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Nuclear News - 11/22/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, November 22, 2002
Compiled by Wyatt Cavalier



A. Russia-U.S.
    1. Russia, USA Share Stances On Many Strategic Issues: Putin, RIA Novosti, November 22, 2002
B. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Nuclear Security Fund Tops $12 Million: 22 Countries Make Pledges to IAEA Action Plan, WorldAtom Staff Report, IAEA, November 22, 2002
    2. A Foreign Policy Maven Has His Old Chair Back: Terrorism Warnings Are Nothing New to Lugar, Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, November 21, 2002
C. Russia-U.K.
    1. Britain Is Donating 700,000 Pounds To Help Protect Two Russian Nuclear-Powered Ice-Breakers, Nuclear.ru, November 22, 2002
D. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. VVAF Poll Shows Stopping the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction Top Foreign Policy and Security Concern for Voters, Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign, November 22, 2002
E. Missile Defense
    1. U.S. Invites Russia To Watch NMD Tests In December, Arkady Orlov, RIA Novosti, November 19, 2002
F. Russian Nuclear Energy
    1. Small-Scale Nuclear Power Annual Conference Held In Moscow, Nuclear.ru, November 20, 2002
    2. Russia To Build Floating Nuclear Plants, Space Wire, November 19, 2002
G. Non-Proliferation
    1. International Response: More Than 40 Countries Expected to Sign Missile Code (excerpted), Mike Nartker, Global Security Newswire, November 22, 2002
H. CANWFZ
    1. International Response: Central Asian Nuclear Zone Delayed Despite Russian Support (excerpted), Mike Nartker, Global Security Newswire, November 22, 2002
I. Radiological Weapons
    1. U.S., Russia, IAEA to Sponsor Vienna Conference on "Dirty Bombs": Officials, Tehran Times, November 16, 2002
J. Defense Conversions
    1. Putin Visits Missile Plant, RFE/RL Newsline, November 20, 2002
K. Russia-DPRK
    1. Russian Concerned About Allegations On North Korea's Nukes, Interfax, November 20, 2002
L. Nuclear Safety
    1. Do Tatars Have to Live In Radioactive Dumps? Konstantin Dorokhin, Pravda.ru, November 22, 2002
    2. Soviet Nuke Project Hits Meltdown (excerpt), The Russian Journal, November 19, 2002
M. Submarine Dismantlement
    1. Fire breaks out in Russian Pacific Fleet's nuclear submarine, Interfax, November 22, 2002
N. Links of Interest
    1. Minatom and Environmentalists Square Off on Ministry Steps Over SNF Imports, Charles Digges, Bellona November 22, 2002
    2. Al-Qaeda's Quixotic Quest to go Nuclear, David Albright, Asia Times, November 22, 2002
    3. Nukes: The Weapon of Yesterday, Paul Keating, The Age (Australia), November 22, 2002
    4. Feature: Surviving on Nuclear Waste, Sam Vaknin, UPI, November 22, 2002
    5. From Russia with Peace (Senator Richard Luger), John Stehr, Eyewitness News, WTHR 13: Indianapolis, November 20, 2002
    6. Newspaper article by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov "What Kind of World Do We Need" published in Kommersant-Daily, November 20, 2002, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, November 20, 2002
    7. Report Says US-Russia Threat Reduction Efforts Lack Coordination, Political Will and Cash, Charles Digges, Bellona, November 19, 2002
    8. Reshaping US-Russian Threat Reduction: Panel Summary, Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference: November 14-15, 2002, November 14, 2002

A. Russia-U.S.

1.
Russia, USA Share Stances On Many Strategic Issues: Putin
RIA Novosti
November 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


PUSHKIN, LENINGRAD REGIION. November 22. /RIA Novosti/ - Russian and US interests coincide on many strategic issues, President Vladimir Putin said to a news conference following summitry with President George W. Bush.

Russia's President highlighted a "very high level" of bilateral partnership and its dynamic progress. "Russia and the USA share interests not only in particular economic fields but in many strategic matters," he emphasised.
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B. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Nuclear Security Fund Tops $12 Million: 22 Countries Make Pledges to IAEA Action Plan
WorldAtom Staff Report
IAEA
November 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


Members of the Georgian search team return from hunt for orphan sources on former Soviet missile base near Tblisi. (Credit: Rickwood/ IAEA)

Through mid-November, 22 countries and one organization, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, have pledged more than $12 million of support to the IAEA's Action Plan to upgrade nuclear security worldwide. Support includes cash contributions as well as services, equipment, or use of facilities. To date, the IAEA has received just under $7 million of the amounts pledged.

