1. Duma Official Says Russia Must Dispose of 90 Nuclear Subs in Next Few Years
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Russia will have to dispose of about 90 nuclear submarines, two nuclear-powered surface ships, and 41 nuclear technological servicing ships in the next few years, Martin Shakkum, chairman of the State Duma committee for industry, construction and knowledge-intensive technologies, said on Tuesday.
"Russia will have to ensure safe storage of about 200 radioactive reactor sections, consolidate over 30,000 tonnes of solid radioactive waste and about 20,000 cubic meters of liquid radioactive waste, and process and remove nuclear fuel from over 60 active zones, earlier unloaded from submarine reactors," Shakkum told Interfax-Military News Agency.
According to experts, about $4 billion will be needed in the next decade to accomplish urgent missions in this field.
Russia annually allocates about 1.9 billion rubles ($66.42 million) for these purposes in 2003-2005.
2. Over 5 Billion Roubles to be Allocated for Scrapping Russian N-Subs
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More than five billion roubles will be spent this year for scrapping Russia's decommissioned nuclear submarines, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Industry, Construction and Science-Intensive Technologies Martin Shakkum said Monday.
"The Russian budget will allocate 1.91 billion roubles and we hope foreign investors will give 3.1 billion roubles for this purpose under the effective contracts," he said.
"During the past three years the Russian budget spending for scrapping of nuclear submarines remains at 1.91 billion roubles a year. Foreign donations grow from year to year - 600 million roubles in 2002, 827 million roubles in 2003 and 2.7 billion roubles last year," Shakkum said.
He said 195 nuclear submarines and two other ships have been decommissioned and 112 of them scrapped. "In the near future we have to scrap another 90 submarines, 2 nuclear-powered ships and 41 ships servicing nuclear equipment," he said.
1. Russian Govt Finalises Non-Proliferation Programme Till 2010
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The Russian government is finalising an ambitious programme that will address the problem of WMD non-proliferation up to the year 2010, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said.
He chaired a meeting of the Commission on Export Controls on Wednesday after "a pause connected with the redistribution of powers among ministries and agencies".
"The functions of the authorised non-proliferation agency have been assigned to the Federal Service for Technical and Export Control, and the functions of export control have been handed over from the Economic Development and Trade Ministry to the Defence Ministry," he said.
Ivanov believes it necessary to link export control to the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, and to improve inter-agency coordination.
"The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, delivery systems and production technology is a real threat to the international community in general and to Russia in particular," he said.
In his view, the risk of weapons falling into the hands of terrorists is "especially dangerous".
"The strengthening of the non-proliferation regime is an important element of the state policy in the security sphere," the minister said.
Considering "overall instability in the world", the state should "focus its attention on elaborating comprehensive and effective measures of prompt response to negative trends in the field of non-proliferation, ensuring national security, including by strengthening the country's anti-terror capabilities, and protecting its interests", Ivanov said.
He expressed concern about the lack of non-proliferation policy with regard to weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems in some countries, including those that border Russia.
"For Russia with its long borders and arms capabilities, the question of non-proliferation should be among priorities," Ivanov said.
He regretted, "We cannot speak about an integral system in Russia" that would include export control and non-proliferation work.
Ivanov also said, "We still do not have an effective system of internal company control". He called for creating such a system that "will not hamper international cooperation of manufacturers and business".
However he stressed, "The state must exercise strict control over everything that is related to the production of dual-purpose systems and weapons of mass destruction."
The creation of non-proliferation monitoring, including for secondary WMD use, should become one of the priorities for "military special services and civilian agencies, including in regions," Ivanov said.
"We must organise effective border monitoring, including on the border with the countries that worry us, through special services in order to defend our economic and trade interests or, if there is a non-proliferation breach, clearly state our interests," the minister said.
1. Experts Say US Complacent on Nuclear Terror Threat
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Four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration and the U.S. Congress are showing signs of complacency about the threat of a terrorist nuclear attack that could cripple a major city and shatter the economy, nuclear security experts said on Monday.
