1. Experts mull steps to boost cooperation on high-risk nuke materials
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International experts met in Vienna on Sunday to drum up international support to effectively deal with high-risk radioactive materials.
They discussed ways to boost global support for national programs to identify, secure, recover and facilitate the disposition of high-risk nuclear and other radioactive materials around the world.
U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, who took the initiative along with Alexander Rumyantsev, director of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency to hold the meeting, said in a statement that the Global Threat Reduction Initiative Conference "confirmed the view of the international community of the threat nuclear materials."
He warned especially of the danger of terrorists trying to obtain nuclear materials.
The GTRI is working on ways to repatriate fresh and spent nuclear fuels to their countries of origin, which are mostly the United States and Russia.
In addition, the conference expressed its support for the conversions of civilian research reactors from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium.
Rumyantsev expressed hope that the implementation of the GTRI's efforts "will facilitate the non-proliferation of nuclear arms."
An "especially difficult task" would be the return of nuclear fuel from the U.S.-built research reactor in Tehran, he said, adding Russia hopes for a successful conclusion of the effort at the highest levels."
Abrahams said that the initiative would only be successful if concrete action follows. "We will continue to be proactive, we will continue to build a successful international cooperation," he said.
2. IAEA chief calls for more protection of nuclear materials, facilities
Xinhua News Agency
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IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei said Saturday that the need to protect nuclear materials and facilities and to control radioactive sources have become an ever more global priority.
At The Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) International Partners Conference held at the Austria Center in Vienna, El Baradei said progress has been made in controlling the spread of radioactive materials.
El Baradei expressed his wish that efforts in this respect should continue in order to guarantee the peaceful use of nuclear technologies and international cooperation has "become the hallmark of these security efforts."
El Baradei said that if the GTRI and related initiatives are successful, "we will achieve a meaningful reduction in our vulnerability to nuclear and radiological terrorism."
The IAEA chief also pointed out that while nuclear security is and should remain a national responsibility, "many countries still lack the programs and the resources to respond properly to the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism."
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, estimates that as many as 110 countries do not have adequate controls over radioactive devices that could be used to build an explosive device that would spread radioactive materials.
1. Preventable Nightmare: Al Qaeda wants to nuke a U.S. city. There are simple ways to stop it.
Los Angeles Times
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In October 2001, a top-secret team was dispatched to New York City to search for a nuclear bomb. According to a CIA agent code-named Dragonfire, Al Qaeda had gotten hold of a nuclear weapon produced by the former Soviet Union and had successfully smuggled it into the city. Under a cloak of secrecy that excluded even Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the Nuclear Emergency Search Team, or NEST, began a hunt for the 10-kiloton bomb whose Hiroshima-sized blast could have obliterated a significant portion of Manhattan.
NEST is a SWAT team of "nuclear ninjas." When mobilized, members drop their day jobs as physicists, engineers and explosives experts to search for and dismantle weapons before they explode into mushroom clouds. Often undercover, a "sports fan" may hide his sophisticated radiation-detection equipment in a golf bag, a "businesswoman" in her attache case. If a nuclear device is found, teams compare it with NEST's catalog of existing designs and possible home-made bombs for clues about how to disarm it. But, as one member of the teams has conceded, even locating a nuclear device amid background radiation is like "looking for a needle in a haystack of needles."
As NEST teams scoured New York City, Vice President Dick Cheney left Washington for a secret underground site, later disclosed to be on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. President Bush was concerned that Al Qaeda might have smuggled a nuclear weapon into the capital as well. Several hundred federal employees joined the vice president in his bunker for many weeks, preparing an alternative government should a nuclear explosion wipe out Washington.
The suspected nuclear device in New York City was never found. But the threat was credible for good reasons. Did former Soviet stockpiles include a large number of 10-kiloton weapons? Yes. Could the Russian government account for all its nuclear bombs? No. Could Al Qaeda have acquired one? Yes. Could it have smuggled a nuclear weapon through border controls and into a U.S. city? Yes. In a moment of gallows humor, one official quipped that terrorists could have wrapped a bomb in one of the bales of marijuana routinely smuggled into cities like New York and Los Angeles.
In the weeks and months following Sept. 11, the U.S. national security community was waiting for the second shoe to drop. In the 1990s, when I served as an assistant secretary of Defense, I prepared a highly classified memorandum on possible terrorist attacks, ranked in terms of potential damage to the United States, titled "A Hundred Horribles." An attack by a hijacked aircraft on trophy buildings fell in the lower half of the list. First place on everyone's list was the detonation of a nuclear bomb in a U.S. city. Only a nuclear explosion can kill hundreds of thousands of people instantly.
The factors that made Dragonfire's report plausible in October 2001 are even more acute today. Osama bin Laden has declared the production of nuclear weapons "a religious duty." Though New York City is regarded as the most likely target, it is clear that Al Qaeda is not only capable but also interested in mounting attacks on other U.S. cities, where residents may be less prepared.
Imagine the consequences of a 10-kiloton weapon exploding in Los Angeles. From the epicenter of the blast to a distance of approximately one-third mile, every structure and individual would vanish instantaneously. A bomb exploded at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue would vaporize the historic Mann's Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Buildings three-quarters of a mile from ground zero, like the Pantages Theater (the former home of the Academy Awards show), would look like the Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City after it was destroyed in 1995 by a massive bomb hidden inside a rental truck. The fires and radiation of the blast's outer circle would erase the sign in the Hollywood Hills.
Soil incorporated into the fireball would be made radioactive and would return to Earth as radioactive fallout. This fallout would emit gamma, alpha and beta radiation, but the effect on nearby cities would be determined by environmental conditions, weather patterns, rain, wind, terrain, etc.
Where could Al Qaeda obtain a nuclear bomb? Russia is the most likely source in Bin Laden's quest for nuclear weapons. Russia's 12-time-zone expanse contains more nuclear weapons and materials than any country in the world, including 8,600 assembled warheads and enough weapons-usable material for 80,000 more, much of it vulnerable to theft.
Pakistan ranks a close second as a potential source.
When I interviewed Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, earlier this year, he claimed that within his army "even one bolt of a rifle cannot be lost."
But as we now know, the father of Pakistan's atomic program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, was the kingpin of a black market in nuclear technology, fissile material and technical assistance stretching back more than a decade. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has called Khan's network a "Wal-Mart of private-sector proliferation." And further potential suppliers, especially North Korea, cannot be ignored.
The largely unrecognized good news about nuclear terrorism is that it is preventable. Unlike bioterrorism, nuclear terrorism is a finite challenge manageable with a finite response. The strategic narrows of the challenge is preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons or the materials from which a bomb could be made. It's a fact of physics: no highly enriched uranium or plutonium, no nuclear explosion, no nuclear terrorism.
It is that simple.
A serious campaign to prevent nuclear terrorism can be organized under a new doctrine of "three no's." The first strand of the strategy — "no loose nukes" — requires securing all nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material, on the fastest possible timetable, to a new gold standard. Equally the security of gold at Ft. Knox. "No new nascent nukes" means no new national capabilities to enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium. The third no — "no new nuclear weapons states" — draws a bright line under the current recognized nuclear powers and says unambiguously, "no more."
Al Qaeda spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith has stated Al Qaeda's objective: "to kill 4 million Americans — 2 million of them children — and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands."
Nearly 3,000 died in the Sept. 11 attacks. It would take about 1,334 similar assaults to reach 4 million. Or it could take one nuclear weapon.
Al Qaeda has made its intentions clear. America's challenge is to prevent the terrorists from succeeding.
Recent bloody attacks in Russia like the Beslan school siege have highlighted the need to prevent the worst-case scenario of nuclear terrorism, Moscow's top atomic official says.
Russia, which has the second biggest nuclear arsenal after the United States and lies fifth in terms of civil nuclear power, is under pressure to act to guard high-risk atomic sites from attack after the collapse of Soviet rule left nuclear stockpiles under-protected.
International criticism of the way Russian security forces handled attacks in August and September -- two plane crashes, a suicide bombing in Moscow and the hostage-taking in Beslan in which over 300 people died -- exposed the threat even further.
"We've declared war on proliferation. Now we need to decide how to deal with this problem," Alexander Rumyantsev, head of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency, told Reuters in an interview late on Wednesday.
Russia's nuclear facilities, including 30 reactors and dozens of military sites with nuclear warheads, are attractive to extremists for their arms-grade nuclear material.
"All terrorist scenarios include attacks on atomic reactors," he said.
"In the wake of these gruesome acts of terror ... we must realise we need to step up efforts to prevent terrorists from getting nuclear materials. We need new approaches."
Although protected by Interior Ministry troops, many nuclear sites lie in remote corners of Siberia where security checks may not be as meticulous as in European Russia.
Russian industry experts say hundreds of "dirty bombs" -- conventional bombs laced with radioactive material which experts say would be the most likely weapon in nuclear terrorism -- could be made from the contents of small research reactors alone. These sites would be the least guarded.
Russia and other nuclear powers therefore need to alter legislation to make it easier to trace movements of nuclear stocks around the world, Rumyantsev said.
"Everything nuclear is obviously confidential, it concerns sovereignty ... But otherwise how are we then going to control all the sensitive materials? We need new legislation to allow this to happen," he said.
