1. China, Russia Urge Iran to Show Nuclear Plans Peaceful
(for personal use only)
The foreign ministers of China, Russia and India urged Iran on Monday to prove to the world that its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, and urged a return to talks.
The West suspects Iran of seeking nuclear weapons in a major threat to international security under the guise of a civilian research program. Tehran says its long concealed uranium enrichment drive is aimed only at generating electricity.
"The three foreign ministers recognize Iran's right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy," they said in a joint statement released on the Chinese foreign ministry's website after a meeting in China's Wuhan city.
"At the same time, Iran should restore the faith of the international community of the totally peaceful nature of its nuclear activities," they added.
"The only path to resolving the Iran nuclear issue is through dialogue, negotiations and other such peaceful methods."
European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton wrote to Iran's chief nuclear negotiator on Friday accepting an offer to meet in Europe early next month to discuss Tehran's nuclear program.
Following consultations with the six world powers which she will represent -- the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany -- Ashton wrote to Saeed Jalili accepting the offer of a meeting on December 5, but suggested Switzerland or Austria as the venue.
If talks are agreed -- they have been under discussion for nearly six months -- it would be the first time in more than a year that Iran has met to discuss its nuclear program.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6AE1KB20101115
2. Iran Negotiating with G5+1 on Venue, Content of Talks
Xinhua News Agency
(for personal use only)
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Monday that Iran is still negotiating with the five UN Security Council permanent members and Germany (G5+1), on the venue and content of the upcoming nuclear talks, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
Upon setting agreement on the venue and the content of the talks, it will be announced, he told a press conference, implying that no agreements have been reached yet.
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Friday that the United States expects Iran' s nuclear program to be the leading issue discussed when talks resume on Dec. 5 between Iran and G5+1, but Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran will not discuss its nuclear issue in the proposed talks.
European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton proposed to meet Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on Dec. 5, probably in Switzerland, turning down Iran's suggestion of the venue in Istanbul.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-11/15/c_13607738.htm
Iran has conducted defence drills at its sensitive nuclear facilities, a senior commander told media on Sunday, adding that fresh aerial war games will be launched across the country next week.
"This year, we carried out tactical drills which resembled real combat in Fordo, Tehran, Natanz, Bushehr and Esfahan," where the country's nuclear plants are located, the Mehr news agency quoted Ahmad Mighani as saying.
Mighani did not specify when exactly the exercises were conducted.
Iran's arch-foes Israel and the United States have not ruled out a resort to military action to prevent it developing a nuclear weapons capability, an ambition it strongly denies.
Mighani said the armed forces will stage a new five-day air defence drill from Tuesday "all over the country in order to improve defence capability," the Fars news agency reported.
Iran's armed forces regularly conduct such exercises to show off the country's military prowess and test-fire what they boast are home-made missiles.
Following the latest package of UN sanctions on Iran, Russia refused to deliver long sought-after S-300 ground-to-air missiles.
A top commander said on Wednesday that Iran would soon test its own version of the S-300. It was unclear whether that would be during the upcoming war games.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gGdTNzKAQTp7ihO6P-IeQZTKM-yg?docId=CNG.6fd6a816fa2b4286b8457e1c9184f31c.231
The European Union foreign policy chief has accepted Iran's proposed date for multifaceted talks, but suggests Vienna or Switzerland as the venue for the first meeting.
Iran's proposed date and venue for talks with the P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany -- were announced on Tuesday in a letter sent by Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili to his counterpart Catherine Ashton.
"Catherine Ashton now looks forward to meeting Dr. Jalili… on December 5," Reuters quoted Ashton's spokesperson Darren Ennis as saying on Friday.
"For the first meeting, Catherine Ashton's preference is that the first meeting takes place somewhere else in Europe and has proposed Austria or Switzerland."
Jalili's letter came after Ashton, who represents the P5+1, proposed on October 14 to hold three-day talks in mid-November in the Austrian capital of Vienna.
Iran, however, has announced that it will negotiate the issue of a nuclear fuel swap with the Vienna group -- France, Russia, the US, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- within the framework of the Tehran declaration, and that its multifaceted talks with the P5+1 will not include the nuclear issue.
