1. Nuclear Fuel From Libya To Be Processed In Dimitrovgrad
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MOSCOW, March 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Atomic Energy Ministry told RIA Novosti today that the shipment of nuclear fuel from Libya that Russia received on Monday was shipped to be processed at a scientific-research institute in Dimitrovgrad, a city in the Ulyanovsk Region (east of Russia's European section).
About 16 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) was shipped from Libya in accordance with a joint Russian-U.S. program under the IAEA aegis and within the activities to curtail Libya's weapons of mass destruction development program. The Soviet Union supplied the nuclear fuel to Libya in the 1980s for a nuclear reactor at the Tajura research center near Tripoli.
A representative of the Atomic Energy Ministry, Nikolai Shingarev, told RIA Novosti that the uranium from Libya will be converted to low-enriched fuel in Dimitrovgrad. The low-enriched fuel will be used for the institute's research reactors.
According to the Atomic Energy Ministry's information, this is the third shipment of Russian uranium that has been returned to Russia from abroad. Earlier, nuclear fuel from Serbia and Romania was returned to Russia within the same Russian-U.S. joint program.
Mr. Shingarev explained that Russia had received 88 nuclear fuel assemblies from an IRT-2 reactor from Libya. The uranium-235 rods were 80% enriched, the Atomic Energy Ministry representative said.
MOSCOW (AP) - Enriched nuclear fuel the former Soviet Union provided to Libya two decades ago was returned to Russia on Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.
Russia's Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified Atomic Energy Ministry spokesman as saying 88 nuclear fuel assemblies - bundles of rods that contain fuel used for reactors - were returned from the Tajura research center outside Tripoli, which had received it between 1980 and 1984.
The Tajura facility includes a 10-megawatt reactor built in 1980 with equipment from the Soviet Union.
A statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, said it helped Libya in recent days with the removal of weapons-grade uranium from the research facility for transport back to Russia.
Libya, after long negotiations with the United States and Britain, recently acknowledged having a nuclear weapons program and pledged to scrap it.
The uranium was 80 percent enriched and was in the form of fresh, unused fuel, the Vienna-based IAEA said in a statement. It was in fuel components containing about 28.7 pounds of fissile uranium-235, as well as about 6.6 pounds of non-fissile uranium, the statement said.
Naturally occurring uranium contains only small amounts of the isotope uranium-235, which is needed to support chain reactions in nuclear reactors and weapons. The metal must be refined to boost the concentration of that isotope, a process called enrichment.
The $700,000 fuel return operation was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy under a three-way program with Russia and the IAEA to address nuclear safety and proliferation risks.
The IAEA said Russia intends to blend it down into low-enriched uranium, making it unsuitable for use in a nuclear weapon.
Uranium enriched to 80 percent of the U-235 isotope is barely usable for nuclear weapons. Bombmakers prefer 90-percent or more enriched uranium. The IAEA says 55 pounds of highly enriched uranium is considered "significant," that is, sufficient for a bomb.
1. Mayak Plant Launched Storage Facility For Fissile Materials
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The facility might take 25 tons of the weapon-grade plutonium from the Russian nuclear warheads.
Finally after all the delays the facility was put in operation at the Mayak plant in Ozersk, Chelyabinsk region in the South Urals. Its construction was launched back in 1995. A Russian-American joint executive group was managing the construction. The group consisted of the Russian Nuclear Ministry representatives, Mayak plant, VNIIPIET (St Petersburg), the South Ural Construction Department, the US Defense Ministry, US company Backtel. All-Russia Science Research Institute of Experimental Physics from Sarov was the science leader of the project. On December 10th, 2003, the Russian State Commission headed by nuclear vice-minister Ivan Kamenskih signed the official act of acceptance.
The facility consists of the module, two ventilation centres, an emergency diesel electric-power generator, a fire station, an administration building and a security service building. The facility can resist a plane crash, earthquake, and flood. The main module is made of concrete with 7meters thick walls and 8 meters thick lift slabs. The facilityï¿½s lifetime is 100 years and its price is $412m. The US Government paid the half of it. The fissile materials storage will be undergoing tests until the middle of 2004, then the loading operation will begin.
1. Kazakhstan Launched Construction Of Sodium Reprocessing Plant
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On March 4 in Aktau (Mangistausski Region) a launching ceremony was held for the construction of future plant for reprocessing liquid sodium of BN-350 reactor installation, as Nuclear.Ru was informed by Kazatomprom's press-service. The construction is carried out under the U.S. Department of State's nuclear weapons non-proliferation project (NDF). The project cost is estimated US$ 3 million. The ceremony was attended by James Canon, the project leader from the U.S. Department of Energy, Peter Wells, the program leader from Argonne National Laboratory, Baurzhan Ibraev, MAEK-Kazatomprom director general and Gennadi Pugachev, the director of BN-350 nuclear reactor.
The plant is designed to reprocess 1300 tons of liquid metal coolant (sodium) into alkali. Its construction is planned to complete by late 2004. The plant is to be commissioned in April-May 2005. In future the plans are to build the second plant for transforming the alkali into cement-like stone for long-term safe storage. The project will be fully financed by the U.S. department of State through its NDF program. BN-350 is the first world's fast neutron reactor, which had 20-year design service life. Presently, it is the first reactor of the kind to be decommissioned. BN-350 belongs with MAEK-Kazatomprom system which is in turn an affiliate of NAK Kazatomprom.
1. Sevmash Plant Produced Initial Batch Of Casks For Submarinesï¿½ Spent Nuclear Fuel
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Sevmash plant in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk region, manufactured the first batch of spent fuel transport/storage casks (TUK) for spent nuclear fuel from the retired submarines.
The first 13 TUKs have been sent to the Russian Pacific Fleet, ITAR-TASS reported January 21. The contract specifies production of 24 casks total. Earlier Sevmash won tender for the casks production announced by the Russian Nuclear Ministry, which deals with nuclear submarines dismantling. The contractï¿½s price-tag is $3.5m. The CTR program finances it in the frames of trilateral American-Russian-Norwegian program AMEC. The experts believe Russia should produce 220 casks till 2010 to accommodate spent nuclear from all the retired submarines. The special collection sites for temporary storage (50 years max.) for these casks are to be built for these casks at the Russian navy bases.
1. Russian Engineers Reportedly Gave Missile Aid to Iraq
New York Times
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WASHINGTON, March 4 ï¿½ A group of Russian engineers secretly aided Saddam Hussein's long-range ballistic missile program, providing technical assistance for prohibited Iraqi weapons projects even in the years just before the war that ousted him from power, American government officials say.
Iraqis who were involved in the missile work told American investigators that the technicians had not been working for the Russian government, but for a private company. But any such work on Iraq's banned missiles would have violated United Nations sanctions, even as the Security Council sought to enforce them.
