1. Russian Atomic Energy Agency Expects Delegation of Iran
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Iran is ready to proceed to detailed discussion of proposal on uranium enrichment in Russia, Sergey Kirienko, head of Russia's Atomic Energy Agency, said as quoted by RIA Novosti.
"Iran's position is as follows: they find our proposal extremely interesting and are ready to proceed to detailed discussion," Kirienko told President Putin. "We are ready completely as well, up to having prepared the shops. Iranian partners will arrive in one of these days, and negotiations are constantly underway," Kirienko said.
When it comes to the nuclear energy, the safety is of utmost importance there, Putin specified during the meeting.
When it comes to safety, the greatest hazard is uranium enrichment and nuclear fuel reprocessing. "In this respect, the program of actions demonstrated by Russia in relations with Iran indicates exactly how the nuclear energy should advance in future," Kirienko said in return.
2. What the Russian papers say - China replaces Russia as Iran's key defender
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China replaces Russia as Iran's key defender
The Monday meeting of European, Chinese and Russian diplomats in London to discuss Iran's nuclear program failed. Despite the lack of official explanations, experts say the reason was the uncompromising stance adopted by China, which categorically opposed any sanctions against Iran.
The issue will probably still be referred to the UN Security Council, but sanctions now seem unlikely. The reason for this outcome is China. It has become Iran's key defender after Russia's position started moving closer to Europe and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did not rule out taking up the Iranian issue in the UN.
The secrecy around the results of the London meeting is "meant to conceal serious disagreements between China and other participants, as it may have indicated it would not allow sanctions, although did not announce it publicly," suggests Ivan Safranchuk, an expert of the Center for Defense Information, a Washington-based think-tank. If diplomats fail to find a right solution to the Iranian problem, it could lead to war in the Middle East, he warned.
Yevgeny Satanovsky, the director of the Institute of the Middle East Studies, says that China will always oppose sanctions because its potential investment portfolio in Iran's energy sector is worth billions of dollars. Also, there are obvious traces of Chinese involvement in the Iranian nuclear program. "It has recently become clear that Russia does not want to sacrifice its relations with Iran, but it will not confront the United States on the issue," the academic says.
3. Russia to follow IAEA advice on Iran nuclear issue - Lavrov
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Russia will follow advice of the International Atomic Energy Agency on the Iranian nuclear issue when the governors of the UN's nuclear watchdog meet next, Russia's foreign minister said Thursday.
As the Iran dispute continues to dominate global affairs, Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his French counterpart, Philippe Douste-Blazy, that the nuclear non-proliferation regime should be guide the search for solutions to the Iranian issue and highlighted that it was central to Russia's construction of a power plant in Iran.
He also said "a professional appraisal" of the situation was highly important, adding that international community should resolve the problem.
Lavrov denied that Russian experts had been involved in the formation of the Iranian nuclear program, saying safeguards in national legislation meant that any such attempt would have been spotted.
4. Sergey Kiriyenko Given Additional Powers. He Carries Out First Reshuffle at Federal Agency for Atomic Energy
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By order of the Russian Federation Government, Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) head Sergey Kiriyenko has been confirmed as chairman of the Russian side of the permanent bilateral commission on trade and economic cooperation with Iran. Before him, these duties were fulfilled by former Rosatom head Aleksandr Rumyantsev.
The situation that has flared up concerning Iran's nuclear program gives particular significance to what seems at first sight to be a routine reappointment. By demonstrating such continuity, Moscow is indicating that it does not intend to change the emphases in the development of bilateral relations with Iran, but will abide by the priorities and principles that were chosen earlier: open, and fully IAEA-compliant assistance to Tehran in the development of its peaceful nuclear energy, with unwavering respect for the regime of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and dual-purpose technology.
Kiriyenko is not yet giving a specific date for his first trip to Iran, saying that he will go there "not empty-handed but when he is ready." He mentioned Moscow's earlier proposal to create in Russia a joint enterprise to enrich uranium for the needs of the Bushehr nuclear power station that is under construction and other nuclear power stations, if the Islamic Republic acquires any others in the foreseeable future. Kiriyenko reiterated that prime importance in cooperation should be given to security and nonproliferation guarantees. "Russia's proposal is a serious contribution to the possible mechanisms of a political resolution," he believes. (Passage omitted)
5. PRESS CONFERENCE ON IRAN WITH ALEXANDER PIKAYEV, VIKTOR MIZIN FROM THE INSTITUTE OF WORLD ECONOMY AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS INDEPENDENT PRESS CENTER
Official Kremlin International News Broadcast
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Moderator: Good afternoon. Sorry for the delay but we were waiting hoping that more people would come. So, the topic is, "Is It Possible to Resolve the Iranian Nuclear Problem?" and I am glad to introduce our guests, Alexander Pikayev, chief of the World Economy and International Relations Institute and Viktor Mizin, senior research fellow with the same institute.
Pikayev: Thank you, as always, I am very glad to be able to speak at your press center. I've been doing it regularly for ten years or even more.
Mizin: Free of charge.
Moderator: Our friendship has endured.
Pikayev: Our topic today is Iran. I think it is the third in order of importance after the cold weather, lighthouses in the Crimea. Let me fill in the background and then Viktor Igorevich will make his remarks. I am going to take a somewhat more pro-Iranian position and Viktor Igorevich will be more critical of Iran.
You remember that it transpired in 2002 that Iran was engaged in banned nuclear activities. It had not declared these activities to the IAEA. A number of facilities were uncovered and that triggered a crisis. In 2003, after the successful American operation in Iraq -- at least at that point in time it seemed to be successful and there were fears that the Americans might decide to build on the military success and launch a military operation against Iran, everyone in Teheran was sure that Iran was next in line after Iraq. But at that point the European Union came up with a peace initiative, negotiations began between the members of the European troika -- Britain, France and Germany -- on one side and Iran on the other as to how to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.
It has to be said that the Iranian leadership was either frightened by how quickly the Americans made short work of Saddam Hussein, or perhaps they wanted to put an end to Iran's economic isolation due to American sanctions, but in any case they made a number of major concessions. First of all, they decided to unilaterally freeze their uranium-enrichment activities. That was a voluntary gesture. Under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty Iran has the right to enrich uranium and to have the full fuel cycle like Japan, Germany and some other non-nuclear states that are members of NPT. But Iran, seeking to accommodate the Europeans, decided to put a freeze on all this unilaterally. They signed an additional protocol with the IAEA which opened practically all the Iranian facilities for IAEA inspectors. Previously IAEA could only inspect those facilities that Iran and other states which did not sign the protocol, and they include Russia, by the way, had declared. But Iran did sign the additional protocol and although it has not ratified it, it nevertheless put it into effect even before ratification and IAEA inspectors could start inspecting Iranian facilities.
Besides, Iran was closely cooperating with the IAEA on the issues that arose from the results of its undeclared nuclear activities. Some things were revealed, but experts claim that it was nothing to be compared with what was done by South Korea for example which illegally produced weapons-grade plutonium allegedly without the knowledge of the South Korean government. The Iranians did not do anything quite so bad and the IAEA inspectors did not find anything.
But time went on and the situation changed, partly because of Iraq. It became obvious that the Americans had no time for Iran and that they were hard pressed enough to solve their problems in Iraq. The Iranians did not get what they counted on. They thought that by starting negotiations with the European troika they would be able, like the Libyans shortly before that, to involve the United States in the negotiations as well. But the US took a wait-and-see position and to let the European troika do what they called "all the dirty work". There were differences within the European troika as to what could be conceded to Iran. There were frictions with other EU members. Italy wanted to be involved, but the troika kept it out of the negotiating process. Nevertheless, to forestall criticism from other EU countries, the troika had to invite Solana's office to take part in the negotiations. That's chief of European security and foreign policy.
Of course that created additional problems. Imagine four delegations sitting at the table and there was probably not enough room around the table. And the participation of the EU, the representatives of Solana's office who had no grasp of the issue did create additional difficulties.
Besides, the European had no experience of dealing with the Iranians since the time before the Second World War. After the war there was no serious dialogue between the West European countries and Iran. The British withdrew from the east of Suez, the French never had much interest in Iran and the Germans, for understandable reasons, could not pursue an active foreign policy. Iranians are difficult negotiators and the Russian diplomats who have experience working with them say that these are peculiar sort of negotiations, that one has to know the Iranian mentality and that knowledge of Farsi language would also help. Western Europe didn't have such a culture and such an experience.
