Login/Logout

*
*  
"I actually have a pretty good collection of Arms Control Today, which I have read throughout my career. It's one of the few really serious publications on arms control issues."
– Gary Samore
Former White House Coordinator for Arms Control and WMD Terrorism
July/August 2007
Edition Date: 
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Cover Image: 

Lawmakers Sideline New U.S. Nuclear Warhead

Wade Boese

Congress has yet to complete the raft of bills governing U.S. nuclear funding and policy for the next fiscal year, but the early returns are not promising for the Bush administration’s program to develop a new nuclear warhead. Lawmakers say they want long-term nuclear plans before new weapons.

Launched in 2004, the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program aims to produce warheads that will ostensibly be safer, easier to maintain, and more reliable than the estimated 10,000 warheads in the current U.S. stockpile. Existing warheads have been certified annually as safe and reliable, but RRW program advocates say the weapons might degrade over time. They contend the new weapon will be less vulnerable to these risks because of simpler design and more modern and less hazardous components.

Still, legislators this year have capped development of the RRW and cut funding. The most severe action occurred June 20 when the House in its yet-to-be-finalized energy and water appropriations bill zeroed out the nearly $89 million funding request for the initiative from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). This semi-autonomous Department of Energy entity manages the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.

On the Senate side, the panel with initial responsibility for the energy and water appropriations bill June 26 trimmed $22 million from the NNSA request. If the full Senate follows suit then the two chambers will ultimately have to negotiate a final sum, which tends typically to be a compromise between the different amounts.

In addition to the NNSA request, the Bush administration also sought $30 million for the Navy to work on the RRW program. That pot of funding will be dealt with through the defense appropriations bill on which neither the House nor Senate has started work.

The two chambers have made progress on their separate versions of the defense authorization bill. Authorization measures establish legislative guidance for programs, while appropriation bills provide the money. As they currently stand, both the House and Senate authorization bills confine RRW work to design activities and block engineering work.

The first RRW design was selected in March, and program officials are currently refining the design and projecting future costs and schedule. (See ACT, April 2007. )

Lawmakers have raised questions about whether the RRW program will accomplish the administration’s proclaimed goals. One stated purpose of the program is to enable the United States to reduce its overall arsenal size. Administration officials argue that the new warheads will be easier to produce, making it unnecessary to maintain as many spares for crises or emergencies.

RRW advocates also contend the program will diminish the probability that the United States will have to return to nuclear testing, which was suspended in 1992. They say the current upkeep process gradually moves warheads away from proven designs, raising doubts about their performance and increasing pressure to test.

The minimalist RRW design will preclude such uncertainty, according to program supporters. Thomas D’Agostino, who has been nominated to head the NNSA, told a Washington audience June 15, “I wouldn’t recommend spending a dollar [on the RRW program] if I thought this couldn’t be certified without an underground nuclear test.”

But some legislators are skeptical. Speaking June 19 on the House energy and water measure, Rep. David Hobson (R-Ohio) said the RRW program “has merit…but all we have right now is a vague promise.” Hobson has been a vocal critic of what he sees as an outdated and oversized nuclear weapons complex.

The chair of the House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), shares a similar view and has other worries. He argued June 20 that pressing ahead with the program “will be misunderstood by our allies, exploited by our adversaries, [and] complicate our work to prevent the spread and the use of nuclear weapons.” Visclosky later declared, “I wish the administration…had as much aggression and commitment to downsizing the complex as they do on developing a weapon.”

Teaming with Hobson, Visclosky led the House in cutting the RRW funds. In a June 6 report, Visclosky’s panel stated, “[T]here exists no convincing rationale for maintaining the large number of existing Cold War nuclear weapons, much less producing additional warheads.” It further contended the RRW program was “premature,” absent a long-term nuclear strategy.

This sentiment appears widespread. The House defense authorization bill, passed May 17, calls for establishing a 12-member commission to conduct a strategic posture study. The Senate has yet to finalize its defense authorization bill, but an early version passed June 5 by the Armed Services Committee would require the Pentagon to undertake a nuclear posture review. Whether both studies make it into a reconciled bill remains to be seen, but many lawmakers apparently want more long-term thinking about the U.S. nuclear stockpile and its mission.

Senator Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), however, asserted that the House RRW actions, in part, could send U.S. nuclear strategy in a “new, unknown direction.” Also representing New Mexico, Republican Rep. Heather Wilson charged the recent moves amounted to a “radical shift” in U.S. nuclear weapons policies and risked forcing a resumption of nuclear testing. New Mexico is home to two U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories.

Congress has yet to complete the raft of bills governing U.S. nuclear funding and policy for the next fiscal year, but the early returns are not promising for the Bush administration’s program to develop a new nuclear warhead. Lawmakers say they want long-term nuclear plans before new weapons. (Continue)

Missile Defense Collision Course

By Daryl G. Kimball

When President George W. Bush withdrew from the 1972 U.S.-Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty five years ago, he asserted that “my decision to withdraw from the treaty will not, in any way, undermine our new relationship or Russian security.” Now, Bush’s latest proposal to site 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and an advanced radar in the Czech Republic has severely compounded the Kremlin’s anxieties about growing U.S. offensive and defensive strategic capabilities.

President Vladimir Putin’s response to missile defense deployments in two former Warsaw Pact states has been hostile and counterproductive: he has threatened to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; to target the sites with Russian missiles; and to stop work on a Joint Data Exchange Center intended to help avoid an accidental or mistaken nuclear attack.

For some Americans and Europeans, a rudimentary defense against a potential long-range missile threat from Iran may seem attractive. But for now, it is a flawed idea whose time has not come.

Russia’s concerns may be exaggerated, but that does not alter the reality that the European anti-missile plan is premature and the technology unproven. And, if Washington presses ahead despite Russian objections, it could trigger the renewal of U.S.-Russian missile competition and hamper efforts to further reduce each nation’s still massive nuclear warhead and missile arsenals.

In recent weeks, U.S. officials have crisscrossed Europe to say the proposed system is not designed to counter Russia’s nuclear-armed missiles and therefore does not threaten Russia’s security. To be sure, 10 U.S. interceptors would only provide a rudimentary defense against a handful of incoming missiles, let alone Russia’s current force of some 500 land-based missiles. Highly scripted tests involving prototypes of ground-based interceptors now deployed in California and Alaska have failed three out of five times since 2002. The proposed system in Europe would use a new type of interceptor that has yet to be built, let alone tested.

But just as U.S. officials are seeking missile defenses against an Iranian missile threat that does not exist, Russian leaders are worried they cannot maintain their strategic nuclear retaliatory capability against a porous strategic missile defense that has not been built and a potential U.S. nuclear buildup that will not likely materialize.

