1. DECISION ON IRAN DEPENDS ON MOSCOW AND BEIJING - The British intend to promise Tehran a "package of stimuli" in return for abandonment of the nuclear program
Defense and Security/Nezavisimaya Gazeta
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THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROBLEM: VLADIMIR PUTIN AND HU JINTAO AGREED TO RESOLVE THE CONFLICT BY "POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC MEANS"; Moscow and Beijing vs. the Western members of the UN Security Council on the Iranian problem.
All members of the UN Security Council met in New York last night to discuss the Iranian nuclear program. As a matter of fact, the outcome of the consultations had been determined earlier that day when President Vladimir Putin and Chairman Hu Jintao met in Beijing. "Russia and China agreed to facilitate resolution of the situation with the nuclear program of Iran by political and diplomatic means," to quote the Joint Declaration the two national leaders signed.
The term "political and diplomatic means" looks like a solution to the debates waged in New York by high-ranking diplomats from six involved countries. The matter concerns deputy foreign ministers in charge of nonproliferation from Russia, China, the United States, and the so-called European Trio (Great Britain, Germany, and France). They discussed the British-French plans of UN Security Council action with regard to Iran behind closed doors.
The debates lasted four and half-hours with nothing to show for it.
Unofficial reports from diplomatic circles in New York indicate that the discourse ended in a confrontation between countries of the West on the one hand and Russia and China on the other. Backed by the United States, the European Trio suggested to repeat the same old list of demands for Tehran in the form of a statement of the UN Security Council chairman seconded by all member states. The European Trio also wanted the IAEA general director to present a report on whether or not the Iranians reacted to the demands in two weeks' time.
Russian and Chinese diplomats supposedly objected to giving Iran so short a period to "start behaving itself" and to having the IAEA report addressed to the UN Security Council alone. Moscow and Beijing disagree with the ultimatum of the Western approach to the problem and the implied threat of anti-Iranian sanctions authorized by the UN Security Council.
Andrei Denisov, Russia's Representative to the UN and participant of the New York consultations, gave RFE an interview that confirms this assumption. RFE correspondents wanted to know on what terms Russia might agree to including a clause on the possibility of sanctions against Iran into the text of the UN Security Council statement. "On no terms at all," the Russian diplomat replied. "Our European partners and we have always been against even a discussion of the matter... There is not a single valid reason to even bring up the matter of sanctions at this point."
Moscow and Beijing are convinced that too demanding a tone of the UN Security Council statement will only push the Iranians into severing all ties with the IAEA and expelling its inspectors from the country. Russia and China believe that the IAEA should once again be made the structure dealing with the Iranian nuclear problem. They are convinced that this is the only international structure knowledgeable enough to tackle the problem and bring about its solution through political and diplomatic means. The Joint Declaration Putin and Jintao signed yesterday fixed the Russian-Chinese understanding.
According to US State Undersecretary Nicholas Burns, American diplomats will spend the next several days in attempts to secure support for the suggested statement of the UN Security Council chairman. If Moscow and Beijing stick to their position after ten days, American diplomats intend to abandon all hopes for a consensus in the UN Security Council and put on the floor a draft resolution that does not require a consensus. Its adoption will require 9 votes "aye" provided no permanent member of the UN Security Council invokes veto power. The West will thus force Moscow and Beijing to make a choice between voting "aye", "nay", or abstaining from vote altogether.
Western members of the UN Security Council are also discussing the "auxiliary variant", something suggested by Great Britain that will hopefully overcome Moscow's and Beijing's objections. Author of the plan, John Sawyers of the British Foreign Office, suggests adoption of a stiff resolution by the UN Security Council in early May demanding that Iran suspends all enrichment of uranium in reference to Article 7 of the UN Charter. The article in question permits the use of military might to ensure fulfillment of decisions of the UN Security Council.
In order to secure Moscow's and Beijing's support, the British diplomat suggests to promise Iran a "package of stimuli" that will take certain Iranian interests into consideration. The "package" itself is to be put together at a later date - in time for the meeting of G8 foreign ministers in June (an element of preparations for the G8 summit). Sawyers believes that it will be just the moment to secure Moscow's support of the plan because Western clout with Russia will have reached its "apogee" by then.
2. UN postpones discussions on Iranian nuclear file
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The UN Security Council, which was to meet March 21 to adopt a statement on Iran's nuclear dossier, has delayed its session.
The postponement looks like a boon for Iran. The initial wording of the statement stipulated extremely harsh conditions for interaction between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran. In fact, if the session were held, the dossier would have been turned over from the IAEA to the UN Security Council, which might have approved sanctions against Iran.
This may come as a present for the Iranian New Year, Nawruz, but not as a surprise, due to the big divide between the five veto-holding UN Security Council members over the issue.
The UN Security Council chairman's statement on Iran's nuclear program, drafted by France and Britain (permanent members of the Security Council and part of the European Troika), should have set a two-week deadline for Iran's resumption of its uranium enrichment moratorium. Before that, everyone predicted at least a 30-day deadline. The IAEA head was also to deliver a routine report on the Iranian program at the council session.
The United States wholeheartedly supported the draft (which Washington could have dictated word for word), whereas Russia and China opposed it. The advocates (the U.S., France and Britain) and opponents (Russia and China) of a harsh policy in dealing with Iran could not agree on the deadlines for Tehran's final decision on uranium enrichment or on the provision of relevant information to the Security Council.
Russia and China said the issue could be discussed at the Security Council no sooner than in four to six weeks, or better still after the next session of the IAEA Board of Governors. The two countries rejected as nonsense the clause on obligatory provision of the IAEA head's report to the Security Council.
When Russia and China supported the February 4 IAEA resolution on Iran, which provided for IAEA General Director Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei reporting to the UN Security Council, they considered it a one-shot deal, adding to the next clause a phrase according to which reporting did not amount to the transfer of the Iranian file to the Security Council (signifying the IAEA's refusal to work with Iran).
In fact, Russia and China have called for using a regular scheme, under which ElBaradei would report to the Board of Governors. If the Russian-Chinese formula were adopted as the basis, the Iranian problem would have been returned to the IAEA, a scenario Washington refused to consider.
As it was 18 months ago, the situation is deadlocked, though Washington is trying to sound optimistic. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Bush Administration was convinced the Iranian statement by the UN Security Council chairman, which was drafted with some difficulty, would eventually be adopted. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said it would take a couple of days to prepare the chairman's statement. He seems to be overlooking the fact that Moscow and Beijing have expressed their unwillingness to support the current wording of the statement.
Burns predicts that the states (led by Russia and China) opposing some clauses of the statement will eventually approve the revised wording, because its key provisions, which are being discussed in New York, are completely identical to the contents of the IAEA Board of Governors' resolution on Iran adopted February 4 with the support of Moscow and Beijing.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who late last week spoke on the results of Iranian consultations of the Five-Plus-One group (Russia, the United States, China, Britain and France as Security Council permanent members, and Germany as part of the European Troika at the talks with Iran), hinted that Washington might agree to give Tehran a month to ponder the issue.
Moscow and Beijing's categorical opinion of the draft statement and Washington's firm resolve mean a one-monthbreather for Iran.
Viktor Mikhailov is a full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the director of the Institute of Strategic Stability of the Russian Federal Agency for Nuclear Power, a chief expert of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center at the Research Institute of Experimental Physics, a holder of the Soviet and Russian Lenin and State awards, and was the nuclear minister from 1992-1998. He discussed his insight into Iran's nuclear capabilities and ambitions with Viktor Litovkin, military commentator for the RIA Novosti news agency. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti and is the second of two parts.
RIA NOVOSTI: Why do you think Tehran has rejected the European pleas to leave the International Atomic Energy Agency's seals in place and keep from independent reactor research?
MIKHAILOV: That's because I think it will take Europeans very long before they regain Iran's trust. They had activities there, and one day they ran away, leaving everything behind. Siemens, a respected European, German, corporation, abandoned everything as [the] Americans pressed for it. Tehran, aware that this could happen again at any time, has clearly not treated its talks with the European Trio, or EU3, seriously enough.
Russia is different. They can see how we treat them; they can see that we support nuclear power industries and peaceful nuclear applications; we have proposed a joint venture that will bring profit to them as well as to us. What to us is going to be a good nuclear market, to them is going to be an opportunity to see what a [nuclear enrichment] facility is and how it works. To build all the centrifuges and everything for just one nuclear reactor would be ridiculous. Right now, to build all this would be a waste of money because the return on such investment will come in a hundred years, if ever.
We told the Iranians that enrichment would be on the table as soon as they had plans for at least a dozen nuclear power plants, or NPPs. They asked me whether we could build in Iran something like a facility we had built in China. But China is not Iran -- they have diffusion and other facilities, they really need such things.
Q. Why would Tehran agree to build such a facility together with Russia?
A. I don't think a joint venture is interesting to them commercially right now; it is probably just a way to alleviate nuclear tensions that have been rising around Iran exponentially and to deny the Americans an opportunity to justify a military solution.
You know, the Americans have deployed over 100,000 personnel in neighboring Iraq; they have armor and air support and they have done everything to cross the border if required. ... I think the Iranians understand they need to keep Washington from doing this, at least for this spring. The Americans will hardly go to war in the scorching Iranian summer.
Q. The Americans might well opt for a missile strike instead....
A. Their missiles will come home to roost if they do it. Their task force in Iraq is already struggling, and imagine how dangerous their position will be if the Iranian army also launches an offensive. Iran may receive massive support from the broader Muslim world as well.
A possible option would be to ask Israel to strike [Iran], but they will not achieve anything because they do not know the exact locations and levels of protection. The recent American interest in penetrator munitions that would go off at 100-meter depths is far from accidental. These munitions have yet to be built, though.
In short, a missile strike would do the United States more harm than good. This helps explain their tolerance to our talks with Iran. I think the Iranians will agree to our proposals though the talks will take months, through March and April, at least, to delay Americans beyond the period of [climatic] conditions appropriate for military action.
Any delay is good for Iran. What would also be good for them is an opportunity to see how such facilities work. They will get an insight into our production lines, though, importantly, not into our centrifuge know-how.
Q. What could be Russia's role in helping solve Iran's "nuclear problem?'
A. Primarily, Russia could do it through a joint venture with Iran, providing services to everyone interested in nuclear power development but not interested in handling isotope enrichment.
Another question here is, I think, much more important. Even if there is restraint on military action, Iran may be subject to the so-called economic sanctions. If this country joins in, we will have to withdraw all our workforce from Iran and abandon all we did there, like we did in North Korea in the early 1990s. By then, we had built a research reactor there, thoroughly explored the territory to select a place for a nuclear power plant, and developed a broad personnel training effort.
Just two years after we had abandoned all this, the Americans created the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization with the United States, Japan, South and North Korea -- not Russia, mind you, and said, OK, we are here to build a water-cooled reactor. Now Russia is in the dark as to what is going on there. In fact, we have been thrown out of that market, though no one was ever going to transfer nuclear weapons or technology to North Korea, and no one was going to defy the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
What worries me is that preconditions for the same mistake are building here, in Iran. However, only fools repeat such mistakes; clever people never do that.
Q. How is Russia going to get Iranian guarantees that it will not seek a nuclear weapon?
A. Russia does not want Iran to have nuclear weapons and thinks that Tehran's nuclear desire should be restrained. But the ball is on America's side now; They need to decide whether they like Iran or not, to realize that they are dealing with an ancient historic world power that will not accept pressure and threats. It might take time, but what is needed is negotiations, however lengthy.
Only the United States is in a position to alleviate this tension. Weapons are not going to provide a solution; with weapons, things will be even worse than the current appalling situation in Iraq or Afghanistan. What kind of democracy are you going to get if democracy is exported through use of force?
Q. What if the Iranians reject Russia's offer?
A. They won't. However, I fear the Americans will press for sanctions even if they don't.
Q. But they surely cannot make the entire world impose sanctions if Iran accepts our proposal?
A. I am afraid they could. Remember North Korea. Almost everyone pandered to Washington then, and we did, special thanks to [former Sovet President]Mikhail Gorbachev.
Q. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will not necessarily do what Mikhail [Gorbachev] broke his back on.
A. He hopefully won't. However, Putin is also in a tight corner, and so is entire Russia. So far we have been picking up great windfalls from high oil and gas prices but let's think what happens if windfalls cease. What we have we clearly will not have forever. I believe in reason. Reason dictates that to start a war now would be a disgrace.
4. RUSSIAN EXPERT SEES "NO GOOD OUTCOME" FOR RUSSIA OVER IRANIAN NUCLEAR ISSUE
BBC Monitoring International Reports
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Excerpt from report by Nadezhda Sorokina and commentary by Georgiy Mirskiy, chief research associate at the World Economy and International Relations Institute: "Tehran confuses world community" by Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on 14 March, subheadings as published:
The proposal to set up a Russian-Iranian uranium enrichment joint enterprise on Russian territory is still on the negotiating table.
This statement, which was made by the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, repudiates the statement by this country's Foreign Ministry on ending the dialogue with Russia over the joint enterprise. [Passage omitted]
Doctor of Historical Sciences Georgiy Mirskiy, chief research associate at the Russian Academy of Sciences World Economy and International Relations Institute:
The Iranian leadership's contradictory statements are a continuation of the game of cat and mouse. Tehran is holding the thread - first it pulls it then it releases it.
The Iranian authorities understand that referring the Iranian dossier to the UN Security Council has benefited those who want to avoid a final and clear decision. They are in the majority.
Russia is interested more than everybody in seeing this situation end without sanctions on Iran. First, it does not want to lose multibillion contracts linked to the Iranian economy's development. Second, our leadership understands the kind of international prestige Russia can gain if it succeeds in preventing a catastrophic development of the situation. Third, Moscow realizes that sanctions will not get us anywhere. Conversely, the Iranians will be pleased with sanctions. They will use them to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [NPT], to sever relations with the IAEA completely, and to relinquish all its obligations. As a result Iran will start out on the road towards developing a nuclear bomb. In order to prevent this, out diplomatic service is showing superhuman patience, quite often ending up in a humiliating position.
