1. Japan, Russia to Begin Next Phase of Nuclear Sub Dismantling Plan
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Japan and Russia hope to begin later this year the second phase of a plan to dismantle ageing Russian nuclear submarines that threaten to pollute in the Sea of Japan, a visiting Japanese official said.
Under phase two of the bilateral "Star of Hope" project, five Russian nuclear submarines are to be dismantled, four of them in the town of Bolshoi Kamen, near Vladivostok, the other in the town of Vilyuchinsk in Kamchatka, said Kawai Katsuyuki, the foreign ministry's parliamentary secretary.
"If talks with Moscow are concluded favourably, work on the second phase can start as soon as the autumn," Katsuyuki said during a tour of several nuclear sites in the Russian Far East.
The visit follows completion of the first 18-month stage of "Star of Hope" in which one Viktor-3 class submarine was dismantled.
Japan pledged 800 million yen (5.8 million euros, 6.6 million dollars) for the first phase in June 2003..
The full plan envisages dismantling another 40 nuclear submarines from Russia's Pacific fleet by 2010.
Many of the vessels were taken out of service in the 1970s and are in poor condition, and are considered to present a very high risk of radioactive contamination.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to make a long-delayed visit to Japan on November 21-22.
2. Japanese Official Visits Russia to Discuss Utilization of Atomic Submarines
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Japan's Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Katsuyuki Kawai, visiting Vladivostok (Maritime Territory, the Far East of Russia) on July 9-11, will focus on the progress of the atomic submarine utilization program.
"This visit will be one of the steps to implement the joint action plan drafted and approved by the two countries' leaders," Press Secretary of the Japanese Foreign Ministry Hatsuhisa Takashima said.
Japan's Consulate General in Vladivostok said the aim of the Japanese official's visit was to inspect the sites where the Viktor-3 project, the first one under the Zvezda Nadezhdy (Star of Hope) program of utilizing atomic submarines in the Far East of Russia, was being implemented.
A spokesperson for the Consulate General added, "Kawai is expected to exchange opinions with Russian officials on issues of the elimination of nuclear weapons".
Kawai will visit the Zvezda plant in Bolshoi Kamen on Sunday, where decommissioned atomic submarines of the Russian Pacific Fleet are being utilized. The parliamentary is also to meet with representatives of the Pacific Fleet's command and the Maritime Territory's administration on Monday.
Russia has extended the service life of chemical weapons at its storage facilities to 2006, Interfax reported Saturday (see GSN, June 24).
ï¿½The technical condition of 83,100 rounds of aviation and 2,001,100 rounds of artillery ammunition containing war gases has been evaluated of late. All this arsenal has been provided with certificates extending their safe storage life until the end of 2006,ï¿½ said a spokesman for the Russian state commission for chemical disarmament.
The spokesman added that nearly 27,000 chemical weapons rounds had their gas-detecting coating replaced. This coat is expected to be replaced on more than 180,000 additional rounds (Interfax, July 9).
Meanwhile, a chemical disarmament commission source told Interfax that it would be difficult to move chemical weapons from the depot at Kizner, Udmurtia, to the destruction facility at Shchuchye, according to BBC Worldwide Monitoring.
ï¿½Such efforts will not be cost effective. The expenditure on chemical weapons transportation from Kizner to Shchuchye is estimated at about [$745.4 million], while the cost of building a facility for the destruction of these weapons in Kizner is merely [$457.7 million],ï¿½ the source said (BBC Worldwide Monitoring, July 8).
2. Russian Official Says Moving Chemical Weapons to New Plant Unrealistic
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It is quite unreasonable to move the stocks of chemical weapons from Kizner, Russian republic of Udmurtia, to Shchuchye, the Kurgan region, where a facility is being built to deactivate combat poisons, a source in the State Commission for chemical disarmament, told Interfax-Military News Agency Friday.
"Such efforts will also be not cost-effective. The expenditures for chemical weapons transportation from Kizner to Shchuchye will cost about 21.5 billion rubles ($745.5 million), while the costs of these weapons cannibalization in Kizner is merely 13.2 billion rubles ($457.7 million)," he said.
He pointed out that the chemical weapons destruction program in effect envisages for transportation of chemical weapons from Kizner to Shchuchye, but it is unlikely that this provision will be met.