Rumyantsev said he would ask the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to cooperate more closely on anti-terrorism issues.
"I will tell them that these tragedies are yet more proof that no country can fight terrorism on its own," he said.
Highly enriched uranium and plutonium in reactors can be used to make a standard bomb. Spent fuel can produce a "dirty bomb" that needs little atomic content but can spread radiation after exploding.
Washington funds part of Russia's efforts to guard nuclear materials in a country where Soviet-era "atomic towns" struggle to survive amid shrinking state subsidies. Moscow says Western assistance is drying up.
Speaking to reporters earlier, Rumyantsev said a few dozen grams of weapons-grade uranium had been stolen from Russian sites over 25 years, but were recovered by security services.
About 100 kg (220 lb) of stolen raw uranium had never been found. Although raw uranium is no security hazard, Russia should try to prevent such theft in the future, he said.
"That's how things work and we have to understand that. People steal everything: timber, metals, money. And they also steel uranium," Rumyantsev said.
3. All nuclear material stolen from Russia recovered: official
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All the nuclear material that has been stolen from Russia over the past quarter of a century has been recovered, the head of the country's atomic energy agency said on Wednesday.
Alexander Rumiantsev, making his comments after a series of terror attacks in Russia, said that the quantities stolen never amounted to more than tens of grammes.
"Over the past 25 years we have recorded several disappearances of military-quality nuclear material and it was always tens of grammes. These materials were always retrieved as a result of painstaking inquiries," he said.
He revealed however that only 10 percent of a 100 kilo quantity of natural uranium that also disappeared has been recovered.
But he added: "This substance could never be used to make nuclear weapons, something that the thieves surely ignored".
Rumiantsev reiterated that security measures were very tight at the country's nuclear power stations in the wake of the deadly attacks that included the downing of two planes, a suicide blast in Moscow and the Beslan hostage tragedy.
"It is clear that terrorists are planning to attack nuclear power stations, and this is why these are guarded by soldiers and interior ministry forces, who have very strict instructions over terrorist attacks," he said.
He also called for greater efforts to prevent the theft of radioactive isotopes used in industry and hospitals, something that happened "relatively frequently".
Russia's nuclear chief said on Wednesday he was told to increase vigilance at nuclear facilities following a spate of attacks because it was clear terrorists would not hesitate to use radioactive materials if they could get them.
Federal Atomic Energy Agency chief Alexander Rumyantsev said the nation's nuclear facilities are safe from terror attacks and thefts but acknowledged controls over radioactive materials at clinics and industrial plants have been loose.
He said the brutality of recent attacks in Russia have raised fears terrorists might try to obtain nuclear materials.
"It has become clear that if terrorists get hold of something like that, they will definitely use it," Rumyantsev told reporters.
More than 400 people have been killed in attacks the past month, including a school siege in Beslan that left 338 dead and the bombings of two passenger planes.
Rumyantsev admitted authorities have been negligent in disposing worn-out equipment involving lethal radioactive isotopes. Such equipment, used for cancer treatment in clinics and for various industrial purposes in manufacturing industries, has been carelessly dumped across Russia, he said.
"Such equipment has been found in dumpsites, among garbage," Rumyantsev said.
He added that Russian and U.S. officials had taken joint efforts to strengthen control over medical and industrial radioactive sources. The Russian government has recently toughened legislation to help track down radioactive equipment.
Many experts warn that medical and industrial radioactive devices could be used by terrorists for making a radiological dispersal device, or dirty bomb.
Unlike nuclear warheads that are designed to kill and destroy through a huge nuclear blast, dirty bombs -- which thus far no one has employed -- would rely on conventional explosives to spread radioactive material.
Rumyantsev said all Russian nuclear facilities, including nuclear power plants and waste storage facilities, are securely guarded by heavily armed Interior Ministry troops.
But he also acknowledged that the nation has had natural uranium and other radioactive materials stolen since the Soviet collapse.
"Tens of kilograms, maybe up to 220 pounds of raw uranium, have been stolen by people who hoped to sell it at profit because of their ignorance," Rumyantsev said. "Only some 10 percent of these materials have been found."
1. Russia supports IAEA program of LEH use in research reactors
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Russia supports a program of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is targeted at less than 20% enrichment of nuclear fuel for research reactors, and thinks that it will reduce the risk of proliferation of highly-enriched uranium, head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency Alexander Rumyantsev said on Sunday after a two-day international conference on lessening the global threat.
The return of fresh and spent nuclear fuel containing highly enriched uranium from Russian-made research reactors abroad to Russia is an important component of non-proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies, which must not come into the hands of terrorists, Rumyantsev said. Thirteen of seventeen countries, which have such reactors on their territories, have confirmed that they will not use highly enriched uranium in the future, he said. Russia has technologies that can transfer the reactors to lowly enriched uranium if necessary, he added.
Indecision of the others may be caused by peculiarities of their research, which requires dense flow of neutrons lowly enriched cannot provide, Rumyantsev said. It is impossible to stop using highly enriched uranium in research at all, but such experiments can be held at large research centers in the United States, France and Germany within the framework of international cooperation.
One hundred and thirty-six states attended the two-day international conference on lessening the global threat, Rumyantsev said. “This is a vivid confirmation to the international concern about the threat coming from unprotected nuclear and highly risky radioactive materials,” he said.
2. Russia repatriates uranium from Eastern Europe in fight against terror
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Russia has already recovered 900 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium from Eastern Europe and Libya to prevent it from falling "into the hands of terrorists," Russian atomic energy officials said Tuesday.
"In total, Russia has repatriated some 900 kilograms (1,980 pounds) of enriched uranium from the reactors of research institutes in former Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Libya," ITAR-TASS quoted an official at Rosatom, Russia's atomic energy agency, as saying.
The initiative is part of an US-Russia agreement backed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to remove enriched uranium fuel from countries where it could potentially be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
"The goal of the US and of Russia ... is to reduce the increasing risk of nuclear material falling into the hands of international terrorists," Rosatom spokesman Nikolai Chingaryov told the news agency.
According to Rosatom, Russia has been given the green light by 12 different states, including ex-Soviet republics and countries in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, to remove enriched uranium from 16 reactors.
Last week, the US and Russia repatriated 11 kilograms (24.2 pounds) of enriched uranium from the Academy of Science of the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan, whose government is facing growing Islamist unrest.
The fuel included highly-enriched uranium that could be used for manufacturing nuclear weapons which was brought to Uzbekistan during Soviet times.
In June 2001, the Russian parliament had passed amendments to the law on the evironmental protection allowing Russia to import used nuclear fuel for stocking and reprocessing.
In June of this year, Russia said it was building an international facility to stock used nuclear fuel, under the control of the IAEA.
1. RUSSIA TIGHTLY CONTROLS NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY AND MATERIALS
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"The Russian Federation, as a nuclear power, has always and will continue to do everything necessary to ensure tight control over nuclear materials and technologies," Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency, said in Vienna in the run-up to the 48th session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
According to him, Russian and American specialists in cooperation with IAEA experts carry out expert missions in former Soviet Union countries.
"Fifteen such missions have already been carried out in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Estonia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan," he said. "During these missions, experts identified powerful radioactive sources in the countries and gave expert and organizational assistance to perfect the security of the sources of physical protection of the sources."
He also said that in accordance with an IAEA proposal for countries to remove highly enriched uranium from their research reactors, 13 of the 17 countries with research reactors built by the Soviet Union have decided not to use enriched uranium in their reactors in the future.
"Presently, fresh nuclear fuel has been removed from the research reactors in Serbia and Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, Libya and Uzbekistan," Mr. Rumyantsev added.
In his opinion, the creation of a dirty nuclear bomb can be prevented only by the joint efforts of the world community.
The cold war generation grew up worrying about the bomb, the Russians and World War III. Today's nuclear nightmares are more varied, but no less scary. The list of nuclear-armed states is lengthening alarmingly, and each new entry increases the chances that some nasty regional war could turn nuclear. Nuclear terrorism has emerged as a terrifying new threat. Russia has huge, poorly guarded stockpiles of nuclear bomb fuel and there is a small but increasing possibility that its decaying early warning system could trigger an accidental launch.
President Bush often says he means to halt the nuclear arms programs of North Korea and Iran, although he has yet to produce any workable plans for doing so. In February, he rightly called for tighter controls over nuclear fuel processing, used by several countries to produce bomb ingredients.
As a senator and a candidate, John Kerry has offered constructive proposals addressing almost every aspect of current nuclear dangers. While Mr. Bush has tended to focus narrowly on rogue states like North Korea and Iran, Mr. Kerry wisely favors a more comprehensive approach that would combine crisis diplomacy on these two priority cases with accelerated efforts to protect Russian stockpiles. The North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs are at the top of the nation's agenda. But it is disingenuous to ignore the fact that 95 percent of the nuclear bombs and most of the nuclear weapons fuel are in the hands of Russia and the United States.
Mr. Kerry would also break with Bush policies that unintentionally encourage nuclear proliferation, like the Strangelovian plans for research on unneeded new nuclear weapons.
India and Pakistan tested their first nuclear bombs in 1998. North Korea is close, if not already there. Iran is not very far behind. In the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Korean peninsula, an escalation of conventional conflict into nuclear war has to be treated as a realistic possibility.
