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Nuclear News - 12/23/02
RANSAC Nuclear News, December 23, 2002
Compiled by Michael Roston



A. Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Nuclear safeguard funds requested, Lisa Friedman, Oakland Tribune (12/23/02)
B. US-Russia Relations
    1. Active Position of Russian Society Became Important Tool of Russia's Foreign Policy, Alexander Smotrov, RIA Novosti (12/23/02)
    2. U.S. global missile defense plans no threat to Russia - General Staff, Interfax (12/22/02)
    3. Ivanov, Lugar Declare in Favour of Early Start-3 Ratification, RIA Novosti (12/20/02)
C. Russia-Iran
    1. Iran Thanks Russia for Continued Peaceful Atom Cooperation, Nikolai Terekhov, RIA Novosti (12/23/02)
    2. Iran, Russia agree deal on nuclear plant, Reuters (12/23/02)
    3. Russian Minister of Nuclear Energy Positive about the Results of Talks in Iran, Nikolai Terekhov, RIA Novosti (12/23/02)
    4. Rafsanjani says US allegations against Iran are mere pretexts, Islamic Republic News Agency (12/23/02)
    5. Alexander Rumyantsev: "During a visit to Iran it is not planned to sign the agreement on 100% return of spent nuclear fuel from the Busher NPP," Nuclear.ru, (12/20/02)
    6. Moscow Says Iranians are Incapable of Developing Nuclear Weapons, RFE/RL Newsline (12/19/02)
    7. Sources Say Iran Lays Groundwork For Nuclear Bombs: Secret Use of Front Companies Is Cited, Glenn Kessler, Washington Post (12/19/02)
D. Russia-North Korea
    1. Russian deputy FM criticizes Washington's approach to North Korea, Associated Press (12/23/02)
    2. Powell and Ivanov discuss North Korea nuclear program, Reuters (12/21/02)
    3. Kremlin divided on how to disarm Pyongyang, Nicholas Kralev, Washington Times (12/18/02)
E. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. World's Best Topol-M Missile Complexes on Combat Duty in Russia for Five Years Already, Eduard Puzyryov, RIA Novosti (12/23/02)
    2. Space Carrier Missile "Dnepr-1" Bearing 6 Satellites To Be Launched On December 20, Eduard Puzyryov, RIA Novosti (12/20/02)
F. Nuclear Safety
    1. "Greens" and Minatom of Russia will establish a working group to elaborate proposals on foreign SNF import in Russia, Nuclear.ru (12/23/02)
G. Announcements
    1. Transcript of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov Press Conference and Replies to Russian Journalists' Questions (Tokyo, December 18, 2002), Daily News Bulletin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (12/20/02)
    2. Statement by the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of The Russian Federation Regarding Step-up of US Attempts to Create a "Global Missile Defense," Daily News Bulletin, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (12/18/02)
    3. Press Briefing (excerpt), Ari Fleischer, The White House (12/18/02)
H. Links of Interest


A. Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Nuclear safeguard funds requested
Lisa Friedman
Oakland Tribune
December 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Bay Area lawmakers this week urged the Bush administration to beef up spending next year to help Russia safeguard its nuclear arsenal.

In a letter to President Bush, Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, and 27 other members of Congress asked for an unspecified increase over last year's $1.1 billion nonproliferation budget.

"As horrifying and tragic as the terrorist attacks of September 11 were, the destruction and loss of life would have been even greater had weapons of mass destruction been used," Tauscher wrote.

She also noted that nonproliferation programs -- many of which are run out of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory -- "have a proven track record in reducing this threat by securing loose nuclear material, detecting weapons of mass destruction, reducing the brain drain of nuclear scientists who might be tempted to sell their know-how to terrorists."

Also signing on to the request from the Bay Area were Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; and Mike Honda, D-San Jose.
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B. US-Russia Relations

1.
Active Position of Russian Society Became Important Tool of Russia's Foreign Policy
Alexander Smotrov
RIA Novosti
December 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


The active civil position of Russian society is an important additional tool of Russia's foreign policy, said First Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov, while speaking on Monday at the constituent congress of the National Civil Council for International Affairs.

While reviewing the results of the year in foreign policy, Meshkov stressed that "the international anti-terrorist coalition has been strengthening and the legal basis for fighting international terrorism expanding." He accentuated the new level of Russo-American co-operation, one of the main stages of which was signing the Treaty on the Strategic Offensive Reductions (SOR) which, according to the diplomat, "established the framework for building the two countries' new strategic relations." "The active position of the Russian civil society enabled us to better explain our concerns to our partners," Meshkov said.

As for Russia's co-operation with the CIS states, the past year was the year of the CIS in Russia as well as the year of Ukraine" in this country, according to the Russian diplomat. "We have enhanced the Commonwealth, provided with a legal framework the Collective Security Treaty and the EURASEC, Meshkov recalled.

He noted at the same time that "civil society's potential was not fully realized, and the CIS citizens should know much more about each other." According to the deputy foreign minister, the Russian society could play a more active part in protecting the rights of compatriots abroad and popularization and support of the Russian language in other countries.
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2.
U.S. global missile defense plans no threat to Russia - General Staff
Interfax
December 22, 2002
(for personal use only)


First Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky does not think that the United States' program to deploy a global missile defense system poses any threat to Russia.

"The U.S. steps to create a national missile defense system to be made until 2010-15 will not pose any threat to Russia," Baluyevsky said in Channel One's program Vremena on Sunday.

