1. U.S. Senator Comes To Russia To Inspect Nuclear Waste Disposal
August 23, 2002
(for personal use only)
U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar is touring Russia to see how nuclearweapons are dismantled and nuclear waste disposed of under theNunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, reportspokespeople for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
The American lawmaker, who arrived in Russia Thursday, is going to visita number of plants across the country that are involved in theNunn-Lugar Program. His first destination was a nuclear and biologicallaboratory outside St. Petersburg. On Friday, he visited theSeverodvinsk plants Sevmash and Zvezdochka, both involved with recyclingdiscarded nuclear submarines, embassy officials report.
For August 24, the Senator plans a visit to radiological monitoringfacilities near Murmansk to see how nuclear waste is disposed of there.He will then head on to the Nerpa shipyard to observe the destruction ofnuclear subs. While in Murmansk, Mr. Lugar is expected to commemoratethe 118 crewmen of the Russian submarine Kursk, which sank in theBarents Sea two years ago.
On Monday, the Senator is going to visit a biological institute outsideMoscow, which is busy developing drugs to treat for anthrax and otherinfectious diseases. This research project is also financed under theNunn-Lugar project.
The Senator is to make a tour of Nizhny Novgorod plants dismantlinglong-range missiles on Tuesday, August 27; and Wednesday, he is expectedto visit the former biological weapons producer Kirov 200.
As embassy officials say, Mr. Lugar hopes to meet with senior Russiangovernment officials on his current tour. He will be staying in Russiathrough August 30.
According to the U.S. Embassy statistics, Russia has dismantled some5,970 nuclear warheads under the CTR Program since 1991. It has alsodestroyed 464 ballistic missiles, 432 launch vehicles for ballisticmissiles, 7 bombers, 24 strategic submarines, and other armaments.
Also thanks to the Nunn-Lugar Program, nuclear armaments have beenremoved from the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, andBelarus. The total costs of the program's implementation in Russia havecome to a mere 0.3 percent of the Pentagon's annual budget, the U.S.Embassy says. return to menu
2. Russia Unveils Used Nuke Fuel Site
August 23, 2002
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Russia on Friday unveiled a U.S.-funded facility in the Arctic port ofSeverodvinsk for unloading spent nuclear fuel from decommissionedsubmarines.
U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar attended the ceremony. He is visiting Russia tooversee Washington's efforts to help Russia secure and eliminate weaponsof mass destruction, the U.S. Embassy said.
The facility will enable the Zvyozdochka disposal plant to unload spentnuclear fuel from the reactors of four Delta and two Typhoon submarineseach year, the Interfax news agency reported.
"Unloading spent nuclear fuel is the most complex issue in the disposalof nuclear submarines," plant spokeswoman Nadezhda Shcherbinina toldInterfax.
Officials did not say where the nuclear waste would end up, but in thepast Russian officials have said they plan to build a dumpsite on anArctic archipelago to store spent nuclear fuel from decommissionedsubmarines.
Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, co-authored a decade-long U.S. programto help contain the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the formerSoviet Union.
The Nunn-Lugar program, also named after former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, hashelped Russia in costly efforts to dismantle its nuclear weapons, securenuclear and chemical stockpiles and find civilian jobs for militaryscientists.
Earlier Friday, Lugar visited the Northern Machine-Building Shipyards,also in Severodvinsk, where he was shown facilities that make specialcontainers to transport spent nuclear fuel, Interfax said.
The unveiling of the Severodvinsk facility followed a presentation forforeign diplomats earlier this week of a chemical weapons destructionplant in the Volga River town of Gorny.
On Friday, Lugar is scheduled to visit the Atomflot Shipyard near theArctic city of Murmansk to view radiological monitoring and wastedisposal programs. return to menu
B. Nuclear Fuel Transfer
1. Safeguards For Nuclear Fuel
New York Times
August 24, 2002
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For years, some 100 pounds of weapons-grade uranium packed in shippingcrates sat in a nuclear institute in Belgrade, tempting terrorists,criminal traffickers and rogue states. Just before dawn on Thursday thaturanium was removed to a secure facility in Russia where it will beblended into civilian reactor fuel. American and Russian technicalexperts cooperated closely in taking it from the Vinca Institute,working with Yugoslav scientists and protected by heavily armed Serbianpolice and Yugoslav troops. Vitally important in itself, this extractionshould become a prototype for future cooperative efforts to safeguardand dilute the tons of nuclear weapons fuel around the world stilldangerously vulnerable to diversion or theft.
