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Nuclear News - 09/27/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, September 27, 2002
Compiled by Wyatt Cavalier

A. Russia-U.S
    1. US Energy Department Delegation Visits Saratov, PRAVDA, September 21, 2002
B. Russian Nuclear Energy
    1. Russia's Chances To Win Tender For Building Fifth Nuclear Power Plant Unit In Finland Are High, Andrei Malosolov, RIA Novosti, September 27, 2002
C. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces To Be Brought To Indispensable Minimum, RIA Novosti, September 27, 2002
D. Loose Nukes
    1. Missing Nukes Are Not Really A Bombshell, Matt Bivens, St. Petersburg Times, September 24, 2002
E. Russia-U.K.
    1. On Russian-British Negotiations On Implementation Of Global Partnership Program, Olga Orekhova, RIA Novosti, September 26, 2002
F. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. 'Suitcase Nukes' Pack Little Risk, Resources Devoted To Intercepting Such Devices Could Be Better-Used Elsewhere, Nikolai Sokov, Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2002
G. Nuclear Waste
    1. Ex-Inspector: Halt Waste Imports, Vladimir Isachenkov, Las Vegas Sun, September 25, 2002
H. U.N.-Israel
    1. Former UN Arms Chief Fears Israeli Nuclear Response (Excerpted), Mark Heinrich, Reuters, September 26, 2002
I. Fissile Materials
    1. Congo Struggling For US Takeover Of Uranium, Mark Huband and James Lamont, Financial Times, September 25
J. Cuban Threat Reduction
    1. SA welcomes Cuban nuclear announcement,, September 26, 2002
K. Announcements
    1. On Talks Regarding International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor Project, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, September 27, 2002
L. Links of Interest
    1. Strengthening Multilateral Export Controls, Michael Beck, Cassady Craft, Seema Gahlaut, Scott Jones, Center for International Trade and Security, September 2002
    2. Statement of Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth, Senior Advisor to the Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign, Before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, International Relations Hearing on Preventing Nuclear Terrorism, September 26, 2002
    3. Who Will Be Russia's Best Friend in the Future: The US or Iran and Other Undesirables?, Pavel Felgenhauer, Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology, and Policy, Boston University, BEHIND THE BREAKING NEWS, (Vol. III, No. 1, September 25, 2002)
    4. RANSAC Policy Update: U.S.-Russian Reduced Enrichment For Research And Test, Reactors (RERTR) Cooperation, Oleg Bukharin, Christopher Ficek, And Michael Roston, September 2002

A. Russia-U.S.

US Energy Department Delegation Visits Saratov
September 21, 2002
(for personal use only)

A US Energy Department delegation headed by Harry Stabblefield, the leader of the Radiological Dispersal Devices (RDD) program, visited the city of Saratov (Central Russia), the Saratov region industry ministry reported on Saturday. The RDD program is designed to protect radiological materials and sources of ionizing emission from the threat of international terrorism. A joint conference was held, with Russia's Kurchatov Institute scientific center representatives taking part.

The meeting touched upon the issues of protection and operation security of the radwaste storage site of the Radon enterprise in the village of Doktorovka, Tatishchevsky region, as well as of this enterprise's participation in the RDD program. The foreign guests were satisfied with the technical state of the storage site protection systems.

The decision on the elaboration of the RDD program was taken at the meeting between US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and Russian Federation Nuclear Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev, which was held shortly before the Russia-US Presidents' summit. The program will be financed within the framework of US technical and financial aid to Russian nuclear waste storage sites.
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B. Russian Nuclear Energy

Russia's Chances To Win Tender For Building Fifth Nuclear Power Plant Unit In Finland Are High
Andrei Malosolov
RIA Novosti
September 27, 2002
(for personal use only)

LUOSTO /FINLAND- Russia stands a good chance of winning a tender for building the fifth unit of a nuclear power plant in Finland, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov said Friday as summing up negotiations in Luosto with his Finnish counterpart, Paavo Lipponen.