At a public forum sponsored by the former Sept. 11 commission, the experts said the government must do more to secure bomb-making materials worldwide, prevent proliferation, and promote international cooperation on security.
"We said on the 9/11 commission that there needed to be maximum effort and a sense of urgency. The sense of urgency is more a mood of complacency today," said former commissioner Timothy Roemer, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana.
"Rather than a brisk pace of activity, we are more seeing a business-as-usual approach," he said.
Panel members including former Sen. Sam Nunn, a Democrat who once chaired the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, worried about the pace of efforts to secure nuclear stockpiles that are often poorly guarded in 40 countries, including former Soviet states.
"From my perspective, the terrorists are racing and we are somewhere between a walk and a crawl," said Nunn, who now leads a nonproliferation group called the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
He called on U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin to accelerate U.S.-assisted nuclear security efforts in Russia and to overcome bureaucratic entanglements that have retarded progress in the effort.
Security has been upgraded for only about 26 percent of an estimated 600 tons (tonnes) of weapons-useable nuclear material in Russia that exists outside nuclear weapons.
CIA Director Porter Goss told the Senate in February that enough nuclear material to build a weapon is missing from Russian storage sites.
"Unless we greatly elevate our effort and the speed of our response, we could face disaster," Nunn added.
Monday's forum was sponsored by the 9/11 Public Discussion Project, a nonprofit group founded by the bipartisan commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on Washington and New York.
Many of the commission's recommendations for reforming U.S. intelligence have been embraced by the Bush administration or were formulated into law last year by Congress.
Former commissioners are holding a series of forums this summer to look at how the administration and Congress have implemented those recommendations. They intend to issue a "report card" around the anniversary of the attacks.
Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and allied militant groups hope to buy or steal nuclear material for a weapon that could be used in an attack that would dwarf Sept. 11, intelligence officials have said.
"A terrorist nuclear attack on one of our cities could kill hundreds of thousands of people. It could shatter our economy, erode our civil liberties, give blackmail power to the terrorist group that carried out the attack," Nunn said.
Former Energy Department official Leonard Spector said the United States was likely to see an attack with a so-called dirty bomb that could spew radioactive material across an entire city neighborhood.
The nuclear security experts criticized the Bush administration for moving slowly to establish a new intelligence center on weapons proliferation. They said Congress has also withheld funds to secure highly enriched uranium, which can be used to build nuclear weapons.
2. Nunn: Terrorists Winning the Race to Acquire Nuclear Weapon
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The U.S. government is losing the battle to keep the world's most dangerous weapons away from terrorists largely because of its failure to monitor nuclear materials at the source, former Sen. Sam Nunn said Monday.
"We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe, and the threat is outrunning our response," said Nunn, D-Ga., a former Senate Armed Services chairman who now leads the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a group that promotes nonproliferation issues.
Nunn's comments came as part of a public discussion following up on the recommendations made a year ago by an independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Although the government has enacted about half the recommendations - including creation of a national intelligence czar, Nunn said it has largely ignored those concerning the need to find, catalog and destroy plutonium and uranium. "Cradle-to-grave" monitoring of these materials is perhaps the most critical component of the war on terror, he said.
Part of the difficulty, Nunn said, is the effort requires broad international support - particularly from Russia, where hundreds of tons of loose nuclear material reportedly sit unprotected.
"We don't know how many tactical weapons the Russians have or where they are located," Nunn said. "We hope they do, but we're not confident of that."
Although President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed in principle to work together on harnessing these materials, Nunn said the negotiations have been scuttled by lesser concerns, such as deciding who would be liable should something go wrong.
There is no greater international threat than a weapon of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists, Nunn said, and it would be practically impossible to avert an attack once that happens.
"The hardest place for terrorists to achieve their purpose of getting a nuclear weapon is where it is situated, where it is located," Nunn said. "Once they have got it, dealing with it in nuclear commerce is really like a needle in a haystack."
Former Indiana Rep. Tim Roemer, who was a member of the 9/11 Commission, moderated the discussion and agreed the Bush administration and Congress had done virtually nothing since last July to curb nuclear proliferation.
