1. IAEA Says Had "Good Trip" to Iran Enrichment Site
(for personal use only)
The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog's mission to a newly disclosed plant in Iran said on Thursday the inspectors had what he termed a good trip but he declined to give any details.
The site, which Iran revealed last month, has heightened Western fears of a covert program to develop atomic bombs. Tehran says its nuclear program is only for power generation.
"We had a good trip," International Atomic Energy Agency official Herman Nackaerts told reporters on arrival at Vienna airport with the three other members of his team.
"We visited the Fordo enrichment plant. Now we are going to analyze the data and the director-general will then report in due time," Nackaerts said after the four-day trip.
He declined to say whether the team of experts had discovered anything surprising or if they had been able to carry out a full visit of the site, built inside a mountain about 160 km (100 miles) south of Tehran.
The Islamic Republic revealed the plant's existence to the Vienna-based IAEA on September 21. It said the site, which is still under construction, would enrich uranium only to the low 5 percent purity suitable for power plant fuel.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei will issue his next report on Iran around mid-November.
Available at: http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE59S0SN20091029
The UN's nuclear watchdog says it is hopeful an agreement with Iran can be reached after Tehran's response to a new offer on uranium refinement.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it received Iran's reply to the UN-backed proposal on Thursday.
Under the plan, most of Iran's enriched uranium would be sent abroad to be turned into fuel rods for research use.
No details of Iran's reply have been given but its president said it was ready to co-operate with the proposal.
Iran says it is enriching uranium for fuel, but the US and its allies have accused it of seeking nuclear weapons.
'Confrontation to co-operation'
The IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, confirmed it had received Iran's reply.
The IAEA said in a statement: "The director general is engaged in consultations with the government of Iran as well as all relevant parties, with the hope that agreement on his proposal can be reached soon."
Although no details have been supplied, Iran's Isna news agency earlier quoted Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, as saying only that Iranian "economic and technical concerns regarding the supply of fuel for the research reactor [in Tehran] should be addressed".
Observers in Tehran say the government is expected to demand significant changes to the IAEA proposal while accepting the overall framework.
According to a report by the pro-government newspaper Java, those changes could include shipping low-enriched uranium abroad in stages rather than all at once.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the IAEA proposal as a move from "confrontation to co-operation" by Western powers.
"We welcome fuel exchange, nuclear co-operation, building of power plants and reactors and we are ready to co-operate," Mr Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech in the city of Mashhad.
However, he also said Iran would "not retreat even an iota" over its right to develop a nuclear programme.
The IAEA has proposed exporting most of Iran's enriched uranium to Russia and France, where it would be converted into fuel before being returned to Iran.
The plan was agreed by the US, Russia and France after talks in Vienna last week, but Iran missed a deadline to respond on Friday.
For Western powers, the proposal would buy time while they press for a definitive solution to the stand-off over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Meanwhile, a delegation of IAEA inspectors returned after visiting Iran's recently-revealed second uranium enrichment plant at Fordo, near Qom.
"We had a good trip," said delegation head Herman Nackaerts.
He did not answer specific questions about any of the data that was gathered, saying it had yet to be analysed.
Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8331626.stm
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Tehran is ready for nuclear cooperation but expects parties to the talks to fulfill their previous obligations.
Addressing crowds in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Thursday, Ahmadinejad said Iran was ready to cooperate with other countries in developing its nuclear energy program as 'conditions for nuclear cooperation on the international level have been provided'.
"We welcome the exchange of fuel, technical cooperation and construction of power plants and reactors and we are prepared to cooperate [in these areas].”
The Iranian president added, however, that Tehran expected those countries that were parties to the talks to 'fulfill their previous obligations.'
"We have nuclear contracts. It has been 30 years. We have paid for them…such agreements must be fulfilled … for technical activities, for reactors and power plants. If we intend to cooperate, such contracts must be addressed and the previous commitments must be fulfilled.”
Ahmadinejad said that obtaining fuel for the Tehran reactor was an opportunity to evaluate the 'honesty' of certain countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
He added that Iran has arrived at an important juncture in its nuclear work and that it would not retreat in the least from its nuclear rights.
Due to Iran's resistance, Western countries have changed their stance from that of 'confrontation to interaction', Ahmadinejad said.