"After the preliminary contest Russia is among the claimants for building the fifth unit of a Finnish nuclear power facility," Kasianov said. He stressed that Russia has proven nuclear power engineering technologies and builds nuclear power plants "in short time and for a smaller price than its competitors. Russia also provides all the related services, including processing and storage of nuclear fuel".

"Unlike the majority of our competitors, we boast a comprehensive approach to such projects," noted the Russian premier.
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C. Russian Nuclear Forces

Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces To Be Brought To Indispensable Minimum
RIA Novosti
September 27, 2002
(for personal use only)

As a result of a military reform, Russia's strategic nuclear forces will be brought to the indispensable minimum. Such statement was made by Anatoly Kvashnin, the chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces at a conference dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the Russian defence ministry. The nuclear forces will be rid of excessive potential to maintain a pre-set number of units and formations at a state of constant readiness, he said.

The military reform provides for a new system of manning the armed forces with a view to optimizing the military structure and integrating all arms and services, reported the general.

In the 21st century, the armed forces should not only ensure the state's sovereignty but create conditions for its democratic development and performance of Russia's international obligations on peacekeeping activity and combat against terrorism, stressed Kvashnin.
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D. Loose Nukes

Missing Nukes Are Not Really A Bombshell
Matt Bivens
St. Petersburg Times
September 24, 2002
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON - It is easy to forget that the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal once belonged to little Ukraine.

Kiev made history when it renounced its mini-superpower status in a three-way deal brokered with Russia and the United States. In the summer of 1996, top military officials from those three countries marked the departure of the last warhead by planting sunflower seeds at a Ukrainian missile base. Overnight, the sunflower - emblem of Ukraine's willingness to give up the bomb - became the leading symbol of global movements for nuclear disarmament.

Now, Petro Symonenko, the Ukrainian Communist Party chief, insists the sunflower photo-op was a farce. He says a parliamentary investigation a few years ago determined that 200 warheads Ukraine had pledged to deliver to Russia for dismantling never arrived - at least according to the paperwork.

"Two hundred Soviet Army nuclear warheads that were located in Ukraine are now located no-one-knows-where," Symonenko said recently.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has denied the allegation. U.S. and Ukrainian arms control experts have also expressed surprise.

"My initial reaction is one of skepticism," said Jon Wolfstahl, of the Carnegie Endowment's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Project. "The process by which nuclear weapons went from Ukraine to Russia was a very tightly controlled one, where the United States acted as an honest broker of sorts. All information that the U.S. government has ... says the weapons are accounted for."

Oleksandr Sushko, director of Ukraine's Center for Peace, Conversion and Foreign Policy, dismissed Symonenko's bombshell as "political speculation."

The political context is certainly important to bear in mind. Thousands of street protesters have been demanding the resignation of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, who has been compellingly implicated in corruption and in the murder (and beheading) of an opposition journalist. (Kuchma's government has admitted that it is the president's voice on a tape recording in which he seems to be ordering the journalist's death, though it says the tape itself has been doctored.)

Investigators from the U.S. Justice Department are also investigating a tape in which Kuchma seems to be giving permission for Ukraine to sell four radar systems for detecting Stealth fighter jets to Saddam Hussein. Opposition figures in Ukraine say Kuchma himself has overseen the sale of other (as-yet-unspecified) military hardware to Iraq.

Some U.S. observers ask if this means Hussein has 200 Ukrainian nuclear warheads. Not likely. It is far more probable that Kuchma's opposition is angling for terrified and angry international headlines - the kind designed to put the Ukrainian president in the camp of the international villain of the hour.

So, dismiss Symonenko's missing warheads as a politically motivated hoax. But remember that the story of Ukraine's missing 200 nuclear bombs is so sobering precisely because, like any good hoax, it is a plausible fit with some harsh realities: The world is awash in weapons-grade nuclear materials, more such material is being created by the hour and very little of effect is being done - indeed, very little can be done, short of renouncing nuclear power and closing reactors worldwide - to secure it all.
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E. Russia-U.K.

On Russian-British Negotiations On Implementation Of Global Partnership Program
Olga Orekhova
RIA Novosti
September 26, 2002
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW- Georgy Mamedov, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, met on Thursday with Michael Jay, Permanent Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Britain, who is currently in Moscow on a brief visit.

