1. Top UN Nuclear Official Optimistic About N.Korea, Iran
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The head of the United Nation's nuclear watchdog agency says he believes the international community's nuclear disagreements with North Korea and Iran can be resolved through dialogue, not confrontation.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, says he believes there is no other way to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis than through dialogue.
Six-party Talks Are Important Tool
He said the so-called six-party talks, which include the United States, North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia, are the main negotiating mechanism. He says his agency has only been doing what he described as "ad-hoc verification" in North Korea.
Pyongyang recently announced it is pulling out of the six-party talks, and sent away IAEA inspectors who were there to monitor the North Korean nuclear program.
ElBaradei called the current stalemate an "unfortunate impasse," which he told reporters in Beijing he hopes will be brief. He referred to North Korea by its official initials, DPRK. "Maybe we will have to go through a period of confrontation, if you like, but I hope that that will be short and that the six-party talks will be again resumed, and hopefully the IAEA will be able to go back and do, not just partial inspection, but full inspection in the DPRK," ElBaradei said.
IAEA Chief Optimistic About Future Talks
ElBaradei said his optimism that talks will eventually resume is based on what he described as the "new environment" surrounding nuclear weapons, where dialogue is emphasized over confrontation.
He especially pointed to comments made recently by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev that both countries are set to discuss further reductions in their nuclear arsenals. "Another thing which I would like to repeat from President Obama, is he made it very clear, the relationship between non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament," he said. "And he said that we will not have the moral authority, the weapons states, to go after non-nuclear weapons states unless we ourselves take the necessary steps to move toward nuclear disarmament."
Policy Shift Also Affects Iran
The UN nuclear watchdog chief said this change of approach is also having an effect on international efforts to resolve the nuclear crisis in Iran. "The United States is reaching out, stretching its hand to Iran," said ElBaradei. "And I have been telling my Iranian colleagues that you have to reciprocate and also stretch your hand."
ElBaradei said he sees what he called a "new opportunity right now to resolve the Iranian issue," which he said could lead to the overall normalization of relations between Iran and the rest of the international community.
The IAEA chief spoke on the sidelines of a three-day ministerial-level conference on the global future of nuclear energy.
Available at: http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2009/04/21/2009042100770.html
Four years after the first conference was held in Paris, the International Atomic Energy Agency is holding its second worldwide conference on nuclear energy in Beijing. The IAEA and national and international energy representatives will discuss the prospects for increasing nuclear power generation.
IAEA officials say the growing long-term demand for new nuclear power plants is unlikely to be altered by the global financial crisis. Both the economic downturn and climate change are providing greater opportunities for nuclear energy development. They say it's worthwhile for countries to give priority to developing cleaner energy resources. Chinese officials are expected to put forward the country's position on peaceful development of nuclear power. The conference will conclude on Wednesday.
Available at: http://www.cctv.com/program/bizchina/20090420/106554.shtml
The head of the UN atomic watchdog warned here Monday that the world's growing appetite for nuclear energy could lead to dangers associated with unsafe technology and weapons proliferation.
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said more than 60 countries were considering going nuclear amid an energy crunch and global warming concerns, adding to the 30 countries with existing programmes.
"(But) in some countries we see a troubling combination of old reactors, operations that are poorly managed or underfunded and weak regulations," ElBaradei said in opening remarks to a nuclear power conference in Beijing.
"This needs to be addressed immediately," he added, calling for a greater international drive to ensure the safety of nuclear plants and security of fissile material.
He said there was a risk that countries which acquire nuclear energy technology may seek to develop atomic weapons.
"These countries may have no intention of ever making nuclear weapons but that can change quickly if their perceptions of risk to national security change," he said.
"And security perceptions, as we know, can change very rapidly."
Such concerns have been highlighted in recent years by international efforts to stop North Korea and Iran from allegedly trying to turn nuclear energy systems into weapons programmes.
ElBaradei said growing energy demand and concerns about oil supplies and greenhouse gas emissions had triggered renewed interest in nuclear power.
He said 436 nuclear power reactors were in operation in 30 countries, providing about 14 percent of global electricity supplies.
But many more countries are also looking at the nuclear option, ElBaradei said, adding that last year construction started on 10 new reactors worldwide, the highest since the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.
Eight were in Asia, including six in China, he added.