"Once they told us to stop [nuclear work]. Now they express readiness to cooperate with us in exchange of fuel, expansion of the technology and construction of power plants and atomic reactors."
The Iranian president also called on the US to change its policy in the Middle East region and stop supporting Israel.
He said the US had to choose between saving its image and supporting the Israeli regime.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=109930§ionid=351020104
4. Iran to Propose Two Amendments to IAEA Deal: Report
(for personal use only)
Iran will propose two amendments to a UN-drafted deal under which most of Tehran's low-enriched uranium will be sent abroad for conversion into nuclear fuel, a newspaper reported on Thursday.
Iran is widely expected to deliver its response to the deal later Thursday in Vienna where the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is based.
The IAEA-drafted deal, according to Javan newspaper, envisages 75 percent of Tehran's low-enriched uranium (LEU) stock being sent abroad for higher processing and conversion into fuel for an internationally-supervised research reactor in Tehran.
Tehran will propose two amendments to this deal, the hardline Javan (Young) paper said Thursday.
Firstly, Iran will offer its stock of LEU "gradually" in several batches rather than sending out the full 75 percent in one go, the newspaper said quoting an unnamed informed source.
Secondly, Iran wants to receive highly enriched uranium fuel at the same time as it hands over its LEU stock "as per a formula to be calculated by the IAEA based on the need of the Tehran reactor."
According to Javan, the proposed deal as it stands sees Iran receiving the required fuel for the Tehran reactor only some time after it sends off its LEU stock.
World powers have backed the original IAEA drafted plan and Iran was to deliver its response last Friday but delayed it amid conflicting views from senior officials in Tehran over that proposal.
Western powers want to ship out Iran's LEU stock as they fear Tehran could enrich it further to very high levels on its own and use it in making atomic weapons, a charge strongly denied by the Islamic republic.
Iran's uranium enrichment drive is the most controversial aspect of its nuclear programme as the material at low purity levels can be used to power a civilian nuclear reactor, but in highly extended form can be used to make nuclear weapons.
Iran has around 1,500 kilos of LEU at its Natanz uranium enrichment plant, produced in defiance of three sets of UN sanctions.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jIHr2645y53W-96fRmNPp2vlxMrw
5. Ahmadinejad Links Iran's Nuclear Program to Israel
(for personal use only)
Iran will move forward with its nuclear program as long as Israel possesses nuclear weapons, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying on Tuesday.
Ahmadenijad's comment came during a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"When an illegal regime possesses nuclear weapons, the other countries' rights for peaceful nuclear energy cannot be denied," he said.
Israel does not admit having nuclear weapons.
Four UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Iran on Sunday to inspect the country's second uranium enrichment facility, currently under construction.
Iran is under three sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
"The Zionist regime is a threat to all nations and it wants the region to be free of strong countries," Ahmadinejad reportedly told Erdogan. "Today we see that applying force in Gaza was not enough for them so they are attacking holy Jerusalem."
Israeli authorities on Tuesday demolished two Palestinian homes on the outskirts of Arab East Jerusalem.
The Islamic Republic has consistently denied it is seeking to make nuclear weapons, but has insisted on its right to a peaceful program aimed at generating electricity.
Iran does not recognize Israel as a sovereign country.
Available at: http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/iran/2009/iran-091027-rianovosti01.htm
6. US Senate Committee to Vote on Iran Fuel Sanctions
(for personal use only)
The U.S. Senate Banking Committee will vote Thursday on legislation that would impose sanctions on Iran's gasoline suppliers in order to pressure Tehran to give up its nuclear program, the panel's chairman said.
The sanctions would affect companies exporting gasoline to Iran or helping to expand the country's oil refinery capacity. The sanctions would also extend to companies that build oil and gas pipelines in Iran and provide tankers to move Iran's petroleum.
Congress and the Obama administration fear Iran's uranium enrichment program will be used to develop weapons, while Tehran says it is for peaceful purposes to generate electricity.
Congress hopes cutting off Iran's gasoline supplies will put pressure on Tehran to give up its nuclear program. While Iran holds some of the world's biggest oil reserves, it must import 40 percent of its gasoline to meet domestic demand.
The bill would also prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing goods from foreign companies that do business in Iran's energy sector.
That would include denying contracts to energy companies to deliver crude oil to the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. However, such a move would have little real impact as the emergency oil stockpile is just 2 million barrels away from its 727-million-barrel capacity, which will be reached by January.
