1. Putin wants to step up dialogue with US on strategic reductions
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President Vladimir Putin has again called for steps to activate the dialogue on the reduction of strategic offensive armaments.
``We should know everything about it, should speak about it, but it is being hushed up in our country,'' the Russian leader told the ``Civil G8-2006'' forum, which is under way here. He regrets the fact that the ``negotiations on the reduction of strategic offensive armaments are being curbed'', although this problem is not less timely today, but even more acute, in light of the possibility of their further proliferation''. ``They are becoming very dangerous. The orbiting of nuclear weapons is a huge problem for humanity,'' Putin stressed.
Putin had raised the strategic offensive weapons problem for the first time during his June 27 meeting with ambassadors at the Russian Foreign Ministry.
He had then offered the United States to hold consultations on the replacement of Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START-1). ``We are disturbed by the practical stagnation in the domain of disarmament,'' he told the ambassadors. ``We are in favour of resuming the dialogue on the key disarmament problems. We are offering our American partners, first of all, to start negotiations on the replacement of the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms, which will expire in 2009,'' he said.
Shortly afterwards, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak told reporters that Russia and the United States had begun negotiations through diplomatic channels on the Strategic Offensive Potentials (SOP) and Strategic Offensive Arms (START) treaties.
The Russian Defence Ministry reported that its experts had drawn up proposals for the negotiations with the United States on the control of strategic offensive armaments in the period of up to 2009.
The Russo-American START-1 Treaty, which entered into force on December 5, 1994, obliges the sides to reduce the number of their strategic weapon carriers, including land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as such missiles on submarines and heavy bombers, to not more than 1,600 units. They must have not more than six thousand nuclear warheads. It envisages also ways to verify the implementation of this Treaty with the help of reciprocal inspections of places, where strategic armaments are being stored or scrapped. The United States is helping Russia to scrap the arms, slated for reduction in accordance with this agreement. The Pentagon is annually allocating approximately 450 million U.S. dollars for this purpose in accordance with the Nunn-Lugar program.
The reference note, which the U.S. State Department had recently drawn up on the reciprocal implementation of the START-1 Treaty commitments, notes that Washington and Moscow are continuing to cut down their nuclear arsenals. The figures they have officially submitted on this score show that by January 1 of this year Russia had 927 deployed carriers of nuclear weapons -- land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic missiles on submarines and heavy bombers, and also 4,399 nuclear warheads. The United States has 1,225 carriers and 5,966 warheads. However, the total launch weight of Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles and of such missiles on submarines tops that of the United States in the proportion of 2,548 to 1,798 metric tons respectively.
The sides are still practically on a par as regards the number of their intercontinental ballistic missiles - 550 American and 557 Russian. But the Russian missiles have a bigger number of warheads - 2,183 against 1,700. At the same time, the United States is ahead of Russia as regards the number of bombers it has - 243 against 78, and also as regards the number of its missiles on submarines - 432 against 292. Correspondingly, the Americans have more warheads on those carriers - 4,266 against 2,216.
Russia and the United States concluded in Moscow in 2002 a Treaty on the Reduction of Offensive Potentials (SOP), which limits the number of operationally deployed nuclear warheads to 1,700-2,200 units on both sides. These levels are to be attained by December 2012. At the same time, they have reserved the right to possess whatever composition and structure of the strategic offensive arms they deem necessary. The warheads, kept in storehouses, are not subject to stocktaking, too. The Moscow SOP Treaty is regarded as a logic sequel of the START-1 Treaty.
However, the SOP Treaty does not envisage any control over the offensive armaments,'' officials of the Russian Defence Ministry stress. ``It does not reckon with the fact that all inspections and notifications will be stopped after the expiration of the START-1 Treaty.''
Moscow and Washington decided this month to set up a new intergovernmental group on problems of strategic security. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak and U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph are its co-chairmen. The first meeting of the group was held in Moscow. Not only officials of the two foreign ministries, but also of other institutions of Russia and the United States will take part in its work.
Presidential Assistant Sergei Prikhodko told reporters here on Tuesday that he could not rule out the possibility of the strategic arms problem being discussed at the G-8 summit, but it will not be the forum's main subject.
``The summit discussion will not be limited only to the subject of ensuring strategic stability,'' he stated, when asked whether the problem of strategic offensive armaments would be discussed or not.
2. Time for Nuclear Night Sticks Is Past. It Is Necessary To Keep Control of Strategic Arms
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Russian Federation Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Kislyak stated 30 June at a news conference that the Russian Federation and the United States are conducting negotiations on issues of strategic offensive arms. This sounded like a response to the anxiety about nuclear disarmament voiced by President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Russian diplomats 27 June. After all, the term of operation of the START-I Treaty expires 31 December 2009 and although Putin's powers as head of state will also have expired by then, it turns out that he is also concerned for the future of the country and the world.
Major General Vladimir Dvorkin, an eminent expert in strategic arms, believes that the key points in the 500-page START I Treaty were the ones that safeguarded a ramified system of verification and confidence-building measures. In an interview with the general pointed out that Russia and the United States received exhaustive information about one another's strategic arms. The treaty guaranteed an exchange of information between the Kremlin and the White House on all actions in this sphere of national security.
To put it more simply, everything that is usually kept secret from the entire world and one's own citizens was voluntarily presented to the former potential enemy in its entirety including demonstrations of new hardware with visits to the relevant facilities.
The START I Treaty imposed tough restrictions on the number of nuclear delivery vehicles and warheads. There must remain no more than 1,600 ground-launched ICBM's along with similar missiles on submarines and strategic bombers. The number of nuclear weapons for these missiles was set at 6,000.
What will happen with the expiry of the START I treaty? In all probability Russia will continue cutting back its nuclear arms since the guaranteed service life of the ICBMs still in the arsenal will come to an end and they will nonetheless have to be decommissioned.
If you consider that Topols are not everlasting either and that within 15-20 years of service they will also inevitably be decommissioned, by 2025 Russia will be left with 100-150 single-warhead ICBMs versus 1,000-1,500 in the United States. But by then the Pentagon will have deployed the missile defense system and secured itself against the remaining 100 Russian missiles. The strategic equilibrium will have been skewed against us. It is for that reason that there was no START II Treaty. Russia ratified it but the United States declined to do so and also withdrew from the ABM Treaty.
Issues of national security require urgent talks on extending START I or a new treaty that will make it possible to reduce the number of nuclear delivery vehicles on both sides and preserve mutual control of strategic arms.
However, there is also another view. There are enough experts of a less than senior level who are convinced that Russia should withdraw from START I because its nuclear arsenals are diminishing. These specialists reckon that the Russian Federation will only protect itself by disposing of verification. Our mobile installations would become less vulnerable if they were spread around the expanses of Russia.
Admittedly, the authors of such proposals are losing sight of the fact that the Pentagon could poise two new-generation satellites over each of our missile bases. Not to mention other "means of national verification," that is, reconnaissance. But US territory would prove to be almost completely closed to us. And reopening the radio intercept center on Cuba is pointless -- all transatlantic communication now uses fiber optic cables.
The era of the nuclear nightstick is past. To ensure that it does not return it is time to wave the negotiator's flag. A second cold war, another arms race is beyond Russia.
3. START I Back on the Agenda // A reminder of the grandeur of Soviet power
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The latest Kremlin fist-shaking at its G8 partners was heard last week, when Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned that START I, the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, ends in 2009. He suggested that the United States begin consultations on its extension right away. Putin first mentioned the treaty in his address to the Federal Assembly in a tone and context reminiscent of the Cold War arms race, when accusations that the other side was unwilling to disarm served as ideological justification for continuing arms development. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Kislyak said on Friday that negations on START had already begun.
START I was signed in 1991 and came into force in 1994. It limits the number of strategic arms bearing vehicles to 1600 and the number of nuclear warheads to 6000. Those limitations were met by 2001. The U.S. and Russia concluded a new Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty in 2002 that limits nuclear warheads to 1700-2200 to the end of 2012. That is only a framework agreement, however, without specifications of control mechanisms or types of warheads, and it applies only to weapons ready for use, allowing others to be simply stockpiled. It also does not touch on non-nuclear warheads.
According to Moscow Carnegie Center senior analyst Alexander Pikaev, the radical point of view in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, which can be considered semi-official, is that a new agreement is not needed, since the agreement is a relic of the Cold War and has already been fulfilled. More moderate factions would like to see the agreement extended and forms of control added to it. Russian experts, such as Evegeny Myasnikov of the Russian Center for the Study of the Problems of Disarmament agree that the U.S. administration does not want a new agreement. Its main objection to START I is that it limits the number of non-nuclear warheads. The development of precision-guided weapons is a priority for U.S. military policy. Those limitations are an inconvenience to the Russian military establishment as well.
The issue has political aspects as well. Its introduction into U.S.-Russian relations at this moment is an attempt to remind that country of Russia's remaining signs of superpower status and raise Russia's position in the dialog. American diplomats are trying to minimize arms control questions. American negotiators hold that arms reduction has taken a backseat to arms proliferation issues in connection, particularly in relation to problems with Iran and North Korea. They also link proliferation issues to questions about security at Russian nuclear arms arsenals. The Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia has concluded that Russia seriously underestimates the “internal threat” within Russia and sees Russia itself as an object for nonproliferation controls.
Russia's defense minister, in an apparent swipe at the United States, said Friday that international efforts to rein in the spread of weapons of mass destruction are being impeded by politics.
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov did not mention the United States by name, but his comments came in connection with the release of a government report that also appeared to criticize Washington for its stance on nonproliferation issues.
"In recent years we have been witness to how the approach of certain countries (to) solving the problem of fighting the spread of WMDs has taken on a more political character," Ivanov told a news conference.
"A distinct chilling is taking place," Ivanov said, citing issues including the deployment of weapons in space and biological weapons. Russia has frequently criticized the United States over its possible use of space weapons and has said Washington is scuttling efforts to strengthen the international biological weapons treaty.
The Russian report says "obvious trends are emerging toward weakening the guarantees of state sovereignty and intervention, including intervention by force into the internal affairs of other countries, sometimes under the pretext of resolving the problems of nonproliferation."
The statement echoes Russia's consistently strong criticism of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and its resistance to the United States' tough approach in the tensions over Iran's nuclear program.
"In such a situation, some countries start thinking about the nuclear option as a means of deterring aggression as well as improving their international status," said the report, issued ahead of a mid-July summit of the Group of Eight major industrialized nations to be held in St. Petersburg.
Critics have accused Russia of undermining nonproliferation efforts through its nuclear cooperation with Iran, where it is building a nuclear power plant. Critics say the plant could help Tehran in developing nuclear weapons. But Ivanov reiterated Russia's frequent denial of those claims.
Hi comments come after President Vladimir Putin's call this week for the United States to open talks with Russia on a weapons treaty to replace the key START agreement, which expires in 2009.
The treaty, signed in 1991 by the United States and the Soviet Union, limits the number of various types of vehicles and warheads that could be deployed by either side, and it contains measures both sides can take to inspect and verify reductions.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak told the news conference that initial contacts on a new treaty have begun through diplomatic channels.
5. PRESS CONFERENCE ON NON-PROLIFERATION WITH VICE PREMIER AND MINISTER OF DEFENSE SERGEI IVANOV
Official Kremlin International News Broadcast
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Moderator: Good day, dear guests and colleagues. I am the head of the RIA Novosti press club and I welcome to our information floor. We begin our press conference. The topic today is the Russian Federation and the situation in the area of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and means of their delivery vehicles: threats, assessments, objectives and the ways of their realization. This is the title, in fact, of the White Book which will be launched today at our meeting. I need hardly tell you that the press conference is timed for the G8 summit in St. Petersburg. Permit me to give the floor to Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, Defense Minister Sergei Borisovich Ivanov.
Ivanov: Good day, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for responding to the invitation to take part in the presentation of the so-called White Book. I am glad to see many familiar faces, of both foreign and Russian journalists who are constantly interested in this topic.
The publication that we are launching today is a collection of unprecedentedly open and utterly frank materials on the situation in the area of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and delivery vehicles. As you may have guessed and this was, in fact, mentioned just now, the time of our press conference is not accidental. In just a few days the next summit of the G8 will open in St. Petersburg. The issues of ensuring international security and maintaining stability in the world will of course be among the main topics. So, today the Russian side is announcing its views on counteracting one of the most serious threats of our time which is, without any doubt, the spread of mass destruction weapons and their delivery vehicles.
We recognize that the situation in this area remains very complex. It is characterized by the continuing desire of some states to possess such weapons and to create their own scientific and technological potential required for developing them. Simultaneously, international terrorism is increasingly active in seeking to acquire the materials and technologies that make it possible, if they are used, to result in numerous human victims.
Let me cite some data. At present, along with the universally recognized "five" of nuclear powers, that is, the official members of the nuclear club as well as unrecognized nuclear powers, namely, India, Pakistan and Israel, as well as North Korea which has declared that it has nuclear weapons, about 20 other countries in the world have the potential to realize their potential in this field. So, five official members, three de facto possessors of nuclear weapons, North Korea which has declared it had nuclear weapons and another 20 states which can potentially do it.
Let me say more. For some of these 20 countries the nuclear option is a question solely of the political will. As regards chemical and biological WMD, practically all the developed countries, but also a number of developing countries can create them. The arsenal of delivery vehicles for WMD is also extremely large. Already, about 25 states in the world either have ballistic missiles or are capable of creating them in the foreseeable future.
It is also a matter of concern that to implement their aspirations the representatives of some states, as well as non-state entities, above all terrorist ones, are trying to gain access to sensitive goods and technologies by any means available, and I must admit that sometimes they succeed.
Since the ongoing processes of globalization and informatization of the world economy contribute not only to rapid scientific and technological progress, which is inherently positive, but on the other hand, they provide better access to information on ways to develop WMD and on its components, facilitate the search for corresponding materials and technologies turning illegal trade in these into a very lucrative business.
To this end, the interested persons make wide use of front firms, "one day firms" as well as the practice of effecting trade transactions through numerous mediatory structures. The situation is made more complicated by the existence of an illegal black market in materials related to weapons of mass destruction. And while the world community has at least some means of influencing the countries whose policies pose a threat to peace and security, there are no instruments to influence terrorist groups. Considering this, the possibility of them gaining access to any types of WMD, in particular nuclear weapons, can with ample grounds be regarded as one of the most serious threats to humankind. And if so, this threat can only be averted together, in the first place by consolidating the mutual efforts on further development of multilateral mechanisms in the non-proliferation sphere as well as through implementing coordinated measures, including within the G8.
An important area in these activities undoubtedly is strengthening an improvement of the relevant international treaties and agreements and universalization and guaranteed compliance by all the states with the export control agreements. There should be no exceptions for anyone in this sphere. We have a common goal of putting a reliable barrier in the way of the spread of the WMD and related technologies. To achieve that goal we are conducting and will continue to conduct an active dialogue both in the framework of international multilateral formats and on a bilateral basis.
Simultaneously with joint actions on the world scale, so to speak, an important place should belong to the improvement of national means of state regulation and control of the sale of goods and technologies related to the development of WMD and delivery vehicles. And there I think it is relevant to note that Russia is at present conducting serious work to strengthen the system of control over the export of sensitive products. And of course it cannot be otherwise. It is one of the key priorities of our state policy in the sphere of national security because threshold countries are situation in territories adjacent on Russia and the borders with these states are "porous", to put it mildly.
Starting practically from scratch we have already achieved real and quite tangible results both in improving the legal framework and in developing the administrative and law enforcement mechanisms of export control. The administrative vertical structure has been completed. Interaction is being improved between the federal agencies, including in terms of their information support by the community of Russian special services.
Strict control, registration and safe protection of nuclear weapons have been streamlined, as well as of dangerous chemical, biological, and radioactive materials. Intense work is underway on the introduction of corporate export control programs at enterprises and in research institutions. It is worth noting that at the moment such control programs, I mean those inside firms, aimed at reducing risks of involuntary violations of export control have been established in more than 400 organizations in the Russian Federation engaging in foreign economic activities with goods and products intended for military and dual purposes.
Summing it up, I find it necessary to note that on the whole, all potential channels via which dangerous goods and technologies could leak from our territory have been sealed off rather securely. If attempts to violate export control rules do take place -- there are such facts virtually in any state in the world, which possesses such technologies -- those attempts have been quite effectively prevented by our special services. By the way, this has many times been reported in the mass media.
Ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion I would like to note that I have just briefly listed the main priorities in Russia's activities related to non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons and delivery means. You can get more detailed information from the White Book which is being presented and distributed today. By the way, the materials are provided in both Russian and English. Read, analyze, draw conclusions.
Thank you for your attention and I would like to introduce my colleagues who are present here: Igor Shuvalov, Russia's G8 sherpa, who has done a lot to prepare the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Sergei Kislyak, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of non- proliferation, Sergei Yakimov, here on the left, head of the Department of the Federal Service for Engineering and Export Supervision -- it is our key department dealing with export control on a permanent basis, Alexander Bortnikov, Deputy Director of the Federal Security Service, a very competent individual. That is, all those who are present here deal with non-proliferation in some or other way. As for me, I lead the Russian government's interdepartmental commission on export control and non- proliferation.
We are ready to take your questions, but please ask questions on non-proliferation, not other issues.
Q: Kommersant. You have said that Russia has arranged a secure system for control over non-proliferation of WMD. Is it all so cloudless in this sphere? Are there negative facts?
Ivanov: I have not said that everything is cloudless. We have done a lot recently in the Russian Federation. Since 2000, we have paid much attention to this problem. We have discussed it during meetings of the Security Council, the interdepartmental commission. There is the new executive agency, I mean the Federal Service for Engineering and Export Supervision. Other agencies have constantly dealt with that problem. We have switched on special services to deal with that problem, and they have worked energetically. A lot has been done, I repeat.
Naturally, there are certain problems. No one is going to deny this. In the past years, we have seen that approaches by certain states to dealing with problems related to counteracting WMD proliferation tend to grow increasingly politicized. It has grown increasingly difficult in a multilateral format, to reach common decisions. Coordination has slowed down in a number of international forums, frankly speaking. There has even been some freeze to a certain measure.
By way of example, I could speak about the agreement that calls on countries not to move weapons to space. I could mention the verification mechanism of the chemical weapons convention. It has stalled.
Also, in my opinion it should not happen that multilateral control mechanisms become one of the main means for competition for markets of conventional weapons and conventional military hardware, and certain unfair market players are to blame for that. One should draw a clear line here.
In this connection serious concerns have been caused by attempts of unfounded pressure put on Russia via sanctions against certain Russian enterprises. True, I have to admit that in the past three or four years the number of sanctions imposed against particular Russian enterprises has gone down substantially. Perhaps, this indirectly indicates, at least indirectly, that the export control system in Russia has grown more efficient.
Q: In connection with non-proliferation the so-called Iran problem has been mentioned recently. In this connection, in the West, in particular the United States, they have constantly reproached Russia for allegedly helping Iran develop missile and nuclear technologies. Sometimes they say absurd things. For example, the Washington Post published an article recently which claims that Russia is training officers for Iran's missile troops. How could you comment?
Ivanov: I can easily comment on that. In the past five or six years the problem of non-proliferation and export control, including "leaks" into Iran of Russian missile and nuclear technologies, have been discussed in our bilateral dialogue with the United States. I have to admit that unfortunately the United States often regards ties with Russia in the high-tech sphere, including cooperation in space and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, exclusively from the point of view of the Iran problem. In my opinion, this is a wrong approach in principle.
Still, the Russian side has many times stated that our position on the issue is very simple and crystal clear. At the intergovernmental level, we have never had any cooperation with Iran in the missile technology sphere. As for nuclear technologies, the only aspect of cooperation with Iran is the well-known Bushehr nuclear power plant, which does not mean transfer of any sensitive technologies.
Moreover, you know very well that we have also insisted and made sure that after the construction of the nuclear power plant is completed there -- by the way, a light water nuclear reactor is under construction there -- all spent nuclear fuel, after it has worked in the reactor, will be moved back into Russia under international control, to the last gram of that fuel, for utilization.
This is the real situation. You may have noticed that the US side has recently lifted, including via Congress, a number of sanctions introduced earlier at its initiative on cooperation with Russia through Roscosmos, I stress, through Roscosmos which was previously banned in connection with the declared or alleged accusations of our cooperation with Iran.
Now as regards the article you have mentioned. I am aware of it, it is an article, I think, in the Washington Times or Washington Post, yes, Washington Post, which said that Iranian military rocket specialists were being trained at the Samara Aerospace University.
Similar accusations were made earlier with respect to other higher education institutions. We have checked that information, just in case, while being sure all along that it was untrue, and we became convinced that it was nothing but a newspaper "canard".
This example shows that the issue of real interaction in countering such a serious threat is sometimes deliberately and artificially politicized.
Q: RIA Novosti. Igor Ivanovich, reportedly the G8 summit in St. Petersburg will discuss the problem of non-proliferation. I would like to know in what context it will be. Let me elaborate. Some states within the G8 have not signed the international treaty on banning nuclear tests in all the environments; the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons has no concrete content; and there are bilateral problems, too. For example, the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions has been signed between us and the United States, but it is not being fulfilled because there are no commissions to monitor its implementation. We have agreed on these commissions, but they have still not been set up. Thank you for the answer and, if I may, put a question to Sergei Ivanovich because I know I won't have a second chance. It is regarding the North Korean ballistic missile, how realistic is the launching of that missile and what is the likelihood that it really exists in the shape it is written about, or is it all speculation in order to fan interest in North Korea? Thank you.
Shuvalov: The G8 traditionally discusses non-proliferation. At the last summit in Gleneagles this theme was on the agenda and this year, too, we are preparing a document for the leaders and are preparing to discuss this theme during the St. Petersburg summit.
How will we discuss it? We will discuss it in the context which has just been outlined by Sergei Borisovich when he stated the Russian position. But it has to be understood that the G8 document is a document is adopted by consensus. Obviously, there will be discussions.
Some of these discussions took place yesterday during the meeting of foreign ministers. The non-proliferation document will reflect these discussions. It will be reported to the leaders when it is ready. As a result, only the positions to which there are no objections will be adopted. But there may well be discussions on non- proliferation, and some of these may be sharp.
Kislyak: I would like to add a couple of words to what Igor Ivanovich has said. The contexts of the materials being prepared for the report to the leaders on non-proliferation, have to do with the issues of non-proliferation and not bilateral relations between Russia and the US in the sphere of strategic weapons.
That is a separate issue and it will be discussed between the Russian and American representatives and this conversation is ongoing.
You say that no mechanisms have been created within the framework of the strategic offensive reductions treaty. That is not quite so. A commission has been set up and early contacts under its auspices have already been made. But I think the chief issue is not how the treaty is being implemented because there are no troubles there, but what will happen further, for example, after the START Treaty expires in 2009.
But, let me stressed, this is a bilateral issue and it is not a subject of discussion by the G8. As for the likelihood of North Korea launching a missile, I think nothing can be worse for diplomats than to engage in theoretical speculations.
I would like to say that politically our position is that the launching of such a vehicle would be extremely unwelcome today because we are all interested, and I hope North Korea is interested, too, to see the six-party process continued. And we are trying to the best of our ability to help our Chinese friends who are among the leaders in organizing the next meeting as part of that process. So, everything must be done to create the necessary conditions for the continuation of this serious dialogue which must involve the entire Korean peninsula. This is our goal and our position has never changed. Thank you.
Q: Al Jazeera TV Channel. President Putin of the Russian Federation said on June 27 that Russia will not accede to the ultimatum on the spread of WMD. It was clear at yesterday's meeting of G8 foreign ministers, at least to me, that the G8 is bringing pressure on Iran to provide an answer before the 5th or the 15th, the date of the St. Petersburg meeting. Does it mean that the statement made in Moscow yesterday cancels out the statement by Mr. Putin?
Ivanov: I think you slightly misquoted our president when you said that he had said that Russia would not accede to any sanctions and ultimatums in the area of WMD. There are numerous international regimes in the WMD sphere, for example, the nuclear non- proliferation treaty. All the countries which are members of that treaty -- and Iran is also a member -- should strictly abide by it.
As for Iran, "the six" is one in supporting the position which was reiterated yesterday. We did not fix a concrete deadline for Teheran to reply to the proposals of "the six". As far as I know, Mr. Solana will be in Teheran on July 5.
Ivanov: He will go to Brussels and will meet --
Voice: To Spain.
Ivanov: Or to Spain, but anyway there will be Mr. Solana's meeting with Larijani. The issue will be discussed there, I mean, when Iran will be ready to give a clear and unambiguous answer to the proposals of "the six".
The IAEA still has some concerns or questions and we hope that the Iranian side will provide full answers to these questions. As for political and diplomatic settlement of the problem, Russia has always come out and will come out for this approach.
Q: Komsomolskaya Pravda. Sergei Borisovich, the book says that Ukraine has been exporting missiles and missile technologies in violation of international agreements. Can you elaborate on this?
Ivanov: Yes, the pamphlet does mention Ukraine and this is what it is about. The Ukrainian firm Progress, which is a subsidiary of Ukrspetsexport, in 2000 or 2001 supplied six H-55 cruise missiles -- they are Soviet air-launched long-range missiles, with a range over than 1,000 kilometers -- supplied six missiles of that kind to China and another six to Iran. Naturally, criminal proceedings were launched and investigation started. All international agencies were informed officially about this fact, it is certainly a rude violation of the missile technology control regime. And this happened despite the fact that Ukraine is a member of the international missile technology control regime.
Q: Could you publish statistics related to prevented unauthorized attempts to access Russian technologies, nuclear missile technologies? Are there any particular examples? My other question is to build up on what my colleague asked. Do you have information on the availability of missiles and missile technologies in CIS countries, for example in Ukraine or Belarus? Are there any other missiles similar to those you have spoken about?
Ivanov: I will answer the second one. And I will ask Alexander Bortnikov to answer the first one, as he is more competent in that sphere.
As for the CIS in general, in the past years Russia has done a lot to coordinate non-proliferation efforts with our CIS and CSTO partners. In particular, in the CSTO, identical approaches have been developed in the non-proliferation sphere for each CSTO member state.
As for those independent states where in Soviet times nuclear missile complex used to be deployed, there has not been a single case there. All nuclear warheads were moved out to Russia. This is a fact that is doubtless. As for missiles, the only case was that I have mentioned. It was not with intercontinental ballistic missiles. They were air-launched long-range cruise missiles. Naturally, the international control regime applies to that.
That case at the start of 2000 was registered and investigation was conducted. Even offshore firms registered in Cyprus are known via which payment for all those 12 missiles was made. As I have said already, six were to go to China and six to Iran. Payment was made via offshore firms in Cyprus. Their names are known. The amounts of payment are known for that illegal deal.
Bortnikov: I would like to give some statistics. In the past several years, the Federal Security Service, in collaboration with our CIS partners, with our partners in other countries, have dealt with a number of problems in that sphere.
Speaking about what the Federal Security Service has done, we have launched about 60 criminal cases against 30 foreign and Russian citizens and firms having shown interest, so to say, or having tried to obtain information and technologies in that sphere. In particular, in collaboration with the CIA of the United States, we have worked on the case of US citizen of Iranian origin, one Nader Modanlo who showed interest and tried to obtain information on missile and space-related technologies and transfer that to Iran.
Pakistani citizen Mohammed Aslan has been denied entry to Russia, as he has also shown interested in missile technologies in the interests the development of the country's nuclear missile programs. I have to say that Russian citizens have also engaged in unlawful activities and we have prevented imports into the country of thionyl chloride, a chemical which could be used for the development of mass destruction weapons. A Russian citizen was arrested in connection with that and later sentenced.
I would like to give you an example of successful cooperation with the CIA, special services of Armenia and Georgia. You may have heard the name Dadayan, a citizen of Armenia and Russia, who was arrested on Georgian territory. He had a container with 160 grams of highly enriched uranium.
So, we have worked in that sphere and I have to note that we have done this in interaction with special services of a number of countries, because poses a threat to the whole world. Thank you.
Q: Sergei Borisovich, as far as I understand from what you have said the export control system in Russia should be perfected. What will be done for that? In particular, could you expand on corporate control inside organizations?
Ivanov: Sergei Yakimov could answer this better as he deals with that. But I can say the following. Any system becomes outdated and ineffective if it is not perfected. This concerns any sphere of human activities. Naturally, we have analyzed modern trends, information technologies. We should not forget materials and goods, such as fissile materials, missile components and fuel, but we should also think about knowledge. Scholars have this information in their heads and they could proliferate this, like viruses. We have also dealt with that.
The whole civilized world has gone along the path of creating effective corporate control systems, which we see as the main direction of activities. The state cannot -- by the way, the United States experience shows this -- just physically cannot control hundreds of thousands of firms. There are well-known big firms, and they have long introduced corporate control systems. But there is small and mid-sized business, there are firms existing just one day and set up particularly to breach export control rules. It is certainly hard to control all that.
We have tried to do this and what the FSB deputy director has said proves that they have worked a lot. They cannot be a system that is 100 percent perfect. But any system is more effective if there is open bilateral or multilateral cooperation in place, because this allows detecting whole networks used to proliferate WMD. Quite often there are many citizens or countries involved. The best known and most dangerous proliferation case in recent years was that of AQ Khan in Pakistan. Far from everything has been published on that case and it will not be published soon. But that was a very serious violation by that Pakistani researcher of the control and non-proliferation regime. We cannot do without international cooperation in that sphere, because he proliferated missile and nuclear technologies worldwide. And unless we bring in the governments of these states and the special services of these states to ascertain and find out what damage has been caused -- this is indispensable.
Yakimov: Before answering your question, I would like to stress that given the presence in our country of a substantial scientific and technical industrial potential and the growth of high-tech dual- purpose technology exports already predetermine the strategic importance for Russia of ensuring export control and the need to strengthen it in every way.
I would single out four areas of export control. First, further improvement of our regulatory legal framework, including for the purpose of counteracting terrorism. I think it would be correct to use internationally recognized standards and advanced foreign experience. It is in our interest to achieve standards in this field that are the same as those of other states. It would cause us to be seen as reliable and predictable trade partners. This approach is not a fad but a pressing need dictated by the laws of the market.
Secondly, we should improve the information support of export control, build up its analytical component, including more extensive use of the potential of the Russian special services. It is important for us to track down the situation in the non- proliferation sphere so that we can take adequate measures which, on the one hand, would be proactive, and on the other hand, would not create unreasonable barriers for legitimate export.
The third objective that I think is also relevant is more effective law enforcement both by removing bottlenecks in legislative support and by improving coordination between law enforcement, supervisory and tax agencies. Let me stress that we are not talking about increasing the arsenal of punitive measures. It is necessary to ensure that punishment is unavoidable for breaking the rules of export control.
And last, but not least, more intensive work to introduce internal programs of export control at enterprises and organizations. Our main task here is to motivate exporters, that is to create conditions under which complying with export control rules would be the norm for all the participants in foreign economic activities. To this end, we need to strengthen the information, analytical and educational work, give it a sense of purpose and probably create a system of incentives.
Such work is currently under way. We are talking above all about the institution of general licenses. These are licenses for types of products. They are valid for three years and allow supplies to several countries without stating the concrete buyer. And secondly, the second incentive is easing the custom clearance procedures for law-abiding exporters.
I would like to say that work in these areas is already under way. We recently adopted amendments to the Code on Administrative Offenses which offers a broader range of instruments to punish those who break export control rules, in the first place by imposing fines.
An amendment is in the pipeline to the law on export control to strengthen information support on export control work. We have developed a list of foreign organizations known to be involved in military programs in the nuclear, chemical, biological and missile areas. That list has been formed on the basis of data obtained by the Russian special services and information exchange under international export control regimes.
The list contains data on more than 1,500 foreign organizations from 50 countries involved in implementing corresponding military programs or caught engaging in proliferation activities. For understandable reasons it is a classified list. Other foreign countries also have such lists.
Q: A question for Sergei Ivanovich Kislyak. At a recent meeting with Foreign Ministry staff the president set the task not to stop at the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty and to pursue that direction in bilateral relations with the US further. There is probably an idea of what we would like to see as the next treaty. Perhaps, we will go back to START-2, which was never implemented, or, we will offer some new parameters. Could you predict which way our dialogue will move and how we will engage in controlling non- proliferation of WMD?
Kislyak: First of all, I would like to remind you that Sergei Borisovich suggested at the very beginning that questions should be on the theme of the report. The report is not about bilateral Russian-American relations. However, I will answer you. The question of further negotiations on strategic offenses is one of the key questions of strategic stability and of our relations with the United States.
