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Nuclear News - 10/12/2004
RANSAC Nuclear News, October 12, 2004
Compiled By: Samantha Mikol


A.  Chemical Weapons Destruction
    1. Russia to double spending on disposal of chemical weapons stocks , ITAR-TASS (10/8/2004)
B.  Nuclear Terrorism
    1. U.S. UNDERESTIMATES THE GROWING THREAT OF CRUDE BOMBS, Charles D. Ferguson and William C. Potter, Mercury News (10/10/2004)
C.  Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Unprotected nuclear weapons multiply, United Press International (10/11/2004)
D.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy
    1. Russia Against EU 'Carrots and Sticks' Plan on Iran, Reuters (10/12/2004)
    2. India, Iran � Russia�s important partners � Russia FM, ITAR-TASS (10/11/2004)
    3. U.S. VS. THEM, Dave Hafemeister, San Luis Obispo Tribune (10/7/2004)
E.  US-Russia
    1. Russian Foreign Ministry comments on nuclear disarmament, RosBusinessConsulting (10/8/2004)
F.  Russia-Iran
    1. Moscow says Iran, IAEA should continue cooperation, Interfax (10/11/2004)
    2. Russia advises Iran to meet UN demands, Telegraph Wire Service (10/11/2004)
    3. Russia makes nuclear plea to Iran, Sadeq Saba , BBC News (10/11/2004)
    4. Russian-Iranian cooperation commission to convene in November, Interfax (10/11/2004)
    5. Iran, Russia poised to close deal on Iran's first nuclear power plant, Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Knight Ridder Newspapers (10/10/2004)
    6. Russia against referring Iran nuclear dossier to UN Security Council, AFP (10/10/2004)
    7. Russian FM visits Iran with atomic ambition on agenda, AFP (10/10/2004)
    8. Putin plans to visit Iran, AFP (10/7/2004)
G.  Russia-India
    1. Russia vows increased and hassle free trade with India, India News (10/9/2004)
H.  Nuclear Industry
    1. FROM NUCLEAR ICEBREAKERS TO FLOATING NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS , Yury Zaitsev, RIA Novosti (10/11/2004)
    2. A new generation of atom power, Chicago Tribune (10/10/2004)
    3. Russia's Gazprom to acquire key nuclear firm-paper, Reuters (10/8/2004)
    4. Russia�s Gazprom Seeks to Take Over Key Nuclear Company Atomstroieksport, Moscow News (10/8/2004)
I.  Nuclear Safety
    1. Reactor Parts Stolen From Russian Nuclear Power Plant � Police, Moscow News (10/8/2004)
J.  Official Statements
    1. EIGHTH ANNUAL ASSISTANCE AND PROTECTION WORKSHOP IN BULGARIA, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (10/11/2004)
    2. Outcome of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov's Visit to Iran, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (10/11/2004)
    3. Transcript of Replies by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov to Questions from Russian Media (excerpted), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (10/11/2004)
K.  Links of Interest
    1. Stockpiles Still Growing, David Albright and Kimberly Kramer, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (11/1/2004)
    2. Missile Defence Conference, British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and Demos (10/8/2004)



A.  Chemical Weapons Destruction

1.
Russia to double spending on disposal of chemical weapons stocks
ITAR-TASS
10/8/2004
(for personal use only)


The draft Russian budget for 2005 allocates R11.116bn for the national programme to dispose of stockpiles of particularly dangerous weapons of mass destruction, compared with R5.6bn in 2004, Aleksandr Kharichev, secretary of the Russian State Committee for Chemical Disarmament.

He also said that Wednesday's [6 October] meeting of the state commission in Moscow decided first and foremost to allocate funds for antiterrorist, fire, technological and ecological security in the storage and disposal of the chemical weapons. Priority areas include ensuring reliable operation of the first chemical weapons disposal facility, in the village of Gornyy, Saratov Region. Completion of the first phase of a second chemical weapons disposal facility, in the village of Kambarka, Udmurtia, and the first phase of the third facility, in the village of Maradykovo, Kirov Region, is planned for 2005.

The chairman of the state committee, the Russian president's official representative in the Volga Federal District Sergey Kiriyenko, told the meeting "financial support for the disposal of chemical weapons does not only apply to the Russian part of the programme". "We are trying to increase funding for the programme from our foreign partners, too," he said.


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B.  Nuclear Terrorism

1.
U.S. UNDERESTIMATES THE GROWING THREAT OF CRUDE BOMBS
Charles D. Ferguson and William C. Potter
Mercury News
10/10/2004
(for personal use only)


Is America missing the growing threat of nuclear terrorism?

While Washington focuses largely on the traditional proliferation threat -- of nations in search of highly engineered nuclear weapons -- it has moved slowly to combat a new and more worrisome challenge, of nation-less terrorists who want to acquire and use crude nuclear bombs, and who would settle for a delivery system as common as an ocean freighter.

The chance that a terrorist group could obtain the key ingredient of a nuclear bomb and then produce a less-than-perfect, but usable, explosive is not as far-fetched as many analysts believed even a few years ago. Indeed, if there was one thing the presidential candidates could agree on in their first debate, it was that the No. 1 threat to America's security is nuclear weapons in terrorists' hands. Yet misconceptions, inattention and politics have kept Washington from responding strongly enough, and in a timely fashion.

Traditional thinking about terrorists was that very few would want to carry out an attack using nuclear weapons even if they had the capability to do so. As Brian Jenkins, a counterterrorism specialist at the Rand think tank, observed in 1975, ``Terrorists want a lot of people watching, not a lot of people dead.''

This assessment probably was correct in the past and remains true for most terrorist organizations with clear political objectives. However, it no longer applies to a new breed intent upon inflicting massive violence unrelated to specific political goals.

In March 1995, for example, the apocalyptic terrorist cult Aum Shinrikyo launched a sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway with the goal of killing thousands. Although the chemical attack produced only a dozen fatalities, Aum also sought nuclear weapons. Aum's leader believed using nuclear weapons would usher in an apocalypse.

Since 1994, Al-Qaida operatives have reportedly tried to buy enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons. In late 1998, Osama bin Laden maintained that acquiring such weapons ``to counter those of the infidels is a religious duty.''

Regrettably, misconceptions held by many U.S. (and Russian) policy-makers have impeded timely government responses. These officials have exaggerated the difficulty of terrorists making crude but devastating nuclear bombs.

Policy-makers have, in particular, mistakenly believed that terrorists would seek to design a nuclear bomb that meets the same rigorous military specifications that a nation would require. In fact, the new breed of terrorists primarily wants a powerful weapon regardless of whether it has a predictable explosive yield, is compatible with military delivery systems (such as missiles) or meets stringent safety and reliability standards.

The secrets of nuclear weapon design were revealed long ago. The only significant barrier remains access to fissile material: highly enriched uranium (HEU) or plutonium. If terrorists obtain this material, they can try to build two types of first-generation nuclear bombs.

The simpler type can use only HEU. This gun-type weapon slams one piece of HEU into another to ignite a nuclear explosion. A terrorist organization like Al-Qaida could probably build such a weapon if it had access to less than 100 pounds of weapons-grade HEU. And it wouldn't need sophisticated ballistic missiles; it could deliver the weapon to its target by hiding it in a cargo container on a ship.

