The Department of Energy, which has assured S.C. leaders it would not leave tons of bomb-grade plutonium at the Savannah River Site, now says it cannot meet a schedule to begin converting the deadly material into fuel for nuclear power plants.
In letters Monday to Congress, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said it will be ï¿½impossibleï¿½ to meet the production objective for making mixed oxide fuel by January 2009, as required by federal law. Bodmanï¿½s letters said the department plans to submit a revised construction schedule.
He blamed a continuing dispute with Russia for the delays. The U.S. and Russia, according to a 2000 agreement, plan to render 68 metric tons of surplus plutonium useless for nuclear weapons. But the two nations have been unable to agree on ï¿½liability protectionsï¿½ for U.S. work performed in Russia, Bodmanï¿½s letter said. The Russians also plan a mixed oxide ï¿½ called MOX ï¿½ fuel plant with U.S. assistance.
Bodmanï¿½s letter comes three years after then-Gov. Jim Hodges predicted the Department of Energy might leave tons of plutonium at SRS forever. The Democrat sued unsuccessfully to block plutonium shipments from other federal nuclear weapons complexes to SRS without ironclad assurances the material eventually would leave the Aiken- area weapons complex.
Though he lost the suit, Hodgesï¿½ concerns prompted Congress to pass a law setting a firm schedule for turning the plutonium into MOX. The first major milestone was to make a ton of MOX in 2009. All the fuel would have to be made by Jan. 1, 2019, the law said.
If the DOE canï¿½t produce the MOX as planned, it could be fined up to $100 million a year and required to move any plutonium it sent to SRS out of South Carolina, according to the law.
Bodman said the agency will work to honor its commitments to South Carolina.
U.S. Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., said the delay is disappointing, though not surprising.
ï¿½This delays the best way of keeping weapons-grade plutonium out of the hands of rogues and terrorists, which is to process it into fuel and burn it,ï¿½ Spratt said. ï¿½For South Carolina, this means that we are going to be stuck with plutonium in our state for longer than we were told.ï¿½
U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said the governmentï¿½s only option is ï¿½to make sure the Russian program gets up to speed.ï¿½
A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., noted that President Bushï¿½s proposed 2006 budget contains more than $300 million for construction of the $4 billion MOX complex.
News that the 2009 MOX production schedule could not be met came at the same time the DOE announced it would further delay the start of construction of the mixed oxide fuel plant from May of this year until May 2006. It originally was to start in 2004.
The mixed oxide fuel plant would employ more than 1,000 people directly or indirectly. The fuel would be burned by Duke Energy at power plants near Charlotte.
1. Someone Is Trying to Capitalize on Myths That Russian Nuclear Weapons Are Poorly Guarded ï¿½ Ivanov
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Russian Defense Minister Igor Ivanov has dismissed allegations widespread in the West that Russian nuclear weapons are poorly guarded.
"Let me express my attitude to one of the myths, namely that Russian nuclear weapons and their components are poorly guarded, that criminal structures have access to them and that secret services and defense industry figures supply prohibited nuclear technologies to Iran," Ivanov told the Russia-NATO Council in Nice on Thursday.
2. All Nuclear Warheads in Russia Strictly Accounted For - Source
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All nuclear warheads ever produced in Russia have been and continue to be strictly accounted for by services of the Rosatom agency and the 12th department of the Defense Ministry, an expert at the federal nuclear center in Snezhinsk has told Tass in the wake of Boris Berezovskyï¿½s claims Chechen terrorists allegedly had a portable nuclear warhead at their disposal.
The specialist said that ï¿½throughout the history of development, production or handling of nuclear warheads in the USSR and in Russia there have been no instances of theft or disappearance of nuclear products of any size.
ï¿½To our knowledge, there were no such cases in the military units of the 12th department of the Russian Defense Ministry, either,ï¿½ he said.
The source at the federal nuclear center said Berezovskyï¿½s statement was a ï¿½PR move, no more than that.ï¿½
Specialists in Snezhinsk said that even after the acquisition or theft of components of a portable nuclear device in a third country putting the device together and triggering it would be a very tricky job.
3. Chencen Terrorists' Having Nuclear Bomb is Impossible - Expert
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Russia's Federal Nuclear Energy Agency (Rosatom) has ruled out the possibility of Chechen militants getting possession of, or creating, a nuclear bomb. "A nuclear bomb is a very complicated technical product. The best minds, particularly in Russia, have spent years creating it. Only a country with a high-tech level of development, but never a terrorist organization, could create a nuclear bomb," an agency spokesman told RIA Novosti.
Nuclear bombs require two crucial components - huge sums of money and a certain amount of fissionable materials (plutonium or highly enriched uranium), the press service said.
"Theft or loss of at least the approximate amount of fissionable materials required for making a nuclear bomb have not been registered in Russia or elsewhere," the spokesman said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency's database registers not only facts of theft, but even attempts at stealing any nuclear materials.
"The total number of attempts to steal fissionable materials and their amount is not enough to make a bomb," the agency's press service said.
It also noted that exploding a nuclear bomb is no simple matter.
"The blasting system is very complex and even a ready bomb cannot be easily triggered," the press service said.