The plan supplements efforts by countries working at the national level to upgrade physical protection of their nuclear material and nuclear facilities; detect malicious activities involving nuclear and other radioactive materials - such as illicit trafficking across borders; and improve control of radioactive sources.

IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei said that while responsibility to counter potential acts of nuclear terrorism rests primarily with individual States, international co-operation was vital.

"Effectively upgrading security to protect against nuclear and radiological terrorism will require a sustained, multi-year effort. We will continue to work vigorously with governments to reduce our vulnerability to nuclear terrorism," he said.

Put in place within months of the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA, the plan is now being implemented on all fronts. Work to date includes:

Peer reviews carried out to assess the physical protection at nuclear power plants and other facilities.

Workshops and training courses held to help governments assess the threats to their nuclear facilities, raise their standards of security, improve control of nuclear and radioactive material, upgrade their border monitoring, and prepare response plans for nuclear and radiological emergencies;

Missions sent to Afghanistan, Georgia, and Uganda to assist in recovering radiological sources that went astray or were not adequately protected;

In mid-June, a partnership was established between Russia, the USA and the Agency to locate and secure powerful radioactive sources that were lost or abandoned during the dissolution of the former Soviet Union; and

Work towards global adherence to a strengthened Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
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2.
A Foreign Policy Maven Has His Old Chair Back: Terrorism Warnings Are Nothing New to Lugar
Glenn Kessler
Washington Post
November 21, 2002
(for personal use only)


When Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1996, he ran ads declaring that the next president would have to deal with terrorist attacks on American soil. The commercials were so raw and realistic that some television stations ran warnings saying they might frighten children. He finished seventh in the Iowa caucuses, with 4 percent of the vote.

Lugar may not have known much about running for president, but his concerns about the terrorist threat were certainly ahead of the curve. Now, as the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lugar has the opportunity to put his stamp on his abiding passion -- reducing the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

The Nunn-Lugar act, which Lugar has ceaselessly nurtured, promoted and protected since its passage in 1991, has helped eliminate 6,000 nuclear warheads and secured biological and chemical weapons facilities throughout the former Soviet Union, while providing jobs to thousands of former Soviet weapons scientists. The program costs taxpayers about $1 billion a year.

In some ways, "passion" might seem like an odd word to use in connection with the 70-year-old Lugar. A fiercely proud Hoosier who runs 15 miles a week, Lugar is soft-spoken and polite, a "regent for life" in the Eagle Scout Association who thinks nothing of getting up during an interview to fix a cup of coffee for a reporter. While highly knowledgeable about foreign affairs, he doesn't make fiery speeches or take positions that veer sharply from an internationalist, bipartisan foreign-policy tradition.

"If you called an executive search firm and asked them to bring you a president or a secretary of state, they'd always come back with Dick Lugar on the short list," said Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., the White House budget director, who was Lugar's staff director after he was first elected to the Senate in 1976. Daniels ran some of his early election campaigns.

"I don't want to alarm the Republican right, but there is very little Dick Lugar and I disagree on," said the current committee chairman, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), who will hand over his gavel to Lugar when the new Congress meets next year and the Republicans take control of the Senate. "He is the most informed Republican in Congress on foreign affairs, and if I can't be chairman there is no one who I would have rather be chairman."

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, worked well with Biden, and State Department officials expect much the same with Lugar. Unlike the committee's current ranking Republican, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who is retiring, Lugar is more likely to support the State Department's approach in its constant intramural battles with the hawks at the Pentagon and elsewhere in the administration.

"Lugar will be dreadful," said a prominent foreign policy conservative who asked not to be identified. "He is a conventionally minded apparatchik of the establishment."

In a recent interview, Lugar outlined a number of critical issues he plans to raise in hearings next year, some of which could have come out of the State Department's playbook. He wants to examine the costs and objectives of governing Iraq after Saddam Hussein, explore the "unfinished business" of Afghanistan and press for implementation of the Moscow Treaty, signed last year, which commits the United States and Russia to substantial reductions of nuclear arms.

Indeed, Lugar is committed to making treaties -- a dirty word in some circles of the Bush administration -- work. "I do think we will work with treaties that appear to have some efficacy," he said.

Lugar believes the administration must keep up a dialogue with North Korea during this "potential dangerous situation," referring to the country's admission that it has a secret nuclear weapons program. Unlike the hawks in the administration, he also thinks the United States should be prepared to engage with Iran, another member of the administration's "axis of evil."

"It is a situation of looking for opportunities," Lugar said. "It is an option that has to be open."