When Iran realized that it was in no immediate danger of being invaded, when it realized it had not got what it wanted from the European Union and the Europeans were dragging their feet in the negotiations because they could never come to terms about exactly what concessions could be made to Iran. As a result, the document that they put on the table last summer was just a piece of paper and the Iranians were very much disappointed. Their expectations had not come true. And beginning from spring, even before the document was put to them, they became hysterical, partially withdrew from the unilateral moratorium resuming the operations of the Isfahan facility where preparations are underway for uranium enrichment. But the main enterprise in Natanz remained closed. They threatened to do it last spring but apparently at the request of the European partners, deputy Foreign Minister Kislyak visited Teheran, the Iranians agreed to extend the unilateral moratorium. But after the saw the European paper, they resumed the operation of the Isfahan facility.
In this way the Iranians expressed their displeasure with the way the European Union was behaving. It has to be said that it was a voluntary and a unilateral moratorium, there are no international obligations require Iran to stay within that moratorium and technically the Iranians are absolutely right when they say that they are taking their own back. And they are sincere in their inability to understand why the Europeans are now hysterical.
The European Union's reaction was inadequate. During a meeting of the IAEA board of governors, the European Troika presented a draft resolution which proposed handing the Iran issue over to the UN Security Council, and this was done in a manner that I regard as indecent. Those countries proposed a draft resolution, yet they did not propose a vote on it. They tried to convince the Russian side that they had submitted the draft resolution but they did not want the board to vote for it. A third party then emerged, most likely Poland, as rumors have it, even though that country was not named, which proposed voting for that draft resolution, and the European Troika, as they say, could not refuse to vote for their own draft. And allegedly against their will, as they tried to present it, the draft resolution was adopted.
Clearly, this did not scare Iran a lot. The Europeans back pedaled, they proposed a new round of negotiations with Iran. It looks like Iran agreed and the first round was to be held on January 18, in Vienna. Besides, it looks like they asked Russia to rescue their initiative. Initially, the Europeans expected to resolve all problems on their own, without the US side, without Russia, but after their initiative flopped -- by the way, we are not at the Foreign Ministry now and we can be sincere -- because of their own greed, lack of experience and being too ambitious. When their initiative flopped, they appealed to Russia for help. The idea of uranium enrichment at a joint enterprise on Russian territory was voiced. In Russia's opinion, this could have resolved all problems as Iran would have been unable to use that uranium to bring it to a weapons grade. In fact, Iran would have voluntarily dropped the idea of having its own enrichment capacities.
Iran behaved in a strange manner, though. When Security Council Secretary Ivanov arrived in Teheran, they told him that they rejected the idea. And this was done in such a manner that Russia would feel humiliated. Rather than informing Ivanov before the visit of their refusal to accept the initiative, they told him about it when he arrived there. Naturally, this caused serious displeasure here.
But another part of the Iranian establishment, while realizing that it would be unreasonable for them to treat Russia this way, given the grave situation Iran found itself in, backpedaled. Using various channels, they notified Russia that they continued to consider the initiative remained unchanged. So, they are considering Russia's position. How long they will consider it is hard to tell. In the middle of February, an Iranian delegation is to arrive in Moscow. Perhaps, it will bring an answer.
Besides, on the eve of the start of talks with the Europeans, Iranians perhaps decided -- according to one of existing versions -- to set stakes higher and have partially resumed the operation of their facility at Natanz.
I have to add that the Europeans, in addition to their course towards failure in the past several years, drew a red line on sand. What Merkel said when she visited Moscow. She said that there is a red line which Iran should not cross and it certainly should not resume activities, the operation of the facility at Natanz. In fact, this was a provocative position. It was groundless, because in legal terms Iran has the right to do this. And like any other red line, including that drawn by our public figures at the end of the 1990s about the Baltic countries' NATO membership -- in fact, all those red lines have been crossed. Iran has also crossed its red line, causing yet another round of hysteria in the European capitals. The EU has demanded an emergency meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors. It was to be held in March, according to plans, but they have demanded that it should meet on February 2.
Interestingly, after the September meeting of the Board of Governors, another meeting was held in December -- sorry, in November, before which Iran rejected Russia's proposal. As they have rejected it, the file should have been handed over to the Security Council in December. But this was not done then because the Americans and Britons wanted, were reluctant to worsen relations with Iran on the eve of an important election in Iraq. And Iran could manipulate the Shii majority, with which the US and Britain have tried to establish good relationships.
So, in December the issue was not raised, the issue of handing the file over to the UN Security Council. And now they are saying that it would be too long to wait until March, so let us decide it all at the start of February. But what can a month decide? The situation is not as critical as it may look. According to most analysts, it will take Iran several years, even if it makes a political decision, to develop nuclear weapons.
And after that EU ultimatum, the EU's demand that an emergency meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors should be convened -- naturally, there are lots of European countries and in line with IAEA procedures, they can have such an emergency meeting convened. And only after the European Troika, the EU decided that this emergency meeting should be held, week-long consultations started in London between five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, which decided to use the Iran case to show its new efficient global foreign policy. And we have had a chance to see that this was not a successful attempt.
It was easy to predict that the negotiations or consultations in London would not lead to any results. Russia and China resolutely refused to sign under the idea of sanctions against Iran. As a result, handing the Iran file over to the Security Council makes no sense.
Let me remind you that they also discussed the North Korea issue, but no progress has been made. The Security Council has failed to take any action against North Korea, primarily because of China's position.
Russia cannot block the hand over of the Iran file to the UN Security Council, because under the IAEA bylaws, support by two- thirds of the Board of Governors is required. It was possible to get this support in September. The makeup has changed to become less favorable for the United States and Western Europeans, but still there is such probability, if the Americans and Western Europeans start concerted action to get support by two-thirds.
Neither Russia nor China can obstruct this. They do not have the right to veto decisions, but they can block any attempts to have anti-Iranian resolutions adopt by the UN Security Council.
What is to be done about it? The situation is quite unpleasant. First, as long as the Europeans dragged out the talks, purposefully or unintentionally, a change of government occurred in Iran.
Naturally, had Europeans made any sensible offers to Iran last spring, even the current administration of Ahmadinejad would have been bound by those proposals. But this has not been the case. A radical president has come to power and has made a number of intriguing statements, which everyone certainly could not avoid to denounce, even such friends of the Iranian people as Russia and China. Naturally, this has further aggravated the situation. But when Ahmadinejad says that Israel should be thrown into the sea, he thereby violates the UN Charter. Such remarks do pose a threat to international peace and security and provide grounds for referring the matter to the UN Security Council. But interestingly, neither the United States nor West Europeans chose to do so at the time. They decided to act through the IAEA hoping that the authority of the IAEA would increase pressure on the opponents of sanctions against the Iranian regime.
As regards the military operation, obviously a large scale land operation is impossible simply because the bulk of the American forces are engaged in the pacification of Iraq and in other regions, for example, on the Korean peninsula, and the Americans simply have no resources for carrying out such an operation. Besides, the Americans have to maintain a heavy presence in Afghanistan. The NATO allies are not coping with their Afghan mission, they have also assumed a peacekeeping mission in the Balkans and they are anxious to advance into the post-Soviet space. So, politically, the military operation cannot be on the agenda.
The Americans understand that their hands are tied, they try to bring pressure on Iran in a very curious way. They suggest that Israel may strike on Iran's facilities. This puts Israel in a very delicate position. The Israeli independent experts say that there is no need for Israel to strike, that such a strike should be delivered by the international community so that it should be international. There is talk that if no solution emerges from the Security Council, the Kosovo scenario may be used and Western institutions may be used, obviously, such an institution is NATO. But again, Iran is not the former Yugoslavia, bombing Iran back into the Stone Age knowing that a land operation is impossible, knowing that it would radicalize Iran and further radicalize the Muslim Arab world as a whole, these arguments are being used to bring pressure on Russia and China. But I don't think this is a serious option. The only realistic scenario involving the use of force is some kind of sabotage operation. It can be carried out by the Western countries, by Israel with the support of the armed opposition inside Iran.
Hypothetically one can imagine the kidnapping of key Iranian nuclear scientists, sabotage against the enterprises in Isfahan and Natanz and somewhere else. The Iranians, realizing that major operation against them is unlikely, should not be absolutely sure that the use of force is ruled out, and if any actions against them are launched, they will not be in a position to retaliate.