The main reason is the delay of the putting into operation of the facility in Shchuchye from 2005 till 2008, which makes the plans of destroying the weapons stored in Shchuchye by due date in 2012 quite unrealistic to say nothing of the stocks would be brought from Kizner.
First the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington. Then last year's train bombing in Madrid. And now a series of blasts tearing through London's subway and bus system. As horrific as these terrorist attacks were, we ain't seen nothing yet.
Just wait until terrorists explode a small nuclear bomb in a major U.S. or European city. This threat is real, and, contrary to what some people may think, it's not going away even if George Bush were to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, close the Guantanamo prison and resign as president. Terrorists would still try to slaughter innocents, especially Americans.
If a nuclear nightmare comes to America - and some terrorism experts say the question is not if but when - we won't be able to say we weren't warned. And as things stand now, we won't be able to say we did everything we could to prevent it.
For years now Sam Nunn, the former U.S. senator from Georgia and one of the few people who seems to take nuclear terrorism seriously, has been among those who have been warning about the danger of terrorists getting their hands on some of the "loose nukes" - bomb-making material that is unaccounted for or inadequately secured - around the world but primarily in the former Soviet Union.
Nunn, who was considered the Senate's leading authority on national security issues, isn't trying to scare us to death. It's just that he takes the threat of nuclear terrorism seriously. Does anyone else?
Speaking at a forum in Washington recently, Nunn offered this chilling assessment: We are losing the battle to keep the world's most dangerous terrorists from getting their hands on bomb-making nuclear material.
"We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe, and the threat is outrunning our response," said Nunn, former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and now co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit group that promotes nuclear nonproliferation.
In the Senate, Nunn co-authored legislation to spend $400-million annually to help Russia dismantle and secure its nuclear stockpiles. But U.S.-Russian cooperation on this project has been hindered by a disagreement over which country would assume liability for a nuclear accident.
Nunn also is urging President Bush and Russian President Vladmir Putin to reach an agreement to monitor smaller nuclear "tactical" weapons. "We don't have good counts on those, we don't know where they are," Nunn said.
There is no question that Osama bin Laden has a nuclear weapon at the top of his terrorist shopping list. The 9/11 commission said in its report: "The greatest danger of another catastrophic attack in the United States will materialize if the world's most dangerous terrorists acquire the world's most dangerous weapons . . . al-Qaida has tried to acquire or make nuclear weapons for at at least 10 years."
Thomas Kean, who served as a co-chairman of the commission, said on NBC's Meet the Press a few weeks ago that bin Laden talks about making an American city his Hiroshima. "He talks about Hiroshima. He's studied it. He feels that when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, that it psychologically ended the war because the Japanese couldn't continue anymore," Kean said, adding that the al-Qaida leader believes a nuclear bomb attack would drive America out of the Middle East.
Former CIA director George Tenet has said bin Laden considers the acquisition of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons to be a "religious obligation." In 2003, according to some reports, the face of international terrorism even sought and received a religious ruling, or fatwa, from a radical Saudi cleric saying a nuclear bomb attack on U.S. civilians was permissible under Islamic law.
Earlier this year, J. Porter Goss, Tenet's successor at the CIA, was asked at a Senate hearing if the material missing from Russian nuclear facilities was enough to construct a nuclear weapon. Goss replied: "Senator, the way I would prefer to answer the question is: There is sufficient material unaccounted for so that it would be possible for those with know-how to construct a nuclear weapon."
You would think that nuclear terrorism would have been on the agenda of the G-8 nations whose leaders met in Scotland last week. The G-8 agenda had two items: global warming and African aid. After their meeting was interrupted by the London bombings, the G-8 leaders presented a united front in condemning terrorism but said nothing about the urgency of keeping nuclear weapons out of al-Qaida's hands.
1. Nonproliferation Sees Little Headway at G-8 Summit
Global Security Newswire
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Leaders of the Group of Eight nations ended their Scottish summit today without agreeing to any new WMD nonproliferation measures. The annual meeting closed earlier than scheduled to allow British Prime Minister Tony Blair to return to London where multiple terrorist bombs yesterday killed more than 50 people and injured several hundred more (see GSN, July 7).
