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

– Hans Blix
Former IAEA Director-General
January/February 2011
Edition Date: 
Monday, January 10, 2011
Cover Image: 

2010 Index

ACT 2010 Index

Additional Protocol: Jenkins, Peter, “Staying Credible: How Precedents Can Help the IAEA Get Noncompliance Calls Right,” Sept., p. 21.

Biological Weapons: Tucker, Jonathan B., “Seeking Biosecurity Without Verification: The New U.S. Strategy on Biothreats,” Jan./Feb., p. 8; DH, “U.S. Lays Out Plans to Address Biothreats,” Jan./Feb., p. 30; Bansak, Kirk, “Delegates Catch Early Glimpses of BWC Review,” Oct., p. 47.

Book Reviews: Krepon, Michael, “The Perils of Proliferation in South Asia,” April, p. 43 (reviews of Peter R. Lavoy, ed., Asymmetric Warfare in South Asia: The Causes and Consequences of the Kargil Conflict; Sumit Ganguly and S. Paul Kapur, eds., Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia: Crisis Behaviour and the Bomb; Scott D. Sagan, ed., Inside Nuclear South Asia); Weiss,  Leonard, “Spreading the Bomb for Profit,” June, p. 42 (review of David Albright, Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies); Rydell, Randy, “Last Sunset or New Dawn for Nuclear Weapons?” Sept., p. 51 (review of Richard Rhodes, The Twilight of the Bombs: Recent Challenges, New Dangers, and the Prospects for a World Without Nuclear Weapons); Ramberg, Bennett, “Wrestling With Nuclear Opacity,” Nov., p. 53 (review of Avner Cohen, The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain With the Bomb).

Chemical Weapons: OM, “OPCW Chiefs Ponder Chemical Arms Deadlines,” Jan./Feb., p. 32; DH, “Russia Revises Chemical Arms Deadline,” Jul./Aug., p. 43; DH, “U.S. Hikes Aid for Russian Chemical Destruction,” Sept., p. 36; DH, “OPCW Chief Looks to Middle East,” Oct., p. 48; Walker, Paul F., “Abolishing Chemical Weapons: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities,” Nov., p. 22.

China: PC, “Outreach to North Korea Continues,” March, p. 53; MA & JA, “U.S.-Taiwan Arms Deal AngersChina,” March, p. 54; DH, “China, Pakistan Set Reactor Deal,” June, p. 41; PC, “U.S. Considers New North Korea Talks,” Oct., p. 43.

Cluster Munitions: JA, “Cluster Convention Set to Enter Into Force,” March, p. 51; VP, “Cluster Munitions Treaty Enters Into Force,” Sept., p. 47.

Conference on Disarmament: EA, “Pakistan Raises New Issues at Stalled CD,” March, p. 51; Mian, Zia, and Nayyar A.H., “Playing the Nuclear Game: Pakistan and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty,” April, p. 17; PC, “Stalled CD Sparks Plans for Sept. UN Meeting,” Sept., p. 48; DGK, “Time for Leadership on the Fissile Cutoff,” Oct., p. 4; PC, “UN Tackles Disarmament Machinery,” Dec., p. 51;

Conventional Arms Control: JA, “In a First, U.S. Attends Landmine Meeting,” Jan./Feb., p. 29; JA, “Cluster Convention Set to Enter Into Force,” March, p. 51; MA & JA, “U.S.-Taiwan Arms Deal Angers China,” March, p. 54; JA, “U.S. Incendiary-Weapons Policy Rebuffed,” April, p. 39; JA, “Gates Outlines Export Control Overhaul,” May, p. 54; Holtom, Paul, and Bromley, Mark, “The International Arms Trade: Difficult to Define, Measure, and Control,” Jul./Aug., p. 8; Mack, Daniel, “The Arms Trade Treaty PrepCom: Prepared and Committed?” Jul./Aug., p. 15; JA, “Consensus Found at Small Arms Conference,” Jul./Aug., p. 46; JA, “Progress Made at Arms Trade Treaty Meeting,” Sept., p. 46; VP, “Cluster Munitions Treaty Enters Into Force,” Sept., p. 47; JA, “Defense Treaties, Export Reform Move Ahead,” Oct., p. 34.

Conventional Weapons Transfers: MA & JA, “U.S.-Taiwan Arms Deal Angers China,” March, p. 54; Holtom, Paul, and Bromley, Mark, “The International Arms Trade: Difficult to Define, Measure, and Control,” Jul./Aug., p. 8; JA & MW, “U.S. Arms Deals Decline in Shrinking Market,” Oct., p. 49; JA, “UN Arms Data Mixed As Participation Falls,” Nov., p. 41; PC, “Nigeria Intercepts Iran Arms Shipment,” Dec., p. 48; MS, “Saudi Arms Deal Moves Forward,” Dec., p. 46.

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: DGK, “Obama’s Big Nuclear Test,” Jan./Feb., p. 4.

Cyberconflict: Lewis, James A., “Multilateral Agreements to Constrain Cyberconflict,” June, p. 14.

Defense Spending: DH & TZC, “Obama Budget Highlights Stockpile Work,” March, p. 47.

Disarmament: TZC, “Global Panel Calls for Steep Nuclear Cuts,” Jan./Feb., p. 35; PC, DH & DGK, “Taking Stock of the NPT: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Susan Burk,” March, p. 8; Smith, Harold, and Jeanloz, Raymond, “Britain Leads the Way to Global Zero,” Dec., p. 15; Fuller, James, “Verification on the Road to Zero: Issues for Nuclear Warhead Dismantlement,” Dec., p. 19.

European Union: JA, “U.S. Incendiary-Weapons Policy Rebuffed,” April, p. 39.

Export Controls: JA, “Gates Outlines Export Control Overhaul,” May, p. 54.

In Memoriam: King, John, “Stephen J. Ledogar (1929 - 2010),” June, p. 52.

India: DH, “Indian-U.S. Nuclear Trade Still Faces Hurdles,” Jan./Feb., p. 46; DH, “India, U.S. Agree on Terms for Reprocessing,” May, p. 60; DGK, “Is the NSG Up to the Task?” July/Aug., p. 4; Squassoni, Sharon, “The U.S.-Indian Deal and Its Impact,” Jul./Aug., p. 48; Sethi, Manpreet, “Nuclear Arms Control and India: A Relationship Explored,” Sept., p. 13; EA & DS, “India, Japan Discuss Terms of Nuclear Trade,” Sept., p. 49; EA, “India Passes Nuclear Liability Bill,” Oct., p. 45; EA, “Obama Easing Export Controls on India,” Dec., p. 39; DH, “India Seen Unlikely to Join NSG Soon,” Dec., p. 41.

International Atomic Energy Agency: DH, “IAEA Board Approves Russian Fuel Bank Plan,” Jan./Feb., p. 34; Goldschmidt, Pierre, “Safeguards Noncompliance: A Challenge for the IAEA and the UN Security Council,” Jan./Feb., p. 22; PC, “IAEA Cites Possible Iran Warhead Efforts,” March, p. 31; PC, “Iran Raising Uranium-Enrichment Level,” March, p. 33; PC, “Iran to Mass-Produce Improved Centrifuges,” May, p. 58; PC, “Brazil, Turkey Broker Fuel Swap With Iran,” June, p. 25; PC, “Iranian Fuel Swap Still Up for Discussion,” Jul./Aug., p. 36; Jenkins, Peter, “Staying Credible: How Precedents Can Help the IAEA Get Noncompliance Calls Right,” Sept., p. 21; PC, “IAEA, Iran Clash on Inspections Report,” Oct., p. 38; DH, “Countries Aim for Fuel Bank Endorsement,” Oct., p. 39; PC, “U.S. Seeks IAEA Leverage in Syria Probe,” Oct., p. 40; AN & PC, “IAEA Vote to Press Israel Falls Short,” Oct., p. 42; PC, “Iran Nuclear Efforts Face Critical Limits,” Nov., p. 47.

Iran: PC, “House Adopts Iran Oil Sanctions,” Jan./Feb., p. 43; PC, DH & DGK, “Taking Stock of the NPT: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Susan Burk,” March, p. 8; PC, “IAEA Cites Possible Iran Warhead Efforts,” March, p. 31; PC, “Iran Raising Uranium-Enrichment Level,” March, p. 33; PC, “Senate Targets Iran’s Oil Suppliers,” March, p. 36; PC, “Putin Predicts Summer Start for Iranian Reactor,” April, p. 33; PC, “Bill on Iran Gasoline Sanctions Nears Approval,” May, p. 56; PC, “Iran to Mass-Produce Improved Centrifuges,” May, p. 58; DGK, “Dealing With Iran’s Uranium,” June, p. 4; PC, “Brazil, Turkey Broker Fuel Swap With Iran,” June, p. 25; PC & MS, “Congress Delays Iran Sanctions,” June, p. 33; PC, “UN Enhances Iran Sanctions,” Jul./Aug., p. 33; PC, “Iranian Fuel Swap Still Up for Discussion,” Jul./Aug., p. 36; PC & MS, “Global Sanctions on Iran Intensify,” Sept., p. 27; PC, “Bushehr Fuel Loading Commences,” Sept., p. 32; Pomper, Miles A., and Harvey, Cole J., “Beyond Missile Defense: Alternative Means to Address Iran’s Ballistic Missile Threat,” Oct., p. 16; PC, “IAEA, Iran Clash on Inspections Report,” Oct., p. 38; PC, “Iran Nuclear Efforts Face Critical Limits,” Nov., p. 47; PC, “Nigeria Intercepts Iran Arms Shipment,” Dec., p. 48.

Israel: DH, “Israel States Strong Interest in Nuclear Energy,” April, p. 35; DH, “Prospect of Nuclear Deal With Israel Dismissed,” Sept., p. 44; Lorenz, Thomas, and Kidd, Joanna, “Israel and Multilateral Nuclear Approaches in the Middle East,” Oct., p. 24; AN & PC, “IAEA Vote to Press Israel Falls Short,” Oct., p. 42.

Japan: EA & DS, “India, Japan Discuss Terms of Nuclear Trade,” Sept., p. 49.

Landmines: JA, “In a First, U.S. Attends Landmine Meeting,” Jan./Feb., p. 29.

