1. Policy Shifts Felt After Bolton's Departure From State Dept.
Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer
The Washington Post
(for personal use only)
For years, a key U.S. program intended to keep Russian nuclear fuel out of terrorist hands has been frozen by an arcane legal dispute. As undersecretary of state, John R. Bolton was charged with fixing the problem, but critics complained he was the roadblock.
Now with Bolton no longer in the job, U.S. negotiators report a breakthrough with the Russians and predict a resolution will be sealed by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin at an international summit in Scotland next month, clearing the way to eliminate enough plutonium to fuel 8,000 nuclear bombs.
The prospective revival of the plutonium disposal project underlines a noticeable change since Bolton's departure from his old job as arms control chief. Regardless of whether the Senate confirms him as U.N. ambassador during a scheduled vote today, fellow U.S. officials and independent analysts said his absence has already been felt at the State Department.
Without the hard-charging Bolton around, the Bush administration not only has moved to reconcile with Russia over nuclear threat reduction but also has dropped its campaign to oust the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and made common cause with European allies in offering incentives to Iran to persuade it to drop any ambitions for nuclear weapons.
Bolton had also resisted using the so-called New York channel for communications with North Korea, a one-on-one meeting used sporadically through Bush's presidency and most recently revived in May. And fellow U.S. officials said Bolton had opposed a new strategic opening to India offering the prospect of sharing civilian nuclear technology, a move made in March.
For some of Bolton's fans, the changes appear worrisome, signs perhaps that the Bush administration may water down some of its most principled stands without a vocal advocate in the inner policymaking circle. But for many arms-control advocates and even fellow diplomats, Bolton's departure is a welcome relief and an opportunity to restore a more pragmatic approach to international relations.
"Throughout his career in the first Bush administration, he was always playing the stopper role for a lot of different issues and even when there was obvious interest by the president in moving things forward, Bolton often found ways of stopping things by tying the interagency process in knots," said Rose Gottemoeller, a Clinton administration official who worked on nonproliferation issues. "That's the situation we're seeing dissipate now."
Whether the shifting policies reflect Bolton's absence or his absence reflects shifting policies remains a point of debate. When she took over as secretary of state in January, Condoleezza Rice moved to sideline Bolton and reverse some of his approaches, U.S. officials said. By proposing him for the United Nations, she effectively moved him out of the policymaking center at the department's Foggy Bottom headquarters.
"It's less a question of these decisions being taken because John was no longer in the policy loop," said Robert J. Einhorn, who was assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation at the beginning of the Bush presidency. "It's that John was no longer in the Washington-based policymaking loop because the second Bush administration wants to adopt a different approach to dealing with the rest of the world."
Still, other specialists cautioned against overstating the extent of the changes since Bolton's departure and noted that he was always acting in concert with the president's broad wishes. "He was a lightning rod because of his strong and blunt statements," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, an advocacy organization. "But this Bush administration is not going to become the Adlai Stevenson administration just because John Bolton has left the State Department."
The shift in Bolton's role occurred shortly after Bush named Rice as his second-term secretary of state. As the administration's point man confronting Iran's nuclear program, Bolton had blocked U.S. support for a European bid to negotiate a settlement with Tehran, arguing that such talks would legitimize Iran's clerical regime without stopping any secret weapons development.
But Bolton was shut out of Iran after Rice's ascension, according to two U.S. officials, and his policy was reversed. In early January, officials from France, Britain and Germany flew secretly to Washington for a brainstorming session on Iran. Bolton was not invited, European diplomats said. Instead, they met with Elliott Abrams of the National Security Council.
"We weren't the ones who wanted to keep the meeting secret," one European diplomat said. "It was the American side that didn't want him there."
In March, after Bush met with the leaders of France and Germany, Rice announced that the United States would support the European bid to offer Iran incentives such as the right to apply for World Trade Organization membership and to buy badly needed airplane parts in exchange for stopping any weapons program.
"When a draft of the announcement was circulated through the interagency process," one U.S. official said, "Bolton's office wasn't on the list" of people asked to approve the wording.
Bolton's departure also ultimately spelled the end of the administration's campaign against Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA director general leading nuclear inspections in Iran. Administration officials said the effort was primarily driven by Bolton despite significant internal disagreement about investing time and energy in the effort.
Lawrence B. Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to Rice's predecessor, Colin L. Powell, told a Senate committee in April that Bolton went "out of his way to bad-mouth" ElBaradei and "to make sure that everybody knew that the maximum power of the United States would be brought to bear against them if he were brought back in."
But the campaign backfired and the administration had to drop the effort this month after gathering no significant support.
The nuclear dispute with Russia attracted less public attention but proved important internally. A program designed to dispose of 68 tons of weapons-grade plutonium stalled in 2003 when agreements expired. The Bush administration would not renew the pacts unless they included stronger language holding Russia accountable for any nuclear accidents in its territory and protecting U.S. contractors building disposal facilities from liability, even in the case of premeditated actions. Russia refused, and the Bolton-led talks went nowhere for two years.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.), one of the architects of the plutonium program, grew incensed that such a technical impasse could hold up a program of "global importance." He showed up at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee last year to berate Bolton on the matter.
