1. New US Budget Dumps Conversion of Russian Plutonium Reactors
Charles Digges and Igor Kudrik
June 12, 2002
(for personal use only)
In Eastern Siberia, three reactors continue to churn out weapons gradeplutonium at the rate of 1,500 kilograms a year. The conversion of thesereactors, which until recently had been the responsibility of the decadeold, Pentagon-run Cooperative Threat Reduction act (CTR), have come nocloser over the past decade to reaching fruition.
Meanwhile, the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from these reactors continues tobe shipped to local radiological plants, where it is reprocessed forweapons grade plutonium. These three reactors - one in Zheleznogorsk(Krasnoyarsk-26) and two at Seversk (Tomsk-7) - are imperative, insistlocal plant directors, to maintaining heat and electricity through thewinter, regardless of the plutonium they produce.
Enter the US Department of Energy (DOE) - to which this program has beentransferred - with a $49.3 million budget to not refurbish, but shutdown these reactors altogether and build or refurbish fossil fuel plantsto meet local energy needs, which the plutonium producing reactor havebeen supplying.
The DOE may also get another $75 million in unspent Pentagon, orDepartment of Defence (DOD), funds that remained in DOD coffers when theprogram was transferred.
The reshuffled programme will also reduce the non-proliferation risksassociated with the waste from the three reactors, which creates another1,500 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium a year - adding to Russia'sunofficially estimated 125 tonnes. Official calculations for an exactfigure are underway at Physics Energy Institute in Obninsk, but thepreliminary results are still classified. The US, by comparison, hasproduced about 100 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium beginning from1945. The plutonium produced at the Seversk and Zheleznogorsk reactorsis currently stored on-site.
According to a report on the Bush Administrations non-proliferationbudget requests released in April by the Russian American NuclearSecurity Advisory Council (RANSAC) - a non-governmental agency thatadvises both governments - this reactor elimination program was takenout of DOD hands because of Congressional restrictions prevent the useof CTR funds for purposes beyond weapons security and destruction.
Just this week, DOE officials were in Moscow to lay groundwork for thenew plan. These officials declined to discuss the project "at thisstage," but Russian officials interviewed by Bellona Web see a number oflooming issues before the reactors - which are located in closed nuclearcities - are shut down for good in about 2006.
Among them are concerns for job that will be lost once radiochemicalplants - which reprocess the fuel from these reactors - are shut down.Vladimir Kuznetsov, a formerNuclear Regulatory inspector and now with the NGO Green Cross, said inan interview with Bellona Web that the SNF from these reactors isreprocessed for weapons-grade plutonium.
Further quarrels are bound to erupt when it comes time to chose a placeto build the fossil fuel plants - in the closed cities, or onsurrounding civilian territory, plant officials and environmentalistssaid.
"A conventional heat plant, called Sosnovoborsk, is located 20kilometres from Zheleznogorsk and has been under construction since late1980s," Anatoly Mamaev, member of a Siberian NGO Citizens' Centre forNuclear Non-Proliferation, told Bellona Web. The construction of theplant was later frozen after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Meanwhile, until the fossil fuel plants are built - which may take $300million by Duma Deputy Sergei Mintrokhin's reckoning - the reactors willcontinue to operate and produce plutonium.
History of the Pentagon programme transfer
About a decade ago Russia operated a total of 13 plutonium reactors.Since then,10 of these reactors have been shut down. The ones at Severskand Zheleznogorsk have been allowed to continue operation thanks to theheat and energy they supply the surrounding region. By comparison, theUnited States has closed all of its 14 plutonium producing reactors.
In 1997, Russia and America signed an agreement under the aegis of CTRwith the Russian Nuclear Ministry to convert the remaining threereactors in a way that they stop generating additional volumes ofweapons-grade plutonium - the so-called core conversion project. TheDOD, with cash and advice, was to implement that program, and a targetdate for full conversion of the reactors was set for Dec. 31, 2000 - adate that came and went with little progress made.
More clouds began to develop over the project. All three reactors wereon average 32 years old and pioneers of the Chernobyl type RMBK reactor.The reactor in Zheleznogorsk went into service in 1964. Seversk'sreactors followed in 1965 and 1967. They were simply getting old.
Russia's Nuclear Power Ministry, Minatom, began dragging its feet as theoriginal conversion deadline of Dec. 31, 2000 approached because of theradiochemical reprocessing plants that would be closed, sending hundredsof workers home for New Year's without jobs perspectives.
Meanwhile, Gosatomnadzor (GAN), Russia's increasingly marginalizednuclear regulatory agency, was bellowing its protests of the conversionprogram and threatened to withdraw the reactors' operation licenses.
In a rare accord, Minatom agreed with GAN and reported to the DOD thatconversion was not expedient. DOD officials proposed the alternativeplan of funding the construction of conventional fossil fuel plantsthrough taking care of regional energy needs by 2006, and so theprogramme was reassigned to the DOE.
Meanwhile, the reactors would continue to operate, producing heat,energy and plutonium. Minatom's erstwhile alliance with GAN, therefore,had a silver lining for the Nuclear Ministry: Minatom will gain anothereight years of plutonium from the reactors.
Aside from the Congressional stipulations that CTR focus on weaponssecurity and destruction, it also became clear, according to oneofficial close to the process, that DOD was getting set to take a bath.
The program was "mismanaged - one word, mismanaged," said the officialspeaking on the condition of anonymity.
"In the end a good feasibility study was not performed," by the Russiansfor the core conversion project, he said.
"The original cost estimate for it when it was under DOD control was$75M - but they never realized that in addition to whatever conversionwas required, the reactors also would require a different type of fuel -and that was a $100 million cost. That was not accounted for."
