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Nuclear News - 10/15/2008
PGS Nuclear News, October 15, 2008
Compiled By: Matthew Giles


A.  DPRK
    1. North Korea to resume nuclear dismantlement, Jae-Soon Chang, Associated Press (10/14/2008)
    2. IAEA: NKorea renews UN access to nuclear site, George Jahn, Associated Press (10/14/2008)
    3. North Korea nuclear deal cheered, jeered in Asia, Jon Herskovitz, Reuters (10/12/2008)
B.  Russia-North Korea
    1. Russia, North Korea to hold nuclear talks Wednesday, Agence France-Presse (10/14/2008)
C.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Coil procurement and new agreement for Iter, World Nuclear News (10/14/2008)
    2. Manager appointed for UAE's nuclear program, World Nuclear News (10/14/2008)
    3. Japan, Mongolia meet on uranium, United Press International (10/14/2008)
    4. Procedural problems may force cancellation of nuclear tender, Ercan Yavuz Ankara, Todays Zaman (10/14/2008)
    5. Lithuania nuclear referendum fails over poor turnout, RIA Novosti (10/13/2008)
D.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Pak, China expected to sign civil nuclear deal, Press Trust of India (10/14/2008)
    2. IAEA signs pact with ITER, Press Trust of India (10/14/2008)
E.  Iran
    1. Iran hails progress in Bushehr nuclear power plant construction, RIA Novosti (10/14/2008)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Settling With North Korea, Washington Post (10/15/2008)
    2. The Latest North Korea Deal, New York Times (10/14/2008)
    3. Some Nuclear Energy Backers Say Uranium Alternative Could be a Magic Bullet, Ken Garber, U.S. News and World Report (10/14/2008)



A.  DPRK

1.
IAEA: NKorea renews UN access to nuclear site
George Jahn
Associated Press
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)


North Korea declared Monday that it will resume shutting down its nuclear program and allow U.N. experts to monitor the process, including making sure the plant that produced plutonium for its test bomb remains disabled.

The moves, revealed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, were a strong indication that Pyongyang was making good on its pledge to return to a deal with the U.S., Russia, China, South Korea and Japan meant to strip it of its weapons-enabling nuclear program.

Pyongyang announced Sunday it would resume dismantlement in line with the deal offering political and energy rewards in exchange, after the U.S. removed North Korea from its list of states sponsoring terrorism.

"The agency inspectors were ... informed today that as of 14 October 2008, core discharge activities at the (nuclear) reactor would be resumed," said a restricted IAEA document to the agency's 35 board members obtained by The Associated Press. It said "monitoring and verification arrangements" of the U.N. nuclear agency also would be restarted.

Separately, IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said IAEA inspectors "will also now be permitted to reapply the containment and surveillance measures at the reprocessing facility." That meant agency seals taken off the plant and monitoring cameras recently removed at the North's orders would be restored.

Yongbyon, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang, has three main facilities: a 5-megawatt reactor, a plutonium reprocessing plant and a fuel fabrication complex.

The reactor is the centerpiece of the complex, with the facility stretching more than a mile along the Churyong River, satellite images show.

The reprocessing center to the south of the reactor is capable of extracting weapons-grade plutonium from spent fuel rods.

Up to late last week, the North had threatened to reactivate the plutonium reprocessing plant. It told International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to remove the organization's seals and subsequently banned them from monitoring first the plant and then all the facilities at the complex. It also stopped deactivating the nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

The North rescinded all inspection rights Thursday, but the three-member IAEA team had been allowed to stay on site. A diplomat who demanded anonymity for divulging confidential information told the AP that Pyongyang approved visas late last week for members of a new team once the tour of those on location is over � even as it appeared to be making moves to restart its atomic activities.

That suggested that the North's threat to stop dismantling its nuclear program and restart it was a negotiating ploy meant to wrest concessions from the five countries engaging the reclusive communist regime on the issue.

North Korea stopped scrapping its nuclear program in mid-August in anger over Washington's failure to remove it from the terror list and began moves toward restarting its plutonium-producing facility. The U.S. had said North Korea first had to allow verification of the declaration of its nuclear programs it submitted in June.

In delisting North Korea on Saturday, Washington said Pyongyang had agreed to all its nuclear inspection demands.

The delisting � and the North's return to disabling its nuclear facilities � will likely lead to a resumption of the stalled six-party talks between North Korea, U.S., Russia, China, South Korea and Japan.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the resolution of the dispute. His spokeswoman, Michelle Montas, said Ban considered it "another step towards a verifiable non-nuclear Korean Peninsula."

