1. Bolton Takes Heat for Plutonium Disposal Effort
Global Security Newswire
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WASHINGTON ï¿½ U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton came under fire from U.S. lawmakers yesterday for continued delays in implementing a U.S.-Russian effort to eliminate almost 70 tons of weapon-grade plutonium, enough to make thousands of nuclear weapons (see GSN, May 10).
In the late 1990s, the United States and Russia each agreed to eliminate 34 tons of plutonium, but the effort has been effectively stalled by a dispute over liability protection in the event of an accident or act of sabotage at a Russian facility. In previous threat-reduction agreements, which seek to help Russia eliminate or secure former Soviet WMD stockpiles and materials, Moscow agreed to accept liability in the event of an act of sabotage or accident in exchange for foreign aid. Regarding the plutonium disposition effort, however, Russia has taken the position that if a U.S. contractor is involved in an incident, then either it or the United States should be held responsible.
According to reports, the Bush administration is divided as to how to resolve the debate, with the Defense and State departments seeking more rigorous liability protections, while the Energy Department is satisfied with a less stringent approach.
During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing yesterday, lawmakers criticized the lack of progress in resolving the dispute.
ï¿½Why a program of this much global importance should be blocked by something as basic as liability remains beyond me. Iï¿½ve been amazed that the leadership of the United States and Russia cannot resolve this issue. Failure to resolve this issue is simply not consistent with the urgency that the administration has attached to nuclear proliferation,ï¿½ Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) said in testifying before the committee.
Bolton is the State Departmentï¿½s top nonproliferation official, and Domenici questioned his effectiveness in resolving the dispute.
ï¿½I submit that Mr. John Bolton, who has been assigned to negotiate this, has a very heavy responsibility. And I hate to say that I am not sure to this point that heï¿½s up to it,ï¿½ Domenici said. ï¿½If he doesnï¿½t think itï¿½s important enough to solve, this issue of liability, then I submit that you ought to get somebody that can,ï¿½ Domenici added.
Bolton told the committee that one of the issues delaying the resolution of the liability dispute is Russiaï¿½s lack of progress in ratifying an ï¿½umbrellaï¿½ agreement used to establish the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction program. That agreement, which was agreed to by the Russian State Duma in the early 1990s, contained what Bolton said was a ï¿½blanket exemptionï¿½ from liability for all activities funded through the CTR program. The agreement expired in 1999, at which point it was signed again by both the United States and Russia, but it has yet to be ratified by the Russian State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament.
According to Bolton, the United States is concerned that accepting a lesser liability standard for plutonium disposition before the umbrella CTR agreement is approved may affect the liability standard used in CTR projects. While the Russian government agreed to submit the CTR umbrella agreement for ratification after the recent elections, it has yet to do so, Bolton said. If the agreement were submitted it would likely be approved, he added.
ï¿½We feel that the ratification of the CTR umbrella agreement is critical, because whatever liability provisions are worked out on other programs ï¿½ and itï¿½s not inevitable that the CTR liability provisions would apply ï¿½ but it is critical that we not undercut or weaken the liability provisions we have under CTR,ï¿½ Bolton said.
The Bush administration is ï¿½committedï¿½ to resolving the dispute, Bolton told the committee, adding that progress is being made on the design and regulatory approval of facilities to convert the plutonium into mixed-oxide fuel.
Senator Joseph Biden (Del.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said that more needed to be done at the presidential level to resolve the dispute. The Bush administration should use the possibility of progress in other issues important to Russia, Biden said, as ï¿½leverageï¿½ in moving forward on the liability dispute.
ï¿½The president has got to pick up the phone, get on the line, and find out whether [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is going to keep his commitments, and whether you guys, what I would suggest you be doing, is figuring out whatever leverage points we have with Putin. Thereï¿½s a lot of things he wants and needs right now,ï¿½ Biden told Bolton during the hearing.
1. Russia to supply 500 mln dlr worth of low-enriched uranium to US under the HEU-LEU program 2004
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Russia this year will supply another 500 million dollars worth of low-enriched uranium to the United States under the HEU-LEU program for American nuclear power plants, the Federal Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday after President George W. Bush on Wednesday prolonged the operation of the decree ensuring payments for Russian uranium supplies.
The agency said ï¿½it is for more than ten years now that Russian nuclear power plant enterprises processing highly-enriched uranium (HEU) removed from nuclear warheads have provided 500 million dollars worth of low-enriched uranium to the United States every year.ï¿½
ï¿½This year will be no exception,ï¿½ a source at the agency said.
The Russian company Tekhsnabexport has recalled that over the ten years the HEU-LEU project has been effective Russian has earned 4 billion dollars.
During this period of time, a source in the company has said, 200 tonnes of weapons-grade uranium equivalent to 8,000 nuclear warheads has been processed.
