Chapter 3:

Principles for German Participation

3.1. PRINCIPLES OF GERMAN PARTICIPATION

Several principles should underlie German participation in the management and disposition of WPu:

  • The exclusive goal of the German effort is to reduce the security risks arising from the disarmament process in Russia. Serving commercial interests, finding additional markets for German industry, or influencing the domestic debate on the future of nuclear energy and plutonium recycling are separate issues and must not be allowed to affect any decision on the pressing issue of WPu management and disposition.

  • No attempt has been made, and no necessity has been seen, to reach consensus on differing opinions as long as consensus was not needed for recommendations serving the exclusive goal. References to German nuclear policy developments contained in this report serve only to evaluate the acceptability and therefore the feasibility of options.

  • Financial investment in disarmament will be necessary. As a consequence, no attempt has been made to search for solutions that might be economically competitive in a market economy. No economic analyses of alternative options have been made. To the extent costs are mentioned, they are to help the rough assessment of the feasibility of options.

  • In principle, German participation in all phases of nuclear disarmament could be useful and should not be ruled out. Since Germany is a non-nuclear weapons state, any direct contact with nuclear warheads or components that reveal classified information must be avoided. Germany could contribute financial assistance, technical know-how, construction equipment, and instrumentation to U.S. efforts. Alternatively, such contributions could be made directly to Russia and coordinated with U.S. efforts.

  • Germany is a non-nuclear weapons state under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and operates its civilian nuclear power program under IAEA safeguards. Such German experience with safeguarding could be useful, but initially the safeguarding of Russian facilities is expected to remain in a bilateral U.S.-Russian framework for a limited period.

  • The nonproliferation benefits must be clearly seen; otherwise a broad consensus for Germany contributing resources, technology and expertise might not be reached, given the current anti-nuclear public attitudes and the even more intense opposition to the closed fuel cycle, involving reprocessing and MOX use.

In addition to these governing principles, the following criteria must play a role in the discussions of disposal options:

  • Minimize the time during which the WPu is stored in various forms prior to disposition.

  • Meet the stored weapons standards prior to disposition.

  • Minimize the total amount of separated plutonium resulting from WPu disposition, while meeting the spent fuel standard.



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U.S.-GERMAN COOPERATION IN THE ELIMINATION OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM Chapter 3: Principles for German Participation 3.1. PRINCIPLES OF GERMAN PARTICIPATION Several principles should underlie German participation in the management and disposition of WPu: The exclusive goal of the German effort is to reduce the security risks arising from the disarmament process in Russia. Serving commercial interests, finding additional markets for German industry, or influencing the domestic debate on the future of nuclear energy and plutonium recycling are separate issues and must not be allowed to affect any decision on the pressing issue of WPu management and disposition. No attempt has been made, and no necessity has been seen, to reach consensus on differing opinions as long as consensus was not needed for recommendations serving the exclusive goal. References to German nuclear policy developments contained in this report serve only to evaluate the acceptability and therefore the feasibility of options. Financial investment in disarmament will be necessary. As a consequence, no attempt has been made to search for solutions that might be economically competitive in a market economy. No economic analyses of alternative options have been made. To the extent costs are mentioned, they are to help the rough assessment of the feasibility of options. In principle, German participation in all phases of nuclear disarmament could be useful and should not be ruled out. Since Germany is a non-nuclear weapons state, any direct contact with nuclear warheads or components that reveal classified information must be avoided. Germany could contribute financial assistance, technical know-how, construction equipment, and instrumentation to U.S. efforts. Alternatively, such contributions could be made directly to Russia and coordinated with U.S. efforts. Germany is a non-nuclear weapons state under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and operates its civilian nuclear power program under IAEA safeguards. Such German experience with safeguarding could be useful, but initially the safeguarding of Russian facilities is expected to remain in a bilateral U.S.-Russian framework for a limited period. The nonproliferation benefits must be clearly seen; otherwise a broad consensus for Germany contributing resources, technology and expertise might not be reached, given the current anti-nuclear public attitudes and the even more intense opposition to the closed fuel cycle, involving reprocessing and MOX use. In addition to these governing principles, the following criteria must play a role in the discussions of disposal options: Minimize the time during which the WPu is stored in various forms prior to disposition. Meet the stored weapons standards prior to disposition. Minimize the total amount of separated plutonium resulting from WPu disposition, while meeting the spent fuel standard.

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U.S.-GERMAN COOPERATION IN THE ELIMINATION OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM If necessary, provide some reasonable economic benefit for the Russians involved in the actual implementation, since any options without such benefit may not be negotiable. Minimize additional proliferation risks due to the processes involved: For instance large numbers of transport steps or insufficiently secured intermediate storage must be avoided. Maintain high standards of ES&H protection. Provide for an international framework that offers a maximum of transparency and control: this is important for acceptability to the international community. 3.2. THE SAFEGUARDING OF RUSSIAN AND GERMAN ACTIVITIES According to German export control legislation, nuclear technology transfer to Russia cannot take place without an export license and without safeguards. The concept of what constitutes technology transfer has been widened after the recent reform of the whole German export control system.1 In addition to required licenses for the transfer of “hardware” technologies, blueprints and technical consultancy have now become subject to licensing. Apart from these legal requirements, for reasons of international security the extent of international safeguards in nuclear weapon states should be enhanced in the future. Although safeguards are not designed to detect the material diversion of amounts below “ significant quantities,” they create more discipline and trigger a centralized material accounting system. At the same time, a number international efforts are taking place which aim to reduce the proliferation risks posed by the existence of military and civilian nuclear materials and to create a more comprehensive international regime. Especially noteworthy are the negotiations for a cut-off agreement at the Conference of Disarmament at Geneva, which would result in international safeguards on military-related production facilities in the nuclear-weapon states, and efforts to establish an international plutonium regime that would enhance control and transparency of all existing plutonium stocks, including those in the nuclear-weapon states. Since success in these efforts is expected within a few years, international assistance for reducing the risks posed by plutonium from dismantled nuclear warheads should anticipate these higher standards whenever possible. It is therefore essential that all recommended options be designed to be compatible with international safeguards. The only exception, for a limited time, is assistance to intermediate storage as long as intact pits are stored, because they involve proliferation-relevant and classified information. Since at this time the Russians are reluctant to accept comprehensive international safeguards, it is not recommended that technical aid for the disposition of weapons plutonium be directly linked to a need for international safeguards on civilian plutonium. Otherwise, the acceptance of cooperation would be endangered. Nevertheless, the Steering Committee gives a strong 1   For a detailed overview see: H. Müller, M. Dembinski, A. Kelle, and A. Schaper, “From Black Sheep to White Angel. The Reform of the German Export Control System,” Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) Report No. 32 (January 1994).

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U.S.-GERMAN COOPERATION IN THE ELIMINATION OF EXCESS WEAPONS PLUTONIUM recommendation for a sustained diplomatic effort to negotiate a regime of comprehensive international safeguards for all kinds of plutonium in all countries.