Why? Because old habits die hard. Russia and the United States each still deploy approximately 4,000 nuclear warheads on delivery vehicles on high alert, and as a result, military strategists on both sides plan for the worst. Under the flimsy 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), the United States will be able to maintain a large “hedge” arsenal of reserve warheads and excess missile capacity. After SORT expires in 2012, the United States could increase its deployed strategic arsenal from 2,200 to well over 4,000 nuclear warheads.

Russia is on a path to maintain approximately 2,000 deployed strategic warheads by 2012. But the size of Russia’s long-range missile force would be relatively smaller. Independent estimates are that Russia’s land-based missile force could shrink dramatically, down to as few as 150 by the year 2015.

Russia’s fear is that the larger and more accurate U.S. missile arsenal would be capable of delivering a decapitating first strike. U.S. missile defense assets could then counter the few remaining missiles based in Russia’s European territory that might survive and be launched.

To avoid this scenario, Russia could slow its planned nuclear force reductions and accelerate deployment of new long-range missile systems, an option made easier if the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is allowed to expire in 2009. But dismantling strategic arms reductions pacts in order to preserve Russia’s ability to annihilate the United States does not make missile defense a better idea.

Unfortunately, Bush and Putin will not likely resolve their differences and avert a collision on missile defense any time soon. Putin’s offer to use the Russian-leased Gabala radar in Azerbaijan to evaluate Iran’s missile program and, if necessary, to use other basing plans that would not interfere with Russian missiles is worth exploring. Nevertheless, the White House seems determined to begin construction of the European system before Bush leaves office.

Such an approach is mistaken and reckless. There should be no rush to deploy an unproven system against a potential missile threat that will not likely materialize until 2015 or beyond. In any case, Congress is on track to cut the administration’s $310 million request for the European strategic missile defense project and focus U.S. efforts on more capable short- and medium-range interceptors.

The United States and its NATO partners should defer work on the European strategic missile defense project until Bush’s and Putin’s successors arrive. In the meantime, they should engage Russia in a meaningful dialogue to address its missile defense concerns, explore technical alternatives, and advance new proposals for deeper warhead and missile force cuts that would reduce tensions and erase Russian fears of U.S. nuclear supremacy.

When President George W. Bush withdrew from the 1972 U.S.-Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty five years ago, he asserted that “my decision to withdraw from the treaty will not, in any way, undermine our new relationship or Russian security.” Now, Bush’s latest proposal to site 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and an advanced radar in the Czech Republic has severely compounded the Kremlin’s anxieties about growing U.S. offensive and defensive strategic capabilities.

President Vladimir Putin’s response to missile defense deployments in two former Warsaw Pact states has been hostile and counterproductive: he has threatened to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; to target the sites with Russian missiles; and to stop work on a Joint Data Exchange Center intended to help avoid an accidental or mistaken nuclear attack. (Continue)

ElBaradei: IAEA Budget Problems Dangerous

Paul Kerr

Budget constraints are jeopardizing the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) ability to perform vital parts of its mission, particularly those most closely related to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei has warned in recent months. Meanwhile, a committee established by the IAEA Board of Governors to review the adequacy of agency safeguards has ended its work after having made little progress in its deliberations.

According to a document obtained by Arms Control Today, ElBaradei told the IAEA board June 15 that the proposed agency budget for 2008 “does not by any stretch of the imagination meet our basic, essential requirements,” adding that “our ability to carry out our essential functions is being chipped away.”

The IAEA performs a wide variety of nuclear-related functions, including promoting safety in nuclear facilities as well as cooperating with countries on matters such as nuclear power and nuclear medicine.

It also performs missions critical to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. For example, the IAEA implements safeguards agreements, which states-parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) are required to conclude. Such agreements allow the agency to monitor certain declared nuclear activities and facilities to ensure they are used solely for peaceful purposes.

Additionally, the IAEA performs functions designed to prevent the smuggling and theft of nuclear material, such as maintaining a database that tracks illicit trafficking in such material. The agency also provides assistance to states to help them prevent the theft of nuclear material.

Budget in Flux

The IAEA board has not yet agreed on a budget for fiscal year 2008, a situation that ElBaradei described June 11 as “disappointing.” The board could decide on a budget at an early July meeting, Agence France-Presse reported June 17, but that has not yet been confirmed.

The board is required to submit the agency’s annual budget to the IAEA General Conference, which meets each September. The director-general initially develops the budget with input from IAEA staff and member states.

Based on a UN formula, each member-state contributes a certain amount of funds to the IAEA’s “regular budget.” The agency’s total regular budget for fiscal year 2007 is approximately $370 million. The IAEA also receives voluntary contributions from member states.

The agency’s fiscal year 2007 verification budget, which includes the implementation of safeguards, is less than $145 million. The budget for nuclear safety and security, which includes measures to secure nuclear materials, is approximately $30 million.

Starting in the mid-1980s, a group of wealthy countries imposed a “zero real-growth” budget on the IAEA. Beginning in 2003, however, the agency has received modest budget increases.

For fiscal year 2008, ElBaradei submitted a nominally zero real-growth budget, according to another document obtained by Arms Control Today. However, it contains a separate category of funding for “essential investments.” Some governments have asked the IAEA to decrease its 2008 fiscal year budget, the document says.

Size Matters

ElBaradei warned June 15 that continued flat budgets would force the agency to cut back on some of its missions. Similarly, he argued four days earlier that the “dichotomy between increased high priority activities and inadequate funding, if continued, will lead to the failure of critical IAEA functions.”

Government officials and outside experts widely acknowledge that the IAEA’s workload will increase in the future. According to an April 18 Department of State fact sheet, “requirements for IAEA safeguards and inspections are expected to increase dramatically over time” because more countries are likely to increase their reliance on nuclear power.

At least in the short term, the agency also will need to devote more resources to other functions, such as evaluating information supplied by member-states as more countries conclude additional protocols to their safeguards agreements, according to a 2005 IAEA budget document.   

Additional protocols expand the number of nuclear-related activities and facilities that an NPT member-state must declare, as well as augment the agency’s authority to detect undeclared nuclear activities. So far, 82 out of 189 NPT states-parties have additional protocols in force; another 30 have signed them.           

A former senior IAEA official pointed out, however, that there are only a few states with significant nuclear activities that do not have an additional protocol in force.           

The IAEA would also be tasked with monitoring a multilateral North Korean nuclear agreement as well as a nuclear cooperation deal between the United States and India, if either became a reality (see pages 41 and 42).

Nongovernmental experts interviewed by Arms Control Today in June agreed that the IAEA needs a budget increase immediately. Government officials have made similar claims. For example, Ambassador Abdul Minty, South Africa’s representative to the IAEA Board of Governors, warned in a June 14 statement that the IAEA’s current budget situation could result in the “weakening” of the agency.

The State Department fact sheet also acknowledged that the agency needs additional funding. But in a June 21 interview with Arms Control Today, a knowledgeable U.S. official said that the urgency of ElBaradei’s case is “not proven.”