Other provisions in the bill would:
* Impose a broad ban on direct imports from Iran to the U.S. and exports from the U.S. to Iran, exempting food and medicines;
* Require the Obama administration to freeze the assets of Iranians, including Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, who are active in weapons proliferation or terrorism;
* Enable Americans to divest from energy firms doing business with the Iranian regime;
* Strengthen export controls to stop the illegal black market export of sensitive technology to Iran through other countries and impose tough new licensing requirements on those who refuse to cooperate.
Available at: http://in.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idINN2621061720091026
2. South Korea to Make North's Denuclearization Top Priority in Inter-Korean Talks
(for personal use only)
South Korea will put North Korea's denuclearization first in any inter-Korean dialogue and try to persuade Pyongyang that giving up nuclear weapons is imperative to rebuilding its economy, Seoul's unification minister said Wednesday.
"The goal of inter-Korean dialogue is to pave the way for inter-Korean coexistence, co-prosperity and peace on the Korean Peninsula, and eventually reunification," Hyun In-taek said in a speech to a lawmakers' forum. "In this respect, the North Korean nuclear issue must be the foremost agenda of inter-Korean dialogue."
Available at: http://www.individual.com/storyrss.php?story=109219701&hash=d703ffcf8fdfd54f58cf2e421b602961
3. China's Hu Lauds North Korea, Sidesteps Nuclear Dispute
(for personal use only)
Chinese President Hu Jintao told a senior North Korean official on Wednesday that ties between the two nations have reached a new level of goodwill, avoiding direct mention of the North's nuclear dispute in his public praise.
Hu lauded relations between the two communist neighbors while meeting Choe Thae-bok, a visiting senior official in the North's ruling Workers' Party, the China News Service said.
Choe is considered a confidante of Kim Jong-il, the country's reclusive top leader.
Kim gave an extravagant welcome to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao when he visited the North in early October to mark 60 years of official ties.
Hu said the year of anniversary celebrations had "further deepened traditional friendship and expanded mutually beneficial cooperation, raising neighborly friendship between China and North Korea to a new level," said the report.
Reports of the meeting from the official China News Service and state television, however, did not directly mention the North's disputed nuclear weapons program, which has drawn sanctions from the United Nations backed by China.
After North Korea held its second ever nuclear test in May, China endorsed fresh sanctions.
Hu said both countries should "make shared efforts to protect regional peace and security," the reports said.
The absence of the nuclear topic from Hu's published remarks appeared to underscore Beijing's focus on nurturing stronger bilateral ties with Pyongyang, even as it seeks to coax the North back to nuclear disarmament talks.
Beijing objects to Pyongyang developing atomic weapons. But it also says harsh sanctions on the North would merely stoke hostility, and it also fears that political turmoil in the North could unleash a surge of refugees into China.
During his rare visit this month to the North, Chinese Premier Wen gave public support to leader Kim, who in turn signaled his state could return to six-way disarmament-for-aid nuclear talks his government once pronounced dead.
In the past few days, North Korea also sent one of its top envoys on a rare trip to the United States, where he has met a U.S. diplomat in a meeting analysts said could help revive the dormant six-party talks.
Those talks bring together North and South Korea, host China, the United States, Japan and Russia.
Choe is secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party who has been by leader Kim's side in recent months for many of his inspections tours of the country, according to the North's official media.
Available at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091028/wl_nm/us_korea_north_china
4. US, North Korean Officials Join in Unofficial Talks
(for personal use only)
U.S. and North Korean officials wrapped up unofficial talks Tuesday with other northeast Asian countries about regional security, but with no reports of major breakthroughs.
The two-day meeting in San Diego was designed to be "frank but friendly" and was not preparation for a resumption of official multilateral talks, said Susan Shirk, a UC San Diego professor and founder of the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue.
North Korea carried out nuclear and missile tests earlier this year, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Il recently said his country could rejoin international disarmament talks, depending on the status of direct talks with the U.S.
The U.S. has said it is willing to hold direct talks with North Korea if it leads to resumption of the six-party talks aimed at halting the country's nuclear weapons programs. The talks would also involve South Korea, China, Russia and Japan.
The San Diego forum involved senior officials from the six countries and comes amid a series of recent conciliatory moves by North Korea. But Shirk said the timing was simply coincidental.
