1. U.S. Billions Begin To Corral Russia's Loose Nukes
Charles J. Hanley
July 2, 2002
(for personal use only)
In islands of secrecy across Russia, American experts and American moneyare fitting locks and installing cameras, hardening walls, powering updatabases, training guards in a vast, costly effort by one old foe todefend the weapons of another. Before the Americans came to Moscow'sKurchatov Institute, home to 10 tons of bomb uranium, a guard behind alobby desk simply waved scientists and technicians through. Now thetraffic is controlled by "man trap" entrance cages, surveillance videoand radiation detectors.
Far to the east, at a former weapons complex beyond the Ural Mountains,hundreds of one-ton concrete blocks are slowly being positioned overopen receptacles holding bomb plutonium -- more U.S. dollars at work tofoil nuclear thieves.
"Threat reduction," a historic U.S.-Russian effort that has ballooned toa $1 billion-a-year enterprise, is steadily locking down more of thiscountry's "loose nukes," the warheads and bomb material whose securitybegan to loosen in the disarray after the Soviet Union's collapse. Butthe new security is far from total. Many doorways to plutonium andhighly enriched uranium still lack detectors and cameras. More than halfthe 600-plus tons of Russian bomb material that isn't inside warheadsstill lacks even basic security upgrades -- improved locks, hardenedwindows, reliable inventories. And all still depends on imperfecthumans.
Behind walls topped with barbed wire, Kurchatov Institute staff detecteda critical flaw in the software of their new U.S. accounting system, onethat stalled the computer inventory of their uranium for more than ayear. The programming was making batches of bomb material "disappear"from the database list. Simple human glitches, in the realm of nucleararms, can lead to catastrophe.
Bomb material has, in fact, been disappearing from the former Sovietnuclear complex, as seen in reported cases in which traffickers havebeen caught. The most serious was the attempted theft in 1998 of 18.45kilograms of nuclear material, including bomb-grade uranium, from aUrals facility by two insiders conspiring with outsiders. It wasprobably enough to build a weapon. No information has emerged aboutultimate buyers.
"They were caught before they got off the property," said Yury Volodin,nonproliferation chief for Gosatomnadzor, the nuclear regulatory body.Have serious losses occurred in which the material was not recovered?"This is sensitive information," Volodin replied in an interview inMoscow, "and I am not authorized to discuss such things."
Such things have been high on the discussion list worldwide since Sept.11, and the talk in Washington and Moscow is of quickening the effort tokeep nuclear weapons out of unfriendly hands. The man in charge of theRussian nuclear arsenal, Colonel General Igor Valynkin, underlined thethreat when he announced that twice last year terrorists -- he didn'tsay who -- had been detected reconnoitering Russian weapons storagesites.
>From small pilot projects in 1994, the U.S.-Russian security effort hasevolved into two dozen major programs operated by the U.S. Defense,Energy and State departments and other U.S. agencies. The U.S. EnergyDepartment's work alone accounted for some 2,000 U.S. travelers toRussia last year. The Pentagon helps finance the Russians' dismantlingof unneeded warheads, along with computerization, fence-building, alarmsystems at warhead storage sites. It is also upgrading Russian nucleartransport with armored railcars and trucks. The U.S. Energy Departmentdeals with the Nuclear Power Ministry's "loose" fissionable material --plutonium and uranium not in weapon form. The Americans finance securityupgrades ranging from personal identification systems to thereinforcement of gates and walls at nuclear research institutes, fuelproduction facilities, naval fuel storehouses and other sites. The U.S.State Department works, through subsidies and jobs programs, to keepformer Soviet weapons experts, financially strapped in a changed Russia,from accepting tempting job offers from governments or others withnuclear ambitions.
A U.S.-Russian agreement last September cooled some friction over theAmericans' demands for access to more sensitive locations. Butdisagreements persist over a handful of warhead assembly and disassemblysites, noted Yury Fedorov, a Moscow nuclear security expert. "If you hadaccess to material just released from nuclear weapons, it's possibleyou'd find out the particular composition. That's sensitiveinformation," said Fedorov, of the Center for Policy Studies in Russia.
Those warhead sites are one gap in the U.S. security plans. Another isrepresented by almost 200 decommissioned Russian nuclear-poweredsubmarines, docked for years waiting to be dismantled. Everyone concedesthe security is erratic for the subs' tons of uranium fuel -- both freshand spent, some of it weapons-usable. But the huge estimated cost offull security, approaching $1 billion, has largely kept the Americansaway.
For all the U.S. accomplishments on loose nukes, nonproliferationspecialists say the effort must be doubled -- at least. A U.S. EnergyDepartment advisory task force last year concluded that nuclear leaksfrom Russia are "the most urgent unmet national security threat to theUnited States today." It advised a multiple leap in budget for theRussian programs -- to up to $3 billion per year for the EnergyDepartment alone. At the Group of Eight summit in Canada last week, U.S.allies took one step forward, committing to spending up to $10 billionover the next 10 years on the security of nuclear, chemical andbiological weapons material in Russia. Submarine dismantlementoperations will be a special focus. Some Russians object that Westernmedia overstate the threat and say that the number of trafficking caseshas declined since the mid-1990s as security improvements have takenhold. But the thefts that go undetected or unreported remain a darkstatistic, especially in a nuclear complex without a reliable, fullinventory of bomb material. return to menu
2. Threat Reduction
Charles J. Hanley
June 30, 2002
(for personal use only)
In islands of secrecy across Russia, American experts and American moneyare fitting locks and installing cameras, hardening walls, powering updatabases, training guards in a vast, costly effort by one old foe todefend the weapons of another.
Before the Americans came to Moscow's Kurchatov Institute, home to 10tons of bomb uranium, a guard behind a lobby desk simply wavedscientists and technicians through. Now the traffic is controlled by"man trap" entrance cages, surveillance video, radiation detectors.
Far to the east, at a former weapons complex beyond the Ural Mountains,hundreds of one-ton concrete blocks are slowly being positioned overopen receptacles holding bomb plutonium _ more U.S. dollars at work tofoil nuclear thieves.
"Threat reduction," a historic U.S.-Russian effort that has ballooned toa $1 billion-a-year enterprise, is steadily locking down more of thiscountry's "loose nukes," the warheads and bomb material whose securitybegan to loosen in the disarray after the Soviet Union's collapse.
But the new security is far from total. Many doorways to plutonium andhighly enriched uranium still lack detectors and cameras. More than halfthe 600-plus tons of Russian bomb material that isn't inside warheadsstill lacks even basic security upgrades improved locks, hardenedwindows, reliable inventories. And all still depends on imperfecthumans.
Behind walls topped with barbed wire, Kurchatov Institute staff detecteda critical flaw in the software of their new U.S. accounting system, onethat stalled the computer inventory of their uranium for more than ayear. The programming was making batches of bomb material "disappear"from the database list.
Simple human glitches, in the realm of nuclear arms, can lead tocatastrophe.
Bomb material has, in fact, been disappearing from the former Sovietnuclear complex, as seen in reported cases in which traffickers havebeen caught.
The most serious was the attempted theft in 1998 of 41 pounds (18.45kilograms) of nuclear material, including bomb-grade uranium, from aUrals facility by two insiders conspiring with outsiders. It wasprobably enough to build a weapon. No information has emerged aboutultimate buyers.
"They were caught before they got off the property," said Yuri G.Volodin, nonproliferation chief for the Russian nuclear regulatoryagency, GAN.
Have serious losses occurred in which the material was not recovered?"This is sensitive information," Volodin replied in an interview inMoscow, "and I am not authorized to discuss such things."
Such things have been high on the discussion list worldwide since Sept.11, and the talk in Washington and Moscow is of quickening the effort tokeep nuclear weapons out of unfriendly hands. The man in charge of theRussian nuclear arsenal, Col. Gen. Igor Valynkin, underlined the threatwhen he announced that twice last year terrorists he didn't say who hadbeen detected reconnoitering Russian weapons storage sites.
>From small pilot projects in 1994, the U.S.-Russian security effort hasevolved into two dozen major programs operated by the Defense, Energyand State departments and other U.S. agencies. The Energy Department'swork alone accounted for some 2,000 U.S. travelers to Russia last year.
The Pentagon helps finance the Russians' dismantling of unneededwarheads, along with computerization, fence-building, alarm systems atwarhead storage sites. It is also upgrading Russian nuclear transportwith armored railcars and trucks.
The Energy Department deals with the Atomic Energy Ministry's "loose"fissionable material plutonium and uranium not in weapon form. TheAmericans finance security upgrades ranging from personal identificationsystems to the reinforcement of gates and walls at nuclear researchinstitutes, fuel production facilities, naval fuel storehouses and othersites.
The State Department works, through subsidies and jobs programs, to keepex-Soviet weapons experts, financially strapped in a changed Russia,from accepting tempting job offers from governments or others withnuclear ambitions.
The U.S.-Russian nuclear partnership, non-existent a decade ago, nowextends even to lighting American homes with a commodity once made todestroy them. Half the low-enriched uranium consumed by U.S. nuclearpower plants is a blended-down product of Russian bomb uranium.
Energy Department planners speak of securing all the civilian sites by2008, or even earlier. But "there are a whole lot of `ifs',"acknowledged Linton Brooks, the department's deputy chief of nuclearsecurity. One big "if" involves the future of U.S.-Russian relations.
A U.S.-Russian agreement last September cooled some friction over theAmericans' demands for access to more sensitive locations. Butdisagreements persist over a handful of warhead assembly and disassemblysites, noted Yuri E. Fedorov, a Moscow nuclear security expert.
