Iran's chief nuclear negotiator spoke with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana after the Islamic Republic said it was ready for talks with six world powers, Iranian media and EU officials said Thursday.
A spokeswoman for Solana said he and Iran's Saeed Jalili discussed organizing an expert-level meeting on the long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear program, which the West fears is a cover for making bombs. Iran denies the charge.
Responding to the powers' invitation to discuss the issue, Tehran said Wednesday it welcomed "constructive" talks but that it would press ahead with work to develop atomic energy.
Iranian state radio said Jalili spoke with Solana on the telephone a few hours after Tehran published its response.
"I talked yesterday with Dr Jalili on the phone. I hope there will be some contact soon," Solana told reporters in Brussels.
The spokeswoman said they had discussed holding a meeting involving Jalili and Robert Cooper, an aide to Solana.
"The first step is to organize a meeting of experts," she said. "They do not know when that will be. The aim would be to continue the dialogue."
The United States and its Western allies suspect Iran is aiming to develop nuclear bombs and want it to halt sensitive uranium enrichment. Iran rejects the allegation and says it will not bow to pressure.
The United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain said on April 8 they would ask Solana to invite Iran to a meeting to find "a diplomatic solution to this critical issue," referring to the nuclear row.
It marked a significant shift in U.S. policy under President Barack Obama, whose predecessor George W. Bush shunned direct talks with Iran as long as it continued with enrichment activity.
Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatened "crippling sanctions" against Iran if it did not end its nuclear program. She told U.S. lawmakers she was under no illusions about the difficulty of engaging Iran successfully.
Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, has repeatedly ruled out halting uranium enrichment, which can have both civilian and military purposes. Tehran says its program is for peaceful power purposes.
Iranian state radio quoted Solana as saying Wednesday's Iranian response "contains constructive items and a new opportunity for advancement of talks."
Jalili said Iran's statement "contains a new suitable orientation for the advancement of talks in an atmosphere of mutual respect and fairness," the radio report said.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE53M1NS20090423
The administration is preparing tough sanctions in case offers of diplomacy are rejected or ineffective with Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says.
"(We) are more than willing to reach out to the Iranians to discuss a range of issues, assuming they're willing to reach back," Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday. "As the president said in his inaugural address, we'll hold out our hand. They have to unclench their fist."
However, "we are also laying the groundwork for the kind of very tough ... sanctions that might be necessary in the event that our offers are either rejected or the process is inconclusive or unsuccessful," she said.
Clinton said the administration's diplomatic efforts to engage Iran on its nuclear aspirations and other issues would put it in a position of strength if additional sanctions are necessary. The United States already has committed to group negotiations with Iran on its in nuclear work.
"We actually believe that by following the diplomatic path we are on, we gain credibility and influence with a number of nations who would have to participate in order to make the sanctions regime as tight and crippling as we would want it to be," she said.
Concerning Iranian-American freelance journalist Roxana Saberi, sentenced to eight years on spying charges, Clinton said Saberi was being held in "an arbitrary and terribly unfair, unprecedented, unjustified way, she should be able to come home."
Available at: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/04/22/Clinton-US-working-two-paths-on-Iran/UPI-69231240430138/
Iran will be transformed into a nuclear fuel-producing country by the end of Fourth Five-Year Development Plan (2005-2010).
Announcing this, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization for planning and international affairs, Mohammad Saeedi told IRNA Wednesday at the end of International Conference on Nuclear Energy in 21st Century that the country has a clear program on nuclear energy and the course it has taken is a scientific, technical and economical one.
"Under a ten-year program, we will try to build a low-capacity power station using domestic expertise and then begin to undertake projects with higher capacities," he said.
Stating that a number of countries wanted to politicize discussions at the event, Saeedi said that they failed and the conference was held in a scientific and logical atmosphere.
Presently, 30 countries have nuclear energy and other 30 are in favor of it, based on an announcement by Mohammed ElBaradei, head of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he concluded.
Available at: http://www.irna.ir/En/View/FullStory/?NewsId=449622&IdLanguage=3
4. Russian Official: 5+1 Moving Towards Resuming Talks with Iran
Islamic Republic News Agency
(for personal use only)
A Deputy Russian foreign minister said here Wednesday Russia and other members of the G5+1 would in near future move towards resuming nuclear negotiations with Iran.
