In a remote Russian complex near a town called Shchuchye, there are 14 old wooden warehouses. Some have broken windows covered over with chicken wire. The high fence and the military guards are the only hint of what is inside one of the world's largest stockpiles of deadly nerve gas, nearly 2 million easily portable artillery shells and missile warheads filled with lethal sarin, soman and VX. It's enough to kill the world population 20 times over.
These chemical weapons, part of a massive Soviet-era arsenal that totals more than 40,000 metric tons, must be eliminated before they fall into the hands of terrorists. The U.S. and Russia, along with 153 other countries, approved a treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, to do just that: ban the production of chemical weapons and destroy our huge stockpiles that were built during the Cold War. It is clearer than ever that our own national security is bolstered by a vigorous international campaign to contain and destroy all chemical weapons stockpiles.
Yet today we are halfway through the convention's 10-year timetable for getting rid of all chemical weapons, and not one weapon at Shchuchye (pronounced shoe-cha) has been destroyed. With the world threatened by global terrorists seeking weapons of mass destruction, it is hard to overstate how serious this problem is. A single 85 mm artillery shell from Shchuchye can be concealed in a briefcase, but carries enough poison gas to kill up to 100,000 people. A disgruntled insider could smuggle one out, or a determined group of well-armed terrorists could penetrate the installation's defenses.
There is plenty of blame to go around for this lack of progress. In the past, Moscow was unable to pay its share of destruction costs and was suspicious of providing information on its weapons programs. On our side, for three years, funds from the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program designated for Shchuchye were blocked by some who assert that Russia's failure to comply with its CWC obligations requires the suspension of joint chemical weapons destruction efforts. We need to keep pressing Russia on these shortcomings, but our frustration with the Russians must not interfere with our national security interest: to eliminate the deadly chemical weapons stockpile.
Although Congress granted President Bush temporary waiver authority to get the money flowing again, the United States lost valuable time on an urgent project. We are in a race to rid the world of these dreadful weapons before terrorists get their hands on them, and we shouldn't let self-imposed bureaucratic hassles slow us down. Some in Congress and in the administration ask why we should spend money to clean up the Russian mess: "They made their bed, now they can lie in it." The trouble is, in the meantime terrorists could break into the bedroom, steal weapons of mass destruction and use them against our armed forces, the United States or our allies.
Moscow has provided more than $100 million for the disposal facility at Shchuchye, but without outside help, the work won't be completed. Other countries, including Canada, the Czech Republic, the European Union, Italy, Norway, Switzerland and England are helping Russia to destroy additional chemical weapons. But until late last year, Congress was holding up U.S. assistance to the facility at Shchuchye.
At the urging of President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, House and Senate negotiators agreed to full funding for chemical weapons destruction as part of the Pentagon's 2004 authorization. The bill granted Bush a one-year waiver authority so the work at Shchuchye can continue, and fully funded the rest of the Nunn-Lugar program.
Congress for the first time agreed to expand the threat reduction program to respond to emergencies outside the former Soviet Union, where vulnerable stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction abound. This is encouraging progress, but we must do more by granting President Bush the permanent waiver authority he has requested, which would allow the use of Nunn-Lugar more broadly so we can act decisively against the threat of terrorists gaining access to such weapons. The president recently cited expansion of Nunn-Lugar as a key part of his effort to strengthen the world's non-proliferation efforts.
Global terrorists remain on the prowl, looking for new targets and, no doubt, new weapons. Getting rid of the huge cache of potential terrorist weapons at Shchuchye will make Americans safer.
1. Russian 'Vector' Lab Probes Secrets Of Smallpox
World Environment News
(for personal use only)
BERLIN - It was one of the world's most deadly plagues, and some fear it might again be unleashed on mankind if bio-terrorists could get their hands on the virus.
A quarter of a century after the last known case of smallpox, scientists at a heavily-guarded installation called Vector, deep in Siberia, are still conducting research on 120 strains of the virus.
Responsibility for safeguarding the stockpiles lies with men like Sergei Netesov, Vector's deputy general director.
"We feel it, very heavily," the soft-spoken, bespectacled Russian scientist told Reuters in an interview at a security conference in Berlin.
"We look after very dangerous viruses and try to work out new ways to combat them. It's morally right, and people are proud of that kind of work."
20TH CENTURY KILLER
Beginning with a rash and developing into pustules that spread across the entire body, leaving permanent pitted scars, smallpox killed an estimated 300 million people in the 20th century alone.
It had an overall mortality rate of around 30 percent until it was declared eradicated in 1980 following a worldwide vaccination programme.
Scientists believe the death rate if it re-emerged today would be much higher because vaccination - which carries a risk of side-effects - is no longer widely practised.
The only official stockpiles of the virus are held at Vector, near the Russian city of Novosibirsk, and at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
Netesov argues strongly that they must be preserved, not destroyed, in order to study the origins of the virus and its genetic blueprint, and to seek new vaccines and anti-viral agents. There is still no known treatment for the disease.
"I think in reality we'll always have questions about nature, including about this virus. On the other hand, I think it's realistic to complete basic research in the next 10 or 15 years," Netesov said.
But by that time, he went on, genetic engineering would have advanced to the point where scientists could create new smallpox strains synthetically in the lab. "When that develops, there won't be much sense in destroying the stocks."
Did that mean that terrorists could also manufacture the virus?
"The technology is very complex. For bio-terrorists it would be easier to steal it than to make it, because to conceal a well equipped laboratory is hardly possible for a long time," Netesov said.
"The threat we need to worry about most is theft, and probably not by someone coming from outside, but theft by someone working in a laboratory. Therefore the system of selecting people has to be very thorough."
Western analysts have often voiced concern that secrets or weapons technology could be bought or smuggled out of former Soviet research centres with highly qualified, low-paid staff.
Netesov said Vector staff typically earned $200 to $300 a month, several times higher than the Russian average.
He insisted security was tight around the installations where scientists study smallpox, SARS, Ebola, Marburg and other deadly viruses.
HUMANS ARE WEAKEST LINK
Armed police patrol the perimeter and visitors are subjected to two tiers of security checks. Staff, who are trained in bio-ethics, must have worked at least three years at the centre before they are allowed to handle the most dangerous viruses.
"The weakest link is human beings. We have to check a person very closely before we trust him." Unlike, for example, anthrax, which cannot be transmitted from person to person, smallpox is highly contagious and can be spread via droplets in the breath, skin-to-skin contact or infected clothing or bed linen.
