A Duty to Prevent, Lee Feinstein and Anne-Marie Slaughter , Foreign Affairs (1/1/2004)
A. HEU Purchase Agreement
1. Russia Delivered 200 Tons Of Uranium To US Over 10 Years
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Moscow, Jan 14 (RIAN) Russia has delivered to the United States more than 200 tons of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium over the past ten years since the signing of a contract between the two countries.
The agreement was concluded on January 14, 1994 by the US Enrichment Corporation (USEC) and the Russian foreign trade company, Tekhsnabexport for the implementation of the agreement, signed between the governments of the two countries, on the use of highly enriched uranium extracted from nuclear weapons, Ria Novosti reported today.
The contract stipulates the delivery of low-enriched uranium (NOU) produced at the enterprises of the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry from the highly enriched uranium (VOU). In the United States, the low-enriched uranium is being used as fuel for atomic power plants.
According to the Russian company, at present about 10 per cent of energy is being generated in the United States by burning fuel on the basis of the Russian NOU.
Russia has received more than 4 billion dollar under this contract, the Russian news agency said.
Last year, the sum from the NOU realisation made up about 10 per cent of all planned non-tax Russian budget revenues. These means are being used to finance the programmes of enhancing the security of the Russian atomic power plants, conversion of defence production processes and ecological purification of impure territories.
In addition, according to the company's data, numerous jobs in the Russian atomic energy industry and in the related industries, which ensure the necessary infrastructure for the fulfillment of the contract, have been created and are being maintained.
The United States, according to the terms of this contract, returned to Russia almost 25,000 tons of natural uranium over the past ten years. This can ensure the raw materials requirements of the Russian atomic energy industry in the course of several years.
Russia should deliver to the USA 500 tons of VOU in compliance with this contract, signed 20 years ago.
1. Russia Set To Scrap Decommissioned Submarines Despite Funding Shortage
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Deputy Russian Atomic Energy Minister Sergei ANTIPOV on Russian-Western co-operation to scrap decommissioned nuclear submarines.
Russia now dismantles about 17 to 20 decommissioned nuclear submarines every year. Experts working for the nation's Atomic Energy Ministry believe that these optimal rates will be maintained in 2004. Indeed, the Government supported this position at its last session in late 2003, because it would be imprudent to proceed with unnecessary speed in this extremely dangerous and responsible sphere.
Over the last five years, 94 submarines have been dismantled, while another 99 nuclear submarines are awaiting the same fate at their quays on the Barents Sea and the Okhotsk Sea. Indeed, plans are in place to scrap all the decommissioned submarines by the year 2010.
I know that the Russian and international public are above all worried about the future of those submarines, which are continuing to rust away in the salt water. However, I want to assure everyone that decommissioned submarines are being monitored accordingly. Each vessel has its own skeleton crew, which assesses all the required ship-safety parameters, including nuclear-environmental safety measures.
Why does Russia have so many decommissioned submarines? This extremely difficult and unprecedented problem dates back to the Soviet period. During the Cold War, the nation's leaders did their best to attain nuclear-missile parity with the United States. Consequently, they reinforced the country's military potential, without paying much attention to long-term aspects. In all, 250 nuclear submarines were launched, with 25-year service lives, on average. However, no one had any misgivings about their future.
The political climate changed in the mid-1980s, when Mikhail Gorbachev launched his perestroika drive. The Kremlin then ordered its top brass to cut the nuclear submarine fleet by three-fourths. Between 15 and 20 submarines were supposed to be scrapped every year, but the available technical infrastructure could only handle 3-4 submarines. Western and eastern Russian ship-repair factories had accumulated 138 decommissioned submarines by 1998. Many of their hulls were corroded, while 124 submarines still had their nuclear weapons onboard.
In May 1998, the Government adopted a special resolution on scrapping nuclear submarines and reclaiming high-radiation naval facilities. The Atomic Energy Ministry, rather than the Russian Navy, was ordered to coordinate and supervise this programme. This was no coincidence, as the main problem is connected with shutting down the submarines' reactors and ensuring their safe storage. Moreover, operation-and-maintenance consequences must be dealt with accordingly. The Atomic Energy Ministry then opted for a co-production arrangement to scrap decommissioned submarines on a large scale, involving R&D agencies and industrial enterprises in this work.
The submarine-dismantling process includes some highly complicated operations, which are fraught with radiation, chemical and toxic risks. Expensive safety measures have to be implemented; in fact, top-priority projects in this field cost an estimated $4 billion, which is why Russia is so eager to accept foreign aid.