1. DOE Adds $130 Million to Threat Reduction Programs
Global Security Newswire
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The U.S. Energy Departmentï¿½s proposed fiscal 2006 budget includes $130 million more for global threat reduction activities than this year, but contains cuts for securing nuclear materials and redirecting weapons scientists, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council (see GSN, Feb. 8).
Budget highlights include:
A net 17-percent increase, to $343.4 million, for the International Nuclear Materials Protection and Cooperation program. While efforts have previously focused on former Soviet states, the budget this year calls for $32 million in new money to safeguard nuclear materials in other nations and $58.9 million for the Megaports program to screen cargo at ports around the world for radioactive materials, according to RANSAC. More than $40 million would be cut from Russian areas of the program, including $23 million to improve security at Russian Strategic Rocket Forces and Navy warhead sites and $11 million removed from efforts to promote sustainability of program upgrades.
A net 200-percent increase, to $132 million, to support the closing of three Russian reactors that produce weapon-grade plutonium (see GSN, Jan. 28).
A net $4.3 million increase, to $98 million, for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. The proposed budget includes more money for U.S. radiological threat reduction, spent fuel disposal in Kazakhstan and repatriation of U.S.-origin spent fuel from foreign research reactors, according to RANSAC. However, it cuts funding for repatriation of Russian-origin spent fuel, removal of nuclear material from unsecured international sites and international radiological threat reduction, and eliminates $9.9 million for buying Russian highly enriched uranium for U.S. reactors until the facilities convert to low-enriched uranium.
Reducing funding by $2.8 million for the Global Initiative for Proliferation Prevention to redirect weapons scientists to other work.
A net increase of $40 million for fissile materials disposition, which includes a $34.5 million reduction in funding for U.S. construction of plutonium dispositions sites, but a $74 million hike in U.S. operation and maintenance work and $500,000 more for Russian plutonium disposition activities. The funding cut for plutonium disposition is due to continuing debate between the United States and Russia over who would accept liability for such sites, RANSAC stated (see GSN, Jan. 14; William Hoehn, RANSAC release, Feb. 9).
2. White House Threat Reduction Budget Stresses Energy Department Activities
Global Security Newswire
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The Bush administration has requested a significant increase in Energy Department funding to secure nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere next fiscal year, while keeping the Defense Department threat reduction budget flat and decreasing the State Departmentï¿½s allowance (see GSN, Jan. 31).
The administrationï¿½s fiscal 2006 budget proposes an increase for Energy Department threat reduction activities from $439 million to $526 million.
Requested funding for the Defense Departmentï¿½s threat reduction program also climbed from $409 million to $416 million, but the increase is actually negated when inflation is factored.
The White House is seeking $71 million for State Department threat reduction efforts, as it did for fiscal 2005, which after inflation amounts to a decrease. The Congressional Budget Officeï¿½s inflation assumption for fiscal 2005 to fiscal 2006 is 1.9 percent. The fiscal year begins in October.
The budgets for threat reduction activities in all three departments were reduced last year for fiscal 2005 (see GSN, Oct. 7, 2004).
Energy Department officials have said that they have accelerated efforts in recent years to secure nuclear weapon-usable materials in Russia and other former Soviet states, including by installing intrusion detection alarms and fences around sensitive sites.
ï¿½A number of major milestones for this cooperative program are on the near horizon and the FY 2006 budget ensures that sufficient funding will be available to meet these milestones,ï¿½ according to the departmentï¿½s 2006 budget document.
It cited completing security upgrades for Russian Navy nuclear sites by the end of fiscal 2006 and Russian strategic rocket force sites by the end of 2007. Work also would begin to secure nuclear warhead storage at the Russian Defense Ministryï¿½s 12th Main Directorate.
While the requested increase for Energy Department threat reduction programs, administered by its National Nuclear Security Administration, increases the administrationï¿½s overall threat reduction budget request from $919 million to $1.013 billion, a critic said the total still does not appropriately prioritize threat reduction.
ï¿½The administrationï¿½s new request for nonproliferation funding is disappointingly low. After President Bush agreed during the 2004 campaign that the threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists is the greatest threat to the United States, his budget fails his own test,ï¿½ said John Isaacs, president of the Council for a Livable World arms control organization.
A White House budget document explaining the threat reduction funding said, ï¿½A sprawling nuclear complex in Russia and other locations in the former Soviet Union, and vulnerable nuclear material elsewhere, remain the most likely sources for the material, technology, and expertiseï¿½ needed to develop weapons that could be used for nuclear terrorism.
ï¿½The administration has targeted the nuclear terrorism challenge with aggressive nonproliferation programs that have achieved a number of major successes in recent years, including the dismantling of Libyan WMD programs and unraveling of the A.Q. Khan network,ï¿½ it says.
1. New Russian Topol Missile Makes U.S. Defenses Obsolete ï¿½ Expert
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Russia has tested a ballistic missile that would render the United States Star Wars scheme useless, a U.S. expert has said.
The SS-27 Topol-M mobile ballistic missile It is too fast to hit right after takeoff unless the interceptor is lucky enough to be really close to the launch pad, former arms inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter reportedly told Business Week.