In a joint statement issued this afternoon at the summit site in Gleneagles, the leaders said they supported a wide range of existing efforts to curb the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and to prevent terrorists from acquiring such materials.
ï¿½The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means, together with international terrorism, remain the pre-eminent threats to international peace and security. The threat of the use of WMD by terrorists calls for redoubled efforts,ï¿½ says the statement.
The leaders praised international agreements banning or restricting the possession of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, although those pacts have suffered political damage in recent years (see GSN, May 31; GSN, Dec. 13, 2004).
In addition, their statement praises newer efforts such as the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative ï¿½ under which nations have agreed to intercept shipments of suspected WMD cargo ï¿½ and a U.N. Security Council resolution on fighting terrorism (see GSN, Dec. 10, 2004).
The statement also supports a U.S. push to restrict non-nuclear nations from developing the technology to produce nuclear fuel, a capability that could also be used to produce nuclear weapons.
None of these endorsements, however, represent any new initiatives, and leaders mentioned none of the initiatives during the summit or in briefings so far today. Furthermore, no breakthrough was made toward resolving a key U.S.-Russian dispute over the liability protections for U.S. personnel and contractors working to dismantle and secure WMD materials in Russia. That disagreement has already led to the suspension of projects to redirect Russian nuclear weapon development sites toward peaceful activities and to dispose of Russian weapon-grade plutonium.
Some nonproliferation experts said the inaction was regrettable, particularly in light of yesterday's terror.
ï¿½The fact that nonproliferation issues were not front and center was a missed opportunity that is underscored by the London bombings,ï¿½ said Michele Flournoy, a senior adviser to the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. ï¿½As tragic as the bombings were, it is quite plausible to envision a future attack that would be worse because it involved weapons of mass destruction.ï¿½
ï¿½If we really believe that threat [of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction], then we have to keep placing that at the top of the agenda,ï¿½ she said.
Terrorist and nonproliferation issues had been given a lower profile at this summit than at the past three G-8 sessions. Meeting host Blair had sought major agreements on African aid and climate change, and he was pleased to announce a doubling of international aid to Africa today.
Changing the meeting's painstakingly developed focus would have been difficult, said another expert, but should have been attempted after the bombings.
ï¿½You would think if anything would galvanize the G-8 it would be a terrorist attack during the summit. We can only hope we don't look back at this as one of the greatest missed opportunities,ï¿½ said Jon Wolfsthal, deputy director of the Carnegie Endowment's Nonproliferation Project.
ï¿½Terrorism experts have long been warning about attacks on transportation lines. They have also been warning that there will be WMD strikes and the G-8 has not heeded their warnings. It has not done enough to prevent those predictions from coming true,ï¿½ he added.
1. Rosatom Head Comments on Protection of Nuclear Facilities
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Russia and the US are not going to boost the number of armed servicemen groups for enhancing protection of nuclear materials and nuclear facilities, head of the Russian federal Agency for Atomic Energy (Rosatom) Alexander Rumyantsev has announced. According to him, the two presidents received these recommendations from a working group in charge of the projects for enhancing betters security and protection of nuclear materials and nuclear facilities of the two countries.
According to Rosatom head, it is necessary to create additional groups able to react to any incidents regarding fissile materials. Similar groups already exist in Russia and in the US and military exercises are being carried out regularly.
2. Russia and U.S. Not Planning To Increase Security at Nuclear Sites
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Russia and the United States are not planning to increase the number of security personnel at their nuclear sites in response to the growing terrorist threat, the Russian Atomic Energy Minister said Tuesday.
"We are not planning to increase the number of armed units [protecting nuclear sites]," Alexander Rumyantsev told a Moscow press conference. He was commenting on the first report submitted to President George W. Bush and President Vladimir Putin by the U.S.-Russian Working Group on Nuclear Security.
However, the report does envisage the use of more sophisticated security systems to protect nuclear facilities, as well as improvements to monitoring systems, Rumyantsev said.
The minister said the working group had concluded that the current level of protection at Russian and U.S. nuclear sites was adequate. "But new challenges and threats are emerging today, which must be confronted," he said. In order to withstand these threats, Russia and the U.S. must keep improving the security systems used to protect their nuclear sites, he added.
