1. Duke Power Granted License Amendment by Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Use MOX Fuel
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Duke Power routinely conducts lead fuel assembly programs to support fuel design changes. ï¿½We plan to use four mixed oxide fuel assemblies in one of the Catawba Nuclear Station reactors alongside 189 conventional uranium fuel assemblies, beginning in spring 2005. This will confirm the good performance of MOX fuel we have already seen in European reactors, and help us obtain regulatory approval for larger-scale use of the fuel in the future,ï¿½ says Steve Nesbit, Duke Powerï¿½s mixed oxide fuel project manager. Operators will shut down one of the reactors at Catawba this spring for a routine maintenance and refueling outage, and the MOX fuel assemblies will be put into the core at that time.
ï¿½We are pleased that NRC agrees with our assessment that it is safe to use four MOX fuel lead assemblies at Catawba. This NRC approval is an important step toward the goal of disposing of surplus nuclear weapons material and thereby advancing international nonproliferation efforts,ï¿½ adds Nesbit.
Mixed oxide fuel is a mature technology in Europe, dating back to the 1960s. More than 30 European reactors currently use the fuel to generate electricity. Applying the technology in the United States is a key element of the international program to dispose of surplus plutonium from nuclear weapons, and thereby reduce the risk of terrorist groups or rogue nations obtaining the material.
MOX fuel is a blend of about 95 percent uranium oxide ( conventional nuclear fuel ) and about 5 percent plutonium oxide.
The MOX fuel program is part of an international initiative to reduce the stockpiles of plutonium in the United States and in Russia. The U.S. Department of Energy ( DOE ) plans to convert 34 metric tons of plutonium from surplus nuclear weapons into nuclear fuel, while Russia does likewise with its own surplus plutonium. DOEï¿½s contractor, Duke Cogema Stone & Webster, is responsible for designing, building and operating a MOX fuel fabrication facility at DOEï¿½s Savannah River Site. Duke Power plans to use that MOX fuel at McGuire Nuclear Station in Huntersville, N.C., and Catawba Nuclear Station in York, S.C.
ï¿½We are proud to be part of this program. In addition to supporting an important national security initiative, MOX fuel will ultimately provide McGuire and Catawba nuclear stations with a long-term, economical supply of nuclear fuel,ï¿½ says Nesbit.
Catawba Nuclear Station is a two-unit power plant located on Lake Wylie in York County, S.C. Each of its units can generate electricity at a rate of 1,129 megawatts. Catawba unit 1 began commercial operation in 1985, unit 2 in 1986. The station is jointly owned by North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, Saluda River Electric Cooperative Inc. and Duke Power.
Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nationï¿½s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity and value-added products and services to more than 2 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. The company operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,900 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: http://www.dukepower.com.
The Russian government has decided to approve and submit to the Duma for ratification an intergovernmental agreement with Canada on cooperation in the spheres of destruction of chemical weapons, scrapping of nuclear-powered submarines and withdrawing nuclear materials from Russia's navy. Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov signed a corresponding regulation today.
1. Russia Refutes Reports of U.S. Inspections at Nuclear Sites
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Russiaï¿½s Defense Ministry on Saturday officially refuted a report circulated by Russian media that U.S. inspectors will be allowed to enter Russian nuclear sites, the RIA-Novosti news agency reports.
The ministryï¿½s Information and Public Relations department issued the statement in which it dismissed all the allegations as completely groundless.
The head of Russiaï¿½s General Staff, Yuri Baluyevsky, recently said that ï¿½small nuclear weapons could soon fall out of control of the nuclear powers and become accessible in the worldï¿½.
Some analysts have alleged that such a statement could mean that U.S. inspections of Russian nuclear sites could receive a broader status.
ï¿½Such a statement allegedly made by the head of the General Staff does not correspond to what he really said on March 1,ï¿½ the ministryï¿½s statement reads.
1. Conflict Around Tunnel Construction in Iran to be Settled Within IAEA
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Moscow hopes that differences on a tunnel construction in Iran will be eliminated within the International Atomic Energy Agency, says the commentary of the Press and Information Board of the Russian Foreign Ministry regarding the tunnel-driving statement of the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The commentary recalls that, in his speech at the March session of the IAEA Board of Governors, Deputy Director General Pierre Goldschmidt said that operations in driving an underground tunnel, of which Iran had not timely informed the IAEA, were discovered on December 15, 2004, during checks at the Isfahan uranium-conversion plant.
