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Nuclear News - 6/30/2009
PGS Nuclear News, June 30, 2009
Compiled By: Luke Wagoner

    1. North Korea 'Enriching Uranium', BBC News (6/30/2009)
    2. N.Korea's Arms Export Routes Getting Harder to Track, The Choson llbo (6/29/2009)
    3. NKorea Warns of 'Fire Shower of Nuclear' Attack, Jae-Soon Chang, Associated Press (6/25/2009)
B.  Non-Proliferation
    1. Group Offers Plan to Eliminate Nukes by 2030, Robert Burns, Associated Press (6/29/2009)
    2. Korea to Join Regional Non-Proliferation Meeting this Week, Xinhua News Agency (6/29/2009)
    3. IAEA Chief Downbeat about Nuclear-Free Mideast, United News Network (6/27/2009)
    4. Canada Puts up Cash to Prevent Nukes' Proliferation, AFP (6/26/2009)
C.  G8 and Global Partnership
    1. Japan Pushes N. Korea at G8, The Japan Times (6/29/2009)
    2. Highlights from G8 Foreign Ministers' Statement, Associated Press (6/26/2009)
D.  Iran
    1. Kazakhstan Denies Selling Iran Nuclear Material, Haaretz (6/30/2009)
    2. Election Row Hits Iran Nuclear Talks, Paul Reynolds , BBC News (6/29/2009)
E.  Nuclear Energy
    1. EU Passes Nuclear Safety Directive, Reuters (6/29/2009)
    2. World Nuclear Power Generation to Reach 2,966 Billion kWh by 2015, PRWeb (6/29/2009)
    3. China’s Experimental Fast Reactor: Commissioning on Schedule, Nuclear Engineering International (6/29/2009)
    4. Russia Eyes Nuclear Power Deals in Egypt, Oleg Shchedrov, Reuters (6/24/2009)
    5. Middle Eastern Countries Strengthen Nuclear Ties, World Nuclear News (6/23/2009)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Should Renewable Energy Include Nuclear?, Lily Riahi and Lisa Desai, The Christian Science Monitor (6/29/2009)
    2. Can North Korea Really Strike Hawaii?, (6/27/2009)
    3. IAEA Report on Iran-Centrifuge and LEU Increases, David Albright and Jacqueline Shire, Institute for Science and International Security  (6/5/2009)
    4. IAEA Report on Syria - Undeclared Uranium Particles Found, David Albright and Paul Brannan, ISIS, Institute for Science and International Security  (6/5/2009)


North Korea 'Enriching Uranium'
BBC News
(for personal use only)

North Korea is going ahead with plans to enrich uranium, a possible step to making a nuclear weapon, South Korean Defence Minister Lee Sang-hee has said.

North Korea said earlier in June it would "weaponise" its plutonium stocks and start enriching uranium for a light-water nuclear reactor.

"It is clear that they are moving forward," Mr Lee said on Tuesday.

The North's threat came after the UN passed tougher sanctions in response to Pyongyang's nuclear test in May.

Easier to hide

North Korea has ample supplies of natural uranium, and the US has previously accused Pyongyang of running a clandestine uranium enrichment plan.

A uranium enrichment programme would be far easier to hide than reprocessing plutonium from spent fuel rods, Mr Lee said, adding that it can be conducted in a space as small as 600 sq metres (6,500 sq feet).

North Korea's plutonium programme is based on the Yongbyon reactor, which is under US satellite observation.

The North is already thought to possess enough reprocessed plutonium for between six and eight nuclear weapons, but analysts say Pyongyang has not yet mastered the technology to make a nuclear warhead small enough to place on a missile.

Also on Tuesday, North Korea said it would "strengthen its self-defensive nuclear deterrent to safeguard its sovereignty and safety".

A commentary in an official newspaper said North Korea was prepared for "open nuclear confrontation" with the US.

Washington has said it does not intend to attack North Korea.

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N.Korea's Arms Export Routes Getting Harder to Track
The Choson llbo
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North Korea has sought various legal and illegal ways to dodge the tightening net of the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative for the past few years, a government source said Sunday.

