1. Commentary: If Washington Refuses From Utilising Nuclear Charges, Should Moscow Do This?
December 6, 2002
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW, December 6. /RIA Novosti's military analyst Viktor Litovkin/ - Russian nuclear physicists and generals are rather embarrassed by the fact that this country's nuclear complex is no longer a source of the Americans' concern-either as a weapon deterrence, or as a basis of strategic parity or as a ground for joint threat removal. It is not that Moscow no longer inspires anyone with fear-there are simply lots of technical problems Moscow has to deal with.
Over December 5-6, this theme was under review at a Hayat hotel conference under the aegis of the Russian office of the US defence information centre and the Russian nuclear ministry's strategic stability centre. This forum keynoted by "measures of confidence in the nuclear sphere and strategic stability", was attended by lots of outstanding scientists, statesmen, public figures, senators, Congressmen, leading experts and high-ranking servicemen from both sides.
The conference was chaired in turn by Viktor Mikhailov, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Bruce Blair, president of the US Centre for Defence Information. Contemplating over prospects for Russian-US relationships after the signing of the treaty on strategic offensive reductions, they wondered about nuclear weapons control and non-proliferation, strategic safety-consolidating confidence-building measures at sea, nuclear terrorism and Russian-US joint efforts to prevent regional nuclear conflicts.
It was not easy for the partners to come to terms. On signing the Moscow treaty on strategic offensive reductions, the Americans lost any interest in discussing disarmament and control over strategic armaments. Such a direct and unambiguous statement has been made by Clinton's former adviser Rose Gottemoeller, a senior scientific associate of the Carnegie Foundation. Many experts at the current US Administration claim that the Americans do not need to restrict themselves in the field of nuclear armaments because their superiority across all the spectrum of these weapons is indisputable.
The American conferees noted their being familiar with the state of the Russian nuclear complex and their being in possession of required technology and instruments to monitor future developments. And we don't need any additional agreements for this, they added. In their opinion, Russia too can do with its national means.
This approach cannot suit Russia since the USA either stops allocating or markedly reduces funds on solutions for certain acute problems inherited by Russia from the cold war times. This applies above all to utilisation of discarded nuclear-powered submarines and the construction of storages for used nuclear fuel. Meanwhile, the Americans are as busy as before at seas watering the Russian borders, keep deploying the anti-missile defence system and adopting no obligations on withstanding from launching weapons into outer space.
Besides, Washington has so far failed to ratify the universal nuclear test ban treaty, which tells on joining this treaty by other threshold states, those who possess nuclear weapons or can get them in the near future. And this applies not only to India, Pakistan and Israel that have actually become members of the nuclear club.
These alarming factors were dwelt on by Viktor Mikhailov, director of the Russian nuclear energy ministry's strategic stability institute. He noted that nuclear weapons kept on the territory on another state, including nuclear missiles carried by submarines and surface ships, violate the treaty on nuclear non-proliferation because they should be placed at the bases of their countries under government control.
Another outstanding question is the USA's capacity of returning to its rockets those charges which are to be delivered to the storage bases rather than to be eliminated in the course of nuclear reductions. This prospect questions bilateral cooperation on wasted fuel. Every fifth lamp in the United States today works on Russian nuclear fuel which is being obtained from former nuclear charges. But Moscow wonders about the necessity of its utilising its nuclear charges if Washington is not to do this with its own.
Viktor Mikhailov was also concerned about cooperation between Russia, the USA and IAEA on control over the peaceful use of nuclear energy and problems of dividing peaceful and military use of nuclear energy. Moscow ponders over the problem of on what stage one type of nuclear energy transforms into the other, where this thin border between control and reconnaissance lies. There is also no understanding on the concept of strategic offensive reductions. Russia treats these nuclear reductions as covering a wide spectrum, from a university student learning the fundamentals of the nuclear power industry to warheads of tactical and strategic weapons as well as their boosters-rockets, bombers and ships.
The Americans think otherwise. They believe that these are merely warheads of strategic missiles which are said about in the Moscow treaty. Even tactical nuclear weapons have nothing to do with the treaty. Given that Moscow sticks to such a broadened interpretation of the START-3 treaty, this calls for additional consultations and explanations, which can delay the ratification of the document in the US Congress and Senate.
The Russian-American conference in the Hayat hotel serves by all means to greater mutual understanding in the field discussed. But it is desirable that Moscow and Washington persuade each other of being peaceable and willing to cooperate in deed rather than in word. But real deeds often lag behind wishful intentions. return to menu
1. Sino-Russian Summit: The Missing Link
December 4, 2002
(for personal use only)
BEIJING - It was the post-Soviet summit, because both countries have opted out of the rigid communist system. It was the summit of the grand neighbors, as both hold many keys to the stability of the whole Eurasian continent. But perhaps it was mostly the summit of the loveless lovers, as they met but kept thinking of the one who was absent: the United States.
The Sino-Russian summit in fact was a grand opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet the new Chinese leadership. Russia was honored by being the first country to have a first-hand account of the just-ended 16th Party Congress. However, this honor pales in comparison with the fact that the US was informally briefed on the congress just days before it started (see Jiang in Crawford: The interregnum summit, October 29).