Looking Back: Krepon, Michael, and Black, Samuel, “Good News and Bad News on the NPT,” March, p. 56; Meyer, Paul, “Prague One Year Later: From Words to Deeds?” May, p. 64; Squassoni, Sharon, “The U.S.-Indian Deal and Its Impact,” Jul./Aug., p. 48; Hoffman, David E. “Mutually Assured Misperception on SDI,” Oct., p. 52; Wittner, Lawrence S., “The Nuclear Freeze and Its Impact,” Dec., p. 53.

Middle East WMD-Free Zone: PC, DH & DGK, “Taking Stock of the NPT: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Susan Burk,” March, p. 8; PC, “NPT Parties Agree on Middle East Meeting,” June, p. 21; Lorenz, Thomas, and Kidd, Joanna, “Israel and Multilateral Nuclear Approaches in the Middle East,” Oct., p. 24; DH, “OPCW Chief Looks to Middle East,” Oct., p. 48; AN, “U.S. Consulting on Middle East Meeting,” Dec., p. 50.

Missile Defense: TZC, “U.S. Taps Romania for Missile Defense,” March, p. 44; Lewis, George N., and Postol, Theodore A., “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Defense Plan,” May, p. 24; TZC, “Russia, U.S. Working on Joint Launch Notification,” Jul./Aug., p. 42; Pomper, Miles A., and Harvey, Cole J., “Beyond Missile Defense: Alternative Means to Address Iran’s Ballistic Missile Threat,” Oct., p. 16; TZC, “NATO Set to Back Expanded Missile Defense,” Nov., p. 32; Pifer, Steven, “After New START: What Next?” Dec., p. 8; RGV, “NATO Approves Expanded Missile Defense,” Dec., p. 32.

Missile Tests: TZC, “Russia, U.S. Working on Joint Launch Notification,” Jul./Aug., p. 42.

NATO: DGK, “Eliminate NATO’s Nuclear Relics,” March, p. 4; CT & DGK, “Ministers Urge NATO Nuclear Policy Review,” March, p. 38; VC, “Russian Nuclear Threshold Not Lowered,” March, p. 38; TZC, “U.S. Taps Romania for Missile Defense,” March, p. 44; OM, “NATO Chief’s Remark Highlights Policy Rift,” May, p. 35; Kibaroglu, Mustafa, “Reassessing the Role of U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Turkey,” June, p. 8; OM, “NATO Experts Hedge on Nuclear Posture,” June, p. 36; DGK, “NATO’s Nuclear Decision,” Sept., p. 4; OM, “NATO Struggles to Define New Nuclear Doctrine,” Sept., p. 34; OM, and Ingram, Paul, “A Nuclear Posture Review for NATO,” Oct., p. 8; TZC, “NATO Set to Back Expanded Missile Defense,” Nov., p. 32; OM, “NATO Revises Nuclear Policy,” Dec., p. 28; RGV, “NATO Approves Expanded Missile Defense,” Dec., p. 32.

New START: TZC, “START Stalls; Talks Continue,” Jan./Feb., p. 40; DGK, “Next Steps on New START,” April, p. 4; TZC, “New START Near ‘Finish Line,’ Timing Unclear,” March, p. 40; TZC, “New START to Be Signed April 8,” April, p. 27; Pifer, Steven, “New START: Good News for U.S. Security,” May, p. 8; TZC, “New START Signed; Senate Battle Looms,” May, p. 38; TZC, “Senate Begins Hearings on New START,” June, p. 28; TZC, “Key Panel Plans August Vote on New START,” Jul./Aug., p. 38; Gottemoeller, Rose, “New START: Security Through 21st-Century Verification,” Sept., p. 8; TZC, “Key New START Vote Set for Mid-September,” Sept., p. 38; TZC, “Senate Committee Approves New START,” Oct., p. 30; DGK, “Move Ahead With New START,” Nov., p. 4; DGK, “New START Now,” Dec., p. 4; Pifer, Steven, “After New START: What Next?” Dec., p. 8; TZC, “Obama Pushes for Vote on New START,” Dec., p. 43.

Nonproliferation: DGK, “Obama’s Big Nuclear Test,” Jan./Feb., p. 4; Goldschmidt, Pierre, “Safeguards Noncompliance: A Challenge for the IAEA and the UN Security Council,” Jan./Feb., p. 22; DH, “IAEA Board Approves Russian Fuel Bank Plan,” Jan./Feb., p. 34; PC, “House Adopts Iran Oil Sanctions,” Jan./Feb., p. 43; PC, DH & DGK, “Taking Stock of the NPT: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Susan Burk,” March, p. 8; von Hippel, Frank N. “South Korean Reprocessing: An Unnecessary Threat to the Nonproliferation Regime,” March, p. 22; PC, “IAEA Cites Possible Iran Warhead Efforts,” March, p. 31; PC, “Iran Raising Uranium-Enrichment Level,” March, p. 33; CT & DGK, “Ministers Urge NATO Nuclear Policy Review,” March, p. 38; DH, “NNSA Nonproliferation Funding Poised to Rise,” March, p. 49; PC, “Outreach to North Korea Continues,” March, p. 53; Lüdeking, Rüdiger,  “Renewing the Bargain,” April, p. 9; Hong, Li, “Seizing the Momentum,” April, p. 12; Salander, Henrik,  “Principles and Process,” April, p. 14; Mian, Zia, and Nayyar, A.H., “Playing the Nuclear Game: Pakistan and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty,” April, p. 17; DGK, “Strengthen the Nonproliferation Bargain,” May, p. 4; DH, “Russia, U.S. Sign Plutonium Disposition Pact,” May, p. 43; DH, “India, U.S. Agree on Terms for Reprocessing,” May, p. 60; Kelly, Alison, “NPT: Back on Track,” Jul./Aug., p. 21; Choubey, Deepti, “Future Prospects for the NPT,” Jul./Aug., p. 25; PC, “Report Alleges Secret Myanmar Nuclear Work,” Jul./Aug., p. 44; Sethi, Manpreet,  “Nuclear Arms Control and India: A Relationship Explored,” Sept., p. 13; DH, “U.S. Hikes Aid for Russian Chemical Destruction,” Sept., p. 36; PC, “Stalled CD Sparks Plans for Sept. UN Meeting,” Sept., p. 48; DH, “Countries Aim for Fuel Bank Endorsement,” Oct., p. 39; PC, “U.S. Seeks IAEA Leverage in Syria Probe,” Oct., p. 40; Aboul-Enein, Sameh, “NPT 2010: The Beginning of a New Constructive Cycle,” Nov., p. 8; Sigal, Leon V., “Can Washington and Seoul Try Dealing With Pyongyang for a Change?” Nov., p. 16; PC, “N. Korea Reveals Uranium-Enrichment Plant,” Dec., p. 35.

North Korea: PC, “U.S. Envoy Holds Talks in North Korea,” Jan./Feb., p. 45; PC, DH & DGK, “Taking Stock of the NPT: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Susan Burk,” March, p. 8; von Hippel, Frank N. “South Korean Reprocessing: An Unnecessary Threat to the Nonproliferation Regime,” March, p. 22; PC, “Outreach to North Korea Continues,” March, p. 53; PC, “Probe of Ship Sinking Halts Outreach to N. Korea,” May, p. 62; PC, “U.S. Considers New North Korea Talks,” Oct., p. 43; Sigal, Leon V., “Can Washington and Seoul Try Dealing With Pyongyang for a Change?” Nov., p. 16; PC, “Work at North Korea Reactor Site Unclear,” Nov., p. 49; PC, “N. Korea Reveals Uranium-Enrichment Plant,” Dec., p. 35.

Nuclear Black Markets: PC, “Report Alleges Secret Myanmar Nuclear Work,” Jul./Aug., p. 44.

Nuclear Cooperation Agreements: Von Hippel, Frank N., “South Korean Reprocessing: An Unnecessary Threat to the Nonproliferation Regime,” March, p. 22; DGK, “Pakistan Presses Case for U.S. Nuclear Deal,” April, p. 37; DH, “India, U.S. Agree on Terms for Reprocessing,” May, p. 60; DH, “U.S.-Russian Civil Nuclear Pact Resubmitted,” June, p. 38; DH, “China, Pakistan Set Reactor Deal,” June, p. 41; DGK, “Is the NSG Up to the Task?” Jul./Aug., p. 4; Squassoni, Sharon, “The U.S.-Indian Deal and Its Impact,” Jul./Aug., p. 48; DH, “Prospect of Nuclear Deal With Israel Dismissed,” Sept., p. 44; EA & DS, “India, Japan Discuss Terms of Nuclear Trade,” Sept., p. 49; DH, “Lawmakers Eye Fixes to Law on Nuclear Pacts,” Oct., p. 35.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle: DH, “IAEA Board Approves Russian Fuel Bank Plan,” Jan./Feb., p. 34; PC, DH & DGK, “Taking Stock of the NPT: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Susan Burk,” March, p. 8; Lewis, Patricia,  “Life at 40: Prospects for the NPT and the 2010 Review Conference,” March, p. 15.

Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty: Goldschmidt, Pierre, “Safeguards Noncompliance: A Challenge for the IAEA and the UN Security Council,” Jan./Feb., p. 22; PC, DH & DGK, “Taking Stock of the NPT: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Susan Burk,” March, p. 8; Lewis, Patricia, “Life at 40: Prospects for the NPT and the 2010 Review Conference,” March, p. 15; Krepon, Michael, and Samuel, Black, “Good News and Bad News on the NPT,” March, p. 56; Lüdeking, Rüdiger,  “Renewing the Bargain,” April, p. 9; Hong, Li, “Seizing the Momentum,” April, p. 12; Salander, Henrik, “Principles and Process,” April, p. 14; DGK, “Strengthen the Nonproliferation Bargain,” May, p. 4; Kelly, Alison, “NPT: Back on Track,” Jul./Aug., p. 21; Choubey, Deepti, “Future Prospects for the NPT,” Jul./Aug., p. 25; Aboul-Enein, Sameh, “NPT 2010: The Beginning of a New Constructive Cycle,” Nov., p. 8.

NPT Review Conference: PC, DH & DGK, “Taking Stock of the NPT: An Interview With U.S. Special Representative Susan Burk,” March, p. 8; Lewis, Patricia, “Life at 40: Prospects for the NPT and the 2010 Review Conference,” March, p. 15; Krepon, Michael, and Black, Samuel, “Good News and Bad News on the NPT,” March, p. 56; Lüdeking, Rüdiger, “Renewing the Bargain,” April, p. 9; Hong, Li, “Seizing the Momentum,” April, p. 12; Salander, Henrik, “Principles and Process,” April, p. 14; DGK, “Strengthen the Nonproliferation Bargain,” May, p. 4; PC, “NPT Parties Agree on Middle East Meeting,” June, p. 21; TZC, “U.S. Reveals Nuclear Force Plan, Arsenal Levels,” June, p. 31; Kelly, Alison, “NPT: Back on Track,” Jul./Aug., p. 21; Choubey, Deepti, “Future Prospects for the NPT,” Jul./Aug., p. 25; Aboul-Enein, Sameh, “NPT 2010: The Beginning of a New Constructive Cycle,” Nov., p. 8.

