Prospects are good that the United States and Russia will soon conclude an agreement designed to keep Russian nuclear fuel out of terrorists' hands, a Senate architect of the program said Monday.
``Daylight is on the horizon'' and the agreement could be signed by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-8 meeting of leading industrialized countries in Scotland July 6-8, said Sen. Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M., in an Associated Press telephone interview.
The goal is to dispose of 68 tons of weapons-grade plutonium. The main hurdle for the last two years has been arrangements for compensation in the event of accidents. U.S. contractors are seeking protection from liability at disposal facilities they would construct.
Domenici, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said efforts to define responsibility for accidents had moved along and the two sides were making headway toward an agreement.
He credited Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and John R. Bolton, the department's top international security official until he was nominated to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, with major progress toward resolving a two-year impasse.
``Bolton took a very active and positive role before I ever talked to Secretary Rice,'' Domenici said. ``She then went on to work very hard to unsnarl the liability problem, and we have made great strides.''
Bolton, whose nomination is being contested by Senate Democrats, has been succeeded as undersecretary of state by Bob Joseph.
Last June, Domenici rebuked Bolton at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing for not resolving the liability issue. ``It ought to be resolved, and if he can't do it, somebody ought to be put in his place that will do it,'' Domenici said at the time.
But in January, U.S. negotiators offered the Russians a compromise arrangement that eased liability responsibilities and the Bush administration is now waiting for a formal response from Moscow.
``The concept is rather novel to them and very hard to put into an agreement, but I think they are making headway,'' Domenici said.
1. Ministers Discuss Funds for Chemical Weapons Destruction
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In 2007, Russia is expected to destroy 8,000 metric tons of chemical weapons, Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said at a cabinet session today.
"Large facilities and resources are clearly required for that," he said.
"We took a serious approach to calculating the financing required for the program (to dispose chemical weapon), but over 4 billion rubles (around $140 million) more are required to honor our commitments," Khristenko said.
Khristenko said the issue had to be reconsidered "calmly" and additional sources of financing had to be identified.
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin promised to find the needed money.
Khristenko said the Federal Target Program to destroy chemical weapons contained clear deadlines under Russia's international commitments.
1. Upper House Ratifies Russia-Italy Agreement on Sub Scrapping
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Russia's Federation Council (the upper chamber of parliament) ratified an agreement today between the Russian and Italian governments on the joint dismantling of Russian nuclear submarines.
The agreement covers vessels that have been decommissioned by the Russian Navy, and the joint handling of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
Gennady Khripel, the deputy chairman of the international affairs committee, said the document had been signed in November 2003 as part of an agreement on global partnership in counteracting the proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction.
"The agreement establishes the legal framework for Russia to use free of charge financial and technological aid from Italy worth 360 million euros within the next ten years to dismantle nuclear submarines," the senator said. He said the aid would also go toward solving other nuclear and environmental issues in dealing with radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel.
According to Khripel, the document was based on a framework agreement on a multilateral nuclear and environmental program that Russia ratified in December 2003.
He said the ratification met Russia's national interests and would be crucial for its foreign policy. In particular, he said it would reaffirm Russia's consistent and predictable steps in its efforts to achieve a high level of nuclear safety.
"Moreover, the ratification of the agreement will help reduce the burden on the federal budget and provide orders to Russian enterprises and organizations that operate on a contract basis and that were chosen by the Italian contractor," said Khripel.
1. AAAS Expert Proposes 'Layered Defense' To Protect Against Smuggled Nuclear Materials
American Association for the Advancement of Science
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Existing monitors for detecting smuggled nuclear weapons components at U.S. ports are "an important first step," AAAS expert Benn Tannenbaum told policymakers at a 21 June hearing before U.S. policymakers. But, he added, "More needs to be done to protect the United States from smuggled nuclear weapons" because current portal monitors probably could not detect even a few kilograms of highly enriched uranium, even if only lightly shielded.
Tannenbaum, a senior program associate with the AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy, was invited by members of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack and the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science, and Technology of the Committee on Homeland Security to provide objective information on efforts to detect nuclear weapons and radiological material.
