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Nuclear News - 10/12/2010
PGS Nuclear News, October 12, 2010
Compiled By: Matthew Kapuscinski

A.  Iran
    1. Iran to Show Proof of US Nuclear Aid to Israel: Negotiator, AFP (10/11/2010)
    2. Iran Nuclear Spies 'Not Behind Stuxnet', PressTV (10/11/2010)
    3. UAE Seeks More Clarity on Iran Trade Sanctions, Khaleej Times (10/11/2010)
    1. Russia's Top Nuclear Envoy Visits Seoul, AFP (10/11/2010)
    2. South Korea More Interested in Nuclear Standoff Than Power Transition in DPRK, Xinhua News Agency (10/11/2010)
C.  India
    1. Chinese Nuclear Reactors for Pakistan Worry India, Hindustan Times (10/10/2010)
    2. India Weighs Measure to Ease Nuclear Liability, Amol Sharma, The Wall Street Journal (10/10/2010)
    3. Fast Breeder Reactors Essential for India's Future Energy Security: Prithviraj Chavan, DNA India (10/10/2010)
    4. India-Japan Nuclear Talks Inconclusive, The Hindu (10/10/2010)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Government Open to Nuclear Energy but Bataan Plant to Stay Shut, Alena Mae S. Flores, Manila Standard Today (10/11/2010)
    2. India's Nuclear Power Generation Exceeds Target, Sify News (10/11/2010)
    3. Nuclear Ambitions Thriving in Russia, Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times (10/11/2010)
    4. Egypt One Step Closer to Nuclear Plant, Bikya Masr (10/11/2010)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. Nuclear Weapons Likely to Stay in Germany, Der Spiegel (10/11/2010)
    2. Nuclear Road Trip: Shipping Uranium A Complex Task, Geoff Brumfiel, NPR (10/11/2010)
    3. Iran May Be Ready for Nuclear Talks by Late October, Reuters (10/10/2010)
    4. US Often Weighed North Korea 'Nuke Option', Charles J. Hanley and Randy Herschaft, Associated Press (10/9/2010)

A.  Iran

Iran Nuclear Spies 'Not Behind Stuxnet'
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The Iranian intelligence minister has dismissed reports that nuclear spies who were recently arrested in Iran have been behind the spread of the Stuxnet computer worm.

Commenting on the extent of damage caused by the Stuxnet worm, Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi said the virus had been contained.

When asked if the nuclear spies who were recently arrested by the Intelligence Ministry had been responsible for spreading the virus, Moslehi said that "they are not related to this matter," ISNA reported.

He added that the parties which sought to make use of this virus to gather information about Iranian facilities failed in their mission.

The remarks come as Western media claimed that the Stuxnet worm, which is a malware designed to infect computers using Siemens supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), had attacked Iran's nuclear plant systems.

Iranian experts believe that the worm may have been created by a state-sponsored organization in the United States or Israel to target specific softwares that are being used in Iran's industrial sector, including the country's first nuclear power plant in Bushehr.

Reacting to the cyber attack, Iran's Telecommunications Minister Reza Taqipour said earlier that the virus had failed to cause any serious damage to the country's industrial sites.

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Iran to Show Proof of US Nuclear Aid to Israel: Negotiator
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Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said on Monday that Tehran is to reveal proof of how nuclear material enriched by United States was delivered to the Islamic republic's arch-foe Israel.

"We will soon publish documents on how American enriched nuclear material was provided and transported to the Zionist regime," Jalili said, quoted on state television's website.

Jalili said the key question in the Muslim world was "how the Zionist regime acquired these (nuclear) weapons?"

"The Zionist regime and those who gave these weapons to the regime should answer for this."

Israel, widely believed to be the sole but undeclared nuclear weapons power in the Middle East, has not ruled out a military strike against Iran's atomic facilities in a bid to stop Tehran's controversial nuclear programme.