South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies believe the North exported some US$800 million worth of weapons including missiles, submarines, multi launch rockets and field artillery to Iran, Syria and Burma between 2000 and last year. Until the 1990s, such exports were relatively easy for the West to track since the North exported finished goods directly to recipients with its own cargo vessels. But tighter controls by the international community of weapons of mass destruction and restraints on the North's arms industry meant Pyongyang had to look for more devious ways.

For instance, the North took a roundabout land route via China and Russia, which is harder to trace, or used transport planes at night. It also exported weapons by building assembly factories in importing countries. To circumvent an entry ban on its ships in ports, North Korean chartered ships under the names of foreigners, falsified the country of origin, or did business through a third country. That is mostly how it was able to export to Iran, Syria, Burma and Laos.

Due to these opaque methods, the U.S. is now keeping an eye on a number of ships and airplanes in addition to the North Korean cargo ship Kangnam it is tracking. As the North becomes more sophisticated in its methods, the international community too must become smarter in tracing and controlling the North's movements, a government official said.

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NKorea Warns of 'Fire Shower of Nuclear' Attack
Jae-Soon Chang
Associated Press
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North Korea condemned a recent U.S. pledge to provide nuclear defense of South Korea, saying Thursday that the move boosts its justification to have atomic bombs and invites a potential "fire shower of nuclear retaliation."

The commentary in Pyongyang's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper was the North's latest reaction to last week's summit between President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. The allies issued a joint statement committing the U.S. to defend the South with nuclear weapons.

It also came as an American destroyer trailed a North Korean ship suspected of shipping weapons in violation of a U.N. resolution punishing Pyongyang's May 25 nuclear test, and as anticipation mounted that the North might test-fire short- or mid-range missiles in the coming days.

The North's newspaper claimed that the "nuclear umbrella" commitment made it more likely for the U.S. to mount a nuclear attack on the communist North, and only "provides us with a stronger justification to have nuclear deterrent."

It also amounts to "asking for the calamitous situation of having a fire shower of nuclear retaliation all over South Korea" in case of a conflict, the paper said.

North Korea has long claimed that the U.S. is plotting to invade it and has used the claim to justify its development of nuclear weapons. The U.S. has repeatedly said it has no intention of attacking the North.

In a separate editorial marking the 1950 outbreak of the Korean War, the Rodong said the North "will never give up nuclear deterrent ... and will further strengthen it" as long as Washington remains hostile.

The war ended in 1953 with a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula divided and in a state of war. The U.S. has 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect against hostilities.

Pyongyang's Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary marking the war anniversary that the U.S. should withdraw its troops from South Korea and drop its "hostile" policy toward the North, saying those are "the key to resolving the Korean peninsula issue."

Ties between the two Koreas warmed significantly after the first-ever summit of their leaders in 2000, but relations soured after the conservative Lee took office last year.

The Rodong called Lee a "hound" of the U.S. "master" in Thursday's commentary.

The new U.N. resolution seeks to clamp down on North Korea's trading of banned arms and weapons-related material by requiring U.N. member states to request inspections of ships carrying suspected cargo.

North Korea has said it would consider interception of its ships a declaration of war.

The U.S. has been seeking to get key nations to enforce the sanctions aggressively. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the foreign ministers of Russia and China on Wednesday to discuss efforts to enforce the U.N. punishments, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

The Kang Nam is the first North Korean ship to be tracked under the resolution. It left the North Korean port of Nampo a week ago and is believed bound for Myanmar, South Korean and U.S. officials said.

Myanmar state television on Wednesday evening said another North Korean vessel was expected to pick up a load of rice and that the government had no information about the Kang Nam.

A senior U.S. defense official said Wednesday that the ship had already cleared the Taiwan Strait.

He said he didn't know how much range the Kang Nam has — whether or when it may need to stop in some port to refuel — but that the ship has in the past stopped in Hong Kong's port.

Another U.S. defense official said he tended to doubt reports that the Kang Nam was carrying nuclear-related equipment, saying the information officials have received seems to indicate the cargo is conventional munitions.

The U.S. officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing intelligence.

The U.S. and its allies have not decided whether to contact and request inspection of the ship, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Wednesday. He said he didn't believe a decision would come soon.

Reports about possible missile launches from the North highlighted the tension on the Korean peninsula.