Nuclear Security: Luongo, Kenneth N., “Making the Nuclear Security Summit Matter: An Agenda for Action,” Jan./Feb., p. 15; VC, “Work on Nuclear Security Summit Progresses,” Jan./Feb., p. 37; DH, “NNSA Nonproliferation Funding Poised to Rise,” March, p. 49; DH, “Nuclear Summit Set to Host World Leaders,” April, p. 41; DH, “Russia, U.S. Sign Plutonium Disposition Pact,” May, p. 43; VC & DH, “World Leaders Vow to Boost Nuclear Security,” May, p. 46.

Nuclear Suppliers Group: DH, “Israel States Strong Interest in Nuclear Energy,” April, p. 35; DH, “China, Pakistan Set Reactor Deal,” June, p. 41; DH, “NSG Makes Little Headway at Meeting,” Jul./Aug., p. 45; DH, “U.S. Official Mulls Ending NSG Rule Revamp,” Nov., p. 45; EA, “Obama Easing Export Controls on India,” Dec., p. 39; DH, “India Seen Unlikely to Join NSG Soon,” Dec., p. 41.

Pakistan: EA, “Pakistani Nuclear Weapons Now Under PM,” Jan./Feb., p. 47; EA, “Pakistan Raises New Issues at Stalled CD,” March, p. 51; Mian, Zia, and Nayyar, A.H., “Playing the Nuclear Game: Pakistan and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty,” April, p. 17; DGK, “Pakistan Presses Case for U.S. Nuclear Deal,” April, p. 37; DH, “China, Pakistan Set Reactor Deal,” June, p. 41; DH, “NSG Makes Little Headway at Meeting,” Jul./Aug., p. 45; Squassoni, Sharon, “The U.S.-Indian Deal and Its Impact,” Jul./Aug., p. 48; Sethi, Manpreet,  “Nuclear Arms Control and India: A Relationship Explored,” Sept., p. 13; PC, “UN Tackles Disarmament Machinery,” Dec., p. 51.

Russia: VC, “Russia Drafts European Security Pact,” Jan./Feb., p. 38; TZC, “START Stalls; Talks Continue,” Jan./Feb., p. 40; OM, “OPCW Chiefs Ponder Chemical Arms Deadlines,” Jan./Feb., p. 32; DH, “IAEA Board Approves Russian Fuel Bank Plan,” Jan./Feb., p. 34; VC, “Russian Nuclear Threshold Not Lowered,” March, p. 38; DH, “NNSA Nonproliferation Funding Poised to Rise,” March, p. 49; TZC, “New START to Be Signed April 8,” April, p. 27; PC, “Putin Predicts Summer Start for Iranian Reactor,” April, p. 33; TZC, “New START Signed; Senate Battle Looms,” May, p. 38; DH, “Russia, U.S. Sign Plutonium Disposition Pact,” May, p. 43; VC & DH, “World Leaders Vow to Boost Nuclear Security,” May, p. 46; DH, “U.S.-Russian Civil Nuclear Pact Resubmitted,” June, p. 38; TZC, “Russia, U.S. Working on Joint Launch Notification,” Jul./Aug., p. 42; DH, “Russia Revises Chemical Arms Deadline,” Jul./Aug., p. 43; Gottemoeller, Rose, “New START: Security Through 21st-Century Verification,” Sept., p. 8; PC, “Bushehr Fuel Loading Commences,” Sept., p. 32; DH, “U.S. Hikes Aid for Russian Chemical Destruction,” Sept., p. 36; TZC & PC, “Russia Complied With START, State Dept. Says,” Sept., p. 41; Pifer, Steven, “After New START: What Next?” Dec., p. 8; Fuller, James, “Verification on the Road to Zero: Issues for Nuclear Warhead Dismantlement,” Dec., p. 19.

Sanctions: PC, “House Adopts Iran Oil Sanctions,” Jan./Feb., p. 43; PC, “Senate Targets Iran’s Oil Suppliers,” March, p. 36; PC, “Bill on Iran Gasoline Sanctions Nears Approval,” May, p. 56; PC & MS, “Congress Delays Iran Sanctions,” June, p. 33; PC, “UN Enhances Iran Sanctions,” June, p. 33; PC & MS, “Global Sanctions on Iran Intensify,” Sept., p. 27.

Small Arms: JA, “Gates Outlines Export Control Overhaul,” May, p. 54; Holtom, Paul, and Bromley, Mark, “The International Arms Trade: Difficult to Define, Measure, and Control,” Jul./Aug., p. 8; Mack, Daniel, “The Arms Trade Treaty PrepCom: Prepared and Committed?” Jul./Aug., p. 15; JA, “Consensus Found at Small Arms Conference,” Jul./Aug., p. 46; JA, “Progress Made at Arms Trade Treaty Meeting,” Sept., p. 46; JA & MW, “U.S. Arms Deals Decline in Shrinking Market,” Oct., p. 49; JA, “UN Arms Data Mixed As Participation Falls,” Nov., p. 41; PC, “Nigeria Intercepts Iran Arms Shipment,” Dec., p. 48.

South Korea: Von Hippel, Frank N., “South Korean Reprocessing: An Unnecessary Threat to the Nonproliferation Regime,” March, p. 22; PC, “Probe of Ship Sinking Halts Outreach to N. Korea,” May, p. 62; PC, “South Korea Charges North in Ship Sinking,” June, p. 40; Sigal, Leon V., “Can Washington and Seoul Try Dealing With Pyongyang for a Change?” Nov., p. 16; PC, “Work at North Korea Reactor Site Unclear,” Nov., p. 49; PC, “UN Tackles Disarmament Machinery,” Dec., p. 51.

Space: JA & VP, “New U.S. Space Policy Open to Arms Control,” Sept., p. 43; JA, “Revised Space Code Advances,” Nov., p. 37.

Syria: PC, “U.S. Seeks IAEA Leverage in Syria Probe,” Oct., p. 40.

United Kingdom: RGV, “UK Postpones Trident Replacement Amid Cuts,” Nov., p. 35; Smith, Harold, and Jeanloz, Raymond, “Britain Leads the Way to Global Zero,” Dec., p. 15; RGV, “UK, France Sign Nuclear Collaboration Treaty,” Dec., p. 33.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy: DGK, “Obama’s Big Nuclear Test,” Jan./Feb., p. 4; DGK, “Eliminate NATO’s Nuclear Relics,” March, p. 4; DH & TZC, “Obama Budget Highlights Stockpile Work,” March, p. 47; TZC, “News Analysis: What Is a “New” Nuclear Weapon?” April, p. 30; Halperin, Morton H., “A New Nuclear Posture,” May, p. 15; DGK & GT, “Obama’s NPR: Transitional, Not Transformational,” May, p. 19; TZC, “U.S. Nuclear Review Shifts Threat Focus,” May, p. 50; ML, “Lab Chiefs Question JASON Study Summary,” May, p. 53; Kibaroglu, Mustafa, “Reassessing the Role of U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Turkey,” June, p. 8; OM, “NATO Experts Hedge on Nuclear Posture,” June, p. 36; TZC, “U.S. Reveals Nuclear Force Plan, Arsenal Levels,” June, p. 31; DGK, “NATO’s Nuclear Decision,” Sept., p. 4; Gottemoeller, Rose, “New START: Security Through 21st-Century Verification,” Sept., p. 8; OM, “NATO Struggles to Define New Nuclear Doctrine,” Sept., p. 34; RGV, “State Dept. Restructures Arms Control Bureaus,” Nov., p. 50; DH, “GAO Finds Problems in Tritium Production,” Nov., p. 51; Pifer, Steven, “After New START: What Next?” Dec., p. 8; Fuller, James, “Verification on the Road to Zero: Issues for Nuclear Warhead Dismantlement,” Dec., p. 19.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons R&D and Testing: TZC, “News Analysis: What Is a “New” Nuclear Weapon?” April, p. 30.

U.S. Security Policy: Luongo, Kenneth N., “Making the Nuclear Security Summit Matter: An Agenda for Action,” Jan./Feb., p. 15; VC, “Work on Nuclear Security Summit Progresses,” Jan./Feb., p. 37; DH, “Nuclear Summit Set to Host World Leaders,” April, p. 41; Lewis, George N., and Postol, Theodore A., “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Defense Plan,” May, p. 24; VC & DH, “World Leaders Vow to Boost Nuclear Security,” May, p. 46; Lewis, James A., “Multilateral Agreements to Constrain Cyberconflict,” June, p. 14; TZC, “Russia, U.S. Working on Joint Launch Notification,” Jul./Aug., p. 42; TZC & PC, “Russia Complied With START, State Dept. Says,” Sept., p. 41; Sigal, Leon V., “Can Washington and Seoul Try Dealing With Pyongyang for a Change?” Nov., p. 16.

Author Key For ACT Staff

JA Jeff Abramson
MA Michael Ashby
EA Eric Auner
VC Volha Charnysh
TZC Tom Z. Collina
PC Peter Crail
AF Andrew Fisher
RGV Robert Golan-Vilella
DH Daniel Horner
DGK Daryl G. Kimball
ML Meredith Lugo
OM Oliver Meier
AN Alfred Nurja
VP Valerie Pacer
DS Daniel Salisbury
MS Matt Sugrue
CT Caitlin Taber
GT Greg Thielmann
MW Meghan Warren

News Briefs

Central African Countries Sign Small Arms Pact

Farrah Zughni

Eight Central African countries—Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, the Republic of Congo, Gabon, and São Tomé and Principe—signed a convention for the control of small arms and light weapons on Nov. 19 in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. Three other countries—Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, and Rwanda—are included in the convention, but have not signed it.

Known as the Kinshasa Convention, after the capital city of Congo where it was drafted last April, the agreement “reflects the latest developments in the control of small arms and light weapons, as well as the specificities of the subregion,” according to a Nov. 11 UN press release. The agreement calls on members to “prevent, combat and eradicate” illicit arms trade in the region, foster cooperation among the parties in this effort, and reduce armed violence. It also sets legal, procedural, and security standards for all participating countries.

