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Nuclear News - 7/8/2004
RANSAC Nuclear News, July 8, 2004
Compiled By: Samantha Mikol


A.  Biological Weapons
    1. RUSSIAN EXPERT VIEWS HIV AS TERRORISTS' "HANDY" WEAPON , RIA Novosti (7/7/2004)
B.  G-8 Global Partnership
    1. British delegation visits nuclear waste site in Russia, Interfax (7/8/2004)
    2. Britain's Straw arrives on a two-day working visit to Russia , ITAR-TASS (7/6/2004)
    3. BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY ON WORKING VISIT IN MOSCOW, RIA Novosti (7/6/2004)
    4. Plan to destroy Russian WMDs falling behind, CTV (7/4/2004)
C.  Threat Reduction Expansion
    1. Iraq Confirms U.S. Has Removed Nuclear Material, Reuters (7/8/2004)
    2. U.S. Faulted for Leaving Tons of Uranium in Iraq , Dafna Linzer, The Washington Post (7/8/2004)
    3. UN didn't OK uranium transfer from Iraq to U.S., Associated Press (7/8/2004)
    4. Iraqi 'dirty bomb' risk dismissed - The UN's atomic watchdog says it is confident there is not enough radioactive material missing in Iraq to make a nuclear "dirty bomb"., BBC News (7/7/2004)
    5. U.S. Flies Radioactive Items Out of Iraq , H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press (7/7/2004)
    6. Analysis: Iraq no longer in nuclear mix, UPI (7/6/2004)
    7. U.S. Quietly Sneaks Once-Looted Uranium Out of Iraq, Irwin Arieff , Reuters (7/4/2004)
    8. Wamp: Oak Ridge plays 'key role' in removing Iraqi nuclear material, Associated Press (7/4/2004)
D.  Russia-Iran
    1. U.S. Ends Sanctions on Russian Defense Firms , Middle East Newsline (7/7/2004)
    2. IRAN TO LET RUSSIA BUILD SECOND UNIT OF BUSHEHR , RIA Novosti (7/6/2004)
    3. DON'T PAINT IRANIAN NUKES BLACK, CALLS IVANOV , RIA Novosti (7/5/2004)
    4. MOSCOW INTERESTED IN EXPANDING COOPERATION WITH IRAN , RIA Novosti (7/5/2004)
    5. MOSCOW SUPPORTS IRAN'S RIGHT TO CIVIL NUCLEAR RESEARCH , RIA Novosti (7/5/2004)
E.  Nuclear Forces
    1. Russian most powerful submarine , Andrey Mikhailov, Pravda (7/4/2004)
F.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Armenian NPP to shut down for overhaul on July 23 , Interfax (7/8/2004)
    2. Kazakh uranium production to hit new heights, AFP (7/7/2004)
    3. RUSSIAN, BULGARIAN LEADERS TO DISCUSS INTERNATIONAL ISSUES , RIA Novosti (7/6/2004)
G.  Nuclear Safety
    1. Radiation levels to be checked in South Ossetia, Interfax (7/6/2004)
    2. UKRAINE TO RECEIVE $42 MLN TO RAISE RADIATION SAFETY , RIA Novosti (7/6/2004)
H.  Official Statements
    1. UK and NZ to help Russia destroy chemical weapons , Hon Marian Hobbs, The New Zealand Government (7/8/2004)
    2. 'Partnership Between Russia and the West is not Only Possible, But Essential' – Edited Transcript of Responses Made by the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to Questions Posed by Interfax Correspondents On 7 July 2004 (excerpted), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (7/7/2004)
    3. Kazakhstan to Increase Uranium Production Fivefold by 2015, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan News Bulletin (7/7/2004)
    4. US reports transferring nuclear material out of Iraq, UN atomic agency says Dr. ElBaradei , UN News Centre (7/7/2004)
    5. U.S. Removes Iraqi Nuclear and Radiological Materials Joint Operation Conducted with U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense , Department of Energy (7/6/2004)
    6. On Outcome of Official Visit of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov to DPRK , Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (7/5/2004)
    7. On Outcome of Official Visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov to the Republic of Korea, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (7/4/2004)
    8. NZ supporting destruction of Russian chem weapons , Hon Phil Goff, The New Zealand Government (7/2/2004)
I.  Links of Interest
    1. Donor Factsheets, Strengthening the Global Partnership (7/8/2004)
    2. US removes radioactive material from Iraq in secret airlift, Greenpeace (7/7/2004)
    3. The Safeguards Implementation Report for 2003, IAEA (7/1/2004)
    4. Where Are the World's Nuclear Weapons?, Tamim Ansary, MSN (7/1/2004)



A.  Biological Weapons

1.
RUSSIAN EXPERT VIEWS HIV AS TERRORISTS' "HANDY" WEAPON
RIA Novosti
7/7/2004
(for personal use only)


The HIV is among the most "handy" viruses from the point of view of biological terrorism, Alexei Bobkov, head of the leukoses viruses laboratory at the Ivanovski Virology Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, told the RIA Novosti news conference on Wednesday.

"The HIV is very handy for biological terrorism as a very wide-spread virus", he said. The so-called "liquid" narcotics - ready-to-use aqueous solutions of narcotic substances, which are a favourable environment for the human immunodeficiency virus -- have become wide-spread in Russia. In Bobkov's opinion, this presents a great danger from the point of view of biological terrorism because such a solution can be infected to be sold to many.

"This model is very efficient to create panic among the population", he said.

Dmitri Lvov, director of the Virology Institute, noted that there are very many scenarios for the bioterrorist use of viruses.

"If a leading specialist has developed such a scenario, fighting against will be very hard. If a non-specialist has developed a scenario, detecting it and understanding mistakes will be rather easy", Lvov said.

However, "criminal groups with the minimum of medical training can make a terrorist attack on the population".

The detection of viruses unusual for a location is not always an evidence of biological terrorism, Dmitri Lvov stressed. By way of example he said that, during a business trip by researchers from his institute to Karelia (Russia's North-Western region) several years ago, they found the Californian encephalitis virus there. The initial version of its artificial emergence was later disproved: the virus was of a natural character and spread country-wide.


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B.  G-8 Global Partnership

1.
British delegation visits nuclear waste site in Russia
Interfax
7/8/2004
(for personal use only)


A delegation from the UK Department of Trade and Industry was permitted to make its first ever visit to nuclear storage facilities in Andreyev Bay in northwestern Russia.

During the visit on July 6-7, it examined the radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel storage facilities as well as the infrastructure of the facilities, leading nuclear safety expert from the Murmansk regional administration Vladimir Kozlovsky told Interfax.

The visit stems from the British government's decision to allocate five million pounds for projects concerning the removal of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear submarines in the bay which experts believe contain more fuel than operating submarines.

A temporary site for the removed fuel will be built at Britain's expense.

The Andreyev Bay is a major Russian Northern Fleet nuclear waste storage facility containing some 21,000 fuel units and 12,000 squares metes of solid and fuel nuclear wastes with a combined activity of 1,000 curies.


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2.
Britain's Straw arrives on a two-day working visit to Russia
ITAR-TASS
7/6/2004
(for personal use only)


British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw arrives on a two-day working visit to Russia on Tuesday.

The situation around Iraq will be one of the main items on the agenda of his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said.

“The soonest authentic return of sovereignty to legitimate representatives of the Iraqi people, normalization and reconstruction in Iraq are the priorities,” the official said.

The parties will discuss bilateral cooperation in chemical disarmament and the disposal of Russian decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines. The United Kingdom said it would assign $750 million under the Global Partnership initiative, and that 80% of the funds would go to Russia,

“Cooperation with the EU in environmental protection and climatic control is also on the agenda,” according to the offial. “Russia is studying the Kyoto Protocol’s possible effect on the national social and economic development.”

In addition, discussions will focus on joint anti-terrorist measures, primarily in the bilateral anti-terrorist working group that will have its next session in early autumn,” the diplomat said.

Jack Straw will meet with Russia's Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov. Russia and Britain closely cooperate in the military sphere; an active exchange of delegations and mutual calls by warships are underway, and take place.

Britain helps Russia train discharged servicemen for civilian jobs.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov plans to visit Britain on July 11-13.

Bilateral cooperation in G8, which Russia will chair after the United Kingdom in 2006, will be another item on the agenda of talks.


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3.
BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY ON WORKING VISIT IN MOSCOW
RIA Novosti
7/6/2004
(for personal use only)


British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw arrives on a two-day working visit to Russia on Tuesday.

The situation around Iraq will be one of the main items on the agenda of his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a Russian Foreign Ministry official said.