Vinca's was among the most poorly guarded of the nearly 350 researchreactors in 58 countries using highly enriched uranium. The bomb fuelremoved from it on Thursday was enough to make two to three nucleardevices. Significant quantities of bomb uranium are present at otherdangerous research reactors in the former Soviet republics, the MiddleEast and Eastern Europe. There are also some 600 tons of highly enricheduranium not yet scheduled for blending in Russia itself, along with morethan 100 tons of weapons-grade plutonium, much of it inadequatelyprotected.
A heartening feature of the Belgrade project was the high level ofRussian cooperation. Moscow did not take part in a 1994 American removalof highly enriched uranium from Kazakhstan, and previously declined totake back and render harmless the uranium it has supplied to othercountries. Continued Russian cooperation would not only speed theremoval of more bomb fuel but would cement its new, more constructiverelationship with the United States.
Funds for cleaning up radioactivity at the Vinca site came from TedTurner's private Nuclear Threat Initiative. Overly narrow Congressionalrestrictions prevented the use of American government funds for thispurpose. Congress should allow increased flexibility. The Senate took animportant step in that direction this summer by authorizing a broad newprogram to cooperate with other countries in cleaning out vulnerablecaches of nuclear bomb ingredients.
The Bush administration needs to build on the successful removal of theVinca uranium. It should follow recommendations made early last year byformer Senator Howard Baker and former White House counsel Lloyd Cutlerto greatly increase funding for cooperative programs aimed at reducingnuclear, biological and chemical dangers to $30 billion over the nextdecade. This year's spending level is around $1 billion. Of all thedollars spent on nuclear defense and homeland security, these are amongthe most cost-effective. return to menu
2. Legislators Want Action On Nukes
August 24, 2002
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Legislators from both parties called yesterday for dramaticallyincreased efforts to rid the world of dangerous nuclear stockpiles andoffered a chorus of praise for Thursday's multinational operation thatremoved 100 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from an aging Yugoslavreactor.
State Department officials who led the planning of the mission nearBelgrade revealed, meanwhile, that as many as two dozen researchreactors in 16 countries were being considered as potential targets forsimilar missions.
"We want to get at all of them, and some of them are going to be a lotmore pernicious than others," said a senior official, who spoke oncondition of anonymity.
The high-quality Yugoslav uranium -- enough to make between two andthree nuclear bombs, according to weapons experts -- was whisked out ofYugoslavia's Vinca Institute for Nuclear Sciences early Thursday by aninternational team composed of officials from the United States, Russia,Yugoslavia and the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency. Theextraction, planned in secret for more than a year, was aimed ateliminating a vulnerable nuclear stockpile that could be used byterrorists to make weapons.
Republicans and Democrats praised the U.S.-led initiative yesterday,though several expressed concern about bureaucratic obstacles thatdelayed the operation and forced U.S. officials to ask private groupsfor money to help carry it out. The Washington-based Nuclear ThreatInitiative, a nonprofit group founded by media entrepreneur Ted Turner,donated $5 million to cover much of the cost of the action.
"The [Vinca] mission further underscores the need for a plan to securethe materials that could fall into the wrong hands," said Sen. JeanCarnahan (D-Mo.), a cosponsor of bipartisan legislation passed by theSenate this year to expand U.S. nonproliferation programs abroad. "Weknow Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein have both attempted to get theirhands on nuclear material. We must do everything possible to see thatdoes not happen."
A spokesman for Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) called for eliminatingrestrictions that have contributed to extensive delays in past effortsto secure stockpiles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
"Next time you may not have a year," said Andrew J. Fisher.
An amendment passed as part of the Senate version of the fiscal 2003defense spending bill, would give U.S. agencies more money and greaterflexibility to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. AHouse-Senate conference committee is expected to take up the measureafter Congress returns next month.
Nonproliferation groups yesterday said Russia's participation in theVinca operation suggests that an opportunity exists to address threatsat dozens of similar facilities around the world.