In the end, the official said, the repeated feasibility studies hadballooned to $300 million and the schedule kept slipping, but, said theofficial, it was up to the Russian side to determine these fine pointsof the core conversion program.
"We cannot do their feasibility study, we cannot come up with their costanalysis. only they can tell you," the official said. "They say 'youyou' and we say its not our program, you are managing it. You tell uswhat the schedule is. You tell us what's feasible, what's required. Wewill review and decide whether we going to pay for it. So, in otherwords it was a fundamentally flawed approach."
Plutonium until 2006
If all goes according to schedule under the new DOE stewardship of the"Elimination of Russian Weapons Grade Plutonium Production" the reactorswill continue to produce plutonium in exchange for local power while thefossil fuel plants are being built.
At the end of that time, the reactors themselves will have to sit foranother 50 years, loaded with spent fuel, until radiation reached levelsacceptable for their dismantlement.
>From now until the reactor's closure date, they will have producedanother 6000 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium, which begs thequestion - why isn't SNF from these plants put into conventional storageinstead of reprocessed into basically worthless plutonium?
According to the anonymous official, the decision taken bilaterally bythe Russians and Americans to continue reprocessing instead of optingfor storage came out of space considerations at plants.
"It's easier to store it in plutonium oxide form after its beenreprocessed," he said. "- It's very uneconomical to just store spentfuel. it's very bulky its something that cannot be easily handled, itsvery hot."
But even though the expected shut down date for the reactors isprojected for 2006, experience shows such deadlines can be less thanbinding. The reactors, therefore will most likely die of natural causes.Minatom has managed to keep the worthless radiochemical plants operatingso far and may succeed in doing so for another eight years. return to menu
B. Radiological weapons 1. Radioactive Market Booms in C. Asia
June 14, 2002
(for personal use only)
A passenger toted a 20-pound stash of radioactive thorium powder onto abus in his luggage. Another smuggler, unwisely, stuck a highlyradioactive capsule in his trousers pocket as he boarded a flight.Chechen rebels were the apparent customers for stolen radium in a thirdcase.
The new nations of Central Asia have become a traffickers' marketplacefor radioactive materials. It was the place Jose Padilla headed to,Pakistani investigators say, when the al-Qaida suspect sought the stuffof a "dirty bomb."
Confronting the threat is a big job, but the U.S. government has begunsending detection equipment to border posts in the vast region andtraining customs officers in intercepting nuclear contraband.
Pakistani officials said Padilla, now in U.S. custody, traveled to aCentral Asian country in April hoping to buy radioactive materials. TheAmerican convert to Islam had conferred with senior members of Osama binLaden's al-Qaida network about detonating a radiation weapon, or "dirtybomb," in the United States, U.S. authorities say.
Such a device would not be a nuclear bomb, with its devastating fissionexplosion, but instead would set off conventional explosives to scatterharmful radioactive material, contaminating and panicking people andforcing abandonment of parts of cities.
The Pakistani officials would not say whether Padilla was successful inobtaining radioactive substances, nor would they identify the country hewas said to have visited. In Washington, U.S. officials, speaking oncondition of anonymity, said the United States had no such informationand questioned whether the reported mission took place.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the newly independentCentral Asian states - Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan,Kyrgyzstan - have dealt with a legacy of abandoned nuclear materials andof facilities left poorly staffed after Russian specialists went home.
The only nuclear weapons in the region, in Kazakhstan, were withdrawn toRussia in the early 1990s. In 1994, a half-ton of highly enricheduranium - raw material of nuclear bombs - was spirited out of Kazakhstanin a U.S. operation.
But material for possible "dirty bombs" remains scattered and oftenpoorly controlled in the region - the cesium, strontium, cobalt andother radioactive substances used in medicine and industry, thelow-grade uranium and radioactive waste of nuclear power plants.
"Protecting against radioactive sources is much harder than securingnuclear materials," said Dmitry Kovchegin, a nuclear proliferationspecialist at Moscow's Center for Policy Studies in Russia. "It's not sohard to create a dirty bomb, and it's not so hard to find the material.It's used everywhere."
Some cases from the marketplace where Padilla allegedly shopped, basedon local media reports:
-In March, a radiation check of a bus crossing into Russia fromKazakhstan found a Russian passenger had packed at least 10 kilograms(22 pounds) of thorium-232 powder into his luggage. Its radiation was"hundreds of times" normal background levels, authorities said. Itsorigin and destination were not reported.
-In Kyrgyzstan, airport guards grew suspicious of a man who looked illas he boarded a flight to the United Arab Emirates. The Uzbek was foundto have pocketed a smuggled capsule of what he was told was plutonium.Local media said it emitted fatal doses of radiation at close range. Nosubsequent reports emerged about the 1999 case.
-In July 2000, two brothers from Kazakhstan were arrested afterallegedly smuggling radium-226 into Russia to sell to Chechens. Chechenseparatists in the mid-1990s had threatened to detonate "dirty bombs" inMoscow, but never did.
-In Tajikistan, six residents were convicted in April 2000 in the theftfrom a uranium processing plant of 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds) of uraniummixed with highly radioactive cesium-137. It was not reported howenriched - suitable for nuclear weapons - the uranium was. All of thosesubstances theoretically could be used for a radiation dispersal bomb.
Reports indicate that Pakistan and Afghanistan, until eight months ago ahub for international terrorism, were the destination in some nucleartrafficking cases in recent years. Those monitoring the situation haveno way to judge how many other such operations succeeded in smugglingradioactive substances.