The Kinshasa Convention fills a geographic gap as similar conventions now cover trade in small arms and light weapons in large parts of East, West, and southern Africa. The treaty will come into force 30 days after the sixth state ratifies it.


 

Export Reform Implementation Steps Detailed

Jeff Abramson

The Obama administration in December released draft regulations to implement portions of its ongoing export control reform overhaul, providing key details for the approach it announced earlier in the year.

The newly proposed regulations flesh out the plan for aligning military as well as dual-use lists into three tiers, in part by defining key terms such as “critical,” “substantial,” and “significant.” (See ACT, October 2010.) Those terms are used to indicate the types of advantages gained by controlling items in particular tiers.

For example, first-tier items as those “that are almost exclusively available from the United States and that provide a critical military or intelligence advantage.” The rules say the term “critical” means “providing a capability with respect to which the United States cannot afford to fall to parity and that would pose a grave threat to national security if not controlled.”

The publication of the proposed rules in the Dec. 9 and 10 Federal Register started a 60-day comment period. The tiering rules were published for the Department of State, which oversees the U.S. Munitions List (USML), and the Department of Commerce, which oversees the Commerce Control List (CCL) of items that have defense and civil uses.

The administration released a Commerce Department-specific rule proposing a new license exemption to allow exports, re-exports, and transfers of specific items to destinations “that pose little risk of unauthorized use of those items.” No first-tier items would be eligible for the exemption, and exporters using it would be required to issue special statements and receive written agreements from consignees that the items would not be transferred to restricted destinations.

The administration also published draft State Department amendments to regulations for USML Category VII, comprised of tanks and military vehicles. As detailed in August, the administration expects that only 26 percent of what the department licensed in the previous year under the category would remain in the revised version. According to a Dec. 9 press release, once the final rule is released and the congressional notification period concludes, the remaining items would be transferred to the CCL and a determination made over time regarding which items should be dropped from the CCL entirely. The release also stated that, “[a]t the end of this process, we anticipate that a significant percentage of the items that are transferred off of the USML would be permitted to be exported without a license.”

The Category VII review is to be a model for remaining USML categories. The administration “has an aggressive schedule to complete its rewrite of the entire USML in 2011,” the press release said.


 

U.S.-Russian Civil Nuclear Pact Clears Hurdle

Daniel Horner

The congressional review period for a U.S.-Russian agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation ended Dec. 9, opening the door for the agreement’s entry into force.

Under the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, cooperation agreements such as the U.S.-Russian one do not need to be approved by Congress; they can enter into force after 90 days of so-called continuous session from the date of submittal unless Congress passes a joint resolution of disapproval. Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced such a resolution, and some other lawmakers criticized the pact, but there was no concerted legislative action to block it.

The agreement was negotiated by the Bush administration and was submitted to Congress in May 2008. The administration effectively withdrew it in September of that year, citing Russia’s military clash with Georgia the previous month. There also had been questions on Capitol Hill about the status of Russian assistance that could help Iran develop a nuclear weapons capability or boost its missile development efforts.

Those questions continued after the Obama administration resubmitted the accord last May. (See ACT, June 2010.)

Unlike some other U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements, the one with Russia does not bring with it the prospect of significant near-term business for U.S. firms. Supporters of the agreement have said it could have important nonproliferation benefits.

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (see p. 59) cited Russian officials as saying that pursuing conversion of Russian research reactors fueled with highly enriched uranium “beyond the feasibility study phase may require implementation of a U.S.-Russian agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation.” Russia and the United States recently agreed to carry out a feasibility study on converting the reactors to low-enriched uranium fuel.

The U.S.-Russian pact benefited from Congress’s long postelection session. When Congress adjourned at the end of September, the agreement still needed another 15 legislative days to reach the required 90-day threshold. If the postelection session had been shorter than that, the Obama administration would have had to resubmit the agreement to the current Congress, starting a new congressional clock. Congress adjourned Dec. 22.

At a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last September, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) cited the U.S.-Russian pact as illustrating the need to revise U.S. nuclear export law to require an affirmative vote from Congress to approve nuclear cooperation agreements. (See ACT, October 2010.) At the time, Ros-Lehtinen was the panel’s ranking member; she is now chairman.


 

U.S. Missile Interceptor Fails Test

Daniel Horner

A  ground-based interceptor (GBI) missile failed to hit its ballistic missile target in a Dec. 15 test, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said in a press release that day.

The interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California; the ballistic missile target was launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the MDA said.

The MDA said there would be an “extensive investigation” of the failure and that the next flight test would be scheduled after the agency determined the cause of the failure.

The test was the second in a row in which a GBI missile failed. The previous test was on Jan. 31, 2010.

Thirty GBI missiles are currently deployed and on alert in Alaska and California.

 

GAO: Nuclear Security Agenda Needs Details

Robert Golan-Vilella and Daniel Horner

The Obama administration’s nuclear security agenda is short on details concerning its “overall estimated cost, time frame, and scope of planned work,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report released Dec. 15. In the report, consisting of a public summary of the classified September version, the GAO also assessed the nuclear security work performed by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and found that its progress was uneven across programs and countries.

The GAO reported that the National Security Council (NSC) has approved a document that serves as a government-wide strategy for achieving President Barack Obama’s goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years. (See ACT, May 2009.) That document lays out the main actions that the U.S. government will take toward this end and defines the role of each agency involved in the effort, according to the GAO. However, the GAO said that “this interagency strategy lacks specific details concerning how the initiative will be implemented.”

According to the GAO, the “NSC does not consider the 4-year time frame for securing nuclear materials worldwide a hard and fast deadline.” NSC officials said they saw it instead as a “forcing function” to drive U.S. nuclear nonproliferation programs and mobilize greater international support on the issue of nuclear security, the report says.

The GAO recommended that the NSC lead and coordinate “the development of a comprehensive plan for implementing” Obama’s four-year initiative. That plan should identify “the specific foreign countries, sites, and facilities where materials have been determined to be poorly secured”; the agencies responsible for addressing each location; potential challenges and the steps needed to overcome them; and the time frames and costs associated with the goal. According to the report, NSC officials provided no written comments on this recommendation but said they believed development of such a plan could take years.

Mixed Progress in NNSA Programs

The report focused in detail on the contributions of the NNSA to the nuclear security initiative. The NNSA “was the only agency to have developed a formal written plan with specific details regarding how it intends to contribute to the 4-year nuclear material security goal,” the GAO said.

The NNSA received the highest marks for its Material Protection, Control, and Accounting (MPC&A) activities in Russia. Through this program, which works to conduct security upgrades at nuclear facilities, the NNSA has improved security at 110 Russian nuclear warhead and material sites, the GAO said. However, the GAO noted that the MPC&A program is due to expire on Jan. 1, 2013, and transfer full responsibility for its activities to Russia. The report argued that the NNSA would be unlikely to meet this deadline and recommended that the NNSA and Congress take steps to prepare for extending the program past 2012.

Other NNSA programs in Russia have achieved more limited success, the GAO said. The Materials Consolidation and Conversion (MCC) program was created in 1999 with the goal of moving highly enriched uranium (HEU) from 50 buildings and five sites by 2010; it “has achieved removal of all HEU from only 1 site and 25 buildings,” the report said.

Likewise, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), which includes an effort to convert or shut down Russian HEU reactors, has made little progress toward that end, the GAO said. According to the report, the GTRI plans to convert or shut down 71 HEU-fueled research reactors and related facilities in Russia by 2020. To date, Russia has shut down three HEU facilities and committed to shutting down five others, the GAO said.

Under an agreement signed Dec. 7, Russia and the United States agreed to conduct feasibility studies on the conversion of six reactors in Russia. According to the GAO report, previous estimates had said the accord would be completed “in early fiscal year 2010,” which began in October 2009.

“NNSA officials told us that any agreement to conduct these studies would not constitute an official Russian decision to convert or undertake activities toward conversion,” the GAO said. In a Dec. 30 e-mail to Arms Control Today, NNSA spokesman Damien LaVera said, “While [the Dec. 7 agreement] does not commit Russia to convert those reactors, we think this is an important step forward and a demonstration of our joint commitment to minimizing the use of HEU wherever possible.”

Beyond Russia

The GAO report cites several notable successes in GTRI efforts to remove weapons-usable material from nearly two dozen countries. Following Ukraine’s commitment at the April 2010 nuclear security summit in Washington to get rid of all of its HEU by 2012, in May the GTRI facilitated the removal of “more than a third of Ukraine’s HEU inventory” to Russia, according to the report.

The report notes the NNSA’s completion of a contract with South Africa for the return of U.S.-origin spent HEU fuel to the United States. According to LaVera, the contract, signed in August 2010, covers 5.8 kilograms of U.S.-origin HEU spent fuel. The material is scheduled to be returned to the United States in the first half of 2011, he said. That will mark the removal of all U.S.-origin HEU spent fuel from South Africa, he said.

Another U.S.-South African effort cited by the GAO concerns the production of the medical isotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) from low-enriched uranium (LEU) by the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa). Until now, large-scale producers of the isotope, which is used to detect diseases and study organ structure, have used HEU. However, in a Dec. 6 press release, the NNSA announced the arrival in the United States of the first shipment of LEU-based Mo-99 approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use by U.S. patients. The United States has no Mo-99 production facilities. In the Dec. 30 e-mail, LaVera said Necsa and the NNSA had been working together for years on this issue and that after the April summit, the NNSA provided $25 million to support Necsa’s conversion efforts.

The GAO report also examined nuclear security cooperation with China and India, which the GAO said has been much more limited in its scope and results.

 

The Obama administration’s nuclear security agenda is short on details concerning its "overall estimated cost, time frame, and scope of planned work," the Government Accountability Office said.

 

Belarus Agrees to Give Up HEU Stockpile

Robert Golan-Vilella

Belarus has committed to give up its stockpile of highly enriched uranium (HEU) by 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov said Dec. 1 in a joint statement.

Clinton and Martynov made the announcement after meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, on the sidelines of a summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Martynov announced that “Belarus has decided to eliminate all of its stocks” of HEU, the statement said. The United States “intends to provide technical and financial assistance to support the completion of this effort as expeditiously as possible,” it added.