This is one of the main arguments the executive authorities will advance while submitting the Russian-American Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions to parliament for ratification at the end of 2002, or the beginning of 2003, he said.

He said he hopes that the ratification of this treaty will not be bound by as many conditions as the ratification of the START-2 Treaty. "The START-2 Treaty quietly died under the load of too many conditions for ratification," Baluyevsky said.

He admitted that the Treaty on Offensive Reductions may be criticized for not reflecting some of Russia's deeper interests. "But after ratification, further work will be done to develop it," the Russian military official said.
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3.
Ivanov, Lugar Declare in Favour of Early Start-3 Ratification
RIA Novosti
December 20, 2002
(for personal use only)


While meeting Friday in Washington, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and prominent American Senator Richard Lugar declared in favour of an early ratification of the Russian-American treaty on strategic offensive nuclear reductions.

The sides focused on Russian-American cooperation in the field of non-proliferation and elimination of mass destruction weapons. Russia and the USA displayed mutual interest in continued dialogue in accordance with the Programme for joint threat reduction as well as some other projects being implemented in this sphere, noted the Russian foreign ministry.

Under review was implementation of accords on global partnership against the spread of mass destruction weapons and materials, reached at the G8 summit in Kananaskis in 2002.

American Senator Richard Lugar is one of the initiators of the so-called programme for joint threat reduction under which the USA allocates annual funds for assisting in the dismantling and eliminating mass destruction weapons in Russia and other CIS nations
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C. Russia-Iran

1.
Iran Thanks Russia for Continued Peaceful Atom Cooperation
Nikolai Terekhov
RIA Novosti
December 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Hashemi Rafsanjani, chairman of Iran's Expediency Council, has expressed gratitude to Russia for its intention to carry on cooperation with Iran in the utilisation of the peaceful atom and in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Iran is an independent state and finds effective its cooperation with Russia in the construction of that nuclear power station, which began as a west-assisted project, Rafsanjani said at a meeting with Russia's Nuclear Power Minister Alexander Rumyantsev.

"No matter how much the US may try to hinder our relations, the world community will witness in the future peaceful and constructive cooperation between Russia and Iran within international norms," the Iranian representative emphasised.

The Russian minister, for his part, confirmed that Russian-Iranian cooperation in nuclear power is peaceful in character, built on international treaties and will be based on agreements and projects attained by the sides.

"Despite all accusations against us on the part of some states, we consider ourselves obliged to complete the Bushehr station," Rumyantsev added.
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2.
Iran, Russia agree deal on nuclear plant
Reuters
December 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Iran has moved a step closer to producing nuclear power by agreeing to return spent fuel to Russia from a $800 million reactor being built by Moscow despite U.S. opposition, an atomic energy official said on Monday. Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev arrived in Tehran on Sunday to finalise details of the nuclear programme fiercely opposed by Washington, which has branded Iran part of an "axis of evil" for allegedly developing weapons of mass destruction.

"Iran has accepted to return the waste fuel to Russia as one of the terms for starting the shipment of fuel," an official at Iran's Atomic Energy Agency told Reuters. Moscow's continued participation in the project to build a nuclear reactor near the southwestern port of Bushehr depended on Iranian assurances that all spent fuel would be returned to Russia -- a demand advanced by U.S. experts.

"The first batch of fuel for the Bushehr nuclear plant produced by Russia is ready and packed. Russia is trying to make necessary preparations for its shipment," Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted Rumyantsev as saying. Rumyantsev said supplying the fuel remained contingent on signing an agreement on fuel delivery and the return of spent fuel. Iranian officials said the agreement would be signed on Wednesday.

Iran insists the Bushehr reactor is for purely civilian power production, but U.S. officials question why Iran, the second biggest oil producer in OPEC and with the second biggest gas reserves in the world, would need it. Russia says it would be difficult for the civilian reactor to be adapted to produce nuclear weapons, a stance disputed by Washington.

U.S. officials earlier this month also charged that two other nuclear sites being built in central Iran were of a type that could be used for manufacturing nuclear warheads. The Bushehr reactor, due to come on stream at the end of 2003, is under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), while the other two plants are not due to be inspected by the agency until late February.
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3.
Russian Minister of Nuclear Energy Positive about the Results of Talks in Iran
Nikolai Terekhov
RIA Novosti
December 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russian Minister of Nuclear Energy Aleksander Rumyantsev thinks that the first round of talks, which took place on Sunday, with Iranian Vice President and Head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran /AEOI/ Gholamreza Aghazadeh proved to be effective.

In the course of today's dialogue many issues were discussed, in particular, the date of the "Bushir" Atomic Energy Plant opening, fuel supply and prospects of the future Russo-Iranian cooperation in the sphere of the atomic energy, Rumyantsev disclosed to a RIA Novosti correspondent.

"The Iranian part raised an issue concerning the soonest exploitation of the plant and, in accordance with our earlier agreements, we confirmed that our intentions were alike and the plant was scheduled to be put into commercial operation in 2004", the Russian Minister of Nuclear Energy said.

The fuel supply for the "Bushir" Nuclear Plant depends on two factors: observance of the intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Iran, and the readiness of the Iranian party to return Russia wasted nuclear fuel, Rumyantsev remarked.