More than a year after the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation signed by the two countries in July 2001, and the September 11 attack, Russia and China have separately hurried to the woo the US. This year in Rome Russia inked a political agreement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and last month China followed suit, starting a dialogue with NATO with the same aim.
It is no small sign that the joint Sino-Russian statement omitted any reference to hegemonism, a code-word that in the past decade has hinted at US foreign policy. In contrast, terrorism, America's present nightmare, had a high profile in the statement, mentioning the attacks in New York, in Bali as well as in Moscow. It is clear that the fight against terrorism will dominate global politics for a long time and while this will distract the Americans' attention away from any confrontation with Moscow or Beijing, it is helping the US redraw the world map.
The forthcoming war against Iraq should eliminate the most dangerous member of the so-called "axis of evil", but it should also give the United States definite control over Persian Gulf oil. This plus the new enhanced US presence in gas-rich Central Asia, thanks to the recent war in Afghanistan, provides the United States with unprecedented and unchallenged control over energy and its global prices. This new situation draws China and Russia together, as the former is hungry for energy because of its fast-growing economy, and the latter wants long-term sale contracts for its oil and gas reserves, whose value and importance could drop after the war. The US hold on energy in fact could have a stabilizing effect on global energy prices by annihilating decades of threats of price hikes manipulated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). But it could well put China under American check for many years with Beijing's growing dependency on energy imports.
This plight is speeding the deal of a 2,400-kilometer oil pipeline from Angarsk in Siberia to Daqing in northeastern China, which may involve an investment of about US$2.5 billion over 25 years, and possibly also that of gas pipeline from in Irkutsk, Siberia. However, the new fast development of car sales in China could give priority to oil over gas.
The war in Iraq and against terrorism in general is not simply about energy, however important that might be; it is about a new world order where economic growth will give an effective voice to each country. China and Russia must therefore boost bilateral trade, which hasn't grown as fast as they hoped. For the first time the joint statement stresses the importance of cooperation in "banking resolution, credit and insurance". These are new areas added to the old cooperation in technology and raw materials, and these are the weak points of bilateral trade. The banking, insurance and credit system between the two countries has been dominated by northern Europeans and the two governments have given little concrete support to such exchanges, which have been plagued by a wave of small controversies. Standardization of business practices and full government support to banking and insurance should help bilateral trade, although a big question mark remains over the management abilities of the Chinese and Russian banking systems.
This small but concrete weakness enhances the two countries' bigger weaknesses in the new world order, which the US could redraw without needing to bargain with anyone. Even if, as it appears at present, the United States will want to discuss the future world with China or Russia, these two countries need effective and stable economies to help manage the future world. Here Russia fares poorly, whereas China does better. But there is more. Washington believes that a common management of the world needs similar political standards, to guarantee a similar degree of transparency in each other's decision making. Bluntly put, Washington would like to see into Chinese politicking as clearly as Beijing can see into American politicking. Here Moscow looks better than Beijing.
Can China and Russia help each other improving their respective shortcomings in view of a future participation in the new world order? In theory they are better positioned than any other for the purpose, as none else can better understand their predicament as both come out of decades of communism. Yet while the ideological legacy draws them together, the old geopolitical suspicion sets them apart. The Russians ask: Will the new Chinese economic might squeeze Russia out of Asia? The Chinese wonder: Will Russian oil sales dominate Chinese markets?
Centuries of suspicion and confrontation weigh on Sino-Russian relations, and for this China and Russia are now trying to appease each other, pledging to strengthen the Shanghai cooperation agreement and even possibly to favor Russia's accession into what is now ASEAN+3. Yet it is an uphill walk, while both, though smiling at each other, turn their heads to see the reaction of their true love - the United States. return to menu
C. Nuclear Terrorism
1. Nuclear Tech Leaks To Iran Are Slowing Down, PM Reports
December 6, 2002
(for personal use only)
Although the leakage of technology from Russia to Iran has slowed down, "there is much leakage from Europe, through commercial and other ties," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said at the local editors' annual press conference yesterday in Tel Aviv. Israel is working closely with the U.S., and in the last year with Russia, as well, to curb the spread of mass-destruction technology.
Sharon said that his recent talks with President George Bush dealt extensively with the question of "the day after" the war on Iraq. "One of the issues I brought up was that irresponsible countries must not be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction," the prime minister said.
Specifically, Sharon spoke of Iranian nuclear weapons, of "what is evolving in Libya" and of the know-how that Iraq has.
For several years now, Israel has been trying to stop the leak of nuclear and ballistic technology from Russia to Iran, with the U.S. conducting talks with Russia. According to the most recent information available in Jerusalem, Russia has slowed down its assistance to Iran in the nuclear field, but has not terminated it completely despite a pledge made to the U.S. Apparently, the Iranians are concerned with the dropping level of Russian cooperation.
