides acknowledged that bureaucracy and lingering suspicions inboth countries were making the effort difficult to implement.

''Unfortunately, a large part of society of both sides has not madefighting this kind of terrorism an urgent task,'' said Russianlegislator Andrei Kokoshkin, former head of the Kremlin's NationalSecurity Council.

Some Russian and US specialists yesterday said President Bush andRussia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, who declared the Cold War overduring their weekend summit, have missed an opportunity to do more toprevent a repeat of Sept. 11, only this time by terrorists wieldingweapons of mass destruction.

During the Bush-Putin summit, crates full of fences, surveillancecameras, and motion sensors, provided by the US government, weregathering dust in a warehouse in Russia. These supplies were providedunder the program named after Nunn and Senator Richard Lugar, dedicatedto upgrading the security of a third of Russia's weapons-grade uraniumand plutonium and destroying nearly 6,000 warheads, along with hundredsof ballistic missiles, bombers, submarines, and silos.

But the latest security equipment has not been installed because theRussian military refuses to let Americans into the top secret facilitieswhere it was headed. That means American money cannot be spent to do thejob, because federal regulations prohibit the US government from payingfor work it cannot inspect. The Russians say they do not have the moneyto do the work themselves.

''That's an example of bureaucratic obstacles we have in this program,''Nunn said yesterday in response to a question about the stalemate. Hesaid he could not give any more details about the location of thestranded shipments.

''It's important for the bureaucracies in both countries to listen towhat the two presidents said. Clearly they have understood the threatand articulated it. But that does not always translate down,'' he said.

Nunn said the program, officially known as Cooperative Threat Reduction,has avoided such bureaucratic standoffs in 90 percent to 95 percent ofthe cases.

Despite the program's success, Lugar said, much remained to be done:Only 40 percent of Russia's nuclear storage sites have received USassistance to upgrade security, and new security systems had beeninstalled in only 20 percent.

The agreement on reducing both countries' operationally deployedstrategic nuclear weapons signed by Putin and Bush has added to theproblem. Under the agreement, both countries have the right to store,rather than destroy, some of the warheads they take out of service.

That raises the question of the security of the Russian storagefacilities, which is very poor, according to Russian legislator SergeiMitrokhin, who, to draw attention to the problem, broke into ahigh-security nuclear storage site in February.

But Sergei Rogov, director of the Institute for the US and CanadianStudies in Moscow, said it was unlikely that the Russian military wouldallow US personnel to inspect the storage sites unless Russianinspectors are allowed to visit similar facilities for stored Americanweapons.

''There is inertia not only in Russia,'' Rogov said. ''On the Americanside, there is very little willingness to change. America still seesRussia as its potential enemy in a nuclear war, and everything is gearedto that.''

The Russian military, too, has had difficulty putting the past behindit, even as it accepts American aid. Mitrokhin said Russian generalswere afraid that some of the Nunn-Lugar financed materials contained spysystems that would allow the United States to monitor secret weaponsfacilities and target them in the unlikely event of a conflict betweenthe United States and Russia.

Nunn agreed that the problem of trust was mutual.

''Monitoring and access will have to be more reciprocal,'' he said.''This is my dream for the future - it is not reality because we have tocomply with US law.''

Lugar said the Cooperative Threat Reduction program had faced someopposition in Congress because the Russian military had refused toprovide full information about its activities relating to chemical andbiological weapons. US monitors had been refused access to fourbiological laboratories run by the Defense Ministry, Lugar said. Inaddition, Moscow would not provide information about a strain of anthraxthat its scientists reportedly developed.

Lugar said Russian transfers of nuclear technology to Iran, which theUnited States and some Russian specialists say is trying to developnuclear weapons, has also weakened support in the United States for animproved relationship.

Another area that has raised suspicion is whether all of the Nunn-Lugarmoney is being spent properly. Mitrokhin said that he and other Russianlawmakers suspect that the military was using some of the money forcontinued weapons development, rather than security upgrades anddisarmament, but that secrecy laws prohibited acquiring, andpublicizing, hard proof. He cited a $300 billion, US-funded project tobuild an electric plant to replace a plutonium breeder reactor inZheleznogorsk, Siberia.

''The electric plant is supposed to be built by 2006, but they have noteven started construction,'' Mitrokhin said. ''We worry that some of themoney was spent on other things.''

Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center for Science andInternational Affairs at Harvard University, said the quickest way toovercome the Cold War hangover would be for the two presidents to issuea directive to their militaries and bureaucracies to put the past behindthem.

''The summit represents a missed opportunity for the two presidents tomake it a priority to put the proper systems in place,'' Allison said.''They had the chance to look each other in the eye and say `Let's doit.' But they didn't.''
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2.
Nuclear Nightmares
Bill Keller
New York Times Magazine
May 26, 2002
(for personal use only)


Not If But When

Everybody who spends much time thinking about nuclear terrorism can giveyou a scenario, something diabolical and, theoretically, doable. MichaelA. Levi, a researcher at the Federation of American Scientists, imaginesa homemade nuclear explosive device detonated inside a truck passingthrough one of the tunnels into Manhattan. The blast would craterportions of the New York skyline, barbecue thousands of peopleinstantly, condemn thousands more to a horrible death from radiationsickness and -- by virtue of being underground -- would vaporize manytons of concrete and dirt and river water into an enduring cloud oflethal fallout. Vladimir Shikalov, a Russian nuclear physicist whohelped clean up after the 1986 Chernobyl accident, envisioned for me anattack involving highly radioactive cesium-137 loaded into some kind ofhomemade spraying device, and a target that sounded particularlyunsettling when proposed across a Moscow kitchen table -- Disneyland. Inthis case, the human toll would be much less ghastly, but the panic thatwould result from contaminating the Magic Kingdom with a modest amountof cesium -- Shikalov held up his teacup to illustrate how much -- wouldprobably shut the place down for good and constitute a staggering strikeat Americans' sense of innocence. Shikalov, a nuclear enthusiast whothinks most people are ridiculously squeamish about radiation, addedthat personally he would still be happy to visit Disneyland after theterrorists struck, although he would pack his own food and drink anddestroy his clothing afterward.

Another Russian, Dmitry Borisov, a former official of his country'satomic energy ministry, conjured a suicidal pilot. (Suicidal pilots, forobvious reasons, figure frequently in these fantasies.) In Borisov'sscenario, the hijacker dive-bombs an Aeroflot jetliner into theKurchatov Institute, an atomic research center in a gentrifyingneighborhood of Moscow, which I had just visited the day before ourconversation. The facility contains 26 nuclear reactors of various sizesand a huge accumulation of radioactive material. The effect wouldprobably be measured more in property values than in body bags, but somepeople say the same about Chernobyl.

