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Nuclear News - 3/17/2005
RANSAC Nuclear News, March 17, 2005
Compiled By: Jeffrey Read


A.  Submarine Dismantlement
    1. Russian Government Okays Submarine Disposal Deal with Italy, Interfax (3/17/2005)
    2. Canada Paying for Russian Dockyard To Scraps Nuclear Submarine, ITAR-TASS (3/15/2005)
B.  WMD Scientists
    1. CIS Nuclear Scientists from Restricted-Access Cities to Discuss Jobs for Civilian Sector, ITAR-TASS (3/15/2005)
    2. Kazakh Scientists Did Not Sell Nuclear Materials Abroad � Scientist, Interfax (3/15/2005)
C.  Plutonium Disposition
    1. MOX from U.S. Plutonium Begins Return Trip, Joe Fiorill, Global Security Newswire (3/16/2005)
D.  Nuclear Terrorism
    1. Russia Has Had No Cases of Fissile Materials� Theft � Rosatom Head, ITAR-TASS (3/16/2005)
E.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy
    1. Moscow Knows Nothing of Washington's Plans to Revise NPT, Interfax (3/17/2005)
    2. Strong International Block Should Be Raised for Nuclear Materials Contraband, RIA Novosti (3/17/2005)
    3. Russia to Help Other Countries Guard Nuclear Projects, RIA Novosti (3/16/2005)
    4. Russia and US For Boosting Adoption of Convention Against Nuclear Terrorism, RIA Novosti (3/15/2005)
F.  US-Russia
    1. Russia Sees as Groundless US Claims to Iran Nuclear Program, Yekaterina Andrianova, RIA Novosti (3/15/2005)
G.  Russia-EU
    1. Russia and EU Target Non-Admission of Terrorists to Weapons of Mass Destruction, ALEXANDER SHISHLO, RIA Novosti (3/17/2005)
H.  Russia-Iran
    1. Middle East Tour of Russian Security Council Secretary, RIA Novosti (3/14/2005)
I.  Russia-North Korea
    1. Moscow Wants North Korea Free of Nuclear Weapons, Interfax (3/17/2005)
    2. Russia, N Korea Diplomats Meet Over Nuclear Problem Settlement, ITAR-TASS (3/15/2005)
J.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Russia May Have BN-800 Fast-Neutron Reactor By 2012, RIA Novosti (3/17/2005)
    2. Auxiliary Parts of Russia Nuclear Sector Could Be Privatised, ITAR-TASS (3/16/2005)
    3. Russian Utility �Rescued Armenian Nuclear Plant�, Radio Free Europe (3/16/2005)
K.  Nuclear Safety
    1. Norway to Sponsor Replacement of All Nuclear Lighthouses in North-West Russia, Bellona Foundation (3/14/2005)
L.  Official Statements
    1. Alexander Yakovenko, Spokesman, Answers a Question Concerning Russia's Participation in INF Treaty, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (3/15/2005)
M.  Links of Interest
    1. Nuclear Terrorism: Identifying and Combating the Risks, Mohamed ElBaradei, International Atomic Energy Agency (3/16/2005)



A.  Submarine Dismantlement

1.
Russian Government Okays Submarine Disposal Deal with Italy
Interfax
3/17/2005
(for personal use only)


The Russian government has approved an agreement with Italy dealing with cooperation in disposing of decommissioned nuclear submarines and spent nuclear fuel.

The document was submitted to the State Duma for ratification on Thursday.


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2.
Canada Paying for Russian Dockyard To Scraps Nuclear Submarine
ITAR-TASS
3/15/2005
(for personal use only)


The Zvezdochka dockyard in Severodvinsk has begun scrapping a nuclear submarine with money provided by Canada, the yard's press officer, Nadezhda Shcherbina, told ITAR-TASS today.

The submarine, bearing manufacturer's number 643 and decommissioned from the Northern Fleet, was today installed in a dry dock to be dismantled, she said. "It is a multirole (not carrying ICBMs) atomic-powered submarine, project RTM 671 (NATO classification Viktor-class)," she added.

Canada is financing the scrapping of Russian multirole atomic-powered submarines as part of the Global Partnership program agreed at a G8 summit in 2002. The Zvezdochka yard will scrap three submarines, for which the Canadians say they have allocated $18 million.


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B.  WMD Scientists

1.
CIS Nuclear Scientists from Restricted-Access Cities to Discuss Jobs for Civilian Sector
ITAR-TASS
3/15/2005
(for personal use only)


Nuclear specialists from the restricted-access cities of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are to discuss here on Tuesday their experience in creating steady jobs in the civilian sector within the framework of a three-day international conference, which is held under the nuclear centres partnership programme (CNCP).

