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Nuclear News - 10/31/2006
RANSAC Nuclear News, October 31, 2006
Compiled By: Luke Schlichter


A.  Russia
    1. Russia to place Angarsk plant under IAEA control - Kiriyenko, ITAR-TASS (10/31/2006)
    2. Short circuit causes shutdown of nuclear reactor near St. Petersburg, Associated Press (10/28/2006)
B.  Iran
    1. U.S. seeks guarantees over Iran nuclear reactor, Sue Pleming, Reuters (10/30/2006)
    2. Iran says 2nd centrifuge cascade launch complies with NPT treaty, RIA Novosti (10/29/2006)
    3. Iran unruffled by US-led Gulf naval manoeuvres, Agence France-Presse (10/29/2006)
C.  Russia - Iran
    1. Iran nuclear talks should continue, Putin tells Ahmadinejad, Agence France-Presse (10/30/2006)
    2. Russia dismisses fears of Iran's arms-grade uranium, RIA Novosti (10/27/2006)
D.  DPRK
    1. North Korea agrees to nuclear talks, Charles Hutzler, Associated Press (10/31/2006)
    2. Pyongyang regime could collapse under international isolation, Joel Wit, The Korea Herald (10/31/2006)
    3. N. Korea Reportedly Fired 5 Missiles, Associated Press (10/30/2006)
E.  Counterproliferation
    1. Technology detects plutonium, uranium, United Press International (10/30/2006)
    2. Tracking WMDs in murky waters, Linda Sieg and Chris Buckley, Reuters (10/28/2006)
F.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Energy for New Century, Park Kyu-tae, The Korea Times (10/30/2006)
G.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Rosatom to team up with Canada's Cameco in uranium production, RIA Novosti (10/31/2006)
    2. German Nuclear Waste to Go Back to Mother Russia by Air, Deutsche Welle (10/30/2006)
    3. Russia wins tender to build Belene NPP in Bulgaria, RIA Novosti (10/30/2006)
H.  Nuclear Forces
    1. Beckett: we may not need nuclear missiles, David Cracknell, The Times  (10/29/2006)
I.  Egypt
    1. Egypt seeks nuclear energy, United Press International (10/30/2006)
J.  India
    1. Belgium set for India's nuclear quest, Indo-Asian News Service (10/30/2006)
    2. Saran: if deal fails, we have our own programme, The Hindu (10/29/2006)
    3. North Korea's Test and Congressional Delay: Implications for India-US Nuclear Deal, Anirudh Suri, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (10/24/2006)
K.  Israel
    1. Report: Israel used uranium-enriched bombs, United Press International (10/28/2006)
L.  Official Statements
    1. Nations Meet in Morocco on How To Counter Nuclear Terror Threat, Jacquelyn S. Porth, U.S. Department of State (10/30/2006)
    2. UN nuclear watchdog agency chief urges controls over whole fuel cycle, UN News Centre (10/30/2006)
    3. Twenty-Five Nations To Join in Nonproliferation Exercise, Ralph Dannheisser, U.S. Department of State (10/28/2006)



A.  Russia

1.
Russia to place Angarsk plant under IAEA control - Kiriyenko
ITAR-TASS
10/31/2006
(for personal use only)


Russia has prepared documents for removing the Angarsk petrochemical plant from a list of strategic enterprises, the chief of the Federal Agency of Atomic Energy, Sergei Kiriyenko, said.

He told the Moscow Energy Dialogue conference on Tuesday that this was done in order to provide access of foreign specialists to the plant.

�We place this facility under the control of the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency), as it is planned to organise an international centre for uranium enrichment here,� Kiriyenko said.

PRIME-TASS cited him a saying that founding documents on setting up the International Centre of Nuclear Power Engineering, which is an initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, would be ready by the end of this year.

The plant is formed on the basis of the Angarsk petrochemical plant.

Founders of the international centre will be Russia and Kazakhstan that are able to guarantee uranium deliveries to it.

Kiriyenko said that Russia and Kazakhstan had earlier signed an agreement on founding a joint venture for the uranium output in Kazakhstan and uranium enrichment in Russia.

Besides, a tender is to be finished by the end of the year for choosing a company that will build facilities for production of electric equipment that is not made on Russia�s territory, Kiriyenko said.

He added that the Federal Agency of Atomic Energy would build two energy units with a power output of 1,000 mW every year.

The agency also will launch facilities with 2,000 mW power at nuclear power plants beginning from 2012 in order to maintain a 16-18 percent proportion of nuclear sector in Russia�s total electric energy production.


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2.
Short circuit causes shutdown of nuclear reactor near St. Petersburg
Associated Press
10/28/2006
(for personal use only)


An automatic safety system shut down a reactor at a nuclear power plant near St. Petersburg Saturday after a short circuit, said the state-run company overseeing Russia's nuclear power plants.

Rosenergoatom said there was no radiation leak from the unplanned shutdown at the Leningrad nuclear power plant's No. 2 unit � the second shutdown to hit the plant in a week.

The company did not say what caused the short circuit. Severe weather in the St. Petersburg area has caused some flooding in the city, and there have been reported power outages throughout the wider region.

The emergency system first stopped a turbine generator, then stopped a second turbine generator due to sludge coming into the condenser's pipes, before shutting down the reactor altogether, the company said.

Radiation levels around the plant were normal, it said.

Last Friday, the automatic safety system shut down the same reactor for unknown reasons.

The Leningrad plant on the Gulf of Finland has four 1,000-megawatt graphite RBMK reactors � the same as the Chernobyl nuclear plant, whose explosion 20 years ago sent radioactive fallout across northern Europe in the world's worst civilian nuclear accident.

Russia has 10 nuclear power plants with a total of 31 nuclear reactors.


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B.  Iran

1.
U.S. seeks guarantees over Iran nuclear reactor
Sue Pleming
Reuters
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


The United States wants guarantees that a Russian-built nuclear reactor in Iran will not advance a weapons program but does not think differences over the issue will block a U.N. sanctions resolution against Tehran, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

The Bushehr power plant in southwestern Iran is due to begin operation early next year. The Russians want the project to go ahead. A sanctions resolution against Iran is being haggled over in New York and exempts Bushehr, although Washington has previously urged work at the plant stopped.

The U.S. position has eased in recent days and State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he did not see the Bushehr deal as blocking the U.N. resolution against Iran, which follows Tehran's refusal to give up uranium enrichment activities by an August 31 deadline.

Iran says its nuclear program is for power generation purposes and not to build an atomic bomb.

"Our belief is that it (the Bushehr plant) shouldn't pose an obstacle to passage of the kind of resolution that we, as well as others, think needs to be passed in this regard," McCormack told reporters.

He said the United States wanted objective guarantees that safeguards laid out by the Russian government over the years-- including for spent fuel to be returned to Russia so it could not be diverted for weapons use -- would be met.

"(These safeguards) would allow for, first of all, the construction to take place; second of all, the fuel to be delivered, monitored and then returned, once it had already been used," he said.

"Essentially, what you would be talking about is dealing with a preexisting construction project in which there are some objective guarantees," he added.

The nuclear fuel for the plant is only set to be delivered in the early part of next year, and the Bush administration is hoping this issue will be resolved by then.

No Rush

"There's a lot of time between now and then. We'll see what the Iranian behavior brings us and we'll see what the final outcome is with regard to this particular resolution," said McCormack.

The U.N. resolution, drafted by Europeans in consultation with the United States, has now been sent to all 15 U.N. Security Council members.