Israel's main concern now revolves around the transfer of missile technology from Russian firms to the Iranian government. Apparently, know-how and parts are being sold by private companies that manage to escape the monitoring of the Russian authorities. There have even been cases where parts that were sold to Iran eventually ended up in the hands of Chechen rebels in Russia.
According to an Israeli source, Russian technology is transferred to Iran mainly through dual-purpose products - that is, civilian products that can be used for the production of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Governments in Europe are trying to tighten their grip on exports and are being attentive to Israeli complaints about dangerous deals. return to menu
D. Cooperative Threat Reduction
1. U.S. Response: GAO Criticizes Cooperative Threat Reduction Report
Global Security Newswire
December 5, 2002
WASHINGTON - The U.S. General Accounting Office has strongly criticized the U.S. Defense Department's fiscal 2002 report on plans and activities for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which was submitted almost 19 months after the legally mandated deadline (see GSN, Nov. 15).
In a November report sent this week to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, GAO auditors summarized flaws that they claimed were in the Pentagon's report. Pentagon officials failed to clearly outline future funding data required by Congress, to include certain important planning elements or to incorporate all previous GAO recommendations, the auditors said. In some cases, the Pentagon asserted that it used a more rigorous methodology than what it actually used, the auditors said.
The Pentagon failed to clearly outline the amount of funding to be provided over the term of a five-year plan, according to the GAO. While previous reports had presented funding amounts clearly by fiscal year, the amounts in the 2002 report had to be deduced from a summary table, the auditors said. Pentagon officials said uncertainties in long-term CTR budgets and scope made the defense comptroller unwilling to endorse more clarity, according to the auditors.
The Pentagon's five-year plan failed to incorporate several important strategic planning elements, including a description of external factors that could affect the Pentagon's ability to achieve program goals and plans for revising such goals, the GAO said. The planning elements are important for preparing annual program budgets, according to the auditors.
While some previous GAO recommendations had been incorporated into the Pentagon's report, those regarding the planning and scope of audit and examination visits were not reflected, the auditors said. Furthermore, while the Pentagon asserted that a statistically significant sample methodology was used on an audit and examination visit, that was not the case, according to the auditors.
The Pentagon did address accountability requirements, the GAO said, adding that it described the condition and location of program equipment, reported the status of contracts to ensure intended use of such equipment and determined whether beneficiaries had used the program properly (see GSN, Oct. 24).
While the Pentagon was required to submit its CTR report by early February 2001, it did not do so until Sept. 3, 2002. Defense officials said the delay was caused, in part, by the report's relatively low priority, the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and questions that the Bush administration raised regarding the program's scope, according to the GAO. return to menu
2. Washington, Moscow Negotiate U.S. Design for MOX Plant
Global Security Newswire
December 6, 2002
(for personal use only)
The United States and Russia have reportedly begun "active" discussions to enable Russia to dispose of weapon-grade plutonium using a replica of a U.S. mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel plant, Nuclear Fuel reported last week (see GSN, May 16).
Originally, Russian officials had planned to use a German MOX plant, but earlier this year Germany refused to support exporting the plant, according to Nuclear Fuel. The United States and Russia are now negotiating using a replica of a plant that U.S. company Duke Cogema Stone & Webster is building at the U.S. Energy Department's Savannah River Site (see GSN, June 21).
Currently, there are few alternatives to using the DCS design, a U.S. official indicated.
"Right now, the betting is on this horse," the official said, adding, "Right now, it's the only horse in the race."
Russia has asked several "detailed questions" and is waiting to review the U.S. answers, the official said, adding that a decision might come by the end of the year. The DCS design would probably have to be "Russianized," the official said. That process, however, would probably be done through a partnership of DCS and Russian designers and not by Russia alone, the official said.
Using the DCS design would counteract an important incentive for Russia, which is an expectation that funds for the plutonium disposition program would help support Russian research on fuel-cycle ventures, according to experts. The advantage of using the DCS design, however, is that it helps to reduce cost and schedule overruns, the U.S. official said.
"That whole idea of 'Let's keep a whole lot of R&D going' runs counter to keeping the lid on costs and schedules," the official said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress has criticized the pace of the Russian plutonium disposition program as a whole, according to Nuclear Fuel. In a conference report on the recently passed fiscal 2003 defense authorization act, lawmakers indicated that they are frustrated with "the slow pace of the Russian program" and called for "transparent and verifiable steps to enable the United States to have the necessary assurances that the schedule for the disposition of plutonium will be achieved."
The lawmakers also called, however, for the Energy Department "to conduct research on more speculative, long-term options" for the Russian plutonium disposition plan (Daniel Horner, Nuclear Fuel, Nov. 25). return to menu
3. Senate's Foreign Policy Man Could Buttress Powell
Steven R. Weisman
New York Times
December 4, 2002
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON - Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana has waited years for this moment. He was so determined to retake the chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee that he passed up assignments on more powerful committees like Appropriations, Armed Services and Finance.
"It almost seems eccentric," Mr. Lugar said, acknowledging that some senators regard the committee as an irrelevant debating society or backwater.