"This operation shows that we can do a lot more, faster," said JosephCirincione, director of the nonproliferation project at the CarnegieEndowment for International Peace. "Russia is more willing to cooperate.If the United States is willing to put the money and muscle into this,we can solve a huge part of the world's proliferation problems within adecade." return to menu
3. 24 Sites Eyed For Uranium Seizure
Boston Globe Staff
August 24, 2002
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The US government plans to remove weapons-grade uranium from another twodozen installations around the world in international operations similarto the dramatic extraction Thursday of more than 100 pounds of thenuclear material from Yugoslavia, officials said yesterday.
They did not name the sites, saying they did not want to tip offterrorists.
State Department officials described the first operation - involving1,200 Yugoslav troops moving the uranium in the predawn hours Thursday -as an unprecedented instance of international cooperation to preventnuclear proliferation. The officials expressed hope that the operation,which involved close US-Russian cooperation and was a byproduct ofincreased recognition of the threat of nuclear terrorism since Sept. 11,would set a standard for similar future efforts.
Nonproliferation specialists said that it should become a precedentbecause more than 350 civilian nuclear research facilities around theworld possess weapons-grade material, including the two dozen in 16unidentified countries that the US government has targeted for futureoperations. While the Vinca Institute of Nuclear Sciences in Belgradewas among the most notoriously worrisome, it appears to be only a start.
''It's a small part of a larger problem,'' said Jamie Yassif, a researchassociate at the Federation of American Scientists, which has studiedthe issue. ''The need to secure highly enriched uranium should be a toppriority for us, especially with our current concerns about nuclearterrorism.''
The sites of greatest concern are nuclear research facilities that havehighly enriched uranium, relics of the 1970s and 1980s that are slowlybeing secured. These civilian facilities would make inviting targets forterrorists trying to acquire weapons-grade nuclear material becausesecurity arrangements at the facilities are in many cases substantiallyweaker than at military installations.
At some research facilities, scientific advances and growing securityconcerns have caused a shift to low-enriched uranium, which cannot beused in a nuclear bomb, but many facilities have not made theconversion.
While nonproliferation specialists estimate that roughly 350 sites in 58countries have highly enriched uranium, they say that only a fraction ofthem - roughly two dozen - have enough material to make a nuclear bomb.The International Atomic Energy Agency estimates that 20 kilograms, orabout 44 pounds, is required to build a nuclear weapon.
A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity,said that the 24 targeted sites are the ones of greatest concern.
''We want to get at all of them,'' the official said. ''And some of themare going to be a lot more pernicious than others.''
A senior department official who briefed reporters would not be morespecific about the 24 locations, stating that ''because in a post-9/11environment the last thing we want is to have a public blueprint forwhere fissile material [is] located so that someone might want to dosome supermarket shopping for that material.''
Specialists said that while many of these sites are in Russia and theformer Soviet states, they are not confined to that region: Some arelocated in the Middle East and other parts of the world. A StateDepartment spokeswoman said the facilities were given priority becauseof their age and weak security.
The officials would not give a timetable for how long it would take toclear out those sites, saying it would depend on the availability ofresources and cooperation from the other countries.
But, they said, the Sept. 11 attacks have given new impetus to othercountries to cooperate.
''This is a new era of cooperation,'' the senior official said. ''Itcreates an excellent precedent.''
The US officials said that the operation in Belgrade was particularlynoteworthy because it marked new cooperation with Russia and Yugoslavia.Russia has drawn fierce criticism for selling nuclear reactor componentsto Iran, Iraq and North Korea, and in the past has been far lesscooperative in attempts to clear out similar stores of highly enricheduranium.
With the United States, Russian and Yugoslav governments working alongwith the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear ThreatInitiative, a nonprofit group based in Washington, the operation wasunprecedented in involving so many different governments and otherentities.
Negotiators pulled it together in roughly one year, sealing the dealwith a $5 million pledge from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which wascofounded by former senator Sam Nunn and media mogul Ted Turner. Whilethe US government is spending $2.5 million from the State Department'snonproliferation fund on moving the uranium and having it ''blendeddown'' in Russia to low-enriched material, it is not allowed under USlaw to spend any of that money on cleaning up completely spent fuel,which was a crucial issue for the Yugoslavs. Turner's group contributed$5 million to the Atomic Energy Agency to perform that work.