His remarks were based on research conducted for AAAS by two independent experts -- Professors Frank von Hippel of Princeton University and Steve Fetter of the University of Maryland. The two experts recently completed a detailed report for the Center, at the request of Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS).
In a summary letter to the Congressmen, Norman Neureiter, director of the AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy, noted that "a several-kilogram cylinder of uranium metal, shielded by a few millimeters of lead and steel and placed in a shipping container, is likely to escape detection by portal monitors using current detectors, algorithms, and operational procedures."
What is the best way to protect the United States and its ports from smuggled nuclear weapons components such as enriched uranium?
In his testimony, Tannenbaum proposed a "layered defense," incorporating currently deployed monitors at U.S. and international ports; plus new detectors and scanners for locating radiological and fissile material while a ship is in transit. At the same time, Tannenbaum noted that "it will always be far easier to monitor a lump of uranium at a known location than it will be to detect uranium smuggling."
He suggested expanding the Comprehensive Threat Reduction program, which currently helps to safeguard much of Russia's highly enriched uranium and plutonium, while converting some of it to fuel for use in nuclear power reactors. Converting nuclear research reactors to use low enriched uranium also would improve national security, Tannenbaum noted.
The current generation of passive radiation detectors can identify isotopes such as cesium-137, cobalt-60, or americium-241 -- all potential components of dirty bombs -- by monitoring the rate at which radioactive decays occur near a sensor, Tannenbaum explained.
Highly enriched uranium "is very difficult to detect" using existing passive radiation detectors, he said. Some ports of entry have both active and passive detectors. But, better detection might be achieved by increasing sampling times, decreasing the distance between the container and the detector, decreasing background radiation with additional shielding and adding collimators to the detectors. In addition, future detectors must have better energy resolution. "This will allow one to distinguish harmless radioactive materials, such as kitty litter, from dirty bombs and nuclear weapons," Tannenbaum testified.
Tannenbaum cited several new technologies that are now under development for locating radiological and fissile materials. At Los Alamos National Lab, for example, researchers are using cosmic rays to find very dense materials, such as plutonium and uranium, in kilogram quantities within cargo containers, according to Tannenbaum. At Lawrence Livermore National Lab, researchers use neutrons to "ping" a container, which provides useful data because fissile materials have a very characteristic gamma ray response. The Ohio-based company Quintell also is developing inexpensive detectors that would be placed in cargo containers during transoceanic shipment, Tannenbaum said. These detectors take advantage of the 10 or more day transit time to locate highly enriched uranium before it enters a U.S. port. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration, meanwhile, have begun construction of a facility to test portal monitors.
Authorities have thwarted two attempts to break into Russian military nuclear facilities since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, a Defense Ministry official said Wednesday.
There have been no terrorist attacks on the facilities, but civilians twice tried unsuccessfully to gain illegal access, said Col. Gen. Igor Valynkin, chief of the ministry's 12th Main Department, which is in charge of atomic weapons.
The attempts to penetrate military nuclear installations occurred in 2002 and 2003, both in the European part of Russia, Valynkin said. In both cases, the attempts involved one intruder.
The attempts "were averted by our mobile units and security at the facilities," he said, asserting they were reliably protected from penetration by intruders and potential terrorist attacks.
"Our system is good, it works and it provides nuclear security," he said.
However, Valynkin acknowledged that "there are problems with nuclear security" and said it is being improved with help from the United States and other foreign donors, including by installing security systems that eliminate the need for human guards.
"The human factor plays a role everywhere," he said. "If you place a guard at an installation, he is doubtless a protector, but he also can be an individual who either violates or aids in the violation or penetration of the facility."
He said Russia is using U.S. and German funding, as well as its own money, "to strengthen our facilities with security systems. This enables us to take away the guard and fully control it through technical means of protection."
Valynkin said the main source of a potential terrorist threat to the Kremlin's nuclear weapons facilities is "Chechen terrorist groups," which have warned that they will target Russian facilities of all kinds.
He suggested there had been warnings from the Federal Security Service, or FSB, indicating potential terrorist threats to specific installations, but he would not discuss the issue in detail.
