1. Court against returning Adamov case for further investigation
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The Moscow City Court canceled Monday a lower court decision to send an ex-nuclear power minister's case back to the Prosecutor General's Office to correct shortcomings in the investigation and clarify the charges.
The city court thereby upheld the prosecution's appeal against the Zamoskvoretsky District Court's decision in the case against Yevgeny Adamov, 67, charged with embezzlement and abuse of office. Prosecutors demanded that the case should instead be sent for retrial in the district court.
The Prosecutor General's Office said the Zamoskvoretsky court's decision on Adamov, who served from 1998 to 2001 as Russia's nuclear power minister, was unfounded and unlawful, and demanded its annulment and a retrial with different judges.
Viktor Antipov, the state prosecutor in the case, earlier said the defense team had read the indictment as far back as the preliminary examination and never applied for any clarification.
"The court in effect took the defense team's side ahead of hearings on the merits of the case," Antipov said.
Prosecutors said Adamov was the head of an organized criminal group that inflicted damage worth over 3 billion rubles (about $110 million) on the Russian budget, enterprises and organizations.
Adamov was originally arrested in Switzerland in May 2005 at the request of the United States, where authorities accuse him of misappropriating $9 million given to Russia for nuclear safety projects. If convicted in the U.S., Adamov would have faced 60 years in prison.
He was extradited to Russia in early 2006 to face charges, but was released by the Russian Supreme Court July 21 after a total of 15 months in prison to await trial.
While the U.S. hems and haws over reviving nuclear energy as a less expensive alternative to oil, Russia has dug back 30 years in our nuclear history to find a solution for some of its own energy woes: the floating nuclear power plant.
The Russian nuclear-energy company Rosenergoatom is planning a mobile plant to deliver electricity to hard-to-reach northern territories near the White Sea, where harsh weather makes regular coal and oil fuel deliveries unreliable and expensive. The $200-million floating plantï¿½slated for construction next yearï¿½could provide relatively inexpensive, reliable electricity to 200,000 people.
Although the concept of a water-borne nuke plant might sound outlandish, it isnï¿½t new, nor did it originate in Russia. Westinghouse Electric Company considered the idea in the 1970s and built an immense dry-dock facility in Jacksonville, Florida, where plants would be launched and floated north along the Eastern Seaboard, conveniently doling out power to towns in need. Engineers would be able to standardize construction for multiple plants in an offsite factory with increased quality control and reduced production costs before tugging a plant to its port of call. But ultimately, says retired Westinghouse consultant Richard Orr, energy conservation following the 1973 OPEC oil embargo killed the project.
The Russian plan is to mount two reactors on a football-field-size barge, float it to a port, connect power lines to the mainland, and turn on the reactors, providing communities with affordable electricity. The plant will store waste and spent fuel in an onboard facility that workers will empty every 10 to 12 years during regular maintenance overhauls. After 40 years, the normal life span for a nuclear plant, the decommissioned plant would be towed away and replaced with a new one. The reactor and spent fuel would go to a storage facility, but the barge could be recycled.
Yet because the safety of the Russian facility is still unknown, the prospect of resurrecting the Westinghouse idea in the White Sea has drawn protest from environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the Norwegian foundation Bellona. One concern is that a boat could ram the plant and spill waste into the water. An even bigger fear is that a nasty storm could cut the plant off from the land-based power supply required to run plant operations. Should emergency generators fail, says David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Chernobyl-like disaster could ensue. In a worst-case scenario, an overheated core could melt through the bottom of the barge and drop into the water, creating a radioactive steam explosion. Such a cloud could do far more damage than the plume of nuclear fallout kicked up by the 1986 explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the former U.S.S.R., Lochbaum notes, because the human body absorbs radioactive water droplets more easily than it does radioactive ash. ï¿½Its worst day would be much worse than a land power plantï¿½s,ï¿½ he says.
Sergey Obozov, acting director for Rosenergoatom, says that reactors at sea have a proven safety record: The facility would be powered by two 60-megawatt KLT-40S reactors adapted from those already in use on three Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers. Yet Cristina Chuen, a Russian nuclear-energy specialist with the Monterey Institute for International Studies in California, cautions that subtle performance differences might arise when running the reactor for pure energy generation instead of propulsion, noting that the cooling system remains unproven. Although the technology exists to contain a burning core, Rosenergoatom wonï¿½t say if the plantï¿½which was designed a decade agoï¿½will include the most modern safety measures.
With a building permit in hand, Rosenergoatom aims to have the facility afloat in the port city of Severodvinsk in the southeastern White Sea by late 2010. ï¿½The Russians have learned a lot about safety from the U.S. Department of Energy, Sweden and Norwayï¿½who probably all wish [the Russians] would focus on things other than a floating nuclear power plant,ï¿½ says Chuen, who adds that she wishes the planning process were more transparent. ï¿½Maybe it will turn out great, but I just hope they did all the research to make sure itï¿½s safe.ï¿½
1. Iran threatens to limit nuclear inspection if sanctioned
Agenzia Giornalistica Italia
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A heavyweight Iranian lawmaker has warned Tehran would limit inspections by the UN of its nuclear sites if slapped with sanctions over its atomic program.
"Taking such a step (UN sanctions) will undoubtedly limit the space for International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and they will be denied the current opportunities," said Alaeddin Borujerdi, head of the parliamentary national security commission, the student ISNA agency reported Sunday.
His comments come as the five UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany discuss imposing sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt enrichment, which the West fears could be diverted to making a nuclear bomb.
As a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran insists it has a right to enrichment, which it says will be used for peaceful energy ends.
Iran allows visits to nuclear facilities under the NPT but in February it stopped applying the additional protocol to the treaty, which allows extensive access to atomic sites, after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling on Iran to freeze enrichment.
The European Union is expected to announce in the coming week that it will leave it up to the UN Security Council to consider punitive action after four rounds of talks between the EU and the Islamic republic failed to reach agreement.
The Europeans "will miss a valuable opportunity if they leave the talks and they will suffer more losses than Iran by this decision," Borujerdi said.
He said that Iran's top nuclear official Ali Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana had reached an "11 point accord and negotiations could go on this basis to reach a result satisfying both sides".
Solana said last week that talks with Iran had broken down.
The South Korean government on Tuesday said it had detected activity suggesting North Korea might be preparing to conduct a second nuclear test, as concerns mount that Kim Jong-ilï¿½s regime will take another step to defy international pressure.
Amid a flurry of diplomatic meetings and reports that China has already begun taking tough action against its errant neighbour, North Korea on Tuesday issued another colourful statement characterising the United Nations sanctions imposed on it following last weekï¿½s nuclear test as a ï¿½declaration of warï¿½.
