Partnership for Global Security: Leading the World to a Safer Future
Home Projects Publications Issues Official Documents About RANSAC Nuclear News 4/15/13
Location: Home / Projects & Publications / News
Sitemap Contact
Google www PGS
Nuclear News - 5/24/2006
RANSAC Nuclear News, May 24, 2006
Compiled By: Roman Sehling

A.  Nuclear Security
    1. RF atomic chief, US sec of energy note successful nuclear coop, Alexander Plakhov, ITAR-TASS (5/23/2006)
    3. Russian Interior Troops To Continue Protection of Nuclear Plants Despite Privatization , ITAR-TASS (5/18/2006)
    4. EU, Russia Launch Project on Export Control of Dual-Use Items, Interfax (5/18/2006)
B.  Nuclear Forces
    1. Spending in Exchange for Equipment. Sergey Ivanov Drawing Up State Defense Order for 2007, Dmitry Litovkin, Izvestia (5/23/2006)
    2. Main Authority for National Defense Funding: Military-Industrial Commission Will Form the State Defense Order, Viktor Myasnikov , Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye (5/22/2006)
    3. A Launch Under Attack Is Inevitable: Before 2015 Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces Will Receive Standardized Missiles Capable of Penetrating the Most Advanced Missile Defense Systems, Aleksandr Babakin, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye (5/20/2006)
    4. Military chief: Russia close to building missile system able to penetrate all defenses, Henry Meyer, Associated Press (5/18/2006)
    5. Russia To Develop Laser, Kinetic Energy Weapons for Missile Defense , Interfax (5/17/2006)
    6. Russia: Missile Reduction Treaty Will Not Harm Russia's Nuclear Potential , Interfax (5/17/2006)
    8. RUSSIA MUST KEEP CLOSE EYE ON USA'S MISSILE DEFENCE PROGRAMME, SAYS DESIGNER, BBC Monitoring International Reports/Interfax-AVN (5/16/2006)
    9. Navy Chief Says Severodvinsk Submarine To Be Completed , Interfax-AVN (5/16/2006)
    10. Russian Designer Says New Medium-Range Missiles Raise Serious Issues , ITAR-TASS (5/16/2006)
    11. It's too soon to say the arms race is over..., Alexei Nikolsky, What the Papers Say (5/16/2006)
    12. 'People at the Ministry of Defense Know What for Us Is the Prime Consideration' -- This Is the First Time in the History of Presidential Messages That So Much Attention Has Been Devoted to the Armed Forces, Vadim Solovyev, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye (5/15/2006)
C.  Nuclear Safety
    1. Russian nuclear weapons plant passes safety inspections , Interfax-AVN (5/19/2006)
    2. Military prosecutors share Bellona’s concern over vandalised RTG , Rashid Alimov, Bellona, Bellona Foundation (5/19/2006)
D.  Russia - Iran
    2. How Iran Will Respond to US Attack, Nadezhda Popova and Georgiy Stepanov, Izvestia (5/18/2006)
    3. Iran Gives Up Candy, Vasily Bubnov, (5/17/2006)
    4. Iranian Gambit. Vladimir Putin and Mahmud Ahmadinezhad Will Meet at the Height of a Crisis Over Tehran's Nuclear Program, Yuliya Petrovskaya and Artur Blinov, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (5/17/2006)
    5. Russia seeks thaw in frosty rhetoric, Richard Beeston, The Times  (5/17/2006)
    6. MANY OF IRAN'S ACTIONS CONFUSE US, Nargiz Asadova, Defense and Security/Kommersant (5/17/2006)
    7. In the Event of War We Will Be Able To Cause Immense Damage to the Americans, Nadezhda Popova, Izvestia (5/16/2006)
    8. Security Guarantees for Tehran Are Possible. IAEA Head Believes That Uranium Enrichment Should Be Accepted, Yuliya Petrovskaya, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (5/16/2006)
E.  Nuclear Industry
    1. US restrictions on Russia atom may be lifted in year - Kiriyenko, ITAR-TASS (5/24/2006)
    2. RUSSIA KEEN TO PENETRATE US ENERGY MARKET - NUCLEAR CHIEF, BBC Monitoring International Reports (5/23/2006)
    3. Gov't approves zero import duty on uranium , RosBusinessConsulting (5/22/2006)
    4. Kirienko to Push for Lifting Curbs on Russian Uranium in the U.S., Kommersant (5/19/2006)
    5. Joint-Stock Atom, Dmitriy Smirnov, (5/19/2006)
    6. Energy Security Is Our Highest Priority, Atompressa (5/18/2006)
    7. Russia Grapples With an Atomic Dilemma, Yuriy Humber , Moscow Times (5/16/2006)
    8. Joint venture in Kazakhstan to start uranium production in 2006 , RIA Novosti (5/15/2006)
F.  Submarine Dismantlement
    1. Russian yard scraps Victor-class nuclear sub with Canadian funds , Interfax-AVN (5/19/2006)
    2. Volgograd sub cannibalized in Severodvinsk using Canadian funds, Russia & CIS Military Newswire (5/17/2006)
    3. Russia getting rid of floating Chernobyls , Viktor Litovkin, RIA Novosti (5/16/2006)
    4. NUCLEAR SUBMARINE BEING SCRAPPED AT RUSSIA'S NORTHERN SHIPYARD, BBC Monitoring International Reports/Interfax-AVN (5/15/2006)
G.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy
    1. A NEW NUCLEAR AGE? HOW TO COUNTER THE THREAT OF PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS , Sergei Karaganov, Defense and Security/Rossiiskaya Gazeta (5/22/2006)
    2. U.S. Offers Draft Treaty To Halt Fissile Material Production; Attempts to break negotiating stalemate by removing verification provisions, Wendy Lubetkin, U.S. Department of State/Bureau of International Information Programs (5/18/2006)
    3. Russia To Have 32 Nuclear Test-Monitoring Stations , Interfax (5/18/2006)
    5. Making things rough, Yuri Ushakov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (5/18/2006)
    6. WORSE THAN THE COLD WAR, Nikolai Zlobin, Defense and Security/Nezavisimaya Gazeta (5/15/2006)
H.  Global Nuclear Energy Partnership
    1. Uranium a debate we cannot put off, Paul Kelly, The Australian (5/24/2006)
    2. Glad to sell, not lease, uranium, Michael Gordon, The Age (5/17/2006)
    3. Fuel program may violate U.S.-Japan nuclear pact, Japan Times (5/14/2006)
    4. We want big role in nuclear club: Howard, Michael Gordon, The Age (5/14/2006)
I.  Plutonium Disposition
    1. MOX money remains in limbo; House-Senate compromise could restore funds, Josh Gelinas, Augusta Chronicle (5/22/2006)
    2. House committee nixes $368M budget for SRS project, Dalia Naamani-Goldman, The IslandPacket.Com (5/19/2006)
J.  Chemical Weapons Destruction
K.  G8 Global Partnership
    1. G8 leaders will not discuss Russian democracy at the summit - Shuvalov, G8 2006 Summit Website (5/23/2006)
    2. Ministry of Industry on Russia G8 chairmanship, SKRIN Market & Corporate News (5/23/2006)
L.  Cooperative Threat Reduction
    1. Ukraine To Eliminate 3 Nuclear Weapons Storage Facilities by 2007, ITAR-TASS (5/18/2006)
M.  Russia - DPRK
    1. AMERICANS NEED THE NORTH KOREAN PROBLEM; Tension interferes with realization of international energy and transport projects in Northeast Asia, Alexander Zakharovich Zhebin, Defense and Security/Nezavisimaya Gazeta (5/24/2006)
N.  WMD Terrorism
    1. Telling the truth to the terrified; Mass hysteria; Anxiety as well as poisoning causes sickness, Economist (5/20/2006)
O.  Official Statements

A.  Nuclear Security

RF atomic chief, US sec of energy note successful nuclear coop
Alexander Plakhov
(for personal use only)

Head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency Sergei Kiriyenko and US Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman noted the successful development in nuclear security cooperation. ``We have something to be proud of and what to report to the presidents,'' Sergei Kiriyenko told journalists on Monday after a meeting of the group of high level that had been established after the US-Russia summit in Bratislava.

According to Kiriyenko, the partakers of the meeting of the group that is drafting a report on nuclear security cooperation and overcoming a nuclear terrorism threat noted that ``much have been done for physical protection and the system of control and accounting in the two countries'' as well as for the nuclear fuel supplies from foreign research centers. Sergei Kiriyenko stressed that the main results were summed up at the meeting, and the document will be presented to the presidents of the countries in July.

Energy security was also discussed at the Washington talks, the Russian atomic industry chief said. ``We share the view that it is impossible to ensure the energy security in the world for the next 30-40 years without the large-scale development of atomic energy. This needs cooperation from us, as the atomic energy market cannot be formed in one country, it is a global market,'' Kiriyenko emphasized.

Developing this market it is needed ``to ensure the right of each country for the access to a cheap and effective atomic energy'' and simultaneously ``guarantee the strict observance of the non-proliferation regime,'' he pointed out. According to him, ``new approaches'' should be outlined in the initiative to create a system of international centers put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin in January and in the idea of global partnership voiced by US President George Bush. ``The aims and tasks set in the initiatives of the two presidents coincide by 90 percent, and we can pool our efforts, and as we can do it, we must do it,'' Kiriyenko remarked.

On Monday, Kiriyenko met with Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Richard Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Pete Domenici and Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Nils Diaz.

Return to Menu

BBC Monitoring International Reports/RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

A government export control commission chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov, at a meeting on Monday [22 May], discussed some issues of the Russian Federation policy in the sphere of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the government's press service told journalists today.

The commission also addressed issues dealing with the process of streamlining the export control system.

In particular, the meeting discussed measures to ensure that Russia implements UN Security Council resolution No 1540, as well as the strategy and tactics of action in the group of nuclear suppliers, the press service said.

Incidentally, it was pointed out that consolidating "the nonproliferation regime" on the basis of unconditional implementation of all provisions of international law acquires a most important role against the background of the existing serious threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and in the context of a terrorist threat.

The meeting also worked out a set of coordinated measures for all interested federal departments, which are aimed at creating conditions for Russia's accession to the so-called Australian Group within which a multilateral export control procedure is functioning efficiently.

The export control commission will hold its next meeting in August, the press service said.

Return to Menu

EU, Russia Launch Project on Export Control of Dual-Use Items
(for personal use only)

The European Union and Russia have launched a joint project to improve
export control of dual-use items, with a budget of 3 million euros.

"The project we are officially launching today reflects our commitment to
develop a mature and balanced economic relation with Russia in the perspective
of a Common Economic Space and also responds to the need to better and jointly
address global challenges, in particular, the non-proliferation of Weapons of
Mass Destruction, through the creation of a Common Space of External Security,"
Head of the European Commission Delegation to Russia Marc Franco said
presenting the project on Thursday.

"Obviously, European security does not end at the border, and it is clear to
us that Russia must be a key partner for implementing this EU Strategy," Franco

The Russian project leader, Federal Technical and Export Control Service
deputy chief Sergei Yakimov, said this was the first project sponsored by TACIS
that is oriented toward joint actions in solving pressing international
problems like the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and
international terrorism.

"Nonproliferation and export control are the fields where our long- term
interests fully coincide and where we must act together. Our common aim is to
put up a reliable barrier to spreading of WMD, missiles and missile
technologies. For Russia, dealing with this task is one of the priorities of
its national policy, and cooperation with the European Union is a highly
important component thereof," Yakimov said.

Return to Menu

Russian Interior Troops To Continue Protection of Nuclear Plants Despite Privatization
(for personal use only)

Interior troops to guard, as before, important state projects, including ten
nuclear power stations, as well as nuclear-powered icebreakers at their
ports of registration, Itar-Tass learnt from commander-in-chief of interior
troops Nikolai Rogozhkin, commenting on a statement by head of the Federal
Nuclear Energy Agency (Rosatom) Sergei Kirienko (made on Wednesday)
on launching privatization of atomic energy facilities.

"The statement was not a surprise for us. At meetings with the heads of
Rosatom and the Russian Industry Ministry, we spelled out in detail prospects
for ensuring security at nuclear power stations in connection with planned
structural changes in the nuclear energy industry. We confirmed the thesis on
invariability of tasks, with which the Interior Troops are charged," the
general emphasized.

According to Rogozhkin, while guarding important state projects, special
attention is given to their anti-terrorist protection. Military units are
equipped with the latest systems of guarding, advanced materiel and weapons.
"Last year alone, our servicemen apprehended 39,000 transgressors, including
370 - for attempts to penetrate inside protected zones. The economic effect of
military service topped 200 million roubles," Rogozhkin underlined.

Return to Menu

B.  Nuclear Forces

Spending in Exchange for Equipment. Sergey Ivanov Drawing Up State Defense Order for 2007
Dmitry Litovkin
(for personal use only)

How the 2005 state defense order was fulfilled and what awaits the Russian Army in 2007 was the topic of discussion at the first session of the Russian government's Military Industry Commission. This body (which has exceedingly wide powers, incidentally) has already started work in remote army units, and the defense industry community in the capital is expecting big changes.

The commission is chaired by vice premier and Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov, who has been given the right to submit draft presidential edicts and orders on issues within the military-industrial complex's terms of reference. Military-industrial complex decisions can be drawn up in the form of government decrees and orders. The commission has been given the right to make immediate decisions about the development and production of arms and military and specialized equipment. Vladislav Putilin has been made Ivanov's deputy, with the rank of federal minister. Chief of the General Staff, General of the Army Yuriy Baluyevskiy and Economic Development Ministry head German Gref are also commission members. Aleksandr Goyev, general director of the Zverev plant in Krasnogorsk (he will be responsible for ground-based and space-rocket arms systems); Vladimir Pospelov, vice president of the State Nuclear Ship-Building Center (Severodvinsk) and former head of Rossudostroyeniye (federal ship-building agency) (ship-building and the Navy); and Aleksandr Bobryshev, general director of the Chkalov Aircraft-Manufacturing Company in Novosibirsk (aircraft building), have been made commission associates responsible for thematic trends in defense projects. These people will be staff associates of the commission and will have to leave their previous jobs.

The Russian Army is rearming. In recent years the state defense order has not just been comparable with the amount of foreign economic profits from military-technical cooperation but has exceeded it. Last year, according to vice premier and Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov, suppliers of weapons earned $5.3 billion (approximately 149 billion rubles). But neither the Defense Ministry nor the defense industry enterprises themselves feel any optimism on account of this. After a period of total penury, money has begun raining down on the defense sector, Putilin says. Although it is still questionable whether the sector will be able to "digest" that money. Will it be able not just to produce for the army the armaments it needs as such but to produce them with the appropriate quality and strictly in the quantity laid down in the state defense order?

The fears are not unfounded. Enterprises' fixed assets are 80% depreciated. The quality of military products is declining and its end cost is rising as a result. The Economic Development Ministry says that only a few years ago the lead Borey class Project 955 nuclear submarine (the Bulava strategic missile system is currently being built for it) was several times cheaper than an identical submarine laid down in Severodvinsk this year. In the past two years the Topol-M strategic missile has increased in price threefold. It is the same for every indicator. A second factor is "a failure to coordinate military-technical policy with the military-industrial complex's potential." This was the cause of the problems that arose, for example, in delivering Topol-M ballistic missiles. Their production is running ahead of the silo upgrade, and eight completed missiles are currently left as "dead weight" at the plant in Votkinsk.

Vladimir Putilin says these are mere details: The commission was actually set up in order to resolve such coordination problems. Coordination work has already started. For example, in the process of analyzing 2006 state defense order expenditure it proved possible to find several billion rubles allocated for "secondary" expenses. Redistributing that money enabled the Air Force to complete the modernization of the Su-27 fighters, which it had previously not been permitted to do for want of resources. The 2007 state defense order is also undergoing expert appraisal.

Spending via the Defense Ministry in 2007 will total 302.7 billion rubles. The bulk of that money (145 billion) will go on buying military equipment and arms -- that is 22% more than in the current year. Spending on repairs is planned to total 60 billion rubles (15.7% growth), and spending on scientific research and experimental design work will be around 98 billion rubles (20% growth). What specifically these resources will be spent on, Putilin does not say. He does observe, however, that 146 items of weaponry and military equipment were adopted for Armed Forces use in 2005. Tests were started on 415 items, and a further 409 items moved closer to that phase.

Return to Menu

Main Authority for National Defense Funding: Military-Industrial Commission Will Form the State Defense Order
Viktor Myasnikov
Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye
(for personal use only)

The Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) under the RF Government held its first session. It approved results of state defense order (GOZ) fulfillment in 2005 and basic indicators of GOZ-2007. Deputy Head of VPK Vladislav Putilin noted that basic parameters of last year's state defense order had been achieved of course, although the level of organization of the state client's work with performing enterprises proved insufficient. This was reflected in particular in nonfulfillment of some of the decisions for increasing GOZ efficiency. State price regulation for procured products was deemed insufficient and the military department's funding of orders was erratic, i.e., advance funds weren't transferred and finished products weren't paid for on time. For this reason some money was unspent and returned to the budget.

A 20% increase in defense expenditures is envisaged in 2007. According to Putilin, the state defense order will grow 27% on the whole, the volume of arms and military equipment (VVT) procurements by 22%, expenditures for VVT repair by 15% and appropriations for RDT&E (NIOKR) by 20%. The RF Defense Ministry already has announced that it's planned to spend R302.7 billion, i.e., over $10 billion, for these purposes.

"Further technical outfitting of the Strategic Nuclear Forces and maintaining combat readiness of permanent combat readiness formations and units so they are capable of operating effectively in local and regional conflicts are the priority directions," clarified Putilin.

Mikhail Fradkov, head of the Russian Government, approved the Statute on the Military-Industrial Commission on the eve of the first VPK session. Coordinating the work of federal executive authorities to ensure fulfillment of Russia's commitments for eliminating chemical weapons, to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and so on are specified as the primary functions. Named as the primary task, though, is implementation of RF military-technical policy for the period up to 2015, including development of the defense-industrial complex (OPK). The Commission must develop concepts, programs and plans in the area of military-technical support to the country's defense capability, arms production and recycling, and the state's mobilization preparation.

The VPK is becoming the main authority for national defense funding proposals of ministries and departments. True, the Defense Ministry has a clear advantage here, because its leader, Sergey Ivanov, also heads the Military-Industrial Commission. The VPK will determine the makeup of the state defense order's principal indicators for the next fiscal year. It also must "promptly make decisions on the development and production of arms and special equipment and examine proposals for production of equipment with a lengthy technological manufacturing cycle and for basic and exploratory research in national defense interests."

It's quite logical that in determining military-technical policy, the VPK also will be working on questions of price formation on arms and military equipment and determining cadre policy with respect to heads of defense-industrial complex organizations. But the Commission was late on this matter. Dozens of heads of state defense enterprises have been replaced literally in recent months. Experienced directors who had headed the work of their collectives for 20 or more years were dismissed at a stroke and replaced by outside specialists without an explanation of the reasons.

The makeup of the Military-Industrial Commission was approved by Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov literally a day before the first session. As already stated above, it is headed by First Vice Prime Minister/Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov. The VPK makeup also includes Chief of General Staff General of the Army Yuriy Baluyevskiy, head of Minekonomrazvitiya (Ministry of Economic Development and Trade) German Gref, Minister of Finance Aleksey Kudrin, Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko, head of Rosprom (Federal Agency for Industry) Boris Aleshin, head of Rosatom (Federal Atomic Energy Agency) Sergey Kiriyenko, head of Roskosmos (Federal Space Agency) Anatoliy Perminov, FGUP (Federal State Unitary Enterprise) Rosoboroneksport General Director Sergey Chemezov and RF Government Administrative Department Director Mikhail Lychagin.

Aleksandr Goyev, director of Krasnogorsk Plant imeni Zverev; Vladimir Pospelov, vice president of the State Center for Nuclear Shipbuilding (Severodvinsk) and former head of Rossudostroyeniye (Russian Shipbuilding Agency); and Aleksandr Bobryshev, general director of Novosibirsk Aviation Production Association imeni Chkalov will be responsible for thematic directions. These three "defense industrialists" will become full-time Commission associates and must leave their present jobs.

Bobryshev was born in 1949. His entire working biography is connected with NAPO (Novosibirsk Aviation Production Association) imeni Chkalov. He began as an assembly fitter and completed Novosibirsk Electrotechnical Institute by correspondence. He headed up the Association in 1997 when there was essentially no state funding. He managed not only to preserve, but even expand production. He's a deputy of the Novosibirsk Oblast Council and deputy chairman of the Committee for Industry and the Fuel-Energy Complex. On the VPK he's responsible for aerospace subject matter.

Goyev was born in Mogilev Oblast in 1947. He completed Mogilev Machine Building Institute and the Academy of the National Economy under the USSR Council of Ministers. He's a doctor of technical sciences, laureate of State Prizes of Russia and Belarus, Honored Machine Builder of the Russian Federation, academician of RF AIN (Academy of Engineering Sciences) and a corresponding member of RF RARAN (Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences). On the VPK he has oversight over Ground Troops arms and equipment.

Pospelov was born in Severodvinsk in 1954. He began his work activities as a fitter in machine assembly work at Sevmashpredpriyatiye (Northern Machine Building Enterprise). He completed SevmashVTUZ (Northern Machine Building Higher Technical Educational Institution) and Leningrad Shipbuilding Institute. He's a candidate of technical sciences. He worked as a ship's construction electrician, adjustment engineer, foreman, deputy chief engineer and deputy general director for commercial work of SPO (Northern Production Association) Arktika. He headed up the Russian Shipbuilding Agency in 1999. He returned to Severodvinsk following the reduction in sectoral agencies. On the VPK he's responsible for naval subject matter.

Igor Borovkov was appointed head of the VPK apparatus. His duties include preparing and formalizing Military-Industrial Commission decisions. At the same time he's deputy head of the government apparatus. Borovkov was born in Tashkent in 1954. He completed Moscow Energy Institute and worked as an engineer at enterprises of Minsredmash SSSR (USSR Ministry of Medium Machine Building), in leading positions in Gosplan (State Planning Committee) and Minekonomiki SSSR (USSR Ministry of the Economy), and in the RF Ministry of Economics and Finance. He was first deputy RF minister for atomic energy and director of the RF Government Department of the Defense Industry and High Technologies.

The level of competence of full-time VPK members is very high. From their own experience they are familiar with all stages in the development and output of defense products. This is somewhat unusual for present-day Russia, where a system of bureaucratic leadership has formed that aims at controlling monetary flows and not at increasing production. It's understandable that an apparatus must be formed in the VPK structure that consists above all of independent experts who don't belong to financial-industrial groupings and the generals' lobby.

By and large, the question on the agenda is that of creating arms of the 21st century. The Commission must look decades ahead and ensure conditions for rearming during the 2020's-2030's, but for now it will have to implement Russia's military-technical policy up to 2015, essentially only for the next 10 years. This limitation may deprive the RF Armed Forces of further prospects and preserve the present situation in the OPK. Instead of developing future weapons, industry may concentrate on series production of yesterday's weapons.

Return to Menu

A Launch Under Attack Is Inevitable: Before 2015 Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces Will Receive Standardized Missiles Capable of Penetrating the Most Advanced Missile Defense Systems
Aleksandr Babakin
Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye
(for personal use only)

Interview with Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology Director/General Designer Yuriy Semenovich Solomonov:

The missile defense system must not be viewed in the light of any friendly or unfriendly interstate relations. Other developed industrial world powers in addition to the United States also are working on a PRO (missile defense) in the present period. For example, Japan announced that it plans to make a national antimissile "umbrella" by 2010. Substantial resources are being allocated for this. Russia cannot fail to take these factors into account. I prepared a briefing on missile defense systems, their status and prospects for the Russian Academy of Sciences Presidium session. The domestic Bulava-30 and Topol-M missiles penetrate the missile defense being created in the United States, including with space-based elements, with very high probability in the boost phase.

The State Armaments Program (GPV) up to 2015 presently is being formed. It's planned that in the second quarter the GPV will become a legal document that will encompass all directions of armaments, particularly missile-nuclear. Possibly this is why various experts and journalists are giving out very contradictory information to the public that often isn't entirely reliable. Therefore it's necessary to tell about what newest systems in fact are being created in Russia.

As of today two missile complexes are being developed, the ground-launched Topol-M and the sea-launched Bulava-30. The former has two types of basing, fixed-silo and ground-mobile. It's no accident that these weapons are called strategic complexes of the 21st century; they don't yet have analogues in the world. And this, believe me, is no exaggeration or a desire to talk about our achievements. In the assessment of independent experts from a number of military scientific centers, the leading foreign developers can create something similar only in approximately 15 years.

The silo-launched Topol-M complex already is on alert duty. And judging from the rates of its order with the manufacturers, the state leadership's assignment for missile rearmament is being fulfilled on the whole despite enormous problems in the defense-industrial complex itself.

The first regiment of the ground-mobile Topol-M complex will be placed on alert duty in 2006. What's fundamental is that the missile for the fixed and mobile complexes is 100% standardized. This was achieved thanks to the accomplishment of very difficult scientific, engineering and technological tasks. In addition, this has provided a weighty economic effect for the developer and the Defense Ministry.

Yes, this work was done on the RT-23 UTTKh complex (SS-24 according to the NATO classification) in Yuzhnoye Design Bureau for complexes of two types of basing, fixed-silo and rail-mobile. The missiles proved to be nonstandardized (razunifitsirovannyy), however, despite an enormous amount of theoretical design and experimental work.

The United States also attempted to create a standardized missile--fixed-silo and rail-mobile basing--for the MX complex, but the Americans also were unable to accomplish this very difficult task and in the final account gave up this promising idea. Before it was removed from the inventory, their MX complex existed only in a silo-based version.