"We get special information from the FSB on terrorism and their plans as to our facilities, and in connection with this we immediately take measures at these facilities," he said.
3. Terror at Russia Nuke Facilities Not Totally Ruled Out - DM
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The security of Russian Defence Ministry's nuclear facilities is ï¿½reliably ensured,ï¿½ head of the 12th Main Department of the Defence Ministry Colonel-General Igor Valynkin told Itar-Tass in an interview on Wednesday.
However, according to the Defence official who is responsible for security of Russian nuclear arsenals, ï¿½It is very difficult to stage nuclear terrorism acts at our nuclear facilities, but nobody can say at present that this possibility is 100 percent ruled out.ï¿½
4. United States Eyes Detectors at Sea, New Monitor Technology in Bid to Foil Nuclear Smuggling
Global Security Newswire
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Placing radiation monitors in cargo containers at sea and deploying new spectroscopic monitors at ports could help the United States overcome the inherent difficulties in detecting illicit nuclear material in transit, experts and officials said yesterday at a House of Representatives hearing (see GSN, June 21).
A recent spate of congressional hearings and expert reports has focused new attention on the obstacles to detecting highly enriched uranium, which emits relatively weak radiation and can be effectively shielded with heavy materials such as lead. Critics say portal monitors deployed in recent years at many U.S. ports are not capable of doing their job.
ï¿½An abundance of recent evidence suggests that the technology used may not actually meet the needs at hand,ï¿½ Representative Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) said at the joint hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee subcommittees on WMD defense and emergency preparedness.
Difficulties in detecting highly enriched uranium could be mitigated, acting Domestic Nuclear Detection Office head Vayl Oxford said, by resolving a related problem on which critics have also seized: the frequent inability of current detectors to discriminate among radiation sources.
ï¿½Recent reports have been published in the media questioning the overall capability of currently deployed detection equipment,ï¿½ Oxford said in a statement delivered to the subcommittees. ï¿½Contrary to public perception that detection equipment is not sensitive enough, the actual primary limitation of todayï¿½s systems is one of discrimination.ï¿½
ï¿½Specifically,ï¿½ he said, ï¿½todayï¿½s equipment lacks a refined capability to rapidly determine the type of radioactive materials it detects. Operationally, this leads to higher nuisance alarm rates ï¿½ the number of alarms that must be resolved by further inspection.ï¿½
Monitor operators, Oxford said, are turning down the sensitivity settings on their equipment, reducing the number of false alarms but also the probability of detecting a nuclear or radiological weapon. Use of new ï¿½spectroscopicï¿½ technology that is better able to discriminate among various radiation-emitting materials, he said, could allow monitors to operate at higher sensitivities.
To that end, Oxfordï¿½s office is spearheading an Advanced Spectroscopic Portal program, which has awarded contracts for monitor development to 10 firms. The program plans ï¿½late this summer,ï¿½ he said, to test the firmsï¿½ prototypes against each other at the new Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures Test and Evaluation Complex, part of the Nevada Test Site. A ï¿½limited number of vendorsï¿½ will then be chosen to begin production, Oxford said.
National Nuclear Security Administration material protection specialist David Huizenga said that ï¿½if these tests are successful,ï¿½ the Energy Departmentï¿½s Second Line of Defense program hopes to obtain some of the new portal monitors for use ï¿½in secondary inspection locationsï¿½ at ports abroad. The new portal monitors would be about eight times more expensive than present detectors.
ï¿½The potential improvement in sensitivity may or may not be significant,ï¿½ Huizenga said at the hearing. ï¿½Until these monitors are completed and tested, it is impossible to know for sure.ï¿½
Both Huizenga and Oxford also highlighted the potential for using radiography in conjunction with portal detectors to foil attempts at smuggling shielded nuclear material. By adding radiographic detection of very dense objects, officials hope that when shielding prevents them from detecting radiation, they can identify the shielding itself because of its density.
Homeland Security Associates founder Randall Larsen said in an interview today that such technology driven approaches fundamentally miss the point. He said that given the impossibility of monitoring tens of thousands of miles of U.S. borders, the highest priority should be on securing or detecting materials before they reach the country.