The Soviet Union used smallpox in its biological weapons programme, but Netesov said he believed suggestions that germ warfare experts had developed especially virulent and deadly strains were "fairytales". He also thought it highly unlikely that countries like North Korea had developed smallpox as a bio-weapon.
In the same way that smallpox strains are now stored in the United States and Russia, Netesov says the world will have to find secure ways of stockpiling poliomyelitis and measles, which could be eradicated within the next 10 years.
In a world where viruses like SARS and bird flu are posing new threats, he sees the need to pay special attention to the mutation of viruses from animals. Gene-sequencing work by Vector and U.S. scientists suggested that the smallpox virus itself evolved from cowpox.
"Viruses evolve. They evolve much faster than human beings. We constantly encounter new viruses in nature," Netesov said. "In so far as it's the closest relative of human smallpox, one can't rule out a new natural evolution of this (cowpox) virus...
"These findings show us we need to follow very closely what strains of cowpox are circulating naturally now and how they're changing. Then we can, with a certain measure of probability, foresee what awaits us in the future."
1. Kazakh Foreign Minister Says Country's Uranium Is Safe
Radio Free Europe
(for personal use only)
Kazakh Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev told a news conference in Almaty on 20 February that Kazakhstan's export-control system makes it impossible to smuggle uranium out of the country, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported. Toqaev was reacting to recent media reports alleging such smuggling. BB
1. A Nuclear Threat Looming - Our Position: It's Counterproductive To Shortchange A Program That Eliminates Weapons
(for personal use only)
President George W. Bush laid out a new strategy in a recent speech to deal with the growing threat posed by the international spread of nuclear weapons. But in his latest budget proposal, Mr. Bush shortchanged a program with a successful track record in keeping nuclear weapons and know-how out of the wrong hands.
Congress needs to correct the president's mistake.
The program, launched 13 years ago by then-Sen. Sam Nunn and Sen. Richard Lugar, destroys nuclear weapons and removes nuclear material -- mainly from the countries of the former Soviet Union -- and finds other work for nuclear scientists. With the $7 billion it has received since its inception, the program has paid to destroy thousands of nuclear weapons and put 20,000 weapons scientists in alternate jobs.
Mr. Bush called in his speech for expanding Nunn-Lugar to countries such as Libya and Iraq, so weapons scientists in those countries also could be steered to different jobs. That makes perfect sense.
Yet Mr. Bush would cut funding for Nunn-Lugar from $451 million this year to $409 million next year. That doesn't make sense.
Sen. Joe Biden, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, has called for tripling funding for Nunn-Lugar. Why not? Spending that extra billion dollars would be cheaper than coping with the consequences if terrorists get their hands on a loose nuke.
Money is tight in Washington, D.C., because of a record budget deficit. But compared with most other steps to protect national security, Nunn-Lugar is a bargain.
2. High Anxiety: Black Market Nuclear Deals Are Stuff Of Nightmares
Dallas Morning News
(for personal use only)
Dozens of heavily armed men launch a ferocious assault on a remote facility in Pakistan.
Security fences are quickly breached with explosives. Guards are gunned down. Within minutes, the terrorists are in possession of nuclear weapons or a sizeable supply of enriched uranium.
An unlikely scenario? Perhaps. But some nuclear nonproliferation experts worry that it's not impossible. And any risk that nuclear weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists, however slight, is terrible to contemplate when the potential outcome is a radioactive mushroom cloud blossoming over a populated area.
After recent admissions that a Pakistani scientist trafficked in nuclear secrets with a trifecta of rogue nations ï¿½ North Korea, Iran and Libya ï¿½ concern about nuclear proliferation has intensified.
Experts acknowledge that sensitive nuclear material has been stolen and distributed in nation-to-nation exchanges. The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed nuclear trafficking in more than 40 countries on six continents.
Rogue nations have acquired illegally exported equipment that can be used in nuclear weapons programs, as well as other equipment that is not prohibited from export but can be adapted for such use.
And a terrorist assault on a nuclear facility is not beyond the realm of possibility. Terrorists repeatedly have demonstrated the ability to carry out sophisticated attacks on well-guarded targets.
Al Qaeda terrorists orchestrated nearly simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. And in October 2002, heavily armed Chechen terrorists seized a Moscow theater, taking hundreds of hostages.
"If you can have 41 heavily armed terrorists seize a theater in the middle of Moscow with no warning, imagine how many people might show up at a Pakistani nuclear weapons site with no warning," said Matthew Bunn, a nuclear expert at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Before settling on the theater as a target, Mr. Bunn said, the terrorists reportedly considered seizing the Kurchatov Institute, a research facility named after the father of Russia's atomic bomb program "with hundreds of kilograms of enriched uranium."
In recent years, Russian officials also have confirmed that terrorists conducted reconnaissance on nuclear warhead storage facilities and transport trains.
"What makes that particularly terrifying is that a fundamental part of the security for those storage sites and those transport trains is that no one knows where they are and when the trains go, and yet somehow the terrorists managed to find that out," Mr. Bunn said.
Security at obsolete or inoperative research reactors around the world may be less restrictive than at military installations.
"In some cases, stocks of spent fuel are stored in an insecure manner," according to an IAEA document. "... Some of these reactors are still fueled with high enriched uranium, a key ingredient for assembling a nuclear weapon."
Terrorists and power-hungry dictators also may resort to less violent ways to obtain sensitive nuclear materials.
Mohamed el-Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently warned of a "sophisticated and complex" underground black market network trafficking in sensitive nuclear material.
In a speech Feb. 11, President Bush urged nations to track down and destroy trafficking networks, and to prevent regimes from producing nuclear material "that can be used to build bombs under the cover of civilian nuclear programs."
Intelligence officials have reported that nuclear material has indeed been diverted from civilian programs. And there is compelling evidence that Pakistan's dealing with North Korea involved a state-sanctioned exchange of nuclear technology for ballistic missile technology. China reportedly supplied nuclear technology to Pakistan and to Iran.
Even without state sponsorship, private corporations have demonstrated a willingness to profit from the sale of equipment that can be used for nuclear-arms development. Sometimes, firms ignore nonproliferation laws prohibiting the sale and export of equipment that can be used in a nuclear weapons program; rogue nations also have acquired equipment that is not restricted for export but can be modified for that purpose.
And a change of government in Pakistan, the only known Islamic country with nuclear weapons, almost certainly would raise anxieties.