"The terrorists keep on expediting their timetable and putting more urgency into it, but we seem to be getting more complacent and skating on thinner ice," Roemer said.
Roemer cited the need to establish a Counter-Proliferation Center under the new Director of National Intelligence office. That was part of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations and was in the legislation that created the director's office, but little has been done, Roemer said.
Instead, Roemer said, almost 90 percent of all money spent on averting terrorist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001, has focused on correcting the last one rather than predicting the next.
Ashton Carter, co-director of the Preventive Defense Project, said the American effort has been focused too much on people and too little on materials. Some of the nuclear materials in question have a half-life of millions of years, he said.
"Think how many turns of the wheel in human history, how many weirdo groups, how many cults, how many movements, how many countries with unstable rulers there could be in the lifetime of these materials," Carter said. "Once they're made, they are a lasting danger to humanity."
Nunn said a nuclear attack on an American city would not only be catastrophic but give all terrorists the leverage of blackmail.
"Can you imagine people claiming all over the globe that they're going to blow up another city after the first one goes up?" Nunn said. "That's the kind of horror we would face."
1. Nunn Urges G-8 to Remember Nonproliferation Vows
Global Security Newswire
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A little more than a week before a Group of Eight summit in Scotland, a founder of the U.S.-Russian threat reduction program said here today that G-8 countries should focus on implementing their existing commitments on proliferation and not only on taking new steps (see GSN, April 27).
Launched in 2002 at a summit in Canada, the G-8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction included an initial plan to spend $20 billion on nonproliferation programs. The effort was most recently marked by a broad ï¿½action plan on nonproliferationï¿½ announced at the G-8 summit last year in the United States.
ï¿½The job now is to get the G-8 to live up to its commitment,ï¿½ former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, co-founder of the Nunn-Lugar threat reduction program, said this morning at a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars discussion on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
Nunn said progress toward the countriesï¿½ agreed nonproliferation goals has been insufficient. He said G-8 membersï¿½ specific pledges toward the overall commitment of $20 billion over 10 years ï¿½ so far, about $17 billion ï¿½ have for the most part not yet been translated into actual spending.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he intends to make climate change and debt relief the central subjects of next weekï¿½s summit at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland.
Londonï¿½s nonproliferation agenda for its G-8 presidency, laid out on the official Web site for the Scotland summit, indicates that on the subject of the Global Partnership, the ï¿½main theme will be transforming pledges into progress.ï¿½
ï¿½The aim is results on the ground, increasing international security,ï¿½ the Web site reads.
The countryï¿½s G-8 agenda also includes pledges to ï¿½work towards an agreed approach to constraining the spread of nuclear enrichment and reprocessing technologyï¿½ and to seek ï¿½ways to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and to increase preparedness for responding effectively to outbreaks of disease.ï¿½
At this morningï¿½s discussion, Nunn also stressed the importance of a liability dispute that is threatening work on the U.S.-Russian programs he helped to create (see GSN, June 20).
Recent reports have pointed to the possibility ï¿½ following the departure of the White House nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, from his influential post at the State Department ï¿½ of a thaw in negotiations on the stalemate. The dispute, which centers on how much protection from legal liability should be extended to U.S. employees and contractors participating in threat-reduction activities, threatens the future of programs such as the Nuclear Cities Initiative and the Plutonium Science and Technology agreement.
ï¿½That liability issue has got to be solved,ï¿½ Nunn said. ï¿½It is not that hard an issue. Common sense can solve it. Leadership can solve it.ï¿½
U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Nunn said, should ï¿½solve it in the next 30 days ï¿½ announce it at Gleneagles.ï¿½
ï¿½Itï¿½s imperative that Bush and Putin get it done, and I think if those two individuals say they want it done, itï¿½ll get done,ï¿½ he said.
1. OPCW Executive Council Starts 41st Session in the Hague
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The 41st session of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) began in the Hague on Tuesday.
The Organization is based in the Hague. Russia is a fully-fledged party to the Chemical Weapons Convention signed on April 29, 1997, and the OPCW. The OPCW Executive Council is made up of representatives of 41 countries.