ï¿½I think weï¿½re still wasting money putting it in seaports,ï¿½ Larsen said. ï¿½Weï¿½re dealing with a thinking enemy. Some people want to put three locks on the front door and leave the back door open.ï¿½
Checks at Sea Could Detect Low-Rate Radiation
Several witnesses at the hearing endorsed the idea of placing monitors in cargo containers when they begin traveling to the United States. They said the approach could lead to better detection of materials ï¿½ including highly enriched uranium ï¿½ that emit radiation at a low rate and, as a result, take time to detect.
The chairman of a recent Defense Science Board task force on detection, Richard Wagner, called such monitoring ï¿½a crucially important theme to pursue.ï¿½
ï¿½More attention should be devoted to developing methods of detection at sea,ï¿½ Wagner said at the hearing.
The proposal is one of ï¿½several interesting R&D programs exploring new techniques to locate radiological and fissile materials,ï¿½ American Association for the Advancement of Science security technology specialist Benn Tannenbaum testified.
ï¿½These detectors take advantage of the 10-day or longer transit time to locate HEU,ï¿½ Tannenbaum said. ï¿½This has the additional feature of allowing the interception of dangerous materials before they enter a U.S. port.ï¿½
Larsen today questioned the appropriateness of such plans, citing the large volume of sea commerce bound for the United States ï¿½ ï¿½You know how many ships there are that come in, that cross those 95,000 miles of shoreline?ï¿½ ï¿½ and what he called the low likelihood that a nuclear or radiological attacker would choose to attack via shipping container.
ï¿½Iï¿½d bring it in a cigar boat,ï¿½ he said, adding that only ï¿½a very cooperative terroristï¿½ would transport a weapon through a monitored port.
Larsen said spending would be better directed toward securing materials where they lie and that, if more effective detectors are developed, they should first be deployed abroad in hopes of intercepting smuggled materials before they reach the United States.
GAO Points to Poor Coordination
In a summary of recent Government Accountability Office reports on nuclear detection, office Natural Resources and Environment Director Gene Aloise told the subcommittees that a long-standing ï¿½lack of effective planning and coordination amongï¿½ the Homeland Security, Defense, State and Energy departments in developing and deploying detectors ï¿½has improvedï¿½ since the recent issuance of a government-wide plan on the subject.
Still, coordination problems remain. Among a host of examples, Aloise said the State Department has installed ï¿½less sophisticatedï¿½ monitors in foreign countries than have the Energy and Defense departments; that Homeland Security was not sharing the data its monitors generated with most Energy Department laboratories; and that various federal agencies have tested portal monitors without sharing their results with each other.
Aloise added that improper use of monitors both in the United States and elsewhere has hindered effectiveness. Operators of Homeland Security portals in the United States, he said, have allowed vehicles to pass through the monitors at high speeds, turned down detection sensitivity and failed to deploy enough handheld monitors.
Turning to efforts abroad, he said half the portal monitors the United States gave one former Soviet country ï¿½were never installed or were not operational,ï¿½ that Bulgaria deployed a U.S.-provided portal ï¿½on an unused road that was not expected to be completed for 1 1/2 yearsï¿½ and that State Department radiation detection vans are ineffective in cold weather.
1. No U.S. Nuclear Inspectors to Check Russia Nuclear Defense Facilities
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U.S. inspectors will not be permitted to inspect Russian nuclear facilities under the auspices of the Defense Ministry's 12th Department, the Defense Ministry's Gen. Igor Valynkin said at a news conference Wednesday.
"Inspections of [nuclear] facilities are conducted in accordance with the START-II Treaty," said Valynkin.
According to Valynkin, the facilities in question are not subject to inspections under the treaty. Foreign inspectors are granted limited access only if nuclear safety equipment was purchased with foreign funds. In this case, inspectors can check if the equipment is properly assembled.
However, the Defense Ministry receives no money from foreign partners, and pays for the equipment and the assembly with its own money, said Valynkin.