Lugar, whose interest in foreign policy began with the exotic stamps his grandfather brought home from overseas business trips, headed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1985-86, when Helms briefly took control of the Senate Agriculture Committee to fulfill a campaign promise. But the more senior Helms quickly reclaimed his spot as the chief Republican on Foreign Relations, and Lugar has had to bide his time for 16 years waiting for the chair to open up again.

He began his last chairmanship with a series of hearings that explored all aspects of U.S. foreign policy. Despite the threat of war with Iraq and the continuing battle against terrorism, he evinced an interest in again taking a broad overview of the United States' role in the world.

Lugar is "never one to waste time on the idle gesture and take action by press release," Daniels said. "He is an entirely serious person.''

The walls of Lugar's offices are covered with the ornaments of his life, photos and awards, stretching from floor to ceiling in many places. There's a framed handwritten note from the first President George Bush -- which the caption notes was passed to Lugar at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 26, 1991, during a meeting at the White House -- thanking him profusely for his support during the Persian Gulf War, then in progress. "When the going was most tough, you hung in," scrawled the current president's father.

The most important artifacts are the more than 20 huge photographs of Lugar traveling through the former Soviet Union, watching submarines being dismantled, missiles cut apart and silos blown up. In one chilling scene, Lugar holds a suitcase containing a shell filled with enough sarin nerve gas to kill 85,000 people -- one of 2 million such shells discovered at a depot in Siberia.

But Lugar is also a politician and understands his audience. Told this article would appear on the Federal Page, he said he had news that would interest followers of the federal bureaucracy: He would like to strengthen embassies abroad, "the front line troops" in the diplomatic world.

"We will need more money, clearly," to improve communications and working conditions, Lugar said. "I want to illuminate the whole subject in a way that it has not been illuminated in some time. For our foreign service people to be more effective, we need to have more going for them."
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C. Russia-U.K.

1.
Britain Is Donating 700,000 Pounds To Help Protect Two Russian Nuclear-Powered Ice-Breakers.
Nuclear.ru
November 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


The British Government took a decision to donate 700,000 pounds sterling for purchase and installation of protection equipment on two Russian nuclear-powered ice-breakers. The money comes from a special governmental fund to help the former Soviet Union handling nuclear materials. Currently the fund volume makes up 84 million pounds. The Ministry of Trade and Industry of Britain, according to ITAR-TASS, announced the news today.

"In the current international climate nuclear security must be given the utmost priority and I am committed to making the improvements wherever necessary" - said Energy Minister Brian Wilson. He was satisfied that the funds would be spent for an important affair. Britain will be financing the programs of assistance in handling nuclear materials for the former Soviet Union during 2001-2004. The British government is expected to finance similar programs during the next ten years.

State programs of help to the former Soviet Union, in particular, provide for development of professional alternatives and social projects for Closed Administrative Territorial Formations (CATF) in Russia, assistance in disposal of irradiated nuclear fuel in the North-West of Russia, as well as disposal of nuclear-powered submarines with expired service life. Such companies as British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. (BNFL), PE-International Consulting Ltd. and RWE Nukem Ltd. will take part in program fulfillment.
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D. Nuclear Terrorism

1.
VVAF Poll Shows Stopping the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction Top Foreign Policy and Security Concern for Voters
Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign
November 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) commissioned a bi-partisan, nationwide survey as part of a multi-year initiative to monitor Americans' attitudes about the role the United States plays in the world and how international issues impact their lives. This new survey, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, was designed to provide deeper insight into what issues motivated voters on Election Day.

Overall, the war on terrorism was the single greatest issue influencing voter decision. And among the issues topping the list of concerns was the spread of weapons of mass destruction:

Voters went to the polls on Election Day more concerned about the threat of biological, nuclear and chemical weapons than removing Saddam Hussein from power.

Both stopping the threat of weapons of mass destruction (35 percent) and disarming Iraq through UN weapons inspections (35 percent) ranked above removing Saddam Hussein from power (25 percent) and nearly as high as improving homeland security (36 percent) as top issues in the war on terrorism influencing voters' decisions.

Specifically, the proliferation of these weapons, terrorist cells in the United States and unsecured ports and borders were viewed as the most serious threats to voters.

59 percent of voters ranked containing the threat from Saddam Hussein and Iraq as one of the top few priorities for the next Congress.

Democrats were much more likely to favor containment over regime change (56 percent vs. 41 percent). Republicans placed regime change at the very top of their list of priorities for the next Congress (73 percent).

In our post-September 11th world, the real threat of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons falling into the hands of those who wish to do our nation deadly harm is a clear and present danger in the minds of the American public. They went to the polls to tell our nation's leaders that the time has come for action.

The Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign (NTRC), a project of VVAF, calls upon Congress and the Bush Administration to heed the call of the public. There are concrete steps that our nation can take to help stop the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Failure to act jeopardizes all our lives.

To view the complete poll results, visit the VVAF web site at: http://vvaf.org/poll

For more information please visit the Justice Project at http://www.nuclearthreatreduction.org
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E. Missile Defense

1.
U.S. Invites Russia To Watch NMD Tests In December
Arkady Orlov
RIA Novosti
November 19, 2002
(for personal use only)


WASHINGTON -- George Bush's administration has invited Russian government officials to watch the next test of an interceptor missile of the National Missile Defence System, which was preliminarily planned for December 2002, John Bolton, US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, told a press conference on anti-missile defence in London. The press service of the US State Department has distributed the text of Bolton's speech in Washington.

According to Bolton, the joint US-Russian working group for NMD issues gathered for a session in early November to discuss transparency problems and prospects for further cooperation. During the same session, the Russian side was invited to take a look at an advanced Patriot system at the US military base Fort Bliss in Texas and view NMS military facilities under construction in the neighbourhood of the military base Fort Greely.

The under secretary also said the USA and other NATO members were cooperating with Russia in NMD issues in the framework of the Russia-NATO Council. This cooperation is "positive - and it is also the first practical step towards the creation of a joint anti-missile potential for Russia and NATO, which will enable them to protect troops and the critical infrastructure," he said.

According to his account, NATO attaches great importance to NMD issues and will probably add an article about the necessity of "studying the opportunities of defending the troops of the allies and territories and populated centres from the entire spectrum of missile threats" to the text of the final declaration of the North Atlantic Alliance summit in Prague. The declaration will also stipulate "parameters in the framework of which NATO allies will jointly deploy the required potential."
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F. Russian Nuclear Energy

1.
Small-Scale Nuclear Power Annual Conference Held In Moscow
Nuclear.ru
November 20, 2002
(for personal use only)


On 19-20 Nov. 2002, an annual International Scientific and Practical Conference "Malaya Energetika - 2002", organized by Minatom of Russia, Ministry for Atomic Energy RF, RAO EES of Russia, JSC "Malaya Energetika", Nuclear Society of Russia and Rosenergoatom State Concern, was held in the All-Russia Research Institute for Nuclear Power Plant Operation (VNIIAES), the Rosenergoatom's press-center of the concern reported. At the plenary session, the Deputy Minister RF for atomic energy Andrey Malyshev addressed the meeting with the report "The small-scale nuclear power within the "Strategy for atomic energy development in Russia", and a member of the ecological committee of the State Duma RF Mr. Yu. Egorov - with the report "Legislative support for development of the small-scale nuclear power and the renewable energy sources". The speakers touched upon such vital issues as intellectual property in the small-scale nuclear power, independent power supply to the Extreme North consumers, the small-scale power and power safety, implementation of a project for construction of a low-power nuclear heat-electric generation plant with KLT-40C reactors in Severodvinsk.

Preliminary design of a floating power unit with KLT-40C reactor plants for the low-power nuclear heat-electric generation plant has been developed in cooperation with the enterprises of Minatom of Russia, Russian Shipbuilding Agency and others. JSC "Malaya Energetika" is a managing company (the customer-builder). According to the General Director of JSC "Malaya Energetika" Eugeny Kuzin, the low-power NPPs possess a sufficient efficiency reserve as compared to traditional power sources, working in closed power systems of distant regions. Construction of low-power NPPs will permit to solve the problems of power supply to these regions as well as North delivery. According to the assessment of specialists of JSC "Malaya Energetika", the construction cost of the floating NPP will make up approximately 150 mln dollars. A period of payback of the floating NPP is assessed as 13 years. Bearing in mind the savings of funds for purchase and delivery of fossil fuel, which would be replaced for the low-power nuclear heat-electric generation plant, the economic return due to implementation of these plants will increase several times.

The analysis of receipts to different level budgets in case of the project implementation shows that the federal budget is expected to receive approximately 5.81 mln dollars, the regional budget - over 1.3 mln dollars and the municipal budget of the low-power nuclear heat-electric generation plant location - up to 0.18 mln dollars. Receipts to all level budgets due to construction of the floating nuclear heat-electric generation plant in Severodvinsk will be significantly higher. As noted by Mr. Kuzin, there is a great demand for floating power units worldwide, since they could be possibly used as a base to build desalination complexes for the countries feeling lack of fresh water. One nuclear desalination complex can provide uninterrupted supply of desalinated water to towns with population of 800-900 thousand persons, bearing in mind maximum capacity of 200-400 thousand cubic meters of fresh water per day. Russian floating NPPs have a good chance to occupy a considerable share of the market. For this purpose it is necessary to build a reference floating power unit, which would operate in Russia.
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2.
Russia To Build Floating Nuclear Plants
Space Wire
November 19, 2002
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW -- Russia is to launch the construction of the world's first floating nuclear power plants, a unique project which should supply much-needed energy to its remotest regions but has aroused concern among environment protection groups.

