2
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

GENERAL FINDINGS

1. A National Security Imperative

As discussed in Chapter 1, the recent decline in the Russian economy has severely affected many Russian government officials, nuclear specialists, and workers who have access or could arrange access to direct-use material. The economic deprivation has increased the likelihood of attempted thefts or diversions of such material from Russian facilities. Meanwhile, expanded access by U.S. specialists to Russian facilities has led to increased estimates of the number of buildings where direct-use material is located and of the effort that will be required to install adequate material protection, control, and accountability (MPC&A) upgrades throughout the Russian nuclear complex. Experience also has led to longer and more realistic timelines for overcoming administrative and technical problems in installing upgrades and has underscored the problems that will be encountered in maintaining them after they are in place.

At the same time, there are many examples of impressive progress directly attributable to U.S. efforts (e.g., consolidation of material into a limited number of buildings at Luch, construction of security-enhanced railcars, initiation of the naval fresh fuel program). Indeed, in the absence of the U.S.-financed program, the situation undoubtedly would be far more dangerous. The First Deputy Minister for Atomic Energy stated in January 1999 that U.S.-Russian cooperation has been an important factor in strengthening Russian security efforts at many facilities.20 U.S. involvement has been pivotal in stimulating Russian efforts, though limited, to develop a stronger indigenous capability for installing and maintaining MPC&A systems and in raising awareness of the importance of MPC&A throughout the Russian nuclear complex.

20  

Lev Ryabev, "Remarks at the 7th Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C., January 11, 1999.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia 2 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS GENERAL FINDINGS 1. A National Security Imperative As discussed in Chapter 1, the recent decline in the Russian economy has severely affected many Russian government officials, nuclear specialists, and workers who have access or could arrange access to direct-use material. The economic deprivation has increased the likelihood of attempted thefts or diversions of such material from Russian facilities. Meanwhile, expanded access by U.S. specialists to Russian facilities has led to increased estimates of the number of buildings where direct-use material is located and of the effort that will be required to install adequate material protection, control, and accountability (MPC&A) upgrades throughout the Russian nuclear complex. Experience also has led to longer and more realistic timelines for overcoming administrative and technical problems in installing upgrades and has underscored the problems that will be encountered in maintaining them after they are in place. At the same time, there are many examples of impressive progress directly attributable to U.S. efforts (e.g., consolidation of material into a limited number of buildings at Luch, construction of security-enhanced railcars, initiation of the naval fresh fuel program). Indeed, in the absence of the U.S.-financed program, the situation undoubtedly would be far more dangerous. The First Deputy Minister for Atomic Energy stated in January 1999 that U.S.-Russian cooperation has been an important factor in strengthening Russian security efforts at many facilities.20 U.S. involvement has been pivotal in stimulating Russian efforts, though limited, to develop a stronger indigenous capability for installing and maintaining MPC&A systems and in raising awareness of the importance of MPC&A throughout the Russian nuclear complex. 20   Lev Ryabev, "Remarks at the 7th Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C., January 11, 1999.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia The Department of Energy's (DOE's) original plan was to reduce its involvement in Russia after 1998 and to have initial MPC&A upgrades completed at all facilities with direct-use material by 2002. In light of the decline in the Russian economy, the more recent estimates of the extent of the MPC&A problems, and the delays encountered in installing MPC&A systems, this schedule is now completely unrealistic. The need for a longer-term U.S. effort is clear. There is a strong U.S. national security imperative for substantial U.S. involvement in MPC&A projects in Russia for at least the next decade. Meanwhile, the U.S. government must continue to emphasize the importance of MPC&A as a nonproliferation imperative at the highest political levels in Russia in order to achieve the final goal of ensuring that MPC&A systems are in place and operating effectively at all locations and are supported financially by the Russian government. 2. Program Progress in Key Areas There are several key elements of the MPC&A program that deserve continuing attention. Physical Protection: Considerable progress has been achieved in installing physical protection systems, but the level of protection at various sites is quite uneven. At some buildings, state-of-the-art systems are fully operational, whereas at others, the systems have not been well designed or are not working as intended. Once upgrades have been installed at a building or set of buildings, DOE typically organizes a well-publicized commissioning ceremony that may give the false impression that the job is done. These ceremonies are not always understood by Russian and U.S. officials as simply signifying that important progress has been made; and too little attention has been given to ensuring that upgrades are operated and maintained as intended. Accountancy: Little progress has been made in upgrading the primitive material accountancy systems used at almost all sites and at the national level. Accountancy systems must be an integral part of an overall system to protect direct-use material, particularly from insider threats. If up-to-date information on precisely what material is on site and where it is located is unavailable, then it is not possible to determine whether material is missing. Although many years will be required to complete this task, more aggressive efforts clearly are warranted. Unfortunately, progress in installing upgraded accountancy systems has not been used as a metric by DOE to measure the success of its efforts. There is considerable accountancy-related activity at some sites, including the installation of many computers and computer programs as well as measurement instrumentation. But low priority has been given to carrying out and completing adequate physical inventories of materials and maintaining inventory balances on a continuing basis. The importance of the initial inventory as a baseline for the accountancy system has been highlighted at Kurchatov Institute where, despite a comprehensive paper accountancy system, numerous