The British government finances the programme, which is aimed at curbing proliferation of nuclear weapons. According to Natalya Zhdanova, executive director of the Nuclear Society of Kazakhstan non-governmental association, the first conference under the CNCP programme is to focus on the manufacture of products and on services for the civilian sector with the use of experience and resources of the former restricted-access cities.

In reference to Kazakhstan, this signifies the establishment and development of a nuclear medicine centre, Zhdanova said.


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2.
Kazakh Scientists Did Not Sell Nuclear Materials Abroad � Scientist
Interfax
3/15/2005
(for personal use only)


Head of the Kazakh National Nuclear Center's Nuclear Physics Institute Kairat Kadyrzhanov declared that Kazakh nuclear scientists did not sell any information, nuclear technologies or materials to foreign states.

On Tuesday, Kadyrzhanov met with head of the British trade and Industry Ministry's Closed Nuclear Centers Partnership's expert group Patrick Gray to discuss non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.


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C.  Plutonium Disposition

1.
MOX from U.S. Plutonium Begins Return Trip
Joe Fiorill
Global Security Newswire
3/16/2005
(for personal use only)


A batch of nuclear reactor fuel made in France from Cold War U.S. plutonium has begun its journey back to the United States, the French company that converted the plutonium said today (see GSN, March 4).

Four mixed uranium-plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel assemblies arrived last night at a Cogema plant in La Hague, France, according to a statement issued this morning by semigovernmental French energy firm Areva, Cogema�s parent entity. The fuel will leave the nearby port of Cherbourg �in the coming weeks� for the United States, Areva said.

More than 100 kilograms of U.S weapon-grade plutonium arrived Oct. 6, 2004, in France to be converted into mixed uranium-plutonium oxide for use as fuel in power plants. The material�s arrival in France sparked intense opposition from French antinuclear groups such as Greenpeace France and umbrella group Sortir du Nucleaire, which cited security worries related to the plutonium�s presence on French roads (see GSN, Oct. 6, 2004).

The MOX operation stems from a 2000 U.S.-Russian agreement under which each country is to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus Cold War plutonium.

The United States does not yet have a MOX production plant, so the initial test batch of plutonium was sent to France for conversion. Once the assemblies arrive back in the United States, Duke Power is to begin testing the fuel at a South Carolina power plant.

The 600-mile transport of the fuel from Areva�s southern conversion plant to La Hague spurred new activity by the activist groups, which sought to track the material�s progress in a bid to demonstrate that efforts at secrecy would be unlikely to deter a potential attacker.

Greenpeace said that at 9:45 p.m. Monday, it �observed the return of this plutonium toward La Hague.�

�Greenpeace activists tracked the transport as it neared La Hague to alert the public and local authorities to the safety and security risk it presents and to voice opposition to the proliferation threat posed by such trade in nuclear weapons materials,� the group said.

Areva disputes the claim. A company spokesman said today by telephone that Greenpeace did not succeed in observing the material as it left the conversion plant � demonstrating, the spokesman said, that secrecy measures were more effective than activists claimed.

Greenpeace spokesman Yannick Rousselet rejected that view in a telephone interview today. Rousselet said he called French journalists hours before the material entered La Hague and that reporters were waiting for the convoy when it arrived.

Greenpeace also said yesterday that U.S. nuclear security expert Ronald Timm had completed a study demonstrating that the U.S-French conversion operation posed �an extremely high risk in terms of security.�


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D.  Nuclear Terrorism

1.
Russia Has Had No Cases of Fissile Materials� Theft � Rosatom Head
ITAR-TASS
3/16/2005
(for personal use only)


There have been no cases of theft of fissile materials from Russia�s nuclear facilities, the head of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) Alexander Rumyantsev told Itar-Tass Wednesday.

�If concrete facts of theft are registered, I will be ready to discuss this problem in public. I state it officially there have been no such precedents at all,� he said.

�We closely cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.S and some other countries in the physical protection of nuclear facilities and in non-proliferation,� the Rosatom head said. �Russia maintains the security of its nuclear industry at an exceptionally high level.�

Rumyantsev took part in the jubilee celebrations devoted to the 75th birthday of Nobel Laureate Zhores Alfyorov in St. Petersburg.