According to IRNA from Moscow, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister in Disarmament and International Security Affairs, Sergei Rybakov, said he knows noting about the time and the level of this round of talks, adding, “Efforts aimed at clarifying on such matters are being pursed at the time by EU High Representative Javier Solana.”
He said, “There has been certain progresses regarding resuming political talks between Iran and the G5+1 that efforts need to be focused on them from now on.”
Rybakov said, “That is the reason why we are interested in focusing over the agreements we have reached with the American partners and the other members of this group over Iran’s nuclear issue.”
The Russian Deputy FM said, “We expect the upcoming talks with Iran to proceed in two directions.”
He added that the first direction is resuming G5+1’s nuclear talks with Iran, in whose process the “freeze for freeze” formula (suspending uranium enrichment in return for suspension of the (entire?) imposed sanctions against Iran), in which the possibility of exit of the G5+1 and Iran from the emerged stand off is possible.
Rybakov said, “The second direction is resuming the (frozen) Iran-US negotiations, for whose beginning a particular horizon does exist.”
He added, “We have studied the US President Barrack Obama’s recent message to Iran carefully and come up with the conclusion that the possibility of holding talks with Iran about the regional issues, particularly about Afghanistan, is very high.”
Rybakov said, “Connecting the issue of Iran’s nuclear program with regional issues must eventually lead to the emergence of a status in which exit from the existing stand off would be possible, while return to it would be impossible.”
The Russian deputy FM in Disarmament and International Security Affairs elsewhere in his remarks regarding technological and military cooperation between Iran and Russia, said, “The weapons delivered to Iran by Russia are restrictedly conventional.”
He said, “We have delivered no weapons to Iran that is contrary to the resolutions of the UN Security Council, or those that might disturb the regional stability, or security.”
Rybakov said, “We need to pay attention to this point that Iran has never invaded any country.” The Deputy Russian FM without referring to any certain country’s name and indirectly pointing to the delivery of Israeli weaponry to Georgia, said, “There are meanwhile cases in which the weapons sold by some countries that are worried about the technological and military cooperation between Russia and Iran have been used against the Russian military forces.”
He added, “There is no reason why political profiteering should be pursued resorting to this matter and tension would rise regarding the technological and military cooperation between Russia and Iran.”
Available at: http://www.irna.ir/En/View/FullStory/?NewsId=449713&IdLanguage=3
India has criticized the role being played by the United Nations nuclear watchdog over its limited effort to encourage the transfer of technology from advanced nations to support the need of developing and less developed countries for nuclear power, reports say.
Speaking at a conference in Beijing, Dr Anil Kakodkar, chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) said Tuesday the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spent 55 per cent of its resources on nuclear verification and administration, and devoting much less on issues relating to the transfer of technology through technical co-operation among nations and issues relating to the fuel cycle.
"Surely, this is unacceptable," he said while pointing out that New Delhi always gave the highest priority to the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO).
INPRO, established under the IAEA in 2001, aims to bring together holders and users of technology to ensure that nuclear energy is available to contribute to the energy needs of the this century. Kakodkar said the world was indecisive when it came to meeting the growing need for alternate energy and dealing with fears relating to safety, security and nuclear proliferation.
While institutional controls through national and international frameworks were essential, the AEC chief said, these were unlikely to cope up with the concerns, particularly in the context of large-scale future nuclear power needs.
He said fears concerning safety and proliferation were delaying the use of nuclear power, posing an even greater danger by dividing the world between energy haves and have-nots.
He noted that the only practical way out would be to rapidly induct in technology-based solutions that provided an integrated solution to all these issues, and induct them as early as possible. This, he said, could not be done through the narrow view of the world that was discriminatory and uneven about the involvement of all stake-holders.
Available at: http://www.rttnews.com/ArticleView.aspx?Id=919624&SMap=1
2. Int'l Conference on Nuclear Energy Ends in Beijing, Stressing Co-Op
(for personal use only)
The International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century ended here Wednesday with a statement stressing international cooperation.
The international community should continue strengthening cooperation on research and development of advanced nuclear technologies and concerted efforts on non-proliferation, the statement said.
Each country should take responsibility for the safe management of spent nuclear fuel, which for some countries included reprocessing and recycling, as well as the disposal of radioactive waste, it said.
