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Nuclear News - 12/02/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, December 2, 2002
Compiled by Wyatt Cavalier

A. Russia-US
    1. U.S.-Russia: Proliferation Threat Worsens, Experts Say, Global Security Newswire, December 2, 2002
    2. Editorial: Bush-Putin Relationship Ties Russia To West, New York Newsday, November 24, 2002
B. Nuclear Terrorism
    1. Russian Concern Over Pakistan, BBC News, December 1, 2002
    2. New Fears Chechens May Seek Nukes: Suspicious Events Concern Russians, David Filipov, Boston Daily, GlobeDecember 1, 2002
    3. Nuclear Terrorism Focus Shifting to Research Facilities (excerpted), Joby Warrick, The Washington Post, November 28, 2002
    4. Perspective on the threat of terrorism, Trevor Corson, Christian Science Monitor, November 26, 2002
C. Nuclear Safety
    1. Putin's Concern Over Nuke Safety Rejected, Shahid Hussain, Gulf News, December 2, 2002
D. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Senator Sets Sights On Old Russia Arms: Lugar Wants Focus On Disposal Effort, Stephen J. Hedges, Chicago Tribune, December 1, 2002
    2. Graham In Moscow To Advance G8 Weapons Pact: Kananaskis Deal To Secure Soviet-Era Cache Faces Delay Due To Liability Issues, Carolynne Wheeler, The Globe and Mail (Canada),November 25, 2002
E. Russia-India
    1. Russia Opens Doors Of Top Nuclear Institute For Indians, Outlook India, December 1, 2002
F. Russia-Iran
    1. Russia Assures Canada Iran Nuclear Project For ''Peaceful Use'' Only, Al Bawaba, November 26, 2002
G. Nuclear Submarine Dismantlement
    1. Nuclear Heart Amputated From Typhoon, Vitaly Bratkov, Pravda, November 29, 2002
H. Russia-China
    1. Russia And China To Strive For Control Over Weapons And Disarmament, RIA Novosti, December 2, 2002
    2. China Russia's Strategic Nuclear Industry Partner - Minister, Interfax, December 2, 2002
    3. Russia To Build Nuke Stations In China? Eduard Puzyrev, RIA Novosti, December 2, 2002
I. Russia-DPRK
    1. Russia, China Stand For Nuclear-Free Status For Korean Peninsula - Russian Foreign Minister, Interfax, December 2, 2002
J. Announcements
    1. On the International Seminar "Ensuring the Questions of Comprehensive Safety in the Implementation of the International Agreements on Russian Federation Strategic Arms and Military Equipment Disposition", Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russia Federation, November 28, 2002
K. Links of Interest
    1. Trove of Russian Arms at Risk, Sonni Efron, LA Times, December 2, 2002
    2. Icing on Gorshkov Cake for India: N-submarine, New India Press, December 2, 2002
    3. Instability Could Make Pak Nuclear Assets Vulnerable: US Expert, Khalid Hasan, Pakistan Daily Times, November 28, 2002
    4. EU-Russia Committee Discusses Russian Nuclear Safety, Zachary Moss, Bellona, November 28, 2002
    5. Worries About Russian Nukes Arise Anew, Mike Schuster, NPR, November 27, 2002
    6. Cooperative Threat Reduction Scorecard (Updated), Defense Threat Reduction Agency, November 13, 2002

A. Russia-U.S.

U.S.-Russia: Proliferation Threat Worsens, Experts Say
Global Security Newswire
December 2, 2002
(for personal use only)

Despite broad political support for international programs to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, many experts believe that the threat of proliferation is worsening, the Los Angeles Times reported today (see GSN, Nov. 13).

Some Russian bureaucrats and U.S. conservatives have stifled programs to secure and destroy the weapons at various sites, according to the Times (see GSN, Nov. 15).

For example, midlevel Russian officials have obstructed access to shipyards where Japanese officials have agreed to fund dismantling Russian nuclear submarines, according to the Times.

One large storage facility for Russian chemical weapons in Shchuchye, near the Kazakhstan border, is a prime target for nonproliferation efforts, according to the Times. It holds 800 chemical-filled warheads for Scud missiles and 1.9 million shells of sarin and VX gas small enough to stash in a briefcase. This year the U.S. Congress again restricted funds for building a weapons destruction plant at Shchuchye - granting money only until next September, the Times reported.

Legislators also killed a budget item that would have funded efforts to secure weapons of mass destruction stored outside the borders of the former Soviet Union - the province of decade-old threat reduction programs, according to the Times.

Although U.S. President George W. Bush has voiced support for nonproliferation goals, U.S. Representatives Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and some other members of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee have repeatedly impaired such efforts, according to sources. U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who has worked for more than a decade to dismantle former Soviet weapons, voiced his frustration at an October Senate hearing (see GSN, Nov. 15).

"The president was under the impression, when Senator [Joseph] Biden [D-Del.] and I met with him in July, that things are on track," Lugar said. "But they are not on track," he added (Sonni Efron, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 2).

Renewing Focus

Meanwhile, Lugar has indicated that he hopes to renew focus on U.S. nonproliferation programs when he becomes chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday.

"The greatest crisis is terrorists getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction," Lugar said.

