1. Putin proposes access to nuclear energy for all countries
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Global infrastructure should be established to give all interested countries access to nuclear energy with reliable guarantees that the nuclear non-proliferation regime will be observed, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday. Putin said Russia was ready to build an international center "to offer nuclear fuel cycle services, including [uranium] enrichment under the control of the IAEA".
The Russian leader said the center under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, would be open to every nation.
He said technological innovations were needed to build new-generation reactors and fuel cycles, and this required broad international cooperation.
"We will propose this approach to G8 member states during our presidency and all our partners in the sphere of peaceful use of nuclear energy," Putin added.
Russia is presiding over the club of the world's eight most industrialized nations in 2006.
Teheran declared its willingness yesterday to consider Moscow’s initiative to set up a Russia-Iranian joint uranium enrichment venture. Sergey Kirienko, the head of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency, also confirmed Iran’s interest in the offer.
Meanwhile, the Iranian authorities are changing their scathing criticism for pledges to go on negotiating with the IAEA, a week away from a IAEA session where the Euro Three and the United States will push for Iran’s nuke program to be reported at the UN Security Council. Teheran and Moscow are trying to save Iran from international sanctions.
“We welcome the proposal of Russia to settle the Iranian nuclear issue by creating a joint Russian-Iranian uranium enrichment enterprise and we believe that it should be considered,” Hamid Reza Assefi, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said yesterday.
The official did not specify what this favorable reaction might mean but noted that “the Russian plan should be added and improved.” “We have already held the first round of talks with Russia, and negotiations should be continued,” said Mr. Assefi hinting at a possible visit of Ali Larijani, the secretary of the High Council of National Security, to Moscow. “The trip is now discussed but the final decision has not been made yet.”
The first round of talks took place in Teheran on January 7 and 8. The parties reached a stalemate but agreed to continue negotiating.
The head of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency Sergey Kirienko pointed out at a Friday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to Iran’s renewed interest in the Russian initiative. “They think our proposal is interesting and they are ready to get down to a more detailed discussion,” Mr. Kirienko said.
3. Russia: Kiriyenko Says Site Chosen for Joint Uranium Enrichment Venture With Iran
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Head of Rosatom (Federal Atomic Energy Agency) Sergey Kiriyenko sad today that the Russian side had already chosen a production facility for a uranium-enrichment joint venture with Iran.
Russia's proposal to set up a Russian-Iranian enterprise for uranium enrichment in Russia will make it possible to settle the dispute regarding Iran's nuclear programme, Kiriyenko said talking to journalists after a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov.
The Rosatom head stressed that "issues of security guarantees and nonproliferation are important within the framework of developing nuclear power engineering". "In building a nuclear power station in Bushehr, Russia has undertaken a commitment to remove all these risks," he said.
In Kiriyenko's view, the Russian initiative to set up a joint enterprise on its territory "will make it possible to find a solution at the talks Iran is conducting with the world community".
4. Russia: Primakov Warns Against Sending Iran Nuclear file to UN Security Council
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Russia's former foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov, who is now the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said all Arab countries want Russia to take part in the resolution of conflicts in the region.
"All Arab countries without exception want Russia to participate in the resolution" of conflicts in the region, Primakov said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio on Saturday. In his words, Arab countries "understand that no questions can be solved without the United States, but it is very difficult to solve an issue with the U.S. if Russia does not take part".
Primakov stressed that Russia's role in the Middle East conflict resolution efforts "is not that of a postman or interpreter, but of a country that seeks to bring stabilisation and uses its possibilities and ties for that". It uses the ties "that the U.S. does not have", he added. "The U.S. pressures with its might, money and strong hands but it often acts not very wisely," he said.
Primakov warned against the transfer of the Iranian nuclear file to the U.N. Security Council. "I think we should wait. There are still possibilities for manoeuvre and they must be used," he said. In his view, there is no need to corner Iran with sanctions because this may only strengthen the positions of extremist forces in the country. "I think no harm must be done to those who want to develop peaceful industry and peaceful atom," he said.
Primakov believes that the Iranian nuclear programme should be under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), "but the at the same time we must not create a situation where the country cannot develop a peaceful nuclear industry". He stressed that the Iranian leadership's violent statements on Israel "make it difficult for Russia to pursue its policy with regard to Iran".
"The top Iranian leadership is engaged not so much in politics as in propaganda, which it must not do," he added."By making such statements Iran complicates our position. Russia wants no sanctions against Iran. We want to continue cooperation with Iran in the field of peaceful atom. We are confident that we do not overstep any permissible limits. But we have been put in a tight spot," Primakov said.
The meeting in New York on the margins of the World Summit between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and newly elected President of Iran Mahmud Ahmadinezhad was the clear sensation of last fall. International circles had only just begun to size up the Iranian leader, who was new to the world arena, and everyone took particular notice of the firm handshake and warm smiles of the two athletically built presidents. Because formally speaking, to judge strictly by the wording of official Russian Foreign Ministry documents, the Iranian sector is by no means a priority in Moscow's foreign policy. But it is in fact a very important one. And Putin's conversation with Ahmadinezhad was not merely a formally polite encounter -- it provided the Russian president with meaningful material for his subsequent talk with US President George Bush.
Russian-Iranian contacts have become noticeably more active in the wake of the New York meeting. High-level individuals, including First Vice President Gholam Reza Agazade and Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki, have been to Russia. Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov and high-level representatives of the MID (Foreign Ministry) have traveled to Iran. Tehran has recently been occupying more and more of the Kremlin's attention, and by all indications is giving it a not inconsiderable headache.
For Russia, meanwhile, Iran has long been a zone of special interests. Its importance can be understood just by looking at the map. A large country (population -- 68 million, area 1.6 million square kilometers), it is a Caspian neighbor of Russia. Bordering as it does countries belonging to the SNG (Commonwealth of Independent States), it as it were props up from the south an expanse of the former USSR. Iran lies at the center of the notorious "arc of instability," firm relations with it are a guarantee against unnecessary problems from the south, and to some extent they help to fence us off from terrorism, drugs trafficking, and other contemporary threats. Iran's position is an important factor of stabilization (and in the worst-case scenario -- of potential exacerbation) of the situation in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.
The joint business of Russia and Iran begins directly with the Caspian. According to the definition from our specialists in international law, the Caspian is neither a sea nor a lake but "a body of water belonging to the littoral countries," that is, others are requested not to concern themselves over this expanse of water. This is the most advantageous legal definition for the littoral countries themselves, and it is important that the Iranians share it with us.
And share not only that. Iran is an important interlocutor as regards the resolution of issues relating to the delimitation of the Caspian Sea and its seabed and the extraction of natural resources. According to Russian diplomats, the negotiation process between Russia and Iran on these topics is not going smoothly, but gradual progress is being made.
Iran represents precisely that shortest route to warm seas that Russians have always sought. It was route first trodden in the 15th Century by the Tver merchant, Afanasiy Nikitin, but it now represents a very promising transport and trade-economic sector. Ideas exist for the establishment of transport corridors from Persian Gulf zones to Europe via Iranian territory and Russia, and there are scenarios for the passage of oil and gas pipelines along this same route. The presence of major consumers in both Europe and Asia guarantees a high economic return from these projects.
Russian-Iranian trade ties themselves, although small in volume, are stable. They possess considerable development potential, but there are also obstacles -- specifically, political interference from outside. So, the United States and Israel have repeatedly voiced their unhappiness at Russia's sale of conventional armaments and military equipment to Iran, although these do not actually come under any international bans. Under the influence of this persuasion Moscow agreed in the year 2000 to the almost total cessation of such trade with Iran (the Gore-Chernomyrdin Agreement), and it was only comparatively recently that these accords were reviewed.
At the end of 2005 Russia and Iran signed their first major military-technical contract in five years, relating to the sale of a consignment of TOR M-1 surface-to-air missile systems and other equipment. The first satellite belonging to Iran was developed and launched in Russia.
Russia states that in its relations with Iran it complies strictly with the regimes governing missile technology control and the nonproliferation of OMU (weapons of mass destruction). This has not, however, stopped the US Congress from announcing sanctions against a Russian higher educational establishment and a number of firms that have allegedly allowed "leaks" of missile technologies to Iran. The construction of the nuclear power station at Bushehr in southwestern Iran is the central feature of Russian-Iranian cooperation.
A contract signed between the sides in 1992 provides for completion of the power station's first phase, abandoned by Germany's Siemens company under US pressure. Construction of the reactor buildings, the equipment -- a VVER-1000 (water-cooled water-moderated) reactor and power equipment with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts -- and the installation work are estimated at $1 billion. Around 500 specialists assigned from Russia are working at the construction site, with even more engaged in executing orders inside Russia -- as many as 20,000 people.
These are workers and employees of the enterprises ZiO-Podolsk (S. Ordzhonikidze Podolsk Machine Building Plant) from the Moscow region, the Izhorskiy Plant and Sevkabel (Northern Cables) company in St. Petersburg, the Novosibirsk Combine -- engaged in manufacturing the fuel assemblies (TVELs) for the reactors -- and a number of others.
Completion of construction of the Bushehr nuclear power station was originally planned for the end of 2005, then there was talk of the spring of 2006 (with delivery of the fuel six months prior to this). For several months now, however, the Russian side has been constantly referring to "80 percent completion." The Iranians are providing a more advanced assessment: "Construction work on the power station has been completed, the equipment has been brought to 80 percent readiness." In this connection the sides have eventually agreed on commissioning the nuclear power station before the end of 2006.
Around 90 tonnes of fuel are required to launch the reactor. The fuel elements have already been assembled and are currently stored at their manufacturing plant in Novosibirsk. They will be delivered to the power station the moment they are to be loaded into the reactor.