The Russian Atomic Energy Agency has specifically noted the fact that ï¿½half of nuclear power plants in the United States use uranium extracted from the warheads of missiles of Soviet manufacture.
ï¿½At this point the HEU-LEU contract has been accomplished 40 percent,ï¿½ the agency said. In electricity terms this is equivalent to 2.5 trillion kilowatt-hours.ï¿½
Russian nuclear specialists believe that the successful implementation of this program has allowed Russia to firmly control a 40-percent share of the world market of uranium enrichment services.
ï¿½The Megatonnes to Megawatts program will last till 2013. Twenty thousand warheads will be eliminated by that time,ï¿½ the source said.
2. U.S. PRESIDENT ON RUSSO-AMERICAN URANIUM TREATY
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U.S. President George Bush confirmed the importance for Washington of The Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation Concerning the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons signed February 18, 1993.
The main aim in the sphere of national security for the U.S. is to ensure that nuclear materials extracted from Russian nuclear weapons are used only for peaceful purposes with due measures of transparency and protection of these materials from unauthorized use, says Bush's letter sent on Wednesday to the U.S. Congress.
The stockpiling on the territory of the Russian Federation of big volumes of nuclear materials that can be used in weapons continues to pose a special and extraordinary threat to the U.S. national security and foreign policy, reads the letter of the American President.
This letter was sent by Mr. Bush to Congress in connection with the demand of American legislation that any special authorities of the administration should be stopped after the calendar year is out if the president does not issue a notification on the necessity to extend them.
Mr. Bush extended for one more year the validity of the instruction signed June 21, 2000 by U.S. President Bill Clinton on giving the American Administration special authorities to protect the property of the Russian government received in the framework of the realization of the Russo-American agreement of 1993 on U.S. territory.
The agreement was concluded by the two countries to dispose of highly enriched uranium extracted from Russian nuclear weapons, and to turn it into low-enriched uranium for further commercial use as fuel for nuclear reactors.
Financial means Russia received as a result of this joint project were protected on U.S. territory by Clinton's instruction from any property claims and other legal actions on the part of any foreign-based claimants.
The necessity of such protection was caused by the Swiss firm Noga's attempts to arrest through a U.S. law court the Russian government's property during arbitration trials on a number of deals concluded earlier by this company with its partners in Russia.
3. Cameco, Partners Amend Deal To Buy Uranium From Dismantled Russian Nukes
The Canadian Press
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Cameco Corp., the world's biggest uranium company, and two partners have amended a deal that allows them to buy uranium derived from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons, agreeing to forego some future options on the radioactive material to ensure enough of it is left in Russia. Cameco and two partners - radioactive waste management company RWE Nukem, based in South Carolina, and Cogema, a European provider of services to the nuclear power industry - agreed to changes in their contract with Russia's Tenex through to 2013. The change provides that the western companies will forego a portion of their future options on non-quota, HEU-derived uranium - in other words, options on uranium for consumption outside of the United States - "to ensure there is sufficient material in Russia." The change was needed in light of Russia's rising requirements for uranium to fuel their expanding nuclear plant construction program within Russia and abroad. The contract amendment is subject to approval the U.S. and Russian governments. Highly enriched uranium (HEU) from dismantled nuclear weapons is blended down to low-enriched uranium (LEU) in Russia and delivered to the United States for use in nuclear power plants in both the U.S. and abroad. The HEU contract gives the western companies the right to purchase, from Tenex, the natural uranium component of the LEU derived from HEU. The western companies have had an agreement with Tenex since 1999 to facilitate the disarmament initiative providing for the delivery of the HEU-derived uranium for use as fuel in western world reactors. "Cameco is proud to be part of an international initiative that is successfully turning uranium from Russian nuclear weapons into fuel for clean energy," Jerry Grandey, Cameco's president and CEO, said in a separate statement.
1. Sevmash makes 25 containers for spent nuclear fuel
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The Sevmash defense shipyard based in Severodvinsk has made 25 containers for storing and transporting spent nuclear fuel from disposed submarines.
The containers are made to order of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency and are ready for the delivery to the Navy, the shipyard press service reported on Tuesday.
Sevmash won a tender for the production of ferroconcrete containers with the total cost of $3.5 billion. The U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency is funding the project within the framework of the Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation (AMEC) Program of the United States, Russia and Norway. A total of 220 containers must be made before 2010 for storing spent nuclear fuel of all disposed nuclear-powered submarines of Russia.
Russia's Federal Security Service, FSB, has launched a large-scale operative and tactic exercise, Atom 2004, at the Kola nuclear power plant situated in the town of Polyarnye Zori (the Kola Peninsular, North Russia).
The exercise will last for ten days, till June 26th, the FSB Murmansk department has informed RIA Novosti.