ï¿½The session will consider current issues, including the implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons,ï¿½ Russian deputy permanent representative to the OPCW Gennady Lutai told Itar-Tass.
ï¿½Russia will tell the session delegates about its chemical disarmament plans. The national chemical disarmament program has been recently altered, and the new edition of the program is undergoing coordination,ï¿½ he said. ï¿½Nevertheless, the Russian delegation will speak about main parameters of the new edition. Deputy head of the Federal Industry Agency Viktor Kholstov will address at the session,ï¿½ Lutai said.
Director General of the OPCW Technical Secretariat Rogelio Pfirter recently visited Russia. He was shown the second chemical disarmament facility under construction in Kambarka, Udmurtia. Pfirter will inform the session about results of his visit, Lutai said.
1. Argonne Aid Among Millions of Dollars Allegedly Diverted to Personal Accounts
Stephen J. Hedges
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Russia's former nuclear minister is now sitting in a Swiss jail as a result of a U.S. indictment alleging that he and a partner diverted more than $9 million in American aid--including funds forwarded by Argonne National Laboratory near Lemont, Ill.,--into personal bank accounts in the United States, Monaco and France.
Yevgeny Adamov and his American business partner, Mark Kaushansky, were charged with conspiring to transfer stolen money and converting government funds to personal assets in a 20-count indictment that was returned last month by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh. Kaushansky also is charged with tax evasion.
The alleged diversions, which included aid payments made to Adamov by Argonne in DuPage County, were first reported by the Tribune in March 2002. The Energy Department launched an investigation into the accounts and businesses established by Kaushansky and Adamov.
Adamov was detained May 2 in Bern, Switzerland, at the request of the U.S. government, which issued a criminal complaint against him April 29. He was traveling there from Moscow to aid his daughter, whose assets had been frozen by the Swiss government. The federal indictment was handed up May 5.
Adamov's American attorney, Lanny Breuer, said in Washington that his client would like to return to the U.S., but not in custody, to face the charges.
"We admit monies went into his account," Breuer said. "However, at the same time he was expending monies so that all the scientists were getting paid and all the projects were completed."
Breuer said the Russian banking system was riddled with abuses, and that Adamov and Kaushansky, a Soviet-trained nuclear engineer who now lives outside Pittsburgh, sought to prevent the theft of U.S. funds.
Kaushansky, who appeared in federal court in Pittsburgh on May 17 and was released on a $100,000 bond, told the Tribune in 2002 that the accounts were created to help Russian scientists avoid facing steep taxes by paying them directly. His attorney did not return several phone calls.
Adamov initially was ordered released by a judge in Bern, but the Swiss Justice Ministry immediately appealed the decision, requesting that Adamov be held until the Swiss Supreme Court could review the decision. A ruling could come down later this week, Breuer said.
Adamov and Kaushansky are accused in the indictment of using "multiple bank accounts and companies to conceal the nature of their activities." If convicted, Adamov faces a maximum total sentence of 60 years in prison, a $1.75 million fine or both. Kaushansky faces 180 years in prison, a $5 million fine or both.
During the 1990s in the post-Soviet era, Adamov was one of Russia's most powerful scientists, commanding a crumbling civilian nuclear enterprise but also the Western aid that was intended to fix it.
During most of that decade, Adamov was head of NIKIET, a Russian nuclear-research institute. In 1990 Adamov also was named general director of Energopool, a forum for Soviet and Western scientists to discuss energy strategies, the indictment said.
NIKIET named Energopool as the recipient agency for U.S. nuclear safety financial assistance, the indictment said. In 1993, it said, Adamov and Kaushansky formed a private Pennsylvania company with a similar name, Energo pool Inc., and opened a Pittsburgh bank account for their new firm. The company and bank account later were moved to Delaware.
They were among the companies and accounts that he and Kaushansky created to receive U.S. aid payments, the indictment alleged.
The two also established a company in the Bahamas, Aglosky International Ltd., and bank accounts in Monaco and France to receive U.S. funds, the indictment said.
Aid payment receipts obtained by the Tribune in 2002 showed the transfer of government funds to the private bank accounts. About $4.6 million was moved from Energo pool into personal accounts of Adamov and his wife, according to the indictment.