In 2004, two billion rubles in federal-budget appropriations will be set aside for that purpose (one dollar costs about 29 rubles - Ed.) Consequently, Moscow will be able to scrap 15 submarines, while even more submarines will be dismantled if the country receives foreign funding. As a rule, Russia's overseas partners agree to finance specific projects at their own discretion, i.e. they allocate money for submarine-dismantling operations, spent-fuel containers or container trains. In reality, though, the submarine-recycling programme has much broader implications. For example, the country lacks specialised coastal facilities for storing nuclear-reactor fuel, which is between five and even 50 times richer than nuclear power plant fuel. The lack of such facilities compels our specialists not only to cut out reactor, but also two neighbouring compartments, after which, the submarines are then kept afloat with pontoons. German partners are now helping build fuel compounds in the Murmansk region's Saida estuary. The German side provides material, technical and intellectual assistance.
The Atomic Energy Ministry has teamed up with three independent Russian organisations to compile a strategic plan to encompass all aspects of the scrapping process, while highlighting their sequence. For their own part, financial donors held a conference in London in mid-December 2003 and approved this proposed master plan.
MOSCOW, January 15 (Itar-Tass) - Veteran submariners of the Northern and Black Sea fleets have come out in defence of admiral Gennady Suchkov who is being blamed for the sinking of the K-159 nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea on August 30, 2003.
In a letter to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov (the copy of this document was received by Itar-Tass on Thursday), the veterans recall that admiral Suchkov, the former Pacific Fleet commander, was assigned to the Northern Fleet in December 2001. ï¿½All his guilt consists in the fact that in such a short period of time he failed to change a situation that had been reigning in the fleet and to establish proper order,ï¿½ the former submariners wrote.
The decommissioned K-159 submarine sank when it was being towed from Gremikha base to the town of Polyarnyi for scrapping on August 30, 2003. Only one out of nine K-159 crewmen survived the accident.
The Severomorsk military garrison court launched a hearing into the criminal case. Admiral Suchkov and several other Northern Fleet officials are facing trial.
1. New Luizit-Disposal Technologies Tested In Gornyi
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MOSCOW, January 15 (Itar-Tass) - Two new domestic methods of destroying luizit have been tested at a chemical disposal plant in Gornyi village, the Saratov region. Alexander Kharichev, an adviser to Sergei Kiriyenko, the presidential envoy in the Volga Federal District and the chairman of the Russian State Commission for Chemical Disarmament, told Itar-Tass on Thursday that two ecologically safe technologies allowing to dispose of this hazardous toxic agent had been tested on the luizit destruction conveyer since the end of November 2003.
ï¿½The experiments have helped to explain why luizit is being destroyed at a slower rate that mustard gas. All luizit stocks in Gornyi will be liquidated by a pre-set date before 2005. By that time, all yperite-luizit mixtures that are now being kept in storages will be liquidated,ï¿½ Kharichev went on to say.
Kharichev also said that the successful testing of luizit-disposal technologies in Gornyi would make it possible to start the liquidation of its production in the arsenals of Kambarka and Udmurtiya where nearly 16 percent of 40,000 tons of Russian chemical weapons stocks are being stored.
Asked to comment on the possibility of changing deadlines for liquidating chemical weapons in Russia, Kiriyenkoï¿½s adviser replied that a state commission would discuss the issue at a meeting in the first ten days of February. A wide range of experts and scientists will take part in the discussion.
Kharichev assumes that the deadlines may be changed, and Russia may finish dismantling its chemical weapons earlier than 2012.
1. U.S. Worries About Influence Of Russian Security Services
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WASHINGTON -- The United States is concerned about the growing influence of security services in Russia, which has complicated cooperative programs designed to keep nuclear materials from extremists, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.
Linton Brooks, undersecretary of energy for national security, said legal liability issues over possible accidents have also interfered with U.S. programs to secure and eliminate Russia's vast store of Cold War nuclear materials.
But at a briefing for reporters, Brooks, who also heads the National Nuclear Security Administration, said his agency was working around the roadblocks with Russia as it accelerated post-Sept. 11, 2001, efforts there and elsewhere to guard against nuclear "terrorism."
The Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration was created three years ago to reduce threats to U.S. national security by closing or redesigning foreign plants making nuclear bomb fuel and improving security at decrepit and porous nuclear facilities, among other steps.
Much of the nonproliferation work involves Russia, which along with the United States is the major source of the fissile material that is the fuel for nuclear bombs.
While Washington has worked with Moscow on the nuclear issue since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s, Brooks said access to Russian sites remains a problem.
