In recent months President Bush has spoken forcefully, and with more urgency, about preventing nuclear weapons or radioactive materials from falling into the hands of terrorists. He's right that there's far too much dangerous nuclear material in vulnerable sites around the world. What is less often mentioned is that the U.S. scattered much of that material to scores of countries over several decades, all in the name of peaceful nuclear research.
The nuclear fuel was sent to countries, starting in the 1950s, with the understanding that it would not be used for military purposes. For decades, experts believed a bright line could be drawn to separate military and civilian uses of nuclear power. That premise has proven sadly mistaken, particularly since countries like Iran and North Korea developed secret bomb-building programs under the cover of supposedly peaceful nuclear programs.
It's time to get that nuclear material back.
Recently, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham pledged an aggressive, $450 million decadelong campaign to retrieve nuclear materials that the U.S. and the former Soviet Union sent around the world. That's a welcome move, but it should be accelerated.
For years the department mounted a lackluster effort to recover the highly enriched uranium fuel that can be converted into bombs. A recent audit by the Energy Department's inspector general found that the department was likely to recover only about half of the 5,200 kilograms (about 11,500 pounds) of highly enriched uranium it was seeking and that no effort had been made to recover an additional 12,300 kilograms. That's enough to make hundreds of bombs. Even if it weren't enough for a bomb, a small amount could be used in a so-called "dirty bomb," a conventional explosive combined with radioactive material that would not be as lethal as a nuclear weapon but would be devastating nonetheless.
Even though much of the uranium is in the hands of allies such as France, Japan, Canada and Germany, significant amounts were spread to scores of other countries, including, ironically, Iran. Retrieving it is critical, says Gary Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, "because these quantities of highly enriched uranium are just sitting around in [places] that are not very well-secured, and they're spread across the globe. They are soft targets for terrorist groups."
For several years, the U.S. would not even accept shipments of returned spent nuclear fuel, except in special urgent-relief circumstances, the audit said. Then, in 1996, the government restarted its efforts to recover some of the fuel that had been lent or sold to countries. But few countries responded. One reason: The U.S. charges the countries $5,000 a kilogram to return the spent fuel. No wonder there haven't been many takers.
Energy Department officials say the U.S. will now help some countries pay the fee and will accelerate its efforts to retrieve the highly enriched uranium it sent to locations around the world. It will also wisely expand that effort to do the same with tons of Russian-origin nuclear materials, setting a target of 2010.
It makes sense to secure the most vulnerable supplies first. But Abraham's plan calls for the U.S. to sweep up all of its spent fuel within a decade. He should find a way to speed that timetable.
With the ongoing threat of a terrorist attack in the U.S., there's no time to waste. There is still far more to be done on a global scale to reduce the threat of nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists. It's good to see the Bush administration is showing signs that it understands the urgency of this effort.
1. French firm Areva to recycle US military plutonium for civil purposes
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Excess US military plutonium stocks are to be transformed by French nuclear group Areva into fuel under a program that symbolizes a new stage in French-US cooperation in disarmament.
At the request of the US government, Areva is to set up test facilities in France before building a factory in the United States.
The company, which has already received a green light from the French government, is now awaiting approval from French nuclear security regulators to build several mixed oxide or MOX treatement sites in Cadarache, southern France for demonstration.
The use of MOX, a reactor fuel made by combining plutonium and uranium, carries many operating constraints because of the fuel's delicate chemical and radiological nature.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union built up huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons, leaving the United States with weapons-grade plutonium it now wants to eliminate.
"This program cocks a snook at history. This plutonium, it was Hiroshima, now it will be used to produce kilowatts," the head of the Cadarache plant Michel Pibarot said.
When US President George W. Bush came to office in early 2001, his administration concluded that since plutonium is an energy, it should be used to generate electricity. A gram (0.035 ounces) of plutonium can produce as much energy as 1.5 tonnes of oil.
During the test period of the programme, 140 kilogrammes (309 pounds) of US weapons-grade plutonium is due to set sail for France in the second half of the year from Charleston, South Carolina.
MOX pellets will then be made from the plutonium before being tested in the reactors of Duke Power in the United States, according Areva executive Arthur de Montalembert.
In a second phase, Areva will then build a plant in the United States to convert 34 tonnes of plutonium into nuclear fuel. Work is scheduled to begin in mid 2005 so that the site is operational in 2008.
Only four sites in the world are able to recycle plutonium into MOX: two French plants run by Areva, a Belganucleaire factory in Belgium and a BNFL factory in Britain.
Despite persisting tensions between France and the United States, the programme is one of the few areas of cooperation, especially in military matters, between the two countries.
"Today the subjects where there is real cooperation between the French and the Americans involving military matters are not very numerous," an expert in French-US relations said.
The contracts for the programme are worth between 250 million and 300 million dollars (207 million-248 million dollars), the group said.
"In terms of the amount, it's not the contract of the century, but the strategic aspect for disarmament os clearly important," Montalembert said.
Areva executives at Cadarache are also hoping that the Russians, who are less advanced in their disarmament programmes than the Americans because of financial reasons, will chose Areva as well.
"Ideally the same factory in the United States could be built in Russia, but no Russian has come yet to give us a visit," Cadarache factory head Pirabot said.
1. Tackle the Nuke Threat ï¿½ Bin Laden has called it a 'duty' for Al Qaeda to get a nuclear bomb. But policies to prevent nuclear terror have hardly changed since 9/11
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The G8 Summit in Sea Island, Ga., produced no new cooperation on Iraq. No surprise there. The rifts over it are deep, and though the United States has changed course, it will take time before other countries jump in. What is less excusable is that there was no real progress on a crucial issue to which the G8 pays lip service: preventing nuclear proliferation.
President George W. Bush has often said that the greatest danger we face is that "the world's most dangerous people" will get their hands on "the world's most dangerous weapons." He's right. Osama bin Laden has called it a "duty" for Al Qaeda to acquire a nuclear bomb. But the truth is that our policies to prevent nuclear terror have not changed much since 9/11.
