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Nuclear News - 7/25/2005
RANSAC Nuclear News, July 25, 2005
Compiled By: Jeffrey Read


A.  WMD Scientists
    1. Al-Qaeda May Seek Hydrogen Bomb, Says Author, PRWeb (7/25/2005)
B.  Strategic Arms Reduction
    1. Russia To Dismantle Strategic Missile Unit By December: Report, Agence France-Presse (7/22/2005)
    2. Pentagon Experts Completed Inspection on Russia Air Base Under START-I, ITAR-TASS (7/21/2005)
C.  Chemical Weapons Destruction
    1. Chemical Weapons: Russia To Pay for the U.S.?, Viktor Litovkin, RIA Novosti (7/25/2005)
    2. Russia To Destroy Its Chemical Weapons On Its Own, Pravda (7/23/2005)
D.  Second Line of Defense
    1. The Second Defense Line, Defense and Security/Gazeta (7/25/2005)
E.  Nuclear Terrorism
    1. Nuclear Terror Threat 'Real': Scientist, Kyodo News (7/22/2005)
    2. Washington: Nuclear Material Leak Global Problem, RIA Novosti (7/21/2005)
F.  G-8 Global Partnership
    1. Italy, France May Help Dispose of Russian Cruiser, Interfax (7/23/2005)
    2. Germany, Russia To Step Up Cooperation in Arms Destruction, Interfax (7/22/2005)
G.  Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Nuclear Weapons Are Another Post-Communist Health Hazard, Nick Wilson, British Medical Journal (7/23/2005)
    2. Senate Eases WMD Threat Reduction Restrictions, David Ruppe, Global Security Newswire (7/22/2005)
H.  Russia-North Korea
    1. North Korean Nuclear Talks Expected To Deliver Concrete Results - Russian Diplomat, RIA Novosti (7/25/2005)
    2. Russia Calls For Synchronising Steps of Six-Way Talks Participants, KAZINFORM (7/25/2005)
    3. Russian/North Korean Bilateral Talks Ahead of Six-Party Negotiations, RIA Novosti (7/25/2005)
I.  Nuclear Forces
    1. Russia Destroys ICBM Silo, Global Security Newswire (7/22/2005)
J.  Nuclear Safety
    1. $7 Million Will Go To Ukraine For Nuclear Disposal Plant Construction, RIA Novosti (7/22/2005)
    2. Russia and the International Problem of Nuclear Waste, Tatyana Sinitsyna, RIA Novosti (7/22/2005)
K.  Official Statements
    1. Senate Approves Nunn-Lugar Amendment, Office of Sen. Richard Lugar (7/21/2005)
L.  Links of Interest
    1. Security Council Reaffirms Terrorism One of Most Serious Threats To Peace, 'Criminal and Unjustifiable', Regardless of Motivation, U.N. Security Council (7/20/2005)



A.  WMD Scientists

1.
Al-Qaeda May Seek Hydrogen Bomb, Says Author
PRWeb
7/25/2005
(for personal use only)


The author of a new novel about a plot by Al-Qaeda involving nuclear terrorism directed against the United States, Sheldon Filger, indicated that the terrorist organization�s first use of a nuclear device may be on a far more horrific scale than has been suggested by experts in public testimony.

Filger�s book, �King of Bombs,� is based on the premise that Al-Qaeda acquires hydrogen bombs, with a destructive power far in excess of the atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

Prior to publication of �King of Bombs,� acknowledged experts on terrorism and the nuclear threat posed by these organizations have speculated on the possibility of Al-Qaeda acquiring simple fission bombs, similar in design to the device that destroyed Hiroshima. Sheldon Filger believes that those concerns, as sobering as they are, may only be hinting at the chilling destructive power that terrorist organizations may be able to attain in the next several years.

�A major factor in the perceived threat of nuclear terrorism has been the largely unmonitored proliferation in illicit nuclear materials and weapons technology, and the emergence of a worldwide black market with a high level of sophistication,� Filger said. �A significant driver in this process has been the expanding alumni of experienced nuclear weapons experts, especially from the former Soviet Union, currently underpaid or out of work and seeking sources of lucrative income. It must be taken into account that the vast majority of research and development work engaged in by these people involved far more lethal thermonuclear weapons or hydrogen bombs, as opposed to simpler and lower-yield atomic devices.�

Filger speculated that an organization such as Al-Qaeda, which would seek a capability to inflict the highest degree of destruction on its enemies, especially the United States of America, would find a hydrogen bomb more attractive than an atomic weapon for its purposes.

As for the greater complexity involved in building a thermonuclear weapon, Sheldon Filger offered words of warning: �It is already a matter of public record that respected experts dealing with national security issues believe it is a credible danger that Al-Qaeda may be able to build an atomic bomb within the next several years. If we accept that premise, it is not an illogical possibility that Al-Qaeda could also acquire the additional knowledge and materials required for building a hydrogen bomb. It should be borne in mind that the most difficult to acquire materials required for a hydrogen bomb are exactly identical to what is used in the simplest atomic device, enriched uranium or plutonium. The materials unique to a thermonuclear weapon, such as tritium, deuterium and lithium, are either in wide use in the worldwide civilian nuclear energy field, or are used in industrial applications unrelated to nuclear weapons.�

�King of Bombs,� Mr. Filger�s novel, features a conspiracy by Al-Qaeda to build an exact duplicate of the most powerful nuclear bomb ever designed and tested, a Russian device code-named �Tsar Bomba� or �King of Bombs.�

In the book, Al-Qaeda receives help from rogue states and the illicit nuclear weapons black market in constructing a bomb able to inflict devastation of biblical proportions. Although Mr. Filger�s novel is a fictional account of an Al-Qaeda plot involving nuclear terrorism, the �King of Bombs� nuclear weapon was real enough. The Soviet Union built only one example. When the Russians tested it on October 23, 1961, it detonated with the power of fifty-eight million tons of high explosives.