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia errors in the records have been discovered during recent inventories in several buildings. At the national level, organizational and technical uncertainties continue to plague the development of a national accountancy system. In short, neither U.S. nor Russian senior officials have given accountancy adequate attention. Consolidation: At a few sites there has been progress in consolidating direct-use material into fewer buildings. However, there has been no progress in reducing the number of sites within Russia where material is located, and the outlook for such intersite consolidation is not bright given the interest of each facility in retaining its right to have direct-use material. Nonetheless, consolidation among and within sites is essential to reduce the technical problems and to minimize the costs in ensuring the security of all direct-use material on a national scale. Given the incentives at the facility level in maintaining an inventory of direct-use material (if only to participate in and receive funds from U.S. programs), consolidation across sites will not occur without high-level pressure and economic incentives from the U.S. and Russian governments. Access: DOE has been quite successful in gaining access for U.S. specialists to most sites where direct-use material is believed to be located. Development of mutual trust at both the official and working levels has been an essential aspect in expanding activities into sensitive facilities. However, years will be required at some sites to build such trust and to gain even limited access to all buildings where significant quantities of material are located. Indeed, access to extremely sensitive buildings by U.S. officials probably never will be achieved. The program should take into account this reality. Of special relevance, DOE has successfully relied on well-qualified colleagues from Kurchatov Institute in order to initiate the naval fuel program, which involves access to sensitive facilities. Reliance on qualified intermediaries may succeed at other sensitive facilities as well, such as the serial production facilities (facilities where warheads are assembled and disassembled). Neglected Material: DOE has concentrated almost exclusively on protecting unirradiated HEU and separated plutonium. Although the focus on such direct-use material is appropriate, there are also large quantities of spent fuel from maritime, research, and breeder reactors that are inadequately protected. Fuel with low burnup rates and/or long storage times is not "self-protecting" and also may pose serious proliferation threats. DOE, along with other U.S. agencies, is participating in cooperative programs to provide interim storage for spent naval fuel, particularly on the Kola peninsula. However, it appears that inadequate attention is being given to the MPC&A aspects of fuel elsewhere that, if stolen or diverted, could be processed for weapons use. Testing the System: The development of a high-quality MPC&A system involves testing the system, fixing the weaknesses revealed by the test, and testing again. There is no national program for realistic testing of MPC&A systems in Russia. Those tests that have been conducted by U.S. teams have

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia identified flaws in "completed" MPC&A systems, suggesting that, just as in the United States, repeated tests are necessary to have the systems work well. DOE has not insisted that a comprehensive testing program be put into place. 3. Russian Interest in the Program Russian support for the program continues to be strong, as evidenced by public statements by senior Russian officials; by agreements with the Ministry of Atomic Energy (MINATOM), the navy, and other organizations; and by U.S. access to a large number of facilities that only a few years ago were unknown to the outside world. At the same time, Russian motivations for participation in the program are mixed. Opportunities for financial support are welcomed at both the governmental and institute levels in Russia. At one extreme, there have been reports that some Russian institutes will agree to any approach advocated by U.S. specialists if it is accompanied by U.S. funding. Other reports suggest that at some locations Russian MPC&A teams work hard in anticipation of visits by the U.S. teams, but then slack off until the next opportunity for contracts arise. Overall, however, the Russian performance in carrying out contractual obligations seems to be very good, and at many sites the return on the U.S. investment is high. At the level of the Russian government, there are obvious foreign policy benefits from participation in the program at a time when the porosity of the Russian nuclear complex is a continuing concern. Moreover, there is a growing cadre of Russian specialists at the institute level who clearly are committed to establishing and operating high-quality MPC&A programs. Many have a full appreciation of the importance of nonproliferation goals. They, along with others who are less concerned with international security, also are driven by professional pride. It appears, however, that many Russian institute leaders are less concerned with the inadequacies of existing MPC&A systems, and particularly with the need for vigorous efforts to counter insider threats, than are U.S. specialists. Russian managers often seem more concerned about the penetration of facilities by outsiders intent on sabotage or theft of items that can be sold easily on local markets, rather than about internal theft or diversion of direct-use material. Thus, whereas U.S. specialists emphasize protection of direct-use material as close to the source as possible, the Russian starting point for protecting the assets of an institute, including its direct-use material, is usually the installation of perimeter fencing adequate to enable the guard force to keep unauthorized personnel off the premises. The differing perception of the threat—and of the optimal means to address it—results in challenging problems in designing, installing, and maintaining systems that meet both U.S. and Russian objectives. Formal MPC&A training programs that have been established in Russia through DOE cooperative efforts seem to be well designed and organized and quite popular among Russian officials, administrators, instructors, and students—at least as long as the programs are subsidized. These programs have