This is particularly surprising when you consider that the problem of nuclear terrorism is actually solvable. Making a nuclear bomb requires fissile materialsï¿½weapons-grade plutonium or uranium. To produce either, you need reprocessors, reactors and enrichment facilities. These are out of the reach of even a large, well-funded terrorist organization. Terrorists can get such materials only by buying them from states. So, if all fissile material around the world were locked up and monitored and no new material were made, it would eliminate the worldwide threat of nuclear terrorism.
Obviously it's easier said than done, but it can be done. We lack not the means but a clear goal and the determination to get to it. In a recent speech John Kerry proposed setting out this objective, comparing it to putting a man on the moon. Actually it would take less time and would certainly be much less expensive.
For America, the additional cost of such an effort would run about $1 billion a year. We spend $10 billion every year on a national missile defense that doesn't work. When it does eventually work, it will guard us (sort of) against the least likely means of delivering a nuclear bombï¿½a missile. Why not spend 10 percent of that to thwart the most likely method of deliveryï¿½a suitcase bomb?
But this is not simply an American problem. The European Union is searching for a way to play a major role in combating terrorism different from some of the Bush administration's bellicose strategies. Fine. Here is a policy that is preventive and nonviolent, and requires broad cooperation. To work, it must have several components:
ï¿½ Secure the former Soviet Union's arsenal and destroy what is supposed to be destroyed. The former Soviet Union accounts for more than 90 percent of all existing fissile material outside the United States. Russia still has 20,000 nuclear missiles and enough material to make 50,000 Hiroshima-size bombs. The Nunn-Lugar program, which works with Russia to destroy or secure these materials, should be dramatically expanded. ï¿½ Stop using highly enriched uranium in research reactors. The United States and the former Soviet Union have furnished dozens of reactors around the world that are used for scientific research. Most use bomb-grade uranium as fuel. These reactors should be closed or converted so that they require non-bomb-grade uranium. ï¿½ Ban new enrichment and reprocessing. To his credit, President Bush recently proposed a version of this idea. Countries that want nuclear energy for peaceful purposes should agree to forgo enrichment and reprocessing. In return, existing nuclear exporters will provide them with the nuclear fuel they need for their production process. ï¿½ Allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to check that all states with nuclear programs have strict safeguards and controls. The case of Pakistan's A. Q. Khan, who set up a nuclear supermarket, is a scary example of what can happen without such checks. ï¿½ Prevent Iran from gaining access to these materials and reverse North Korea's nuclear program. These are the two most difficult cases. In Iran's case, Kerry proposes to call its bluff and offer it nuclear fuel. Tehran should happily accept, unless it wants a nuclear program for some reason other than to produce energy. ï¿½ Even if North Korea and Iran prove intractable problems, the rest of these measures would safeguard 99 percent of the world's fissile material. This would not solve all our problemsï¿½bioterror is at least as scary. But it would take one of the greatest dangers the world faces off the table.
Ashton Carter, the Harvard expert who is John Kerry's adviser on this issue, argues that "our current path is unfocused and 'effort oriented.' We measure progress by how much we have spent, how many nukes we have secured, etc. Instead let's become 'goal oriented.' We know what the end zone would look like. Why don't we define it? How close are we to eliminating the danger of nuclear terror?" Right now, not very close.
1. Russia hails this week's G-8 summit as great boost to global security
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Russia's Foreign Ministry on Friday hailed the summit of the Group of Eight top industrialized countries, saying its decisions would strengthen global security.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said the summit showed that the G-8 remains a "leading global policy-making forum." He said the G-8's decisions on combating global terrorism and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction were of particular importance. At the G-8 summit, the United States won agreement for a one-year freeze on the sale of enrichment equipment that can be used for making nuclear weapons.
"The leaders made important decisions in the context of strengthening the nonproliferation regime," Yakovenko said.
At the same time, Yakovenko reaffirmed Russia's intention to continue nuclear co-operation in Iran, saying it fully conforms with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Russia's $800 million US contract to build the Bushehr reactor in southern Iran has drawn years of protests from the United States, which fears the project could help the country build nuclear weapons.
Moscow has dismissed the U.S. concerns, but says it will not ship fuel for the reactor until it signs an agreement with Iran on the return of all spent fuel back to Russia, a measure aimed at preventing it being reprocessed into material for nuclear weapons.
Retired Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, a top nuclear arms expert during Soviet times, said Friday that Russia couldn't drop the Bushehr contract for political reasons.
"Abandoning co-operation with Iran would very badly hurt Russian President Vladimir Putin's authority, and that is even more significant than economic losses," Dvorkin said at a conference.
Alexei Arbatov, a prominent Russian military expert who heads the Centre for Global Security, said the international community must reach a deal with Iran to fully dismantle its uranium enrichment program in exchange for keeping the Bushehr nuclear plant and getting Western investments.
Arbatov said global nonproliferation controls had been undermined by commercial interests, which led to leaks of sensitive technologies to countries aspiring to become nuclear powers.
He said controls must be tightened by forcing all non-nuclear nations which signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to open their territories to unlimited inspections by United Nations nuclear experts.
The summit meeting of the Group of Eight leaders was declared a success by the White House, as measured by its own yardsticks. In a week that began with a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the transfer of sovereignty to the new Iraqi leadership, the G-8 meeting gave an impression of solidarity and seriousness as leaders addressed the world's most important challenges.
The image of Ronald Reagan overshadowed the event. As president, Reagan identified his overriding challenge as preventing nuclear war. In his oft-quoted one-liner: "A nuclear war cannot be won and must therefore never be fought." Following that insight, he pursued a strategy for victory in the cold war without the nuclear war of which Americans would have been among the first victims.
