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Nuclear News - 8/9/2004
RANSAC Nuclear News, August 9, 2004
Compiled By: Samantha Mikol


A.  Chemical Weapons Destruction
    1. RUSSIA TRIES TO DESTROY CHEMICAL WEAPONS ON TIME, Viktor Litovkin, RIA Novosti (8/9/2004)
B.  G-8 Global Partnership
    1. JAPAN HOPES FOR RUSSIA'S PARTICIPATION IN EXERCISE AGAINST WMD PROLIFERATION, RIA Novosti (8/9/2004)
C.  Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. RUSSIA SEEKS TO CONSOLIDATE NUCLEAR NON-PROLEFIRATION TREATY, RIA Novosti (8/9/2004)
    2. RUSSIA SET TO FIGHT AGAINST WMD PROLIFERATION , RIA Novosti (8/6/2004)
D.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy
    1. U.S.-DANISH AGREEMENT TO UPGRADE ANTI-MISSILE RADAR THREATENS RUSSIA'S SECURITY, RIA Novosti (8/9/2004)
E.  US-Russia
    1. U.S.-DANISH AGREEMENT TO UPGRADE ANTI-MISSILE RADAR THREATENS RUSSIA'S SECURITY, RIA Novosti (8/9/2004)
F.  Nuclear Forces
    1. NUCLEAR DEFENSE SECTOR TO COME UNDER CLOSE ATTENTION OF THE PRESIDENT, RIA Novosti (8/9/2004)
    2. Russia Not to Allow NATO Observers Visit Nuclear Sites � DM, MosNews (8/9/2004)
    3. Russia to bar NATO specialists from its nuclear projects - Sergei Ivanov , ITAR-TASS (8/9/2004)
    4. RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER REPORTS TO PRESIDENT ON NEW ARMS AND RECENT EXERCISES, RIA Novosti (8/9/2004)
G.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Norwegian energy import maintains dangerous Russian nuclear plants , The Norway Post (8/9/2004)
    2. Ukraine to build new unit at Khmelnitsk n-plant by 2012, ITAR-TASS (8/9/2004)
    3. Ukraine launches new nuclear reactor, AFP (8/8/2004)
    4. Ukraine starts commercial operation of new nuclear power unit, ITAR-TASS (8/8/2004)
H.  Official Statements
    1. Issues of atomic energy concerning the nuclear defence complex will be the responsibility of the Defence Minister. , The Kremlin (8/9/2004)
    2. On the Updating of the US Radar Station in Thule, Greenland, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (8/9/2004)
I.  Links of Interest
    1. IAEA Issues Annual Report, World Reviews of Safety, Technology, IAEA (8/9/2004)



A.  Chemical Weapons Destruction

1.
RUSSIA TRIES TO DESTROY CHEMICAL WEAPONS ON TIME
Viktor Litovkin
RIA Novosti
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


Before the draft 2005 budget was submitted to the State Duma, the State Commission for Chemical Disarmament held a session that was followed by a government-level discussion about the problems of destroying chemical warfare agents (CWA). The decision that came out of this meeting was straightforward: Russia must increase allocations considerably to honour its commitments under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and On Their Destruction. Instead of about $175 million allocated in 2004, the 2005 budget will provide about $433 million for the purpose.

In addition, the commission's chairman, Sergei Kirienko, announced that another $70 million was expected in foreign aid.

These increased allocations are due to a series of setbacks that have left Russia facing serious complications in terms of destroying its chemical weapons within the Convention's stipulated timeframes. They include the continuously growing construction costs of disposal facilities due to inflation and rising prices for materials, electricity and fuel, as well as regular delays in Finance Ministry allocations for the relevant work (over 30 billion rubles in 2004 prices - about $1 billion), which frustrated the 2002-2004 plans.

The second and the most important reason, Sergei Kirienko continued, is that some countries promised Moscow financial and technical support to destroy its chemical stockpiles (about 50% of all the scheduled expenses) but have not kept their word. They have postponed payments under one or another pretext and virtually halted the commissioning of the largest facility for scrapping ammunition with phosphorus and organic toxic substances in Shchuchye, the Kurgansk region, where 5,462 tonnes, or 13.6% of Russia's entire CWA stockpiles are concentrated. They include sarin, soman and VX-gases in the steel bodies of artillery shells and mines, in the heads of ammunition for rocket salvo systems and in warheads for operational and tactical, and tactical missiles. In all, there are 9,382 railway carriages of them.