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia been quite effective in raising the level of MPC&A competence and awareness in Russia. However, the cost per student attending the graduate-level program at Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI) is high, and the short courses at Obninsk are dependent on a large number of foreign instructors. Also, the Obninsk programs are oriented heavily toward the technological aspects of MPC&A with minimal attention to the need to ensure that students are familiarized with nonproliferation issues as well as with safety and theft-prevention dimensions of MPC&A systems. There are also opportunities for on-the-job training at Russian facilities. Ministry of Interior (MVD) guards and junior professional employees participate in this training, but they also could benefit from formal programs that enhance understanding of nonproliferation goals of the program as well as the technical aspects of MPC&A systems. 4. DOE's Management of the Program The recent interest of DOE Secretary Richardson in the program,21 after an apparent decline of active high-level involvement within DOE during 1997 and 1998, is a welcome development. The Department of State and the Department of Defense (DOD), as well as DOE, support programs to reduce the likelihood of leakage of nuclear materials and technology from Russia to countries of concern. Any weakening of DOE's commitment to the MPC&A program, which is a cornerstone of all of these activities, will undermine the overall effort to reduce the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Also, as noted in Chapter 1, coordination among the programs managed by DOE is important, for example, MPC&A, highly enriched uranium (HEU) purchase, Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP), Nuclear Cities Initiative, and plutonium disposition. At times, different DOE laboratories with redundant interests and capabilities are involved in related, but uncoordinated, programs at the same Russian sites. And, on occasion, DOE laboratory participants are not aware of overlapping DOE activities that are under way or that could be initiated to complement their MPC&A efforts. DOE has taken steps to correct earlier coordination problems within the MPC&A program itself. There has been considerable progress in improving the internal flow and consistency of program documentation and in sharing information among laboratories and headquarters units. However, in the process of gaining better control over a rapidly expanding program, DOE has established additional levels of line management within DOE headquarters. There are also examples of micromanagement of technical activities by 21   See, for example, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, "Remarks at the 7th Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C., January 12, 1999.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia headquarters personnel that should remain the province of skilled personnel at the laboratories. The actual implementation of MPC&A programs at individual Russian facilities should be the responsibility of site managers. Site managers, who are drawn from DOE's laboratories, should have primary responsibility for developing and overseeing implementation of the site's workplan, which includes the specific MPC&A requirements and the schedule for completing upgrades. Overall, the MPC&A site managers appear to be well qualified and to have done commendable jobs of installing new physical protection systems. However, there are examples of inadequate oversight of implementation by laboratory personnel in the field. Also, efficiencies could be achieved by more careful selection of team members who travel to Russia both to reduce redundant skills and to eliminate ''observers" who sometimes travel simply to maintain a presence of a DOE laboratory on a team. Finally, although there has been significant progress at a number of Russian sites and serious problems at others, there is no institutionalized means for either U.S. or Russian participants in MPC&A programs to share lessons learned with colleagues. The annual meeting of the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management provides a useful forum to consider broad issues, but it does not provide opportunities for the more detailed discussions that are needed. The absence of lateral communication among MPC&A directors as well as among senior personnel from Russian institutions is especially acute. SPECIFIC FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Sustain the U.S. Commitment to the Program Finding: Continued U.S. support of the program is necessary to ensure that needed upgrades are installed promptly in hundreds of buildings at many sites, that the systems that are installed are operated and maintained as intended, and that guard forces stay on the job. The committee is aware of only two programs for which sustained Russian financial support of MPC&A personnel and activities seem highly likely—namely, the navy fresh-fuel program and the MPC&A program at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, which will be funded, at least in part, by the German government's annual contribution to the overall activities of the institute. The Department of Energy has requested $145 million for FY 2000, a level about the same as expenditures scheduled for FY 1999. DOE program managers have informally advocated this level of funding for the next five years, although DOE has not yet adopted a position on funding beyond FY 2000. The committee believes that the informal five-year projection is realistic, given the limited capacity of Russian institutions to use funds effectively. At the same