Iran, which denies Israeli and Western suspicions it is making nuclear arms, has repeatedly called for Israel to be questioned over its reported atomic arsenal and to be pressured to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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UAE Seeks More Clarity on Iran Trade Sanctions
Khaleej Times
(for personal use only)

The United Arab Emirates is seeking greater clarity from the United Nations as it implements the latest round of trade sanctions with Iran, the Director-General of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

“What we hope for is that there is some clarity as far as what is allowed, what is not allowed, what shipping lines are allowed, what’s not allowed, which parties we can trade with, and who we can’t,” Hamad Buamin, Director-General of Dubai Chamber, said in an interview here on Sunday. “Right now, there is no clarity.”

Trade between Iran and the UAE, which lies across the Arabian Gulf from the Islamic republic, is expected to fall about 50 per cent to $6 billion in 2010 from 2008, according to Dubai’s Iranian Business Council. Two years ago, the UAE was Iran’s largest trading partner.

Iran is under a fourth round of UN sanctions because it refuses to curtail its nuclear energy programme, which the US and its allies say may conceal an effort to develop weapons. The US tightened sanctions on July 1 to penalize foreign suppliers of gasoline to Iran. Iran says its nuclear programme is designed to generate electricity for a growing population.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority warned banks to treat transactions with all Iranian-based entities as “high risk.” Exports to the Islamic Republic from Dubai fell nine per cent in June from a year earlier, according to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

Funding for Dubai firms

Funding for companies in Dubai remains a challenge as banks continue taking provisions for bad loans, Buamin said.“Either it’s not available or if it is available, it’s too expensive,” he said. “The central bank looks at the numbers and says there is high liquidity but the problem is most of the banks are taking heavy provisions this year.”

“We are all in agreement that the real estate and construction sector will continue suffering this year and the financial sector locally will not be in a great position,” Buamin said.

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Russia's Top Nuclear Envoy Visits Seoul
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Russia's chief nuclear envoy arrived in Seoul Monday amid efforts to revive long-stalled international nuclear disarmament negotiations with North Korea.

Alexei Borodavkin, the Kremlin's nuclear negotiator for the six-party talks, will meet his South Korean counterpart Wi Sung-Lac on Monday, Seoul's foreign ministry said.

"They will discuss overall issues on the six-party talks and the current events on the Korean peninsula," a ministry spokesman told AFP.

Borodavkin will also meet South Korea's new Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan and deputy foreign minister Kim Jae-Shin during the three-day visit to talk about other issues, the spokesman said.

The six-party forum, aimed at curbing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions in exchange for aid, is chaired by Pyongyang's close ally China and also involves the two Koreas, the US, Japan and Russia.

Pyongyang bolted the forum in April 2009 and conducted its second nuclear test a month later.

North Korea's intentions still remain unclear with recent satellite images suggesting it may be restoring facilities at its main Yongbyon nuclear reactor that produced weapons-grade plutonium.

A senior Seoul presidential aide said last week the North's nuclear programme had reached a "very alarming level".

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South Korea More Interested in Nuclear Standoff Than Power Transition in DPRK
Xinhua News Agency
(for personal use only)

South Korea is more interested in resolving nuclear issues of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) than in the power transition reportedly underway in the state north of the border, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Monday.

"It now seems certain that North Korea (DPRK) is moving toward the third-generation hereditary power succession," the president said during a luncheon meeting with Seoul-based foreign correspondents, held at his office Cheong Wa Dae. It was his first direct comment on the issue.

"(But) whatever the process of the hereditary succession is like, North Korean nuclear issues, inter-Korean peace, human rights of North Korean people and their happiness -- these are what we're interested in," Lee added.

His remarks come at a time when relations between the two Koreas, former wartime rivals, are seen to be inching toward a thaw. A recent flurry of diplomatic exchanges between the two sides is putting a brake on the downward spiral in their ties, which dropped to the lowest level in years following the March sinking of a South Korean warship, blamed on Pyongyang's torpedo attack, which was firmly denied by Pyongyang.

