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Nuclear News - 8/11/2005
RANSAC Nuclear News, August 11, 2005
Compiled By: Jeffrey Read


A.  WMD Scientists
    1. Putin Signs Decree On Support For Nuclear Weapons Specialists, RIA Novosti (8/10/2005)
B.  Bioweapons
    1. As the Aral Sea Dries Up, the Soviet Union's Biological Weapons Secrets Surface, Agence France-Presse (8/10/2005)
C.  Chemical Weapons Destruction
    1. Funding Projections for Russian Chemical Disarmament Program Reviewed, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (8/8/2005)
D.  Radiological Dispersal Devices
    1. Loose Strontium Discovered in Murmansk Region Village, Charles Digges, Bellona Foundation (8/11/2005)
E.  Submarine Dismantlement
    1. Canadians Inspecting Russian Shipyard, Where Two Killed When Scrapping Sub, Interfax-AVN (8/10/2005)
    2. Russian Shipyard Unloads Nuclear Fuel From 2 Submarines in Murmansk Region, Interfax-AVN (8/9/2005)
F.  Nuclear Weapons Safety and Security
    1. Russian Government Expects To Amend Nuclear Weapons Transportation Accord With US, Interfax (8/9/2005)
G.  US-Russia
    1. Swiss Court Rules Adamov Must Stay In Custody, Swissinfo (8/11/2005)
H.  Missile Defense
    1. U.S., Russian Missile Defense Cooperation Possible, Global Security Newswire (8/8/2005)
I.  Russia-Iran
    1. Iran�s Nuclear Program Unlikely To Be Taken To UN SC, ITAR-TASS (8/10/2005)
    2. Halt Uranium Conversion 'Without delay,' Russia Tells Iran, Agence France-Presse (8/9/2005)
    3. Iran�s Test for Moscow, Alexander Golts, MosNews (8/9/2005)
    4. Russia Urges Iran To Act Prudently, RIA Novosti (8/9/2005)
J.  Russia-North Korea
    1. Russia Hopes For Successful Completion of Six-Party Talks, Xinhua News Agency (8/8/2005)
K.  Nuclear Forces
    1. No Radiation Threat From Russian Sub Being Towed From Kamchatka to Maritime Territory, RIA Novosti (8/11/2005)
L.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Large Beryllium Consignment Flown From Lithuania to Russia, Interfax (8/11/2005)
M.  Nuclear Safety
    1. Nuclear Icebreaker Burns Again, Bellona Foundation (8/9/2005)
    2. No Serious Accidents At Russian Nuclear Power Plants For 13 Years, RIA Novosti (8/8/2005)
N.  Official Statements
    1. Mikhail Kamynin, Spokesman , Answers Qestions Regarding the Situation Around the Iranian Nuclear Program, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (8/9/2005)
    2. Interview of Head of Russian Delegation at Six-Party Talks in Beijing and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Alexeyev with ITAR-TASS, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (8/8/2005)



A.  WMD Scientists

1.
Putin Signs Decree On Support For Nuclear Weapons Specialists
RIA Novosti
8/10/2005
(for personal use only)


President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree "On the Enhancement of Social Support Measures for Specialists of the Russian Federation Nuclear Weapons Complex," the Kremlin news service said.

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B.  Bioweapons

1.
As the Aral Sea Dries Up, the Soviet Union's Biological Weapons Secrets Surface
Agence France-Presse
8/10/2005
(for personal use only)


As the Aral Sea in southwestern Kazakhstan continues to shrink, the deadly legacy of the Soviet Union's biological weapons programme is threatening to spread illness in this arid region.

For nearly 60 years, Soviet scientists used the Aral Sea island of Vozrozhdenie (Rebirth) to test bacteriological weapons -- including anthrax and the plague -- in top-secret laboratories.

The experiments ended in 1991 and much of the infrastructure on the island, now shared between the Central Asian states of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, has been destroyed but scientists say the diseases may have survived in animals.

The waters of the Aral Sea are receding and Vozrozhdenie is de facto no longer an island and is linked to the mainland by a swamp.