On the professional level dialogue on these issues continues. I have already indicated today that one of the problems is that the two existing agreements, START and Strategic Offensive Reductions expire fairly soon, START will expire in 2009. So, the Russian side and the American side are already facing the question of what is to follow.
We are still interested in ensuring the stability and continuity of the process of strategic weapons control. We are negotiating with our American colleagues on these issues. But practice shows that we conduct these negotiations not through the press but through diplomatic channels. So, I hope that when the time comes, and I hope it will not be too long, you will learn more on further steps that Russia and the US may take in this sphere.
Q: I have questions for Mr. Yakimov. Could you characterize Russian dual-purpose exports? What are its cost characteristics and if possible, the range of goods and the regions and the prospects?
Yakimov: Our export statistics are as follows. In 2005 exports amounted to about 400 billion US dollars, 3.82 billion dollars to be exact. The geography of our supplies tends to expand. In 2005 we supplied such goods to 60 countries compared with 49 in 2004. The main exporters of dual-purpose goods are joint-stock companies -- about 65 percent -- followed by federal state unitary enterprises with about 18 percent and limited liability companies with a little over 11 percent.
The largest number of licenses, more than a third, in 2005 were issues for export to the European Union countries. Next follow the US with 15 percent, Ukraine with about 7 percent, India with 4.5 percent and so on. The structure of Russian exports is dominated by nuclear products which in 2005 accounted for about 90 percent or 3.44 billion dollars. The share of rocket and space technology was about 5 percent, or about $160 million. The share of electronic, instrument building and other defense industries was about 4 percent or about $130 million.
The biggest buyers of Russian dual-purpose products have been EU member countries. In 2005 they purchased products worth $1.32 billion. They are followed by the United States, more than $1 billion, then Ukraine, $401 million, Kazakhstan, $118 million, South Korea, $117 million, and China, $101.9 million.
The main buyers of nuclear industry products were also EU member countries, and they accounted for about 40 percent of the total volume of supplies in value terms. They are followed by the United States, 23 percent, Ukraine, 9 percent, and South Korea, 3 percent.
The United States accounts for the biggest share of exports of aerospace equipment, about 50 percent, followed by Ukraine, with which we have closely cooperated, South Korea and EU member countries. The United States also leads among consumers of products of electronic, instrument-building and other defense industry sectors, accounting for about one-third in value terms, followed by the European Union, 20 percent, China, 16 percent, and Kazakhstan, 8 percent.
What are the trends? We are pleased to see that the share of engineering products tends to grow and the share of high-tech materials tends to go down gradually, even if their added value is high. This is a pleasant development as it indicates that our defense industry is beginning to energetically enter foreign markets.
Q: A question for Sergei Ivanovich. Could you speak about the situation around Iran's nuclear file?
Kislyak: In fact, a file is a bureaucratic thing.
Yakimov: An abstract thing, so to say.
Kislyak: I think you are interested in prospects for negotiations on the nuclear problem. Sergei Borisovich has noted already that there is a whole range of issues related to the history and nature of Iran's nuclear program which are still vague. This means that the IAEA is unable to say at the moment that in that country undeclared nuclear activities or nuclear materials have not been established for certain.
Iran has done a lot to remove questions having accumulated over near 18 years of covert activities in the framework of that program. Therefore, it is now necessary to create conditions of trust with respect to that program and our Iranian colleagues should help the international community in this respect by fully cooperating with the IAEA.
The six countries you know well -- they are three European countries, the United States, China and Russia -- have formulated a whole range of proposals in an attempt to find solutions to this problem through negotiations. As agreed with the Iranian colleagues, they are not to be published for the time being, and this is not because they are secret or restricted. This has been done to let our friends sort it all out without any pressure, ask questions and understand how it is possible on this basis to find political solutions to this problem as we have proposed.
Russia's position has been that Iran has the right to access nuclear energy and no one has ever tried to deny it this right. The question is that this right should be realized in such a matter that there would be absolute guarantees of the observance of commitments related to nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. Therefore, our proposals -- by saying "our" I mean those by the six countries -- contain a whole set of most serious proposals that would let Iran, first, get access to modern nuclear energy, develop research and realize the peaceful potential of those programs, including those approved by the Majlis, and do it in such a way that the international community would be certain and would have no questions about the nature of Iran's nuclear program left.
Those proposals were handed to Teheran at the start of this month. We expect a serious response because they were serious proposals. We are sincerely convinced that they provide a good basis for finding a solution through negotiations. We expect the next meeting -- it is scheduled for July 5, next week, between Mr. Larijani and Mr. Solana representing the six countries -- to show that the process can advance in the right direction. As for Russia, we have constantly, day by day, worked to make sure that we can advance in this direction. Thank you.
Q: Secondary proliferation is mentioned on pages 17 and 18 of the report. It is known that North Korea and Iran have cooperated in the development of missile technologies. You have said that Ukraine has sold H-55 to Iranians. Don't you have fears that this technology or those missiles have been handed over to North Korea?
Ivanov: We openly admitted in this report that there is such a problem as secondary proliferation. Let me remind you that we have annually prepared a more solid document on the situation in the proliferation sphere, but it is a top-secret document and it is reported to the President, it has never been published, nor will it be published, because it contains information we cannot publish.
The situation is really serious with secondary proliferation. There is this problem. But as for what you said next, they are just speculations and guesses, attempts to have secret information obtained by special services disclosed. Naturally, we will never tell you.
Q: A question for Sergei Ivanovich, perhaps: What is Russia's attitude to such an informal and voluntary export control regime as the Australia Group? Thank you.
Kislyak: Russia is a party to all the export control international mechanisms other than the Australia Group. Up until now we have been thinking whether or not to join, but at the same time we have been improving our own export control system which, as our experts tell us, and I hope that Sergei Fotiyevich can confirm this, our system of internal legislation in the area of export control in the field of chemical and biological materials is at least as good as that of the Australia Group.
So, by creating the whole of this system and everything necessary to be sure that we are fully in compliance with our obligations under the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons where we face a huge amount of work to liquidate the stockpiles inherited from the times of the Cold War. And being confident now that we do not only meet all these criteria, but can make a very serious contribution to the work of that Australia Group we are now interested to see this mechanism come into effect.
In our opinion, given the scale of Russia and its contribution to international security, the Australia Group itself should be interested in having us. We are beginning consultations with our partners in the Australia Group and I hope we will join it after all the necessary conditions for entry are there, and that means the terms should be the same as for any other country.
Q: Kommersant. To whoever can answer this question. A 10 + 10 program was adopted in Kananaskis to finance disarmament programs, including those in Russia. What is the situation there and are there any problems still?
Kislyak: The global partnership program is moving forward. For those who may not know it, the 10 + 10 Program means that the US allocated 10 billion dollars and the other G8 members put up another 10 billion, including Russia with about 2 billion. It is aimed at arms control activities either in the shape of bilateral disarmament measures, as in the case of Russia, and within multilateral agreements as is the case also with Russia with respect to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The program is moving forward, it has been joined by a good many countries although their contributions are not large, but politically we welcome their participation, of course. And the agreement that most of the programs at the early stages will be implemented in the Russian Federation still holds. But surely it can be joined by other states, including our friends in the CIS.
We cannot say that we are entirely satisfied with the way work is proceeding because honestly we expected money to come to finance the Russian priorities the Russian president outlined in Kananaskis, especially the programs connected with safe dismantling of nuclear submarines and the handling of nuclear materials, and secondly, the creation of necessary capacities for chemical weapons disposal, which is particularly important for us.
We are getting assistance but let me stress that it accounts for no more than 20 percent of what Russia itself spends on these programs. The quality of the implementation of these programs differs from country to country. Some countries pledge more money, but we see that less money of the pledged sums reaches the addressee, that is, less money is used to finance concrete activities on our territories. A lot of money is spent on their own bureaucracies and their own needs.
And then there are countries which have pledged smaller sums, but there are no political strings attached and the money is spent with an eye to using all the potential to tackle concrete problems that the program is called upon to solve.
So, on the whole, the program could be handled more effectively, especially as regards chemical weapons because this is a critical period for Russia as we have to liquidate all our stockpiles by 2012. To this end we have to set up the whole infrastructure, six chemical weapons disposal facilities. So, the biggest need for money is now, during the period of capital construction. Sometimes money is late in coming. But I would like to stress that Russia is a responsible state and in meeting our obligations under the chemical convention we chiefly finance them out of the Russian budget.
Ivanov: I can only add that in recent years Russian budgeting of this sphere has increased by several times. Our economy is shouldering the burden that is inherited from the Soviet times, but we must deliver ourselves of that burden and liquidate all the declared stockpiles of chemical weapons, and also, by the way, nuclear submarines that we need. In general, they pose a danger only to the environment and we are the first to be interested in dismantling them as quickly as possible.
Moderator: I would like to thank our panelists for this interesting meeting.
Ivanov: The "Who? Where? When?" Club is dismissed.
Russia is interested in joining the Australia Group, an association of countries that facilitates export control of 'sensitive' goods, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak has said.
"Our national legislation on control over chemical and biological materials is at least no worse or maybe even better than the one that exists within the Australia Group," Kislyak said at a news briefing on Friday.
Russia, which fully meets the criteria of this group, could also make a significant contribution to its activities, if you bear in mind that Russia fully lives up to all of its obligations in this area, he said.
"We are now interested in the consideration of our application to join this mechanism," Kislyak said.
The Australia Group is an informal association of 39 technologically developed countries founded in 1985 to hold consultations and coordinate measures in the area of government licensing of the export of sensitive goods. The Australia Group sees its duty in strengthening global security and expanding cooperation between its members toward supporting and developing national export control systems.
The Australia Group is committed to helping its members minimize the risk of assisting the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons (CBW). This is the only organization dealing with nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction that Russia has not joined yet.
7. Russian military experts comment on Putin's arms reduction overture to USA
(for personal use only)
The USA will not agree to the continuation of control over its strategic nuclear forces after the expiry of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), thinks the vice-president of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Gen-Col Leonid Ivashov.
Commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposal to start negotiations with the USA for the replacement of START, Ivashov said that "Washington can only be made to agree to limitations and controls on its strategic nuclear weapons through the concerted efforts of all the other members of the nuclear club, and, first and foremost, Russia and China".
Noting that compromises are only achieved as a result of parity, Ivashov stated that "the military-political leadership of Russia has to think about restoring the effectiveness of its strategic nuclear forces in conditions of a launch under attack".
"Should the USA refuse further negotiations, Russia can unilaterally come out of some of START's provisions without waiting for it to expire, and can review the structure of its nuclear triad in order to improve its resilience," the expert thinks.
"In this regard," he added, "it is important to review different means for basing missile groups, including a return to highly protected silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles with MIRVed warheads".
For his part, Nikolay Bezborodov, a member of the State Duma defence committee, thinks that by proposing that the USA enter negotiations on a replacement for START, the Russian president "has opened a path to the resolution of very important disarmament issues in a contemporary setting with reference to the new realities that have developed in the world".
"This is a very timely proposal that requires a constructive response from our American partners. The fact that START expires in 2009 means there is not much time to reach an agreement on a new treaty, and I think that the USA cannot fail to be aware of this," Nikolay Bezborodov told AVN-Interfax today.
The deputy added that he thought that "in addition to this, Russia and USA, as leaders of the disarmament process, will also be able to find ways to reduce the potential for conflict in the world, which to a large extent is provoked by certain countries, political forces and movements that are trying to get hold of weapons of mass destruction".
1. Russian Nuclear Security Lags, Raising U.S. Terrorism Concerns
(for personal use only)
U.S. efforts to secure the former Soviet Union's nuclear stockpile are flagging as the Iraq war and Iran's atomic ambitions push it lower on the international agenda and an oil-rich Russia resists pressure for tougher action.
Almost 15 years after the U.S. launched its program to help strengthen controls on the world's largest nuclear stockpile, Russian guards are still patrolling storage sites with unloaded guns, propping open doors that should be locked and turning off intrusion detectors to avoid false alarms, according to a 2005 report by Harvard University's Project on Managing the Atom. The report found that security systems in 46 percent of the Russian buildings that contain nuclear material have yet to be fully upgraded.
President George W. Bush has said the most serious U.S. security threat is a terrorist detonating a nuclear device in a large city -- and experts say the likeliest source of material for such a device is Russia.
``The problems remain very acute,'' said William Potter, a former consultant to the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and co-author of the book ``The Four Faces of Nuclear Terrorism.'' ``We've been diverted from what should be our priority mission, securing material on the ground in Russia and other former Soviet states.''
Last year, Russians reported 200 cases of suspected smuggling of nuclear and radiological materials, said Representative James Langevin of Rhode Island, senior Democrat on a House panel that tracks terrorist threats.
`What a Mistake'
Representative Jane Harman of California, the senior Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said nuclear material has been leaving former Soviet republics because the U.S. and Russia haven't been more vigilant. ``What a mistake it is we let this stuff leak out of those countries,'' Harman said.
Matthew Bunn, a senior research associate at Harvard's Managing the Atom project, said Russians don't have the same level of anxiety about nuclear theft as do others. ``If you talk to people at nuclear facilities, they say, `Bunn, you're a worrywart,''' he said.
About 40 terrorist groups or cults have possessed or expressed an interest in using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons as well as ``dirty bombs,'' according to the U.S. national intelligence director's annual threat assessment, released earlier this year. A dirty bomb uses conventional explosives to disperse radiological material.
The Russians haven't moved to secure highly enriched uranium at civilian facilities, Potter said. They're also storing 30 tons of nuclear materials in wooden 1940s-era buildings at the Mayak nuclear complex in the southern Ural Mountains, Bunn said.
While Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to increase cooperative efforts to secure nuclear weapons and material in their 2005 summit in Bratislava, Slovakia, there's been little follow-up since, said Potter, who is now director of the Monterey, California-based Center for Proliferation Studies.
He said that ``although the rhetoric for the most part is good, it's not clear the leadership in either country has backed it up with action.''
Representative John Linder, a Georgia Republican who chairs a House panel that tracks nuclear nonproliferation, said Bush hasn't focused on securing the weapons because his presidency increasingly has become tied to success or failure in Iraq. Graham Allison, an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration, said Bush and Putin have also been distracted by Iran's nuclear program, currently the focus of an international diplomatic effort to get it to agree to restrictions.
Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-founder of a program to secure the Soviet nuclear arsenal, said Russia's newfound clout as the world's No. 2 oil producer has made it less receptive to U.S. pressure.
``They want to point out at the outset, `We're not supplicants, we're rich,''' said Lugar, an Indiana Republican. The Russians want to cooperate ``with the understanding we have the proper respect for the comeback that Russia has made.''
Russia has resisted U.S. requests that it consolidate its nuclear sites to make it easier to keep track of the material and weapons, Potter said. The Russians also have made it more difficult for U.S. officials to inspect sensitive military and research facilities, said William Hoehn, Washington office director of the Russian-American Nuclear Advisory Council, a policy group focused on nuclear security.
Vladimir Rybachenkov, counselor for nuclear affairs at the Russian embassy in Washington, said the U.S. and Russia are working well together and that U.S. personnel have been able to enter sensitive facilities. ``As far as access problems, I think they've been resolved,'' he said.
Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains the U.S. stockpile and works with the Russians to secure their nuclear material, said progress on securing nuclear material has accelerated since the Bratislava summit and that security upgrades have been completed in 77 percent of all Russian buildings that house nuclear materials or weapons.
``Anyone who says we're not doing enough or making it a priority doesn't know what we do or doesn't understand what we do,'' Wilkes said.
Russia possesses about 16,000 nuclear warheads and 600 tons of material that could be used in bombs, according to a U.S. National Academy of Sciences 2005 report and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
The material is contained in weapons and barrels stored in large warehouses, Bunn said. Some of it is in the form of residue that lines the pipes and surfaces of uranium and plutonium plants or can be found at research facilities in special boxes fitted with gloves that allow scientists to work with it, he said.
Since the early 1990s, the U.S. and Russia have worked to secure and winnow the weapons stockpile. Programs set up by the 1991 Nunn-Lugar Act have destroyed or deactivated 6,828 nuclear warheads, 865 air-to-surface missiles, 29 nuclear submarines and 194 nuclear test tunnels, according to Lugar's office. The act is named for its Senate co-sponsors, Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn, a Georgia Democrat.
