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Nuclear News - 3/16/2010
PGS Nuclear News, March 16, 2010
Compiled By: Matthew Kapuscinski


A.  Iran
    1. Top UK Diplomat Visits China, Iran on Agenda, PressTV (3/15/2010)
    2. China 'Knows Its Duties' in Iran Nuclear Tussle: Saudi, AFP (3/15/2010)
    3. Merkel Says Iran Sanctions Looming, AFP (3/15/2010)
    4. Iran Dismisses Report on Nuclear Arms Quote, PressTV (3/15/2010)
    5. Iran Warns Aggressors of Destruction, Collapse, PressTV (3/15/2010)
    6. Finland: EU Will Impose Iran Sanctions if UN Stalls on Issue, Haaretz (3/13/2010)
B.  DPRK
    1. South Korea to Extend Mandate of Task Force on North Korean Nuke Crisis, Yonhap News Agency (3/14/2010)
    2. North Korea to Rejoin Nuclear Talks in April, Khaleej Times (3/13/2010)
    3. South Korea Must Lead in Resolving North Korean Nuclear Standoff: Minister, Yonhap News Agency (3/13/2010)
    4. Nuclear Envoys of Seoul, Tokyo Urge North Korea's Return to 6-Way Talks, Byun Duk-kun, Yonhap News Agency (3/12/2010)
C.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Russia, India Mull Uranium Joint Venture, Xinhua News Agency (3/15/2010)
    2. US and Russia 'Near' New Nuclear Arms Treaty, BBC News (3/14/2010)
    3. Nuclear Cooperation Will Cover All Areas: Putin, The Hindu (3/13/2010)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Germany to Research Nuke Waste Site, UPI (3/15/2010)
    2. IAEA Delegates Arrive in Abu Dhabi, Business Intelligence Middle East (3/15/2010)
    3. Official Assures Regional States of Bushehr Nuclear Plant's Safety, Fars News Agency (3/15/2010)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. Funding the Fight Against Nuclear Terrorism, Kenneth N. Luongo, Executive Director, RANSAC, The Stimson Center (3/16/2010)
    2. Government Forced to Shelve Nuke Liability Bill, Economic Times (3/16/2010)
    3. Reports Shine Light on Nuclear Weapons Vigilance, Walter Pincus, Washington Post, The Washington Post (3/16/2010)
    4. Nuclear Fuel Bank to Open Doors, Chris Stanton, The National (3/15/2010)
    5. Pakistani Scientist Khan Describes Iranian Efforts to Buy Nuclear Bombs, The Washington Post (3/14/2010)



A.  Iran

1.
China 'Knows Its Duties' in Iran Nuclear Tussle: Saudi
AFP
3/15/2010
(for personal use only)


China fully knows what it should do as a global power in the effort to halt Iran's nuclear push, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in an interview published Monday.

"China is perfectly aware of the scope of its responsibilities and its obligations, including in the position it holds on the international stage and as a permanent member of the (UN) Security Council," Prince Saud told Al-Riyadh newspaper.

He underscored that China is a "member of the six-party international group dealing with the Iran nuclear crisis," adding Riyadh supports the group's work, and he hoped Iran would cooperate with its efforts.

"We hope that Iran would cooperate with those efforts, and to see an end to the crisis in a way that would serve in making the region free of all weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons in particular," he said.

Saud was responding to a question about Riyadh's official denial last Friday that Saudi officials had discussed with visiting US Defence Secretary Robert Gates pressuring China to support more sanctions on Iran.

Gates told journalists two days before that it was a part of his talks with Saudi King Abdullah and other officials, but in an official statement the Saudi government said the issue was not discussed.

Washington has been seeking Saudi help in pressuring China to distance itself from Iran to support a new round of UN sanctions on Tehran.

China depends on both Saudi Arabia and Iran for a large part of its crude oil imports.

The US and European allies hope new sanctions could help stop Iran's alleged push to develop nuclear weapons, but China's lack of support has made it unlikely the proposed sanctions would be approved by the Security Council.

According to the Washington Post last week, Prince Saud made a quiet trip to Beijing in early March to discuss the issue.

Saudi officials have neither confirmed nor denied the report.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gVlvpyzhJQvt_9CjdmdqYw4-awbA


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2.
Iran Dismisses Report on Nuclear Arms Quote
PressTV
3/15/2010
(for personal use only)


Iran has dismissed a recent report by an American paper which claimed Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons in the late 1980s.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast described the report as a “propaganda ploy that shows Washington's ultimate frustration.”