"We ought to identify which countries have weapons of mass destruction, and as an international community, we ought to make sure that these countries have the means to make this material secure," he added (Stephen Hedges, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 1).
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Editorial: Bush-Putin Relationship Ties Russia To West
New York Newsday
November 24, 2002
(for personal use only)

The Russian-American relationship remains one of the most crucial aspects of U.S. foreign policy and forging a cooperative framework to deal with the age of terror now is a key strategic concern for both nations. So it was important for President George W. Bush to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg following the Prague summit, which added seven new members - all but one a former Soviet satellite - to the NATO alliance.

But the meeting was far more than an obligatory courtesy call to thank Putin for his support of the UN resolution on Iraq's disarmament and to reassure him that the latest NATO expansion poses no threat to Russian interests.

Bush brought from Prague a declaration in which NATO leaders committed themselves to broadening cooperation with Russia as "equal partners." With this move, Bush is shrewdly melding the expansion of NATO with an expansion of Russia's role in NATO, a role that is in the nascent stage now but, properly developed, would tie Moscow more tightly to the West.

This should not preclude Bush from also pushing for a closer strategic relationship between Moscow and Washington. Faced with the threat of terror and the inroads al-Qaida has made among Islamic populations in Russia, it is in Putin's best interest to cooperate with Washington on common strategic concerns. In turn, clinching closer ties to Washington and NATO would give Russia a greater trade and economic entree to the West - a huge plus for Putin.

The success of Bush's visit was best measured in the joint statement the two leaders issued after their private talks, calling on Iraq "to comply fully and immediately" with the UN disarmament resolution. It was a big symbolic victory for Bush, since Putin had been the most reluctant of the Security Council's veto-bearing members to approve of the move against Iraq.

In turn, Bush assured Putin that Russian interests in Iraq - $8 billion owed in arms sales and billions of dollars more in prospective oil development contracts - would be safeguarded in the aftermath of a possible war. This was the first time Bush or any member of his administration made such assurances in public, though it was known that without them Putin might never have agreed to go along with a tough Iraq resolution.

Bush, however, was a bit too effusive in praising Putin for his handling of the Chechen hostage crisis, which resulted in a deadly debacle because of Putin's ham-handedness and damaging decision not to reveal the toxic nature of the knockout gas used to break the siege in a Moscow theater. One hopes that in private Bush showed better judgment on the Chechen issue.

Russia must be made to see that its national interests - economic as well as strategic - would be best served by cooperation with the West. Putin knows this well, but he needs to convince hard-line nationalists in his government who still bristle at the post-Soviet decline of Russian power and prestige.

In this meeting, Bush may have given him the right leverage to press for forging closer ties to Washington and NATO.
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B. Nuclear Terrorism

Russian Concern Over Pakistan
BBC News
December 1, 2002
(for personal use only)

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has expressed concern about the risk of Pakistan's weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists.

In an interview with an Indian newspaper The Hindu ahead of a three-day visit to India this week, he said there was also the threat that extremists could get hold of sensitive information on producing weapons with a destructive potential.

He said Russia remained anxious about the problem in spite of Pakistan's efforts to deal with it.

Pakistan rejected any concerns about the security of its nuclear assets, saying Russia should pay attention to safeguarding its own fissile material.

Elsewhere in the interview, President Putin called for greater economic cooperation with India, saying commercial trade was inadmissibly low.

Russia remains India's main defence supplier, but trade in other areas has dropped since Soviet times.
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New Fears Chechens May Seek Nukes: Suspicious Events Concern Russians
David Filipov
Boston Daily Globe
December 1, 2002
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW - The day after Russian commandos stormed a Moscow theater to free hostages held by Chechen rebels, two events thousands of miles apart suggested that rebel factions might be plotting a far more harrowing scenario.

In Denmark, Akhmed Zakayev, an envoy of Chechnya's separatist leadership, warned that rogue militants might follow the theater attack with a raid on a Russian nuclear facility. Russia took that seriously enough to issue a warrant for Zakayev's arrest; he is now being held in Copenhagen pending an extradition hearing.

That same day in Tver, a Russian city 100 miles north of Moscow, security officers arrested a captain of the guards at the Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant. The captain, whose name was not disclosed, was caught with detailed plans of the station and coded telephone numbers that belonged to Chechens, according to Oleg Pribok, the local military prosecutor.

It is unclear whether the two arrests were related, and there is no direct evidence that Chechens have planned assaults on any nuclear facilities. But the two incidents in October drew heightened attention to a question that has been on the minds of policy makers in Russia and abroad: What if the rebels Russia is fighting in Chechnya try to go nuclear?

A series of suspicious incidents, unconfirmed reports, and partial admissions by Russian officials suggest that the rebels have tried to acquire nuclear materials. Nuclear proliferation specialists outside Russia say that the evidence is clear that Chechens have had access to radioactive materials in their capital, Grozny. On at least one occasion, the rebels, or someone else, tried to wire radioactive materials with conventional explosives in an attempt to assemble a ''dirty bomb,'' according to Lyudmila Zaitseva of Stanford University's Institute of International Studies, which runs a database on the theft and smuggling of radioactive materials.

