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Nuclear News - 12/16/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, December 16, 2002
Compiled by Michael Roston



A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Incoming Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wants Answers, Deborah Tate, Voice of America (12/16/02)
B. Russia-Iran
    1. Mironov calls for expansion of Iran-Russia cooperation, Islamic Republic News Agency (12/16/02)
    2. Iran has no potential for nuclear weapons: Russian expert, Islamic Republic News Agency (12/16/02)
    3. Russia, Iran to sign deal on return of spent nuclear fuel, Islamic Republic News Agency (12/16/02)
    4. Iran far from building the bomb but has missiles, Agence France Presse (12/16/02)
    5. U.S. Says Russia Helped Iran in Nuclear Arms Effort, David E. Sanger, New York Times (12/16/02)
    6. Russia, U.S. ties marred by Iran,spies, Bojan Soc, United Press International (12/15/02)
    7. Russia's nuclear fuel exports to Iran conditional on return, Islamic Republic News Agency (12/15/02)
    8. Russia says no violations in Iranian nuclear plans, Reuters (12/15/02)
    9. Russia to press on with Iran nuclear program, Agence France Presse (12/15/02)
C. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Russia to keep its Soviet-era missiles through 2020, Reuters (12/16/02)
    2. Russia, US Discuss Problems of Warning of Missile Attacks, ITAR-TASS (12/11/02)
D. Nuclear Safety
    1. Safety culture at N-Plants discussed at IAEA conference in Rio, Russian nuclear regulator official said, Nuclear.ru (12/15/02)
E. Announcements
    1. Regarding New US National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, Daily News Bulletin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (12/15/02)
    2. Daily Press Briefing (excerpted), Richard Boucher, Department of State (12/13/02)
    3. Press Briefing (excerpted), Ari Fleischer, The White House (12/13/02)
    4. Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Georgy Mamedov Meets with Japanese Ambassador to Moscow Issei Nomura, Daily News Bulletin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (12/11/02)

A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Incoming Chairman of US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wants Answers
Deborah Tate
Voice of America
December 16, 2002
(for personal use only)


It will be the second time that Senator Lugar will chair the Foreign Relations Committee, after leading it in 1985 and 1986.

Although known for his mild-mannered demeanor, the moderate Republican has made clear he will hold the Bush administration accountable for its policies overseas.

The Senator plans a series of hearings on Iraq soon after the swearing-in of the new Congress. If the United States ultimately leads a coalition in a war against Iraq, Senator Lugar has questions he wants the administration to answer about its plans in the region after such action.

Will there be a military occupation, and if so for how long and at what cost? What are the plans for transforming Iraq into a democracy? All difficult issues, the Senator suggested at a hearing earlier this year. "There is an enormous expense and commitment of people as well as treasury for a number of years, and for just one country, and a country in a neighborhood of countries that may in fact feel threatened by democracy if it did evolve in Iraq. Democracy does not necessarily prevail all around this new Iraq," he says.

On a separate issue, Senator Lugar wants to press the administration on its plans to better secure the stability of Afghanistan, more than a year after a U.S. led bombing campaign to rid the country of al-Qaida terrorists and their Taleban supporters. "I continue to be concerned that the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, may not be up to the task of ensuring the requisite amount of security for Afghan reconstruction to continue," he says.

Another top priority for Senator Lugar is reducing the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

He is an author of the Nunn-Lugar act, passed in 1991, which has helped eliminate thousands of nuclear warheads and secured biological and chemical weapons facilities throughout the former Soviet Union. It is an issue he continues to press. "We must be clear with Russia that full transparency and accountability must be forthcoming with respect to former Soviet stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction," he says.

On other issues, the Senator favors U.S. engagement with North Korea and Iran, two countries that have suspected nuclear weapons programs and are part of President Bush's so-called 'Axis of Evil'.

Mr. Lugar is aware that his approach to foreign policy, including his support for engagement and multilaterism, is not always shared by members of the administration. Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld often embrace a unilateral approach.

But the 70-year-old Senator remains undaunted, as he prepares to become Congress' dominant voice on foreign policy.

Senator Lugar established himself as an influential figure by persuading President Reagan in 1986 to force the ouster of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos after fraudulent elections there. Later in the year he joined with Democrats to pass a measure imposing sanctions against apartheid in South Africa, and overriding a presidential veto. It was one of PResident Reagan's worst foreign policy defeats.
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B. Russia-Iran

1.
Mironov calls for expansion of Iran-Russia cooperation
Islamic Republic News Agency
December 16, 2002
(for personal use only)


Chairman of Russia's Federation Council Sergei Mironov receiving the Iranian Ambassador Gholamreza Shafei Sunday stressed expansion of cooperation between the two countries.

