The U.N. atomic agency chief urged the world Tuesday to step up efforts to protect existing nuclear material to prevent extremist groups from pursuing nuclear and radiological terrorism.
Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that in the last 10 years the IAEA has recorded more than 650 attempts to smuggle such material.
"Fortunately, only a relatively small number of these cases have involved high-enriched uranium or plutonium," ElBaradei said in a speech prepared for delivery at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.
"But this should not be a source of comfort. If an extremist group were to acquire nuclear or radiological material, they would not think twice about using it."
ElBaradei said several agreements have been reached on how to enhance nuclear security, including U.N. resolution 1540, which the Security Council approved last year, and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which was adopted a few months ago. Both call on countries to criminalize the illicit possession and use of radioactive material and aim to enhance efforts to detect and combat illicit trafficking.
"It is imperative that countries implement these measures as fully and as early as possible. We are in a race against time," he said.
ElBaradei also urged better control of access to nuclear fuel cycle technology.
He said more countries are seeking to master it for economic reasons "and, in some cases, as a good insurance policy for a rainy day." Whatever the reason, the know-how essentially transforms them into a "virtual or latent" nuclear weapons state.
Citing Iran, he also said more effective nuclear verification is needed, such as additional "transparency measures."
The IAEA's "verification efforts will not be regarded as fully 'effective' as long as its inspection rights remain uneven," he said.
Over the past three years, the IAEA has compiled a detailed picture of most aspects of Iran's nuclear program.
But, ElBaradei said, "given that the program was concealed for 20 years, and that a number of open questions remain, we asked that Iran provide additional transparency measures-- beyond the confines of the protocol--to enable the agency to resolve these questions and to provide the required assurance about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program."
On Monday, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said the country plans to build at least one more nuclear power plant, despite the international concern over its atomic program.
Larijani said in Tehran he did not expect the plan to affect nuclear talks with Europe. "It is part of meeting our electricity needs; it is not a secret issue," he said. He said the two nuclear power plants would be open to international bidding.
ElBaradei said that without adequate funding, the IAEA cannot make verification effective.
"IAEA verification today operates on an annual budget of about $120 million--a budget comparable to that of the Chelsea football (soccer) club" in England, he said.
1. Russian defense minister bristles at planned U.S. deployment, defends Iran deal
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Russia's defense minister warned Wednesday that the country could reconsider its adherence to a key arms control treaty because of planned U.S. military deployments closer to its borders, news reports said.
Sergei Ivanov also shrugged off U.S. complaints against a deal to sell Russian air defense missiles to Iran, saying that it was in line with international law.
Russia was closely following the planned deployment of U.S. troops to Romania and other former Soviet allies in Eastern Europe, Ivanov was quoted as saying. The government would react after getting detailed information about their strength and mission from Washington, he said.
Ivanov warned that the reconfiguration of the U.S. military in Europe could run at odds with provisions of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which limits the number of troops and weapons on the continent.
"The expansion of U.S. and NATO structures to Russia's borders raises the issue about the fate of the CFE Treaty," Ivanov said, according to the Russian news agencies. "If this treaty isn't ratified ... a question comes whether a mechanism envisaging transparency in military activities is necessary."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Romanian counterpart signed a pact Tuesday establishing the first American military bases in a former Warsaw Pact country, part of the Pentagon's effort to create new, flexible bases in Eastern Europe.
Russia has ratified the amended version of the CFE Treaty, but the United States and other NATO members have refused to do that until Russia abides by its commitment to withdraw troops from the ex-Soviet republics of Moldova and Georgia. Moscow says the link is irrelevant.
Ivanov warned Wednesday that Russia could reconsider its adherence to the treaty.
"Russia ... has observed restrictions imposed by the treaty, but if we see that other nations don't pay attention to that, we will make certain conclusions," he said.
Ivanov also said that Russia would carry out a deal to sell sophisticated Tor-M1 air defense missiles to Iran despite strong U.S. objections.
"This contract is totally legitimate," he said in televised remarks. "Russia hasn't violated any of its international obligations, and Iran now isn't subject to international sanctions."
Earlier this week, U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the United States strongly opposed the missile sale and implied that the U.S. administration hopes to head off the deal. Ivanov said bluntly that Russia will see the deal through.
"This contract will be carried out in line with the international law and Russia's obligations," Ivanov said. "We don't care whether others like it or not."
Russian media reports said that Russia will supply up to 30 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran under a contract worth a billion dollars.
Ivanov also said that during Tuesday's talks in Moscow with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Moscow offered New Delhi purchase of several powerful Tu-22M3 bombers capable of carrying long-range cruise missiles. India hasn't yet responded to the offer, he said.
2. Russia lost 25,000 scientists over last 15 years
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MOSCOW - Some 25,000 Russian scientists left their country during the past 15 years, and another 30,000 scientists, or 5%-6% of Russia's scientific community work abroad under temporary contracts every year, a senior official told a news conference Tuesday.