ï¿½The DPRK vehemently denounces the resolution, a product of the US hostile policy toward the DPRK, and totally refutes it,ï¿½ the North Korean foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to the country by its official name, the Democratic Peopleï¿½s Republic of Korea.
Pyongyang said it would ï¿½closely follow the future US attitudeï¿½ and warned: ï¿½The US would be well advised not to miscalculate the DPRK.ï¿½
Even a few months ago, such threats would likely have been dismissed as more florid saber-rattling from Mr Kimï¿½s regime, but these statements are now being taken more seriously following its decision to proceed with missile and nuclear tests.
US television networks reported overnight that US spy satellites had detected ï¿½suspicious vehicle movementsï¿½ that could signal preparations for another test. A senior South Korean government official on Tuesday confirmed there were signs of unusual activity near the site of the first test in northern North Korea.
ï¿½We are keeping a close eye on that place,ï¿½ he said, adding that the signs were different from truck and people movements spotted before the first test and there was no indication that a second test was imminent.
However, he said South Korea was ï¿½leaving open the possibilityï¿½ of a second test and ï¿½making the necessary preparationsï¿½.
China said it was ï¿½resolutely opposedï¿½ to a second test, with Liu Jianchao, foreign ministry spokesman, saying Beijing hoped North Korea would adopt ï¿½a responsible attitude and come back to resolving the issue through dialogue and consultationï¿½.
Fears of a second test have been stoked by the arrival of Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, in north-east Asia for discussions on how to deal with the North Korean nuclear crisis. The first test was conducted as Shinzo Abe, Japanï¿½s new prime minister, arrived in Seoul last Monday.
Following its support for the UN sanctions, China appears to taking some tough action against North Korea although there are accusations it is still not doing enough.
ï¿½China will strictly act on this resolution. We will shoulder and fulfill our obligation,ï¿½ Mr Liu said, denying that China was backsliding on the enforcement of sanctions. ï¿½The Chinese side has always implemented Security Council measures seriously and in a responsible manner.ï¿½
Although they both say they support the sanctions, both China and South Korea are considered unlikely to squeeze North Korea too hard for fear of causing a collapse on its borders.
However, there have been reports that some branches of the Bank of China have halted remittances to North Korea and newly-constructed fences appear to have been built along the Yalu River border between the two countries.
Mr Liu denied China had suddenly begun constructing walls along the border, saying such fences had been under construction along all its boundaries for a decade.
But in Dandong, the town through which most of bilateral trade is conducted, a spokesman for the Bank of China said remittance payments into North Korea had been suspended.
Though the hour is late and the odds long, there is still a chance that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il can be persuaded to give up his nuclear arsenal.
Despite what many have suggested, this cannot be achieved simply through face-to-face negotiations or by offering security guarantees and economic aid. Kim is a cynical realist and will not exchange his nuclear capabilities for empty acts of diplomatic deference or what he would doubtless regard as mere scraps of paper. The hope that he might be tempted to ease the suffering of his people is also sadly misplaced. Kim has been described by psychological profilers as a "malignant narcissist"; he cares only for himself and is indifferent to the pain of others.
Whatever his quirks, Kim is also a cunning and rational strategist with one overriding objective: ensuring his own survival by maintaining an absolute grip on power. The only way to move him is by confronting him with a stark choice -- turn over existing nuclear weapons, dismantle production facilities and submit to rigorous international inspections, or face a steadily rising risk of overthrow and untimely death. This demand can be sweetened with promises of aid and peace pacts, but in the end Kim needs to be presented with an offer he cannot refuse.
North Korea is an impoverished nation with virtually no legitimate exports. Most of its citizens scratch out a meager subsistence. Yet Kim and those around him enjoy a life of comfort, driving powerful foreign cars, drinking expensive imported whiskey, watching bootlegged DVDs and treating their ailments with the best Western medicines.
The hard currency needed to pay for these luxuries, as well as imports essential to the North's programs for weapons of mass destruction, is generated through a variety of illicit activities: counterfeiting U.S. and other currencies, manufacturing and exporting narcotics and phony name-brand cigarettes, and selling weapons from small arms to ballistic missiles to any customer with cash.
Choking off the flow of dollars to Pyongyang would do more than cramp Kim's lavish lifestyle; it would threaten his grip on power. Like other crime bosses, Kim rewards his underlings and ensures their loyalty by letting them share the loot. Kim's extended family, the top echelons of the Communist Party, and the upper ranks of the military and security services all benefit from this arrangement.
For his part, Kim is able to sleep at night because he knows that those on whom his safety depends have a stake in his well-being. If times get tough and money grows tight, however, those people will begin to feel the pinch, the circle of beneficiaries in the spoils system will become smaller and Kim will steadily grow less secure. What Kim has to fear is not a popular uprising but a palace coup. The North's people are too beaten down and weak to stage a revolution, but Kim knows that a handful of disgruntled generals or disaffected party leaders could bring a sudden end to his brutal reign.
With the help of allies such as Japan and Australia, Washington has already taken steps to disrupt North Korean arms sales, counterfeiting and drug smuggling. Last year the United States also began to go after the network of financial institutions through which dollars flow back to Pyongyang. These initiatives need to be greatly intensified and coupled with other measures to constrict Kim's dollar lifeline.
Recently announced U.N. sanctions are a step in the right direction, but they are not enough. China must take responsibility for preventing illicit activities on or through its territory, and both China and South Korea need to ensure that whatever assistance they provide the North's people cannot readily be converted to cash by Kim and his cronies.
Seoul and Beijing have thus far been reluctant to take such steps for fear that they might provoke Kim or cause the North to collapse. The time for hesitation has long since passed. Kim may test more nuclear devices and ballistic missiles, but he is not about to attack the South or make other moves that would bring crushing retaliation. As for the danger of regime collapse, the "Dear Leader" has even more reason to fear it than do his neighbors. It should be made clear to all, including Kim, that the objective of ratcheting up financial pressure is not to topple him but to squeeze him until he chooses to abandon his nuclear ambitions.
Getting China and South Korea on board will not be easy. Both may prefer feeble gestures and empty rhetoric to tough, united action. If Seoul and Beijing remain reluctant, however, they must be made to understand that they are endangering not only the security and stability of Northeast Asia but also their future relations with the United States. The weapons Kim is perfecting could one day lay waste to an American or Asian city. Passivity in the face of this threat will lead to sharp questions from Congress and the public about the continuing value of the U.S. alliance with South Korea, to say nothing of China's supposed status as a "responsible stakeholder" in the international system.
Absent sufficient cooperation, Washington will have to weigh other risky measures. Among these are a stop-and-search blockade of North Korea's ports, secondary sanctions against companies that continue to trade with it, and aggressive criminal proceedings that could entangle individuals and institutions in other countries, including China, with unforeseeable but potentially far-reaching diplomatic and economic consequences.