Senior State Department officials described the effort as the product of''classic diplomacy,'' involving small teams of diplomats.
But some nonproliferation specialists said they were worried that theoperation depended too much on private funding.
''This was a success that almost wasn't,'' said Matthew Bunn of HarvardUniversity's Project on Managing the Atom. ''What we need now is to puttogether a program within the government that has all the flexibilityand the authority it needs to go out and try to clean up these cacheswherever they might be.''
Bunn said that the Senate included such a provision in a defenseauthorization bill for next year, which it approved in June. The versionthe House adopted in May did not. The two chambers plan to work onreconciling differences in their versions of the legislation whenCongress reconvenes next month. return to menu
1. Russia Flirts With US's Axis Of Evil
August 29, 2002
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As the United States becomes increasingly assertive about the use of itsmilitary muscles in different parts of the world, Russia is alsodetermining its own zones of cooperation and competition with that lonesuperpower. Russia will cooperate on issues that it regards as part ofits zone of comfort. On issues that fall in the zone of competition, itwill almost invariably choose its own courses of action regardless ofwhether this will put it at odds with Washington.
Russia may not yet know fully what its status is likely to be in theexpanding pax Americana, whose borders are getting closer to its ownfrom all directions, through the expansion of the North Atlantic TreatyOrganization and through the "Partnership for Peace", but Moscow has noproblem in determining the issues on which it will cooperate with theUnited States and on which it will compete.
Cooperation against transnational terrorism definitely falls intoRussia's zone of comfort, since it serves its own objective of dealingwith Chechen separatists President Vladimir Putin knows that he hasample leeway in brutally dealing with the Chechen secessionists, whom hehas been calling "terrorists". He also knows that the Bushadministration is not going to be bothered with the details of hisbrutalities in fighting those "terrorists", as long as America's ownmilitary campaign against al-Qaeda continues in Afghanistan and otherparts of the region.
But on President George W Bush's axis of evil countries - Iran, Iraq andNorth Korea - Putin has unmistakably decided to compete with Washingtonwithout indulging in contentious rhetoric. Let's examine the evidence.
Russia has maintained a long and uninterrupted policy of aiding Iran inits endeavors to develop its nuclear program. One has to go as far backas 1993, when former president Boris Yeltsin refused to abandon sellingnuclear technology to Russia's neighbor. Even though later on under hispresidency Russia agreed to cooperate with the US to a certain extent -for instance, giving Washington a detailed list of nuclear-relatedtechnology transfer to Iran - Moscow never shared Washington'sinsistence that Iran was indeed bent on developing nuclear weapons.Under Putin, that overall policy toward Iran continues with steadfastresolve. As recently as July 2002, Russia announced that it intended tobuild five more nuclear power reactors in Iran over the next decade,which was, indeed, a pointed broadening of the scope of its persistentcooperation with Tehran, in defiance of US pressure to the contrary.
Iraq is another country with which Russia has consistently maintained aperspective in marked contrast to that of the United States. WhileWashington labels Iraq as part of the evil trio, Moscow seeks strongtrade ties. In fact, even during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, whenRussia sided with the United States, it never really abandoned theoption of a negotiated resolution of the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait.It was generally believed then that Moscow did not prefer to seedestruction of the Iraqi military infrastructure, since Iraq manifestedevery intention of continuing huge military purchases from Moscow afterthe settlement of the Iraq Kuwait dispute. Iraq was reported to haveowed Moscow close to US$20 billion for pre-Desert Storm transactions.
During the Clinton and Bush years, Russia has insisted that the issue ofthe United Nations inspection of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction sitesshould be linked with the lifting of economic sanctions. It was onlyafter extracting Russia's consent in March 2002 that the US succeeded inpushing through the UN Security Council the notion of "smart sanctions"against Iraq. But when the Bush administration intensified its rhetoricon toppling Saddam Hussein through military actions, Moscow made clearits disapproval of such measures. That announcement left the US with theoption of either toppling Saddam unilaterally, or negotiating itsmodalities with Russia within the framework of the UN. There is littledoubt that a unilateral military action against Iraq is becomingincreasingly unpopular worldwide. Even the United Kingdom, America'sclosest ally, expressed its disapproval, as criticism of Prime MinisterTony Blair inside that country was getting increasingly voluble.However, if the US were to approach Russia with a view to negotiatingthe modalities of a potential military action against Iraq, there islittle doubt that Moscow would reject it out of hand.