"I submit that Mr. John Bolton, who has been assigned to negotiate this, has a very heavy responsibility" for the impasse, Domenici said at the hearing. "And I hate to say that I am not sure to this point that he's up to it."
"I raised a lot of hell with him," Domenici recalled last week in an interview. Then when Rice took over, he raised it with her as well. "There's no question she got it from me," Domenici said.
Rice pressed for the issue to be fixed, leading to a new framework that the two sides hope to ratify at the Group of Eight summit in Scotland in July. "I'm pleased," Domenici said, "because I'm finally getting some very positive feedback."
2. Russian and United States Specialists Divided Over Plutonium Disposal Agreement
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Between Russian and U.S. specialists there have developed certain differences over the implementation of the inter-government agreement on the elimination of redundant amounts of weapons-grade plutonium.
The Russian federal atomic energy agency Rosatom insists the Russian part of the program should be financed in full from foreign sources, while the United States and its western partners argue that Moscow is capable of taking a share in financing the program, too, in view of the high prices of oil and influx of extra budget revenues.
Rosatom chief Alexander Rumyantsev told the media in Washington on Thursday Russiaï¿½s position fully matched the terms of the Russian-U.S. agreement of 2000 for processing 34 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium into a mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for nuclear power plants.
The United States fully finances its part of the program. It plans to build a MOX-fuel production plant at its Savanna River nuclear complex in South Carolina.
Russia intends to create a similar facility at its Siberian chemical combine in Seversk, the Tomsk Region.
ï¿½Russia contributes to this project with its territory, labor resources and methods and technologies,ï¿½ Rumyantsev said. ï¿½As for the creation of a specific MOX-fuel production facility, it must be financed from foreign sources. It is the hard fact that neither the United States nor other countries, interested in seeing this program implemented, have raised the necessary funds yet.ï¿½
So far 800 million dollars has been accumulated for the purpose. U.S. officials earlier said another 200 million dollars must be found to enable Russia to start building an industrial enterprise to process redundant plutonium.
Rumyantsev argues that in reality this task will require no less than 2.5 billion dollars to accomplish.
ï¿½We shall not make any long strides in addressing this issue as long as there are no clear and documented messages the whole sum we need for the creation of this facility will be provided,ï¿½ he said.
In the long term the sale of MOX fuel to European countries may prove a source of tangible budget revenues. Currently MOX fuel is used in some 30 commercial reactors in France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. The program is also important from the standpoint of nuclear arms non-proliferation.
1. Russian MPs Concerned About Chemical Weapons Destruction Delay
BBC Monitoring and Interfax
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The implementation of the second stage of a special-purpose federal programme "Destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles in the Russian Federation" is in danger of being disrupted, a group of State Duma deputies believe.
"There is a R1.6bn shortfall in financing the programme in 2005, a fact which will inevitably lead to the disruption of the fulfilment of Russian Federation's obligations for the second stage," State Duma deputies representing the regions where chemical weapons are stored and destroyed said in an address to the Russian government.
The text of the address was sent to Interfax-AVN on Thursday [16 June].
To fulfil the obligations stipulated in the second stage of the programme and destroy another 20% of the stockpiles of toxic substances (about 8,000 tonnes) by the end of April 2007, Russia must put into operation chemical weapons destruction facilities in the town of Kambarka (Udmurtia) and the village of Maradykovskiy in Kirov Region by the end of 2005. Meanwhile, the address underlines that the construction of these facilities has been practically stopped because of underfinancing.
The document expresses concern about Russia's possible failure to abide by its international commitments and says that the failure to destroy the chemical weapons by the deadline can cause emergency situations in remote constituent parts of the Russian Federation and lead to an increase in the social and political tension in society.
The address was signed by the first deputy speaker of the State Duma, Lyubov Sliska, the deputy chairman of Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, the head of the State Duma Ecology Committee, Vladimir Grachev, member of the [Duma] Defence Committee Nikolay Bezborodov and other deputies (in total, 14 signatures).
Leaders of the Group of Eight major countries will propose further strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation system when they meet in Gleneagles, Scotland, next month, a draft outline of their summit declaration showed Sunday.
The G-8 will also urge North Korea to completely give up its nuclear ambitions following Pyongyang's announcement that it possesses nuclear arms, according to the draft.
The draft was compiled after the monthlong Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference in New York ended without agreement last month.
The eight nations -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States -- will agree on the need to promote countermeasures for nuclear proliferation in a coordinated manner while urging North Korea to immediately return to the stalled six-nation talks on its nuclear program.