And in conclusion, I would like to say that the real question is, what does Iran want? Is the Iranian leadership united as to whether Iran should follow the path of isolation provoking the international community to further actions -- I am sure that the radicals in Iran are interested in this -- or it should seek to solve the problem. Either the actions of Ahmadinejad are prompted by his inexperience and in time he will take a more moderate attitude, or else we are witnessing the Iranian revolution getting up steam again. We know the Stalin purges of the 1930s, the Cultural Revolution in China when the Great Leader decided to clean up the complacent leadership which in the ten years since the revolution had become a little too moderate. Perhaps, Iran is going through the same process, albeit in a milder form. If this is the case, attempts to solve the issue diplomatically have no future. But one cannot be sure.
If the conflict does lend itself to being resolved by diplomatic means, this calls for actions similar to those that were taken with regard to North Korea. That is, the powers concerned, and it was these powers that gathered in London on Monday and Tuesday, could propose multilateral talks to Iran -- also in the six-party format, the US, the European troika, Russia, China and Iran -- that would be good for Iran because it would enable it to start a dialogue with the United States. It would be less humiliating for the Bush administration because it would provide a more acceptable format for negotiations, they wouldn't have to be face to face with the Iranians. And it would contribute to better coordination between the interested countries. Russia, China and Germany which is anxious to break into the Iranian market -- all have major interests in Iran.
It is hard to say whether the London consultations could be transformed into a more stable format such as six-party talks. But as far as one can judge Moscow is preparing some new initiatives on Iran and I think they will be known next month before the Iranian delegation comes to Moscow either empty-handed or perhaps having taken the Russian plan on board.
Mizin: I would like to pick up where Alexander left off. We are talking actually not only about one country, even such an interesting country as Iran, we are talking about major world problems. In the first place, about the look of the present-day world, about the future of non-proliferation, the future of such a key treaty as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and we are talking about the future role of Russia as a great world power, which is the wish of the Russian elite.
But, as we all remember, some time in the late 1990s, after the collapse of Soviet communism, the feeling in the world was that this was the end of history and nothing interesting was in the offing and that an era of general bliss and harmony similar to that dreamt about by Emmanuel Kant was beginning. But no new world order emerged, notwithstanding what the father of the current American President said. The world presents a fairly brutal picture of confrontation and sometimes reminds me of the alignment of forces in the 19th century where we see the same concert of leading nations, among which Russia is included. They practically guide international politics and are key players, whatever one might say about globalization and the emergence of new regional power centers.
It is clear that given this alignment of forces and considering that crude military force plays an important role, as we have seen in Iraq, many of the third world countries would like to secure themselves and to obtain nuclear weapons which, as they believe, would rule out any use of force against them. In this connection what is important for the Western world and for Russia is to challenge this logic and to demonstrate that, on the contrary, any attempts to obtain such weapons would amount to courting disaster and provoking a retaliatory strike by leading world powers. As a Soviet ambassador said it is like asking for a retaliating strike by the world's leading powers. Well, there can be all sorts of motives for obtaining nuclear weapons. It can be a country's willingness to guarantee itself security against Western countries. It may be an intention to become a regional power center. It may be the willingness to support this or that regime, make it more popular with the population. By the way, this is what has been happening in Iran. Anyway, it is clear that attempt by rogue countries such as North Korea or Iran to obtain such weapons indicate that the so- called international legal nonproliferation instruments do not work.
The nonproliferation treaty was a fruit of the Cold War epoch. It was drawn up for absolutely different purposes: for preventing Germany's gaining nuclear weapons and preventing the emergence of nuclear arsenals in developed industrial countries like Japan, Austria or Sweden. It is absolutely inadequate for the current intricate international situation, especially now that work on the creation of such weapons has been launched by regimes that are absolutely nontransparent and would not yield to any international pressure, would not allow any international control, like regimes in North Korea or Iran, those that have quite successfully, using the experience gained in the times of the Soviet Union's existence, are playing cat and mouse or give-away, now making concessions, then setting higher demands, actually negating previous concessions. This unnerves the international community.
In this connection Iran's position is quite telling. There is a lot of open data on Iran's nuclear program. If one puts it all on the map and takes a look at what facilities are being created there, what their nature is, it becomes obvious that it is not about the creation of any peaceful nuclear energy program. It is about laying the foundation for the production of nuclear weapons which, until a certain critical moment, recently complies with the nonproliferation treaty.
The only fault of Iran against the letter of the treaty is that they have far from always timely and accurately notified the world public of acquisition of some or other nuclear materials and technologies.
In this connection, Iranians have behaved rather smartly. They look very attentively at the international community's reaction. One has to admit that for a certain period they even managed to mislead the esteemed Nobel Prize Winner ElBaradei. We can recall his visit to Iran in 2003, when he inspected the Natanz facility. One may recall how many praises have been sung. But the situation has not improved. In fact, the general understanding of the nature and goals of Iran's nuclear program leaves much to be desired.
Some light was shed by data received from Abdul Qadeer Khan's underground net, when it turned out that the individual actually rose to the role which in James Bond movies was played by the Spectrum organization. He supplied nuclear enrichment technologies stolen from EURENCO to virtually all key opponents of the West -- from Libya to North Korea. And Iranian friends were not forgotten. They received from him technologies for centrifuge enrichment and P- 1 centrifuges and P-2 centrifuges, as well as various materials and hardware for them. This let them develop the Natanz facility. This actually completed the formation of a network of nuclear cycle facilities.
Under Minister Mikhailov Russia tried to participate in the development of uranium mines in Sahand, but under US pressure it dropped the idea. And the Chinese came there. They also helped build enrichment facilities to produce so-called yellow cake used for uranium production. The Chinese also helped build enrichment facilities and facilities for obtaining hexafluoride out of yellow cake, as well as other materials. And they also supplied some starting materials for launching the centrifuge process.
In the opinion of Russian specialists and Western intelligence agencies, Iran now requires somewhere between five and ten years to be able to start mass production of nuclear weapons. Iran has all opportunities for that. It has huge reserves. It is the world's fourth biggest oil producer. It is the biggest gas supplier to the world market, only inferior to Russia.
When I hear that talk about the doctrine of so-called pressure on third world countries, I think it is not about establishing some diktat. It is just that the nature of international relations has changed. It is not that there does not exist any world order, that there is no benevolence in the style of relations like in an old Soviet song about children of various peoples living with a dream about peace. The thing is that the West, including Russia, just cannot afford arsenals of mass destruction weapons, primarily nuclear weapons, to be created. This is particularly true about regimes with unpredictable, to put it mildly, foreign policies.
Even though the nature of international relations has changed and we are no longer guided by the principles of the Westphalia system or the political realism principles, the school of foreign policy that is close to the Republican Party, the current leadership of the United States, which is so popular in this country -- and this explains why Mr. Kissinger has been invited to visit our country so often, irrespective of what regime rules in the country. The main thing is that any government is in fact a rational player proceeding from its own national interests and it is always possible to come to terms with it. It was like when the United States was able to come to terms with Soviet Union's former communist leaders, the Politburo. And the nature of regimes has not been taken into account. Rude mistakes have been made, like those the CIA made in its predictions concerning the Soviet leadership's moves and the Russian leadership's moves, the motives of the North Korean leadership and its intentions.
As for Iran, no one dares to predict what may happen tomorrow. This happens because the nature of its regime is neglected, the language and culture have not been studied, Iran's political history has not been studied, as well as the social psychology of the elite in this or that country. We can see this perfectly in the Iraq example. I discussed it with many Americans, who used to work on the so-called Iraq inspection group formed by the CIA. They just moved along that country, breaking into homes and failing to realize properly what they were looking in fact and who in particular they wanted to seize.
In fact, they actually let all the republican guard go with weapons, and particularly the special guard which was responsible for storage, transportation and security of activities aimed at the creation of mass destruction weapons. This explains why they are saying now: there were no weapons there, in fact, nothing, and if there were weapons, no one knows where they have gone and why all facilities which used to be visited by the UN inspectors proved empty.
There is no understanding as to what the Iraqi leadership was doing, what the alignment of force was like, what goals the leadership set. Funny things happen sometimes. For example, the person interrogating a high-ranking and highly educated Iraqi general is a junior officer with military reconnaissance in the American army who has a dim idea as to what questions he should ask. For instance, Tariq Aziz, who knew about all the programs of developing WMD, has been under interrogation for two years and I understand that no results have been obtained, in fact, the interrogation demonstrates the failure of American intelligence assessments regarding Iraq.