1. Russia Reduces Nuclear Warheads by 75 Percent Under START-1, Defence Ministry
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Russia has fulfilled its obligations under the Russian-American Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-I) ï¿½totally and even exceeded the target,ï¿½ head of the 12th Main Department of the Defence Ministry Colonel-General Igor Valynkin told journalists on Wednesday.
According to the official, ï¿½Under the START-1 Treaty and fulfilling obligations assumed by our presidents we were to reduce our nuclear arsenals by 64 percent, but reduced them by 75 percent.ï¿½
1. Moscow Welcomes OSCE Approval of Nuclear Terrorism Convention
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Moscow welcomed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's statement in support of a new convention on fighting nuclear terrorism.
"The fact the OSCE adopted the ministerial statement shows growing solidarity among the members of the Organization in the fight against terrorism and the OSCE's increasingly prominent role in this important sphere of international cooperation," Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement.
The OSCE adopted the foreign ministerial statement on June 20 in support of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. The initiative to adopt the statement was advanced by Russia and France. Fifty-five OSCE countries thereby pledged to make efforts to sign the convention in New York on September 14, when the UN summit opens. They also pledged to ensure its ratification as soon as possible.
The UN General Assembly adopted the convention on April 13, 2005. To come into force, 22 countries must ratify it.
If ratified, it would be the 13th in a series of anti-terrorism conventions and protocols.
1. Iran Says Russian Nuclear Fuel Could Come Within Months
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Iran could take delivery of Russian nuclear fuel to fire up its first nuclear power station within months, a senior atomic energy official said.
"The site is 84 percent finished and will be completed towards the end of 2006," Assadollah Sabouri, the deputy head of Iran's atomic energy organisation, told reporters taken on a visit of the site.
"The fuel is in Russia and ready to be transported, and it will be delivered soon but the exact date will remain confidential," he added.
Asked if it would arrive before the end of 2005, he replied: "God Willing, in a few months!"
Earlier this year Iran and Russia signed a landmark fuel accord that paves the way for the firing up of the station in southern Iran, a project the United States alleges is part of a cover for weapons development.
Under the deal, which capped an 800-million-dollar contract to build and bring the Bushehr plant on line, Russia will fuel the reactor on condition that Iran sends back spent fuel, which could potentially be upgraded to weapons use.
Sabouri asserted the arrangement left no room for Iran diverting the fuel to military purposes.
"Bushehr is entirely under the supervision of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). The fuel will be verified before it is sent to Iran and the IAEA inspectors will be here to open the seals," he explained.
But the plant in southern Iran was still not yet ready to host the fuel, Sabouri added.
Washington is convinced that Iran is seeking to build atomic weapons -- charges Tehran denies -- and has been trying to convince Moscow to halt its nuclear cooperation.
Russian diplomats say the United States has been lobbying against Moscow's involvement in Iran's nuclear programme "on a daily basis" -- but Russia has stuck by the lucrative contract and an option to build a second reactor at Bushehr along with plants at other locations.
They say the huge contract has helped save Russia's atomic energy industry, but added that the condition that spent fuel be returned was a concession to Western concerns.
Tehran argues it needs to free up fossil fuels for export and meet increased energy demands from a burgeoning population.
Iran also intends to produce its own nuclear fuel for future plants -- hoped to produce 7,000 megawatts of electricity by 2020 -- a drive at the centre of the current stand-off with the international community.
While Bushehr symbolises Iran's nuclear ambitions, of greater Western concern is its work on the nuclear fuel cycle elsewhere in the country -- currently frozen amid talks with the EU on finding a long-term arrangement.
Britain, France and Germany have been trying to persuade Tehran to permanently stop enriching uranium -- which can be directed to both civil and military uses -- in return for a package of incentives.
Enrichment for peaceful purposes is permitted under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Iran insists it only wants to enrich uranium to levels required for civil purposes.
A two-year probe by the IAEA has uncovered suspect activity by Iran, but no conclusive "smoking gun" to prove it has military plans for its programme.
2. Iran-Russian Nuclear Deal 'Consistent' with NPT, Says Straw
Islamic Republic News Agency
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British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw Tuesday rejected a call to raise concerns with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov or other G8 foreign ministers over Moscow's nuclear agreement with Iran, saying that it was "consistent" with the Non-proliferation Treaty.