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B.  Strategic Arms Reduction

1.
Russia To Dismantle Strategic Missile Unit By December: Report
Agence France-Presse
7/22/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia will dismantle a unit of strategic missiles based in the Urals by next December, in accordance with the 1991 START 1 disarmament accord, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported late Thursday.

The unit, based in the Chelyabinsk region, is made up of RS-20 intercontinental ballistic missiles -- which NATO calls SS-18.

Military authorities blew up a launching silo of that unit on Thursday, the fifth one to be destroyed since the beginning of this year.

Another silo will be blown up by year's end, ITAR-TASS reported, quoting an unidentified defense ministry official.

Under the START 1 agreement, which came into force in December 1994, the number of Russian and US missiles cannot exceed 1,600.

Russia currently has two divisions equipped with over 80 RS-20 missiles, in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region, and in the southern Orenburg region.


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2.
Pentagon Experts Completed Inspection on Russia Air Base Under START-I
ITAR-TASS
7/21/2005
(for personal use only)


Pentagon experts have completed an inspection of a strategic military facility in southern Russia under the Russian-American Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-I).

A Russian Defence Ministry official told Itar-Tass on Thursday that the �military specialists from the US accompanied by representatives of the Russian National Centre for Reduction of Nuclear Risk have inspected a large air base stationed near Engels�.

The American experts have checked strategic arms at the base and compliance with the treaty�s provisions.

The Pentagon specialists have not found violations, the ministry�s official said.

He said a division of heavy bombing aviation armed with strategic planes Tu-95 and Tu-160 is deployed near the city of Engels in the Volga region.

These planes can carry nuclear weapons.

The START-I came into force in December 1994. Under the treaty, the sides are to reduce numbers of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic missiles on submarines and on heavy bombers to 1,600 each.


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C.  Chemical Weapons Destruction

1.
Chemical Weapons: Russia To Pay for the U.S.?
Viktor Litovkin
RIA Novosti
7/25/2005
(for personal use only)


The Russian government has met to consider allocating extra funds for the destruction of Russia's stockpiles of chemical weapons.

Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said that 21.29 billion rubles (nearly $900 million), rather than 6-7 billion rubles (about $300 million ), will have to be given annually until 2012, which is Russia's deadline to meet its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The reason is that Russia is chronically short of the international aid it was promised to help demolish chemical warfare agents.

Stores of chemical agents in Russia when the Chemical Weapons Convention (1993) was signed were the world's largest, at 40,000 tons; the U.S. came next, with 36,000 tons. In order to meet the Convention's requirements, Moscow needed an immense sum of money - about $10 billion - which it then lacked. The West promised substantial aid, and America in particular pledged to spend $888 million on building the first stage of a facility to deal with 5,440 tons of nerve gases - sarin, soman and VX - contained in the warheads of theatre and tactical missiles and artillery ammunition stored at Shchuchye in Kurgan Region.

The facility was to have gone oneam in 2005 and contributed significantly to the second stage of destroying Russian chemical weapons: 8,000 tons by April 29, 2007. Unfortunately, Washington did not honor its pledges. At first, it demanded that the Russian government show how it planned to detoxicate nerve gases. Then it began insisting that Moscow accelerate construction of housing and social amenities at Shchuchye, as agreed and as dictated by human logic. Yet when this condition was fulfilled, American Congressmen wanted to know how much Russia owned by way of binary weapons, and to send controllers from the U.S. to biological research institutes of Russia that were in no way connected with the destruction of toxic chemicals and chemical weapons. In short, there were always some minor excuses not to meet obligations.

True, some Russian experts, including Natalia Kalinina, a leading specialist in the elimination of chemical weapons, believe that the delays in disbursing the required finance by Washington are not due to the Russian position on some or other issue not suiting the American administration, but rather because the U.S. is itself falling behind the Convention timetable for the destruction of its own toxic agents. Thus, it is holding back Russian efforts. The world's wealthiest country, seemingly experiencing no problems with wiping out its own warfare agents, is reluctant to be seen to break its promises in front of the world.

Meanwhile, during the period and helped by other countries, above all Germany, Russia was able to build a plant to destroy yperite stockpiles, lewisite and yperite-lewisite mixes at Gorny in Saratov Region, which has already destroyed 863.6 tons of war gases from their total stockpile of 1, 143.2 tons. By the end of 2005, Viktor Kholstov, deputy head of the Federal Agency for Industry (the organization directly responsible for toxic chemicals destruction) told RIA Novosti that all stockpiles at Gorny would be scrapped. A plant to scrap 6,360 tons of lewisite is fast being built at Kambarka in Udmurtia and is scheduled to go oneam at the end of this year. Construction of facilities to destroy warfare gases has begun at Maradykovsky, Kirov Region, where 6,980 tons of sarin, soman and VX gases are stored. Design investigations are being conducted at Kizner, Udmurtia, which stores 5,680 tons of nerve agents, at Leonidovka, Penza Region (6,880 tons of sarin, soman and VX gases) and at Pochep, Bryansk Region (7,560 tons of nerve warfare agents).