The Iranians, of course, are well aware of this. They see that the US military machine is bogged down in Iraq, they see the failure of peacemaking operations in Afghanistan and I agree that a major land operation is practically impossible if only because of the nature of the terrain, because it would call for about a million well-trained troops which the West does not have at present. The Americans don't have them or they are engaged elsewhere, the Europeans (a) do not have such well-trained troops and (b) the Europeans have betrayed the great cause of defending democracy, made a deal with the Devil, I mean the Islamic Arab world by providing assistance to the cause of the liberation of the Palestinian people from Israeli occupation in return for guaranteed supplies of oil and to some extent gas and allowing a quiet Islamization of major European cities, the consequences of which we have witnessed in France.
That leaves Russia. Russia, obviously, will not fight on the side of Iran. The only option left to the US is a large-scale air operation. The plans for such an operation exist. I have talked with the American military and I could even show you maps indicating the directions of possible strikes. The first strikes, of course, would be aimed at knocking out Iran's air defense. That is why the Iranians so hastily bought the Russian Tor missiles. True, these missiles are intended to provide cover for military convoys on the march. They probably need a different kind of missile, S-300 and S- 400. The S-300 rockets are currently the subject of negotiations. They need to cover their nuclear facilities above all. But I must say that they are very skillfully built, they all have stand-by facilities, they are covered in concrete, they were built by the Korean workers who were in their time apprenticed to their Soviet and Yugoslavian colleagues.
It calls for a very massive operation and at least the ammunition has to be prepared for it. It would require about 5,000 or 10,000 bombs, very large bombs. First, it is necessary to destroy the whole air defense system. Then F-16 bombers would strike on all the nuclear facilities -- all the centers will have to be destroyed, the Isfahan center, the Teheran centers, the shafts, the reactor in Bushehr which can quickly be converted to producing plutonium. All the major missile building plants and military bases will have to be destroyed, especially the naval bases to rule out an attack on the American forces in the Persian Gulf area. Such an operation cannot be ruled out, but it will be very costly, very challenging from the military point of view and of course, it will have to be prepared politically because it would cause an uproar in the liberal and arms control elite in the whole world, not to speak about our friends in the Islamic world of which Russia is a part, as President Putin claims. So, Hezbollah, Hamas and similar outfits would strike American targets throughout the Middle East. I don't think the Americans are yet ready for that and there is no clear vision of what to do afterwards.
It calls for a more efficient administration which will have done its homework, a more efficient administration than the Bush administration which has demonstrated appalling incompetence in the Middle East and in its approach to non-proliferation. And this presents a challenge to the Russian diplomacy, especially considering the fact that the Iranians have let Russia down because Russia is currently chairing the G-8 and this problem is the last thing we would like to have on our hands now. On the one hand, Russia cannot afford to cave in to pressure from the United States and to a lesser extent from the European Union, although I agree that the Europeans are very passive and do not have a considered policy and they have practically... (to be continued tomorrow)
1. Russian General Says US Plans for Trident Missiles Create Uncertainty
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The intention of the Pentagon to replace part of the nuclear warheads of the submarine-based Trident ballistic missiles with conventional warheads threatens to reduce predictability in the sphere of strategic armaments. The implementation of these plans threatens to escalate the situation in the world. This opinion was expressed today in a conversation with an ITAR-TASS correspondent by the president of the Academy of Military Sciences, Army General Makhmud Gareyev.
"Until today, on the basis of all the agreements, it was known that these submarines were equipped with nuclear weapons," he said. "If the Trident missiles are used, nuclear weapons are be used. This situation provided some kind of clarity. Now, in the event of the launch of missiles ambiguity arises about which weapons are being used: nuclear or conventional. It will be more difficult to identify the beginning of a nuclear war. This is being done so that the USA could launch a disarming strike at anyone," he stressed.
Taking these steps, the Americans "must definitely consult with us, otherwise the viability of the existing agreements on strategic nuclear weapons will be gradually eroded," the general said.
For his part a military expert Col-Gen Leonid Ivashov told an ITAR-TASS correspondent today that the plans of the Pentagon to replace nuclear warheads with conventional weapons aim to "exert pressure on Iran in order to force it to suspend its nuclear programme". "Today it is Iran that has become the issue No 1 for the USA, Israel and Great Britain," he stressed.
2. Bulava -- a Danger to Our Own People. Risk-Laden Tests of Latest Missile Threaten Naval Chernobyl
Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye
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In the final days of December Russian news agencies disseminated a report that a successful test launch of a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile had been conducted from aboard the nuclear-powered submarine Dmitriy Donskoy in submerged mode in the waters of the White Sea. The official announcement from the Defense Ministry claimed that the MBR (ICBM) scored a precise hit on a hypothetical target on Kamchatka's Kura Test Range. The department under Vice Premier Sergey Ivanov had presented the military-political leadership of the Russian Federation and the country's citizens with a kind of New Year gift, demonstrating in action, as it were, that in no way is the Fatherland's nuclear missile shield dropping its guard, and that taxpayers' money is not being spent in vain.
This was just the second test launch of a Bulava and the first from submerged mode. The previous launch took place 27 September, while earlier still, in August, a so-called ejection test had been performed. On that occasion a full-size mockup of the ICBM was expelled from the Dmitriy Donskoy's launch tube by a special propellant charge (a gas generator). And all this time claims were being made that the Bulava would be accepted for operational service as early as 2006-2007. New Project 955 Borey-class nuclear submarines intended to accommodate this missile complex are already under construction. The Yuriy Dolgorukiy is to leave the building slips of the Severodvinsk Machine Building Enterprise in 2006, with the Aleksandr Nevskiy to follow in 2007.
What has the Bulava cost in the five years from the first draft to the first launches? The launch itself: Putting a nuclear submarine to sea costs around $100,000 per 24-hour period; tracking and telemetry systems on the territory from Arkhangelsk to Kamchatka -- $500,000, the missile -- $50 million, conveyance and installation -- around $100,000. No less then $51 million all told.
If we allow for the fact that a minimum of 10 missiles in all have been manufactured (prototypes, for ground testing of engines, mechanical stress appraisal) in addition to the two launched from the Dmitriy Donskoy -- all these have cost $500,000. Add to this five years of work by an entire institute and several large design bureaus, the production of manufacturing plant gear and equipment, special test beds, and calibrating instrumentation, the development and testing of individual assemblies and the like, then we can safely add the same amount again. The Bulava's creators, however, maintain that a 20-percent saving has been obtained by utilizing parts from the land-based Topol strategic missile complex. Total outlays on the Bulava can now, therefore, be estimated at approximately $800 million.
But money is not what it's all about. The creation of strategic offensive armaments is an expensive diversion that very few of the world's states can permit themselves. In a telephone conversation with correspondent, Admiral Eduard Baltin, who has devoted much of his life to the submarine arm, voiced his bewilderment at the Bulava tests. What has particularly surprised him is the fact that they are being conducted right on the submarine and not on a special test bed. Previously, such a risky undertaking would simply not have been permitted.
"On one occasion in Soviet times," Adm. Baltin said, "just such a complex missile that had not been fully subjected to static tests was urgently added to the inventory. So then the decision was taken to conduct additionally 24 test launches in different conditions, from different depths and even from different seas (differing water salinity). So even according to the law of probability, two to three test launches do not represent a result. And how is it possible to maintain that the Bulava will shortly be adopted for operational service if the submarines housing the missile complexes for it are not ready, and the missile has not been properly tested?"
A distinctive feature of the Bulava missile also resides in the fact that it is intended simultaneously for the submarine fleet and for siting in land-based silo launchers. Russian Federation Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov once stated: "It all won't be like it was in the Soviet Union -- one plant makes a missile for the Navy, another plant makes a missile for the RVSN (Strategic Missile Troops). Such a thing will not be happening, I will not allow the pointless diffusion of vast state resources."
The idea of this sort of standardization, which nobody had previously given thought to, perplexed Adm. Eduard Baltin. "The nose section and the instrumentation compartment can be standardized, but in the other respects these are totally different systems," he said. "Suffice it to say that it took the Americans 10 years to surmount the boundary between the aquatic element and the atmosphere."
Right from the start, however, the work on the all-purpose Bulava met with skepticism from experts. Everything began with the cessation of funding for the creation of the Bark submarine-launched missile on which the Makeyev State Missile Center in Miass was engaged. This KB (design bureau) had been designing missile complexes for submarines since 1947 and had amassed colossal experience in that sphere. The (Bulava) order, however, was given to the Moscow Thermotechnical Institute (MIT), which had always specialized in the area of land-based mobile missile complexes. After getting its hands on the funding, MIT promised to create an all-purpose sea- and land-based ICBM in the shortest possible time. After defending the outline draft in 2000 the plan was to have the Bulava in the inventory as early as 2005.