Iran signed a declaration with Turkey and Brazil on May 17 based on which Tehran agreed to exchange 1,200 kg of its low-enriched uranium on Turkish soil with nuclear fuel.
The US and its allies, however, snubbed the declaration and used their influence on the UN Security Council to press for fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic over the allegation that Tehran might pursue a military nuclear program.
Iranian officials refute US allegations about its nuclear program, reiterating that Tehran has always been interested in the peaceful applications of nuclear energy.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/150850.html
5. Nuclear Information Safe with Us, IAEA Tells Iran
(for personal use only)
The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Friday it protects the confidentiality of information gathered during inspections, indirectly rejecting an Iranian accusation it would feed sensitive information to Washington.
Relations between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have become increasingly strained over the last year, with the Vienna-based agency voicing frustration over what it says is lack of Iranian cooperation with its inspectors.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted earlier this week as saying the IAEA would pass on information about Iran's nuclear program to the United States if Tehran agreed to widen the agency's inspection powers in the country.
IAEA press officer Greg Webb said it had no comment on Ahmadinejad's remarks.
But, he added in an e-mail to Reuters, "the IAEA takes great care to protect the confidentiality of information it collects during all its safeguards activities." The West accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear bombs. Tehran says it is solely seeking to produce electricity but its refusal to halt sensitive atomic activity has drawn four rounds of U.N. sanctions since 2006.
The IAEA wants Iran to implement what it calls the Additional Protocol, which permits unfettered inspections beyond declared nuclear sites to ferret out any covert atomic activity.
Ahmadinejad ruled this out, in comments cited by state broadcaster IRIB on its website on Thursday. "The acceptance of the Additional Protocol would be tantamount to placing all of our nuclear activities under the supervision of the IAEA which would in turn pass our information to America," he said.
Iranian officials say they are ready to resume talks with world powers later this month, but they are also making clear they will not back down in a long-running dispute over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has adopted a blunter approach on Iran than his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei, including stating in a report that Iran could be trying to develop a nuclear-armed missile.
He has also accused Iran of hampering the agency's work by barring experienced inspectors. Iran said two inspectors it banned from entering the country earlier this year had provided false information about its nuclear program.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6AB1Q420101112
6. U.S. Expects to Discuss Nuke Program with Iran in Talks
Xinhua News Agency
(for personal use only)
The United States expects Iran' s nuclear program to be the leading issue discussed when talks resume on Dec. 5 between Iran and the five UN Security Council permanent members and Germany (P5+1), U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Friday.
"You know, we expect that the nuclear program will be among or will be the leading issue discussed," Crowley told reporters at a press briefing at the department.
Iran proposed Nov. 23 or Dec. 5 as the date for planned talks with the six major powers in Istanbul, but Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran will not discuss its nuclear issue in the proposed talks.
European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has proposed to meet Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili on Dec. 5, probably in Switzerland, turning down Iran's suggestion of venue.
Crowley said the venue is still to be determined and "a more central location" is preferred for the first meeting.
"Istanbul could still be a location for a second, a follow-on meeting, but the general consensus is that the first meeting should be somewhere in central Europe," Crowley added. "We've had the previous meeting in Geneva. That seemed to be a location that, you know, satisfied the travel arrangements for all members of the P5+1."
Talks in Geneva broke down in October 2009. In May this year, Iran challenged the West countries with a proposal brokered by Turkey and Brazil, but met with cold-shoulder. A fresh round of sanctions was slapped on Tehran one month later by the UN Security Council and unilateral actions by the U.S. and several other countries.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is for civilian use, while the West countries say it is a guise for developing nuclear bombs.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-11/13/c_13604361.htm
1. Russia, India, China FMs Urge to Resume 6-Way Nuke Talks
Itar-Tass News Agency
(for personal use only)
The Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China - Sergei Lavrov, Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna and Yang Jiechi - have called for an early resumption of the six-party talks to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, it is said in the final statement of the three ministers’ meeting.
“We have confirmed the importance of adhering to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region as a whole through a dialogue,” the document says.
The ministers called on “the parties concerned to return as soon as possible to the six-party talks in order to fully implement the Joint Statement of the Six of September 2005.”