It exempts Bushehr from sanctions but says Russia must check with a Security Council committee if it delivers material that can be used for weapons.

No meeting is scheduled yet, although one is expected later this week among the five permanent Security Council members with veto power -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- as well as Germany, a key negotiator.

Participants close to the negotiations said Russia, among other complaints, was objecting to Bushehr being included in the resolution in the first place as it was legal under the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, after a meeting of the six powers last Thursday said of Bushehr, "It has nothing to do (with the resolution) because it's a peaceful nuclear facility which we have been helping Iran to build in full conformity with the Nonproliferation Treaty."

U.N. negotiations are expected to take at least another two weeks. McCormack declined to predict a date but said he hoped it would be before the U.S. Thanksgiving Holiday which is at the end of November.

The resolution would ban Iranian trade in nuclear materials and ballistic missiles, freeze assets abroad and impose a travel ban on people or entities involved.


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2.
Iran says 2nd centrifuge cascade launch complies with NPT treaty
RIA Novosti
10/29/2006
(for personal use only)


Iran launched a second network of centrifuges to enrich uranium in compliance with the non-proliferation treaty and under its nuclear research program, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Sunday.

Iran officially confirmed Saturday it had stepped up its uranium enrichment process by launching the second cascade of centrifuges.

Hosseini said the launch was the continuation of Iran's legitimate nuclear activity under the control of the UN's nuclear watchdog.

Iran has been at the center of an international dispute this year over its nuclear ambitions. Some countries suspect the Islamic Republic of pursuing a covert weapons program, but Tehran has consistently denied the claims and says it needs nuclear energy for civilian needs.


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3.
Iran unruffled by US-led Gulf naval manoeuvres
Agence France-Presse
10/29/2006
(for personal use only)


Iran has said it was unconcerned about naval manoeuvres to be led by the United States off its coast this week, saying it had the situation under control and was watching the vessels closely.

"US warships move regularly in the Persian Gulf and in the Sea of Oman, and we have them under surveillance," said the navy's commander Sajad Kouchaki, quoted by the Iranian press on Sunday.

"The presence of two US warships shows the aggressive and dominating character of the Americans,"he added.

"If they want to threaten the Islamic republic of Iran we are capable of keeping them under control. The Iranian navy does not believe in such a threat and has the enemy completely under control," he said.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters that "Iran does not believe that these manoeuvres constitute a threat".

From Monday the US will lead international naval manoeuvres in the Gulf off Iran's west coast aimed at fighting weapons proliferation, according to US State Department officials.

Warships from Australia, Bahrain, Britain, France, Italy and the US will take part in the operation to simulate inspection of ships carrying illicit weapons-related materials, the first time such an exercise has been carried out in the Gulf.

Hosseini also urged Iran's Arab neighbours to "reinforce their security cooperation instead of having foreign countries seeking to reinforce their presence".

"We have asked many times Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members to cooperate as part of the 6+2 group (GCC states along with Iran and Iraq) to arrive at a common security accord," he added.

The manoeuvres come amid mounting tension over Iran's contested nuclear programme as Tehran refuses to give up uranium enrichment despite moves by the US and European powers to impose sanctions on the country.

However, a US official insisted that the joint manoeuvres were planned months ago and were not timed to coincide with the new pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme.


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C.  Russia - Iran

1.
Iran nuclear talks should continue, Putin tells Ahmadinejad
Agence France-Presse
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Moscow favours continued talks over Iran's nuclear programme amid a continued split in the UN Security Council over possible sanctions against Tehran.

In a telephone conversation, "Putin put forward the principled position of Russia in favour of continuing the process of negotiations during a discussion of the situation surrounding Iran's nuclear programme," the Kremlin press service said in a statement.

Western powers at the UN Security Council have been pushing for sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, but Russia and China have been reluctant to vote for a severe set of penalties against Tehran.

Iran has stepped up its research into the sensitive activity as diplomats have warned it could take several weeks to reach an agreement.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week rejected the proposed sanctions, arguing that they did not advance objectives agreed on by six leading world powers concerned with the case.

The Chinese stance has yet to become clear, although Beijing -- like Moscow -- is an economic ally of Iran and traditionally reluctant to use sanctions for diplomatic leverage.

A text drafted by Britain, France and Germany in consultations with Washington provides for a freeze of assets related to Iran's ballistic missile programme and nuclear industry as well as travel bans on scientists.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini on Sunday said it was clear that there was a split between the stances of China and Russia on one hand and Europe and the US on the other.

"These two countries have completely different positions to the Europeans. Russia does not want sanctions and does not want to close the path of negotiations, and the Chinese have a similar position," he said.


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2.
Russia dismisses fears of Iran's arms-grade uranium
RIA Novosti
10/27/2006
(for personal use only)


The Russian defense minister said Friday he is not worried Iran could acquire weapons-grade uranium.

Iran said earlier Friday it has launched a second cascade of gas centrifuges to enrich uranium. The Islamic Republic's plan to launch its second nuclear centrifuge cascade was announced earlier this week and was confirmed by the UN nuclear watchdog chief, Mohammed ElBaradei.

"I do not share those fears, because I know the situation," said Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister. "Iran has launched a second cascade of centrifuges, and this process is fully controlled by the IAEA."

He said the centrifuges are working in a test mode and are not being used for uranium enrichment.

"It is at least premature to talk about uranium enrichment in Iran," he said.

Iran has been at the center of an international dispute this year over its nuclear ambitions. Some countries suspect the Islamic Republic of pursuing a covert weapons program, but Tehran has consistently denied the claims and says it needs nuclear energy for civilian needs.

The United States has called on Russia to halt work on the Bushehr nuclear power plant, but Russia has consistently rejected the demands, citing Iran's right to nuclear power under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Britain, France, and Germany earlier this week proposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic that would limit the Bushehr project but not stop it.

Atomstroiexport is building Bushehr's first power unit under a $1 billion contract signed by Russia and Iran in 1995. The NPP, which is being constructed under the supervision of the IAEA, was originally scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2006.

Russia's nuclear chief Sergei Kiriyenko said last month the Bushehr NPP will be commissioned in September 2007, and that power generation will begin two months later. In September 2006, Russia agreed to supply fuel for the plant in March 2007, in time for its commissioning.


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D.  DPRK

1.
North Korea agrees to nuclear talks
Charles Hutzler
Associated Press
10/31/2006
(for personal use only)


North Korea agreed Tuesday to rejoin six-nation nuclear disarmament talks in a surprise diplomatic breakthrough three weeks after the communist regime conducted its first known atomic test. A U.S. envoy said the talks could resume as early as November.

Chinese, U.S. and North Korean envoys to the negotiations held a day of unpublicized talks in Beijing during which North Korea agreed to return to the larger six-nation talks on its nuclear programs, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

"The three parties agreed to resume the six-party talks at the earliest convenient time," the Chinese statement said.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said the talks could resume in November or December but all six countries � the U.S., the two Koreas, Japan and Russia � needed to agree to the date.

"We believe it will be in November or possibly in December," he said at a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The six-nation arms talks were last held in November 2005.

The agreement is one of the first signs of easing tensions since North Korea conducted the underground detonation on Oct. 9, defying warnings from both the United States and Japan, and its staunchest ally, China.

If the six-party talks resume, it would mark a diplomatic victory for Beijing, which in the wake of the test had argued against punishing North Korea too harshly, in order to leave open a path for diplomacy.