"There is no secret that many of us in the United States are worried by what we see is the growing influence of security services in the Russian Federation," he said.
Conservative by nature, these services create "pressures ... to give greater emphasis to denying access in the name of security than to facilitating access in the name of cooperation," he said.
While this is a "real problem ... we are finding creative ways to meet Russian concerns," he said.
Brooks also said the United States wants to bring highly enriched uranium to Russia for safekeeping and convert reactors to low-enriched uranium that is unusable in weapons but this hinges on negotiations with other countries and a Russian environmental review.
2. U.S. Fears ï¿½Manipulationï¿½ of Russian Legal System in Joint Nuclear Security Efforts
Global Security Newswire
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WASHINGTON ï¿½ ï¿½Manipulationï¿½ of the Russian legal system is among the factors behind a U.S.-Russian standoff over liability provisions in agreements on securing nuclear material in Russia, a top U.S. nuclear security official said yesterday (see GSN, Sept. 22, 2003).
The United States and Russia are stalemated over the scope of the liability exemption U.S. officials and contractors should receive while conducting U.S.-Russian programs to secure Russian nuclear materials and technology. Concerned about the possibility of Russian prosecution of the U.S. officials and contractors, Washington is seeking total U.S. exemption from liability.
ï¿½The Russian legal system is not yet free from manipulation,ï¿½ National Nuclear Security Administration head Linton Brooks said yesterday when asked about the dispute. In a rare discussion with reporters, Brooks cited a friend imprisoned in Russia for ï¿½normal reportingï¿½ and the bankruptcy scandal around the oil and gas company Yukos, in which the company today alleged ï¿½a form of blackmail by tax authorities.ï¿½
The United States is seeking to impose liability language such as that found in the 1992 cooperative threat reduction ï¿½umbrella agreementï¿½ ― which, unlike related texts, contains no exception to liability exemption in case of a deliberate act such as sabotage ― as the standard in all such agreements. Summing up the U.S. position yesterday, Brooks said, ï¿½The Russian Federation should provide indemnity against liability resulting from accidents and problems [that extends to] deliberate acts of individuals.ï¿½
The key question behind U.S. concerns, according to one U.S. official familiar with the situation, is, ï¿½Whatï¿½s a premeditated act?ï¿½
ï¿½If something goes wrong, the Russians can say, ï¿½That was a premeditated act.ï¿½ ï¿½ The Russians have this exception, and if something goes wrong ― you know, someone could say Chernobyl was a deliberate act,ï¿½ the official said.
The two officialsï¿½ remarks echoed comments last month by Brooksï¿½ deputy for nonproliferation, Paul Longsworth, who told a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars gathering that NNSA is concerned about the integrity of the Russian legal system. ï¿½We donï¿½t want to subject our companies to that,ï¿½ said Longsworth.
The liability dispute last year allowed two 1998 agreements governing nuclear cleanup activities to lapse: the Nuclear Cities Initiative agreement and the Plutonium Science and Technology agreement. Both agreements stipulate that U.S. officials and contractors are not exempt from liability for damages and injuries arising from premeditated acts (see GSN, July 25, 2003). Washington and Moscow have agreed to continue existing projects under the Nuclear Cities Initiative agreement, but no new projects can be started (see GSN, Sept. 19, 2003).
The United States allowed the two agreements to expire, said Brooks, because ï¿½we were unwilling to suggest to the Russians that we were prepared to back off this important position of principle.ï¿½ Brooks expressed hope that a replacement for the NCI agreement can be reached ï¿½soon,ï¿½ based on some resolution of the liability dispute.
In a Dec. 2 interview for the Arms Control Association publication Arms Control Today, released today, Brooks said ï¿½soonï¿½ in the context of the liability talks with Russia means a ï¿½single-digit number of months.ï¿½ He added in the same interview that claims that the Bush administration is using liability as an excuse to end programs already targeted for termination are ï¿½nonsense, just absolutely nonsense.ï¿½
ï¿½Once solved,ï¿½ Brooks told Arms Control Today, ï¿½we will revive, if you will, the Nuclear Cities agreement. It will be formally a new agreement, but it will be the same Nuclear Cities program, with liability solved. Once itï¿½s resolved, we will continue plutonium disposition. So what youï¿½re seeing is the clash of competing values. We want the programs to go forward. We want adequate liability protection. Particular agreements turned out to be the ones that happened to expire in 2003.ï¿½
Dispute Holding Up Plutonium Disposition Facility Construction
A ï¿½more seriousï¿½ situation, Brooks said yesterday, involves the 2000 Plutonium Management and Disposition agreement, which contains no liability provisions at all. The 2000 agreement was to have provided the basis for design and construction of plutonium disposition facilities first explored under the aegis of the 1998 Plutonium Science and Technology agreement.