RIA Novosti learned from the Russian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department that during the meeting the sides discussed the prospects of the launching of concrete Russian-British negotiations on the implementation of the Global Partnership program adopted by the Group of Eight at the Kananaskis summit.

Apart from that, Georgy Mamedov and Michael Jay exchanged opinions on strategic stability problems, as well as on topical regional issues.
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F. Nuclear Terrorism

'Suitcase Nukes' Pack Little Risk
Resources Devoted To Intercepting Such Devices Could Be Better-Used Elsewhere.
Nikolai Sokov
Los Angeles Times
September 26, 2002
(for personal use only)

In 1997, then-Russian Gen. Alexander I. Lebed stunned the world when he alleged that almost 100 miniature, portable nuclear devices from the former Soviet Union could not be accounted for. Russian officials denied such weapons existed, but the suspicions persisted.

Weapons of mass destruction are the most feared tool of terrorists.

Among them, portable nuclear devices, commonly referred to as "suitcase nukes," are particularly dangerous because of their small size and full-scale nuclear-explosion effects.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, another look at the threat posed by suitcase nukes is particularly urgent.

The Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies undertook such a study. It used its database (available to the public through the Nuclear Threat Initiative at, carried out additional information searches and conducted interviews. The results represent perhaps the first encouraging news in this area in the last year.

Official denials notwithstanding, there is good reason to believe that the Soviet Union possessed so-called small atomic demolition munitions, just as the U.S. did during the Cold War.

These devices reportedly weighed 60 to 180 pounds and had yields of 100 to 1,000 tons of TNT.

In our view, the discrepancies the Russians reported about devices transferred from other former Soviet republics more likely reflected poor accounting rather than the loss of weapons.

A special commission on suitcase nukes reported in 1996 that it found all such weapons that had been in Russia before 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, but not those that had been in other former Soviet republics.

Most withdrawals of such weapons to Russia were, in fact, completed in 1989 and 1990, many months before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the troops charged with control of nuclear weapons were still reliable.

The priority attached to safe withdrawal was demonstrated by a shooting incident in Azerbaijan in 1990, when a demonstration organized by the local opposition tried to prevent the takeoff of aircraft carrying nuclear weapons. The crowd dispersed after warning shots, but an officer involved said that troops had been authorized to use deadly force if necessary to prevent the seizure of nuclear weapons.

The withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Belarus and Kazakhstan in 1992 proceeded smoothly.

The governments of these states did not challenge the control of nuclear weapons by the Russian Defense Ministry.

It was the nuclear weapons in Ukraine that generated considerable concerns.

But because of these concerns, accounting and on-site verification were conducted independently by the Russians and the Ukrainians in 1992, with close monitoring by the United States. So far, there has been no credible information about the loss of even a single nuclear weapon.

Within Russia itself, the safety of portable nuclear devices is subject to the same risks as that of all other nuclear weapons. These risks are addressed by the U.S. through the Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction program.

Finally, even if a small number of portable nuclear devices were lost (improbable, but vital to assess nevertheless), they probably are not operational today.

These devices apparently had a short shelf life and had to be serviced frequently. Consequently, since the early 1990s they would have missed 20 or more scheduled servicings and can hardly be efficient weapons in terrorists' hands.

Our findings suggest that resources for interception of "suitcase nukes" could be more productively used against other, more likely threats, such as "dirty" bombs, in which conventional explosives are used to disperse highly radioactive materials.

Of course, it would be only prudent to keep a close eye on further developments with regard to portable nuclear devices.

We intend to continue to do just that.
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G. Nuclear Waste

Ex-Inspector: Halt Waste Imports
Vladimir Isachenkov
Las Vegas Sun
September 25, 2002
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- A former top Russian nuclear safety official on Wednesday urged the government to suspend imports of spent nuclear fuel from abroad, saying the nation must handle its own nuclear waste first.

Viktor Kuznetsov, who served as the country's top nuclear safety inspector in the early 1990s, also said the authorities must concentrate on improving safeguards at nuclear facilities to prevent the theft of radioactive materials.