Pointing to the 500-year record of official bilateral relations, the two sides expressed their satisfaction with the political, economic, and technical cooperation as well as exploring the avenues for boosting Tehran-Moscow ties.

Mironov and Shafei also discussed regional cooperation and its role in the region's stability.

Other topics of the meeting were mutual cooperation in the fields of oil and gas, nuclear energy, thermal power plants, and technical activities.

Trade cooperation including the necessity of facilities for the businessmen's commuting and road transportation was discussed in the meeting as well.
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2.
Iran has no potential for nuclear weapons: Russian expert
Islamic Republic News Agency
December 16, 2002
(for personal use only)


Iran does not have scientific technological or financial potential for creating nuclear weapons, Vladimir Orlov, Director of the Center of Political Studies in Russia, said at a press conference here on Monday.

He returned from Teheran recently.

According to Orlov, Iran is working on a program of nuclear fuel cycle, but much time and foreign assistance will be needed for the program to be put into effect.

Responding to the question of Itar-Tass about a possibility of the creation of nuclear weapons by Iran, Orlov stressed, "Tehran has voiced its intention never to possess nuclear weapons and pointed to the transparency of its program of nuclear fuel cycle, which is of peaceful character.

"Iran does not have a program for the production of heavy missiles needed for the delivery of nuclear warheads. Tehran does not have scientific, technological or production potential for their manufacture. Neither does it have testing grounds, hidden from the world public, where such weapons could be tested," the Russian expert said.

Orlov spoke on that problem, because some US officials had expressed concern last week over the building of a research laboratory in Natanz, in the central Iran, and of a plant for producing heavy water in Arak. In the opinion of Washington, those facilities, primarily the plant in Arak, could be 'a crucial stage on the way to the ambitious nuclear goals of Iran'.
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3.
Russia, Iran to sign deal on return of spent nuclear fuel
Islamic Republic News Agency
December 16, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev is to leave for Iran on December 22 to sign an accord on the return to Russia of spent nuclear fuel from Iran's nuclear power plant that is being built in Bushehr.

In an interview with Itar-Tass on Monday, he said that Iran's return of used fuel from its Bushehr nuclear power plant was "a mandatory condition" for Russian cooperation.

Russia, which assists the Bushehr project, employs a scheme to help construct nuclear power plants abroad, Rumyantsev said.

He explained that Russia delivers nuclear fuel to these plants and then returns it for recycling and storage.

Rymayntsev said the signing of the spent fuel deal was unlikely to hit snags, as it had been thrashed out by the sides.

The Russian minister further said that he would discuss during his visit "speeding up the construction of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr."

According to the plant's original schedule, it was to be launched in 2004 or 2005, but Russian specialists said commencement could be delayed to late 2003.

Rumyantsev stressed that by cooperating with Iran in the nuclear field Russia is not violating any of its international commitments, and the Bushehr nuclear power project is subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In a pertinent development, IAEA Chief Muhamad El-Baradei is to visit Iran to conduct a "guest inspection" in December, Rumyantsev said.

Moscow and Tehran signed the contract for the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in 1995. Additional contracts were signed over the next few years in which Russia undertook to build the plant key down.

The project is to fetch Russia around one billion dollars.
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4.
Iran far from building the bomb but has missiles
Agence France Presse
December 16, 2002
(for personal use only)


Iran is far from developing a nuclear program and would need foreign help to do so but it does have missiles capable of striking at Israel, a top Russian researcher who recently visited the Iranian general staff said Monday.

Vladimir Orlov, director of Moscow's PIR nuclear research center, told reporters on his return that he was the first foreign official to be admitted for talks with military chiefs in Tehran.

He was told that Iran was satisfied with the work of its Shahab-3 ballistic missile which has a 1,600-kilometer (960-mile) range, but was making poor progress -- and perhaps deciding against -- developing an even longer-range missile, Shahab-4.

"Iran does not have the finances and technical resources to go nuclear without outside help," Orlov said.

"This is not a question of days or weeks, but a long, long time," he added.

His comments came three days after the United States' release of satellite images of what were described as nuclear sites in the towns of Natanz and Arak.

Moscow and Washington have repeatedly clashed in the diplomatic arena over Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran, where it is building a nuclear power plant at Bushehr, in the west of the country.

Russia's Nuclear Energy Ministry has dismissed suggestions that Iran was trying to conceal nuclear weapons, and Orlov said that opinion within the ministry had not changed.

Russia's Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev said he would visit Iran on Sunday.

Orlov said the Iranian leadership justified its Shahab-3 project by saying it was intended for commercial use -- to launch foreign satellites.

But he also added that the missile project was aimed as a "psychological weapon.

"I was not satisfied with this answer," Orlov said.

The Bushehr project will not be stopped, the Russian and Iranian leadership has decided, Orlov said.