In a Sunday article titled 'Iran's attempted deal with Pakistan,' The Washington Post, quoted Abdul Qadir Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, as claiming that Tehran had attempted to purchase nuclear weapons and know-how from Islamabad.

The Post bases its report on "never officially disclosed" material written by Khan while under house arrest in 2004, but does not provide a source for its story.

“The US is using such allegations to deprive the Iranian nation of its nuclear rights, which have been internationally recognized,” Mehmanparast said Monday, adding that Washington was following an “Iranophobia project” to justify its military presence in the Middle East.

The Washington Post report comes while Abdul Qadir Khan has repeatedly dismissed such allegations.

Abdul Basit, Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman, also rejected the report on Monday and said, "It is yet another repackaging of fiction which surfaces occasionally for purposes that are self-evident."

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=120882§ionid=351020104


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3.
Iran Warns Aggressors of Destruction, Collapse
PressTV
3/15/2010
(for personal use only)


Amid threats by Israel and certain powers of a military assault on Iran, a top Iranian commander has warned such countries of "destruction and collapse."

"We warn aggressive countries which have attacked our neighbors that they will face destruction should they make any mistake," Commander of the Iranian Army Major General Ataollah Salehi said on Monday.

"We will not allow aggressive powers to launch any attack on Iran while we know that our neighbors will never assault the Islamic Republic," he added.

The Army commander expressed Iran's readiness to counter aggression "not only to defend our land but to defend the ideals of all Muslims."

Salehi slammed remarks by "inexperienced" officials of Israel and "arrogant powers" against Iran, saying, "Their statements are within the prestige of their countries' diplomacy but have no military aspects at all."

Israel, reported to have the region's sole atomic arsenal, has repeatedly threatened Iran with a military attack, arguing that the country is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Plans for a military attack against Iran have gained momentum in Tel Aviv over the past few months.

On November 7, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon warned Iran that Tel Aviv's persistent threats of military action were not just a bluff.

Iran, a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) unlike Israel, views the claims as "unfounded and baseless as the non-diversion of Iranian nuclear materials has been repeatedly verified in unannounced visits by UN inspectors.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=120861§ionid=351020101


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4.
Merkel Says Iran Sanctions Looming
AFP
3/15/2010
(for personal use only)


German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday the time was nearing for sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, as Tehran has rejected Western efforts to find a negotiated solution.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Merkel said: "I made clear that we are coming to the phase where there should be sanctions against Iran."

"Iran has not accepted the constructive offers we have made and has even rejected them," she added.

Merkel's comments came a day after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the European Union was ready to impose unilateral sanctions as Western powers struggle to forge a consensus within the UN Security Council.

Germany is one of six powers negotiating with Iran over its nuclear programme, together with permanent, veto-wielding Security Council members the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France.

China, which recently replaced Germany to become Iran's biggest trading partner as a big buyer of its oil, is seen as less keen on fresh sanctions, while Russia has also expressed misgivings.

The West suspects Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge rejected by Tehran, which says its atomic programme is purely for civilian energy purposes.

In other remarks, Merkel sharply criticised Israel's decision to build new settler homes in east Jerusalem, calling it a "serious step back" in efforts to forge peace in the Middle East.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j1APAt7O8cidVA9Ob-WCMH5lcFqg


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5.
Top UK Diplomat Visits China, Iran on Agenda
PressTV
3/15/2010
(for personal use only)


British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is on his way to Beijing for talks focused on convincing China to agree to a new round of sanctions against Iran.

After a quick stop in Shanghai, Miliband on Monday headed to Beijing where he is scheduled to meet with his counterpart Yang Jiechi and Premier Wen Jiabao.

Before his departure, Miliband claimed the two countries see eye to eye on the Iranian nuclear program.

"Britain and China have not only agreed on the goals that Iran should respect the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but also respect that we need to keep a combination of engagement and pressure," Miliband told reporters at the Shanghai World Expo site.

This is while China has resisted Western pressure to agree with their demand to impose harsher sanctions on Iran.

On Friday, Britain's ambassador to Beijing warned that China could face isolation internationally, should it fail to give its consent to fresh sanctions against Iran.

