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Nuclear News - 5/28/2009
PGS Nuclear News, May 28, 2009
Compiled By: Luke Wagoner


A.  DPRK
    1. NKorea Warns of Attack, Says Truce No Longer Valid, Simon Martin, AFP (5/27/2009)
    2. Nuke Test Leads Seoul to Join PSI Proliferation Pact, Yoo Jee-ho, Joong Ang Daily (5/27/2009)
    3. North Korea Launches More Missiles Following Nuclear Test, Associated Press (5/26/2009)
B.  Iran
    1. Israel Threatening Iran with 'Nukes', PressTV (5/27/2009)
    2. Iran's Ahmadinejad Rules Out Nuclear Talks, Aresu Eqbali, AFP (5/25/2009)
C.  Russia
    1. Russia, Cuba Agree to Renew Joint Nuclear Research, RIA Novosti (5/27/2009)
    2. UPDATE 2-Russia Breaks "Wall" into U.S. Nuclear Market, Reuters (5/26/2009)
    3. Assembly of Russian Floating Plant Starts, World Nuclear News (5/20/2009)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. G8 Energy Ministers Endorse Nuclear Power, World Nuclear News (5/27/2009)
    2. Key Senator Calls for 100 New Reactors in 20 Years, Duncan Mansfield, Associated Press (5/27/2009)
    3. Russia in talks with Vietnam for $15 billion Nuclear Deal, Bloomberg (5/27/2009)
    4. Sarkozy Visiting Pakistan in Autumn to Ink Nuclear Deal?, Asian News International (5/26/2009)
    5. Cooperation Deals for Jordan and Italy, World Nuclear News (5/26/2009)
E.  Non-Proliferation
    1. Tests Point to Spread of Weapons Trade, Jay Solomon, Wall Street Journal (5/28/2009)
    2. Pakistan, Indian Nuclear Work Worries U.S., UPI (5/28/2009)
    3. Saudi Prince Calls for U.N. Action on Nuclear Middle East, Andrew Chitchlow, Wall Street Journal (5/26/2009)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Nuclear Aims By Pakistan, India Prompt U.S. Concern, Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick, The Washington Post (5/28/2009)
    2. Analysis: Has North Korea reached a 'tipping point'?, Elise Labott, CNN (5/28/2009)
    3. Commercial Satellite Imagery of Yongbyon Nuclear Site from May 26, 2009, Institute for Science and International Security  (5/27/2009)
    4. The North Korean Nuclear Test: What the Seismic Data Says, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (5/26/2009)



A.  DPRK

1.
NKorea Warns of Attack, Says Truce No Longer Valid
Simon Martin
AFP
5/27/2009
(for personal use only)


North Korea said Wednesday it was abandoning the truce that ended the Korean War and warned it could launch a military attack on the South, two days after testing an atomic bomb for the second time.

The announcement came amid reports that the secretive North, which outraged the international community with its bomb test Monday, was restarting work to produce more weapons-grade plutonium.

Defying global condemnation, the regime of Kim Jong-Il said it could no longer guarantee the safety of US and South Korean ships off its west coast and that the Korean peninsula was veering back towards war.

The White House said it viewed Pyongyang's threats as "saber-rattling and bluster" that would only deepen its isolation, with spokesman Robert Gibbs saying that "threats won't get North Korea the attention it craves."

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meanwhile stressed US commitments to defend South Korea and Japan, saying in Washington "that is part of our alliance commitment that we take very seriously."

The United States still hoped the North would return to multi-party talks on ending its nuclear programme, she added.

In New York, a Western diplomat said that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Japan and South Korea, known as the P5 + 2 were all committed to broadening sanctions against Pyongyang over its latest test.

"There is a clear commitment by the P5 + 2 to go for sanctions," the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity, stressing that even Russia and China were on board.

Earlier Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged a strong United Nations resolution to condemn Monday's nuclear test.

He insisted however that the stand-off with the reclusive state could only be solved through the multi-party talks, saying that North Korea should not be punished "for the sake of punishment" alone.

The North's latest display of anger was prompted by the South's decision to join a US-led international security initiative, established after the September 11 attacks to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

"Those who have provoked us will face unimaginable merciless punishment," said the military statement on the official Korean Central News Agency, blaming Washington and Seoul for the latest turn of events.

It said its military would "no longer be bound" by the 1953 armistice that ended hostilities in the Korean war -- in which the United States fought with the South -- because Washington had drawn its "puppet" Seoul into the PSI.

With no binding ceasefire, it said, "the Korean peninsula will go back to a state of war."

It also said the North "will not guarantee the legal status" of five South Korean islands near the disputed inter-Korean border in the Yellow Sea, which was the scene of bloody naval clashes in 1999 and 2002.

Analysts played down the likelihood of a full-scale conflict between North and South Korea but said clashes near the sea border were possible.

The North has taken a harder line with the international community in recent months -- firing a long-range rocket in April, launching five short-range missiles on Monday and Tuesday and conducting its second nuclear test Monday.

Analysts say Kim Jong-Il, 67, is likely carrying out shows of strength to reassert his control in the impoverished state. He reportedly had a stroke in August, which has renewed questions about who might succeed him.

"Kim is trying to impress the cadres and the elite in general... to convince powerholders that his family is the one that should be ruling the country," Peter Beck of American University in Washington told AFP on Tuesday.

"It is not unreasonable to conclude that they are no longer interested in nuclear diplomacy," Beck, a Korea expert, said.

Almost six years of six-nation talks have failed to persuade the North to abandon its nuclear programmes in exchange for energy aid, diplomatic benefits and security guarantees.