Although Iraq ultimately failed to develop and produce long-range ballistic missiles and though even its permitted short-range missile projects were fraught with problems, its missile program is now seen as the main prohibited weapons effort that Iraq continued right up until the war was imminent.
After the first Persian Gulf war in 1991, Iraq was allowed only to keep crude missiles that could travel up to 150 kilometers, or about 90 miles, but the Russian engineers were aiding Baghdad's secret efforts illegally to develop longer-range missiles, according to the American officials.
Since the invasion last March, American investigators have discovered that the Russian engineers had worked on the Iraqi program both in Moscow and in Baghdad, and that some of them were in the Iraqi capital as recently as 2001, according to people familiar with the intelligence on the matter.
Because some of the Russian experts were said to have formerly worked for one of Russia's aerospace design centers, which remains closely associated with the state, their work for Iraq has raised questions in Washington about whether Russian government officials knew of their involvement in forbidden missile programs. "Did the Russians really not know what they were doing?" asked one person familiar with the United States intelligence reports.
A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington denied any knowledge of the allegations of recent Russian technical support for Iraq's missile effort.
"The U.S. has not presented any evidence of Russian involvement," said Yevgeny Khorishko, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy.
Russia and the former Soviet Union were among Iraq's main suppliers of arms for decades before Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, leading to the first gulf war.
The Bush administration has previously said it had uncovered evidence that Iraq had unsuccessfully sought help from North Korea for its missile program, but had not disclosed the evidence that Iraq had also received Russian technical support.
C.I.A. and White House officials refused to comment on the matter, and people familiar with the intelligence say they believe that the administration has been reluctant to reveal what it knows about Moscow's involvement in order to avoid harming relations with President Vladimir V. Putin.
"They are hyper-cautious about confronting Putin on this," complained one intelligence source.
In his public testimony last week about the worldwide threats facing the United States, George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, restated Washington's longstanding concerns about Russia's controls over its missile and weapons technology, without mentioning the evidence of missile support for the Hussein government.
"We remain alert to the vulnerability of Russian W.M.D. materials and technology to theft or diversion," Mr. Tenet said. "We are also concerned by the continued eagerness of Russia's cashapped defense, biotechnology, chemical, aerospace and nuclear industries to raise funds via exports and transfers ï¿½ which makes Russian expertise an attractive target for countries and groups seeking W.M.D. and missile-related assistance."
The Iraq Survey Group, the United States team that has hunted for evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, also found indications that Baghdad had received assistance from sources in Ukraine, Belarus and Serbia, according to American officials.
In an interim report on the progress of the Iraq Survey Group made public in October, David A. Kay, then the C.I.A.'s chief weapons hunter, reported that his group had found "a large volume of material and testimony by cooperating Iraq officials on Iraq's effort to illicitly procure parts and foreign assistance for its missile program."
It listed several examples detailing assistance from foreign countries, but apart from North Korea, no other countries were identified.
More than 10 months after the end of major military operations in Iraq, American teams have still not found conclusive evidence that Iraq had any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, raising doubts about one of the Bush administration's main arguments for going to war. Since he resigned from his post last month, Dr. Kay has said he believes that Iraq largely abandoned the production of weapons of mass destruction after the first gulf war, and that it gradually destroyed its remaining stockpiles during the 1990's.
But Dr. Kay has said the evidence shows that Iraq tried to keep upgrading its ballistic missiles even as its other weapons programs were stalling out. In interviews with Iraqi scientists, examinations of documents and other sources, the Iraq Survey Group has determined that Iraq was actively seeking ways to upgrade its crude missile abilities in order to try to build a rocket fleet that could become a regional threat, reaching American forces based in neighboring countries.
American officials now say that the United Nations restrictions that allowed Iraq to keep missiles with ranges of up to 150 kilometers had an unintended effect. From the Iraqi perspective, it meant that it was still legal for Baghdad to continue some missile development activities, since short-range missiles were permitted.
By contrast, United Nations sanctions completely banned Iraq from keeping any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, and it now seems that Iraq eventually abandoned those programs.
Taking advantage of the loophole permitting short-range missiles, Iraq sought foreign advice on such technical matters as guidance and airframe systems in order to develop missiles with greater range and accuracy than its previous missiles, according to officials familiar with the intelligence. In his October interim report, Dr. Kay said Iraqi detainees and other sources had told American investigators that beginning in 2000, Mr. Hussein approved efforts to develop ballistic missiles with ranges from 400 to 1,000 kilometers.
Still, the evidence gathered by the Iraq Survey Group suggests that Iraq's missile development efforts were poorly organized and ultimately unsuccessful.
"They had too many scattered programs, and so they didn't focus their efforts on any one missile," said one person familiar with the intelligence on the matter.
When United Nations weapons inspectors returned to Iraq in late 2002 just before the war, they found that Iraq had produced short-range Samoud 2 missiles that had slightly longer ranges than the United Nations sanctions allowed. In the weeks before the war, Iraq agreed to destroy many of those missiles, but those highly publicized actions were not enough to convince the United States that Iraq was in compliance with United Nations sanctions. In fact, the evidence suggests that Iraq was seeking to upgrade to missiles with greater range and accuracy than the older, Scud-based Samoud.
After the war, the Iraq Survey Group found evidence that Iraq had agreed to pay North Korea $10 million for technical support to upgrade its ballistic missile program in violation of the sanctions. But American officials believe that North Korea never actually delivered anything to the Iraqis, even though it apparently kept Iraq's $10 million. By contrast, the Iraq Survey Group found evidence that the Russian missile engineers actually did provide technical support for the Iraqis for years.
The Bush administration's reluctance to raise publicly the issue of Russian support for Iraq's missile program appears to stem from the White House's effort to cultivate better diplomatic relations with Moscow, particularly in the wake of last year's tensions over the war in Iraq. Russia opposed the war, but President Bush and Mr. Putin have still developed a good personal relationship, and there seems much less residual tension between Washington and Moscow over the war than there does between the United States and France and Germany.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the United States has also appeared more willing to view Russia's fight with separatists in Chechnya as part of the global war on terror.
A10-kiloton nuclear bomb (a pipsqueak in weapons terms) is smuggled into Manhattan and explodes at Grand Central. Some 500,000 people are killed, and the U.S. suffers $1 trillion in direct economic damage.
That scenario, cited in a report last year from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, could be a glimpse of our future. We urgently need to control nuclear materials to forestall that threat, but in this war on proliferation, we're now slipping backward. President Bush (after ignoring the issue before 9/11) now forcefully says the right things ï¿½ but still doesn't do enough.
"We're losing the war on proliferation," Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., a military expert and executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, says bluntly.
Until recently, nuclear trends looked encouraging. President Kennedy and others in the early 1960's expected dozens of countries to develop atomic weapons quickly, but in fact controls largely worked. Even now, only eight nations definitely possess nuclear weapons.