Just when will this moment, the key to the nuclear power station going on stream, arrive? Evidently, it will be designated in February, when by agreement between the new head of Russia's Rosatom (Federal Atomic Energy Agency), Sergey Kiriyenko, and the Iranian ambassador to Russia, Gholam Reza Ansari, the final schedule for the power station's launch is to be approved. It is noteworthy that at a meeting with the ambassador 7 December, which was attended by leading atomic scientists from both parties, Kiriyenko devoted some considerable time to explaining to his interlocutors the importance of their cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
It was no coincidence that the new Rosatom chief reminded his interlocutors about the important role of the IAEA. The point is that the West originally tried to portray the Bushehr nuclear power station as being linked to plans to create an Iranian atom bomb. John Bolton, former under secretary of state for international security, asserted: The nuclear power station in Bushehr will produce enough fissionable material to make 30 nuclear bombs a year.
In reality, the Bushehr nuclear power station has absolutely no military aspects. It is being built and will subsequently be operated under IAEA supervision. In February last year Moscow and Tehran agreed that all the spent fuel elements are to be transported from Bushehr to Russia for reprocessing. This totally precludes the possibility of the production of weapons-grade fissionable material. The peaceful nature of the nuclear power station has eventually also been acknowledged by the United States (in the person of the present secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice).
There is an element of rivalry in the critical transatlantic view of Bushehr. After all, the United States itself was in at the origins of the Iranian nuclear program, when it proposed to the shah an extensive nuclear power station construction program with a view to saving oil for export purposes, and even made available equipment for the first research facilities. Now, though, this same Rice is maintaining that, as an oil-extracting country, Iran has no need of nuclear power stations. Nor have the interests in Iran on the part of West European corporations disappeared.
These acknowledgments do not, however, remove the problems being created for Russian-Iranian cooperation prospects by the conflict situation around the Iranian nuclear program. At the focus of this conflict are the facilities being created by Iran for the production of its own nuclear fuel. Neither within the IAEA framework nor at negotiations with the "European Three" (Britain, Germany, and France) has Tehran consented to relinquish its intention to create a complete fuel cycle. But this is precisely what its negotiating partners are insisting on, with reference to the fact that fuel creation can easily develop into the production of weapons-grade fissionable material.
A solution to the problem has been proposed by Moscow. It consists in transferring the process of enriching the uranium obtained from ore in Iran to Russian territory -- to an existing combine or to a specially created joint venture. It is known that the emergence of the "Russian proposal," as the world's press is calling it, permitted the deferment of a late-November decision from the IAEA's Board of Governors to refer the Iran dossier to the UN Security Council with a view to the imposition of economic and other sanctions.
It is not yet clear, however, whether or not the Iranians will accept this proposal. The Russian side has presented it to them on at least three occasions: during a visit to Tehran at the beginning of December by (Russian) Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov, in mid-December, in the form of a diplomatic note, and subsequently at negotiations held in Tehran 7-8 January this year by a Russian delegation which included Deputy Security Council Secretary Valentin Sobolev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Kislyak (whose Foreign Ministry responsibilities are nonproliferation problems and America).
The Iranians' first response was incomprehensible -- Tehran said that "it had not received" any proposal. Moscow's later official announcement of the transmittal to Iran of a note containing proposals on atomic matters was evidently linked to precisely this. As for the Iranian authorities, in unofficial contacts with the West's representatives they are stating that they can consent only to options that do not preclude uranium enrichment on Iranian territory.
When last Monday the Iranian authorities removed IAEA seals from equipment at three nuclear facilities, sharp protests were heard around the world. According to IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, the world community "is losing patience." Tehran's actions have been condemned by the United States and the "eurothree."
For the first time Tehran's actions have also been condemned by its traditional "defenders" -- Moscow and Beijing. In a joint telephone conversation Russia's diplomatic chief Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed "profound disappointment" at the Iranian decision. Indications of a convergence of assessments, at any rate. Beijing's "concern" at the Iranians' actions has been officially announced by a PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman.
Thus far, Tehran's gamble on the development of ties with two permanent members of the Security Council -- Russia and China -- has paid off. Because it is difficult for either Moscow or Beijing to give up their trade and economic interests in Iran. But even this is not the chief factor. Both countries are aware that the crisis around Iran may develop into an extremely dangerous international confrontation.
At the same time, for all the sympathy felt for Iran by Russia and China, they have never given any indication that they would waive their obligations as members of the official "nuclear club" with regard to the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In this context their insistence in favor of the resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem, even if only for the sake of safeguarding their own interests in that country, cannot fail to increase. The forthcoming weeks will reveal to what extent.
Other "players" in the international arena -- primarily the United States and the West European powers -- have shown signs of still greater activity in relation to the Iranian problem. Essentially speaking, the official "nuclear club" or -- in that same composition -- the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany are endeavoring to influence a relatively important Middle Eastern country while at the same time acting on the basis of their own interpretation of the rules of international behavior and of their own interests, which to a considerable extent do not coincide or are even mutually opposed. The result is that at the given moment and, possibly, for months ahead Iran would appear to be at the geopolitical crossroads.
In November 2005, Iran's Ministry of Trade and the Russian Federation's Ministry of Economic Development and Trade signed a Memorandum on Cooperation in the Trade and Economic Sphere. In accordance with this document Moscow and Tehran are to develop bilateral cooperation in the sphere of trade, insurance, transportation, and banking.
Today, Russian imports from Iran amount to just $110 million a year, while Russian exports to Iran are roughly equal to $2 billion. In line with expert assessments, the volume of bilateral trade can reach $10 billion in the future.
The delivery of metal and metal ware is one of the principal Russian export items. Iran represents a stable market for Russian machinery, equipment, and means of transportation. In conjunction with metal products these account for 80 percent of the Russian exports.
Cooperation in the oil and gas sphere is another important component of our economic relations. So, as part of an international consortium Gazprom has completed the building and installation of equipment for phases two and three of the South Pars gas field. Gazprom investments have amounted to around $750 million. Gazprom's possible participation in construction work on an Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is currently being studied. In conjunction with Norway's Norsk Hydro company Lukoil has conducted exploration work at the Anaran oil field, and it is also making deliveries of Russian oil to Iran under a swap arrangement.
In the year 2000 the Bank of Russia and the Central Bank of Iran signed an interbank Agreement and Protocol of Intentions. In May 2001 the Vneshtorgbank (Foreign Trade Bank of Russia) and the Bank Melli Iran signed agreements on opening special reciprocal accounts and establishing a technical settlement procedure to service foreign trade operations. The Bank Melli Iran opened a branch in Moscow in July 2002.
Cooperation in the power engineering field is developing intensively. The FGUP VO Tekhnopromeksport (Tekhnopromeksport Foreign Economic Association Federal State Unitary Enterprise) has constructed eight power units at the Shahid Mohammad Montazeri thermal power station in Esfahan, which is regarded as among the best in the world, and six units at the Ramin thermal power station in Ahvaz. In all, Tekhnopromeksport has supported the commissioning of over 10 percent of Iran's total generating capacity. A number of documents were signed in 2001 between Tekhnopromeksport and Iran's Organization for the Development of Electric Power that make provision for cooperation in the construction of the Tabas station -- Iran's first coal-fired power station.
The Russian-Iranian contract to complete construction of the first unit of the Bushehr nuclear power station was originally costed at around $800 million, but, according to the latest data, this figure is now approaching $1 billion. The contract provides for the delivery to Iran of a VVER-1000 nuclear reactor and nuclear fuel, and the posting of Russian specialists.
The physical launch of the Bushehr station's reactor is planned for the middle of 2006. The first consignment of nuclear fuel for the Bushehr power station, weighing around 90 tonnes, has already been manufactured, but currently remains on Russian Federation territory. Over 1,000 Russian specialists are working in Bushehr. The construction work is being carried out by the Atomstroyeksport ZAO (Closed Joint-Stock Company), the Russian executive agent for the implementation of intergovernmental agreements on the construction of nuclear power stations abroad.
Atomstroyeksport's chief associates for foreign installations are: the Atomenergoproyekt Federal State Unitary Enterprise, the SPbAEP (St. Petersburg Atomenergoproyekt Scientific Research and Development Institute) Federal State Unitary Enterprise -- the general designers of the nuclear power station; the Gidropress OKB (Experimental Design Bureau) Federal State Unitary Enterprise (Podolsk) -- general designer of the nuclear steam-generating installation; the Kurchatovskiy Institut (Kurchatov Institute) RNTs (Russian Scientific Center) -- scientific leader of nuclear power station projects; the NITs SNIIP (Allied Scientific Research Institute of Instrument Making Scientific Research Center) Federal State Unitary Enterprise, the SNIIP-SISTEMATOM Closed Joint-Stock Company, the SNIIP-ASKUR (untraced) Limited Liability Company -- developer and supplier of special control systems; the Atomtekhenergo Federal State Unitary Enterprise -- the reactor start-up organization; the VNIIAES (presumably, All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Nuclear Power Stations) Open Joint-Stock Company -- scientific leader of the nuclear power station's operation.
According to statements by Russian officials, Russia's entire cooperation with Iran in the nuclear sphere is confined to the construction of the nuclear power station in Bushehr. It may be recalled, however, that back in 1999 US sanctions were imposed on the Scientific Research Institute of Energy Technology Design (NIKIET), which was accused by the US Administration of violating the regime controlling the export of nuclear technologies to Iran.
Russia's withdrawal at the end of 2000 from the Gore-Chernomyrdin Protocol, in accordance with which this country was obliged to curtail military-technical cooperation with Iran, generated within expert circles a multitude of optimistic forecasts regarding the prospects for the resumption of weapons deliveries to the Islamic Republic. The volume of potential orders was estimated at $7 billion.