"It's not in China's interests to find itself isolated from permanent members of the Security Council or the E3+3 (also known as the P5+1). It would damage China internationally," Sebastian Wood said.

The fourth set of financial sanctions, proposed by the United States, Britain, France and Germany targets restricting Iranian banks abroad and insurance for shipments to and from Iran.

However, the US-led efforts to build momentum for a fresh round of sanctions against Iran have so far hit a brick wall, as one of the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council has refused to back tougher measures against the Islamic Republic.
The Western powers claim Tehran's nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, a charge that the inspectors of UN's nuclear watchdog stationed in Iran have been unable to substantiate.

Iran, on the other hand, is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

No country has ever been subjected to more voluntary IAEA inspections than Iran. The Islamic Republic has repeatedly called for the elimination of all nuclear arms globally, a call ignored by nuclear powers and the West.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=120846§ionid=351020104


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6.
Finland: EU Will Impose Iran Sanctions if UN Stalls on Issue
Haaretz
3/13/2010
(for personal use only)


There is "consensus enough" between European Union members to approve more EU sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program if the United Nations Security Council stalls on the issue, Finland's foreign minister said Saturday.

Alexander Stubb was speaking while hosting informal talks with the EU's foreign-policy director, Catherine Ashton, and seven other European foreign ministers in northern Finland. His comment came a week after talks with all 27 EU foreign ministers.

"I am quite hopeful that we will be able to get something in the UN Security Council. Failing there, we will just have to do it unilaterally, the EU directly to Iran," Stubb said.

There is "consensus enough" among the EU's member states to push through EU-only sanctions, Stubb said.

Major EU foreign-policy decisions such as the imposition of new sanctions are traditionally taken by unanimity.

The EU already has a range of trade bans in place on Iran in a bid to pressure it into opening its controversial uranium-enrichment program to UN inspectors.

So far, EU policy has been to maintain those sanctions, urge Iran to return to talks and keep more punitive action in reserve in case the UN Security Council calls for it.

But Iran's February decision to boost its enrichment program outraged European officials and led to calls for new UN measures.

And recent comments from UN veto holder China, which still insists diplomacy is the best approach to dealing with Tehran, have led some EU ministers to urge the bloc to impose its own measures.

Stubb said that member states had suggested a range of possible sanctions, including on energy trade and the financial sector.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who also attended the informal talks in the Finnish ski resort of Saariselka, said that "we do not want to see any more sanctions in our region."

Available at:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1156085.html


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B.  DPRK

1.
South Korea to Extend Mandate of Task Force on North Korean Nuke Crisis
Yonhap News Agency
3/14/2010
(for personal use only)


South Korea's foreign ministry plans to extend the mandate of its provisional task force on the North Korean nuclear crisis by another year before seeking to turn it into a permanent organization, a ministry official said Sunday.

The task force, now led by Seoul's top nuclear envoy, Wi Sung-lac, was launched in March 2006 to handle policy and strategy on resolving the nuclear issue and ways to bring lasting peace to the peninsula.

Its first three-year mandate expired last year but it was extended for another year.

"The operating term of the Office of Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs is slated to end on March 28," the official said. "To begin with, we plan to extend it until March next year."

He added the ministry will push to turn the office into a standing body, citing the complex characteristics of the nuclear issue and the time and effort required to create strategies for peace.

Rep. Song Min-soon of the main opposition Democratic Party and about 30 other lawmakers submitted a bill earlier this month to that effect, saying South Korea needs a standing task force to meet long-term demand to deal with the complicated problem of resolving the nuclear crisis and setting up a workable peace regime on the peninsula.

Available at:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2010/03/14/30/0401000000AEN20100314001000315F.HTML


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2.
North Korea to Rejoin Nuclear Talks in April
Khaleej Times
3/13/2010
(for personal use only)


North Korea plans to head back to the bargaining table early next month for talks aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program, a news report said Saturday.

The North, believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least a half-dozen bombs, quit international disarmament-for-aid negotiations and conducted a second nuclear test last year, drawing tightened U.N. sanctions.

The North has said it will only return to the talks — which also involve the U.S., South Korea, China, Russia and Japan — after the sanctions are lifted and it holds peace talks with the United States on formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War.

The U.S. and South Korea have responded that the North must first return to the negotiating table and make progress on denuclearization.

An unidentified North Korean official in Beijing said Pyongyang will return to the six-way talks in early April and “present its idea to move forward denuclearization,” South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported Saturday.