According to Ritter, who in the past correctly concluded that Baghdad had no weapons of mass destruction, the SS-27 is hardened against lasers, so the U.S. defense systemï¿½s airborne laser ï¿½- a program that is already behind schedule ï¿½- wouldnï¿½t work. And because the missile is maneuverable and capable of releasing three warheads and four decoys, it would be much harder to defeat as it falls in the terminal stage of flight.
The U.S. Missile Defense Agencyï¿½s spokesman, Rick Lehner, told Business Week that his agencyï¿½s goal is to address ï¿½the more rudimentary missiles North Korea and Iran are developing.ï¿½ But the business magazine pointed to the possibility that Tehran and Pyongyang could acquire an SS-27.
ï¿½I donï¿½t know about that,ï¿½ Lehner was quoted as saying.
1. Nuclear Safety to Dominate US-Russia Summit Agenda - Lugar
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Nuclear safety and non-proliferation matters must figure prominently on the agenda of the forthcoming meeting between Presidents George W. Bush of the United States and Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation later this month, US Senator Richard Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has told Itar-Tass.
Senator Lugar is the co-sponsor of the well-known Nunn-Lugar programme, which envisions assistance to ex-Soviet republics in eliminating nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The US spends about 450 million dollars on the programme every year.
Mr. Lugar declared in favour of Russia's and US taking steps to settle differences that hinder the implementation of joint programmes to reduce the stocks of fissionable materials fit to develop nuclear weapons.
Senator Lugar spoke of the issue of the legal responsibility of the sides as one of such problems that hinders, in particular, the implementation of the inter-governmental agreement on the reprocessing of the surplus amounts of weapons-grade plutonium.
The essence of differences between Moscow and Washington comes to the following: The US would like to exonerate its specialists, who work in Russia on joint programmes, of any responsibility in the event of an emergency, including sabotage or subversion.
Mr. Lugar said the US would also like to exempt its specialists, who work in Russia, from the payment of Russia's taxes. To work out agreements on these issues, Senator Lugar remarked, would be of importance not only to the US but also to the EU and G-7 members, who participate in the Ten Plus Ten by Ten programme.
Under the programme, which was adopted in Kananaskis (Canada) in 2002, the US, on the one hand, and the EU, Canada, and Japan, on the other, are to allocate 10,000 million dollars each in the course of ten years in assistance to Russia in its efforts to maintain nuclear safety and eliminate weapons of mass destruction.
In the opinion of Mr. Lugar, by the time the two Presidents meet at summit in Slovakia, both sides must make maximum efforts to settle contentious issues. This appeal is addressed both to the executive and legislative branches of power. He said that, for his part, he had initiated a bill in Congress. The bill would help remove a number of obstacles to the implementation of the Nunn-Lugar programme.
The Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is convinced that the settlement of the existing differences would enable the Presidents of the US and Russia to tackle non-proliferation problems with still greater effectiveness.
2. U.S., Russia Should Strengthen Cooperation Against Terrorism, WMD Proliferation, Experts Say
Global Security Newswire
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While relations between Russia and the United States are ï¿½asymmetricalï¿½ due to overwhelming U.S. influence in the world, closer work with Moscow on preventing WMD proliferation is essential, a panel of Russian and U.S. experts said yesterday (see GSN, Jan. 25).
Experts from the Carnegie Moscow Center and Politika Foundation released a report recommending the creation of a Joint Intelligence Committee to increase security cooperation on terrorism and nonproliferation issues, ITAR-Tass reported.
ï¿½We are living in a new reality,ï¿½ said Vyacheslav Nikonov of the Politika Foundation. ï¿½Differences do not preclude cooperation,ï¿½ Nikonov added (Alexander Alexandrov, ITAR-TASS, Feb. 9).
The Russian atomic energy agency said Thursday it would sign a key agreement with Iran on the return of nuclear fuel later this month that would complete Moscow's construction of the Islamic state's first nuclear power plant.
The agreement, which has been delayed for over a year, will be signed during atomic energy chief Alexander Rumyantsev visit's to Iran scheduled for February 25-27, ITAR-TASS news agency quoted the agency's spokesman Nikolai Shingaryov as saying.
"We plan to sign, in Tehran, an additional protocol on the return of spent nuclear fuel to Russia," he said. "This will not bring Iran closer to developing nuclear arms."
Meanwhile the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that "the deal has not yet been signed" and refused to specifically name a date for the agreement.
The fuel's return has remained the key impediment to the 800 million dollar Bushehr project.
Russia and the West both fear that Iran could reprocess the spent fuel delivered from Russia by upgrading it through centrifuges to either make a weak "dirty bomb" or an actual nuclear weapon.
Tehran has in the past used various arguments to avoid signing the agreement. It has said the material was too volatile and dangerous to transport back to Russia and also that Moscow was charging too much for the fuel itself.
The United States and Israel had jointly launched an international campaign against Russia's Bushehr project but Moscow has countered that it would make sure the plant remained harmless to protect its own security interests.
1. North Korea With Nuclear Weapons - Main Threat to Region
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The chairman of the State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachov, is concerned about North Korea's statement of developing nuclear weapons.
"Given the situation in the region, the country's possession of nuclear weapons poses an utterly real threat to the region itself and North Korea's neighbors South Korea and Russia," Mr. Kosachov said. He noted that North Korea had become the ninth nation claiming membership in the nuclear power club.