We conducted a unique launch of the Topol-M missile on 20 April 2004 to confirm its working capacity in a flight to the maximum range of fire of more than 11,000 km. Such launches hadn't been conducted for around 20 years. A special vessel with necessary recording systems was fitted out to record the warhead mockup's arrival at the intended impact point. And an ICBM launched from a ground-mobile Topol-M complex was the test object itself. The successful launch confirmed the combat readiness of the entire lot of series missiles made for silo launchers over two years. At the same time, the specifications and performance characteristics of this standardized missile for complexes of the mobile and silo based versions were vindicated. We succeeded in saving on the order of a billion rubles just on this procedure.

But if we're speaking about the missile-nuclear grouping as a whole, military institutes independent of industry estimate that the saving from creating a standardized missile was at least 30-40% of the cost of experimental development. On the whole, this is on the order of R12-15 billion. This is why we fought so much for the idea of a standardized missile. Now the task of placing the first regiment of a ground-mobile complex with standardized missiles on alert duty is being accomplished. It's a very difficult task, because this also is the first year of series manufacture of this weapon. But national defense wins on the whole; it will have one of the components of strategic arms with great survivability under launch under attack (otvetno-vstrechnyy udar) conditions.

This question was discussed in our Institute when it was visited on 14 April of this year by the defense minister, chief of General Staff, deputy defense minister/chief of armaments of the RF Armed Forces, CINC Navy and commander of the Strategic Missile Troops: in short, those leaders directly responsible for shaping military-technical policy and in particular for implementing plans for building the state's strategic missile nuclear forces.

We examined in detail the cost characteristics of the newest Topol-M series-made missile equipment based on data of the Federal Service for Tariffs and Rosstat (Federal State Statistics Service). They confirmed the existing calculations yet another time. Thus, the inflation rate for industrial products was 1.93 in the period 2002-2005. These are official figures on appreciation of industrial products in our state. And appreciation of the series-made Topol-M missile for the same period was 1.95, i.e., production of the newest missile literally was keeping pace with the real inflation level in the state.

The assertion also is incorrect that the cost increase on military products, including missile equipment, is at the expense of increased wages. Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov was presented with official data of the Federal Service on Tariffs according to which the wage fund in the price structure of the Topol-M missile doesn't exceed 7%. I would note that this figure simply is humiliating for people who are putting out such newest sophisticated combat equipment for the domestic missile-nuclear shield. The amount of wages in an article's price structure is from 45 to 50% in the United States, where the Trident II missile now is being produced in series, and in France, where the M 51 sea-launched missile will be made in series from 2008. But here in Russia a saving on missile armaments also is achieved at the expense of very low wages.

This standardized missile complex is being created for two classes of strategic missile submarine cruisers (RPKSN): Project 941 Dmitriy Donskoy and Project 955 Yuriy Dolgorukiy. They differ from each other in a number of TTKh (specifications and performance characteristics), including displacement. The problem of a standardized missile is very pertinent for them.

In addition, Bulava is the newest missile armament of an interbranch level both for the Navy's nuclear forces as well as for the RVSN (Strategic Missile Troops). The second launch of this missile took place in December 2005 within the scope of flight tests from a submerged condition under standard conditions of employment with the appropriate speed and submergence depth of the RPKSN. All necessary design characteristics were obtained and confirmed for interworking of Bulava missiles with the submarine cruiser, for the ICBM's autonomous flight in water before emerging from the surface, and for movement in the air.

The next phase of flight tests consists of collecting statistical data. We have to conduct at least ten real launches yet for Bulava's acceptance into the inventory. This process will continue until 2008, and only after this will the first Bulava be placed on RPKSN Yuriy Dolgorukiy. Ground tests are proceeding simultaneously with flight tests. This is very expensive work of collecting statistical data. For example, data on 150 parameters are collected during bench firing tests of the missile propulsion stages, which permit judging the reliability of the design of the newest article absolutely objectively. The data being collected in flight tests are less by an order of magnitude due to telemetry equipment capabilities, but these tests are extremely necessary and interrelated and will be carried out until the moment the Bulava missile system becomes operational.

A scrupulous assessment of the possibilities of cooperation from over 600 enterprises active in Russia's missile-nuclear industry was made during 2005-2006. It can be said with confidence that the task of rearming the domestic missile-nuclear shield is feasible.

This isn't quite so. At the present time an interstate agreement on Strategic Offensive Reductions is in force between the Russian Federation and United States. It provides that by 2012 both states must have nuclear warheads in the range from 1,700 to 2,200. By 2020 the number of warheads in the Russian missile-nuclear triad will be at least 2,000, and we will build the necessary number of complexes.

Of course, the objectivity of the weapon developer's information always can be placed in doubt. This is fully natural. But at the same time there's a possibility of comparing different articles of various OPK (defense-industrial complex) enterprises from unclassified data and choosing the best. The creators of the Bulava-30 and Topol-M missiles have had an enormous number of opponents from 1997 up through the present time, but real articles appeared whose characteristics were confirmed in practice, and all gossip ceased of itself.

Bulava and Topol-M surpass the newest American and French missiles by 1.2-2 times in terms of the most important characteristics. The demands of maximum survivability against the damage effects of a nuclear burst and of weapons based on new physical principles, such as the effect of a laser in the boost phase, have been realized for the first time in the world in Russian missiles. These objective characteristics are confirmed by independent experts from RF Defense Ministry institutes, who as clients provide an assessment of our newest strategic missile developments. They have exhaustive data on this score, but experts often can't openly express their assessments by virtue of the specifics of the military department and its secrecy.

At one time the United States was carrying out a program for waging so-called "Star Wars." In order to obtain budget money, the military together with representatives of the defense industry told a very great deal in the mass media about the capabilities of laser weapons. They even showed on television how the warhead compartment of a strategic Titan missile is destroyed by a laser beam. But later in 1988 a Senate committee held hearings on this information in the mass media. It turned out that before being affected by a laser beam on the bench, the missile compartment was specially taken to an extreme state of stress. A small effect of the laser beam was sufficient to break up the missile's structure. In the assessments of Russian military experts independent of industry, weapon developers realistically won't be able to oppose our newest missiles with anything in the foreseeable future.

In order to understand the problem I will note that the first money for implementing GOZ-2006 came to us only on 10 March. Twelve calendar months really turn into seven, since the accounting of enterprise cooperation based on the year's results must conclude before the end of October. Of course, that state of affairs doesn't contribute to a normal course of work.

With respect to the funding of Strategic Nuclear Forces, I will note that the state defense order was paid fully in 2005.

A year ago, on 8 April, State Duma Chairman Boris Gryzlov signed an appeal addressed to Vladimir Putin following a conference in the GD (State Duma) of the heads of federal agencies, RF presidential administration, Defense Ministry, and heads of enterprises of the defense-industrial complex for aviation, shipbuilding, space, missile building and conventional weapons. The document noted that "the crisis in the OPK not only has not been overcome, but is being exacerbated even more." Gryzlov proposed to examine the situation in this sector of the Russian economy at a meeting with the heads of leading defense enterprises. The RF president immediately charged that such a conference be prepared, but it just hasn't been held to this day.

The State Armaments Program envisages renewal of the entire grouping of strategic ground and sea based missile-nuclear forces by 2015, but completion of formation of the entire grouping will continue right up until 2020 and it will exist in that form until 2045. This is necessary for national security interests. The necessary financial and resource support is provided within the framework of the GPV.

You touched on a very painful issue. This concerns not only electronics, but also materials whose individual components no longer are being put out by our industry. We have to delve into the problem at a state level, but unfortunately very little is being done today to resolve it.

Return to Menu

Military chief: Russia close to building missile system able to penetrate all defenses
Henry Meyer
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

Russia has recently successfully tested a new missile system that can penetrate all anti-missile defenses and is close to deploying it, the chief of the Russian military's General Staff said Thursday.

In his state-of-the-nation address last week, President Vladimir Putin said the new high-precision weapons would have an unpredictable trajectory, making them very difficult to neutralize and allowing Russia to maintain a strategic balance of forces with the United States even with a smaller arsenal.

"A test was conducted in February this year which showed that Russia is close to building a combat system on our intercontinental ballistic missiles which will be capable of penetrating all existing and planned anti-missile defenses," Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky told reporters.

He added that the missile system would be ready "in the nearest future." Analysts say the new warheads, designed to zigzag on their approach to targets, could be fitted to new land-based Topol-M missiles and the prospective Bulava missiles for the Russian navy, now under development.

Alexander Pikayev, a senior analyst with the Moscow-based Institute for World Economy and International Relations, said that Bulava missiles armed with the warheads could be deployed as early as next year on nuclear submarines.

Russia, whose military budget is more than 20 times smaller than that of the United States, could not hope to compete on a level playing field but aimed to safeguard its big-power status by developing a nuclear capability that could render useless the prospective U.S. missile defense shield, Pikayev said.

"Numerical parity is not what Russia wants; it wants to maintain forces which could inflict unacceptable damage in a second strike," he told The Associated Press.

Amid increased tensions between Russia and the United States after U.S accusations that Moscow is backsliding on democracy and strong-arming its ex-Soviet neighbors, Putin vowed last week to ensure a strong military.

Baluyevsky, meanwhile, denied news reports that Russia is about to opt out of a landmark U.S.-Soviet arms treaty that scrapped intermediate range missiles and deploy the weapons.

"The Russian Federation and the United States are strictly observing the treaty on intermediate and short-range missiles," he said.

The Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF Treaty, signed in 1987 by then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, banned production and deployment of medium-range missiles, such as Soviet SS-20 and U.S. Pershing 2, and required that both nations dismantle them.

The missiles deployed in the early 1980s were capable of striking targets within the European continent and became a major destabilizing factor as they required shorter time to reach their targets compared with intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The INF Treaty has become a key event that built mutual trust and helped end the Cold War.

Russia in recent years has been concerned over NATO's eastward expansion and soaring global oil prices have brought Moscow a steady flow of petrodollars, allowing the Kremlin to bolster defense spending in recent years after a decade of the post-Soviet money crunch.

Baluyevsky also reiterated Russian concern at U.S plans to use intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry non-nuclear warheads, saying the launch of such missiles could provoke a mistaken nuclear strike in retaliation.

"As our American colleagues often tell us, these missiles could be used against (Osama) bin Laden, to wipe him out," he said. "This could be a costly move which not only won't guarantee his destruction but could provoke an irreversible response from a nuclear-armed state which can't determine what warhead is fitted on the missile."

Return to Menu

Russia To Develop Laser, Kinetic Energy Weapons for Missile Defense
(for personal use only)

The Russian arms program provides for R&D on laser and kinetic energy
weapons, including space-based, Yury Solomonov, the chief designer of
the Topol (SS-25) and Bulava (SS-NX-30) state-of-the-art ballistic missiles
told the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"The arms program approved by the scientific and technical council of the
Defense Industry Commission contains sections spelling out efforts in this
direction," he said when asked whether Russia was developing non-nuclear
air-and space-based weapons for missile defense.

"The subject is quite classified," he said.

Solomonov added that U.S. and Japanese scientists had already begun the
development of national missile defense systems, in an effort scheduled until
2025, which means that Russian developers should respond adequately to maintain
the country's defense capability.

Return to Menu

Russia: Missile Reduction Treaty Will Not Harm Russia's Nuclear Potential
(for personal use only)

The reduction of nuclear armaments under the Russian-U.S. Strategic Offensive
Reductions Treaty will not cause an imbalance of forces or a decline in Russia's
nuclear potential, Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN) Commander Col.
Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said.

"The power of our missile shield will not suffer from a reduction in the
number of missiles," Solovtsov said in an interview published in the Wednesday
issue of the Argumenty i Fakty weekly.

At present, Russia possesses over 4,000 nuclear warheads, and the U.S. about
5,500, Solovtsov said. Under the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, both
Russia and the U.S. will cut these numbers to between 1,700 and 2,200 by
December 31, 2012.

The Voyevoda silo missile system is armed with the most powerful heavy
missile RS-20 in the world, which is capable of carrying a payload of nearly
nine tonnes over a distance of up to 15,000 kilometers, Solovtsov said. "This
is nine times as much as the U.S. ICBM Minuteman can carry," he said.

Another state-of-the-art strategic system used by Russia is the Topol-M
missile system armed with the universal RT-2PM2 missile in both silo and mobile
versions. The missile's launch weight is 47 tonnes, the warhead's weight 1,200
kilos, and its range 10,000 kilometers.

Russia's mobile missile systems are reliably protected, Solovtsov said.

"The area where the Topol-armed division is deployed occupies tens of
thousands of square kilometers, as a rule, in wooded areas, where Topol-Ms on
combat duty permanently change the routes of their movements. It is physically
impossible to detect under which fir or birch a Topol-M is hidden, even from
space," Solovtsov said.

"We are using new camouflage methods to make a Topol imitate the
environment," he said.

Commenting on media reports alleging that Russia might not have withdrawn
all its nuclear armaments from Ukraine, Solovtsov said, "This is impossible. We
have not lost a single warhead from Ukraine. Everything has been taken to

Return to Menu

BBC Monitoring/Channel One TV
(for personal use only)

The Russian Channel One TV's "Strike Force" programme broadcast on 10 May 2006 featured a documentary film tracing the history of the development of Soviet ICBMs.

The programme started with its presenter recalling the recent claim by the US magazine, Foreign Affairs, that the Russian ballistic missile early warning system had lost its combat capability and that Russia would not be able to retaliate if the USA delivered a preventive nuclear strike. Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Space Troops Vladimir Popovkin responds to this by saying: "I got the impression that this article is primarily intended to scare us. Serious conclusions have been drawn, but it is true that it is not clear what they are based on."

The presenter then briefly outlines the effects of a nuclear attack and says that "combat positions of UR-100 Russian missiles have been specifically designed in such a way that they could ensure a launch even in such conditions". Continuing the idea, the director-general and designer-general of the machine building scientific-production association (Russ: NPO Mashinostroyeniya), Gerbert Yefremov, says that "this is our main, key force, hope, pillar of preservation of might, on which the defence of the country's territorial integrity and the defence of our people, who are creative and live, and the defence of the riches which have been given to us by God, are based".

At c/r 204630, video shows a missile launch and the presenter then introduces a documentary film about the missile which is known as "Stiletto" under Western classification. Walking along a missile displayed in a hangar, the presenter says: "It is true that a small and even elegant UR-100 missile hits an enemy, easily overcoming any defences. A salvo of just one missile position is able to deliver to another continent a nuclear charge of 30 megatons. By the way, American specialists consider that a strike of just 20 megatons is capable of plunging the country into chaos. Today we will for the first time tell you about this unique strategic missile which in the 20th century stopped the arms race and saved the world."

The documentary called "Nuclear Scalpel" then goes back to 1960, when relations between the Soviet Union and the USA sharply deteriorated after the downing of an American spy aircraft near Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg). Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev then raised the spectre of a war with the USA, but the presenter says that it was all a bluff because "the USSR did not yet have weapons that could reach America". It only had four R-7 missiles created by Sergey Korolev's team. The Yuzhnoye Dnepropetrovsk design bureau then hurriedly started working on "the first mass strategic missile, the R-16".

The American ICBM, Minuteman, which was successfully tested in 1961, used solid fuel, while both the R-7 and R-16 Soviet missiles used liquid fuel, which was very difficult to handle. "American experts believed that the Soviet Union would not find a designer who would be able to solve the task of improving liquid-fuel missiles, but they were wrong," the presenter says.

The designer-general of the machine building scientific-production association, Vladimir Chelomey, for the first time proposed that fuel components should be placed "in an airtight ampoule, just like in medicine. A unique fuel system was created for this. Please note that it does not contain a single detachable joint. It is precisely this discovery that allowed Chelomey to create the UR-100 most long-lasting liquid-fuel missile in the world," the presenter says at c/r 205157 pointing at the hardware behind him.

The film then briefly outlines Vladimir Chelomey's early career and ideas. The presenter says that Chelomey was soon appointed to work at Reutov aviation-repair enterprise (in Moscow Region) which then turned into "a modern world-class missile enterprise, which is known today as the machine building scientific-production association. It is precisely here that Vladimir Chelomey created a range of cruise missiles for ships and submarines." At this point video shows archive footage of the interior of the enterprise and its modern exterior.

The film then continues to trace the history of the creation of the UR-100 missile, which had its first flight on 19 June 1965 and was brought into service at the end of 1966.

The film was structured around twists and turns of the Russian-US arms race and personal rivalry between Vladimir Chelomey and Minister of Defence Industry Dmitriy Ustinov, who later became Soviet defence minister. It contained comments from retired Col of the Strategic Missile Troops (RVSN) Valentin Uglov, Nikita Khrushchev's son Sergey, who worked in Chelomey's design bureau, and Gerbert Yefremov.

At c/r 211152, video showed a table of technical characteristics of the UR-100. The film then focused of the missile's modification, UR-100K and at c/r 211530 video showed a table of technical characteristics for the modernized missile. The next modification of the missile was the UR-100N.

The end of the film is devoted to much more recent times with video showing Vladimir Putin visiting the enterprise and the presenter saying "Gerbert Yefremov has replaced Vladimir Chelomey [who has died] in the post of the designer-general. He managed to preserve the enterprise during the most difficult years of the disintegration of the defence industry. A new generation of cruise missiles was crated under his leadership, such as the latest modifications of the Granit, which is nicknamed a killer of aircraft carriers, and the Yakhont supersonic antiship system, against which there is no defence." Video shows missiles in flight and various pieces of hardware.

Yefremov is then shown saying "We have created a mighty power which should not be lost both in terms of its quality and quantity. These are strategic nuclear forces. Primarily these are the Strategic Missile Troops."

In the "epilogue" the presenter says: "A missile with a new warhead was launched from the Kapustin Yar range on 22 April 2006." Video at 213159 shows a missile being loaded on a launch pad, officers in a control room and a missile launch. The presenter continues by saying: "The particular feature of the new warhead is its ability to manoeuvre when avoiding antimissiles. In conjunction with its hypersonic speed and a system of screen jamming, it is completely invincible for antimissile defence."

Deputy commander of the RVSN Vitaily Linnik is then shown saying: "If someone, somewhere suddenly has antimissile defence, then, of course, we take commensurate measures to ensure that its activity is brought to the minimum." Video at 213254 shows lorries, a missile in a silo, a missile launch and officers working in a control room.

To end the programme, the presenter says: "Strategic missiles are capable of destroying all life on our planet, but the paradox lies in the fact that the most formidable weapons in the world have gradually turned into the main deterrent factor for any aggressor. And as long as this statement is true, Russia will be reinforcing its nuclear shield, even if somebody does not like it."

Source: Channel One TV, Moscow, in Russian 2045 gmt 10 May 06

Return to Menu

It's too soon to say the arms race is over...
Alexei Nikolsky
What the Papers Say
(for personal use only)

President Vladimir Putin: It's too soon to say the arms race is over; Technologically and financially, the United States is so far ahead of the rest of the world that nobody else - not China, not Russia, not even America's own allies in Europe - will ever catch up now. Aware of its own superiority, the United States is disinclined to be bound by any disarmament treaties.

The international community has spent the last century designing treaties that would limit the numbers and firepower of ships, missiles, aircraft, and other expensive military hardware: in other words, measures to check the arms race. The arms race itself - invention of more and more new weapons - has never stopped.

The period after the Cold War was no exception, even though the world powers did restrict defense spending. The treaties that had curbed the generals' appetites began falling apart, and the process became particularly marked when George W. Bush was elected president of the United States. Vladimir Putin is absolutely correct to recognize this as a hard fact. The ABM Treaty came to an end after 2000 (because Bush couldn't wait to deploy a national missile defense) and START II followed suit. START I will expire in 2008, and for the United States and Russia that will mean the end of any and all treaties.

The conventional weapons situation is no better. Made obsolete by collapse of the Warsaw Pact and NATO expansion, the Conventional Arms in Europe Treaty (1990) could become the next victim of Russia-NATO discord. Washington's recognition of India as a nuclear power, and Iran's nuclear aspirations, are gradually eroding the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty. The United States itself won't ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

In the meantime, weapons have improved vastly. The availability of small, precise, and cheap missiles is a strategic fact. Launching a thousand such missiles would destroy the economy of an advanced world power and even disable the strategic forces of nuclear powers. There are no treaties that would limit these and other new types of weapons. But this doesn't mean that the arms race and increased defense spending pose a direct threat.

Technologically and financially, the United States is so far ahead of the rest of the world that nobody else - not China, not Russia, not even America's own allies in Europe - will ever catch up now. Aware of its own superiority, the United States is disinclined to be bound by any disarmament treaties. Meanwhile, the modest rearmament plans of the Russian Armed Forces serve as a clear indication that the Russian military-political leadership is not considering participation in the arms race.

Original source: Vedomosti, May 16, 2006, p. A4

Return to Menu

Navy Chief Says Severodvinsk Submarine To Be Completed
(for personal use only)

The Project 885 Severodvinsk nuclear submarine, which is under construction at the Sevmashpredpriyatie (SMP) enterprise in Severodvinsk, will be completed, Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Vladimir Masorin said on Tuesday.

"We would like to build a submarine of a newer class in the future, but it does not mean that we will abandon the construction of the Severodvinsk," Masorin told a news briefing held in St. Petersburg after the Steregushchiy corvette was set afloat.

"Everything that has been laid down will be completed," he said.

The fourth-generation nuclear-powered submarine of Project 995 Yasen was designed by the Malakhit design bureau.

It was laid down at SMP in 1993. The submarine has a displacement of 13,800 tonnes and submergence depth of up to 600 m, while its armament includes four 533-mm torpedo tubes (for torpedoes, rocket-assisted torpedoes and Granat rockets) and eight Onyx missile launchers. The crew is 90 people and endurance is up to 100 days.

Return to Menu

BBC Monitoring International Reports/Interfax-AVN
(for personal use only)

The principal designer behind the latest ballistic systems, Topol and Bulava, Yuriy Solomonov has been speaking about the three distinguishing features of the USA's future missile defence system.

"First, there will be a shift of emphasis between information and weapons systems. Whereas before the ratio between these two was 40:60, in future it will be 60:40," Solomonov said on Tuesday [16 May] during an address to the presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow.

He described the second distinguishing feature as the guaranteed tracking of a notional enemy's missile, presupposing a system which tracks the missile right from the moment of its ground or underwater launch, rather than tracking missile warheads once they are already travelling through space.

Solomonov also singled out the changing nature of weapon (combat) systems, including the introduction of non-nuclear systems and laser weapons.

The technical profile of the USA's missile defence system is expected to be significantly enhanced, in the period up to 2015, by surveillance data systems, with a view to achieving an at least 80-per-cent certainty of picking up moving missile targets. "By 2009 the USA plans, with this end in mind, to develop a satellite costing a total of 2bn dollars, and its funding has already started," Solomonov said.

He also said the overall cost of the USA's programme to develop missile defences would come to 10bn dollars by 2015, including 10-15 per cent to be contributed by Japan and Western Europe.

"The USA is pressing ahead with missile defence work in a variety of areas, and the technology has a broad range of applications. Therefore, designers of Russia's modern missile systems cannot fail to watch these developments and take steps to meet future contingencies. It is our duty to monitor this issue, so as to maintain a guaranteed deterrent," Solomonov said.

Source: Interfax-AVN military news agency website, Moscow, in Russian 0930 gmt 16 May 06

Return to Menu

Russian Designer Says New Medium-Range Missiles Raise Serious Issues
(for personal use only)

The Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology (MIT) is capable of resuming production of medium-range ballistic missiles. MIT's director and general designer, Yuriy Solomonov, said this today at a news conference, in response to a question from ITAR-TASS.

"We are ready for possible production of medium-range missiles both intellectually and in terms of our production capacity. But the decision on this has to be taken by the country's political leadership. The question is a very serious one because it impinges on the interests of the US and other Western countries. All this has to be carefully thought through," added Solomonov.

The SMT (Strategic Missile Troops) were armed with Pioner medium-range ballistic missiles (Russian designation RSD-10; SS-20 or Saber in the NATO classification) during the 1980s. These missiles, which were designed by MIT, had a range of up to 5,000 km. Under the Soviet-American treaty on intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF), they were destroyed together with America's equivalent, the Pershing missiles. As the legal successor to the USSR, Russia is a signatory to the INF treaty, which commits the parties not to produce, test or deploy medium-range (1,000-5,500 km) and shorter-range (500-1,000 km) ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles.

The question of the possible restoration of the grouping of ground-based medium-range missiles has been raised in the Russian and foreign media recently, because certain countries which are not covered by the INF treaty, including India, Pakistan and Iran, are actively developing them.

Return to Menu

'People at the Ministry of Defense Know What for Us Is the Prime Consideration' -- This Is the First Time in the History of Presidential Messages That So Much Attention Has Been Devoted to the Armed Forces
Vadim Solovyev
Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye
(for personal use only)

The latest annual message from the president of Russia to the Russian Federation Federal Assembly differed from the head of state's previous such addresses by virtue of the substantial segment devoted to the problems of security and the development of the country's Armed Forces. Whereas in past messages they have been touched on -- it may be said -- in passing, on this occasion Vladimir Putin explored them so broadly and extensively that in this context there is only one comparison that suggests itself -- military issues were raised in this way only in Soviet-era party documents (see tabulation).

The president emphasized in particular that "the area of conflict is expanding" in the world, and also that the arms race is developing with renewed vigor. A particular danger, in Vladimir Putin's opinion, is posed by certain types of destabilizing weapons, such as: low-yield nuclear weapons, strategic missiles fitted with non-nuclear armament, and other technological challenges.

