"ACA's journal, Arms Control Today, remains the best in the market. Well focused. Solidly researched. Prudent."

– Hans Blix
Former IAEA Director-General
May 1997
Edition Date: 
Thursday, May 1, 1997

Construction Begins on National Ignition Facility

On May 29, ground was broken for the construction of the National Ignition Facility located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The laboratory is a key facility in the Department of Energy's (DOE's) science-based stockpile stewardship and management program designed to ensure the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal under the recently signed Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty. The $1.2 billion facility, which will contain the world's largest laser, is expected to be completed by the year 2003.

During the ground-breaking ceremony, Energy Secretary Federico Pena said, "The National Ignition Facility has been designed to create for the first time ever in a laboratory, brief bursts of self-sustaining fusion reactions...that will allow us to study nuclear weapons physics without conducting underground nuclear tests as we have done in the past." The 192beam laser facility will simulate the temperatures and pressures that occur during nuclear weapon explosions to study fusion ignition and to monitor the effect of aging on the reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The facility would also contribute to the effort to explore fusion for civilian power in the Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program, which is viewed as acceptable under the CTB Treaty.

DOE maintains that the National Ignition Facility is necessary to ensure the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile and is compatible with the CTB Treaty. The facility has been strongly criticized by some observers, however, who claim that it is not necessary for the stewardship program and could be seen as contributing to U.S. efforts to develop new nuclear weapons contrary to the spirit of the CTB Treaty.

Clinton to Submit ABM Amendments' to the Senate

President Bill Clinton has agreed to seek Senate approval of any agreement that would add new parties to the 1972 ABM Treaty, originally a bilateral accord between the Soviet Union and the United States. A condition attached to the resolution of ratification of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty "Flank Document," unanimously approved by the Senate on May 14, requires Senate advice and consent for a 1996 agreement that would formalize the succession of Russia, Belarus, Kazakstan and Ukraine to the ABM Treaty, if and when such an agreement is signed.

Signature of the June 1996 memorandum of understanding (MOU) on ABM succession, however, is awaiting completion of separate agreements, currently being negotiated by the United States and Russia, that would establish a "demarcation line" between permitted theater missile defense systems and restricted strategic ABM systems.

The administration had previously agreed to submit the demarcation agreements to the Senate for its advice and consent, but it resisted seeking Senate approval of the MOU because it held that the question of succession did not constitute a "substantive modification" to the ABM Treaty and fell within the president's purview under the Constitution and international law. Nevertheless, in a May 14 letter to the Senate, President Clinton agreed to submit the agreement to the Senate "without prejudice to the legal principles involved."

Send Senate CTB Treaty Now


Spurgeon M. Keeny, Jr.

President Clinton should move quickly to send the Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) Treaty to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification. Although Senate debate on the treaty, which the United States signed almost a year ago, threatens to be long and heated, any further delay will not improve the prospects for the treaty's approval and will raise serious questions internationally as to the U.S. commitment to the treaty.

When the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was extended indefinitely in 1995, the nuclear-weapon states agreed to complete the CTB Treaty in 1996. Largely through Clinton's policy initiatives, agreement on a text was reached on schedule, and the treaty has now been signed by 144 countries, including the five nuclear-weapon states.

In the eyes of the world, the next step depends on the willingness of the nuclear-weapon states to ratify the treaty, and Russia and China will certainly wait for the United States to act. Failure by the administration to start the CTB Treaty ratification process would be widely viewed as a repudiation of the political commitment it gave to obtain consensus support for the indefinite extension of the NPT. Extended delay would severely undercut the U.S. leadership role in efforts to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime. Paradoxically, the United States and not India, which has stood virtually alone in refusing to sign the CTB, would then be seen as the barrier to achieving the long-sought goal of ending nuclear testing.

