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Nuclear News - 12/2/2010
PGS Nuclear News, December 2, 2010
Compiled By: Matthew Kapuscinski


A.  Iran
    1. Iran to Boost Security for Nuclear Scientists, Associated Press (12/1/2010)
    2. China Calls for Dialogue, Negotiation to Solve Iran Nuclear Issue, Xinhua News Agency (12/1/2010)
    3. Iran Completes Fueling Bushehr Reactor, PressTV (12/1/2010)
B.  DPRK
    1. US Announces Talks with Japan, South Korea on North Korea, AFP (12/1/2010)
    2. China Secretly Proposed Trilateral Talks with U.S., North Korea: Cable, The Korea Herald (12/1/2010)
    3. Russia's Deputy Nuclear Envoy to Meet with South Korean Officials, Xinhua News Agency (12/1/2010)
C.  Pakistan
    1. Pakistan Dismisses Nuclear Fears in Leaked US Cables, AFP (12/1/2010)
D.  Nonproliferation
    1. Putin: Failure to Ratify START Would Be 'Dumb', Associated Press (12/1/2010)
    2. U.N. Atom Agency Head "Solidly in U.S. Court": WikiLeaks, Fredrik Dahl, Reuters (12/1/2010)
    3. Former Soviet Republic Giving Up Nuclear Materials, Associated Press (12/1/2010)
    4. South Korea to Invite Belarus to Seoul Nuclear Summit Upon Uranium Elimination: White House, Hwang Doo-hyong, Yonhap News Agency (12/1/2010)
E.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Nuclear Electricity 'Worth Investing In', The Australian (12/2/2010)
    2. Australian Labor MPs Call for Nuclear Power Debate, Xinhua News Agency (12/1/2010)
    3. Fortum, Rosatom in Deal to Build Bulgaria Plant, Reuters (12/1/2010)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Pakistan's Growing Nuclear Programme, Syed Shoaib Hasan, BBC News (12/1/2010)
    2. Clinton Welcomes Iran’s Agreement to Return to Nuclear Talks, Nicole Gaouette, Bloomberg (12/1/2010)
    3. US: Sanctions Cost Iran Investment, Banking Access, Reuters (12/1/2010)
    4. Russia Opens World's First Nuclear Fuel Bank, Dmitry Zaks, AFP (12/1/2010)



A.  Iran

1.
China Calls for Dialogue, Negotiation to Solve Iran Nuclear Issue
Xinhua News Agency
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


China Wednesday renewed its call for dialogue and negotiation to solve the Iranian nuclear issue as the European Union and Iran prepare for talks.

"On the Iranian nuclear issue, the parties concerned should bear in mind the larger picture and long-term interests. They should increase diplomatic efforts and remain patient," Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at a forum in Beijing.

Yang urged all parties concerned to adopt a flexible, pragmatic and proactive approach to achieve a "a comprehensive, long-term and appropriate solution."

Yang's comment come as the EU and Iran ready themselves for talks in Geneva on Dec. 6 and 7. The talks will be the first high-level discussion between the two sides since October 2009.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton is scheduled to meet with Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili to solve Iran's nuclear issue, a spokesman for Ashton said in Brussels Tuesday.

The EU hopes all issues will be on the table, including Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

The Iranian president has repeatedly said its nuclear program is not up for negotiation because it is for peaceful purpose.

Available at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-12/01/c_13630651.htm


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2.
Iran Completes Fueling Bushehr Reactor
PressTV
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


The head of the Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) of Iran says the process of loading fuel into the core of the Bushehr power plant's reactor has been completed.

"The loading of the last fuel rods into the core of the Bushehr power plant completed the reactor's fueling process successfully and the plant was capped," Ali Akbar Salehi said on Wednesday.

The loading of fuel rods into the core of the reactor was the key part of the operation and there will be no access to the core after the plant is capped, he added.

The AEOI head stressed that all the tests needed to put the Bushehr power plant into operation have been successfully conducted, adding that the reactor would be able to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity within the next six to nine months.

The 1,000 megawatts of electricity generated at the Bushehr plant equals one fortieth of the country's electricity needs, he continued.

Salehi went on to say that at the time of reactors' connection to the national grid, the plant will be able to generate 40 percent of the required electricity.