The three-day conference organised by the IAEA gathers energy ministers or other representatives from more than 60 countries to discuss nuclear power's future.
Energy ministers at the conference were to present their countries' stance on nuclear power.
These included hosts China, which plans to ramp up nuclear energy output to meet spiralling demand as the country rapidly develops.
Chinese state-run press reported last month that the nation's energy agency wanted to nearly double its 2020 nuclear power capacity goal, and was urging firms to acquire uranium abroad to build reserves.
The National Energy Administration wants to increase capacity to 75,000 megawatts, up from the 40,000 it had called for in a plan put forward in 2007, according to the reports.
China currently has a combined nuclear power capacity of 9,100 megawatts at 11 reactors.
The United States and Iran were among other countries due to present their plans on Monday.
Officials at the conference expressed concerns that the global financial crisis would slow the nuclear comeback temporarily as funding for new projects dried up, but said atomic power would be increasingly important.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j2E28j945ihInDdYAR3dwMNtaQUw
Seoul yesterday downplayed recent comments from the chief of a top nuclear monitoring organization appearing to acknowledge North Korea's nuclear weapons programs.
"The remarks from Mohamed ElBaradei seem to have been simply a warning for the international community to keep in mind North Korea's nuclear abilities and deal with this reality," said a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official on the condition of anonymity.
He added, however, that the latest comments did seem to be "over the top," which was the reason why some may be concerned.
South Korea, along with the United States and Japan, are in agreement that they would not acknowledge the North as a nuclear state as their basic strategy toward Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.
"This is because such a stance gives the North less leverage. Therefore although technically, these nations do realize that the North has nuclear capabilities, as a policy they do not officially recognize the North as a nuclear state," said Kim Tae-woo, vice president of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.
From this aspect, he suggested that ElBaradei's comments may have been inappropriate.
On Monday, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency reportedly said that "North Korea has nuclear weapons, which is a matter of fact," on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting on nuclear energy in Beijing.
But he did not indicate that North Korea is one of the five nuclear states -- the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China -- officially recognized by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
He also said he does not "like to accept any country as a nuclear weapons state," but that "we have to face reality."
The director general stressed that dialogue must be resumed with North Korea, as the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing Pyongyang remain in deadlock.
He warned that the North could restart the facilities within months, a move that observers believe would allow the communist state to start producing weapons-grade plutonium.
Pyongyang, to condemn a United Nations Security Council presidential statement denouncing its April rocket launch, has expelled the IAEA inspectors and announced that it would restart its frozen nuclear facilities.
Progress in disabling North Korea has been stalled since December last year after the North failed to reach an accord with the United States over a nuclear verification protocol.
The communist state has since then been engaging in a series of brinkmanship policies, mostly aimed toward Seoul and Washington in apparent aim to get the upper hand with the Barack Obama administration, experts said.
In its latest act of defiance against the U.N. action, Pyongyang said it would ramp up its nuclear deterrent. The United States, despite its nuclear policy toward the North, has lately signaled a possible shift with high-ranking government and military officials calling Pyongyang a "nuclear state."
Critics have warned that such recognition would tip the scales in Pyongyang's favor as it seeks to become an internationally acknowledged nuclear power.
Available at: http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/04/22/200904220011.asp
Procedural wrangling delayed the start Tuesday of the first formal meeting between North and South Korea since Seoul's conservative president took office more than a year ago, amid tensions over Pyongyang's moves to restart its nuclear program.
After the U.N. Security Council condemned the North's recent rocket launch, Pyongyang pulled out of six-nation negotiations aimed at ridding it of atomic weapons. Russia will dispatch its top diplomat to the North this week, and he is expected to try to persuade the regime to reverse that decision.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be in Pyongyang on Thursday and Friday, his ministry announced. Russian newspaper Vremya Novostei said Lavrov may meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on Friday. Lavrov will also visit Seoul, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said, apparently after going to the North.
Lavrov, currently in Finland, noted that North Korea had undertaken obligations in nuclear negotiations and said "all sides should fulfill what was agreed upon," according to the Russian news agency Interfax.
Earlier Tuesday, South Korean officials traveled to the North Korean city of Kaesong for discussions that would mark the first official meeting between the two governments since Seoul's conservative President Lee Myung-bak took office in February 2008.