On the instructions of President Bush and President Putin, the working group has spent the last three months putting together recommendations on how to meet the modern challenges to nuclear site security.
"The working group looked at emergency responses to any incidents involving fissile materials," the minister said. Both Russia and the U.S. already have special emergency response units.
"We hold training exercises, to which we invite observers from the United States," Rumynatsev said. He added that the possibility of setting up joint emergency response units might be discussed at U.S.-Russian seminars and other events on nuclear security.
The working group recommended that Russia and the U.S. hold seminars and exchanges on the security culture and the development of new nuclear security measures.
1. Russia Against Nuclear Fuel Cycles in Countries With Undeveloped Nuclear Industries - Ministry
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Russia believes it impractical to set up national nuclear fuel cycles in countries without developed nuclear power industry, a nuclear expert told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
Speaking in the run-up to an international conference on nuclear fuel cycles and nonproliferation in Moscow on July 13-15, an expert from the Federal Nuclear Power Agency (Rosatom) said: "Russia's position on this issue has not changed at all. We believe it is economically inexpedient to create nuclear fuel cycles in countries without developed nuclear industries."
The expert said Russia was ready to "provide services to states establishing their own nuclear power industries."
He continued: "We are prepared to build nuclear power plants for other countries, produce fuel for a nuclear power plant's service life and take back spent nuclear fuel at world prices."
Earlier Rosatom head Alexander Rumyantsev said he did not support Iran's plans to develop a nuclear fuel cycle "for economic reasons."
The international conference in Moscow, organized by Rosatom and the International Atomic Energy Agency, will consider nuclear fuel cycle technology, guarantees of nuclear nonproliferation and support for the nuclear power industry. Prospects to create an international center in Russia to deal with spent nuclear fuel will be discussed.
The Rosatom representative said Russia could implement the project.
The nuclear fuel cycle includes production processes from uranium production to removing radioactive waste. Uranium ore deposits and capacities to process them are mainly located in Canada, Kazakhstan, Australia, Namibia, Niger and South Africa. Only Canada has its own nuclear power capacities.
The United States, France, Britain and Russia can produce enriched uranium and nuclear fuel. Plants to process spent nuclear fuel are located in France, Britain and Russia.
The Rosatom expert said world prices for uranium had more than doubled in the last two years.
"Russia, as all the main countries with nuclear power industries, consumes more uranium than it produces," he said. "We cover the fuel volumes necessary for Russia from state reserves created in Soviet times." The source said exploration work in Russia to seek new uranium deposits needed to be expanded.
"Global annual consumption of uranium reaches 65,000 metric tons, but only 35,000 tons are produced. The remainder comes from uranium released during disarmament, and from stored reserves," the expert said.
1. Urgent: Former Minister's Arrest Will Not Influence Russian-U.S. Nuclear Agreements
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The U.S.-demanded arrest of former Russian Nuclear Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov would not influence Russian-American agreements in the nuclear sphere, Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of the Federal Nuclear Energy Agency (Rosatom), said Tuesday.
"The Adamov issue will be tackled by legal means, and he will have an opportunity to respond to the accusations," Rumyantsev said.
Russia is interested in developing economic relations with Iran, a Russian senior official said Tuesday.
"We are very interested in cooperation in oil and gas production, railroad building, the launch of the Zohreh satellite, the construction of pipelines and also in the foodstuffs and light goods industries," said Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Nuclear Power and co-chairman of the Russian-Iranian intergovernmental cooperation commission.
He said that the election of the new Iranian president would not affect bilateral cooperation.
"An intergovernmental agreement regulates our cooperation with Iran and the change of leadership will not affect Russian-Iranian cooperation," Rumyantsev said.
The new Iranian president said he intends to develop cooperation with Russia, Rumyantsev said.
He said the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran will be launched in late 2006.
"The return of spent nuclear fuel [from Iran] is a very beneficial project," Rumyantsev said, adding that SNF reprocessing and storage costs $1,000-2,000 per kilogram.
He also said that countries lacking a developed nuclear power sector will not gain anything by developing a nuclear fuel cycle themselves. He said countries like Iran should "buy fuel and return SNF," Rumyantsev said.