An atmosphere of clearly undeclared confrontation recalling that of many years ago has reestablished itself. A key phrase uttered by the president is noteworthy: "Comrade wolf knows whom to eat. He eats and he has no intention of asking anyone." Following a relatively short period of quest for different forms of cooperation with leading world powers that for many years were seen as potential adversaries, the president's message again posed the issue of the coercion factor, of survival in this unsettled world by recourse to force. "Not everyone has abandoned the Cold War mentality," Vladimir Putin emphasized, and promptly added that new doctrines are required that must provide answers to the following questions: how to combat terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, what is required in order to prevent external aggression.

A mission for the Russian Federation Armed Forces has also been formulated -- the capability to participate in a global war and simultaneously in a number of regional conflicts. And all else aside, the armed might of the Russian state must free it from external pressure: "The stronger the Armed Forces are, the less temptation there will be to dictate terms." This doctrinal mission is equivalent to the one the Pentagon sets itself. That is to say, it is a super-ambitious mission for Russian conditions.

And the president is aware of this. He acknowledged that in real terms the Russian Federation's military budget is 1/25th that of the United States and other leading world powers. It is proposed resorting to asymmetric measures in order to maintain parity, given the exceedingly large difference in the resources being allocated to defense. To create, that is, models of armaments that surpass the world standard. Particular hopes are pinned on new strategic missiles capable of unpredictable changes of direction -- no missile defense will be able to withstand them. The message states with pride that the Topol-M MBR (ICBM) has been delivered to five RVSN (Strategic Missile Troops) regiments and that two nuclear-powered submarines fitted with Bulava ICBMs will shortly be in service.

Russia's military-political leadership remembers the mistakes made by the Soviet Union, which built up its defense at the expense of the economy. Nevertheless, the intention is to achieve in the next few years a 50:50 correlation between the upkeep and the armament of the troops. Let us make the point that this sort of proportion is typical of the world's leading armies. The single-client system has been cited as the priority task in the armament sphere, while there was particular mention of the need to establish a plenipotentiary civil agency. All else aside, this will serve to eradicate corruption.

The army will be cut back, but by natural means. This process will largely affect officials manning subdivisions of the military bureaucracy but not combat units (something the president specially emphasized). The size of the Armed Forces will be brought to 1 million men over the next few years by means of natural wastage within the cadre element. At the same time, the military command structure will also undergo restructuring. Great importance is attached to building up the mobilization reserve. Two-thirds of Armed Forces personnel will be serving under contract. While from 2009 all NCO and senior NCO positions and ships crews are to be fully manned with professionals. In this way, it is planned to have 600 permanent-readiness units fully manned with contracted personnel by 2011. It is these that will form the backbone of the Russian Federation Armed Forces.

The global issues of security left no space in the message for an analysis of problems of concern to the public such as hazing, the increase in army crime, and others. New promises, admittedly, have been made to cure one chronic social ill: to remove within four years the question of permanent accommodations for servicemen and their families, and also to provide everyone with service accommodations by 2112 (as published). It was not revealed, however, how this will be done and with what resources. The number of unhoused military personnel is currently fluctuating around the 160,000 mark.

Meanwhile, one detail to be heard in the message is worthy of note: The Ministry of Defense is extending its powers to the local agencies of self-government. The president placed on local self-government agencies responsibility not only for the number of draftees but also -- for the first time in Russian history -- for their quality. That is to say, Defense Ministry officials now have the right to intervene in the affairs of local self-government agencies. And on the pretext of boosting the prestige of military service.

Generally speaking, as it was expressed in the president's message: "The people at the Ministry of Defense know what for us is the prime consideration ." Even if we are talking about love, women, and children.


1. Development of defense industry complex

In progress


1. Increase share of private sector in defense industry complex

In progress


1. Combating extremism

In progress


2. Transition to professional army

In progress


3. Providing suitable social conditions for servicemen and their families

In progress


1. Establishing professional army

In progress


2. Cutting term of draft service to one year



3. Granting preferences to personnel who have completed three years' contracted service, including guaranteed right to higher education at state expense

In progress


4. Acceptance of citizens from CIS countries (receipt after three-year term of contracted service of right to acquire Russian citizenship under simplified procedure)

In progress


5. Increasing equipping of Armed Forces with modern weapons

In progress


6. Strengthening and modernizing nuclear deterrent forces

In progress


7. Raising educational standard of servicemen and positive motivation for military service

In progress


1. Equipping strategic nuclear forces with modern armament systems; equipping other Armed Forces branches and combat arms with appropriate tactical-level and operational-level weaponry

In progress


2. Providing social guarantees for servicemen

Not implemented


3. Establishing system of civilian control over army

Not implemented


1. Raising servicemen's pay

Implemented in part

Return to Menu

C.  Nuclear Safety

Military prosecutors share Bellona’s concern over vandalised RTG
Rashid Alimov, Bellona
Bellona Foundation
(for personal use only)

The deputy military prosecutor of the Siberian military district confirmed in a letter to Bellona that electric generators containing dangerous radioactive material were vandalised near the city of Norilsk in the Krasnoyarsk Region.

Before this letter, no official statements had been made by authorities despite repeated efforts of Bellona Web to secure the information. Bellona learned of the incident from local residents in the Krasnoyarsk.

According to Bellona Web’s information, because of a lack of funds at the end of 2005―during the transfer of a branch of military guard 96211 from the territory they occupied 60 kilometers to the south of Norilsk in the town of Kayerkan, eight strontium-90 powered radioisotope thermo-electric generators (RTGs) were left without any guard.

RTGs are used as electrical power sources in navigational lighthouses, radio beacons and weather stations. Of the some 1000 plus RTGs in Russia, all have surpassed their engineered life-spans of 10 years. Some are unaccounted for and nearly all of them are dilapidated, carry no radiation hazard signs and are open prey for metal thieves.

According to Bellona’s information, these eight RTGs of the Gorn type composed the Gletcher energy complex. Every RTG of the Gorn type has a thermal capacity of 1,100 watts, and an electricity-producing output of 60 watts. The radioisotope source of heat possesses 170,000 curies of radioactivity.

“By the results of the check-up, [the prosecutors’ office] demanded from the command of the military guards 46179 and 96211 to assume additional measures to secure guarding of the object, dismantling and decommissioning of the named radioactive sources”, the Ivanov letter to Bellona Web continues.

Dangerous capsule

Each RTG has a capsule of highly active strontium-90―a radioisopic heat source. RTG’s, because of their largely neglected state, are often the target of metal scavengers who can fetch high prices for the non-ferrous metal they obtain after ripping them apart. In many cases the scavengers simply leave behind or dump the strontium element.

As an example of how active these capsules can be, a strontium capsule dumped near a bus stop in Kingisepp in the Leningrad Region in 1999 was found to be emitting more than 1,000 roentgens per hour some 20 centimeters from the capsule. It later emerged that the capsule had been removed by metal scavengers from an RTG situated in a lighthouse 50 kilometres away.

For humans, absorbed dose higher than 100 roentgens leads to radiation sickness, and doses of momentary irradiation higher than 600 roentgens are considered absolutely fatal.

Information from the Military prosecutor’s office confirm Bellona Web’s data from sources in Norilsk that metal thieves left the strontium capsule in place. Nevertheless, the fact that dismantling RTGs is so clearly possible is, in Bellona’s opinion, scandalous.

In November 2003 in the Murmansk Region, metal thieves disposed of strontium capsules after disassembling RTGs of the Beta-M type. At that time, the Murmansk administration released a statement saying that the strontium capsules “were the source of heightened risk with the capacity to spread harmful radiation in the amount of 1,000 roentgens per hour. The presence of animal or human population within a 500 meter radius [of the abandoned capsule] presents a serious health risk, and even the possibility of death.”

The list of incidents with RTGs—including the leakage of strontium into the environment in 2004 at Cape Navarin—have been documented in a working document called “Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators” produced by Bellona.

Punishment of the thieves

According to the military prosecutors, police in the town of Kayerkan launched a criminal case under article 158, part 3 of the Russian Criminal Code― “theft of a large scale cost”.

“I doubt that the thieves will be punished, but is this so important?” asks Bellona’s legal adviser Nina Popravko.

“If the stolen [item] was so valuable, why it was left in an unguarded and fenceless territory? How was the cost estimated, and what corpus delicti [of theft] was there?”

According to Popravko: “RTGs were actually uncontrolled, and to improve the situation, it is important to call to account those who created such situation.”

Western help

A large number of RTGs were manufactured between 1960 and 1980 to operate lighthouses situated along unpopulated coastlines. The Engineered life-spans of all RTGs in Russia have been surpassed long time ago.

Today, when strontium can easily end up in the hands of terrorists and thus be employed in dirty bombs, this is an unacceptable security situation. With the help of Western nations, Russia is decommissioning RTGs.

“Russia brought the matter up to the international level―now the country receives money to solve the problem from the West,” said Vladimir Prilepskikh, head of the Siberian district of the Federal nuclear oversight, in an earlier interview with Bellona.Web.

“Though in my opinion, we should have our own money for this.”

Return to Menu

Russian nuclear weapons plant passes safety inspections
(for personal use only)

A scheduled audit by Rosatom (Russian Atomic Energy Agency) in April showed that units of the Siberian Chemical Combine federal unitary enterprise in the nuclear weapons sector are not in breach of their licence conditions, the Combine's public relations department has reported to Interfax.

Another scheduled audit in April, this one by Rostekhnadzor (Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Monitoring), evaluated nuclear and radiation safety at the radiochemical works, a spokesman said. A seven-man commission was led by the deputy head of the Siberian Territorial District for nuclear and radiation safety, Sergey Titov. "The experts concluded that the existing system for nuclear and radiation safety at the radiochemical works complies with current standards and regulations for the use of atomic energy and with the terms of the licence issued by Rostekhnadzor," the public relations spokesman added.

The Siberian Chemical Combine federal unitary enterprise is a unique nuclear engineering centre. Its main areas of activity are services for making raw uranium hexafluoride, enriching uranium for foreign customers and (Russian nuclear fuel company) TVEL, processing high-enriched uranium into low-enriched, operating nuclear reactors, thermal and electricity generation, manufacture of chemical products and stable isotopes, and arranging telecommunications and transportation services for customers.

The Combine has contracts with major nuclear companies, and exports enriched uranium hexafluoride. It comprises seven factories, a thermal power station, a research institute, a design bureau and a large number of auxiliary units.

Return to Menu

D.  Russia - Iran

BBC Monitoring and Itar-Tass
(for personal use only)

In the event of the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme being settled, Russia would not object to Tehran enriching uranium for peaceful nuclear energy purposes under IAEA control, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Austrian magazine Profil in an interview which was published here today.

Lavrov said that under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Iran "is fully entitled to enrich uranium under IAEA control". However, the former government of Iran broke its commitment to the IAEA and kept quiet about nuclear research that was being done. Naturally, the international community's trust in Tehran was damaged by this, the Russian foreign minister noted.

It is possible to settle this crisis situation, Sergey Lavrov thinks. "If everything depended solely on us, I would be extremely optimistic," he said. "However, everything depends on Iran. Before we can emerge from this crisis, a few things have to be discussed with Tehran. A solution can be found through negotiations - only through negotiations, I stress. We must refrain from threats. Isolation is the wrong way. From our side there must be specific proposals on what obligations Iran must fulfil and what rights it can enjoy in exchange." [The text of Lavrov's interview is at page 111]

Return to Menu

How Iran Will Respond to US Attack
Nadezhda Popova and Georgiy Stepanov
(for personal use only)

Yesterday, through its president, Iran rejected the "compromise option" proposed by the Europeans for resolving the nuclear crisis. The offer from the British, French, and Germans to supply Tehran with a light-water reactor in exchange for its renunciation of its nuclear program was termed unacceptable by Mahmud Ahmadinezhad: "This is like giving candy to a four-year-old child and demanding gold coins in exchange. That will not work with us." Tehran is deliberately aggravating matters. It looks as though the concealed and sometimes open threats from the United States are merely intensifying the Iranian ayatollahs' combative frame of mind. Either they do not believe in the reality of an American "preventive strike." Or else they are not afraid of it. Why not? Or, conversely, is this precisely calculated?

Recently the Americans themselves have begun asking such questions increasingly frequently. And that includes Pentagon strategists directly responsible for developing a strong-arm operation. Newsweek magazine writes, citing two unnamed Defense Department officials, that the entourage of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld has come to some alarming conclusions. One is that "a missile and bomb strike against strategic targets in Iran will not lead to the total halting of the nuclear program" -- these establishments are too widely dispersed across the country. The second is that Tehran could respond to a US attack with acts of terrorism against US targets in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf region, and West European countries and also with missile strikes against Israel.

(passage omitted)

Return to Menu

Iran Gives Up Candy
Vasily Bubnov
(for personal use only)

The president of Iran has rejected the EU offer of economic privileges in exchange for abandoning nuclear developments. The reply was delivered, as ever, in a venomous tone. The inflexibility of Iran's position is undermining Russia's and China's efforts to keep the Iran crisis in a peaceful channel.

(Passage omitted)

Iran's sharply worded rejection of Europe's proposals is guaranteed to worsen Tehran's already embittered relations with the West.

EU sources told the Reuters agency in this connection that "many people in the European Union would be greatly surprised if Iran were to accept a free reactor in exchange for closing down its nuclear program." At the same time, the Iranian authorities' rejection of the latest anticrisis proposals will undoubtedly now be used by those who favor tougher pressure on the Akhmadinezhad government. Solana made it clear as early as yesterday that "Iran's rejection of the latest EU proposals would mean that Iran has quite other intentions than the desire to obtain peaceful atomic power."

In addition, the United States and the European troika are now certain to step up pressure on Russia and China for the two countries to support an anti-Iran resolution at the UN Security Council.

Bear in mind that both Moscow and Beijing reaffirmed only yesterday that they will not support "wording in a possible UN Security Council resolution that contains a pretext for coercive, much less forcible actions." "Issues connected with nuclear developments need to be resolved by diplomatic means," Russian Foreign Ministry head Sergey Lavrov stated.

The question of stepping up the pressure on Iran will most probably come up at the meeting of the "Six" intermediaries planned for 19 May in London. Clearly, the agenda for the talks is now going to change radically. Because Iran has rejected the new anticrisis proposals, the question is bound to arise of reviving the anti-Iran resolution that Russia and China categorically refuse to accept in its present form.

Return to Menu

Iranian Gambit. Vladimir Putin and Mahmud Ahmadinezhad Will Meet at the Height of a Crisis Over Tehran's Nuclear Program
Yuliya Petrovskaya and Artur Blinov
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(for personal use only)

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Shanghai, China, on 15 June, one month before the G8 summit in St. Petersburg. It will be the second meeting between Putin and Ahmadinezhad since the latter was elected Iranian leader. Held at the height of the Iranian crisis, this meeting looks like a certain challenge to the United States, which is pressing for sanctions against Tehran, which has refused to shut down its nuclear program.

Ahmadinezhad will arrive in China among a narrow circle of individuals in connection with the fifth anniversary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The jubilee summit will bring together the leaders of six member countries and representatives of observer countries. Iran is among the latter.

Yesterday (16 May), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was on a visit in China, created a foreign-policy sensation, declaring that Ahmadinezhad "has already been sent an invitation." As of today, he is the only president of an observer country that has expressed his wish to arrive in Shanghai. Notably, the Iranian president has decided to take part in the summit even though all the SCO member countries decided not to put the issue of the organization's enlargement on the agenda. Discussions in Shanghai may irritate Moscow's Western partners engaged in the settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem, especially the United Sates. This, in turn, will reflect on negotiations at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg. Moscow risks finding itself in an even more delicate situation if Ahmadinezhad voices in Shanghai harsh declarations aimed against Western countries and Israel, which he traditionally does on his foreign trips.

Ahmadinezhad, who was sworn in as Iranian president last August, has until now had limited opportunities for international communication, which was reduced exclusively to visits to Islamic countries. The only exception was his participation in the World Summit that was held in New York in September of 2005. As is known, Ahmadinezhad delivered a speech at that event and met with Putin. Thus, the upcoming session in Shanghai will become a second opportunity for the two leaders to talk.

Practically simultaneously with the announcement of Ahmadinezhad's participation in the SCO summit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that Russia and China "will not support the UN Security Council's resolution on Iran, which may contain prerequisites for coercive actions." In Lavrov's words, Russia and China adopt the common stance on the Iranian nuclear problem and on the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula, and are convinced that they "should be resolved in a political and diplomatic manner free of threats or any attempts to apply force."

For Iran, it is the most favorable position considering the attitude of other Security Council permanent members toward its program. A fact that should not be ignored here is that Moscow's and Beijing's own "national interests" urge the two countries in this case to reject attempts of the West to increase the isolation of politicians viewed by the latter as extremists. In particular, this applies to the reception in Moscow of Khaled Mash'al, head of the Palestine extremist organization HAMAS, which triggered harsh protests in Washington and other Western capitals.

This kind of practice seems to be borrowed from the Soviet foreign policy arsenal, when Moscow ostentatiously maintained contact with radical leaders unwanted by the West.

Experts do not rule out that Ahmadinezhad's participation in the upcoming SCO summit reflects Tehran's attempt to fan differences between permanent members of the UN Security Council on the Iranian nuclear program by using the old "East-West tectonic rupture line." At the same time, in the opinion of Foreign and Defense Policy Council Chairman Sergey Karaganov, for example, a counter-influence on him by his interlocutors is also possible.

In his words, "Iran's participation in the SCO as an observer and, possibly over time, membership in this organization may be one of the carrots that can be part of a large deal of the international community with Iran."

The SCO, which was originally known as the "Shanghai five," has presently six member countries: Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Another four countries -- India, Pakistan, Iran, and Mongolia -- obtained the status of observer country at different times, and their representatives take part in the organization's events.

Return to Menu

Nargiz Asadova
Defense and Security/Kommersant
(for personal use only)

AN INTERVIEW WITH KONSTANTIN KOSACHEV, DUMA INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE; The US is demanding harsh sanctions against Iran. Judging by this interview with Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Duma's international affairs committee, Russia is prepared to defend Iran to the end.

The Iranian crisis keeps growing worse. This week, the foreign affairs ministers of the UN Security Council permanent members and Germany will meet in New York. The US is demanding harsh sanctions against Iran. Judging by this interview with Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Duma's international affairs committee, Russia is prepared to defend Iran to the end.

Question: Why don't Russia and China support sanctions against Iran?

Konstantin Kosachev: The logic of the UN Charter makes provisions for three stages of UN actions in such cases: recommendations, economic and political sanctions and use of force. Now we are somewhere in a situation when recommendations outlined in the past in the statement have not been fulfilled. Iran ignored them. And we are discussing what we are to do. The stance of the US is proposal of a kind of prospect with reference to chapter 7 including a possible use of military force if Iran is not compliant. Our stance is that by threats we will only push Iran out of the regime of cooperation with us. Iran will close itself. There is even a feeling that Iran wants this conflict, it wants to provoke it to be able to say to act as it likes. Now Iran is bound by obligations under the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT). We can believe it or not. However, Iran keeps saying that it is not going to breach the NNPT and it is not going to develop its military program. All this makes sense only as long as Iran remains within the NNPT. If we push Iran out of the treaty, we would be doing Iran a huge favor. Then it wouldn't have to justify itself to anyone. It would be free to do whatever it wants, to enrich uranium to any level and to develop military programs.

Question: Iran has already disappointed expectations, hasn't it? First it withdrew unilaterally from the Paris agreements. Now the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) isn't receiving full information about its nuclear program.

Konstantin Kosachev: The most important fundamental aspect is that not a single IAEA inspection (they are done regularly) has confirmed that Iran has breached anything. Everything said by inspectors is that Iranian actions are not 100% transparent and that there are additional questions. As long as these issues are not settled we will be unable to state that everything is clear. In any case, they do not say that something is not clear. They have questions and they wish to receive answers to them. Iran does not always provide answers. At any rate, IAEA inspectors have never registered any breach of the obligations of Iran under the NNPT. This is a fundamental difference.

Question: This means that you admit that Iran may hide something from the international community?

Konstantin Kosachev: Not quite. There is a permitted activity under the treaty. At a certain moment the state should stop because the military component starts after that limit theoretically. So, according to expects, there is a period of six months to a year between the moment where this red line is drawn and the moment when a state can really build a nuclear bomb. Iran has not approached this line yet. However, if the state reaches this line and says: thank you, goodbye, we don't need you any more - then the international community has practically no time left to prevent that state from acquiring nuclear weapons. This is a drawback of the NNPT. When it was signed there was a naive belief that any state that declares its obligations on the political level would observe these obligations stringently. The experience of North Korea and now probably Iran shows that this is not the case. A state can undertake a series of actions in the framework of the NNPT and quit it afterwards. Unfortunately, the treaty does not say how we need to act in this situation.

Question: That is why the idea of using sanctions against such a non-transparent uncontrollable country has arisen in the West, for instance, in the US. Doesn't Russia see a threat in the Iranian nuclear program?

Konstantin Kosachev: Russia, like other countries involved in this conflict, has no interest in seeing Iran acquire nuclear weapons. First, at this point out interests absolutely coincide. Second, like other countries we do not have full confidence in the Iranian nuclear program. We do not defend Iran. Many actions of Iran confuse us and create additional problems. Now the dilemma is connected with our choice of actions to this factor of mistrust. We either need to proceed from the fact that we do not trust and need to start undertaking something towards Iran or we need to return this mistrust to the plane of trust again. This is a bifurcation. What is the difference in the stances of the US and China? China has huge economic interests in Iran. Almost all oil imported by China comes from the Middle East and its major part is received from Iran. That is why for China any economic sanctions mean quite definite consequences for the Chinese economic interests. For the US - which hasn't had any trade or economic relations with Iran since the Islamic revolution of 1979, and correspondingly has no economic interests in Iran - the sanctions do not mean anything. That is why the US plays with this so easily. Its trade turnover with Iran is zero.

Question: What would be the cost of economic sanctions for Russia?

Konstantin Kosachev: Our trade turnover amounts to $2 billion. We have certain agreements for the future development of a number of promising Iranian oil and gas fields. We have a theoretical agreement on participation in construction of a gas pipeline from Iran via Pakistan to India. This is a huge project for Gazprom. We already have an already approved transport corridor North-South (approved also by the European Union), which makes provisions for use of the territories of Russia and Iran via the Caspian Sea and further. This corridor can be established only with participation of Iran. If it is established cargo flows will pass through the territory of Russia and if it is not everything will fall apart. We also have common Caspian Sea meaning delimitation, exploitation, fish resources including sturgeon and so on, leaving apart nuclear energy. Bushehr is not only the first nuclear energy generating unit but also a theoretical opportunity to receive an order for construction of at least ten such units more.

Question: What is the price of one reactor?

Konstantin Kosachev: The reactor at Bushehr is worth $800 million to $1 billion.

Question: Doesn't seem to you that Iranians simply use Russia and China to gain time?

Konstantin Kosachev: Yes, there is such impression really. Iran is quite clearly stalling for time. Iranians manifest themselves now as very skillful negotiators. In this war of nerves they constantly use some counter-arguments and respond a threat with a threat. The longer this situation persists, the clearer Iran understands the limits of the possible, the more obvious for Iran the red line after which the things unpleasant for it begin. Now this entire situation related to Russia's proposal for joint enrichment of uranium looks like another game by Iran, another attempt to gain time. I regret this. I feel that Russia is being exploited and used.

Question: The US has announced that opening of the plant at Natanz will be the red line after which sanctions will be applied to Iran. Where is the line after which Russia will cease to deal with Iran?

Konstantin Kosachev: For us the red line is confirmation by IAEA inspectors that Iran has exceeded the limits of its obligations and is carrying out activities not compliant with the NNPT. That is why for us it is extremely important to keep Iran in the NNPT. We need inspectors to work there and conclusions to be drawn on the expert and not on the political level. We have seen from the example of Iraq what happens when conclusions are drawn at the political level. Everyone was convinced that there were nuclear weapons there, that Saddam Hussein supported Al Quaeda and so on. Experts could not work in Iraq and they did not know what was happening in Iraq. Now they do not know that is happening in North Korea. Thus, the tactic of the US that does not lose anything after introduction of sanctions against Iran is pushing of Iran beyond the framework of cooperation with the IAEA and thus getting rid of taking into account of expert conclusions. Then time of political conclusions will come again. We do not know what is happening in Iran, that is why something terrible is happening there by definition. This means that we should interfere immediately. This is the situation comfortable for the US. The situation comfortable for us is reference to IAEA inspectors. As long as the IAEA is working in Iran it is sufficiently comfortable for us to rely on their conclusions and not to take any political stance.

Question: This means that withdrawal of Iran from the IAEA will end the patience of Russia, after which it will stop objecting to sanctions? Only in this case inspectors of the IAEA will be unable to watch if Iranians make nuclear weapons or do not.

Konstantin Kosachev: This will not be the red line. Although it may seem paradoxical, withdrawal of Iran from the IAEA is the situation for which both the US and Iran are currently striving. For us this is the least favorable situation because then we will be hostages of the political rhetoric that will come from the US and Iran. We wish to prevent this situation, that is why we are working so accurately on formulations of the future resolution of the Security Council. If Iran withdraws the regime of the treaty and the IAEA, it will show that it is not afraid of sanctions. Nothing except the military force will be an efficient tool to influence Iran. Use of military force looks to be absolutely fruitless to me. We cannot guarantee with assistance of pinpoint or carpet bombing that Iran will give up the nuclear program. If this happens, I do not know what the international community can do in this situation. This will be another stupid thing provoked by American and Iranian leaders. However, this will be a stupid thing that places all countries including Russia in the most difficult position.

Question: What if the armed conflict does happen - what would be the outcome for Russia?