"If you had access to material just released from nuclear weapons, it'spossible you'd find out the particular composition. That's sensitiveinformation," said Fedorov, of the Center for Policy Studies in Russia.
Those warhead sites are one gap in the U.S. security plans. Another isrepresented by almost 200 decommissioned Russian nuclear-poweredsubmarines, docked for years waiting for dismantlement. Everyoneconcedes the security is erratic for the subs' tons of uranium fuel bothfresh and spent, some of it weapons-usable. But the huge estimated costof full security, approaching $1 billion, has largely kept the Americansaway.
For all the U.S. accomplishments on "loose nukes," nonproliferationspecialists say the effort must be doubled _ at least.
An Energy Department advisory task force last year concluded thatnuclear leaks from Russia are "the most urgent unmet national securitythreat to the United States today." It advised a multiple leap in budgetfor the Russian programs to up to $3 billion a year for the EnergyDepartment alone.
At the Group of Eight summit in Canada last week, U.S. allies took onestep forward, committing to spending up to $10 billion over the next 10years on the security of nuclear, chemical and biological weaponsmaterial in Russia. Submarine dismantlement operations will be a specialfocus.
"We're in a race against time," said Joseph Cirincione, anonproliferation expert at Washington's Carnegie Endowment forInternational Peace. "How fast can we secure and dispose of thismaterial before it's diverted?"
Some Russians object that the Western media overstate the threat, thatthe number of trafficking cases has declined since the mid-1990s assecurity improvements have taken hold. But the thefts that go undetectedor unreported remain a "dark" statistic, especially in a nuclear complexwithout a reliable, full inventory of bomb material.
"We assess that undetected smuggling has occurred," the U.S. NationalIntelligence Council said in an analysis in February. "We are concernedabout the total amount of material that could have been diverted overthe last 10 years."
The next 10 years carry their own risks.
The economics of arms control dictate that Russia soon begin shuttingdown much of its nuclear weapons-making complex. Despite efforts byWashington and other governments to finance alternative research andjobs, thousands of weapons specialists might be desperate for work bymid-decade. Some might be willing to contract their skills to others.
"People proliferation" is what Alexander A. Pikayev, of the CarnegieEndowment's Moscow office, calls this potential spread of expertise."That's the biggest concern."
But Russia isn't the only problem, Pikayev said, noting that someone inthe U.S. military's science complex is suspected of engineering lastyear's deadly anthrax letter campaign. Nuclear terrorism could come fromwithin as well.
"This anthrax case demonstrated it's not perfect even in the U.S.," theRussian scholar said. "So far we don't have nuclear terrorism comingfrom within the security establishment. But one has to be concerned." return to menu
B. Multilateral Threat Reduction
1. US Ambassador Calls On Russia To Use G8 Aid To Scrap Nuclear Subs
June 29, 2002
(for personal use only)
US ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow believes that the funds theUS is giving Russia for disarmament programmes under the agreementsreached at the G8 summit in Kananaskis, Canada, should be used first ofall for the disposal of strategic nuclear submarines.
The disposal of Russia's strategic nuclear submarines is one of thepriorities of the US and the G8, Vershbow told Interfax in Arkhangelsktoday. He added that he thinks such programmes should not apply totactical nuclear submarines. Vershbow said that the US will provide 10bndollars out of the 20bn dollars that the G8 countries agreed to use fornonproliferation programmes at the Kananaskis summit. Vershbow said theUS is prepared to spend 10bn dollars over a period of 10 years. Thesefunds will be used primarily for implementing projects in Russia, butpart of them will be sent to other former Soviet republics, Vershbowsaid.
Vershbow complained that Russia has more nuclear objects that need to bedisposed of than there is money to do so. Therefore, the US and Russiashould set priorities and decide what needs to be disposed of in thefirst place, he said. The US wants to assist Russia as much as possiblein the implementation of programmes aimed at nuclear submarine disposal.
In response to a question about the future of the Nunn-Lugar programme[aimed at assisting the destruction of Russian weapons of massdestruction], Vershbow said that the US government favours thecontinuation of these threat reduction programmes and further disposalof submarines in Russia. US President George W. Bush continues to backthe Nunn-Lugar programme, and the US is satisfied with the fact that ithas become possible to raise 10bn dollars from the G8 for suchprogrammes, Vershbow said.
Vershbow said that the presence of a large arsenal of chemical, nuclearand other weapons of mass destruction in Russia is a serious issue. Ifthese resources are not well guarded, there is a risk that they may fallinto the hands of certain countries that should not have them, he said.Therefore, the US government is giving a lot of attention to theprotection of nuclear objects in Russia, Vershbow said. The US isconcerned about the fact that some countries, including Iran, Iraq,North Korea and maybe some others, are trying to get nuclear weapons andother types of weapons of mass destruction, he said.
In this connection, Vershbow said that the global partnership in thearea of nonproliferation which was declared at the G8 summit inKananaskis will prevent so-called rogue states from getting hold ofnuclear technologies and materials. Vershbow is currently in Arkhangelskto attend a ceremony to unveil a room of American literature in the citylibrary. return to menu
1. Russia, U.S. Senators Discuss Arms
July 2, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia's defense minister assured a visiting U.S. Senate delegationTuesday that the Russian military's nuclear materials are wellsafeguarded and he urged the swift ratification of the two nations' newstrategic arms reduction agreement.
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told Senate Republican Leader Trent Lottof Missouri and four accompanying American legislators that he spentseveral days and nights on the draft of the arms treaty, which wassigned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Bush at theirMay summit in Moscow.
The treaty calls for the United States and Russia to slash theirstrategic nuclear arsenals by two thirds over the next decade, to 1,700to 2,200 deployed warheads each.
"I think that with the signing of this agreement and its ratification,we will have the opportunity to raise Russian-U.S. strategic relationsto a new level," Ivanov said.
He urged the senators not to allow any foot-dragging on ratifying thetreaty, and said he would encourage Russian legislators to act quicklyas well.
"Let me assure you there won't be any procrastination in the Senate,"Lott replied.
Other signs of the improved U.S.-Russian relationship are the twocountries' cooperation in the anti-terrorist coalition, the newpartnership between Russia and NATO, and Western aid to help secureRussia's weapons of mass destruction.
Last week, Russia's partners in the Group of Eight industrializednations pledged a $20 billion, 10-year effort to help Russia scrap itsdecommissioned nuclear submarines, eradicate its chemical weaponsarsenal, and improve security surrounding the nation's weapons of massdestruction.
Ivanov said the security issue had been "blown out of proportion andpoliticized."
"As defense minister, I am confident that Russian weapons are storedsecurely, and there have been no leakages of nuclear weapons," he said.
However, he said Russia would accept any further assistance gratefully.
Ivanov also reiterated Moscow's denials that through its construction ofan atomic energy station in Iran, Russia was helping Tehran further itsnuclear weapons program. He said Russia was just as interested as theUnited States in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
Lott said his delegation's visit was intended to continue the dialoguethat Putin and Bush had started. The delegation also met with SergeiMironov, the speaker of the upper house of parliament and ForeignMinister Igor Ivanov. return to menu
1. Concern About Iran-Russia Nuke Cooperation
RFE/RL Iran Report
July 1, 2002
(for personal use only)
An official from Russia's Krasnoyarsk mining chemical complex announcedon 26 June that it is ready to accept spent fuel from the nuclearreactor in Bushehr, Iran, ITAR-TASS reported. The spent fuel will bestored for three years and then reprocessed. After that the waste willbe returned to Iran for burial and the restored nuclear fuel either willstay in Russia or be returned to Iran. Russian Deputy Atomic EnergyMinister Valerii Lebedev said on 24 June that transfer of thesematerials is part of the plan under which Russia agreed to construct thereactor, Iranian state radio reported on 24 June.
The "Guardian" newspaper had reported on 24 June that it had obtained"Internal Russian government documents" which showed that there is noagreement on the handling of spent fuel. The Russian document states:"The question of managing the spent nuclear fuel is absent in theagreement between the governments of Russia and Iran on the constructionof the Bushehr nuclear power plant on Iranian territory.
If Iran retains the spent fuel, according to Greenpeace nuclear expertTobias Muenchmeyer, "Iran would be in possession of weapons-usablematerial, plutonium." Muenchmeyer explained that Tehran could reprocessthe spent fuel and isolate the plutonium in a matter of weeks.
The possibility that Iran will misuse newfound nuclear capabilities is amatter of some concern for Israel, and it is a complicating factor inWashington-Moscow relations. Israeli Defense Minister BenyaminBen-Eliezer notes that Iran will have a nuclear capability in three orfour years, "The Jerusalem Post" reported on 26 June. "The whole worldis sleeping while Iran builds a core nuclear infrastructure that isgoing to do something bad to the interests of the world," Ben-Eliezeradded.
Regardless of such fears, Moscow is pressing on with the Bushehrproject. Atomic Energy Ministry official Lebedev said on 21 June that"Everything is going according to schedule at the site," according toITAR-TASS. And, according to IRNA on 22 June, Lebedev ruled out thepossibility that the Bushehr reactor could have military applications. ARussian Atomic Energy Ministry official said several months earlier that"all the necessary documents on the construction of another two reactorsin Iran have also been prepared," Tehran radio reported on 20 April.Vladimir Orlov of Moscow's PIR Center said that "There is practicallyzero risk that Iran will use the Bushehr power plant for nuclearproliferation," "The Christian Science Monitor" reported on 21 June. Ananonymous senior U.S. official, however, warned that "[Russia] is givingmeaningful help [to Iran] in mastering the nuclear-fuel cycle, and somecritical technologies like sophisticated metal alloys [and for]laser-isotope separation techniques...that are involved in building thebomb." Rose Gottemoeller, a former deputy undersecretary of energyresponsible for nonproliferation programs who is now at the CarnegieEndowment in Washington, adds that "Russian technology is unique to theIranian program, because it is the only game in town." Gottemoellerexplained that nobody else is willing to cooperate with Iran.
