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Nuclear News - 7/31/2009
PGS Nuclear News, July 31, 2009
Compiled By: Luke Wagoner

A.  Iran
    1. US Tells Israel to Lower Profile on Iran, Israel National News (7/31/2009)
    2. US, China Oppose a Nuclear Iran: Clinton, AFP (7/29/2009)
    1. US Insists on Six-Way Talks for North Korea, AFP (7/31/2009)
    2. China Committed to Enforcing North Korea Sanctions: U.S., Louis Charbonneau, Reuters, Reuters (7/30/2009)
    3. UN Sanctions on DPRK Working, Says U.S. Envoy, Xinhua News Agency (7/30/2009)
    4. China Urges U.S. to Accommodate DPRK's "Reasonable Security Concerns", Xinhua News Agency (7/28/2009)
C.  Non-Proliferation
    1. NATO Disavows Nukes Deployed in Member States, Todays Zaman (7/31/2009)
    2. NNSA Administrator D’Agostino Looks to Future of Nuclear Security, National Nuclear Security Administration (7/29/2009)
    3. G8 Stand on Nuclear Commerce Will Not Affect India: PM, IANS (7/29/2009)
    4. U.S. Forces Commander Warns against Japan Going Nuclear, Associated Press (7/28/2009)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Jordan Seeks To Join Nuclear Club Of Energy Exporters, NASDAQ (7/31/2009)
    2. Libya and Canada Sign Nuclear Power Deal, AFP (7/31/2009)
    3. Israel Wants a Nuclear Power Plant, UPI (7/31/2009)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. Iran's Nuclear Program: Lessons from Pakistan, Simon Henderson, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (7/30/2009)
    2. North Korean Conundrums Continues, Rajaram Panda, Global Politician (7/30/2009)
    3. A New Start for Non-Proliferation, Mohamed ElBaradei, Policy Innovations (7/29/2009)

A.  Iran

US Tells Israel to Lower Profile on Iran
Israel National News
(for personal use only)

The American message to Israel in talks about Iran's nuclear program by visiting officials this week was to "lower its profile" and refrain from "ranting and raving" in public until the international evaluation on the program takes place at the end of September, according to a senior source in Jerusalem quoted by Haaretz on Friday. The message was part of briefings on the administration's ideas for intensifying sanctions against the Tehran government if it fails to respond to President Barack Obama's offer of dialogue.

U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones, who in Israel now, indicated that Tehran has until the UN General Assembly meeting to respond. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates delivered a similar message during his visit here earlier this week.

China, which has numerous interests in Iran, objects to further sanctions. Jones told the Israelis that Obama will therefore go to China soon to try to enlist Beijing to join the coalition. The Americans are also discussing this issue with Russia, which at this stage objects to further sanctions, having built the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr.

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US, China Oppose a Nuclear Iran: Clinton
(for personal use only)

The United States and China are united against Iran becoming a nuclear weapons state, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday after high-level talks with a team from Beijing.

Clinton told reporters she was "pleased that China shares our concerns about Iran becoming a nuclear weapons state."

Both nations fear that a nuclear-armed Iran would trigger a regional arms race, Clinton said after the two days of talks.

"The potential for destabilizing the Middle East and Gulf is viewed similarly," Clinton said.

Clinton said that the two nations also shared in-depth discussions on how to make progress with North Korea.

China is the closest ally of North Korea, which in recent months has tested a nuclear bomb, fired missiles and stormed out of a disarmament deal.

In a joint statement, the two nations agreed to work together ahead of next year's meeting to review the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- a key issue for President Barack Obama who has set an ambitious goal of abolishing nuclear weapons.

"Both sides noted their shared opposition to terrorism and pledged to work collaboratively to strengthen global non-proliferation and arms control regimes," the joint statement said.

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US Insists on Six-Way Talks for North Korea
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The United States stood firm on seeking to revive six-nation talks with North Korea and pressed ahead with sanctions, despite an appeal by the UN chief to switch to negotiating.

