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Nuclear News - 08/23/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, August 23, 2002
Compiled by David Smigielski



A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. America Inspects Russian Nuclear Fleet, Vitaly Bratkov, Pravda August 21, 2002
B. Nuclear Fuel Transfer
    1. Serbia Sends Nuclear Fuel To Russia, Aleksandar Vasovic, Associated Press, August 23, 2002
    2. Over 817 Kg Of Highly Enriched Nuclear Fuel Transported From Yugoslavia To Russia, Eduard Puzyryov, RIA Novosti, August 23, 2002
    3. Russian Atomic Energy Ministry Hails Operation To Extract Nuclear Fuel From Yugoslavia As A Prime Example Of U.S.-Russian Cooperation, Associated Press, August 23, 2002
    4. Two "Atomic Bombs" Passed Through Belgrade, Blic, August 23, 2002
C. Russia-U.S.
    1. Who's Afraid Of U.S.-Russian Friendship? Ariel Cohen, National Review, August 23, 2002
    2. The Landscape After The Nuclear Storm, Andrei Piontkovsky, Russia Journal, August 23, 2002
D. Russia-Iran
    1. Russia Says US Policy On Iran Unconstructive, Israeli-Induced, Islamic Republic News Agency, August 23, 2002
    2. International Security And Disarmament Problems Dominate Russian-Iranian Consultations, Cristina Rodriguez, RIA Novosti, August 23, 2002
    3. U.S. Congressional Delegation Expresses Concern Over Russian Cooperation With Iraq, Iran, Associated Press, August 21, 2002
    4. Iran-Russia To Discuss Non-Proliferation, Middle East, Islamic Republic News Agency, August 20, 2002
E. Former Soviet Republics
    1. Uzbek President, UN Disarmament Official Discuss Cooperation, UzReport.com, August 22, 2002
F. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. Russian Weapons Scientists Study Radiological Threats, Bryan Bender, Global Security Newswire, August 20, 2002
G. Nuclear Safety
    1. US Observers Take Part In Exercises At Bilibinskaya Nuclear Power Plant, Oleg Kulgin, RIA Novosti, August 22, 2002
H. Announcements
    1. No Highly Radioactive Materials In Vinca, Serbian Government Office of Communication, August 22, 2002
    2. Russian First Deputy Minister Of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Trubnikov Meets With Henry J. Hyde, Chairman Of The US Congress House Of Representatives Committee On International Relations, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, August 22, 2002
I. Links of Interest
    1. The Proposed "Moscow Treaty" On Strategic Offensive Reductions, Christopher E. Paine, NRDC, July 23, 2002
    2. New Beginnings, Paul Fritch, NATO Review, August 2002

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
America Inspects Russian Nuclear Fleet
Vitaly Bratkov
Pravda
August 21, 2002
(for personal use only)


A ceremonial opening of a unique onshore complex designed for unshippingof spent nuclear fuel from submarines will take place in the Russiannorthern city of Severodvinsk on August 23. The complex was built withmoney appropriated by the USA in the network of the Co-operative ThreatReduction (CTR) program, also known by the names of its authors as aNunn-Lugar program.

Unshipping of spent nuclear fuel from submarines is really veryimportant for a complex process of spent nuclear fuel utilization.Before construction of the new onshore complex, the Severodvinskenterprise Zvezdochka used a PM-124 conveyer ship for unshipping ofspent nuclear fuel from submarines; the ship had been built for theSoviet Navy in 1960.

High ranking American officials are expected to come to the ceremonialopening of the complex, one of the CTR authors, Sam Nunn among them.

In accordance to a program adopted by the Russian and American defenseministries in the network of START agreement in 1992, three specialplatforms for cutting hulls of nuclear submarines and an automatedsection for cable processing were opened at the Severodvinsk enterpriseZvezdochka. Later, in autumn of 2000, a division for utilization ofsolid and liquid low activity wastes was also opened there. Specialistssay, co-operation with the USA in this sphere is very likely tocontinue.

A year ago, Senator Richard Lugar visited Severodvinsk to checkpurposeful spending of funds appropriated for realization of the programand see utilization of nuclear subs. The senator also negotiated furtherCTR expansion with Zvezdochka Director General Nikolay Kalistratov. Somenew projects in the CTR network are to be discussed during forthcomingvisit of Americans to the Russian northern city of Severodvinsk.Construction of an additional temporary depot for nuclear fuel storageat the Zvezdochka enterprise is one of the projects to be discussed atthe meeting. So, a closed technology for utilization of spent nuclearfuel will be created at the Severodvinsk enterprise. Putting of theonshore unshipping complex into operation will allow to dischargereactors of four submarines of a Delta-4 class or two strategicatomic-powered vessels of a Typhoon class off spent fuel per year.Specialists say, the new complex will secure nuclear and radiationsafety of the whole process of unshipping, transportation and storage ofspent nuclear fuel. So, the visit of Senator Nunn promises to be reallyvery interesting.
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B. Nuclear Fuel Transfer

1.
Serbia Sends Nuclear Fuel To Russia
Aleksandar Vasovic
Associated Press
August 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Fearing a possible terrorist attack, Serbian police sealed off nearlyhalf of Belgrade early Thursday while unused nuclear reactor fuel wasbrought to the airport for shipment to Russia.