There is greater concern about the transfer of Russian knowledge thatthe Iranians could apply practically to weapons programs, according to"The Christian Science Monitor." Valentin Tikhonov of the RussianAcademy of Sciences concedes that under his country's dire economicsituation, many scientists see little difference between civilian andmilitary projects. Some observers in Tehran seem to take the Americanconcerns seriously. Tehran parliamentary representative FatemehHaqiqatju said during a 15 April speech in Ahvaz that the U.S. intendsto attack the Bushehr nuclear power station and other important economictargets, according to ISNA. Such an attack, Haqiqatju said, is part offour-phase plan to force Iran to retreat from its current stance. Shedid not identify that stance. return to menu
2. Russia Ending Involvement In Iranian Reactor
June 28, 2002
(for personal use only)
Summary There are growing signs Russia may not finish constructing the $800million Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran. Although the plant would be alucrative deal for the cash-starved Russian government, pressure fromthe United States, due to concerns that Iran may be trying to acquirenuclear weapons, may be too much for the increasingly pro-West Russianpresident to ignore. Iran will try to keep Russia engaged as long aspossible, but in the meantime will be looking for Moscow's replacement.
Analysis STRATFOR sources inside the Russian government say President VladimirPutin has decided to gradually end Moscow's involvement in building a1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor at Bushehr, 500 miles south of Tehran. Inbending to enormous U.S. government pressure, and yet not wanting toappear subservient, Putin will act quietly but surely.
This strategy is already evident in the deliberate leaking of recentinternal government documents, including those detailing the failure ofRussia to secure a guarantee that Iran will return spent nuclear fuelfrom the reactor -- which could be converted into weapons-gradeplutonium -- to Moscow, the Guardian reported June 24. The Middle EastNewsline also reports that Tehran is opposing a Moscow proposal toinstitute a stronger inspection regime for the Bushehr plant.
The future of the reactor has become a critical geopolitical issue forthe United States, Iran, Russia, Israel and other Middle East andinternational players. Washington's efforts to block construction of theBushehr plant come from a desire to prevent Tehran from gaining theability to produce nuclear weapons.
The Iranian government denies the charge that it will use the plant toproduce weapons-grade plutonium but believes it has the right to obtainand keep a nuclear arsenal until the current nuclear powers -- theUnited States, Russia, France, Britain, China, Israel, India andPakistan -- agree to liquidate their arsenals. Iran is especiallyconcerned about the nuclear capabilities of its two major geopoliticalfoes: the United States and Israel.
Moreover, if a conflict did break out with the United States,Washington's huge advantage in high-tech conventional weaponscapabilities would quickly become apparent. Tehran thus believes it mustacquire nuclear arms as a weapon of last resort, either to help counterWashington's military dominance or serve as a deterrent.
In Israel, the national security priority has been to make sure noIslamic nation can develop a nuclear capability. Israel wants to keepits strategic military edge over Muslim states in the Middle East, whichis why its air force destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.
With Iraq weakened by its Gulf War defeat and the resulting blockade --and awaiting a possible U.S. military attack -- Israel's main concernabout an Islamic atomic bomb rests with Iran. During U.S. PresidentGeorge W. Bush's visit to Russia last May, Israel sent a high-levelgovernment delegation to Moscow to make its case to both the Americansand Russians about shutting down construction on the Bushehr reactor.
After the end of the Cold War, and before Putin started changing hisgeopolitical orientation toward Washington post-Sept. 11, Russia enjoyedclose military, technical and political cooperation with Iran. Forinstance, Moscow secured contracts and promises totaling almost $5billion to sell conventional arms to Iran. But the single-most lucrativecontract came when the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry reached theagreement with Iran to build the Bushehr plant for $800 million.
Unlike vague promises made by Washington to encourage U.S. investment inRussia, these deals brought Moscow immediate and much-needed cash. Thisis why the Russian government has been hesitant to bow to the U.S.demand to stop building the reactor even amid the growing U.S.-Russianalliance.
But intensifying pressure from Washington in the last few weeks forcedPutin to make the hard geopolitical choice of gradually phasing outRussia's involvement in the Bushehr project. Iran will still try tofinish the nuclear plant's construction -- projected to be about twoyears off -- with Moscow's help. Its tactics for buying time and keepingRussia engaged could include indefinitely delaying any new Russian-Iranagreements that would force Tehran to return spent fuel to Russia.
Tehran will use the fact that there is no clearly spelled promise byIran to return all spent nuclear fuel to Russia in the currentagreement. It will also point to the fact that the International Agencyfor Atomic Energy recently made an inspection of the Bushehr reactor andsaid that there has been no violation of the non-proliferation agreementfound.
However, Washington will not relent in its pressure to stop theconstruction and has made it clear that no matter what Putin has alreadydone, he should quit helping the Iranians with the Bushehr plant now.For instance, John Bolton, the U.S. undersecretary of state on armscontrol, has said the future of Washington's relationship with Moscowdepends largely on whether Russia stops exporting dangerous weaponsmaterials to Iran, Reuters reported June 11.
So although he will call for continued Russian-Iranian cooperation onthe nuclear plant in public, Putin will quietly cooperate withWashington by first advancing new proposals on tighter internationalcontrol over the nuclear reactor and then by sticking to his request tohave all spent fuel returned. The number of Russian nuclear engineersand scientists working on the reactor will also be reduced to theminimum, and those remaining will not be able to complete theconstruction and secure the desired launch of the plant.
This will still not stop Iran's determination to have the reactor builtand working. But Tehran will look to countries whose expertise canreplace the current Russian effort. In fact, even though Russian nuclearexpertise is by far the most advanced compared to all potentialcandidates, the government is already quietly talking with severalnations on the matter, according to Iranian diplomatic sources inEurope.
Since Washington has made its position on Bushehr clear, many countriesare not likely to help Iran with its construction, no matter how muchthey may be convinced that it is a peaceful project. Still, there aresome states that might be willing to take the risk for eithergeopolitical or economic reasons, or both. Among them could be China,France, India, Brazil, South Africa, Belarus and Malaysia. return to menu
3. G8 Aid To Russia Is Not Linked To Limiting Nuclear Cooperation WithIran- Illarionov
June 28, 2002
(for personal use only)
The G8's decision to grant financial aid to Russia to help dismantlestockpiled weapons has not been linked with the issue of limitingnuclear cooperation between Russia and Iran, presidential economicadviser Andrei Illarionov told the press at Interfax on Friday.
"This problem and the name of that country were not mentioned at all inany connection," he said. return to menu
E. Russian Nuclear Waste
1. Moscow's Drawbacks: The Capital Is Like Another Chernobyl
July 2, 2002
(for personal use only)
The total number of those enterprises that use radioactive substances inRussia is 65. Twenty of them are located in Moscow. This was said byViktor Suvorov deputy chairman of the department for Moscow's publicutilities and improvement.
Suvorov advised that there were currently some two thousandorganizations in Moscow, which used radioactive materials in their work,including eleven nuclear reactors. The largest nuclear wastes deposit islocated on the territory of Kurchatovsky Institute, and the Ministry forNuclear Power acknowledges this fact. This is connected with the factthat the institute was established 58 years ago for the development andrealization of a nuclear project. Kurchatovsky Institute has uniquephysical emplacements, research reactors, nuclear storage facilities andso on. The center was built on the outskirts of Moscow, but Moscow wasgrowing very fast, so the institute found itself within the city soon.
There has surely been a lot of spent nuclear fuel saved since 1943. Butwe have to mention that Kurchatovsky Institute is not the only onesource of radiation in Moscow: about 60 sources of nuclear contaminationare revealed in Moscow every year. Oleg Polsky (the deputy directorgeneral for ecology and environmental protection of the Moscowenterprise Radon) said that the index would most likely get worse in thecoming years.
Oleg Polsky explained his forecast with the construction program inMoscow the project of the third traffic ring, residential areas, andadministrative objects that are going to be built on the places, whereindustrial and domestic wastes were stored. Polsky stressed out thatMoscow was the only city in the whole world, where there were so manyenterprises and organizations, which used radioactive substances anddevices in their activities. There has not been a radiation controlsystem in Moscow until 1960, which resulted in uncontrollable burial ofdangerous substances and in the considerable contamination of the city'sterritory. Specialists find some 70% of those old wastes in the areas,where new buildings are being built.
The Moscow government is trying to improve the situation somehow: over1350 radioactive contamination cites have been liquidated in Moscow overthe recent 25 years, and over 930 tons of radioactive wastes have beenremoved. But this is surely not enough.