"We hope it's true," White House press secretary Tony Snow told NBC's "Today" show. "It would be very good news."

South Korea and Russia welcomed the North Korean agreement.

"The government hopes that the six-party talks will resume at an early date as agreed and that an agreement will be reached on how to implement" a prior accord under which Pyongyang pledged to abandon its nuclear program, South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Choo Kyu-ho said.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev called North Korea's decision "extremely positive," ITAR-Tass and Interfax news agencies reported. "We sincerely hope they will resume shortly," said Alexeyev, who will continue leading Russian delegation in the talks.

Calls to the North Korean Embassy in Beijing went unanswered.

Seoul has been trying to strike a delicate balance in punishing the North for its nuclear test; seeking to avoid aggravating its volatile neighbor while imposing sanctions according to an unanimous U.N. Security Council resolution.

The U.N. resolution calls for a ban on the sale of major arms to Pyongyang and inspection of cargo entering and leaving the country. It also calls for the freezing of assets of businesses supplying North Korea's nuclear and ballistic weapons programs, as well as restrictions on sales of luxury goods and travel bans on North Korean officials.

The last round of six-nation talks to be held saw no progress on implementing the September 2005 agreement in which the North pledged to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for security guarantees and aid.

Just after that agreement, the North had demanded a nuclear reactor for power � a request that was quickly rejected by the other sides at the talks.

However, the North then argued that it wouldn't return to the negotiations until the U.S. desisted from a campaign to sever it from the international financial system for Pyongyang's alleged complicity in counterfeiting and money laundering to sell weapons of mass destruction. The North viewed those measures as proof of Washington's "hostile" policy against it and thinly veiled desire for regime change.

The U.S. refused and said the issue was unrelated. To try and press its case, the North launched a series of missile in July � including a long-range model believed capable of reaching parts of the U.S.

A U.N. committee has been determining how to implement the sanctions over the atomic test, measures banning the North's weapons trade.

Washington has been seeking to gather support for the sanctions, and getting the North's top two trading partners � China and South Korea � to pressure the regime.

North Korea is believed to have enough radioactive material to make about a half-dozen bombs, but estimates vary due to limited intelligence about its nuclear program.

The apparent North Korean agreement followed a day of typically bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang.

North Korea claimed that the United States, "scared" by the North's nuclear test, conducted some 200 spy flights over the communist country during October.

"The ... aerial espionage underscores the need for the army and the people of the (North Korea) to bolster the war deterrent for self-defense in every way to foil the U.S. imperialists' moves for a war of aggression," the North's official Korean Central News Agency said.

North Korea also warned South Korea on Tuesday against participating in a U.S.-led international drive to stop and search ships carrying weapons of mass destruction, saying involvement would bring about unspecified "catastrophic consequences."

The warning released by Pyongyang's official news agency came as South Korea is considering whether to fully participate in the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative aimed at interdicting shipments of weapons of mass destruction and other suspected cargo.

Seoul has been reluctant to take full part in the initiative out of concern it may anger North Korea and complicate efforts to resolve the international standoff.

Instead, it has sent observers to drills and attended briefings.


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2.
Pyongyang regime could collapse under international isolation
Joel Wit
The Korea Herald
10/31/2006
(for personal use only)


North Korea's nuclear test and the international community's sanctions against Pyongyang have created a dangerous new situation in Northeast Asia. While the North may be moving towards renewing negotiations on the nuclear issue, renewed tensions in the future are almost guaranteed unless the six-party talks are abandoned and all countries demonstrate a new willingness to engage in serious give-and-take.

From 1993 until 2001, I was an official in the U.S. Department of State working on American policy towards Pyongyang trying to end its nuclear weapons program. During that time, I worked closely with North Korean diplomats, bureaucrats, nuclear scientists, intelligence officials and military officers. I traveled to North Korea many times, visited government offices, nuclear facilities and military bases. Based on my experience, I can say without a doubt that North Korea's nuclear test was not inevitable.

Everyone knows that North Korea is a difficult country to deal with, sometimes confrontational and often stubborn. But the fact is Pyongyang's nuclear test represents a failure for all of the countries at the six-party talks. First and foremost, it represents the failure of a highly ideological American approach, not based on problem solving but on an unwillingness to seriously engage Pyongyang. China should also share the blame since it engaged in wishful thinking that somehow indulging the North Koreans would build up Beijing's leverage in Pyongyang. South Korea is responsible because, in spite of the good intentions behind the "sunshine policy" which I support, it failed to set boundaries for the North's bad behavior, losing respect in Pyongyang and in Washington. Finally Japanese policy failed. Over the past few years, Japan had little interest in either North Korea's nuclear weapons or missile programs. It was fixated on the fate of Japanese citizens abducted by Pyongyang.

While there is enough blame to go around for all, the issue facing us today is where do we go from here? Sanctions against North Korea are certainly the appropriate response to its nuclear test. They demonstrate the international community's determination not to stand still while the North goes nuclear, visibly defying the global norm against the spread of nuclear weapons that has been in place for over three decades. But we should not fool ourselves. Sanctions are unlikely to force the North Koreans to change course. Pyongyang has certainly anticipated the harsh international reaction and decided on a strategy that can weather the storm.

How the North will move forward from this point is unclear. It could rush headlong ahead with more nuclear and missile tests as well as other steps to build a deterrent force. Or Pyongyang can mix into its strategy a diplomatic offensive designed to diffuse increasing international pressures. That seems to be the approach that is emerging given recent news reports that the North has expressed a willingness to resume the Beijing six-party talks as long as Washington drops financial sanctions. But we should also recognize that pledge is nothing new and that Pyongyang understands there is little if no hope that the Bush Administration will meet this precondition. Moreover, sometime soon, the North Koreans are unlikely to unload fuel rods from there operating reactor and to extract more plutonium to build more bombs.

All of our governments must reevaluate our policies and put in place a plan to deal with both the short-term dangers and long-term challenges posed by this strategy. In the short term, we must be prepared for two difficult contingencies. First, while the North Koreans have probably calculated that they could survive sanctions, they may be wrong. We should not rule out the possibility that North Korea will collapse under the weight of international isolation. Are we prepared for that possibility? The answer is no. While Washington and all countries in the region are deeply concerned about the political, security, economic and humanitarian consequences of collapse little or nothing has been done by anyone to prepare for such a dangerous development.

But while there has been much talk about the possible use of military force by the United States to destroy North Korea's nuclear program, there has not been enough attention focused on the possibility that Pyongyang could initiate military action. During the last nuclear crisis in 1994, over a six month period the United States took a series of steps to bolster its forces on the peninsula and in the region. By the time the crisis reached its height in June 1994 just before President Jimmy Carter traveled to Pyongyang, American forces were ready to effectively thwart any North Korean military moves. It is unclear whether American forces or those of its allies are prepared for such a possibility today.

Beyond these two contingencies, while sanctions may be the proper immediate response to North Korea's test, they are unlikely to convince Pyongyang to turn back from building a nuclear deterrent. To have any chance of doing that, we will need to provide North Korea with an escape route through reinvigorating diplomacy and that will require moving away from the Beijing six-party talks. While the Bush administration asserts those talks have helped build a united front in opposing Pyongyang's nuclear program-and that assertion remains open to question - they have proved to be a failure in actually negotiating a solution to the current crisis.