There are also apparent signs that moribund nuclear talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear programs might revive in not too distant future, as the DPRK recently expressed its willingness to return to the negotiation table.

The DPRK, meanwhile, held a massive parade in its capital Sunday with leader Kim Jong-il and his youngest son and heir apparent Jong-un in attendance.

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C.  India

Chinese Nuclear Reactors for Pakistan Worry India
Hindustan Times
(for personal use only)

India is concerned over China's supplies of nuclear reactors to Pakistan which has a poor record as a nuclear power, Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan said. "We have expressed our concerns at the appropriate place. If China and Pakistan do that within the exiting international regime, they can. We have protested citing the previous exchanges of nuclear technology illegally particularly through Abdul Qadeer Khan (Pakistan's rogue nuclear scientist). Nobody has addressed that," Chavan told reporters here, around 50 km from Chennai,

Speaking on the sidelines of silver jubilee celebrations of the Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) and Radio Metallurgy Laboratory (RML), he said India had serious concerns about something like that - transfer of nuclear technology illegally - happening.

He said India had established a good track record in the nuclear field whereas Pakistan does not have such a record.

Queried about India allowing private domestic or foreign companies to operate nuclear power stations, amending the Atomic Energy Act, he said: "At the moment the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government does not find any need to change the law.

"Right now money is not an issue for allowing foreign companies as nuclear power plant operators. We are inviting domestic government owned companies as minority partners for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India."

He said the government does not want anybody to walk out of the plant by simply shutting it down one day as there are issues like proper handling of nuclear waste.

He said the government was also looking at providing more autonomy to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB).

"There is an internal debate going on as to the shape of additional autonomy that the AERB should be given," he said.

He said India was certainly interested in buying uranium mines overseas so as to overcome the shortage.

"We are looking at African countries to buy uranium mines adopting the ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corp) model," he said. ONGC has set up subsidiary ONGC Videsh to acquire oil fields abroad.

According to Chavan, the government was in the process of drafting the rules for the recently passed Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act.

On the reservations expressed by the US on the act, he said: "Americans expressed concern about right to recourse. But it has been adequately explained. We explained what our position is. After the rules get framed, it should get settled down."

Queried about the import of nuclear reactors and India's three phased nuclear power programme, Chavan said: "The government is committed to the three phased nuclear power programme. The import of light water reactors are proposed to meet the power and fuel demand."

The utilisation of large reserves of thorium available in India requires fast breeder reactors, Chavan added.

Queried about importing nuclear reactors from one or two vendors at a cheaper rate by assuring volumes instead of buying from multiple vendors, he said: "In the first phase of imports four companies will be supplying to India.

"During the second round of imports we will look at other commercial considerations (localisation of components) and reactor systems which are more fuel economical and safer like the ones having multiple redundancies.

"All imported reactors should get the approval of the national regulatory authority," he added.

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Fast Breeder Reactors Essential for India's Future Energy Security: Prithviraj Chavan
DNA India
(for personal use only)

Fast Breeder Reactors are essential for the future energy security of the country, for which the large thorium reserves will have to be utilised, minister of state for science and technology Prithviraj Chavan said today.

"For the future energy security of the country, we are depending on utilising our large thorium reserves. Successful demonstration of thorium utilisation will enable us win the confidence of the public and policy makers in large scale deployment of nuclear energy in future," he said.

Chavan said it would take time for India to attain the third phase of the nuclear programme as envisioned by Homi Bhaba as it was still relying on other nations for proven technology. "Once India reaches the third stage of thorium utilisation it will be key to India's energy security."

He said there are plans to set up a 1,000 MW Fast Breeder Reactor using metallic fuel. "The metallic fuel will be developed by 2022. It will comprise Uranium, plutonium and Zirconium," said Chavan.

Asked about importing nuclear reactors from one or two vendors at a cheaper rate by assuring volumes instead of from multiple vendors, he said four companies would supply them to India in the first phase.