Helicopters hovered over the city as heavily armed police officersguarded the 22-mile route from the Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences,just outside Belgrade, to the airport.

The heavy security was aimed at preventing a terrorist attack, saidDragan Domazet, Serbia's Minister for Technology, Science andDevelopment. Serbia is the larger Yugoslav republic, with Montenegro.

He said that the fuel could be used to help develop nuclear weapons. Theshipment included 6,000 rods, each about 4 inches long and 1 inches indiameter.

The Soviet Union gave the fuel rods to the Vinca institute in 1976 forresearch work.

Following the ouster of former President Slobodan Milosevic ( news - websites) in 2000, the new Serbian government began a program to reduceenvironmental hazards. Removing toxic and nuclear materials is part ofthe program.

Domazet said that the removal of nuclear fuel was organized with thehelp of international groups and the U.S. government, which donated $10million to decommission Vinca.

Bringing the rods to the airport took about six hours, a police officersaid on condition of anonymity.

"We were vigilant and ready to cope with any potential assailantincluding bin Laden himself," the officer said.

The cargo did not pose any environmental threat because "these bars arecompletely harmless until they burn in a reactor," Domazet said.

The Vinca nuclear reactor was developed in early 1950s as a part offormer Yugoslavia's national nuclear program. It was closed and partlydecommissioned in early '80s.
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2.
Over 817 Kg Of Highly Enriched Nuclear Fuel Transported From YugoslaviaTo Russia
Eduard Puzyryov
RIA Novosti
August 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


On Friday, the press service of the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energyreported that on August 22 on the request of the US government more than817 kg of highly enriched nuclear fuel was transported from Yugoslaviato Russia.

The fuel was delivered to enterprises of the Ministry of Atomic Energybased in the city of Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk region. Subsequently thehighly enriched nuclear fuel will be processed into a low enriched fuelnot suitable for production of nuclear weapons.

The ministry's press spokesmen said "the nuclear fuel was taken from theBelgrade Institute of Nuclear Sciences "Vinca" in accordance with allthe legislatively prescribed procedures. The fuel remained in Yugoslaviafrom the early 80s and was not used due to suspension of operation ofthe Yugoslav reactor of the TBP-C type." The fissionable material whichis contained in the fuel could be used for production of 2.5 nuclearcharges.

The Ministry of Atomic Energy indicated that the nuclear fuel wastransported on US funds and with organizational support provided by theUS State Department. The operation involved the International AtomicEnergy Agency and the government of Yugoslavia.

The statement issued by specialists of the Russian Ministry of AtomicEnergy declared that "the above operation represents a wonderful exampleof Russian-American cooperation in preventing the threat ofinternational terrorism and of real effectiveness of the jointDeclaration signed in Moscow this May by the Russian and US Presidents."
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3.
Russian Atomic Energy Ministry Hails Operation To Extract Nuclear FuelFrom Yugoslavia As A Prime Example Of U.S.-Russian Cooperation
Associated Press
August 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry on Friday hailed the recently completedoperation to extract nuclear fuel from Yugoslavia as a "splendidexample" of U.S.-Russian cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

On Thursday, workers from the Russian ministry collected unused rods ofhighly enriched uranium from the Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences,just outside Belgrade, and transported the load to Belgrade airportunder heavy security. The Soviet Union had given the fuel to the Vincainstitute in 1976 for research purposes.

The consignment contained 5,046 rods of high-enriched uranium, weighingmore than 817 kilograms (1,797 pounds), and was enough to produce twoand a half nuclear warheads, the ministry said in a statement. Theuranium was brought to an Atomic Energy Ministry plant in Dimitrovgrad,a Volga River town about 750 kilometers (470 miles) east of Moscow.

"Thus has yet another potential threat of terrorism or nuclear theftbeen eliminated," the ministry said.

The U.S. State Department organized and financed the operation, and theYugoslav government cooperated, the ministry said. In Russia, theuranium will be processed into a low-enriched form.