And there's more good news. While I believe that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, at least Saddam Hussein won't be making warheads soon. Likewise, partly thanks to Mr. Bush's saber-rattling, Libya is abandoning its weapons program.
But all in all, the risks of a nuclear 9/11 are increasing. "I wouldn't be at all surprised if nuclear weapons are used over the next 15 or 20 years," said Bruce Blair, president of the Center for Defense Information, "first and foremost by a terrorist group that gets its hands on a Russian nuclear weapon or a Pakistani nuclear weapon."
One of our biggest setbacks is in North Korea. Thanks to the ineptitude of hard-liners in Mr. Bush's administration, and their refusal to engage in meaningful negotiations, North Korea is going all-out to make warheads. It may have just made six new nuclear weapons. Then there's Iran, which has sought nuclear weapons since the days of the shah, and whose nuclear program seems to have public support. "I'm not sure there is a way to get an Iranian government to give it up," a senior American official said.
Finally, there's the real rogue nation of proliferation, Pakistan. We know that Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Islamist father of Pakistan's bomb, peddled materials to Libya and North Korea, and we don't know who else.
"It may be that A. Q. Khan & Associates already have passed bomb-grade nuclear fuel to the Qaeda, and we are in for the worst," warns Paul Leventhal, founding president of the Nuclear Control Institute.
It's mystifying that the administration hasn't leaned on Pakistan to make Dr. Khan available for interrogation to ensure that his network is entirely closed. Several experts on Pakistan told me they believe that the administration has been so restrained because its top priority isn't combating nuclear proliferation ï¿½ it's getting President Pervez Musharraf's help in arresting Osama bin Laden before the November election.
Another puzzle is why an administration that spends hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq doesn't try harder to secure uranium and plutonium in Russia and elsewhere. The bipartisan program to secure weapons of mass destruction is starved for funds ï¿½ but Mr. Bush is proposing a $41 million cut in "cooperative threat reduction" with Russia.
"We're at this crucial point," warns Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "And how we handle these situations in the next couple of years will tell us whether the nuclear threat shrinks or explodes. Perhaps literally."
The steps that are needed, like negotiating seriously with North Korea and securing sites in Russia, aren't as dramatic as bombing Baghdad. But unless we act more aggressively, we will get a wake-up call from a nuclear explosion or, more likely, a "dirty bomb" that uses radioactive materials routinely lying around hospitals and factories. To clarify the stakes, here's a scenario from the Federation of American Scientists for a modest terrorist incident:
A stick of cobalt, an inch thick and a foot long, is taken from among hundreds of such sticks at a food irradiation plant. It is blown up with just 10 pounds of explosives in a "dirty bomb" at the lower tip of Manhattan, with a one-mile-per-hour breeze blowing. Some 1,000 square kilometers in three states is contaminated, and some areas of New York City become uninhabitable for decades.
Sally Ann Baynard is a professorial lecturer in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
February brought news that we should all pay attention to, especially those of us who live near the two most important nuclear-target cities in America: New York and Washington.
The good news is that Libya spent 20 years and untold millions of dollars trying to develop a nuclear weapons program, but failed. Now Moammar Gadhafi is cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency to dismantle the program and reveal the sources of supply. The bad news is the existence of an international black-market network for supplying parts, machines, technology and even designs for manufacturing nuclear weapons.
Stretching from its roots in the company established by Pakistani nuclear program guru Abdul Qadeer Khan, the covert system has operated through companies from Europe to Malaysia to South Africa, with a hub of operations in Dubai and links to China. Khan has admitted selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. The network leading from Khan is so extensive an operation for one-stop nuclear shopping that IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei called it an "international Wal-Mart."
What does this mean to us? Are we more safe or less safe than we thought?
With the Cold War over and China's nuclear program decades behind the United States', the most damaging nuclear threat, all-out nuclear war, has become extremely improbable - although we should not forget the thousands of nuclear weapons still sitting atop intercontinental ballistic missiles in Russia and continued ICBM development in China.
The second way that nuclear bombs can threaten us is indirect. A regional rogue state, like North Korea or Iran, might decide to use a nuclear weapon against an enemy in its region, for example Japan or Israel. Or one of the regular confrontations between such regional enemies as India and Pakistan could erupt into a nuclear exchange. The damage would severely affect the global economy and cause incalculable harm to the environment, not to mention the resulting worldwide instability, but its effect on the United States is no greater than on the rest of the world.
The third way we are threatened by nuclear weapons is probably the one that gives most of us the greatest anxiety these days: a nuclear weapon in the hands of an anti-American terrorist group. Is it plausible that such a terrorist group possesses such a weapon? Does the existence of the nuclear black market make this terrifying scenario more likely?
It is unlikely that a group possesses such a weapon now or we probably would already have experienced this nightmare. It is remotely plausible that such a group could obtain one or more nuclear bombs, but the likelihood diminishes daily if the United States and international officials do their jobs right.
So the question is, Are they?
The IAEA seems to be on the ball, but the Bush administration could do much better. The administration and Congress must more aggressively fund and implement the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, a 10-year program that has done much in the areas of the former Soviet Union to guard and destroy nuclear materials, weapons and expertise that might otherwise become available on the black market.
President George W. Bush has said he supports this, but his 2005 budget request includes a cut and the administration has not acted quickly in the past to remove bureaucratic barriers to this critical program.
Similarly, after the revelations in February of Pakistan's nuclear aid to Libya, Iran and North Korea and the links with China, the president proposed new measures to restrict the trade in nuclear material. But Bush's proposals and his overall strategy are, in the words of one arms control expert, "too limited and contradictory to address current and future nuclear weapons dangers adequately."
We are no more at risk than we were before this nuclear black market was exposed, and perhaps less so. We can take comfort in the failure of Libya to achieve its ends after two decades, even with plenty of oil money to spend. A full-fledged nuclear program turns out not to be so easy to set up.
If the IAEA continues its investigative work, if the Bush administration steps up to the plate in funding Nunn-Lugar and other programs to control the spread of nuclear weapons, if the president has the courage to deal seriously with Pakistan over its behavior - if all this happens - then maybe we will be significantly less threatened in the future by nuclear weapons.
3. Scientist Claims Arms Reduction Is Best Defense
The Stanford Daily
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Citing arms reduction and improved intelligence as the best methods against national security threats, Dr. Richard Garwin discussed nuclear weapons at Cubberley Auditorium last night.
Garwin ï¿½ 2002 National Medal of Science Recipient and Senior Fellow for Science and Technology at the Council on Foreign Relations ï¿½ warned, ï¿½There will be terrorist nuclear explosions in cities.ï¿½
The reduction of U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles from over 10,000 currently to 2,000 and then 1,000, Garwin said, would make terrorist acquisition increasingly difficult. He also noted the need to consolidate plutonium and highly enriched uranium into fewer sites, especially in Russia where the government does not have the resources to provide adequate security for its nuclear weapons.
