1. Reports: Defense Minister Says Russia Remains Ready to Conduct Nuclear Tests, Not Doing So
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Russia is not conducting nuclear tests but remains prepared to do so at any time, the defense minister said Wednesday during a trip to the country's main nuclear test site, Russian news agencies reported.
Sergei Ivanov said that the site on the Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya is in a state of constant readiness to hold nuclear tests, but that Russia is now only conducting experiments that do not involve nuclear explosions, Interfax reported.
"We proceed from existing reality and keep the test range in constant preparedness, while adhering to all our commitments," the agency quoted him as saying when asked whether Russia might resume tests if countries that have not joined the international treaty that bans test explosions and any other nuclear explosions do so.
"Certain large nuclear powers have not ratified the treaty," Ivanov said, according to RIA-Novosti.
More than 100 countries have endorsed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, but to take effect it must be signed and ratified by 44 states that participated in a 1996 disarmament conference and possessed nuclear power or research reactors at the time. Only 34 have done so; the holdouts include China, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea and the United States, which has signed but not ratified the treaty.
Ivanov said that while Russia has ratified the treaty, "this does not mean we have stopped work in the nuclear sphere," RIA-Novosti quoted Ivanov as saying.
Ivanov, President Vladimir Putin and other officials have repeatedly stressed that Russia intends to maintain strong nuclear capability. Ivanov last week announced plans to deploy new intercontinental ballistic missiles, saying that the nation needs a strong nuclear deterrent to protect itself from foreign "blackmail" a comment referring at least in part to potential pressure from the United States.
2. Russia has Connections to Douse Latest Flareup; Ties to Syria, Iran and Militant Groups Could Help Ease Crisis
San Francisco Chronicle
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It sells weapons to Syria and is helping Iran build a nuclear reactor. It rolled out the red carpet for the Palestinian militant group Hamas, and says it is talking to Hezbollah, even as the Lebanon-based militia continues to lob rockets into Israel.
Now, as world leaders and the United Nations scramble desperately to seek a diplomatic solution to the escalating Middle East crisis, one country may be in the best position to find a way out.
"Out of all the major powers in the world, Russia perhaps is the one that has the connections to all the parties involved," said Murhaf Jouejati, director of the Middle East Studies at George Washington University. "They would have the most leeway."
And Russia appears ready to use those connections.
At the Group of Eight summit of industrialized nations he hosted in his hometown of St. Petersburg last weekend, President Vladimir Putin said he was using "all channels" to secure the release of the three Israeli soldiers who were abducted by Hamas and Hezbollah, according to the Russian Ria Novosti news agency.
"We have ... two-way communication with all the parties involved in the conflict," Putin said. "We have normal, lively contacts almost constantly."
Russia has also said it would send troops as part of an international peacekeeping force to the region, an idea floated on Monday by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Britain.
Moscow has long-standing military and economic ties with key players in the region that the United States and other outside powers do not -- notably with Iran, which helps bankroll and arm Hezbollah, and with Syria, which has close relations with both Hezbollah and Hamas.
Russia is "not viewed the same way we are in the Middle East, at least," said Marvin Weinbaum, an expert on Iran at the Middle East Institute.
In Iran, Russia is building the country's first nuclear reactor, a $840 million facility in the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr. In Syria, the armed forces use Soviet equipment, "so if the Syrian armed forces need any equipment to maintain and fix their weapons, they go to Russia," Jouejati said.
Russia has said it will supply Syria with Strelets, short-range air defense missile systems (called SA-18s by NATO), with a range of up to 3 miles. Last year, Moscow agreed to write off $10 billion of Damascus' $13.4 billion Soviet-era debt to allow for large-scale Syrian purchases of Russian weapons.
Both deals have been criticized by Washington and other Western powers, as has Putin's welcoming of a Hamas delegation to Moscow last March, after the Palestinian Islamic group swept to power in Palestinian parliamentary elections.
Putin specifically rejected criticisms of his relations with Hamas at a G-8 summit news conference last weekend.
"It was a conscious decision to invite Hamas representatives, and we don't regret anything," Putin said at one news conference. "One should negotiate not with those who are pleasant as a negotiating partner, but with those who can influence the situation, those who can influence their own people."
The timing of the current conflict could not be more advantageous for Putin, who is seeking to re-establish Russia as a major power broker not only in the Middle East, but also on the global stage. The gathering last weekend of the world's most powerful leaders in his hometown put the conflict at the top of the summit agenda, and Putin's diplomatic efforts in the spotlight.
"They're dealing with this absolutely major crisis and (Putin's) at the center of it, Russia's at the center of it," said Sarah Mendelson, an expert on Russia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "If they are able to deliver, it would be huge."
The ability to deliver is more open to question.
"Russia may come as close as anybody ... to having weight in the Arab world," said Weinbaum. "This is (Putin's) window of opportunity. How well he can play it is another issue."
The key test, said Weinbaum, is the extent to which Russia can persuade Iran and Syria to "be more responsible" and rein in Hezbollah. Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Program, was skeptical that Moscow could go it alone. Russia "can't be an effective mediator without the support of the United States, because what Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran and Syria want" -- significant Israeli concessions in the Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights, which Syria wants back as part of any peace deal with Israel -- "they need the U.S. to help deliver."
At the moment, Russia and the United States are at odds over a number of issues, ranging from new U.N. sanctions against Iran, to Putin's increasingly authoritarian domestic policies, to President Bush's refusal to back Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization.
Other experts doubted that international moves, including Russian mediation, will end the conflict any time soon.
Central to any real solution is "disarming Hezbollah," said Edward Walker, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Russian influence alone was not likely to achieve that, he said.
3. Russia Launches Storage Facility for Nuclear Submarine Reactors
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Russia has launched the first stage of a facility designated for the storage of reactors from dismantled nuclear submarines on the Kola Peninsula's coast, ITAR-TASS reported Tuesday.
The project is being financed by Germany under the Group of Eight's (G8) Global Partnership Program, which aims to dismantle and eliminate nuclear and chemical weapons in former Soviet countries.
The first stage, costing 125 million euros, is expected to store 120 submarine reactors for at least 70 years, ITAR-TASS said citing Andrei Malyshev, deputy director of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, and a spokesman for the agency.
The second stage of the facility is expected to cost 175 million euros and store 60 reactors, ITAR-TASS said.
RUSSIA'S defence minister yesterday announced plans to deploy new intercontinental ballistic missiles, saying that the nation needs a strong nuclear deterrent to protect itself from foreign ''blackmail.''
Sergei Ivanov said the Strategic Missile Forces would get another 69 Topol-M missiles by 2015; Russia so far has deployed about 40 of them.
''Nuclear deterrent forces have and will form the basis of Russia's might,'' he said.
He argued Russia needed a strong military to deter terror attacks and resist foreign political pressure.
He said the Topol-M and the Bulava missiles would form the core of Russia's nuclear deterrent forces, which will be ''capable of penetrating any existing or prospective missile defence systems'' - a clear reference to the United States and its efforts to build a missile shield.
''This is the best guarantee of prevention of any attempts of nuclear blackmail of the Russian Federation,'' he said.
The U.S. withdrew in 2002 from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to make a national missile defence shield - a move opposed by Russia, which said the 30-year-old pact was a key element of international security.
1. US Converts Surplus Weapons Uranium into Power Fuel
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NEW YORK, July 13 (Reuters) - The United States said on Thursday it has completed the conversion of surplus weapons-grade uranium into uranium fuel used by commercial nuclear power plants.
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), USEC Inc. and BWX Technologies Inc. said in a release they converted about 50 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to about 660 tons of low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel.
The U.S. HEU Downblending Program eliminated enough highly enriched uranium for about 800 nuclear warheads and produced enough low enriched uranium fuel to power a typical commercial reactor for about 34 years, which is enough electricity to power every household in the U.S. for 81 days.
The Department of Energy (DOE) transferred the highly enriched uranium to USEC, of Bethesda, Maryland, as part of the commercial uranium fuel marketer's 1998 privatization from the U.S. government.
USEC contracted with McDermott International Inc.'s BWX subsidiary to blend down the surplus highly enriched uranium with natural uranium at BWX's facility in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The conversion process began in 1999 with shipments from DOE's Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Ohio and NNSA's Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee, managed by BWX, where the material was stored.
USEC sold the resulting low-enriched uranium fuel to its nuclear utility customers.
The U.S. program is similar to the U.S.-Russian Megatons to Megawatts program, which recycles about 500 tons of highly enriched uranium from Russian nuclear warheads into fuel that USEC's nuclear utility customers use to generate about 10 percent of America's electricity.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the DOE that maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing, and provides the U.S. Navy with nuclear propulsion.
1. U.S. Will Gain Much by Leading Efforts to Reduce Nuclear Arms
San Jose Mercury News
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The nascent nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran -- two daggers pointed at the heart of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the foundation for stopping the spread of nuclear arms -- will be high on President Bush's agenda when the leading industrial nations meet this weekend. But Russian President Vladimir Putin has also signaled his interest in discussing ``what to do'' about existing nuclear weapons stockpiles in the United States and Russia.
Bush should seize this opportunity and make clear he is ready to resume talks with Moscow on further reductions in nuclear arms and to work with Russia and other nations to agree on concrete steps that can be taken now toward achieving the NPT's ultimate objective: the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Since the signing of the 2002 Moscow Treaty requiring the United States and Russia to each reduce their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,700 to 2,200, there have been no formal talks between Washington and Moscow on further nuclear cuts. This four-year hiatus has generated the impression in many capitals that the NPT's nuclear weapons states (the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China) are derelict in pursuing the ``cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and nuclear disarmament'' as required by the NPT.
