What was new on START Web site?

October, 2000

October 27, 2000
The work of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly is at the decision stage - a vote on draft resolution on preservation and observance of the ABM Treaty, submitted by Russia and some other countries, is expected next week (Statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, - in Russian, October 26, 2000)

At 9pm (EDT) on Tuesday, October 31, a special episode of "60 Minutes II" will focus on national missile defense. It will include Nira Schwartz, the whistleblower at TRW, and Dr. Ted Postol, the MIT physicist whose letter to the White House detailing inherent weaknesses in the NMD program was classified as secret. It will also feature footage from UCS's animation on countermeasures.

Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, CinC of the Russian Navy, demonstrated a video of the "Kursk" outer hull taken by "Mir" research vehicle, which shows dents from an external impact. This video was run in NTV news Wednesday evening. Though all of the three versions of the accident (collision with an underwater object, torpedo explosion and mine explosion) are still under consideration by the State Investigation Commission, the final decision will be announced on November 8, Ilya Klebanov, the Chair of the Commission stated. The note found in a pocket of one of the retrieved bodies indicates, that "Kursk" crew members were alive at least 2.5 hours after the accident.

See also NTV reports on events related with "Kursk" accident.

The State Duma rejected the draft resolution "On Preventing Submarine Collisions of Various Countries", which was submitted by Alexei Mitrofanov, Deputy Leader of the faction of the Liberal-Democratic Party and Nikolai Bezborodov, Deputy Chair of the Duma Defense Committee. According to the authors of the resolution, "there is a lack of international regulations to prevent submarine collisions of various countries". See also:

A leading U.S. expert on nuclear weapons is challenging decades of military thinking by suggesting that precision-guided conventional explosives could replace nuclear warheads on most of America's strategic missiles. Stephen M. Younger, the associate director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and head of its nuclear weapons work, also says the United States should consider developing a new generation of small nuclear bombs to handle the few military tasks for which nuclear weapons are still theoretically required (Nuclear Expert Challenges U.S. Thinking on Warheads, by Walter Pincus, The Washington Post, Tuesday, October 24, 2000; Page A03). See also Stephen M. Younger's report (in PDF format) and our comment on counterforce potential of high precision weapons (in Russian).

Foreign experts discuss problems of Russian closed nuclear cities and of plutonium disposal:

Thomas Kuenning, director of the U.S. Department of Defenses Common Threat Reduction Directorate, opened a U.S.-funded nuclear waste processing plant at "Zvyozdocka" ("Little Star") shipyard

A consortium of environmental organizations on Tuesday officially presented 300,000 signatures to the Russian authorities in an effort to force a referendum on plans to import, process and store nuclear waste.

The Information Office of the State Council published a white paper on China's policies on national defence and international security issues. The white paper, called "China's National Defence in 2000," aims to "express Chinese people's sincere aspirations for peace and to help the rest of the world better understand China's national defence policy and its efforts to modernize its national defence": White Paper on Defence Policies, (China Daily, October 17, 2000).

October 20, 2000
We present a new article by Adm. V. Kravchenko and RAdm. A. Ovcharenko Russian Sea Based Strategic Forces Under the START II Treaty, - in Russian, (Morskoi Sbornik, N 8, August, 2000, pp. 3-8).

Top U.S. and Russian arms control officials held talks this week in Moscow on nuclear weapons reduction and and the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty. According to unofficial information, creation of the joint early-warning center in Moscow to prevent miscalculations about missile launches became the stumbling block of the meeting:

A spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made an official statement on October 12, 2000, on document (CD/1625) circulated by the U.S. delegation at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva which asserts, in particular, that the June 4, 2000, Moscow Joint Statement by the Russian and U.S. Presidents On Principles of Strategic Stability contains a provision by which the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, missiles and missile technologies should be addressed and resolved, including by way of considering the question of amending the ABM Treaty.

A new President will be elected soon in the United States. Attitudes of the presidential candidates on arms control are outlined in

See also: The Nuclear Agenda: Arms Control and Missile Defense Are Back in the News, (by James Lindsay, The Brookings Review, Fall 2000, Vol. 18 No. 4, Pages 8-11)

In September's issue of Disarmament Diplomacy:

U.S. and European analyst discuss outcomes of the U.S. NMD deployment:

Lieutenant-General Vasili Malashitski, the Chief of department for readiness and the Senior Inspector-Pilot of the 37-th Air Army of the Supreme Command tells about prospect of long range aviation: A New Formula of A Strike, (by Anatoli Dokuchayev, Krasnya Zvezda, October 13, 2000)

"Academician Keldysh" trip has not solved the enigma of "Kursk" catastrophe. Divers may start working next week at the place of the accident.