Maybe it is a way to tame a fearsome subject by Hollywoodizing it, ormaybe it is a way to drive home the dreadful stakes in the arid-soundingbusiness of nonproliferation, but in several weeks of talking tospecialists here and in Russia about the threats an amateur evildoermight pose to the homeland, I found an unnerving abundance of suchmorbid creativity. I heard a physicist wonder whether a suicide bomberwith a pacemaker would constitute an effective radiation weapon. (I'm alittle ashamed to say I checked that one, and the answer is no, sincepacemakers powered by plutonium have not been implanted for the past 20years.) I have had people theorize about whether hijackers who took overa nuclear research laboratory could improvise an actual nuclearexplosion on the spot. (Expert opinions differ, but it's very unlikely.)I've been instructed how to disperse plutonium into the ventilationsystem of an office building.

The realistic threats settle into two broad categories. The less likelybut far more devastating is an actual nuclear explosion, a great holeblown in the heart of New York or Washington, followed by a toxic fog ofradiation. This could be produced by a black-market nuclear warheadprocured from an existing arsenal. Russia is the favorite hypotheticalsource, although Pakistan, which has a program built on shady middlemenand covert operations, should not be overlooked. Or the explosive couldbe a homemade device, lower in yield than a factory nuke but stillcreating great carnage.

The second category is a radiological attack, contaminating a publicplace with radioactive material by packing it with conventionalexplosives in a ''dirty bomb'' by dispersing it into the air or water orby sabotaging a nuclear facility. By comparison with the task ofcreating nuclear fission, some of these schemes would be almostchildishly simple, although the consequences would be less horrifying: apanicky evacuation, a gradual increase in cancer rates, a staggeringlyexpensive cleanup, possibly the need to demolish whole neighborhoods. AlQaeda has claimed to have access to dirty bombs, which is unverified butentirely plausible, given that the makings are easily gettable.

Nothing is really new about these perils. The means to inflict nuclearharm on America have been available to rogues for a long time. Seriousstudies of the threat of nuclear terror date back to the 1970's.American programs to keep Russian nuclear ingredients from falling intomurderous hands -- one of the subjects high on the agenda in PresidentBush's meetings in Moscow this weekend -- were hatched soon after theSoviet Union disintegrated a decade ago. When terrorists get around totrying their first nuclear assault, as you can be sure they will, therewill be plenty of people entitled to say I told you so.

All Sept. 11 did was turn a theoretical possibility into a felt danger.All it did was supply a credible cast of characters who hate us so muchthey would thrill to the prospect of actually doing it -- and, mostimportant in rethinking the probabilities, would be happy to die in theeffort. All it did was give our nightmares legs.

And of the many nightmares animated by the attacks, this is the one withpride of place in our experience and literature -- and, we know from hisown lips, in Osama bin Laden's aspirations. In February, Tom Ridge, theBush administration's homeland security chief, visited The Times for aconversation, and at the end someone asked, given all the things he hadto worry about -- hijacked airliners, anthrax in the mail, smallpox,germs in crop-dusters -- what did he worry about most? He cupped hishands prayerfully and pressed his fingertips to his lips. ''Nuclear,''he said simply.

My assignment here was to stare at that fear and inventory thepossibilities. How afraid should we be, and what of, exactly? I'll tellyou at the outset, this was not one of those exercises in which weighingthe fears and assigning them probabilities laid them to rest. I'm notevacuating Manhattan, but neither am I sleeping quite as soundly. As Iwas writing this early one Saturday in April, the floor began to rumbleand my desk lamp wobbled precariously. Although I grew up on the SanAndreas Fault, the fact that New York was experiencing an earthquake wasonly my second thought.

The best reason for thinking it won't happen is that it hasn't happenedyet, and that is terrible logic. The problem is not so much that we arenot doing enough to prevent a terrorist from turning our atomicknowledge against us (although we are not). The problem is that theremay be no such thing as ''enough.''

25,000 Warheads, and It Only Takes OneMy few actual encounters with the Russian nuclear arsenal are allassociated with Thomas Cochran. Cochran, a physicist with a Tennesseelilt and a sense of showmanship, is the director of nuclear issues forthe Natural Resources Defense Council, which promotes environmentalprotection and arms control. In 1989, when glasnost was in flower,Cochran persuaded the Soviet Union to open some of its most secretnuclear venues to a roadshow of American scientists and congressmen andinvited along a couple of reporters. We visited a Soviet missile cruiserbobbing in the Black Sea and drank vodka with physicists and engineersin the secret city where the Soviets first produced plutonium forweapons.

Not long ago Cochran took me cruising through the Russian nuclearstockpile again, this time digitally. The days of glasnost theatrics arepast, and this is now the only way an outsider can get close to theplaces where Russians store and deploy their nuclear weapons. On hisoffice computer in Washington, Cochran has installed a detailed UnitedStates military map of Russia and superimposed upon it high-resolutionsatellite photographs. We spent part of a morning mouse-clicking frommissile-launch site to submarine base, zooming in like voyeurs andcontemplating the possibility that a terrorist could figure out how tosteal a nuclear warhead from one of these places.

''Here are the bunkers,'' Cochran said, enlarging an area the size of afootball stadium holding a half-dozen elongated igloos. We were hoveringover a site called Zhukovka, in western Russia. We were pleased to seeit did not look ripe for a hijacking.

''You see the bunkers are fenced, and then the whole thing is fencedagain,'' Cochran said. ''Just outside you can see barracks and a riflerange for the guards. These would be troops of the 12th MainDirectorate. Somebody's not going to walk off the street and get aRussian weapon out of this particular storage area.''

In the popular culture, nuclear terror begins with the theft of anuclear weapon. Why build one when so many are lying around for thetaking? And stealing tends to make better drama than engineering. Thusthe stolen nuke has been a staple in the literature at least since 1961,when Ian Fleming published ''Thunderball,'' in which the malevolentSpectre (the Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism,Revenge and Extortion, a strictly mercenary and more technologicallysophisticated precursor to al Qaeda) pilfers a pair of atom bombs from acrashed NATO aircraft. In the movie version of Tom Clancy's thriller''The Sum of All Fears,'' due in theaters this week, neo-Nazis get theirhands on a mislaid Israeli nuke, and viewers will get to see Baltimoreblasted to oblivion.