North Korea, which in recent months has tested a nuclear bomb and missiles, said this week it was open to a "specific and reserved" dialogue on its nuclear programme – but warned against any push to restart six-way talks.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was encouraged by the statement and urged the United States to pursue a direct dialogue with the North.

"We've seen his remarks," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said of Ban.

"Our approach on North Korea is we feel very strongly that we have to engage North Korea multilaterally, through the six-party mechanism," Kelly told reporters.

Kelly said the United States was open to direct contact with North Korea, perhaps in an effort to free two US journalists sentenced to hard labour for entering the secluded country.

But he added: "We feel very strongly that any (bilateral) talks that we have, have to be in the context of the six-party talks."

The six-party talks – involving China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States – reached a deal in 2007 to provide North Korea with security guarantees and badly needed fuel if it ends its nuclear weapons drive.

But North Korea stormed out of the deal in April, saying it was protesting a UN Security Council statement criticising its test of a missile.

A month later, Pyongyang tested a nuclear bomb, leading to UN Security Council Resolution 1874 which calls for further inspections of air, sea and land shipments going to and from North Korea, and an expanded arms embargo.

A US envoy handling the sanctions, Philip Goldberg, is heading to Asia and Russia in mid-August on a tour aimed at carrying out sanctions.

Goldberg, briefing a United Nations panel on Thursday on US implementation, warned of potential further sanctions.

"One of the things that we discussed... is the idea that designations are still on the table," he told reporters in New York.

"They still can be made," he added.

Experts say that North Korea is seeking US recognition as a nuclear power – particularly as leader Kim Jong-Il's faltering health triggers a looming power struggle.

Many, though not all, US policymakers insist on the six-way process as it brings aboard China, the country seen as having the most leverage on North Korea.

The six-way framework is also seen as a way to encourage North Korea to ease longstanding friction with Japan.

Tensions have also been high with South Korea. North Korea on Thursday seized a stray fishing boat from the neighbouring country, along with its four crew members.

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said on Wednesday that while he believed "six-party talks still can provide a good way for solution through dialogue, if necessary there should be some other form of dialogue".

China has also encouraged the United States to reach out.

Wang Guangya, China's vice foreign minister, said after high-level talks in Washington this week that North Korea was ready for a package from the United States that "accommodates reasonable security concerns".

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China Committed to Enforcing North Korea Sanctions: U.S.
Louis Charbonneau, Reuters
(for personal use only)

China says it is committed to enforcing U.N. sanctions against North Korean companies and individuals linked to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

Ambassador Philip Goldberg, U.S. coordinator for implementation of U.N. sanctions against North Korea, told reporters that U.N. member states have voiced "a unity of view, a singleness of purpose in implementing these (sanctions) resolutions."

"That's the case, certainly, with our Chinese partners," he said after addressing a closed-door meeting of the Security Council's sanctions committee on North Korea. "There have been some results, some of those have been reported in the press."

This week a Chinese newspaper reported that Chinese border police seized 70 kg (154 lb) of the strategic metal vanadium bound for North Korea, foiling an attempt to smuggle a material used to make missile parts.

The 15-nation U.N. Security Council first imposed sanctions on North Korea after its nuclear test in October 2006.

China, the closest North Korea has to a major ally, voted for that resolution but never implemented it, which meant the partial arms embargo and ban on trade in nuclear and ballistic missile technology were left virtually unenforced.

After North Korea's second nuclear test in May this year, the council passed a new resolution that expanded the arms embargo, urged states to cut off all financial ties with Pyongyang unrelated to aid programs, and called for additional firms and individuals to be placed on a U.N. blacklist for aiding North Korea.


There are now eight entities, including North Korea's General Bureau of Atomic Energy, and five North Korean individuals on the U.N. sanctions list. They face mandatory asset freezes and travel bans in all 192 U.N. member states.

Goldberg said that list would probably be expanded.

"Designations are still on the table," he said. "They still can be made. We will probably be involved in further suggestions in the area."

Goldberg said U.S. authorities had advised American banks "to have a heightened sense of caution" in dealing with all North Korean firms and individuals, not just those already listed on the U.N. blacklist.