But to meet the Convention's timescale, Russia also needs to bring the facility at Shchuchye on-line. Recently the U.S. has allocated some money, but not enough. The sum clearly does not suffice to keep within earlier scheduled and repeatedly shifted deadlines. Thus, the Russian government has decided to allocate its own additional funds for chemical disarmament. By April 29, 2012, a further 170 billion rubles, or roughly $6 billion, will be made available for this undertaking.

Without much fanfare, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has demonstrated to the U.S. that it does not believe in its American counterpart's sincerity and consistency in abolishing chemical weapons stockpiles. It is easier to rely on one's own efforts and find additional funds in order to honour one's obligations to the world community than to depend on the whims of a distant uncle.


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2.
Russia To Destroy Its Chemical Weapons On Its Own
Pravda
7/23/2005
(for personal use only)


Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko submitted to the government a draft of the target program Destruction of chemical weapons arsenal in the Russian Federation. According to Mr. Khristenko, the program is already in effect yet procedures and a financial package pertaining to the project should be specified. The above draft is a third version of the document produced over the last few years. The latest version calls for a higher utilization pace of the Russian chemical weapons. The document says that Russia should reprocess 40 thousand tons of combat poisonous materials. In the past the bureaucrats planned to finance the project with foreign funds. But Moscow never got the money. Now the government has to allocate funds from the budget. On the whole, the government approved the proposals providing allocation of 171 billion rubles for the program implementation.

The U.S. refused to provide financial aid

Russia signed the International Convention banning chemical weapons back in 1993. However, it was not ratified by Russia until 1997. The actual operations began five years later in one of seven storage facilities available at the time. The facility was located in the village Gorny of the Saratov region. In 2002, during the G-8 summit in Canada, the West promised to allocate $20 billion over the period of 10 years to step up the process. However, Russia never got the money in full due to the main sponsor i.e. Washington. The U.S. demanded that Russia meet additional requirements to finalize the deal. Russia was supposed to grant access to U.S. inspectors to Russian chemical plants outside the framework of the Convention, Americans also wanted to visit Russian nuclear weapons storage facilities and so on. The Kremlin refused to accept the requirements and the U.S. funds were never sent to Russia as a result. Holland and Germany are the only countries investing money in Russia's chemical disarmament without imposing any additional requirements.

"Russia received 21 billion rubles in lieu of 35 billion rubles from the foreign states for the implementation of the program," said Mr. Khristenko on Thursday. He said that cooperation between Russia and foreign states had involved only three utilization facilities out of seven available. He pointed out that the U.S. had not allocated any money for the program from 1999 through 2002.

Meanwhile, Moscow found itself in a pretty difficult situation. The U.S. promised to help Russia build a plant for reprocessing chemical weapons in the village Shchutchie of the Kurgan region. The facility is regarded as having crucial importance to Russia's chemical disarmament program. A storage facility located in the village has more than 5 thousand tons of sarin (nerve gas), soman, and VX gas packed inside the land mines, artillery shells, and missile warheads. From the technological point of view, it is the largest and the most complex project enabling Moscow's fulfillment of its conventional commitments. The commissioning of the plant was scheduled for 2005. Now Russia has to foot the bill due to the lack of U.S. funds.

"Destroying our stockpile of chemical weapons of a 3rd category i.e. gunpowder detonators and artillery shells was our biggest mistake," said Vladimir Lyashchenko, assistant to the industry and energy minister for defense complex issues. Mr. Lyashchenko said the gunpowder detonators and artillery shells were the "packaging" material used for conveying poisonous stuff to potential targets in Europe and America. "Once we destroyed them, the world figured out Russia was not a threat anymore," added Mr. Lyashchenko.

As a result, Russia admitted four years ago that it could meet the deadline and therefore was unable to start its utilization program by 2007. Russia requested to postpone the start of operations up to 2010. But the members of the Convention are entitled to use its postponement rights only one time. Aside from causing worldwide political repercussions, the failure to meet the deadline may result in economic sanctions for Russia e.g. embargo on the export of chemical fertilizers. Russia's annual earnings from its fertilizer exports are in the neighborhood of funds spent on the Russian chemical disarmament.

The last chance

The old version of the program provided for the construction of facilities for chemical weapons utilization in seven locations: Gorny (Saratov region); Kambarka and Kizner (both located in Udmurtia); Maradykovsky (Kirovskaya region); Leonidovka (Penza region); Pochep (Bryansk region); Shchyuchie (Kurgan region). However, the implementation of the program was disrupted due to lack of funds (only 25 billions rubles spent from 1995 to 2004).

"These days we have sufficient financial resources to resolve the problem independently," said Mr. Lyashchenko. He said $600 million could be allocated for the program this year as opposed to $200 million allocated in 2000. According to head of the Federal Industry Agency Viktor Kholstov, the financing will enable Moscow to complete the destruction of yperite (mustard gas) and luisite stored in the village of Gorny. A plant will be put into operation in the village of Kambarka in Udmurtia until the end of this year. Another one will be commissioned early next year in the village of Maradykovsky. The plant in the village of Shchuchie is slated to enter service in 2008.