The international community, including the North's main ally China, strongly condemned its latest nuclear test.

The Russian foreign ministry said it had summoned Pyongyang's ambassador and called for the reclusive state to return to the six-party talks.

Meanwhile, South Korean reports said that steam was seen coming from a plant at the North's main nuclear facility at Yongbyon -- a sign it was trying to produce more plutonium.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5goGcm6AL4tHyTt3gp1PUV6rNu9fA


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2.
Nuke Test Leads Seoul to Join PSI Proliferation Pact
Yoo Jee-ho
Joong Ang Daily
5/27/2009
(for personal use only)


Following North Korea’s nuclear test on Monday, South Korea announced yesterday that it will join the Proliferation Security Initiative, a United States-led multinational effort to curb trade in weapons of mass destruction.

“To counter grave threats to the global peace and security that weapons of mass destruction and proliferation of missiles present, we have decided to endorse principles of the Proliferation Security Initiative,” said Moon Tae-young, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.

Moon added that the inter-Korean maritime accord reached in 2004 will remain valid. The accord prohibits the two Koreas from transferring weapons or collecting intelligence in each other’s territorial waters.

The PSI was created in 2003 during the George W. Bush administration. Under the initiative, participating countries try to intercept cargoes of suspected banned weapons, their means of delivery and other related materials. They also enact laws to facilitate seizure of such materials and take part in interdiction exercises and actual operations. South Korea, which has already informed the United States, Japan, China and Russia of its move, will be the 95th member.

According to the U.S. State Department Web site, “the PSI principles ... recognize the value in cooperative action and encourage participating countries to work together to apply intelligence, diplomatic, law enforcement, military and other capabilities to prevent WMD-related transfers.”

The PSI, however, is not a formal treaty-based organization and thus participants are not obligated to take actions.

South Korea has been an observer nation in interdiction drills under the PSI but has previously refrained from becoming a full-fledged member for fear of negatively affecting inter-Korean relations.

Then following the April 5 North Korean rocket launch, South Korea expressed its intention to join the PSI but put off making the call, citing the sensitive state of inter-Korean relations. A South Korean worker in the Kaesong Industrial Complex has been held there since March 30 for allegedly slandering the North Korean regime and encouraging a female North Korean colleague to defect. Seoul has not been granted access to the man despite repeated attempts.

Though the PSI does not single out any country as a specific target, North Korea has previously said it would consider Seoul’s joining the PSI a declaration of war and would take a firm countermeasure. Pyongyang did not have an immediate reaction yesterday but it did launch two additional short-range missiles on its east coast. North Korea fired three missiles Monday after its nuclear test.

A high-ranking official at the Foreign Ministry said yesterday South Korea will consider attending a meeting of the PSI’s Operational Experts Group in June in Poland. The group consists of hundreds of military, law enforcement, intelligence and diplomatic experts from 20 PSI core states. The official added that interdiction exercises are scheduled in the United States in September and in Singapore the following month. But he also said South Korea has no immediate plans of staging drills in Korean waters, calling the action “unnecessary in the current state of inter-Korean relations.”

Other South Korean officials agreed joining the Proliferation Security Initiative was the country’s next logical step. Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said in a National Assembly meeting that taking part in the PSI will be effective in controlling North Korea’s development of dangerous materials.

“North Korea proceeded with the nuclear test despite repeated warnings from the international community, and that proves the threats of proliferation of dangerous weapons have increased,” Yu said. “We felt endorsing the PSI principles was our duty as a member of the international community.

“Our membership in the PSI will help prevent North Korea from trading dangerous materials and, in the General-level officers from Korean Army, Navy and Air Force attend a key commanders’ meeting yesterday at Defense Ministry in Yongsan, central Seoul. Kim Tae-young, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff convened the meeting after signs of North Korea’s short-range missile launch were detected. North Korea launched two more short-range missiles into East Sea yesterday.

Available at:
http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2905368


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3.
North Korea Launches More Missiles Following Nuclear Test
Associated Press
5/26/2009
(for personal use only)


North Korea lashed out at the United States and reportedly launched three more short-range missiles even as U.N. Security Council members debated possible new sanctions against the communist nation for its latest nuclear test.

North Korea test-fired three short-range missiles Tuesday, including one at night, from the east coast city of Hamhung, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency. South Korea's spy chief said two other missiles were launched Monday, and North Korea also warned ships to stay away from waters off its west coast through Wednesday, suggesting more test flights.

The missile launches came as leaders around the world condemned North Korea for Monday's underground nuclear test. Retaliatory options were limited, however, and no one was talking publicly about military action.

Russian defense officials said the blast was roughly as strong as the bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II and was stronger than North Korea's first test in 2006.

In New York, U.N. diplomats said key nations were discussing a Security Council resolution that could include new sanctions against North Korea.

Ambassadors from the five permanent veto-wielding council members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — as well as Japan and South Korea were expected to meet later Tuesday, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting is private.

The Security Council met in emergency session Monday and condemned the nuclear test. Council members said they would follow up with a new legally binding resolution.

France's deputy U.N. ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix said his government wants a resolution to "include new sanctions ... because this behavior must have a cost and a price to pay."

It was too early to say what those sanctions might be and whether China and Russia, both close allies of North Korea, will go along.

In an unusual step, China strongly reproached its close ally.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu reiterated that Beijing "resolutely opposed" the nuclear test and urged Pyongyang to return to negotiations under which it had agreed to dismantle its atomic program.

North Korea is "trying to test whether they can intimidate the international community" with its nuclear and missile activity, said Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

"But we are united, North Korea is isolated, and pressure on North Korea will increase," Rice said.