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E.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy

1.
Moscow Knows Nothing of Washington's Plans to Revise NPT
Interfax
3/17/2005
(for personal use only)


Moscow has no information about Washington's plans to revise the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) but believes that the treaty's potential has not been exhausted, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on the ministry's website on Thursday.

"We know nothing about changes in the United States' official position in support of the NPT in its present form. On the contrary, our permanent contacts with American officials indicate Washington's intention to cooperate in strengthening the treaty and in preparing and holding a regular conference on its implementation in New York in May," the statement says.


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2.
Strong International Block Should Be Raised for Nuclear Materials Contraband
RIA Novosti
3/17/2005
(for personal use only)


International efforts should be pooled to oppose the contraband of nuclear materials, deputy chief of the board for nuclear facilities' information protection at the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) Vladimir Prostakov has said.

"International efforts, including of the IAEA members, should be combined in a bid to oppose the contraband of nuclear materials", Mr. Prostakov told the international nuclear conference in London.

He stressed that the problem of ending the penetration of nuclear materials through borders is crucial at the present stage.

The Rosatom representative also stressed that fight against the contraband of nuclear materials entails tougher control at the borders.

Borders are, on the one hand, a strong element in this fight because customs intend special control and, on the other hand, they have a weak spot - a short time for checking a cargo, he said.

Therefore, new radiometric instruments have to be developed and a far-flung system of protection at the national level has to be unfolded, he summed up. Alongside special instruments, the number of travelling laboratories for the identification of nuclear materials has to be increased, the Rosatom representative believes.

Mr. Prostakov thinks that an integral national base to combat the contraband of nuclear materials must be created.


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3.
Russia to Help Other Countries Guard Nuclear Projects
RIA Novosti
3/16/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia is willing to help any other interested countries guard their nuclear projects, says Anatoli Kotelnikov, Federal Nuclear Energy Agency deputy director.

"We are ready to assist whatever interested countries, CIS members included, in guarding their nuclear projects," he reassured an international conference on nuclear issues, underway in London.

Mr. Kotelnikov highlighted reliable guard of all Russian-based nuclear projects by Interior Troops under the federal Interior Ministry, and by a recently established federal government service under the Federal Nuclear Energy Agency.

Russia and the other G8 countries have joined hands on program Global Partnership to destroy chemical arsenals and nuclear waste in Russia. Efforts to implement it are great success. Russian-US partnership to dispose of nuclear waste is also getting closer and more efficient.

As for problems, Russia carries its radioactive materials by rail all across its vast territory. Railroads are the most vulnerable transport means-they are exposed to terrorist attacks, and run the risk of dangerous cargoes seized. Much has been done to enhance railroad safety. Guards have been reinforced, and the personnel have gone through special training. In 1998, Russia launched a monitoring program for transport means that can carry nuclear materials, said Mr. Kotelnikov.

He highlighted a tremendous role the IAEA is playing, and said Russia was looking forward to diversify and extend partnership with it-in particular, for nuclear project air safety.


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4.
Russia and US For Boosting Adoption of Convention Against Nuclear Terrorism
RIA Novosti
3/15/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia and the United States are for boosting the adoption of the convention on combating acts of nuclear terrorism. The matter was in discussion by telephone on Tuesday between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, RIA Novosti learnt from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The heads of the two foreign policy establishments have agreed upon the need of taking additional steps towards speeding up the adoption of the Convention of the Struggle Against Acts of Nuclear Terrorism", the foreign ministry said.

Mr. Lavrov and Mrs. Rice also discussed progress in fulfilling the agreements reached at the Russian-American summit meeting in Bratislava, some topical regional questions including the situation in Syria, Lebanon and Georgia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.


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F.  US-Russia

1.
Russia Sees as Groundless US Claims to Iran Nuclear Program
Yekaterina Andrianova
RIA Novosti
3/15/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia thinks groundless the United States' claims to the nuclear program of Iran, speaker of the Federation Council (Russia's upper parliamentary chamber) Sergei Mironov has said in Geneva on Tuesday. He is on an official two-day visit in Switzerland.

"The United States' claims to Iran are groundless because it is not going to go on with any military component of its nuclear program. Cooperation with Russia for the peaceful use of nuclear energy is absolutely legitimate and under control of the International Atomic Energy Agency. As we see it, no questions can be brought up here", Mr. Mironov told the news conference in the UN Geneva headquarters.

"This is why we view these claims as invented", he stressed.

On Wednesday he will visit the Swiss parliament and the federal government in Bern.