The goal of the exercise is to improve practical skills of preventing possible terrorist attacks at Russian nuclear facilities, as well as to train interaction in emergencies between the Rosenergoatom concern and the Kola plant and interested federal organizations of executive power, the department explained.
The exercise will involve the regional departments of the FSB, interior ministry, civil defense and emergencies, as well as the interior ministry's internal troops, forces of the plant's security service, the administrations of the Murmansk region and Polyarnye Zori.
An important factor of anti-terrorist fight is activities of the population to discover people trying to approach the plant to prepare a terrorist attack. Thus, the law-enforcement bodies have asked residents of Polyarnye Zori and some neighbor towns to report any suspicious individuals.
2. Russian Interior Minister Warns of 'Superterrorism'
Radio Free Europe
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Speaking at a meeting of CIS interior ministers in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on 15 June, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev said the world faces a new threat of "superterrorism," strana.ru and RBK reported. "With major financial and human resources, terrorism is developing into a new phenomenon of the 21st century -- superterrorism," Nurgaliev said. "We are talking about the possibility of the use by terrorists of nuclear and chemical weapons or other means of destroying environmental and information infrastructures." Citing recent instances of terrorism in Russia and the CIS, Nurgaliev added that there is a danger of terrorist acts "with a much higher number of casualties." He also called illegal immigration and human trafficking another security threat to CIS countries that contributes to the growth of transnational crime.
When the US earmarked billions of dollars for a new national missile defense and broke ground in Alaska, Washington emphasized that it would be "no threat to Russia."
Then, with the inevitability of a cold-war counterpunch, President Vladimir Putin saw fit to reassure Russians that America's shield could be defeated, with a silver bullet successfully tested in February.
"No country in the world as yet has such arms," Putin declared of the new weapon, which amounts to a space cruise missile. It will be "capable of hitting targets continents away with hypersonic speed, high precision, and the ability of wide maneuver."
Welcome back to the future of US-Russian rivalry. Analysts say that a combination of US military efforts - including missile defense, plans for new low-yield nuclear weapons, and expansion up to Russia's western doorstep - are chilling relations with Moscow and spurring a new, higher-tech arms race.
Despite American declarations of goodwill, Russian interpretations of US military shifts are tangled up with a deep history of rivalry, and a current fear of being left behind. A strategy rethink is under way in Moscow. Senior officers speak of an "asymmetrical" response to counter US strength without matching Washington's expenditures.
"I understand America's measures as a continuation of the arms race," says Viktor Baranets, military columnist for the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. "With our slim budget we are making an effort to catch up with the rich American chariot."
"They think that we're kind of crazy to be pursuing [missile defense]," says Marshall Goldman, of the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard. "It is just another example in their minds of how the US is still fighting the cold war."
And missile defense is not the only issue.
Work by the US on new types of nuclear weapons helped prompt the largest Russian military exercises since the Soviet era earlier this year. Russia is especially alert to the "possible reemergence of nuclear weapons as a real military instrument," which it views as an "extremely dangerous tendency that is undermining global and regional stability," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov wrote in the journal Russia in Global Politics. "Even a minor reduction in the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons would require Russia to revise ... the use of its units."
Mr. Ivanov also warned in March that if "anti-Russian elements" persist in any NATO "offensive military doctrine, Russia will have to adequately revise its military planning ... including its nuclear forces." In April, four Belgian F-16 fighter jets deployed to Lithuania to patrol the alliance's new shared border with Russia. The move prompted sharp criticism from Moscow of an imminent "collision."
Keeping up with GI Jones Moscow is also trying to figure out how to at least keep up with America's growing military resources. In recent years, Russia has moved to extend the service life of its multiwarhead SS-18 and SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and purchased 30 like-new SS-19s from Ukraine. Last year, Putin said of newly deployed SS-19s: "Their combat potential, including penetrating through any missile defense, is without peer."
Though these ICBMs are a critical component of Russia's strategic nuclear forces, they don't always work. Test launches in February, intended to be the highlight of Russia's intense military exercises failed, despite the presence of Mr. Putin - smartly attired in Naval uniform - on the deck of a nearby submarine.
To the acute embarrassment of the Russian General Staff, two sub-launched missiles never left their launch tubes. A third ICBM, fired the next day, veered off course after 98 seconds of flight and self-destructed.
However, Putin's new "secret" weapon can ride atop the relatively new, three-stage SS-27 missile, known as the Topol-M. Experts say the weapon is a maneuverable warhead that can dart unpredictably at high speeds as it reenters the atmosphere, making it virtually impossible to target at that stage. It is essentially a space cruise missile, born from Soviet efforts to penetrate Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" missile shield, which was never built.
"It's hard to tell if [the breakthrough] would have been possible without [concern for US] missile defense," says Pavel Podvig at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. "Missile defense has no real military value ... but at the same time, it has very serious political value. Missile defense is not such a serious issue that it drives us back into the cold war, but it makes dismantling that system much more difficult."
