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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Russia’s economic woes delaying the build of nuclear reactors in Turkey

nuclear-costs1Russian Nuclear Plants in Turkey ‘Not Ready Before 2022′, Moscow Times  Reuters Mar. 23 2015 Turkey’s first nuclear power plant is unlikely to be ready before 2022, energy officials said on Monday of the $20-billion project that has been beset by regulatory hurdles and complicated by Russia’s financial woes…..Rosatom initially pledged to have the first of the four reactors in the southern Turkish town of Akkuyu ready by 2019.

A senior Turkish energy official said the project would not be online before at least 2022, given that ground-breaking has yet to happen. “The first reactor can be online at least seven years after the ground-breaking so the 2019-2020 date is impossible,” the official said…..

  • Russian-BearEconomic Worries

    Analysts say Russia’s economic troubles because of collapsing oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine may also have weighed on Rosatom’s finances.

    “The Akkuyu timeline was — and remains — completely unrealistic,” Aaron Stein, associate fellow at British defense and security think-tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said. “The issue has, in recent months, become far more complicated because of Russia’s economic deterioration.”……http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/business/article/russian-nuclear-plants-in-turkey-not-ready-before-2022/517868.html

March 25, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

Jordan commits to buying nuclear fuel from Russia for 10 years, in $10 Billion Deal on Nuclear Power Plant

Russian-BearJordan, Russia Sign $10 Billion Deal on Nuclear Power Plant, abc news AMMAN, Jordan — Mar 24, 2015, By SAM McNEIL Associated Press   Jordan signed a $10 billion deal with Russia on Tuesday to build the kingdom’s first nuclear power plant, with two 1,000-megawatt reactors in the country’s north.

The deal, signed in the Jordanian capital, Amman, with Russia’s state-owned Rosatom company caps efforts of the energy-poor kingdom to increase energy sufficiency and reduce imports……

Under the deal, Jordan must buy fuel from Rosatom for the reactors for 10 years, after which it may seek other suppliers. The Jordanian government will have a slight majority ownership, with Rosatom owning 49 pecent of the plant, according to the Jordan Times.

Earlier this year, Rosatom signed an agreement, the details of which are secret, to build two reactors in Hungary. And last month, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Egypt, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant at an existing nuclear site in Dabaa, on the Mediterranean coast where a research reactor has stood for years. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/jordan-russia-sign-10-billion-deal-nuclear-reactors-29874766

March 25, 2015 Posted by | Jordan, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

If Denmark joins NATO, Russia might ramp up nuclear missiles

Russia threatens to aim nuclear missiles at Denmark ships if it joins NATO shield

COPENHAGEN Sun Mar 22, 2015 (Reuters) – Russia threatened to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships if Denmark joins NATO’s missile defense system, in comments Copenhagen called unacceptable and NATO said would not contribute to peace.

Denmark said in August it would contribute radar capacity on some of its warships to the missile shield, which the Western alliance says is designed to protect members from missile launches from countries like Iran.

Moscow opposes the system, arguing that it could reduce the effectiveness of its own nuclear arsenal, leading to a new Cold War-style arms race.

In an interview in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the Russian ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin, said he did not think Danes fully understood the consequences of joining the program.

“If that happens, Danish warships will be targets for Russian nuclear missiles,” Vanin told the newspaper…….http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/22/us-denmark-russia-idUSKBN0MI0ML20150322

March 22, 2015 Posted by | Denmark, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia has “in principle” the right to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea

Russia says has right to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea: report http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/11/us-russia-crimea-nuclear-idUSKBN0M710N20150311

MOSCOW Wed Mar 11, 2015 (Reuters) – Russia has the right to deploy nuclear arms in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine last year, a Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday, adding he knew of no plans to do so.

“I don’t know if there are nuclear weapons there now. I don’t know about any plans, but in principle Russia can do it,” said Mikhail Ulyanov, the head of the ministry’s department on arms control, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Writing by Thomas Grove; Editing by Christian Lowe)

March 13, 2015 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Giant craters appearing in Siberia – result of thawing permafrost, due to global warming?

climate-changeThe Siberian crater saga is more widespread — and scarier — than anyone thought WP, By Terrence McCoy February 26 In the middle of last summer came news of a bizarre occurrence no one could explain. Seemingly out of nowhere, a massive crater appeared in one of the planet’s most inhospitable lands. Early estimates said the crater, nestled in a land called “the ends of the Earth” where temperatures can sink far below zero, yawned nearly 100 feet in diameter.