Konstantin Kosachev: The NNPT would actually collapse. To date, its essence has been that countries giving up military programs received the right to use nuclear power for civil purposes. In the worst-case scenario the right of Iran to develop civil nuclear energy as permitted by the NNPT will be denied for Iran and the NNPT will cease to exist. For the countries that do not have any plans to create their own nuclear weapons the experience of Iran will be a powerful although false signal that they need to create nuclear weapons as soon as possible not to find themselves in a situation of Iraq or Iran. This will have catastrophic consequences for the world. With regard to Russia, there will probably be no direct consequences of the war in Iran like there have been no consequences in case of Iraq. However, destabilization of the oil market that begins as a result of such world will shake the whole world including Russia. That is why oil prices will not be steadily high. They will fluctuate and Russia will lose and will not benefit from this.

Source: Kommersant-Vlast, No. 17, May 8-14, 2006, p. 46

Return to Menu

Russia seeks thaw in frosty rhetoric
Richard Beeston
The Times
(for personal use only)

The Kremlin chief of staff puts a positive spin on disagreements with the West, reports Richard Beeston

THE Kremlin has launched a diplomatic offensive to repair frayed relations between Russia and the West and rescue preparations for a key summit that President Putin will host in St Petersburg this summer.

Amid fears of a return to Cold War suspicion, the Russian presidential chief of staff made an unprecedented visit to Downing Street this week to defuse tensions that could undermine the annual G8 meeting of the world's most powerful leaders.

Sergei Sobyanin, who held talks with Jonathan Powell, his British counterpart, said that he was determined to refresh an atmosphere that has been poisoned by recent sharp exchanges between Moscow and the West.

"The problems that have been highlighted recently in the media and political circles have been wildly exaggerated," Mr Sobyanin told The Times, in his first interview with the foreign press.

"Our biggest problem is the rhetoric. We do have differences with our Western partners, but nothing of critical importance and certainly nothing that cannot be resolved through direct dialogue."

His calming message, which will be reinforced across the West thanks to a multimillion-pound Kremlin contract with the US public relations firm Ketchum, is aimed primarily at shoring up support for Russia in Europe and silencing Kremlin detractors in Washington.

Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, warned Russia last week not to abandon democracy and accused Mr Putin of "unfairly and improperly" restricting the rights of his people. Other critics of Russia, such as Senator John McCain, a possible Republican presidential candidate, urged President Bush to boycott the St Petersburg summit, to be held in mid-July.

But Mr Sobyanin, a former governor of the western Siberian region of Tyumen, said that world leaders needed to meet to tackle pressing issues, such as global energy, terrorism, nuclear proliferation and the spread of infectious diseases.

The 47-year-old Kremlin chief said that Moscow's position on Iran was much closer to that of the West than stated. He insisted that Russia's top priority was to stop Iran acquiring an atomic bomb while avoiding any moves that could lead to a new war in the Middle East.

"We do have important (commercial) contracts with Iran, but it is more important to us to make sure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons," he said. "In this regard we are absolutely on the same wavelength as our Western partners...I think we also agree how terrible an outbreak of new hostilities would be in the case of Iran."

As for fears over the erosion of democratic principles in Russia, Mr Sobyanin said that Mr Putin had promised to step down from office in 2008, when he completed his second and final term. But he also predicted that Mr Putin would choose a successor carefully. "All political careers must come to an end one day," he said.

"Every leader would like to see to it that when his presidency comes to an end his policies and ideas will be continued. Putin is no exception."

Diplomats believe that the G8 summit will go ahead with all the leaders in attendance, despite present differences. But the Kremlin is likely to come under more pressure from the West on thorny issues, such as democracy in Russia and action against Iran, until the summit opens.

Mr Sobyanin, who helped to prepare the state of the union address delivered by Mr Putin in Moscow last week, said that the President had ruled out any return to the Cold War, even if at times the chill winds blowing between East and West may feel that way.

Return to Menu

In the Event of War We Will Be Able To Cause Immense Damage to the Americans
Nadezhda Popova
(for personal use only)

The key EU countries -- Britain, Germany, and France -- have presented their proposed solutions to the Iranian "nuclear crisis." The Europeans are promising Iran economic aid and privileges in exchange for halting uranium enrichment. But Tehran remains adamant. "We will not abandon our nuclear program for anything," President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad said. This means that Iran may soon face sanctions. An "act of force" is not ruled out either. What would the "regime of the ayatollahs" do then? Mohsen Najafi, head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization international department, answered these and other questions put by. He was talking with Nadezhda Popova.

(Popova) What would the Iranian leadership do if the United Nations were to impose sanctions?

(Najafi) Iran has long since examined and assessed various scenarios relating to this issue. And it has prepared for each of them. A number of states has been operating sanctions against us for many years. We have learned to be largely self-sufficient. The Iranian people's honor and dignity are non-negotiable.

(Popova) What might Iran's response be to an "act of force" by the United States?

(Najafi) We are ready for such a development. The United States has many weak spots. Therefore, in the event of a war, our retaliatory actions would inevitably cause the Americans enormous damage.

(Popova) How serious might the US damage to the Iranian nuclear program be?

(Najafi) Our nuclear program extends both to scientific research and to production. Maybe America would be able to cause serious damage to production facilities. But there is no threat to the research sphere. It is impossible to destroy. In this respect Iran will continue to live and to create.

(Popova) What stage is the uranium enrichment process at?

(Najafi) We have carried out approximately five-percent enrichment. (Uranium needs to be 80-90 percent enriched in order to develop a nuclear bomb --). The plan is to commission 3,000 centrifuges. If the requisite conditions are created, Iran is ready to embark on enrichment on an industrial scale. This stage is attainable in the near future.

(Popova) How are talks progressing on the creation of a Russian-Iranian uranium enrichment enterprise on our territory?

(Najafi) The dialogue is continuing. The sides have agreed in principle, but the details have yet to be clarified.

Return to Menu

BBC Monitoring and Itar-Tass
(for personal use only)

Russia and China will not support a UN Security Council resolution if it allows for the imposition of sanctions or, especially, the use of force, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said here today.

"We are concerned that Iran has not replied to all the questions which were raised by the IAEA," he said. "Iran had promised to do this, and we hope that this will happen in the very near future."

"I am convinced that it is essential to achieve this through dialogue, and not by diktat or attempts to isolate Iran, or to drive it into a corner in the calculation that this will reduce the risk of proliferation," he said. "We are convinced that in that event the opposite effect will be achieved."

[RIA news agency (0918 gmt) quoted Lavrov as saying the Iranian nuclear issue would not be discussed at a summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) scheduled for 15 June. "I do not link the intention of the Iranian president to attend the SCO summit with the efforts which are being made to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem," he said.

He recalled that Iran, along with India, Pakistan and Mongolia, has observer status in the SCO. "It is precisely in this capacity that he [the Iranian president] has been invited to the summit. "I don't think it will be productive to raise issues at the summit which are not on the agenda," he said.

Another ITAR-TASS report (0941 gmt) quoted Lavrov as saying Russia "opposes the politicization of energy problems". He said the SCO summit would not be taking any special decisions on energy issues, even though energy projects "occupy a prominent place" within the framework of developing economic cooperation among the SCO member states.

He added that the members of the organization are discussing "how to develop energy cooperation on the basis of considering the interests of consumers and producers of hydrocarbons".

Return to Menu

Security Guarantees for Tehran Are Possible. IAEA Head Believes That Uranium Enrichment Should Be Accepted
Yuliya Petrovskaya
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(for personal use only)

The European Union is ready to make "serious proposals to Iran in the areas of the economy, atomic energy, and possibly -- if necessary -- security." EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Javier Solana made this statement to the press yesterday. He said that these would be a combination of generous measures aimed at persuading Iran to renounce its nuclear ambitions. Solana was speaking at a public meeting of the 25 EU countries' foreign ministers in Brussels. Meanwhile the Europeans are also discussing sanctions that could be imposed on Iran if it refuses to negotiate.

The diplomat was unwilling to give details of the European proposal, indicating only that it will be put forward in the next few weeks, at the same time as the UN Security Council adopts a resolution incorporating the demand that Tehran halt all uranium enrichment work, so Reuters reports. According to agency, EU foreign ministers are to agree a joint statement in Brussels which will in essence require Tehran to cooperate fully with the IAEA and halt all work on enriching uranium, including work for research purposes.

Whether Iran will value Europe's "generosity" is a big question. In any event Akhmadinezhad declared last Sunday: "Any proposal that incorporates the demand that we halt our peaceful nuclear activity will be pointless." The Islamic Republic's president also indicated that "there is no point in drawing up such proposals without Iran's involvement." "Since we ourselves are not present at their discussion, any decisions they (the Europeans) make are pointless," he said.

Solana commented that Akhmadinezhad's statements indicated a misunderstanding. "We have nothing against an atomic program if it is directed purely at generating energy," the diplomat stressed.

It is noteworthy that no specific proposals have yet been heard about granting Tehran security guarantees. In this sense the Europeans' approach has shown evidence of amendment, probably in coordination with the American administration. At the same time it is clear that any statement about security guarantees that might appear more attractive to Iran would have to come from Washington, not Brussels. And to date the United States has not mentioned such a possibility.

The Europeans set about drawing up new proposals following last week's failure at the UN Security Council to secure a resolution on Iran citing Chapter VII of the UN Charter (which allows for the imposition of economic sanctions and the use of force). According to the newspaper, while on a visit to New York Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov openly threatened to veto the anti-Iranian resolution. The publication claimed that this marked a toughening of Moscow's rhetoric following US Vice President Dick Cheney's critical comments about Russia made in Vilnius.

Meanwhile IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei is trying to persuade Western leaders to agree to allow Iran to enrich uranium in limited quantities under the control of international inspectors. In the Egyptian diplomat's view, it will not be possible to make progress otherwise.

Return to Menu

E.  Nuclear Industry

US restrictions on Russia atom may be lifted in year - Kiriyenko
(for personal use only)

The issue of lifting discriminatory restrictions on the supply of products and services of the Russian nuclear power sector to the US market may be settled within “one-three years,” head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) Sergei Kiriyenko said. On Tuesday evening he held a press conference on the results of his working visit to Washington.

Answering an Itar-Tass question Kiriyenko said he held “a very fruitful and constructive meeting” with US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez at which he expressed the Russian stance on the necessity of gaining access to the American market. “We want to freely sell our products and services and American companies want to freely buy them,” the Rosatom head emphasised. According to him, the US secretary of commerce said in reply that free trade is a fundamental value for his country. “We agreed to continue the dialogue and what is the most important, reached full understanding that it is not a political issue, that is why it is necessary to hold the dialogue without any political implications,” said Kiriyenko.

He also stressed that the fact the Russian atomic power branch is seeking to gain access to the American market does not mean that the bilateral HEU-LEU agreement on the supply of Russia’s highly enriched uranium (obtained in the process of elimination of nuclear weapons) to the US will undergo any changes. Russia will strictly fulfil this agreement (that was unofficially named Megatons to Megawatts), said the Rosatom head. However, in the words of Kiriyenko, the lifting of discriminatory restrictions although “not concerning the HEU-LEU agreement, concerns the interests of the American corporation USEC.” This company is the US government’s executive agent for the fulfilment of this agreement and in essence it currently possesses exclusive rights to conduct all affairs with Russia in the atomic power industry sphere. “We want to do business not only with USEC, but also with other American companies concerned, i.e., including with USEC,” Kiriyenko stated.

Return to Menu

BBC Monitoring International Reports
(for personal use only)

Russian Federation Federal Atomic Energy Agency head Sergey Kiriyenko is counting on American companies' support in opening the US market for Russian nuclear fuel, he told journalists in Washington, RIA Novosti news agency reported on 23 May.

"The key moment for me is the talks I held in New York on Friday and Saturday [19 and 20 May] with some 20 American energy providers controlling over 50 per cent of energy produced in the USA," Kiriyenko said.

Answering a question of whether he counts on the issue to be lobbied by American companies in Washington, Kiriyenko said: "Frankly, yes, certainly. I think that it is right to do so."

"If we draft our long-term plans according to a principle of what is profitable to us, we will have to work our way with the help of top-level politics alone, because no-one needs us on the market here. Things are different, however, if we are ready to supply goods and services [to the USA] and if American companies controlling this market want to receive these goods and services," Kiriyenko said.

At the negotiations with heads of US energy companies in New York "they said that American companies are not just ready to lobby and support but go to courts and take necessary steps to prove their right" to receive Russian good-quality and effective goods and services, he said. Russia does not support solving this issue in courts of law, though, Kiriyenko added, as reported by RIA Novosti.

Energy security issues have also been discussed in Washington, Kiriyenko has said, ITAR-TASS news agency reported on 23 May.

"We share the view that it will be impossible to ensure global energy security in the next 30-40 years without large-scale development of atomic energy. It requires cooperation as the atomic energy market cannot be a market of one country alone, it is a global market," Kiriyenko said, as reported by ITAR-TASS.

When developing this market, it is necessary "to ensure each country's right to access to cheap and effective atomic energy and guarantee that the non-proliferation treaty is observed", he added.

"I think that an agreement on cooperation and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is of mutual interest and Russia needs it as much as the USA, and the USA needs it as much as Russia," Kiriyenko said.

"The global market will be measured in tens of billions of dollars a year. When today we raise the issue of lifting discriminatory restrictions regarding the delivery of Russian goods and services to the American market, we, frankly speaking, are fighting not only for the American market," Kiriyenko said.

It is important that principles and rules be created according to which Russia will take part in the world market. "The basic requirement of these rules must be that we should not expect preferences anywhere. At the same time, we must not allow discriminatory restrictions and inequality against ourselves - this is the key thing," Kiriyenko said.

Return to Menu

Gov't approves zero import duty on uranium
(for personal use only)

The Russian government has approved a zero rate for the import customs duty on natural uranium and depleted uranium with a reduced proportion of uranium-235 for a 9-month term. A governmental decree to this effect dated May 18 will enter into force one month after its official publication date, the government's press service reported.

Return to Menu

Joint-Stock Atom
Dmitriy Smirnov
(for personal use only)

Non-military nuclear facilities in Russia are being transformed into joint-stock companies, while at the same time remaining the property of the state. The most that private investors can aspire to is a share in second-rate subdivisions of the newly formed "Rosatomprom" holding. Shareholding was needed in order to make it possible to secure loans for construction of new nuclear power plants.

On 17 May, the head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom), Sergey Kiriyenko, stated that the long-announced process of shareholding in all facilities of the nuclear sector has finally been launched. "In restructuring the sector, the forms of ownership will change," he said. At the same time, all of the facilities of the nuclear sector will still remain in 100 percent federal ownership, and the MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs) of Russia will continue to protect them. The head of Rosatom did not disclose the details of the restructuring. The department's press service also refrained from comment.

Previously, following a long hiatus, the head of Rosatom had announced the intention to start building new facilities in the nuclear sector to provide energy-deficient regions with cheap electrical energy.

However, without private capital in this matter, this would be difficult to do.

Therefore, in exchange for material participation in construction of AES (nuclear power plants), the scheme proposed by Sergey Kiriyenko offered potential investors deliveries of electrical power from these AES at a fixed price. It is expected that these measures will make it possible to increase the relative share of nuclear power by 2030 from the current 16 percent to 25 percent of the overall production.

As Finam Investment Company analyst Anastasiya Sarapultseva explained to, today the discussion centers around shareholding in Rosenergoatom and the FGUPs (federal state unitary enterprises) included in its complement, which operate within the segment of the peaceful atom.

"A single vertically integrated structure will be built on the basis of the enterprises of Rosenergoatom, as well as the enterprises of TVEL, which engage in mining of uranium and production of nuclear fuel, and the enterprises of the Atomenergomash holding, which engage in design and construction of AES in Russia and abroad," says the expert.

At the same time, Sarapultseva stressed that 100 percent of the shares in this structure's administrative center (its working name will be "Rosatomprom") would remain in the hands of the state, while private investors may only be offered to become co-owners of certain subsidiary enterprises in the holding.

An analyst for the Uralsib Finance Company, Matvey Tayts, is convinced that shareholding of this structure is necessary so as to increase transparency and raise the effectiveness of the company, which would allow it to actively operate on the corporate loan market. "The discussion may center around bonds, notes and credits," adds Solid Investment Company analyst Igor Nuzhdin.

"And an open structure of ownership is more preferable, if the monetary means are to be raised--including abroad."

At the same time, the analysts agree on the opinion that conversion to shareholding of all the facilities will take 1.5 - 2 years, and the sum of expenditures may reach $10 million. As the chief of the analytical department of PRADO "Banker and Consultant," Dmitriy Baranov, explained, such vague terms and sums are determined by the fact that, before conversion to shareholding, all of these enterprises must be appraised, an audit must be performed at them, their organizational structure may perhaps need to be revamped, and many other things done. "It is absolutely unclear what other skeletons may fall out of the closet in the course of all these processes, which may hinder or accelerate the process of shareholding," notes the expert.

At the present moment, the Rosenergoatom concern performs management of 10 nuclear power plants with overall established capacity of 23,242 MW. Altogether at the beginning of 2006, there were 31 power generation units in operation. The production of electrical energy by FGUP Rosenergoatom in 2005 comprised 149.4 billion kW/hr, or 16 percent of the overall generation in the country.

Return to Menu

Kirienko to Push for Lifting Curbs on Russian Uranium in the U.S.
(for personal use only)

Sergey Kirienko, head of the Russian Atomic Energy Agency, went to the United States Thursday to meet U.S. Energy and Commerce Secretaries. The aim of the visit is to clear the path for Russian atomic fuel to America. Russia currently has the access to the market only through USEC, a U.S. intermediary. As uranium fuel prices have soared, the Russian atomic authorities may demand a price hike on uranium under the highly enriched uranium (HEU) and low-enriched uranium (LEU) intergovernmental agreements.

Russian uranium fuel sent market prices in the United States plummeting in the early 1990s. In a response, a 112-percent protecting duty on Russian uranium was introduced. The two countries also signed an agreement, permitting Russia to export uranium to the United States duty free only under the HEU-LEU agreement. The low-enriched uranium (LEU) for nuclear fuel used at atomic power stations is recovered from Russian highly enriched military uranium (HEU), according the agreement. The HEU-LEU deal was struck in 1994, the agreement expiring in 2013. One half of all atomic stations in the United States use Russian uranium, owing to the HEU-LEU agreement. However, most revenues go to USEC, since payments to Russia do not depend on market prices (between $400 and 800 million annually), and the United States is reluctant to review the sum. USEC’s profits in 2005 came to $1.56 billion.

Uranium prices have been on a steady rise over the past two years. Enriched uranium prices have grown three-fold since 2003, to $88 per 1kg from $25. The Russian-American contract, however, rests on the early 1990s prices. In this situation, Russia will benefit if it leaves the agreement and starts paying the 112 percent duty.

Sergey Kirienko said before the trip he is set to “seek lifting any discriminating curbs on the supply of materials and services of the Russian atomic industry.” Yet, it is not clear if he is ready for these radical steps.

Sergey Kirienko is to meet the heads of fifteen American energy companies, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez next week.

Return to Menu

Energy Security Is Our Highest Priority
(for personal use only)

The main topic of discussion at the conference was the need to prevent an energy shortage in the country. In the past, specialists repeatedly declared that the demand for electricity for the population and industry was rising while generating capacity was decreasing instead of increasing as outdated equipment became inoperable. During the severe frosts of January and February in Russia, the power-engineering sector was overloaded, and accidents occurred in some locations. All of this corroborates the need to build new power engineering facilities as soon as possible. According to the estimates of Rosatom (Federal Atomic Energy Agency) officials, for example, new nuclear power facilities generating 40 gigawatts must be started up before 2030. These huge projects will be impossible without the support of the state leadership. That is why specific ways of solving the problem of an energy shortage were discussed at the conference in the president's office.

In his opening statement, V. Putin had this to say: "We recently have discussed energy problems and problems in the development of the power-engineering sector quite frequently, and not only because this is a cold winter. After all, although many of us frequently discussed our plans for the growth of the national economy, few people seem to have believed that the actual rate of economic growth in Russia would correspond fully to those plans. Now we are facing imminent shortages, especially of electricity, and these could limit the future growth of the Russian economy. For this reason, today I would like to hear your specific suggestions regarding the continued modernization of electrical power engineering and the creation of the necessary conditions for the attraction of private capital into this sector, both national and foreign capital. I would like to hear your suggestions of ways in which the state can continue to exert the necessary influence on the system of power grids, hydroelectric power plants, and nuclear power engineering."

V. Putin used the results of the conference as the basis for his instructions to the government regarding the resolution of problems in attracting domestic and foreign private investment as soon as possible. The necessary recommendations must be drawn up before the next conference a month from now. He also stressed the need to pay special attention to the nuclear sector.

Commenting on the results of the conference, RF Minister of Industry and Energy V. Khristenko made these remarks: "The suggestions made by the chairman of the YeES RAO executive board regarding the continued modernization of the power-engineering sector were approved in general today by the government and president. These steps probably were dictated to a certain extent by the difficult winter Russia is experiencing, by the cold weather necessitating the mobilization of everyone, especially the power engineers, of course. The president stated that under no circumstances should there be any shortage of power generating capacities. In this context, the government will have to look into several issues that must be resolved as soon as possible. Above all, there is the need to find more ways of attracting private investment in electrical power engineering, as well as possible additional forms of participation by the state in investment, especially in the power grids, hydroelectric power plants, and nuclear power engineering. The significance of nuclear power engineering and the attention it must be given were underscored."

Problems in the development of the power-engineering sector were also discussed at RF President V. Putin's meeting with the G8 finance ministers. The head of state made this statement: "International security and socioeconomic development depend largely on power engineering today. The welfare of millions and millions of people depends on it. We expect G8 to come up with a coordinated strategy in this sphere, for the reliable supply of the global economy and the population of our planet with energy resources -- at affordable prices and with minimal environmental damage. We believe we need an entire group of measures to strengthen the stability and predictability of world markets for electricity, nuclear energy, and energy resources -- gas and oil. Unfortunately, these markets are now subject to serious political, technological, and environmental risks. It is extremely important today to heighten energy efficiency, encourage energy conservation, develop alternative sources of energy, and combat the so-called energy poverty of the developing countries."

As we know, many of these problems could be solved by the development of nuclear power engineering, particularly by implementing V. Putin's well-known recommendation to establish international centers performing nuclear fuel cycle services for the developing countries.

Return to Menu

Russia Grapples With an Atomic Dilemma
Yuriy Humber
Moscow Times
(for personal use only)

For the last decade, the atom has been Russia's least-lauded, most-hush-hush energy export.

But now, just as a global renaissance in atomic power offers the chance of billions of dollars' worth of contracts, the country's nuclear industry finds itself stuck with a dilemma. Without private funding, ambitious expansion plans may never be realized, but allowing in the private sector would open up the nation's most secretive industry to unprecedented scrutiny.

President Vladimir Putin last week lent extra impetus to the drive to develop the industry, urging in his state-of-the-nation address that work on next-generation reactors be given high priority.

Key to the industry's efforts to attract investment are officials such as Anna Belova, a corporate restructuring guru who is one of a team of reformers brought in by former Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko, the new head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency.

The stakes are high. Last year, it was disclosed that the industry earned over $2.4 billion from the sale of nuclear fuel alone. And that is just the tip of a very big iceberg, as Kiriyenko has announced plans to build up to 40 nuclear power plants in Russia over the next two decades in an effort to boost atomic power's share from one-sixth to one-quarter of national power generation.

The major new plans come as world leaders fret over rising oil and gas prices and begin to turn back to nuclear energy as a power source.

If the atomic energy expansion comes off, "Russia's whole economic picture changes," Belova said at an energy forum last month in Moscow, where atomic energy agency officials put forward plans to invite strategic private investors to help finance the new reactors.

In her former role as deputy railways minister, Belova was applauded as being the driving force behind the successful consolidation of the country's dinosaur-like state railway enterprises into a single commercial entity, Russian Railways, or RZD.

Now Belova is at the heart of a similar drive at the agency.

Reforms could be even more difficult to implement than for the railways, however, as the country's nuclear industry is currently a collection of disparate enterprises, factories and institutes, some of which have already been turned into commercial entities with their capital divided into shares, while others have remained virtually unaltered since Soviet times.

Vladimir Filonov / MTBelova, formerly of RZD, is now an adviser to the Federal Atomic Energy Agency."The path for the sector's development and transformation is currently under consideration," said Belova, whom Kiriyenko has appointed as an adviser to the agency and as a deputy director of Tekhsnabexport, or Tenex, the country's state-owned nuclear fuel trader.

The key decisions on the nuclear agency will be made in the second half of May, Belova said at the energy forum.

The main step forward would be to make civilian nuclear power "much more market-driven," as the sector has in the past not been seen "as having the potential to be an efficient and competitive business that could operate internationally and transparently," Belova said.

The nuclear industry "has several markets and several products to offer ... that Russia can offer on the domestic and global market," including uranium-ore mining, uranium enrichment for nuclear fuel and atomic power station construction, she said.

"Russia is looking to transform its energy facilities into a market. Why shouldn't atomic power be a part of that?" Belova said.

Strategic Investors

Industry managers say that to boost the industry's share of domestic power generation and win contracts abroad, large investments will be required -- including, some say, given the limits on federal budget spending, from the private sector.

"We need to base our thoughts on attracting investors," Valery Govorukhin, deputy head of Tenex, said at the energy forum.

Ideas touted by the nuclear lobby include allowing a select number of companies to act as strategic investors in future projects -- an idea that would have been anathema in the past.

A Federal Atomic Energy Agency presentation at the forum laid out a possible blueprint for public-private cooperation: The state would contribute about 55 percent of costs for new construction projects, while the nuclear agency would fund another 20 percent, leaving the remainder open to strategic private investors.