The reshuffle in the Iranian leadership will not affect Russian-Iranian nuclear cooperation, head of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency Alexander Rumyantsev told journalists on Tuesday.
Speaking on the construction of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Rumyantsev noted that ï¿½the first commissioning of the nuclear power plant is scheduled for June 2006, and the energy commissioning should be held in the end of 2006.ï¿½ He expressed confidence that ï¿½it is economically inexpedient for Iran to create a national nuclear cycle until the country does not have 10-15 nuclear power plants with the capacity of at least one gigowatt.ï¿½
ï¿½Until then it is profitable for Iran to buy nuclear fuel in other countries and then return spent fuel,ï¿½ Rumyantsev said, adding that ï¿½the intergovernmental agreement envisages the return of spent nuclear fuel from Iran to Russia.ï¿½ ï¿½As there is no fuel there, no fuel has been returned so far,ï¿½ he pointed out.
New Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ï¿½attaches great significance to the expansion of cooperation with Russia in the peaceful use of atomic energy,ï¿½ newly appointed Iranian Ambassador to Russia Gholamreza Ansari told Itar-Tass. According to the Iranian diplomat, ï¿½Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian leadership in general come out for the intensification of cooperation with Russia in all directions.ï¿½ ï¿½Medjlis, the Iranian supreme legislative body, shares completelyï¿½ this approach.
ï¿½Our parliament has recently adopted a new energy programme that envisages a considerable rise in the power production by the construction of new nuclear power plants,ï¿½ Gholamreza Ansari indicated. ï¿½Considering the positive experience of our partnership in this sphere we proceed from an assumption that Russia can make a weighty contribution in the fulfillment of these plans,ï¿½ he noted.
1. Russia Welcomes North Korean Decision on Nuclear Talks
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Russia welcomed on Monday the decision of the North Korean government to resume international negotiations over its nuclear weapons programme.
ï¿½We are happy that such an agreement was concluded thanks to the joint efforts of all the participants in the negotiations,ï¿½ said Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a press conference.
ï¿½We hope that the talks will restart soon,ï¿½ Lavrov added.
North Koreaï¿½s Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan agreed in a surprise move on Saturday that his country would return to the negotiations from July 25, after the talks were stalled for more than a year.
The six-party talks bring together China, Japan, North and South Korea, Russia and the United States.
The nuclear standoff flared in October 2002 when Washington accused the secretive North Korean regime of operating a nuclear weapons programme based on enriched uranium in violation of a 1994 agreement.
On February 10 this year, North Korea announced for the first time that it had nuclear weapons.
1. Russian TV Looks at Defence Ministry's Plans for Army Cuts, Weapons Upgrade
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[Presenter Igor Prokopenko] In the near future the Russian army has to fundamentally change its development strategy. It must become smaller, more flexible and better-equipped. It has to be said that these plans have both supporters and opponents. Today we offer you the Defence Ministry's point of view.
[Correspondent] Exercises in the Far Eastern Military District. Note the fact that all the military units deployed in the field are small and therefore well-camouflaged. In combat deployment their actions are hard to detect, even from the air. Nowadays it is these groups, forming combat branches or battalions, that are the army's main tactical unit.
[Aleksandr Belousov, first deputy Russian defence minister] By observing what the world is doing now it is difficult to imagine armies of millions fighting. Therefore the accent of combat readiness has shifted to smaller units, up to the size of a battalion, that are mobile, well-armed and well-equipped.
[Correspondent] Analysts believe that in most possible armed conflicts our troops will be fighting opponents comprising different types of formations actively using guerrilla tactics and terrorist sabotage acts. Most recent conflicts have taken place over a limited area in just one theatre of military actions, however with the wide- spread use of resources outside its limits.
This means the army is not only required to defend itself against external attacks but also in one way or another move its military actions onto the territory of the opponent. This is why the transport components of armed forces are currently changing.
[Belousov] All the armed forces will have two depots. A vehicle depot: for KamAZ-Mustangs [lorries]. And a depot for Urals [lorries] of the Motovoz series. And everything that is used for transport, equipment-carrying vehicles and transportation vehicles, will all be universalized.
[Correspondent] This year the Defence Ministry plans to spend R112bn on the mass purchase of weapons. Of this the Navy and the Air Force will each have R22bn spent on them. Some R20bn will be spent on purchasing equipment for surveillance, medical services and logistics.