Pakistan's authoritarian government is opposed by Islamic fundamentalists, many sympathetic to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, an Army general who seized power in 1999, has been the target of repeated assassination attempts.
"Who really would control, not only their nuclear weapon devices, but the material and the facilities in which the material is located?" asked John Parachini, a Rand Corp. policy analyst who specializes in terrorism and weapons proliferation issues.
Pakistan has long been suspected of being a major nuclear proliferator. Those suspicions were emphatically confirmed earlier this month when Abdul Qadeer Khan, the acknowledged father of the impoverished South Asian country's nuclear weapons program, admitted that he'd catered to the nuclear aspirations of Libya, North Korea and Iran for personal gain.
Other nuclear scientists in Pakistan, as well as scientists elsewhere in the world, may still be willing to share what they know, and what they can steal, motivated by ideology, religion or unadulterated greed.
"There's been concern about so-called 'pious scientists' for quite some time, long before it was revealed that a Pakistani scientist involved in their atomic energy agency met with bin Laden," Mr. Parachini said.
In recent decades, international disapproval and even sanctions failed to stop Pakistan from developing and assembling nuclear weapons, or sharing its nuclear knowledge with some of the world's most erratic and bellicose dictators. Time after time, geopolitical expediency mitigated the rebukes.
In the 1980s, Pakistan became a staging area for U.S. support to Islamic fundamentalists opposing Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and more recently an ally in the war against terrorism. Economic sanctions that were imposed after Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998 were lifted after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
"Pakistan has been a proliferation worry for more than two decades, but always something intercedes on the global stage that causes us to seek a closer relationship," Mr. Parachini said. "There's been ... an enduring concern about their weapons program in general that always gets interrupted by more immediate political or military problems."
Building a nuclear weapon is not a simple process. Iraq's attempts fell short, despite a massive investment of capital and resources. Benn Tannenbaum, a senior research analyst with the Federation of American Scientists, suggests that even if a terrorist organization obtains nuclear material, its chances of developing a nuclear weapon is "quite slim" because of the technology involved.
"The infrastructure is just too big for a non-state ... to develop," he said.
Nuclear weapons rely on unstable radioactive material, such as plutonium or uranium, to generate a tremendous blast of energy. Their construction requires sophisticated technology and know-how. India and Pakistan both devoted considerable resources over many years to develop their modest arsenals.
However, constructing a so-called dirty bomb, which contains radioactive material that is not suitable for use in a nuclear bomb, is not so complicated.
A dirty bomb would use conventional explosives to scatter the radioactive material. The blast damage is much less, but the psychological impact might be significant.
"Material that can be used to make dirty bombs resides in many poorly guarded hospitals and civilian research labs in India and Pakistan," Michael Krepon, founding president of the Henry L. Stimson Center, testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in January. "These facilities are very susceptible to 'insider' threats, such as a security guard or a hospital worker who is sympathetic to an extremist group and who aids in the theft of this material."
For many years, the former Soviet Union, especially Russia, was seen as the most likely source of illicit nuclear weapons, sensitive nuclear materials and technology.
During the Cold War, a massive nuclear weapons program was developed. And after the demise of communism, many Russians involved in that program were out of work or saw their income and perks evaporate.
A goal of the United States' Cooperative Threat Reduction program, launched in the early 1990s, was to prevent the diversion of weapons-related expertise. Thousands of former Soviet scientists and engineers once involved in nuclear weapons programs were helped to move into more peaceful pursuits.
"The situation in Russia has stabilized significantly in the sense that in 1998, you had people who literally weren't getting paid at all for six months at a time," Mr. Bunn said. "You had guards at nuclear facilities leaving their posts to forage for food ... ."
But as the Russian nuclear weapons complex continues to constrict, more people will lose their jobs.
"And to my mind, one of the most dangerous moments is when you still have access to material, still have access to sensitive knowledge, but you know that your job is coming to an end and you haven't got something else lined up yet," Mr. Bunn said. "That may be a time when you're particularly motivated to do something that might give you a nest egg for the future."
The recent revelations about Mr. Khan and his colleagues in Pakistan, Mr. Bunn added, also may challenge the premise that if nuclear scientists in Russia are provided a living wage, they won't be tempted by offers from developing countries that want nuclear weapons.
"They didn't want a living wage. They wanted millions of dollars," he said.
Other experts are less certain that there's much of a nuclear brain drain from Russia that's benefited rogue states and terrorist organizations.
"If you were going to have seen a nuclear weapons scientist go bad, I think it would have happened by now," Dr. Tannenbaum said. "We're 10 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union ... If they were going to bow to the almighty dollar and sell their knowledge to someone, that would have already happened."
There's more tangible evidence that nuclear material is stolen and smuggled. Law enforcement officials periodically seize quantities of nuclear material or technology that can be used to develop a nuclear weapon.
A 2002 report by the General Accounting Office noted that illicit trafficking or smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive materials occurs worldwide and apparently was on the rise. The list of incidents over nearly a decade was relatively short, though, said Mr. Parachini.
"Is the probability of diversion of material or weapons zero? No. Is it high? I don't think so," Mr. Parachini said. In many cases, he indicated, material intercepted by law enforcement officials may have been diverted without a clear buyer in mind.
Mr. Bunn suggests that gauging the actual scope of nuclear trafficking is difficult.
"Of what iceberg are we seeing the tip is an obvious question that we just don't know the answer to," he said. The CIA he said, has assessed that there has been undetected theft and smuggling "but they just have no way of knowing on what scale."
Los Alamos' small, but influential arms-control community, got some discouraging news Wednesday night. They were told that the concept of arms control inspections under the auspices of international treaties is in decline.
Joseph P. Harahan, a national authority on arms inspections, author and historian, told a meeting of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security that the ground has shifted away from mutual monitoring and arms verification between nations. Because the central focus of international threat is now fixed on terrorism, a product of rogue nations and non-national ethnic groups, traditional arms control has lost traction. The trend toward disarmament that marked the end of the cold war has been sidetracked by a more self-reliant policy of arms and power.
Harahan identified three factors contributing to the current demise of on-site inspections. First the break-up of the former Soviet Union, followed by the economic and political decline of Russia, left the United States as the sole superpower with a capacity for world leadership.
Second, was the rise of the neo-conservatives, who now dominate American foreign policy.
"They have a totally different view," Harahan said. "They rejected the underlying premises. They didn't accept that arms control could reduce the threats. Treaties were only effective between peaceful nations."