"Russia is under contract first to provide both the design of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr in Iran and also to supply it with fuel and that is consistent with both Russia and Iran's obligations under the NPT," Straw told Labour MP Eric Illsley during Foreign Affairs questions in parliament.
The Foreign Secretary said that London felt "concern about the enrichment, reprocessing and conversion facilities which Iran has inside the country." "The international community remains perplexed about the scale of this fuel cycle programme in Iran given that they only have one (nuclear) power station coming on stream and all the fuel for that is due to come from Russia," he said.
Straw confirmed that he would meet Lavrov at a meeting with other G8 foreign ministers in London on Wednesday ahead of next month's summit of industrial countries.
He also hoped to hold bilateral talks with his Russian counterpart.
Referring to the Paris Declaration, Straw stressed reiterated that the European side had undertaken "to present proposals to Iran by end of July or beginning of August." "Officials are currently working on the proposals which will include objective guarantees that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes," Straw said.
He further explained that the proposals would also include "economical and technological cooperation assurances of fuel supply and a political and security framework." The Foreign Secretary said that he shared the view that Iran is a "very, very important country" and that the ongoing negotiations are "critical."
Noting that London relations with Tehran were "strictly government-to-government as they are with any other sovereign sate of the United Nations," Straw said that he had no discussions with any of the Iranian presidential candidates.
1. Inter-Korean Dialogue Vital for Settling Nuclear Problem - Russia
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Moscow welcomes the expanding cooperation between Seoul and Pyongyang as an important element in the search for a solution to the nuclear problem on the Korean Peninsula within the framework of the six-nation talks, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a release circulated on Monday.
Talks were held on June 20 between Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Asia I Department Konstantin Vnukov and Director of the South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry's Political Planning Department Kim Won Su at South Korea's initiative, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"The Korean diplomat spoke about contacts between South and North Korean representatives in Pyongyang within the framework of events to mark the fifth anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit meeting," it said.
Russia voiced support for the efforts made by South and North Korea to promote the dialogue in a bid to strengthen peace, build trust and facilitate economic and humanitarian cooperation, the release says.
The South Korean official made special mention of constructive exchanges of views between the two Koreas during talks between Chairman of North Korea's National Defense Commission Kim Chong Il and South Korean Minister of Unification Chung Dong-Young on June 17 in an effort to restart the six-nation talks on the settlement of the Korean nuclear problem in Beijing as soon as possible, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
1. Russian Nuclear Waste Stores Almost 100% Full - Official
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Russia's technical oversight authority, Rostekhnadzor, said the country's storage facilities for radioactive wastes and spent fuel are almost 100% full, the authority's acting chief Andrei Malyshev told a Wednesday news conference.
Work should be intensified to build new storage facilities, he said.
Russia has accumulated 650 million cubic meters of liquid and solid radioactive wastes, over 99% of which are concentrated at facilities of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency. Most of them are low radioactivity wastes, he said.
The Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) considers ecological safety of nuclear technologies as high-priority task, head of the agency Alexander Rumyantsev has told a scientific press conference on the safety of nuclear technologies. Currently the program for dismantling submarines is not being implemented as actively as before. Currently only 15 submarines are dismantled per year compared to 20 earlier.
1. Federation Council of Federal Assembly of Russian Federation Approves Law on Ratification of Agreement with Italy to Cooperate in Disposition of Decommissioned Russian Nuclear Submarines, Safe Handling of Radioactive Wastes and Spent Nuclear Fuel
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
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On June 22 the Federation Council took a decision to approve the federal law on ratification of the Agreement with Italy on cooperation in the fields of the disposition of decommissioned Russian nuclear submarines and safe handling of radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel, signed in Rome on November 5, 2003, in the course of the state visit of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to Italy. Earlier it had been ratified by the State Duma.
The Agreement lays the legal foundations necessary for receiving the gratuitous Italian aid, primarily for the disposition of decommissioned Russian nuclear submarines. This area of cooperation is a priority one for Russia under the G8 Global Partnership program. In accordance with the Agreement Italy has pledged to provide 360 million euros within ten years for cooperation in this field. The implementation of the Agreement will accelerate the solution of the ecological problems relating to the disposition of the N-subs, and handling of the radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel forming in the course of the dismantling of those submarines.