The United States took similar steps in the case of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Washington pressured U.S. and foreign banks to cut off all business dealings with Iranian individuals and firms and most have complied, analysts and diplomats say.

Among the measures included in the Security Council's June 12 resolution that responded to North Korea's May 25 nuclear test is a total ban on arms exports by Pyongyang.

Weapons sales are a vital source of foreign currency for destitute North Korea, which has an annual gross domestic product of about $17 billion and a broken economy that produces few other items it can export.

Analysts have said the new U.N. measures will make it more costly for the North to trade arms but will not likely deter customers, including Iran, that have shown little interest in joining international plans to punish Pyongyang.

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UN Sanctions on DPRK Working, Says U.S. Envoy
Xinhua News Agency
(for personal use only)

Commitment from various countries to implementing the United Nations (UN) Security Council's further sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is strong and unified, U.S. coordinator for implementing the UN sanctions said here Thursday.

"The resolution brings new and unprecedented measures that are at our disposal to implement," Ambassador Philip Goldberg said after meeting with the UN sanctions committee. "But I also found that the commitment to implementation is very strong and very unified," he said.

Security Council Resolution 1874, adopted in June in response to the DPRK's May 25 nuclear test, expanded an arms embargo and authorized inspections of air, sea and land shipments going to and from the DPRK.

There are already signs that the resolution is working, said Goldberg, noting that the cargo ship Kang Nam, the first DPRK ship to be inspected under the new UN resolution, returned to the DPRK last month after Myanmar persuaded it to return home.

Part of the success in implementing Resolution 1874, as well as Resolution 1718, is due to the high level coordination among UN member states, said Goldberg.

"There is a unity of view, a singleness of purpose in implementing these resolutions," said Goldberg, who also highlighted cooperation from the Chinese government.

"We had further talks this week in Washington during the (China-U.S.) Strategic and Economic Dialogue," said Goldberg. "It is certainly our intentions to work with all member states but especially with those that can bring results in terms of implementation," he said.

To continue effective implementation, Goldberg urged countries to be aware of financial institutions with ties to the DPRK and stressed that sharing information plays a pivotal role in identifying suspect transactions.

The Obama administration has advised U.S. banks to have "a heightened sense of caution" about activities and entities, on and off the sanctions list, that have ties to the DPRK, he added.

Resolution 1874 added five DPRK individuals and five entities to the sanctions list, which are subject to asset freezes and travel bans.

Goldberg's visit to the UN is part of U.S. efforts to coordinate implementation of UN sanctions against the DPRK. On Monday, he will leave for Moscow to meet with Russian foreign ministry and financial officials and in mid-August he is expected to return to Asia for a new round of consultations.

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China Urges U.S. to Accommodate DPRK's "Reasonable Security Concerns"
Xinhua News Agency
(for personal use only)

China on Tuesday urged the United States to accommodate "reasonable security concerns" of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) when it tries to work out a new package solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

China's Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya made the remarks at a press conference held at the conclusion of the two-day China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), which included discussions on the DPRK nuclear issue.

"We believe that in order to solve the DPRK nuclear issue, the United States has a very important role to play," Wang said. "We welcome the willingness of the United States to have direct talks with the DPRK."

As the United States considers ways to address the DPRK nuclear issue, "China believes that if the package solution that the U.S. government is thinking about will accommodate reasonable security concerns of the DPRK, it will be attractive to the DPRK side," Wang said.

In the past six years, China and the United States have had good cooperation within the framework of the six-party talks, he said. "Unfortunately, not long ago, the DPRK had its second nuclear test. Both China and the United States are firmly opposed to that."

On April 5, the DPRK announced a successful launch of a communications satellite. Eight days later, the UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement against the DPRK move. The DPRK then announced its withdrawal from the six-party talks.

On May 25, the DPRK conducted a second nuclear test since 2006. The UN Security Council responded by unanimously adopting a resolution, imposing wider sanctions and demanding the country not to conduct any further nuclear test or any launch using ballistic missile technology. The resolution also demanded that the DPRK immediately return to the six-party talks unconditionally.

