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Nuclear News - 10/5/2010
PGS Nuclear News, October 5, 2010
Compiled By: Matthew Kapuscinski

A.  Iran
    1. Turkey Dismisses US Sanctions on Iran, PressTV (10/4/2010)
    2. Indonesia Refreshes Support for Iran's Nuclear Program, Xinhua News Agency (10/4/2010)
    3. Iran: Nuclear Delay Due to Leak, Not Computer Worm, Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press (10/4/2010)
    4. Iran: Russia Investment Ban Ineffective, PressTV (10/4/2010)
    5. Iran Atom Progress "Slow but Steady" - Ex-IAEA Aide, Fredrik Dahl, Reuters (10/1/2010)
    1. War Plan by U.S. and Seoul Needs Updating, Upgrade, Joong Ang Daily (10/5/2010)
    2. Defense Minister: North Korea Restoring Main Nuke Facility, The Dong-a Ilbo (10/4/2010)
    3. South Korea, Japan Reaffirm Partnership to Resolve North Korean Nuke Issue, Lee Chi-dong, Yonhap News Agency (10/4/2010)
C.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. India-Japan Nuclear Deal Likely to be Delayed, The Times of India (10/5/2010)
    2. Russian, Ukrainian Leaders to Talk Cooperation, Attend Forum, RIA Novosti (10/4/2010)
    3. US Concerns Over Nuclear Bill to be Addressed Soon, S. Rajagopalan, Express News Service (10/2/2010)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Vietnam’s First Nuclear Power Project May Start in 2013, VietNamNet Bridge (10/4/2010)
    2. Saudi Arabia Holds Talks With Companies on Building Nuclear Energy City, Glen Carey, Bloomberg (10/4/2010)
    3. South Korea Plant Builders May Book Record 2010 Overseas Orders, Kyunghee Park and Jun Yang, Bloomberg (10/3/2010)
    4. German Politicians Row Over Energy Future, UPI (10/1/2010)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. Iran Holds Nuclear Spies for PC Worm, The Sydney Morning Herald (10/4/2010)
    2. The Department of State's Reorganization of the Arms Control and International Security Bureaus, U.S. Department of State (10/1/2010)
    3. Cheap Nuclear Reactors Are Russia's Ace, Carol Matlack and Yuriy Humber, Business Week (9/30/2010)

A.  Iran

Indonesia Refreshes Support for Iran's Nuclear Program
Xinhua News Agency
(for personal use only)

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said that Indonesia supports for Iran's nuclear program for peaceful purposes and is ready to contribute on the settlement of the dispute over the nuclear issue, local media reported Monday.

The president conveyed the support when he met Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a special envoy to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Jakarta at weekend.

Jakarta Post quoted Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa as reporting that both Indonesia and Iran opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Boroujerdi, who is the chairman of Iran's Islamic Consultative Assembly's Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security, asserted that his country's commitment to developing nuclear technology was only for peaceful purposes.

In June, the United Security Council issued a new sanctions resolution on Iran. On July 1, U.S. President Barack Obama signed unilateral U.S. sanctions legislation that he said were the toughest that the U.S. Congress had ever imposed on the Islamic state.

Sharing the U.S. concerns about Iran potentially gaining nuclear weapons, the European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea have also imposed their own sanctions against Iran.

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Iran: Nuclear Delay Due to Leak, Not Computer Worm
Ali Akbar Dareini
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

A months-long delay in starting up Iran's first nuclear power plant is the result of a small leak, not a computer worm that was found on the laptops of several plant employees, the country's nuclear chief said Monday.

The leak occurred in a storage pool where the plant's fuel is being held before being fed into the reactor core, and it has been fixed, said Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also Iran's vice president. He did not specify whether it was nuclear fuel or another material that leaked. He first announced the delay on Thursday but without giving a reason.

Iranian officials say they have vigorously battled the Stuxnet computer worm, which they suspect is part of a covert plot by the West to damage Iran's nuclear work. The United States, Israel and others accuse Iran of seeking to use the Bushehr power plant and other civil nuclear sites as a cover for a secret program to develop atomic weapons.

Iran denies any nuclear weapons ambitions and says its program is only for peaceful purposes like power generation and medical research.