The more sophisticated implosion-type bomb can employ either HEU or plutonium. But making this weapon would challenge the abilities of terrorist groups, leading most independent analysts to conclude that HEU presents a much greater risk for terrorist use than plutonium.

Unfortunately, stockpiles of HEU are immense. There are several hundred tons of HEU in Russia alone, and additional tons are scattered throughout dozens of countries -- enough material to make thousands of crude nuclear bombs. And yet the United States has not made securing, consolidating and eliminating HEU an urgent priority.

Although the Department of Energy recently launched an important initiative to address the problem of HEU, the National Security Council and the Department of Defense still appear more intent upon eliminating terrorists than HEU. And even the Department of Energy has yet to develop a realistic plan with adequate financing to accomplish its objectives. Efforts by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., to accelerate the pace and expand the scope of related U.S. non-proliferation efforts also have met with resistance by Congress and have not been championed by the White House.

Could terrorists tap these stockpiles?

To date, treaties and international agreements have concentrated almost exclusively on stopping nations from getting the bomb. But nuclear black-marketeers have increasingly operated outside the bounds of nations, supplying nuclear technology and weapons designs to the highest bidder.

While conclusive evidence that terrorists have exploited the nuclear black market has not emerged, the longer this market continues to operate, the greater the chance that terrorists will employ this clandestine network to acquire HEU or components for building nuclear weapons.

The Bush administration has made matters worse by narrowly defining the principal nuclear proliferation problems in terms of the ``axis of evil'' nations: Iran, Iraq and North Korea. This overly simplistic characterization of the threat and the proposed solution -- ``regime change'' -- not only politicized the proliferation debate at home and abroad, but redirected U.S. intelligence resources away from more pressing nuclear terrorism challenges. For a small fraction of the price tag of the Iraq war, the United States could have secured, consolidated and eliminated many more tons of weapons-usable HEU.

Today, it is likely that the only parties seeking to inflict nuclear punishment on the United States are terrorist organizations. The major obstacle in their path is access to fissile material -- especially HEU.

Unless U.S. government organizations adapt more quickly to the new security environment and treat HEU consolidation and elimination as the highest priority, the next failure of intelligence involving nuclear weapons could be something we all should fear -- terrorists using a crude nuclear bomb.


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C.  Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Unprotected nuclear weapons multiply
United Press International
10/11/2004
(for personal use only)


Four countries that secretly built their nuclear programs against the wishes of the international community now possess more than 400 nuclear weapons, says a report released in Washington Monday.

Two of these unrecognized nuclear states, India and Pakistan, publicly tested their nuclear devices in May 1998. The third, Israel, is still an undeclared nuclear state but has dropped enough hints to let the world know that it has nuclear weapons. The fourth, North Korea, continues to defy U.S.-led international efforts to shut down its nuclear plants.

There is also an exclusive club of five nuclear weapon-states, an internationally recognized status conferred by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which includes the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China.

Since the 1998 nuclear tests, both India and Pakistan have publicly declared their nuclear arsenals, but this status is not formally recognized by international bodies. Neither of the two countries has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

Statistics through December 2003 collected by a Washington-based nuclear watchdog -- the Institute for Science and International Security -- show that India possesses 55-115 nuclear weapons, compared to Pakistan's 50-90. Pakistan also has 1,000-1,250 kilograms of highly enriched uranium or uranium-235 enriched to 20 percent or more.

India also is believed to possess this weapons-grade fissile material, but the report does not reveal how much. India, however, has 300-470 kilograms of plutonium compared to 20-60 kilograms of Pakistan.

Pakistan mainly relies on uranium for making nuclear fuel while India relies on plutonium.

The institute that compiled this report is the same that published a report in 2003 that Pakistan's chief nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan was selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Published a year before Khan's public confession in February, the report caused a sensation in the United States but was rejected by Pakistan as speculative.

The institute reports that military nuclear stocks in India, Pakistan and Israel are continuing to grow and urges the international community to slap a ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons to prevent further proliferation.

Pakistan, India and Israel are placed in the category of de facto nuclear powers. North Korea is listed as an ambiguous state while South Africa is listed as the only country which dismantled its nuclear program. It did so at the end of the Apartheid regime.

According to the report, Israel has 510-650 kilograms of plutonium and has stockpiled 110-190 nuclear weapons. North Korea has 15-38 kilograms of plutonium and 2-9 nuclear weapons. And South Africa, although it dismantled its nuclear programs in the early 1990s, still has a large stock of unirradiated uranium, about 430-580 kilograms.

The institute complains that Israel's plutonium and HEU stocks remain difficult to estimate. Similarly, India may now be producing HEU in significant quantities in a gas centrifuge plant it has been working on for many years, but the surveyors -- David Albright and Kimberly Kramer -- did not have an estimate for India's HEU stocks.

Pakistan's fissile material stockpile, the report says, has always been difficult to assess, but its stock now appears to be large enough to rival that of India.

North Korea has produced separated plutonium in unknown quantities during two periods and may now be enriching uranium, the survey warns.

But the total stockpile of fissile material -- the key ingredient in nuclear weapons -- and weapons of these five countries are still very small compared to what more advanced nations possess. The United States, the first nation to make nuclear bombs in 1945, is believed to posses 10,240 nuclear weapons, Russia 8,400, China 390, France 350 and Britain 200.

Describing these stockpiles as huge, the report says that at the end of 2003 there were more than 3,700 metric tons of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, enough for hundreds of thousands of nuclear weapons, in about 60 countries. Although some fissile material is disposed of, more material is produced, causing the total to grow each year.

This is worrisome not only because the world has yet to come up with an accepted method of plutonium disposition, but also from a security standpoint, says David Albright, one of the surveyors and president of the institute that conducted the survey. (We still don't know) how safe is that plutonium and highly enriched uranium.

The stocks of plutonium and HEU in the world are roughly equal, as are stocks of civil and military fissile material. However, most plutonium is in civilian stocks and most HEU is controlled by militaries.

The world's acknowledged nuclear weapon states hold considerable amounts of military HEU and plutonium. Most of the plutonium and HEU in military stocks are in nuclear weapons, reserves, dismantled weapons, and naval and production reactor programs.

Some military fissile material is being transferred to civil stocks and disposed of in civil programs. Russia, Britain, and the United States have all declared a portion of their military plutonium excess to military requirements. This excess plutonium, about 107 metric tons, has been dedicated to peaceful purposes, but its disposition as fuel in power reactors continues to be delayed. Russia and the United States have also declared excess HEU.

This excess HEU is to be converted into low-enriched uranium, which is less of a proliferation risk. By the end of 2003, Russia had converted 200 metric tons of military HEU into LEU to be used as fuel in nuclear power reactors. The United States had converted about 50 metric tons of its declared excess HEU stock of about 170 metric tons. Each year, roughly 30 to 40 metric tons of military HEU are converted to low-enriched uranium.