In practice, over the last five years the Iranian side has restricted itself to the purchase of inexpensive aviation equipment and ammunition and spare parts for previously supplied weapons. During 2001-2002, 21 Mi-171 transport helicopters produced by the Ulan-Ude Aircraft Plant were delivered for the Iranian Navy. Prior to 2005 the enterprise dispatched to Iran in addition 12 Mi-171Sh multirole military transport helicopters. Also, in 2005 Iran acquired three Mi-17V-5 helicopters from the Kazan Helicopter Plant. In 2003 Russia declared in the UN Register of Conventional Arms the delivery to Iran of three combat aircraft. Experts believe these were Su-25 ground-attack aircraft.
One of the biggest bilateral agreements in the military-technical cooperation sphere, dating from 13 November 1991, remains unfulfilled. It provided for the transfer of a license and the provision of technical assistance in organizing the manufacture in Iran of 1,000 T-72S tanks and 1,500 BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), as well as ammunition for them, at a total cost of $2.2 billion. Some 422 tanks and 413 IFVs and ammunition worth a total of $668 million had been delivered prior to 2000. According to data from the PIR-Center (Center for Political Studies in Russia), 578 tanks and 1,087 IFVs, technical licensing documentation, industrial equipment, and ammunition remain to be delivered, and services provided, at a total cost in excess of $1.5 billion. The signing of a contract on the sale of 29 TOR M-1 surface-to-air missile systems became known at the end of 2005. The agreement is valued at $700 million.
The development of cooperation in the sphere of military space technologies is considered promising. Iran's first satellite, the Sina-1, for imagery reconnaissance, was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome 27 October 2005. It was developed by the Omsk Polet Design Bureau under a Rosoboroneksport contract with Iran valued at $8 million. Launch costs added a further $1.6 million.
Under an Iranian order from January 2005, valued at $132 million, the Russian NPO (Science and Production Association) of Applied Mechanics in Zheleznogorsk (Krasnoyar Kray) is conducting development work for the Zohreh geostationary telecommunications satellite, with the launch planned for 2007.
Russian scientists have designed nuclear energy technologies that make it possible to avoid nuclear weapons proliferation and that can serve as a basis for the power engineering of the future, Valeriy Volkov, chief coordinator of a project which is being implemented by an independent group of Russian scientists, has told a RIA-Novosti news conference on Tuesday [24 January].
"A team of scientists led by professor Igor Ostretsov has developed a project to implement a fundamentally new type of nuclear power engineering - relativist heavy nuclear power engineering - which is capable of solving the problems of nuclear waste and nuclear weapons nonproliferation.
Volkov said the proposed technology, which is based on the principle of heavy nuclei fission, primarily thorium nuclei fission using neutrons, would solve the task.
According to Ostretsov, mankind will not be able to develop in the future without the use of nuclear energy.
"There is no alternative. But there is no doubt that any sovereign country which has a nuclear power plant on its territory is capable of building a nuclear bomb. Therefore, we will not be able to continue exercising control over the proliferation of military-purpose nuclear technologies," he said.
Ostretsov said the use of heavy nuclear power engineering will make it possible to satisfy mankind's hunger for energy and will not contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation.
"The use of high-energy neutrons will almost completely rule out the production of materials which could be used for building nuclear weapons and will fundamentally reduce the amount of nuclear waste," he said.
Volkov believes that Russia, as the G8 chairman, could put forward a proposal on the development of such technologies in the world.
"Mankind will not be able to develop in the 21st century without the nuclear power engineering. By making nuclear technologies safer and by solving the problems of nuclear waste and nuclear weapons nonproliferation, we will create a real alternative to solving mankind's energy problems. This is not just a national project but a big programme for international cooperation, including cooperation within the G8 framework, Volkov said.
2. Belarusian, Russian Scientists Working On New Generation Nuclear Reactor
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Belarusian and Russian scientists are going to create a new generation reactor for nuclear power plants, the chief of the research section of the Energy Efficiency Centre at the Lykov Heat and Mass Exchange Institute under the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences, Academician Alyaksandr Mikhalevich, said at a news conference in Minsk on 23 January.
He said the Russian side has paid attention to the unique research work on passive security systems for new generation reactors that has been carried out at the Sosny United Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research under the National Academy of Sciences for 10 years.
"We can design such a reactor on the basis of a complex of experimental work in Belarus, which will become the basis for joint work with Russia on a new generation reactor," Mikhalevich said.
The expert said that work on creating the reactor can start now, but the terms of the project implementation depend on financing. "Such a reactor could be created within less than 10 years, provided there is stable financing. The cost of a station with this reactor will total about 2,000-3,000 dollars per one kilowatt of capacity," the academician said.
3. Sergey Kirienko Gets Ukraine Interested in Atomic Cooperation
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Sergey Kirienko, the head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, presented his plan to restore the united atomic complex of the USSR to Ukrainian Prime Minister Yury Ekhanurov in Kiev on Saturday. Russia, for one, suggests building nuclear power stations in third countries together. Agreement has not been reached on such key issues as Ukraine’s refusal to diversify supplies of atomic fuel from Russia and the pricing for components of fuel. However, Ukraine met Mr. Kirienko’s ideas with interest.
Russia-Ukrainian relations in the atomic energy field have never been as strained as in other sectors of the fuel industry. Russia, however, is concerned about Ukraine’s intension to increase purchases of fuel elements from Westinghouse company. Ukraine’s state-owned NAEK is set to buy 42 fuel elements in 2006 in line with the policy to diversify nuclear fuel supplies.
The Russian atomic watchdog, in its turn, declared before the gas crisis that it could raise prices for Russian fuel elements for Ukraine following a price hike on the Ukrainian uranium which is delivered to Russia. Prices for fuel elements supplies were fixed until 2010, the Russian party maintains. Thus, Russia is losing up to $150 million a year on the uranium contract with Ukraine, according to the data of the Russian Atomic Agency.
Mr. Kirienko’s Saturday visit was obviously a conciliatory one. The head of Russia’s Atomic Energy Agency underlined a few times the need to “seek the mutually beneficial cooperation with Ukraine.” The meeting between Sergey Kirienko, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yury Ekhanurov and Energy Minister Ivan Plackhov was actually devoted on Russia’s new approach on the development of the atomic industry. Mr. Kirienko said that the two nations should focus on “the restoration of the united technological complex in the atomic energy industry.”
Ukraine occupies a special place in the plans of the head of the Russian atomic watchdog. Ukraine is offered to consider bidding at tenders on the construction of nuclear power stations in third parties together.
Russia and Ukraine agreed to set up a joint committee on atomic energy to boost the cooperation in the field. Ukraine’s interest to Sergey Kirienko’s proposals is evident. The parties will discuss the old problems in more detail on February 10 at the first round of talks between nuclear authorities of the two countries in Moscow. Though no specific agreements were reached during the visit, Mr. Kirienko’s speech helped to settle a conflict vein in the atomic industry between the two nations.
4. Ukraine, Russia Approve Pricing Mechanism for Nuclear Fuel
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The Ukrainian company Energoatom and the Russian company TVEL have developed and approved a pricing mechanism for nuclear fuel to be supplied to Ukrainian atomic power stations in 2006 and beyond. The agreement was reached at the talks between Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov and the head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, Sergei Kiriyenko, as well as Energoatom President Yuri Nedashkovsky and TVEL Vice President Anton Badenkov. Ukraine was supposed to start buying nuclear fuel from Russia in 2005 at the base price set in 2000.
During this period, Ukrainian nuclear power plants bought fuel assemblies with a discount that was gradually reduced from 28 percent to 9 percent. However Energoatom convinced TVEL to keep the discount for the base price. It also promised to buy more fuel. Kiriyenko confirmed that Russia would keep discounts on the nuclear fuel for Ukrainian nuclear power plants. He said the two countries were finishing talks on new deliveries of nuclear fuel for the period ending in 2010.
The document will envisage mutual deliveries for nuclear power engineering, including uranium deliveries from Ukraine. Kiriyenko specified that the prices of nuclear fuel would be fixed, depending on the situation in the world energy market. Badenkov said Energoatom, which is the operator of the existing Ukrainian nuclear power plants (NPPs), had fully paid for the nuclear fuel suppied in 2005.
Fresh fuel will be delivered to all of the 15 power units of the Ukrainian NPPs in 2006. TVEL, which produces nuclear fuel, has contracts with Ukraine for about 50 years to come. All of the 15 power units of the Ukrainian NPPs work on Russian fuel.
Contracts for its supplies have been signed for the period ending in 2010, and for some power units for the entire period of operation. New power units - No. at the Khmelnitsky NPP and No. 4 at the Rovno NPP -- will be functioning until 2050, as a minimum. Ukrainian NPPs account for 53 percent of national electricity generation.
5. Ukraine, Russia To Upgrade Uranium Mining Technology
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Ukraine and Russia will pool efforts in a bid to improve uranium mining technology. The joint Ukrainian-Kazakh-Russian enterprise UkrTVS, which makes nuclear fuel, will do the upgrading, the spokeswoman for Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov, Lilia Klochko, said on Saturday after talks with the head of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, Sergei Kiriyenko.
The three countries will meet in Moscow before February 10 to discuss the issue. Ukraine and Russia also plan to organise a conference for nuclear industry specialists in the Crimea in the summer. Russia will send specialists to the Sevastopol National Institute of Nuclear Energy and Industry to share experience with Ukrainian colleagues.
Plachkov welcomed the agreement allowing third countries to participate in joint projects. In his words, "The sides approved an algorithm of actions in the nuclear industry, which raises cooperation to a qualitatively new level." In addition, the Ukrainian company Energoatom and the Russian company TVEL have developed and approved a pricing mechanism for nuclear fuel to be supplied to Ukrainian atomic power stations in 2006 and beyond.
