The Iranian ambassador to Kuwait, Ali Jannati, said that the American policy in the region has not changed since US President Barak Obama took office. The 'kind words of the American President are not supported with action,' he added. His statements were made on Sunday morning during a reception at his residence in Mansouriya to celebrate the Persian New Year.
The Iranian ambassador said that Obama's greetings to the Iranian people on their 'Nowrose' day indicates that the American people realize the historical relevance of the civilization and culture of the Iranian people. "Sadly, since Obama took office, and until now, we haven't seen any change in the American policy towards Iran or the region," he said.
Jannati argued that America's bias toward Israel, its stance in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as their position regarding Iran's peaceful nuclear program hasn't changed. "They are so apart from those beautiful words, we didn't see any change in the American policy," he noted.
Jannati went on to say that alongside the kind words of the American president, Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, is traveling through the region. He added that she will be going to Russia and China in an attempt to place pressure on those countries to strengthen the blockade against Iran and increase sanctions against Iran through the UN Security Council.
The Saudis refused to support the US and continue to provide more oil to China. The Chinese also refused to impose tougher sanctions on Iran in the Security Council because the relations between China and Iran are valuable and fundamental to both countries. They refused to sell Iran to the Americans," he affirmed. In the meantime, said the Iranian ambassador, Iran is ready to start talks, with Europeans, Americans, and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In his speech to the members of the Iranian community in Kuwait, Jannati said that the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamanae, wants all Iranians to double their efforts to confront the economic blockade imposed against Iran and safeguard their achievement. The ambassador congratulated the visitors on the new year, and urged Iranian citizens abroad to represent Iran well. He stressed the importance of relations with Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) countries and the exceptional ties between Iran and Kuwait. "The visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Muhammad to Iran last year was great for the bilateral relations of the two countries. We are looking forward to the visit of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad," he said.
Jannati told representatives of the Iranian community that the embassy is working with the Kuwaiti government to open a new Iranian school in Kuwait. "I will be leaving Kuwait after two months and I hope that the new school will be open before I leave," he concluded.
Available at: http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=MjQ2MDM5MDIz
Iran's supreme leader has rejected a new offer of talks with the United States, saying Washington was plotting against Iran while extending an olive branch.
The U.S. government, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, isn't "in the position to support democracy and human rights," Iran's state-backed Fars News Agency reported Monday.
"You cannot talk about peace and friendship, and at the same time plot and plan sedition, and think that you can hurt the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Khamenei said Sunday in a televised address to mark Nowruz, the Persian new year.
In a message sent Saturday President Obama said Washington would maintain its "commitment to a more hopeful future for the Iranian people" despite its efforts to impose tougher U.N.-backed sanctions on Tehran after its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
"Our offer of comprehensive diplomatic contacts and dialogue stands. Indeed, over the course of the last year, it is the Iranian government that has chosen to isolate itself, and to choose a self-defeating focus on the past over a commitment to build a better future," he said.
Khamenei said Iran's unity and perseverance would protect it from its enemies, Fars said.
"Victory and progress will make (the) future of the country ... more brilliant," Khamenei said. "They (enemies) tried much to divide the nation but to no avail ... . That's a big victory for the nation."
Available at: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/International/2010/03/22/Khamenei-rejects-US-offer-of-talks/UPI-91641269278993/
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says new sanctions are needed against Iran to pressure the country into giving up its nuclear program.
Speaking to reporters on Monday after talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Merkel blamed Iran for the failure to reach an agreement in negotiations so far.
She said that it was Tehran that had rejected "constructive offers" put forward by the group of six powers negotiating with Tehran.
"We are about to enter the stage where sanctions should be taken against Iran," she added.
The US and its European allies have been trying to use their privileges at the Security Council to push through a fourth round of sanctions against Iran, while China and Russia have been reluctant to go along with the plan.
Although UN nuclear watchdog inspectors stationed in Iran have not been able to back up their claim, the US and its allies allege that Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian program.