The official said his country will see how the U.S. will react to the North’s plan, noting that the next move will be up to Washington.

A North Korean diplomat in Beijing who was contacted by The Associated Press said he had not heard of such plans. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.

A senior South Korean official involved in the nuclear talks also said he did not have information on the North’s reported plan, saying he could not predict when the talks would resume. He asked not to be identified, citing the issue’s sensitivity.

The nuclear talks were last held in Beijing in December 2008.

Available at:
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2010/March/international_March531.xml§ion=international&col=


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3.
South Korea Must Lead in Resolving North Korean Nuclear Standoff: Minister
Yonhap News Agency
3/13/2010
(for personal use only)


South Korean must play a leading role in resolving the North Korean nuclear standoff, a senior policymaker in Seoul said Saturday.

Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said at a gathering here the main reason for the uncertainties surrounding the Korean Peninsula can be found in North Korea's nuclear program. He added that because South Korea has a natural vested interest in what happens on the peninsula, it must push for change.

"Because we are directly involved in this matter, it is imperative that Seoul take active steps to deal with the issue," the minister said. He noted that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-53), but that the inter-Korean standoff remains fundamentally unchanged.

Pyongyang, despite warnings from the international community, detonated two nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009. It has since come under sweeping United Nations-led sanctions.

Hyun also said that because developments taking place on Korean Peninsula have international implications, there is a need to expand talks with foreign countries.

South Korea is party to the suspended six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear program. Besides the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and China are also involved in the negotiations.

Available at:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2010/03/13/69/0401000000AEN20100313001300320F.HTML


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4.
Nuclear Envoys of Seoul, Tokyo Urge North Korea's Return to 6-Way Talks
Byun Duk-kun
Yonhap News Agency
3/12/2010
(for personal use only)


Top nuclear negotiators of South Korea and Japan urged North Korea Friday to immediately return to six-nation talks on ending its nuclear programs, saying the only way the communist nation will win any concessions from the international community is through dialogue.

The meeting between South Korea's Wi Sung-lac and his Japanese counterpart, Akitaka Saiki, was held here as Saiki, also head of the Japanese foreign ministry's Asian and Oceanian affairs bureau, stopped in Seoul on his way to the southern island of Jeju for a meeting with Japanese diplomats.

"It was an opportunity to exchange their views and the outcome of their recent consultations with China," an official at Seoul's foreign ministry told reporters of the Wi-Saiki meeting.

The South Korean negotiator took a two-day trip to Beijing last month, shortly after North Korea's chief negotiator in the six-nation nuclear talks Kim Kye-gwan was there for a meeting with Wu Dawei, China's special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs.

Saiki met with Wu earlier this week in Beijing.

"His meeting with Wu appears to have been similar to that of ours (with Wu). They agreed to work for the resumption of the talks while taking a flexible approach," the ministry official said, asking not to be identified.

Wi and Saiki agreed there will be no reward for North Korea's mere return to the nuclear negotiations that also involve the United States and Russia.

"The sides agreed the North must return to the six-party talks without any preconditions, and that although North Korea continues to demand the removal of U.N. sanctions, such a move can only be considered when there is significant progress in the denuclearization of North Korea," the official said.

The North has also demanded the start of discussions for a peace treaty before its return to the nuclear talks, last held in December 2008.

The ministry official said the North appears to want the removal of the U.N. sanctions more than the start of discussions for a peace treaty that would officially end the 1950-53 Korean War.

"What is blocking the resumption of the talks is the sanctions," the official said.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan is scheduled to visit China next week for talks with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, which will include discussions on the resumption of the nuclear negotiations, ministry officials said.

Available at:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2010/03/12/40/0401000000AEN20100312008000315F.HTML


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C.  Nuclear Cooperation

1.
Russia, India Mull Uranium Joint Venture
Xinhua News Agency
3/15/2010
(for personal use only)


Russia and India could set up a joint venture to prospect and mine uranium, the head of Russia's state nuclear giant Rosatom said on Monday.

The joint venture might operate at the Elkon uranium field in Yakutia, Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Kiriyenko said the two countries might jointly build nuclear fuel manufacturing facilities in Russia and India.

He added that cooperation between Russia and India would not be restricted to fuel manufacturing and nuclear plant construction, saying nuclear power equipment manufacturing might also be localized in India.