But the talks still had not begun by nightfall more than 10 hours after Seoul's delegation crossed the heavily armed border.
"There have been no formal talks yet," said Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyeon.
Kim declined to say what problems were encountered. But a ministry official said the sides were in disagreement over where to hold the talks, the agenda and participants. The official spoke on customary condition of anonymity citing office policy.
The difficulty even getting the talks started underlines how soured the two sides' relations are. The closely watched talks follow the North's defiant April 5 rocket launch that drew international condemnation.
Putting additional strain on the meeting was North Korea's recent warning that the South not join a U.S.-led program to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The North also has been holding a South Korean worker at the joint industrial complex for allegedly denouncing Pyongyang's political system.
South Korea hopes to try to win the release of the detained worker during the talks.
Analysts and media have speculated the North could use the meeting to raise tensions by threatening to further undermine the troubled industrial zone in Kaesong, just north of the border, if Seoul announces its participation in the anti-WMD program.
Pyongyang has long denounced the program as part of what it claims are U.S. efforts to overthrow it.
"It is possible that the North might threaten to shut down the Kaesong complex if South Korea joins" the program, Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the security think-tank Sejong Institute, south of Seoul, told reporters Monday.
North Korea's moves to restart its plutonium-producing atomic facilities steps came after the U.N. Security Council condemned its rocket launch. The chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, said in Beijing on Monday that the North could restart the facilities within months.
Pyongyang says the U.N. rebuke is unfair because the rocket liftoff was a peaceful satellite launch. But the U.S. and others believe the launch was a test of the North's long-range missile technology.
Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo said the South will "strongly respond" if North Korea takes any other steps against the detained worker beyond a fine, warning or expulsion — moves that were agreed to by both sides. There has been media speculation that the North might put the worker on trial. He was detained on March 30 for allegedly instigating North Koreans at Kaesong to flee the communist nation.
Pyongyang made the surprise offer to South Korea for dialogue last week, saying only that it wants to discuss the factory park where more than 100 South Korean companies run factories and employ North Korean workers.
Tuesday's talks mark the first government-to-government dialogue between the sides since Seoul's President Lee took office in February last year with a pledge to get tough with Pyongyang and its nuclear ambitions.
Their ties have since rapidly strained, with the North cutting off dialogue and suspending major reconciliation projects.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jjz-1FsdSMQjYDWp3qoa60B4b_jwD97MPPI01
Rodong Shinmun, the publication of the North Korean Workers Party, claimed on Sunday, “It is inevitable for us to strengthen our nuclear deterrent in accordance with the hostile factions’ expanded military threats, which even brought our peaceful satellite launch into question.”
“Uriminzokkiri,” (Among Our Nation) a North Korean online media outlet for foreign readers, also released a commentary titled “The Height of Inequity and Arbitrariness vs. Determined Political Decisiveness,” in which it was asserted, “The U.N. Security Council has forced us to realize the necessity of nuclear deterrent.”
The word, “nuclear deterrent,” as used by the Rodong Shinmun, appeared for the first time in June, 2003 at a North Korean Foreign Ministry press conference and in a Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) editorial. It means that North Korea regards the power to use nuclear weapons as a deterrent against a nuclear preemptive attack from an enemy.
Regarding the North’s Foreign Ministry’s official announcement absenting themselves from the Six Party Talks following the U.N. Security Council President’s Statement, Rodong Shinmun claimed on the 14th that, “It was a fair, timely, and independent countermeasure. Debating our peaceful satellite launch, which had been implemented fairly according to international legal procedures, is an unendurable insult for our people and an extreme anti-Republic (North Korea) hostile activity.”
“If you think that our Republic, where all the people value national dignity highly, will take part in the Six Party Talks even in the situation where its dignity is being damaged; it is like wanting wild berries in a snowy winter.”
Rodong Shinmun stressed, “If the hostile factions think we will submit to their power as they practice their foul purpose, it is a great mistake. As we showed with the satellite launch, our national power is mighty.”
“Although the Six Party Talks have been abolished and the process of denuclearization broken off by the hostile factions, our stance and intent to keep the peace and security of the Chosun Peninsula with our military-first power is invulnerable. The day to judge this issue historically will ultimately come,” Rodong Shinmun emphasized.