China also hailed the North's decision and pledged to move the process forward as host of the nuclear disarmament talks that also involve Japan, the two Koreas, the United States and Russia.

"Promoting the six-party talks process serves the common interests of the involved parties," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement issued late Monday. "China appreciates the constructive efforts made by the concerned parties."

North Korea alarmed the world in 2006 by setting of a test nuclear blast. It then agreed to dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for energy aid and other concessions.

The regime began disabling its nuclear processing plant in Yongbyon in November, and blew up a cooling tower in June in a dramatic display of its determination to carry out the process.

Just steps away from completing the second phase of the three-part process, Pyongyang abruptly reversed course and stopped disabling the plant.

With the international standoff apparently ending, South Korea said Monday it was considering expanding cross-border projects, including food aid to the impoverished North.

Relations between the divided Koreas have worsened since a conservative, pro-U.S. government was inaugurated in Seoul in February with a pledge to get tougher on the North. Pyongyang has cut off government-level contacts with the South in retaliation.

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2.
North Korea to resume nuclear dismantlement
Jae-Soon Chang
Associated Press
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)


North Korea planned to resume dismantling its nuclear program Tuesday for the first time in two months, days after the United States removed the communist regime from a terrorism blacklist as a reward under a disarmament pact.

Pyongyang has told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it would restart work to disable the Yongbyon nuclear reactor and allow international inspectors to resume their activity. The plans were outlined in a restricted document to the agency's 35 board members that was obtained by The Associated Press.

Separately, IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said agency inspectors "will also now be permitted to reapply the containment and surveillance measures at the reprocessing facility." That meant agency seals taken off the plant and monitoring cameras recently removed at the North's orders would be restored.

Two months ago, North Korea stopped disabling Yongbyon in anger over U.S. demands that Pyongyang accept a plan to verify its accounting of nuclear programs as a condition for removal from a blacklist of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism.

Until late last week, the North had threatened to reactivate the plutonium reprocessing plant at Yongbyon.

But the North and the U.S. reached a compromise on the verification row following a trip to Pyongyang by chief U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill. Washington announced its removal of the North from the terror list Saturday, saying Pyongyang had agreed to all its nuclear inspection demands.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the resolution of the dispute. His spokeswoman, Michelle Montas, said Ban considered it "another step towards a verifiable non-nuclear Korean Peninsula."

China also hailed the progress and pledged to move the denuclearization process forward as host of the nuclear disarmament talks that involve Japan, the two Koreas, the United States and Russia.

"Promoting the six-party talks process serves the common interests of the involved parties," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement issued late Monday. "China appreciates the constructive efforts made by the concerned parties."

Meanwhile, Japan reiterated its demand that Pyongyang resolve the issue of abductions of its citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s, saying it was a precondition for Tokyo's participation in providing aid to the North.

"We will not join the economic and energy aid under the six-party talks unless issues over Japan-North Korea relations, including the abduction problem, are cleared," Prime Minister Taro Aso told an upper house committee Tuesday.

On Tuesday, North Korea's Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun left for Russia, Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency said, without elaborating.

Russia's Itar-Tass news agency said Pak planned to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to "coordinate their approaches" to the nuclear issue.

North Korea alarmed the world in 2006 by setting off a test nuclear blast. It then agreed to dismantle its nuclear program in exchange for energy aid and other concessions.

The regime began disabling Yongbyon in November, and blew up a cooling tower in June in a dramatic display of its determination to carry out the process. Just steps away from completing the second phase of the three-part process, Pyongyang abruptly reversed course and stopped disabling the plant, until this week.

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3.
North Korea nuclear deal cheered, jeered in Asia
Jon Herskovitz
Reuters
10/12/2008
(for personal use only)


South Korea welcomed while a hawkish Japanese minister derided the U.S. decision to remove North Korea from a terrorism blacklist and salvage a faltering nuclear deal in the final months of the Bush administration.

The impoverished and destitute North has been longing to be delisted so it can better tap into international finance, see the lifting of many trade sanctions, and use global settlement banks to send money abroad instead of relying on cash-stuffed suitcases.

The decision was made after North Korea agreed to a series of verification measures of its nuclear facilities, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in Washington on Saturday.