Indicative of their view that the US should be free to develop any weapon systems it wanted, was the abandonment of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty in X, in order to pursue the missile-defense strategy of the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Finally, said Harahan, the catastrophe of Sept. 11, 2001, reinforced all of the neo-conservative ideas.
"Treaties didn't stop it," Harahan said, from the neo-conservative perspective. "I think this is a vary naive view."
The Moscow Treaty, struck between Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin in November 2001, was another example for Harahan that international security arrangements based on inspections and safeguards were going out of style.
With only 450 words, it was the briefest treaty yet and one that didn't go into effect for 10 years in the future. More than two years later, the two countries have met only once for two days and "agreed to nothing but that they would meet again," Harahan said, who predicted that any movement on the treaty is still several years away.
Harahan, staff historian with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, gave a general overview of on-site inspections in the 20th century, going back to the 1500 inspectors who oversaw the destruction of German armaments after World War I.
In the first years of the Versailles Treaty in 1919, the allied powers supervised the destruction of Germany's aircraft, ships, submarines, and heavy artillery and saw its 280 armed field divisions reduced to seven. But within 10 years Germany rebounded and rearmed to become the most powerful nation in Europe by 1930.
"Does that mean most treaties fail?" asked Harahan.
No, he said, the treaty was not to blame, but rather the failure of France and Germany to enforce it in the face of powerful nationalistic forces that were created in Germany by an economic depression and the rise of Hitler and fascism.
But failures have consequences as well as successes. After World War II, partly because of that failure, post-war Germany was not subjected to a treaty but rather to an army of occupation for 10 years.
Exchanges of on-site inspectors were proposed between the US and USSR as early as 1955 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
But the predominant form of verification became an array of surveillance technologies, spy planes and other airborne monitors, satellites, submarines, and seismic sensors.
These techniques, known as "national technical means," became a permanent part of arms treaties in the '60s and '70s, Harahan said. "It was assumed that's the way it was done."
Harahan described the period from 1988 through the '90s as a kind of golden age of arms control. During that time, he said, there were nine major arms control agreements in 10 years.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is currently responsible for implementing all of them.
Of special note was the INF (intermediate range nuclear force) treaty, negotiated between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, following the breakthrough summit in Reykjavik in October 1986.
"The INF established a new principle to eliminate, not just monitor," said Harahan. "It was the first [treaty] that paved the way between words and actions. It was a catalyst for all the next treaties."
Harahan has written a book on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, "On-site Inspections under the CFE Treaty," and is currently working on a history of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program that has underwritten arms reduction and nuclear non-proliferation in the former Soviet Union.
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) --The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Tuesday he was confident that Libya would be declared free of all traces of its nuclear weapons program within three months, saying Tripoli was helping fill in blank spots in the probe of the international black market.
Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, spoke after meeting with Abdul Rahman Shalgam, the Libyan foreign minister, at the end of two days of talks on the progress being made in scrapping Tripoli's nuclear arms program.
"We are very pleased with the results of my meeting," ElBaradei told reporters, praising Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and other officials for "complete openness and transparency" since Libya decision in December to rid itself of its weapons of mass destruction programs.
"Part of that program has already been eliminated and we still have some work to eliminate other parts that are less sensitive," he said, speaking of the nuclear component. He pledged his agency's support for peaceful Libyan nuclear programs in the field of agriculture and industry, once the last vestiges of military activity have been dismantled and removed.
Shalgam urged other nations in the region to follow Libya's example and use nuclear energy only "for the sake of prosperity and progress." While not naming any particular countries, his comments appeared directed at Israel, which is thought to have nuclear weapons but has never acknowledged possessing them.
Libya was able to work for two decades on a secret nuclear arms program because of imports of black market technology and knowhow.
In comments Monday on the illicit network that linked Europe, Asia, Africa and the Mideast, ElBaradei said new countries with illicit nuclear arms programs may be revealed through investigations by his agency and national intelligence services.
On Tuesday, he called his talks with Libyan officials "very helpful ... in providing information on routes of supply, extent (and) scope" of the black market chain. He said he would be leaving Libya with a better "understanding (of) parts of the puzzle that were not very clear to us before."
Libya, a key customer of the nuclear peddlers, has blown the whistle on the head of the network, Pakistani scientist Abdul Wader Khan, and more than a dozen of his middlemen.
ElBaradei said he believed Libya likely could be declared free of the last vestiges of its nuclear weapons program by June.
"I think it is going very smoothly, very well, and the Libyans have confirmed again their full cooperation, their readiness to settle all the questions we have," he told reporters after meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Mating M. Mating, who heads the nation's nuclear activities.
However, some key elements of Libya's nuclear weapons program are still in place three months after its government pledged to scrap them, ElBaradei said. He did not elaborate, but another delegation member, speaking on condition of anonymity, said centrifuge equipment that can enrich uranium to weapons grade still remained assembled and in Libya.
Other equipment already has been shipped to the United States, which along with Britain, negotiated the process that led in December to Libya declaring its weapons programs -- and it's desire to scrap them. Also in the United States, under IAEA seal, are drawings of a 1960s nuclear warhead supplied by Khan's network.
Another delegation member said much of the investigative work into the nuclear supply chain would likely be wrapped up within three months, saying, "we are more than half way there." But ElBaradei cautioned of possible surprises ahead.
"We are still trying to understand the network, we are still trying to see whether other countries have received technology, have received weapons designs," he said. "We are putting the pieces of the puzzle together and trying to understand whether there is any additional work ... for us in the future."
He did not elaborate. But Iran has been named by diplomats familiar with the IAEA's work as being suspected of possibly buying nuclear warhead drawings, along with the enrichment equipment it now acknowledges having.
Iran, which was also supplied by the Khan network, denies nuclear weapon ambitions, insisting it wants to enrich uranium to lower grades for generating power rather than produce the highly enriched version used in weapons.
North Korea -- the third country linked so far to the Khan network -- denies any connection, but U.S. intelligence and Khan's associates have said that it also received help in its nuclear weapons program from the Pakistani's network.
"We are getting the names of more individuals, more companies," not only from Libya but "many different sources," ElBaradei said.
Since the first revelations from Libya in December, Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, has confessed to heading the operation described by ElBaradei as a "nuclear supermarket."
Khan and dozens of associates circumvented national export controls in Europe, Asia and elsewhere to ship nuclear technology to Libya, which managed to hide experiments geared toward making weapons for nearly two decades.