A new diplomatic strategy must combine multilateral coalition building with serious, sustained and direct bilateral negotiations between the United States and North Korea. Such a process would demonstrate Washington's-and North Korea's - seriousness in reaching a diplomatic solution. For example, the first order of business for a reconvened six-party session could be for all countries present to ask the United States and North Korea to conduct separate talks while pledging to keep them regularly informed.

There will also have to be real diplomatic give-and-take on both sides. Pyongyang will have to agree to freeze, roll-back and eventually dismantle its nuclear program. Washington, supported by China, South Korea, Japan and Russia, will have to take "irreversible and "simultaneous" steps in return such as normalizing diplomatic relations and providing North Korea with ironclad security guarantees.

That is easier said than done. Overcoming the bad blood built up over the past six years between Washington and Pyongyang will be difficult if not impossible in the near future. As a result, no matter what process is established, until the leaders in both capitols are willing to conduct serious discussions, there may be more dangerous episodes in the days ahead.


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3.
N. Korea Reportedly Fired 5 Missiles
Associated Press
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


North Korea fired five short-range missiles during training exercises last week, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday.

The ground-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, which have ranges from 6 miles to 31 miles, were fired at a training ground in the west of the country, South Korea's largest newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, reported, citing an unidentified government official.

It was part of an annual training to test the combat readiness of the North's military, but it is unusual for the North to fire such a large number of missiles, the official was quoted as saying.

South Korea was analyzing the North's intentions, the official said.

The report came amid speculation that North Korea may be preparing to conduct a second nuclear test following its first-ever on Oct. 9.

On Saturday, South Korean media reported that authorities had detected the movement of trucks and soldiers at a suspected test site in northeastern North Korea.

North Korea fired a series of missiles in July, including a long-range one that could potentially hit the United States.


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E.  Counterproliferation

1.
Technology detects plutonium, uranium
United Press International
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


U.S. researchers say they can cheaply, quickly and accurately identify even subnanogram amounts of weapons-grade plutonium and uranium.

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee report developing a highly sensitive technique called delayed neutron activation analysis to detect such dangerous substances. The analysis includes a specially designed research neutron source, which bathes material samples with low-energy neutrons.

The samples are then placed into a barrel-shaped instrument, embedded with neutron detectors that precisely count the neutrons emitted over a short period of time. The neutron count acts as a unique signature of special nuclear material.

In the study, the scientists say they used the technique to successfully identify trace amounts of uranium-235 and plutonium-239 in less than 3 minutes.

"We're emphasizing the technique now because world events have made it more critical to detect traces of nuclear materials, which is technically very challenging," said analytical chemist Richard Lindstrom.

The technique was described last month during the national meeting of the American Chemical Society.


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2.
Tracking WMDs in murky waters
Linda Sieg and Chris Buckley
Reuters
10/28/2006
(for personal use only)


Black-clad agents rappel from a helicopter to board a suspicious ship on the high seas and after missile parts are found, naval vessels escort the ship to port, where the illicit cargo is confiscated.

That's the Hollywood scene conjured up by the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), a U.S.-led effort to halt trade in weapons of mass destruction that has been given fresh momentum after North Korea conducted a nuclear test earlier this month.

The reality, though, may be less dramatic -- more portside neighborhood watch than high-seas sheriff -- according to analysts, who say Chinese and South Korean misgivings and legal doubts could well deter swoops in international waters.

"The cooperation of the Chinese and South Koreans is absolutely essential," said James Cotton of the Australian Defense Force Academy, who has studied PSI and North Korea.

"PSI now has the essential legal basis that was lacking before, but how that authority will now be used is not as clear-cut."

The three-year-old PSI groups countries that agree to share intelligence information and work against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Now boasting over 60 members, the arrangement has from the outset had North Korea as one obvious, if unstated, target.

A U.N. resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea after its Oct. 9 nuclear test appears to give PSI a firmer legal basis than before to target North Korean shipments. But Washington may be unwilling to test the still fuzzy limits of that authority.

"If their intelligence satellites detect missiles or components directly related to weapons of mass destruction being shipped from North Korea, I think there is a chance the United States would, indeed, interdict," said Mark Valencia, a Hawaii-based maritime policy expert, referring to the practice of halting ships, planes or other vehicles for inspections.

"But the idea of a kind of screen at sea or in the air in the region is not likely," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a tour of Japan, South Korea, China and Russia that ended Sunday, appeared to back away from interdictions on the high seas and focus instead on less controversial screenings in ports, Valencia added.

Since the U.N. resolution against North Korea, Japan has indicated a willingness to support cargo inspections to the extent allowed by its pacifist constitution. Australia, another close U.S. ally, has offered to send a warship.

But China has declined to join PSI, wary of involvement in a loose U.S.-led coalition outside traditional security moorings.

South Korea -- on the front line in any confrontation with the North -- also remains cautious.

"China probably won't oppose the PSI, but nor will it want to give its backing," said Xu Guangyu, a researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, a government-sponsored think tank in Beijing.

"We don't want to see actions that could escalate tensions or spark confrontation. It wouldn't serve China's interests to become closely involved."

Experts said interdictions could escalate the crisis.

"North Korea doesn't have the various means to allow them to respond carefully in a calibrated way," said Mark Shulman of Pace Law School in New York.

"There is a chance that things get out of hand."

Legal uncertainties also linger. Before this month's U.N. resolution, maritime law experts had mostly agreed that PSI members lacked the authority to halt and inspect a vessel suspected of carrying WMD on the high seas without permission from its captain or the country whose flag the ship is flying.

Whether that changed with Security Council Resolution 1718 is still being debated by lawyers and diplomats.

The resolution calls on U.N. members to take steps, including "as necessary" the inspection of cargoes to and from North Korea, to prevent illicit trafficking in nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

At the insistence of China and Russia, two of the five permanent council members with veto power, the resolution was based on Article 41 of the U.N. Charter's Chapter VII, which rules out the use of armed force to implement sanctions.

Maritime policy expert Valencia said cargo inspections in ports were more likely than interdictions on the high seas.

"What they are pushing is to check cargo passing through ports," he said. "That seems reasonable and logical and in conformance with (U.N. Security Council Resolution) 1718."

Some experts, however, think the resolution leaves enough wiggle room to allow interdictions. "For now, it is carefully crafted to leave ambiguity," Pace Law School's Shulman said.

"I think if a WMD or a component to make it is shipped to or from North Korea, it will be interdicted."


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F.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Energy for New Century
Park Kyu-tae
The Korea Times
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


We are now in the midst of an unprecedented nuclear turmoil in the Korea peninsular. In fact, the nuclear bombs are a brainchild of scientists. The bombs have great explosive power, resulting from the domino effects of the sudden release of energy leading the fission of the nuclei of heavy elements such as plutonium or uranium. As it happened, two relatively small atomic bombs touched off in Japan August 1945 and World War II was over. Theoretically, the making of an atomic bomb is rather straightforward.

Yet, this is not the end of the world. Moreover, we must live on, prepare for better next ages, and think about better use of the nuclear power. Albert Einstein, one of atomic scholars who led bomb theories, was quoted as saying ``inquisitiveness after everything we see and feel.

It is sure that sooner or later, fossil energy will be running out and we might fall into poverty forever as Arnold J. Toynbee said on one occasion. Nevertheless, time has changed to harness deadly nuclear fission to risk-free fusion power. A tokamak invented in the 1950s in Russia is a device to confine plasma with magnetic fields. It is one of the leading candidates for producing nuclear fusion energy.

