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Nuclear News - 7/28/2009
PGS Nuclear News, July 28, 2009
Compiled By: Luke Wagoner

A.  Iran
    1. U.S. Fall Deadline for Iran Not Coincidental, David Harris, Xinhua News Agency (7/28/2009)
    2. ‘Bushehr Nuclear Plant to Come On Stream by End of September’, Tehran Times  (7/28/2009)
    3. Iran: Israel Must Shed Nuclear Arms, Al Jazeera (7/27/2009)
    4. Iran Ready to Provide Armenia with Nuclear Fuel: Governor General, Tehran Times  (7/26/2009)
    1. N.Korea Ready for 'Specific' U.S.-Only Talks, VOA News (7/27/2009)
C.  Non-Proliferation
    1. U.S., China Can Cooperate on Security Issues, Obama Says, Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service  (7/27/2009)
    2. Senate Warns Against Concessions on Nuclear Treaty, Associated Press (7/27/2009)
    3. Russia, US End Latest Round of Nuclear Talks, The Daily Star (7/26/2009)
    4. Russia to Have Balanced Nuclear Missile Navy by 2050 - Navy Chief, RIA Novosti (7/26/2009)
    5. Helping Countries Keep Radioactive Sources Secure, IAEA (7/24/2009)
D.  India
    1. India Launches its 1st Nuclear-Powered Submarine, Ashok Sharma, Associated Press (7/26/2009)
    2. Obama Jeopardizing Nuclear Deal with India, Harsh V. Pant, The Japan Times (7/25/2009)
E.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Jordan Seeks To Join Nuclear Club Of Energy Exporters, AFP (7/28/2009)
    2. Supporting New Nuclear Countries, World Nuclear News (7/27/2009)
    3. France Says No Plans for Setting up Nuke Plant in Pakistan, ANI (7/24/2009)
    4. IAEA to Support Kenya in Exploiting Nuclear Energy, Xinhua News Agency (7/24/2009)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. The Moscow Summit: A Positive First Step, Pavel Podvig, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (7/22/2009)

A.  Iran

‘Bushehr Nuclear Plant to Come On Stream by End of September’
Tehran Times
(for personal use only)

Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant will be operational by the end of September, MP Alireza Salimi has quoted the new head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran(AEOI) Ali-Akbar Salehi as saying.

Salehi, in a meeting of the Majlis Education Committee on Sunday, promised that Bushehr Nuclear Plant would come on stream in two months, Salimi told the Fars news agency in an interview published on Monday.

In March 2009, the head of Russia's state nuclear power corporation Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, announced that Russia had completed the construction of the plant. A series of pre-launch tests were conducted after the announcement. Iranian Energy Minister Parviz Fattah has said that the Bushehr would be brought up to full capacity by the end of March 2010.

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U.S. Fall Deadline for Iran Not Coincidental
David Harris
Xinhua News Agency
(for personal use only)

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has given Iran a deadline until fall to respond positively to the request of U.S. President Barack Obama to enter negotiations over its nuclear program.

Gates made the comment after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak on Monday. Analysts say the deadline will tie in with the opening of the UN General Assembly in September.

"I don't think the timing of these comments is coincidental," said Uzi Rubin, the former head of Israel's defensive Arrow anti-missile program.

In his opinion, events in Tel Aviv dovetail with those in Moscow earlier this month, when Obama was hosted by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

There is an attempt by politicians in some regions, including the United States, to present the Iranian threat merely as regional-- something that will not affect Europe or the U.S., said Rubin.

Yossi Mekelberg, an associate fellow at the London-based institute Chatham House, echoed that "when it comes to nuclear development, the timetable is very important, because there is a point of no return and that's the problem."

But Mekelberg said the fact that the U.S. is setting a cut-off date for talks does not mean that a day after the deadline passes it will launch an attack on Iran. The possibilities after September are "open-ended," he said.

Analysts expect that at the 64th session of the UN General Assembly, to open on Sept. 15, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council would be divided on what level of nonmilitary action can be taken in a bid to twist Iran's arm.

China and Russia are nowhere near as enthusiastic about a new round of sanctions as are France, Britain and the United States. Each of the five permanent members can veto proposed resolutions brought to the council for approval.

Given the standoff at the UN and other prevailing international pressures, Israel is increasingly aware that it may have to take the initiative when it comes to Iran's nuclear program.

Israel is now pushing to keep the Iranian issue at the top of the international agenda and to remind the world that Iran's capabilities go far beyond the Middle East.