At their meeting two years ago in Canada, the G-8 leaders identified the post-cold war equivalent of Reagan's specter, declaring the nexus of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction "the pre-eminent threat to international security." To combat this threat, they established a "Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction." Other G-8 members pledged $1 billion a year over the next decade to match U.S. commitments to secure nuclear weapons and materials in Russia. At their summit meeting last year in France, the G-8 nations reaffirmed this pledge and announced an action plan to move the effort forward.
At Sea Island, Georgia, the leaders unveiled a new initiative to freeze for one year transfers of enrichment and reprocessing technology to Iran, but they ducked the issue of measures of their performance in fulfilling pledges made in the previous two years. The press compliantly accepted its assigned role as Greek chorus, reporting what the leaders said without comparing rhetoric to real action. Had they done so, their report card on the G-8 would show poor performance:
Fewer former Soviet "near-nukes" - lumps of highly enriched uranium and plutonium from which a terrorist could make a nuclear weapon - have been secured in the two years since Sept. 11, 2001, than in the two years before that date.
Only one-fifth of Russia's weapons-usable fissile material has been adequately secured.
Of Russia's fissile material stockpile, 57 percent - enough for more than 20,000 nuclear weapons - has not received the most basic security upgrades.
Hundreds of potential nuclear weapons of highly enriched uranium will remain at risk in developing and transitional countries for the next 10 years.
Responsible leaders who actually believed that a threat was "pre-eminent" would move on the fastest technically feasible timetable to combat it. In contrast, the actions taken by G-8 nations since announcing their global partnership two years ago have been lackadaisical and unfocused.
Two measures of urgency - money and personal presidential attention - demonstrate this worrisome reality. The 2002 global partnership pledged $20 billion over 10 years, one half from the United States, the other half from other members. That amounts to $2 billion per year from countries that produce 70 percent of the world's gross domestic product. Even by that standard, the global partnership has yet to reach its goal of $20 billion in pledges, and has spent less than half a billion, excluding the existing U.S. programs. Compare this with the more than $100 billion that the United States has spent on Iraq in the past year.
The absence of direct personal involvement by Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin and other G-8 leaders belies any sense of priority. None of these men has sent a lightning bolt through his own bureaucracy or actively engaged his counterparts to resolve bureaucratic logjams.
In 2000, for instance, the United States and Russia signed an agreement to remove the threat of 68 tons of Russian weapons-grade plutonium. In the three years since the agreement, how many tons have been destroyed? Zero. Liability and access disputes continue to hold up the project, and less than half of the $2 billion required to do the job has been pledged.
At the current rate, the global partnership will not secure Russia's loose nukes until 2017. If the material for the terrorist bomb that blows up in Paris or Moscow or New York in 2005 is scheduled to be secured in 2008, voters will look back at the elegant language of multiple G-8 summit meetings and wonder why it was so hard to translate those words into action.
THE GROUP OF EIGHT industrialized nations took a couple of steps at their summit meeting in Georgia this week to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Urged on by the Bush administration, the leaders of Europe, Japan, Canada and Russia agreed to a one-year moratorium on supplying equipment for producing fissile material to countries that do not already have it. Mr. Bush seeks a permanent ban, which will be discussed in the coming months. The G-8 also announced seven new participants in its program for funding the securing of nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union and agreed to press more non-nuclear countries to accept expanded inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The various initiatives followed several recent steps by the Bush administration -- including a new $450 million program to collect enriched uranium and plutonium from 40 countries around the world -- that have added momentum to its efforts to prevent the spread of nukes to nations or terrorist groups.
This progress nevertheless looks paltry in comparison with recent developments in the opposite direction. Both North Korea and Iran appear to be continuing with nuclear weapons development, overcoming ineffective containment efforts by the Bush administration and oft-divided groups of its allies. Next week the IAEA board will meet to consider a report that a formal Iranian commitment to freeze work on enriching uranium was never honored. It's not clear that all the nuclear equipment secretly produced and traded by the Pakistan-based network of Abdul Qadeer Khan has been tracked down: Some seems to have disappeared. Evidence has emerged, meanwhile, that North Korea already has exported nuclear technology, to Libya. Though Libya is dismantling its program, there is an obvious danger that North Korea will sell bombs or the technology for them to others. It's easy to fault the ineffective strategies for these threats pursued by the Bush administration or, in the case of Iran, by European governments. But it's also unclear whether any approach, from negotiation to military action, would succeed -- though the effort at containment must go on.
What's odd in such circumstances is the relative sluggishness with which the world has attacked the part of the nuclear menace that is relatively easier to deal with, if equally frightening: that of "loose nukes" and the materials needed to make them. All the elements needed to manufacture a nuclear weapon are readily available in global markets, save the fissile core of highly enriched uranium or plutonium -- and hundreds of tons of these materials are stored under insecure conditions in the nations of the former Soviet Union and other countries. A decade-old U.S. program has safeguarded only 20 percent of the material in Russia and less than that elsewhere. According to a recent report by a team of Harvard University researchers, less fissile material was secured in the two years after Sept. 11, 2001, than in the two years before the attacks.
Though it is working harder at securing the loose nukes, the Bush administration is still giving this effort a fraction of the resources it is spending to deploy a missile defense system against a threat -- a rogue state with an intercontinental missile -- that does not currently exist. At the current rate of work, it will take 13 years to secure the remaining bomb-grade material in the former Soviet Union and more than a decade to collect it from other countries. Mr. Bush's challenger, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), has laid out a plan to complete the same job within four years. The president could help his own political cause as well as U.S. security by matching that commitment.
1. RUSSIA DOES NOT SEE OBJECTIVE CAUSES TO BREAK THE CONTRACT ON COMPLETION OF IRAN'S NUCLEAR POWER PLANT
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Russia intends to continue cooperation with Iran in the nuclear area, said Russia's Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko at a RIA Novosti press conference on Friday.
"Currently, there are no problems for such cooperation in terms of the international law and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) requirements", the diplomat stressed.
"Adherent to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty provisions and faithful to its international commitments Russia will continue establishing nuclear cooperation links with all countries including Iran", Mr. Yakovenko concluded.