Although North Korea and Iran could be developing nuclear weapons, Garwin cited terrorism as the greatest threat to national security today.
ï¿½In New York, a nuclear explosion could kill up to 200,000 people,ï¿½ Garwin said. ï¿½There is a higher probability that a few people will use nuclear weapons without restraint not because of valid political reasons, but because they want to kill people.ï¿½
To combat the threat, Garwin supports increased spending on diplomatic measures and intelligence. In particular, Garwin cited the cost of the Nunn-Lugar program which removed the nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus after the fall of the U.S.S.R. and destroyed over 5,000 nuclear weapons to date.
ï¿½We need to compare the $1 billion for the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat reduction program with the $87 billion for less than a year in Iraq,ï¿½ Garwin said. ï¿½These are real weapons of mass destruction we are talking about here compared to the ones in Iraq that in my mind do not exist.ï¿½
Bush has established the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to deal with the threat, but Garwin dismissed the PSI as ï¿½words but not actions.ï¿½
ï¿½These issues will have higher priority after the first nuclear explosion in our cities,ï¿½ Garwin said.
Co-Director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation Dr. Christopher Chyba said that there is currently a debate about whether the United States should resume nuclear weapons testing to develop new warheads. Some contend that an ï¿½agent defeatï¿½ nuclear weapon, for example, could potentially destroy biological and chemical weapons without sending them up into the atmosphere.
Garvin is unconvinced.
ï¿½I have seen no calculation of doing what is advertised without releasing undestroyed material into the atmosphere,ï¿½ Garwin said.
Garwin also expressed disapproval over the U.S. Senateï¿½s failure to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) under the Clinton Administration. The CTBT would have banned all nuclear testing, extended the Non Proliferation Treaty indefinitely, and provided more international monitoring systems.
According to Garwin, senators voted against ratification because they thought nuclear testing would ensure the reliability and safe maintenance of current nuclear weapons and that the low level weapons testing would not be detectable in other countries.
Garvin does not see nuclear testing as necessary to ensure reliability.
ï¿½Eisenhower said that the failure to achieve a comprehensive test ban treaty was the greatest failure of his administration and of any administration,ï¿½ he said.
4. US Experts To Oversee Ukrainian Weapons-Destruction Program
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KIEV, March 10, 2004ï¿½ (RIA Novosti correspondent Yevgeny Alexandrov) - US experts are to visit Ukraine March 10-12, acquainting themselves with specific technical terms of a program for the elimination of strategic offensive arms.
Talking to RIA Novosti, people at the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's press center noted that an expert group from the US Defense Department's defense-threat reduction agency comprised project manager Donald Parman, as well as a representative of Ration Co.
The US delegation is to visit military installations in Nikolayev, Ozernoye, Belaya Tserkov and Vinnitsa, which scrap weaponry in line with the cooperative-threat reduction program. US experts will assess the state of former nuclear-warhead depots and service centers being financed by the US Defense Department.
Apart from that, Ukrainian and US experts intend to discuss the issue of scrapping redundant aircraft, their units and strap-on equipment, due to be phased out, as Ukraine's Armed Forces prune their warplane fleet.
Ukraine retained a sizeable nuclear-missile potential after the Soviet Union's disintegration. For instance, the country boasted 220 strategic delivery vehicles, including 130 RS-19 inter-continental ballistic missiles (NATO reporting name, SS-19), 46 modern RS-22 (SS-24) ICBM-s, as well as 44 strategic and intermediate-range bombers replete with 1,068 long-range cruise missiles. All these delivery vehicles could carry 1,944 nuclear warheads. 13 RS-18 ICBM regiments were removed from combat duty over the 1996-1998 period; moreover, 130 silo-based launchers were scrapped. Kiev eliminated 111 RS-18 ICBM-s, transferring another 19 RS-18 missiles to Russia. Moscow also received three Tu-95-MS Bear strategic bombers, eight Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers, as well as 581 air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM-s). Ukraine also dismantled 29 Tu-160 and Tu-95-MS warplanes over that time period, scrapping another 487 X-55 ALCM-s.
The last silo-based missile launcher for RS-22 inter-continental ballistic missiles was destroyed in the Nikolayev region in October 2001. Therefore one can say that Ukraine has completely fulfilled its commitments stemming from the START-I treaty's Lisbon protocol. The Ukrainian side began to scrap Tupolev Tu-22-M-2 and Tu-22-3 Backfire intermediate-range bombers, as well as 225 X-22 cruise missiles, in November 2002.
Plans are in place to scrap 31 Tu-22-M bombers until 2005. Among other things, 12 Tu-22-M-3 bombers will be cut up in Poltava; another 17 Tu-22-M-2 bombers and two other Tu-22-3 warplanes will be scrapped in Nikolayev. This program is financed by the US Government; the relevant contract was awarded to Ration Co. of the United States.
1. Iraqi Scientists Under Pressure To Help Find WMDs
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BAGHDAD (AFP) Mar 10, 2004
A year after US forces invaded Iraq on the pretext that the country was developing weapons of mass destruction, Washington has kept pressure on Iraqi scientists to help find the ever-elusive WMD programme.
"We have repeatedly told them that the WMDs were destroyed, but they are just not listening," said a physics researcher at Baghdad University.
And scientists here aren't the only ones in a dialogue of the deaf.
The expert tasked by US President George W. Bush with finding them, David Kay, repeated this month: "I was convinced and still am convinced that there were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction at the time of the war."
In the face of subsequent criticism, the United States, Britain and Australia have all launched inquiries into how intelligence about biological, chemical and nuclear weapons was used in making the case for war.
But in Iraq there has been no let-up, and Washington has alternately used the carrot and the stick on scientists and researchers, and some have even fled into exile.
In December, the United States announced a 22-million-dollar programme to rehabilitate scientists, researchers and technicians who worked on arms development under former dictator Saddam Hussein.
Under the programme, an office charged with identifying those who qualify was due to be set up in Baghdad in February, though no scientist, university chair or Iraqi professor questioned by AFP recently was aware of any date.
"No one here seems to be knowledgeable about the programme," said an official from the US-led Coalition Provision Authority, who added that it was an issue for the US State Department.
Yet these funds would be welcomed with open arms by those who worked in Iraq's prolific military industry, a sector that collapsed with the fall of Saddam last April.
"The state was militarised and the whole country worked on armaments," said the Baghdad University physicist on condition that he not be named.
"We were not happy just to teach, we were conducting research. The military industrial departments had the best equipment, so we worked there for the experience," he said.
After the war, scientists who were important members of the ruling Baath party were removed, while others returned to their old jobs at universities, said Wael Nurreddin al-Rifai, chairman at Baghdad University of Technology.
But as US forces struggled to find evidence on the arms, the researchers lived in constant fear of being arrested.