“The soonest authentic return of sovereignty to legitimate representatives of the Iraqi people, normalization and reconstruction in Iraq are the priorities,” the official said.

The parties will discuss bilateral cooperation in chemical disarmament and the disposal of Russian decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines. The United Kingdom said it would assign $750 million under the Global Partnership initiative, and that 80% of the funds would go to Russia,

“Cooperation with the EU in environmental protection and climatic control is also on the agenda,” according to the offial. “Russia is studying the Kyoto Protocol’s possible effect on the national social and economic development.”

In addition, discussions will focus on joint anti-terrorist measures, primarily in the bilateral anti-terrorist working group that will have its next session in early autumn,” the diplomat said.

Jack Straw will meet with Russia's Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov. Russia and Britain closely cooperate in the military sphere; an active exchange of delegations and mutual calls by warships are underway, and take place.

Britain helps Russia train discharged servicemen for civilian jobs.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov plans to visit Britain on July 11-13.

Bilateral cooperation in G8, which Russia will chair after the United Kingdom in 2006, will be another item on the agenda of talks.


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4.
Plan to destroy Russian WMDs falling behind
CTV
7/4/2004
(for personal use only)


In Shchuchye, Russia, where a statute of Lenin still stands in the town square, there are huge stockpiles of chemical weapons just a few kilometres away.

The weapons stored include 1.9 million shells filled with the nerve agents VX, Soman and Sarin. One drop on the skin is enough to kill a person in under a minute.

Russia has about 40,000 tonnes of these deadly chemical weapons.

Two years ago at the Kananaskis G8 Summit, Canada pledged a billion dollars over 10 years to help clean up that arsenal. The total amount pledged by all G8 countries was $20 billion for what was called the Globe Partnership Against Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

There was to be an 18-kilometre railway built complete with a $33-million bridge.

However, the money has not yet been sent to Russia.

"Given the urgency of the situation we're dealing with, we would have loved it to have gone faster," said Allan Poole, senior co-ordinator of the Global Partnership Program.

One destruction facility was to be up and running by 2005, but that isn't happening.

The Russians say they aren't the problem, claiming they have only received about $50 million of the $20 billion promised.

"We're ready to build right now, but the money issues are having a real impact on how fast we can get the work done," said Col. Sergei Kozlenkov, the head of construction.

The global partners say they have been frustrated by Russian red tap, lack of access to sensitive sites, and as one put it, "boldfaced lies." there are also accusations of overcharging.

Experts say the squabbling is taking away precious time. "We're not, you know, on that stage yet where we could say tomorrow is to late. But I would say day after tomorrow could be too late," said Vladimir Orlov of the PIR Center.

At the G8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia last month, there was a recommitment made to the $20 billion, with the money to be raised by 2012.

More donor states were being sought. Seven agreed to do so.

The G8's communique on the the Global Partnership had an upbeat spin.

"Global Partnership member states, including the six new
donors that joined at Evian (site of the 2003 G8 summit), have in the past year launched new cooperative projects in Russia and accelerated
progress on those already underway. While much has been accomplished, significant challenges remain," it said.

"We will continue to work with other former Soviet states to discuss their participation in the Partnership. We
reaffirm that Partnership states will participate in projects according to their national interests and resources."

At the same time, the G8 acknowledged the threats posed by bioterrorism and chemical weapons.

However, it mainly pushed the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention as the means to that.

The nightmare scenario is that terrorists get a hold of chemical munitions before Russia and the Global Partnership are able to destroy them," said CTV's Ellen Pinchuk at the Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility in Shchuchye.

"But the international attention span towards these weapons of mass destruction may prove dangerously short."


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C.  Threat Reduction Expansion

1.
Iraq Confirms U.S. Has Removed Nuclear Material
Reuters
7/8/2004
(for personal use only)


Iraq's interim government confirmed Thursday the United States has removed radioactive material from Iraq, saying ousted dictator Saddam Hussein could have used it to develop nuclear weapons.
U.S. and U.N. officials said Wednesday Washington had transported 1.8 tons of enriched uranium out of Iraq for safekeeping more than a year after looters stole it from a U.N.-sealed facility left unguarded by U.S. troops.

Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said the uranium and about 1,000 highly radioactive items from the former Iraqi nuclear research facility had been taken to the United States.

"I can now announce that the United States Department of Defense and Department of Energy have completed a joint operation to secure and remove from Iraq radiological and nuclear materials that the ousted regime could have potentially used in a radiological dispersal device or diverted to support a nuclear weapons program," Allawi said in a statement.

"Iraq has no intention and no will to resume these programs in the future. These materials which are potential weapons of mass murder are not welcome in our country and their production is unacceptable," Allawi said.

A "radiological dispersal device," or dirty bomb, uses a conventional explosive to disperse radioactive material over a wide area.

U.S. officials said lightly enriched uranium, which could be used in such a bomb, was airlifted to an undisclosed U.S. site after its removal from the Tuwaitha nuclear complex south of Baghdad, a one-time center of Iraq's nuclear weapons programs.

U.S. officials said the move would help keep potentially dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists.

The Tuwaitha nuclear complex was dismantled in the early 1990s after the first Gulf War.

But tons of nuclear materials remained there under the seal of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, until last year's U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when it was left unguarded and looted by Iraqi civilians.

The IAEA learned a week ago that the transfer had taken place on June 23, the agency said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council made public Wednesday.


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2.
U.S. Faulted for Leaving Tons of Uranium in Iraq
Dafna Linzer
The Washington Post
7/8/2004
(for personal use only)


Nuclear experts yesterday questioned a decision by the Energy Department to leave in Iraq nearly 400 tons of natural uranium that could be enriched for a nuclear weapon or used to build a radioactive "dirty bomb."

Released JULY 7, 2004


On Tuesday, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced that about two tons of low-enriched uranium and about 1,000 radioactive sources had recently been removed from an old Iraqi nuclear facility and brought to the United States for safety reasons.

Although low-enriched uranium can be made usable for a bomb much faster, the "natural uranium is still dangerous and could be used in a nuclear weapons program or sold to somebody that would misuse it," said David Albright, a nuclear analyst and former weapons inspector in Iraq.

Bryan Wilkes, spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, said yesterday that the natural uranium is not considered an immediate proliferation concern and is being stored under the authority of the interim Iraqi government in a protected location.

The decision to remove the more dangerous materials was made by the National Security Council nearly one year after the invasion. The operation was completed on June 23, several days before the United States transferred political authority to the Iraqis.


"They lost a real opportunity to move the natural uranium, and that's disappointing since they had well over a year to do it when the country was exclusively under American control," Albright said. "We have no idea what Iraq will look like in a year."

The International Atomic Energy Agency kept Iraq's uranium under seal in storage facilities for more than a decade before the U.S. invasion in March 2003, but the storerooms were looted when Baghdad fell several weeks later.

The IAEA was allowed back into Iraq to help clean up the facility, and it urged U.S. officials to protect Iraq's former weapons sites from further looting.

But in recent months, radioactive equipment and Iraqi weapons components have been showing up in scrap yards and ports in Europe and the Middle East.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the IAEA, has unsuccessfully lobbied the White House to let international inspectors return to Iraq. He is now discussing the matter with Iraqi authorities. Before the war, ElBaradei reported that Iraq had no nuclear weapons program, despite assertions to the contrary by the Bush administration, which went to war to remove weapons of mass destruction. Such weapons have not been found.

In a letter to the U.N. Security Council yesterday, ElBaradei said the IAEA had been told about the operation to remove the low-grade uranium and radiological sources, but he made it clear that the international nuclear agency -- which has a mandate to oversee Iraq's nuclear materials -- was not consulted or asked to participate.


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3.
UN didn't OK uranium transfer from Iraq to U.S.
Associated Press
7/8/2004
(for personal use only)


United Nations nuclear officials were in apparent disagreement with Washington over U.S. claims that it had the proper authority to transfer highly radioactive material from Iraq last month.

The nearly 2 tons of low-enriched uranium and approximately 1,000 highly radioactive items could be used in so-called "dirty bombs." The material had been placed under seal by the International Atomic Energy Agency at the Tuwaitha nuclear complex, 12 miles south of Baghdad, U.N. officials said Wednesday.

The United States disclosed Tuesday that the material was secured from Iraq's former nuclear research facility and airlifted out of the country to an undisclosed Energy Department laboratory for further analysis last month.

"The American authorities just informed us of their intention to remove the materials, but they never sought authorization from us," said Gustavo Zlauvinen, head of the IAEA's New York office.

Under U.N. resolutions adopted after the 1991 Gulf War, the IAEA was authorized to oversee the destruction of Iraq's nuclear program and monitor its activities to ensure that the program was not revived.