Unfortunately, this impression is not unfounded. At the same time Washington is rightly pursuing greater limits on civilian nuclear activities in states like Iran to preclude covert nuclear arms programs, the Bush administration appears willing to allow the 1991 U.S.-Russian START Treaty on nuclear weapons to expire in 2009; and the Moscow Treaty expires the same day its proposed ceilings enter into force in 2012. After that, Washington and Moscow will be under no obligation to limit the bulk of their nuclear arsenals.
Putin has apparently concluded it is not in Russia's interest for nuclear constraints to erode completely. In May, Putin lamented that ``key disarmament issues are all but off the international agenda,'' and warned that ``the arms race has entered a new spiral today with the achievement of new levels of technology that raise the danger of the emergence of a whole arsenal of so-called destabilizing weapons.''
Last month, Putin announced that Moscow was calling ``for the renewal of dialogue on key weapons-reduction issues -- first of all -- negotiations on replacing the START Treaty,'' adding that it was necessary to help reverse a period of ``stagnation'' in disarmament.
Putin's motivation may stem more from a residual fear of an unconstrained U.S. nuclear arsenal than an all-out commitment to nuclear disarmament; but no matter Putin's motives, it is clearly in America's interest to pick up the leadership baton wielded by every U.S. president since Eisenhower and get back in the business of advocating concrete steps toward -- in the words of Ronald Reagan -- ``eliminating these weapons from the face of the earth.'' Here's why.
First, leadership by the United States toward further nuclear reductions will boost U.S. credibility and assist our efforts to get other nations to join in applying pressure on states still seeking nuclear arms (just as efforts by Washington to negotiate a nuclear test-ban treaty in the 1990s helped achieve the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT). In this way, we will strengthen our hand in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and their possible use by terrorists -- the most urgent nuclear-related threat to our security.
Second, America will be stronger and more secure in a world where nuclear weapons play a diminishing role -- and ultimately no role -- in international affairs. In the 21st century, no nation has more to lose than the United States from a world where nuclear arms continue to spread and the possibility of their use remains. For example, a nuclear bomb exploding in New York, London or Tokyo would severely cripple the global economic system upon which America relies.
Moreover, the possibility of nuclear arms in the hands of more nations in volatile regions raises the possibility of another costly pre-emptive U.S. strike or competition with a nuclear-armed adversary -- an unenviable choice that might be precluded by more energetic nuclear diplomacy.
Of course, action to reduce global nuclear inventories alone will be insufficient to persuade our potential adversaries to halt their nuclear programs; indeed, a world without nuclear weapons would require progress on reducing regional tensions on all sides.
In short: No one is under any illusion that progress on nuclear disarmament can be achieved easily. As recently argued by veteran Cold Warrior and diplomat Max Kampelman, it will require ``a willingness to be idealist and realist at the same time, to find a way to move from what `is' -- a world with a risk of increasing global disaster -- to what `ought' to be, a peaceful, civilized world free of weapons of mass destruction.'' Today, we face no more urgent task than closing the gap between the ``is'' and the ``ought.''
1. G8 Affirm Nonproliferation Pledges, Urge Others to Follow Suit
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Group of Eight leaders confirmed Sunday their commitment to the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and urged the world to act in unison.
The statement was a signal to Iran and North Korea, which have been accused of pursuing controversial nuclear programs.
"The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery, together with international terrorism remain the pre-eminent threat to international peace and security," G8 leaders said in a statement, and called on the rest of the world to act together to deal with the challenge and avert the threat.
The leaders reaffirmed their resolve to take joint efforts to combat WMD proliferation and prevent them from falling into hands of terrorists.
G8 leaders also called on other countries that are not party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to join them.
"We call on all states not Party to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and the 1925 Geneva Protocol to accede to them without delay and those states that have not yet done so to subscribe to the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation," the statement said.
G8 leaders also confirmed their commitment to allocate $20 billion until 2012 for the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, which was launched in 2002 and is designed to "support specific cooperation projects, initially in Russia, to address non-proliferation, disarmament, counter-terrorism and nuclear safety issues."
The priorities of the program include destroying chemical weapons, dismantling decommissioned nuclear submarines, and disposing of fissile materials, and preventing terrorists from getting hold of WMD.
The G8 leaders thanked other nations outside the G8 that had signed up to the initiative.
"We appreciate the contribution of 13 non-G8 states who joined the Global Partnership," they said in the statement.
The United States and Russia announced on Saturday moves to avert nuclear terrorism and halt the spread of atomic weapons as they sought to give a boost to a big-power summit.
President Bush and Russia's Vladimir Putin unveiled the initiatives before other Group of Eight leaders arrived for a summit that will be challenged by violence in the Middle East, Iran's nuclear ambitions and global trade worries.
Despite cooler U.S.-Russia relations, the two men sought to project an image of harmony, playing down differences over Russia's commitment to democracy, possible sanctions on Iran and how to respond to rising violence in the Middle East.
Referring to each other by their first names, Bush was at pains to protect Putin from his own administration's charges that the Kremlin leader was backsliding on democracy.
"I fully understand ... that there will be a Russian-style democracy. I don't expect Russia to look like the United States. As Vladimir pointedly reminded me last night, they have a different history, different traditions," he said.
"We of course don't want to have a democracy like the one in Iraq, to be honest," quipped Putin, a former KGB spy known for his dry sense of humor, after Bush cited Iraq as a country where the United States is promoting democratic freedoms.
The two men announced a plan to combat the global threat of nuclear terrorism with measures to control nuclear material.
In a separate initiative, Bush backed a Russian plan aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons by setting up international enrichment centers under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Turning to the wave of violence in the Middle East following an Israeli offensive in southern Lebanon, the two leaders pinned the blame squarely on Lebanon-based Hizbollah guerrillas.
Bush said he and Putin shared common ground on the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. But Putin sidestepped a direct question about possible sanctions against Iran -- a point of difference with Washington and some other Western powers.
Putin's main hope for the summit is to display his nation's new-found self confidence as it rides an economic boom as a top oil and gas exporter, and to rid itself of the image of being an outsider in the group.
The setting for the summit -- that will also bring together the leaders of Britain, Japan, Canada, Italy, France and Germany -- in a lavishly restored 18th century palace off the Gulf of Finland underscores that revival.
The summit will end on Monday with a joint statement on world issues, though it is a non-binding document that does not tie governments to a specific course of action.
The goodwill exuded by Bush offset Russia's disappointment at failing to get a deal with Washington that would pave the way for Russian entry into the World Trade Organization.
That fell through after negotiations that went early into the morning failed. "There is more work to be done," Bush said.
The goodwill also appeared designed to lighten the shadow of criticism on Putin that he is rowing back on democracy by tight control of the media, neutralizing the opposition and centralizing power within the Kremlin walls.
The annual meeting of the G8 has in the past attracted anti-globalization protests. But tight restrictions and heavy policing ensured that in Russia's second city they were a mere shadow of those at past G8 summits.
As G8 leaders arrived, around 300 communist and leftist radicals -- heavily outnumbered by Russian police -- marched through the city center to protest against joining the WTO and what they said were moves by Moscow to serve Western interests.
They shouted "Outlaw the G8", "Capitalism is shit" and "Russia without Putin". There were no clashes, though police detained several protesters who veered off the set route.
A mere 100 anti-globalization protesters provided with a distant sports stadium to stage their rally marched to the gates where, confronted by ranks of riot police, they chanted "Russia is not a prison!" and "No to the G8!".
When the G-8 leaders meet in Russia this weekend, nuclear proliferation will be high on the agenda. While much of the focus will be on Iran and North Korea, President Bush should raise another key issue with Vladimir Putin: the continued security (or lack thereof) of Russia's nuclear materials and expertise. A recent Council on Foreign Relations report calls Russia's commitment to non-proliferation into question. In light of Moscow's cozy nuclear relations with Iran and the tendency of some Russian officials to downplay the threat of nuclear theft, it is well past time to address these issues and ensure that nuclear materials do not fall into the wrong hands.
The chief obstacle is not a lack of money, at least on the American side. As of 2005, the United States was spending almost $1 billion a year on overseas nuclear security and related disarmament projects, with most of the funds being directed towards Russia. Washington's efforts to counter nuclear theft in Russia have focused largely on strengthening security at nuclear facilities, deploying technological monitoring equipment at key border crossings, and checking the dissemination of militarily significant know-how.
Yet serious security gaps still exist, most noticeably in the realm of Russian personnel. Background checks and monitoring of scientists and security guards at nuclear facilities is extremely lax, and this gap could allow well-funded and determined black marketers and terrorist groups to procure weapons-grade material. Russian and U.S. experts agree that a successful theft can be pulled off with four to five insiders at most. According to Matthew Bunn of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, "once stolen material is removed from authorized control, much of the battle is already lost—finding stolen material within a country, or detecting and interdicting its passage across borders, are Herculean tasks." Given that, what has the U.S. government done to bolster this security? Not enough.
The Material Protection, Control, and Accounting program (MPC&A), Washington's plan to prevent nuclear theft, fails to address these personnel issues properly. The program attempts to instill a "culture of security" into the Russian nuclear community, but has no stipulations for deterring criminally-inclined insiders. Instead of creating extensive monitoring systems that would raise the risks of stealing nuclear materials, the program merely tries to teach scientists how to follow norms and procedures. Even if these programs were appropriately targeted, their timeframes leave us vulnerable: goals projected in the Department of Energy's 2007 budget include securing 350 border crossings by 2012 and creating 11,000 private sector jobs for displaced scientists by 2019. 13 years to allow terrorists to pilfer Russia's nuclear materials is far too long.
The U.S. and Russia need to address these personnel issues cooperatively. This approach would create "vulnerability profiles" of every Russian facility that works with nuclear materials. Profiles could be based on economic conditions, wage scales, and the presence of organized crime and terrorist groups. It would also be possible, with U.S. cooperation, to gauge the susceptibility of the workforce to bribes or blackmail, with drug use, gambling, and conspicuous consumption as warning signs.