Agency officials and nongovernmental experts, meanwhile, have identified a number of IAEA functions that could be adversely affected by current budget levels. These include a number of issues related to the IAEA’s safeguards mandate. Indeed, ElBaradei warned June 15 that the agency’s “safeguards function is being eroded over time.”

As one example, he cited the state of the IAEA’s laboratories, asserting June 11 that they “are full of equipment that is outdated.” As a result, ElBaradei added June 15, the agency must “rely on a very small number of external laboratories” for analyses of environmental samples.

Both Matthew Bunn, a former Clinton administration official who is currently a senior research associate at Harvard University, and Andreas Persbo, a researcher at the Verification Research, Training, and Information Center, agreed with ElBaradei’s assessment.

The agency takes environmental samples from countries’ nuclear facilities in order to determine, for example, if a country used them for secret activities involving nuclear material. The use of such samples is expected to increase, according to the 2005 budget document.

Additionally, the former IAEA official argued that the IAEA will need to buy more satellite images for its future safeguards work.

Both ElBaradei and Bunn have indicated that the IAEA needs additional as well as new types of equipment for conducting its safeguards activities.

Both also have argued that the agency’s budget for nuclear security is too low. ElBaradei complained June 15 that the IAEA relies on “highly unpredictable” voluntary contributions for 90 percent of that budget.

Safeguards Committee Ends Work

Meanwhile, a committee established in June 2005 to consider methods for improving IAEA safeguards has ended its work without making any recommendations.

The United States pushed the IAEA board to establish the Advisory Committee on Safeguards and Verification after President George W. Bush called for its formation in a 2004 speech. The committee, which was granted a two-year term, was expected to provide advice to the board on whether current safeguards are sufficient for dealing with potential proliferation challenges, such as clandestine nuclear programs and the threat of nuclear terrorism. (See ACT, July/August 2006.)

A Vienna-based diplomat told Arms Control Today June 21 that the committee, which held a total of six meetings, was ultimately unable to reach consensus on a list of 18 recommendations provided by the IAEA secretariat.

ElBaradei stated in June 2005 that the IAEA board would decide after two years whether to extend the committee’s mandate. However, “there are no immediate plans” for continuing its work, the Vienna diplomat said.

The diplomat added that the committee was supposed to generate ideas for improving safeguards, but disagreements among the members prevented this, leading the group to ask the secretariat to provide recommendations.

The secretariat circulated technical papers in May 2006 that described measures to improve the safeguards system, including augmenting the capabilities of the agency’s laboratory network, encouraging states to provide the agency with data about nuclear-related transactions, and expanding the list of materials and equipment that NPT states-parties are required to declare under additional protocols. The secretariat also suggested means of increasing the IAEA’s use of satellite imagery, but the diplomat said that the committee’s discussions about the subject were not productive.

From the beginning, the committee was characterized by its members’ lack of willingness to be “constructive,” the diplomat said, explaining that many states perceived the process to be “political” rather than “technical.” Disagreement about persistently contentious issues related to the NPT, such as whether states-parties should place more emphasis on non-nuclear-weapon states’ compliance with safeguards obligations or nuclear-weapon states’ obligations to reduce their nuclear arsenals, contributed to the committee’s lack of progress, the diplomat said.

Corrected online August 29, 2008. See explanation.

 

Editor's Note

Miles A. Pomper

It is perhaps the scenario most dreaded by the American public and U.S. national security experts: Organized crime gangs take advantage of poorly secured former Soviet nuclear materials and smuggle a bomb’s worth of nuclear material across unguarded borders. They pass the material to terrorists, who eventually detonate such a weapon in the United States or against U.S. interests.

Fortunately, such a scenario has yet to play out in real life. Indeed, as Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley notes in this month’s cover story, available data indicates that, despite post-September 11 fears, a nexus among terrorists, organized crime, and dangerous weapons trafficking has not formed in the former Soviet Union. Still, she cautions that more needs to be done to keep such nightmares from becoming reality.

Likewise, Sidney Niemayer and David K. Smith say that, by failing to keep better track of these incidents and relevant materials, governments in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere are failing to fully tap a vital resource. Follow-on investigations and information sharing, they say, could help determine the origin of nuclear or radiological materials and point to the perpetrators of such crimes.

Americans may fear a nuclear attack by terrorists, but some non-nuclear-weapon states fear such an attack from the United States and other nuclear weapons possessors. To assuage their concern, they have pushed the nuclear-weapon states to provide assurances that they will not use nuclear arms against states without them. But as George Bunn and Jean du Preez argue in another article, the Bush administration has watered down the already limited negative security assurances provided by previous U.S. administrations. They urge the next U.S. president to solidify these commitments.

Our news section this month looks at Russia’s missile defense offer, a U.S. offer on cluster munitions, congressional opposition to a new nuclear warhead, and the release of a new International Atomic Energy Agency report on international cooperation to limit the dangers of nuclear fuel-cycle facilities.

How to cope with the potential dangers caused by the global spread of nuclear fuel-cycle technology is one of the themes of the book Atoms for Peace: A Future After 50 Years?, edited by Joseph Pilat. Ambassador Norman A. Wulf says the book demonstrates that supply-side approaches to controlling nuclear proliferation are losing effectiveness and more efforts need to be made to dampen the motivations for new states to acquire such weapons.

Also, a printer error led to some words being dropped from the introduction to the cover story in the print edition of our June issue. As a service to our readers, we have reprinted the article in full on page 51 of the July/August print edition of Arms Control Today.

Books of Note

Breaking the Nuclear Impasse: New Prospects for Security Against Nuclear Weapons
Edited by Jeffrey Laurenti and Carl Robichaud, The Century Foundation Press, May 2007, 142 pp.

This book is the product of a Century Foundation conference held in February. Summarizing the recommendations that gained the broadest support during discussions, Joseph Cirincione, vice president for national security at the Center for American Progress, and Carl Robichaud, program officer at the Century Foundation, identify nine goals for sustaining the nonproliferation regime, including the end of fissile material production, the removal and elimination of tactical nuclear weapons, and consistent reinforcement of nonproliferation norms. Several leaders in the field then propose means for achieving these goals, including approaches that seek to preserve the virtues, not the vices, of traditional arms control strategies and to use market forces to support nonproliferation. Despite the outward deadlock of the arms control debate, the authors maintain that positive advancements are possible if leaders strengthen their commitment to the principles of nonproliferation and disarmament. Ultimately, the book stresses the need for a comprehensive strategy, complete with concrete goals, to repair the political and structural inconsistencies in the nonproliferation regime.


Arms Control After Iraq: Normative and Operational Challenges
Edited by Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu and Ramesh Thakur, The United Nations University Press, 2006, 452 pp.