Deputy Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov said, "About 25,000 scientists left Russia from 1989 to 2004 and nearly 30,000 work abroad under temporary contracts every year."
3. Experts Say Government Not Doing Enough to Secure Nuclear Materials Abroad
CQ Homeland Security
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Keeping nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands has long been a pillar of the Bush administration's national security platform. But some experts say the government is not doing enough to secure materials abroad that could be fashioned into a nuclear weapon destined for U.S. soil.
In many nightmare scenarios, terrorists steal enough highly enriched uranium or plutonium from aging and often unguarded stockpiles in the former Soviet Union to make a bomb. Experts warn that a nuclear device made from such materials could prove very difficult to detect within U.S. borders.
"There's a huge disconnect between what we're doing on the front line and what we're doing trying to defend the goal line," Kenneth N. Luongo, the executive director of the Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council, said by telephone. "We should be much more aggressive about trying to address the problem where it resides."
Luongo says a wide funding disparity between homeland security and non-proliferation efforts is evidence of a disconnect. By his calculations, from fiscal 2001 through fiscal 2006, the U.S. has spent some $200 billion on homeland security. In contrast, in the past 14 years the U.S. spent $12.5 billion securing foreign weapons, or materials that could be used to make them.
The White House is pushing for record spending - $982 million for fiscal 2006 - on securing nuclear materials, a 22 percent increase over last year, according to the Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard University.
But on-the-ground progress has been slow, the Harvard group says: Under the Cooperative Threat Reduction treaty, only 3 percent of the nuclear material in the former Soviet Union received "comprehensive" security upgrades in 2004. Only a third of the total nuclear material stockpile is secure.
Keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists is "missing from the larger political consciousness fundamental to homeland security," according to Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "Denying terrorists access to the world's deadliest weapons materials . . . begins abroad," Kimball said by phone.
Some critics of the administration say current policy is too focused on killing terrorists. "The president seems only concerned about the dangerous people and not the weapons," said Ivan Oelrich, vice president of strategic security at the Federation of American Scientists. "We have to be aware that good nations can become bad . . . good nations can make mistakes . . . fissile material can be stolen or lost."
Diplomatic bickering has slowed the process, which has also been hindered by bureaucratic hurdles in the U.S. Because nuclear materials are often housed at the most sensitive military sites, Russian officials are wary of allowing U.S. personnel in, fearing espionage.
And three U.S. departments - Defense, Energy and State - share responsibility for non-proliferation ventures. Diffuse oversight can cause problems because "these very large bureaucracies have their own interests and leaders . . . and [they do not] come together in one central office," said Kimball.
An amendment to the Senate's fiscal 2006 defense authorization bill (S 1042) would ease some of the hurdles to the Cooperative Threat Reduction treaty. The amendment, sponsored by Foreign Relations Chairman Richard G. Lugar, R-Ind., would repeal congressional reporting requirements tied to the treaty, while making it easier for the U.S. to broaden international lockdown efforts.
Still, experts say U.S. non-proliferation oversight needs to be consolidated, or at least centrally directed. "[There are] real requirements for strong White House leadership to make sure these programs are coordinated so that when problems do arise they are resolved as quickly as possible," said Anthony Wier, a research associate with Harvard's Project on Managing the Atom. "That takes clear energy at high levels of the government that can cut across these traditional bureaucratic lines."
Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, D-Calif., has introduced a bill (HR 422) that would create a White House-level director of nonproliferation with full budget authority over U.S. nonproliferation programs. The director also would also be responsible for a strategic plan to address threats from weapons of mass destruction.
"There is no better way to protect Americans from weapons of mass destruction than to protect or eliminate those weapons at the source," said bill cosponsor Rep. John M. Spratt Jr., D-S.C., in a statement when the legislation was introduced last January.
The 9/11 Public Discourse Project - a nonprofit organization that follows up on 9/11 Commission recommendations - has likewise called for clear presidential oversight. "The President should publicly make [securing nuclear material] his top national security priority, and ride herd on the bureaucracy to maintain a sense of urgency," the commission wrote in a report issued Nov. 14.
MOSCOW. The remarks made last Thursday (December 1) at a press luncheon in the Hotel Baltschug by General of the Army Yury Baluyevsky, Chief of the General Staff of Russia's Armed Forces, are still agitating the world public.
Many are wondering what the general meant when he said that American missiles deployed in Poland might be an environmental hazard? Where did he get information about Israel's "impressive arsenal of nuclear weapons?" What is behind his words that relations between Russia and the United States are "impulsive in character?" However, as it happens, his words are not very enigmatic: he is simply crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.
First, about the ecological threat to countries going to deploy American anti-missile missiles on their territory - reportedly to protect Europe against rogue nations, but actually to intercept Russian strategic missiles.