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G.  Russia-EU

1.
Russia and EU Target Non-Admission of Terrorists to Weapons of Mass Destruction
ALEXANDER SHISHLO
RIA Novosti
3/17/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia and the European Union set the goal of preventing access to components of weapons of mass destruction for terrorists. Special representative of the Russian president in the struggle against terrorism and transnational crime Anatoli Safonov told the press conference in Brussels on Thursday.

"If in other sectors we cannot rule out terrorist sorties, in this direction (struggle against WMD terrorism) we are facing the goal of non-admission of terrorists to components of weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Safonov said.

He said that out of the three kinds of weapons of mass destruction - chemical, nuclear and biological - Russia and the European Union are going to devote much attention to biological weapons. Mr. Safonov also said that, after a number of man-caused catastrophes, crises and natural cataclysms, the international community is facing the problem of reaction to such global crises.

"Reaction of the international community to that should be at the same level", Mr. Safonov said. "In this list is the question of our technical, financial-economic, operative, information and personnel readiness".

According to the special representative of the Russian president, Russia's cooperation with the European Union in general does not rule out Russia's interaction with other organizations - the United Nations, G8 countries, NATO, OSCE, CIS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as cooperation at the bilateral level.

The problem of strategic interaction in the struggle against terrorism between Russia and the European Union has, in principle, been resolved, Mr. Safonov believes.

The main problem of today he calls isolating terrorists from the sources of funding, radical ideological beefing-up and human resources. "If this goal is met, we will feel that the results of our joint effort have become much more tangible", Mr. Safonov said.

"We have come to absolute understanding on our cooperation being vitally necessary", said the presidential representative. And noted that "more and more efficiency and concrete deeds are felt in our interaction. This goes for actually every element".


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H.  Russia-Iran

1.
Middle East Tour of Russian Security Council Secretary
RIA Novosti
3/14/2005
(for personal use only)


Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov passed a message of the Russian President to Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem on Monday, announced the press service of the Security Council.

"During the talks, the Russian and Israeli sides discussed issues of mutual interest," the announcement stated.

Russia and Israel expressed satisfaction with steady development of ties between the two countries, with intensification of political dialogue and expansion of contacts on all levels. The Russian side also expressed its desire to increase cooperation with Israel in a variety of spheres.

Igor Ivanov pointed out at the upcoming celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the Great Victory in Russia. He announced that Israeli veterans would also participate in festivities in Moscow. Mr. Ivanov emphasized that the anniversary of the Great Victory was a common celebration aimed at reminding all people around the globe of the tragic past experience and strengthening our resolve to counter global threats and challenges of the 21st century by mutual efforts.

In addition, the sides discussed the situation in the Middle East. Mr. Ivanov called for mandatory implementation of the provisions of the "road map" and relevant UN resolutions in the settlement of Israeli-Palestinian conflict and emphasized the importance of continuing negotiations process between Israel and Palestine, including on the basis of agreements reached in February in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

Before coming to Israel, Mr. Ivanov visited Cairo, where he discussed Russian-Iranian cooperation in the sphere of nuclear energy.

"The programs, which Russia and Iran implement in the sphere of nuclear energy fully meet our international obligations and are closely monitored by IAEA," the Security Council press service quotes Mr. Ivanov.

Speaking about Russia's position on Iranian nuclear programs, Mr. Ivanov emphasized that Russia develops cooperation with Iran exclusively in the sphere of peaceful atom.

"In particular, we are close to completion of the construction of a nuclear power plant in Busher. This facility is closely monitored by IAEA and so far its inspectors have not presented any complaints. Last month, Russia and Iran signed an agreement on the return of spent nuclear fuel," Mr. Ivanov stated.

He reminded the journalists that Russia had always urged for strengthening the control over proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including nuclear weapons. "We are against the possibility of nuclear weapons appearing in wrong hands," he said.

The Security Council Secretary underlined that "Iran had joined an Additional Protocol on IAEA guarantees, revealed all its previous nuclear programs and suspended the uranium enrichment programs."

"We welcome negotiations between Iran and the European "triad" (France, Germany and Great Britain). We believe that in the framework of negotiation process, the sides will eliminate the suspicions about Iranian nuclear programs," Mr. Ivanov concluded.


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I.  Russia-North Korea

1.
Moscow Wants North Korea Free of Nuclear Weapons
Interfax
3/17/2005
(for personal use only)


Moscow is in favor of keeping the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons through a flexible approach and democratic compromises, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev said on Thursday.