And at least one former adviser to the US government says that the rebels have acquired warheads from the nuclear arsenal the Soviets possessed.

John Colarusso, a specialist on the Caucasus region at McMaster University in Ontario, said, ''I am reasonably certain that they have or had at least three warheads.'' Colarusso, who advised the Clinton administration on Chechnya, said that in November 1991, Russia's former defense minister, Pavel Grachev, ''sold'' the Russian arsenal in Grozny to Chechnya's late separatist president, Dzhokhar Dudayev. Among the weapons was a nuclear-tipped, air-to-surface missile.

Colarusso said the rebels found two more warheads in an abandoned ballistic missile silo in the Chechen village of Bamut. The missiles in the silo had been destroyed in the mid-1970s by a propellant fire, leaving two warheads lying at the bottom of the shafts. The CIA reportedly sent officers to Chechnya to inspect the weapons but never were able to confirm their existence.

Few specialists doubt that the Chechen rebels, locked in an eight-year conflict with Moscow that has claimed tens of thousands of lives on each side, have the motivation to seek more powerful weapons in their struggle. But there is debate about whether they have the desire, or the means, to resort to nuclear terror.

A rebel Web site,, in July denounced a report in a British newspaper, citing an anonymous US official, that Chechen rebels had stolen weapons-grade material from a reactor in southern Russia. The rebels said the article was an attempt to slander the Chechen people. Russian officials also denied the report, and one security officer called it an attempt by the CIA to discredit Russia's nuclear establishment.

Russia's military flatly denies that Chechens have, or ever have had, nuclear weapons. The commander of Russia's nuclear arsenal, Colonel General Igor Valynkin, has reported two efforts by armed groups to probe the defenses at nuclear weapons storage sites. Valynkin told reporters in October 2001 that his troops provide impenetrable protection of the sites.

But the security of Russia's nuclear facilities has been a major concern since the Soviet Union's 1991 collapse led to financial woes that prompted cuts in security at state-owned facilities. That, plus widespread poverty, might motivate workers in the nuclear sector to try to sell atomic materials.

Yuri Vishnyevsky, the head of Russia's nuclear regulatory commission, told reporters earlier this month that a small amount of weapons-grade nuclear material and a larger amount of non-weapons-grade nuclear fuel had gone missing from nuclear facilities. He said security at Russia's facilities across the country, though improved since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was still inadequate.

The reactor-grade material could be enriched to weapons-grade through a complicated process that some countries trying to develop nuclear weapons, such as Iraq, may already possess. At least some Chechen rebels say separatists could attack nuclear sites, if not use nuclear weapons.

''Terrorist acts are possible. We cannot exclude that the next such group takes over some nuclear facility,'' Zakayev, an aide to separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov, said Oct. 29, the day after the assault by Russian special forces to free over 800 captives in a Moscow theater, which left 129 hostages and 41 Chechen militants dead. Zakayev added that Maskhadov did not condone such attacks.

But another rebel leader, Shamil Basayev, who often acts independently of Maskhadov, has since threatened to launch ''terrorist attacks'' on all ''military, economic, and strategic facilities'' if Russia does not withdraw its forces that have been fighting in Chechnya since 1999.

It was Basayev who demonstrated his readiness to use nuclear terrorism to achieve political goals by burying a container of radioactive Caesium-137 in Moscow's Izmailovsky Park in 1995. Basayev alerted Russian reporters, and police removed the device.

''Chechens already have access to the radioactive materials they would need to set off a dirty bomb,'' said Stanford's Zaitseva. ''Even if they were not actually going to carry out such attacks, they definitely knew what would frighten Russians.''

It may serve Moscow's interests to exaggerate the Chechens' willingness to play the nuclear card.

Matthew Bunn, senior research assistant at the Managing the Atom project at Harvard University, said that one thing that complicates sorting out reports of Chechens and nuclear material is ''the Russian government's tendency to ascribe any and all forms of evil behavior to the Chechens.''

Bunn said some of the reports would be ''quite a concern from the perspective of dirty bombs, but one doesn't know how many of these are true.''

Moscow media quoted sources in the Federal Security Service as saying the murder of renowned nuclear chemist Sergei Bakhvalov in August may have been linked to a plot by terrorists seeking to obtain nuclear expertise, material, or equipment.

Those reports were published after an article appeared in the mainstream Lebanese newsweekly Al-Watan Al-Arabi, describing a deal between followers of Osama bin Laden and Chechen warlords in Grozny in which the Chechens received $30 million in cash and two tons of opium in exchange for approximately 20 nuclear warheads. Author Yosef Bodansky, in a book about bin Laden, ''The Man Who Declared War on America,'' cites Russian and Arab intelligence sources as saying that Chechen rebels facilitated the sale of nuclear ''suitcase bombs'' in the late 1990s from former Soviet nuclear facilities.

If that deal ever took place, no official in Russia or the United States has confirmed it. The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency says it has no evidence that Chechens have sold radioactive material to terrorists.

Russian officials only publicly announce theft of nuclear materials when they catch the thief. One elaborate scheme in 1996 allegedly involved a Chechen rebel plan to steal a sub in the Pacific and remove a nuclear weapon; Russian security officers foiled the bid.