The U.S. Customs Service last year conducted a three-week course inTexas for 80 border officers from the five Central Asian republics,focusing on radioactive contraband. The Americans also have dispatcheddetection equipment to the Russian-Kazkh border and Uzbekistan.
Last month, Washington and Moscow announced formation of a joint taskforce to study securing radioactive sources in Russia. This "shows howserious this issue is and that we're ready to solve it," said theRussian atomic energy minister, Alexander Rumyantsev. No similarcomprehensive approach has been organized yet for Central Asia. return to menu
2. Radiological devices: Weapons of mass dislocation
June 13, 2002
(for personal use only)
How dirty bombs are made, and what they can do
EVER since the September 11th attacks, it has been clear that thecapacity of al-Qaeda and its affiliates to plot death and destruction islimited only by the power of the weapons they can obtain. Keepingnuclear, chemical and germ weapons out of their hands has therefore beena priority.The arrest of Abdullah al-Muhajir on suspicion of plotting tobuild and set off in America a radiological device-a "dirty bomb" thatuses radioactive materials packed around a conventional explosivecore-is an indication of how hard that fight will be.
Why a radiological bomb? Unlike chemical, biological or even the morefamiliar sort of nuclear-fission bombs, radiological weapons have neverbeen used. Only Iraq's government is thought to have experimented withthem for deployment on the battlefield. It is not just that they causefar fewer casualties than their atomic cousins. Like chemical andbiological weapons, which are already outlawed, radiological weaponshave long been considered inappropriate for military use. But for theal-Qaeda breed of terrorist, such weapons have value precisely for theirpower to shock.
All do-it-yourself mass-destruction weapons have their drawbacks.Nuclear fission bombs are devastating-think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in1945-but require technical skills that would be hard, though notimpossible, for terrorists to master. Getting hold of enoughweapons-grade enriched uranium and plutonium is also not easy. Chemicalweapons, by contrast, can be simply made from fertiliser or pesticides,though more deadly nerve agents need considerably more expertise. Butyou need a lot of chemical agent to produce a lot of casualties. Germweapons can kill with much smaller doses-either of viruses orbacteria-but are hard to deliver effectively. The anthrax-laced letterssent through the United States postal system last year resulted in only18 confirmed cases of the disease and seven deaths.
Radiological weapons have their drawbacks, too. Technically, they arenot weapons of mass destruction at all. In most cases, the greater riskto those nearby would be from the conventional explosives used ratherthan the radioactive materials dispersed.
Even the long-term health effects of heightened radiation exposure aftersuch a device exploded are quite uncertain, according to Abel Gonzalez,the director of radiation and waste safety at the Vienna-basedInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Chernobyl nuclearaccident in Ukraine in 1986, he points out, pumped vastly moreradioactive material into the atmosphere than any imaginable "dirtybomb", yet scientists are still trying to guess what real effect thiswill have on cancer rates among people exposed to fall-out from theradioactive plume that spread across Europe.
The point, says Mr Gonzalez, is that however uncertain the healtheffects, sensors can immediately pick up even a slight increase inbackground radiation. Given people's fears about radiation exposure, itwould be panic, rather than the numbers of dead or damaged, that wouldgive the terrorists their success. It is this psychological impact,combined with their ease of assembly, that makes radiological devices soattractive to terrorists.
First find your cesium
Officials trying to stem nuclear proliferation used to congratulatethemselves that only a very few of the known incidences of traffickinginvolved the sort of uranium and plutonium useful for a bomb. Yet theblack market in materials of the sort needed for a dirty bomb is muchbigger. These materials include low-grade waste from power stations andsmall devices containing radioactive materials-such as cesium-137, usedin some cancer treatments, cobalt-60, used in food irradiation, oramericum, incorporated in sensors for oil exploration.
Such materials have literally hundreds of applications in industry,medicine and university research, and they are scattered about the worldaccordingly. Although the IAEA has for some years been proddinggovernments to tighten up procedures, it is only recently that some ofthem have started to take notice. Controls over such devices are oftenpoor, and get poorer still when the devices themselves have outlivedtheir usefulness.
Every year in the United States, a couple of hundred such devices areknown to go missing-lost, stolen or simply abandoned. The would-bedirty-bomber now in custody would not have had to look abroad for hismaterials. The record in other countries is often worse. This week, anIAEA-led team was fanning out in western Georgia in search of theremaining two of a batch of eight abandoned devices containingstrontium-90, another radioactive element, which had been used ingenerators for communication stations. Similar generators withradioactive elements are known to litter remote parts of Russia.
Many governments keep no record of such "orphaned" devices, although,over the years, they have been known to turn up in scrap metal withoutany terrorist involvement-and, without use of any detonator, have stillcaused horrible damage. In 1987, a scrap-scavenger in Brazil unwittinglycut up a canister containing cesium powder which he had stolen from anabandoned clinic: the resulting contamination left several people deadand 28 with radiation burns. The clean-up produced 3,500 cubic metres ofradioactive waste and left the local economy devastated.
Dirty bombs made of such materials might better be called weapons ofmass dislocation. A recent study by the Federation of AmericanScientists tried to estimate the health and other effects of threerelatively small bombs, detonated in either New York or Washington,designed to disperse radiation in quantities that might be found in astolen medical device or some other industrial radiation source.Estimates of injury and damage, it is admitted, could be out either wayby a factor of ten: much depends on the nature of the material used andon prevailing weather conditions. In each case, however, the number ofimmediate deaths and injuries was thought to be relatively low. It wasdecontamination, in areas from a few to dozens of city blocks, thatposed the greatest challenge. Often the only solution would bedemolition. It was these economic consequences, from the costs ofcleaning up to longer-term damage to business, running together intotens or hundreds of billions of dollars, that proved devastating. return to menu
3. Military radioactive substances tested in Kazakhstan - Russian scientist
June 13, 2002
(for personal use only)
Military radioactive substances were tested at the Semipalatinsk nucleartesting ground in the Eastern Kazakh Region. Vadim Logachev, arepresentative of the state scientific Center Institute of Biophysics(Russia), reported this information in Kurchatov on Thursday at aninternational scientific conference on Nuclear Science, RadioactiveEcology, and the Non-Proliferation Regime in Kazakhstan.