Other countries do not have three such factors. Of course, nobody wants war or sanctions. European countries' economies could also suffer because of this.
Only the United States wants to impose sanctions since it would suffer less economically than others because of this. The Americans have no economic interests in Iran. They believe that Tehran will make concessions under pressure from the world community. In this respect the US position differs from the approaches of European countries and Russia.
Iran has now set out on a road that will lead it to sanctions. But Tehran does not fear them, just as it does not fear war, which could lead to a crazy increase in oil prices. But as we know, nobody in the world wants this. That is why the Iranian authorities believe that they are holding all the trump cards.
In this situation there is no good outcome for Russia. If Moscow votes for sanctions or abstains from voting, it will lose lucrative contracts in Iran. If it votes against sanctions, the world community will regard it as aiding and abetting Iran to develop a nuclear bomb.
Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Moscow, in Russian 14 Mar 06
Russia's decision to supply uranium to India's safeguarded Tarapur atomic plant could make Moscow a major player in New Delhi's growing nuclear power program, Indian energy experts say.
"Russia's decision to supply uranium to Tarapur plant would also benefit Moscow as it would become a major partner in India's fast-growing nuclear power program," said Prakash Bhargava, an energy expert.
He said the decision does not violate the guidelines of Nuclear Suppliers Group, a core group of countries that regulates the sale of uranium to countries with nuclear programs and that are members of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
Russia had previously supplied fuel for the Tarapur plant in 2001.
On March 14, a day ahead of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov's visit to New Delhi, Moscow announced it would provide enriched uranium fuel for Tarapur, which desperately needed it. A fuel crunch had threatened to shut down the plant.
Russia said it would supply 60 tons of uranium to India, up from 58 tons in 2001.
"Russia has agreed to supply a limited amount of uranium fuel for the safeguarded units 1 and 2 of the Tarapur atomic power station," said Navtej Sarna, spokesman of the Indian foreign office.
"This supply of fuel will enable the plant to operate in safety and provide much-needed electricity to power grid of the country," Sarna said. "According to our information, they (Russia) have notified the NSG of their intention to supply fuel to India in accordance with the safety exception clause of the NSG guidelines".
NSG rules prevent the supply of fuel to countries that have not signed on to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty - such as India - unless there is a safety risk, which New Delhi said there was in Tarapur because of the fuel crunch. Restrictions were placed on India because of its nuclear weapons test in 1998.
Fradkov, who was accompanied by Sergei Kiriyenko, chief of the Russian Federation's atomic energy agency, signed a fuel-contract agreement with India during the trip.
On Thursday, India said it was aiming to increase private, including foreign, investment in its nuclear power program. The country's Department of Atomic Energy was amending a law prohibiting private participation in the country's nuclear program, the semi-official Press Trust of India reported.
Private investors will not have access to nuclear materials under the amended law. That right will stay with the Department of Atomic Energy alone. The eventual aim of the amendment is to see enough private investment in India's nuclear power sector to generate 20,000 MWe of power by 2020.
India's civilian nuclear program has come under international scrutiny following a civilian deal with the United States that critics say blows the NPT out of the water. The deal is under consideration by the U.S. Congress but the Bush administration is working hard to pass it.
The two sides are also debating the possible supply of U.S. nuclear fuel to Tarapur, a proposal Washington has rejected citing its nonproliferation laws.
U.S. fuel would pave the way for construction of more reactors at the Kudankul project in southern Tamil Nadu.
"The U.S. is working toward redrawing NSG guidelines to allow supply of nuclear energy to countries like India, whose non-proliferation record is impeccable," said Bhargava.
India suffers from a permanent electricity shortage. The amount of electricity produced by its 14 nuclear power plants fulfills only 3 percent of its total energy supply. It has started a national program aimed at expanding its energy complex, with an investment of $170 billion over the next two years to fill the 10 percent electricity gap.
The country desperately needs energy to fuel its burgeoning economy and Russia and other countries want to fill the void with more traditional forms of energy such as oil and gas.
"The efforts by two countries to develop synergies in the field of conventional energy should get a boost from the agreement signed between Indian Oil Corporation and Stroytransgas for pursuing petro-infrastructure projects," said R.C. Joshi, a senior official of the Indian oil ministry.
He said India should seriously explore the possibility of involving Russia in the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline as it has good relations with all three partners in the controversial $7 billion gas pipeline.
2. The unseemly backside of the India-U.S. nuclear deal
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The dust has hardly had a chance to settle over the celebration of the "strategic" U.S.-Indian nuclear deal, when troublesome reefs, until now concealed under the tide of the traditional American euphoria over a sealed bargain, began to inhibit the deal from going forward as the tide ebbs.
Indians are not too ignorant about the decision-making process in America to believe that the deal will be ratified fast. Predictably, the power of businesses lured by the $100-billion prospects has come across public concern over consistency with the U.S. Atomic Energy Act and the commitment to keep from dealing with abstainers from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Indians knew that to have the treaty ratified, U.S. President George W. Bush would have to spend a lot of time in a stiff-necked Congress.
The battle has begun. In a first move that could teach Russian businesses a good lesson, the U.S.-India Business Council has hired Patton Boggs, one of Washington's top and most expensive lobbyists, to push through amendments to the existing legislation enabling full-fledged nuclear cooperation with India.
This, however, is a long-term goal. To define what steps to take in order to meet everybody's interests will surely take U.S. lawmakers some time. Right now, the tactical objective is more important and is therefore immediately employed - to "rightfully" undermine the competition.
Russia has helped India before, delivering - in an exclusion to nonproliferation rules - some nuclear fuel to its Tarapur nuclear power plant. Russia's intention to do that again with what is in fact a really small amount of fuel provoked an outcry from U.S. officials. On the grounds that everyone needs to be "clean in the face of the international community", they have described the Indo-Russian deal as unjustified and untimely, insisting that Russia and India should wait for the outcome of congressional proceedings.
Ironically, the U.S., which helped India build the Tarapur NPP back in 1969, nearly starved the Indian reactors of fuel together with its politically biased allies some time later. While the U.S. surely knows what could happen if Russia, seeing the emergency as a threat to nuclear safety, had not saved Tarapur, what is going on now will no doubt repeat many times.
That the U.S. is trying to use a non-ratified document to elbow its way past competition is, however, just the tip of the iceberg. More importantly, it now turns out that the Bush Administration has long known that its nuclear experts - notably, influential Senator Richard G. Lugar and, in a most recent case, president of the Institute For Science And International Security (ISIS) David Albright - were heavily concerned over what George W. Bush described as the "impeccable" Indian proliferation record.
Not trying to uphold or stand up to the U.S. claims, it is clear that probably the most interesting part in the Indo-American nuclear game is still to come. The U.S. Congress has long been known to be divided on Cirus, a major Indian reactor working on U.S.-supplied heavy water and reportedly serving as a source of weapons-grade plutonium for India's military nuclear program. Though the State Department has said a final conclusion has yet to be drawn, Cirus was excluded from the list of 14 local sites India vowed to open for the IAEA and, under pressure from the U.S., American nuclear inspectors.
Now that Washington is resurfacing its long-standing concerns, the future seems clear enough: as soon as Americans visit Indian nuclear sites with notebooks in hand, the Indians might face big problems in terms of the secrecy of their military effort and the availability of dual-use technologies for peaceful purposes.
It is also easy to understand who will do this sort of inspecting. One source highlighting American inspection methods is a book that describes what was probably the most insolent abuse of international trust ever - "Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of the Intelligence Conspiracy to Undermine the UN and Overthrow Saddam Hussein," written recently by Scott Ritter, former head of the UN Security Council Special Commission on Iraq and famous investigative reporter Seymour Hersh.
Moreover, Albright from ISIS has already named Indian Rare Earth Ltd. of Bombay as the first potential victim of U.S. proliferation action that will likely involve accusations of shopping abroad for rare materials and restricted know-how for a covert centrifuge activity near Mysore.
All this suggests India is in for a good spell of U.S. proliferation pressure. Seeking Indian support for its strategic foreign policy objectives, Washington is clearly demonstrating that it will look to the new nuclear deal for leverage, even though the deal has yet to be enforced. Much now depends on how strong other Non-Proliferation Treaty signatories will be as many members of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, with its strict international nuclear monitoring regime, already object to making an exception for India solely in the interests of the U.S. In any case, what is clear right now is that any U.S. compromise on India's status might turn out to be cost-prohibitive for New Delhi.
In this context, the right thing to do would be not to leave India's nuclear future in the hands of such a slippery partner.
3. PM lands, so does N-pellet - How the Russian fuel reached India
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The first consignment of 30 tonnes of Russian nuclear fuel for the Tarapur atomic power plant reached India on March 16 –- the same day Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov arrived for a bilateral visit to India.
It is the second consignment of 30 tonnes, according to reliable sources, that is expected in Mumbai very shortly. A total of 60 tonnes of fuel from Russia is likely to last five years.
This is contrary to speculation that the Tarapur fuel deal was signed during Fradkov’s visit to Delhi. The deal had been signed and sealed much earlier.
The fuel consignment that reached Mumbai came in the form of low enriched uranium (LEU) pellets flown in a specially chartered freighter from Russia.
The LEU pellets have been manufactured to the specifications precisely laid down in the contract signed in December 2005 in Moscow during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit there, to suit the technical needs of the Tarapur reactors.
The pellets would now be converted into fuel rods. The arrival of the Russian fuel in March was critical, according to the sources, in terms of the time required to manufacture the fuel rods, a process that takes a couple of months.
The landing of the fuel would enable the Tarapur power plant (Units 1 and 2) to be refuelled in time. Otherwise, both units would have had to shut down.
The contract for fuel supply for Tarapur is with Rosatom, the same state-owned company that is building the Kudankulam atomic power plant in Tamil Nadu. Rosatom will also supply the fuel for Kudankulam.
The important thing to note, the sources point out, is that Moscow took a policy decision to supply fuel and also deliver the fuel consignments to India much before the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) met in May. This was deliberate.
The attempt, the sources claim, was to delink the decision from the Indo-US nuclear deal and project it as a bilateral Indo-Russian venture which was not an adjunct to US decisions.
Russia wants to be seen to be scrupulous in terms of its international obligations and is a strong adherent to NSG norms.
However, the sources claim that Moscow decided on a pragmatic view, taking into account its bilateral relations with India, the positive international assessment of India’s conduct in non-proliferation of nuclear technology and the safety clause in NSG guidelines which permits such transactions.
The Prime Minister and the Indian negotiators argued with the Russians last December that Moscow had already supplied the fuel for Tarapur in 2001 when India’s position internationally was very difficult and New Delhi was a focused target of attention, especially of the Americans, because of the 1998 nuclear tests.
If Russia had wanted to “punish” India, they argued, it could have done so in 2001 -- there was less reason now to take a harsh view on Tarapur when all post-1998 sanctions against India had been removed and the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery System (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act adopted by Parliament.
Russia, however, is still not ready to set up new nuclear power plants in India unless the NSG takes a positive decision on international nuclear cooperation with India. However, it has clearly decided to delink the fuel supply to Tarapur from the larger issue of full-scale nuclear cooperation.In effect, then, the sources say, Moscow has not allowed its approach to Tarapur fuel to be solely determined by US preferences and policies.
1. Russia: Moscow, Beijing Vow To Tighten Control of WMD
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Moscow and Beijing have vowed to tighten control of weapons of mass destruction.
"Russia and China confirm their commitment to the further strengthening of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime on the basis of the nuclear arms non-proliferation treaty. Russia and China will exert further efforts to advance their joint initiative to draft an agreement imposing a ban on putting weapons in outer space and on arms build-ups in outer space," they stated in the Joint Declaration Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao signed earlier in the day.
"The parties will maintain active cooperation in the process of chemical disarmament and prohibition of biological weapons. They shall attach priority to export control as an important instrument of non-proliferation of nuclear arms and delivery vehicles. Russia will continue its assistance to China in joining the Missile Technology Control Regime," the Declaration says.
2. Russian Official Says China Strategic Partner In Nuclear Energy
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China is Russia's long-term strategic partner in nuclear energy, Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of the Federal Agency for Atomic Energy (Rosatom), told Itar-Tass on Monday. He made an inspection visit to the site of the construction of the Tianwan nuclear power plant.
"We have learned lessons from problems that presented themselves during the station's construction," Kiriyenko said regarding the delay with putting into operation the plant's first reactor. "We have realized that the state had rashly taken the step to privatise Atomstroiexport company.
"The error has been remedied by now, which enables us much better to control the fulfilment of the company's obligations," he said. The biggest part of the problems was connected with organizational, rather than technical matters, he said.
The main task now is to ensure the putting into operation and the safe functioning of the first and second power generating sets of the nuclear power plant, Kiriyenko said. "Upon these results we are ready to discuss this further cooperation and prospects for the station's development," KIriyenko noted.
He expressed the confidence that the continuation of the work to build other reactors of this power plant with Russian participation would be effective, as the project had been well adjusted, the main specifications made, and huge experience of joint work accumulated. (Altogether eight reactors are planned to be built - Itar-Tass).
In addition to visiting the cite of the construction of the station's first and second reactors, Kiriyenko also visited the township of power specialists where some 800 specialists and members of their families live presently. The setting in motion of the turbine or the first power generating set of the Tianwan station being built with Russian participation in China is due within the next ten days.
The commercial operation of the reactor is scheduled for October. The loading of fuel into the second reactor of the Tianwan nuclear power plant will take place in April 2007, Alexander Selikhov, the chief of the construction, stated on Monday.
A $250 million programme, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) that will see spent nuclear fuel reprocessed, has been launched in the USA.
The GNEP's $250 million fiscal year 2007 budget request would be part of a budget that could stretch to $1 billion by 2009 and is part of president Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative, announced in the recent State of the Union address.
The GNEP programme is aimed at opening the international nuclear power industry and spent nuclear fuel disposal by forging a partnership with other countries facing the same task. The programme will see new generation nuclear power plants developed in the USA along with new spent fuel reprocessing technologies that supply fuel to those plants.