The steady spread of these weapons also increases the risks of backdoor sales of nuclear technology, as the worldwide arms bazaar run by A. Q. Khan of Pakistan so chillingly demonstrated. This creeping proliferation has meant the dispersal of nuclear bomb ingredients like highly enriched uranium and plutonium into countries with poor governance, uncertain stability and corrupt officials. That makes it easier for terrorists to acquire such material and try to fashion usable nuclear bombs.
Mr. Bush once lumped Iraq, Iran and North Korea together as an "axis of evil." But his decision to invade Iraq limited the diplomatic and military tools left available to influence North Korea and Iran - which were undoubtedly taught by the Iraq experience that the best protection against a pre-emptive strike is a nuclear arsenal.
In both cases, precious time has been lost while the administration has followed largely unproductive diplomatic strategies. Mr. Bush now wants to ask the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran. But many Council members, including major European allies, are not ready to do so. On North Korea, the administration has insisted on discussions including Russia, China, Japan and South Korea as well as North Korea and the United States. These have made no discernible progress, in part because Washington waited until this summer to put its first serious negotiating proposal on the table. With the talks stalled, North Korea has all the time it needs to reprocess its plutonium into several nuclear bombs.
Mr. Kerry would try to jump-start the North Korea talks with a comprehensive new American proposal. He would, like Mr. Bush, insist that Iran renounce all domestic processing of nuclear fuel while promising that it could count on access to reliable imported supplies of civilian reactor fuel in return. Any distinction between the two candidates on Iran rests on Mr. Kerry's contention that he could better line up European support.
If there is still time to dissuade these two countries from going nuclear, there isn't much. North Korea may already have assembled test devices. Iran may soon have all the technology and raw materials needed to proceed. Still, the international community should explore every avenue to persuade both countries that it is not in their best interest to build nuclear weapons. In exchange for a verifiable dismantling of their nuclear programs, Washington and other governments ought to be willing to offer substantial economic, diplomatic and security concessions. If that fails to produce results, international pressure will have to be substantially ratcheted up. Further months of stalemate while nuclear fuel processing work continues is not an acceptable option.
There is nothing secret anymore about how to process uranium or plutonium to the purity needed for bomb-making, nor is it all that hard to acquire the raw ingredients. And every nuclear wannabe has now learned how to disguise the early phases of a nuclear weapons effort as part of a civilian nuclear energy program, a trick pioneered decades ago by India and most recently employed by Iran. Unfortunately, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was explicitly intended to encourage such power programs, making it much harder to fend off the emergence of new nuclear weapons states. Obviously, the treaty needs to be toughened.
Mr. Bush has rightly called on other countries to deny nuclear-related exports to any nation that refuses to forgo such fuel processing plants. He should accelerate the process by calling on the four other main nuclear exporting countries to join Washington in an immediate ban.
It is also vital to extend the reach of the nonproliferation treaty with a proposed new fissile materials agreement. Senator Kerry strongly supports this and President Bush says he supports it too, but his administration recently undermined the treaty talks by announcing, perversely, that Washington would insist that the agreement contain no provisions for verification or inspections.
Although the United States and Russia have deactivated thousands of nuclear warheads since the end of the cold war, tens of thousands remain activated or sitting in stockpiles where they can be quickly reassembled. The arms reduction agreement signed by President Bush and President Vladimir Putin in 2002 calls for most of these warheads to be deactivated by 2012, but no reductions are required sooner than that and many of the deactivated warheads will still be retained in stockpiles. America's stored and deactivated weapons are well secured, but many of Russia's are not. In addition, Russia's poorly maintained launch command and early warning systems may be dangerously degrading. At some point, they might conceivably become vulnerable to terrorists. Well over a thousand warheads on each side remain on hair-trigger alert.
Washington is helping Russia upgrade its storage security, but at such a slow rate that hundreds of tons of highly enriched uranium and plutonium will be lying around for many years. Every ton of highly enriched uranium can be used to make more than 100 nuclear bombs. A ton of plutonium can go even further.
The answer is to sharply increase funding for the broad range of American programs intended to secure this material and reduce or eliminate other threats from cold war weapons. This is the most cost-effective defense spending in the federal budget. A bipartisan commission in 2001 recommended tripling spending for these programs, but the Bush administration has failed to follow through. Senator Kerry proposes a significant increase aimed at securing all of Russia's loose bomb fuel in four years.
While Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry seem to agree on many nuclear proliferation issues, the difference lies in their approach to international problems. Voters will have to decide whether Mr. Kerry's emphasis on diplomacy and international cooperation is the best way to keep a lid on these nuclear threats, or whether Mr. Bush's more unilateral approach to foreign affairs is better. There is no graver subject for their consideration this election year.
Nuclear terrorism, thankfully, is still only a specter, not a reality. But the recent wave of bloodshed in Russia underscores the urgency of the need to prevent terrorists capable of indiscriminate slaughter from acquiring nuclear bombs.
To its credit, the Bush administration has finally launched an ambitious initiative to better secure nuclear and radiological materials, particularly in violence-racked Russia. But unless the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, which was introduced in May, becomes part of a far more comprehensive approach to the challenges of nuclear theft and terrorism, it is destined to fall well short of its goal of safeguarding the American people from the threat of nuclear weapons.
The initiative builds on the bilateral nonproliferation efforts of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, a U.S. government-funded, post-Cold War effort that focused on securing Russia's nuclear arsenal. The new, expanded cooperative effort seeks to collect weapons-grade plutonium and enriched uranium that could be used in nuclear bombs from dozens of additional countries, and to lock them down in secure facilities.
But with U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces still on hair-trigger alert, we need to recognize that present policies for reducing the risk of nuclear strikes against the United States by terrorists or rogue countries are inconsistent and self-defeating. On the one hand, in the name of deterrence, U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear forces both comply with their presidents' instructions to be constantly prepared to fight a large-scale nuclear war with each other at a moment's notice. On the other hand, in the name of nonproliferation, the United States and Russia cooperate closely in securing Russia's nuclear weapons against theft.
By keeping thousands of nuclear weapons poised for immediate launch, even under normal peacetime circumstances, the United States projects a powerful deterrent threat at Russia. But at the same time, it causes Russia to retain thousands of weapons in its operational inventory, scattered across that country's vast territory, and to keep them ready for rapid use in large-scale nuclear war with America. And to maintain the reliability of these far-flung weapons, Russia must constantly transport large numbers back and forth between a remanufacturing facility and the dispersed military bases. This perpetual motion creates a serious vulnerability, because transportation is the Achilles' heel of nuclear weapons security.
On any given day, many hundreds of Russian nuclear weapons are moving around the countryside. Nearly 1,000 of them are in some stage of transit or temporary storage awaiting relocation at any time. This constant movement between the far-flung nuclear bases and the remanufacturing facility at Ozersk in the southern Urals stems from the esoteric technical fact that Russian nuclear bombs are highly perishable. In contrast to American bombs, which have a shelf life of more than 30 years, Russian bombs last only eight to 12 years before corrosion and internal decay render them unreliable -- prone to fizzling instead of exploding. At that point, they must be shipped back to the factory for remanufacturing. Every year many hundreds of bombs, perhaps as many as a thousand, roll out of Russia's Mayak factory. The United States turns out fewer than 10 per year. In Russia, the rail and other transportation lines linking the factory to the far-flung nuclear bases across 10 time zones are buzzing with nuclear activity and provide fertile ground for terrorist interception.
Keeping a small strategic arsenal consolidated at a limited number of locations close to the Mayak factory would be the ideal security environment for preventing Russian nuclear bombs from falling into terrorist hands. But the ongoing nuclear dynamic between the former Cold War foes creates the opposite environment, which undercuts security. Russian nuclear commanders, confronted with U.S. submarines lurking off their coasts with 10-minute missile-flight times to Moscow and thousands of launch-ready U.S. warheads on land- and sea-based missiles aimed at thousands of targets in Russia, are compelled to match the American posture in numbers, alert status and geographic dispersal. U.S. leaders must decide which goal takes precedence: sustaining the Cold War legacy of massive arsenals to deter a massive surprise nuclear attack, or shoring up the security of Russian nuclear weapons to prevent terrorists from grabbing them (or corrupt guards from stealing and selling them).
And terrorists grabbing such a weapon as it shuttles between deployment fields and factories is not the worst-case scenario stemming from this nuclear gamesmanship. The theft of a nuclear bomb could spell eventual disaster for an American city, but the seizure of a ready-to-fire strategic long-range nuclear missile or group of missiles capable of delivering bombs to targets thousands of miles away could be apocalyptic for entire nations.
If scores of armed Chechen rebels were able to slip into the heart of Moscow and hold a packed theater hostage for days, as they did in 2002, might it not be possible for terrorists to infiltrate missile fields in rural Russia and seize control of a nuclear-armed mobile rocket roaming the countryside? It's an open question that warrants candid bilateral discussion of the prospects of terrorists capturing rockets and circumventing the safeguards designed to foil their illicit firing, especially since the 9/11 commission report revealed that al Queda plotters considered this very idea.