Available at: http://www.dailynk.com/english/read.php?cataId=nk01700&num=4820
As the world fears the spread of nuclear weapons, Iran expresses readiness to play an active role in promoting international disarmament.
"The Iranian nation will not resort to force but will make use of its rich culture and wisdom to urge bullying powers to rid themselves of nuclear weapons," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Iranians residing in Switzerland before wrapping up his two-day visit to Geneva.
The Iranian president, who was in Geneva to address the UN-backed Durban Review Conference against racism, made the remarks in the face of claims made by the US, Israel and their European allies that Iran's uranium enrichment activities are aimed at developing nuclear weaponry.
Iran has categorically denied the allegations, saying that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it has the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program.
The Iranian president went on to say that certain states which possess nuclear weapons seek to bully nations however intelligent people will not bow to them.
"The era of imposing bullying, occupation and aggression has ended. The world is on the threshold of new developments," President Ahmadinejad said.
Israel -- which is the sole possessor of a nuclear warhead in the Middle East -- considers Iran's nuclear program as an existential threat to its security and has repeatedly threatened to militarily take out Iranian nuclear infrastructure.
While Israel continues to label Iran's nuclear program as a threat, the UN nuclear watchdog has confirmed that Iran has only managed to enrich uranium-235 to a level "less than 5 percent."
Uranium, the fuel for a nuclear power plant, can serve in military purposes if enriched to high levels. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=92089§ionid=351020104
2. MP: Iran to Attend G5+1 Talks Without Enrichment Suspension
Islamic Republic News Agency
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Iran would take part in the next meeting of the Group 5+1 without enrichment suspension which has become matter of the past, senior parliamentarian said on Tuesday.
Head of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Allaeddin Boroujerdi told IRNA that Iran would attend the upcoming meeting of the G5+1 to discuss major international issues not the issues related to its peaceful nuclear program.
Referring to a new package of proposals presented to the EU states by Iran, the MP said that the package included important issues such as “major regional developments and the energy issue.”
Available at: http://www.irna.ir/En/View/FullStory/?NewsId=446963&IdLanguage=3
An Iranian official says the country has full knowledge of nuclear fuel production and now seeks to expand its activities by exporting fuel.
Despite mounting international pressure, Iranian scientists have acquired the desired know-how to produce nuclear fuel without receiving outside help, deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) Abdallah Solat-Sana told IRNA on Monday.
Speaking at Tehran's third Nuclear Technology Exhibition, Solat-Sana said international pressure had prevented different countries from offering Iran a nuclear license and therefore it is only natural for them [other states] to show reluctance in purchasing nuclear fuel from Iran.
The Iranian official went on to say that the best means to gain international trust for Iran's nuclear products was to firstly use domestically-produced nuclear fuel in Iranian nuclear plants.
Iran's first Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP) in the central city of Isfahan is slated to produce pellets of uranium oxide that could be used to fuel Arak IR-40 heavy-water reactor and Darkhovin IR-360 reactor within 2 and 6 respectively.
Regarding the Bushehr plant, Iran's first nuclear reactor built with Russian help, Solat-Sana said in its initial agreement with Moscow, Tehran had accepted to power the plant with Russian fuel.
We do not wish to provide nuclear fuel for the Bushehr plant ourselves, as we believe in having international ties which will enable us to both purchase and sell nuclear fuel, the Iranian official concluded.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=92034§ionid=351020104
Iran is ready for further dialogue with world powers on its nuclear programme, but will keep defending its right to develop atomic energy for peaceful purposes, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday.
He also said Tehran awaited "practical changes" from the Obama administration and that it supported dialogue with the United States based on mutual respect and justice.
"Nuclear energy, if it is good, it should be for all. And if it is bad, nobody should use that technology," Ahmadinejad told a news conference in Geneva after addressing a United Nations conference on racism.
"We are ready for dialogue," he added.
Iran says it is developing uranium enrichment technology as part of its efforts to generate peaceful nuclear energy -- not, as Washington and some of its allies contend, in order to build an atomic bomb.
The United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain said this month they would ask European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to invite Iran to a meeting to find a diplomatic solution to the long-running nuclear dispute.
Ahmadinejad said in published remarks on Friday that his country would soon give its official response to the invitation.
Iran is at odds with the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is worried by Tehran's efforts to enrich uranium. This can be a route to making the fissile material for atomic weapons.