In the meeting with Gates, Barak said Israel will rely on its own force to defend itself -- another clear signal that should Iran develop a nuclear weapon, Israel is prepared to take military action.

However, Mekelberg warned that there could be a problem for Israel as it tries to keep the Iranian nuclear issue to the fore.

Too much talk in the international community about nuclear proliferation could well give rise to additional support for the idea of an entirely nuclear-free Middle East, he said.

While Israel sticks to a policy of ambiguity over its nuclear capabilities, it could find itself the subject of intense pressure over its reported nuclear arsenal as this issue continues to rumble on, he added.

The meetings in Israel come in the broader context of ongoing U.S.-Israeli tension. Relations between the nations have been somewhat strained since Obama became U.S. president and Benjamin Netanyahu became Israeli Prime Minister earlier this year.

Obama's views on the Middle East are set almost 180 degrees from those of his predecessor George W. Bush. He believes in engagement where Bush sought to isolate. That means negotiating with Iran and Syria, something Bush was loathed to do.

With the visits to Israel this week of Gates, National Security Adviser James Jones and special regional envoy George Mitchell, the Obama administration has sent a clear public message to Israel:the "special relationship" between the two will continue, despite ongoing disagreements about Israel's settlement policy.

Key among the personnel flying into Israel were Gates and Jones, because their agendas clearly include Iran and the bilateral defense relationship. Israel needs assurances from Washington that the U.S. is serious in its determination to deal with the Iranian nuclear situation.

A day before the Gates-Netanyahu parley, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a clear signal of support to Israel when she appeared on the TV show Meet the Press, saying that "We are united in our continuing commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons... Your pursuit is futile."

Following Gates' meeting with Barak and his subsequent talks with Israeli PM Netanyahu, the message from the Pentagon was one of wholehearted support for Israel.

Israel is also trying to suggest that Washington is fully behind Israel on this issue.

"It's always good to know that the U.S., the strongest nation in the world and the leader of the free world, stands at the side of free, moderate nations against oppressive regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere," Barak said.

But at the same time, Tehran sent out its own message to Washington on Monday. Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have the potential to further bolster ties, Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

"The two countries enjoy abundant capacities to strengthen and expand bilateral friendly ties, which must be utilized within the framework of common interests," Larijani said during a meeting with DPRK's ambassador to Tehran So Se Pyong.

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Iran: Israel Must Shed Nuclear Arms
Al Jazeera
(for personal use only)

Iran's foreign ministry has said the United States should concentrate on getting Israel to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, instead of criticising Tehran's nuclear programme.

The comments came after Hillary Clinton last week said the US would arm its allies in the Gulf region if Iran built a nuclear weapon.

"There is no need for the US to provide a defence umbrella for the neighbouring countries," Hassan Qashqavi, a foreign ministry spokesman, said on Monday.

"It is enough to tell its ally, the Zionist regime and convince it for the issue of disarmament and dismantle its own 200 nuclear warheads from the occupied territories.

"It automatically will bring security to the region and all countries of the region will feel secure. The solution for defence umbrella is removing nuclear warheads of the Zionist regime and has no other way."

'No other way'

Israel and Washington suspect Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge it has repeatedly denied.

"It is our right to have peaceful nuclear activities. Nuclear weapons have no place in our defence structure," Qashqavi said.

Iran has defied UN Security Council sanctions by continuing to enrich uranium, a process which makes fuel for nuclear power plants but some nations fear could also be used to form an atomic bomb.

Proliferation experts widely agree that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons.

Israel refuses to confirm or deny whether it has a nuclear arsenal and continues to campaign against Iran's nuclear programme.

Analysts estimate that Israel has up to 200 long-range nuclear warheads.

In a documentary aired on Israeli television in 2001, Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, said that France agreed in 1956 to provide Israel with "a nuclear capacity" as part of secret negotiations ahead of the invasion of Egypt in the Suez crisis.

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Iran Ready to Provide Armenia with Nuclear Fuel: Governor General
Tehran Times
(for personal use only)

Iran is ready to provide Armenia with nuclear fuel for its atomic power plant which is under construction in the city of Armavir, West Azarbaijan Province Governor General Rahim Qorbani said here on Saturday.

“In light of mastering the nuclear enrichment technology… the Islamic Republic of Iran is now ready to provide nuclear fuel for the neighboring countries’ power plants,” he said in a meeting with the governor general of Armavir in Urmia.