Eight countries are known to have nuclear weapons -- the United States,Russia, China, Great Britain, France, India, Pakistan and Israel. DavidAlbright, a nuclear-weapons expert and president of the Institute forScience and International Security, points out that Pakistan's programin particular was built almost entirely through black markets andindustrial espionage, aimed at circumventing Western export controls.Defeating the discipline of nuclear nonproliferation is ingrained in theculture. Disaffected individuals in Pakistan (which, remember, wasintimate with the Taliban) would have no trouble finding the illicitchannels or the rationalization for diverting materials, expertise --even, conceivably, a warhead.

But the mall of horrors is Russia, because it currently maintainssomething like 15,000 of the world's (very roughly) 25,000 nuclearwarheads, ranging in destructive power from about 500 kilotons, whichcould kill a million people, down to the one-kiloton land mines thatwould be enough to make much of Manhattan uninhabitable. Russia is acountry with sloppy accounting, a disgruntled military, an audaciousblack market and indigenous terrorists.

There is anecdotal reason to worry. Gen. Igor Valynkin, commander of the12th Main Directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Russianmilitary sector in charge of all nuclear weapons outside the Navy, saidrecently that twice in the past year terrorist groups were caught casingRussian weapons-storage facilities. But it's hard to know how seriouslyto take this. When I made the rounds of nuclear experts in Russiaearlier this year, many were skeptical of these near-miss anecdotes,saying the security forces tend to exaggerate such incidents todramatize their own prowess (the culprits are always caught) and enhancetheir budgets. On the whole, Russian and American military experts soundnot very alarmed about the vulnerability of Russia's nuclear warheads.They say Russia takes these weapons quite seriously, accounts for themrigorously and guards them carefully. There is no confirmed case of awarhead being lost. Strategic warheads, including the 4,000 or so thatPresident Bush and President Vladimir Putin have agreed to retire fromservice, tend to be stored in hard-to-reach places, fenced and heavilyguarded, and their whereabouts are not advertised. The people who guardthem are better paid and more closely vetted than most Russian soldiers.

Eugene E. Habiger, the four-star general who was in charge of Americanstrategic weapons until 1998 and then ran nuclear antiterror programsfor the Energy Department, visited several Russian weapons facilities in1996 and 1997. He may be the only American who has actually entered aRussian bunker and inspected a warhead in situ. Habiger said he foundthe overall level of security comparable to American sites, although theRussians depend more on people than on technology to protect theirnukes.

The image of armed terrorist commandos storming a nuclear bunker iscinematic, but it's far more plausible to think of an inside job. Noobserver of the unraveling Russian military has much trouble imaginingthat a group of military officers, disenchanted by the humiliation ofserving a spent superpower, embittered by the wretched conditions inwhich they spend much of their military lives or merely greedy, mightfind a way to divert a warhead to a terrorist for the right price. (TheChechen warlord Shamil Basayev, infamous for such ruthless exploits astaking an entire hospital hostage, once hinted that he had anopportunity to buy a nuclear warhead from the stockpile.) The anecdotalevidence of desperation in the military is plentiful and disquieting.Every year the Russian press provides stories like that of the19-year-old sailor who went on a rampage aboard an Akula-class nuclearsubmarine, killing eight people and threatening to blow up the boat andits nuclear reactor; or the five soldiers at Russia's nuclear-weaponstest site who killed a guard, took a hostage and tried to hijack anaircraft, or the officers who reportedly stole five assault helicopters,with their weapons pods, and tried to sell them to North Korea.

The Clinton administration found the danger of disgruntled nuclearcaretakers worrisome enough that it considered building better housingfor some officers in the nuclear rocket corps. Congress, noting that theUnited States does not build housing for its own officers, rejected theidea out of hand.

If a terrorist did get his hands on a nuclear warhead, he would stillface the problem of setting it off. American warheads are rigged withmultiple PAL's ( ''permissive action links'') -- codes andself-disabling devices designed to frustrate an unauthorized person fromtriggering the explosion. General Habiger says that when he examinedRussian strategic weapons he found the level of protection comparable toour own. ''You'd have to literally break the weapon apart to get intothe gut,'' he told me. ''I would submit that a more likely scenario isthat there'd be an attempt to get hold of a warhead and not explode thewarhead but extract the plutonium or highly enriched uranium.'' In otherwords, it's easier to take the fuel and build an entire weapon fromscratch than it is to make one of these things go off.

Then again, Habiger is not an expert in physics or weapons design. Thenagain, the Russians would seem to have no obvious reason for misleadinghim about something that important. Then again, how many times havecomputer hackers hacked their way into encrypted computers we wereassured were impregnable? Then again, how many computer hackers does alQaeda have? This subject drives you in circles.

The most troublesome gap in the generally reassuring assessment ofRussian weapons security is those tactical nuclear warheads -- smaller,short-range weapons like torpedoes, depth charges, artillery shells,mines. Although their smaller size and greater number makes them idealcandidates for theft, they have gotten far less attention simplybecause, unlike all of our long range weapons, they happen not to be thesubject of any formal treaty. The first President Bush reached aninformal understanding with President Gorbachev and then with PresidentYeltsin that both sides would gather and destroy thousands of tacticalnukes. But the agreement included no inventories of the stockpiles, nooutside monitoring, no verification of any kind. It was one of thosetrust-me deals that, in the hindsight of Sept. 11, amount to an enormousblack hole in our security.

Did I say earlier there are about 15,000 Russian warheads? That numberincludes, alongside the scrupulously counted strategic warheads inbombers, missiles and submarines, the commonly used estimate of 8,000tactical warheads. But that figure is at best an educated guess. Othereducated guesses of the tactical nukes in Russia go as low as 4,000 andas high as 30,000. We just don't know. We don't even know if theRussians know, since they are famous for doing things off the books.''They'll tell you they've never lost a weapon,'' said Kenneth Luongo,director of a private antiproliferation group called theRussian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council. ''The fact is, theydon't know. And when you're talking about warhead counting, you don'twant to miss even one.''

And where are they? Some are stored in reinforced concrete bunkers likethe one at Zhukovka. Others are deployed. (When the submarine Kursk sankwith its 118 crewmen in August 2000, the Americans' immediate fear wasfor its nuclear armaments. The standard load out for a submarine of thatclass includes a couple of nuclear torpedoes and possibly some nucleardepth charges.) Still others are supposed to be in the process of beingdismantled under terms of various formal and informal arms-controlagreements. Some are in transit. In short, we don't really know.