That is why they have piled on the pressure against Iran to force the country to suspend uranium enrichment, an activity that it is legally permitted to conduct under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations.
The two sides of the dispute came close to ending the strife in October 2009, when representatives from the Agency, Iran and three of the six powers gathered in Vienna to discuss a nuclear fuel deal, which was originally drafted by the US and later presented by the IAEA.
Iran accepted the general aspects of the deal, but proposed a series of alterations to appease the concerns it had about the other side fulfilling its side of the bargain.
The draft deal required Iran to send the bulk of its low-enriched uranium abroad for further processing of up to 20 percent for use at the Tehran research reactor, which produces medical isotopes for cancer treatment.
What Iran asked for was for the swap to take place simultaneously, arguing that if it ships out the bulk of its enriched uranium there would be no guarantee to ensure that the promised fuel would eventually be delivered to the country.
That distrust can be traced back to the lack of commitment demonstrated by Western powers in their previous nuclear dealings with the Islamic Republic.
Tehran was promised nuclear fuel over 30 years ago, but despite being a 10-percent shareholder and hence entitled to the European Gaseous Diffusion Uranium Enrichment Consortium (Eurodif)'s output, Iran has never received enriched uranium from France.
Tehran and Paris have also signed a deal, under which France is obliged to deliver 50 tonnes of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) to Iran, another obligation France has failed to meet.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=121324§ionid=351020104
4. Obama: We'll Pursue Sanctions, Though Still Open to Dialogue
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U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to pursue aggressive sanctions to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but renewed his offer of dialogue vis-a-vis Teheran.
Obama told Iranians that the United States' offer of diplomatic dialogue still stands but that the Iranian government has chosen isolation. He said the U.S. believes in the dignity of every human being.
Obama has posted an Internet video with Farsi subtitles, his second, timed to coincide with Nowruz, a 12-day festival celebrating the Persian new year and the arrival of spring.
In the video Obama tells the Iranians that the United States wants more educational and cultural exchanges for their students and better access to the Internet to give them a more hopeful future.
"We are working with the international community to hold the Iranian government accountable because they refuse to live up to their international obligations," Obama said in the address, according to excerpts released by the White House.
Available at: http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=171384
5. UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband Issues Iran Message
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UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said he hopes Iranians will be able to freely express their own aspirations in the next 12 months.
His call came in a message to mark the Iranian New Year this weekend.
Mr Miliband said it was not a coded message backing Iran's opposition, but an attempt to speak out against the denial of "basic human rights".
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has said that Washington's offer of dialogue with Iran still stands.
It is the second time President Obama has recorded a video message for the festival of Nowruz, a 12-day holiday celebrating the beginning of the New Year on the Persian calendar.
Last year he became the first US leader for decades to reach out directly to Iran's people and government, offering a "new beginning" in US-Iranian relations.
The 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was disputed by the defeated candidates, prompting millions of Iranians to take to the streets and demand a re-run.
The BBC's Tehran correspondent, Jon Leyne - reporting from London - said the Iranian government is likely to read Mr Miliband's message as a coded message of support for the opposition, or at least for the principles they say they stand for.
But the foreign secretary denied that he had issued a call for rebellion.
Mr Miliband told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "There is nothing coded at all about my message.
"What I am saying is that the Iranian people should be able to demonstrate, to express their views in an open way without fearing being beaten, imprisoned, shot in the streets or, in some cases, executed in show trials".
Mr Miliband said it was "not about the British government trying to choose the government of Iran", which he said was "a matter for the Iranian people".
However, he said it was a "legitimate matter of international concern" that Iranians were unable to assert their "basic human rights".
The foreign secretary said it was right to speak out about the denial of human rights to the people of Iran by a regime which he described as being "nervous" and "paranoid about its future".
Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8577643.stm
6. Medvedev Does Not Rule Out Sanctions Against Iran: Russian FM
Xinhua News Agency
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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had not excluded the possibility of imposing reasonable sanctions on Iran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.