Wang said that during the S&ED, China and the United States had "thorough discussions on ways to realize a turnaround in the situation."

While both China and the United States believe that the resolution should be seriously implemented, they also believe that from a long-term perspective, negotiation is the only way to find a final solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, Wang said.

He stressed that the resolution made it "very clear" that sanctions imposed on the DPRK should not undermine people's life in that country or humanitarian cause.

"In implementing Security Council resolutions, we have to be both serious and very responsible," he said. "We need adequate evidence in carrying out sanctions."

Resolution 1874 calls on all states to inspect all cargo to and from the DPRK if the state concerned has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe the cargo contains items banned by relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

"I believe China and the United States will further communicate and cooperate with each other with regards to the implementation of Security Council resolutions," Wang said. "At the same time, we should prevent situation in some parts of the area from spinning out of control because of inaccurate information."

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C.  Non-Proliferation

NATO Disavows Nukes Deployed in Member States
Todays Zaman
(for personal use only)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Thursday disavowed nuclear weapons believed to be deployed in five member states including Turkey, saying the alliance does not have any nuclear weapons of its own.

“NATO does not have any nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons belong to the member states,” NATO spokesman James Appathurai was quoted as telling a news conference in Brussels by the Anatolia news agency. NATO member Turkey is believed to host up to 90 US thermonuclear B61 nuclear weapons at the southern air base of İncirlik, all deployed during the Cold War as part of the alliance's collective defense policy. Other countries hosting these weapons are Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Until they were withdrawn in July 2008, there were also more than 110 at Lakenheath in the UK.

The US nuclear weapons were deployed in the five NATO countries in line with the alliance's concept of nuclear sharing, which involves basing nuclear weapons in the territories of non-nuclear weapon states. All five countries are recognized as non-nuclear weapon states under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1970. Critics say although the US retains full control of the weapons in peacetime, this quasi-nuclear status of non-nuclear NATO countries violates the objective of the NPT. The US and NATO argue that there is no violation because the US retains control of the weapons.

Belgium and Germany, which also host US nuclear weapons on its soil, debated the withdrawal of those weapons from their territory in their parliaments earlier this year. Those debates raise questions over what Turkey's policy will be on the fate of those weapons deployed in its territory.

Turkish officials have made no public comment on whether they would also favor the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from Turkish soil, but experts say Ankara appears to be reluctant, based on its assessment of potential threats to its security. Neighboring Iran's possible attempts to acquire nuclear weapons may be one reason that could harden Turkish resolve against the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons from its soil.

Although originally intended to be a deterrent against the now-defunct Soviet Union, NATO rules allow for the possible use of nuclear weapons against targets in Russia or countries in the Middle East such as Syria and Iran, critics say. Appathurai said on Thursday that possession of nuclear weapons is still a part of NATO's strategy of deterrence.

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G8 Stand on Nuclear Commerce Will Not Affect India: PM
(for personal use only)

India will not be affected by the G8 stand on nuclear commerce as there is no consensus among the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to prohibit the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology to non-signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told parliament Wednesday.

Prohibition by the NSG of such transfers would require a consensus amongst all the 45 countries. This does not exist at present, Singh said in his reply to the debate in the Lok Sabha on the government’s recent foreign policy initiatives, adding that there was no way India would accede to the NPT.

He was referring to the statement issued by G-8 in Italy that spoke of prohibiting the transfer of enrichment and nuclear reprocessing (ENR) technology to non-NPT countries.

The government is fully committed to the achievement of full international civil nuclear cooperation, Manmohan Singh maintained.

He pointed out that India had secured a clean India-specific waiver from the NSG. At that time also, attempts were made to make a distinction. The NSG has agreed to transfer all technologies consistent with their national laws, the prime minister contended.

He added that the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing items and technology has no bearing whatsoever on Indias upfront entitlement to reprocess foreign origin spent fuel and the use of such fuel in our own safeguarded facilities”.