But now, with Republicans retaking the Senate and the retirement of Senator Jesse Helms, the longtime senior Republican on the committee, Mr. Lugar says he is ready to assume the mantle of the most influential voice on foreign policy in Congress. Associates say he is determined to set a tone of independence and bipartisanship, and that he is willing to prod the administration on important issues.
Mr. Lugar's views could not be more different from those of Mr. Helms, who reviled the United Nations, arms treaties and foreign aid. Mr. Lugar is a champion of all three.
Many who know him well also say he will become an important ally for Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who has clashed with Vice President Dick Cheney and others over Secretary Powell's insistence on exhausting diplomatic alternatives before using force in Iraq.
Despite his long and distinguished Senate career, Mr. Lugar, who is 70, has had plenty of setbacks. Though mentioned occasionally for the job of vice president, he has been passed over twice - first when Ronald Reagan selected George H. W. Bush in 1980 and, more embarrassingly, when Mr. Bush picked Dan Quayle, then the junior senator from Mr. Lugar's own state.
He ran unsuccessfully for Senate majority leader in 1985 and for president in 1996. Mr. Lugar had one short stint as Foreign Relations chairman, in 1985-86. But when Mr. Helms decided to return to Foreign Relations after a stint as chairman of the Agriculture Committee, he invoked the Senate's seniority rules and wrested the leadership spot away.
"I've had disappointments in my life," Mr. Lugar said in an interview. "But I feel fortunate to have this opportunity at an especially exciting time in national security policy."
This is one of the few cases where Democrats in the Senate say they are looking forward to a Republican's leadership.
"People may be surprised by this, but there's not much that Dick and I disagree on," said Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the committee's chairman when the Democrats were in charge.
"But any disagreements that he has with the administration are more likely to be aired inside than outside."
Even so, Mr. Lugar is sending nervous shivers through parts of the Bush administration. Earlier this year, for example, Mr. Lugar irritated the White House by negotiating with Democrats to produce a bipartisan resolution on Iraq that aides to Mr. Bush said imposed too many requirements to consult with the United Nations and Congress. He backed down because "we were not going to cave in," an administration official said.
Now, Mr. Lugar wants the administration to continue to consult with the allies at the United Nations before going to war, something some conservatives oppose, and also to do more explaining to the public about its plans for Iraq should Saddam Hussein be ousted.
"I'm more confident about the outcome of a war than I am about what happens after we win," he said.
On Afghanistan, Mr. Lugar wants the administration to address the issue of long-term plans for peacekeeping troops to prevent the country from slipping further into anarchy. "Somebody has to organize this," he said. "We're not doing so."
Another striking example of the difference in tone expected from Mr. Lugar lies in the quiet advice he has given to the Bush administration against renominating Otto J. Reich, a conservative whose nomination as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemispheric affairs was blocked in the last Congress by the Democrats. Senator Helms was one of Mr. Reich's biggest champions, and Mr. Reich served temporarily in the job in the last two years.
Mr. Lugar said he planned "a comprehensive set of hearings" on those and other subjects, as well as on what by all accounts is his consuming interest, the destruction of stockpiles of lethal weapons in nations throughout the world.
Mr. Lugar has brought an unusual set of personal credentials to his new post. He retains an interest in his family's farm in Indiana. He is an avid runner, a former Eagle Scout, Rhodes scholar and Navy intelligence officer, and former mayor of Indianapolis - President Nixon's favorite mayor, as the White House let it be known then.
Since arriving in the Senate in 1977, he has assiduously looked after Indiana's farm interests, though he has - courageously, in the view of supporters - tried to scale back costly agriculture subsidies.
His office walls are covered with pictures of him dismantling various rockets, bombs and submarines in Russia under the Nunn-Lugar program, which he sponsored with former Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia to prevent the theft of and to destroy weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union left over from the cold war.
Last summer, for example, Mr. Bush summoned Mr. Biden and Mr. Lugar to seek ratification of the recently signed nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. Mr. Lugar complained that, while he had no trouble with the treaty, conservatives in the administration were blocking money for the Nunn-Lugar program in a dispute over whether compliance could be certified.
Mr. Bush looked startled, Mr. Lugar recalled, and asked his aides to investigate. Mr. Lugar pressed the point, finally getting the Congress to pass legislation allowing Mr. Bush to grant Russia a waiver of its certification requirement.
"He's a real steel-fist-in-a-velvet-glove guy," said Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. "But he's got such enormous integrity that you always take him seriously."
Senate aides say that Mr. Lugar's independence is not always appreciated in Republican circles.
Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, who will return to the majority leader's job in January, dismisses such talk, saying that the Indiana senator is admired by all as "unassuming, thoughtful and a fine human being."
During his brief chairmanship in the 1980's, Mr. Lugar tangled occasionally with the Reagan administration, but forged a close relationship with Secretary of State George P. Shultz. He pressed the administration to force the ouster of President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and worked with Democrats to impose sanctions on South Africa over apartheid, passing a resolution on sanctions over the president's veto.
Looking ahead, Mr. Lugar does not rule out force against Iraq if Saddam Hussein defies the United Nations weapons inspectors, though he wants the administration to make sure to keep consulting allies.