The three-day conference, organized by China and the International Atomic Energy Agency, attracted energy ministers or other representatives from 61 countries and seven international organizations.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-04/22/content_11238339.htm
A senior South African diplomat said on Wednesday he had re-entered the contest to head the U.N.'s nuclear agency after finishing second in an inconclusive election last month.
Abdul Samad Minty, Pretoria's longtime ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Reuters his government had resubmitted his candidature to the U.N. watchdog's board of governors, joining his previous rival from Japan as well as new contenders from Slovenia and Spain in an expanded field.
The IAEA helm is a critical international appointment because the agency is charged with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to unstable states and promoting peaceful applications of atomic energy in the developing world.
IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei retires in November after three terms in office spanning 12 years. Governors want a successor chosen by June to enable a smooth transition.
Minty, a veteran nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation mediator hailing from the only country that voluntarily scrapped a nuclear arsenal, lost to his Japanese opponent in all three rounds of voting by board members on March 26-27.
But Japanese Ambassador Yukiya Amano, another veteran of nuclear posts and negotiations, fell just short of the 2/3 majority needed for victory.
Industrialized, mainly Western nations overwhelmingly backed Amano while developing states generally swung behind Minty.
The contest was thrown open to new nominees in hopes of attracting someone able to command enough of a consensus transcending rich and poor to efficiently run the agency.
OBAMA RAISES HOPES
The IAEA is keen to mend North-South rifts as U.S. President Barack Obama tries to revive diplomacy to defuse a nuclear standoff with Iran, pursue global nuclear disarmament and improve civil atomic cooperation with developing nations.
An IAEA investigation into alleged covert atomic bomb work in Iran has stalled. Tehran says it seeks only civilian nuclear energy but has blocked wide-ranging U.N. inspections. Western states want the IAEA to get tougher on suspected proliferators.
Developing nations including Iran see the non-proliferation maxim as a pretext for rich nations to monopolise the means to make nuclear energy, cementing inequality. They want the IAEA to do more to make nuclear technology available to all.
The new declared candidates are Luis Echavarri, head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's nuclear energy arm, and Ernest Petric, a former Slovenian ambassador to the IAEA who chaired the agency's board in 2006-07.
Others have been mooted, including a Malaysian and three Latin Americans. The nominations deadline is Monday. Campaigning will follow, with another election expected in late May.
Minty said on Wednesday his pedigree as a consensus builder, who authored a 1995 deal to extend the Non-Proliferation Treaty, should be recognised as qualifying him for IAEA leadership.
He dismissed suggestions he is too close to a developing nation bloc.
"People have known me and my consensual approach for a long time. I'm not just making promises."
But some diplomats said no one officially in the running so far stood out as an ideal compromise candidate.
Available at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKTRE53L25S20090422?sp=true
1. Clinton Says U.S. Won’t Bend to North Korea’s Unpredictability
(for personal use only)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. won’t give in to North Korea’s “unpredictable behavior” after Kim Jong Il’s regime said it quit nuclear disarmament talks.
The U.S. has made it clear it is prepared to resume the negotiations, also involving China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington yesterday.
“The North Koreans have not demonstrated any willingness to resume the six-party process,” Clinton said. “I think we have to be strong, patient, persistent and not give in to the kind of back-and-forth, the unpredictable behavior of the North Korean regime.”
North Korea vowed to permanently quit the six-party talks last week after the United Nations condemned its April 5 test of a suspected ballistic missile. The communist state said it would resume reprocessing spent atomic fuel at its Yongbyon plant, the source of its weapons-grade plutonium, and consider building new reactors. Kim’s government also expelled inspectors from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=a9iZy7TqAw1M&refer=japan
2. Russia's Lavrov Sees No Quick North Korea Solution
(for personal use only)
There is no sign of a quick solution to the North Korean crisis, Russia's foreign minister said on Thursday during a visit to Pyongyang, where he is expected to urge the communist state not to restart it nuclear arms plant.
Pyongyang kicked out U.N. nuclear inspectors and threatened to resume operations at a nuclear facility that makes bomb-grade plutonium last week after the U.N. Security Council condemned the North for launching a long-range rocket on April 5.
"We do not foresee any breakthroughs," Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Sergei Lavrov as saying after talks with North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun in Pyongyang.
"This is a complicated process and we must not give in to emotions. We need to concentrate on the base we already have."