We have agreed to prepare the necessary documents in order to decide the present issues concerning the wasted nuclear fuel, Rumyantsev added.
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4.
Rafsanjani says US allegations against Iran are mere pretexts
Islamic Republic News Agency
December 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Monday refuted recent US allegations about Iran's nuclear program, saying such propaganda by the US and certain western states are 'mere pretexts'.

Rafsanjani told Russian Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev in Tehran that Iran is a member to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the agency is fully aware of all of Iran's nuclear activities.

"The use of all forms of nuclear technology for peaceful purpose is the absolute right of all the IAEA members, including Iran," said Rafsanjani.

Washington had earlier claimed that Iran may use a power plant, established in the southern port city of Bushehr with Russian cooperation for developing nuclear arms. Both Iran and Russia have rejected these allegations.

US officials were also recently alleged that American satellites had spotted two Iranian sites, one in the central city of Arak and the other in Natanz in the central province of Isfahan and suggested they could be used for producing nuclear weapons.

Rafsanjani said the plan for the establishment of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr had been undertaken by the Europeans during former monarchical regime of Shah and for use by the Pahlavi regime, that was affiliated to the West.

He said that presently, Iran's drive for establishment of the plant for scientific and peaceful purposes are questioned under various 'baseless' pretexts because Islamic Iran is independent and cooperates with Russia in that connection instead of the West.

He added that Iran is firm in its decision to generate 6,000 megawatts of power from nuclear energy.

"Despite continued US propaganda, the world will come to witness peaceful cooperation between Iran and Russia in future for non-military use of this God-given asset within the framework of international regulations," said Rafsanjani.

He called for the expansion of Tehran-Moscow cooperation in the fields of oil and gas as well as in the Caspian Sea.

Huge gas resources in the region stretching from Siberia to the Persian Gulf necessitate adoption of clear-cut policies for optimal utilization of this exceptional situation by Iran and Russia, he added.

Rumyantsev, for his part, said that Iran-Russia cooperation in the field of nuclear energy was peaceful and within framework of international regulations.

He said Moscow is determined to complete the construction of Bushehr nuclear power plant.

"Although Russia and Iran are criticized by certain countries for construction of an atomic power plant, we consider ourselves duty bond to finish the project on the power plant which is considered as Iran's undeniable right," said Russian Minister.

He said, "That is the official stance of senior Russian officials and we will not give in to pretexts and ballyhoos created by other countries with regard to the peaceful cooperation."

Rumyantsev arrived here Sunday for a four-day visit to hold talks with Iranian officials over expediting the completion of Bushehr plant and bilateral cooperation for a peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Rumyantsev is scheduled to meet several Iranian officials, including Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) head, Gholamreza Aqazadeh, Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi and Vice President Mohammad-Reza Aref.

The minister will also travel to Bushehr in southern Iran to observe that construction of the plant which the Islamic Republic is building with Russian assistance.

The Russian Itar-Tass news agency said Saturday that Rumyantsev will also discuss the issue of transferring spent nuclear fuel from Iran to Russia.

It further cited the minister as reiterating that nuclear cooperation between Tehran and Moscow was 'strictly peaceful' and that it did not violate international conventions on nuclear energy activities.

Rumyantsev also repeated Russia's earlier announcement that the country planned to build a new nuclear energy unit in Iran, but the two countries had yet to start negotiations on that, Itar-Tass said.

Under the one-billion-dollar deal, Russia had initially undertaken to finish the Bushehr plant in 2005, but later announced it could be completed by the end of 2003.

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5.
Alexander Rumyantsev: "During a visit to Iran it is not planned to sign the agreement on 100% return of spent nuclear fuel from the Busher NPP"
Nuclear.ru
December 20, 2002
(for personal use only)


"The purpose of forthcoming visit to Iran is to get acquainted with the progress of construction at Busher-1", - the Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev told Nuclear.Ru. At the same time he emphasized that the information on planned signing of the agreement on 100% return of spent nuclear fuel from the Busher NPP is "a conjecture of mass media". "I am going to see how the Busher NPP is being constructed", - Mr. A. Rumyantsev said, having clarified that while he is holding the post of Minister during one year and 9 months he has never visited this N-Plant, though he has already visited all closed towns, all major building sites, including the Tianwan NPP. However, as the Minister noted, he has not also visited the Kudankulam NPP, but in his opinion it was premature to visit it. Mr. Rumyantsev informed that during the visit to Iran he would hold a meeting regarding construction of Busher-1 to assess "whether the progress of construction is optimum, financing sufficient and personnel issues solved properly". "All these refers only to the NPP construction", - the Minister emphasized.

Answering the question of Nuclear.Ru, whether the Teheran declaration of plans of implementation the large-scale construction program of NPPs and nuclear fuel cycle enterprises is connected with the long-term program of development of the Russian-Iran co-operation, in particular, construction of four units at Busher and Ahvaz NPPs, Mr. A. Rumyantsev said that really, in September of current year the vice-president of Iran, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Aga-Zade, speaking at the general conference of the IAEA, called the world community to participate in large-scale program of Iran atomic power development, having informed that Iran is intended to bring installed capacity of NPPs up to 6 GWt. "It means that construction of 6 units is expected, and we will fulfill it", - Mr. A. Rumyantsev said. According to the long-term program of trade development, economic, industrial, scientific and technical co-operation between Russia and Iran for the period up to 2012, the provision is made for construction of 4 units at Busher NPP and two other units at Ahvaz NPP construction site.
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6.
Moscow Says Iranians are Incapable of Developing Nuclear Weapons
RFE/RL Newsline
December 19, 2002
(for personal use only)