The National Nuclear Center told Interfax that this information was madepublic for the first time.
In 1953-1955, Logachev was directly involved in testing militaryradioactive substances at Semipalatinsk.
According to a pre-arranged plan, radioactive waste was packed anddropped from an airplane (or was blown up by a standard explosive deviceon the ground) so that the dispersed pollutants would act as a weapon ofmass destruction.
"The core of such a mass destruction weapon is made up of radioactivesubstances in liquid or powder form, prescribed for use in pollutionequipment, arms or other environmental objects," said Logachev.
He emphasized that it the results of radioactive testing atSemipalatinsk in 1958 concluded that this military research was notfeasible and the tests were halted.
Logachev also reported, citing the results of scientific studies by theNational Nuclear Center in 1990, that the density of radioactivecontamination of the terrain with Cesium-137 on the testing ground isnow within the limits of global fall-out.
The center explained that the limits of global fall-out are boundariesof general radiation fall-out from the upper layers of the atmosphereover the entire surface of the globe. [RU ASIA EUROPE EMRG NEWS] az mg return to menu
C. US-Russia Relations
1. From Summits to Sleepovers
June 17, 2002
(for personal use only)
As President George W. Bush left Russia last month, his entouragebreathed a combined sigh of relief and self-congratulation. "No moresummits," they said, "This Moscow-Petersburg extravaganza will be thelast of the Cold War type." From now on, the presidents of the UnitedStates and Russia can do without the pomp and ceremony. Soon VladimirPutin will be sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom after a night of watchingthe sports channel on Bush's private television. Or Bush will be beddingdown at Putin's dacha after a stint in the banya. Such informality, theBush team says, is more befitting a comfortable, friendly partnership.>From summits to sleepovers, that's where we're headed.
But as anyone with kids will tell you, sleepovers lead to mayhem ifthey're not well-managed. One kid lets the hamster loose; another dousesthe clothes and puts them in the freezer; someone else starts a foodfight. In children's parties, too much informality is a bad thing. Itleads to unpredictability and unhappiness, not a fun time for allconcerned.
The same might be said of international politics. I felt discomfort inMoscow after the summit, as Russian experts both in and out ofgovernment tried to reflect on its results. "Where do we go from here?"people kept asking.
I had to admit I didn't exactly know. Some important statements came outof the summit, on issues ranging from nonproliferation to energycooperation and trade. Moreover, the "Treaty of Moscow," themuch-heralded agreement to reduce strategic nuclear weapons, was signed,but loose ends are still hanging. In particular, the transparencymeasures that are needed to assure that nuclear warheads are no longer athreat must still be developed.
However, most of the people I spoke to in Washington wanted to avoid anorganized process. The notion of new talks to finish up the transparencymeasures is especially anathema, given the Bush allergy to negotiations,barely overcome to achieve the new agreement. Equally troubling is thesense that no plan has been agreed on to move forward on implementingthe summit agenda.
This reticence toward process is understandable. During his campaign,Bush pilloried the Clinton administration for too much process, inparticular criticizing Vice President Al Gore for his regular series ofmeetings with the Russian prime minister. Too much bureaucracy, the Bushcritique went, and too many meetings.
But the previous administration got results. Wide-ranginghigh-technology cooperation was developed. A comprehensive campaign wasput in place to ensure that old Soviet nuclear, chemical and biologicalweapons don't end up in terrorist hands. All of the nearly 4,000 nuclearwarheads in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus at the breakup of the SovietUnion came back to Russia to be destroyed, or safely redeployed. Andslowly but surely, U.S. energy companies made progress in Russia,establishing the legal basis for such enormous projects as the SakhalinII offshore oil venture in the Far East. These are only a few examples,but none of these efforts would have succeeded had the U.S. and Russiangovernments not applied themselves to a painstaking process.
Thus far, the Bush administration has no such record of accomplishmentin its Russia policy. The first three meetings between the presidentswere largely get-acquainted sessions; only the latest meeting in Moscowproduced results. These include not only the nuclear arms controltreaty, but also, in the joint declarations that were signed, awell-formulated work program ranging from energy and trade to regionalcooperation, joint nonproliferation and anti-terrorism efforts. Thisagenda is clear and compelling; now it needs to be tackled.
For this, the Bush administration is going to have to overcome itsdistaste for process. The president need not embrace the approach thathis predecessor took, but he is going to have to go beyond the handshaketo manage and nurture the effort, both inside Washington and indiscussions with the Russians. The same is true, of course, for Putin.
Informality is perhaps a good thing for presidents, but a bad one forgovernments. If Putin and Bush are able to drive forward on the agendathat they have set for themselves, then we will truly enter a new periodof U.S.-Russian partnership. If they do not, then the relationship willdrift, and we'll be left with the worst of all worlds -- informalitywithout progress, casual friendship without results. It will be like asleepover gone awry: Some kids go away mad, others go away unhappy, andall go away dissatisfied. return to menu
2. Russia Quits Arms Pact
June 15, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia pulled out of the 1993 START II nuclear arms treaty today, oneday after the United States formally withdrew from the Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty prohibiting construction of a missile defense system.