Diplomats acknowledged, however, that there were limits to the international response and that past sanctions have had only spotty results.

"No one was talking about taking military action against North Korea," John Sawers, the British ambassador to the United Nations, told the British Broadcasting Corp. "I agree that the North Koreans are recalcitrant and very difficult to hold to any agreement that they sign up to. But there is a limited range of options here."

North Korea blamed the escalating tensions in the region on Washington, saying the U.S. was building up its forces, and defended its nuclear test as a matter of self-preservation.

An editorial in the North's main newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, called the United States "warmongers" and said Washington's recent announcement about sending fighter planes to Japan "lay bare the sinister and dangerous scenario of the U.S. to put the Asia-Pacific region under its military control."

At the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, An Myong Han, a diplomat from the North Korean mission, said his country "could not but take additional self-defense measures including nuclear tests and the test launch of long-range missiles in order to safeguard our national interest."

North Korea fired at least five missiles this week. Yonhap, quoting an anonymous government official, said two missiles launched Tuesday — one ground-to-air, the other ground-to-ship — had a range of about 80 miles (128 kilometers). Yonhap later quoted another government official as saying an additional ground-to-ship missile was fired late Tuesday night.

Officials would not immediately comment on the reports.

Available at:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,522062,00.html


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B.  Iran

1.
Israel Threatening Iran with 'Nukes'
PressTV
5/27/2009
(for personal use only)


As Israel remains adamant on blemishing the prospects of Iran-US dialogue and coaxing the White House into a war, Israel's military Chief of Staff says the regime is ready to use all options against Iran.

Israel, the possessor of the sole nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, has long strived to portray Iran as a regime hell-bent on starting a nuclear war through the pursuit of its nuclear program.

The UN nuclear watchdog says Iran has not opted against international law while conducting the program, which Iran says has civilian purposes.

"It is my job as army chief to prepare all the options, and that is what we're doing," Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel's military Chief of Staff, said.

His remarks come as Iran and the US, which have not had diplomatic ties for nearly three decades, are moving to consider a possible rapprochement.

Such reconciliation, however, has rubbed Tel Aviv the wrong way.

Israel, which claims to see Iran as an "existential threat", considers possible friendly ties between Tehran and Washington a major blow to its interests.

"The dialogue between the US and Iran is unlikely to succeed, but this is the preferred course for us too," said Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi. "Iran continues with its plans. The existence of nuclear weapons in Iran's hands could destabilize the entire Middle East."

The Israeli general added that the army would take "every possible measure" when it has to deal with Iran.

The remarks come amid doubts raised by Western experts that the Israeli Air Force does not possess the necessary power to bomb the Iranian program out of existence.

In return, Israeli defense experts claim that a nuclear strike might get the job done.

According to a report by the Sunday Times, Israeli air force squadrons have trained to blow up Iranian nuclear facilities using low-yield nuclear "bunker-busters."

Ashkenazi's warning against Iran came as the hawkish Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, publicizes that lifting Iran's alleged "nuclear threat" is his government's mission.

In an address to the right-wing Likud party, Netanyahu said if Israel does not remove the Iranian threat, no one will.

Citing Iran as a danger he said, "My job is first and foremost to ensure the future of the state of Israel ... the leadership's job is to eliminate the danger. Who will eliminate it? It is us or no one."

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=96209


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2.
Iran's Ahmadinejad Rules Out Nuclear Talks
Aresu Eqbali
AFP
5/25/2009
(for personal use only)


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday ruled out any talks with world powers on Tehran's nuclear drive, but said he was open to a debate with US President Barack Obama.

"We have said this before and we are saying it right now, that we will not talk about the nuclear issue with those outside the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)," he told journalistsom international news organisations.

"The Iranian nation will not allow anyone outside the IAEA to discuss our nuclear issue," said Ahmadinejad, who is running for a second term in office in next month's presidential election.

"The nuclear issue is over for us. The talks outside the IAEA will only be about participation in the management of the world and bringing peace to the world," he said.

However, he said he was ready to have a debate at the United Nations with Obama on global issues, adding that he welcomed the change in policy from the new US leader who has said he was open to dialogue with Iran.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana held talks with Iranian nuclear negotiator Said Jalili in April about discussions with the group of world powers known as the P5-plus-1 on Tehran's controversial atomic activities.

Solana has been authorised by the six powers -- UN Security Council veto-wielding permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany -- to discuss the issue with Tehran.

In April, Iran said it was ready for "constructive dialogue" with the world powers, while at the same time vowing to continue with its nuclear activities which have been the subject of an IAEA investigation for several years.

The West fears that Iran's nuclear drive could be a cover for efforts to build an atomic bomb, but Tehran insists it is aimed purely at generating electricity for a growing population.

Ahmadinejad has said previously that Tehran would present its own package of proposals to the six powers -- a new version of proposals offered by Iran in May 2008, which proposed the formation of consortiums to enrich uranium and manufacture nuclear fuel, including one in Iran.

The P5-plus-1 group's dialogue with Iran has been on hold since last September.

Ahmadinejad's remarks come after US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said in an interview on Sunday that Iran was moving closer to acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

"Certainly from what I've seen in recent years, Iran is on a path to develop nuclear weapons," he told ABC television.

"Most of us believe that it is one to three years (away from acquiring nuclear weapons), depending on assumptions about where they are right now. But they are moving closer clearly and they continue to do that," he said.

"And if you believe that is their strategic intent, as I do and certainly as my Israeli counterpart does, that's the principal concern."