Most of the remaining amount will be spent on strategic weapons. In the country's air defence system, a division of the latest S-400 Triumf anti-missile systems will be put into combat duty: six mobile launching devices. The Space Troops will be reinforced by nine systems. The Strategic Missile Troops will get seven missiles and five launch vehicles. Few people know that Russia possesses several tens of UR100N-UTKhKh heavy missiles capable of carrying up to 10 nuclear warheads, which even today are combat ready. Developed at the end of the 1970s they will be able remain combat ready for another 25 years. In this way Russia has enough time to systematically and persistently work on developing new models of weapons.
[Belousov] In 2001-04, in just under four years, we took 550 new models of different types of weapons into the arsenal. Starting with equipment for soldiers, including individual communications systems for units, and new generations of firearms: the Abakan assault rifle, the Pecheneg machine gun, the Grach pistol. Special protection gear, too.
[Correspondent] It is of course too early to speak about mass rearmament and upgrade of weapons. Nevertheless already this year the Russian armed forces will get 40 modern T-90 tanks which will make it possible to rearm a battalion; 90 BTR-90s [armoured personnel carriers], already for two battalions; 24 of quite modern BMP-3s [infantry fighting vehicles], for a battalion. Next in the pipeline is the rearmament of the Airborne Troops which already this year will get the newest amphibious BMD-4 [airborne fighting vehicle] which is equipment not only with a 300mm automatic gun it has inherited from the BMD-3, but also a 100m smoothbore gun one capable of firing anti-tank guided missiles.
All this modern hardware will primarily go to units that are manned by personnel serving on contract. Already this year the armed forces will have 40 such units.
[Belousov] As you know, by 2008 we are fully moving to the mixed principle of staffing. In other words, more than half of all units and groupings will be manned by contract servicemen, and less than half will be manned by conscripts who will serve for only one year.
[Correspondent] The armed forces today are undergoing mainly quantitative changes. Just 10 years ago there were 2,250,000 servicemen in them. Now the figure is 1,207,000. By the end of 2006 it will further decrease by 107,000. By the end of 2008 there will be 1,000,000 servicemen in the Russian armed forces.
[Presenter] Such are the Defence Ministry's plans for the military reform. These plans have opponents who, among other things, believe that one cannot focus the armed forces exclusively on the fight against terrorism. As an argument in their favour, they ask: Why don't the USA make cuts in their armed forces? Why don't they scrap aircraft carriers, withdraw nuclear weapons from Europe?
We shall continue this discussion in our next programme.
1. Where Should We Wait For New Blow of Terrorists? (excerpted)
Defense and Security/Nezavisimaya Gazeta
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Reserve Major-General Vladimir Belous, Corresponding Member of Military Science Academy
Highlight: Research nuclear centers may undergo terrorist attacks because of low level of security
A group of rather competent American scientists analyzed the state of security of research nuclear reactors and published a corresponding report in "Science and Global Security". Their conclusions are rather disturbing. One of them is that the common improvement of the nuclear security system now didn't touch research reactors that are on the territory of more than 40 countries. Such serious anxiety is explained, first of all, by these reactors are the basic non-military consumers of highly enriched uranium. The total volume of highly enriched uranium, concentrated at scientific organizations, allows to produce up to 1000 battle charges.
According to scientists, such a situation was formed, first of all, as a result of under-estimating the danger level of research reactors from the point of view of the possibility of their undergoing terrorist diversions.
The close attention of terrorists to research reactors is connected with not only the vulnerability of these objectives, but also with very dangerous consequences of the diversions. Extremists pose the problem to get "a big dirty bomb" that will perform an emission of radio-active stuff into the atmosphere.
A classical example of possible consequences of severe damage on the objectives of nuclear infrastructure is the Chernobyl catastrophe. It goes without saying that the scale of the damage at some research reactor will be much less, but even in this case many people may get into the zone, suffering from radiation and especially profound psychological impact; this is what terrorists gamble on.
Considering the reality of diversions against research reactors, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that, unlike nuclear power stations, the access to them is allowed to quite a large number of users, and their relative openness for visiting combines with less quantity and effectiveness of security actions. Besides research reactors, as a rule, are situated in cities or near university towns. Therein lays the increased danger of possible diversions.