"The day the passage to the island is completely dry, animals could leave the island and bring their diseases with them," warned Askar Khussainov, head of an Aralsk inhabitants' support group.

The threat of the Soviet legacy is still real.

In 2002, the US army got permission from Uzbekistan to unearth and destroy stocks of anthrax buried on Vozrozhdenie for fear they could be stolen and used by militants.

The Aral Sea began receding forty years ago as irrigation canals from the Amu-Darya river were built to develop cotton plantations in the Uzbek desert.

Now, inhabitants of the former fishing port of Aralsk, 70 kilometres away from the sea shore, are likely to suffer from digestive and kidney diseases because the shrinking water supply is four times more salty than norms set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Adding to the problem, the wind sweeping through this bleak land carries with it chemicals used in cotton farming from the exposed sea beds into residential areas.

When rockets are launched from Russia's space base at Baikonur in Kazakhstan, some 200 kilometres (124 miles) south of Aralsk, the concentration of chemicals in the wind is even higher, said Sharapat Medetov, deputy head doctor at Aralsk hospital.

"On the day they launch a rocket, sand storms and therefore chemicals rise up. When this happens, you can't even open your eyes," Medetov said.

Eye diseases, neurological disorders and skin illnesses are becoming more widespread in Aralsk, even though no scientific study has ever proved a link to rocket launches.

"People permanently breathe in salt and chemicals," said Medetov. "Almost everyone here is anaemic. Women's milk is polluted by nitrates which make babies already weak from anaemia even more sick."


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C.  Chemical Weapons Destruction

1.
Funding Projections for Russian Chemical Disarmament Program Reviewed
Rossiyskaya Gazeta
8/8/2005
(for personal use only)


The interest in the facility currently being built just over 100 kilometers from Izhevsk could be described as statewide. The State Commission on Chemical Disarmament in the Russian Federation held an offsite meeting here on 27 July with the leaders of the regions where chemical weapons are stored.

Viktor Kholstov, the deputy head of the Federal Industry Agency, presented a report. He described the overall situation in the Russian Federation's compliance with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction and discussed future plans.

Our country completed the first phase of chemical weapons destruction on 29 April 2003. It is now working on the second phase, which must be completed in spring 2007. Projected allocations in 2006 for the chemical weapons destruction program total 18.287 billion rubles, including 1.999 billion for the facility in Kambarka. The money will be used to build facilities for the destruction of chemical warfare agents and to finance projects in the social infrastructure, scientific research, the safe storage and reliable protection of the toxic agents, and environmental and medical monitoring.

Speakers at the state commission meeting stressed that this year would be crucial for the completion of the second phase. Our ability to meet the rigorous deadlines for the destruction of 8,000 tonnes of toxic agents, or 20 percent of all the chemical weapons stockpiled in the Russian Federation, will depend on the progress of the construction projects in Kambarka and in the settlement of Maradykovskiy in Kirov Oblast.


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D.  Radiological Dispersal Devices

1.
Loose Strontium Discovered in Murmansk Region Village
Charles Digges
Bellona Foundation
8/11/2005
(for personal use only)


In a series of recurring thefts and acts of vandalism of nuclear installations in the Murmansk Region of Russia, a box containing strontium was found outside the Rezets factory in the regional village of Tri Ruchya, the Barents Observer newspaper reported.

The box, marked �radioactive,� was discovered on Monday, said the paper, and specialists from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations were summoned. Inside, they found several metal plates imprinted with the inscription �strontium.� The officials removed the box to safe storage.

According to the Russian news web site, Murmannews.ru, the Emergency Ministry�s further tests indicated that the strontium plates were of low radioactivity and used for control material to test the effectiveness of radioactivity testing dosimeters.

It is as yet unclear how the box of strontium came to be discarded outside the Rezets factory or how long it had been there, local law enforcement officials in Murmansk told Bellona Web in a telephone interview.

A criminal case has been opened to determine how the material got into the loose, a spokesman for the Murmansk police said Thursday, but indicated there were few leads.