To further clarify its opposition to military actions against the Saddamregime, the government of Vladimir Putin has been negotiating asubstantial trade deal with Iraq. However, as the talk of US attacks onIraq continue to heat up, one wonders why Russia has gone ahead with areported $20 billion, or even $100 billion deal. Sources inside Moscowspeculate that regardless of whether Iraq is attacked, Russia isdetermined to safeguard its economic interests. The thinking inside theKremlin is reported to be that if a large trade deal with Iraq is signedbefore military invasion of that country, the chances are Russia wouldnot be frozen out from massive reconstruction of Iraq during post-Saddamyears. However, if there were no attack on Iraq, Moscow would continueto extract huge financial benefits from trading with Iraq.
Putin agreed to a hurriedly scheduled trip by President Kim Jong-il ofNorth Korea, which ended at the weekend. There appear to be two strongrationales underlying this meeting. First, and specifically, there isthe fact that Russia wishes to enhance its trade with North Korea, whichis reported to have plummeted by 80 percent, to a low of $115 million in2001. Moscow aims to reap "billions of dollars in transit fees onceNorth Korea opens its part of the railway and South Korean goods startpouring into Europe across Russia," as one analyst says. Second, Russiaclearly intends to signal to the rest of the world, but particularly tothe United States, that its decision to cooperate with the US sinceSeptember 11, indeed has limitations and exceptions.
There is little doubt that the Bush administration is annoyed withRussia's unabashed embrace of the axis countries. North Korea recentlyadded another irritating wrinkle when Washington announced that themarketing arm of Changgwang Siyong Corporation, a company in NorthKorea, had sold Scud missile components to Yemen. That Persian Gulfstate is reported to have 18 Scud missiles in its arsenal. Given thatal-Qaeda has been very active in Yemen, Washington views thisdevelopment with grave concern.
The nuclear arms negotiations also clearly fall into the zone ofcompetition, and Moscow has been consistently proving that point. OnJune 15, Russia pulled out of the START II treaty. Realisticallyspeaking, this was not a major negative development because thelegislatures in Washington and Moscow ratified different versions ofthat treaty, thereby preventing it from entering into force. From thesymbolic perspective, however, this was a significant measure. Putin hasbeen coming under strong pressure from Russian nationalist and hardlinegroups for being overly conciliatory to his friend George Bush on armscontrol.
It should be noted that the United States' decision to unilaterallywithdraw from the 1972 ABM Treaty was begging for a Russian response.However, since Putin is doing his own calculations of what his next moveon that issue has to be, pulling out of the START II treaty emerged asan ideal response; it also enables Russia to allow the American andRussian hardliners to draw complementary conclusions. The Bushadministration is likely to find solace by pointing out that the Russianwithdrawal lacks any major political meaning to overall US-Russia ties,thereby muting the criticism of American conservatives. Thus, even bymaking a substantive decision on START II, Russia remains well withinits own comfort zone. However, the Russian hardliners and nationalistgroups may view the same decision from the perspective of "tit-for-tat"and draw comfort from the fact that their country stood up to the UnitedStates. In other words, they are likely to consider it as an integralpart of the competitive zone in which Russia - as a "wannabe" superpower- is still defying the United States.
An important Russian decision on its strategic missiles also falls wellwithin the competitive zone. Russian Defense Minister Igor Ivanovannounced that his country had decided to "extend the service life ofsome strategic missiles equipped with multiple warheads, which had beendue to be taken out of service". Russia is also of the view that the newgeneration of Topol-M missile "can defeat any missile defense systemenvisaged by the United States ..." The US government uses this verysame claim to assure Moscow that "its limited shield will prove nothreat to Russia's deterrent".
But Russia's main source of comfort related to Bush's decisions toabandon the ABM treaty and proceed with the national missile defense(NMD) systems is the fact that, technologically speaking, the NMD is notyet a reality. When the credible technology to defend against ballisticmissiles emerges, Russia is also confident that through the process of"overwhelming" any antiballistic missile systems, its nuclear deterrencewould still prevail. In fact, there are reasons to believe that bothRussia and China are assiduously working on developing sophisticatedcountermeasures to any antiballistic missile systems.