The saga deepened. The Siberian crater wasn’t alone. There were two more, ratcheting up the tension in a drama that hit its climax as a probable explanation surfaced. Global warming had thawed the permafrost, which had caused methane trapped inside the icy ground to explode. “Gas pressure increased until it was high enough to push away the overlaying layers in a powerful injection, forming the crater,” one German scientist said at the time.

[Scientists may have cracked the giant Siberian crater mystery — and the news isn’t good]

Now, however, researchers fear there are more craters than anyone knew — and the repercussions could be huge. Russian scientists have now spotted a total of seven craters, five of which are in the Yamal Peninsula. Two of those holes have since turned into lakes. And one giant crater is rimmed by a ring of at least 20 mini-craters, the Siberian Times reported. Dozens more Siberian craters are likely still out there, said Moscow scientist Vasily Bogoyavlensky of the Oil and Gas Research Institute, calling for an “urgent” investigation.

He fears that if temperatures continue to rise — and they were five degrees higher than average in 2012 and 2013 — more craters will emerge in an area awash in gas fields vital to the national economy. “It is important not to scare people, but to understand that it is a very serious problem and we must research this,” he told the Siberian Times. “… We must research this phenomenon urgently, to prevent possible disasters.”……..http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/26/the-siberian-crater-problem-is-more-widespread-and-scarier-than-anyone-thought/?tid=hpModule_9d3add6c-8a79-11e2-98d9-3012c1cd8d1e&hpid=z16

February 27, 2015 Posted by | climate change, Russia | Leave a comment

South Africa – Russia nuclear agreement is by no means a done deal

scrutiny-on-costsflag-S.Africaflag_RussiaSA’s nuclear deal with Russia is far from done, Mail & Guardian 20 FEB 2015  LISA STEYN Money is the big problem with the initial agreement Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson signed last year, given the financial positions of both countries.   Russia has emerged as an apparent frontrunner to participate in South Africa’s nuclear build, but selecting the technology is just the first of many challenges that could see a nuclear deal such as this come a cropper.

With the Russian economy in turmoil and the subsequent high cost of borrowing, its ability to raise the funding for its nuclear ambitions in many countries is being called into question – as is its ability to deliver on time.

For South Africa, it is even more of a mystery how the government will provide the loan guarantees that would be required, given that so many have been extended to ailing parastatals such as Eskom and SAA. The state may have hit its limit.

Regardless of which vendor is chosen, the guarantees and the government’s 50% localisation target for the project appear to be insurmountable obstacles, particularly given the challenges faced by the domestic construction industry.

The memorandum of understanding signed between Russia and South Africa last year is far more than a generic agreement, as the government had claimed it is. Rather, it lays the groundwork for government-to-government contracting, in terms that heavily favour Russia, the Mail & Guardian reported last week.

Not only will the agreement be binding for 20 years once in force, but the Russians will also be indemnified from any liability arising from nuclear accidents during the reactors’ life. Russia is also granted a host of regulatory concessions and favourable tax and other financial treatment. The designated competent authorities are South Africa’s department of energy and Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation.

But unresolved issues could make the deal unworkable. An industry expert, who did not wish to be named, said: “My own view is I don’t think the guys driving it from the South African side have joined the dots. I don’t have huge confidence in the people running it and that they understand the issues.”

Financing
Despite the apparent commitment to forge ahead with Russian technology, the agreement defers a decision about funding.

The Russians are known to have offered South Africa a “build, own, operate” construction deal, according to which Russia would build and run the nuclear station, and sell the power to South Africa at an agreed price. This kind of vendor-assisted financing may be the only way South Africa could afford to go nuclear. But the bigger question now is: Can Russia?

First, sanctions have been imposed on Russia for its military intervention in the Ukraine. Then the oil price tumbled, severely hitting government revenues, which are heavily reliant on oil and gas taxes. Subsequently, the rouble has lost almost 50% of its value since the start of 2014, inflation has soared to 15%, and its sovereign credit rating was cut to sub-investment grade by one agency in January. And, in 2014 alone, $151-billion was taken out of the country.