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said that ''orphaned'' nuclear material, such as atomic-powered field generators and radioactive powder, is scattered across the former Soviet Union, including Chechnya. And the war provided the rebels with access to radioactive sources such as Radon, a former site for radioactive waste disposal in Grozny.

''Some of these sites have quite nasty, intensely radioactive items that would be useful for a dirty bomb,'' Bunn said.

The data compiled by Stanford's Zaitseva indicate that a large amount of highly radioactive waste stored at Radon went missing after the first military campaign in the breakaway republic of Chechnya ended in 1996. Russian nuclear workers found much of the missing materials after federal troops returned to Chechnya in October 1999. Some of it was buried in a Grozny suburb where Basayev had reportedly set up a workshop for making explosives.

But the only evidence that anyone in Chechnya intended to build dirty bombs was discovered near a railway line outside Argun, 10 miles east of Grozny, in 1998, when a container full of radioactive substances was found with a mine attached to it.

Colarusso, the former Clinton administration adviser, believes the rebels' intention would be to employ any nuclear weapons they acquire as a bargaining chip.
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Nuclear Terrorism Focus Shifting to Research Facilities (excerpted)
Joby Warrick
The Washington Post
November 28, 2002
(for personal use only)

In 1994, a senior Ukrainian nuclear scientist offered U.S. officials a chance to buy a cache of weapons-grade uranium held by an obscure defense laboratory in Kharkiv. It was a significant cache -- 75 kilograms, enough for three nuclear bombs -- and the scientist said Ukraine might be willing to give it up.

"It's lightly guarded," the scientist said, according to two officials from former U.S. President Bill Clinton's administration present at the meeting, "and I'm worried about it." The deal never happened.

Eight years later, with new concerns about nuclear terrorism, the U.S. government would like nothing better than to buy Ukraine's uranium. But the opportunity appears to be slipping away.

Relations with Ukraine recently have taken a confrontational turn, and the laboratory, the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, now insists the material is urgently needed for civilian research.

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Perspective on the threat of terrorism
Trevor Corson,
Christian Science Monitor
November 26, 2002
(for personal use only)

To all appearances, terrorism is on the rise. One need only think of the latest attacks in Bali and Moscow, not to mention New York, Washington, or Israel. But on a global scale the use of terror is in decline, not ascendancy. Innocent civilians in the 21st century have less to fear from terrorism than in the last century.

In the modern era, the use of terror has been inspired by evil or a degree of lunacy (one thinks of suicide bombers). But sadly, it has often been a rational choice as well. Attacks usually occur because the perpetrators perceive them as the only effective weapon they have for pursuing their goals. During World War I, sporadic terror bombing was used against civilians in every European capital city except Rome. By 1918, Britain had devised a theory for winning the war not by striking at German military installations, but by bombing civilians` homes.

In the years between the world wars, European military strategists perfected the concept of the "morale effect" - a psychological form of attack achieved by terrorizing an enemy`s civilians. During World War II, Britain officially adopted the morale effect to destroy Germany`s will to fight, and bombed more than 100,000 civilians to death.

To its credit, the US at first limited itself to the precision bombing of military targets in Europe during World War II. In the Pacific, it was less restrained, but perhaps circumstances demanded it, since Japan had unleashed another type of terrorism in East Asia by massacring swaths of civilians on the ground, one person at a time. To end the war quickly, the US made the rational - though morally difficult - choice to terror-bomb Japanese civilians into surrender.

After World War II, the Soviet Union took terrorism to new levels. During the cold war, average Americans were at much greater risk from weapons of mass destruction than they are today. Again, the US made the probably necessary, though morally difficult, choice to respond by threatening the Soviet population in return with terror on a massive scale. It was a rational use of terrorism, though there was an element of suicidal lunacy to it.

By the 1970s, the US nuclear arsenal alone was capable of wiping out the entire population of the earth not just once, but 700 times.

Today, the threat of a radioactive bomb or chemical or biological attack looms over many cities around the world, and is particularly urgent in the US. The danger is frightening and real. But even this threat leaves civilians better off than they`ve been in the recent past. Nuclear arsenals have been dramatically reduced, and new technology allows the US military to commit itself once again to the precision bombing of military targets with impressive success. It appears that the minimization of civilian deaths is becoming a new international standard for warfare. In other words, terrorism is no longer an acceptable method of achieving results against an enemy.

This puts America`s "war on terror" in a different light. The official rhetoric would have us believe that a war on terror is necessary because terror attacks are suddenly on the rise. In fact, a war on terror might be necessary, but for the opposite reason: Terrorism has been in decline, and now it needs to be eradicated.

Whether that can be accomplished may depend on whether would-be terrorists have rational choices to achieve their ends other than violence against innocent civilians.
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C. Nuclear Safety

Putin's Concern Over Nuke Safety Rejected
Shahid Hussain
Gulf News
December 2, 2002
(for personal use only)

As a Pakistani delegation headed for Moscow for anti-terrorism talks, Islamabad yesterday dismissed Russian concerns over the safety of its nuclear weapons and instead questioned Russia's own safety record in this connection.

"No one should have any fear about our nuclear assets. They are under very tight control," a foreign ministry statement said.