Lavrov, who is scheduled to visit Seoul on Friday, decided to fly to Pyongyang after the North also threatened to quit six-country nuclear disarmament talks in anger over U.N. Security Council censure for its rocket launch.
Russia and China, veto-wielding council members, prevented the adoption of new sanctions over the launch, widely seen as a long-range missile test that violated U.N. resolutions, but signed on to the call for tough implementation of past measures.
Frustration with North Korea has been growing after Pyongyang said it was quitting the six-party talks and nullifying agreements reached with South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China since the negotiations began in 2003.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday Washington wanted the six-party talks to resume and urged the world not to "give in" to the North's "unpredictable behaviour".
Lavrov said he would try to press the North to return to the talks and expected Pyongyang to do so, Interfax news agency said on Wednesday.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said it would be some time before the North could restart its Yongbyon nuclear plant, about 100 km (60 miles) north of Pyongyang.
"That will be squarely against all the pledges made by the North for denuclearisation made through the six-way talks and it will reinforce the need to rigorously enforce U.N. Security Council resolution 1718," Yu told a briefing on Thursday.
That resolution called for arms and financial sanctions against the North for a nuclear test and missile exercise in 2006. The Security Council censure this month called for punishment under that resolution.
In rare talks with Seoul, North Korea on Tuesday refused to discuss the fate of a South Korean worker it had been holding for almost a month for allegedly insulting its political system, and demanded higher wages and rent from firms that operate factories in an industrial enclave in its territory.
The North, furious after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak cut off unconditional aid a year ago, has disrupted work at the Kaesong factory park to pressure Seoul to drop its tough line.
The North could shut down the factory, said Cho Myung-chul, a former economist in the North who defected to the South about 15 years ago and who is now with the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy in Seoul.
"North Korea is not the type of country that would sacrifice its political interests for economic interests," he said.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/usDollarRpt/idUSSP15028620090423?sp=true
South Korea yesterday reaffirmed its intention to fully join a U.S.-led counter-proliferation regime, but remained undecided about the timing and conditions.
Seoul had deferred its declaration of full membership in the Proliferation Security Initiative until after talks with North Korea over their joint industrial complex in the Northern border city of Gaeseong.
At the Tuesday meeting, officials said Northern delegates repeated Pyongyang's rhetoric. The North had claimed Seoul's PSI accession is a "declaration of war" and a violation of the armistice pact that ended the Korean War.
President Lee Myung-bak and top foreign affairs and security officials met late Tuesday and reaffirmed the previous position that Seoul will become a full PSI member.
"But the timing has yet to be decided and will be settled soon," a senior Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters on condition of anonymity. He indicated that the decision may be made as early as this week.
In a parliamentary committee session, Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan stressed that the international network neither specifically targets North Korea nor dictates any tougher measures than a bilateral maritime transport accord between the two Koreas that allows search of each other's ships suspected of carrying dangerous materials.
He even called on Pyongyang to join the PSI, which was spearheaded by John Bolton, the hawkish aide to former U.S. President George W. Bush in 2003.
The PSI was often criticized for violating the international law that guarantees each country's sovereignty on the high seas and "innocent passage" in the territorial waters of other countries.
But the multinational framework gained momentum, with 94 countries joining and the United States leading the passage of a U.N. resolution backing the initiative to halt trade of weapons of mass destruction.
The Obama administration is seeking to "institutionalize" the counter-proliferation mechanism to better conform to international laws and treaties.
For the past three weeks, Seoul has been caught in a dilemma over its position on the PSI, in which it is currently an observer.
Earlier this month, it threatened to expand its role in the network if the North fired a rocket.
After the North's April 5 launch of a satellite, it delayed the decision, saying that Seoul's PSI membership has no bearings with the North's provocation, but is the nation's duty as a member of the international community.
As tension escalated over the North's action, Seoul has been driven deeper into its self-imposed trap.
The apparently self-contradictory PSI logic exposed discrepancies between two competing foreign policy camps within government.
The Foreign Ministry pressed for an instant accession and a more moderate Unification Ministry was cautious in consideration of tension with North Korea.
Cheong Wa Dae also came under fire for failing to arbitrate between the two policy factions.
The decision has been put on hold repeatedly in "strategic" consideration, to the detriment to presidential secretaries and Foreign Ministry officials who previously notified reporters of the schedule for the announcement.