There have been arrests and scientists held without charge because they "pose an imperative threat to security, either because of what they've done or what they know," US Major Michael Pierson said.
"Some scientists who were in the former regime's military are being held as prisoners of war," he said, without providing details or numbers.
The families of these experts claim their loved ones are being persecuted.
"If the Americans have something to accuse them of, they should set up courts and judge them in public," said the wife of Ali Abdelrahman al-Zaak, a 49-year-old genetics expert at Baghdad University, who has been held twice.
Before he was arrested a second time in January, Zaak released a statement denouncing "harassment and rights violations against some Iraqi scientists and professors by American forces investigating WMDs."
He said any "specialisation in the domains of biology, chemistry and physics is now dangerous for scientists under the occupation" by US-led troops. Zaak is qualified as a "high value detainee" on the American prisoner list.
The wife of Sobhi Said al-Rawi, 59-year-old head of the women's information technology department at Baghdad University, tells a similar story.
"Under Saddam Hussein, my husband refused to be a member of the Baath party and he was never promoted because he took that stand. Now he has been held for months by the Americans," she said.
Some scientists who took part in weapons development and have so far escaped arrest have joined the new industry, and science and technology ministries.
But others have fled into hiding abroad. The physics department and science faculty have lost three professors in this manner -- two have taken refuge in Yemen, the third in Libya.
"In all, the scientists have paid the price and the country is going through a troubling brain drain," Rifai said.
1. Russia Eliminates Atomic Energy Ministry, Raising Nonproliferation Concerns
Global Security Newswire
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WASHINGTON ï¿½ As part of a massive government reorganization, Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday broke up the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry and reassigned its activites to other cabinet-level ministries. The move to formally eliminate the ministry has triggered concern among some experts that the resulting government structure could complicate U.S.-Russian nonproliferation efforts (see GSN, March 4).
A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Washington today confirmed that the Atomic Ministry had been eliminated. Under the new governmental structure, civilian nuclear activities will be handled by the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, part of the newly created Industry and Energy Ministry, embassy spokesman Yevgeniy Khorishko told Global Security Newswire. Former Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev would head the new, lower-level agency, Khorishko said. He also said that military aspects of the former Atomic Energy Ministry have been transferred to the Defense Ministry.
The Russian government plans to finalize its new structure within one to two months, Matthew Bouldin of the Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council said today, adding that questions remain as to what is ï¿½defense-relatedï¿½ and therefore will be transferred to the Defense Ministry.
ï¿½The Russians donï¿½t even know [yet] whatï¿½s where,ï¿½ he said.
The changes to the Russian Cabinet, coming in advance of presidential elections Sunday that Putin is expected to win, are meant as ï¿½administrative reformï¿½ to make the government more effective, Khorishko said. Overall, Putin reduced the number of governmental ministries from 30 to 17, eliminating such ministries as education, culture, energy, health, transportation and monopoly regulation, according to the Washington Post.
The Post today cited experts as saying the reorganization was intended to remove the last ministers remaining from the presidency of Boris Yeltsin.
The U.S. Energy Departmentï¿½s National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees departmental nonproliferation efforts in Russia, had no comment today on the elimination of the Atomic Energy Ministry.
On a ï¿½strategicï¿½ level, the streamlining of the Russian government could be a positive move by removing layers of bureaucracy, said Rose Gottemoeller of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peaceï¿½s Nonproliferation Project. She warned, though, that the move could complicate the decision-making and implementation aspects of the U.S.-Russian bilateral nonproliferation relationship. Some sections of the Defense Ministryï¿½s bureaucracy have a history of poor cooperation with the United States, Gottemoeller said. She cited the ministryï¿½s 12th Directorate, responsible for Russian nuclear munitions, which she said has in the past been uncooperative in providing access for nonproliferation efforts conducted through the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction program.
Another concern, according to Bouldin, is the issue of which U.S. agencies will handle various CTR projects. For example, the U.S. Defense Department has traditionally worked with the Russian Defense Ministry, raising questions as whether the Pentagon will assume control over more nonproliferation efforts or whether the U.S. Energy Department will have to develop new ties with the Defense Ministry, Bouldin said.
Bouldin also said the new government structure could result in nonproliferation being given less of a priority at least on a ï¿½ministerial level.ï¿½
Russian experts defended Putinï¿½s move, reiterating that the reorganization was part of necessary administrative reform. Noting the relatively small number of U.S. governmental departments, Andrei Piontkovsky, director of the Strategic Research Center in Moscow, said today that Putinï¿½s reorganization of his cabinet represents a move toward the standard practices of other countries. Piontkovsky also said it was it was a ï¿½logical stepï¿½ to transfer all military-related nuclear activities to the Defense Ministry.
The new industry and energy minister, Viktor Khristenko, has received ï¿½high marksï¿½ for such accomplishments as gas-and-oil pipeline policy and for a willingness to bring multinational oil companies to Russia, Gottemoeller said. Khristenko also has some experience with civilian nuclear activities, she said.
Over the past few years, though, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham developed a strong working relationship with Rumyantsev, Gottemoeller said. While it would not be ï¿½difficultï¿½ to establish a similar relationship with Khristenko, it will take time, she added.
The international community may not have the legal right to ask North Korea to stop peaceful nuclear activities, the top Russian envoy to Seoul said yesterday.
Whether North Korea would be allowed to keep nuclear programs for nonmilitary purposes was a bone of contention during six-party nuclear talks last week.
Pyongyang insisted on maintaining such programs even though it was ready to accept the demand to abandon its atomic weapons development. Washington said Pyongyang must dismantle all of them.
"If North Korea were revealed to have pursued nuclear weapons even if KEDO had completed the light-water reactors, the international community would be able to stop even peaceful nuclear activities," Russian Amb. Teymuraz O. Ramishvili said in a press conference. "But the situation is different."
Under the 1994 Agreed Framework, Pyongyang promised to freeze its nuclear weapons program in return for two 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactors by KEDO, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization.
KEDO has delayed the construction, which was originally slated for completion in 2003. The consortium finally halted the project in December, citing North Korea's nuclear tension after finishing 30 percent of the power plant construction in the North Korean village of Geumho.
But the ambassador said the countries could consider the halt of North Korea's nuclear capability for peaceful purposes in a political context.
"According to international law, it is impossible to stop such programs," Ramishvili said.
"But it could be considered in a diplomatic and political context."
He urged the participants in the nuclear talks - the two Koreas, the Untied States, China, Japan and Russia - to demonstrate flexibility and find alternative ways to settle the issue.
The ongoing tension erupted in October 2002 when U.S. officials said North Korea had admitted to harboring a new atomic weapons program using highly enriched uranium in addition to its acknowledged plutonium program.
The ambassador said energy assistance to North Korea would constitute part of a package deal to resolve the nuclear tension and Russia made its pledge to join South Korea and China in the possible power aid to the North.