Such a system would be expensive to implement, and to date, the Russians have been unwilling to provide the required funds. This is where the U.S. role would be key. We could redirect funds toward this system, while at the same time using our own security processing experience to help the Russians create a robust defense against nuclear theft. Further, we should enlist other G-8 nations that share a vested interest in ensuring that these materials do not fall into the wrong hands. A $500 million MPC&A fund would include U.S. funds transferred from less worthy projects and investments by other G-8 members. But without Russian cooperation, our efforts will bear no fruit, so we should engage Russia and secure its support, both for this proposal and for fighting nuclear proliferation in general.
Time is not on our side. The longer Russian nuclear materials are unprotected, the more time terrorists and black marketers will have to procure them. We should use the G-8 meeting to take tangible steps to end this threat and make the United States more secure.
4. Pro-nuclear G8 Risks Disaster, Report Warns: Watchdog Says Line is Blurred Between Civilian and Military Programs
Mike De Souza
The Ottawa Citizen
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Developing countries could wind up getting their hands on nuclear weapons if industrialized nations continue promoting a global expansion of atomic power, anti-nuclear advocates are warning.
With the eight largest industrialized countries set to discuss energy security at upcoming meetings in Russia, several world leaders, starting with U.S. President George W. Bush, have recently been promoting nuclear power as one of the leading solutions of the future.
But critics have warned that previous partnerships and exchanges of nuclear technology have been abused, noting that India once used technology from Canada to develop its own weapons program.
"The line between civilian programs and military programs is becoming increasingly blurred. Countries can use the technology that has been exported to them under a civilian program to acquire the bomb," said Sierra Club of Canada spokesperson Emilie Moorhouse.
"There's a lot of countries in the world that still don't have nuclear reactors. So if the G8 wants to encourage or really promote nuclear power abroad, especially in countries that don't have it, there's going to be a lot more countries that have nuclear weapons."
Early drafts of the G8 agenda from last spring placed an emphasis on countries building enrichment plants that process waste.
"In the long term it could be disastrous for the planet," said Gordon Edwards, chairman of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
"As the current crisis in Iran shows, and as the current crisis in North Korea shows, anybody who can enrich uranium, such as Iran wants to do, can build nuclear weapons, and this is acknowledged by the countries that are trying to prevent them from doing so."
But the Canadian Nuclear Association said world leaders from the U.S., France, Britain and Finland are moving the industry into more positive areas.
"Officially, around the world, there is a lot more activity, promoting the movement towards nuclear power for electricity generation and peaceful purposes, " said association president Murray Elston. "It means that the world has opened up after a couple of decades of being static on the nuclear energy side."
He said new controls to prevent nuclear proliferation are much stronger today than they were in the past. There are also many other nuclear technologies in fields such as modern medicine, science and research that could benefit developing countries, he added.
The Crown corporation that manages nuclear technology in Canada says all the possibilities make it an exciting time for the industry.
"Obviously as a global vendor of nuclear technology, we're seeing a movement of more and more countries in the world towards revisiting the nuclear option for energy," said Dale Coffin, spokesman for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.
However, a Canadian government advisory board, which recently produced a report explaining how the country could lower its greenhouse gases by 60 per cent over the next few decades without hurting the economy, said nuclear power should only be a small part of the energy mix.
"The things that we thought really needed to be increased weren't nuclear," said Carolyn Cahill, senior policy adviser on the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy. "A lot of that so-called nuclear renaissance is happening alongside a real renaissance in areas like wind (power), co-generation and other technologies. So (nuclear power) is not the big silver bullet that we all thought it was a few decades back."
Pakistan has said it is extending full cooperation to all international institutions with reference to nuclear non-proliferation and is strictly abiding by Nuclear Fissile Material Moratorium. Tariq Usman Haider foreign office additional secretary said this during his meeting with delegation of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) here Friday. Spanish ambassador Manuaol Viturro who was accompanied by Korean, Danish and Russian delegates led the delegation.
Tariq Usman Haider told in the meeting that Pakistan was not partner of MTCR but it fully upholds its objectives on nuclear non-proliferation. “ Our Export Control Regime is as per standard set by MTCR and our national control lists with reference to nuclear fissile material moratorium, missile technology and control on weapons export are as per pattern of MTCR items.
“ We are opposed to nuclear proliferation and we are collaborating with all such institutions which are working for nuclear non proliferation,” he added. The delegation appreciated legislation enacted by Pakistan on nuclear fissile material moratorium and control on weapons export saying Pakistan is held in high esteem in the comity of nation on this count. This is third round of talks held between Pakistan and MTCR.
1. Russia to Respond, if U.S. Deploys Missile Defense in Europe, Former Russian Chief of Staff Says
Poland Business Newswire
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Russia will be forced to take appropriate countermeasures, if the United States develops elements of its missile defense system in Central Europe, Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, the former chief of staff of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces, said Wednesday.
"If an anti-missile defense system were deployed in the Czech Republic, and also in Poland and Hungary, Russia would have to take appropriate countermeasures and neutralize these systems in order to preserve its nuclear missile deterrence potential," Yesin said.
Yesin's remarks came in the wake of reports that U.S. missile experts are touring the Czech Republic, assessing sites for a U.S. anti-missile defense installation.
"The contours of the missile defense system which the U.S. plans to locate in the Czech Republic are not clear yet and its parameters cannot be assessed," he said.
Nonetheless, it is difficult to believe the assertions of U.S. politicians and military officials that this system is being deployed to create a shield against intercontinental ballistic missiles launched from Iran, said Yesin.
Russian military officers and Defense Ministry officials have in the past questioned the need for a missile shield, with Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov saying in March that Russia will consider reciprocal measures in response to the deployment of a US interceptor missile base in Europe after the base's nature and combat potential have been clarified.
At the time Ivanov said the issue has been discussed more than once during recent years, with Ivanov adding that "closed-door discussions between Russian and US contacts are continuing." In March US Missile Defense Agency Chief Lieutenant General Henry Obering unveiled Pentagon plans to deploy an interceptor missile base in Europe as part of an anti-missile defense system. The location of the base will be made known in the fall, with Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic among the leading candidates, he said.
2. US, Russia Pool Efforts in Countering Nuclear Terrorism-Official
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The United States and Russia are uniting efforts in countering nuclear terrorism, which is the most serious challenge to international security at present, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph said on Tuesday assessing The Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism announced by the leaders of the two countries in Strelna.
Speaking at a seminar organised by the National Defence University here the official pointed out that the threat of getting nuclear materials into the hands of terrorists is real as never before. Joseph said Al Qaeda, for instance, has publicly declared the intention to obtain nuclear weapons, and the countries supporting terrorists, such as Iran and North Korea are continuing to pursue secret weapons programmes and such persons as Abdul Kadir Khan (the ``father'' of the Pakistani nuclear bomb) have organised the sale of technologies for the creation of weapons of mass destruction on the international ``black market.''
According to the US undersecretary of state, to make a mistake now means to lose one of US cities. There will be no other chance. Steps should be taken today in order to avoid a gloomy future, he noted.
According to Joseph, diplomatic efforts have been taken in recent years for countering the threat. In particular, the UN Security Council adopted Resolutions 1540 and 1373 demanding from countries to take specific measures for the prevention of getting weapons of mass destruction into the hands of terrorists. However, Joseph stressed, The Global Initiative for the first time proposes a comprehensive approach to combating the threat of nuclear terrorism. This initiative will, aside from strengthening the national efforts, point to the importance of such approach making it clear to other countries that wish to join it.
The US undersecretary of state pointed out that efforts of diplomats, experts, officers of law enforcement agencies, the military and all others in the state and private sectors will be combined within the framework of the Initiative with the aim of assessing the present and future risks of nuclear terrorism.
3. Official Sees no Deal Lifting US Restrictions on Russian Uranium July
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Russia and the U.S. are not expected to reach an agreement in July on the abolition of U.S. anti-dumping restrictions on Russian uranium supplies, Sergei Kiriyenko, director of Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, said Monday on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of Eight (G8), ITAR-TASS reported.
Bureaucratic hurdles are delaying Russian-U.S. talks over the restrictions, he said.
A U.S. delegation is expected to visit Moscow in late July for negotiations on the issue, Kiriyenko added.
In the early 1990s Soviet and later Russian uranium exports soared sending global uranium prices into a downward spiral.
As a result, in 1991 the U.S. initiated an anti-dumping investigation and introduced a 116% duty on Russian uranium imports.
The investigation and the duty were suspended in 1992 and in the following years several restricting agreements on Russian uranium imports to the U.S. were concluded.
Director of the Russian Federal Agency for Atomic Energy (Rosatom), Sergei Kiriyenko told a news conference here Saturday he is satisfied with the progress of Russian-U.S. cooperation in the nuclear power industry.
``I'm very satisfied with it,'' he said.
As one of the instances of this cooperation, he named development of fourth-generation nuclear reactors.
``A decision has been taken to make Russia a member of the Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems project, where the entry for us was denied for quite some time,'' he said.
``Russia has good experience in operating the fast-neutron reactors,'' Kiriyenko went on saying. ``We never stopped the works on them, and a new-generation reactor in that family, a BN-800 will be commissioned in 2012.''
He explained that those reactors use Uranium 238, which means that waste fuel from thermal power units can be completely burned in them.
Kiriyenko also mentioned cooperation with the U.S. in the field of high-temperature reactors that make it possible to destroy weapons-grade plutonium and to produce hydrogen on an industrial scale.
``They mark a step towards thermonuclear energy,'' he said.
Kiriyenko admitted that the U.S. has ``very interesting nuclear projects.''
5. Russian-US Nuclear Initiatives to Begin with Int'l Center in Siberia
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Practical actions under the new Russian-U.S. nuclear initiatives will begin with setting up an international center for enrichment of uranium in the city of Angarsk in East Siberia, according to a personal forecast that the director of Russia's Federal Agency for Atomic Energy (Rosatom), Sergei Kiriyenko voiced at a news conference Saturday.