The six-nation talks -- involving the United States, North and South Korea, China, Japan and Russia -- aimed at resolving the issue of North Korea's nuclear programs have been suspended since the third round was held in June last year.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il said Friday North Korea is willing to return to the six-nation talks as early as July if the United States respects the country as a partner, according to South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong Young, who met with Kim in Pyongyang.
In the face of concerns over possible biological and chemical attacks by terrorists, the G-8 will propose promoting the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention while urging non-signatory countries to immediately sign them, according to the draft.
The summit will be held in Gleneagles, 65 kilometers northwest of the Scottish capital of Edinburgh on July 6-8.
1. Deadly Gap Between Nuke Threat, Preventive Efforts
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The greatest security challenge of our times is the prospect of a terrorist attack on an American city with a nuclear weapon. Yet there is a deadly gap between the enormity of this threat and the scope and pace of our action to combat it.
We know that al-Qaida and its ideological allies have the intent to carry out a nuclear terrorist attack. Osama bin Laden has spoken of his desire to bring a "Hiroshima" to the United States, and even sought a fatwa, or religious edict, justifying the murder of up to 10 million Americans. Unlike the former Soviet Union, suicidal terrorists cannot be deterred by the prospect of an American retaliatory strike. What we can do is prevent terrorists from obtaining the materials needed to build a nuclear weapon, most notably highly enriched uranium.
A likely source for terrorists seeking to buy or steal nuclear materials is the former Soviet Union. There are 600 tons of nuclear materials in Russia alone, and much of it is in facilities in need of security and accounting upgrades. Estimates are that there is enough inadequately secured material to produce thousands of nuclear weapons and there is a further risk from unemployed scientists with nuclear know-how, who might sell their services to the highest bidder.
The good news is that the U.S.-Russian Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program -- often referred to as the "Nunn-Lugar" program -- has made inroads over the last decade. Nuclear weapons have been removed from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan; more than 6,000 nuclear warheads have been deactivated; and there have been security upgrades at more than 70 sites in the former Soviet Union.
But given the success of the program and the work that remains to be done, CTR must be expanded and accelerated. We need to dismantle more weapons, support security and accounting upgrades for nuclear materials around the globe, and provide re-employment for scientists with nuclear expertise.
A budget increase is one place to start. The United States spent $1 billion on CTR last year -- a significant amount, but only a quarter of 1 percent of the annual U.S. defense budget. Based on the recommendations of the Baker-Cutler Commission, upon which I served, we should raise spending to $3 billion per year, with a target of spending $35 billion over 10 years.
CTR must be at the top of the agenda in our relationship with Russia. President Bush should set target goals for success and appoint a senior official responsible for meeting those goals. We should encourage the Russians to do likewise. Meanwhile, other states must do more as well. The Group of Eight industrialized democracies (G-8) should make nuclear security a central focus, and our allies should be encouraged to increase their contributions.
Within our own bureaucracy, we need better coordination among the departments of Defense, State and Energy. In Russia, we need access to more sensitive sites, and the Russians in turn want access to U.S. nuclear sites. There are concerns about potential liability in the event of accidents. Congress often imposes certification requirements that tie funding for CTR to a recipient country's performance in areas like human rights or arms control, making it much more difficult for the president to take action to secure these nuclear materials.
It will take sustained presidential leadership and robust congressional action to ensure that CTR is adequately funded; that nuclear security is a top international priority; and that legal and bureaucratic impediments do not get in the way of the security of the American people. It is also past time for the public to be brought into the dialogue on securing loose nuclear materials
Protecting Americans from nuclear terrorism rises above politics. The 9/11 attacks killed thousands of Americans and devastated the country; imagine the impact of an attack that kills hundreds of thousands. If the terrorists cannot get their hands on this material, they cannot build a nuclear weapon. Ten years of CTR have demonstrated an approach that works. We must now make it a higher priority. How will history judge us if we fail to do so?
2. Russian Nuclear Chief Upbeat About Cooperation with USA
BBC Monitoring/Channel One TV
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Text of report by Russian Channel One TV:
[Presenter] Cooperation between Russia and the USA on nuclear security is becoming a norm in relations between the two states, the head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, Aleksandr Rumyantsev, has said in Washington following talks with US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.
[Rumyantsev] We agreed to take active steps in these areas, linked to stocktaking, monitoring, the organization of physical defences and antiterrorist activities. I believe that this action plan deserves particular attention.
When first proposed, the plan was as controversial as it was visionary. In 1991, as the cold war ended, Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar persuaded Congress to enhance America's own safety by helping to secure the vast archipelago of nuclear, chemical and biological dumps dotted across Russia and the former Soviet Union. Three years ago, the Bush administration persuaded its G8 partners (the other G7 rich nations, plus Russia) to take up the cause: between them they pledged $20 billion over ten years to secure Russia's remaining "loose nukes" and the rest. But as another G8 summit looms next month, at Gleneagles in Scotland, Messrs Nunn and Lugar would probably give the summiteers barely a passing grade.
