US To Begin Helping Russia
Dismantling World's
Largest Nuke Subs
By Harry Dunphy
Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- With U.S. help, Russia will start dismantling the world's largest nuclar submarines next year, Sen. Richard Lugar said Tuesday.
Lugar, R-Ind., said Russian researchers also were cooperating with the United States to develop a vaccine for anthrax and prevent the spread of other biological warfare weapons.
Just back from a visit nine-day visit to Russia and Ukraine, Lugar said each of Russia's six existing Typhoon submarines carried 20 ballistic missiles capable of launching 200 nuclear warheads at the United States.
"This is a major step forward," Lugar told a news conference. "When these submarines are dismantled, 1,200 nuclear weapons will be removed from operational systems that could be used against the United States."
He described the Typhoons as the workhorses of the Soviet and Russian strategic missile submarine force. Lugar said dismantling of the first Typhoon in 1999 and he hoped all six would be destroyed in the early 2000s.
Lugar, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., who accompanied him on the trip, spearheaded a $400 million a year program that provides technical assistance to the former Soviet Union to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and account for weapons of material. The program began in 1992.
Lugar said his group met with directors of 13 biological institutes from across Russia and visited the world's leading anthrax research institute, the Obolensk State Research Center of Applid Microbiology.
Scientists at Obolensk are cooperating in vaccine research with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute, Lugar said, and have identified six strains of anthrax, a disease that normally afflicts animals such as cattle and sheep but can cause severe illness death in humans who inhale large doses.
Lugar said there were hundreds if not thousands of biological pathogens deadly to human beings on file at Obolensk. Its director told him without financial support from Moscow or help from the West he is convinced security at the institute will fall to dangerous levels.