"Russia needs a moratorium on imports of spent nuclear fuel from abroad," Kuznetsov, who currently coordinates nuclear and radiation safety programs for the Russian Green Cross, an environmental advocacy group, said at a news conference.

Nuclear officials are planning to build a new storage facility in the Siberian city of Zheleznogorsk that would be capable of storing 33,000 tons of radioactive waste, the Interfax-Military News Agency reported Wednesday.

The existing Zheleznogorsk waste depot can hold 6,000 tons of nuclear waste and is already more than half full, Kuznetsov said.

He said the construction of new processing and storage facilities would take many years, during which the existing storage space would be filled and unable to incorporate Russia's own waste.
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H. U.N.-Israel

Former UN Arms Chief Fears Israeli Nuclear Response (Excerpted)
Mark Heinrich
September 26, 2002
(for personal use only)

JERUSALEM - A former U.N. arms chief expressed fears Thursday Israel might be pushed into using its nuclear arsenal in a war with Iraq, but Israel vowed it would take only "proper actions" if it were hit by nonconventional weapons or suffered casualties.

U.S. demands for tough, new U.N. Security Council action against Iraq suffered a serious blow when Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a solution to the crisis using existing U.N. resolutions.

The United States and Britain are pushing for a new U.N. resolution that would include uncompromising language spelling out that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein would face serious consequences if he failed to allow weapons inspectors to proceed with their work unhindered.

The Bush administration, laying ground for a possible new conflict with Baghdad, has asked Israel in private talks to exercise the same restraint as during the 1991 Gulf War when it did not retaliate against attacks by 39 Iraqi Scud missiles.

Former chief U.N. arms inspector Richard Butler, addressing a business conference in Hong Kong, said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had indicated Israel would not be restrained if attacked by Iraq.

"My deepest fear in that context, if that occurs and the war escalates, is that Israel will use its nuclear weapons," Butler said. "If that happens, the world would have been changed beyond recognition, and I would fear that if that happens the state of Israel would cease to exist."

Butler's tenure at the U.N. Special Commission was marked by repeated disputes with Iraqi authorities over access to suspected arms sites. His inspectors left in 1998, just before a U.S.-British bombing campaign aimed at punishing Iraq for its perceived stonewalling on inspections.


Some Israeli officials have warned that Israel would not stay on the sidelines if hit again by Iraq. They have suggested Israel's failure to respond in 1991 undercut its deterrent capability with its Middle East adversaries.

"If Iraq attacks Israel, but does not hit population centers or cause casualties, our interest will be to not make it hard on the Americans," Sharon was quoted as saying in Thursday's Jerusalem Post in reference to the interests of Israel's guardian ally.

"If, on the other hand, harm is done to Israel, if we suffer casualties or if nonconventional weapons of mass destruction are used against us, then definitely Israel will take the proper actions to defend its citizens."

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I. Fissile Materials

Congo Struggling For US Takeover Of Uranium
Mark Huband and James Lamont
Financial Times
September 25
(for personal use only)

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been negotiating with US officials for more than a year to have uranium removed from a US-supplied reactor and around a mine in the south of the war-torn country, a senior Congolese official said on Wednesday.

Concern about the security of Congo's uranium deposits and uranium fuel held at a research reactor in the capital Kinshasa has intensified since the British government claimed Wednesday that Iraq had sought "significant quantities of Uranium from Africa".

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Wednesday that South Africa, the only country in sub-Saharan Africa known to possess highly-enriched uranium, was unlikely to have been the target of Iraqi purchase efforts. A senior diplomatic source also ruled out South Africa.

Suspicion that the DRC may have been central to Iraqi plans has been raised since mining engineers from North Korea arrived in 1999 in an area of the country rich in uranium deposits. North Korea has a nuclear weapons programme, though it is based on plutonium rather than uranium.

A report to the UN Security Council in April 2001 inferred that the North Koreans had been paid for their advice by being awarded a mining concession "around Shinkolobwe, very rich in uranium".

Victor Mpoyo, a minister of state who was previously the closest adviser to Laurent Kabila, former Congolese president, said on Wednesday that requests to have the uranium removed from the Kinshasa reactor had yet to bring a decision, but that negotiations were ongoing.