See also the comments of "Bellona" on versions of "Kursk" accident and the detailed chronology of events since August 12, till September 26 at Strana.Ru web site (in Russian).

On prospects of the Minatom and nuclear energy sector:

Senate leaders accused the White House of withholding documents and announced hearings next week to explore back-channel deals between Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin on Moscow's arms deals with Iran

Fiscal year 2001 defense authorization conferees have included language in the defense bill calling for a comprehensive nuclear posture review by the defense secretary, the first such review in six years. The review would consider the role of nuclear forces in U.S. military strategy, planning and programming for the next five to 10 years, according to the bill. The results from the study are to be submitted to Congress "concurrently" with the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review in December 2001 (Authorizers Call For Comprehensive Review Of U.S. Nuclear Posture, Keith J. Costa, Inside The Pentagon, October 12, 2000, Pg. 9)

Congress is poised to authorize research on a new generation of weaponry that includes low-yield nuclear devices known as "mini-nukes," which critics say could set off a fresh round of nuclear testing:

At the Russian START Forum: on PALs on Russian strategic submarines, future of Russian sea based forces and other issues.

October 10, 2000
Over 200 non-proliferation and security experts and government officials participated in the largest international non-proliferation conference ever convened in Moscow on October 6 and 7, 2000. The two-day conference was jointly organized by the Carnegie Moscow Center and the Center for Policy Studies in Russia (PIR). Transcripts of the conference will be posted to Internet soon.

Preliminary analysis of a National Missile Defense risk-reduction exercise conducted on September 28 shows that the system's prototype X-band radar successfully tracked and identified all the objects in a sophisticated target array that presented the radar its most difficult discrimination challenge to date, Pentagon and industry officials claim: NMD Radar Prototype Performed Well In Test, Officials Say, (by Michael C. Sirak, Inside Missile Defense, October 4, 2000, Pg. 1). See also:

October's issue of Arms Control Today (2000) includes:

Problems of U.S.- Russian relations in arms control are discussed in: U.S.-Russian Control Over Strategic Arms and International Security, (by Alexander Pikayev, Pro et Contra, Volume 5, Spring 2000)

Experts incline endorsing the version of torpedo explosion as the primary reason for "Kursk" submarine accident:

US-Russian official meetings, which took place on Sept. 26 and 27 in Washington, DC, centered on the 1972 U.S. and Soviet Incidents at Sea (INCSEA) Agreement between the two navies. U.S. officials are considering a Russian proposal to forge a new bilateral agreement designed to prevent dangerous submarine incidents at sea, an arrangement that would build upon a 1972 pact that covers surface ships but not submarines. Capt. Vasiliy Doroshenko, the assistant naval attache at the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, confirmed Russia had offered such a proposal in talks last week but would not speak about it in detail. However, recently Nezavisimaya Gazeta published the Draft Agreement Between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the United States on Safe Submarine Operations out of Territorial Waters, (in Russian) submitted to the U.S. side in May 1992, few months after the collision of a Russian "Sierra" class submarine with the USS "Baton Rouge":

See also links to publications on submarine collisions and Eugene Miasnikov's answers to frequently asked questions.

In the recent issue of Yadernaya Bezopasnost' magazine (N 38-39, July-August, 2000):

The second issue of a special supplement to Yadernoye Rasprostraneniye magazine (2000), published by the Carnegie Moscow Center tells about nuclear and missile programs of Pakistan.

A concept of a Federal system for accounting and control of fissile materials was considered at the Russian government meeting in the end of September:

The plutonium production freeze agreement made a problem of heat supply in the Tomsk region extremely urgent to solve. Relations between Minatom and Russian Stock Company "YeES Rossii" ("Joint Energy Networks") are very complex:

Novaya Gazeta blames the Russian Minister of nuclear energy in corruption: "Eden's Garden" of Minister Adamov, - in Russian, (by Roman Shleynov, Novaya Gazeta, October 9, 2000)

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