The North has designated a no-sail zone off its east coast from June 25 to July 10 for military drills.

A senior South Korean government official said the ban is believed connected to North Korean plans to fire short- or mid-range missiles. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that the North may fire a Scud missile with a range of up to 310 miles (500 kilometers) or a short-range ground-to-ship missile with a range of 100 miles (160 kilometers) during the no-sail period.

U.S. defense and counterproliferation officials in Washington said they also expected the North to launch short- to medium-range missiles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.

North Korea had warned previously it would fire a long-range missile as a response to U.N. Security Council condemnation of an April rocket launch seen as a cover for its ballistic missile technology.

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B.  Non-Proliferation

Group Offers Plan to Eliminate Nukes by 2030
Robert Burns
Associated Press
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A group committed to eliminating nuclear weapons presented on Monday a four-step plan to achieve that goal by 2030, while acknowledging that Iran could be a "show stopper."

The plan by the nonpartisan Global Zero Commission calls for the United States and Russia — the world's largest nuclear powers — to agree to reduce first to 1,000 warheads each, then to 500 each by 2021.

The U.S. is believed to have about 2,200 active strategic nuclear warheads and Russia about 2,800. Each has thousands more in reserve as well as large numbers of nonategic, or tactical, nuclear arms.

During the second phase of cuts to 500, all other nuclear weapons countries would have to agree to freeze and then reduce their warhead totals. Those other countries are China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan and Israel but not North Korea, which has conducted nuclear tests but may not have a useable weapon.

In a third phase, from 2019 to 2023, a "global zero accord" would be negotiated to include a schedule for the phased, verified reduction of all nuclear arsenals to zero total warheads. In the last period, from 2024 to 2030, the reductions would be completed and a verification system would remain in place.

The Global Zero Commission includes former and current senior officials from all existing nuclear powers.

The plan's public unveiling was timed for the July 6-8 summit meeting between President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. In April the two leaders endorsed the idea of a nuclear free world, but neither country has proposed a way of achieving that goal, which many consider to be unrealistic.

The U.S. and Russia possess at least 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.

Global Zero Commission member Richard Burt, a former chief U.S. negotiator for strategic nuclear arms reduction talks with the former Soviet Union, said the key to getting Washington and Moscow to reduce their warhead totals to 500 as an intermediate step is having other nuclear powers agree to freeze their arsenals and then join the United States and Russia in going the final step to zero by 2030.

He said the commission also sees North Korea as a problem, but not necessarily an obstacle, to getting a global zero agreement. By the second phase of the Global Zero Commission's plan, at the midpoint of the next decade, North Korea's nuclear status is likely to be clarified, the former diplomat said.

An even stickier problem is Iran. Under the Global Zero Commission's plan, the Iranians would become an issue in the third phase, in the 2019 to 2023 period, when a global zero accord would be negotiated. That is because the plan requires that all "nuclear capable" countries — defined as those with any nuclear power program, civilian or otherwise — sign and ratify the accord in order for it to take effect.

The U.S. and other countries assert that Iran's declared civilian nuclear program is aimed at building a bomb. Iran denies it.

"If they were to decide over the next couple of years that they want to acquire nuclear weapons and were to go forward and deploy them, then it's hard to see how global zero goes anywhere," Burt said.

"It's a potential show stopper," he said.

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Korea to Join Regional Non-Proliferation Meeting this Week
Xinhua News Agency
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South Korea will participate in a meeting on on-proliferation and disarmament, which will be held in Beijing later in the week, the foreign ministry said Monday.

According to the ministry, a South Korean delegation will be sent to the inaugural non-proliferation meeting hosted by the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), a key security dialogue channel for Asia.

During the meeting, anti-proliferation experts and government officials are expected to share updated information on their implementation of UN Resolution 1540 adopted in 2004, which prevents transfer of weapons of mass destruction into terrorists, the ministry said.

The meeting will also deal with ways to regulate suspicious trade activities, the ministry added.

The ARF was founded in July 1993 by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which groups Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

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IAEA Chief Downbeat about Nuclear-Free Mideast
United News Network
(for personal use only)

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed El-Baradei ruled out that the Middle East could become a nuclear-free region at an early date.