The Security Councilï¿½s response to North Koreaï¿½s claimed nuclear test is tougher and more far-reaching than Kim Jong Il probably expected. If the North Korean dictator calculated that Chinese and South Korean reluctance to squeeze his unpredictable regime too hard would, after international grumbling, give him a pass into the nuclear club, he has been disabused.
China, Deeply angered, agreed to take action under Chapter VII, the enforcement segment of the UN Charter invoked only against threats to international peace and security. Compliance is obligatory. North Korea has been told to play ball and the standards against which it will be judged will go well beyond ending its nuclear testing.
Resolution 1718 declares unequivocally that North Korea ï¿½shall abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmesï¿½, its ballistic missile programme and ï¿½other weapons of mass destructionï¿½ ï¿½ a reference to the regimeï¿½s chemical and biological weapons capability. Pyongyang has been told to retract its 2003 decision to quit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. North Korea must return to the safeguards regime policed by the International Atomic Energy Agency and also give the IAEA full access to everything that it needs to verify the countryï¿½s nuclear disarmament. It must suspend its development of ballistic missiles and end missile tests.
The resolution bans the sale or purchase of North Korean weaponry and military technology. It thus obliges all states to prevent the sale or transfer to North Korea of heavy weapons and spares, and all equipment and know-how that could assist its outlawed weapons programmes, to freeze all North Korean assets related to these programmes and to deny entry to all North Koreans ï¿½ and their families ï¿½ suspected of involvement in such activities. A final ban, on North Koreaï¿½ s luxury imports, is far from being merely symbolic. The aim is not only to deprive the ï¿½Dear Leaderï¿½ of foie gras, but to dry up the flow of otherwise unobtainable goods that buy the loyalty of key figures in the regime.
Two questions arise. The first is enforcement. The resolution calls on all states to inspect all North Korean cargo, a provision that would enable the 70 nations that co-operate in the US-led Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict illicit shipments. On Chinaï¿½s insistence, however, this is not mandatory and Beijingï¿½s participation is essential. The second is whether sanctions alone can bring this regime into line. China, with Russia, insisted on using Article 41 of the UN Charter, which stops short of military action.
These restriction aside, the onus remains on China to use its influence, not with Mr Kim, whose only interest is in remaining in power, but with those senior officers and officials in North Korea who are painfully aware of the humiliation of millions of people in the pursuit of the most vacuous of personality cults. The Dear Leader is not just a threat to his own people, but to China and all in the vicinity. The past week has been a turning point, not just for Pyongyang, but, more importantly, for Beijing.
4. North Korea expresses commitment to denuclearization, Russian envoy says
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Russia's nuclear envoy said Sunday that North Korean officials expressed their commitment to denuclearization after the North's reported atomic test, and Moscow and Seoul pledged to try reviving stalled international arms talks.
"I was repeatedly told in Pyongyang that they are for the continuation of the process. They are for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev said after meeting Seoul's top nuclear negotiator, Chun Yung-woo.
Alexeyev was in Pyongyang last week ï¿½ the first known foreign official to travel there since North Korea's claimed Oct. 9 nuclear test explosion.
The Russian diplomat said he wasn't carrying any specific message from the North.
The North test-launched a series of missiles in July, and last week claimed it conducted its first-ever successful nuclear test.
In response, the U.N. Security Council on Saturday passed a unanimous resolution imposing sanctions on the communist country.
Alexeyev's visit was part of a series of diplomatic initiatives, planned for the coming week, aimed at defusing the crisis.
The North has refused since last year to attend nuclear talks that also include China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States, demanding that Washington first halt a campaign aimed at cutting off the country from the international financial system.
Seoul and Moscow agreed to pursue the resumption of the deadlocked forum, known as the six-party talks, Alexeyev said.
"We both agreed we should work for a diplomatic solution, that the six-party process should be revived," he said. "We agreed that all sides are interested in a diplomatic way."
However, the South's Chun said negotiations likely couldn't restart until after the North completes its response to the U.N. sanctions. So far, the North has rejected the resolution and said it could take unspecified "physical" action in response to continued U.S. pressure.
"I'll be able to predict with confidence whether we will reopen diplomacy after we see North Korea's reaction," he said.
Since the very early years of the Cold War, two of Asia's most important and progressive countries Japan and South Korea have predicated most of their defense and foreign policy decisions on the assumption they would be protected, in the final analysis, by America's nuclear umbrella.
To an even greater extent than Western Europe, where Britain and France insisted on their own small nuclear deterrent forces in spite of America's guarantee, these two sophisticated Asian economic powers agreed to forswear nuclear weapons altogether. For decades, that contributed not only to the stability of Asia, but also to America's relative leverage in the region. With the decision of North Korea to test a nuclear weapon, those days may now be numbered.
The early results of North Korea's Oct. 9 nuclear tests may, ironically, work against the Stalinist regime in Pyongyang, convincing South Korea and China, for instance, to drop the petty historical dispute that has prevented them from uniting against a mutually perceived threat to peace in their backyard. Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, in fact broke a five-year moratorium on meetings with the South Korean and Chinese leaders the very week the North chose to gatecrash the nuclear club. There is hope in Washington of finally convincing key players -- and especially China, which alone has real leverage on the North -- to slap the kind of political and economic sanctions on the regime that force it to heed world opinion.
In the longer term, however, the North Korean test could prove an important nail in the coffin of America's five-decade dominance of Asian security issues. The nuclear test shakes Japanese and South Korean faith, which has already eroded over the past several years, in the basic Cold War bargain and will transform their atti tudes about their own security.
As a South Korean diplomat at the United Nations put it to me last year, "Much of our thinking for the past two decades, and in Japan, too, I would say, has been based on the idea that we are under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. If the U.S. cannot prevent North Korea from testing a nuclear weapon, how can it deter North Korea from using one? That's the basic question being asked today."
So far, the reaction of North Korea's Asian neighbors has been moderate: careful condemnations, calls for sanctions, pledges to work for a peaceful solution, etc. This certainly is a far cry from Pakistan's tit-for-tat, nuke-for-nuke response to India's 1998 nuclear test. But those who make a living tracking proliferation threats remain concerned. Both South Korea and Japan are signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the treaty North Korea renounced in 2003 before its final push for nuclear weaponry began. Yet, of all the non-nuclear states that have pondered, secretly or openly, the wisdom of going nuclear, none is more capable of fielding an actual arsenal as quickly and completely as Japan and South Korea are.