"This operation represents a splendid example of Russian-Americancooperation in preventing the threat of international terrorism," theministry said.
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4.
Two "Atomic Bombs" Passed Through Belgrade
Blic
August 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Unused nuclear fuel, in other words 6.000 solid uranium combustible barswas transported yesterday early morning , with great security measures,from the Institute for nuclear science "Vinca" to Russia. According toDragan Domazet, minister for science and technology, this is a quantitysufficient to make at least two nuclear bombs, and therefore anyinformation about the transportation was held top secret, "so to avoidany possibility of terrorist act". Domazet emphasized that in nopossible way citizens were endangered since this unused nuclear fuel isnot radioactive being the uranium ore, "as it is to be found in nature".

"There was no danger at all. Citizens were not in danger. We were thereall night , and everything was packed by hand", claims Domazet.

Krunoslav Subotic, executive director of Institute "Vinca" , explainedthat entire quantity of uranium bars in "Vinca" was transported, becausethat is the fuel for reactor that is out of functioning since 1984. Healso added that those bars do become radioactive waste only after beingburned.

Domazet emphasized that along with extreme security measurements, policeforces have blocked highway for the hour, so the fuel was transported toSurcin airport.

"The transport has marked beginning of significant programme 'GreenVinca' that aims to completely clear out grounds of Vinca Institute fromall radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel" said Domazet.

It's Never Completely Safe

Dr Radomir Kovacevic, section head of radiology and radiotherapy sectionin the Institute for industrial medicine, said for "Blic" that, wheneverradioactive material is an issue, there is no completely safe way ofhandling them.

"Over the years we collaborated with "Vinca" institute, and I do believethat they were respecting legal regulations regarding handling withradioactive substances. They were obliged to wear protective gloves,outfit and boots. Uranium is radioactive even as only ore", said RadomirKovacevic.
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C. Russia-U.S.

1.
Who's Afraid Of U.S.-Russian Friendship?
Ariel Cohen
National Review
August 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Is America's honeymoon with Russia over? Last weekend Iraq's ambassadorto Moscow, Abbas Khalaf, announced that Russia will be signing a $40billion, ten-year economic cooperation pact with Saddam. Does this meanPutin supports Iraq against the possible U.S. military operation? Onlyrecently, Moscow declared that it will sell five more nuclear reactorsto the mullahs in Tehran - and that the North Korea's "Dear Leader," KimJong Il, will visit Russia.

Suddenly it almost looks like 9/11 never happened. Could Russia bereturning to its position as \ patron saint of the axis of evil?

Not so fast. There's no change of course.

The window of opportunity for the U.S. to develop a closer relationshipwith Moscow has not closed - at least not yet. But there are warningsigns that America's inability to deliver the goods for Putin - combinedwith the anti-Americanism of many of Russia's ministers and bureaucrats- could derail the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The Russian-Iraqi agreement had been in the works for two years. TheIraqi leader, realizing that he's about to be sunk by a U.S. attack, isgrasping at straws in hopes of finding shelter and support through hisformer patron. But the Iraqi-Russia economic pact is a fantasy.

The agreement was rammed through the Russian bureaucracy by one ofRussia's oil giants, LUKoil. The company, which is owned by Azeribillionaire Vagit (Wahid) Alekperov, has signed promising agreementswith the Baath regime in Baghdad - including one to develop the giantWest Qurna field. LUKoil, which recently purchased close to 1,300 Gettygas stations in the U.S., is hoping to preserve its strategic investmentin Iraq. But lobbying for ties with Saddam today may backfire in postwarIraq tomorrow.

Slavneft is another company with interests in Iraq, and that has beenactive on Saddam's behalf in Moscow. Until recently the company hadclose ties to the fiercely anti-American, ultra nationalist politicianVladimir Zhirinovsky. Duma and government sources in Moscow haverepeatedly alleged that Zhirinovsky and his Liberal Democratic party(which, in reality, is neither liberal nor democratic) is supported bySaddam.

Pavel Felgengauer, a well-known Russian security analyst, told the BBCon Monday that it is not clear which Russian foreign policy is served bythe recently announced agreement: that of President Putin, or that ofLUKoil; as he put it: "We have several foreign policies." OtherMoscow-based analysts, who asked not to be identified, told NRO thatLUKoil has bought the Russian foreign ministry "lock, stock and barrel."Others were almost proud that private interests now influence Russianforeign policy - just like in any other state. "It is safer thatcompanies influence our decision making. In the past it was all donebehind the closed doors of the Politburo," said one observer.

The problem of articulating the new Russian foreign and defense policyis not new, however, and has long worried Putin's advisers in Moscow aswell as Russia watchers in Washington. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, forinstance, reflects the anti-American and pro-Arab opinions of Soviet eradiplomats such as ex-prime minister Evgeny Primakov, who appointed him.Ivanov is not trusted by Putin's inner circle, but he has also not beenreplaced, as Putin is delaying a purge of the foreign ministry.