It is the right time to look at the source of clean nuclear fusion energy. Recently The Korea Academy of Science and Technology (KAST, President Chung Kun-mo) held an International Symposium on Status and Prospect of Fusion Energy Research. The research leaders from the members of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) consortium joined the meeting and discussed the activities. ITER consortuum is planning to build in France next year and to show the scientific and technological feasibility of a full-scale fusion power reactor.

On the contrary, Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) device is under construction at National Fusion Research Center (President Shin Jae-in). The project has been working since 1995 and is collaborating with other countries. Currently there are seven national and supranational parties participating in the ITER program: the EU, USA, Japan, Russia, India, China and South Korea.

With reference to the fusion energy, the sun is giving us all the source of energy generated by nuclear fusion in it. The surface temperature of the sun is about 6000�C (10,000�F) and in the order of 100 million-degree Celsius in the core. The sun is totally in atomic form of plasma or the ionized gaseous state, upheld by its huge gravity and radiates almost unlimited energy. Actually, ITER consortium is making a small size of artificial sun aiming plasma of 300 to 500 million-degree Celsius to obtain fusion energy. To our surprise, the heat would be three to five times higher than the sun. Confinement of the plasma in the suppression vessel using strong magnetic field is the innovative technologies. Some of the ITER member countries are already successful in small and experimental scales.

Deuterium or heavy hydrogen is used for fuel of the fusion and abundant in the ocean water. About 30g from a ton of seawater can be extracted by electrolysis. Seawater an amount of the Paldang Lake alone, for example, contains enough deuterium to supply all the primary energy needed by the world for several thousand years.

The project is long term and we have to go on for more than 20 years to get sizeable outcomes. The goals for a commercial fusion power station design are that the amount of radioactive waste produced will be hundreds of times less than that of a fission reactor. This is because the amount of fuel planned to be contained in a fusion reactor chamber half a gram of deuterium/tritium fuel is only enough to sustain the reaction for about a minute and then recycled, whereas a fission reactor contains about a year's supply of fuel 100 tons of uranium and plutonium. Advocates claim that reliable large-scale fusion power will produce reliable electricity on demand with virtually zero pollution.

When it is realizable then the fusion power plants could be constructed in just the outskirts of urban sites or at underground bunkers at city centers. It minimizes the loss due to the present long distance transmission lines. On top of that, the production cost of power is lower than that of fission energy.

Those are goals to tackle for fusion research. Then we may achieve lives with more comfort and value.


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G.  Nuclear Industry

1.
Rosatom to team up with Canada's Cameco in uranium production
RIA Novosti
10/31/2006
(for personal use only)


Russia's Federal Nuclear Power Agency (Rosatom) intends to team up with a Canadian company in joint uranium production, the Rosatom head said Tuesday.

In early October, the state-controlled nuclear fuel producer and supplier, Tekhsnabexport, which operates on the world market under the brand name of Tenex, and Japan's Mitsui & Co. announced the implementation of a joint project to develop a sector of the Yuzhnaya zone of the Elkon uranium ore field, in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in Russia's Arctic Far East.

"We will cooperate with Japan's Mitsui and Canada's Cameco to jointly produce uranium," Sergei Kiriyenko said.

Tekhsnabexport earlier said the agreement with Mitsui was unique because for the first time a foreign company will be directly involved in preparing a feasibility study on a uranium development project in Russia.

Russia said in late September its estimated stock of uranium amounts to 615,000 tons, and that it accounts for 8% of the world's total uranium output.

Russia's nuclear chief, Sergei Kiriyenko, said earlier the country's reserves of coal and natural gas will be depleted in 50 years, and in response Russia is planning to expand its nuclear energy sector and meet 60-70% of its uranium demand domestically by 2015.

He said Russia intends to extend its cooperation with all uranium-producing countries.

Techsnabexport provides about 35% of global uranium supplies, and plans to expand its operations in Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.


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2.
German Nuclear Waste to Go Back to Mother Russia by Air
Deutsche Welle
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


Saxony is seeking permission to fly nuclear waste back to Russia for reprocessing before the end of the year, the German environment ministry confirmed on Sunday. The federal office for radiation protection must first approve the transport.

Safety experts and environmentalists have expressed concerns about the plans. They said the risks involved in transporting radioactive materials by air instead of by train, the most common means of transportation, could be higher.

"We have always stood against transporting nuclear waste by air," said Heinz Smital, a Greenpeace nuclear expert based in Hamburg. "The consequences of an air attack or accident on a plane carrying radioactive material are unpredictable. Uranium, which has been 80 percent enriched, can be weapons grade," he added.

Although the nuclear material to be transported on Dec. 1 contains only 36 percent uranium, it could easily become a "dirty bomb" in the wrong hands, Smital told Die Welt daily.

Air transport more vulnerable

Security experts say that air transport is particularly vulnerable to an international terrorist attack.
"Arrangements for transporting material and security procedures are outlined in great detail in agreements with contractors. If such information is ever leaked to outsiders, potential terrorists could easily get their hands on radioactive materials," said a high level national security official.

The 200-kilogram load of nuclear waste was produced by a former Soviet reactor in Rossendorf, on the outskirts of Dresden, and was shut down after German reunification in 1991. Under a Cold War agreement by the International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear material is supposed to be returned to its country of origin.

Special plane to transport uranium

Other experts say that a specially adapted plane for transporting uranium enriched material is safer than by train.

"That way less can happen to it than on the road or on train tracks," Udo Helwig, the director of the German association for nuclear technology and analysis (VKTA), told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper.

Using aircraft was an economical means of transport, an environmental ministry spokesman Thomas Hagbeck suggested.

"Considering the length of the trip, it makes sense to use air transport," he said.

Since 2003, there have been four air shipments of German nuclear waste to Russia.

Preparations to take weeks

Since mainly non-reactive uranium is being sent back, the dangers from radioactivity should be minimal, according to Helwig. The waste will be brought to the Dresden airport in a secure container truck, with the flight being organized by the Russians themselves.

Preparations for flying the waste will take four weeks and would need to undergo vigorous international safety criteria. The waste will be returned to the Russian atomic reactor in Podolsk, which is about 30 kilometers (around 19 miles) south of Moscow, where it will be reprocessed for further use.

Environmental activists in Moscow staged protests against nuclear dumping earlier this month.


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3.
Russia wins tender to build Belene NPP in Bulgaria
RIA Novosti
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


Russia's nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly Atomstroiexport has won a tender to build the Belene nuclear power plant in Bulgaria, the southeast European country's electricity monopoly said Monday.

The board of Bulgaria's National Electric Company (NEK) said it had selected Atomstroiexport to build two 1,000 megawatt reactors for the NPP in Belene, about 150 miles from the country's capital, Sofia.

A spokesman for Atomstroiexport said the company also planned to attract the French firm Areva NP and Germany's Siemens to help build the plant.

The spokesman said the NPP's first unit was planned to be launched by 2011, and the second in 2013.

The Czech Republic's Skoda and British-American consortium Westinghouse were the other two bidders for the NPP's construction.

Atomstroiexport implements intergovernmental agreements to build nuclear facilities abroad. It is the world's only company simultaneously building five nuclear power units, in China, India and Iran.


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H.  Nuclear Forces

1.
Beckett: we may not need nuclear missiles
David Cracknell
The Times
10/29/2006
(for personal use only)


Margaret Beckett, the foreign secretary, has reopened the controversy over Britain�s nuclear deterrent by calling for a public debate on whether the country still needs Trident missiles.