The ratification of this Agreement is opening the way to the start of the practical realization of specific cooperation projects with Italy in N-sub disposition.
2. Lugar Releases New Report on WMD Threats and Responses
Office of Sen. Richard Lugar
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During the next ten years the world faces a 29 percent chance of a nuclear attack and the prospect of four new nations being added to the nuclear weapons club, according to a new survey of non-proliferation and national security experts compiled by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar. Over the same period, the experts rated the risks of a major chemical or biological attack as both greater than 30 percent, while the prospects of a dirty bomb attack were pegged at 40 percent.
The unique survey of 85 top international scholars, policy makers, diplomats, and technicians probed the attitudes of experts on both proliferation threats and international responses. The Lugar Survey found that 79 percent believed that their own country was not spending enough money on non-proliferation objectives. None of the experts surveyed believed that their country was spending too much on these goals.
The full report can be found at: http://lugar.senate.gov/press.html.
Strong majorities among the experts believed that terrorists were more likely to perpetrate a nuclear attack than a government and that terrorists were most likely to obtain a nuclear weapon or nuclear material through a black market transaction.
According to the survey, the highest non-proliferation priority of the United States and the international community should be the U.S. Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program and companion international efforts. Respondents also emphasized the need to end the nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran.
The survey found that chemical and biological weapons proliferation was in greatest need of attention. The risk posed by former scientists tempted to sell their know-how to terrorists or rogue states was also cited as urgently needing more attention.
The Lugar Survey, conducted in late 2004 and early 2005, is intended to help define the parameters of the proliferation risks faced by the international community, as well assess non-proliferation activities by the United States and other governments.
ï¿½I am hopeful that this study will contribute to the discussion inside and outside of governments about how we can strengthen non-proliferation efforts, improve safeguards around existing weapons and materials, bolster intelligence gathering and interdiction capabilities, and expand international cooperation in dealing with a threat that should deeply concern all governments and peoples,ï¿½ Lugar said.
ï¿½The bottom line is this: For the foreseeable future, the United States and other nations will face an existential threat from the intersection of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Preventing terrorists from obtaining weapons or materials of mass destruction is a far more exacting arms control goal than existed during the 1970s and 1980s, when a successful agreement might allow for thousands of new nuclear weapons,ï¿½ Lugar continued.
ï¿½I believe that we can develop the international practices and norms that can almost guarantee that terrorists will not have access to nuclear weapons. In doing so, we can transform our world into a place that is more secure and more connected than it has ever been.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.
3. Outcome of Visit to Russia by Rogelio Pfirter, Director General of the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
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Rogelio Pfirter, Director General of the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), made a working visit to Moscow from June 14 to 17.
He met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Volga Federal District and Chairman of the State Commission on Chemical Disarmament Sergey Kiriyenko, and senior officials of the Russian Industry Agency. In the course of the meetings issues related to nonproliferation of chemical weapons, the progress in destroying CW stocks in Russia and current problems in the functioning of the OPCW were discussed.
Pfirter visited the chemical weapons destruction plant under construction in Kambarka, Udmurtia, which is scheduled to come on line at the end of 2005.
In the course of the visit the high level of engagement between Russia and the OPCW Technical Secretariat was noted, the commitment of Russia to fulfillment of its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention was affirmed, and an intention was expressed to continue solving existing issues in a constructive spirit in order to attain the Convention's aims.
4. Joint Statement by the European Union and United States on the Joint Program of Work on the Nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
Office of the Press Secretary, The White House
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Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems continue to be a preeminent threat to international peace and security. This global challenge needs to be tackled individually and collectively, and requires an effective global response. We are fully committed to support in that respect the important role of the United Nations Security Council and other key UN institutions.
The United States and the European Union are steadfast partners in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and will undertake several new initiatives to strengthen our cooperation and coordination in this important arena, even as we enhance our ongoing efforts.