Brooks said yesterday that it would be ï¿½impossibleï¿½ to build a Russian plutonium disposition facility unless liability was worked out under the 2000 text. He expressed hope that an agreement can be reached ï¿½soonï¿½ but voiced resignation that ï¿½a little bit of patienceï¿½ is often necessary when dealing with Russia.
The 2000 agreement was reached with the understanding on both sides that a liability protocol would be worked out later, but U.S.-Russian differences over liability have so far prevented agreement on such a protocol.
ï¿½The 2000 agreement is not finished in the sense that there needs to be a liability protocol before itï¿½s done. ï¿½ Here we are down to the point where we want to start the basic design work for the industrial facilities, and the relevant agreement ï¿½ is not finished yet,ï¿½ said the U.S. official familiar with the situation.
3. Pentagon Inspector Finds Risk of Russian Noncompliance With U.S.-Funded Disarmament Efforts
Global Security Newswire
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WASHINGTON ï¿½ Following on warnings issued twice before, a U.S. Defense Department agency has found that there continue to be risks that Russia will not fully cooperate on a number of nuclear and chemical weapons destruction activities with the United States (see GSN, Dec. 10, 2003).
The report, released last month by the Pentagonï¿½s Office of the Inspector General, says the United States should have negotiated agreements delineating more specific Russian responsibilities regarding the activities.
ï¿½DOD could have better managed the risks associated with those projects had it negotiated implementing agreements that better defined Russiaï¿½s requirements, thus making Russia more responsible for the storage and elimination of Russian weapons of mass destruction,ï¿½ it says.
The projects are paid for through the Defense Departmentï¿½s Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which funds the dismantlement and secure storage of former Soviet weapons of mass destruction. The CTR program has faced steady criticism from its detractors since its 1991 inception, including congressional criticism last year over instances in which Russia did not uphold agreements (see GSN, May 29, 2002).
The report also says management controls over the Cooperative Threat Reduction program still are ï¿½not adequate to ensure that facilities constructed to aid Russia in the storage and destruction of weapons of mass destruction were used for their intended purpose.ï¿½
In a letter responding to the report, Undersecretary of Defense for Technology Security Policy and Counterproliferation Lisa Bronson wrote, ï¿½In general we agree with the conclusions of the report.ï¿½
According to the report, Russia might not fully use a fissile material storage facility the program has paid to construct.
While construction of the facility was scheduled for completion in December, Russia still has not committed to providing the amounts and types of fissile materials for which the facility was designed, the report says.
Further, there are no agreements yet to obtain fissile material from Russiaï¿½s Defense Ministry.
ï¿½As such, DOD does not have adequate assurance that Russia will provide or store any amount or types of eligible fissile materialï¿½ in the storage facility, it says.
Bronson responded that the Defense Ministry is responsible for less than 40 percent of the material intended for storage at the facility. The remaining material could come from the Atomic Energy Ministry and possibly from commercial sources, said Paul Walker, an expert at Global Green USA.
There also are risks that Russia could rescind land allocation for a chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuchye, the report says (see GSN, Nov. 24, 2003). Additional risks cited by the report include:
* Potential delays in obtaining design approvals for the facility that could cause construction schedules to slip and costs to climb;
* the possibility that Russia will not use a designed bituminization building for the facility ï¿½ bitumin is a type of asphalt in which neutralized chemicals are encased for long-term storage; and
* the chance that operation of the facility will be suspended or terminated because of environmental laws.
In two previous reports, the inspector general cited two instances in which Russia did not follow through on Cooperative Threat Reduction program agreements. Those reports said that Russia had not used a missile fuel disposal facility and had halted a solid rocket motor disposition project because it could not obtain a land allocation, wasting $95.5 million and $99.7 million respectively.
ï¿½The two current CTR projects ï¿½ are at risk of meeting the same fate as [the] two other CTR projects that we reported on,ï¿½ the latest report says.
It says the Defense Department had spent $372.8 million to design and construct fissile material containers and their storage facility and $203.9 million on the chemical weapons destruction facility as of July 2003.
ï¿½But Russia may not fully utilize those items to store fissile material and destroy chemical weapons,ï¿½ the report says.
Responding to Pentagon criticism last year, Pentagon officials said they would take measures to ensure better Russian compliance with program agreements, which were signed prior to the current administration.