As the only nation ever to suffer a nuclear attack, Japan has repeatedly vowed in the years since 1945 to never "develop, use, or allow the transportation of nuclear weapons through its territory." It later emerged Japan had, in fact, studied the idea during the 1960s. By and large, however, Japan has been true to its word. Yet Japan, more vulnerable than any other major industrial nation to oil crises, also developed a civilian nuclear power industry larger than any outside France and the United States. This expanding network of nuclear plants, which Japan hopes will produce over 40 percent of national electricity needs by 2010, also produced spent plutonium at levels which alarm nonproliferation experts. While this is not "bomb- grade" plutonium in the strictest sense, experts believe Japan could quickly field an arsenal if it so chose. Michael Levi, an expert in arms control and proliferation at the Council on Foreign Relations, says Japan could nuclearize its military "in a matter of months, if not sooner." This has led some to deem Japan a "paranuclear" state.
Such thoughts would have been quickly dismissed a decade ago given the lingering taboo and trauma caused by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. In recent years, however, particularly since North Korea test-fired a missile in 1998 that crossed Japanese territory before splashing into the Pacific Ocean, some politicians have called for a rethinking of the pacifism imposed on Japan by the United States after World War II. Yasuhiro Nakasone, a former prime minister, told a reporter last month Japan needed "to study the issue of nuclear weapons." Japan's new prime minister, before winning power, expressed the opinion that nothing in the country's constitution specifically forbids development of a nuclear deterrent. Abe has been careful since the North Korean test to say Japan is not planning to go nuclear. But he clearly is aligned with those who feel a nuclear arsenal to be on the table for study.
As with Japan, South Korea's sophisticated domestic nuclear power industry is poised to nuclearize if it so chooses. From the 1950s until the late 1980s, in South Korea's official accounts, Seoul pursued a nuclear weapons program as vigorously as its communist archrival to the north. In fact, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors who visited South Korea in 2003 discovered research on enriching plutonium continued until at least 2000. While the IAEA found no evidence of any military motive, it was a reminder of how little we may actually know about such activity there and elsewhere.
Ever since Amy Carter raised the issue with her presidential daddy in the late 1970s, nuclear nonproliferation has loomed like Oz in the thoughts of diplomats and policymakers -- particularly those in the nations which made up the relatively stable Cold War- era "nuclear club," the U.S., Russia (then the Soviet Union), France, Britain, China, and, with a wink and a nod because they have nukes but won't publicly admit it, Israel. Like Oz, though, the concept of nonproliferation always looked bet ter from afar.
The closer any nation came to completing the nuclear fuel cycle, the more clearly futile efforts to prevent the next step turned out. In the end, those which came close and decided against actually testing and fielding nuclear arms -- South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, for instance -- shied away for reasons of national interest, the strain on their scientific infrastructure, or the pure financial burden. Even Libya, which renounced its own nuclear designs in 2003, had little to show for its efforts and much to gain from dropping them.
Japan and South Korea certainly have the scientific prowess and financial ability to move in this direction, and no one, not even in Washington, contends they are wrong to feel threatened. Like China, India, Pakistan, and now North Korea, all of whom blasted their way into the nuclear club in past decades, these two economically minded powers may eventually find the benefits outweigh the slap on the hand such actions brought to previous gatecrashers. Until someone proves the consequences to be more serious than that, the temptation of going nuclear, and of having a permanent seat at the world's big table as a result, may prove too much to resist.
As the United States and Japan pushed for a vote today on a Security Council resolution condemning North Korea's reported nuclear test, US intelligence officials said the government had detected radioactive debris consistent with a nuclear explosion.
The radioactive finding was the only positive result among many tests conducted since North Korea announced a nuclear explosion Monday, the officials said last night.
Environmental samples collected by a US military aircraft detected signs of radiation over the Sea of Japan, possibly confirming North Korea's nuclear test, but intelligence officials stopped short of declaring that an atomic test was conducted. ``The intelligence community continues to analyze the data," said Frederick Jones, spokesman for the National Security Council.
Earlier detection attempts by the United States, China, and South Korea did not pick up any radiation. In addition to collecting more samples, analysts are taking a harder look at seismic data, satellite photos, and communications intercepts.
US intelligence analysts say they believe, though cannot prove, that the North Korean blast was the result of a partial implosion of plutonium at the core of the test device. That would mean some of the plutonium failed to implode. The blast yield was less than a kiloton, far smaller than the 20-to-23-kiloton bomb the US military dropped on Japan 61 years ago.
1. Russia received no info on N. Korea nuclear test - PM
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Russia received no prior information about North Korea's nuclear test October 9, the prime minister said Tuesday.
The UN Security Council unanimously voted Saturday to pass a resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea following a reported nuclear test in the reclusive Communist state.
Mikhail Fradkov told South Korean journalists, who asked whether it was true that Russia had been informed two hours prior to the test that it was about to take place, that no one had warned Russia.
"As far as I know, we had no information before the explosion," he said.
He said he hoped North Korea will not conduct a second nuclear test.
"I hope there will not be a second explosion, at least there must be none. The UN Security Council sent a strong signal to this effect by adopting a resolution," Fradkov said, adding that a second test would seriously aggravate the situation.
He said Russia and South Korea are interested in a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear problem and the country's return to the six-nation talks.
The presidents of Russia and South Korea highlighted Monday the need to coordinate international efforts to stabilize the situation around North Korea.
"The sides discussed during a [telephone] conversation the situation in Northeast Asia, which deteriorated following North Korea's nuclear test," the Kremlin press service said.
The leaders also said the UN resolution urged all sides involved to seek a peaceful political resolution and to pursue a balanced policy.
The head of the U.N. nuclear agency warned Monday that as many as 30 countries could soon have technology that would let them produce atomic weapons "in a very short time," joining the nine states known or suspected to have such arms.
Speaking at a conference on tightening controls against nuclear proliferation, Mohamed ElBaradei said more nations are "hedging their bets" by developing technology that is at the core of peaceful nuclear energy programs but could quickly be switched to making weapons.
ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, called them "virtual new weapons states."
The warning came amid heightened fears that North Korea's nuclear test explosion and Iran's defiance of a U.N. Security Council demand that it suspend uranium enrichment could spark a new arms race, particularly among Asian and Middle Eastern states that feel threatened.
ElBaradei did not single out any country in his warning, but was clearly alluding to Iran and other nations that are working to develop uranium enrichment capability, such as Brazil.
Other nations, including Australia, Argentina and South Africa, have recently announced that they are considering developing enrichment programs to be able to sell fuel to states that want to generate electricity with nuclear reactors.
Canada, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Taiwan, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Lithuania are among nations that either have the means to produce weapons-grade uranium if they chose, could quickly build such technology, or could use plutonium waste for weaponization. All are committed non-nuclear weapons states, and no one has suggested they want to use their programs for arms.
Japan also says it has no plans to develop atomic weapons, but it could make them at short notice by processing tons of plutonium left over from running its nuclear reactors. South Korea also has spent reactor fuel and was found a few years ago to have conducted small-scale secret experiments on making highly enriched uranium that would be usable in warheads.