The process of setting up the center will take up about twelve months, he said.
He recalled that Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and George W. Bush of the U.S. had spoken in favor of merging two initiatives - Putin's proposal to set up a network of centers offering uranium enrichment services and Bush's Global Partnership proposal.
``The Angarsk center will mark the first step, which Russia will contribute to providing access to nuclear fuel for third countries along with preventing a spread of defense nuclear technologies,'' Kiriyenko said.
``The idea of international nuclear centers doesn't put period to the proposal to organize a joint venture for uranium enrichment Russia made to Iran earlier,'' he indicated.
He recalled that Moscow had offered Teheran to set up the JV without waiting for the creation of a center.
Kiriyenko said the Angarsk center might be set up in twelve months' time, during which ``we must make some amendments to our legislation.''
He regretted the absence of a response from Iran to the JV proposal, saying it still remains in effect.
``Our proposal to set it up remains en force,'' Kiriyenko said. ``It matches very well the proposals from the group of six negotiating countries [five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany - Itar-Tass].''
``It's a great pity we don't have an answer to it yet and don't see any serious work on it,'' Kiriyenko said.
``In the meantime, it's a decent and good offer and, most importantly, it gives Iran the guarantees of full-scale development of the nuclear power industry, although it rules out creation of weapons-grade technologies,'' he said.
South Korea's president on Wednesday condemned North Korea for potentially sparking an arms race with its recent missile launches, while the North said it was ending reunions between relatives separated by the Korean Peninsula divide.
South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said the missile launches increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula. But he also told a meeting of top security officials that excessive responses "don't help solve the issue," according to presidential adviser Song Min-soon.
He didn't name a specific country, but Roh previously has criticized Japan after reports that Tokyo was considering a pre-emptive strike against North Korea. Japan in recent days has said it is moving to impose sanctions against the communist nation.
Earlier this month, the North defied international opposition and tested a long-range missile believed capable of reaching the U.S., along with six other short- and medium-range missiles.
The tests prompted the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution Saturday barring U.N. member countries from missile-related dealings with the North. However, in the face of a likely Chinese veto, the resolution wasn't backed by threat of military force.
The missile crisis has become one of the strongest challenges yet to South Korea's policy of engagement with the North that has been fostered since leaders of the two Koreas held their first and only summit in 2000.
North Korea said it would not arrange more reunions of relatives separated by the division of the Korean Peninsula, a key part of reconciliation efforts. The announcement came days after the South refused to discuss humanitarian aid at high-level talks unless there was a breakthrough on the North's missile or nuclear weapons programs.
"The humanitarian undertakings have virtually ceased to exist between the North and the South," Jang Jae On, head of the North Korean Red Cross Society, wrote in a letter to his South Korean counterpart.
"Our side is, therefore, of the view that it has become impossible to hold any discussion related to humanitarian issues, to say nothing of arranging any reunion between separated families," Jang added, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
At Roh's security meeting Wednesday, the South Korean government decided it would seek to solve the missile issue peacefully through dialogue and exert diplomatic efforts to bring North Korea back to stalled international nuclear talks, Song said.
Also Wednesday, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon urged the North to return to the six-nation talks. The negotiations last convened in November, where they failed to make progress toward implementing a September agreement in which the North pledged to abandon its nuclear programs in exchange for security guarantees and aid.
North Korea has since refused to return to the negotiating table in anger over financial restrictions imposed by the U.S. for alleged illegal activities including counterfeiting and money laundering. The U.S. also accused eight North Korean companies of being fronts for proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Should the North continue to boycott the nuclear talks, "there is need to make efforts for the advancement of the (September) statement through five-way talks" without North Korea, Ban said.
Song stressed that five-way talks, if held, would be "part of a process to make constructive and real progress at the six-party talks," he said.
Meanwhile, a scheduled trip by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to South Korea later this month could be delayed because of tensions in the Middle East, Ban said.
Rice's planned trip to South Korea, part of an Asia tour, would have created an opportunity for more diplomacy to resolve the standoff over North Korea.
2. UN Nuclear Sanctions May Lead to a Second Korean War, Warns Defiant North
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North Korea has angrily rejected a UN Security Council resolution imposing trade sanctions and condemning it for its recent batch of ballistic missile tests, saying it constituted "a prelude to the provocation of the second Korean War".
Concern over Pyongyang's continuing defiance of calls upon it to abandon its missile and nuclear weapons programmes spanned the world's diplomatic stage at the weekend, with the unanimous passing of the UN resolution on Saturday night, and additional debate among world leaders at the Group of Eight summit in Russia.
The UN resolution condemned the regime for test-firing seven ballistic missiles on 5 July. One among them was a long-range weapon that theoretically could travel as far as the western United States. It crashed within seconds of its launch, however.
The wording of the text was diluted somewhat at the eleventh hour to satisfy China and Russia. China, in particular, had threatened to veto an earlier version supported by Japan and the US that included language implying authorisation for the eventual use of military force against North Korea.
The resolution demands that all UN member states refrain from supplying North Korea with any technology that could assist its weapons programmes, and also from purchasing weapons-related goods from the country.
In a dramatic gesture, the North Korean ambassador broke UN protocol and walked out of the Security Council shortly after the vote was taken.
North Korea continued to attack the resolution yesterday. Aside from its reference to a new war on the peninsula, it said it would "bolster its war deterrent for self-defence", a statement taken to be a reference to its nuclear weapons capacity.
"Our republic vehemently denounces and roundly refutes the 'resolution', a product of the US hostile policy towards the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea], and will not be bound to it in the least," the Foreign Ministry said.
"It is a brigandish logic to claim that missile launches conducted by the US and Japan are legal, while the training of missile launches conducted by the DPRK to defend itself is illegal."
But the United States seemed to take encouragement from the UN resolution, even in its less stringent form. At the G8 summit in St Petersburg, President George Bush met the .Chinese leader, President Hu Jintao, to discuss the situation, and thanked him for supporting the text.
Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, reiterated the requirement on Pyongyang to re-enter the so-called six-party talks to resolve the issue. The talks stalled last September and were formally boycotted by North Korea in November in protest at new financial restrictions imposed upon it by Washington.
"I think ultimately North Korea will have no choice but to return to the talks and pursue denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," Ms Rice told reporters in St Petersburg.
"If they do not want to face some of the additional pressures that can be brought to bear on them, then I think that they will eventually realise that they've got to come back to the six-party talks. That's really the only game in town."
US officials also tried to play down the significance of Pyongyang's bellicose reaction. "It's probably not surprising that they have immediately rejected it," said Dan Bartlett, President Bush's senior counsellor. "Sometimes the first response is not the only response or the final response."
Countries in the region showed a united face, with officials in South Korea and Japan issuing statements last night welcoming the UN resolution and urging Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks. The Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, said it sent a strong message.
President Hu and Mr Bush met on the fringes of the G8 summit to discuss the crisis on the peninsula, as well as other bilateral issues. "Both parties expressed their commitment to maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula," Mr Hu said.
'North Korea will have to return to the talks... That's really the only game in town'
Satellite maps of Asia at night show a region blazing with light, offset by a stark patch of darkness to the northeast. By day and closer to the ground, the hermit state of North Korea emits little more light. The diplomatic clamour surrounding last week's missile tests highlights just how isolated Pyongyang has become and how little is known of its leaders' motivations.
China, its last major ally, was apparently caught by surprise along with everyone else when seven missiles tumbled out of the sky last Wednesday and crashed into the Sea of Japan. US spy satellites spotted the Taepodong 2 missile - theoretically capable of hitting Alaska - being readied for launch seven weeks earlier. But the July 4 timing still proved a shock.
Having earlier urged Pyongyang not to test, Beijing was poised to send envoys to discuss a longer-term halt. Likewise, even the more seasoned and thorough North Korean analysts warned they were only capable of educated guess-work when it came to "Pyongyangolgy" - the craft of figuring out what is happening among Kim Jong-Il and his tiny Stalinist ruling elite.
As the region braces for further missile tests amid urgent diplomacy to ease the sense of crisis, a series of questions are swinging into ever-sharper relief. What is North Korea hoping to achieve? What do the tests say about the state of Mr Kim's regime? Can Beijing effect change?
Intriguingly, the tests have highlighted the clampdown last September on North Korea's long-held commercial interests in Macau.
Acting at the request of the US Treasury Department, Macau banking authorities froze about US$24 million in North Korea-linked accounts in Banco Delta Asia. Describing the bank - now under government management - as a "willing pawn" for North Korea, US officials warned it had long been used to launder proceeds from counterfeit US currency syndicates and other criminal enterprises. Pyongyang used the crackdown as the stated reason to pull out of the six-party talks over its nuclear weapons programme.
On Saturday, Pyongyang officials mentioned Macau again, this time demanding the US$24 million back before agreeing to any future talks. With the US always careful to separate the two issues, no one is expecting Washington to buckle now.
Senior Japanese officials said last week the tests might have been in part a reaction to the Macau crackdown, which had hurt Pyongyang more than previously thought.
What does it say about North Korea, then, if US$24 million can be that important? Compared to a bilateral trade relationship with China across its northern border that ran to an estimated US$1 billion last year, the cash frozen in Macau vaults is small beer.
More significantly, Macau represented a core of a network that had funnelled ill-gotten funds via North Korean diplomats and trade officials to some of the most sensitive parts of the regime, Asian diplomatic sources said.
"We believe senior military figures have been personally hurt by this. They 've been hurt financially and they've been hurt because a long-established network has been nailed," one diplomat said, adding the Macau crackdown had been matched by pressure on Japanese and South Korean criminal syndicates to stop trade in drugs and cash with North Korea. "You can't just set all these things up again overnight ... parts of the regional underground have suddenly become less friendly towards Pyongyang."
Traditional Macau-based trading operations have shut, some moving across the border to Zhuhai .