The other worrying thing about tactical nukes is that their anti-usedevices are believed to be less sophisticated, because the weapons weredesigned to be employed in the battlefield. Some of the older systemsare thought to have no permissive action links at all, so that settingone off would be about as complicated as hot-wiring a car.

Efforts to learn more about the state of tactical stockpiles have beenfrustrated by reluctance on both sides to let visitors in. ViktorMikhailov, who ran the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy until 1998 witha famous scorn for America's nonproliferation concerns, still insiststhat the United States programs to protect Russian nuclear weapons andmaterial mask a secret agenda of intelligence-gathering. Americans, inturn, sometimes balk at reciprocal access, on the grounds that we arethe ones paying the bills for all these safety upgrades, said the formerSenator Sam Nunn, co-author of the main American program for securingRussian nukes, called Nunn-Lugar.

''We have to decide if we want the Russians to be transparent -- I'dcall it cradle-to-grave transparency with nuclear material andinventories and so forth,'' Nunn told me. ''Then we have to open up moreourselves. This is a big psychological breakthrough we're talking abouthere, both for them and for us.''

The Garage Bomb

One of the more interesting facts about the atom bomb dropped onHiroshima is that it had never been tested. All of those spectral imagesof nuclear coronas brightening the desert of New Mexico -- those were toperfect the more complicated plutonium device that was dropped onNagasaki. ''Little Boy,'' the Hiroshima bomb, was a rudimentary gunlikedevice that shot one projectile of highly enriched uranium into another,creating a critical mass that exploded. The mechanics were so simplethat few doubted it would work, so the first experiment was in the skyover Japan.

The closest thing to a consensus I heard among those who study nuclearterror was this: building a nuclear bomb is easier than you think,probably easier than stealing one. In the rejuvenated effort to preventa terrorist from striking a nuclear blow, this is where most of theattention and money are focused.

A nuclear explosion of any kind ''is not a sort of high-probabilitything,'' said a White House official who follows the subject closely.''But getting your hands on enough fissile material to build animprovised nuclear device, to my mind, is the least improbable of themall, and particularly if that material is highly enriched uranium inmetallic form. Then I'm really worried. That's the one.''

To build a nuclear explosive you need material capable of explosivenuclear fission, you need expertise, you need some equipment, and youneed a way to deliver it.

Delivering it to the target is, by most reckoning, the simplest part.People in the field generally scoff at the mythologized suitcase bomb;instead they talk of a ''conex bomb,'' using the name of thoseshack-size steel containers that bring most cargo into the UnitedStates. Two thousand containers enter America every hour, on trucks andtrains and especially on ships sailing into more than 300 Americanports. Fewer than 2 percent are cracked open for inspection, and thegreat majority never pass through an X-ray machine. Containers deliveredto upriver ports like St. Louis or Chicago pass many miles of potentialtargets before they even reach customs.

''How do you protect against that?'' mused Habiger, the former chief ofour nuclear arsenal. ''You can't. That's scary. That's very, very scary.You set one of those off in Philadelphia, in New York City, SanFrancisco, Los Angeles, and you're going to kill tens of thousands ofpeople, if not more.'' Habiger's view is ''It's not a matter of if; it'sa matter of when'' -- which may explain why he now lives in San Antonio.

The Homeland Security office has installed a plan to refocusinspections, making sure the 2 percent of containers that get inspectedare those without a clear, verified itinerary. Detectors will be putinto place at ports and other checkpoints. This is good, but it hardlyrepresents an ironclad defense. The detection devices are a long wayfrom being reliable. (Inconveniently, the most feared bomb component,uranium, is one of the hardest radioactive substances to detect becauseit does not emit a lot of radiation prior to fission.) The best way tostop nuclear terror, therefore, is to keep the weapons out of terroristhands in the first place.

The basic know-how of atom-bomb-building is half a century old, andadequate recipes have cropped up in physics term papers and high schoolscience projects. The simplest design entails taking a lump of highlyenriched uranium, about the size of a cantaloupe, and firing it down abig gun barrel into a second lump. Theodore Taylor, the nuclearphysicist who designed both the smallest and the largest Americannuclear-fission warheads before becoming a remorseful opponent of allthings nuclear, told me he recently looked up ''atomic bomb'' in theWorld Book Encyclopedia in the upstate New York nursing home where henow lives, and he found enough basic information to get a careful readerstarted. ''It's accessible all over the place,'' he said. ''I don't meanjust the basic principles. The sizes, specifications, things thatwork.''

Most of the people who talk about the ease of assembling a nuclearweapon, of course, have never actually built one. The most authoritativeassessment I found was a paper, ''Can Terrorists Build NuclearWeapons?'' written in 1986 by five experienced nuke-makers from the LosAlamos weapons laboratory. I was relieved to learn that fabricating anuclear weapon is not something a lone madman -- even a lone genius-- islikely to pull off in his hobby room. The paper explained that it wouldrequire a team with knowledge of ''the physical, chemical andmetallurgical properties of the various materials to be used, as well ascharacteristics affecting their fabrication; neutronic properties;radiation effects, both nuclear and biological; technology concerninghigh explosives and/or chemical propellants; some hydrodynamics;electrical circuitry; and others.'' Many of these skills are moredifficult to acquire than, say, the ability to aim a jumbo jet.

The schemers would also need specialized equipment to form the uranium,which is usually in powdered form, into metal, to cast it and machine itto fit the device. That effort would entail months of preparation,increasing the risk of detection, and it would require elaboratesafeguards to prevent a mishap that, as the paper dryly put it, would''bring the operation to a close.''

Still, the experts concluded, the answer to the question posed in thetitle, while qualified, was ''Yes, they can.''

David Albright, who worked as a United Nations weapons inspector inIraq, says Saddam Hussein's unsuccessful crash program to build anuclear weapon in 1990 illustrates how a single bad decision can mean ahuge setback. Iraq had extracted highly enriched uranium fromresearch-reactor fuel and had, maybe, barely enough for a bomb. But themanager in charge of casting the metal was so afraid the stuff wouldspill or get contaminated that he decided to melt it in tiny batches. Asa result, so much of the uranium was wasted that he ended up with toolittle for a bomb.

''You need good managers and organizational people to put the elementstogether,'' Albright said. ''If you do a straight-line extrapolation,terrorists will all get nuclear weapons. But they make mistakes.''