The ministry of defense is now under the leadership of Putin'sconfidante, ex-KGB general Sergey Ivanov. Ivanov is Russia's first"civilian" defense minister, but reforms have been slow in coming. WhenBush and Putin seemed to have hit it off, the bureaucrats were notthrilled.

Today, the question is whether Putin's foreign policy is being hijackedby companies and by the Soviet-era, anti-American elite. The figurescertainly do not add up. If Russian-Iraqi trade now stands at about $1billion a year, it would need to quadruple in order to meet that $40billion mark during the ten-year period. This is simply not going tohappen.

The astronomical figure may, however, be a signal to Washington thatRussia wants to be compensated if Saddam is removed. At the recent G-8summit, Putin told Bush that Moscow will shed no tears over Saddamprovided Iraq repays the Soviet-era $7 billion debt formerly owed to theU.S.S.R. Adjusted for inflation, today Iraq's debt comes to about $12billion. Moreover, if Russia loses the oil concessions that have beensigned off by Saddam, and if oil prices go down as Iraq starts to pumpmore oil to pay for postwar reconstruction, Moscow will lose some of itsoil-export revenues - perhaps as much as $4 billion a year.

With Iran, the story is different. The huge Iranian nuclear contract waslobbied for by MinAtom, the Soviet-era nuclear ministry, which is tryingto keep factories with tens of thousands of jobs afloat. MinAtom'sbureaucrats are not exactly Yankee fans. True, in the long term, anuclear armed Iran on Russia's borders would make for a difficultneighbor. Tehran could stir up unrest in the Muslim areas of theCaucasus and in Central Asia. But it's short-term greed - and millionsof dollars in bribes - that are keeping the Iranian contract on trackdespite America's loud protestations.

Finally, the take on North Korea in Moscow is that the former satelliteis finally coming to its economic senses, and may provide an opportunityfor Russian companies. The Russians believe Comrade Kim presides over aNorth Korean version of perestroika, which could bring elements of amarket economy and foreign investment to Pyongyang. Russia does not wantto lose out to China, Japan, South Korea - or to the U.S. - when thelast business frontier opens up.

This is what the recent agreements are all about. The message of Putin'sadvisers is that they're willing to negotiate to address Americansecurity concerns. Both the Kremlin and the White House should seriouslyexplore that window of opportunity to forge a strategic relationship.Russia needs to understand that it can't entertain Iran and Iraq andstill be considered a legitimate partner in the antiterrorism effort.And the Bush administration should give Russia's economic interests afair hearing, without compromising U.S. defense concerns. In the 21stcentury, it's as much about geo-economics as about geopolitics.
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2.
The Landscape After The Nuclear Storm
Andrei Piontkovsky
Russia Journal
August 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


During preparations for the Moscow summit last May, two issues werelinked to the Strategic Offensive Potentials Reduction Treaty. First, aswas mentioned in the previous column, the Americans did not originallywant to sign any treaty at all. This idiosyncrasy in arms control arosefrom the new Republican administration's ideological principles.

A number of leading Republicans and former Cold War warriors (DickCheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz) see the Anti-Ballistic MissileTreaty and the Strategic Offensive Potentials Reduction Treaty not asjust technical agreements that set limits for different categories ofarms, but also as political symbols that seal the prestigious status ofthe two superpowers party to them. In their vision of the world, afterwinning the Cold War, the United States shouldn't have to share thisprestigious status with any party.

These arguments of prestige and ideology - and not the desire to disarmRussia and derive it of its nuclear potential, as Russian "patriotic"experts claimed - were what motivated the Republican administration. Fora start, given the piles of weapons Russia still has, this simplywouldn't be possible. Secondly, in its ideological fervor, the U.S.administration already dug the grave of the START-2 Treaty, which theRussian parliament has ratified, and which does set certain limits onRussia's nuclear potential.

Opponents to START-2 in Russia cried no few tears over the SS-18 "Satan"missiles, which Russia stood to lose. But now the Russian military canextend the SS-18's service life all its wants, deploy other types ofstrategic missiles with multiple warheads and reorganize the structureof its offensive weapons however suits it, because the new treaty'sprovisions apply only to the upper limits for numbers of warheadsdeployed on delivery vehicles.

After the two sides finally decided to sign a legally binding treaty,they hit a new obstacle: whether to destroy or to stockpile thedecommissioned warheads.

Opponents to the treaty in Moscow protested that the treaty meantnothing, as it made no provisions to destroy the decommissionedwarheads. But they neglected to mention that in the 30 years of nucleararms treaties between the United States and the Soviet Union and Russia,no one ever made provisions for what to do with the decommissionedwarheads.

The Moscow Strategic Offensive Arms Reduction Treaty now awaitsratification by the Russian and U.S. parliaments, and this promisescontinued debate on the contradictory nature of Russian-U.S. nucleararms relations.