Russian unease may also erode support for Washington's war on terror.
"It might lead to our relations becoming cooler instead of united in our effort to oppose common threats from terrorism," says columnist Baranets. "Should [the US and Russia] go on building more warplanes, missiles, and subs just because our brains haven't been cleaned from the cold war dirt? Or should we jointly protect ourselves from stones somebody might throw [our way]?"
Still, since Sept. 11, 2001, Russia cast itself as a fellow terror fighter, side by side with Washington. But Russia did staunchly oppose Washington's withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty in June 2002. The treaty forbade deployment of a missile defense network. The US has since began work in Alaska for an initial 10 interceptor missiles, meant to stop a single missile from a "rogue" state like North Korea.
"It's US taxpayers' money, so if they want to waste it, Russia should not involve herself explaining to Americans why [missile defense] is not worth it," says Vladimir Orlov, director of the Center for Policy Studies in Moscow.
Exploiting the shield 'threat' Indeed, the controversies in the US that are swirling around the system have not gone unnoticed in Russia. Though a limited system is due to go online later this year, the Pentagon's top weapons tester told Congress in March that operational testing was not planned "for the foreseeable future," and that he could not be sure the system would work against a North Korean missile.
The General Accounting Office has found that only two of 10 key technologies for the system have so far proven to be workable. In light of that - and far greater concern about terrorism - 49 retired US generals and admirals wrote to President Bush in late March suggesting delaying deployment.
"The Russian military and scientists understand that [US missile defense] is a joke, but that doesn't mean that everybody understands that - it's a political environment," says Theodore Postol, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"If I wave a plastic gun in front of the police, when they are nervous and they think I'm a terrorist, I'm going to get shot, though the gun has no capability," adds Mr. Postol. "That's the game the Bush administration has been playing, with extremely negative consequences for the US."
Some here quietly welcome those consequences. "Russia is thinking: Should it really oppose [new US weapons], or use them as an excuse to follow the same path?" says Ivan Safranchuk, head of the Moscow office of the Center for Defense Information.
For Russia's long-neglected defense industry, the US moves are a potential boon.
"This gives the bombmakers an ... opportunity to revive programs that were actively pursued in the 1980s," says Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent defense analyst in Moscow. He says top Russian officials told him several years ago that plans had already been made "to resume [nuclear] testing, as soon as the Americans give the go ahead ... so that it will be their fault, not ours."
Already, there are signs that Russia reacted offensively to US missile defense plans before they even left the drawing board. Russia launched a 2002 exercise that simulated an attack on Moscow ABM system, which experts say mirrored a strike on a future US system.
"We know from history that people react, nations react, and I would expect Russia to gin up its nuclear weapon R&D programs in response," says David Albright, head of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.
Indeed, military historians point to the example of the missile defense system deployed around Moscow in the late 1960s - and the exaggerated American response, which boosted the US nuclear stockpile - as a case in point.
According to a recent detailed analysis in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the CIA in 1967 estimated that Moscow's nonhardened system was "subject to saturation and exhaustion." Still, it was targeted with missiles from Polaris submarines and more than 100 Minuteman ICBMs - some 10 percent of all of the US ICBM force. The result was a "staggering average of eight 1-megaton warheads per interceptor launch site" with a combined force exceeding 7,500 Hiroshima bombs. Such "chilling examples ... fundamentally contradict the portrayal of missile defenses as nonoffensive" concludes the Bulletin.
Such hypersensitivity seemed to disappear in the post-Soviet 1990s, an era of anything-goes US-Russia contacts and joint efforts to safeguard nuclear stockpiles. But there are signs of renewed suspicion.
New ties feel old chill Russia's secret cities, where much nuclear and other hidden military work took place, are again clamping down. Several military experts have been charged and jailed for allegedly giving away state secrets.
Even military exchanges have chilled. For example, a Harvard program for Russian officers to learn about civilian control of the military notices the change.
"When the Ukrainians and other East Europeans [take part], back home it is considered a leg up on their career path," says Harvard's Goldman, while Russians, these days, are beginning to feel the opposite. "They've been compromised if they come, because they've been consorting with the enemy."
New draft still tough The new draft, seen by Reuters, was little changed and maintained the tough, critical character of the original, showing the Europeans had rejected the pressure from Tehran.
However, it added a section about the right of countries to pursue peaceful nuclear programs.
Iran, which denies seeking weapons, says it wants to produce low-grade enriched uranium as fuel for nuclear power reactors.
But Washington and many European states fear it could use the technology to make highly-enriched, bomb-grade uranium.
Some 900 protesters, many of them members of a hardline Islamic volunteer militia, gathered at two Iranian nuclear plants vowing to defend with their lives Iran's right to develop nuclear technology, the official IRNA news agency reported.