On the other hand, many experts underestimate the prospect of ado-it-yourself bomb because they are thinking too professionally. All ofour experience with these weapons is that the people who make them(states, in other words) want them to be safe, reliable, predictable andefficient. Weapons for the American arsenal are designed to survive atrip around the globe in a missile, to be accident-proof, to produce aprecisely specified blast.

But there are many corners you can cut if you are content with a big,ugly, inefficient device that would make a spectacular impression. Ifyour bomb doesn't need to fit in a suitcase (and why should it?) or toendure the stress of a missile launch; if you don't care whether theexplosive power realizes its full potential; if you're willing to acceptsome risk that the thing might go off at the wrong time or might not gooff at all, then the job of building it is immeasurably simplified.

''As you get smarter, you realize you can get by with less,'' Albrightsaid. ''You can do it in facilities that look like barns, garages, withsimple machine tools. You can do it with 10 to 15 people, not allPh.D.'s, but some engineers, technicians. Our judgment is that agun-type device is well within the capability of a terroristorganization.''

All the technological challenges are greatly simplified if terroristsare in league with a country -- a place with an infrastructure. A stateis much better suited to hire expertise (like dispirited scientists fromdecommissioned nuclear installations in the old Soviet Union) or to sendits own scientists for M.I.T. degrees.

Thus Tom Cochran said his greatest fear is what you might call a bespokenuke -- terrorists stealing a quantity of weapons-grade uranium andtaking it to Iraq or Iran or Libya, letting the scientists and engineersthere fashion it into an elementary weapon and then taking it away for adelivery that would have no return address.

That leaves one big obstacle to the terrorist nuke-maker: the fissilematerial itself.

To be reasonably sure of a nuclear explosion, allowing for some materialbeing lost in the manufacturing process, you need roughly 50 kilograms-- 110 pounds -- of highly enriched uranium. (For a weapon, more than 90percent of the material should consist of the very unstable uranium-235isotope.) Tom Cochran, the master of visual aids, has 15 pounds ofdepleted uranium that he keeps in a Coke can; an eight-pack would beplenty to build a bomb.

The world is awash in the stuff. Frank von Hippel, a Princeton physicistand arms-control advocate, has calculated that between 1,300 and 2,100metric tons of weapons-grade uranium exists -- at the low end, enoughfor 26,000 rough-hewed bombs. The largest stockpile is in Russia, whichSenator Joseph Biden calls ''the candy store of candy stores.''

Until a decade ago, Russian officials say, no one worried much about thesafety of this material. Viktor Mikhailov, who ran the atomic energyministry and now presides over an affiliated research institute,concedes there were glaring lapses.

''The safety of nuclear materials was always on our minds, but the focuswas on intruders,'' he said. ''The system had never taken account of thepossibility that these carefully screened people in the nuclear spherecould themselves represent a danger. The system was not designed toprevent a danger from within.''

Then came the collapse of the Soviet Union and, in the early 90's, a fewfrightening cases of nuclear materials popping up on the black market.

If you add up all the reported attempts to sell highly enriched uraniumor plutonium, even including those that have the scent ofsecurity-agency hype and those where the material was of uncertainquality, the total amount of material still falls short of what abomb-maker would need to construct a single explosive.

But Yuri G. Volodin, the chief of safeguards at Gosatomnadzor, theRussian nuclear regulatory agency, told me his inspectors still discoverone or two instances of attempted theft a year, along with dozens ofviolations of the regulations for storing and securing nuclear material.And as he readily concedes: ''These are the detected cases. We can'ttalk about the cases we don't know.'' Alexander Pikayev, a former aideto the Defense Committee of the Russian Duma, said: ''The vast majorityof installations now have fences. But you know Russians. If you walkalong the perimeter, you can see a hole in the fence, because theemployees want to come and go freely.''

The bulk of American investment in nuclear safety goes to lock the stuffup at the source. That is clearly the right priority. Other programs aredevoted to blending down the highly enriched uranium to a dilutedproduct unsuitable for weapons but good as reactor fuel. The NuclearThreat Initiative, financed by Ted Turner and led by Nunn, is studyingways to double the rate of this diluting process.

Still, after 10 years of American subsidies, only 41 percent of Russia'sweapon-usable material has been secured, according to the United StatesDepartment of Energy. Russian officials said they can't even be sure howmuch exists, in part because the managers of nuclear facilities, likeeveryone else in the Soviet industrial complex, learned to cook theirbooks. So the barn door is still pretty seriously ajar. We don't knowwhether any horses have gotten out.

And it is not the only barn. William C. Potter, director of the Centerfor Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of InternationalStudies and an expert in nuclear security in the former Soviet states,said the American focus on Russia has neglected other locations thatcould be tempting targets for a terrorist seeking bomb-making material.There is, for example, a bomb's worth of weapons-grade uranium at a sitein Belarus, a country with an erratic president and an anti-Americanorientation. There is enough weapons-grade uranium for a bomb or two inKharkiv, in Ukraine. Outside of Belgrade, in a research reactor atVinca, sits sufficient material for a bomb -- and there it sat whileNATO was bombarding the area.

''We need to avoid the notion that because the most material is inRussia, that's where we should direct all of our effort,'' Potter said.''It's like assuming the bank robber will target Fort Knox becausethat's where the most gold is. The bank robber goes where the gold ismost accessible.''

Weapons of Mass Disruption

The first and, so far, only consummated act of nuclear terrorism tookplace in Moscow in 1995, and it was scarcely memorable. Chechen rebelsobtained a canister of cesium, possibly from a hospital they hadcommandeered a few months before. They hid it in a Moscow park famed forits weekend flea market and called the press. No one was hurt.Authorities treated the incident discreetly, and a surge of panicquickly passed.

The story came up in virtually every conversation I had in Russia aboutnuclear terror, usually to illustrate that even without splitting atomsand making mushroom clouds a terrorist could use radioactivity -- andthe fear of it -- as a potent weapon.

The idea that you could make a fantastic weapon out of radioactivematerial without actually producing a nuclear bang has been around sincethe infancy of nuclear weaponry. During World War II, Americanscientists in the Manhattan Project worried that the Germans would rainradioactive material on our troops storming the beaches on D-Day. RobertS. Norris, the biographer of the Manhattan Project director, Gen. LeslieR. Groves, told me that the United States took this threat seriouslyenough to outfit some of the D-Day soldiers with Geiger counters.