The action by the Russian parliament had limited practical effect,however, because the U.S. and Russian legislatures had ratifieddifferent versions of START II, preventing it from taking force.
But it had political impact in Moscow, where President Vladimir Putinhas been criticized for being too conciliatory toward the United Stateson arms control.
"Putin does want to show that two can play at this game," said JonWolfsthal, deputy director of the Non-Proliferation Project at theCarnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "This is asignal to the U.S., and it is also Putin consolidating support with themilitary and the hard-liners, telling the conservatives: We aren't goingto let them roll all over us."
By backing out of START II, Russia frees itself from what militaryexperts here considered onerous restrictions on the land-basedintercontinental missiles that are Russia's strongest nuclear assets.
START II's requirement that such weapons be armed with only one warheadeach meant in essence that Russia had to build an entire new generationof missiles, many analysts and lawmakers here said.
Other restrictions set by START II are obsolete, including therequirement that both countries slash their nuclear arsenals to 3,500warheads apiece.
A treaty signed in Moscow last month requires the United States andRussia to limit themselves to 1,750 to 2,200 each in the next decade.
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Russia was not retaliating for theU.S. decision to pull out of the ABM Treaty. That treaty expiredThursday, six months after Washington gave notice it would withdraw."The national defense system exists in virtual space, not in reality,"he told reporters in Kyrgyzstan. "So there is no need for retaliation."
The Foreign Ministry, however, blamed the United States for START II'sdemise, saying Washington had failed to fully ratify the treaty and hadinvalidated the ABM Treaty, which was the cornerstone of arms controlagreements for three decades.
Bush administration officials have said that a Russian decision to armits missiles with multiple warheads would not be a significant threat tothe United States. Washington is much more concerned about whethernuclear material could be stolen or diverted from Russia to unfriendlycountries, they said. return to menu
3. With a Shrug, a Monument to Cold War Fades Away
David E. Sanger with Michael Wines
New York Times
June 14, 2002
(for personal use only)
When the Antiballistic Missile Treaty was signed in 1972, Richard Nixonand Leonid Brezhnev sat side-by-side in Moscow, in an elaborate ceremonymeant to show that even cold war enemies could come to an agreement.
When it died today at age 30 years and 18 days, the White House issued afour-paragraph statement and the Kremlin shrugged, the absence ofceremony meant to show that the American-Russian partnership couldsurvive a disagreement.
For President Bush, it was the fulfillment of a campaign promise, and itwas a victory for conservatives who have long argued that therestrictions against missile defenses were making it impossible to testand ultimately build a system designed to counter a different threat:limited-scale missile attacks by rogue states or terrorist groups.Proponents of the treaty - including the Russians, the Europeans andadvocates of traditional arms control - often called it a cornerstone ofthe strategic relationship between the world's two largest nuclearpowers, and warned that its breach would set off an arms race.
Now both sides in that debate face new challenges. As one senioradministration official said, noting that the issue was nowtechnological rather than political, "missile defense rises and falls onwhether it works. It's not an ideological fight any more."
Meanwhile, Mr. Bush and his aides have repeatedly noted that theabandonment of the treaty was immediately followed by a negotiation toreduce both sides' nuclear arsenals by roughly two-thirds, to between1,700 and 2,200 warheads, within 10 years. "There was no arms race, nobreach of relations," Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser,told reporters last month. "There was a new treaty, codifying major armsreductions."
That agreement, called the Treaty of Moscow and signed by Mr. Bush andPresident Vladimir V. Putin at the Kremlin last month, expires in 2012,when both sides will be free to build up their forces again, unless theaccord is extended or amended.
Mr. Bush acted last December after lawyers at the State Departmentconcluded he was within his rights to withdraw from the treaty, underits termination clause, without Senate approval. A small group ofDemocrats filed suit earlier this week challenging Mr. Bush's right toterminate a treaty that the Senate had to ratify in 1972, but the WhiteHouse said it expected the courts to dismiss the case.
Mr. Bush never talked about the formal withdrawal from the treaty inpublic today, issuing a statement saying simply that its demise waswell-deserved, and that both countries should look forward to a new eraof missile defense.
"Last month, President Vladimir Putin and I agreed that Russia and theUnited States would look for ways to cooperate on missile defenses,including expanding military exercises, sharing early warning data, andexploring potential joint research and development of missile defensetechnologies," Mr. Bush said, dangling anew the possibility that Russiacould end up supplying some technology for the new system.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, is wasting no time.
It is expected to break ground this week on the construction of sixunderground silos for missile interceptors in Alaska, which would havebeen prohibited under the terms of the treaty.
On Thursday, the Lake Erie, an Aegis guided missile cruiser, will try toshoot down a missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility onKauai, Hawaii.
Pentagon officials say they are on the way to setting up a rudimentarysystem called a test bed in the fall of 2004. That system is intended asa protection against a North Korean missile launching, though if itworks it could also counter a launching from China or other parts ofAsia.
Russian politicians and military experts greeted the treaty's demisewith a mixture of shrugs and bravado, saying they could - and would -make the nation impervious to nuclear attack no matter what defense oroffense Washington might contemplate.
The Russian Parliament's leading expert on military issues, AlekseiArbatov of the West-leaning Yabloko faction, said Russia should respondby speeding development of a new nuclear missile, the Topol-M, which canbe used in silos and on moveable launchers.