Paul Longsworth, deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation in the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, said Wednesday the United States didn't need IAEA approval for the transfer.

"We believe we have the legal authority to do it," he said. "We are in custody of the material only, and we have the permission of the Iraqi government to take this out of the country."

U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, in disclosing the secret airlift Tuesday, called it "a major achievement" in efforts to "keep potentially dangerous nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists."

The airlift ended on June 23, five days before the United States transferred sovereignty to Iraq's new interim government.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a letter to the Security Council circulated Wednesday that Washington informed the agency on June 19, 2003, that "due to security concerns" it intended to transfer some nuclear material stored at Tuwaitha to the United States.

At the time, the agency took note of the U.S. intention to remove the nuclear material "from agency verification ... and only expressed a view on the agency's verification requirements," he said.

According to ElBaradei's letter, the United States informed the IAEA on June 30 that approximately 1.8 tons of uranium, enriched to a level of 2.6 percent, another 6.6 pounds of low-enriched uranium, and approximately 1,000 highly radioactive sources had been transferred on June 23.

Longsworth said the U.S. authorities had "exceptionally good" relations with the IAEA and ElBaradei didn't raise any objections. Neither did IAEA deputy director Pierre Goldschmidt, who was briefed about the transfer by U.S. officials in Washington on June 23, Longsworth said.

A U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was some concern about the legality of the U.S. transfer because the nuclear material belonged to Iraq and was under the control and supervision of the IAEA.

Longsworth said the material was now at a facility where it can be examined by the IAEA.

In 1992, after the first Gulf War, all highly enriched uranium — which could be used to make nuclear weapons — was shipped from Iraq to Russia, the IAEA's Zlauvinen said.

After 1992, roughly 2 tons of natural uranium, or yellow cake, some low enriched uranium and some depleted uranium was left at Tuwaitha under IAEA seal and control, he said.

So were radioactive items used for medical, agricultural and industrial purposes, which Iraq was allowed to keep under a 1991 U.N. Security Council resolution, Zlauvinen said.

IAEA inspectors left Iraq just before last year's U.S.-led war. After it ended, Washington barred U.N. weapons inspectors from returning, deploying U.S. teams instead in a search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. That search has been unsuccessful so far.

An exception was made in June 2003 when Washington allowed an IAEA team to go to Tuwaitha to secure uranium after reports of widespread looting when the fighting ended.

The IAEA recovered most missing material and Zlauvinen said the uranium was put in sealed containers and left for the Americans to guard.

But because U.S. authorities restricted inspections of Tuwaitha, the IAEA team was unable to determine whether hundreds of radioactive items used in research and medicine across the country were secure.

ElBaradei's letter said that an unspecified amount of nuclear material still at Tuwaitha consists mainly of natural uranium, some depleted uranium and some low enriched uranium waste, which is subject to IAEA monitoring.

Some radioisotopes are also still in the country and come under the agency's responsibilities, he said.




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4.
Iraqi 'dirty bomb' risk dismissed - The UN's atomic watchdog says it is confident there is not enough radioactive material missing in Iraq to make a nuclear "dirty bomb".
BBC News
7/7/2004
(for personal use only)


Vilmos Cserveny, a spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency, said: "We don't have concerns about any missing uranium" in Iraq.

Earlier, the US revealed that it had secretly removed more than 1.7 metric tons of radioactive material from Iraq.

Some nuclear material remains in Iraq under IAEA control, Mr Cserveny said.

"The remaining sources are not suitable for malevolent purposes," he told BBC News Online.

US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said on Tuesday that the US had removed 1.77 tons of enriched uranium and about 1,000 "highly radioactive sources" from Iraq's former nuclear research facility at al-Tuwaitha on 23 June.

The IAEA and Iraqi officials were informed ahead of the operation, which happened before the 28 June handover of sovereignty.

'Dirty bomb' fears

The threat of a terrorist "dirty bomb" explosion in a city is a major concern of Western intelligence agencies, correspondents say.

Rather than causing a nuclear explosion, a "dirty bomb" would see radioactive material combined with a conventional explosive - probably causing widespread panic and requiring a large clean-up operation.
In June last year, the IAEA said it had accounted for most of the uranium feared stolen from the al-Tuwaitha site, south-east of Baghdad.

A statement from the US energy department (DOE) on Tuesday said 20 of its laboratory experts had repackaged "less sensitive" nuclear materials that would remain in Iraq.

Such materials could be used for medical, agricultural or industrial purposes, it said.

Al-Tuwaitha - dismantled in the early 1990s under UN ceasefire resolutions - played a key role in Iraq's drive to build nuclear weapons prior to the 1991 Gulf war.

The 1,000 "sources" evacuated in the Iraqi operation included a "huge range" of radioactive items used for medical and industrial purposes, a spokesman for the US National Nuclear Security Administration told AP news agency.

Bryan Wilkes said much of the material was "in powdered form, which is easily dispersed".

It was flown out of the country aboard a military plane in a joint operation with the Department of Defense, and is being stored temporarily at a DOE facility.


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5.
U.S. Flies Radioactive Items Out of Iraq
H. Josef Hebert
Associated Press
7/7/2004
(for personal use only)


In a secret operation, the United States last month removed from Iraq nearly two tons of uranium and hundreds of highly radioactive items that could have been used in a so-called dirty bomb, the Energy Department disclosed Tuesday.

The nuclear material was secured from Iraq's former nuclear research facility and airlifted out of the country to an undisclosed Energy Department laboratory for further analysis, the department said in a statement.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham described the previously undisclosed operation, which was concluded June 23, as "a major achievement" in an attempt to "keep potentially dangerous nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists."

The haul included a "huge range" of radioactive items used for medical and industrial purposes, said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Much of the material "was in powdered form, which is easily dispersed," said Wilkes.

The statement provided only scant details about the material taken from Iraq, but said it included "roughly 1,000 highly radioactive sources" that "could potentially be used in a radiological dispersal device," or dirty bomb.

Also ferried out of Iraq was 1.95 tons of low-enriched uranium, the department said.

Wilkes said "a huge range of different isotopes" were secured in the joint Energy Department and Defense Department operation. They had been used in Iraq for a range of medical and industrial purposes, such as testing oil wells and pipelines.

Uranium is not suitable for making a dirty bomb. But some of the other radioactive material - including cesium-137, colbalt-60 and strontium - could have been valuable to a terrorist seeking to fashion a terror weapon.

Such a device would not trigger a nuclear explosion, but would use conventional explosives to spread radioactive debris. While few people would probably be killed or seriously affected by the radiation, such an explosion could cause panic, make a section of a city uninhabitable for some time and require cumbersome and expensive cleanup.

Nuclear nonproliferation advocates said securing radioactive material is important all over the world.

A recent study by researchers at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies concluded it is "all but certain" that some kind of dirty bomb will be set off by a terrorist group in the years ahead. There are just too many radioactive sources available across the globe, the report said.

"This is something we should be doing not just in Iraq," Ivan Oelrich, a physicist at the Federation of American Scientists, said when asked to comment on the Energy Department announcement.

Oelrich hesitated to characterize the threat posed by the uranium and other radioactive material secured in the secret U.S. operation because few details were provided about the material. The Energy Department refused to say where the material was shipped.

But Oelrich said it is widely believed that medical and industrial isotopes can be used in a dirty bomb.

The low-enriched uranium taken from Iraq, if it is of the 3 percent to 5 percent level of enrichment common in fuel for commercial power reactors, could have been of value to a country developing enrichment technology.

"It speeds up the process," Oelrich said, adding that 1.95 tons of low-enriched uranium could be used to produce enough highly enriched uranium to make a single nuclear bomb.


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6.
Analysis: Iraq no longer in nuclear mix
UPI
7/6/2004
(for personal use only)


It became clear Tuesday that while the exact nature of the threat once posed by Iraq's arsenal of weapons of mass destruction remained murky and controversial, Iraq itself was no longer a factor in the proliferation of nuclear arms.

The Department of Energy revealed that it had hauled 1.77 metric tons of radioactive material out of Saddam Hussein's former nuclear research center on June 27 as the United States and Britain prepared to hand over authority in Iraq to a civilian government.

This operation was a major achievement for the Bush administration's goal to keep potentially dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said in a statement. It also puts this material out of the reach of countries that may seek to develop their own nuclear weapons.

The confiscated material included low-enriched uranium that will be stored and studied at secure Energy Department facilities along with Iraqi radiological sources -- a general term applied to scientific and medical devices that contain the kinds of radioactive materials anti-terrorism experts fear could be turned into a dirty bomb by terrorists who may possess a modicum of technical skills and a plethora of murderous intentions.