The Topol-M strategic intercontinental missile was taken as a basis, the intention being to adapt it for a submarine. Serious technical problems arose, however, and the real specialists from Miass were called in to resolve them. The missile's solid-propellant first stage was generally speaking developed in Perm, at the NPO Iskra (Iskra Science and Production Association). As indeed were some second- and third-stage assemblies.
Production of the new ICBMs was sited at the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant in Udmurtia. Testing of the solid-propellant engine was conducted there 24 May 2004. The missile exploded on the test bed. Fortunately, there were no casualties. But the first test launch of the Bulava, scheduled for December 2004, had to be postponed for a year.
It is precisely because missiles have the disagreeable characteristic of exploding during testing that they first of all undergo comprehensive static test runs with no people in the vicinity. It is not surprising that the experts are bewildered by the fact that tests of the Bulava are being conducted on an operational submarine with a crew -- and even VMF (Navy) Deputy Commander in Chief Admiral Mikhail Zakharenko, chairman of the State Commission for Performance Development Testing -- aboard. This is not boldness, it is madness. And an economy measure that may turn out badly. Both people and submarine perish -- a submarine that is far more expensive than a dozen special test beds.
Also surprising is the circumstance that missile complexes that have not undergone testing are being installed on new-series submarines. Do the MIT designers really have the cast-iron certainty that they will not initially need to make any changes to the design of the launchers and to the dimensions of the missiles? It is fully possible that the complexes will need to be altered. Or in order to save money do they just give it all up as a bad job and send them off to take up alert duty just as they came?
But just what they were is being kept secret. And, as before, it is being claimed that the missile will be an all-purpose missile, that is, it will serve the defenders of the Motherland equally well on land and at sea. In accordance with international treaties, however, information on the new missile has been passed to the United States, and this has been leaked to the foreign press. Bulava has nothing in common with Topol. It's girth is almost 50 percent greater, it is several meters shorter, and several tonnes lighter. So it cannot be adopted for service by the Strategic Missile Troops, they already have the Topol-M. No all-purpose missile has been produced. And why, the question arises, was the Bark project shut down and the Makeyev GRTs (State Missile Center) virtually destroyed? Only so as to get hold of State Defense Order money. Now we have been left with adding to the inventory a "raw" missile with an unproven launch complex, and awaiting the consequences?
3. Yushchenko Ready To Grab Missiles. The Question Is, Against Whom Will They Be Aimed and With What Will They Be Equipped
Viktor Myasnikov and Vladimir Ivanov
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On Thursday 12 January Ukrainian Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko announced plans to revive the Missile Troops. This was reported by Interfax Ukraine and RIA Novosti, citing the Defense Ministry press service. "From the military viewpoint, we are interested in the revival of the Missile Troops," the minister stated. He noted that Ukraine possesses the appropriate technologies and potential for the manufacture of tactical missiles of the range envisaged in international agreements. "These weapons will make it possible to ensure the deterrence factor," Anatoliy Hrytsenko stated.
As Vitaliy Shlykov, member of the (Russian) Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, told, Ukraine has a very real possibility of restoring its missile potential. "This is not Iran, which had to start everything from scratch," the expert noted. "They have preserved all the technologies, specialists, and industrial equipment for the manufacture of missiles and have everything necessary to revive their Missile Troops." According to him, the statement by the head of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry is of a "purely political nature" and is "a kind of hint aimed at Russia." "Today, missiles are a political weapon. And Ukraine wants to get hold of this trump card," Vitaliy Shlykov stressed.
However, he believes the West is hardly likely to approve of this initiative by Kiev, especially if the latter decides to equip its missiles with nuclear warheads. "Nobody in the West will understand this initiative on Ukraine's part. They have enough of a headache with Tehran," Vitaliy Shlykov stated.
After the breakup of the USSR, Ukraine found itself with the world's third biggest nuclear potential: 220 strategic delivery vehicles, including 130 SS-19 ICBMs, 46 SS-24 missiles, and 44 heavy strategic bombers with cruise missiles. Under an intergovernmental agreement Kiev handed over 1,272 nuclear weapons to Russia, receiving nuclear fuel for power stations in exchange. Some 13,000 tonnes of rocket fuel was removed from the missiles and recycled; 175 launch silos and 13 integrated command centers were "recultivated" to green lawn, and the missiles were destroyed under the supervision of observers from the United States. After this, in 2002, the 43d Missile Army was disbanded and the Ukrainian Missile Troops ceased to exist. In passing, the Kharkiv Higher Military School named for Marshal Krylov, which used to produce specialists for the Strategic Missile Troops, was ruined.
In the year 2000 Ukraine's missile men hit a five-story apartment building in a suburb of Kiev with a surface-to-surface tactical missile, and in 2001 they destroyed a Russian Tu-154 with passengers on board over the Black Sea with an S-200 surface-to-air missile. After both incidents several high-ranking military leaders of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were dismissed, up to and including the defense minister. And missile launches were banned. But a "revival" has begun recently. Surface-to-air missiles have already been launched from Crimea toward the Black Sea, and now the defense minister is "ready for" the Missile Troops.
Here is how Professor Pavel Zolotarev, reserve major-general, commented on Ukrainian Minister Hrytsenko's initiative: "An irresponsible statement. There is such a thing as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which Ukraine recognizes and has pledged not to violate. But the very idea of creating strategic missile troops there is crazy. It can only be explained as being the result of prolonged New Year celebrations."
In 1994 Ukraine signed a treaty under which it renounced not only strategic but also tactical nuclear weapons in exchange for guarantees from the United States and Russia. To secede from this treaty is to secede from the regime of guarantees of its own security and put itself on the same footing as Iran.
Missile troops can be a factor for strategic deterrence in only one case -- if the missiles are armed with nuclear warheads. President Viktor Yushchenko stated, almost simultaneously with Defense Minister Hrytsenko's remarks, that Ukraine should launch its own production of nuclear fuel to ensure energy independence from Russia. And where you have fuel, you have weapons-grade uranium.
Ukraine has a uranium deposit, in Zhovti Vody. From here, uranium concentrate is manufactured at the Vostochnyy Mining Enrichment Combine. Formerly they used to produce 5,000 tonnes a year, now it is approximately 600 tonnes. They send the concentrate to Russia, and receive fuel rods for nuclear power stations in return. In this way Ukraine supplies approximately 35% of its nuclear fuel requirements on the basis of its own raw material. In Soviet times, at the Pridneprovskiy Hydrometallurgical Plant and the Polimin Plant, uranium dioxide and hexafluoride used to be manufactured from uranium concentrate, and from these they used to obtain enriched uranium at electrochemical combines in the Urals and Siberia. But these production facilities in Ukraine have been totally dismantled.
However, at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology technologies have been developed for directly obtaining nuclear fuel -- metallic uranium in tablet form -- and assembling fuel rods from these. But laboratory experiments are one thing, and mass production is another. According to the estimates of a Ministry of Atomic Energy staffer who asked us not to give his name, the cost of creating a nuclear fuel manufacturing line is significantly in excess of $1 billion. South Korea has already come up against this; just one plant for the assembly of fuel rods cost it $400 million. And in order to enrich uranium to 90% uranium-235 content, which is necessary for nuclear weapons, you have to build a special combine with cascades of hundreds of thousands of centrifuges. That is simply beyond the powers of Ukrainian industry. And Chernobyl was more than enough for the ecology.
At the Yuzhny Machine Building Plant (Yuzhmash) in Dnipropetrovsk they used to produce about 100 RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) missiles, whereas now they manufacture five to seven Zenit and Tsiklon launch vehicles. And some of the components for them come from Russia. But apart from missiles, you need the fuel for them, and the navigation, guidance, telemetry, and control apparatus. It is necessary to build launch silos and train combat crews. It took the Soviet Union years, thousands of specialists, and billions of rubles to put the first missile regiment on alert status. It was no easier for China. To think that the Ukrainian economy can bear such a burden is a delusion. So Defense Minister Hrytsenko's statement is only a political demarche demonstrating the degree of desperation to which the political crisis has reduced the Ukrainian Government.
1. Russian nuclear agency's operations unprofitable in 2002-2004
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Russia's financial watchdog said Friday that the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power had failed to break even in 2002-2004.