"In the second round of imports we will look at other commercial considerations (localisation of components) and reactor systems which are more fuel economical and safer like the ones having multiple redundancies. All imported reactors should get approval of national regulatory authority,"he said.

He also said the Rs5,600 crore prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) built by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (Bhavini) at Kalpakkam would be ready by 2011-2012.

Asked about delays in the Koodankulam project, he said these have been minimised now and it was just a matter of months before the unit goes on stream. "The project has to be completed as it is in interest of everybody, both suppliers as well as NPCL," he added.

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India Weighs Measure to Ease Nuclear Liability
Amol Sharma
The Wall Street Journal
(for personal use only)

India is drafting new regulations to assuage nuclear-power companies' concerns over their potential liability for accidents, a move aimed at securing deals with U.S. nuclear suppliers ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama next month, a top Indian official said.

India passed a law in late August that exposes to liability companies that provide nuclear reactors and other equipment for power plants, a departure from the standard practice in most nuclear-energy markets, where all liability is channeled to plant operators.

That law spooked firms such as General Electric Co. and Westinghouse Electric Co., and raised the possibility they might not sell their nuclear technology to India. Such a development would call into question whether the U.S. will enjoy any commercial benefits from the civil-nuclear-energy agreement the countries completed in 2008, a pact considered a breakthrough in U.S.-India relations.

India is concerned about losing access to foreign equipment as it carries out plans to spend tens of billions of dollars boosting nuclear-energy capacity, part of its efforts to relieve electricity shortages that plague many areas of the country.

Prithviraj Chavan, minister of state in the office of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the official who ushered the nuclear-liability law through India's parliament, said in an interview that the rules being written to implement that law will alleviate the concerns of foreign suppliers.

"We'll clarify what the responsibilities of suppliers will be," Mr. Chavan said. "There will be some responsibilities, but they won't be liable for 80 years, as some people are interpreting the law. I hope at the end of the day we'll have an acceptable solution."

Under India's law, the cap on liability for any nuclear accident is about $322 million. Although plant operators would be primarily responsible for accidents, they could seek "recourse" by suing suppliers.

Mr. Chavan, who is also minister of state for science and technology, said the goal is to announce equipment procurement deals when Mr. Obama visits India for several days in early November. "We could announce that we're going to place two reactor orders from company A or company B," he said. "We may even go further than that, but let's see."

He said Mr. Obama's domestic political situation—the president will be arriving soon after U.S. midterm congressional elections in which Democrats are expected to lose seats—might have an impact on the trip. "Our only worry is that the focus will shift from U.S.–India bilateral relations to the internal problems the president faces at home," Mr. Chavan said.

Mr. Chavan said India also is addressing concerns of the Japanese government about the liability law. GE's nuclear operations are run through a joint venture with Japan's Hitachi Ltd., and Westinghouse has its headquarters in Pennsylvania but is a unit of Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp. Prime Minister Singh is visiting Tokyo later this month to discuss a civil-nuclear deal between the countries, Mr. Chavan said.

It isn't clear what the specifics of the new Indian regulations will be and whether they will go far enough to persuade foreign companies to sell their technology to India. The firms would prefer to repeal the law, or at least the provision that allows operators to sue suppliers. Another option U.S. and Indian officials considered was a government-to-government pact that would effectively indemnify U.S. suppliers, people familiar with the matter said.

"The market in India is one we're very interested in," said Vaughn Gilbert, a spokesman for Westinghouse in Pittsburgh. "It's one we'd like to be part of." He declined to give specifics about legislation changes.

"We will not be able to support nuclear programs in countries where the nuclear liability regime is not consistent with international norms," said Michael Tetuan, a spokesman for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. "We hope the liability issue will be resolved and that the benefits of the historic agreement to support nuclear power development between India and the US governments will be realized."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in India declined to comment. Last month, U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said: "The U.S. government is engaged with the government of India to ensure that the full potential of this historic agreement can be realized."

Implementing the new Indian law in a way that shields suppliers from lawsuits would be controversial in India. Mr. Singh's Congress Party had to craft the law in its current form to win the support of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which otherwise could have blocked its passage.