"I think it would be acceptable to attract equity investment for individual projects, especially in the construction of atomic-power generation facilities," Belova said, adding that such a possibility could be some years down the line.

Companies whose products are highly sensitive to electricity prices could potentially be strategic investors in atomic-power projects, equity analysts said, since they could thereby secure cheap, long-term energy deals.

Kiriyenko's spokesman Sergei Novikov said in a recent interview that "several companies have expressed an interest in such projects," without elaborating.

Aluminum producer SUAL has said it is interested in joint ventures with the nuclear agency, since electricity accounts for more than one-third of aluminum production costs.

Another Kremlin-favored potential partner for the agnecy could be Gazprom, whose CEO Alexei Miller said last month was interested in getting involved in atomic energy "in the foreseeable future."

A source at the Federal Atomic Energy Agency said Kiriyenko's team had proposed consolidating the industry into a single vertically integrated holding with six subdivisions: uranium mining; uranium enrichment into fuel; power station construction; management of atomic reactors; nuclear fuel reprocessing; and nuclear machinery manufacture.

TVEL, the state-owned domestic nuclear fuel monopoly, would form the basis for the holding, said the source, who requested anonymity as the proposals have not yet received final approval.

Once the nuclear industry is incorporated into registered companies with share capital, managers would have the chance to attract loans, apply for project financing and possibly raise capital through a share issue, said Victor Opekunov, chairman of the subcommittee for nuclear energy of the State Duma's Energy, Transport and Communications Committee, in a recent interview.

Boris Kavashkin / Itar-TassA view of Smolensk nuclear power station. Kiriyenko said that new reactors would only be built if local residents agreed.A Publicity-Shy Industry

In an industry whose global image changed irrevocably with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, Russia's publicity-shy nuclear sector has steadily collected undisclosed profits by supplying about 40 percent of the world's nuclear fuel. Although the construction of nuclear power stations in Russia was effectively halted, the industry was able to keep engineering advances ticking over by scoring contracts to build reactors abroad in India and Iran.

Yet today, as world uranium prices soar on supply shortages and power-hungry emerging-market economies lead the search for new ways to meet growing electricity demand, atomic energy is enjoying a renaissance. And as the atomic energy industry becomes more profitable, the curtain of secrecy that has shrouded the sector is gradually being lifted.

Hopes that atomic energy could emerge as the state's next-biggest cash cow after oil and gas suffered a setback last year, however, when Russia lost out on a $3.5 billion contract to build a state-of-the-art nuclear reactor in Finland.

Adding to Russia's disappointment was the fact that the Finnish reactor would also have provided a lucrative market for Russian nuclear fuel, as most builders of reactors also supply them with fuel.

"It was a setback for us -- that was plain to everyone," said Gennady Pshakin, a nuclear industry expert at the Obninsk Institute of Physics and Power Engineering, near Moscow. "In fact, when Kiriyenko came in, it was the first thing he asked. 'Why did we lose that? Where do we have a project that we can sell abroad?' And it appeared that we didn't have one."

After Putin tapped Kiriyenko, a reformist Yeltsin-era prime minister, to head the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, he also set for the agency the goal of raising atomic energy's share of national power generation from 16 percent to 25 percent by 2025.

Kiriyenko's response was to unveil an ambitious program to build 40 nuclear reactors at home and 60 abroad over the next two decades.

Vladimir Rodionov / Itar-TassPutin, pictured at a Nizhny Novgorod research institute in February with Kiriyenko, backs the building of new reactors.Kiriyenko Welcomed

Nuclear experts in the United States and Europe have welcomed Kiriyenko's appointment and expressed hopes that U.S.-Russian nuclear cooperation could be revived after years of stagnation.

"The United States had a very positive experience with Kiriyenko when he was prime minister," said Jon Wolfsthal, a nuclear weapons nonproliferation expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

"As someone not directly from the nuclear field, he's free to have new thoughts, which wasn't true of his predecessors," Wolfsthal said.

New thinking in atomic energy is needed from governments globally, according to some industry executives.

John Tramuto, a vice president of U.S. utilities firm Pacific Gas and Electric, told the Moscow energy forum that a key factor holding back the development of atomic power was uncertainty among governments about how much private-sector investment to allow into the industry.

As well as being financially sound, Kiriyenko's plans for Russia's atomic industry will need to address environmental and safety concerns among local authorities and the wider public, which has been reluctant to accept nuclear power after the Chernobyl tragedy.

In an interview with the Yuzhny Reporter newspaper in Volgodonsk, where the nuclear agency plans to build new reactors, Kiriyenko last month acknowledged that local feelings would have to be taken into account.

"We need a major consensus -- we won't go against the regional authorities and the public. If I arrive to see a huge rally at the gate of the plant, it's clear" what public opinion will be, Kiriyenko said, the paper reported.

Yet, with the power stations plowing tax rubles into the federal and regional budgets, and energy needs spiraling, Kiriyenko said he felt confident the expansion program would go ahead.

Although the overall expansion plan is long-term, Kiriyenko may be under more immediate pressure to achieve results. According to an industry source familiar with the situation, Kiriyenko has been given one year to show that the nuclear industry can be turned around.

Experts say Kiriyenko's plans depend on increasing uranium production and securing strong injections of private capital into the industry, which would require a change in federal law.

Building as many as 100 reactors would require an overhaul of the entire industry, including in construction, manufacturing of nuclear reactor equipment and "picking a standard, commercial power station design that we can offer abroad," said Pshakin, the nuclear institute expert.

"We have an idea of what can be done technically," Pshakin said. "But it all comes down to one thing -- money."

Return to Menu

Joint venture in Kazakhstan to start uranium production in 2006
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

A joint venture between Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan will start producing uranium at the end of 2006, Russia's nuclear services export company said Monday.

Techsnabexport, Russia's state-controlled uranium supplier and provider of uranium enrichment services, has a 49.33% stake in a joint venture set up in 2004 in the south of mineral-rich Kazakhstan. It is exploring a uranium ore deposit with estimated reserves of 19,000 metric tons of uranium in Zarechnoye near the border with Central-Asian neighbors Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

"The construction of the facilities at the mine is proceeding according to schedule," the company official said. "The mine is ready to work, and we are planning to produce the first batch of uranium ore at the end of 2006."

Techsnabexport provides about 35% of global uranium supplies and plans to expand its operations in Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Return to Menu

F.  Submarine Dismantlement

Russian yard scraps Victor-class nuclear sub with Canadian funds
(for personal use only)

The Zvezdochka dockyard federal state unitary enterprise in Severodvinsk has begun scrapping the K-38 multirole atomic submarine, which was the lead vessel in the project-671 series (the "Yersh", or in NATO parlance "Victor-1").

The sub is currently in a floating dock, where preparations are starting for removal of the reactor's active zones, the yard's press office told Interfax.

The K-38 multirole submarine was built at the Admiralty yard in Leningrad in 1966 and was officially handed over to the navy on 5 November 1967. Christened "50 Years of the USSR", she went on to serve with the Northern Fleet. (Passage omitted)

The K-38 will be the fifth submarine to be scrapped at Zvezdochka with Canadian funding. (Passage omitted)

Return to Menu

Volgograd sub cannibalized in Severodvinsk using Canadian funds
Russia & CIS Military Newswire
(for personal use only)

Cannibalization of the B-502 Belgorod multi-role nuclear-powered submarine has ended at the docking chamber of the Zvyozdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk, Yelena Korostel, official of the shipyard's press service, said on Wednesday.

It is the fourth of the 12 submarines that Zvyozdochka plans to scrap under an accord with Canada, Korostel told Interfax.

Three submarines of Project 671 RTM (Shchuka, NATO designation Viktor III) and Project 671 (Yorsh, NATO designation Viktor I) were scrapped before.

The B-502 was laid down at the Admiralteiskiye Verfi shipyard in 1979 and commissioned by the Navy in 1981.

It was written off from the Northern Fleet in 2000.

Korostel recalled that Zvyozdochka cooperates with the Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ministry in the framework of the Global Partnership program, aimed at limiting proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction.

Canada announced at the G-8 summit in 2002 that it was ready to assign about $750 billion for this purpose over the next decade.

Zvyozdochka has so far received about $8 million from the Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ministry for the scrapping activity that was already carried out.

Return to Menu

Russia getting rid of floating Chernobyls
Viktor Litovkin
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

I'd like to start with some figures. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union built more nuclear-powered ships than any other country - about 250 nuclear missile submarines, five surface ships, including several heavy missile cruises of the Admiral Ushakov class, eight ice-breakers, the most famous of which bore Lenin's name, and one lighter carrier ship Sevmorput.

But no infrastructure was built for scrapping these ships after decommissioning. There was no system for the storage and disposal of liquid and solid spent fuel and other radioactive waste.

As a result, Russia has inherited a huge problem of cleaning its territorial waters and lands of what people have dubbed the "floating Chernobyls." The sinking of any decommissioned submarine with nuclear fuel may trigger a major ecological disaster.

The spent fuel of all nuclear submarines amounts to 25 million curies. The aggregate weight of all radioactive construction materials slated for disposal exceeds 150,000 tons, and that of metal, about 1.5 million tons. A special "atomic train" will have to make a hundred trips to get this spent fuel from the Northern and Pacific fleets, and take it to the Mayak waste treatment plant in the southern Urals. However, it can make 10-15 such trips annually.

And one more figure, which is indispensable for understanding the scale of the problem - $4 billion will have to be spent on nuclear waste disposal and recovery of contaminated territories.

Russia has been dealing with the scrapping of nuclear submarines and surface ships for many years. Its annual spending for the purpose stands at about 2 billion budget rubles (about $70 million) per year. Substantial help is coming from the United States under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Before 2001, the U.S. earmarked $40 million a year for the purpose. Now that the disposal of the decommissioned strategic nuclear submarines has almost been completed, this assistance has been reduced to $20 million. But other countries have increased their help under the Global Partnership program. In 2004, the relevant figure was $74 million. This comprehensive effort has allowed Russia to scrap 133 nuclear submarines, including 90 subs in its Northern Fleet and 43 in its Pacific Fleet.

Deputy head of the Federal Agency for Nuclear Power Sergei Antipov, the number one domestic expert on submarine dismantling, believes that although by 2012 Russia will have disposed of its submarines, it will still have to remove spent fuel from coastal storage facilities, and recover contaminated territories. These tasks will be very time-consuming.

The problem is not limited to the shortage of funds allocated by donor countries, even though it is part of it. After the approval of the Global Partnership program in Kananaskis, Canada, the G8 promised to earmark $2 billion for this purpose. But only $438.5 million worth of working contracts have been concluded up to now. A mere $313.48 million have been received by disposal facilities. Meanwhile, Russia has been increasing its contribution to submarine utilization every year and has already spent at least $400 million to this end, including $290 million since Kananaskis. It is planning to bring its share in the Global Partnership to $850 million by the year 2012.

But the main headache is the enormous scale of what still has to be done. Moreover, it is also essential to ensure the safety of the disposal effort.

Today, Germany is helping Russia to build coastal storage platforms for reactor compartments, on the Kola Peninsular, Saida Bay. It should be ready by 2010. A total of 120 compartments with submarine nuclear reactors will be kept on open grounds, losing their radioactivity.

A floating dock will also have to be built for delivering these compartments to the platforms from the Nerpa Shipyard near Murmansk, which dismantles submarines. Railway carts are a must for transporting compartments, which weigh 1,600 tons. There should also be premises for repairing reactor compartments and coating them with anti-corrosion materials. Houses for the service personnel will have to be assembled as well.

The pot is kept boiling. The Germans have already spent half of the allotted sum of 300 million euros, and the first platform for 40 compartments was supposed to be opened this summer. But Federal Agency for Nuclear Power officials asked their German colleagues to expand the storage area for another 30 compartments in order to keep 150 compartments instead of 120 in the Saida Bay. The Germans have accepted the proposal, and, hence, the construction of the platforms will be somewhat delayed.

Britain and Norway are greatly helping the northwest of Russia in dismantling submarines and ensuring safe storage of spent nuclear fuel. Their money was used to dispose of two Project 949 Granite submarines and two Project 671 Shchuka submarines. The Andreyev Bay is being decontaminated. It contains one of the world's biggest storage facilities for more than 20,000 reactor clusters. Italy is also joining the effort. It will allot 360 million euros to build a facility for the procession and storage of radioactive waste in the Andreyev Bay, and special containers for the removal of fuel from the village of Gremikha, located some 350 km from the Kola Gulf.

In the past, this village housed a big base of nuclear submarines, which left about 800 contaminated reactor clusters with 1.5 tons of radioactive materials. Gremikha is not connected with Murmansk by a land road - only by air or sea. This makes it impossible to transport clusters to the Mayak plant by railway.

Transportation of submarines from storage facilities to disposal plants is also a problem, which is slowing down their scrapping. In the north the distance is no more than 500 km, but in the Far East, the distance from the Kamchatka Peninsular, where submarines are kept, to processing plants in Primorye Territory is 2,500 km. Unlike the Polar Circle, in the Far East the only way is to ship submarines by sea. The journey of one submarine costs no less than $1 million.

This is the reason why the Far East is somewhat behind the north in implementing the submarine disposal schedule. In the Arctic, only 30 out of 120 have not been dismantled, whereas in the Far East, the relevant figures are 34 and 77.

Tokyo has promised to precipitate submarine disposal in the Far East. In the 1990s Japan helped to build a ship for the storage and procession of liquid radioactive waste, and funded the disposal of one submarine in 2004. After Vladimir Putin's visit to Japan, Tokyo paid for the scrapping of another five submarines. Although, some people in Japan claim that Russia is spending the money of the Japanese taxpayers not only to get rid Russia of the old submarines, which spell ecological disaster for the ocean and its fish, but also to develop more modern combat ships. This has nothing to do with reality, but is always hard to prove.

For all its difficulties, Russia is abiding by its commitments in good faith, said Sergei Antipov. When this article is posted, maybe Russia will get rid of another floating Chernobyl.

Return to Menu

BBC Monitoring International Reports/Interfax-AVN
(for personal use only)

The disposal of the ballistic missile submarine TK-12 has begun at a base of the Sevmashpredpriyatiye (SMP) and Zvezdochka shipyards in Severodvinsk, in northwest Russia, Interfax was told.

"The support systems of the submarine were reinitiated to secure the removal of spent nuclear fuel. The corresponding dismantling operations were then conducted," Aleksandr Kobko of SMP's repair and disposal department said.

The submarine is now at berth of Zvezdochka's special-purpose shore facility, where spent nuclear fuel is being unloaded, he noted. This facility was built at Zvezdochka under the US Congress' Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programme.

The facility consists of a specialized berth equipped with a bridge crane and radiation control systems, as well as roofed pads for temporary storage of spent nuclear fuel containers, and approach railways. The unloaded fuel is later put in special containers that are accumulated at roofed pads until there are enough of them to fill a railway car. After that the containers are shipped to spent nuclear fuel processing plants in special cars.

"The operation should end in June. After that, equipment will be removed from the submarine and its hull will be dismantled. In compliance with safety requirements, the section with reactor units will be sealed off, launched and transported to the storage facility at Sayda Bay on the Kola peninsula," Kobko said.

The TK-12 heavy nuclear-powered strategic submarine (Project 941 Akula/Typhoon) was laid down at SMP on 19 January 1980, set afloat on 17 December 1983 and added to the Northern Fleet inventory on 15 January 1985.

The submarine was written off in 1998 and transferred from the permanent stationing base to Severodvinsk for scrapping in summer last year.

The TK-12 is the second of the navy's Akula (Typhoon) class submarines to be decommissioned and assigned for disposal. In 2005, SMP scrapped the TK-202 submarine of the same class.

The scrapping is being carried out in the framework of the CTR programme, also known as Nunn-Lugar programme.

CTR was adopted in 1991 at the initiative of US Congress. Its main objectives are the destruction of carrier rockets, their launchers and chemical weapons, and control over nuclear weapons and their components on the territory of the former USSR.

US Congress has assigned over 3.1bn dollars for this programme.

Source: Interfax-AVN military news agency website, Moscow, in English 1315 gmt 15 May 06

Return to Menu

G.  Nonproliferation Diplomacy

Sergei Karaganov
Defense and Security/Rossiiskaya Gazeta
(for personal use only)

Russia must try to become the ideological leader of the international community in promoting the idea of a strategic union, which must prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and religious extremism.

The struggle against Iran's nuclear program must not overshadow a more general problem linked with the beginning of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The situation in Pakistan is the most topical threat from the point of view of proliferation of nuclear weapons and their availability to terrorists. The international community, including the US, missed the moment when India and Pakistan created nuclear weapons. The world has been balancing on the verge of a nuclear war since that time. A range of assaults on the president of Pakistan, who plays the role of the guarantor of stability in the country, has been organized. It turned out that Pakistan has turned into a secret market of nuclear technologies, which were supplied to all countries, which have nuclear ambitions.

To all appearances, North Korea already has several nuclear warheads. Many sources state that the country sold such technologies to everyone who needed them.

Iran will be able to produce nuclear weapons in three, six or nine years. It's not obvious that the international community will convince Iran not to do this because the international community is not prepared to offer adequate incentives. In the meantime, threats cannot convince Iran.

Statements made by the leadership of Iran are too radical, and it's hardly likely that it will consider the West's proposals and security guarantees seriously. The situation is aggravated by the fact the system of nonproliferation is falling to pieces. The US contributed to the collapse of the system after it announced full-scale cooperation with India in the nuclear sector. There are no arguments, which answer the question why other countries must not have such weapons. Statements that India is a democracy, which does not pose a threat to the world, do not convince the regimes, which seek to create nuclear weapons.

Washington's activities are symptoms of another alarming trend. Hopes to create a powerful coalition against proliferation of nuclear weapons, terrorism and other threats become more illusory.

Traditional geopolitical and geo-economic rivalry aggravates. Such rivalry always contributed to political differences and wars. Rivalry for access to natural resources aggravates the situation. This rivalry will be relaxed when the world explores new oil and gas fields and implements energy saving technologies. Protectionism in the world economy is gathering strength. Negotiations over liberalization within the framework of the WTO have reached a deadlock. Nationalism has become a serious problem in Eastern and Southeastern Asia. The situation in the Middle East is destabilized. Multilateral tools created for settling international conflicts and preventing wars have become weaker.

It is very likely that many nations will get access to nuclear weapons and other mass destruction weapons. This will cause a chain reaction in Eastern Asia and the Middle East. This may happen within five to ten years.

In principle, nuclear weapons make countries, which possess them, more civilized. The US and the USSR, which understood the risk of using such weapons, parted with the most radical leaders. However, it took 15-20 years, and humankind was on the verge of a nuclear war several times.

The new nuclear age, which may begin as a result of proliferation of nuclear weapons, may prove to be more dangerous than the first 20 years after WWII. Many conflicting countries will get access to nuclear weapons. This will create the situation of "a multi-vector nuclear confrontation". This is a less stable situation than the two-polar system.

What should Russia, which lies between the Middle East and Eastern Asia, do in this situation? Control over international relations has become weak, and national egoisms currently dominate over common interests.

Firstly, Russia must ensure its security. This will necessitate modifying the military doctrine. The Army must be prepared for multilateral nuclear containment. It's possible that Russia will have to modernize nuclear and conventional arms. The idea of creating the anti-missile system of a theater of war becomes more topical. Russia has such technologies, and the demand for such systems will increase.

In the meantime, Russia must not become involved in another arms race, which will ruin the country without exterior threats. However, it's obvious that such measures are not very efficient.

This is why Russia must try to become the ideological leader of the international community in promoting the idea of a strategic union, which must prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and religious extremism.

Experts have been promoting this idea for over ten years. However, such plans have not been realized yet.

This idea is more topical than in the early 1990s. It must be promoted again and again. It's possible that it should be discussed at the next G-8 summit.

The idea of energy security promoted by Russia is very useful but it will be very difficult to reach an agreement concerning many aspects. The interests of the supplier (Russia) and consumers differ. The idea of a new strategic union looks very important, and proliferation of nuclear weapons will become one of the main topics of the summit in St. Petersburg anyway. Russia should use this chance. Otherwise we will have to enter the new nuclear age one by one, and this will lead to a disaster, which was prevented during the first nuclear age.

Original source: Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 19, 2006, p. 7

Return to Menu

Making things rough
Yuri Ushakov
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
(for personal use only)

There is hardly a politician in Washington who has stayed away from attacking Russia lately. I believe that this surge in public rhetoric, a new barrage of anti-Russian charges regarding, in particular, the state of Russia's democracy and its alleged use of energy resources for political ends, can only invite mutual irritation. Perhaps, such bullhorn or microphone diplomacy has a right to exist. But when it becomes so loud that it can wake up the deaf, one starts to wonder what purpose it serves. In any event, such a talkfest can hardly facilitate Russian-American joint work on burning international issues, including, for instance, Iran.

I would also like to point out that, given the nature of our bilateral relations when the public sentiment and the mindset of the think-tank establishment are so heated, actions designed to hurt each other would only seem an easy and "logical" option. Making things rough for Russia has nowadays become in vogue, all the more that stereotypes and habits dating back to the Soviet times have all but disappeared.

Where would this mass infatuation with criticism lead? It would lead to such a state of affairs where our relations could suffer serious damage, in deed and not in name. One should realize that, eventually, both sides would have to repair our relationship, bring the situation back on an even keel and get out of the woods. By and large, mutual partnership meets valid interests of both Moscow and Washington. Moreover, such a partnership is essential for the rest of the world, since the settlement of a number of urgent problems depends on a functional link between Russia and the United States.

I want to reiterate that scolding and wrangling with each other is easier than doing something positive. By the way, my government is showing restraint by not responding with tit-for-tat statements. In any case, it does not occur to anyone in Moscow to send messengers to some exotic places close to U.S. borders to lecture America. If you carefully read President Vladimir Putin's address to the Federal Assembly, you will see a clear picture of Russia's priorities and interests. But what you will fail to find in that address is a fretted reaction under the influence of momentary temptations to the statements made by some U.S. policy-makers.

There is another point I want to raise. While publicly criticizing Russia, U.S. officials always throw in that the existing confidential channels of communication, including those at the highest level, allow to address any concerns and disagreements in an open and candid manner. These channels should not only be mentioned in public statements but put to a more active practical use to alleviate misunderstandings and to convey one's views on the most contentious matters.

Those familiar with Russian literature know the catch phrase about the petty officer's widow who whipped herself. Perhaps, one should not allow a situation when loud grievances over Russia's behavior reach such a point when the validity of Washington's Russia policy itself is questioned. Criticism and open debate are certainly necessary, but what is not helpful is creating an atmosphere where disapproval of certain actions by the other side obscures the entire horizon, interferes with realpolitik and disrupts day-to-day business.

Russia is gradually gaining a firm foothold, and tomorrow it will even get stronger. Some might like it, others might not. However, I do not see any reason for indiscriminate exasperation and total criticism along the lines that during the "good 1990s" there used to be democracy in Russia and now it is gone. Instead, why don't we focus on areas where we could really work together?

Return to Menu

Russia To Have 32 Nuclear Test-Monitoring Stations
(for personal use only)

Over 300 nuclear test-monitoring stations will be built around the world,
Tibor Toth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, has announced.

Toth told a Wednesday news conference in Moscow that 321 stations will be
built around the globe to monitor eventual nuclear tests, and 32 of them will
be located in Russia.

As for the construction schedule, Toth said that it depended on the approval
of the organization's members. He said estimates are that it won't take more
than two-three years to build the facilities.

Return to Menu

Russia & CIS Military Newswire
(for personal use only)

U.S. Ambassador to Russia William Burns said that despite recurrent differences, Russia and the United States have ample opportunity to cooperate in areas significant for the entire world community.

American-Russian relations are very important, not only for the two countries, but for the world community as a whole, Burns told journalists in Novosibirsk on Thursday in comments on U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's recent remarks concerning Russia.

Russia and the United States must broaden cooperation in key sectors of major significance for the world, he said.

The U.S. ambassador also said that both countries should make one step back and cast a glance at common ground, where they have common fields for activity, and assess once again what they could do jointly.

Cooperation in the nuclear sphere is one such common ground, he said. The U.S. and Russia are the leaders in developing civilian uses of nuclear energy, the ambassador said, adding that the U.S. and Russia bear historically unique responsibility for preventing nuclear weapons proliferation on our planet.

Moreover, the U.S. and Russia have an opportunity to cooperate in the energy sphere in general, he said. Russia today is a major producer of oil and gas, while the U.S. is a major consumer of these products, which clearly indicates that the two countries should seek ways of establishing stronger cooperation ties, he said.

But disagreements will rise between Russia and the United States from time to time, the U.S. ambassador said, noting that both countries would be honest and would not look for any special words to voice these concerns. And this should not arouse anyone's surprise, Burns said.

Return to Menu

U.S. Offers Draft Treaty To Halt Fissile Material Production; Attempts to break negotiating stalemate by removing verification provisions
Wendy Lubetkin
U.S. Department of State/Bureau of International Information Programs
(for personal use only)

The United States on May 18 presented a draft global treaty that would halt any future production of the fissile material used to make nuclear weapons, and expressed hope that a final treaty could be completed by the end of 2006.

Stephen Rademaker, acting assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, set out the proposal in Geneva at the Conference on Disarmament, the body that would negotiate the ban.

“The treaty text that we are putting forward contains the essential provisions that would comprise a successful, legally binding FMCT [Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty],” Rademaker said. “Our draft treaty has straightforward scope: it bans, after entry into force, the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

The U.S. circulated two documents to Conference on Disarmament members: the short text of a draft mandate that would establish an ad hoc committee to carry out the FMCT negotiations, and a four-page draft treaty to serve as the basis for those negotiations.