"The statement of the North Korean Foreign Ministry is another blow to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This should be admitted as such," the MP said.
As for the immediate threat to other countries and regions, everything depends on whether North Korea has got delivery means or not.
"There is no proof of that so far," he stated.
Mr. Kosachov presumed that the United States would "behave in a tough manner" despite North Korea's alleged nuclear weapons, adding: "Their tough stance proves to be counterproductive."
According to the MP, North Korea's nuclear weapons make the country "a thorn in the side of the whole mankind".
He said another round of the six-party talks was slated for late March and Russia, he stressed, did its best for the talks to take place.
Mr. Kosachov also said that a Russian parliamentary delegation would pay a visit to North Korea in late April to discuss the problem.
"The previous visit by Russian members of parliament to North Korea did not happen, and we hope this one will come true," he said.
On Thursday, North Korea refused to join the six-nation talks on terminating its nuclear program as long as the United States reconsider its hostile approach to Pyongyang and admitted the development of its own nuclear weapons.
Ranking Russian, US, North and South Korean, Chinese and Japanese diplomats have been participating in the negotiations launched in Beijing in August 2003.
2. Russia Condemns N. Korea's Reported Withdrawal From Talks
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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Thursday that North Korea had taken "a step in the wrong direction" if it "has decided to withdraw from the six-party negotiations." Ivanov, who was speaking at a news conference in Nice, said he possessed no official reports on whether Pyongyang had decided to back out of the talks, which bring together North and South Korea, the United States, Russia, China, and Japan.
Russia used U.S. threat reduction funds to recycle an Akula-class ballistic missile submarine at the Sevmash defense shipyard in Severodvinsk, ITAR-Tass reported yesterday (see GSN, Feb. 3).
ï¿½The hull of the submarine was cut into pieces for scrap, and the three-sectional unit consisting of the reactor section and two adjoining sections has been prepared, in line with the procedure for submarine recycling, to be transported by sea to a temporary storage base in the Kola Peninsula,ï¿½ the shipyardï¿½s spokesman said.
Six Akula-class heavy nuclear-powered submarines, each capable of carrying 20 ballistic missiles ï¿½ were built at the Sevmash shipyard in the 1970s and 1980s (ITAR-Tass/BBC Monitoring, Feb. 8).
2. Russia to Prepare Draft Laws on Nuclear Weapons, Radiological Security
Global Security Newswire
(for personal use only)
Russian lawmakers this year are expected to work on several pieces of legislation concerning nuclear weapons and radiological security, ITAR-Tass reported today (see GSN, Jan. 31).
In the second half of the year, the Russian government is expected to prepare a draft law entitled, "On the basic principles for regulating activities in the field of nuclear weapons," ITAR-Tass reported.
Other draft laws set to be prepared this year include legislation on taking inventory and monitoring radioactive materials and waste and on listing nuclear and radiological facilities to be protected by troops from the Russian Interior Ministry (ITAR-Tass/BBC Monitoring International, Feb. 7).
1. Russia to Increase Uranium Extraction to Avoid Future Shortages
Gateway to Russia
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Experts estimate that world prices for uranium could increase by 20 per cent. This was the forecast published in January by the International Nuclear Inc. consultancy. Extraction companies are not coping with the increased demand for fuel from the nuclear stations that generate approximately one-sixth of all the electricity consumed in the world. Experts in Russia are also forecasting in increase in uranium prices.
In order not to lose its niche in the market (experts estimate that Russia has up to 40 per cent of the world's uranium market if contract high- and low-enriched uranium [HEU-LEU] delivery contracts are taken into account and around 30 per cent if not), Russia needs to develop new uranium deposits.
"The Federal Atomic Energy Agency [Rosatom] is currently engaged in a very major analysis of our uranium stocks and potential reserves, paying particular attention to speeding up the expansion of output from proven deposits and geological prospecting. The agency budget incorporates several tens of millions of roubles for the purpose," Rosatom head Aleksandr Rumyantsev told Kommersant in a comment on the plans to develop prospecting work. "Russia really could encounter a uranium deficit problem in 20-30 years - if we do nothing about prospecting today. To prevent this, we are engaging fully with the problem right now," Mr Rumyantsev stressed, adding that Rosatom is finding complete mutual understanding with Natural Resources Ministry and Minister Yuriy Trutnev on the issue.
2. Bulgarian Spent Nuclear Fuel ï¿½ New Source of Mayak Plantï¿½s Revenues
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Mayak reprocessing plant in Chelyabinsk region received a train with spent nuclear fuel from Bulgarian Kozloduy nuclear power plant, daily Chelyabinsky Rabochiy reported in the end of January.
The spent fuel is placed into the plantï¿½s storage facility and should be soon reprocessed.
The spent nuclear fuel from Bulgaria is a new source of hard currency income for Mayak. Earlier Mayak lost the contracts for spent nuclear fuel reprocessing with Hungary and Finland, i.e. about $50m annual income. The price-tag for the contract with Bulgaria is classified. According to UralPolitRu, the average world price for one ton spent fuel reprocessing is from $500,000 to $1.5m.