"The three countries affirmed their willingness to assist the North with energy, and this was a general one," he said. "For this all the countries, including Pyongyang, should demonstrate flexible attitudes."
Ramishvili also said the second round of talks in Beijing on Feb. 25-28 made a stride in developing the dialogue mechanism but little progress in narrowing down differences between Pyongyang and Washington on fundamental issues.
The participants agreed to reconvene their talks by June and establish working groups aimed at tackling details in between rounds. Despite these agreements, they remain divided on ways to defuse the 17-month nuclear tension.
1. Commission Looking Into Missile Launch Failure At Recent Exercises Points To Technical Faults
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MOSCOW, MARCH 10 (RIA NOVOSTI) - The preliminary findings of the interdepartmental commission on investigation into the self-destruction of a missile during the recent exercises on the Northern Fleet point to technical faults, a high-ranking source in the commission told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
"As seen from the commission's preliminary findings, it can be technical faults which caused the incident with the launch of a missile from the nuclear submarine the Karelia with the subsequent course deviation of the missile and its eventual self-destruction," the source said. He did not specify what "technical faults" were in question.
The commission also looked into the human factor, or the crew's actions. Sources in the Northern Fleet headquarters confirm this information. "Technical faults may be the cause of the failure with the launch of the ballistic missile," said the source.
Official information about the incident happening during the Northern Fleet exercise has been reported to the mass media by Igor Dygalo, Captain 1st Rank, aide to the commander-in-chief of the Navy. He said that in the 98th second of flight the missile launched from the Karelia deviated from the set course, as a result of which the missile's self-destruction system worked. The Defense Ministry added that an automatics malfunction in the guidance system might have been the cause.
Vladimir Putin was observing the launch.
The commission will officially sum up the findings very soon. Last week, on March 5, Vladimir Kuroyedov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, and Alexander Rukshin, Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, heading the interdepartmental commission of investigation returned to Moscow from the Northern Fleet.
Earlier, RIA Novosti was told in the Northern Fleet headquarters that Kuroyedov and Rukshin during two days and behind closed doors were hearing reports by the chiefs of the working commissions checking the Northern Fleet. Within the next few days Rukshin and Kuroyedov are expected to report to Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on results of their check of the Northern Fleet.
The working commissions spent several days making checks of the Northern Fleet. They were made up of admirals, generals and officers of the Russian General Staff of the Armed Forces and the Main Staff of the Russian Navy.
Earlier, Sergei Ivanov told journalists that "no haste is made and no deadline exists for summing up results of fault finding. Only after all has been thoroughly investigated and the causes fixed will it become clear what to do next." To Sergei Ivanov, results will not be summed up before April. At the same time, another similar exercise is planned for this year, he said. "We will necessarily hold it, though I don't know on which fleet. It does not matter because such weapons systems exist in each," Ivanov stressed.
"The faults found during the strategic command-and-staff drill concerned only the Navy and were linked to the launch of an international sea-based ballistic missile. We have no claims to put to other fighting arms and services," Sergei Ivanov said.
All the troops and units involved in the exercise fulfilled their missions, including experimental involving new specimens of strategic weapons, Ivanov said. To him, such exercises are held to reveal the weak and strong points. "If we didn't hold such exercises for another ten years we would not know about the real state of affairs. Now we understand the faults," Sergei Ivanov stressed.
2. Nuclear Sub Victor-III Perm To Be Repaired This Year
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The Russian navy commander Vladimir Kuroedov agreed that during conversation with Mikhail Nenashev, leader of the public movement for Russian navy support, Perm newspaper Zvezda reported in January.
Russian MP colonel-general Yury Rodionov confirmed this information. Victor-III Perm (former K-292) project no.671RTM was due to undergo repairs already last year as the Russian Defence Ministry allocated money for the first stage of the works, but then the funds were used for the broken engine of an active submarine, which suddenly needed the service. Perm can be back in service in 2005-2006 if the repair works start soon.
The sub has been waiting for the repairs since 1996. For example, its battery should be completely changed. Earlier shipyard Nerpa demanded $2.8m, but the Defence Ministry could not afford it, so the sub was about to be scrapped then. Luckily, Perm city administration established a patronage program to take care of the submarine by collecting funds, food, cigarettes, clothes, TV, a bus etc. for the needs of the Permï¿½s submariners.
3. Nuclear Submarine Dmitry Donskoy Is About To Enter Active Service
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It took more than 10 years to upgrade the sub at the Sevmash plant.
In the end of last year the sub conducted successful sea trials and launched a testing missile in December. The submarine was based in Severodvinsk since 1989 and only recently Russia found the funds to complete the upgrade. In June 2002 the nuclear cruiser was taken out of the dock. Dmitry Donskoy was upgraded to the fourth generation submarine. The submarine received new equipment, control systems, weaponry and more reliable life-support systems.
Some media sources claim, the submarine has not entered active service yet due to the lack of the modern missiles. However, the sub might leave for its permanent base in Zapadnaya Litsa on the Kola Peninsula in the second half of this year.
The submarine was built at the Sevmash plant in 1982 and became the first Russian Typhoon submarine
Design Bureau Rubin (St Petersburg) developed third generation Typhoon (Akula) class submarine project 941. Sevmash built six Typhoons. The submarine has multi-hulled design, having two parallel main hulls, also called strong hulls, inside the light hull. Maximum diving depth is 400 m. Speed is 12 knots when surfaced and 27 knots when submerged. Typhoon is capable of spending 120 days at sea. The submarine is divided into 19 compartments and powered with two 190 megawatts nuclear reactors.
4. Delta-III Back In Service After 11 Years Repairs
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November last year Russian Delta-III nuclear submarine returned to its base at the Pacific Fleet, Daily News from Vladivostok reported.
The sub returned to the 25th Squadron of the Strategic Missile Cruisers on Kamchatka. Nuclear submarine Svyatoy Georgiy Pobedonosets, project 667 BDR, Delta-III class (before 15.09.1998 ï¿½ K-433) was built at the Sevmash plant in Severodvinshk, Arkhangelsk region. It has two nuclear reactors onboard. Submarines of this class carry the D-16RM missile system with 16 R-29RM (SS-N-23) missiles. The sub entered active service at the Northern Fleet on December 15th, 1980. On April 28th, 1992, the submarine crossed the Arctic and reached Kamchatka. It joined the Russian Pacific Fleet on November 3, 1993 and then spent 11 years, half of its lifetime, at the shipyard Zvezda. It was about to be dismantled in the end of 90ï¿½s, but somehow the Russian Defence Ministry recently provided the funds and the sub was quickly repaired. The submariners even have the official priest onboard who serves the crewmembers onboard.
1. U.S. Wrestles Its Rivals For China Nuclear Deal
International Herald Tribune
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Proliferation concerns take a back seatwith contract for 4 power plants at stake
BEIJING China plans to significantly expand its nuclear power production in the coming decades, and the Bush administration has been courting the country's top officials on behalf of U.S. companies seeking a starring role in that expansion.