The U.S. has funded about $2 billion in security improvements at nuclear sites in the former Soviet Union, Wilkes said.
Harman questions whether all of it has been well-spent. ``There is massive corruption in Russia, and so a lot of that money didn't go to exactly what it should go for,'' she said.
Rose Gottemoeller, director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Moscow Center, said she sees ``a steady momentum'' in upgrading security at facilities. Still, Gottemoeller, Bunn and other experts say that terrorists are developing smarter tactics and becoming increasingly brazen.
Bunn said that most Russian nuclear facilities -- even those with upgraded security systems -- probably couldn't defend themselves against attacks such as those staged by Chechen militants at a Moscow theater in 2002 and at a school in Beslan in 2004.
The Navy Institute is proposing to extend the service life of more than 150 RTGs located on the Northern Sea Route, according to an unexpected statement by the head of the Institute’s nuclear fleet department, Valery Yarosh, at a conference in St. Petersburg.
Radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) are a source of electricity that contain radioactive strontium. In the Soviet Union they were installed in uninhabited locations and were used as power sources for lighthouses, but today this situation is unacceptable, given that strontium could easily fall into the hands of terrorists. Russia, with help from Western countries, is decommissioning these devices.
“But there is the option of prolonging the service life of RTGs, and this question was discussed at a working meeting with Rosatom representatives. The working life of RTGs may be extended without any safety dangers,” Yarosh said at a press conference at Rosatom’s Regional Centre dedicated to the accounting and control system for radioactive substances and radioactive waste.
Yarosh said that it had been suggested to leave in place 80-150 RTGs that had outlived their service life and were due for recycling along the Northern Sea Route.
The main argument Yarosh used to justify the decision was the lack of an alternative to RTGs in the raw conditions of Russia’s Far North.
“There is no doubt that there is a whole range of alternatives to RTGs. In the raw conditions of Russia’s Far North RTGs at lighthouses are being replaced with solar-powered batteries, and these lighthouses are successfully overseeing navigation,” a Bellona source said.
“Very little is impossible, but it is quite another question as to how much it costs. The way out is to switch as quickly as possible to digital maps, install these maps on all boats, and then we’ll be able to take down lots of lighthouses and not spend money on them and not use dangerous energy sources,” said Sergei Gubernatorov, general director of C-MAP Petersburg, which designs the electronic cards.
Gubernatorov said that GPS can be used along the whole length of the Northern Sea Route.
“State Hydrographic Service are actively developing digital maps. They are putting a lot of effort into it, and have covered almost the whole region. All that is left to do is for the ship owners to buy the equipment and install it on the boats, because it is not obligatory. It is possible to leave only those lighthouses that are necessary not for navigation but for orientation, in case GPS is down,” Gubernatorov said.
“In itself, the RTG is not usable even for terrorist attacks,” Yarosh said. “The metallic capsule holding the radioactive heat source is impossible to hide without special equipment, and the source itself is very hard.”
Most RTGs (130 of 163) planned to be left on the Northern Sea Route are the vulnerable Beta-M type, which has no welds and, as the experience of the last 15 years has shown, can be dismantled in situ using simple metalworking equipment.
Naval Academy extreme scenario: numbers of extended-life RTGs on the Northern Sea Route in January 2011 (The 1st column: localities, the upper row: RTG types)
Beta-M Gong Gorn Efir Total
Dikson 18 5 1 0 24
Igarka 42 0 0 0 42
Kolyma 12 0 0 0 12
Pevek 32 3 3 8 46
Providenia 26 0 8 5 39
Total 130 8 12 13 163
Nikolai Kuzelev, general director of the institute that designed the RTGs, wrote in Atomic Strategy magazine in 2003 that “there are vulnerability problems with the RTG regarding terrorist attacks with targeted use of radioactive materials contained in an RTG.”
In addition, it is known that radioactive substances can escape into the environment if the RTG’s protective case is damaged. In 2003, for example, on the Navarin Cape in Chukotka, in Russia’s Far East, an emergency RTG was discovered that had apparently been hit by landrover of a reindeer breeder group that had visited the site in 1999. Closer investigation should that the strontium had started to leak from the RTG into the environment, as a result of “unknown thermal-physical processes.” This thereby contradicted the thesis – held for years by the RTG’s designers – that the strontium capsule was virtually invulnerable.
Several cases of hunters dismantling RTGs for nonferrous metals led to the theft of a capsule: in 1999, a capsule with radiation level of over 1,000 R/HR (at 20 cm distance) was found at a bus stop in the Leningrad Oblast town of Kingisepp. Doses of above 100 R can give people radiation poisoning, and a one-time dose of over 600 R is considered fatal. When the capsule was taken out of the RTG, it poses a health hazard and can possibly be fatal to people and animals nearby (within 500 m).
Nevertheless, in connection with numerous cases in which hunters destroyed RTGs for nonferrous metals, Yarosh noted that “we have people who throw themselves under the metro train as well.”
The same opinion was expressed by Sergei Brykin, head of the central information and analytical centre for state accounting and control of radioactive substances and radioactive waste.
“If you count the number of RTGs and the number of cases of illegal dismantling and compare that with tragedies on the roads, in the metro, or even with medicines – the RTG will appear much safer,” he said.
Moreover, Yarosh said, the danger of RTGs can be seen as a plus, and not a minus. “RTGs are already protected by the fact that they’re dangerous. People will steal alternative sources [of nonferrous metals].”
RTG decommissioning programme
The Soviet Union produced around 1,500 RTGs, mainly as independent fuel for lighthouses on uninhabited coasts. Today, all of them are long past their shelf life. Most of them are unguarded, or at best checked once a year.
Previously, Rosatom repeatedly said it had plans to decommission all RTGs by 2011.
Work in decommissioning the RTGs is carried out with support from Norway and the United States, and talks are ongoing with Germany, Canada, and France. In Russia’s northwest with financial support from Norway RTGs in lighthouses are being replaced by solar batteries, and a plan has been agreed on this up to 2008. From the start of 2001 to the end of 2005, 295 RTGs were replaced along the Northern Sea Route, and 214 of them were dismantled
According to Yarosh, 303 RTGs were left along the Northern Sea Route as of January 1.
A “master plan” is also being developed for decommissioning RTGs. The aim of the master plan is to coordinate the work of Western donors, set priorities and remove previous opacity in spending of funds.
“We have now entered the industrial stage of decommissioning RTGs,” Brykin said. “We have the capacity and the infrastructure to decommission 10-20 RTGs every year.” All of this is going on even though “decommissioning RTGs is a very complicated process, and replacing them is economically unsound.”
St. Petersburg conference
At the conference in St. Petersburg data were announced on the condition of Russia’s systems for handling radioactive substances and radioactive waste. Following government resolution 1298 of October 1997, the system should have been in place by January 1, 2001.
Resolution 1298 delegated to regional executive bodies authority for accounting for and controlling radioactive substances and radioactive waste on their territories. In the 85 of Russia’s total 88 regions that have radiation-dangerous facilities, regional information and analytical centres should be set up.
But, Brykin said, currently such centres have been set up and functioning in 66 regions (78%).
In 2004, the number of the functioning centers was 39 (45%).
3. Russia says completes 60 criminal cases on WMD technologies
(for personal use only)
Russia's main security service has completed about 60 cases against Russians, foreigners and firms that were interested in technologies for the production of weapons of mass destruction, a senior official said Friday.
"We have completed about 60 cases against 30 Russians, foreign citizens and firms that were interested in such information or tried to obtain access to it," said Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service's economic security strategic department.
In particular, Bortnikov said that during a joint Russian-U.S. security operation, operatives arrested an Iranian-born U.S. citizen attempting to receive sensitive information about the development of nuclear weapons.
Also, a joint effort involving security services of Russia, Georgia, Armenia and the U.S. led to the arrest of a Russian citizen who was trying to smuggle 160 grams of enriched uranium out of Russia, the official said.
4. U.S. Nuclear Security Agency Focused on Reducing Threats - NNSA aims to deny terrorists, others means to develop nuclear weapons
U.S. Department of State/Bureau of International Information Programs
(for personal use only)
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has “accelerated and expanded” a five-pronged strategy to deny terrorists and rogue states the essentials needed to develop nuclear weapons, according to a senior official of that agency.
Jerry Paul, principal deputy administrator of the NNSA (part of the U.S. Department of Energy), said in prepared remarks that after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the agency has intensified efforts to keep nuclear material and nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists. He testified before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attack June 22.
Paul explained to the subcommittee the five elements of NNSA’s strategy:
· To account for and secure nuclear material in Russia and the former Soviet Union:
More than 80 percent of Russia’s nuclear materials storage sites have been secured, Paul said. That includes 95 percent of the Russian navy warhead and nuclear fuel sites, which he said would be completed in fiscal year 2006. Security upgrades at all scheduled sites are expected to be complete by the end of 2008, two years ahead of the schedule agreed to in 2001, he said.
· To detect and prevent the movement or trafficking of weapons-usable technologies and useable nuclear materials:
NNSA works internationally to install radiation detection equipment at key transit points throughout the world -- including seaports, airports and land border crossings -- to improve U.S. ability to detect movement of nuclear and radiological materials, Paul said. NNSA also trains enforcement officers around the world to interdict illicit technology transfers, and helps governments improve their own safeguards to keep nuclear materials secure, he added.
· To stop the production of new fissile material in Russia:
Construction is under way, Paul said, at two sites in Russia where the United States is assisting the building of fossil fuel power plants. Targeted for completion in 2008 and 2011, the power stations will enable Russia to shut down its last three plutonium-producing nuclear reactors and cease production of new plutonium.
· To eliminate existing weapons-usable material:
Under a bilateral agreement, 500 metric tons of Russian highly enriched uranium from dismantled nuclear weapons is being “down-blended” to low-enriched, non-weapons grade material for use in commercial power reactors, Paul said. More than 270 metric tons -- the equivalent of about 11,000 warheads -– already have been converted and used to support civilian nuclear power in the United States, accounting for 10 percent of U.S. electricity production.
· To eliminate or consolidate the remaining weapons-useable nuclear and radiological materials that exists throughout the remainder of the world:
Under the Energy Department’s two-year-old Global Threat Reduction Initiative, NNSA is identifying, securing, recovering and helping dispose of at-risk nuclear and radiological materials worldwide. Research reactors around the world are being converted from highly enriched to low enriched uranium fuel, Paul said. The agency also is working with Russia to develop technologies that will enable the conversion from high- to low-enriched fuel of Russian-designed research and test reactors in other countries.
5. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AND STATE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMITTEE OF UKRAINE SIGN AN IMPLEMENTING ARRANGEMENT
National Nuclear Security Administration
(for personal use only)
The United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the State Nuclear Regulatory Committee of Ukraine (SNRCU) agreed to work together to protect radiological material, which could be used for a “dirty bomb.” The Implementing Arrangement Concerning Cooperation to Enhance the Security of Ukraine's Usable Sources of Ionizing Radiation (SIRs) was signed on June 16, 2006 in Washington, D.C., and on June 23, 2006 in Kyiv, respectively.
Under this Implementing Arrangement, the United States plans to assist SNRCU and other designated beneficiaries to:
Improve physical protection, control and accounting methods for usable high risk SIRs; Enhance physical security of usable SIRs facilities such as oncology clinics, research institutes, Ukrainian State industrial enterprise, and commercial enterprises; Provide secure transport for usable SIRs within Ukraine; and Assist in training and provision of equipment to conduct searches for and retrieval of orphaned radiological sources.
In May 2005, NNSA also signed an Implementing Arrangement with the Ministry of Ukraine for Emergencies and Affairs of Population Protection from the Consequences of the Chornobyl Catastrophe (MOES) Concerning Cooperation to Enhance the Security of Ukraine’s Disused Sources of Ionizing Radiation. NNSA and MOES are working in close cooperation to implement joint projects for enhancing physical security of radioactive sources storage facilities under this Implementing Arrangement.
NNSA’s Office of Global Threat Reduction works around the world with more than 40 countries to prevent the malicious use of radioactive sources. It is responsible for implementing the assistance with SNRCU and MOES in Ukraine.
1. Russian Experts Complete Inspecting US Military Facility
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In compliance with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1), Russian military experts inspected the Pentagon's strategic facility, Itar-Tass learnt at the Russian Defence Ministry on Sunday. According to the ministry, "specialists of the National Center for lowering nuclear danger of the Russian Armed Forces completed inspection of an operating strategic facility of the US Air Force".
According to a Tass source, "Russian experts inspected a base of storage and repairs of intercontinental ballistic missiles Minitmen-3 and MX in the village of Hill, western US". "Specialists of the National Center verified the presence of missiles and auxiliary equipment, covered by the Treaty," he specified. "They have not found any violations of contractual obligations."
The START-1 Treaty which came into force in December 1994, prescribes a reduction of the number of carriers, deployed mobile ballistic missiles, submarine-based ballistic missiles and heavy bombers down to the level of under 1,600 units. It also imposes limitations on nuclear charges - down to 6,000 pieces.
The Minuteman missile was a hallmark of America's defenses during the Cold War.
The Energy Department said Thursday it has completed dismantling the last W56 warhead that for 30 years, beginning in the early 1960s, was the deadly core of the Minuteman I, and later the updated Minuteman II long-range missile.
A thousand of the Minuteman ICBMs built by the Boeing Co. were scattered in underground silos across the Midwest in the 1960s. They stayed there until they began being deactivated in 1991 under the START I missile reduction treaty with the Soviet Union.
Two years ago, President Bush directed the size of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile be reduced nearly in half by 2012.
'Dismantling the last W56 warhead shows our firm commitment to reducing the size of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile to the lowest level necessary for national security needs,' said Linton Brooks, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The agency is in charge of overseeing the nuclear weapons program.
In dismantling a warhead, the nuclear components -- plutonium and highly enriched uranium -- are separated from the high explosives. That also assures that the warhead can never be used again or be part of the U.S. weapons stockpile, a major issue in arms reduction negotiations.
The disassembly of the last W56 warhead represents the first time since Bush's 2004 directive that an entire weapons system has been dismantled, according to the agency.
The Minuteman I and Minuteman II were an integral part of the country's 'triad' nuclear deterrent. They were the land-based component; the others were submarine-launched missiles and manned bombers.
A later version, the Minuteman III, remains part of the U.S. arsenal.
3. Material for 11,000 Nuclear Warheads Eliminated by U.S.-Russian Program, USEC Announces; Megatons to Megawatts Helps Turn Cold War Weapons into Clean, Reliable Electricity
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The Megatons to Megawatts program has eliminated 275 metric tons of highly enriched uranium, equivalent to 11,000 nuclear warheads, USEC Inc. announced today.
As executive agent for the U.S. government, USEC implements the 20-year commercial agreement with the Russian executive agent OAO Techsnabexport (TENEX). Upon program's completion in 2013, 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Russian nuclear warheads will have been downblended into low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel for use in commercial nuclear power plants.
The 275 metric tons converted to date could generate enough electricity to meet the country's demand for more than a year and contains the energy equivalent of 5.7 billion barrels of oil.
The U.S. and Russian executive agents have a successful 13-year record of operating the program on a commercial basis at no cost to taxpayers. After taking delivery from TENEX in Russia, USEC ships the LEU to the United States where it and LEU produced at USEC's Paducah, Ky., plant provide fuel for USEC's customers. In 2005, the Megatons to Megawatts fuel supplied over 44 percent of the U.S. requirements for enriched uranium used in the country's 103 nuclear reactors.
As part of the commercial implementation of the program, USEC pays TENEX for the separative work units (SWU) contained in the fuel. Under the contract, Russia is guaranteed to receive at least $7.6 billion from its sales to USEC. Through 2005, USEC had already paid Russia over $4.1 billion. Given current market conditions, USEC expects to pay more than the guaranteed amount for the SWU by the end of the contract term.
In marking this milestone, USEC President and CEO John K. Welch said, "The Megatons to Megawatts program is successful because it meets the needs of all interested parties. It provides an important source of fuel for America's nuclear reactors; it significantly reduces the amount of HEU remaining in the world; and it provides Russia with a substantial, dependable revenue source."