Such latent and unequivocal tit-for-tat measures underscore the factthat as great powers, Russia and the United States are likely tomaintain their competitive relationship for quite some time. Whether thecooperative aspect of this relationship continues its high visibilityhas a lot to do with whether the United States continues to enjoy itscurrent ample advantage over Russia in terms of economic and sheermilitary power. In the meantime, Russia will fully exploit issues fromits zone of competition, and will even work to widen their scope. return to menu
The UN Under Secretary General for Disarmament, Jayantha Dhanapala, saidon Saturday that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a signatory to theNuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and until this date no report has beenreceived that Iran has violated this treaty.
Dhanapala also told reporters in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, that the peacefulnuclear cooperation between Iran and Russia is within the framework ofinternational treaties.
The UN official's emphasis on the peaceful use of Iran's nuclearinstallations is due to the clear and transparent position taken byTehran.
The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in southern Iran is open to inspectorsfrom the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and they arecooperating with Iran for the peaceful use of nuclear technology. Theircooperation with Iran focuses on the use of nuclear technology in theareas of medicine, agriculture, energy, industry, and for safetymeasures in the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.
All developing countries, which have signed the NPT, have an undeniableright to use nuclear energy. According to the Article 4 of the UNConvention for Banning the Spread of Nuclear Arms all the countrieswhich have access to nuclear technology should help other signatories tothe NPT.
Therefor, the U.S. efforts to disrupt cooperation between Iran andRussia for completing the Bushehr power plant runs counter tointernational conventions in this regard.
By using sanctions against the IAEA, the U.S. administration has triedto put an end to the cooperation between Iran and the agency.
Even though Iran ranks fourth in producing oil and comes as a second oilexporter within the OPEC cartel, it needs alternative sources of energyfor its long-terms programs. The researches have shown that oil reserveswill be depleted in the next twenty years, therefor Iran should findother sources of energy for its rising demand.
In the light of this situation, Iran is trying to meet some 20 percentof its electricity demand through nuclear power and its cooperation withRussia on the construction of Bushehr power plant is carried out underthe supervision of the IAEA. return to menu
1. Floating N-Plants Co-Operation Surfaces In China Talks
August 28, 2002
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Proposals for the possible joint construction of floating nuclear powerplants were among nuclear co-operation topics discussed at a recentmeeting between Russian and Chinese government and business leaders,NucNet reported. The head of Russian nuclear utility Rosenergoatom'sinternational relations department, Alexander Kirichenko, said lastweek's talks in China had included consultations with potential partnersabout the development of floating nuclear plants.
Mr Kirichenko said: "The possible conditions to realise this businesshave been considered and, in particular. joint construction andtechnology transfer to China." He said that while similar internationalco-operation projects had been considered before, Russia's KLT-40floating unit design "is now completed and all the necessary exportconclusions and licences have been received". He added: "The real designproduct is available, which we can offer to serious business partners(rather than) just conducting negotiations on the possible conditions ofco-operation." return to menu
F. Nuclear Terrorism
1. Finnish Security Police Probe Smuggling Of Nuclear, Chemical Weapons
August 28, 2002
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Finland is stepping up efforts to investigate if the Nordic nation isbeing used as a transit country by terrorists smuggling weapons of massdestruction, Finnish security police told AFP Wednesday.
"What I can say is that at the moment we are checking out certain leads,given to us by foreign security forces, into the smuggling of chemicaland nuclear weapons," a leading security police officer told AFP on thecondition of remaining anonymous.
Local media reported Wednesday that Finland's security police, known byits acronym SUPO in Finnish, had received information that the countrymight be used as a transit country for smugglers of weapons of massdestruction.
So far however, the security police had found no concrete evidence ofthis, the official stressed.
Finland is the only European Union country with a common border withRussia, and over the past decade the trade across the 1,300-kilometer(810 mile) border has become increasingly active.
Recently there have also been several incidences of Russian soldierscrossing the border undetected to apply for political asylum here.
One soldier brought an assault rifle with him, setting off a gunfightdeep inside the country with Finnish police before killing himself.