Anti-missile missiles by themselves pose no environmental hazard. What is dangerous is their use. The point is that they are designed to intercept MIRV'ed strategic missiles at high altitudes. This can be done only by a counter-explosion. The Pentagon and its specialists have still not discovered a way of telling real warheads from dummies ejected by a missile to disguise its actual intentions.
It may happen that the missile concerned, on its way to a target, is a decoy, but since no one knows for sure a nuclear counter-explosion is detonated all the same. Within a radius of 500 to 600 kilometers, depending on the size of the interceptor's nuclear charge, an electro-magnetic impulse will be generated and cause a total power blackout, shutting down computers, generating plants, gas works, water-pump stations, radio and television, and dispatcher's offices in airports and at railroad stations. A shock wave will destroy many buildings and structures, while radioactive fallout will contaminate the terrain for years. The Chernobyl disaster would look like a child's prank. It is about the possibility of such a development that General Baluyevsky spoke.
In regard to Israel, although no one can still produce hard evidence that Tel Aviv has nuclear bombs, experts do not doubt that Israel does have nuclear weapons and probably in large numbers. Proof of that are the country's scientific, technical and technological potential and the training of Israeli specialists in U.S. and French laboratories at Oak Ridge and Argonne.
The United States has helped Israel to build its light-water research reactor at Nahal Sorek and even supplied 50 kilograms of highly enriched uranium as fuel for the reactor. Other proofs are also available: there is testimony by an Israeli citizen Mordehai Vanunu, who was a technician at a plant that processed irradiated nuclear fuel and isolated plutonium. For his disclosure, officially described as divulging state secrets, he spent some fifteen years in an Israeli jail. What is more, Israel is refusing to join the nuclear non-proliferation treaty as a non-nuclear state, and locks out IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors. The U.S., unlike the way it treats other similar countries, does not resort to any sanctions against Israel. On the contrary, it supports Israel in every way, which leaves Russian citizens, and the Chief of the General Staff, a little puzzled.
"The U.S. is demanding transparency of nuclear programs of a number of countries," says General Baluyevsky. "On the other hand, it is closing its eyes to the fact that Israel has for a long time, and I emphasize this, actually has an impressive arsenal of nuclear weapons."
What are these if not double standards, asks the general. And nothing can be said against that, especially seeing the way Washington looks so demandingly and jealously at Russian-Iranian peaceful nuclear cooperation. This attitude, believes Baluyevsky, dents the generally positive tenor of relations between Washington and Moscow in the military field. But these contacts are kind of impulsive. As soon as a problem crops up, especially concerning itself, the U.S. is nervous and jittery, but the moment it leaves, Washington relaxes. The same goes for helping Russia to dispose of the Cold War legacy.
When Russia stored powder charges and fuses for chemical ammunition in its arsenals, Washington promised and actually rendered some sort of assistance in building chemical weapons destruction facilities. As soon as Moscow disposed of these fuses and toxic chemical delivery vehicles, the Nunn-Lugar program tapered off and in fact was frozen for several years. The same was the fate of a program to scrap nuclear submarines where the U.S. insisted on deactivating the sufficiently new strategic submarines and allocated appropriate resources. But then it again grew cool.
General Baluyevsky did not utter such words, but they are not needed to see that egotistical interests cannot substitute for pragmatism in relations with a strategic partner, as Russia is occasionally dubbed in the U.S. Trust is hard to win, but easy to lose. Washington will hardly benefit if this happens.
2. Adamov's lawyer expects Swiss court ruling before Christmas
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GENEVA - The Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne could pass the ruling on the case of former Russian Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov before Christmas, Adamov's lawyer said Monday.
"We have not received a ruling from the federal court and we do not even know about possible dates," Stefan Wehrenberg said. "I am still hoping to get the ruling before Christmas."
Earlier, spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Court Antoinette Schneider said the court had not decided on Adamov's case and declined to indicate any possible dates.
Adamov, who served as Russia's nuclear power minister in 1998-2001, was arrested in Bern May 2 at the request of U.S. authorities, who are accusing him of misappropriating the $9 million granted to Russia for improving the safety of its nuclear facilities.
The Russian Prosecutor General's Office also launched proceedings against Adamov, charging him with embezzlement and the abuse of office.
Both countries petitioned for Adamov's extradition. Although the U.S. requested his arrest May 2, Swiss authorities did not receive the extradition request until June 24. Moscow's request for extradition was received May 17.
On October 3, the Swiss Federal Justice Department announced its decision to extradite the former Russian minister to the U.S.
Adamov's defense team appealed the decision at the Lousanne court in November.
Until the federal court, whose rulings are final, rules on the appeal, Adamov will remain in custody in Bern. The court is not bound by a deadline.