The spokesman also confirmed that the recovered strontium was of low radioactivity, but nonetheless expressed concern about the security of nuclear materials in the region, especially strontium.

RTG strontium theft in Murmansk

Indeed, over the past two years, two strontium powered radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs)�which are used primarily to power maritime navigation equipment along Russia�s arctic coast�were heavily damaged by scavengers in search of metal to trade on Russia�s grey market metal trade.

In both cases, which occurred in November 2003, the highly active strontium-90 elements were recovered on open beaches nearby. The elements were returned to the manufacturer of the already dilapidated RTG units.

RTGs and their strontium continue to be a nuclear security headache in Russia largely because the units themselves are well past their engineered life-spans and many are simply unaccounted for due to poor accounting practices by Russian nuclear authorities.

The local government of the Finmark Region of Northeastern Norway has over the past several years done much to help replace strontium powered RTGs in Northwest Russia with units powered by solar energy. The United States Department of Energy has also pledged several million dollars to help locate and clean up RTGs along Russia�s Pacific Coast.


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E.  Submarine Dismantlement

1.
Canadians Inspecting Russian Shipyard, Where Two Killed When Scrapping Sub
Interfax-AVN
8/10/2005
(for personal use only)


A delegation of Canadian experts has arrived at the Severodvinsk-based Zvyozdochka shipyard to inspect the accident, which took place during scrapping a nuclear submarine.

The delegation is headed by one of the directors of the Global Partnership program from the Canadian Foreign Affairs Department, supervising nuclear submarine scrapping programs, Zvyozdochka officials told Interfax on Wednesday.

The inspection has been requested by Canadian experts in light of the accident, which took place early last week when two workers were killed when scrapping a nuclear submarine, with the work funded by Canada.

According to officials, the delegation intends to inspect the scrapping workshop, which caught fire, familiarize itself with materials of the interdepartmental commission, investigating the accident, and study documents, regulating fire and occupational safety.

A Canadian Embassy official in Russia earlier told Interfax that the Canadian government was very serious about the accident. The accident is being investigated by the Russian authorities, and Canadian officials are following the investigation closely, he said, adding that Canadian officials had requested permission to visit the shipyard in the near future in order to analyze information on the accident and preventive steps, taken by the shipyard.

Canada has established positive long-term relations with the Zvyozdochka shipyard, he said, adding that his country appreciates cooperation within the framework of the program, aimed at scrapping nuclear submarines, which left the inventory of the Russian Navy.

On August 1, 2005, the third compartment of the Project 671 RTM nuclear submarine (Victor-III under NATO classification) blew up, killing 18-year old Sergei Lopatin and heavily injuring 22-year old Alexander Boytsov, who died the same night in the resuscitation unit.

The cooperation between Zvyozdochka and the Canadian Foreign Affairs Department is conducted within the framework of the Global Partnership program, aimed at enforcing non-proliferation and adopted at the G-8 summit in 2002.

Back then leaders of the flagship world powers decided to allocate $20 billion over a decade to enforce non-proliferation, ensure nuclear security, and solve environmental problems in the former Soviet Union. Under the treaty, Canada is to earmark $800 million, with $100 million to be spent on scrapping submarines.

Zvyozdochka has scrapped a Project 671 nuclear submarine (Victor-I under NATO classification), and is working on another two Project 671 RTM nuclear subs, with the work funded by Canada.

When visiting the shipyard in April 2005, Canadian Ambassador to Russia Christopher Westdal said that Canada was ready to fund crapping 12 multi-role nuclear submarines: three subs a year for the following four years.



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2.
Russian Shipyard Unloads Nuclear Fuel From 2 Submarines in Murmansk Region
Interfax-AVN
8/9/2005
(for personal use only)


Experts from the Nerpa ship-repair plant based in Snezhnogorsk, the Murmansk region, have unloaded nuclear fuel from nuclear reactors of two Project Victor-III multi-role nuclear submarines.

