1. New IAEA Report Outlines Plans for Monitoring Nuclear Facility in DPR Korea
UN News Centre
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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which recently sent a team of experts to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has released a report on its future activities in the country, which has been under United Nations sanctions since last year when it claimed to have conducted a nuclear test.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei's report, circulated Monday, is restricted, but the Agency said in a news release that it ï¿½outlines agreed arrangements for monitoring and verification by the IAEA of the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility and the reactor under construction in Taechon, that were reached between the IAEA team and the DPRK during their visit last week.ï¿½
The team, led by Olli Heinonen, Deputy Director General for Safeguards, was in the country from 26 to 29 June. DPRK ordered IAEA inspectors out at the end of 2003 and formally withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ï¿½ including the pact's inspections and other safeguards against fuel diversion from energy generation to weapons production.
Mr. ElBaradei visited DRPK in March to discuss plans for the country to get rid of nuclear weapons in what he called ï¿½the first step in a long processï¿½ toward normalizing relations with the country. The IAEA's 35-member Board will consider the report at its next meeting on 9 July in Vienna, according to the news release.
1. IAEA to Draw up Modality Plan to End Nuclear Stalemate
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Deputy Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) for International Affairs Javad Vaeedi said on Wednesday that Tehran and IAEA are to draw up a Modality Plan to resolve Iran's nuclear standoff within 60 days.
IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of Safeguards Department Olli Heinonen is to visit Tehran on July 11. Speaking to reporters, he said the Modality Plan which is to be drawn up within sixty days depends on goodwill of the other side, he said. Since the ideas on suspension of uranium enrichment are outdated, Iran, in recent talks in Madrid, has proposed new ideas for mutual cooperation with IAEA.
"We are not to buy time or kill it because we have already acquired the relative scientific knowledge in the nuclear activities," he said." He warned that if some people in New York or among the Group 5+1 seek to issue a new resolution against Iran's peaceful nuclear activities, they are adopting an improper, hostile or destructive move to harm pace of cooperation between Iran and IAEA.
Issuance of a new UNSC resolution would harm the trend of talks between Iran and IAEA, he underlined. To a question posed by IRNA reporter whether there would be any guarantee that the western countries avoid issuing any resolutions on Iran's nuclear activities, he said there is no guarantee to this end. The EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana has accepted that the current negotiations between Iran and IAEA would continue, he said.
1. Reports: Iranian Official Says Construction on Bushehr Plant to Finish in September
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An Iranian official said the nuclear power plant Russia is building in Iran will be completed by September, Russian news agencies reported Tuesday, but the Russian company leading the project said that was unrealistic.
Mohamed Amiri, head of a group of Iranian nuclear and radiation safety agencies, said Iran hoped to start operations at the plant soon after it is finished in the port of Bushehr, ITAR-Tass and Interfax reported.
"Construction will be completed in two months, and we should receive atomic fuel for the launch of the reactor in accordance with the contract with the Russian side," Amiri was quoted as saying by ITAR-Tass. Iran "expects the delivery of fuel from Russia for the Bushehr plant at any time," he was quoted as saying.
The nuclear plant ï¿½ Iran's first ï¿½ was to have been started up in September, but the US$1 billion (ï¿½740 million) project has been hit with repeated delays, most recently in a dispute between Moscow and Tehran over payment.
Problems with payments from the Iranian side remain, said a spokeswoman for Atomstroiexport, the Russian company building the plant.
She dismissed Amiri's reported comments. "Construction cannot be finished in September," spokeswoman Irina Yesipova said. She reiterated statements by top Russian nuclear industry officials, saying fuel would be shipped six months before the plant's startup.
Another Iranian atomic official, Esmaeil Khalilpour, blamed Russian engineers for the delay. "At first, Russia wanted this equipment to be made abroad, but then decided to make it in Russia, which led to a delay," he was quoted by Interfax as saying. T
he United States and other Western nations have sought in the past to halt the project, saying it could help Iran acquire nuclear weapons. But Moscow has eased their concerns by reaching a deal under which Iran would return the spent fuel to Russia. Russian officials have said they will go ahead with the plant, pointing to Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy program.