Remarks made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview to the Indian daily, The Hindu, ahead of his visit to India beginning tomorrow have irked Pakistan. The newspaper quoted Putin as saying that Pakistani nuclear weapons "could fall into the hands of bandits and terrorists".

The Russian leader also said Moscow also has concerns that that "they (the terrorists) could obtain information concerning production techniques of even simple means that could be equal to weapons of mass destruction in their destructive potential."

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has said that the country's nuclear arsenal is safely protected and strictly under control, but Putin said: "To be frank, our concerns, our anxiety still persist."
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D. Cooperative Threat Reduction

Senator Sets Sights On Old Russia Arms: Lugar Wants Focus On Disposal Effort
Stephen J. Hedges
Chicago Tribune
December 1, 2002
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON -- With his return as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Indiana Republican Richard Lugar plans to redirect attention to a $1 billion-a-year program to help Russia secure and dispose of huge quantities of Cold War nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

During his second tenure, Lugar will have an important voice in the debate over how the nation fights terrorism and on a future conflict with Iraq. The focus on Russia's decaying nuclear arsenal will be a significant area in the effort to keep terrorists from acquiring mass-murder weapons.

"The greatest crisis is terrorists getting their hands on weapons of mass destruction," said Lugar, an independent-minded Republican who also chaired the committee from 1985-86.

"We ought to identify which countries have weapons of mass destruction, and as an international community, we ought to make sure that these countries have the means to make this material secure."

Known colloquially as Nunn-Lugar, after Lugar and former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), the effort to secure and destroy a large share of Russia's weapons has been hobbled in recent years by cost overruns, critical government audits and doubts from powerful conservatives, including some within the Bush administration.

Critics argue that the initiative, carried out largely during the presidency of Bill Clinton, simply modernizes and does not reduce Russia's weapons capability. Influential voices within the administration have questioned the wisdom of the aid to Russia.

"We need to be aware of the fact that Russia, in particular, claims to lack the financial resources to eliminate weapons of mass destruction but continues to invest scarce resources in the development of newer, more sophisticated [intercontinental ballistic missiles] and other weapons," said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Even the Sept. 11 attacks, which underscored the potential danger if terrorists obtained nuclear weapons or uranium for a radioactive "dirty" bomb, did not fully revive concerns over Russia's aging stockpiles, according to proliferation and foreign policy experts.

Power of the chair

To that end, they view Lugar's new committee chairmanship as a chance to bring new pressure to bear on the administration on this issue.

"He will serve as both a partner and a critic of the president," said Lee Hamilton, director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a former Indiana congressman. "He will try to be helpful and constructive in advancing the president's foreign policy agenda. But the role he will play, as the role he has played in Congress, is to not hesitate to be critical of the president when he thinks he can be helpful."

Lugar, 70, was first elected to the Senate in 1976 and has become one of its steadying voices, though not always one that toes the party line. He made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996, but he survived that defeat no worse for wear in the Senate.

While conservative on many issues, Lugar has broken with the party on environmental issues and gun control.

He revealed himself as an activist Foreign Relations Committee chairman during his first tenure, pressing for the Philippine elections that would mark an end to the rule of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, a longtime U.S. ally.

He also helped usher in a Senate vote on an end to apartheid rule in South Africa. And he played central roles in Senate ratification of the START 1, START 2 and INF Treaties, as well as the Chemical Weapons Convention and the expansion of NATO.

But he is best-known for the program he and Nunn pressed through Congress in 1991.

That act created the Pentagon's Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction, the foundation for an array of efforts within the Defense and Energy Departments to help Russia dismantle its nuclear weapons; dispose of, store or blend down uranium and plutonium; and destroy the missiles, submarines and bombers that could deliver the deadly weapons.

Nuclear arms scattered widely

The collapse of the Soviet Union left nearly 30,000 nuclear weapons spread mostly across the four nations of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. U.S. diplomacy and money persuaded Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine to ship hundreds of missiles and warheads back to Russia, where they could be disposed of more readily.

Controversial from the start, the program won congressional backing chiefly because Lugar and Nunn were viewed as respected, moderate voices in the Senate.

Bipartisan lectern-pounding

The senators argued that it was essential to offer Russia help when it was most likely to accept it, just as the Soviet Union was crumbling and lacked the financial and scientific means to maintain its nuclear inventories.

Nunn and Lugar, as well as a number of proliferation experts, also feared that Russian black market or mob opportunists might acquire and then peddle nuclear material to any and all comers, a possibility the Sept. 11 attacks drove home.

"I don't think it [Sept. 11] increased the threat," said Nunn, who has become chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a non-proliferation group.

"I think it made millions of people and lots of policymakers aware of a threat that had been there for a number of years and had been growing."

In 10 years, the U.S. has helped Russia dismantle more than 5,990 nuclear weapons, more than 1,200 missiles, 97 bombers, and a number of launchers and other arms. The overall aid effort also has expanded to include the conversion of Russian nuclear sites to peaceful uses, retraining an estimated 7,000 scientists and tightening security around hundreds of often poorly guarded facilities.