Most of all, Mr. Lugar wants the government to expand the Nunn-Lugar program so that money can be spent - in conjunction with European funds - on weapons possessed by other countries, including India and Pakistan.
"What if we overthrow Saddam, but we still don't know where all the weapons are?" he said. "What if, even more ironically, some government is installed, and they come to us and say, `We're sorry but we've got to keep the bomb because we've got Iran next door and it's in our national interest to keep it?'
"We may be working on this weapons of mass destruction problem for quite a while." return to menu
1. Putin Lends His Shoulder
December 5, 2002
(for personal use only)
Calling for an overhaul of the existing nuclear order, Russian President Vladimir Putin today emphasised the need to tighten international restrictions against states possessing nuclear weapons-like Pakistan-but pointed out that Moscow was, at the same time, ''ready, prepared and willing'' to further civilian nuclear cooperation with India.
In effect, Putin made a distinction between states where the ''danger and spread of weapons of mass destruction and their use by terrorists'' existed, like Pakistan, and where they did not.
The Russian President was wrapping up a day of intensive deliberations with New Delhi in which both sides exchanged frank notes on issues from the problem of spare parts for Indian defence forces to the situation in the sub-continent.
''We will continue to work within the framework of our international obligations in the nuclear field,'' Putin said, when asked if Moscow was ready to supply additional civilian nuclear reactors to the platform already existing at Kudankulam.
Then he added: ''But we also believe that the rules and regulations of this framework require improvement. We have discussed our (nuclear) cooperation with India in detail. We are ready, prepared and willing to develop relations with India, including in the nuclear field.''
Russian reports, meanwhile, are said to have recently quoted the Russian Energy minister Oleg Rumyantsev, present in the talks today, as saying that Moscow ''had already begun'' the construction of additional reactors at Kudankulam in March. Highly placed sources admitted that in the discussions the Indian side had, indeed, asked its Russian counterparts if it was willing to supply additional reactors to the two already being built at Kudankulam.
Answering in the affirmative, the Russians replied that ''further discussions'' were necessary on the ways and means to get around the tough restrictions of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a post-Cold War body that prohibits cooperation with non-NPT signatories like India.
But Putin's insistence that Moscow's cooperation with New Delhi will take place ''within existing international obligations'', the analysts said, refers to Russia's determination not to destroy the NSG, but to get it on board.
Putin also demonstrated to his Indian audience his ability to tightrope walk the political minefield of the New Delhi-Islamabad dispute. Even as the Russian Foreign Office wrapped up a two-day meeting with Pakistani officials on countering terrorism in Moscow, the President was fighting shy in Delhi about characterising Islamabad as the bully boy of the region.
Asked what recipe he had in mind to resolve tension between India and Pakistan, Putin refused to be drawn into solutions. ''Everything should be done to settle all disputes, including between India and Pakistan, by peaceful means,'' he said.
In sharp contrast, the Delhi Declaration signed by Prime Minister Vajpayee and the Russian president this evening, had noted the ''importance of Islamabad implementing in full its obligations and promises to prevent the infiltration of terrorists across the Line of Control...as a prerequisite for the renewal of peaceful dialogue between the two countries.''
Asked about the discrepancy between the two statements, Indian officials preferred to focus on the latter.
Putin's day-long visit to New Delhi-he leaves for Kyrgyzstan tomorrow morning en route to home in Moscow-in fact may have already outlined the changing contours of such a post-September 11 world.
Within hours of the Russian President's departure, the US deputy national security advisor Steve Hadley will be in the city, for talks with National security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, External Affairs minister Yashwant Sinha and Defence minister George Fernandes.
The day after, Mishra leaves for the US for talks with his counterpart, Condoleezza Rice.
In a sense, the day belonged to the rediscovery of Russia by India. Over a business lunch meeting co-hosted by FICCI and CII, Yashwant Sinha exhorted Indian business to go to Moscow and reinvigorate the abysmal levels of current bilateral trade, currently at $1.4 billion.
''The two governments can only do so much, not beyond,'' Sinha said, adding, ''Beyond is a territory that you must go to. I am here to tell you, please go to Russia, Russia is a huge market and it has been transforming itself.''
Still, the remains of the day were taken up by a plethora of declarations and agreements, protocols and memoranda of understanding.
The Delhi Declaration was on top of eight such agreements, ''elevating the strategic partnership to an even higher and qualitatively new level in both bilateral relations and in the international arena.''
Foreign ministers Igor Ivanov and Sinha exchanged an MOU on terrorism. Russia and India, the Delhi Declaration went on, ''reject and condemn all types of terrorism, based on any ground-political, religious or ideological-and wherever it may exist.''
It invoked the recent theatre siege in Moscow as well as terrorist attacks in India and said that ''trans-border organised crime and arms trafficking constituted a growing and serious threat to international peace, security and stability.'' return to menu
2. Vladimir Putin On Russian-Indian Cooperation In Nuclear Energy Sphere
December 4, 2002
(for personal use only)
DELHI -- Russia and India are cooperating in the nuclear energy sphere within the framework of international rules and fulfil their international obligations, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a press conference, following the talks with Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Putin pointed to Russian-Indian successful cooperation in this sphere. "However, all the rules need improvement," he added.