Bronson said Pentagon officials have worked ï¿½diligentlyï¿½ to secure legally binding commitments for long-term monitoring of materials at the fissile materials storage facility and to mitigate chemical weapons destruction risks.
Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Kuenning, who until last October served as director of Cooperative Threat Reduction program, said last month that current U.S. emphasis on negotiating more specific agreements has slowed up cooperation with Russia and advocated greater high-level political support for the program.
Walker of Global Green said pinning countries down on specifics could be unrealistic given the complexity of disposition activities, including the ever-present potential for local public opposition.
ï¿½I think on the whole itï¿½s important to have the details specified up front as much as one can on major investment projects in Russia,ï¿½ he said.
ï¿½But I think you also have to be realistic as well. When you look at these projects in the United States, for example, open burning or open detonation of missiles or deconstruction of major weapons systems or specifically the destruction of chemical weapons, the projects change almost month-to-month. There are always technical glitches, permitting glitches, and sometimes management mistakes made,ï¿½ he said.
ï¿½A certain degree of flexibility is needed over the long term,ï¿½ he said.
1. Russia, China: Common Stances On North Korea Situation
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NOVOSIBIRSK, January 16. (RIA Novosti-Siberia correspondent Natalia Reshetnikova). The leadership of the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China hold a common position on the situation around the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov said on Friday in Novosibirsk.
We are coming out for a nuclear-free status of the Korean Peninsula and are contributing to the creation of conditions which will guarantee the region's security," the Minister said. He noted that China and Russia - the two countries which have common borders with North Korea - are maintaining close cooperation on this issue. It is difficult, in Ivanov's opinion, to put this position into the language of appropriate agreements.
"We are interested for the Korean peninsula to be a region of stability, prosperity, with no danger of conflict emanating from it," the Minister stressed.
"Within the framework of the six-party negotiating mechanism Russia is contributing to the establishment of a dialogue between the USA and North Korea, " the Russia foreign minister said.
2. Moscow Hopes For Soonest Resumption Of Six-Sided Talks On Korean Problem
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BEIJING, January 15, 2003. /RIA Novosti correspondent Sergei Zelentsov/. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov expressed hope for the soonest resumption of six-sided talks on the Korean problem.
"Now we are holding active consultations on this problem both in bilateral and multilateral formats. I hope the consultations will result in agreements letting hold the next six-sided meeting on this problem," the Russian Foreign Minister said in Beijing on Thursday.
According to him, "the sooner it happens, the better". "Time is highly important in this issue, but the contents is in the first place," he added.
Igor Ivanov took part in a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Beijing. The meeting was held in the Russian and Chinese languages, he said. "I like that many of my counterparts speak Russian. This is an important factor which helps to solve many problems" of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Russian Foreign Minister noted.
3. Russia, China Foreign Ministers Discuss NKorea Nuclear Problem
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BEIJING, January 14 (Itar-Tass) - The foreign ministers of China and Russia, Li Zhaoxing and Igor Ivanov are discussing the situation around the North Korean nuclear program on Wednesday.
The Russian foreign minister arrived at the Diaoyutai state residence for talks with his Chinese colleague right after arrival in the Chinese capital from Ulan-Bator.
The two ministers will also discuss prospects for the development of bilateral cooperation and major international problems.
The current level of the Russian-Chinese relations ï¿½without exaggeration can be called the best in history,ï¿½ the Russian foreign minister said. In his words, ï¿½The Chinese-Russian partnership is now one of major factors both of regional and global security and stability.ï¿½
The ministers will sign a schedule of consultations between the two statesï¿½ foreign ministries for 2004, comprising about 50 items.
On Thursday, Ivanov will attend an extraordinary meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) comprising, besides Russia and China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The main event of the day will be the official opening of the SCO Secretariat whose first executive secretary will become Chinaï¿½s Zhang Deguang.
The foreign ministers of SCO member states will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Commander-in-chief of the Air Force of Russia Vladimir Mikhailov announced that Russia's Ministry of Defense would resume the flights of the Tu-160 strategic bombers.
"The Tu-160's flights will recommence on January 16-17," he said.
The flights of the Tu-160 were discontinued on September 18, 2003 when the Mikhail Gromov strategic bomber crashed in the Saratov Region (the Middle Volga area), returning from a mission.
It was the first case of this kind during 17 years of the Tu-160's operation. Four crewmen perished in the crash. The aircraft did not carry any combat arms. The task of the flight was "to test the aviation equipment" after the replacement of an engine.
