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Nuclear News - 11/7/2008
PGS Nuclear News, November 7, 2008
Compiled By: Matthew Giles

A.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Russia to help in Vietnam civil nuclear program, Agence France-Presse (11/6/2008)
    1. N Korea nixes nuclear sampling, Zee News (11/6/2008)
C.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Vietnam to build two nuclear power plants in Central Province, Tehran Times  (11/6/2008)
D.  Russia
    1. Russia to position nuke-ready missiles on EU borders, Adrian Blomfield, Irish Independent (11/6/2008)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. Israel cautions against Obama dialogue with Iran, Reuters (11/6/2008)

A.  Nuclear Cooperation

Russia to help in Vietnam civil nuclear program
Agence France-Presse
(for personal use only)

Russia wants to take part in Vietnam's planned nuclear energy program, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said Thursday following talks with Vietnam's Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem in Hanoi.

"We know that such plans were made in Vietnam, very daring and far-reaching plans. We hope that Russia will be among those who will work with Vietnam in this hi-tech area and continue the traditions of our cooperation," Denisov said in an interview to the ITAR-TASS news agency.

Last week, Russia and Vietnam signed oil and gas deals after trade talks in Moscow between the countries' presidents, as part of a broader effort by Russia to regain Soviet-era influence in the region.

While trade between Russia and Vietnam has grown in recent years, Russia's clout in the Southeast Asian country is still a shadow of Soviet-era levels.

Russian trade turnover with Vietnam was set to reach 1.5 billion dollars in 2007, Medvedev said, a figure dwarfed by the annual trade turnover between Vietnam and the United States of over 10 billion dollars.

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N Korea nixes nuclear sampling
Zee News
(for personal use only)

North Korea has told Russia that it will not allow its partners in six-party nuclear talks to take any samples from the reclusive country's nuclear facilities for the purpose of verifying Pyongyang's nuclear declaration, sources said on Thursday.

North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun relayed the stance to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during their meeting in Moscow on October 15, the sources said.

North Korea's stance is a flat denial of the US State Department's announcement made October 11 saying Pyongyang had agreed to allow its six-way partners -- China, South Korea, the United States, Japan and Russia -- use for verification "scientific procedures, including sampling and forensic activities."

After being informed of the stance by Russia, China, which chairs the six-party negotiations, turned cautious about convening a six-way heads-of-delegation meeting, the sources said.

At their next talks, the six-party chief delegates are to compile a document to cover the recent verbal agreement between US and North Korean negotiators on verification measures.

The US and North Korean negotiators have agreed not to clearly state in writing at the session their accord on taking samples from North Korea's nuclear facilities.

But other partners such as Japan are strongly demanding that sample-taking be included in the document as a central tool to bring about North Korea's denuclearization under strict verification. According to the negotiation sources, Pak told Lavrov that Pyongyang will allow its partners access to its nuclear facilities, discuss additional documents on its nuclear programs and interview people related to the nuclear plans.

Pak was also quoted as saying North Korea's partners cannot bring outside the country any material they would find through the verification process.

The United States has been seeking to hold the next six-party chief delegates' talks by the end of November. Sung Kim, US special envoy to the six-party talks is expected to discuss Pak's remarks when he meets in New York today with Ri Gun, head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry's American affairs bureau.

The current second phase of denuclearization, which obliges Pyongyang to disable its nuclear facilities and declare all its nuclear programs, is to be followed by the third phase in which Pyongyang must give up all its fissile material.

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C.  Nuclear Energy

Vietnam to build two nuclear power plants in Central Province
Tehran Times
(for personal use only)

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has announced a plan to build two nuclear power plants in the central province of Ninh Thuan, which will be operational from 2020 to 2022.

The announcement was made at an international forum on nuclear power, held in Hanoi by the ministry and the Vietnam Energy Association.

Phan Minh Tuan, head of the preparation committee for nuclear power, said Ninh Thuan nuclear power plant No 1 would be in Phuoc Dinh Commune, Ninh Phuoc District, covering 540ha. Its two reactors will be put into commercial operation by 2020 and 2021.

The Ninh Thuan plant No 2 will be built in Vinh Hai Commune, Ninh Hai District, covering 556ha. Its two reactors will be put into commercial operation by 2021 and 2022.

As the world faces a growing energy crisis, with limited oil reserves and global warming as a result of carbon emissions, Vietnam�s interest in nuclear power is appropriate, according to scientists specialising in atomic energy. These experts confirm that the benefits of nuclear power over other traditional sources make nuclear energy by 2020 a viable option for Vietnam.