After him, State Secretary Condoleezza Rice invited the IAEA to check the suspicious activities of Iran.
"The Iranian side says that the tunnel information was contained in the updated documentation, submitted to the IAEA on December 13, 2004, on the Isfahan uranium-conversion plant and that tunnel driving has nothing to do with the process of conversion and is targeted exclusively at the safe keeping of nuclear materials", the communique reads.
Russia expressed hope on Saturday that a recent dispute between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concerning Iran's nuclear industry would be resolved in the course of "routine" IAEA inspections in Iran.
"In his speech at the March session of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), its deputy director general Pierre Goldschmidt said that, in the course of inspections at a uranium conversion plant in Isfahan on December 15, 2004, an underground tunnel under construction was discovered of which Iran had failed to advise the agency on time [that is, half a year before the start of construction]," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary published on its website.
1. Iranian, Russian Officials Discuss Completion of Bushehr Plant
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Iranï¿½s Majlis Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel in a meeting with Vice-Speaker of Russian State Duma Sergei Baburin on Sunday said Iran-Russia historic and social friendship was the main factor behind consolidation of bilateral relations, Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
Haddad Adel said that the two countries should do their utmost to take coordinated stances in line with their mutual interests. Referring to the US expansionist policies, he said the US seeks to play down the United Nationï¿½s activities in a bid to take its place and dictate its own policies.
He pointed to the construction of Bushehr nuclear power plant as a symbol of Iran-Russia technical and industrial cooperation. The Iranian Majlis speaker expressed hope that the completion of the power plant would open a new chapter in Tehran-Moscow cooperation.
He termed the Caspian Sea as the sea of peace and friendship, saying that the Caspian Sea littoral states particularly Iran and Russia should try to determine the legal status of the sea and put an end to the presence of foreigners in this region.
He said that the Tehran-Moscow international cooperation was at a satisfactory level, expressing his country`s readiness to cooperate with Russia for reconstruction of Iraq. Baburin, for his part, expressed satisfaction with his visit to Tehran, saying he was in Tehran to attend the seminar on nuclear energy and sustainable development and to hold talks with Iran`s political and parliamentary officials.
He said that Moscow was happy with the agreement signed by Iran and Russia on return of the spent fuel, adding the agreement is a major step towards completion of the Bushehr power plant.
ï¿½Russia believes that peaceful use of nuclear energy is Iran`s legitimate right,ï¿½ he said, adding Russia will cooperate with Iran within the frameworks of international laws. He expressed his country`s readiness to set up other nuclear power plants in Iran.
2. Iran Regards Positively Cooperation with Russia
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Hussein Musavian, the secretary of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) of Iran, gave high marks to the development of cooperation between Russia and Iran in the sphere of peaceful nuclear energy.
"Russian-Iranian relations are developing rather positively, especially in the sphere of peaceful atom," he said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
"If Russia continues to meet its obligations on the construction of the first phase of the Busher nuclear power station, I think, the level of our cooperation will climb even higher," Mr. Musavian added.
Speaking about the possibility of Russia acting as an intermediary in the negotiation process between Iran and the European Union on the settlement of Iranian nuclear programs issue, Mr. Musavian stated, "Russia, being a member of the UN Security Council, can certainly play a more effective role in the solution of this problem and help to achieve a positive outcome of the talks between Tehran and the EU."
An international conference Nuclear technologies and sustainable development is currently under way in the Iranian capital. In the framework of the forum, Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council Hasan Rowhani stated, "Iran will resume its uranium enrichment programs and suspend the implementation of an additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, if the so-called "Iranian dossier" is submitted to the UN Security Council for revision."
In announcing their deal last Sunday to fuel Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, Russian officials boasted that it will help ensure that Iran stays bomb free. The contract, Moscow officials noted, requires Tehran to return any spent fuel containing weapons-usable plutonium back to Russia. The reactor itself, meanwhile, will be under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nuclear safeguards.
What could be so wrong? Plenty.