The Energy Department said the material was taken from the headquarters of Saddam's reputed nuclear weapons program. In addition, the department said, low-level radioactive materials intended for medical, agricultural and industrial purposes were left in Iraq.

The implication from the Energy Department was that materials spirited out of Iraq were dangerous and that getting them as far away from the Middle East as possible was a prudent and necessary move.

The move indeed avoided a repeat of the scenario that arose after the unraveling of the Soviet Union in which poorly secured nukes might be stolen or sold to terrorist organizations, or that unemployed weapons researchers would find work in rogue states such as North Korea, Iran and until-recently, Iraq itself.

Although the Cold War ended more than a decade ago and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks thrust crude terror tactics into the spotlight, nuclear weapons nonetheless remain the ultimate threat in the 21st century as North Korea boasts of its weapons program and Iran comes under increasing scrutiny from international regulators whose power is only as great as the resolve of the United Nations.

Iran's government admitted to the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency last year that they had been conducting a wide range of nuclear research for nearly 20 years. Although the Islamic republic agreed to a new level of cooperation with the IAEA, it would be virtually impossible not to suspect that Tehran has at least the basis for a weapons program.

We know Iran's intentions, and those intentions are to keep a nuclear weapons development program going, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday. We have for the 3 1/2 years of this administration been pointing this out to the international community.

Russia has been a supplier of equipment to Iran's nuclear power program; however it would appear reasonable to assume that chaos in neighboring Iraq would prove to be a temptation for Iranian agents looking to acquire a clandestine supply of nuclear material from their one-time arch enemy, Iraq.

The transfer of the radioactive materials out of Baghdad was no doubt carried out with military precision; however there have been reports that it might have been too little too late.

In the weeks immediately after U.S. forces entered the Iraqi capital, the near absence of any kind of weapon of mass destruction -- nuclear, chemical or biological -- became frantically and painfully obvious.

The inability of coalition forces to thus far find much other than some stockpiles of chemical shells dating back to the Iran-Iraq War stirred up a political hornet's nest of accusations that the Bush administration cooked up a weapons of mass destruction scare in order to justify the deadly invasion. Lost amid the brouhaha was the more-ominous speculation that Saddam's nukes had been hidden or smuggled to Iran or some other country with a government hostile to the Western world.

Reports from embedded reporters entering Baghdad revealed disturbing evidence that the nuclear research center had been left unguarded for several days and that looters had roamed the area at will.

According to The Washington Post, U.S. troops discovered that the door to one of the storage rooms for radioactive materials had been breached, but it was impossible to tell what might have been taken. Further surveys revealed the presence of radiation, indicating that either the place was falling apart or radioactive materials had recently been moved around.

Nuclear experts in the United States surmised that if looters had unknowingly carted off highly radioactive materials, it would be best for them to get their affairs in order quickly. On the other hand, it couldn't be proven that someone who knew what they were doing had loaded lethal material into a truck and had whisked them away to destinations unknown.

The United States and the IAEA may never learn for certain what, if anything was removed from Iraq's nuclear research lab during the war. The best that can be said for now is at least nothing remains for the picking as Iraq's new government struggles to its feet.



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7.
U.S. Quietly Sneaks Once-Looted Uranium Out of Iraq
Irwin Arieff
Reuters
7/4/2004
(for personal use only)


Washington has spirited 1.8 tons of enriched uranium out of Iraq for safekeeping, more than a year after looters stole it from a U.N.-sealed facility left unguarded by U.S. troops, U.S. and U.N. officials said on Wednesday.

The slightly enriched uranium, which could be used in a dirty bomb, was airlifted to an undisclosed U.S. site after its removal from the Tuwaitha nuclear complex south of Baghdad, a one-time center of Iraq's nuclear weapons development program.

U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham called the shipment to a secure Department of Energy facility "a major achievement for the Bush administration's goal to keep potentially dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists."

"It also puts this material out of reach for countries that may seek to develop their own nuclear weapons," Abraham said in a printed statement making no reference to the looting.

Washington suspects Iraq's neighbors Iran and Syria of harboring ambitions to develop nuclear arms.

The Tuwaitha nuclear complex was dismantled in the early 1990s after the first Gulf War. But tonnes of nuclear materials remained there, under the seal of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, until the second Gulf War, when it was left unguarded by the U.S.-led invading forces and looted by Iraqi civilians.

In June 2003, after repeated IAEA warnings that the looted materials could be used to make weapons, an embarrassed United States allowed an IAEA team to return to the site to try to gather them up.

Alarms had been raised as villagers near Tuwaitha, especially children, showed symptoms of radiation sickness.

Much of the material, the IAEA experts found, had been dumped on the ground by residents more interested in the containers than the materials themselves.

MOST ACCOUNTED FOR

The IAEA team managed to account for all but some 90 pounds (40 kg) of the 1.8 tonnes of uranium, which had been enriched to 2.6 percent uranium-235. That level of enrichment makes the material suitable for use in a dirty bomb or -- with further enrichment -- a nuclear weapon. A dirty bomb is a device that uses a conventional explosive to disperse radioactive material over a wide area.
The team wrote off the remaining missing material as so small an amount as to pose no security threat.

The Energy Department said it seized the materials "consistent with its authorities and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions," and removed them from Iraq "to ensure the safety and security of the Iraqi people."

But IAEA officials said the United States lacked the legal authority to seize the materials.

"Now that the Americans have taken it, the IAEA has no access to it and no right to account for it or inspect it," said one agency official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

While the IAEA was given advance notice in June 2003 of Washington's intention to sneak the materials out of Iraq, it was asked to keep quiet due to security concerns.

The agency next learned, a week ago, that the transfer had taken place on June 23, 2004, the IAEA said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council made public on Wednesday.

The United States also removed from Iraq nearly 7 lbs (3 kg) of other stores of uranium "of various low enrichments" and some 1,000 "highly radioactive sources" used in medicine and industrial processes, the Energy Department said.

Iraqi officials were briefed and "radiological sources that continue to serve useful medical, agricultural or industrial purposes were not removed from Iraq," the department said.


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8.
Wamp: Oak Ridge plays 'key role' in removing Iraqi nuclear material
Associated Press
7/4/2004
(for personal use only)


OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- Experts from the Energy Department's nuclear weapons and research complex in Tennessee played a ''key role'' in removing radioactive material from Iraq that could be used in a dirty bomb, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp said.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced in Washington on Tuesday that DOE and the Defense Department removed 1.77 metric tons of low-enriched uranium and about 1,000 highly radioactive sources from a former nuclear research facility in Iraq.

The material was flown to the United States on June 23.

The uranium will be stored temporarily at a ''secure DOE facility'' and the radioactive sources were taken to a ''DOE laboratory'' for further examination, DOE said.

Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration, refused to identify the DOE installations as the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Wamp, a Tennessee Republican whose district includes Oak Ridge, had no such hesitation.

''Frankly, Oak Ridge has played a key role here,'' said Wamp, a member of the House's homeland security and energy and water subcommittees.

''At a classified level, we have been aware of what role Oak Ridge plays,'' he said. ''And it is a wonderful, wonderful public service for our highly skilled nuclear technicians to be engaged in securing this material and bringing it back to the United States.''

Those Oak Ridge technicians, as many as 20 according to DOE, also will be involved in ''studying (the material) and determining exactly how it needs to be secured and removed from any threat that might develop against our nation,'' Wamp said.

Besides refurbishing nuclear warhead components, the Y-12 National Security Complex serves as this country's primary storehouse for weapons-grade uranium and increasingly nuclear materials from other global hot spots -- from the former Soviet Union to most recently Libya.

The material from Iraq is less powerful than Y-12's highly enriched uranium inventory. Wamp said it still might be fashioned into a radiation-spreading dirty bomb that could ''kill potentially hundreds or even thousands of people.''

''In a place like Iraq, where obviously now there is a vacuum because we have removed the tyrant and the new government is being established, you don't want the terrorists that are operating in that region to ever get their hands on this type of material,'' Wamp said.

''Making the world a safer place. That is what this is all about,'' he said.

Bill Cabbage, a spokesman for the Oak Ridge lab, said Wednesday he could not confirm the lab's involvement.

The Iraqi material came from the former central site for Iraq's nuclear weapons program, which was dismantled in the early 1990s following the first Gulf War. The complex also was a collection point for highly radioactive sources found within Iraq over the last year, the DOE said.