The survey warns that total unirradiated civil plutonium stocks are not expected to decrease in the next 15 years. A positive sign is that Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland and likely Germany will reduce their inventories to zero or near zero. Stocks in Britain, Japan, Russia and France are projected to remain large, even though France and Japan expect to use a considerable amount of plutonium as mixed oxide fuel.

About 50 metric tons of HEU were in worldwide civil research and power-reactor programs as of the end of 2003. The use of HEU fuel in research reactors has diminished as a result of extensive cooperative efforts between the U.S. Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactor program and many other governments. The program focuses on developing suitable low-enriched uranium fuels to replace HEU fuel in research reactors.

Every year, the global stock of civilian-controlled plutonium grows by 70-75 metric tons. The growth is in irradiated fuel discharged from nuclear power reactors. As of the end of 2003, about 1,370 metric tons of civil plutonium stocks were in irradiated fuel. About 330 metric tons of civil plutonium were in unirradiated form. The unirradiated plutonium has either been separated in civil power reactor programs or is military material that has been declared excess to defense needs.

But Albright warns that unirradiated plutonium, because it is less contaminated with other radioactive constituents, is more of a proliferation risk than plutonium remaining in irradiated fuel.

However, based on an assessment of the amount of spent fuel reprocessed and the amount of plutonium used in mixed oxide fuel, the report estimates that roughly 235 metric tons of plutonium from power reactors remained in unirradiated form at the end of 2003.

Roughly 15-20 metric tons of plutonium are separated from irradiated power reactor fuel each year, while only 10-15 metric tons of this unirradiated plutonium are made into mixed oxide fuel for use in light-water reactors.

A sobering conclusion is that ... total unirradiated civil plutonium stocks are not expected to decrease in the next 15 years, said Albright.



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D.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy

1.
Russia Against EU 'Carrots and Sticks' Plan on Iran
Reuters
10/12/2004
(for personal use only)


Russia thinks EU proposals for threats and incentives to make Tehran halt sensitive nuclear work would be ineffective, a Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday.

European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to prepare a plan to encourage Tehran to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog in what Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller described as "a package of carrots and sticks."

EU ministers urged Russia, which is building an atomic plant in Iran despite strong U.S. criticism, to join the initiative.

But a source in Russia's Foreign Ministry said it was for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to investigate whether Iran was secretly developing nuclear arms.

"I would not say it is appropriate to advocate the carrots and sticks approach," the source said.

"(Russia's foreign) minister has confirmed our position, stressing that it is in Iran's interests to cooperate with the agency on all these questions. That is our position."

Russia has yet to formally comment on the EU initiative.

Earlier this week Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Iran, Moscow's key partner in the Middle East, for talks insiders said were aimed at persuading Tehran to suspend all sensitive nuclear activities.

Russia's nuclear authority, which has most regular contacts with Tehran and is directly involved in construction of the $800 million Bushehr plant, seemed more upbeat on the EU proposal.

"We are ready to discuss these initiatives. If the European Union is ready to offer something in exchange for more transparency from Iran, then we can only welcome that," said a source at Russia's Atomic Energy Agency.

Russia has long maintained that Iran, accused by the United States of seeking nuclear arms, has an entirely peaceful nuclear program and that it cannot use Moscow's atomic know-how to make weapons. Iran says the same.

Nevertheless Russia's stance on Iran toughened last month after Tehran threatened to defy a call by the IAEA for it to stop work on enriching uranium -- a process that can be used to develop nuclear weapons.

The IAEA board is due to meet on Nov. 25 in Vienna to decide whether to refer Tehran to the U.N. Security Council, where Moscow has a permanent seat and veto rights.

The Bushehr project is a major irritant in Russia's ties with the United States, which has called on Moscow to ditch it.


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2.
India, Iran � Russia�s important partners � Russia FM
ITAR-TASS
10/11/2004
(for personal use only)


India and Iran are �two important partners of Russia,� Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said here on Monday. �Our approaches to many problems are close or coincide,� he emphasized.

Speaking on the results of talks in India and Iran, Sergei Lavrov noted that �economic issues were discussed in New Delhi.� �We agreed to speed up the preparation to a meeting of the intergovernmental committee due in November,� the minister pointed out. �The meeting will allow to prepare the package of agreements to the upcoming Russian-Indian summit,� he remarked.

Sergei Lavrov voiced the hope that �a meeting of the similar Russian-Iranian committee will be held by the yearend.� The sides exchanged views on the Iranian nuclear programme in Tehran. The Russian foreign minister welcomed Iran�s decision to freeze the uranium enrichment programme. �Agreements on investment cooperation and interaction in the fight with drug trafficking were prepared at the talks in the Iranian capital,� he indicated.


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3.
U.S. VS. THEM
Dave Hafemeister
San Luis Obispo Tribune
10/7/2004
(for personal use only)


Upon returning to San Luis from teaching in London, several friends asked me about the mindset of the British on U.S. foreign policy. They wonder if the British (and the rest of the European Union) are concerned about changes in U.S. global policies.

They sought my views because I worked on proliferation policy and on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for the State Department (under Presidents Carter and Reagan), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (working with George H. Bush on START and on five other treaties) and the National Academy of Sciences (as study director on "Beyond START").

Our European friends have long been pro-American, even during tough times during the Vietnam War, but this is not true today. There is great anger between Europe and the United States. By a wide majority (about 4 to 1), the British are angry with Tony Blair for joining the United States in the war in Iraq.

At its recent gloomy convention, Labor recognized that Blair will survive as he is faced with weak opposition in the other parties. Labor is unhappy, but it will block Gordon Brown to avoid fratricide. Tory leader Michael Howard was told he could not come to the White House because of his attacks on Tony Blair on the Iraqi war. Of course Howard realized this before he asked to come, but he knew his rejection would score points in Britain.

The danger for the United States is that the Bush policies are so unpopular on the streets that it is difficult for elected officials to support the U.S. If more troops are needed in Iraq, they will not be many more British troops. This is not new news, but I think we should try and understand some of the causes for these feelings.

Rather than give a shopping list of reasons to explain EU mistrust, I will examine just one issue, the coupling between the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the capstone proliferation document and the nuclear Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Proliferation rogues

The global nonproliferation regime is under attack because of actions by other countries and because of actions of the United States. The axis of evil (Iraq, Iran, North Korea, which were Clinton's "rogue states") cheated, but the successes of the NPT far surpass its losses. Thus far, only North Korea has built a couple of viable nuclear weapons, but many other nations started to make weapons and changed their minds (South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Libya, Brazil, Sweden, Belarus/Ukraine/Kazakhstan and more). India, Israel and Pakistan are not in the NPT.

This is a two-way street, as it is difficult to constrain 185 nations to give up sovereignty to not build nuclear weapons and to allow inspections at all their nuclear power plants. This is something the United States would never do.

Without the NPT, the world would be in trouble because there would not be an international norm on nuclear proliferation. The five nuclear weapon states (China, France, Russia, U.S., U.K.) realized this danger when the NPT was going to expire in 1995.

In order to extend the treaty for all time, the five weapon states agreed to one key condition required by the 185 nonweapon states. These 185 nations said they would not extend the NPT unless all nuclear weapons tests by all NPT members were forbidden for all time.