No country today includes radiological weapons in its armories. Butradiation's limitations as a military tool -- its tendency to driftafield with unplanned consequences, its long-term rather than short-termlethality -- would not necessarily count against it in the mind of aterrorist. If your aim is to instill fear, radiation is anthrax-plus.And unlike the fabrication of a nuclear explosive, this is terror withinthe means of a soloist.

That is why, if you polled the universe of people paid to worry aboutweapons of mass destruction (W.M.D., in the jargon), you would find ageneral agreement that this is probably the first thing we'll see. ''Ifthere is a W.M.D. attack in the next year, it's likely to be aradiological attack,'' said Rose Gottemoeller, who handled Russiannuclear safety in the Clinton administration and now follows the subjectfor the Carnegie Endowment. The radioactive heart of a dirty bomb couldbe spent fuel from a nuclear reactor or isotopes separated out in theprocess of refining nuclear fuel. These materials are many times moreabundant and much, much less protected than the high-grade stuffsuitable for bombs. Since Sept.11, Russian officials have begun lobbyinghard to expand the program of American aid to include protection ofthese lower-grade materials, and the Bush administration has earmarked afew million dollars to study the problem. But the fact is thatradioactive material suitable for terrorist attacks is so widelyavailable that there is little hope of controlling it all.

The guts of a dirty bomb could be cobalt-60, which is readily availablein hospitals for use in radiation therapy and in food processing to killthe bacteria in fruits and vegetables. It could be cesium-137, commonlyused in medical gauges and radiotherapy machines. It could be americium,an isotope that behaves a lot like plutonium and is used in smokedetectors and in oil prospecting. It could be plutonium, which exists inmany research laboratories in America. If you trust the security ofthose American labs, pause and reflect that the investigation into thegreat anthrax scare seems to be focused on disaffected Americanscientists.

Back in 1974, Theodore Taylor and Mason Willrich, in a book on thedangers of nuclear theft, examined things a terrorist might do if he gothis hands on 100 grams of plutonium -- a thimble size amount. Theycalculated that a killer who dissolved it, made an aerosol andintroduced it into the ventilation system of an office building coulddeliver a lethal dose to the entire floor area of a large skyscraper.But plutonium dispersed outdoors in the open air, they estimated, wouldbe far less effective. It would blow away in a gentle wind.

The Federation of American Scientists recently mapped out for aCongressional hearing the consequences of various homemade dirty bombsdetonated in New York or Washington. For example, a bomb made with asingle footlong pencil of cobalt from a food irradiation plant and just10 pounds of TNT and detonated at Union Square in a light wind wouldsend a plume of radiation drifting across three states. Much ofManhattan would be as contaminated as the permanently closed area aroundthe Chernobyl nuclear plant. Anyone living in Manhattan would have atleast a 1-in-100 chance of dying from cancer caused by the radiation. Anarea reaching deep into the Hudson Valley would, under currentEnvironmental Protection Agency standards, have to be decontaminated ordestroyed.

Frank von Hippel, the Princeton physicist, has reviewed the data, and hepointed out that this is a bit less alarming than it sounds. ''Yourprobability of dying of cancer in your lifetime is already about 20percent,'' he said. ''This would increase it to 20.1 percent. Would youabandon a city for that? I doubt it.''

Indeed, some large portion of our fear of radiation is irrational. Andyet the fact that it's all in your mind is little consolation if it'salso in the minds of a large, panicky population. If the actual effectof a radiation bomb is that people clog the bridges out of town, swarmthe hospitals and refuse to return to live and work in a contaminatedplace, then the impact is a good deal more than psychological. To thisday, there is bitter debate about the actual health toll from theChernobyl nuclear accident. There are researchers who claim that thepeople who evacuated are actually in worse health over all from thetrauma of relocation, than those who stayed put and marinated in theresidual radiation. But the fact is, large swaths of developed landaround the Chernobyl site still lie abandoned, much of it bulldozed downto the subsoil. The Hart Senate Office Building was closed for threemonths by what was, in hindsight, our society's inclination to err onthe side of alarm.

There are measures the government can take to diminish the dangers of aradiological weapon, and many of them are getting more seriousconsideration. The Bush administration has taken a lively new interestin radiation-detection devices that might catch dirty-bomb materials intransit. A White House official told me the administration's judgment isthat protecting the raw materials of radiological terror is worth doing,but not at the expense of more catastrophic threats.

''It's all over,'' he said. ''It's not a winning proposition to say youcan just lock all that up. And then, a bomb is pretty darn easy to make.You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure about fertilizer anddiesel fuel.'' A big fertilizer bomb of the type Timothy McVeigh used tokill 168 people in Oklahoma City, spiced with a dose of cobalt orcesium, would not tax the skills of a determined terrorist.

''It's likely to happen, I think, in our lifetime,'' the official said.''And it'll be like Oklahoma City plus the Hart Office Building. Whichis real bad, but it ain't the World Trade Center.''

The Peril of Power Plants Every eight years or so the security guards ateach of the country's 103 nuclear power stations and at national weaponslabs can expect to be attacked by federal agents armed with laser-tagrifles. These mock terror exercises are played according to elaboraterules, called the ''design basis threat,'' that in the view of skepticsfavor the defense. The attack teams can include no more than threecommandos. The largest vehicle they are permitted is an S.U.V. They areallowed to have an accomplice inside the plant, but only one. They arenot allowed to improvise. (The mock assailants at one Department ofEnergy lab were ruled out of order because they commandeered awheelbarrow to cart off a load of dummy plutonium.) The mock attacks areactually announced in advance. Even playing by these rules, theattackers manage with some regularity to penetrate to the heart of anuclear plant and damage the core. Representative Edward J. Markey, aMassachusetts Democrat and something of a scourge of the nuclear powerindustry, has recently identified a number of shortcomings in thesafeguards, including, apparently, lax standards for clearing workershired at power plants.

One of the most glaring lapses, which nuclear regulators concede andhave promised to fix, is that the design basis threat does notcontemplate the possibility of a hijacker commandeering an airplane anddiving it into a reactor. In fact, the protections currently in placedon't consider the possibility that the terrorist might be willing, eveneager, to die in the act. The government assumes the culprits would becaught while trying to get away.

A nuclear power plant is essentially a great inferno of decayingradioactive material, kept under control by coolant. Turning this deviceinto a terrorist weapon would require cutting off the coolant so theatomic furnace rages out of control and, equally important, getting theradioactive matter to disperse by an explosion or fire. (At Three MileIsland, the coolant was cut off and the reactor core melted down,generating vast quantities of radiation. But the thick walls of thecontainment building kept the contaminant from being released, so no onedied.)