1. Alexander Vershbow: We Continue to Aim for the Broad, Strategic Partnership With Russia
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Q: Mr. Ambassador, on February 24 a U.S.-Russia summit will take place in Bratislava. Some Russian experts believe the U.S. will focus on Russian internal political processes during this summit. Is this a good assumption, and what kind of issues does the U.S. intend to raise at the summit?
A: I think that the summit meeting in Brataslava is obviously a very important opportunity to set the agenda for the U.S.-Russian partnership for the next four years. The last year has had some difficulties, although our partnership remains very positive in the aggregate. But, there are concerns about the evolution of democracy and rule of law in Russia, which I'm sure will be among the subjects raised by President Bush. But I think the President and President Putin will likely discuss a broad range of subjects as well.
I know that one of our highest priorities for the meeting is to strengthen and expand our cooperation against proliferation, especially to improve our efforts to keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists. I think the presidents will likely discuss issues regarding the Middle East. How to seize the new opportunities for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, how to stabilize Iraq and promote its transition to democracy, after the January 30 elections, and how to promote democratization in the broader Middle East. I think they'll probably discuss our economic relationship, where there is a lot of untapped potential. They will discuss some problems regarding former Soviet space, collaboration against threats like HIV/AIDS, expanding exchanges between our peoples. So, obviously, maybe not every subject will fit into the three or four hours that they'll have together, but it will be a broad discussion. Democracy will be one of the subjects, because as Condoleezza Rice said in her recent interview, "The real deepening of our relations can only take place on the basis of common values."
Q: Does the United States intend to expand its cooperation with Russia in the fight against terrorism and, if so, how?
A: We certainly do want to expand our cooperation with Russia against terrorism, building on the very solid foundation we've established since 9/11. The War on Terrorism of course has many fronts. We do want to pay particular attention to measures to prevent the acquisition of materials for weapons of mass destruction by terrorists.
Q: Does the United States plan to increase financial assistance to Russia in order to reduce weapons of mass destruction and increase the security of nuclear sites?
A: We certainly consider those programs to be among our highest priorities and do intend to continue to maintain high-level funding for programs to both eliminate nuclear weapons and chemical weapons, or to better secure the sites where weapons of mass destruction are stored in Russia. There have been periodic difficulties in the implementation of some of these programs, but we would like, if possible, to accelerate some of these programs over the next four years. I can't provide final figures as to how much Congress will appropriate, but our intention is to continue to devote significant resources to these programs. Our Defense Department has spent over three billion dollars since these projects were launched in the early 1990s, and the Department of Energy has spent nearly another billion in addition to that. Now we have, of course, the Global Partnership in which partners within the G-8, and other countries too, are participating in this effort. Within that framework, Russia is appropriating more money for these programs itself, which is of course, appropriate. I feel there is a common problem of dealing with some of the unfortunate legacy of the Soviet past and achieving a common goal of ensuring that the nuclear, chemical materials don't fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue states.
2. Russian MFA Information and Press Department Commentary Regarding a Media Question Concerning Political Emigre Boris Berezovsky's Statement About Chechen Gunmen Having Atomic Weapons
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
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Question: Today in the paper Komsomolskaya Pravda Boris Berezovsky was frightening us that Chechen gunmen have atomic weapons. How possible is that?
Commentary: Of late we have been witnesses of the appearance in a number of media of all kinds of threats against us. We shall give as an example the British television Channel Four, which a few days ago aired a story featuring terrorist/murderer Shamil Basayev, who threatened Russians with "new Beslans." Now London political emigre Boris Berezovsky is trying to scare us with portable nuclear bombs at the disposal of Chechen gunmen. We do not rule out that there will follow more scary tales of this kind, the aim of which is to spread in Russia feelings of vulnerability and nervousness.
As to the substance of the matter, Moscow does not believe that Chechen gunmen might have such a nuclear device. Accordingly, we do not consider a terrorist act with its employment possible.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) introduced the "Omnibus Nonproliferation and Anti-Nuclear Terrorism Act of 2005" today. Experts in and out of government have reached the same conclusion; if we do not act now to secure existing nuclear weapons, as well as the materiel and expertise needed to build new weapons, a nuclear terrorist attack upon the United States is only a matter of time.
This bill will:
Create an Office of Nonproliferation Programs (ONP) within the Executive Office of the President to coordinate and oversee America's efforts to prevent terrorists from gaining access to nuclear weapons and to manage the effort to secure existing nuclear material in the former Soviet Union and other places;
Expand the ability of the President to carry out Cooperative Threat Reduction programs both in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere;
Enhance the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, announced by former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham last May;
Call on the President to expand and strengthen his Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict the shipment of nuclear material;
Call on the President to work with other nations and international organizations to develop and implement standards to improve the security of nuclear weapons and materials;
Authorize the Department of Energy to assist Russia in conducting a comprehensive inventory of its tactical nuclear weapons;
Require the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress on efforts to account for and secure Russian tactical nuclear weapons, and on ways to improve the security and / or dismantlement of these weapons;
Expand the President's authority to fund non-defense research by Russian WMD scientists so that these scientists will not be tempted to sell their services to North Korea, Iran or al Qaeda;
Require the President to report on ways to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by more effectively controlling nuclear technology and material and by mobilizing the international community to close the "loophole" in Article IV of the treaty.