As was reported earlier, in May Moscow hosted the meeting of Russia's Atomic Energy Agency director Alexander Rumyantsev and Asadolla Saburi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization. The sides discussed the issues of completion of the first power unit of the Busher nuclear power plant (northern part of Iran's Persian Gulf coast).
According to the statement of Hasan Rohani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), following the talks, the Russian side confirmed adherence to its recent commitments in implementation of the project. The SNSC head pointed out that underway were the talks on settling the financial issues related to the spent fuel return to Russia. He confirmed that Iran was ready to invite Russia to participate in the construction of the second power unit of the Busher power plant.
Retired Major General and respected military analyst Vladimir Dvorkin told a Moscow conference on 11 June that Russia should reorient its nuclear deterrent to emphasize even more ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and to reduce the significance of sea-based and air-launched systems, the Military News Agency reported. He said that Russia's ground-based forces are fully capable of maintaining the roughly 2,000 warheads necessary for the country's security. Such weapons, he said, have always been "the most flexible, reliable, precise, powerful, and combat-ready leg of the nuclear triad." He added that ground-based systems "have always demonstrated a considerably higher level of nuclear security as compared to the naval leg -- meaning accidents and disasters." International Security Center head Aleksei Arbatov told the conference that old nuclear doctrines were made obsolete by the events of 11 September 2001, the news agency reported. "Nuclear deterrence cannot be used against international terrorism," Arbatov said. He added that nuclear strikes cannot even be used against states that harbor terrorists, since terrorists could actually be interested in provoking such an assault. "In this sense, even the U.S.-led operation in Iraq in 2003 was very favorable for international terrorism," Arbatov said.
1. First power unit of Kalinin NPP stopped for scheduled overhaul
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The first power-generating unit of the Kalinin nuclear power plant was stopped on Monday for scheduled major overhaul that will be carried out within 60 days.
The Kalinin NPP information department told Itar-Tass, ï¿½Besides standard shutdown list, it is planned, in particular, to carry out full replacement of flanges and worn out movers of control rods of the upper unit of the reactor. It is also planned to carry out a comprehensive programme of control of the metal of the upper unit of the reactor and the mechanism itself.ï¿½
The radiation background at the industrial site of the Kalinin NPP and in the town of Udomlya is within natural levels.
1. Prime Minister's Statement to the House on the G8 Sea Island Summit (excerpted)
Prime Minister Tony Blair
10 Downing Street
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On non-proliferation, we adopted an action plan building on and enhancing the existing global non-proliferation regime. We recognised the need to strengthen controls on the transfer of nuclear enrichment and reprocessing technology. We agreed to have new measures in place before next year's summit.
The G8 was originally created to discuss economic issues. Of course we still do this, but increasingly the focus has moved towards issues of international solidarity. This is because it is clear that in an interdependent world, what blights or enhances one part of the world, affects the other parts too. It is morally right that we extend democracy, cut poverty, remove the causes of conflict and instability and bring the hope of advancement to all nations. But it is also now clearly in our enlightened self-interest. If global terrorism and the proliferation of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons are the new security threat we face, we recognise it cannot be defeated by security measures alone. Political freedom and rising prosperity as much as force of arms will be our ultimate shield. The G8 this year recognised this reality. We look forward to deepening it under British chairmanship next year.
2. Remarks prepared for Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham for Eisenhower Institute Event at the National Press Club
Department of Energy
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Remarks prepared for Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham At the National Press Club
Thank you. I am delighted to be here today.
Preparing for these remarks in the days leading up to todayï¿½s program has been a challenging task.
Events of the past week have brought to the fore memories of two of our most beloved Presidents. Men who answered the call and helped defeat the two greatest challenges to peace and freedom the modern world has ever known.
One, Dwight David Eisenhower, the man whose life and work this organization honors, led the D-Day Invasion at Normandy 60 years ago.
In recent days, on the windswept beaches on the northern coast of France, we celebrated the anniversary of that event, which has been described as having saved civilization in its darkest hour.
The other great President, Ronald Reagan, a general of a different sort, led America to victory in another war, a war against Soviet communism and expansionism.
He was the quintessential American, embodying everything that was good and noble and optimistic about this great country.
His passing was met with profound sadness not just by his countrymen, but by people all over the globe.
Indeed, because of these two heroes, millions upon millions of people all over the planet live in the bright sun of freedom, rather than cower in the dark shadows of totalitarianism.
The D-Day anniversary, and the death of Ronald Reagan, reinforce the old adage: Freedom isnï¿½t free. The peace and security and freedom we cherish must constantly be secured and earned and won, over and over, through resolve, determination, courage, and sacrifice.
Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan understood and appreciated that truth.
Because they did, the United States and the free world faced down the twin evils of Naziism and Soviet Communism ï¿½ the two scourges of the 20th century ï¿½ and prevailed in that centuryï¿½s two epic conflicts.
But we live in a new century, and the defining conflict of this one has already been revealed.
It is a conflict between the civilized nations of the earth, steeped in freedom and progress, versus the retrograde terrorists and terrorist states that would use devastating weaponry and technology to destroy them.
Is civilization itself at stake, as in the Second World War, or the Cold War?
Perhaps not in the same way; yet this fact does nothing to minimize the threat at hand.
The slaughters perpetrated on September 11 ï¿½ and at Bali ï¿½ and at Madrid ï¿½ leave no question that what is at stake today are the lives and safety of, literally, millions of innocent people.
We know there are terrorists whose ambition is nothing more than death and suffering.
We know they are trying to acquire the means to achieve this ambition on the largest possible scale.
We know they are in league with the worldï¿½s most notorious thugs and despots.
And we know that our challenge of thwarting their aims grows increasingly complicated in a world where technology and science make constant advances.
A century ago, the great novelist Joseph Conrad wrote The Secret Agent, about secretive anarchists who planted bombs in public places to sow terror among the populace of London.