"As President Medvedev said, sanctions seldom work but sometimes they are inevitable," Lavrov said at a news conference after talks between Medvedev and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
However, the president said that "sanctions must be reasonable, unaggressive and not paralyzing and should have no negative impact on the Iranian people but should be imposed on those who make decisions on cooperating with the international community," Lavrov said.
Clinton hoped the sides would soon reach consensus on the Iranian nuclear issue.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced Thursday the first reactor of Iran's long-delayed Bushehr nuclear power plant would be launched in summer.
Iran's move to produce high-grade uranium with a purity of 20 percent stoked a wave of international criticism, with the United States leading the calls for harsher sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
The West accuses Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian program, but Iran insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.
Russia, which has long been saying it prefers to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means, is showing growing frustration with Iran's refusal to cooperate with the international community.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-03/19/c_13217967.htm
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell says sanctions against Iran will be to no avail as Tehran is “determined to have a nuclear program” not a “nuclear weapon.”
"I don't see a set of sanctions coming along that would be so detrimental to the Iranians that they are going to stop that program,” Powell said in an interview with Bloomberg TV broadcast today.
The retired Army general reiterated that the West's standoff with Iran over its nuclear program should be resolved through diplomatic means and negotiations. “So ultimately, the solution has to be a negotiated one.”
“Notice I did not say a nuclear weapon. But they are determined to have a nuclear program, notwithstanding the last six or seven years of efforts on our part to keep them from having a nuclear program.”
Powell's remarks come amid desperate efforts by the US and some of its allies to rally support for a new round of UN sanctions against Iran in order to force Tehran to meet their demands.
Citing "concerns" over Iran's domestic capabilities to enrich uranium, Washington and a number of European states accuse Iran of the "intention" to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels and have gone to great lengths to prevent the country from producing fuel for its medical and industrial needs.
Iran has repeatedly rejected any desire for nuclear weapons and says its nuclear program is for the generation of electricity and other civil uses, such as medical isotopes, and has opened its facilities for intrusive inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in accordance with the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Despite arm-twisting by the US, veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, China, has voiced reluctance to back a fourth round of sanctions against Iran. Beijing maintains that the best way to resolve the standoff is through negotiations.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=121191§ionid=351020104
1. US Calls for Stronger North Korean Commitment to Nuke Talks
The Korea Times
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The United States welcomed remarks by a North Korean envoy that Pyongyang will return to the six-party talks on its denuclearization before June, but called for more than words, Yonhap News Agency said Saturday.
"A statement that they have no preconditions for arriving at those talks -- while on the face of it being positive, it is the actions that speak the loudest in this particular context," State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said.
Duguid was responding to a report that a North Korean diplomat in London told reporters that North Korea will return to the six-party talks before June without any preconditions attached.
"We've been consistent on what we would like to see from North Korea," Duguid said. "We would like to see them come back to the six-party talks. So rather than making statements about them, if they do wish to re-engage, they can make that known to the chair of the six-party group, and we can begin from there."
The nuclear talks have been stalled since early last year, when the United Nations imposed sanctions in response to the North's nuclear and missile tests.
Available at: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/03/113_62710.html
2. South Korea, China Call for Early Resumption of North Korea Nuclear Talks
Yonhap News Agency
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Foreign ministers of South Korea and China agreed Thursday that international efforts to reopen six-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear standoff must bear fruit at an early date and lead to progress in ending the communist nation's atomic programs, officials said.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi reached the consensus at a meeting in Beijing, said Kim Young-sun, spokesman for Seoul's foreign ministry, during a briefing.
"The foreign ministers of South Korea and China evaluated current conditions of the North Korean nuclear issue and exchanged their opinions on how to deal with the issue in the future," Kim said.
Yu said he and Yang agreed to step up their efforts to resume the nuclear negotiations that have been stalled since December 2008.