The United States is competing with France, Russia and, to a lesser extent, Canada, to build four 1,000-megawatt plants that energy executives say will signify China's coming of age as a nuclear energy provider, and offer crucial relief to nuclear technology companies starved for new orders in their home countries.
"China is the country most likely to have robust growth in nuclear power in the next 10 years," said Ron Sinard, who oversees power plant development for the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington organization that represents the U.S. industry. "Looking at the market over the next decade, it's probably the biggest piece of the pie."
The effort comes against the backdrop of the Bush adminstration's criticism of nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea. A U.S. government official said he was confident that China would abide by U.S. rules preventing the transfer of licensed nuclear technology to third countries. Some critics said, however, they were concerned China's expansion of nuclear power may test its immature and incomplete regulatory system.
Edwin Lyman, a specialist on nuclear energy issues with the Union of Concerned Scientists, a U.S. group that opposes nuclear energy, said it was not clear how China would ensure that its radioactive materials remained safe, and in civilian hands. He also said the AP1000 design lacked too many traditional safeguards.
His concerns were dismissed by proponents of the deal. Jim Fici, a senior vice president at Westinghouse, said tests showed the AP1000 was many times safer than existing plants.
The transfer of the AP1000 technology to China would "raise no new policy issues" in proliferation, a U.S. government official said.
The call for proposals may be issued as early as this month, industry executives said. The winner is likely to have an advantage in subsequent bids for 20 or more nuclear plants that may be built by 2020.
China currently has eight nuclear power plants generating a total of 6,200 megawatts. By 2020, nuclear power could provide China with 32,000 megawatts. Even if all the proposed plants are built, nuclear power would supply China with only about 4 percent of its needs by 2020, with most of its electricity coming from coal-fired stations and, to a lesser extent, hydroelectric projects like the new Three Gorges Dam.
In choosing among rival bids, China will be making choices not only on which technology it will use but also on geopolitical allegiances, environmental safety and, in the case of American bidders, China's gaping trade surplus with the United States.
"The stakes are huge. These are big contracts with a lot of implications," said Jean-Christophe Delvallet, who represents the French energy company EDR in China.
In recent months, a procession of political leaders has pressed China to favor power plant designs and equipment from their home countries. They have included President Jacques Chirac of France; former Prime Minister Jean Chrï¿½tien of Canada; Viktor Khristenko, who was named fuel and energy minister in Russia on Tuesday; and dozens of less prominent officials.
President George W. Bush raised the virtues of American nuclear technology with the Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao, during a meeting in December, Fici said. The huge expense of building nuclear plants - more than $2 billion - may weigh in Westinghouse's favor as China considers big purchases to close its $113 billion trade gap with the United States.
China is likely to shift from its current mixture of Canadian, French and Russian technology to a more uniform array of plants, nearly all the officials and executives interviewed said.
"They want a more standardized system," said Renï¿½ de Preneuf, the chief China representative for Areva, a French nuclear energy company.
Standardization would make building and running plants less expensive and safer. Standardization also means the successful bidder has the lucrative prospect of a run of similar projects.
Most observers agreed the main contest is between Areva, which hopes to sell China its latest generation of Framatome ER reactors, and Westinghouse, which hopes to sell its AP1000 reactor, a model so new that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not yet approved it for construction in the United States.
This is not the first time China has publicized plans for expanding nuclear energy. Similar plans were announced in the early 1990s, but were abandoned because of a slowing economy and a temporary glut in electricity. Energy industry executives and analysts agreed that this time the Chinese government, alarmed by the country's voracious appetite for electricity and growing dependence on imported oil and natural gas, is determined to expand its nuclear energy resources.
Power shortages that disrupted industrial production and life across two dozen provinces last year revived interest in nuclear power. Last year, electricity demand spurted 15 percent to 1.9 trillion kilowatt hours, and tens of thousands of factories in China's booming eastern provinces were forced to cancel production because of power cuts. Similar power shortages are expected this year and next.
The chairman of the Chinese electricity regulation commission, Chai Songyue, said the nation would face a shortfall of 20 million kilowatt hours this year.
Stronger government support for nuclear energy is reinforced by enthusiastic promises of investment for China's power companies.
"A lot of utilities are investing money to prepare sites that might be approved in the next five-year plan," said Simon Tang, the Beijing representative of Atomic Energy of Canada, referring to China's next five-year budget, which will be released next year. The booming coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong are first in line for nuclear stations, in part because coal mines and dams are far away, making energy transport a major expense.
"You must look at this at a local basis," said Philip Andrews-Speed, an expert on China's energy sector at the University of Dundee in Scotland.
Energy companies see China as their best potential market. Westinghouse developed the AP1000, which can generate 1,100 megawatts, with half a billion dollars of support from the U.S. government, and the government would collect tens of millions of dollars in royalties from any such plant built in China, a senior U.S. energy official said. Credit support from the Import-Export Bank may also be used to finance the plants, the official said.
Representatives of the National Reform and Development Commission, China's top energy agency, and Chinese nuclear agencies all declined to be interviewed for this article.
Critics and skeptics of the Chinese nuclear energy program agreed that over the coming years, the shape and speed of the program's expansion will be at the mercy of economic downturns and political uncertainties.
"Now there's a scramble to build as much generation as possible," said Sinton, the energy analyst. "But with all this building, there's the possibility of overcapacity in a few years' time. There are systemic factors that lead to a boom and bust cycle."
2. Russia Might Accept Spent Nuclear Fuel From Lithuania
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If Ignalina NPP is shut down, Russia will take its spent nuclear fuel. ITAR-TASS reported on January 23, referring to the Minatom's Director for Information Policy Nikolay Shingarev who had commented 20-years anniversary of the Lithuanian nuclear plant and possible closure of the first unit in December due to the European Union demands.
ï¿½Ignalina NPP has been operating successfully and accident free since the start-up and generated 242.5 billion kWh during 20 years of operation. It is 80% of total electricity produced in Lithuaniaï¿½Lithuania is not eager to close down this plantï¿½. According to Shingarev, Russian Corporation TVEL delivers fresh nuclear fuel to the Ignalina, and the spent nuclear fuel is stored in Lithuania in the casks. However, Shingarev believes, that ï¿½the issue on returning of the spent nuclear fuel to Russia from the Ignalina for storage and reprocessing in case it is closed down, should be solved according to the existing agreements, contracts and the IAEA regulationsï¿½, ITAR-TASS reported.
3. Russian Units Tipped for Bulgaria's Second N-Plant
Sofia News Agency
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Preliminary results from the report on ecology impact of second Bulgarian n-plant Belene have revealed that the pressurized-water reactor, such as the Russian VVER, is better for equipment, Krassimir Nikolov, Chief of the Belene Construction Works Directorate, stated on Tuesday.