El-Baradei attributed his argument to the fact that Israel is still insistent on linking any relevant step to a comprehensive peace agreement with all Arab and Muslim nations.
Israel may even have other undeclared preconditions.

On Iran, he believed that the Iranians had already obtained full knowledge of nuclear production details.

"The Iranians now have nuclear technological tools that could enable them to enrich a full ton of uranium at a limit of four percent.

They could even raise it up to any percentage they want, including 90 percent which is necessary for making a nuclear bomb," he said.

However, he claimed that he had fathomed out through his several meetings with Iranian officials that Tehran was not seeking a nuclear bomb, but, rather "security guarantees" that could prevent the US from attempting to unseat the Iranian ruling regime.

Iran also wants a US and European recognition of its interests in the Gulf and Middle East and seeks to oblige everybody to respect its role, position and interest, he said.

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Canada Puts up Cash to Prevent Nukes' Proliferation
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Canada announced Friday it would put up 180 million dollars (156 million US) to help prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons, expanding a Russian nukes decommissioning program.

"Terrorists are actively seeking weapons of mass destruction and the materials to make them," Cannon said. "The most effective way to prevent this is to tightly control access to weapons-usable materials.

"Projects under the Global Partnership Program will significantly reduce the threat that terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction poses to Canadians and to the entire international community," he said.

The funding announcement came on the sidelines of a G8 foreign ministers meeting in Trieste, Italy.

There, Canada and its allies discussed international security concerns such as non-proliferation and disarmament, terrorism and piracy, as well as regional concerns such as Afghanistan and Pakistan and their neighboring countries, Iran, the Middle East and North Korea, said a statement.

The funds, to be spent largely on securing nuclear and biological materials in Russia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, bring Canada's total pledge to the program to one billion dollars (868 million US) since 1999.

Specifically, it will be spent on upgrading seven nuclear facilities in Russia; designing a central repository for dangerous pathogens in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; redirecting 828 former weapons scientists to work on some 90 research projects; and dismantling five decommissioned Russian nuclear submarines in the Arctic and Far East.

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C.  G8 and Global Partnership

Japan Pushes N. Korea at G8
The Japan Times
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Japan vigorously pushed to have North Korea's recent belligerence discussed at this year's meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of Eight nations.

But amid concerns over the violent crackdown on protesters over a disputed presidential election, Iran stole the spotlight, even from Afghanistan, which host Italy had sought to highlight.

Still, Japanese officials are confident they were able to achieve their original purpose at the high-profile political event, which concluded Saturday.

"I am glad that we were able to send a strong message" to North Korea, Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said during a news conference Friday after leading discussions on the subject with his G8 colleagues.

He was referring to a G8 chairman's statement that condemned "in the strongest terms" North Korea's May 25 nuclear test and April 5 rocket launch.

Calling such actions a threat to regional peace and stability, the G8 called on all U.N. members to "fully and transparently implement their obligations" stipulated in a new U.N. Security Council resolution against the North.

The G8 called on North Korea to return to the stalled six-party talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

For the Japanese officials, a small but important reference was included in the chairman's statement at the end of the paragraph about North Korea.

"We also urge (North Korea's) prompt action to address the concerns of the international community on humanitarian matters, including the abduction issue," the statement says.

Thanks to the reference to the abductions of Japanese and foreign nationals by the country, Nakasone said he believes that Japan's position was well represented in the document.

G8 ministers "also listened to my opinions attentively," he told reporters.

While the Japanese officials appeared pleased with the outcome, the dominant issue at the foreign ministers meeting, which precedes the G8 leaders summit to be held July 8 to 10, was not North Korea but Iran and Afghanistan.

Iran loomed large on the world stage in recent days because of its bloody crackdown on demonstrators protesting the presidential election.

Iran's absence from the outreach sessions of the talks, to which Rome had invited Tehran as a crucial player in the Afghanistan question, fueled interest in how the G8 would respond to the Iranian crisis.

The interest in Iran was also evident at the G8 news conference on Friday. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini only mentioned North Korea at the very end of his opening remarks, and questions from reporters concentrated on Iran.

Given that all eyes were on Iran, experts say it was natural that Japan had a tough time selling its agenda.

But Hitoshi Tanaka, a former deputy foreign minister, said that having the North Korean issue addressed at the G8 is still significant in that it is a good place to get endorsements from other major powers.