Building Global Support for Nonproliferation: The European Union and the United States will enhance information sharing, discuss assessments of proliferation risks, and work together to broaden global support for and participation in nonproliferation endeavors. We will increase transparency about our nonproliferation dialogues with other countries to ensure, to the extent possible consistency in our nonproliferation messages.
We reaffirm our willingness to work together to implement and strengthen key arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties, agreements and commitments that ban the proliferation of WMD and their delivery systems. In particular we underline the importance of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. We will increase our effort to promote, individually or, where appropriate, jointly, the universalisation of these Treaties and Conventions and the adherence to the Hague Code of Conduct against the proliferation of ballistic missiles.
Reinforcing the NPT: The EU and the US reaffirm that the NPT is central to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. The EU and the US stress the urgency to maintain the authority and the integrity of the Treaty. To that end, the EU and the U.S. recommit to fulfill our obligations under the Treaty while working together in order to strengthen it. We will evaluate lessons learned from the 2005 Review Conference and continue to stress the importance of compliance with and universal adherence to the NPT.
Recognizing the Importance of the Biological Threat: The EU and the US will work together in advance of the upcoming BTWC- Review Conference in 2006, in order to strengthen the Biological Weapons and Toxin Weapons Convention.
Promoting Full Implementation of UNSCR 1540: We will coordinate efforts to assist and enhance the work being done by the UNSCR 1540 Committee, and compliance with the resolution. We will work together to respond, where possible, to assistance requests from States seeking to implement the requirements set by the UNSC Resolution 1540 and in particular, to put in place national legal regulatory, and enforcement measures against proliferation.
Establishing a Dialogue on Compliance and Verification: The European Union and the United States renew their call on all States to comply with their arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation agreements and commitments. We will seek to ensure, through regular exchanges, strict implementation of compliance with these agreements and commitments. We will continue to support the multilateral institutions charged with verifying activities under relevant treaties and agreements. We will ask our experts to discuss issues of compliance and verification in order to identify areas of possible cooperation and joint undertaking.
Strengthening the IAEA: The U.S. and the EU welcome the steps taken earlier this month by the Board of Governors of the IAEA that created a new Committee on Safeguards and Verification, which will enhance the IAEA's effectiveness and strengthen its ability to ensure that nations comply with their NPT safeguards obligations. We will work together to ensure all States conclude a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an Additional Protocol with the IAEA. We agree that the Additional Protocol should become a standard for nuclear cooperation and non-proliferation.
Advancing the Proliferation Security Initiative: As we enhance our own capabilities, laws and regulations to improve our readiness for interdiction actions, we pledge to strengthen the Proliferation Security Initiative and encourage PSI countries to support enhanced cooperation against proliferation networks, including tracking and halting financial transactions related to proliferation.
Global Partnership: The U.S. and the EU reaffirm our commitment to the Global Partnership Initiative Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. We will assess ongoing and emerging threats and coordinate our nonproliferation cooperation, including with other participating states, to focus resources on priority concerns and to make the most effective use of our resources.
Enhancing Nuclear Security: We intend to expand and deepen cooperation to enhance the security of nuclear and radiological materials. We welcome the establishment of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and will cooperate closely to implement this important new initiative, including by exploring opportunities under the GTRI to reduce the threat posed by radiological dispersal devices and by identifying specific radiological threat reduction projects that could be implemented.
Ensuring Radioactive Source Security: We remain concerned by the risks posed by the potential use of radioactive sources for terrorist purposes. We will work towards having effective controls applied by the end of 2005 in accordance with the IAEA Guidance on the Import and Export of Radioactive Sources. We will support IAEA efforts to assist countries that need such assistance to establish effective and sustainable controls.
Rationalizing Multilateral Disarmament Work: We will continue to cooperate in order to overcome the stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament and pursue reforming of the UN General Assembly's First Committee on disarmament and international security. These initiatives are part of our broader efforts to streamline and make the multilateral disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation machinery more responsive.
The U.S. and the EU take special note of the Conference to Consider and Adopt Amendments to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) that will take place at the IAEA, July 4-8 2005, and we urge all States Parties to the CPPNM to attend and fully support adoption of an amended Convention.
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