South Korea's chief nuclear Kim Sook envoy told a Sunday briefing in Seoul:

"This government welcomes these moves as an opportunity that would lead to normalisation of the six-party talks and North Korea's eventual abandonment of its nuclear programmes."

Kim said he believes the North should be moving back to disablement this weekend. Most of the steps, which were started in November, have been completed and were aimed at taking at least a year to reverse.

Last month North Korea lashed out at not being removed by backing away from a disarmament-for-aid deal it made with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States, and took initial steps to rebuild its plutonium-producing nuclear plant that was being disabled under the pact's terms.

Japan has a simmering feud with Pyongyang over the fate of its nationals kidnapped decades ago by North Korean agents and still held in the communist state. A conservative minister who has take a hawkish view on the emotive issue called the U.S. move "extremely regrettable".

"I believe abductions amount to terrorist acts," Japanese Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said in Washington while attending the G7 meetings on the global financial crisis.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Bush spoke to Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso on Saturday and reaffirmed support for Japan on the abduction of its citizens.

As part of the deal, North Korea would resume disablement of its nuclear facilities and allow in U.N. and U.S. inspectors who had been ordered out.

Some conservatives in Washington wanted a tough verification system that would grant inspectors wide access to any suspected nuclear-linked facility in the secretive state and felt the Bush administration gave away too much for a rare diplomatic success.

"PATHETIC"

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, calling the verification measures agreed on "pathetic."

"I think it is a real shame. North Korea has won about a 95 percent victory here and achieved an enormous political objective in exchange for which the United States has got nothing," Bolton told Reuters.

Under the deal, which still has to be formalised, experts would have access to all declared nuclear sites and "based on mutual consent" to sites not declared by the North, said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

In addition, the United Nations atomic watchdog body, the IAEA, would play an important role in verifying Pyongyang's atomic activities and the United States could take out samples of nuclear materials to check.

While being taken off the list, McCormack made clear North Korea would still be subject to numerous sanctions as a result of its 2006 nuclear test and there was still a long way to go.

North Korea tested a nuclear device in 2006 using plutonium and it is suspected of pursuing a uranium enrichment programme, which would provide a second path to make fissile material for nuclear weapons.

The latest measures agreed on include both the plutonium programme and any uranium enrichment and proliferation activities, McCormack said.

If energy-starved North Korea backed away, it would remain on the terror list and also stand to lose out on about half a million tonnes of heavy fuel oil, or aid of equal value, that had been pledged to it for previous progress in made in disarmament.

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B.  Russia-North Korea

1.
Russia, North Korea to hold nuclear talks Wednesday
Agence France-Presse
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)


Russia's foreign minister will meet his North Korean counterpart on Wednesday in Moscow to discuss a six-party disarmament pact on Pyongyang's nuclear programme, the ministry said.

"Special attention will be paid to the situation in northeastern Asia, in particular to the six-party talks over the nuclear problem of the Korean peninsula," Russian foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said Tuesday.

Russia, along with the United States, Japan, China, South Korea and North Korea make up the six countries involved in the negotiations.

North Korean Foreign Minster Pak Ui-Chun's visit to Russia "will last several days," a defence ministry source told the Russian news agency Interfax.

"A positive dynamic has emerged in the solution of the nuclear problem of the Korean peninsula," the Russian foreign affairs ministry said in a separate statement.

The US State Department said Saturday that Washington has removed North Korea from its terrorism blacklist in exchange for full inspections of all its nuclear facilities.

Pyongyang responded Sunday by announcing it would dismantle its nuclear facilities as agreed upon in the six-nation talks.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday that North Korea has granted the UN atomic watchdog access to its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon after having barred inspectors last week.

Moscow asked all parties to continue to work towards a solution based on a joint declaration made between the six parties on September 19, 2005.

Russia "expresses its readiness to cooperate with its partners in achieving a verifiable denuclearisation of the North Korean peninsula," the Russian foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

The joint declaration, adopted in Beijing, called on the North Koreans to halt its nuclear military programme and rejoin the Non-Proliferation Treaty, in return for one day being able to develop a civilian nuclear energy programme.

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C.  Nuclear Industry

1.
Coil procurement and new agreement for Iter
World Nuclear News
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)


There is a new cooperation agreement to enhance fusion research between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) Organization. Meanwhile, a first procurement arrangement for major components of the Iter fusion reactor has been signed.