But to build new nuclear energy reactors in Iran, Moscow will now have to first secure guarantees that Tehran's nuclear program will be transparent, said Orlov.

This included an assurance that Iran would send back to Russia spent nuclear fuel from the Bushehr reactor, an assurance that Iran has not granted so far, he confirmed.

Russia's atomic energy ministry insisted over the weekend that Russia would supply fuel for the Bushehr plant -- due to begin producing electricity late next year -- only on condition that the Iranian side guarantees to return all the spent fuel.
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5.
U.S. Says Russia Helped Iran in Nuclear Arms Effort
David E. Sanger
New York Times
December 16, 2002
(for personal use only)


American intelligence and defense officials have concluded that Russia - one of the Bush administration's most important allies in the campaign against terrorism - supplied Iran with much of the equipment and expertise it used to build two new facilities that appear to American intelligence agencies to be part of a nuclear weapons program.

The case is the latest example of the Bush administration's growing difficulties with nations that it has hailed as allies in its efforts against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Pakistan has been identified by the C.I.A. as both a supplier of nuclear technology to North Korea and a purchaser of North Korean missiles. Yemen took delivery of a shipload of North Korean missiles over the weekend, after the shipment had been seized at sea. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney agreed to let it proceed after Yemen's president angrily told Mr. Cheney that the United States had no right to interfere.

Iran has historically denied that it is pursuing a nuclear weapons program, and Russia insists that all of its help has been for energy-related development. "We are in an uncomfortable position where allies we very much need do not see these proliferation dangers the same way we do," one senior administration official said today. "Every week, that is getting more and more obvious."

Russia has long acknowledged aiding Iran's nuclear power program, but it has always denied helping it with any project that could help Tehran build a weapon. Russia's atomic energy minister, Aleksandr Rumyantsev, was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency today as contending that Iran had violated no international rules in building the two nuclear sites that were disclosed last week through commercial satellite photographs. The United States said it was "deeply concerned" about the two sites, which have been known to American intelligence agencies for more than a year.

One of the photographs appears to show a a heavy water plant, critical for the production of a plutonium bomb. Another shows a separate facility for producing highly enriched uranium, another path to producing a nuclear weapon. Like North Korea, which just announced it would restart its plutonium program, Iran appears to be pursuing both approaches simultaneously.

When President Bush visited Russia earlier this year, he was assured by Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, that Moscow was only aiding Iran in the production of nuclear power plants for peaceful purposes. Mr. Bush disputed that view, and their differences on Russia's contracts to aid Iran's nuclear program remain a major source of contention in relations between the United States and Russia.

Mr. Rumyantsev, the Russian atomic energy minister, was quoted over the weekend as saying "you cannot assume anything" from the just-published photographs of the Iranian sites.

A Defense Department official who has monitored developments at the Iranian facilities closely said late Friday that the Russians were involved "in all aspects of the Iranian nuclear program," including the two newly disclosed facilities.

China has also, over the years, been involved in Iran's nuclear program. In the 1980's, Pakistan also reached an agreement to provide scientific help to Iranian nuclear programs, though the defense official said there was no sign of any broad Pakistani government support of the Iranian project.

The official said Pentagon analysts estimate that with outside help, the Iranian uranium-enrichment program could produce enough fissile material to manufacture a nuclear device within a few years, but if no outside aid were forthcoming, it could take until the end of the decade.

North Korea, in contrast, is believed to have enough plutonium already for a few bombs, and if it goes ahead with its threats to restart a nuclear reactor, it could produce several bombs' worth of material every year.

American experts have said in recent years that Iran has skillfully exploited loopholes in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The treaty allows the import of "peaceful" nuclear technology, as long as the International Atomic Energy Agency is permitted to inspect facilities that countries declare as part of their nuclear program. The agency has conducted regular inspections in Iran. But those have not included secret facilities that Iran has not yet declared, including the sites pictured in the satellite photographs.

Iraq used similar loopholes in the late 1980's to receive a certification from the atomic energy agency that it found no evidence of a weapons program. It was only after the Persian Gulf war that inspectors discovered that the country was only six months away from producing a weapon, a fact that an Iraqi general all but confirmed last weekend.

Russia, eager to hold onto its contracts with Iran, insists there is no evidence that the country is secretly pursuing a weapons program, and Iranian officials, too, have repeatedly dismissed Western claims of such a program.

Iran's efforts to get help from China and Russia have been only sporadically successful. Its China deals began to collapse after it pledged in 1997 not to engage in new nuclear cooperation with the country. Russia has stepped in, sweeping aside questions about why an oil-rich nation needed a nuclear power program.

Publicly, the Bush administration has been very low-key about the Iranian projects, pointing out that it could be years before they pose a threat. But when speaking with the promise of anonymity, some officials say there is much more concern that terrorist groups could obtain nuclear technology or know-how from Iran than from Iraq.