Setting up the Topol-M, he said, would force the United States toconsider accepting restrictions on its planned missile defense, which hecalled "an extremely negative event of historical scale." return to menu
4. Russia does not plan so far to take measures in reply to the UnitedStates' decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty
June 14, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia does not plan so far to take measures in reply of the decision ofthe United States to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, said Russian DefenceMinister Sergei Ivanov at a news conference after the end of the sessionof the Council of the Defence Ministers of the CIS countries.
He underscored that "there is nothing new in the fact that the UnitedStates has confirmed its decision, taken half a year ago, about itswithdrawal from the ABM Treaty. This is a sovereign right of the USA.However, said the minister, Russia still believes that this step iserroneous.
"We were fully satisfied with this treaty, therefore we did not agreewith the American proposal about the unilateral withdrawal from it,"said the Russian Defence Minister. He did not comment on the possibledevelopment of the situation after the USA's step. In his opinion,"theperspective of the development of the situation in missile defence isvery hazy.
"Architecture of national missile defence as such, be it tactical orstrategic, does not exist at all," the minister said. It exists so faronly as an imaginary thing." In this connection Sergei Ivanov believesthat it is too premature to speak now about any concrete steps of Russiain reply to the actions of the United States. return to menu
D. Multilateral Threat Reduction
1. G8 vows to deprive terrorists of weapons of mass destruction
June 13, 2002
(for personal use only)
G8 nations pledged Thursday to stop terrorists from acquiring weapons ofmass destruction, three days after the United States said it foiled aplot to detonate a radioactive bomb.
"Of particular concern to us is the emerging threat of terrorists usingweapons of mass destruction," said Canadian Foreign Minister BillGraham, wrapping up a two-day meeting of the Group of Eight nations.
"We must step up and coordinate our efforts to make sure that terroristsdo not get their hands on these deadly weapons," he said at a closingpress conference.
"This may be done by promoting compliance with multilateral treaties,strengthening security measures applied to related materials andfacilities, and strengthening border and export controls on chemical,biological, radiological, and nuclear materials," he said.
The ministers said in a closing statement that they had agreed on theneed to ensure that excess military plutonium was rendered permanentlyunusable for nuclear weapons.
They said discussions were under way to help G8 member Russia to takecare of its excess plutonium deposits.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said he would raise an initiative knownas "10 plus 10 over 10," which would see Washington put up 10 billiondollars, matched by 10 billion from the G8 over 10 years to secureradiological materials in Russia.
Following the G8 ministers meeting, experts from the G8 are meeting inWhistler from Thursday to expand on the idea, among them US UnderSecretary of State for Arms Control John Bolton, a senior US officialsaid.
The issue was lent extra relevance on Monday after US officials saidthey had arrested US citizen Abdullah al-Muhajir, an al-Qaeda operativeallegedly planning to detonate a radioactive "dirty" bomb in the UnitedStates.
Ironically, the G8 ministers, including Powell and Russian ForeignMinister Igor Ivanov, are discussing arms control on the very day thatthe United States withdraws from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
President George W. Bush gave notice in December, despite Russianobjections, that the United States would unilaterally withdraw from thetreaty signed in 1972 with the now-defunct Soviet Union.
The decision was made to permit the United States to conduct tests inline with its plans for a missile defense shield. return to menu
E. Submarine Dismantlement
1. Russia scraps Typhoons
June 12, 2002
(for personal use only)
Severodvinsk shipyard Sevmash has started defueling a Typhoon classsubmarine. The submarine will be scrapped shortly after that. The wholeprocess is funded by the US Cooperative Threat Reduction program.
The Soviet Union has built six Typhoons - world's biggest submarinesincluded into theGuinness Book of World Records and promoted in Hollywood's Hunt for theRed October. This 172 meters long submarine is capable of carrying 20ballistic missiles each armed with 10 nuclear warheads.
The design work of Typhoons started in 1973 and was an answer toAmerican Trident submarines which could carry 24 new solid fuelintercontinental missiles. The USSR engineered solid fuel missiles, butthey grew in size what influenced the design of Typhoon class. Thesubmarine was to integrate two independent hulls - a kind of catamaran.The oblate form of the submarine was prompted by the shallow waters inthe area of Severodvinsk shipyards. Such solution led to increaseddisplacement of the submarine - Typhoon class has 49,800 tonnesdisplacement underwater and was nicknamed a "water-carrier" - but italso led to increased safety and better possibilities to perform repairsand upgrade due to a high degree of modulation of various parts ofmachinery. Typhoons were also designed to launch missiles from theArctic being capable of surfacing from underneath 2 to 2.5 meters thickice to shoot out its arsenal.
Each Typhoon had two PWR reactors with 100,000 h.p., located in thestarboard and portside hulls. The nuclear installation was equippedwith the system of battery-free cooling, and the reactor control rodswould go down automatically in case of emergency even if the submarineflips.
The first submarine entered service in 1981. The last Typhoon wascommissioned in 1989. All of them were stationed in Nerpichya base,Zapadnaya Litsa fjord at the Kola Peninsula. The Soviet Union hadambitious plans of building Typhoons in great numbers and assign themboth to the Northern Fleet and the Pacific Fleet. But by the end of1980s a decision was made to halt the program due to the cost of theendeavour and political considerations - the cold war was nearing itsend. The seventh Typhoon was dismantled in the building berth inSeverodvinsk in 1990.