In Vienna, several diplomats said Europe's big three states met with board members on the new draft of the resolution, which they hoped would be acceptable to the entire board -- and Iran.
Diplomats said the new draft satisfied Russia but not the non-aligned states, Iran's strongest supporters on the board.
Mousavian, Iran's chief delegate said the main sticking point was a paragraph urging Iran to "reconsider" plans to operate a uranium conversion plant and begin construction of a heavy-water research reactor. The latest draft has the words "voluntarily reconsider," which he said was still unacceptable.
"It is important to delete this (paragraph)," he said, adding the large bloc of non-aligned countries on the board backed Iran on this.
But a Western diplomat said the reactor was a problem as it would produce little electricity but ample bomb-grade plutonium.
Iran says the resolution under discussion in Vienna has blown technical shortcomings out of proportion and is driven by an anti-Iranian political agenda in the United States.
"The IAEA resolution is very bad...(it) violates our country's rights," Khatami said. "Iran's nuclear row is political, and there is a political will behind it to stop us accessing peaceful nuclear technology," he said.
2. Politicians Have Chosen Wrong Course: Russian Advisor
Mehr News Agency
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An advisor to the Russian board in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna said that the UN nuclear watchdog holds a completely scientific and technical atmosphere, adding that politicians had better choose another place to demonstrate their influence.
Speaking with the Mehr News Agency, the advisor said that Europeï¿½s resolution has not attained final approval and is likely to change.
He stressed that Russia calls for moderate changes in the resolution with regard to the technical issues related to Iranï¿½s nuclear programs.
There is still extensive lobbying going on and we have to wait for the final resolution before expressing any opinion, the official added.
The advisor speaking on condition of anonymity stated that the current resolution is not against Iran, adding that so far Iranï¿½s attempts have helped the country present a clearer image of its nuclear activities to the IAEA Board.
He said that the minor changes created in the resolution have not yet pleased Iran, expressing hope that a more moderate resolution would be finalized.
Unfortunately, there are a number of politicians in the IAEA Board that intend to satisfy their political interests instead of considering technical issues, he said.
Referring to President Mohammad Khatamiï¿½s letter to the EU big three, Britain, Germany and France the official said that Khatamiï¿½s letter was an important step in expressing Iranï¿½s displeasure about Europeï¿½s resolution.
3. Russian Foreign Minister Makes Statements on Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea (excerpted
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The IAEA draft resolution on Iran submitted by France, UK and Germany and based on IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei's report is both critical and constructive, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference in Tashkent on Thursday.
Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would continue cooperation with Iran if it nuclear programs were absolutely transparent and controlled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (Russian experts have been building a nuclear power plant in Bushehr since the 1990s).
4. Russia calls for cooperation between Iran, IAEA
Xinhua News Agency
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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak on Tuesday called on Iran and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to continue their cooperation.
Kislyak was commenting on a week-long IAEA Board of Governors' meeting which started on Monday in Vienna.
During the meeting, the participants are expected to issue a new resolution on Iran's nuclear program.
"The resolution should be of a normal, working nature. We are formulating our position precisely on these grounds," Kislyak was quoted by Interfax as saying.
"The work on drafting the resolution will be continued, and we hope all members of the Board of Governors will take a constructive part in it," Kislyak said.
Russia is helping Iran build an 800 million US dollar nuclear power plant in the coastal city of Bushehr.
The United States has accused Iran of using the plant as a cover to develop nuclear weapons and has urged Russia to freeze the project. Both Russia and Iran have dismissed the US allegations, vowing to continue nuclear cooperation.
Russiaï¿½s Federal Atomic Energy Agency believes that the International Atomic Energy Agency is not against the Bushehr nuclear power plant construction project in Iran.
ï¿½The IAEA has no objections to make against Russia building the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran,ï¿½ Russian atomic energy agency spokesman Nikolai Shingaryov has said, as the IAEA Board of Governors has met in session in Vienna.
Shingaryov said in the report by the IAEA Secretary-General Mohammed ElBaradei not a single word was said about Iranï¿½s Bushehr nuclear power plant project.
In the report the IAEA raised concerns over how Iran had been using uranium enrichment equipment and over the scale of this activity.
ï¿½According to IAEA sources, this equipment Iran has purchased from other countries without notifying the IAEA has proved to bear traces of highly enriched uranium,ï¿½ Shingaryov said.
Russian Atomic Energy Agency sources said ï¿½Russia has no reasons for curtailing its cooperation with Iran in completing the construction of the first Bushehr reactor, scheduled to be launched in 2005.
ï¿½Negotiations will be continued on Russiaï¿½s participation in the construction of a second Bushehr reactor,ï¿½ Shingaryov said.
IAEA specialists last year inspected all of Iranï¿½s nuclear facilities, including Bushehr, on more than 600 occasions.