Despite the international imperative to act promptly on CTB ratification, some administration officials and outside observers have counseled delay on the grounds that the necessary 67 votes for approval cannot be mustered in the present Senate. It is far too early, however, to forecast the vote on this issue, and the composition of the Senate is unlikely to be more favorably disposed on this issue after the next election. The debate on the CTB will not really be joined until senators are faced with the prospect of an actual vote. Then, undecided senators will have to face the fact that public opinion, editorial commentary and knowledgeable experts overwhelmingly support the treaty. Treaty opponents cannot look for support from the military, which has outgrown its earlier infatuation with nuclear weapons. Moreover, the weapons laboratories, which have historically been outspoken opponents of a test ban, will not plead the need for continued testing, having accepted a new role as managers of a well-funded stewardship program designed to assure the long-term reliability and safety of existing weapons without nuclear testing.

In the debate, the oft-repeated arguments against a CTB Treaty will have lost much of their force and will be easily rebutted. The reliability and safety of the existing U.S. nuclear arsenal is assured by a gold-plated stewardship program. The U.S. deterrent is overwhelming and secure and will not depend on the development of new nuclear warheads, which would require testing. With provisions for on-site inspections of suspicious events, the treaty's international monitoring system, buttressed by independent U.S. technical intelligence assets, will be capable of verifying whether any significant nuclear testing has occurred anywhere in the world.

When all is said and done, individual senators will have to decide whether they want to be identified as advocates of a resumption of nuclear testing that would seriously set back nuclear nonproliferation efforts when it is most unlikely there will ever be a need for another U.S. nuclear test. As a harbinger of this decision process, Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), who originally opposed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), supported the convention when the final vote was taken. While it is true that the CWC was President Bush's treaty and the Republican Party in recent years has opposed the CTB, it is also true that the CTB, which was first championed by President Eisenhower in 1958, will be a much higher profile issue than the CWC and the political penalty for holding it hostage or killing it will be far greater.

Senate approval of the CTB Treaty will be a hard fight that can, and will, be won. In fact, obtaining Senate approval should be much easier than negotiating the detailed treaty in the Conference on Disarmament with 60 participating states, some of which, in addition to India, did not really want the ban. But to win, the president must submit the treaty as soon as possible and no later than early September if there are to be Senate hearings this year leading to a vote in 1998. If the president should be persuaded to wait for a more propitious moment, he runs a serious risk that Senate action on the CTB will not be completed during his term in office, with far-reaching adverse implications on the prospects for progress on his nuclear non-proliferation agenda.

Yeltsin Offers (Confusing) Detargeting' Pledge

During the May 27 signing ceremony of the "Founding Act" in Paris (see p. 21), Russian President Boris Yeltsin unexpectedly announced that Moscow would remove the "warheads" from strategic nuclear missiles targeted against NATO member states. His aides quickly corrected the apparent "mistranslation" to say that Russia would no longer target its strategic missiles against NATO countries¾a less ambitious measure.

Yeltsin's initiative builds on the January 14, 1994, "Moscow Declaration," in which the United States and Russia agreed to "detarget" their strategic nuclear missiles by May 30, 1994. Subsequently, on February 15, 1994, Britain and Russia also agreed to detarget their strategic missiles by the same date.

The U.S.Russian detargeting agreement has been controversial. Some critics argue that the agreement cannot be verified and has no practical military significance because U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear missiles can be retargeted in a short period of time. Proponents, on the other hand, argue that the agreement has important symbolic value because it demonstrates the improvement in U.S.Russian relations since the end of the Cold War. They also contend that the agreement has some militarily significance because, in the highly unlikely event of an accidental U.S. or Russian nuclear launch, the missile will not reach a strategic target. However, Bruce Blair, a command and control specialist at the Brookings Institution, disputes this point claiming that in the event of an accidental Russian nuclear launch, the missiles would automatically revert to their previous targets.

EURATOM Set to Join KEDO Board; Work at Sinpo Site to Begin


Howard Diamond

THE KOREAN Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) and the European Union (EU) agreed on May 15 to the terms and conditions of the accession to KEDO of EURATOM, the EU's nuclear regulatory body. Following a formal signing of the agreement later this summer, EURATOM will become the first new member of the international consortium's Executive Board since KEDO's founding by the United States, Japan and South Korea in 1995.

