What was new on STAR Site?

June, 2002

June 26, 2002
The preparatory process for ratification of the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions, signed on May 24, 2002, by the Presidents of Russia and the USA, has been launched both in Russia and the U.S. Last week, the text of the Treaty and article-by-article commentaries thereto were sent to the related committees of the State Duma and Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, and U.S. President George W. Bush submitted the Treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent prior to ratification:

See also our special section on Status of U.S.-Russian Negotiations on Strategic Arms Reduction

The new STAR Site exclusive publication is Pyotr Romashkin's commentary State Duma on the New Treaty between Russia and USA, - in Russian, (June 21, 2002).

US withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty remains in the spotlight. Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye notes: "...We have to admit, that Moscow was shutout in this match. Today, Washington is not bound by any international legal limitations on the development of missile defenses. The signed in May Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (SORT) does not contain anything that could be interpreted as acknowledgement of a link between offensive and defensive weapons. Western press interprets the treaty as a ritual gesture that George W. Bush made on request from Kremlin, which was eager to save the irretrievably lost status of a power equal to the US. Prospects of any following discussions of nuclear weapons issues are very vague, and there are no incentives left to continue the negotiations...": Washington's Win over Moscow, - in Russian, (by Sergey Sokut, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, June 21, 2002) See also:

See our special section on How Should Russia Respond to the Impending US NMD Deployment?

The United States will perfect a missile defense system now that it is free from the ABM treaty, the director of the Missile Defense Agency Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish said. According to official reports, the Agency wants to have a sea-based missile defense system deployed by 2004. However, critics believe that this plan is unrealistic.

According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Russian President upheld Defense Ministry's proposal to increase defense budget. Moreover, while currently allocation on development of strategic nuclear forces constitutes 18% of the budget, by 2003 this number will grow to 23-25%. The article also says that they succeeded in convincing Vladimir Putin that development and maintenance of Strategic Rocket Forces will be more affordable for the country, than those of the sea-based leg of the triad:

Typhoon in Dock

Wednesday, Northern fleet was to receive a Typhoon-class SSBN on a ceremony. The submarine was under repair and modernization for 12 years. Experts discuss advisability of priority-driven development of sea-based strategic forces:

Krasnaya Zvezda published an article on a Special Purpose Missile and Space Defense Army: Special Purpose Army, - in Russian, (by Gennady Miranovich, Alexandr Bogatyrev, Alexandr Dolinin, Krasnaya Zvezda, June 21, 2002)

The Pentagon proposed US President to merge United States Space Command with the United States Strategic Command: New Command Would Meld Missile Defense and Offense , (by Eric Schmitt, The New York Times, June 24, 2002)

US administration proposed for a $15.5 million study to determine whether two existing warheads - the B83 and B61 thermonuclear gravity bombs - could be turned into nuclear bunker-busters:

Monday, Rossiyskaya Gazeta published an interview with Russian Minister of Atomic Energy: Alexandr Rumyantsev: Even if the Sun Stops to Shine, - in Russian, (by Alexandr Yemelyanenkov, Vladimir Sluzhakov, Natalia Yachmennikova, Rossijskaya Gazeta, June 25, 2002).

Last week, having received official approval by the governments of Russian Federation and USA, an agreement to use market-based mechanism to price U.S. purchases of uranium taken from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons entered into force:

The US expects to spend $20 million this year to safeguard dangerous radiological materials in the former Soviet Union: U.S. and Russia to Guard 'Dirty Bomb' Materials, (by Peter Slevin, The Washington Post, Tuesday, June 25, 2002; Page A15). See also:

Experts with Bellona believe that conversion of reactors that continue to churn out weapons grade plutonium, have come no closer over the past decade to reaching fruition: New US Budget Dumps Conversion of Russian Plutonium Reactors, (by Charles Digges, Igor Kudrik, Bellona, June 12, 2002)

According to Valery Lebedev, Russia's Deputy Minister of Atomic Energy, Russia will build an estimated $70 million dumpsite on an Arctic archipelago to store spent nuclear fuel. He said that it could take from five to seven years to build the first part, expected to hold 5,500 tons of waste and cost about $15 million.