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D.  Russia-Iran

1.
U.S. Ends Sanctions on Russian Defense Firms
Middle East Newsline
7/7/2004
(for personal use only)


The United States has begun to roll back sanctions imposed on Russian defense firms that assisted Iran's missile programs.

The State Department said it had waived sanctions on six Russian companies deemed as suppliers to Iran's intermediate-range missile programs. The department, in a notice published in the Federal Register, said the waivers were based on U.S. national security interests.

Officials said the waivers marked the first formal recognition that Russian defense firms had reduced their assistance to Iran's missile and weapons of mass destruction program. They said that over the last three years such countries as China, North Korea and Pakistan had supplanted Russian suppliers.

The State Department identified the Russian companies whose sanctions were lifted as Europalace 2000, Grafit, MOSO Company, the Scientific Research and Design Institute of Power Technology, TZNII Central Scientific Research Institute of Precision Machine-Building and the Volsk Mechanical Plant. Sanctions on these companies were first imposed in 1998 when the U.S. intelligence community acknowledged the progress of Iran's Shihab-3 intermediate missile program.


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2.
IRAN TO LET RUSSIA BUILD SECOND UNIT OF BUSHEHR
RIA Novosti
7/6/2004
(for personal use only)


- Iranian Vice President and President of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Gholamreza Aghazadeh said that the issue about the construction by Russia of the Bushehr nuclear power plant's second unit will be decided soon.

"During the coming visit to Iran by Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, the issue concerning the construction by Russian experts of the second unit of the Bushehr NPP will be finally solved," Mr. Aghazadeh told journalists on Tuesday.

In his words, "mutual understanding with the Russian side has been achieved, and now the feasibility study is considered."

"The necessary draft on the second unit construction has been prepared," said the Iranian vice president.

Yesterday, Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov, on a visit to the Iranian capital, said at a meeting with Iranian parliament Chairman Haddad Adel that "the question about Russian companies' participation in the construction of the second unit of the Bushehr NPP is being thoroughly considered at the moment."

At this stage, specialists from Russia are completing the construction of the first light water reactor of a nuclear power plant in the South Iranian city of Bushehr, whose practical launch is scheduled for 2005, and full commissioning, for 2006.

The construction of the nuclear power plant has been carried out since mid-1990s; the price of the question is over $800 million. The Iranian side expressed discontent with repeatedly postponed terms of the NPP commissioning, seeing in it kind of a disguised desire of Moscow to yield to the unending pressure by Washington and give up the contract. Experts believe the point is not in this, but in a chronic underfinancing by the Iranian side of the nuclear power facility being built. However, Moscow partly took into account Washington's concern, insisting on the return of spent nuclear fuel to Russia (it is expected that Alexander Rumyantsev will sign a relevant agreement in Tehran).


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3.
DON'T PAINT IRANIAN NUKES BLACK, CALLS IVANOV
RIA Novosti
7/5/2004
(for personal use only)


Iran's nuclear programme does not deserve to be passed to the United Nations Security Council for prospective sanctions, reassures Igor Ivanov, Russia's federal Security Council Secretary.

He met in conference with Hasan Rukhani, his Iranian counterpart, to debate the issue, reports Iran's Supreme National Security Council.

As for a nuclear plant Russian experts are building in Bushehr, in Iran's south, its Unit One will be commissioned next year to start exploitation a year later, announced Mr. Ivanov.

Iran is fully complying with an additional protocol to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty it signed last spring, pointed out Mr. Rukhani as he confirmed civil orientation of his country's nuclear R&D and industry.

Iran signed the treaty in 1970, and the Muslim clerical regime established with the Islamic revolution of 1979 stayed true to it.

As regional issues came up at the conference table, Igor Ivanov spoke up against third countries intervening in Central Asian and Caucasian affairs.

The US Administration has proclaimed Central Asia and the Caucasus its interest zone to further entangle regional developments. Even despite that, Russia is firmly set against interference from without and especially against third countries' military presence in the area, the press service of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council quotes Igor Ivanov.

It is up to countries within the region to maintain their own security. That is Moscow's firm conviction, he said.

Mr. Ivanov hopes the Caspian Sea legal status will be eventually settled.

The sooner it is, and the sooner the five littoral countries come to an accord on the issue, the more the regional security and stability cause will gain, replied Mr. Rukhani.

NATO is out for presence in that part of the world-aspirations that threaten to upset the regional balance, and that make the five littoral countries' security alliance all the moreessential, he went on.

The conferees also discussed Iranian-Russian political and economic partnership, says the Supreme Council press service.

In yesterday's statement, Hamid Reza Asefi, spokesman of Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed hope for an early settlement of technicalities for Moscow and Teheran to sign a protocol on which the Bushehr plant will take depleted nuclear fuel back to Russia. The arrangement will speed up plant construction and put an end to global apprehensions on the point, say analysts.

Iran hopes all predicaments will be settled and the signing will not be put off as both countries are interested in the document, stressed Mr. Asefi.

Russian experts started 1,000 megawatt Unit One construction in Bushehr in the mid-1990s. A protocol on spent fuel return is among essential provisos for its commissioning.


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4.
MOSCOW INTERESTED IN EXPANDING COOPERATION WITH IRAN
RIA Novosti
7/5/2004
(for personal use only)


Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov expressed the hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Iran scheduled for the beginning of next year will become a turning point in Russo-Iranian ties.

Iranian parliament's press service told RIA Novosti on Monday that Igor Ivanov stressed at a meeting with Haddad Adel, the chairman of Iranian parliament, that "the Russian Federation is interested in an overwhelming expansion of cooperation with the Islamic Republic."

"I hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Iran scheduled for the beginning of next year will become a turning point in Russo-Iranian ties," said the Russian Security Council secretary.

During the talks, the sides discussed issues related to Iranian nuclear programs, Moscow-Tehran cooperation in the sphere of peaceful uses of the atom, fight against international terrorism, production and distribution of drugs.

Mr. Ivanov and Mr. Adel exchanged opinions on the issues of expanding bilateral ties in the political, scientific-technological and economic fields.


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5.
MOSCOW SUPPORTS IRAN'S RIGHT TO CIVIL NUCLEAR RESEARCH
RIA Novosti
7/5/2004
(for personal use only)


Russia is considering the construction of the second unit of the Bushehr nuclear power station in Iran, Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said at his meeting with Speaker of the Iranian Majlis Haddad-Adel.

Ivanov also said, "any country has the right to develop civil nuclear technologies."

The Russian official called on Iran to expand bilateral co-operation in the fight against international terrorism, drug production and trafficking.

Ivanov condemned the presence of foreign forces in the region and expressed the hope that extending the practice of regional forums would help solve the current problems.

Adel in turn stressed the need to boost co-operation between Russia and Iran in the science-technical, political, economic and other areas.

The Iranian parliamentary speaker thanked Russia and hailed Moscow's constructive position at the latest session of the IAEA Governing Council, devoted to the Iranian nuclear programmes.

Adel also advocated expansion of the Russian-Iranian co-operation in the civil nuclear research and called for accelerating the work over Bushehr's first unit being built by Russian experts.

"The civil nuclear research is a legal right of the Islamic Republic. One of the IAEA's tasks is to provide advanced nuclear technologies to the developing countries and prevent nuclear weapons creation. Therefore, any abuse of these two goals leads to limitations in the nuclear research," said the Iranian official.

He also spoke in favour of broader Russian-Iranian inter-parliamentary ties.


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E.  Nuclear Forces

1.
Russian most powerful submarine
Andrey Mikhailov
Pravda
7/4/2004
(for personal use only)


Silent deep-sea hunter marks its 20-year-long service
This Russian submarine made Americans to come down with money to aid Russia. This sub has been given various names like "aircraft carrier killer", or "deep-sea gangster", or "silent hunter", to name a few. The multi-purpose nuclear-powered submarine K-284 of Project 971 was commissioned June 16, 1984 crowning the efforts of the Design Bureau Malakhit and the Amurskiy Zavod shipyard in Komsomolsk-na-Amure. In total, 15 boats of that class have been built. In 1996, those involved in the creation of the submarine were awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation.

For the first time, the shipbuilding yard at Komsomolsk-na-Amure rather than at Severodvinsk or Leningrad had been chosen as the place to lay down a multi-purpose nuclear-powered submarine coded Project 971 Shuka-B. That was an indication of a considerable development of shipbuilding in the Russian Far East.

NATO"s classification "Akula" (Shark) given to the newest submarines of the Russian Navy caused confusion since the name of another Soviet sub, Alfa of Project 705, also began with the letter "A". The acoustic signature of K-284 was 12-15 dB lower (i.e. 4-4.5 times) than that of 671RTM, the most noiseless Russian submarine of the previous generation. Improvement in this key parameter of underwater technology placed Russia among the world"s top submarine shipbuilders. The Akula"s design and acoustic signature had been honed throughout the mass production stage.