First, although it received scant notice in the press, the contract Moscow rushed to cut with Tehran runs out in a mere ten years. For the remaining 20 to 40 years of the reactor's operation, Iran has announced that it will supply Bushehr with enriched fuel itself. Previously, Britain, France, Germany, and Washington insisted that Iran had no need to enrich uranium since Tehran could count on Russia to fuel Bushehr over the machine's entire lifetime. Not any longer.
Second, although the contract calls for Iran to return any spent fuel to Russia, Iran is not required to do so any sooner than several years after the fuel is delivered. This leaves ample time for literally hundreds of bombs worth of weapons-usable plutonium to mount up in Iranian spent-fuel ponds. The contract, in short, does nothing to limit the dangers of Iran's diverting enough spent fuel to a covert reprocessing plant to make not just one, but an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons.
This highlights a more basic problem: As long as there is reason to fear Iran might have a covert enrichment or reprocessing program hidden away, there's a danger fresh or spent fuel from Bushehr could be diverted to make bombs before inspectors could detect or block the diversion. This means that Iran could seize this material openly, withdraw from the NPT, and then make bombs or, alternatively, steal the material, covertly make bombs, and then withdraw.
Last October, my center released a two-year nuclear study that assessed these risks. It concluded that Iranian reactor operators could seize fuel from Bushehr without IAEA inspectors necessarily knowing, convert it into weapons usable fuel, and make a bomb in a matter of weeks. The report's diversion scenarios were quite detailed. They were removed from early drafts of the report at the U.S. government's request. The reason? The scenarios, U.S. officials complained, were "too graphic" and might serve as a manual for would-be bomb makers. Since the report's publication, IAEA officials have privately confirmed that the scenarios presented were worrisome and more than plausible.
What, then, do these gaps in the Russian contract suggest the U.S. and others should do avoid future Irans?
First, get as many nations as possible to agree that any nation that violates the NPT and then withdraws to make bombs will be treated as an international outlaw until it either surrenders or dismantles what nuclear facilities it gained under the NPT. This country-neutral rule, which the U.S., France, and the IAEA's director general have already backed, needs to be adopted and applied in the case of North Korea lest Iran and Iran's neighbors conclude that they too can acquire all they need to make bombs and withdraw with impunity from the NPT.
Second, clarify that the NPT is a nonproliferation treaty and, as such, does not guarantee members an "inalienable right" to unnecessary, unsafeguardable nuclear technology, such as Iran's uneconomical enrichment plant. In addition, the IAEA needs to make sure all large reactors using lightly enriched uranium can be safeguarded against the undetected theft of fresh or spent fuel. This means installing upgraded cameras at the reactor sites that will let the IAEA know instantly if the cameras are functioning or have been tampered with, and that can afford near-real time, wide-area surveillance. It also means putting at least one full-time inspector at each reactor site.
Finally, we need to make sure any positive support the U.S. gives to the Europeanï¿½s current negotiations with Iran (e.g., favoring World Trade Organization membership, opening up U.S. investment or trade, etc.) is conditioned on agreement to specific dates by which Iran must forswear and dismantle any and all enrichment or reprocessing facilities. The U.S. and others also need to agree on what they will do with Iran if it fails to meet these deadlines. At present, no such understanding exists. Indeed, all we have is Russia's weak fuel deal ï¿½ a contract that, if implemented by itself, will only accelerate Iran's nuclear-weapons efforts and encourage other would be bomb makers to model their own actions after Iranï¿½s.
Russia's position on Iran, as presented by President Vladimir Putin to President George W. Bush in Bratislava and by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the EU "troika" in Luxembourg, is crystal clear and rock solid. Their nuclear cooperation is strictly commercial and has absolutely no military significance. The agreement signed on February 27 by the head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) Alexander Rumyantsev and Iranian Vice President and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization Gholamreza Aghazadeh is indeed watertight by IAEA standards (Rosbalt, February 27). Russia will deliver 100 tons of enriched uranium for the nearly completed Bushehr nuclear plant in early 2006. The reactor will be started by the end of 2006, and Iran will return the used fuel to Russia in some 10 years (Newsru.com, February 27). Could there possibly be a problem?