1. Russia and Iran to finalize timeframe for NPP launch
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MOSCOW - Russia and Iran have agreed to draw up a final timetable for the launch of the Bushehr nuclear power plant that will be confirmed in February 2006 when the head of the Russian Federal Nuclear Energy Agency visits Iran.
The agency said in a news release that the agreement was reached during a meeting Wednesday between the agency's head, Sergei Kiriyenko, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Gholamreza Ansari and vice presidents of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Asadullah Saburi and Mohammad Saidi.
During the meeting, the sides also discussed cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
The agency said Kiriyenko called on his Iranian partners to cooperate in all areas with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), confirming "Russia's position on continuing discussions on Iran within the framework of this organization".
During the talks, the Russian side stressed its commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the agency said.
2. IAEA can solve Iran's nuclear row with West: Putin
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MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog has not exhausted all avenues to settle Iran's standoff with the West over its nuclear program.
Underlining Moscow's opposition to Western calls to let the United Nations Security Council, Putin also said Russia was ready to help resume dialogue between Iran and the West which had broken down in August.
"We consider the potential of the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) to resolve all the problems of the Iranian nuclear dossier to be far from exhausted," Putin told reporters after a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Talks between Iran and the European Union aimed a defusing suspicion that Tehran planned to develop nuclear weapons broke down when Iran began processing uranium, the stage prior to uranium enrichment.
Russia, which is helping Iran build a nuclear power plant, has opposed Western calls to refer the crisis immediately to the U.N. Security Council, where it has veto powers.
It has instead offered to enrich Iranian uranium, a process essential for producing nuclear weapons, in Russia.
Iran initially rejected the idea but Russian officials have said they were planning to continue talks with Tehran.
French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Monday the EU trio of Britain, Germany and France were keen to give Russians and Iranians more time to discuss the Moscow's proposal.
"Russia for its part will continue to develop the dialogue between our Iranian partners and the other interested parties," Putin said
3. IAEA head hails Russia's proposal to supply nuclear fuel to Iran
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LONDON - IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said Tuesday that he welcomed Russia's proposal to supply nuclear fuel to Iran if the latter stopped uranium enrichment activities on its territory.
ElBaradei, who will soon be awarded the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm, said Russia and Iran could establish a joint venture on uranium enrichment in Russia.
ElBaradei also praised Russia's striving to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear problem.
He said the international community should make final decisions on the nature of Iran's nuclear program in 2006.
ElBaradei compared the program to a jigsaw puzzle with many important pieces still missing, given that Iran had been a closed state for 20 years and could purchase nuclear technologies and materials on the black market.
Therefore, the IAEA has insisted on Tehran's cooperation with international representatives to alleviate existing concerns.
Russia has extended the service life of 80 percent of the ICBMs in its Strategic Missile Troops arsenal, Interfax-AVN reported last week.
"Though guaranteed service lives of 80 percent of missile systems have expired, the technical servicing and operational system that exists in the SMT, and the advanced professional skills of personnel ensure reliability and technical readiness of missile systems at a proper level," said a report issued by the Strategic Missile Troops.
Most of Russiaï¿½s mobile missile force uses the Topol missile systems, which are designed to penetrate missile defense systems. They have a range of more than 6,000 miles, a 1-ton warhead and a 45-ton launch weight, and patrol areas of more than 77,000 square miles.
"As railway-based missile systems are being removed from combat duty and destroyed, the importance of the Topol missile force's contribution to the potential of the strategic nuclear forces' retaliation strike has grown considerably," the report states.
Earlier reports indicate that the Strategic Missile Troops in early 2004 had 312 Topol systems, each containing a warhead with a 559-kiloton yield.
The service life of the Topol is 10 years, although it has been extended several times. From 1993 to 1996, nine regiments with 81 launchers were moved from Belarus to Russia, according to Interfax (Interfax-AVN/BBC Monitoring Dec. 5).
1. Russian nuclear plants increase output by 3.8% in 11M05
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MOSCOW - Russian nuclear power plants (NPP) increased their power output in January-November 2005 by 3.8% year-on-year to more than 133.5 billion kwh, a statement from state-owned nuclear power generating company Rosenergoatom said Thursday.
"The background radiation at nuclear power plants and surrounding areas complies with energy units usage regulations and do not exceed environmental figures," the statement said.
In all, Russia operates 31 energy units at 10 nuclear power plants.
2. Nizhny Novgorod plans to start serial production of NPPs
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NIZHNY NOVGOROD - The serial production of nuclear power plants (NPPs) of low and medium capacities will be started in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia's third largest city and 400 km east of Moscow, local authorities said Wednesday.
The Nizhny Novgorod region governor's press service said several state enterprises had developed a project on "electric and heat energy sources on the basis of nuclear shipbuilding technology".
"The essence of this innovation project is the establishment of unique science-intensive production with a high export potential - low- and medium-capacity NPPs," the service said.