By 2007, the Nunn-Lugar initiative calls for the elimination of nearly 9,900 nuclear warheads, more than 2,000 missiles, 1,400 launchers and silos, 131 bombers, and 41 nuclear submarines.

Some programs, such as the construction of a plutonium storage center at Mayak, a central Russian city in the Ural Mountains, have wildly exceeded their budgets. Mayak originally was estimated to cost $500million, with the U.S. and Russia each paying half. Today, the cost is expected to top $1 billion, and Russia has paid just a fraction of its share.

Price of safety

Lugar acknowledges those overruns and the criticism they have drawn. But he argues that there is nothing simple or cheap about protecting plutonium in a remote corner of Russia.

"This is not an easy place to build secure storage for up to 6,000 warheads' worth of plutonium," he said. "The hazards of simply getting the plutonium there--the safety of the rail car and the trestles--is no mean feat.

"On the other hand, the failure to do that creates just what I'm talking about: the potential for proliferation."

When President Bush took office, he ordered a review of Nunn-Lugar and other Russian nuclear assistance programs. Before the review even was complete, the White House had identified $100 million in aid that it wanted to cut. However, after Sept. 11, the administration added about $300 million to the program, bringing its cost to more than $1 billion a year.

Sept. 11 opens eyes

"Sept. 11 came along, and all of a sudden the light dawned on [the administration] that this was a significant counterterrorism effort," said Rose Gottemoeller, who helped direct the Russian security work during the Clinton years. "For that reason, they began to change their views rather quickly."

Lugar said he recently discussed the programs with Bush and received waivers to allow funding the clean-up at the Shchuchye chemical weapons facility, which contains 1.9 million shells and warheads. Such waivers, he said, are a sign that the administration's backing of Nunn-Lugar is growing.

"No doubt about it," Lugar maintained, "the administration has become very, very strongly supportive."
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Graham In Moscow To Advance G8 Weapons Pact: Kananaskis Deal To Secure Soviet-Era
Cache Faces Delay Due To Liability Issues
Carolynne Wheeler
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
November 25, 2002
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW -- With the dust settling on last summer's G8 agreement to help Russia secure a deteriorating Soviet-era weapons cache believed to be at risk from terrorist groups, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham arrived in Moscow yesterday to massage along the $20-billion deal agreed to in Kananaskis, Alta.

Mr. Graham will be in Moscow until late tomorrow for talks that are also to address Russia's nuclear dealings with Iran and the war in the breakaway southern republic of Chechnya.

Russia, which has inherited responsibility for the Soviet Union's weapons stores, will get a $5-million Canadian donation to go toward securing and destroying chemical and biological weapons.

Mr. Graham acknowledged in an interview yesterday that the current $5-million is a "modest contribution," but said the agreement, reached after lengthy negotiations over "accountability and transparency," will serve as a template for future deals. Another result of this visit is to be a memorandum of understanding signifying more help, provided that terms can be agreed upon.

That's a key question. In Kananaskis, G8 governments promised to spend $20-billion helping Moscow dismantle and secure nuclear-powered submarines, spent nuclear fuel and weapons-grade plutonium. But little of that money has been delivered because of disagreements over liability and how to account for where the money goes.

The donors have complained that Russia is refusing to exempt them from legal responsibility should an accident occur during a sponsored nuclear cleanup.

Last week, Britain announced it had set aside £84-million ($209-million) to deal with Russia's nuclear problems, but it will not release the money until agreements with Moscow are completed.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and others at the NATO meeting in Prague "agreed that we really have to get this thing going and get a handle on weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet countries, particularly Russia," Mr. Graham said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has tied nuclear protection to the ongoing war in Chechnya, which in turn he would like to connect to the wider U.S.-led war on terror.

But concerns of human-rights abuses in Chechnya have been a constant thorn in his side.

Mr. Graham said he intends to raise the subject, pressing again for a political solution and expressing concern over abuses. But Russian officials are likely to treat the advice with the same cordial indifference they have shown other world leaders.

"I am afraid for your Foreign Minister if he strays near that subject," said Moscow-based analyst Andrei Piontkovsky, director of the Centre for Strategic Studies. Mr. Putin "is not susceptible to other ideas. He is very sensitive. He is suffering from a very deep Chechnya complex."

The Russian leader has grown increasingly impatient with questions about the conflict, which have become more frequent since Chechen rebels took more than 700 people hostage at a Moscow theatre last month.

Analysts have also suggested that Mr. Putin's enthusiasm for international assistance to secure and dispose of weapons is not shared by military officials, who are more interested in profitable deals to build nuclear reactors than in what they perceive as unilateral disarmament.
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E. Russia-India

Russia Opens Doors Of Top Nuclear Institute For Indians
Outlook India
December 1, 2002
(for personal use only)

