“There are no secrets in this chapter”

Publish date: November 26, 1999

Written by: Runar Forseth

The fourth day of the Nikitin trial began a little past 11:00 local time this morning. The topic of the day is a third generation submarine reactor described in subchapter 2.3.3 of the Bellona report.

Minatom expert findings excluded from the indictment:

During its investigations into the Nikitin case, the FSB ordered several expert assessments of the Bellona report’s chapter 2.3, dealing with Soviet submarine reactors.

One committee consisted of experts from the Russian Atomic Ministry, Minatom. Their conclusion, of September 1996, was that there were no secrets within the chapter. Not surprisingly, there is no mention of this committee in the indictment against Nikitin.

Another expert committee, however, appointed by the Eight Directorate of the Ministry of Defence, did conclude that state secrets were revealed in subchapter 2.3.3, while a third committee concluded that unspecified parts of the information presented on the reactors had led to an economic loss equalling 1,000,000 USD. The court rejected this latter expert committee finding last year, a decision that was confirmed by the Supreme Court in February.

Now the situation is that an economic loss of 20,000 USD is mentioned in the indictment, allegedly due to the spreading of technological know-how on the reactor described in subchapter 2.3.3, a third generation reactor designed in the early seventies. How this ties in with the indictment’s concern about the Russian defensive capabilities remains unclear.

Today’s proceedings are expected to end early, and a Bellona press briefing has been scheduled for 13:00, at the Ambassadour Cafe, next door to the usual restaurant. Among other things, we hope to have learned whether and when Norwegian Thomas Nilsen of the Bellona Foundation will give testimony to the court.