The future of Russia's nuclear ties to Iran is uncertain. Over the summer the two countries reached an agreement in principle to build as many as five more nuclear power reactors like one already under construction at Bushehr, a city on the Persian Gulf.

A week after the proposals to build more reactors were disclosed, however, Russia appeared to back away from them. After pointed discussions in Moscow with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, Mr. Rumyantsev suggested for the first time that Russia was prepared to take into account "political factors" before deepening its assistance to Iran.
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6.
Russia, U.S. ties marred by Iran,spies
Bojan Soc
United Press International
December 15, 2002
(for personal use only)


The significant improvement of ties between Moscow and Washington, particularly strengthened after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, remain questionable when longstanding irritants such as Russia's links with Iran and Cold War-style espionage resurface to test growing rapprochement.

On Sunday, Russia's Atomic Minister Alexander Rumyantsev reiterated Moscow's intention to proceed with building a nuclear plant in Bushehr, Iran, despite Washington's concern that Tehran may use the facility to build nuclear weapons.

"Russia will not renounce its contract with Iran ... as it isn't violating any international agreements and isn't posing a threat in terms of proliferation of nuclear technology," Rumyantsev told the state-owned ITAR-TASS news agency.

The minister also dismissed as groundless U.S. fears that Iran may be pursuing military aims while developing two other sites that have been photographed by commercial satellites.

The sites, located near the towns of Natanz and Arak, have raised concern in the White House as Washington suspects Tehran may be using them for developing weapons of mass destruction or nuclear materiel.

"One cannot understand anything from the published photos," Rumyantsev said Sunday.

"Iran has never denied that it intends to develop its own nuclear fuel cycle, which requires a laboratory (at Natanz) and a (hard water production) plant (at Arak)," he added.

According to Rumyantsev, Iran's activities at the facilities "do not violate any commitments of Tehran."

The minister said he expected Washington to put further pressure on Russia to abandon its project in Bushehr and to use the Natanz and Arak scandal as a pretext for urging Moscow to walk out of the Bushehr deal.

"We are not going to do this as there is no evidence that we are violating something," he said.

"If this pressure were to be grounded, we should be presented evidence implicating us as violators, but there is none."

The plant in Bushehr, southern Iran, is expected to start generating electricity in late 2003.

A spokesman for Russia's Atomic Ministry told ITAR-TASS Sunday Russia would deliver nuclear fuel for reactor No. 1 at Bushehr only if Tehran pledged to return the spent fuel to Russia.

The ministry delegation, headed by Rumyantsev, will hold talks in Tehran with their Iranian counterparts this month and is expected to sign the agreement on the return of spent fuel to Russia, the spokesman said.

Russia sent the draft of the agreement in September and the Iranian side "hasn't displayed any principal disagreements."

The United States includes Iran on its list of rogue regimes, which President George W. Bush has said constitute an "axis of evil."

Russia maintains good ties with Iran, as well as other pariahs -- Libya, North Korea and Iraq.

Besides these differences in foreign policy, the ties between the former Cold War foes are also constantly marred by espionage scandals.

Wrapping up 2002 at a news conference Sunday, the chief of Russia's domestic security service, Nikolai Patrushev, boasted of the agency's success in disclosing scores of spies, most notably a CIA agent working under cover as a U.S. diplomat in Moscow.

According to Patrushev, the Russia's FSB security agency intercepted an attempt by Eunjoo Kensinger, the U.S. Embassy's third secretary, to obtain classified data on Russia's development of advanced weapons technology.

The FSB agents seized Kensinger when she was meeting her connections, who were supposed to give her secret papers. The diplomat was expelled from Russia and her two Russian accomplices arrested. One of them was later sentenced for treason.

In April, the FSB arrested Col. Alexander Sypachev, who was transferring classified data to the CIA. He was later sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

As Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin rose to power in Washington and Moscow, tit-for-tat expulsions of U.S. and Russian diplomats accused of espionage pointed to a possible return of Cold War-era enmity.

In 2001, each country expelled 50 diplomats in what was called one of the biggest spying scandals ever.

Relations later improved as the two leaders held summits in Russia and the United States, and reached their peak in the post-Sept. 11 months as Russia rallied to offer support to Washington in waging a war against terror.
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7.
Russia's nuclear fuel exports to Iran conditional on return
Islamic Republic News Agency
December 15, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russia will supply fuel for Iran's nuclear power plant in Bushehr only on the condition that the Iranian side guarantees returning all of the spent fuel, the press service of the Russian Nuclear Energy Ministry told Itar-Tass on Sunday.

Russian specialists are taking part in the construction of a reactor unit at the nuclear plant in southern Iran, whose initial electric energy output is scheduled for the end of 2003.