Taking advantage of a wide variety of state and regional perspectives, this book, edited by Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and UN Assistant Secretary-General Ramesh Thakur, covers how the strategies of nonproliferation and disarmament have adjusted since the war in Iraq and also how the “tools” of arms control have changed in their importance and impact. Several contributors discuss the new emphasis on counterproliferation and the switch from deterrence to “compellence” strategies. The efforts of the UN Security Council and the international community at large are discussed not only for their limited ability to enforce compliance but also for the role their ground-breaking verification bodies played in dealing with Iraq. In addition, points of view from the nuclear powers and other influential parties, such as Egypt and Japan, offer differing cultural and historical approaches to nonproliferation.


Global Non-Proliferation and Counter-Terrorism: The Impact of UNSCR 1540
Edited by Olivia Bosch et al., Brookings Institution Press, 2007, 226 pp.

Three years after its adoption, policymakers and scholars evaluate UN Security Council Resolution 1540, a 2004 measure obligating all UN member states to act to prevent nonstate access to weapons of mass destruction. In 14 essays, diverse authors from around the globe put the resolution in legal, historic, and strategic context and recommend guidelines for enforcement, lawmaking, and prosecution. Part one presents Resolution 1540 as part of the broader history of efforts against proliferation. Part two discusses the resolution in relation to nonproliferation treaties on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and their means of delivery. Part three relates Resolution 1540 to other recent efforts, including the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative. Acknowledging that the resolution’s effects on nonstate proliferation have yet to be determined, the editors conclude that its most lasting contribution will be its validation of a globally cooperative agenda against proliferation.


Are you interested in purchasing these books? You can help support the Arms Control Association by visiting one of our partners.

 

or 

 

Breaking the Nuclear Impasse: New Prospects for Security Against Nuclear Weapons. Edited by Jeffrey Laurenti and Carl Robichaud, The Century Foundation Press, May 2007, 142 pp.

Arms Control After Iraq: Normative and Operational Challenges. Edited by Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu and Ramesh Thakur, The United Nations University Press, 2006, 452 pp.

Global Non-Proliferation and Counter-Terrorism: The Impact of UNSCR 1540. Edited by Olivia Bosch et al., Brookings Institution Press, 2007, 226 pp.

July/August 2007 Bibliography

Of Special Interest

Beckett, Margaret, “For a Nuclear-Free World,” Jerusalem Post, June 26, 2007.

Biden, Joe, “CSI: Nukes,” The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2007, p. A17.

Carter, Ashton B., May, Michael M., and Perry, William J., “After the Bomb,” The New York Times, June 12, 2007, p. A23.

Nunn, Sam, “The Mountaintop: A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, June 14, 2007, 8 pp.

Odom, William E., “The Nuclear Option,” Foreign Policy, May/June 2007, p. 51.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 2007: Armaments, Disarmament, and International Security, June 11, 2007, 752 pp.

I. Strategic Arms

D’Agostino, Thomas P. The Reliable Replacement Warhead Program: Remarks at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, National Nuclear Security Administration, June 15, 2007, 6 pp.

Drell, Sidney, “A Reliable Path to Disarmament,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2007, p. 48.

The Economist, “Vlad and MAD,” June 9, 2007, p. 67.

Gormley, Dennis M., “Silent Retreat: The Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons,” The Nonproliferation Review, July 2007, p. 183.

Harvey, John R., “Nonproliferation’s New Soldier: How the Reliable Replacement Warhead Program will Bolster Global Security,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2007, p. 32.

Krauss, Lawrence M., “A Case of Dubious Rationales,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2007, p. 41.

Landay, Jonathan, “Dispute Delays Arms-Control Talks with Moscow,” McClatchy Newspapers, June 18, 2007.

Liang, John, “Air Force Plans to Begin Reducing Minuteman III Fleet This Month,” Inside Missile Defense, June 6, 2007, p. 2.

Matthews, William, “D’Agostino Aims to Shift U.S. Lawmakers’ View in Favor of RRW,” Defense News, June 15, 2007.

Pikayev, Alexander A., “Unfair Advantage,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2007, p. 36.

Pincus, Walter, “House Vote Stops Appropriation for New Generation of Nuclear Weapons,” The Washington Post, June 20, 2007, p. A20.

Saunders, Doug, “Cold Warrior Putin Threatens to Target Europe,” The Globe and Mail, June 4, 2007, p. A1.

Shen, Dingli, “Upsetting a Delicate Balance,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2007, p. 37.

Vartabedian, Ralph, “U.S. Speeding Up Nuclear Disarmament,” Los Angeles Times, June 7, 2007.

Weitz, Richard, “Missile Tests Underscore Moscow’s Desire to Maintain Nuclear Deterrent,” World Politics Review, June 1, 2007.

II. Nuclear Proliferation

Gusterson, Hugh, “Nuclear Terrorism: Correcting the Future,” The Bulletin Online, June 5, 2007.

Kramer, Andrew E., “Russia’s Nuclear Power Company Finds Business Is Good - in Iran and Elsewhere,” International Herald Tribune, June 7, 2007.

Stinson, Jeffrey, “Russia Increasingly Filling Demand for Nuclear Technology,” USA Today, June 3, 2007.

India

Agence-France Presse, “Rice Eyes U.S.-India Nuclear Deal This Year,” June 27, 2007.

Associated Press, “Group of Regional Indian Parties Denounces India-U.S. Nuclear Deal,” June 6, 2007.

Bidwai, Praful, “Last-Minute Hitch over U.S.-India Deal,” Inter Press Service, June 7, 2007.

The Hindu, “U.S. Needs to Make Changes in Deal: Scientists,” June 18, 2007.

Jha, Ravi S., “Wrangling Continues on U.S.-Indo Nuclear Deal,” Khaleej Times, June 11, 2007.

Johnson, Jo, “Cloud Over U.S.-India Nuclear Accord,” Financial Times, June 3, 2007.

Nayar, K. P., “Nuke Talks in 3-Para Knot,” The Telegraph, June 4, 2007.

Rajesh, Y. P., “Little Progress in India-U.S. Nuclear Deal Talks,” Reuters, June 2, 2007.

Sethi, Manpreet, Indo-U.S. Civilian Nuclear Cooperation: Reprocessing Issue Reconstructed, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies Issue Brief, June 2007, 4 pp.

Stephenson, John, Will the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative Light India? Assessing the Economic & Resource Arguments for the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, June 5, 2007, 12 pp.

Varadarajan, Siddharth, “Manmohan Sent Strong Message through Burns,” The Hindu, June 6, 2007.

Iran

Bhadrakumar, M.K., “Russia’s Tango with Tehran,” Asia Times, June 26, 2007.

Goldschmidt, Pierre, Iran’s Nuclear Program: Between Denial and Despair,

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Proliferation Analysis, June 15, 2007.