In an interview with The Sunday Times she points out that the �security situation today is very, very different� from the end of the cold war. She says that �all of us as a country�, not just the government, should be able to question the policy.

Tony Blair has been committed to the independent nuclear deterrent, saying it is �an essential part� of defending the country. In addition Gordon Brown, whom Beckett today publicly backs as his successor, has signalled his commitment to replacing Trident.

In the interview, Beckett also becomes the first member of the government to express �regrets� over the Iraq war, despite Blair�s explicit refusal to do the same.

The foreign secretary would not contradict comments by General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the army, who argued that the presence of British troops in parts of Iraq was jeopardising security. Beckett admits there are �particular difficulties and problems�.

Her call for a widespread debate on the nuclear issue, which split Labour in the 1980s, may have wider political reverberations. Beckett says that the government will publish a white paper shortly. �I do think there is real merit in publishing the white paper because I think it would be a very good thing for all of us as a country to think carefully about what the situation of today is,� she says.

�The nature and shape of the nuclear deterrent we have and are maintaining and keeping up to date was dictated in the cold war circumstances of decades ago. The security situation today across the world is very, very different.

�But whether it is less dangerous, and what decisions that leads you to, is quite another matter. And I think that is something people deserve to have laid out before them and to be able to think about it for themselves.�

Referring to the need for a public debate on the nuclear deterrent, the foreign secretary says, �I�m sure people will question whether we need one or not�, adding: �Obviously whenever you look at these issues the question is: do we go on with this? And, if we do, in what way? And why? And what are the issues the government is taking into account when they are considering what their decision should be?�

Her comments are likely to be welcomed by Labour MPs who have been demanding a vote on the issue. Sceptics argue that nuclear weapons are useless against international terrorism and bemoan the estimated �20 billion replacement costs.

Beckett acknowledges that Labour�s general election manifesto pledged to retain the deterrent. But few MPs doubted there was ever a question of the Trident submarine system not continuing to the end of its expected lifespan of another 20 years, and the issue the government now faces is what will happen beyond that.

The issue is set to return to the agenda in the coming weeks after the prime minister told parliament in the summer that a decision would be taken �this year�.

A cabinet discussion is expected soon, followed by the publication of the white paper. The prime minister is under pressure from Labour MPs to spell out the options in his final months in office.

Many were dismayed that motions on the issue were blocked at the party conference last month. More than 120 MPs have already signed a motion tabled by Michael Meacher, the former environment minister, demanding a vote on Trident. Some fear that Blair will renege on his pledge to have a parliamentary debate. He has refused to commit himself to giving MPs the final say with a vote on the issue.

Clare Short, the former international development secretary, cited the lack of debate over Trident as one of the reasons that led her to leave the Labour party this month.

Any replacement of Trident would need years of development. Blair recognises the need to make key decisions before he leaves office.

Beckett, who will shortly mark six months as foreign secretary, says she backs Brown in the leadership race and urges cabinet colleagues not to stand in his way: �The people who would benefit most from a good old humdinger of a contest are people who do not wish the party well.�

Her comments on Iraq come at the end of a week in which she risked accusations of being at odds with Blair by conceding that historians may see Iraq as a �foreign policy disaster�.

�There are always regrets whenever military action has to be taken because military action always carries with it problems,� she said.

�But there are times when military action seems to be the least worst option and this was one of them.�

Earlier this month Dannatt, chief of the general staff, said the presence of British forces in Iraq might be �exacerbating� security problems.

Beckett would not repudiate his words, but said: �What he said was that there were particular areas of difficulty where he believes that perhaps it is not helping that our troops are there.

�What I would say is that there are areas where there are particular difficulties and problems which we are all endeavouring to overcome. It is arguable whether in some of those cases it would be better.�


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I.  Egypt

1.
Egypt seeks nuclear energy
United Press International
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


Egypt is seeking to build a nuclear plant to produce electricity and will be running a tender for the best bid.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak made the announcement in an interview published Monday in Russia's daily Vremya Novostei in which he said Egypt is also seeking to buy advanced Russian air defense systems.

"We will announce the tender when we decide to build the nuclear power plant. The project is under discussion and the final decision is still to be made," Mubarak said in the interview carried by Egypt's official Middle East News Agency.

Mubarak, who is scheduled to Wednesday start a tour in Russia, China and Kazakhstan, said Egypt "will study all tender offers and choose the best bid."

Political and economic experts believe that Mubarak's tour of the three nuclear states is aimed at securing the best terms and conditions for building the aspired nuclear plant.

Mubarak said Egypt's oil reserves will last for 14 years and its natural oil reserves for 34 years, stressing that "industrial development necessitates finding alternative energy sources."

He denied the existence of U.S. concerns over his country's nuclear ambitions, saying "Egypt acts primarily according to its interests."

"The United States has its own interests, so does Russia and we have our interests. We are not hiding anything but working openly, and we definitely need nuclear energy despite its high cost," Mubarak said.

Egypt's Electricity and Energy Minister Hassan Younes declared last month that Egypt plans to build a nuclear plant in the region of Dabaa on the Mediterranean Sea, some 300 miles northeast of Cairo, with an estimated production of 1,000 megawatts. Construction cost is expected to reach up to $1.5 billion.

Mubarak said his country "wishes to acquire Russian arms, especially air defense systems which are among the best in the world."


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J.  India

1.
Belgium set for India's nuclear quest
Indo-Asian News Service
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


Belgium, a member of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), on Monday indicated it was ready to take a "constructive" approach to India's quest for global civil nuclear cooperation.

"India has not made any official request to us for our support (on the India-US civil nuclear deal) in the NSG," Patrick De Beyter, the Belgian ambassador to India, told reporters here ahead of Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt's six-day visit beginning Thursday.

"But if the request is made, we are ready to consider it constructively," he stressed. He, however, clarified Belgium doesn't have any official position on the issue.

"But if the issue comes up for discussions between our prime minister and the Indian prime minister, we are ready to consider India's request," the Belgian envoy said.

The focus of the visit, however, will be economic. Verhofstadt will project Belgium as the gateway to Europe and invite more Indian companies to invest in his country.


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2.
Saran: if deal fails, we have our own programme
The Hindu
10/29/2006
(for personal use only)


If the civilian nuclear deal with the United States fails, India will still have its own programme, including fast-breeder reactors, according to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy on the deal Shyam Saran.

Mr. Saran was speaking at a conference, organised by Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace, on Monday.

He said if the deal did do through, it would imply the loosening of the international nuclear market for India.

Mr. Saran's remarks constitute, perhaps, one of the first public statements from the Government that the July 2005 understanding may not clear the legislative hurdles in the U.S. Congress.

Mulford's statement

The U.S. Ambassador, David Mulford, said recently that the Senate may or may not take up the deal in its coming "lame duck session."

Mr. Saran said the understanding had little to do with nuclear weapons. It was not an arms control measure. It would not impact the regional security situation.

New Delhi stood for total elimination of nuclear weapons. At a later stage, it was possible that India and Pakistan could together put the disarmament issue on the global agenda.

Nuclear weapon states

India and Pakistan were nuclear weapons states and this reality could not be wished away. Both should behave responsibly. They were in the process of agreeing to confidence-building measures in the nuclear arena.

Besides the agreement on non-attack on each other's nuclear installations, both had entered into an accord on prior notification of ballistic missile tests.

Mr. Saran said the two sides were close to an agreement on reducing the risks of a nuclear war. The issue would figure in the coming meeting of Foreign Secretaries in New Delhi.