He also said the fact that many Armenian citizens live in West Azarbaijan Province can help expand relations between the two countries.

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N.Korea Ready for 'Specific' U.S.-Only Talks
VOA News
(for personal use only)

North Korea says it may be ready to talk again, but not in the six-nation format it has taken part in over the last five years. This time, Pyongyang says it will only talk with the United States.

North Korea took what some view as a small step back from confrontation Monday, offering the possibility of dialogue to ease tensions. However, the statement from Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry reaffirmed the North's stance that six-nation talks on ending its nuclear programs are dead.

A North Korean news announcer speaks of "another method" of settling recent tensions. That other method, says the North Korean statement, is a "specific and reserved" form of dialogue that would take place only between North Korea and the United States. Pyongyang says the six-nation format did not ensure "equality and respect," and instead sought only to "disarm and incapacitate" the North.

The dialogue offer is being seen, on one hand, as a step back from months of provocation by Pyongyang, including a long-range rocket launch and a second nuclear weapons test. Others see the North's rejection of the six-nation talks as a power play.

Yoon Duk-min, with Seoul's Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, says the six-party talks were basically five against one, and North Korea could not win in that format. So, he says North Korea wants a direct conversation with Washington in hope of obtaining the type of de facto recognition of nuclear weapons status that India and Pakistan enjoy.

The United States has stated repeatedly that it will never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. On Sunday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeated that the multilateral framework was the only way to engage North Korea.

North Korea has asserted for years that its nuclear weapons program is a problem to be resolved only between itself and the United States. President Barak Obama, like his predecessor George W. Bush, maintains the nuclear issue is of vital concern to North Korea's neighbors -- China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea.

Lee Sang-hyun, an international security scholar at the Sejong Institute in Seoul, says North Korea needs to show more sincerity if it wants to talk with the United States. Lee says North Korea needs to take some positive action rather than just issue statements. For example, he says, North Korea should take the initiative in inviting the U.S. to discuss two American journalists being detained in the North -- an invitation Washington would find difficult to decline.

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C.  Non-Proliferation

Senate Warns Against Concessions on Nuclear Treaty
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

The Senate is making it clear to the Obama administration that it will look askance at concessions, particularly on missile defense, that the United States might make to conclude a new nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia.

In several resolutions included in a defense budget bill passed late Thursday, the Senate went on record endorsing a missile defense system being considered for Eastern Europe that Russia detests, and warning against any arms treaty with Russia that puts limits on that system.

President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, meeting in Moscow earlier this month, set a goal of reducing strategic warheads by about a third, to a range of 1,500 to 1,675. The intent would be to come up with a nuclear arms reduction pact to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which expires Dec. 5.

But treaties must be ratified by 67 senators or two-thirds of those present, giving the Senate's 40 Republicans, with their traditional advocacy of a strong nuclear deterrent, rare leverage.

Sens. Jon Kyl, a Republican from Arizona, and Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, won voice approval Thursday of a non-binding ``sense of the Senate'' resolution that the START follow-on treaty not include limits on ballistic missile defense, space capabilities or advanced conventional weapons.

It also called on the president to report on the administration's plans to enhance the safety, security and reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons.

On another voice vote, the Senate endorsed a resolution by Sessions and Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, expressing support for a ground-based midcourse missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Alternative sites should be considered only if they are equally capable of protecting the United States and Europe from future long-range Iranian missiles, it said.

Lieberman said the resolutions ``are our way of sending a message both to the administration and to the Russians.'' He said he is open to options other than Poland and the Czech Republic as sites for a missile defense system, including missile defense cooperation with Russia, but ``not at the cost of in any way diminishing our security.''

Obama has made no final decision on proceeding with the Poland-Czech plan, proposed during the administration of President George W. Bush. Russian leaders say deployment of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe is a direct threat to their country. They suggested that progress on an arms agreement could hinge on the U.S. giving up its missile defense plan.

Sessions said he was concerned that the Obama administration was pursuing alternatives to the Poland-Czech proposal ``as part of a grand strategy to reset relations with Russia and conclude a follow-on to the START nuclear reduction agreement.''

He said he was baffled by Russian ``bluster.''

``Perhaps this is a way they think they can extract concessions from the United States as a bargaining chip,'' Sessions said.