Some nuclear economists and industry insiders believe this dire state of affairs could affect Russia’s nuclear ambitions, as new builds involve high upfront costs and are extremely sensitive to the cost of financing, which is mainly the interest rates at which the funding is secured…….

Delays
The unnamed industry expert, however, expressed concern that Russia might commit itself to a further agreement but not honour it. He said other nations that had signed nuclear deals with Russia, such as Vietnam, India and Turkey, had all experienced delays………….. http://mg.co.za/article/2015-02-19-sas-nuclear-deal-with-russia-is-far-from-done

February 21, 2015 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia- South Africa secret deal exposed: details are fearful ones for South Africa

secret-dealsRussian-Bearflag-S.AfricaExposed: Scary details of SA’s secret Russian nuke deal, Mail & Guardian  13 FEB 2015 00:00 LIONEL FAULL The secret nuclear deal our leaders have signed with Russia carries many risks for South Africa. Shocking details of the secret nuclear deal that Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson signed with Russia last year can, for the first time, be revealed. The text, which has been jealously guarded by her department and Russian nuclear company Rosatom, holds many dangers for South Africa.

It creates an expectation that Russian technology will be used for South Africa’s trillion-rand fleet of new nuclear power stations. And by laying the groundwork for government-to-government contracting, it appears designed to sidestep the constitutional requirement for open and competitive tendering.

Once the agreement comes into force, the Russians will have a veto over South Africa doing business with any other nuclear vendor. And it will be binding for a minimum of 20 years, during which Russia can hold a gun to South Africa’s head, in effect saying: “Do business with us, or forget nuclear.”

The agreement confirms the government’s intention to make “Atomic Tina’s” energy department the procuring agent for the nuclear programme rather than Eskom – where the country’s nuclear expertise lies, despite the utility’s travails. Joemat-Pettersson signed the agreement in Vienna on September 21 last year, three weeks after President Jacob Zuma held talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at the latter’s country estate.

It led to an immediate outcry as it appeared that Russia was being favoured over other vendor countries………..

The terms of the agreement lean heavily in Russia’s favour. They:

  • Indemnify the Russians from any liability arising from nuclear accidents during the reactors’ life. The agreement says South Africa is “solely responsible for any damage both within and outside the territory of the Republic of South Africa”;
  • Hand the Russians a host of regulatory concessions and “special favourable treatment” in tax and other financial matters, but offer South Africa no such incentives; and
  • Require Russia’s permission if South Africa wants to export nuclear technology it develops locally as a result of learning from the Russians, thereby hindering government’s aim that the nuclear new-build programme will develop a globally competitive local nuclear industry………..
How we got the secret documentThe supposedly confidential agreement is published among the list of bilateral treaties on the website of the legal department of the Russian foreign ministry.

It was first obtained by South African environmental organisation Earthlife Africa Johannesburg by Russian anti-nuclear activist and head of Ecodefense Vladimir Slivyak, who got it from a source in the Russian foreign ministry. It is in Russian, and includes the signatures of Rosatom’s director general Sergey Kirienko and South African energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

A Russian translator commissioned by Earthlife to translate the agreement into English subsequently also found it publicly available on the ministry’s website. amaBhungane has compared Joemat-Pettersson’s signature on the document with her signature on a current document; they are identical. amaBhungane has also commissioned its own translation of the agreement, which is available to download by clicking on the link at the top of this story. – Lionel Faull

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for our stories, activities and funding sources. http://mg.co.za/article/2015-02-12-exposed-scary-details-of-secret-russian-nuke-deal

February 14, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, politics international, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Russia promoting its nuclear technology to Egypt

Russian-BearRussia to help Egypt build ‘a whole new nuclear power industry’ – Putin, Rt.com  February 10, 2015 Russia will contribute to building “a whole new nuclear power industry” in Egypt, President Vladimir Putin has announced as the two countries have signed a number of agreements after a meeting in Cairo.

The leaders of Russia and Egypt have signed “a memorandum of understanding to build the first nuclear plant in [the northern city of] El-Dabaa,” Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi has told reporters at anews conference at Cairo’s Al Qubba presidential palace.Russia would contribute not only to the construction of a nuclear power plant, but also staff and scientific research, President Putin said……..http://rt.com/news/231055-putin-sisi-egypt-talks/

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Egypt, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Nuclear power agreement between Russia and Egypt

Russian-BearCairo and Kremlin agree on building a nuclear power plant, DW, 10 Feb 15 

Officials from Egypt and Russia have signed agreements to boost economic and industrial ties during Putin’s visit to Cairo. The two countries plan to build a nuclear power station, Egypt’s President El-Sissi says. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, wrapped up his two-day visit with Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo on Tuesday, after both countries signed a memorandum of understanding to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant together. The power plant is expected to be made with the latest technology and have four separate blocks providing 1200 megawatts of energy each, according to Sergey Kirienko, the director general of the Russian atomic energy corporation Rosatom.