"As the investigation found out, at a height of 1,200 m the fuel tanks got destroyed, fragments of the aircraft's design then separated, and a fire emerged, which caused the loss of the bomber," the Aviation Flight Safety Service of Russia's Armed Forces (SBP VVS) reported.
"Despite the fact that the pilots left the falling aircraft, the shock wave destroyed elements of the rescue system, specifically the cupola, which caused the death of the crewmen," the SBP VVS officials noted.
The Tu-160 crew was recommended for decoration with state awards.
2. Russia Does Not Have Enough Modern Weapons And Military Hardware, Says Defense Minister
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OMSK, JANUARY 15, 2004. (RIA NOVOSTI). Russia does not have enough modern weapons and military hardware, defense minister Sergei Ivanov said at the meeting with the leaders of the Siberian Federal District.
As far as conventional weapons are concerned, we do not have today enough modern arms patterns and military hardware. We often hear: give money, new hardware and the situation in the troops will improve cardinally. This is a dangerous illusion, Ivanov said.
According to him, the shortage of the means is not the only and not the main problem in the army's development. It is not enough to have modern hardware and means for exercises, flights and so on. It is necessary to know how to use this equipment smartly, the minister pointed out.
Ivanov believes that the psychology of the transitional period, when a commander faced one task only - to survive at any cost even losing the necessary combat readiness and fighting efficiency. Now, this situation is inadmissible, the minister stressed. When assessing the possibility of the state to finance the defense ministry in the near future we can speak only about the stage-by-stage re-armament of the army and navy although the volume of financing is steadily growing, Sergei Ivanov pointed out.
The minister also stressed that even in these difficult conditions Russia managed to preserve and strengthen the nuclear shield. A regular regiment equipped by the latest missile complex "Topol-M" was placed on combat duty on December 21, 2003.
3. Russia: Military-Oriented Government Contracts To Exceed $5 Bn, Says Defence Minister
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OMSK, January 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian government contracts with the military-industrial complex for the year have been approved to a total 148 billion roubles, or US$5.13 billion-far more than the year before, said Sergei Ivanov, Russian Defence Minister, as he was addressing the media in Omsk, Siberia.
Though Russian military expenditures have been steadily rising within the previous four years, they have always made the same 2.6% of the gross domestic product, he stressed.
An overwhelming part of government military-oriented contracts for 2001 and 2002 concerned R&D to design weaponry whose manufacture will start five to ten years later, said the minister.
If Russia is real serious about updating its arsenals, it will have sooner or later discard arms of Soviet design. However effective and reliable that weaponry might be, the day demands high-tech precision arms- in particular, space-based complexes, missile installations and pioneer communication technologies.
Russia will never again have military-oriented industrial companies working solely on government contracts, reassured the minister. The military-industrial complex is getting through a reform. Its most promising field belongs to holdings, which manufacture diverse items, civil-oriented among them. The arrangement is beneficial in many aspects. In particular, the Defence Ministry will greatly gain when it has to do with a holding instead of dispersing money among many industrial companies. The holdings will have independent deals with their contractors and subcontractors.
The now active Almaz-Antei holding, engaged in anti-aircraft defence R&D and manufacture, is a graphic example of the promising pattern, said Sergei Ivanov.
4. Russiaï¿½s Tu-160 Strategic Bombers Take Off Again
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MOSCOW, January 15 (Itar-Tass) - The Tu-160 strategic bombers deployed at the airfield in Engels, Saratov region, will restart flights on Friday, according to Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, Colonel-General Vladimir Mikhailov.
All flights of the Tu-160 bombers were suspended after a strategic bomber crashed in the area of the Stepnoye village on September 18, 2003.
General Mikhailov said the cause of the crash should be seen in the 1997 instruction forbidding pumping liquid nitrogen into the fuel tanks of the Tu-160 bombers if they have been filled with less than 50 metric tons of fuel.
Adverse weather conditions alone can prevent the resumption of Tu-160 flights, said a source in the General Staff of the Air Force.
The Tu-160 bombers are regarded as the worldï¿½s best in their category. They have been manufactured in series since 1984 and were placed in service in 1986. The Russian Air Force operated 15 Tu-160 strategic bombers before November 2003. They can carry 12 strategic cruise missiles each; one planeï¿½s average payload is 22 metric tons.
All these bombers are in service with the 37th aviation army of the Air Force.
5. Russia Resumes Flights Of Tu-160 Strategic Bombers
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MOSCOW, JANUARY 14. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- In the end of this week Russia will resume flights of Tu-160 strategic bombers, Vladimir Mikhailov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force, has said. The interval is caused by the crash of one Tu-160 last September in the Saratov region in the east of European Russia. The bomber, carrying no combat weapons, was performing a check flight after replacement of its power plant. Four crewmen have died in the catastrophe.