Russian Atomic Energy Minister Aleksandr Rumyantsev said in an 18 December interview with ITAR-TASS that Iran is not capable of developing nuclear weapons. Rumyantsev said Iran has a right to develop peaceful nuclear capabilities. "Iran does not conceal its plans regarding nuclear-power generation. It has the right to develop this direction," he said. Rumyantsev also recommended waiting for the results of the IAEA's February 2003 inspection trip to Iran. BS
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7.
Sources Say Iran Lays Groundwork For Nuclear Bombs: Secret Use of Front Companies Is Cited
Glenn Kessler
Washington Post
December 19, 2002
(for personal use only)


In the past five years, Iran has used a web of phony trading companies to obscure an increasingly sophisticated drive to secretly build large facilities that could produce the materials needed for nuclear weapons, according to U.S. government officials and information obtained by an Iranian opposition group.

Two recently disclosed sites, near the cities of Natanz and Arak south of Tehran, appear designed to help produce enriched uranium or plutonium, the fissile material needed for nuclear weapons. Until the facilities were revealed in August by the opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the Iranian government had not disclosed their existence to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an arm of the United Nations.

The facilities likely will not be operational for a couple of years, but experts said their existence suggests Iran has other secret nuclear facilities. Iran had rebuffed efforts by the IAEA to examine the two sites, but now has invited inspectors in February.

Iranian officials have denied the plants are part of a weapons program, arguing they were necessary to wean Iran from its dependence on its vast oil and gas reserves for energy. "America's claim is totally baseless," Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said yesterday. "Our aim is not building atomic weapons."

Russian and Ukrainian scientists have been identified as assisting the secret projects, and officials from the front companies have procured materials in India and China, the Iranian opposition group said. U.S. officials have not been able to determine whether the Russian involvement in the Iranian program is officially sanctioned, but they have pressed Russian officials to halt any cooperation in Iran's nuclear efforts.

Russia is helping Iran build a reactor at a nuclear plant on the Persian Gulf coast at Bushehr, which will become operational late next year or in early 2004. Russia's atomic energy minister, Alexander Rumyantsev, said this week his country had no involvement in the two secret facilities. Rumyantsev said continued participation in the Bushehr project was contingent on Iranian assurances that all spent fuel would be returned to Russia.

Bush administration officials, while expressing "serious concerns" about the Iranian sites, have not let revelations deter them from their focus on Iraq. Much like the nuclear crisis involving North Korea -- and the aid that Pakistan, a U.S. ally, appears to have provided the North Koreans -- the administration has adopted a low-key posture that relies heavily on diplomatic pressure.

"We've always found it curious as to why Iran would need nuclear power when they are so blessed with other means of generating electricity," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Monday. "We have had conversations with Russia that we are concerned about this and that some of the support they are providing might well go to developing nuclear weapons within Iran, and it will continue to be a matter of discussion with us and the Russians."

While the Iranian opposition group has been labeled part of a foreign terrorist organization -- the Iranian Mujahidin, based in Iraq -- by the State Department, it often has disclosed reliable information about Iran's efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction. U.S. officials consider its information on the two nuclear projects, including the front companies, credible and began to press the IAEA to inspect the facilities after the group revealed their existence.

U.S. officials and other experts said Iran's aggressive push illustrates how easy it is for a determined nation to covertly make huge strides in pursuit of nuclear weapons. By using front companies, they say, Iran has been able to procure materials and equipment necessary for producing weapons-grade fuel from foreign companies without raising suspicions, while at the same time appearing to remain within the nuclear power regime established by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

"The problem is that Iran is not cheating," said Henry D. Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, a research group. "They haven't broken any rules, and they won't until they have weapons."

In a speech in September to the general conference of IAEA in Vienna, the president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, declared that Iran, "on the basis of Islamic tenets, beliefs and human affinity, has always condemned the possession of weapons of mass destruction." Aghazadeh pledged "complete transparency of my country's nuclear activities."

But the National Council of Resistance of Iran, through information from its sources in Iran, says funding for the facilities does not appear in the government budget but was directly provided by the Supreme National Security Council, the country's key policymaking body. Front companies further disguised the construction and purposes of the projects, the resistance group said.

A company called Kala Electric, based in Tehran, obtained materials and equipment for the project in Natanz, described by the resistance group as a fuel fabrication plant and by other experts as an enriched uranium facility. The Natanz project, which was started two years ago, is spread over 25 acres, with sections 25 feet underground and protected by eight-foot thick concrete walls. Kala Electric officials traveled repeatedly to India and China last year, the resistance group said.

Another front company, Mesbah Energy Co., also located in Tehran, has performed a similar role for the Arak facility, which was started in 1996 and appears designed to produce heavy water necessary for weapons-grade plutonium. The Arak facility, along a river near the central Iranian city, appears to be 87 percent completed and ready for testing in April.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, Washington representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said the purpose of both facilities had been disguised through misinformation and official secrecy. The Natanz plant was officially described as a project for eradicating deserts, while senior authorities in the governor's office in Arak province have been instructed not to disclose the location of the other site, he said.

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a research group, said both facilities suggest there may be other hidden sites. The Natanz site is too large for a country's first enriched uranium facility, which indicates that Iran may already be operating a smaller pilot plant, he said. The Arak heavy water plant only makes sense if it is paired with a reactor, which has not yet been located.

"At this point, we have more questions than answers," Albright said.