Other countries considering developing nuclear programs in the near future are Egypt, Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Namibia, Moldova, Nigeria, Poland, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam and Yemen, U.N. officials say.
There are five formally declared nuclear weapons states _ the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain _ and four others are known or thought to have such arms _ India, Pakistan, Israel and now North Korea.
North Korea developed its capacities from what it had portrayed as a peaceful nuclear energy program, and there are widespread suspicions Iran may be trying to obtain arms through its enrichment program, despite Tehran's insistence it seeks only to produce fuel for reactors to generate electricity.
North Korea's nuclear weapon test a week ago sparked widespread condemnation and led the Security Council to agree on broad sanctions. On Iran, the council plans this week to discuss possible selective penalties for Tehran ignoring its demand to stop enrichment by Aug. 31.
Much of ElBaradei's comments were directed at the potential for misuse of uranium enrichment, which can generate both low-enriched, reactor-grade uranium and highly enriched material for nuclear bombs.
"The knowledge is out of the tube ... both for peaceful purpose and unfortunately also for not peaceful purposes," ElBaradei said.
"It's becoming fashionable for countries to try to look into possibilities of shielding themselves ... through the possibility of nuclear weapons," he said, adding: "Another 20 or 30 would have the capacity to develop nuclear weapons in a very short time."
Indirectly criticizing nuclear weapons states, ElBaradei said it was illogical for them to maintain their atomic arsenals while urging others not to acquire such arms.
He also obliquely took some of them to task for not signing or ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, suggesting their endorsement of the 1996 pact "would have changed the behavior of North Korea, maybe."
The treaty, which prohibits all nuclear explosions, will not take effect until it has been ratified by 44 states that possess either nuclear reactors for power-generation or research. So far 34 have ratified it. Holdouts include the U.S., China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.
ElBaradei said more money and international commitment are needed for his agency's verification efforts, describing the $120 million annually budgeted as "a drop in the ocean."
"It's important that the system continues to be ahead of the game," he said. "We cannot continue to do business as usual."
In their third Presidential debate, in October 1960, John F. Kennedy went after Vice President Richard Nixon, blasting him as weak on national security for not stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. France had just tested its first nuclear device, joining the United States, the Soviet Union and Britain as the world's first nuclear powers. Kennedy warned "that 10, 15 or 20 nations will have a nuclear capacity ï¿½ including Red China ï¿½ by the end of the presidential office in 1964."
As president, Kennedy sought to fight that dark vision, telling the United Nations: "The weapons of war must be abolished, before they abolish us." He restarted talks on a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, began pursuit of a global nonproliferation pact and signed a treaty with the Soviet Union to ban atmospheric nuclear tests. Although Kennedy did not live to finish the job, in 1968, Lyndon Johnson signed what became the diplomatic crown jewel of his presidency: the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, or NPT. President Nixon secured its ratification. The NPT is now considered one of the most successful security pacts in history. Every nation in the world is a member except Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Most of the 183 member states that do not have nuclear weapons believe what the treaty says: We should eliminate nuclear weapons.
The treaty became the hub around which liberals and conservatives built an interlocking network of agreements that deterred, though didn't altogether stop, the spread of nuclear weapons. As a result, by 2000, only three other countries ï¿½ Israel, India and Pakistan ï¿½ had joined the original five nuclear nations. With the success of these agreements, and the end of the Soviet-American nuclear standoff at the close of the Cold War, it seemed that the nuclear threat that had haunted the world for so many years might finally be receding.
But now, suddenly, the threat is back. In the last six years, we seem awash in nuclear threats: First it was Saddam Hussein, then North Korea and Iran. How did it happen? Is nuclear restraint dead?
At the heart of the problem is the strategy George W. Bush chose, which rejects international treaties as the solution to proliferation. He and his advisors saw these agreements as limiting U.S. flexibility and viewed the United Nations and other global gatherings as arenas where the world's Lilliputians could tie down the American Gulliver.
Bush scuttled the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, walked away from the nuclear test ban treaty secured by President Clinton, opposed efforts to enforce the treaty banning biological weapons, mocked the U.N. inspectors before the Iraq war and sent low-level officials to critical negotiations, including last year's NPT conference. The world now believes that the chief architect of the global nonproliferation system has abandoned its creation.
Instead, the administration preferred to rely on U.S. military might and technology, such as anti-missile systems, to protect the United States. Rather than negotiate treaties to eliminate weapons, it forged a strategy to eliminate the regimes that might use them against us. The Bush team felt they knew who the bad guys were, and they aimed to get them ï¿½ one by one.
But the strategy has backfired. Both Iran and North Korea accelerated their programs, making more progress in the last five years than they had made in the previous 10. Now North Korea's test threatens to trigger an Asian nuclear-reaction chain that could prompt South Korea, Taiwan and even Japan to reconsider their nuclear options.
And it is not just the threats from small nations such as North Korea that could fuel a new atomic arms race. It is the continued existence of huge nuclear arsenals in the United States, Russia and other states. The importance of nuclear weapons as a cornerstone of U.S. defense had been declining since the Cold War ended. Though the U.S. never ruled out their use, Clinton and George H.W. Bush made it clear that they believed they were unusable, except perhaps in retaliation.
But the current president's policies have elevated the role of these weapons. The 2002 Nuclear Posture Review detailed plans to build new, more usable "low-yield" nuclear weapons and created missions for them. Bush decided to retain about 6,000 weapons and to research a new generation of nuclear missiles, bombers and submarines.
What's the relevance of this to proliferation? Simple. U.S. intelligence officials concluded as early as 1958 that other nations' nuclear appetites could not be curbed without limiting the superpowers' stockpiles. That judgment was confirmed by subsequent administrations.
As the superpowers cut their weapons from a Cold War high of 65,000 in 1986 to about 27,000 today, other countries took note. In the 1960s, 23 countries had nuclear programs, including Australia, Canada, Egypt, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and West Germany. Most ended any weapons programs. Brazil and Argentina stopped research in the 1980s, and South Africa, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine gave up their bombs in the 1990s.
We now know that U.N. inspectors ended Iraq's nuclear program in 1991. In 2003, Libya abandoned its secret program. Until last week, no nation had tested a nuclear weapon for eight years ï¿½ the longest period in the Atomic Age. The outrage that greeted the North Korean test shows how strong anti-nuclear sentiment has become.
Many political and military leaders recognize the limited military utility of weapons whose use would kill thousands of innocent civilians. Rep. David L. Hobson (R-Ohio), a solid Midwest conservative, led the effort last year to kill the administration's proposed "nuclear bunker buster," a new weapon designed to go after conventional targets. Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara advocates greatly reducing the U.S. and Russian arsenals and then working to eliminate them completely, just as countries have done with chemical and biological weapons. Even former Bush advisor Richard Perle has said the U.S. could cut to well below 1,000 warheads. "The truth is we are never going to use them," Perle said. "The Russians aren't going to use theirs either."