Available at: http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/04/23/200904230052.asp
Negotiators from the United States and Russia will take the first steps toward a new treaty to curb nuclear arms Friday, part of an effort to improve relations.
The Rome talks were called after presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev agreed at their first meeting, in London earlier this month, to work out a replacement for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1) which expires in December.
A new arms reduction deal is seen by both sides as a way to show the former Cold War foes can work together despite bitter rows on other issues like NATO expansion into regions once dominated by Moscow and tackling Iran's nuclear ambitions.
In a keynote speech in Prague on April 6, Obama said arms cuts should go together with tough measures against violators of the nuclear non-proliferation regime like Iran or North Korea.
He said the United States would not abandon a project to install missile detection and interception systems in central Europe. Russia says the project threatens its own security and is skeptical of U.S. assurances that it is aimed solely at Iran.
Medvedev said this week Russia had its own conditions for moving toward new arms reduction accords, such as banning the deployment of weapons in space and making it impossible to compensate for nuclear cuts by building up other forces.
He also said Russia wanted warheads and missiles destroyed rather than stockpiled.
The head of the U.S. delegation -- Assistant Secretary of State for verification and compliance Rose Gottemoeller -- told a conference this month it would be hard to meet a deadline of December 5, when the existing START-1 treaty expires.
Anatoly Antonov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's security and disarmament department, will head Moscow's team at the Rome talks. He and Gottemoeller, former director of the Moscow Carnegie Center, know each other well, say officials.
Obama and Medvedev have ordered the negotiators to report back on progress in their talks by July.
They said the new arms deal should cut stockpiles below the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), under which both sides are to cut their arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by 2012. SORT will remain in force another three years.
Unlike the intrusive verification systems created by START, SORT only covers operationally deployed warheads and not those in storage.
"This is a very important subject. We still disagree with the idea that restrictions apply only to operationally deployed warheads," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Interfax news agency this week.
"We cannot be indifferent to what happens to the warheads that are not deployed on means of their delivery but that are stockpiled."
The U.S. counters that its attempts to develop new conventional weapons and their delivery systems, such as submarines, will be hindered if potentially dual-use systems are subject to tight oversight rules.
The U.S. anti-missile plans in central Europe will be another sticking point. Ryabkov said last month that unless anti-missile systems were severely restricted, strong cuts in offensive nuclear weapons could expose Russia's security by limiting its potential to respond to attack.
He said earlier this month Washington showed no signs of revising its missile defense plans.
Available at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/gc07/idUKTRE53M2IB20090423?sp=true
2. Queen Noor Champions Effort to Rid World of Nuclear Weapons
The Daily Star
(for personal use only)
A new international initiative, Global Zero, is at the forefront of urging the international community to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear terrorism. The group is calling for the American and Russian administrations, as a first step toward the elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide, to dramatically reduce the nuclear arsenals of their two countries, whose combined arsenals account for an estimated 96 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.
Global Zero is composed of over 100 former heads of state, political and military leaders, and policy makers, many of whom have worked at senior levels concerning national security issues in the nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear countries.
The Daily Star spoke with Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, one of the authors of Global Zero, whose ultimate goal is a world without nuclear weapons, about the historic opportunities of the organization and its potential impact on the region.
"We have two options at this point: one of which is to continue the status quo, where weapons spread and more and more are stolen or lost, and the other direction which is to work for the total elimination of nuclear weapons - which more and more leaders believe is the only solution to proliferation," said the queen.
She mentioned that there had been 25 documented cases of missing nuclear materials. This has "given everyone pause," specifically in relation to non-state actors. "The more weapons there are out there, the more chances there are of an accident," said the queen.
Military experts around the world are questioning the utility of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as a deterrent. According to Queen Noor, military leaders see less and less of a deterrent value, and more of a threat to humanity posed by nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War world.
Earlier this month, presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev committed their two countries to achieving a world without nuclear weapons and agreed to resume talks on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty known as START-1, which expires at the end of this year. Obama reiterated his administration's commitment to strategic arms reduction in remarks made a few days after his meeting with the Russian president in Prague.
"President Medvedev and I began this process in London, and will seek a new agreement by the end of this year that is legally binding, and sufficiently bold ... we will seek to include all nuclear weapons in this endeavor," Obama said.
In an interview with Russia Today, former US Senator Chuck Hagel, another Global Zero author, addressed the two superpowers taking a leadership role in the elimination of nuclear weapons.
