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F
On Some Issues of Global Security and Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons

L. D. Ryabev, Advisor, Rosatom

NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

The standoff between the former USSR and the United States was the main motif of global security from about the end of World War II until the early 1990s. The nuclear arms race that started in 1945 after the detonation of the first nuclear bomb led to the accumulation by the former USSR and the United States of tens of thousands of nuclear munitions and to the appearance of new nuclear weapons states.

The accumulated nuclear weapons stockpiles could have led to mutual destruction of the two countries.

In the 1970s, the USSR and the United States reached parity in nuclear arms. Each side could inflict unacceptable damage to the other side through a retaliatory strike, and ballistic missile defense could not protect either country from the adversary’s retaliation. Gradually, an understanding materialized that neither of the sides could win that race and different (non-power-based) foundations for international relations needed to be sought. Military equilibrium had become a deterrent insurance from possible aggression.

It is clear, however, that it could not become a long-term basis for global security. This led to a series of arms reduction negotiations and resulting agreements between the United States and the former USSR.

As a result, from 1990 to December 2001 the following was accomplished:

  • The number of delivery vehicles for strategic offensive arms has been reduced from 2,500 in the former USSR and 2,246 in the United States to 1,600 on either side. The number of munitions has been cut from approximately 10,000 to 6,000;

  • Nuclear stockpiles, including tactical weapons, have been cut dramatically;

  • Further production of nuclear weapons materials (uranium and plutonium) has been stopped;

  • Production of nuclear munitions has been reduced by more than a factor of 10 in Russia and has been completely suspended in the United States;

  • 500 tons of Russian weapons-grade uranium has been deweaponized, along with 34 tons of plutonium each in Russia and the United States alike;

  • A part of the weapons-grade materials has been blended down to nonweapons grade;

  • Nuclear testing has been banned;

  • A number of nuclear weapons complex production facilities has been shut down;

  • Defense industrial base personnel have been cut; and

  • Finally, many hundreds of missiles (specifically, 1,846 missiles in the former USSR and 846 in the United States) have been eliminated in compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

A certain contribution to arms control has been made by the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program (also known as the Nunn-Lugar program).

The situation in the Russian nuclear weapons complex in the early 1990s gave grounds for concern—first of all, on the part of the United States. Following precipitous economic deterioration and weakening of government control, export control measures gave way. For the first time, the threat of nuclear material theft by the employees of the nuclear weapons complex had materialized.

However, Russia has realized its responsibility for the safety and security of its nuclear stockpile all along. In recent years, the following drastic steps have been taken:

  • An up-to-date regulatory environment has been created and implemented;

  • A government-mandated system of nuclear material control and accounting has been enforced;

  • Physical protection has been strengthened;

  • Storage facilities for nuclear materials and munitions compliant with the strictest of norms have been made available;

  • An export control law has been passed, and dual-use item lists have been reviewed;