The boats of the project were given personal names, so K-317 was dubbed "Pantera". The first submarine built in Severodvinsk, K-480, received the name "Bars", which soon became the class name of all nuclear-powered ships of Project 971. Commander S. V. Efremenko became the first captain of Bars. In December 1997, at the request of the Republic of Tatarstan, Bars was renamed "Ak-Bars". Some years ago, the attack submarine Gepard was commissioned at Severodvinsk. In 1996, the submarine cruiser Vepr was commissioned at Severodvinsk. She had a new design of the pressure hull and different "stuffing" at the same time retaining the shape of its class. Besides, with her another major advance was made in noise reduction. In the West this sub and the subsequent SSNs of Project 971 were designated Akula-II. Integrated automation cut the crew to 73 (31 officers), that was almost twice as less than that of the American Los Angeles class sub (141 men).

According to some US experts, the degree of stealth of the improved sub of Project 971 has caught up with that of the US Navy multi-purpose fourth generation submarine Seawolf (SSN-21). Speed, diving depth and ordnance make these ships approximately peer. Between December 1995 and February 1996, K-461 Volk (manned by the complement from K-317 Pantera under the orders of captain S. Spravtsev and captain V. Korolyov, assistant division commander acting as senior officer on board), had been operating in the Mediterranean Sea to provide long-distance anti-submarine support for the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft carrying cruiser. The mission included long-term tracking of several NATO submarines, including an American SSN of the Los Angeles class. According to US Navy sources, at tactical speeds 5-7 knots the acoustic quietness of Improved Akula class boats searched by sonars was lower than that of the most advanced US Navy SSNs such as the Improved Los Angeles class. The then chief of US naval operations Admiral Jeremy Boorda said that the American ships were not able to track the Improved Akula at a speed less than 6 to 9 knots (the new Russian boat was eventually contacted in the spring 1995 off the eastern coast of the USA). According to the Adm. J. M. Boorda, the low noise acoustic profile of the improved Akula-II met the requirements of forth generation subs.

After the end of the Cold War, new stealth nuclear-powered submarines in the Russian Fleet aroused serious concern in the USA. In 1991, this matter was even discussed in Congress. American legislators were offered some solutions to turn the situation around to the advantage of the USA. Proposals comprised demands that Russia disclose long-term underwater shipbuilding programs, or establishment of coordinated limits on the number of attack SSNs for both Russia and USA, or calls to assist Russia to convert shipyards building nuke subs to produce non-defense items.

The international environmental NGO "Green Peace" also joined the efforts against the Russian underwater shipbuilding disguised as a drive to ban nuclear-powered submarines (Russian ones, of course, presented, according to "Greens", the greatest environmental hazard). In order to eliminate "nuclear disasters", "Green Peace" recommended Western governments to tie financial aid to Russia with the moves the latter would make to solve this problem. However, as the delivery of new attack submarines to the Russian Navy dramatically slowed down by mid-90s, the issue for USA ceased to be burning, though "environmentalists" (many of whom are known for their tight links to NATO special services), have been pursuing the same policy against the Russian Fleet up to date.

Norman Polmar, Þ well-known US naval analyst, once said that the arrival of submarines of the Akula class and other Russian SSNs of the third generation demonstrated that the Soviet shipbuilders had bridged the gap in the acoustic quieting level unexpectedly fast. Some years later, in 1994, this gap was closed altogether.

What in Project 971 specifically frightened Western analysts? Maybe its innovative solutions such as integrated automation of battle and technical facilities, concentration of ship control and its armament in one place - the main control room, and a state-of-the-art rescue chamber, which demonstrated its efficiency on Project 705 boats?

The following technical data based on open sources may help get the picture: length - 110.3 m; beam -13.6 m; draft - 9.7 m; full displacement - 12,770 tons; maximum diving depth: 600 m; operating depth: 520 m; maximum submerged speed: 33 knots; endurance: 100 days; propulsion: one pressurized water reactor OK-650B (190 MW) with four steam turbines; 1 shaft, 50,000 hps; one 7 bladed propeller with improved acoustic properties and low rotation speed. The Skat-3 MGK-540 sonar system provides digital data processing, enhanced sonar detection and location capabilities. A submarine of Project 971 features double hull construction. The pressure hull material is high strength steel.

An Akula-II class sub can boast highly effective, unique wake-homing capabilities to identify the wake of a submarine many hours after its passing. She is fitted with the Simfonia-U navigation system and Molniya-MTS satellite communications with Tsunami communications antenna and a towed array.

Armed with 40 torpedoes launched from four 533mm (for 28 torpedoes) and four 650mm torpedo tubes, she can also fire Granat cruise missiles, underwater missiles and rocket torpedoes (Shkval, Vodopad, and Veter), torpedoes and torpedo mines. Besides this sub can lay ordinary mines, too.

Currently, all Project 971 multi-purpose nuclear-powered submarines are assigned to the Russian Northern and Pacific Fleets, and by contemporary standards, they are active enough.

In the event of actual conflict, each Project 971 sub is capable to pose a threat to the enemy, draw off its essential forces, and keep the Russian territory intact from strikes.


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F.  Nuclear Industry

1.
Armenian NPP to shut down for overhaul on July 23
Interfax
7/8/2004
(for personal use only)


The Armenian nuclear power plant, operated by ZAO Inter UES of Russia, will shut down for an overhaul and refueling on July 23 and not, as planned, on July 15, Armenian State Atomic Energy Oversight head Ashot Martirosian told Interfax.
The decision was made because the plant is currently low on fuel.

The plant was originally scheduled to shut down on July 15, "but the plant reduced capacity because of high waters from the spring flooding and the diversion of water resources to generate electricity," Martirosian said.

The work will last 65 days, during which, after the nuclear fuel is loaded, an overhaul is planned for the reactor and two operating turbines of the second generating unit. One-third of the new fuel consignment, some 100 cassettes, will be loaded and paid for by Russia. This should be sufficient for the plant to work until summer 2005, Martirosian said.

The Armenian NPP generated 1.9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2003, 36% of total electricity generation in Armenia.

ZAO Inter UES of Russia, which exports and imports electricity to Russia and other countries, took over management of the plant in September 2003. Inter UES is a subsidiary of Unified Energy System (UES) of Russia, with 60% of the shares, and state-run enterprise Rosenergoatom, with 40%.


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2.
Kazakh uranium production to hit new heights
AFP
7/7/2004
(for personal use only)


Kazakhstan plans to become the world's second-largest uranium producer with a five-fold production increase over the next decade, the head of the former Soviet republic's atomic energy company said on Wednesday.
"By 2015 we plan to increase uranium extraction to 15,000 tonnes a year and become the second largest uranium producer after Canada," Kazatomprom President Moukhtar Dzhakishev told an industry conference in Kazakhstan's commercial centre Almaty.

With annual production currently at 3,300 tonnes, Kazakhstan is in third place behind Canada and Australia.

But its uranium reserves, the second largest in the world, are being eagerly eyed by investors trying to push forward nuclear energy around the world.

France's Cogema, a subsidiary of Areva, has been vying with Russian investors to upgrade Kazakh production and earlier this year unveiled plans to invest 90 million dollars (75 million euros) in southern Kazakhstan's Moinkum deposit.

In addition to its Soviet-era mines, Kazakhstan plans to develop seven new deposits across the south of this vast Central Asian country, Dzhakishev said.


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3.
RUSSIAN, BULGARIAN LEADERS TO DISCUSS INTERNATIONAL ISSUES
RIA Novosti
7/6/2004
(for personal use only)


At their meeting in Moscow, Russian and Bulgarian presidents will continue the sincere and trustful exchange of opinions on pressing international issues, and on co-ordinated efforts within different international organisations, including the OSCE, where Bulgaria will be presiding in 2004.

A RIA Novosti source in the Kremlin reported this, recalling that the official visit of the Bulgarian president to Russia would be held on July 6-8.

"Under discussion will be principled approaches to European and regional security, developments in the Balkans, Afghanistan, the dialogue between the EU and Nato, anti-terrorist steps and counteraction to other global modern threats and challenges," the source said.

The Russian and Bulgarian presidents will also discuss practical interaction between the two countries in promoting a series of promising facilities in the fuel and energy sphere.

"On the agenda will be Russia's plans to privatise large facilities of the Bulgarian energy sector, rent or run some thermo-power stations, increase Russian gas deliveries to Bulgaria and its transit to the neighbouring Balkan countries," the source said.