Heinrich, Mark, “Iran Sets Talks with IAEA as New Sanctions Loom,” Reuters, June 21, 2007.

Heinrich, Mark and Strohecker, “ElBaradei Urges Iran to Halt Atomic Expansion,“ Reuters, June 14, 2007.

Hiro, Dilip, “The Iranian Bomb in a MAD World,” Asia Times, June 12, 2007.

Perkovich, George, and Squassoni, Sharon, Iran Goes Secret Again, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 14, 2007.

Pipes, Daniel, “Can the IAF Take Out Iran’s Nukes?” Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2007.

Reuters, “Rice Cool to Any Partial Nuclear Suspension by Iran,” June 24, 2007.

Sands, David R. “Iran Uses Fronts to Avoid U.N. Sanctions,” The Washington Times, June 13, 2007, p. A1.

North Korea

Gertz, Bill, “Data on N. Korea Centrifuges Sought,” The Washington Times, June 12, 2007, p. A1.

Herman, Bert, “Roh: Nuclear Crisis Just a Bargaining Chip,” The Washington Times, June 1, 2007, p. A17.

Jong-Heon, Lee, “Eyes Focused on N. Korea,” United Press International, June 15, 2007.

Magnier, Mark, “N. Koreans Hope Food and Shelter Come Next,” Los Angeles Times, June 2, 2007, p. A1.

Reuters, “North Korea Allows IAEA Team to Visit Nuclear Plant,” June 27, 2007.

Reuters, “Frozen North Korean Funds Released from Macau Bank,” June 14, 2007.

Sanger, David E., and Onishi, Norimitsu, “U.S., In Shift, Plans Talks in North Korea on Arsenal,” The New York Times, June 21, 2007, p. A8.

Song, Jung-a and Sevastopulo, Demetri, “N. Korea Invites UN to Nuclear Showdown,” Financial Times, June 17, 2007.

Pakistan

Albright, David and Brannan, Paul, Pakistan Appears to be Building a Third Plutonium Production Reactor at Khushab Nuclear Site, The Institute for Science and International Security, June 21, 2007, 6 pp.

Xinhua, “Pakistan Denies Report on New Nuclear Reactor,” June 23, 2007.

III. Nonproliferation

Fox, Jon, “Senators Call for Test Ban Treaty Ratification,” Global Security Newswire, June 8, 2007.

Group of Eight, Heiligendamm Statement on Non-Proliferation, June 8, 2007.

Group of Eight, Report on the Nuclear Safety and Security Group, June 8, 2007.

Heupel, Monika, Implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1540: A Division of Labor Strategy, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Papers, June 2007, 28 pp.

Jan, Sadaqat, “Pakistan Joins Fight on Nuke Terror,” Associated Press, June 10, 2007.

Perkovich, George, et al., Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security: 2007 Report Card on Progress, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 2007.

Sokolski, Henry, What Nuclear Challenges Might the EU Meet?, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, June 14, 2007, 6 pp.

Weitz, Richard, “Future Global Nonproliferation Partnership Would Need More Follow-Through,” World Politics Review, June 28, 2007.

IV. Missiles and Missile Defense

Alison, Sebastian and Pinchuk, Ellen, “Russia Will Target Czech, Polish Missile Sites, Ivanov Says,” Bloomberg News, June 14, 2007.

Chivers, C.J., “Putin Proposes Alternatives for Missile Defense System,” The New York Times, June 9, 2007, p. A6.

Coyle, Philip, A Game of Make-Believe: The European Missile Shield, Neiman Watchdog, June 8, 2007, 2 pp.

De la Grange, Arnaud, “Antimissile Defence’s Real Purpose: Political Integration More than Military Protection,” Le Figaro, June 12, 2007.

Gard, Robert, “Outside View: Euro-BMD Bad for U.S.,” United Press International, June 22, 2007.

Grier, Peter, “A Leaner, Looser ‘Star Wars’ System” Christian Science Monitor, June 5, 2007.

Hildreth, Steven A. and Ek, Carl, Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe, Congressional Research Service, June 22, 2007, 11 pp.

The Hindu, “No Move to Cap Long-Range Missiles,” June 19, 2007.

Ismayilov, Rovshan, “Radar for Rent,” Transitions Online, June 11, 2007.

ISN Security Watch, “Radar Diplomacy,” June 13, 2007.

Kuchins, Andrew C., “Vlad the Surpriser,” Newsday, June 10, 2007.

Lasker, John, “U.S. Ramps Up Missile Tests in the Pacific,” Asia Times, June 5, 2007.

Loven, Jennifer, “Bush Defends Missile Defense System,” Associated Press, June 1, 2007.

Mainville, Michael, “Azerbaijani Radar A Looming Presence for Nervous Inhabitants,” Agence-France Presse, June 8, 2007.

Matthews, William, “As U.S., Russia Spar over Missile Defense, Congress Cuts Funding,” Defense News, June 4, 2007.

Osgood, Carl, “Missile Defense: Cheney's Nuclear War Doctrine,” Executive Intelligence Review, June 29, 2007.

Postol, Theodore and Goodby, James, “Old Thinking about a New Threat,” International Herald Tribune, June 8, 2007.

Reuters, “Clinton Derides U.S. Missile Shield Plan,” June 29, 2007.

Sevastopulo, Demetri and Dinmore, Guy, “Russia and US Play Politics with Missiles,” Financial Times, June 21, 2007.

Shanker, Thom, “U.S. to Keep Europe as Site for Deterrent to Missiles,” The New York Times, June 15, 2007, p. A6.

Sieff, Martin, “Why U.S. May Reject Putin Plan,” United Press International, June 18, 2007.

Stott, Michael and Solovyov, Dmitry, “Russia Touts Radar Offer, Says U.S. Shield Not Needed,” Reuters, June 9, 2007.

Stratfor: “Geopolitical Diary: Understanding Putin's Missile-Defense Offer,” June 8, 2007.

Stolberg, Sheryl Gay, “Putin Surprises Bush with Plan on Missile Shield,” The New York Times, June 8, 2007, p. A1.

Thatcher, Jonathan, “Missiles Skid over Iced-Up North Korea Nuclear Deal,” Reuters, June 8, 2007.

Weitz, Richard, “A Bush-Putin Discussion on the Radar,” The Washington Post.com’s Think Tank Town, June 20, 2007.

V. Chemical and Biological Arms

Galbraith, Peter W., “’Chemical Ali’ Didn’t Act Alone,” Los Angeles Times, June 28, 2007.

Giacomo, Carol, “U.S.-Libya Chemical Arms-Related Deal in Doubt,” Reuters, June 8, 2007.

Lombardo, Ingrid, Chemical Non-Lethal Weapons: Why the Pentagon Wants Them and Others Don’t, Center for Nonproliferation Studies Research Story, June 8, 2007.

Krans, Maxim, “The Hysteria Behind Russia’s Ban on DNA Exports,” RIA Novosti, June 1, 2007.