The sum to be allocated by the government up to 2012 totals 171 billion rubles. According to Mr. Khristenko, 160 billion rubles will be allocated out of the federal budget while the remaining sum will be provided by foreign sponsors. "Operating expenses arising from the utilization of chemical weapons should amount to 81 billion rubles, facilities maintenance costs should amount to 66.5 billion, utilization and storage safety costs should amount to 4.3 billion, and state environmental control costs should amount to 1.2 billion," said the minister. According to him, the whole stockpile of the Russian chemical weapons - 40 thousand tons - should be destroyed by the year 2012. The program also provides for decommission of 24 chemical weapons utilization facilities along with 1 facility for the development of chemical weapons.

The program stipulates that 10% of the funds should be spent on the development of social infrastructure of the regions hosting the utilization facilities. "Additional 7.5 thousand jobs should be created, residents' social conditions should be improved, 25 houses and a number of schools and other facilities should be built in the course of realization of the program," said the minister. The government adopted the draft program. According to Vice Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, the draft program will be polished off until August 15th and resubmitted for consideration to the State Duma.


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D.  Second Line of Defense

1.
The Second Defense Line
Defense and Security/Gazeta
7/25/2005
(for personal use only)


The federal customs service (FCS) organized a presentation of the center for reaction and control over radioactive materials the creation of which was sponsored by the US Department of State on July 21. This means that the customs office accomplished the first phase of creation of the information system of control over illegal circulation of nuclear materials. (...)

The center created within the framework of the US-Russian project has become part of the information system of the Second Defense Line program. The US Energy Department and the FCS have been realizing this program since 1998. The program is part of the US-Russian cooperation in the nuclear sector. Russian enterprises equip checkpoints on the border with the most up-to-date monitoring systems in cooperation with US laboratories. The US has sponsored the creation of around 50% of the Yantar complexes installed at Russian checkpoints.

The customs service states that this is a very efficient program. Around 90% of checkpoints are equipped with the Yantar system. This year the customs service has prevented over 200 attempts to illegally transport radioactive goods. It should be noted that over 80% of incidents are linked with imports of such goods into Russia.

The customs service will be able to monitor information about transportation of radioactive materials thanks to centralized data control.

It should be noted that the hardware of the new center was purchased using funds allocated by the US Department of State. This cost from $400,000 to $1 million. (...)

At the same time, it is more difficult for the customs service to track legal transportation of radioactive materials. Sometimes the content of containers differs from what is indicated in documents. It should be noted that Russia has unique systems, which make it possible to check the cargo without opening the container.

The international nuclear agency asked the Russian customs service to implement this technology throughout the world in 2002. However, this idea was not supported.


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E.  Nuclear Terrorism

1.
Nuclear Terror Threat 'Real': Scientist
Kyodo News
7/22/2005
(for personal use only)


The head of an international scientific body believes terrorist attacks involving nuclear weapons pose a tangible threat to global security.

Describing the threat of nuclear terrorism as "real" and "possible," M.S. Swaminathan, president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, said the world was "in a very dangerous station," citing the recent London bombings and the fragile security situation in Iraq.

The interview came ahead of the 55th Pugwash Conference, which will open in Hiroshima over a five-day period from Saturday and will be dedicated to eliminating war and nuclear arms.

Swaminathan, 79, who has been president of the conference since 2002, said terrorists should be "put down firmly," though he stressed the need to forge a "more equitable world based on ethical and moral principles."

"We should not adapt that might is right," the Indian-born geneticist said. "That should not be a policy."

On the specter of nuclear disarmament, Swaminathan figured that if the United States and Russia were to initiate the move, Britain, France and China would follow suit.

He called for a ban on pre-emptive nuclear attacks, ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, maintenance of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime and establishment of concrete goals to abolish nuclear weapons.

With the Pugwash Conference being held this year on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, Swaminathan called for creation of a "global consciousness" to abolish all nuclear weapons.

It will be the second time the annual conference has been held in Japan. The last time was also in Hiroshima, in 1995, the year the Pugwash group won the Nobel Peace Prize.

About 170 scientists from 40 countries are expected to attend the conference, discussing a wide range of issues focusing on nuclear disarmament, antiterrorism measures and security issues in the Middle East and East Asia.

The Pugwash Conference takes its name from the location of the first meeting, held in 1957 in the village of Pugwash in Nova Scotia.

The stimulus for that gathering was the manifesto issued in July 1955 by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein, calling upon scientists of all political persuasions to assemble to discuss the threat posed by the advent of thermonuclear weapons.

The manifesto was signed by nine other scientists, including the late Hideki Yukawa.


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2.
Washington: Nuclear Material Leak Global Problem
RIA Novosti
7/21/2005
(for personal use only)


Washington thinks the global nuclear materials leak is not simply related to Russia, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow's Deputy Chief of Mission Daniel Russell told a Moscow press conference Thursday.

Russell said he thought the nuclear substance leak was more of a global problem.

First Deputy Russian Federal Custom Service Chief Vladimir Shamakhov said nuclear substances were both taken out of the country and brought in.

Shamakhov said 80% of nuclear materials are illegally imported, while only 20% are illegally exported.

The customs service hosted the opening of a Russian-American customs center for controlling radioactive and fissionable substances. The center is one stage in a jointly created information system.