The sense of urgency about the nuclear clean-up that followed the September 11th attacks has dissipated. Three years on, of the $20 billion promised ($10 billion of it by America), the fund is still almost $3 billion short; yet the original pledge was meant to be a floor, not a ceiling. Meanwhile, the tasks mount up. Congress has allowed funds to be drawn away to cope with dangerous weapons caches in other countries; Albania (where some chemical weapons are being destroyed) and Libya are two recent beneficiaries.
The world, Mr Nunn points out, is in a race between the co-operation needed to lock down dangerous weapons materials and the catastrophe that would follow if terrorists managed to get their hands on some sort of bomb. Last month, NATO parliamentarians were treated to the likely consequences of failure in an exercise called "Black Dawn", sponsored by two Washington-based organisations, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Their scenario: a terrorist network steals highly enriched uranium (HEU) of the sort used in often poorly guarded civilian research reactors and then detonates a bomb.
Its plausibility had already prompted the Bush administration last year to set aside $450m over nine years to ship back Russian-origin HEU from similar research reactors. More than 100kg of the stuff has already been returned, largely at America's expense, from Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Libya, Uzbekistan, the Czech Republic and Latvia. Spent fuel is also to be repatriated. And work has started to convert other such reactors (there are some 130 worldwide) to run on less weapons-usable low-enriched uranium. Meanwhile, under a separate, accelerated deal due for completion in 2013, about half of 500 tons of Russia's surplus HEU (enough for 30,000 weapons) has already been blended down for safer commercial use.
Yet not all is going swimmingly with other projects in Russia. By this autumn, the Department of Energy expects to have properly secured 77% of all Russian sites where weapons-usable nuclear material is stored (the job is meant to be completed by 2008). But the bulk of the dangerous stuff is in the remaining sites, including four where weapons work continues and where Russian officials have slammed the door to help from outsiders.
For their part, American negotiators have also been holding out for tough liability rules to govern future co-operation in Russia. The row has already set back by a year implementation of another agreement under whichAmerica and Russia will each dispose of 34 tonnes of plutonium (another bomb ingredient) by turning it into less vulnerable mixed-oxide reactor fuel.
When they met in Bratislava in February, George Bush and Russia's Vladimir Putin agreed to speed things up. America is preparing to compromise over liability. Will Mr Putin knock heads together in Russia's security service, which has been most hostile to letting foreigners into sensitive nuclear sites?
Russian officials fume at the notion that they cannot handle their own security. And Mr Putin would rather the outside world put more of its cash elsewhere: into disposing of Russia's vast stockpile of chemical weapons and into dismantling decommissioned, and in some cases leaking, nuclear submarines that pose an environmental hazard in the Arctic and at naval bases in Russia's far east.
The question is one of priorities. To avoid causing offence, Messrs Nunn and Lugar are keen that America and Russia work on the clean-up effort as full partners. But it is the nuclear threat that gives them nightmares.
1. IAEA Team to Avoid Georgia Rebel Zone Due to Security
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Poor security will stop U.N. nuclear experts visiting Georgia's rebel region Abkhazia to look for possibly missing plutonium on a visit to the former Soviet republic, the U.N. body's chief said on Friday.
"We are going to Georgia. We are not going to Abkhazia this time, because Abkhazia has a lot of difficulty getting access," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters.
An IAEA spokeswoman said ElBaradei was referring to security problems in the region, which inspectors last visited in 2001.
Diplomats close to the IAEA said it wants to check Abkhazia for bomb-grade plutonium or highly enriched uranium that may have gone missing from a nuclear institute in its capital Sukhumi, once a key Soviet research centre.
The IAEA said this week it hoped to verify the safeguarding of nuclear materials in "all of Georgia". This would technically include Abkhazia, which broke away from Georgia in 1993 after a war that devastated the region which is by the Black Sea.
No date has been announced for the inspectors' visit but it is expected "in the coming weeks," a Vienna diplomat said. It is the IAEA's first visit to Georgia since a pro-Western "Rose Revolution" in 2003.
A U.N. diplomat in Vienna said this week there were concerns about 9 kg (20 lb) of plutonium -- enough for two bombs -- that may have gone missing.
Olga Pustovarova, who worked at the Sukhumi institute in the 1980s and is now a Sukhumi-based ecology expert, said on Thursday no dangerous materials had disappeared and all radioactive materials were under armed guard.
Russia's Atomic Energy Agency says all potentially harmful nuclear materials have been removed from the institute.
There are also questions about a kilogram of weapons-grade enriched uranium feared to have vanished from the institute, U.N. diplomats said. A Russian government official denied this.
It takes about 25 kg (55 pounds) of highly enriched uranium to make a standard atomic bomb.