"It is in no way a preparation for official talks," Shirk told reporters on the campus of the university, which organized the event. "I have no clearer idea now than I did two days ago about when or if official talks will resume."
"I don't see any major breakthroughs," she said.
North Korea and the United States do not have diplomatic relations. North Korea's No. 2 nuclear negotiator Ri Gun was given permission to visit the U.S. and attended the meeting in La Jolla, an upscale area of San Diego, along with chief U.S. nuclear negotiator Sung Kim.
Shirk said defense officials from five countries — except for North Korea — would continue to meet through Wednesday. Shirk said she traveled to Pyongyang to invite North Korea to send defense officials but they did not.
Song Il Hyok, a senior researcher at North Korea's Institute for Disarmament and Peace, declined to speak with reporters.
Masafumi Ishii, an ambassador for Japan's foreign policy bureau, said the atmosphere at the meeting was positive, but also noted that the sessions wasn't connected to prospects for the six-party talks. While Japan supports renewing the negotiations, officials want to ensure the countries involved are prepared to do more than just talk, Ishii said.
"This meeting didn't change our assessment of the situation," he said.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i_uXhOhVwbPwilUIV1778nfjwiqAD9BJQNL00
1. US Security Adviser in Moscow Nuclear Arms Talks
(for personal use only)
Russia and the United States are scrambling to address disagreements over a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with little over a month left until the existing agreement between the Cold War adversaries expires.
Despite the narrowing timeframe, both sides expressed optimism at the end of a day of negotiations Thursday between U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones and Russia's foreign minister and National Security Council head.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in televised remarks he was "sure" Jones' "successful" visit would help forge a new treaty. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said "intensive efforts" would be required to reach an accord but he struck a generally optimistic tone.
On leaving the Foreign Ministry, Jones told The Associated Press that the two had a "very good discussion on a number of bilateral issues," without elaborating.
Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=8943618
2. UAE Calls for Strengthening of International Efforts to Phase Out Nuclear Weapons
Emirates News Agency
(for personal use only)
The UAE has welcomed the Security Council's resolution No. 1887 of year 2009, on nuclear disarmament and initiatives of the United States and Russia to reduce the number of nuclear warheads.
Addressing United Nation's first committee meeting on "Disarmament and International Security", Ali Ahmed Al-Shehhi, a member of UAE delegation to the UN, stressed the UAE's renouncement to the possession of nuclear arsenals, which pose a threat to the international security and stability.
Al-Shehhi stated that the UAE, which joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995, adopts a firm position in this respect with fresh calls for the international community to strengthen its efforts to curb nuclear weapons, indicating that the UAE endorsed Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 2002.
He noted that the "UAE renews its call to achieve the goals of disarmament and the prohibition of nuclear tests, including the implementation of the 13 steps agreed by consensus at the Sixth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)." Al-Shehhi also stressed the importance of reaffirming the universality and comprehensiveness of the NPT to enter the "Comprehensive Nuclear - Test Ban Treaty - CTBTO" into force.
Available at: http://wam.org.ae/servlet/Satellite?c=WamLocEnews&cid=1248236124309&p=1135099400295&pagename=WAM%2FWamLocEnews%2FW-T-LEN-FullNews
3. Russia Says U.S. to Respect Its Arms Treaty Concerns
(for personal use only)
Russia expects to receive within days U.S. proposals taking into account Moscow's concerns regarding a new strategic weapons deal negotiated by the two nations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.
Russian and U.S. negotiators have been working hard to produce a detailed treaty ready for signing by the two nations' leaders in December, when an existing pact known as START-1 regulating the number of long-range nuclear weapons expires.
"The most important of these principles for us is the inter-connection between strategic offensive and defensive weapons, linked to a U.S. program of creating strategic weapons with non-nuclear charges," Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying on board a plane heading from India to Russia.
"On both issues, as we understand, the Americans heard our concerns, are ready to take them into account and promised that within days they would hand over their own proposals, addressing these problems."
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE59Q4FQ20091027
1. Bill to Ban Foreign Nuke Waste Makes Small Advance
(for personal use only)
A bill designed to keep foreign countries from disposing their nuclear waste in the United States is taking a small but significant step toward getting a U.S. House committee vote for the first time.