A second company, Omeka Ltd., also was formed in Pennsylvania.
In 2002, Adamov told the Tribune that he had "no relationship" to the U.S. companies and, "as far as I know, the [Russian nuclear] ministry never received any means from these firms or through them from nuclear laboratories."
Russia on Wednesday rejected U.S. suggestions that Iran was using its nuclear energy program -- built with Russian assistance -- as a cover to produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
"If we knew that Iran had plans of this kind, we would never have started cooperating with it in the nuclear sector," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in interview with the al-Watan al-Arabi weekly, a copy of which was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.
"All assertions that Russia is allegedly facilitating the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran are absolutely unfounded," he added.
Russia has resisted American calls for it to stop work on Iran's first nuclear power plant near the southern city of Bushehr, which Russian official say will be ready by 2006.
Although supportive of European Union diplomacy aimed at resolving the standoff, the U.S. wants Tehran's nuclear activities to be referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), said on Wednesday Russia wanted to bid for contracts to build more reactors in Iran.
"When Tehran announces new tenders to construct nuclear reactors, we'll take part in them," he said, adding that Iran planned to build a further six reactors.
Rumyantsev was speaking after President Vladimir Putin declared that his country would continue its nuclear cooperation with Iran following Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election as Iran's next president.
"We are ready to continue cooperation with Iran in the atomic energy sector, while taking into account our international obligations in the area of non-proliferation, [and] to cooperate on finding a mutually acceptable political solution to existing questions," Putin said.
Last March, during a summit between Putin and the leaders of France, Germany and Spain, the four said there was no contradiction between Russia's nuclear assistance to Iran and the efforts of three European countries - France, Germany and Britain -- to resolve the nuclear issue.
The E.U. trio is trying to negotiate a deal in which Tehran will forswear attempts to acquire nuclear weapons in exchange for trade, security and technology incentives.
Moscow insists that its cooperation with Iran is conditional on the transparency of Tehran's policies, its respect of International Atomic Energy Agency decisions, and its renunciation of any nuclear military program.
In a February 2005 agreement between the two countries, Iran agreed to return to Russia all spent nuclear fuel from the reactor.
The move is meant to allay concerns that the Islamic Republic will extract plutonium from the material, and use it to build atomic bombs.
Iran says its nuclear programs are designed for purely peaceful, energy purposes. The U.S. government, however, has argued that as a major oil producer Iran has no need to pursue nuclear power.
2. Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant May Start Working in 2006
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Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), said the first unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran, which is being constructed by Russian experts, might be put into operation next year.
"The start of the first power-generating unit is possible next year," Rumyantsev told journalists today.
"Busher took a huge leap forward in the past year, and we virtually got back on schedule after a hiatus caused mainly by delays in the signing of the Russian-Iranian protocol on the return of nuclear waste to Russia," the official said.
Rumyantsev added that construction work in Bushehr had been accelerated in the past year.
In response to a question about whether Russian experts would build other units at the Bushehr plant, the official said, "There are many differences on the matter."
Meanwhile, Rumyantsev mentioned that Iran had put forward a request at a conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2003 on building seven more units. He said he was sure Iran was intending to develop its nuclear power sector.
The Rosatom head said earlier that Russia would deliver about 100,000 metric tons of nuclear fuel to Iran under the strict control of the IAEA in late 2005 - early 2006.
Spent fuel will be stored in a special pool near the active zone for three to four years. "It is inaccessible, because there is no access to the reaction zone in water-cooled and moderated reactors. When there is enough fuel to fill a shipping package, it will be taken to Russia," Rumyantsev said.
He stressed that not a gram of spent fuel had been delivered to Moscow over the last four years.
However, the official said the country had made progress on the market.
Russia enacted the law on the return of nuclear waste four years ago. "We needed this law to advance on foreign markets," the Rosatom head said. "We were always told that if we did not have the right to receive nuclear waste, we would not be able to construct nuclear power plants overseas."
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has rejected assertions that Russia is facilitating the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran.