The Soviet Union's collapse left many nuclear facilities with inadequate security. Former Soviet republics with big stocks of nuclear materials face Western pressure to prevent dangerous materials from falling into the wrong hands. (Additional reporting by Maria Golovnina and Margarita Antidze)
2. Russia Has Its Own Non-Proliferation Verification Technologies
Arkady Orlov, RIA Novosti
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Russia has verification technologies for monitoring nuclear non-proliferation, which are widely used in the world, including by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Alexander Rumyantsev, head of the Russian Federal Nuclear Energy Agency (Rosatom), said this to journalists in Washington. He came to the U.S. capital for a session of the Russian-American interdepartmental High Level Group for Nuclear Security.
"We supply many devices to the IAEA, including seals and different techniques," the head of Rosatom said.
"Being a member of the IAEA, Russia supplies it with technologies for effective control of its non-proliferation activities," he stressed.
3. Russia Interested in Strengthening of OPCW ï¿½ Lavrov
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Russia is interested in the strengthening of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it his meeting with the director general of the organizationï¿½s Technical Secretariat Rogelio Pfirter on Friday.
ï¿½I am sure that the talks in Moscow will help achieving this goal. The period of the establishment of the Organization is over and functions successfully,ï¿½ Lavrov said.
Pfirter expressed gratitude for Russiaï¿½s supporting the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the activity of the OPCW.
He said he had got assurances at the talks in Moscow that Russia would fulfil all its obligations.
This is ï¿½good newsï¿½, he said.
He said he would present results of his talks in Moscow at a session of the OPCW Executive Committee that is to be held in ten days.
The Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons came in force on April 29. 1997.
The Hague-based OPCW, members of which are 167 states, was founded for the implementation of the convention.
Russia joined in on December 5, 1997.
The convention bans the development, manufacture, purchase and transfer of a whole class of weapons of mass destruction,
It also commits all signatory states to liquidate their chemical weapons and capacities for production of them, and to put under control of the OPCW industrial facilities related to production of double purpose chemicals.
The OPCW sets a mechanism of international checks of compliance of the signatory states with their obligations.
1. No Politics Behind U.S. Attempt to Arrest Russiaï¿½s Ex-Nuclear Chief Adamov
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There are no political motives behind the U.S. attempt to arrest Russiaï¿½s ex nuclear minister Adamov, Russian nuclear chief Aleksander Rumyantsev said in Washington following talks with U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, Russiaï¿½s NTV television channel reported Friday.
ï¿½I see no underlying political motives in the affair concerning Yevgeniy Adamov,ï¿½ NTV channel quoted Aleksander Rumyantsev, the current head of Russiaï¿½s Federal Atomic Energy Agency as saying while commenting on the arrest of the former Russian atomic energy minister.
During a visit to Washington, Rumyantsev answered questions from an NTV correspondent, including a question about the possibility of political blackmail.
As soon as Adamov was arrested following a request by the U.S. attorneyï¿½s office, it was said that this was an attempt by the United States to get its hands on certain state secrets. Adamov had access to secret documents during his term in office.
ï¿½In the civilized world, legal power is executive and authoritative. And the decision taken by the court in Pittsburgh to request Adamovï¿½s extradition, in this sense, is, how can I put it, based on fact, i.e. there is a list of claims that have been made against a certain individual. So it is somewhat inappropriate to draw some kind of correlation between this and what the state wants,ï¿½ Rumyantsev said.
Cooperation between Russia and the United States on nuclear security is becoming a norm in relations between the two states, Aleksander Rumyantsev said after talks with Samuel Bodman, Russiaï¿½s Channel One reported Friday.
ï¿½We agreed to take active steps in these areas, linked to stocktaking, monitoring, the organization of physical defenses and antiterrorist activities. I believe that this action plan deserves particular attention,ï¿½ he told Channel One.
2. USA, Russia Preparing Experiment on Removal of Nuclear Fuel from Uzbekistan
Arkady Orlov, RIA Novosti
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The USA and Russia will stage a "pilot" experiment on the removal of nuclear fuel waste from the research reactor in Uzbekistan, Rosatom head Alexander Rumyantsev told the press in Washington. He stayed in the US capital in order to take part in the work of the Russian-US bilateral interdepartmental High-Level Group for Cooperation on Nuclear Security. One direction of the group's work is the Russian-US program on the removal of fuel waste from the research reactors built in various countries by the USA and the Soviet Union, however, nuclear fuel waste will be withdrawn from Uzbekistan for the first time, he said.
"We are completing a state expert examination of this project and hope that we will return such a batch of irradiated fuel elements to the Russian Federation this year," Rumyantsev said.
In his words, the program is being implemented successfully and Russia, together with the USA, has already removed nuclear fuel waste from a number of countries.
"The program to return fresh fuel from these reactors, in case they have stopped operating, is being implemented and we have removed fuel from such countries as Yugoslavia, the Chech Republic and Romania", he said.
Speaking of the meeting of the interdepartmental High-Level Group in Washington, Rumyantsev said that its main aim was the discussion of the tasks set by the Russian and US presidents at the Bratislava summit in the field of nuclear security, and coordination of the High-Level Group's report.