President Putin stressed that “if definite decisions are made, it would not be simply about building a nuclear power plant, but about creating a whole new nuclear industry in Egypt.”

He also stressed that Moscow had only signed a memorandum of understanding on the construction, meaning that the deal had not yet been finalized…….http://www.dw.de/cairo-and-kremlin-agree-on-building-a-nuclear-power-plant/a-18248404

February 11, 2015 Posted by | Egypt, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Norwegian military found out that Russian bomber near Norway’s coast had nuclear warhead

Report: Russian bomber intercepted by Norwegian F-16s carried nuclear warhead, Alaska Dispatch News Thomas Nilsen, Barents Observer February 3, 2015 A Norwegian military listening post intercepted cockpit conversations revealing that one of the Tu-95 flying around the coast of Norway last Wednesday had a nuclear payload on board.

Two F-16s were scrambled from Bodø airbase and met the Russian planes outside Finnmark. A group of six Russian aircrafts were identified by the Norwegian fighter jets — two Tu-95 strategic long-range bombers, two Il-78 tankers and two MiG-31 fighter jets. The incident took place on Wednesday, Jan.28.

The Norwegian F-16s followed the Russian planes outside Norwegian airspace on the southbound route. For Norway, scrambling F-16s to meet Russian bombers has been routine since President Vladimir Putin in 2007 ordered his strategic bombers to resume flights in international airspace.

The British newspaper Sunday Express reported that there was a nuclear payload onboard.

The newspaper reports that both Prime Minister David Cameron and Defense Secretary Michael Fallon were alerted after cockpit conversions confirming the bomber’s nuclear payload were intercepted by a Norwegian military listening post and shared with the British Ministry of Defense…

….. BarentsObserver has not succeeded getting the nuclear warhead information confirmed, or disproved, from either the Norwegian military intelligence or the Joint Command Headquarters. http://www.adn.com/article/20150203/report-russian-bomber-intercepted-norwegian-f-16s-carried-nuclear-warhead

February 4, 2015 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK claims that Russian bomber carrying nuclear missiles flew across the channel

flag-UKflag_RussiaWorld War 3: Russian Bomber Intercepted, Tu-95 Carried Russia’s Nuclear Weapons Claims England Inquistr 1 Feb 15 Fears of World War 3 continue to rise, and when the RAF fighters scrambled to have a Russian bomber intercepted over the channel it was uncertain whether or not they actually carried Russia’s nuclear weapons. Now the British Ministry of Defense is claiming that Russian nuclear missiles were indeed on board the Tu-95 “Bear” bomber.

 In a related report by the Inquisitr, Vladimir Putin claims Russia will boast military superiority over the United States at least until 2020. The Russian military also recently claimed that Russia’s nuclear weapons were upgraded recently with new technology which supposedly makes U.S. missile defense system useless. Members of the U.S. Congress also claim that Putin has stationed Russian nuclear weapons in Ukraine already, and may even use Crimea for an invasion.

The sight of the two Russian bombers so close to British air space was yet another sign that Cold War 2 was upon us. During the confrontation, Tu-95 bombers and the RAF Typhoons came as close as 1,000 feet away from each other. They were so close that the British pilots could communicate with the Russian bomber with hand signals.

Sources within the British Ministry of Defense claims that one of the two Russian bombers intercepted carried at least one of Russia’s nuclear weapons designed to “seek and find” Trident submarines. Both Prime Minister David Cameron and Defense Secretary Michael Fallon were alerted after cockpit conversations confirmed the Russian bomber’s nuclear payload were intercepted by a Norwegian military listening post.

“We downloaded conversations from the crew of one plane who used a special word which meant the would-be attack was a training exercise,” said a senior RAF source according to Express. “They know that we can pick up their transmissions and it would only be of concern if the often used release weapon order was changed. We also knew from another source that one of the aircraft was carrying a nuclear weapon long before it came anywhere near UK airspace.”