Russia and India signed an agreement to construct up to 16 nuclear power units at three Indian sites during Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to New Delhi last week.

Kiriyenko said earlier that 12 of the units, including the first two already under construction at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in southern India, were to be built under a "road map" signed on Friday.

Available at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-03/16/c_13211993.htm


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2.
US and Russia 'Near' New Nuclear Arms Treaty
BBC News
3/14/2010
(for personal use only)


Russia and the US have both said it should soon be possible to conclude a new nuclear disarmament treaty.

Officials in Moscow and Washington said US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had a "good conversation" reviewing negotiations.

The two countries are trying to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expired last December.

The US says it has more than 2,000 nuclear weapons, while Russia is believed to have nearly 3,000.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to discuss nuclear disarmament with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later this week in Moscow.

In a telephone conversation on Saturday, the two presidents "expressed satisfaction with the high level of consensus on the basic lines" of the treaty negotiations, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The pair "stressed that it is already possible to set firm dates to submit the draft agreement to the heads of state for their signatures," the statement added, without setting the timeframe.

Disagreements

A spokesman for the White House National Security Council said: "Both leaders are committed to concluding an agreement soon."

The two presidents launched talks to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start) last April with an original deadline of December.

It was part of a Washington-inspired attempt to "reset" relations with Moscow after years of frayed ties under the administration of former US President George W Bush.

The landmark Start pact was signed in 1991 and led to huge reductions in the two countries' nuclear arsenals.

Both sides have agreed to cut the number of warheads they hold to between 1,500 and 1,675 each.

But there have been disagreements on verification measures, how to count weapons and launch systems.

Another bone of contention is the US plan for a missile defence system in Eastern Europe.

In their telephone call, the two leaders agreed to give their negotiators "additional instructions" for concluding a draft treaty, the Kremlin statement said.

US and Russian negotiators have been meeting in Geneva to discuss a successor to the Start treaty.

President Obama has said his goal is to have a nuclear-free world. He has promised to cut the number and role of nuclear weapons in US security strategy.

The US is hosting a nuclear non-proliferation summit in Washington in April.

Available at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8566579.stm


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3.
Nuclear Cooperation Will Cover All Areas: Putin
The Hindu
3/13/2010
(for personal use only)


India-Russia cooperation in civil nuclear energy will be wide ranging and cover areas such as nuclear waste and safety of reactors as well, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, during a video conference with businessmen from the country's main metros here.

Mr. Putin also advised a section of Indian business and strategic community to be “realistic'' in its attitude towards Pakistan and take into consideration the action taken by Islamabad against some militant organisations operating along its border with Afghanistan.

Indian officials have already described the civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries as “beyond the Indo-U.S. 123 agreement'' since the Indo-Russian pact has “forward looking'' language on enrichment and reprocessing, technology transfer and fuel supply assurances.

“Our cooperation is in construction and building of nuclear reactors, supply of nuclear fuel and India has expressed interest for help in disposal of nuclear waste,'' Mr. Putin said. In the area of safety, Russia had put the Chernobyl mishap behind it and was committing to sharing the best practices with India. In fact, he assured that Russia would provide the latest safety features while constructing the reactors in India. Russia had 30 operating reactors and was planning to put up another 28. All of them had the latest safety features which would be incorporated in the reactors to be set up in India. He indicated that Moscow was hoping for orders of up to a dozen reactors from New Delhi which would enable their supply at affordable rates.

Mr. Putin also drew attention to the partnership being built upon in space research which was also indicative of the growing Indo-Russia strategic partnership. The Russian Prime Minister termed operations by militant organisations based in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a matter of worry for the “entire region and in fact the whole world.”

Since India and Russia were near neighbours of the two countries the situation there impacted on their security as well.

“Parts of Afghanistan's soil continue to be used by terror groups. We understand the concerns of India regarding the activities of banned outfits in Pakistan,” the visiting Prime Minister said.

Available at:
http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/13/stories/2010031367571900.htm


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D.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Germany to Research Nuke Waste Site
UPI
3/15/2010
(for personal use only)


The German government plans to end a 10-year moratorium by reopening research into a potential nuclear waste storage site, a decision that sparked immediate criticism from the opposition.

German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said Berlin plans a security analysis of the controversial storage site at Gorleben in the state of Lower Saxony. The analysis and construction of a storage site would take 20 years, he said Monday in Berlin.

