What was new on START Web site?

September, 2000

September 28, 2000
Pyotr Romashkin's comment: Draft Federal Budget of 2001 and Spending For Implementing Strategic Arms Reductions Treaties is now available in English.

Russia on Wednesday conducted the first test of its new Topol-M mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. The test was carried out a day after a Topol-M was successfully fired on the same trajectory out of a silo in Plesetsk. On Tuesday, Russia has also successfully launched SS-18 ICBM from Bykonour test site.

How can Russia and the United States overcome mutual nuclear deterrence? Major-General Pavel Zolotaryov, Ret., President of the Fund for Support of Military Reform makes an attempt to answer to this question: A Chain Reaction Of Terror, - in Russian, (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, September 22, 2000)

"Mir" Underwater research vehicles began investigating "Kursk" submarine lying on the seabed. New versions of the accident emerge. New statements of Russian officials contradict with the previous ones:

Publications of the September's issue of Arms Control Today (Volume 30, Number 7) include:

Agenda of Moscow International Nonproliferation Conference, to be held in Moscow on October 5-7, 2000 is now available on line. See also the program of break-out panels.

The PIR Center has published PIR Study Paper No. 15 US NMD: Implications for Strategic Stability and Arms Control (ed. by Ivan Safranchuk) This paper includes articles by leading Russian and foreign experts analyzing key problems that have resulted from US NMD plans.

HMS Vengeance successfully launched an unarmed Trident II (D5) ballistic missile at 2150 (BST) on September 25, 2000, UK Defense Ministry reported.

In the recent issue of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (September-October, 2000): Nuclear Notebook: French and British Nuclear Forces.

Nikolay Ganza, the Chair of the government of Udmurtia, wrote a letter to the Deputy prime-minister Ilya Klebanov with a request to move a planned facility for elimination of medium and shorter range missiles out of the territory of the republic: Booster of Problems. Udmurtia Refused To Eliminate Missiles On Its Territory, - in Russian, (by Boris Bronstein, Izvestiya, September 23, 2000, p. 4)

Discussion on changing the law on spent nuclear fuel imports continues. See the interview of Vladimir Grachyov, Chair of the Environmental Committee of the State Duma and the Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Vladimir Grachyov: Nuclear Technologies Shape The Face Of the Nation, - in Russian, (by Alexander Sadchikov, Izvestiya, September 26, 2000, p. 1). See also: We Won't Manage Alone, - Viktor Murogov, Deputy General Director of the IAEA, Head of the Department of the Nuclear Energy, says, - in Russian, (by Tat'yana Korotkova, Wek, N 38, September 22-29, 2000)

Russian government made a decision to put Rostov nuclear power plant in operation this year: Starting Rostov Nuclear Plant Is a Breakthrough in Future of the Northern Caucasus, - in Russian, (by Maria Bondarenko, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 28, 2000)

An agreement to eliminate all strategic arms might have been reached in Reykjavik in 1986, if it were not the attitude of President Reagan on SDI program: Reykjavik, October 1986: A Miracle, Which Did Not Come True, - in Russian, (by Yuri Dubinin, Dip Courier, September 28, 2000).

At the Russian START Forum: ban on deployment of ballistic missiles at the sea bed and Georgi Lesorub's article "An Alternative Option for Strategic Forces Development".

September 21, 2000
The paper Nuclear Parity and National Security In New Conditions, (by Anatoli Diakov, Timur Kadyshev and Pavel Podvig, The PIR Study Papers, N 14, May, 2000) is now available in English.

Russia is going to submit a draft resolution in support of the ABM Treaty to the U.N. General Assembly:

Denmark has yet to take a position on Thule's role in a missile defense system: Greenlanders Wary of a New Role in U.S. Defenses, (by James Brooke, The New York Times, September 18, 2000)

Experts continue discussing the decision to postpone NMD deployment:

The House Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs and International Relations held hearing entitled "National Missile Defense Test Failures and Technology Development" on September, 8. Speakers included Lt. Gen. Ron Kadish, Director, BMDO, Phillip Coyle, Operation and Evaluation, Dr. Lisbeth Gronlund, Union of Concerned Scientists. Transcripts of the hearings are available online. See also the testimony by Joseph Cirincione, Director, Non-Proliferation Project, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The FBI has launched a criminal investigation into whether TRW, a top defense contractor, committed fraud in developing a "kill vehicle" for the U.S. National Missile Defense program, according to government officials familiar with the probe. The General Accounting Office is looking into whether the Pentagon acted properly in classifying a report by MIT professor Ted Postol, that was critical of the missile-defense program, (FBI Probes Alleged Fraud In Missile Defense Program, by John M. Donnelly, Defense Week, September 11, 2000)