"We agreed the six-party talks were an important venue to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and that we will each continue to work for the resumption of the talks," the South Korean minister said in a press conference.
Yu arrived in Beijing Wednesday after a brief stop in Shanghai. The nuclear negotiations involve both South and North Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Russia.
Pyongyang said last year it was permanently quitting the nuclear talks, but later stated it may return to the negotiating table following a bilateral dialogue with the United States that was held in the North Korean capital late last year.
The North, however, continues to stay away from the nuclear negotiations, saying it will not return to the talks until the removal of U.N. sanctions and the start of discussions for a peace treaty replacing the ceasefire signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Seoul has repeatedly rejected the North's demands, saying such concessions will only be possible after the communist nation first returns to the nuclear talks and makes significant progress toward denuclearization.
China, on the other hand, is said to favor a compromise -- the resumption of the six-way talks after what officials have called a "preliminary" meeting to see what each side wants and what they can give.
"China has not made any specific demands for South Korea to act in any certain way. It is only saying the countries must work to resume the nuclear talks while trying to understand North Korea's position," a ranking South Korean official here told reporters, asking not to be identified.
Yu stressed the importance of close cooperation between Seoul and China in dealing with North Korea and various other regional and international issues, such as the global economic crisis.
"South Korea will work closely with China in setting the agenda for the G-20 summit to be held in Seoul," Yu told Yang at the beginning of their meeting at the Diaoyutai state guest house.
To further improve bilateral cooperation, the top diplomats of South Korea and China agreed to meet at least twice every year, according to Yu.
"At the meeting with Minister Yang, we discussed various ways that will help improve our strategic cooperative partnership and as one way to do so, we agreed that South Korea's foreign minister will visit China in the first half of every year and the Chinese foreign minister will visit South Korea in the latter half of every year," he said.
Thursday's meeting between the two ministers was the 13th of its kind since Yu came into office early 2008, according to officials accompanying Yu.
Yu's three-day trip here also included a meeting with China's police chief, Meng Jianzhu, and a visit with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
He will return home Friday.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2010/03/18/9/0401000000AEN20100318009300315F.HTML
Veteran liberal, citizens' rights campaigner and former US presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, has criticized Israel for possessing nuclear weapons and refusing to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
"Israel has 250 nuclear bombs and they don't belong to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, so they aren't even part of international law," Nader told Press TV during an anti-war demonstration in Washington DC on Saturday.
Tel Aviv, which is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, refuses access to its nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
According to May 2008 comments by former US President Jimmy Carter, Israel has 150 nuclear weapons in its arsenal.
Nader further pointed to the contrast between the treatment Israel is receiving from its Western allies over its nuclear program and the pressure Iran is under for its civilian atomic activities.
"Israel has invaded its neighbors repeatedly. Iran hasn't invaded anybody in 250 years," he said.
Despite Tel Aviv's refusal to renounce nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, Israel and its Western allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian program - a charge strongly denied by Tehran.
Under pressure from the US, Israel's closest ally, the UN Security Council has passed several rounds of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
This is while Tehran's is a signatory of the NPT and its nuclear activities are under the constant supervision of the IAEA.
IAEA inspectors have conducted more inspections in Iran than in any other NPT signatory state, and have confirmed that there has been no diversion of nuclear material from civilian to military applications.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=121375§ionid=351020202
Russia and the United States will sign a new nuclear disarmament treaty in early April in the Czech capital Prague, Russian daily newspaper Kommersant reported Saturday, citing a diplomatic source.
"The new nuclear disarmament treaty is ready," said the source, who talk part in Friday's talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the matter.
"The negotiators in Geneva are just matching up the formulations, given the nuances of Russian and English," the source added.
Russian and US negotiators have been in intense talks to agree a successor to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) which expired in December but have so far failed to reach a final accord.
US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed last July the new treaty should slash the number of warheads on either side to between 1,500 and 1,675.