Although achieving an FMCT is a broadly shared goal among member states, the 65-nation conference, which operates by consensus, has been unable to agree on establishing the negotiating committee. Members have been meeting to find a way out of the impasse.

Traditionally some conference members have linked commencing talks on an FMCT to unrelated agenda items, a phenomenon Rademaker referred to as “hostage-taking.”

The 10-year stalemate has led some to question the viability of the world’s only multilateral arms-control negotiating body, and some nations have withdrawn their specialized diplomats from Geneva.

Rademaker said the United States believes 2006 will be “critical to the continued existence of the [Conference on Disarmament].” He said President Bush demonstrated “America’s renewed commitment” to the body by nominating Christina Rocca as the new U.S. ambassador to the conference. (See related article.)

The United States does not believe that the FMCT could be verified effectively, and the draft text submitted May 18 contains no provisions for verification.

“This does not mean that the treaty would be unverified,” Rademaker said. Rather the “primary responsibility for verification would rest with the parties, using their own national means and methods.”

If concerns about the compliance of a member state emerge, the draft treaty includes a mechanism for asking the U.N. Security Council to consider the issue.

Rademaker urged delegations to “begin immediate debate” on the treaty draft, with “the objective of approving a text for signature by the end of this year's [Conference on Disarmament] session.

“The point,” he said, “is to stop fissile material production as soon as possible.

“One of the purposes served by putting forward our draft treaty today was to underscore how simple the negotiating task is on an FMCT if we set aside the issue of verification,” he added.

Rademaker stressed that the U.S. draft text is meant to trigger the initiation of negotiations, and is not being offered on a “take it or leave it basis.”

“We hope that the obstacles that have existed in the past can be overcome, and it was in an effort to overcome those obstacles that we offered the proposed text and proposed mandate that we have put forward today,” he said.

Rademaker's statement and the U.S. draft proposals are available on the Web site of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

For more information on U.S. policies, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.

Return to Menu

Nikolai Zlobin
Defense and Security/Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW AND WASHINGTON DON'T SHARE THE SAME VISIONS OF THE FUTURE; The situation in US-Russian relations is not another Cold War. It is worse than that, because the crisis we see unfolding now is not ideological. This is a conflict between the world's strongest democracy and the world's largest authoritarian country.

Viewed from Washington, Russia's policy appears to be more and more odd and counterproductive. Washington is already used to Moscow's reaction to any criticism which it treats with minimum of imagination involved. In fact, Moscow has two explanations of criticism it applies in turns. Explanation one: lack of understanding of what is "really" happening in Russia on the part of Western leaders or their advisors (as far as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is concerned, for example, US Vice President Dick Cheney was let down by his subordinates and advisors or he would have spoken differently at the Vilnius conference earlier this months). Explanation two: the good old anti-Russian campaign. Dismissing everything as hostile propaganda was a Soviet technique of the late 1940s. Oddly enough, it still works.

At first sight, one would be hard pressed to find a better opportunity than G8 presidency to win sympathies and present oneself in the best possible light. Leadership in the club of the most democratic, economically advanced, and military strong world powers is objectively an unparalleled chance to boost one's respect with the international community, to improve the image of the country itself and its regime. Last time Moscow wielded such strong leverage with the general public worldwide was when it launched Sputnik and then sent Yuri Gagarin into space. The USSR became a symbol of success then. It was studied, it was emulated - even in the countries on the other side of the front line of the Cold War.

The situation nowadays is different. Russia is setting a definitely repellent example. Whenever others study Russia's example, it's only in order to avoid becoming like Russia. Anything but a symbol of success, Russia is even on the list of 60 failed states compiled by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace, where it ranks 43rd - one slot above Tajikistan but below Nigeria, Turkmenistan, Guinea Bissau, or even Moldova and Georgia. Moscow's international influence has diminished in the months of its G8 presidency, and the respect it commands is fading fast. Trying to come up with at least something positive, US leaders point out that Russia is not the USSR, of course; though it's hard to understand exactly what they mean by that. If this is Russia's major achievement, it's modest indeed, since this is also the major achievement of Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and even Belarus.

Neither can we ascribe Russia's troubles to economic stagnation. These days, Russia is exporting more oil and gas than the Soviet Union ever did and at the prices the Politburo of old could not even imagine possible. Russian gold and hard currency reserves set an all-time record, and flow of hard currency into the country makes even bankers in the Persian Gulf envious. Russia's international economic capacities are much better than the Soviet Union's. Military inadequacy cannot be cited either. Russia has retained nuclear parity with the United States. It is the only country in the world capable of challenging the United States in the military sphere. Like the USSR its predecessor, Russia is the second largest arms merchant in the world. Russia abandoned communism. It is clear nevertheless that Russia nowadays is undeniably less respected, sympathized with, or backed than the Soviet Union was. The way Moscow achieved it - and so fast - cannot help generating some morbid interest in the United States.

The blame cannot be pinned on the West. The last decade was ideal for Russia because the world powers were ruled by the politicians sympathizing with Russia. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have been more pro-Russian than any presidents the United States has had in the past or is likely to have in the future. The same goes for the leaders of Germany, Italy, France, and so on. It is next to impossible to imagine more favorable external subjective factors, particularly since their pro-Russian stand and sympathies with Moscow cost lots of foreign politicians their reputation.

The idea of an anti-Russian campaign that is so popular in Moscow is actually misleading. The concept only flatters the egos of the Russian political establishment. There are people in Washington who dislike Russia, and they cannot be silenced. Yet they are greatly outnumbered by people who like Russia and find it interesting. Practically all of them, however, agree that Russia is not playing any substantial role in American policy nowadays, and it's not a factor deserving a great deal of attention - let alone the effort of anti-Russian campaigns.

Russia's problems are direct corollaries of Russian policy. Once Russia ceased to be a democracy, Washington saw this as fundamentally changing the general trend of global development and Russia's own role in it. Once it ceased to be a democracy, Russia made a strategic partnership with the United States impossible. For Washington, cooperation with Russia is becoming more and more difficult - even in areas where their interests actually coincide - because the deepening discord over perception of values prevent Moscow and Washington from sharing visions of the future. Sure, Russia is a sovereign state and therefore entitled to the right to choose its own path. Yet it's the height of folly to believe that the West will tolerate every twist of Russia's foreign policy, just because everyone needs oil, gas, and international security. Anyone who doubts that ought to look back at Brezhnev and his era.

The hopes that Washington needs Russia so much that it would overlook Russia's evolution had better be abandoned. In fact, the Bush Administration has been sending precisely this message to the Kremlin for several years. It was and is a mistake, a political fallacy which the White House is trying now to correct. This is what Cheney said in Vilnius, and some advisors tried to smooth it out (that's for you, Mr. Lavrov!). The United States became convinced that the authoritarian trend in Russia directly affects its foreign policy. The more authoritarian Russia becomes, the less constructive its foreign policy gets. As a result, Washington itself is making a transition now from the policy of limited cooperation with Russia to the policy of its limited deterrent. This is Washington's reaction to the policy Moscow has pursued with regard to the United States these last three years. This state of affairs affects both countries and the international community as such, and only benefits (of that is what it is) the national elites in the two countries providing them with an excuse to be used to explain their own foreign policy failures.

It seems that Washington means business now and the American-Russian relations will only sour in the foreseeable future. The policy of limited in Eurasia is already balancing on the verge of a limited confrontation between the two countries, a conflict between them currently defined by certain geographic margins. The boundaries of the limited confrontation will expand into new and new regions in Eurasia and beyond it. American policy on Russia is largely a reaction to Russia's own actions. This is a more appropriate concept than limited cooperation ever was - much less the attempts to establish partnership.

Despite the opinion held by some specialists, this is not another Cold War. It is worse than that, because the crisis we see unfolding now is not ideological. This is a conflict between the world's strongest democracy and the world's largest authoritarian country - intensified by the fundamental difference in their geopolitical views, preferences, and objectives, and intensified again by the mutual dislike between the elites, distrust, the inertia of hostility, and colossal ambitions on the part of both countries.

The Cold War was simpler than that. There could be a winner in it, and there was. There was the concept of peaceful co-existence and there was understanding of what essentially the warring sides were after. The United States is no longer an enemy of Russia, and victory over Russia is not what Washington is after. Neither does Moscow aspire to see America destroyed. More complicated instruments are needed. What is needed is a strategy more intricate that the straightforwardness of the Cold War. What is needed is an entirely different level of responsibility for national leaders. Neither the United States nor Russia can hope to win in this conflict, but both may lose. Moreover, Russia may lose much more than it hopes to gain nowadays with its deterrent policy.

Original source: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 12, 2006, p. 11

Return to Menu

H.  Global Nuclear Energy Partnership

Uranium a debate we cannot put off
Paul Kelly
The Australian
(for personal use only)

JOHN Howard returns home this week determined to launch a review and debate about Australia's role in the entire nuclear fuel cycle as a means of reassessing our stance in the global nuclear industry.
Howard plans to frame this as the politics of the future. He intends to have a scientifically based review that puts the data and options on the table for discussion. It will be used by Howard as a template for his political strategy: the focus on the future and the marketing of his Government as planning for the future.

His trip, if not a turning point, has crystallised Howard's thinking. He has taken a pivotal decision to review Australia's uranium stance because he calculates the economics and politics of the industry are changing.

It is an example of Howard's opportunism and caution. He has waited 10 years to run, finally, on uranium. He is acting in response to global and domestic pressures. Far from being hasty, such decisions, frankly, are overdue for Australia. This is recognised by Labor's resources spokesman Martin Ferguson.

But the Government's handling of the issue has been clumsy and inept. It is sending multiple and conflicting messages. Howard seems to have pre-judged the matter, saying a nuclear industry in Australia is "inevitable". Finance Minister Nick Minchin says it is "at least 100 years" away while Peter Costello, as acting PM, says nuclear power is uneconomic at this time.

In early November 2005, in a joint letter to Howard, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and then education minister Brendan Nelson sought direction on the framework for a public debate on Australia's role in the nuclear fuel cycle. They recommended that the Australian Academy of Science be involved. The issue has been on Howard's desk for more than six months. He will provide that direction on his return and, at the same time, he needs to sort out the Government's line.

Howard's talks with the Bush administration in Washington were an important catalyst. This arises from Bush's energy policy, notably his Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, the subject of much of Howard's energy policy talks in the US. The GNEP is framed as a means of upholding non-proliferation while the nuclear power industry expands across the globe. Under Bush's GNEP, Australia is not on the list of nations that would be permitted to enrich uranium or develop nuclear power, an issue of potential concern to Howard. Given the direction of US energy policy, Australia needs to clarify its own strategy.

Over the past 12 months, Macfarlane has been pushing the uranium and nuclear issue in order to pave the way for new uranium mines. This is the urgent priority, given the escalating global demand.

The evidence is irrefutable. Global energy demand, driven by China, India and the developing world, will explode in coming decades and Australia, holding possibly the largest reserves of uranium in the world, has a national interest and global responsibility in this process.

The Labor Party is divided over uranium mining but united in its opposition to a domestic nuclear industry. This saw Kim Beazley, previously on the defensive, seize the initiative yesterday. There is a logical position opening for Beazley next year: supporting an expansion of uranium mining and export but opposing Howard's interest in adding value to Australia's uranium and exploring a local nuclear industry.

Beazley declares that Labor will never tolerate a nuclear industry. He signalled yesterday a huge scare campaign against Howard over nuclear power plants and nuclear waste. Just wait for the media to begin the crusade against Howard.

This debate, initiated by Howard, will run throughout the 2007 election year. It will be about Australia's energy needs, its role as global supplier, its stance on greenhouse and nuclear non-proliferation. It will constitute a clash over economics, environment and values.

Labor's credibility, however, hinges on whether it can modernise its policy. This follows the dramatic warning last year from Labor's spokesman, Ferguson, who is campaigning to change the party's 25-year-old policy opposition to new uranium mines. "The thirst for energy means that interest in nuclear power and uranium mining and exploration is at levels never seen before," Ferguson said.

"We have swept the debate about nuclear power, uranium mining and its corollaries - nuclear non-proliferation and the safe and peaceful handling of nuclear waste materials - under the carpet for too long. Australia is the second biggest exporter of uranium in the world and, with the planned Olympic Dam expansion, we will be the biggest exporter within a few short years.

"Whether we like it or not, Australia is undeniably part of the global nuclear fuel cycle."

The ALP national conference next April is expected to change Labor's policy to allow new uranium mines as well as to support a better research foundation for the nuclear industry. This is a test and opportunity for Beazley. If Beazley loses control of this debate or fails to carry the day, he will play into Howard's hands, with serious adverse consequences.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, China, India, South Korea and Japan have commercial nuclear power generation. Indonesia and Vietnam are moving towards building nuclear power plants. The Howard Government has entered agreements to sell uranium to China. The demand for Australian uranium at higher prices is a long-term trend.

The signal from Howard is for a framework that reviews Australia's role across the entire nuclear fuel cycle. This is sensible but risky. Howard believes political sentiment has shifted, that the greenhouse issue gives nuclear power more leverage (an obvious global trend) and that Australia must assess not only its future export returns but its ability to influence international non-proliferation policy.

Integral to this debate is the position Macfarlane has highlighted: that Australia might add value to its resources by enriching uranium. This is a huge step in terms of investment but it delivers the big export dollars. And it would give Australia a new influence in the global industry.

On the specific issue of a local nuclear industry, the evidence is against Howard. As Ferguson says, this is "a futuristic debate because it does not stack up economically". But expect the Prime Minister to press ahead with his overall review. It will give him plenty of options for advancing the policy and controlling the political agenda.

Return to Menu

Glad to sell, not lease, uranium
Michael Gordon
The Age
(for personal use only)

Australia has has all but ruled out leasing uranium to foreign countries and then taking back and storing the unenriched waste.

"I am attracted to Australia selling uranium to people who want to buy it - not lease it, buy it - in other parts of the world, subject to our obligations under the (nuclear nonproliferation) treaty and subject ot our own safeguard arrangements," Mr Howard said.

"And I'm in favour, at all times, of examining whether it is in our national interest to progress the use of nuclear power in Australia."

Mr Howard was speaking after being briefed by US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman on plans to explore the idea of nuclear fuel leasing.

Under the concept, countries that lease nuclear fuel agree not to invest in their own enrichment technologies in return for a reliable supply of fuel, while suppliers take the spent fuel back for storage and disposal.

Advocates say the idea would offer Australia economic opportunities, and minimise the potential for enriched uranium to fall into the hands of terrorists.

Mr Howard told Mr Bodman that Australia wanted to be kept informed of developments in the US plan, but we had no immediate intention to sign up.

Mr Howard reignited the debate about whether Australia should embrace nuclear power, saying interest had been prompted by high oil prices and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"I think we have to debate all of these issues and I'm not going to, in advance, limit or restrict the nature of that debate."

Mr Howard was speaking after a round of talks with senior Bush Administration officials, including Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Briefing reporters on the discussions, Mr Howard:

· Insisted that the US and Australia were committed to a diplomatic solution to the nuclear stand-off with Iran. "This is a test of the United Nations. It's a test of the Security Council."

· Reported that Dr Bernanke had confirmed that the US economy was growing at a strong but moderate rate - and that there was no reason to expect price relief soon.

· Revealed that he had briefed the US on Australia's tougher border protection policy, but refused to be drawn on whether the US could be asked to settle refugees processed under the policy on Nauru.

· Denied that either the US or Australia was to blame for David Hicks' remaining in Guantanamo Bay. "What's holding that up is an action challenging the military commission launched on his and others' behalf."

· Said the AWB wheat-for-weapons issue had not been raised in Washington.

Return to Menu

Fuel program may violate U.S.-Japan nuclear pact
Japan Times
(for personal use only)

A U.S.-initiated international program aimed at safely providing nuclear fuel to developing nations, in which Japan has agreed to take part, may violate the Japan-U.S. pact on atomic energy cooperation, Japanese government sources said Saturday.

The program, intended to develop new and more efficient ways to produce nuclear fuel and provide it to other countries, may infringe on the 1988 agreement for cooperation of peaceful uses of atomic energy.

The pact clearly bans the transfer of recycling technology for nuclear waste.

Dennis Spurgeon, assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the U.S. Energy Department, said Friday the issues need to be resolved.

He indicated that a revision to the agreement is currently being considered, saying the pact was made at a time when the U.S. government was against the promotion of nuclear fuel recycling and it should be reconsidered with a view to the future.

On May 5, Japan offered to cooperate in five areas with the U.S.-led program, the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership or GNEP, aimed at safely providing nuclear fuel to developing nations and advancing technologies for recycling and protecting nuclear fuel and waste.

Science minister Kenji Kosaka made the offer during a meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.

The proposal includes conducting joint fuel development using the Joyo experimental and Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactors, as well as designing U.S. fuel cycle facilities and drawing up safeguard concepts for fuel cycle facilities based on Japan's experiences.

The 1988 agreement bans transfer of documents on such technologies pertaining to the recycling of plutonium, including the designing, construction, operation and maintenance of recycling facilities.

The Japanese government sources said it would be an infringement of the agreement if the technologies developed by Japan are to be transferred to the United States in the course of implementing the proposed plan.

Return to Menu

We want big role in nuclear club: Howard
Michael Gordon
The Age
(for personal use only)

A NATIONAL debate about Australia's potential to be a major player in a massive expansion of the global nuclear industry will be initiated by talks between John Howard and President George Bush this week.

The Prime Minister will canvass the implications of a much greater role for Australia in the nuclear industry with US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman before Mr Howard meets President Bush and his cabinet early on Wednesday, Melbourne time.

"I think there will be a big debate in Australia in the months ahead regarding nuclear energy. I think it's a debate we have to have," Mr Howard said on his arrival in Washington yesterday.

The talks are expected to focus on the idea of nuclear fuel leasing, where users of nuclear power lease finished fuel under strict conditions and then return the fuel to the supplier for storage and ultimate disposal.

Advocates argue the system offers the best prospect of ensuring that nuclear power is used for peaceful purposes because countries that lease the fuel forgo the uranium enrichment and reprocessing that could lead to the development of nuclear weapons.

But the big political hurdle is that suppliers would provide a "cradle-to-the-grave" service and be responsible for storage and ultimate disposal of waste.

With global energy consumption set to double in the next 30 years, nuclear power is seen by many experts as the best environmental solution to the problem of global warming before renewable energy is able to meet increased demand for power.

In a speech in February, President Bush announced his intention to expand the use of "safe and clean nuclear power", but said America had to work with other nations to meet two key challenges.

These were the safe disposal of nuclear waste and the imperative to keep nuclear technology and material out of the hands of terrorist networks and terrorist states.

President Bush also highlighted the need to ensure that developing countries had a reliable supply of nuclear power.

Advocates of nuclear fuel leasing say it would satisfy these concerns and place Australia, as a country with no ambitions to have nuclear weapons, in a position of almost unparalleled influence and able to reap considerable economic benefits.

Although Mr Howard did not canvass nuclear fuel leasing in his brief remarks on his arrival, he said the nuclear debate had "gone beyond the paradigm of the 1980s". "There are some very interesting shifts of opinion on the issue within our own country and because of the fact that we have the largest reserves of uranium of any country in the world, we're obviously somebody whose view will be sought and whose view is relevant," Mr Howard said.

The Prime Minister, who was afforded a full ceremonial welcome, said the Australian-US relationship transcended his close personal friendship with President Bush and predicted that it would only become more important over the years.

"Our economies will get closer together and our world view, although it will vary on some occasions, on some issues, will still be very similar," he said.

Mr Howard said issues to be covered in his talks with the President were likely to include the rise of China and India in the Asia-Pacific region, the challenge of "handling Iran in an intelligent, sensible way" and the growing importance of the potential of nuclear energy.

The close friendship between the Bush and Howard families will be reflected on Monday morning, Melbourne time, when the President and first lady are to plant two trees at the residence of Australia's ambassador to the US, Dennis Richardson. The elm and southern magnolia are from cuttings taken from historic trees at the White House.

In a recent, exclusive interview with The Sunday Age, Treasurer Peter Costello said nuclear energy was a safe, environmentally friendly option for Australia.

Return to Menu

I.  Plutonium Disposition

MOX money remains in limbo; House-Senate compromise could restore funds
Josh Gelinas
Augusta Chronicle
(for personal use only)

The future funding level of a Savannah River Site factory that is supposed to get rid of radioactive plutonium has in recent weeks changed more often than the weather.

One day the mixed-oxide facility, or MOX, which is supposed to turn at least 34 metric tons of plutonium into fuel for commercial power plants, looks like it will get the federal funding it needs next year.

The next day it doesn't.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a branch of the Energy Department that is in charge of the factory, asked Congress in February for $289.5 million in fiscal year 2007 to continue construction that is supposed to start later this year.

But that expectation was dealt a blow May 12. A proposal to erase all MOX funding, introduced by U.S. Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, was passed by the House Appropriations Committee.

The committee's decision hardly settles the matter, but it adds to the mounting pressure on the South Carolina and Georgia congressional delegations to fund the project.

When South Carolina agreed to take plutonium no longer needed for the nation's nuclear arsenal, it was assured the potentially lethal material would leave the state. MOX is the only current plan to get rid of it.

"The entire delegation understands the importance of the MOX program to the site, the nation and the world," Rep. Gresham Barrett, R-S.C., said in a statement.

The full House still has to vote on its appropriations bill - possibly as early as this week - before it is hashed out in a joint conference with the Senate.

How much money the program gets could depend on what the House decides. The House and Senate are known to meet halfway on divisive issues. Right now, MOX would go unfunded in the House and would get full funding in the Senate, which also has yet to finish its appropriations process.

Mr. Hobson represents the biggest obstacle on the House side.

"It's the world against Hobson," said Mal McKibben, the executive director of Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness and a MOX supporter.

The Ohio Republican was able to zero out MOX funding because of his position as chairman of the Appropriations Energy and Water subcommittee. He is reluctant to fund the project because of uncertainties in Russia, which is supposed to build an identical factory to get rid of plutonium as part of its nonproliferation agreement with the United States, his spokeswoman, Sara Perkins, wrote in am e-mailed statement.

"The Russians have signaled that they have no interest in proceeding with their own MOX project," she wrote. "At the same time, the subcommittee did provide funding for the plutonium immobilization activities and environmental cleanup needs at Savannah River."

An amendment that would allow the United States to move forward without Russia passed the full House before Mr. Hobson's committee slashed funding, but it apparently didn't sway him.

It is unclear what reduced MOX funding would mean.

The private consortium of Duke, Cogema, Stone & Webster, which is building the factory, has $570 million on hand to start construction - $350 million from previous budget cycles and $220 million in this year's budget, said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

He said the agency needed its full $289.5 million request for 2007 to keep the project going.

"It's worth pointing out, the more construction is delayed, the more it's going to cost," he said.

Return to Menu

House committee nixes $368M budget for SRS project
Dalia Naamani-Goldman
The IslandPacket.Com
(for personal use only)

The House Appropriations Committee eliminated the entire $368 million construction budget for a controversial plutonium-processing plant at the Savannah River Site on Wednesday, jeopardizing the project scheduled to break ground in October.

But lawmakers from South Carolina say they're not worried that the committee action could kill the plan to transform surplus weapons-grade plutonium into reactor fuel for nuclear energy at the 310-square-mile site near Aiken.

Emily Lawrimore, a spokeswoman for Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., said he "continues to work with other members from South Carolina and Georgia to restore this critical funding."

Before the vote, Wilson said the White House supports efforts to reduce weapons-grade nuclear materials, adding, "with the president's support, we have a chance."

Asked whether Wilson planned to attempt to restore the funds when the bill is debated in the House, Lawrimore declined comment.

On May 5, the Senate Armed Services Committee authorized full funding for the project. Wilson is counting on approval by the full Senate and that the project then will survive intact in the conference committee negotiations to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills.

South Carolina's Republican senators, Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, support the project. DeMint's spokesman Wesley Denton said his boss is working to make sure the Savannah site is "taken care of" in the Senate.

Graham said the program is "vital to our national security and we will continue to work together to ensure it is adequately funded. The citizens of South Carolina, along with the Savannah River Site workforce, should be proud of the role we are playing in making the world a safer place."

Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, said it is premature to discuss the project's demise.

"It is still early in the congressional process, and we will continue working with Congress to fully fund the budget request," said spokesman Bryan Wilkes.

The project has been controversial in the South Carolina legislature, where some have voiced concern about amassing stockpiles of nuclear material in the state.

Before the committee vote Wednesday, John Scofield, spokesman for chairman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., said some lawmakers are concerned that the price tag for the project has more than tripled.

Originally, the Government Accountability Office estimated the project's total cost at $1 billion, but Scofield said that has ballooned to $3.5 billion.

"There's a potential boondoggle in the making, and we're not going to put taxpayers on the hook," he said. "We think it's prudent to take a pause here and ask the DOE to go back to the drawing board."

In 2000 the United States and Russia signed an agreement for each to eliminate 34 metric tons of plutonium and recycle it into mixed-oxide fuel, commonly referred to as MOX. Savannah River is the only MOX site in the country. Nuclear waste produced once the plutonium is processed would be transported to the federal nuclear waste storage site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

Preparation for construction of the plutonium processing plant has been under way for a year and completion is expected in September, said Jim Giusti, an Energy Department spokesman.

Construction would be finished in 2015, and it would take an additional five years to complete the processing of the 34 metric tons of plutonium, according to the NNSA. The Savannah site already has some plutonium stocks shipped from Rocky Flats, Colo., that will be stored until the facility is completed, the NNSA said.

The Energy Department is continuing to move forward with the project and hasn't found any "issues," said Wilkes, the NNSA spokesman. "There are no cost overruns because we're in the planning phase. We have enough money to begin construction."