The IAEA-Iter cooperation agreement is aimed at strengthening the working relationship between the two organizations � the IAEA is a UN agency for promoting safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies, while Iter is a joint international research and development project that aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of nuclear power through fusion. The Iter Organization is working to build the world's biggest tokamak, named Iter, at Cadarache in the South of France. It is a partnership of the European Union (represented by Euratom), Japan, China, Korea, Russia and the USA.

The agreement was signed by IAEA deputy director general Yury Sokolov and Iter director general Kaname Ikeda at the opening of the 22nd IAEA Fusion Energy Conference, taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. The IAEA has been closely involved in the development of the Iter project since its inception. "We are proud of the IAEA's role in Iter's development," said Sokolov, describing how the IAEA has in the past helped the international fusion community to focus its plasma physics research on the Iter design, encouraging greater global investment in fusion.

Under the new agreement, both organizations will exchange information on the study and potential application of fusion energy and will take part in each other's meetings including Iter council meetings and IAEA annual conferences as well as scientific and technical committees. They will also cooperate on training, publications, organization of scientific conferences, plasma physics and modelling, and fusion safety and security. The agreement is also expected to broaden the reach of fusion research into still more countries which do not currently have fusion programs.

Conductor procurement

The Iter Organization has signed the first of three procurement arrangements for main components for the tokamak's poloidal field (PF) conductors with China's new domestic agency for nuclear fusion.

The manufacturing of the PF coils is being divided between China, Russia and Europe, with China contributing 67%, some 45.4 km of cable. Russia will produce 19.7% (10.7 km) with Europe providing the remaining 13.3% (8.6 km). The PF coils are one of four main subsystems making up Iter's superconducting magnet system. The PF coil system itself consists of six independent coils, made of two types of twisted, multifilament nickel-plated niobium-titanium based composite strands. A prototype coil for the PF system performed to design specification in recent tests hailed as a technological milestone for the project.

The procurement agreement was signed after the inauguration of China's domestic agency, formally named the China International Nuclear Fusion Energy Program Execution Center, at a ceremony attended by over 100 representatives including high-ranking officials, ministers, academics, diplomats and industrial representatives. Ikeda was there, and unveiled one of two commemorative plaques acknowledged the importance of China to the program. "Iter needs the outstanding knowledge and ability of the Chinese fusion scientists. Iter needs the wider contribution of China's outstanding scientific community and of course the support of the vast high-technology industry base that flourishes in your country," he said.

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2.
Japan, Mongolia meet on uranium
United Press International
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)


According to Unuudur, a Mongolian newspaper, Japan, China and India are leaders in uranium usage, as China has to build two nuclear reactors a year to meet its 2020 pledge to provide 4 percent of its energy from nuclear, and India also is planning to increase nuclear power generation.

"It is particularly important that new uranium deposits are brought on stream because reserves at deposits currently in production are going to run down by 2020," one of the Japanese consultants told Unuudur.

Mongolia's uranium resources are estimated at 62,000 tons, or about 1 percent of the world's reserves, though Mongolia still also has mineral deposits that have never been assessed. Including those untested reserves, researchers estimate Mongolia's uranium reserves could be as much as 1.39 million tons, which would be the biggest in the world.

A deal would benefit both Mongolia and Japan as the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan estimates the country's annual uranium imports are more than 9,000 tons.

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3.
Manager appointed for UAE's nuclear program
World Nuclear News
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)


CH2M Hill will act as a managing agent for the United Arab Emirates' nuclear power program, which is expected to include orders for several gigawatts of new nuclear capacity in coming years.

The US-based firm was selected by the newly-created Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (Enec) for an initial ten-year period. Financial details were not disclosed but CH2M Hill would be responsible for, among other things: selecting prime contractors; implementing owners' responsibilities; master program planning; and licensing. It would also ensure that the program is in line with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommendations on which the country's strategy has been based.

The UAE has made nuclear cooperation agreements with France, the UK and the USA, while Areva, Total and Suez have already partnered to build a 1600 MWe EPR unit in the UAE, partly for desalination of water. Electricity demand in the UAE is expected to more than double to 2020.

Enec itself was set up by consultants at Thorium Power following dialogues between UAE officials and the IAEA. It has $100 million in initial funding. Another forthcoming development is the creation of the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, also a responsibility of Thorium Power.

CH2M Hill said it already has 500 program management staff in the UAE working on projects such as the zero-carbon Masdar City and the ADSSC Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Program, both in Abu Dhabi.