"Unfortunately, some Western governments did not fulfil their obligations, but they expect us to carry out the obligations beyond the obligations set forth by the IAEA," Ahmadinejad said.
Iran, as a member of the Vienna-based watchdog, and signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), expects to enjoy its rights within the IAEA framework, he said.
Earlier, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Ahmadinejad that it was important for his country to play a constructive role in world affairs, according to a U.N. statement. Ban met Ahmadinejad, at what U.N. officials said was Iran's request, on the fringes of the controversial conference on racism, which was boycotted by the United States and several Western countries.
A U.N. statement said Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, had stressed to Ahmadinejad "the need to look forward to the future of unity, not to the past of divisiveness."
But the Iranian president prompted a walkout when, during his speech to the U.N. forum, he accused Israel of establishing a "cruel and repressive racist regime" over the Palestinians.
The U.N. statement said Ban and Ahmadinejad had discussed issues related to regional peace and security, Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East, as well as the Iranian nuclear issue.
Available at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKTRE53J4F320090420?sp=true
The white papers issued by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) and the Japan Nuclear Safety Commission (JNSC) highlight the difficult situation faced by Japan's nuclear power industry. The JAEC's 2008 white paper says that facility utilization rates at Japan's nuclear power plants dropped to a mere 60.7 percent in fiscal 2007 — in a sharp contrast to an increase of the rates in the last 10 years in the United States, Russia and France.
If Japan's utilization rates had been higher, they would have reduced the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan is required to cut its emissions in the 2008-2012 period by 6 percent from the 1990 level. But its emissions in fiscal 2007 were 8.7 percent higher than the 1990 level.
The JAEC's white paper estimates that if the nuclear power plants had run at normal utilization rates, Japan's greenhouse gas emissions would have increased only by 3.7 percent from the 1990 level. It also mentions the suspension of the trial operation of a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, and a delay in the resumption of the operation of the Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor in Fukui Prefecture — shut down since a December 1995 sodium coolant leakage accident. Japan needs to eliminate the technological and management weaknesses that caused these problems.
The biggest reason for the low utilization rates is the stoppage of Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power complex in Niigata Prefecture, which was hit by a major earthquake in July 2007 — the theme of the JNSC report. The complex was battered by tremors stronger than the maximum level anticipated by its design. The quake resistance of the nation's nuclear power plants are now being verified against the tougher standards adopted in 2006. It is imperative that the nuclear power industry continue to scrutinize the geological structures around nuclear power plants and take all necessary measures to ensure that the structures can withstand future quakes.
Available at: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20090421a2.html
Japan will never possess nuclear weapons, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura vowed Monday in response to a suggestion that it should.
''There is no doubt that we will continue firmly maintaining our policy of the three non-nuclear principles'' of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on Japanese soil, Kawamura told a news conference. "Japan will never possess nuclear weapons.''
Former Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said Sunday, however, that Japan -- the only nation in the world to have had atom bombs dropped on it in war -- should debate the possibility, Kyodo news service reported.
Nakagawa said Pyongyang's rocket launch this month shows North Korea has "taken a step toward a system whereby it can shoot without prior notice." He said Japan needs to counter that threat with a nuclear deterrent, the Japanese news agency, said.
Nakagawa asserted North Korea has many Rodong medium-range missiles that could strike nearly any part of Japan, and that it also possesses small nuclear warheads.
"It is common sense worldwide that in pure military terms, nuclear counters nuclear," said Nakagawa, who resigned as finance minister in February after he appeared to be drunk at an international news conference in Rome, Kyodo said.
Available at: http://www.upiasia.com/Top_News/2009/04/20/Ex-minister-says-Japan-should-get-nukes/UPI-66271240241512/
1. Russia Gives Cautious Response to Obama Nuclear Plan
Brett Young and Denis Dyomkin
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Russia responded cautiously on Monday to U.S. President Barack Obama's plans for a nuclear-free world, saying a number of conditions would need to be met for the vision to become reality.
Obama pledged earlier this month in the Czech Republic to cut the U.S. nuclear arsenal, bring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty into force and seek tough penalties for those that broke rules on non-proliferation.
On the first day of a two-day official visit to Finland, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a speech at Helsinki University that the topic of nuclear disarmament had become one of "high hopes."