The malicious computer code, designed to take over industrial sites like power plants, has also emerged in India, Indonesia and the U.S. But it has spread the most in Iran.

Though it infected several personal computers of workers at the Bushehr plant, Iran says the facility's main systems were not affected. Still, that was the first public sign to emerge that the code has hit computers linked to Iran's nuclear program.

The delay at Bushehr has no connection with Stuxnet, Salehi said, according to a report in the official IRNA news agency.

"During a washing process prior to loading the actual nuclear fuel, a small leak was observed in a pool next to the reactor and was fixed. This leak delayed activities for a few days," IRNA quoted Salehi as saying.

At the plant's inauguration on Aug. 21, Salehi had said loading the fuel into the reactor core would take place over two weeks and the plant would then produce electricity two months later in November.

Now, he says, fuel will be transferred to the core in mid-October and that the plant will produce electricity in early 2011.

Iran's deputy industry minister, Mohsen Hatam, said technicians have removed the Stuxnet malware from all affected systems in Iranian industry.

"All (infected) platforms have been scanned, cleaned and sent back to their respective industries," Hatam was quoted as saying by state TV on Sunday.

In a progress update a day earlier, Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi also announced the arrests of several nuclear spies, but he gave no details and did not clearly link the suspects with the investigation into Stuxnet.

Who created the Stuxnet code and what its precise target is, if any, remains a mystery. Some foreign experts have speculated it was designed to target Tehran's nuclear program.

The web security firm Symantec Corp. says the computer worm was likely spawned by a government or a well-funded private group. It was apparently constructed by a small team of as many as five to 10 highly educated and well-funded hackers, Symantec says.

The Bushehr plant has stood outside the current controversy over Iran's nuclear program since Russia will be providing the fuel for the plant and supervising its disposal.

But other aspects of Iran's nuclear work, especially its enrichment of uranium, are of concern to the United States and other world powers. Enrichment can be used to produce weapons as well as make fuel for power plants.

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Iran: Russia Investment Ban Ineffective
(for personal use only)

Iran says the ban on Iranian Investment in Russia's enrichment industry will not affect the country as Tehran never planned on making such a venture.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi stressed on Monday that the country's nuclear investment strategy is strictly domestic.

"Iran has never contemplated investing in Russian uranium enrichment and will not do so [in the future]. The Islamic Republic's investments in enrichment are purely domestic," Salehi told Fars News Agency.

"For more than three decades, we invested in Eurodif (a French-organized multinational enrichment consortium) but to date we have never used the tiniest bit of its enrichment services," he added.

"This bitter experience was the reason we began enrichment at home, since we could not rely on foreign promises and pledges…the government decided to guarantee fuel production for its nuclear power plants."

Medvedev's decree bars Iranian citizens or companies from investing in any activities in Russia related to uranium production.

The document also prohibits the delivery of the S-300 defense systems to Iran. Russia says the deal falls under the latest round of UN Security Council sanctions imposed against Iran.

The controversial decision by Russia came shortly after Iranian officials said they would sue Moscow for reneging on an already delayed deal.

This is while the S-300 missile system is purely defensive and does not fall under the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

"Russia is just trying to make the best of an international challenge, so I believe we must analyze these political behaviors in context," Salehi added.

Iran refutes Western allegations that it is following a military nuclear program, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Tehran has the right to use peaceful nuclear technology.

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Turkey Dismisses US Sanctions on Iran
(for personal use only)

Turkish State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafar Caglayan says Ankara will not allow US-engineered sanctions imposed against Iran hamper business with the oil-rich country.

Caglayan said Monday that Turkey, a non-permanent UN Security Council (UNSC) member, would only heed sanctions imposed by the UNSC.

"Turkey will act in line with UN decisions. But decisions made by the United States on its own do not bind us," he added.

The minister hinted that US sanctions seemed to be aimed at imposing a complete blockade on Iran.

"There are only weapons and missile heads on the list of embargoes approved by the UN about the sanctions on Iran. But despite the list, they are trying to put embargo on all kinds of trade including baby food," Caglayan told reported in the Syrian port city of Latakia.