"When India's case is taken up with the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, it will have to be recognised that New Delhi has a strategic weapons' programme."

Ruling out adherence to full-scope safeguards, Mr. Saran said the India-specific safeguards would be limited to the facilities declared civilian by New Delhi as well as whatever was obtained through international cooperation.

Prof. Ramaswamy Iyer and Major General (retd.) Dipankar Bannerjee also spoke.

The session was presided over by the former Pakistani Information Minister, Javed Jabbar.


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3.
North Korea's Test and Congressional Delay: Implications for India-US Nuclear Deal
Anirudh Suri
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
10/24/2006
(for personal use only)


The India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal, under which the U.S. would provide civilian nuclear technology to India, overturning decades of U.S. policy and marking a turning point in the evolution of the U.S.-India relationship, has faltered close to fruition. Even as a new counter-offensive has been launched to push through the deal during the lame duck session of the Senate in November, proponents of the deal are disappointed, and even slightly frustrated, that the Senate did not take up the bill in its recently concluded session.

Adding to their discomfort is North Korea�s recent nuclear test. North Korea�s test is likely to place the India-U.S. nuclear deal debate more firmly within the context of increasing proliferation in the world, instead of in the narrative about strengthening the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and India. The test has strengthened the voice of the critics of the India-U.S. nuclear deal.

The Indian government has not given up hope. It seems to be developing a multi-pronged strategy to counter the growing opposition and unexpected obstacles for a deal that many consider is largely favorable to the Indians.

Firstly, even as they have criticized the DPRK for the nuclear test, Indian officials have sought to prevent India from being clubbed with North Korea on non-proliferation matters. They see two key distinctions between the North Korean and Indian nuclear programs. One, they have highlighted the role of clandestine proliferation and Pakistan�s assistance in the North Korean test while emphasizing India�s own clean, transparent record on proliferation matters.

Two, they have emphasized that the North Korean nuclear test cannot and should not be compared to the Indian tests in 1998. They point out that India never signed the NPT nor violated any safeguards, whereas North Korea, having accepted �safeguards in perpetuity� as a signatory of the NPT, has violated its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

India can also argue that the DPRK test has in fact increased the strategic need for a nuclear India to be brought within the international non-proliferation framework. Proponents of the deal have long argued that ensuring India is included as a partner in non-proliferation efforts rather than being treated as a nuclear pariah would help build an effective non-proliferation regime based on ground realities.

Critics contend that India should not be rewarded so highly for doing what responsible nuclear powers should do anyway. They also maintain that if the deal went through, North Korea (and possibly Iran, among others) would expect that it might also be able to get rid of its pariah status if it could bear the initial brunt of sanctions in the aftermath of its nuclear tests. It is these critics who need to be convinced- not ignored- and therefore it would be unwise for India to be relieved simply because of statements emanating from the Bush administration that India and North Korea cannot be equated.

There might be a silver lining for the Indian government in the timing of North Korea�s test. Coming over a month before the lame duck session of the Congress, the test has given India a month to make sure that it is not clubbed with North Korea on non-proliferation issues. If the test had occurred while the India-US nuclear deal was being debated in the Senate or in the week before the voting, India might have been hard-pressed to do damage control.

The Indian lobby and the PR firms hired by the India and other US business groups are leaving no stone unturned. This is not surprising because by some accounts, the stakes are as high as $80-100 billion for U.S. businesses. This is also being seen as a litmus test for the Indian American lobby, especially since their influence over legislators is likely to be diminished in the post-elections period.

Amidst the vagaries of the U.S. legislative process, if the bill doesn�t get taken up in November, then it will be back to square one. The bill would have to then go through the entire process again, starting with the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees. This is something India definitely wants to avoid. Given the fact that the Democrats might gain control of the House and maybe even the Senate after the November elections, the pro-Indian lobby is likely to target its efforts towards key Democrats including Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid, in addition to convincing the Republican Majority Leader, Bill Frist, to ensure that the Bill gets taken up in November.

The Democrats, who wanted to introduce 19 amendments to the Bill in the last session, are attempting to push for a deal that ensures U.S. interests and extracts certain assurances from India. Assuming the Bill does get taken up in November, the Bill might still only be approved with some potential �deal-breakers� such as Sections 106-108 of S. 3709 that deal with prohibition of certain exports and re-exports and end-use monitoring. Along with these conditions, the Indian government is also hoping that the Bush administration will be able to get certain provisions, especially those related to the termination and prohibition of nuclear transfers to India as outlined in HR 5682, amended in the House-Senate Conference.

If that does not happen, then the ball would be placed in India�s court. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh might be forced to pull out from the deal, given the promises extracted from him by domestic opposition parties and the scientific community that the final deal would adhere strictly to the July 2005 and March 2006 agreements.

Though backing out of the deal is an option, it is probably not India�s best option. A nuclear cooperation deal will be better than no deal, because it could open up the arena for similar, probably less restrictive deals between India and other NSG member countries. If the NSG alters its rules, following the India-U.S. deal, it will allow countries like France and Russia to offer India the latest civilian nuclear energy technology along with countries like South Africa that could then provide it with nuclear fuel supplies.

Much will now depend on how well India is able to lobby in Washington on two counts: getting the bill on the agenda in November and negotiating successfully on potential �deal-breakers,� while diplomatically staving off any attempts at linkages with the North Korean issue. They will be assisted by the US business lobby which, afraid of losing the �India opportunity� to their European counterparts, will be pushing aggressively for the deal to go through next month in a mutually acceptable form.


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K.  Israel

1.
Report: Israel used uranium-enriched bombs
United Press International
10/28/2006
(for personal use only)


Israel has reportedly confirmed dropping uranium-enriched phosphorous bombs on Lebanon during its war with Hezbollah, the Independent reported Saturday.

Israel made the acknowledgement after the European Committee on Radiation Risk and a laboratory used by the British Defense Ministry found soil samples at bomb craters in the southern Lebanese towns of Khiam and At-Tiri, near Nabatiye, showed "elevated radiation signatures," the British newspaper reported.

Israel first denied the European Committee and laboratory findings. When it later acknowledged them, Minister Jacob Edery said Israel "keeps to the rules of international norms."

But much international law does not cover modern uranium weapons because they were not invented when humanitarian rules such as the Geneva Conventions were drawn up, the Independent said. Neither Israel nor the United States have signed onto the third protocol of the Geneva Conventions, which restricts the use of phosphorous weapons, the newspaper noted.

Israel's military was investigating the matter, Israeli Army Radio reported Saturday.


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L.  Official Statements

1.
Nations Meet in Morocco on How To Counter Nuclear Terror Threat
Jacquelyn S. Porth
U.S. Department of State
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


Representatives of 12 nations are gathering in Rabat, Morocco, October 30-31 to discuss how to address effectively the ever-present threat to the international community from terrorists determined to detonate a nuclear or radiological device.

This will be the first diplomatic meeting to discuss the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism since the United States and Russia proposed it at the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, in July. For about six months before it was announced, the United States and Russia discussed the need for partners to counter this dangerous threat.

Robert Joseph, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, said the initiative is designed to address all aspects of a complex nuclear threat because a single incident would cause grave consequences. In an October 27 interview with the Washington File, Joseph said the initiative �is designed to build a partnership of countries that are committed to countering nuclear terrorism.�

Predicting the likelihood and location of nuclear terrorist attack is next to impossible, but he said, �we do know that nonstate �actors� -- terrorists -- are very interested in acquiring this type of capability� and would not hesitate to use it.