Experts say the belief that the Russian bomber was carrying nuclear weapons is an example that Vladimir Putin is upping his game.

“This continual and increasing probing of NATO airspace by these nuclear bombers and fighter aircraft, tankers and electronic aircraft by Russian is a pattern of increased pressure by Russia designed to remind the West and NATO that they remain a large nuclear power, and a serious military power with reach,” said Justin Bronk of the Royal United Services Institute………

Fortunately, the Russian bomber was not on a mission to start World War 3, and Vladimir Putin would have been required to give a direct order in order to make the warhead live. The other Russian bomber was apparently acting as a “mothership” during the military exercise.  http://www.inquisitr.com/1804787/world-war-3-russian-bomber-intercepted-tu-95-carried-russias-nuclear-weapons-claims-england/#PzH5oQQ11saMITcH.99

 

February 2, 2015 Posted by | Russia, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Diplomatic incident, as Russian nuclear bomber planes fly off west coast of Ireland

Russian nuclear bomber planes fly off west coast of Ireland as British Typhoon fighters scrambled, Irish Independent  Brian O’Reilly and Philip Ryan 30/01/2015 RUSSIAN bomber planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons flew past the west coast of Ireland on Wednesday – forcing Britain to scramble Typhoon fighter jets in response. A diplomatic incident was sparked when Russian Tu-95 ‘Bear’ bomber planes flew past the west coast of Ireland and into the English Channel before turning and going back the same way.

It was reported that the heavily armed aircraft were flying without their transponders – meaning they were invisible to commercial airlines.

Britain scrambled its fighter jets in response – as Ireland is considered to be within its ‘area of interest’ for defence.

The Russian Embassy in Ireland issued a robust defence of the country’s decision to fly bomber jets near Irish airspace.

However the Department of Defence said while the Russian aircraft did not enter Irish sovereign airspace at any time, such non-notified and non-controlled flight activity is not acceptable.

“The Irish authorities will discuss with their UK counterparts how best to seek to resolve this through the International Civil Aviation Organisation,” it said……http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/russian-nuclear-bomber-planes-fly-off-west-coast-of-ireland-as-british-typhoon-fighters-scrambled-30949988.html

January 31, 2015 Posted by | Ireland, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Radioactive polonium used to kill Litvinenko also endangered many others

LitvinenkoDyingLitvinenko: Images Of Radiation Trail Revealed, Sky News, 27 Jan 15  Newly released evidence shows the radiation trail left across London by the men suspected of poisoning the ex-Russian spy. (PHOTOS) Images released as part of the public inquiry into the death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London have laid bare the high levels of radiation found in the hotel rooms of his suspected killers.

They also reveal “very high” radiation in the locations where they met Mr Litvinenko, including on the teapot which was allegedly used to poison him in London’s Millennium Hotel……….

The images, compiled by the Metropolitan Police, were made public on the opening day of the hearing by counsel to the inquiry Robin Tam QC.
He told the inquiry Mr Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium “not once but twice”.……… “Scientific evidence will show very high levels of alpha radiation in all three parts of his accommodation, and especially in the bathroom,” Mr Tam said. He told the hearing the traces of radiation found in “large numbers of places across London” had put “many thousands” at risk.

The inquiry heard that Mr Litvinenko explicitly implicated Russian President Vladimir Putin in his killing in the days leading up to his death.

In an impassioned opening statement, Ben Emmerson QC, representing the Litvinenko family, said Mr Putin’s connection to the killing would be unveiled.

“When all of the open and closed evidence is considered together, Mr Litvinenko’s dying declaration will be borne as true, that the trail of polonium traces lead not just from London to Moscow but directly to the door of Vladimir Putin and Mr Putin should be unmasked by this inquiry as a common criminal dressed up as a head of state,” he said.