Russian media reports have already said country's two leaders would like to sign the final agreement in an Eastern European capital before the United States hosts a nuclear security summit from April 12-13.
Kommersant's source was sure that this would happen -- and that the treaty would be signed in Prague, as the US side had rejected Kiev as a venue.
The new treaty also acknowledged a link with the planned US missile defence facilities in Eastern Europe, the source told Kommersant.
The New York Times reported last week that talks had hit a hitch over just this issue. It said Obama was frustrated that Medvedev was linking the disarmament treaty with the dispute over the missile defence system.
On Friday, Clinton said Russia and the United States were "on the brink" of signing a new nuclear disarmament treaty after resolving all outstanding issues.
Lavrov concurred, saying: "We believe that in the nearest time we can count on the finishing of negotiations on a new agreement."
The United States currently has some 2,200 nuclear warheads, while Russia is believed to have about 3,000.
Available at: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/1044850/1/.html
Pakistan wants the US to provide it with nuclear technology for a civilian energy programme and is to push the Obama administration this week for a deal.
Islamabad is seeking a civilian nuclear deal to mirror the package granted to India by George W Bush, a proposal that would prove contentious in Washington given Pakistan’s uneven record on combating extremist groups and its sale of nuclear technology to states hostile to the West, led by the former head of its programme, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.
A spokesman for Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs said yesterday: “Pakistan is an energy-deficit country and we’re looking for all sources, including nuclear, to meet our requirements.”
A team led by Pakistan’s foreign minister that includes the army commander and spy chief is due to arrive in Washington tomorrow for meetings with their US counterparts, including secretary of state Hillary Clinton, in an effort to relaunch dialogue between the two allies. Afghanistan and help for Pakistan’s economy will also be on the agenda.
Experts believe Pakistan holds the key to stabilising Afghanistan and is trying to position itself as the sole conduit to talk to the Taliban.
The US meetings are designed to restart talks that were last held in 2008. Pakistan believes it has suffered from the violent fallout of the US-led intervention in Afghanistan and requires further assistance, despite a recent $7.5 billion (€5.5 billion) US aid injection.
Pakistan wants to investigate Dr Khan on charges of transferring nuclear secrets to Iraq and Iran, a government lawyer said yesterday.
The petition by the Pakistani government for court permission to investigate the nuclear scientist was filed after the Washington Post reported that he had tried to help Iran and Iraq develop nuclear weapons.
Available at: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/0323/1224266873873.html
Resource-poor Japan is planning to build at least 14 nuclear power plants over the next 20 years to reduce its reliance on other countries for its energy needs, a report said Sunday.
The world's second biggest economy, which wants to double its provision for its fuel consumption, will make an announcement in June on whether it indends to press ahead with the plants, the Nikkei business daily said.
Japan has few energy resources and relies on nuclear power from 53 plants for nearly one third of its domestic electricity needs.
The government is eager to boost its energy self-sufficiency ratio which stands at 18 per cent at home and at 38 per cent with government and corporate interests overseas taken into account, the report said.
The government is looking to build eight nuclear plants by 2020 and at least six more by 2030 to double the figure to 70 per cent. It will provide funding to companies looking to work on nuclear power projects overseas, the report said.
Available at: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific_business/view/1044975/1/.html
3. Russia Sticks with Aim of 26 New Nuclear Plants, Says Putin
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Despite financial problems, Moscow is sticking with its plans to build 26 new nuclear power plants, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on 18 March. Moscow has earmarked more than 68 billion roubles ($2.3 billion) for is nuclear power plant aims, Putin said while visiting a nuclear plant at Volgodonsk, some 1,200 kilometers south of the capital, Interfax reported. Putin also invited private foreign investors to participate in a nuclear plant planned for the Kaliningrad region. Investors could gain up to a 49 per cent stake in the plant, he said. Russia also aims to boost its nuclear power plant exports, from the current 16% of the world market share to at least 25%, he said.