Peter Beck, a North Korean analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG), said the Macau crackdown sent a shudder through the North Korean financial system last year, but he was unsure of its wider impact. "They have got over that shudder and so its longer-term impact is very hard to judge ... in terms of the economy, North Korea's trading relationships with China and South Korea are more significant," Mr Beck said.
That wider controlled economy is far from healthy, he suggests. Despite recent good harvest years after the devastating famines of the mid-1990s, the first signs are emerging that spring saw widespread starvation reaching all the way to Pyongyang. North Korea ordered international food agencies out of the country last year.
Three recent refugees among dozens recently interviewed across the region for an upcoming ICG report spoke of the famine. "It is not a representative sample by any means ... but it is the first time we have heard of something like this for a long time and it bears watching," Mr Beck said.
Overall, he said the tests could be part of a broader trend that had seen the North retreat even further into its shell in the past few years, driving out UN nuclear monitors, building up its nuclear programme and testing missiles. "Initially, I thought it might have been a ploy to gain attention, a drive to remind the world that they are out there, perhaps as a way of forcing concessions. But their shrill response over the past few days suggests they are really not interested in negotiating with anybody any time soon.
"This feeds into the more pessimistic view that it is all part of the trend of the regime hunkering down, that their dealings with the outside world have proved ... problematic for the regime ... that they are turning even further inwards. That, of course, is a more dangerous situation," Mr Beck said.
Wonhyuk Lim, a fellow at the independent Brookings Institution in Washington, noted this week that Pyongyang could still be looking to talk. Last year's manoeuvres that saw North Korea declare it had nuclear weapons and produce more fissile material at its Yongbyon reactor sparked the first bilateral talks between the previously hostile Bush administration and Pyongyang. "As twisted as the North Koreans' logic may be, it is based on their negotiating experience with the Americans," he wrote. He described Washington's approach to North Korea under George W. Bush as "malign neglect".
"North Korea's brinkmanship is the evil twin of America's half-hearted engagement. This time is no different."
Mr Lim noted the recent rebuff of a Foreign Ministry invitation for the chief US negotiator to visit Pyongyang. "When this was rebuffed, North Korea went back to its old playbook and proceeded with the missile tests."
One week on and the questions deepen. The tests have complicated the wider effort to resume the six-party talks involving North Korea, the US, Japan, Russia, South Korea and China. US and Japanese efforts to drive UN-backed sanctions have failed to win over China, Russia or South Korea.
The tests have also raised simmering security tensions across northeast Asia, with China and South Korea bristling at Japan's warning it may alter its pacifist constitution to allow a future "pre-emptive" strike on North Korean missile bases.
The extent of China's lingering influence on its cold war comrades in Pyongyang is now one of the key issues amid the on-going shuttle diplomacy. The investment of Chinese political capital in a solution is growing by the day.
The US wants to give Chinese efforts a chance to work before resuming its push for sanctions.
North Korean officials are now in Beijing while Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu is heading a six-day mission to Pyongyang. Originally planned to celebrate 45 years of a friendship treaty between the two states, the mission now amounts to crisis talks, analysts believe.
President Hu Jintao highlighted the stakes with a rare appeal to North Korea on Tuesday. "We are against any actions that will aggravate the situation, " he told Yang Hyong-sop, vice-president of North Korea's parliament.
Diplomats believe China's growth and deepening international relationships make ties with Pyongyang more complex. It now must consider growing relations with South Korea and the US at every turn while high-growth policies mean it has an even greater stake in a stable Korean peninsula. While it can threaten, it cannot cut its old friend loose. Some analysts say Pyongyang knows this all too well, effectively limiting Beijing's influence.
"China's position is such that it can't guarantee anything coming out of its efforts, despite all the pressure," one veteran Asian diplomat said. "Like everyone else, Kim has got China scrambling. The tests were nothing too flash, and he had a legal right to carry them out. But if he wanted to achieve diplomatic havoc, he has succeeded. In many respects, it is a classic Kim manoeuvre. The problem is, nobody really knows what he wants."
1. Joint Statement by President George W. Bush and President V. V. Putin
White House Website
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The United States and the Russian Federation believe that strengthening their cooperation in civil nuclear energy is in the strategic interests of both our countries. It will serve as an additional assurance of access for other nations to economical and environmentally safe peaceful nuclear energy.
The United States and the Russian Federation are working together to meet the challenges posed by the combination of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism. We recognize the devastation that could befall our peoples and the world community if nuclear weapons or materials or other weapons of mass destruction were to fall into the hands of terrorists. We are closely cooperating to lessen that unacceptable danger, including by strengthening the nonproliferation regime and ensuring the security of nuclear weapons and fissile materials.
Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
The United States and the Russian Federation are convinced that reliable and sufficient energy supplies are the cornerstone of sustainable economic development and prosperity for all nations, and a necessary condition for maintaining international stability. Today nuclear energy is a proven technology for providing reliable electric power without emissions of greenhouse gases, and is an essential part of any solution to meet growing energy demand.
We share the view that nuclear energy has an essential role in the promotion of energy security, which is an issue of special concern for the leaders of the G-8. Advancing nuclear energy will require further development of innovative technologies that reduce the risk of proliferation, provide for safe management of waste, are economically viable, and are environmentally safe.
Being consistent in our approach to assure access to the benefits of nuclear energy for all nations complying with their non-proliferation obligations, we have each proposed initiatives on the development of a global nuclear energy infrastructure, specifically the Russian proposal to establish a system of international centers to provide nuclear fuel services, including uranium enrichment, under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, and the U.S. proposal for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership to develop innovative nuclear reactor and fuel cycle technologies.
Following up on these initiatives, the United States and the Russian Federation intend to work together, actively involving the IAEA, to allow all nations to enjoy the benefits of nuclear energy without pursuing uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing capabilities.
The United States and the Russian Federation together with four other nuclear fuel supplier states have also proposed a concept for reliable access to nuclear fuel for consideration and development at the IAEA.
We call upon other countries to join us to facilitate the safe and secure expansion of nuclear energy worldwide. Proceeding from our national interests and common goals, and recognizing the benefits of civil commercial nuclear trade, we express our intent to develop bilateral cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
We have directed our Governments to begin negotiations with the purpose of concluding an agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation on cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Countering Nuclear Proliferation
We recognize the vital role of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in the prevention of nuclear proliferation and the importance of the IAEA in implementing safeguards required by the NPT. We are working with our G-8 partners to make the Additional Protocol an essential norm for verifying compliance with nuclear safeguards obligations. We welcome the establishment of the IAEA Committee on Safeguards and Verification. We are actively fulfilling our obligations under Article VI of the NPT by substantially reducing nuclear forces as we implement the Moscow Treaty of May 24, 2002.
We reiterate our support for effective measures to prevent transfers of sensitive nuclear equipment, materials and technologies to states that may seek to use them for weapons purposes, or allow them to fall into terrorists' hands, and will work together to this end.
We reiterate our commitments undertaken under the Bratislava Joint Statement on Nuclear Security Cooperation of February 24, 2005. We have made substantial progress in the implementation of those commitments and we reaffirm our goal of completing nuclear security upgrades by the end of 2008.
We welcome the continued cooperation and the recent extension of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement to ensure full implementation of the ongoing projects launched earlier under this Agreement. In this context, we take note of the start of operations of the Mayak Fissile Materials Storage Facility. We continue discussions on how best to implement our commitments to the disposition by each side of 34 metric tons of weapons grade plutonium.
We applaud the extension of UN Security Council Resolution 1540, the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and the decision by the States Parties to strengthen the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.
We will continue to advance the objectives of the Proliferation Security Initiative, which makes an important contribution to countering the trafficking in WMD, their delivery means, and related materials. We welcome increasing international endorsement for the initiative, as was demonstrated at the High Level Political Meeting in Warsaw. We take note of the discussion at that meeting on how PSI states can work cooperatively to prevent and disrupt proliferation finance, in furtherance of UNSCR 1540.
We look forward to reinforcing our partnership with India. We welcome the important nonproliferation commitments India has made, and India's closer alignment with the nonproliferation regime mainstream. We look forward to working with India on civil nuclear cooperation to address its energy requirements, and on further enhancing the global nonproliferation regime. We will continue to work together to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime.
We are especially concerned by the failure of the Iranian government to engage seriously on the proposals made by the P-5 countries and Germany. In this context, we stand fully behind the decision by Foreign Ministers on July 12. We are seriously concerned by North Korea's ballistic missile tests and urge it to return to a moratorium on such launches, to the Six-Party Talks, and to full implementation of the September 19, 2005 agreement. The United States and the Russian Federation are actively working for unity among the UN Security Council members on these sensitive issues. We will continue consultations with our G-8 partners to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime.
Through our cooperation in the field of nuclear nonproliferation we seek to improve the security of our own peoples and of all others in the world community. In doing so, we are building on the unique historic roles and responsibilities of the United States and the Russian Federation in nuclear science and technology, both military and civilian. We are united in our determination to help make the benefits of nuclear energy securely available to all for peaceful purposes.
2. Report of the Nuclear Safety and Security Group
(for personal use only)
The nations now forming the G8 have initiated and monitored major national and international programs to resolve urgent nuclear safety and security needs and to establish partnership relations on this issues. Nuclear conventions and associated peer reviews in the field of safety, effective national regulatory infrastructures, current nuclear safety standards and security guidelines as well as review services under the IAEA constitute important prerequisites for the world’s community to establish a global nuclear safety and security regime.
We welcome the summary report of the Review meeting of the Joint Convention (15-24 May 2006) and the conclusions herewith contained.
We call upon all States to become parties, as soon as practicable, to the two most recent universal instruments to combat nuclear terrorism; namely, the International Convention for the Suppression of Act of \nuclear Terrorism, adopted at New York, 13 April 2005, and the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, adopted at Vienna, 8 July 2005.