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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action F On Some Issues of Global Security and Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons L. D. Ryabev, Advisor, Rosatom NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT The standoff between the former USSR and the United States was the main motif of global security from about the end of World War II until the early 1990s. The nuclear arms race that started in 1945 after the detonation of the first nuclear bomb led to the accumulation by the former USSR and the United States of tens of thousands of nuclear munitions and to the appearance of new nuclear weapons states. The accumulated nuclear weapons stockpiles could have led to mutual destruction of the two countries. In the 1970s, the USSR and the United States reached parity in nuclear arms. Each side could inflict unacceptable damage to the other side through a retaliatory strike, and ballistic missile defense could not protect either country from the adversary’s retaliation. Gradually, an understanding materialized that neither of the sides could win that race and different (non-power-based) foundations for international relations needed to be sought. Military equilibrium had become a deterrent insurance from possible aggression. It is clear, however, that it could not become a long-term basis for global security. This led to a series of arms reduction negotiations and resulting agreements between the United States and the former USSR. As a result, from 1990 to December 2001 the following was accomplished: The number of delivery vehicles for strategic offensive arms has been reduced from 2,500 in the former USSR and 2,246 in the United States to 1,600 on either side. The number of munitions has been cut from approximately 10,000 to 6,000; Nuclear stockpiles, including tactical weapons, have been cut dramatically; Further production of nuclear weapons materials (uranium and plutonium) has been stopped; Production of nuclear munitions has been reduced by more than a factor of 10 in Russia and has been completely suspended in the United States; 500 tons of Russian weapons-grade uranium has been deweaponized, along with 34 tons of plutonium each in Russia and the United States alike; A part of the weapons-grade materials has been blended down to nonweapons grade; Nuclear testing has been banned; A number of nuclear weapons complex production facilities has been shut down; Defense industrial base personnel have been cut; and Finally, many hundreds of missiles (specifically, 1,846 missiles in the former USSR and 846 in the United States) have been eliminated in compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty. A certain contribution to arms control has been made by the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program (also known as the Nunn-Lugar program). The situation in the Russian nuclear weapons complex in the early 1990s gave grounds for concern—first of all, on the part of the United States. Following precipitous economic deterioration and weakening of government control, export control measures gave way. For the first time, the threat of nuclear material theft by the employees of the nuclear weapons complex had materialized. However, Russia has realized its responsibility for the safety and security of its nuclear stockpile all along. In recent years, the following drastic steps have been taken: An up-to-date regulatory environment has been created and implemented; A government-mandated system of nuclear material control and accounting has been enforced; Physical protection has been strengthened; Storage facilities for nuclear materials and munitions compliant with the strictest of norms have been made available; An export control law has been passed, and dual-use item lists have been reviewed;

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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action Safe transportation and storage containers for special items and materials have been introduced; and The material well-being of personnel has been improved. Work along these lines is continuing and is becoming more and more routine and habitual in nature. As a matter of fact, in the context of nuclear-powered submarine disposition, political, technological, and organizational issues have been worked out; extensive experience has been accumulated; the scope of work has been defined, both in general terms and on an annual basis; and the deadline for these activities has been clearly identified. The 2002 Global Partnership Initiative has been taking cooperative efforts to a whole new level. The main objective of the partnership is to eliminate chemical weapons, nuclear-powered submarines, and weapons-grade materials to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their