In this context, Manmohan Singh noted that India had “full mastery” of the nuclear fuel cycle. “The transfer of enrichment and reprocessing items and technology to India as part of full international civil nuclear cooperation would be an additionality to accelerate our three-stage programme.”

He pointed out that he had raised the G8 statement with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who was gracious enough to tell me that as far as France is concerned, there will be no restrictions.

The prime minister reminded the house that India has no civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the G8 block but has signed signed bilateral agreements with France, Russia and the United States.

Therefore, there is no consensus in the NSG to debar India from such technologies. We expect that the countries concerned will honour and implement their bilateral commitments, he added.

He also reiterated that there was no way that India would join NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state.

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NNSA Administrator D’Agostino Looks to Future of Nuclear Security
National Nuclear Security Administration
(for personal use only)

Administrator Thomas P. D’Agostino of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today discussed the future of the Nuclear Security Enterprise and its strategic deterrence mission in light of President Obama’s unprecedented nuclear security agenda.

Administrator D’Agostino spoke at the U.S. Strategic Command’s first Strategic Deterrence Symposium in Omaha. He was joined by the directors of NNSA’s three nuclear security laboratories for a panel entitled “The Weapons and Infrastructure of the Nuclear Inventory.”

The Administrator’s speech highlighted NNSA’s commitment to stockpile stewardship while discussing the additional benefits our nation gains from its investment in the science and technology that forms the core of the nuclear security enterprise. D’Agostino also addressed the need to reinvest in key elements of the nuclear security infrastructure.

The following are excerpts from Administrator D’Agostino’s remarks:

On President Obama’s unprecedented nuclear security agenda:

“In his Prague speech, President Obama charted a new course for the United States. Like President Reagan before him, he spoke of a long-term glide slope to zero nuclear weapons. But he also made clear that, ‘[a]s long as these weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee that defense to our allies . . .’ In pursuit of this agenda, there are two efforts currently underway – both of which will have major implications for the U.S. nuclear deterrent and for the infrastructure we employ to support that deterrent.

On NNSA’s role in accomplishing the President’s agenda:

“Over the coming months, President Obama will be advancing his program to bolster U.S. leadership in reducing global nuclear dangers and achieving strengthened nonproliferation. Because of our core capabilities, NNSA and the Department of Energy will play a critical role in this effort.”

On the nuclear security professionals across the NNSA enterprise whose work and knowledge support the agency’s core mission:

“Throughout the history of the U.S. nuclear weapons program, the scientists and engineers at our labs and plants have developed and sustained a very unique set of skills and capabilities that service a broad array of nuclear security needs. However, while maintaining and modernizing our nuclear stockpile forms the core of their work, it is these people and the skills and capabilities they provide that form the foundation for a broader agenda… In a sense, our job is much more than Stockpile Stewardship; it is the stewardship of a science and technology base that can respond to a wide array of national security concerns.”

On the need to recapitalize the infrastructure of the nuclear security enterprise:

"My main concern with respect to infrastructure and deterrence – the topic of this panel – is that we must continue to modernize, advance and exercise our technical capabilities. We must replace old, expensive, large Manhattan Project-era facilities. And, finally, we must recruit and retain the best scientists and engineers in the world."

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U.S. Forces Commander Warns against Japan Going Nuclear
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

The top commander of U.S. forces in Japan said Tuesday that Tokyo should not consider going nuclear in the face of North Korean nuclear threats, stating there is "no reason" for Japan to do so as it is protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

"The concept of extended deterrence that has been in place for many years between the United States and Japan remains important very strongly today," Lt. Gen. Edward Rice said at the Japan National Press Club.

"As a consequence, as long as this concept and agreement stays in place, there is no reason for Japan to possess nuclear weapons on its own," he said, adding the proliferation of nuclear weapons will "make nations less secure."

Earlier this month, Tokyo and Washington agreed to engage in periodic talks on the U.S. nuclear umbrella over Japan and other deterrence measures following a fresh nuclear test by Pyongyang in May.