Israel's military intelligence chief asserted in March that Iran will have the capacity to build a nuclear bomb within a year, but was not rushing to produce one.

However, Mullen said a military strike against Iran "right now would be incredibly serious, as well as the unintended consequences of their achieving a weapon."

"That's why this engagement, dialogue is so important," he said.

Obama told reporters after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington last week that he expected to know by the end of the year whether the Iranian leadership was making "a good faith effort to resolve differences."

"We are not going to have talks forever," Obama said.

Ahmadinejad said on Monday that he welcomed the US change of policy under Obama.

"Our response to Obama is clear... we welcome any change... based on justice and respect," he said.

"Three years ago, I announced that the current trend can not be continued and there must be change and fortunately the US president wants change and we welcome any real change."

He said he had previously invited former US president George W. Bush to a debate and that if he was re-elected as Iranian president in the June 12 vote, he will "extend the invitation" to Obama.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h7Qu3PNR0jASz7XlL4Pfmn_2EZ9w


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C.  Russia

1.
Russia, Cuba Agree to Renew Joint Nuclear Research
RIA Novosti
5/27/2009
(for personal use only)


Russia and Cuba have agreed to renew their cooperation in nuclear research with Cuba's Nuclear Energy Agency, head of Rosatom Sergei Kiriyenko said on Wednesday.

The announcement came during an awards ceremony in Moscow where Cuban scientific aide Fidel Angel Castro Diaz-Balart, Fidel Castro's son, received the Russian Kurchatov Award for his work in the nuclear sphere.

"On behalf of the entire nuclear division, I present the highest award...the Kurchatov Award, to Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart. Today, we will renew our cooperation at [Cuba's] nuclear research center that will allow us to develop a number of directions in modern science," Kiriyenko said.

Russian-Cuban nuclear cooperation was halted in 1992 after the construction of an atomic plant in Cuba was frozen.

Diaz-Balart, 59, is a member of Cuba's Academy of Sciences and studied theoretical physics in the Soviet Union. He has published numerous scientific papers in Cuba, Spain and Russia.

In the 1980s, he headed Cuba's nuclear agency at the time that the Soviet Union and Cuba started the construction of a nuclear plant. The agency now works in a number of areas in nuclear physics, including biotechnology and the development of nanotechnology.

Available at:
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090527/155104039.html


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2.
UPDATE 2-Russia Breaks "Wall" into U.S. Nuclear Market
Reuters
5/26/2009
(for personal use only)


Russia signed a landmark deal to supply nuclear fuel directly to U.S. companies on Tuesday, setting itself up to control 20 percent of the U.S. uranium market and extending its global reach in the nuclear sector.

At a ceremony in the Russian capital, U.S. electricity firms PG&E, Ameren Corp and Luminant signed deals to get more than $1 billion in uranium supplies from Russia's state nuclear fuel exporter Tenex between 2014 and 2020.

"This is a revolutionary breakthrough," Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's state atomic energy firm, Rosatom, which controls Tenex, told reporters. Until last year, U.S. anti-dumping laws had only allowed Russia to sell the United States uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons. These sales are carried out through U.S. uranium trader USEC Inc.

"We have broken through the wall forbidding us to sell Russian fuel to the American market. After the contracts signed today, we will start new contracts," a jubilant Kiriyenko said after drinking toasts of champagne with the Americans. "This is only the beginning."

Bruce Hamilton, the president of Fuelco, the intermediary set up by the three U.S. companies for the deal with Russia, said Tuesday's agreements open the door for Russia to directly take 20 percent of the U.S. uranium market between 2014 and 2020.

"The Russians do it all. They mine it, they convert it and they enrich it," Hamilton told Reuters after the deals were signed. "And after 2020, it's just wide open (for Russia)."

The Russian fuel would be used initially to provide power to 5 million U.S. homes in California, Texas and Missouri, he added.

NUCLEAR STORAGE IN THE U.S.

Russia, one of the world's biggest nuclear players, has long been seeking to expand its clout in the sector by moving into developed markets such as the United States, European Union and Japan.

Earlier this year, it signed deals to cooperate with Japan's Toshiba and Germany's Siemens, putting Russia in the centre of a nuclear alliance stretching from Western Europe to East Asia.

Tuesday's deals extended its reach further into the United States, where Russia is now discussing access to nuclear infrastructure, such as uranium storage facilities, Kiriyenko said.

Russia signed a landmark deal to supply nuclear fuel directly to U.S. companies on Tuesday, setting itself up to control 20 percent of the U.S. uranium market and extending its global reach in the nuclear sector.

At a ceremony in the Russian capital, U.S. electricity firms PG&E, Ameren Corp and Luminant signed deals to get more than $1 billion in uranium supplies from Russia's state nuclear fuel exporter Tenex between 2014 and 2020.

"This is a revolutionary breakthrough," Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia's state atomic energy firm, Rosatom, which controls Tenex, told reporters. Until last year, U.S. anti-dumping laws had only allowed Russia to sell the United States uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons. These sales are carried out through U.S. uranium trader USEC Inc.

"We have broken through the wall forbidding us to sell Russian fuel to the American market. After the contracts signed today, we will start new contracts," a jubilant Kiriyenko said after drinking toasts of champagne with the Americans. "This is only the beginning."

Bruce Hamilton, the president of Fuelco, the intermediary set up by the three U.S. companies for the deal with Russia, said Tuesday's agreements open the door for Russia to directly take 20 percent of the U.S. uranium market between 2014 and 2020.

"The Russians do it all. They mine it, they convert it and they enrich it," Hamilton told Reuters after the deals were signed. "And after 2020, it's just wide open (for Russia)."