The plan, unveiled by Russian scientists earlier this year, should see work begin in 2003 at the Sevmash plant at Severodvinsk in northwestern Russia which normally turns out nuclear submarine engines, said Yevgeny Kuzin, the head of the Malaya Energetika company developing the project.

While the first floating plant will not be ready for at least five years, three Arctic and Far Eastern regions, Arkhangelsk, Chukotka and Kamchatka, have already declared an interest and signed letters of intent with Malaya Enegertika, Kuzin added.

With winter temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius (Fahrenheit), these regions are desperate for energy to supply their residents with power and heating.

They lack the financial resources to purchase sufficient amounts of fuel or coal, and building full-scale nuclear power plants in such remote areas is not a realistic option.

The idea instead is to tow floating nuclear "micro-power plants" off their coasts where they will operate, providing power and heating via to cables linking them to the mainland for a planned duration of 40 years.

Each floating plant, which will be similar to the nuclear-powered ice-breakers Russia has been operating in the polar north for several years already, will be manned by 60 technicians and will use a 70 megawatt KLT-40C reactor of the kind used in the ice-breakers.

The first floating plant should start operating off the port of Severodvinsk, near Arkhangelsk, providing the region with energy.

While each plant will cost 150 million dollars (euros), Kuzin said this option was much more economical than building a full-scale nuclear plant and added that construction would also take less time.

"It is much faster and costs four times less than building a nuclear power plant generating the same amount of energy on land," he said.

Not everybody has been won over by the idea, however.

Environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace and the Norwegian organization Bellona have said the floating plants represent a danger for the environment and have questioned the project's economic viability, as have several Russian nuclear experts.

Greenpeace and Bellona also believe the plants could represent a potential target for terrorist groups.

The Russian atomic energy ministry gave the go-ahead for the floating plants earlier this month and Kuzin said the the natural resources ministry has assessed the project and found it ecologically sound.

Rosenergoatom, the public institution which manages all Russian nuclear powerplants, is to decide early next year on whether to finance the development of the floating plants.

In addition to supplying Russia's polar north with comparatively cheap energy, floating plants could be put to a quite different use in warmer latitudes, Kuzin said.

The same nuclear energy used to provide power could also help desalinate sea-water if a project currently being developed by Malaya Energetika and Canadian company Candesal reaches fruition.

This would involve attaching a special desalination platform to the floating plants.

The desalination plants could be exported to "countries with a large coastline, like Indonesia, India or China," Kuzin said.

The nuclear fuel used for the desalination process would be modified to include a smaller proportion of enriched uranium so that Russia would not be in breach of agreements on nuclear non-proliferation.
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G. Non-Proliferation

1.
International Response: More Than 40 Countries Expected to Sign Missile Code (excerpted)
Mike Nartker
Global Security Newswire
November 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


WASHINGTON - Delegations from more than 40 countries are expected to meet in The Hague Monday for a ceremony to launch the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (see GSN, Aug. 23).

"The ICOC conference will open a new chapter in the international struggle against missile proliferation," the Dutch Foreign Ministry said in a recent press statement. "This new multilateral instrument, with the potential for universal adherence, will provide the international community with an additional means of increasing the security of us all."

Code negotiators have invited nearly all U.N. members to join the agreement. Iraq, however, "was not invited because of their previous refusal to adhere to U.N. Security Council resolutions concerning their military arsenal and secondly because they are officially not supposed to have missiles with a reach of more than 150 kilometers," a Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

So far, 43 countries have indicated that they plan to attend the signing ceremony, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and several countries regarded as posing little ballistic missile threat, such as East Timor and the Vatican, according to the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

Several countries that the United States believes are acquiring or proliferating ballistic missiles have declined to participate in the ceremony. Although such countries - including China, Iran, North Korea, Israel, India and Pakistan - have rejected the code, their position has not doomed it to failure, according to experts. There is hope that they will join later, a U.S. State Department official said. As in other international agreements, such as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, not every country is expected to choose to join at the beginning, the official said.