A Russian delegation led by Nuclear Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev will hold talks in Tehran this month with chiefs of the Nuclear Energy Council.

He plans to sign an accord on the return of spent nuclear fuel from Iran to Russia.

The draft agreement 'was passed to the Iranian side back in September of this year, and it did not meet with any objections of principle in Tehran', the ministry's press service said.

It said, "It is not clear so far whether Russia will take part in the construction of the second nuclear unit in Bushehr."

The press service commented on Thursday's statements by US officials who expressed concern over the construction of a research laboratory in Natanz, central Iran, and of a heavy water plant, the facilities Washington said could become a key moment in Iran's drive for 'ambitious nuclear goals'.

The Nuclear Ministry stressed that Russia is assisting the construction of only the first reactor at the Bushehr plant, and has nothing to do with other nuclear facilities in Iran.
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8.
Russia says no violations in Iranian nuclear plans
Reuters
December 15, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russia, which is helping Iran build a nuclear power plant, said on Sunday Tehran was violating no international rules by developing two other nuclear sites despite U.S. fears they could be used for military aims.

Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev was also quoted as telling Itar-Tass news agency in an interview that efforts should be made to persuade North Korea to ease its tough stand on resuming its nuclear programme.

Russia has faced heavy U.S. criticism for helping Iran build a reactor at a nuclear plant at Bushehr but Rumyantsev said Moscow was proceeding with the project. He dismissed as unfounded U.S. suggestions last week that two other facilities under construction could enable Iran to produce nuclear weapons.

He told the agency Iran had never concealed its intention to build a complete nuclear cycle and the facilities "do not violate any commitments" the country had undertaken.

Tehran has denied U.S. assertions that the two sites near the towns of Natanz and Arak were of a type that could be used for making a nuclear weapon. It says it is determined to meet its growing demand for electricity with nuclear power.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the facilities, seen in commercial satellite photographs, had generated "grave concerns". Washington has labelled Iran as part of an "axis of evil" bent on developing weapons of mass destruction.

But Rumyantsev was quoted as saying: "You cannot assume anything from the published photographs."

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had been discussing the sites with Tehran since August, with Iranian authorities agreeing to submit to IAEA monitoring.

Rumyantsev said Russia had no connection with either facility, but predicted that Washington could increase pressure on Moscow to halt its participation in the Bushehr project.

"We have no intention of doing so, as there is no proof that we are committing any violations of any sort," he told Tass.

Rumyantsev's press service told Tass Moscow's continued participation in the Bushehr project was contingent on Iranian assurances that all spent fuel would be returned to Russia -- a demand advanced by U.S. experts.

The press service said it was uncertain whether Russia would pursue plans to build up to five more reactors at the site.

On North Korea, which said this week it intended to restart a nuclear reactor shut down under a 1994 deal with the United States, Rumyantsev said attempts should be made to discuss the matter with Pyongyang's secretive leadership.

"North Korea has taken a specific stand, which has to be understood with efforts made to tone it down," he told Tass.

Russia, he said, had ceased all nuclear cooperation with Pyongyang in 1993 and had no intention of reviving it.

"If North Korea decides to seek our help, this is possible only through the IAEA," he told Tass.
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9.
Russia to press on with Iran nuclear program
Agence France Presse
December 15, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russia said Sunday that it would press on with the construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran and stressed it had no connection with two suspected Iranian nuclear facilities identified by Washington last week.

Russia's agreement to construct a nuclear energy facility at Bushehr, in western Iran, neither violates international agreements nor threatens to violate non-proliferation accords, Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev told the ITAR-TASS news agency.

Iranian plans to create its own nuclear fuel cycle "do not violate any (of Tehran's) obligations," he said.

Rumyantsev further dismissed as groundless US fears voiced Friday after the release of satellite images of what were described as nuclear sites in the towns of Natanz and Arak, which it said had been secretly built to hide a nuclear weapons program.

"One cannot say anything definite on the basis of the photographs that have been published," Rumyantsev said.

He said Russia had "no particular attitude" to the construction of a research laboratory at Natanza and a heavy water production plant at Araka.

The US State Department said Friday that the photographs, broadcast on CNN television a day earlier, suggested Iran was trying to conceal its aspirations to produce nuclear weapons.

Iran has never concealed its intention to create its own nuclear fuel cycle for which it needs both the laboratory and the heavy water plant, Rumyantsev said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Saturday invited the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the sites at Natanza and Arak, insisting that Iran "has no plan to produce nuclear weapons, and all efforts in this field are intended for peaceful means."

Rumyantsev said he believed the United States would step up pressure on Russia to sever its Bushehr contract.

He stressed that "we are not going to do this, because there is no proof we have violated anything. For such pressure to be justified they've got to present evidence of abuse. So far there has been none."