requisite materials. However, boiling all collaborative efforts down to just stockpile elimination activities would be a move of questionable utility. As time goes on, constructive themes promoting the interests of the United States, Russia, and other countries must start dominating the collaborative engagement more and more. In 2003, the Moscow Treaty entered into force between Russia and the United States. It calls for strategic offensive reductions to 1,700 to 2,200 warheads on either side by 2012. Unfortunately, however, the treaty has no clear schedules, interim milestones, or means of assessing the compliance associated with it. This is the first treaty that does not call for a commensurate reduction in delivery vehicles and that does preserve the warheads, which can be easily returned to operationally deployed status. All of the treaty’s provisions are reversible at any time. The United States has clearly lost interest in any further steps to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles. At the same time, it has become abundantly clear that even the 1,700 to 2,200 warheads left on either side by 2012 are still excessive for the purposes of defending a country and can only be directed at each other. On more than one occasion, Russia has introduced proposals to reduce the stockpiles to as low a level as 1,000 warheads on either side. The remaining significant nuclear stockpiles contradict the commitments taken by the nuclear weapons states upon conclusion of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The nuclear powers are losing their leadership positions and initiative in nuclear disarmament, which is a constituent element of the nonproliferation policy, threat reduction, and security building. Possible ways to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world have been all but neglected. In this context, the role of nongovernmental and academic organizations in studying these issues and working out appropriate recommendations becomes all the more important. The question of the role of nuclear weapons in the modern world also warrants further consideration. It would seem that the United States is the country with the least need for nuclear weapons. As such, the United States could very well lead by example by taking further sweeping steps in nuclear disarmament without sacrificing anything in the way of national security. In contrast, Russia, with its different geopolitical profile, weak economy, and inadequate conventional weapons, may be an example of a country better suited to resort to some other approach. When the United States and the former USSR had piles upon piles of weapons, the disarmament process was going neck and neck. In the future (say, upon reaching the level of 1,000 warheads on either side), further nuclear stockpile reduction steps must be tied to finding a comprehensive solution to the security issues of both sides. The principle of equal security will have to be exercised on the basis of both nuclear and nonnuclear components. The United States has already taken some asymmetrical political-military steps: The Warsaw Treaty Organization no longer exists, while the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is expanding eastward; and it is not apparent from what kinds of threats that NATO will be defending Europe. Possibly, this will be clarified at the Russia-NATO Council meeting; and The United States has withdrawn from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which Russia considered the cornerstone of strategic stability. One cannot assume that Russia will not take adequate steps in terms of beefing up its arsenals. Here, it would be appropriate to remind the reader of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement made in November 2004: “I am confident that in the next several years these capabilities [i.e., new nuclear missile systems] will be fielded and they will embody the kind of R&D [research and development] which other nuclear weapons states do not possess currently and will not possess for years to come.” It would be helpful to investigate, in a joint fashion, how the U.S. National Missile Defense program, which is at various stages in its development, can affect the security of Russia and the United States itself and whether or not the United States and Russian share any commonalities in terms of defense from third countries. Discouraging is the hard-to-explain position of the United States regarding ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Such unilateral actions speak to the lack of trust and commitment to honor agreements between our two countries reached earlier. Only an open and impartial discussion of disagreements can lead us on to the right path. The sequence of further steps in nuclear disarmament is important.