Another specter concerns terrorists "spoofing" radar or satellite sensors or cyber-terrorists hacking into early warning networks. By either firing short-range missiles that fool warning sensors into reporting an attack by longer-range missiles, or feeding false data into warning computer networks, could sophisticated terrorists generate false indications of an enemy attack that results in a mistaken launch of nuclear rockets in "retaliation?" False alarms have been frequent enough on both sides under the best of conditions. False warning poses an acute danger as long as Russian and U.S. nuclear commanders are given, as they still are today, only several pressure-packed minutes to determine whether an enemy attack is underway and to decide whether to retaliate. Russia's deteriorating early-warning network, coupled with terrorist plotting against it, only heightens the dangers.
Russia is not the only crucible of risk. The early-warning and control problems plaguing Pakistan, India and other nuclear proliferators are even more acute. As these nations move toward hair-trigger stances for their nuclear missiles, the terrorist threat to them will grow in parallel.
Even the U.S. nuclear control apparatus is far from fool-proof. For example, a Pentagon investigation of nuclear safeguards conducted several years ago made a startling discovery -- terrorist hackers might be able to gain back-door electronic access to the U.S. naval communications network, seize control electronically of radio towers such as the one in Cutler, Maine, and illicitly transmit a launch order to U.S. Trident ballistic missile submarines armed with 200 nuclear warheads apiece. This exposure was deemed so serious that Trident launch crews had to be given new instructions for confirming the validity of any launch order they receive. They would now reject certain types of firing orders that previously would have been carried out immediately.
Both countries are running terrorist risks of this sort for the sake of an obsolete deterrent strategy. The notion that either the United States or Russia would deliberately attack the other with nuclear weapons is ludicrous, while the danger that terrorists are plotting to get their hands on these arsenals is real. We need to kick our old habits and stand down our hair-trigger forces. Taking U.S. and Russian missiles off of alert would automatically reduce, if not remove, the biggest terrorist threats that stem from keeping thousands of U.S. and Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles fueled, targeted and waiting for a couple of computer signals to fire. They would fly the instant they received these signals, which can be sent with a few keystrokes on a launch console.
To keep them from flying, we ought to reverse our priorities for nuclear security. The U.S. government should not be spending 25 times more on its deterrent posture than it spends on all of our nonproliferation assistance to Russia and other countries to help them keep their nuclear bombs and materials from falling into terrorist hands. Both the United States and Russia should be spending more on de-alerting, dismantling and securing our arsenals than on prepping them for a large-scale nuclear war with each other.
The current deterrent practices of the two nuclear superpowers are not only anachronistic, they are thwarting our ability to protect ourselves against the real threats.
Russia has advanced development of a new missile defense system offered to the United Arab Emirates.
Russian officials said the S-400 Triumph was recently launched in what was described as the first comprehensive test of the missile defense system. The S-400 has been under development for a decade and offered to a range of Middle East clients, including the UAE.
The S-400 has been touted as the most effective missile defense system yet, superior to the U.S. Army's PAC-3 system. The S-400 was said to be able to detect and destroy enemy missiles at a range of up to 400 kilometers. The S-400's radar was said to be capable of tracking targets without emitting a signal for enemy aircraft.
Officials said the S-400 began undergoing tests in April at the Kapustin Yar Missile Firing Range as part of an accelerated effort to complete the development of the system. They said President Vladimir Putin wants the S-400 to achieve operational capability by 2005 in an effort to pave the way for export sales and deployment within Russia.
1. Washington Seeks Help to Secure HEU Materials Supplied by Countries Other Than United States, Russia
Global Security Newswire
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The United States is seeking increased international cooperation to recover and secure weapon-grade nuclear materials around the globe, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said yesterday in a meeting with reporters .
The United States is currently working with Russia to recover weapon-usable nuclear material the two countries have supplied to research reactors worldwide over the past 50 years. Now, Abraham said, Washington would also like to address the issue of HEU materials supplied by countries other than the United States and Russia.
The issue is expected to be one of the main topics discussed this weekend at a conference to be held by the United States and Russia at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on the U.S. Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI).
Launched in May, the $450 million initiative seeks to repatriate all Russian-origin fresh HEU research reactor fuel by the end of 2005 and all Russian-origin spent fuel by 2010; complete the repatriation of all U.S.-origin research reactor spent fuel under within a decade; and convert research reactors around the world to the use of low enriched uranium as fuel.
In the latest mission conducted under the initiative, the United States funded and assisted the repatriation of Russian-origin fresh nuclear fuel, including 3 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, from a research reactor site in Uzbekistan.
Abraham said yesterday that he hoped to secure commitments from a large number of countries attending this weekend’s conference on addressing the issue of HEU materials supplied by countries other than the United States or Russia. About 450 representatives from more than 70 countries are expected to attend the conference, he said.
Abraham did not identify what countries have either supplied or received such materials, saying the issue was an “open-ended” one that needed “clear definition and consensus.” He added that the parameters of the issue would probably be “flushed out” at this weekend’s conference.
Abraham also said, though, that HEU materials of U.S. and Russian origin make up a “huge amount” of such material located around the world.
The Energy Department later said that about a dozen countries possess HEU materials that are not being addressed by current programs.
Among the countries other than the United States and Russia that have provided research reactors and fuel abroad is China, according to Matthew Bunn of Harvard University’s Project on Managing the Atom. He said today that while Beijing has provided research reactors to “somewhat dicey” countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Syria, the reactors only use about a kilogram of HEU, reducing the possible proliferation risks.
There are also research reactors in Western Europe that use domestically produced HEU fuel, Bunn said. He also said that the Safari research reactor in South Africa poses concerns, less for security at the site than the large amount of HEU fuel there, consisting mostly of domestically produced material.
While about 90 percent of research reactor fuel worldwide is of U.S.- and Russian-origin, Bunn said, “there is the important 10 percent that is not.”
In addition, Abraham said yesterday that he would raise the issue of the “human area” of nuclear security during a speech before the IAEA General Conference, set to be held next week following the GTRI meeting. There is a need to prevent those with nuclear weapons-related knowledge from providing aid to terrorists and rogue states, according to Abraham, who said that he would propose next week that the IAEA hold a conference on the issue.
1. US and Russia host conference on securing nuclear materials from terrorists
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US Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and Russian atomic chief Alexander Rumyantsev wrapped up in Vienna on Sunday a two-day conference on a global initiative to keep highly radioactive materials out of the reach of terrorists.
Rumyantsev, head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters the conference of 136 countries had sought "to organize international support for national problems of detection, security, safety and disposition of nuclear and other radioactive materials which represent a potential threat to the international community."
In May, Abraham said the United States was giving 450 million dollars to the initiative, which tries to prevent nuclear materials stored around the world from falling into the hands of terrorists who could use them to make a "dirty" bomb or even a full-fledged atomic device.
The US plan includes working with Russia to repatriate all Russian-origin fresh HEU (highly enriched uranium) nuclear fuel by the end of 2005.
Abraham said Sunday that the United States was not asking other nations to do things it would not do itself as it was also repatriating nuclear fuel and recycling reactors when possible to use low enriched uranium instead of highly enriched uranium (HEU).
"We recognize there is a world in which terrorists are attempting to gain access to either weapons or materials and we intend to stop them. This initiative will make a major contribution to the effort to stop terrorists from acquiring such materials or weapons," Abraham said.
Rumyantsev said that "out of 17 countries that possess highly enriched uranium at research reactors, 13" had agreed to use enriched uranium "at no more than 20 percent," well below bomb-grade levels.
He said the four which had not agreed to this had research reactors which need to use highly enriched uranium of up to 95 percent due to their construction and the experiments they are doing.
The US-Russian initiative is being carried out in coordination with the UN nuclear watchdog, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The IAEA earlier this year oversaw the removal of HEU from a reactor in Libya and its shipment to Russia, which is to return it as low enriched uranium, which cannot be used in a bomb.
The IAEA begins Monday a week-long general conference in Vienna at which it will review its programs and overall aims.
It comes after an IAEA board of governors meeting last week which set a deadline on Iran, which the United States suspects of secretly developing nuclear weapons, to suspend all uranium enrichment activities.
2. Russian-U.S. relations not cooling off - Foreign Ministry
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Relations between Moscow and Washington have not deteriorated because of the Russian leadership's intention to take certain steps in fighting terrorism and protecting Russia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said at a news conference in Moscow on Friday.
The steps announced in Russia will not be on the agenda of the 59th session of the UN General Assembly underway in New York, Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov said.
The planned steps are consistent with international practice, Fedotov said. In particular, numerous countries use a majority system of electing heads of executive and legislative bodies, he said. The differences in practices do not imply that democracy is stronger or weaker in one place or another, Fedotov said.
1. IRAN HAS NOT YET RESUMED URANIUM ENRICHMENT WORK - GOVERNMENT
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Iran has not yet resumed uranium-enrichment work but will make an independent decision to this effect, Abdollah Ramazanzade, official spokesman for the Iranian government, told RIA Novosti in an interview.
"We have voluntarily suspended uranium-enrichment work and will decide on our own when to continue. There are no legal demands to be put to us," Ramazanzade answered the question on a timeframe for such resumption.
The spokesman for the Iranian government has one more time reiterated the peaceful orientation of Iran's nuclear developments, adherence to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the attendant additional protocol, signed by the Islamic Republic last year.