1. Visiting U.S. Official Talks of Spent Nuclear Fuel
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The United States plans to work with Russia to boost international security by transporting spent atomic fuel from Soviet-designed research reactors to a reprocessing plant in Russia, the U.S. nuclear safety chief said Tuesday.
The two countries have been involved in a program to return highly enriched uranium from such reactors to reduce the chances of the material being obtained by terrorists, who would need about 12 kilograms of the material to build a crude nuclear device. The uranium fuel has been provided over the years for use in civilian nuclear research.
In all, Russia has agreed to retrieve fresh highly enriched uranium it shipped to civilian research facilities in a total of 17 countries; eight such transfers have been conducted so far, including from Libya, Serbia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
Linton Brooks, chief of the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, said the United States and Russia would soon start taking out spent fuel as well.
Brooks, who was on a two-day visit to Moscow, met with the new head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, Sergei Kiriyenko, and with officials from the nuclear safety monitoring agency to discuss U.S. programs to boost nuclear safety in Russia.
He said that the program was still hampered by the Russians' refusal to grant access to foreigners at some sites, but that Moscow had shown willingness to upgrade security itself in those places.
Head of the Russian Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision (Rostekhnadzor) Konstantin Pulikovsky held in the Russian capital on Tuesday a working meeting with head of the National Nuclear Security Administration of the US Department of Energy Lynton Brooks. Rostekhnadzor officials said, "The sides discussed the role of the Russian nuclear and radiation security regulation body in the implementation of Russian-American projects."
Among the projects discussed the service officials named "the carriage to Russia of spent nuclear fuelsian make, decommissioning of industrial uranium-graphite reactors, accounting, control and physical protection of nuclear materials and disposition of excess weapons grade plutonium." The sides "expressed mutual confidence that the fruitful cooperation will be continued," the Rostekhnadzor sources said.
The Russian-American agreement envisages the removal of highly enriched nuclear fuel from research reactors built under the Soviet Union projects in former socialist countries, USSR republics and in the Middle East. The service officials specified that about one tonne of nuclear fuel has already been returned to Russia from six countries, including Libya. Confirmation of their agreement to participate in the programme has been received from 13 out of 17 countries where research reactors had been built during the USSR times.
The fuel returned to Russia is processed and used as fuel for nuclear power plants and is partially returned to research reactors, but in the low enriched form - up to 20 percent. A part of research reactors will be shut down.
Ahead of the USSR disintegration irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies had been removed only from the research reactor in Iraq. By the time of the Russian-American agreement (signed in 2004) entering into force there were about 30,000 irradiated fuel assemblies at such reactors and about 14,000 out of them contained highly enriched uranium.
Under the agreement the American side also removes highly enriched nuclear fuel from research reactors built by the United States in a number of countries. Under the Megatons/Megawatts (HEU-LEU) programme Russia processes highly enriched uranium (HEU) extracted from decommissioned nuclear warheads and low enriched uranium (LEU) that is afterwards used in the United States for the production of electricity at NPPs. Up to 30 tonnes of Russian HEU is annually processed into LEU and supplied as fuel to the United States to a total worth of roughly 0.5 billion US dollars. This project ensures the generation of some 10 percent of the total electric power at American NPPs.
In autumn 2005 the HEU-LEU programme was 50 percent fulfilled - 250 tonnes of highly enriched uranium was processed, which is equivalent to 10,000 nuclear warheads. In terms of the energy equivalent this amounts to almost three trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity. It is planned to process a total of 500 tonnes of HEU by 2013.
In the view of Russian nuclear specialists, thanks to the programme implementation Russia has been stably keeping the 40 -percent share of uranium enrichment services on the international market.
1. United group of forces to be formed on Caspian - Ivanov
(for personal use only)
A united group of forces will be formed on the Caspian Sea to rebuff modern threats and challenges, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Monday.
"We are discussing the formation of an equivalent of BlackSeaFor [Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task group] on the Caspian Sea... which will comprise not only defense ministries but also border guards and special services to combat real threats and challenges on the Caspian Sea," Ivanov said.
He said the issue would be discussed during his official visit to Azerbaijan and that the operations of the new group would resemble those of the BlackSeaFor, comprised of Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine and Georgia.
Ivanov said the Caspian group's tasks would include protecting the Caspian countries from WMD proliferation, poaching and piracy as well as ensuring reliable energy supplies.
According to him, officials from the foreign ministries of Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Russia will meet in Moscow shortly to discuss the plan.
Ivanov said unsettled border issues were unlikely to affect the establishment of the group, expected to play a crucial role in maintaining security in the Caspian region as a whole.
He also said Russia had settled all its border disputes with fellow Caspian states, but that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan still had a number of contentious issues to resolve with Iran.
1. Comment concerning risk and environmental assessments conducted in past AMEC projects
Dr. Thor Engøy (FFI), Dr. Steinar Høibråten (FFI), Dr. Monica Endregard (FFI), Dr. Barry Spargo (NAVFAC), Dr. Robert Dyer (EPA), CAPT Andrew Griffith (DOD)
(for personal use only)
In an article posted on the Bellona web site, "UK sticks to its guns in AMEC quarrel," 20 January 2006 there are statements that could be interpreted to mean that previous AMEC projects have not applied risk and environmental impact assessments or competitive procurement. This is not correct.
From the start of the early AMEC projects care was taken to make use of proven technology and best international practice in the Arctic environment. Experts with intimate knowledge of the spent nuclear fuel handling and radioactive waste management practices of their respective countries were employed, e.g. in the development of a transportable storage cask for spent nuclear fuel (SNF), development of solid radioactive waste (SRW) treatment technology, development of SRW storage technology, and development of an automated environmental monitoring system.
Furthermore, proposed technical solutions were designed in detail and approved by the governing Russian authorities before being fabricated. An important part of the design is the safety substantiation (TOB) and environmental impact assessment (OVOS). These Russian documents were independently reviewed by the AMEC countries’ experts. For example, during the development and review of the transshipment pad for SNF casks in Murmansk, Russian, U.S. and Norwegian experts evaluated all accident scenarios, including worst case scenarios as required by the Russian legislation, and a public hearing was conducted evaluating and discussing safety and risk. Independent AMEC safety analyses were also performed to strengthen the confidence in the Russian Federation regulatory process, that has evolved since the end of the Cold War. Examples of AMEC safety analyses conducted that supplemented the Russian Federation regulatory requirements include AMEC SNF cask Certificate of Compliance and the evaluation of concrete durability for application in a concrete SRW storage and transportation container.
Project and program risk analysis was integral to the planning and execution of AMEC projects. Project plans were continually assessed as information on project risks became better known and understood. Through the Records of Meetings, documenting the decisions and recommendations of each project meeting, AMEC shows a long history of project risk evaluation and management. AMEC has faced many barriers, but has been successful in completing difficult projects because of its ability to analyze project safety and technical risks.
Competitive procurement was used in all cases where legal and feasible, e.g. for the development and construction of the TUK-108/1 SNF transport and storage cask, design and construction of the steel PST 1A-6 containers for storage and transport of SRW, design and construction of the mobile pretreatment facility for SRW and the construction of the waste management complex at FSUE "10 SRP" (Polyarny).
Norway might step out of the Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation program (AMEC), which among other tasks is aimed at scrapping Russian nuclear submarines and storing their spent nuclear fuel.
"The situation is still unclear, but sources among AMEC staff say that Norway will quit the program after the dismantling of the Russian nuclear submarine K-60 Noyabr APounds291 is completed," the environmental organization Bellona told Interfax.
One of the most important stages is to provide secure transportation of the nuclear submarine from Gremikha to a shipyard in Polyarny. It is planned to carry out this operation this summer, said Bellona spokesman Charles Digges.
Norway is responsible for the collection of funds for the transportation of the submarine, and Great Britain is preparing the pontoons, Bellona said. The costs of K-60's transportation amount to about $3.5 million. The total cost of K-60's recycling will amount to about $5 million, which Great Britain and Norway plan to cover.
However, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry "is going to delay the financing. Here a political element is added to financial issues, because the foreign ministry wants to dictate Norway's policy in nuclear aid to Russia without the interference of the defense ministry," Bellona said.
"The foreign ministry's position can be a blow to Russian surface ships, which are still anchored in ports with spent nuclear fuel aboard and need rapid utilization," Bellona said.
The Russian-Norwegian-U.S. program Arctic Military Environment Cooperation was adopted in September 1996. Great Britain joined later.
3. Russia: First Rehabilitation Contracts Start at Spent Fuel Storage Facility in Murmansk
(for personal use only)
First contract have been signed in Murmansk in the framework of the grant agreement with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on environmental rehabilitation of the Northern Fleet's former base in Gremikha on the Kola peninsula.
"Four grants have been signed in the framework of the agreement. Its implementation involves the Russian Atomic Energy Agency, Murmansk region administration and SevRAO," Vladimir Khandobin, chief engineer of the Northern Federal Enterprise for Radioactive Waste Treatment, told Interfax on Monday.
The first contract is related to the creation of safe storage conditions for spent nuclear fuel from Alfa-class nuclear submarines, he said.
Khandobin recalled that a unique operation was performed in Gremikha late last year to unload spent nuclear fuel from a nuclear submarine. Another Alfa section with an unloaded active zone is currently at Gremikha.
According to him, two contracts are collected with developing concepts of spent nuclear fuel and solid radioactive waste removal from open storage facilities and ensuring safe conditions for storing spent nuclear fuel in current storage facilities.
The fourth contract is connected with improving Gremikha's physical protection system.