"Russian-Iranian cooperation cannot raise any questions, to say nothing of criticism in the context of nonproliferation. Therefore, all assertions that Russia is allegedly facilitating the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran are absolutely unfounded," Lavrov said in an interview with the al-Watan al-Arabi Arab weekly.
The interview was posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website on Wednesday.
4. Russian-Iranian Cooperation to be Based on IAEA Decisions
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told an Arab journal al-Watan al-Arabi that Russia would build its nuclear cooperation with Iran on the basis of the decisions made by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other international organizations and not on third countries' biased estimates.
"The fact that Iran has been in the focus of the world community does not affect our commitments regarding the construction of a nuclear power station in the country," Lavrov said. "Iran's compliance with the obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty must be assessed only by the IAEA, as a special authorized international body."
He said that Russia was not bound by any other agreements in the nuclear sector with Iran, except that on the construction of the Bushehr plant.
"There is also a condition that the supplies of nuclear fuel provided by Russia must be followed by the return of nuclear wastes. We are working on expanding interaction on the same terms," Lavrov said.
"Our cooperation with Iran is absolutely transparent and is in rigorous compliance with the parties' international commitments under the control of the IAEA."
He said that means Russia cannot be accused of any improper conduct.
"Accusations that we are sponsoring Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons are absolutely groundless," Lavrov said.
Lavrov denied allegations that Iran might develop a nuclear bomb in a couple of years.
"If we knew about such intentions, we would not cooperate with Iran in the nuclear sector," Lavrov said.
He said that although the IAEA had a number of questions on Iran's previous activities, the agency had not established the country's swing towards the improper use of atomic energy.
5. Russia Wants to Build More Nuke Reactors for Iran
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Russia wants to construct up to six new nuclear reactors for Iran, despite U.S. criticism of its assistance to the Islamic republic, Moscow's top nuclear boss was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
Russia has pressed ahead with construction of Iran's first nuclear power plant near the southern city of Bushehr, dismissing Washington's belief that Tehran could use Moscow's technology and know-how to make an atom bomb. "When Iran announces new tenders to construct nuclear reactors, we'll take part in them," Alexander Rumyantsev, head of Russia's Atomic Energy Agency, told Itar-Tass news agency.
"Tehran intends to build another six nuclear reactors."
Rumyantsev's remarks came just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would continue developing nuclear ties with Iran after ultra-conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election as president of the Islamic Republic last week.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.
For Russia, Iran is a key market in the Middle East as it seeks a bigger share of the global nuclear industry, but Moscow is worried it may lose its near-monopoly status there as its Western rivals try to push into the Iranian market.
Moscow and Tehran, whose nuclear ties date back to the early 1990s, signed a fuel supply deal earlier this year that paved the way for Bushehr to start up in late 2006.
Once operational, Bushehr will generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity. Initiated before Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution and badly damaged during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, the project was later revived with Russian help and has cost about $1 billion.
Russia and Chile signed an agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear power Wednesday.
Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Nuclear Power Alexander Rumyantsev and Chilean Minister of Mining Alfonso Dulanto signed the agreement during a session of a Russo-Chilean intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation.
"Chile has few natural resources and is considering building a nuclear power plant," Rumyantsev said after the signing. Chile is interested in cooperation with Russia on this project, he added.
The intergovernmental commission, which is co-chaired by Russian Regional Development Minister Vladimir Yakovlev, also signed a bilateral cooperation program and a statement setting up a joint working group on military-technical cooperation.
1. An Interview with Andrei Kokoshin on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and Efforts to Combat Terrorism
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Q: What do you think about the resumption of six-party negotiations on North Koreaï¿½s nuclear program?
A: It seems that the efforts of the ï¿½quintetï¿½, i.e. Russia, China, the USA, Japan and the South Korea, could return North Korea to the negotiating table. It seems we are close to achieving that today. The ï¿½quintetï¿½ must approach the North Korean issue taking into account its security interests as well as the economic development interests, when firmly insisting that it maintain the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Russia and China seem to share this approach and it is important that other states of the ï¿½quintetï¿½ consistently adhere to it as well.
Ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is in fact one of the top international security priorities of each of the six countries. We must not overburden it with other issues such as human rights and democracy, although they are naturally very important as well. If we try to solve all these problems at once, we risk solving none.
Q: How would you assess the fight against the international terrorism? How significant is the terrorist threat for Russia? What are the chances of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction?
A: The threat of international terrorism remains very high, whereas the level of international cooperation is far below what is needed to combat this threat. The situations in Iraq and Afghanistan remain complicated and tense.
The U.S. Department of Defense announced recently that it was not intending to reduce its military contingent in Iraq.
The threat of terrorism remains highly significant both for Russia and other former Soviet republics. However, our law-enforcement bodies and security services have achieved some serious successes in this sphere within the last 12-18 months. This issue is particularly important in Central Asia and in the Southern Caucasus.
There is ample evidence that terrorists in various countries are trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction. Preventing this must be a constant care of international cooperation, particularly between Russia and the United States.
In accordance with the decision made by the president and the Security Council, Russia held within last eighteen months a number of complex exercises at various nuclear facilities to increase the level of protection. The exercises involved forces of the Federal Security Service, Interior Ministry, Emergency Situations Ministry and other departments.
Q.: How would you assess U.S.-Russian cooperation in the fight against terrorism?
A.: The threat of terrorism is formidable, and our common achievements have so far been too small to provide an adequate response to this terrible problem. This is why there is still plenty of room for deepening and expanding our cooperation with the U.S. in this area. I firmly believe that unless there is adequate Russian-U.S. interaction, the global community as a whole will not be able to cooperate effectively. We should promote Russian-U.S. cooperation in a number of areas and in several formats - bilaterally, within the UN Counter Terrorism Committee, and in contacts between NATO, where the U.S. plays the leading role, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), where the lead role belongs to Russia. Unfortunately, the CSTO initiatives to establish such interaction have not so far received the support from the West they deserve, and this seems completely counter-productive.
Russia and the U.S. must go the extra mile also because they have both promised the international community that they will create what Harvard Professor Graham T. Allison recently called "a grand alliance against nuclear terrorism." Of paramount importance, too, are joint efforts by the U.S. and Russia, NATO and the CSTO to deal with the situation in Afghanistan, which has again become a cause of growing concern for Russia and fellow CSTO members. I think that we Russians and our CSTO partners have a better understanding of developments in that region than our Western partners in the international anti-terror coalition.
Nikolai Patrushev, the director of Russia's Federal Security Service, recently made what I see as a very important trip to the U.S., as a result of which some tangible progress has been made in U.S.-Russian anti-terror efforts.
Q.: How serious do you think is the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program to the non-proliferation regime? What is Russia's official position on the issue and how does the State Duma [the lower house of parliament] feel about it?
A.: Russia has a clear and consistent position on the nuclear non-proliferation problem with regard to Iran. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly emphatically expressed his negative attitude to [the prospect of] Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. This attitude is shared by the vast majority of the legislators both in the State Duma and the Federation Council [the upper house of parliament]. And Russia has already done a great deal in this area in practical terms. Just one example is the agreement on the return of nuclear waste from Bushehr [a nuclear power plant being built by Russian experts in Iran]. As far as I know, this has been duly appreciated, including publicly by the U.S. administration. I can say with certainty it is thanks to Russia that in the past two years or eighteen months, the Iranian nuclear engineering development program has become much more transparent to the international community, including to the IAEA [the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog].
Q: What are the most promising spheres of the Russian-U.S. cooperation against nuclear terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction?
There are many spheres. One of them is the joint development of low enriched uranium fuel for Russian and U.S.-made research reactors to replace highly enriched uranium fuel used in other countries. Terrorists are known to be highly interested in highly enriched uranium. There are dozens of these reactors around the world and, according to experts, their security is sometimes not maintained at the due level.
Accordingly, the implementation of the Russian-U.S. statement on nuclear security cooperation, which Vladimir Putin and George Bush signed in Bratislava on June 24, 2005, and the work of a relevant bilateral high-level interdepartmental group are becoming increasingly important. Russia and the United States are developing nuclear security interaction and should share this experience with third countries.