Among the most startling discoveries were the warhead drawings, and findings in a report by ElBaradei that Libya had also managed to process minute quantities of plutonium that -- in much larger quantities -- are used in the cores of nuclear warheads.
Talks in Tripoli also focused on shipping highly enriched uranium -- an alternative to plutonium in warheads -- from a Libyan research reactor back to Russia, which originally provided it, and replacing it with low-enriched fuel.
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, who has met senior Libyan officials to discuss the dismantling of Libya's bomb programme, says Tripoli wanted to keep some "peaceful-use" atomic facilities.
In December, Libya said it was renouncing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and invited U.S., British and international experts to help it disarm.
Since then, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has overseen the U.S. and British nuclear disarmament process, which has seen sensitive equipment and papers removed to the United States.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who held talks with Foreign Minister Mohamed Abderrhmane Chalgam on Monday, said Libya did not seem reluctant to dismantle its atomic weapons programme.
But he said Tripoli was keen to keep some "peaceful-use" nuclear facilities, including a small research reactor.
"They (the Libyans) have been cooperating in removing all the sensitive aspects of their programme.
"There's still some remaining parts and again discussion is going on to dismantle and remove them," ElBaradei said ahead of a meeting with Libya's deputy prime minister in charge of the nuclear programme, Matoug M. Matoug.
The research reactor Libya wants to keep uses highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel. HEU can be used in nuclear weapons. ElBaradei said discussions were under way about converting it to use low-enriched fuel.
"They obviously want to keep the research reactor, which is something legitimate, and they would obviously like to expand the peaceful-use activities, which the agency would be eager to support once the dismantling of the nuclear (arms) programme (is finished)," ElBaradei said.
LIBYA'S SURPRISING A-BOMB PROGRAMME
ElBaradei's visit follows the release on Friday of an IAEA report on Libya's nuclear weapons programme. The report said Libya's atomic effort began as far back as the early 1980s and was much more extensive than previously thought.
The report followed a two-month probe by IAEA experts in cooperation with the United States and Britain. It said Libya had failed to declare a number of highly sensitive experiments linked to weapons production, including "the separation of a small amount of plutonium".
As well as creating centrifuges to enrich uranium for use in a bomb, Libya purchased a pilot uranium conversion plant in the 1980s for converting raw uranium into a more refined form. Libya wanted to keep this plant, but has now agreed to its removal.
Libyan Foreign Ministry official Juma Alfarejani told reporters Tripoli hoped to continue cooperation with the IAEA to ensure "Libya is empty of weapons of mass destruction".
ElBaradei said details about Libya's nuclear programme had helped shed light on the global nuclear black market that supplied Libya, Iran and North Korea.
"I think we're coming to the conclusion that it's the same source of supply (in Iran and Libya)," he said.
With the aid of several nuclear "middlemen" Libya was able to skirt an international embargo to buy centrifuges and other technology related to atomic weapons, as well as the know-how needed to use the equipment.
1. Document On North Korean Nuclear Problem Possible- Losyukov
(for personal use only)
BEIJING, February 24 (Itar-Tass) - A final document may be adopted on the results of the second round of the six-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear problem, which is to begin here on February 25, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov stated in the Chinese capital on Tuesday. ï¿½There is common understanding that an editing commission should be formed and work should be started on the final document of the meeting, which will be very necessary to fix the results of our negotiations on the basic problems of principle,ï¿½ he added.
At the same time, the high-ranking Russian diplomat did not rule out the possibility of this joint document containing safety guarantees to Pyongyang. ï¿½It is important to know what the North Korean side is prepared to do with its nuclear program. This problem is very important and it should be clarified at the very outset of the negotiations. It is bound to be discussed and an attempt will most likely be made to record those intentions,ï¿½ he stated.
According to Losyukov, ï¿½safety guarantees to North Korea could be declared in replyï¿½. ï¿½Difficult and scrupulous work of expertsï¿½ is needed to settle the nuclear problem and a working mechanism is desirable. ï¿½Therefore, the negotiations will definitely touch on the possibility of forming a working group of experts, which could work on concrete and specific problems in the ï¿½inter-seasonalï¿½ period,ï¿½ Losyukov stressed.
2. Pyongyang Hopes For Close Cooperation With China And Russia At Six Sided Talks In Beijing
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BEIJING, February 24 (RIA Novosti special correspondent) - North Korea hopes for close cooperation with China and Russia at the six sided talks on North Korea's nuclear program, Rim Gie Gwang, the deputy foreign minister of North Korea and head of the North Korean delegation to the six sided talks, said before he left for Beijing. The talks are scheduled to open on February 25.
The North Korean Central News Agency reported that Rim Ge Kwan said that compared to the first round six sided talks, the atmosphere around the new talks has improved in many respects. He also said that North Korea would make every effort to achieve good results at the present round of talks.
Rim Gie Gwang headed the North Korean delegation in the talks with the United States in Geneva in 1994 which ended with an agreement on freezing North Korea's nuclear program.
3. Russia's Deputy FM: Hexapartite Talks On DPRK Nuclear Problem Will Not Be Smooth
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BEIJING, February 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Losyukov did not rule it out that technical problems the resolution of which will require experts' work may arise in the course of the hexapartite talks on the DPRK's nuclear problem In Beijing. He said this on Tuesday after the exchange of views with head of the Japanese delegation at the talks Mitoji Yabunaka.
Losyukov explained that the idea is to set up a permanent deliberative mechanism to operate during the intervals between the rounds of the hexapartite talks.
He noted that one of the tasks of these talks is to find out what kind of programs are being implemented by the DPRK in the nuclear field, precisely which programs must be frozen, and how this can be checked.
"We also have to find out North Korea's intentions and what it is ready to undertake," Losyukov said.
He holds the view that "all the participants in the talks are interested in the Korean peninsula being free of nuclear weapons, and in establishing an atmosphere of stability and security on it."
The hexapartite talks on the resolution of the crisis around the DPRK's nuclear program are beginning in Beijing on February 25 and will presumably last three days.
4. Russia Delegation Intends To Be Active At Talks On NKorea
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MOSCOW , February 22 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian delegation intends to play an active role at the six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear problem and plans to hold bilateral meetings with all partners in Beijing. A high-ranking official of the Russian Foreign Ministry told Tass on Sunday that ï¿½much importance is given to preliminary separate talks with representatives of North Korea and the United Statesï¿½.