The United States promised to provide funds for this facility, about $880 million. However, according to Mr Kirienko, Russia has only received less than 30% of the sum. "Together with the Foreign Ministry and the main control department of the Russian president, we ran a check and discovered that two thirds of the money allocated by Washington is spent in the US on maintaining infrastructure, and funding all kinds of concerned consultants, experts, enterprises and so on," he said. "Russia receives less than 30% of the originally allocated money. As a result, the US-funded Shchuchye facility is being built far slower, than a German-financed facility in Gorny. Therefore, the second stage of eliminating Russia's chemical weapons can be completed on time, but the priorities should be the Maradykovo and Kambarka facilities, which should primarily be funded from the federal budget."

Russia fulfilled the first stage of its plan to destroy chemical weapons by April 26, 2003: it eliminated 1% of its stockpiles, 400 tonnes of mustard gas in Gorny, the Saratov region. Now the remaining 760 tonnes have almost been eliminated there, including lewisite stocks. But this will obviously not be enough to issue a report to the international community at the end of April 2007 stating that another 20% of reserves - 8,000 tons of CWA - have been destroyed. The country needs working plants in Kambarka (Udmurtia) with 6,360 tonnes (15.9% of all stocks) of lewisite, and in Shchuchye.

Unfortunately, the latter is out of the question, as we now know, even though this is where the 5,630 tonnes of chemical weapons from the arsenal in Kizner (Udmurtia) were to be scrapped. Both facilities store ammunition and warheads for tactical and operational, and tactical missiles of the same class. Now, the state commission has re-orientated itself from Shchuchye to Maradykovo in the Kirov region, where another 17.6% of phosphorous and organic nerve and vesicant agents are stored, as well as yperite and lewisite mixtures along with VX-gases, sarin and soman; a total of 6,960 tonnes.

The Maradykovo and Kambarka facilities will allow the basis to be laid to destroy 45% of Russia CWA (18,000 tonnes) by April 29, 2007 and all stocks by the end of April 2012, as agreed with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.

Nonetheless, the commission is certain that Russia must secure foreign aid if it is going to eliminate all the CWA stockpiles by 2012. The Russian economy cannot afford this. Apart from constructing the disposal plants, huge work is needed to develop social facilities in the industrial zone, to provide the local population with medical and sanitary services, and to solve many environmental problems. The Russian government must deal with these issues on its own, without any foreign sponsors.

Another important issue is the protection of chemical weapons' arsenals and their disposal facilities from terrorists and their associates. This is another headache for Moscow. There is also the problem of eliminating emergency ammunition, which increases in number with every day of delay.

Accordingly, it will take more than a billion rubles from the federal budget to destroy the chemical weapons stockpiles. However, the country should create favourable conditions for foreign investors and charities to help avert any, even the smallest, danger that Russia and Russian-made nerve or vesicant agents will poison the international community. The latest session of the State Commission for Chemical Disarmament and the Russian government decided to exempt any foreign aid, both financial and technical, from taxes and customs duties.

Hopefully, this decision will be eventually implemented, for the lack of firm guarantees in this area restricts Russia's opportunities to receive foreign aid as part of the Global Partnership programme.


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B.  G-8 Global Partnership

1.
JAPAN HOPES FOR RUSSIA'S PARTICIPATION IN EXERCISE AGAINST WMD PROLIFERATION
RIA Novosti
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


Modern conditions demand a complex approach to the whole range of issues of nuclear nonproliferation.

In this way the Russian Foreign Ministry Information and Press Department commented on Friday on the situation in the sphere of nuclear nonproliferation in connection with the anniversary of nuclear bombings of Hiroshima (August 6 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945), Japanese cities.

"In modern conditions it's important to find a complex approach to the whole range of issues of nuclear nonproliferation. Painstaking political and diplomatic work is necessary," reads the comment.

"Attempts to resolve problems by means of force are seen as dangerous," said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

It was stated that unfavorable tendencies have been appearing lately in the sphere of nuclear nonproliferation.

"This was displayed in the DPRK's statement on withdrawal from the NPT and unwillingness of India, Pakistan and Israel, who are beyond the legal field of the NPT, to join it as non-nuclear states," said the Foreign Ministry.

Besides, the ministry noted such negative factors as attempts of non-state structures, including international terrorists, to get access to the WMDs, the preservation of incentives to acquire and distribute the WMDs as a consequence of continuous regional crises, weakness or lack of national export control measures that many states have.