Other Indian officials have played down the chances of issuing regulations to soothe concerns of foreign players. One senior Indian official said recently, "the law is final," and when asked what the U.S. would get out of its civil-nuclear partnership with India, he said: "Indian goodwill."

The U.S.–India nuclear agreement, which took three years to complete, ended a moratorium on U.S. nuclear trade with India put in place after India's atomic weapons tests in 1974. Normally, signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is a prerequisite to partaking in nuclear-energy commerce, but India, which isn't a signatory, was granted an exception.

In return, the U.S. government expected the deal to open a huge new market for U.S. energy companies. India generates 3% of its electricity from nuclear energy now, but the country plans to increase nuclear-power capacity to 35 gigawatts from 4.5 gigawatts by 2020.

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India-Japan Nuclear Talks Inconclusive
The Hindu
(for personal use only)

India and Japan ended the second round of talks on a civil nuclear agreement on Saturday with both sides stating their positions and deciding to hold another round in the future. The dates for the next round of talks would be fixed through diplomatic channels, said diplomatic sources.

While Japan wanted India's commitment not to conduct nuclear tests must be reflected in the proposed civil nuclear agreement, India maintained that its unilateral moratorium was stated unequivocally during the process that ended its isolation from global civil nuclear commerce, the sources said.

They said Japan was keen that India demonstrated some sort of commitment to signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) which it has described as a building block to ratifying the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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D.  Nuclear Energy

Egypt One Step Closer to Nuclear Plant
Bikya Masr
(for personal use only)

Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Energy Hassan Younis on Friday said a consultant house and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have updated studies on the planned Daba nuclear facility and have given Egypt details on additional sites for the successive stages.

Younis said in a statement that since the beginning of this year, the special specifications of the tender for establishing the first Egyptian plant in Daba have been done in line with studies undertaken by the world consultant house on nuclear power.

He added that these studies are aimed at maintaining safety security of citizens, environment and the society.

He said a comprehensive survey of reactors market has been conducted on the technical specifications of the plants using heavy and light water, by Russian, French, US, Canadian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese Companies so that Egypt may get the best technical and financial conditions.

Meanwhile, Younis said that the development of the 12th unit of generators of the High Dam power station will be completed before the end of November.

It will be the last unit to be rehabilitated, Younis noted. He added that upgrading the 11th unit was over late September.

Renovations were carried out through a Russian-German consortium and an Egyptian company, he said.

The total cost of upgrading the High Dam power station has hit LE 107 billion so far, according to Younis.

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Government Open to Nuclear Energy but Bataan Plant to Stay Shut
Alena Mae S. Flores
Manila Standard Today
(for personal use only)

The Aquino government is firm in its decision not to revive the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, but the Department of Energy remains interested in nuclear energy as an option for power generation.

“It’s a policy decision of the President that we are not going to open the Bataan nuclear power plant. Mainly because, in the opinion of the President, there are too much social complexities that have been caused by that,” Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said.

The declaration comes in the wake of a proposal from US nuclear power company Excel Services Corp. to rehabilitate the mothballed 600-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

“There was one company that wanted, was proposing to come in for nuclear (power generation), but we told him we’re not ready because we’re still determining our stand on nuclear (energy) and we still have to do our study on safety standards,” Almendras said.

He said Excel executives raised the proposal during President Benigno C. Aquino III’s recent visit to the United States to promote investments into the country.

He said Excel gave a proposal on how to rehabilitate Bataan Nuclear citing new technologies that can make the operations of the mothballed power plant safer and with lesser risks.

The energy chief earlier said the Bataan power plant cannot be revived because of safety concerns as it sits on a fault line which could prove disastrous if a seismic event occurs.

Former president Corazon Aquino, the late mother of the President, ordered the $2.3-billion nuclear facility mothballed in 1986 due to safety concerns.

Still, Almendras said the DoE is open to nuclear power as part of the country’s future power generation mix.