Because of this, the five nuclear weapon states all agreed to comply, and not test anymore nuclear weapons. Three of the five weapon states (U.K., France, Russia) ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (171 signatories), while China awaits U.S. ratification before it will ratify. The U.S. Senate defeated the CTBT by a 51-48 vote in 2000 along party lines, and President Bush has stated he does not support the CTBT.

Since then, a National Academy of Sciences bipartisan classified study concluded that the CTBT was robust and verifiable to the extent that it matters (I was the technical staff lead).

On Dec. 8, 2003, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution urging all nations to maintain the nuclear-testing moratorium, urging all nations to sign the CTBT and urging all nations that had signed the CTBT to ratify it.

The gap between the United States and the rest of the world could not be more apparent. The vote in the General Assembly was 173 in favor, 1 against (United States) and four abstentions (Columbia, India, Mauritius, Syria) with Iraq and North Korea absent. The important connection between the CTBT and the NPT is not understood by the U.S. populace, as we are unaware of the international diplomatic unhappiness on this issue.

Many NPT parties have privately concluded that the United States is in violation of its NPT commitments. This is based on the fact that we sell nuclear submarine missiles to Britain and nuclear-capable aircraft to Israel. In addition, Britain uses our Nevada test site. Lastly, the United States is developing new nuclear weapons (robust earth-penetrating warheads and mini-nuclear weapons).

For these reasons, the last NPT review conference ended in shambles because the diplomats are aware the United States is acting above the rules. The U.S. public is not aware that these actions undercut the global nonproliferation effort.

Multilateral vs. unilateral

President Bush stated that the United States doesn't need permission to do what it considers necessary to defend America. This is true, but constraining the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is more complicated since it requires cooperation of essentially all nations. The first serious report on proliferation was written by the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment in 1977, with this still relevant conclusion:

"In the long run two general rules apply: (a) Solutions to the proliferation problem will have to be found primarily, though not exclusively, through multilateral actions, and (b) the extent of U.S. influence will vary from country to country."

The United States is not working with the international community on new arms control treaties that would constrain it and allow inspectors on our soil. The United States is only interested in working on new agreements that constrain other countries.

On July 25, 2001, the United States, acting alone, withdrew from considering the verification protocol to the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, which has prevented further consideration of international inspections to constrain anthrax and small pox weapons. In addition, the United States rejected the Landmines Treaty, the International Criminal Court and the rejection of verification provisions for the Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty.

Make no mistake about it, the citizens of the United Kingdom and Europe are highly critical of America. Europe is concerned that the United States, acting alone in the future, will not always be a benevolent democracy. Europe is concerned that our emphasis on intentions of other nations can be politicized, because we ignore nuclear weapons in the hands of our non-NPT friends (Pakistan and Israel).

Europe is concerned that the United States undercuts multilateral arms control, endangering cohesive world stability. Europe is concerned that the U.S. translates "might" into "right" since the U.S. constrains others and not itself. I will gladly debate these issues in a public forum.


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E.  US-Russia

1.
Russian Foreign Ministry comments on nuclear disarmament
RosBusinessConsulting
10/8/2004
(for personal use only)


The announcement voiced by US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker on his concern about Russia's not meeting its obligations of nuclear disarmament seems to be absolutely incorrect, Official Representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko announced at a press conference in Moscow.

These initiatives are being carefully implemented, Yakovenko added. In May 2004 Moscow reported on the dismantling of over than 50 percent of Russia's stock of ballistic nuclear warheads, ground-to-air missiles and tactical nuclear weapons. Russia continues cutting back on its weaponry. Moscow had almost completed the implementation of its initiatives within the framework of the disarmament program.

Unlike in the US, all of Russia's weapons are located with its national borders. All of Russia's weapons are secured, and this fact guarantees their safety. "There is no reason for the concerns voiced by Rademaker," Yakovenko emphasized.


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F.  Russia-Iran

1.
Moscow says Iran, IAEA should continue cooperation
Interfax
10/11/2004
(for personal use only)


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed Moscow's position regarding cooperation between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"An exchange of opinions on Iran's nuclear program took place in Teheran. We have confirmed our position, stating that cooperating with the IAEA on these issues would be in Iran's interests," Lavrov told journalists in the Iranian city of Isfahan on Monday.

The IAEA board of governors accepted a resolution in September that calls on Iran to complete negotiations on remaining issues, Lavrov said.


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2.
Russia advises Iran to meet UN demands
Telegraph Wire Service
10/11/2004
(for personal use only)


Russia urged Iran yesterday to act on a United Nations call to suspend sensitive nuclear work that could be used to make atomic bomb material.

Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister, said on a visit to Teheran: "It is better if Iran listens to the [International Atomic Energy] Agency's call. This is better for everyone."

America wants Iran's case to be sent to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions if it has not complied by late November. Iran said yesterday it was ready to give whatever assurances were required to show that it would not use nuclear technology to make atomic weapons.

But Kamal Kharrazi, the foreign minister, said the world should accept Iran's right to a peaceful nuclear electricity programme.

"Nuclear technology, including enriching uranium, is Iran's right," he said.

"But at the same time Iran is ready to review all the proposals with which it can assure the international community that Iran's nuclear programme has no military purposes."


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3.
Russia makes nuclear plea to Iran
Sadeq Saba
BBC News
10/11/2004
(for personal use only)


Moscow says it wants to press ahead with its co-operation.

Russia has urged Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment programme in order to avoid possible sanctions from the UN Security Council.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would continue nuclear co-operation with Tehran if it complies with the UN nuclear agency (IAEA).

In its meeting last month, the IAEA called on Iran to suspend its nuclear fuel cycle.

The US accuses Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The Russian foreign minister's visit to Tehran is widely seen as a mission to convince Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment programme as required by the IAEA.

Russia has been helping Iran to build its first nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr.

Presidential visit

Despite increasing pressure from Washington to abandon the project, Moscow has insisted that it is determined to press ahead with its nuclear co-operation with the Islamic Republic.

But Russia is now concerned that if Tehran does not comply with the IAEA's ultimatum to suspend the uranium enrichment activities by the end of November, Iran could be referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

At his press conference in Tehran, Mr Lavrov said Moscow was against such a measure. Any sanctions against Iran would threaten the $800m (�445m) Bushehr deal.

Russia is also keen to continue its lucrative economic relations with Iran, a key partner for Moscow in the region. It is believed that if Mr Lavrov's mission to Tehran is successful, Mr Putin may visit the country afterwards.

Construction of the Bushehr power plant has been severely delayed for other reasons. But now the Russian foreign minister and his Iranian counterpart say their countries are close to signing a deal on the supply and return of nuclear fuel for the plant.


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4.
Russian-Iranian cooperation commission to convene in November
Interfax
10/11/2004
(for personal use only)


The Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission for trade and business cooperation will hold its fifth session in Moscow in late November, a spokesman for the Russian Federal Nuclear Power Agency told Interfax.

"The agenda for the commission's session will involve issues of bilateral cooperation in the fuel and energy sector, peaceful nuclear energy projects, transport, trade and other issues," the spokesman said.