"We noted what was said by the U.S. president in Prague that (disarmament) can be reached under a number of conditions," Medvedev said. "These conditions are fair, but I would want to cite more conditions needed to achieve such a treaty."
Both Moscow and Washington see a chance to "press the reset button" on thorny relations driven to post-Cold War lows during the administration of Obama's predecessor George W. Bush.
Medvedev and Obama agreed at their first meeting in London this month to start joint work on a successor to the START-1 nuclear arms reduction treaty, which expires in December.
First talks on the new pact will begin in Rome later this month.
Medvedev said Moscow's conditions include:
-- a ban on deploying nuclear arms in space
-- making it impossible to compensate for a cut in nuclear arms by building up of conventional forces
-- making sure nuclear weapons are destroyed and not just stockpiled.
He repeated Russia's longstanding concern about U.S. plans for a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, a plan promoted under the Bush administration and condemned by Moscow as an act of aggression aimed against it.
Bush had said the shield was needed to counter threats from "rogue states," but Obama's administration has been less assertive in pushing the plan, saying it would be reviewed for cost-effectiveness and viability.
"We are very concerned about the prospects of a unilateral deployment of anti-missile systems ... which complicates nuclear disarmament," Medvedev said.
"Truly global anti-missile defense cannot match the interests of only one or several states. Its parameters cannot be set unilaterally," he said.
Medvedev also repeated Russia's call for a new security pact to replace NATO, an idea that initially got a cool response when first broached at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) meeting in Helsinki in December.
Russia has said NATO is a Cold War relic. It wants a legally binding pact enshrining arms control, a commitment not to use force, and guarantees that no single state or group of states can take a dominant role in the continent's security.
"Russia invites all European organizations to agree on comprehensive, modern and effective rules of the game," Medvedev said, referring to it as "Helsinki plus," a reference to the 1975 Helsinki Accords that regulated Cold War security ties.
"The start of such talks on a European security treaty could be given by a top summit with all Euro-Atlantic states, including the EU, NATO, OSCE ... regional organizations and states. We could there decide the best stage for talks and coordinate an agenda," he said.
He gave no timetable for when such a meeting could happen.
Medvedev noted that Russia had already cut troops and weaponry from its western outpost of Kaliningrad.
"We decided to reduce the number of troops in the Kaliningrad region, and have already withdrawn many heavy weapons ... (and cut) our forces there many-fold," he said.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSLK21213720090420?sp=true
1. Albania and Croatia to Build a Nuclear Power Plant
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Albania and Croatia plan to jointly build a nuclear power plant at Lake Shkoder, close to the border with Montenegro, Croatian officials say.
The plan provoked disagreements in Podgorica, where Cedomir Cejovic, a construction expert said it would be dangerous to build a nuclear plant in the quake-prone region, Montenegro’s Television News said on Thursday.
Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic said there would be plenty of time to discuss issues involved in the plan.
Tomislav Mazal, a spokesman for the Croatian Economy Ministry, said a special team of experts will work on the project.
The 1,500-megawatt nuclear power plant, to be built on Albanian territory, would cost about $5.3 billion.
Available at: http://www.eciks.org/english/lajme.php?action=total_news&main_id=898
China says it has begun construction on a nuclear power plant that will use new technologies developed by U.S. firm Westinghouse.
Officials kicked off construction Sunday on the Sanmen plant in eastern China's Zhejiang Province.
The plant will feature the world's first use of new AP 1000 reactors, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
It will have two of the reactors, each capable of generating 1.25 million kilowatts of electricity, and will be built in three phases at a cost of $5.88 billion, officials said. The first unit is scheduled to come online in 2013, followed the next year by Unit 2.
"It is the biggest energy cooperation project between China and the United States," Zhang Guobao, vice minister in charge of China's National Development and Reform Commission, told Xinhua. "It will contribute to the humankind's peaceful use of nuclear power."
Available at: http://www.upiasia.com/Top_News/2009/04/20/China-launches-new-nuclear-power-plant/UPI-78911240244700/
3. China Nuclear Safety Chief Warns of Over-Rapid Growth
Jim Bai and Chen Aizhu
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China will face safety issues and environmental hazards involving nuclear waste disposal if the nuclear power sector is expanded too fast, the country's nuclear safety chief said on Monday.