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia time, however, there may be new opportunities to use additional funds effectively. In any event, DOE needs to promptly complete its current effort to conduct a comprehensive baseline study of the needs for all known buildings of relevance in Russia, with appropriate estimates of the costs that would be entailed to complete the overall effort. This study should provide a firmer base for budget projections. Recommendations: A. Maintain the current level of U.S. support ($145 million per year) for the program for at least the next five years and be prepared to increase funding should particularly important opportunities arise. Plan to continue an appropriately scaled program of cooperation thereafter, with the scope and duration of the program depending on progress in installing MPC&A upgrades and economic conditions in Russia. Given the seriousness of the threat, current levels of support must be maintained. Furthermore, new opportunities, particularly activities involving spent fuel and intersite consolidation, will require additional funding as they arise. There is little likelihood over the next several years that the Russian government or the institutes will have funds to continue many aspects of the MPC&A program on their own. U.S. national security interests provide a compelling reason to continue the current level of U.S. funding during the economic turmoil in Russia. The U.S. government should, of course, continually press the Russian government and the individual institutes to finance as much of the program as possible. However, even when economic conditions improve and funding becomes less constrained, continued U.S. involvement in cooperative MPC&A endeavors should encourage the Russian government to adhere to its commitment to upgrade MPC&A systems and the institutes to devote their own funds to the support of MPC&A specialists and equipment. B. Provide support for operational costs of selected aspects of the personnel and technical infrastructure at Russian institutes to help ensure that MPC&A systems that have been installed are operated and maintained as intended. Implementing and maintaining MPC&A systems as they were designed is just as important as the installation of sound systems in the first place. If there are communication or equipment failures, if the electricity at a site is disrupted because of payment arrears, if specialists are distracted by the need to obtain supplemental income from other activities simply to survive, and if guards are not at their posts because there are no coats for outside patrols or they must search for food, the protection provided by investments in technical systems will be reduced substantially.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia The committee recognizes that the recent emergency measures of DOE have addressed some of these problems, particularly the needs of guards. However, unless economic problems subside, DOE should be prepared to provide greater support for operational activities. C. Ensure that projects for the development and operation of MPC&A systems, as well as associated training programs, include opportunities for participation by Russian guards. Guards remain a critical aspect of physical protection systems at almost all sites in Russia, both because of the security they provide and the possibility that, if faced with extreme economic hardships, they could themselves become a source of insider threats. At present, deterioration of morale and of inattention to duty appears widespread within Russian security forces. Modest investments to help ensure that guards involved in MPC&A are rewarded for doing a good job should become an important component of the effort to contain direct-use material. This support should be structured so that it does not simply subsidize Russian security agencies. Financial benefits should be coupled with requirements for the guards to upgrade their skills through attendance at training programs and with tests of their capabilities to respond to simulated penetrations of facilities. The temporary nature of the associated financial benefits should be very clear from the outset because Russian security forces probably will be among the early beneficiaries of an economic recovery. Nevertheless, to ensure the long-term professionalism of the guards, carefully designed training programs for guards will need to be continued. D. Encourage both the Russian government and institutes to seek additional income sources for supporting MPC&A programs. Developing funding sources for any activity in Russia is a formidable challenge, but Russian resources are critical to sustaining the program in the long term. In the immediate future, even limited funds devoted to MPC&A from a variety of sources could send an important signal to all participants as to the priority of this activity. Russian income from the sale of HEU to the United States should be considered as one source of funds dedicated to MPC&A. Also, there may be opportunities for the International Atomic Energy Agency, EURATOM, and other international programs and for bilateral programs of European governments to become involved to a greater extent. To this end, the current MPC&A upgrading activities should shed their image as being almost entirely a U.S.-Russian bilateral program. However, in the near term, it is unlikely that other countries will shoulder much of the financial burden, and the U.S. commitment should not be reduced in anticipation of significant foreign contributions that may not materialize.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia 2. Reassess Priorities to Address Important Vulnerabilities Finding: Activities currently under way are largely the result of addressing ''targets of opportunity." Although many activities are directed to high-priority concerns, inadequate attention has been given to systematic targeting of the most important nationwide vulnerabilities. Furthermore, on occasion, the costs of the advanced technological systems that would best address these vulnerabilities are simply too great under current budgetary constraints, and action is deferred without considering less expensive interim steps. Related to these concerns, the Minister of Atomic Energy informed the committee of his interest in having an "integrated system" and of his apprehension that many individual activities are not tied together in a rational way. With these considerations, the committee identified some key priorities that need greater attention. Recommendations: A. Review the languishing materials accountancy programs at all sites and, as part of adjusting overall program priorities, devote additional resources to improve and speed up performance in this area. U.S. officials and specialists must impress on Russian colleagues the importance of knowing at all time the whereabouts of all direct-use material—classified by type and quantity—and the personnel responsible for the material. The accountancy system must be able to detect discrepancies between expected and actual material inventories. In the absence of such an accountancy system, the diversion of material may remain undetected. Financial incentives to encourage a more serious Russian "buy-in" to this concept are needed. These incentives might include bonus clauses for superior Russian performance in statements of work. Implementation of these systems should begin as soon as possible at each site; there is no need to wait for a national accountancy system to be developed. Although developing a complete inventory at each site may take considerable time, as a first step all items or containers with direct-use material should be located, counted, logged, and sealed. The actual measurements of the quantity could be a second step. Schedules and milestones for each site must be developed, monitored, and given the highest priority. B. Give greater priority to developing an appropriate national material accountancy system, ensuring that different types of accountancy systems being installed at individual facilities have the capability to provide data in a form that can be incorporated easily into the national system. A well-developed and vigorously enforced national system will help to ensure that site-level systems are established, maintained, and operated and that materials being transferred between sites are adequately monitored and controlled. Many years will be required to achieve the goal of a high-quality