These debates have already begun in the U.S. Senate, where the ForeignAffairs Committee chaired by Joseph Biden held hearings on the subject.Biden supported the treaty but expressed surprise at the high maximumnumber of warheads it allows (1,700-2,200 warheads), saying that thesefigures weren't justified by any real threats and that he hoped theceilings set by the treaty would be just a first step towards moresubstantial reductions.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld represented the administration at thehearings and, formally, at least, agreed with Biden's words. ButRumsfeld promptly went on to contradict his own agreement by saying thataside from the 2,200 warheads allowed by the treaty, the United Statesneeded another 2,400 warheads in reserve to "respond to new, unexpectedthreats." Russia's homegrown Rumsfelds will no doubt be only toodelighted to make use of the same argument.

Biden and other senators also expressed the hope that Russia and theUnited States would reach a legally binding agreement on reducingtactical nuclear weapons.

Rumsfeld replied with a very interesting statement, saying that he isworried about Russia's tactical nuclear weapons. "The United States doesnot know how many Russia has, where they are or how they are secured.The United States has similar gaps in its knowledge about Russia'sability to make new warheads and what it can do with the warheads itdecommissions. The Pentagon also doesn't know as much as it would likeabout Russia's stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. TheRussians are not leaning forward to share this information with us."

That Rumsfeld doesn't see the contradictions in his own arguments issurprising. His concerns regarding a whole range of issues are perfectlylegitimate and justified. It's in the interests of both the UnitedStates and Russia to make the weapons of mass destruction issue astransparent and predictable as possible. But it is the Republicanadministration's ideologically grounded aversion to any arms controltreaties that are an obstacle to precisely this kind of transparency andpredictability.

It's no secret that the United States signed the arms reduction treatyin Moscow only under immense pressure from Russian diplomacy andEuropean and American public opinion. At the same time, the U.S.administration has refused to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test BanTreaty and hasn't even signed the international convention oncontrolling the ban on production of bacteriological weapons.

As for control of what happens to the decommissioned warheads, if theU.S. side is really concerned, then why didn't it make use of the factthat the Russians themselves raised the question during negotiations,and indeed, considered it all but the main obstacle to signing thetreaty?

The Republican administration's ideological dogmas are fostering amutual distrust, the consequences of which remain to be seen.
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D. Russia-Iran

1.
Russia Says US Policy On Iran Unconstructive, Israeli-Induced
Islamic Republic News Agency
August 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russia has criticized the US for taking its cue from Israel onpracticing an "unconstructive" policy towards Iran, the ITAR-TASS newsagency said Thursday. It cited Deputy Foreign Minister VyacheslavTrubnikov as saying that "the United States is not directly interestedin opposing Russo-Iranian cooperation", but "Israel wants itsallegations against Iran to be voiced by Americans".

Moscow's cooperation with Tehran over the construction of a nuclearenergy plant in southern Bushehr has irked the US which alleges that theIslamic Republic could use it for building nuclear weapons.

Trubnikov stressed the peaceful nature of the cooperation which he saidis "absolutely transparent and legitimate from the viewpoint ofinternational arrangements and is fully in accordance with Russia'scommitments under the non-proliferation treaty to which Iran is also asignatory", ITAR-TASS said.

Iran has opened the Bushehr plant to regular supervision of theinternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which has confirmed its usefor peaceful intentions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi recently reiterated Iran'sbid to complete the plant, given the 'enormous sum' which the countryhas already spent on its construction. "We don't pay attention tothreats and are determined to finish the works on the Bushehr station,"he said.

Russia's recent announcement that it was intending to build the secondnuclear plant in Iran raised heckles in the US. Moscow later stated thatimplementation of the new project depended on 'political factors'.

US President George W. Bush has branded Iran as part of an 'axis ofevil' along with Iraq and North Korea, which seeks to acquire weapons ofmass destruction. Trubnikov said that Israeli dictated Americandemonology of the Iran is rooted in the fact that the Islamic Republicdoes not recognize Israel as a sovereign state, the agency said. TheRussian official further hailed Tehran's positive role in theanti-terror fight, ITAR-TASS said. "After the September 11 events, Iranclearly condemned the terror attack on the US and at the same timestated that any form of terrorism must be fought under the UN auspices,"it added. "Moscow is currently maintaining regular political dialoguewith Tehran on a broad range of counter-terrorism issues," Trubnikovsaid.