"After September 11 we asked ourselves how we could have failed to foresee the danger posed by al Qaeda and taken steps to prevent 9/11. We already know about the danger of nuclear terrorism. We have been warned repeatedly that we are in a race with terrorists who are actively seeking nuclear weapons. The choice is ours: we can continue to risk an almost inevitable nuclear attack, or we can take action to prevent it," said Rep. Adam Schiff.
"Helping to ensure weapons of mass destruction are dismantled, transported and stored safely is of utmost importance to the international community. The pressing threat of terrorism requires the United States to maintain its leadership on nonproliferation issues. I appreciate Sen. Lugar's and Rep. Schiff's commitment and leadership on this issue," said Rep. Christopher Shays.
"I commend Congressmen Schiff and Shays both for targeting the single greatest threat to America's national security, and for proposing a comprehensive approach to combating this threat," said Dr. Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.
"The Schiff-Shays legislation will do the essential work of protecting America from nuclear terrorism. Congress needs to move forward on the broad front that he has proposed. A failure to do so could mean a nuclear horror that would relegate the tragic losses of September 11th to a footnote in our country's history," said Lt. Gen. Robert Gard (USA Ret.), Senior Director, Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign.
"The Schiff-Shays legislation would improve the security of all Americans by allowing our government to more rapidly and effectively secure these dangerous stockpiles around the world. This bill contains common-sense recommendations that are needed in these dangerous times. They deserve broad and bipartisan support," said Ken Luongo, Executive Director, Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council (RANSAC)
4. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Act of 2005 Statement of Introduction
Office of Sen. Richard Lugar
(for personal use only)
Mr. President, I rise again to introduce a bill that will strengthen U.S. nonproliferation efforts. It is supported by the Administration and several of my colleagues. This bill represents the fourth installment of Nunn-Lugar legislation that I have offered since 1991.
In that year, Sam Nunn and I authored the Nunn-Lugar Act, which established the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. That program has provided U.S. funding and expertise to help the former Soviet Union safeguard and dismantle their enormous stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, means of delivery and related materials. In 1997, Senator Nunn and I were joined by Senator Domenici in introducing the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act, which expanded Nunn-Lugar authorities in the former Soviet Union and provided WMD expertise to first responders in American cities. In 2003, Congress adopted the Nunn-Lugar Expansion Act, which authorized the Nunn-Lugar program to operate outside the former Soviet Union to address proliferation threats. The bill that I am introducing today would strengthen the Nunn-Lugar program and provide it with greater flexibility to address emerging threats.
To date, the Nunn-Lugar program has deactivated or destroyed:
6,564 nuclear warheads;
477 ICBM silos;
17 ICBM mobile missile launchers;
761 nuclear air-to-surface missiles;
420 submarine missile launchers;
543 submarine launched missiles;
28 nuclear submarines; and
194 nuclear test tunnels.
The Nunn-Lugar program also facilitated the removal of all nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. After the fall of the Soviet Union, these three nations emerged as the third, fourth, and eighth largest nuclear powers in the world. Today, all three are nuclear weapons free as a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-Lugar program. In addition, Nunn-Lugar is the primary tool through which the United States is working with Russian authorities to identify, safeguard and destroy Russiaï¿½s massive chemical and biological warfare capacity.
These successes were never a foregone conclusion. Today, even after more than twelve years, creativity and constant vigilance are required to ensure that the Nunn-Lugar program is not encumbered by bureaucratic obstacles or undercut by political disagreements.
During Secretary Riceï¿½s confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 18, 2005, I asked Dr. Rice if she and the Administration supported this legislation, to which she responded ï¿½Yes we do.ï¿½ Secretary Rice and President Bush have long argued that there needs to be maximum flexibility granted to the Administration to execute a global, focused and timely effort to fight proliferation. In view of the Administrationï¿½s strong support for this bill, I look forward to working with the Armed Services Committee to enact it.
I have devoted much time and effort to overseeing and accelerating the Nunn-Lugar program. Uncounted individuals of great dedication serving on the ground in the former Soviet Union and in our government have made this program work. Nevertheless, from the beginning, we have encountered resistance to the Nunn-Lugar concept in both the United States and Russia. In our own country, opposition often has been motivated by false perceptions that Nunn-Lugar money is foreign assistance or by beliefs that Defense Department funds should only be spent on troops, weapons, or other war-fighting capabilities. Until recently, we also faced a general disinterest in non-proliferation that made gaining support for Nunn-Lugar funding and activities an annual struggle.
The attacks of September 11 changed the political discourse on this subject. We have turned a corner -- the public, the media, and political candidates are paying more attention now. In a remarkable moment in the first presidential debate last year, both President Bush and his opponent agreed that the number one national security threat facing the United States was the prospect that weapons of mass destruction would fall into the hands of terrorists.