Radiation Detection Equipment Installed Under NNSA Nonproliferation Program Will Help To Detect Smuggled Nuclear Material
During a formal commissioning ceremony, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the government of Spain announced that radiation detection equipment is fully operational at one of Spain’s busiest seaports. Installed as part of NNSA’s nonproliferation Megaports Initiative, the specialized equipment will help to detect smuggled or illicit shipments of nuclear and other radiological materials. Since 2004, NNSA has been cooperating and working closely with the government of Spain’s Customs and Tax Agency to install the equipment and train its operators.
“This commissioning demonstrates the commitment of both countries to preventing nuclear terrorism. Now that the program and equipment is up and running, we are working together to make not only the Spanish port safer, but also the entire global shipping network. It sends a strong deterrence signal to terrorists who would try to abuse the world’s shipping channels to smuggle illicit nuclear material,” said NNSA Administrator Linton F. Brooks.
NNSA’s Megaports Initiative is aimed at preventing smuggled shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials through the global shipping network. It enhances capabilities at international ports to detect, deter and interdict illicit materials. Under this important nonproliferation program, NNSA works with international partners to install specialized radiation detection equipment and provide training to appropriate law enforcement officials.
The specialized radiation detection technology deployed under this program is based on technologies originally developed by NNSA’s national laboratories as part of the U.S. government’s overall efforts to guard against the proliferation of weapons materials. The Megaports Initiative is currently operational in six countries, and at various stages of implementation and negotiations with approximately 30 other countries around the world.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.
NNSA and Egypt to Cooperate on Preventing Nuclear Smuggling
The United States signed a Declaration of Principles today with the government of Egypt to help thwart smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material. The declaration was cosigned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The document covers implementation of CBP’s Container Security Initiative and NNSA’s Megaports Initiative, as both programs continue working together to stop nuclear material from being smuggled to U.S. ports. Three other joint DOE-CBP declarations of principles have been signed with the Sultanate of Oman, and the governments of Honduras and Jamaica.
NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks stated, “It is critical for international security and the stability of the global economy that seaports have the capability to screen cargo for nuclear material that could be smuggled by terrorists. Through partnerships like today’s declaration with the government of Egypt, we will be able to detect and deter illicit materials from being transported through the international maritime system.”
NNSA’s Megaports Initiative is aimed at preventing illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material through the global maritime system. Under this important nonproliferation program, NNSA works with foreign partners to install specialized radiation detection equipment and enhance the capabilities to detect, deter and interdict illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive materials at international ports. The Megaports Initiative is currently operational in six countries, and at various stages of implementation and negotiations with approximately 30 other countries around the world.
Under the Container Security Initiative (CSI), CBP stations multidisciplinary teams of U.S. officers from CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to work with their host government counterparts to establish security criteria to identify high-risk containers. Their mission is to target and pre-screen containers destined for the United States.
“Preventing the smuggling of illicit nuclear weapons and radiological materials remains CBP’s highest priority,” said CBP Commissioner W. Ralph Basham. “CSI is a brilliant idea that serves the interests of both business and security. Through the workings of CSI, we must and will achieve our collective twin goals of security and trade facilitation.”
CSI is operational in 44 ports in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and North, South, and Central America. Approximately 75 percent of cargo containers headed to the U.S. now originate in or are transshipped from CSI ports.
To expedite the inspection process, host customs administrations are required to provide non-intrusive technology to quickly inspect any identified high-risk containers before they are shipped to U.S. ports. The capabilities provided under the Megaports Initiative offer an additional targeting tool for customs officials supporting CSI.
The Declaration of Principles is aimed at detecting and deterring illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials by smugglers and terrorists. Similar partnerships exist with the Netherlands, Greece and other nations. Representatives from Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East and the Caribbean are in active discussions with the United States to install radiation detection systems at key port facilities worldwide to further international nonproliferation efforts and provide useful evidence to support prosecution efforts.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, and protection of our Nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.
New Zealand is contributing $500,000 to a United States-led project to shut down one of Russia's last Soviet-era nuclear reactors.
New Zealand and the US will today sign a memorandum of understanding which will result in both countries helping Russia to permanently shut down a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor at Zheleznogorsk.
US ambassador William McCormick said both New Zealand and the US recognised that the three remaining plutonium production reactors in Russia constituted a proliferation threat.
Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Goff said the Zheleznogorsk reactor was old and produced enough plutonium as a by-product to create one nuclear weapon a week.
"The reactor is also unsafe. According to one expert, the Chernobyl reactor was an improvement on this model," he said.
Mr McCormick said the shutdown of the reactor at Zheleznogorsk was part of a series of multilateral initiatives the US was involved in to address non-proliferation, disarmament, counter-terrorism, and nuclear safety issues.
Mr Goff said the reactor would be replaced with a fossil fuel plant, and New Zealand's contribution would be used to ensure that it met the highest possible environmental standards.
Mr McCormick said New Zealand and the US would work with the Russian Government to construct replacement electricity generation capacity.
Mr Goff said the $500,000 funding was in addition to the $700,000 the country had committed this financial year to a British-led project to destroy chemical weapons at Shchuch'ye in Russia.
The $1.2 million New Zealand was spending this year was part of its contribution to the G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, he said. This was on top of the $1.2 million New Zealand had committed previously to destroying chemical weapons of mass destruction in Russia.
Congress will allocate money next year to continue the construction of a factory at the Savannah River Site that will rid the nuclear reservation of large quantities of plutonium, a high-level government official predicted Tuesday.
Officials are supposed to start building the mixed-oxide, or MOX, plant in the fall. And Linton Brooks, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is in charge of its construction, said Congress will provide the money needed to keep it going, even though some object.
MOX "is in the national interest of the country," Mr. Brooks said, and "Congress wants to do what's best for the country."
The amount of money funneled to MOX, which is supposed to convert weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for commercial nuclear power plants, will depend largely on the outcome of budget hearings next month, said Mr. Brooks, who spoke to the Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness, a pro-nuclear organization.
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee has proposed not funding the plant, but the Senate has given it a green light.
The United States and Russia agreed in 2000 to build MOX plants to get rid of 34 metric tons of plutonium in each country. The goal is to keep the potentially lethal material from would-be terrorists.
Construction has been delayed by liability issues in Russia, and designs for the MOX plant at SRS still aren't complete. Neither issue should further slow the process, Mr. Brooks said.
The Energy Department, which oversees Mr. Brooks' agency, wants to go forward with construction without the Russians, and the U.S. design is 85 percent finished, Mr. Brooks said.
Delays, coupled with alleged mismanagement, have driven up costs. Officials originally estimated that it would cost as much as $1.6 billion, but a federal report released in December estimated that it would be closer to $3.5 billion.
Mr. Brooks said the true cost is in flux because of rising construction costs, which grow higher as time goes on.
Officials have about $550 million to start building but have asked for an additional $290.5 million next year.
Mr. Brooks said a revised cost estimate is due but he did not know when it would be released. He also said that management changes had been made since project oversight was criticized.
"We've worked very hard to fix the problem," he said.
The Savannah River Site nuclear installation in Aiken County is supposed to receive an abundance of plutonium once used in the nation's nuclear weapons. Some federal leaders have promised to make sure the radioactive material doesn't stay in South Carolina. While much of it is supposed to be turned into fuel for nuclear power plants, at least 13 metric tons destined for SRS don't have a path out. Linton Brooks of the National Nuclear Security Administration said Tuesday that excess plutonium will be consolidated, possibly at SRS, and that it would likely be mixed with glass for eventual burial in a geological repository.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is to approve the weapons program for 2007-2015 in the coming days. Its places priority on naval strategic forces. Twice the amount of funds are being allotted to the construction of nuclear submarines as to shipbuilding. This is the continuation of a tendency in recent years that has brought the Russian shipbuilding industry to a state where it cannot even produce small military craft on schedule, never mind large-scale projects. Missile Kings
Nuclear submarines have long been the love of the Russian military. Even with a shortage of floating forces, the Defense Ministry insistently favors submarines in budgeting. In the 2006 state defense order, about 8 billion rubles were allotted to the construction of nuclear submarines, while shipbuilding received 4 billion rubles. Minister Vladislav Putilin, deputy chairman of the Military Industrial Commission told Kommersant that the construction of five missile-bearing nuclear submarines in planned in the next nine years. They will be 995-Borei models and carry new Bulava 30 missiles.
There is some doubt about how realistic those plans are. The lead ship in the Borei project, the Yury Dolgoruky, was laid down on November 2, 1996, and was supposed to be launched in 2002. Other craft, submarines whose construction was frozen in the mid-1990s, were cannibalized to speed up the process. Nonetheless, the Yury Dolgoruky is still in the wharves at Sevmashpredpriyatie, were it is estimated to be about 60-percent complete.
Sevmashpredpriyatie general director Vladimir Pastuykhov said that be prepared to be taken out of the wharf this year. A month ago, chief commander of the Russian Navy Adm. Vladimir Masorin promised that the Yury Dolgoruky would be in the Northern Fleet and combat-ready by 2008.
Other Boreis have fared no better. A second one, called the Alexander Nevsky, was laid down at Sevmashpredpriyatie on March 19, 2004, and on the same date this year, a third Borei, the Vladimir Monomakh, was laid down there. They are to go into service in 2009 and 2011, but not even the Navy is entire certain that that is possible. Nonetheless, another Borei will be started next year. In the industry, the reason for the delay in the completion of the craft is considered a lack of state funding. Bureaucrats hotly deny that.
“Costs are rising needlessly,” Putilin said. “The price of the third ship from the 955 is several times greater than that of the first. While the ships are being built, the enterprise lives of them, a long-playing order is profitable and turning out the ship is death. So the submarines may be under construction for eternity.”
While construction of the Boreis is being drawn out, testing of the Bulava 30 missile is also proceeding at a leisurely pace. The TK208 model nuclear submarine Dmitry Donskoi was modernized at Sevmashpredpriyatie under Project 941UM so that it could be used for test launches. It now occasionally goes into the North Sea from Severodvinsk and launches Bulavas. There have been four such tests so far. Masorin says that the test program should be completed in 2007, when the first Borei is to be ready. But monetary problems may affect the testing of the Bulavas as well. “The Bulava missile is very expensive, therefore we will try to optimize testing and reduce the maximal number of launches,” Masorin has said. Putilin has stated that preparations are already being made for the mass production of the Bulava 30, and 5 billion rubles will be allotted form the state budget for that purpose.
The multipurpose Severodvinsk nuclear submarine program, being built under the 855-Yasen Program, is in no better shape. The craft was to carry eight launching devices with 24 P-100 Onyx high-precision stealth anti-ship cruise missiles. It was laid down on the Severodvinsk at Sevmashpredpriyatie on January 22, 1993, with a completion date of 2000. However, practically no funds have been allotted for it in the 2006 state defense order, so the future of the project is in question. Originally, the military planned to build another six of the craft. They were to receive a significant portion of the non-nuclear deterrence – the submarine was to be the “aircraft carrier killer.” At present, the Defense Ministry does not consider it necessary to invest in more Yasens and prefers to concentrate its finances on the Boreis.
Big Boats and Little Boats
On December 26, 1997, the lead ship of the fourth generation of the St. Petersburg series of non-nuclear submarines of the 677 Lada Project developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Naval Equipment was laid down at the Admiralty Wharves in St. Petersburg. However, due to delays in supplies of new models of equipment and weapons by a number of ancillary suppliers, it did not remain in its pilings for long. Data from the Audit Chamber show that costs of components for the St. Petersburg rose by 180 percent between 1997 and 2002, and the costs of weapons for it tripled.
The lead Lada was to be set afloat in 2003 for the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, but the launch occurred in 2004. In 2006, 450 million rubles were allotted for its completion so that it could be handed over to the fleet. A number of its operational systems have yet to be completed, such as the hydroacoustic system and, according to unofficial sources, the tactical data system. “Now we are several years short on time to bring the product to completion, so it will be delivered and then we will complete it jointly with the fleet under our management,” Rubin head Igor Spassky told Kommersant.
Similar problems have been encountered with other submarine projects. The first Guard corvette (that is the classification of a small patrol craft in older military terminology) was laid down at the Northern Wharf in St. Petersburg in 2001, followed by one in 2003 and another in 2005. A fourth is to be laid down in the fourth quarter of this year. The corvettes are being built for the Baltic Fleet. Last December, the Amur Shipbuilding Plant won a tender to build one for the Pacific Ocean Fleet and was supposed to lay it down on June 30.
Project 20380 was called “a corvette for the 21st century” in the press. The naval command called it an undetectable craft with the latest stealth-technology weaponry. But experts had questions about Project 20380 from the very beginning. In particular, it was not clear what function it was to serve. The craft have an obvious anti-ship design that the naval command intended as a full replacement for the old patrol vessels of the Northern and Pacific Fleets that cover the areas where nuclear submarines carrying ballistic missiles enter and depart. The only opponent that could realistically threaten the Russian nuclear missile carriers is the United States, whose floating and flying forces are many times greater and considered the main strike force against carrier aviation. Corvettes would be powerless against them.
The Project 20380 corvettes are planned for use in the Baltic and Black Seas as well, where their anti-ship mission is completely unrealistic. There the corvettes will face an opponent with a strike force of light, fast units of floating vessels with a threat of mines. The will operate under conditions of superior airpower on the opponent's side. The craft are intended to use their missiles in battles with groups of small combat boats and with large warships, to strike targets on land with their missiles and fend off mass attacks of anti-ship missiles and air strikes and to mine the waters. Experts doubt that Project 20380 corvettes will be capable of realizing any one of those tasks. They have weak propulsion, relatively weak missiles, no chance of hitting targets on land, little capacity for setting a serious quantity of mines and poor antiaircraft defenses. A recent publication under the editorship of Boris Kuzyk, former head of the Northern Wharf who had extensive experience with the construction of corvettes, states, “The construction of new corvettes using outdated weapons (developed 20 years ago), while the naval fleet has a large quantity of similar vessels that need only repairs and remodeling, is surprising.”
Independent experts examining military shipbuilding in recent years have concluded that the Russian shipbuilding industry is incapable of building even small craft on schedule. The patrol boat The Unapproachable was laid down for the Baltic Fleet in 1988 at the Yantar plant in Kaliningrad under Project 11540. It was the second ship in its series. The first, The Undaunted, was built between 1987 and 1993. The second ship, renamed Yaroslav the Wise in 1995, has not been completed in 18 years, although it is 80-percent ready.
In 2006, the Defense Ministry allotted Yantar 1.2 billion rubles, of which 1 billion rubles were to go to the construction of the Yaroslav the Wise. To keep its construction costs down, it was reclassified from large anti-ship vessel (a first-rank ship) to patrol vessel (second-rank ship). Trials of it are scheduled for 2007 and delivery for 2008. The Russian Navy will thus receive a ship that has long been out-of-date.
The patrol boat Novik was laid down at Yantar on July 27, 2997, under Project 12441 Grom. Chief commander of the Russian Navy at the time Adm. Felix Gromov also called the Novik “the ship of the 21st century.” However, after spending 2.5 billion rubles on the construction of the ship, it was abandoned in 2001 due to a number of insurmountable technical problems. Now that the Ministry of Defense has budget funds for it, it has been decided to complete the ship, which has been renamed Borodino, as a training vessel.
Another small patrol boat, the Project 11660 Gepard, was developed by the Zelenodolsk Project Design Bureau in the early 1980s. The lead ship was laid down at the Zelenodolsk plant in 1988 and its skeleton was disassembled in 1989 in the course of military cutbacks.
In 1992, the Russian government ordered four patrol boats of a simplified Project 11661 Gepard-1 design for export. But they found no customers for them and the Navy criticized the design for its low ratio of weapon load to water displacement. Thanks to the efforts of the government of Tatarstan, an even more simplified version was built for the Caspian Fleet and called the Tatarstan.
Adm. Masorin has promised a second ship for the Caspian Fleet in 2007, the Dagestan. In the 2006 state defense order, 500 million rubles have been allotted for its construction. Attempts were made to sell the two skeletons at the Zelenodolsk plant to the Federal Border Service, but now a buyer for them is being sought in Vietnam.
The state of affairs is similar for the construction even still lighter craft. A Project 02668 minesweeper was laid down at the Sredne-Nevsk shipbuilding plant in St. Petersburg in 2000. A Project 10750 harbor minesweeper is also being built there. The former is to be delivered in 2010, and the delivery date of the latter is unknown.