His statements come shortly after Iranian Foreign Ministry Director forInternational and Political Affairs Amir-Hossein Zamani-Nia's visited toMoscow last week. During his three-day stay in Russia, he helddiscussions with officials of that country over a range of issues,including cooperation between Tehran and Moscow on nuclearnon-proliferation.
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2.
International Security And Disarmament Problems Dominate Russian-IranianConsultations
Cristina Rodriguez
RIA Novosti
August 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Participants of the Russian-Iranian consultations at the level ofexperts considered matters of international security and disarmament.

According to the information and press department of the Russian ForeignMinistry, the above consultations are an annual event. The RussianForeign Ministry indicated that the Iranian delegation was received atthe department of security and disarmament matters.

In the course of the consultations the parties considered problems ofstrengthening of strategic stability, preparation for the reviewconference on the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons tobe held in 2005, prospects of entering into force of the ComprehensiveNuclear Test Ban Treaty. They also considered the course ofimplementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, internationalnegotiations to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention. TheRussian Foreign Ministry reported that attention of the Iranian side wasdrawn to Russia's initiatives aiming to prevent an arms race in outerspace.

The parties considered the situation in the area of missilenon-proliferation, including the situation in the context of theresolution "On missiles" put forward by Iran at the United NationsOrganization. In addition, Foreign Ministry spokesmen concluded that inthe course of the consultations at the department of internationalorganizations the parties exchanged opinions on the agenda of theforthcoming 57th session of the UN General Assembly.
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3.
U.S. Congressional Delegation Expresses Concern Over Russian CooperationWith Iraq, Iran
Associated Press
August 21, 2002
(for personal use only)


A U.S. congressional delegation met with top Russian officials andlawmakers Wednesday to express concern over a proposed economiccooperation agreement between Russia and Iraq and Moscow's plan to buildfive nuclear reactors in Iran, the U.S. Embassy said.

Iraq and Iran are both part of what U.S. President George W. Bush hastermed the "axis of evil" because of their efforts to obtain weapons ofmass destruction.

"Over the past year, U.S.-Russian relations have greatly improved, andit would be very regrettable to have recent developments chill anotherwise blossoming relationship between our two countries," said HenryHyde, head of the delegation and chairman of the International RelationsCommittee of the House of Representatives, according to an embassystatement.

Hyde, a Republican from Illinois, emphasized that Iran's effort toacquire weapons of mass destruction could negatively impact the securityof the United States, Russia and the international community.

Washington fears that by helping construct nuclear reactors in Iran,Moscow is helping Tehran develop nuclear arms. Last month, Russiaannounced plans to build another five reactors in Iran over the next 10years in addition to the reactor currently under construction atBushehr.

Hyde also said that the United States expects Russia to continue toabide by United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Moscow has said itsproposed long-term economic cooperation program with Baghdad - whichIraqi officials say is worth dlrs 40 billion and could be signed nextmonth - would not violate sanctions.

Vladimir Lukin, deputy speaker of the State Duma, the lower house ofparliament, assured the U.S. delegation that Russia would continue torespect the sanctions, the embassy said.

The delegation, which also included Bob Goodlatte, a Republican fromVirginia; Doc Hastings, a Republican from Washington state; DanaRohrabacher, a Republican from California; and Mel Watt, a Democrat fromNorth Carolina, also met with First Deputy Foreign Minister VyacheslavTrubnikov and other officials.

The third country in Bush's "axis of evil," North Korea, also has strongties with Russia. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is currently touringthe Russian Far East, where he is to meet later this week with PresidentVladimir Putin.
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4.
Iran-Russia To Discuss Non-Proliferation, Middle East
Islamic Republic News Agency
August 20, 2002
(for personal use only)


Foreign Ministry Director for International Political Affairs AmirHossein Zamani-Nia arrived in Moscow Tuesday on a three-day officialvisit. During his stay in Russia, he will hold discussions with RussianForeign Ministry officials on issues of mutual interest. In theirWednesday meeting, the two sides will explore issues related to banningof and non-proliferation of weapons of mass control of arms exports.

Other issues including Russia's relations with NATO, Middle Eastdevelopments and the upcoming UN general assembly session will figure intheir Thursday session.

Meanwhile Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko saidhere late July that Russia intends to expand ties and cooperation withIran. Yakovenko told IRNA that his country is keen on promotingcommercial relations and cooperation with the three countries of Iran,Iraq and North Korea, Iran in particular. He expressed hope thatcooperation between Moscow and Tehran in the economic and commercialfields would further strengthen in future. Asked about the US ambassadorto Russia who has claimed that Iran may put its nuclear cooperation withRussia to military use, Yakovenko said the claim is not important,rather what is important is that senior Russian officials have declaredtheir views on the issue repeatedly and stressed that nuclearcooperation between Tehran and Moscow are not military. He said it isthe right of a government to express its views on internationalcooperation and the US ambassador to Moscow had expressed his ideas as arepresentative of an independent country.
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E. Former Soviet Republics

1.
Uzbek President, UN Disarmament Official Discuss Cooperation
UzReport.com
August 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


Uzbek President Islam Karimov met the UN undersecretary-general fordisarmament affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala, at the Oqsaroy presidentialresidence today, Uzbek TV reported.