The answer that most Western politicians have been trying to spell out is "Yes," but Moscow's stubborn refusal to hear it means that in fact there are two problems.
The first one is Iran: there are few doubts that this major regional power aspires to develop a nuclear capability. Saddam Hussein's failed bluff and crushing defeat in Iraq mean that the Iranian regime has every reason to see the nuclear option not as a matter of choice but as a matter of survival. Bushehr, even if built "by the book" and entirely transparent, constitutes an important part of this option, providing Iran with valuable expertise and with an entry ticket to the nuclear "club." Tehran clearly wants to make the maximum possible gain from this project, so Rumyantsev, up to the very moment he put his signature on the agreement, had encountered pressure to deliver the nuclear fuel as soon as possible and to relax the demand for its complete repatriation (Izvestiya, February 28). His point that it makes no economic sense for Iran to develop the full cycle of uranium enrichment even if Bushehr's capacity would be doubled or tripled is probably right on target but only makes it harder to deny that it makes perfect security sense (Lenta.ru, February 28). This denial, nevertheless, is performed with remarkable persistency. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, starting yet another European tour, acknowledged that Iran would remain one of the hardest problems in the mid-term and asserted that Russia would "do everything possible to prevent the appearance of nuclear weapons in Iran" (Newsru, March 1).
To all intents and purposes, that pretence of being a part of the solution actually makes Russia the second part of the problem. Its disagreements with the United States on Iran are well documented and the stern comment from the White House on the need to know more details about the Russia-Iran deal confirmed that Bratislava resolved nothing (Newsru, February 28). Cultivating these disagreements, Moscow at least tried to make an impression that its position is very close to the European efforts. Putin corrected this impression with his surprise announcement about the forthcoming visit to Iran, perhaps as soon as April (Polit.ru, February 18).
The EU has refrained from voicing any criticism against the Russian unilateralism, acknowledging that the agreement is technically legitimate (The Guardian, February 28). However, after the Luxembourg meeting, Lavrov mentioned the need to "improve coordination" with the European partners. Translated from the diplomatic language, it simply means that coordination does not work (Interfax, March 1).
Indeed, Britain, France, and Germany are trying to put together a package of incentives in order to dissuade Iran from advancing its project on uranium enrichment -- but Moscow's readiness to strike its own deal despite the deadlock in European negotiations is a strong counter-incentive (Economist, February 26). Russia also undermines Western attempts to put pressure on Tehran with the "Plan B" that starts from discussions in the UN Security Council; even a hint of veto is enough to kill this threat. Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi promptly stated that promises of economic benefits would not bring any change in the nuclear program (Lenta.ru, March 1). That is simply not Russia's problem, and neither is Iran's new refusal to allow the IAEA inspectors to visit the military facilities at Parchin (Lenta.ru, March 2).
Rescuing Iran from international isolation, Russia cannot expect to benefit that greatly. The price tag on Bushehr is about $900 million, which may appear to be good money, but in actuality is barely one-third of the money the Nunn-Lugar program spent over ten years on securing Russia's own nuclear arsenal. Rumyantsev proudly asserted that this project employing some 2,000 specialists "has saved Russian nuclear complex" (Izvestiya, February 28). In reality, however, there is plenty of work on Russia's own nuclear stations, since the Energy Strategy, approved in late 2003, prescribes a steady growth of nuclear energy production. As a way of comparison, it may be worth noting that last December several smart operatives in Putin's inner circle found some $9 billion in a matter of a few days for purchasing Yuganskneftegaz in a rigged auction. The stakes in current big political games in Moscow are therefore approximately one hundred times higher than the annual value of the nuclear contract with Iran.
It would have been very uncharacteristic for Russian foreign policy to pursue such small profit margins at the expense of serious political trouble. It aims at more than just tactical gain, and Putin definitely perceives his forthcoming visit to Tehran in terms of global geopolitics rather than mundane economics (Moskovsky novosti, February 25). A nuclear Iran would probably make a difficult neighbor but, as the discussions at the international conference in Moscow on Iranian nuclear program last December confirmed, Russia does not see this risk as unacceptable (Russia in Global Affairs, January/February). Its only serious disagreement with Iran concerns the Caspian Sea, but since the disputed borders there are those of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, Moscow rather enjoys having this disagreement.