He did not rule out that "at the session of the Russian-Iranian intergovernmental commission, Russian Federal Nuclear Power Agency head Alexander Rumyantsev and Iranian Economic Affairs and Finance Minister Seid Hosseini may discuss the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant."


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5.
Iran, Russia poised to close deal on Iran's first nuclear power plant
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson
Knight Ridder Newspapers
10/10/2004
(for personal use only)


Russia and Iran are on the verge of closing an $800 million deal to start up Iran's first nuclear power plant, the countries' foreign ministers announced Sunday.

Such a deal would be a major blow to U.S.-led efforts to derail Iran's nuclear program, which many suspect is intended at least in part to make nuclear weapons. Iranian leaders deny any atomic ambitions, although Iranian scientists are developing technology that could be used to make highly enriched uranium for weapons.

At a joint news conference in the Iranian capital, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he and his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi, ironed out their differences over providing fuel for Iran's first reactor near the southern port city of Bushehr. The two also discussed international concerns over Iran's nuclear program and ballistic missile technology.

"We talked about some kind of commitment that this (missile technology) will not lead to other things," Lavrov said in Russian. He didn't elaborate.

The Bush administration has repeatedly pressured Russia to abandon the deal with Iran, which has ties to Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups and is believed to be harboring some members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network.

Lavrov, however, dismissed U.S. efforts to take the case against Iran to the United Nations Security Council if Tehran fails to curb some elements of its nuclear program. He said such efforts aren't "constructive."

But Lavrov refused to say whether Russia would use its veto power to block any U.N. attempt to sanction Iran.

"We would be expecting the cooperation between Iran and the agency to continue," he said. "To start thinking of some scenarios, which I don't believe are constructive, is premature to put it mildly, and maybe even counterproductive."

Iran faces a Nov. 25 deadline from the International Atomic Energy Agency to agree to widen its suspension of uranium enrichment. That includes making centrifuges, converting yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride gas to fuel nuclear reactors and constructing a heavy water reactor.

Iran has refused to comply, and Kharrazi reiterated his country's stance on Sunday. But he left the door open to more intensive international inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities, saying the Islamic Republic was "ready to adopt the kind of mechanisms to prove that it will not go down the path to nuclear weapons."

Uranium enrichment and other fuel cycle work are allowed for peaceful purposes under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran, which is a signatory to the treaty, insists that it will use nuclear power only to meet growing domestic energy needs and free its huge oil and gas reserves for export.

While Lavrov said it was "in Iran's and everyone's interest" to suspend enrichment activities, he saw "no link" between that and helping Iran build its first nuclear plant and providing fuel for it.

The contract had been held up for several months amid disputes over money and returning radioactive spent fuel. On Sunday, Lavrov said the deal would be signed "in the near future."

At this stage, any remaining issues are "technical, not political, between our atomic agency and Russia's atomic agency," Kharrazi said.

Iranian authorities had planned to start operations at the Bushehr plant by mid-2004, providing 1,000 megawatts of power, enough to supply 1 million homes.


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6.
Russia against referring Iran nuclear dossier to UN Security Council
AFP
10/10/2004
(for personal use only)


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said here Sunday that Moscow was opposed to seeing Iran referred to the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme, warning such a step could be "counter-productive".

"To start thinking of any scenario which is not constructive to our point of view is premature and could be counter-productive," Lavrov said at a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharazi.

"We will be expecting the cooperation between Iran and the IAEA to continue," added Lavrov, who is in Tehran for two days.

He was responding to a question over whether Russia would use its veto power at the Security Council if Iran was referred to the body by the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Russia is currently helping Iran build its first nuclear power station in the southern city of Bushehr and is under almost daily diplomatic pressure from the United States to abandon the 800-million-dollar deal.

Russia has said on several occasions that it will continue its nuclear cooperation with Iran as long as the nation complies with the IAEA.

But on September 18, the IAEA board called on Iran to "immediately" widen a suspension of enrichment to include all uranium enrichment-related activities.

Iran has so far refused to do so and is facing a November 25 deadline. It risks being referred to the Security Council, something the United States has been pushing for.

The US alleges Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

While Lavrov said it was "in Iran's and everybody's interest to suspend enrichment" activities, he gave no sign that Russia was willing to back away from the lucrative Bushehr deal.

On the provision of nuclear fuel, a deal that has been held up for several months amid a dispute over pricing and the return of spent fuel, Lavrov said he now expected a contract would be signed "in the near future".

And he said he saw "no linkage" between the deal and the November 25 deadline set by the IAEA.

For his part, Kharazi reiterated the regimes refusal to give up its work on the nuclear fuel cycle, but added Iran was "ready to accept all mechanisms to give proof that there is no deviation of the Iranian nuclear programme."

But the international community has been demanding more than that.

The European Union's so-called Big Three -- Britain, France and Germany -- would like Iran to give up its work on the nuclear fuel cycle, a process that can be used to make fuel for atomic energy or nuclear weapons.

Fuel cycle work is permitted under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Iran is a signatory, if for peaceful purposes. Iran insists it only wants to generate nuclear power to meet growing domestic energy demands and free up its huge oil and gas resources for export.

Officials in Moscow said last week that Lavrov's visit could also finalise a visit to Iran by Putin "in the foreseeable future".

During his visit, Lavrov is also due to discuss a series of economic projects with Iran as well as possible ways of cooperating to fight international terrorism.

Later Sunday he was also due to meet Iran's top national security official and nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani.



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7.
Russian FM visits Iran with atomic ambition on agenda
AFP
10/10/2004
(for personal use only)


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Tehran Sunday for talks expected to focus on Iran's stand-off with the UN's nuclear watchdog and possible preparations for a visit here by the Russian president.

Lavrov, who will be in Tehran for two days, is lined up for talks with his counterpart Kamal Kharazi as well as Iran's top national security official and nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani, officials here said.

Russia is currently helping Iran build its first nuclear power station in the southern city of Bushehr, but is under almost daily diplomatic pressure from the United States to abandon the 800-million-dollar deal.

But Moscow is also eager to see Iran cooperate with demands from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has called on the Islamic republic to suspend certain sensitive aspects of its nuclear programme.

Iranian non-compliance with the IAEA demand to widen its suspension of uranium enrichment-related activities could see the country hauled before the UN Security Council, a step that would threaten the Bushehr deal.

Russia has said on several occasions that it will continue its nuclear cooperation with Iran as long as the nation complies with the IAEA.

The US alleges Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies, and wants Iran referred to the security council in November.

Officials in Moscow said last week that Lavrov's visit could also finalise a visit to Iran by Russian President Vladimir Putin "in the foreseeable future".

During his visit, Lavrov is also due to discuss a series of economic projects with Iran as well as possible ways of cooperating to fight international terrorism.


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8.
Putin plans to visit Iran
AFP
10/7/2004
(for personal use only)


Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to visit Iran where Russia will continue to assist in development of a civilian nuclear program, a senior Russian official said here Thursday.