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F.  G-8 Global Partnership

1.
Italy, France May Help Dispose of Russian Cruiser
Interfax
7/23/2005
(for personal use only)


A decision on whether Italy and France may join a project aimed at disposing of the heavy missile-carrying nuclear cruiser Admiral Ushakov will be made later this year, Russian Nuclear Power Agency spokesman Viktor Kovalenko told Interfax.

The agency's officials met with Italian and French delegations in Severodvinsk on Friday to discuss these plans.

"An exchange of opinions on the situation with the cruiser took place during the meeting. This issue can be moved forward only in September-November, and it is premature to speak about any concrete results until later this year," he said.

"Our potential partners in the West are also expecting the Russian party's suggestions regarding the cost of the disposal project," the spokesman said.

"The delegations agreed that all nuclear components should be removed from the vessel and the vessel should be disposed of. They agree that this project should become a priority issue," Kovalenko said.

Sources in Severodvinsk's Zvyozdochka shipbuilding plant told Interfax that France and Germany have been helping dispose of Russian nuclear submarines. "Only Italy has financial potential. But the problem is that, unlike Russia, Italy has not yet ratified an intergovernmental agreement that would allow Italy to provide assistance taking account of liability for possible nuclear damage," the spokesman said.


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2.
Germany, Russia To Step Up Cooperation in Arms Destruction
Interfax
7/22/2005
(for personal use only)


Germany will provide further technical assistance to Russia in constructing facilities for destroying chemical weapons, the German Embassy in Moscow reported.

Germany will use its experience in helping Russia construct the chemical weapons destruction plant in Gorny in Saratov region to create a similar facility in Kambarka in Udmurtia, where about 6,400 tonnes of lewisite should be destroyed, the embassy said in a release on Friday.

"The German federal government and the government of the Russian Federation have agreed that the German side will assist the construction in Kambarka by delivering components and equipment. The full amount of German aid is 150 million euros," the release reads.

Construction began in Kambarka in summer 2003 and the facility should be put into operation in December 2005, the release said.

The Russian government is willing to make a number of new proposals on cooperation in destroying the country's stocks of chemical weapons, the release said.

"The German federal government welcomes the Russian initiative and will consider these proposals. Even now there are plans to step up construction of the chemical weapons destruction facility in Leonidovka in Penza region," the release said.

Germany allocated about 50 million euros for the pilot chemical weapons destruction facility in Gorny.


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G.  Cooperative Threat Reduction

1.
Nuclear Weapons Are Another Post-Communist Health Hazard
Nick Wilson
British Medical Journal
7/23/2005
(for personal use only)


In their editorial McKee and Fister highlight many of the major health issues in the post-communist countries of Europe. Another critical threat to health is the nuclear weapons in various European countries, and particularly Russia. According to a recent estimate, Russia has 7800 operational nuclear warheads in its arsenal, of which about 4400 are strategic warheads. This relic of the cold war poses risks of accidental explosions or of missile launches, since some of these weapons are on high alert status. There is also a risk that actual weapons and fissile materials associated with them could be stolen and sold to terrorists. Maintaining the system for producing and maintaining nuclear weapons is also a drain on national economies�with fewer financial resources available for health and other essential services.

European countries need to accelerate progress towards a Europe that is free of nuclear weapons. In particular, the relevant countries (Russia, France, and the United Kingdom) need to meet their obligations for nuclear disarmament under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Other European countries that have US nuclear weapons on their territories (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Turkey) need to follow Greece (another member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in having these removed. Without such actions, European and other populations will continue to be threatened by weapons that are not able to deal with the real security threats now facing the world.


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2.
Senate Eases WMD Threat Reduction Restrictions
David Ruppe
Global Security Newswire
7/22/2005
(for personal use only)


The U.S. Senate yesterday decisively approved a repeal of several restrictions on the Defense Department�s Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which works to secure and destroy excess unconventional weapons in Russia and other nations (see GSN, June 22).

Lawmakers voted 78-19 to pass an amendment to the fiscal 2006 defense authorization bill sponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and 29 other Republicans and Democrats.

Debate on the full bill was suspended yesterday and resumed this morning.

The House of Representatives did not include similar language on CTR restrictions in its version of the bill, which was approved in May. The Bush administration supports the repeal legislation.

The White House also supports an alternative contained in the House bill, which would extend through 2007 presidential authority to waive the restrictions.

Restrictions Said to Hamper Dismantlement

Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) developed the initial legislation creating the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, also called the Nunn-Lugar program, in 1991.

The amendment would repeal three provisions contained in the Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act of 1991, the Cooperative Threat Reduction Act of 1993, and the Russian Chemical Weapons Destruction Facilities law passed in 1999.

The restrictions require the U.S. government to certify annually that CTR recipient countries have performed certain actions, primarily in areas of weapons dismantlement.

For instance, without certification that Russia spends at least $25 million annually on chemical weapons destruction and provides a full and accurate declaration of its chemical weapons stockpile, U.S. support is blocked for construction of the major Shchuchye chemical weapons destruction facility.

Such restrictions have hampered U.S. efforts to assist Russia in eliminating unconventional weapons as well as WMD materials and technology, Lugar said.

They �bring about delay, sometimes very severe delay, at a time that we take seriously the war on terrorism, and the need, as a matter of fact, to bring under control materials and weapons of mass destruction as rapidly and as certainly as possible,� he said.