A US company is engaged in drafting an expert report on the advantages of each of two technologies - Canadian and Russian - proposed by international bidders.
Bulgaria has the options to buy a CANDU heavy water reactor, proposed by the Atomic Energy of Canada, and a pressurized-water reactor of the VVER type to be built by an international consortium including US Westinghouse, France's Framatome, Russia's Atomexportstroy and Czech Skoda.
The government decided to resume construction of the Belene nuclear power plant on the Danube River, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Sofia, in 2003. The project has been mothballed back in 1990 under pressure from eco groupings.
4. Power-Generating Unit Restarted At Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant
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NOVOVORONEZH, Voronezh region (Itar-Tass) - The fifth power-generating unit at the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant was restarted at 06.11 Moscow time on Wednesday after a brief stop for maintenance.
A source at the power plantï¿½s grid control service told ITAR-TASS that the unit was restarted in keeping with the design mode. At present, one power generator of the unit with a capacity of 500 thousand kilowatt is operational. As soon as the unit reaches its design capacity, its second turbo-generator will be placed in operation.
Apart from the fifth power-generating unit, two other VVER-440 units are functioning. The radiation background inside the plant and the adjacent territory is normal.
1. Minatom Is Converted Into the Federal Agency For Atomic Energy and Incorporated Into the New Ministry for Industry and Energy
Ministry of Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation
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Speaking at a meeting in the Kremlin today, President Putin reported about the signing of Decrees on appointments in the Government of the Russian Federation and announced the personal membership of the new Government. It will include 17 ministries instead of 30 ministries. The Ministry of Industry and Energy will be headed by Viktor Khristenko who was acting as head of the Government after the dismissal of the previous cabinet of ministers until the new Chairman of the Government was appointed. The new Ministry will be one of the key elements of the Government, responsible for the real sector of the economy. In addition to the industry, including the defense sector, it will cover energy and issues of construction and housing and utilities. When Mikhail Fradkov introduced members of the new Government to President Putin, he noted that the Agency for Atomic Energy will be directly subordinate to the Minister of Defense for defense issues.
2. Removal of High-Enriched Uranium in Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
International Atomic Energy Agency
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IAEA, USA, Russia Assist Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to Remove Fissile Material
The IAEA this week assisted Libyan authorities with the removal of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU) stored at a research reactor facility on the outskirts of Tripoli. IAEA inspectors monitored and verified the packing of the HEU for transport and removal on 8 March.
The HEU, 80% enriched and in the form of fresh fuel, is in fuel assemblies containing about 13 kg of fissile uranium-235, as well as about 3 kg of uranium. It was airlifted from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya to the Russian Federation. HEU is a safeguarded fissile material that fuels nuclear reactors for research and electricity production but can also be processed and used to make a nuclear weapon.
Russia agreed to take back the HEU and was the original supplier in the 1980s for the 10-megawatt reactor and critical facility at the Tajoura Nuclear Research Centre near Tripoli. Russia intends to blend down the HEU into low-enriched uranium (LEU), making it unsuitable for a nuclear weapon.
The $700,000 fuel-removal was funded by the United States Department of Energy under a cooperative US-Russia-IAEA programme called the Tripartite Initiative, which addresses safety and proliferation risks. The Tripartite Initiative returns fresh and spent fuel from Russian designed reactors abroad.
< research for HEU in commerce international eliminate eventually and reduce to helping is Agency the initiative, US a with conjunction In material. useable weapons have still that world around reactors 80 about are There HEU. than rather LEU burn facility Tajoura at its convert Libya assist will IAEA removal, fuel addition>
The Libyan fuel removal and transfer operation was arranged by the Agency as part of its technical cooperation activities to enhance the safety of research reactors and nuclear materials. In the past year and a half the IAEA has assisted Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Bulgaria to transfer HEU reactor fuel back to its country of origin.
3. Baroness Symons Addresses Conference Reviewing Progress On The Cold War Legacy Clean-Up
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
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Foreign Office Minister Baroness Symons opened an international conference today assessing progress on reducing the risk of proliferation resulting from the nuclear, biological and chemical weapons legacies of the Cold War in former Soviet Union countries.
Baroness Symons said:
'We are more aware than ever today of the threat posed by clandestine weapons programmes and by the black market in weapons, knowledge and materials of mass destruction.'
'Our efforts to counter the proliferation menace have to be aimed at the many different cogs in the proliferation machine. Improving export controls on proliferation sensitive materials can deny access to the raw materials to those who might intend their misuse. The Proliferation Security Initiative aims at intercepting the transport of weapons and materials where arms control treaties and export controls have not been effective. And of course, co-operative threat reduction is aimed at reducing the threats posed by the weapons legacy of countries in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere in the world.'
'Every chemical weapon destroyed is a weapon that cannot be used. Every scientific mind redirected is one that contributes to building peace and prosperity rather than weapons to destroy it. And every tonne of spent nuclear fuel or fissile material disposed of will never again be available for weapons production. So I have no doubt about this. It is an extraordinarily hard slog, but it is vital work.'
Notes for Editors
1. The UK is hosting the third Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Co-operation Initiative Conference on 4-5 March at Lancaster House, London. The NDCI is an informal group of countries, formed in 2001, involved in non-proliferation and disarmament in the former Soviet Union.
2. The conference brings together 180 experts from around the world to discuss all aspects of co-operative threat reduction in the Former Soviet Union. Delegates include representatives from the G8 countries, the European Commission and some Former Soviet Union countries.
3. Projects include the destruction of chemical weapons, dismantlement of nuclear powered submarines and retraining of ex-weapons scientists for peaceful purposes.
4. The UK has been working to help manage the nuclear, biological and chemical legacies of the Former Soviet Union since the early 1990s. At the Kananaskis Summit in 2002, G8 leaders pledged to provide up to US$20 billion over ten years from a new Global Partnership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The Prime Minister committed up to $750 million to this work in 2002. The UK's First Annual Report on the G8 Global Partnership was published in December 2003.
5. The conference aims to:
o Take stock of efforts so far;
o Assess the scale and nature of the task remaining;
o Identify opportunities for new or expanded co-operation on specific project areas;
o Identify potential obstacles to early progress, lessons learned and new approaches.
2. Testimony on the defense nuclear nonproliferation programs of the Department of Energy and the Cooperative Threat Reduction programs of the Department of Defense in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2005 before the Senate Armed Services Committee
Paul M. Longsworth, Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, National Nuclear Security Administration
3. Testimony on the defense nuclear nonproliferation programs of the Department of Energy and the Cooperative Threat Reduction programs of the Department of Defense in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2005 before the Senate Armed Services Committee
8. Overcoming Impediments to U.S-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation: Report of a Joint Workshop
U.S National Academies Committee on U.S-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Russian Academy of Sciences Committee on U.S-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Development, Security, and Cooperation, National Research Council
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