Moreover, at issue is Russia's participation in the construction of a new Bulgarian nuclear-power station in Belena and the Trans-Balkan oil pipeline Burgas-Alexandrupolis.

The source said that the sides intended to analyse reasons hampering economic co-operation and map out ways of their elimination.

According to the source, the first session of the business forum envisaged by the joint declaration of the Russian and Bulgarian presidents On Further Development of Friendly Relations and Partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Bulgaria as of March 2, 2003, will be held on the sidelines of the visit.

The two heads of state will pay particular attention to boosting the cultural and humanitarian segment of bilateral relations, including practical aspects of the Russian-Bulgarian public forum and priority tasks of the forum of Slavic cultures.

The source added that the programme of Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov's visit to Russia included his trip to St. Petersburg.

The source also said that this visit timed for the 125th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations continued the tradition of regular contacts between the Russian and Bulgarian leaders. In 2003, the source recalled, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a state visit to Bulgaria, and the Bulgarian president visited Russia three times within a year.


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G.  Nuclear Safety

1.
Radiation levels to be checked in South Ossetia
Interfax
7/6/2004
(for personal use only)


- The radiation safety service of the Georgian Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Ministry plans to measure radiation levels in the Dzhava district of the self-proclaimed republic of South Ossetia. "We are ready to check radiation levels in the Dzhava district, and have all the necessary equipment to do so. The problem is obtaining permission from Tskhinvali," the Georgian ministry told Interfax. Georgia has agreed to include South Ossetian officials and representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency in its inspection team. Georgian non-governmental organizations have suggested that Russian radioactive wastes have been delivered to the Dzhava district for the second consecutive month. Irina Gagloyeva, head of the South Ossetian press and information committee, told Interfax that "all suggestions that radioactive wastes are allegedly being stored at the Kvaisi plant in the Dzhava district are misinformation aimed at damaging the republic's reputation." The plant was closed in Soviet times, and its mines were flooded. "Our special-task commission has already examined this territory with the aim of drawing up suggestions on reviving the plant," Gagloyeva said. Georgian officials have not asked South Ossetia for permission to measure radiation levels in the Dzhava district, she said. Boris Chochiyev, South Ossetia's co-chairman of the Joint Control Commission on the Georgia-Ossetia Conflict, told Interfax on Tuesday that South Ossetia has decided to dismantle extra police checkpoints in the conflict zone and wants Georgia to follow its lead. "A meeting of the Joint Control Commission co-chairmen is due to take place in Tskhinvali at 12:00 p.m. today, during which South Ossetia will announce that in a good will gesture, it is unilaterally dismantling additional police checkpoints in the conflict zone," Chochiyev said. "I am referring to two extra police checkpoints set up by the republic's Interior Ministry on the Dzhava-Tskhinvali highway without the agreement of the Joint Control Commission. At this meeting, we will demand that Georgia meet its obligations to dismantle all 17 police checkpoints it has set up in the conflict zone without the Joint Control Commission's permission," he said. South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which are de jure provinces of Georgia, gained de facto independence in the 1990s. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has promised that his victory over the separatist leader of Ajaria will be followed by the restoration of Georgia's control over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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2.
UKRAINE TO RECEIVE $42 MLN TO RAISE RADIATION SAFETY
RIA Novosti
7/6/2004
(for personal use only)


KIEV, July 6 (RIA Novosti) - The Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development approved a $42 million loan to modernize and improve safety for two nuclear reactors in Ukraine: unit 2 at Khmelnitsky (K2) and unit 4 at Rivne (R4), said the EBRD press service on Tuesday.

It is expected that the Bank's Board of Directors will approve at its Tuesday session in London the project to finance safety measures, said the press service.

Construction of two power units started back in the Soviet times is carried out by Energoatom, Ukraine's state-owned nuclear power-generating company.

The EU is also expected to provide a $83 million loan for these aims.

The focus of the project is nuclear safety. The key conditions for the loan include:

- Achievement of previously agreed nuclear safety levels before start-up;

- Safety upgrades of the 13 existing nuclear power units in Ukraine;

- An internationally agreed nuclear liability and insurance regime;

- A decommissioning fund;

- Steps to safeguard the independence of the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine.

The EBRD and the EC had earlier contemplated financing the completion and pre start-up modernization of the two units as part of the G7's support for the decision of Ukraine to close Chernobyl. Due to delays in funds allocation, Ukraine plans to complete the building of the units on its own by this fall.



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H.  Official Statements

1.
UK and NZ to help Russia destroy chemical weapons
Hon Marian Hobbs
The New Zealand Government
7/8/2004
(for personal use only)


New Zealand today joined a UK-led international project to help Russia destroy its stocks of lethal chemical weapons.

A joint UK – New Zealand Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Moscow, promising some NZ$1.2M (c. £450,000) to the programme, which the UK will manage on New Zealand's behalf.

Russia has the world's largest declared stockpile of chemical weapons - more than 40,000 tonnes - consisting mostly of modern nerve agents, stored at seven sites in the west of the country.

Destruction of these stocks is a key requirement of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and a key plank in the global fight against WMD proliferation.

The British and New Zealand Ambassadors to Moscow, Sir Roderic Lyne and Stuart Prior signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

British Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said:

"I warmly welcome this UK-New Zealand initiative as another important step in strengthening international co-operation for the destruction of chemical weapons. Countering the threats posed by the proliferation of WMD is a global challenge, and one the UK remains steadfastly committed to."

New Zealand's Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Marian Hobbs said participating in this partnership is one of the most practical ways New Zealand can contribute to global disarmament.

"Actually getting rid of existing weapons is the first part of what it is all about," Marian Hobbs said. "Increasing international cooperation and working with our partners, such as the UK and Russia, to reduce Weapons of Mass Destruction and to prevent them falling into the hands of terrorists, is an excellent example of New Zealand's commitment to disarmament and arms control in action."

British Ambassador Sir Roderic Lyne said:

"The UK is playing a key role in attracting other donors to help Russia destroy its chemical weapons stocks. Such arrangements benefit us all, and I look forward to working closely with our New Zealand and Russian colleagues in implementing this important project."

The New Zealand funding will be used to finance one or more projects to support the chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuch’ye, in the Urals. The UK is already working there with Canada, Norway, the EU and the Czech Republic.

The project will be managed as part of the UK Defence Ministry’s assistance programme, under the terms of the UK-Russia bilateral Agreement.

New Zealand announced this new commitment to the G8 Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction at the recent Sea Island G8 Summit.

This New Zealand-UK-Russia co-operation further demonstrates the need for global efforts to deal with the global problem of weapons of mass destruction.


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2.
'Partnership Between Russia and the West is not Only Possible, But Essential' – Edited Transcript of Responses Made by the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, to Questions Posed by Interfax Correspondents On 7 July 2004 (excerpted)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
7/7/2004
(for personal use only)


[…]

QUESTION:
Britain has been actively engaged in resolving the problems of weapons of mass destruction in Iran and Libya. Does the UK share the US' concerns over Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran?

JACK STRAW
Russia has agreed with each resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors sponsored by the EU 3. We believe Russia shares our determination to ensure that Iran's nuclear programme is used for exclusively civilian purposes. Russia is, like the UK, a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear related exports. Russia's co-operation with Iran takes place in this context.

Russia is being responsible in insisting on the return of spent fuel from the Bushehr reactor before signing the contract for fuel supply. I wholeheartedly support this position.

[…]


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3.
Kazakhstan to Increase Uranium Production Fivefold by 2015
Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan News Bulletin
7/7/2004
(for personal use only)


Mukhtar Dzhakishev, president of Kazakhstan’s national atomic company “Kazatomprom”, has announced plans to increase uranium production to 16,000 tons annually by 2015, almost five times today’s level.

Speaking in Almaty on July 7, he explained this rapid increase will be based on opening production at seven new sites at Budenovskoe and Mynkuduk uranium fields in the South Kazakhstan region.

Kazatomprom estimates the development of seven new sites will cost US$420 million, US$60 million per site. Dzhakishev said “Kazatomprom has several potential foreign investors as well as partners from Russia, China and Japan to help develop these sites.”

In 2004, Kazatomprom is expected to produce 3,330 metric tons and earn up to US$100 million from exporting it.

In comparison, owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors purchased a total of 21,300 tons of uranium deliveries during 2001 from U.S. and foreign suppliers. In 2001, the U.S. produced 1,018 tons of uranium from 7 mining sites.

Kazakhstan is home to one of the world’s largest petroleum reserves and also boasts extensive uranium reserves. The combination makes Kazakhstan an obvious player in world energy markets.