KEDO is implementing the 1994 U.S.North Korean Agreed Framework, under which Pyongyang has agreed to freeze and ultimately dismantle its nuclear weapons program. In return, KEDO is overseeing the construction in Sinpo of two 1,000-megawatt (electric) light-water reactors (LWRs) and annual shipments of 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil until the first reactor is completed.

The EU's contribution to KEDO of 75 million European Currency Units (about $85 million) over five years will cover roughly one-third of the annual heavy fuel oil cost. In 1996, KEDO was forced to borrow to cover the $66.8 million cost of the year's heavy fuel oil deliveries. The United States has been providing about one-third of the funds for the annual shipments ($22 million in 1996), with the balance coming from other contributing states and from credit facilitated by a collateral fund created by Japan. KEDO has had limited success in soliciting new countries to join or in getting current members to make greater contributions. The expected increase in the EU's contribution from $6.3 million in 1996 to about $18 million after EURATOM's accession, will be key to stabilizing KEDO's finances.

EURATOM's entry into KEDO, which has been under negotiation for over a year, will need to be formally approved by KEDO's Executive Board and the EU Council of Ministers. After the agreement is signed, EURATOM will begin participating on the Executive Board as well as increasing its level of financial support.

Work on the much-delayed LWR project is expected to get under way by mid-July following a May 13 decision by KEDO's Executive Board to start work on the infrastructure necessary for construction, such as roads and temporary offices and housing. The 1995 supply agreement between KEDO and Pyongyang calls for the first LWR to be completed by 2003 on a "best-efforts" basis, however, delays in negotiations with North Korea and disruptive events like the submarine incident of 1996, have put the $5 billion project several months behind schedule.

Most of the necessary arrangements for initiating construction were settled in negotiated protocols or discussions in April (see ACT, April 1997), but some remaining issues will be addressed in a week of talks between KEDO and North Korea beginning May 31. KEDO will send a delegation of 44 representatives from the United States, Japan and South Korea to North Korea to discuss technical issues relating to the start of construction.

In addition to progress on the LWR project, the safe storage of North Korea's plutonium-laden spent fuel is continuing. At the end of May, about 80 percent of the 8,000 fuel elements from the 5-megawatt (electric) gas-graphite reactor in Yongbyon had been "canned" in steel containers in preparation for their eventual shipment out of the country.

Arms Control in Print




Compiled by Sami Fournier


CDI 1997 Military Almanac, Washington, DC: Center for Defense Information, 61 pp. Ph. (202) 862-0700.

The Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy, Washington, DC: National Academy Press, National Academy of Sciences, 1997, 109 pp. Ph. (800) 624-6242.

A National Security Strategy for a New Century, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, May 1997, 38 pp. Ph. (202) 512-1800.

Strategic Survey 1996/97, London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, April 1997, 268 pp. Ph. (44) 1865 267907.


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QDR Supports Nuclear Status Quo, Adds Billions More to NMD Program


Craig Cerniello

ON MAY 19, Secretary of Defense William Cohen submitted to Congress the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), a six-month study that examined all aspects of U.S. defense strategy and requirements through 2015. The review, which was conducted in consultation with Congress and approved by President Bill Clinton, will "serve as the overall strategic planning document" of the Defense Department. While the QDR made no substantial changes to U.S. strategic nuclear forces and posture, it added $2.3 billion to the Clinton administration's national missile defense (NMD) efforts in order to preserve the current schedule, and delayed deployment of the Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system by two years.

In a reaffirmation of current policy, the QDR noted that "We are committed to reducing our nuclear forces to START II levels once the treaty is ratified by the Russian Duma and then immediately negotiating further reductions consistent with the START III framework." In addition, the QDR concluded that the United States would maintain its strategic nuclear forces at START I levels until Russia has ratified START II, a measure that is consistent with the START II resolution of ratification approved by the Senate in January 1996. (See ACT, February 1996.) Challenging this conclusion, the independent National Defense Panel—which was created by Congress to review the findings of the QDR—argued that "the move to START II force levels should proceed even if the Duma fails to act on START II this year."