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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action We believe that it is critical to make sure that Mutual threat analysis for the United States and Russia is conducted and Each side’s concerns are identified. After that, measures to ensure further disarmament, transparency, and control need to be thought through. While convincing other countries that they need not have nuclear weapons, one has to figure out why the United States and Russia do need them and other countries do not. Can one make do without nuclear weapons? What are the prerequisites for that? The still significant nuclear stockpiles that will remain as of 2012 can be explained in only one way: they are still viewed as a way for the United States and Russia to deter each other. The concept of nuclear weapons nonproliferation as such is at odds with the enormous nuclear stockpiles held by the five nuclear weapons states. This kind of arrangement disenfranchises non-nuclear-weapons states, undermines further strengthening of the nuclear nonproliferation regime, makes the nuclear nonproliferation regime unstable, and delays the implementation of Article VI of the NPT (i.e., negotiations on nuclear disarmament). A number of countries are still pursuing nuclear weapons programs. First, at the present level of advancement of nuclear technologies and knowledge, this does not require tremendous expenditures. These technologies and knowledge are already available to many countries. Second, having nuclear weapons is still a matter of political prestige and boosts a country’s international image. Finally, and possibly most importantly, nuclear weapons serve as an additional, last-resort measure in terms of protecting one’s country from external pressures: it is doubtful that the United States would have attacked Iraq if Iraq had possessed nuclear weapons. Still, there is no international security system that would protect a country against external threats. Many of us do not like the North Korean regime. However, this cannot serve as a justification for a regime change unless the regime is engaged in acts of aggression against some other country. It is not clear why the United States cannot give North Korea security guarantees in exchange for its steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Some of the new developments under discussion in the United States today also give grounds for concern. They are Lowering of the nuclear weapons use threshold, which, in effect, makes nuclear weapons a usable battlefield weapon (e.g., low-yield nuclear weapons); The possibility of nuclear weapons use in nonnuclear conflicts; and The possibility of a preventing or preemptive nuclear strike. Analysis of military doctrines is also important. In the Russian doctrine of 2000, the role of nuclear weapons is defined as a deterrent against aggression, as a security insurance for Russia and its allies, and as a tool for maintaining international stability and peace. Similar justification rationales may also be put forth by other countries. Therefore, it is evident that the nuclear disarmament process has somewhat stalled and that confidence- and security-building measures are insufficient. This ultimately impacts the effectiveness of nuclear weapons nonproliferation policies. NONPROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS The NPT, which entered into force in 1970, has been a source of positive influence in resolving issues of nuclear security. However, over the past 35 years, its shortcomings have become apparent as well: It has not stopped nuclear proliferation (India and Pakistan have become defacto nuclear powers; Israel is generally believed to have an unacknowledged nuclear weapons program, and a number of other countries are suspected of illicit activities); Nuclear weapons states are still a long way away from addressing the issue of nuclear disarmament with the ultimate objective of complete elimination of these weapons (as per Article VI of the NPT); this issue is not even as much as being discussed; There have been difficulties with transferring peaceful nuclear technologies to nonnuclear NPT member states; There are nonstate actors and terrorist groups that are actively pursuing nuclear weapons and materials, while clearly existing outside the NPT; The black market for nuclear materials and technologies has expanded, considering that privately owned companies and individuals possess nuclear knowledge; Not all states are signatories to the NPT; It is possible to come close to achieving a nuclear weapons capability while remaining compliant with the NPT; and A withdrawal from the NPT with impunity cannot be ruled out; this is possible even after nuclear technology has been acquired in compliance with the NPT. Besides, the global uncertainty situation (is this a unipolar or a multipolar world?) creates new opportunities for and elevates interest in the acquisition of nuclear weapons. The list of countries engaged in peaceful nuclear activities has become longer, which creates scientific and technological prerequisites for the possession of nuclear weapons, especially if a closed nuclear fuel cycle capability becomes available. It also increases the mass of nuclear materials in circulation and therefore expands opportunities for their theft. Dissemination of nuclear knowledge lets a significant number of countries quickly master nuclear technologies at a minimum level of expenditure. The role of a force-based