The Bushehr nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr is the country's first nuclear reactor which operates under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The construction of the Bushehr plant started in 1975 when Germany signed a contract with Iran. Germany, however, pulled out of the project following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran then signed a deal with Russia in 1995, under which the plant was originally scheduled to be completed in 1999, but completion of the project was repeatedly delayed. The nuclear power plant was finally finished with the help of Russia after more than three decades.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/153439.html


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3.
Iran to Boost Security for Nuclear Scientists
Associated Press
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


Iran said Wednesday it will increase security for its nuclear scientists as a funeral was held for a leading expert killed in a mysterious assassination that the government blamed on the Mossad and the CIA.

Iranian state media said the killing of the scientist and the wounding of another on Monday was part of a Western campaign to sabotage its nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies suspect is aimed at producing weapons — something Iran denies.

According to Iran, that campaign included the abduction of Iranian scientists, the sale of faulty equipment and the planting of a destructive computer worm known as Stuxnet, which briefly brought Iran's uranium enrichment activity to a halt last month.

Iran's chief suspect is archenemy Israel, whose Mossad spy agency has a long history of assassinating foes far beyond the country's borders. In this case, Iran accuses Israel of enlisting agents of an Iranian opposition group, the People's Mujahedeen, to carry out the hit, the defense minister said. There was also coordination with the CIA and Britain's MI6, he claimed.

The daring attacks — if they were the work of a foreign power — suggest that the standoff between Iran and the West over Tehran's uranium enrichment program has entered a new and extremely dangrous phase.

Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Wednesday the assassination was a warning to Iran before Dec. 6-7 nuclear talks with world powers.

"The wicked people wanted to demonstrate their ugly side, which is the policy of carrot and stick, prior to the upcoming nuclear talks," Salehi said at the funeral, according to state TV.

The two scientists were targeted by bombs that hit their cars in separate parts of the capital. Tehran's police chief has said assailants on motorcycles stuck magnetized bombs to their cars while they were moving through traffic and detonated them seconds later.

Time magazine reported a different account Tuesday, saying an explosive charge was placed inside the slain man's car and detonated by remote control after he got into the vehicle. It quoted a Western intelligence expert with knowledge of the operation, and said the other attack was similar.

Several Iranian news websites said Wednesday the man who survived, Fereidoun Abbasi, realized he was under attack and was able to stop the car and jump out along with his wife.

Abbasi appears to be the more senior of the two. He is on a sanctions list under U.N. Security Council resolution 1747, passed in 2007, which described him as a Defense Ministry scientist with links to the Institute of Applied Physics, working closely with a scientist believed to be heading secret nuclear projects with possible military dimensions.

A pro-government website, mashreghnews.ir, said Abbasi was a laser expert and one of the few top Iranian specialists in nuclear isotope separation.

The slain man, Majid Shahriari, was a member of the nuclear engineering faculty at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran and was involved in an unspecified major project with the country's nuclear agency.

However Shahriari's expertise — neutron transport — is particularly interesting because it lies at the heart of nuclear chain reactions in reactors and bombs.

Days before the attack, a doctoral treatise was published at Tehran's Amir Kabir University showcasing new strides in neutron calculation with Shahriari as the supervising professor, according to hardline rajanews.com news website.

The website says the treatise was significant because it sought to design a new generation of reactors.

Parviz Davoudi, a professor at the university and a former vice president, said Shahriari did have some protection, but did not give details.

Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Ali Abdollahi said "protection for academics will be pursued more seriously." He did not elaborate.

The United States, Israel and many other countries are alarmed by Iran's nuclear program and say many elements of it are suspicious. Iran insists it only has peaceful intentions, like the production of nuclear power. But its enrichment of uranium — ostensibly to produce fuel for a future network of power reactors — is a process that can also be used to make weapons.

Iran insisted Monday's assassination would not undermine its determination to forge ahead.

"This ominous terrorist attack was carried out by the Zionist regime in coordination with the intelligence services of the West, especifically the U.S. and Britain, with hypocrite mercenaries as agents on the ground," Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as saying by the hard-line daily Kayhan.