That effect, he said, runs �contrary to almost all common sense.�

�If we came to a conclusion that for some reason the Russians had not spent precisely the amount of money that we think they ought to spend, does any senator believe we at that point should stop taking warheads off of missiles, should stop trying to get control of weapons of mass destruction in the chemical and biological areas? Of course not,� Lugar said.

Called Important for Accountability

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.), the initial sponsor of the defense authorization bill, spoke against the amendment. He said prior to the vote that the certification criteria were important for informing the U.S. public and Congress on whether threat reduction funds were being well spent.

He added that the current rules help to ensure that recipients �are committed to right-sizing their militaries, complying with arms control agreements, providing transparency regarding how CTR assistance is used, and respecting human rights.�

Warner said the certification requirements do not impede Nunn-Lugar assistance because Congress has given the president authority to waive the restrictions.

Lugar said delays in funding have occurred in the past, including in 2002 when spending was frozen for six months pending passage of a temporary waiver by Congress.

The defense bill also separately includes all $415 million requested by the Bush administration to fund the Cooperative Threat Reduction program in fiscal 2006 and a provision to transfer authority, from the president to the defense secretary, for approving Nunn-Lugar projects beyond the former Soviet Union.

Albania last year became the first non-former Soviet country to receive Nunn-Lugar funding, to help destroy a stockpile of chemical weapons (see GSN, Oct. 22, 2004). President George W. Bush reportedly has said the program could be used to support retraining Iraqi and Libyan weapons scientists for civilian employment.


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H.  Russia-North Korea

1.
North Korean Nuclear Talks Expected To Deliver Concrete Results - Russian Diplomat
RIA Novosti
7/25/2005
(for personal use only)


The fourth round of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program will open in Beijing Tuesday, with high-ranking diplomats from Russia, North and South Korea, the United States, China, and Japan in attendance. Alexander Alexeyev, deputy Russian foreign minister and head of the Russian delegation, said all parties expect the talks to result in new accords. "All the parties, including Russia, have come to Beijing expecting concrete results," Alexeyev said, adding that "time has not been wasted" since the third round with intensive negotiations toward a fourth round.

Alexeyev said Russia has been advocating a package approach to the problem based on "common sense."

Russia has repeatedly declared its preparedness to take part in compensatory arrangements related to North Korea.

The six-party negotiations involving Russia, North and South Korea, the United States, China, and Japan began in August 2003. Three rounds of talks have been held to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

The fourth round, initially scheduled for September 2004, was postponed when North Korean negotiators refused to take part, citing what they described as a hostile climate created by the U.S. Pyongyang also demanded that an inquiry be launched into South Korea's secret experiments with uranium and plutonium since 1982.

Officials in Pyongyang are pushing for the U.S. to sign a non-aggression pact and establish diplomatic relations with North Korea. In addition, North Korea is also demanding the resumption of fuel supply for its electrical power stations, which was suspended in late 2002, and joint legal guarantees with the negotiating parties for its security.

North Korea declared itself a nuclear power on February 12, 2005. There has been no clear evidence that it possesses nuclear weapons because the International Atomic Energy Agency has not been allowed to conduct inspections in North Korea and satellite data has been inconclusive.


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2.
Russia Calls For Synchronising Steps of Six-Way Talks Participants
KAZINFORM
7/25/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia is calling for the "synchronisation" of steps taken by participants in the six-sided talks in the North Korean nuclear problem, head of the Russian delegation at the fourth round of the talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev who is in charge of relations with Asian countries said at Beijing airport on Monday, Kazinform has learnt from Itar-Tass.

The U.S. delegation agreed in the course of the third round of the talks that there should be a time period between the freezing of the North Korean nuclear problem and its elimination, the Russian diplomat recalled.

"We would like to draw up the whole chain of events in more detail, synchronise the steps that North Korea will take as regards its military nuclear programme with the measures other parties to the six-sided process will take," Alexeyev said. "We would like this synchronised process to be the sides' movement towards each other," the deputy foreign minister
stressed.

The talks are to begin in Beijing on Tuesday. All the sides are now holding energetic consultations with each other in a bilateral format.


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3.
Russian/North Korean Bilateral Talks Ahead of Six-Party Negotiations
RIA Novosti
7/25/2005
(for personal use only)


Russian and North Korean delegations met for bilateral talks in Beijing Monday, ahead of the next round of six-party negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program.

A source close to negotiations said the Russian and North Korean delegations, headed by deputy Russian foreign minister Alexander Alexeyev and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, respectively, were satisfied with the "constructive" discussions. However, the source did not disclose what matters were discussed. On his arrival at the Beijing airport, Alexeyev told journalists that all the negotiating parties, including Russia, had come to Beijing expecting concrete results.

The fourth round of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program will open in Beijing Tuesday. The Russian delegation already arrived in Beijing and was holding bilateral meetings with the North Koreans ahead of the negotiations.

The six-party negotiations involving Russia, North and South Korea, the United States, China, and Japan began in August 2003. Three rounds of talks have been held to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

The fourth round, initially scheduled for September 2004, was postponed when North Korean negotiators refused to take part, citing what they described as a hostile climate created by the U.S. Pyongyang also demanded that an inquiry be launched into South Korea's secret experiments with uranium and plutonium since 1982.