Khandobin noted that "the active stage of contract implementation will start in the spring," and that "now it is time for preparations." However, the first mobile checkpoint has been delivered to Gremikha in the framework of the fourth contract in order to ensure radiation safety of the personnel. The second checkpoint will be installed at the open-air pad for spent nuclear fuel storage in spring.
An EBRD delegation is expected to visit the facility on Tuesday and discuss issues related to project implementation once again, Khandobin noted.
4. Financial fraud revealed in Sayda bay project in Murmansk region
(for personal use only)
Murmansk region police launched a criminal case against the former director of Murmanskmorstroy company, which participated in the international project on reactor compartments storage facility construction in Sayda bay.
According to the Interfax, it was determined during the investigation that in February-March 2005 the former general director of Murmanskmorstroy Company falsified the contracts and illegally transferred 4m roubles (ca. $141m) to two companies in St Petersburg. The money had been previously received from the foreign donors.
The crime was revealed during the inspection in December 2005 due to the change of the owner. Murmanskmorstroy recently became the structural department of the Murmansk Shipping Company. It was also recovered that the director artificially created the creditor indebtedness for 37.5m roubles ($1.3m) to show the company’s pay inability. The suspect is currently under city arrest and the investigation will reportedly take several months. The police representative promised to compensate the damage to the foreign donors.
1. DEFENCE MINISTER OUTLINES HIS VISION FOR RUSSIA'S 21ST CENTURY ARMY
BBC Monitoring International Reports
(for personal use only)
Sergey Ivanov, Russian deputy prime minister and defence minister, has outlined his vision for Russia's modernized 21st century armed forces in an article for Vedomosti newspaper. Ivanov listed possible threats to Russia's national security, focusing particularly on the possibility of political instability in CIS countries, and argued that the army must be modernized and become more mobile and adaptable in order to counter these. He outlined three priority areas: the development of strategic deterrent forces, the creation of rapid reaction units and improving combat training. Throughout he stressed that modernization of the army is essential for national security and is not an attempt to threaten others. The following is the text of the article by Ivanov headed "Military doctrine: Russia must be strong" published by the newspaper on 12 January; subheadings have been added editorially:
Modernization essential to counter 21st century threats
National security is a key task for Russia, a nation so generously endowed with territory and natural resources. Therefore, our national military strategy focuses on ensuring capabilities to respond to external, internal and border threats of the 21st century.
Lately we have been witnessing a stable trend towards an expanded use of military power mostly because of emerging new national security threats. The main threat is the interference of foreign nations in Russia's internal affairs - either directly, or through organizations supported by them - and also the attempts by some nations, coalitions and extremist terrorist organizations to develop weapons of mass destruction or gain access to them. We must also be prepared for possible violence against the constitutional order in some of the post-Soviet nations and the instability at the borders, which may follow as a result. We must strictly monitor the illegal trafficking of arms and drugs and other criminal activities at the borders.
None of these threats is abating at all. And everybody knows that when it is a matter of avoiding war or conflicts, Russia has always advocated political, diplomatic, economic and other non-military measures. But sustaining good defence capabilities is, unquestionably, part of our national interest.
The main mission of our armed forces is to prevent conventional or nuclear aggression against Russia. Hence, we follow the principle of prevention. By prevention we understand not only the ability to strike out at terrorist groups, but also other measures taken to prevent a threat long before the need to counter it. This is the guiding principle for the fundamental and large-scale modernization of our armed forces. The actual level of combat readiness and effectiveness depends on the success of the modernization effort.
The CIS "uncertainty factor"
Russia is not aiming at a future war. War never happens by choice. Right now there are no conflicts or disputes beyond our borders that may be perceived as direct military threats. But it is irresponsible to ignore the future. We must see several steps ahead at all levels, from military planning to strategic assumptions about future military conflicts. We must take into account the effect of the so-called "uncertainty factor", as well as the high level of existing threats. By uncertainty we mean a political or military-political conflict or a process that may potentially pose a direct threat to Russia's security, or change the geopolitical reality in the field of Russia's strategic interests. Our main concern is the internal situation in some of the nations that are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) - the club of former Soviet republics - and their neighbouring regions.
Priorities for 2006-2010
What should the modern armed forces look like? We believe that the best option for us is a mobile force where the air force and possibly the space component will be a decisive factor in its success. Obviously, the winner in a future war will be the one who can formulate an integrated intelligence picture in real time, and quickly adjust plans for the use of military power in a rapidly changing environment. In other words, Russia needs a military ready to deal with any conceivable armed conflict, to prevent any aggression or power play directed at us and our allies. We understand that it takes time to address all the issues related to the modernization of the armed forces. Presently the plan for the development of the armed forces in 2006-2010 is being developed, but the key priorities are already obvious.
First is to sustain and develop strategic deterrent forces at the minimum level needed to guarantee present and future military threats are deterred. At the end of last year we deployed a new strategic missile regiment armed with the underground-based Topol-M (SS-27) systems. This year will see the deployment of more mobile Topol-M (SS-X-27) systems, which are unequalled in the world today, and the next few years will see the deployment of the Project 955 Borey strategic nuclear submarine Yuriy Dolgorukiy armed with Bulava-30 (SS-NX-30) underwater launch ballistic missiles. And this is just the top of the list. No need to say that they are not aimed at any particular actual target. We have always complied and will comply with our commitments including those treaties and agreements with the United States on the reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms, which envisage a reduction of our nuclear stockpiles down to 1,700-2,200 warheads.
At the same time, Russia has no intention of giving up its nuclear weapons. These remain a key deterrent factor and a critical tool to advance our national interests and achieve certain political objectives.
The second priority is to develop conventional military forces, i.e. rapid reaction units in the army, air force, navy and Airborne Troops manned by professional military personnel, which will form the backbone of subunits for specific combat missions. Their capabilities will be enhanced by military transport aviation. This explains the need for rearmament, new military procurement, scientific research and development, and streamlining of the national defence industry. The latter has to establish a balance between arming the Russian military and exporting arms to nations that are not subjected to UN sanctions.
The third priority is to develop combat training. The number of major training exercises in the Russian armed forces in the past year exceeded 50. Most important were the tactical training exercises in the Far East, Central Asia, China and India, which were an opportunity for our military to interact with the militaries of other nations in training for antiterrorist and peacekeeping operations. We will continue to conduct joint training exercises in the future with nations that have interests in global stability, including partners from the North Atlantic Alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. We are also ready to participate in UN or CIS-led peacekeeping operations.
Force only the last resort
We are not sabre-rattling. Russia's political and military leaders view the use of force as a last resort that should be employed only when all other channels are firmly closed. Cooperation with international organizations helps achieve foreign policy objectives, but, unfortunately, does not provide absolute security guarantees. In order to have such guarantees, a nation needs effective military power. Russia deserves a 21st century army, an army capable of looking to the future and, at the same time, continuing our glorious military traditions.
1. Statement on the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy
Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation
(for personal use only)
We view security as a multidimensional concept. It is an area that requires a carefully considered and complex approach. Based on this position, Russia is firmly committed to expanding cooperation on global energy security within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community. One of the priorities in this area is to develop cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Cooperation in this field opens up real new opportunities for all of us. Taking into consideration the agreements with the President of Kazakhstan, concrete plans are being drawn up for expanding cooperation between the nuclear energy sector enterprises in our countries.
Uzbekistan’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Community creates additional new opportunities for building a nuclear-fuel component that will serve as a reliable element in our energy supply policy for the long term.
It is particularly important to develop our countries’ full potential in this area today at a time when demand for quality energy supplies is growing constantly. Dwindling fossil fuel reserves and environmental issues have become questions of crucial importance on the international agenda.
We need to create the prototype of a global infrastructure that will give all interested countries equal access to nuclear energy, at the same time ensuring reliable compliance with the requirements of the non-proliferation regime, of course.
The creation of a system of international centres providing nuclear fuel cycle services, including enrichment, on a non-discriminatory basis and under the control of the IAEA, could become a key element in developing this new infrastructure.
Russia has already made just such a proposal and is prepared to establish an international centre of this kind on its territory.
Innovative new technologies will undoubtedly be required in this respect to create new generation reactors and their fuel cycles. These kinds of issues can be resolved only through broad-based international cooperation. This is the approach that we will present to the G8 countries during our presidency, and to all our partners in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
2. President Discusses Global War on Terror at Kansas State University
George W. Bush
White House Website
(for personal use only)
“And the biggest threat that this President, and future Presidents, must worry about is weapons of mass destruction getting in the hands of a terrorist network that would like to do us harm. That is the biggest threat we face. Airplanes were horrible; the attacks of aircraft were horrible. But the damage done could be multiplied if weapons of mass destruction were in the hands of these people.”
Complete speech under http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/01/20060123-4.html
3. Beginning of Working Meeting with Director of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency Sergei Kiriyenko
(for personal use only)
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: There are two questions: the results of the sector’s work over the last year and the prospects for development.
And, of course, I would also like to know how the nuclear energy sector is coping with the current cold spell. The sector has never let us down, and I hope that this time too it is proving up to the task.
SERGEI KIRIYENKO: Most important of all is that the sector has met in full its state defence procurement commitments within the set deadlines. This part of the sector’s work has been fully completed.
Regarding industrial output figures for the year, output was at 105-105.3 percent compared to the figure for 2004. The sector met its energy export targets in full, exporting energy for a total of $3.16 billion.
Russia’s nuclear power plants produced a total of 149.4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2005, up 4.7 billion on the figure for 2004.
As for the peak energy demand we are currently experiencing, the nuclear power plants are working effectively and are running at full capacity.
