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Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015: Proceedings of a Russian—U.S. Workshop BUILDING PARTNERSHIP ON THE STRENGTH OF EXPERIENCE: TRENDS, PRIORITIES, TOOLS FOR CONTINUED RUSSIAN-U.S. COOPERATION337 Rose Gottemoeller, Carnegie Moscow Center/Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Ashot A. Sarkisov, Russian Academy of Sciences U.S. National Academies’ (NAS) and Russian Academy of Sciences’ (RAS) Co-Chairs of Joint Committees on the Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015 Many countries and international organizations, including the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, are currently considering how best to provide assistance to other countries on questions of global importance. Russia is no exception. Since 2007, Russia has been expressing a new aspiration to provide assistance “as an indispensable element of the modern collective security system.” This policy trend is clearly laid out in a Ministry of Foreign Affairs concept paper that was approved by the Russian President on June 14, 2007.338 The Russians state that until recently, the scope and types of Russian assistance had to be quite limited “for objective reasons”—in other words, due to Russia’s dire economic crisis during the 1990s. However, they stress, since Russia’s economic situation has improved dramatically, the country can now resume a significant effort in this area. Now, therefore, is a good time for Russia and the United States to examine the experience gained over fifteen years of joint work in the nuclear security environment. Although Russia was not able to work much in the broader area of development assistance during this period, U.S.-Russian cooperation in non-proliferation programs was extensive and fruitful. This joint experience thus provides clues about how Russia and the United States can move forward at the current stage to address new challenges. This workshop, The Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015, has focused on the nuclear security agenda, but nevertheless the workshop papers and discussions have provided many good examples of how the U.S. and Russia can work effectively together across a range of serious issues. Indeed, further U.S.-Russian cooperation may unfold not only in the bilateral relationship, but also in other countries and regions around the world. The workshop was designed to better understand how cooperation might develop in the future, looking at trends in the relationship, priorities for cooperation, and tools that could be 337 This paper combines the presentation provided during the workshop and the final summary of the workshop. 338 “Russia’s Participation in International Development Assistance: Concept Paper,” approved by the President of the Russian Federation, June 14, 2007, p. 3.
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Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015: Proceedings of a Russian—U.S. Workshop used directly either to continue or expand joint U.S.-Russian cooperation. The primary focus, once again, was the nuclear security environment, but with recognition that the results of the discussion may apply to other aspects of the relationship. The workshop has pursued these goals by reflecting on U.S.-Russian experiences with the Cooperative Threat Reduction339 programs and considering how best to use the lessons learned, both positive and negative, to facilitate joint cooperation in the future. The workshop has not focused on the long-term future, but rather on the period to 2015, when major milestones will have been reached in nuclear non-proliferation cooperation—for example, the conclusion of the current U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear material protection, control, and accounting.340 This workshop was not designed or intended to produce consensus recommendations for future joint work involving U.S. and Russian specialists. However, workshop participants, Russians and Americans, have shown a significant amount of agreement on many issues discussed during the workshop, including specific approaches and activities that the United States and Russia could jointly undertake in the coming years. Several of these approaches and activities are mentioned here, although the co-chairs cannot do justice to the wealth of sound ideas that have been developed in the workshop presentations and discussions. TRENDS In our view, the major trend discussed was the transition begun by Russia and the United States from assistance, prevalent in the 1990s, to partnership. A partnership relationship implies that the two countries are willing to share in establishing priorities for cooperation, managing projects, and paying costs. However, the process of moving to such a partnership relationship has not been fully accomplished. One Russian participant commented that actual partnership activities have thus far been malovato (slight). Threat analyses can differ in Moscow and Washington, which makes it difficult at times to agree on tactics and timing in pursuing joint policies. Such differences have been evident, for example, in the approaches that the two countries have taken regarding Iran and its nuclear program. Moreover, political tensions between Washington and Moscow have been high recently, and this trend is likely to continue in certain aspects of the relationship, complicating efforts to cooperate. Nevertheless, many workshop participants appear to agree that U.S. and Russian interests do converge in key areas, particularly in tackling the threats of terrorism and nuclear proliferation. These two threats have provided a significant underpinning for U.S. and Russian 339 Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs are frequently defined as those programs residing in the Department of Defense under the so-called Nunn-Lugar “Umbrella Agreement.” In this project, however, they were defined more widely to include the cooperative nonproliferation programs organized and implemented by the U.S. Department of Energy. For further information regarding the CTR Umbrella Agreement, see Richard Lugar, “Trust Needs Verification,” The Washington Times, July 18, 2008, found at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/18/trust-still-needs-verification/. 340 The Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act of 2003 mandates that a sustainable materials protection, control, and accounting system be transferred to sole Russian Federation support no later than January 1, 2013. For further information regarding the Bob Stump Act, see http://www.army.mil/armybtkc/docs/PL%20107-314.pdf; accessed May 1, 2008.