"We do not have a concrete date for a visit by the president to Iran, but there is a firm agreement with the Iranian side that this visit will take place in the foreseeable future," Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit Tehran for two days starting Sunday for talks with Iranian official that could finalize details for a trip there by Putin, Alekseyev told reporters at a briefing.

Iran is under mounting international pressure to suspend uranium enrichment activities until its nuclear program is investigated thoroughly by independent experts, and Russia is also being squeezed for assisting in its development.

Russia has called on Iran to comply strictly with all demands from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but Alekseyev rejected suggestions that Moscow should suspend its work in Iran's civilian nuclear program.

"We are working and will work with Iran in the area of nuclear development for civilian purposes," Alekseyev stated. "It has no importance whether there is pressure or not."

During his visit, Lavrov was due to discuss a series of economic projects with Iran as well as possible ways of cooperating to fight international terrorism.

"We could imagine a new document in which Russia and Iran could express their unacceptance of international terrorism and their decisive rejection of terrorist acts," Alekseyev said.


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G.  Russia-India

1.
Russia vows increased and hassle free trade with India
India News
10/9/2004
(for personal use only)


Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov today told Indian business leaders that his country would make all efforts to increase bilateral trade between the two countries. India and Russia also decided to give a thrust to revive mutual trade and investment, which has suffered since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Trade between the two nations currently stands at 1.5 billion dollars a year, one tenth of trade between Russia and China.

Lavrov had on Friday already announced that Moscow is interested in joint ventures with India in energy, biotechnology and information technology. He also said that the Russian deputy prime minister will reach New Delhi next month for the inter- governmental commission on trade and culture. "We in Russia will do whatever we can to remove the objective difficulties in Russian-Indian trade and economic cooperation. We cannot be satisifed that our trade turnover which is about 1.7 billion dollars amounts only to 1.5 percent of the global trade over of each of our countries. It is a very low figure," Lavrov told the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in New Delhi.

"Definite strides being made by both Russia and India in the economic development process have opened up many new vistas for economic cooperation between our two countries," added Sunil Kant Munjal, CII president. Lavrov, has already had extensive parleys with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and foreign minister Natwar Singh vowing to take stock of issues relating to new investments in the fields of science and technology, IT, oil and gas exploration and nuclear power plants.

The two sides also discussed bilateral and regional issues, including ongoing peace talks between India and Pakistan plus Afghanistan, West Asia and Iraq. They also decided to strengthen cooperation in the fight against global terrorism.


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H.  Nuclear Industry

1.
FROM NUCLEAR ICEBREAKERS TO FLOATING NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
Yury Zaitsev
RIA Novosti
10/11/2004
(for personal use only)


Russia is the only country that has a fleet of civilian icebreakers and Russian nuclear icebreakers have successfully operated in the Arctic for more than 40 years. The first nuclear reactor for the Lenin icebreaker was developed from 1954 to 1955 and the vessel was launched in 1959. From 1975 to 1992, seven more nuclear icebreakers and ocean-going container carriers were built from 1975 to 1992. The 50 Let Pobedy icebreaker is now being completed. Also, new generation nuclear reactors are being developed for ice-breakers that will be launched after 2015.

Floating nuclear power plants are also being contemplated.

Russia had produced and operated several hundred floating nuclear reactors. The long-term operation of these reactors has confirmed their high level of reliability and durability, including during emergencies.

For Russia such stations are especially actual for regions of the Far North and the Far East. Russia has excellent ship reactors and today, the developers of the reactors are trying to utilize these reactors' unique science, technological and industrial potential in the civilian nuclear power industry, including as low-capacity nuclear power plants for northern Russia and the Far East, where conventional nuclear power plants cannot be used because of the high cost and long duration of construction.

The studies that Russian nuclear specialists and shipbuilders have done show that there is a real possibility of using ship reactors to commercially produce heat and electricity. These reactors can be either on land or water. Because of Russia's knowledge base and designs, these reactors can be developed in a relatively short time and Russian enterprises can manufacture them in 4-5 years.

A floating nuclear power unit's steam generator and steam turbine can be installed on a barge or several pontoons. A floating nuclear power plant has already been developed to provide heat to Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk region. This project is included in the federal target program "Energy Efficient Economy for 2002-2005 and the Prospects until 2010." The Federal Nuclear Safety Service has provided licenses for the construction and installation of these power plants.

Many developing countries have expressed interest in jointly develop small-capacity floating nuclear power plants to desalt water. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the development of innovative small and medium-capacity reactors would be instrumental in having nuclear technologies meet consumer demand.

The possibility of countries, which can produce large barges and that have advanced machine-building companies, participating in the construction of floating nuclear power plants is another advantage of Russian technology. At the same time, Russia will control all nuclear power units. Consequently, an international consortium involving many countries could be formed to mass produce and operate these power plants.

Russia's experience operating and maintaining a nuclear fleet makes it possible to minimize the maintenance and operation expenses of floating nuclear power plants as well as the skill required to service the plants, which is especially important for less developed countries.


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2.
A new generation of atom power
Chicago Tribune
10/10/2004
(for personal use only)


Federal regulators have extended the operating licenses of 26 nuclear generating plants around the country past their original life expectancies. Applications for extensions for another 42 plants are pending or expected. Exelon Corp., which owns Commonwealth Edison of Illinois, says it intends to seek license extensions for all or most of the 10 nuclear power plants it owns.

The reasoning behind the decisions to prolong the life of these plants is fairly simple: They're safe and their construction costs have been paid, so they're relatively cheap to operate.

And yet, while the U.S. is extending the life of the last generation of nuclear plants, the notion of building new nuclear facilities is all but forgotten. It's time for that to change.

That is, it's time for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to prune the bramble of regulations that has effectively prevented construction of nuclear plants in the U.S. for almost 30 years. What began as prudent federal oversight has turned into the near destruction of an industry by endless government regulation and litigation brought by environmental groups.

There's a clear reason to revive the nuclear industry: The U.S. needs the juice. Between 1993 and 2003, electricity use of all types nationwide increased by nearly 20 percent, according to the Edison Electrical Institute. By 2020, the U.S. will need an estimated 40 percent more energy. Nuclear power must be part of the mix.

Nuclear power construction in the U.S. has been stymied by safety and environmental concerns--some reasonable, others not--stemming from the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. But while new construction all but stopped in the U.S., other countries continued to upgrade and expand their nuclear generating capacity.

France now has 59 reactors that generate nearly 80 percent of its electricity. Belgium gets 55 percent of its electricity from nuclear power and Sweden 49 percent. The U.S. generates only 20 percent of its electricity from the 103 reactors operating in the country. The U.S. uses coal to generate approximately half of its electricity.

Countries like France have concluded that every energy source has its financial costs and environmental liabilities and that--all factors considered--nuclear is a desirable option.

Oil has to be imported--to a large extent from politically unstable parts of the world--and is also expensive. Coal pollutes and relies, in some instances, on strip mining. Prices of natural gas, which has its own environmental problems, fluctuate. To build a pipeline to tap natural gas sources in Alaska will be enormously expensive. More exotic sources--wind and solar power--ought to be part of the mix, but they have their own drawbacks and have failed to be placed into widespread use.