The minister sharply criticized US officials for mounting 'illegal' and underhanded pressure on Turkish banks and stressed that he planed to discuss the issue in an upcoming trip to Washington.

"A delegation from the USA came to Turkey and held talks with Turkish bankers. But they did not meet with me although I am the minister in charge of coordination of banks. Turkish banks have been put under pressure, which is completely against the principle of rule of law," Turkish daily Zaman quoted Caglayan as saying.

Amid a standoff born out of Western allegations that Tehran is following a military nuclear program, the UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran's financial and military sectors.

Shortly afterwards, Washington and its allies imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran's financial and energy sectors.

The move came less than a month after Iran, Turkey, and Brazil issued a fuel swap declaration in a trust-building gesture aimed at speeding up the resumption of stalled nuclear negotiations.

Iranian official refute the Western charges, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Tehran has the right to use peaceful nuclear energy.

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Iran Atom Progress "Slow but Steady" - Ex-IAEA Aide
Fredrik Dahl
(for personal use only)

Iran is making steady progress in its nuclear enrichment programme but there is still time to find a diplomatic solution over work the West fears is aimed at making bombs, a former top U.N. nuclear official said.

Olli Heinonen, who stepped down in August as chief of U.N. nuclear inspections worldwide, also voiced doubt about reports that Iran's atomic activities were the target of a cyber attack.

Security experts say the release of the Stuxnet computer worm may have been a state-backed attack on the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme, most likely originating in the United States or Israel.

Some analysts believe Iran may be suffering wider sabotage aimed at slowing its nuclear advance, pointing to a series of unexplained technical glitches that have cut the number of working centrifuge machines at the Natanz enrichment plant.

Heinonen said the Stuxnet virus, which Iran said had hit computers used by nuclear staff, had also been discovered in other countries so he found it a "bit hard to believe" it had been specifically aimed at Iran's Bushehr atomic plant or Natanz.

"This is all speculation until the facts are found," he told Reuters in a telephone interview on Thursday.

Asked if there had been any indications of past sabotage aimed at Natanz, he said: "I don't think there is enough technical evidence to say -- yes, there has been sabotage (or) no, there has been no sabotage."

Heinonen noted that Iran's monthly output of low-enriched uranium, which can fuel power plants or provide material for bombs if refined much further, had been stable at about 120 kg.

"Let's assume some machines are failing, the others are then performing better," the Finnish nuclear expert said.


Analysts say about 1,000 kg may be enough for a bomb, if that is Iran's intention. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Heinonen's former employer, said last month Iran had accumulated about 2.8 tonnes of the material.

Until he stepped down for personal reasons, Heinonen was deputy director-general of the U.N. agency and head of its nuclear safeguards department, which verifies that countries' nuclear programmes are not being diverted for military use.

He was one of the IAEA's leading experts on Iran, which denies its nuclear programme is aimed at making bombs despite intelligence indications to the contrary, which he investigated for years.

Heinonen, who is now a Senior Fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, described Iran's overall progress on its enrichment programme as "slow but steady" and it had not yet reached the mass production stage.

"However, the clock is ticking. They are making progress, but I think there is still time for a negotiated solution."

World powers hope that new U.N., U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Iran since June will persuade it to enter negotiations on its nuclear programme which the West hopes will lead to a suspension of all uranium enrichment activity.

Iran, which says its nuclear work is aimed at generating electricity, has repeatedly ruled out halting enrichment.

Heinonen said only the Iranians themselves really knew what their aims were with the nuclear programme.

"It has to do with prestige, it has to do with their own security, to be a regional player, it is a complex thing," he said about Iran's motivations. "It is not just about, let's say, nuclear weapons or to produce fuel for Bushehr."

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War Plan by U.S. and Seoul Needs Updating, Upgrade
Joong Ang Daily
(for personal use only)

South Korea and the United States have agreed to modify a military conceptual plan to deal with sudden changes in North Korea to reflect last week’s political changes in the reclusive communist regime, a Seoul official told the JoongAng Ilbo on Sunday.