Nerpa chief engineer Rostislav Rimdenok told Interfax that the operation had been completed successfully in strict compliance with applicable regulations.

According to him, submarine equipment is being dismantled at the present time. "It is very important for us to complete the work on the two subs as soon as possible in order to focus our efforts on establishing single-compartment blocks of submarines being scrapped, which are to be sent to the Saida Bay storage facility, being constructed under the international program," Rimdenok said.

He noted that the submarines were being scrapped within the framework of contracts, signed with Norway and Great Britain. The overall cost of the contracts amounts to about nine million euros. A total of 26 Project 671RTM second-generation nuclear submarines (Victor-III under NATO classification) were built from 1964 until 1974, with 16 of them in service with the Northern Fleet based in Zapadnaya Litsa. At the present time eight of the nuclear submarines have left the inventory.

The dockyard has scrapped a total of 37 submarines, with scrapping funded by the US, Germany, Norway, and Great Britain.


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F.  Nuclear Weapons Safety and Security

1.
Russian Government Expects To Amend Nuclear Weapons Transportation Accord With US
Interfax
8/9/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia and the US are expected to negotiate amendments to an agreement on cooperation in the safe transportation of nuclear weapons, the government's press service has announced, citing a directive from Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

The government earlier backed the Defense Ministry's proposal to initiate talks to amend the agreement between the Russian Defense Ministry and the US Department of Defense on cooperation in the safe transportation of nuclear weapons by providing material-technical assistance, services and training.

The agreement was signed on April 3, 1995.


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G.  US-Russia

1.
Swiss Court Rules Adamov Must Stay In Custody
Swissinfo
8/11/2005
(for personal use only)


Former Russian atomic energy minister Yevgeny Adamov, who is accused of fraud, must remain in Swiss custody pending a decision on his extradition.

The Swiss Federal Criminal Court on Thursday turned down two appeals by Adamov to be set free.

Adamov, who has been in detention since May, is the subject of two extradition requests � one from the US and the other from Russia.

The court in Bellinzona also ruled that there was no evidence to suggest that the US proceedings had been initiated for political reasons.

Regarding the Russian extradition request, the court's judges found that Adamov had no immunity on Swiss territory.

It is now up to the Federal Court in Lausanne, which is Switzerland's supreme body, to make a basic ruling on the two extradition demands.

Intervention

In an earlier ruling in June the Federal Criminal Court had ordered Adamov's release on the grounds that he should never have been arrested. But he remained in custody after intervention by the justice ministry.

Adamov was arrested in Bern on May 2 on a US warrant while on a visit to answer questions in an unrelated court case about the financial activities of his daughter, a Swiss resident.

The US accuses him of stealing at least $9 million (SFr11.24 million) between 1993 and 2003 earmarked for improving Russia's nuclear security. Washington wants him extradited to face fraud charges.

In its own extradition demand, filed later, Moscow accused Adamov of fraud between 1998 and 2001 during his term of office.

The ex-minister has not denied he put money into private accounts but has said this was normal practice in Russia to shield money from hyperinflation, an unstable banking system and corruption rife after the collapse of communism.

Russia has expressed concern over Adamov's arrest, which it believes fails to comply with international law.


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H.  Missile Defense

1.
U.S., Russian Missile Defense Cooperation Possible
Global Security Newswire
8/8/2005
(for personal use only)


The United States and Russia could cooperate on missile defense as long as the joint work was on equal terms, Russian Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky said Friday during his trip to Washington, ITAR-Tass reported (see GSN, May 23).

�Our approach to cooperation in the field of missile defense is generally simple. It should not be based on the principle of �you provide the ideas and we provide the money.� It should be based on the principle of joint ideas, joint funding and shared results,� said Baluyevsky, head of the Russian military General Staff.

A set of bilateral agreements would need to be completed before substantive cooperation began, Baluyevsky said, including an understanding �for the protection of sensitive information and the exchange of defense technologies� (ITAR-Tass, Aug. 6).