Germany in the 1970s identified the salt dome as a potential storage site for highly radioactive waste. In 2000, the government composed of the Social Democrats and the Greens halted research there because of political differences and public protests. They were and are in favor of looking for additional, potentially more promising locations.

Yet the Greens and the Social Democrats are now in opposition, and Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have favored looking into Gorleben again.

They say it's too expensive to look for alternative sites, but critics argue they favor Gorleben because most of the potential replacements are located in states dominated by Merkel's party colleagues.

"We will use all our powers to block this cowardly decision," said the leader of the Greens in the European Parliament, Rebecca Harms.

Environmental groups also blasted the decision.

Reopening research into Gorleben is a "waste of time and money," said Hubert Weiger, the head of the BUND environmental organization.

He added that experiences with the salt dome in Asse, where barrels with nuclear waste have leaked and inflowing groundwater threatens to collapse the cavern, show that other geological formations should be explored.

"If ... Roettgen concentrates on Gorleben, he gives the interests of nuclear plant owners priority over the population's security interests," Weiger said.

Roettgen promised that new research into Gorleben would be open-ended.

"Gorleben enjoys priority but not necessarily exclusivity," he said, adding that the security analysis, which will take about seven years, will decide whether Gorleben is "suitable nor not."

To understand the controversy that surrounds Gorleben, one has to go back to 1973, when the search for a permanent storage site began. The government identified three promising sites, all in Lower Saxony. Gorleben was not among them. After opposition from state officials the government let Lower Saxony choose its own site. It chose Gorleben, located in a sparsely populated area bordering former East Germany that the state wanted to boost economically.

Across Europe, several countries have launched programs to identify possible waste-storage sites; most countries bank on geological formations, some on natural caverns like Finland and Sweden, others on decommissioned mines like Germany and Switzerland, with France planning to first reprocess its spent fuel and to then store smaller amounts in geological formations.

Finland has identified a geologic repository near two existing reactors where it aims to store waste sealed in copper-clad containers starting in 2020.

France chose a location in 1998 and plans to have a working repository in place hopefully by 2025.

U.S. President Barack Obama last year cut funding for the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear storage project in Nevada, arguing that there are too many questions over its safety -- a clear sign that Washington has no viable answers to the questions tied to nuclear-waste storage.

Available at:
http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2010/03/15/Germany-to-research-nuke-waste-site/UPI-43431268678569/


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2.
IAEA Delegates Arrive in Abu Dhabi
Business Intelligence Middle East
3/15/2010
(for personal use only)


The Government of the UAE today hosted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and welcomed more than 300 international delegates, to mark the start of the week-long International Conference on Human Resource Development for Introducing and Expanding Nuclear Power Programmes.

The conference, which opened this morning at the Yas Marina Circuit, in cooperation with the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), and the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KUSTAR), addressed today key issues such as human resource development for the nuclear renaissance, and the role of both cooperating organizations and governments in the future of nuclear power delivery.

The next four days will cover discussions on the role of industry and educational institutions, as well as key learnings and best practice in human resource development, and promoting human resource development for women and the next generation of leaders.

In a video message, IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, said, “I am grateful to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for hosting this important event. The world is witnessing a resurgence of interest in the nuclear power and we at the IAEA want to do all we can to help member states address the issue of human resource development.”

The conference also features exhibitions from the UAE’s nuclear and human resource development sectors, with participation from KUSTAR, FANR and the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council. The Institute for Applied Technology (IAT) will also showcase scientific projects and studies from a group of select students throughout the event.

UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA, His Excellency Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi said: “This is the first time the UAE is hosting a conference with the IAEA member-states, and we are delighted to have so many leading experts and government officials here in Abu Dhabi.

As part of our close working relationship with the IAEA, we are looking forward to contributing to the discussion on human resource development in the nuclear industry, an issue which is significant not only for the UAE, but for countries around the world seeking to develop and expand their nuclear energy programs.”

Human resource development is a key challenge for the worldwide nuclear energy industry as the nuclear energy industry experiences a rebirth.

The IAEA reports that more than 50 countries have recently approached the organization expressing interest in launching nuclear energy programs. Another 30 countries are expanding their existing programs or considering expanding them.

These developments come at a time when there is a need to replace the generation of workers that commissioned the power plants now in operation.