Greenpeace of Russia accused Minatom in breaking the law: "Russia has failed to secure guarantees from Iran that Tehran will return spent nuclear, but Minatom continues building a nuclear power plant in Iran"

A U.S. federal judge banned South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges from blocking plutonium shipments to the U.S. Energy Departments Savannah River site from the Rocky Flats former nuclear weapons plant in Colorado:

June 18, 2002
The 1972 ABM Treaty that restricted development of anti-ballistic missile systems ceased to be in force last week. Politicians and experts are divided on the event and assess feasible consequences differently, but it is quite clear that the arms control system that was created during the Cold War and that played a tremendous role in restraining arms race and preventing a nuclear conflict between superpowers, is being retired. However, remaining in the agenda is the central question -- what are current threats, and will effective and adequate mechanisms to rebut them be created?

See our special section on How Should Russia Respond to the Impending US NMD Deployment?, and media comments:

Russian MFA released an official statement that Russian Federation disavows its obligations under START II Treaty

June 14 Russian State Duma released a statement "On New Agreements between Russia and the USA on Strategic Stability". The statement notes that the May 24 signature of the Russian-American Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions and Joint Declaration on the New Strategic Relationship between the two countries "allows to limit the damage to strategic stability and Russian national security caused by the US unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty"

"...The "Treaty of Moscow," the much-heralded agreement to reduce strategic nuclear weapons, was signed, but loose ends are still hanging. In particular, the transparency measures that are needed to assure that nuclear warheads are no longer a threat must still be developed..." (From Summits to Sleepovers, by Rose Gottemoeller, The Moscow Times, Monday, June 17, 2002).

Severodvinsk shipyard Sevmash has started defueling a Typhoon class submarine. The submarine will be scrapped shortly after that. The whole process is funded by the US Cooperative Threat Reduction program, or Nunn-Lugar program: Russia scraps Typhoons, (by Igor Kudrik, Bellona, June 12, 2002)
Standard SM-3 Launch

Thursday, June 13, a Navy ship in the Pacific shot down a dummy warhead using an interceptor rocket guided by on-board radar, in the first test of the sea-based component of a missile defense system. According to preliminary information, conditions of the test were similar to those of the 25 January 2002 Aegis-LEAP Interceptor Test. A Pentagon official stated that the test was a success.

Saturday, June 15 the United States has started work on the construction of a test site at Fort Greely in central Alaska, that is planned to be completed by Fall 2004.

Philip Coyle, formerly the assistant secretary of defense and director of Operational Test and Evaluation (1994-2001), seriously criticised the program of testing of the Ground-based midcourse element of the planned Missile Defense System: Prepared Statement by The Honorable Philip E. Coyle, (Senior Advisor Center for Defense Information before the House Government Reform Committee National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations Subcommittee, Missile Defense Testing, June 11, 2002). See also:

Many independent experts believe, that recent Pentagon's decision to classify information on missile defense tests was made in order to shield the MDA activity against criticism:

Wednesday, June 12 House Armed Services Committee held hearings on the safety, security, and reliability of the US nuclear stockpile. Available on the Web are statements by John A. Gordon (National Nuclear Security Administration), RAdm John T. Byrd, USN, (Director of Plans and Policy, US Strategic Command), C. Bruce Tarter (Director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), John C. Browne (Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory), C. Paul Robinson (Director of Sandia National Laboratories), Dr. Frederick A. Tarantino, (President and General Manager of Bechtel Nevada), Dennis R. Ruddy, (President and General Manager of BWXT Pantex), John T. Mitchell, (President and General Manager of BWXT Y-12), David S. Douglass, (President of Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technology) and Robert A. Pedde (President of the Westinghouse Savannah River Company).

In defiance of decision of Federal authorities, Gov. Jim Hodges (D) ordered state troopers and other authorities to South Carolina's borders to stop federal shipments of plutonium that could begin arriving Savannah River Site from Rocky Flats, Colorado: S.C. Moves To Bar Entry Of Plutonium, (by Associated Press, The Washington Post , Saturday, June 15, 2002; Page A02)

Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed surprise over a U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton's accusation that Russia was continuing to provide Iran and other states with technology that could be used to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction:

A new report Securing Nuclear Weapons and Materials: Seven Steps for Immediate Action released by Harvard's Project on Managing the Atom, warns that even after September 11, the size and the speed of the U.S. and international response to the threat of nuclear terrorism is not yet remotely commensurate with the magnitude of the threat: Securing Nuclear Weapons and Materials: Seven Steps for Immediate Action , (by Matthew Bunn, John P. Holdren and Anthony Wier, Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Managing the Atom Project, 20 May 2002)

Israel has acquired three diesel submarines that it is arming with newly designed cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, which would preserve the deterrent value of Israel's nuclear force: Israel Has Sub-Based Atomic Arms Capability, (by Walter Pincus, The Washington Post , Saturday, June 15, 2002; Page A01).