"We are in favor of resuming the six-sided negotiations [on the Korean peninsula's nuclear problem] as soon as possible and finding solutions that would correspond with the interests of all sides in the negotiation process," Alexeyev said, speaking at the North Korean Embassy in Moscow on Thursday.


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2.
Russia, N Korea Diplomats Meet Over Nuclear Problem Settlement
ITAR-TASS
3/15/2005
(for personal use only)


Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alekseyev and North Korea�s Ambassador to Moscow Pak Ui Chun met on Tuesday to review the situation around settlement of the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula.

A Russian diplomatic source told Itar-Tass that �Russia is taking active efforts for the resumption of the six-party talks on the nuclear problem of Pyongyang�.

He stressed that the talks, in which North and South Koreas, Russia, China, the US and Japan take part� are �encountering big difficulties�.

�The situation has especially deteriorated after the statement of Pyongyang at the beginning of the past month about the creation of a nuclear arsenal by it�.

�We are doing all we can to unblock the negotiation process. But the situation cannot be changed as yet,� the diplomat said.

�We shall continue working contacts with all partners in order to find acceptable solutions. The stance of Russia remains unaltered: the talks in the six-party format should be resumed as soon as possible, as this is the only way of settling the problem in a peaceful way.�

A North Korean diplomat in Moscow told Itar-Tass that the �six-party talks can be resumed only if the US abandons the hostile policy and libel towards North Korea�.

�If the US declares stopping such course, everything will roll on wheel,� the diplomat said.


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J.  Nuclear Industry

1.
Russia May Have BN-800 Fast-Neutron Reactor By 2012
RIA Novosti
3/17/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia has everything ready for completing by 2012 the construction of the promising fast-neutron reactor BN-800, enabling the use of stockpiled regenerated plutonium. This is reported by director Anatoli Zrodnikov of the State Research Center Physical Energy Institute.

"Fast neutron reactors with liquid metal heat-transfer agents constitute the area where Russia is in the lead", he told the parliamentary hearings On the Legislative Support for Innovative Development of the Nuclear Energy Sector.

As follows from the documents prepared for parliamentary hearings, the study carried out indicates that the BN-800 reactor with the attending fuel cycle can be finalized by 2012.

Construction and start-up of the reactor with uranium-plutonium fuel will preserve the scientific-technical potential and the world leadership in this area, the documents say.

In addition, the motive for an accelerated switchover to closed-fuel cycle power units is the limited supply of developed reserves of uranium in Russia.

A delay in the intensification of work to develop the raw uranium base may entail a crisis in seven to ten years to come, the documents say.


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2.
Auxiliary Parts of Russia Nuclear Sector Could Be Privatised
ITAR-TASS
3/16/2005
(for personal use only)


Privatisation awaits a number of auxiliary units of Russia�s nuclear sector, the director general of Rosenergoatom concern, Oleg Sarayev, said.

However, �we are not ready for it so far,� he told a group of deputy of Russian parliament�s lower house visiting the city of Obninsk.

Sarayev said �up to 70 percent of technological and auxiliary equipment of Russia�s nuclear power plants could be privatised�.

�Only a so-called nuclear core (reactors and turbines) must not be given into private hands,� he added.

�Privatisation of nuclear power plants should be approached in a very weighed and well thought-out way,� Sarayev said.

If the Federal Agency for Nuclear Energy comes to privatisation �all lessons of past privatisation in the country�s industry sectors that led to lamentable results should be taken into account,� he said.

Rosenergoatom comprises ten nuclear power plants with a total of 31 energy units generating 16 percent of Russia�s electricity output, Sarayev said.


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3.
Russian Utility �Rescued Armenian Nuclear Plant�
Radio Free Europe
3/16/2005
(for personal use only)


The Armenian government�s decision in 2003 to grant Russia financial control over the nuclear power station at Metsamor has proved to be a blessing for the Soviet-built facility, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Gagik Markosian argued that the plant has balanced its books and experienced no refueling difficulties for the first time since the 1995 reactivation of one of its two reactors.

�Last year was the first time that we had no such problem,� he told RFE/RL in an interview. �Fuel was supplied without delays and that is why we produced a record-high volume of energy.�

According to official statistics, Metsamor generated 2 billion kilowatt/hours of electricity or almost 40 percent of Armenia�s aggregate power output in 2004.

The plant ran up $100 million in debts and was unable to pay for fresh Russian nuclear fuel deliveries until it was placed under the financial management of Russia�s state-run power monopoly, RAO Unified Energy Systems (UES). UES was also granted the ownership of a cascade of hydro-electric power plants near Yerevan in return for writing off Metsamor�s $40 million debt to Russian fuel suppliers.