The Government of the UAE recently announced plans to implement a civil nuclear energy program, and to have the first of its nuclear power plants operating by 2017. The UAE has recognized that human resource development will be a key factor in ensuring the success of the program.

In 2009, ENEC, FANR, and KUSTAR launched the UAE Nuclear Energy Scholarship Program, which provides UAE nationals with a full scholarship to enroll in some of the world’s finest universities and pursue a Bachelor or Masters Degree in nuclear, mechanical, or electrical engineering.

Once the studies are complete, the selected UAE national scholars will be provided with premier career opportunities in the UAE’s growing nuclear energy industry.

ENEC has also developed programs with the Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) to train and qualify UAE nationals to prepare the students for careers as nuclear technicians and operators.

The UAE nuclear energy industry will continue to identify education, knowledge transfer, and workplace training programs to support the ongoing human resource development aspect of the country’s nuclear energy program.

Available at:
http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?id=45138&t=1&c=35&cg=4&mset=1011


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3.
Official Assures Regional States of Bushehr Nuclear Plant's Safety
Fars News Agency
3/15/2010
(for personal use only)


Director General of Iran's Nuclear Safety Affairs Kamran Sepanlou underlined on Monday that Iran's first nuclear power plant in Bushehr enjoys the necessary safety standards, and reminded that Bushehr, similar to all other nuclear facilities of the world countries, is under the supervision of the IAEA.

"The concerns raised in the region in this regard are not based on reality because no convincing reason has yet been presented to corroborate this concern," Sepanlou told FNA, referring to some negative comments by certain regional officials on the safety of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.

Noting that the necessary measures have been considered and taken in Iran's nuclear safety system to assure the safe operation of the country's installations, specially Bushehr nuclear power plant, he pointed out that Iran has even employed foreign advisors to level up its work.

Sepanlou also mentioned that a number of regional officials were invited to visit the plant which, he said, has resulted in their positive approach in this regard.

Sepanlou also referred to Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and said the Agency evaluated Iran's performance based on the international standards and approved the safety of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in its different reports.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Department of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a recent visit to Iran approved the standard safety levels of all Iranian nuclear sites and installations, and lauded the country's measures and special efforts in this regard.

"We realized that Iran's safety system responsible for inspecting Iranian nuclear facilities and installations acts very well and is strong," Head of the IAEA's Nuclear Safety and Security Department Olena Mykolaichuk said early March.

"I, as the head of the (inspection) team, assure the Iranian society that Iran's installations are safe…," Mykolaichuk added.

She also stressed that her team has visited the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran and inspected the safety and security control system at the installations.

Earlier in October, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that the precautions and safety measures adopted in connection with the Bushehr nuclear power plant are of paramount importance and Tehran would never prioritize high speed in the completion of the long waited nuclear plant over safety issues.

"Our priority is providing safety for the plant rather than its quick launch," former Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said at the time, adding, "Safety issues of the plant are important to us."

Many nations utilizing nuclear power have special institutions overseeing and regulating nuclear safety.

Internationally the IAEA works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.

Nuclear safety covers the actions taken to prevent nuclear and radiation accidents or to limit their consequences. This covers nuclear power plants as well as all other nuclear facilities, the transportation of nuclear materials and the use and storage of nuclear materials for medical, power, industry, and military uses.

In addition, there are safety issues involved in products created with radioactive materials.

Available at:
http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8812240944


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E.  Links of Interest

1.
Funding the Fight Against Nuclear Terrorism
Kenneth N. Luongo, Executive Director, RANSAC
The Stimson Center
3/16/2010
(for personal use only)
http://www.partnershipforglobalsecurity-archive.org/PDFFrameset.asp?URL=http://budge..


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2.
Government Forced to Shelve Nuke Liability Bill
Economic Times
3/16/2010
(for personal use only)
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/Govt-forced-to-shel..


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3.
Reports Shine Light on Nuclear Weapons Vigilance
Walter Pincus, Washington Post
The Washington Post
3/16/2010
(for personal use only)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/15/AR2010031502..


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4.
Nuclear Fuel Bank to Open Doors
Chris Stanton
The National
3/15/2010
(for personal use only)
http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100315/BUSINESS/70315..


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5.
Pakistani Scientist Khan Describes Iranian Efforts to Buy Nuclear Bombs
The Washington Post
3/14/2010
(for personal use only)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/13/AR2010031302..


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