The meeting was successful and confirmed that "our cooperation with the USA in the non-proliferation field is becoming a norm of our interstate relations," Rumyantsev said.
1. Czech, Russian Bids for Belene Nuke Construction
Sofia News Agency
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Two consortiums - a Czech and a Russian one - will bid for a contract with Bulgaria's government to build a EUR 2 B nuclear plant, the energy ministry has said.
The two consortiums - one led by the Czech Skoda company and another by Russia's Atomstroyexport - were the only bidders that met the Friday deadline for acquiring tender papers, according to ministry's spokeswoman Tanya Gigova.
The applicants must submit their detailed offers of technical specifications and financial blueprints by July 17.
The bidders for the construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear plant include an annual turnover of at least USD 5 B and previous experience in the construction and commissioning of water-pressurized nuclear units.
The construction of the Belene nuke, which has been frozen for more than a decade due to environmentalist protests, is expected to start operating in 2011 earliest.
The project which under preliminary estimates will cost some EUR 2 B have attracted the interest of two investors - Russia's RAO and Italy's Enel.
Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov has recently launched the idea that the construction of the nuclear plant should be undertaken by a public-private partnership with participation of all Balkan countries.
1. Conversation at Russian MFA on Outcome of Inter-Korean Contacts in Pyongyang
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
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On June 20, a meeting between K. V. Vnukov, Director of the First Asia Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, and Kim Won Su, Director of the Department of Political Planning of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea took place at the Korean side's initiative.
The Korean diplomat briefed on the content of the contacts between the representatives of South and North Korea that had been held in Pyongyang as part of the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the first inter-Korean meeting at the highest level. There was emphasized on the Korean side the importance of the constructive exchange of views between the Republic of Korea and the DPRK, held on June 17 during the conversation of Chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission Kim Chong-il with Minister of Unification of the Republic of Korea Chung Dong-young, for the earliest possible resumption of six-party Beijing talks on resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear problem.
The Russian side voiced support to the efforts of Seoul and Pyongyang, aimed at moving dialogue and exchanges forward with the aim of strengthening peace and trust and developing economic and humanitarian cooperation. Conviction was expressed that the intensification and deepening of inter-Korean engagement is an important stimulus of improving the situation and searching for compromise solutions to the Korean Peninsula nuclear problem within the framework of the six-party negotiating process.
The threat of international terrorism is uniting former enemies. One vivid example of this is the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction; as part of this program, the West is helping Russia to scrap its nuclear and chemical arsenals. Canada is one of the most active participants in the disarmament process. Canadian Ambassador Christopher Westdal answers our questions about achievements and plans in this sector.
Question: What's the essence of Canada's assistance in ensuring the security of nuclear materials and dismantling nuclear submarines?
Christopher Westdal: Our country has already paid CDN$21.78 million to fund 38 projects under the aegis of the International Science and Technology Center, and helped to get 881 former Russian weapons scientists involved in peaceful research projects. The remaining money was spent on re-training and finding jobs for these scientists. We allocated CDN$4 million via the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund for programs aimed at improving specialists' skills and nuclear and radiological security. We allocated 9 million Canadian dollars for shutting down a reactor producing plutonium in Zheleznogorsk. Around CDN$65 million was spent on scrapping plutonium. We also focus on projects linked with scrapping of radioisotope thermoelectric generators created for beacons in the Arctic region. We are discussing these projects with other potential sponsors and the Russian nuclear agency. Over CDN$47 million was spent on building a chemical weapons destruction plant in the town of Shuchye. This budget was used for building a gas pipeline (105 kilometers) linking storehouses and the chemical plant ($1 million was allocated by the US Nuclear Threat Initiative), and creating the infrastructure for these facilities. The Canadian government considers the prospects of allocating money for hardware needed for processing chemical weapons. Canada will pay CDN$56.4 million for dismantling six submarines, unloading nuclear fuel from one submarine and towing four submarines. We intend to sign contracts to dismantle six more submarines. Canada allocated EUR20 million to the foundation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for dismantling nuclear submarines in Russia's north-western regions.
Question: Canada stated at the summit in Kananaskis that it will allocate around $1 billion for disarmament to Russia within ten years. Some experts are sceptical about such prospects.
Christopher Westdal: We have already allocated over CDN$250 million. We plan to launch several large programs in the future.
Question: Canada rejected Russia's proposal to participate in financing the chemical weapons destruction plant in Leonidovka. Canada proposed to fund the completion of a similar plant in Shuchye. Why?
Christopher Westdal: We were deterred by the very high cost of the project, the absence of detailed information about the plant and lack of coordination of the joint effort aimed at scrapping chemical weapons. We informed the Russian authorities about this decision in April 2003 and proposed to finance the Shuchye plant because it will scrap weapons, which poses a terrorist threat.