Regarding the question you raised concerning prospects for the sector’s development, our task today is to increase the share of nuclear energy in our energy production. Today nuclear energy accounts for 16 percent of total electricity production in the country. Almost all the developed countries that have a nuclear energy industry are making the decision now to raise the share of nuclear energy in their energy supply. France, where nuclear energy accounts for 75 percent of electricity production, has made this decision, and the U.S. is planning to raise the share of nuclear energy from 20 to 25 percent. A share of 25 percent is a realistic figure for nuclear energy today, from the point of view of security, energy security, development strategy, and taking into account the cost of hydrocarbons today.
For this reason, we have drawn up a development programme for the nuclear energy industry based on the fact that we must at the very least fulfil the objective set out by the national energy strategy of raising the share of nuclear energy to 23 percent of total electricity production.
Our programme covers the period through to 2030. We have set the goal of having nuclear power plants produce a quarter of the country’s electricity by 2030.
The key task in this respect is to restore the full technological cycle. The Soviet Union’s nuclear industry was divided throughout the different republics and after the collapse of the Soviet Union parts of the technological cycle ended up in the CIS countries.
This is what you were just discussing at your recent meeting in Kazakhstan. The most interesting uranium mining enterprises were left in Kazakhstan. On your instructions, I am going to Ukraine tomorrow where, following your talks with the President of Ukraine, we will discuss the question of some of the machine-building enterprises located in that country. Our objective is to restore the technological chain that the Soviet nuclear industry had developed. The system operated as a unified chain and was probably the most effective in the world. We can, of course, create this chain anew. Each of the countries that were once part of the unified chain could now build the elements they are missing, but this is not an effective solution. It would make more sense to try to rebuild the technological chain we used to have. This is one of the most competitive technological sectors in the world.
As things stand today, the entire Rosatom system accounts for from 25 to 47-50 percent of enriched uranium supplies and construction on world nuclear energy markets. We are currently building five nuclear power plants abroad and three in Russia. Today we have examined the forecasts, taking into account the Kyoto Protocol and the world hydrocarbon prices. Everyone agrees that if economic growth continues at this pace, these resources will not last for long. All countries accept this view. Today more and more countries are making the decision to increase construction of nuclear power plants.
Many of these countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region and in Europe, are traditional markets for Russia, and in terms of our specialists and our experience in this sector we can say that at least 20 percent of this huge world market should be completely accessible for us.
This is the goal we need to set ourselves today. According to our strategy, over the next 25 years, that is, over the period through to 2030, we need to build at least 40 nuclear power plants or power plant units in Russia, and we have the possibility of competing for orders to build at least just as many – 40-60 – on the world market.
Of course, in order to be able to do this, we first have to see through these projects here at home, so as to show potential clients that these are technologies and projects that have been fully tried and tested. Second, we really have to restore this technological chain that the Soviet Union possessed, and ensure its functioning today. This process will take place in new, market conditions, probably, because the situation has changed today, of course.
We cannot restore it exactly as it was, but in accordance with today’s conditions we could create a unified, vertically-integrated structure that would be one of the most competitive in the world in this sector.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: With respect to these development plans, and they are serious plans, we always need to keep in mind safety issues, security issues. What is the situation in this area today?
SERGEI KIRIYENKO: We have drawn up two special programmes and presented them to the government. One programme is the development programme for the Russian nuclear energy industry through to 2030, and the second programme is a targeted federal programme on nuclear and radiation security.
We have carried out an analysis that shows that the current safety regulations and standards in force in Russia are even more stringent than on average around the world. This is a result of the lessons and the serious consequences of what happened in the 1980s. Today our safety regulations are among the toughest in the world. Our programme therefore covers several different areas. The first section concerns security at facilities currently in operation, ecological security and personnel safety. A very important part of the programme concerns security with regard to preventing the proliferation of dual-purpose technologies and weapons of mass destruction. In this respect, the programme that Russia has presented to Iran in the nuclear sector is an example of how nuclear energy should develop in the world. There are two dangerous elements involved in developing nuclear energy – the enrichment and processing of spent fuel. Regarding the situation in Iran, Russia has concluded a contract with this country under which spent fuel from the nuclear power plant we are building there will be returned to Russia and in this sense, in accordance with all the international regulations, there is no security risk involved, and this is something that all countries recognise.
The second proposal that Russia has made is to provide Iran with facilities for a joint enterprise in which they will participate. Everything is already ready for this project. We are already prepared.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: This would be a joint enterprise working on uranium enrichment?
SERGEI KIRIYENKO: Yes, on enrichment.
VLADIMIR PUTIN: What stage are these talks at now? When are our Iranian partners expected in Moscow for further talks?
SERGEI KIRIYENKO: We expect a delegation to arrive within the coming days. The talks are going on constantly. The Iranian side’s position is that they see Russia’s proposal as being of great interest and are ready to begin detailed discussion. For our part, we are completely ready and have even prepared production facilities.
1. Stopping the Iranian Bomb – Part I Diplomacy may be difficult but the best course for the moment
(for personal use only)
In early January, Iran resumed its uranium enrichment program, claiming civilian purposes. Iran’s long record of clandestine activity in this regard, however, leaves only one conclusion – it is the first step toward weapons capability. The challenge that the world now faces is how to stop an oil-rich Iran from exploiting the current nervousness about oil price rise from going ahead. In a series, two non-proliferation specialists present their views on dealing with the challenge. In the first article, Gary Samore of the MacArthur Foundation recommends that the great powers of the world confront Iran with strong, unified opposition. The strength of such a coalition rests on Russia and China taking firm stances toward Iran, demonstrating the limit to any of Tehran’s strategic ties. Sanctions alone cannot compel Iran to abandon its nuclear program, but can play to Iran’s fear of international isolation. Pressure from the UN Security Council should accompany the resumption of multilateral negotiations with Iran, provided that enrichment activities are again suspended - and the US should add its weight to these negotiations. The world must convey to Iran that the risks of pursuing nuclear weapons outweigh the benefits. One goal of diplomatic initiative would be to gain time by reestablishing the suspension of enrichment activity as the basis for a negotiable solution. – YaleGlobal
CHICAGO: In early January, Iran crossed the enrichment “redline.” This opened the way for Iran to acquire technology to make fissile material for nuclear weapons. In the face of the Iranian challenge to the non-proliferation regime, the international community’s options are limited. But however difficult, diplomacy may still persuade Tehran to step back - at least buying time before Iran reaches the point of no return.
There is reason for pessimism. Iran seems to have taken well calculated steps to acquire a nuclear weapons option. In early January it removed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seals on equipment and material at the Natanz enrichment facility and two related sites. In response, the foreign ministers of the EU-3 (the United Kingdom, France, and Germany) declared that two and a half years of negotiation with Iran to resolve the nuclear issue had reached a “dead end” and called for referral to the UN Security Council. The collapse of Europe’s diplomatic initiative reflects Tehran’s calculation that the balance of power has shifted in its direction. In October 2003, following the invasion of Iraq, when Tehran felt vulnerable to American pressure, Iran reached agreement with the EU-3 to suspend its enrichment-related activities in order to avoid referral to the UN Security Council. But after two years of fruitless discussion during which Iran rejected many European inducements to give up on the uranium enrichment effort, Iran toughened its position with the June 2005 election of President Ahmadinejad and removal from office of “pragmatic conservatives,” who may have been more willing to seek a compromise and avoid a confrontation.
Now, with the Americans tied down fighting the insurgency in Iraq and with the prospect of a friendly Shia-dominated government emerging in Baghdad, Tehran calculates it has a window of opportunity to advance its nuclear program while Washington is distracted. Once Iran has crossed this technological threshold, mastering the basic technology of centrifuge enrichment, stopping or significantly retarding the program through diplomatic or even military means will become more difficult.
In addition, Tehran calculates that the tight international oil market will protect it from serious economic sanctions, which could send oil prices through the roof. To buttress its position, Iran has cultivated better ties with Russia and China, who have taken the lead in opposing Western efforts to refer Iran to the UN. According to many Iranian experts, the hardliners around President Ahmadinejad may even welcome a measure of international confrontation over the nuclear issue, which they can manipulate to rally nationalist support for the government and re-orient Iran away from the West towards Russia and China.
What can be done? First and foremost, Iran must be made to feel that its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability runs significant risks against a strong international coalition of the great powers. The key to building such a coalition is Russia and China. Fortunately, both Moscow and Beijing oppose Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability, which would damage their own national interests, by introducing a new source of instability into a region of vital economic and geostrategic importance. Moreover, both are annoyed at Tehran for ignoring their private warnings and precipitating an international confrontation by crossing the enrichment redline. Neither Russia nor China accepts Iran’s claims that its nuclear program is “purely” peaceful.
A week after Iran began removing seals from Natanz, representatives of Russia and China, along with the EU-3 and the US, met in London and agreed to call on Iran to restore the suspension and to schedule an emergency meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors in early February to consider referral to the UN Security Council if Iran does not comply. The two sides agreed to meet in mid-February to discuss the proposal, and Moscow now argues that an IAEA decision on referral should be deferred to the regular IAEA Board meeting in early March, to give Moscow more time to persuade Tehran to restore the suspension and avoid confrontation.
If it becomes clear that Tehran is merely playing for time, Moscow will find it increasingly difficult to resist the logic of referral, in order to reinforce IAEA resolutions that Russia has itself supported. Faced with a choice between his G-8 partners, who urge referral, and Iran, which refuses to restore the suspension, President Putin is likely to conclude that Russia’s ultimate interest lies with the G-8, especially since Moscow itself prefers preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Once Russia decides to support or abstain on a resolution of referral, China is likely to follow suit to avoid diplomatic isolation.