"The G8 is not the main place to address the North Korean issue, but the countries participating in the six-party talks are," he said. "What is important for Japan is to get Europe and Canada to endorse and support the thinking of Japan, the United States and South Korea, which are more aligned than before."

Some observers suggested that because North Korea gets less attention than Iran and Afghanistan, Japan should address the North Korean issue from the viewpoint of nuclear nonproliferation, not just from that of denuclearization.

"Although Japan has not said much about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials to produce them, it should stress the importance of the problem," said Hajime Izumi, an expert on North Korea.

"On top of doing so, Japan should declare that possessing nuclear weapons is in and of itself a problem for East Asia," the University of Shizuoka professor said.

Izumi also noted the importance of addressing the North Korean issue at the G8 given the relative importance attached to the annual gathering these days.

"This is the age of the Group of 20, not the Group of Eight, when you talk about the economy. So in that sense, the significance of the G8 from the aspects of foreign policy, politics and security has become more evident," Izumi said, adding that the issue should be placed in that context.

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Highlights from G8 Foreign Ministers' Statement
Associated Press
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Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations deplored the post-election violence in Iran at a meeting in Trieste, Italy, on Friday and weighed in on other regional and global issues. Here are some highlights from their statement, which noted that the Afghanistan conflict would be dealt with during the remaining sessions of the meeting:


IRAN: Deplored post-election violence, urged Iran to respect human rights and to reflect the will of the Iranian people in the electoral process.

NORTH KOREA: Condemned "in the strongest terms" the May 25 nuclear test and April 5 missile test; urged Pyongyang to abandon all nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, demanded the government not conduct any "further destabilizing actions."

MIDDLE EAST: Urged Israel and the Palestinians to re-enter into direct negotiations; urged Israel to freeze settlement activity as well as "natural growth" and called for an end to violence and terrorism; called for the immediate opening of border crossings for humanitarian aid, commerce and people.

MYANMAR: Urged release of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi; called for a real process of dialogue and reconciliation with full participation of all political representatives leading to democratic multiparty elections.

SRI LANKA: Welcomed end to war but regretted mass civilian losses; urged government to address humanitarian situation of displaced civilians and ensure free access by aid groups; urged further progress on national reconciliation.

AFRICA: Expressed deep concern about "undemocratic transfers of power" and urged those regimes to restore constitutional order through transparent elections; urged continued international aid in addressing economic and food crises.

PIRACY: Expressed serious concern about threat of piracy off African's eastern coast; stressed the need to ensure legal frameworks to fight piracy and to find ways to freeze pirates' assets; called for help for affected countries to better control borders and territorial waters.

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D.  Iran

Kazakhstan Denies Selling Iran Nuclear Material
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Kazakhstan's president denied on Tuesday that his country is supplying Iran with nuclear material, according to Israel Radio.

Nursultan Nazarbayev made the statements following a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, who is on a historic visit to the region.

The Kazakh leader said he empathized with Israel's concern over the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran, Israel Radio reported.

Peres requested that Nazarbayev move to halt Kazakh sale of uranium ores to Iran, according to the report.

Nazarbayev said his country supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that he was willing to assist in advancing this goal.

Peres also requested that Kazakhstan improve the prison conditions of an Israeli who has been incarcerated for the last three months.

Boris Shinkman, 62, was arrested by Kazakhstan's secret service on suspicion of bribing senior defense officials in order to promote deals with Israeli defense firms. Several Kazakhstani defense officials were also arrested, on suspicion of taking bribes from Israeli firms.

Iran recalled its ambassador to Azerbaijan for consultations on Monday, a day after Peres visited the country.

According to the Iranian news agency INSA, the envoy was recalled due to both Peres' visit and unspecified "threats" it said Israel's ambassador in Baku had voiced against Iran. The semi-official Fars News Agency carried a similar report.

Two weeks ago, the Iranian chief of staff visited Azerbaijan in an effort to forestall the visit, informing Baku in no uncertain terms that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted it called off. Iran also pressured Azerbaijan to cancel the visit via other diplomatic channels.