The six-party talks aim to find a peaceful resolution to the security concerns as a result of the North Korean nuclear weapons programme. There has been a series of meetings with six participating states: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea); the Republic of Korea (South Korea); the People's Republic of China; the United States of America; the Russian Federation; and Japan.
These talks were a result of North Korea withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003. Apparent gains following the fourth and fifth rounds were reversed by outside events. Five rounds of talks from 2003 to 2007 produced little net progress until the third phase of the fifth round of talks, when North Korea agreed to shut down its nuclear facilities in exchange for fuel aid and steps towards the normalization of relations with the United States and Japan. Responding angrily to the United Nations Security Council's Presidential Statement issued on April 13, 2009 that condemned the North Korean failed satellite launch, the DPRK declared on April 14, 2009 that it would pull out of Six Party Talks and that it would resume its nuclear enrichment programme in order to boost its nuclear deterrent. North Korea has also expelled all nuclear inspectors from the country.
Available at: http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=15681085&PageNum=0
2. South Korea Voices Concern at North Korea Nuclear Report
(for personal use only)
South Korea said Monday it could not confirm a report that North Korea is building a light-water nuclear reactor, but that any such move would run counter to disarmament hopes.
A US scientist who travelled to the North last week said Saturday he had been told by officials there that work has started on such a reactor.
"They were saying that they are constructing a small experimental light-water reactor (at Yongbyon), eventually of the size of about 25 to 30 megawatts," Siegfried Hecker said in footage carried by Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
Light-water reactors are generally used for civilian nuclear purposes. Experts say it is relatively difficult to extract plutonium from them to make atomic weapons.
Some Seoul analysts say the North may be stressing its overall atomic expertise in hopes of prodding the United States into resuming stalled six-nation nuclear disarmament talks.
Foreign ministry spokesman Kim Young-Sun said the South has no information on its neighbour's capabilities in light-water reactors.
However, Kim said the project, if confirmed, "would be going contrary to expectations from members of the six-party talks and the international community."
The North promised to give up all nuclear weapons and nuclear-related programmes in a 2005 six-party agreement, Kim said.
"It is important for the North to sincerely carry out the promise and international obligations for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula."
The North quit the talks in April 2009 and staged its second nuclear test a month later.
In recent months it has expressed conditional willingness to resume talks, but in return it wants a lifting of sanctions and a US commitment to hold separate talks on a peace treaty.
The United States says the North must show willingness to denuclearise and mend ties with South Korea before the six-party talks can resume.
In 1994 the United States reached an agreement with the North Korea under which several countries were to build it two light-water reactors to generate electricity.
In return, the North was to shut down its plutonium-producing reactor at Yongbyon.
The deal broke down in 2002. The light-water reactors were never completed and the North restarted its original reactor.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hyNbM1Tb8runG6nbvRYIIHWJlzhQ?docId=CNG.f4fc489b9ab6dc3b913961e68d5d79be.8c1
North Korea has recently begun to build an experimental light water reactor, in what appears to be an attempt to force the United States to get the six-party talks back on track.
Quoting American scientist Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Japan’s Kyodo news agency said Saturday that the experimental reactor has the capacity of generating 25 to 30 megawatts of electricity. Hecker was quoted in Beijing on his way back from North Korea.
The scientist said that the construction might take a few years to complete.
Hecker’s revelation followed a remark by Charles Pritchard, former U.S. special envoy to North Korea, who told South Korean officials last week following his trip to the reclusive state that “North Korea appears to be constructing a new facility at its nuclear complex,” which “might or might not be related to nuclear activities.”
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said the North’s nuclear program remained a “matter of serious concern.”
“I call on all parties concerned to make concerted efforts for the resumption of the six-party talks at an appropriate time," Yukiya said at the U.N. General Assembly on Nov. 11.
A South Korean nuclear scientist based in Seoul said the gravity of this threat is very small. “Compared to atomic bomb and plutonium enrichment programs, constructing an experimental light water reactor is minor,” he said.
However, he noted that it was a clear signal that North Korea, like Iran, was trying to press the United States.
Figuring out who is behind the energy-hungry country supporting the construction could pose a diplomatic challenge for Korea, which has attempted to create consensus in the international community to condemn North Korea for the Cheonan incident.