Nuclear scientific centers may undergo a simultaneous attack from several sides of diversion groups, including those who use heavy transport means, loaded with explosives, and besides which support of one of the staff. Another possible course of such diversion act is the intention of a terrorist group to place an explosive assembly (also with additional help of one of the plant employees) near the active zone of the reactor and put it into action with a remote control station. As a result of the explosion a great quantity of radio-active stuff could be amassed into the atmosphere.
Specialists indicate the possibility of terrorists' using reactive anti-tank weapons for a blow at the most important systems of reactor security. For example, they can put on a lorry, rockets that will be launched at the reactor and will wreck the control system. That may cause a breakdown of the cooling system and increase of reactivity (intensity of a nuclear chain reaction), as a result of this, melting of the active reactor zone and emission of nuclear decay will take place. We can't exclude possibility of bombers' using a high-jacked airplane with full fuel tanks for a powerful blow on a research reactor.
In the American scientists' opinion, the total level of security culture of strategical objects and the country on the whole may be very important while terrorists' choose an objective. It's obvious that the more thoroughly the security of a research reactor practice is trained, the less attractive objective it will be for extremists.
1. Russian Soldiers to Get $1.50 a Month for Reloading Nuclear Reactors
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Russian soldiers who work with nuclear waste, fuel and reactors will from now on receive a regular bonus to compensate for the hazardous work, the Defense Ministry told the Moskovski Komsomolets daily.
The bonus will add 50 rubles ï¿½ about $1.50 ï¿½ to the monthly salary of conscript soldiers.
Up to 10 percent of soldiers in the Russian Army are engaged in reloading nuclear reactors on ships or working with nuclear waste and nuclear fuel, the paper reports.
Contract soldiers, however, will fare better than conscripts, with a bonus of 35 percent added to their salaries.
1. Press conference with Konstantin Kosachev, Chair of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs (excerpted)
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The second area concerns agreements pertaining to Russia's national security issues. I would single out the ratification of the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage. This document was waiting for ratification for more than 10 years. It's quite a unique case in our history. The ratification of this document by Russia is connected not only and not so much with Russia's obligations to pay compensation in the event of accidents on our own territory, even though such cases are also covered by the Vienna Convention, but what is even more important for us is that now that we have become a full member of international cooperation in this field, we have all legal rights to demand adequate compensation if a nuclear accident happens, God forbid, of course, in neighboring countries. Let me remind you that seven countries that share the border with Russia have nuclear power plants.
I would like to say that the situation in this field is not quite good in that in ratifying the Vienna Convention we planned to adopt, by the end of this session, our own national law that will determine maximum Russian liability in the event of nuclear accidents on our own territory. Unfortunately, this didn't happen for different reasons. Because of a lack of coordination between governmental agencies, the bill is still pending consideration in the State Duma, which means that we are in a very unpleasant situation, thank God theoretically, but, on the other hand, no one is guaranteed against the worst, and if a nuclear accident happens during this period when the Vienna convention is ratified but a national law is not adopted, we will have to pay not the sum that we set for ourselves, and it's a standard practice provided for in the Vienna Convention, but we will have to pay the maximum sum to be named by our partners, by the affected parties. I want to use this opportunity to urge the government to work as promptly as possible so that we could pass this law at one of the first meetings of the Duma in the fall.
Q: In connection with the events in London yesterday, have any steps been made to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime, because if terrorists get access tot hose weapons, the results may be disastrous?
Kosachev: Thank God, not a single case has been confirmed of terrorists getting access to elements of nuclear weapons or nuclear materials, at least those materials of Russian origin. This means that the security measures we have taken on Russian territory with respect with this type of weapons and relevant materials are rather reliable and can avert incidents of that sort. Our partners have confirmed this.
Second, naturally, the problem of nuclear terrorism requires legislative solutions. In 1997 the Russian Federation submitted to the United Nations a draft international convention on the prevention of nuclear terrorism. For nearly eight years, the Russian draft was shelved in the United Nations, but in April this year they have come to their senses and, thank God, in April the UN General Assembly supported the draft by consensus. It will be open for signing in September and we have ground to believe that it will collect the required number of signatures quickly enough to provide legal grounds for international efforts related to the nuclear terrorism problem. This is the initiative and real contribution of the Russian Federation.