Hypocrite mercenaries is a reference to the People's Mujahedeen. The Iraq-based group claimed responsibility for dozens of deadly attacks in Iran over the past three decades.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran holds members of the U.N. Security Council responsible, saying that by putting Abbasi on the sanctions list it effectively gave the assassins his address.

Similar attacks have been blamed on Israel, such as the 2008 assassination of top Hezbollah military commander Imad Mughniyeh, killed by a bomb placed in a headrest in his car in Damascus, Syria.

It's also suspected in the assassination of a top Hamas operative in a Dubai hotel by disguised killers early this year and of creating the complex Stuxnet computer worm.

Israeli officials refused to comment on speculation that the Mossad carried out Monday's attack.

Yossi Melman, an Israeli journalist and historian who has written several books about intelligence matters, said he was almost certain that the Mossad did it, though he stressed he had no specific inside information.

He said few others would have the necessary motivation, know-how, intelligence and daring.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gyZGF9Ugb_JT1mjzn2oQHOQfh5Qw?docId=25caa28174d7480b83cbb5b36c09a349


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B.  DPRK

1.
China Secretly Proposed Trilateral Talks with U.S., North Korea: Cable
The Korea Herald
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


China proposed to the United States a trilateral meeting that also included North Korea, a Japanese news agency reported Tuesday, citing a U.S. diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks.

The proposal is seen as a Chinese strategy to exclude South Korea, Japan and Russia from the six-party nuclear talks to turn the 7-year-old multilateral security dialogue into a three-way meeting to boost Beijing’s influence on security on the Korean Peninsula, Seoul observers said.

According to the report from Japan’s Kyodo News, China offered the proposal last April, but failed to draw a positive response from the United States.

“Washington hasn’t made specific response to the proposal since North Korea has not achieved any progress in the denuclearization of its nuclear program nor shown willingness to give up its nuclear program,” the report said.
The six nations, including South and North Korea, launched the multilateral nuclear talks in 2003, but have made little progress in the face of the North’s refusal to abandon its nuclear programs. The six-party talks have not resumed since 2008.

The chances of resuming the North Korean nuclear talks became slimmer when the communist country torpedoed South Korean warship Cheonan in March, killing 46 South Korean sailors.

On Sunday, China proposed holding an emergency meeting of chief nuclear envoys to the six-party talks to discuss North Korean issues including North Korea’s deadly attack on a South Korean island in the West Sea on Nov. 27. But South Korea and the United States dismissed China’s proposal, contending that it is not time yet to discuss resumption of six-party negotiations.

President Lee Myung-bak asked China to play a role that suits its new position in inter-Korean relations of the 21st century in a meeting with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo at Cheong Wa Dae on Sunday.

Another U.S. diplomatic cable released on the WikiLeaks site shows that several high-ranking North Korean officials have defected to the South as Pyongyang struggled with an “increasingly chaotic situation.”

The cable ― written by the U.S. ambassador to Seoul in January ― also quoted South Korea’s foreign minister as saying that the defections by officials based overseas “have not been made public.”

Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan had asserted that the succession from leader Kim Jong-il to his son Jong-un, 27, was “not going smoothly” and that a botched currency reform had caused “big problems” for the communist regime, AFP reported.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry and intelligence agency Wednesday declined to confirm the authenticity of the material, which was marked “confidential,” according to the report.

The report by U.S. ambassador Kathleen Stephens said Yu had predicted that Kim Jong-Il would visit China within weeks ― a trip he indeed made, albeit months later, in May, followed by another visit in August.

Yu asserted that “the North Korean leader needed both Chinese economic aid and political support to stabilize an ‘increasingly chaotic’ situation at home,” the American ambassador wrote.

“In particular, FM Yu claimed that the North’s botched currency reform had caused ‘big problems’ for the regime and that the power succession from KJI (Kim Jong-il) to Kim Jong-un was ‘not going smoothly,’” she wrote.

Available at:
http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20101201000908


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2.
Russia's Deputy Nuclear Envoy to Meet with South Korean Officials
Xinhua News Agency
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


Russia's deputy nuclear envoy to stalled talks over denuclearization of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is set to arrive in Seoul Wednesday for talks with his South Korean counterparts.

Grigory Logvinov is scheduled to meet Thursday with Cho Hyun- dong, director general for Pyongyang's nuclear issues, and Kim Hong-kyun, Director-General for Korean Peninsula Peace Regime, according to the foreign ministry here.