The President confirmed Russia's readiness to develop cooperation with India "in all spheres, including nuclear energy". return to menu
F. Radiological Terrorism
1. "Dirty Bomb" Game Forecasts Disastrous Consequences
Global Security Newswire
December 4, 2002
(for personal use only)
A recent war game has illustrated that a "dirty bomb" attack implemented through the U.S. cargo shipping system could have disastrous economic consequences, the Wall Street Journal reported today (see GSN, Nov. 20).
The exercise, organized by U.S. consultants and business researchers, explored the economic impact of a terrorist attack involving dirty bombs in several U.S. ports, one of which exploded in Chicago three weeks after the plot was learned, according to the Journal. In the excercise, the U.S. stock market plummeted, U.S. ports to shut down twice for several days each time and cargo backed up so that it would take months to clear. Participants estimated the total economic costs at almost $60 billion.
While the U.S. shipping system is believed to be vulnerable to a terrorist attack, participants in the dirty bomb war game said they were shocked at how quickly such an attack could become a nightmare.
"It showed how ill-prepared we are," said Peter Scrobe, a vice president at the American International Marine Agency, the cargo insurance arm of American International Group. A well-coordinated attack could "shut down the world economy," he said.
Tension between security agencies, shipping firms, manufacturers and retailers resulted in poorer coordination, according to the final report on the exercise. Participants often focused more on their particular duties than on the impact that their actions would have on others, according to the Journal. Such short-term actions led to large, long-term economic consequences.
"Closing the ports was easy," said Mark Gerenscher, who oversaw the exercise for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. "Reopening the ports and transportation system was another issue," he added.
After the war game, participants agreed that U.S. officials need to screen cargo abroad and that companies need to upgrade their own security systems, according to the Journal (see GSN, Nov. 6). They also agreed that a central government organization that could oversee the U.S. supply chain and responses by all parties as a whole would help improve coordination.
Former top FBI counterterrorism official Dale Watson indicated that the exercise illustrated the need for Washington and industry officials to create a response plan.
"If you don't have a plan, what you get is a knee-jerk reaction," Watson said (Gary Fields, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4). return to menu
1. According To Vladimir Putin, Global Community Should Oppose Proliferation Of Mass Destruction Weapons
December 4, 2002
(for personal use only)
DELHI -- In reply to questions of journalists in the wake of the Russian-Indian negotiations in Delhi Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that it was necessary to do everything for the global community to oppose the danger of proliferation of mass destruction weapons and the possibility to use these weapons by terrorists.
According to Putin, first of all, it was necessary to convince "global public consciousness" of the existence of such a danger.
In addition to that, it was necessary to strengthen international regimes of non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons and to do the utmost "to settle peacefully all disputable issues, including the ones between India and Pakistan." Vladimir Putin also pointed out to the necessity to establish" a system of international guarantees to ensure also national interests of Pakistan itself." return to menu
H. Nuclear Submarine Dismantlement
1. Money Keeps Russia From Dismantling Over 100 Nuclear Subs
November 28, 2002
(for personal use only)
Some 126 Russian nuclear submarines are still waiting to be dismantled because of a lack of funds, the Ria Novosti news agency cited a source in the atomic energy ministry as saying on Thursday.
"The ministry is searching for funds from abroad. It is in the interest of the West to protect the seas from radioactive pollution," said the source.
Two-thirds of the submarines waiting for dismantlement are in Russia's Northern Fleet and the remaining third in the Pacific Fleet, said the ministry's spokesman Nikolai Chingarev told AFP.
Eighteen submarines had their nuclear reactors removed last year and less than 10 were completely dismantled, he said.
The Russian government has allocated 70 million dollars (euros) for dismantling nuclear submarines this year, although it needs 3.8 billion dollars, Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Valery Lebedev said in September. return to menu
1. Putin and Chinese Leader Pledge Friendship and Caution North Korea on Nuclear Arms
New York Times
December 3, 2002
(for personal use only)
BEIJING, Dec. 2 - China and Russia called on North Korea today to abandon any attempt to acquire nuclear weapons but also called on Washington to honor previous agreements with the North.
The call came during a quick but high-profile visit by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that was marked by hearty pledges of mutual friendship and appeals for restraint on Iraq.
In a 13-page declaration that set out no new policies but was notable for its strong emphasis on the unsettled situation on the Korean peninsula, Russia and China said they "consider it important for the destiny of the world and security in Northeast Asia to preserve the nonnuclear status of the Korean peninsula and the regime of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
"In this context," the statement continued, the two sides "stress the extreme importance of normalizing relations between the United States and the D.P.R.K. on the basis of continued observation of earlier reached agreements, including the framework agreement of 1994." D.P.R.K. are the initials for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
In that agreement, North Korea promised to halt nuclear weapons development in return for energy aid, including construction of nuclear power plants. The agreement is in limbo following North Korean admissions of covert nuclear research.