The remaining $60 million, owed to the state budget, was forgiven by the Armenian government. In addition, it diverted last December $27 million in proceeds from the privatization of Armenia�s biggest metallurgical complex to Metsamor in payment for equally big sums owed to the plant by Hayenergo, the now liquidated state-run power distributor.

Markosian put Metsamor�s current debt at $4.5 million. He said the plant, located 35 kilometers west of Yerevan, is now financially self-sufficient but still UES�s assistance for making 50 percent advance payments to the fuel suppliers. �That issue is solved by RAO UES,� he said.

The plant�s light-water reactor built in 1979 was last refueled in October after a two-month halt during which it underwent regular capital repairs. The reactor�s core was inspected by Czech specialists and, according to Armenian officials, found to be in good condition.

Armenia has been under pressure from the United States and especially the European Union to shut down the plant as early as possible due to its perceived insecurity. In a report released earlier this month, the EU�s executive Commission emphasized that the decommissioning of Metsamor and other Soviet-built nuclear facilities remains �a key EU objective.�

Markosian, however, repeated the Armenian government�s position that the plant is safe enough to continue to operate for years to come.


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K.  Nuclear Safety

1.
Norway to Sponsor Replacement of All Nuclear Lighthouses in North-West Russia
Bellona Foundation
3/14/2005
(for personal use only)


Norway and Russia have agreed to replace over hundred nuclear powered lighthouses in the north-west region during a conference in February.

Last month Norway signed an agreement of intent stipulating Norway will finance replacement of all the radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs, used as power sources for lighthouses and navigation beacons in the north-west Russia. It is more than 110 generators situated in the remote areas in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Nenetz regions. The agreement was signed in the frames of the international conference on RTGs decommissioning organised by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. The representatives of French Foreign Ministry, the Russian Defence Ministry, Rosatom, Mayak plant, IAEA, administration of Murmansk region and Finnmark county, NRPA and DOE took part in event.

Under-secretary of State Kim Traavik and deputy director of Rosatom, co-chairman of MNEPR Sergey Antipov signed the agreement. In 2005, it is expected to decommission 31 nuclear generators. Rosatom concern promised to replace all the lighthouse nuclear generators in Russia by 2012.

The chief of economy department of Murmansk region Alexander Ruzankin said to Interfax, that on January 1, 2001, 153 radioisotope thermoelectric generators were scattered along the coast of the Barents and White Sea. By 1 January, 2005, 55 generators had been decommissioned and sent to the Mayak plant thanks to the financial assistance from Norway. In 2005, 31 RTGs are scheduled for decommissioning. According to Ruzankin, if the same tempo of decommissioning remains, all the RTGs in the north-west could be replaced by 2010, Interfax reported.

Bellona was one of the observers at the conference and approves the reached agreements as the RTGs are not just dangerous from the environmental point of view, but also can become the threat for non-proliferation of the radioactive materials and can be used for �dirty bomb�. �We also welcome the establishment of the interdepartmental commission by Rosatom which began listing off all the RTGs on the Russian territory� said Bellona�s representative Igor Koudrik. �At the same time Bellona stands for faster RTGs replacement tempo (earlier than 2012) as practically every year they are vandalised by the �precious metal hunters�. Besides, not only financing is needed for the RTGs decommissioning, but the infrastructure development. For example, Mayak plant is capable to decommission only 100 RTGs per year while, according to the estimations, Russia has more than 1000 RTGs. Therefore, it is necessary to analyse the whole chain of the RTGs decommissioning and come to the right solution� said Igor Koudrik.


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L.  Official Statements

1.
Alexander Yakovenko, Spokesman, Answers a Question Concerning Russia's Participation in INF Treaty
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
3/15/2005
(for personal use only)


Question: Some media continue publishing materials that allege Russia is threatening withdrawal from the INF Treaty. Please comment on this kind of information.

Answer: The Russian Foreign Ministry already made its point of view known in this connection after the Financial Times publication of March 8, 2005.

I would like to again affirm the Russian Federation's adherence to the Treaty Between the USSR and the USA on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles. We expect that the other parties to the Treaty will adhere to a similar line as well.


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M.  Links of Interest

1.
Nuclear Terrorism: Identifying and Combating the Risks
Mohamed ElBaradei
International Atomic Energy Agency
3/16/2005
(for personal use only)
http://www.iaea.org/PrinterFriendly/NewsCenter/Statements/2005/ebsp2005n003...


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