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I.  Russia-Iran

1.
Iran�s Nuclear Program Unlikely To Be Taken To UN SC
ITAR-TASS
8/10/2005
(for personal use only)


A leading Russian analyst has expressed big doubts the issue of the Iranian nuclear program may be taken to the U.N. Security Council.

Roland Timerbayev, Russia�s former representative in the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said that Tuesday�s session of the IAEA Board of Governors was evidence nobody planned to raise the theme of taking the Iranian issue before the United Nations. On the contrary, the search continued for ways of further talks between the European troika and Iran.

The Russian diplomat sees good chances for the continuation of such talks.

As he dwelt on Russia�s attitude to the Iranian nuclear program, another authoritative analyst, Deputy Director of the political studies center Anton Khlopkov said that �by signing the protocol on the repatriation of spent nuclear fuel from the Bushehr nuclear power plant with the Iranian leadership Russia made it quite clear it has no intention of reconsidering its cooperation with Iran in the nuclear sphere.�

�Russia may agree to curtail its relations with Iran in this field only if the IAEA produces fresh and convincing evidence the Iranian nuclear program has a military thrust,� he said.


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2.
Halt Uranium Conversion 'Without delay,' Russia Tells Iran
Agence France-Presse
8/9/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia, the main foreign partner in Iran's effort to develop atomic energy, called Tuesday on Tehran to suspend "without delay" its nuclear fuel conversion work, saying this would not undermine its civilian nuclear power program.

"The wise decision would be to stop work that has begun on uranium conversion without delay," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Russia's appeal came as the UN nuclear watchdog went into emergency session in Vienna to consider Iran's resumption of nuclear fuel work which has raised concerns that Tehran was secretly trying to pursue a nuclear weapons program.

The Russian statement said: "We are convinced that the situation that has arisen now has not gone beyond the point of no return. With goodwill it can be corrected."

But Tehran should immediately halt its nuclear fuel work and continue to work closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) "to resolve remaining question over Iran's nuclear program," it added.

The statement added that while Iran had "unfortunately" resumed work on converting uranium, it could stop this again without harming its efforts to develop a nuclear energy program for civilian use.

"We think that Iran could definitely maintain the moratorium without any damage to the realization of its nuclear energy program," the statement added.

Russia plays a crucial role in Iran's nuclear efforts and has led the project for construction of Iran's first nuclear power station at Bushehr.

Earlier this year, Russia's top nuclear official visited Tehran, where he obtained agreement from Iranian officials for the return to Russia of all spent nuclear fuel from the Bushehr plant.

Although Russia is anxious to pursue its work on the 800-million-dollar Bushehr project, and has evoked the possibility of helping Iran build other nuclear power plants in the future, it has also steadily insisted that Tehran respect its IAEA and nuclear Non-Prolifereation Treaty engagements.

On February 28, the day after he returned to Moscow after signing the deal with Tehran on return of spent nuclear fuel rods, Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of Russia's atomic energy agency, said Russia had tried to show Iran that uranium enrichment would be economically "ruinous" for it.

"There are proven scientific documents which use mathematical calculations to show that for a country with fewer than eight or 10 nuclear reactor blocs, each capable of generating 1,000 megawatts, development of its own nuclear cycle is not just useless but ruinous," Rumyantsev said.

"We have explained this to the Iranians and they are closely studying these documents," he added.

Iran has insisted that it has a right to pursue uranium enrichment activity within the parameters of a peaceful nuclear energy program, an assertion that Russia has acknowledged as valid.

Uranium conversion is a step before enrichment, which produces the fuel used in nuclear power plants, or in sufficient concentration, the core for a nuclear bomb.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 25 that Russia was prepared to continue its nuclear cooperation with Iran following the victory of hardliner Mahmood Ahmadinejad in presidential elections, but would fulfill its obligations to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation.

"We are ready to continue cooperation with Iran in the atomic energy sector, while taking into account our international obligations in the area of non-proliferation, (and) to cooperate on finding a mutually acceptable political solution to existing questions," Putin said in a statement.