While the Administration has noted its support for this bill, the 9/11 Commission also weighed in last year with another important endorsement of the Nunn-Lugar program, saying that ï¿½Preventing the proliferation of [weapons of mass destruction] warrants a maximum effortï¿½by strengthening counter-proliferation efforts, expanding the Proliferation Security Initiative, and supporting the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.ï¿½ The Report went on to say that ï¿½Nunn-Lugar ï¿½ is now in need of expansion, improvement and resources.ï¿½
My bill would underscore the bipartisan consensus on Nunn-Lugar by streamlining and accelerating Nunn-Lugar implementation. It would grant more flexibility to the President and the Secretary of Defense to undertake nonproliferation projects outside the former Soviet Union. It also would eliminate Congressionally-imposed conditions on Nunn-Lugar assistance that in the past have forced the suspension of time-sensitive nonproliferation projects. The purpose of the bill is to reduce bureaucratic red tape and friction within our government that hinder effective responses to nonproliferation opportunities and emergencies.
For example, recently Albania appealed for help in destroying 16 tons of chemical agent left over from the Cold War. Last August, I visited this remote storage facility. Nunn-Lugar officials are working closely with Albanian leaders to destroy this dangerous stockpile. But this experience also is illustrative of the need to reduce bureaucratic delays. The package of documents related to the mission took some 11 weeks to be finalized and readied for President Bush. From beginning to end, the bureaucratic process to authorize dismantlement of chemical weapons in Albania took more than three months. Fortunately, the situation in Albania was not a crisis, but we may not be able to afford these timelines in future nonproliferation emergencies.
As I said when I introduced this legislation during our November session last year, I wanted to have the benefit of the Administrationï¿½s views and my colleaguesï¿½ input. Since then, I am pleased that Senators Domenici, Hagel, Reed, Biden, Levin, Collins and McCain have all signed on as co-sponsors. The Administration has now stated that they support this bill. I look forward to working in Congress to enact it.
5. Budget of the United States Government, FY 2006, Department of Energy (excerpted)
White House Office of Management and Budget
(for personal use only)
Through the Global Partnership, a comprehensive effort of the G-8 countries to commit $20 billion over 10 years to nonproliferation programs in Russia and other Newly Independent States, the United States is dedicating the necessary resources to combat this complex threat. The United States intends to provide half of the $20 billion of G-8 funding, including over $1 billion in the 2006 Budget in the nonproliferation programs in NNSA, DOD, and the Department of State. The 2006 Budget provides:
$526 million in NNSA programs that support programs to secure, remove, or eliminate weapons-usable material from vulnerable sites in Russia and other former Soviet States;
$416 million in DOD Cooperative Threat Reduction programs that provide assistance in dismantling nuclear weapons and provide transport and storage security; and
$71 million in Department of State programs that support export control programs and other nonproliferation efforts to include those targeted at preventing the spread of WMD expertise.
The NNSA uses the unique capabilities of the National Laboratories and many years of experience managing international nonproliferation programs to detect, prevent, and reverse nuclear proliferation. The 2006 Budget includes funding for the following programs:
$246 million for the International Nuclear Materials Protection and Cooperation program to secure nuclear material in Russia and the Newly Independent States. These programs fund critical activities, such as installation of intrusion detection and alarm systems and construction of fences around exposed nuclear sites. By the end of 2006, NNSA will have supported completion of security upgrades at nearly 80 percent of the sites covered by the current bilateral agreement to secure nuclear material and nuclear warheads in Russia and the Newly Independent States.
$74 million for the Megaports Initiative to deploy radiation detection equipment at key overseas ports to pre-screen U.S.-bound cargo containers for nuclear or radioactive materials. This effort coordinates closely with the Department of Homeland Securityï¿½s Container Security Initiative, and is an integrated component of the overall Administration strategy to detect illicit trafficking of WMD.
$98 million for a new initiative for expanded and accelerated efforts to secure and/or remove at-risk, nuclear and radioactive material in the worldï¿½s most dangerous regions. The programs under this initiative have moved U.S.- and Russian-originated nuclear fuel to safe storage, converted reactors still fueled by proliferation-attractive highly enriched uranium, and secured radioactive sources in such places as Iraq, Yugoslavia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Romania, and Libya in recent years.
$272 million for the Nonproliferation Research and Development program to develop technologies needed to detect nuclear proliferation, such as radiation detection sensors, monitor nuclear explosions, and verify treaty adherence.
$132 million to eliminate weapons-grade plutonium production in Russia. This program will replace three Soviet-era reactors with fossil fuel energy plants, enabling Russia to stop by 2011 the annual production of 1.2 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium.
$653 million to support a program to dispose surplus weapons-useable plutonium. Under the agreement, both the United States and Russia agree to dispose 34 metric tons of plutonium by converting it to a mixed-oxide fuel and burning it in electricity-generating nuclear reactors.
6. Canada and NTI conclude Agreement to Help Destroy Chemical Weapons in Russia
The Embassy of Canada in the United States
(for personal use only)
In an example of the kind of international cooperation that is essential for reducing the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) today concluded an agreement with the Government of Canada to provide funding for critical infrastructure work at the Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility in Shchuch'ye (Kurgan Oblast), in central Russia. The project is part of Canada's $1 billion pledge under the G8-led Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
Under this Agreement, NTI will contribute US$1 million towards the construction of an 11-mile rail spur connecting the chemical weapons storage depot near Planovy to the Destruction Facility at Shchuch'ye. NTI's funds will be applied to the construction of a bridge across the Miass River.