By clinging to our own nuclear arsenal, and touting the importance of these weapons to our own security, the Bush administration has sent the world a schizoid message: Nuclear weapons are very, very important and useful ï¿½ but you cannot have them. This double standard is impossible to maintain.
Last year, International Atomic Energy Agency Director Mohamed ElBaradei said that until the world was committed to eradicating nuclear weapons, "we will continue to have this cynical environment that all the guys in the minor leagues will try to join the major leaguesï¿½. They will say, 'If the big boys continue to rely on nuclear weapons, why shouldn't I?' "
Bush administration officials have proved expert at smashing the agreements their predecessors so painstakingly built, but in doing so they broke the bars that had caged the nuclear beast. Those who will have to repair the damage would do well to look back at the handiwork of the past. They might learn a thing or two.
2. Uranium from former East German reactor shipped to Kazakhstan for processing
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Around 1.2 tons of uranium from a former East German research reactor has been shipped to Kazakhstan for reprocessing as reactor fuel, officials said Friday.
The material, consisting of low-enriched and unenriched uranium, was brought overland to Hamburg and sent by sea to Russia for train shipment to the former Soviet republic in Central Asia, said the Environment Ministry of Saxony state.
Beate Scheffler, a spokesman for the German firm Nukem GmbH, which is overseeing the transport, declined to say where in Kazakhstan the fuel was going.
The material was from a reactor used for research by the former communist government of East Germany, said Udo Helwig, director of the VKTA organization charged with dismantling the Russian-designed reactor.
The reactor in Rossendorf, near Dresden, dates to 1957 and was shut down in 1991 after the collapse of communism.
1. Russia, Kazakhstan Agree to Pool Nuclear Power Assets
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Russia and Kazakhstan will set up joint ventures in nuclear energy, pooling as much as $10 billion of assets to prepare for a global resurgence in atomic power.
Kazakhstan will rely on Russia to develop its nuclear power industry, with one of their ventures building three reactors. It will also become Russia's first partner in a nuclear reprocessing center planned for Angarsk, Siberia. Russia will gain access to a Kazakh deposit with 250,000 tons of uranium, 5.2 percent of the element's global recoverable resources.
``The total value of assets in the three joint ventures could reach $10 billion in the next few years,'' Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, said yesterday in Aktau. ``The potential turnover of each of the enterprises could reach tens of billions of dollars,'' he said in comments confirmed by e-mail by his spokesman.
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the start of the year forged a nuclear alliance with Ukraine and Kazakhstan and later Uzbekistan. The alliance aims to recapture links in the former Soviet Union's atomic industry amid a global renaissance for nuclear energy. Kazakhstan holds the world's second-largest uranium reserves.
Kiriyenko was in the capital of Kazakhstan for talks on the ventures with the country's Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov. The central Asian state will work with Russia on uranium mining, enrichment and civilian nuclear reactor construction projects.
Russia, which is short of uranium, a mineral enriched to make nuclear power plant fuel, has sought to increase its mining at home while negotiating for possible future supplies from Australia's BHP Billiton and Canada's Cameco.
Building Nuclear Plants
Kazakhstan's state-controlled Kazatomprom and Russia's fuel trader, Techsnabexport, or Tenex, will lead the mining venture, registered as Akbastau. The company will work on the $1 billion Yuzhnoye Zarechnoye deposit, in which Russia has a stake of 49 percent, and the 250,000-ton Budyonovskoye deposit.
Mikhail Stiskin, an analyst with Troika Dialog, said this was ``a brilliant step,'' with Kazakhstan likely to become Russia's strongest outside supplier of uranium ore.
``Kazakhstan has limited enrichment facilities and this is where Russia can pitch in,'' Stiskin said.
Vladimir Orlov, program director at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, said it was not clear how Kazakhstan would gain economically from the accord.
Gaining Higher Profile
``This is a political win,'' Orlov said by telephone from Geneva. ``This is a political resolution that has above all been discussed by Putin'' with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Russia's idea of a nuclear alliance means its partners will gain a higher profile at a time when Putin is staking Russia's claim as global leader in atomic energy.
The Angarsk-based enrichment venture will be ``the first of many that will set up around the reprocessing center,'' said Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, by telephone today.
Russia holds 4 percent of the world's uranium resources and currently mines 35 percent of its needs, filling the gap from stockpiles and reprocessed nuclear fuel from warheads.
The third venture, Atomniye Stantsii, will build three BVER-300s, 300-megawatt fast-neutron reactors, in Kazakhstan and then market the product in countries that are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Novikov said.
``For the Kazakhs, Angarsk is not an end in itself. The country is much more focused on setting up their own atomic energy sector,'' Orlov said.
Kazakhstan's Akhmetov will visit Moscow on Oct. 26 to submit detailed financial assessments for the joint projects.
As much as ï¿½800 million was wiped off the value of British Energy, and wholesale electricity prices shot up yesterday after the company closed two nuclear reactors and revealed problems at others.
The latest difficulties to hit the energy generator throw doubt on the Governmentï¿½s plans to sell down its 65 per cent stake in the business. Shares in the company plunged 25 per cent to 427p.
British Energy was yesterday operating only one of its eight nuclear stations at full output as the rest struggled with a series of defects and outages. Bill Coley, chief executive, said that the problems, which affect boiler tubes, water pipes and temperature control, were symptoms of an ageing fleet.
The company will now have to buy energy in the open market in order to meet its obligations to customers. The cost is expected to run into hundreds of millions of pounds.
Sources close to British Energy said they now expected the Governmentï¿½s sell-down to be substantially delayed or dropped. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said: ï¿½We will clearly need to take into account the current position at Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B (nuclear stations) when considering any potential share sale.ï¿½ November baseload electricity prices rose from ï¿½43.50p per megawatt hour to ï¿½45 and December increased from ï¿½ 52.90p to ï¿½54 on the news of British Energyï¿½s reduced output. Mr Coley said that the generator could not predict its likely output because some of the stations would work on reduced levels.
The Hunterston and Hinkley reactors have the worst problems, with a total of 146 boiler tubes in need of repair. But there is also significant water leakage at the Hartlepool facility, temperature control problems at Heysham and fuel-routing difficulties at the Dungeness site. The defects jeopardise British Energyï¿½s hopes of extending the life of its reactors. Hunterston and Hinkley are due to be decommissioned in 2011 and a decision on whether their service can be prolonged must be taken by the end of next year. Mr Coley said that it was not yet possible to say whether the current difficulties made the extensions still feasible.