The ministry said the situation around the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty remains a deadlock.

"This is caused, first of all, by a lack of U.S. interest in this treaty," believes the Russian foreign ministry.

The refusal of the U.S. to participate in the conference to contribute to the CTBT's entering into force, the country's vote against the decision of the UN General Assembly to back the treaty, as well as the decision of American Congress to start research work in the field of creating nuclear charges of supersmall power do not contribute to other states' joining the treaty, reads the comment.

Nevertheless, despite all negative factors, the international community managed to achieve a number of positive results in this sphere, stressed the information department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

An important positive shift was Libya's decision to give up programs to create WMDs and the specific actions to eliminate groundwork in this sphere that followed, reads the comment.

"The signing by Iran of an additional protocol to the agreement on guarantees with the IAEA and giving access for the Agency's inspectors to Iranian facilities that cause concern made it possible to reduce tensions in regard to Tehran. At the same time, there still remains a lot to do in the settlement of the situation around the Iranian nuclear program," believes the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Besides, the comment notes the fact that 2004 is marked by a number of initiatives aimed at closing the gaps in the nuclear nonproliferation regime. In particular, these are the UN Security Council's resolution 1540 on the fight against WMDs black markets and the G8 Plan of Actions in the sphere of nonproliferation.


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C.  Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
RUSSIA SEEKS TO CONSOLIDATE NUCLEAR NON-PROLEFIRATION TREATY
RIA Novosti
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


Efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, above all nuclear weapons, are prominent on Russia's foreign political agenda, reads the statement the Russian Foreign Ministry issued to mark the anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Japan's Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9.

The ministry emphasised that Russia was a strong advocate of the consolidation of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that is a cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the basis for further efforts in the sphere of disarmament.

Russia is making preparations for the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT that is held once in five years.

Russia believes the conference should focus on the observance of the parties' obligations under the NPT and work out coordinated measures to ensure the observance without infringing on various groups' and certain countries' interests.

The Foreign Ministry recalled that Russia was the initiator of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 designed to prevent weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and proliferation-sensitive materials from being obtained by non-government organisations, above all, terrorist ones.

In May 2004, Russia joined the group of countries that initiated the Non-proliferation Security Initiative that deals with the black markets trading in WMD.

Russia is determined to contribute to the initiative in line with international law, national legislation, and the communion of interests with the other partners, reads the ministry's statement.

The ministry emphasised that Russia strictly observed the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources approved at the 47th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Russia promotes in every possible way the activities of the IAEA as it is a key mechanism to ensure the NPT, according to the Foreign Ministry. Among other things, Russia promotes the IAEA's control activities, including as part of a national programme for ensuring the IAEA's guarantees.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei was visiting Moscow in late June - early July 2004. He praised Russia's activities in the non-proliferation sphere, according to the statement.

"Today it is important to find a comprehensive approach to an entire range of issues related to nuclear non-proliferation. It requires meticulous political and diplomatic efforts," said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"Attempts to settle /non-proliferation/ problems by military means are too dangerous," emphasised the ministry.

The ministry pointed to unfavourable trends that had appeared in the non-proliferation sphere of late.

"North Korea, for example, announced the withdrawal from the NPT, while India, Pakistan, and Izrael that have not joined the treaty are still unwilling to join it as nuclear-free states," noted the ministry.

Besides, the ministry pointed to the attempts of non-government organisations, including international terrorist organisations, to get access to WMD, still existing stimuli for acquiring and spreading WMD caused by ongoing regional crises, weak or even non-existent national export control arrangements.

The Foreign Ministry emphasised that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) still had poor chances of coming into force.

"This is, above all, due to the fact that the United States is not interested in the treaty," said the ministry.
By declining to take part in a conference designed to facilitate the CTBT's ratification, by voting against the UN General Assembly's decision to support the treaty, and by adopting a decision to start research in the sphere of low yield nuclear weapons the US does not encourage other countries to join the treaty.

However, the international community has achieved a series of positive results in the sphere, emphasised the ministry.

"The North Korea nuclear crisis can still be settled by politico-diplomatic means," noted the ministry.
Libya's decision to halt its WMD programme and take specific steps to eradicate available achievements in this sphere were a major breakthrough, according to the ministry.