The 3 to 330-MW NPPs could be used to produce heat and electric energy for the Extreme North and Far East, as well as to desalinate seawater, which is in high demand in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, the service said.
The implementation of the project would provide the region with 1,700 jobs.
MOSCOW--Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's just-concluded visit to Russia saw him and Russian President Vladimir Putin take calibrated steps to move the strategic partnership between the two countries ahead.
It was low on hype, but high on substance.
A crucial question ahead of the visit was whether Russia will help India in its nuclear energy programme. And if yes, then how, when, and at what cost?
Russia has helped India build two nuclear reactors at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu despite international sanctions against India, since Moscow had committed itself to the project before it became a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
India-Russia: Strategic brotherhood
Now, as the Indian civilian nuclear market is set to open up, Russia is still assessing what it will gain if and when the United States Congress amends its laws and the NSG relaxes its guidelines.
Though India believes Russia is ready for business in the civilian nuclear sphere, the road to access to nuclear technology will not be as smooth as India believes.
It is in this context that the two sides provided a few clues with the deft use of words even while retaining enough ambiguity--something that is necessary in diplomacy.
Both sides seem to have taken into consideration the sensitivities of the anti-nuclear lobby that is working hard in Washington to scuttle India's chance of getting civilian nuclear energy.
Trade, key to Indo-Russian ties
Asked if Russia is prepared to play a leadership role in crafting a new framework that will allow it to co-operate actively with India in the civilian nuclear field, President Putin, citing the Koodankulam project, said, "Both India and Russia have been successfully co-operating in the nuclear energy sector. I provide you with a special example of successful co-operation in Koodankulam. India is taking all the necessary steps for building a relationship with the international community, including members of the NSG. India is separating military and peaceful nuclear programme."
Then, Putin gave a direct message that showed Russia's interest in helping India have many more reactors on the lines of Koodankulam.
He said, "We consider India as our strategic partner. We will work to ensure India solves all its problems and tasks that it is addressing, including use of nuclear energy."
However, Russia and India did not announce any new move on civilian nuclear relationship, nor was any news provided about fuel for the Tarapur project. But it was only to be expected, and understandable, in view of the complexities of the matter.
Ahead of his meeting with President Putin, Dr Singh had told the media he will take up the issue of fuel for Tarapur. But after the meeting, where former Russian prime minister and newly appointed head of the State Agency for Atomic Energy Sergei Kirienko was also present, both leaders were silent on all such issues.
It is however understood that Dr Singh raised the issue of fuel for Tarapur and that both sides decided that there will be more bilateral talks by experts.
It was obvious from Putin's remarks that Russia doesn't want to upset its own standing within the NSG, of which it is an influential member, with a few countries raising questions about the Indo-US nuclear deal.
But to India's satisfaction, President Putin did not say it in so many words that Russia will wait till India begins to separate its military and civil nuclear energy plants before it would resumed talking about the N-word.
'Sequencing' has become an issue that is plaguing the Indo-US nuclear agreement.
When the deal was signed, both sides agreed that they will simultaneously work within each other's country to ensure that the deal goes on smoothly.
But somehow, the US side has changed its tone and is now saying that without an appropriate roadmap to separate military and civilian projects, Congress will find it difficult to change American laws to facilitate the deal.
But in Moscow, old-fashioned diplomacy was at work.
And the Russians too showed enough signs that they are interested in business of all types.
Answering another question after meeting Dr Singh, President Putin said, "As India continues to settle its problems [later, it was said Putin used the word 'difficulties' and that the Russian interpreter translated it incorrectly!] in involving the use of peaceful nuclear energy with other countries, we hope Russia will have an opportunity to participate and contribute to huge projects and plans of India in the peaceful use of nuclear power."
But India surely knows Russia can't be taken for granted, that Indo-Russian relations are business-like and the rules of business will apply here too, always.
4. Russia to lease two nuke submarines to India: report
Press Trust of India
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Moscow - India will get two 'Shchuka-B' class nuclear submarines from Russia on lease and an Indian crew has already arrived here for training as part of the aircraft-carrier Admiral Gorshkov deal, a media report said on Tuesday.
Two 'Shchuka-B', also known as Akula, are at different stages of construction since the collapse of Soviet Union and could be leased to India for ten years in estimated USD 1.8 billion deal after their simultaneous completion, Russian daily 'Kommersant' reported.
Due to slippage in the indigenous Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project for the development of S-2 nuclear submarine, India is leasing the two submarines as part of the package deal on the acquisition of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, the daily said.
It said that about 200 Indian naval officers have arrived in Russia in October for a course at Russian nuclear submarine fleet's North-West training centre at Sosnovy Bor near St. Petersburg, the paper wrote.
India earlier had received Charlie class K-43 nuclear submarine from ex-Soviet Union, which was known as 'INS Chakra', on lease.