On Thursday, the Radioactive Import Deterrence Act will undergo a process known as markup, where members of a House subcommittee will debate and recommend changes to the bill before it advances.
The bill to ban the importation of low-level radioactive waste was drafted in response to a Utah company's plan to import up to 20,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Italy's shuttered nuclear power program through the ports of Charleston, S.C., or New Orleans. After processing in Tennessee, about 1,600 tons would be disposed of in EnergySolutions Inc.'s facility in the western Utah desert.
It is the largest single amount of radioactive waste that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ever been asked to allow into the country, and the NRC doesn't have the ability to keep the waste out simply because it is foreign.
Bill supporters say the importation of U.S. disposal facilities should be preserved for domestic waste as the U.S. increasingly looks at expanding nuclear power use.
EnergySolutions' facility is the only one currently available to 36 states, although an NRC official has testified that capacity there isn't a short-term problem.
Company officials say they need to be able to dispose of foreign waste because it will help them develop relationships with other countries with an end goal of building disposal facilities abroad.
"We are competing with other foreign companies to participate as a leader from America in the nuclear renaissance," company president Val Christensen said at a recent hearing. "And we have as our secret sauce, in attempting to compete with other world competitors, the ability to dispose of a small amount of their waste, and it is limited."
Company spokeswoman Jill Sigal said 10 years is about the length of time needed to site and build a facility.
However, the publicly traded company also said in an NRC filing it would suffer substantial economic harm if it couldn't dispose of the Italian waste, although it acknowledged last week it has no contracts with Italy yet.
To allay concerns that the U.S., and particularly Utah, would become the world's nuclear waste dumping ground, the company volunteered last year to limit disposal of foreign waste to 5 percent of its facility's remaining capacity. During a hearing on the bill earlier this month, the company also said it would limit the disposal of foreign waste to a 10-year period by voluntarily amending its Utah license.
But in Utah, disposing of any foreign radioactive waste is unpopular. The NRC received a record number of public comments on the company's import license application, most in opposition.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman tried to use a regional compact in which the state is a member to keep foreign waste out, but in May a federal judge ruled the compact has no authority to bar waste from being disposed in a private facility.
The court's ruling is the most significant event to occur since the RID Act failed to advance to markup last year.
The bill's sponsors — Reps. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., and Lee Terry, R-Neb. — believe they now have the momentum necessary to move their legislation forward.
Last week, they also got a boost from Utah's new governor, Gary Herbert. After Herbert spokeswoman Angie Welling said earlier this month that Herbert wouldn't be taking a position on the RID Act, the Republican reversed course and said he would support it when questioned in a televised news conference.
"For me, it's a capacity issue. I don't think that we want to use up our limited capacity by storing foreign waste," Herbert said. "I think the emphasis needs to be on the congressmen to get that through. I know it's been there for over a year, and they need to do what they need to do with their colleagues to get that passed."
A companion version of the bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iPKbNiFvcl53Z5dBtZovJJpjudbQD9BJKBUG0
2. Vattenfall Says German Nuclear Starts to Be Subject to Politics
(for personal use only)
Vattenfall AB, the Nordic region’s biggest utility, said two German nuclear plants scheduled to be restarted next year may become a political issue after last month’s general election.
“It’s also part of a political process in Germany” after the re-election of Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chief Executive Officer Lars Josefsson said today. “Germany has a new government, and they are reformulating energy policies,” he said on a conference call with analysts following the company’s third-quarter results.
Merkel’s coalition plans to extend the operating time of German nuclear plants, with the government claiming most of the windfall profits. That would overturn a law passed under former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that shuts them down by about 2021. Details are to be negotiated with energy companies.
Stockholm-based Vattenfall plans to install two new transformers at the halted Kruemmel reactor in northwest Germany in “early” 2010, it said today in its earnings report. The company has earlier said a restart was scheduled for the second quarter. Josefsson said on July 30 that Brunsbuettel would start early next year.
Vattenfall is “working diligently” to get the facilities in restart mode, Josefsson said. Resumption must be approved by local regulators. E.ON AG, Germany’s biggest utility, owns half of the 1,260 megawatt Kruemmel and one third of the 771-megawatt Brunsbuettel facility.
The 25-year-old Kruemmel reactor stopped on July 4 for the second time in a week following a short circuit in one of the transformers. In June, the plant returned from a two-year outage caused by a fault in the other transformer, which led to a fire.