Meanwhile Valdimir Pavlov, head of the Atomstroiexport company, said that the nuclear power plant built by Russia in Bushehr, Iran, should be going on stream in July. The remark comes amid a row between Moscow and Tehran over delays in completion of the project. Iran alleges there are political reasons, but Moscow cites technical problems.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized on 18 March Moscow’s plans for the start-up of the reactor in Iran. Clinton was in Moscow for talks with the Russian leadership. After her talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Clinton said that until Tehran had proven the peaceful aims of its nuclear program, then it was “premature” to push ahead with projects in Iran, Itar-Tass reported. “When Iran has reassured the world or has changed its behavior due to international sanctions, then it can purse the peaceful and civilian use of nuclear energy,” she said. Lavrov for his part said the success of the Bushehr facility was extremely important in pushing Tehran towards close cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moscow has been helping Iran build the Bushehr facility since 1995, but work has been delayed several times.
Available at: http://www.neurope.eu/articles/Russia-sticks-with-aim-of-26-new-nuclear-plants-says-Putin/99754.php
4. Four Nuclear Power Plants Planned for Operation in 2017
The Jakarta Post
(for personal use only)
A panel of nuclear experts said Thursday that nuclear electric power could benefit Indonesia in the future if handled correctly through complete understanding of regulations, team diligence and knowledge of plant equipment, operations and maintenance.
“What is really important is a high human motivation because it will increase both safety and availability,” Prof. Ishikawa Michio of the Japan Technology Nuclear Institute said in a seminar at the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology office in Central Jakarta.
“That is why you have to put a lot of money in the regulations for safety measures,” he added.
According to Hudi Hastowo of the National Nuclear Energy Agency of the Republic Indonesia, the country has done extensive preparatory work on most infrastructure issues that would allow it to introduce nuclear power.
Indonesia has established a national energy policy under Law No. 17 of 2007, which declares that nuclear energy will be part of the energy mix for 2015-2019.
As a result of this policy, the country is planning to construct four units of nuclear power plants of about 4,000 megawatts each, which are expected to start operations in 2017.
Nuclear energy is also expected to meet about 2 percent of the nation’s electricity demands by 2025.
Meanwhile, Research and Technology Minister Suharna Surapranata, who also attended the seminar on “Prospects of Nuclear Electric Power in Indonesia”, explained that energy security is crucial to national security.
“Nuclear technology is a necessity. In order to transform Indonesia into a developed country, we need to find alternative energy resources that are renewable and sustainable,” he said.
There are approximately 437 operating nuclear power plants worldwide, with 55 more units under construction.
As many as 60 countries, including Indonesia, are considering building nuclear plants, while 25 countries have shown interest in their development.
Last month civil society groups insisted that there were no urgent reasons to develop nuclear power plants in Indonesia, citing the country’s large sources of alternative energy, ranging from coal, geothermal heat, water, and wind.
They also said that the current severe energy shortage was due to the government’s failure to deal with energy resources, with most of the nation’s coal and gas being exported.
There are approximately 437 operating nuclear power plants worldwide, with 55 more units under construction.
Available at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/03/20/four-nuclear-power-plants-planned-operation-2017.html
Russia vowed to start Iran's nuclear plant in June rejecting U.S. appeal to delay launching until Tehran proves it is not pursuing a nuclear weapons programme.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the Bushehr plant would be launched in June.
The start-up has been repeatedly delayed because of what Moscow described were financial and technical problems.
Later the same day U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to put off the plant launching. She said it would be “premature to go forward with any project” in the absence of Iranian reassurances on its nuclear ambitions.
Mr. Lavrov responded by saying that the Bushehr nuclear power station would still be launched.
“Bushehr plays a special role in keeping the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] presence in Iran and in securing Iran's compliance with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Mr. Lavrov said.
On the issue of possible new sanctions against Iran the Russian Foreign Minister said there was still “scope for political-diplomatic work” with Iran and that the U.N. Security Council had not yet begun discussing further sanctions against Tehran.