He will also reportedly meet with Seoul's chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac to discuss issues including the DPRK's artillery bombardment last week of a South Korean border island. Moscow previously said the attack, which resulted in civilian casualties, "deserves to be condemned."

The stalled nuclear disarmament talks and inter-Korean relations will also be on the table, according to the foreign ministry. China, host of the six-party talks, recently proposed holding what it called "emergency consultations" among chief envoys this month to help defuse tension on the Korean peninsula.

Seoul has practically dismissed the call, citing inappropriate timing.

Available at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-12/01/c_13630329.htm


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3.
US Announces Talks with Japan, South Korea on North Korea
AFP
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet on Monday in Washington with her counterparts from South Korea and Japan to discuss tension with North Korea, the State Department said Wednesday.

The announcement of Clinton's meeting with South Korea's Kim Sung-hwan and Japan's Seiji Maehara ignored China, which had invited the three and Russia to emergency talks after North Korea's bombardment of a South Korean island.

The trilateral meeting will be to "discuss the recent developments on the Korean Peninsula and their impact on regional security, as well as other regional and global issues," the State Department said in a statement.

"This meeting demonstrates the extraordinarily close coordination between the United States, the Republic of (South) Korea, and Japan and our commitment to security on the Korean Peninsula and stability in the region," it said.

Tensions rose sky-high last week after the North shelled a South Korean border island, killing four people and wounding 18 in the first bombardment of a civilian area in the South since the Korean war.

Since the shelling, China has come under growing international pressure to step in forcefully to restrain its unpredictable ally North Korea, but it has refrained from joining world criticism of the Stalinist regime in Pyongyang.

Instead, on Sunday it proposed bringing together the envoys of the long-stalled six-nation talks on North Korean nuclear disarmament some time in the first 10 days of December for "emergency consultations" in Beijing.

The talks involve the two Koreas, Russia, China, Japan and the United States.

And diplomats at the United Nations said Tuesday that China has blocked UN Security Council condemnation of North Korea over its artillery attack on the rival South and its new nuclear activities.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gGuhpro1GHbUJPPY_74zLPWEXhQQ?docId=CNG.fa0914aaf88efbfc94d9b1b4fc7fecae.5c1


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C.  Pakistan

1.
Pakistan Dismisses Nuclear Fears in Leaked US Cables
AFP
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


Pakistan on Wednesday dismissed American and British fears that its nuclear weapons programme could fall into hands of terrorists as laid bare in leaked American diplomatic cables.

Memos obtained by whistleblower site WikiLeaks and reported by the Guardian and The New York Times suggested Wednesday that the United States was more concerned than it let on publicly about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

"Their fears are misplaced and doubtless fall in the realm of condescension," foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit told AFP.

"There has not been a single incident involving our fissile material, which clearly reflects how strong our controls and mechanisms are.

"It is time they part with their historical biases against Pakistan," Basit said, referring to Britain and the United States.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5irtGgREwabBPgeKt3mTtrPiw5UpA?docId=CNG.8f87b22ed229ce8a572883bc0e564dac.741


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D.  Nonproliferation

1.
Former Soviet Republic Giving Up Nuclear Materials
Associated Press
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


The former Soviet republic of Belarus announced Wednesday that it will give up its stockpile of material used to make nuclear weapons by 2012.

The arrangement was announced on the sidelines of an international security meeting in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her Belarussian counterpart, Sergei Martynov.

The announcement is a significant step forward in efforts aimed at keeping nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, and follows similar commitments made by other former Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan.

In a written statement with Martynov, Clinton said Washington will provide technical and financial help to enable Belarus to dispose of its highly enriched uranium stocks. The amount of material was not mentioned but is believed to be enough to make at least several nuclear bombs.

Belarus in 1994 gave up the nuclear weapons it inherited in the breakup of the Soviet Union, but it retained its highly enriched uranium stocks.

Washington has had chilly relations with Belarus.

In July, in an address to an international conference in Poland on democracy and human rights, Clinton cited Belarus as among countries across the globe where a "steel vise" of suppression is "slowly crushing civil society and the human spirit."