"We have no intention to make weapons of mass destruction. We are for their elimination worldwide and are fully ready for cooperation in this field," Ramazanzade added.
Iran has rejected the resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors adopted in Vienna in the end of last week, demanding an end to uranium-enrichment work.
Iran, which has not yet officially declared a time for its resumption, voices readiness to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency for settling remaining questions in the Iranian nuclear programs.
2. Russia calls on Iran to fully meet IAEA resolution
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Russia has called on Iran to fully meet a resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors adopted in Vienna on September 18.
"The appeal to resume moratorium on enrichment projects is, in particular, addressed to Tehran. We support this appeal. Russia hopes that the maximum possible will be done to resolve problems and meet the resolution in full by November, when the IAEA Board of Governors will have another meeting," says a Monday report of the Russian Foreign Ministry received by Interfax.
Russia, a nuclear partner of Iran, on Monday backed the U.N. atomic watchdog in its call on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment and urged Iran to heed the demand instead of rejecting it, the Reuters news agency reports.
On Sunday Iran rejected a resolution unanimously adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) calling on it to suspend all enrichment work. It also threatened to stop snap checks of its atomic facilities.
“Tehran has been urged to re-impose a moratorium on all uranium enrichment activities. We back this call,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russia, which normally steers clear of political debate over Iran, is helping Tehran build a nuclear reactor at the port of Bushehr despite strong pressure from the United States, which says Tehran is seeking atomic weapons.
“The Agency has continuously called on Iran to do so in previous resolutions,” the ministry said. “Unfortunately Tehran has reconsidered some of the promises it voluntarily made in this field before.”
Iran agreed to suspend activities related to enrichment last year after talks with foreign ministers from France, Britain and Germany.
But in July Iran said it had restarted building centrifuges —- which enrich uranium —- and had resumed work at a plant that produces uranium hexafluoride, the feed material.
Enriched to a low level, uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power stations like the one at Bushehr. Highly enriched, it can be used in bombs. Iran says its nuclear programme is solely for generating electricity.
“Russia believes that in November, when the IAEA board convenes again, everything possible would be done to resolve existing problems and allow the resolution to be fulfilled,” the foreign ministry said.
Russia has continuously delayed the launch of the Bushehr plant. Diplomats in Moscow say President Vladimir Putin’s growing recognition of U.S. concerns over Iran has pressured the Kremlin into delays until the IAEA declares Iran clean.
1. Moscow mayor backs N. Korean peaceful nuclear program
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Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov has expressed support for North Korea's peaceful nuclear program.
At a meeting with Pyongyang City People's Committee Chairman Ryang Man Gil in Moscow on Wednesday, Luzhkov said that he "respects the resolution with which [North Korean leader] Kim Chong-il is pursuing his policy. This helps understand his intention to continue the country's peaceful nuclear program. Primarily, this can be explained by the fact that North Korea has no other sources of energy and heat."
"In this context, I would like to express my solidarity with the leadership of [North] Korea. We treat the principles being advocated by your leadership with understanding," the Moscow mayor said.
2. N.Korea not ready to resume nuclear talks: Russia
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Russia said Tuesday that it did not expect North Korea to agree to resume faltering six-way talks about its nuclear weapons program as scheduled this month.
"Russia of course would like to see this round take place at the end of September as agreed at the third round in Beijing. But for many different reasons, this is not working out," Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Alexeyev said after meeting with South Korean counterpart Lee Soo-Hyuck.
"In this situation we should work together and make efforts to ensure that the fourth round is held as soon as possible," he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
Lee, Seoul's top nuclear negotiator, had come to Moscow in a bid to get Russia's help in persuading North Korea to come back to the negotiating table.
Moscow's pessimistic statement came as the United States has expressed disappointment with Pyongyang's reluctance to commit to a date for new six-way talks.
"We remain ready and anxious to return to the six-party talks and we are disappointed with the reasons the DPRK (North Korea) has given for stalling," James Kelly, the top US envoy on North Korea, said in a statement Tuesday as he ended two days of talks in Beijing.
South Korea has been holding a series of bilateral consultations with other members of talks involving the two Koreas, Japan, Russia, China and the United States.
North Korea has indicated it may not attend the talks aimed at resolving the two-year-old impasse over its nuclear ambitions.
The Stalinist country maintained a tougher stance after South Korea disclosed its own nuclear experiments to enrich uranium four years ago and to extract a small amount of plutonium in the 1980s.
Both enriched uranium and plutonium can be used to manufacture atomic bombs, but South Korea said its experiments were purely for academic purposes.
A Russian delegation led by Sergei Mironov, the speaker of Russia's Federation Council (upper house of parliament), met Monday with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, ITAR-TASS reported.
Russia is considered to be one of the countries with closest diplomatic ties to the hermetic regime in North Korea.
South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun is to visit Russia next week for talks on curbing North Korea's nuclear weapons drive and trans-Siberian railway links.
Energy will be the catalyst to upgrade South Korea-Russia relations in the future, a high-ranking government official predicted.
``The energy sector has the highest potential for South Korea-Russia future relations. Accordingly, cooperation in energy will be one of the top agendas at a summit between President Roh Moo-hyun and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which will be held for a four-day run in Russia during Sept. 20-23,’’ Commerce-Industry-Energy Minister Lee Hee-beom said in an interview with The Korea Times.
Although North Korea’s nuclear ambitions will be one of the top agendas during the summit meeting, the summit talks will also be focusing on ways to build economic ties between the two countries, particularly, in the sector of energy resources.
Russia, which boasts of the world’s largest natural gas reserves and the world’s seventh largest oil reserves, has been interested in Korean investments in the exploration of resources of the Eastern Siberia and Far Eastern regions.
Korea has also sought energy cooperation with Russia as the nation has a growing need for energy supply diversification in line with a rising demand for energy.
In particular, a recent hike in oil prices calls up the fact that Korea needs to reduce its dependence on oil by increasing consumption of natural gas and other alternative energy sources and to broaden the geographic range of energy imports to mitigate their growing dependence on supplies from the Middle East and Persian Gulf.
As of now, more than 70 percent of the nation’s current oil imports come from the Middle East.
``Korea seeks to diversify sources of energy imports through participations in energy exploitation projects in Russia,’’ Lee said.
The Minister hinted there could be several energy-related deals during the upcoming visit of President Roh to Kazakhstan and Russia, saying the summit will mark a turning point in energy cooperation between the two countries.
One of biggest deals in the energy sphere, which is expected to be announced during the summit, is an oil development project in Kazakhstan.
South Korea and Kazakhstan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) early this year on the joint development of oil fields in the Caspian Sea, home to one of the world's largest oil reserves.
The two countries also signed an agreement on conducting joint mineral resources surveys in Kazakhstan.
Summit talks between the two leaders are also forecast to spur the development of joint projects in oil and gas development in the Eastern Siberia region.
Korea also is exploring the possibility of a natural gas pipeline from the Kovykta natural gas deposit in the Irkutsk region of Eastern Siberia. The pipeline would supply China as well as South Korea.
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Rusiya Petroleum and Korea Gas Corp. (Kogas) have finished their feasibility study for the construction of an NG pipeline from Kovykta condensate field in Russia's Irkutsk to China and Korea.
If realized as planned, the project would supply about 300 billion cubic meters of natural gas to South Korea in 30 years, possibly beginning in 2008.
Besides energy, regarding other possible areas for the advanced economic ties between two countries, Minister Lee pointed out the technology sector, especially the science, aviation and space sectors, as a key promising sectors for bilateral partnership.
Agreements on cooperation in space will reportedly be signed during the summit.
``Cooperation in science and technology is the government’s focus beyond trade, investment and energy fields,’’ Lee said.
``Korea needs to reduce the technology gap with advanced nations by introducing source technology from Russia.’’
The Korean government has given financial support to build an infrastructure to exchange industrial technologies between South Korea and Russia and is running a Korea-Russia Industrial Cooperation Committee.
``The entry of Russia to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which is expected to be realized in 2007 or 2008, could bring a breakthrough in the economic cooperation between South Korea and Russia throughout an array of industries beyond the energy sector,’’ Lee said.
Economic exchanges between the two countries have somewhat been slow. Ratio of outbound shipments to Russia to the total stays 0.86 percent, posting $1.67 in 2003.
Trade with Russia, however, has grown rapidly since last year, as export and import growth rate in July this year reached 54 percent and 57 percent, respectively, compared with the same period last year.
Key export items to Russia at the moment are cars, wireless devices, electronics and food products.
Industry watchers suggest Korea needs to tap one of the world’s fast growing markets more aggressively.
Russia draws the world’s attention as it has been named one of the BRICs economies _ Brazil, Russia, India and China _ countries that are widely expected to be among the world's largest economies by 2050.
The Russian economy grew by a commendable 7.3 percent in 2003, on the back of rising oil prices for four straight year.
In compliance with the fast economic growth in Russia, Korean investment in Russia has been growing for the past few years. Companies in electronics, cars, information technology and space sectors are spearheading in building footage in the Russian market. Like other countries, Samsung, LG and Hyundai have already become well-known brands among Russian consumers.
Samsung Electronics, which entered the Russian market in 1999, has posted more than 1.5 trillion won in sales last year. Samsung becomes the number one brand in such segments as color televisions, microwaves and DVD players. Hyundai Motor is also the number one import carmaker in Russia, outdistancing such global brands as Toyota and General Motors.