“South Korea and the United States assessed that uncertainty in the North has grown higher during the course of the power succession to Kim Jong-un [from his father Kim Jong-il],” said the official. “It is my understanding that Seoul and Washington have decided to specify scenarios of sudden changes in the North due to the leadership succession and reflect them in Conplan 5029.”

Last week, the youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, was given important party posts and named a four-star general and is now considered heir apparent if his father dies.

A Conplan is an operational plan in conceptual format, and Seoul and Washington first formulated Conplan 5029 in 1997. Since 2008, the plan has been updated to reflect changes on the Korean Peninsula.

“The decision to revise the conceptual plan will be formally agreed at the annual Security Consultative Meeting, scheduled to take place on Friday in Washington,” the official said.

The allied blueprint envisions six kinds of sudden changes in the North: the loss of control over weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear arms, missiles and biochemical weapons; a regime change in the North; a civil war, including a military coup; a hostage-taking of South Korean citizens in the North; an exodus of refugees; and natural disasters.

The two countries have been particularly concerned that any sudden altering in the North’s status quo would allow its weapons of mass destruction and production technologies to be leaked to a third country or terrorist group.

Another source also told the JoongAng Ilbo that Conplan 5029 will be upgraded to the level of an operational plan (or Oplan), which is more fleshed out and can be put into effect immediately.

“It will be readied so that it can be converted into an operational plan in time of emergency as soon as it gets signed by the heads of the joint chiefs of staffs of South Korea and the United States,” the official said.

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Defense Minister: North Korea Restoring Main Nuke Facility
The Dong-a Ilbo
(for personal use only)

North Korea is restoring its main nuclear facility in Yongbyon, where the cooling tower had been demolished, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said Monday.

“North Korea has been reconstructing nuclear facilities and maintaining facilities in Yongbyon,” Kim told a parliamentary audit of his ministry in Seoul’s Yongsan district. “The North is building new buildings in the region of the second reactor and conducting a massive excavation.”

Seoul based its confirmation of the restoration on data from the Institute for Science and International Security, a U.S.-based global security think tank which reported new construction at the nuclear facility.

“North Korea is building two rectangular buildings next to the cooling tower that was demolished in 2008,” a source from the South Korean government said. “The new buildings seem to be general buildings and not a cooling tower, but it remains to be seen what their purpose will be.”

“Since Yongbyon is not a place for a nuclear test, it`s hard to say if North Korea is preparing for a nuclear test, but what is certain is that it hasn`t suspended nuclear-related activities,” the source added. “The government has been monitoring North Korea’s nuclear-related activities.”

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Park Kil Yon said in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York Wednesday, “Our nuclear deterrence can never be given up and we will rather strengthen it. “

The cooling tower for the five-megawatt nuclear reactor was destroyed in June 2008 under an agreement reached at the six-party nuclear talks in 2007. With the U.N. Security Council saying the North’s launch of a long-range missile violated U.N. Resolution 1718 and releasing a statement critical of the North, Pyongyang declared a suspension to the Yongbyon facility’s disablement and a restoration of the facility.

“North Korea is likely to conduct a joint tactical drill in the presence of Kim Jong Il before the 65th anniversary of the Workers’ Party Oct. 10,” Minister Kim said in the audit. “It is preparing a large-scale joint drill of its armed forces off the coast of Wonsan.”

He also said Pyongyang is likely to attempt another provocation ahead of the November G20 summit in Seoul.

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South Korea, Japan Reaffirm Partnership to Resolve North Korean Nuke Issue
Lee Chi-dong
Yonhap News Agency
(for personal use only)

The leaders of South Korea and Japan agreed Monday to step up joint efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and work toward "forward-looking" ties between Seoul and Tokyo.

In their summit here held on the sidelines of the 8th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan "consulted on issues of mutual concern such as the relations of the two nations, North Korea and international cooperation," said Lee's office, Cheong Wa Dae.

It was the second summit talks this year between the leaders and the first since Kan formed a new Cabinet in September following an election victory.

Lee and Kan "exchanged opinions on Northeast Asian security conditions, including North Korea, and agreed that the two nations will cooperate closely for a resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue," Cheong Wa Dae said.

The Japanese leader asked Lee to make efforts to strengthen the "forward-looking relations between South Korea and Japan," it added, and Lee expressed hope that the neighboring nations will move toward "a century of a bright and future-oriented relationship."