Recent developments have caused some lawmakers to question the necessity of such a large facility.

Russia has dragged its feet on the nonproliferation agreement, relieving the United States of its responsibility to abide by the program, Scofield said. "Since the Russians have walked away from the deal, it makes funding this large construction project not necessary. We don't want construction to start on this deal."

Last week, the House voted to allow the United States to separate its program from Russia's and continue the project at the Savannah River Site. Although the Appropriations Committee action eliminated funding for the project, Wilkes said, "We intend to live up to our international agreements, and we expect the Russians to live up to theirs."

Dalia Naamani-Goldman is a reporter with Medill News Service in Washington.

Return to Menu

J.  Chemical Weapons Destruction

BBC Monitoring and Itar-Tass
(for personal use only)

Russia is sticking to the schedule for putting facilities for destroying stockpiles of chemical weapons into operation. Under the federal programme, the destruction of nerve agents at the facility in the village of Maradykovo in Kirov Region will begin in the second half of this year.

"The first complex at this site is more than 90 per cent ready and I have no doubts that it will become operational by the given deadline," head of the federal directorate for the safe storage and destruction of chemical weapons Valeriy Kapashin told a conference today in Kirov. He stressed that particular attention was being devoted to ensuring that the complex, the construction of which is funded out of the federal budget, is safe from an environmental point of view.

The full funding is being provided and many of the buildings and facilities in the industrial and sanitary zone are ready to be handed over, head of the Kirov Region administration's department for conventional issues Mikhail Manin told ITAR-TASS. "All the work is being conducted with great care: in Maradykovo for the first time the destruction of a new kind of poisonous chemical, organophosphorous nerve gases, will begin. To do this the Moscow Organic Chemistry Research Institute has developed a unique technology, that will is also being put into practice for the first time," Manin stressed.

More than 9,600 tonnes of particularly dangerous poisonous gases (sarin, zoman and Vx) have been kept in storage at Maradykovo since the 1940s. This is enough to fill 40,800 air bombs and warheads. They should be destroyed by 2010.

Original source: ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0715 gmt 17 May 06

Return to Menu

K.  G8 Global Partnership

G8 leaders will not discuss Russian democracy at the summit - Shuvalov
G8 2006 Summit Website
(for personal use only)

Presidential aide Igor Shuvalov, the Russian G8 Sherpa, said Russia’s commitment to democratic ideals would not be discussed at the July G8 summit in St. Petersburg despite the generally negative attitude to Russia in the West.

“I don’t think this issue will be raised,” he said Tuesday. “When G8 leaders talk with [President Vladimir] Putin, they understand what goals the Russian president is pursuing.”

“Last year, one of the [G8] leaders said at the summit that not all of them supported Vladimir [Putin’s] policies, and some referred to the issue of democratic standards. But he said Putin was doing the right thing for Russia, leading the country towards real democracy,” Shuvalov said. “You see, when they meet without their aides behind closed doors, they can be more open when speaking their minds.” “During my visit to the United States this April, my American colleagues did not raise the issue [of violating democratic principles in Russia],” the Russian Sherpa said in response to a question about U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s speech at the Vilnius summit of the Black and Baltic Sea countries and the rumored possibility that the U.S. might raise the issue of violation of democratic norms at the G8 summit. “Moreover, even foreign NGOs did not raise that issue.”

Shuvalov said “the Western media used the pretext of the NGO law and the gas conflict with Ukraine for creating a negative image of Russia.”

“As a result, it looks as if something terrible is happening to democracy in Russia,” the Sherpa said. “But has the situation really deteriorated in the past four years, and has Putin seized a huge amount of power? No, but we do have a rigid power vertical.”

“However, it can be used to tackle only individual issues. Even the governors who have been dismissed were the most irresponsible ones. Besides, strong local governments will be used to level off the changed system of forming the executive power. And there are no plans to have governors appointing mayors.”

The presidential aide said Putin was “creating a correct model of governance where every level of power has clearly formulated powers.”

“I am saying this not because I work for Putin. No matter what anybody says, the situation is stable now,” Shuvalov said. “Many people are thinking about the 2007 [parliamentary] and the 2008 [presidential] elections now. I tell our Western colleagues that we have President Putin and his successor. The alternative is the left-wing forces. Is that the kind of partners you want?”

He also said that the president’s state of the nation address was not connected to Cheney’s statement. “The address was ready before Cheney [spoke at the Vilnius summit], and so Putin’s speech should not be seen as a response to the U.S. vice president. Unfortunately, too little time elapsed from Cheney’s speech to Putin’s address. The president does not intend to respond to such statements in any way, and he did not do it.”

Shuvalov admitted that the information background at the G8 summit could be negative. “This is possible,” he said. “They [the West] might want to stop the tidal wave of criticism of Russia now – I have heard them say this. But it will be very difficult to do now.”

Return to Menu

Ministry of Industry on Russia G8 chairmanship
SKRIN Market & Corporate News
(for personal use only)

Russia is chairing the G8 this year. Russia's gains from the G8 chairmanship is about the global energy security, it can hardly be "contoured" solely by Russia's interests Viktor Khristenko, Minister of Industry and Energy said. Today, the energy security on this planet is related to the attempts aimed at minimizing the risks that exist in this sphere and pose threats to the world. First and foremost, the threats related to access to energy resources on acceptable terms for not just economies of different countries, but, essentially, of the entire humankind, if you will, even if it sounds a little pompous.

The energy security is comprised of several layers as a minimum. In terms of the conventional energy sources, this is primarily oil and gas. Non-conventional sources include thermonuclear power plants and nuclear energy. Each of these sectors has its own set of risks. In the nuclear energy they are related to the physical security of the facilities per se, non-proliferation of peaceful technologies to the military technologies, and in the oil and gas sector they are related to transparency of the market supply and demand. This means that the countries exporting gas and oil need to be more accurate in assessing their reserves, so that this information doesn't cause speculation on prices of oil and gas companies. The second key factor is the transportation security of the traditional energy carriers. We cannot talk about regular Russian gas supplies to Europe, if the transit country risks, such as Ukraine, aggravate the consumers' situation. Obviously, such risks need to be removed. There's more. Discussion of the global energy security has nothing to do with discussion of the global energy security of the G8 countries. Doing otherwise would be cynical vis-a-vis the rest of the world. In reality, this is also the discussion of all the problems, which are related to the global energy security of the poorest countries. Therefore, the poorest in terms of energy countries require tailor-made solutions regarding their access to energy. It makes no sense to be confined by the G8 framework when we discuss the energy security issues and seemingly narrow projects. It makes no sense to speak about the prospects of the conventional sources of hydrocarbons, without pursuing dialogue with the OPEC countries. It makes no sense to speak about the prospects of the evolving demand for hydrocarbons, without maintaining a dialogue with China, India, Mexico and Brazil, in other words major growing economies, which are the main hubs of resource consumption today. And I think, we will make use of all G8 summit formats in order to join the common dialogue effectively. Certainly, the energy efficiency and energy-saving technologies used in the process of generation and use of energy are very important for the global energy security. This issue is ultra-relevant for Russia. Today, we should focus on resources that are, putting it mildly, not used efficiently enough rather than the subsurface resources. These inefficiently used energy resources are just gigantic and are assessed at 100 mln tons of conventional fuel per year. Roughly, 100 mln tons of oil can be readily freed up today through increased energy efficiency.

Energy security is not only about oil. Gazprom will able to meet the growing needs of the domestic Russian market and honor its long-term contracts to supply gas to the USA and APR at the same time, these realities can be balanced out. When the issue is about such balancing, we cannot ignore our Asian partners, such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, with whom Russia maintains close cooperation in the gas sphere. Gas resources available in these republics fill to a substantial extent the overall domestic market needs in Russia and its exports. That is to say, that the domestic needs for gas will certainly be met, if the efficiency of the raw materials' use is improved. In all, Russia uses 390 bn cubic meters of gas per year. And the gasification level in Russia is not very high. The largest liquefied gas processing plant is being built now in the East. The construction of a pipeline to deliver dry gas to the Khabarovsk Krai is nearing completion. There is a long-term contract with the Khabarovsk Krai, the first in Russia, to deliver up to 3 bn m³ of gas by 2010 at freely established prices. There is also Eastern Siberia with its so far untapped Kovyktino and Chayandino gas fields. These are resources, which need to be taken care of correctly and, most importantly, in good time with regard to the domestic and foreign markets. Currently, the Ministry of Industry and Power Engineering is putting together a Program to build a unified system for production, transportation and delivery of gas to Eastern Siberia and the Far East with due account taken of potential gas exports to China by other APR nations. This program is tied in with the overall assessments of the Russian domestic and foreign gas markets with due account taken of gas produced by our partners in Central Asian countries. It will provide answers to questions such as when and how the Kovyktino and Chayandino gas fields will be tapped. The process takes a little bit too much time. I hope that 2006 will be the year of solutions to many issues, including the Kovyktino project, Rossiyskaya Gazeta said.

Return to Menu

L.  Cooperative Threat Reduction

Ukraine To Eliminate 3 Nuclear Weapons Storage Facilities by 2007
(for personal use only)

Ukrainian Defence Minister Anatoly Gritsenko has signed a decree to
eliminate three nuclear weapons storage facilities in Ukraine's Volyn,
Lvov and Khmelnitsky regions.

Specialists are expected to eliminate the facilities in the Volyn region by
this December and in the Lvov and Kmelnitsky regions - by April 2007.
The U.S. Department of Defense's Common Threat Reduction Directorate
finances the project.

All facilities and buildings in the adjacent territory can be used after the
elimination activities are completed.

An environment protection service will keep an eye on elimination procedures.

Return to Menu

M.  Russia - DPRK

AMERICANS NEED THE NORTH KOREAN PROBLEM; Tension interferes with realization of international energy and transport projects in Northeast Asia
Alexander Zakharovich Zhebin
Defense and Security/Nezavisimaya Gazeta
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW'S AND WASHINGTON'S INTERESTS IN THE SOLUTION TO THE NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR PROBLEM ARE CONTRADICTORY; Existence of the unsolved North Korean nuclear problem benefits the United States.

Strategically speaking, a solution to the North Korean nuclear problem is the last thing the United States needs.

First, abolition of the so far hypothetical North Korean "threat" will jeopardize expediency of American military presence in South Korea. Withdrawal from South Korea may spark a similar chain of events in Japan. It will compromise America's whole strategy in the Asian-Pacific region, the strategy based on bilateral military alliances with Japan and South Korea and on existence of America's advance posts in these countries. It does not need the latter as a means of deterrent in case North Korea attacks. It needs them to assure its military-political domination of the region.

Second, disappearance of a missile threat from North Korea will lay bare the true reasons of the ballistic missile defense system Washington is deploying in the region, those of neutralization of Russian and Chinese nuclear missile deterrent forces.

That is why maintenance of tension in Korea at the very least or abolition of North Korea as such at best are the only options that suit the United States. The latter will enable the United States to take over the uniquely strategic area of Asia where the borders of Russia, China, and Japan meet - the Korean Peninsula. Importance of control over the area cannot be overestimated in the light of the American-Chinese struggle for dominance in the Asian-Pacific region. Once initiated, it will only become fiercer and fiercer.

There is one other cynical nuance in the American policy of demonization of North Korea. This is a trick that enables George W. Bush's Administration to distract attention from its own behavior in matters of nuclear proliferation.

Firstly, in 1995 non-nuclear states attended the international conference for implementation of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty and voted for its extension on two terms: that nuclear powers would strive for total abolition of nuclear weapons throughout the world and pledge not to use them against non-nuclear powers or threaten the latter with their nuclear arsenals. Bush's Administration all but annulled its commitment in 2002, when it published the list of seven potential targets for preemptive nuclear strikes. The list included North Korea - and Russia, for that matter.

Secondly, the United States keeps modernizing its nuclear arsenals again and again.

Thirdly, the Americans believe that Japan may process plutonium and enrich uranium but deny the same right to other non-nuclear countries like Iran or North Korea.

Fourthly, Washington's inconsistency in the sphere of non-proliferation becomes particularly apparent in application of dual standards with regard to the countries like Israel, Pakistan, and India on the one hand and North Korea and Iran on the other. Mentioning Israel's nuclear weapons is bad manners, Pakistan is an ally in the counter-terrorism coalition, and India is needed as a counterweight to China. It follows that it is all right to cooperate with India in the sphere of atomic energy even though this country possesses nuclear weapons and is not a signatory of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty, while cooperation with China in the same sphere is impossible for these same reasons precisely.

No wonder Li Xiun Gju of South Korea is convinced that "practically all countries believe that it is the United States itself that creates the worst problems and obstacles for international efforts in the sphere of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament."

Even renewal of the negotiations is not a guarantee of rapid results. Complicated problems are inherent in realization of the provision of the joint communique on tackling all matters "gradually, and in accordance with the principle: a commitment in return for another, an action in return for another." Definition of who is supposed to do what, to what extent, and when in every phase of the progress to the common objective (nuclear disarmament of the Korean Peninsula) will require titanic effort, unbelievable patience, and iron political will.

The problem of verification that will arise one fine day will pose an even more complicated problem. The Americans want practically unrestricted access to all "suspicious" sites in North Korea, first and foremost underground ones.

Pyongyang cannot help wondering if perhaps the Iraqi situation is going to repeat itself when the United States used unprecedented examinations and inspections to update its information on the coordinates of the Iraqi military and other objects and invaded this country.

North Korea claims that all negotiations are a waste of time without abolition of all American sanctions with regard to this country first. The Americans in their turn are telling other participants of the negotiations that the sanctions are justified and do not have anything to do with the dialogue at that.

Some knowledgeable foreign experts signal that the international community had better get used to living with North Korea the nuclear power. What counts now is prevention of export of nuclear materials and technologies, nuclear tests, and ICBM launches, they say. It seems that Beijing has set out to achieve precisely that, thus justifying its own policy of boosting assistance to Pyongyang.

Speculations can be heard all over again in the meantime that Russia is being passive on the matter of nuclear and other problems of the Korean Peninsula. This particular direction meanwhile is a priority in Russian foreign political contacts, contacts on the highest level included, with both Korean states and other involved parties (China, United States, and Japan).

As for Russia's alleged passiveness and lack of fresh ideas of its own, this accusation usually occurs to whoever cannot grasp the motives of what they see as Russia's obstinacy in refusal to blindly follow in the wake of Washington's policy with regard to North Korea. For starters, it will not hurt to point out that Russia has generated many more ideas than those who are used to drawing the revolver at the first sight of a problem. Even the idea of a multilateral mechanism for conflict resolution on the peninsular, the one that evolved into six-sided negotiations, was put forth by Moscow in 1994.

Moreover, Moscow's interests on the Korean Peninsula in some important fields and spheres do not coincide with the interests of some other countries. This is particularly true of the difference in Moscow's and some other countries' ideas on the ways and means of the coveted resolution. It is not something appalling or dramatic. The process of resolution has already made it plain that not even interests of different states the United States and China always coincide. Moreover, even the United States and South Korea, allies as they are, do not always agree with each other.

Russia wants the conflict peacefully resolved not only because of national security considerations. Tension in Korea proves a serious impediment to realization of international energy and transport projects in Northeast Asia. It adds a political dimension to what are essentially economic undertakings. Realization of the projects could open a vista of opportunities for socioeconomic development of the Russian Far East and Russia's economic integration into Northeast Asia. Also importantly, it could facilitate measures of trust, peace, and security in the region.

The peace process thus stuck, the attempts to postpone realization of the project under the pretext of the unsolved nuclear problem do not appear justified at all. Existence of the problem in question these last three years did not prevent the growth of economic and commercial contacts between South Korea and North Korea, between China and both Korean states, and between Russia and South Korea. Why wouldn't all these countries pool efforts for the sake of peace in the region? It may even have a positive effect on official Pyongyang's stand on the matter.

Original source: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 22, 2006, p. 19

Return to Menu

N.  WMD Terrorism

Telling the truth to the terrified; Mass hysteria; Anxiety as well as poisoning causes sickness
(for personal use only)

Knowing that anxiety causes the same symptoms as poisoning could help in a biochemical attack

LAST December a mysterious illness broke out in a school in the Shelkovsk region of Chechnya. Symptoms included convulsions, nausea and breathing difficulties. The illness spread to neighbouring schools. Local doctors suspected mass poisoning, but when a delegation of medics arrived from Moscow, they attributed it to mass hysteria.

Chechnya has been the scene of Russian military operations since 1994, so understandably those affected have little faith in the official verdict. Meanwhile, without knowing the nature of the suspected toxin, local doctors are at a loss as to how to treat their patients. The only way to break the impasse, public health experts say, is to send in an investigating team from outside the former Soviet block—one that the Chechens will trust. If mass hysteria is to blame, they say, the truth is the best medicine.

Zsuzsanna Jakab is director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm but, in 1996, she worked for the World Health Organisation and helped to investigate an outbreak of illness in Macedonia. It affected schoolchildren in the mainly Albanian district of Tetovo. Dr Jakab received reports from Albanian representatives of mass poisoning, which were denied by the Macedonian authorities. She led a team consisting of a paediatrician, an epidemiologist, a toxicologist and a clinical expert. They spent a couple of weeks in the region, taking samples that were sent to laboratories outside the country for analysis, reviewing the hospital's case reports, interviewing affected families and searching for possible environmental contaminants.

The team found no evidence of poisoning, and concluded that the illness was probably caused by stress resulting from high political tensions in Tetovo. Its report was rejected both by the Albanians, who continued to stick to the poisoning theory, and by the Macedonians, who denied that a climate of fear existed in the region. Nevertheless, after the team returned to explain its findings to the families, reports of symptoms gradually subsided. Dr Jakab says that a region where conspiracy theories and fear abound is a prime breeding ground for mass hysteria. In a war zone, allegations that a toxic agent has been deployed cannot be dismissed—indeed they need more urgent investigation, she says.

Mass hysteria, or medically unexplained epidemic illness, has been documented since medieval times. Simon Wessely, a director of the King's Centre for Military Health Research at King's College London, says such outbreaks tend to reflect a society's beliefs. In the past witchcraft or demonic possession were often blamed—they still are in some societies. In today's industrialised world, environmental contamination is more likely to be invoked. In 2001, after al-Qaeda's attacks on America, Dr Wessely predicted more of these outbreaks, because of the heightened risk of terrorism and, in particular, bioterrorism. The later anthrax attack, which killed five people, was second only to the assault on the twin towers in terms of the shock and anxiety it caused the American people.

Dr Wessely distinguishes acute episodes of mass hysteria from the chronic sort. He says that he has a huge boxful of reports of the first type, which often occur among schoolchildren and are investigated rapidly. Symptoms vanish within days, once the patients have been gently reassured that their imagined cause does not exist. When an outbreak occurs against a backdrop of social trauma, it can go on for months or longer. For an episode to become chronic, patients' beliefs that they are being poisoned must be reinforced by local physicians and media. Shelkovsk may be a case in point, he says.

Whether or not the Chechen incident turns out to be mass hysteria, the patients' symptoms are real enough. What people find hard to believe, says Dr Jakab, is that anxiety-related illness can so closely mimic illness caused by an organic cause. In 1987 thieves stole a canister containing highly radioactive caesium chloride that would have been used in radiation therapy from an abandoned hospital in Goiânia, Brazil. They sold it to a junkyard owner, exposing a number of people to high doses of radiation. Some 112,000 people were screened, and 250 of them were found to have been contaminated. Yet another 5,000 people reported vomiting, diarrhoea and rashes—all symptoms of acute radiation sickness.

Dr Jakab says medical staff need to realise that the cause of these symptoms is anxiety so that patients can be treated accordingly. The World Health Organisation now has instructions describing what to do. Being told to stop faking it is unlikely to speed patients along the road to recovery. Instead, they should be removed from the stressful environment and persuaded that nothing is poisoning them except their own worries. People also need to be educated about the real risks of bioterrorism, says Dr Wessely. Ignorance breeds fear. The danger is that medical and social services will be overwhelmed, as they were in Brazil, and so take longer to identify the real victims of the incident. That, he says, is why biochemical warfare is really psychological warfare.

Return to Menu

O.  Official Statements

Federal News Service
(for personal use only)


MR. RADEMAKER: I believe most of you heard the statement that I just delivered to the Conference on Disarmament, and you should also have received copies of the draft FMCT Treaty that the United States is tabling today as well as the proposed mandate for FMCT negotiations that we distributed.

The United States has taken these steps because we are trying to provide additional impetus to the FMCT here at the Conference on Disarmament. As I noted in my statement, it's been nine years since the Conference did any substantive work on the FMCT or any other important arms control, disarmament or non-proliferation issue which we think is way too long. As I explained in my statement, there have been diplomatic problems here having to do with the establishment of linkages, or as I referred to them in my speech, hostage taking, which has for nine years prevented any substantive work. We think this is most regrettable for the conference. We called on the members of the conference to work together to overcome these linkages so that the conference can get back to doing the important work that it is supposed to be doing.

In offering a draft FMCT, we are trying to be helpful to the Conference. We're trying to trigger thought, trigger discussion, and hopefully trigger the initiation of negotiations on the basis of the text that we have offered. But I do want to stress that we did not offer our proposed FMCT text on a take it or leave it basis. This is not a demand by the United States that the members agree to our text. Quite the opposite. What we are trying to do is clarify for the other delegations our best thinking about what should be in an FMCT. Obviously other delegations will have other ideas, and through a process of negotiations ultimately we would hope an agreed text could emerge. It was in order to foster such a process that we have put forward our proposal today.

I think perhaps I'll just stop there and respond to any questions that you have.

Q A couple of questions. Listening to your presentation you indicated that the negotiation on nuclear disarmament is kind of unrealistic. On the other hand you said that you would like to see the CD to complete the negotiation on the FMCT by the end of this year. I am just wondering if this is just another unrealistic goal?

Secondly, has the United States any change in its position on the verification issue on the FMCT?

Last, do you have any response to the remark made by Iranian representative?

Thank you very much.

MR. RADEMAKER: On your first question, is it realistic to hope that an FMCT treaty can be negotiated in the Conference on Disarmament by the end of this year. I suppose if you look at the last nine years of history you would have to say yes, that is an unrealistic goal because for the last nine years the Conference has been unable to do any work. We hope that the obstacles that have existed in the past can be overcome, and it was in an effort to overcome those obstacles that I came here today and that we offered the proposed text and the proposed mandate that we have put forward today.

On the question of nuclear disarmament, we do not believe that this is an issue that is ripe for negotiation in the Conference. The United States is not the only delegation that holds this view. There is not consensus in the Conference to begin a negotiation on nuclear disarmament. One of the key points I made in my statement was to point out how the FMCT was different from these other issues such as nuclear disarmament in that critical respect.

As far as I am aware there is no delegation at the conference that says it is opposed to the FMCT. For every other proposed agenda item at least one delegation can be identified that will say formally and on the record that they oppose the initiation of negotiations on that issue.

The problem that the FMCT has encountered is there have been a number of delegations that say they are in favor of the FMCT but they are going to hold up any negotiation on the FMCT until they receive satisfaction on some other issue that's important to them. I referred to this practice in my remarks as hostage taking. The request that is made of the other delegations to agree to the hostage taking is essentially a request that a ransom be paid. I explained in my remarks why we think it's inappropriate to ask that ransom be paid to commence negotiations on which there is consensus on the substance of the proposal which is the case with the FMCT.

Your second question was verification. I made very clear in my remarks that there has been no change in US thinking on this issue since we announced the results of our policy review regarding the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty in July of 2004. We announced in July of 2004 that we had studied this issue carefully and concluded that effective verification of an FMCT is not realistically achievable here at the Conference on Disarmament and therefore it would be a mistake to seek to negotiate effective verification or to include verification provisions in an FMCT treaty.

There are essentially two elements to our analysis of this issue. The first is that as a practical matter, our experts in verification matters have reached the judgment that virtually any scheme of verification that could conceivably be agreed here at the conference, that would be acceptable to the key players here, would not give a reasonable level of assurance that cheating could be detected by the international mechanism created here at the conference.

So the expert judgment on that issue was that whatever we might achieve at great cost in terms of time spent negotiating it would not be worth the effort expended at the end of the day.

The second element of our judgment that the issue of verification should be set aside was really a more practical judgment that the objective of the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty is to stop the production of fissile material. We know today there are a number of countries that are continuing to produce fissile material. With every day that goes by the value of the FMCT diminishes because there will come a point where countries that are currently producing fissile material have all the fissile material they could possibly want and then they will stop their production. If that is the moment at which the FMCT enters into force it will be an interesting event when it happens but it will be of no practical consequence to the world because nothing will change. There will be no less fissile material in existence as a result of the treaty.

The point of the FMCT is to stop fissile material production as soon as possible. If years are expended negotiating verification provisions, those are years during which additional fissile material production is going to continue to occur. Particularly if the net result of years spent negotiating verification is a verification regime that is of little practical value in terms of its ability to detect cheating, then for us it is not a very hard call to make that we are better off setting aside the issue of verification.

One of the purposes served by putting forward our draft treaty today was to underscore how simple the negotiating task is on an FMCT if we set aside the issue of verification. The text that we circulated today is about three and a half pages in length and set in a large typeface. It's a very brief treaty.

Should we seek to couple that treaty with a verification annex, most assuredly we will then have a treaty that runs probably hundreds of pages in length.

I did not bring a copy of the Chemical Weapons Convention with me but I have a bound volume of it in my office. It's about this thick. If we set about that kind of negotiation, most assuredly we will be here many years negotiating verification and that sort of misses the point. The point is to stop fissile material production and not to elaborate very complex verification provisions that ultimately are not going to prove particularly useful to the international community.