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Election Row Hits Iran Nuclear Talks
Paul Reynolds
BBC News
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Prospects for negotiations over Iran's nuclear activities appear bleak after the reassertion of power by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Having shown the stern face of his government domestically, he is hardly likely to compromise abroad.

The UN Security Council is demanding that Iran suspend its enrichment of uranium and has imposed three layers of sanctions on Iran. It says Iran needs to build confidence that it is not intending to make a nuclear weapon.

Mr Ahmadinejad has said since the election (as he said many times before it) that the issue of enrichment is closed. Iran says it is exercising its right to enrichment and that it does not intend to develop a nuclear bomb, only nuclear energy.

A harsh exchange with US President Barack Obama has also soured an atmosphere that had grown softer when the President Obama offered of an "extended hand" if the Iranians "unclenched their fists".

Mr Obama has said he is "appalled and outraged" at the threats, beatings and imprisonment in Iran since the election, though he did not directly question the result. President Ahmadinejad hit back by saying this was the kind of thing that "previously Bush used to say".

Technically Iran has not formally replied to President Obama's offer of talks, so - in theory at least - there is still hope that things might change.


The secretary general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, is trying to break the deadlock by suggesting the "freeze-freeze" formula again. Under this formula, Iran would freeze enrichment in return for a freeze on any further sanctions.

Mr ElBaradei is arguing that Iran now has the expertise to enrich anyway so it would not lose anything by a suspension.

He said on 15 June: "With the new overture coming from Washington, why can't we go for a freeze-for-freeze? Why is there a rush now for Iran to build its enrichment capability in terms of industrial capacity? ...And there is also, if we are going into a negotiation, no reason to have additional sanctions applied."

The worry ahead of course is that the diplomatic and economic confrontation might develop into a military one.

This appears less likely under President Obama than it might have done under President Bush.

And there is a difference between Iran developing the capacity to build a bomb and actually doing so.

Iran's options

It is worth looking at what Iran would have to do if it did decide to go for a nuclear weapon.

Currently it is under inspection by the IAEA, which has stated that there has been no diversion of inspected materials to any secret programme.

If it wanted to develop a bomb in secret, Iran would have construct another enrichment plant as well as mastering the technology of weaponising highly-enriched uranium. Such a move would be highly risky as the discovery of any secret plant would lay it open to immediate attack.

If it wanted to build a bomb in the open, it would have to declare its intention of leaving the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (as North Korea did). This again would signal its intentions and would also leave it open to attack.

Iran's fiercest critics, such as Israel, say that it is unacceptable for Iran even to develop the capacity to build a nuclear weapon, which is why Israel is pressing so hard on the issue.

In the meantime, the IAEA says there are other things Iran could do to restore confidence. It could agree to increased inspections under what is known as an "additional protocol" to its inspection regime.

It could also allow access to design information about the heavy water plant it is building and it could fully answer questions about possible past studies of nuclear weapon technology.

The confrontation is set to continue.

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E.  Nuclear Energy

China’s Experimental Fast Reactor: Commissioning on Schedule
Nuclear Engineering International
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China National Nuclear Corporation said on 25 June that the cold test phase of China’s experimental fast reactor (CEFR) has been completed on schedule, and that hot tests have begun.

The cold performance tests are designed to obtain the initial operation data of the system and equipment, verify the operation compatibility of related system and the function of system.

The sodium-cooled fast reactor is being constructed with some Russian assistance at the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIEA), near Beijing. It is a 65MWt reactor with a 25MWe turbine generator.

In April, Afrikantov OKBM (a 100% subsidiary of JSC Atomenergoprom) said it had completed installation of the main equipment for CEFR including the reactor protection system, heat exchangers, controls, and safety systems. In May the reactor was charged with sodium coolant.

Fuel, produced by TVEL will be loaded into the reactor in July/August. According to delegates at the FISA conference which took place in Prague last week, the reactor is due to start-up in September.

China has signed a cooperation agreement with the European Commission and is taking part in a number of research and development projects under the Euratom Framework Programme (FP7).

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EU Passes Nuclear Safety Directive
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The EU has become the first major regional nuclear actor to provide binding legal force to the main international nuclear safety standards, namely the Safety Fundamentals established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 1 and the obligations resulting from the Convention on Nuclear Safety 2. The Directive also reinforces the independence and resources of the national competent regulatory authorities.