"It is particularly important that we have two new young leaders on the world stage ... these are men not captive to the Cold War generation, these are men who grew up at a time when all was possible," said Hagel.
According to Queen Noor, the statements made by Obama and Medvedev have given a major boost to the organization's cause. "The statements have been enormously encouraging," she said. "We couldn't have hoped for more of a commitment from the major powers."
Queen Noor emphasized the positive side of the nuclear issue in the Middle East.
"There is a consensus in the region for a WMD-free Middle East ... all the Arab countries have signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as has Iran," said Queen Noor.
She stressed the delicate nature of the nuclear issue with reference to Israel: "We have to address the regional security concerns of those involved, certainly in the Middle East ... the Israeli conflict has driven proliferation of weapons. There is fear and paranoia that is motivating tension in the region ... A resolution concerning nuclear weapons would be a step in the right direction."
"The challenge," she added, "is to tackle the insecurities of all the parties. Every country needs to be treated with respect for its regional and security concerns."
Queen Noor will continue dialogue with leaders in the region in the hopes of broadening support and engagement of Middle Eastern leaders and the public to understand the issue more fully.
The leaders of Global Zero hope that reductions in the American and Russian arsenals, followed by multilateral negotiations among all nuclear powers for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, will strengthen the argument against any would-be nuclear powers from attempting to acquire weapons.
"It is important to put the world on a new course, a new course of possibilities, of hope, of working toward this objective," said Hagel.
The initial stages of policy work have already begun. Global Zero is forming a commission that will develop a step-by-step plan for eliminating all nuclear weapons, including the establishment of verification and enforcement systems to make sure that countries involved in the effort are operating on an equal playing field. A summit is scheduled for February 2010, where hundreds of leaders who represent stakeholders in the process will gather.
Available at: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=4&Article_id=101265
3. U.A.E.: Giving Us Nuclear Power Won't Help Iran Gain Atomic Weapons
(for personal use only)
With Capitol Hill soon to review a deal to send American nuclear power technology to the U.A.E., the oil-rich nation has enlisted a pair of heavyweight lobbying firms to convince lawmakers the agreement won't be a boost to neighboring Iran's pursuit of atomic weapons.
Since July, the U.A.E. has paid nearly $1.6 million in fees to Akin Gump and DLA Piper, according to foreign agent registration records on file with the Justice Department.
Both sides of the political aisle are covered. On the U.A.E.'s lobbying team are Vic Fazio, a former 10-term California Democratic congressman now at Akin Gump, and DLA Piper's Dick Armey, the former Republican House majority leader from Texas, the records show.
Putting sensitive nuclear gear into the hands of a country that once recognized the Taliban and is a trading partner with Iran has unnerved a small but vocal group of lawmakers who want President Barack Obama to put the deal on hold. But the U.A.E. and its lobbying corps are pressing for speedy passage, holding out the promise of jobs for American companies hit hard by a sagging economy.
What the U.A.E. wants to avoid is a repeat of a 2006 debate on Capitol Hill over a Bush administration plan for a U.A.E.-owned company, DP World, to manage operations at key U.S. ports. The U.A.E. was caught off guard as critics blasted the country for being a poor partner in the war against terror groups.
After Congress torpedoed the DP World plan, U.A.E. officials realized their country had become a U.S. ally with an asterisk.
"We've learned a lot about how to do business in the U.S., whether it's a business deal or whether it's a political deal," Yousef al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates' ambassador to the U.S., told The Associated Press.
"In our part of the world, we tend to think that the seat of power is always with the executive branch," al Otaiba said. But the Hill is one of the most, if not the most, important parts of this relationship.
Even as the U.A.E. presents itself as a reform-minded country, evidence indicating otherwise surfaced Wednesday. ABC News obtained a videotape showing Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, a member of the country's royal family, brutally torturing a man who allegedly shortchanged him on a grain delivery.
The pending nuclear agreement creates the legal framework for the U.S. to transfer sensitive nuclear items to the U.A.E. When the pact was signed in January by the departing Bush administration, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hailed it as a model for the peaceful use of nuclear power.
The decision on whether to move the deal forward was left to the Obama administration. If the president approves, it would go to Congress, which would have 90 days to amend or reject it. U.A.E. officials say they've received positive signals from Obama officials, but the new administration hasn't publicly disclosed its plans.