We note the results of the IAEA International Conference “Effective Nuclear Regulatory Systems” held in Moscow, the Russian Federation, 27 February - 3 March 2006. An effective, efficient nuclear regulatory system is essential for our safety and security. We re-affirm the importance for national regulators to have sufficient authority, independence, and competence.
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the accident in Chernobyl NPP. This accident became a crucial point of large-scale re-evaluation of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) safety issues, identification of new approaches to safety culture and further development of international cooperation on nuclear safety. The International Community continues to undertake joint efforts with Ukraine on construction of Chernobyl NPP on-site facilities aimed at improving its safety.
As the G8 group of nations we will continue to support measures to enhance nuclear safety, security and regulatory best practices to avoid reoccurrence of such an accident.
Out of the numerous bilateral governmental and non-governmental efforts and initiatives amounting to several billion US$, we note that the G8 nations together with the European Union and other donors, through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have pledged funds to implement safety and security projects at the Chernobyl site through the Nuclear Safety Account and the Chernobyl Shelter Fund.
We remain resolute in our undertakings to Ukraine, both within the framework of EBRD programmes and under former G7 summit declarations and memoranda of understanding, that we have and will continue to support the work on a New Safe Confinement and necessary pre-decommissioning activities in respect of radioactive waste treatment and spent fuel based on fair burden sharing. At the same time we appreciate the progress achieved in the course of stabilisation of existing confinement. We reassert our confidence in the EBRD to administer the funds that have been donated under both the Chernobyl Shelter Fund and the Nuclear Safety Account. We urge the Government of Ukraine in collaboration with EBRD, to take all necessary measures to assist in timely and efficient implementation of these programmes within the agreed frameworks.
At Evian, we resolved to improve controls on radioactive sources and to prevent their unauthorized use. We have made much progress and have expressed a commitment to fulfill the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources provisions and are working to put into place the controls over the import/export of radioactive sources at the earliest possible date.
We welcome the fact that more than 83 countries have committed to implement the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources and urge all other states to adopt the Code.
We welcome the adoption by consensus by the UNGA of resolution 60/73 on the prevention of the risk of radiological terrorism.
We will continue to support international efforts to enhance regulatory controls on radioactive sources, in particular the Regional Model Projects, the IAEA program to help establish effective and sustainable regulatory infrastructures.
We will continue to strengthen our cooperation to improve the security of radioactive sources worldwide.
Armenia Nuclear Power Plant
We, as members of the G-8, urge Armenia to fund and undertake upgrades necessary to ensure that ANPP can operate in a safe manner until it can be shut down and decommissioned.
We take note of some short-term safety measures already undertaken by Armenia as a first step.
Since only limited donor funding is likely to be provided for some urgent safety upgrades and for the Armenian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, we urge Armenia 1) to prepare and implement a systematic and comprehensive safety upgrading program, 2) to provide ANRA with the required human and financial resources and the necessary degree of authority, competence and independence to enable it to carry out an effective and efficient regulatory program consistent with international standards and 3) to establish in the near future decommissioning fund sufficient to meet closure perspectives.
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery, together with international terrorism remain the pre-eminent threat to international peace and security. The international community must therefore boldly confront this challenge, and act decisively to tackle this threat. We reaffirm our determination and commitment to work together and with other states and institutions in the fight against the proliferation of WMD, including by preventing them from falling into hands of terrorists.
As an essential element of our efforts to confront proliferation, we are determined to fulfil arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation obligations and commitments under relevant international treaties, conventions and multilaterally agreed arrangements to which we are parties or in which we participate. We call on all other states to meet their obligations and commitments in full in this regard. We rededicate ourselves to the re-invigoration of relevant multilateral fora, beginning with the Conference on Disarmament. These efforts will contribute to the further reinforcement of the global non-proliferation regime.
We call on all states not Party to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) and the 1925 Geneva Protocol to accede to them without delay and those states that have not yet done so to subscribe to the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation. We urge all states concerned to strictly observe a moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions.
We reaffirm our full commitment to all three pillars of the NPT. We call on all states to comply with their NPT obligations, including IAEA safeguards as well as developing effective measures aimed at preventing trafficking in nuclear equipment, technology and materials.
We stress the importance of the IAEA safeguards system. We are seeking universal adherence to IAEA comprehensive safeguards agreements for the effective implementation of Article III of the NPT and to the Additional Protocol. In this context we urge all states that have not yet done so, to sign, ratify and implement these instruments promptly. We are actively engaged in efforts toward this goal, with a view to make comprehensive safeguards agreements together with an Additional Protocol the universally accepted verification standard. We will also work together vigorously to establish the Additional Protocol as an essential new standard in the field of nuclear supply arrangements.
Peaceful use of nuclear energy
We recall that Article IV of the NPT stipulates that nothing in the Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of the Treaty. We are committed to facilitate the exchange of equipment, materials and information for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Full compliance with NPT non-proliferation obligations, including safeguards agreements, is an essential condition for such exchange.
An expansion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy must be carried forward in a manner consistent with nuclear non-proliferation commitments and standards. In this regard, it is important to develop and implement mechanisms assuring access to nuclear fuel related services to states as an alternative to pursuing enrichment and reprocessing activities. In this respect we appreciate the recent potentially complementary Initiative of the President of the Russian Federation on multinational centres to provide nuclear fuel cycle services and the Initiative of the President of the United States on the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership as well as the recent initiative tabled at the IAEA by France, Germany, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States regarding a concept for a multilateral mechanism for reliable access to enrichment services for nuclear fuel. We will work to elaborate further these initiatives. To further strengthen this common approach we will:
-continue reviewing multinational approaches to the fuel cycle, including international centres to provide nuclear fuel cycle services, with the IAEA, as well as relevant practical, legal and organizational solutions;
-facilitate developing credible international assurances of access to nuclear fuel related services; while
-those of us who have or are considering plans relating to use and/or development of safe and secure nuclear energy will promote research and development for safer, more efficient, more environmentally friendly and more proliferation resistant nuclear energy systems, including relevant technologies of the nuclear fuel cycle. Until advanced systems are in place, appropriate interim solutions could be pursued to address back-end fuel cycle issues in accordance with national choices and non-proliferation objectives.
We support the early commencement of negotiations on the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament.
Enrichment and Reprocessing
In accordance with approaches agreed upon at the G8 summits at Sea Island and in Gleneagles, we support the development of measures to prevent transfers of sensitive nuclear equipment, materials and technologies to states that may seek to use them for weapons purposes, or allow them to fall into terrorists’ hands.
We will exercise enhanced vigilance with respect to the transfers of nuclear technology, equipment and material, whether in the trigger list, in the dual-use list, or unlisted, which could contribute to enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and will be particularly vigilant with respect to attempts to acquire such technology, equipment and material by covert and illicit means.
We agreed at Sea Island that the export of such items should occur only pursuant to criteria consistent with global non-proliferation norms and to those states rigorously committed to these norms. Over the last two years we have made significant progress in the development of such criteria. We welcome the progress noted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group and its commitment to work actively with a view to reaching consensus on this issue by 2007.
In aid of this process we continue to agree, as we did at Sea Island and Gleneagles, that it would be prudent in the next year not to inaugurate new initiatives involving transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to additional states. We call upon all other states to adopt this strategy of prudence.
We look forward to reinforcing our partnership with India. We note the commitments India has made, and encourage India to take further steps towards integration into the mainstream of strengthening the non-proliferation regime, so as to facilitate a more forthcoming approach towards nuclear cooperation to address its energy requirements, in a manner that enhances and reinforces the global non-proliferation regime.
We look forward to a successful 6th BTWC Review Conference dedicated to the effective review of the operation of the Convention. We will facilitate adoption by the Review Conference of decisions aimed at strengthening and enhancing the implementation of the BTWC.
We call upon all States Parties to take necessary measures, including as appropriate the adoption of and implementation of national legislation, including penal legislation, in the framework of the BTWC, in order to prohibit and prevent the proliferation of biological and toxin weapons and to ensure control over pathogenic micro organisms and toxins. We invite the States Parties that have not yet done so to take such measures at the earliest opportunity and stand ready to consider appropriate assistance. In this regard, we welcome initiatives such as the 2006 EU Joint Action in support of the BTWC.
We continue to support full implementation of the CWC. We note the ongoing destruction of chemical weapons by the possessor states and are encouraged by the fact that the stockpiles of these deadly weapons are gradually decreasing. We acknowledge their obligations to destroy chemical weapons and to destroy or convert chemical weapons production facilities within the time limits provided for by the Chemical Weapons Convention.
We welcome the increasing number of States Parties to the Convention. We acknowledge the value of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ Action Plan on national implementation measures and improvement of the situation with adoption of such measures. We urge States Parties to continue and intensify efforts in this direction. We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540
We reaffirm the key role of the UN Security Council in addressing the challenges of proliferation. We urge all states to implement fully UNSC Resolution 1540, including reporting on their implementation of the Resolution.
We welcome the decision of UN Security Council Resolution 1673 to extend the mandate of the 1540 Committee in promoting the full implementation of the resolution. We intend to continue working actively at national and international levels to achieve this important aim, and stand ready to consider all requests for assistance in this regard.
We reaffirm our commitment to work toward the, universalisation of the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation, and the full implementation of its confidence-building measures.
We reaffirm our commitment to the Proliferation Security Initiative, which constitutes an important means to counter trafficking in WMD, their delivery means and related materials. We welcome the increasing international endorsement for the Initiative as it was demonstrated at the High Level Political Meeting in Warsaw. We take note of the discussion at that meeting on how PSI states can work cooperatively to prevent and disrupt proliferation finance, in furtherance of the objectives of UNSCR 1540.
The international community's positive response to Libya's renunciation of weapons of mass destruction demonstrates the benefits that follow a strategic decision to cooperate with the international community and be a part of the global nonproliferation mainstream.