Available at: http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/20/stories/2010032057711600.htm
1. Areva Develops New Nuclear Reactors That 'Destroy' Atomic Waste
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A new type of nuclear reactor that could permanently "destroy" atomic waste is being developed by French scientists, according to chief executive of Areva, the world's largest nuclear energy company.
Anne Lauvergeon told The Times that the French group was developing a technology to burn up actinides -- highly radioactive uranium isotopes that are the waste products of nuclear fission inside a reactor.
The technology could be critical in winning greater global public support for nuclear energy and cutting emissions of carbon dioxide.
"We have developed the highest safety level with (our existing reactors)," she said.
"In terms of public acceptance, the remaining issue is the waste. In the future we will be able to destroy the actinides by making them disappear in a special reactor. We can do it already in a laboratory. With research and development, we will address this issue."
The project at Areva is similar to research being carried out at the University of Texas in Austin, where scientists have designed a system that would use fusion to eliminate virtually all the waste produced by civil nuclear reactors.
Swadesh Mahajan, senior research scientist at Austin's Institute for Fusion Studies (IFS), believes that the invention could hugely reduce the need for geological repositories for waste.
"We want to make nuclear energy as socially and environmentally acceptable as possible," he said. "Nuclear waste cannot be 100 per cent eliminated, but the volume, the toxicity and the biohazard could be reduced by 99 per cent."
The invention could mean, he said, that instead of the world needing to build 100 geological stores for nuclear waste, only one or two might be necessary to store decades of waste.
Mike Kotschenreuther, also of the IFS, said that the technology rested on the use of a spherical hybrid fusion-fission reactor. The waste would be held in a "blanket" around the reactor core and destroyed by firing streams of neutrons at it.
He acknowledged that big technical challenges remained, not least that to work effectively the reactor would have to operate continuously, creating the problem of how to extract the destroyed waste.
About 440 nuclear plants are operating in 31 countries worldwide, with a collective generating capacity of 370 gigawatts of electrical power, or 15 per cent of the global total. But electricity produced from nuclear fission also produces 12,000 tonnes of high-level radioactive waste per year, including plutonium that can be used to manufacture weapons.
Ms Lauvergeon said that the volume of high-level nuclear waste produced by all of France's 58 reactors over the past 40 years could fit in one Olympic-size swimming pool. "Of course, it would be better to have nothing, but this is fully managed and we have to view this issue in a balanced way compared to other solutions."
Nuclear power produces more than 80 per cent of French electricity.
The concept of a hybrid fission-fusion reactor was first developed in the 1950s, but little research was conducted for several decades.
Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/news/areva-develops-new-nuclear-reactors-that-destroy-atomic-waste/story-e6frg90o-1225843555348
The head of an energy trade group said Thursday he expects the development of nuclear power plants to be pushed back by two or three years as the industry waits for energy demand to return.
"The recession has decreased demand of electricity everywhere," Nuclear Energy Institute chief Marvin Fertel said in an interview with The Associated Press. "You're seeing a natural movement" away from early completion dates.
Fertel didn't identify any specific plant that would be delayed. But nuclear power plants with projected completion dates of 2017 or 2018 probably "are 2020 projects now," he said.
According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, there are 13 applications for nuclear reactors currently under review by the federal government. Of that number, eight are on track to come online between 2017 to 2018, NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said.
However, once a company gets federal approval for a nuclear power plant, it can hold onto its license for several years, Burnell said.
Electricity demand has slumped in 2009 and 2008, with big drops in industrial electricity consumption. As demand picks up, Fertel said the nuclear industry will become a bigger resource for the U.S. Nuclear power plants can pump huge amounts of energy onto the grid at a stable price without producing carbon dioxide.
"You can't achieve what we want in (limiting) climate change without nuclear part of the portfolio," he said.
Available at: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nuclear-plants-likely-to-slow-apf-2835356374.html?x=0&.v=1
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