In the last state weapons program, instituted in 2000, there was no serial procurement of military technology. In the new program, the basic expenses go for the equipping of the army, including the fleet, with new-model weapons. However, it is not yet known how that will affect the floating forces. If even three or four nuclear missile carrying submarines will be completed more-or-less on schedule, it will be insufficient.
There are about 50 large surface ships now in the Russian naval fleet. That is one aircraft carrier, four Project 1144 and 1164 missile cruisers (with two more Project 1144 cruisers laid up), ten Project 956 destroyers, 12 large antisubmarine ships and 25 large amphibious ships. Not all of them are combat-ready. Some of them are under repair or awaiting major overhauls.
No new vessels larger than frigates are expected to be added to the naval forces before 2010 or 2011. The lead frigate of Project 22350 was laid down at the Northern Wharf on February1, 2006. Its completion date was announced as 2009, but it already looks as though it will be finished in 2011. Only 100 million rubles was allotted in the 2006 state defense order for it.
There are 45 nuclear submarines and 20 diesel submarines in the Russian fleet. On paper, the fleet includes three Project 941 nuclear strategic missile carrying submarines. But the Dmitry Donskoi is a test pad for the Bulava missile and cannot carry out real military missions. The Severstal missile carrier is under renovation and the Arkhangelsk has no missiles. As a result, the main nuclear deterrent is six Project 667BDRM missile carrying submarines, one of which is under renovation, and six Project 667BDR vessels. The Russian Navy also has nine Project 959A submarines (two of which are under renovation) with anti-ship missiles and 21 Projects 971, 945 and 671RTMK nuclear torpedo submarines, of which at least six are under renovation.
Of the 20 Project 636, 877 and 641B diesel submarines, only 12 are actually combat-ready. In spite of Adm. Masorin's statements that “Russia will fully update its nuclear submarine fleet by 2010,” the best-case scenario is most likely that there will be five or six Project 667BDRM ballistic missile carrying nuclear submarines and one or two new Project 955 submarines equipped. Taking the retirement of vessels into account and the guaranteed delays in the launch of new ones, the total number of submarines will be reduced to 35-40.
2. Russian agency upbeat on nuclear submarine's first trip after upgrading
(for personal use only)
The strategic Dmitriy Donskoy (Project 941M nuclear-propulsion ballistic missile-carrying) submarine has returned to Sevmashpredpriyatiye dockyard where it had been upgraded and re-equipped.
Interfax was told at the enterprise that the submarine was met by Sevmashpredpriyatiye general director Vladimir Pastukhov, military customers from the Belomorsk military base which "had a high opinion of how the tests were organized and carried out".
"The first sea voyage this year showed that the submarine is in good condition and that the crew and the enterprise team are in good shape, ready to fulfil their tasks," the source said.
(Passage omitted: the submarine was also checked in 2004 and 2005)
The source said that the submarine "is returning virtually as a new one". Pipelines of the general systems, all the wiring, communications systems, acoustics and radiation control have been replaced. The enterprise's specialists have upgraded the nuclear submarine to the fourth-generation level.
3. Russia Builds New Nuclear Submarine for Lease to India
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A nuclear submarine built at the Amur Shipyard for the Russian Navy as part of the Nerpa project is being tested in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Vice Admiral Anatoly Shlemov, director of the Russian Defense Ministry's ship and weapons procurement department, told Interfax-AVN.
"The submarine has been launched. It will join the Pacific Fleet in February 2007," he said.
The Vedomosti newspaper reported on Friday that the submarine would be leased to India.
A source close to the Amur shipyard's management confirmed in an interview with Vedomosti that tests of the submarine had started on June 24. "It is an extraordinary event for the defense sector. The shipyard began building the nuclear submarine Nerpa (Project 971, Class Shchuka-B) in 1991, but the project was mothballed due to a shortage of funds at the Russian Navy, according to naval weapons expert Mikhail Baranov," the newspaper said.
"A contract that was signed with India presumably in 2004 and envisioned the completion of the submarine's construction and plans to lease it to the Indian navy helped revive the project," it said.
4. Russia: Nose Cone of RSM-54 Ballistic Missle Hits Target on Kamchatka
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The nose cone of the Russian RSM-54 intercontinental ballistic missile, which was fired on Friday from a nuclear submarine in the Barents Seas, squarely hit its practice target on the Kura test ground of Kamchatka at 10.55 Moscow time, Chief of the Navy Press Service Captain Igor Dygalo told tar-Tass.
"The head cone of the missile flew over a distance of approximately six thousand kilometres and successfully demolished the mock target on the test ground. The sea-based RSM-54 "Sineva" missile (Skiff, according to western classification) was fired from a submerged position," he stated
The nuclear submarine, from which it was launched, belongs to the 667BDRM project. The unclassified name of the submarines of this type is "Delfin" (Delta-IV, according to western classiication). Seven submarines of this type were built in the period after 198 Each sub is chiefly armed with sixteen RSM-54 missiles. It is 167 metres lng and its maximum submergence depth is 650 metres. The crew numbers 140 officers and men.
Today, "Delfin" type submarines are the core of the naval component of the Russian nuclear trad. A special test, including the preparation and simultaneous launching of all the sixteen missiles in one salvo,L as though in real warfare, was held on one of such 667BDRM submarine cruisers in 1990.
1. Russian presidential aide discusses plans for upcoming G8 summit
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Russian presidential aide and chairman of the organizing committee for Russia's G8 presidency Sergey Prikhodko discussed plans for the St Petersburg G8 summit at a news conference in Moscow on 4 July, Russian news agencies reported. Among the topics discussed were the agenda for the summit and relations with the USA. He also promised that peaceful antiglobalist protesters would be welcome to express their views during the summit.
Prikhodko said that while the issue of Iran's nuclear problem would rightly be discussed at the summit, it would not dominate proceedings, Interfax-AVN reported. "I don't think that this will be the central international theme. I don't think that all the efforts of the presidents and prime ministers will be focused solely on Iran: there are other issues," he said. "We have serious daily, sometimes hourly, discussions with our colleagues on this issue, not just with the G8 states, but also other countries. The most important thing is that we all speaking from the same position. We have one aim - to respond to the real concerns, which are grounded in reality, and through our joint efforts motivate Iran to cooperate more closely. The parameters of this cooperation are set out in the documents by the six nations (involved in resolving the Iran issue). This is the joint platform we share with our colleagues," he added.
The presidential aide also noted that Russia does not intent to initiate discussion on the Energy Charter at the G8 summit, ITAR-TASS reported. Describing the Energy Charter as a "useful, but already out of date document", Prikhodko said that the aim of the G8 was not to discuss individual documents but to "develop a collective opinion about what each country can do in terms of world development".
No cooling of relations with USA
Prikhodko denied that there had been any cooling in relations with the USA, ITAR-TASS reported. "It doesn't seem to me that our relations have cooled. Perhaps there is however an entirely natural desire to raise the level of cooperation and broaden the circle of problems on which we should adopt a united approach," he said. He cited Iran as being a good example of cooperation between the two countries. "Here we have no contradictions in our strategies and aims," he said.
He added that during the G8 summit Bush and Putin would discuss the issue of strategic stability, as well as other issues. "In our relations we want to include issues that are understandable not only to politicians, but also businessmen and citizens. This is why Putin and Bush will have the opportunity not just to discuss international cooperation, but also talk in-depth about bilateral issues," he said.
Putin also intends discuss the START III treaty at his meeting with the US president, AVN quoted Prikhodko as saying.
"Warm welcome" for antiglobalists at G8
Prikhodko told journalists that antiglobalists would receive "a warm welcome" at the G8 summit, but warned troublemakers to stay away, ITAR-TASS reported. "If these people want to kick up a fuss and act as hooligans then it would be best if they didn't come to St Petersburg," he said. "If the antiglobalists really want to be heard and are willing to demonstrate their energy then we will help them. The local authorities will create conditions for those who want to express their opinions and are not hiding stones in their fists," he said.
2. Russia unsatisfied with Ten Plus Ten program implementation
Sergei Babkin and Alexandra Urusova
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Russia can't say it is satisfied with the implementation of Program Ten Plus Ten, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak told a Friday press conference, which presented the White Book on the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The program, which is bound for disarmament, stipulates the assignment of $10 billion by the United States and $10 billion by other G8 member countries within ten years for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Most of the funds are meant for Russia, while Ukraine and Kazakhstan receive the rest.
``We cannot say that we are fully satisfied,'' Kislyak said. Russia is dismantling nuclear-powered submarines and eliminating nuclear and chemical weapons with the funds.
``The funding does not exceed 20% of Russia's own expenditures,'' Kislyak said. In his opinion, too much funds are being spent on program bureaucracy. ``The program could have been more efficient, especially in the part of chemical weapons that we must dispose before 2012,'' he said. ``Russia is meticulous, and we will bear the expenses,'' he said.
The financing of Russia's chemical disarmament has increased manifold over the recent years, Vice-Premier and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said.
1. Managing Spent Nuclear Fuel Rises on Global Agenda - Experts Examine Policy, Safety and Security, and Technology Issues
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Public confidence must be built and transparency increased as growing global demand for nuclear power raises the need to better manage spent fuel.
Nuclear experts voiced that emerging international view at the IAEA in Vienna recently. They met to examine spent fuel management at nuclear reactors in the context of key policy, safety and security, and technical issues. The global conference reflects the increasing importance of the issues and recognition of their fundamental place in the future development of nuclear power. Nearly 200 participants and observers from 41 countries and international organizations shared lessons and experiences at the conference from 19-22 June 2006.
The world´s 441 nuclear power reactors in operation today generate spent fuel that is currently stored on-site or off-site in storage facilities. There was general consensus at the conference that the large amount of spent fuel already in storage will increase, if no choices are made on spent fuel management strategies. The spent fuel or high level waste from reprocessing are expected to be stored for longer periods of time, awaiting geological disposal. The conference agreed that while current arrangements for storage have been operated with no major problems, it is becoming increasingly important to have disposal arrangements available. Present-day concerns on ensuring safety, security and non-proliferation over longer time periods further strengthen the argument.
The importance of the IAEA initiative on multinational approaches for the management of spent fuel and the recent fuel cycle initiatives by USA and Russia in applying advanced technologies in processing spent fuel and recycling of materials were presented. These initiatives would reduce proliferation risks and reduce the generation of radioactive waste. They would also be important to countries with small nuclear programmes since a service for managing spent fuel would be provided.
The conference also discussed the need for an international nuclear safety regime, building on the framework of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management together with International Safety Standards. This would be important to multinational or international approaches. The conference noted the regulations on transport of radioactive material as good example of an international safety regime. This example demonstrates how countries can move towards a safety regime when all parties agree on the various safety aspects of the application.
Increasing public awareness and measures to strengthen public confidence on the safety, security and reliability of storage systems were also emphasized, particularly in the post 9/11 landscape and the implications on nuclear activities.
A series of more specialised sessions addressed topics relating to criticality safety, licensing of long term storage and the technology/experience of wet and dry storage of spent fuel storage.
For the future, the conference expects to see greater international cooperation continue on research and development related to technical aspects of spent fuel management; continuing progress towards an international safety regime, as well as future multilateral initiatives related to fuel cycle activities.
1. Russia confirms chemical disarmament targets for 2007
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The 46th session of the Executive Committee of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is a key event in preparations for the 11th session of the organization member countries, which is due this December.
The forum will discuss the essence of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, deputy head of the Russian Federal Industry Agency Viktor Khlystov told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
The first item on the agenda is the deadline for chemical disarmament of organization member countries, he said. A number of countries have applied for extending the chemical disarmament period. India, Libya and Albania have applied for extending the intermediate period of chemical disarmament, which can be resolved within the convention framework. Meanwhile, the United States and Russia want to postpone the final deadline, April 29, 2012.
The second item is measures to ensure the implementation of the convention. Each member country should form a national agency or attribute these functions to an existent ministry or department.
The third item is international assistance, and it is very topical, Khlystov said. Some countries want to receive the assistance for developing chemical industries and enjoying support in case of a possible use of chemical weapons against them.
In 1987, the Army estimated it would cost $2 billion to dispose of the 27,768 metric tons of chemical weapons in its stockpile.
Today, the price has mushroomed to $28 billion, and the military is about a third of the way through the job. An array of problems -- including technical challenges and protests from community activists concerned about the impact of burning the weapons -- has dogged the progress. In May, officials announced the Army will be unable to destroy all the weapons by 2012 -- which would be a five-year extension to the current deadline.
"We underestimated the job, the complexity of the job and this high-hazard environment we have to operate in," said Michael A. Parker, director of the Army's Chemical Materials Agency.
The United States has the second-largest inventory of chemical weapons next to Russia, which has 40,000 tons of warfare agents and is also struggling to meet the 2007 disposal deadline under an international treaty dating to 1997. Both countries are seeking five-year extensions.
The Army is incinerating weapons in Alabama, Arkansas, Oregon and Utah, and has finished work on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific. Under pressure from activists, the Pentagon has opted for chemically neutralizing warfare agents in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky and Maryland. It has completed work in Maryland, but plant construction in Colorado and Kentucky will only begin this year. By Parker's estimate, the chemical neutralization facilities will not finish disposing warfare agents until 2014.
"We are making progress every day," Parker said. "Some days are better than others."
Congress mandated disposal of the weapons a decade ago, and ever since, the Defense Department has been battling environmental activists and some members of Congress over its reliance on burning the chemicals.
Pentagon officials have argued that incineration is most efficient. But Craig E. Williams, director of the Chemical Weapons Working Group in Berea, Ky., said that emissions could have lasting effects on communities such as his. Working with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), he has spent nearly two decades pushing the Army to develop a chemical neutralization approach.
"We basically ended up forcing them to consider alternative disposal methods," McConnell said. "Environmental cleanup, I guess, is not high in the mission statement" of the Defense Department.
Parker said the Army does not oppose chemical neutralization but was simply taking a pragmatic approach.
"Incineration was a much more mature technology in the late '80s and early '90s," he said. "The department was put in an impossible bind. The Congress mandated some very aggressive disposal schedules, and in order to comply with the law the department pursued the single option that was available, which was to use incineration technology."
The approach has produced mixed results. Chemical agents have escaped three times from incinerator plant stacks and twice from plant equipment, Parker said, adding that the release exceeded the permitted federal limit only once.
But critics such as Jason Groenewold, executive director of the Salt Lake City-based Healthy Environmental Alliance of Utah, said those chemical releases, such as the one from Utah's Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, add to air pollution and could have long-term effects on residents.
"On all accounts we were misled," Groenewold said. "We've had tremendous delays and problems."
The plant in Tooele, Utah, has been at the center of the controversy. In the mid-1990s, the former general manager and chief safety manager left and suggested that the plant's operations were flawed. Gary M. Millar, the former general manager, wrote the plant's top management in November 1996 that he had to conclude that their actions "are typical of the senior management at Three Mile Island before their nuclear incident or at NASA before the Challenger incident."
While Millar's dire predictions have not materialized, the plant has experienced problems. A 1999 leak briefly exposed seven plant workers to nerve agent. The Pentagon determined the employees were not harmed, though the following year a former worker suggested he had suffered cognitive and memory problems because of long-term exposure at the plant.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors the public health impact of the chemical weapons disposal, and its officials remain confident that incinerators do not pose a threat and are no more dangerous than chemical neutralization.
But some community activists question that. Two mathematics professors at Berea College, a liberal-arts school near one of the planned disposal facilities, constructed a computer model 10 years ago to determine how dioxins released from the proposed incinerator would affect families in the area. Jan Pearce and James K. Blackburn-Lynch determined that when it rained, subsistence farmers living near the incinerator would accumulate dioxins in their fatty tissues that would exceed the federal legal limit.
Craig E. Williams, a Vietnam veterans leader who won the $125,000 Goldman Environmental Prize this past spring for his work opposing the incineration of warfare agents, said he spent 20 years urging defense officials to listen to the people who live and work near chemical weapons stockpiles.
"My overwhelming focus on this was to force them to prioritize the safety of the community and the environmental impact of destroying the most dangerous weapons ever devised," Williams said.
3. Russia: 600 Tonnes of Lewisite Eliminated at Kambarka Chemical Weapons Store
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Some 598 tonnes of lewisite has been eliminated in Kambarka, Udmurtia, since the first unit of the chemical arms disposal complex was commissioned there on March 1, the chief of the information and analysis center, Nadezhda Aziatseva, said on Friday.