Russia will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov at the Beijing discussions, as was the case in the first round in August 2003. Negotiators ï¿½expect a clear-cut statement from Pyongyang that it is ready to give up the nuclear programme,ï¿½ the diplomat told Tass on the eve of the talks.
ï¿½These should be practical actions, verifiable and realizable in agreement with other negotiatorsï¿½. According to the diplomat, the sides ï¿½will have to discuss what partners in the talks can suggest in response with respect to security guarantees and a settlement of other problems of North Korea, including the energy issueï¿½.
Losyukov warns against over-optimistic expectations and ï¿½does not expect a breakthroughï¿½. At the same time, in the deputy ministerï¿½s opinion, the United States should ï¿½attentively treat Pyongyangï¿½s readiness to freeze the nuclear programmeï¿½. ï¿½Freezing is not the final aim, but an important forward move and, on its basis, it is possible to reach specific understandings,ï¿½ he claimed.
Russia suggests setting up a working group on a Korean settlement within the Six. The partners will be represented by ambassadors at large or senior experts. Losyukov holds that this working mechanism ï¿½can be set up after the new round so as to help promote the negotiating process in the inter-session periodï¿½.
ï¿½It is necessary to move gradually to the final aim: a complete settlement of the situation in the peninsula,ï¿½ he contended. ï¿½But it is necessary to agree the basic principles above all.ï¿½
Last Thursday, Russia declared that it has "successfully tested a space vehicle that could lead to weapons capable of penetrating missile defenses". That was Russia's response to President George W Bush's unilateral decision of December 2001 to abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. In doing so, he declared that nuclear deterrence had become a relic of Cold War years of US-Soviet rivalry. In reality, Bush wanted to develop the national missile defense (NMD) system, but couldn't do so without nullifying the ABM Treaty. Russia viewed that decision as clearly aimed at jeopardizing the uneasy, but highly relevant, nuclear deterrence between their two countries. General Richard Meyer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, understood Russia's intent. He stated: "I don't think it [Russia's reported development of a space vehicle] has any impact on US-Russian relations. They've got to design a missile force that they think is sufficient for deterrence, just like we do."
Bush described nuclear deterrence as a relic of a bygone era immediately before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, on the United States. Then US-Russia nuclear relations lost their focus because of the global "war on terrorism". However, Russia never assigned that issue a low significance.
When the Cold War ended, a general argument regarding the role of the nuclear arsenals possessed by the US and Russia was that it had lost its previous significance, since neither side viewed the other as an adversary. However, it soon became apparent that such wasn't the case. Neither side demonstrated a willingness to cut drastically its large weapon inventories. As a successor state of a former superpower, Russia assigned high value to its nuclear weapons as the only real symbol of its global significance. As such, it adopted a policy of responding to the United States' every move that was aimed at qualitatively or quantitatively altering the nuclear balance between them.
When Bush abandoned the ABM Treaty in order to build the NMD system, the general expectation in the West was that Russia would sooner or later develop countermeasures ensuring that the development of NMD would not negatively affect its own nuclear deterrence capabilities. By the same token, when the Bush administration, under its Nuclear Posture Review of 2002, lowered the nuclear threshold and publicly considered developing tactical low-yield nuclear weapons capable of penetrating deep bunkers, Moscow did not overlook the possibility that such bunker-busters might be used against Russia's command and control, notwithstanding public assurances from Washington that they were aimed at destroying the capabilities of the so-called rogue states.
Russia also made clear its new perspectives regarding the use of nuclear weapons. The 2000 version of its national-security concept lowered the nuclear threshold by stating that Russia no longer envisaged the use of nuclear weapons reserved solely for extreme situations. Instead, nuclear weapons may be used in small-scale wars that do not necessarily threaten Russia's existence. That was clearly aimed at leveling the playing field in view of an unswerving and unambiguous advantage that the US military had demonstrated in conventional warfare in the Gulf War of 1991, and military campaigns in Bosnia and Kosovo.
To underscore the point that Russia viewed the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty as a potentially serious threat to the deterrence-related credibility of its nuclear weapons, Moscow declared that even if START II (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) were to be ratified by the duma (parliament), the option of multiple-heading intercontinental ballistic missiles would not be removed completely. In other words, Russia would continue to use multiple-warhead intercontinental ballistic missiles if the US deployed an NMD system. However, making significant breakthroughs in ballistic-missile technology that would overwhelm the NMD system to the extent of rendering it strategically meaningless was an option that Moscow badly needed.
On Thursday, Russia announced that it has developed such a system. Colonel-General Yuri Baluyevsky, first deputy chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, without providing details, said the device tested "was a hypersonic vehicle - one that moves at more than five times the speed of sound - that could maneuver in orbit". President Vladimir Putin chimed in by using the phrase "deep maneuvering" to describe the new capability of Russia's long-range missiles. Other analysts described it as a "maneuverable re-entry vehicle". Phillip Coyle, a US nuclear expert, commented that if the Russians "had maneuvering re-entry vehicles, and were able to veer around the sky as they came down, that would be especially daunting for a defense system".
These developments highlight the fact that while the US is highly critical - and rightly so - of global proliferation of nuclear technology, the nuclear arms race between Washington and Moscow has shown no signs of subsiding.
Ehsan Ahrari, PhD, is an Alexandria, Virginia, US-based independent strategic analyst.
2. Moscow Daily Voices Doom And Gloom Over Abortive Missile Launches
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Source: Kommersant, Moscow, in Russian 19 Feb 04
The Russian newspaper Kommersant has painted a bleak picture of the state of the Russian navy in the wake of the failure of two submarine-launched ballistic missiles. It predicted that heads would most certainly roll after the mishaps, which have "called into question the reliability of the maritime component of Russia's nuclear triad". The implications of the "mishaps" become clearer, says the article, when one bears in mind that the type of submarines involved in the launches account for over one-third of the Russian navy's nuclear capability. The following is the text of the article, summarizing the two incidents and highlighting problems with the development of submarine-launched ballistic missiles in Russia. It is headlined "Crack in the Russian nuclear shield" and was published on 19 February. Subheadings have been inserted editorially:
The Security 2004 strategic command-staff exercise in which President Vladimir Putin took part ended in a major mishap which cast doubt on the effectiveness of Russia's strategic nuclear forces. As Kommersant has already reported, on Tuesday [17 February] the nuclear submarine Novomoskovsk was unable to launch an RSM-54 ballistic missile. And yesterday [18 February] the launch of another RSM-54 from the submarine Karelia resulted in the missile's deviation from its set trajectory and self-destruction 98 seconds into its flight. This means that the very latest strategic missiles in the navy's armoury are incapable of performing the nuclear deterrent missions assigned to them. It is entirely likely that Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, the commander-in-chief of the navy, will have to take responsibility for this personally.