The Moscow government approved the bill about the radiation security ofthe population. The document stipulates that the selection ofconstruction cites should be performed taking into consideration thegamma-radiation and soil radon emission. The control of radiation dosesof citizens will be performed in Moscow, as well as the level ofradiation in case of a radiation breakdown, and so on. Furthermore, thebill stipulates that all radioactive substances and radioactive wasteson Moscow's territory are subjected to the state control. return to menu
2. Three Regions On Short List For New Radioactive-Waste Site
July 1, 2002
(for personal use only)
Following up on an earlier statement that he personally does not supportbuilding a new underground radioactive-waste site on Novaya Zemlya (see"RFE/RL Newsline," 26 June 2002), Atomic Energy Minister AleksandrRumyantsev told reporters on 29 June that there are three alternativesites for the facility: in Arkhangelsk, in Murmansk, or in the centralpart of the Kola Peninsula, ITAR-TASS reported. Rumyantsev said theissue is being thoroughly studied, that the "latest findings show thatwaste should be buried in monolithic granite without fissures," and thatthis is "what the Finns and Swedes do." return to menu
3. Russian Watchdog Attacks Plan To Import Nuclear Waste
June 29, 2002
(for personal use only)
Russia's official nuclear watchdog has delivered an unprecedenteddemolition of the government's plans to become the world's leadingimporter of nuclear waste, denouncing the scheme as half-baked,misleading and "technologically impossible". In documents leaked toGreenpeace and passed to the Guardian, Gosatomnadzor, the state nuclearsupervisory agency, described the plan to import and store or reprocessspent nuclear fuel as unacceptable.
The atomic energy ministry, the key lobby pushing the scheme, whichclaims that nuclear waste imports could earn Russia $20bn over the nextdecade, has drafted a lengthy "analysis" of the plan for the Kremlinahead of President Vladimir Putin's signing off on the imports project.
The plan was prepared last year by three new laws, despite 2.5 millionsignatures petitioning for a referendum on the controversial topic.
In a letter to Alexander Rumyantsev, the atomic energy minister, YuriVishnevsky, the head of the watchdog, systematically criticised thegovernment argument.
The Mayak plant in the Urals, where the waste is to be stored,represented a big environmental threat and was unsuitable because:
· the plant's operators were continuing, routinely and illegally, todump liquid radioactive waste in nearby reservoirs;
· laws governing nuclear energy, radioactive safety and environmentalprotection make the plant inappropriate for storing imported waste;
· the projected income and profits from the business were "incorrectlycalculated";
· problems of transporting the nuclear waste had been "incorrectly"assessed and claims that the transport containers had been tested andfound to be fully up to international safety standards were flawed.
The plethora of objections "confirmed the impossibility of receivingforeign spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing", given the currentcondition of the Russian facilities, the letter said.
Anti-nuclear protesters are planning to set up a camp near the Uralsstorage centre, one of the most contaminated sites in the world, nextweek. Last year, when the enabling legislation was pushed through, thegovernment refused to allow a referendum.
Apart from Russia, only Britain and France are in the nuclear wasteimports business, although the French trade is expected to suffer a bigblow from 2005 when German exports are banned.
Mr Rumyantsev is determined to compete with the west Europeans andcomplains bitterly about their attempts to keep Russia out of what hecontends is a lucrative market, although the worldwide trend is forcountries to store their own nuclear waste.
Vladimir Chuprov, a representative of Greenpeace in Moscow, said thewatchdog's condemnation of the ministry's plans "proves that there is atleast one independent official watchdog in Russia".
"The regulator's letter is a slap in the face for Rumyantsev and anyoneelse considering dumping radioactive waste on Russia," added TobiasMuenchmeyer, a Berlin-based Greenpeace nuclear expert.
But Mr Putin is still expected to give the green light to the importsplan later this year, despite the watchdog's withering criticism.Regulatory bodies, although official, are notoriously weak in Russia,while the atomic energy ministry is a powerful lobby.
Vladimir Slivyak, of the Eco-defence anti-nuclear organisation, said thewatchdog's criticisms would have little impact on Kremlin thinking andthat the decision to proceed or halt the plan would be political.
President Putin ordered the atomic energy ministry "analysis" inFebruary after parliament passed three laws last summer on the schemethat critics say will turn Russia into the world's nuclear dump.
The plan envisages importing 20,000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel over 10years, more than doubling the amount of nuclear waste currently storedin Russia.
But, ultimately, the plan's go-ahead hinges on American approval. The USdoes not import or reprocess foreign nuclear waste but controls, legallyand contractually, more than 80% of world nuclear waste and would needto approve exports to Russia from client states. return to menu
4. Russian Minister Says Russia Likely Won't Build Nuclear Waste StorageSite On Arctic Archipelago
(for personal use only)
Russia's atomic energy minister said Saturday that a remote Arcticarchipelago might not be the best place to build a nuclear waste storagesite.
Alexander Rumyantsev visited Novaya Zemlya on Thursday along withRussian Defense minister Sergei Ivanov, in part to assess plans for thestorage facility.
Rumyantsev told ITAR-Tass news agency on Saturday that Russia had notyet made a final decision, but that a storage site will probably bebuilt on the Russian mainland not on Novaya Zemlya.
"Scientific recommendations are not in favor of a burial ground onNovaya Zemlya," he said. "The latest findings show that the waste shouldbe buried in monolithic granite without fissures. This is what the Finnsand Swedes do."
He said the changing climate on the archipelago would make the long-termstorage of nuclear waste difficult. Rumyantsev also told ITAR-Tass thatit would be four times more expensive to build the site on thearchipelago than on the Russian mainland.
Three alternative sites are under consideration, he said, including asite in the Archangelsk region, one near Murmansk and one in the centralpart of the Kola Peninsula, ITAR-Tass reported.
Russian officials have said that the storage site would only be used tostore spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned Northern Fleet submarines,not for nuclear waste from abroad.
Last summer, President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing Russia toimport spent nuclear fuel from other countries for storage andreprocessing, a measure that environmental groups say could turn Russiainto the world's nuclear dumping ground. return to menu
F. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. India Test Fires Russian Rocket
July 1, 2002
(for personal use only)
India test-fired a Russian rocket that is part of an advanced weaponssystem it may acquire, but the defense ministry Sunday said the exercisewas routine and bore no connection to New Delhi's standoff withIslamabad.
The rocket, launched Saturday off the east coast of India, is part ofthe Smerch and Grad multiple-launch rocket systems that Russia hopes tosell to India, said ministry spokesman P.K. Bandopadhyay. The ministrydoes not consider Saturday's test in the same class as a test launch amonth ago when Pakistan test-fired a missile capable of carrying nuclearwarheads into Indian territory, just as the South Asian neighborsappeared headed to war.
"This is a routine testing program. It has nothing to do with presenttensions between India and Pakistan," Bandopadhyay said.
Last week, India test-fired two heat-seeking anti-tank missiles from thesame site in eastern Orissa state, which the ministry also said was partof the country's ongoing missile development program. Saturday's testcame amid an easing of tensions between India and Pakistan followingintense international diplomacy, but the two nuclear-armed rivals stillhave more than a million troops along their border in their dispute overthe divided Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In Pakistan, government spokesman Maj. Gen. Rashid Qureshi saidIslamabad could not comment until they knew more details about the testfiring.
The recent troop buildup along the India-Pakistan frontier followed adeadly attack on India's Parliament in December, which New Delhi blamedon two Pakistan-based Islamic militant groups and Pakistan's spy agency.Pakistan denied involvement. India accuses Pakistan of supportingseparatist Islamic militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir, and NewDelhi's key demand has been for Islamabad to halt the infiltration ofPakistan-based militants into India's portion of the territory. Pakistanhas pledged to do this.
Analysts said the test was unlikely to raise tensions with Pakistan.They added it also did not appear to be a move by Prime Minister AtalBihari Vajpayee's to boost his popularity by appearing to strengthen thecountry's defenses.
"India is planning to buy Smerch and is conducting trials. It is normaland routine. This has nothing to with the tension with Pakistan oranything else," said Bharat Varma, editor of the quarterly IndianDefense Review. "We are facing a situation where Islamic fundamentalismis growing. The armed forces have to be prepared," Varma told TheAssociated Press.
The Russian rocket systems that India may acquire have bothsurface-to-surface and surface-to air strike capabilities and aredesigned to target personnel, artillery and missile systems. The rocketshave a range of up to 90 kilometers (55 miles). They have no nuclearcapabilities, said Bandopadhyay. Nearly 30 Russian scientists andtechnicians joined their Indian counterparts during the test nearBalasore in Orissa state. Earlier this year, Indian specialists visitedRussia fora demonstration of the rocket systems.
India has been a key customer of Russian weapons since Soviet times, andthe two countries negotiated new, multibillion arms deals during RussianPresident Vladimir Putin's trip to India in October 2000. Advancedfighter aircraft, a Russian aircraft carrier and joint venturesupersonic missiles are on the drawing board of India and Russia'smilitary cooperation. Russia's defense exports to India were valued atdlrs 4.4 billion last year. return to menu
G. Nuclear Terrorism/Smuggling
1. Dirty Bombs: Assessing The Threat
Mohamed El Baradei
July 2, 2002
(for personal use only)
A new term has entered our lexicon of fear: the so-called "dirty bomb."But giving the new threat a name has only heightened panic; the crucialstep is to improve public understanding of what a dirty bomb is and ofhow the threat is being addressed internationally.
A dirty bomb would be made of ordinary explosives -- such as dynamite --packaged with radioactive material, which would be dispersed when thebomb went off. As with any explosion, people in the immediate vicinitycould be killed or injured by the blast itself. The radioactive materialthat was dispersed, depending on the amount and intensity, could causeradiation sickness for a limited number of people nearby if, forexample, they inhaled large amounts of radioactive dust. But the mostsevere tangible effects would likely be the economic costs and socialdisruption associated with the evacuation and subsequent cleanup ofcontaminated property.