Brunsbuettel has been shut for more than two years following a short circuit in the power grid nearby.
Nuclear-power stations run by Dusseldorf-based E.ON, RWE AG of Essen, Vattenfall, and Karlsruhe-based EnBW Energie Baden- Wuerttemberg AG generated 23 percent of Germany’s electricity last year.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=aF9iyVMWAQDU
1. First Koodankulam Reactor to Generate Power by Mid-2010
(for personal use only)
The first of the two 1,000 MWe reactors of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project is expected to start generating electricity by mid-2010, according to the Station Director of the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP), M. Kasinath Balaji.
He was delivering the keynote address after inaugurating an exhibition on ‘Nuclear energy in the service of mankind’ at the District Science Centre at Kokkirakulam here on Wednesday.
Mr. Balaji said the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), while constructing 2 X 1,000 MWe reactors at Koodankulam with Russian assistance, had taken all precautionary measures to protect the environment and people living around the project site.
The first unit was likely to start generating electricity from mid-2010; the second reactor of the KKNPP would attain criticality a couple of months after the first reactor became fully operational.
The former senior scientist of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, K.S.V. Nambi, wanted to have a permanent pavilion at the District Science Centre on nuclear energy.
Scientific Officer of KKNPP Lakshmi Gopi Das gave a presentation on ‘nuclear energy in the service of mankind’. The exhibition consists of 21 eye-catching panels, each carrying vital message with accurate data and appropriate diagram or photograph.
Director of the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, Bangalore, K. Vasudeva Bhatta, and District Science Officer R. Gopalakrishna spoke.
Available at: http://www.hindu.com/2009/10/29/stories/2009102950580500.htm
Bulgaria has won an extension of financial support from the European Commission for the early shutdown of nuclear power reactors at Kozloduy.
The extra €300 million ($440 million) over three years from 2010 is to help the country adapt and improve its energy networks and takes the overall compensation package to €850 million ($1.2 billion). Four functioning reactors at Kozloduy were shut down early as part of the country's deal to join the European Union with the loss of over 1600 MWe in generating capacity. This ended the country's role as a major regional exporter of power and lead to the loss of many local high-tech jobs.
"This investment in a safer and more sustainable Bulgarian energy network illustrates our desire to see Bulgaria fully integrated in the common European energy market," said EC President José Manuel Barroso.
Similar shutdowns of Soviet-era reactors have taken place in Slovakia and Lithuania, and the latter's last Ignalina reactor is set to close at the end of this year. Both these countries, as well as Bulgaria, have sought to replace old nuclear with new nuclear with the plan in Bulgaria to build two large pressurized water reactors at Belene. This project still appears to be on track thanks to heavy Russian involvement despite severe difficulty in securing private finance.
Available at: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP_Nuclear_compensation_victory_for_Bulgaria_2710091.html
Russia and Ecuador have signed seven documents, including on cooperation in the energy sector and in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The presidents of the two countries, Dmitry Medvedev and Rafael Correa, signed a declaration on strategic cooperation in the Kremlin on Thursday.
In the presence of the leaders two inter-governmental agreements on cooperation in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and on interaction on mutual aid in customs affairs were concluded.
Russia and Ecuador also signed a contract on the supply of two military transport helicopters, Mi-171E, to Ecuador. Two memorandums on energy cooperation and on joint actions to develop the fourth-generation communication and wireless data transmission technology Mobile WiMax in Ecuador.
In addition, a protocol of intent was approved to carry out hydropower projects between Inter RAO UES and Roseximbank on one hand, and IDROTOAPI S.A. on the other hand. The government of Vladivostok and the municipality of Ecuador’s Manta signed an agreement on twin towns.
Medvedev said he is satisfied with the results of his talks with Ecuadorian leader Rafael Correa.
A declaration on strategic partnership was signed on the results of Thursday’s talks between the presidents of both countries.
Medvedev described the declaration as “a base for the development of relations in the future”. He stressed that the document was the main result of Russian-Ecuadorian talks.
“Ecuador is one of our important partners in Latin America.” “I am sure that the visit to Moscow by Rafael Correa will give an impetus to the development of relations in its entirety,” he said.
Russia intends to develop full-scale relations with Latin American countries, in particular with Ecuador, and makes sense of it, Medvedev said.