Our countries have been cooperating against the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction since Soviet times. This cooperation has both achievements and problems, and needs more intensive efforts.
Bio-terrorism and bio-security remain a serious problem. Unfortunately, Russia and the U.S. have not achieved any great success in this sphere and this is not Russiaï¿½s fault.
[Andrei Kokoshin is a former secretary of the Russian Security Council, and is currently the chairman of the State Dumaï¿½s committee for CIS affairs and Russian diaspora relations.]
2. Opportunities and Challenges in the Barents Region (excerpted)
Jan Petersen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway
(for personal use only)
Another important challenge is our common efforts to improve nuclear safety and security in Russia.
Senators Nunn and Lugar were among the first to realise the need to deal with the repository of weapons and materials of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union. The lessons of 9/11 prompted the G-8 countries to launch their Global Partnership, which was to a great extent inspired by the Nunn-Lugar programme. Norway has, like the Americans, been involved in nuclear safety co-operation projects with Russia since the early 1990s, and we joined the Global Partnership in 2003
The co-operation on nuclear safety has had particularly good and tangible results. There are sound reasons why this issue has been at the centre of bilateral co-operation for the last 10 years. The Kola Peninsula, on Norwayï¿½s doorstep, has the worldï¿½s largest concentration of nuclear installations.
In this area we find an old nuclear power station; about 40 nuclear submarines waiting to be dismantled; service ships with large quantities of spent nuclear fuel on board, ï¿½ some of it damaged and therefore difficult to handle; a run-down storage site with fuel from 100 reactors; and tons of solid and liquid nuclear waste.
In addition to all this, there are numerous lighthouses scattered along the Russian coast that are powered by highly radioactive strontium batteries. Experts have pointed out that these batteries can be used for making dirty bombs.
The nuclear clean-up task facing us is enormous ï¿½ and it is urgent. Not only do these nuclear installations represent a threat to the vulnerable environment, there is also a real danger that nuclear material could fall into the hands of terrorists.
The nuclear installations affect regional and global security. Thus, this is at the same time an environmental and a non-proliferation issue.
Norway wants to continue playing a leading role in this work and to intensify its nuclear safety efforts in Northwestern Russia.
I would like to commend Russia for its efforts in this field. They are well aware that the ultimate responsibility for the situation ï¿½ and for the clean-up ï¿½ is theirs. And they are allocating substantial resources to this task from their own budgets. But they still need international assistance.
3. Transcript of Remarks and Replies by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov Following Talks with Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Bot, The Hague (excerpted)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
(for personal use only)
Question: Will Russian cooperation with Iran change after the Iranian presidential elections?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: Why should we change our line in questions of international cooperation with respect to the peaceful atom with a specific country on the understanding, of course, that such cooperation is pursued both in strict accordance with our international obligations and within the framework of compliance with all the existing rules in the context of the nuclear weapons nonproliferation regime? It is on these principles that we have been pursuing our cooperation with Iran, which is expressed in the construction of the Bushehr Nuclear Plant, and it is only on these principles that we shall continue to do so.
4. ï¿½4 Million for Nuclear Clean Up in the Former Soviet Union
Department of Trade and Industry of the United Kingdom
(for personal use only)
Clean-up of one of the world's largest nuclear fuel repositories in the world will receive more than ï¿½4 million of UK government funding, following an announcement today by Trade and Industry Minister, Malcolm Wicks.
Located at Andreeva Bay in North West Russia, the funding will be split across two areas:
- ï¿½2.11m going towards the provision of facilities to improve radiological safety and - ï¿½2.15m for site preparation, surveying and demolition of redundant buildings at the site.
Malcolm Wicks said:
"The UK is engaged in major programmes across the Former Soviet Union to help tackle the Cold War legacy. Andreeva Bay is considered to be one of the largest nuclear fuel repositories in the world with some 22,000 spent nuclear fuel assemblies stored in poor conditions. It is crucial that the UK plays its part within the G8 partnership to assist Russia to accelerate these programmes and address these vital issues."
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