The railway is required to safely and securely transport the approximately 1.9 million chemical munitions located at Shchuch'ye from storage to destruction. Canada has committed up to US$25 million (CDN $33 million) for the construction of the railway.
"Canada is very pleased to join forces with the Nuclear Threat Initiative in the critical campaign to keep chemical weapons out of the hands of terrorists and those who would harbour them," said Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Michael Kergin, who signed the contribution agreement on behalf of Canada. "A threat of such global significance can only be countered by a true Global Partnership, where the resources and energies of many are combined. Canada applauds NTI for its significant financial contribution to chemical weapons destruction at Shchuch'ye."
"The United States and Russia agreed years ago to destroy their chemical weapons, but this critical work has been delayed on both sides by technology disputes, bureaucratic roadblocks and a lack of funding," said former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, co-chairman of NTI, a charitable organization working to reduce the threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. "These dangerous weapons need to be destroyed as quickly as possible, and I am pleased that we could partner with the Canadian government on this important project. The Canadians have a long and impressive record on threat reduction work. Canada played a very important role in the G8 Global Partnership Against Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction ï¿½ in both creating this important initiative and in working diligently to get it funded."
The United Kingdom is also playing a key role in this project. The project will be managed as part of the Russia Assistance Programme of the UK Ministry of Defence, under the terms of a UK-Russia bilateral Agreement. The US Department of Defense, through the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, is funding the construction of most of the Shchuch'ye facility, at a cost of some US$1 billion.
Russia has the world's largest declared stockpile of chemical weapons. More than 40,000 tonnes, mostly consisting of modern nerve agents, is stored at seven sites in the west of the country. Destruction of these stocks is a key requirement of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and an important part of the global fight against WMD proliferation.
Canada and NTI consider the Shchuch'ye chemical weapons destruction facility the top priority in this area, as it will destroy many of Russia's most lethal and proliferation-prone chemical weapons (approximately 1.9 million artillery shells filled with the nerve agents Sarin, Soman and VX).
Global Partnership Program and Canada-NTI Cooperation Announcement
At the 2002 Kananaskis Summit, leaders united to launch the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. They agreed to raise up to US $20 billion to support cooperation projects, initially in Russia. The initiative addresses one of the most serious security threats facing our world today by preventing terrorist groups from obtaining weapons and materials of mass destruction (WMD).
Assistance with Russian chemical weapons destruction is a key element of the G8 Global Partnership. Other priority areas include the dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines, the disposition of fissile materials, and the employment of former weapons scientists.
Canada has announced that it will contribute up to C$1 billion (approximately US $810 million) over the ten years of the Global Partnership, in support of projects in the four priority areas agreed on at the Kananaskis Summit.
Several other states are also committed to providing support to Russia to help it meet its obligations to destroy its chemical weapons stocks, including the US, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as the European Union.
The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) is a charitable organization working to reduce the threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Since its inception, NTI has committed approximately US$50 million in support of projects to reduce the dangers from weapons of mass destruction.
Destruction of chemical weapons stocks is a key requirement of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), not least because of the risks of proliferation. Under the terms of the Convention, Russia is responsible for meeting the costs of its destruction activities.
Joint Canada-NTI Chemical Weapons Destruction Assistance
Canada and NTI have joined to support the construction of a key Russian chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuch'ye, in the Kurgan Region. Shchuch'ye will be used for the destruction of lethal nerve agents, including nearly 2 million artillery munitions.
Canada is contributing up to CDN$33 million for construction of an 18km (11-mile) railway connecting the chemical weapons storage depot near Planovy to the destruction facility at Shchuch'ye. NTI will contribute US$1 million to help build this railroad to carry weapons from the storage depot to the destruction facility. NTI's funding will be used to build a bridge over the Miass River.
The joint Canada-NTI railway project, which will be managed as part of the UK Ministry of Defence's Russia assistance programme, will be carried out in close cooperation with the US and Russia.
Canadian Chemical Weapons Destruction Assistance
Before the Global Partnership was formed, Canada contributed C$5.35 million to the construction of the chemical weapons destruction facility (CWDF) at Shchuch'ye. Past projects funded by Canada include construction of an access road to the site's industrial area, construction of a 10 kV power line to supply electrical power for the CWDF, and partial funding (together with Italy) of a 105km natural gas line that will supply gas service to the CWD. Canada is contributing the $33 million for construction of an 18km railway as an initial project under the Global Partnership, to be implemented by the United Kingdom under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on 19 November 2003.
On 18 January 2005, Canada and the United Kingdom signed a second MoU in Moscow on co-operation to support Russia in destroying its chemical weapons stocks. This MoU provides the framework for Canada to make further significant financial contributions to the construction of the Shchuch'ye facility, including an initial $10 million for further key industrial infrastructure projects at Shchuch'ye. These projects will include construction of a 3.8 kilometre access road, construction of a local warning system at the facility and construction of intra-site communication lines. Canada, in partnership with the United Kingdom, is now planning to carry out further projects at Shchuch'ye, which will include procuring processing equipment for one of the two buildings in which chemical warfare agents and munitions will be destroyed.
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