2. Radio Interview with U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow (excerpted)
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Anchor: Has the US Administration under President Bush rejected Reagan's slogan which he often put in Russian: trust yet verify.
There was a question about understanding and misunderstanding, including among Russian politicians. It concerned letting US inspectors visit our nuclear facilities. Could you tell us what in particular have the presidents discussed? What have they agreed on?
Vershbow: It was a strange story. In my opinion, it was an evil campaign launched by certain individuals in Russia. First of all, I would like to say that this is a lie. We have never demanded full access for sovereignty over nuclear facilities. This is nonsense. I do not know the sources of those charges. But this was first mentioned in the radical press. True, legitimate newspapers gave legitimacy to this story.
Anchor: Will you blame the journalists again?
Vershbow: But the roots of it -- it was not without the help of some officials who cited only Vremya Novostei and not Zavtra where it all started.
Anchor: So, where is the truth? There is no smoke without fire, as the Russian saying goes.
Vershbow: There was much ado about nothing because we have cooperation programs, and these are very important and mutually advantageous programs aimed at upgrading security at nuclear facilities and destroying excess nuclear and chemical materials. It is an initiative of our former senator Nunn and Senator Lugar. American taxpayers spent billions of dollars for the sake of our common security to make sure that these materials do not fall into the hands of terrorists.
And of course, in order to verify the success of programs, it is necessary to have access to the areas where this work is done. But this does not mean that we are looking for nuclear secrets. We know how to make a nuclear bomb, by the way. And it's madness to think that we have some malicious intentions. But when we pay for programs, we need to explain to the Congress that our money is spent properly. And I think we have an understanding with the Russian government on that.
Anchor: Have you reached any agreement?
Vershbow: At the summit in Bratislava we decided to accelerate work in many areas and to exchange experience even with third countries in order to increase global security and minimize the risk of losing nuclear materials.
3. NNSA Expands Nuclear Security Cooperation with Russia
National Nuclear Security Administration
(for personal use only)
At the February 2005 Bratislava Summit, the Presidents of the United States and Russia committed to expanding and deepening cooperation on nuclear security. The United States and Russia pledged to continue cooperation on security upgrades of Russian nuclear facilities and develop a plan of work through and beyond 2008. The Presidents also agreed to focus increased attention on ï¿½security culture,ï¿½ to include fostering disciplined, well-trained and responsible nuclear material custodians.
Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and Russiaï¿½s Federal Agency of Atomic Energy (Rosatom) Director Alexander Rumyansev were charged with jointly developing this plan and will provide routine reports to the U.S. and Russian Presidents of progress achieved under these cooperative efforts.
NNSA Continues Progress on Securing Nuclear Materials and Weapons.
ï¿½ NNSA has already made dramatic progress in securing sites with weapons usable material and nuclear warheads.
o Security improvements at the 39 Russian Navy warhead sites containing hundreds of warheads are over 85% complete and 95% will be complete by the end of FY 2005.
o Within the 51 sites containing weapons-useable nuclear materials, a total of 114 buildings have received security upgrades. Security enhancements at these sites are over 75% complete and more than 80% will be complete by the end of FY 2005. Nearly half (46%) of all the nuclear materials within these sites have been secured.
NNSA will Complete Securing These Materials by 2008ï¿½
ï¿½ NNSAï¿½s security efforts over the last 10 years have focused on securing the most vulnerable sites, many of which were smaller sites. Now that these smaller sites have largely been secured, the focus has shifted to securing the remaining larger sites. Meeting the objective of securing all of the nuclear materials by 2008 is feasible because these large sites are fewer in number but contain significant amounts of nuclear material.
ï¿½ Current NNSA projections indicate the potential to secure more material in FY 2005 than in FY 2004.
Expanding Security Programs
ï¿½ NNSA began a pilot program with the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (SRF) two years ago and is now working at 19 of the SRF sites.
ï¿½ NNSA has expanded the scope of its programs to include cooperation with Russiaï¿½s 12th Main Directorate nuclear warhead sites. Discussions to perform upgrade work at these sites are underway.
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