“Relations between Russia and Latin American states have considerably strengthened lately. We make sense of it because we want to develop full-scale relations with this continent and Ecuador is one of the important partners in Latin America,” Medvedev stressed.
The Russian president also noted that the positions of both countries on key international issues coincided. “We favour the multi-polar world where the interests of countries are respected,” he emphasised.
Medvedev said economic cooperation between Russia and Ecuador was also developing. “In recent years they have given a new impetus and our trade turnover is nearing one billion U.S. dollars,” the Russian president added.
In his view, the documents, which were signed on the results of the talks, will facilitate further development.
Available at: http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=14482418&PageNum=0
2. Iraq Goes Nuclear With Plans For New Reactor Programme
(for personal use only)
Iraq has started lobbying for approval to again become a nuclear player, almost 19 years after British and American war planes destroyed Saddam Hussein's last two reactors, the Guardian has learned.
The Iraqi government has approached the French nuclear industry about rebuilding at least one of the reactors that was bombed at the start of the first Gulf war. The government has also contacted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and United Nations to seek ways around resolutions that ban Iraq's re-entry into the nuclear field.
Iraq says it envisages that a reactor would be used initially for research purposes. "We are co-operating with the IAEA and expanding and defining areas of research where we can implement nuclear technology for peaceful means," the science and technology minister, Raid Fahmi, told the Guardian.
"After the dissolution [of the regime] we did not have an industry, but we have become more and more conscious of the need for nuclear technology. This was raised several months ago with the relevant bodies."
Iraq's renewed dalliance with the science that was partly responsible for its international isolation, and two devastating invasions, comes at an extremely sensitive juncture in regional politics, with its near neighbour Iran accused of diverting its growing nuclear capacity to develop a weapons programme.
Fahmi insists Iraq has "only peaceful applications" in mind for a nuclear programme, "including the health sector, agriculture … and water treatment".
The Iraqi government cannot meet the needs of residents served by antiquated electricity networks and water distribution that need an overhaul. Most other service sectors, including science and technology, are also unable to satisfy need, making relatively cheap and efficient nuclear energy an attractive alternative.
However, the fresh talk of a nuclear Iraq also comes amid a security environment that is yet to inspire confidence. Two government buildings were destroyed on Sunday by suicide bombers driving trucks through the heart of Baghdad, less than three months after an almost identical attack crippled two other ministries. Almost 300 people died in the attacks and more than 1,000 were maimed.
Fears also remain that radioactive material generated in Iraq, including yellowcake, a powder formed in the processing of uranium, is still unaccounted for six years after widespread looting at the site of the Tuwaitha nuclear research centre on the southern outskirts of Baghdad.
A research centre, a nuclear waste management facility and all three of Iraq's reactors, known as Tamuz 1, Tamuz 2 and Tamuz 14, were located on the site. One of these, a French-made reactor, was destroyed in a 1981 Israeli bombing raid .
The area was crucial to Saddam's bid over three decades bid to exert leverage over Iran and the US and fuelled the belief in the international community that the executed dictator intended to weaponise Iraq's nuclear capacity.
Since 2003, relics and contaminants have been gradually decommissioned in a programme sponsored by international backers, including the IAEA, and run by Iraqi scientists.
"We lost some control and there was a lot of looting," said a nuclear engineer, Adnan Jarjies, standing near one of the ruined reactor cores this week. Pointing to the nearby research plant, which is still partially standing, he said: "Some of the equipment was looted from this facility and we have to [rehabilitate] it again."
Jarjies said the main phase of the four-part decommissioning program, which he supervises, started in 2007 and should be finished by the middle of next year.
Two ruined reactors remain largely as they were left after the 1991 bombing, with their contaminated cores now filled with concrete and water.
A third site that was once used as a storage centre for spent reactor fuel is now a brickewn wasteland. The whole nuclear site remains surrounded by almost seven kilometres of 50-metre high sand berms.
"After 1991, UN Inspectors have been coming to this site four to five times per year," said Jarjies. "They have had access whenever they wanted."
Fahmi admitted there were "some impediments" to the plan. "At the moment, UN resolutions, including 707, don't allow us to enter this field, so we are lobbying for the resolutions to be lifted," he said.
Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/27/iraq-nuclear-reactor-programme/print
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 Partnership for Global Security. Partnership for Global Security takes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.