ï¿½No convincing evidence the Iranian nuclear program may have a military aspect have been found,ï¿½ the Russian Atomic Energy Agency said.
The IAEA Board of Governors will most probably adopt a mildly worded resolution to ask the Iranian leadership to provide answers to all questions without an exception and to suspend the national nuclear program until all circumstances involving the purchase of centrifuges have been clarified, Shingaryov said.
Moscow feels, though, that the IAEA board of governors is unlikely to close the Iranian theme altogether, and it will be on the agenda again at the IAEA general assembly in September.
6. Russia to continue building nuclear plant in Iran
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Russia will continue constructing the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran despite IAEA criticism of Iran, a spokesman for the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency, which is in the process of being reorganized, told Interfax commenting on the IAEA Board of Governors' debate on Iran.
On Monday, the IAEA accused Iran of not fully cooperating with its inspectors who are trying to find out whether Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Tehran has denied the accusations and demanded that the IAEA stop probing the issue.
"The criticism of Iran in the report of IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei is by no means related to the project of Russia's construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant," the spokesman said.
"The IAEA has never had any complaints about Bushehr. Hence there are no reasons for anxiety about the possibility of Russia's withdrawal from the project," he said.
He said that IAEA inspectors have not discovered any connection between the Iranian nuclear program and suspected attempts of developing nuclear arms.
Russia is building the nuclear plant based on an over $800 million intergovernmental agreement.
The spokesman said the IAEA inspectors have visited Bushehr many times but have found nothing wrong there.
The IAEA Board of Governors is meeting in Vienna from June 14-18. It is expected to pass a resolution on Iran.
Russia plans to boost spending on domestic arms purchases by a third in 2005, to $6 billion, to help the defence sector recover from a post-Soviet slump, the Reuters news agency reported on Thursday with reference to Russian industry sources and media reports.
But a big player in the industry said that the measure may not yield immediate results as the government remained divided over which sectors the money should favor, the agency reported.
The arms industry ï¿½- the core of the Soviet economy during the Cold War ï¿½- shrank in the 1990s. The sector started to pick up three years ago but production remains below Soviet levels.
Vedomosti newspaper said the 2005 budget would likely allocate about 180 billion roubles ($6.20 billion) to arms purchases ï¿½- a rise of about 45 billion roubles from 2004.
Industry insiders confirmed the plan.
ï¿½The good thing is that for the first time in many years, state spending has reached the level of annual arms exports: about $5-6 billion,ï¿½ said a high-ranking official in one of the large state-owned defence companies. ï¿½But there is a long way to go because in the West this number is many times higher.ï¿½
Total defence spending, including security and emergencies, will rise 146 billion roubles to 894 billion roubles ($30.8 billion) in 2005 ï¿½- or about five percent of the economy ï¿½- according to a draft budget obtained by Reuters this week.
The rise is in line with a longstanding plan to bolster military capability by reforming the ill-equipped and demoralized army, reorganizing the nuclear sector and increasing exports to Asia in order to offset reduced sales to Eastern Europe.
Defence officials have hinted that the government wants to concentrate on researching next-generation technology rather than purchasing modified versions of existing stocks.
Aviation, growing at double-digit rates due to rising exports, hopes to get the largest slice. Jet sales form the backbone of arms exports, and insiders say the government could give it priority due to the industryï¿½s high profitability.
Russiaï¿½s best combat jet producers, like Sukhoi and MiG, which have brought in billions of dollars in export revenues in recent years, need cash to develop new-generation jets, as existing models will become obsolete in about 10 years.
But some analysts say the lionï¿½s share of the budget could go to the governmentï¿½s pet project ï¿½- development of new technology for its strategic rocket forces.
1. French-Kazkah JV to produce first yellowcake end-2005
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The Katco joint venture between France's Areva and Kazakhstan's national nuclear corporation Kazatomprom aims to produce its first yellowcake at the Moinkum uranium field in southern Kazakhstan at the end of 2005, Benoit de Galbert, Katco's general director, told Interfax.
Areva and Kazatomprom at the end of April this year signed a deal to commence the commercial phase of the joint uranium mining project at the Moinkum field towards the end of 2005. Areva owns 51% of the Katco joint venture and Kazatomprom 49%. The French company will provide the $90 million it will cost to put Moinkum commercially on stream.
Areva will eventually produce 1,500 tonnes of uranium at Moinkum per year. Galbert said this would be achieved in 2008.
Galbert said "sustained growth in uranium concentrate prices made the project viable." He said the French company would undertake to market the joint venture's output up to 2013. Katco is targeting sales of $860 million over a 20-year period beginning in 2006 assuming that yellowcake trades at $14 a pound, and $1.054 billion at $17 a pound. Kazakhstan will receive at least $120 million in taxes over the period, Galbert said.
However he warned the project would not bring returns to shareholders unless VAT is refunded.