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4.
Procedural problems may force cancellation of nuclear tender
Ercan Yavuz Ankara
Todays Zaman
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)


A tender for the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Turkey, held on Sept. 25, may be cancelled due to its failure to meet technical criteria.
The fact that there was only one bidder in the tender, analysts say, may lead to its cancellation because it fell short of creating a competitive environment.

The only bidder for the tender was the Park Teknik consortium, set up by the Russian AtomStroyExport and Inter RAO UES and the Turkish Ciner Group.

At a time when the construction of a nuclear power plant has been strongly protested by some groups, only receiving one bid for the tender has complicated things for the government. One month before the tendering date, the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry listened to the questions and requests from prospective bidders, but refused to introduce any changes to the tendering process or postpone the tender.

The Turkish Electricity Trading and Contracting Company (TETAŞ) had sent the sole bidding consortium's offer to the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) for an exhaustive technical examination. TAEK scrutinized the bid's compliance with technological criteria but found it unsuitable, a senior bureaucrat told Today's Zaman. In particular, the TAEK authorities found that it would be against Turkey's long-term interests to allow a Russian company to establish a nuclear power station that only uses a type of uranium produced for nuclear power plants in Russia. Thus, TAEK advised that the tender should be cancelled.

While TETAŞ noted that getting just one bid for a tender cannot used as a justification for cancellation, government officials reportedly want more than one bid for each tender. The third envelope, which contained the price, will not be opened as it was found that the technological criteria of the tender were not fulfilled, it said. However, the Cabinet will have the final say over the issue. If the Cabinet considers the bid acceptable, the Russian company will obtain a license from the Energy Market Regulatory Agency (EPDK) to proceed with construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant.

If the Russian company is awarded the contract, Russian interests in the generation of Turkey's electricity will rise from 35 percent to 55 percent. Turkey fulfills 60 percent of its natural gas needs from Russia, and it does not want to get into a similar situation with power generation. The final decision on the nuclear power station tender will be announced following a Cabinet meeting next week. A senior bureaucrat told Today's Zaman that both TAEK and TETAŞ will recommend that the Cabinet cancel the tender.

Russian dependence causes worries

While several environmental organizations are calling on the government to abandon its plans to build a nuclear power station, some groups argue that increasing Turkey's dependence on Russian electricity generation would be an irreversible error. They further argue that Russian nuclear technology requires the use of a uranium tablet produced only by Russia, so allowing a Russian company to build a plant for Turkey will mean that Turkey will be dependent on Russia for uranium supplies.

Half of Turkish electricity is generated from natural gas. A drop in rainfall in recent years and the use of outdated technology in thermal power generation have caused a sharp decline in the share of hydroelectric and coal-fueled thermal power plants as part of electricity output. Thus, the amount of electricity generated by natural gas power plants is increasing each year. About 35 percent of the country's electricity is produced from natural gas bought from Russia. The planned nuclear power plant will generate 20 percent of Turkish's overall electricity production. Thus, if the Russian company is awarded the contract, Russia's share in Turkey's electricity output will jump to 55 percent.

Russia already controls about 25 percent of the world market for nuclear energy, and it is reportedly holding talks with China and India to improve cooperation over nuclear energy.

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5.
Lithuania nuclear referendum fails over poor turnout
RIA Novosti
10/13/2008
(for personal use only)


A referendum to postpone the closure of Lithuania's only nuclear power plant until 2012 has failed to reach the required turnout of 50%, the country's Central Election Commission said.

Only 47.6% of voters cast their vote on Sunday during a nationwide referendum on extending the life of the Soviet-era nuclear power station, which provides 70% of Lithuania's electricity. Some 88.7% of the voters that did turn out supported the decision.

The Ignalina nuclear power plant is of a similar design to the power plant that exploded in 1986 in Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Lithuania decommissioned the Ignalina plant's first power-generating unit in 2004 as part of a deal to join the EU, and pledged to shut down the second reactor by late 2009, in line with EU nuclear safety requirements.

The replacement for Ignalina, due to be built as part of a $3-4 billion joint project with Poland, Estonia and Latvia is unlikely to be ready before 2015. Lithuania is reluctant to close the plant and increase its reliance on Russia for energy before its replacement can be commissioned.

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D.  Nuclear Cooperation

1.
IAEA signs pact with ITER
Press Trust of India
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)


The United Nations atomic watchdog has signed an agreement with a global research consortium, which includes India, to enhance studies into nuclear fusion technology.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed the agreement in Geneva with the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) Organisation to bolster ties between the two bodies.