Prior to the agreement, Belarus, Russia, the United States, and the International Atomic Energy Agency conducted two secret operations in which portions of Belarusian HEU were moved into secure facilities in Russia. In these operations, conducted Oct. 22 and Nov. 28, a total of 85 kilograms of HEU were transported, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) spokesman Damien LaVera said in a Dec. 2 e-mail. One shipment of 41 kilograms was slightly irradiated; the other consisted of fresh HEU fuel, LaVera said.

LaVera declined to comment on the amount of HEU remaining in Belarus following the two operations and on the enrichment levels of that material or the HEU sent to Russia. Official and unofficial assessments put the total level of the Belarusian HEU stockpile at roughly 200 kilograms prior to the removals. According to a 2010 estimate by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, more than 40 kilograms were weapons grade.

The two HEU shipments took several years of planning, LaVera said in a Dec. 17 e-mail. Regarding the remainder of the material, “the Belarusian Government approached the U.S. about reaching an agreement a few months ago, which led to the issuance of the joint statement in Astana in December,” he added.

In his April 2009 speech in Prague, President Barack Obama announced an international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material within four years. (See ACT, May 2009.) One year later, he hosted the first-ever nuclear security summit in Washington, where 47 nations met to endorse this goal and detail a series of steps that they would take toward its completion. (See ACT, May 2010.) The next summit is slated to take place in Seoul in 2012. The Clinton-Martynov statement said Belarus intends to get rid of its HEU by the time of that meeting.

Belarus was not invited to participate in the Washington summit. At the time, its president, Alexander Lukashenko, vehemently declared that Belarus would not give up its uranium. Lukashenko boasted that Belarus possessed hundreds of kilograms of HEU and would continue to use it for research purposes, Interfax news agency reported in April.

As a result of Lukashenko’s reversal of this policy, South Korea “has agreed to invite Belarus, contingent upon the completion of its highly enriched uranium removal,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at a Dec. 1 press conference.

With the exception of Russia’s holdings, the stockpiles of fresh HEU in Belarus and Ukraine are the largest in the former Soviet Union, LaVera said. Kazakhstan has some fresh HEU, but its stockpile is much smaller, he added.

At the Washington summit, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych pledged to eliminate his country’s stockpile of HEU by the 2012 summit in Seoul. Ukraine recently took a major step toward meeting that goal. In a Dec. 31 press release, the NNSA announced the shipment to Russia of 50 kilograms of fresh HEU from three facilities in Ukraine: the Kiev Institute for Nuclear Research, the Kharkiv Institute for Physics and Technology, and the Sevastopol National University of Nuclear Industry and Energy.

Obama praised the Ukrainian removal operation, saying in a Dec. 31 statement that it “brings us all one step closer to securing all vulnerable nuclear materials.”

According to the press release, the NNSA also made two shipments of low-enriched uranium into Ukraine to replace the HEU at the Kiev and Kharkiv facilities. The five shipments took place in the second half of December, the NNSA said.

The NNSA provided Ukraine with new safety equipment and agreed to work with Ukraine and Russia to build a state-of-the-art neutron source facility at the Kharkiv Institute, the press release said.

 

Belarus has pledged to give up its stockpile of highly enriched uranium by 2012, and Ukraine took a major step toward fulfilling a similar commitment made last year.

Major Powers to Hold More Talks With Iran

Peter Crail

At a Dec. 6-7 meeting in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program, six world powers and Iran agreed to hold further talks in Istanbul in late January.

The Geneva talks were the first such discussions over Iran’s nuclear program in more than a year between the so-called P5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—plus Germany) and Iran. Diplomatic sources familiar with the talks said in December that the Geneva discussions were intended as a starting point for future negotiations, which will seek agreement on substantive issues.

In a statement released following the meeting Dec. 7, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, who represents the P5+1, said that the seven countries “plan to discuss practical ideas and ways of cooperating towards a resolution of our core concerns about the nuclear issue” at the Istanbul meeting. The six countries have insisted that Iran comply with Security Council demands to suspend its uranium-enrichment program and cooperate with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigations into its past and present nuclear activities.

Similarly, Department of State spokesman P.J. Crowley said during a Dec. 7 press briefing that the United States hoped the Geneva meeting “will be the start of a serious process” to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue and that Washington signaled before the meeting its openness to “multiple meetings in multiple locations.”

Prior to the Geneva meeting, the P5+1 had difficulties agreeing with Iran on a venue for the December talks, as Tehran sought a location in Turkey. (See ACT, December 2010.) Iran also had suggested previously that the roster of participants be expanded to include other countries, including Turkey.

When asked during the press briefing if an Istanbul meeting would entail Turkish involvement in the negotiations, Crowley said that Washington does not rule out any role for any country, “but obviously the P5+1 is the core group, and we expect next month’s [meeting] to revolve around that same group.”

Processing Domestic Uranium

In the days prior to the Geneva meeting, Iran announced that it had sent its first consignment of milled uranium, generally called yellowcake, from its Bandar Abbas Uranium Production Plant to its Isfahan conversion facility. The Isfahan facility processes yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride (UF6), the feedstock for uranium enrichment. The Bandar Abbas plant is Iran’s only yellowcake production facility, which mills uranium ore from the adjacent Gchine mine.

Iran has produced about 370 metric tons of UF6 since 2004 using the 500 metric tons of yellowcake it acquired from South Africa during the early 1980s. UN sanctions currently prohibit the export of uranium to Iran and bar Tehran from acquiring stakes in uranium mines abroad.

Apparently responding to international efforts to restrict Iran’s supply of uranium, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) head Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters Dec. 5, “The West had counted on the possibility of us being in trouble over raw material, but today we had the first batch of yellowcake from [the] Gchine mine sent to [the] Isfahan facility.” Since then, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has appointed Salehi interim foreign minister to replace Manouchehr Mottaki, whom Ahmadinejad dismissed Dec. 11.

Iran announced in October 2010 that it would intensify its search for domestic sources of uranium, including expanding work at the Gchine mine. (See ACT, November 2010.) Bloomberg news reported Nov. 3 that efforts to expand the mine’s production capacity could be observed in satellite imagery taken in April and October 2010.

Iran began mining operations at Gchine in 2004 and started producing yellowcake at the Bandar Abbas plant in 2006. Iran says the mine and mill are capable of producing about 21 metric tons of yellowcake each year, although it is not believed to have been operating the facilities to that capacity. A second mill at Ardakan intended to process lower-grade ore from Iran’s Saghand mine is not operational yet.

It is unclear if Iran has enough domestic uranium resources to fuel a nuclear power reactor.

Iran’s uranium mines and milling facilities have not been subject to IAEA monitoring since 2006, when Iran halted the voluntary implementation of more-stringent inspections under its IAEA additional protocol. The IAEA and UN Security Council have called on Iran to reimplement its additional protocol, which Iran signed in 2003 but has not ratified.

Operations at the Gchine mine have been a subject of concern for the IAEA because, after 1993, the AEOI turned over operations at the mine to a firm called Kimia Madan while it focused instead on the less promising Saghand mine. Kimia Madan is believed to have ties to Iran’s military and to have been engaged in an undeclared project to produce uranium tetrafluoride, a precursor to UF6.

Despite agency requests for several years that Tehran explain “the complex arrangements governing the past and current administration of the Gchine uranium mine and mill,” as the IAEA put it in a September 2005 report, Iran did not do so until 2008. Iran’s prior failure to declare Kimia Madan’s activities at Gchine increased suspicions that the mine may have been part of a covert uranium-production effort.

The IAEA said in a February 2008 report that Iran’s explanation of the history of the Gchine mine was consistent with its own information and that it no longer considers the issue outstanding.

Iran Admits Virus Impact

In November, Ahmadinejad admitted for the first time that a computer virus that reportedly targeted Iran’s nuclear facilities had caused setbacks in Iran’s uranium-enrichment operations. The virus, called Stuxnet, “managed to create problems for a limited number of our centrifuges,” he told a press conference Nov. 29.

Iranian officials first admitted the presence of the Stuxnet worm in September, but said at that time that technicians prevented the virus from causing any damage.

A Dec. 9 Congressional Research Service report said that the Stuxnet worm appears to be the first such virus aimed specifically at the computer-aided control systems for nuclear plants, including uranium-enrichment facilities. According to the report, although Iranian officials claim that the disruptions from the virus were limited, “the potential impact of this type of malicious software could be far-reaching.”

Stuxnet specifically disrupts a Microsoft Windows-based application produced by the German company Siemens and is believed to have been introduced via compact discs or flash memory drives.

During the 1970s, Iran contracted Siemens for work on its nuclear program, including the construction of its first nuclear power plant at Bushehr. Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the German firm backed out of the arrangement, and the Bushehr plant ultimately was completed by Russia last year. Iranian and Russian officials confirmed that Stuxnet infected systems at the Bushehr plant as well, but Olga Tsyleva, spokeswoman for the Russian contractor Atomstroyexport, said the facility’s computers had not suffered any damage.

It is unclear whether Stuxnet was responsible for a halt in enrichment operations at the commercial-scale Natanz plant in mid-November. From Nov. 16 to Nov. 21, Iran’s centrifuges were not being fed with UF6, according to a Nov. 23 report by the IAEA. The report added that Iran informed the agency Nov. 22 that it had resumed enrichment with 28 of Natanz’s 164 machine-centrifuge cascades, one cascade fewer than had been operating earlier that month.

 

At a meeting in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program, six world powers and Iran agreed to hold further talks in Istanbul in late January. Before the meeting, Iran announced that it would process its first batch of uranium "yellowcake."

U.S., Allies Prod China on North Korea

Peter Crail

The United States and its East Asian allies called on China to place additional pressure on North Korea in December following a series of provocative actions by Pyongyang that they say violated international laws and regional security arrangements.

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, speaking at a joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart, Gen. Han Min-koo, Dec. 8, said it is now time for Beijing to “step up” to its “unique responsibility” and “guide the North, and indeed the whole region, to a better future.”

He criticized China for not condemning a Nov. 23 North Korean artillery barrage directed at the South Korean island of Yeongpyeong that killed two South Korean marines and two civilians. Mullen visited South Korea to discuss joint military exercises in response to the North Korean shelling, as well as “how we view provocations in the future and what kind of responses there should be across the full spectrum of opportunities,” he said.

The United States, South Korea, and Japan called the attack on Yeongpyeong a violation of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, which formally ended hostilities between North and South Korea. The two countries technically remain in a state of war.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during a Dec. 6 press conference with the South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers that the attack was “the latest in a series of provocations” by North Korea in 2010, citing the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel in March and the public disclosure of a uranium-enrichment facility in November in defiance of UN sanctions. (See ACT, December 2010.)