“Mr Litvinenko had to be eliminated not because he was an enemy of the Russian state itself and certainly not because he was an enemy of the Russian people but because he had made an enemy of the close knit group of criminals who surrounded and still surround Vladimir Putin and keep his corrupt regime in power.”http://news.sky.com/story/1416159/litvinenko-images-of-radiation-trail-revealed

January 30, 2015 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Russians claim ‘unstoppable’ nuclear missiles

World War 3: Russia’s Nuclear Weapons Upgraded, U.S. Missile Defense Can’t Stop Them, Claim Russians  http://www.inquisitr.com/1791291/world-war-3-russias-nuclear-weapons-upgraded-cannot-be-stopped-by-u-s-missile-defense-claims-russians/#Ow2umcwPkA2yQC4C.99 27 Jan 15 Both the Russian and U.S. military continue to stoke World War 3 fears, with a Russian deputy prime minister now claiming that Russia’s nuclear weapons cannot be stopped by U.S. missile defense systems in the event the new Cold War becomes hot.
 In a related report by The Inquisitr, the U.S. Navy railgun system being tested over the next several years has a projectile which is claimed to be capable of knocking a cruise missile out while in flight. The Russian Navy has also increased their production rate for Russia’s nuclear submarine fleet, with the Russians planning on laying out five subs while the U.S. Navy is only shooting for two in 2015.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is overseeing the modernization of Russia’s nuclear weapons capabilities and during a talk show on the state-run Rossiya 1 television channel boasted that Russia had managed to develop a new technological breakthrough which will somehow overcome any U.S. missile defense system.

 

January 27, 2015 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia pulls out of US nuclear security alliance

safety-symbol-Smflag_RussiaRussia ends US nuclear security alliance Accord worked to keep stockpiles secure By  BOSTON GLOBE STAFF  JANUARY 19, 2015 WASHINGTON — The private diplomatic meetings took place over two days in mid-December in a hotel overlooking Moscow’s Red Square.

But unlike in previous such gatherings, the sense of camaraderie, even brotherhood, was overshadowed by an uncomfortable chill, according to participants.

In the previously undisclosed discussions, the Russians informed the Americans that they were refusing any more US help protecting their largest stockpiles of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium from being stolen or sold on the black market. The declaration effectively ended one of the most successful areas of cooperation between the former Cold War adversaries.

“I think it greatly increases the risk of catastrophic terrorism,” said Sam Nunn, the former Democratic senator from Georgia and an architect of the “cooperative threat reduction” programs of the 1990s.

Official word came in a terse, three-page agreement signed on Dec. 16. A copy was obtained by the Globe, and a description of the Moscow meeting was provided by three people who attended the session or were briefed on it. They declined to be identified for security reasons.

Russia’s change of heart was not unexpected. The Globe reported in August that US officials were concerned about the future of the programs, because of increased diplomatic hostilities between the United States and Russia. The New York Times reported in November that it appeared likely many of the programs would end……..

Now security upgrades have been cancelled at some of Russia’s seven “closed nuclear cities,” which contain among the largest stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, according to the official “record of meeting” signed by the sides in December.

The Russians also told the Americans that joint security work at 18 civilian facilities housing weapons material would cease, effective Jan. 1. Another project at two facilities to convert highly enriched uranium into a less dangerous form also has been stopped.

Lack of US funding and expertise also jeopardizes planned construction of high-tech surveillance systems at 13 buildings that store nuclear material, as well as a project to deploy radiation detectors at Russian ports, airports, and border crossings to catch potential nuclear smugglers.

A limited amount of cooperation will continue in other countries that have highly enriched uranium that originated in Russia. The two sides also will continue working on ways to secure industrial sources of radioactive material, which could be used to make a “dirty bomb.’’ The Russian decision will not affect inspections that both sides regularly conduct of each other’s active nuclear arsenals as part of arms control treaties……….

Some warn that the distrust on both sides could bleed into other areas, including arms control treaties.

“It’s important for the US and Russia to have nuclear security, but it is also important for us to believe we have nuclear security,” said Matthew Bunn, a weapons proliferation specialist at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. “That’s hard to do just by saying so.”

US government officials, for their part, insist they are trying to make the best of it.

“We are encouraged that they statedmultiple times that they intend to finish this work,” said David Huizenga, who runs the nonproliferation programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Department of Energy. Huizenga led the US delegation to Moscow last month.

But he said US officials still hope that the Russians will change their mind and restart a partnership that by most accounts has significantly strengthened global security.

“[It will be] harder to resurrect if we don’t actually engage in any meaningful way,” Huizenga said.

Bryan Bender can be reached at bender@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeBender. http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2015/01/19/after-two-decades-russia-nuclear-security-cooperation-becomes-casualty-deteriorating-relations/5nh8NbtjitUE8UqVWFIooL/story.html

January 20, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

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