China, India and Pakistan have outlined various reasons for rejecting the code. A spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington told Global Security Newswire this week that his country opposes the code, in part, because it fails to adequately address complementary delivery systems such as cruise missiles (see GSN, Nov. 20). India said it has rejected the code because it does too little to exempt peaceful uses of space launch technology (see GSN, Nov. 18). Beijing cited the code's confidence-building measures, meant to increase transparency among members, as a reason for China's opposition to the code (see GSN, Nov. 15).

A notable expected attendee at the conference, however, is Libya, which has also been regarded by the United States as a country of concern (see GSN, Oct. 31). As recently as October, Reuters reported that the United States accused Yugoslav defense firms of aiding Libya's development of long-range cruise missiles.

"About the only bright spot at the moment is that Libya will be in The Hague," Mark Smith of the Mountbatten Center for International Studies at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, said in response to a written inquiry from GSN.

[...]
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H. CANWFZ

1.
International Response: Central Asian Nuclear Zone Delayed Despite Russian Support (excerpted)
Mike Nartker
Global Security Newswire
November 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


WASHINGTON - Russia is ready to formally endorse a treaty establishing a nuclear weapon-free zone in Central Asia, the top U.N. disarmament official said yesterday. Concerns from other nuclear powers, however, prompted treaty organizers to postpone a signing ceremony last month and to schedule more consultations (see GSN, Oct. 7).

The five Central Asian states - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - have convinced Russia that the proposed zone will not interfere with non-nuclear aspects of other regional security agreements, U.N. Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs Jayantha Dhanapala told Global Security Newswire.

The Central Asian countries have asked all five declared nuclear weapon states - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States - to sign a protocol to the proposed treaty agreeing to respect the zone and to refrain from using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against zone members. Until recently, China had been the only country to publicly support the protocol, but last month, the declared nuclear weapon states and the proposed weapon-free states met in New York for discussions (see GSN, Oct. 2).

Russia had been concerned about a provision regarding the treaty's relation to other regional security arrangements, particularly the Treaty of Tashkent, Dhanapala said. According to the Russian interpretation, that treaty allows Russia to seek permission to deploy nuclear weapons within treaty countries. The proposed zone countries and Russia have now agreed to a compromise that preserves the non-nuclear aspects of such security agreements while still prohibiting nuclear weapons in the zone, Dhanapala said.

[...]
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I. Radiological Weapons

1.
U.S., Russia, IAEA to Sponsor Vienna Conference on "Dirty Bombs": Officials
Tehran Times
November 16, 2002
(for personal use only)


WASHINGTON -- The United States, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will sponsor a three-day conference on radiological dispersal devices, or so-called "dirty bombs," in Vienna next March, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and IAEA Director General Mohammed El-Baradei announced. Abraham said here Wednesday that the main purpose of the conference would be to "address the new and present dangers to our communities and further develop the international framework for dealing with a specific threat posed by dirty bombs."

Although far less lethal than traditional nuclear weapons, dirty bombs could be attractive to terrorists because they can inflict widespread disruption for relatively little cost, he explained.

With conventional explosives and a few ounces (grams) of cesium 137 or strontium 90, a dirty bomb could contaminate large areas with dangerous radiation, unleashing panic and rendering some places uninhabitable for decades, according to experts.

"The possibility of some national groups acquiring nuclear or radiological material for malicious acts had not been regarded as a high priority. That has changed quite dramatically since 9-11," El-Baradei told AFP.

U.S. and international nuclear experts are combing former Soviet republics to recover the remains of powerful radioactive devices they fear could fall into the hands of terrorists, the ***Washington Post*** reported Monday.

The devices were developed in the 1970s by scientists in the former Soviet Union and dispatched to the countryside where many were abandoned after the Soviet breakup in 1991. Last May, U.S. citizen Jose Padilla was arrested on arrival in Chicago from Pakistan on suspicion he was planning to build a radioactive-laced "dirty bomb." He is believed to be linked to the Al-Qaeda terrorist network blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. Abraham said "the detailed instructions on how to make dirty bombs found in Al-Qaeda caves in Afghanistan make horrifyingly clear our need to have a firm plan to reduce the vulnerability of dangerous radiological materials to acquisition by those seeking to use them as weapons."

Both Abraham and El-Bareidi stressed the importance of global cooperation.

"Since 9-11 we've been working quite closely with the U.S. Department of Energy to embark on a comprehensive program of nuclear security," El-Baraidi said.

"This involves better physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities and better assessment of threat perpception," he explained.
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J. Defense Conversions

1.
Putin Visits Missile Plant
RFE/RL Newsline
November 20, 2002
(for personal use only)


President Putin on 19 November visited a secret missile-production complex in the Moscow oblast town of Reutov, RTR and other Russian news agencies reported. The president pledged that the state will invest only in military-industrial enterprises that are working on defense-related issues and only in those that are producing efficiently. At present, only about 15 percent of the country's defense plants would qualify for such investment, as 85 percent are producing dual-use goods or commercial products.