In March this year, the South Korean naval ship was sunk by an unidentified attack, costing the lives of 46 sailors. Seoul led an international investigation, which concluded a North Korean torpedo caused the explosion that sank the ship.
Available at: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/11/116_76316.html
The United Arab Emirates has asked state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. to become a partner in its atomic energy company, the government said yesterday.
The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation wanted the Korean energy operator to become a shareholder in a company being set up to oversee the Middle Eastern country’s atomic energy production.
“The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has said that participation by the Korean firm will be necessary to gain access to expert personnel and technology to successfully operate reactors,” said an official who declined to be identified. He said that if a partnership is arranged, Korea will be able to share the earnings generated by operating the countries’ reactors and be in a good position to supply parts to nuclear power plants during the 60-year operation life cycle of reactors being built by a Korean consortium.
“Negotiations are underway on this matter and it is likely that Korea and the UAE will effectively become partners for nuclear reactors being built in the oil-rich country,” the official said.
Available at: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2928363
2. Obama Optimistic About Ratification of Arms Treaty with Russia
(for personal use only)
U.S. President Barack Obama was optimistic about the ratification of a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, saying that it was likely to get the necessary support in the Senate vote.
Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the new arms reduction treaty, intended to replace the START 1 agreement that expired in December 2009, on April 8 in Prague. The agreement will come into force after simultaneous ratification by both chambers of the Russian parliament and the U.S. Senate.
Obama said that since the treaty was approved by the Senate's foreign affairs committee, it is likely to be ratified by yearend.
He said that Russia's "important" support for sanctions against Iran and for anti-drug efforts in Afghanistan should contribute to speeding up the ratification process.
"My hope and expectation is that, given this is a good treaty, given it has the support of previous Republican senior government officials, that we should be able to get it done," Obama told reporters on a flight from Japan.
The treaty has met strong Republican opposition in the Senate over concerns that it may weaken U.S. anti-missile defenses. The delay in ratification of the document could hamper progress in U.S.-Russian relations.
The Democrats, who have 59 seats in the 100-member Senate, need the support of at least eight Republicans to secure the two-thirds majority required for the treaty's ratification
Obama said he held "serious consultations" with Republican Senator Jon Kyl, who had earlier threatened to block the treaty until the administration spends more on modernizing the existing nuclear arsenal.
He said the treaty has the support of at least three other Republicans, Richard Lugar, John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
Medvedev and Obama signed a new arms cuts treaty on April 8 in Prague to replace the START 1 agreement that expired in December 2009. The agreement will come into force only after being ratified by both chambers of the Russian parliament and the U.S. Senate.
The pact obligates both nations to cap their fielded strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 warheads, while the number of deployed and non-deployed delivery vehicles must not exceed 800 on either side.
Available at: http://en.rian.ru/world/20101115/161339278.html
3. Japan Ramps Up Nuclear Talks with India, Third Round Soon
(for personal use only)
With Seoul upstaging Tokyo in concluding a civil nuclear pact with New Delhi and the US announcing the easing of high-tech exports, Japan is set to quicken the pace by holding the third round of negotiations for a civil nuclear pact with India later this month.
The third round of talks will be held in Tokyo after Nov 20, a senior official who did not wish to be named, told IANS.
The Indian delegation will be led by Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary (East Asia) in the external affairs ministry, and will include senior officials of the department of atomic energy. They will hold talks with the Japanese team led by Mitsuru Kitano, Deputy Director General, Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department, in the foreign office.
The two sides have exchanged draft texts and are making progress on bridging differences, said the sources.
Japan has urged India to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and has made it clear that in case of a pact, a nuclear test by India would lead to the termination of civil nuclear cooperation.
Given its history as a nuclear-averse pacifist nation and strong anti-nuclear domestic constituency, Japan is insisting on additional non-proliferation commitments, which are understood to go much beyond what India has agreed to in its 123 agreement with the US, said the sources.
Japan has decided to speed up nuclear negotiations with India as it does not want to be upstaged by Seoul, a regional rival, which has not only concluded a bilateral civil nuclear pact with India but also signed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with the country. New Delhi and Tokyo are expected to ink a similar pact in January 2011.