The U.A.E., a federation of seven separate states, wants nuclear power by 2017 to meet its growing demand for electricity. Although the emirates are flush with oil, they must import 60 percent of the natural gas they use to generate electricity. The U.A.E. no longer wants to depend on outside sources for its energy needs and settled on nuclear power as the most economical and environmentally friendly option.
The U.A.E. would import, rather than produce, fuel to be used in its nuclear reactors. It also has committed not to enrich uranium or reprocess spent nuclear fuel for plutonium, which is used in nuclear bombs.
Despite those safeguards, several lawmakers are threatening to block the deal unless Obama gets the U.A.E. to take stronger action to keep Iran from obtaining materials that could help it develop nuclear weapons.
"The perception that the U.A.E. is the so-called gateway to Iran is very much out of place," al Otaiba said.
There is also concern that if the Persian Gulf kingdom gains atomic power, others will begin rushing their own programs along, leading to more instability in an already shaky region.
Frederick Jones, a spokesman for Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry, said Kerry won't comment on the agreement until he's had a chance to review it.
Rep. Howard Berman of California, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has called the deal encouraging. But he wants stricter rules to ensure Iran's nuclear program doesn't benefit.
Several U.S. companies already have contracts with the U.A.E. for consulting and architectural work on the nuclear power project. Good Harbor Consulting, a firm run by former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke, is determining the safest location to build the reactors, al Otaiba told the Associated Press.
The project's big money is in building the reactors and other facilities requiring sensitive components. For U.S. businesses to compete against European and Asian companies, the nuclear trade agreement needs to be in place. If it fails, the U.A.E. plans to push ahead.
"We'll proceed with the other countries that are involved, mainly Japanese and French companies at this point, and we'll still have nuclear power in 2017."
It just won't be with the benefit of U.S. industry, al Otaiba said.
Available at: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1080504.html
4. USA Welcomed Initiative of Kazakh President to Host International Bank of Nuclear Fuel
(for personal use only)
The USA welcomed the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, to host the international bank of nuclear fuel in the territory of Kazakhstan, "Kazakhstan Today" agency reports citing the president's press service.
According to the press service, the State Secretary of Kazakhstan, Kanat Saudabaev, met American Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Security Affairs, Joseph Benkert.
"Close bilateral cooperation in strengthening of security in nuclear and biological spheres is being carried out. The USA welcomed the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan to host in the territory of our country the international bank of nuclear fuel under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) aegis in case of creation of such a structure," the press service informs.
Available at: http://eng.gazeta.kz/art.asp?aid=130687
The shipyard Baltiysky Zavod in Sankt Petersburg plan to deliver Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant in 2012.
A press release from the shipyard informs that the first 9.9 billion RUB power plant will be ready to be delivered to Energoatom in the last quarter of 2012, Portnews.ru writes.
The construction of Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant started at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk in April 2007, but in August 2008 Rosatom transferred the assignment to the Baltiysky Zavod in Sankt Petersburg.
At the end of February 2009 Rosatom and the Republic of Yakutia signed an agreement for implementing investments to build four floating nuclear power plants for use in the northern coastal areas of the Siberian Republic, BarentsObserver reported.
Available at: http://www.yourindustrynews.com/floating+nuclear+power+plant+ready+in+2012_30385.html
2. L&T Ties Up With Two More Global N-Reactor Makers
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Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is ready for its foray into the nuclear power plant construction business. The largest engineering and construction company in the country will sign cooperation agreements with General Electric Hitachi of the US and Areva of France, two of the largest vendors of reactors, within three to four weeks.
L&T has already signed cooperation agreements with the other three major reactor makers — Atomstroyexport (ASE), which is part of Rosatom of Russia, Toshiba Westinghouse of the US and Atomic Energy of Canada (AEC).
“We are close to signing cooperation deals with Areva and GE,” a top company official told Business Standard. A spokesperson declined comment.
Sources said the partnership would make L&T a major player in global reactor construction, as the deals covered cooperation on projects in various regions, besides India.
India’s civil nuclear power programme is set for a takeoff following India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) after a three-decade ban. It offers an opportunity worth $60 billion for the global nuclear industry as India plans to add about 60,000 Mw capacity by 2032.