Ultimately, Iran armed with a few nuclear missiles would make Russia's dwindling strategic forces all the more impressive and could give a boost to the nuclear-political power-play that some politicians in Moscow have been missing since the end of the Cold War. Just listen carefully to Ivanov's boasts about new non-interceptable missiles.
5. Russia Sends Mixed Signals on Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
The Jamestown Foundation
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Russian officials have hailed Moscow's announcement of a potentially historic deal with Iran, concerning its continued involvement in developing the nuclear power facility at Bushehr, as a breakthrough. Alexander Maryasov, Russia's ambassador to Iran, believes it removes all concerns about the possibility of Tehran utilizing such facilities in pursuit of a covert nuclear weapons program. However, even within Russia, leading experts have expressed skepticism over Iran's intentions to abandon a nuclear program.
The deal itself, signed on February 27, seems simple in its nature: Russia will continue its essential role in helping Iran while the latter will return spent nuclear fuel extracted from Bushehr, denying the opportunity to gain weapons-grade plutonium. Alexander Rumyantsev, head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), suggested that the deal would pave the way for the Bushehr reactor to begin operating within 18 months. Given the short timescale involved, speculation has mounted in Moscow as to how soon Russian nuclear materials may be shipped to Iran.
Although domestic criticism of the negotiated contractual amendment has been muted within Russia, Alexander Pikayev, a senior researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, noted the weakness of the non-proliferation regime, since it largely concentrates on Iran's intent in Bushehr and ignores its other facilities. Viktor Mizin, a former Foreign Ministry adviser at the research institute, was more pointed: "Any system of checks and controls can only work if the country that signs up to it is ready to observe it. There is an entire network of nuclear facilities in Iran, many of them underground. Huge funds are being poured into this sector."
Nonetheless, though the detail relating to the controversy surrounding Bushehr has been openly questioned, it is worthwhile understanding that Russia did not intend to solve the non-proliferation issue as such. Its aspirations were more firmly rooted in securing its long-standing commitment to furthering the interests of Russia's nuclear technology industry. In working out a plausible path to achieving this under international scrutiny, Moscow has an eye to its relations with Washington, seeking to deflect accusations of aiding Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Defense Minister, commented in Moscow on March 1 that Russia perceives its own self-interest in dissuading the United States from considering force as an option in its evolving Iran policy: "This would definitely not be in Russia's interest and Russia will do everything to prevent events in Iran from following the Iraqi scenario." The Bushehr deal must be seen in that context.
Rumyantsev confirmed Rosatom plans to build nuclear power plants in Bulgaria, China, and Slovakia as well as Iran. There are also prospects for Rosatom to develop nuclear plants elsewhere in Iran, depending on the quantity required by the Iranian government, with efforts currently focused on Ahvaz, where additional power units may be constructed by Russian engineers. Rumyantsev also sought to establish Russian credentials for the safe transportation of spent nuclear fuel, pointing to its experience in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Ukraine. "We have the experience, as well as special containers, special trains, special security arrangements, and satellite communications. In addition, everything is under the control of the IAEA." Thus, Russian economic interests in the field of nuclear energy are being pursued vigorously on an international scale, and the suggestion of a mechanism to ensure no dual use or weaponization occurs at Bushehr promotes these interests.
Two further complicating factors at Bushehr are the large numbers of Russian employees working at the facility and Russian involvement in supplying security jointly with their Iranian hosts. It is estimated that Russia currently has around 2,100 personnel working at Bushehr, and this figure is set to rise shortly to around 3,000. One key difference between construction work carried out there and Russian experience elsewhere in the CIS relates to the subterranean elements of the building work. Andrei Gorelov, a Russian engineer working at Bushehr told NTV in Moscow that Russian workers have dug and equipped 1,000 km of communications and tunnels, though it is not officially for military purposes or because of U.S. threats.
These factors may make some Russian officials think it less likely that these facilities could be subjected to limited air strikes from Western powers. But Ivanov's conviction that Russia must work hard to avoid American intervention in Iran drives Moscow to talk up diplomatic pressure through the EU and also present Iran's peaceful intent at any given opportunity.