The Russian Audit Chamber released the results of an inspection into the agency's economic operations in 2002-2004 and found that the agency had made a net loss in 2004 of 1.3 billion rubles ($45.95 million). The debt of the federal wholesale electric energy market to the agency at the beginning of 2005 accounted for 7 billion rubles ($247.4 million) and increased to over 10 billion rubles ($353.5 million) in the first nine months of the year.
Auditors said an unbalanced tariff policy was to blame for the situation.
The Chamber said the Russian energy strategy until 2020 put nuclear power as one of the main guarantors of the country's energy security as plants would increasingly replace stations burning fossil fuels.
In 2004, nuclear plants produced 15.6% of the electricity in Russia. The Nuclear Power Energy Agency received about 74.6 billion rubles ($2.64 billion) for energy supplies.
2. Russian nuclear power official to talk cooperation with Ukraine
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Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Nuclear Power Sergei Kiriyenko plans to discuss bilateral cooperation with the Ukrainian fuel and energy minister during his visit to Ukraine January 21, the agency's press service said Friday.
Ukrainian Minister Ivan Plachkov said earlier that an expert group would be formed in Kiev during Kiriyenko's visit "to tackle the joint projects in which Russia and Ukraine are interested".
Kiriyenko said last week during his visit to Kazakhstan that Russia was interested in becoming a partner in a Ukrainian turbine plant.
"We are ready to agree to any option advantageous to us and our partners," he said.
According to Kiriyenko, Russia intends to rebuild the nuclear power industry network that existed during the Soviet period and is initiating talks with Ukraine and Kazakhstan on the subject.
Kiriyenko will also meet with Emergencies Minister Viktor Boloha during his visit to Ukraine.
3. Suspended Generator At Novovoronezh N-plant Back On Stream
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The second, suspended turbogenerator of the fifth unit of the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant has gone back on stream after a several-hour suspension caused by an equipment mishap, sources at the nuclear power plant told Itar-Tass.
There developed problems in a steam generator's water level control system. The output of the 1,000 megawatt unit had to be reduced by half. It took the personnel several hours to eliminate the problem.
The operation of the VVER-1000 water-moderated reactor was not affected. The radiation situation on the premises and around the nuclear power plant is normal.
Rosenergoatom head Sergey Kiriyenko has appointed Artem Butov, chief of the presidential Administration of Affairs Construction Association, general director of the Rosatomstroy Federal Unitary Enterprise. Butov has been brought in as a crisis manager, in order to complete the construction of several heat and electric power stations to replace closed nuclear power stations.
Before joining Rosatomstroy Artem Burov had been head of the Russian Presidential Administration of Affairs Construction Association Federal Unitary Enterprise since 2003. Prior to that he had been vice president of Gazprombank and deputy general director of the Amalgamated Machine Building Plants open joint stock company (OMZ) before the bank acquired it from Kakha Bendukidze.
"Butov has an exemplary service record and has worked at enterprises connected with the sector. He is not new to nuclear energy. Kiriyenko has repeatedly said that it is time to attract people to Rosatom who are known to the sector," Sergey Novikov, Sergey Kiriyenko's press secretary, explained to. "He occupied a top job in OMZ - a major strategic enterprise in the sector, and worked at Gazprombank, which owns Atomstroyeksport."
Although, according to Butov himself, he is not an energy industry man and ended up at OMZ by accident. After the 1998 crisis OMZ owner Kakha Bendukidze suggested to him and some other managers that they setup a joint business and use their anticrisis skills (Butov is a Moscow State University economic department graduate)to boost the noncore enterprises of the Uralmash-Izhora group. "We promoted noncore assets, increased their capitalization, and then sold them at the maximum price," Butov explained. Moreover, according to him, money was not invested in thee enterprises themselves during the restructuring, with capitalization being increased merely by cutting staff and shedding ballast in the form of the social infrastructure.
Before working at OMZ, Butov headed his own auditing company, ARNI, and played the markets via the FES-Capital company.
"I have deduced that you can manage what you like if you know how to do it. You don't have to be a machine building specialist. If you have the right standard of education, it is not that hard getting to grips with production techniques. Particularly as it is becoming easier to acquire experience," Butov admitted.
Experts polled by believe that Artem Butov was also hired by Rosatomstroy as an anticrisis manager.
No new nuclear power stations are currently being built in Russia, so the firm's primary concern is the construction of substitute energy capacities. In 2003 the United States reached agreement with Russia on the closure of several production units enriching uranium. But military production was combined with nuclear power stations provide light and heat for people in the cities of Zheleznogorsk in Krasnoyarsk Kray and Seversk in Tomsk Oblast. After long negotiations the United States agreed to provide Russia with $466 million up to 2010 to construct new heat and electric power stations to replace nuclear power stations.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the previous Rosatomstroy leadership's handling of the construction of heat and electric power stations in Seversk and Zheleznogorsk was extremely inefficient. As a result the concern's former director, Valeriy Dudakov, was actually dismissed "on agreement between the sides."
"There were questions about Rosatomstroy from oblast prosecutor's office personnel. The Krasnoyarsk authorities also expressed dissatisfaction on several occasions at the slow pace of station construction in Zheleznogorsk. It was noted especially that at that pace the region would be short of electricity," a sector expert, who wished to remain anonymous, explained. Back in 2003 Zheleznogorsk Mining and Enrichment Combine chief engineer Yuriy Revenko said that that the city might be left without a source of heat, since "for at least four years - from 2007 through 2011 - our city will have to live through the winter without a reactor and with only coal-fired boiler houses."
In February 2004, after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kray Governor Aleksandr Khloponin announced that the question of building a heat and electric power station had been "finally resolved." But construction work did not begin immediately. Summer 2005 merely saw the tender for engineering works at the site.
"It is hoped that Butov will be able to significantly accelerate the building of stations and thereby restore Rosatomstroy's reputation," the source said.
In my forty-two years in Congress, I've seen a lot of federal budgets get made. And I can tell you, it's a process that would give sausage-making a good name. Amid the kaleidoscopic process of allocating resources, and the endless array of committees with frequently overlapping jurisdictions, the big picture of our nation's priorities gets lost every time.
Take national security. In the last election, President Bush and Senator Kerry found some rare common ground here: They agreed that our top national security priority should be curbing the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and especially keeping them away from terrorists. Few Americans would disagree.
But how best to do it? Clearly, invading and occupying countries suspected of having such weapons hasn't worked very well. Instead, how about destroying or locking up the existing stockpiles of these weapons around the world so that terrorists can't get their hands on them? Since 1991 we have used this strategy, with impressive results. The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program has deactivated almost 7,000 nuclear warheads and destroyed 600 intercontinental ballistic missiles for delivering them. But the job is far from finished. The 9/11 commission's report in 2004 warned that controlling worldwide nuclear stockpiles called for "maximum effort" by the US government to keep them out of terrorist hands. More than a year later the commission's follow-up report expressed alarm that so little had been done.
Why aren't we doing all we can to keep nuclear weapons away from terrorists? Last year we spent more than $60 billion on the war in Iraq. By contrast, we spent little more than $1 billion on the worldwide lock-down approach. Does that sound like a smart way to allocate security dollars? Yet Congress's budget process makes it hard for members to make those kinds of comparisons and weigh priorities wisely. The dollar amounts for the invasion approach are funded overwhelmingly by the Defense Department budget; funding for the lock-down approach is spread across several departments. There is no systematic discussion of how best to balance, and fund, our national security priorities. We end up spending less than 2 percent of what we pay out for war on the strategy most likely to keep us safe.
Let's bring some rationality to our budgeting for security. The first step is to have the Congressional Budget Office prepare a Unified Security Budget. Here, we would bring together three broad functions under the same budgetary umbrella: offense (primarily the military); defense (primarily homeland security); and prevention (primarily international affairs).
This seemingly simple step would give us a mechanism for examining, and fully debating, our big-picture security priorities. A Unified Security Budget would allow us to ask the important questions, like: Do we really want to spend thirty times as much on military solutions that don't work as on nonmilitary strategies with a proven track record of success? It's time for a budget process that encourages members of Congress to grapple with that vital question.
2. Russia-US Talks In Progress At Russian Nuclear Energy Agency
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Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Atomic Energy Sergei Kirienko started talks with US undersecretary of State Robert Joseph and First Deputy Energy Secretary Clay Sell, Tass learnt at the Russian agency on Thursday. "During the meeting, the sides will discuss bilateral cooperation and international issues," the agency reported.