Kommersant wrote that at that time Indian crew did not have access to the reactor of INS Chakra, which was manned by Soviet naval personnel.
The daily also said that Moscow is helping India in designing the nuclear reactor for the ATV, which resembles Russian submarine of Project 09710 'Samara' class (NATO code name Akula-II).
5. Russian nuclear company prepares bid for Bulgarian NPP tender
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MOSCOW - Atomstroiexport, Russia's nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly, has prepared the technical aspect of its bid for the tender to build a nuclear power plant (NPP) in Bulgaria, the company said Wednesday.
The documentation, which will be submitted to the Bulgarian National Electric Company December 15, was compiled with the help of Framatome ANP and major Russian engineering and supply companies, including the Atomenergoproyekt institute, the Kurchatov institute, the Gidropress experimental design bureau, Silovye Mashiny, and the Izhora plants.
The documentation will have been translated into Bulgarian by December 12.
The construction site for the NPP is situated in Belene, 250 kilometers (over 150 miles) from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. The project was being developed in coordination with Soviet experts until Bulgarian authorities stopped the work in 1992.
1. Press Statements and Answers to Questions Following Russian-Indian Talks, The Grand Kremlin Palace, Moscow
Vladimir Putin and Manmohan Singh
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VLADIMIR PUTIN: Dear ladies and gentlemen!
I am sincerely glad to receive our respected visitor, Indian Prime Minister Mr. Singh, in the Russian capital.
This is already our fourth meeting this year. The frequency of our contact is more testimony to the high-level and excellent dynamic of the Russian-Indian dialogue.
We consider energy, telecommunications, space exploration and transport infrastructure to be sectors where there is great potential for cooperation. Moreover, we noted that Russian-Indian cooperation in using nuclear energy for peaceful means has already developed successfully. In both January and August 2005, the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in India received a nuclear reactor produced by the Izhora factory in Saint Petersburg.
Our countries are ready to cooperate more in the struggle against threats such as terrorism. Russia and India resoundingly condemn all terrorist acts and resolutely oppose all policies of double standards when fighting against this evil. We are convinced that criminals who kill and harm innocent people can never be excused. We shall strive so that terrorists feel politically and ideologically isolated and that they are punished by law.
In conclusion I shall once again express my satisfaction with the meeting's results and the benevolent and trusting atmosphere of the talks. I am convinced that this visit will help develop the Russian-Indian strategic partnership and strengthen the traditional friendship and mutual understanding between the people of India and those of the Russian Federation.
I would also like to thank Mr. Prime Minister for his gracious invitation to visit India.
MANMOHAN SINGH: (...)
Personally, I greatly value President Putin's own commitment to the consolidation of our bilateral relations. Our strategic partnership is based on a deep and abiding convergence of our vital national interests. This is a strong impetus for India and Russia to work together on key issues of the day.
I conveyed to President Putin that we cannot be satisfied with the status quo. Our objective is to anticipate what measures we need to take to meet new and emerging opportunities for further strengthening of our strategic partnership, in meeting our respective national priorities as well as in pooling of our efforts in sharing global responsibilities.
My senior colleague and Defence Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee visited Moscow for the Joint Commission for Military Technical Cooperation which met in Moscow last month. A comprehensive review was undertaken of our longstanding relations with Russia which occupies a special place as the leading supplier of military hardware to our Armed Forces. Our perspective, however, is to move towards collaborative projects involving design, development and production of the next generation military products. India and Russia have identified the Medium Range Transport Aircraft and the Fifth Generation Aircraft as two such projects, and we will continue expert level discussions on them. We are happy that the long awaited IPR Agreement on Military-Technical Cooperation has been concluded today.
We see energy security as an area of tremendous potential. India has made its most important overseas investment in the Sakhalin-I project, which has already come on stream. We are looking at other joint projects in Russia. The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Station in Tamil Nadu, which is being constructed with Russian assistance, will be commissioned in 2007-08. We see Russia as a vital partner in furthering the objective of full civil nuclear cooperation between India and the international community. We feel that there is vast potential for the expansion of cooperation in this area, given India's growing energy requirements and the importance of nuclear energy as a clean and viable alternative energy source.