Today the threat we must guard against isnï¿½t just the anarchist placing a bomb in the downtown square ï¿½ now we must worry about the terrorist who places that bomb in the square, but packed with radiological material.
Whereas once we had to worry about the madman whose ambition, within the realm of possibility, was to assassinate a world leader ï¿½ now we must worry about the madmen whose ambition is to destroy a world capital.
As President Bush said in a speech at the National Defense University in February: ï¿½The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility of secret and sudden attack with chemical or biological or radiological or nuclear weaponsï¿½ America, and the entire civilized world, will face this threat for decades to come.ï¿½
The recent revelations of the complex network established by A.Q. Khan give startling scope to the nonproliferation challenge we collectively face.
The large quantities of uncontrolled or lightly controlled nuclear and radiological material of potential use in weapons have added an entirely new dimension to this worldwide threat.
Over 200 of the worldï¿½s research reactors are nearing the end of their life spans.
Four hundred reactors have already shut down or been decommissioned, creating large quantities of spent fuel and radiological sources that must be secured and/or disposed of.
Our challenge could not be more clear: As the 21st century unfolds, the stakes are higher. The dangers are greater. The worries are graver. Our challenge is more pronounced.
A test of our resolve will be how we adapt to new and evolving threats as the 21st century takes its shape.
A decade ago, in the wake of the Cold War, our nonproliferation programs were of a certain type.
They were narrowly focused on securing nuclear weapons and weapons-grade material made vulnerable by the collapse of the Soviet Empire.
That pretty much remained the focus of U.S. nonproliferation efforts by the time President Bush took office in 2001.
Since then, we have broadened and accelerated these programs.
In part, this has been a response to our own top-to-bottom review.
In part, it has been a result of 9/11.
And it also reflects the direct decisions made by the Russian Atomic Energy Minister, Alexander Rumyantsev, and me as we have assessed priorities.
Our efforts have been very successful.
In a moment I will chronicle some of these successes.
But first let me say that they were achieved because of several things.
First and foremost, because President Bush and President Putin have made this a priority from the beginning of their relationship.
Second, because America has been successful in getting other countries to join this effort.
And third, because we have established a much better working relationship with our counterparts in the Russian government.
This has been the case at all levels, but especially between Minister Rumyantsev and me.
I donï¿½t think itï¿½s any secret that the Department of Energy and Minatom did not work closely on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis in the past.
But we do now.
In the three and a half years since becoming Secretary, I have met personally with Minister Rumyantsev on a dozen occasions.
We have developed a very effective partnership. And this close association has translated into great progress on many fronts, which I will now discuss.
First, we have substantially increased our nonproliferation spending.
This Presidentï¿½s most recent DOE budget request to Congress sought a nonproliferation budget of $1.35 billion ï¿½ a nearly 75 percent increase over the lastï¿½and largestï¿½budget request of the previous Administration.
Second, we have accelerated and expanded a number of important nonproliferation programs.
We have accelerated our efforts to secure 600 metric tons of weapons-usable material in Russia. By the end of this fiscal year, we will have secured over 46 percent of this material, as opposed to the 20 percent claimed by some. Perhaps more importantly, by the end of this year we will have secured 70 percent of the sites. During 2003 and 2004, we will have secured more material than in any other two year period in the programï¿½s history. Indeed, since FY 2001, we have already secured 17 percent more material than the total material secured in the programï¿½s previous history. Most importantly, we will finish this work by 2008, fully two years ahead of the original schedule. We have also accelerated the recovery of approximately 10,000 high-risk radiological sources in the United States. In the past 18 months, the program has doubled the number of sources recovered during the eight-year life of the program. We have dramatically accelerated our work with the Russian Navy to secure their fuel and nuclear warhead sites. During my first trip to Moscow in 2001, I met with Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, the head of the Russian Navy. He made a personal appeal for the U.S. to assist Russia with security upgrades at Russian Navy warhead and High Enriched Uranium fuel storage sites on a faster, fuller basis. I gave my commitment that we would move aggressively, and we have. I am happy to report that we will have secured 100 percent of Russian Navy fuel and nuclear weapons storage sites by the end of 2006. Third, we have launched a number of key new initiatives to address the evolving nuclear security threat:
In June 2002, the President proposed ï¿½ and the G-8 leaders established ï¿½ the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. This new 10-year program will bring important new resources to bear on non-proliferation, disarmament, counter-terrorism, and nuclear safety. And it will engage countries that previously had not been involved. The partnership has already secured almost $17 billion dollars in pledges ï¿½ 85 percent of the way to our target. We are working hard with our partners and Russia to reach the $20 billion target and go beyond it. We believe that figure should be a floor, not a ceiling. In the spring of last year, we began a new program with Russia to upgrade security for its Strategic Rocket Forces sites. By the end of this year we will have secured two sites, and are working to secure the remaining 15 by the end of 2008. On May 31 last year, the President announced the establishment of the Proliferation Security Initiative, a program of counterproliferation partnerships to allow the U.S. and its partners to interdict suspect cargo on land, at sea, or in the air, and to seize illegal weapons-related material or missile technologies. As a direct consequence of this initiative, Libya decided to abandon its WMD and long-range missile programs. Since last December, we have worked with Libya, the IAEA, and other international partners to dismantle Libyaï¿½s nuclear weapons program. Last year, we created the MegaPorts program to place radiation detection equipment at the worldï¿½s major seaports. This summer, we will complete installation of radiation detectors at the largest seaport in Europe, the Port of Rotterdam. Last year, Minister Rumyantsev and I established a joint process to allow us to begin upgrading security at Russiaï¿½s most sensitive sites without compromising Russian security interests. Under this cooperative effort, we initiated a pilot project at a sensitive Russian site and will assess the results this summer, paving the way for access to the last remaining and most sensitive sites to be secured. In 2002, at its annual convention, I called upon the member nations of the IAEA to establish a new international effort to account for, secure, and, where appropriate, dispose of radiological sources that could be used in a radiological dispersal device. Last spring, we launched this effort by co-hosting, along with the Russian Federation and the IAEA, an international conference for more than 120 nations. As a result of this conference, participant nations agreed to: First, identify high risk radioactive sources that were not under secure and regulated control, including ï¿½orphanï¿½ sources. Second, launch an international initiative to facilitate the location, recovery, and securing of such sources. And, third, call on all IAEA member states to enhance their own national regulatory bodies to address safety and security of radioactive sources in their countries. This conference set the stage for our new Radiological Threat Reduction program, which is working in more than 40 countries to prevent the acquisition of radiological dispersal devices by terrorists.