This year is symbolic in their often-troubled relations, as it marks the 100th anniversary of Japan's annexation of Korea.

Expectations have grown over progress in their ties since the Japanese prime minister issued a statement in August offering a "heartfelt apology" to South Korea for the brutal 36-year colonial rule.

Lee and Kan also agreed to work together for the success of the G-20 economic summit to be held in Seoul on Nov. 11-12 and the Nov. 13-14 APEC summit in Yokohama, near Tokyo, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

"With regard to the South Korea-Japan free trade agreement, the leaders of the two nations agreed to continue efforts to create a condition for the resumption of talks," it said.

The South Korean leader was also to have one-on-one meetings with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg later in the day as part of efforts to drum up support for Seoul's planned hosting of the G-20 summit.

Lee is scheduled to hold talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday.

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C.  Nuclear Cooperation

India-Japan Nuclear Deal Likely to be Delayed
The Times of India
(for personal use only)

A crucial civil nuclear agreement between India and Japan will not be ready by the time Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives in Tokyo later this month.

The two countries will be sitting down for the second round of nuclear negotiations starting at the end of this week in Delhi. Japan is likely to grill Indian officials on the new Indian nuclear liability law and whether it would deter Japanese nuclear suppliers. US companies are already raising concerns about a provision in the law that makes suppliers liable in case of a nuclear accident. A second clause in the law that leaves companies open to be prosecuted under other Indian laws is also giving them the jitters.

But this will be small change compared to the Japanese demand that the agreement should have a provision for cessation of nuclear cooperation if India tests another nuclear device. Indian officials will be looking for "creative" word-play which will address concerns on both sides.

The bottomline though is that both sides want to get an agreement because the relationship, as envisaged by Tokyo and Delhi, is situated on a bigger canvas.

But the PM's visit will be a lot more than that. A hard fought economic agreement will be its centrepiece. However, the real movement will be in the security field, where India and Japan will now work together in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions and disaster relief -- taking forward the 2004 tsunami experience.

The India-Japan nuclear deal has a lot riding on it. Quite apart from a strong strategic statement, the deal will give top Japanese nuclear companies -- Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toshiba and Marubeni -- a foothold in the Indian nuclear energy sector. At least three of these companies are tied up with GE, Areva and Westinghouse, respectively, all of whom have been allotted nuclear parks in India. However, sources clarified that even if the India-Japan agreement gets delayed, it will not have any effect on these joint ventures accessing Japanese technology for India's reactors.

Japan, overcoming decades of misgivings, had taken a strategic view of relations with India and in 2008 had supported an NSG waiver for full nuclear commerce with India. Almost two years later, it was then foreign minister, Okada, a staunch anti-nuclear activist, who initiated the first talks on a civil nuclear agreement with India. The move was surprising given Japan's history, but not in the context of the burgeoning strategic relationship between the two countries. Besides, the new Japanese PM, Naoto Kan has made infrastructure and nuclear power the two focus areas for Japan's new economic growth.

In the past couple of years too, India and Japan have moved far together. Especially in the sensitive area of export controls, Japan has actually removed Indian private sector Godrej & Boyce from its entities list (US continues to keep Godrej on its lists), as well as Rashtriya Chemicals.

On the other hand, India is well on its way to negotiating a similar civil nuclear agreement with South Korea, which has emerged as a strong competitor in the nuclear business, having pipped established Japanese and French players in swiping a UAE nuclear contract. This development has clearly spooked the Japanese. Until recently, it was only Japan Steel Works which had a monopoly on manufacturing the containment vessel for a nuclear reactor in a single fused piece of steel, reducing risks of leakages. But Korea's Doosan may prove to be a worthy competitor.

Read more: India-Japan N-deal likely to be delayed - The Times of India

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Russian, Ukrainian Leaders to Talk Cooperation, Attend Forum
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych will on Monday discuss energy and nuclear cooperation, as well as aircraft construction at a meeting in the southern Russian town of Gelendzhik.

Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said the two leaders will also attend an interregional cooperation forum dedicated to transport infrastructure development, border trade and environmental problems.