There are two key technologies being considered, one called uranium extraction plus (Urex Plus) which combines plutonium with other actinides and some portion of uranium so that it is not usable as weapons material. The second option is dry reprocessing, or pyroprocessing. According to the US Department of Energy (DoE): "The technology separates uranium from all of the transuranic elements with a water-based acid dissolution of the used nuclear fuel. The process enables reuse of all the transuranics, minimises waste, avoids creation of liquid waste and makes the chemical separation more proliferation-resistant than the older plutonium uranium extraction process."
Deputy secretary of energy Clay Sell said the key will be developing a fast reactor which can burn the actinide-based fuel. The USA hopes to demonstrate that technology over the course of the next ten years.
The partnership element would also see the reactor technologies rolled out to other countries such as France, Japan, Russia and the UK, which would then lease the fuel from the USA before returning it for reprocessing.
Sell added: "The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership at its core is a way that we anticipate dramatically expanding nuclear power here in the United States, but also in the world in a way which effectively addresses two of the great concerns that have historically been associated with nuclear power. Those are what do you do with the waste and what about the proliferation of technologies ... Those are the policy goals."
The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership may be intended to create a worldwide system for safe, secure nuclear power, but in the near term it will be mainly focused on fuel cycle research.
THERE WERE RUMORS in late January that President George W. Bush's State of the Union address would include a specific mention of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), but the speech delivered on January 31 went no further than to include a mention of nuclear power (along with zero-emission coal and renewable sources) as a domestic energy resource that could help alleviate what Bush called the United States' "addiction" to oil.
It may be that GNEP was one of many topics cut from the speech (including, apparently, references to nearly all of the 28 guests seated with first lady Laura Bush), perhaps to allow reference to recent world events, such as the victory of Hamas in the election in Palestine and the latest developments with Iran's nuclear program. As it happened, the Department of Energy held its own presentation on the GNEP on February 6, when the fiscal year 2007 federal budget request was released, and launched a dedicated Web site, .
Over the department as a whole, the request for FY 2007 is $ 23 557 million, down $ 6 million, or about 0.04 percent, from the FY 2006 appropriation, which was itself more than 3 percent lower than the FY 2005 amount. Fossil energy research and development would be cut by more than 20 percent in FY 2007, and fossil energy programs as a whole would receive about $ 649 million, down 23 percent from $ 842 million in FY 2006, but still about 3 percent more than the FY 2005 amount. The request for renewable energy is $ 1.2 billion, which is $ 2.6 million, or 0.2 percent, more than the FY 2006 amount. President Bush had urged the use of zero-emission coal and renewables during his State of the Union address (along with nuclear power), but the budget request in these areas does not suggest that new developments in coal and renewables have a very high priority.
With an FY 2007 budget request of $ 250 million, GNEP is poised to overturn the nation's 30-year moratorium on spent-fuel reprocessing, something that critics of the plan argue would send a wrong message to countries like Iran and North Korea. In addition, the plan would "make it easier for terrorists to acquire plutonium to make nuclear weapons," according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The White House is taking a different view. At a February 6 press conference introducing the plan. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman explained that GNEP would increase energy security in the United States and abroad, encourage "clean" economic development around the world, and improve the environment.
GNEP is the centerpiece of the DOE's Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI), which the agency says is integral to its Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems effort. AFCI aims to develop a better, more efficient, and proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel cycle. A research and development program, AFCI is focusing on methods to reduce the volume and long-term toxicity of high-level waste from spent fuel, reduce the long-term proliferation threat posed by civilian inventories of plutonium in spent fuel, and provide for proliferation-resistant technologies to recover the energy content of spent fuel.
"The idea is that GNEP will leverage new technology to effectively and safely recycle spent nuclear fuel without producing separated plutonium," Bodman said. "By doing so we will extract more energy from nuclear fuel, reduce the amount of waste that requires permanent disposal, and greatly reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation. If we can make GNEP a reality, we can make the world a better, cleaner, and safer place to live."
In operation, GNEP would achieve its goal by having nations with secure, advanced nuclear capabilities provide fuel services to other nations that agree to employ nuclear energy for power generation purposes only. The closed fuel cycle model envisioned for GNEP requires the development and deployment of technologies that enable the recycling and consumption of long-lived radioactive waste.
Under this scenario, GNEP would build an international fuel services consortium under which "fuel supplier nations" would operate both nuclear power plants and fuel production and handling facilities, providing reliable fuel services to "user nations" that would operate only nuclear power plants.
Clay Sell, deputy secretary for the DOE, said during the press conference that the idea for GNEP started when administration officials looked at world growth projections and saw that perhaps 1000 nuclear power reactors would be operating by 2050. This projected growth got officials thinking about "what are the technologies, what are the policies, what are the international regimes we would want to have in place when we get there," he said.
A main advantage of GNEP, Sell continued, is that because of recycling and the use of actinide fuel and fast reactors, there would be much greater efficiency from nuclear fuel. Under the current policy, 90 percent of the energy value in spent fuel is destined for permanent disposal. Under GNEP and advanced recycling technologies, a much greater percentage of the energy value is achieved, and, as a result, there is a dramatic reduction in the volume and radiotoxicity of the material destined for Yucca Mountain and other repositories that would need to be built.
The technologies to be used under GNEP would include UREX+ and dry reprocessing (or pyroprocessing). The UREX+ process does not separate out pure plutonium, but instead combines it with other actinides and some portion of uranium so that it is not attractive or usable as weapons material.
Another key element of GNEP is that the United States would cooperate with existing fuel cycle states or other countries in the development of small-scale reactors. "And we think there is a great opportunity here to enhance our nuclear cooperation with many countries on developing reactors of a size and with the nonproliferation benefits that would be appropriate for the developing world," Clay said. "It would be of a smaller scale appropriate for smaller grids."
The plan also would establish enhanced safeguards so that the International Atomic Energy Agency could effectively and efficiently monitor and verify nuclear materials. In addition, GNEP would design advanced safeguards approaches directly into the planning and building of new, advanced nuclear energy facilities.
Gen IV scaled back
While GNEP would mean a vast increase in fuel cycle work in FY 2007, the administration's adoption of the program's mission means changes in priorities for other current DOE civilian nuclear work. The sharpest cutback would be on the Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative, the research and development of more advanced reactors and fuels. The program, which would be centered on a very high temperature gas-cooled reactor (VHTR) to be built at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), would get 42 percent less funding in FY 2007 than it has in FY 2006, down to $ 31.4 million from $ 54.5 million. The DOE attributed the decrease to "a change in focus to emphasize . . . near-term deployment of new nuclear plants and enhanced waste minimization efforts."
The Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative, which has been envisioned as maturing in about the same time frame as Generation IV and probably using a Gen-IV reactor design, would also get less money in FY 2007 than in FY 2006, although still more than twice what it had in FY 2005. The DOE attributes the change (to $ 18.7 million, from $ 24.8 million) to reduced development costs for the S-I thermochemical and high-temperature electrolysis hydrogen production methods, with construction ending and testing to begin.
Nuclear Power 2010 would receive $ 54 million, and while this is a drop of more than $ 11 million from the FY 2006 appropriation, it is only $ 2 million less than the DOE had requested for FY 2006, and the extra funding provided by Congress will lead to some carryover funding into FY 2007. The program shares costs with industry on projects intended to demonstrate the process for new reactor licensing, such as construction/operating license (COL) applications and reactor design certification. The DOE refers to "later than planned project starts" as a reason for a reduced funding need. Whether this refers to expected delays in COL applications by the NP 2010 participants, Dominion Generation and NuStart Energy, was not stated. The DOE does specifically request $ 1.8 million to develop regulations, criteria, and administration of "standby support," or risk insurance, for COL applicants.
Also notable is a 15 percent reduction in facilities management funding for INL, which the DOE said was a result of "higher priorities," presumably to projects not based at INL. The facility has been unified and renamed as part of a DOE effort to make it a world leader in nuclear R&D, but the line item in FY 2007 will be $ 95.3 million, down from $ 112.7 million in FY 2006. One project being deferred is work on the Gas Test Loop, as a result of what the DOE called "technical difficulties."
The budget request for Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (CRWM) -- the DOE's office in charge of the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level waste repository -- for FY 2007 is $ 544.5 million, which is $ 49.5 million, or 10 percent, more than the FY 2006 appropriation. The CRWM program aims to fulfill the federal government's responsibility for the permanent geologic disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste resulting from both civilian and defense atomic energy activities. The FY 2007 budget request includes $ 67.8 million for the development of transportation infrastructure such as rail lines, casks, and rail cars and for establishing a long-term procurement plan for transportation activities.
The Yucca Mountain program's work in FY 2007 will include the design of a canister handling facility and the development of a canister to be used for the transportation, aging, and disposal (TAD) of spent fuel, both of which support the DOE's new "clean/canisterized" approach (NN, Dec. 2005, p. 52). Waste package design will continue in FY 2007, along with the development of several prototype waste packages for testing and site safety upgrades. The DOE indicated that the design of Yucca Mountain's fuel handling facility has been slowed for FY 2007 in order to focus on the design and development of the TAD canister.
Science and fusion
The DOE's Office of Science budget request is $ 4101.7 million for FY 2007, an increase of $ 505.3 million, or 14 percent, from the FY 2006 appropriation. The Science program funds investments in basic research that the DOE says are critical to the success of its missions in national security and energy security; the advancement of the frontiers of knowledge in the physical sciences and areas of biological, environmental, and computational sciences; and the provision of world-class research facilities.
The increase being sought for the Office of Science is part of the American Competitiveness Initiative, which President Bush mentioned in his State of the Union address and involves activities to be overseen by a variety of government agencies to provide greater emphasis in such areas as math and science education. The DOE has stated that the Office of Science is on a path to doubling its funding by 2016.
For FY 2007, the DOE has generally managed to find the increased funding necessary to support the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project as it moves into the construction phase without undermining existing domestic projects in magnetic confinement fusion. A slight decrease is planned for the National Compact Stellarator Experiment as it moves closer to completion and construction-related expenses are lower. Overall, domestic fusion research facilities (DIII-D, Alcator C-Mod, and the National Spherical Torus Experiment) get an extra $ 4.2 million, but $ 6.7 million in domestic science and enabling R&D programs is being redirected to support ITER.
The funding breakdown for other programs under the Office of Science is as follows:
* The Basic Energy Sciences program (with an FY 2007 request of $ 1421 million) conducts research and builds and operates user facilities to expand scientific foundations for new and improved energy technologies and to understand and mitigate the environmental impacts of energy use. The requested funding would support research on nanoscale science (+$ 50.9 million) and the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative (+$ 17.5 million). It also would fund the first full year of operations of the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (+$ 99.7 million) and provide research and development, along with project engineering and design, for the National Synchrotron Light Source II project (+$ 45 million).
* The Advanced Scientific Computing Research program ($ 318.7 million) conducts mathematics and computing research and delivers state-of-the-art computational and networking capabilities to scientists across the United States. In FY 2007, the funding request is increased for computational partnerships with other programs (+$ 10.5 million) and for the Leadership Computing Facilities at ORNL and Argonne National Laboratory (+$ 48.8 million). Funding for the DOE's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center would also increase (+$ 17.3 million), in part to enhance capacity.
* The High Energy Physics program ($ 775.1 million) conducts basic research to explore the laws of nature governing the most basic constituents of matter and the forces binding them. The program participated in the construction of the international Large Hadron Collider ($ 3.2 million); the DOE has said that it will continue its participation in the collider's research program. Increased funding is also provided for the International Linear Collider (+$ 30 million) to support a leadership role by the United States in the international R&D program. New project engineering and design funding for the Electron Neutrino Appearance Detector project (+$ 10.3 million) is also requested.
* The Nuclear Physics program ($ 454 million) supports research to provide new insights and knowledge of the structure and interaction of atomic nuclei and the primary forces and particles of nature in nuclear matter. Operations of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory would be resumed under FY 2007 funding (+$ 30.2 million). Funding also is requested for project engineering and design for upgrading the 12-GeV Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator facilities (+$ 7 million).
* The Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists program ($ 11 million) provides a continuum of educational opportunities to the nation's students and teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Under the FY 2007 budget request, the Laboratory Science Teacher Professional Development program is increased by $ 3.8 million, primarily for the support of additional middle school teachers.
The DOE asked for a 12 percent reduction for its Environmental Management (EM) program in FY 2007, largely because cleanup work at Rocky Flats has ended. The request of $ 5828 million is $ 762 million less than what was received in the FY 2006 appropriation.
The EM program conducts the cleanup of the environmental legacy from 50 years of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research at sites across the United States. The cleanup includes the safe management and disposition of nuclear materials and spent nuclear fuel, the treatment and disposal of high-level and other radioactive wastes, the remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater, and the decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of contaminated facilities.
By site breakdown, the funding requests are as follows:
* Brookhaven National Laboratory, $ 28.3 million, primarily for D&D activities for the Graphite Research Reactor and High Flux Beam Reactor.
* Hanford Site/Richland, $ 917.4 million, to support spent fuel disposition at K Basins and the River Corridor Project. Funds also would be used for the disposition of contaminated buildings and the remediation of contaminants along the Columbia River and for safely maintaining the Plutonium Finishing Plant and the Fast Flux Test Facility. This amount includes $ 77.8 million for safeguards and security activities.
* Hanford Site/River Protection, $ 964.1 million, part of which ($ 690 million) would be used to ramp up the construction of key components of the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant, and the remainder to continue the safe management of underground tanks and waste retrievals from single-shell tanks.
* Idaho National Laboratory, $ 519.6 million, for the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project to support shipments of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant; to support the construction of the Sodium Bearing Waste Facility to treat tank waste; and to continue the D&D of reactors and retrievals of buried waste and other remediation activities.
* Oak Ridge Reservation, $ 494.2 million, to support the cleanup of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12, and the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), including the processing of transuranic waste, remediation activities, and D&D of facilities. An increase in the funding request for ETTP reflects progress on the critical path to closure. It includes $ 22.9 million for safeguards and security at ETTP.
* Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, $ 140.5 million, to provide for the continuing cleanup at Paducah, including the completion of scrap metal removal. The request would also fund the ongoing construction of the Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride Conversion facility, along with the storage of cylinders pending conversion, and includes $ 8.7 million for safeguards and security.
* Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant ($ 239.2 million), to continue the transition of the Gaseous Diffusion Plant to D&D and the ongoing cleanup at the Portsmouth site. It would also support the procurement of on-site treatment to address problematic waste streams and fund the ongoing construction of the Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride Conversion facility, along with the storage of cylinders pending conversion. The request includes $ 15.6 million for safeguards and security.
* Savannah River Site, $ 1248 million, to support the ongoing stabilization of nuclear materials, including funding for container surveillance capability to support on-site consolidated storage of plutonium in the site's K-Area. It also would provide for the management and disposition of tank wastes, including funding for the design and construction of the Salt Waste Processing Facility to address technical issues, as well as remediation activities to meet compliance requirements. The request includes $ 163.6 million for safeguards and security, an increase that supports additional protective force personnel and upgrades to the K-Area complex to support the on-site consolidation of the Savannah River Site's nuclear materials.
* Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, $ 217.6 million, to support transuranic waste disposal operations and complex-wide integration, including the first full year of remote-handled waste disposal. It would include $ 4.3 million for safeguards and security.
* West Valley Demonstration Project, $ 75 million, to support continuing decommissioning activities, the preparation of an environmental impact statement for decommissioning and long-term stewardship, and maintaining the safe storage of high-level waste canisters and transuranic waste. It includes $ 1.6 million for safeguards and security.
* Closure Sites, $ 322.2 million, representing a cutback in funding of almost $ 700 million, which reflects the accelerated completion of the cleanup and closure of several significant sites, including Rocky Flats, in Colorado, and Fernald and Columbus, in Ohio. Post-closure responsibilities for these sites are being transferred to the DOE's Office of Legacy Management in FY 2007. The request includes $ 1.2 million for safeguards and security at Fernald.
* National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites, $ 231.5 million, to support the ongoing cleanup of legacy waste and contamination at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Nevada Test Site, the Pantex Plant, and Lawrence Livermore Site 300. The request would increase funding to begin active cleanup at the Separations Process Research Unit and would decrease funding for Los Alamos, which reflects a shift in strategy to address groundwater concerns and includes an increase to begin facility decontamination and demolition in Technical Area 21.
* Other Sites, $ 97.9 million, to support remediation activities at the Moab site ($ 22.8 million), including the expansion of groundwater remedial actions. The funding provides for technical support and complex-wide initiatives at DOE headquarters and supports ongoing decommissioning at Argonne National Laboratory and remediation at the Energy Technology Engineering Center.
The FY 2007 budget request for the DOE's legacy management programs is $ 201 million, an increase of $ 123.2 million or 158 percent from the FY 2006 appropriation. The large increase, according to the DOE, reflects the transfer of cleanup sites completed by the agency's Environmental Management office to its Legacy Management office, which is responsible for long-term stewardship activities at sites where active remediation has been completed. These activities include groundwater monitoring, the administration of post-closure contractor pensions, and benefits and records management.
As part of the funding request, $ 18.4 million would go toward approximately 80 sites for long-term surveillance and maintenance, their active cleanup having been completed. Most of these sites are associated with the federal Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act and the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program.
Another $ 26.5 million would go toward 14 other sites where active cleanup also has been completed. The funds would be used for monitoring and continuing long-term treatment activities.
In addition, $ 19.1 million would go toward the transfer of post-closure responsibilities and funding for long-term surveillance and maintenance activities at the cleanup sites at Rocky Flats, in Colorado, Fernald, in Ohio, and in Nevada.
The DOE's NNSA has asked for $ 1726.2 million for defense nuclear nonproliferation activities in FY 2007. The request is $ 111.4 million (or 7 percent) above the FY 2006 appropriation. The request includes $ 638 million for fissile materials disposition in the United States and Russia, which is the amount needed for the construction of facilities to convert weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear reactors. The request also includes $ 283 million to fulfill the Bratislava Agreement between the United States and Russia.
In addition, the request provides $ 675 million as an American commitment to the Global Partnership program to address non-proliferation, disarmament, counterterrorism, and nuclear safety issues.
The request would also continue NNSA's Fissile Materials Disposition program by providing $ 289.5 million for the federal government's MOX fuel fabrication facility at the Savannah River Site, in South Carolina, since 2007 would be a peak construction year, according to the DOE.
The FY 2007 budget also includes a request for the NNSA's weapons activities. The request is for $ 6407.9 million, an increase of $ 38.3 million, or 0.6 percent, from the FY 2006 appropriation. The funding would continue to meet ongoing requirements of various programs dealing with the nuclear weapons stockpile and its surveillance, annual assessment, and life extension efforts.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY BUDGET BY APPROPRIATION (DISCRETIONARY DOLLARS IN THOUSANDS)
Note: This table may be divided and additional information on a particular entry may appear on more than one screen FY 2005 Current Discretionary Summary By Appropriation Appropriation Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Summary: Energy Programs Energy Supply and Conservation 1 801 815
Fossil Energy Programs Clean coal technology -160 000 Fossil energy research and development 560 852 Naval petroleum and oil shale reserves 17 750 Elk Hills school lands fund 36 000 Strategic petroleum reserve 126 710 Northeast home heating oil reserve 4930 Strategic petroleum account 43 000 Total, Fossil Energy Programs 629 242
Uranium enrichment D&D fund 495 015 Energy information administration 83 819 Non-defense environmental cleanup 439 601 Science 3 635 650 Nuclear waste disposal 343 232 Departmental administration 128 598 Inspector general 41 176 Total, Energy Programs 7 598 148
Atomic Energy Defense Activities National Nuclear Security Administration: Weapons activities 6 625 542 Defense nuclear nonproliferation 1 507 966 Naval reactors 801 437 Office of the administrator 363 350 Total, National Nuclear Security Administration 9 298 295
Environmental and Other Defense Activities: Defense environmental cleanup 6 800 848 Other defense activities 687 149 Defense nuclear waste disposal 229 152 Total, Environmental and Other Defense Activities 7 717 149 Total, Atomic Energy Defense Activities 17 015 444
Power Marketing Administrations: Southeastern Power Administration 5158 Southwestern Power Administration 29 117 Western Area Power Administration 171 715 Falcon & Amistad operating & maintenance fund 2804 Colorado River Basins -- Total, Power Marketing Administrations 208 794
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- Subtotal, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies 24 822 386
Uranium enrichment D&D fund discretionary payments -459 296 Excess fees and recoveries, FERC -18 452 Total, Discretionary Funding 24 344 638 FY 2006 Current Discretionary Summary By Appropriation Appropriation Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Summary: Energy Programs Energy Supply and Conservation 1 812 627
Fossil Energy Programs Clean coal technology -20 000 Fossil energy research and development 592 014 Naval petroleum and oil shale reserves 21 285 Elk Hills school lands fund 84 000 Strategic petroleum reserve 207 340 Northeast home heating oil reserve -- Strategic petroleum account -43 000 Total, Fossil Energy Programs 841 639
Uranium enrichment D&D fund 556 606 Energy information administration 85 314 Non-defense environmental cleanup 349 687 Science 3 596 391 Nuclear waste disposal 148 500 Departmental administration 128 519 Inspector general 41 580 Total, Energy Programs 7 560 863
Atomic Energy Defense Activities National Nuclear Security Administration: Weapons activities 6 369 597 Defense nuclear nonproliferation 1 614 839 Naval reactors 781 605 Office of the administrator 338 450 Total, National Nuclear Security Administration 9 104 491
Environmental and Other Defense Activities: Defense environmental cleanup 6 130 447 Other defense activities 635 578 Defense nuclear waste disposal 346 500 Total, Environmental and Other Defense Activities 7 112 525 Total, Atomic Energy Defense Activities 16 217 016
Power Marketing Administrations: Southeastern Power Administration 5544 Southwestern Power Administration 29 864 Western Area Power Administration 231 652 Falcon & Amistad operating & maintenance fund 2665 Colorado River Basins -23 000 Total, Power Marketing Administrations 246 725
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- Subtotal, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies 24 024 604
Uranium enrichment D&D fund discretionary payments -446 490 Excess fees and recoveries, FERC -15 542 Total, Discretionary Funding 23 562 572 FY 2007 Congressional Discretionary Summary By Appropriation Request Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Summary: Energy Programs Energy Supply and Conservation 1 923 361
Fossil Energy Programs Clean coal technology -- Fossil energy research and development 469 686 Naval petroleum and oil shale reserves 18 810 Elk Hills school lands fund -- Strategic petroleum reserve 155 430 Northeast home heating oil reserve 4950 Strategic petroleum account -- Total, Fossil Energy Programs 648 876
Uranium enrichment D&D fund 579 368 Energy information administration 89 769 Non-defense environmental cleanup 310 358 Science 4 101 710 Nuclear waste disposal 156 420 Departmental administration 128 825 Inspector general 45 507 Total, Energy Programs 7 984 194
Atomic Energy Defense Activities National Nuclear Security Administration: Weapons activities 6 407 889 Defense nuclear nonproliferation 1 726 213 Naval reactors 795 133 Office of the administrator 386 576 Total, National Nuclear Security Administration 9 315 811
Environmental and Other Defense Activities: Defense environmental cleanup 5 390 312 Other defense activities 717 788 Defense nuclear waste disposal 388 080 Total, Environmental and Other Defense Activities 6 496 180 Total, Atomic Energy Defense Activities 15 811 991
Power Marketing Administrations: Southeastern Power Administration 5723 Southwestern Power Administration 31 539 Western Area Power Administration 212 213 Falcon & Amistad operating & maintenance fund 2500 Colorado River Basins -23 000 Total, Power Marketing Administrations 228 975
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- Subtotal, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies 24 025 160
Uranium enrichment D&D fund discretionary payments -452 000 Excess fees and recoveries, FERC -16 405 Total, Discretionary Funding 23 556 755 FY 2007 vs. FY 2006 Discretionary Summary By Appropriation $ Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Summary: Energy Programs Energy Supply and Conservation +110 734
Fossil Energy Programs Clean coal technology +20 000 Fossil energy research and development -122 328 Naval petroleum and oil shale reserves -2475 Elk Hills school lands fund -84 000 Strategic petroleum reserve -51 910 Northeast home heating oil reserve +4950 Strategic petroleum account +43 000 Total, Fossil Energy Programs -192 763
Uranium enrichment D&D fund +22 762 Energy information administration +4455 Non-defense environmental cleanup -39 329 Science +505 319 Nuclear waste disposal +7920 Departmental administration +306 Inspector general +3927 Total, Energy Programs +423 331
Atomic Energy Defense Activities National Nuclear Security Administration: Weapons activities +38 292 Defense nuclear nonproliferation +111 374 Naval reactors +13 528 Office of the administrator +48 126 Total, National Nuclear Security Administration +211 320
Environmental and Other Defense Activities: Defense environmental cleanup -740 135 Other defense activities +82 210 Defense nuclear waste disposal +41 580 Total, Environmental and Other Defense Activities -616 345 Total, Atomic Energy Defense Activities -405 025
Power Marketing Administrations: Southeastern Power Administration +179 Southwestern Power Administration +1675 Western Area Power Administration -19 439 Falcon & Amistad operating & maintenance fund -165 Colorado River Basins -- Total, Power Marketing Administrations -17 750
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- Subtotal, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies +556
Uranium enrichment D&D fund discretionary payments -5510 Excess fees and recoveries, FERC -863 Total, Discretionary Funding -5 817 FY 2007 vs. FY 2006 Discretionary Summary By Appropriation % Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriation Summary: Energy Programs Energy Supply and Conservation +6.1%
Fossil Energy Programs Clean coal technology +100% Fossil energy research and development -20.7% Naval petroleum and oil shale reserves -11.6% Elk Hills school lands fund -100.0% Strategic petroleum reserve -25.0% Northeast home heating oil reserve N/A Strategic petroleum account +100.0% Total, Fossil Energy Programs -22.9%
Uranium enrichment D&D fund +4.1% Energy information administration +5.2% Non-defense environmental cleanup -11.2% Science +14.1% Nuclear waste disposal +5.3% Departmental administration +0.2% Inspector general +9.4% Total, Energy Programs +5.6%
Atomic Energy Defense Activities National Nuclear Security Administration: Weapons activities +0.6% Defense nuclear nonproliferation +6.9% Naval reactors +1.7% Office of the administrator +14.2% Total, National Nuclear Security Administration +2.3%
Environmental and Other Defense Activities: Defense environmental cleanup -12.1% Other defense activities +12.9% Defense nuclear waste disposal +12.0% Total, Environmental and Other Defense Activities -8.7% Total, Atomic Energy Defense Activities -2.5%
Power Marketing Administrations: Southeastern Power Administration +3.2% Southwestern Power Administration +5.6% Western Area Power Administration -8.4% Falcon & Amistad operating & maintenance fund -6.2% Colorado River Basins -- Total, Power Marketing Administrations -7.2%
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- Subtotal, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies +0.0%
Uranium enrichment D&D fund discretionary payments -1.2% Excess fees and recoveries, FERC -5.6% Total, Discretionary Funding -0.0%
ENERGY SUPPLY AND CONSERVATION, OFFICE OF NUCLEAR ENERGY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY APPROPRIATION SUMMARY BY PROGRAM (DOLLARS IN THOUSANDS)
Note: This table may be divided and additional information on a particular entry may appear on more than one screen FY 2005 Current Discretionary Summary By Appropriation Appropriation Energy Supply and Conservation University Reactor Infrastructure and Education Assistance 23 810 Research and Development Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization 2412 Nuclear Energy Research Initiative 2416 Nuclear Power 2010 49 605 Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative 38 828 Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative 8682 Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative 66 407 Total, Research and Development 168 350
Spent Nuclear Fuel Management 6681 Program Direction 60 076 Transfer from State Department 14 000 Subtotal, Energy Supply and Conservation 521 903
Use of Prior-Year Balances -4217 Funding from Other Defense -114 347 Funding from Naval Reactors -10 000 Total, Energy Supply and Conservation 393 339 FY 2006 Original Discretionary Summary By Appropriation Appropriation Energy Supply and Conservation University Reactor Infrastructure and Education Assistance 27 000 Research and Development Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization 0 Nuclear Energy Research Initiative 0 Nuclear Power 2010 66 000 Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative 55 000 Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative 25 000 Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative 80 000 Total, Research and Development 226 000
Spent Nuclear Fuel Management 0 Program Direction 61 109 Transfer from State Department 0 Subtotal, Energy Supply and Conservation 557 574
Use of Prior-Year Balances 0 Funding from Other Defense -123 873 Funding from Naval Reactors -13 500 Total, Energy Supply and Conservation 420 201 FY 2006 Discretionary Summary By Appropriation Adjustments Energy Supply and Conservation University Reactor Infrastructure and Education Assistance -270 Research and Development Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization +0 Nuclear Energy Research Initiative +0 Nuclear Power 2010 -660 Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative -550 Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative -250 Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative -800 Total, Research and Development -2260
Spent Nuclear Fuel Management +0 Program Direction -611 Transfer from State Department +0 Subtotal, Energy Supply and Conservation -5546
Use of Prior-Year Balances +0 Funding from Other Defense +1209 Funding from Naval Reactors +135 Total, Energy Supply and Conservation -4202 FY 2006 Current Discretionary Summary By Appropriation Appropriation Energy Supply and Conservation University Reactor Infrastructure and Education Assistance 26 730 Research and Development Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization 0 Nuclear Energy Research Initiative 0 Nuclear Power 2010 65 340 Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative 54 450 Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative 24 750 Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative 79 200 Total, Research and Development 223 740
Spent Nuclear Fuel Management 0 Program Direction 60 498 Transfer from State Department 0 Subtotal, Energy Supply and Conservation 552 028
Use of Prior-Year Balances 0 Funding from Other Defense -122 664 Funding from Naval Reactors -13 365 Total, Energy Supply and Conservation 415 999 FY 2007 Discretionary Summary By Appropriation Request Energy Supply and Conservation University Reactor Infrastructure and Education Assistance 0 Research and Development Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization 0 Nuclear Energy Research Initiative 0 Nuclear Power 2010 54 031 Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative 31 436 Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative 18 665 Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative 243 000 Total, Research and Development 347 132
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is certain that "there are possibilities for strengthening of the nuclear weaponsnon-proliferation regime not only in the solution of the Iranian nuclear problem and North Korean nuclear issue, but also along the path of modernisation of the non-proliferation regime itself."