``For Korea, the Russian market is also an opportunity in developing joint strategies in such sectors as food products and textiles to cope with influx of cheap Chinese products,’’ Lee added.
Despite the growing interest in the Russian market, Korean investment in Russia is still in the doldrums compared with that in other emerging markets like China and India.
``As of now, the Korean investment to Russia is led by conglomerates on a small scale and is concentrated in the manufacturing sector,’’ Lee said.
According to the MOCIE data, the ratio of Korean investment to Russia to the nation’s total overseas investment is only 0.48 percent. As of last July, the overseas investment of Korea reaches $37 billion, out of which $1.8 million is headed to Russia.
``The Korean investment to Russia could grow in a long term, given developing joint-projects in energy and space technology sectors,’’ Lee added.
For the first time, a Russian nuclear-powered submarine will come into a foreign port in the near future. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov made a corresponding statement at a traditional Monday meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with members of the Cabinet. According to the minister, this port will be the Brest naval base of French nuclear forces.
A Russian owned company has applied for a permit to construct an underwater cable to supply nuclear power to Finland, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The cable would terminate at Mussalo near Kotka on the south coast.
United Power submitted the application in late May.
The applicant says the cable would supply electricity generated by the state Rosenergoatom company. The cable would be linked to the Russian grid near the Sosnovy Bor nuclear power station.
With a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, the cable would be able to export power to meet 10% of Finland's annual electricity needs.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has requested additional data from the company concerning the impact on both the Finnish power grid and environment.
The Ministry said a licence to construct the cable could be granted if safety requirements are met and if the project is appropriate from the standpoint of the country's electricity market.
Radical Islamic groupings in the Netherlands prepared a terrorist attack against the Borssele nuclear power plant, the influential Dutch newspaper NRK-Handelsblad reported recently referring to the information of the Dutch justice bodies. Our talk with former head of secret intelligence of the USSR State Security Committee Yuri Drozdov began with the question about how securely nuclear facilities are protected, including in Russia, and how real the possibility of terrorism in this field is.
"Back in the middle of the 1980s, experts of the special international group for the prevention of nuclear terrorism came to the conclusion that the degree of the danger of nuclear terrorism was extremely high. At that time, they counted over 150 incidents that contributed to some or other extent to the higher level of this threat. These incidents included a very serious crime in Boston when a group of offenders demanded a large sum of money from US authorities threatening in the case of the authorities' refusal to switch on the clock mechanism of the detonation of a nuclear warhead. The situation was so grave that the US president was immediately informed about that. This incident showed that the US official structures were completely unprepared at that time for the neutralization of such threats and after the incident was settled, authorities set up a special team fitted out with special arms and equipment for remote control detection of nuclear explosive devices and radioactive materials. Since then, this team has been in constant combat readiness.
Almost until the end of the existence of the USSR, Soviet authorities didn't even bother about the attempts of such terrorist acts because such terrorist acts were completely ruled out. For the first time the central leadership showed concern over the storage of nuclear weapons and apprehensions about the possibility of their seizure by extremist nationalist forces only onthe eve of the country's disintegration in 1989-1990. At that time, Soviet tactical nuclear weapons numbering up to 18,000 pieces (in the estimate of foreign experts) were located on the territory of all the fifteen union republics. There was emerging a real threat of the forceful seizure of nuclear ammunition at the bases of its stockpiling or during transportation. This threat prompted the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces to take quick and decisive measures to bring all tactical nuclear weapons to the territory of Russia and accommodate them at centralized storage bases. From the viewpoint of ensuring reliable security, this action was invaluable for Russia and the entire world.
Question: Were there any unauthorized actions against nuclear-hazardous facilities in the post-Soviet space?
Answer: Unfortunately, there were. For example, there was the threat of an explosion at the Ignalina nuclear power station in November 1994 after a Lithuanian court sentenced one of the leaders of a criminal grouping to death. A year after that, Chechen extremists dropped a container with the Cesium-137 radioactive isotope in the Izmailovo Park of Moscow. Fortunately, authorities managed to prevent the disaster. Quite a unique incident occurred at one of the factories for the repair of submarines where a worker of that enterprise threatened to explode the reactor room because of the month-long delay of wage payment.
Question: The analysis of the nuclear security provision systems shows that the so-called human factor is the weakest link of this chain, especially considering the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are employed in this sector.
Answer: Yes, indeed. I would like to note that Russia had its own specifics that could somehow contribute to the performance of terrorist acts. In particular, quite recently the security staff of many military facilities consisted of servicemen coming from the Caucasus where extremism is especially manifested. Many of them who served in their time at nuclear facilities now know well both their security regime and possible ways for the unauthorized penetration into such facilities.
The Russian Defense Ministry has taken radical steps, first of all, in the direction of improving the system of manning guard units with reliable personnel. The USA also provided certain assistance in this respect, having supplied to the Russian Defense Ministry several polygraphs (lie detectors), and also devices to expose persons using drugs. This equipment is designated for the systems of protecting ammunition and nuclear fuel warehouses and other military facilities. Apart from that, the security and defense of nuclear installations have been strengthened.
Question: However, there are also purely peaceful facilities that can be attacked by fanatic terrorists. Today the territories of three dozens of countries accommodate 438 energy units of nuclear power plants, 651 nuclear research reactors and 250 nuclear fuel cycle enterprises. About 10,000 sources of radiation are used in medicine, industry, agriculture and scientific developments. Some experts say that compared to the safely guarded nuclear facilities, the protection of industrial and medical sources of radiation is at an alarmingly low level in a whole number of countries.
Answer: Moreover, there are facilities linked with ore extraction and enrichment, research reactors, etc. There can be several thousands of such targets. In the opinion of reputable specialists, knowing the goals and the possibilities of terrorist organizations and taking into account the general number of nuclear facilities and the degree of their protection, it is quite possible to forecast several thousands of potential terrorist act scenarios and take measures for their prevention.
Of course, no state is capable of dealing with such a number of threats. However, the identification of real threats is already the work for joint analytical groups of nuclear plant operators and security services responsible for nuclear security. This work must reveal the most probable scenarios of nuclear terrorist acts. After that, it is already possible to concentrate efforts on countering the most dangerous scenarios taking into account the anti-terrorist potential of each country and the community of states.
1. Concerning Outcome of Consideration by IAEA Board of Governors of Iranian Nuclear Program
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
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The IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna on September 18 adopted by consensus a resolution on the application in Iran of the Safeguards Agreement Pursuant to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This resolution is a compromise reflecting what really matters - the prevalent opinion of the member states of the Agency in favor of the speediest removal of all the outstanding questions in respect of Iran's activities in the nuclear field.
The resolution emphasizes substantial progress in what concerns the clarification of the specific parameters of the Iranian nuclear program. On the other hand, the resolution sees to it that all the outstanding issues are removed, of course, on a basis of cooperation.
One of the questions discussed in the course of the Board of Governors session concerns the introduction by Iran - by way of trust building - of a moratorium on all the uranium enrichment work. That's what the IAEA had repeatedly called on Iran to do in the previous BG resolutions. Unfortunately, Teheran in the last few months has partially reviewed the obligations it had voluntarily assumed in this field.
The resolution offers guidelines as to how best, via cooperation, to remove all the outstanding questions. In particular, an appeal is addressed to Teheran to resume the moratorium on all the enrichment work. We also support this appeal.
Russia counts on a maximum of the possible being done in November, when the next meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors is held, in order to resolve the existing problems and to ensure the fulfillment of the resolution's requirements. We hope that all the parties will exert necessary efforts to close the outstanding matters and to transfer the Agency's control activities in Iran into a normal, technical mainstream.
As we conclude the Global Threat Reduction Initiative International Partners Conference, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your participation. You have made very important contributions to the global discussion on nonproliferation issues.
These have been very productive meetings, leaving me excited about the prospects for future collaboration to combat the ever-changing proliferation threat. I am confident we have taken some significant steps over these past two days to do just that.
In particular I would like to thank Director Rumyantsev and the Russian Federation for serving as co-sponsors of this Global Threat Reduction Initiative Partners Conference.
I also would like to thank Dr. El Baradei and the IAEA for the support they have provided this event.
More than 575 representatives from over 90 countries attended this conference. Those impressive numbers reflect the fact that we recognize just how profoundly the world has changed since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Our response to those events – and to those similar attacks in Bali, Spain, Indonesia, Russia, and elsewhere – needs to be equally profound.
The recent atrocity in Beslan adds further clarity to the challenge we collectively face. When innocent children become the intended target of terrorists interested only in advancing a political agenda, it shows there is no target in this world from which these barbarians would shy and no atrocity they won’t contemplate.
That places a special burden on all of us.
As the holders and users of nuclear and other radioactive materials that serve the peaceful interests and objectives of the civilized world, we, the Member States of the International Atomic Energy Agency, must also be the responsible custodians of these materials and the facilities in which they are located.
If we fail to protect and prevent these materials from falling into the hands of those who would use them for malevolent purposes, the global impact could be catastrophic.
That is why I strongly believe we need an international plan, an international program, with international objectives and international solutions. It is the only responsible way to address what is clearly an international crisis.