Russian diplomacy in the area of the Iranian nuclear program is becoming more sophisticated than its earlier efforts to dissuade Washington from using force in Iraq. The Bushehr deal reveals little about Tehran's actual commitment to abandoning any nuclear aspirations, but it shows the depth and planning in Russian security thinking to forestall a unilateral U.S. solution at a later date. Russian President Vladimir Putin therefore, during his recent summit meeting with President George W. Bush in Bratislava, could easily pay lip service to the importance of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Rosatom's apparent solution to concerns over Russian assistance to Iran gives Putin evidence to offer the West in establishing Moscow's role as a peaceful arbiter. Evidently Russia's economic and geopolitical interests in Iran are set to expand.
1. Japan, Russian Agree to Work Toward Restarting Six-Nation Talks on North Korea
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Japan and Russia said Friday they will continue pressuring North Korea to return to six-nation talks on dismantling the communist nation's nuclear program, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.
Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura told his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in a telephone conversation that Tokyo would push North Korea to quickly rejoin the talks unconditionally, the ministry said in a statement.
Lavrov said Russia was sending North Korea strong signals to resume negotiations, and was also in touch with the European Union and the United States over the issue.
The ministers also agreed to continue discussing dates for visits to Japan by President Vladimir Putin and Lavrov.
Since 2003, Beijing has hosted three rounds of inconclusive six-party negotiations, which also involve South Korea, Japan and Russia. A fourth round scheduled for September never took place because North Korea refused to attend.
In previous talks, North Korea has demanded more aid and a nonaggression treaty with Washington in exchange for giving up its nuclear development.
The United States, meanwhile, wants the North to immediately and verifiably dismantle all its nuclear facilities before granting any concessions.
1. Norway Continues to Allocate Millions for Environmental Projects in North-West Russia
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Murmansk region will receive 31 million Norwegian crowns (about $5m) for solving environmental problems in Andreyeva bay and securing radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs.
On February 15, the governor of Murmansk region Yury Yevdokimov and the governor of Finnmark county Gunnar Kjï¿½nnï¿½y met in Kirkenes and agreed on the list of projects to start in 2005.
According to the agreement, six projects will start in Andreyeva bay this year. Finnmark county allocated for them 11 million Norwegian crowns (about $1.7m), which will be spent of the reconstruction of the maritime terminal for future spent nuclear fuel loading as well as power lines, water supply system, sewage, fire station etc.
The rest of the sum 20 million Norwegian crowns (about $3.3m) will be spent for the RTGï¿½s project, which stipulates securing 31 RTGs, most of which are used as power sources for lighthouses and navigation beacons, and changing them for the solar panels, Norwegian state channel NRK reported.
2. Diggers Found Container for Radioactive Material in Vladivostok
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It was discovered on the territory of the Vladivostok State University during the regular examination of the underground facilities by the Vladdiggerspas group, or VDK, Greenpeace reported. The radiation levels turned out to be normal as the radioactive source was removed earlier by unknown persons. According to the director of Radiation security service Primtekhnopolis Ivan Skogorev, the container is definitely for storage and shipment of the powerful radiation source. The Russian security service has launched investigation.
1. Concerning Thirty-Fifth Anniversary of Entry into Force of Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
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March 5 marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This is the most extensive international treaty, to which 188 states are parties.
NPT is a time-tested instrument, which has become a pillar of the system of international security. The thirty-five years have convincingly demonstrated the effectiveness of the well-balanced structure of the obligations therein contained with respect to the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, disarmament and the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy.
Today the NPT and the nonproliferation regime based on it are going through not easy times, having been confronted with new challenges and threats, of which the main one is the potential danger of use of nuclear materials for terrorist purposes. At the same time, despite all the changes in the world, the Treaty was and remains a major mechanism for checking the danger of the spread of nuclear weapons.
As a state party to the NPT and one of its depositaries, the Russian Federation has undeviatingly been abiding by its obligations under the Treaty and exerting efforts to impart to it a universal character.
The Seventh NPT Review Conference will be held in New York in May 2005 to survey the Treaty's operation and outline specific steps for the future, aimed at strengthening the global regime for nuclear nonproliferation.
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