But the delays have irritated Tehran, leading to accusations that Russia is quietly capitulating to Western pressure. The U.N. Security Council, meanwhile, has demanded Tehran halt its uranium enrichment program, and council members ï¿½ including Russia ï¿½ have begun discussing a U.S. proposal for new sanctions because of its refusal to stop.
With an aim to boost its capabilities in nuclear fusion technology, India on Thursday decided to join the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project at an estimated cost of Rs 2,500 crore.
A meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved the country's participation in the project and decided to set up an empowered Board by the Governing Council of the Institute for Plasma Research for its effective implementation, Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi told reporters here.
The foreign exchange component of the project, to come up at Cadarache in southern France, is calculated at Rs 1129 crore. "India's joining ITER is a recognition of its scientific and technical capability in fusion energy. Considering India's large energy needs in future, our gaining technological capability in fusion energy will be of considerable long term benefit", Dasmunsi said.
He said India's participation in IETR would allow the country to "leapfrog in terms of our national technological capability in fusion energy".
Reuters July 3, 2007 (for personal use only) The United States and Russia on Tuesday pledged to expand nuclear energy cooperation, make nuclear power available to other states and reduce their own strategic nuclear weapons to the lowest possible levels. The initiatives aimed to capitalize on and shape a growing demand for nuclear energy and to answer complaints that Moscow and Washington, with the world's biggest nuclear weapons arsenals, are intent on maintaining overwhelming dominance. But they immediately drew fire from some nuclear experts. Companies in both countries could profit immensely from an explosion in reliance on nuclear power generation. U.S. negotiator Robert Joseph said more than a dozen countries are interested in acquiring nuclear reactors and "now is the time to help shape their decisions in a way that advances our common interests." U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin see nuclear energy playing a central role in the future and the new initiative "is about meeting the world's energy requirements ... development (and) assisting nations to enjoy the benefits of nuclear power," he said. The aim is to present countries that abide by international rules with "an attractive offer ... to acquire power reactors without the need to pursue indigenous enrichment and reprocessing," processes that could also be used in weapons production, he told a news briefing. In a statement issued a day after Bush and Putin met in Kennebunkport, Maine, the two countries said they initialed a formal bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement and listed 10 ways for fulfilling their pledge of broader cooperation with other countries. 14 COOPERATION PLANS These included "facilitating the supply of a range of modern, safe and more proliferation resistant nuclear power reactors and research reactors appropriate to meet the varying energy needs of developing and developed countries." The United States and Russia will help secure financing, including through international institutions, for new nuclear plants and help states develop necessary regulations, safety standards and training programs, the statement said. Nuclear fuel would be provided by a Russian-Khazakhstan uranium enrichment reprocessing center or other leasing arrangements. Solutions will be developed to deal with the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, Joseph and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said. Kislyak suggested Iran and North Korea could participate but Joseph dismissed that as premature because the two states do not have "good nonproliferation credentials." Nuclear expert Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists said if the administration really wanted to curb proliferation, it "shouldn't be encouraging reprocessing and the increase in stockpiles of separated plutonium around the world." Russia balked at an earlier deal for disposing plutonium "so we don't need more empty promises and more bilateral statements that don't go anywhere. The goal has to be to secure and eliminate stocks of weapons usable materials in both countries," he told Reuters. In their push to prevent states like North Korea and Iran from developing nuclear weapons, the United States and other nuclear weapons states have been accused of a two-tiered system in which some states are allowed by international law to have atomic weapons and other states are denied that right. Attempting to address that issue, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a statement reiterating their intention to reduce both countries strategic arsenals "to the lowest possible level consistent with their national security requirements." They said they discussed ways to provide "continuity and predictability" after the START treaty expires in 2009 but gave no target weapons totals or other details.
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