In response to North Korea’s actions, China urged “restraint” by all parties and called for an emergency session of the six-party talks involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Wu Dawei, Chinese special representative on Korean peninsular affairs, told reporters in Beijing Nov. 28 that, “after careful studies,” Beijing proposed such talks “to exchange views on major issues of concern to the parties at present.” The six-party talks have been held intermittently since 2003 to negotiate the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo rebuffed the Chinese call for talks, calling for changes in North Korean behavior first.

“We remain committed to seeking opportunities for dialogue,” Clinton said alongside her counterparts, “but we will not reward North Korea for shattering the peace or defying the international community.”

She added that the three countries agreed that relations between the two Koreas must improve and Pyongyang must take steps to implement prior denuclearization commitments before the six-party talks could resume.

Sanctions Enforcement

Although the three allies outlined steps that they expected North Korea to take prior to the resumption of negotiations, they also called for the full implementation of UN sanctions against Pyongyang, highlighting China’s role in that effort.

Citing China in particular, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Susan Rice told reporters Nov. 29 that implementing the UN sanctions is “in the interest of the countries in the region, and we expect them to take steps that are consistent with their obligations and all of our obligations under UN Security Council resolutions, and to work, as we all must, to uphold them and implement them.”

Since the Security Council first adopted nonproliferation sanctions against North Korea and Iran in 2006, U.S. officials have often stressed the need for Chinese efforts to enforce them. Robert Einhorn, the Department of State coordinator for Iran and North Korea sanctions, traveled to China in September to press for Chinese implementation of the UN sanctions and to raise concerns about Chinese firms exporting illicit goods and technologies to the two countries.

“We did provide some information to China on specific concerns about individual Chinese companies, and the Chinese assured us that they will investigate,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said of Einhorn’s visit during an Oct. 19 press briefing.

An April 15 Congressional Research Service report on the implementation of the UN sanctions against North Korea said that the Obama administration “may have to calculate the degree of pressure to apply to China if Beijing does little to enforce the Security Council sanctions.” The report noted in particular that Pyongyang relies on North Korean companies with offices in China for its illicit nonconventional weapons trafficking.

Chinese officials have often claimed that although Beijing is willing to respond to any activities of proliferation concern in its territory raised by the United States, Washington does not provide enough information for Chinese authorities to act.

However, a 2007 cable released by the group WikiLeaks and published by the United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper Nov. 28 appears to detail efforts by the United States to provide Beijing with specific information regarding North Korean proliferation to Iran. The cable says that the United States provided Chinese officials with detailed information, including the airway bill and flight number, on a November 2007 air shipment of North Korean missile-related goods to Iran transiting through Beijing’s airport.

The cable further says that the United States believed that at least 10 such air shipments had traveled to Iran via Beijing and expected the number to grow in the future. The cable adds that Chinese action was necessary to “make the Beijing airport a less hospitable transfer point.” The shipments were believed to have assisted Iran’s development of solid-fuel missile technology.

The cable also notes that the provision of such details followed a pledge by President George W. Bush during a September 2007 meeting in Sydney to respond to Chinese President Hu Jintao’s request for additional information on suspected illicit transfers.

Former State Department officials interviewed by Arms Control Today said that the level of information provided to the Chinese was not unusual. “It shows the falseness of China’s claims that the US didn’t provide enough information to take action,” one former official said in a Dec. 17 e-mail.

Another former official said China’s response to such cases was “inconsistent” and that the information would only sometimes result in Chinese action. “We would give them what we could and sometimes they’d surprise us” by acting on the information, the former official said.

China’s response to the concerns raised by the United States in the cable is unclear.

 

The United States, Japan, and South Korea called on China to place added pressure on North Korea following a series of provocative actions by Pyongyang and said six-party negotiations could not begin before the North-South relationship improved.

Cluster Negotiations Again Extended

Jeff Abramson

Although again unable to reach agreement on a new protocol addressing cluster munitions in 2010, states-parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), meeting last November in Geneva, committed to continue the mandate to do so while preparing for the treaty’s review conference later this year.

Spurred by the controversial use of cluster munitions during the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese conflict, the international community concluded the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and saw it enter into force in 2010, banning the use of treaty-defined cluster bombs. A CCW group of governmental experts also has sought an accord to address the humanitarian impacts of the weapons. (See ACT, December 2009.)

The CCW, which entered into force in 1983, now has 114 parties and contains five protocols that encompass, in order, weapons with fragments undetectable by x-rays, landmines and booby traps, incendiary weapons, blinding lasers, and explosive remnants of war. Cluster munitions are bombs, rockets, and artillery shells that disperse smaller submunitions over broad areas that sometimes strike civilians or fail to explode initially, later injuring or killing military forces and noncombatants. Although cluster munitions fall under the definition of Protocol V on explosive remnants of war, the inadequacies of that protocol to address cluster munitions have contributed to the call for a cluster munitions-specific Protocol VI.

The United States, which rejects the CCM, remains a key supporter of a sixth CCW protocol. In her Nov. 25 statement to the 2010 CCW states-parties meeting, U.S. delegation head Melanie Khanna said, “We recognize, especially with the Convention on Cluster Munitions’ recent entry into force, that some delegations and NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] may view these negotiations as being unnecessary. We strongly disagree.” In a Dec. 23 e-mail to Arms Control Today, Khanna said that because many countries that maintain or produce cluster munitions are not parties to the CCM, “[w]e can work together to achieve a protocol [to the CCW]…or we can do nothing in the CCW, in which case it is likely that approximately 85 percent of the global stocks of these weapons will go unregulated for the foreseeable future.”

Forty-nine countries have ratified the CCM and 108 have signed, including more than two-thirds of NATO members, but China, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States are key countries still outside the accord. (See ACT, December 2010.)

Differing Definitions

The definition of cluster munitions remains one of the key differences between the CCW and the CCM. Under the CCM, cluster-like weapons are excluded and therefore not limited by the treaty if they have explosive submunitions meeting all of the following characteristics: fewer than 10 in number and each with a weight of more than four kilograms and less than 20 kilograms, designed to detect and engage a single target and equipped with an electronic self-destruct mechanism and an electronic self-deactivating feature. A draft CCW protocol presented by the group’s chair also would exclude those weapons. It also would exclude those that fail to explode as intended 1 percent or less of the time, which matches U.S. policy. (See ACT, September 2008.)

That draft CCW protocol, which will “inform” this year’s meetings, includes a ban on the use and transfer of some cluster munitions produced before 1980.

For many states supportive of the CCM, the draft CCW protocol is not acceptable. At the November 2010 meeting of CCW parties, German delegate Hellmut Hoffmann said that “the latest draft protocol…pays a lot of attention towards military considerations but unfortunately has very little humanitarian effect on the ground.” He added, “[T]he current-draft protocol before us is not the solution for the mandate we have given ourselves,” citing as one reason the differing definitions between the CCW draft and the CCM. Instead, Germany and other countries suggested the CCW should take up work on an immediate ban on the transfer of all cluster munitions.

At their yearly meetings, CCW members adopt a mandate for the group of governmental experts for the coming year. As in previous years, the countries did not include a comprehensive transfer ban in the official mandate for 2011. They did agree to identify their work as being on a “protocol,” in part due to Canadian insistence. In past years, Russia had rejected using that term, and previous mandates simply used the term “proposals” to describe what was being considered in the work of the group of governmental experts.

This may be the last year the CCW grapples with a cluster munitions-specific protocol. Australian delegation head Peter Woolcott said Nov. 25, “[T]his negotiation has occupied us for a number of years and cannot continue indefinitely.” The upcoming review conference, which is to meet Nov. 14-25, “will be a natural time to conclude these negotiations,” he said.

The CCW group of governmental experts, to be led again by 2010 chair Jesus Domingo of the Philippines, will meet Feb. 21-25, March 28-April 1, and Aug. 22-26. At those meetings, the group also will conduct preparatory work for the review conference.

Incendiary Weapons Amendment

During the November meeting, the international NGO Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic presented a memo calling for amendment of CCW Protocol III, which deals with incendiary weapons.

That protocol was the source of some controversy last year when 17 states objected to a U.S. policy clarification stating that Washington has “the right to use incendiary weapons against military objectives located in concentrations of civilians where it is judged that such use would cause fewer casualties and/or less collateral damage than alternative weapons.” The protocol text does not include such a formulation in its limits on attacking military targets located within civilian concentrations. (See ACT, April 2010.)

Although delegates did not raise the U.S. example specifically, a number did speak in favor of giving careful consideration to the memo, which rejects the U.S. policy. It also calls for changes to the way the protocol defines incendiary weapons and how it distinguishes between air- and ground-launched weapons. In particular, it advocates including white phosphorus weapons under the protocol.

The use of those weapons has been controversial. Because they also serve a marking and illumination purpose, some states have argued that white phosphorus weapons are not covered by the protocol, which addresses weapons that are “primarily designed” to set fire to objects or cause burn injuries.

In the Dec. 23 e-mail, Khanna defended U.S. policy and said, “We do not support the Human Rights Watch proposal to re-open Protocol III. It is not yet clear whether others will pursue this in a serious way.”

 

The parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons were unable to reach agreement on a new protocol addressing cluster munitions, but they committed to continue the mandate to do so.

CWC Members Debate Inspection Distribution

Daniel Horner

A debate over the 2011 budget for implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was a key part of the annual members’ conference, but the distribution of inspections, rather than the amount of money, was the key issue, delegates to the Nov. 29-Dec. 3 meeting in The Hague said in interviews in recent weeks.

The discussion was over the number of inspections for different inspection categories, and in particular for so-called other chemical production facilities (OCPFs), the delegates said.

The CWC verification system is based on three “schedules,” or lists of toxic chemicals and their precursors that have been developed or manufactured in the past for military purposes. The OCPFs are multipurpose chemical-production facilities that are not monitored with the same intensity as facilities that produce agents listed in the three schedules. There are some 5,000 OCPFs around the world, far more than the number of facilities that are associated with production of agents listed on the three schedules. Many of the OCPFs are in developing countries; China and India have more than 2,000 OCPFs between them. Under current rules, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the body responsible for implementing the CWC, can inspect only a small fraction of the OCPFs each year.