That is why your support for the Findings of the Conference is an important marker for moving forward.
Let me highlight a few elements of the Findings of the Conference and note some important follow-on activities for all of us to take up in the months to come.
First, while expressing concern that unsecured, high-risk nuclear and other radioactive materials pose a threat to the international community, the Conference acknowledged that all States share the objective to help reduce that threat through common but differentiated efforts.
The Conference also acknowledged the importance of full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540. While striving to ensure that Member States enjoy the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the Conference recognized that it is the responsibility of States to identify, control, secure, recover and/or facilitate the disposition of these unsecured high risk nuclear and other radioactive materials with a view towards preventing their theft, diversion, or use for terrorist purposes.
In addition, we recognized that some States may require assistance in identifying, securing, recovering or dispositioning of these nuclear and other radioactive materials.
The Conference also expressed support for international cooperation in accelerating existing programs and in creating new programs to identify, secure, recover or facilitate disposition of unsecured nuclear and other radioactive materials that are not currently covered under existing threat reduction programs, and that pose a potential threat to the international community. This should be done without adversely affecting existing funding arrangements.
Similarly, we expressed support for international efforts to assist, upon request, national authorities in securing and facilitating the disposition of fresh and spent civilian HEU. The Conference also supports efforts to convert, where feasible, civilian research reactors from the use of HEU to LEU fuel with appropriate financial and technical assistance to States that require assistance for these purposes while sustaining research and radioisotope production for peaceful purposes.
The Conference expressed full support for international efforts in the field of repatriation of fresh and spent HEU nuclear fuel of civilian research reactors.
And, finally, the Conference encouraged all States to participate actively in the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, through agreement to return, recover, secure or dispose of materials, through financial and technical contributions, or through in-kind assistance, on a voluntary basis or as circumstances and national resources permit.
Of course, expressions of support for these ideas are not enough.
This conference will only be judged a success if we follow on its conclusion with substantive actions aimed at reducing the threat posed by under-secured nuclear and radiological materials.
There are additional opportunities to further build support for activities related to the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. In particular, the following upcoming conferences and meetings were highlighted, and I encourage Member States to actively participate in the following:
The International Meeting on Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors in Vienna from November 7-12;
An Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Nuclear Safeguards and Security in Australia on November 8-9;
The March 2005 IAEA Conference in London, to focus on Nuclear Security and Global Directions for the Future;
The European Nuclear Society’s Research Reactor Fuel Management Meeting in Budapest in April 2005.
And the June 2005 IAEA Conference in Bordeaux, France, on Radiological Source Safety and Security as a follow-on to the March 2003 International Conference on the Security of Radioactive Sources.
I am pleased that the GTRI Partners Conference recommended that Member States work with the IAEA to establish a mechanism to address opportunities for implementing and coordinating GTRI-related projects and programs.
I would also like to highlight that representatives from my Department will be available here in Vienna during the coming week to conduct consultations with interested countries. This provides an excellent opportunity to immediately begin implementing the Findings of the Conference.
Again, on behalf of Director Rumyantsev, let me thank all of you for your participation. The large turnout and lively debate demonstrate a broadly shared commitment to standing down the first great threat of the 21st century.
I have no doubt we will meet that test, and we will secure a peaceful future for our citizens, if we band together to address a threat which no nation can defeat on its own.
In my address to the IAEA last year, I invoked President Dwight Eisenhower, who said, “If a danger exists in the world, it is a danger shared by all.”
That is as true today as it was a half century ago.
The only difference between that age and the present day is that now, the dangers are graver than in an era defined by a Cold War stalemate.
But President Eisenhower also said that “if hope exists in the mind of one nation, that hope should be shared by all.”
What is apparent at this conference is that the hope of a safe, peaceful world does not just exist in the mind of one nation.
Indeed, looking out on this gathering, I am gratified to see that it is shared so strongly and so sincerely by so many.
That shared hope gives me every confidence that –together – we will ultimately prevail.
Faced with the threat posed by vulnerable nuclear and other radioactive materials in an age of terrorism, it is incumbent upon each of us to band together. We are doing that.
And faced with the choice of either coming together in partnership to secure peace, or taking a gamble that the dangers of terrorism will pass by our door, we are choosing the wiser course.
It is the noble choice to make. And the necessary one.
Because we are making that choice … and because we are taking upon our shoulders these massive responsibilities … I know we will transform the world’s hope for a peaceful, secure future … into everyday reality for our nations and our peoples.
On behalf of Director Rumyantsev, and the Russian and American governments, allow me to welcome all of you to Vienna this week for the inaugural Global Threat Reduction Initiative Partners Conference.
Before going any further, I would first like to offer to Director Rumyantsev, to the Russian delegation, and to the Russian people, profound condolences from the United States over the tragedies in recent weeks in Beslan, in Moscow, and in the Russian skies.
As with September 11, 2001, in my country … as with the atrocities in Bali in 2002 … as with the bombing of the railcars in Madrid … as with the bombing of the Australian Embassy last week in Jakarta … the barbaric acts witnessed recently in Russia place in stark relief the challenge faced by every civilized nation on the planet.
They make clear that the challenge we face in the 21st century, which we will discuss at this forum and at the IAEA General Conference, is not just a challenge related to securing dangerous materials.
That, I would submit, is too abstract a concept.
Rather, the challenge that confronts us is directed at thwarting the aims of senseless killers, killers always searching for more treacherous means to sow terror and death.
Let us keep that in mind as we go about our business in the coming days, and in the coming weeks and months when we go back to our respective countries to implement methods and strategies that we discuss here in Vienna.
Yesterday marked the third anniversary of my address to the International Atomic Energy Agency in the week following the horrors of 9/11.
Reflecting on the tragedy that had befallen my nation, I told the delegates that our nonproliferation work “will become much more important as we move into the 21st century.”
I said that our collective role in preventing the spread of dangerous nuclear materials, providing physical security over these materials, verifying the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, advancing science, and monitoring technology transfer – each of these functions would become more central to international security in the days and years ahead.
Let me assure everyone here that the United States of America is more firmly committed than ever to these ideals.
During President Bush’s tenure in office, we have taken significant steps to demonstrate the seriousness of our commitment, actions which have intensified and accelerated vital nonproliferation efforts.
To reduce stockpiles and available quantities of nuclear materials, we have worked closely with Russia to irreversibly blend-down at least 500 metric tons of its surplus high enriched uranium (HEU). By the end of June, more than 216 metric tons had been eliminated.
We have accelerated our efforts to secure 600 metric tons of weapons-usable material in Russia. To date, we have upgraded security on over 43 percent of this material. By accelerating the speed at which we are doing this, we are now on track to finish securing Russia’s weapons-usable material two years earlier than previously planned.
We have accelerated our work with the Russian Navy to secure its fuel and nuclear warhead sites, and all these sites will be secured by the end of 2006. We also began a new program with Russia to upgrade security for its Strategic Rocket Forces sites. By the end of this year we will have secured two sites, and are working to secure the remaining 15 by the end of 2008.
We have worked to further reduce quantities of weapons-usable HEU by converting research reactors in the United States and other nations to use low-enriched uranium (LEU), and we are working to eliminate 174 metric tons of HEU in the United States.
We have worked proactively and cooperatively with Libya, the IAEA, and international partners to dismantle Libya’s weapons of mass destruction infrastructure.
We have coordinated with our counterparts in Moscow to return Russian-origin HEU fuel to Russia. In 2003, in cooperation with the IAEA and with Minatom, we removed 17 kilograms of Russian-origin fresh HEU from Bulgaria and returned it to Russia for safe storage.
We also have returned to Russia approximately 14 kilograms of fresh Russian-origin HEU from Romania to be down-blended and used for civil nuclear purposes; 48 kilograms of Russian-origin HEU from a research reactor near Belgrade, Serbia; and 17 kilograms of Russian-origin HEU from Libya’s research reactor.
Under the U.S.-origin spent fuel return program, we have returned 1,179 kilograms of HEU spent fuel to the United States for final disposition.
And, working with the IAEA, Russia, and many of the countries represented here today, we have developed a comprehensive international effort to improve the security and controls of high-risk radiological materials that could be used in a radiological dispersal device, or “dirty bomb.”
These efforts have been highly successful. They have made the world safer. Every instance in which we have worked to secure and remove dangerous materials has meant less opportunity for terrorists to acquire them.
But as successful as such efforts have been, over the last several years it became apparent to us that we could – that we must – do even more.
Given the constantly evolving threat environment … given the resolve of terrorists constantly thinking up new ways to do the unthinkable … given the need to focus not just on rogue nations but on shadowy, stateless networks … it is clear that we must find ways to further improve, further enhance, and further accelerate our nonproliferation work.
So in May of this year, in this city, I introduced President Bush’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative and proposed this Partners Conference.
The Global Threat Reduction Initiative contains new measures to provide international support for countries’ national programs to identify, secure, remove and/or facilitate the disposition of vulnerable nuclear and other radiological materials and equipment around the world – as quickly and expeditiously as possible – that pose a threat to the international community.
We are doing this because we are dedicated to securing dangerous, unsecured materials, and because we are equally dedicated to ensuring the continued peaceful use of nuclear power.
In the intervening four months since we introduced this plan, the response from nations all around the world has been immensely gratifying.