Finland also has substantial tourist traffic with neighboring Estonia. return to menu
G. Submarine Dismantlement
1. Russia Unveils U.S.-Funded Facility For Unloading Spent Nuclear Fuel From Scrapped Subs
August 28, 2002
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Russia unveiled a U.S.-funded facility for unloading spent nuclear fuelfrom decommissioned submarines Friday, August 23. U.S. Sen. RichardLugar attended the ceremony at the Arctic port of Severodvinsk."Unloading spent nuclear fuel is the most complex issue in the disposalof nuclear submarines," Nadezhda Shcherbinina, a spokeswoman for theZvyozdochka disposal plant, said. The new facility will enableZvyozdochka to unload spent nuclear fuel from the reactors of four Deltaand two Typhoon submarines each year, Interfax said.
Earlier on Friday, Lugar visited the Northern Machine-BuildingShipyards, also in Severodvinsk, where he was shown facilities for theproduction of special containers to transport spent nuclear fuel. Thefirst container will come off the production line this fall. Lugar, aRepublican from Indiana, co-authored a decade-long U.S. program to helpcontain the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the former SovietUnion. The Nunn-Lugar program - named after Lugar and former U.S. Sen.Sam Nunn - has provided assistance to Russia in costly efforts todismantle its nuclear weapons, secure nuclear and chemical stockpilesand find civilian jobs for military scientists. return to menu
H. Nuclear Waste
1. Ministry Opposes Import Of Low-Level Radioactive Waste
Radio Free Europe
August 28, 2002
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The Atomic Energy Ministry does not support a proposed plan to storelow-level radioactive waste at a facility on the disputed KurileIslands, ITAR-TASS reported on 21 August, citing the ministry's pressservice. "The ministry has not conducted nor is conducting anynegotiations with foreign partners about bringing low-level waste intoRussia from abroad.... The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry supports thecurrent legislative ban on bringing such waste into Russia," theministry's press release said. The news agency reported that an unnamedministry source said the press release refers to a proposed plan tostore such waste from Taiwan and Japan on Simushir Island in theKuriles. The Soviet Union occupied the islands after World War II, anact that Japan has never recognized. return to menu
1. Boris Malakhov, Deputy Official Spokesman Of Russia's Ministry OfForeign Affairs, Answers A Question From An Interfax News AgencyCorrespondent
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
August 24, 2002
Question: What can you say apropos of the statement by the Pentagonchief, Donald Rumsfeld, reproaching Russia for its cooperation withLibya, Syria, Iraq, Iran and North Korea and asserting that it isunlikely that somebody will invest money in such a country (meaningRussia)?
Answer: This is not the first case when the Pentagon takes upon itselfan uncharacteristic mission to issue statements on behalf of Americanand not only American business. It is hard for us to judge to whatextent and by whom the Pentagon is authorized to do that.
One gets the impression, however, that the American military leadershipis compelled to resort to this kind of statements in the absence of anyserious arguments in favor of the force-based scenarios being imposed byit, which arouse growing concern in the world.
As to economic ties with the countries mentioned in the Rumsfeldstatement, we proceed from the assumption that the Pentagon does haveinformation about the states and companies, including American, which instrict accordance with international norms are engaged in this activity.
Ideologizing foreign economic ties - well, that was a feature of thetimes of the Cold War, which through joint efforts, in the first placeby Russia and the USA, receded into the past and, we believe,irreversibly, even if somebody does not like that.
Today new principles of cooperation and a collective struggle againstthreats and challenges to international security are being establishedin the world. These principles are put at the core of the present-dayrelations of strategic partnership between Russia and the USA. return to menu
2. Project Vinca Fact Sheet
U.S. Department Of State
August 23, 2002
- To remove a potential target for theft or terrorist attack, thegovernments of the United States and Russia reached an agreement withthe government of Serbia, endorsed by the Yugoslav government, to workwith the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the NuclearThreat Initiative (NTI) and the Russian Federation to remove a quantityof highly enriched uranium, sufficient to produce 2-1/2 nuclear weaponsfrom a research reactor near downtown Belgrade.
- The 48 kilograms (over 100 pounds) of unirradiated fuel was flown outof Belgrade on August 22 and has been safely secured in Dmitrovgrad,Russia, where it will be "blended down" into low enriched uranium foruse as commercial reactor fuel.