In 2010 the OPCW provided funding for 125 OCPF inspections; for 2011, Western countries sought to raise the figure to 128, a European diplomat who attended the meeting said in a Dec. 20 interview. China, India, and other countries objected, participants said. The debate produced “some pretty intense discussion,” a senior official from the U.S. Department of State said in a Dec. 27 interview.

One participant cautioned against seeing the division strictly as one between developed and developing countries. “It has been rather a more complex issue which has changed over time,” the participant said.

The member states reached a compromise for the 2011 budget, under which they increased the number of OCPF inspections to 127 and decreased the number of Schedule 3 inspections by one, to 29. Schedule 3 contains toxic chemicals that have been used as chemical weapons, such as phosgene, and chemical weapons precursors that have commercial applications in large quantities.

In a Dec. 22 interview, Jorge Lomónaco, Mexico’s permanent representative to the OPCW and a former chairman of the agency’s Executive Council, said the debate has been going on for about 10 years and is “not about expenditure.” He noted that each OCPF inspection costs about $10,000; the total OPCW budget for 2011 is about $100 million.

The issue was addressed in the opening statement of Cuba on behalf of the group of CWC parties that includes the Nonaligned Movement (NAM) and China. The group referred to the current methodology for selecting OCPFs for inspection as “an interim measure” and “reiterate[d] the desirability of directing inspections towards facilities of greater relevance to the object and purpose of the Convention” based on a “hierarchy of risk.” That approach would lead to more inspections of Schedule 1, 2, and 3 facilities and fewer of the OPCFs, Lomónaco said.

In his opening statement, Lomónaco said the continuation of the dispute “could badly reflect on what a credible and successful organization the OPCW is.” He urged the parties “to solve the issue of a definitive site-selection methodology for OCPF inspections as soon as possible.”

Destruction Deadlines

Another issue that spurred debate was the language in the conference’s final report on the CWC’s 2012 deadline for Russia and the United States to finish destruction of their stockpiles of chemical weapons. Russia said last year it would not meet that deadline, which represents an extension of the original April 2007 CWC deadline. Moscow now estimates that it will complete the job by the end of 2015. (See ACT, July/August 2010.) The United States had announced in 2006 that it would not meet the 2012 deadline and has recently set 2021 as the target date. (The U.S. Congress, however, has set 2017 as the target date for completing the demilitarization of all U.S. chemical weapons stockpiles.)

The NAM-China statement expressed “grave concern” about the prospect that Russia and the United States would miss the CWC deadline. Such a lapse “endangers the credibility and integrity” of the CWC, it said. Iran, a member of the NAM, made a similar point in its opening statement, saying timely destruction of chemical weapons is the convention’s “raison d’être” and commenting, “As the saying goes, if there is a will, there is a way.” Iran pursued the issue during the meeting, participants said.

South Africa’s statement, on behalf of the Africa Group, “associate[d] itself” with the NAM-China statement, but struck a different tone in some respects. Although it expressed “concern” about the size of the stockpiles remaining to be destroyed, it “commend[ed]” the possessor states for their efforts and said, “[W]e do not currently have any grounds to believe that the difficulties that we are being forced to confront are symptoms of any bad faith or any attempt to circumvent the basic objective of the Convention (namely the elimination of all chemical weapons).”

Participants said South Africa introduced language for the report’s section on the destruction deadlines; that section says that “issues in this regard should be dealt with faithfully in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention.” The United States and other countries rejected the initial proposal by arguing that all provisions of the treaty must be observed faithfully and that if specific language was added to the section on the destruction deadlines, it should be added to the other sections on the treaty’s implementation. As a result, the language recurs throughout the implementation section of the report.

In noting in his opening statement to the conference that the Russian and U.S. efforts “might be prolonged” beyond the treaty deadline of April 29, 2012, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said, “Notwithstanding the complex technical and financial challenges posed by the destruction of their large stockpiles, both these countries have demonstrated over the years their firm resolve to abide by their solemn obligations under the Convention and to complete the destruction of their stockpiles at the earliest possible date.” Üzümcü’s predecessor, Rogelio Pfirter, had made similar statements.

In his statement, Üzümcü said Russia had destroyed about 49 percent of its declared stockpile and the United States 81 percent as of the end of October. He also noted that Russia had begun initial destruction activities at its Pochep facility Nov. 26.

The State Department official praised the Pochep startup as “another step toward destroying stockpiles” in Russia. However, he noted that, as with other chemical weapons destruction facilities, Russia was bringing Pochep online “in stages.” In addition to the plants that are not yet at full capacity, the Kizner plant, Russia’s seventh and final destruction facility, has yet to start up, and that facility is planned to be larger than the Shchuch’ye plant, he said.

The Shchuch’ye facility started initial operations in March 2009, but work on its second destruction building has not yet been completed.

Russia faces “some real challenges” in completing the destruction of its declared stockpile by the end of 2015, the State Department official said.

In a different debate over destruction, Iran accused the United Kingdom and the United States of violating the CWC when the two powers discovered and destroyed chemical weapons in Iraq after the March 2003 invasion of that country and did not notify the OPCW’s Technical Secretariat or Executive Council. The British and U.S. responses strongly denied the charge, saying that the circumstances surrounding that destruction were exceptional and not contemplated by the treaty.

The United States said the first recovered item was destroyed in May 2004 and that the U.S. government “informally apprised” the secretariat staff but “concluded that the situation in Iraq had not reached the appropriate level of security and stability to release detailed information regarding chemical weapons recovery prior to destruction.” The United States notified the secretariat in 2006, the U.S. response said. The British statement said its government’s actions “were in full accordance not only with our international obligations, but also with the fundamental object and purpose of the Convention—to rid the world of chemical weapons—taking account of the need to ensure the maintenance of security and stability in Iraq.”

Iran said that “further appropriate measures will be taken in the framework of the Chemical Weapons Convention.”

Expert Panel

At the meeting, Üzümcü announced he had established a panel of independent experts “to review the implementation of the Convention and to make recommendations for future OPCW activities.” The chairman of the panel is Rolf Ekéus of Sweden, whose nonproliferation posts included the chairmanship of the UN Special Commission on Iraq after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

The panel of 14 experts, which includes senior current and former nonproliferation officials from a range of countries, held its first meeting Dec. 14-15. The group is scheduled to deliver its final report in June, Üzümcü said.

Delegates said they supported the initiative, which, they said, came from Üzümcü rather than the member states. The OPCW is “really at a transition point” after devoting most of its attention to chemical weapons destruction in the years since the CWC entered into force in 1997, the State Department official said. The panel should help the OPCW answer questions such as, “What security concerns do countries have, and how do we address them?” he said. One issue that increasingly has been raised over the past few years is chemical terrorism, he said.

Some observers have said the OPCW is undergoing a change in its mission, from destruction to nonproliferation. However, in the interview, Lomónaco said the debate over the identity of the organization is a “false debate” or, at best, “premature.” Casting the OPCW as having either one mission or the other oversimplifies the debate and ignores the complexities and “beauties” of the treaty and the organization, he said.

 

A debate over the 2011 budget for implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention was a key part of the annual members’ conference, but the distribution of inspections, rather than the amount of money, was the key issue.

At Mine Ban Meeting, U.S. Still Mum on Policy

Farrah Zughni and Jeff Abramson

For the second year in a row, the United States sent an official delegation to the annual Mine Ban Treaty states-parties meeting but has not indicated whether it will join the accord.

The conference, which took place in Geneva Nov. 29-Dec. 3, focused on progress made under the treaty and on reviewing extension requests from states-parties struggling to meet mine clearance deadlines. Approximately 700 delegates representing more than 100 countries joined dozens of international organizations at the event.

The treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention, calls on members to cease the production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines, destroy stockpiles of the weapons, and remove deployed landmines from their territories.

During the conference, the United States issued a brief statement saying that its review of its landmine policy, initiated in 2009, was still ongoing. (See ACT, January/February 2010.) The United States attended the 2009 conference in an official capacity for the first time. During the 2010 meeting, 16 Nobel laureates sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to join the convention; the administration has issued no formal response.

In a Dec. 17 interview, a U.S. official said that although the policy review was not bound by any specific deadline, the United States would meet its commitment, announced in 2004, to terminate the use of “persistent” anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines by the end of 2010. A persistent, or “dumb,” landmine does not self-destruct or deactivate and can remain armed until triggered or professionally removed.

So-called smart mines, which have self-destruct or self-deactivation mechanisms, are permitted under U.S. policy but are banned by the treaty. (See ACT, March 2004.) Still, the United States is not known to have deployed treaty-prohibited landmines since 1992 and is the world’s top funder of landmine clearance and victim assistance activities.

The treaty specifically bans victim-activated anti-personnel landmines but does not address command-detonated, or “man in the loop,” mines, which require a human to decide when to detonate them.

Under the treaty, countries have 10 years from the time the pact enters into force for them to clear areas of anti-personnel mines and four years to destroy their stockpiles, with the exception of “the minimum number absolutely necessary” for “the development of and training in mine detection, mine clearance, or mine destruction techniques.” Meeting those deadlines has been a challenge for a number of treaty parties, with many requesting and receiving extensions. (See ACT, January/February 2009; ACT January/February 2008.)

Nonetheless, at the conference Nicaragua formally declared it had completed its clearance obligations under the pact, making it the 16th country reporting mine-afflicted territories to do so. Nicaragua’s original deadline was May 1, 2009, but it received a one-year extension in 2008. The country reportedly has cleared 1,029 mine-afflicted areas and destroyed more than 179,000 anti-personnel mines.

Six parties—Chad, Colombia, Denmark, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, and Zimbabwe—applied for and received extensions on their mine clearance obligations. Guinea-Bissau’s two-month extension request was the shortest of the year; the country is slated to complete landmine clearance in January 2012. Colombia, on the other hand, was granted the outer limit of the treaty’s extension, 10 years. Other requests ranged from 18 months to five years. This was the second extension request for Chad, Denmark, and Zimbabwe, which were initially granted extensions until 2011.

Since the treaty entered into force in 1999, 22 countries have invoked Article 5 of the treaty, under which any party that “believes it will be unable to destroy or ensure the destruction of all anti-personnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control within 10 years” may request an extension of up to 10 years.

A report issued at the meeting suggests that the treaty parties will continue facing the decision of whether to grant clearance extensions. According to the report, which outlines the process for handling Article 5 extension requests, “some requesting States Parties, almost ten years after entry into force, still lacked clarity regarding ‘the location of all mined areas that contain, or are suspected to contain, anti-personnel mines under (their) jurisdiction or control.’”