"This Nuclear Safety Directive sets binding principles for enhancing nuclear safety to protect workers and the general public, as well as the environment,” said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

The Directive requires Member States in particular to set up and continuously improve national nuclear safety frameworks. The Directive enhances the role and independence of national regulatory authorities, confirming license holders the prime responsibility for nuclear safety. Member States are required to encourage a high level of transparency of regulatory actions and to guarantee regular independent safety assessments.

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World Nuclear Power Generation to Reach 2,966 Billion kWh by 2015
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Although haunted by nuclear proliferation, the risk of civilian nuclear energy contributing towards nuclear weapons, and the overshadowing threat of nuclear power phase out, world nuclear energy industry continues in good stance, witnessing positive developments across several regions. This energy generation technology has managed to claw its way into political and economic significance by leveraging on its promised potential to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, ensure continuous supply of electricity, and to mitigate the threat of climate change. With over 136 new nuclear power projects either planned or under construction, and another additional 233 new projects being proposed worldwide, the Nuclear Power industry is latching onto hopes of a cautious revival, following the hitherto lull in new constructions, and virtual meltdown of industry since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Currently, Europe is witnessing the development of new nuclear power plants in France, Romania and Finland, and the US is focusing on expanding the life of its nuclear reactors. Meanwhile in Russia and Asia, aggressive investments are being earmarked for building new nuclear power capacities. The United States, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, in that order, are the largest consumers of nuclear power.

China, India and South-East Asia feature among the regions, which will most probably initiate more adoption of nuclear reactors. Out of the approximately 37 nuclear reactors under construction, more than 30 are based in Asia and Eastern Europe, underlining the economic feasibility of this technology in countries where the energy industry is dominated by the government. Driven by the need to achieve greater efficiency and maximum safety in comparison with earlier generation plants, investments in this industry is expected to pick up, resulting in upgradation of existing nuclear technologies, and transition to next generation systems. Asia-Pacific is forecast to emerge as the most lucrative market turbo charging global growth over the years 2006 through 2015, as stated by the new market research report.

Despite encouraging opportunities in store, the industry in the medium to long term will continue to be challenged by issues, such as, high upfront cost of plant establishment, energy generation, and nuclear waste disposal. A major challenge the industry needs to reckon with is the inflow of private funds and capital, which presently stands challenged by the unfavorable stance of nuclear power in terms of true costs, which makes the technology both uneconomical and unfeasible in a competitive energy market. Unresolved issues of security, safety, non-proliferation, and environmental concerns will additionally continue to frustrate growth. However, despite the challenges, nuclear power is forecast to remain an essential variable in the world's push towards achieving a diversified yet balanced low carbon energy mix.

Dominant players operating in this industry include - China National Nuclear Corp, Dominion Resources Inc, E.ON AG, EDF Group, British Energy, ENBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, ENDESA SA, Energoatom, Entergy Corporation, Eskom Holdings Limited, Exelon Generation, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. Ltd., Nordostschweizerische Kraftwerke AG, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, Ontario Power Generation, RWE Power AG, Southern Company, Vattenfall Europe AG and Tennessee Valley Authority, among others.

The report titled "Nuclear Power: A Global Strategic Business Report" announced by Global Industry Analysts Inc., provides a comprehensive review of industry overview, technology, trends, growth drivers, challenges, and the regulatory environment. Also provided are profiles of major players, and an enumeration of recent developments, mergers, acquisitions, and other strategic industry activities. World nuclear power market is analyzed by annual power generated in billion kilowatthours across major geographic market verticals, such as, the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe (France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Spain, Sweden), Asia-Pacific (South Korea, Taiwan, China, India, and Pakistan, among others.

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Russia Eyes Nuclear Power Deals in Egypt
Oleg Shchedrov
(for personal use only)

Russia wants to help develop nuclear power plants in Egypt and Nigeria and take part in uranium exploration there, the head of Russia's nuclear energy agency Rosatom said on Wednesday.

Sergei Kiriyenko, in Nigeria with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as part of a four-day Africa trip, said Egypt planned two to four reactors at its first nuclear power station and that Russia would prepare a tender proposal by the end of 2010.