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Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015: Proceedings of a Russian—U.S. Workshop cooperation in recent years, with a number of bilateral initiatives agreed at the highest level.341 Decision-makers and experts in both countries agree that these threats are urgent and must be cooperatively addressed in the relationship. The workshop sessions that have highlighted the nuclear non-proliferation and terrorism issues began with overview discussions led by Ambassador Linton Brooks and Dr. Lev Ryabev. Both authors emphasized that the relationship between the United States and Russia, and the willingness of both countries to further reduce nuclear arms, would go a long way toward strengthening the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) regime as it approaches its next Review Conference in 2010.342 Both also stressed nuclear terrorism as a dominant threat—or as Lev Ryabev put it, “a most tangible military threat.”343 They emphasized the importance of broad technical collaboration to counter terrorism, pointing to ways in which the United States and Russia could renew cooperative ties in this important area. Linton Brooks, for example, called for more streamlined procedures to share sensitive information, which would be necessary, among other things, in order for Russia and the United States to take the lead in creating an international system of nuclear attribution based on a technical nuclear forensics capability. This idea led to a wide discussion and expressions of significant interest when Michael Kristo’s paper on nuclear forensics cooperation was presented. Lev Ryabev voiced disappointment that collaboration between U.S. and Russian national laboratories has waned in recent years, and he argued that these organizations could contribute much to non-proliferation cooperation, including efforts to combat nuclear terrorism. He provided an interesting list of projects that could be used to renew the cooperation, including development of means to detect undeclared nuclear activities, highly sensitive devices for monitoring small quantities of nuclear explosives, and instruments for remote monitoring of nuclear fuel cycle facilities. A number of workshop participants, both Russian and American, have commented that renewing cooperation between U.S. and Russian laboratories is a worthy goal, and have expressed interest in finding ways to do so. Indeed, as a general matter, participants viewed positive cooperation between Russia and the United States on nuclear non-proliferation and counter-terrorism as a way to effect improved and strengthened relations between the two countries. PRIORITIES Many Russian and American workshop participants commented on priorities for further cooperation. We provide several examples here, without assigning any order of importance to these items. Both Russian and U.S. participants have examined nuclear weapons reduction issues and non-proliferation problems and identified both as important. They have especially emphasized the need to further reduce nuclear weapons and pursue other steps to express U.S. and Russian commitments to fulfilling Article VI of the NPT. Ambassador Brooks stressed the necessity of 341 See Appendix D. 342 To read the text of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, see http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Infcircs/Others/infcirc140.pdf; accessed April 6, 2008. 343 See the paper by Lev Ryabev in this volume.
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Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015: Proceedings of a Russian—U.S. Workshop thinking forward to 2015 as a time when the United States and Russia could strive for a more ideal relationship, when both would be working closely together, for example, to reduce nuclear arsenals, develop nuclear power, and combat nuclear terrorism. Dr. Ryabev also stressed the possibility of a more intensive relationship in the future, to accomplish further nuclear arms reductions. However, in addition, he underscored the possibility of continuing tensions, for example over the deployment of U.S. missile defenses in Europe. Although they differed in their threat perceptions, both Brooks and Ryabev pointed to extensive joint work that the United States and Russia have done to cooperate in solving country-specific proliferation problems, particularly in Iran and North Korea. These themes—differing threat perceptions but a clear aspiration for further cooperation—were also quite clearly expressed in the papers by Viktor Koltunov, et al., and Pavel Zolotarev. Indeed, even on controversial topics such as missile defense, where threat perceptions have differed enormously, these authors were willing to offer new ideas for cooperation. Zolotarev, for example, described in detail the concept of a regional missile defense system in Europe that would include Russian as well as European and American participants. The importance of bilateral cooperation on nuclear energy technologies, especially on fast reactors, nuclear fuels, and spent fuel disposition, has also been a topic of broad discussion. A number of participants have mentioned new possibilities for cooperation in assuring supplies of nuclear fuel, which are already under intensive discussion at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Tariq Rauf’s paper highlighted the agency’s work, and particularly the initiative of the Director General to provide a new framework for nuclear fuel cycle development that would provide for broad assurances of fuel supply as well as assurances regarding spent fuel storage and disposition. Rauf noted that thirteen complimentary proposals regarding fuel assurances currently exist on the IAEA website, and stressed that analysis of them continues. Workshop participants have had the benefit of a detailed briefing by Sergei Ruchkin on a particular mechanism for assuring fuel supply, the Russian international nuclear fuel service center established at Angarsk in Siberia. Most agreed that this concept could provide some interesting opportunities for U.S.-Russian cooperation, as was foreseen and encouraged by President George W. Bush and President Vladimir V. Putin in their St. Petersburg (2006) and Kennebunkport (2007) summit statements.344 The other area of nuclear power cooperation that has received particular focus is fast reactors, although a whole range of nuclear fuel cycle topics have been considered to be fruitful areas for possible joint work. For example, Evgeny Avrorin presented a list in his paper that included projects that would focus on the back end of the fuel cycle—transmutation methods for long-lived radioactive products, for example, and radioactive waste immobilization and disposal. He also focused on projects for enhancing nuclear safety and security, and for assessing risks. Although none of these ideas was discussed in detail, the participants have generally agreed that nuclear energy cooperation is an important topic for the future. One area that did receive further attention is the possible role of fast reactors in the development of future civilian nuclear power options. Vladimir Orlov’s historical analysis of fast reactor concepts was intended to engage workshop participants in a reconsideration of many of the stereotypes surrounding these complex efforts and to encourage serious research on these options for the future. Many workshop participants have voiced their belief that cooperation on nuclear technologies will be greatly accelerated by the ratification of the 123 Agreement between the 344 See Appendix D, for the full text of these statements.
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Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015: Proceedings of a Russian—U.S. Workshop United States and Russia.345 This agreement, as outlined in detail by Orde Kittrie, would create a legal framework under which such activities can take place. Kittrie explained that the “framework agreement would make possible a variety of exports and other cooperative activities that are prohibited by U.S. law in the absence of a 123 Agreement.” These potential areas of new and expanded cooperation include: joint development of proliferation-resistant and other advanced nuclear technologies, storage and possible reprocessing of U.S.-origin spent nuclear fuel in Russia, and increasing the capacity factor and safety of Russian nuclear power plants, extending their operating life, and decreasing their maintenance costs. These potential cooperative efforts cannot be launched, however, until the 123 Agreement has entered into force. Significant legal and political challenges to the full entry into force remain in both Russia and the United States, however, as Alexander Pikaev and Kittrie detailed in their workshop papers. Joint work to address nuclear terrorism threats has been a particular focal point of discussion, with a number of priorities emphasized as being worthy of development as new areas of partnership. The idea of working together to develop nuclear forensics capabilities has already been discussed above. Michael Kristo’s paper, however, sparked a lively exchange and a number of questions from the Russian participants about the overall concept. Cristina Hansell emphasized in her paper the threat of improvised nuclear devices and the necessity therefore of minimizing fissile material production no matter what the source. The spectrum of measures she envisioned ranged from international law to national policy to technical measures such as proliferation-resistant reactor design, a point also stressed by Evgeny Avrorin. Minimizing fissile material production was also the focal point of Philipp Bleek and Laura Holgate’s paper, wherein they proposed some forward-looking ideas for U.S.-Russian cooperation on minimizing civil highly enriched uranium stocks. One particular idea that participants have discussed involved the United States and Russia taking the lead to establish both bilateral and multilateral programs to help countries implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 (UNSCR 1540), which calls on countries to develop new laws and policies to combat proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.346 Such an effort would apply U.S. and Russian experience acquired as nuclear weapon states that have been responsible for ensuring the safety and security of large and diverse nuclear arsenals. In our view, the workshop discussions have identified two notions. The first would build on already existing cooperation, such as finding ways to minimize the use of highly enriched uranium, or applying U.S. and Russian experience to helping other states to implement UNSCR 1540. The other notion would involve developing completely new directions for cooperation, such as analyzing nuclear forensics problems. On this topic Russian participants have had some questions about the scope and definition of the problem, and both sides recognize that new work would have to be done to develop the modes of such cooperation, for example in areas related to sharing sensitive information. 345 See Appendix E for the text of the 123 Agreement. 346 To read the text of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, see http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/328/43/PDF/N0432843.pdf?OpenElement; accessed April 6, 2008.
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Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015: Proceedings of a Russian—U.S. Workshop TOOLS To round out the discussion, workshop participants have examined various tools that have been developed in U.S. and Russian cooperative threat reduction projects over the past fifteen years, including possibilities for using or adapting such tools in the future, in the context of the bilateral partnership or broader regional or global contexts. Many U.S. and Russian participants have noted that the U.S.-Russian experience will not be exactly applicable to nuclear security environments in other countries and regions. But the experience gained and lessons learned could be useful in tackling nuclear security problems elsewhere. Sustainability has been a clear leitmotif of the discussion on tools for cooperation, as many participants from both countries recognize that, with joint projects and programs coming to an end in 2013, attention will have to be focused on ways and means to continue—never mind expand—the relationship. The Dori Ellis, et al. and Sergei Antipov et al. papers especially focused the discussion, providing many sound ideas for developing tools that would enhance sustainability of project results. For example, the Antipov et al. papers introduced the idea of using remote monitoring technology to increase the workplace discipline of staff, ensuring that they follow rules for handling nuclear material, and to ensure that material protection, control, and accounting systems are functioning properly. Antipov’s focus on remote monitoring technology as a sustainability tool further developed the theme established earlier by Ryabev in his discussion of remote monitoring as an advanced means to combat nuclear proliferation and terrorism threats—and as a potentially productive arena for U.S.-Russian joint research. Among a very rich menu of ideas, Ellis et al. emphasized the necessity of human resource management and continued training. They introduced the example of the Kola Technical Training Center, which was designed explicitly to support the significant number of nuclear sites on the Kola peninsula that had received material, protection, control, and accounting upgrades over the years of U.S.-Russian cooperation in this region. The training center not only provides continuing training for personnel, but also maintenance and testing support for equipment, and a spare parts inventory. A second Russian paper by Antipov et al. affirmed this U.S. analysis of the importance of the Kola Center as a vital resource to ensure sustainability. Beyond the focus on sustainability, the workshop discussions have also zeroed in on particular concepts that have already proven their worth in ensuring effective cooperation. Ashot Sarkisov, for example, recalled that the concept of a “strategic master plan” had been vital for ensuring that general purpose submarine dismantlement in the Northern Fleet area went forward according to the requirements of the project funders, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It had also proven important, however, for ensuring that all entities—including international partners—were “on the same page” throughout the dismantlement process. The Strategic Master Plan discussion emphasized the utility of considering different constellations of project partners, both for the effectiveness of project implementation, but also for sustainability reasons. Participants agreed that government-to-government projects, although very important, are not the only way to pursue such cooperation. At times non-governmental approaches, or public-private partnerships, are more appropriate to achieving priority goals on a timely basis. Cost sharing between the U.S. and Russian governments, or between government and private entities, has also been identified as an important phenomenon of future nuclear security
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Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015: Proceedings of a Russian—U.S. Workshop cooperation and partnership. Eric Novotny described in his paper the important progress that the Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) has made in developing this concept of science collaboration involving Russian universities and institutes. The notion of “in-kind” cost sharing—for example, providing laboratory facilities for a joint project—is well established and has been a relatively easy way for Russian entities to help pay for projects. This held true even during the period of dire economic crisis in the 1990s. According to Novotny, CRDF has noticed, however, a significant increase in the willingness of Russian educational institutions to share costs through cash payments, backed by significant funding from the Ministry of Education and Science and other Russian government entities. This sign of Russian government commitment to the sustainability of projects is also an important indicator that Russia appears ready to take on more financing of future projects, including those outside Russia’s borders. If the trend continues to develop, then it will be yet another piece of evidence that Russia has emerged from the crisis of the 1990s and is now ready to embrace the broader responsibilities of partnership. As Vyacheslav Apanasenko raised in his paper and workshop presentation, a broader partnership between the United States and Russia would be enhanced by creative approaches to including both private as well as public partners in cooperative activities. As the experience with the Strategic Master Plan development and the resolution of the North Korean funds transfer through the Bank of Macau have demonstrated, the involvement of private banks and other private institutions often provide alternative methods of addressing specific challenges when they arise. Apansenko identified other examples of effective cooperation involving private partners, e.g., the fruitful NAS-RAS inter-academy projects, such as this effort, that have spawned a host of joint workshops, joint reports, and joint recommendations. Looking forward to 2015, workshop participants have noted the need to continue to think creatively about new opportunities and new means of including a wider range of partners, particularly if formal government channels face particular challenges in their interactions. To facilitate such cost sharing, and otherwise to enhance and accelerate the implementation of U.S.