Weitz, Richard, “Russian Chemical Weapons Dismantlement: Progress with Problems,” WMD Insights, June 2007.

Xinhua, “China to Establish Anti-Bioterrorism System, June 27, 2007.

VI. Conventional Arms

Aitamurto, Tanja, “Seven Questions about Cluster Weapons,” Helsingin Sanomat, June 6, 2007.

Associated Press, “Russia Completes Withdrawal from 1 of 2 Remaining Bases in Georgia,” June 27, 2007.

Associated Press, “U.S. Reverses Position and is now Willing to Negotiate a Cluster Bomb Treaty,” June 19, 2007.

Buzhinskiy, Evgeny, “One Step From a Moratorium: Why the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Does Not Suit Russia,” Rossiyskaya Gazeta, June 15, 2007.

Dempsey, Judy, “NATO Offer on Weapons Falls Short, Russia Says,” June 13, 2007.

The Economist, “A Change of Heart, or of Tactic,” June 21, 2007.

Elkus, Adam, “Gangs, Terrorists, and Trade,” Foreign Policy in Focus, June 6, 2007.

Horta, Loro, “China on the March in Latin America,” Asia Times, June 28, 2007.

International Committee of the Red Cross, Humanitarian, Military, Technical and Legal Challenges of Cluster Munitions, 2007, 89 pp.

ITAR-TASS, “Russia Doesn’t Want to Bury CFE, But May Have to Impose Moratorium: Minister,” June 21, 2007.

Keaton, Jamey, “U.S.: NATO Has Intercepted Iranian Arms,” Associated Press, June 13, 2007.

Kole, William J., “Russia Fails in Arms Treaty Overhaul,” Associated Press, June 15, 2007.

Murphy, John, “Israel Sees Problem Skyrocket; Militants Empty Towns with Simple Weapon,” The Baltimore Sun, June 2, 2007, p. A1.

Peuch, Jean-Christophe, “Russia: Moscow ‘Unhappy’ with Outcome of CFE Conference,” Radio Free Europe, June 15, 2007.

Pham, J. Peter, “Hu’s Selling Guns to Africa,” World Politics Review, June 28, 2007.

Reuters, “U.S. Open to Negotiations on Cluster Bombs But No Ban,” June 18, 2007.

RIA Novosti: “Russia Will Not Talk CFE Treaty Withdrawal in Vienna: Lavrov,” June 6, 2007.

Rickards, Jane, “Taiwan Rejects Most of U.S. Arms Package Offered in 2001,” The Washington Post, June 16, 2007, p. A11.

Slackman, Michael, “Running Guns to Gaza: A Living in the Desert,” The New York Times, June 19, 2007.

Smucker, Philip, “Taliban Uses Weapons Made in China, Iran,” The Washington Times, June 5, 2007.

Turse, Nick, “The Secret Air War in Iraq,” The Nation, June 11, 2007.

The Wall Street Journal, “Taiwan’s Self-Defense,” June 22, 2007.

Wright, Robin, “Iranian Flow of Weapons Increasing, Officials Say; Arms Shipments Tracked to Iraqi, Afghan Groups,” The Washington Post, June 3, 2007, p. A14.

VII. U.S. Policy

The Albuquerque Tribune, “Weapons Labs Need to Embrace Change,” June 29, 2007.

Berman, Russell, “Clinton Proposes New Ways to Combat Nuclear Proliferation,” New York Sun, June 28, 2007.

Porter, Gareth, “New Arms Claim Reveals Cheney-Military Rift,” Inter Press Service, June 20, 2007.

VIII. Space

Hitchens, Theresa, “Code Red?” Imaging Notes, Summer 2007.

Hoffman, Carl, “Battlefield Space,” PopularMechanics, July 2007, p. 76.

Reuters, “Eyes on Iran, Israel Launches New Spy Satellite,” June 11, 2007.

Tellis, Ashley J., Punching the U.S. Military’s ‘Soft Ribs:’ China’s Antisatellite Weapon Test in Strategic Perspective, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Policy Brief 51, June 2007, 7 pp.

Zaitsev, Yuri, “The Problem of Space Junk,” RIA Novosti, June 6, 2007.

IX. Other

Barr, Robert, “BAE Systems Subject of Investigation,” Associated Press, June 26, 2007.

Butler, Richard, “Don’t Kick the Inspectors Out of the U.N.,” The New York Times, June 29, 2007.

Gertz, Bill, “China Arms Talks, Reciprocity Stalled,” The Washington Times, June 14, 2007, p. A6.

Highfield, Roger, “How to Build a Greener H-Bomb,” Telegraph.co.uk, June 26, 2007.

Kay, Julie, “Merchants of Doom: A Burgeoning Anti-Terrorism Industry is Peddling Radiation Protection Suits, Nerve Gas Antidotes, and the Latest Spy Aids,” Chicago Sun-Times, June 24, 2007.

Minnick, Wendell, “Just an Update to Some Readers, ‘Realistic Appraisal’ of Threat to Others,” Defense News, June 4, 2007.

Puska, Susan, “Military Backs China’s Africa Adventure,” Asia Times, June 8, 2007.

Wald, Matthew L., “Sole U.S. Company That Enriches Uranium is Struggling to Stay in Business,” The New York Times, June 12, 2007, p. C4.

July/August 2007 ACT Print Advertisers

In Memoriam: Charles William Maynes Jr.

Zachary Ginsburg

Reviewing a biography in The New York Times on British arms control advocate and scientist Solly Zuckerman, Charles William “Bill” Maynes Jr. wrote, “One of life’s mysteries is why some individuals accomplish so much.” Maynes exemplified this mystery: he was a Rhodes Scholar, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University, a foreign service officer, secretary of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, chief nonproject economist for the U.S. Agency for International Development mission in Laos, issues staff head for 1972 Democratic vice presidential candidate Sargent Shriver, senior legislative assistant to Sen. Fred Harris (D-Okla.), assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, Eurasia Foundation president, editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, and an Arms Control Association board member.

An expert both on politics and economics, Maynes was named one of the most influential U.S. experts on foreign policy by the World Affairs Councils of America. Foreign Policy magazine describes his breadth of knowledge and experience as “legendary in Washington.”

“Bill Maynes was an important member of the generation that developed the legal and institutional arrangements for international security accommodation,” said Arms Control Association Board Chairman John Steinbruner. “His persistent commitment to equitable reason and his resistance to belligerence were inspirational qualities that will long be remembered by those privileged to observe them.” Maynes, an ACA board member since October 2001, died of cancer June 2 at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

As an assistant secretary of state, Maynes oversaw peacekeeping operations in Lebanon and witnessed the independence of Namibia. After leaving the Department of State in 1980, he became editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, a position he held for more years than any other editor. Under his leadership, the magazine earned numerous awards and gained broader readership.