And, finally, just last week, the G-8 ï¿½ during Americaï¿½s chairmanship ï¿½ endorsed a Nonproliferation Action Plan that will further aid our progress. The G-8 partners actively affirmed their support to eliminate the use of HEU in research reactors, and to secure and remove fresh and spent HEU fuel. And they also spoke strongly in favor of controlling and securing radiation sources, as well as strengthening export controls and border security. The strong and growing G-8 support for this work is extremely important. We would be fooling ourselves, however ï¿½ and endangering our citizens ï¿½ to ever say we have done enough. The continually shifting nature of geopolitics ï¿½ the ever-forward advancement of science and technology ï¿½ the hardened determination of terrorists to sow death and destruction ï¿½ all of these demand that we continually reassess the situation, that we constantly revisit the topic at hand, and that we incessantly update our defenses and our plans to combat proliferation threats.
As the global proliferation threat continues to evolve, it has become clear that an even more comprehensive and urgently focused effort is needed to respond to emerging and evolving threats.
Although we are accomplishing much, there is always more we can do.
For that reason, I traveled to Vienna two weeks ago to address the International Atomic Energy Agency and to propose a new phase in our global non-proliferation effort.
With Director General Mohammed ElBaradei, I announced the Global Threat Reduction Initiative to secure, remove, or dispose of an even broader range of nuclear and radiological materials around the world that are vulnerable to theft.
This Global Threat Reduction Initiative ï¿½ or GTRI ï¿½ is a concrete initiative to protect, collect, and secure materials not satisfactorily dealt with by existing nonproliferation programs.
The idea is that the entire spectrum of nuclear materials must be addressed.
The GTRI reflects the realities of the 21st century that were so startlingly made clear to the world on that September morning three years ago, and plugs the gaps that our current efforts do not adequately address.
We will do this by the securing, removing, relocating, or disposing of these materials and equipmentï¿½whatever the most appropriate course may beï¿½as quickly and expeditiously as possible.
Specifically under the Initiative:
We will first work in partnership with Russia to repatriate all fresh and spent Russian-origin nuclear fuel that currently resides at research reactors around the world.
In 1998, a small amount of fresh fuel was removed from a research reactor in Georgia.
No further fuel retrieval occurred for four years.
Then, in 2002, we began working on an ad hoc basis to return fuel from the most dangerous of these reactor sources.
As many of you know, working with the IAEA, the Russian government, and a number of other partners, we have been successful in repatriating to Russia 14 kilograms of fresh HEU from Romania, 17 kilograms of fresh HEU from Bulgaria, nearly 17 kilograms of HEU from Libyaï¿½s research reactor, and 50 kilograms of fresh HEU from Serbia.
But it was clear to us that proceeding on this ad hoc approach would take far too long to adequately secure all the material needing to be addressed.
During the last year, we have been working with Russia to formalize this effort and put in place a plan to get the work done quickly under a formal government-to-government agreement.
I am happy to say that the day after we announced the GTRI, we signed that government-to-government agreement with Russia to get the job done.
Under this new agreement, Russian fresh HEU fuel will be returned to Russia for safe storage or disposition ï¿½ not in three years, or five years, or eight years ï¿½ but by late next year.
We are also working, under that agreement, to repatriate all Russian-origin spent HEU fuel.
Presently there is around four metric tons at 20 reactors in 17 countries.
We intend to finish this effort by 2009.
A second feature of the GTRI will be to take whatever steps necessary to accelerate and complete the repatriation of U.S.-origin research reactor spent HEU fuel ï¿½ about 20 metric tons in all ï¿½ from more than 40 locations around the world.
Let me acknowledge that this DOE program has had a long history of not performing as well as it should.
This program was assigned many years ago to the Departmentï¿½s Environmental Management division, which is very able in doing its work to remediate former U.S. weapons sites.
But it did not have the international outreach capabilities to work with foreign governments on delicate negotiations and to get this done at a fast pace.
So in order to address this, I recently moved this entire program from our Environmental Management division to the nonproliferation division at our National Nuclear Security Administration.
I made it clear to the people there that I want this job done as soon as possible, and I assure you it will be.
While we confront a number of challenges in carrying out this work ï¿½ including the need to extend our legal authority under NEPA to repatriate this fuel, the diplomatic challenges we will encounter with several of the host countries, and the sheer magnitude of this enterprise ï¿½ I believe it can be done in a very expedited fashion.
Indeed, an overwhelming share of this work will most certainly be finished within four to five years. The rest involves more complex circumstances that require a broader international focus.
For that reason, in Vienna and in Moscow, I proposed the convening of an international partners conference later this year to enhance our ability to address special challenges.
Both the IAEA and the Russian Federation have agreed to help host this effort, and we are moving ahead. I am confident that this approach will succeed and enable us to also expeditiously address work in these more complicated situations.
The third major feature of the GTRI will be to convert the cores of 105 civilian research reactors that use HEU to use low enriched uranium fuel instead.
We will do this not just in the United States, but throughout the entire world.
We will first target those reactors where the threats and vulnerabilities are highest.
We have already converted, or are just about done converting, roughly a third of those 105 reactors.
We believe we will finish another third in the next four to five years.
The rest may not be able to be completed that quickly, given todayï¿½s technology, and given the constraints we have in terms of manufacturing the safer substitute fuel.