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3.
Iran�s Test for Moscow
Alexander Golts
MosNews
8/9/2005
(for personal use only)


Exhausted from all the work that went into boycotting ABC and that diplomacy war with Poland, Russia�s Foreign Ministry has decided to decline any comment regarding events that threaten to escalate into a major international crisis that will inevitably involve our country: on Monday, the nuclear center in Iran�s Isfahan began uranium enrichment operations. Earlier, Tehran rejected a package from Great Britain, France and Germany suggesting a series of economic preferences in exchange for an agreement that it will not independently attempt to enrich uranium. As he was being sworn in as president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: �We will never agree to a foreign dictate, which is illegal and encroaches upon the rights of Iranians. The Iranian people cannot be intimidated! I don�t know why certain countries refuse to understand that the Iranian people do not tolerate when they are spoken to with force. Our country will never sacrifice its sense of worth.�

Official explanations given by Tehran for its actions appear unconvincing to say the least. According to Iran, enriched uranium may be necessary as fuel for reactors that may be built in the future. Another explanation is far more convincing: that Iran is fully engaged in building nuclear weapons. It can�t be ruled out that the special session of the International Atomic Energy Agency will decide to implicate Iran as a violator of the Nonproliferation treaty before the UN Security Council.

In that case Russia, which has repeatedly stated its commitment to nonproliferation, will find itself in a very complicated position. Up until Iran�s latest antics, it has acted as through there was no cause of concern in Tehran�s nuclear policy � something which has allowed Russia to continue building a nuclear plant in Iran�s Busher. The plant itself is under the control of the IAEA, Iran is obliged to send the spent nuclear fuel, from which nuclear materials can be extracted, back to Russia.

If it comes down to a Security Council vote on sanctions against Iran, Tehran will clearly depend on the support of Peking and Moscow. After all, the sanctions will hit China hard, as China imports up to 40 percent of its oil from Iran. Russia, of course, is not so dependent on economic cooperation with Iran. However, seeing how such a cooperation, particularly in the nuclear and military spheres, agitates the United States and Europe, Moscow, it seems, is keen on using it as a pressure mechanism against western nations. All its reassurances that a potential nuclear bomb in Iran will be threat first of all for Russia itself have brought no results. The Kremlin has decided to act out of spite against Washington. And now, as Iran�s intentions become ever more obvious, Moscow will have to make a choice.


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4.
Russia Urges Iran To Act Prudently
RIA Novosti
8/9/2005
(for personal use only)


The Russian Foreign Ministry has urged Iran to stop uranium conversion and continue cooperation with the IAEA.

"We believe that Iran could continue the moratorium without damaging its nuclear power program," ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said. "The only power generating unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant has been fully supplied with Russian fuel. We have all the necessary agreements."

The Foreign Ministry said goodwill could help settle the situation.

"Immediate cessation of uranium conversion efforts and further close cooperation with the IAEA to resolve the remaining problems with the Iranian nuclear program would be a wise decision," Kamynin said.

Russia supports cooperation with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for nuclear weapons and stands behind the IAEA's authority to enforce the agreement.

"We also support the unassailable right of NPT member countries to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the IAEA control. Russian-Iranian cooperation at the nuclear plant in Bushehr is based on these principals," Kamynin said.

Over the last two years, Russia has been working closely with other interested parties, particularly Iran, the IAEA, and the "EU troika," to regulate Iran's nuclear program. Unfortunately, Iran restarted uranium conversion on August 8 despite requests from several sides, including Russia, to stop its nuclear program, he said.

"Russia is ready to cooperate with other countries to calm the situation," Kamynin said.


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J.  Russia-North Korea

1.
Russia Hopes For Successful Completion of Six-Party Talks
Xinhua News Agency
8/8/2005
(for personal use only)


Russia is still hopeful that the fourth round of six-party talks on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula would be completed successfully after a recess of three weeks, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Delegations at talks focused on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and have agreed on most of the final joint document of the talks. However, "there is still no consensus on a number of essential issues," the ministry said in a statement.

"The discussions were useful and there is still hope for the successful completion of the fourth round in the near future," it added.

