Category Archives: Russia

The SLC bronco bucks

State level concepts, or SLC, have been a burr under the IAEA’s saddle as it seeks to introduce a broader approach to its conduct of safeguards to verify states’ compliance with their obligations under the Treaty On The Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
The SLC is a comprehensive approach to implementing safeguards that emphasizes using all available and relevant information about a state’s nuclear program to guide the Agency’s safeguards activities in that state, instead of focusing on specific facilities.
A safeguards implementation plan for a specific state that uses this concept is called a state-level approach.
According to the IAEA, applying state-level approaches allows it to more efficiently use its limited resources and focus more on detection of possible undeclared activities.
The Agency says that the SLC approach is more efficient and makes better use of its resources by using all available and relevant information about a state’s nuclear program instead of focusing on specific facilities.
There has been resistance from several IAEA member states to SLC. At the start of its Safeguards Symposium, 20 – 24 October, regrettably closed to media, the following statement was delivered by the head of Russia’s delegation Grigory Berdennikov.

Just like the bad old days?

Despite the New START Treaty going into effect in 2011, the Federation of Atomic Scientists (FAS) reports that the United States and Russia have actually increased the number of strategic nuclear weapons deployed since then. Read further and deeper on the topic on their website, and don’t forget to check out their background information:

http://fas.org/blogs/security/2014/10/newstart2014/

‘…disarmament in its classic “meaning” is more and more of the past’

Atomic Reporters readers may have missed this announcement earlier in April from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

PRESS RELEASE

Regarding a structural change in the headquarters of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

768-04-04-2014

On the 3 April, a structural change was made to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Department for Security Affairs and Disarmament (DSAD) was abrogated. A Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control (DNPAC) was created on the basis of it instead.

This change is related to the fact that a significant extension of functions and the area of responsibility of this structural unit has taken place during the last few years.

Now it is more important that in the work this department is dealing with, issues of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and arms control come to the fore more and more noticeably, while disarmament in its classic “meaning” is more and more of the past.

4 April 2014

Crimea, Iran & Kremlinology

“I don’t quite get it. Was that a punch at the U.S. or Iran?”
                                     –Russian President Vladimir Putin, June 12, 2013

Kremlinology Graph

Growing up during the Cold War, young Atomic Reporters were familiar with the word “Kremlinology.” That art of signal reading has steadily declined over time, as demonstrated by Google’s Ngram Viewer, which compiles the number of times authors use words in published literature.

The decline of Kremlinology has contributed to many people wondering whether the Crimean dispute is going to affect negotiations with Iran. While the U.S. insists that the two issues be kept separate and that the Ukraine spat shouldn’t jeopardize the Iran-nuclear negotiation, it’s far from clear whether Moscow sees the issue quite the same.

Enter Vladimir Putin in his RT interview last June. It didn’t receive much coverage among Western news outlets. Those that wrote about the interview did so derisively. That’s too bad, because if a person can get past the high-octane spin, there was some important signaling going on about how Russia interprets U.S. interest in keeping Iran on the hot seat.

Continue reading Crimea, Iran & Kremlinology

Orphaned (Re)Source: The Gernot Zippe Files

We’re back after an extended absence with some rare archival material. To make up for our scarce posting, please accept these as Christmas gifts to Atomic Reporters, wherever they may be:

Background to the Zippe Files:

The gas centrifuge has emerged as the most popular and efficient device for enriching uranium in the fissile isotope U235. Uranium-235 is the isotope used for nuclear fission that can generate both electricity and bombs.

Many people have contributed to gas centrifuge development but one name stands out as a major contributor to the technology: Gernot Zippe. Zippe was an Austrian mechanical engineer who was captured by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. He was taken to Russia where he participated in the design of the first generation of uranium enrichment centrifuges based upon subcritical rotors made of high strength aluminum. While the Russians denigrate his efforts, many of his ideas ended up in the Soviet centrifuges that are the basis of Russian uranium enrichment today.

Continue reading Orphaned (Re)Source: The Gernot Zippe Files

Orphaned (Re)source: LC 16/INF.2

Dear Readers,

Today we bring you the first in an occasional series of hard-to-find, nuclear-related research in need of a home online. Our first submission, “LC 16/INF.2” comes via the International Maritime Organization, where it was submitted by Russian authorities in 1993. The document, posted in three parts due to its size, provides a comprehensive view of Soviet and Russian disposal of radioactive wastes at sea. It was presented to the IMO in the wake of the 1993 incident in which Russia dumped 900 tons, or less-than 3 curies, of liquid waste into the Sea of Japan.

“Matters Related to the Disposal of Radioactive Wastes at Sea”
Submitted to the Russian Federation to the IMO Sept. 14, 1993

LC 16_INF.2 part 1

LC 16_INF.2 part 2

LC 16_INF.2 part 3