A meeting of scientists and experts in Krasnoyarsk-26 closed city decided to build a dry storage of spent nuclear fuel near the still unfinished wet storage facility: Dry Home For a Slightly "Calmed Down" Atom, - in Russian, (by Yuri Chuvashev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 17, 2002)

"...Specail environmental rehabilitation programs may cause in fact a danger even if all safety standards are observed. The problem is that the resources, allocated to health and environment protection, may be spent in a way harmful for health and environment..." (Radiation: A Sober Risk Analysis, - in Russian, (by I. Linge, Izvestia, June 16, 2002).

June 11, 2002
The U.S. will not be imposed by restrictions of the ABM Treaty anymore beginning Thursday, June 13. Walter C. Uhler, the Defense Contract Management Agency's Chief of Operations for Lockheed Martin Delaware Valley and well known analyst, who studied and written about Russian and military history for approximately 30 years, believes that, "...given America's technological utopianism, American efforts to weaponize space will persuade Russia's leaders that the U.S. is not content with a limited NMD system designed to protect against rogue states, but intends to pursue a system that renders it invulnerable to any retaliatory strike, including Russia's...": National Missile Defense and Russian American Relations, (by Walter C. Uhler, June 11, 2002). See also:

The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency has decided to classify as "secret" details of targets and countermeasures to be used in all future flight intercept tests of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system:

We just finished our new reference section U.S. Missile Defense System (in Russian) which presents detailed information on plans of U.S. missile defense deployment, test results and technical problems to be solved. See also:

President Bush summoned lawmakers Wednesday to press for Senate approval this year of the nuclear arms reduction treaty that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed last month. Dmitry Rogozin, head of the State Duma's international affairs committee, has also indicated, that Russian lawmakers may start debating new treaty as early as next week. Arms control experts continue to discuss the treaty advantages and drawbacks:

A successful flight test of 'Topol-M' ICBM was conducted on June 6, 2002 at Plesetsk test range:

PIR Center disseminated the report that is focused on the studying of the perspectives of the American and the European programs reducing Russias WMD threats: Foreign Programs Reducing Russia's WMD Threats: Appraisals & Outlook, (a report for the CSIS Project Strengthening Cooperative Threat Reduction with Russia: A US-European Initiative", PIR Center, April 15, 2002) - in PDF format

The same problem is dicussed in the following publications:

Carnegie Endowment for World Peace published a new book Deadly Arsenals, (by Joseph Cirincione with Jon B. Wolfsthal and Miriam Rajkumar, Carnegie Endowment for World Peace, June 2002), which represent a comprehensive assessment available on the dangers nations face from weapons of mass destruction. Chapters devoted to nuclear programs of India and Pakistan are available on-line: India and Pakistan's Nuclear Capabilities.

The Bush administration has ordered conceptual design work started for a new $2 billion to $4 billion plant that would produce plutonium triggers for the U.S. nuclear weapons force beginning in 2020: (U.S. Orders Design of New Weapons Plant, by Walter Pincus, The Washington Post, Monday, June 3, 2002; Page A03).

The U.S. Energy Department conducted its 17th subcritical nuclear test Friday, amid reported protests from the governors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and many other Japanese cities: U.S. Testing: Japanese Officials Protest U.S. Subcritical Nuclear Test, (by David Ruppe, Global Security Newswire, June 10, 2002)

In spite of improvement of U.S.-Russian relations the joint Russian-Iranian cooperation on nuclear energy remains a source of split among new partners:

In comments that stunned many, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's top aide told reporters last week that what Japan calls its three non-nuclear principles could soon come under review: Nuclear Arms Taboo Is Challenged in Japan, (by Howard W. French, The New York Times , June, 8, 2002)

Dirty bombs are not mass killers, they are weapons designed to inspire panic and cause disruption: After a 'Dirty Bomb' Explodes, (The New York Times , June 11, 2002)

What Was New?

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