One country, the Republic of Congo, was singled out in the review conference’s final report because it has neither confirmed nor denied that it will meet its Article 5 deadline of this Nov. 1. The document urged that the Republic of Congo provide “clarity on this matter as soon as possible.”

Currently, 15 countries have clearance deadlines expiring within the next three years.

Although landmine clearance has posed challenges to certain countries, the treaty has made significant strides in reducing landmine stockpiles globally. Of the 156 states currently party to the treaty, 152 have completely eliminated or reduced their stockpiles to treaty-permitted minimums. Belarus, Greece, and Turkey failed to meet stockpile destruction deadlines in 2008, as did Ukraine last June, leaving all four in violation of the treaty.

The 11th meeting of treaty parties is scheduled to take place in Cambodia this November.

 

For the second year in a row, the United States sent an official delegation to the annual meeting of parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, but Washington has not indicated whether it will join

IAEA Board Approves Fuel Bank Plan

Daniel Horner

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors agreed Dec. 3 to establish a nuclear fuel bank, endorsing the plan without a dissenting vote from any of the 35 members.

In the vote, which came on the second day of the board’s two-day meeting in Vienna, 28 countries supported the plan and six abstained. Pakistan was absent. The tally marked a shift from the vote a year earlier on another fuel bank proposal, authorizing Russia to set up a fuel reserve at the Angarsk site in Siberia (table 1). On that vote, eight countries voted against the plan and three abstained. (See ACT, January/February 2010.)

The just-endorsed plan would set up a reserve of low-enriched uranium (LEU) under IAEA control. In 2006 the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a private U.S. organization, pledged $50 million for such a reserve on the condition that IAEA member states donate another $100 million and that the board approve the plan. The NTI originally said the plan had to be in place within two years, but since then has agreed to three one-year extensions.

Pledges from the United States, the European Union, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Norway have combined to meet the $100 million goal, with the last pledge, Kuwait’s, coming in March 2009.

According to a background memo that the IAEA Secretariat issued in January 2010, the $150 million should be enough funding for the purchase and delivery of 60 to 80 metric tons of low-enriched uranium (LEU), enriched to a level of less than 5 percent uranium-235. That is roughly the amount of LEU needed for a full core of a typical power reactor, once the LEU is fabricated into reactor fuel.

In the months leading up to the vote, key supporters of the measure had been working on “building as broad a consensus as possible” in favor of it by explaining the motivations and rationale, NTI Vice President for International Programs Corey Hinderstein said in a Dec. 9 interview.

The United States “did a lot of lobbying” and “took some hints” from the Angarsk vote, a European diplomat said in a Dec. 20 interview. Some countries reportedly did not support the Angarsk resolution because of the way in which the issue was raised, with what they saw as insufficient time to consider it.

“Everyone in the U.S. government is very pleased” with the results of the recent vote, a Department of State official said in a Dec. 22 interview.

Russia, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and the EU members of the IAEA board joined the United States in sponsoring the resolution.

India’s Shift

One country whose position changed between the two votes was India, which abstained on the Angarsk vote but supported the NTI proposal. In its statement explaining its vote, India said, “As a country with advanced nuclear technology, India would like to participate as a supplier state in such initiatives.” Such statements generally are not public, but India’s Ministry of External Affairs released the statement Dec. 4.

According to a Nov. 26 IAEA document laying out the plan for the fuel bank, one of the eligibility requirements for recipients is that the state “has brought into force a comprehensive safeguards agreement requiring the application of safeguards to all its peaceful nuclear activities and pursuant to which safeguards are to be applied to the LEU that is supplied through the IAEA LEU bank.”

India, which is not a party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), has placed only some of its power reactors and other nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. Sources said the language in the document was understood to be a clear reference to the so-called full-scope safeguards required under INFCIRC/153, the IAEA document that sets out the safeguards requirements for NPT parties other than the five countries (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) that the treaty designates as nuclear-weapon states. Consequently, India would not be eligible to receive fuel from the bank.

India would not have been expected to be a recipient of fuel from the bank in any case, the State Department official said. The relatively small amount of fuel that the bank would hold would mean that it would not be applicable to India’s needs, he said. The fuel bank proposal is aimed at countries whose programs are “just starting out,” and India’s is “far, far beyond” that, he said.

India’s vote for the proposal indicates “a new level of bilateral cooperation” with the United States on matters relating to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the State Department official said. The United States has been building nuclear ties with India since 2005, when the two countries’ leaders announced an initiative to ease U.S. and international restrictions on nuclear trade with India.

In the past, issues such as the requirement for full-scope safeguards might have led India to reject the proposal “automatically,” but the vote in favor of the fuel bank suggests that that may no longer be the case, the State Department official said.

South Africa, a key member of the Nonaligned Movement, abstained on the December vote; it had voted against the Angarsk plan. Indian and South African officials did not respond to requests for comment on their countries’ votes.

Another factor, the European diplomat said, was the IAEA board’s shift to a more “favorable composition” since the Angarsk vote, as some of the strong opponents rotated off the board and were replaced by countries that were more amenable to the idea. (See ACT, November 2010.)

Multiple Rationales

The fuel bank is intended to serve as a backup to other fuel-supply mechanisms, most notably the commercial fuel market. As the IAEA memo describes it, the bank is “designed to be used rarely.”

By providing countries with an assured supply of fuel at market prices, the bank is intended to dissuade recipients from pursuing their own uranium-enrichment programs. In a Dec. 3 press release hailing the board’s vote, NTI Co-Chairman Sam Nunn said, “If every country interested in nuclear energy also chooses to pursue uranium enrichment, the risk of proliferation of dangerous nuclear materials and weapons would grow beyond the tipping point. The IAEA fuel bank now gives countries an alternative to that choice and direction.”

In early articulations of fuel bank proposals, some supporters framed them to require recipients to forgo indigenous enrichment programs, an approach that led to objections from many of the potential developing-country recipients. According to numerous accounts, suspicions on that front persist although more recent language has not linked eligibility for fuel bank material to any kind of renunciation. In an effort to address those concerns, the November IAEA document says, “The rights of Member States, including establishing or expanding their own production capacity in the nuclear fuel cycle, shall remain intact and shall not in any way be compromised or diminished by the establishment of international assurance of supply mechanisms.”

The document reinforces that point with two additional sentences: “Thus, having the right to receive LEU from the guaranteed supply mechanism shall not require giving up the right to establish or further develop a national fuel cycle or have any impact on it. The additional options for assurance of supply shall be in addition to the rights that exist at present.”

On the issue of proliferation, the IAEA background memo says that some agency members

observed that concerns related to nuclear proliferation must not in any way restrict the inalienable right of all States to develop all aspects of nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes, given in particular the relevance of nuclear science and technology for the sustainable socio-economic advance of developing nations, and that there should not be any attempts aimed at discouraging the pursuit of any peaceful nuclear technology on the grounds of its alleged “sensitivity.”

Addressing that point, the memo says that,

[w]ith respect to the comment made by some Member States regarding the “alleged sensitive nature of enrichment and [spent fuel] reprocessing technologies”, which are technologies in the civilian nuclear fuel cycle that could be used to produce material for nuclear weapons, it may be recalled that inter alia these two technologies were identified as “sensitive technological areas” by the Board in the context of the application of safeguards in relation to the granting of technical cooperation by the IAEA.

The State Department official said that the “tenor” of the November document “is a result of the discussions we had.” Although the nonproliferation aspect of the fuel bank was paramount for the United States, “countries that eventually supported it [did so] for different reasons,” with some seeing it as an “insurance policy,” he said.

Hinderstein also said that countries had varying reasons for supporting the proposal. However, she said, the debate over the question of whether fuel cycle technology should be called sensitive showed how discussions at the IAEA on politically charged issues have sometimes “separated themselves from reality.” Although acquisition of enrichment or reprocessing technology does not indicate a “nefarious” purpose, the technology could be misused by a future government in the country that acquires it, she said. Also, the more broadly the technology is disseminated, the greater the chance that, through subsequent legal or illegal exports, it will end up in a country that will misuse it, she said.

With the vote now completed, it is “important to see how this is going to be implemented” and make sure it is “as smooth and efficient as possible,” the European diplomat said. Key steps will be acquiring the LEU for the fuel bank on the commercial market and determining a host country for the bank, he said.

Kazakhstan is the only country that has declared an interest in hosting the bank.

Table 1: Fuel Bank Votes

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors has voted on two proposals to establish a fuel bank of low-enriched uranium. The vote on the first proposal, on Nov. 27, 2009, was to establish a reserve at the Angarsk site in Siberia. The vote on the second proposal, on Dec. 3, 2010, was on a plan by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) to set up a fuel reserve under IAEA control.

 

Country

Angarsk

NTI

Afghanistan

Y

NM

Argentina

N

Abst.

Australia

Y

Y

Azerbaijan

--*

Y

Belgium

NM

Y

Brazil

N

Abst.

Burkina Faso

Y

NM

Cameroon

Y

Y

Canada

Y

Y

Chile

NM

Y

China

Y

Y

Cuba

N

NM

Czech Republic

NM

Y

Denmark

Y

Y

Ecuador

NM

Abst.

Egypt

N

NM

France

Y

Y

Germany

Y

Y

India

Abst.

Y

Italy

NM

Y

Japan

Y

Y

Jordan

NM

Y

Kenya

Abst.

Y

Malaysia

N

NM

Mongolia

Y

Y

Netherlands

Y

Y

New Zealand

Y

NM

Niger

NM

Y

Pakistan

N

--

Peru

Y

Y

Portugal

NM

Y

Romania

Y

NM

Russia

Y

Y

Singapore

NM

Y

South Africa

N

Abst.

South Korea

Y

Y

Spain

Y

NM

Switzerland

Y

NM

Tunisia

NM

Abst.

Turkey

Abst.

NM

Ukraine

Y

Y

United Arab Emirates

NM

Y

United Kingdom

Y

Y

United States

Y

Y

Uruguay

Y

NM

Venezuela

N

Abst.

 

TOTALS

Y             23

N             8

Abst.       3

--              1

Y               28

N               0

Abst.         6

--                1

Key:

Y  Yes

N  No

Abst. Abstain

--  Absent

NM  Not a board member at the time of the vote

*Azerbaijan later said it would have voted in favor of the resolution.

Sources: Media reports, interviews with diplomats

 

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board endorsed a plan for an IAEA-controlled reserve of low-enriched uranium. The vote was less divided than one a year earlier on a Russian fuel bank proposal.

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