According to the official the capacity of this chemical arms disposal complex is 6-8 times that of the one in the village of Gorny, the Saratov Region.
The Kambarka facility was fully commissioned on March 21. It eliminates a daily amount of five to seven tonnes of lewisite. During 2006 the complex is to achieve capacity operation, allowing it to eliminate 2,500 tonnes of lewisite a year.
"International experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons take samples of air, water and soil for analysis every day. They also closely monitor labor safety rules. Over the four months since the chemical weapons began to be eliminated there have been no emergencies," Aziatova said.
Kambarka is one of the seven sites where Russia's chemical weapons are stored. The 6,400 tonnes of lewisite stored there (about 15.9 percent of the overall amount) are to be eliminated over a period of 3.5 years.
4. Russian nuclear submarine sent for scrap instead of refit
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The B-292 Perm multirole nuclear submarine has moored at berth No 9 of the Zvezdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk for scrapping.
Zvezdochka told Interfax-Military News Agency that the B-292 would be the eighth multirole nuclear submarine whose scrapping has been funded by Canada.
The active reactor zone will be dismantled in autumn 2006, and the submarine proper will be scrapped in 2007, the year of the submarine's 20th anniversary
The submarine was shipped from the Arctic to Severodvinsk by a Zvezdochka crew headed by Capt First Rank (Ret'd) Mikhail Vasilyev. The submarine was escorted by the Sadko, a diesel-electric motor vessel belonging to the yard.
The B-292 nuclear submarine (Project 671RTM, code-name Shchuka, Victor-III under NATO classification) is the flagship submarine of its series. It was built at the Admiralty Yard in St Petersburg in March 1987. In November 1987 it came into service with the 33rd Division of the Northern Fleet, based in Zapadnaya Litsa, and then with the 7th Nuclear Submarine Division, based in Vidyayevo, when the 33rd Division was disbanded.
The submarine has a length of 106.1 metres, beam of 10.8 metres, a full displacement of 7,225 cubic metres, a maximum dive of 600 metres, and endurance of 80 days.
On 26 July 2002, at the initiative of the Perm administration, the submarine was named after the city.
The submarine was to have undergone a two-year overhaul starting in 2004 and served for eight to ten more years. However, due to lack of money it was decided to scrap it.
1. U.S.-Russian Nonproliferation Partnerships to Showcase Innovative, Commercial Technologies in New Mexico
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The following is being issued by the United States Industry Coalition:
Stolar Research Corporation, Raton, NM, will sign a new agreement with its Russian partner NIIIS, the Institute for Measuring Systems Research in Nizhny Novgorod. This agreement covers design and manufacture of advanced radar equipment, which the U.S. and Russian partners will then market and sell.
The Stolar-NIIIS business deal represents an important nonproliferation goal of the NNSA Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (GIPP) program: generating new jobs and new businesses in both the U.S. and former Soviet nations.
GIPP sponsors three-way partnerships to help former Soviet weapons of mass destruction scientists, engineers and technicians to re-direct their talent to peaceful, non-military work. Each GIPP project features a private U.S. industry partner; a former Soviet weapons institute (or its spin-off company); and a U.S. national laboratory. The NNSA Kansas City Plant has provided technical and program management support to the Stolar-NIIIS partnership.
INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES to be showcased:
(1) Drillstring Radar (DSR) for Coal-Oil-Methane Gas Exploration (Stolar Research) Using electromagnetic waves to detect planar boundaries of rock formations, DSR allows operator to "see in advance" for clean, safe drilling of coal and/or methane gas. DSR is also useful for mapping old, abandoned mines.
(2) Landmine Detector for Metal AND Plastic Explosives (Stolar Research) Hand-held or robotic units detect anti-personnel mines; an estimated 100K landmines deployed around the world.
(3) Optical Fibers & Fiber Lasers for global markets (VOLIUS, Inc.) Russian manufacturing facility producing advanced fiber lasers for $2.2 Billion industrial laser market.
(4) Trace Chemical Detection using Diode Lasers (Canberra Aquila) Tunable Diode Lasers able to detect methamphetamine labs and other explosive materials will meet law enforcement and homeland security demands.
(5) "Smart Bolts" to Secure and Protect Nuclear Material (Canberra Aquila) Enhanced sealing and bolting system equipped with RF communications technology allows monitoring from remote locations.
(6) "MORS" Multi-Object Remote Surveillance (Canberra Aquila) Cutting-edge "smart video" system allows for automatic detection, identification, and tracking of objects of interest in a surveillance scenario.
(7) High-Temperature Battery for Deep Oil Exploration (Sandia National Labs) New Russian solid-state high operating temperature battery for use under severe drilling conditions will meet U.S. oil industry demand.
Sen. Domenici is widely credited for founding the highly successful nonproliferation program now known as Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (GIPP). The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Since 1994, GIPP has helped transition thousands of former Soviet scientists previously employed in development of weapons of mass destruction into peaceful, civilian occupations. The program helps to create new jobs and businesses in the Former Soviet Union and in the U.S.
U.S. companies participating in the program are members of the U.S. Industry Coalition (USIC) a non-profit association dedicated to supporting technology commercialization efforts by American businesses with former Soviet partners.
Canberra Aquila, Inc. (Aquila) based in Albuquerque, is a $20 million, wholly owned subsidiary of Canberra Industries engaged in the development, manufacture, sale, and maintenance of state-of-the-art electronic equipment. Aquila specializes in industrial controls, safeguards surveillance and seals, computer systems, and secure computer networks. Located in New Mexico since 1971, Aquila has been a major supplier to government and industry worldwide. http://www.canberraaquila.com
Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (GIPP) program within NNSA's Office of Global Security Engagement and Cooperation helps prevent proliferation of WMD expertise to terrorists or states of concern by creating sustainable, non-weapons work for former weapons scientists, engineers, and technicians in Russia and the Former Soviet Union. http://www.nnsa.doe.gov/na%2D20/gipp.shtml
Kansas City Plant (KCP) is an NNSA facility managed and operated by Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies (FM&T). A one-of-a-kind facility, the Kansas City Plant serves as one of the U.S.'s foremost national security assets by manufacturing a wide array of sophisticated mechanical, electronic and engineered material components for U.S. defense systems. The Kansas City Plant serves the national laboratories, military and other government agencies. http://www.kcp.com
National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), established by Congress in 2000, is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad. http://www.nnsa.doe.gov
NIIIS, the Institute for Measuring Systems Research in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, was established in the 1960s to develop and produce electronics to support atomic power stations and nuclear R&D. Today the institute's core competencies include R&D for on-board radio-electronic equipment, including command radio-altimeters and calculators; specialized radio telemetering systems; and small-sized radio-electronic devices. NIIIS also develops, manufactures, introduces software and control systems for gas lines, thermal and nuclear power stations. http://www.niiis.nnov.ru/ (Russian only)
Sandia National Laboratories is operated for the National Nuclear Security Administration by Lockheed Martin. Sandia develops and applies advanced technology to keep the United States secure and capable of meeting the toughest challenges, and regularly partners with other government agencies, industry and academic institutions to accomplish its work. http://www.sandia.gov
Stolar Research Corporation, in Raton, NM, is an advanced radio geophysical company. Stolar develops and manufactures unique proprietary products to solve problems for the commercial energy industry and the U.S. military. These solutions are electromagnetic radio waves to penetrate the earth detecting and imaging underground geologic formations and structures and enabling in-mine wireless tracking and communications. http://www.stolarresearch.com
U.S. Industry Coalition (USIC) is a non-profit association of more than 160 U.S. companies working with former Soviet weapons of mass destruction scientists and engineers to develop technologies for peaceful, commercial purposes. USIC facilitates technology commercialization for the GIPP program. http://www.usic.net/
VOLIUS, Inc., of Los Alamos, NM, provides a broad array of high power fiber laser devices based on proprietary technology and manufacturing processes that will drive its costs (per watt) lower by as much as 50 percent over the next five years. VOLIUS is an OEM laser manufacturer; its target customers are primarily equipment and machine tool manufacturers who will integrate lasers into robotic or modified systems dedicated to particular applications. VOLIUS operates in the U.S., England, and Russia. http://www.volius.com
1. Putin submits nuclear terrorism convention for ratification
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President Vladimir Putin Monday introduced a new convention on the fight against nuclear terrorism and several other documents for ratification by the lower house of Russia's parliament.
Putin signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism in New York on September 14, 2005. The convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly in April last year on Russia's initiative.
The document "defines the act of nuclear terrorism as the use or threat to use nuclear material, nuclear fuel, radioactive products or waste, or any other radioactive substances with toxic, explosive, or other dangerous properties," and outlines measures aimed to prevent terrorist acts involving the use of nuclear or other radioactive materials.
Putin has also submitted a protocol on Uzbekistan's accession to Eurasec, a regional body seeking to establish a single economic zone and comprising Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Belarus; and a protocol on formation and operation of collective security forces under the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a regional security body founded on October 7, 2002, by Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
The Aksa Martyrs Brigades announced on Sunday that its members have succeeded in manufacturing chemical and biological weapons.
In a leaflet distributed in the Gaza Strip, the group, which belongs to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah Party, said the weapons were the result of a three-year effort.
According to the statement, the first of its kind, the group has managed to manufacture and develop at least 20 different types of biological and chemical weapons.
The group said its members would not hesitate to add the new weapons to Kassam rockets that are being fired at Israeli communities almost every day. It also threatened to use the weapons against IDF soldiers if Israel carried out its threats to invade the Gaza Strip.
"We want to tell [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert and [Defense Minister Amir] Peretz that your threats don't frighten us," the leaflet said.
"We will surprise you with our new weapons the moment the first soldier sets foot in the Gaza Strip."
1. Russian President Says Categorically Opposed to Non-Nuclear Ballistic Missiles
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Russian President Vladimir Putin is categorically opposed to the appearance of non-nuclear ballistic missiles.
"It is not necessary to be a specialist at all to understand that in the event of launching of such missiles this may raise suspicions of other nuclear powers that it is an attack against them," the Russian head of state said. Putin stressed that if the launch is made "the reaction to it happens within several minutes and it may be made in an automatic regime."
The Russian head of state is also categorically against the reduction of power of nuclear warheads.
"And who will calculate where small power ends and medium and high power begins?" the Russian president asked rhetorically addressing the participants in a meeting of the Civil G8. In the view of Putin, "It is a very dangerous tendency."
1. Putin urges Iran to accept nuclear settlement proposals even before G8 summit
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Russia is not expecting a reply from Tehran to the proposal of he six intermediaries on the nuclear problem before the G8 summit in St Petersburg but would like to know when this will happen.
"We would very much like that the Iranian partners accepted the proposal from the six countries as soon as possible and began a dialogue and that this took place before the meeting in St Petersburg," Putin said on Tuesday (4 July) at the Civil Eight forum in Moscow.
At the same time he stressed: "It appears that this is not possible. Then we should know when this will happen."
Putin announced that the Iranian nuclear problem would be one of the main issues at the forthcoming summit of G8 in St Petersburg. "The Iranian nuclear issues will certainly be one of the main issues at the G8 summit in St Petersburg," Putin said.
He stressed that Russia would facilitate the settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem and coordinate its actions with its European colleagues to find ways to settle the problem. "So as to provide to Iran access to peaceful nuclear technologies and set aside the concerns of the world community regarding the proliferation of nuclear military technologies and put everything under the constant control of the IAEA," the president announced.
2. Russia: Putin Aide Says Russia, US 'Cooperating Well' on Iranian Nuclear Dossier
BBC Monitoring and Itar-Tass
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Russia and the United States are cooperating well in the issue of the Iranian nuclear dossier, presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said on Tuesday.
"There are good examples of cooperation between Russia and the United States, for instance, Iran, where strategies and tasks defined by Presidents (George) Bush and (Vladimir) Putin do not contradict one another," he said.
Bush and Putin will discuss not only strategic stability at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Prikhodko said. "We also have a rather serious agenda," he said. "We want to fill our relations with issues understandable not only to politicians but also to businessmen and average citizens. Therefore, Putin and Bush will discuss international cooperation and bilateral issues."
Prikhodko disagreed with the opinion that Russia-U.S. relations have cooled. "We have a very intensive permanent dialog," he said, referring to contacts between chiefs of state and foreign ministries.
"I do not think we have a period of cooling. Maybe, there is a natural wish to increase the level of bilateral relations and broaden the range of problems in which positions coincide. There are also good examples of cooperation, including Iran," he said.
3. G8 Frightened Once Again by Iranian 'Tomahawks.' Moscow Responded to Ukraine's Complaints About Former USSR's Property Abroad With Charges of Proliferating Missile Technologies
Aleksandr Andrushchenko, Vladimir Mukhin, and Viktor Myasnikov
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Last Friday (30 June), at the presentation of the so-called white paper on problems of weapons of mass destruction, made an official statement on Ukraine's involvement in illegal deliveries of Kh-55 long-range cruise missiles to China and Iran. According to Ivanov, Russia possesses data to the effect that during 2000-2001 such a deal was made by the Ukrainian firm of Prohres, which is a subsidiary enterprise of Ukrspetseksport. "This is a most flagrant violation of the setup for controlling missile technologies," the defense minister emphasized. Ivanov's agitation is perfectly explicable, for these missiles were created specially for nuclear warheads. confirmed the words of the head of the military department. He pointed out in conversation with that "such a high-ranking official as a deputy government chairman and defense minister would not say this for no good reason."
Ivanov spoke about the white paper on problems of weapons of mass destruction precisely on the eve of the G8 (summit) and at the time when Taro Aso, foreign minister of Japan, a country which takes a pained attitude to China's military deals, particularly in the missile sphere, was paying an official visit to Kiev. The head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry bluntly declared that his state is "very concerned and is observing very attentively operations to sell weapons to China not only on Ukraine's part."
Official Kiev in turn believes that "the Russian Federation is groundlessly accusing Ukraine of violating the control of missile technologies for the purpose of creating an atmosphere of mistrust toward Ukraine on the eve of the G8 meeting." Borys Tarasyuk, acting head of the foreign policy department, specially emphasized that the fact of the Kh-55 contraband deal "does not mean that Ukraine and the Ukrainian Government do not abide by the provisions of international documents relating to arms control." According to him, "the fact of the sale has been investigated, and a criminal grouping was uncovered."
Ukrainian law enforcement organs declare that the Russian businessman Oleg Orlov is one of the main players in this criminal case. Volodymyr Yevdokymov, ex-staffer of the Ukrainian Security Service and general director of the Ukraviazakaz Limited Liability Company, who was sentenced in 2005 to six years' jail, also featured in this case. Another player -- Valeriy Maleyev, ex-head of Ukrspetseksport -- died in a strange road accident back in 2002. The same fate also befell another "go-between" in the Kh-55 affair -- Haider Sarfraz, an Australian citizen. Let us note that at the time of the Kh-55 deals Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine's current president, was prime minister. But Ihor Smeshko, former head of the Ukrainian Security Service, declared that Yushchenko had no real influence over the process of selling weapons.
Meanwhile, Iranian opposition spokesman 'Alireza Jafarzadeh declared as much as a year ago that Iran had successfully mastered the technology for producing the Kh-55 cruise missiles obtained from Ukraine.
4. Moscow's Victory in Iranian Gambit. United States Should Give Russia and Germany Opportunity To Steer Negotiating Process
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Russia is approaching the G8 summit in St. Petersburg with an important diplomatic victory that has ensured progress in international efforts to resolve the situation surrounding Iran's nuclear program. Predictions that differences between Russia and the United States and the EU on Iran's nuclear program would torpedo the agenda for the G8 summit have not come true.
It is no accident that (Iranian) President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad preferred to send a signal to the world community on Iran's readiness to embark on negotiations just after meeting with President Vladimir Putin within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Shanghai.
Having correctly assessed the Bush administration's increasingly weak position in connection with the deteriorating situation in Iraq and effectively exploiting its own potential in bilateral dialogue with Iran as well as its special partnership relations with Germany, one of the leaders of the "European troika," Moscow drew up an impressive negotiating strategy and proposed appropriate negotiating solutions. And the Russia-Germany political tandem proved the most effective combination in shaping a consensus position for the United States, the EU, and Russia.
To begin with, Russia and the EU managed to convince the Bush administration that in the Iran situation the "trademark" American approach, involving a buildup of pressure and threats of economic sanctions and ultimately of the use of force, would be counterproductive, while the policy of threats would only deprive the international community of the opportunity to influence Iran's position.