Packaging explosives with other toxic substances could cause equallysevere public health effects and social disruption, with less effort andrisk for the terrorist. Radioactive material is hard to handle: Thebomber would have to choose between being directly exposed to aconcentrated clump of material -- which could be lethal -- or usinglarge amounts of lead shielding, which would hamper bomb assembly andtransport. But a dirty bomb could be a terrorist's weapon of choicesimply to play on public fears of all things nuclear and radioactive.Panic and chaos are a terrorist's primary objectives.
Around the world, radioactive materials have been widely used fordecades to benefit humankind -- to diagnose and treat illnesses, tomonitor oil wells and water aquifers and to irradiate food to eliminatemicrobes. But a lack of control over the thousands of radioactivesources worldwide makes their acquisition and use by terrorists a realpossibility. In Kabul, Afghanistan, in late March, my organization --the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- secured a powerfulcobalt source abandoned in a former hospital. In Uganda a week later, wehelped to secure a source that appeared to have been stolen for illicitresale. And as I write, a team of IAEA and local experts is searchingthrough remote areas of the Republic of Georgia to locate and recover anumber of powerful strontium sources that have been outside officialcontrol for years. Even in the United States and Europe, whereregulatory controls are relatively stringent, thousands of radioactivesources have been lost or stolen, their whereabouts unknown.
Providing security controls for radioactive material is not a newconcept. Common-sense measures have been required for many years -- suchas strict inventories, locked storage facilities and security guards,depending on the type or amount of material. But the primary focus inthe past has been on safety hazards and the prevention of inadvertent(rather than deliberate) exposure.
The terrorist attacks of last September catapulted security to theforefront. The sophistication of the attacks, the evident will to createlarge-scale panic and destruction, and the willingness of the terroriststhemselves to risk their lives to achieve their ends made the dirty bombthreat far more realistic.
The degree and nature of the threat vary significantly from one countryto another. National governments are redoubling their efforts to preventand to counter nuclear terrorism, both at home and abroad. The IAEA isserving as a catalyst for these efforts. We have provided equipment andtraining to hundreds of border guards and other law enforcementofficials, to help them detect illicit trafficking of radioactivematerial across borders. We have held dozens of workshops to helpgovernments and operators in assessing the threats to their nuclearfacilities, raising their standards of security, maintaining propercontrol of nuclear and radioactive material and being prepared torespond to any related emergencies that arise. And we recently forged atrilateral partnership among the United States, the Russian Federationand the IAEA to locate, secure and dispose of powerful radioactivesources that were lost or abandoned during the breakup of the formerSoviet Union.
The good news, in brief, is that governments and the IAEA are workingovertime on this problem, and we have every intention of continuinguntil the threat has been vastly reduced. But this will not happenovernight; bringing the global inventory of radioactive material underproper controls will require a sustained and concerted effort.
The writer is director general of the International Atomic EnergyAgency. return to menu
2. Director Of Abkhaz Institute Denies Uranium Sales Rumors
July 2, 2002
(for personal use only)
Sukhumi Institute of Physics director Anatolii Markholia has formallydenied Georgian media allegations that the institute sold weapons-gradeuranium to either Iraq or international terrorist organizationsfollowing the collapse of the USSR, Caucasus Press reported on 2 July.Markholia said no weapons-grade uranium was ever kept on Abkhazterritory, and those radioactive substances that the institute possessesdo not pose a danger to the local population. He added that theInternational Atomic Energy Agency is welcome to inspect the institute'spremises. return to menu
3. Georgian Official Doubts Abkhazia Sold Weapons-Grade Uranium
July 1, 2002
(for personal use only)
In what appears to be a new attempt by the Tbilisi-based Abkhazgovernment in exile to discredit the government of the breakawayRepublic of Abkhazia, a former senior scientist at the Sukhumi Instituteof Physics said in Tbilisi on 28 June that Abkhazia may have soldweapons-grade uranium or other fissionable substances to Iraq, Iran, orterrorist organizations, Caucasus Press and Interfax reported. TheGeorgian newspaper "24 saati" reported on 29 June without naming itssources that 2 kilograms of uranium-235 disappeared from the institute.But Georgian National Security Minister Valeri Khaburzania told CaucasusPress on 1 July that Moscow closely monitored the situation in Abkhaziaand he doubts Russia would have left such materials in Sukhum whereChechen volunteers who fought alongside the Abkhaz in the 1992-93 warmight have gained access to them. return to menu
4. Georgia Nuclear Hunt Draws A Blank
July 1, 2002
(for personal use only)
Two Soviet-era nuclear generators which sparked a huge internationalhunt in Georgia may not exist, authorities admitted on Monday.
The Strontium 90 generators were believed to be hangovers from theSoviet military presence in Georgia.
Dozens of experts took part in a two-week search of 550 squarekilometres (200 square miles) of land in the west of the country, someof it so remote that they had to travel on foot or on horseback.
But now officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency say newevidence has come to light which suggests the generators may not bethere.
Another search planned for later this year will focus on looking forother materials, Mark Gwozdecky, the IAEA's public information director,told BBC News Online.
"It was supposed there were two generators out there, but it is notclear now whether they are there to be found," he said.
The nature of the new evidence, or when it came to light, is not beingdisclosed, but Mr Gwozdecky insisted it had been right to press aheadwith the search.
"We felt there was certainly a strong possibility (of finding them)," hesaid. "It was something that needed to be done."
"The search was completed and people in that area can be reassured."
Experts say will return to Georgia in September to search another partof the country for nuclear material, but will not be specificallylooking for the Strontium generators.
Helicopters fitted with sensitive monitoring devices will criss-crossthe search area, looking for sources of radiation.
Three minor sources of radiation were found during the first search, butGeorgian officials stress they were far to weak to have been theStrontium generators.
The search was conducted by 80 experts from Georgia, India, France,Turkey and the US.
Four months earlier, two Georgian forestry workers suffered severeradiation sickness and burns when they found other Strontium 90 sourcesabandoned in woodland.
The men are still being treated in France and Russia for the injuriesthey suffered.
The generators would have been used to power communication stations inremote areas, and the IAEA describes them as "highly radioactive".
More than 280 other radioactive sources have already been recovered fromGeorgia since the mid-1990s. Some were from abandoned Soviet militarybases.
Experts say abondoned nuclear materials abound in the former Sovietcountries.
"It's incredibly important to keep searching," nuclear engineer JohnLarge told BBC News Online. "But the IAEA does not have the resources todo this.
"You are talking about the accounting collapse of an entire superpower,and the Soviets were not good at paperwork."
Dirty bombs Georgia was a centre for much of the Soviet-era nuclear research anddevelopment, he added, making the problem particularly serious there.
Many of the technicians themselves were Russians, who left Georgia afterthe collapse of the Soviet Union, making the region's radioactivematerials particularly vulnerable to being "misplaced" or mishandled.
The IAEA has been working with the Georgian authorities since 1997 totry to recover missing material, and to upgrade safety.
Last week the IAEA revealed that substances to build a so-called "dirtybomb" laced with radioactive material could be found in almost everycountry in the world.
More than 100 countries may have inadequate control and monitoringprograms necessary toprevent or even detect the theft of these materials, the InternationalAtomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says.
Strontium 90 could also be used for this purpose, but there is nosuggestion that the mystery generators of Georgia have fallen into thewrong hands. return to menu
5. Bits Of Doomsday Changing Hands Raise Alarms In Post-September 11 World
Charles J. Hanley
June 30, 2002
(for personal use only)
On a date unknown, via unknown hands, the 361 black pellets were carriedover a three-kilometer-high (two-mile-high) pass in the jagged skylineof the Caucasus, and down into the wide valleys of this former Sovietstate.
The little delivery from Russia was then driven 280 kilometers (170miles) cross-country to the Black Sea coast. There, in the smoky port ofBatumi one of four Georgian traffickers took personal charge of thecontraband and traveled a final few miles (several kilometers) over theborder into Turkey.
The Georgians thought they had a buyer for the pellets 1.4 kilograms (3pounds) of enriched uranium. But somehow the deal fell through. When thefront man returned, the four found another interested party waiting forthem, the police.
"It's happening everywhere, but Georgia seems to have become a favoriteroute," said Valerian Khaburdzania, the state security minister whodescribed last July's operation, when his investigators tailed thesmugglers from the Caucasus Mountains and then arrested them.
"Georgia is close to where the material is" Russia "and close to thepeople who want to buy it, in Turkey, in Iran," he said.
Laboratory tests found that the haul by Khaburdzania's men was notsufficiently enriched loaded with the fissionable uranium-235 isotope tobe ready-made for a nuclear bomb. But it could have been, as it was 15months earlier when a kilogram (2 pounds) of highly enriched uraniumwere seized and another smuggling ring undone in the same city ofBatumi.
It was bomb-usable in Paris, too, last July, when French police seizedthree men with a small amount of U-235, an apparent "sample,"international nuclear authorities say.
And there may be bomb-grade material, either uranium or plutonium,passing even today through any one of countless airports, seaports orunfenced borders, on its way to clandestine weapon-builders.
"That's the hell of all this," a U.S. anti-proliferation official saidprivately. What "material of concern," as he put it, has leaked or mayleak from Russia or nuclear sites elsewhere?
"You don't know what you don't know."
In the lengthening shadows of Sept. 11, a nightmare of doomsday weaponsis taking hold in the world. America may have the most to fear. Federalprosecutors say Osama bin-Laden's al-Qaida terror network has beentrying since 1993 to obtain the makings of a nuclear weapon.
The fear reaches well beyond Washington, however to the Middle East, forexample, where many believe Iran and Iraq are in the market forbomb-usable material to counter Israel's nuclear force or U.S. pressure,or to keep up with each other, or dominate the oil region.