China is one of North Korea's few allies and does not want to see the country collapse, but its diplomats have also been exasperated by the country's military posturing, which it fears could destabilize the region.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had menaced China, Moscow and Beijing have worked to rebuild friendly ties, in part to counterbalance the global power of the United States. The meeting today seemed intended for each to reassure the other of that commitment, even as both have drawn closer to Washington in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks last year.
President Jiang Zemin, receiving Mr. Putin, said, "China and Russia will be good neighbors, friends and partners forever." Mr. Putin, who arrived this morning at 1:40 and leaves on Tuesday to continue an Asian tour, said he was "fully confident of a bright future for Russia-China relations."
Mr. Putin was the most prominent foreign visitor since the change in Communist Party leadership here last month, and after meeting Mr. Jiang he met with Hu Jintao, the newly selected party chief, and other top leaders.
China and Russia have both joined in President Bush's global crusade against terror and kept quiet as the Americans sent troops to Central Asia. Both also went along, reluctantly, with an aggressive American-sponsored United Nations resolution seeking to disarm Iraq, though they remain nervous about independent American military action.
Today, both sides declared their opposition to "unilateral action" by any country and reiterated their shared faith in the United Nations Security Council, where both have veto power as permanent members. China and Russia also stressed their commitment to a "multipolar" world - code for a world less dominated by the United States.
They called for a peaceful settlement of the Iraqi weapons issue and complained that some governments have a "policy of double standards" on human rights, rejecting "the use of human rights questions as a lever for pressure in international relations."
One new bond the leaders mentioned prominently today was a shared interest in stamping out Islamic separatism. Mr. Jiang praised the Russian leader for his "just antiterrorism actions," including the recent deadly raid on Chechen rebels who held hundreds of hostages in a Moscow theater. Mr. Putin pledged renewed cooperation against Islamic movements in Central Asia and in Xinjiang Province, in China. return to menu
J. Nuclear Safety
1. Security-Focused Culture Would Protect Fissile Materials, Report Says
Global Security Newswire
December 6, 2002
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON - Instead of using only technical measures to improve the security of Russian fissile materials, officials should focus on the personnel and workplace culture at nuclear sites, says a report released last month by the University of Georgia's Center for International Trade and Security (see GSN, Nov. 15).
The report, The Human Factor and Security Culture: Challenges to Safeguarding Fissile Materials in Russia, explores several cultural factors at Russian nuclear sites that might pose security concerns, including corruption, inadequate infrastructure, shortcomings of various personnel, and underdeveloped standards and guidelines.
"The lack of nuclear security in Russia ... has more to do with the practices of personnel than with the presence or absence of technology," the report says. "The dismal conditions under which nuclear personnel toil, combined with pervasive lax attitudes towards nuclear security, mean that nuclear material in Russia is at much greater risk of diversion than in other nations. Thus, efforts to enhance nuclear security through new gadgetry alone will fall short," it adds.
There have been several examples of personnel at Russian nuclear sites misusing security equipment, according to the report. For instance, a 2001 U.S. General Accounting Office study found several cases where security gates were left open and unattended, guards failed to check identification of personnel entering sensitive areas, and security equipment was uninstalled or inoperable.
Russian nuclear sites often lack the infrastructure needed to support security system upgrades, according to the report. For example, power outages at nuclear sites occur often, which can deactivate security equipment. Site security systems also often suffer from a lack of necessary training and funds for repairs. Almost 30 percent of managers at Russian nuclear sites reported that security equipment was "sometimes" broken, while less than half said they had personnel on site capable of repairing inoperative systems, according to the report.
While many nuclear security experts believe that nuclear sites are most vulnerable to attack or theft by an insider, Russian nuclear personnel still do not fully grasp the threat of such an attack, according to the report. Studies have shown that many Russian top- and mid-level nuclear site managers see the threat of an attack by an insider as no greater than an attack by a terrorist group, the report says.
Russian Cultural Effects
Overall sociological and economic conditions in Russia also have affected security culture at nuclear sites, the report says. Because personnel are often underpaid, nuclear materials have been stolen and diverted in several cases. Rising levels of drug and alcohol use among site personnel also has security implications, the report says.
"The requirements for drug and alcohol tests among nuclear personnel are often ignored, so there is no way of knowing how many people working at nuclear sites are actually intoxicated on the job," the report says.
The reduced prestige of the Russian nuclear sector further helps to undermine the security culture, according to the report. During the Soviet era, many top scientists went to work in the civilian and military nuclear sectors out of patriotism - a motivation that has severely waned after the fall of the Soviet Union, the report says. Now, qualified personnel often choose instead to pursue higher paying jobs in the private sector, it adds.
A lack of security regulations for fissile materials, when combined with a workplace culture that values compliance with superiors over compliance with established rules, also poses a security threat, the report says. Much of Russia's fissile material regulatory system is underdeveloped, according to the report, with few national accountability standards and site-level security procedures.
"Some Russian experts characterize the volumes of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and DOE [U.S. Energy Department] security regulations as excessive, but admit that the dearth of adequate normative and regulatory guidelines that is the norm in Russia is a real problem," the report says.