Under START I, the United States is expected to deploy a total of 6,000 "treaty-accountable" warheads on the following systems: 50 MX ICBMs, 500 Minuteman III ICBMs, 18 Trident ballistic missile submarines, 71 B-52H bombers and 21 B-2 bombers. (Due to START I counting rules, this force will comprise approximately 8,000 actual deployed warheads). Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 20, Cohen estimated that it will cost the United States approximately $64 million to maintain START I force levels in fiscal year (FY) 1998 and $1 billion per year thereafter. The majority of the increase reflects the costs associated with refueling the four additional Trident submarines that will be maintained under START I.

General John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the committee that, in light of this significant potential cost, he would support adjustments to the current congressional prohibition on U.S. strategic nuclear force reductions below START I levels. Shalikashvili said the Joint Chiefs believe "it would be good if we could have the freedom to discuss with [Congress] alternatives that would, on the one hand, meet our security needs, [and] on the other hand not undermine the process of putting the requisite pressure on the Duma to ratify START II. We believe there is a middle way that we can find that will accomplish that."


Missile Defense Issues

As part of its comprehensive analysis, the QDR also evaluated U.S. ballistic missile defense policy and programs. In particular, the review reaffirmed the Clinton administration's "three-plus-three" program, which calls for the development of the initial elements of an NMD system by 2000, at which time the United States will assess the long-range ballistic missile threat to its territory and be in a position to deploy such a system by 2003 if necessary. If no decision is taken to deploy, the United States will continue development efforts while maintaining a three-year deployment capability.

Nevertheless, the QDR determined that the program as currently funded would not enable the United States to meet the 2000 deadline for making a possible NMD deployment decision. Therefore, the review added $2.3 billion to the program over the next five years, but cautioned that even with this additional funding it will "remain a program with very high schedule and technical risk."

With respect to the administration's theater missile defense (TMD) program, the QDR pushed back the deployment date for THAAD from 2004 (which had just been announced in December 1996) again to 2006. This delay was necessary because THAAD has failed in all four of its intercept attempts over the past year and a half. In addition, the QDR provided funding through 1999 for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), which is being developed by the United States, Germany and Italy for NATO deployment (previously MEADS was funded through FY 1998).

The QDR also reaffirmed the administration's commitment to other TMD programs: the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability3 (PAC3) system, an improvement over the system deployed during the Gulf War; the Navy's Area Defense ("lower-tier") system; the Navy's Theater-Wide Defense ("upper-tier") system; and the Air Force's Airborne Laser program, which is in the early stages of development.

IAEA Approves '93+2' Protocol; Awaits Adoption by Member-States


Howard Diamond

THE INTERNATIONAL Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors approved a program of enhanced nuclear safeguards during a special session in Vienna May 1516, the first major expansion of the agency's monitoring and inspection powers in 25 years. The new measures are embodied in a model protocol that will need to be adopted by each of the 131 states (along with Taiwan) that has a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The protocol will substantially expand IAEA access to information and facilities, thereby improving the agency's ability to verify that non-nuclear-weapon states that are parties to the nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) are not conducting clandestine nuclear weapons programs.

The new protocol represents the second part of the IAEA's "Program 93+2," initiated in 1993 as a result of the confirmation in 1991 that Iraq—an NPT signatory—had been clandestinely pursuing a nuclear weapons program by utilizing undeclared facilities not covered by existing safeguards. The name "93+2" refers to the initial goal of completing a plan of action in two years, in time for the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.

The IAEA began implementing Part 1 of Program 93+2 in January 1996, by adopting new monitoring techniques (such as environmental sampling and use of no-notice inspections at key measurement points within declared nuclear facilities) that did not require any new legal authority for their implementation. Some methods for analysis and monitoring, field tested during Part 1, have subsequently been incorporated into Part 2, which aims to close the undeclared facilities loophole. The agency determined that Part 2 would require the addition of a protocol to current safeguards agreements. The IAEA has said it anticipates the program will lead to "more cost-effective use of its safeguards resources."