The announcement in Astana did not mention the amount of highly enriched uranium that Belarus possesses. The Interfax news agency in Belarus quoted President Alexander Lukashenko in April as saying his country has "hundreds of kilograms" of weapon-grade as well as low-enriched uranium, and that it was being used only for research purposes.

According to the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Belarus has 170 kilograms (375 pounds) of highly enriched uranium at its Sosny nuclear research institute, but other unofficial sources have made estimates as low as 40 kilograms (88 pounds), which would be enough to make at least several nuclear bombs.

A senior State Department official told reporters in Astana that Belarus will transfer 485.01 pounds (220 kilograms) of highly enriched uranium to Russia, under terms of the agreement. But he said he could not immediately say how much of that is enriched sufficiently to produce nuclear weapons.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential details of the Belarus arrangement, also said that as part of the deal, Belrus will acquire a nuclear reactor that operates on lower-enriched uranium. He said this will fulfill a goal shared by the U.S. and Belarus: greater energy diversity among European nations. Belarus currently is heavily dependent on natural gas, much of it from Russia.

Wednesday's announcement is a step toward a highly ambitious goal — set at a nuclear security summit meeting in Washington in April — of securing all nuclear weapons material worldwide within four years. Belarus, along with Iran and North Korea, were not invited to the April summit because of their refusal to cooperate on security nuclear material.

With its decision to give up its highly enriched uranium, Belarus has secured an invitation to the next scheduled nuclear security summit, to be hosted by South Korea in 2012, the joint U.S.-Belarus statement said.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hfAHNBAgoU4TMcCtdEwIeM5qZfpA?docId=8b7a290b0a904b7fb290ae751d89829c


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2.
Putin: Failure to Ratify START Would Be 'Dumb'
Associated Press
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is warning that his country will find it necessary to build up its nuclear forces, if the United State's doesn't ratify a new arms reduction treaty.

The treaty, called New START, was worked out this year amid praise that it marked a newly cooperative spirit between Washington and Moscow. However, many Republicans in the U.S. Senate are expressing reluctance to ratify it.

Putin, in an interview to be broadcast Wednesday on the CNN television channel, said that if the treaty isn't ratified, "we'll have to react somehow," including deploying new nuclear technology.

In interview excerpts posted on CNN's website, Putin said the treaty is in the United States' best interests and it would take "a very dumb nature" for legislators to ignore that.

Putin's comments come a day after President Dmitry Medvedev made a similar warning to the West on another defense issue, NATO's proposal to build a European missile defense system. Russia has been invited to participate in the system, but substantial questions remain, including whether Russia would be an equal partner with the Western alliance.

"In the next 10 years, the following alternatives await us — either we reach agreement on missile defense and create a full joint cooperation mechanism, or, if we don't reach a constructive agreement, a new phase of the arms race will begin," Medvedev said Tuesday in his annual address to both houses of parliament. "And we will have to make a decision on deploying new means of attack."

In Washington, Republicans reluctant to ratify New START quickly said Tuesday the Obama administration had dealt with some of their misgivings, raising the prospect for U.S. Senate approval of the treaty.

President Barack Obama has insisted that completion of the treaty is a national security imperative, and he argued for the pact at a White House meeting with congressional leaders.

Republicans, led by Sen. Jon Kyl, have rejected the president's contention that the treaty must be dealt with during Congress' current short year-ending session, arguing that the Senate has more pressing business and several issues on the nuclear deal remain unresolved.

Still, the Republicans' positive comments raised the possibility that the treaty might be approved by the end of the year.

Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday that Obama administration officials responded late Monday night to several matters raised by Kyl and himself about modernization of the remaining U.S. nuclear arsenal and sufficient funds for safeguarding the stockpile.

The treaty would reduce the limits on strategic warheads held by the United States and Russia to 1,550 for each country from the current level of 2,200 and would establish a system so each country could inspect and verify the other's arsenal.

In addition to their concerns about modernization, Republicans also have argued that the treaty would limit U.S. missile defense options.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jCbjit_Yth9wW2h2J2rnyeqYYgFg?docId=99859914b0d445c7a567a9ca365997a3


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3.
South Korea to Invite Belarus to Seoul Nuclear Summit Upon Uranium Elimination: White House
Hwang Doo-hyong
Yonhap News Agency
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


South Korea has agreed to invite Belarus to the nuclear security summit in Seoul in 2012 if the former Soviet republic implements its pledge to abandon stocks of highly enriched uranium inherited from the Soviet Union, the White House said Wednesday.