Conservatives would not be overly concerned about the numbers in a new arms reduction treaty if the administration doesn't look like it is abandoning missile defense and other areas such as weapons development, said Stephen Flanagan, an international security specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Another factor is that the urgency Cold War arms talks had no longer exists, said Gary Schmitt, director of advanced strategic studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

``The Obama administration can overestimate how much momentum there is for doing anything in this area,'' Schmitt said.

Schmitt said senators will question any treaty that comes to them before the Pentagon completes a congressionally mandated Nuclear Posture Review. That report on nuclear threats and deterrent capabilities is due by the end of 2010.

In 1999, during the Clinton administration, the Senate rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty after its supporters couldn't muster even a simple majority.

Senators contended the treaty, which the United States informally abides by, lacked adequate means of verification. Obama has expressed interest in trying to get it ratified by the Senate.

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U.S., China Can Cooperate on Security Issues, Obama Says
Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
(for personal use only)

The United States and the People’s Republic of China can cooperate on a number of security issues of mutual interest, such as preventing the spread of nuclear arms and combating global extremism, President Barack Obama said here today.

The relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st century, which makes it as important as any bilateral relationship in the world, Obama said during opening remarks of the two-day U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue conference held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Then-President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao initiated the twice-yearly U.S.-China dialogue meetings in 2006 as a framework for the two nations to discuss issues of mutual economic interest. Obama has increased the State Department’s role in the conference, which alternates locations each year between China and the United States.

Today, we have a comprehensive relationship that reflects the deepening ties among our people, Obama said of the current state of U.S.-Chinese relations.

Obama also cited his conviction that the countries share mutual security interests following the fall of the Berlin Wall two decades ago that marked the end of the Cold War. For example, he said, the United States and China can cooperate to advance the two nations’ mutual desire to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

Make no mistake, the more nations acquire these weapons, the more likely it is that they will be used, he said. Neither America nor China has an interest in a terrorist acquiring a bomb, or a nuclear arms race breaking out in East Asia.

It is of vital importance to global peace and security, Obama said, to dissuade countries like North Korea and Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The United States and China must continue our collaboration to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, Obama said, and [to] make it clear to North Korea that the path to security and respect can be traveled if they meet their obligations.

And, that is why we must be united in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, he added, and urging the Islamic republic to live up to its international obligations.

It is the responsibility of all of the world’s nations, Obama said, to cooperate to safeguard all vulnerable nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists.

In the 21st century, a strong and global regime is the only basis for security from the world’s deadliest weapons, Obama said.

The American and Chinese governments, the president said, also can increase their military-to-military cooperation to reduce the chance of potential misunderstandings and to combat global extremists.

Through increased ties between our militaries, we can diminish causes for dispute, while providing a framework for cooperation, Obama said. Through continued intelligence sharing, we can disrupt terrorist plots and dismantle terrorist networks.

No one nation can all by itself confront the challenges of the 21st century, he said, noting: It is this fundamental truth that compels us to cooperate.

Obama said he doesn’t entertain the belief that the United States and China will agree on every issue, nor choose to view the world in the same way.

But that only makes dialogue more important, Obama said, so that we can know each other better, and communicate our concerns with candor.

The president acknowledged that some people in the United States and China believe that the two nations are fated to pursue an adversarial course.

I take a different view, he said of such a potentially negative U.S.-Chinese relationship. I believe in a future where China is a strong, prosperous and successful member of the community of nations; a future when our nations are partners out of necessity, but also of opportunity.

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Russia to Have Balanced Nuclear Missile Navy by 2050 - Navy Chief
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

The Russian Navy is developing a concept of building a balanced nuclear missile force by 2050, the Russian Navy commander said on Sunday.

"In our understanding, it is important to know exactly what the Navy should be by the year 2050, proceeding from two things: it must be a balanced nuclear missile force and, secondly, it must comply with the state's national interests and economic possibilities," Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said on the occasion of Russia's Navy Day being celebrated on Sunday.

Vysotsky said the Russian Navy should develop harmoniously without any preference given to the construction of surface ships or submarines.

"We will be building combat systems in addition to warships. I call this the construction of the Navy with open architecture, which will feature combat systems, complexes, ships, aircraft, anti-missile defense, outer space and the submarine environment," he said.

Vysotsky said that failures with the tests of Russia's new Bulava sea-launched intercontinental ballistic missile manifested a crisis in the development of technologies in Russia.

The missile, which is being developed by the Moscow-based Institute of Thermal Technology (MITT), has had six failures in 11 tests, and the general director of the institute resigned on Tuesday over what is believed to be a serious setback in the development of Russia's nuclear deterrent.