The Model Protocol

Incorporating lessons learned in Iraq and North Korea, the new protocol represents a significant expansion of the scope of IAEA safeguards from a narrow focus on detecting the misuse of declared facilities or diversion of declared material, to broad oversight of the totality of a nation's nuclear activities. Specifically, the protocol makes four major changes that will significantly reduce the likelihood of a nation with a comprehensive safeguards agreement successfully concealing a nuclear weapons program:

First, in addition to the current requirement to provide nuclear fuel and fuel cycle activity data, states will now have to furnish an "expanded declaration" on a broad array of nuclear-related activities such as "nuclear fuel cycle-related research and development activities—not involving nuclear materials" and "the location, operational status and the estimated annual production" of uranium and thorium mines. All trade in items on the Nuclear Suppliers Group trigger list will also have to be reported to the IAEA.

Second, the number and types of facilities the IAEA will be able to inspect and monitor will substantially increase beyond the present level. To resolve questions or inconsistencies in the information a state has provided about its nuclear activities, the new inspections regime provides the IAEA with "complementary," or pre-approved, access to "[a]ny location specified by the Agency," as well as all of the facilities specified in the "expanded declaration." States accepting the model protocol, in effect, guarantee the IAEA access on short-notice to all of their declared, and if necessary, undeclared facilities "to assure the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities."

Third, the agency's ability to conduct short notice inspections is augmented by streamlining the visa process for inspectors and guaranteeing them, with one month's notice, "appropriate multiple entry/exit" visas that are valid for at least a year.

Fourth, the model protocol confirms the agency's right to use environmental sampling techniques—not previously specified as a valid and objective method in the "scope of inspections,"—throughout its monitoring and inspections activities.

According to Gary Samore, National Security Council senior director for nonproliferation, "The protocol substantially strengthens the ability of the IAEA to detect clandestine nuclear programs by giving it access to additional information and locations." The shift in the IAEA's focus from strict material accountancy to a more comprehensive approach to a state's nuclear activities should considerably deter "rogue" states' secret pursuit of nuclear weapons programs. A senior administration official said, "Nations attempting to conceal their nuclear weapons programs will be in a Catch22' position, that is, with heavy pressure to sign [the protocol] but serious concern they'll get caught."

Unlike the non-nuclear-weapon states, which are required by the NPT to accept IAEA safeguards on their nuclear activities, the five nuclear-weapon states (the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia), because they are entitled to manufacture nuclear weapons, are free from this requirement. However, to augment the acceptability of the new protocol and to show they are not seeking a commercial advantage, all five countries have announced their intention to apply some of the new safeguards to their commercial nuclear facilities. On May 16, the White House announced that it would accept the new measures "in their entirety except where they involve information or locations of direct national security significance," and promised to seek legislation to make the protocol legally binding. Britain and France have said they will accept almost all of the new measures, while Russia and China are expected to adopt fewer parts of the model protocol on the grounds of national security concerns.

CFE 'Flank' Accord Enters into Force; Senate Warns Russia on Deployments


Sarah Walkling

THE CONVENTIONAL Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty "Flank Document" entered into force on May 15, one day after the Senate unanimously approved a resolution of advice and consent to ratification of the document. The flank accord brings into effect new, higher limits on Russian battle tanks, armored combat vehicles (ACVs) and heavy artillery deployed or stored in the now-reconfigured flank zone.

Finalized at the May 1996 CFE Treaty Review Conference, the flank document adjusts the original CFE Treaty flank limits to alleviate Moscow's difficulties absorbing Russian forces formerly stationed in Central and Eastern Europe and responding to internal security threats, especially the Chechnyan uprising. (Russia had met its aggregate but not its flank limits by the November 1995 deadline).