Among Russian-American projects in the nuclear sphere, the Russian agency pointed to the "Megatonnes into megawatts" programme (HEU-LEU) and the agreement on withdrawal of highly-enriched nuclear fuel from research reactors, build under Soviet designs in former socialist countries, Soviet republics and in the Middle East.
Russia processes highly-enriched uranium (HEU), taken from written-off nuclear warheads, into low-enriched uranium (LEU), which is used later by the US to generate electricity at nuclear power stations. Russia annually processes 30 tonnes of HEU into LEU and delivers them as fuel to US nuclear power stations for around 500 million dollars. This project is responsible for generation of about ten percent of all electricity, put out by American nuclear power plants.
The HEU-LEU programme was fulfilled by 50 percent by last year's autumn: 250 tonnes of highly-enriched uranium were processed, which is equivalent to 10,000 nuclear warheads. This amounts to nearly 3,000 billion kW/hr, as calculated in the energy equivalent. All in all, 500 tonnes of HEU are to be processed by 2013. In the opinion of Russian nuclear specialists, Russia stably holds a 40-percent share of the world service market on uranium enrichment thanks to the successful implementation of this programme.
As for the agreement on a withdrawal of fuel from research reactors, Russia has already returned around a tonne of fuel from six countries, including Libya. Incidentally, 13 countries out of 17 where research reactors had been built during the Soviet times, confirmed their agreement to participate in the programme.
The Russian agency noted that the fuel, returned to Russia, is processed and used as fuel for nuclear power plants and is partially returned to research centers, but already as a low-enriched uranium - up to 20 percent. Some research reactors will be shut down.
Prior to the Soviet Union's collapse, radiated nuclear assembles were taken away only from the research reactor in Iraq. By the time the Russian-American agreement started operating in 2004, there were 30,000 radiated assembles at such reactors. Out of the total, 14,000 were with highly enriched uranium.
Under the agreement, the American side also withdraws highly-enriched fuel from researched reactors, built by the US in other countries.
1. Nuclear radiation center gets funding for fuel replacement
The Daily Evergreen
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As part of a national initiative, the WSU Nuclear Radiation Center will operate using a new fuel, and the federal government will foot the bill.
The money to pay for the fuel conversion, up to $7 million, will come from the Global Threat Reduction Initiative program, according to a release from the Arms Control Association. That means no money for the project will come from the pockets of WSU students, faculty or other state taxpayers.
The ultimate goal of the $98 million initiative is to shut down reactors across the world that run on highly-enriched uranium, which provides the kick of an atomic bomb more easily than other fuels. The program hopes to shut down or convert Russian HEU nuclear reactors in Seversk and Zheleznogorsk by 2008 and 2011, respectively.
But that is not enough, according to the arms control release: Officials must vigilantly do the same domestically that they are doing with Russian reactors.
ï¿½If weï¿½re going to impose rules on the rest of the world then the U.S. has to comply at the same time,ï¿½ said Ken Spitzer, WSU associate vice provost for research. "This is important to tell the rest of the world that weï¿½re going to make our changes too.ï¿½
Until a new WSU reactor director is chosen within a few months, Spitzer said he will oversee its operations.
In the interest of international proliferation prevention, Congress set aside the $7 million to convert HEU sites at four state universities ï¿½ Purdue, Oregon State, Wisconsin and WSU.
However, the change from highly-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium will not affect the operations of the WSU reactor, since the research can be completed safely with either fuel.
ï¿½Itï¿½s safe so long as itï¿½s kept within reactors,ï¿½ Spitzer said.
LEU can still be used to make nuclear weapons, but since all four sites are research-oriented facilities, they should not experience any problems with the conversion.
ï¿½With most of these, it really doesnï¿½t change the performance,ï¿½ said Michael Corradini, an engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin. Corridini oversees many of the operations at the reactor on the Madison campus.
ï¿½The perception is that if youï¿½ve got high-enriched uranium, you shouldnï¿½t have it,ï¿½ Corradini said.
The conversion doesnï¿½t bother Corradini, however, because he said he supports global efforts to reduce nuclear products.
ï¿½Whatï¿½s good for the goose is good for the gander,ï¿½ he said.
Corradini expected the conversion at Wisconsin to take place sometime in 2007 or 2008. Spitzer set no such timetable for the reactor at WSU, but he said since itï¿½s federal money, the federal officials will decide when the reactor will make the switch.
The WSU reactor started operations in 1961 and has used the same fuel since 1978. It does not require fuel changes, Spitzer said, because it uses one atom at a time, so a little fuel can help conduct plenty of research.
Originally the Global Threat Reduction Initiative program was known as the Russian Transition Initiatives, focusing on redirecting former Soviet weapons scientists into more peaceful projects, according to the arms control release. That program received $40 million from Congress until it got the new name and an expanded mission.
SUMMARY: The nuclear reactor at WSU will change its fuel in a few years to comply with international standards.
Despite recent flare ups over the future of the Arctic Military Environmental Co-operation (AMEC) Program, which have largely been caused by a paper presented on the organisationï¿½s progress by the UK, the UK remains optimistic that the involved nations can come to some sort of consensus, AMEC officials there said.
They were also clear, however, that if any of the involved nations wished to declare their tasks within the AMEC framework finished, then the UK would take up those projects left behind by other countries and complete them themselves. UK officials also emphasised that they would welcome cooperation from other countries under the AMEC umbrella and said countries like Canada and Sweden, had expressed interest in working with the UK.
Many observers of the programme, however, feel that the UK is forcing the hands of its constituent nations in the four way partnership―Norway, Russia, the United States, and the UK―to do things the UK way or leave, with a particular accent on Norway and the United States.
Dieter Rudolph, AMEC United States Co-Chairman noted that when AMEC first started the three original AMEC partners, Norway, Russia and the United States agreed to common procedures for project implementation. These procedures led to the successful completion of initial projects. When the UK joined AMEC in 2003 they proposed new procedures. The original partners agreed to use them on a trial basis.
When the US and Norway proposed changes, they found that they were locked into a rigid process with no flexibility, said Rudolph in an email interview with Bellona Web.
UK officials, however, have said they are not demanding anything extraordinary, and presented what they called a ï¿½series of recommendationsï¿½ known as the UK paper at an AMEC principlesï¿½ meeting held in November in Plymouth. The paper, entitled ï¿½AMEC― Napoleonic Bureaucracy or Effective Collaborative Delivery Programme?ï¿½ called Norway and the United States onto the carpet for programme hold-ups, inefficiency, and safety issues.
The paper―a copy of which was obtained by Bellona Web―was a surprising assessment in the eyes of Norwegian and US observers who noted that the successful track record of completed projects by the original partners speaks for itself. They also asked why the UK was not willing to use the ï¿½tried and trueï¿½ proven approach, in the opinion of the US and Norway and why the UK insisted on change right from the start of its AMEC tenure.
But UK officials nonetheless maintain that they did not wish to strong-arm anyone out of the programme or wrest control of AMEC from the three other countries that are involved.
Alan Heyes, chief of the UKï¿½s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which oversees the UKï¿½s nuclear work in Russia, said the UK paper was a set of recommendations rather than a lambasting of itï¿½s AMEC partners.
ï¿½We are the new guys here and we noted several places where AMECï¿½s operation could be improved. There is always room for improvement,ï¿½ he said in a recent telephone interview with Bellona Web.
What AMEC does
AMEC was originally founded as a three country consortium created by the respective defence agencies of the United States, Russia and Norway in order to address military-related environmental problems, primarily submarine dismantlement, in the fragile Arctic ecosystem of Russiaï¿½s northwest. The UK joined AMEC in 2003.
AMECï¿½s underlying philosophy is that it should be easier to discuss military environmental problems through a military co-operative effort than through civilian channels. The programme also emphasises the need to leave behind an infrastructure for Russia to use after US led Co-operative Threat Reduction (CTR) and Norwegian programmes have come to an end.
The UK Paper
The UK Paper opens by stating: ï¿½In the opinion of many observers, AMEC has become dysfunctional. Bureaucratic, inefficient, slow, it has proved itself incapable of rising to the challenge presented by multilateral procurement of high risk nuclear legacy projects.ï¿½
This opinion seems to be restricted to a small number of individuals, noted Rudolph. He cited a September 2004 study by the Centre for Non-proliferation Studies commissioned by the Nuclear Threat Reduction Initiative (NTI) on ï¿½Co-ordinating Submarine Dismantlement Assistance in Russiaï¿½ The Centre noted AMECï¿½s unique role with the Russian military and recommended that AMECï¿½s expansion to Russiaï¿½s Far East be encouraged.