British Energy said there was no threat to safety from the boiler cracks or the water leak. The Government insisted that there would be no threat to the UKï¿½s power supply because of British Energyï¿½s outages. The DTI said that other forms of generation would be brought in by the National Grid.
2. Post-9/11 Security Standards Not Being Met at Uranium Facility
Los Angeles Times
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The Energy Department cannot meet its own post-Sept. 11 security standards to repel a terrorist force at the Ft. Knox of uranium, a facility in Tennessee that stores an estimated 189 metric tons of bomb-grade material, agency officials acknowledged.
The material is stored in five masonry and wood-frame buildings at the Y-12 facility, a key part of the nation's nuclear weapons infrastructure at the Oak Ridge site near Knoxville.
The Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration is building a secure facility, due to be completed in 2009, to warehouse the material. Until then, the Energy Department has given itself an "extension," or waiver, on meeting security requirements at the site.
The risk is that terrorists will gain access to highly enriched uranium and then within minutes construct a crude but powerful improvised nuclear device, or IND. It is believed such a device could have a yield equal to that of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
The issues at Y-12 were disclosed in a report by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington, D.C., group that has urged the Energy Department in recent years to strengthen security at all of the nation's nuclear weapons sites.
Officials at Y-12 acknowledged they were not meeting the security requirements but rejected the concerns raised by the organization. Y-12 spokesman Steven Wyatt said the facility's security force could effectively defend the site and prevent terrorists from constructing a weapon.
"There are better odds that an asteroid would hit Oak Ridge than the likelihood that terrorists would have the access and time to build and detonate an IND," Wyatt said.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, the department quadrupled in several steps the number of terrorists that it assumed it would have to repel at all of its nuclear weapons facilities. The number is classified, but it is believed to be in line with the number of terrorists who executed the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Then last year, the agency watered down the number of assumed attackers. Even with the weaker standard, the department decided it could not fully guarantee that a highly trained terrorist assault team could be repelled at Y-12 without millions of dollars in additional expenses.
At the Tennessee site, the department has 527 guards, provided by the private security firm Wackenhut Services Inc. To meet the federal security standard ï¿½ known as a "design basis threat" ï¿½ would have required a force of 800 guards, said Peter Stockton, one of the key authors of the report and a former security consultant to the Energy Department.
The issue has caused political headaches at the highest levels in the department.
Early this year, Linton F. Brooks, chief of the nuclear security agency, told his staff they would have to find a way to explain to Congress why the agency was failing to request money to upgrade security.
"We all know that is because [the Bush administration's Office of Management and Budget] denied funding, but since we will be defending the administration's position, we won't be able to say that," Brooks told his subordinates in an e-mail in January.
"I think there is serious risk to our credibility if we say nothing," he wrote.
After weighing various proposals from his staff on how to spin the agency's decision not to meet its security standards, Brooks warned, "The only thing I think we absolutely must avoid is misleading the Hill."
An analysis by the watchdog group found that a terrorist assault team would have more firepower than the Wackenhut guards. It also showed that an improvised nuclear device would destroy much of Knoxville and cause an estimated 60,000 deaths.
1. LDP policy chief calls for debate on nuke option
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Japan needs to discuss whether it should go nuclear in response to North Korea's declared nuclear test, the policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said Sunday.
Shoichi Nakagawa, chairman of the LDP's Policy Research Council, made the contentious comment on a TV Asahi talk show, saying the Constitution does not rule out the option of possessing nuclear arms.
As a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Japan is not allowed to produce or possess nuclear weapons.
While stressing the nation should maintain its three-point nonnuclear principles of not possessing, producing or allowing the entry of nuclear weapons into Japan, Nakagawa said, "There could be an argument that possession of nuclear weapons diminishes the likelihood of being attacked as we could fight back in such an event."
"There can be discussions, of course, (about being a nuclear power)," he said.
The remarks drew immediate opposition from the LDP's coalition partner, New Komeito, with party policy chief Tetsuo Saito telling the same program, "We will never possess nuclear arms. We should not even discuss the matter as it causes concerns to the world."
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking in the Lower House Budget Committee last Tuesday following North Korea's announcement the day before of a nuclear test, said he does not plan to change Japan's policy of not possessing nuclear weapons. Following Nakagawa's remarks, Abe reiterated in the afternoon that Japan would stick to its nonnuclear principles.
Nakagawa told reporters after the program, "There also are demerits of possession. I'm not discussing this on the assumption that we should possess nuclear weapons."
As for the three nonnuclear principles, he said, "We need to have thorough discussions on whether there is a need to review them."
1. Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution Addressing Nuclear Test in DPRK
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
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The United Nations Security Council on October 14 unanimously adopted Resolution 1718 addressing the DPRK's declared nuclear test on October 9.
The Security Council condemned this action, noting that it poses a threat to international peace and security, and demanded that the DPRK leadership not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile. The resolution contained a number of other demands aimed at ensuring that DPRK complies with the existing nonproliferation regimes for weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles, including the return of Pyongyang to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The resolution also envisages a number of measures which UN member states must take in order to prevent the import from or export to the DPRK of any goods or technologies related to missile and WMD programs. In particular, a ban is imposed on the supply to North Korea of certain types of conventional arms and related materiel and technologies that could be used for the creation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. The resolution also calls on the DPRK to cease its export of the above materials and technologies.
A sanctions committee made up of all UNSC members is being established to track the implementation of this resolution and fix additional lists of goods, materials and technologies with respect to which bans may be imposed on supplies to the DPRK.
Separately the resolution notes that the DPRK should return to the Six-Party Talks, of which the last round took place in September 2005.
Russia took an active part in elaborating the text of the resolution. We saw our objective in a strong, but at the same time carefully considered reaction of the Security Council seeking to prevent a further escalation of tensions. We also considered it necessary to send the North Koreans a clear signal that the test undermines the international nuclear nonproliferation regime.
Simultaneously we insisted on the necessity of restricting the reference to Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations by its Article 41, which provides solely for nonmilitary measures of pressure. At Russia's initiative an item is included in the resolution that states, if necessary, any subsequent actions regarding the DPRK will require additional decisions by the UN Security Council.
We hope for an adequate reaction of the North Korean leadership to the collective position of the international community as reflected in Resolution 1718 and that it will take practical steps directed at solving the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula and strengthening peace and security in Northeast Asia.
2. Security Council Imposes Sanctions on North Korea
U.S. Department of State
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Calling North Korea's alleged nuclear test "a clear threat to international peace and security," the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to impose stringent, mandatory international sanctions on Pyongyang and demanded an end to nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.
In the White House, President Bush praised the ï¿½clear messageï¿½ sent by the world to the leader of North Korea. ï¿½This action by the United Nations, which was swift and tough, says that we are united in our determination to see to it that the Korea Peninsula is nuclear weapons free,ï¿½ he said.