The Russian fuel would be used initially to provide power to 5 million U.S. homes in California, Texas and Missouri, he added.

NUCLEAR STORAGE IN THE U.S.

Russia, one of the world's biggest nuclear players, has long been seeking to expand its clout in the sector by moving into developed markets such as the United States, European Union and Japan.

Earlier this year, it signed deals to cooperate with Japan's Toshiba and Germany's Siemens, putting Russia in the centre of a nuclear alliance stretching from Western Europe to East Asia.

Tuesday's deals extended its reach further into the United States, where Russia is now discussing access to nuclear infrastructure, such as uranium storage facilities, Kiriyenko said.

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idAFLQ94892820090526?rpc=44&pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0


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3.
Assembly of Russian Floating Plant Starts
World Nuclear News
5/20/2009
(for personal use only)


A ceremony has been held to mark the start of the assembly of the world's first floating nuclear power plant in St Petersburg, Russia. Construction had earlier been transferred from Severodvinsk.

The keel was originally laid for the first floating plant - the Akademik Lomonosov - at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk in April 2007. However, in 2008, Rosatom said that it was to transfer its construction to the Baltiysky Zavod shipbuilding company in Saint Petersburg because Sevmash was inundated with military contracts.

A contract was signed on 27 February 2009 between Rosatom and the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard for completion of the plant. The contract was valued at almost 10 billion roubles ($315 million). A new keel has now been laid at Saint Petersburg for the first floating plant. As part of the contract, Baltiysky Zavod will receive the incomplete floating plants started by Sevmash.

The first plant will house two 35 MW KLT-40S nuclear reactors, similar to those used in Russia's nuclear powered ice breakers, and two generators, and will be capable of supplying a city of 200,000 people. OKBM will design and supply the reactors, while Kaluga Turbine Plant will supply the turbo-generators.

The Akademik Lomonosov was originally destined for the Archangelsk industrial shipyard, which is near to Severodvinsk in northwestern Russia, but the vessel is now destined for Vilyuchinsk, in the Kamchatka region in Russia's far east.

Baltiysky Zavod is to complete the floating plant in 2011. It should then be ready for transportation by the second quarter of 2012 and is set to be handed over to Energoatom by the end of 2012. Rosatom is planning to construct seven further floating nuclear power plants in addition to the one now under construction, with several remote areas under consideration for their deployment. Gazprom is expected to use a number of the floating units in order to exploit oil and gas fields near the Kola and Yamal Peninsulars.

Speaking at the ceremony, Sergey Obozov, director general of Energoatom, said that construction of a second floating plant may start in the autumn of 2010. He said, "We already have agreement with the authorities of Chukotka to station the plant in Pevek."

Available at:
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Assembly_of_Russian_floating_plant_starts-1905094.html.html


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D.  Nuclear Energy

1.
G8 Energy Ministers Endorse Nuclear Power
World Nuclear News
5/27/2009
(for personal use only)


Energy ministers of leading industrialized countries met in Rome, Italy, at the weekend and gave greater prominence to nuclear energy than before. A special report on energy economics in the financial crisis was delivered to them.

The meeting of the energy ministers of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the USA) was held primarily to define joint strategies to respond to global climate change. The meeting also aimed to promote investment in energy security and sustainable development, as well as reducing energy poverty.

Language used in reference to nuclear energy was more positive than previous G8 statements, in part because Germany is now the only member of the group with an official anti-nuclear policy and as a result of concerted efforts by Japan to raise the profile of nuclear.

Although nuclear was still an add-on after more fashionable power sources, it was able to gain a seat at the top table of climate mitigation technologies: the G8's proposed low-carbon technology platform should "focus on a limited group of key technologies during the starting phase of the platform such as solar and wind energy, smart electrical grids, low-carbon vehicles, modernization of coal-fired power stations and carbon capture and storage (CCS) and, considering the interest of a growing number of countries, nuclear power."

Using similar wording, the ministers noted that, "in the opinion of a growing number of countries, the use of nuclear power can diversify the energy mix, contribute to energy security while reducing greenhouse gas emissions." They added that safety and cooperation internationally and with the International Atomic Energy Agency should be top priorities.

The meeting also saw the participation of the energy ministers of Algeria, Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Libya, Mexico, Nigeria, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey. EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs was also present. Its conclusions will be submitted to the Summit of Heads of State and Government Leaders that is scheduled to be held in L'Aquila, Italy, in July.

A joint statement issued during the meeting by the G8 energy ministers and the EU Energy Commissioner said that they would work to create a common low-carbon technology platform as solutions to climate change and a lack of secure energy supplies.

Energy in the financial crisis

A special report delivered to the G8 ministers from the International Energy Agency (IEA) described that body's thoughts on how the global downturn could be expected to affect energy investment.

It noted that capital-intensive energy sources like nuclear and renewables could suffer in the coming few years, with nuclear also potentially losing popularity with the decline in oil and energy prices: "The price collapse (and, in Europe, a big drop in carbon prices) has also shifted the relative economics of power-generating plant, to the detriment of low-carbon renewables-based and nuclear power." Coal and gas-fired plants would be the likely beneficiaries of this shift, said the IEA, although coal generation has long lead times and could be hurt by the increased cost of credit.

The IEA noted a dramatic drop in the rate of investment in renewables. Based on figures for the first quarter of 2009, the drop for the whole year could be 38% compared to last year. Considering this comes after exponential growth in the previous few years, the figure for 2009 could be less than half what the renewable industries were expecting before the credit crisis.