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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action (as opposed to a law-based) approach to dealing with countries suspected of nuclear weapons activities has become more prominent. As new threats materialize and displace old ones, for some states complete security still proves elusive. The United States and Russia, two leading nuclear weapons powers, hold diametrically opposite views regarding practicable approaches to nonproliferation. There is also a lack of coordination in the actions of the two countries. There is no unified approach to different countries; i.e., double standards have prevailed; countries are divided into “good” and “bad,” even though they all have accepted the conditions of the NPT. There is no legal recourse if an NPT-nonmember country is pursuing nuclear weapons, withdraws from the NPT for the same purpose, or violates its provisions. Nonproliferation rules and norms must be universal in nature. They must include a commitment by each country to curtail terrorist activities on its territory. A need has arisen to consider the issue of switching from voluntary nonproliferation compliance to mandatory enforcement (with an element of coercion, if necessary). A year ago, the United States came out with a Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict illicit trading in nuclear weapons and materials. There also have been other proposals as well. In effect, the United States has proposed a new strategy for combating WMD proliferation. This strategy significantly oversteps the bounds of the NPT. However, we have not been discussing or assessing it in more detail, never mind working out appropriate forms of international agreements or identifying the roles and responsibilities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations to assist in its implementation. In most general terms, we are talking about a new system of international relations as we move away from the Cold War era and its rigid bipolar world order. We need to custom tailor the NPT to fit the new security environment. Of course, the nonproliferation regime is being improved already. To illustrate, there is now an Additional Protocol to the NPT, and it broadens the opportunities for monitoring. Other important measures have also been implemented. For many years now, Russia and the United States have been engaged in close cooperation on nonproliferation. Relevant bilateral agreements have been concluded. First, they had to do with measures to strengthen the nonproliferation regime in Russia (physical protection, export control, control and accounting of nuclear materials, etc.). However, even though Russia has done a lot in the course of these years to instill order in its nuclear complex, it has proven by deeds that it is a responsible country (there have been no recorded cases of theft or loss of weapons-grade nuclear materials—much less nuclear munitions—or leaks of nuclear experts or technologies), and has had nothing to do with India’s, Pakistan’s, or Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities or with Iraq’s or Libya’s nuclear ambitions, the West still embraces its consistent proliferation concerns embodied by Russia, especially now that terrorism is on the rise. For example, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency stated in March of 2004, “Russian WMD materials and technologies remain vulnerable to theft and unauthorized use.” Senator Richard Lugar stated in his interview to the Izvestia daily on January 12, 2005, “Of great importance is not only the control over nuclear-tipped missiles, but also over … tactical nuclear warheads which can fall prey to terrorists.” So, the main thrust of U.S.-Russian programs is directed at the countries of the former Soviet Union—for the most part, at Russia. In accordance with Russia’s national security concept adopted in 2000, strengthening of the nonproliferation regime for WMD and their means of delivery is viewed as one of Russia’s main national security objectives. It is being resolved, and will continue to be resolved, to the best of Russia’s ability to comply with today’s requirements. Nonproliferation collaboration between Russia and the United States must have an international component to it. Even the strongest of states cannot tackle the global nonproliferation challenge in isolation; this effort must be well coordinated within the framework of the international community. A specialized cooperative program must be devised under the tutelage of the two most powerful nuclear weapons states. Priority must be assigned not to force-based methods of dispute resolution but to an overall improvement of the international climate and to threat reduction measures. One cannot help but be troubled by the fact that prohibitive measures have been an increasingly popular tool used against NPT member states that wish to develop a nuclear power industry. Iran is a case in point here. Neither the signing by Iran of the NPT, the adoption of the Additional Protocol (which provides for the right of inspection of any facility at any time with no prior notice), placement of nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, nor Russia’s and Iran’s commitments to repatriate spent nuclear fuel to Russia is seen as a good enough argument by the United States. It suspects Iran of nuclear weapons ambitions and continues to demand that the Iranian nuclear program be shut down altogether. Foreign and domestic policy considerations may very well be additional factors at play here. However, these considerations have not been verbalized. Ultimately, someone simply does not like the existing Iranian regime. Besides, the United States believes that Iran does not need a nuclear power industry because it possesses large deposits of oil and natural gas. Demands presented to Iran go way beyond the NPT and the Additional Protocol; i.e., it is implied that compliance with just their requirements does not ensure the impossibility of developing a nuclear weapons capability. At the same time, such requirements are not imposed on, for example, Brazil, which has been developing its nuclear power industry and nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment. This situation requires a detailed and in-depth review by a joint U.S-Russian working group. The NPT may