An arm of Iran's atomic energy agency, the Center of Atomic Research, also uses a front company, Kaavosh Yaar, to procure materials from foreign countries, the Iranian resistance group said. Revenue from the sale of liquid nitrogen, a product of the center, is deposited in the bank account of another company, Saakht Iran, which in turn hires all contracted and nonofficial personnel of the atomic energy agency, it said.
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D. Russia-North Korea

1.
Russian deputy FM criticizes Washington's approach to North Korea
Associated Press
December 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


As concern rose Monday over North Korea's announcement that it had resumed its nuclear weapons program, a top Russian diplomat warned the United States that putting the country under pressure could aggravate the tensions. "It is counterproductive and dangerous to blackmail North Korea, with its grave economic position," Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy Mamedov was quoted as saying in an interview with the newspaper Vremya Novostei. After U.S. officials said in October that North Korea admitted it had a secret nuclear weapons program, Washington and its allies suspended shipments of heavy fuel oil to the energy-starved country.

On Sunday, North Korea announced a decision to remove United Nations seals and surveillance cameras from nuclear facilities that U.S. officials say could yield weapons within months. Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev on Monday confirmed that North Korea had started relaunching its nuclear program and expressed regret over the decision, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

"I know that North Korea has begun the action to unfurl its nuclear programs," Rumyantsev was quoted as saying, and said that the U.N. nuclear watchdog "has not given a proper assessment to this fact as yet." Rumyantsev, speaking to Russian reporters during a trip to Iran, said he did not have details about North Korea's move, the report said.

Mamedov said in the interview that the Kremlin shares the United States' concerns about North Korea's nuclear weapons program. "The absence of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula is in our common interest," he said. But he criticized Washington for taking as taking a bellicose approach to North Korea, as well as to Iraq and Iran, the three countries that U.S. President George W. Bush has termed the "axis of evil."

That description is "extremely inappropriate, even provocative ... How should a small country feel when told it is basically a part of the Biblical forces of evil, which must be fought to complete destruction," he said. Russia and Iran are cooperating in atomic energy projects, which critics have said could prefigure Iran developing nuclear weapons.

However, Mamedov said that "Russia is ready to make any guarantee, cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and work with Iran to see that used nuclear fuel is returned and cannot be used for the production of nuclear weapons components even in secrecy."
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2.
Powell and Ivanov discuss North Korea nuclear program
Reuters
December 21, 2002
(for personal use only)


U.S. and Russian officials on Friday discussed how to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, which has prompted Washington to push a policy of isolating Pyongyang that has been questioned by some of its allies.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov talked over the issue in a half-hour meeting that also covered ratifying a U.S.-Russian arms control treaty and eliminating Russia's chemical weapons stockpile, U.S. officials said.

"They exchanged thoughts on how the United States, Russia, China, South Korea and Japan might cooperate to ensure the denuclearization of the (Korean) Peninsula," a State Department official said after the 30-minute meeting.

The United States has argued for isolating North Korea following its October disclosure to U.S. officials that it was working on a uranium enrichment project for a nuclear weapons program.

Washington has run into resistance to its stance from Japan and South Korea, which this week elected liberal Roh Moo-hyun, an advocate of pursuing Seoul's "sunshine policy" of engagement with the North, as president. On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov was quoted as saying Moscow would not put pressure on Pyongyang.

One U.S. official said Powell and Ivanov discussed "how we can coordinate ... to make sure that North Korea gets the message ... to make clear that North Korea has got to get rid of these nuclear programs."

The official said the two discussed coordination, rather than specific measures that Russia might take to put pressure on Pyongyang. U.S. officials have previously said they hoped China and Russia would use their economic leverage to try to influence the reclusive, Stalinist regime in Pyongyang.

In addition, U.S. officials said that Powell and Ivanov discussed the prospects for the U.S. Senate and the Russian Duma to ratify the Treaty of Moscow, which was signed in May and commits each side to cutting its deployed strategic nuclear arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads over 10 years.
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3.
Kremlin divided on how to disarm Pyongyang
Nicholas Kralev
Washington Times
December 18, 2002
(for personal use only)


Major policy divisions in the Russian government on how to deal with North Korea are complicating Washington's efforts to form a united international front that would force Pyongyang to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons, U.S. officials said yesterday.

Although Moscow supports the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, in the last couple of days Russian officials have been critical of the Bush administration's limited approach of putting pressure on Kim Jong-il's reclusive regime.

There is a huge tug of war within the Russian government," one U.S. official said. "There are many people whose careers depend on integrating North Korea," while Washington's policy is one of isolation and containment.

"We are still at the initial stages of working with the Russians on this, and I'm fairly optimistic we'll be able to bring them on board," the official said.

Russia, along with China, is seen as particularly important in resolving the North Korean issue because of its influence on Pyongyang and President Bush's close relationship with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.

During Mr. Putin's visit to Beijing two weeks ago, he and Chinese President Jiang Zemin issued a joint statement urging the North to dismantle the uranium-enrichment program it admitted in early October to having developed secretly.

But last week, Pyongyang said that it would "immediately" reopen its five-megawatt nuclear reactor in Yongbyon, which it shut down eight years ago, and would resume construction of two new reactors.

The Bush administration called the decision "regrettable" and said it would work with its allies and other countries in the region to "put pressure" on North Korea.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Monday "the international community, including Russia, China and the European Union, is united in calling for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula."