Available at:
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/ENF_G8_energy_ministers_endorse_nuclear_power_2605095.html


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2.
Key Senator Calls for 100 New Reactors in 20 Years
Duncan Mansfield
Associated Press
5/27/2009
(for personal use only)


Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander called Wednesday for doubling the number of nuclear reactors nationwide, a potentially $700 billion proposal that calls for building 100 more over 20 years.

"It is an aggressive goal, but with presidential leadership it could happen," the third-ranking Senate Republican told an economic and technology conference at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge.

"I am convinced it should happen because conservation and nuclear power are the only real alternatives we have today to produce enough low-cost, reliable, clean energy to clean the air, deal with climate change and keep good jobs from going overseas."

Alexander said he would deliver that message next week speaking on the floor of the Senate, where he said all 40 Republicans and many Democrats support nuclear energy. He said he hopes President Barack Obama's administration would embrace his call under efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama's administration is considering a cap-and-trade program designed to reduce greenhouse gases and to require larger quantities of carbon-free energy production.

The country's 104 commercial nuclear reactors produce 20 percent of the nation's electricity, while most of its energy comes from carbon-producing coal. The last reactor to come online was the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Unit 1 reactor in Spring City, Tenn., in 1996.

Steve Smith, director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, called Alexander's proposal "reckless."

"Nuclear power is a problem, not a solution," Smith said. "New nuclear reactors are expensive, create significant water use and thermal pollution risks to our communities and produce radioactive waste that after 50 years we still have no long-term solution for."

Smith urged conservation and efficiency improvements instead, but Alexander said they would not be enough to blunt growing energy demand.

Alexander said he also backs renewable energy sources, notably solar power and biomass fuels, yet called those still too expensive and inefficient.

"Today there is a huge energy gap between the renewable electricity we would like to have and the reliable, low-cost electricity we must have," he said.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is spending $2.5 billion to complete a second reactor in Spring City by 2013. Meanwhile, there are 17 proposals for 26 new reactors pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Knoxville-based TVA has two reactors among the proposed projects and is considering completing two others in north Alabama.

Alexander said he would increase federal loan guarantees now being offered for the first four reactors to as many as 12 to "jump start" the nuclear revival.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h_V_HziOuH3hboyxU-t6aQ8DJXQgD98ETJQ83


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3.
Russia in talks with Vietnam for $15 billion Nuclear Deal
Bloomberg
5/27/2009
(for personal use only)


Russia is in talks with Vietnam to build four nuclear reactors for as much as US$15 billion as the latter plans its first atomic power plant, the head of Russia’s state nuclear company said.

Russia is in talks with Vietnam to build four nuclear reactors for as much as US$15 billion as the latter plans its first atomic power plant, the head of Russia’s state nuclear company said.

A delegation has just returned from Vietnam, Sergei Kiriyenko, chief executive officer of Rosatom Corp., told reporters in Moscow Tuesday.

Vietnam has been considering since at least 2002 how to begin commercial nuclear power production, with its latest plan calling for a capacity of 2,000 megawatts by 2020. Russia is expanding its global ties in the industry and is fulfilling contracts with countries including China and India.

Jordan is also looking for companies to bid for a contract to build two reactors, said Kiriyenko, who did not give a time frame for the potential Vietnamese deal. Rosatom is also prepared to build a plant to produce nuclear fuel in Ukraine in return for long-term supply contracts, he said.

A plan to build 26 reactors in Russia would probably be delayed by two to three years, Kiriyenko said. The program should be completed by 2023 “at the latest,” said the former prime minister.

Available at:
http://www.thanhniennews.com/business/?catid=2&newsid=49217


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4.
Cooperation Deals for Jordan and Italy
World Nuclear News
5/26/2009
(for personal use only)


Russia and Jordan have signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy. Meanwhile, Japan has agreed to help Italy with its reintroduction of nuclear power.

The agreement between Russia and Jordan was signed on 22 May by Rosatom director general Sergei Kiriyenko and Khalid Toukan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC).

The agreement will initially run for ten years and will include cooperation in the design and construction of commercial nuclear power plants and research reactors, as well as water desalination plants. It also covers the development of uranium deposits and nuclear fuel cycle facilities, although under the agreement, Russia would supply Jordan with nuclear fuel, which would be returned to Russia once used.

Cooperation between the two countries would also extend to the training of workers, research, nuclear safety and non-energy applications of nuclear energy.

The Jordanian energy minister has said that the country, which has virtually no oil or gas resources, expects to have a nuclear power plant operating by 2017, for electricity and desalination. Jordan's Committee for Nuclear Strategy has set out a program for nuclear power to provide 30% of electricity by 2030 or 2040, and to provide for exports.

Jordan has already signed nuclear cooperation agreements with the USA, Canada, France and UK, in respect to both power and desalination, and is seeking help from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It has also signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with China, covering uranium mining in Jordan and nuclear power, and others with South Korea and Japan related to infrastructure including nuclear power and desalination.

Japan offers Italy help

Meanwhile, Japan and Italy have signed a memorandum to cooperate in nuclear power development, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti) has announced.

On the sidelines of the G8 ministerial meeting in Rome at the weekend, Toshihiro Nikai, Japan's minister of economy, trade and industry, and Claudio Scajola, Italy's economic development minister, signed the memorandum.

Under the memorandum, which will remain in effect for three years and can be renewed, Japan will cooperate with Italy through the training of nuclear professionals and the exchange of information.

Following a referendum in November 1987, provoked by the Chernobyl accident 18 months earlier, work on Italy's nuclear program was largely stopped. In 1988, the government resolved to halt all nuclear construction, shut the remaining reactors and decommission them from 1990. As well as the operating plants, two new boiling water reactors were almost complete and six locally-designed pressurized water reactor units were planned.