At the forum, Thomas Mazour, an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)�s Division of Nuclear Power, affirmed that Vietnam is well prepared for the future nuclear power plants. He said that IAEA is ready to help countries, including Vietnam, to upgrade their nuclear safety and prepare for and respond to emergencies.

A leading expert in Vietnam of atomic energy, Professor Dr Pham Duy Hien, the former head of the Atomic Energy Commission, warned, however, that initially only one reactor should be activated.

�From this, we will try to develop a group of experts, as well as infrastructure, and learn how to implement nuclear laws,� he said, adding that the project�s success was not only in getting one reactor up and running, but to create an initial foundation for the next steps.

To generate nuclear power by 2020, construction will have to begin by 2025. Such a tight deadline means experts have to begin their work right away. Mr Hien warned that it usually takes 15 years to select and train the plant staff and select suitable people that can be held responsible for national security.

Other experts noted that considering Vietnam�s current state, building four reactors at the same time may be too risky. China built their first nuclear plant in 1991, with a capacity of just 300 MW. Vietnam�s plans call for four reactors, each with a capacity of 1000 MW.

Prof. Dr Tran Dinh Long, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Electricity Power Association, warned that building a nuclear power plant would require strict technical demands.

�It is not as easy as building a shoe-making factory. We cannot affirm that engineers who have studied for five years will be able to build a nuclear power plant. That�s why scientists must be very careful in selecting technology, equipment and suppliers.�

Professor Chu Hao, former Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, said that if the country did not really need nuclear power, the plants should be delayed, to wait for more advanced and safer technologies.

Vietnam has yet to even choose what technologies will be used for its first nuclear power plant.

Dr Vuong Huu Tuan, head of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Commission, outlined the available details of the three separate projects.

The first is to build a nuclear power plant on one site, with two reactors, with a total capacity of 2000 MW to be operational by 2019 and 2020.

The second is to build a plant on two sites, with four reactors (with a total capacity of 4000 MW), with the same technology applied to both sites.

The final plan outlines building a plant on two sites, with four reactors (with a total capacity of 4000 MW), using two different technology models.

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D.  Russia

Russia to position nuke-ready missiles on EU borders
Adrian Blomfield
Irish Independent
(for personal use only)

Russia�s President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the stationing of nuclear-capable missiles on NATO's borders -- the first time since the Cold War.

In his first state of the nation address to parliament yesterday, he said that short-range Iskander surface-to-surface missiles would be placed in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, which borders Poland and Lithuania.

Delivering his most aggressively anti-American speech yet, Mr Medvedev said he was responding to a missile defence shield that the United States wants to build in central Europe by 2011.

The Russian leader even hinted that he was prepared to use the missiles to destroy the shield, which is to be erected in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Americans believe that Russia's fury over missile defence amounts to pointless sabre-rattling. The shield will consist of a radar station in the Czech Republic and 10 missiles -- with no warheads -- in Poland. These "interceptor" missiles would offer no protection against Russia's nuclear arsenal, which totals about 13,000 warheads. Their only purpose would be to shoot down a missile launched from Iran, which is developing the ability to fire rockets at long-range targets.

Although Russia's Iskander is normally equipped with conventional warheads, it could be modified to carry a nuclear weapon.

Mr Medvedev's speech had been postponed twice and commentators said it was no accident that the Kremlin decided it should be delivered on the day the US presidential election results were announced. Seeking to cast Washington as the architect of the global financial crisis, he attacked the "erroneous, egotistical and sometimes even dangerous decisions of some members of the global community" -- the traditional euphemism for the US.

"The conflict in the Caucasus was used as a pretext for sending NATO warships to the Black Sea and then for foisting America's anti-missile systems on Europe," he added.


The speech was highly significant for the insight it offered into Russia's future. Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, took an important step towards reclaiming the presidency after Mr Medvedev said that the Kremlin was preparing to change a constitutional provision on term limits.

Mr Medvedev, the man Mr Putin shoehorned into his old job in May, said that sitting presidents should be allowed to serve for two consecutive six-year terms rather than two four-year terms at present.

Commentators in Moscow were quick to suggest that the announcement was part of a project designed to return Mr Putin to the Kremlin. The former KGB spy was constitutionally obliged to step down in May after serving as president for eight years.

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E.  Links of Interest

Israel cautions against Obama dialogue with Iran
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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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