At the same time, the Navy chief said that Russia's modern Project 955 Borey nuclear-powered strategic submarines were not intended to be equipped with Sineva ballistic missiles instead of Bulava.

Under the Russian State Arms Procurement Program for 2007-2015, the Navy is expected to receive at least five Project 955 Borey nuclear-powered strategic submarines equipped with new Bulava ballistic missiles and two Project 885 Yasen nuclear multipurpose attack submarines.

The RSM-54 Sineva (SS-N-23 Skiff) is a third-generation liquid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) that entered service with the Russian Navy in July 2007. It can carry four or 10 nuclear warheads, depending on the modification, and has a maximum range of over 11,500 kilometers (about 7,100 miles).

The Bulava (SS-NX-30) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) carries up to 10 MIRV warheads and has an estimated range of over 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles).

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Russia, US End Latest Round of Nuclear Talks
The Daily Star
(for personal use only)

The United States and Russia ended a fourth round of talks on replacing a key Cold War-era nuclear disarmament treaty and agreed to meet again in a month, the Russian foreign ministry said Saturday.

US and Russian negotiators met in Geneva from Wednesday to Friday to discuss a successor agreement to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Reduction Treaty (START), which expires in December, the ministry said in a statement.

"The sides agreed to carry out the next round of negotiations at the end of August-beginning of September in Geneva," it said.

The statement did not give further details about the talks, except to say that negotiators worked from principles laid out by US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev at a summit earlier this month.

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Helping Countries Keep Radioactive Sources Secure
(for personal use only)

The IAEA has just released a guide for implementing security measures on radioactive sources. Published under the IAEA´s Nuclear Security Series, the publication includes guidance and recommended measures for the prevention of, detection of, and response to malicious acts involving radioactive sources.

This implementation guide is based on extensive input from technical and legal experts. The preparation of this publication has involved extensive consultations with Member States, including an open-ended technical meeting in Vienna in May 2006. As a final step, the draft was circulated to all Member States to solicit further comments and suggestions before publication.

This publication is intended for use by States in formulating security policy for radioactive sources. It is also intended to help regulatory bodies in developing policies that are consistent with the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, which is one of the leading international instruments on radioactive source management. It will also assist State parties to fulfill certain obligations under the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

By setting guidance on the security of sources, the publications is expected to serve as a useful tool for legislators and regulators, physical protection specialists and facility and transport operators, as well as law enforcement officers. It will also help towards preventing the loss of control of such sources, and may help operators managing radioactive sources to develop their security programmes.


Growing concern that criminal groups could gain access to high-activity radioactive sources and use the sources maliciously has, today, led to a global trend towards increased control, accounting and security of radioactive sources. In response to a resolution by the IAEA General Conference in September 2002, the IAEA has adopted an integrated approach to protection against nuclear terrorism. This approach coordinates IAEA activities concerned with the physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear installations, nuclear material accountancy, detection and response to trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive material, the security of radioactive sources, the security in the transport of nuclear and other radioactive material, emergency response and emergency preparedness measures in Member States and at the IAEA, and the promotion of adherence by States to relevant international instruments.

This publication provides guidance that can be used by regulatory authorities when establishing national requirements for the security of radioactive sources.

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D.  India

India Launches its 1st Nuclear-Powered Submarine
Ashok Sharma
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

India on Sunday launched the first nuclear-powered submarine built on its soil, joining just five other countries that can design and construct such vessels, the prime minister's office announced.

The Indian navy flooded a dry dock housing the 367-foot- (112-meter-) long submarine to send it out for trials at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

India does not seek to threaten anyone, Singh said at the ceremony in the southern port city of Vishakhapatnam. "Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon us to take all measures necessary to safeguard our country and to keep pace with technological advancements worldwide."

Until now, only the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China had the capabilities to develop nuclear submarines.

The milestone is likely to rattle neighboring Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India, two of them over control of the Kashmir region, since they won independence from Britain in 1947.

But India is looking beyond the old rivalry, asserting itself as a power on the Asian and international stage, according to Uday Bhaskar, a former naval commander and director of the National Maritime Foundation.

The U.S., in particular, has encouraged India's role as a possible counter to China, stepping up exercises with the Indian navy and selling the South Asian nation an American warship for the first time in 2007. American defense contractors — shut out from the lucrative Indian market during the long Cold War — have been offering the country's military everything from advanced fighter jets to anti-ship missiles.