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia national system, and basic decisions on the character of the system are needed promptly. Adjustments in overall priorities should ensure that the relevant organizations are provided with adequate resources to meet their responsibilities. C. Continue to consolidate storage areas for direct-use materials whenever possible and give greater attention to the establishment of well-designed central storage facilities that serve more than one site. DOE's emphasis on the importance of consolidation, highlighted in the March 28, 1999, DOE-MINATOM agreement on this topic, should continue. It is clear that intrasite consolidation is an important first step, and information about successful consolidation efforts at some sites, including projected long-term savings in MPC&A costs, should be disseminated widely. Despite likely near-term opposition from institutions that are determined to maintain stocks of direct-use material regardless of current needs for the material, DOE should continue to push for intersite consolidation and be prepared to take swift advantage of opportunities as they arise. As a step in this direction, DOE should encourage institutes at sites with inadequate storage facilities to use high-quality central storage facilities at other sites as repositories for material in long-term storage. D. Recognizing Russian security constraints, develop as complete an MPC&A plan as possible for each site where there is direct-use material. Preparation of sitewide plans are an important step in addressing the most vulnerable material at the sites. Now that DOE has established its presence at most sites and there are well-developed guidelines for DOE MPC&A upgrades at Russian facilities, there should be increased attention to expanding the coverage of site plans that are currently inadequate. Given the sensitivity of this topic, these site plans should be developed with intensive involvement of Russian counterparts. Indeed, it often may be appropriate and necessary to ask Russian counterparts to take the lead in this activity in light of Russian national security sensitivities. E. Establish MPC&A programs at the serial production facilities as soon as possible. DOE should continue its efforts to engage the serial production facilities, where warheads are assembled and disassembled, in the program. These sites are very sensitive and the Russian hesitation about opening them to the United States is understandable. DOD encountered similar problems in addressing security improvements for nuclear weapons, and DOE-DOD exchanges of experiences on successful and unsuccessful approaches should be encouraged.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia F. Develop programs to address icebreaker and naval spent fuel that are of proliferation concern. Initiatives in the marine area should build on the successes to date in developing MPC&A systems for naval fresh fuel. Early steps to identify the amount, general characteristics, and location of maritime spent fuel have begun. Opportunities to integrate DOE's MPC&A objectives with the Russian spent fuel program should be pursued. Marine-oriented programs might be most effectively handled as a discrete cluster of activities because many of the same officials and specialists from both countries likely will be involved. G. Develop programs to address spent fuel from reactors other than naval reactors. The extent to which spent fuel from other types of reactors poses a proliferation threat needs detailed investigation. Of special concern are the plutonium reactors at Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk, the breeder reactor at Beloyarsk, and a number of research reactors. Because much of the spent fuel is quite old, there may be storage areas that contain materials of proliferation concern. H. Expand the transportation program to provide a larger number of more secure trucks to a variety of facilities while ensuring the soundness of the procedures for tracking the movement of direct-use material. Although a good start has been made in constructing railcars and trucks for transporting material between sites, many more trucks clearly are needed for intersite and intrasite transport. Considerable direct-use material is being transported because of new programs on warhead dismantlement, uranium sales, core conversion programs, and plutonium disposition as well as continuing programs for refueling maritime nuclear reactors. Precisely how many vehicles are needed should be determined by a careful analysis of transport requirements. Also, in light of concerns about material accountancy systems, the procedures for monitoring and controlling intersite shipments of material need careful review. I. Recognize that in the near term, because of economic and other factors, it may be necessary to install systems that fall short of internationally accepted standards, in anticipation of subsequent refinements. In this regard, use appropriate MPC&A measures whether they involve high-technology or low-technology approaches. Fences, padlocks, and other low-technology approaches may not be an adequate solution for long-term containment of direct-use material. However, in some cases, such systems can provide a degree of interim protection. Similarly, the development of accurate and reliable accountancy systems should not be postponed until advanced computer systems are installed. Because limited funds always will be a constraint, low-cost temporary measures should be considered if a situation needs immediate attention.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia 3. Indigenize MPC&A Capabilities Finding: U.S. specialists have played the lead roles at most sites where cooperative MPC&A activities have been undertaken. Although there are many examples of steps being taken to shift more responsibilities to Russian counterparts for the design and installation of systems, the process of indigenization of activities should receive still higher priority. This process is crucial to the proper functioning of MPC&A systems both in the immediate future and in the long term. Also, given the difference in salary requirements of U.S. and Russian specialists, such a shift will permit the stretching of available financial resources across a broader spectrum of activities. Recommendations: A. Increase the percentage of available U.S. funding that is directed to financing activities of Russian organizations, with a steadily declining percentage directed to supporting U.S. participants in the program. The current division of funding between support of Russian and support of U.S. institutions is about 50–50.22 As Russian specialists increase their capabilities to take on more of the responsibility for the program, there are opportunities for cutting back on the demand for involvement of U.S. specialists, some of whom are approaching burnout, simply by allowing Russian entities to play larger roles. These entities might include well-qualified Russian firms or U.S.-Russian joint ventures capable of implementing MPC&A. This new emphasis also should reduce costs because of salary differentials between U.S. and Russian specialists. B. Expand efforts to utilize Russian equipment and services whenever possible and to encourage Russian enterprises and institutes to increase capabilities to provide high-quality equipment and associated warranties and services. In the long run, a strong indigenous industrial capability will be essential for sustaining systems in Russia. This capability will develop only if there is a demand for locally produced products. DOE specialists should continue to work with a variety of Russian enterprises and institutes and, in cooperation with Russian counterparts, bring them into the program as they demonstrate satisfactory capabilities. In cases in which Russian manufacturers are having difficulty achieving acceptable international performance standards, they might be encouraged to enter into licensing arrangements with foreign suppliers. The 22   According to DOE, approximately one-half of the money supporting Russian institutions is for equipment, most of which is purchased in either Russia or the United States. DOE does not have data readily available on how much of this equipment is purchased in Russia.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia committee recognizes the problems that have been encountered in DOE's efforts to use Russian-produced equipment and DOE's limited ability to address these problems without substantial cooperation by the Russian counterparts. However, DOE should not lose sight of the need to encourage high-quality Russian equipment and service as a long-term goal. C. Use Russian specialists from institutions with well-developed MPC&A capabilities to replace some U.S. members of teams at Russian institutions with less developed capabilities. In connection with the program for containing naval fresh fuel, specialists from the Kurchatov Institute are setting an important example by demonstrating that qualified Russian experts can become trainers of Russian colleagues, as well as advisers on the detailed aspects of MPC&A systems. Specialists from other institutes that have achieved significant transformations in their approaches to MPC&A, such as Luch, also could serve as important members of teams assembled by DOE to assist with upgrading MPC&A systems at Russian facilities that have entered into the program only recently. D. Rely increasingly on Russian specialists to replace U.S. specialists in presenting MPC&A training programs at Obninsk and other training sites. Most aspects of the MPC&A courses offered at the training centers in Obninsk could be presented by Russian specialists, including some who are affiliated with nongovernmental organizations. Reliance on local expertise has several advantages: instruction in Russian, greatly reduced costs for instructors, and opportunities for the instructors to improve their own expertise through teaching. E. Encourage MEPhI to increase student participation (and its income resulting from tuition payments) in its security-oriented courses by offering an industrial security as well as an MPC&A specialization. The 18-month program in MPC&A studies offered by MEPhI, although very impressive for specialists in the field, may be too narrow in scope to be sustained financially in the long term. The MPC&A course has attracted considerable attention from the industrial security community in Russia and could become a cornerstone of a broader security curriculum that would provide a high likelihood of employment opportunities for graduates. MPC&A studies could continue as one specialization within a broader set of course offerings that also would attract security specialists in demand by Russian banks and industrial enterprises. The program also might be of interest to students from other countries in the region.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia F. Give greater attention, in both training and implementation activities, to developing personal commitments on the part of Russian managers, specialists, and guard forces to fulfill their responsibilities for ensuring the proper functioning of MPC&A systems. Although modern MPC&A systems are highly dependent on technological devices, they are only as effective as the people operating them. Motivating managers, specialists, and guard forces to be enthusiastic or even attentive to duty during a time of economic crisis is difficult. Periodically at each site, DOE should recognize good performance by Russian participants with plaques, certificates, and financial rewards. In addition to financial incentives to encourage a greater sense of responsibility among the participants, training and implementation activities should emphasize the importance of MPC&A activities and the national security consequences if the systems are breached. Furthermore, MINATOM training institutes should be encouraged to incorporate more MPC&A issues and courses into their curricula. Also, all DOE participants in cooperative activities should highlight the centrality of an MPC&A ethic that requires the reporting of violations and that does not tolerate shortcuts or exceptions in implementing MPC&A systems. G. Increase opportunities for Russian input in establishing priorities at specific sites and in preparing statements of work for individual projects. The greater the degree of Russian "ownership" of the upgrades that are being put in place, the more likely is the Russian enthusiasm for expediting their introduction and for ensuring that they operate as intended. Because the U.S. side controls the funding and usually takes the lead in preparing all contract documents, it is often difficult for Russian specialists to feel that they are equal partners in project design. The initial drafts of joint statements and workplans might be prepared in Russian to ensure that the Russian views are adequately represented and jointly reviewed and modified as appropriate. In general, U.S. site managers need to take whatever time is necessary so that Russian views receive weight comparable to U.S. views and that the designs that emerge are truly joint designs, both in perception and in fact. 4. Reduce Impediments to Effective Cooperation Finding: Progress in upgrading MPC&A systems has been delayed by administrative problems encountered at the national and facility levels, such as uncertainties as to participation by Russian institutions, access to sensitive facilities, lack of understanding as to tax and customs issues, confusion as to certification requirements for equipment that is to be used, and Russian indecision concerning the national materials accountancy system. Also, progress is related directly to financial incentives for the participating Russian institutes, and DOE