He added that Monday's meeting, which is the ninth between the two presidents, is a stage in the preparation process for the November session of the Russian-Ukrainian intergovernmental commission.

Medvedev and Yanukovych are also expected to discuss economic cooperation.

Bilateral trade in January-July 2010 almost doubled year-on-year to $19 billion.

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US Concerns Over Nuclear Bill to be Addressed Soon
S. Rajagopalan
Express News Service
(for personal use only)

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, currently in Washington for talks with US officials, has held out the possibility of addressing American concerns over the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill before President Barack Obama’s India visit in early November.

“We are hoping to finish all the governmental work we have to do on the liability issue before the visit so that by the time we go into the visit, we start the negotiations and then really the companies see their own way forward,” Menon said in reply to questions at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Asked about the concerns of prospective US suppliers of nuclear equipment, Menon Said: “We would be very happy to sit down and talk with them.”

Stating that he does not see any insurmountable problem in resolving the issue, Menon also dwelt on India’s intention to sign the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC).

Corporate America has been sharply critical of some of the key provisions of the Indian legislation, taking the stand that the measure is not in compliance with the CSC. he disputed this assertion, saying: “Our lawyers say that the act is in keeping with the CSC — that is, entirely in conformity.” Even so, by formally signing the CSC, it will all be codified in one place, he noted.

The NSA, who has held parleys with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his US counterpart James Jones, said in his speech before the Q&A that the Obama visit offered “an opportunity to put into place a longer term framework for India-US strategic partnership, and to add content to that partnership in several areas that are now ripe.”

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D.  Nuclear Energy

Saudi Arabia Holds Talks With Companies on Building Nuclear Energy City
Glen Carey
(for personal use only)

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, has held talks with international companies to build its first nuclear and renewable energy city, a vice president at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy said.

“We have engaged the expertise and thinking of 14 of the best architectural and design houses,” Khalid al-Sulaiman, vice president for renewable energy, said in Jeddah today. Of these, six are from Saudi Arabia, and the rest from Asia, Europe and North America, he said.

Saudi Arabia is one of several Gulf Arab countries seeking to develop nuclear energy to meet electricity demand that’s rising at about 8 percent a year. The United Arab Emirates awarded a $20 billion contract in December to a group of companies led by Korea Electric Power Corp. to build four nuclear plants, and Kuwait plans to build four reactors by 2022.

Saudi Arabia received bids from U.K. and U.S. engineering companies due Oct. 2 for a pre-feasibility study of its nuclear power program, the Independent newspaper reported yesterday. A broad plan has already been drawn up by Poeyry Oyj, a Finnish energy consultant, the newspaper said, without disclosing the source of the information.

The kingdom, which holds the world’s largest oil reserves, will have an energy ”mix in which nuclear and renewable energies are viably integrated,” al-Sulaiman said.

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Vietnam’s First Nuclear Power Project May Start in 2013
VietNamNet Bridge
(for personal use only)

Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) and its Russian partner, Rosatom Group, will sign a cooperation agreement on construction of Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Plant 1 during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Vietnam in late October 2010.

Phan Minh Tuan, chief of EVN’s preparation committee for Ninh Thuan nuclear power and renewable projects, confirmed that EVN has finalized formalities for approval of the construction site for the Ninh Thuan plant and is working on the feasibility research report.

EVN and Rosatom are negotiating the technology, design and package price. If the two sides reach an agreement, the project will be kicked off in 36 months.

During a visit to Vietnam by the Russian President this October, the two sides will sign an agreement to cooperate, during which building the plant will be mentioned.

Ninh Thuan authorities recently proposed that the Government relocate the second nuclear power plant from the north to the south of the province. They argued that if two nuclear power plants are built in both areas, it would be difficult to develop tourism.

The National Assembly has approved the construction of two nuclear power plants in Ninh Thuan province, totaling 4,000 MW in capacity.

The first plant, Ninh Thuan 1, will be built in 2014. The first turbine will be put into operation in 2020. The total investment for this project is around 200 trillion ($10.5 billion).

However, if EVN and Rosatom reach agreement early, the construction may start in late 2013.