Another reason to quit Typhoons was the complicated infrastructure theyrequired to operate properly. Redesigning of Nerpichya base whichearlier hosted first generation submarines of Echo-II and Hotel classesstarted in 1977. Most of the other existing bases could not acceptTyphoons due to their football field size. The reconstruction ofNerpichya was completed in 1981. New pier plants were designed and builtto supply Typhoons with electricity and heat when in base. Typhoon'smissiles were also difficult to handle due to their size. They could betransported only by railway and lifted by a 125-tonne crane. Neitherthe railway nor the quay crane were commissioned. No initial designfeatures were functioning in the pier plants either. They were used justlike any other quay facilities except for being larger in size. Theloading of missiles was carried out by a transport ship Aleksandr Brykinwhich was built specifically for Typhoons and had 125-tonne craneonboard.
The Pacific Fleet was also to build base facilities for Typhoons but hadfailed to do anything in that direction until 1990s when the Typhoonprogram was finally wrapped up.
In 1996, TK-12 and TK-202 and in 1997 TK-13 were taken out of regularservice and placed on reserve.
Two last built submarines - TK-17 and TK-20 - allegedly remain inservice but de facto they have not been fulfilling any missions the pasttwo or three years.
The first submarine within Typhoon class - TK-208 - commissioned in 1981has been under repairs in Severodvinsk since 1990. In 2000, Severodvinskreceived additional funding for repairs and said that the submarinemight join the Northern Fleet in 2001. The submarine is, however, stillin Severodvinsk.
Demolition machine under decommissioning
TK-202 arrived to Severodvinsk first week of July 1999 fordecommissioning. The work on this submarine and four others - in totalfive except for TK-208 - is to be funded by the US Cooperative ThreatReduction program. Although being in Severodvinsk since 1999, no majorwork has started on TK-202 until June this year. The question todecommission the first Typhoon was a complicated political decision.These giant submarines are still one of the prides inherited from theSoviet Union and scrapping the pride was hard to accept for manypoliticians. From the practical point of view Typhoons have becomeuseless after the end of the cold war and too expensive for the scarcebudget of the Russian navy.
The first week of June, Sevmash shipyard started to defuel two reactorsof TK-202. CTR is paying for all the jobs necessary to do. This includesfunding of infrastructure, such as a storage pad for TK-18 containerswhich will hold spent fuel from this Typhoon and other strategicsubmarines decommissioned at Zvezdochka shipyard, located at theopposite side of Sevmash on Yagry island.
Four Typhoons to go, fifth generation subs to enter
The remaining four Typhoons - TK-12, TK-13, TK-17 and TK-20 - which arenot currently in Severodvinsk are still at Nerpichya base. One of theTyphoons was observed, however, at Gadzhievo.
Should TK-208, which has been under repairs in Severodvinsk, ever enterservice again, it is unlikely the submarine will go back to Nerpichya.Unofficial sources suggest that all the base points located in ZapadnayaLitsa fjord - Malaya Lopatka, Bolshaya Lopatka and Nerpichya - are inthe process of closing down. The submarines, which remain there - Oscarand Victor classes - will be transferred to other bases such asGadzhievo and Vidyaevo. The base point Andreeva Guba used as a dumpingground for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste will be cleaned up,given funding, including international, is in place.
The only operational strategic submarines left in the Russian Navy areDelta-III and Delta-IV classes. Sevmash which is along withdecommissioning also still builds new submarines has reportedly fourboats in its construction docks, including one Borey class strategicsubmarine and one Severodvinsk class, likely multipurpose, submarine.Borey class has been recently reclassified by the Russian navy to be thefifth generation, whereas Severodvinsk class is referred to the forthgeneration. The two other submarines under construction are unknown. Thenewest Russian submarines - Akula class attack submarines - belong tothe third generation.
1. Transcript of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov Interview to RussianMedia on Outcomes of Working Session of the G8 Foreign Ministers CouncilMeeting at Whistler, Canada, June 12, 2002
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
June 14, 2002
Question: Igor Sergeyevich, at the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting - isthere the feel of the spirit of new relations, which appeared back inRome?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: I think, yes there is the feel of the spirit ofpartnership that helped us in Rome reach agreement on the establishmentof the Russia-NATO Council and which today helps to constructivelydiscuss the very serious problems with which mankind is now being faced.
Today we paid the main attention to the theme which will become themajor one in the course of the upcoming G8 summit in Canada - the globalstruggle against international terrorism. We examined this issuecomprehensively: how to unite further international efforts to combatterrorism in political, economic, financial and other fields, whileclearly understanding that it will be a difficult and long struggle, andthat this problem cannot be solved overnight. We prepared appropriaterecommendations in this context. Thus, the international community willreceive the G8 proposals as to how we think it necessaryto wage this struggle in the future.
We also examined questions relating to the situation in Afghanistan,welcomed the session of the Loya Jirga, which was held practically ontime. Thus, the agreements reached are being realized. At the same timewe understand perfectly well that there still remain many problems. Theinternational community should coordinate its efforts and renderassistance to the central leadership in order to prevent theintensification of inter-ethnic contradictions. Through strengtheningthe central government it is necessary to work to stabilize thesituation in the country. This requires that the international communityshould render assistance in overcoming humanitarian problems,accomplishing economic tasks and creating state bodies which coulddirect the country.
Among other issues, the situation in relations between India andPakistan was considered. Thanks to international efforts and, primarily,the G8 states the first signs of a reduction of tensions have beenachieved. Both on the Indian side and on the Pakistani side a number ofdefinite steps toward reducing the confrontation are now evident. Theseare positive signs, but they are only the first ones. It is the task ofthe international community, and on that score we also adopted anappropriate statement, to see to it that terrorists do not use theexisting tension for its further escalation. The most important thingnow is to proceed with the relaxation and return both the parties intothe framework of political dialogue on all the issues on the agenda,including on the problem of Kashmir. We agreed to continue our jointefforts.