A study released in August by the University of Chicago pointed out that with the help of federal loan guarantees and investment tax credits, the cost of nuclear plant construction would approach that of coal- and gas-fired plants. Congress should promote such incentives.

If stringent policies against the release of greenhouse gases are eventually imposed on coal-fired plants, or carbon capture and sequestration strategies don't turn out to be effective, the study says, nuclear power generation could become fully price-competitive with fossil fuels.

An important step to revive nuclear energy has to be for Congress to break the impasse over construction of a national repository for nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

President Bush approved the Yucca Mountain site on Feb. 15, 2002, and Congress ratified his decision that summer. By the end of 2004, the Department of Energy is expected to request an operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Brace yourself for more lawsuits and delays.

Right from the start, the building of a repository at Yucca Mountain has been politicized beyond all science or reason. During his first campaign, President Bush promised to study the science and safety considerations regarding the repository, and ultimately gave the go-ahead. Now, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has vowed to put the kibosh on construction of the repository.

The latest twist in the saga to open Yucca Mountain illustrates how absurd the nuclear power debate can get. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set a standard to guarantee that waste at Yucca Mountain would be stored safely for 10,000 years. Responding to environmental groups and state officials, a three-judge appeals court ruled in July that the EPA must use an even higher standard, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. That could make it impossible to build a repository that meets government requirements. Congress can establish that a 10,000-year standard be used, and it should do so.

Meanwhile, there are some faint signs of life for the nuclear construction industry. Last year, three utilities, including one in central Illinois, were preparing applications to build new reactors, a sign of an industry coming back from the edge.

Environmental organizations argue that the government does a poor job of regulating older nuclear plants and that most of them ought to be shut down. They also cite concerns about national security, the threat that terrorists would attack a nuclear plant or obtain nuclear material here.

All legitimate concerns, but all answerable. The nuclear industry has learned a great deal about safety and reliability over the decades. And the concerns about nuclear power must be weighed against the various safety and environmental concerns about drilling for oil and gas, strip mining for low-sulfur coal and using high-sulfur coal from underground mines.

The country's demand for electricity is going to grow dramatically. The U.S. must revive the nuclear option.


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3.
Russia's Gazprom to acquire key nuclear firm-paper
Reuters
10/8/2004
(for personal use only)


Russia wants gas monopoly Gazprom to extend its reach into nuclear power by taking over a company that builds atomic power stations outside Russia, Vedomosti daily said on Friday.

The move comes as the Kremlin seeks to create a web of control over the strategic energy sector through Gazprom, the world's biggest gas company.

The nuclear company, Atomstroieksport, is one of the pillars of the Russian nuclear industry. It builds reactors only outside Russia and has an order book of $3 billion. It is constructing a nuclear reactor in Iran -- a project the United States says Tehran can use to acquire atomic arms.

Gazprom is due to take over state oil firm Rosneft soon in a stock-funded deal, which will enable the state to regain control over the gas company lost in the 1990s.

Chief Executive Alexei Miller, a close associate of President Vladimir Putin, also said this week Gazprom had built strategic stakes in national power group UES and in Moscow's regional utility in its bid to become a fully integrated energy group.

Vedomosti quoted a source close to Atomstroieksport as saying Gazprom subsidiary Gazprombank would soon take over the company by buying 54 percent of its shares from firms linked to Russian machinery giant OMZ.

The remainder belongs to state companies controlled by Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, or RosAtom. Vedomosti said the transaction had been completed and that Gazprombank may sell the shares to firms linked to RosAtom in the future.

IRAN

A source in RosAtom could not confirm the deal but said the government had been trying to regain OMZ's shares.

"Our position is that a strategic company like that should belong to the government, and I can confirm that we've been working on that for some time," the source told Reuters.

"This is an area where the government has to make strategic and political decisions.

"Atomstroieksport is Russia's key builder of nuclear reactors, and that is of course being done within the framework of international agreements, and the government is responsible for that," the source added.

Atomstroieksport's contruction of the Bushehr nuclear station in Iran is a major irritant in Russia-U.S. relations. Moscow has defied U.S. pressure to ditch the project in Iran, a country Washington believes wants weapons of mass destruction.

A Gazprom spokesman declined to comment.

Officials from OMZ, whose general director Kakha Bendukidze is also Georgia's economy minister, were not available for comment.


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4.
Russia�s Gazprom Seeks to Take Over Key Nuclear Company Atomstroieksport
Moscow News
10/8/2004
(for personal use only)


Russia wants gas monopoly Gazprom to extend its reach into atomic power by taking over the country�s sole exporter of nuclear technology, the Reuters news agency quoted Russian officials and media as saying on Friday, Oct. 8.

The move comes as the Kremlin seeks to create a web of control over the strategic energy sector through Gazprom, the world�s biggest gas company.

Nuclear firm Atomstroieksport, with an order book of $3 billion, is one of the pillars of Russia�s nuclear industry. One of its projects, a nuclear reactor in Iran, is a major irritant in Moscow�s relations with Washington, which says Tehran can use it to acquire atomic arms.

The Vedomosti daily quoted a source close to Atomstroieksport as saying Gazprom subsidiary Gazprombank would soon take over the firm by buying 54 percent of its shares from firms linked to Russian machinery maker OMZ.

An OMZ spokesman confirmed OMZ was preparing to sell its stake but could not name the buyer. He said OMZ itself owned about 20 percent in Atomstroieksport. Gazprom officials declined to comment.

The remainder of the nuclear reactor builder belongs to state companies controlled by Russia�s Federal Atomic Energy Agency, or RosAtom. Vedomosti said the transaction had been completed and that Gazprombank may sell the shares to firms linked to RosAtom in the future.

Gazprom is due to take over state oil firm Rosneft soon in a stock-funded deal, which will enable the state to regain control over the gas company lost in the 1990s.

Chief Executive Alexei Miller, who is close to President Vladimir Putin, has also said Gazprom has built strategic stakes in national power group UES and in Moscow�s regional utility in its bid to become a fully integrated energy group.

A source in RosAtom said the government had been trying to regain OMZ�s shares for months.

�Our position is that a strategic company like that should belong to the government, and I can confirm that we�ve been working on that for some time,� the source told Reuters.

�This is an area where the government has to make strategic and political decisions. Atomstroieksport is Russia�s key builder of nuclear reactors, and that is of course being done within the framework of international agreements, and the government is responsible for that,� the source added.

Moscow, Iran�s close political partner, has long defied U.S. pressure to ditch construction of the Bushehr reactor in a country Washington believes wants weapons of mass destruction.

Atomstroieksport is the successor of a nuclear export company set up in Soviet times to assist Moscow�s allies in building nuclear reactors. Apart from Iran, it is also building two nuclear reactors in China and one in India.

OMZ�s general director, Kakha Bendukidze, is also Georgia�s economy minister. Analysts said the deal would not have a major impact on OMZ�s results because it does not consolidate Atomstroieksport, which made a 2003 loss.



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I.  Nuclear Safety

1.
Reactor Parts Stolen From Russian Nuclear Power Plant � Police
Moscow News
10/8/2004
(for personal use only)


Three valves have been stolen from the Leningrad nuclear power plant near St. Petersburg, the Interfax news agency reports.

