Readings

RUSSIAN ARTICLES

  • "A Small-scale 'Chernobyl' Threatens the Russian Hinterlands;
    or What the Ministry of Defense is Hiding from GAN"

    This article in Izvestiya January 4, 1996 explains the difficulties facing Russia's nuclear regulatory agency GAN The writer, Alexander Kanygin who heads GAN's Yaroslavl office, says as long as the military is not subject to GAN oversight, he can make no guarantees for the safety of the public.

    (Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy has operated for decades without any sort of outside supervision and has resisted GAN's attempts to introduce external controls on the nuclear industry. Much of GAN's effective power was stripped from the agency when Yeltsin signed a decree in July 1995 exempting military facilities from GAN oversight. Many observers see this as a payback to the military for their role in Chechnya. )


  • "Atomic Theft and Atomic Security: What the General Prosecutor's Documents Say"
    by Alexander Mytsykov, aide to the General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation (from: YadernyControl # 9 )

    This September 1995 review of Russia's nuclear complex ends up offering several examples of a "depressing picture." Details are given on nuclear sites across Russia which have inadequate inventory controls, improper storage and lax security.


  • "The Nuclear Mafia in Russia-The Truths and Myths."

    An interview with General Gennady Yevstafiev, Russia's senior intelligence officer responsible for incidents of nuclear theft. While acknowledging problems, General Yevstafiev says there is a lot of "disinformation" about nuclear smuggling in Russia. He also questions the 'political' motivations behind Germany's nuclear sting operations and says other countries also have problems with nuclear leakage. (This interview appeared in the Russian weekly newspaper Vek in September 1995.)


  • Boris Yeltsin's New Secrecy Measures on Nuclear Material Issues

    In the fall of 1995, President Yeltsin signed a presidential order which in effect banned discussions of nuclear crimes and theft. As a result, FRONTLINE's investigation encountered resistance from Russian officials who dodged or denied interviews. Included here are excerpts from Yeltsin's order showing the extent to which the activity of the Ministry of Atomic Energy is still regarded as secret.


  • "Chernobyl, Dimitrograd, Where else?"
    by A. Ioirysh and Yuri Rogozhin

    This article published in the newspaper Trud on February 22, 1996 explains how legislation on the operation of Russia's nuclear complex is only now being written. During the Soviet era nuclear facilities were treated as 'special objects' and basically operated above the law.

US ANALYSES

  • "Before the Deluge? Assessing the Threat of Nuclear Leakage from the post-Soviet States"

    William C. Potter offers a good overview of the issue in this Arms Control Today article. It details the significant cases of nuclear theft and smuggling (as of fall 1995) and examines organized crime's involvement, export control problems, and programs and possible solutions for nuclear security. (Potter directs the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.)


  • "Avoiding Nuclear Anarchy: Containing the Threat of Loose Nuclear Weapons and Fissile Material"

    Here's a summary of a 1995 Harvard Study on loose nukes and nuclear material. Graham Allison lays out seven propositions concerning the danger, beginning with proposition #1: 'The theft, loss and sale of bomb grade nuclear material is not a hypothetical threat.' (Allison advises the Department of Defense and is director of the Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.)


  • "A Primer on Fissile Material and Nuclear Weapon Design"

    What are fissile materials? How are they made? How much is necessary to make a bomb? Owen R. Cote, Jr. answers these and other questions and shows why the recipe for a simple nuclear weapon is not beyond the reach of most states and many groups. (Cote is Assistant Director of the Internation Security Program at the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also the editor of the journal International Security.)


  • "The Threat of Nuclear Diversion"

    Here is an excerpt from CIA Director John Deutsch's March 1996 testimony before a congressional subcommittee. He outlines the danger of nuclear smuggling by rogue nuclear states, terrorist groups, organized crime and summarizes Russia's inadequate security and inventory controls for its vast nuclear stockpile.


  • "The Real Threat of Nuclear Smuggling"

    This January 1996 article in Scientific American says the world has yet to face up to the severity of the nuclear terrorism threat. Authors Phil Williams and Paul N. Woessner list warning signs--such as smuggling cases and the rise of smuggling networks--and advocate an international force to investigate terrorist and organized criminal groups, and a disaster management team to prepare for a nuclear catastrophe.

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