I know some have implied that this work can be done quicker.
But the people who make those assertions are simply ignoring the realities of science, and the realities of what, exactly, a mission of this scope entails.
Let me put this in perspective.
Changing a reactor core is not like changing the battery in your car.
Not all cores are the same, and we donï¿½t yet have a proven LEU replacement fuel for every type of reactor.
While we have developed LEU that works for some reactors, there are others for which we still have to perfect and license a workable substitute.
We will do this, but it takes time.
And until this happens, it is unlikely that other nations will give up the use of their research reactors willingly.
Moreover, I should note that even after this fuel is perfected, we are still hindered by other technological limitations, because there is only one place in the world where this new fuel will be able to be manufactured.
This, obviously, will affect the speed with which we can convert these reactor cores.
So those who say we can accomplish 105 core conversions all around the world in three or four or five years either havenï¿½t taken the time to learn these facts, or they know them but choose to disregard them.
The simple fact is this is not a political science challenge, it is a real science challenge, and we have real scientists working right now at our national labs to find the answers to some vexing technological problems.
In short, ladies and gentlemen, this is neither a question of will nor a question of resources.
If we find ways to speed up these activities ï¿½ and we are determined to do so ï¿½ we will not hesitate to move the clock forward, because it is in our interest to accomplish these objectives as quickly ï¿½ and as thoroughly ï¿½ as the technology will allow.
For our part, we believe it is not appropriate to make time commitments, the fulfillment of which is problematic.
The issues of nonproliferation demand honest, serious plans and timetables.
And that is what we have offered.
Anyone who says they have a plan for this work with a faster timetable than ours, but without the scientific ability to address this replacement fuel impediment, does not have a real plan at all.
The final pillar of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative will be to work to identify other nuclear and radiological materials and related equipment that are not yet covered by existing threat reduction efforts.
Once identified, we will secure, remove, relocate or dispose of these materials and equipment in the quickest, safest manner possible.
We will rapidly address the most vulnerable facilities first, to ensure that there are not any gaps that would enable a terrorist to acquire these materials for evil purposes.
Obviously the GTRI is a very expansive, robust undertaking. To make it successful will require several things.
First, we need a single organization whose sole purpose is to make sure it is done on time.
For that reason we have established such an office at NNSA.
Second, we need resources.
The United States is prepared to spend the resources necessary to guarantee success, and we have already announced plans to contribute more than $450 million to this effort.
That amount is sufficient to complete the U.S. Foreign Research Reactor Spent Fuel Return, the Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return efforts and to also fund the conversion of all targeted U.S. and Russian supplied research reactor cores under the Reduced Enrichment for Test Research and Test Reactors program.
But we will need heightened international cooperation to finish the job.
Dedicated as the United States is to such an undertaking, it is clear that a truly effective nonproliferation regime is made up of the collaboration of efforts by as many nations as possible, not just a few.
This is particularly true with the collection of materials that are not of Russian or American origin, or that may be located in locations that pose certain challenges that the United States and Russia cannot address alone.
Thatï¿½s why in Vienna and Moscow, I also proposed the aforementioned Global Threat Reduction Initiative Partnersï¿½ Conference.
This conference will address material collection and security in places where a broader international effort is required.
It will also focus on material collection and security of other proliferation-attractive materials, not of U.S. or Russian origin, such as those located at conversion facilities, reprocessing plants, and industrial sites, as well as the funding of such work.
I am confident it will be successful.
As I said a little earlier, I am very proud of what the Bush Administration ï¿½ and DOE in particular ï¿½ have achieved, and what we have added to these programs during the last four years.
Four years ago, there was no comprehensive international effort to address Radiological Dispersal Devices. Today, there is.
Four years ago there was no MegaPorts program to place radiation detection equipment at the worldï¿½s major seaports. Today, there is.
Four years ago, we werenï¿½t working with the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, and now we are working at 17 sites that will be finished in the next four years.
Four years ago, there was no mechanism to return Russian reactor fuel. Today we have a formal government-to-government agreement to accomplish this in an abbreviated timeframe.
Four years ago, there was no G-8 Global Partnership with $20 billion in commitments for nonproliferation. Today there is. And we now have a Nonproliferation Action Plan that reinforces our efforts and gives global support for the Presidentï¿½s nonproliferation strategy.
Real progress is being made, and will continue to be, until the job is done.
Consolidating current programs ï¿½ speeding the return of Russian and U.S. origin fuel ï¿½ securing the most dangerous materials worldwide to reduce the most perilous threats ï¿½ working together on an international basis. That is the agenda before us.
We will take these steps because we must. The circumstances of a dangerous world have thrust this responsibility on the shoulders of the civilized world. We donï¿½t have the luxury of sitting back and not taking action.
The Global Threat Reduction Initiative is precisely the vehicle we need to take the necessary action now.
It is ambitious, but realistic.
It is bold, yet also practical.
It builds on previous successes and positions us for new ones.
And itï¿½s the strategy best suited to dealing with the defining threat of the 21st century.
I want to conclude today with the same message I gave in Vienna.
It is a message that applies to all the civilized members of the international community.
It is a message that applies particularly to a nation such as ours that has always stood for peace and freedom.
And it is a message that I think particularly resonates given our recent reflections on the lives and work of Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower. That message is this:
The responsibility falls to us ï¿½ to take necessary action to prevent the horrors of 9/11 being replayed, but on a nuclear scale.
The responsibility falls to us ï¿½ to ensure that the civilized world continues to enjoy the peaceful uses of the atom ï¿½ in medicine, electricity generation, and beyond ï¿½ while minimizing or eliminating any dangers.
Like Dwight Eisenhower, leading the Allied invasion to turn back Hitlerï¿½s tide ï¿½ like Ronald Reagan, leading the Westï¿½s great power in a clash with the forces of Soviet evil ï¿½ we are charged with safeguarding civilization from those who want nothing more than to see it destroyed.