Moscow, Dec 1 (PTI) In a major decision ahead of the Indo-Russian summit, Russia has decided to open the doors of its top nuclear research institute to Indian scientists. The United Nuclear Research Institute (UNRI) situated in the town of Dubna near Moscow, closed so far for Indian scientists has decided to grant Indians the status of an "associated member" its Director Vladimir Kadyshevsky told reporters yesterday. Closer cooperation in tapping the energy of atom would be one of the key issues during summit meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee beginning Tuesday in New Delhi. An Indian delegation is arriving here shortly to discuss modalities for India's participation in advanced nuclear research in UNRI. UNRI was established in 1956 as a joint nuclear research institute for the Eastern Bloc countries and China, which was also its member till 1965. Currently 18 countries including some former Soviet allies in East and central Europe are its members. However, India did not have access to its research facilities so far, as New Delhi is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). About half of the total Soviet inventions in nuclear physics were born at this institute. Kadyshevsky said China, which surrendered its membership in 1965 due to political reasons, had also applied for restoration of membership, while the United States is also likely to join as an associate member.
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F. Russia-Iran

Russia Assures Canada Iran Nuclear Project For ''Peaceful Use'' Only
Al Bawaba
November 26, 2002
(for personal use only)

Russia told a top Western diplomat visiting Moscow that it had taken measures to ensure Iran could not use a Russian-built nuclear power station to produce arms.

Visiting Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham said on Tuesday he had received assurances from Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev that Iran was committed to the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

"(The Russians) have a vested interest in making sure this plant works in such a way that nuclear materials don't get diverted to improper purposes," Graham told reporters at the end of a two-day visit to Moscow, according to Reuters.

He said Rumyantsev had pointed to 60 inspections of the site at Bushehr in the past two years with no evidence of illegal activity. Other assurances, he conveyed, could come from proposals to ensure spent fuel was removed and reprocessed safely outside the country.

"I got very good assurances from the minister that the Russians are serious about monitoring and controlling and they'll make sure that Bushehr does not become a place for diversion of materials," he said.
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G. Nuclear Submarine Dismantlement

Nuclear Heart Amputated From Typhoon
Vitaly Bratkov
November 29, 2002
(for personal use only)

According to information from the USA, the Nunn-Lugar program is currently in its last days

The unloading of nuclear fuel from two reactors from the strategic missile nuclear submarine Typhoon ( serial number 712) is going at full speed at the shipyard Zvezdochka (Russia's Arkhangelsk region). After the unloading of uranium from the submarine, the Typhoon will be cut to pieces. As PRAVDA.Ru has reported, a recently constructed complex for the unloading of spent nuclear fuel from submarines will be used for this purpose. The unloading of spent nuclear fuel from submarines is usually called the number one operation; this is the first time that the operation is being performed by civilian specialists from the Zvezdochka enterprise. Earlier works of this kind were performed by the staff of the Navy floating transshipping plant #1412. According to the estimates of the Russian Ministry of Nuclear Energy, the startup of the new coastal reshipping complex will help considerably reduce the number of written off submarines with nuclear fuel on board. At the same time, this means that the nuclear and radiation menace will be reduced in the region.

The new complex also has some technological advantages. In accordance with the traditional plan of work, nuclear fuel was first unloaded onto a special transshipping vessel, the PM-63. Then, the fuel was packed into special containers, loaded onto a special train, and further sent to the enterprise Mayak in Russia's Chelyabinsk region. Now, the spent nuclear fuel will be loaded into containers right at the coastal complex, where it will stay until a special train arrives. The construction of the new complex was financed in the network of the "Cooperative Threat Reduction" program (known also as the Nunn-Lugar program). The program is in fact the main and only source of financing for spent nuclear fuel utilization from Russian nuclear submarines. According to information from the USA, the Nunn-Lugar program is currently in its last days: the majority of the Senate members say that Russia has already received enough for the utilization of spent nuclear fuel from its nuclear submarines. Within the program's network, missile compartments were cut out from 16 strategic nuclear subs (this is very reliable information provided by open, mostly ecological sources). And now, if the missile compartments are considered dangerous, they are dangerous first of all for Russia, as they are in fact unpredictable ecological bombs. Americans didn't provide financing for the utilization of uranium from the nuclear reactors, but for liquidation of missiles only.

After the unloading of nuclear fuel and sealing of the reactor compartments at the Zvezdochka enterprise, the Typhoon will be returned to the Sevmashpredpriyatie enterprise, which is quite close to Zvezdochka. The reactor compartments will be delivered to the Kola peninsula, for temporary storage.

The Typhoon, the world largest nuclear submarine with a complete submerged displacement of about 33,800 thousand tons was adopted by the Navy at the end of December 1983. Its 24 ballistic missiles have frightened enemies for many years. On the whole, six Typhoons were built in Russia before 1987. The Typhoon was included in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world largest submarine. The submarine under the serial number 712 was the second submarine in the Typhoon family.

It is highly likely that Typhoon number 712 will be the last strategic cruiser utilized with American financing in the network of the Nunn-Lugar program. And the Russian Ministry of Nuclear Energy has no money for these purposes. The number of Russian submarines not in service with unloaded nuclear fuel on board is increasing every year. PRAVDA.Ru reported several times already that these places where submarines are waiting for utilization are turning into a potential ecological disaster. The problem is not only that old nuclear reactors may become depressurized or burst. The problem is that when the reactors were designed (which was dozens of years ago), nobody even thought about the consequences. Nobody knows how nuclear fuel will behave in old reactors, as no research of this kind was ever performed in Russia. Scientists can only guess how it will act. There was no time to think about the problem during the Cold War.