QUESTION: President Putin, my question is for you. Both India and Russia seek to increase their cooperation in the nuclear sector. A nuclear suppliers group was created to work on nuclear cooperation with India, but after this group was established, it turned out that there were some obstacles in the way of supplies of fuel, equipment and nuclear materials to India. Efforts are being made now to change the rules within the nuclear suppliers group. But, if this process proves difficult, if delays occur and obstacles arise, would Russia be ready to take the initiative for changing these rules, and would it be ready to take measures to ensure supplies of nuclear materials to India for use in Indiaï¿½s civilian nuclear programme?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: As you know, Russia and India have developed successful cooperation in the nuclear energy sector. I already mentioned the specific example of our cooperation on the Kudankulam nuclear power station project. We see that India is taking all the necessary steps to build up its relations with the international community, including with the nuclear suppliers group. It has separated its military and civilian nuclear programmes, is passing necessary legislation and is working actively with other countries, and with the nuclear suppliers group you referred to. We view India as our strategic partner and we will take active steps to ensure that India can work on its objectives effectively and carry out all its programmes in all different sectors, including the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
QUESTION: And a question for the President of Russia: you already mentioned Russiaï¿½s participation in building the nuclear power station in India. What other projects do Russia and India have in the energy sector? Did you discuss them today during your talks? Thank you.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Our experts are studying not only the possibility of building the pipeline you mentioned, but are also looking at building other gas and oil pipelines in the region. As India continues working to settle its nuclear energy issues with other countries, Russia hopes to take part in carrying out the ambitious plans that our Indian friends have in the area of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
QUESTION: Did you discuss Iranï¿½s nuclear programme and reaching a settlement on this issue in the IAEA during your talks today? What decision did you come to?
VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes, the Prime Minister and I did discuss the Iranian nuclear programme. We hope that our Iranian partners will comply with all their commitments, including the commitments they have made on a unilateral basis. We believe that the IAEAï¿½s possibilities for settling all the issues concerning the Iranian nuclear programme are far from having been exhausted. For its part, Russia will do all it can to facilitate the negotiating process between our Iranian partners and all the other countries involved in settling this issue.
MANMOHAN SINGH: I fully agree with Mr Putin and I hope too that this issue will be settled through the IAEA.
2. Interview With Aleksey Venediktov of Ekho Moskviy Radio
R. Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
U.S. Department of State
(for personal use only)
MR. VENEDIKTOV: Now, about the essence of your visit to Moscow. The topic of this eveningï¿½s show is "Russia and the U.S: What Unites Us and What Divides Us." In recent times the main obstacle in U.S.-Russia relations, as Russian media and Russian politicians put it, is "The Iranian Dossier." Tell us, what part of the Russian position with regard to Iran are you unhappy with?
UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, first of all, thank you very much for having me on your show. I appreciate that very much. Itï¿½s nice to be back, as I was on your show a couple of years ago. I actually think that relations between Russia and the United States are good, quite good. President Putin and President Bush get along very well, they talk frequently, they work well with each other. Iï¿½ve been here for the last two days meeting with my Russian diplomatic colleagues talking about terrorism, how can we work together to prevent it. And so I think things are obviously not perfect. We have some disagreements, but for the most part, a very good relationship.
You asked about Iran. Actually, I think our relationship is good between Moscow and Washington on Iran. Now, we have different positions on aspects of the issue, but neither of us wants to see Iran become a nuclear weapons country. Both of us want to see an improvement in Iranï¿½s behavior on terrorism. And President Bush said the other day he felt it was very important that Russia was now getting very much involved in the diplomacy on a nuclear issue and we appreciate Russiaï¿½s position, so I had a very good discussion here with the Foreign Ministry last night about Iran. Actually, Iran is an issue about which we are coming together a little bit.
MR. VENEDIKTOV: You know that in Russia the word "diplomat" is a dirty word.
UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: No, I did not know that. I am shocked to hear it.
MR. VENEDIKTOV: We wanted to inform you. Now we are going to shock you further: Russia has given you a present just for coming here. Today the decision has been made, and confirmed by the Ministry of Defense, for Russia to sell anti-aircraft weaponry to Iran in a deal which is estimated to exceed 800 million U.S. dollars. Since this happened during your visit, this was a joint decision, right?
UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: No, it definitely wasnï¿½t a joint decision, and we saw a press report on it and we asked questions of the Russian Foreign Ministry and they said they would get back to us on it. You know, we have very different relations with Iran than you do. Weï¿½ve gone through a 25-year year period of no relations with Iran. Going back to -- I donï¿½t know if you remember in 1979 when they took our Embassy hostage and all the diplomats for over a year and held them in captivity. It was an extraordinary event in modern diplomatic history. And Iran, we think, has been supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East, theyï¿½ve been supporting terrorism against the United States for the last 25 years. So, we have a very poor relationship, and you can understand why we wouldnï¿½t favor any country selling arms to a country like that.
MR. VENEDIKTOV: You gave a speech two days ago at John Hopkins University in Washington and you literally said the following with regard to Iran: "It is quite possible that a different approach should be applied to the Iranian regime, more radical, less tolerant." What do mean?
UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, they had elections in Iran over the summer and the new President of Iran has taken a very different stand on many issues. For instance, he called for destruction of Israel openly in a public statement and then repeated it. He has said that Iran would continue its nuclear project when nearly all the countries of the world are saying it should not. He has appointed very conservative people to his cabinet. So there is a change in Tehran, and we have to acknowledge that change. We have to understand what it means for us. And our view is that Iran needs, in essence, to be isolated. And it needs to be convinced diplomatically -- diplomatically -- that it should turn away from nuclear weapons and turn away from support for terrorism. Those are our two major issues. I should also say the people of Iran donï¿½t have many democratic rights. The government is quite authoritarian and has denied journalists, for instance, the right to say and write what they think, which is not the case in other democratic countries. There are a lot of complaints about Iran.