"By signing the additional protocol to the agreement on non-proliferation guarantees between Iran and the IAEA and allowing IAEA experts to examine its nuclear facilities Iran addressed the international community's concerns. However, a lot is yet to be done to settle the situation surrounding Iran's nuclear programme," said the Russian foreign ministry.


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2.
RUSSIA SET TO FIGHT AGAINST WMD PROLIFERATION
RIA Novosti
8/6/2004
(for personal use only)


Prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, first of all, nuclear, is one of the central priorities of Russia's foreign policy.

In this way the Russian Foreign Ministry Information and Press Department commented on Friday on the problem of nuclear nonproliferation in connection with the anniversary of nuclear bombings of Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9).

The Russian Foreign Ministry stresses that Russia actively speaks for consolidation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - "the cornerstone of the global regime of nuclear nonproliferation and a basis for further steps in the sphere of nuclear disarmament."

Active preparation is underway now for a review conference on consideration of the NPT efficiency, scheduled for 2005, which is held once in five years.

The Foreign Ministry specified that Russia's position is that more attention should be paid to issues of observance by all member states of commitments on the NPT and to working out coordinated measures on this account without detriment to the legal interests of different groups or separate states.

The foreign ministry recalled that Russia initiated the UN Security Council's resolution 1540, which is aimed at preventing the WMDs and proliferation-related materials from getting into the hands of non-state subjects, first of all terrorists.

In May 2004, Russia joined the group of states-founders of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) aimed at the fight against WMD black markets.

Russia intends to contribute to the PSI realization with account for demands of compatibility of actions with the international law norms, accordance with the national legislation and commonness of interests with other partners, reads the comment.

The Foreign Ministry said that Russia strictly follows the provisions of the Code of Conduct on Radioactive Sources approved at the 47th session of the IAEA General Conference.

Russia, said the department, renders every possible support to the activity of the IAEA as the main mechanism to observe the NPT regime. This also refers to contribution to IAEA monitoring activity, including in the framework of the national program to back the Agency's guarantees.

In late June-early July 2004, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei was in Moscow. He highly assessed Russia's activity in the sphere of nuclear nonproliferation, reads the comment.


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D.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy

1.
U.S.-DANISH AGREEMENT TO UPGRADE ANTI-MISSILE RADAR THREATENS RUSSIA'S SECURITY
RIA Novosti
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


The U.S.-Danish agreements to upgrade anti-missile radar signed on August 6 can threaten Russian security, the press and information department of the Russian Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti on Monday.

Such agreements "open way to the modernization of the U.S. radar installations in Thule (Greenland)," the Foreign Ministry noted.

"The U.S. side often claimed that its new anti-missile defense system is not aimed against Russia. Meanwhile, the geography of the deployment of the radar installation points to the anti-Russian potential in the U.S. anti-missile defense," the Foreign Ministry added.

"In the conditions of significant strategic nuclear reductions, which Russia and the U.S. agreed upon, we should not rule out threat to Russia's containment forces in the future," the ministry said.

"In this connection the Russian side will thoroughly analyze the situation from the point of view of its security and reserved the right to take all measures to maintain it at a proper level," the Foreign Ministry stressed.

On Friday, August 6 U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Denmark's Foreign Minister and Greenland's Vice Premier signed the Defense of Greenland agreement updating the 1951 agreement. According to the press service of the U.S. Department of State, the new agreement opens way to the modernization of radar installations at the Thule airbase, which is to maintain the U.S. anti-missile project.



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E.  US-Russia

1.
U.S.-DANISH AGREEMENT TO UPGRADE ANTI-MISSILE RADAR THREATENS RUSSIA'S SECURITY
RIA Novosti
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


The U.S.-Danish agreements to upgrade anti-missile radar signed on August 6 can threaten Russian security, the press and information department of the Russian Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti on Monday.

Such agreements "open way to the modernization of the U.S. radar installations in Thule (Greenland)," the Foreign Ministry noted.

"The U.S. side often claimed that its new anti-missile defense system is not aimed against Russia. Meanwhile, the geography of the deployment of the radar installation points to the anti-Russian potential in the U.S. anti-missile defense," the Foreign Ministry added.

"In the conditions of significant strategic nuclear reductions, which Russia and the U.S. agreed upon, we should not rule out threat to Russia's containment forces in the future," the ministry said.

"In this connection the Russian side will thoroughly analyze the situation from the point of view of its security and reserved the right to take all measures to maintain it at a proper level," the Foreign Ministry stressed.