Inevitably, if Iran escalates and rejects the Security Council’s demands, the UN will need to consider targeted sanctions, such as imposing travel bans and freezing assets of Iranian officials and businessmen associated with the nuclear program. By themselves, such limited sanctions cannot compel Iran to restore the suspension if Tehran is determined to move ahead, but Iran is remarkably sensitive to avoiding the symbolism of international isolation.
To be effective, a strategy of gradually increasing pressure by the Security Council must be linked to an offer to resume multilateral negotiations with Iran, on condition that Iran restores the suspension of enrichment-related activities and provides greater transparency and cooperation with the IAEA.
Officials in the Bush Administration have advanced three objections to participating in bilateral or multilateral nuclear negotiations with Iran: First, they argue, engagement with Iran would help legitimize the Iranian regime and undercut US efforts to encourage democratic reforms. Second, they say, if the US spends some of its inducements to seal a nuclear deal, it would weaken American leverage on other issues of concern, such as Iran’s support for terrorist groups and opposition to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Finally, they argue that Iran is not serious about reaching a nuclear deal that would sacrifice its aspirations to acquire a nuclear weapons option and would likely cheat on any agreement.
While these objections have merit, they do not overrule the advantages of US participation in a multilateral negotiation. To avoid the mistake that allows North Korea to keep on producing plutonium while talks continue, any US willingness to participate in multilateral nuclear negotiations with Iran must be conditioned on Iran agreeing to restore the suspension of its enrichment-related activities.
For many Iranian officials, an American offer to participate in international negotiations would be unwelcome because Iran has used the absence of the US as one of its excuses for abandoning the EU-3 talks. Rather than rejecting the proposal outright, Iran might counter-propose a different international configuration to include countries more sympathetic to Tehran’s position. Even if new multilateral talks can be arranged, an easy solution should not be expected, because Tehran clearly prefers to retain its indigenous enrichment program. Only if Tehran calculates that the risks of pursuing a nuclear weapons option outweigh the benefits, will the Iranians negotiate seriously to see what they can get in return for giving up or deferring their fuel cycle program. In the meantime, the main objective is to buy time by restoring the suspension as a condition for seeking a negotiated solution.
2. Addressing the Nuclear Proliferation Challenge: Cooperation is Not Capitulation
Daryl G. Kimball
Foreign Policy in Focus
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Headline news about the threat of nuclear terrorism and the concerns about the nuclear capabilities and ambitions of Iran and North Korea regimes has led some Washington policy makers and pundits to conclude that the nuclear nonproliferation system has failed. A new strategy, they say, must be developed to replace it, or, perhaps, we must even accept that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable.
The global nuclear nonproliferation system and the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) is certainly under stress. But rather than pursue a selective approach to the nuclear weapons threat or abandon the attempt, the U.S. must work with other states to reinforce and update the regime, which has performed very well in the 35 years since the treaty's entry into force.
The NPT has established increasingly tough technical and political roadblocks for the non-nuclear weapon-states to acquire or produce the fissile material and technology needed to build nuclear weapons. At the same time the treaty allows these states controlled access to nuclear technology for civilian purposes under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards to detect and deter the diversion of "peaceful" nuclear technology for weapons purposes. The NPT has been reinforced by a voluntary system of nuclear export controls on dual-use items.
Equally important, the NPT commits all member states, including the five original nuclear weapon states--the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China--to pursue and eventually achieve nuclear disarmament. The NPT process has led these five states to pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon NPT members and prompted a global ban on nuclear test explosions, thereby reducing the salience of nuclear weapons and the motives for other states to acquire them.
The nonproliferation system has created a set of mutual responsibilities and helped to reinforce a taboo against nuclear weapons that has led dozens of states to abandon nuclear weapons research programs and led several others--including Belarus, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and Ukraine--to eliminate their renounce their nuclear arsenals. As a result, some 40 countries have peaceful nuclear programs that could be retooled to help produce nuclear weapons. Yet today, there are only eight states that clearly have nuclear weapons, including the only three states (India, Israel, and Pakistan) that never signed the NPT.
Future success requires that United States and other nations work together to:
Achieve universal compliance with strengthened rules against nuclear weapons possession, trade, development, and use by any and all states;
Address regional security tensions that fuel the pursuit of nuclear weapons capabilities by certain states; and,
Renew progress toward fulfillment of the nuclear-weapon states' NPT disarmament obligations.
Today's Proliferation Challenges
Preventing a system-wide breakdown starts with a comprehensive assessment of today's nuclear dangers, which range from potential new nuclear weapon states; to the huge stockpiles of fissile material (plutonium and highly enriched uranium); to the existing arsenals of the nuclear weapon-states, which total 27,000 warheads.
Within the last four years, North Korea announced its withdrawal from the treaty, renewed production of plutonium, and claims to have produced nuclear weapons. A nuclear black market network run by Pakistan's former lead nuclear scientist, A.Q. Khan, was discovered to have sold sensitive technologies to Iran, North Korea, Libya, and possibly others. One NPT member state--Iran--was discovered by IAEA inspectors to have secretly built facilities that can enrich uranium. After a three year-long and still unfinished investigation, Iran insists that it will move ahead with the effort despite international concerns that its nuclear activities are part of a bomb program and not simply for nuclear energy production.
If the international community fails to turn North Korea and Iran away from the nuclear arms path and either of these two states demonstrate that they have acquired nuclear weapons, neighboring states--such as Japan, South Korea, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia--might reconsider their decision to join the NPT as non-nuclear weapon states.
Another threat stems from the existing global stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, the fissile materials that are the fuel of nuclear bombs. Located at dozens of major sites in the former Soviet Union and other countries, some of these materials are inadequately secured and accounted for and, as a result, are vulnerable to terrorist acquisition. U.S.-Russian cooperative threat reduction programs have made enormous strides in lowering the danger, but even more energetic action is needed to secure and dispose of the most vulnerable stockpiles.
The United States and Russia, meanwhile, have maintained and to some extent sought to expand the role of their nuclear weapons in their post-Cold War military strategy. At the same time, progress toward disarmament by the two nuclear superpowers has stalled. Today, the United States has 5,000 and Russia has 4,300 deployed long-range nuclear warheads. Most of these weapons remain on hair trigger alert, which increases the risk that some of these weapons might be launched by accident or without authorization. They plan to retain as many as 2,200 strategic nuclear weapons each, with more in reserve, along with large numbers of tactical nuclear weapons through 2012 and beyond.
The Bush administration has also sought funding for research on new nuclear weapons for new missions, including possible preemptive strikes against non-nuclear states. The administration has also rejected the adoption of the 1996 treaty banning all nuclear test explosions, which would limit further nuclear warhead development, and it has held up negotiations on a verifiable treaty to ban the production of fissile material for weapons purposes.
Meanwhile, China continues to expand its arsenal of 100 plus nuclear weapons, which includes nearly 20 warheads on long-range missiles. Great Britain and France are considering modernization of their strategic nuclear arsenals, which number under 200 and approximately 350 warheads respectively.
Consequently, a growing number of states do not believe that the five original nuclear-weapon states intend to fulfill their NPT-related nuclear disarmament commitments. That growing conviction erodes the willingness among certain states in the non-nuclear-weapon majority to fulfill their own treaty obligations, much less agree to strengthen the regime. Combined with the U.S. military invasion of Iraq, it provides hard-liners in states such as Iran and North Korea an excuse to press their governments to keep their nuclear weapons options open.
As the 2005 U.N. high-level panel report, "A More Secure World" warned, "We are approaching a point at which the erosion of the nonproliferation regime could become irreversible and result in a cascade of proliferation."
The Bush Administration Response
The troubling array of proliferation problems has prompted interest across the political and ideological spectrum in new nuclear risk reduction strategies. Over the last five years, the Bush administration has pursued an ad hoc approach that is based on the perception that the problem is dangerous regimes with dangerous weapons and not the inherent dangers posed by the weapons in the hands of any state. The policy has not produced many positive results.
Beyond its decision to invade Iraq on the basis of false claims that Saddam Hussein was reconstituting a nuclear weapons program, the administration has focused on trying to pressure North Korea and Iran to comply with their nonproliferation commitments. In each case, it has pursued the effort in the absence of a deeper strategy to confront the underlying motives of these two isolated and profoundly nationalistic states and failed to substantially alter their behavior. As a result, North Korea has accused the Bush administration of maintaining a "hostile" policy and is once again producing nuclear bomb material. Iran and its newly elected hardline president have become even more publicly committed to developing a domestic nuclear fuel program, which could enable it to produce highly-enriched uranium for weapons as soon as 2008.
President Bush has advocated that all non-nuclear weapon states subscribe to tougher IAEA safeguards--known as the Additional Protocol--and that nuclear supplier states only export to states that have agreed to such monitoring. The Additional Protocol gives the IAEA the authority to inspect undeclared as well as declared nuclear facilities. In 2004, Bush also proposed a ban on the construction of uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing facilities in states that do not already possess them. The latter proposal would, however, affect states such as Iran, but not U.S. allies such as Japan, and it has not been embraced by other states so far.
The Bush administration has also put a great deal of faith in its effort to cooperate with like-minded states to interdict shipments of dangerous weapons, materiel, and equipment to certain states of proliferation concern. The effort--known as the Proliferation Security Initiative--might be a useful adjunct to other nonproliferation strategies, but it cannot reliably interdict all nuclear weapons-related possible transshipments.1
Meanwhile, the Bush administration has bent the nonproliferation rules for its friends. In 2005, the U.S. rewarded Pakistan--one the world's worst proliferators--with advanced fighter jets and other military aid to maintain President Pervez Musharraf's support for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. To foster a better strategic relationship with India and to offset Chinese influence, the Bush administration has offered India even more: full nuclear cooperation despite the fact that it is not a member of the NPT and resists both comprehensive IAEA safeguards and a halt to fissile material production for its weapons program.2
In response to calls from even some U.S. allies to make further progress on the nuclear disarmament agenda, the Bush administration officials have failed to respect important disarmament obligations made in the context of the NPT, including the test ban treaty and deeper, verifiable nuclear weapons reductions. In an April 27, 2004 speech at the NPT Preparatory Conference, then-Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton declared, "[W]e cannot divert attention from the violations we face by focusing on [disarmament] issues that do not exist."