Your final question was about my response to the comments by the Iranian delegation. There are many things I could say in response to the Iranian delegation but I will only make one point. The Iranian representative repeated a defense that Iran frequently offers of its activities in the nuclear area and that was they selectively quoted from reports of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran's compliance. Essentially the representative noted that the IAEA has found that all declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for. That of course is true. All declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for by the IAEA.

The question is whether there is any undeclared nuclear activity or nuclear material in Iran. That is the whole issue. Of course the Iranian delegate glossed over what the IAEA has said repeatedly about undeclared nuclear activity in Iran and undeclared nuclear material.

I can actually read the paragraph from one of the most recent IAEA reports on the situation in Iran. This is from the February 27, 2006 report by Director General ElBaradei. Paragraph 53 says, "As indicated to the Board in November 2004 and again in September 2005, all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for." That's where the Iranian delegate stopped. But the report goes on to say, "Although the agency has not seen any diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, the agency is not at this point in a position to conclude that there has been no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran. The process of drawing such a conclusion under normal circumstances is a time consuming process even with an additional protocol in force. In the case of Iran, this conclusion can be expected to take even longer in light of the undeclared nature of Iran's past nuclear program and in particular because of the inadequacy of information available on its centrifuge enrichment program. The existence of a generic document related to the fabrication of nuclear weapons components and the lack of clarification about the role of the military in Iran's nuclear program including, as mentioned above, about recent information available to the agency concerning alleged weapons studies that could involve nuclear material."

That's the full finding of the IAEA and I think the picture that emerges is a much more damning one with regard to the nature of Iran's activities than the Iranian delegate was prepared to admit today.

Q I'd like to go back to this issue of verification. It has been a mantra forever, of trust but verify. How can you go away from this now? And so if you trust countries to stop production, how can you really trust it without verifying this?

Do you have any support from other countries on this and is it really more difficult to create a verification regime for this particular treaty than for others? You mentioned the Chemical Weapons Treaty for one.

MR. RADEMAKER: Yes, we do have support from a number of other delegations for our position on this. The quote about trust but verify came from a very important source, former President Reagan. He made that comment in the context of bilateral US-Soviet arms control where verification was a critical component of the willingness of the United States to commit to reductions in strategic nuclear forces.

There was a very elaborate verification regime ultimately negotiated there which our experts judged gave them satisfactory

insight into Soviet compliance with the arms control obligations.

The difference here is that this is not a bilateral negotiation; it is a multilateral negotiation. Sixty-five countries are going to have to agree by consensus on any verification mechanism that is structured here. We have taken into account what positions those 65 countries are likely to take, what types of measures those governments will likely be prepared to agree to, and reviewed what we think will be the result. We also asked ourselves the question of whether that resulting verification regime could give us a reasonable level of assurance that cheating can be detected by that mechanism. Our answer to that has been no.

This does not mean, and I've referred to this in my statement, that the FMCT would be unverified. It would be the responsibility of all of the parties to use the means and methods at their disposal to reach judgments about whether other parties to the treaty were complying with the treaty. Should concerns emerge, our text does include a mechanism for asking the Security Council to consider whether there has been compliance or non-compliance with the treaty.

We think that as a practical matter that national means and methods will work more effectively than spending many years here. We should not kid ourselves -- it would take man years to negotiate something similar to the verification regime established under the Chemical Weapons Convention. We think that resulting regime would not give us any better assurance that cheating will be detected than relying on the ability of the individual states parties to use information at their disposal to make the same judgments.

Q Have you considered at all, under the Chemical Weapons Treaty eventually became an ad hoc treaty. The CD didn't really approve it because the United States, for one, wouldn't sign onto it and yet it's functioning. Do you see any similarities or any possibilities that countries that support this treaty, have been trying to get a treaty for nine years, that countries that support this treaty might create their own treaty and sort of consider it as a done deal and hope the other countries that don't agree will eventually sign on?

MR. RADEMAKER: I think you're a little bit confused. The Chemical Weapons Convention was negotiated here at the Conference on Disarmament. The United States signed it, ratified it, is today a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. You may be thinking of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Q Yes, I'm sorry. Correct.

MR. RADEMAKER: Which also was negotiated here and the United States Senate rejected that treaty when it came before the Senate for approval.

Am I fearful that an FMCT would be negotiated outside of the CD?

Q No, that you might want to actually negotiate a treaty outside, if you can't get all the countries to come aboard that you might follow the example of the --

MR. RADEMAKER: There are some countries that have proposed that. Canada and Mexico made such a proposal late last year. We think that would be a bad idea. We think that would probably be the beginning of the end of the Conference on Disarmament should this issue, which has been the leading agenda item for nine years at the Conference, be removed from the conference agenda because the Conference was unable to deal with it. We think it would be a mistake to undertake such an important negotiation in a forum such as the United Nations General Assembly which was the proposal made by Canada and Mexico.

Q You said that every day there is not an FMCT it would be sort of, the value of it would be diminishing. Is that not an argument to include stocks and put them on the table so that whatever you do get at the end of the day covers what's out there?

MR. RADEMAKER: Let me explain the issue of stocks.

The issue of stocks is really only an issue in the context of verification of the treaty. If we negotiate a treaty without verification provisions there is no basis for addressing the question of stocks.

When delegations say they want the treaty to address stocks what they mean is they think that as part of the verification of the treaty there should be a mechanism under which some institution or verification entity, among other things, monitors existing stockpiles of fissile material in the inventories of the state parties. The rationale that's put forward is that one way to make sure there's no cheating going on is to measure how much fissile material countries have and if there's been an increase in the amount of fissile material then the inspectors will detect that and that would be one indicator of cheating.

As a verification tool we see little utility in that sort of approach because if a country is cheating on the FMCT they're not likely to store the product of their cheating, the fissile material that they produce in violation of their treaty obligations, at a place where international inspectors are coming to inspect previously declared fissile material. You would have to be a pretty incompetent cheater to choose to store your unlawfully produced fissile material with your declared lawful fissile material. So the verification rationale to us is very thin for doing this. But it's only in that context that the issue of stocks comes up.

Should our proposal be adopted to set aside the issue of verification, then I think necessarily the issue of existing stocks would be set aside.

Q I just wanted to further understand, you're saying you think this is a realistic goal this year because recalling the CBTB only one nation basically blocked consensus on that one and of course it did go forward. Since you're trying to deal with Iran among other countries here who might want to block consensus, is this more a throwing down the gauntlet to the CD and noting especially at the end of your speech there seemed to be a bit of a sting in the tail about possibly the last ambassador here.

MR. RADEMAKER: I suppose one might say that our proposal that the CD set for itself the goal of completing negotiations on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty by the end of this year is the triumph of hope over experience. We would like to think that the conference could set that as a goal and could realize that goal.

We believe it could do so. Again, take a look at the draft treaty that's in front of you. It would not be that hard to negotiate three or four pages of text between now and the end of the year should there be a determination here to do so. The problem, frankly, as I mentioned in my remarks is the problem of linkages and whether that problem can be overcome by the end of this year or not I think will be critical to whether the challenge that I put before the conference is satisfied or realized.

Q Is there a way, do you foresee, of either dealing yourselves with Iran or getting somebody else to deal with them and any other possible objectors to bring them on board?

MR. RADEMAKER: We have been in continuous dialogue with countries that in the past have established linkages. We have urged them in the past and will continue to urge them to end the hostage taking, free the hostages and allow the FMCT negotiation to go forward.

Let's be clear regarding what this hostage taking is about. The CD operates on the principle of consensus so it will only negotiate matters for which there is consensus. Hostage taking occurs when there is an item for which there is consensus, all delegations are in agreement that the issue is ripe for negotiation, and the hostage taker steps forward and says I am going to take that item for which there is otherwise consensus and I'm going to deny consensus in order to artificially create a consensus for some other item that's important to me for which there is not consensus. That's what hostage taking here is all about. We think that is highly destructive to this institution. It certainly frustrates the will of the international community and after nine years, it's quite clear that it's been highly destructive to the credibility of this institution.

Q What is the reason for the revival of this very old issue? Is it the case of Iran? Or is it also to do something maybe with India, Brazil, Pakistan?

MR. RADEMAKER: By very old issue you're referring to the FMCT?

Q Yes, sure.

MR. RADEMAKER: I think your characterization would come as a surprise to almost all of the delegations here. I think no one considers this is an issue that had died and gone away. The FMCT has been the principal pending agenda item at the Conference on Disarmament for nine years. For nine years there have been repeated efforts to find a way to permit negotiations to begin. The steps we have taken today are in full conformity and fully consistent with the kinds of things that delegations here have been doing for nine years -- to try and find a way to negotiate an FMCT. I don't think any of the delegations here would say that the FMCT is dead or an old idea. It's an idea that all delegations so far as I'm aware say they support in principle.

Q (Inaudible.)

VOICE: You mean sort of why now?

Q Yes.

MR. RADEMAKER: As I indicated, for nine years delegations here have been trying to jump start negotiations on an FMCT. Today what you see is the U.S. effort along those same lines. As far as why we're doing this today as opposed to last month or next month, these kinds of things take time within a government. It took us time to prepare this treaty text. Once we had agreement within our government on what we as a government believe an FMCT should say, we brought it here to Geneva and presented it to the other delegations for their consideration.

I would also note that consistent with everything I just said, and totally coincidentally, this week was essentially FMCT Week at the Conference on Disarmament, an entire week of discussions had been scheduled at the beginning of the year on FMCT. So it was actually a good occasion for us to come forward with our proposal.

Q I think we're all waiting for copies of the text of the speech.

VOICE: We hope to have that for you very soon. WE have the paper copy. We'll get it out electronically as quickly as we can.

One more question.

Q Could you explain a little bit about the entry into force -- (inaudible) -- that you expect -- (inaudible). You say the condition for entering into force is the signatory of the five nuclear powers. What idea behind this?

MR. RADEMAKER: This is one of those interesting issues that we stumbled across as we sat down to write this treaty. Internally within the United States government we confronted the question of which governments might we want to require as the essential states parties before the treaty could enter into force.

There were a number of models to look to. One was the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Under the NPT there were three required ratifications, the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enter into force.

As you know, the NPT entered into force, and an interesting history that many people forget, is that initially China and France refused to ratify the NPT. It took them many years to come to the judgment that they were prepared to ratify the NPT. But the history of the NPT is that over the years more and more countries came to the conclusion that the treaty served their interest to the point where today there are only three countries in the entire world that have not ratified, or that have never ratified the NPT.

Another model would be the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty where the negotiators adopted a very different approach. They required a very large number of countries to ratify before the treaty would enter into force. Over 30 countries. A number of those countries have yet to ratify. So as of today the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty still has not entered into force.

As we thought about, and this was the internal thinking within the United States government, how we would want the FMCT to unfold, we were more attracted to the NPT model than to the CTBT model. We did not think there would be great utility in negotiating an instrument that never enters into force. We would want the FMCT to enter into force as soon as possible so we went more in the direction of the NPT model.

The key question that comes up is why didn't we also include as essential to the entry into force, ratification by the countries that are not today parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In the judgment of the United States there are today four countries that are not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- India, Pakistan, Israel, as well as the DPRK. As you know, the DPRK has announced its withdrawal from the NPT. There are some countries, in fact I think most countries, that for technical reasons, have concluded that they do not accept North Korea's withdrawal from the NPT as legally valid.

It is clear, however, that North Korea considers that it has withdrawn from the NPT, and in fact they publicly say they are producing nuclear weapons. So there is not much question about whether they are conducting themselves as a party to the NPT.

So in our judgment there are four countries outside of the NPT and if we wanted to go beyond the five nuclear weapons States under the NPT to include those that are not subject to NPT obligations, we would have to include all four of those countries. And particularly in the case of the DPRK, which three years ago announced its withdrawal from the NPT, we see little likelihood that they are going to sign and ratify a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

So to write a provision that says that the treaty enters into force upon ratification by the five nuclear weapon states as well as the four countries that are outside of the NPT would be to create another situation like that which exists today under the CTBT where we have a very nice legal instrument that is collecting dust on a shelf. We thought it was more important to bring this treaty into force.

That doesn't mean we would not want all of those countries outside of the NPT to ratify it and we would strongly urge them to do so. The question is should we render the treaty legally inoperative until they ratify it? On that question we reached the judgment that it would be self-defeating to render the treaty legally inoperative until they ratified. Thank you very much.

Return to Menu

Federal News Service
(for personal use only)

MR. BURNS: Successive U.S. administrations have recognized that Iran's regime poses a profound threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East and more broadly across the globe. Over the past six months, however, since the August 2005 inauguration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this threat has intensified as Iran's approach to the world has become even more radical.

The international community has so far been united in opposing this threat. This is not time for business as usual with the Iranian regime. It is time for a stiff solution although we have not yet given up hope on diplomacy.

I would like to discuss with you today the initiatives the United States is taking in close cooperation with the international community -- to deflect the harmful policies of the Iranian regime: (1) its pursuit of nuclear weapons, (2) its sponsorship of terrorism, (3) its aggressive and intimidating policies in the Middle East, and (4) its oppression of the Iranian people. Iran Nuclear Proliferation

There is no real doubt internationally about Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability. For 18 years, Iranian leaders pursued a clandestine enrichment program that they hid from the world, as the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed. There is simply no basis for anyone to believe that Iran's nuclear program is solely intended for peaceful purposes.

In fact, not one of the countries I've spoken to over the past 14 months has expressed any doubt about Iran's intentions to build a nuclear weapon.

The international community stands united in opposing Iran's desire to acquire nuclear weapons. We also stand united in support of Iran's stated ambition to use peaceful nuclear energy as long as and this is important it complies with its safeguarding and nonproliferation obligations. History of Negotiations:

In March 2005, Secretary Rice announced our support for the EU- 3's negotiations with Iran to halt Tehran's nuclear ambitions. This was a significant departure from our previous stance which kept the United States apart from the talks.

The EU-3 offered a proposal that would grant Iran far-reaching economic incentives, including access to and assistance with peaceful nuclear reactors. The United States offered its own incentives we agreed to consider licensing the sale of spare parts for Iran's aging civilian airliners and dropping our prior objections to Iran's bid to join the World Trade Organization.

After Iran unilaterally broke off talks with the EU-3 in the autumn of 2005, we worked for months and succeeded in creating a broad international coalition to isolate Iran. In October 2005, Secretary Rice traveled to Moscow to convince Russia of the importance of cohesion on this issue. I personally made eleven trips to Europe in 2005 to consult with our European allies and Russia on Iran. In November, President Bush spoke in support of a Russian proposal through which Russia would supply the fuel for Iran's peaceful nuclear reactors, as long as no enrichment activity takes place on Iranian soil. Iran rejected the proposal out of hand again belying its own claims that it only seeks peaceful nuclear capabilities.

In response to Iran's confrontational approach, in late January 2006 Secretary Rice successfully persuaded all five permanent Members of the U.N. Security Council to vote together at the IAEA to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council. On February 4, the Permanent Five, along with a massive global coalition comprised of countries as diverse as India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Egypt, and Yemen, spoke with one voice: these countries, all represented in the IAEA Board of Governors, adopted a resolution to report Iran's activities to the U.N. Security Council.

Iran clearly miscalculated the strength and depth of international concern and now finds itself isolated. President Bush and Secretary Rice's determined and measured diplomacy is responsible for the significant diplomatic achievement of assembling and leading this broad-based, diverse, and powerful coalition.

We have started a new phase of diplomacy -- action by the U.N. Security Council. On March 29, the Security Council unanimously adopted a Presidential Statement calling on Iran to immediately suspend enrichment activities within 30 days and fully cooperate with the February 4 IAEA resolution. Instead of complying, President Ahmadinejad provoked the international community further with his announcement that Iran is "presently conducting research" on P-2 centrifuges. Any current work by Iran on P2 centrifuges would be a further rejection of the U.N. Security Council's and IAEA Board of Governors' calls on Iran to suspend such activity. It could also suggest efforts by Iran to mask past undeclared P2 research that the IAEA has been trying to investigate. .

With actions such as these, Iran continues to miscalculate the intelligence and resolve of the international community. On April 28, IAEA Director General ElBaradei submitted his report to the Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors that confirmed Iran's failure to comply with the March 29 U.N. Security Council Presidential Statement's and IAEA Board's required steps.

Due to Iran's continued defiance, the Security Council is now studying a Chapter VII resolution -- drafted by the U.K., France, and Germany -- that would require Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and fully cooperate with the IAEA. Secretary Rice met with her P-5 counterparts in New York this week to support this effort and discuss the long term strategy to peacefully address the threats posed by the Iranian regime.

If after all these steps are taken Iran had not acceded to the wishes of the international community, then of course we would have to look at possible sanctions, which a number of countries in Europe and elsewhere are already beginning to explore. Any sanctions we would consider will be specifically targeted to hurt the regime, not the great majority of innocent Iranians.

The Iranians cannot afford the kind of isolation that the international community could actually bring about if it chooses to. Iran is very dependent on its integration into the international economy, both for its ability to get products or its ability to sell products.

Going forward, we will do everything we can to maintain the widest possible international consensus on the steps Iran must take, and continue to keep Iran isolated on this issue. Iran must realize that its only option to make a strategic decision and end its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

While we make it clear that no option is off the table, President Bush and Secretary Rice strongly support a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem.

Our message to Tehran remains: recommit to the Paris Agreement, return to full suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and negotiate in good faith the eventual cessation and dismantling of all sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities. The spotlight must remain on the Iranian government and on the requirement that they adhere to their international commitments. Iran Sponsor of Terrorism and Regional Ambitions

A second critical U.S. and international concern is that Iran remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world and has sought to play a destabilizing role in Iraq and elsewhere.

Iran provides money, weapons, and training to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian rejectionist groups. These are some of the world's most deadly terrorist organizations, responsible for the killing of thousands of innocents, including Americans. Hezbollah has been responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization apart from al Qaeda.

In October 2005, Iranian officials traveled to Damascus to meet with leaders of Hezbollah, and Hamas, and several other Palestinian rejectionist groups. As late as December 2005, members of Lebanese Hezbollah received explosives training in Iran arranged by the Iranian government's intelligence services. In January 2006, Ahmadinejad again visited Syria and met with the leaders of Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP-GC pro-Syrian faction). Ahmadinejad pledged Iran's support to militant Palestinian factions.

Iran has also provided assistance, including weapons, training and explosives, to anti-Coalition Shi'a forces in Iraq.

We have sanctioned Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and called for the regime to abide by the requirements of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373 to deny safe haven to those who plan, support, or commit terrorist acts and to affirmatively take steps to prevent terrorist acts by providing early warning to other states by exchange of information.

We also continue to urge other governments including the Arab states of the Middle East to press Iran on its support for and sponsorship of terrorism, and on its generally threatening behavior towards its neighbors. State of Iranian Democracy and Human Rights

As we work to end the threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions and sponsorship of terror, we are standing with the Iranian people in their aspirations for freedom.

We see two Irans: the "official Iran" with an appalling human rights record, led by individuals who have been explicitly implicated in the murders of their own people, of the dissidents who dared to challenge the regime. But we see another Iran, the Iran of a great people almost 70 million of them of faith and creativity. of almost 70 million strong. This is the Iran of the poets and scholars, that has produced a sophisticated society that should be the envy of the region and one day certainly will be.

Unfortunately, the hard-liners in Iran have mounted an all-out defense of their hold on the regime and its people, culminating in last June's election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as its president. The election itself was deeply flawed: A small group of clerics culled more than 1,000 aspiring candidates, eliminating all the women, to a handful whose loyalty to the regime seemed assured. Hard-liners undertook a concerted, last-minute campaign through their networks of influence in the mosques, the military, and the Revolutionary Guards mobilize support for Ahmadinejad. The polling was reportedly rife with manipulation and fraud. From this inherently flawed process came the improbable ascent of Ahmadinejad.

Some Iranian citizens may have voted for Ahmadinejad with the sincere hope that he represented change from the corrupt, old guard of the regime. If so, they have been sorely disappointed. His repeated denial of the Holocaust and his threats to "wipe Israel off the map" have earned the outrage of the international community, and have deeply shamed a country that until its revolution 27 years ago had a unique history of tolerance and a large Jewish community.

In an effort to assert his authority, Iran's president has purged qualified officials at all levels of Iranian government including in Iran's overseas diplomatic corps -- and placed his inexperienced but loyal hard-liners throughout the system.

He issued edicts banning Western music and demanding that Iranian television broadcast fewer programs about women's issues. He has put forward a budget that would make Iran more dependent than ever on oil revenues, and make its economy even less competitive in attracting domestic or foreign investment.

The regime's poor human rights record worsened throughout 2005, and Iran continued to commit serious abuses of human rights. Summary executions, disappearances, extremist vigilantism, widespread use of torture, solitary confinement, and other degrading treatment remained problems. Juvenile offenders were executed, and sentences of stoning continue to be handed down. Protesters have been arrested and tortured. Journalists and webloggers continue to be arrested and mistreated for daring to publish their opinions.

In February the Iranian regime answered the pleas of Tehran bus drivers for better working conditions by sending paid thugs to beat them. Journalist and political activist Akbar Ganji spent nearly six years in prison for his reporting on the murders of Iranian dissidents and his advocacy of a secular Iranian republic.

In the face of these oppressive internal conditions, the people of Iran regularly give the world reason for great hope about the country's future. Courageous activists, lawyers and dissidents such as Ahmad Batebi, Hoda Saber, Taqi Rahmani and Reza Aljani and so many others challenged the regime's repressive policies and suffered dire consequences for their efforts to advance democracy.

In spite of its regime, Iran produces thoughtful and serious men of faith like Ayatullah Hussein Ali Montazeri, one of the authors of Iran's constitution, Hojjatoleslam Mohsen Kadivar, Hassan Yousefi Eshkevari, and many others in the seminaries and pulpits of Iran, who want to see a humane and enlightened country. We may not agree with everything they say but we deeply respect their efforts to promote a more tolerant and vibrant synthesis of faith and democracy.

Iranians know that their government may punish them for voicing their views on the Internet or in the newspapers, and yet journalists continue to write provocative pieces, and thousands of other Iranians post their thoughts to weblogs every day. Iranians have found ways to cope with a system that strives to deprive them of their basic rights and culture and we are confident that they will also find ways to change that system. What the U.S. is doing:

This reality of the two Irans a repressive, mismanaged regime and a sophisticated citizenry - confronts us every day, and this reality is central to our Iran policy. While we oppose the regime's aggressive and irresponsible actions, the United States in cooperation with the international community is seeking to help Iranians to bring about peaceful democratic change.

Congress has been very helpful in this regard. For FY 2006 Congress authorized $10 million to support the cause of freedom and human rights in Iran. This year, Secretary Rice requested an additional $75 million to amplify our effort to reach out to the Iranian people in the following ways: We will expand our outreach to young Iranians who have never experienced democracy by sponsoring new Iranian students to study in the United States. This initiative - which would be a one-year, graduate level program in a wide range of fields, with an emphasis on the social sciences, health and environmental sciences and humanities would be an effort to re- establish the formerly robust contacts between our people that have eroded since the revolution. There is no guarantee that the Iranian regime, which recently rejected our offer of assistance to earthquake victims, would permit such an ambitious and exciting program but we owe it to the Iranian people and the very real friendship we want to have with them, to make this sincere offer. We also plan to augment professional, cultural, sports and youth exchanges designed to build bridges between our two nations as ping-pong diplomacy did with China in the 1970s. While we look forward to the day when Iran's behavior will permit us to have normal diplomatic relations;, however, we will not let this obstacle prevent us from reaching out to the Iranian people. We currently reach out to Iranians through our Persian website -- over 60 percent of visitors come from inside Iran -- and plan to develop further cutting edge initiatives -- what we call eDiplomacy -- to promote active connections between Iranians and Americans. Loosely based on the model of the virtual consulate for Davao, Philippines, the Iran Virtual Gateway sites -- in effect virtual American Interest Sections for Iranian cities -- will be a vibrant tools for the State Department to convey America's respect for Iran's people, history and culture. Content on our Iran Virtual Gateway sites could include scheduled online chats with officials, academics, popular artists, actors and musicians, information on educational opportunities, accurate information about events inside Iran, and online consular services to ease the process for Iranian visa applicants. Additionally, we plan to greatly expand our television broadcasting in Farsi into Iran to penetrate Iran's government dominated media in the short to medium term. We will seek to develop civic education campaigns that increase understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy.

Finally, the Department has created several new Iran-related positions in Washington in a new Office of Iranian Affairs within the Bureau for Near East and North African Affairs (NEA) as well as in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. We will also add several Iran-related positions abroad, both to support a new Regional Presence Office focused on Iran at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai, and to enhance our coverage of significant Iranian diaspora centers in Europe and elsewhere. Conclusion

There are Iranian actions that we reject and condemn. But there is much that is good and noble there. This year we mark the one hundredth anniversary of the 1906 Constitutional Revolution in Iran. During that noble and sincere revolt to establish a measure of democracy in Iran, a young American teacher from Nebraska, a graduate of Princeton named Howard Baskerville, fought and died along with Iranian students trying to break the royalist siege of Tabriz. One day I hope to visit the grave of Baskerville in Tabriz.

With the help of our international allies, we can all realize our vision of a free Iran that allows its people to express themselves and reach their full potential; an Iran that is a stabilizing influence in the Middle East, instead of a sponsor of terrorists and nuclear proliferators; and an Iran that is prosperous and at peace with the world.

Return to Menu

DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for the technical accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.

RANSAC's Nuclear News is compiled two to three times weekly. To be automatically removed from our mailing list, click on the following link: Remove Me From The List

If you have questions/comments/concerns, please reply to

Section Menu:

© 2007 Partnership for Global Security. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement.