THREAT REDUCTION EFFORTS
Federation of American Scientists
1717 K Street, NW #209
Washington, DC 20036 USA
(1) 202-546 3300
December 6, 2004
Edward A. Corcoran
3705 S. George Mason Drive, Suite 717S
Falls Church, Virginia 22041 USA
COOPERATIVE US-RUSSIAN THREAT REDUCTION EFFORTS
The purpose of this study is to assess current cooperative programs involving the United States and Russia in the field of nuclear threat reduction.
This brief outline is intended to set the current programs in historical and international context, as well as to identify major elements of those efforts and show how they fit together.
The First Weapons
Through the late 1930's and early 1940's, scientists gradually became aware of the potential for development of nuclear explosives. This culminated in a letter from Albert Einstein to President Roosevelt, urging him to initiate such a program. The resulting Manhattan Project was a comprehensive national program that brought together major resources with a large pool of top scientists. This program focused on two major challenges:
1. Obtaining the necessary nuclear materials which, when assembled in a large enough quantity (a critical mass), would produce a nuclear explosion. There were two major options:
a) Concentrate fissionable uranium isotope U-235 from its occurrence of less than 1% in natural uranium to levels of 80-90% in Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU). Technologies were developed and large factories built for this purpose. A minimum of perhaps 15-20 kilograms of HEU is needed for a nuclear weapon, but a crude one could require double that amount.
b) Produce plutonium in nuclear reactors from the more inert uranium isotope U-238 and separate it chemically from contaminants. This also required extensive technology development and large factories. A minimum of only four kilograms of plutonium is necessary for an efficient nuclear weapon, though a crude design could use considerably more.
2. Designing a weapon that would incorporate these materials. Again, there were two approaches.
a) The first involved taking two sub-critical masses and driving them together with a small explosive charge. Conceptually very simple, the first such weapon used an actual gun barrell for the assembly channel. Scientists were so confident that this "gun-type" design would work that it was never even tested. This was the Little Boy weapon dropped on Hiroshima.
b) The second approach was used with plutonium, since its high neutron activity made it unsuitable for a gun-type weapon. The alternative developed was an "implosion" weapon in which a spherical shell of high explosive that would be detonated simultaneously at many surface points. The resulting explosion would focus inward and compress a sub-critical core of plutonium to such a high density that it would become critical. The detonations had to be coordinated within microseconds or the entire assembly would simply be blown apart rather then compressed. The principle was tested in the first nuclear explosion in history, at the Alamogordo test site on July 16, 1945. The Fat Man weapon subsequently dropped on Nagasaki was of this type.
The Cold War
Dropping these two atomic weapons brought World War II to an end. It also completely expended the US nuclear arsenal. Faced with the new threat of the burgeoning Soviet Union, the United States acted rapidly to build a new nuclear arsenal. Based on its own long and complicated wartime development effort, the United States expected that it would be able to hold this nuclear trump card over the Soviet Union for years to come. However, thanks to their own comprehensive development efforts and espionage within the United States, the Soviets were able to explode their first test weapon on August 29, 1949, much to the dismay of US leaders. The nuclear race in the Cold War was on.
Through the next thirty years, both nations developed extensive arsenals. By the early 1980's, each had well over 50,000 nuclear weapons in its nuclear arsenal, ranging from man-portable battlefield weapons to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. The US effort involved a number of secret facilities (such Los Alamos, Hanford, Oak Ridge, and Rocky Flats); most of them were isolated but not really very distant from larger cities. The Soviet effort involved a parallel complex of secret facilities, including a number of closed cities at very isolated locations. Security at all the facilities on both sides was very high, with espionage a major concern.
From a combination of urgency and ignorance, both efforts resulted in widespread environmental damage as well as huge economic costs. Atmospheric tests scattered radioactive debris worldwide. In both countries, leakage and emissions around nuclear facilities spread local contamination. The worst such incident was probably a September 1957 explosion in the Kyshtym area of Russia that badly contaminated some 800 square kilometers. Lesser problems abounded in both countries.
The awesome destructive power that burst into worldwide visibility with the Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions gave birth to several powerful currents: the spread of nuclear weapons, a countering effort to control nuclear weapons and high interest in the peaceful use of the atom.
1. Recognizing the tremendous political and military impact of possessing nuclear weapons, a number of other countries began development programs. As noted above, the first country to succeed at this was the Soviet Union. But by 1964, France, the United Kingdom, and China had all demonstrated nuclear capabilities. Although focused on Russia, the Chinese program also posed a direct threat to the United States. Subsequently both South Africa and Israel developed clandestine weapon programs. In May 1998, India and immediately afterward Pakistan detonated nuclear devices. A number of other countries appeared to be working on clandestine nuclear weapon programs, including Iraq with a program based on its Osiraq research reactor. Israel preemptively destroyed this reactor complex in 1998, dealing a severe setback to the Iraqi program. More recently, Libya acknowledged and then disbanded a nuclear weapons program, North Korea claimed to have such weapons, and much attention was focused on Iranian nuclear programs which the United States claimed included weapons elements.
2. World War II was barely over when a number of US nuclear scientists who had been intimately involved with the Manhattan Project began to express reservations on the genie they had let out of the bottle. These efforts helped to spur arms control negotiations which culminated in a Nonproliferation Treaty (see below under Arms Control).
3. On September 8, 1953, President Eisenhower addressed the United Nations and announced the Atoms for Peace program promoting the peaceful use of atomic energy and beginning to diminish the destructive power of the world's weapon stockpiles. This program resulted in support from the nuclear powers to nuclear developments in a wide range of countries.
a) The United States and the Soviet Union both provided HEU to various client states for use in research reactors. Over the years, as the reactors operated, this HEU became contaminated with fission products which made it highly radioactive. Despite this, it retains an explosive potential. No bomb designer would think of using such contaminated and highly radioactive material for a weapon, but a terrorist group could potentially use it in some sort of improvised nuclear device. At a minimum, incorporating this material into an explosive device could result in widespread contamination. These concerns are all the more pressing because security at research reactors rarely meets high standards.
b) Some attention was given to the potential for a peaceful use of nuclear explosives (e.g., for creating artificial harbors), but this quickly proved impractical.
c) The use of nuclear reactors for propulsion was also addressed. Nuclear powered aircraft proved infeasible, but using reactors for shipboard propulsion proved practical. Applications were mainly for warships, particularly submarines because obviating the need for refueling and for combustion air meant that they could stay underwater for long periods of time. The need for high power and low volume pushed these designs to the use of HEU in the reactors. As with research reactors, the HEU becomes highly contaminated in use, but retains an explosive capability. This becomes an important consideration as nuclear warships are dismantled at the end of their useful life.
d) Nuclear power quickly proved to be an attractive option - nuclear power stations were constructed in a number of countries. Initially they used US or Soviet designs almost exclusively, but later some countries also used indigenous designs. Earlier power reactors generally used Low Enriched Uranium (only 3-5% U-235) obtained from either the United States or the Soviet Union, and so the fuel elements did not pose a proliferation threat. But as years went on, concerns developed:
i. Some countries developed their own enrichment capabilities. Although the facilities were publicly designed only to produce Low Enriched Uranium, once the technology was developed by a country, higher enrichment levels could be achieved clandestinely.
ii. Reactor designs incorporated a variety of safety devices, but these could not totally guarantee safe operation. In March 1979, an incident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania resulted in only minor radiation releases, but later analysis showed that much more serious consequences were narrowly and only fortuitously avoided. The possibility of graver consequences suddenly became real in August 1986 when a reactor at Chernobyl, Ukraine, suffered a partial meltdown and spread contamination throughout much of Eastern Europe; to this day large tracts of land, including the entire city of Pripyat, remain closed off and uninhabitable. Subsequently, concerns about accidental reactor malfunctions became mingled with concerns about purposeful incidents. After the attack on the World Trade Center, an obvious concern was the crashing of a large plane (or a small plane with explosives) into an operating reactor.
iii. As the U-235 in fuel rods fissions into highly radioactive by products, it also produces neutrons which transmute some of the more inert U-238 into plutonium. Chemical processing of these spent fuel rods can extract the plutonium, and reactor designs were developed to use this by-product plutonium as fuel for newer power reactors. In fact, some newer "breeder" reactors were specifically designed to produce plutonium. Such "reactor grade" plutonium, although not so highly refined and with a different isotope composition than "weapon grade" plutonium, nevertheless has an explosive potential which could be utilized in improvised devices. By early 2003 there was over 200 tons of separated civilian plutonium worldwide and production continued to outpace its use as a fuel.
iv. The spent fuel rods themselves are normally kept in retention ponds while the most radioactive fission products decay and the total radioactivity decreases to a point that the rods can be efficiently re-processed to extract unused Low Enriched Uranium and/or plutonium. These highly radioactive rods could be used with conventional explosives for purposeful contamination of wide areas. This is a particular concern because security at most power reactors is not designed to withstand a sudden violent attack.
Beginning in the 1960s, the United States also began systematic programs to upgrade the security of the weapons themselves. Accelerometers and other sensing devices were installed deep within the warheads so that detonation sequences could not be initiated until the weapon had experienced specified conditions (e.g., the high-G forces of a missile launch). Additionally, coded access locks called Permissive Action Links (PALs) were installed on weapons and security requirements at weapons sites were tightened. Although these technologies were probably shared with Great Britain, other nuclear states did not demonstrate similar systematic programs.
The Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1961 vividly showed both sides how circumstances could inexorably lead to an unwanted nuclear war. Nevertheless, it was many years later before there was a real awareness of how close the world had actually come to nuclear war in those fateful days. And it was a number of years before the mutual US and Soviet concerns resulted in any significant agreements. As a result, arsenals continued to grow until the total weapons fielded by both the United States and the Soviet Union probably reached 100,000.
The major arms control treaties and agreements have been:
1. Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This treaty entered into force on March 5, 1970, and has been signed by 137 countries. The nuclear powers pledged to reduce their own arsenals and protect non-nuclear states; in return, non-nuclear states pledged to forego any development of nuclear weapons. The treaty was extended indefinitely at a 1995 Review and Extension conference. At this conference and a later 2000 review conference, the nuclear powers re-affirmed their commitment to an ultimate goal of complete disarmament.
a) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Under terms of the NPT, signatory nations accept monitoring and inspection of nuclear sites by the IAEA, an element of the United Nations. Verification of compliance thus rests with an international organization. The UN Security Council acts on any significant discrepancies.
2. Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. In this bilateral treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union both agreed in 1972 to limit their ABM systems to two fixed, land-based systems. By the late 1990's, the United States, concerned about the potential for "rogue" states to acquire at least a minimal ballistic missile system capable of striking the United States, tried to negotiate partial exemptions from the treaty with Russia. A number of other countries expressed strong objections to any such weakening of the treaty, and Russia declared it reluctance to accept the proposed modifications. As a result, the United States, claiming national security imperatives, invoked the withdrawal clause of the treaty and formally withdrew on June 13, 2001.
3. Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty I (SALT I). This was the first treaty to actually reduce existing weapon systems. Signed on May 26, 1972, and then ratified by both the United States and the Soviet Union, SALT I basically limited each country to its existing level of strategic nuclear weapons. It did not address theater or battlefield weapons and these continued to proliferate. After the treaty was signed, issues of verification of weapon destruction and deployments became very contentious. This complicated both treaty implementation and negotiations on further treaties.
4. Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II (SALT II). After extensive discussions, both sides agreed to limit strategic nuclear delivery systems to 2400, but continuing disagreements on cruise missiles and multiple warheads slowed negotiations. A treaty was finally signed on June 19, 1979, and subsequently submitted to the US Senate for ratification. However, in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Carter asked that ratification be withheld. The treaty never actually came into force, though both sides generally abided by it.
5. Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. At the same time, the European NATO states became increasingly concerned about the use of theater and battlefield nuclear weapons, since these weapons would be used on their territories. As a result, the United States initiated talks with the Soviet Union on INF, resulting in a treaty signed after long multilateral negotiations and discussions on December 8, 1987. This treaty results\ed in the destruction of many theater missile systems. An On-Site Inspection (OSIA) was established January 15, 1988, to coordinate and implement the inspection provisions of the Treaty. Baseline inspections were conducted in 1988 by U.S. and Soviet inspectors to verify the data provided by the United States and Soviet Union on the number and locations of their respective INF systems and facilities.
6. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). This treaty was opened for signature on September 24, 1996. Although signed by 160 nations, it does not enter into force until all 44 nations with nuclear systems ratify it. The United States has signed the treaty, but has not ratified it. The United States has more recently expressed reservations about a total test ban because of programs to develop new nuclear weapons, and has maintained test facilities in a stand by status. In addition, the United States has expressed concerns about verification of the treaty and about a possible need for nuclear testing to insure the continued safety and reliability of its existing nuclear weapons.
7. Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I (START I). This treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union entered into force on December 5, 1994. It strategic nuclear arsenals to 6000 warheads, with some specific sub-limitations. Both the United States and Russia have reduced their strategic arsenals down to this level, but current US legislation bars the United States from further reductions below this level.
8. Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II (START II). This treaty between the United States and Russia was ratified by Russia on April 14, 2000, but did not come into force with continued disagreements over an associated protocol. It required a reduction of the strategic arsenals to less than 3500 warheads and restricts the use of missiles with multiple warheads. Immediately after the United States withdrew from the ABM Treaty, Russia announced on June 14, 2002, that it would no longer be bound by its START II commitments.
9. Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty III (START III). This treaty was under continuing negotiation between the United States and Russia. A ceiling of 2000-2500 weapons was generally agreed on, but with the collapse of the START II treaty, a formal treaty was never signed.
10. Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. This global effort to address proliferation was developed and promoted by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (see below). This initiative resulted in the G-8 group of major industrial countries (including both Russia and the United States) committing $20 billion over a ten-year period to support nonproliferation activities. This is a significant step as it directly involves concerted international action in this area.
11. Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty (SORT). Also known as the Moscow Treaty, this was signed on May 24, 2002. It codified an earlier announcement by President Bush that he would reduce the operationally deployed force to 1700-2200 nuclear weapons by 2012. But the treaty does not include any specific schedule for warhead reductions, nor does it prevent deployment of the Russian SS-18 ICBM or address tactical nuclear warheads.
Overall, arms control has significantly helped to improve relations between the United States and Russia and made cooperative programs on nuclear threat reduction possible. On the other hand, these arms reduction treaties have been strictly bilateral, not including Great Britain and France (both of which can be seen by Russia as adding to the threat against it) nor China (which can be seen by the United States as a direct threat. In mid-November 2004, President Putin spoke of new nuclear missile systems that would surpass those of any other nuclear power. The Russian military is also widely reported to be developing missile warheads which could elude a missile defense system. For its part, the United States has openly spoken of efforts to develop new warheads, including ground-penetrating warheads which could attack deep bunkers - such as those the Russians apparently have.
In total, the actual reductions over thirty years have been modest, with both the United States and Russia still fielding some 6000 strategic warheads and many thousands of shorter range weapons. This slow pace also leaves the United States open to charges that it is failing to meets its disarmament obligation under the NPT. Together, the United States and Russia have set a pretty weak example of disarmament. This is a continuing drain on the resources of both countries and undermines their ability to encourage other nuclear weapon states to reduce their weapon levels.
Controls on Weapon System Equipment
In addition to direct controls on weapons and nuclear materials, the industrialized nations have acted jointly to restrict export to potential proliferating countries of materials and equipment which could be used in a nuclear program. These controls have not been formalized in treaties, but rather in several working groups which coordinate actions on specific classes of materials. Three specific groupings are particularly important to nuclear proliferation concerns:
1. Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). This joint effort of over 30 countries (including both the United States and Russia) restricts the export of longer range (over 300 km) missiles, as well as delivery vehicles for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
2. Zangger Committee. This group of almost 40 countries was initially established in 1971 and maintains a "trigger list" of items associated with the production of fissionable materials. Any non-nuclear weapons country wishing to import an item on the list must certify that it is not for explosive use, that IAEA safeguards will be accepted, and that re-export will require the recipient to also accept these conditions.
3. Nuclear Supplier Group. This group also has about 40 member countries and sets guidelines for the export of nuclear materials (including power reactor components) and dual-use items. Export generally requires acceptance of IAEA safeguards and protection against theft, as well as re-export restrictions.
4. Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Announced by President Bush in Krakow, Poland, on May 31, 2003, this is an informal commitment by member countries to coordinate actions to halt shipments of dangerous materials and technologies to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern. Using their own laws and resources, these countries agree to stop proliferation at sea, in the air, and on land. Originally consisting of only eleven members, more than 60 other nations have now expressed support for the initiative.
The Soviet Collapse
The dissolution of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day, 1991, brought in a new era of East-West cooperation. The major threat of a Soviet attack on the United States and its allies disappeared basically overnight. Over the following several years it became apparent that the nuclear threat facing the United States had been totally transformed in ways that had never been anticipated.
1. The Soviet military abruptly lost its position as a leading element of Soviet society. Military personnel suddenly found them selves without adequate housing and real wages dropped precipitously; many personnel who had expected a career in the military were suddenly out of work in a retrograde economy.
2. Major military assets, including nuclear weapons and facilities, suddenly became part of newly independent states Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, while in Russia itself political authority devolved from Moscow to regional centers. The strict centralized control of the Soviet era was suddenly gone.
3. Russia stumbled badly in its efforts to turn to a market economy. Inflation wiped out savings and pension benefits for a wide swath of the population. Millions of jobs disappeared as inefficient Soviet-era facilities closed, including jobs of thousands of highly knowledgeable scientists and technicians from the Soviet nuclear complex.
4. Another result of the economic vacuum was a rise in gangsterism and lawlessness. Bribery had always been prominent in Soviet society. But with the impoverishment of many and the concentration of new wealth in the hands of a few, it took on a whole new meaning. Suddenly, anything seemed available for cash.
5. Overall, the former Soviet nuclear complex was suddenly riddled with vulnerabilities. Centralized control had disintegrated. Physical security upgrades which had never happened were now financially out of the question. Isolation, which had previously added to security, now added to vulnerabilities, while theft and bribery became major concerns.
The Rise of a Muslim Threat
The demise of the Soviet threat coincided with the rise of a new threat from radical Muslims. This had been presaged by the collapse of the pro-US Iranian government and the seizure of the US Embassy there November 4, 1979. It took 444 days and apologies from the US government to effect the release of the hostages. Muslim assertiveness suddenly became a major issue on the world scene. Ironically, part of this assertiveness was spurred by US aid to anti-Soviet Afghans. Even as this aid was undermining the Soviet Union it was building up radical Muslim fundamentalists inured to violence and atrocities.
A 1993 article in Foreign Affairs systematically described a growing divide between the Western and Muslim civilizations. The US feeble response to the Iranian crisis and the hasty withdrawals from Lebanon and Somalia emboldened radical elements. Though the 1990's, attacks by fanatical Muslims on Western targets became increasingly frequent and deadly. Truck bombings in August 1998 at two US embassies in Africa resulted in the deaths of hundreds and a growing awareness of the deadly al Queda organization. In 2000, a suicide bomb attack on the USS Cole in Yemen harbor presaged the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
These attacks led directly to the US-led overthrow of the radical Taliban government in Afghanistan which had been the base of operations for al Queda. Information uncovered in Afghanistan and subsequently in Iraq made it clear that al Queda also had nuclear ambitions, including an interest in acquiring or developing a nuclear explosive device as well as consideration of the potential of a "dirty" bomb - a conventional explosive intended to spread radioactive contamination. The earlier Kyshtym and Chernobyl disasters had provided ample evidence of the destructive potential of such events. An al Queda spokesman has specifically claimed a right to kill four million Americans in retaliation for deaths supposedly inflicted on Muslims by the United States and Israel.
The Spread of Nuclear Knowledge
The difficulty of creating nuclear devices has also drastically declined. Previously, weapon development required an effort on a scale that only a national entity could muster. But by the early 1990's it had become feasible for a sub-national group to attain a nuclear explosive capability.
1. The most obvious direct way is simply to buy a nuclear weapon. Unthinkable during the Soviet era, it has now became a distinct possibility with the precipitous drop in security and the rise of criminal elements with huge sums of cash.
2. Theft of a weapon has similarly become a real possibility. The theft scenario becomes all the more worrisome in the face of the demonstrated ability of Muslim extremists to mount ferocious and totally unexpected attacks by highly armed commando teams - a threat that few nuclear facilities have been designed to withstand. The fact that Russia takes this seriously was clearly shown in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack on a school in Beslan in September 2004 when Russia announced that it was immediately reinforcing military security at nuclear weapon sites. There had also been reports that the group of 41 heavily armed terrorists who seized a theater in central Moscow in October 2002 had first considered attacking the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow where hundreds of kilograms of HEU are stored.
3. Producing HEU or plutonium still requires a massive industrial effort and remains beyond the scope of sub-national elements. However, thousands of pounds of these materials have been distributed worldwide in research and power reactors. Re-processing spent fuel to extract plutonium is becoming increasingly common. And pilfering the materials from Soviet storage sites is an even more distinct possibility than the direct sale of a weapon - indeed, there have already been instances of this happening on a small scale.
4. The other requirement for nuclear weapon development, the design of a weapon, has also lost its difficulty. Over fifty years of discussion in the open scientific literature have made the basic design requirements widely available. The US Freedom of Information Act exacerbated the problem by forcing the release of thousands of documents which were not directly related to weapon developments, but nevertheless contained background or peripheral information which could assist such development. Tests a number of years ago in the United States showed that reasonably knowledgeable scientists could use readily available information to produce workable weapon designs. And in 2004 it came to light that the senior Pakistani nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Kahn, had provided weapon designs to Libya and North Korea. He has also spoken favorably of some Muslim extremist groups; he or his colleagues may well have already provided a real design to such radical groups. In fact, one Pakistani nuclear engineer, Sultan Bashirudin Mahmood, and an associate made several trips to Kandahar, Afghanistan, between 1998 and 2001, meeting with Osama bin Laden and his deputy and leading the Pakistani government to place him and two other nuclear scientists under house arrest.
5. Developing the technology to shape explosive waves into an imploding spherical shell was a challenging and difficult task for the Manhattan Project. Now, however, much of this explosive technology is routinely used in commercial activities. So fashioning an implosive devise no longer requires a sustained national-level effort.
6. Another route for sub-national elements to gain a nuclear capability is to take control of a nuclear state. Such a route was also unthinkable during the Cold War, but has become a clear possibility with Pakistan where senior army elements are known to be supportive of the Taliban and where President Musharaf has already survived several assassination attempts. And judging from the fate of other Communist regimes, there is a real possibility that the North Korean leadership could suddenly collapse. One can hardly even speculate on the aftermath of such an event.
Actual weapon development probably still requires a national-level effort. But making a crude device which could produce an explosion of significant magnitude is another matter. Sub-national elements would not care about making efficient use of nuclear materials, or producing a device which would be stable for long periods of time, highly reliable and have built-in security features. Nor would they be concerned if the device were quite radioactive (e.g., made from irradiated and contaminated HEU). Finally, they would not need a device that was compact enough for military delivery by aircraft or missiles; assembling a device into a cargo container and then shipping it into a US port, for example, could work very nicely.
THE NEW MULTI-FACETED THREAT
Gone are the days when the nuclear threat was relatively straightforward - a Soviet missile strike by Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles, or a Soviet land thrust into Western Europe forcing a NATO nuclear response and leading to a chillingly unstable situation. China posed a lesser threat, but was still a worrisome problem. Beyond that, direct nuclear threats to the United States were basically negligible. The contemporary threat has now fragmented into a broad range of disparate threats. Some of these have actually been around for years, but were considered at a much lower level of concern, basically a concern that some disgruntled or deranged individual would provoke an incident. The presence of a worldwide terrorist network has radically transformed this concern.
These are the potential sources of nuclear materials or expertise that could be exploited by hostile elements. The most significant are:
1. Russian nuclear forces. The United States and Russia now act in concert on many issues and arms control agreements have greatly reduced the sizes of their arsenals. But, as discussed above, each state retains sizable nuclear forces on alert against the other. So Russia and the United States are in the paradoxical position of developing new weapons to strike each other even as they actively work together on reducing nuclear threats. Obviously this complicates cooperation. It also keeps alive a potential that some sort of radical change in the Russian government could re-constitute an active nuclear threat to the United States, or a rogue commander could somehow initiate an isolated strike. Secrecy on military matters makes some joint programs very difficult. Russia remains potentially attractive source of nuclear weapons, nuclear materials, or nuclear expertise for radical Muslim terrorist groups.
2. Chinese nuclear forces. These haven't gone away either. Greatly improved relations with both Russia and the United States as well as a new emphasis on economic development have significantly reduced the Chinese nuclear threat to the United States. Consequently, the increasing openness of China to foreigners and its own widespread nuclear complex with its own unique command, control and security problems probably pose more of a threat than the nuclear forces themselves.
3. Pakistani nuclear forces. The potential for a radical takeover of the Pakistani government has already been mentioned, as has the widespread dissemination of nuclear information by A.Q. Kahn. How many other Pakistani nuclear scientists or technicians might provide information or even nuclear materials to radical elements is clearly unknown. The same can be said for command and control procedures and for information on the security of nuclear facilities. The security concern is particularly worrisome because of the high level of sympathy within Pakistan toward al Queda and other radical Muslim elements.
4. North Korean nuclear forces. For years there had been concerns that North Korea was secretly reprocessing fuel rods from its nuclear power stations to extract plutonium for a weapons program. Then the North Korean government made a stunning public announcement that it actually possesses weapons. Though not verifiable, the claim is believable. North Korea lacks military delivery systems that could reach the United States, though its forces directly threaten South Korea (with its contingent of US troops) and Japan. Clandestine attacks on other countries, including the United States are certainly feasible and not beyond the capability of the reclusive North Korean leadership. The country may also one day collapse or devolve into civil war, and then control of nuclear elements would certainly be fragmented and inadequate, to say the least.
5. Iranian nuclear programs. Over a number of years there have been indications that Iran has been secretly conducting various nuclear programs. The government has acknowledged some of these, but claimed that they were all focused strictly on peaceful uses, particularly nuclear power. However the US government has strongly challenged the Iranians and clearly believes that some of the hidden programs are weapons related.
6. Indian and Israeli nuclear forces. The publicly visible Indian forces and the clandestine Israeli forces both seem specifically developed for regional application and neither country seems likely to become actively hostile to the United States. However, controls within the countries are very secretive, so it is difficult to judge how much of a potential there is for unauthorized actions or how vulnerable they would be to direct attacks on nuclear facilities. Certainly each nation faces radical regional opponents.
7. South African and Libyan nuclear programs. Both these programs have been suspended and known nuclear materials put under control. At a minimum, however, the programs involved highly knowledgeable scientists and technicians who could contribute to an extremist program.
8. French and British nuclear forces. The United States has zero concern that these allied forces might pose a direct threat to the United States. However, as with the Indian and Israeli nuclear forces, the command, control, and security issues pose concerns to the United States.
9. US nuclear forces. Indeed, command, control and security issues of our own forces are a concern. As mentioned above, the United States has worked long and hard to integrate security measures throughout the nuclear system. Weapon controls, access controls, active monitoring, and reaction force capabilities are continuously upgraded. Nevertheless, with thousands of weapons deployed at probably hundreds of sites, total security can never be guaranteed. In addition, prior accounting was not always as thorough as one would like. As one example, in an official US report on plutonium production, a total of slightly more than 100 tons was entered into the inventory system and 2.8 TONS!! were classified as "inventory differences." It seems that this is not an actual loss, but if the highly automated US system can effectively lose control of 3% of the total production, then the accuracy of older records is clearly loose. And as computer hackers have consistently demonstrated, the more complex the newer systems become, the more vulnerable they are to manipulation. Likewise, the more that guards and reaction forces are increased, the higher the basic concern of who will watch the watchers.
10. Research reactors worldwide. The United States alone has provided hundreds of pounds of HEU to various reactor facilities; the Soviet Union even larger amounts to reactors outside its own borders. Few of these have the level of security which would marginalize the potential for theft, diversion, or commando attack. Even irradiated fuel rods retain an explosive potential as well as being potential material for a dirty bomb.
11. Power plants worldwide. There are 441 nuclear power plants operational in 31 countries. Two main threats are associated with them: the potential for an explosive attack directly against a power plant and the potential for theft of highly radioactive spent fuel rods. There are, however a number of lesser threats, including the intentional initiation of a nuclear incident.
a) Few power reactors use HEU, so they cannot serve as a source for explosive-grade uranium. However, with chemical reprocessing, the spent fuel rods are a source of plutonium. It is theoretically possible for a hostile group to steal spent fuel rods and reprocess them by themselves into a crude plutonium, but this would be a very difficult undertaking. Much more feasible would be an effort to cause an explosion at an existing reprocessing plant, or steal plutonium from a plant. Perhaps even more feasible would be an attack on plutonium in transit, as the extracted plutonium is routinely incorporated into new fuel rods and shipped to power plants under light security.
12. Medical materials. Although these are not a potential source of fissionable material, they can be a source of dangerously radioactive substances, including cobalt-60 and cesium-137 used in some radiation therapy equipment. There is no reliable survey of exactly which such materials exist where. Many of these technologies have been in use for decades and there have already been incidents in which processing of discarded equipment resulted in widespread contamination and deaths.
These are the entities which could create a nuclear incident. They fall into three main categories:
1. Hostile military forces. At the moment, the only likely hostile state would be North Korean forces, and their threat to the United States is practically limited to attacks on US forces in their immediate region. However, there remains a potential for several other nuclear nations to become actively hostile or revert to a hostile stance.
2. Desperate individuals. The total number of people worldwide that are involved with nuclear materials probably exceeds a million. Within the United States alone there are at least tens of thousands of scientists, technicians, guards, military personnel and administrators associated with the overall nuclear complex. The United States works hard to screen these personnel for mental instability or hostile associations, but the high-stress work situations can put them under considerable pressure. And the history of espionage clearly shows that money, sex, cooption or blackmail can lead individuals into committing criminal acts.
3. Terrorist groups. This is the entity that has only recently pushed into the circle of nuclear actors. Although not the only such group, radical Muslim elements pose the highest threat because of their fanatical dedication, their obsession with the United States, their global network of support, their ruthless behavior, and the large sums of money that may be available to them. For one example, by late 2004 opium production in Afghanistan had reached historic highs. A sizable proportion of this drug money doubtless ends up in Taliban hands and can support al Queda.
Nuclear Threat Actions
This is a very simple list:
1. Nuclear contamination. This scenario is only limited by the type of radioactive material a group could procure and its imagination on how to use it. Dissemination could take dozens of forms, including the use of explosives, injection into food or water supplies, sprays from light aircraft, or simply spreading into the wind from the top of a high building. Although such an attack would produce relatively few immediate deaths, it would certainly cause panic and great economic damage. In one estimate, the ultimate cost for an attack in a major metropolitan area could exceed the direct cost of the World Trade Center attacks - some $11 billion in immediate response and $30 billion additional to restore lower Manhattan.
2. Nuclear explosions. This remains the most troublesome possibility because of the potentially huge number of immediate casualties and the resulting widespread contamination. As noted above, it does not require a real weapon, though obtaining one would obviously be advantageous for a perpetrator. A crude device could be shipped in a container or assembled in place, perhaps even at a site of a sudden attack using seized materials or intentionally removing controls from a power reactor.
The concerns are global, but the threat is focused on the United States because the most likely perpetrators, Muslim extremists, are focused on the United States. Nuclear materials or expertise obtained anywhere in the world can be brought to bear on the United States. This means that for the first time in its history, the United States faces a broad and amorphous external threat that is capable of doing considerable damage to the country.
Heightened internal actions are an important element of the response to this threat. The most important aspects of this part of the challenge include:
1. Balancing nuclear weapon developments and national security. Deploying nuclear weapons always came at a cost, both economic and environmental. By spurring a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union and inciting other countries to develop their own nuclear programs it also came at a security cost. This last cost has become much more troublesome. By retaining an option to conduct nuclear tests and continuing to develop new weapons, the United States continues a low-level arms competition with the Russians, complicating cooperation and undermining broader nonproliferation efforts by its visible failure to meet the weapon elimination requirement of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The key question is, does this continuing development add to or detract from our total national security. This is a complex topic and reasoned discussions of options and alternatives is still needed.
2. Security within the nuclear weapons complex. The structure of the complex is changing and so must the associated security. Retiring and dismantling older weapons involves its own increased vulnerabilities as associated security devices (e.g., accelerometers in missile circuitry) are stripped away and as large amounts of fissile U-235 and plutonium are returned to stockpile. An increased emphasis on security screening of individual workers is clearly appropriate.
3. Reaction Forces. In the event of credible intelligence of a specific threat, there are a number of reaction forces which could be called into play. Virtually all law enforcement agencies have expanded their reaction capabilities and specialized military forces are responsive to tasking from national level. The Department of Energy also has a Nuclear Emergency Search Team capability which can screen a specific location for nuclear materials. Unfortunately, both types of fissionable materials (HEU and plutonium) are only weakly radioactive and can easily be screened from sensors. Highly radioactive threat materials (e.g., for a dirty bomb) are much more susceptible to identification.
4. Internal security. Al Queda in particular has developed a global network of associates, including some within the United States. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were carried out by individuals who had lived openly in the United States, most of them perfectly legally. In other cases, disaffected US citizens have accepted a radical Muslim outlook and willingly given support to al Queda, or have perpetrated their own atrocities, as with the Oklahoma City bombing. With millions of legal alien residents, millions more illegal aliens and unknown numbers of disgruntled citizens, the internal danger to the United States is clear. What is not clear is how to best address this challenge. Heightened police powers and intensified domestic intelligence activities are certainly necessary, but their extent is already a topic of intense internal debate.
5. Access controls. Access control to the United States has traditionally been haphazard. As demonstrated by the World Trade Center hijackers, even some persons with known threat records could gain legal access. Millions more have simply walked across borders. Smuggling organizations, for drugs as well as people, flourished. In the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, this was clearly unacceptable. A new Department of Homeland Security was established and several major initiatives launched, including:
a) Tightened visa screening. New procedures make it much more difficult for hostile aliens to gain legal entrance into the United States. These controls have also had a major negative impact on educational and scientific exchanges and their long-term impact on US economic security remains a topic of hot debate. Efforts to streamline this system and eliminate inconsistencies continue.
b) Intensive airport screening. Airline passengers now undergo careful security screening for all scheduled airline flights. Of course the much larger numbers of armed security personnel and the increasingly complex systems have their own innate vulnerabilities. While local airports and light aircraft do not come under this system, the much higher degree of awareness among operators of these facilities significantly reduces the potential for hostile activities.
c) Improved border controls. Construction of stronger physical barriers on the Mexican border and regular surveillance flights on both the Mexican and Canadian borders have certainly slowed the flow of illegal aliens. But continued incidents show that both people and drugs continue to get through. In one well publicized incident in late 1999, an Algerian national acting suspiciously at a border crossing in Washington state was found to have explosives in the trunk of his car.
d) Systematic cargo reviews. The amount of commercial cargo coming into the United States by truck, air, and sea is staggering. This poses a monumental challenge for the Customs and Border Patrol. Some five million cargo containers enter the United States each year; only 2% of these receive any inspection. Furthermore, the inspections only take place after a ship has docked. Ships sail into ports with essentially zero physical inspection of their cargoes. Screening systems for radiation are now undergoing tests. But even if deployed, they could only screen a small percentage of containers after they were disembarked and might well fail to register HEU or plutonium.
Because of the global nature of the threat, a global response is necessary. Major challenges here include:
1. Nonproliferation. The potential for a hostile country to develop nuclear weapons remains a top priority concern. This concern was a major reason behind the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. But the present major concerns cannot be dealt with militarily. As with Iraq, the indicators of Iranian nuclear weapon programs is ambiguous, but a military invasion of Iran would entail much greater efforts than the invasion of Iraq and seems out of the question, particularly with forces still bogged down in Iraq. Even more challenging is the situation with North Korea which claims to have nuclear weapons. Legally, North Korea has withdrawn from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and has as much right to develop nuclear weapons as the United States had in the 1940's. And even without nuclear weapons, its massive conventional forces hold Seoul and South Korea hostage and make a military response to this threat highly unattractive. In both cases, international diplomacy appears to be the only feasible route. It is clearly in the US interest to strengthen the nonproliferation regime and encourage all non-nuclear states to put their civilian power reactors and other nuclear assets under the supervision of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.
2. Arms Control. Continued efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals not only directly reduce the nuclear threat that the United States faces, but reinforce the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Further arms control agreements between the United States and Russia can also encourage cooperative efforts in non-military areas of mutual nuclear concern.
3. Reducing Availability of Fissionable Material. Since obtaining fissionable materials would be a major hurdle for sub-national groups interested in constructing a nuclear device, increased controls on HEU and plutonium are a prime concern. Efforts in this area include:
a) Retrieving Soviet Weapons and Nuclear Materials from Newly Independent States. When the Soviet Union broke up, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus all became independent nuclear states. In concert with the United States and the Untied Nations, Russia took immediate steps to retrieve all nuclear weapons and take control of nuclear materials sources. Generally, this program was highly successful, with all weapons and most nuclear materials returned to Russian control.
b) Retrieving HEU from Research Reactors. This entails shutting down such reactors or re-configuring them to operate on Low Enriched Uranium. This program involves over 100 reactors in more than 40 countries, not only countries to which the United States or the Soviet Union had sent quantities of HEU, but also domestic research reactors. Although generally successful, recipient countries include Iran and North Korea as well as some others which are reluctant to return nuclear fuels received many years ago.
c) Reducing the Commercial Use of Plutonium. Some second-generation power reactors ("breeder" reactors) are specifically designed to produce plutonium. Other advanced reactors use a mixture of uranium and plutonium oxides for their fuel rods. Re-processing plants in a number of countries now extract plutonium from spent fuel rods and use it to fabricate new ones. In some cases, this reactor-grade plutonium is shipped from a re-processing plant to a fabrication plant, obviously increasing vulnerabilities. Although efficient from the point of view of efficient use of nuclear fuel, the integration of plutonium processing into commercial nuclear operations raises significant proliferation concerns, including the vulnerability to nuclear terrorists.
d) Blending of HEU. As the United States and Russia reduce weapons stockpiles, much HEU is released into their stockpiles. This HEU can be blended with uranium having low levels of U-235 to produce Low Enriched Uranium for power reactors. This essentially reverses earlier isotope separation steps. It eliminates the potential for nuclear explosions and at the same time recoups some of the prior isotope separation expenses.
e) Blending of Plutonium. Weapon demilitarization programs also return plutonium to stockpile. Fabricating this directly into mixed uranium and plutonium oxide fuel rods does not destroy the plutonium, but makes it much less available for use in any weapon or nuclear device. It also obviates the need to re-process spent fuel rods, reducing the amount of commercial plutonium.
4. Controlling Nuclear Weapons Design Knowledge. Although it is possible for a knowledgeable scientist to develop a design for a nuclear device using open scientific knowledge, it would be difficult to place much confidence in the result. Additionally, constructing a reliable weapon or device requires a lot of practical knowledge on just how to fabricate and assemble necessary elements. Therefore, stricter screening of open publications can still be helpful, as can efforts to provide incentives to nuclear scientists and technicians to keep weapon information from unauthorized personnel.
5. Upgrading Security of Nuclear Reactors. This applies mainly to power station and research reactors. Their vulnerability to an intentional incident is most worrisome, but the potential for theft of new or spent fuel rods is also a high concern.
6. Controlling Highly Radioactive Substances. This applies mainly to medical and laboratory facilities. Unfortunately, few of these facilities have high security standards in terms of resistance to a potential violent attack. Potential theft is also a problem, as is tracking disposal of equipment that has reached the end of its useful life.
US-SOVIET COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION
The challenge is global and diffuse. However, the single most worrisome source of nuclear concerns is Russia. Aside from the fact that some Russian weapons apparently remain targeted on the United States, the collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in a large nuclear weapons complex that was riddled with vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities, of course, were a direct concern to the Russian leadership as well as to the United States and the broader international community.
Recognizing these mutual concerns, the US Congress in November 1991 passed a law sponsored by Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar that provided extensive US support to Russian security efforts. This Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act, typically referred to as the Nunn-Lugar program, was initially focused on three tasks:
1. Destroy nuclear, chemical, and other weapons; specifically to assist the Soviet Union and then successor states in implementing the recently signed START I treaty.
2. Safeguard weapons in conjunction with their destruction; and
3. Establish "verifiable safeguards" against proliferation.
A fourth task was soon incorporated into the Nunn-Lugar program: providing incentives to scientists and technical personnel not to sell their expertise to proliferating nations or terrorist groups.
Because of bureaucratic considerations on both sides, as well as an ingrained Soviet and then Russian penchant for secrecy and the continued adversarial military relationship, the program moved slowly. Nevertheless, it had several early major achievements. In particular, it resulted in the return to Russia of all nuclear weapons from Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, as well as the shipment of 600 kilograms of loosely protected HEU from Kazakhstan to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to be blended into Low Enriched Uranium fuel for power stations.
By including Soviet successor states, the original Nunn-Lugar program was a multilateral one. But it did not involve the larger international community. Subsequent efforts by the Clinton administration to encourage US allies to join in the program met with little success. So the program remains basically a US-Russian program.
A ten-year review of the program in early 2001 recognized the achievements of the Nunn-Lugar program and concluded that "the most urgent unmet national security threat to the United States today is the danger that weapons of mass destruction or weapons-usable material in Russia could be stolen and sold to terrorists and hostile nation states." In the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon later that year, this warning obviously took on a new urgency. This urgency has resulted in increased funding for US-Russian cooperative efforts as well as new efforts to form a global coalition against catastrophic terrorism.
It has been more than a dozen years since implementation of the Nunn-Lugar program began. During that period numerous specific program elements have been added, some mutually as program requirements developed, some at the specific request of the Russians. A wide range of agencies and organizations have also joined in or supported these efforts. This section provides information on the most significant of these entities.
US Government Organizations
The primary implementing organizations for the Nunn-Lugar program and other cooperative efforts are US government elements, since the program originated as a US government initiative. The key organizations involved are:
1. Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. This is an independent federal agency established by to provide safety oversight of the nuclear weapons complex operated by the Department of Energy (DOE). The nuclear weapons program remains a complex and hazardous operation. DOE must maintain readiness of the nuclear arsenal, dismantle surplus weapons, dispose of excess radioactive materials, clean up surplus facilities, and construct new facilities for many purposes. Board is required to ensure that all of these activities are carried out by DOE in a manner that provides adequate protection for the public, workers, and the environment. Much of the efforts and conclusions of the board are as applicable to the Russian nuclear complex as they are to the US nuclear complex. See: www.dnfsb.gov
2. Department of Defense (DoD). As would be expected, DoD is primarily responsible for programs which are military related. The major DoD element involved in this effort is the Defense Threat Reduction Agency whose mission is simply to make the world safer by reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction (see: www.dtra.mil). The Advanced Systems and Concepts Office is charged with analyzing emerging weapons of mass destruction threats and the future technologies and concepts needed to counter them. Five mission support directorates carry out its operational mission. This includes providing support to US nuclear forces and helping to insure survivability in the event of a nuclear attack. This agency also develops defense against attacks and provides training to both military and civilian first responders. It is the DoD agency responsible for monitoring arms control treaties and insuring compliance. The Cooperative Threat Reduction Directorate works directly with governments of former Soviet states to reduce Russian nuclear infrastructure and develop viable safeguards. It promotes improved defense relations and develops innovative ways to reduce the threat of nuclear proliferation. The agency provides Russia and other former Soviet countries with the materials, knowledge, and support necessary to secure their extensive stockpiles. See:www.dtra.mil. Specific cooperative programs with Russia include:
a) Strategic Arms Elimination. This program provides assistance to Russia in meeting treaty obligations to destroy strategic missiles, warheads, and support facilities. Support includes inventory control programs as well as storage and transport containers for HEU and plutonium removed from weapons. The program has also helped Russia to dismantle nuclear submarines; US specialists have assisted in some of the disassembly operations, the Russians have destroyed others on their own using US equipment.
b) Nuclear Weapons Storage Security. This program has provided suites systems for weapon storage sites. Unfortunately, much of the equipment that has been provided is still sitting in warehouses. Ironically, this program helps to protect Russian warheads that are targeted or can be targeted against the United States, on the assumption that the biggest threat they actually pose is not a Russian launch but a terrorist theft.
c) Transport and Storage of Fissile Material. This project maintains high-security transport systems for moving nuclear materials, as well as training for Russian security forces in the use of high-tech communications equipment. DoD efforts have also included the construction of a fissile material storage facility at Mayak to store fissile material from dismantled warheads.
d) Ending Production of Weapons-Grade Plutonium. The reactors which Russia uses to produce weapons-grade plutonium also function as power reactors for their regions. Initial efforts to re-configure these reactors to end production of weapons-usable material were complicated by safety concerns.
2. Department of Commerce (DOC). The DOC does not have any programs specifically oriented on cooperative threat reduction. However, it does have two programs that should be mentioned:
a) The Bureau of Industry and Security. This office works with governments and non-governmental organizations in Russia and around the world to assist in developing the necessary legal foundations for effective export controls, improving licensing procedures, enhancing enforcement of export controls, and using technology to track exports. Its Technical Information Center (TIC) supports the program by providing an interactive forum for the representatives from participating countries to explore export control options and select processes and procedures that are tailored to individual country requirements through technical training and instructional workshops and through the exchange of ideas and sharing of resources.
b) Business Information Center for the Newly Independent States (BISNIS). This the US Government's primary market information center for US companies exploring business opportunities in Russia and other Newly Independent States. BISNIS provides US companies with the latest market reports and tips on developments, export and investment leads, and strategies. The center provides information to interested parties, generally US companies, on business conditions and investment opportunities with Russia and the other successor states to the Soviet Union. This center can assist in locating partners for commercial ventures involving Former Russian nuclear scientists or technicians. See: www.bisnis.doc.gov/bisnis/bisnis.cfm.
3. Department of Energy (DOE). As the successor to the Atomic Energy Agency, DOE has been responsible for producing nuclear materials; designing weapons; and building and testing them. The result has been a large and complex organization with activities at multiple sites. Through the years, DOE has devoted large resources to improving security of all these elements. It has been DOE that developed access controls, accountability systems, physical standards and security components such as accelerometers and PAL devices. These security systems were much more advanced than systems elsewhere. When the United States turned to assisting Russia and other states in improving security, DOE became the lead agency in many aspects of this effort. As with DoD, a single element, the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, now handles all threat efforts, including arms control monitoring. See: www.nnsa.doe.gov/na-20. Individual elements develop policies and procedures on such diverse topics as power reactors, controls of fissile materials, nuclear weapon protection and radiological threat reduction. The Office of Nonproliferation and International Security includes a specific element focused on Russian Transition Initiatives. Programs managed by DOE include:
c) Material Protection, Control, and Accountability (MC&A). This has been a long-standing effort that originally focused on US weapons and materials. Now it has been expanded to support physical security improvements at Russian nuclear sites, consolidate weapons-usable material into fewer locations, strengthen transport security, blend HEU down to Low Enriched Uranium reactor fuel, and conduct compliance inspections of nuclear sites.
d) International Nuclear Safety. This program improves safety at former Soviet nuclear reactor sites and supports the shutdown of the most dangerous reactors.
e) Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP). Set up in 1994, this program engages former Soviet weapon specialists in applied research projects having commercial potential. The US national laboratories assist in evaluating project potential and developing commercial partnerships by providing seed funding. In conjunction with US nongovernmental organizations, IPP projects have attracted over $100 million of private venture capital funds. Overall, IPP has supported almost 8000 scientific professionals throughout Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. The IPP projects form an important bridge between former Soviet weapon experts and their Western colleagues, helping to reintegrate them into the world scientific community.
f) Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI). This program was set up in 1998 to promote the diversification and downsizing of the Russian nuclear weapons complex, particularly in three formerly closed cities of Sarov, Snezhinsk and Zheleznogorsk. In cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, over one thousand small business loans have been made in these cities. But more recently, the program has been seriously delayed by disputes over nuclear liability issues.
g) Second Line of Defense. This program assists former Soviet states in setting up export control systems and improving radiation detection capabilities at high-priority nuclear sites.
h) Fissile Material Disposition. As part of this effort, the United States agreed to buy 500 tons of Low Enriched Uranium derived from HEU out of Russian weapons. The program includes efforts in both the United Sates and Russia to eliminate surplus weapons-grade fissile material. HEU is blended into Low Enriched Uranium, while excess plutonium is either converted into a mixed uranium-plutonium oxide reactor fuels or is converted into an unusable form that can then be stored. Some of the plutonium efforts have also been seriously delayed by the disputes over nuclear liability issues.
i) Export Controls. It is DOE which issues licenses for export of materials restricted by the Zangger Committee or the Nuclear Suppliers Group. DOE continually works at improving these controls.
j) Nonproliferation and International Security Center. This center has been set up at Los Alamos National Laboratory to support development of detection technologies for nuclear explosion detection and monitoring. See: http://www.lanl.gov/orgs/tr/russia.html
4. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). With its focus on internal US security, this department doe not have any programs specifically focused on Russia. A number of its programs (e.g., port security and air travel screening) address some aspects of the nuclear threat. One specific program with international implications is the enforcement of import controls
5. Department of State (DOS). As the department most responsible for US international activities, DOS is heavily involved with threat reduction activities. DOS maintains a contingency fund to meet unanticipated proliferation challenges, and also helps to fund the IAEA and a Provisional Technical Secretariat for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The Bureau of Nonproliferation (see: www.state.gov/t/np) has the mission to mission is to lead the US Government to identify, advance, and implement diplomacy to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons) and their missile delivery systems; to secure nuclear materials in Russia and Eurasia; to promote nuclear safety and the protection of nuclear materials worldwide; to promote responsibility, transparency, and restraint in international transfers of conventional arms and sensitive dual-use technology; and to promote US interests in the control of satellite remote sensing technology. The Office of Proliferation Threat Reduction reduces or eliminates many of the associated risks for US private industry, scientific institutions and other governmental or non-governmental organizations interested in funding research at institutes in the former Soviet Union. DOS also provides training and equipment to establish or enhance export controls in former Warsaw Pact countries and other key states. And it has helped to set up an International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) in Moscow (see below) and a parallel one in Ukraine to enable former Soviet weapons experts to engage in civilian research projects.
Russian and Intergovernmental Organizations
On the Russian side, several ministries (equivalent to US cabinet departments) have primary program responsibilities. In addition, some intergovernmental organizations have been set up specifically to work with cooperative threat reduction programs.
1. Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM). This ministry is responsible for running many of the facilities in the Russian nuclear weapons complex, including the decommissioning of nuclear submarines and the reprocessing of the naval fuel. Its areas of international cooperation include bilateral and multilateral international cooperation in nuclear R&D, participation in the activity of international organizations such as the IAEA, and fulfillment of the obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. See: www.x-atom.ru/minatom. The ministry also includes an International Nuclear Safety Center (see: www.insc.ru) which carries out R&D work to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants (NPP), research reactors, space and maritime nuclear reactors and assists the MINATOM and US Department of Energy in coordinating policies to ensure the safety of nuclear installations.
2. Ministry of Defense. The Ministry is responsible for initiating orders for nuclear armaments, as well as for the monitoring of nuclear and radiation security throughout the entire life cycle of nuclear weapons and military nuclear energy installations, from development through storage and disposal. The National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center has overall responsibility for monitoring implementation of and compliance with international arms agreements. Its Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation has the responsibility for partnership programs with the United States and NATO. Joint activities included the establishment in May 2002 of a Russia-NATO Council. See: www.mil.ru.
3. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Within the ministry, the Department for Security and Disarmament Affairs is responsible for international actions in the Strategic Offensive Arms and Missile Defense sector as well as cooperation with the IAEA (see below). It also maintains a web site with the texts of documents and press releases, see: www.mid.ru
4. Russian Research Center, Kurchatov Institute. The institute conducts a wide range of research on nuclear topics and has been heavily involved with discussions on nuclear controls, including a February 20, 2002, visit by a delegation of US Congressmen who came to Moscow to have meetings on security programs for fighting terrorism. In addition to purely scientific topics, discussions included plans on physical security of nuclear and radiation facilities. See: www.kiae.ru.
5. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA was set up within the United Nations in 1957 and is the world's center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It works with UN members and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies. Its safeguards and verification activities make it is the world's nuclear inspectorate, verifying that safeguarded nuclear material and activities are not used for military purposes. To carry out these responsibilities, it has a team of 2200 multi-disciplinary professional and support staff from more than 90 countries. See: www.iaea.org.
6. International Science and Technology Center (ISTC). This intergovernmental center in Moscow was set up jointly by Russia, the United States, the European Union, and Japan. Center activities benefit from a number of advantages, including duty free import of project equipment and tax free payments to scientists working in the center. Since it began operations in 1994, it has provided assistance to over 40,000 scientists and technicians from over 400 institutes and research centers. Over 100 organizations and businesses have been partners in its activities, including the World Health Organization, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Boeing and Exxon-Mobil. Areas in which ISTC has put particular emphasis include databases of radiation pollution in the former Soviet Union to understand long-term risks and comprehensive health care for Chernobyl victims, including diagnostic tools for early cancer detection. See: www.istc.ru.
US Nongovernmental Organizations (NGO)
There are a wide range of US NGOs involved in various aspects of cooperative threat reduction with the Russians. The most important of these are:
1. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The association is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. It publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports. Founded in 1848, AAAS serves some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Its Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy (CSTSP) encourages the integration of science and public policy for enhanced national and international security. The Center acts as a two-way portal that facilitates communication between academic centers, policy institutes, and policymakers. It oversees an ambitious effort to build new connections between scientists, research institutions and the federal policy-makers who are involved with anti-terrorism efforts and other national security issues. See: www.aaas.org.
2. American Chemical Society (ACS). Founded in 1876, is the largest scientific society in the world with more than 159,000 members in all fields of chemistry. While focused in chemical science, its International Division supports a wide range of scientific exchanges activities. See: www.acs.org
3. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Founded in 1943, this is one of the largest public policy research institutes. Its publications include the quarterly Russian Outlook which addresses Russia's key social, political, and economic trends, and comments regularly on US-Russian relations for international news and media. Recent publications have included A Strategy for Nuclear Iran and Blame the United States for India's Nukes which argued that India's development of nuclear weaponry was partly a consequence of careless US policies and practices. See: www.aei.org.
4. Arms Control Association (ACA). ACA, founded in 1971, is a national nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies. Through its public education and media programs and its magazine, Arms Control Today (ACT), ACA provides policy-makers, the press and the interested public with authoritative information, analysis and commentary on arms control proposals, negotiations and agreements, and related national security issues. In addition to the regular press briefings ACA holds on major arms control developments, the Association's staff provides commentary and analysis on a broad spectrum of issues for journalists and scholars both in the United States and abroad. See: www.armscontrol.org.
5. Brookings Institution. Brookings is an independent, nonpartisan organization devoted to research, analysis, and public education with an emphasis on economics, foreign policy, governance, and metropolitan policy. In regards to nonproliferation, its publications have included a 1999 study, The Nuclear Turning Point, which provided a detailed overview of the situation at that time, and a soon-to-be-published The Future of Arms Control which addresses the utility of arms control in the age of terror. See: www.brookings.org.
6. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. This is strictly a publishing organization, but is of particular interest because it was founded shortly after World War II by scientists involved in the Manhattan Project. Its mission is to educate citizens about global security issues, especially the continuing dangers posed by nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and the appropriate roles of nuclear technology, and specifically to support peaceful use of atomic energy and promote nuclear disarmament. The bulletin is published monthly and includes detailed articles addressing various aspects of these issues. See: www.bullatomsci.org.
7. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This is one of a number of inter-related organizations established with funds from Andrew Carnegie. Set up in 1910, the endowment is dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. Its work is nonpartisan and dedicated to achieving practical results. The endowment supports a specific program in Nuclear Non-Proliferation which actively develops policy analyses and program evaluations across the entire spectrum of issues. In 1993 the endowment established the Carnegie Moscow Center (see below) which has its own active program in this area. See: www.ceip.org.
8. Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. The center is a policy organization that seeks the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons as a significant tool of US national security policy. It covers numerous peace and security issues affected by proliferation of weapons of mass destruction including U.S. nonproliferation programs, national missile defense, failed and post-conflict states and irresponsible defense spending. See: www.armscontrolcenter.org.
9. Center for Defense Information. This organization was founded in 1972 by a group of recently retired senior military officers. It is committed to independent research on the social, economic, environmental, political and military components of global security. Many of its books, papers, and analyses address issues of the reduction of nuclear weapons, arms control, and cooperative threat reduction efforts. As one specific example, together with the Physicians for Social Responsibility (see below), CDI jointly sponsored a February 2003 conference on US Nuclear Policy and Counterproliferation. CDI is also directly involved with the Russian Generals Project, a joint effort with Harvard University that bring together senior US and Russian military officials to discuss issues of threat reduction. See: www.cdi.org.
10. Center for Peace and Security Studies. This center at Georgetown University acts to bring together people from every relevant discipline who study international peace and security issues and to sponsor projects that will lead to the development of sophisticated strategies and practical policies for enhancing international peace and security in the 21st century. The Political Transformation of Non-Proliferation is a joint project with the Century Foundation which analyzes transformations in non-proliferation policy from the end of the Cold War to the present. It focuses on providing policy makers with practical policy recommendations. See: http://cpass.georgetown.edu/
11. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). For four decades, CSIS has been dedicated to providing world leaders with strategic insights on - and policy solutions to - current and emerging global issues. It has become heavily involved in nuclear threat reduction activities, particularly after the G-8 announced the creation of the Global Partnership (see above) in June 2002. To advance this initiative, CSIS has been the driving force behind an international consortium of research institutions which collaborates to assess global efforts to account for, secure, and dismantle nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, agents, materials, and infrastructure, as well as to help former weapon scientists and specialists reintegrate into civilian work. The consortium brings together donors and recipients of threat reduction assistance to make joint, actionable recommendations to promote and expand the goals of the Global Partnership to make the world safer. It has established a Senior Policy Panel and five Task Forces. The Senior Policy Panel is composed of experts in the fields of international security and nuclear safety. They represent the U.S. and foreign governments, academia, and industry. This panel oversees the work of the five task forces which provide in-depth analysis of critical areas. See: www.csis.org. The focal areas are:
a) Funding Nuclear Security--What would it take and what would it cost?
b) An International Regional Storage Facility and the Russian Nuclear Complex--What role could it play in transitioning the Russian nuclear complex?
c) Commercializing the Excess Defense Infrastructure--What are the possible paths?
d) Transparency--What is it? Can it assure that nuclear materials are securely, safely, and legitimately used throughout the world?
e) U.S. Domestic Infrastructure and the Evolving Nuclear Era--Do current trends and policies enable the United States to lead?
12. Council for a Livable World. The council was founded in 1962 by eminent nuclear physicist Leo Szilard and other scientists who worked in the pioneer days of atomic weapons. The goal of these men and women, who knew firsthand the nature of nuclear weapons, was to warn the public and Congress of the threat of nuclear war and lead the way to rational arms control and nuclear disarmament. The mission of the Council has remained simple and pragmatic. It provides Congress with sophisticated technical and scientific information that helps make intelligent decisions about nuclear arms control, strategic and conventional weapons, the military budget and United Nations peacekeeping. Its publications include a Nonproliferation Status Report that was specifically intended to provide an overview of key nonproliferation issues to Members of Congress and their staff, the media, and the general public. See: www.clw.org
13. Eisenhower Institute. The institute was founded in 1983 to advance Dwight D. Eisenhower's intellectual and leadership legacies in foreign and domestic policy through: a rigorous pursuit of facts; the encouragement of reasoned and respectful debate; and the quest for outcomes that serve the long-term interests of the American people while promoting justice and international peace. Its goal is to promote sound and forward-looking policies, and that lays the intellectual and civic groundwork for the next generation of opinion-leaders, policy-shapers and public servants. It has actively addressed nuclear issues and recently hosted one day of a multi-day conference convened by the University of Maryland and the Department of Energy to bring together nuclear scientists from around the world to discuss the future of fusion and its possible applications. While at The Eisenhower Institute, the conference focused mainly on the issues of nuclear energy and nonproliferation and the use of fusion in abating the risks of using nuclear energy. See: www.eisenhowerinstitute.org
14. Federation of American Scientists (FAS). FAS was founded in 1945 by members of the Manhattan Project who were deeply concerned about the implications of atomic weapons for the future of humankind. It is the oldest organization dedicated to ending the worldwide arms race and avoiding the use of nuclear weapons for any purpose. FAS focuses the resources of the scientific and technical community on some of our nation's most critical challenges, developing programs and publications which advance its mission of informed public debate. See: www.fas.org.
15. Global Green USA. This is the US affiliate of Green Cross International, which fosters a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure world through education, advocacy, partnerships, and programs focused on the safe elimination of weapons of mass destruction, stemming climate change, reducing resource use, and preventing conflicts over fresh water. Its headquarters is in Santa Monica, CA, but there is also an office in Washington, DC. Its Legacy Program facilitates communication and dialogue among stakeholders in the U.S. and abroad to advance the cleanup of the legacy of military toxic contamination., support the demilitarization of both conventional and mass destruction weapons, and promote the sustainable reuse of affected facilities. An annual Legacy Forum is designed to facilitate dialogue on key environmental issues at the local, regional, national and international levels. The forum offers ideas and networking for all people interested in these issues. See; www.globalgreen.org.
16. Harvard University. The Project on Managing the Atom in the John F. Kennedy School of Government brings together an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars and government officials to address key issues affecting the future of nuclear weapons. The project has issued a number of extensive analyses of nonproliferation issues, some in conjunction with the Nuclear Threat Initiative (see above), and has a Radiological Weapons Working Group which meets weekly during the academic year to discuss issues related to radiological material and weapons. The group consists of approximately 25 people from nine countries with backgrounds in a variety of subjects, including engineering, physics, political science, economics, and health science. See: www.ksg.Harvard.edu/bcsia/atom.
17. Heritage Foundation. Founded in 1973, the foundation is a research and educational institute whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies. Its research addresses a number of pertinent issues, including how economic opportunities and the expanding war on terrorism demand that America move past Cold-war mentalities and embrace greater cooperation with Russia. Heritage experts are exploring ways that the relationship with America's long-time adversary can be beneficial to both nations. See: www.heritage.org
18. ISAR: Resources for Environmental Activists. This organization was founded in 1983, as the Institute for Soviet and American Relations, to encourage citizen diplomacy and facilitate exchange between the US and the Soviet Union. Its network includes ISAR offices in Moscow, Novosibirsk and Vladivostok, Russia and Minsk, Belarus, as well as local NGO partners in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Western Newly Independent States. Its mission is to support practical and collaborative resolutions to the environmental threats faced by communities in the former Soviet Union by providing training, technical, and informational resources to individuals and organizations working on environmental issues in the region. These resources serve to build advocacy skills, increase public participation in environmental decision-making, and encourage community level environmental problem-solving. An area of particular interest is the nuclear legacy of the Cold War. Each newly independent country had to consider its status as a nuclear state and to contend with this legacy on its own terms. Nevertheless, the countries of the former Soviet Union are linked by transport routes, interdependent radioactive waste agreements, and a tradition of cross-border scientific endeavor. As a result, the complex dynamic in the region requires cooperation not only among governments, but also among scientists and NGOs working for the safety and security of their communities. ISAR works to reduce the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons and to restore the environmental integrity of communities. See: www.isar.org
19. Kennan Institute. In conjunction with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the institute is part of the Smithsonian Institution. It brings scholars and governmental specialists together to discuss political, social and economic issues affecting Russia and other successor states to the Soviet. As a non-partisan institution committed to improving American expertise and knowledge about this region, the institute organizes seminars, workshops, briefings, and conferences featuring prominent scholars and policymakers from America, Russia, and other successor states to the Soviet Union with experience in shaping U.S.-Russian policy. See: http://wwic.si.edu/
20. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT has long been active in questions of science and politics. As noted below, it was MIT personnel who set up the Union of Concerned Scientists. Now, the Security Studies Program in the Center for International Studies integrates technical and political analyses in studies of international security problems. Its public service activities sponsor seminars and conferences to bring the results of this work to the attention of academic and policy audiences. See: http://web.mit.edu/ssp/
21. Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS). The institute has set up a Center for Nonproliferation Studies which is tasked to train the next generation of nonproliferation experts and to disseminate timely information and analysis on this subject. One noteworthy project, completed under the auspices of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (see below) has been a detailed a detailed analysis of nuclear terrorism. See: http://cns.miis.edu.
22. National Academy of Sciences (NAS). NAS has completed a number of studies on topics of concern for nonproliferation, including the disposal of excess plutonium. The Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) was created in 1980 to bring the scientific and technical talent of the National Academy of Sciences to bear on the problems associated with international security and arms control (see: www7.nationalacademies.org/cisac/). The committee has a rotating membership of distinguished scientists and policy experts. Its primary mission has been a dialogue with Soviet counterparts. By resolutely maintaining its independence, yet also briefing interested US government officials on the results of these discussions, it has helped to keep information and ideas flowing during a period of great tension in U.S.-Soviet relations. Twenty- nine bilateral meetings, alternating between the United States and the former Soviet Union, have taken place since 1981. The counterpart group is now from the Russian Academy of Sciences. The most recent meeting was held in Moscow, Russia, in June 2003. CISAC's primary goal for its dialogues with Moscow is to foster ideas to support a cooperative security relationship with the former Soviet Union, including further arms reductions and enhanced nonproliferation efforts.
23. National Institute of Public Policy (NIPP). Founded in 1981, NIPP devotes its agenda to assessing U.S. foreign and defense polices in the post-Soviet environment. Recent efforts include a study, "Rationale and Requirements for U.S. Nuclear Forces and Arms Control," that contrasts the basic contours of official US policy with public proposals for new nuclear disarmament treaties. NIPP also publishes Comparative Strategy. See: www.nipp.org
24. Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC). NRDC is one of the nation's largest environmental action organizations. It uses law, science and the support of more than 1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things. Its nuclear weapons and waste has been active for more than 25 years, providing input to US nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, energy, and environmental policies. The council's overarching goal is the reduction, and ultimate elimination, of unacceptable risks to people and the environment from the exploitation of nuclear energy for both military and peaceful purposes. See: www.ndrc.org
25. Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). Founded in January 2001, NTI is a global initiative with an international Board of Directors. One of its initial co-chairs was Senator Sam Nunn, an originator of the Nunn-Lugar Program. NTI has an office in Moscow (see below); it carries out threat reduction activities in four programs. See: www.nti.org. Specific programs in nuclear threat reduction include:
a) Securing Fissile Material. Specific NTI projects have included a survey of Soviet-era research reactors outside the Soviet Union. This survey served as the basis for recent joint actions by the United States, Russia, and the International Atomic Energy Agency on a plan to remove HEU from all such reactors. NTI is also working in Kazakhstan on a project to blend nearly three tons of HEU into Low Enriched Uranium fuel for power reactors.
b) Addressing Nuclear Infrastructure and Personnel. This effort is focused on reemployment of former weapons workers. It includes collaboration with groups in Sarov and Snezhinsk, two cities associated with the Russian military nuclear programs.
c) Global Security Standards. NTI is working to develop voluntarily shared best practices in nuclear security among all countries with nuclear capabilities. The objective is to raise nuclear materials management standards to better meet the threat of nuclear terrorism.
d) Promote New Nuclear Strategies. This effort focuses on encouraging the two countries with the largest nuclear stockpiles, the United States and Russia, to reduce the importance of nuclear weapons in their national security strategies.
22. Nuclear Threat Reduction Campaign (NTRC). This is a joint effort of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and The Justice Project (see: www.nuclearthreatreduction.org). It has produced an exhaustive "Weapons of Mass Destruction Reference Guide" and focuses on a three-part agenda:
a) Keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists and hostile states;
b) Prevent the spread of biological and chemical weapons, and
c) Build a partnership with Russia that protects Americans and the world.
23. Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). PSR is an organization primarily of medical professionals which focuses elimination of weapons of mass destruction, the achievement of a sustainable environment, and the reduction of violence and its causes. Founded in 1961, PSR led the campaign to end atmospheric nuclear testing and then spent two decades educating the public about the dangers of nuclear war. For this, it shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. PSR has 24,000 members and some 30 chapters nationwide. See: www.psr.org. PSR's Center for Global Security and Health includes several aspects pertinent to cooperative threat reduction:
a) Educational Efforts. These efforts seek to develop long-range policies for the United States that reduce the threat of terrorism and war, increase international cooperation and respect for international law. Recent issue papers have addressed such topics as tactical nuclear weapons, nuclear stability in South Asia, the vulnerability of us power plants to terrorist attack and internal sabotage, and nuclear arms control through unilateral nuclear reductions initiatives. As noted above, PSR also jointly sponsored with CDI the February 2003 conference on US Nuclear Policy and Counterproliferation.
b) Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. PSR has supported the Entry-Into-Force Conference with several analyses focused on promoting ratification of this treaty.
c) SMART Security. Formally titled a Sensible, Multilateral American Response to Terrorism, this program seeks to develop new approaches to US national security based by strengthening international institutions, supporting the rule of law, and adopting major multilateral arms control issues.
24. Princeton University. The Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs has set up a Program on Science and Global Security. The program has issued a number of reports based on interviews in both the United States and in Russia, specifically dealing with conversion and job creation. See: www.princeton.edu/~globsec
25. Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council (RANSAC). This is a private nongovernmental research organization dedicated to monitoring, evaluating, and promoting US-Russian cooperation to increase security in the destruction of nuclear weapons and reduce proliferation risks. Created in 1997, RANSAC is composed of nine members drawn from US and Russian institutions. The individuals have experience in policy and technical fields and firsthand knowledge of the substance and implementation of cooperative nuclear security programs. It works extensively with government officials in both countries to ensure that existing programs become deeply rooted and are implemented expeditiously. It has been particularly active in working with the Russian Transitional Initiatives program of the US Department of Energy. Specific actions have included joint sponsorship of an international conference addressing these issues in March, 2003, in Washington, DC. See: www.ransac.org.
26. Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). UCS was founded in 1969 by faculty members and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who were concerned about the misuse of science and technology in society. Their statement called for the redirection of scientific research to pressing environmental and social problems. Today, UCS is an independent alliance of more than 100,000 concerned citizens and scientists. It augments rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking and committed citizen advocacy to build a cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world Its Global Security programs have developed extensive analysis of US nuclear weapons policies. See: www.ucsusa.org.
27. United States Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF). This is a nonprofit organization authorized by the US Congress and established by the National Science Foundation in 1995. It promotes scientific and technical collaboration between the United States and countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) through grants, technical assistance, and training and operates offices in Moscow (see below) and Kyiv, Ukraine. See: www.crdf.org. CRDF activities include regular workshops to bring together potential collaborators and to train Russian scientists in writing proposals; these activities are grouped in five specific programs:
a) Nonproliferation Programs. These programs bring together US civilian scientists with FSU defense specialists on peaceful collaborative projects. A special research competition within this program focuses on the fight against terrorism.
b) Industry Programs. This effort funds precommercial R&D projects between US industry and FSU scientists and engineers.
c) Cooperative Grants Program. This provides support to joint US-FSU research teams through competitive grants and gives priority to terms that include former FSU defense scientists.
d) Centers and Institution Building Programs. These support the building of new, sustainable institutions that promote merit-based funding of science. Centers established in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova play a key role in engaging local former defense scientists.
e) Grant Assistance Program. This helps implement R&D activities by using CRDF to assist with banking, equipment delivery, travel, and program development. It also assists several US government agencies in administering nonproliferation projects. In particular, under DOE's Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP) program, it administers tax-free programs for over 80 projects in Russia and Ukraine.
29. United States Industry Coalition (USIC). The USIC is a nonprofit organization of over 150 US companies and universities that is focused on the commercialization of technologies for peaceful purposes. To this end, member organizations work with the DOE IPP program, other US government agencies, the intergovernmental ISTC and other scientific institutes in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Armenia. USIC works closely with CRDF to commercialize science and research projects which CRDF originates. Recent initiatives have included a "Partnerships for Prosperity and Security" trade show held in Philadelphia in November 2003 and the establishment of a sister organization, the National Industry Coalition (see below), in Russia. See: www.usic.org.
30. United States-Russia Business Council. This is a Washington-based trade association that represents the interests of 300 member companies operating in the Russian market. The Council's mission is to expand and enhance the U.S.-Russian commercial relationship. Guided by member interests, the Council promotes an economic environment in which businesses can succeed in a challenging Russian market. Through a range of activities, the council contributes to the stability and development of a free market in Russia and supports Russia's integration into the global economy. See: www.usrbc.org.
Russian Nongovernmental Organizations (NGO)
1. Analytical Center for Non-proliferation. The center was set up in order to facilitate scientific conversion, and to inform the public on the topical issues of nuclear policy, scientific conversion and social and economic conditions in Sarov, one of the formerly closed Russian nuclear cities. A key objective is to provide opportunities for highly qualified weapons specialists to participate in attractive conversion projects that would allow them to effectively use their scientific potential. See: http://npc.sarov.ru.
2. Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies. This center at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology provides detailed analyses of various aspects of arms control and nuclear weapons controls. See: www.armscontrol.ru.
3. Carnegie Moscow Center. In spring 1993, the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (see above) established the Carnegie Moscow Center. The Center accommodates foreign and Russian researchers collaborating with Washington staff on a variety of topical areas and policy-relevant projects. Carnegie associates work independently on their own research in areas covering a broad range of contemporary policy issues - military, political, and economic. See: www.carnegie.ru. Specific programs include:
a) Asian Security. This effort is focused on the Northeast Asia region, encompassing such major powers as Russia, Japan, China, and North and South Korea.
b) Civil Society. This program assesses the current state of civil society in the country. It will "take stock" of existing civil society institutions, to identify trends and prospects in this area and to determine what factors promote or hinder the development of civil society in Russia.
c) Nuclear Non-Proliferation The program goals are to preserve Russia's commitment to non-proliferation regimes for weapons of mass destruction and facilitate US-Russian dialogue. Activities help consolidate the non-proliferation community of officials and experts in Russia through regular meetings on nuclear materials control and protection, the multilateral exports control regime, ratification of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons agreements, and the merits of national missile defense. In fall 2003, the Carnegie Moscow Center and the PIR Center (see below) organized the Second Moscow International Nonproliferation Conference.
4. Center for Policy Studies in Russia (PIR Center). The PIR Center is an independent nongovernmental organization founded in April 1994 and based in Moscow. The PIR Center carries out research, as well as educational, public awareness and publishing activities, and provides consulting services. The priority areas of the Center's research studies remain, from its founding to now, international security, arms (primarily nuclear) control and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The first project of the PIR Center was the publication of the journal Yaderny Kontrol [Nuclear Control] whose pilot issue came out in November 1994. By June 2003, the PIR Center had published 68 issues of the journal that still remains its 'business card'. The Center has more than 20 staff members working on 15 short- and long-term projects. See: www.pircenter.org/.
5. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF). This the Moscow office of the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (see above).
6. Environmental Rights Center "Bellona". This is the Russian side of the Bellona organization founded in Norway in 1986 to address concerns about nuclear issues with the Russian Northern Fleet. There are branches in Murmansk and Saint Petersburg. Bellona-Murmansk's goal is to ensure that Russian citizens can avail themselves fully of their right to obtain reliable information on the environment they live in. Bellona-St. Petersburg works to ensure human rights for a healthy environment, and for access to information on the state of the environment by means of in-depth study of problems; much of this research is published in their journal, Ekologiya i Pravo [Environment and Rights] which addresses these issues. See: www.bellona.org and www.ecopravo.info.
7. Institute for Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE). This is an integrated scientific research entity carrying out comprehensive research to create safe reactors for modern nuclear power facilities. Over 120 designs of various nuclear systems for civil and defense purposes have been developed with its participation and it is heavily involved with commercialization of nuclear technology. In conjunction with US and European scientists, it is actively working on problems of the accounting, control and physical protection of nuclear materials. See: www.ippe.obninsk.ru
8. ISAR-Moscow. This is the Moscow office of ISAR (see above). It serves environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) throughout Russia by conducting seminars, conferences, trainings, internships and exchanges. The staff also provides informational resources through their quarterly publication Ecologos and through the publication of other books and articles. See: http://www.isar.org/officeMoscow.php and the Russian language site www.isarmos.ru.
9. ISAR-RFE. This is the Russian Far East office of ISAR (see above), located in Vladivostok. It serves NGOs in the easternmost regions of Russia with consultations, training on professional development and management, and publication of informational resources on environmental issues. See: http://www.isar.org/officeRFE.php and the Russian language site www.isarrfe.ru.
10. ISAR-Siberia. This is the Novosibirsk office of ISAR (see above). Its program activities include grants and publications programs as well as environmental and educational events. It publishes a quarterly journal, The Bear's Den, in English and Russian. See: http://www.isar.org/officeSiberia.php and the Russian language site http://ecoclub.nsu.ru/isar.
11. National Industry Coalition (NIC). This recently established nonprofit organization is headquartered in Moscow. A sister organization to the USIC, the NIC works with its membership base of Russian enterprises to commercialize Russian technologies in the civil area for both domestic and foreign markets. It collaborates with USIC and the CRDF in implementing projects under DOE's Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP) program.
12. Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI). This is the Moscow office of NTI (see above). In addition to coordinating NTI efforts in Russia, the Moscow office runs a Critical Issues Forum for high school students in the formerly closed nuclear cities and actively produces analytical papers. See: www.nti.org.
13. Obninsk Center for Science and Technology. This is the largest company for innovation infrastructure in its region. It cooperates with local scientific and production companies in development and implementation of new technologies from the nuclear industry and works closely with the Institute for Physics and Power Engineering (see above). See: http://ocst.okclub.org/
14. Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). The academy includes a Scientific Committee for International Security and Control of Armament which is responsible directly to its Presidium. The academy also maintains an active dialogue with the Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) of the US National Academy of Sciences (see above) ideas to support a cooperative security relationship. See: www.ras.ru.
There are a large number of governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental organizations directly involved in the cooperative US-Russian threat reduction efforts and/or actively assessing the results and utility of these efforts. These efforts include a wide range of interrelated projects, and there is official documentation and detailed analysis readily available on almost any aspect. This shows that the US foreign policy community has a strong appreciation for the importance of nonproliferation in general and US-Russian cooperative efforts in particular. However, the level of public awareness seems to be much lower.
A solid and comprehensive current assessment is available in Securing the Bomb: An Agenda for Action by Matthew Bunn and Anthony Weir. This assessment was prepared by the Harvard Project on Managing the Atom. It was commissioned by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and is available on their web site. It is a nonpartisan review which develops measures of success for individual program elements and evaluates the degree to which the individual elements are successful - there are widely varying results. It provides specific recommendations for the individual elements, as well as some more general recommendations for the US President, the Russian President, and the US Congress. These recommendations include a strongly articulated need for a senior official with full-time responsibility for leading the entire array of US efforts. The overall programs are badly hampered by two specific concerns:
1. Bureaucracy. This is a problem on both sides. Such simple tasks as writing contracts or getting access permission on the Russian side can require months. On the US side, extensive reporting requirements and a short-term focus both help make programs cumbersome.
2. Distrust. Continued nuclear rivalry, with thousands of warheads still targeted at each other, does little to assuage traditional Russian secrecy. Mutual exchanges and the obvious economic assistance of several US programs helps to slowly decrease these concerns.
Unfortunately, there is no similar balanced and thorough evaluation of how the overall nonproliferation effort fits into the total US national strategy - what is the total spectrum of threat facing the country, what relative importance do the nuclear threats have, and how do the US-Russian cooperative efforts fit into this overall framework.
The nuclear threat emanating from Russia remains the most challenging nuclear threat the country faces. This includes the direct military threat that Russia still poses, exacerbated by a potential resurgence of an autocratic and hostile regime and incorporating the threat from some rogue commander. And with its large, scattered and inadequately secured nuclear stocks as well as thousands of knowledgeable nuclear experts, Russia remains a focal concern from the point of view of nuclear terrorism.
The direct threat to the United States from other nuclear powers is considerably smaller. It is partially addressed by the on-going construction of an Anti-Ballistic Missile system, though that is clearly of limited usefulness. Only China poses a credible missile threat, and it has little incentive to provoke devastation from a strike on the United States. North Korea and potentially Iran are more worrisome from the point of view of regional conflicts. India and Pakistan pose more of a threat to each other, though a nuclear was in South Asia could have devastating consequences for the world economy.
The terrorist threat remains the most direct threat to worldwide US interests. Chemical and biological attacks may be more likely than nuclear, and radiological attacks are more likely than nuclear explosions, but they are all significant. Countering these threats requires, among other things, stronger internal controls in the United States. To some extent this reduces US freedoms and also makes it harder to object to strengthened internal controls in Russia, China, and elsewhere. The problem is a global one that particularly challenges the Untied States to reduce enmity in the Muslim world, enmity that provides both recruits and support to radical Muslim extremists. From the point of view of this particular threat element, the most worrisome nuclear source is Pakistan where al Queda maintains a military presence and has extensive sympathy among Pakistani military and nuclear communities. Even a takeover of the country cannot be excluded. Pakistani nuclear experts have likely already provided al Queda with basic weapon designs. Although Pakistani nuclear sites are apparently very well guarded, the combined potential for collaboration by high-level insiders and a capability of radical Muslim elements to surreptitiously assemble a heavily armed commando team remains very disquieting.
Global economic threats to the United States are much more diffuse, but can have just as large an impact on the American way of life. Global economic imbalances help to breed the enmity that drives more direct physical threats. Regional miseries such as strife in Sudan, economic collapse in Haiti and AIDS in Africa all exacerbate these problems. The imbalance also drives a relentless immigration pressure. At the same time, the widespread diffusion of knowledge and the globalization of the world economy pose daunting challenges to the country.
Environmental challenges also pose some significant risks. Although ice ages and asteroid impacts are probably off in the distant future, catastrophic natural events have occurred regularly through history and could put an huge demand on the global economy. The volcanic eruption of Tamora in 1815 dropped worldwide temperatures for years; a similar event now would mean starvation for millions. The 2002 SARS epidemic heightened medical memories of the 1914 global flu epidemic; it is still unclear why this epidemic was so deadly or what could be done if there were a repeat. The causes of global warming are hotly debated, but the reality of the effect is clear; even a modest rise in ocean levels will displace millions and desertification will undermine food supplies for millions more. These challenges and numerous others require an integrated global response.
All of these challenges are inter-related, not the least by common fiscal requirements. None of them can be addressed by the United States alone - they all require an international response.
US-RUSSIAN THREAT REDUCTION
Just how do the cooperative US-Russian threat reduction efforts fit into this total national effort and what impact do they have? This will be addressed in four categories: nuclear terrorism, Russian resurgence, nuclear proliferation, and global stability.
Cooperative threat reduction efforts probably have less direct impact in this area than would seem at first glance. After all, outside the United States it is Russia that clearly has the largest number of nuclear weapons, the most nuclear materials, the most scattered nuclear complex, and the most widespread security deficiencies. Nonetheless, radical Muslim groups, which pose the highest nuclear terrorist threat to the United States, cannot find Russia a very attractive source for two general reasons:
1. Nuclear design information is probably no longer critical, particularly for al Queda which most likely already has such information from Pakistani scientists. The more sophisticated design potential from Russian scientists would not be of much additional help. Assembly and construction know how would certainly be much more useful, and sympathetic Pakistani technicians are doubtless a much more accessible source than faraway Russian technicians.
2. Getting nuclear materials remains the most difficult hurdle for Muslim extremist groups. For them, penetration deep into Russia is not an easy task, especially because of heightened sensitivity among the Russian populace due to the Chechen situation. So acquisition from within Russia would require middlemen, probably a lot of money, and would be quite risky, first of all from the potential for discovery by security services, as well as the potential for a potential buyer to be caught in a scam or sting operation. With hundreds of vulnerable sources world wide and the potential for acquisition within Pakistan, the attractiveness of a Russian source cannot be too high.
One of the most successful US-Russian efforts has been the creation of jobs for Russian nuclear specialists. Of course this also helps to strengthen the Russian economy and can buttress the position of the government. At the same time, it has greatly increased the accessibility of the Russian nuclear complex and with that the potential for penetration and for criminal elements to exploit vulnerabilities. So paradoxically, while reducing the overall threat of nuclear knowledge or materials flowing from deep Russia to Muslim terrorists, it may have increased the potential for criminal elements or a greedy or corrupt individual to deal in these very items.
Russia remains a direct nuclear adversary, and there is an evident tendency toward autocracy and control. This could make Russia a much more dangerous state. Incentives for cooperation with the West are already mixed with incentives to revert to a more vigilant and defensive stance. The United States continues to pose a direct nuclear challenge, works at developing new nuclear weapons, abrogates the ABM Treaty, poses a military challenge in space, and sets forth a very pro-active global military posture. At the same time, Europe and NATO steadily and systematically expand their influence to Russia's borders.
Movement in arms control, which has the biggest potential for nuclear threat reduction, remains minimal. Decreasing force levels would not only lower direct costs, but would reduce the probabilities of accidents and mishaps, as well as increase overall security by shrinking the size of nuclear establishments. But the more assertive Russia becomes and the higher the tension in the US-Russian relationship, the lower the chances for any real arms control agreements.
To some extent, cooperation in US-Russian threat reduction efforts has become a lever to pressure acceptance of heightened internal controls (also happening in the United States) and more active efforts to reassert regional hegemony, including the present interference in Ukrainian elections. And to some extent the United States is being pressured to pay for security upgrades that Russia needs to make in any case, particularly because of the Chechen challenge.
Nonetheless, the exchanges with their pressure to increase transparency and the opportunity to build individual and even personal ties between Russians and Westerners promote government accountability and support a long-term trend to stability and democratization. This has probably become the most important benefit of the job programs for Russian nuclear experts. It is helping to open up the country. Other exchanges within the cooperative threat reduction efforts likewise have the more general effect of improving understanding and lessening tensions between the two countries.
The overall US-Russian nuclear relationship has had a mixed impact on global nuclear nonproliferation.
At the highest levels, it is very difficult to persuade China, India, or Pakistan to reduce or eliminate nuclear weapons when both the United States and Russia visibly fail to meet their own disarmament responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Although there has been some cooperation on the challenges of North Korea and Iran, there is certainly no common policy.
Disagreements between the United States and Russia have also complicated efforts to address the growing problem of civilian plutonium stores and the re-processing facilities behind them.
On the other hand, there has been a significant reduction in some of the most glaring nuclear vulnerabilities (e.g., HEU in civilian research reactors), and the cooperative US-Russian programs can take much credit for this.
This is a broad and amorphous challenge. Nevertheless, it impacts the nuclear threat to the United States in a number of ways. The more Russia becomes stable by prosperity rather through internal controls, the less of a threat it will be and the more it can be expected to cooperate in other ways. The more stable Pakistan and India become, the lower the chance that they will engage in nuclear war and the smaller the potential for nuclear leakage from Pakistan. The more peaceful prosperous, and equitable the world becomes, the less attractive radical Muslim ideologies will be.
The Cold War is over, but attitudes persist and complicate movement towards global stability. To the extent that the US-Russian cooperative threat reduction activities improve understanding between the two former rivals and promote broader international cooperation on common goals, they reduce the nuclear threat facing the United States not only directly but indirectly. In the complex world we live in, the United States simply cannot totally provide for its own security.
POTENTIAL FAS ACTIVITIES
Activities in which FAS participation would be most useful generally have to do with information exchanges and dissemination. Russia seems to be at a cross roads - there is an obvious ongoing struggle between movement towards democracy and integration into the world economy or tendencies back toward centralized controls and autocratic leadership. The outcome of this contest can have profound effects on the West in general and the United States in particular. One specific result could be a reconstitution of the former Soviet nuclear threat to the United States. On a lower level, reduced US-Russian cooperation could undo some of the nuclear stabilization of recent years and increase the threat of nuclear terrorism.
Direct participation in exchange programs can build support within Russia for basic democratic structures, including public participation and input into policy making and accountability of the leadership to the general public. Programs that increase direct Russian contacts with the outside world and integration into the global economy all help to build civil society.
The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) comments that scientific organizations like FAS often act as collaborators on ISTC projects. See: http://www.istc.ru/ISTC/sc.nsf/html/international-cooperation.htm. Collaborators guide research from the earliest stages of a proposal development, review funded work plans, and then consult with the Russian scientists throughout the research project to ensure adherence to the project milestones. Given that FAS is a broad-based organization covering many technical areas, it could act as a "clearinghouse" for ISTC scientists in search of collaborators for specific research areas and technologies.
FAS could also include participation by ISTC or other Russian organizations at its own future meetings, perhaps with specific presentations on areas of research as suggested by FAS. This would help to establish ties between FAS and Russian organizations. FAS could also work with other US organizations, such as those listed above, to jointly sponsor symposia, workshops, or conferences which include Russian scientists. These could focus on some of the nuclear issues discussed above, or could involve broader scientific exchanges, possibly in conjunction with US scientific organizations.
Although the US policy community is well aware of nuclear threat issues, the general public is largely unaware. So developing materials to raise public awareness, either alone or in conjunction with other organizations, would certainly be useful. One specific aspect of this is that the organizations working on these issues are generally aware of the other organizations that are also addressing similar or related issues, but there does not seem to be any comprehensive reference list of who the organizations are, what they are doing, and where to find them. This paper addresses some of those questions, but a publicly available Nuclear Policy Data Base, perhaps on a web site, could also be useful.
An outreach program to schools, colleges, and public organizations could also
be an effective way of increasing public awareness.