Last month, after talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that the two countries had 'agreed to speed up negotiations for civil nuclear energy cooperation, while seeking India's understanding of our country's sentiment' as a nation which faced nuclear bomb attack.
Manmohan Singh, on his part, said that although he will not 'force' Japan into a nuclear agreement because of its sensitivity as the only nation to have borne the brunt of atomic weapons, he stressed that civil nuclear cooperation can be mutually beneficial.
Japan, a non-proliferation hawk which reluctantly backed the waiver for India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group in September 2008, launched the first round of nuclear negotiations with India in June this year, marking a major policy shift on the part of Tokyo towards engaging New Delhi. This was followed by the second round in New Delhi last month ahead of Manmohan Singh's visit to Tokyo.
A complex web of factors is driving Tokyo, which never missed a chance to criticise India's 1998 nuclear tests, to seek nuclear rapprochement with New Delhi.
Japan has closely followed US President Barack Obama's visit to India and noted his announcement that the US would ease high-tech exports to India and push for India's full membership of elite non-proliferation clubs like the NSG, MTCR, the Australian Group and the Wassenaar arrangement.
Tokyo, an ally of Washington, also took note of Obama's declaration of support for New Delhi's candidature for an expanded UN Security Council.
Above all, Japan finds itself on the same page with the US in sharing its concerns about Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. In this context, Obama's support for a bigger role for India in crafting the East Asian architecture was not missed on regional players, including Japan.
Besides strategic reasons, Japan, a leader in civil nuclear technology that depends on nuclear electricity for over 40 percent of its energy needs, does not want to sacrifice business opportunities in the growing nuclear pie in India, a potential $150 billion market.
Available at: http://sify.com/finance/japan-ramps-up-nuclear-talks-with-india-third-round-soon-news-default-klorOihhgfg.html
Egypt’s ministry of electricity and energy announced on Saturday that it would offer an international tender for the construction of the first nuclear station in el-Dabaa on the northern coast before the end of the year. According to Minister Hassan Younis, it will open the bidding to international companies in an effort to move quickly on the country’s first nuclear station to help buttress a growing energy need across the country.
A final formula of the tender is now being outlined in line with Egyptian laws, Younis said in statements on the sidelines of his trip to Russia.
Last Wednesday, Younis started a several days’ visit to Russia for talks with Russian officials on boosting cooperation programs between the two countries, with special focus on the nuclear sphere.
Younis inspected a number of power generation nuclear plants in Russia to get an idea of the technology to be used.
The minister also held talks with heads of Russian companies specialized in manufacturing nuclear plants’ components.
The companies expressed strong willingness to contribute to Egypt’s nuclear program.
He said Egypt will put in a bid to construct the 1st nuclear station in Dabaa before the end of 2010.
Egypt and Russia approved the formation of specialized working groups of experts to activate agreement of cooperation in the fields of development and training Egyptian cadres, nuclear stations technology as well as assessment and development of crude uranium sources and developing infrastructure and legislative framework to put Egypt’s nuclear program into effect, Younis added.
For his part, Chief of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) Sergei Kiriyenko hailed cooperation between Russia and Egypt in the energy sector.
Rosatom said it is willing to engage in a bidding contest for the right to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, Kiriyenko said following a meeting with Minister Younis.
Available at: http://bikyamasr.com/wordpress/?p=20760
2. Russia and Bulgaria Disagree Over Prices for Danube Nuclear Power Plant
(for personal use only)
Russia and Bulgaria disagree over the cost of a planned 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube River.
Rosatom Corp., Russia’s nuclear power company that won a contract to build the two-reactor plant for 4 billion euros ($5.45 billion) in 2005, has increased the price to 6.3 billion euros because of the delayed construction, Bulgarian Energy and Economy Minister Traicho Traikov said today.
“The proposed price is unacceptably high for us,” Traikov said in Sofia. “The power plant should not cost more than 5 billion euros in our estimates.”
Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said during a Nov. 13 visit to Sofia that Rosatom has given a “precise cost estimate” for the Belene nuclear plant near Svishtov that the Bulgarian government will assess. He gave no figure then.