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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action not meet the new requirements of today, and additional caveats need to be worked out that would make possible the further continuation of peaceful nuclear activities while ruling out the possibility of their diversion to support military programs. Besides, the right of withdrawal from the NPT because of extraordinary events (see Article X) is also in need of clarification. Of special significance is the issue of regime change in a country that already possesses nuclear technologies. Perhaps norms of behavior in the world community need to be worked out to account for the presence of potentially dangerous nuclear technologies in the world. All these issues could become the subject of a nonproliferation dialog between Russia and the United States. At meetings of the managers of national nuclear weapons laboratories, ideas have been voiced regarding further ways to collaborate in this area. In particular, these ideas called for, among other things, opportunities for collaboration on the following: Work regarding detection of signs of undeclared nuclear activities; Development of technical assets in support of antiterrorist activities; Development of supersensitive instruments for the detection of small quantities of nuclear materials and explosives; Development of means of remote monitoring of reactor units and nuclear fuel cycle facilities; and Risk assessment for nuclear technologies and other proposals. Besides, interlaboratory collaboration could be expanded to involve other countries in areas of science such as thermonuclear fusion, computing technologies and programming, laser technologies, and nanomaterials. All this could boost confidence building among weapons scientists and allow them to switch their activities to a peaceful track. NUCLEAR ENERGY AND NONPROLIFERATION ISSUES The peaceful use of nuclear energy was considered virtually at the very first stage of the atomic weapons project. As of late 2002, 31 countries had a total of 438 operating nuclear reactors producing a cumulative power output of 325 million kilowatts. In the future, as energy needs increase, the role of nuclear energy in satisfying these needs will likely be significant—even more so since the problems that feed terrorism as a phenomenon (e.g., poverty, economic backwardness, and power deficits) will be aggravated. At the same time, nuclear technologies and related knowledge may be of the dual-use variety and can therefore be used for military purposes or as a disguise for undeclared nuclear activities. This is why numerous attempts have been made to constrain the development of nuclear technology. In 1978, for example, President Jimmy Carter called on nuclear power countries to give up reprocessing activities to curb the proliferation of nuclear materials—most notably, plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuels produced by nuclear power plants. At the same time, the large-scale development of nuclear energy, which compensates for the shortage of fossil fuels and helps resolve environmental problems, is only possible with introduction of fast breeder reactors and a closed nuclear fuel cycle. It goes without saying that proscriptive measures will not stop technological progress. Besides, such measures as such are in contravention of the guiding principles of the NPT. We need to seek a way out of this situation. One of the promising ways is closely connected with President Putin’s initiative voiced at a U.N. Summit in 2000. Russia suggested that new designs for nuclear reactors and proliferation-resistant fuel cycles be developed. Russia itself is engaged in such research, and these efforts should be combined with the efforts of other countries (first of all, the United States). Recently, Russia has also put forth a proposal regarding the return of spent nuclear fuel to countries that have the appropriate infrastructure and experience with the safe management of spent nuclear fuel. Several countries have already put forth the idea of conducting uranium enrichment, spent nuclear fuel reprocessing, and fresh nuclear power plant fuel fabrication only at so-called international centers. As part of the proposal, remote monitoring techniques will be developed to preclude unauthorized activities, including such activities at nuclear fuel cycle facilities or power generation facilities; and nuclear technologies and facilities will be assessed and rated in terms of their proliferation potential. Overall, these proposal are worthy of serious consideration and implementation of relevant rules and norms. Possibly, a set of requirements will have to be compiled for countries that wish to develop nuclear energy. Countries must also realize that there are economic benefits stemming from nuclear collaboration. After the U.S.-Russian summit in 2002, pursuant to directives of the two presidents, issues pertaining to collaboration in the development of “reactors of the future” and innovative nuclear fuel cycles have been worked out. The recommendations have been reviewed and approved at the ministerial level but remain unrealized because of disagreements on the Iran issue. The same fate befell the draft agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. SOME CONCLUDING REMARKS The United States and Russia must be the champions of advancement of the NPT and proliferation regime in general. They should pay more attention to making headway in nuclear disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy

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Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Nonproliferation: Recommendations for Action in the interests of the international community. The United States has to gradually transition from programs fostering economic aid and assistance in science and technology to joint programs based on partnership and collaboration to the timely identification and analysis of existing obstacles, difficulties, and disagreements and finding ways to resolve them. The global partnership must encompass not only nuclear-powered submarine disposition, nuclear material disposal, and elimination of nuclear weapons but also the development of a new nonproliferation regime and finding solutions to the related key scientific and technological challenges that lie ahead. A mechanism needs to be set up to address the most critical nonproliferation issues, as well as existing disagreements. Disagreements between the United States and Russia on a number of issues must not undermine the foundations of our cooperation since we agree on the most important thing, which is that U.S.-Russian collaboration on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation is essential for the strengthening of strategic stability and security and is in the best interest of both countries and the entire global community as a whole. Another important aspect is addressing, through such fora as U.S.-Russian joint working groups at both the governmental and the nongovernmental levels, the issues of security and nonproliferation and providing relevant recommendations to policy makers.