This situation was reversed by the general election of May 2008, when Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party put a return to nuclear energy in its manifesto.

Italy has since signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Russia and France.

Available at:
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP-Cooperation_deals_for_Jordan_and_Italy-2605095.html


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5.
Sarkozy Visiting Pakistan in Autumn to Ink Nuclear Deal?
Asian News International
5/26/2009
(for personal use only)


French president Nicolas Sarkozy could visit Pakistan later this year to ink a nuclear cooperation deal between the two countries.

According to sources, France and Pakistan are negotiation a nuclear partnership and talks in this regard, are at an advanced stage.

“We’re in the process of negotiating. We’ve given ourselves two or three months,” a source privy to Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy is currently in Abu Dhabi to inaugurate a French military base there, The Dawn reports.

Earlier, Pakistan had claimed that France has offered it a civilian nuclear technology similar to what India has obtained from the United States.

“France has agreed to transfer civilian nuclear technology to Pakistan. They have agreed that Pakistan should be treated like India,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said during a President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent visit to Paris.

French officials had then said that Sarkozy confirmed his willingness to ‘cooperate with Pakistan in the area of nuclear safety’, but they declined to comment on whether Paris had offered any civilian nuclear deal to Islamabad.

An official in Sarkozy’s office had said France is concerned about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and wants Islamabad to fortify security around its nuclear establishments, but he refused to comment on the idea of an India-style nuclear deal.

Available at:
http://www.dailyindia.com/show/314421.php


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E.  Non-Proliferation

1.
Pakistan, Indian Nuclear Work Worries U.S.
UPI
5/28/2009
(for personal use only)


North Korea's nuclear capabilities may be grabbing headlines, but U.S. officials say growth of nuclear programs in Pakistan and India also are of concern.

U.S. intelligence and proliferation experts say India and Pakistan indicate their nuclear programs offer leverage in an arms race that has picked up and diversified similar to the U.S.-U.S.S.R. arms race, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

"They are both going great guns (on) new systems, new materials; they are doing everything you would imagine," a former U.S. intelligence official told the Post.

Pakistan is expected to be ready to produce plutonium for its nuclear arsenal sometime next year, observers said. Engineers in India, meanwhile, are designing cruise missiles to carry nuclear warheads, and the country's missile-defense capability is scheduled to be upgraded in 2010.

U.S. officials say focused appeals to the two countries to slow their nuclear work probably won't work, the Post said.

"We have to think of dealing with the South Asian problem not on a purely regional basis, but in the context of a more global approach," Gary Samore, senior White House non-proliferation adviser, said after a speech to the Arms Control Association last week.

Available at:
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/05/28/Pakistan-Indian-nuclear-work-worries-US/UPI-37181243509657/


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2.
Tests Point to Spread of Weapons Trade
Jay Solomon
Wall Street Journal
5/28/2009
(for personal use only)


Signs of growth in North Korea's nuclear program and the country's increasing isolation are renewing fears about Pyongyang's ability and need to smuggle weapons of mass destruction around the world, said U.S. and United Nations officials.

North Korea's arms trade has focused on Iran and Syria, countries Washington views as state sponsors of terrorism, as well as Libya. Officials say North Korean arms have also been sold to nations allied with the U.S., such as Egypt and Pakistan, and to the military regime in Myanmar.

The concerns about North Korean weapons proliferation were heightened this week with Pyongyang's underground test of a nuclear weapon and several short-range missile launches. Sales of short- and medium-range missile systems remain among North Korea's largest export earners, part of an arms trade that generates $1.5 billion annually for Pyongyang, say North Korea analysts.

With the international community looking to punish the regime for the nuclear test, U.S. and U.N. officials say Pyongyang could try to increase exports of its nuclear and missile technologies as it gradually loses its ability to obtain hard currency from foreign aid and exports to markets such as Japan and South Korea.

Even if Pyongyang doesn't seek to sell weapons-grade materials such as reprocessed plutonium, Pentagon officials say just the possibility it might sell nuclear-weapons designs poses a security challenge to the U.S.

"The concern is not just that they have a nuclear weapon; it's what they're going to do with the technology and where it's going to go," said a senior U.S. defense official. "It's very difficult to have perfect knowledge about who they're talking to or where they're sending stuff," the official said.

Since the nuclear test, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Adviser James Jones have publicly voiced concerns about the threat posed by Pyongyang's proliferation activities.

North Korea's mission to the U.N. in New York declined to respond to questions about its weapons program.

The country's weapons industry has played a crucial role in the spread of ballistic-missile capabilities across the Middle East in recent decades, said U.S. and Middle East officials.

U.S. officials say North Korea doesn't yet have the technology to use its missiles to deliver nuclear weapons, but say intelligence about the secretive nation's weapons program is incomplete.

Pyongyang used missile technologies passed on by the former Soviet Union during the Cold War to build a single-stage rocket, the Nodong, as well as the longer-range Taepodong missile system. In April, North Korea tested a multistage Taepodong-2 missile that crashed into the Pacific Ocean, in what Pyongyang said was a satellite launch.

Iran and Pakistan have already used North Korean materials to develop domestic ballistic missiles. Syria, Yemen, Libya and Egypt have also purchased North Korean missile components in recent years, U.S. officials say.

An Iranian diplomat in New York denied North Korea has helped Tehran develop long-range missiles, declining to comment further. A spokesman at Syria's Washington embassy declined to comment on military cooperation with Pyongyang. A diplomat at the Yemeni Embassy in Washington said Yemen's former government purchased Scud missiles from North Korea in the 1990s, but said there is no more military cooperation with Pyongyang. A Libyan diplomat declined to comment. Egyptian diplomats didn't respond to requests to comment.

