Monthly Archives: December 2008

Lavrov: Come Back to Europe, America

I know at least one TW reader who’ll love (_not_) this line from “a recent essay”: by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

bq. The United States is an integral part of European civilization. And now the time has probably come to return to Europe, that is, accept the soft European attitude to the world, shaped, inter alia, during the Cold War period not without the participation of America itself.

(And, yes, in this essay Lavrov too notes that the “Sochi Declaration”: rulez.)

Remember Sochi?

In a “recent interview”:, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov said that the April 2008 “Sochi Strategic Framework Declaration”: “was conceived as a strategic framework for [U.S.-Russian] relations, not limited to Bush’s tenure.” He also noted that “[t]he Russian side intends to continue work precisely in the Sochi vein.”

Thought I’d highlight some points (aside from the obvious post-START agreement and missile defense cooperation) in the Declaration.

* We are fully committed to preventing the illicit trafficking or *destabilizing accumulations of conventional arms in order to contribute to regional and international security and stability*. The U.S. and Russia will cooperate to ensure that transfers of such weapons do not contribute to the development and enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals, as well as to deny conventional arms to terrorists.

* We will work together to address serious differences in areas where our policies do not coincide, including NATO expansion; *development of a package solution that helps restore the viability of the CFE regime and prompt ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty* by all the States Parties; and certain military activities in space.

* We will cooperate in preparing and ensuring *a successful outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference*.

* We remain *committed to political and diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution guaranteeing that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes*…Russia’s agreement to deliver nuclear fuel and take back spent fuel from Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr is a *welcome step* that provides Iran a civil nuclear power capability without the need for the indigenous enrichment of uranium or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.

* We will sign in the near future and *work to bring into force the bilateral agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States* that was initialed on June 29, 2007. This agreement will create the necessary legal basis for our cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy and will permit the expansion of such cooperation.

* We will continue to expand and strengthen [the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism] and *fully implement the agreed program of work*.

Anyway, there is something for everyone. “Read it for yourself”:

WMD Attack in 2013?

You all probably know that the first line in the “executive summary”: of the December “report”: from the “Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism”: states that, in the Commission’s opinion,

bq. unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.

What you may not know is that, as far as I can tell, that claim does not appear again in the report. In any case, there is certainly no methodology to explain where that number came from.


J Rood On “Conventional Nuclear” Weapons

Confusion reigns in the “press pool”:

UNDER SECRETARY ROOD: With regard to the [START] treaty, I think one of the principal differences is over the scope of the treaty. For us in the United States, we would like a treaty which sets limits on strategic nuclear weapons. *Our colleagues in Russia would like a treaty with a broader scope than that, and they would like it to encompass conventional forces as well, conventional strategic forces*.

QUESTION: *Conventional nuclear?*


QUESTION: *Conventional nuclear forces?*

UNDER SECRETARY ROOD: *That’s a contradictory term, conventional nuclear*. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Well, there is such a – well, so is full tactical nuclear weapons. That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what I’m saying.

UNDER SECRETARY ROOD: *Tactical nuclear weapons form a nuclear weapon. I wouldn’t call it a conventional weapon.* But there are —

QUESTION: Are there long-range bombers, then, or something like that?

UNDER SECRETARY ROOD: No. *You can have strategic conventional weapons. Long-range bombers that drop a conventional weapon would be one.* Conventionally armed —

QUESTION: They’re talking about – that they’re talking about?



UNDER SECRETARY ROOD: *They’d like that sort of thing to become –conventionally armed missiles, other forms of conventional forces.* And whatever means they would be, they would be strategic.

QUESTION: *So when you say conventional, you mean not nuclear?*


Now that we got _that_ sorted out… Might I recommend “WMD411”:

Areva NPP Construction Vid

Via “Blogstroyka”:, here is an awesome video on construction of the Olkiluoto unit 3, an “EPR”:, in Finland.

New Moscow Defense Brief

The new issue of CAST’s “_Moscow Defense Brief_”: is out.

Some highlights:

* “Iskander the Great”:

* “Russian Deliveries of Arms, Military Equipment, and Dual Use Items to Iran Since 2000”:

* “Iran’s Foreign Policy in Central Asia”:

* “Serdyukov’s Plan for Russian Military Reform”:

The cover photo is a money shot. “*Check it out for yourself*”:

Arms Control Person(s) of the Year

‘Tis that time of year again. Among the nominees are:

* Jonas Gahr Støre

* Chris Hill

* Tom Fingar

and many more…

“*Vote here*”:–fYqIx8Q.

I am, of course, “predictably biased”: towards the Central Asian legislators.

Church of Nuclear, Part 3

Surely you remember “part one”: and “part two”: of the Total WonKerr feature _The Church of Nuclear_. In our third installment, we wanted to briefly note the importance of clergy presence at construction sites of nuclear power plants. Here is a picture from concrete pouring activities at the second unit of the Leningrad nuclear power plant. (“Original here”:


Rosatom Shows Off Nuclear Projects

“Prod. Prod. Prod.”:

I have been meaning to highlight Rosatom’s “Blogstroyka website”: for some time. However, the blog, which has just 6 posts, hasn’t been updated since November 26.

Maybe it’s the credit crunch.

And sadly, there are no Bushehr highlights on the blog… Yet?

But the blog features a neat “post about Kudankulam”:, which has pictures of the famous (“in my book”: wave cutter. And there are also some pics of NPPs that Atomstroyexport is constructing in China (“here”: and “here”: that are worth a glance.

There is also this video on NPP construction.

Oh yeah, with all the money Rosatom is dumping into outreach to English-speakers with multiple websites (“this”:, “this”:, “this”:, “this”:, and more), I really wish they’d invest in a good translator instead. It was funny at one point. But today, “stuff like this”: is just sad and embarrassing.

And, while I don’t speak Japanese, this “pdf-based effort to provide some information to Japanese-speakers”: on the old Minatom website, which only has _Russian-language navigation_, seems kind of weird.