The fear extends even to this small, poor ex-Soviet republic. Georgia'sremote Pankisi Gorge harbors anti-Russian guerrillas from neighboringChechnya who have been joined by dozens of Arab fighters, Khaburdzaniasaid.
"Maybe they're connected with al-Qaida," the Georgian minister wondered."Maybe they're interested in nuclear terrorism. ... This trafficking isa very dangerous situation."
Washington is shoring up defenses: accelerating its $1 billion-a-yeareffort to lock down "loose nukes" in the former Soviet Union; sendingradiation detectors to crossing points on U.S. and distant borders.American "weaponeers" are tinkering with primitive bomb designs in thesanctums of national laboratories, to see how terrorists might make one.
In a world stocked with an estimated 30,000 nuclear bombs, an unsettlingnew arms race is unfolding, a race to keep the next weapon out of acargo container, or interstate truck, or the hold of a suicide pilot'slight plane bound for New York, Washington or some other unlucky city.
Stealing one would be the direct route to a terrorist bomb, but thewarheads are rigidly guarded. The easiest route would be a "dirty bomb,"a conventional, non-nuclear explosion that would spread radioactivecesium, for example, from medical radiotherapy equipment.
But the threat that haunts the sleep of strategic planners is thepotential for a terror group to obtain sufficient fissionable materialto fashion a crude bomb like the one America dropped on Hiroshima,Japan, in 1945, a bomb that could kill tens of thousands and level theheart of a city.
Can they build one? Official pronouncements and technical nuances cloudthe answers.
Some specialists contend the amounts the International Atomic EnergyAgency (IAEA) regards as minimal for making a bomb are several times toolarge that in reality, and with the right design, as little as 1kilogram (2 pounds) of plutonium and 3 kilograms (7 pounds) of uraniumprocessed to over 90 percent U-235 might achieve a nuclear explosion.
Official U.S. and international agencies counter that such engineeringwould be beyond terrorists' capabilities. But no one puts too fine apoint on this balance between technical abilities and "bomb amounts."
"I don't have any reason to believe there's any sophisticated nuclearcapability in al-Qaida. But I don't want to find out," said LintonBrooks, deputy chief of the U.S. Energy Department's nuclear securityoperations.
The way not to find out is to keep "material of concern" out of unwantedhands.
The former Soviet Union alone possesses an estimated 1,350 metric tonsof it half in weapons, half removed from warheads and stored, or in usein such places as civilian research reactors.
Bits of that material have surreptitiously leaked out since the collapseof the Soviet Union in 1991. The IAEA, which guards against nuclearmaterial going astray, has recorded hundreds of trafficking cases out ofRussia and elsewhere since the early 1990s, most involving waste orother radioactive material not useful for nuclear bombs. But a handfulhave involved bomb-usable material.
One of the most troubling cases played out in Prague, where Czechauthorities, breaking up an international band of traffickers, seized2.7 kilograms (6 pounds) of nearly pure U-235 in December 1994. The nextyear, ominously, the Czechs confiscated smaller samples apparently drawnfrom the same secret store of bomb uranium.
Here in Georgia, in the isolated separatist enclave of Abkhazia, atleast 630 grams (1.4 pounds) of bomb-grade uranium disappeared sometimein the 1990s from an ex-Soviet nuclear institute. The IAEA worries thaturanium-enrichment equipment may also be vulnerable to theft there, butit lacks easy access and authority to investigate.
It's the "dark" statistic the undetected traffic that naturally worriesinvestigators most. "It's hit or miss," said George A. Anzelon, theAmerican who runs the IAEA trafficking database. "For every importantseizure, it's not hard to imagine how it might have gone undetected."
It's also not hard to imagine it going undetected when no one's trying.Two of four U.S. radiation monitors donated to Georgia were simplyturned off by customs officers after being installed at border crossingslast year, American officials told The Associated Press, speaking oncondition of anonymity.
Washington is trying to lead a global effort to block nuclear terrorism,sponsoring a conference here in Tbilisi in March, for example, at whichofficials from former Soviet republics were instructed in interceptingnuclear contraband. The IAEA's advocates, meanwhile, say it's time theU.N. watchdog agency's budget long frozen because of Washington'santi-U.N. sentiment be increased.
The IAEA, in the near term, is pushing to complete multilateralnegotiations by year's end on a sweeping expansion of a treatyprotecting nuclear materials. The treaty now sets security standardsonly for international transport, but would be broadened to cover thedeadly commodities when they're in civilian use or storage anywhere.
In the longer term, nonproliferation advocates say, the world shouldadopt a treaty to cut off production of fissile material, the stuff ofbombs.
In an interview at his headquarters in Vienna, Austria, MohamedEl-Baradei, the IAEA's director general, said a second step after thatwould be "a gradual reduction of stockpiles, putting the excessirreversibly in the civilian sector under IAEA safeguard." He calledthis "a practical way to move toward nuclear disarmament."
But the first thing the nonproliferators want to cut off is the seepagefrom the former Soviet Union, the source in at least 13 confirmed casesof trafficking in "material of concern" since 1991. return to menu
6. U.S., Global Agencies Gear Up To Defend Against Insidious New Threat
Charles J. Hanley
June 30, 2002
(for personal use only)
The chemist, his fingertips tracing the line of an invisible wire,imagined what might be done with a piece of iridium-192 to achieve theobjective terrorize a city with a radiation weapon.
"It would have to be cut into bits." The U.N. scientist's finger choppedat the air. "That's so it would be dispersed." He went on, then lookedup and stopped. "We've been working more with the Americans, you know.There's much they don't want shared."
Quietly, wary of sharing information publicly, handed a near-impossiblemission, specialists in the United States and Russia and at the U.N.nuclear agency based in Vienna are laying plans for a global defenseagainst "radiological dispersal devices," potential terror weapons somehave dubbed "dirty bombs."
Unlike nuclear warheads, designed to kill and destroy through the heatand blast of giant fission fusion reactions, radiation weapons wouldrely on conventional explosives to blow radioactive material far andwide cesium, cobalt, iridium, isotopes in everyday use in medicine andindustry.
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, this threat looks more real, real enoughto have brought the top U.S. and Russian energy officials together inMay to announce that a task force would work to secure such radioactivesources in the former Soviet Union.
At his Vienna headquarters, the director general of the InternationalAtomic Energy Agency said a nuclear bomb would be more frightening interrorist hands, but a radiological weapon is more likely to end upthere.
"It might not have the number of fatalities, but certainly it wouldcreate a lot of panic," Mohamed El-Baradei told The Associated Press."It is attractive from the perspective of a terrorist."
The isotopes seem attractive to many.
On March 6, 2001, Moscow police seized three Russian suspects and 200grams (a half-pound) of radioactive cesium-137, in what police sourcestold Russian television was to be a $1.5 million sale to an intermediaryfor a "Middle East country." The country was not named.
This May 30, Lithuanian police arrested six Lithuanians who they saidwere trying to sell about a kilogram (2 pounds) of cesium-137 on theblack market. Their foreign contact eluded authorities.
Then on June 10, the U.S. government announced it had detained anAmerican Muslim, Jose Padilla, who had returned to the United Statesafter allegedly plotting with al-Qaida contacts in Pakistan to attempt aradiological attack in the United States.
An IAEA database tracks dozens of cases since 1993 of trafficking inradioactive materials. Many originate in the former Soviet Union, andmany seem the work of common criminals with a notion the material isvaluable.
Besides thefts, some deadly lumps of radioactivity were "orphaned" inthe ex-Soviet Union left behind unguarded when the military pulled backto Russia from outlying republics. In Georgia, three woodsmen werestricken with illness after finding two strontium-run nuclear batteriesin the mountains. The IAEA organized an unprecedented hunt last monthfor other such radioactive perils in that former Soviet republic.
Strontium and the other exotic isotopes, or radionuclides, byproducts ofnuclear reactors, have worked their way into daily life in many ways,their deadly radioactivity put to use treating cancer, sterilizingmedical equipment, finding oil deposits, disinfecting food. The IAEAestimates 34,000 radiotherapy cancer treatments are administeredworldwide each day.
Potent batches must be heavily shielded, because exposure to their gammarays for more than a pinpoint moment can cause acute radiationpoisoning, even death. Long-term exposure to lower levels can causecancer.
Turning an isotope into a weapon would be an unpredictable exercise anddangerous, if not suicidal, for terrorists without elaborate protectiveequipment.
A makeshift weapon's impact would depend on the explosive charge; thewind and weather; the type, amount and radioactive intensity of theisotope and how it was placed with the bomb. Its form solid or powderywould determine how widely it might be dispersed by a blast, or byventilation systems, vehicles, clothing, the wind.
Radioactivity is insidious in other ways, too: Long-lasting cesium-137,for example, fuses with concrete. Buildings might have to be demolished.
In 1987 in Goiania, Brazil, unwitting scavengers broke open an abandonedradiotherapy unit and spread its cesium-137 around the city. Four peopledied, hundreds were contaminated, 85 houses had to be destroyed, andthousands of tons of clothing, furniture and other exposed material werecarted off. In Goiania it was cesium chloride, a talc-like powder,easily dispersible.
"If someone with a certain set of mind got hold of a source likeGoiania, he could cause not necessarily a lot of deaths, but a lot ofsocial disruption," said Anthony Wrixon, the IAEA radiation safetyspecialist and chemist who described the approach to iridium wire.
He then added, "I don't believe cesium chloride material like this isproduced anymore."