Japan, the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, maintains a policy of not possessing, producing or permitting nuclear weapons in Japan.

But North Korea's nuclear ambitions have prompted ruling party politicians in Japan to study the option of arming the country with nuclear weapons.

Rice also reiterated his view that security ties between the two countries will not change fundamentally even if the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan takes power after the Aug. 30 general election.

"Regardless of whom the people of Japan choose as their next government, the fundamental pillars of our alliance will remain strong," he said.

In its policy platform unveiled Monday, the DPJ says it will aim for "a close and equal" Japan-U.S. alliance and will "review" the realignment of U.S. forces as well as the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement.

The commander said that Tokyo and Washington "should not change individual elements" of a 2006 bilateral accord on the package of initiatives on the U.S. forces realignment, which was agreed to over a long period of time.

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D.  Nuclear Energy

Israel Wants a Nuclear Power Plant
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The Israeli government is seeking U.S. approval to build a civilian nuclear power plant in the Negev desert, a report said.

Yedioth Aharonoth reported Friday Israel will agree to international supervision of a future power plant but not its "other nuclear capabilities."

The government has contacted White House officials to examine ways of overcoming obstacles but has yet to receive an answer from Washington, the paper said.

Israel has never acknowledged or denied having a nuclear weapons program and has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Six months ago, a comprehensive report drawn up by large international energy concerns was submitted to Israel's Ministry of Infrastructure for review, the paper said.

Since, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government has sought to receive approval from the United States on similar terms to those granted to India, which also refused to sign the treaty but has allowed supervision of its civilian nuclear power plants, the paper said.

In 2007, Israel revived plans for a nuclear plant saying once it receives approval, it would take eight years to complete, the paper said.

According to recent world media reports, Jordan hopes to have a nuclear power plant up and running by 2013, and Egypt has also expressed interest in building nuclear energy sites for civilian use.

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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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Libya and Canada Sign Nuclear Power Deal
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Libya and Canada have signed a memorandum of intent on nuclear power, the fourth signed by Tripoli in the past two years, a Libyan official told reporters.

The memorandum provides for the promotion of Libyan Canadian cooperation in the field of excavation, extracting, transforming and transport of uranium, enhancing radiation technology for the prevention and treatment of diseases, development and management of water desalination technology that is used in nuclear energy and other beneficial applications.

The memorandum also provides for prioritizing nuclear safety, protection of environment and economy, and nuclear non-proliferation in accordance of laws and policies of both countries as well as their international commitments.

The Secretary of the Management Committee of Libya Atomic Energy Institution emphasized that the signing of the memorandum represents a progressive step in the relations of both countries, and opens new doors for cooperation in the area of promoting nuclear energy developmental programs.

The Secretary said the peaceful use of nuclear energy includes the various pillars of development, including health and diagnosis of treatment of incurable diseases as nuclear technologies have made a major success that had exceeded conventional treatments.

It also includes industry, blights, management of water resources and protection of environment.

"The signing of the memorandum would provide for the cooperation of concerned Canadian companies with atomic energy institution in Libya to activate the role of peaceful use of nuclear energy in Libya to include other areas such as power generation and desalination of sea waters.

Notable, Libya declared its intention during the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2006 to introduce nuclear energy in power generation and water desalination and urged several specialized international companies to present their technologies.

The memorandum foresees cooperation between the two countries in research and the mining, processing and transport of uranium, as well as its use in medicine and desalination projects.

Since July 2007, Libya has signed another three similar agreements with France, Russia and Ukraine.

OPEC member Libya is also the African continent's third largest oil producer after Nigeria and Angola, pumping nearly two million barrels of crude oil per day. It hopes to increase production to three million bpd by 2013.

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E.  Links of Interest

Iran's Nuclear Program: Lessons from Pakistan
Simon Henderson
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
(for personal use only)

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North Korean Conundrums Continues
Rajaram Panda
Global Politician
(for personal use only)

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A New Start for Non-Proliferation
Mohamed ElBaradei
Policy Innovations
(for personal use only)

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