But only a few hours earlier, Moscow refused to put pressure on North Korea and said it "will not do so in the future."

"History has shown that pressure on North Korea has pitiful results, rather than solving a problem," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov told the Interfax news agency. "We are not going to unite with anyone to pressure North Korea. This is absolutely ruled out."

Yesterday, Mr. Losyukov was quoted by the same news agency as saying that Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov would announce new initiatives to ease the tensions on the peninsula during his visit to Japan this week.

"Russia has an approximate list of proposals," he said. "We are prepared to make such steps and we have instruments no other country has - our rather strong contacts with the North Korean leadership."

Even though Mr. Losyukov said that Moscow would not be a mediator between North Korea and the United States, he did speak of Russia as a neutral party in the dispute.

"It's not mediation," he said. "We wouldn't like to cruise between the parties with ultimatums and ask them who blames whom for what. Our job is to create an atmosphere in which these problems could be settled and, using the instruments available to us, to help the parties in the dispute settle mutual claims and concerns."

A senior State Department official brushed aside Mr. Losyukov's remarks, pointing to Moscow's statements calling on North Korea to end its nuclear-weapons program.

"We'll ignore the statements that seem out of line with what Russia has consistently said," the official told reporters.

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said the United States is working "in concert" with Japan, South Korea, Russia and China "to make certain that we can resolve the situation in North Korea peacefully and diplomatically."

Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher declined to comment on reports that China supplied North Korea with a chemical used in producing nuclear-weapons fuel.

He said he could not make a judgment on whether China is helping North Korea's nuclear program "without having to base it on intelligence sources," which he could not do.

Intelligence officials told The Washington Times that a Chinese company in Dalian sent 20 tons of tributyl phosphate to North Korea earlier this month. The chemical is believed to be for North Korea's program to turn spent reactor fuel into weapons-grade material.
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E. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
World's Best Topol-M Missile Complexes on Combat Duty in Russia for Five Years Already
Eduard Puzyryov
RIA Novosti
December 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


Monday will mark the fifth anniversary of putting the Topol-M ICBM missile complexes on combat duty in the Strategic Missile Forces. They were placed in the Saratov Region.

The SS-27 Topol-M were equipped with the advanced electronic systems which allow for breaking through the air-defence of the enemy, detecting the target and destroying it. Today the Topol-M complexes score over the similar foreign strategic systems in terms of the most rapid deployment for combat action and its effectiveness.

The Russian troops are still being equipped with such complexes, and designers of defence enterprises are designing missile complexes of a new generation.

While addressing the servicemen of the Strategic Missile Forces on December 17, 2002 - the 43rd anniversary of the corps - Supreme Commander of the Strategic Missile Forces, Lieutenant-General Nikolai Solovtsov said that another regiment equipped with the Topol-M missile complexes will be put on combat duty next year. It will be placed in the garrison of Tatishchevo, Saratov region.

Solovtsov added that the Strategic Missile Forces meets the terms set by the Russian Security Council on the planned putting of such regiments on combat duty.
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2.
Space Carrier Missile "Dnepr-1" Bearing 6 Satellites To Be Launched On December 20
Eduard Puzyryov
RIA Novosti
December 20th, 2002
(for personal use only)


On Friday, December 20th, the space carrier missile "Dnepr-1" bearing 6 satellites will be launched from the space port Baikonur /Kazakhstan/. The calculations for the launch of the missile have been prepared by the testing department of the space port headed by Colonel Vyacheslav Danilchuk, the press-service of the Russian Space Forces disclosed yesterday. "The calculations have been made with the support of the experts from the state bureau "Yuzhnoye", factory "Yuzhmash" /Dnepropetrovsk/, KBSM /Saint Petersburg/", the press service reported.

The space carrier missile "Dnepr-1" was created on the basis of the liquid propellant intercontinental ballistic missile PC-20 /according to the NATO classification - SS-18, "Satan"/, and its reliability index is 0.97, the Space Forces reported.

The space carrier will settle into the orbit 5 small foreign space devices /SD/ weighing 10-15 kg for connection and scientific purposes. These are Italian, Argentinean /2 SD/, Saudi Arabian and German satellites.

Moreover, the space carrier will also launch a life-size mock-up "Trail Blazer", manufactured in Russia. The mock-up is aimed at the development of the method of orbiting heavy payloads. It is planned in the next year to settle into the flight orbit to the Moon a real large-sized SD by means of the space carrier missile "Dnepr-1", the Space Forces reported.
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F. Nuclear Safety

1.
"Greens" and Minatom of Russia will establish a working group to elaborate proposals on foreign SNF import in Russia
Nuclear.ru
December 23, 2002
(for personal use only)


On December 20, 2002, a meeting of the Atomic Energy Minister RF Alexander Rumyantsev and representatives of Russian ecological organizations was held in Minatom of Russia to discuss the ecological and economic aspects of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) import in Russia as well as ecological problems connected with activity of Production Association Mayak. Specialists of Minatom of Russia and the Russian Academy of Sciences participated in the round-table discussion. The Atomic Energy Minister RF Alexander Rumyantsev and the Russian Ecological Policy Center President Alexey Yablokov were the co-chairmen.

Upon opening the meeting the Minister noted that first steps in Minatom and public relations have been already made. "Our meetings have become regular and we hope to continue the dialogue", - said A. Rumyantsev, adding that Minatom of Russia would like to receive real assistance from ecological organizations in arranging discussions of various projects, being realized by the Ministry. In his turn Mr. A. Yablokov noted that in addition to regular meetings it is necessary to work out a mechanism of co-operation between public organizations and the Ministry.