According to the UN report - which examines the dealmaking which has, in the UN's view, contributed to the perpetuation of a civil war that has left 2.5m dead - the "official denial of a deal between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was based on the fact that the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has sought United States assistance - which it cannot receive if the Koreans are mining the same area".

But Mr Mpoyo on Wednesday confirmed that North Korea had sent military advisers to the country - although the number was 50 not the 300 that has been widely claimed.

"The North Koreans did train Congolese soldiers, under contract," Mr Mpoyo told the FT. "But they were paid in cash. They were never paid in uranium. Today there are around five there, training senior officers."

While there are no signs of a link between North Korean mining and Iraq, the North Korean interest in the Shinkolobwe uranium mine, near the southern Congolese town of Likasi, has intensified speculation that a long-considered uneconomical mine in such an unstable region may become a source for covert or illicit uranium trading.

A mining industry source with intimate knowledge of the area said yesterday that "anyone who expresses an interest in Shinkolobwe, or tries to get there, has a habit of disappearing".

The area is currently under the military control of Zimbabwean forces allied to the government of Joseph Kabila, president and son of the former Congolese leader.

US officials were unable on Wednesday to confirm the status of negotiations regarding the uranium. The US government supplied the uranium to the Belgian-built Kinshasa reactor in the 1970s as part of a development programme.

Uranium mined by a US company at the Shinkolobwe mine provided the fuel for the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the second world war.
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J. Cuban Threat Reduction

SA welcomes Cuban nuclear announcement
September 26, 2002
(for personal use only)

Pretoria - The South African government on Thursday welcomed a recent announcement by Cuba that it would accede to the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

"This would further strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime and contribute to the ultimate goal of achieving a world entirely free from nuclear weapons," the department of foreign affairs said.

Cuba made the announcement at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

It said that Cuba's announcement underscored the importance of a "multilateral approach" to dealing with issues of international peace and security, "which of late seems to have come under increasing pressure".

The department also welcomed Cuba's further announcement that it would ratify the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean - the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

"South Africa is a firm believer that the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones not only accomplishes an absence of nuclear weapons, but also facilitates political stability within a region, which in turn promotes economic and social development.

"The South African government trusts that Cuba's decision to ratify the Treaty of Tlatelolco will lend impetus to the establishment of further nuclear-weapon-free zones in other parts of the world, such as the Middle East, and South and Central Asia," the department said.
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K. Announcements

On Talks Regarding International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor Project
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
September 27, 2002

The fifth round of talks between Russia, Canada, Japan and the EU regarding the preparation of an agreement on the joint implementation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Project (ITER) took place in Toronto on September 17-18.

As a result of the carrying out of this project access to a promising new source of energy will be provided making it possible to solve the problem of satisfying the future energy requirements of humanity.

The talks received a substantial impetus as a consequence of the offer of particular sites for building the reactor by Canada, Japan and the EU (in Spain and France). There has begun the process of a comprehensive evaluation of these sites with a view to selecting the most suitable one that is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2003.

Important for the implementation of the project is the agreement reached on an organizing framework for continuing international cooperation on the ITER under the aegis of IAEA during the interim period before the coming of the agreement into effect.

Progress has been achieved in agreeing the text of the agreement.

The next round of talks will be held on October 29-30, 2002, at Rokkasho-Mura, Japan.
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L. Links of Interest

Strengthening Multilateral Export Controls
Michael Beck, Cassady Craft, Seema Gahlaut, Scott Jones
Center for International Trade and Security
September 2002

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Statement of Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth
Senior Advisor to the Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign
Before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, International Relations Hearing on Preventing Nuclear Terrorism
September 26, 2002

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Who Will Be Russia's Best Friend in the Future: The US or Iran and Other Undesirables?
Pavel Felgenhauer
Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology, and Policy
Boston University
(Vol. III, No. 1, September 25, 2002)

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RANSAC Policy Update: U.S.-Russian Reduced Enrichment For Research And Test
Reactors (RERTR) Cooperation
Oleg Bukharin, Christopher Ficek, And Michael Roston
September 2002

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

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