Schmoozing for World Peace

I am not a fan of _The Guardian_, but this 23 Aug piece by Julian Borger titled “The Time Bomb”: caught my eye. The story (which should be cut by about a half) provides a decent overview of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative’s removal of highly enriched uranium from “INRNE”: in Sophia, complete with discussion of “*feral dogs [that] chased each other through the bushes in the grounds around the reactor*.” For background on the removal, see “my earlier post”:

Most importantly, the piece *offers up profiles of and some neat quotes from the “GTRI masters”* — Andrew Bieniawski and Igor Bolshinsky — as well as a *high-speed car chase*.

The US duo are both immigrants. Andrew Bieniawski, a 41-year-old from South Africa, is in charge of the programme at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the part of the US department of energy that is responsible for looking after the US nuclear arsenal, *making sure the bombs still work and do not blow up unexpectedly*. His deputy, Igor Bolshinsky, a former mine technician from the Ukrainian coal city of Donetsk, has responsibility for repatriating the Soviet-origin material and does most of the travelling and persuading – “*Schmoozing for world peace*,” as Bolshinsky put it.


In Sofia, *Bolshinsky had been in fine form, cajoling, joking and flattering Bulgarian officials in a mix of Russian and English*. He was consequently stunned on the designated day of the uranium’s departure when *Bulgarian security* – somewhat prickly over the arrival of this ebullient American employee in the nation’s inner nuclear sanctum – *ordered the uranium convoy to leave the institute an hour earlier than agreed, without bothering to tell Bolshinsky*.

In the past few years, Bolshinsky has overseen uranium removals from Libya to Vietnam, and has been tailed in the course of his duties by some of the world’s most persistent secret policemen, but this stunt stretched his sense of humour to breaking point. “*Not good, not good at all*,” he said emphatically when he turned up at the reactor at dawn to find the car park empty. *He jumped into a car for a high-speed chase along a Bulgarian motorway, in pursuit of the missing uranium casks*.

Check out the exciting conclusion “here”: I should note that perhaps the only thing missing from the story is Miss Moneypenny… Fun times.

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