Officials in Pyongyang are pushing for the U.S. to sign a non-aggression pact and establish diplomatic relations with North Korea. In addition, North Korea is also demanding the resumption of fuel supply for its electrical power stations, which was suspended in late 2002, and joint legal guarantees with the negotiating parties for its security.

North Korea declared itself a nuclear power on February 12, 2005. There has been no clear evidence that it possesses nuclear weapons because the International Atomic Energy Agency has not been allowed to conduct inspections in North Korea and satellite data has been inconclusive


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I.  Nuclear Forces

1.
Russia Destroys ICBM Silo
Global Security Newswire
7/22/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia yesterday blew up an ICBM silo in the Ural Mountains, Agence France-Press reported (see GSN, July 1).

This was the fifth silo destroyed this year, AFP reported based upon reports from Russia�s ITAR-Tass news service. A Russian Defense Ministry official said another silo is expected to be destroyed by the end of the year.

The silo was part of a unit of 20 Ural-based RS-20 ICBMs that is now being dismantled, according to AFP (Agence France-Presse, July 22).


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J.  Nuclear Safety

1.
$7 Million Will Go To Ukraine For Nuclear Disposal Plant Construction
RIA Novosti
7/22/2005
(for personal use only)


A special session of The Assembly of Donors of the Nuclear Safety Account in London has decided to allocate $7 million for Ukraine to complete the construction of a nuclear treatment plant and storage grounds, the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry said Friday.

According to the source, $5 million will be available before year's end and the remaining $2 million will come through at the beginning of 2006.

Ukraine's cabinet addressed the assembly on the urgent necessity to solve issues in completing the construction of the liquid nuclear waste treatment plant and the storage of radioactive wastes from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site where the worst nuclear disaster in world history occurred in 1986.

The construction of the new plant and spent fuel storage facilities had been implemented by foreign contractors, but the process stalled due to specific technical reasons and a lack of funding.

"Ukraine and the world community have the main goal of finishing the construction of these facilities immediately. Ukraine is ready to make additional contributions to these projects," Ukrainian Minister of Emergencies David Zhvaniya said at the London conference.

The Ukrainian party proposed technical decisions that would help resume these two projects.

Kiev insists that the term for the projects' completion not exceed 36 months.


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2.
Russia and the International Problem of Nuclear Waste
Tatyana Sinitsyna
RIA Novosti
7/22/2005
(for personal use only)


There is no doubt that Russia will join the list of countries that could monopolize global nuclear services, alongside other leaders in the sector such as United States, France, Britain, and China.

These four are not, of course, the world's only nuclear countries. But nuclear power engineering was one conversion product of the realization by the world countries that arms programs should be curtailed and the atom adapted to civilian purposes.

Although International Atomic Energy Agency Deputy Director Yuri Sokolov claims that "no list of nuclear monopolies is currently under discussion," it is obvious that the question will arise tomorrow. It was not for nothing that IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei proposed that nuclear benefits in their pure form should limit the number of countries developing nuclear technologies. It was not for nothing that experts spent a full year discussing this proposal, and certainly the international conference Multilateral Technical and Organizational Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle aimed at Strengthening the Non-Proliferation Regime, convened in Moscow July 16-18, was not held in vain. Such consistent and purposeful steps are being taken to achieve a serious goal.

"Many critics of nuclear energy are saying that the idea is to turn some countries into 'waste dumps' accepting nuclear waste from all over the world. These 'dumps' are storages of nuclear fuel, a product of high technology," Federal Agency for Nuclear Energy head Alexander Rumyantsev says. "Actually, this is a sensible and pragmatic idea, and the IAEA is moving toward it by trial and error, working out the appropriate point of view."

Rumyantsev said that countries wanting to solve their energy problems by means of nuclear power need not develop their own environmentally hazardous and very costly nuclear industry. Rather, they can draw on the experience and services of other countries already familiar with the nuclear cycle, thus obtaining the end product: "nuclear electricity". This arrangement nips in the bud the menace of a "military component" of nuclear energy arising, and makes its peaceful utilization universal. Thus, we are also spared agonizing thoughts about "sensitive" technologies finding their way into terrorists' hands and "rogue countries" pursuing their own secret nuclear programs.

As soon as the IAEA idea wins global support, the key question will be where to store international nuclear fuel.

"Russia fits the bill perfectly, if only because all nuclear materials in the country are federally owned," Rumyantsev said. "It means the state as the owner can guarantee the supply of nuclear fuel and its return for reprocessing. When we aired the issue with the French and Americans, they said they could not give such guarantees, because nuclear problems are the concern of private companies and the state has no right to interfere."

A nuclear power that has a half-century's experience of handling fissile materials and a large-scale nuclear industry, Russia makes no secret that it might take part in a tender to build international nuclear storage centers. At least, during a visit to the East Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, President Vladimir Putin said he saw no problem in the country importing spent nuclear fuel.

"If everything is done according to technology, if funds are allocated to address existing environmental problems, including those created by nuclear pollution, then such a decision is right and proper," Putin emphasized, referring to a law adopted by the Duma in 2001 that allows Russia to accept nuclear waste for recycling, reprocessing and disposal, including from other countries.

The country's biggest spent nuclear fuel storage site is located at Zheleznogorsk, in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk Territory, at a mining and chemical works that during the nuclear race produced weapons-grade plutonium. Today it takes irradiated fuel for long-term storage from VVER-type pressurized water reactors, which are installed not only at Russian, but also in Bulgaria, Hungary and Ukraine.