It was Russian Federation Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's warning during his visit to Washington in February that increasing the pressure on Tehran could prompt the Iranian authorities to break off cooperation with the IAEA, throw that international organization's inspectors out of the country, and even follow North Korea's example and secede from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), that made the Bush administration abandon the tactics of the escalation of pressure through the adoption of a tough UN Security Council resolution.
The subsequent visit to Europe by US Secretary Of State Condoleezza Rice showed that the Americans would not be able to obtain the Europeans' support for strong-arm actions. At precisely that moment Moscow and Berlin proposed a change in the sequence of moves in talks with Iran -- first offer a package of economic and political incentives in exchange for stopping work on uranium enrichment and returning to full cooperation with the IAEA, and only later, in the event of Tehran's refusal to cooperate, move on to a discussion of possible sanctions and the buildup of pressure.
Russia and Germany were able to propose and uphold a negotiating solution that deprived Iran of the possibility of rejecting dialogue on its nuclear program. The point is that the United States and the EU had previously insisted categorically that Iran should completely renounce uranium enrichment activity on its territory. Yet theoretically the Iranians have the right to conduct such work under IAEA supervision, in accordance with the NPT.
Tehran insisted firmly that nobody could take away its sovereign right to conduct scientific research and develop the entire spectrum of nuclear technologies under IAEA safeguards relating to their peaceful use. Therefore Iran's demand to retain the right to conduct uranium enrichment work on its own territory and to create its own fuel cycle was blocking the negotiation process.
And although the risks of nuclear proliferation if Iran retained that possibility would be very high, the negation of a state's right to peaceful research in the nuclear sphere, a right that is enshrined in an international treaty, appeared in itself to be unconvincing and created a precedent for discrimination. The Iranians were well aware of this and did not intend to change their position even in response to Russia's offer to enrich uranium and produce fuel for Iranian nuclear power stations on Russian territory.
When in the spring of 2006 Moscow began saying for the first time that Iran could be permitted to conduct very limited experiments in uranium enrichment on its own territory, this was perceived in Washington and Brussels almost as treachery and as an attempt to reach separate agreements with Tehran. But the Europeans, first and foremost Germany, soon realized that this idea contained the key to a solution -- the country's sovereign right to the development and possession of nuclear high technologies should not be called into question.
And the idea of retaining Iran's sovereign right to return to uranium enrichment in the future coupled with the renunciation of the exercise of this right in practice at present was put forward by Russia and Germany and accepted, not without difficulty, by the other participants in the talks of the "Six."
Finally, tactically, Russia and Germany managed to convince the United States and the other members of the "Six" of the need to abandon the idea of a written list of possible international sanctions against Iraq and harsh references in a UN Security Council resolution to the provisions of Article 7 of the UN Charter, which open up the path to the automatic use of force. In the proposals of the "Six" to Iran, only the proposed incentives in terms of scientific, technical, and economic cooperation are listed in writing, while a description of the negative consequences of Iran's refusal of talks was expounded to the Iranian side orally during the recent visit by Javier Solana (EU high representative for the common foreign and security policy).
The codification of sanctions in an international document and their publication would have been perceived by Iran as an ultimatum, and the Iranian leadership could not have agreed to its terms, for domestic political reasons. In this "packaging," the international proposal would have been rejected by Tehran and the negotiating process would have had no chance of being launched.
Russia and Germany should continue to play a leading role in the upcoming talks with Iran. The Bush administration should give Moscow and Berlin the opportunity to steer the dialogue, while itself remaining in the background and refraining from any steps capable of provoking Iran to pull out of the talks.
5. The Bushehr Factor. Tehran's Reply to G6 Proposals Will Not Be Voiced Before Thursday
Andrey Terekhov and Andrey Vaganov
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G8 diplomatic chiefs are scheduled to meet in Moscow next Thursday (29 June). It is 29 June that was set as a deadline, according to information from Western diplomats, for Tehran to reply to the proposals it received from six states in early June. Let us recall that the "group of six" includes Russia, the United States, China, Great Britain, France, and Germany. As the deadline draws near, the Iranians have increased pressure on their partners. G6 would like to hear the Iranian reaction as soon as this week. has found out that it may be voiced in Moscow.
Last Sunday (25 June), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi declared during a weekly news conference that Russia did not duly perform its obligations on the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, the Islamic Republic's first. The IRNA news agency reported that Asefi expressed hope that the Russian company Atomstroyeksport, which carries out the project, would make good on its obligations and pay compensation for the delay.
In the words of Irina Yesipova, head of the ZAO (closed joint-stock company) Atomstroyeksport press service, there has actually been some delay in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant but the work is going on very actively right now. "It is a normal working process," Yesipova stressed in a conversation with. "The Bushehr nuclear power plant is a unique project. We cannot jump stages. The delay is by no means connected with a shortage of financial or personnel resources on the Russian part. Reason: solely the resolve to complete all required construction stages according to highest standards."
Citing her boss, Atomstroyeksport President Sergey Shmatko, Yesipova confirmed that the physical launch of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is planned for 2007: "But practically all the necessary equipment will be supplied this year." The Russian Foreign Ministry declared to : "There is a permanent working group including Russian and Iranian representatives. The work moving along in Bushehr according to a timetable agreed by this group."
The current criticism coming from Tehran attracts particular attention: The remark on failure to fulfill its obligations was addressed to Moscow at a time when the G6 proposals are awaiting Iran's reply. Observers view this fact as Tehran's way of expressing its displeasure with the Russian position on the Iranian dossier issue and even as an attempt to pressurize the Russian Federation. Let us recall that following a meeting by the G6 diplomatic chiefs in Vienna late last May, the UN Security Council permanent members and Germany managed to work out a coordinated position on this issue: The Iranians were offered a broad package of incentives in the sphere of civilian nuclear power engineering, trade, and economy in return for mandatory suspension of Iran's nuclear activity allowing international inspectors to verify its true purpose. If the answer is no, G6 is ready to consider tough measures against Iran through the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile, Tehran has not hurried to reply, repeating all the time that it is "seriously examining the proposals" and refusing to suspend its nuclear program. "By offering us a package of incentives, Europe is going down the right path. Yet, any preconditions (suspension of the program --) only narrow the atmosphere of negotiations," the Iranian Foreign Ministry believes.
Iranian President Mahmud Akhmadinezhad made it clear that the official "group of six" should not expect the Iranian reaction to the package before the last 10 days of August. However, the leading capitals do not intend to wait that long. Moscow, in particular, believes that the Iranians could give their reply to EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana as soon as this week. He is the one who passed G6's proposals to Tehran on 6 June.
In an interview to, a Western diplomat declared that he was going to arrive in Moscow next Thursday. He will meet with the G8 foreign diplomatic chiefs. "He is also planning to meet with Iranian representatives this week. This may happen in Moscow," the source said. It is expected that Iran will be represented at the negotiations with Solana by Ali Larijani, secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council.
Meanwhile, Iran again threatened last Sunday to resort to the "oil weapon" should sanctions be imposed on it. "If someone encroaches on interests of our country, we will make use of all means, oil being one of them," (Iranian) Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamane declared. Let us note that Iran controls the narrow Hormuz Strait, through which oil is exported from Persian Gulf countries. In addition, Iran is OPEC's second largest oil producer.
1. Russian President Pledges To Adopt Secure Nuclear Power Industry Policy
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that the Russian Federation "will take a very responsible approach to the development of the nuclear power industry in view of the necessity to develop the economy and ensure security."
The head of state said at a meeting with representatives of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on Tuesday that international non-governmental organizations (NGO) have declared their antagonism to the development of the nuclear power industry. "The more so, according to the documents that they have provided, it has been formulated in the written form," said the president. "You are also an NGO, but you are speaking about the necessity to develop the nuclear power industry, this testifies to difficulties in decision making," believes the Russian head of state.
In the view of Putin, "We should think above all about security, present-day technologies make it possible to develop a safe nuclear power industry, but it is necessary to make sure that people are calm and confident that the state is performing this activity in a responsible manner, it is necessary to hold a direct dialogue, search for optimal decisions between the state and NGO," Putin said.
The president said that the participants in the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg "will discuss issues related to safety of the nuclear power industry, as certain countries have made a decision to close this sector of the economy and some are actively developing it, security issues concern all."
"We as a country, I mean the USSR, that had in the past survived a nuclear disaster in Chernobyl like no other know that such an event has no limits," the Russian leader stressed.
Putin pointed out that "the governments of certain countries have already made decisions to build new power generating units, very many of them, and the support of the Russian government (to the country's atomic power development) is minimal, as compared with other developed economies."
2. Russia Needs $100-120 Bln To Build New Nuclea Power Plant Units
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Russia needs 100-120 billion U.S. dollars to construct new nuclear power plants units till the year 2030, head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency Sergei Kiriyenko said.
He told Rossiya Television Channel on Saturday, "Nuclear power engineering is the cost-effective energy source."
Kiriyenko said, "Russia is working out 4th generation high temperature gas reactors for producing hydrogen." Russia plays a leading role with gas fast reactors to be used with VVER reactors. "We'll build the BN-800 gas fast reactors at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant. These reactors will be constructed with VVER reactors because spent fuel from VVER reactors is not currently reprocessed," the Rosatom head said.
He confirmed, "Russia's nuclear power industry will be controlled by the state both in its military and civilian parts."
Among Russia's regions where new reactors are built, Kiriyenko named the Chelyabinsk and Tomsk regions. On the Chelyabinsk region, Kiriyenko mentioned the Mayak enterprise. There are no reactors, but new jobs should be created for many professional specialists, he stressed.
In addition, Kiriyenko told the daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta the first draft law on creating the necessary legal conditions for the Russian atomic energy industry to develop properly would be submitted to the State Duma by the autumn.
As he dwelt on the programme for restructuring the civilian component of the nuclear power industry and plans for its development, Kiriyenko said that a relevant program was submitted to the government and reported to the president already.
On June 9, President Vladimir Putin held a conference with the senior officials of the Defence Ministry and the nuclear power industry and after it authorised the programme and a plan for priority measures for its implementation. Among other things, amendments will be made to the regulatory documents. The draft law being coordinated with the agencies concerned is on this list, too. It is expected to be submitted to the State Duma by the beginning of the autumn session.
"As far as the federal program for the development of atomic energy industry complex is concerned, it has already undergone coordination with all agencies. The Cabinet approved it in principle for 2007. In the program funds are reserved for the construction of more nuclear power reactors and other priority facilities. Eighteen billion roubles have been earmarked for 2007. This sum will be disbursed from the federal budget for the construction of nuclear power plants in addition to what the industry plans to spend itself," Kiriyenko said.
Asked where new reactors were going to be launched, the Rosatom chief mentioned Leningrad's second nuclear power plant to be built to substitute for the aging facilities of the nuclear power plant currently in operation.
Rostov will be next. A second reactor is being built at the Volgodonsk nuclear power plant, because Russia's southern areas may experience power shortages. The fourth reactor of the Kalinin nuclear power plant was the third on the list.
"In this fashion we address power supply needs of three problem areas where shortages are the worst - Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, and Southern Russia," he said.
"The Beloyarsk nuclear power plant enjoys special priority. This power plant has fast reactors. On them we pin the future of our nuclear power industry," Kiriyenko said.
3. News agency speculates on further amalgamation in Russian nuclear industry
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The main stages of the restructuring of the civilian activities of Rosatom (Federal Agency for Atomic Energy) - envisaging, amongst other things, the creation of a single integrated company with the provisional name of Atomprom - should be completed within a year, the head of Rosatom, Sergey Kiriyenko, told journalists on Tuesday (27 June).
He said "the main thing has happened". The programme for the development of the Russian Federation's atomic industry has already been approved by the president. In accordance with his instructions, the main stages of the reform should be completed in the first half of 2007. However, the Rosatom chief did not answer the question of when Atomprom might be set up or which existing Russian companies it might be derived from. "It is too early to answer that question," he said.
The key companies in the Russian Federation's atomic industry are the open joint-stock company TVEL (OAO TVEL), the open joint-stock company Tekhsnabeksport, the federal unitary enterprise Rosenergoatom, and the closed joint-stock company Atomstroyeksport.
Tekhsnabeksport, which is 100-per-cent state owned, specializes in the export of uranium fuel and other goods and services provided by enterprises in the Russian atomic industry. The company's share of the world market is estimated at 35 per cent.
TVEL, which is 100-per-cent state-owned, mines uranium and produces nuclear fuel. The corporation includes a string of enterprises involved in the nuclear fuel cycle and it supplies its fuel to 17 per cent of the world's nuclear power station reactors.
All the nuclear power stations in the Russian Federation are under the control of the federal unitary enterprise Rosenergoatom. This enterprise is currently one of the leading generators of electricity in the Russian Federation, with a market share of about 16 per cent.
Atomstroyeksport (ASE), in which Gazprombank has a 49.8-per-cent stake and Rosatom organizations over 50 per cent, specializes in building nuclear power stations in foreign countries.
In addition, Rosatom is working to re-establish control over strategically important enterprises in the atomic engineering sector. Thus, at the end of April 2006 the open joint-stock company Atomnoye i Energeticheskoye Mashinostroyeniye (Atomic and Energy Engineering) (Atomenergomash, a 100-per-cent subsidiary of the state-owned atomic corporation OAO TVEL) was established, and in mid-May Atomenergomash and the open joint-stock company EnergoMashinostroitelnyy Alyans (Energy Engineering Alliance) (EMAAlyans) signed an agreement establishing a joint engineering holding, which will be based on the atomic engineering enterprises ZiO-Podolsk (Podolsk engineering works named after Sergo Ordzhonikidze) and Inzhiniringovaya Kompaniya (Engineering Company), both of which are open joint-stock companies belonging to EMAAlyans.
The programme for the development of the atomic industry envisages that enterprises in Rosatom's energy stable will be subsumed in an integrated full-cycle joint-stock company, 100 per cent of the shares in which will be in federal ownership. This single market structure will have sole responsibility for generation of heat and electricity, extraction of natural uranium and its enrichment, production and reprocessing of nuclear fuel, engineering and construction of nuclear power stations. It will also take charge of appropriate scientific and technical organizations. In the meantime, Rosatom, as a federal body, will remain in the structure of federal executive bodies, thus preserving the unity of the atomic sector.
Earlier, a source close to Rosatom, who is familiar with the text of the programme, told Interfax that it is planned to submit the package of bills on reform of the atomic industry to the State Duma in the third quarter of 2006.
4. Russia: Kiriyenko Says Nuclear Knowledge Has Wide 'Safety Margin'
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Russia's knowledge in the field of nuclear technologies has a very wide 'safety margin' - of a factor of ten - and that margin must be preserved and capitalized on, the chief of the Russian atomic energy agency Rosatom Sergei Kiriyenko said in his opening remarks at Rosatom's innovation forum on Tuesday.
"We must have this safety margin of a factor of ten in the future in the arms manufacturing complex and in the civilian nuclear power industry. If we do nothing for this, we may lose the edge we have over other highly of the exhibition of innovation projects presented at the forum by the industry's enterprises and research centers.
"This is our powerful potential that gives the nuclear power industry a chance to achieve a breakthrough in the commercial and industrial implementation of projects," the Rosatom chief said.
He believes that a number of such projects are currently stalled, because "enterprises cannot afford to pay 5-10 million dollar implementation costs on their own, while asking for such sums from the investment fund is not allowed.
Kiriyenko believes that it is necessary to collect all these projects, in particular, those in medicine, "in one place, to show them in action, and to keep looking for investments."
He said that such projects may be brought together in the existing technoparks and encompass medicine, fuel and energy, new materials and electronics.
6. Russia mulling permanent nuclear waste facilities, official says
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Russia could develop and implement long-term repositories for radioactive waste in the next 10 to 15 years, an official said Monday.
"Existing facilities can provide secure storage for up to 50 to 70 years, but then [radioactive] waste has to be reburied. There will be no such need with the new facilities," said Sergei Brykin, head of the Central Information and Analysis Center for Radioactive Waste Management.
Brykin said the new repositories would make it possible to store radioactive waste safely for several thousand years, and added that sites were being considered in Siberia and on the Kola Peninsula in Russia's Far North.
He said that, although the new storage facilities were extremely safe, they would be subject to stringent controls.
"'Dump-and-forget' will no longer be an operating principle," he said.
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