Maynes’ opinions on the course of American international affairs at the magazine were widely respected. During the Cold War, he criticized Republican and Democratic administrations for weak, incoherent foreign policy doctrines that resulted in a destabilizing reliance on military arsenals and interventionism. “There may be particular circumstances for which military measures are appropriate,” he and his predecessor at Foreign Policy, Richard H. Ullman, remarked in 1980, “but as a panacea, such a prescription represents a political hoax on the American people.”

During the arms buildups of the early 1980s, Maynes called for a diplomatic cooling between the United States and the Soviet Union. When opinion abroad of U.S. policies stooped so low that a majority of Britons believed the United States to be a greater threat to world stability than the Soviet Union, Maynes authored a 1987 article in Foreign Policy entitled “America’s Chance,” advocating bilateral arms control arrangements. He said, “Militarily, the Soviet Union has put the United States on the defensive on arms control issues.”

Amid the uncertainty of the United States’ unipolarity after the Soviet Union’s collapse, Maynes’ analyses on U.S. and transnational affairs were almost prophetic. As early as 1993, Maynes warned of brewing ethnic conflicts, such as those in Serbia, Sudan, and Afghanistan. To meet these challenges, which frequently have little regard for national borders, he urged collective security based on the UN Charter.

Responding to Ambassador L. Paul Bremer’s proposal of a unilateral, military-oriented antiterrorism strategy that would later become a guiding philosophy of the George W. Bush administration, Maynes commented that, “[u]nfortunately, this approach has been tried and has failed. Israel followed such an approach against the Palestinian movement and Britain against the Irish Republican movement, [and] among the Palestinian and Irish populations resentment grew and support for the terrorists increased.” Instead, Maynes offered a more diplomatic approach: “The key to making progress against terrorism is not a primary reliance on military activism but continued pressure to get states to live up to their responsibilities” principally through “progress on the peace front.”

From his earliest years at Foreign Policy, but especially in his final days there, Maynes became increasingly wary of media sensationalism and its political influence. In his last editorial as editor-in-chief, Maynes concluded that “all forms of the media are under pressure these days to hold on to viewers or readers.” Thus, “[t]here is rising pressure to find pieces or to spotlight issues that will shock rather than inform.” Maynes also warned that the U.S. political system had become one in which “ideas are no longer tools made available to everybody, [but] are weapons crafted primarily for one’s political allies.”

In the final decade of his life, Maynes was the president of the Eurasia Foundation, which “distributed more than $360 million to help establish democratic and economic stability in the states of the former Soviet Union.”

 

North Korea Reactor Shutdown Looms

Paul Kerr

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials visited North Korea in late June, almost two weeks after Pyongyang agreed to finish implementing a February pledge to halt its nuclear reactor. Another meeting of six-party talks designed to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis may take place in July, but no firm date has been set.

An IAEA team led by Olli Heinonen, deputy director-general for safeguards, was scheduled to arrive June 26 in Pyongyang. North Korea invited the agency in a June 16 letter after a North Korean banking dispute moved toward resolution.

Heinonen told reporters June 23 that “[t]he purpose of the trip is…to negotiate details” about verifying and monitoring the shutdown of North Korea’s nuclear facilities located at Yongbyon, according to Reuters. IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei held initial discussions with North Korea about the issue in March. (See ACT, April 2007.)

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill told reporters in Tokyo June 23 that North Korean officials indicated during a bilateral meeting in Pyongyang that the country would shut down its operating, graphite-moderated nuclear reactor within approximately three weeks.

Hill met with North Korean Vice Minister Kim Gye Gwan and North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun during a June 21-22 visit to Pyongyang. The visit was the first by a U.S. official in Hill’s position since his predecessor, James Kelly, went to Pyongyang in October 2002. National Security Council official Victor Cha visited North Korea this past April.

A June 16 report from the state-run Korean Central News Agency said that Pyongyang invited the agency because “the process” of resolving the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia dispute had reached the “final phase.”

North Korea agreed in February to halt within 60 days the operation of the Yongbyon reactor and associated reprocessing facility, which is used to separate plutonium from spent reactor fuel, as well as “invite back IAEA personnel to conduct all necessary monitoring and verifications.” But Pyongyang refused to shut down the facilities because it contended the bank issue had not been resolved.     

The Department of State argued in April that the matter had been resolved as the bank had “un-blocked” the relevant North Korean accounts earlier that month. But North Korea said a resolution requires that the funds first be transferred.

Subsequent difficulty in conducting that transaction delayed resolution of the issue. After several false starts, the funds were ultimately transferred to a Russian bank in which North Korea reportedly holds an account. The funds were transferred via the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and the Bank of Russia. A June 25 North Korean Foreign Ministry statement acknowledged that the funds had been transferred, “thus settling the controversial issue.”

Since September 2005, the bank matter had been a persistent obstacle to progress in the six-party talks, which also include China, Japan, and South Korea. That month, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Banco Delta Asia as a “money laundering concern.” The bank subsequently froze North Korea’s accounts, and other financial institutions curtailed their dealings with Pyongyang. The United States has asserted that the bank provided financial services to North Korean government agencies and front companies engaged in illicit activities.

Next Steps

IAEA spokesperson Melissa Fleming told Arms Control Today June 25 that the agency expects its team “to come back with agreed modalities” for verifying the shutdown. The IAEA Board of Governors must approve these plans “because this is a special verification mission,” she said. Fleming also confirmed a June 23 Los Angeles Times report that another team of inspectors is likely to go to North Korea in about two weeks.

U.S. officials have repeatedly emphasized the importance of resuming work on the remaining portions of the February agreement. State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack told reporters June 22 that “we need to really get to the point where the rubber meets the road.”

For its part, North Korea says that it is now willing to implement the second phase of the February agreement, according to the June 25 Foreign Ministry statement.

North Korea agreed to shut down its nuclear facilities as part of the first phase of a two-step agreement that contains initial steps for implementing a September 2005 joint statement. Pyongyang pledged in the 2005 statement to abandon its nuclear weapons and “existing nuclear programs” in exchange for a series of political and economic incentives. (See ACT, October 2005.)

North Korea’s fulfillment of its shutdown pledge would allow the other parties to implement the remaining elements of the first phase of the February agreement.

For example, South Korea is to provide 50,000 metric tons of heavy fuel oil to the country in exchange for the shutdown. South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon told reporters June 20 that “preparations are underway” to provide the fuel “similarly in time with” North Korea’s shutdown of its nuclear facilities and the return of IAEA inspectors, according to Agence France-Presse.

Hill told reporters June 25 that the United States hopes “to have a six-party meeting of some kind…probably in the second week of July.” He said that meeting would likely happen after the shutdown begins but did not say whether the meeting would happen before the shutdown is complete.