“We are not closed to it. We are evaluating it. We have been told that there have been significant technological advancements relative to safety,” he said.

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India's Nuclear Power Generation Exceeds Target
Sify News
(for personal use only)

Electricity generation from India's nuclear power plants exceeded its target for the first time in nearly half a decade, mainly due to the availability of imported fuel, an official said here Monday.

Between April-September 2010,the total power generation from the country's 19 nuclear reactors in operation was 10,853 million units, against the target of 10,342 million units, set by the Central Electricity Authority, Sudhinder Thakur, executive director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) said.

'With this positive trend, we expected the total nuclear power generation this year - 2010-2011 - to be around 10 percent higher than the target fixed for the current year,' Thakur told IANS.

With these 19 nuclear reactors in operation, the installed capacity of this sector stands at 4,580 MW, or 8.2 percent of 55,093 MW, the total capacity of power generation in the thermal, hydro and nuclear sector in the central sector, he said.

The nuclear power generation for the April-September period is 23 percent higher than 8,816 million units during the same period last year.

'This (increase in power generation) was possible through augmentation of fuel supplies resulting from the international co-operation in nuclear business and imported uranium for some of the pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs), and increased supplies from domestic sources,' Thakur explained.

He said the use of imported fuel enabled restart the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station's unit-2 after en-masse feeder replacement from September 2009, the commencement of commercial operations of units 5 and 6 from February and March this year and operation of units 3 and 4 at full power from May this year.

Besides, the hike in uranium supplies from indigenous sources enabled operation of PHWRs fuelled by domestic uranium at a higher power level, of about 70 percent, and also helped restart the Narora Atomic Power Station's unit 2 after en-masse coolant channel replacement.

Presently, at least four nuclear power plants are ready but not yet started due to fuel shortage, he said, adding that the NPCIL has already made provisions to start commercial operations of Kaiga-4 within the next month or so, Thakur said.

To a question, he said that no nuclear power plant ever remained closed due to fuel shortage, but were operated at low power.

Now, the NPCIL is aiming for a higher target next year 2011-2012 - generating 32,000 million units - or 45 percent higher than the target of 22,000 million units for the current year 2010-2011.

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Nuclear Ambitions Thriving in Russia
Andrew E. Kramer
The New York Times
(for personal use only)

The Russian nuclear industry has profited handsomely from building reactors in developing countries, including India, China and Iran. Now it is testing the prospect of becoming a major supplier to the European Union, too.

Shrugging off the legacy of Chernobyl, the Russian state nuclear company, Rosatom, is preparing a bid on its second new project in the European Union, at the Temelin station in the Czech Republic, potentially worth $8 billion. Rosatom is already building a smaller unit in Bulgaria.

And the Russians, already major suppliers of low-enriched uranium fuel to the European Union under a venture with Areva, the French nuclear group, are planning independently to enter the market of fuel for Western-designed plants. Rosatom now provides 100 percent of the fuel used in Switzerland, for example, and 30 percent of all reactor uranium used in France, the Continent’s biggest consumer.

But industry analysts say Rosatom’s Czech bid is a test: Can the strategies that propelled Rosatom to become the world’s largest builder of nuclear plants through sales in emerging markets also succeed in the power-hungry developed world?

“Russia is a serious player,” said Marina Alekseyenkova, an analyst at Renaissance Capital, an investment bank in Moscow. From now on, she said, “Russia will be a bidder on every tender, globally; Russia will go everywhere.”

That includes the United States. A subsidiary of Rosatom supplies about 45 percent of the nuclear fuel used by American utilities, created from diluted bomb material under a post-cold-war treaty to discourage proliferation. About 10 percent of all electricity in the United States is generated from this former Russian bomb material.

As a legacy of the cold war, Russia possesses about 40 percent of the world’s uranium enrichment capacity, much more than it needs to service its domestic reactors. Enrichment refers to raising the level of the isotope 235 from about 0.7 percent in natural uranium to 3 percent to 5 percent for civilian reactor fuel.