According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, intensive preparations are under way for a Security Council meeting scheduled for the end of September. The meeting is to discuss the future of military reform and in particular of the Strategic Rocket Forces: Security Council Will Consider the Military Reform Again, - in Russian, (by Sergei Sokut, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 16, 2000). See also: Experts Warn of Effects of Cuts to Military, (by Simon Saradzhyan, St. Petersburg Times, September 12, 2000)

Ivanovo power supply company shut off electricity in Teykovo, where a "Topol" ICBM unit of the Strategic Rocket Forces is deployed: A Missile Can Not Be Put On a Diet, - in Russian, (by Alexander Dolinin and Alexander Bogatyryov, Krasnaya Zvezda, September 14, 2000)

According to Izvestiya, Russian military conducted a large scale air defense exercise against simulated ballistic missile attacks: Our Response to the U.S.. Non-strategic Thus Far, (by Vladimir Yermolin, Izvestiya, September 20, 2000)

Carnegie Endowment in Moscow presents a report Nuclear-Missile Complex of Russia: Mobility of Personnel and Security, by Valentin Tikhonov. This issue is devoted to the problems of mobility of specialists in the nuclear and missile industries in Russia and the impact of this process on the national and international security.

The State Duma spent half a day to consider circumstances of the "Kursk" SSN accident. The Russian defence ministry said that the theory of a U.S. submarine clashing with the fated Kursk was strengthened by Washington's refusal to allow a Russian inspection of two U.S. submarines. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) is not completely convinced by Pentagon assertions that U.S. Navy vessels were in no way involved with the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk, and he may begin an official inquiry or hold hearings to determine the facts.

See also: our special issue of August 28, 2000 on "Kursk" accident.

Yevgeni Adamov, Head of Nuclear Power Ministry tells about prospects of reprocessing of foreign spent fuel, status of HEU-LEU deal and other international projects of Minatom: Russia At the Foreign Market Of the Nuclear Fuel, - in Russian, (by Andrey Makeyev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 19, 2000)

Russian newspapers continue discussing President Putin's proposal to limit proliferation of highly radioactive depleting components - enriched uranium and pure plutonium:

In the recent issue of Yadernoye Rasprostraneniye (N 34, January-March, 2000):

At the Russian START Forum: contradictions in official versions of "Kursk" accident and Georgi Lesorub's article "An Alternative Option for Strategic Forces Development".

September 10, 2000
We present an exclusive comment by Pyotr Romashkin, Assistant to the Deputy Chair of the State Duma Defense Committee: Draft Federal Budget of 2001 and Spendings For Implementing Strategic Arms Reductions Treaties, (in Russian).

President Vladimir Putin offered at the Millennium Summit in New York to host an international conference next year on preventing the militarization of space. The Russian and U.S. presidents signed a joint declaration on strategic stability pledging to uphold the principles of disarmament pacts and pledging measures to implement them more quickly.

As news sources reported President Putin proposed "...limiting proliferation of highly radioactive depleting components - enriched uranium and pure plutonium...". Pavel Podvig, an expert of our Center commented this statement to a Vesti.Ru correspondent: "...The ideas, mentioned by Putin are extraordinary exotic. They are worth of discussing, but such a statement is done for effect, almost an anecdotal approach. My impression is - one should not be stated so, if we sum up (all the circumstances - E.M.)... It was clear for any expert, that Putin did not understand what he said. Experts know about achievements of Minatom and of the Soviet Union in creation of "fast" reactors. The reactor named "Brest" exists not only a one year, and there is no secret about it for experts. It is this type of reactors to use weapons grade plutonium of the highest quality in large amounts. Minatom does not cheat, the work is going on, however, the president should not have got into a field unknown to him and made a clumsy advertisement of our reactors and himself..." (Plutonium Trickery Of Putin, - in Russian, by Gennadi Nechayev, Vesti.Ru, September 8, 2000). See also:

Press sources continue to comment on President Clinton's announcement to leave the NMD deployment decision to the next president. Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye calls this a victory of Russian diplomacy. NMD proponents in the U.S. blame Clinton in a lack of decisiveness:

"Kursk" death enigma is still in the focus of press attention. The official version presented by Colonel-General Valeri Manilov, the First Deputy Chief of General Staff, however, does not give an answer on the key question: why loss of "Kursk" was noticed on Saturday at 5:30 pm only, though many naval ships including "Peter the Great" nuclear cruiser, detected powerful explosions at 11:30 am, first reported by NORSAR? May be, the real reason is that a contingency situation aboard "Kursk" happened in fact on Friday, August 11, not August 12, as officials insist. If our assumption is true, how we should interpret the explosions at 11:30 am, Saturday? Were they an indication of a final of "Kursk" tragedy or that was a cover up operation to destruct the evidence? Russian Ministry of Defense avoids answering these tough questions:

See also our special news issue of August 28, 2000 on "Kursk" accident.

Some details revealed on the plan to reform Strategic Rocket Forces, adopted at the Security Council meeting on August 11, 2000. Military Space Forces (VKS) and Space Missile Defense Forces (RKO) are going to be subordinated directly to the General Staff by the mid 2001. The Strategic Rocket Forces will become a branch by 2002 rather than a separate service and be subordinated to the Air Force by 2005. Ten missile divisions of the SRF are going to be dissolved by 2006:

According to Novyye Izvestiya, "...a beginning of a fierce cabinet fight is expected very soon between Minatom and the Ministry of Natural Resources. The reason of the clash - control over a profitable direction - reprocessing of foreign spent nuclear fuel...", (A Cold Nuclear War, by Viktor Zhukov, Novyye Izvestiya, September 6, 2000)

September 5, 2000
President Clinton announced Friday that he will not authorize deployment of a national missile defense system but will leave the final decision to his successor because the technical uncertainties and diplomatic costs are too great at this time.

We present the article by Pavel Podvig, the leading expert of our Center, entitled Does the ABM Treaty Have Future?, - in Russian, (Yaderny Control, N 5, September-October, 2000, pp. 4-9).

Russia is "actively preparing" for negotiations with the United States to clinch the START III arms reduction accord, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in interview to Interfax. The discussion meeting of U.S. and Russian experts is scheduled for early September:

Russia and the United States have formally signed an agreement to destroy a total of 68 tons of weapons-grade plutonium:

A series of subcritical tests were conducted by Minatom at Novaya Zemlya test range on August 28, 31 and September 3: Non-nuclear Tests at Novaya Zemlya, - in Russian, (by Lyuba Michurina, Gazeta.Ru, September 5, 2000)

U.S. Department of Energy plans to develop mini-nukes are criticised by arms control experts:

Enigma of "Kursk" submarine tragedy still attracts much attention. Colonel General Valery Manilov, the deputy head of the General Staff, claimed Monday that rescuers had located an object near the wrecked nuclear submarine Kursk that resembled equipment from a U.S. or British ship. However, he offered no evidence for the claim.

After touring a secret nuclear submarine base on Russia's Pacific Coast, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson indicated that he will support a Kremlin request for help in building a high-security storage site for nuclear fuel from decommissioned Russian subs:

See also our estimates of Russian submarine disposal status as of 1997.

Some people say a project to convert nuclear-powered "Typhoon" submarines into cargo carriers is crazy, others believe it is feasible. In any case, the navy is behind it: Norilsk Plans to Ship Nickel on Nuclear Subs, (by Christopher Pala, The Moscow Times, September 1, 2000)

A leading U.S. naval expert warns: U.S.-Moscow nuke cooperation slowing down, (by Charles Smith, World Net Daily, September 4, 2000)

Leonid Uruzkoyev, Ph.D., proposes his own version of Chernobyl accident: Chernobyl May Happen Again, (by Sergei Agafonov, Novyye Izvestiya, September 5, 2000, p. 1, 4)

As the Nuclear Power Ministry prepares to push for a new law to allow Russia to profit from the import of nuclear waste, 200 organizations are trying to force the government to hold a referendum on the subject: Groups Rally Against Nuclear Storage Plan, (by Galina Stolyarova, The Moscow Times, September 1, 2000)

The 12-th Summer Symposium on Science and World Affairs organized by the Union Of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT took place in Moscow on August 23-31, 2000. The meeting was attended by near 40 arms control experts from Russia, the U.S., China, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Japan, France, Kazakhstan, Italy and Norway.

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