One way to accomplish both goals might be to fly a large jetliner intothe fortified building that holds the reactor. Some experts say a jetengine would stand a good chance of bursting the containment vessel, andthe sheer force of the crash might disable the cooling system --rupturing the pipes and cutting off electricity that pumps the waterthrough the core. Before nearby residents had begun to evacuate, youcould have a meltdown that would spew a volcano of radioactive isotopesinto the air, causing fatal radiation sickness for those exposed to highdoses and raising lifetime cancer rates for miles around.

This sort of attack is not as easy, by a long shot, as hitting the WorldTrade Center. The reactor is a small, low-lying target, often nestlednear the conspicuous cooling towers, which could be destroyed withoutgreat harm. The reactor is encased in reinforced concrete several feetthick, probably enough, the industry contends, to withstand a crash. Thepilot would have to be quite a marksman, and somewhat lucky. A high windwould disperse the fumes before they did great damage.

Invading a plant to produce a meltdown, even given the record of thosemock attacks, would be more complicated, because law enforcement frommany miles around would be on the place quickly, and because breachingthe containment vessel is harder from within. Either invaders or akamikaze attacker could instead target the more poorly protected coolingponds, where used plutonium sits, encased in great rods of zirconiumalloy. This kind of sabotage would take longer to generate radiation andwould be far less lethal.

Discussion of this kind of potential radiological terrorism is coloredby passionate disagreements over nuclear power itself. Thus the nuclearindustry and its rather tame regulators sometimes sound dismissive aboutthe vulnerability of the plants (although less so since Sept.11), whilethose who regard nuclear power as inherently evil tend to overstate therisks. It is hard to sort fact from fear-mongering.

Nuclear regulators and the industry grumpily concede that Sept. 11requires a new estimate of their defenses, and under prodding fromCongress they are redrafting the so-called design basis threat, the oneplants are required to defend against. A few members of Congress haveproposed installing ground-to-air missiles at nuclear plants, which mostexperts think is a recipe for a disastrous mishap.

''Probably the only way to protect against someone flying an aircraftinto a nuclear power plant,'' said Steve Fetter of the University ofMaryland, ''is to keep hijackers out of cockpits.''

Being Afraid For those who were absorbed by the subject of nuclearterror before it became fashionable, the months since the terror attackshave been, paradoxically, a time of vindication. President Bush, whosefirst budget cut $100 million from the programs to protect Russianweapons and material (never a popular program among conservativeRepublicans), has become a convert. The administration has made nuclearterror a priority, and it is getting plenty of goading to keep it one.You can argue with their priorities and their budgets, but it's hard toaccuse anyone of indifference. And resistance -- from scientists whodon't want security measures to impede their access to nuclear researchmaterials, from generals and counterintelligence officials uneasy abouthaving their bunkers inspected, from nuclear regulators who worry aboutthe cost of nuclear power, from conservatives who don't want tosubsidize the Russians to do much of anything -- has become harder tosustain. Intelligence gathering on nuclear material has been abysmal,but it is now being upgraded; it is a hot topic at meetings betweenAmerican and foreign intelligence services, and we can expect morenumerous and more sophisticated sting operations aimed at disrupting theblack market for nuclear materials. Putin, too, has taken notice. Justbefore leaving to meet Bush in Crawford, Tex., in November, he summonedthe head of the atomic energy ministry to the Kremlin on a Saturday todiscuss nuclear security. The subject is now on the regular agenda whenBush and Putin talk.

These efforts can reduce the danger but they cannot neutralize the fear,particularly after we have been so vividly reminded of the hostilitysome of the world feels for us, and of our vulnerability.

Fear is personal.

My own -- in part, because it's the one I grew up with, the one thatmade me shiver through the Cuban missile crisis and ''On the Beach'' --is the horrible magic of nuclear fission. A dirty bomb or an assault ona nuclear power station, ghastly as that would be, feels to me withinthe range of what we have survived. As the White House official I spokewith said, it's basically Oklahoma City plus the Hart Office Building. Anuclear explosion is in a different realm of fears and would test thecountry in ways we can scarcely imagine.

As I neared the end of this assignment, I asked Matthew McKinzie, astaff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, to run acomputer model of a one-kiloton nuclear explosion in Times Square, halfa block from my office, on a nice spring workday. By the standards ofserious nuclear weaponry, one kiloton is a junk bomb, hardly worthy ofrespect, a fifteenth the power of the bomb over Hiroshima.

A couple of days later he e-mailed me the results, which I combined withestimates of office workers and tourist traffic in the area. The blastand searing heat would gut buildings for a block in every direction,incinerating pedestrians and crushing people at their desks. Let's say20,000 dead in a matter of seconds. Beyond this, to a distance of morethan a quarter mile, anyone directly exposed to the fireball would die agruesome death from radiation sickness within a day -- anyone, that is,who survived the third-degree burns. This larger circle would bepopulated by about a quarter million people on a workday. Half a milefrom the explosion, up at Rockefeller Center and down at Macy's,unshielded onlookers would expect a slower death from radiation. Amushroom cloud of irradiated debris would blossom more than two milesinto the air, and then, 40 minutes later, highly lethal fallout wouldbegin drifting back to earth, showering injured survivors and doomingrescue workers. The poison would ride for 5 or 10 miles on theprevailing winds, deep into the Bronx or Queens or New Jersey.

A terrorist who pulls off even such a small-bore nuclear explosion willtake us to a whole different territory of dread from Sept. 11. It is theevent that preoccupies those who think about this for a living, acategory I seem to have joined.

''I think they're going to try,'' said the physicist David Albright.''I'm an optimist at heart. I think we can catch them in time. If onegoes off, I think we will survive. But we won't be the same. It willaffect us in a fundamental way. And not for the better.''

Bill Keller is a Times columnist and a senior writer for the magazine.
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3.
Heading Off Nuclear Terrorism
New York Times
May 25, 2002
(for personal use only)


Warnings by federal officials that terrorists may strike again in thiscountry have ratcheted up concerns about everything from suicide bombersto explosions in apartment buildings or at prominent landmarks. But themost frightening prospect of all is that terrorists will someday layhands on or fabricate a nuclear weapon and explode it on American soil,causing devastation that would dwarf any terrorist act yet seen. This isa danger that demands a much more urgent response than it has thus farreceived.