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia has not taken advantage of resources available through other programs to increase such incentives. Recommendations: A. Give higher priority within DOE headquarters to intergovernmental discussions of issues that impede rapid progress. There are a number of key issues that can be resolved only at the intergovernmental level, which usually means that they must be considered at the DOE-MINATOM level. Examples include procedures in Russia for the certification of equipment to be used in MPC&A systems, exemptions of funds and equipment transferred to Russia from taxes and from customs duties, procedures for access to sensitive facilities, responsibilities in Russia for developing a national system for material accountancy, and the lack of willingness of the managers of sensitive facilities (e.g., Electrostal and the serial production facilities) to participate fully in the program. Such issues should be a top priority of DOE headquarters. B. Develop an improved political/legal framework for U.S.-funded MPC&A activities in Russia that ensures long-term stability for the program and exemptions from taxes, customs charges, and related fees. As of March 1999, the U.S. and Russian governments had completed negotiations of a draft agreement to exempt U.S.-funded programs in Russia, such as the MPC&A program, from certain taxes and customs duties. Once this agreement is in place, DOE should take additional steps as necessary with MINATOM and other Russian organizations to ensure that these exemptions are fully honored at all participating institutions. C. Encourage greater interest in MPC&A at the institute level by providing rewards for good performance in developing and implementing MPC&A programs, such as priority opportunities for participation in other U.S. government-sponsored programs. The linkages between the MPC&A program and other DOE programs being carried out in Russia (e.g., IPP, Nuclear Cities Initiative, lab-to-lab research projects, support through the International Science and Technology Center [ISTC], plutonium disposition) should be strengthened. These programs can provide substantial resources to Russian institutes, and many institutes are involved in several programs. DOE should manage these programs as complementary efforts so that each reinforces the other. An institute's commitment to and progress in MPC&A should be an important factor when considering that institute's participation in other programs. It seems difficult to justify lucrative contracts in the nuclear field from U.S. government sources for an institute that has a poor MPC&A record.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia D. Establish in Moscow a DOE MPC&A office that can troubleshoot and help overcome barriers to rapid progress and that can facilitate the coordination of MPC&A activities with other DOE programs. Onsite investigations of problems by resident staff often could save considerable time and expense associated with bringing in troubleshooters from the United States. Although it seems unlikely that a posting in Moscow would be of interest to highly qualified technical personnel, the office could program the time of technical experts from the United States in a more efficient manner. Also, given the many diverse and decentralized DOE activities in Russia, a field office would be in a good position to obtain the information necessary for ensuring the coordination of DOE efforts at specific sites. The office should have wide-ranging authority within DOE for the collection and distribution of information, but it should not be empowered to control activities that are the responsibility of headquarters' units or the laboratories. 5. Improve Management of U.S. Personnel and Financial Resources Finding: The challenge of managing the activities of a multitude of U.S. laboratories, U.S. contractors, and DOE headquarters personnel at about 50 sites in Russia needs a comprehensive review. Steps should be taken to maximize the return on U.S. expenditures, to reduce redundancies of responsibilities while ensuring adequate oversight, and to provide incentives that will attract highly qualified specialists. Recommendations: A. Develop procedures for ensuring that funds transferred to Russia are not subject to taxes, contributions to Russian pension or social funds, or excessive overhead charges. Some organizations, such as the ISTC and the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation, are provided exemptions by Russian authorities from payments of taxes, customs. duties, and contributions to pension and social funds when transferring funds to Russian institutions and individuals. Use of these well established mechanisms seems to be a feasible approach for at least some aspects of the MPC&A program. This approach would not affect the technical aspects of the program and, once established, would not slow down contracting procedures. This approach is being pioneered by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which has become an ISTC partner, an initiative that should be of priority interest to other laboratories as well. Even if the U.S. government is successful in negotiating an improved overarching legal/political framework that addresses such issues as suggested above, the use of additional channels for transferring funds might provide options should difficulties arise in direct dealings with MINATOM institutes.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia B. Whenever possible, reduce the size and frequency of U.S. teams traveling to Russia for negotiations, site visits, and other reasons. Although frequent visits to Russia by U.S. specialists are important, the number of visits appears excessive (about 100 specialists were traveling to Russia each week at the beginning of 1999). Highest priority should be given to negotiations at the intergovernmental level to resolve issues that impede progress and to technical visits that the site managers consider critical to putting MPC&A systems in place. However, even for these activities, DOE headquarters should ensure that every member of the teams has a clear job to do. As for other types of visits (e.g., participation in training programs, commissioning ceremonies, field audits, conferences), there should be opportunities to reduce travel. C. Develop a clearer division of responsibility between DOE headquarters staff and specialists of the DOE laboratories. This division should recognize the lead role of headquarters in intergovernmental negotiations, formulation of general policy guidance, determination of priorities among sites, and financial oversight. It should recognize the role of the laboratories in providing advice to headquarters on policy aspects of the program, in making technical decisions in accordance with headquarters guidance and budgetary allocations, and in providing specialists who are responsible for the development and implementation of MPC&A upgrades. The responsibilities of DOE headquarters for overall design of the program, for coordination, for oversight, and for budgetary justification of the program are clear. However, DOE should recognize the primacy of the laboratories in implementation and refrain from attempting to micromanage activities at individual sites. At the same time, senior DOE personnel should have more direct access to field activities; and to this end, the organizational structure at DOE headquarters needs to be flatter so as to reduce the several layers of management between the Assistant Secretary for Arms Control and Nonproliferation and the site managers. D. Give greater recognition to the key role of U.S. site managers, ensure that they have the necessary authority to manage all activities at the sites and to make key technical decisions, and design support systems that facilitate rather than impede their activities. Site managers should be given broad authority to act in accordance with policy guidance and financial resources provided by DOE headquarters. They then should be held fully accountable for results. They should be able to allocate budgeted resources with some flexibility, drawing on DOE expertise across the laboratories as needed. Of course, they must coordinate their activities with many other DOE site managers competing for the same personnel resources. However, once in the field, their authority should be clear. DOE should conduct periodic reviews of the activities of each site manager, and those who do not