Putin said that those plants should organize and manage themselves, including the development of international contacts. Gerbert Yefremov, director of the Reutov complex, showed Putin the plant's Strela light missile booster and the Yakhont antiship missile, which the plant produces for the Russian navy and for sale to India. Putin expressed his satisfaction with the Reutov plant. "Russia is a country rich in mineral resources, but that is only for the short term. The future lies in high-technology production such as is happening here," Putin said.
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K. Russia-DPRK

1.
Russian Concerned About Allegations On North Korea's Nukes
Interfax
November 20, 2002
(for personal use only)


MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) - Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met with the North Korean ambassador to Russia in Moscow on Wednesday.

During that meeting, Ivanov "expressed his concern over the aggravation of the situation with [North] Korea amid U.S. allegations that North Korea is developing nuclear weapons," the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.

"Russia has consistently favored the de-nucleazation of the Korean Peninsula and strict observance of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons," Ivanov said.

Russia "encourages resolving all problems that exist in the relations between North Korea and the U.S. by means of constructive dialogue and the observance of mutual obligations under the 1994 framework agreement," Ivanov said.
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L. Nuclear Safety

1.
Do Tatars Have to Live In Radioactive Dumps?
Konstantin Dorokhin
Pravda.ru
November 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


It is strange that the government takes no interest in people living in contaminated territories

Forty five years ago, an accident at the Mayak enterprise in the Chelyabinsk region resulted in an outburst of radioactive waste, which poisoned the water and the land in a radius of many kilometers around the accident site. Many people suffered from the accident. Over 200 settlements vanished from the face of the earth, and thousands of people were removed from their homeland. As it turned out later, not all people were resettled from the contaminated area. Tatars are still living in some of the villages and settlements in the contaminated area.

It is strange that the government took no interest in the people remaining there, but these people have been living in contaminated territories for decades. The settlement of Tatarskaya Karabolka suffered from the tragic accident most of all; since that tragic day, its population has been reduced from 4,000 to 640 people, and 80% of them suffer from cancer. There are eight cemeteries around the settlement. The only aid the authorities render to the people of the settlement is a 30 ruble (roughly one USD) compensation for their funerals. However, it is unbelievable that officials consider this sum enough for anything at all. Some time ago, special payments were made to people who helped neutralize the accident at the Mayak enterprise. But later, the authorities decided to save the cash and removed the item on the payments from the budget. Those who still live in the contaminated settlement demand that Tatarskaya Karabolka should be recognized as an area that has suffered as a result of the catastrophe. They also want the cash payments to resume

Duma deputies from the Yabloko Party have developed an amendment to the state budget for the next year and submitted it for consideration of the parliament. The main point of the amendment is that villagers from Tatarskaya Karabolka must be relocated to a safer place. The cost of the plan is 10 million rubles. A special report was sent to the RF EMERCOM to explain the necessity of this amendment. A response to was given on November 11. Russian EMERCOM Minister Sergey Shoigu stated: "At present, there is no evidence proving any harm to the health of the people still living in that area that was affected by the accident at the Mayak enterprise in 1957. This also concerns the villagers from Tatarskaya Karabolka. That is why, the RF EMERCOM has no reason to back the suggestion of the deputies to resettle these people and provide budgetary financing for the removal."

Unfortunately, Tatarskaya Karabolka is not Russia's only radioactive contaminated territory where Tatars are living. There is a research institute for nuclear reactors in the city of Dimitrovgrad, in the Ulyanovsk region, close to Tatarstan. Radioactive waste from the reactors are buried in a special nuclear-waste disposal, which is quite close to a geological stress point. The number of people with cancer in a village situated right above the area is abnormally high. The geological stress point is located from Dimitrovgrad to the territory of Tatarstan. There is every reason to believe that nuclear wastes from the disposal may get into the territory of the Tatarstan republic and cause much harm there. And the situation may get even more dramatic if the Russian Ministry of Nuclear Energy begins the realization of plans for the importation and burial of spent nuclear fuel on Russian territory. The wastes will be poured into the same disposal; fuel obtained as a result will be burnt at nuclear power plants (by the way, it is deadly for the environment and for the personnel of nuclear power plants). It is highly likely that two such places will soon appear near Tatarstan: one will be on its territory and another is being constructed in the neighboring republic of Bashkiria. Wastes will stream down to the Kama River. All eastern areas of Tatarstan will suffer from the consequences of the nuclear plant's work.

