Without Russia: what will be discussed at the nuclear summit in Washington

Thursday, March 31, in Washington, will open the two-day nuclear security summit. Meetings of the highest level have been initiated by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009 to develop new mechanisms to significantly reduce the nuclear threats to the planet. This fourth gathering of world leaders (summit held since 2010, every second spring) under the plan shall be the last, but to be discussed it will not decrease, and growing threats to nuclear security: both on the part of individual countries, such as North Korea and terrorist groups.

Dual threat

The problem of North Korea will be a priority for summit participants, according to analysts of the Agency Stratfor (called the “shadow CIA”). In mid-March, the DPRK announced its intention to conduct new nuclear tests and ballistic missiles. During these two weeks, North Korea launched several short-range missiles, medium-range missile (for the first time in two years) and conducted tests of the solid rocket motor.

Korean topic will come up in bilateral meetings, including Obama and the leaders of China, South Korea and Japan. Aggressive policy of the DPRK leads to the strengthening of military-political relations between Washington and Seoul and Tokyo, causing concern over Beijing’s influence in the region. Conversationalist in Japanese diplomacy confirmed on Wednesday that Tokyo regards as the main threat to military activity namely the DPRK and the PRC.

Equally disturbing its summit caused by the situation in the middle East. “We know about the desire of terrorist groups to gain access to the materials and to obtain nuclear weapons, said this week samovarnika Obama’s national security Ben Rhodes. — This was the case of al Qaeda, is now in the case of ISIS” (both organizations are banned in Russia as a terrorist).

After the terrorist attacks in Brussels, it was announced that the perpetrators of the attacks previously conducted surveillance of the expert of the Belgian nuclear research centre, “who had access to radioactive isotopes”. And the next day it became known about the murder of security guard the nuclear power plant in the Belgian city of Charleroi and the kidnapping of his staff passes.

According to Nuclear Threat Initiative, from 45 countries with stocks of fissile materials, only 24 provide protection of nuclear facilities from cyber attacks, and many countries did not take basic measures against potential sabotage.

Of particular concern to Washington is the safety of nuclear facilities of Pakistan, the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons. The New York Times notes that if at the beginning of the Obama presidency members of his administration said that the nuclear stock of Pakistan are protected, they more this is not mentioned. Resentment of the West that its nuclear program Islamabad is focused on creating compact nuclear bombs, which terrorists theoretically easier to take over.

Slow progress

Announced in 2010 goals — such as the nuclear security of the world’s fissile materials — participants over the years, summits could be reached. Besides, if in the period 2012-2014 seven countries refused fissile materials for military use, then for the last two years the club has added only by Uzbekistan.

At the previous summit in the Hague in 2014, a landmark decision was taken by Japan, are required to pass the U.S. and U.K. 500 kg of weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium. 331 kg of them — enough to create the equivalent to 50 bombs used in Hiroshima — went to South Carolina.

But this is only a drop in the ocean. Washington wants Tokyo assurances that the Japanese giant stock of weapons-grade plutonium will not increase. His production of the country began in the 1970s, hoping to later use in reactors-the breeder, but this technology is not widely used, and Japan eventually gained 47,8 tons of weapons-grade plutonium or 18% of the global total (for comparison, Russia — 52 t, USA — 49 t).

The question of his fate may be raised at the meeting of Obama with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Negotiations can be initiated through consultations on the extension until 2018 of the operation of a bilateral agreement on the peaceful atom. Tokyo should give guarantees to limit production of plutonium to the real needs of Japan, the construction of new storage and transfer of part of fuel in the UK and France — 37 tonnes of Japanese plutonium are stored, through bilateral agreements in those countries, says (*.pdf), Carnegie’s James Acton. But in his opinion, Abe is unlikely to discuss the question of extending the contract, postponing it until the inauguration of the next American President.

If we take a globally, it accumulated in the world inventory of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, enough for 200 thousand repetition of tragedies such as the one that occurred in Hiroshima, says a study in 2015 of the International panel on fissile materials.

The US and Russia in the sum accounts for 90% of all highly enriched uranium in the world, but Moscow at this summit will not be represented. “The absence of Russia as it is the absence of the elephant in the room,” said The Financial Times Olga Oliker, Director of the Russian researches of the analytical centre CSIS. In addition to Russia offers nuclear technology countries in the summit refused to accept the participation of the representatives of the DPRK and Iran. The Kremlin’s refusal from participation in the meeting in Washington are already questioning the results, I’m sure Oliker.

The Russian demarche

The Kremlin refused to participate in the summit in November 2014. Then Moscow motivated its decision by the political nature of the event. In the letter the Russian side, which quoted an American diplomatic source, The Associated Press, said that the meeting on nuclear security should be about technical issues, and the organizer must act exclusively in the IAEA. This event is entirely an American project, confirms Oliker. Obama proclaimed the fight against the global nuclear threat, one of the goals of his presidency during the election campaign of 2008. For it is largely he received the Nobel peace prize, not having served in the White house and the year.

At the last nuclear security summit, which was held in March 2014 in the Hague, Russia was represented by the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, the contradictions were obvious. At this summit, Moscow has set a condition that will not incur obligations on reduction of stocks of nuclear materials. It was about signatures on the Initiative for the implementation of action to strengthen nuclear safety (Strengthening Nuclear Security Implementation Initiative), involving the agreement signatories on a periodic international inspections of nuclear facilities and the implementation of recommendations on their findings. Moscow supported, among others, India and China. USA and another 34 States in this format of cooperation has entered.

On Wednesday the President’s press Secretary Dmitry Peskov explained the refusal of participation by a deficiency of interaction during preliminary preparation of the summit. “Moscow believes that the study of issues related to nuclear safety requires common and joint effort and mutual consideration of interests and positions during the preliminary work,” he said.

West announced Russia’s refusal to participate in the summit part of the strategy of self-isolation. Obama’s adviser Rhodes said Russia’s decision “is a missed opportunity for her”. Turning, Moscow “insulated itself”, he said.

But the refusal of participation in the summit is not limited. In Washington’s view, Russia is “slowly but surely” working on the revision of the security architecture established in Europe after the cold war. This statement was made by assistant Secretary of state for arms control Frank rose, citing Moscow’s decision from March 2015 to suspend its participation in the Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe and committed to her alleged breach of Contract on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range.

The refusal of Russia said and done in 2013 President Obama’s proposal to initiate negotiations on further nuclear disarmament, Moscow has calculated that reductions below the level of a prisoner in 2010 Contract start-3 will provide for her an immediate threat. Russia insisted on the fact that in this case the disarmament negotiations were connected to other members of the nuclear club, such as the UK and France. With the deterioration of bilateral relations due to the annexation of Crimea and war in Ukraine for talks are faced with new obstacles. In February of this year, Deputy foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has ruled out the possibility of continuing dialogue with Washington on reducing nuclear arsenals.