- The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Energycooperated in the conduct of this project. The cost to the U.S.Government will be between $2-3 million -- the State Department'sNonproliferation and Disarmament Fund contributed about $2 million andthe Department of Energy provided technical expertise and costsassociated with "blending down" the materials. Nuclear Threat Initiativeis a private charitable foundation that helped catalyze the deal byproviding $5 million in funding to address radioactive hazards at theVinca Nuclear Institute. The U.S. Government lacks the authority to fundthis critical element of the project.
- Implementation of the project began on August 14 with the arrival ofRussian nuclear material transport containers aboard a Russian cargoaircraft. On August 15 and 16, the 5046 cylinders of fresh highlyenriched uranium fuel were repackaged from their storage location at theVinca Institute into their transport containers. U.S. and Russiantechnical specialists observed the repackaging operation.
- The material has been under International Atomic Energy Agencysafeguards. Inspectors were present during the operation to verify thenuclear material and to apply seals to the containers to assure theirintegrity during interim storage and transport.
- Special units of the police and military in Yugoslavia providedphysical protection during the repackaging operation and the subsequentstorage of the material in its transport containers.
- Many details of the transfer of the material to Russia were keptsecret by Belgrade authorities, to assure a successful and secureoperation. Transfer activities began early in the morning of August 22.The 45-minute trip to the airport was secured by up to 1200 military andpolice officers, including special operations and anti-terrorist units.A special unit for dealing with hazardous materials was kept on standbyin case of an emergency or accident. The material arrived at theBelgrade airport without incident and was loaded into the Russiantransport plane, which departed Belgrade after 8:00 a.m. The materialarrived in Dmitrovgrad four hours later and was transferred to a securestorage location.
- Project Vinca is a tangible result of the cooperation among thegovernments of the United States, Russia and Yugoslavia and demonstratesthe kind of work that could be done under an international partnershipto prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
- Yugoslavia is to be commended by the global community for itsimportant contribution to international nonproliferation andcounterterrorism objectives.
- The United States Government expresses its thanks to the NuclearThreat Initiative, co-chaired by Ted Turner and Senator Sam Nunn for thefunding provided by its foundation for an essential part of the project.The project is an excellent example of public-private cooperation andhow the United States Government and the private sector can worktogether to find innovative and effective solutions for our world'sgreatest nonproliferation challenges. return to menu
3. Highly Enriched Uranium Removed From Belgrade Reactor In A MultinationalPublic-Private Project
U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
August 23, 2002
In an unprecedented and highly successful cooperative project, officialsfrom the United States, the Republic of Serbia, the Federal Republic ofYugoslavia and the Russian Federation successfully transferred yesterdaya quantity of highly enriched weapons-quality uranium from the Vincanuclear reactor near Belgrade -- enough for two nuclear weapons -- to afacility in the Russian Federation where it will be down blended for useas a conventional nuclear fuel. A substantial financial contributionfrom the Nuclear Threat Initiative enabled the parties to reachagreement on an action plan on one of the U.S. government's highestpriority nuclear proliferation threats.
The transfer of 48 kg of highly enriched uranium in about 5,000 rodstook place under full International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards andwith the outstanding cooperation of Serb and Yugoslav officials. TheUnited States congratulates these governments for their clearunderstanding of the risks associated with continued storage of thismaterial at the now-closed Vinca nuclear research reactor facility andtheir assistance in packing, transportation and security. The uranium,provided to Yugoslavia by the former Soviet Union, has safely arrived atthe Ulyanovsk Nuclear Processing Plant in the Russian Federation.
The United States has provided nearly $3 million in funding for thisproject. About $2 million came from the State Department'sNonproliferation and Disarmament Fund for packing, transportation andsecurity. The Department of Energy provided funds and technicalexpertise associated with blending down the materials. Key to theproject's success was a donation of $5 million from the Nuclear ThreatInitiative (NTI), a nongovernmental organization foundation co chairedby Ted Turner and Senator Sam Nunn. NTI funds address radiologicalhazards and were essential to the successful transfer. Projects of thiskind require specialized training and experience. The U.S. anticipatesthat Yugoslav scientists and technicians that are taking part in thisproject have gained useful experience that will enable them toparticipate in similar projects in the future. return to menu
J. Links of Interest
1. The Nuclear Posture Review: How Is The "New Triad" New?
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