After the failure that befell the K-407 nuclear submarine Novomoskovsk (Project 667BDRM) on Tuesday, when it was unable to launch its two RSM-54 ballistic missiles against the Kura test range in Kamchatka, similar launches were due to be carried out yesterday by the K-18 Karelia submarine of the same class. However, it too suffered a setback: 98 seconds after its launch, the RSM-54 began to veer off its preprogrammed flight path and, consequently, was destroyed in flight by its emergency self-destruct system. After the incident the second missile was not launched and the submarine received the order to return to base.
As a result, a commission to investigate the causes of the abortive launch of the RSM-54 from the Karelia was set up in the Northern Fleet yesterday by order of Vladimir Kuroyedov. It is the second commission currently at work in the Northern Fleet: the first commission is investigating the causes of the abortive launch of the RSM-54 from the Novomoskovsk. In addition, similar commissions have begun work at the Makeyev Design Bureau state missile centre (Miass), where the RSM-54 was designed, and at Krasmash, the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant (the missile went into batch production there). However, even before the first commission began work, it was joined by staff of the Federal Security Service, who sealed the documentation of relevance to the preparation of the submarines for the exercises at the Northern Fleet's HQ and the 31st Submarine Division (of which the Novomoskovsk and the Karelia are part).
No official comment
Yesterday, the Northern Fleet's HQ was not providing any official comment on the causes of the incident. However, Kommersant's source at the fleet's HQ suggested that the missile that had veered off course was at fault: "It is hard to direct any criticisms at the submariners here. They performed their mission - they fed the target parameters in, the electronics and the mechanics did their job, and the missile blasted off. The boat's crew is not to blame for the fact that it veered away from the target."
Meanwhile, Mikhail Lubnin, deputy general-director of Krasmash, told Kommersant yesterday: "At the moment we at the plant do not know the details of the incident. But it may be said almost for sure that nothing out of the ordinary happened with the missiles. Possibly it was just the usual system malfunctions. Nothing is clear at the moment, there will be an investigation... But generally I would advise Kommersant not to write about this and to deal with other matters instead." Kommersant's source at the enterprise, who asked not to be named, reported: "The hunt for additional information is now in progress. Production technology control will be tightened at the plant in the very near future. Shoddy work at the plant and incorrect operating conditions are being examined as possible causes of the accident."
The Makeyev Design Bureau yesterday began investigating the causes of the abortive launch of the missile from the Novomoskovsk. The people at the design bureau are refusing to comment officially on the mishap before the commission completes its work, citing the fact that the causes of the malfunction have not been ascertained yet. However, Kommersant's source at the design bureau noted: "In this instance it was a routine malfunction - equipment is just equipment, it sometimes lets you down. Most probably there was a malfunction in the boat's navigation system during the prelaunch preparation." But Kommersant's interlocutor refused to make any comment on the self-destruction of the RSM-54 missile yesterday: "We have not yet received full information about this incident so that it is difficult to discuss the situation."
Navy's reliability "called into question"
The expectation is that the specialists will be able to draw some preliminary conclusions on the causes of the incident at the end of this week when the telemetric data from the missile is studied and analysed and when the data from Novomoskovsk and the missile which failed to launch on Tuesday is examined.
However, it is obvious that the "debriefing" will not be confined to a search for technical problems in the defective missiles. After all, the failures of the navy, which scuppered the accomplishment of a combat mission during strategic exercises, have called into question the reliability of the maritime component of Russia's nuclear triad. And this means one-third of Russia's combat nuclear potential.
Yesterday all seven Project 667BDRM nuclear missile-armed submarines in the navy's effective strength, with a total of 448 nuclear warheads - over 30 per cent of the navy's nuclear forces - were at their moorings until the completion of the investigation into the causes of the RSM-54 mishap. The submarines of this class are the most modern in the Russian navy's effective strength. The situation is aggravated by the fact that Russia has not commissioned any new nuclear missile-armed submarines since December 1992 (the last nuclear missile-armed submarine to be built was in fact the Novomoskovsk). Admittedly, the Yuriy Dolgorukiy (Project 955 Borey) with 12 missiles on board, the new-generation lead nuclear missile-armed submarine, was laid down in Severodvinsk in December 1996. However, the deadline for the commissioning of the submarine has been put back repeatedly - and, furthermore, not just because of insufficient funding but also because of the lack of a missile with which to arm it.
Missile development problems
Initially the plan was to arm the Yuriy Dolgorukiy with a modified, solid-propellant RSM-52V (Variant) missile, developed by the Makeyev Design Bureau. However, after three unsuccessful test launches of the missile from the number 21 missile test range at Nenoksa (Arkhangelsk Region) in 1998, the programme for the development of the missile was terminated. It was decided to develop the Bulava standardized solid-propellant ballistic missile. Its design was entrusted to the Moscow Thermotechnical Institute (the designer of the ground-based Topol ICBM), with the Makeyev Design Bureau as a subcontractor. However, the Bulava has not even started tests yet even though according to the Ministry of Defence's plans it is due to enter service in 2007 together with the Yuriy Dolgorukiy. Meanwhile, the TK-208 submarine cruiser Dmitriy Donskoy (Project 941) has already undergone modernization in Severodvinsk for the testing of the Bulava.
Consequently, so as not to be deprived of its maritime nuclear component once and for all, Russia had to resume batch production of the RSM-54 missile in 2001 (it had been terminated in 1996) in order to keep Project 667BDRM, the most modern nuclear submarines, afloat. But it is precisely these missiles and these boats that have now proved incapable of performing the missions they were assigned in the exercises.
It is entirely likely that Admiral Kuroyedov will be held personally responsible for this. So far the blame for the accidents and disasters that have happened in the fleet has been pinned on fleet commanders. This time the commander-in-chief of the navy has personally explained the abortive launch of the RSM-54 missile from the Novomoskovsk on Tuesday: he stated that the launch was supposed to be "theoretical". Yesterday's unsuccessful "exchange of fire" by the Karelia, however, was anything but theoretical.