But the president reiterated: ï¿½Thereï¿½s a better way for the people of North Korea. If the leader of North Korea were to verifiably end his weapons programs, the United States and other nations would be willing to help the nation recover economically.ï¿½
In New York, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said, "Today we are sending a strong and clear message to North Korea and other would-be proliferators that there will be serious repercussions in continuing to pursue weapons of mass destruction."
The ambassador hailed the unanimous agreement by the Security Council as "a significant step to deal with the North Korean nuclear problem."
The United States is "pleased that the Security Council is united in condemning the actions by the regime in Pyongyang and taking clear, firm, and punitive action in passing this resolution, thus proving to North Korea and others that the Security Council is prepared to meet threats to international security with swift resolve," Bolton said in remarks after the vote.
The vote came October 14 after six days of negotiations and the postponement of a morning vote to work out last minute technical difficulties. At the end of negotiations, Bolton, accompanied by Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya, told journalists of the final agreement and announced that all the 15 members of the Security Council were joining in sponsoring the resolution.
Wang called the resolution a "strong, forceful, appropriate response."
Bolton said that the final text was "entirely satisfactory to the United States" and "accomplishes all the major objectives we sought going into this drafting process."
The U.S. envoy noted that the council members had worked for six straight days to get agreement on the sanctions, meeting on Saturday to cast the official vote. "We're here on a Saturday, six days after the North Korean nuclear test ï¿½ because it's important for the council to respond just as swiftly as possible," he said.
STRINGENT ARMS SANCTIONS
The resolution bans trade with North Korea on all materials with direct or dual use applications for weapons of mass destruction (WMD); bans the sale or purchase of battle tanks, warships, armored combat aircraft, attack helicopters, missiles or missile systems. It prohibits nations from using their territories or allowing their nationals to provide North Korea technical training, advice, services or assistance on weapons of mass destruction. It also prohibits the sale of luxury goods to North Korea.
Nations are to cooperate with the sanctions by inspecting cargo to and from North Korea as necessary.
The resolution requires nations to freeze the funds, assets and economic resources of individuals or businesses -- which will be designated by the council's sanctions committee -- connected with North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and impose a travel ban on individuals and their families connected with weapons of mass destruction programs.
Financial transactions and resources needed for food, rent or mortgages, medical supplies, insurance premiums and utility charges are exempted.
Humanitarian goods and services are also exempted, Bolton said, because "the concern of the Security Council is with the regime in Pyongyang, not the starving and suffering people of North Korea."
The resolution was adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which makes the sanctions mandatory, but contains a reference to Article 41, which permits only enforcement that does not involve the use of military force.
The resolution also calls upon North Korea "to return immediately to the Six-Party Talks without precondition."
Bolton pointed out that the resolution also targets other illicit activities of the regime and the way Kim Jong-Il finances WMD programs "through criminal activities such as money-laundering, counterfeiting and the selling of narcotics."
The ambassador emphasized that North Koreaï¿½s full compliance with the resolution and the successful resumption of the Six-Party Talks will "lead to the council acting to lift the measures imposed," but should the regime "continue down its current path," it will face other "serious consequences."
DEFIANCE MUST BE MET WITH STRONG MEASURES
Japanese Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, president of the council, called the vote "one of the most important decisions this council has taken in recent times."
North Korea's action "has caused widespread and deep concern in East Asia and beyond," Oshima said. The combination of the July ballistic missile tests and the current nuclear claims by a regime "with a long and proven record of reckless and irresponsible behavior is nothing less than a grave threat to international peace and security."
"It was essential that such an important decision be taken by a unanimous vote," Oshima said. Pyongyang's "irresponsible act in total defiance of a call to refrain from nuclear tests by the entire world deserved to be met with not only strong admonishment but strong measures."
Accusing the Security Council of acting like "gangsters," North Korean Ambassador Pak Gil Yon "totally" rejected the resolution and walked out of the council's chamber as the South Korean envoy began to speak.
Recalling North Korea's quick rejection in July of a Security Council resolution demanding that Pyongyang end its ballistic missile program, Bolton pointed to North Korea's once again empty chair. The envoy's action, he said, calls into question North Korea's membership in the United Nations.
Bolton also reassured Americaï¿½s allies in the region that the United States is committed to their security.
"In response to North Korea's provocation we will seek to increase defense cooperation with our allies, including cooperation on ballistic missile defense to protect against North Korean aggression, and cooperation to prevent North Korea from importing or exporting nuclear or other missile technologies," the ambassador said.
The Department of Energyï¿½s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has successfully converted the 1-megawatt TRIGA research reactor at Texas A&M University from the use of highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium.
As a part of its nonproliferation mission, NNSA converts research reactors in the U.S. and around the world from operating on highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. LEU is not suitable for use in a nuclear weapon and is not sought by terrorists or criminals. The conversion is part of the Bush administrationï¿½s efforts to minimize the use of highly enriched uranium in civil applications around the world.
ï¿½This domestic reactor conversion will also help us significantly as we work with others to convert research reactors as part of our global effort to minimize the use of HEU in civilian nuclear applications around the world,ï¿½ said Secretary Samuel W. Bodman. ï¿½By the end of this year, we will have converted six U.S. and international research reactors, a good record by any measure.ï¿½
HEU is primarily used in research reactors to produce isotopes for medical applications, and early reactor technology used HEU fuel because it was more difficult to achieve comparable power levels using LEU. However, modern reactor designs can use newer high-density LEU fuels while maintaining comparable power levels, making conversion an attractive option for limiting the availability of HEU nuclear material.
NNSA worked closely with the Department of Energyï¿½s Office of Nuclear Energy, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Texas A&M University to complete this reactor conversion. Senior officials from NNSA joined others at Texas A&M in College Station today to commemorate the successful fuel conversion of the reactor.
Under the 2005 North American Security and Prosperity Partnership, the United States, Mexico, and Canada agreed to convert civil HEU reactors on the North American continent to LEU fuel by 2011, where such LEU fuel is available. The Texas A&M research reactor is the first of six domestic research reactors the United States will convert. Mexico will convert its one research reactor in Mexico City, and Canada will convert three research reactors.
This reactor conversion also supports the 2005 Bratislava Joint Statement on Nuclear Security Cooperation issued by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Under the statement, the United States and Russia agreed to work together to convert more than 30 U.S. and Russian-supplied research reactors around the world from the use of HEU to LEU.
The Global Threat Reduction Initiativeï¿½s (GTRI) mission includes returning and securing nuclear fuel, and converting research reactors around the world. Currently, GTRI is working to convert 59 more reactors around the world from HEU to LEU by 2014.
DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to visit the websites from which the source material originates. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.