It is the Zheleznogorsk works that is now seen as the site for a future international storage facility, should Russia secure the right to build one. As conceived by IAEA, an international storage site must concentrate, possibly in one place, all the potentially dangerous materials coveted by international terrorists, and give these materials the appropriate protection.

According to Rumyantsev, the Zheleznogorsk facility is already in a position to accept 8,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel for storage. At present, it is being modernized to accommodate more. Experts are of the opinion that it could store tens of thousands of tons of irradiated fuel from around the world. This may bring the Russian treasury hefty revenues of about $1 million per ton of spent nuclear fuel, and give Zheleznogorsk sizable sums - up to 25% of profit - to deal with environmental problems.


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K.  Official Statements

1.
Senate Approves Nunn-Lugar Amendment
Office of Sen. Richard Lugar
7/21/2005
(for personal use only)


The U.S. Senate has approved by a vote of 78-19 an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would eliminate conditions that have delayed the destruction of weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union.

The amendment authored by Sen. Dick Lugar would remove congressionally imposed restrictions that complicate or delay the implementation of the Nunn-Lugar program, which destroys weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union.

�The question we must answer today is: what national security benefit do the certification requirements provide the American people? Do the conditions make it easier or harder to eliminate weapons of mass destruction in Russia or elsewhere? Do the conditions make it more likely or less likely that weapons are eliminated?� Lugar said in the floor debate. �The underlying bill also provides permanent waiver authority, to be used on an annual basis, for the Congressionally-imposed certifications on the Nunn-Lugar program. While the waiver will permit the program to continue its important work, I do not believe the waiver solves the underlying problem.

�In 1991, concerns surrounding Russian commitments to nonproliferation led the original Nunn-Lugar legislation to require the President to certify annually that each recipient is �committed to� meeting six conditions: (1) making a substantial investment in dismantling or destroying such weapons; (2) forgoing any military modernization program that exceeds legitimate defense requirements and forgoing the replacement of destroyed weapons of mass destruction; (3) forgoing any use of fissionable and other components of destroyed nuclear weapons in new nuclear weapons; (4) facilitating United States verification of weapons destruction carried out under the program; (5) complying with all relevant arms control agreements; and (6) observing internationally recognized human rights, including the protection of minorities.

�Congress imposed an additional six conditions on construction of the chemical weapons destruction program at Shchuchye. These conditions include: (1) full and accurate Russian declaration on the size of its chemical weapons stockpile; (2) allocation by Russia of at least $25,000,000 to chemical weapons elimination; (3) development by Russia of a practical plan for destroying its stockpile of nerve agents; (4) enactment of a law by Russia that provides for the elimination of all nerve agents at a single site; (5) an agreement by Russia to destroy or convert its chemical weapons production facilities at Volgograd and Novocheboksark; and (6) a demonstrated commitment from the international community to fund and build infrastructure needed to support and operate the facility.

�Some will suggest that the certification process is, at most, an annoyance, but not a serious programmatic threat. I disagree. While well intentioned, these conditions delay and complicate efforts to destroy weapons of mass destruction. If the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is the number one national security threat facing our country, we cannot permit any delays in our response,� Lugar said.

�While awaiting temporary waiver to be authorized in law, new Nunn-Lugar projects were stalled and no new contracts could be finalized from April 16 to August 9, 2002. This delay caused numerous disarmament projects in Russia to be put on hold, including: (1) installation of security enhancements at ten nuclear weapons storage sites; (2) initiation of the dismantlement of two strategic missile submarines and thirty submarine-launched ballistic missiles; and (3) initiation of the dismantlement of SS-24 rail-mobile and SS-25 road-mobile ICBMs and launchers. Clearly, these projects were in the national security interest of the United States, but they were delayed because of self-imposed conditions and bureaucratic red tape. A second period of delay began on October 1, 2002, with the expiration of a temporary waiver. Again, U.S. national security suffered with the postponement of critical dismantlement and security activities for some six weeks until Congress acted.

�The certification and waiver processes consume hundreds of man-hours of work by the State Department, the Intelligence Community, the Pentagon, as well as other departments and agencies. This time could be better spent tackling the proliferation threats facing our country. Instead of interdicting WMD shipments, identifying the next A.Q. Khan, or locating hidden stocks of chemical and biological weapons, our nonproliferation experts spend their time compiling reports and assembling certification or waiver determinations. Even more frustrating is the fact that the majority of these reports are repetitive, in that the Department of State already reports on most of these issues in other formats,� Lugar said.

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 scorecard�s nuclear elimination, the Nunn-Lugar program secures and destroys chemical weapons, and works to reemploy scientists and facilities related to biological weapons in peaceful research initiatives. The International Science and Technology Centers, of which the United States is the leading sponsor, have engaged 58,000 former weapons scientists in peaceful work. The International Proliferation Prevention Program has funded 750 projects involving 14,000 former weapons scientists and created some 580 new peaceful high-tech jobs. Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan are nuclear weapons free as a result of cooperative efforts under the Nunn-Lugar program.


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L.  Links of Interest

1.
Security Council Reaffirms Terrorism One of Most Serious Threats To Peace, 'Criminal and Unjustifiable', Regardless of Motivation
U.N. Security Council
7/20/2005
(for personal use only)
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/sc8454.doc.htm


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