The new document reduces the size of the flank zone, without changing the numerical limits on ground equipment within the zone. Moscow, which agreed in May 1996 to freeze its treaty-limited equipment (TLE) deployments in the original flank zone, must now reduce these levels by May 31, 1999, to meet its new limits. (See box p. 31) Russia is permitted to use "to the maximum extent possible" treaty provisions for temporary deployment outside its territory and TLE reallocation among parties to achieve the reductions. (See ACT, May/June 1996.)

The flank agreement requires Russia and the other flank states on its troubled southern border to work out ways to accommodate Moscow's reductions. The concerns of four former Soviet republics (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) about Russian deployments prompted the Senate to add conditions to its resolution, which make clear that the United States opposes any attempt by Moscow to deploy forces in other former Soviet republics without the consent of those states-parties to the CFE Treaty.

In a "finding" included in the resolution, the Senate said, "armed forces and military equipment under control of the Russian Federation are currently deployed on the territories of States Parties without the full and complete agreement of those States Parties." One condition, therefore, requires presidential certification of NATO affirmation that without the "freely expressed consent," of the parties involved, the flank agreement does not allow any party to station or temporarily deploy TLE on another's territory, or to reallocate weapons quotas between parties. The condition also requires affirmation of all parties' rights, under the document, to their maximum weapons allotments. On May 15, President Clinton notified Congress that NATO had made these affirmations, quelling the fears of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine that Russia could abuse the flank agreement to increase its own weapons entitlements or legitimize deployment of its equipment on their territories.

Another Senate condition requires the secretary of state to open new discussions to secure the immediate withdrawal of all Russian-controlled forces and equipment deployed on the territories of other CFE states-parties without their consent. In the ongoing negotiations between Russia and Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, which began last year, the Senate insists that the United States participate as an intermediary to protect the rights of these states to "reject or accept conditionally" any Russian requests to temporarily deploy weapons on their territories or to reallocate their weapons allotments with other states.

To discourage future Russian attempts to strong-arm its neighbors and exploit the flank agreement, the resolution states that the Senate "expects" the executive branch to brief the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the speaker of the House at least four times a year on CFE Treaty compliance issues. Also, every January 1, the president must submit three unclassified reports addressing compliance issues, the withdrawal of Russian troops from the territories of its neighbors and "uncontrolled" TLE transferred to secessionist or paramilitary groups. Finally, by August 1, 1997, the president must submit an unclassified report on whether Armenia violated the treaty by allowing the transfer of Russian arms through its territory to the separatist movement in Ngorno-Karabakh.

At the April 29 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the flank agreement, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked for assurance that the agreement would not legitimize Russia's military presence outside of its borders. Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) said, "one of the unspoken concerns up here is that [the Clinton administration] made a deal to keep Russia in line as it relates to NATO expansion.... We want to know, did you sell out the Caucasus in order to get Poland in?" Clinton administration officials responded that Russia would go totally unchecked without any flank limits and that ratification of the new flank agreement was necessary to sustain the momentum for conventional force reduction in Europe. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Lynn Davis emphasized that the agreement highlighted Russia's right "to take advantage of flexibilities built into the treaty that all parties can take advantage of," but did not give Moscow the right to station armed forces in other CFE parties.

Also attached to the resolution of ratification was a condition requiring the president to submit to the Senate any agreement that would add parties to the 1972 ABM Treaty. (See p.32.)

Russian CFE Flank Limits

The numbers listed below represent aggregates of active and stored equipment, as per 1990 CFE Treaty definitions. The flank agreement also places individual limits on ACVs deployed in the four oblasts (military districts) removed from the original flank zone, effective May 31, 1999.

  Tanks ACVs Artillery
Original Limits 1 (now apply to the redrawn flank zone) 1,300 1,380 1,680
May 1996 Limits (apply to the original flank zone) 1,897 4,397 2,422
May 1999 Limits (apply to the original flank zone) 1,800 3,700 2,400
1 As negotiated by the former Soviet republics at Tashkent, May 1992.


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