The Moinkum field contains an estimated 43,700 tonnes of uranium. Kazatomprom mined 2,952.4 tonnes of uranium in 2003, compared with 2,726.5 tonnes in 2002.
The USA will allocate $15m for Ukraine for the implementation of projects on increasing security at nuclear facilities. The funds will be allocated within the framework of the International Nuclear Safety Program, the public relations department of the Ukrainian nuclear energy company Energoatom told RBC.
The parties have successfully accomplished several projects in the spheres of radiation safety, personnel training, modifying Ukrainian nuclear power stations to use American fuel, etc, Yury Kovrizhkin, the Senior Vice President Energoatom stressed.
Ukraine and the USA have been cooperating in the sphere of nuclear safety since 1993 and have accomplished more than 70 joint projects.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plans to inspect the safety of Russian nuclear power plants in 2006.
The inspection would be carried out on Russiaï¿½s initiative, Miroslav Lipar, the head of the IAEA Operational Safety Section, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
According to him, the IAEA is going to hold a seminar at the Volgodonsk Power Plant in October and December 2004 on the preparation for the inspection. The previous IAEA inspection was carried out in the 1990s.
Mr. Lipar said the IAEA welcomed Russiaï¿½s activities on building power plants abroad. In particular, he stressed that a system to localize major breakdowns had been put into use at the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in China, for the first time ever.
According to the IAEA, the operational safety level at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in Iran meets international standards. Mr. Lipar said the Operational Safety Section monitored the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has carried out 124 inspections in 31 countries of the world. In 2004, it plans inspections in Pakistan, Canada, China, Germany, Ukraine, Japan and France.
1. Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to the Risk of Nuclear Proliferation Created by the Accumulation of Weapons-Usable Fissile Material in the Territory of the Russian Federation
George W. Bush
The White House
(for personal use only)
On June 21, 2000, the President issued Executive Order 13159 (the "Order") blocking property and interests in property of the Government of the Russian Federation that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereinafter come within the possession or control of United States persons that are directly related to the implementation of the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Govern-ment of the Russian Federation Concerning the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons, dated February 18, 1993, and related contracts and agreements (collectively, the "HEU Agreements"). The HEU Agreements allow for the downblending of highly enriched uranium derived from nuclear weapons to low enriched uranium for peaceful commercial purposes. The Order invoked the authority, inter alia, of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq., and declared a national emergency to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the risk of nuclear proliferation created by the accumulation of a large volume of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation.
A major national security goal of the United States is to ensure that fissile material removed from Russian nuclear weapons pursuant to various arms control and disarmament agreements is dedicated to peaceful uses (such as downblending to low enriched uranium for peaceful commercial uses), subject to transparency measures, and protected from diversion to activities of proliferation concern. Pursuant to the HEU Agreements, weapons-grade uranium extracted from Russian nuclear weapons is converted to low enriched uranium for use as fuel in commercial nuclear reactors. The Order blocks and protects from attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment, or other judicial process the property and interests in property of the Government of the Russian Federation that are directly related to the implementation of the HEU Agreements and that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of United States persons.
The national emergency declared on June 21, 2000, must continue beyond June 21, 2004, to provide continued protection from attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment, or other judicial process for the property and interests in property of the Government of the Russian Federation that are directly related to the implementation of the HEU Agreements and subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation. This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, prior to the anniversary date of its decla-ration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent the enclosed notice to the Federal Register for publication, stating that the emergency declared with respect to the accumulation of a large volume of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation is to continue beyond June 21, 2004. The most recent notice continuing this emergency was published in the Federal Register on June 12, 2003 (68 Fed. Reg. 35149).
It remains a major national security goal of the United States to ensure that fissile material removed from Russian nuclear weapons pursuant to various arms control and disarmament agreements is dedicated to peaceful uses, subject to transparency measures, and protected from diversion to activities of proliferation concern. The accumulation of a large volume of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared with respect to the accumulation of a large volume of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation and maintain in force these emergency authorities to respond to this threat.
3. Alexander Yakovenko, the Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers a Question from Interfax News Agency Regarding Third Round of Six-Party Talks on DPRK Nuclear Problem
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Daily News Bulletin
(for personal use only)
Unofficial translation from Russian
Question: In connection with the date announced in Beijing for the third round of six-party talks on the DPRK nuclear problem in Beijing please tell us who will head the Russian delegation at the talks and at the meeting of the working group. Also please say what results of the talks does the Russian side count on?
Answer: Under the agreement reached, the third round of six-party talks on the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula will be held in Beijing on June 23-26, and the second meeting of the working group for its preparation on June 21-22.
Foreign Ministry Ambassador at Large Alexei Alexeyev will head up the Russian delegation at the talks. In the course of the upcoming talks the Russian side intends to pursue a line on ensuring the free-of-nuclear-weapons status of the Korean Peninsula and the security of the states located on it.