China, the world's second-largest user of fuel and electricity after the United States, plans to quadruple its nuclear power capacity in the next decade to about 40 gigawatts, fast-tracking from an embryonic stage in the last three decades when a total of less than 10 GW was built.
"At the current stage, if we are not fully aware of the sector's over-rapid expansions, it will threaten construction quality and operation safety of nuclear power plants," Li Ganjie, director of National Nuclear Safety Administration, told the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Energy.
It would also undermine the country's plan to use more domestic technology and pose problems in the disposal of nuclear waste, said Li, who is also a vice minister of Ministry of Environmental Protection.
China is adding 24 reactors totaling 25.4 gigawatts of installed capacity, including five plants set to kick off constructions this year, a top planning official said earlier on Friday.
Firms like Westinghouse, owned by Japan's Toshiba and France's Areva, are among the latest suppliers of nuclear technology.
Available at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUKTRE53J1T620090420
Petteri Taalas, the director-general of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, was quoted as saying by provincial daily Savon Sanomat on Monday that the country needed more nuclear power stations.
"Currently they are building one nuclear power station, with the government considering further ones. As things stand one needs them, provided one wants to meet [emission reduction] targets," Dr Taalas told the paper.
Finnish government-controlled utility Fortum and Fennovoima, a consortium led by German utility E-on, have submitted nuclear power station permit applications in Finland.
Available at: http://newsroom.finland.fi/stt/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=21474&group=General
1. China May Bid for Jordan's $3.5 Bln Nuclear Contract
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China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) could join the bidding to build a nuclear power plant in Jordan worth $3.5 billion, Khaled Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), said on Tuesday.
French nuclear energy producer Areva (CEPFi.PA), Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) (015760.KS), Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) and Russia's Atomstroyexport are already competing for the right to build the plant.
"Others, including CNNC, may join the bidding process, given there is still some time before the decision will be made," Toukan told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Beijing.
He said it might take three years to choose the contractor and a further four or five years to build the plant, which would have generating capacity of at least 1 gigawatt, perhaps more.
At 1 GW, the plant would cost $3.3-3.5 billion. It is expected to generate around one quarter of Jordan's electricity. The country has yet to choose a site for the reactor and a lack of water was complicating the issue, Toukan said.
Jordan has reasonably assured resources of about 70,000 metric tonnes of uranium oxide in the centre of the country.
A Jordanian joint venture with Areva is exploring one block which is expected to start production in 2012-2013, while a partnership with China's Sino (U) is in the early stage of exploring two blocks, he said.
Available at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKPEK5987420090421
2. S. Korea Seeking Markets for its Nuclear Reactors: Official
Yonhap News Agency
(for personal use only)
South Korea is seeking export markets for its commercial nuclear reactors that have a proven track record and enjoy technological competitiveness, the country's education, science and technology minister said Monday.
Minister Ahn Byong-man said in a keynote address at the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century in Beijing that the country has been committed to research and development (R&D) of nuclear reactors for the past 50 years.
He stressed that such efforts allowed the country to become the world's sixth largest operator of nuclear energy, with 20 reactors on-line providing just under 40 percent of the nation's electrical power needs.
The senior policymaker also said that the country has been able to independently develop so-called OPR-1000 and APR-1400 reactor units that can be used by other countries.
He added that Seoul is committed to the peaceful use of nuclear power and will advance R&D to meet future demands.
Ahn, meanwhile, also held talks with Khalid Toukan, chairman of Jordan's Atomic Energy Commission, in Beijing to promote South Korea's accumulated knowhow in nuclear energy.
The two sides discussed the technology, safety, and training needed to run nuclear power plants.
Jordan, along with other countries including Turkey, are potential markets for South Korean reactors. Both countries have said they want to build up their atomic energy sectors to meet future energy requirements.
South Korean officials have emphasized the high level of South Korea's operational know-how that can be shared with the Middle Eastern nation.
In addition to talks with Toukan, Ahn met with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei to discuss global nuclear-related developments and exchanged views on expanding South Korea's role in the agency.
China, meanwhile, said at the IAEA gathering that it is not engaged in any nuclear cooperation arrangements with North Korea.
Wang Yiren, head of China's Atomic Energy Authority, said there is no cooperation taking place between the two neighbors and that Beijing is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
He stressed that China has consistently called for dialogue to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2009/04/20/36/0401000000AEN20090420007200320F.HTML
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