Answering the questions of ecologists on economic, ecological and political aspects of SNF import in Russia, Mr. A. Rumyantsev noted that at present SNF is brought in Russia from Bulgaria and Ukraine, where Russian fresh nuclear fuel (FNF) is also supplied. He also informed that Minatom is conducting negotiation about return of SNF from Hungary, because Russia is proceeding with supplying FNF for the Paksh NPP. As for SNF from Bulgaria and Ukraine, its return is paid at the price of $620/kg of heavy metal from Bulgaria, and approximately $350/kg - from Ukraine.

"Total receipts from realization of SNF supplies in 2002 made up approximately $50 mln", - Mr. A. Rumyantsev said, noting that under the valid legislation 25% of this amount should be sent without fail for implementation of regional ecological programs. However, as it was explained by the Deputy Minister Valery Govorukhin, who was present at the meeting, in foreseeable future the projects connected with foreign SNF import in Russia cannot be implemented because currently 80% of SNF are under the US control, who in their turn cannot grant Russia an admittance for import of SNF being under their control due to a number of reasons. One of them is expiry of the period of validity of the Russian-American intergovernmental agreement on co-operation in the field of peaceful use of atomic energy. The US party does not show readiness to renew the agreement, explaining it by their concern for Russian and Iranian co-operation in construction of the Busher NPP.

Representatives of ecological organizations and Minatom of Russia agreed to establish a working group to elaborate proposals on foreign SNF import in Russia. A similar group will be established to settle radiation and ecological problems, connected with Production Association Mayak activity, in particular, the Techa tandem reservoir system (TRS) problems. Therewith, Mr. A. Rumyantsev reminded once again that Minatom of Russia has already elaborated and is carrying out the program of maintaining the Techa TRS condition, having appropriated 100 million rubles for these purposes, and the same amount will be appropriated annually. The Minister also said that the program of production reconstruction and upgrading is being considered. "According to preliminary assessment its value will make up more than one billion rubles, however the sources of finance are not clear yet", - Mr. A. Rumyantsev said.
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G. Announcements

1.
Transcript of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov Press Conference and Replies to Russian Journalists' Questions (Tokyo, December 18, 2002)
Daily News Bulletin
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
December 20, 2002


Foreign Minister Ivanov: Today we had a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, as well as talks with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi. The focus of this meeting and the talks was on the preparations for the official visit to be paid by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Russia in mid-January, next year. Both sides are very seriously getting ready for this visit. In particular, work is practically completed on the so-called Plan of Action, which must encompass the two countries' cooperation in various fields. It is coordination on the international scene and the political dialogue and economic projects and cooperation in other fields -- culture, science -- and continued negotiations on a peace treaty. This is a unique document, work on which, I stress once again, is practically over. We believe that its endorsement at the highest level in the course of the talks in Moscow should impart additional dynamism to bilateral cooperation and fix the areas in which we give priority to such cooperation.

We also exchanged views on certain pressing international problems: first and foremost, the situation around Iraq, the situation in the Middle East and on the Korean Peninsula.

The talks passed in a very constructive, I would say, benevolent atmosphere. And we count on the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to constitute an important landmark in our bilateral relations.

Question: Did you manage to agree on the political part of the Plan of Action?

Foreign Minister Ivanov: Once again I want to say that the Plan of Action is practically ready, with only small questions remaining of rather a stylistic and technical nature. On all the basic provisions of the document agreement has been reached.

Question: It may be presumed that the Japanese side was interested in North Korea and perhaps urged Russia to lean on the DPRK, to use its influence to make Pyongyang shut down its nuclear and missile programs.

Foreign Minister Ivanov: This topic was discussed. The position of Russia is well known. We are for the nuclear-free status of the Korean Peninsula and for expanding the dialogue among all the concerned parties, primarily, of course, between North and South, in order to resolve all the issues and concerns, including those linked to the missile and nuclear programs.

We consider that a policy of ultimatums and sanctions is hardly the best way to resolve this situation. Russia has been making vigorous efforts to find the necessary solution because the current dynamics might lead this problem to impasse and complicate the state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula further still. We presume that nobody should be interested in this. At least in Japan we sensed there is no such interest. And this is only natural. Indeed, the Japanese side addressed an appeal to Russia to exert its influence in order to try by joint efforts to find a way out of this situation and again set the dialogue on a constructive footing.

Question: Igor Sergeyevich, the United States has taken a decision to start deploying a missile defense in the near future. What is the position of Russia on this?

Foreign Minister Ivanov: The position of Russia is well known. We stated it as the United States unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty. We consider that plans of this kind should not prejudice the security interests of Russia or anybody else. And should not spawn a further arms race. In two days I will be in Washington and, naturally, the US Secretary of State and I will discuss this topic.

Question: If possible, please touch upon the plans of Japan in the field of missile defense. Japan is expressing ever more active readiness to participate in the deployment of a regional missile defense system.

Foreign Minister Ivanov: We hold that creating a theater missile defense on a bloc basis can arouse the concern of other states which will find themselves outside of such systems and, accordingly, this will complicate the situation. Therefore we are in principle for the creation of theater missile defenses, but systems which would be open for all those wishing to participate in them.

Question: Were you able to advance on the political section of the Plan of Action today? If so then in which direction?