Research on fusion ultimately aimed at creating electric power is still in a preliminary stage.

India, the US, the European Union, Japan, Russia, and South Korea partnered to create the ITER, which aims to demonstrate how fusion could be used to generate electrical power. A research facility is set to be constructed in southern France.

"ITER is a clear example of how a large international project can be successfully organised," said Yury Sokolov, Deputy Director General of the IAEA.

Under the new arrangement, the two agencies will exchange information on the potential application of fusion energy and will collaborate on training programmes and conferences regarding fusion safety and security.

The agreement was signed on the opening day of the IAEA's 22nd Fusion Energy Conference.

"Efforts must be pursued to associate developing countries to scientific cooperative arrangements and to facilitate technology transfers," said Jan Beagle, Deputy Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva.

"Most importantly, we must strive to stimulate research and scientific knowledge, to build capacity, in the least developed countries so that developing-country experience can become a greater part of global scientific collaboration," he added.

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2.
Pak, China expected to sign civil nuclear deal
Press Trust of India
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)


Pakistan and China are expected to sign a civil nuclear agreement during President Asif Ali Zardari's maiden state visit to the Communist nation, the country's envoy to Beijing said today.
Both countries have always supported the peaceful use of civil nuclear energy and an agreement in this connection is expected to be signed during the President's visit to China which began today, Ambassador Masood Khan said.

The two countries will ink several agreements in the fields of technology, agriculture and minerals. They will also sign an investment protocol to their existing free trade agreement to boost investments in Pakistan, he told Geo News channel.

Though Khan did not give details of the proposed civil nuclear pact, official sources were quoted by The Nation newspaper as saying that a nuclear deal with China would be the "main item" on Zardari's agenda.

An official told the newspaper that Zardari would seek a nuclear deal with China to meet Pakistan's increasing energy needs.

"What we need from our Chinese friends is the building of new nuclear reactors with their help and indications are already there that they will not disappoint us," the official said.

The government led by Zardari's Pakistan People's Party is under pressure from domestic political circles to seek a civil nuclear deal with China to match the atomic pact finalised between India and the US.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has urged the US to extend a similar deal to Pakistan and called on the world community not to discriminate between Pakistan and India in this regard.

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E.  Iran

1.
Iran hails progress in Bushehr nuclear power plant construction
RIA Novosti
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)


A top Iranian nuclear official said on Tuesday that Tehran was satisfied with the ongoing construction of the Islamic Republic's first nuclear power plant, currently being built by Russia in the south of Iran.

Russia is building the $1 billion Bushehr facility under a 1995 contract. The project is subject to UN monitoring following Iran's refusal to halt its uranium enrichment program and Western suspicions that Tehran is seeking to build nuclear weapons.

"We are satisfied in general with the progress in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, especially after Russia delivered nuclear fuel to the facility," Iran's IRNA news agency quoted Ahmad Fayazbakhsh, the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization as saying.

The Bushehr project was originally scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2006, but the launch date has been postponed several times.

Russia delivered its eighth and final nuclear fuel shipment to Bushehr on January 28, supplying a total of 82 metric tons of low-enriched uranium to the plant's light-water reactor.

Fayazbakhsh said about 700 Iranian nuclear technicians had undergone training in Russia in the past four years.

"As a result, the expertise of Iranian specialists in construction and operation of the [Bushehr] plant has grown significantly," the official added.

Russia's nuclear power chief Sergei Kiriyenko said in early June that preparations for the launch of the Bushehr project, including nuclear fuel operations, would start in the fall. He said with confidence that the safety of nuclear fuel storage was not in doubt.

The Iranian foreign minister said on October 7 that the Bushehr nuclear power plant would be commissioned in the first half of 2009.

"The completion and launch of the Bushehr nuclear power plant have been scheduled for the first half of 2009," Manouchehr Mottaki said.

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F.  Links of Interest

1.
Settling With North Korea
Washington Post
10/15/2008
(for personal use only)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/14/AR2008101402..


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2.
Some Nuclear Energy Backers Say Uranium Alternative Could be a Magic Bullet
Ken Garber
U.S. News and World Report
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)
http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/2008/10/14/some-nuclear-energy-backers-..


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3.
The Latest North Korea Deal
New York Times
10/14/2008
(for personal use only)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/14/opinion/14tue2.html


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DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to visit the websites from which the source material originates. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of RANSAC. RANSAC takes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.

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