I should note that all the participants of today's meeting noted theconsiderable role of the Russian Federation, and Russian PresidentVladimir Putin in the searches of a settlement of the situation, both inAfghanistan and between India and Pakistan, emphasizing the interest inRussia's continued active role in this region in the future too.
Question: Tomorrow the USA is quitting the 1972 ABM Treaty. How can thisaffect our relations and the situation in the arms control field?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: Of the decision of the US administrationunilaterally to leave the ABM Treaty we have known since December last,when the appropriate official statement was made. Therefore no surprisesare now being expected in this connection. Our position remains as itwas: we regret that, but it is now a fait accompli. We have to conductwork, recognizing that the USA has actually already withdrawn from thistreaty.
As is known, thanks to the efforts by the Russian Federation thenegotiation process is to continue in the START/ABM field. During thevisit of US President George Bush to Russia, the important Treaty onStrategic Offensive Reductions was signed. Today during the talks withUS Secretary of State Colin Powell we focused mainly on the practicalimplementation of these major agreements, above all in the domain ofstrategic stability.
It is our task to minimize the adverse consequences which,unfortunately, are there following the US pullout from the 1972 ABMTreaty.
Question: Igor Sergeyevich, what major themes will be submitted to thesummit of G8 heads of state?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: Apart from the theme of combating terrorism,the questions of disarmament and African problems will be submitted tothe G8 summit.
Question: On the fight against terrorism quite a few various decisionshave already been adopted. What new steps can G8 propose in this regard?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: Today we will circulate a document with ourproposals. Combating terrorism is a problem which requires continuousattention and perfection, including from the viewpoint of strengtheningthe legal base. In this connection we attach great importance to therole of the United Nations, where two important documents are currentlybeing examined: the Comprehensive Convention against InternationalTerrorism and the Russian draft of the document for the suppression ofnuclear terrorism. The appropriate legal base needs to be strengthenedfurther still. It is also necessary to expand the forms of cooperationbetween states in various fields in order to wipe out not only terroristorganizations themselves, but also the structures which render themassistance. This is a complex question which requires development andperfection. These proposals are contained in our recommendations.
Question: Igor Sergeyevich, what questions were discussed today in thecourse of your meeting with the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs.When is the visit of the head of the Japanese foreign affairs agency toRussia being expected?Foreign Minister Ivanov: During the meeting with the Japanese Ministerof Foreign Affairs both sides expressed interest in resuming an activepolitical dialogue between our countries. I consider this veryimportant. As part of the political dialogue, special attention was paidto the upcoming meeting between the Russian President and the JapanesePrime Minister in the course of the G8 summit in Canada. Scheduled forthe end of the autumn is the visit of the Japanese Minister of ForeignAffairs, to whom I confirmed my invitation. This will be preceded byconsultations at the level of deputy ministers of foreign affairs.
We noted the great importance of developing trade-and-economiccooperation, and collaboration in the cultural field. In 2003 the Yearof Japan will be held in Russia; a number of cultural events areenvisaged in its framework. We also spoke in favor of the reinvigorationof youth exchanges, in a word - in favor of the development of bilateralrelations in all the areas of mutual interest.
We believe that contacts, both in the political and in other fields,will help create a favorable atmosphere for the solution of the fullrange of issues in Russian-Japanese relations, including furthernegotiations on a peace treaty. return to menu
2. On Legal Status of the Treaty Between Russia and the USA on FurtherReduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
June 14, 2002
In May 2000, the Russian Federation ratified the Treaty Between Russiaand the USA on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic OffensiveArms (START-2 Treaty), and the ABM Treaty-related New Yorkunderstandings of September 26, 1997. There was mutual understandingwith the American Side that the USA would act similarly. This would havemade it possible to realize the important agreements concerning thestrategic offensive and defensive arms of the two countries.
But the USA refused to ratify the START-2 Treaty and the New Yorkunderstandings. Moreover, on June 13, 2002, the United States withdrewfrom the ABM Treaty, with the result that this international legal act,which served for three decades as the cornerstone of strategicstability, has ceased to be in force. Taking into account the aforesaidactions of the USA and proceeding from the provisions of the Federal Lawon Ratification of the START-2 Treaty, the Russian Federation notes theabsence of any prerequisites for the entry of the START-2 Treaty intoforce, and does not consider itself bound any longer by the obligationunder international law to refrain from any actions which could deprivethis Treaty of its object and goal. return to menu
3. Dirty Bombs Come From Dirty Policies: Greenpeace demands G8 foreignministers address real security solutions (excerpted)
June 11, 2002
As G8 foreign ministers meet in Whistler to discuss security, Greenpeacedemanded they invest in real security instead of squandering billions oninherently dangerous technology.
"The dirty bomb in the US should provide a wake-up call to the G8 thatit's time to talk about real ways to improve security," saidGreenpeace's international nuclear and disarmament specialist SimonCarroll. "You can't have global security as we keep making parts fornuclear bombs or other crude weapons. There is no excuse for the G8failing to accept this fact."
Carroll said this fact is unfortunately absent from the ministers'agenda, which instead focuses on a US plan to counter nuclearproliferation and other security threats. Under the plan, the UnitedStates and the G7 countries (excluding Russia) will contribute $20billion (US) over ten years to fund a process that uses plutonium tocreate mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for nuclear reactors - threatening boththe environment and global security.
"This is a fatally flawed, short-term view that generates far moreglobal insecurity. Plutonium, like any nuclear material, is inherentlyunsafe, damaging the environment and human health for generations andcreating a product that countries could use to produce nuclear weapons,or could fall into the hands of terrorists," said Carroll.
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