A simple Internet search, however, shows it is still out there. In fact,a company just 60 kilometers (35 miles) from New York City manufacturesa powerful food irradiator packed with cesium chloride powder 2.8million curies' worth, in the basic measure of radioactivity.
A "dirty bomb" of just 1,000 curies might contaminate a vast swath of acity, nuclear physicist Steven E. Koonin testified at a U.S. Senatehearing in March.
The IAEA reports 300 such irradiators in use worldwide. Their massivebulk and deadly untouchability are considered deterrents to tampering byoutsiders, but U.S. authorities also recently instructed users andtransporters of large radioactive sources to step up security.
Another witness reminded the senators, however, that tiny amounts alsocan do great damage. Physicist Henry Kelly, a former White Housetechnology adviser, said that if the cesium in a medical gauge recentlyfound in North Carolina were attached to 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) ofTNT and exploded on the Washington Mall, it theoretically might force adecades-long abandonment of a 40-block area covering the Capitol and theSupreme Court.
The scenarios frighten. The task of defending against them is daunting.
"It's a big job. It's not clear that it can be done," Linton Brooks,deputy chief of the U.S. Energy Department's nuclear securityoperations, said in an interview in Washington. "But I think it onceagain is an expansion of our thinking based on 9/11."
In Moscow, a key official of Russia's nuclear regulatory agency agreed.
Tracking "sources" would be an even tougher job than protecting theplutonium and uranium for nuclear bombs, said Yuri G. Volodin. "Thespectrum of radioactive sources is so wide, and the number out there isimmense."
A first step will be to identify the sources that are most dangerous andmost accessible to terrorists, U.S. officials said. The Americans andRussians are also quickly mounting a pilot project to tighten securityat a huge "radioactive dump" for such sources in the Moscow area.
In the longer term, the IAEA wants to study the idea of an internationaltracking system for large radioactive sources. It says more than 100countries may have inadequate regulation of such material. "What isneeded is cradle-to-grave control," the IAEA's El-Baradei said at a newsconference in London last week.
Others recommend that governments finance research into alternatives toradionuclide use.
The U.S. government, meanwhile, has dispatched hundreds of radiationsensors to U.S. border crossings and transportation hubs, and the IAEAis working to install them internationally.
It's expensive, up to $65,000, to properly equip a single monitoringpoint, said Reza Abedin-Zadeh, the IAEA's safeguards equipment chief.
Will the dread of nuclear terrorism, of fission bombs or radiationweapons, produce a world with nuclear sentinels on every corner? "Idon't want to see that for my children," said Abedin-Zadeh. "We're facedwith this because of some states' carelessness with nuclear materialcontrol and accounting. I hope we can solve the problem in 10 years."
Kelly, president of the Federation of American Scientists, offered thesenators an answer beyond accounting: "In the long run our greatest hopemust lie in building a prosperous, free world where the conditions thatbreed such monsters have vanished." return to menu
7. Uranium Stored In Abkhazia Might Have Been Sold To Terrorists - AbkhazScientist In Georgia
June 29, 2002
(for personal use only)
Enriched uranium and other radioactive materials stored in Abkhaziamight have been sold to terrorist organizations or to Iraq, according toValter Kashiya, director of Sukhumi's Physical-Technical Institute, whois now in Georgia.
He told Interfax that stored at the institute were 244 types ofradioactive substances and materials, including an amount of enricheduranium-235.
During the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, the institute had to be evacuatedto Tbilisi with the bulk of its staff.
The lack of information about the condition of the radioactive elementdepository arouses serious fears in the U.S. and internationalorganizations. "The enriched uranium and other radioactive substancesand materials might have been sold by Abkhaz separatists to terroristorganizations or to Iraq," Kashiya said.
According to him, the physical-technical institute was founded in 1945and was included in the system of secret USSR enterprises working on theproduction of an atomic bomb.
"We have evidence that some amount of enriched uranium was moved out ofSukhumi back in 1997," said Kashiya. He does not rule out that beforethe evacuation of the institute's staff from Sukhumi, there could havebeen several kilograms of enriched uranium in storage.
"The laboratory I led then had about 655 grams of enriched uranium, butthere were about four score of such laboratories on the institute'sterritory at the time," said Kashiya.
Meanwhile, Georgian Minister for Environment and Natural ResourcesProtection Nino Chkhobadze told Interfax that Tbilisi has no credibleinformation about the state of radioactive materials stored in Sukhumi.
Abkhaz authorities have proposed setting up a monitoring post at theinstitute with help from Georgian specialists and IAEA representatives,but no consent has come from Sukhumi yet, said the minister.
"By some information, radiation sources may be not only at thephysical-technical institute, but also at Sukhumi's monkey nursery andin the town of Gagra," said Chkhobadze. return to menu
8. Soviet Nuclear Legacy Seen As Global Threat
June 29, 2002
(for personal use only)
Walk past the overflowing rubbish bins and through the crumblingentrance faŭade of Atomflot, Russia's harbour for nuclear-powered civilvessels in the arctic city of Murmansk, and you are greeted by a set ofgleaming white booths.
They sit incongruously in the rundown foyer, equipped with electronicsluice gates, cameras and a range of metal detectors and sensors.Completed in April, they are the most visible result of aninternationally funded effort to improve protection at a site that ispart of the security headache caused by the Soviet Union's nuclearlegacy.
At this week's G8 summit, leaders agreed to spend $20bn (20.6bn, ŭ13bn)over the next decade in further securing nuclear materials in Russia,citing the attacks of September 11 as evidence of the need for what iscalled the G8 global partnership against the spread of weapons andmaterial of mass destruction.
The Murmansk area, with its plethora of military bases and nuclear wastedumps, will be one of the prime targets of the initiative.
In the case of Atomflot, western experts are particularly alarmed thatit handles highly enriched uranium, which can be used for weapons,unlike most civilian nuclear facilities. The uranium is used as fuel topower Russia's fleet of nuclear ice breakers.
"Atomflot really was a weak spot in the Murmansk area as you did noteven have the military protection system," says Ole Reistad at theNorwegian Radiation Protection Authority.
To counter this, Sweden, the US, UK and Norway have funded severalphysical-protection projects on the site. Since September 11, amidincreased fears that terrorists may attempt to gain nuclear materials,security procedures at Atomflot have been tightened further.
Behind the booths, a new perimeter fence and a reinforced vehicleentrance, the transport ship Lotta is unloading used nuclear fuel thatit has brought to the civilian port from decommissioned nuclear navysubmarines that are waiting to be broken up in military ports along theKola peninsular.
Segej Perevoztjikov, deputy technical director of the Atomic fleet withthe Murmansk Shipping Company, says fuel from 29 submarine reactors hasbeen dealt with since 1996 but there are "over a hundred more".
At the quayside, the used fuel is transferred into unmarked rail trucksfor the journey to a recycling plant. The trucks look like normal orewagons, "so that terrorists cannot identify or follow them", MrPervoztjikov says.
Lars van Dassen, the director of the Swedish Nuclear non-proliferationassistance programme, has been involved in protection work at Atomflotand says the perception of threat has changed dramatically since theattacks in New York. "Previously people had thought of spent fuel asself-protected, as it emits deadly levels of radiation. Suicide attackshave changed that thinking," he says.
"There is also a realisation that even materials with lower levels ofradiation may be targeted for use in so-called 'dirty bombs'."
Russia is the only country to maintain a fleet of nuclear-poweredcivilian vessels, with eight ice breakers to keep open the ports andrivers along the lengthy arctic coastline.
Standing on the bridge of the ice breaker Tajmyr, Captain AleksanderOlsjevskij says the advantage of such ships is their ability to stay atsea for extended periods. "We could stay out for three and a half tofour years depending on the workload without refuelling."
But away from the relative safety of Murmansk in the small ports andrivers of the Siberian coast they are vulnerable to attack.
"The problem is that the ice breakers are mobile nuclear power plantsand they are at risk of being hijacked and used for blackmail," saysMorten Bremer Maerli, a nuclear-terrorism expert at the NorwegianInstitute of International Affairs and leader of a Swedish-Norwegianproject that fitted protection on one ice breaker for about $1m.
This meant new doors and alarm and identification systems to make sureonly authorised crew can enter restricted areas. "We also needed toensure that there were procedures for shutting down the reactor if theboat came under attack," Mr Maerli says.
Two other ships have been secured and there are plans for further work.
However, as with many international projects aimed at dealing withnuclear security and waste in Russia, the plans have been held up by thefailure to sign an agreement to provide insurance cover for liability inthe case of accidents. Officials hope the G8 initiative will help boostsecurity and and enable this hurdle to be cleared. return to menu
9. Dirty Bomb Investigation Targets Central Asia And The Caucasus
June 28, 2002
(for personal use only)
The May arrest of Jose Padilla, the Brooklyn-born Muslim accused ofplanning to build a radiological "dirty bomb" within the United States,has helped focus attention on the issue of access to radioactivematerials. The Caucasus and Central Asia have emerged as a particulararea of concern, as reliable controls over radioactive materials inthose regions have broken down. US officials are now pushing for bettermonitoring of such materials.
There is scant substantive evidence that the Caucasus and Central Asiaare fertile ground for radiological commerce. However, internationalagencies are concerned that investigators may be overlooking clues tosuch trafficking. Both the United Nations-backed International AtomicEnergy Agency (IAEA) and the National Academy of Sciences have expressedconcern about the monitoring of several ingredients of possible futuredirty bombs.
"No one knows how big the problem of clandestine trafficking inradioactive materials is, but enough people have been arrested that,where there's smoke, there must be fire," says John Pike, director of aVirginia information firm called GlobalSecurity.org. The IAEA's failureto recover two nuclear generators in Georgia underscores the possibilityof radioactive materials falling into the hands of terrorists.