In an interview to reporters Lavrov specified that he had in mind the Russian president's initiative on creating international uranium enrichment centers that "will be certified by the IAEA and meet the demand of all countries."
1. Russia: U.S. Palmco Corporation Suing Russia's Techsnabeksport
(for personal use only)
U.S. Palmco Corporation on February 24 filed suit in a California court against Techsnabexport, a Russian exporter of nuclear materials 100% owned by the state, for breach of contract.
The court has not set any date for hearing the case yet.
Initially Techsnabexport, with the mediation of Palmco Corp. delivered enriched uranium products to South Korea. However, in 2003 it opened an office in Seoul and started streamlining mediator services. For instance, Techsnabexport established direct contacts with Korea's KEPCO energy company and later with its legal successor KHNP.
Now Palmco wants the court to ban Techsnabexport nuclear deliveries to KEPCO and KHNP during the litigation and to compel the company to fulfill its obligations to the mediator and pay damages, the Kommersant newspaper reported.
According to the daily, Palmco accuses Techsnabexport of unfair treatment of its U.S. partner, of threatening the very existence of Palmco. Palmco claims that, among other things, Techsnabexport intentionally defaulted on several contracts, refused to deliver enriched uranium under one contract and to fulfill an option for an additional 100 tonnes of uranium under another and refused to pay Palmco its fee under a contract for uranium environment.
At Techsnabexport, Interfax was told that the company had not received any court summons adding that under U.S. law Techsnabexport is an instrumentality of a foreign state. The procedure for delivering court summons to such entities is laid out in the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. This means that the summons must be delivered only through a Russian authority, which has not been done. A Techsnabexport spokesman added that it is the general company policy to defend the interests of the industry in particular on foreign markets.
It controls about 30% of the uranium market in South Korea.
2. Rosatom expands its activities in foreign markets
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The Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) expands its activity in foreign markets. As it is mentioned on the agency’s web site, visit of the Rosatom Head Sergey Kiriyenko to China began on March 17. The trip foreruns visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to China.
China is going to put into operation up to 100 new energy blocks within next decades. China develops its nuclear power engineering in cooperation with number of countries including Russia. Russian Atomstroyexport JSC builds first two energy blocks of Taiwan NNP. Launch of the NPP’s first energy block was held on December 20, 2005. Energy block reactor was put into minimal controlled capacity level, ionization boxes recorded firs free neuron, and controlled chain reaction began. Turbine push and plugging in of generator will be next important stage of the Taiwan NPP’s putting into operation.
According to many Russian and foreign experts, this NPP is one of safest in the world. In the NPP’s construction area, where two energy blocks are being built, third and fourth blocks are planned to be constructed. Russia participates in tender for their construction.
Leaving to China, Sergey Kiriyenko stated:" Russia is interested in expanding cooperation with China in sphere of uses of atomic power. We have very broad contacts in the sphere of peaceful uses of atomic energy; it also concerns cooperation in building nuclear power plants and scientific-technical interaction". Also, the Rosatom head stated that nuclear energy will considerably increase its role in the world within next 30 years, and atom will replace hydrocarbon fuel. According to him, under such conditions, international energy integration and international coordination in sphere of NPP construction will play more and more important role.
The Chinese visit schedule of Rosatom head contains talks with the leadership of the Chinese Nuclear Industry Committee and Chinese Nuclear Corporation, as well as trip to city of Lianyungang, where the Taiwan NPP is constructed. Concluding the Russian-Chinese talks, Head of Chinese State Commission on Nuclear Energy Shuang Xing stated, in particular, that Chinese side appreciates very much proposal of Russian President Vladimir Putin to service nuclear fuel cycle on indiscriminating basis. He pointed out, that Russia and Chine have a broad field for cooperation in peaceful atomic sphere, because NPP’s part in country’s energy balance has to total 4% by 2020, instead of present nearly 1%.
International cooperation in atomic sphere was negotiated during Russian premier Mikhail Fradkov’s visit to India. In particular, during the visit an agreement is achieved on supply of Russian uranium for Tarapur NPP. Some time ago, agreement on American nuclear fuel’s supply to India was achieved during Indian visit of US President George Bush. However, later Washington refused to supply nuclear fuel to Tarapur, referring to fact, that the object is still not open for inspections. As a result, shortage of fuel for the NPP arose.
As a result of the talks, Russia agreed to comply with a request of Indian government to supply 60 tons of fuel tablets to produce from reduced-enrichment energy uranium (with uranium-235 enrichment up to 3%) fuel for first and second energy blocks in Tarapur NPP.
Rosenergoatom head Stanislav Antipov has been dismissed. His duties will be carried out by Kiriyenko's former deputy while he was (Putin's) plenipotentiary representative in the Volga Federal District -- Sergey Obozov. To all appearances, this marks the start of the promised restructuring of the Rosatom (Federal Atomic Energy Agency), experts believe.
A cadre reshuffle is continuing within the Rosatom's structure. Let us recall that since his appointment as head of the agency Sergey Kiriyenko has already dismissed several leaders of enterprises and institutes making up the department's structure and replaced the head of the Rosatomstroy FGUP (Federal State Unitary Enterprise). Now it is the turn of Stanislav Antipov, general director of the Rosenergoatom concern.
According to Rosatom Press Secretary Sergey Novikov, the order dismissing Antipov was signed 15 March with the wording "by agreement between the sides." Antipov has been appointed Kiriyenko's adviser, while Sergey Obozov, deputy leader (of Rosenergoatom) and director of the branch of the directorate of floating nuclear electric power stations under construction, has become acting general director of Rosenergoatom.
Specialists give a positive description of Antipov. "A specialist well known in nuclear power generation, he was engaged in building the reactors at Kalinin Nuclear Station and made a positive name for himself. He traveled the entire, fitting road to the post of Rosenergoatom leader," Yuriy Vishnevskiy, ex-head of Gosatomnadzor, said of him.
The cadre reshuffle will, to all appearances, be the first step on the way to transforming the present Rosatom into a vertically integrated structure. Rosatom head Sergey Kiriyenko had earlier proposed consolidating all assets with a bearing on nuclear power generation and nuclear building into a single corporation, by analogy with the existing Gazprom. At the same time Kiriyenko prefers to place his own people -- primarily managers, not nuclear scientists -- in all the key posts in structures subordinate to the department.
The new head of Rosatom has repeatedly said that he regards as unfortunate the established practice of leadership in the nuclear sector whereby scientists essentially carry out the functions of administrators and managers. "Antipov is not (former Rosatom head) Rumyantsev's man, but it can be said that there has been a replacement by his own man," Yuriy Vishnevskiy explained the reshuffle. Nevertheless, the former general director's appointment as an adviser means, to all intents and purposes, his retirement from business. "He has been removed from real work. Well, judge for yourselves: Today you were president, but tomorrow you will be an adviser."
"Not only might your advice not be taken, but it might not even be requested at all. This is essentially an honorary post, no more than that," Vishnevskiy argued.
"Sergey Obozov's main task will be to transform the FGUP as quickly as possible into a joint-stock company. The possibility cannot be ruled out that the appointment and the transformation will be carried out in parallel," Sergey Novikov reported. At the same time he did not rule out the possibility that the concern will, in the end, be headed by quite a different person. "The situation with regard to deciding on the head of Rosenergoatom remains uncertain at present," the press secretary emphasized. However, 's sources in the sector still believe that in the end the post of general director of the concern will go precisely to Kiriyenko's former deputy.
4. ITER office opened at Cadarache; construction agreement in July?
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Just after the ITER project opened an office at the intended construction site in France, a Russian official stated that the seven-party agreement should be signed during the G8 summit.
THE FIRE PLACE, a Web site operated by magnetic confinement fusion researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (), keeps track of impending deadlines in national and international fusion research, and -- in the case of deadlines that have not been met -- how much time has elapsed since these milestones should have been reached. Among other things, the FIRE Place keeps a running count of the days since a construction agreement was supposed to have been worked out by the parties in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, which, following the siting compromise last year, was supposed to have been finished by the end of 2005. If Yevgeny Velikhov is correct, that number might not reach 200, because he said on February 3 that he believes the pact will be signed during the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Velikhov, president of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy, told journalists that he expects the seven ITER parties -- China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States -- to sign the pact during the meeting in July of leading industrialized nations. The G8 and ITER memberships do not match exactly; Canada is in the G8, but left ITER in 2003, while China, India, South Korea, and several EU members are not in the G8.
The joint implementation agreement for ITER, which is essentially the same as the construction agreement, was agreed to in principle by representatives of the parties during a December meeting in South Korea (NN, Jan. 2006, p. 18). Whether a formal signing at the G8 would mean ratification by all parties was not specified by Velikhov or anyone else involved with ITER. The FIRE Place might keep counting the days after such a signing if it still needs to be approved by the governments of the participants.
With the multiyear dispute over the site selection finally resolved in favor of Cadarache, France, ITER has created a presence at the site where the large tokamak -- which is intended to be the first demonstration-scale magnetic confinement fusion device, ultimately capable of net energy gain over burn times of hundreds of seconds -- will be built over the next several years. The first international project team staff, which arrived on site on January 30, is made up of an advance party from two existing multinational ITER groups: Safety, Environment, and Health; and Site, Buildings, and Assembly. They will work on preparations for a construction license application and for the initial construction itself.
Later, the advance group will be joined by colleagues from other project activities, including from previous joint work sites in Garching, Germany, and Naka, Japan. But while the waiting continues for the enactment of the construction agreement, and for the overall ITER Organization that goes with it, the presence of the team at Cadarache will also provide a test of the ability of the host organization -- France's Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique -- to support the relocation of ITER personnel to the Cadarache area (perhaps for several years) and the setup of basic facilities to support the project's work. France campaigned strenuously to host ITER, and now CEA must show that the decision in France's favor was warranted.
President Vladimir Putin answered questions on the future development of nuclear energy in Russia at a press conference on January 31. He confirmed Russia's proposal to create an international uranium enrichment center to provide nondiscriminatory access to any country developing nuclear power under International Atomic Energy Agency monitoring. Russia intends to present this proposal at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg in July.
Nuclear power is underused in Russia, Putin said, supplying only 16-17 percent of total power generation. This is small in comparison to many other countries, such as France, where 80 percent of electricity is generated by nuclear energy. He said he would hope to increase nuclear production to 30 percent, but "if we bring it to 25 percent -- this is already good." He also gave his support for the development of fast breeder reactors.
A few days before, Sergey Kirienko, the head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (FAAE), reported to Putin his agency's plan to increase the nuclear portion of electricity generation from the current 16 percent to 25 percent by 2030. Kirienko said that over the next 25 years it will be necessary to build 40 new nuclear power units. He noted that this would be inhibited by a shortage of uranium in Russia, which is why Russia needs to construct fast breeder reactors. He also said that discussions are under way to improve cooperation with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which have large uranium reserves.
Kirienko also reported to Putin about the proposal of a joint enterprise with Iran to enrich uranium in Russia. Iran is interested in this, he said, and talks are ongoing. Kirienko also referred to the deal with Iran by which fuel supplied to the Bushehr nuclear plant will be returned to Russia. This plan, he said, is an example of how nuclear power can be expanded throughout the world.
At the beginning of February, Kirienko spent a day with his top power engineers examining the future development of nuclear power. According to the FAAE Web site, the engineers agreed on the importance of completing the construction of the BN-800 fast breeder reactor at Beloyarskiy by 2012 and to begin now on the next fast reactor project, the construction of a BN-1800 to be operational by 2020.
1. Expert Says Russia, US Have Rough Parity in Naval Nuclear Forces
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Russia and the United States maintain rough parity in the naval strategic nuclear forces, ex-chief of the Russian Navy's main headquarters Admiral Viktor Kravchenko told Interfax.