U.S. officials took that same "do as I say, not as I do" attitude into the 2005 NPT Review Conference and, along with Iran and Egypt, effectively blocked the conference from reaching agreement on a concrete action plan to strengthen the treaty. The same dynamics blocked agreement at the September 2005 summit of heads of state on recommendations for action on disarmament and nonproliferation, an outcome which UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called "a real disgrace."
Retreat or Reinvigorate Nonproliferation?
Some independent analysts are increasingly pessimistic about the possibility of holding back "rogue states" like Iran and North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons, because of the Bush administration's one-dimensional approach and/or because they believe that North Korea and Iran appear to be determined to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Some, like Charles Pena and Ted Galen Carpenter, believe that the global nuclear nonproliferation system has not worked and should be abandoned for an alternative strategy to counter nuclear threats.3 Like the Bush policy team, Pena and Carpenter base their proposals on the proposition that aggressive and erratic regimes with nuclear weapons are a threat to their neighbors, while nuclear arsenals in the hands of stable, democratic, U.S. allies are not. They suggest that the United States should extend its nuclear umbrella to guarantee the security of allies and clients, and not impede "peaceful states that want to become nuclear powers to deter unfriendly actors in their neighborhoods." In this vein, Ashley Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has even suggested that it is in the U.S. interest to encourage India to modernize and expand its minimal nuclear force to counter China-s nuclear capabilities and influence.4
But can the United States and its friends pick and choose who can and who cannot have nuclear weapons, even as it maintains and further develops its own nuclear arsenal and implies its possible use against others? Should the U.S. offer nuclear security guarantees to additional states or condone nuclear weapons efforts by "responsible" states? Is it "realistic" to believe that a world with more nuclear-armed states is safer and more stable than a world with fewer? No.
Clearly, the existing nonproliferation model, especially as it is being applied by the Bush administration, needs to be adjusted and strengthened. But abandoning the original NPT system to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons and reduce existing arsenals is not a realistic option. A world in which there are eight nuclear weapon states is already far too dangerous. A world with more nuclear weapons and/or more nuclear weapon states would be even more dangerous and unpredictable. Arms competition between regional rivals would accelerate. The odds of nuclear war by design or miscalculation in East Asia, South Asia, or the Middle East would rise. Our ability to control the sale of nuclear weapons-related technologies would further diminish and the risk that one or more state might lose or decide to sell nuclear material, or decide to sell its know-how to a terrorist organization, would increase.
As IAEA Director-General Mohamed El Baradei said in a December 13, 2005 speech, "To continue to have the 'haves' and 'have-nots' is absolutely unsustainable. Either we continue to rely on nuclear weapons, and face the reality that in the next 10-20 years, 20 or 30 countries will have nuclear weapons, or each country must cease its nuclear weapons programme and destroy existing nuclear arsenals."
Elements of a More Effective Nonproliferation Strategy
We cannot abandon the effort to hold back nuclear proliferation everywhere or tacitly endorse the acquisition of nuclear weapons by allies to counter proliferation by adversaries. Today's security environment requires a more comprehensive, sophisticated, and robust global nonproliferation strategy that also addresses the underlying regional tensions that propel proliferant behavior.5
Turning North Korea and Iran Away from Nuclear Weapons
The most urgent tasks are to begin the process of freezing and dismantling North Korea's nuclear programs and reaching an agreement between the European Union and Iran that recognizes Iran's "right" to pursue peaceful nuclear endeavors but produces a voluntary and indefinite freeze of its uranium enrichment program, which is not necessary for Iran to produce nuclear energy and could be used to make weapons.
Despite the breakthrough agreement in September on a Joint Statement of Principles outlining a series of action-for-action steps to denuclearize North Korea in a verifiable manner, the main antagonists are again at odds over the substance and sequencing of the deal. Following an unproductive round of six-party talks in November, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on North Korea to "get serious" about dismantling its nuclear program. North Korea, however, insists that the United States must act first before it freezes and then dismantles its nuclear weapons program.
To keep things moving and to test each other's commitment to the process, the United States and North Korea should take unilateral reciprocal steps. For its part, North Korea should suspend its plutonium separation operations at Yongbyon, which would give both sides more diplomatic breathing space and restore some of the confidence established by the 1994 Agreed Framework. Without a freeze, the DPRK can produce enough nuclear material for several bombs per year.
At the same time, the United States might announce it will cancel the next scheduled joint ROK-U.S. military exercise, which the DPRK sees as a sign of the United States' "hostile policy." If North Korea maintains the freeze at Yongbyon, the United States might also pledge to withdraw some of its strike aircraft from the region to demonstrate it has no intention to attack or invade the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons.
Keeping Iran nuclear weapons free will require some more visionary diplomacy than either the EU or United States have attempted so far. The United States, the EU, and Israel have pressed other IAEA states to refer the Iranian case to the UN Security Council, where they could seek international sanctions against Tehran.
While it is crucial that IAEA safeguards violations be met with a firm response, referral of the Iranian case to the Security Council could push Iran to eject IAEA inspectors or withdraw from the NPT. Preemptive military action is also unwise. A strike by Israel or the United States at Iran's nuclear facilities would only delay--not destroy--its program, and would likely trigger a wider war in the region involving exchanges of ballistic missiles.
Although difficult, diplomacy remains the best option. Even as the EU and the U.S. keep open the option of referring the Iranian nuclear file to the UN Security Council for possible punitive action, they U.S. must try to increase Iran's incentives to cooperate and comply with the NPT by making it clear that they will not seek regime change, they support efforts to rid the region of all weapons of mass destruction, and are prepared to support international guarantees of the supply of nuclear energy fuel as a substitute for a domestic Iranian uranium enrichment program. Without such an approach, it will continue to be difficult to convince Iran to slow or halt its program or, if it doesn't, build international support to pressure Iran to do so.
Controlling Fissile Materials and Preventing Nuclear Terrorism
To prevent the further production and proliferation of weapons-usable nuclear material worldwide, the United States, EU, and others should back an indefinite moratorium on all (not just some) new uranium enrichment and plutonium separation plants, as El Baradei has proposed. Even with tougher international inspection authority and tighter controls on nuclear technology transfers, confidence in the nonproliferation system will erode if more states produce more nuclear bomb material. The pause would provide time to consider options for the guaranteed supply of nuclear energy fuel services and launch long-stalled talks on a global and verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for weapons.
The United States and its European allies must work even more closely with Russia to lock-down the remaining quantities of nuclear weapon-usable material scattered throughout its nuclear complex, with special emphasis on returning highly enriched uranium to secure storage for blend-down and accelerating security and accounting at remaining nuclear and research facilities throughout Russia and the former-Soviet Union.
The United States must not jeopardize the nonproliferation rules intended to prevent "peaceful" nuclear trade from contributing--directly or indirectly--to the nuclear weapons capabilities of any state. As the U.S. and other states consider the possibility of nuclear trade with India, they should insist that India accept (at a minimum) comprehensive safeguards of its "civilian" nuclear facilities and a cap on the production of fissile material for weapons. Otherwise, the supply of nuclear fuel services to India could free up its existing capacity to produce bomb material and expand its arsenal. Opening up nuclear trade with a non-member of the NPT would signal that states can defy the treaty and escape long-term political and economic retribution.
Reducing Nuclear Weapons Roles and Missions
Finally, the leaders of the nuclear-weapon states must restore confidence that they will continue to reduce the number and the role of nuclear weapons. It is in the United States' self-interest to resume talks with Russia on verifiable strategic nuclear reductions before START I and its verification provisions expire in 2009. NATO should move to withdraw the obsolete U.S. stockpile of 480 tactical nuclear weapons in Europe to encourage Russia to account for and reduce its even larger tactical nuclear arsenal, which represent a target for terrorists. The United States should reconsider and finally ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to reinforce the NPT and make it difficult for other states to develop or improve their nuclear warheads.
To reduce the allure of nuclear weapons, the nuclear powers should also disavow the development of new types of nuclear weapons and reiterate their pledges not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states and targets.
In the 21st Century, nuclear weapons serve no practical purpose except to deter nuclear-armed adversaries from launching a nuclear attack on another nuclear-armed state. And today, the risk of conflict between those states is only increasing. Their devastating and indiscriminate power makes their use or threat of use against other state militarily impractical and morally indefensible. They are more useful for terrorists seeking to blackmail governments than they are for fighting terrorism. The obvious path towards a more secure world is to further reduce and verifiably eliminate these most dangerous weapons by reinforcing and consistently applying existing and improved nonproliferation and disarmament strategies.
1 Wade Boese, "Proliferation Security Initiative: A Piece of the Arms Control Puzzle," Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Winter/Spring 2005.
2 Fred McGoldrick, Harold Bengelsdorf, and Lawrence Scheinman, "The U.S.-India Nuclear Deal: Taking Stock," Arms Control Today, October 2005.
3 Ted Galen Carpenter and Charles V. Pena, "Rethinking non-proliferation," The National Interest, Summer 2005.
4 Ashley J. Tellis, "India as a New Global Power: An Action Agenda for the United States," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, July 14, 2005, pp. 35-36.
5 Also see: George Perkovich, et al., "Statement of the 2005 Campaign for the NPT." Available at: ; and "Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security," Carnegie for International Peace, March 2005.
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