Like other barometers of life in the former Soviet Union, thedistribution of harmful elements is very difficult to track. Pike says"radioactive source inventory control" is a massive problem. While theUnited State has made some progress working with Russia on monitoringuranium and plutonium, Pike adds "there isn't a specific program"focused on other former Soviet republics.
Kazakhstan produced nuclear arms, and has cooperated to some degree indismantling its nuclear factories. But, says Pike, American officialshave not visibly worked to suppress small-scale radiological sabotage."Over the past decade, improving security of fully-assembled weapons andweapons grade material has been the priority, not tracking radiologicalsources," he says.
When asked about the US Department of Energy's program to donateradiological detection equipment to border posts throughout Russia,Central Asia and the Caucusus, Pike says it will "almost certainly notmake a difference, because of the porosity of borders in the region."Pike challenged the IAEA to come up with a program to "assessradiological inventories and vulnerabilities" at places like hospitals,labs and industrial facilities.
Indeed, inspectors may not know where someone might assemble a crudebomb. "There must be an accounting of all sources of radiologicalmaterials creating a comprehensive inventory, especially of plutonium,uranium, and certain isotopes of strontium, cesium and cobalt," saysArjun Makhijani, president of the Maryland-based Institute of Energy andEnvironmental Research. At the same time, Makhijani calls for tightcontrol over all these materials, because a failed attempt to combinethem could be disastrous.
"It's not easy to make dirty bombs," he says. "Handling and transportingthese elements is extremely dangerous." On this logic, the most minimalpersonal contact with these elements could result in immediate sickness,and possible death. Russian and US investigators, along with IAEAexperts, are now combing through records in an effort to track downwhere radioactive materials may lie, and are focusing suddenly on theCaucasus and Central Asia.
On June 25, the IAEA told the Associated Press that "uncontrolledradioactive sources are widespread" in Central Asia's five former Sovietrepublics. While the agency says that more than 100 countries may failto adequately protect their radioactive materials, recent incidents inthe former Soviet Union make that region especially troublesome. TheIAEA cited a 1997 episode in which 11 Georgian border guards fell illwith radiation poisoning after cesium capsules in their barracks exposedthem to radiation.
The hunt for missing equipment has spread across the region. In additionto the hunt for the missing generators in Georgia, there is also a caseof missing containers reportedly containing cesium-137. On June 25, theGuardian reported that the tubes were used in experiments by the Sovietsin the 1970's to stop corn germination. They were stored in protectivecasing, but since the breakup of the Soviet Union, they have strayed.The Guardian report said the IAEA has located nine of the tubes, four inGeorgia and five in Moldova. While the Bush administration has leakedplans to spend up to $25 million this year on finding radiologicalmaterial in the former Soviet Union, it is not clear how this moneywould practically improve inspection methods.
Indeed, the methods used by investigators may face increased scrutiny.On June 25th, the National Academy of Sciences issued a series ofrecommendations that "gives the government a blueprint for usingtechnologies and creating new capabilities to reduce the likelihood ofterrorist attacks and the severity of their consequences." Protectingand controlling the sources of potential explosives tops the list.
The former Soviet republics remain basically uncharted, though thecontinuing detention of Padilla may drive investigators deeper into theregion. The government has worked to suppress information about thePadilla case, but Pakistani investigators have said that radioactivetrafficking has gone on in the new nations of Central Asia. Officialshave said that Padilla probably traveled in Pakistan and Central Asia,and may have joined an al Qaeda mission to Chechnya to learn aboutmaking bombs.
He may well have gotten across borders with relative ease. In recentyears, agents have stopped several nuclear smugglers on or near theborders of Central Asia and Russia. In one case, an Uzbek in Kyrgyzstanwas nabbed en route to the United Arab Emirates with a plutoniumcapsule.
On June 26, the nonpartisan General Accounting Office (GAO) issued areport criticizing the US anti-smuggling program. The GAO report saidthe United States has spent more than $90 million on equipping more than30 countries, including Russia and several of the nations of CentralAsia, with radiation detection equipment, mobile X-ray vans, inspectiontools and training. But the ways inspectors have spent this money, likethe materials in question, are very hard to trace.
Mark Berniker is a freelance journalist who specializes in Central Asiaand the Caucasus. return to menu
1. On The Submission At The Conference On Disarmament Of A Russian-ChineseDraft Working Document On The Prevention Of The Placement Of Weapons InSpace
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
July 2, 2002
At the Conference on Disarmament session being held in Geneva, theformal presentation took place of a joint draft document worked out byRussia and China under the title of "Possible Elements of the FutureInternational Legal Instrument on the Prevention of the Placement ofWeapons in Outer Space and the Use of Force or Threat of Force AgainstSpace Objects." It was also cosponsored by the delegations of Belarus,Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Syria.
In this draft found reflection the key ideas of UN General Assemblyresolution A/56/23 "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space," whichmost world states favor; it also embodies the appropriate Russianinitiatives put forward at the 56th session of the UN General Assembly.
The Russian side believes that the possible agreement would facilitatethe carrying out of effective peaceful space activities and thedevelopment of multilateral cooperation in this field in accordance withinternational law and would strengthen legal norms for the protection ofspace objects already in space and prospective space objects on thebasis of the UN Charter-enshrined principle of the non-use of force orthe threat of force in international relations.
The submitted document is not a completely finished text of a futuretreaty. It covers only its main elements, and the Russian side is readyto work on their further improvement with all interested states. return to menu
2. President Of The Russian Federation Vladimir Putin Remarks At PressConference Following Big Eight Summit, Kananaskis, Canada (excerpted)
June 27, 2002
Question: Vladimir Vladimirovich, summing up the summit results, whichof the provisions from the adopted statements on a global partnershipappear to you the most important, in particular, for Russia? Threestatements were adopted. What is most important in them to your mind?
President Putin: The theme of a global fight against terrorism has longbeen under discussion. It is linked to Russia, to some other countriesin which definite arsenals are concentrated, stockpiles of weapons ofmass destruction in the first place. To Russia this is a relevant themesince we have inherited several rather complicated problems from theSoviet Union, of which the chief ones are the debt of the former SovietUnion, with which we are coping, for all the problems, as you know, anda large quantity of arms long since inoperative, stored and earmarkedfor destruction. I mean, first of all, atomic weapons.
I want to say that I looked at the press, and watched some internationaltelevision channels where they speak of a threat of the spread onRussian territory of weapons of this kind. Nothing of this is to befound anywhere. There is no threat of spread whatsoever, and all theseweapons are under strict control. Although, I repeat once more, they'renot operational, they're stored. But they present a certain danger,above all from the point of view of ecology. This is a fact. Of greatestinterest to us is cooperation in destroying the stockpiles of chemicalweapons earmarked for that, and the navy's out-of-service nuclearsubmarines, of which many remain undestroyed even since Soviet times. Inthe first place, I want to note that the responsibility for eliminatingthese weapons lies on Russia itself. We have been engaged, are engagedand will continue to be engaged in the disposition of these weapons, andif our partners are willing to render assistance here, we will begrateful.
We now agreed on cooperation within the framework of this globalpartnership that you've mentioned, I repeat, we've worked out somedefinite approaches, the rules of joint work. As I already said, Russiaintends to continue to fulfill all its obligations in this regard, butthe cooperation will extend to other countries as well, in the firstplace countries of the former Soviet Union. A theme relevant andimportant and we're very satisfied that our colleagues deemed itpossible to pay attention to it.
Question: Which part of the 20 billion allocated for the liquidation ofweapons of mass destruction will go to Russia, and which part to otherCIS countries? If possible, name those countries. And is it alreadydecided for which plants this money will be allocated?
President Putin: As to the countries, there are several variants here.In the first place, this must be determined by the countries that willallocate the funds. Russia, by the way, is also ready to take part inthe liquidation of weapons not only at home, but also in other states,wherever they are. It is a subject of separate analysis.
As to our interests, we have two themes which present a specialinterest. And which are the most relevant, I guess. First off,destruction of the stockpiles of chemical weapons, and secondly (Ialready spoke about this) - the elimination of the navy's out-of-servicenuclear submarines. return to menu
3. Press Briefing By National Security Advisor Dr. Rice (excerpted)
June 27, 2002
The second major initiative completed today, when President Putinarrived, is the global partnership for the destruction of weapons ofmass destruction -- the so-called 10 plus 10, it's been called. And thisis an effort to bring to bear more resources, now $20 billion over 10years, from the G7 countries and Russia to deal with the destruction ofweapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological, and nuclear mattersof safety, but also matters of destruction.
Given the terrorism threat that is oft cited by those who worry aboutthe legacy of these weapons of mass destruction, we think this is a veryimportant initiative and we're delighted to get it done. So, in the areaof terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, the President's agenda wasmoved forward substantially.
Q: On both packages, first on African aid, is there any -- any chancethat the United States government will put up 50 percent of its foreignassistance budget to Africa? And on the 20 billion for Russia, I'mcurious as to why the language is that up to $20 billion will becommitted. Why not just flat $20 billion? Why the wiggle room?
DR. RICE: Well, the up to $20 billion reflects the reality that this isa new initiative and that countries are going to have to go back andmake commitments. But we're confident, given the spirit around thisglobal partnership, that the commitments are going to reach into thatarea. As you know, it's 10 plus 10, which means the United States hasalready committed its $10 billion over 10 years. And we expect thatthere will be a strong effort by others to match that.
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