ï¿½Bringing AMECï¿½s expertise and experience to that region would make the successful execution of projects there more likely, and help ensure that synergies between the two regions be discoveredï¿½ the study read.
The UK paper continued that: ï¿½Despite the overall positive context of collaboration on nuclear security, safety and other environmental issues, donor confidence and willingness to commit to AMEC activity has never been lower. Support remains for the collaborative intent set out in the AMEC Declaration, but AMEC needs to change if it is to survive.ï¿½
In its paper, the UK deflected ï¿½conflict of interest criticismsï¿½ that have been levels against the commercial RWE NUKEM as UKï¿½s lead contractor for future AMEC projects.
ï¿½RWE NUKEM has continued to attract conflict of interest criticism and unsubstantiated charges of operating to their commercial advantage. The UK will continue to employ a contractor for project management (for all its Global Partnership related work), and has full confidence in RWE NUKEM performance to date,ï¿½ read the UK paper.
Rudolph noted that the idea of having a contractor as the Project Officer, a position occupied by a government representative in Norway, Russia and the US and also as contracting agent as well as technical expert is foreign to US AMEC. Repeated requests for increased UK Government oversight have not been successful. Another AMEC observer noted that if the UK believes that NUKEM does not act in a manner to support the company bottom line and profit margin, they are fooling noone but themselves.
The UK further criticised the US and Norwegian effort for AMECï¿½s safety and risk management.
The UK acknowledged that ï¿½It is clear that UK requirements for project management within AMEC have caused difficulty with our donor partners. Feedback from Norwegian and American colleagues has indicated that the project management methodology and procurement strategies required by the British government and implemented by our project contract managers on our instructions are seen as laborious and inefficient.ï¿½
The paper continued that: ï¿½UK insistence on Treasury approved project management techniques, especially competitive procurement, formal risk and safety management, [ï¿½] and environmental impact assessment, has caused significant difficulty for our partners. The UK has no room to manoeuvre on these principles, and an alternative collaborative framework must be found if UK donorship is to continue. It should be emphasised that the UK approach on project management is nearly identical to most other countries supporting projects under the Global Partnership.ï¿½
Why is the UK in AMEC?
Interviews with UK officials were softer in tone than the UK paper, but nonetheless indicated that they were firm in their policies. Given its candid assessment of the work of its partner nations in its paper, many AMEC observers have asked why the UK joined the partnership in the first place. Heyes said it was to bolster the UKï¿½s military contact with Russia via what he called ï¿½an excellent programme.ï¿½
ï¿½We joined partly because of our [G-8] Global Partnership commitments and partly because of the military to military contact benefits,ï¿½ said Heyes.
ï¿½We think it is a good agreement and provides good contacts with Russia and we wish to continue.ï¿½
Maj. Garris Baker, who heads the UK Ministry of Defenceï¿½s Russia, desk agreed with Heyes and told Bellona Web. ï¿½We would not have joined AMEC if we did not think it was a good organisation.ï¿½
ï¿½It supplies us with valuable Military to Military contact AMEC, but that the UK did not have prior to joining,ï¿½ he said. ï¿½AMEC allows us to achieve what we wish, which would not be possible without the what the AMEC umbrella of provides in terms of a legal framework and liability.ï¿½
Other countries joining and leaving
But he also emphasised that the programme needs ï¿½common lines of practiceï¿½ and that all projects must adhere to AMECï¿½s project management and best practice policies. He reinforced this point, saying: ï¿½If Norway and the United States withdraw, that is a national decision. But the same is not true of [the UK]―we seek a bilateral solution . The UK still sees value in the AMEC process.ï¿½
The withdrawal of any of AMECï¿½s constituent nations would weaken the whole programmeï¿½s financial base to tackle the most pressing issues in Russia.
He added, though, that other countries are invited to take part in AMEC, and said that Canada and Sweden had expressed interest in supporting UK efforts.
Russian AMEC officials told Bellona Web that they were satisfied with any changes in the structure of AMEC so long as the funding continued to arrive.
K-60 Norwayï¿½s swan song in AMEC?
Norwegian officials have indicated that the moving and dismantlement of the derelict K-60 submarine―by all accounts one of the most un-seaworthy vessels in Russiaï¿½s Northern Fleet―will be the countryï¿½s last AMEC project. Norway has the lead on the $8.5 billion transportation and dismantlement project, but the UK is apparently fitting half the bill.
The Norwegian project will employ a heavy lift vessel to convey the sub from the semi-operational Naval base of Gremikha to a dismantling point. The heavy lift vessel has been secured by Norway for use from the Dutch firm Dockwise.
The heavy transport vessel has the ability to submerge its specially fitted deck beneath the K-60 and then blow its ballast tanks and rise again to the surface with the K-60 secured in special above-water cradles for its fragile hull. The transport vessel will then continue from Gremikha to Polyarny near Murmansk were it will be de-fueled and dismantled.
All that remains is a final detailed environmental impact study so that the western contractors and Russia can put the plan of the vesselï¿½s removal together. Time is therefore of the essence as the Norwegian Ministry of Defence petitions the countryï¿½s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for funding the project.
There are also rumours among AMEC observers that the UK may pull its funding on the project, though these could not be independently confirmed.
Norwegian and US Positions
In her response to the UK paper, Ingjerd Kroken, co-chairperson of AMEC Norway, sounded more capitulatory than defensive of Norwayï¿½s role in AMEC.
ï¿½The UK has proposed that the participant countries work bilaterally with Russia under the AMEC umbrella,ï¿½ she said. Kroken met with Russian delegations during early December and put a positive spin on the possible dissolution of AMEC. ï¿½We will all continue to help solve the issueï¿½ of radioactive waste storage in Russia.
ï¿½Because so many other donor nations [to Russian nuclear remediation] are now involved, AMEC may not be as necessary as it once was,ï¿½ she said.
US AMEC observers, however, have taken a stronger stance, and say that the UKï¿½s position threatens to drive a wedge among AMEC countries that will ultimately leave far too many militarily projects unfinished.
Following interviews with the principal governmentï¿½s involved with AMEC, the Bellona Foundation thinks the slow progress on UK led projects can be attributed to their lack of ability to build technical consensus on technical issues. Their new proposal is a step in the wrong direction.
A former US Project Officer noted that UK Project management is bureaucratic and process driven with ï¿½reams and reamsï¿½ of paper.
2. Foreign investors to monitor nuclear subs scrapping
(for personal use only)
Canadian experts will monitor scrapping nuclear submarines at the Zvezdochka Engineering Enterprise, based in Severodvinsk.
The Zvezdochka press-service told Interfax-Military News Agency that in addition to monitoring the process, they also expected to discuss prospects of extending cooperation and signing new contracts.
At the present time Zvezdochka is scrapping the Project 671 RTM Volgograd SSBN (Victor-3 under NATO classification).
The enterprise has unloaded fissile regions, started cutting the hull and forming a reactor unit to be sent to Saida Guba in the Murmansk region later on.
The Volgograd is the fourth of 12 submarines to be scrapped.
The work is financed within the framework of the Russian-Canadian agreement on providing assistance to Russia in scrapping nuclear submarines, which have left the inventory. The initiative is part of the Canadian commitment to allocate up to 1 billion Canadian dollars within the framework of the G8-sponsored Global partnership against WMD proliferation program, announced in Kananaskis in 2002.
Zvezdochka had earlier scrapped three Project 671 RTM (Victor III under NATO classification) and Project 671 (Victor-1 under NATO classification) nuclear submarines, with Canada providing financial assistance.
On the whole, after visiting the enterprise in April 2005, the Canadian Ambassador to Russia said that Canada was ready to fund scrapping 12 SSBNs at Zvezdochka, three subs a year in the next four years.
British and Norwegian experts are expected to visit the Nerpa shipyard in Snezhnogorsk on January 23-24.
According to Rostislav Rimdenok, Chief Engineer of the Nerpa shipyard, which has scrapped Project 671 SSBNs (Victor III under NATO classification), the shipyard will officially launch two three-compartment reactor units and send them to Said Guba.
The submarines are being scrapped under contracts with Norway and the UK, worth about 9 million Euro.
"We hope to simultaneously conduct negotiations on signing another contract on scrapping another submarine, which has left the inventory of the Navy," Rimdenok said. Back ï¿½2005 Interfax-Military News Agency, All rights reserved. News and other data on this web site are provided for information purposes only, and are not intended for republication or redistribution. Republication or redistribution of Interfax content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Interfax-Military News Agency.
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