Some of you have contacted us to get more information.
Others have contacted us to lend varying levels of support.
Still others have let us know that, like us, they are intensifying efforts in their own nations to secure and remove materials that terrorists might seek.
The large numbers gathered for this first Partners Conference indicate a clear desire to work together and to speed up international nonproliferation efforts.
We believe GTRI can do that.
There are four elements that comprise this Initiative.
First, we will work in partnership to repatriate all Russian-origin fresh HEU fuel by the end of next year. We will also work with Russia to accelerate and complete the repatriation of all Russian-origin spent fuel by 2010.
Second, we will likewise take all steps necessary to accelerate and complete the repatriation of all U.S.-origin research reactor spent fuel under our existing program from locations around the world within a decade.
Our aim is to undertake these on a priority basis, with priority given to cases involving the greatest security threats and situations in which diplomatic and cooperative opportunities present themselves.
And third, we will work to convert the cores of targeted civilian research reactors that use HEU to use low enriched uranium fuel instead.
We will do this not just in the United States, but throughout the entire world.
Indeed, let me stress that we are not urging nations to take up any work – whether securing materials or converting reactor cores – that we are not committed to doing at home in the United States.
These steps I have just laid out acknowledge the massive amount of work ahead of us. We face a great challenge, but not too great for those with the will and commitment to succeed.
The accelerated pace at which we have labored the past few years demonstrates we have that will and that commitment.
Before 9/11 the deadlines for this work stretched far, far into the future. But our Administration and the Russian Federation have moved those targets significantly closer. The progress of our efforts on a variety of fronts is now being measured in months, not decades.
In every one of the programs I have just mentioned, we are committed to working as fast as possible within the boundaries of technological, scientific, and diplomatic feasibility – meaning the overwhelming majority of these projects will be completed before this decade is out.
As for those that won’t be completed within the next four or five years, the reason is not lack of political will. Rather it’s because our scientists and engineers are still working to develop the technological means to accomplish them, as with several of the nuclear reactor core conversions we plan.
Or, alternatively, it is because certain cases involve more complex circumstances that require a broader international focus, which is one of the main reasons we developed GTRI.
Indeed, the accelerated pace we have brought to all of our nonproliferation activities has quickened since we introduced the GTRI in May. In that time, we have taken a number of critical steps toward accomplishing the goals of GTRI’s first three legs.
On May 27 – just one day after GTRI was launched – Director Rumyantsev and I signed a Government-to-Government Agreement on the Russian Research Reactor Fuel Return program. Under this Agreement, more than a dozen countries are eligible to receive financial and technical assistance from the United States and others to ship their fresh and spent research reactor fuel to Russia for safe and secure management.
On June 14, the Department of Energy officially established within the National Nuclear Security Administration the Office of Global Threat Reduction to consolidate existing programs and focus exclusively on implementing this initiative.
On July 19, the United States and Romania signed an implementing agreement to facilitate the return of spent HEU fuel to Russia.
On August 5, we worked with Germany to return U.S.-origin material from three research reactors in Germany to the United States. This shipment included 126 spent nuclear fuel assemblies of U.S.-origin.
The material included highly enriched uranium and low enriched uranium and took place in the framework of the U.S. Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel Acceptance Program.
This material has now been removed from international civilian commerce and I commend Germany for its efforts under this program.
And most recently, on the 9th of this month, weapons-usable fresh highly enriched uranium from Uzbekistan was repatriated to Russia. In addition, we are working with Uzbekistan to implement the first pilot shipment of spent HEU fuel to Russia, which we expect to take place in early 2005. We applaud the leadership role that the Government of Uzbekistan has taken under this initiative.
Each of these accomplishments reflects a serious desire, on the part of many nations, to counter the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism.
But that threat is changing, evolving. To counter it will require a reaffirmation of our international commitment. Moreover, we must take concrete steps to re-evaluate and improve existing programs in order to identify and address the gaps in our layered approach.
Which leads me to the fourth and final leg of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative: working to identify and secure other nuclear and radiological materials and related equipment not yet covered by existing threat reduction efforts.
The first task we must undertake involves creating an official inventory of high risk materials worldwide, which includes, but is not limited to, material located at enrichment plants, conversion facilities, reprocessing plants, research reactor sites, fuel fabrication plants, and temporary storage facilities. It also includes the kinds of materials that could be used in an RDD.
This fourth element is absolutely critical to this concept of GTRI, because it is, arguably, the most challenging aspect of the Initiative.
The challenge of this portion of GTRI lies in the fact it is so open-ended. It requires us to think creatively, to predict the unforeseen, and to stay several steps ahead of a determined and imaginative enemy.
And it requires much greater international participation.
We have been working in this vein to address the challenge of RDDs, starting with our conference in March 2003. That conference and its aftermath have been very successful, as we have witnessed in recent months in Greece, Lithuania, Estonia, and Moldova.
But the remaining areas, as I noted in May, require the same kind of focus.
That means greater international collaboration, finding ways to enhance existing work in all of our countries, and discussing future activities.
It means breaking new ground on the diplomatic front, and coordinating activities in regions all over the world.
It means sharing the latest technological and scientific expertise.
And it means joining together to co-finance these activities.
For our part, I am pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Energy will contribute 3 million dollars to the International Atomic Energy Agency to help implement GTRI. This contribution will support important technical cooperation efforts under GTRI.
We are pleased that other member states are committing resources to enhance security over nuclear and other radioactive materials. The Australian Government recently established a new program to secure radioactive sources in the Asia Pacific Region and committed approximately 3.1 million dollars (American) to this effort.
We welcome this important financial commitment by Australia and encourage other countries to make similar commitments to the extent possible.
CONCLUSION Fifty years ago President Eisenhower laid out the vision of Atoms for Peace, a vision the civilized world has successfully embraced for a half century. We come together at this time each year to affirm our commitment to the peaceful uses of the atom in energy, medicine, agriculture, industry, and basic research.
But we also come because we understand we must shoulder the special responsibilities that the peaceful use of nuclear power entails.
In these first few years of a new millennium, confronted with the specter of global terrorism, it is clear that each of us shares an obligation to work together to reduce the threat of a nuclear or radiological attack.
After all, each of us has a stake in this outcome. And so, each of us shares an obligation to address this challenge on an urgent, accelerated basis. The events of September 11th … of Bali … Madrid … Beslan … and elsewhere have shown us that time is of the essence.
I have challenged the people in our own Department – and I challenge everyone here – not just to take up this important cause, but to take it up with the real commitment to accomplishing it, to doing the hard work, to getting it done sooner rather than later.
With the stakes as high as they are, every day lost is a precious day. Every day we put off acting is one more day of opportunity for those working non-stop to inflict grave damage on our countries and our citizens.
So I hope that we will not only emerge from this conference with a clear pathway forward and with a broad commitment to the goals of GTRI, but also with a common agreement that the goals mean little if we don’t pursue them with a proper urgency.
The great British historian Arnold Toynbee remarked that civilizations “come to birth and proceed to grow by successfully responding to successive challenges.” But, he noted, “They break down and go to pieces if and when a challenge confronts them which they fail to meet.”
The current crisis in which we find ourselves embroiled is, indeed, the latest test of civilization.
On one side are those whose aim is little more than destruction, death, suffering, and barbarism.
On the other side stand all of us – the guardians of progress, modernity, peace, hope, and civilization.
When tested throughout the 20th century, the civilized world responded with distinction.
In the graveyard of history lie the corpses of fascism, Nazism, and Soviet totalitarianism – testament not just to these ideologies’ own failures, but to the fact that committed men and women around the world stood down the threats they posed.
The question before us in the 21st century is whether we, the present-day custodians of civilization, will respond in like fashion.
I am confident that we can, and that we will.
The participation of so many at this conference, the willingness to take up the task, instead of leaving it to others, and the determination of so many to take the necessary action, give every indication that we will indeed meet this first great challenge of the 21st century.
Because of the steps we choose to take – together, in partnership – I know that we will secure the blessings of civilization for generations to come.
4. Strengthening International Import and Export Controls for Radioactive Sources and Materials
Department of State
(for personal use only)
Recognizing the need to address the threat of radiological terrorism, the United States has led international efforts to strengthen the control of radioactive sources and materials globally, including those sources that could be used in a radioactive dispersal device or "dirty bomb." To date, United States efforts have yielded significant progress, including the revision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources (Code). At the Sea Island Summit in June, the G8 Leaders agreed to import/export controls for radioactive sources. In July, an International Atomic Energy Agency expert group representing 41 countries finalized international import/export guidance for high-risk radioactive sources and was approved September 14, by the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors.
In support of these international efforts, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing regulatory changes strengthening domestic licensing requirements for the import and export of high-risk radioactive sources and materials. These revisions to 10 CFR [Code of Federal Regulations] Part 110 will bring U.S. import/export controls in line with the revised Code and international import/export guidance.
United States agencies, including State, Energy, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission continue to work together to strengthen international controls over high-risk radioactive sources, a key initiative of the G8 Evian and Sea Island Summits. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's diligence and proactive posture further amplify the United States commitment, domestically and abroad, to keep high-risk radioactive sources out of the hands of terrorists. Moreover, such early action enables the United States to continue to lead the world by example.
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