MR. VENEDIKTOV: Youï¿½ve said "diplomatically", by diplomatic means. Does Washington consider other ways of convincing Iran to turn away from nuclear weapons or for compelling Iran to turn away from it?
UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: You know, Secretary of State Rice has said repeatedly over the last several months that itï¿½s important that we support the current diplomatic efforts aimed at preventing Iran from a nuclear future. So, for instance, thereï¿½ve been three European countries negotiating with Iran: Britain, France and Germany. And now Russia has sent a delegation to Tehran just a couple of weeks ago, led by Igor Ivanov. And we support all of these efforts. And we specifically have supported the Russian efforts, because we think that, obviously, Russia is a country with some influence in Iran, and Russia has put some interesting ideas to the Iranians. We would hope that Iranians would come back to the negotiating table, but theyï¿½ve walked away. As of August theyï¿½ve walked away from European negotiations and they havenï¿½t come back. So, itï¿½s really the time for them to start talking again to other countries about this.
MR. VENEDIKTOV: What is the "red line" for you in your relationship with Iran? Where is the line that cannot be crossed?
UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Oh, I think that all of us believe that Iran must not have an ability to enrich uranium or reprocess it. Because then that would give it the ability, if they went that far, to produce fissile material and, therefore, it would have the ability to manufacture a nuclear device. And that canï¿½t be. Itï¿½s not in anyoneï¿½s interest. Thereï¿½s not a single major country in the world, that I know, that has ever said theyï¿½d support that. In fact, the reverse. All the major governments have said Iran should not go that far. So, we are pursuing a diplomatic solution. We are supporting European efforts, Russian efforts. The Indian and Chinese governments have been involved in recent talks. All that is positive.
MR. VENEDIKTOV: Is it possible to say that the position of Russia and the position of the United States have come closer together on the Iranian dossier?
UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I think so. I think that there was a time when we didnï¿½t talk very much to the Russian government, at least not productively, about this. And again, I want to hasten to say that the Russian and American positions are not identical. Any Russian government official will tell you that. But I do think that there are much closer discussions -- we talk frequently at the leadership level as well as at the diplomatic level. And we are encouraged that Russia seems at least to have gotten the attention of the Iranians, and is trying very hard to get these negotiations back on track again.
MR. VENEDIKTOV: I have another question: when the decision was taken by the U.S. to invade Iraq, the U.S. said that weapons of mass destruction were deployed there. This was neither accurate nor complete information. Why when there is an escalation in relations with Iran and Syria, you are sure that this information regarding the weapons is accurate, would not repeat the same mistake in terms of the motivation?
UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: You know, whatï¿½s interesting about the Iranian question is that in all the diplomatic conversations that weï¿½ve had there is not a single country that Iï¿½ve dealt with who doesnï¿½t have this concern. You know, we do not pretend to have chapter and verse, to have all the details of what may or may not be happening in Iran. The problem is Iran has lost the trust of a lot of countries around the world, because for 18 years it conducted nuclear research, but it did so in secret without telling the relevant United Nations body, the International Atomic Energy Agency. And so they withheld that information, and so they were caught. And then they said: "Well, yes." They admitted it. "Yes, we did conduct secret research for 18 years." Itï¿½s a long time, by the way. So, based on that and based on the repeated statements of the Iranian government, we have to conclude that they are heading in the direction of giving themselves this capability in the future. And that worries us, because, frankly, the position of my country is Iran has not been responsible, has not been a friendly country. It has supported terrorist groups. But there is not a big international debate, about this issue unlike the situation in Iraq several years ago.
MR. VENEDIKTOV: Look, you are contradicting to yourself. It is common to a diplomat.
UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: I try not to do that. No, no, no. Not at all.
MR. VENEDIKTOV: Ivan from the city of Izhevsk, where large-scale defense ministry enterprises are located, is asking: "Please comment on the reports that Russia has sold anti-aircraft missiles to Iran." On one hand you are saying that Iran supports terrorists, is a state sponsor of terrorism, as you put it in your interview to a newspaper. And on the other hand your friend and partner Russia sells missile weaponry to Iran and everybody understands against whom these weapons will be aimed, against Israel and the United States. These two things donï¿½t seem to go together.
UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Well, we just saw the press reports today claiming that there had been a sale. So, when I received the press report, I simply asked some Russian officials, "Could you let us know? Is this true or not?" and they said they would check into that. I have not heard back from them, so Iï¿½m going to be very respectful and wait to hear back from the Russian government.
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