On Friday, August 6 U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Denmark's Foreign Minister and Greenland's Vice Premier signed the Defense of Greenland agreement updating the 1951 agreement. According to the press service of the U.S. Department of State, the new agreement opens way to the modernization of radar installations at the Thule airbase, which is to maintain the U.S. anti-missile project.



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F.  Nuclear Forces

1.
NUCLEAR DEFENSE SECTOR TO COME UNDER CLOSE ATTENTION OF THE PRESIDENT
RIA Novosti
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


The nuclear defense sector is an extremely important topic which has and will be under the president's close attention, Vladimir Putin said at a Kremlin conference devoted to the nuclear defense sector.

According to the president, the administrative reform and the upgrading of government's activity have led to the conclusion that the Defense Ministry will directly supervise the nuclear sphere as regards the nuclear defense sector.

According to Alexander Rumyantsev, head of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Energy, "the transformation of the ministry into the agency was completed by July 1, but all the administrative changes did not prevent all the orders from being implemented on time."

In particular, Rumyantsev noted that the agency had conducted "non-nuclear explosive experiments on the Novaya Zemlya field together with the 12th Main Department of the Defense Ministry. Rumyantsev also said that these experiments were held every year "to provide reliability, combat readiness and security of nuclear munitions."

Rumyantsev added that the agency was fully financed, which made it possible to make small reserves for this and next year, in particular, for the development of new types of weapons.

Alexander Rumyantsev presented to the president the provision on the agency, noting the consolidated interaction between the agency and the Russian Defense Ministry.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov reported to the conferees that the Defense Ministry cooperated with the Nuclear Energy Agency in three directions: the first one - the formation and implementation of the state defense order and the state program for armaments in nuclear security; the second - the development and production, modernization, exploitation and mothballing of nuclear weapons; the third - joint efforts to maintain and develop the only nuclear testing range in Novaya Zemlya.

"These are the directions where the Defense Ministry and the Federal Agency will cooperate," said Ivanov.



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2.
Russia Not to Allow NATO Observers Visit Nuclear Sites � DM
MosNews
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


NATO representatives will never be allowed to inspect Russian nuclear installations or warheads, the Interfax news agency quoted Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov as saying on Monday.

�We have never allowed them to inspect our nuclear sites or nuclear warheads, and we never will. But it is quite a different matter to let our partners from the alliance familiarize themselves with the system of security and cleanup of possible nuclear weapons accidents,� the minister said.

�In contrast to NATO member countries, Russia still does not know about the protection of nuclear weapons from terrorists in nuclear powers of the alliance,� Ivanov said. He was commenting on the results of Russia�s Accident 2004 exercises, which practiced the protection of nuclear sites.

�Representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry have seen nothing of the alliance�s nuclear weapons protection against terrorists, in contrast to NATO colleagues, who attended the Accident 2004 exercises near Murmansk,� Ivanov said.

�But we trust that we will see NATO precautions against the seizure of nuclear weapons by terrorists next year. We have been invited to attend similar NATO exercises, and that invitation was one of the conditions for NATO observers to come to our exercises,� Ivanov said.

�Representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry will visit one of the NATO nuclear powers � the United States, the United Kingdom, or France � to see a drill in the protection of nuclear weapons. Other countries of the alliance are of no interest for us in this respect,� he said.

Russia has exercises of this kind each year, but this was the first time that NATO observers, about 50 in number, watched such a drill.




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3.
Russia to bar NATO specialists from its nuclear projects - Sergei Ivanov
ITAR-TASS
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


Russia has never permitted and will never permit visits by NATO representatives to its nuclear projects and to see nuclear ammunition at exercises, conducted in the country, to improve protection and defence of nuclear weapons, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov told reporters on Monday, commenting on the results of the exercise Avaria (Accident)-2004 on defence of nuclear facilities.

He noted that such exercises are conducted in Russia every year. However, observers from 17 NATO countries were present for the first time at an exercise, carried out near Murmansk.

�However, we have never permitted and will not permit them to visit nuclear projects and to see our nuclear ammunition. It is quite another thing to familiarize our partners in the alliance with the organisation of the system of protection and overcoming of aftermaths of a possible accident with nuclear ammunition,� Ivanov explained.