According to Hill, the meeting should focus on implementing the February agreement’s second phase, which is to include North Korea’s provision of “a complete declaration of all nuclear programs,” as well as the “disablement of all existing [North Korean] nuclear facilities.” In return, the other parties are to provide “economic, energy, and humanitarian assistance up to the equivalent” of an additional 950,000 metric tons of heavy fuel oil.

Hill told reporters June 18 that the United States envisions the second phase taking place “in the latter part of this calendar year.” Regarding the disablement of the reactor, Hill asserted that the task could be completed within “several days, a couple of weeks at the most.” But he acknowledged a week later that the parties have not yet determined precisely how the reactor is to be disabled.

The February agreement also calls for a meeting of the six parties’ foreign ministers once the first phase is implemented. Such a meeting would likely take place in late July or early August, Hill said.

Hill argued during a June 19 press briefing that five working groups tasked with formulating specific plans for implementing the remaining portions of the September 2005 statement should resume their work. But a State Department official told Arms Control Today June 25 that the timing of those meetings had not yet been decided.

IAEA, Congress Tackle Nuclear Fuel Supply

Oliver Meier and Miles A. Pomper

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei June 13 presented the agency’s Board of Governors with a report outlining ways countries might work together to discourage the spread of uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing facilities. The report came as the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program and increased interest in nuclear energy have prompted growing concern, including in Congress, about the spread of such facilities that could provide either fuel for power plants or fissile material for nuclear weapons.

The text of the report was not publicly released, reportedly because some board members objected to doing so. Nonetheless, knowledgeable sources said the report, written by IAEA staff, evaluates the legal, technical, financial, and institutional aspects associated with the problem, analyzing nearly a dozen proposals for multilateral cooperation put forward by IAEA member states, many at a special, two-day agency conference in September 2006. (See ACT, November 2006. ) But the sources said the report does not advocate any particular plan for moving forward and leaves the thorniest issues for the states on the IAEA board to resolve.

The proposals outlined in the report essentially fall into three camps: reliance on the international market, backup commitments by individual states, and the establishment of a last-resort facility under the auspices of the IAEA. All are intended to convince countries to rely on the international market rather than national facilities to enrich uranium or to extract plutonium for spent nuclear fuel. In his June 11 statement to the board, ElBaradei essentially argued that all of the mechanisms could complement each other, calling for “an incremental approach, with multiple assurances in place.” In doing so, he stuck to a theme that he has embraced since receiving an IAEA expert group report in February 2005, which evaluated several steps toward a multilateral solution of the problem. (See ACT, March 2005. )

According to a June 15 IAEA press release, the report argues for moving toward a multilateral framework by creating mechanisms that would “assure the supply of fuel for nuclear power plants; over time, convert enrichment and reprocessing facilities from national to multilateral operations”; and “limit future enrichment and reprocessing to multilateral operations.”

The debate on how to prevent the spread of sensitive nuclear technology by limiting the construction of national nuclear fuel-cycle capabilities in additional states has gained new urgency since President George W. Bush in February 2004 proposed to limit supply of such technologies to states that already have such capabilities. (See ACT, March 2004. ) Efforts to get the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to endorse such proposals permanently have languished, although the NSG has since approved annual moratoria on initiating any new agreements along these lines. Several developing countries, however, have criticized this approach as discriminatory, arguing that it institutionalizes a new cartel of technology holders. In particular, they say that it would infringe on their rights under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty for access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The agency says its proposals would not limit the right of states-parties to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and maintains that states would remain “free to choose their fuel options.” But it left important details to the IAEA board. For example, the board would still have to decide whether to limit supply assurances to countries that do not operate enrichment and reprocessing facilities or who renounce such an option. It would also have to decide whether it would require any potential recipients to have in place an additional protocol to their safeguards agreement. Such protocols provide the agency with greater authority to search for undeclared nuclear activities.

A June 8 statement from the Group of Eight (G-8) summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, provides some indications of a possible board response. The group, which includes several key IAEA board members, stated that any proposal on fuel supply assurances should provide “added value” to the nonproliferation regime. Although the G-8 supported the IAEA’s position that participation in any fuel supply mechanism should be voluntary, there are differences regarding what that would mean. The G-8 said only that a possible future mechanism “should not preclude any state from purchasing nuclear fuel cycle services on the existing market beyond the frameworks of multilateral mechanisms,” without taking a position on the right to set up new indigenous enrichment and reprocessing facilities.     

In an indication of the U.S. position, the House of Representatives on June 18 passed by voice vote the International Nuclear Fuel for Peace and Nonproliferation Act to help establish an international nuclear fuel bank. The bill was introduced by House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and provides $50 million to supplement an equivalent September 2006 pledge to the IAEA by the private Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI).

Implementation of the NTI pledge and the Lantos bill, however, will depend on the pledge of an additional $50 million by a third party. The bill authorizes the contribution to establish the fuel bank on the territory of a non-nuclear-weapon state, including maintaining a reserve of low-enriched uranium (LEU) for reactor fuel to provide to eligible countries as a fallback mechanism. Only states that do not operate enrichment or reprocessing facilities “on any scale,” are in compliance with their safeguards obligations, and have an additional protocol to their safeguards agreements in force would be eligible to receive services from the fuel bank. 

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee June 27 endorsed somewhat similar legislation by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind). In addition, the House Appropriations Committee June 11 approved an energy and water spending bill that would provide $100 million in fiscal year 2008 for the fuel bank, if an additional $50 million were pledged by other IAEA member-states.

Unlike the Lantos legislation, the IAEA report says that a future nuclear fuel bank could be either a physical entity or a virtual one providing guarantees that appropriate fuel is forthcoming. It outlines the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. The report also argues that supply assurances should be tailored narrowly to convince states that their nuclear fuel supply will not be cut off for purely political reasons, that is, reasons other than a failure to pay for nuclear fuel or to meet their nonproliferation commitments under their safeguards agreement with the IAEA. Such safeguards are intended to prevent the diversion of peaceful nuclear material or technology to weapons purposes.

Because the member states had not seen the more than 90-page report before it was presented to the board, initial reactions were guarded. Several developing states of the Nonaligned Movement, including Iran, apparently repeated their concerns that any multilateral mechanism must not infringe on their right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Germany, acting in its current capacity as EU president, said in a June 14 press release that the report “comes at the right time” and that the European Union is “eager to find a solution which takes sufficient account of the current proliferation concerns regarding sensitive components in the nuclear fuel cycle.”

A Department of State official said June 19 that the United States believes that the IAEA report provides the basis for moving forward with debates on the board on the issue and that Washington “looks forward to discussion of the question of establishing a fuel assurance mechanism and to early action by the board to approve an IAEA role in a mechanism.” Still, substantive discussions are not expected before the next board meeting in September. They could also be postponed until the subsequent session in November.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - July/August 2007