Issues concerning the creation of a nuclear-free zone in Central Asiawere discussed in detail at a meeting.

"We respect you highly not only as the undersecretary of such aprestigious organization, but as a prominent public figure, whocontributes greatly to the implementation of the tasks laid down in theUN Charter," Islam Karimov said. "Uzbekistan is cooperating closely withall UN organizations which have a desired influence on the political,economic and social spheres of the country."

In turn, Mr Dhanapala valued highly Islam Karimov's personal initiativesand proposals to create a nuclear-free zone in the region. He alsobriefed the president on the latest news concerning the UN activities inthis field.

The parties also discussed the situation in Afghanistan. They said that,along with political and economic reforms, serious attention should bepaid to the issue of disarmament in order to rebuild the country.
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F. Nuclear Terrorism

1.
Russian Weapons Scientists Study Radiological Threats
Bryan Bender
Global Security Newswire
August 20, 2002
(for personal use only)


Seeking to renew efforts to help shift former Soviet weapons experts topeaceful pursuits, the U.S. Energy Department has hired a team ofRussian scientists to study the potential threat of radiological weaponsmade with a certain type of radioactive metals.

Energy's Office of Nonproliferation and its National Nuclear SecurityAdministration last week said they plan to award a one-year contract tothe Russian Analytical Center for Nonproliferation, which was created tofoster the conversion of the Soviet Union's vast nuclear weaponscomplex. The contract is funded under the Nuclear Cities Initiative, aprogram to aid the transition to peace in Russia's 10 nuclear cities.

Using scientists and materials from the former Soviet nuclear cities ofSarov and Snezhnisk, the center plans to study and make recommendationson the potential threat from actinides, a series of radioactive metallicelements known for their radioactive instability.

"The proposed effort fulfills the objective of NCI closed nuclear citiesto engage scientists, engineers and technologists in nonproliferationand conversion activities," according to an Aug. 13 Energy Departmentannouncement.

Some of the actinide elements which include actinium, thorium,protactinium, uranium, neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium,berkelium, californium, einsteinium, fermium, mendelevium, nobelium andlawrencium are found in nature, but others have only been synthesizedin nuclear reactions.

The one-year study calls for an intermediate report as well as finalrecommendations and a draft protocol for how to restrict extraction ofactinides from spent nuclear fuel for uses such as makeshiftradiological weapons.

U.S. officials are increasingly concerned about the threat ofradiological weapons, including a conventional explosive mated withradioactive materials, commonly referred to as a "dirty bomb." Theyhave taken a variety of steps to better secure such materials, both athome and abroad, particularly those such as cesium that are widely usedin industrial activities and medical facilities.

Now they are using the Nuclear Cities Initiative as another means ofassessing what is considered to be the growing threat of radiologicalattack from terrorist groups and other nonstate actors. Of the nuclearcities that will be involved in the actinides study, the Sarov facility,formerly known as Arzamas-16, houses elements of the Federal NuclearCenter and Avangard Electromechanical Plant, while Snezhinsk, formerlyknown as Chelyabinsk-70, is also part of the Federal Nuclear Center.Russia created the Analytical Center for Nonproliferation to help takeadvantage of the U.S. nonproliferation aid.

The new Energy contract comes as the department is seeking to expand itsnonproliferation efforts in general. The Bush administration hasrequested $1.1 billion for Energy nonproliferation programs in fiscal2003, $86 million more than last year. The funds will go for a varietyof programs, including $448 million for plutonium disposition, $233million for materials protection control and accounting in Russia and$39 million for the Nuclear Cities Initiative.

The new work for Russian weapons scientists also comes as one of theoriginal sponsors of U.S. weapons aid in the former Soviet Union,Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), visits Russia this week to see some ofthe U.S. programs first-hand (see GSN, Aug. 19). Before leaving on histrip, Lugar highlighted the importance of supporting peaceful pursuitsfor Russian weapons scientists, noting that U.S. efforts so far haveprovided them only with short-term employment.

"Tens of thousands of Russian weapon scientists have been employed bythe U.S. in peaceful pursuits under the International Science andTechnology Centers and the IPP program at the Department of Energy,"Lugar told reporters July 24. "These programs are critical to U.S.security. If desperation and bankruptcy become the norm, many weaponsexperts might leave Russia and renew their weapons careers."