Still, it could take three to five years for India's submarine to become operational, after undergoing sea trials and getting fitted with a nuclear reactor, surveillance equipment and ordnance, said Bhaskar.

The submarine will be capable of launching nuclear weapons, Bhaskar told The Associated Press.

That would complete India's strategic triad for nuclear weapons — giving them the capability of delivering them from the air, from ground-based mobile platforms and from the sea, said Rahul Bedi, a defense analyst with Jane's Defense Weekly, a magazine reporting on military affairs.

India's state-run Defense Research and Development Organization could take two to three years to indigenously develop cruise and ballistic missiles which can be fired from the submarine, Bedi said.

"India can't buy them from the international market as these are prohibited weapons," Bedi told The Associated Press.

India has modeled its submarine on Charlie-class vessels that it leased from the Soviet Union between 1988 and 1991, Bedi said.

India is leasing another nuclear submarine from Russia for 10 years. It is expected to arrive by early next year.

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Obama Jeopardizing Nuclear Deal with India
Harsh V. Pant
The Japan Times
(for personal use only)

Even as all eyes were focused on the issues of global economic revival, world trade and climate change, the Group of Eight sprung a major surprise on India during its summit at L'Aquila. The G8 statement on nonproliferation committed the advanced industrial world to implement on a national basis "useful and constructive proposals" toward strengthening controls on enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) items and technology "contained in the NSG's 'clean text' developed at the Nov. 20, 2008, Consultative meeting."

The G8 underscored the importance of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) toward the pursuit of nuclear disarmament by insisting that those states that have not yet signed the treaty become a part of it.

It was just last September that the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) had agreed to grant a clean exemption to India, thereby allowing nuclear exports of sensitive technology under safeguards to India. The latest G8 agreement on banning ENR items to countries that are not signatories to the NPT effectively puts the future of the landmark U.S.-India nuclear deal of 2005 in jeopardy.

While India will still be able to buy nuclear fuel and reactors from G8 or NSG countries, questions will arise about the intention of the Obama administration regarding the future of the deal and if it would try to dilute the bargain contained in the "India exemption" of the NSG waiver of last year.

If the Bush administration was willing to work with India in convincing other countries about the strength of the nuclear deal with India, the Obama administration is lackadaisical. It is troubling for India that the Obama administration effectively sought to persuade the G8 countries to undertake the latest move at L'Aquila.

It was the promise of full civilian nuclear energy cooperation with India that made the deal so important for India and that changed the basic contours of U.S.-India ties. Now with the Obama administration trying to change the basic rules of the game, the situation is rapidly returning back to square one.

Though Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has remarked that "there is no basis for the apprehension that the Obama administration will be less sensitive to India's concerns than the previous U.S. administrations," the stark reality is that distrust of U.S. intentions vis-a-vis India at an all-time high in New Delhi.

Whether it's the Obama administration's stance on outsourcing, its Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy or nonproliferation priorities, there is an underlying attempt at sidelining or ignoring Indian concerns. Now with a very aggressive U.S. stance at the G8, the ground realities of U.S.-India bilateral ties have become more complicated.

Even U.S. Secretary of State Hillary's Clinton's visit to India this week, which resulted in the signing of a defense pact allowing U.S. defense companies to sell sophisticated arms to India and a pact on space, cooperation has done nothing to dispel apprehensions in New Delhi about U.S. intentions.

If 2008 was the acme of Indian diplomatic heft, 2009 is proving to be a difficult one. That the G8 adopted a declaration that is targeted at India should be seen as one of the major diplomatic failures for India, especially as Singh was an invited guest at the G8 forum. This is not only due to a change of guard in Washington but also an inability of Indian diplomacy to anticipate scenarios and adapt to new developments.

For India, the game seemed effectively over once the U.S. Congress gave a go-ahead to the 123 agreement. But there is no endgame in international politics and successful diplomacy anticipates new challenges that might emerge and takes them into account while formulating policy options. Indian diplomacy, on the other hand, is prone to getting blindsided by unexpected developments — it was this mentality that prevented India from enlisting the support of states that are going to be major beneficiaries of nuclear trade with India, such as France and Russia.

With the Obama administration likely trying to make a push toward the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, trouble for India might just be beginning. In many ways the G8 fiasco underlines the unique position that India holds in the global nuclear hierarchy. It is an outlier in every way. While the nonnuclear weapon states resent the special treatment that the U.S.-India nuclear pact gave to India, the nuclear-weapons states are reluctant to allow another nuclear state to emerge.