The six parties to the talks -- China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan -- have agreed to take a recess after 13 days of discussions and resume the talks in the week starting on Aug. 29. The talks began in Beijing on July 26.

The Russian delegation expressed gratitude to the Chinese side for its impeccable organization of the talks and stressed that all delegations had tried to make a constructive contribution to the negotiations, the ministry said.


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K.  Nuclear Forces

1.
No Radiation Threat From Russian Sub Being Towed From Kamchatka to Maritime Territory
RIA Novosti
8/11/2005
(for personal use only)


There is no radiation threat from the nuclear submarine being towed from Kamchatka to the Maritime Territory in the Far East for maintenance work, a Russian Navy official said.

Captain 1st Class Igor Dygalo, an aide to the Navy Commander, commented on the Japanese media's concerns over the status of the nuclear submarine being transported near Japan's border.

Dygalo said two sea tugs were transporting the Pacific Fleet's nonategic nuclear sub. "All necessary nuclear security measures are being observed," he said.


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L.  Nuclear Industry

1.
Large Beryllium Consignment Flown From Lithuania to Russia
Interfax
8/11/2005
(for personal use only)


About 4 tonnes of strategic beryllium which can be used to manufacture nuclear fuel, has been transported from Lithuania to Russia, Lithuanian State Security Department spokesman Vytautas Makauskas told Interfax on Thursday.

"The State Security Department has received assurances from Russian special services that the beryllium's recipient is a real company which does exit in Russia, so there were no reasons to stop the shipment," Makauskas said.

"The State Security Department checks all attempts to take beryllium out of Lithuania. Whenever the slightest suspicions arise about the recipients' reliability or about the submitted documents, transactions of this kind are vetoed," he said.

The beryllium was loaded on Wednesday into a plane at Vilnius airport and flown to Russia. The recipients have not been named.


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M.  Nuclear Safety

1.
Nuclear Icebreaker Burns Again
Bellona Foundation
8/9/2005
(for personal use only)


A nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy, or 50th anniversary of Victory, under construction at St. Petersburg Baltiysky shipyard caught fire on August 5.

There was no danger of a radiation leak because the fuel for the reactor has not yet been loaded, St. Petersburg Times reported.

�The vessel is still under construction, and therefore there was no nuclear fuel on it,� said Igor Savelyev, head of the plant�s PR department. �Nuclear-powered ships get fueled only just before they begin to work,� Savelyev said. The fire was small and damaged about 40 meters of cable. The reason for the fire was not clear yet, Savelyev said to St. Petersburg Times.

The icebreaker had already been on fire in November 2004 when a room of 9 square meters burnt down. At that time one worker on board the ship inhaled fumes from the fire and was hospitalized. Savelyev said little fires on ships under construction are not unusual in any country because �such construction works are often accompanied with fire sources.� �In such conditions the main thing is to stop the fire on time, before it becomes uncontrolled. Therefore our plant even has its own fire station.�

The keel of the icebreaker was laid in 1989 and it was put into the water at the end of 1993. But due to the lack of financing, construction was suspended. Partial financing was renewed in the late 1990s. A contract for completing the ship was signed by Baltiysky shipyard and the government in February 2003. It will join the other nuclear icebreakers run by the Murmansk Shipping Company in Murmansk.


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2.
No Serious Accidents At Russian Nuclear Power Plants For 13 Years
RIA Novosti
8/8/2005
(for personal use only)


No serious accidents have occurred at Russian nuclear power plants since the State Concern for Electricity and Heat Generation at Nuclear Power Plants (Rosenergoatom) was set up 13 years ago, a spokesman for the concern said Monday.

Security systems at Russian nuclear reactors "minimize the influence of the human factor," he said.

"We assign priority to the human factor in NPP safety, as well as equipment reliability," the spokesman said, adding that staffers at NPPs were constantly improving their qualifications.

The Russian Federal Service for the Oversight of the Ecology, Technology and Nuclear Management said the number of failures at power-generating units of Russian nuclear power plants had fallen from 51 in 2003 to 46 in 2004. None of the failures affected the radiation situation.