Kravchenko confirmed that the Russian Navy currently has 12 strategic nuclear submarines equipped with 192 missiles, as the U.S. magazine Foreign Affairs writes. "The figures, reflecting the strength of the navy, are open and are disclosed to the United States each January, as required by the START-I arms reduction treaty. The U.S. provides the same information to Russia," said Kravchenko, indirectly confirming that the U.S. naval strategic nuclear forces comprise 14 strategic submarines with 336 missiles.
Kravchenko agrees with U.S. experts that Russia's fleet of strategic submarines with ballistic missiles has been cut down by 80% as compared to the Soviet navy.
The authors of the article, published in the Foreign Affairs magazine, argue that the U.S. has regained a nuclear monopoly which it last enjoyed in the 1940s and, should the U.S. launch a first strike, Russia would be unable to respond.
For details, see the Interfax Military News Agency wire.
2. Iran Declared Main Threat. United States Reproaches Its Ally in War on Terrorism for Departing from Democracy and Reserves Right to Preemptive Strike
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Combating tyrants, preventive strikes on enemies who possess weapons of mass destruction, and condemnation of Russia for departing from democracy and China for attempting to seize energy resources are the main tenets of the latest edition of the US National Security Strategy. This updated version of the US Administration's main militaryategic and foreign policy document was published by the White House yesterday.
The doctrine of preemptive strikes was first made public by US President George Bush in September 2002. He said then that the United States would be prepared to inflict a strike on an enemy if their possessing weapons of mass destruction posed a threat to US security. Now this idea in a somewhat more scientific form has been elevated to the ranks of the principal tenet of US military doctrine.
"We do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," the 49-page document says. "When the consequences of an attack with weapons of mass destruction are potentially so devastating we cannot stand idly by as grave dangers materialize." One completely new aspect of the US strategic doctrine is the critical assessment of Russia, primarily its domestic political processes. This seems particularly marked if you compare the current and previous versions of the document. Thus, the 2002 national strategy gave a wholly positive assessment of Russian policy. It said that Russia was a "partner in the war on terrorism" for the United States. It was pointed out at the same time that it "is experiencing a process of transition leading to a democratic future."
Now, judging by the text of the document, this assessment has been revised most radically. Recently, Washington believes, Russia "has manifested trends which regrettably point to a diminishing commitment to democratic freedoms and institutions."
The authors of the US National Security Strategy proclaim their intention of "supporting democratic movements and institutions in all countries and cultures with the ultimate objective of bringing an end to tyranny in our world" and at the same time ask Moscow "not to impede" the cause of freedom. In this connection the document says that the future of Russian-US relations "will depend on the foreign and domestic policy pursued by Russia."
The document also contains some criticism of Beijing -- it is asked to follow a course of peaceful development and renounce the "old thinking and actions," which are manifesting themselves, in particular, in the "mercantilist" pursuit of energy sources and in the violation of market laws.
The revised version of the document ranks Iran as the most important threat to US security. It contains the following warning: If the Iranian program for the enrichment of nuclear fuel is not halted by diplomatic efforts, there will be "confrontation." This threat sounds provocative, observers note, drawing attention to the current Security Council discussion of the question of Iran's nuclear program. They point out that this January Bush declared Iran a "serious threat to world security."
The new document contains an even tougher threat. "It will be better for the world when tyrants know that they engage in the development of weapons of mass destruction at the risk of their own destruction," the national security strategy points out. At the same time Iran itself is dubbed a "despotic" regime. The list of despotic regimes also includes North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Myanmar, and Zimbabwe.
Explaining the appearance of such a threatening document, US presidential aide Stephen Hadley, who is responsible for preparing the document, told the that nevertheless it "is not a question of changing but updating Washington's strategy mindful of the past and past events." Why do the harshest words in the draft document that the media received ahead of time concern Iran bypassing North Korea, which has already developed nuclear weapons of its own? "They do apply to North Korea also," Hadley clarified.
The two satellites of Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System /GLONASS/ which were suspended for efficiency enhancement works, are back on line, spokesman for the Roskosmos Federal Space Agency Konstantin Kreidenko told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
"The works on the satellites have been completed. Several hours ago, they were reintegrated into the system and are being used in accordance with their purpose," Kreidenko said.
The GLONASS group currently numbers 17 satellites and two relay units. Earlier, Roskosmos Director Anatoly Perminov said a plan of accelerated deployment of GLONASS satellites by the year 2009 will be submitted to the government before April 1.
The GLONASS group is intended for relaying navigation data and precise time signals to military and civil consumers. According to the federal program, it must achieve the optimal functioning parameters by 2010 and have 24 spacecraft. Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded in late December that the works to launch GLONASS satellites and adapt them for commercial purposes be expedited.
4. Energy Fleet Security. New Tasks for Submarines: To Ensure Undisrupted Exports of Energy Sources From Russia
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The centennial of the Russian submarine fleet was marked yesterday (19 March) by a keel-laying ceremony of the new fourth-generation missile submarine Vladimir Monomakh at the Severodvinsk shipyard. As Vice Admiral Vladimir Masorin, the Russian Navy chief commander, told journalists, Russia will fully update its naval strategic forces within the next 10 years. In his words, the more than six Borey Class submarines, the Vladimir Monomakh being one of them, will be built and sent to the North and Pacific Fleets. Experts noted these words because just recently it was planned to build precisely six missile submarines of this kind.
The naval component of the Russian Armed Forces is obviously going to be strengthened. Within the next 15-20 years, the Navy will receive at least 20 long-range ocean-going frigates, one or two aircraft carriers, several submarines, and a range of warships. In fact, the Russian Navy will be completely renewed with ships of new generation. There are serious political and economic reasons for that.
As retired Major General Pavel Zolotarev, deputy director of the United States and Canada Institute, who earlier headed one of the General Staff's scientific directorates, declared to, one must know how to protect one's economic and geopolitical interests. This task requires above all a powerful navy. "Upholding Russian economic interests in near seas, not maintaining presence in the World Ocean, is the top-priority task of the Navy," Pavel Zolotarev said. He recalled a recent conflict near the Spitsbergen Archipelago between Russian fishermen and Norwegian border troops. Not only will the North-European pipeline, laid along the Baltic Sea bottom, require strengthening of the Russian Navy, but there will also be an issue of protecting the Arctic shelf with its rich mineral resources. "Also, you should not forget about disputed regions in the Far East," Pavel Zolotarev noted.
The North-European pipeline, priced at 4 billion euros, will pump to Western Europe 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas worth about $12.5 billion in current prices. The eliminated need to transport gas across Poland alone will save us $1 billion annually. The pipeline will be of strategic importance for the whole Western Europe, which is why it may not be left without protection, Pavel Zolotarev stressed. Nor may be all shelf hydrocarbon deposits. In January of 2006, Nigerian insurgents attacked sea oil platforms, killing people and taking hostages. Many regions of the oceanic shelf where oil and gas deposits were detected immediately become the bone of contention for neighboring states. This provides grounds for seriously considering strengthening the Navy, including its strategic component.
The Russian Navy has been in decline in the past 15 years. Experts estimate that 22 nuclear submarines, nine diesel submarines, and not more than 29 surface ships would be left collectively in the four fleets and the Caspian Flotilla by 2015. This would mean complete incapacity of the naval component of the Russian Armed Forces. Meanwhile, the construction of new ships was delayed by the shortage of funds. For example, construction of the fourth-generation Class 855 Severodvinsk submarine was started in 1993 and the Borey Project Yuriy Dolgorukiy in 1996. Neither has been completed until now even though, in the words of Admiral Masorin, it takes five to six years to build submarines of this class and one or two years to test them. Also in construction are the Aleksandr Nevskiy (started in 2004) and a Lada Class diesel submarine, whose commissioning is promised for 2006-07.
As Rear Admiral Anatoliy Shlemov, chief of the Russian Navy's Ship-Building Administration, emphasized, "for the first time in recent years, the state defense order is coming closer and closer to the level of the state armaments program. This means that we are going back to the time when the Navy regularly received new equipment, modernized obsolete equipment, and went through timely and complete repairs." In his words, the output of Sevmashpredpriyatiye, which builds nuclear submarines, will grow 1.3-fold in 2006 and inputs of (state) budget funds 1.6-fold.
An elite grouping of new-generation nuclear-powered submarines will be created in Russia. This was announced by Vladimir Putin on the eve of 100th anniversary of the creation of the submarine fleet to be observed on 19 March. According to the President, "the submarine fleet today is not only the country's combat might and a guarantee of security and national interests". But it is above all "sturdy people who are strong in spirit".
Putin was talking with submariners informally, at tea. Among those invited were former Navy Commander-in-Chief Hero of the Soviet Union Vladimir Chernavin, V-Adm (retired) Lev Matushkin, V-Adm (retired) Nikolay Usenko, and twenty active-duty officers -- commanders of nuclear-powered and diesel submarines.
Submariners have always been considered the elite of the navy, and there are grounds for this. The average, statistical commander of a submarine is an officer who is 40 years old and has 16 strategic ballistic missiles under his purview. One salvo from such a submarine, and the largest city in the world or even a whole country ceases to exist. The responsibility is enormous, and that is why service on submarines even in peacetime is considered to be one of the most stressful and dangerous. In addition to responsibility for the ship and its weapons, using the figurative expression of a sailor, service on a submarine is like smoking in a powder magazine because of the extremely limited size of the compartments in which instruments and equipment are installed. An accident in one of them moves further up the chain. Submariners know this perfectly well. Their professionalism and technical training make it possible to maintain a balance of safety, which as a result allows them to perform their combat mission and return to their native base alive.
"The main goal of the state is to create a fleet adequate to the level of modern threats and capable of deterring any military-political pressure on our country," said Vladimir Putin to the submariners. "To create a fleet that ensures the naval power and security of our country."
Today, according to Navy Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Masorin, a decision has been made to preserve a total of three main types of submarines in Russia's submarine fleet; before there were 27 types. This includes the strategic nuclear-powered submarine with ballistic missiles, multirole nuclear-powered submarines with cruise missiles, and attack diesel-electric submarines.
According to the commander-in-chief, in 2006 the first diesel-electric submarine (Project 677) will go join the ranks, and in the spring when the Gulf of Finland opens, it will go out into the Baltic Sea for the final stage of testing. In addition, the strategic nuclear-powered submarine (Project), will be laid on 19 March in Severodvinsk. Two additional submarines of the same class -- the and the -- are now being built in Severodvinsk. It is planned to build a total of 4-6 such submarines, and they will "sign in" to the fleet's combat complement no later than 2010.
Specialists note that the impending modernization of the submarine fleet is truly capable of bringing it to a qualitatively new level. Russian Project-971 third-generation -class submarines in the ocean's depths are practically invisible to Western ships. The appearance of the fourth-generation Project 955 armed with the most modern strategic nuclear-armed missile, the (which can carry up to ten individually guided nuclear warheads), will consolidate this progress even more. According to Putin, this will make it possible "to achieve strategic parity with the leading sea powers, and secure Russia's glory as a great sea power".
A Hero of Russia in the Navy's Elite
Submariners are considered to be the elite of the navy also in the United States. For example, upon his appointment the new commander of a strategic nuclear-powered submarine personally meets the country's president. Such has occurred in Russia only once. In this case the former commander-in-chief of the Navy, Vladimir Kuroyedov, introduced Capt 1st-Rank Gennadiy Lyachin to Vladimir Putin. The commander of the had just returned from a long voyage, as a result of which he was awarded the title of Hero of Russia. Among submariners there are 74 Heroes of the Soviet Union and around 10 Heroes of Russia.
Russia's submarine fleet has 12 strategic missile submarines (Project-667 and SSBN's). A third of the nuclear forces' deterrence potential is on them -- 192 intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying 672 nuclear warheads. There are around 35 multirole missile-torpedo SSN's (mainly Project 971 class and Project-949 class), which intended to escort strategic submarines. In addition, there are around 25 diesel submarines. Their purpose is to guard the coastal region.
President Bush says frequently "we are fighting them over there so they won't come over here." "Them" are transnational terrorists and "over there" is Iraq. The insurgency in Iraq has much to do with al-Qaida's plans for a WMD act of terrorism in the United States, but not the way the White House believes. Assuming the Bush administration is successful in midwifing democracy out of a near-civil war situation in Iraq, the WMD threat level will remain unchanged. High, that is.
Paradoxical though this may seem to Washington's armchair strategists, the defeat of the al-Qaida-Sunni insurgency in Iraq would actually heighten, not lessen, the danger of a 9/11 CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) attack. Defeated by the U.S. in Afghanistan and again in Iraq, al- Qaida would have to conclude that its strategy of forcing the U.S. into a humiliating, Vietnam-like retreat has failed.
Arabic-speaker Professor Gilles Kepel, one of France's leading experts on al-Qaida, published last week "Al-Qaida dans le Texte," an analysis of the public and (intercepted) private utterances of the two Z's -- Ayman Al-Zawahiri (Osama bin Laden's no.2) and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's insurgency honcho in Iraq. Stripped if its complexities, al-Qa-da's strategy, Kepel explains, is to defeat the U.S. in Iraq, use this victory to roll over traditional oil-rich regimes in the Gulf that are security wards of the U.S., and then focus on Israel. But there is now an obstacle that is even greater than the U.S. -- Iran. Tehran, as seen through Zawahiri's geopolitical viewfinder, is already calling the shots in large parts of Iraq. Whether the U.S. stays or leaves Iraq, concludes Zawahiri, it's still Iran's ballgame. Which brings al-Qaida back to its WMD-in-America strategy.
"The Race Between Cooperation and Catastrophe," or why "the (nuclear) threat is outrunning our response" is how Sam Nunn, the former Senator and co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, describes an overarching terrorist construct. The starter's gun for this new race went off at the end of the Cold War. Congress has appropriated almost $12 billion under Nunn-Lugar legislation designed to enhance security in scores of former Soviet and now Russian nuclear weapons and nuclear materials storage sites. Another $20 billion was pledged for the same purpose at a G8 summit of the major industrialized nations in Canada three years ago -- $1 billion by the U.S. and $1 billion by the other seven per year for 10 years.