Foreign Minister Ivanov: Just now Strana.ru has asked this question and I have just now answered that all the basic questions of the Plan of Action are agreed upon, including the political section. All the questions. There only remain certain technical questions, which we expect to be agreed upon by the end of the week. Thus the document "Plan of Action" will by the end of the week be ready for its submission for the consideration of the leadership of the country.

Question: Have you shared with Strana.ru at least the principal provisions of the political part?

Foreign Minister Ivanov: The document must first be reported to the leadership. Only after its endorsement will we share those provisions with a Strana.ru correspondent and with other media representatives.

Question: Then a second question. Does the Russian side or Japanese have an exact perception of North Korea's nuclear programs and did you exchange any data in the course of today's meetings?

Foreign Minister Ivanov: Neither side has any new data. We orient ourselves to the information which was officially presented by the DPRK. We have no other information in our possession, nor did we receive any other information from the Japanese side.

Question: You mean the statement which was officially circulated and nothing more?

Foreign Minister Ivanov: No, nothing more.

Question: Colin Powell says he is going at the talks with you in Washington to raise the question of the supply of Russian nuclear technologies to Iran, which that country supposedly may use for military purposes.

Foreign Minister Ivanov: The subject of nonproliferation tied to Iran is continually examined in the course of Russian-American consultations at various levels, including the relevant ministries and departments, and so nothing new has occurred here.

Question: That is, Russia has supplied nothing?

Foreign Minister Ivanov: We strictly adhere to all the international rules concerning the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, both with respect to Iran and other countries.
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2.
Statement by the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of The Russian Federation Regarding Step-up of US Attempts to Create a "Global Missile Defense"
Daily News Bulletin
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
December 18, 2002


Moscow is following with regret the step-up of US attempts to create a so-called global missile defense. Now, after its political decision to deploy by 2004 several strategic interceptors with "support" from space, the realization of these plans has entered a destabilizing new phase.

In this connection the Russian side continues to adhere to the assessments which were given by us after the United States' unilateral withdrawal from the cornerstone disarmament ABM Treaty of 1972. Consigning its principles in oblivion may lead only to a weakening of strategic stability, to a senseless new arms race in the world, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and their missile delivery means, and to the diversion of resources from combating the real challenges and threats of today -- above all, international terrorism.

As is known, within the framework of the molding of a fundamentally new relations of strategic partnership, the leaders of Russia and the United States adopted in their latest summit meetings a different -- positive -- program for further deep nuclear arms reductions and for combating terrorism and the spread of WMDs. It is important that in this program of joint actions a noticeable role belongs to our cooperation in a truly needed and real field of nonategic missile defense. Moreover, cooperation both bilateral and multilateral, within the framework of the Russia-NATO Council.

Moscow counts on the United States to pay priority attention to the realization of precisely this strategic partnership program agreed upon at the highest level and to enlist its friends and partners in it, not in a destabilizing race in strategic defensive arms (including in space).
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3.
Press Briefing (excerpt)
Ari Fleischer
The White House
December 18, 2002


Q: Yesterday when you were talking about missile defense and the decision to deploy it, you noted that there had been predictions that doing that would cause relations with Russia to go very sour, and in fact quite the opposite had happened. I think your words were something to the effect that relations with Russia had never been better.

Today, the Russian Foreign Ministry put out a fairly lengthy statement responding to the decision to deploy missile defense, expressing deep regret and saying that it would trigger a new arms race and basically saying that they strongly disagreed with the decision.

Does that cause you to reassess your assessment of the U.S.-Russian relations?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think there is no question that in a relationship that is probably the best in modern times between the United States and Russia, there are areas where there are disagreements and those disagreements have been handled through very patient and quiet diplomacy that has been effective.

But the fact of the matter is that there is a remarkable and historic lowering of the level of offensive weapons that President Bush and President Putin have agreed to. And the President will hope that the Congress and the Senate will make one of its priorities in the next Congress ratification of the Treaty of Moscow, which will prove to the world that at a time when the United States is moving forward with missile defense, we are actually lowering the number of offensive weapons around the world to historic lows.

Q: So you don't see this rather negative reaction out of Moscow as problematic for the relationship?

MR. FLEISCHER: No. As I acknowledge, there are going to be differences in the relationship between nations that are becoming increasingly friendlier, but the facts about whether or not this has led to a buildup of weapons, but just the opposite, as is well known. There actually is an historic reduction of weapons.
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H. Links of Interest

1.
Al-Qa`ida's WMD Activities
Gary A. Ackerman, Jeffrey M. Bale and Kimberly McCloud
Center for Nonproliferation Studies
December 22, 2002
http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/other/sjm_cht.htm


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2.
Agenda for Homeland Security
Senator John Edwards
Brookings Leadership Forum
December 18, 2002
http://www.brook.edu/dybdocroot/comm/events/20021218.pdf


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3.
Reshaping Threat Reduction - New Approaches for the Next Decade
Jon Brook Wolfsthal
Seminar on International Cooperation in the Combat against Nuclear Terrorism and the Role of Nuclear Arms Control
December 17, 2002
http://www.ceip.org/files/projects/npp/pdf/Reshaping%20Threat%20Reduction%20at%20the%20CD.pdf


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4.
What's New in the New U.S. Strategy to Combat WMD?
Peter Lavoy
Strategic Insight
December 16, 2002
http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/rsepResources/si/dec02/wmd.asp


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