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4.
RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER REPORTS TO PRESIDENT ON NEW ARMS AND RECENT EXERCISES
RIA Novosti
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


The Russian Defense Ministry has decided to provide war fighters Su-24 with a new system of high precision weapons "shot and forgot". Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said this at the president's meeting with the government on Monday.

Late last week, the Russian defense minister said that Su-24 fighters would be modernized and purchased for the Russian Armed Forces, at a press conference at the Edelveis (Kyrgyzstan) testing range after the Rubezh-2004 exercises.

"This aircraft can successfully work in the mountains. We are beginning to modernize aircraft of the Russian Air Force and are putting them on the production line. We are beginning to purchase this equipment, and we have no doubt about these aircraft," said Ivanov.

Ivanov also said that the Russian Defense Ministry would forward proposals to the president about forming and arming two mountain brigades.

According to the defense minister, "we are planning to complete the formation of the two mountain brigades by next year."

Earlier, the president instructed to form a subdivision to serve in the North Caucasus and help border guards defend the border.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov reported to the president and the government about the exercises on the Kola peninsula and in Kyrgyzstan.

The minister said that the exercises were aimed to drill measures to provide security of transporting nuclear materials and eliminating the consequences of an attack on a convoy.

"The super tank used for transporting nuclear materials was shelled from grenade throwers, derailed and sunk in a reservoir," the minister said.

In his words, the exercises involved 1,000 servicemen of the Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the FSB, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Energy, and also 500 units of special equipment.

Ivanov also noted that the exercises were positively assessed by the attending NATO observers.
"We expect that our experts will be able to gain an insight into the situation in this sphere in a NATO nuclear country," said Ivanov.

As for exercises in Kyrgyztsan, the minister noted that these were the first serious exercises of the Collective Rapid Deployment Forces. Participating in the exercises were Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, and Armenia. On the Russian side, the exercises involved the commandos of the Volga-Urals military district, and also 30 units of combat aviation, combat helicopters, transport helicopters and the Ka-50 helicopter Black Shark.

Ivanov said that the combat aviation used high precision weapons based on the "shot-and-forgot" principle in Kyrgyzstan.

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told the president about the situation around funding servicemen's housing. Direct federal spending on the accumulative and mortgage crediting program for servicemen will amount to 2.5 billion rubles ($1 equals about 29 rubles) in 2005, he said. The minister stressed that the federal budget would pay the first contribution and interest on the mortgage.

Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref in turn said that before the draft law on servicemen's housing provision comes into force on January 1, another three draft laws would have to be adopted along with 20 government resolutions.


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G.  Nuclear Industry

1.
Norwegian energy import maintains dangerous Russian nuclear plants
The Norway Post
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


Increasing consumption forces Norway to import large amounts of electric energy from the Nordic power exchange, Nord Pool.

Fresh figures from Nord Pool show that so far this year the Nordic energy market has imported more than 7.4 billion kilowatthours (TWH) from Russia, Poland and Germany.

This is equivalent to a whole year's consumption of electricity by the population of Oslo.

"It is very unfortunate that we have become so dependent on imported power from Russian nuclear energy plants, when we know the poor standards of these nuclear plants," says Bellona nuclear expert Nils Boehmer.

According to Boehmer, the technical standard of several of the Russian nuclear power plants is so poor that there is a great danger of a nuclear disaster of the same magnitude as that of Tsjernobyl.

Gunnar Sakseboel of the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority shares Bellona's concern over the poor state of the Russian nuclear power plants, and would rather like to see Norway producing enough power for its own consumption, or importing it from other sources than old nuclear power plants.

Opposition parties Labour and Socialist Left both share Bellona's worries over the situation, saying the Government is to passive.

"The most important thing we could do to counteract this situation is to develop more energy sources of our own, and the most obvious would be to build gas fired power plants," says Sylvia Brustad, MP for Labour.



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2.
Ukraine to build new unit at Khmelnitsk n-plant by 2012
ITAR-TASS
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


Ukraine plans to complete the construction of a third power-generating unit at the Khmelnitsk nuclear power plant (NPP) by 2012, the Deputy Head of the Khmelnitsk NPP�s foreign affairs and information department, Yuri Samolyuk, told Itar-Tass on Monday.

�It is quite possible to build a unit in seven years,� he said. Ukrainian scientists and engineers are now inspecting the earlier prepared construction site for the new unit before deciding on further steps.