4. Interview of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov with the German Magazine Fokus, Published in Issue 25 for 2004 (excerpted)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Daily News Bulletin
(for personal use only)
Question: What role do you allot to Russia in the negotiating process on North Korea? What are your aims?
Answer: The role of Russia in resolving the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula is dictated primarily by the interests of ensuring security in that region, lying in direct proximity to our borders. Along with the other participants in the continuing six-party negotiating process we are striving, first of all, to retain all of the Korean Peninsula in the sphere of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.
We are convinced that a solution to this problem suiting all the partners in the negotiations and primarily the DPRK and the US can and should be achieved by peaceful, political methods. A mutual regard for concerns is necessary and the maximally flexible approach of each of the partners. Within the framework of the six-party format we are submitting our concrete ideas regarding the search of constructive solutions.
Question: Do you see the possibility of a reunification of North and South Korea? Does a possibility exist to establish control over the North Korean nuclear potential?
Answer: The efforts of North and South Koreas that have been made over a period of more than thirty years to find a common language and to start the process of national reconciliation and rapprochement have led as of now to a steady inter-Korean dialogue and many-sided cooperation. The dialogue of the two Koreas continues to develop, despite the complicated situation in connection with the nuclear problem. Moreover, it acts as an important factor of preserving stability on the peninsula.
We believe that the drawing closer of the two Koreas, up to and including their reunification, is a historically conditioned, natural process. Russia is an active supporter of that prospect, of course, on the understanding that this will take place in a peaceful, democratic way.
The prospects of inter-Korean rapprochement depend not least on a resolution of the nuclear problem presupposing, in particular, international control over the implementation of the DPRK's nuclear program. Pyongyang in principle expresses consent to this if its concerns regarding security guarantees are taken into account and the much needed economic and humanitarian aid is provided.
5. NNSA Program Completes Survey of Iraq Science and Technology
National Nuclear Security Administration
(for personal use only)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) project to engage Iraqi scientists recently completed a survey of Iraqï¿½s science and technology priorities. The survey identified health, water resources, environment, energy, and basic science as critical areas in which to employ Iraqi scientists, technicians, and engineers.
This program is a partnership among NNSA, the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF), a pan-Arab non-governmental scientific organization based in the United Arab Emirates, and the Cooperative Monitoring Center (CMC) at Sandia National Laboratories. It complements other Bush administration initiatives that seek to support reconstruction efforts and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction expertise to terrorists or proliferation states.
"We are moving with all due speed to implement this program. This administration places a high emphasis on nonproliferation programs and the effort to engage Iraqi scientists is a very important one," said NNSA Administrator Linton F. Brooks. "As we help rebuild Iraqi science and technology infrastructure we help reintegrate Iraq into the international science community while fulfilling important nonproliferation goals."
The survey was administered by ASTF scientists, with the permission and guidance of the Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraqi Governing Council, and drew on interviews and contact with over 200 Iraqi scientists representing universities, government ministries, and scientific and technical research institutes. The surveyors also collected over 450 project ideas. ASTF shared the survey results with Iraqi scientists in meetings in early April in Baghdad and Riyadh, and the scientists unanimously endorsed the report.
In the next phase of the project the partners will issue a call for proposals in Iraq with the intention of funding a small pilot project in the area of water monitoring or epidemiology. When this pilot project is completed, the partners will convene a workshop in the region to bring together representative experts from Iraq, the United States, the international scientific community, and funding organizations to prioritize options for further technical cooperation. Financial contributions from donor countries and funding organizations will be sought to initiate work on several of the highest-priority projects, as well as institute a merit-based nomination and review process for future work.
The survey results, list of interviewees, and selected project proposals are available in a report from ASTF and the CMC, which can be found at: www.cmc.sandia.gov or www.astf.net.
QUESTION: Richard, on this, I'm just wondering what you make of the Russian position, or at least the position of President Putin that he took last week at the G-8, after having signed on to the G-8 statement on proliferation, which talked about both Iran and North Korea and trouble, problems and concerns about that. He said before leaving that, for the moment, they saw no reason to halt their cooperation, that Iran had done -- that there was nothing that they saw to make -- to give them pause about their program with Iran, so I'm just wondering what you make of that position, given what's happened in the interim now with the IAEA.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think that's really a question you can direct to the Russian Government, that the facts are clear in the Director General's reports and his statements, and as to how that might affect the Russian program, or what exactly the status of the Russian program is is really something the Russian Government has to account for.
QUESTION: I was under the impression that you guys were -- have been asking the Russians, or pleading with them for some time now, to stop it's -- their cooperation because, precisely for the reasons that --
MR. BOUCHER: We talk to the Russians very frequently about this. Our view is the one I stated. As far as their view, you'd have to ask them.
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