He said the initiative will help prevent terrorists from acquiring the nuclear and radiological materials or expertise needed to set off a nuclear or radiological device. It also will go a long way toward improving the physical security at civilian nuclear facilities, Joseph said, as well as establishing better accounting procedures for nuclear and radioactive substances.

These measures are necessary to prevent terrorists from gaining access to the means to detonate a nuclear weapon or a "dirty" bomb (a device that disperses radioactive material) thereby causing nuclear contamination and economic disruption. �We need to do everything we can to prevent and protect against� the dire consequences of a terrorist incident, Joseph said.

Although even the best designed program cannot provide complete success, he said deterrence involves using technology and intelligence to better detect and suppress the illicit transit of source materials so useful to terrorists. The initiative is expected to promote greater international research and development cooperation in the field of detection, he said.

But successful detection is only part of the equation. Detection must be followed by swift interdiction and the seizure of dangerous nuclear materials. �We will work with our Global Initiative partners,� Joseph said, along the lines of the three-year-old Proliferation Security Initiative that began with a small group of partners and now is supported by 80 nations that want to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

To prevent the nightmare of terrorists armed with nuclear or radiological weapons, nations have to improve their ability to respond to an incident, and, to be ready to do whatever necessary to mitigate its terrible impact. Joseph said partners also must improve investigative techniques to figure out who may have facilitated an illicit transfer or triggered a deadly detonation. This is critical, he said, to put partners �in a better position to stop a second, or follow-on, attack.�

This broad initiative also has law enforcement and legal ramifications that would involve denying safe haven to terrorists behind an attack and strengthening the national laws of countries seeking to prosecute them.

Joseph said Rabat was a logical choice to launch this diplomatic effort because Morocco has very strong nonproliferation and counterterrorism credentials. He also said the Moroccan government was instrumental in negotiating the related International Convention for the Suppression of Act of Nuclear Terrorism.

MEETING WILL FOCUS ON ESTABLISHING FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

The meeting in Morocco is aimed at establishing the framework for future work through a statement of principles that initial and future partners will endorse. �We will also focus on what those principles, or objectives, mean operationally,� the under secretary said.

Attendees will share information on the best practices associated with securing nuclear materials and facilities, Joseph said, as well as ways to measure the initiative�s future success. One measure will be the deployment of effective nuclear detection equipment and the associated confidence partners will gain from relying on it. As partners field increasingly effective nuclear detection equipment, there will be a greater chance of stopping �the transfer of nuclear materials early in the process,� the under secretary said, which would be beneficial for all.

To succeed in the long-term, the initiative measurably must improve the capacities of individual partners so that each one is �better prepared to prevent, protect against, and respond to any incident,� Joseph said. Additionally, he said, the initiative must boost the capacity of nations to act, collectively.

Besides delegations from 12 nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will attend the meeting in Morocco as an observer. The United States and Russia view the IAEA as having capabilities useful to advance the goals of the initiative, Joseph said. The IAEA is a good resource for helping nations enhance the physical protection of nuclear facilities, he added.

Private-sector support, especially from the civil nuclear industry, also is important. �There are many points of intersection,� the official said, where private-public partnerships should expand. Joseph singled out improved nuclear forensics as an area of particular importance in countering nuclear terrorists.

After Rabat, he said, the goal is to expand the number of partners willing to endorse the initiative�s principles and carry out necessary preventative measures and actions, including enacting or changing relevant laws to prosecute nuclear terrorists.

While the State Department is leading initiative-related international outreach efforts, it also is working with other agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Energy and Justice. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the FBI also are involved. Joseph said together these organizations have considerable expertise to offer on nuclear detection and security matters.


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2.
UN nuclear watchdog agency chief urges controls over whole fuel cycle
UN News Centre
10/30/2006
(for personal use only)


Steeply rising global energy demand � with more countries turning to nuclear power for supply � has heightened proliferation concerns which can only be satisfied by new multilateral controls on the nuclear fuel cycle, the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today.

Speaking before the UN�s General Assembly, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei also said the nuclear activities of the Democratic People�s Republic of Korea (DPRK) underscored the urgent need to establish a legally binding universal ban on nuclear testing through the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The situation also called for a negotiated solution through the resumption of dialogue between all parties so as to ensure that all of the DPRK�s nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes while addressing the country�s security concerns, he said.

Mr. ElBaradei also voiced �serious concern� about the Agency�s current inability to confirm the peaceful nature of Iran�s nuclear programme.

The IAEA is commemorating its fiftieth anniversary this year, a time, he noted, of renewed interest in nuclear power because of growing energy needs, availability and the cost of other energy sources, as well the quest for energy independence, rising environmental and proliferation concerns and technological advances.

There were now 442 nuclear power reactors operating in 30 countries � most in North America and Western Europe � supplying about 16 per cent of the world�s electricity.

But Mr. ElBaradei said that the recent expansions have been primarily in Asia and Eastern Europe; of 28 reactors now under construction, 16 are in developing countries.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries consume electricity at a rate roughly 100 times that of the world�s least developed countries, but this gap will close as developing countries grow.

To assert international control of the nuclear fuel cycle the IAEA will first have to establish mechanisms to oversee the acquisition of all nuclear reactors and their fuel supply, Mr ElBaradei said. The second step would require limiting future enrichment and reprocessing to multilateral operations, he added.

While noting the Agency�s critical role in verifying the peaceful use of nuclear power, he said the IAEA was also wanted to play a significant role in sharing the benefits of nuclear energy for development.

Because the sophisticated technology of nuclear power required a correspondingly sophisticated infrastructure, it may not be the choice for all countries, he noted. But for those who chose to make it part of their energy mix, the Agency could do much to make the option accessible, affordable, safe and secure, he said.

Much of the Agency�s scientific work is now focused on the transfer of peaceful nuclear technology in the fields of health, agriculture, industry, water management and preservation of the environment, working to build up technical capacities in ways that support national and regional development priorities, he told the General Assembly.

The Agency also works to help States to implement strengthened regimes of nuclear security through training programmes, supply of equipment and assistance in protecting nuclear locations. An illicit trafficking database now had 93 participating Member States, he said.


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3.
Twenty-Five Nations To Join in Nonproliferation Exercise
Ralph Dannheisser
U.S. Department of State
10/28/2006
(for personal use only)


Twenty-five countries will take part in the first Gulf exercise under the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) aimed at preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems.

The interdiction training exercise, called Leading Edge, will be held October 30 and 31, according to a Department of State statement issued October 27.

PSI is a voluntary group of nations working together to halt the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials to and from states and nonstate agents that raise proliferation concerns.

The statement noted that the exercise also will be the first held since the adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718, and includes the participation of Japan and South Korea.

Resolution 1718, passed by a unanimous Security Council October 14 after North Korea held a nuclear test, imposes stringent, mandatory international sanctions on Pyongyang and demands an end to nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches to address what the council termed "a clear threat to international peace and security."

The State Department statement expresses U.S. appreciation for �the leadership of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE [United Arab Emirates] to ensure that the Gulf States will actively prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials.�

It lauds �responsible nations from the region and around the globe� for demonstrating their resolve to work together to stop the spread of WMD.

Australia, Bahrain, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States �provided operational assets for the live exercise phase including ships, aircraft and special teams to improve our combined capabilities to interdict shipments of proliferation concern and deter those who would trade in materials for such weapons,� the department noted.

Participating in the exercise are: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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