The agency cited a source in the Interior Ministry�s Main Directorate for St. Petersburg City as saying that the valves were stolen on Thursday night. The price of the stolen devices was reported at 700,000 rubles (about $24,000).

Police have detained the driver who is suspected of transporting the valves from the power plant, the source said.

A group of investigators are currently working at the power plant trying to establish how the parts were stolen. Not only Lenengrad power plant is a top security site, but it is also located in the area close to the Finnish border and the security regime is even stricter there.


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J.  Official Statements

1.
EIGHTH ANNUAL ASSISTANCE AND PROTECTION WORKSHOP IN BULGARIA
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
10/11/2004
(for personal use only)


The Government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) jointly organized the Eighth Annual Workshop to Coordinate Assistance and Protection under Article X of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which was held in Sofia, Bulgaria from 4 to 8 October 2004.

Officials and experts from National Authorities from relevant government ministries and from the chemical industries, representing 26 Member States, attended the workshop, which was opened by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Bulgaria, H.E. Mrs Lydia Shouleva, who is also the Head of the National Authority of the Republic of Bulgaria, and the Director-General of the OPCW, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter.

As foreseen by Article X of the Convention, all 166 States Parties to the Convention enjoy the right to request the mutual assistance and protection of their fellow States Parties should any State Party suffer a chemical attack or be threatened by chemical weapons. The participants at the Workshop are all associated with offers to deliver assistance to Member States and used this opportunity to review proposed procedures and mechanisms for coordinating the delivery of assistance and for finding practical solutions to such matters as logistics, training in the use of protective equipment, and procedures to ensure the timely delivery of assistance.

In her opening address to the Workshop, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, H.E. Mrs Lydia Shouleva, stated that "the Eighth Workshop will develop further the overall aim and develop detailed measures for diminishing the possible threats or the consequences from the use of chemical weapons. I also believe that the development of effective and transparent national action plans for protection against chemical weapons, as well as the implementation of a coordinated approach in timely delivery of assistance in the event of use of chemical weapons, will reduce to a minimum the danger of terrorists using such weapons."

The Workshop serves to improve both the national capacity to protect civilian populations, as well as to enhance the Organisation�s ability to respond effectively should a request for assistance and protection be made. OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, emphasized that these two aims were the key principles guiding assistance and protection under Article X. The Director-General affirmed that this "positive security guarantee will be an indispensable part of the Convention for as long as chemical weapons exists, for as long as States remain outside the Convention, and for as long as the threat of use of these weapons by terrorist groups continues to cast a shadow over our lives."



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2.
Outcome of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov's Visit to Iran
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
10/11/2004
(for personal use only)


Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov made a working visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran on October 10-11. As part of the trip, the head of the Russian foreign affairs agency held talks with his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi, and also met with Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of Iran Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rouhani.

At the meetings and talks there was continued the exchange of views on a broad spectrum of issues in bilateral Russian-Iranian cooperation and of international and regional problems. The sides emphasized the good-neighborly character of relations between Russia and Iran, developing in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Treaty on the Foundations of Mutual Relations and Principles for Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and expressed mutual interest in the deepening of the multifaceted partnership, regarding it as a weighty factor of stability and security in contiguous regions.

There was especially noted the similarity of the sides' positions on countering terrorism and the threat of drugs. Moscow and Teheran favor a uniting of international efforts in the struggle against this evil, proceeding from the need for open and honest, without double standards, cooperation by all states of the world in the struggle against terror.

In discussing issues linked to the Iranian nuclear program, Sergey Lavrov spoke for solving them in the framework of cooperation by the IRI with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The prospects for cooperation in the Caspian, in a bilateral format and in the framework of the Caspian Five, were thoroughly examined.

The ministers devoted much attention to the problems of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The sides discussed the situation in Afghanistan, specifically the presidential elections held there, and pointed out the urgency of the tasks involved in the preparation and timely holding of parliamentary elections. Russia and Iran intend to continue rendering all-out assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Touching on the question of the future of Iraq, Lavrov and Kharrazi noted the necessity to reach a national consensus with the participation of all the Iraqi political forces as the most important condition for a lasting stabilization in the country. It was in this context that the sides reaffirmed their support for convening an international conference on Iraq, which is scheduled for the end of November and in which they will take an active part.

The ministers also discussed the situation around Middle East settlement, underscoring the necessity of implementing the appropriate decisions of the United Nations.

A discussion of bilateral trade-and-economic ties figured prominently at the talks. The sides spoke for holding the next regular meeting of the bilateral Commission on Commercial and Economic Cooperation.


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3.
Transcript of Replies by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov to Questions from Russian Media (excerpted)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
10/11/2004
(for personal use only)


[�]

Question: What could you add on the results of your trip to India and Iran?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: In the course of my repeated meetings with media representatives over the last few days I already spoke in detail about the results of my talks in New Delhi and Teheran. Briefly I shall add that India and Iran are important partners of Russia, with whom Moscow has established many-sided relations and cooperation, as well as a dialogue on regional and international problems.

Our approaches to what the system of international relations should look like are close or coincide: we are for reinforcing the central role of the UN and strengthening the collective elements in world affairs.
Touching on the theme of Russian-Indian relations, I would like to say that with the Indian friends we discussed the entire range of bilateral economic ties. We agreed that it is necessary to substantially increase their investment component and shift from trade in and exchange of primary goods to cooperation in the field of high technologies, to the realization of joint projects in this field and to the building up of cooperation in the energy and other growth areas. We expect that the next regular meeting of the Intergovernmental Russian-Indian Commission on Commercial, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation in November of the current year will help prepare a solid package of documents for the upcoming visit of the President of Russia to New Delhi at the beginning of December.

In Teheran agreement was also reached to speed up the convocation of the bilateral trade-and-economic commission, meetings of its cochairmen are due. A number of agreements are prepared for signature, including a treaty on mutual protection of investments, and a memorandum on the fight against illegal drug trade. Moreover, many contracts between Russian and Iranian companies are at the concluding stage of negotiation. In case of intensification of the work of the appropriate departments, concrete results can be expected before the end of the year from the meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission and from the professional vigor of Russian and Iranian business people.

At the talks in Iran an exchange of views on the Iranian nuclear program was continued. This question is being discussed at the IAEA Board of Governors, which in September adopted a resolution calling upon Iran to definitively clarify the questions that the IAEA still has concerning Teheran's previous nuclear activities. The resolution also contains an appeal to the Iranians to continue the commitment they have voluntarily assumed to freeze their uranium enrichment program. We reaffirmed our position, emphasizing that it is in the interest of Iran to cooperate with the Agency on all these issues.



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K.  Links of Interest

1.
Stockpiles Still Growing
David Albright and Kimberly Kramer
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
11/1/2004
(for personal use only)
http://www.isis-online.org/global_stocks/bulletin_albright_kramer.pdf


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2.
Missile Defence Conference
British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and Demos
10/8/2004
(for personal use only)
http://www.basicint.org/nuclear/NMD/2004demos.htm


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DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for the technical accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.

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