Rosatom says it intends to increase its share of the global fuel market to 25 percent by 2025, from 17 percent today. The strategy is to make money, but also to leverage the low fuel costs in Russia to win other business. This is done by bundling favorable deals on low-enriched uranium with other services, like reactor construction.

And Rosatom has been promoting another singular advantage, one that also shows the Russians’ peculiarly high comfort level with all things nuclear, even after Chernobyl: a willingness to take nuclear waste off the hands of clients, particularly if they buy Russian reactors.

Russian officials say that, despite the nuclear reactor explosion at Chernobyl in 1986, their industry never went into hibernation because of public disillusionment with nuclear power, as happened in the United States. The Russians made no great leaps in technology in recent decades, but also lost no ground.

“We never stopped building, even after Chernobyl,” said Sergei G. Novikov, the spokesman for Rosatom. “We moved very slowly but never stopped.”

Of the 60 reactors under construction worldwide, Rosatom is building 15 — 10 in Russia and 5 abroad — according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade group in Washington.

By comparison, Westinghouse, the largest American builder of nuclear power plants, has not completed a reactor as lead contractor in decades, even though it has built more power plants than any other company in the world, mostly in the 1960s and 1970s.

Outside specialists generally endorse the Russian plant designs, saying that they are now fully competitive with those of nuclear plant builders in the United States and Europe. Still, in a nod to the Chernobyl legacy, the subsidiary for overseas construction has said that it budgets for public relations activities in countries where it intends to work.

Rosatom, meanwhile, is striving to take advantage of its monopoly hold on the industry at home to aid in exports.

It is a vertically integrated company, with divisions mining uranium, enriching fuel, building reactors and even decommissioning old plants.

To better compete with Areva, the dominant nuclear company in Europe, Rosatom in 2009 formed a strategic alliance with Siemens of Germany, after Siemens sold a stake in Areva.

After signing a deal in China last month to build two sophisticated reactors that burn plutonium-based fuel, the chief executive of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, a former prime minister, told reporters there that sales would triple by 2030, to $50 billion annually.

The company says it hopes to continue winning business by bundling construction contracts with deals for fuel or joint ventures to transfer technology to the customer country. It is expected to use this strategy for the Czech bid.

Under legislation that might have been more difficult to push through a freer political system, Russia allows the importation of spent nuclear fuel from reactors elsewhere.

Supported by Vladimir V. Putin, the president at that time, it is integral to the policies for global expansion of Russian nuclear sales, because waste disposal can be a major sticking point to approval of new nuclear power plants in other countries.

“I don’t know other suppliers that can provide similar services,” Ms. Alekseyenkova, the industry analyst in Moscow, said of Rosatom’s service of importing waste.

Storing spent fuel is profitable today, and possessing it could become even more so as plutonium-based fuels become more widely used, Mr. Novikov, the Rosatom spokesman, said. In Russia, as in France, the industry is looking at spent fuel not as a long-term headache but as the raw material for a future business making mixed-oxide fuel.

Only Areva, the French nuclear group, offers a similar array of services over the entire nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear industry analysts said. Other manufacturers have to team up to offer an integrated fuel and reactor package.

For the Czech bid, Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom for reactor construction outside Russia, has joined the Czech industrial giant Skoda to bid against Westinghouse and Areva of France, for two new reactors at the Temelin plant. The CEZ Group, a Czech utility that is 70 percent owned by the government, is expected to pick a winner in early 2012.

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E.  Links of Interest

Nuclear Road Trip: Shipping Uranium A Complex Task
Geoff Brumfiel
(for personal use only)

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Nuclear Weapons Likely to Stay in Germany
Der Spiegel
(for personal use only),1518,722435,00.html

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Iran May Be Ready for Nuclear Talks by Late October
(for personal use only)

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US Often Weighed North Korea 'Nuke Option'
Charles J. Hanley and Randy Herschaft
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

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