The arsenals in Shuchye hold over 5,400 tons of toxic gas in 1.9 million artillery shells. These shells are light enough to be stolen by terrorists. Canada made this decision under influence from other sponsors of this project. Our investment is substantial. However, it's not enough to complete the plant. Uniting effort with the US and Britain, we share financial risks and increase the probability of completing the object.
Question: Russia and Canada asked all nations to join 12 conventions and protocols aimed at combating terrorism, including Resolution 1540 by the UN Security Council, which concerns mass destruction weapons. What has Canada managed to do since that appeal?
Christopher Westdal: I would add IAEA guarantees and two conventions (on the prohibition of chemical and biological weapons) to the documents, which you mentioned. Canada participated in negotiations, which resulted in the passage of the UN Convention on preventing nuclear terrorist acts, in April 2005. We congratulate Russia, which initiated and defended this idea, and are looking forward to signing this document in New York in September.
Question: Ordinary Russian citizens often wonder why the West spends its money on disarmament programs in Russia.
Christopher Westdal: Our aid is not charity. This is partnership on the basis of common interests. This is investment in Canada's security. Our common security becomes stronger if chemical weapons become unavailable for terrorists. This is why 22 nations are involved in global partnership. I shudder to think what could happen to Moscow, New York, or Toronto if terrorists obtained mass destruction weapons. Our civilization would be destroyed.
Question: However, terrorists have not managed to get nuclear or chemical weapons. The Russian defense minister organized a special exercises on the Kola peninsula last year in order to convince NATO's representatives that the security of Russian nuclear weapons is reliable.
Christopher Westdal: Canada appreciates Russia's effort aimed at ensuring the security of nuclear materials. At the same time, global partnership is a very vulnerable thing. Some people ask why we send money to Russia, which keeps $130 billion in its stabilization foundation. On the other hand, some Russian people could ask why we need these foreigners, who sniff something out at our secret facilities. In other words, the echo of the Cold War shows itself. This is why it's very important to explain to people why we help Russia. This is the most important program of our embassy. Global partnership makes it possible to prevent proliferation of mass destruction weapons and decrease the threat of environmental disasters, including in the Arctic region. This is very important from the point of view of human rights. It's very difficult to separate national and global interests.
Question: Global partnership also implies cooperation between the military establishments of different countries. What's your opinion about military reforms in Russia?
Christopher Westdal: Russia has only $20 billion for paying decent wages to military and civil specialists and developing its military component. This is a very difficult task. In my opinion, Russia should create a reasonable proportion of forces. When a bomb falls onto a house we must ask how many terrorists we killed and how many terrorists we created, sowing anger in their relatives. Chechnya is a graphic example. No one denies that we need to use force against terrorists. However, it must be proportional to the evil. This is a very topical problem of military reforms. It's inadmissible to operate on the brain using a axe.
Question: Is military technology cooperation (arms sales) between Russia and Canada possible? The Canadian Army uses US weapons, but all the same...
Christopher Westdal: Canada is open to Russian weapons and military hardware. There are no serious obstacles in this sector. The Canadian deputy defense minister for armaments visited Russia a few months ago. He met with Russian exporters and discussed the terms of tenders. He stated that the doors are open to Russian exporters. It should be noted that the budget of the Canadian Defense Ministry will increase this year. The matter does not concern aggression. Our principle is defense, diplomacy and development. Peacekeeping operations also require military force.
3. Statement on Progress in Achieving the President's Nonproliferation Proposals
Office of the Press Secretary, The White House
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The United States welcomes today's action by the 35 nation International Atomic Energy (IAEA) Board of Governors to create a Special Committee on Safeguards and Verification, as proposed by the President. The creation of this special committee will aid efforts to counter the proliferation of nuclear weapons and will strengthen the IAEA's ability to monitor and enforce compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and related agreements.
The creation of this special committee is one of the proposals the President made in February 2004 to address nuclear proliferation. Since that time, substantial progress has been made in achieving the President's other nonproliferation proposals; including:
Expansion of the Proliferation Security Initiative to include more nations, and development of new approaches for interdicting weapons of mass destruction and related material. We recently commemorated the second anniversary of PSI with representatives from over 100 nations.
Adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 on April 28, 2004, that requires all states to criminalize proliferation by nonstate actors, enact strict export controls, and secure sensitive materials within their borders.
Expansion of the G-8 Global Partnership to include not only the G-8 but thirteen other donor countries. Ukraine has joined as both a donor and recipient and additional countries are also being considered.
Agreement by the G-8 to limit transfers of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities while examining options to permanently restrict these technologies at the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
4. White House Extending Emergency Order on Russian Fissile Material
Office of the Press Secretary, The White House
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CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO THE RISK OF NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION CREATED BY THE ACCUMULATION OF WEAPONS-USABLE FISSILE MATERIAL IN THE TERRITORY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
On June 21, 2000, the President issued Executive Order 13159 (the "Order") blocking property and interests in property of the Government of the Russian Federation that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereinafter come within the possession or control of United States persons that are directly related to the implementation of the Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation Concerning the Disposition of Highly Enriched Uranium Extracted from Nuclear Weapons, dated February 18, 1993, and related contracts and agreements (collectively, the "HEU Agreements"). The HEU Agreements allow for the downblending of highly enriched uranium derived from nuclear weapons to low enriched uranium for peaceful commercial purposes. The Order invoked the authority, inter alia, of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq., and declared a national emergency to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the risk of nuclear proliferation created by the accumulation of a large volume of weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation.