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia produce technically or administratively acceptable results should be replaced without delay. E. Select specialists for each field activity on the basis of their personal qualifications and availability and abandon previous policies that assigned slots for sites to specific DOE laboratories. If the site manager is to have responsibility for performance of the site team within budgetary constraints, he or she should have a degree of control over team membership. He or she should not be limited to drawing from specific laboratories or required to pad the team with unnecessary specialists simply to maintain the presence of specific laboratories on the team. Of course, coordination among site managers in the competition for specialists is very important. F. Ensure that there is a cadre of specialists available for consultations with DOE headquarters, DOE laboratories, and participating contractor organizations who have strong backgrounds in Russian language, history, culture, economics, and accounting and financial systems, as well as in familiarity with day-to-day problems encountered in working in the Russian environment. All specialists traveling to Russia should have some understanding of the Russian environment. Even those who already have made multiple visits could benefit from additional background concerning the historical and current settings. To this end, DOE headquarters, laboratories, and contractors should arrange for short training programs, lectures, and/or consultations for program participants. DOE's effectiveness would be enhanced if program participants had greater familiarity with Russian traditions, sensitivities, and realities. G. Develop better metrics for gauging the success of MPC&A upgrades at sites. Although considerable efforts have been devoted to the installation of physical protection equipment, the operation and maintenance of this equipment and material accountancy have not received adequate attention. Until there has been substantial progress on material accountancy and on ensuring the sustainability of physical protection equipment, work at sites should not be considered complete. Another metric of progress could be the success of new systems in preventing test penetrations of the facilities. H. Improve communication in Russia and in the United States between site managers. Many problems are common to sites across Russia. However, there is no institutionalized mechanism for site managers to share their experiences either in Russia or the United States, to discuss the success or failure of various approaches, and to determine common difficulties that need to be addressed at