"I encourage U.S. corporations and those from G-8 states to explore thepossibility of purchasing or investing in Russian laboratories," Lugarsaid. "Only when these scientists have long-term employment in peacefulpursuits and succeed in domestic and international markets, will we beable to scale back our efforts."
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G. Nuclear Safety

1.
US Observers Take Part In Exercises At Bilibinskaya Nuclear Power Plant
Oleg Kulgin
RIA Novosti
August 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


Exercises to fight the aftermath of an emergency at a power unit of theBilibinskaya Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) were launched on Thursday onChukotka /a peninsula in the Sea of Okhotsk.

According to the NPP management, the plant's personnel in conjunctionwith the Emergencies Ministry's rescuers and experts from the RussianAtomic Energy Ministry and Atomic Control Committee are training tocoordinate actions of the plant's special teams, fire brigades, medicsand policemen in an emergency.

Eight US observers are taking part in the exercises.
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H. Announcements

1.
No Highly Radioactive Materials In Vinca
Serbian Government Office of Communication
August 22, 2002


Nuclear fuel or highly enriched uranium was successfully transportedfrom the Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences in Belgrade to Russia byair early this morning with high security measures in place, as part ofthe Green Vinca programme for permanent removal of radioactive waste,obligated by Yugoslavia's membership in the International Atomic EnergyAgency and the Agreement on Non-Distribution of Nuclear Weapons. Thefuel was not radioactive so there was no threat to the safety ofcitizens during its transport; however, security measures were necessaryin order to prevent possible terrorist attacks since this material isused for the production of atomic weapons.

"The entire quantity of material was successfully transported to Russiathis morning, where it will be processed, reducing the level of uraniumfrom 80 to 20 percent, because atomic bombs can be made with 80 percentmaterial. For that reason, tight security measures were taken during thetransport in order to avert the danger of terrorist groups getting holdof the material," Serbian Minister of Science, Technology andDevelopment Dragan Domazet said at a press conference held today.

The operation is part of the Green Vinca programme, which has beenunderway for almost a year, but was not made public since the firstoperation was secret. With the completion of today's operation, the needfor secrecy ceased to exist.

"This is the beginning of this very important programme for our countryand for Vinca. The aim of Green Vinca is to permanently remove the spentand unspent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste from Vinca, so that itcould become completely ecologically clean and without any radioactivematerial," said Domazet.

The removal of the nuclear fuel is a result of an agreement made betweenthe Serbian government, the US government and the Vinca Institute, andsupported by the Yugoslav government. Under this agreement, the USgovernment granted the Institute $720,000. In addition, the US-basednon-governmental organisation NTI granted a $5 million donation thatwill be realised through the Vienna-based International Atomic EnergyAgency, which will in turn provide an additional $5 million. The SerbianMinistry of Science, Technology and Development and the Vinca Institutewill continue to raise financing, with the help of the US Embassy inBelgrade.

The funds will be used for procurement of secure new containers forradioactive fuel from reactors. Additionally, the nuclear reactor willbe removed together with all its radioactive parts, which will betransferred together with the existing radioactive waste, temporarilystored at Vinca. The waste will be moved to a new secure storage sitefor low and medium-grade radioactive material that will be set upoutside of Vinca.

Asked why such highly radioactive uranium is being transported only nowwhen the nuclear reactor in Vinca ceased operation in 1984, actingdirector of the Vinca Institute Krunislav Subotic said that this is thefirst Serbian government who has shown interest in the issue.

The Green Vinca programme envisages removal of a possible threat ofradiation for Vinca, Belgrade and surrounding areas, and assists theInstitute's participation in the latest research of the 21st century -nanoscience and nanotechnology.
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2.
Russian First Deputy Minister Of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav TrubnikovMeets With Henry J. Hyde, Chairman Of The US Congress House OfRepresentatives Committee On International Relations
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
August 22, 2002


First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian FederationVyacheslav Trubnikov on August 21 received a delegation of the USCongress led by Henry J. Hyde, chairman of the House of RepresentativesCommittee on International Relations.

During the talk, the sides expressed satisfaction with the positivedevelopment of Russian American relations and the close cooperation ofthe two countries in counteracting global threats and challenges,primarily on the part of international terrorism.

In discussing military-political questions they underscored theimportance of continuing the bilateral negotiation process on keystrategic issues, including the domain of the nonproliferation of WMDsand their delivery vehicles.

Some other bilateral and international questions were also touched upon.
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I. Links of Interest

1.
The Proposed "Moscow Treaty" On Strategic Offensive Reductions
Christopher E. Paine
NRDC
July 23, 2002
http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/tcp0702.asp


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2.
New Beginnings
Paul Fritch
NATO Review
August 2002
http://www.nato.int/docu/review/2002/issue2/english/analysis_pr.html


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DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only.Views presented in any given article are those of the individual authoror source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for thetechnical accuracy of information contained in any article presented inNuclear News.



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