Virtually every expert group that has analyzed the threat agrees thatthe surest way to prevent nuclear terrorism is to keep nuclear weaponsor the materials needed to make them out of the hands of terrorists.Thus it is distressing to learn that, for all the effort in recent yearsto control vulnerable materials in the former Soviet Union, progress hasbeen slow. Although strategic nuclear weapons have been consolidated inRussia and are guarded by professional security forces, the handling ofsmaller tactical nuclear weapons inspires less confidence. These weaponsare more attractive to terrorists because of their portability. Equallytroubling, enhanced security measures put in place in recent years coveronly 40 percent of the potential bomb material in Russia, according toan authoritative report last week from Harvard's Project on Managing theAtom.

The problem is not, for the moment, money, although funding has remainedflat. Rather it is a lack of focus and priority. Nothing seems moreurgent than appointing a high-level official in both the United Statesand Russia to direct efforts to secure nuclear materials and weapons andaccelerate every program that can contribute to protecting thesematerials. It seems particularly important to reduce the stockpiles ofhighly enriched uranium, the likely material of choice for terroristssince it is easier to make into bombs than is plutonium, and is morewidely available at loosely guarded civilian facilities, according toboth the Harvard group and a report issued last week by the Federationof American Scientists.

Nor is Russia the only problem. Other nations have nuclear weapons thatmay not be adequately guarded, and nuclear materials that could be usedto build weapons are available at civilian institutes around the world.The United States and Russia should organize a global coalition tosecure and account for all dangerous materials and eliminate them wherepossible.vLocating a nuclear weapon in the hands of terrorists would be no simpletrick. Sensors can be deployed to detect the radioactive emissions ofbombs or weapons-grade materials, but plutonium and uranium are not allthat easy to detect, lead shields can hide their emissions, and today'ssensors have limited range. The federal government has ramped up itsspending on sensor development, and a bill introduced by Senator CharlesSchumer would increase it a lot faster, by providing $250 million todevelop nuclear screening devices for ports and toll booths and $150million to buy new mobile scanning devices for the Customs Service.

Meanwhile, security experts in the Bush administration are pondering thepotential for placing sensors at ports and airports abroad, on ships andinside shipping containers en route, at points of entry into the UnitedStates, and along critical highways or at bridges, truck stations andtoll booths. Such sensors could also help protect against so-calleddirty bombs, in which a conventional explosive would be used to disperseradioactive material.

An attack with a full-fledged nuclear weapon may seem unlikely in thenear future, but the penalty for failing to act now could bedevastating.
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4.
Russian Nuke Dangers Studied
Nicholas M. Horrock
United Press International
May 25, 2002
(for personal use only)


Secretary of State Colin Powell said Saturday that a working group oftop U.S. and Russian officials will seek to establish how Russia hashandled nuclear materials that could be used by terrorists for a "dirtybomb" as well as other tactical nuclear and chemical/biological weapons.

In a meeting with reporters here after the signing in Moscow of a majorstrategic nuclear arms reduction treaty Friday, Powell said the UnitedStates is moving to learn the security level of Russian stockpiles ofshort and medium range nuclear weapons, nuclear material andchemical/biological warfare materials.

"With respect to fissile material (nuclear material that could be usedin an explosion), I can't tell you how much is unaccounted for, if any."He said the U.S. wants to have a "broader dialogue" with the Russians toestablish what they produced and how it has been handled.

He said they would seek to get it under "solid accountability, so thatthe whole world can be more comfortable with the knowledge that it isunder solid accountability."

Powell said the group has four members including Secretary of DefenseDonald Rumsfeld, Powell and the Russian defense and foreign ministers.

Powell said that the Russians haven't given the United States "all theintimation on just what type of technology, chemical activities,biological activities that they've had ongoing over the years."

Powell said Rumsfeld has made a particular point of urging theadministration to pin down how the Russians are handling so-called"tactical" nuclear weapons, which include short range missiles,artillery shells and other weapons used by military field forces. In1991, under President George H.W Bush, both Russia and the United Statesagreed to unilaterally reduce those weapons. The United States destroyedfar more of those weapons than the Russians did, and arms controlexperts believe that the Russians have 20,000 of those weapons inwarehouses. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that thisstockpile is totally secure, but western intelligence sources claim theyhave no assurance of that.

Powell said the U.S. now wants to know "Have you met the unilateralcommitments you made 10 years ago to get rid of these?"

Following Sept. 11, U.S. officials have become concerned that al Qaidaelements may have obtained either nuclear materials that could produce a"dirty bomb," which is nuclear material that would exploded byconventional explosives but would spread radioactivity. There have alsobeen concerns that terrorists might have obtained two kinds ofexplosives in the Russian tactical arsenal: the "suitcase" or "backpack"bombs developed to be delivered by Russian commandos in wartime.

The Bush administration has feared that a terrorist delivered nuclearexplosion in an urban area would be far more devastating that the losseson Sept. 11.
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G. Nuclear Safety

1.
Nuclear Ministry Warns Against Attempts By Environmentalists To EnterGuarded Nuclear Facilities
Interfax
May 25, 2002
(for personal use only)


Attempts by environmentalists to illegally enter guarded nuclearterritories in Russia could end tragically, Russian Minister of NuclearEnergy Alexander Rumyantsev told a press conference in Moscow onSaturday.

"I am afraid that if 'the greens' persistently try to enter guardednuclear territories, it could end tragically," the minister said.

"It is impossible to overcome the boundaries of guarded nuclearfacilities today," and guards have been instructed to open fire foreffect if their demands are ignored and violators "continue to enter aclosed territory," Rumyantsev said.

There have been no such incidents at closed nuclear territories so far,as the guards managed to detain all violators, he said.

At the same time, he said that he is concerned over persistent effortson the part of members of various ecological organizations to enterclosed nuclear territories in an attempt to prove that it is possible tosteal nuclear materials from Russian storage facilities.

The minister also said that he categorically disagrees with a statementfrom the U.S. company CBS, which recently claimed that the threat ofnuclear materials theft from Russian storage facilities is real.
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H. Links of Interest

1.
Briefing On Bush Europe Visit: U.S., Russia Discussing Inspectors ForIran
U.S. Department of State
May 26, 2002
http://usinfo.state.gov/cgi-bin/washfile/display.pl?p=/products/washfile/latest&f=02052620.wlt&t=/products/washfile/newsitem.shtml


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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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