However the atomic energy ministry insisted that Russia would supply fuel for the Bushehr plant -- due to begin producing electricity late next year -- solely on condition that the Iranian side guarantees to return all the spent fuel, ITAR-TASS reported.

Delivieres will begin in mid-2003 only "if the Iranian side guarantees its return to Russia under an agreement yet to be signed," the ministry said.

The draft agreement "was sent to the Iranian side last September and has not given rise to any any principled objections from Teheran," it.
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C. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
Russia to keep its Soviet-era missiles through 2020
Reuters
December 16, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russia will retain its most powerful, Soviet-made intercontinental nuclear missiles for nearly two decades to come- significantly longer than earlier planned - a top general said Sunday.

Col.-Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, the chief of Strategic Missile Forces, said that RS-20 (R-36) missiles - known as SS-18 Satan in the West - would remain on duty until 2016-2020, the Interfax-Military News Agency reported.

"Neither we, nor our potential enemy has an equal to this unique missile now, now will we have it in the future," Solovtsov was quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency as saying.

Col.-Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, said earlier this year that Russia would keep its arsenal of some 150 SS-18s on duty until 2010 and possibly longer. Military officials previously said they planned to scrap the missiles during this decade, saying they were already past their designated lifetimes.

The heavy missile, capable of slamming 10 nuclear warheads at targets 11,000 kilometers (more than 6,800 miles) away, is the heaviest weapon in Russia's arsenal. The SS-18 and another multiwarhead missile, the SS-19, have formed the core of the Russian strategic forces since the Soviet era.

Russia would have had to scrap both types of missiles under the 1993 START II arms reduction treaty, which banned land-based strategic missiles with multiple warheads. But the treaty never took force and Russia formally withdrew from it last June, saying it was annulled by the U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

A new agreement, signed by U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin in May, outlines even deeper cuts in strategic nuclear warheads to 1,700 to 2,200 for each country, down from 6,000 or more for the United States and about 5,500 for Russia.

However, unlike START II, the new arms deal leaves it to each nation to decide which weapons it will scrap, allowing Russia to keep its arsenal of the SS-18 and SS-19 missiles. In this way Moscow can at least postpone a costly race to build a replacement.

Extending the lifetime of Soviet-made missiles is the only way for Russia to maintain nuclear parity with the United States. An ambitious program to build new Topol-M missiles has been hampered by a shortage of funds.

Solovtsov said it takes the military about 2 1/2 years to deploy one batch of six to 10 Topol-M missiles, Interfax-Military reported.

He said protection against terrorist attacks was a high priority for his forces. He said there had been no attempts by terrorists to penetrate their bases, but that there had been some intrusions by farmers, which were stopped "in a timely fashion." He did not elaborate.
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2.
Russia, US Discuss Problems of Warning of Missile Attacks
ITAR-TASS
December 11, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov met with chairman of the U.S. United Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers on Wednesday to discuss problems regarding warning of missile attacks.

The talks were held in Solnechnogorsk, Moscow Region, at the commanding post of space missile troops, sources in the Russian Defence Ministry told Itar-Tass.

Ivanov and Myers considered the state of and prospects for the development of Russia-U.S. cooperation in such areas as early warning of a missile attack, actions on unauthorised launches of ballistic missiles and measures to complete the construction of a joint centre to exchange information on a space and missile situation.

The U.S. general is expected to familiarise himself with actions of duty officers at the commanding post while conducting a command and staff training to detect launches of ballistic missiles.

The general arrived in Russia on a working visit on December 9. The goal of his visit is to discuss the state of and prospects for the development of military cooperation between the two countries, including in the fight against international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said as part of his September visit to Washington: "These two topics are those threats to which Russia and the U.S. will pay special attention in security cooperation in the near future".

Ivanov praised current relations between the Russian Defence Ministry and the U.S. Defence Department. "Bilateral relations are reaching a qualitatively new level, primarily in the fields of mutual interest," Ivanov said on the eve of his talks with Myers. "It is necessary to fill these fields with concrete substance," he added.

The minister noted the dynamic development of contacts between the military agencies of the two countries. To this end, Ivanov said, "It is necessary to counteract the threats and challenges: We maintain good interaction as part of the counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan".

Myers called for strengthening cooperation with the Russian Defence Ministry in order to confront the existing challenges. He stressed the need to continue fruitful relations in order to solve all problems successfully.
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D. Nuclear Safety

1.
Safety culture at N-Plants discussed at IAEA conference in Rio, Russian nuclear regulator official said
Nuclear.ru
December 15, 2002
(for personal use only)


On December 2-6, 2002 an international conference on safety culture at the N-Plants was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Boris Gordon, Director of Scientific and Technical center on nuclear and radiation safety of Gosatomnadzor RF told Nuclear.Ru. The event was the second IAEA forum devoted to nuclear safety culture. More than 300 specialists from 40 countries participated in the conference, therewith, as Mr. Gordon noted, many countries were represented by top officials, i.e. heads of regulatory bodies and managers of nuclear operators. Russia was represented by specialists of Rosenergoatom Concern, Obninsk scientific and technical center Prognoz and Gosatomnadzor RF.