As the debate intensifies as to what needs to be done about the global nuclear architecture, India can credibly make a case that it is an outlier not out of choice but out of compulsion. When the basic bargain inherent in nuclear nonproliferation treaty was not adhered to even by the states that were supposed to be guarantors of the system, the treaty regime was bound to come unstuck.

China, a nuclear-weapons state, perhaps has the worst nonproliferation record among major powers and has actively colluded with Pakistan in letting nuclear security deteriorate in South Asia and beyond. Meanwhile, Pakistan's nuclear record is so dubious that the world is still trying to come to terms with the nuclear Wal-Mart spawned by the father of the Pakistan's nuclear program, A.Q. Khan. The international community has not yet been able to fully understand the spread of the Khan network, its consequences for the nonproliferation regime and how to avoid such situations in the future.

In neither case did the international community demonstrate the will and the capability to rise up to the challenge. The West kept on ignoring the proliferation records of China and Pakistan for its short-term ends. And India had to fend for its own security.

The Bush administration recognized the importance of resetting the terms of global nuclear discourse and of bringing India into the larger nonproliferation framework as a responsible nuclear state with advanced nuclear technological base. The Obama administration has decided to take a more traditional view of the problem and in doing so has once again put India on the defensive.

A defensive India flanked by two nuclear adversaries that have been colluding on nuclear issues for three decades is never going to be a part of the nuclear nonproliferation regime as designed in 1968. This is the challenge that confronts the international community as it tackles nuclear proliferation.

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E.  Nuclear Energy

Jordan Seeks To Join Nuclear Club Of Energy Exporters
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Jordan is forging ahead with a peaceful nuclear program that would turn the energy-poor kingdom into an exporter of electricity, nuclear chief Khaled Tukan said.

"We are moving in great strides in the field of civilian nuclear energy in order to stop being dependent on the import of fuel," said Tukan, who chairs the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission.

Jordan is the latest Sunni Arab country, among them Egypt and pro-Western Gulf states, to announce plans for nuclear power programs in the face of Shiite Iran's controversial atomic drive.

"Our goal is transform Jordan from net energy importing to net electricity exporting country by 2030," added Tukan, whose country imports 95% of its energy needs.

Jordan's 2007 energy bill was $3.2 billion, the equivalent of 24% of its total imports and 20% of gross domestic product.

The kingdom has six power stations with a total generation capacity of 2,400 megawatts, but it has been forced to buy 5% of its electricity needs from neighboring Arab countries in the face of growing demand.

In the country of nearly six million people, per capita electricity consumption is estimated at 2,000 kilowatts a year.

"In 2030, electricity consumption will double," added Tukan, noting that " atomic energy is the most logical solution" to meet his country's growing power needs.

"Four regions in Jordan have been demarcated for exploration of uranium," which is found in carbonate rocks and in phosphate.

Jordan's 1.2 billion tons of phosphate reserves are estimated to contain 130, 000 tons of uranium, whose enriched form provides fuel for nuclear plants.

But Jordan has given priority to uranium mining, which is faster and less expensive, Tukan said.

"The country has reached nuclear cooperation deals with six countries, France, China, South Korea, Canada, Russia and Britain, and hopes to sign three more agreements with Romania, Spain and Argentina," he added.

In October 2008, French nuclear giant Areva started exploring for uranium resources in the central region of Jordan, which has 70,000 tons of carbonate rocks.

"The work in this area is the most advanced and in the final stages of exploration," said Tukan.

In February, Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Plc (RTP)signed a deal with Jordan to explore for uranium, thorium and zirconium in Wadi Sahab Abiad, close to the border with Saudi Arabia.

China's National Nuclear Corporation, meanwhile, is searching for uranium in the northern area of Hamra-Hausha and Wadi Baheyya in the south.

"We are currently trying to delineate the site of a nuclear reactor," said Tukan, adding that a potential site was in southern Jordan along the Red Sea, which is also bordered by Israel and Egypt.

Jordanian and Israeli experts met in June to discuss environmental issues related to the plan, Tukan said, adding that he would hold talks on the project with Egyptian officials in August.

"At the moment things are going smoothly," he said.

"The Belgian company Tractebel Suez-GDF is responsible for studies of the site, which is currently under scrutiny and an analysis of the safety and environmental impact."

Tukan said the results of the studies would be shared with Egypt and Israel, which signed a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994.