There has been no cooperation from India in the nuclear security field, according to Matthew Bunn, director of the Atom Project at Harvard. "China," he adds, "has secured one civilian facility."
With over $30 billion in the button-down-the-nukes kitty, over half the security work remains to be done. There are also 43 countries with more than 100 research reactors or related facilities that store enough highly enriched uranium nuclear materials to make several bombs. Only 20 percent of these sites are properly secured, says Nunn, and less than a handful meet U.S. Energy Department security standards, says Bunn. Most countries consider DOE's security criteria too demanding.
Rather than try to steal or buy one of thousands of Russian tactical nukes, or nerve gas artillery shells, a WMD terrorist is far more likely to knock off the night watchman, lower the chain link fence somewhere in Switzerland or Italy, and drive off with sufficient materials for a nuclear device. The actual making of a nuclear bomb after that is the easy part; the recipe is on the Internet.
Sam Nunn, chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says we appear to have forgotten the "devastating, world-changing impact of a nuclear (terrorist) attack. "If a 10-kiloton nuclear device goes off in mid-town Manhattan on a typical work day, it could kill more than half a million people," he explains. Ten kiloton is a plausible yield "for a crude terrorist bomb," according to Nunn. And to haul that volume of explosives would require a freight train one hundred cars long. As a nuclear bomb, it could easily fit on the back of a pickup truck.
Another Nunn scenario has a terrorist group with insider help acquiring a radiological source from an industrial or medical facility; say cesium-137 in the form of powdered cesium chloride. Conventional explosives are used to incorporate cesium into a "dirty bomb," which is then detonated in New York's financial district. A 60-square block area has to be evacuated. Millions flee the city in panic. Only two dozen are killed but billions of dollars of real estate is declared uninhabitable. Cleanup will take years -- and many more billions.
What interests Bin Laden and Zawahiri beyond casualty lists is collateral damage to civil liberties, privacy and the world economy. America, as they see it, would be knocked off its pinnacle. This would be the shot heard around the world and hundreds of millions of either frightened or jubilant Muslims would flock to the Muslim world's black Jolly Roger of white skull and crossbones.
In a routine exchange of information, Russia's chief intelligence officer in Washington notified his CIA liaison officer that al-Qaida operatives had been scouting nuclear storage sites in Russia. It would be a miracle if nothing had been stolen from Russia's long ill-guarded nuclear weapons storage depots during the collapse of the Soviet Union when anything and everything was for sale. We also know from sketches found in al-Qaida's safe houses in Kabul and Kandahar that bin Laden was interested in nuclear bomb design.
Two Pakistani nuclear scientists from Dr. A. Q. Khan's stable were in Kandahar when this reporter was there three months before 9/11.
The distance remaining to near-perfect security can be measured by how Sam Nunn describes the adequacy of the U.S.-Russian response to the terrorist nuclear threat.
On a scale of one to 10," says Nunn, "I would give us about a three, with the last summit between Presidents Bush and Putin moving us closer to a four."
2. Nightmare in Manhattan; If terrorists exploded a nuke in the heart of a big city, how would we cope with the epidemic of radiation sickness that would inevitably follow, asks Bruce Goldman
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A TRUCK pulls up in front of New York City's Grand Central Station, one of the most densely crowded spots in the world. It is a typical weekday afternoon, with over half a million people in the immediate area, working, shopping or just passing through. A few moments later the driver makes his delivery: a 10-kiloton atomic explosion.
Almost instantly, an electromagnetic pulse knocks out all electronics within a radius of 4 kilometres. The shock wave levels every building within a half-kilometre, killing everyone inside, and severely damages virtually all buildings for a kilometre in every direction. Detonation temperatures of millions of degrees ignite a firestorm that rapidly engulfs the area, generating winds of 600 kilometres an hour.
Within seconds, the blast, heat and direct exposure to radiation have killed several hundred thousand people. Perhaps they are the lucky ones. What follows is, if anything, even worse.
The explosion scoops out a crater 20 metres across and 10 metres deep, sending thousands of tonnes of highly radioactive debris into the air as a cloud of dust. What goes up must come down, and radioactive detritus starts piling up.
Within the first hour, enough fallout settles to fatally irradiate tens of thousands of people in the immediate area. Even 20 kilometres downwind, the majority of people caught in the path of the plume are exposed to life-threatening levels of radioactivity. Anyone less than 30 kilometres downwind will need to get out or find shelter, fast. For 150 kilometres or more downwind of the blast, dangerous amounts of fallout continue to drizzle down.
This nightmare scenario is one the US government is taking seriously. In the past two years alone, it has committed hundreds of millions of dollars to dealing with the aftermath of an act of urban nuclear terrorism, or a 9/11-style attack on a nuclear plant.
Making a bomb is not as difficult as you might imagine. The "gun-type" atomic weapon akin to the one dropped on Hiroshima is essentially a matter of shooting one piece of highly enriched uranium into another. Princeton University physicist Frank von Hippel, in a New York Times interview not long after 9/11, estimated that simply dropping a 45-kilogram lump of weapons-grade uranium onto a second piece of a similar size from a height of about 1.8 metres could produce a blast of 5 to 10 kilotons - that is, the explosive force of 5000 to 10,000 tons of TNT. With enough highly enriched uranium in the world to make hundreds of thousands of such weapons, and frequent reports of nuclear material being stolen from the former Soviet Union, it is far from unthinkable that terrorists could get their hands on enough to make a bomb.
In 2004, a US government-funded working group published an estimate of the number of radiation casualties that would follow a 10-kiloton detonation in a mid-sized city of 2 million, the size of Washington DC (Annals of Internal Medicine , vol 140, p 1037). The numbers make for sobering reading: 13,000 killed immediately; 45,000 facing certain death regardless of treatment; 255,000 at risk of dying without hospital treatment; and a further 140,000 in need of observation. Even a 1-kiloton explosion, from a smaller device or an imperfectly executed detonation, would produce perhaps a third to a half that number of radiation casualties, according to group member Jamie Waselenko of the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, Tennessee.
It is the quarter of a million lives that could be saved that are exercising the minds of US policymakers. All of those casualties will be suffering from acute radiation syndrome, otherwise known as radiation sickness. All are potential survivors, but at present there would be little that doctors could do for them.
Most of what is known about radiation sickness comes from animal studies and accidents, and from medical records from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The syndrome is a collection of symptoms that get progressively worse with increasing exposures. The simplest measure of exposure is a unit called a gray - the number of joules of radiation energy absorbed per kilogram of tissue.
Any exposure above 2 grays or so is deadly serious. People irradiated to this level or higher quickly get sick, then get better again. However, this "latent phase" is only temporary. Some time later, from a few days to a month, they fall ill again, and often die. Not surprisingly, the more radiation you absorb, the more organs are involved, the quicker the immediate symptoms come on and the shorter the latent phase.
The body's most susceptible vital tissue is the bone marrow, specifically the stem cells within it that give rise to new blood cells. These are impaired at doses as low as half a gray and are usually wiped out completely and permanently above 5 grays. When the stem cells die, blood-cell counts - most critically those of neutrophils and platelets - start to drop, eventually plunging to zero after days or weeks. Without neutrophils, the first-responders of the immune system, radiation victims are at high risk of opportunistic infections. Losing platelets is also seriously bad news: without them blood cannot clot, leading to potentially fatal bleeding from even the smallest wound.
Upwards of 5 grays, the gastrointestinal tract is also affected. Radiation kills any rapidly dividing cells, such as the ones lining the intestinal tract. The resulting damage can cause gut bacteria to leak into the bloodstream, where they overwhelm the already compromised immune system and cause septic shock. At exposures above 10 grays, the central nervous system is damaged too, and death is certain, with or without treatment.
The standard treatment for radiation syndrome is "supportive care": blood and platelet transfusions, antimicrobials, fluids, anti-emetics and other "comfort measures". These treatments are better than nothing but are often not enough, and would be extremely difficult to deliver on a mass scale in the aftermath of a nuclear attack. Which means that despite receiving technically survivable doses of radiation, a large proportion of those 255,000 people will die.
The US government is determined to shift the odds in their favour. "What we're aiming to do is to be able to treat every casualty," says Norm Coleman of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, who has been helping the Department of Health and Human Services plan its response to a nuclear attack.
The government is putting its money where its mouth is. In 2005 it awarded a total of $47 million to several groups of radiation researchers, including $29 million to the newly formed Centers for Medical Countermeasures against Radiation (CMCR). Their mission is to gain a better understanding of the biology of radiation damage, find faster ways of diagnosing radiation exposure levels, and discover better drugs. In July 2004 President Bush signed the Bioshield Act into law, committing $5.6 billion to counter nuclear, biological and chemical threats. And late last year, the government put out a call for companies to develop drugs that preserve and restore neutrophil counts in radiation syndrome, with secondary emphasis on platelets. So far no such drugs have been approved in the US, but there are candidates.
One obvious option is G-CSF (granulocyte colony-stimulating factor), a cytokine that stimulates the bone marrow to pump out new blood cells. Sold by Amgen of Thousand Oaks, California, to treat neutrophil loss caused by cancer therapy, G-CSF works by preventing the death of the bone-marrow precursor cells destined to become neutrophils, and by boosting their rate of proliferation.
G-CSF is not yet licensed for radiation sickness, but it has been used in 28 cases of accidental radiation exposure and boosted neutrophil counts in 25 of them (although many of the patients died anyway). The animal results also look good. In November, Tom MacVittie of the University of Maryland in Baltimore reported that G-CSF, in combination with supportive care, improved survival rates in irradiated dogs. The US government already has large amounts of G-CSF stored in a strategic national stockpile.
Even so, there are serious doubts over G-CSF's suitability for mass administration in the event of a nuclear terror attack. The drug is expensive, up to $400 per dose, and a patient would typically need daily doses for at least two weeks. It can't be left unrefrigerated for more than 24 hours. Worse still, although it has been given to thousands of cancer patients, side effects are common and can be severe, says Waselenko. Another Amgen cytokine, thrombopoietin (TPO), has shown promise in platelet deficiency, but has been ruled out as a radiation countermeasure because it sometimes causes life-threatening side effects.
Cytokines' adverse effects present doctors treating radiation syndrome with a dilemma. To save lives you need to treat everyone who might have been exposed, but diagnosing exposures with any real precision takes days, and you don't want to give a drug with potentially serious side effects to people who don't actually need it. One quick-and-dirty sign of serious exposure is nausea and vomiting. The trouble is that almost half of those with dangerous radiation exposure won't vomit, while large numbers of people who are merely traumatised will.
Compounding the problem is the fact that after a detonation, many people will probably be instructed to hunker down in a sheltered spot such as a large building until the fallout has diminished enough to make a dash for it. "These people are going to be several days from even being evaluated," says Waselenko. But you don't have days. G-CSF only works if started within a day or two of irradiation.
So the search is on for better drugs. An ideal radiation countermeasure would be effective, cheap, and easy to make and administer. It would have a long shelf life, minimal side effects if given to someone who turned out not to need it, and would still work even if administered days after exposure. One drug, a steroid called 5-androstenediol or 5-AED, seems to hit most of those targets.
5-AED is cheap, chemically stable and apparently very safe. Developed by Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals of La Jolla, California, as an adjunct to chemotherapy, 5-AED was identified as a radioprotectant by Mark Whitnall of the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1996. It is now being jointly developed as a radiation sickness drug by AFRRI and Hollis-Eden.
Last October, Hollis-Eden announced that in their clinical trial 5-AED significantly increased platelets and neutrophils, without adverse effects, in a group of non-irradiated human volunteers. And in a study led by haematologist Gerard Wagemaker of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, reported at the annual meeting of the American Society for Hematology in Atlanta, Georgia, in December 2005, 5-AED significantly reduced symptoms in irradiated rhesus monkeys and accelerated the recovery of their neutrophils, platelets, red blood cells and all-important stem cells.
"This steroid exactly mimics the actions of [the platelet-stimulating cytokine] TPO and G-CSF combined - so far, the most effective combination of cytokines for radiation damage to the bone marrow," says Wagemaker.
Although 5-AED is AFRRI's most advanced and, to date, star performer, it's not perfect. Like G-CSF, you need to get it to people quickly: it has yet to be shown effective if used more than a couple of hours after exposure.
Whitnall's team is also looking at other compounds. They have identified some analogues of vitamin E that have mild radioprotective effects in rodents when given prior to irradiation. "At this point we don't really know how they work, though," admits Whitnall. A soybean isoflavone called genistein also appears to provide modest levels of radioprotection, with virtually no side effects. Another very early-stage option is based on stem cells .
Some other drugs are also racking up good results in mice. One agent, a protein isolated from a parasitic microbe, temporarily switches off cells' programmed suicide apparatus, according to Andre Gudkov, chief scientific officer of the agent's developer, Cleveland Biolabs of Cleveland, Ohio. Fewer self-destructing cells seems to translate into higher survival rates for irradiated mice. Another molecule, developed by Proteome Systems of Sydney, Australia, mimics the ability of two closely paired mitochondrial enzymes, superoxide dismutase and catalase, to scavenge for free radicals, and can also keep irradiated mice alive.
The drive to develop radiation countermeasures could have some everyday pay-offs. For one thing, drugs such as 5-AED might allow us to go back to nuclear power with more confidence. And as Wagemaker points out, ageing populations will become increasingly vulnerable to blood disorders, just as the supply of donors will be dropping. "It is expected that the number of platelet infusions that are needed will at least double in 10 years' time," he warns.
No one knows the real odds of a nuclear attack on a big city. Hopefully, the nightmare will never come true, but if it does, at least there may be a stash of lifesaving drugs waiting in the wings.
Saved by a cell
Drugs are not the only option for treating people whose bone marrow has been badly damaged by radiation. Cellerant Therapeutics of San Carlos, California, is developing a therapy that is a halfway house between a bone-marrow transplant and a blood transfusion.
After the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, doctors attempted to give bone-marrow transplants to some lethally exposed firefighters. They had little success, in part because it takes weeks for an injection of bone-marrow stem cells to replenish a patient's white blood cells. Cellerant's approach relies on cells called progenitors, which are already part-way along the developmental path leading from stem cell to blood cell and so provide an almost instant supply of replacement blood cells.