The term "safety culture" appeared after the accident at the Chernobyl NPP as applied to attempts to assess causes of major accidents at nuclear industry, - Mr. Gordon explained. Further this term was extended to other industries, 'because as a rule a cause of major accidents is a human error and lack of safety culture', he added. Safety culture means priority of safety over other important issues: efficiency, competitiveness, political problems and even human rights. 'It is a priority term, and if it is necessary to somewhat restrict human rights for safety sake, they must be restricted,' - Mr. Gordon said.

There was a vast exchange of views at the conference: how the safety culture is assessed in different countries , what criteria are used, how the safety culture is observed by operators and regulating bodies, what are permissible limits of state interference into the safety culture improvement. According to Mr. Gordon, the conference members paid special attention to the report of a Rosenergoatom spokesman, because Russian experience is always of great interest. Specialists of Obninsk center Prognoz acquainted the conference members with unique results of 20 years work on evaluation of human factor - main source of safety culture deficiencies.

'Every country has a very attentive approach to safety culture issues,' - Mr. Gordon emphasized. He also added that the safety culture in different countries differs in its content. 'In some countries nuclear operators are prescribed to observe safety culture regulations, in other countries, such as Russia, it is considered that the safety culture is mainly an affair of operating companies, the state regulating body is checking its status during inspections, keeps track of documents, draws up conclusions'. One of the conference tasks was to prepare united safety culture regulations for nuclear power plants. According to Mr. Gordon, such regulations will be developed by the IAEA jointly with all interested parties, including Russia. Summing up results of the conference, which was concluded by a visit to the Brazilian Angra NPP, Mr. Gordon called them 'extremely useful'.
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E. Announcements

1.
Regarding New US National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction
Daily News Bulletin
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
December 15, 2002


Moscow continues to carefully study the new US National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, issued in Washington.

Competent American agencies have done a serious analysis and outlined very far-reaching tasks in countering one of the main global threats of today - the proliferation of WMDs. In so doing they correctly point out that today a flare of international terrorist activity has aggravated this danger.

It is known that in the last few years, primarily thanks to the important agreements reached in the course of the Russian-American summit meetings it has been possible to noticeably advance cooperation between our two countries in questions of counter-proliferation. We hope that the published National Strategy of the United States will contribute to further developing and deepening such bilateral and multilateral collaboration on the basis of international law and mutual consideration of national interests..

Good prerequisites for the Russian-American partnership in the field of nonproliferation and of preventing the acquisition of WMDs by international terrorists, in particular, are created by the clearly defined strategic directive for enhancing the traditional instruments of diplomacy, arms control, multilateral agreements, threat reduction assistance and export controls. We fully agree with the authors of the strategy also in that it is necessary to ensure the strict observance of fundamental international agreements, especially such as the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention.
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2.
Daily Press Briefing (excerpted)
Richard Boucher
Department of State
December 13, 2002


[...]

QUESTION: If we can move on to Iran, there are some reports out there about Iran potentially developing some major nuclear sites, perhaps for development of a nuclear weapon. Can you speak to this?

MR. BOUCHER: I can, because we have, I think, spoken often before about our concerns about Iran's nuclear programs. Iran's nuclear programs, and programs to develop weapons of mass destruction, are well known. They're based on hard evidence and they are programs that the United States Government reports on very frequently. I think there's actually a six-month report that covers this, the 721 Report.

The reports that you've seen of secret facilities in Iran reinforce our already grave concern that Iran is seeking technology to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons. The suspect uranium enrichment plant, for example, could be used to produce highly enriched uranium for weapons. The heavy water plant could support a reactor for producing weapons-grade plutonium.

These facilities are not justified by the needs of Iran's civilian nuclear program. There is no economic gain for a state that's rich in oil and gas like Iran to build costly nuclear fuel cycle facilities. I would point out that Iran flares more gas annually than the equivalent energy its desired reactors would produce.

We have discussed these two particular sites with a number of friends and allies who share our concerns. These sites, I think, were discussed publicly in August, if I remember correctly, some of the first revelations about them in public. We've also talked about these two sites with the IAEA and others.

Iran has tried to hide these important facilities, and the United States will continue to emphasize our longstanding effort to get agreement from all countries to refrain from nuclear cooperation with Iran and to thwart Iran's covert efforts to buy or acquire sensitive nuclear equipment and expertise.