We remain seriously concerned over the proliferation implications of Iran's advanced nuclear programme and we remain united in our commitment to see those implications resolved.
We stand fully behind the far reaching proposals presented to Iran on June 6, 2006 on behalf of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America with the support of the High Representative of the European Union for a long-term comprehensive agreement with Iran based on cooperation and mutual respect.
We fully support the Statement of the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America issued on July 12, Paris, in which the Ministers and the High Representative of the European Union expressed their profound disappointment over the absence of any indication at all from the Iranians that Iran is ready to engage seriously on the substance of the above-mentioned proposals. Iran has failed to take the steps needed to allow negotiations to begin, specifically the suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, as required by the IAEA and supported in the United Nations Security Council Presidential Statement. The Ministers therefore decided to return the issue to the United Nations Security Council. We, the Leaders of the G-8, fully support this decision and the clear messages it sends to Iran about the choice it must make. We support the Paris appeal to Iran to respond positively to the substantive proposals made on June 6, 2006.
We welcome the unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1695 which represents the clear and strong will of the international community.
We condemn the launching by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) of multiple ballistic missiles on July 5 local time and express serious concerns as this jeopardizes peace, stability and security in the region and beyond. This action violated the DPRK’s pledge to maintain a moratorium on missile launches and is inconsistent with the purposes of the Six-Party Talks Joint Statement of September 19, 2005, in which all parties - including the DPRK - committed to joint efforts to lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia. We also express our grave concern about the DPRK’s indication of possible additional launches. We call on the DPRK to reestablish its preexisting commitments to a moratorium on missile launches and to refrain from contributing to missile proliferation. In accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1695 we will exercise vigilance in preventing any external cooperation with the DPRK’ s missile and WMD programmes.
These missile launches intensify our deep concern over the DPRK's nuclear weapons programmes. We reiterate the necessity for the DPRK promptly to return to full compliance with the NPT. We strongly urge the DPRK to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes. We reaffirm our full support for the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement and the Six-Party talks. We urge the DPRK to expeditiously return to these talks without precondition and to cooperate to settle the outstanding issues of concern on the basis of this Statement, which reaffirms the common objective of Six Parties; all participants should intensify their efforts to achieve the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
The Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction has continued its progress in the past year towards achieving the goals set out at Kananaskis. It has become a significant force to enhance international security and safety. Much has been accomplished in all areas but more has to be done to increase the efficiency of our cooperation.
We reaffirm our commitment to the full implementation of all G8 Global Partnership objectives. We also reaffirm our openness to examine the expansion of the Partnership to other recipient countries and donor states which support the Kananaskis documents and to embrace the goals and priorities of all Partnership members. We welcome the progress GP members have made working with Ukraine.
We appreciate the contribution of 13 non-G8 states who joined the Global Partnership.
We remain committed to our pledges in Kananaskis to raise up to $20 billion through 2012 for the Global Partnership, initially in Russia, to support projects to address priority areas identified in Kananaskis and to continue to turn these pledges into concrete actions.
4. Text of UN Security Council Resolution on North Korea
BBC Monitoring International Reports
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Japanese news agency Kyodo
New York, 15 July: The following is the full provisional text of a resolution on North Korea unanimously adopted Saturday [15 July] by the UN Security Council.
Draft Resolution The Security Council: - Reaffirming its resolutions 825 (1993) of 11 May 1993 and 1540 (2004) of 28 April 2004.
- Bearing in mind the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia at large.
- Reaffirming that proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
- Expressing grave concern at the launch of ballistic missiles by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), given the potential of such systems to be used as a means to deliver nuclear, chemical or biological payloads.
- Expressing further concern that the DPRK endangered civil aviation and shipping through its failure to provide adequate advance notice.
- Expressing its grave concern about DPRK's indication of possible additional launches of ballistic missiles in the near future.
- Expressing also its desire for a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the situation and welcoming efforts by Council members as well as other member states to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.
- Recalling that the DPRK launched an object propelled by a missile without prior notification to the countries in the region, which fell into the waters in the vicinity of Japan on 31 August 1998.
- Deploring the DPRK's announcement of withdrawal from the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (the Treaty) and its stated pursuit of nuclear weapons in spite of its Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards obligations.
- Stressing the importance of the implementation of the joint statement issued on 19 September 2005 by China, DPRK, Japan, Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States.
- Affirming that such launches jeopardize peace, stability and security in the region and beyond, particularly in light of the DPRK's claim that it has developed nuclear weapons.
Acting under its special responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, 1. Condemns the multiple launches by the DPRK of ballistic missiles on 5 July 2006 local time.
2. Demands that the DPRK suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile programme, and in this context re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launching.
3. Requiring all member states, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, to exercise vigilance and prevent missile and missile-related items, materials, goods and technology being transferred to DPRK's missile or WMD programmes.
4. Requires all member states, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, to exercise vigilance and prevent the procurement of missiles or missile-related items, materials, goods and technology from the DPRK and the transfer of any financial resources in relation to DPRK's missile or WMD programmes.
5. Underlines, in particular to the DPRK, the need to show restraint and refrain from any action that might aggravate tension, and to continue to work on the resolution of non-proliferation concerns through political and diplomatic efforts.
6. Strongly urges the DPRK to return immediately to the six-party talks, without precondition, to work towards the expeditious implementation of 19 September 2005 joint statement, in particular to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes, and to return at an early date to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
7. Supports the six-party talks, calls for their early resumption, and urges all the participants to intensify their efforts on the full implementation of the 19 September 2005 joint statement with a view to achieving the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner and to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
1. Kazakhstan Plans Civil Nuclear Cooperation with UK
BBC Monitoring International Reports
(for personal use only)
Excerpt from report by Kazakh Khabar TV on 13 July
[Presenter] The sixth Kazakhstan Oil and Gas conference has been held in the British capital, which was attended by the minister of energy and mineral resources, Baktykozha Izmukhambetov. The details are in the [following] report from London.
[Correspondent] The forum took place in the heart of the British capital, at the Royal Conference Hall [words indistinct]. The UK minister of energy, Malcolm Wicks, stressed that Great Britain considers Kazakhstan as an important supplier of energy resources through the Caspian Sea to European countries.
The British minister spoke of a great deal of interest on the part of his country's business community in participation in development of major oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan, such as Kashagan, Karachaganak and Tengiz. The president of the national oil company of Kazakhstan - KazMunayGas [Kazakh oil and gas], Uzakbay Karabalin, told the forum's participants in detail about the selection and multiple-discipline activities of the company, which is well known since long ago and has a stable reputation in the world energy market.
The parties signed a report on accomplished activities within a memorandum of understanding between the energy ministries of the two countries.
[Malcolm Wicks, British minister of state for energy, captioned, speaking in English with Russian translation overlaid] I am very happy that cooperation between our countries is many sided and mutually beneficial. The scope of our common activities steadily grows.
[Baktykozha Izmukhambetov, Kazakh minister of energy and mineral resources, captioned] Our side was represented by the president of the national oil company and the president of the national nuclear energy company. And because England [as heard] has changed its position on use of nuclear technology - they have plans to construct nuclear power stations, and we have all opportunities, since we have the world's third largest deposits [of uranium] and the extraction [two or three words indistinct] we have a concrete plan for cooperation.
[Passage omitted: the correspondent says the next conference will take place in London in a year's time]
2. Russia to Build up to 80 NPPs at Home, Abroad in next 30 years
(for personal use only)
Russia plans to build at least 40 nuclear power plants within the country, and about another 40 abroad in the next 25-30 years, Russia's nuclear chief said Saturday.
"We are negotiating with foreign companies on our huge program. There is interest in our program, since we are going to build about 40 [nuclear] energy units in Russia within the next 25 to 30 years, and perhaps about the same number abroad," Sergei Kiriyenko said.
He said Russia was planning to replace all of its NPPs within the next 20 years.
"Old plants will be dismantled and new ones built in their place," he said, adding that starting in 2012, Russia planned to bring online two new nuclear power units each year.
1. We Need Less Tosh and More Facts for a Decision on Trident
(for personal use only)
Tony Blair and his ministers have declared their commitment to a "full and open debate" before Britain decides whether to replace the Trident nuclear deterrent. Yet I am reliably informed that one of John Reid's last acts before leaving the Ministry of Defence was to threaten with summary emasculation anyone, in uniform or out of it, who opened his mouth about Trident.
At a Trident conference at Chatham House last week, there was no sign of a government presence, even to listen. No "full and open debate" has even started. Yet Blair and Gordon Brown have publicly asserted a determination to replace the missile system. How can any of us respect an administration that, on a complex issue with implications for this country half a century hence, makes up its mind before hearing the evidence?
There are many people with visceral instincts either convinced that Britain must have its own bomb, or that our nuclear weapons are inherently repugnant. Yet inbetween, there is a large group of pragmatists, who hold no entrenched moral view but wish to consider, in strategic terms, whether nuclear weapons have a role to play in protecting Britain in the 21st century.
Only a handful of powers are rich or assertive enough to fund a comprehensive range of weapons systems to address the entire spectrum of nuclear and conventional threats. The rest of us are obliged to make choices. Planners assess a range of contingencies, and buy weapons to meet the most likely. Often they get it wrong. They simply hope to get enough right to muddle through, recognising that acquiring one system means doing without something else. We have Apache helicopters, so we cannot afford Blackhawks. We order aircraft-carriers, which may mean fewer tanks. If we replace Trident, in 20 years the Treasury could be insisting that the army makes do with fewer foot soldiers.
During the cold war, the case for a British nuclear deterrent seemed convincing. Margaret Thatcher took little heed of intellectual arguments about Trident: she simply committed Britain to buying the biggest bang it could afford. Today, we are in a new world. I am impressed that Sir Michael Quinlan, Britain's foremost nuclear strategist, who played a key part in policy-making at the MoD a generation ago, now declares himself undecided about whether we should replace Trident.