At the Wednesday news conference in Moscow, the commander-in-chief also said that cause of the catastrophe has now been established. As fuel is used, large cavities are formed in the fuel tanks, explained the general. At an altitude exceeding four kilometers, the low pressure may flatten the fuel tanks. To avoid this, the cavities are filled with liquid nitrogen in flight. In the crashed bomber, the system of filling the fuel tanks with liquid nitrogen failed and the tanks collapsed at the high altitude, said the general. There was no guilt of the crew in the crash, stressed the commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force.
1. Russia's Nuclear Power Plants Reliable And Safe In 2003
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MOSCOW, JANUARY 16. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- In 2003 nuclear power plants of the Rosenergoatom concern worked reliably and safely, general director Oleg Saraev has said.
"No events exceeding norms of nuclear or radiation safety have happened at the Russian nuclear power stations", he assured.
"The safe operation of nuclear power units has increased power generation at nuclear power stations. In 2003 their volume of electricity generation was 148.6 billion kilowatt/hours, or 6.3 percent more than last year", he continued. The rate of growth of electricity generation by nuclear power plants, in line with the programme Russia's Energy Strategy Until 2003, is exceeding almost two times that in the conventional sector.
In 2003, at Russia's total electricity production about 890 billion kilowatt/hours, Rosenergoatom contributed over 16.5 percent /15.7 percent last year/. By 2020 the national electricity production will stand at 1,175 billion kilowatt/hours, nuclear power plants contributing 330 billion kilowatt/hours.
According to Oleg Saraev, the current growth of electricity generation by nuclear power facilities enables the annual replacement of over 40 billion cubic meters of gas in the electricity sector. The rate of gas replacement is up to 3 billion cubic meters annually. By 2020 the replacement of gas due to the operation of nuclear power plants will reach 100 billion cubic meters a year.
2. Power Unit Of Balakovo NPS Shut Down Due To Malfunction
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MOSCOW, January 15 (Itar-Tass) - Power Unit 4 of the Balakovo nuclear power station (BNPS) in Saratov region was shut down by automatic process safety devices on Thursday morning, an official at the press center of the Rosenergoatom company has told Itar-Tass.
The company spokesman said, "The said power unit was shut down in keeping with the safety rules for the operation of Russia's nuclear power stations". Following the rectification of the defect, "the nature of which is being ascertained by a special commission set up at the BNPS, the power unit will resume operation in about 24 hours' time," he specified.
"For the duration of the shutdown period, electric power to the towns and settlements of the Privolzhsky District is being supplied by the region's stand-by power facilities. At present, the other three operating power units of the BNPS have an aggregate generating power of 3,080 megawatts," the company official pointed out. "The radiological situation in the observation zone and in the BNPS area has remained unchanged," he said.
3. Russia Says 'No' to Nuclear Fusion Plant in Japan
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Thursday declined Japanese pleas to back Tokyo's bid to host a disputed nuclear fusion reactor as the global contest for the multi-billion project threatened to hurt relations among the participants.
Japan and France are vying for the right to build the world's first such reactor, but the six members of the joint venture have so far failed to agree on the site. The plant would generate energy the same way the sun does.
Russia and China favor the French site of Cadarache. South Korea and the United States -- in a move seen in Paris as a bid to punish it for opposing the U.S.-led war in Iraq -- back Japan's fishing village of Rokkasho.
Japanese Science Minister Takeo Kawamura was in Moscow on Thursday for closed-door talks with Russia's nuclear top brass, but was given a firm 'no' mixed with diplomatic politeness from the Russian side, a source in Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry said.
"Our position is clear. They haven't been able to convince us, although we were really nice to them today," the source told Reuters after talks between Kawamura and Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev.
"The French site is cheaper and thus more acceptable."
The decision on the $12 billion project, due to be taken by consensus among the participants of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), has been postponed until February.
Russia's staunch refusal could undermine the recently warming relations between Moscow and Tokyo. The two countries remain technically at war, with Russia refusing Japan's demand to return four small islands in the Far East seized in the final days of World War II.
Nuclear fusion has been touted as a solution to the world's energy problems, as it would be low in pollution and could theoretically use seawater as fuel.
Fusion involves sticking atomic particles together as opposed to existing nuclear reactors and weapons which produce energy by splitting atoms apart. Fifty years of research have so far failed to produce a commercially viable fusion reactor.
4. Rosenergoatom To Allocate Some 10 Bln Rubles For Kursk NPP In 2004
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Moscow. (Interfax) - The Rosenergoatom nuclear power- generating company will spend five billion rubles on finishing the construction of the Kursk nuclear power plant's fifth power generating unit and another five billion rubles on upgrading the facility's second power generating unit, a Rosenergoatom spokesman has told Interfax.
"Seventy to eighty percent of the construction operations at the Kursk nuclear power plant's fifth power generating unit have already been completed," the spokesman said.
Rosenergoatom's first deputy general director Sergei Ivanov told Interfax earlier that the company would allocate 4.9 billion rubles in 2004 to finish the construction of the third power generating unit of the Kalinin nuclear power plant. It was initially planned to put the power generating unit into operation in December 2003.
"The Kalinin nuclear power plant's new power generating unit will be put into operation in the summer of 2004. It is expected to generate some two billion kilowatt hours of electricity this year." A power generating unit with a VVER-1000 reactor has an annual capacity of 7.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.
The Kalinin plant currently operates two power generating units with VVER-1000 reactors.
Ivanov said that "after the third power generating unit of the Kola nuclear power plant starts operations, Rosenergoatom will give top priority to building the Kursk nuclear power plant's fifth power generating unit and the second power generating unit of the Volgodonsk nuclear power plant."
Rosenergoatom operates 30 power generating units at ten nuclear power plants. The company increased electricity output by nearly 6% in 2003.
5. Rosenergoatom To Spend About 50 Bln Rubles On Balakovo Nuclear Plant
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Moscow. (Interfax) - The cost of launching the second phase of Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant is estimated at about 50 billion rubles, a source in Rosenergoatom told Interfax.
"Construction of the second phase of Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant was started in the 1980s and halted at the start of the 1990s, the fifth power-producing unit has been 60% completed and the sixth unit - 25%-30%," the source said.
"Work on the designs for the fifth unit continued this year, taking modern requirements into consideration, particularly regarding safety and reliability. The phase of public and state examination of the project is beginning," the Rosenergoatom representative said.
He said that by the end of 2004 it is planned to receive a license to continue work on the fifth unit, and permission to start construction - in 2004. If there is stable financing for the project the fifth unit may provide its first electricity in 2008.
Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant has four power-producing units with VVER-1000 reactors. The new units will also have VVER-1000 reactors. The cost of electricity production at Balakovo is the lowest at all Russian nuclear and thermal plants - 18 kopecks per kWh.
1. Secretary of State Colin Powell Interview on "The World" with Lisa Mullins (excerpted)
Department of State
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*QUESTION:* There is very good news on two fronts on proliferation. You mentioned them both. Iran has agreed to intrusive inspections of nuclear facilities. Libya has even pledged to scrap its nuclear weapons program. We do know, though, that there exists in Russia, in Kazakhstan and other places, at least, just specifically in Russia, 20,000 nuclear weapons, 1,000 tons of nuclear bomb material stored in Russia alone. Of course, the worry is that they could be accessed by a terrorist.
The U.S. is safeguarding them by spending -- correct me if I'm wrong -- $650 million a year on that. Compare that, which is obviously a real threat, to the $1 billion on Iraq that the U.S. is spending this year. Is the U.S. doing enough to secure what seems to be a terrifying threat?
*SECRETARY POWELL:* Well, I don't know that it is a terrifying threat. I have worked with the Russians for many years, both as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as the National Security Advisor in President Reagan's Administration. They understand the importance and the seriousness associated with protecting their nuclear weapons stockpiles, and we are assisting them through our Nunn-Lugar programs and other similar programs. It's a good investment to make sure that that material remains under tight control.
And the Russians are not anxious to see any of their weapons turned loose on the world or put in the hands of a terrorist. So they are acting responsibly, we are helping them, and we are helping them with financial support.
Ultimately, we want to see all of those stockpiles removed and go down. And that's one of the reasons we entered into the Treaty of Moscow with the Russian Federation that will significantly reduce the size of those stockpiles.
*QUESTION:* So when you say you're not sure that it's a real threat, you're saying because you think the stockpiles are sufficiently safeguarded?
*SECRETARY POWELL:* I have seen nobody to suggest that the stockpiles are not safeguarded. I have not heard of a single -- I have not heard of a single Russian nuclear weapon that has left their stockpile and gotten in the hands of anyone. There are occasional reports of such things, but the Russians view this seriously. Why would any Russian leader not do everything he could to protect those stockpiles? They're doing that. And where they lack capability to do it or need help, we have been working with them.
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