According to the initial design, the Khmelnitsk nuclear power plant was to have four power-generating units. The first unit was made operational in late 1987. The second, 1000-MW unit was connected to the grid this past Sunday and is expected to reach its design capacity in December.

At the ceremony of launching the second unit, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said it was necessary to build the third reactor. The president thanked the Russian companies for their contribution to the start-up of Unit Two and said they would take part in the efforts to build Unit Three.


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3.
Ukraine launches new nuclear reactor
AFP
8/8/2004
(for personal use only)


Ukraine launched a new nuclear reactor in a move President Leonid Kuchma said confirmed the former Soviet republic's increasing independence from energy supplied by neighboring Russia.

"Reactor number two is now is service," Kuchma said in televised remarks from the western Ukrainian town of Khlemnitsky where the reactor was launched.

"This is a new step in reinforcing the independence of our state energy sector," Kuchma said.

Construction of the second reactor at the nuclear plant in the Western Ukrainian city was launched shortly after a controversial government decision last month that the reactor posed no hazard to the local environment.

The first reactor was launched in 1987 -- one year after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that was hushed up for days by the former Soviet state.

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has issued 42 million dollars in a loan to secure the two new Ukrainian reactors' safety.

Ukraine otherwise depends on oil and gas supplies from Russia and has been trying to cut those ties as it negotiates closer relations with the European Union (news - web sites) and the United states.


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4.
Ukraine starts commercial operation of new nuclear power unit
ITAR-TASS
8/8/2004
(for personal use only)


Ukraine on Sunday received an additional reliable power source. On an instruction from Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma who flew to Neteshin, the city of Ukrainian nuclear power specialists, they put into commercial operation the second power unit of the Khmelnitsky nuclear station. From now on, the unit started supplying electricity to the Ukrainian energy system.

On giving the order of �raising the capacity of the second power set up to the commercial load�, Kuchma said that �Ukraine has confirmed once again its high technological potential by putting into operation the new power block at the Khmelnitsky nuclear station�.

The commissioning of the second power unit at the Khmelnitsky station gives a possibility to generate annually 6-6.5 billion kilowatt-hours of safe and cheap electricity. According to managing director of the Khmelnitsky power station, �the state of security of power unit No. 2 was confirmed by implementation of measures on raising security and modernization�.

The second power block of the station will run on improved fuel TVS-A and will be a pioneer among Ukrainian reactors VVER-1000 with the first full load of a new fuel. Ukraine purchased improved assemblies from the Russian TVEL company, supplying nuclear fuel to 13 countries, including Western Europe, the CIS and the Baltics. Around 17 percent of the world nuclear fuel market belongs to this Russian company, a monopoly in production of advanced nuclear fuel for power stations.



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H.  Official Statements

1.
Issues of atomic energy concerning the nuclear defence complex will be the responsibility of the Defence Minister.
The Kremlin
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


At a meeting on issues of atomic energy, President Vladimir Putin said that this decision had been passed in the framework of administrative reform and improving the activity of the Government.

At the meeting, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov outlined the three key areas of cooperation between the Ministry and the Federal agency for atomic energy.

They are: forming proposals on nuclear safety; developing, manufacturing, modernising, maintaining and salvaging nuclear weapons; and joint activity on supporting and developing the nuclear testing ground on Novaya Zemlya.


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2.
On the Updating of the US Radar Station in Thule, Greenland
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)


The United States and Denmark on August 6 signed a package of agreements that actually open the way for updating the American radar station in Thule, Greenland, which will be used in the interests of a US missile defense system.

The American side has repeatedly assured us that the future missile defense system of the United States will not be directed against Russia. Yet the very geography of deployment of the radar station in Greenland provides a reason to assume that into US missile defense objectively is already being set a definite potential capable of damaging Russian security. For us this is all the more alarming signal in view of the fact that the American side is considering the possibility of deploying components of its missile defense in Eastern Europe as well, in direct proximity to Russia's borders.

The Russian side notes that in the conditions of the considerable strategic nuclear potential reductions, on which Russia and the United States have agreed, one cannot rule out the possibility of the appearance of a threat to Russia's deterrence forces over the long term.

In this connection the Russian side will carefully analyze the situation from the point of view of its own security interests and reserves the right to take all the measures necessary for maintaining it at the proper level.



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I.  Links of Interest

1.
IAEA Issues Annual Report, World Reviews of Safety, Technology
IAEA
8/9/2004
(for personal use only)
http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/News/2004/annual_report2003.html


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