L&T’s discussions with Areva assume significance as the French company will supply reactors and technology for the new 4,000-5,000 Mw nuclear reactors coming up at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. India’s new nuclear capacity addition programme will start with this project. India also planned to source reactors for about 10,000 Mw from the US vendors, White Westinghouse and GE Hitachi, said sources.
The $7 billion L&T, which hopes to get 20 per cent of its future business from the power sector, will partner vendors to supply equipment and systems, valves, electrical and instrumentation, fabrication of structural and piping and construction of plants, besides regular spare sourcing and specialised post-installation support.
L&T has experience in equipment manufacture, construction, project maintenance and other support services for PWR (pressurised water reactor) programmes in India, starting with the Tarapur reactor in 1974. It also has a major role in construction, piping and erection services for the two nuclear reactors coming up at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. In the next stage, four more 1,000 Mw reactors will be added at Kudankulam. Rosatom, which has a co-operation agreement with L&T, is to supply the reactors and technology for Kudankulam.
Available at: http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/lt-ties-uptwo-more-global-n-reactor-makers/356004/
Areva Enrichment Services (AES) has submitted a "roadmap" to US regulators defining changes it plans to make to its licence application in order to double the capacity of the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility (EREF).
AES submitted its licence application for the centrifuge uranium enrichment plant to be built at Bonneville County, Idaho, at the end of 2008. On 31 March 2009 the company informed the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that it intended to revise the application to double the capacity of the plant from the originally planned 3.3 million SWU (separative work units, the unit of measurement for uranium enrichment) to 6.6 million SWU per year.
AES said that it had decided to revise the application to give it the flexibility to build a bigger plant if market conditions warrant and confirmed to World Nuclear News that it does not have any firm plans to do so. "In recent months, AES' confidence has increased regarding the construction of new reactors both in the United States and other countries," the company told NRC in its letter forewarning them of the revision. "While AES is still planning to build a 3.3 million SWU per year facility, this revision provides AES the ability to expand the EREF should market conditions favour increased capacity for uranium enrichment services," it went on.
According to documents submitted to the NRC, the expansion would add four years to the planned construction time for the site, revising the date for full capacity production from 2018 in the initial application (for 3.3 million SWU per year) to 2022 for full production at 6.6 million SWU per year. The expansion would involve the construction of two more Separations Building Modules, referred to in the document as SBM 3 and 4. These would be identical to the two SBMs in the original application with each module having its own uranium hexafluoride handling area and two cascade halls. The expanded plant would contain a total of 96 cascades and be capable of producing 8 different tails assays at any one time.
The "roadmap" identifies the major anticipated impacts from the expansion on the Environmental Report, the Safety Analysis Report, the Integrated Safety Assessment Summary, the Physical Security Plan, the Emergency Plan, the Fundamental Nuclear Material Control Plan, and the Standard Practice Procedure Plan, all of which form part of the licence application. It also covers new socioeconomic information and changes to assumptions in estimating decommissioning costs.
According to Areva's 31 March letter to the NRC, the company plans to submit the formal revision to the licence application by 23 April, and expects the revision to have minimal impact on NRC's schedule for the application review. AES is hoping to start construction on the plant in 2011.
Available at: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Areva_maps_out_Eagle_Rock_expansion-2204097.html
DCNS has signed a contract for an undisclosed amount with China Nuclear Power Engineering Co. (CNPEC) for the supply of 14 heat exchangers for two civil European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) power plants being built by the Chinese authorities, the naval systems company said April 22 in a statement.
A DCNS spokesman declined to give the value of the contract. The deal would bring 100,000 hours of work, mainly for the Nantes site in northwestern France, with some also for the nearby Cherbourg facility of DCNS.
"This latest contract is a further endorsement of the Group's strategic choices, and its commitment to pursue development by promoting its industrial know-how and resources in the fast-growing civil nuclear sector," the company statement said.
DCNS would draw on industrial and engineering resources developed from the design and production of nuclear-powered warships, the company said. The company was prime contractor for the Charles de Gaulle nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which entered service in 2000.
Deliveries are due to begin in autumn 2010, with a last shipment in late 2011.
The deal involves design, production engineering, fabrication, machining, assembly and inspection, and quality control, DCNS said.
The European Pressurized Reactor is a third-generation nuclear power plant developed by the French state-owned company Areva and Siemens of Germany. Finland has bought an EPR plant, but has run into delays.
Available at: http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4052321&c=ASI&s=TOP
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