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South Korea Plant Builders May Book Record 2010 Overseas Orders
Kyunghee Park and Jun Yang
(for personal use only)

South Korean companies may win record overseas plant orders of more than $60 billion this year as growing demand in the Middle East boosts contracts for power plants, floating production facilities and refineries.

Orders from overseas customers more than doubled from a year earlier to $50.7 billion by the end of the third quarter, South Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy said yesterday.

The Middle East accounts for about 72 percent of the total as increasing revenue amid high crude prices encourages the region’s oil producers to spend more money on energy infrastructure, the ministry said in a statement. South Korean companies are capitalizing on such investments with their overseas experience, it said.

“Middle East countries appreciate the efficiency of the South Korean model,” Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said by telephone from Dubai. “It’s efficient and it’s affordable.”

For South Korean companies, deep-pocketed Middle Eastern countries, unfazed by the economic downturn, are an attractive market, Karasik said.

Korea Electric Power Corp. won the largest order so far this year, an $18.6 billion contract in late December to build four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates.

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. said Sept. 9 it received an order worth $3.39 billion to build a 2,800-megawatt power plant in Saudi Arabia.

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German Politicians Row Over Energy Future
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German Cabinet ministers and opposition leaders Friday in parliament exchanged heavy blows over the government's new energy strategy.

Heated arguments, angry heckling and frequent recriminations: The Bundestag Friday saw its most heated debate in months. At stake was Germany's energy future, laid out by the government in a comprehensive strategy paper it wants to turn into law this fall.

The bill includes several measures to boost energy efficiency, renewables and carbon dioxide reductions. What drives the opposition mad, however, is a decision to extend the life of the country's 17 nuclear reactors for another 12 years on average beyond the previously scheduled 2021 phase-out date.

The government says it wants to keep nuclear in the mix as a stable, reliable and cost-effective energy source until renewables can take over completely.

"We want electricity to be available at any time and without interruption," Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle said Friday. "That's why our energy plan stands for reliability, it stands for climate protection and it stands for affordable energy prices."

Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen called the bill a "milestone" of Germany's energy and environmental policy.

The government, however, with its decision goes against the majority of the population. Germans are largely opposed to nuclear power and the opposition says the current agreement, struck on Sept. 5 after marathon talks in the chancellery, is but a gift to the country's main utilities -- Eon, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall Europe.

"The utilities sadly don't only set the prices but they also decide what the government and the majority of this parliament does and that damages democracy," Gregor Gisy, the head of the far left Left Party and one of the most outspoken critics of the energy strategy, said Friday in his speech before parliamentarians.

The strategy update, long called for by energy experts, sets out strategies to achieve "a clean, reliable and affordable energy supply" until 2050, and experts laud its ambitious clean energy targets.

Germany aims to boost the share of renewables to 80 percent of the electricity consumption by 2050, halve Germany's energy consumption by 2050 and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

The nuclear industry in exchange for longer running times -- which will hand them massive extra profits -- agreed to pay around $380 million per year to support renewables and climate protection efforts, with total contributions to amount to $19 billion, the government said. The industry agreed to pay a new "fuel rod" tax of around $2 billion per year starting in 2011. The tax is less than expected and limited to six years -- a clear negotiation victory for the utilities, observers say.

Juergen Trittin from the Green Party, which championed the anti-nuclear movement in Europe and was part of the coalition government that drafted the German nuclear phase-out plan 10 years ago, Friday accused the government of selling off nuclear safety.

Roettgen, normally a calm-headed and contained politician, fired back angrily, accusing Trittin of being a "loudmouth who won't get anything done."

Roettgen said he would support the new energy strategy, "which we stand for, which we will defend and above all we will implement, against your envy and your protests, because it's good for our country."

The bill will likely sail through parliament as the government has a necessary majority in the Bundestag but the opposition and several state governments have vowed to challenge it in court.

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E.  Links of Interest

Iran Holds Nuclear Spies for PC Worm
The Sydney Morning Herald
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The Department of State's Reorganization of the Arms Control and International Security Bureaus
U.S. Department of State
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Cheap Nuclear Reactors Are Russia's Ace
Carol Matlack and Yuriy Humber
Business Week
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