The national emergency declared on June 21, 2000, must continue beyond June 21, 2005, to provide continued protection from attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment, or other judicial process for the property and interests in property of the Government of the Russian Federation that are directly related to the implementation of the HEU Agreements and subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to weapons-usable fissile material in the territory of the Russian Federation. This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
5. Lugar Calls For Accelerated Cooperation with Russia
Office of Sen. Richard Lugar
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U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar met today with the Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Igor Ivanov, and applauded Russian and American cooperative efforts to accelerate joint progress in safety and security upgrades at Russian nuclear warhead storage facilities.
ï¿½President Bush has made it clear that the United States stands ready to significantly increase the pace of efforts to improve security surrounding nuclear warheads and materials in Russia and elsewhere around the worldï¿½ Senator Lugar said. ï¿½I believe we must continue to accelerate our cooperation to reduce these threats to both the United States and Russia.ï¿½
The United States and Russia continue to work together to formulate a planned schedule to resolve remaining safety and security issues at Russian storage locations and to identify locations elsewhere around the world where the countries can work together to safeguard nuclear materials.
The Bush Administration has expressed its strong support for these efforts with a 22 percent increase in funding for programs to improve controls over nuclear warheads, materials and expertise. ï¿½This represents the largest U.S. budget for these efforts, ever, and demonstrates President Bushï¿½s commitment to dealing with this threat. I am hopeful that all security upgrades to nuclear warhead and material sites can be completed by the end of 2008, as outlined by Presidents Bush and Putin at their summit in Bratislava, Slovakia,ï¿½ Lugar noted.
ï¿½I also look forward to the United States and Russia continuing to work together to contain the weapons grade material outside the former Soviet Union that poses a threat to international security. The Bush administration has made an important start with Secretary Abrahamï¿½s announcement last year of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, which is aimed at securing a broad range of vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials around the world. This cooperation has led to significant achievements including the removal of dangerous materials from Belgrade, Serbia; Rez, Czech Republic; Salaspils, Latvia; Tripoli, Libya; Sofia, Bulgaria; Bucharest, Romania; and Tashkent, Uzbekistan.ï¿½
Senator Lugar expressed concern that the cooperation and impressive results of the past may be jeopardized if the U.S. and Russia are unable to reach a conclusion to the issues surrounding liability on nonproliferation projects. ï¿½The Nunn-Lugar program has operated in Russia under an umbrella agreement that was negotiated in 1991. That agreement was submitted to the State Duma and was approved, and therefore carried the force of law. The provisions of the 1991 agreement on liability provided a blanket exemption from liability for all activities funded under the Nunn-Lugar program,ï¿½ noted Lugar. ï¿½In 1999, the umbrella agreement expired of its own terms and was signed again by the governments of the United States and the Russian Federation. Since 1999, the Russian Government has not submitted the 1999 umbrella agreement to the Duma for ratification. Negotiations aimed at resolving the liability issue continue related to both the Nunn-Lugar program and the Plutonium Disposition Program. I applaud the urgency the Bush Administration places on this important issue and remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached prior to the upcoming G-8 meeting at Glen Eagles, Scotland.ï¿½
In 1991, Senator Lugar (R-IN) and former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) authored the Nunn-Lugar Act, which established the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. This program has provided U.S. funding and expertise to help the former Soviet Union safeguard and dismantle its enormous stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, related materials, and delivery systems. In 1997, Lugar and Nunn were joined by Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) 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. In October 2004, Nunn-Lugar funds were used for the first time outside of the former Soviet Union to secure chemical weapons in Albania.
The latest Nunn-Lugar Scorecard shows that the program has deactivated or destroyed: 6,624 nuclear warheads; 580 ICBMs; 477 ICBM silos; 21 ICBM mobile missile launchers; 147 bombers; 789 nuclear air-to-surface missiles; 420 submarine missile launchers; 546 submarine launched missiles; 28 nuclear submarines; and 194 nuclear test tunnels.
Beyond the scorecardï¿½s nuclear elimination, the Nunn-Lugar program secures and destroys chemical weapons, and works to reemploy scientists and facilities related to biological weapons in peaceful research initiatives. The International Science and Technology Centers, of which the United States is the leading sponsor, have engaged 58,000 former weapons scientists in peaceful work. The International Proliferation Prevention Program has funded 750 projects involving 14,000 former weapons scientists and created some 580 new peaceful high-tech jobs. Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan are nuclear weapons free as a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-Lugar program.
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