Construction of the Danube plant has stalled since Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government came to power 16 months ago and refused to provide state funding, which prompted RWE AG, Germany’s second-largest utility, to withdraw. Atomstroyexport ZAO, a unit of Rosatom, was chosen in 2005 to build the plant, with Areva SA and Siemens AG as subcontractors.
Bulgaria will choose a consultant today who will estimate the total cost of the project including the adjacent infrastructure and interest payments due, Traikov said. The consultant will also seek new investors in the project.
Russia and Bulgaria plan to invite German and Italian companies to participate in the Belene plant with 1 percent to 2 percent stakes, the Russian government said in documents distributed to reporters in Moscow on Nov. 13. They didn’t specify the companies.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-15/russia-bulgaria-disagree-over-danube-nuclear-power-plant-price.html
3. Iran's Nuke Plant to Feed Power Grid in December
(for personal use only)
Iran's first nuclear power plant will start feeding the country's power grid late next month, state television reported Sunday.
It quoted Behzad Soltani, deputy head of Iran's nuclear department, as saying the feed from the Bushehr plant in southern Iran will begin when its output reaches 250 megawatts.
The power plant's energy output was scheduled to reach about 900 megawatts by spring next year, he added.
That is about 11 megawatts below the full capacity of the Russian-built plant.
The plant is not part of Iranian nuclear activity that's a source of serious concern to the West, which suspects that the Iranians are trying to produce an atomic bomb. Iran denies its nuclear program is geared toward anything other than the production of energy.
The West is pushing Tehran to fully open all of its nuclear-related facilities to international inspection and to give up uranium enrichment, a crucial step in the process of making a nuclear weapon.
The European Union is offering to meet with Iran on Dec. 5 to discuss Tehran's nuclear program. If Iran agrees, the talks will involve a group of negotiators from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ikR3fKgpB5D3n2ltzg-IaI3oiFRw?docId=94e875d6cf6b499cb0dc3fcfd65b9c27
Korea and Turkey failed to finalize an agreement to build nuclear power plants in the Eurasian country over their differences on prices, officials said Saturday.
Seoul officials said the two sides will continue to talk while Ankara increased pressure floating the possibility that it could find an alternative contractor.
Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy had said the two countries would sign a final intergovernmental agreement for the project worth $20 billion on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Seoul.
President Lee Myung-bak met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.
Yet the two were unable to narrow their different stances on a number of issues including the cost for the project, and those concerning the financial terms and distribution of shares in a planned company which would build and operate the plants.
The two countries agreed to “expand practical cooperation in nuclear power plant construction, the defense industry and infrastructure construction,” Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release Saturday.
“But the two sides decided to resume talks shortly as Turkey said it desires to carry out some additional reviews on our revised proposals,” Ministry of Knowledge Economy officials said.
Turkey meanwhile is said to be in contact with other contenders such as Japan, the U.S. and European companies for the nuclear project.
It plans to invite Japanese industrial giant Toshiba for talks next week, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz minister said Saturday.
“We will begin contacts with other countries (other than Korea) as well. We have to enter into a speedy negotiation process,” Yildiz was quoted as saying by local press.
Turkey is planning to build four nuclear reactors in Sinop, the country’s northern Black Sea coastal areas. Each project is estimated to be worth $5 billion.
Officials from Seoul and Ankara have been holding talks regarding the nuclear project over the past few months since the bilateral pact on their broad cooperation in nuclear energy which was signed in June.
They also held working-level talks in Turkey last month to talk more about concrete plans such as the location, size and business type for the project. High-level ministry officials have noted that Korea hopes to finalize the deal during the G20 summit in Seoul which ended Friday.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy has been striving to nurture its nuclear energy industry as one of the country’s key future growth engines. The government aims to secure $400 billion worth of nuclear plant contracts by 2030.
The trend has been initiated by a consortium led by KEPCO striking a $20 billion deal with the United Arab Emirates in 2009 to build four atomic power generators in the country by 2020, beating industry leaders such as General Electric Co. and Areva.
Alongside Turkey, Korea signed a nuclear energy memorandum of understanding with Poland and Argentina in August and September, respectively. The Philippines, Malaysia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Finland have also been showing increasing interest in working with the country regarding such industries.
Available at: http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20101114000283
DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to visit the websites from which the source material originates. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of Partnership for Global Security. Partnership for Global Security takes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.