What guidelines do exist are often unclear and contain too many generalities, according to the report. Such vagueness enforces the idea that security is a low priority and gives individuals more freedom to choose courses of action, the report says. It also frustrates cooperation among agencies because each defines the same guidelines and procedures in different ways, it says.
The center outlined several recommendations for improving Russian nuclear security culture. Any such improvement efforts must not, however, be undertaken solely by Western countries, the report says. Western standards and guidelines cannot be imposed onto Russia unaltered, it says
Russia should work to promote a commitment to strong security, starting from the top down, the center recommended. Senior Russian officials should use their positions to increase public support for strengthening security arrangements, according to the report. Officials also need to emphasize security when they allocate resources, promoting quality control and additional training, it says.
The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry needs to end a Cold War-era policy of placing military and intelligence officials in important positions in material protection, control and accounting programs, the center recommended. "Most of these people barely understand the technical side of the nuclear sector, especially its technologies and production processes," the report says.
Moscow also needs to improve its nuclear security regulations and guidelines to make them clearer and easier to use, the report says, noting serious flaws in the Soviet-style of creating instructions. The new guidelines should be solution-based instead of process-based, laying out step-by-step solutions to various scenarios in clear language. New instructions should also be computer-based, and manuals should be tailored for various personnel with different levels of training and experience at different sites, according to the report.
Nuclear site personnel recruitment and training practices also need to be improved, the report says. Reliability tests should be conducted often, including before students enter educational institutions to begin the necessary training for work in the nuclear sector, it says. Selective tests, including psychological and drug testing, should also be conducted frequently.
One key area is a need to change how Russian nuclear site personnel perceive the level of threat to fissile materials, according to the report. Concrete examples should be used to illustrate to workers that the threat of an insider-aided attack is higher than an attack conducted by an outside terrorist group, it says.
"Given Russia's recent experiences with terrorism and the widely publicized cases of military personnel essentially supplying potential terrorists with weaponry and special equipment in exchange for money - an egregious example of an insider job - getting the point across to nuclear managers may not be such a daunting task after all," the report says. return to menu
2. Environmentalists Say Russia's Nuclear Security Is Lax
December 06, 2002
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW - Russian environmentalists urged the government Thursday to focus on strengthening security at the nation's nuclear dumpsites and coping with the environmental damage inflicted by Soviet-era nuclear programs instead of importing radioactive waste from abroad.
"Sept. 11 hasn't taught them anything," Anatoly Mamayev, an environmental campaigner from Zheleznogorsk, a major nuclear center since the Soviet times, said of Russia's nuclear officials.
Unlike similar facilities in other nations that are located underground, Russian nuclear waste depots are built above ground, making them more vulnerable to terrorists, Mamayev said at a news conference. New nuclear dumpsites planned by the government are also to be located above ground to minimize construction costs, he said.
The government insists that all of the country's nuclear facilities are duly secured.
But Mamayev said that until recently the Zheleznogorsk waste depot, which holds about 3,200 metric tons (3,520 tons) of nuclear waste, was protected only by a shaky barbed wire fence. After Russian lawmaker Sergei Mitrokhin and a Greenpeace activist penetrated the facility earlier this year in an attempt to attract attention to its vulnerability, workers started building a more solid, concrete fence, he said.
Mitrokhin, a member of the liberal Yabloko party, said nuclear officials had failed to deal with the security and environmental aspects of Russia's burdensome nuclear legacy.
"They are launching new, potentially disastrous projects instead of solving the problems left from the time of the Cold War," Mitrokhin said.
In one example, the government has been reluctant to evacuate a village badly affected by radioactive fallout from a 1957 waste tank explosion at the Mayak nuclear weapons plant in the closed city of Chelyabinsk-65, Mitrokhin said. Officials still refuse to resettle the village's residents, even though the Soviet government ordered the move in 1959, calling it a "deliberate murder," he said.
Mitrokhin said the plan to import nuclear waste would turn Russia into "the world's nuclear dumping ground."
A controversial law allowing the government to import spent nuclear fuel from abroad for reprocessing and storage was passed last year despite opinion polls showing most Russians opposed the idea. Russia already had imported spent nuclear fuel from Soviet-built nuclear power plants in Bulgaria and Ukraine.
Mitrokhin said the main obstacle to larger radioactive waste imports into Russia was the United States. The United States controls whether spent fuel from reactors in most other countries can be transferred to Russia for storage because it provided the original fuel to them.
The U.S. administration has said it would welcome nuclear waste shipments from around the world worth more than US$10 billion to Russia if it abandons its nuclear ties with Iran. Russia has been building a nuclear power plant in Iran and has considered plans to build more nuclear reactors there, shrugging off U.S. concern that such cooperation could help Iran build a nuclear bomb.
Mitrokhin said Russia's cooperation with Iran is now the only obstacle to massive radioactive waste imports that would make Russia a "nuclear colony of the United States." return to menu
K. Links of Interest
1. Delhi Declaration on Further Consolidation of Strategic Partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of India
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
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.