Progenitor cells grow easily in the lab and can be frozen until needed. Once thawed and infused into a vein, they start producing neutrophils and other blood cells within a matter of days, and stick around in the body for about six weeks. By then the patient's own damaged bone marrow should be starting to bounce back. And unlike other treatments, progenitor cell therapy ought to work even if it is started several days after exposure.
Radiation biologists like Cellerant's approach. "It makes perfect sense," says Nicholas Dainiak of Yale University. It could also be used in conjunction with drugs such as 5-AED that stimulate the surviving bone marrow.
So will it work in practice? Mice whose bone marrow has been almost completely wiped out survive infections if given a single infusion. In 2007, Cellerant hopes to begin trials in cancer patients who need near-lethal doses of radiation and chemotherapy.
1. After many delays, program to ship HEU spent fuel back to Russia begins
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DOE's Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) reached a much-anticipated milestone last month, as a shipment of spent high-enriched uranium (HEU) research reactor fuel made its way from Uzbekistan to Russia, according to sources inside and outside the U.S. government.
A U.S. government source said four shipments would be necessary to return the more than 50 kilograms of spent Uzbek HEU fuel.
DOE has not publicly announced the Uzbekistani shipment, but a chart distributed at a Feb. 9 "town hall" meeting with contractors and others indicated at least one shipment had taken place.
One of GTRI's goals is to collect fresh and spent HEU from around the world. The part of the program dealing with U.S.-origin fuel has been taking back fresh and spent fuel for years; a similar program for Russian-origin fuel, under which the fuel is returned to Russia, is more recent.
A presentation slide from the Feb. 9 meeting shows that 10 kg of HEU have been returned to Russia in spent fuel, out of a total program goal of 1,289 kg. A similar chart that DOE produced in December showed that none had been returned. According to DOE's tally, 122 kg of the 405 kg of HEU in Russian-origin fresh fuel covered by the current program has been returned.
Last year, the Czech Republic's VR-1 research reactor sent irradiated fuel to Russia, but the reactor operated at such low power that the material was not considered spent fuel (NF, 10 Oct. '05, 6). The Uzbekistani spent fuel, said a Europe-based observer who follows the program closely, is therefore the first "real" spent fuel to be shipped under the Russian fuel-return part of the program.
The shipment had been repeatedly delayed because of the need for an "ecological expertise," or environmental impact analysis in Russia. Rosatom, Russia's nuclear energy agency, submitted the environmental documents to the country's nuclear regulators last July (NF, 18 July '05, 9).
U.S. officials and others had hoped that Russia would prepare a programmatic environmental analysis so that the Uzbek shipments would open the doors for spent fuel from the more than a dozen other countries that are part of the Russian fuel-return program. Ultimately, Russia decided it needed to carry out a separate analysis for each case.
But the Europe-based observer said there were still hopes that the Uzbek case could serve as a model and expedite the succeeding shipments. He pointed to an IAEA "consultancy" meeting that is taking place this week, with U.S., Russian, Uzbek, and Kazakh participants, to spell out "concrete steps" that the later countries could follow. (The Uzbekistan-to-Russia route passes through Kazakhstan.)
A non-official U.S. source said the Uzbek spent fuel was split into four shipments because of a shortage of suitable casks.
DOE envisions the Russian fuel-return program ramping up its activities in DOE's fiscal 2007, which begins Oct. 1. Under the budget request, that program would double its funding, from the $14.7-million Congress appropriated for FY-06 to $30.0-million in FY-07.
Also slated for a major increase is the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (Rertr) program, which works to convert research and test reactors, and medical-isotope production facilities, from HEU to low-enriched uranium (LEU). Funding for that program would be increased from $17.7-million in FY-06 to $32.1-million in FY-07. Part of that money is to begin conversion of three U.S. reactors?at Oregon State University, Purdue University, and Washington State University, according to a second U.S. official. Work is already under way on the reactors at Texas A&M and the University of Florida (NF, 11 April '05, 5). According to DOE's detailed "budget justification," the department also plans to convert five non-U.S. reactors in FY-07.
The "emerging threats and gap materials" program would get a relatively small boost, from $5-million in FY-06 to $5.68-million in FY-07. That program covers nuclear materials not addressed elsewhere in GTRI or other DOE efforts.
According to documents distributed at the Feb. 9 meeting, materials potentially eligible for the gap program include U.S.-origin spent fuel not covered by the current U.S. spent-fuel acceptance program; U.S.-origin fresh HEU not covered under the take-back program (DOE cites material in Canada and Italy); separated plutonium and plutonium-bearing materials (DOE cites material in Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany); and HEU materials that are from neither Russia nor the U.S. (DOE cites indigenous South-African material, British-origin material in Chile, and Chinese-origin material in Syria, Iran, Ghana, and Nigeria).
Larger effort needed?
Jack Edlow, whose company convened the Foreign Research Spent Nuclear Fuel Return Group for non-U.S. operators, said progress on the so-called gap material has been "very slow." That group was focused on bringing back material?fresh and spent HEU and LEU?that is covered by the current DOE program.
Last month, Edlow and Gerhard Gruber, a senior manager with RWE Nukem, announced the formation of the Global Nuclear Cleanout Coalition to continue the fuel return group's work "but to increase its activities to include additional materials," according to a Jan. 23 press release. Edlow said last week the group's members see themselves as "partners" with DOE in implementing the department's strategic plan. "Sometimes people need help to get things done," he said.
Edlow said a coalition contingent met this month in Washington with U.S. executive-branch officials, congressional staff, and environmental and nonproliferation advocacy groups.
Separately, at a Feb. 16 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) asked Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman if GTRI was "hindered by a lack of money."
In particular, Levin asked Bodman if there are countries that want to convert their reactors but can't because of a lack of funds. Bodman said he didn't immediately know the answer but would provide it to the committee.
Edlow said the answer to the question "clearly is yes," as there are countries that are prevented from converting by financial and other factors. He cited Turkey as an example. He said his group had not met with Levin's staff.
At the Feb. 9 meeting, Andrew Bieniawski, DOE's assistant deputy administrator for global threat reduction, said GTRI was pursuing the possibility of foreign contributions to pay for some program costs. He said the U.S. had been approached by "several countries" about that possibility.
He said the GTRI office was developing legislation to allow the program to use the foreign funds, in addition to funds provided through the congressional appropriations process. In the FY-05 defense authorization bill, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) included a similar provision for a DOE program that is working to shut down the last three operating plutonium production reactors in Russia and replace their heat and electricity output with fossil-fuel plants.
Under DOE's schedule, the two reactors in Seversk are to shut down by December 2008; the third reactor, at Zheleznogorsk, is to shut down about two years later. In its budget request last year, DOE had said it was seeking international financial support for the Zheleznogorsk project.
But that funding apparently has not materialized?at least not to the degree DOE had hoped. Last year, DOE requested $2.5-million from Congress for Zheleznogorsk because of the anticipated boost from foreign contributions. Congress ended up providing $46.7-million to keep the project on schedule, in spite of the shortfall in foreign contributions. For FY-07, DOE is requesting $119.9-million.
In its FY-07 budget justification, DOE said it had received $29.43-million in foreign commitments: $20-million from the U.K., $7.3-million from Canada, $1.3-million from the Netherlands, $580,000 from Finland, and $250,000 from South Korea.
DOE requested $84.7-million for the Seversk project, a drop from the $125.7-million appropriated in FY-06. DOE said the decrease "reflects waning construction and refurbishment activities as [the] project approaches the 2008 completion date."
1. Nuclear subs in northwest Russia expected to be dismantled by 2010
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Nuclear submarines in northwest Russia will likely be dismantled by 2010, a Norwegian official familiar with the work told Nucleonics Week.
There are 71 nuclear submarines with 130 reactor cores still to be dismantled in the region. Thirty-two have been dismantled.
Robert Kvile, director of the section for northern and polar issues and nuclear safety, said one reason work is progressing well is the amount of international aid that is being provided to dismantle both strategic and nonategic subs. He pointed to Canada, the U.K. and Germany as examples.
Kvile said that dismantling nuclear submarines in the Pacific is going more slowly because there isn't the same level of financing. There aer 56 submarines with 101 cores still to be dismantled in the Pacific. Four have been dismantled already.
Late last year, contracts were signed for dismantling of the ship Lepse. The ship is loaded with spent nuclear fuel as well as liquid and solid nuclear waste. It is still in the water, about 2 kilometers (about 1.2 miles) from the city of Murmansk, and is in very poor condition.
A project management committee headed by Magnus Rystedt, who represents the Nordic Environment Finance Corp. (Nefco), is currently evaluating the best dismantling options and how the ship can be moved. That is expected to take about 18 months and work will then be put out for tender. The whole project is estimated to cost U.S. $30-million and will be financed under the European Commission's Tacis program.
Norway allocated a record 110-million kroner (U.S.$16.3-million) for all types of nuclear cleanup work in northwest Russia this year. One of the high priority projects is to continue replacing strontium batteries in Russian lighthouses with solar batteries. Kvile said that project is expected to be finished by 2009.
1. Western Experts Visit Site of Next Russian Chemical Destruction Plant
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A delegation of experts from Great Britain and Canada has arrived in Kizner today in order to take a look at the site selected for the construction of the third Russian complex for the destruction of chemical weapons.
After a meeting with the head of administration in Kiznerskiy District, they intend to visit the location of the future facility and also to take at look around the office of the public relations centre built with the support of these countries which are Russia's partners in international Global Partnership programme for the destruction of chemical weapons.
"More than 5,700 t of lewisite are in storage in Kizner's storage facilities, which is 14.2 per cent of the overall reserves of poisonous substances on Russia's territory," ITAR-TASS was told at an information centre organized with the involvement of the Green Cross public organization.
"The construction of the facility to destroy poisonous substances is planned for the beginning of 2007 while a feasibility study and all project documentation should be prepared by December 2006," the agency's sources specified.
Following the commissioning of the second phase of the complex in Kambarka, which took place on 21 March, the facility in Kizner is a priority facility in the federal programme to destroy reserves of chemical weapons in the Russian Federation. Its commissioning is planned for 2008, while it is planned to start the destruction of lewisite in 2009 and to complete it in 2012.
2. OPCW Executive Council Backs Russia's Chemical Disarmament Deadline
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The Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) recommended at its 44th session that the organization's member-countries approve December 21, 2009 as the deadline for the completion of the third stage of Russia's chemical weapons disposal program.
Forty-five percent of Russia's nuclear arms, or 18,000 tonnes of chemical agents, are to be disposed of during the program's third phase, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website.
"We welcome the decision of the Executive Council to advise the conference's member-nations to support this deadline," the ministry said.
"Predicted, coordinated, targeted and effective international support plays a key role" in the destruction of chemical weapons in Russia in compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, it said.
"We will continue to work together with foreign states to secure broader support and make the assistance we are receiving in the chemical disarmament area more effective," the ministry said.
3. Second Phase of Chemical Weapons Elimination Facility To Open 21 Mar
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The second phase of the industrial complex for the elimination of chemical weapons is to be put into operation here on Tuesday.
Valeriy Malyshev, deputy chief of the conventional problems department of the Udmurtia government, has told Itar-Tass, "The construction of the facility is completed and is to be put into operation right on schedule. The first phase of the complex was brought into operation three weeks ago, on March 1. As of now, the first 13.3 tonnes of lewisite have been eliminated at Kambarka".
A State acceptance commission, led by Valeriy Kapashin, chief of the Federal departmenr for the safe storage and elimination of chemical weapons, arrives at Kambarka on Tuesday. After an acceptance certificate is signed, the start-up command will ensue.
Kambarka is one of Russia's seven arsenals of chemical weapons. More than 6,300 tonnes of lewisite are stored here, which accounts for 15.9 percent of all stocks of particularly dangeorus toxic agents kept on the territory of the Russian Federation. The entire amount of lewisite from the Kambarka storage facilities must be eliminated before the year 2010.
4. The Chemical Weapons Destruction Enterprise in the Udmurt City of Kambarka Is Safe
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The enterprise for the destruction of chemical weapons in the Udmurt city of Kambarka is safe. This was reported on Wednesday at a press conference in Yekaterinburg by Yevgeniy Samokhvalov, a member of the state commission for the acceptance of the commission and the chief of the state fire oversight administration of the Volga-Urals Regional Center of the Russian Ministry of Civil Defense, Emergencies, and Natural Disasters.
"Everything in Kambarka is fine from the standpoint of fire safety," he said.
Samokhvalov also remarked that the industrial technology for the destruction of chemical weapons is quite safe. The chemicals produced by this process can be used in medicine. Furthermore, the process will produce enough to meet the needs of Russia and of other countries as well, he stressed.
1. Russian Defense Minister Visits Nuclear Waste Storage Facility
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Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov, who is on a working trip to Krasnoyarsk Territory, visited the Zheleznogorsk Mining and Chemical Combine today. It is a unique underground nuclear enterprise.
Founded in 1950 to process weapons-grade plutonium, this secure facility is now part of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom). Two of its three reactors were taken down after international nuclear arms reduction agreements were signed in 1992. The combine is one of the enterprises on which the 100,000ong population of Zheleznogorsk depends.
During his visit, the deputy prime minister, who handles the defence industry complex for the government, is accompanied by Army Gen Nikolay Abroskin, director of the Federal Special Construction Agency, and Lt-Gen Vladimir Vekhovtsev, head of the 12th Main Directorate of the Russian Defence Ministry. The 12th Main Directorate is responsible for the safe storage and transportation of the nuclear munitions from the armament of the Strategic Missile Troops, the navy and the air force.
The enterprise's main task is currently the long-term and interim storage of spent nuclear fuel from former Soviet and foreign nuclear power stations. Overall storage capacity is 6,000 tonnes. Spent uranium is held in special capsules in distilled water at a depth of 2.5 m. and a temperature of 30-35 degrees. After 15-20 years under a layer of water, the radioactivity of nuclear power station waste is so reduced it can then be stored without water. There is already a project to build dry storage in Zheleznogorsk.
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