He wants more information before making up his mind. So do we all, but there is little sign of the government hastening to provide this. It is not good enough for ministers ruthlessly to suppress debate on critical issues, as Reid also sought to do about Afghanistan. Thuggery becomes a substitute for thought. There are a few questions we need answered to hold an informed public debate about Trident.
First, is it practicable simply to modernise the existing system and submarines, and what would this cost? Second, does the government agree that Britain will never again need nuclear weapons capable of retaliation against a major power such as Russia or China? If so, what it is the cheapest and least sophisticated system Britain might buy, capable of posing a credible deterrent to a rogue state, and what would this cost? Third, what are the plausible scenarios in which such a system might be useful, never mind used? And, finally, if Britain did not already possess nuclear weapons, would we choose to buy any now?
Those who take an intensely moral view of nuclear weapons think it vulgar to mention mere money. For pragmatists, however, the cash matters. If a cheap option exists to keep a minimal British nuclear capability, this should be considered. We need to know what other elements of our defences are likely to suffer if we renew Trident.
At Chatham House last week, an academic remarked that his students were uninterested in the nuclear weapons issue. To them, this is irrelevant alongside other visible threats, of which global warming is the most prominent. Those students may not be wrong. Our most plausible dangers in the years ahead derive from terrorism, and ethnic and cultural pressure on and within our societies. It is hard to postulate a threat of nuclear assault by an external state enemy. One could scarcely launch a Trident replacement in a retaliatory strike against son-of-Osama bin Laden.
Yet the arguments are not all on one side. Quinlan says that if we abandon nuclear weapons, it will be almost impossible ever to reverse such a decision. Trident's successor would become operational in the 2020s. Who, in 1975, correctly anticipated how the world, and our place in it, would look today?
Colin Gray, in his book Another Bloody Century, warns against supposing that conventional wars have been abolished. It is entirely plausible that the next 30 years will see big international conflicts, perhaps about natural resources. It will be surprising if somebody does not explode a nuclear weapon. The India-Pakistan situation is always acutely dangerous, the Middle East will not become less so. The conventional military invincibility of the US has prompted a rush by its potential foes to acquire nuclear weapons.
Yet what has any of this do with Britain? With whom might we swap holocausts? Even if one accepts Gray's bleak view of the new century, it is hard to come up with a plausible answer. The only certainty is that we shall do better in debating the Trident replacement decision if we focus on practical arguments rather than moral ones. At Chatham House, many gasbags were filled with hot air about the inherent wickedness of nuclear weapons. This is a proposition that can be expressed in a single sentence.
Much is said about the value of the example we would set to the world, by voluntarily abandoning our deterrent. This is tosh. Every nation owns or seeks to acquire such systems for its own reasons. Who can imagine Israel, India, Pakistan or Iran forswearing nuclear ambitions because we have done so? Our decision should be based on the same national criteria: what are the needs of Britain? Will this country be more plausibly defended by spending about £20bn on replacing Trident, or by buying other weapons? Until the MoD tells us what the nuclear options are, and what they might cost, there can be no serious debate.
These things should be set out long before the government makes any decision, and certainly before any more senior ministers diminish themselves by making off-the-cuff assertions rooted in hunches or Labour party politics.
Four years after the leaders of the world's eight largest economies vowed to raise $20 billion over 10 years to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear materials, only $3.5 billion has been donated and far less has been used to secure enriched uranium, the key ingredient of a nuclear weapon.
Hundreds of tons of uranium remain at loosely guarded facilities across Russia and the former Soviet Union, and in nearly 40 other countries, according to specialists. And the need to secure the material has grown: In April, Russian police arrested a foreman in a nuclear plant for attempting to sell 22 kilograms of uranium.
At the annual meeting of Group of Eight leaders in Russia last week, President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin calling nuclear terrorism the "greatest threat we face today" announced a new effort to train other countries to track, secure, and intercept nuclear materials that may be sought by terrorist groups.
In a joint statement on Saturday, both leaders vowed "to expand and accelerate efforts that develop partnership capacity to combat nuclear terrorism on a determined and systematic basis."
But the communique made no mention of the 2002 initiative, while the issue of securing nuclear materials was near the bottom of the agenda at this year's summit, below energy cooperation and a slew of foreign-policy crises. The low priority demonstrates that the international effort to lock down vulnerable weapons materials has been strong on rhetoric but weak on action, according to the authors of two extensive new assessments.
"A dangerous gap remains between the urgency of the threat of nuclear terrorism and the scope and pace of the US and world response," according to a report titled "Securing the Bomb," by Matthew Bunn and Anthony Wier of Harvard University. "That gap has been narrowed in recent years . . . but much more needs to be done."
A scorecard of the G-8 initiative prepared by the Center for Strategic and International Studies likewise shows a decidedly mixed record, according to coauthor Robert Einhorn, formerly assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation in the Clinton administration.
The report cites statistics from the G-8 Working Group as showing that only $3.5 billion has been collected from donor countries. Partly as a result, less than half of the estimated 1,300 tons of weapons-usable nuclear material in Russia has been secured, even though the material is concentrated at a few large sites.
At the same time, there remain 165 nuclear research reactors around the world containing varying quantities of enriched uranium, many of them with few security measures in place, the report said. Key biological weapons sites of the former Soviet Union remain off-limits to international inspectors. Approximately 39,000 tons of Russian chemical weapons a grim legacy of the Cold War need to be destroyed. No programs exist to inventory or destroy the intact small nuclear devices, known as tactical nukes, left over from the Soviet arsenal.
Many specialists fault the G-8 for dropping the ball.
"The facts are that preventing nuclear terrorism is being treated as an important but not an urgent matter," former US senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, cochairman of the nonprofit Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington, said in an interview. "On a scale of one to 10 . . . the G-8 should be given a 10 for rhetoric, seven for pledges, and a two for progress on addressing the most urgent issues. Most of the pledges have not turned into programs or actions."
The G-8 members Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States vowed in 2002 to raise $20 billion over the next decade to prevent terrorists from developing or acquiring weapons of mass destruction or hiring unemployed weapons scientists.
In announcing the new initiative, the G-8 leaders pledged to "work in partnership, bilaterally and multilaterally, to develop, coordinate, implement, and finance, according to their respective means, new or expanded cooperation projects."
As of mid-2005, the initiative had received pledges of $17.5 billion, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies report, which is based on data compiled by the G-8. The United States has pledged $10 billion, while other pledges range from as little as $225,000 from the Czech Republic to as much as $1.1 billion from Italy.
Still, only a small portion of the pledges $3.5 billion has actually been given, and half of that was provided by the United States. The donations, specialists said, fall far short of what's needed.
"There needs to be more effort put into this," said Igor A. Khripunov, associate director of the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia. "It has fallen off the radar."
G-8 officials, in Russia for the summit, did not respond to requests for comment. The United States, for its part, maintains that it is making significant strides of its own, building on the efforts begun after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Despite complaints about its slow pace, the US program has been more successful than the G-8 effort at destroying Cold War-era weapons arsenals, including old nuclear submarines and chemical munitions.
The National Nuclear Security Agency, which is part of the Department of Energy, last week completed a two-year program to move highly enriched uranium from the Krylov Shipbuilding Research Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, to the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors in Dmitrovgrad, where it will be "downblended" to a less dangerous form and used to fuel Russian nuclear power plants.
Nevertheless, the Russian government has proven increasingly difficult to deal with, according to US government officials and specialists.
"There is a lot of misinformation out there about what is being done and how quickly it is being done," said Julianne Smith, a spokeswoman for the nuclear security agency. "This stuff is very complicated. There is difficulty dealing with the Russians. It is not as easy as saying `go do this.' They are a sovereign nation."
A major worry is the availability of highly enriched uranium, which most scientists believe could be easily used to design a crude nuclear bomb that could kill hundreds of thousands.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies scorecard, Russia has declared about 500 tons of excess, highly enriched uranium, but only 30 tons per year are being turned into the safer, low-enriched form through the G-8 initiative. At that pace, the materials will not be secured until 2013, the report said.
"Plans are needed to accelerate current blend-down efforts and substantially increase the . . . stockpiles targeted for downblending," the report says.
And the challenge goes far beyond Russia, according to the Harvard report.
"In the rest of the world, there is even less good news," it states. "At many sites around the world, weapons-usable material remains dangerously vulnerable to either outsider or insider theft, even though many countries have strengthened their nuclear security rules since 9/11."
It added: "Civilian facilities such as research reactors often have little more security than a night watchman and a chain-link fence. Pakistan's stockpiles remain an urgent concern; while heavily guarded, they face immense threats, from armed remnants of Al Qaeda to nuclear insiders with a proven willingness to sell nuclear weapons technology."
One of the coauthors of the CSIS report, Michelle A. Flournoy, believes the G-8 effort needs to realign the various ongoing projects with the original rationale of the initiative: reducing the risk of nuclear terrorism.
"We could have gotten much further down this road than we have," she said.
Nunn, whose organization funded the two studies, said he remains puzzled at the apparent low priority in the United States and elsewhere given repeated statements that nuclear terrorism poses the gravest security threat.
Nunn, a Democrat who coauthored the original US program to secure nuclear materials, said one explanation may be that the United States has focused on punishing countries with nuclear programs such as Iran and North Korea and not on preventing deadly materials from being sold or purloined.
"All the energy gets put into states and not the bread and butter of securing the actual materials," Nunn said. "Acquiring weapons and material is the hardest step for terrorists to take but the easiest step for us to stop."
Nunn said in a statement yesterday that Bush and Putin keep saying the right things, but "as we have seen in the past, there can be a big gap between words and deeds, a big gap between pledges and programs, and a big gap between goals and accomplishments.
"Presidents Bush and Putin have charted the course. Now every day, every week, every month for the rest of their terms in office, they must assign clear responsibility and demand accountability from their respective governments."
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