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia higher levels. DOE should (1) support a Russian initiative to improve communication not only among Russian site managers but also among ministries and institutes through periodic meetings and perhaps a newsletter, and (2) develop a forum for U.S. site managers to meet regularly and exchange lessons learned. I. Coordinate MPC&A program activities with activities of related DOE programs to take advantage of opportunities for programs to reinforce one another. The overlaps in objectives and field activities between different DOE programs are manifold. They are designed to (1) prevent theft and smuggling of nuclear material; (2) facilitate the downsizing of the Russian nuclear weapons complex and provide alternative employment to its excess scientists and workers; (3) increase transparency in the management of nuclear weapons and materials, particularly in warhead dismantlement and management of excess fissile materials resulting from arms reductions; (4) end production of additional excess fissile material; and (5) reduce the huge stockpiles of excess fissile material as rapidly as practicable. As materials are shipped from site to site pursuant to these programs, the MPC&A aspects obviously should be in the forefront of planning. As MPC&A capabilities of Russian institutes improve, they should be considered as locations for other DOE activities, and as Russian specialists scramble for new income streams, the programs should target the most vulnerable groups. 6. Expand Efforts to Understand the Full Dimension of Critical Long-Term Problems Whereas the foregoing recommendations are directed to immediate steps, several topics deserve further analysis. A. Support studies of (1) problems that will confront Russian institutes as they assume full responsibility for sustaining and enhancing MPC&A upgrades, and (2) approaches that can be taken now to help minimize these problems. Particular attention should be given to approaches for generating the funds necessary to sustain the program. B. Support a study to identify specific cooperative projects that DOE could undertake with GOSATOMNADZOR (GAN), Russia's nuclear regulatory agency, to strengthen GAN's role in MPC&A. C. Support studies of the capabilities of organized crime groups to penetrate the nuclear establishments of Russia and of the linkages between such groups and organizations in countries of nuclear proliferation concern.

OCR for page 17
Protecting Nuclear Weapons Material in Russia These studies should be joint U.S.-Russian efforts. Also, in view of the centrality of MPC&A concerns to the overall U.S. nonproliferation effort and the changing economic and security conditions in Russia, external reviews of DOE's MPC&A program should be carried out periodically.