BISHKEK, February 24 (Itar-Tass) - The Kara-Balta uranium refinery of Kyrgyzstan has signed a contract with Germanyï¿½s Nukem Gmbh to process 2,000 tonnes of uranium ore, refinery director Zhalgan Kazakbayev said at a Tuesday press conference in Bishkek.
He said they would make 30-50 tonnes of uranium for the German company and keep the waste in the refineryï¿½s tailing storage facility. The facility is half empty. The refinery will process 3% uranium ore, so there is no danger to the environmental safety of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakbayev said.
Meanwhile, leaders of Kyrgyz non-governmental organizers think that the deal will inflict an irreparable damage on the Kyrgyz ecology and undermine the international authority of Kyrgyzstan, ï¿½which will become a radioactive dump.ï¿½
Kyrgyzstan has a number of uranium tailing storage facilities. Some of them, especially the ones in Mailu-Suu, are in critical condition. The facilities have not been reclaimed after the disintegration of the former Soviet Union due to scare financing. Any natural calamity in the Mailu-Suu zone may trigger an ecological catastrophe in Central Asia.
2. Thermonuclear Reactor May Begin To Be Built 2004
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MOSCOW, February 20 (Itar-Tass) -- Construction of what may become the worldï¿½s first-ever thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER) may begin already this year, Russian Atomic Energy Ministry spokesman Nikolai Shingaryov said on the eve of another working meeting of delegates from the ITER project member-states, beginning in Vienna on Saturday.
The official said Russian delegates would call on the other participants in the project to ï¿½break the deadlock over the issue of beginning the reactorï¿½s construction on the basis of a compromise.ï¿½
Shingaryov recalled that Russian specialists had come up with a compromise proposal of building the reactor on the premises of the French nuclear center Cadarache, while the center of control, data processing and research will be stationed in Japanï¿½s Honshu Island.
As a global ring of computer communication and research data processing has gone operational to connect the United States, Europe, Russia and China ï¿½the proposed compromise option may be carried out successfully from the technical standpoint,ï¿½ the chief of the Kurchatov Institute, which developed the thermonuclear reactor, Yevgeny Velikhov said.
The Russian panel at the Vienna meeting is led by Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Igor Voronkov.
Involved in the five-billion-dollar project are Russia, the European Union, Japan, the United States, China and South Korea.
1. Griffiths Hails Cold War Legacy Clean Up - Minister Visits North-West Russia To See "Red October" Submarines Dismantled
Department of Trade and Industry of the United Kingdom
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Trade and Industry Minister, Nigel Griffiths, today visited the site of two former Soviet nuclear submarines to view a dismantling scheme that will have positive environmental and security benefits globally. The DTI-funded clean up work, worth ï¿½11.5m, is part of a wider multinational partnership designed to counter proliferation, nuclear safety and ecological concerns in the former Soviet Union.
Mr Griffiths is the first UK Minister to visit the Zvezdochka Shipyard in Severodvinsk, North-West Russia and will look at the progress of the project - the biggest example of UK-Russian cooperation under the G8 Global Partnership. The scheme, which started in December 2003 and is expected to be completed in autumn this year, will ensure that two, 12,000 tonne nuclear powered submarines are safely dismantled.
Mr Griffiths said:
"We've worked hard with our G8 partners to start to tackle the challenges that the cold war nuclear legacy poses. There are serious security, environmental and proliferation threats that need to be very carefully managed and today I am seeing an example of the excellent work being done to meet the threat head on."
In 2002, G8 leaders pledged to provide up to $20 billion over ten years for a new global partnership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The Prime Minister announced that the UK would make up to $750 million available to fund projects in pursuit of the partnership's aims and this year alone three separate projects are underway at Atomflot, Andreyeva Bay and Severodvinsk with a total cost of ï¿½40m. Three UK firms and a small DTI team have contributed technical and consultancy support to the Russian shipyard team.
Mr Griffiths added:
" We're addressing this problem in Russia because, if ignored, it has the potential to have a serious impact on the lives of UK citizens."
Notes to Editors:
* Two Oscar-1 Class Nuclear Powered Multi Purpose Submarines, nos 605 and 606, "The Murmansk" and "The Archangel" are being dismantled. They weigh 12,000 tonnes and are over 150 feet long and were launched in 1980. Each submarine will take 6 months to dismantle. * Further information on the UK G8 Global Partnership projects is available at: http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/nuclear/fsu/index.shtml
* The G8 Global Partnership 2003 Annual Report was published in December by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Defence. It is available at: http://www.dti.gov.uk/energy/nuclear/fsu/newsevents/Publications/First_annual_report.pdf.
* UK Funded Work in NW Russia
ï¿½2M so far on Management of Spent Nuclear Fuel stocks at Andreeva Bay, a former waste nuclear materials site for the Russian Navy.
ï¿½6-8M on a Spent Nuclear Fuel storage facility at Atomflot, Murmansk.
ï¿½0.1M so far on Development of technical flotation solutions for transportation and storage of decommissioned submarines (funded jointly with the US and Norway - Arctic Military Environment Cooperation.
ï¿½10M Contribution to the EU Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (to fund further environmental projects in North West Russia).
2. Government Plans Nuclear Medicine and Biophysics Center
Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan News Bulletin
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Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov announced Kazakhstan is planning the establishment of a Nuclear Medicine and Biophysics Center.
PM Akhmetov, speaking at a Cabinet meeting in Astana on February 17, said Kazakhstan has the potential to develop this challenging dimension of medical science based on its experience and resources, such as skilled doctors and developed industrial capabilities.
The term ï¿½nuclear medicineï¿½ means the modern methods for diagnoses and treatment which utilize radioactive materials. Such methods allow for the most precise diagnoses and treatment of different illnesses, including cancer. The World Health Organization estimates one in three patients on the planet would benefit from the use of nuclear medicine.
PM Alkmetov said: ï¿½Such project is a forward-looking one. Nuclear medicine is widely used across the world. Up to 13 million studies and 100 millions tests are carried out with nuclear physics in the United States alone. Other developed countries also use this technology. Kazakhstan certainly has capabilities to establish such a center.ï¿½
3. Press Conference with Under Secretary of State John R. Bolton, U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, Japan (excerpted)
Department of State
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We also talked about the expansion of the G-8 Global Partnership, which was created at the Kananaskis G-8 summit two years ago, and which will be one of the issues along with other proliferation questions that are one of the main areas of emphasis at the Sea Islands Summit, where President Bush will host Prime Minister Koizumi and the other G-8 leaders this summer.
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