At this point, the International Atomic Energy Agency is pursuing the matter with Iran. Unfortunately, Iran repeatedly rebuffed IAEA requests for access to the sites. As Dr. El Baradei has said, he was supposed to visit this week to see these sites and they have pushed that back now again till February.

So we look forward to a report from Dr. El Baradei to the IAEA Board of Governors at the appropriate time and we would encourage Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and furthermore, to adopt the standards of disclosure that all the other governments in the world have accepted.

In 1992, the International Atomic Energy Agency called on all states to commit themselves to an early declaration of all their nuclear facilities, and all other International Atomic Energy Agency states with safeguarded materials have accepted this obligation to provide complete design information on new facilities no later than 180 days before the start of construction. So Iran has not accepted that obligation. As a first step, that is something they should do.

QUESTION: In talking to your friends and allies and others interested, have you made any progress with the Russians in talks with the Russians about their assistance, the assistance they have been providing?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any particular update on that. I'd have to check and see where we are. I think it's safe to say it's a matter of continuing discussion with the Russians.

QUESTION: Do you know whether the Secretary actually brought that up yesterday when he spoke with Ivanov?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if they specifically discussed Iran. I know they discussed the Iraqi declaration, the process of reaching a working version of the Iraqi declaration, and North Korea. I just don't remember if Iran came up or not.

QUESTION: Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say Iran has tried to hide these things? What have they done to hide things?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, the circumstances of this particular -- these particular sites are actually fairly interesting and lead to the conclusion that this nuclear program that Iran has is not peaceful and is certainly not transparent. As I said, we have reached the conclusion that Iran is actively working to develop nuclear weapons capability.

From the commercial satellite imagery, I think you can tell that portions of the Natanz nuclear facility, the suspect uranium enrichment plant, ultimately will be underground. It appears from the imagery that a service road, several small structures, and perhaps three large structures, are being built below grade, and some of these are already being covered with earth.

Iraq -- Iran clearly intended to harden and bury that facility. That facility was probably never intended by Iran to be a declared component of a peaceful program. Instead, Iran has been caught constructing a secret underground site where it could produce fissile material.

I think that's the latest example. We've always talked about the Bushehr reactor, which will be subject to IAEA safeguards, but said that that is being used as a cover and a pretext for obtaining sensitive technologies related to weapons programs. So I think we have found, in Iran's programs, that there are these attempts to hide, to cover, and in this case, to build a facility that's partially buried.

[...]
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3.
Press Briefing (excerpted)
Ari Fleischer
The White House
December 13, 2002


[...]

Q Ari, the third country that the President would put in the axis of evil is also in the news again when it comes to its nuclear program; there are newly publicly available satellite photos showing facilities in two cities -- Arak and Natanz -- if I have their pronunciations right. What is the administration's assessment of those facilities, and what specifically they are being used for? Are they peaceful energy facilities, as Iran says, or does the United States believe they are part of a nuclear weapons program? And more broadly, any sense of "told you so" here at the White House to those who scorned the President's use of that term, "axis of evil"?

MR. FLEISCHER: We have serious concerns about this. The United States has longed stressed our serious concern with Iran's nuclear weapons program and with its across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile capabilities. The recent disclosure about secure nuclear facilities in Iran reinforces the concerns that the President has had all along.

The suspect uranium enrichment plan could be used to produce highly enriched uranium for weapons. A heavy water plant could support a reactor for producing weapons-grade plutonium. Such facilities are simply not justified by the needs that Iran has for their civilian nuclear program. Our assessment when we look at Iran is that there is no economic gain for a country rich in oil and gas like Iran to build costly indigenous nuclear fuel cycle facilities. Iran flares off more gas every year than the equivalent power it hopes to produce with these reactors.

So it is an issue that we have highlighted, that the President has brought world attention to before. And we do continue to have great concerns about it. It's another reason why it's important to be vigilant in our efforts to fight proliferation of this nature.

[...]
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4.
Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Georgy Mamedov Meets with Japanese Ambassador to Moscow Issei Nomura
Daily News Bulletin
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
December 11, 2002


On December 11 Georgy Mamedov, Deputy Foreign Minister and Russian G8 Political Director, received Issei Nomura, the newly appointed Japanese ambassador to Moscow.

During the talk, the sides focused especially on discussing certain acute issues pertaining to the current tense situation in the world - primarily, the Iraq and Korean problems. In this connection they reemphasized the task of strengthening Russian-Japanese cooperation on the international scene, including within the G8 framework, in dealing with common threats: terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and regional crises.

Mamedov informed the ambassador about the results of the latest interagency consultations on strategic stability with the US and the PRC, and spoke for the early resumption of the practice of similar regular discussions with Tokyo.
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