The settlement of Tatarskaya Karabolka, the Dimitrovgrad nuclear-waste disposal, and other similar instances reveal that the RF Minister of Nuclear Energy takes no account of ordinary people's interests. With a view to gain more profits, the Ministry is building more and more nuclear plants, and it is even ready to turn Russia into the world's nuclear dump. Officials don't care that this harms local populations. What is more, although nuclear objects are apparent targets for terrorisit attacks, the ministry is saving money on the protection of the dangerous objects. And if tragedies occur, like it the one in Tatarskaya Karabolka, officials ignore the lives of ordinary people who fall victims to such tragedies.

The Yabloko faction is going to persist in the promotion of its amendment to the federal budget for 2003, saying that the families from the settlement of Tatarskaya Karabolka must be resettled. However, the deputies need active support of the Russian population in order to guarantee that tragedies of this kind will never occur in the future. If the population of Tatarstan actively protests against the construction of nuclear objects on its territory and in neighboring regions, they will be able to protect the planet from a nuclear catastrophe and save the Earth for the generations to come.
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2.
Soviet Nuke Project Hits Meltdown (excerpt)
The Russian Journal
November 19, 2002
(for personal use only)


VLADIVOSTOK - From the warm seas of Russia's Far East to the numbing cold of the bleak northwest, scores of ex-Soviet nuclear submarines rot in menacing silence, sinking rustbuckets with the potential to devastate a continent.

But billions of dollars needed to help neutralise the environmental threat are on hold because Western states say Russia refuses to exempt them from legal liability should anything go wrong while they help Moscow clean up its mess.

Experts at an international forum in the Pacific port of Vladivostock said an inter-ministry fight, pitting Russia's Foreign Ministry against the Defence and Atomic Energy Ministries, appeared to be at the heart of the controversy.

Russian scientists say the radiation locked inside the corroding hulls of 122 decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines, once the pride of the Soviet fleet, represents 3,000 times the levels of the A-bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

"Early generation submarines are in a desperate state" because they were not designed with dismantling in mind", Ian Downing, the man in charge of British efforts to help Russia put its nuclear house in order, told Reuters.

"They haven't been looked after, they are sinking. Most of them have still got the spent fuel on board," while others risk capsizing, he said on the sidelines of the British-funded forum on decommissioning Russia's nuclear submarines.

[...]
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M. Submarine Dismantlement

1.
Fire breaks out in Russian Pacific Fleet's nuclear submarine
Interfax
November 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


VLADIVOSTOK - The wiring in a decommissioned nuclear submarine stationed in Pavlovsky bay, a Russian Pacific Fleet base about 100 kilometers from Vladivostok, caught fire on Thursday. The crew was able to locate the problem area, bring it under control and extinguished the fire promptly.

The submarine has no weapons on board and is scheduled to be dismantled, an official in the fleet's press service told Interfax on Friday. The fire did not damage the submarine's nuclear reactor, which had been switched off years ago.
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N. Links of Interest

1.
Minatom and Environmentalists Square Off on Ministry Steps Over SNF Imports
Charles Digges
Bellona
November 22, 2002
http://www.bellona.no/en/international/russia/nuke_industry/waste_imports/27374.html


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2.
Al-Qaeda's Quixotic Quest to go Nuclear
David Albright
Asia Times
November 22, 2002
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK22Ak01.html


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3.
Nukes: The Weapon of Yesterday
Paul Keating
The Age (Australia)
November 22, 2002
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/11/21/1037697804797.html


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4.
Feature: Surviving on nuclear waste
Sam Vaknin
UPI
November 22, 2002
http://www.upi.com/print.cfm?StoryID=20021122-101156-2468r


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5.
From Russia with Peace (Senator Richard Luger)
John Stehr
Eyewitness News
WTHR 13: Indianapolis
November 20, 2002
http://www.wthr.com/Global/story.asp?S=1022282


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6.
Newspaper article by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov "What Kind of World Do We Need" published in Kommersant-Daily, November 20, 2002
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
November 20, 2002
http://www.ln.mid.ru/bl.nsf/900b2c3ac91734634325698f002d9dcf/ebdb25550c536c4c43256c77004248fc?OpenDocument


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7.
Report Says US-Russia Threat Reduction Efforts Lack Coordination, Political Will and Cash
Charles Digges
Bellona
November 19, 2002
http://www.bellona.no/en/international/russia/nuke-weapons/nonproliferation/27301.html


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8.
Reshaping US-Russian Threat Reduction: Panel Summary
Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference: November 14-15, 2002
November 14, 2002
http://www.cdi.org/russia/232-8-pr.cfm


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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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