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4.
US reports transferring nuclear material out of Iraq, UN atomic agency says Dr. ElBaradei
UN News Centre
7/7/2004
(for personal use only)


Relaying information received from Washington, the head of the United Nations atomic watchdog agency has told the Security Council that the United States transferred nuclear material out of Iraq last month.

In a letter to the Security Council released today, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, says the US Government advised him of the planned transfer on 19 June, citing “security concerns.”

The US “requested IAEA to keep the information about the intended transfer confidential for the same security reasons,” the letter notes.

On 30 June, Washington informed the IAEA that the transfer of some nuclear material stored at “Location C” – an area previously referred to by the Agency as a nuclear material storage facility near the Tuwaitha complex south of Baghdad – had taken place a week earlier.

According to the letter, “the transferred material consisted of low enriched uranium in the form of approximately 1.8 tons of uranium enriched to 2.6 per cent in uranium-235, as well as some additional 3 kilograms of uranium of various low enrichments.”

Mr. ElBaradei notes that this material is now under US jurisdiction and control, while what remains at Location C is “mostly natural uranium, some depleted uranium and some low enriched uranium waste” subject to IAEA monitoring and verification.

The US Government also informed the Agency that approximately 1,000 highly radioactive sources, most of them previously stored at Location C, were also transferred to the United States, the letter states.


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5.
U.S. Removes Iraqi Nuclear and Radiological Materials Joint Operation Conducted with U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense
Department of Energy
7/6/2004
(for personal use only)


Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced today that the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DOD) have completed a joint operation to secure and remove from Iraq radiological and nuclear materials that could potentially be used in a radiological dispersal device or diverted to support a nuclear weapons program.

“This operation was a major achievement for the Bush Administration’s goal to keep potentially dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists,” Secretary Abraham said. “It also puts this material out of reach for countries that may seek to develop their own nuclear weapons.”

Twenty experts from DOE’s national laboratory complex packaged 1.77 metric tons of low-enriched uranium and roughly 1000 highly radioactive sources from the former Iraq nuclear research facility. The DOD airlifted the material to the United States on June 23 and provided security, coordination, planning, ground transportation, and funding for the mission.

Due to safety and security issues surrounding the removed materials, the U.S., consistent with its authorities and relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, took possession of, and removed the materials to ensure the safety and security of the Iraqi people.

DOE also repackaged less sensitive materials that will remain in Iraq. Radiological sources that continue to serve useful medical, agricultural or industrial purposes were not removed from Iraq.

The low enriched uranium will be stored temporarily at a secure DOE facility and the radiological sources will initially be brought to a DOE laboratory for further characterization and disposition.

The International Atomic Energy Agency was advised in advance of the U.S. intentions to remove the nuclear materials. Iraqi officials were briefed about the removal of the materials and sources prior to evacuation.

The nuclear research complex, now under the responsibility of the Iraq Ministry of Science and Technology, was once a central institution for Iraq’s nuclear weapons program before being dismantled in the early 1990s, following the first Gulf War. The complex was also the consolidation point for highly radioactive sources collected by the Department of Defense with assistance by employees of the Ministry of Science and Technology within Iraq over the last year.


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6.
On Outcome of Official Visit of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov to DPRK
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
7/5/2004
(for personal use only)



Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov paid an official visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on July 4-5 at the invitation of its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paek Nam-sun.

Lavrov was received by Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission Kim Chong-il, to whom a personal message from President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin was delivered.

During the talk, a mutual desire of the sides was emphasized to develop relations between Russia and the DPRK on the basis of the Treaty of Friendship, Good-Neighborliness and Cooperation and to exert joint efforts to resolve the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula.

A conversation with President of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly Kim Yong-nam also took place.

During the talks between Sergey Lavrov and Paek Nam-sun, questions of bilateral cooperation and pressing international problems were discussed.

The heads of the foreign affairs agencies noted the significance of strengthening the traditional friendly relations between Russia and the DPRK, and stressed the importance of further building up interaction in the main areas of foreign policy, economic and cultural cooperation.

When discussing the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula, the sides spoke in favor of its being solved by peaceful means, and emphasized their commitment to continuing the six-party negotiations, in the framework of which the delegations of Russia and the DPRK are actively cooperating in the interest of safeguarding security and establishing conditions for the successful economic and social development of all the states of the region.

Sergey Lavrov and Paek Nam-sun signed a Plan of Exchanges between the Russian and DPRK Foreign Ministries for the years 2005-2006.

In the view of the sides, the visit constituted an important stage in the further consolidation of understanding and the development of mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and the DPRK.

Lavrov invited the DPRK Minister of Foreign Affairs to pay a visit to the Russian Federation. The invitation was accepted with gratitude.


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7.
On Outcome of Official Visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov to the Republic of Korea
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
7/4/2004
(for personal use only)


On July 3-4, 2004, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov paid an official visit to the Republic of Korea at the invitation of its Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ban Ki-moon. Lavrov was received by ROK President Roh Moo-hyun, to whom he delivered a message from President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

During the talk, the sides noted the onward movement of Russian-South Korean cooperation in the political, economic and cultural fields. Of special importance in this regard will be the upcoming official visit to Russia of ROK President Roh Moo-hyun.

At Lavrov's talks with ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon, an exchange of views on a broad range of issues in bilateral relations and the situation on the international scene with reference to conditions on the Korean Peninsula took place. The sides underlined the similarity of the two countries' stands on resolving the DPRK nuclear problem. The Korean side especially noted the important constructive role of Russia in Korean settlement and in ensuring stability and security in the Northeast Asia region.

Special attention was devoted to the process of resolving the DPRK nuclear problem, and, in particular, the role of the six-party talks in this process. A common opinion was expressed about the need to carry on the dialogue in the six-party format.

The sides gave a high assessment to the increase in the volume of bilateral trade, while noting the necessity to expand further and intensify this area of interstate relations, including in the field of military-technological cooperation as well as in the area of investment. In this context the Ministers paid special attention to the development of cooperation in the fields of energy, the peaceful utilization of space and transport. The Ministers also spoke for further intensifying the dialogue between the scientific research centers of the two countries and for collaborating in the private business sector.

Sergey Lavrov and Ban Ki-moon also discussed a number of questions, including the facilitation of visa regulations between the two countries. The sides agreed to prepare an appropriate agreement in the near future. Lavrov invited ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon to visit Russia. The invitation was accepted with gratitude.

In the opinion of both sides, the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation will serve to further intensify the evolving bilateral relations and to take them to a qualitatively new level.


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8.
NZ supporting destruction of Russian chem weapons
Hon Phil Goff
The New Zealand Government
7/2/2004
(for personal use only)


New Zealand was thanked for its commitment to help in destroying Russian chemical weapons when Foreign Minister Phil Goff met his newly appointed Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Jakarta last night.

The Ministers, who are both attending the ASEAN Regional Forum, discussed the dangers of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Mr Goff said.

"Our talks highlighted the need to ensure that such weapons, and the materials from which they are constructed, never fall into the hands of terrorists.

"Minister Lavrov responded positively to the fact that New Zealand will soon be making a solid practical contribution to disarmament work in Russia.

"We are contributing $1.2 million towards the destruction of chemical weapons at Shchuch'ye, which is where the bulk of Russia's remaining chemical weapons stockpile will be destroyed.

"This is one of the most practical disarmament exercises taking place in the world today, and New Zealand feels that it is important that we demonstrate, in a material way, our support for the actions being taken by the Russian Federation. Destroying these weapons will contribute to the security of all mankind.

"Our contribution is part of the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, launched by G8 leaders in 2002.

"The partnership aims, in the first instance, to address the legacy of weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union through a range of projects aimed at securing and disposing of radioactive materials and chemical weapons; dismantling nuclear submarines, and re-employing former weapons scientists.

"A Memorandum of Understanding about New Zealand's contribution to the Shchuch'ye chemical weapons destruction project will be signed shortly in Moscow," Mr Goff said.


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I.  Links of Interest

1.
Donor Factsheets
Strengthening the Global Partnership
7/8/2004
(for personal use only)
http://www.sgpproject.org/Donor%20Factsheets/Index.html


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2.
US removes radioactive material from Iraq in secret airlift
Greenpeace
7/7/2004
(for personal use only)
http://www.greenpeace.org/news/details?item_id=515662


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3.
The Safeguards Implementation Report for 2003
IAEA
7/1/2004
(for personal use only)
http://www.iaea.org/OurWork/SV/Safeguards/es2003.html


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4.
Where Are the World's Nuclear Weapons?
Tamim Ansary
MSN
7/1/2004
(for personal use only)
http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/Columns/?Article=nukes


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DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for the technical accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.

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