Rosenergoatom is the state manager of 10 Russian nuclear power plants. It is also responsible for nuclear, technical and fire security, including emergency relief measures.


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N.  Official Statements

1.
Mikhail Kamynin, Spokesman , Answers Qestions Regarding the Situation Around the Iranian Nuclear Program
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
8/9/2005
(for personal use only)


Question: The situation around the Iranian nuclear program has become exacerbated recently. Teheran has taken steps to restart activities earlier frozen at the uranium conversion facility in Isfahan. In this connection an extraordinary session of the IAEA Board of Governors is being convened in Vienna today. What are Russia's assessments of such developments?

Answer: The principled line of Russia on this issue is to assist the comprehensive strengthening of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the maintenance of the authority of the IAEA as the body for NPT monitoring. We proceed from NPT member states' unalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under IAEA control. Russia-Iran cooperation in building the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant rests on just these principles.

An integral part of our approach is also the course towards solving the problems that sometimes arise in the context of the NPT implementation by politico-diplomatic means with the employment of the organizational and technical potential of the IAEA. This applies fully to cooperation with Iran as well.

Over the last two years Russian diplomacy in close cooperation with the other concerned parties, primarily Iran itself, the Agency and the European Troika, has been taking vigorous steps to resolve the situation around the undeclared nuclear activities in Iran detected by Agency inspectors. This work has already produced definite results. Of substantial importance, from the viewpoint of the creation of optimal conditions for completing the work on the removal of the still-outstanding issues, was the decision by Teheran on a voluntary suspension of all of its activities related to uranium enrichment and processing as well as uranium conversion in Isfahan. This was a confidence building measure taken in response to the requests made of it by the IAEA Board of Governors. The investigation is not yet over. That was why Mohamed ElBaradei, IAEA Director General, a few days ago called upon Teheran to refrain from unilateral moves in the conditions when the Agency has been making steady progress in dealing with the remaining issues.

Unfortunately, in spite of this appeal and the recommendations of other countries, including ours, the Iranian side on August 8 began feeding uranium ore concentrate into the first part of the technological line of the uranium conversion facility. We think that Iran could well have continued the moratorium without any harm to its nuclear energy program. The sole power unit of the NPP being built in Bushehr is fully provided with fuel from Russia. There are all the necessary agreements to this effect.

Question: How do you assess the prospects for further developments?

Answer: We are convinced that the situation that has now arisen is not irreversible. Given the good will, it can be rectified. It would be a wise decision to immediately stop the work begun on uranium conversion and continue Iran's close cooperation with the IAEA in removing the questions that still remain about the Iranian nuclear program.

Russia is ready to cooperate with other states in de-escalating the situation. In so doing it is important that all the concerned nations should refrain from hasty, ill-considered steps capable of pushing developments towards a substantial aggravation.


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2.
Interview of Head of Russian Delegation at Six-Party Talks in Beijing and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Alexeyev with ITAR-TASS
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
8/8/2005
(for personal use only)


Question: What are the results of the six-party talks on the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula in Beijing?

Alexander Alexeyev: All the delegations have noted progress. At the same time, on a number of issues consensus wasn't reached. A recess is now declared, as the delegations need to take counsel in their capitals on the issues still unresolved.

Further progress in the talks will largely depend on the effectiveness of upcoming contacts between the delegations, as the decision was taken to carry on consultations in the bilateral format. From how the consultations proceed and with what intensity and what is discussed at them, it will be possible to conclude whether the contradictions will be resolved before August 29 or it will take more time.

In Beijing all the delegations parted with the impression that the remaining issues, and they are not that many, can be attempted to be solved before the end of August. The Chinese side will arrange the exact date for resumption of the fourth round with the other participants in the talks.

Question: Will any document be adopted at the end of the talks?

Alexander Alexeyev: A definitive final document has not been agreed, one can so far talk about its considerable part having been elaborated. We do hope that it will be adopted at the end of the fourth round of talks.


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