Kiriyenko, who was in Cairo with Medvedev on Tuesday, said the financing of such projects generally involved a deal on export credits, and said Russia was interested in Egypt's uranium reserves.

"We are definitely interested in uranium. They surely have much uranium, though most of it is located unfortunately in mountainous areas," he told reporters.

He said the starting price for a reactor was generally around 2.5 billion euros ($3.5 billion).

Egypt said two years ago it would build several nuclear power stations to meet its growing energy needs and has had nuclear cooperation offers from China, Russia, France and Kazakhstan.

Australia's WorleyParsons last week signed a nuclear power pact consultancy contract with Egypt worth around $160 million.

Russia is also expected to sign a nuclear energy pact with Nigeria during the Abuja stage of the Africa trip, Nigerian and Russian officials have said.

"The point of the agreement we will sign today is to create a legal base for cooperation," Kiriyenko said.

"We will sign an agreement on cooperation in the nuclear sector which includes the building of a power plant, of a scientific reactor, training, cooperation in nuclear safety and exploration of uranium," he told reporters.

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Middle Eastern Countries Strengthen Nuclear Ties
World Nuclear News
(for personal use only)

Recent days have seen diplomats from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait strengthening their ties with established nuclear power countries as they move towards setting up their own nuclear programs.

A nuclear cooperation agreement between the UK and Jordan was signed in London by Jordanian foreign minister Nasser Judeh and the UK's foreign secretary David Miliband. "Today's treaty between the UK and Jordan commits the UK to helping Jordan develop its civil nuclear program," said Miliband. He went on: "If we are to move the world to a low carbon economy, then nuclear power needs to be an important part of the energy mix. But it needs to be developed in a safe and secure way, and the UK is pleased to be working with Jordan to achieve this."

Miliband commended Jordan on its approach to developing a civil nuclear sector and upheld the country's "transparent" program as a model for other countries wishing to develop their own civil nuclear programs.

Jordanian energy plans foresee a nuclear power plant for electricity and desalination in operation by 2015, and the country'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. As well as a raft of international cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding covering both nuclear power and uranium exploration, it has agreed an Additional Protocol on nuclear safeguards with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and signed up to the International Nuclear Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials.

UAE-South Korea agreement

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed a bilateral civil nuclear energy cooperation agreement with South Korea, under the terms of which the South Korean government will help the UAE to develop its civil nuclear program over the next two decades through the transfer of technology, equipment and expertise. The agreement was signed by UAE foreign affairs minister Anwar Mohammed Gargash and South Korean vice foreign minister Kwon Jong Rak at a ceremony attended by dignitaries from the Emirates and Korea and reported by official Emirate news agency WAM.

Like Jordan, the UAE is taking steps towards establishing its own nuclear power program with plans to have several nuclear reactors in operation by 2020. It signed a bilateral nuclear energy cooperation agreement with the USA earlier this year and also has a nuclear cooperation agreement with France in addition to memoranda of understanding on nuclear energy cooperation with the UK and Japan.


Nuclear projects were also on the table for discussion at the 12th session of the France-Kuwait Joint Economic Committee. Kuwait's official news agency KUNA reported the words of French economy, employment and industry minister Christine Lagarde, speaking at a press conference after the meeting. Lagarde told reporters that France was "very keen on developing [nuclear energy] cooperation on a broad scale between authorities outside the country," adding that it was also keen for "capital partnership" between what KUNA described as "the state-held French company in question" and the Kuwaiti authorities.

Although less advanced on the road to nuclear power than Jordan or the UAE, Kuwait is also considering setting up its own nuclear program for power and desalination. Earlier this year it announced it was moving to set up a national nuclear energy commission in cooperation with the IAEA.

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F.  Links of Interest

Should Renewable Energy Include Nuclear?
Lily Riahi and Lisa Desai
The Christian Science Monitor
(for personal use only)

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Can North Korea Really Strike Hawaii?
(for personal use only)

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IAEA Report on Iran-Centrifuge and LEU Increases
David Albright and Jacqueline Shire
Institute for Science and International Security
(for personal use only)

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IAEA Report on Syria - Undeclared Uranium Particles Found
David Albright and Paul Brannan, ISIS
Institute for Science and International Security
(for personal use only)

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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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