I am optimistic that we can do this. We have a President who understands the awesome scope of the current crisis, even when many others do not. And because of the resolve he has shown,
I am confident that we will bring about the safety and security the American people deserve.
3. Press conference following the G-8 summit (excerpted)
(for personal use only)
[ï¿½] QUESTION: Russia has an indisputable interest in taking part in the G-8 from a foreign policy point of view, but in terms of domestic policy, what does the G-8 give Russia?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I think it gives Russia quite a lot. First of all, the G-8 is a forum for coordinating positions on the key issues in the world today. There are two key issues for Russia: international security ï¿½ a subject to which we devoted seventy percent of our work ï¿½ and economic cooperation and developing the global economy. I wonï¿½t go into all the details here, but I think you will agree with me that these are issues of immense importance for Russia. Finally, our meeting here gave us the opportunity to exchange views on the state of our respective economies and our plans for developing our national economies. I think that Russia has an undoubted interest in knowing what plans are ahead for the worldï¿½s biggest economies because this will have a direct effect on how the economic situation develops in Russia itself. There are also other issues that have a practical interest for us. We discussed not only the situation in the Middle East, which in itself is of importance for Russia in terms of our interests in that part of the world, and we discussed not only Iraq. We know how acute these problems are and how they affect the whole spectrum of international relations. We also discussed, for example, the problems in Afghanistan, the issue of drug trafficking from Afghanistan. This is all of practical importance for us. We also discussed more down to earth matters such as a global initiative that would make available to us quite serious sums of money to finance the dismantling and treatment of old nuclear submarines decommissioned from the Armed Forces. We have already begun this work. Incidentally, Russia has allocated $470 million for this purpose. We allocated this money ourselves and have already received $200 million from our partners. We finalised our positions here with our Canadian partners and signed the according agreement. I think our other colleagues have also become more aware now of how we can continue this work together. From an environmental point of view there is no need, I think, to spend a long time on explanations: we have been keeping decommissioned nuclear submarines at conservation bases since the 1960s, and so this is a very topical issue for us.
That is a just partial list of the grounds for affirming that the G-8 is of use for us.
QUESTION: Is the global partnership a myth or a reality? Will we see some practical results?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: We are already working with Germany. The Germans have said they want to take part in work in our Northwest region, and we are working with the Japanese in the Far East. One submarine has already been dismantled and treated and we are now starting on a second contract. Concrete work is underway.
QUESTION: Some experts say that the G-8 has already outlived itself and that the decisions it takes have no binding force. What is your view on this?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: The G-8 never did take binding decisions. Remember the G-8 summit in Cologne that decided to write off several billion dollars of Russiaï¿½s state debt, and nothing of the sort happened in the end. This has always been one of the G-8ï¿½s shortcomings, but this makes it no less attractive and Russia still has good reasons for taking part in it.
QUESTION: Regarding Iran, there has been a rapprochement of the Russian and U.S. positions over the last year and increasing caution about what is happening in Iran. But Russia has still not abandoned plans to complete construction of the nuclear power station at Bushehr. Was this question discussed during your meeting with President Bush, and under what conditions could Russia stop work at Bushehr?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Russia will stop work at Bushehr if Iran ignores the international communityï¿½s demands to make its nuclear programmes transparent and to expand its cooperation with the IAEA. So far, Iran is complying with these demands and is fulfilling all its commitments to the IAEA, and so we see no reason to stop our cooperation with Iran.
QUESTION: During the summit there were various publications in the American press suggesting that Russia does not deserve to be a member of the G-8. Would you say that Russia has now solidly established itself as a member of this forum?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: I donï¿½t pay any attention to these kinds of publications because they are linked to U.S. domestic political affairs and to attempts to put pressure on President Bush on this or that question. I heard that in the run up to the elections his political rivals often criticise him for the situation in Iraq. I think, and I deeply believe this, that they do not have the moral right to criticise him for this because they carried out exactly the same policy. Itï¿½s enough to remember the events in Yugoslavia. They did exactly the same thing. And now they donï¿½t like what Bush is doing in Iraq. You know our position on Iraq. Thatï¿½s a separate issue. What I am saying is that some of the publications coming from this or that side are dictated by internal political considerations. As for Russia, we are not banging on any doors and nor are we running away from anywhere. Russia, as you know, is one of the worldï¿½s biggest nuclear powers. This was and will remain the case so long as the international situation and our own national security concerns demand this. It seems to me that resolving such issues as non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in general - and this was one of the main subjects we discussed ï¿½ would be simply not serious without Russiaï¿½s participation.
Russia has a developing market and developing economy. I would hope that the efforts we are making to ease the tension in the energy market are not just of interest but are of vital importance for our G-8 partners. There are other aspects too that I think make Russiaï¿½s participation in the G-8 attractive not just for us but also for our colleagues.
As for the question of whether it is all really necessary or not, that is a separate issue. We have our own views on various international forums, including this one. I already mentioned the G-8 summit in Cologne that was to have written off billions of dollars of Russian debt, but what happened to that decision? So, I think we take a simpler attitude towards such things.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea
(for personal use only)
1. The Government of the Republic of Korea has decided to join the "Global Partnership Against Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction", which is a international cooperation project for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and its participation will be announced at the 2004 G-8 Summit being held in Sea Island, U.S.A., between June 8-10. At this Summit, the participation of other 6 western countries will also be endorsed.
2. Joining the Global Partnership is an active expression of the Korean government's willingness to support joint forces to stem the spread of deadly arsenals. With the participating in the Global Partnership, Korean government hopes that cooperative ties with major countries, such as the United States, will be further developed and enhanced in the area of non-proliferation of WMD, and also hopes that the Global Partnership will expand its scope further, beyond the Russian Federation and the former Soviet region.
3. The details of projects the ROK will undertake and its financial contribution are to be consulted with the G-8 members at a later stage. Since May 1998, the Korean government has been providing financial contribution to the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) in Moscow, which is one of the major projects of the Global Partnership, and it will continue with this contribution.
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