For reference: Typhoon (submarine's project in number 941) has a surface displacement of 24,500 tons; the complete submerged displacement is 33,800 tons; its width is 22.8 meters, and its length is 175 meters; the draught makes up 11.5 meters. The Typhoon's speed is 27 knots.
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H. Russia-China

Russia And China To Strive For Control Over Weapons And Disarmament
RIA Novosti
December 2, 2002
(for personal use only)

BEIJING -- The Russian and Chinese leaders attach great significance to cooperation between the two countries in strategic stability to consolidate international security, global and regional stability. To attain the set goals they will be cooperating within the framework of bilateral relations and of international forums to work out and adopt effective measures to exercise control over weapons and disarmament, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means of their transportation. This is laid down in the Joint Declaration Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Chairman Jiang Zemin signed in Beijing on Monday.

The document provides for the two countries making additional efforts to promote the joint initiative to reach an international agreement on the prevention of weapons deployment in space.

The two countries will be further cooperating to find solutions to missile proliferation issues. Russia and China think it necessary to discuss and promote multilateral negotiations in order to work out a legally binding agreement on the global regime of missile non-proliferation. The UN and other multilateral organisations must play an important role in the process. The declaration stresses that Moscow and Beijing will continue bilateral dialogue on export control in the sphere of non-proliferation.

The leaders of the two countries also hailed "the establishment of zones free from nuclear weapons in certain Asian regions given that such zones take into account interests and concerns of all countries."
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China Russia's Strategic Nuclear Industry Partner - Minister
December 2, 2002
(for personal use only)

BEIJING -- The Russian atomic energy minister on Monday called China a strategic partner of Russia's as regards nuclear power engineering.

"Cooperation between Russia and China in the field of nuclear power engineering is forever," Alexander Rumyantsev told Interfax- China.

He said Russia was currently building two generating units for the Tianwan nuclear power plant in China. This, he said, was a deal that would bring Russia about $1 billion.

One of the units was to go into operation in December 2004 and the other one about 18 months thereafter, he said.
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Russia To Build Nuke Stations In China?
Eduard Puzyrev
RIA Novosti
December 2, 2002
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW - Russia's Ministry of Nuclear Power Industry has good prospects for contracts, to come up within next two years, to build three units for Chinese-based nuclear power stations-one of them on fast neutrons. The tentative contracts imply a total exceeding a billion US dollars, says Alexander Rumyantsev, Minister of Nuclear Power Industry.

At present, Russia is building a nuclear station in China's Tianvan. Two units will be commissioned between 2004 and '06, added Mr. Rumyantsev, as reported by ministerial PR.

Alexander Rumyantsev is presently in China on a delegation which accompanies President Vladimir Putin on his visit.
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I. Russia-DPRK

Russia, China Stand For Nuclear-Free Status For Korean Peninsula - Russian Foreign Minister
December 2, 2002
(for personal use only)

BEIJING. Dec 2 (Interfax-China) - The Russian and Chinese leaders confirmed their commitment to the idea of a nuclear-free status for the Korean Peninsula during high-level talks in Beijing, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has said.

"Both Russia and China are concerned about trends that might aggravate the situation on the Korean Peninsula," Ivanov told journalists in Beijing on Monday, commenting on the Russian-Chinese top- level talks.

"Russia and China are pushing for a nuclear-free status for the Korean Peninsula and want the parties to continue and expand their dialogue on a Korean Peninsula settlement," the foreign minister said.
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J. Announcements

On the International Seminar "Ensuring the Questions of Comprehensive Safety in the Implementation of the International Agreements on Russian Federation Strategic Arms and Military Equipment Disposition"
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russia Federation
November 28, 2002

The Russian Life Safety Association with the participation of interested ministries and departments, as well as of the representatives of US business circles has held in Moscow an international seminar on ensuring the questions of comprehensive safety in the implementation of the international agreements on Russian Federation strategic arms and military equipment disposition.

Participants discussed problems in the realization of the Russian-American joint threat-reduction program under which the elimination of the strategic offensive arms to be reduced and the destruction of chemical weapons are being carried out in the Russian Federation. In the course of the debate special attention was devoted to the questions of licensing and issuance of appropriate permits for activities involving high technical risks for the population and environment.

Such meetings of experts, helping to raise the effectiveness of international disarmament cooperation, will be continued on a regular basis. This is particularly useful now when bilateral and multilateral agreements are being prepared for rendering Russia assistance in the destruction of chemical weapons and disposition of decommissioned nuclear submarines under the Global Partnership program, adopted at the G8 summit in Kananaskis.
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K. Links of Interest

Trove of Russian Arms at Risk
Sonni Efron
LA Times
December 2, 2002

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Icing on Gorshkov cake for India: N-submarine
New India Press
December 2, 2002

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Instability Could Make Pak Nuclear Assets Vulnerable: US Expert
Khalid Hasan
Pakistan Daily Times
November 28, 2002

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EU-Russia Committee discusses Russian nuclear safety
Zachary Moss
November 28, 2002

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Worries About Russian Nukes Arise Anew
Mike Schuster
November 27, 2002

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Cooperative Threat Reduction Scorecard (Updated)
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
November 13, 2002

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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