"The Republic of Korea, as host of the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, has agreed to invite Belarus, contingent upon the completion of its highly enriched uranium removals," spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "They will be extending an invitation to Belarus to participate in the next Nuclear Security Summit if they follow through on their commitment that they've made to the secretary of state to remove all their highly enriched uranium."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Belarus Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov on the margins of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, earlier in the day to agree that Belarus will eliminate the uranium by 2012 in exchange for financial and technical assistance from the U.S.

Belarus for years has resisted international pressure to abandon hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium.

"Belarus has agreed to eliminate all its stocks of highly enriched uranium by the time of the next Nuclear Security Summit in 2012," Gibbs said. "This removal represents a significant, as I said, step forward in President Obama's worldwide effort to secure nuclear material."

The spokesman said the Obama administration "intends to provide technical and financial assistance to support this effort."

Available at:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2010/12/02/56/0301000000AEN20101202001200315F.HTML


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4.
U.N. Atom Agency Head "Solidly in U.S. Court": WikiLeaks
Fredrik Dahl
Reuters
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Yukiya Amano suggested before he took office last year that he was "solidly in the U.S. court" on key issues including Iran, U.S. diplomatic cables cited by the Guardian newspaper said.

The report may worsen tension between Amano, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Iran at a sensitive time in wider diplomatic efforts to resolve a dispute over the Islamic state's nuclear program.

Talks between Iran and six big powers -- the United States, France, Russia, Britain, China and Germany -- are due to resume next week in Geneva in the first such meeting in more than year.

Western powers suspect Iran of seeking to develop nuclear bombs behind the front of a declared civilian nuclear energy program, an accusation Tehran rejects.

A European diplomat predicted that Tehran's envoy would raise the issue of the leaked U.S. cables at a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board starting on Thursday, which is due to discuss its latest report on Iran's nuclear activities.

"I'm certain that at some point he will comment on how the United States has stated Amano is their person or is on their wavelength," the diplomat said.

Washington's envoy to the Vienna-based U.N. agency, Ambassador Glyn Davies, said the United States regretted any "embarrassment or discomfort" caused by the leaked documents.

Iran has accused Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, of bias and relations, which soured further in June when he said Tehran was hampering IAEA work by barring some of its inspectors.

Throwing independent weight behind the West's suspicions about Tehran's atomic ambitions, Amano said in his first report on Iran in February that the IAEA feared Tehran may be working now to develop a nuclear-armed missile.

U.S. REGRETS

Britain's Guardian is one of a number of publications worldwide to have had early access to some 250,000 U.S. cables obtained by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

The U.S. mission to the IAEA, in a cable written after Amano was elected but before he took office in December 2009, described him as a "DG (Director General) of all states, but in agreement with us."

It said Amano had reminded the U.S. ambassador on several occasions that he would need to make concessions to developing countries, "but that he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program."

Amano, who succeeded Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei after serving as Japanese ambassador to the IAEA, rose into the position thanks to overwhelming support from industrialized states, while many developing countries regarded him as a tool of Western powers.

The cables also suggested there were staff tensions within the IAEA, with one quoting Amano as saying he was seeking to replace a senior official with someone who was closer to his own thinking. The official named is still in his position.

The European diplomat said he believed the impression created by the leaked documents was unfair to Amano, who he said had "done bis best to be a neutral and technical DG."

Davies, the U.S. ambassador, said: "We regret the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential and we regret any embarrassment or discomfort to colleagues that the publications of the documents may cause."

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B01R720101201


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E.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Nuclear Electricity 'Worth Investing In'
The Australian
12/2/2010
(for personal use only)


A report by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering compared various means of generating low-carbon electricity, and found reducing greenhouse gas emissions would require a substantial rise in electricity prices and a carbon price that escalated over time.

Combined-cycle gas turbine generation would produce the cheapest electricity in 2020, solar would be the most expensive, and wind power would produce the cheapest low-carbon electricity in 2040.