"If everything goes well, the reactor will be built in 2013 with a capacity of 1,000 megawatt, which will cover 25% of electricity generated. The exploitation of nuclear power generation is expected in 2017 or 2018," he said.

Four companies are competing to build the nuclear plant: Areva S.A. (CEI.FR), South Korea's Kepco, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and Russia's Atomstroyexport.

Jordan, which signed an agreement in December with the U.S. to prevent the smuggling of radioactive materials from its territory, aims to build more reactors in 2018 and then again in 2020, at the same site, said Tukan.

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Supporting New Nuclear Countries
World Nuclear News
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Some 60 countries are considering the use of nuclear power, in addition to the 30 that already do so. One of these is Chile, which commissioned Finnish experts for advice.

The figures come from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which last week held a four-day workshop to develop tools to help those countries make the decision. It said that 20 of the states it is helping could have a program in place to use nuclear by 2030. It is also helping a number of regional programs.

"Nuclear is a 100-year-long-commitment," said Yury Sokolov, who is in charge of the Nuclear Energy department of the agency. "A national energy policy should involve a proper assessment of a country's energy needs," and after that can a possible role for nuclear power be defined, if appropriate.

One key element in the IAEA's current toolkit for countries interested in nuclear energy is a book which details essential steps on the path to the use of nuclear power. Among them are the establishment of an independent expert safety regulator, an appropriate legislative framework and the development of a public debate on nuclear.

An example of this kind of cooperation towards the possible use of nuclear power would be Chile. The country has an active cooperation project with the IAEA on long-term energy planning and has recently taken delivery of a report on introducing nuclear power from Finnish experts.

Finnish nuclear safety regulator Stuk produced an 87-page report for Chile's National Energy Commission, which has now been published. Among its advice was the general rule in power grid management that no single power generators should make up more than 10% of capacity. In Chile's case, with a 13,500 MWe grid, that would appear to rule out the largest nuclear reactors, Areva's 1650 MWe EPR or GE-Hitachi's 1300 MWe ABWR, but not a unit like Westinghouse's AP1000 or Areva-Mitsubishi's future Atmea unit, both at 1100 MWe.

Stuk also recommended a structure for an independent regulators in line with IAEA's published safety standards and gave examples to show the typical size of a regulator for a small nuclear energy program (about 300 people).

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France Says No Plans for Setting up Nuke Plant in Pakistan
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France has said that it would not be setting up any nuclear plant in Pakistan.

French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Anne Marie Idrac told a press conference here that her government would only help Islamabad ensure the safety and security of existing nuclear establishments.

Idrac said France needed permission from the international community before commissioning a nuclear plant in Pakistan or any other country.

It maybe recalled that during his visit to France earlier this year, Pakistan President Zardari had hastily claimed that Paris and Islamabad have agreed to enter a deal for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

France then neither denied nor put a stamp on Zardari’s claims.

Pakistani officials also announced that French President Nicolas Sarkozy would be visiting the country in December 2009, and is most likely to ink the nuclear pact.

Idrac said France is looking for an extended relationship with Pakistan.

“The new chapter that France wants to open with Pakistan has two pillars, including defence as well as internal security and economic development,” The Nation quoted her, as saying.

“France wants Pakistani democracy to succeed. This requires security, fight against terrorism and economic development,” Idrac added.

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IAEA to Support Kenya in Exploiting Nuclear Energy
Xinhua News Agency
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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is willing to support Kenya in exploiting nuclear power as a source of energy.

A statement from the presidency received here Friday said the International Atomic Agency Director General Mohammed El Baradei noted that in order for Kenya to achieve rapid industrialization there is need to add nuclear energy in its current energy mix.

"Kenya might have other sources of energy but in order to industrialize faster there is need for nuclear energy," Baradei said during a meeting with President Mwai Kibaki late Thursday.

The IAEA Director General assured President Kibaki that his agency is willing to provide personnel to train Kenyans on the appropriate use of nuclear technology.

Speaking during the meeting, President Kibaki said Kenya appreciates the enormous support it has been receiving from the International Atomic Energy Agency in the field of agriculture, livestock development, health, water resources and energy planning.

The President commended the IAEA Director General and his agency for the role they have played in the development and transfer of nuclear science technologies and applications.

Since 1966 the IAEA has worked with Kenya and other partners' world wide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.

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F.  Links of Interest

The Moscow Summit: A Positive First Step
Pavel Podvig
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
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