-Russian cooperation, some new legal and procedural mechanisms have been proposed. As an example, several participants have referred to the ongoing process of completing an “Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation” (123 Agreement) between the United States and Russia. They believe that once the 123 Agreement is in place between Moscow and Washington, it will provide a basic foundation for U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear energy technologies, but it will also allow the United States to fully benefit from the international fuel services center at Angarsk—including potentially the take-back and storage of U.S.-origin spent fuel. Several concepts and methodologies, many participants stressed, have already proven successful in implementing joint cooperation, and should be further developed and improved in the future. Joel Wit has recounted in his paper, for example, how the North Korean denuclearization process had begun to accelerate, leading to some expressions of interest by North Korean officials in the experience of scientist redirection in Russia and the former Soviet states. Of the estimated 20,000 scientists, engineers and technicians working on the North Korean nuclear program, about 5,000 are central to the weapons program. Wit suggested that the United States and Russia could work together on projects to redirect these scientists and promote their integration into the global scientific community. One of Wit’s ideas would be to establish an international science center in Pyongyang on the model of the International Science and Technology Center in Moscow, but other programs
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Future of the Nuclear Security Environment in 2015: Proceedings of a Russian—U.S. Workshop could also be applied to this problem. Wit noted, for example, that the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors program had been used to convert the Libyan research reactor to low-enriched uranium fuel. The same type of approach could be used, in cooperation with Moscow, to convert the North Korean Russian-designed research reactor. SUMMARY REFLECTIONS OF CO-CHAIRS The workshop has demonstrated once again the effectiveness of the scientific cooperation between the Russian Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academies. The framework for such work is provided by joint committees formed to review and study the complex scientific and political problems that both our countries must address today. This framework is unique in that the authors and experts participating can put forward independent points of view and provide knowledge and experience in a variety of areas, combining expertise in management and administration, political science, science and technology, and finance and economics. When such highly qualified individuals participate in a complex review with unequalled open discussion, they shed light on key problems that must be solved to strengthen international security over the coming years. Lack of explicit consensus for some of the questions covered is more an advantage than a disadvantage of such discussions, as critical priorities can thus be identified along a wide spectrum of problems. The other advantage of such cooperation is the strict schedule that is maintained to complete the work. This strict format for NAS-RAS cooperation was earlier applied to the joint projects Overcoming Impediments to U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-proliferation (2004)347 and Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-proliferation (2005).348 The present work is a logical continuation of these two projects and may serve as a model for continuing the fruitful work begun at this workshop. In particular, as happened following the successful joint workshop in 2004, this workshop may provide a foundation upon which to develop recommendations for Moscow and Washington on how, in concrete terms, Russia and the United States may proceed in successfully transitioning to a relationship of full partnership. In this partnership, both the countries can serve as leaders, whether bilaterally and or on the international scene, responding to the difficult nuclear security challenges that will face us all in the coming decades. 347 Joint National Academies’ – Russian Academy of Sciences’ Committees on U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Overcoming Impediments to U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation (Washington, D.C.: The National Academies’ Press, 2004). The full text of this report can be found at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10928; accessed April 8, 2008. 348 Joint National Academies’-Russian Academy of Sciences’ Committees on Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Strengthening U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Non-proliferation, (Washington, D.C.: The National Academies’ Press, 2005). The full text of this report can be found at http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11302; accessed April 8, 2008.