Nuclear power plants were unlikely to be built by 2020, but nuclear power could be cost-competitive in 2030 and 2040, assuming Treasury's projected carbon price of $US67 and $US90 per ton of CO2, respectively.

The report, launched yesterday by Energy Minister Martin Ferguson, comes as the ALP faces an internal debate over nuclear power, and the opposition calls for the Productivity Commission to investigate all renewable energy tariffs.

Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said the economic advisory body should examine whether the current state-based feed-in tariffs for solar and wind power ultimately pushed up the price of electricity.

Each state and territory government offers generous payments to households for wind and solar power that is fed into the power grid. The tariffs range from 60c per k/Wh in Victoria to 20c in Tasmania and NSW.

Mr Hunt told The Australian yesterday he was aware people were deeply concerned about power prices. "We want to find the least cost, most efficient means of reducing emissions," he said. "The Productivity Commission should look at whether feed-in tariffs are an effective way of reducing emissions and if so whether a single national regime would be a best way of delivering that."

The opposition's calls for a broad-brush productivity analysis of Australian programs came as Greens deputy leader Christine Milne called for feed-in tariffs for renewable energies to be streamlined across the nation.

"What the government needs to do is first and foremost introduce a national gross feed-in tariff for large-scale renewables," Senator Milne said.

Available at:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/nuclear-electricity-worth-investing-in/story-e6frg6nf-1225964142216


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2.
Australian Labor MPs Call for Nuclear Power Debate
Xinhua News Agency
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


Australian Federal Labor Members of Parliament (MPs) on Wednesday called for Australia to embrace nuclear power.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been under pressure to put the divisive issue on next year's Australian Labor Party national conference agenda.

According to Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, those advocating nuclear power had as much right to have the issue debated, as other people have to debate the issue of gay and lesbian marriage.

News Limited reported that a number of Labor MPs have gone public in their support for the low-carbon energy source, including former frontbencher Mark Bishop and New South Wales senator Steve Hutchins.

Hutchins supported for a debate on nuclear energy at the national conference, and said he was not sure if Australians were ready to address nuclear power.

"But are Australians prepared to pay ever increasing electricity prices for their home consumption and their industry consumption?" he told Australia Associated Press on Wednesday.

"I would think people would ask us to consider all forms of alternative energy to make sure that we can continue to turn on our lights and make sure we have industry to work at."

He said Australia had inordinate amounts of uranium that could be turned into nuclear power.

"Why shouldn't we consider it as an alternative?"

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Labor members are welcome to try to reverse the party's opposition to nuclear power at next year's national conference, but a change of policy is highly improbable.

Gillard said it remained her view that nuclear power was not needed in Australia because there were other abundant sources of renewable energy.

Available at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-12/01/c_13629915.htm


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3.
Fortum, Rosatom in Deal to Build Bulgaria Plant
Reuters
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)


Fortum, Finland's top energy group, said late on Tuesday it signed a deal to develop a nuclear power plant in Bulgaria with the country's national utility NEK and Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.

"Fortum has reserved an opportunity to obtain a 1 percent share of the equity in the project company that will be established and will be the owner of the power plant and the electricity generated by it," Fortum said in a statement.

The Belene plant is to consist of two Russian VVER-type pressurized water reactors with 1,050 MW capacity each.

Earlier this month Fortum signed another memorandum of understanding with Rosatom on cooperating on nuclear power operations.

The Finnish utility owns the Loviisa nuclear plant, which accounts for about a tenth of Finland's electricity production. Earlier this year it failed to receive government backing to build a new nuclear reactor in its home market.

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL3E6N10DS20101201


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F.  Links of Interest

1.
Clinton Welcomes Iran’s Agreement to Return to Nuclear Talks
Nicole Gaouette
Bloomberg
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-01/clinton-welcomes-iran-s-agreement-t..


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2.
Pakistan's Growing Nuclear Programme
Syed Shoaib Hasan
BBC News
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11888973


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3.
Russia Opens World's First Nuclear Fuel Bank
Dmitry Zaks
AFP
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hq6r0QVLkC5P0MSpfP7SmlqTK..


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4.
US: Sanctions Cost Iran Investment, Banking Access
Reuters
12/1/2010
(for personal use only)
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0113655820101201


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