"The North Koreans are involved in developing virtually every missile system in the region," said a senior Israeli counterproliferation official. "All of them."

U.S. and Asian counterproliferation officials say Pyongyang has developed sophisticated smuggling networks in the Middle East and Asia in recent years. North Korea has worked with Asian criminal gangs to move narcotics and counterfeit currency globally, it ships contraband using Cypriot and Cambodian flagged carriers, and falsifies export documents, the officials say.

In August, the U.S. worked with India to block a North Korean Air Koryo jet from flying to Iran from Myanmar on the belief it was carrying missile components; the intercepted jet flew back to Pyongyang. A diplomat at Myanmar's U.N. mission declined to comment Wednesday. Iran has in the past declined to discuss any allegations of arms deals with North Korea. The U.S. also blocked a Syrian cargo plane from landing in Pyongyang in 2007, due to similar concerns.

"How do you consistently detect North Korea's proliferation activities and stop it? It's very hard," said David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector who heads the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think tank.

In 2007, Israeli jets bombed a Syrian industrial facility on the Euphrates River that U.S. intelligence officials subsequently described as a nascent nuclear reactor being built by North Koreans. The U.N.'s atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has reported that soil samples taken at the site showed large traces of processed uranium. Syria denied it is developing a nuclear program.

A North Korean state-owned company, Nomchongang Trading Co., was the principal facilitator for the Syrian project, according to former U.S. officials. The company's chief, Yun Ho Jin, worked during the 1990s as a senior diplomat at North Korea's mission at the IAEA, where he developed an understanding of the global procurement system, according to U.S. and U.N. officials. Mr. Yun and Nomchongang couldn't be reached to comment.

Nomchongang had offices in Syria, according to the former U.S. officials. "Nomchongang was the operating interest in the Syrian sale," said Dennis Wilder, who served as President George W. Bush's top Asia adviser until January. "It was the arm of the North Korean government dealing with nuclear issues."

U.S. and Asian officials said Nomchongang was also detected selling equipment to Myanmar that could be used for a nuclear program. Exchanges between senior North Korean and Myanmar military officers have increased, these officials say. Myanmar may be seeking to replicate North Korea's weapons development as a deterrent to Western pressure, the officials say.

Available at:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124347081988160711.html?mod=googlenews_wsj


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3.
Saudi Prince Calls for U.N. Action on Nuclear Middle East
Andrew Chitchlow
Wall Street Journal
5/26/2009
(for personal use only)


Influential Saudi royal Prince Turki bin Faisal wants the United Nations Security Council to proclaim the Middle East a nuclear-weapons-free region and said that Arab states will refuse further peace talks with Israel unless the Jewish state halts expanding settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

"Anyone in the area shouldn't have nuclear weapons," said Prince Turki in an interview Monday with Zawya Dow Jones at his office in the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh. "The Arab position is that the region is free of weapons of mass destruction."

Prince Turki, previously Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington and the ex-head of its intelligence service, wants the permanent members of the Security Council to vote through a resolution this summer that will offer Middle East states including Israel and Iran security guarantees and economic incentives in return for disarmament and suspension of existing weapons programs.

He said the resolution could provide Middle East states with a U.N. guaranteed "nuclear umbrella" backed up by the threat of a "sanctions regime to include not just economic and travel restrictions but also the threat of military action."

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected on Monday a U.N. proposal to freeze its existing nuclear-technology program in return for the Security Council halting any further sanctions against the Islamic republic.

North Korea's second underground test of a nuclear device could increase pressure on the U.S. and the international community to halt Iran's nuclear program, he said, adding that tighter sanctions alone are unlikely to force Tehran into a change in policy regarding its own nuclear program.

Prince Turki, brother of Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal, said he is unaware of any plan being proposed by Arab states to offer Israel additional diplomatic incentives beyond those already laid out in the existing Saudi-backed Arab Peace Initiative first put forward in 2002.

"Arabs have already given enough concessions," said Prince Turki, adding that the onus was now on Israel to create the environment for a lasting peace. This includes implementing measures like ending roadblocks into Palestinian territory, releasing political Palestinian prisoners and halting settlement expansion.

"Expansion of settlements has to be stopped for any meaningful discussions to take place," he said. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem will go ahead despite opposition from the U.S. government.

Prince Turki's comments come just weeks before U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to present his proposals for a lasting peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israelis when he gives his first speech in the Middle East since taking office during his planned visit to Egypt next month.

"Some of President Obama's rhetoric has been wonderful but let's wait and see what he does on the ground," said Prince Turki.

Available at:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124331776401453705.html


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F.  Links of Interest

1.
Analysis: Has North Korea reached a 'tipping point'?
Elise Labott
CNN
5/28/2009
(for personal use only)
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/05/27/north.korea.analysis/index.html?i..


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2.
Nuclear Aims By Pakistan, India Prompt U.S. Concern
Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick
The Washington Post
5/28/2009
(for personal use only)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/27/AR2009052703..


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3.
Commercial Satellite Imagery of Yongbyon Nuclear Site from May 26, 2009
Institute for Science and International Security
5/27/2009
(for personal use only)
http://isis-online.org/publications/dprk/Yongbyon_Brief_27May2009.pdf


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4.
The North Korean Nuclear Test: What the Seismic Data Says
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
5/26/2009
(for personal use only)
http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/features/the-north-korean-nuclear-tes..


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

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