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Nuclear News - 5/6/2010
PGS Nuclear News, May 6, 2010
Compiled By: Brandi Bohannon


A.  Iran
    1. Iran Accepts Brazil Mediation To Revive Atom Deal, Parisa Hafezi, Reuters (5/6/2010)
    2. Turkey, Brazil Continue Talks On Iran, Press TV (5/6/2010)
    3. IAEA Chief: Iran Stalls On Proper Monitoring Of Enrichment Site, Earth Times (5/6/2010)
    4. Iran FM To Visit Turkey After NPT Event, PressTV (5/6/2010)
    5. Nuclear Watchdog Urges United International Pressure on Iran, , Reuters (5/6/2010)
B.  DPRK
    1. Kim Tells Hu North Korea Ready For Nuclear Talks, Yonhap Says, Bomi Lim, Bloomberg (5/6/2010)
    2. North Korea's Kim Seen In China; Nukes Likely Discussed, Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press (5/6/2010)
    3. Kim's Visit Not Likely To Contribute To Progress In Six-Party Talks: Scholar, Kim Young-gyo, Yonhap News Agency (5/6/2010)
C.  Nuclear Safety
    1. Radiation Death In India Raises Nuclear Safety Concerns, Matthias Williams, Daily News (5/6/2010)
D.  NPT Review Conference
    1. China Calls For More Nuclear Reductions, Wu Chong , China Daily (5/6/2010)
    2. Barack Obama To Hold off On CTBT Ratification For Now: Official, , Times of India (5/6/2010)
E.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Egypt Wants Talks Over Nuclear-Free Mideast Zone, AFP (5/6/2010)
    2. IAEA Chief Focuses On Israel, George Jahn, Associated Press (5/6/2010)
F.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Brazil To Build New Nuclear Reactor: Report, AFP (5/6/2010)
    2. Korea Becomes 5th-Largest Nuclear Plant Exporter, AFP (5/6/2010)



A.  Iran

1.
IAEA Chief: Iran Stalls On Proper Monitoring Of Enrichment Site
Earth Times
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


Iran has not allowed adequate monitoring of its new uranium enrichment line in Natanz for the past three months, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said in an interview published Thursday in Washington.

Since Iran boosted part of its uranium enrichment to a higher level than previously in February, IAEA inspectors have not been allowed to adjust their inspection regime aimed at confirming that no uranium is diverted for nuclear weapons.

Amano told the Washington Post that although his agency was observing the enrichment to levels of 20 per cent at the Natanz plant, "our arrangement is not proper as of today."

His comments contradicted recent media reports on a breakthrough between Iran and the Vienna-based IAEA on the set-up of cameras and seals.

The Japanese IAEA director general said, "If this continues for a long time, we may have a problem," while conceding that there had been some progress in talks with Iranian officials.

Amano also called on the United Nations and interested countries to persuade Iran to change its policy of not fully cooperating with the IAEA, in another interview with the McClatchy media group.

In a separate development, Amano has recently sent a letter to all IAEA member states asking for ideas on how to persuade Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and agree to full IAEA inspections.

Israel is considered to possess nuclear weapons but does not confirm this as a matter of policy.

With the April 7 letter, which the German Press Agency dpa obtained in Vienna, Amano was following instructions of a resolution of IAEA member states that was initiated by Arab countries last September.

Amano was in New York this week to attend the review conference of the NPT that takes place every five years. Iran and Israel are among the key issues at the conference.

Available at:
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/322293,iaea-chief-iran-stalls-on-proper-monitoring-of-enrichment-site.html


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2.
Iran Accepts Brazil Mediation To Revive Atom Deal
Parisa Hafezi
Reuters
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has agreed "in principle" to Brazilian mediation to revive a U.N.-brokered nuclear fuel swap deal with world powers, the semi-official Fars news agency said on Wednesday.

The powers see the deal as a way to remove much of Iran's low-enriched uranium stockpile to minimize the risk of this being used for atomic bombs, while Iran would get specially processed fuel to keep its nuclear medicine program running.

But the proposal broke down over Iran's insistence on doing the swap only on its territory, rather than shipping its LEU abroad in advance, and in smaller, phased amounts, meaning no meaningful cut in a stockpile which grows day by day.

"In a telephone conversation with his Venezuelan counterpart, Ahmadinejad agreed in principle to Brazil's mediation over the nuclear fuel deal," Fars said, quoting a statement issued by Ahmadinejad's office.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is set to travel to Tehran later this month, said on Wednesday that Brazil is willing to help forge a solution to Iran's standoff with the West over its nuclear program.

"If Brazil can contribute, rest assured that we will," he told reporters in the capital Brasilia.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim last week said during a visit to Tehran that Brazil wanted to see a revival of the fuel swap agreement to end the standoff.

The South American nation has said U.N. sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program could make the Islamic Republic more radical, but has also warned Ahmadinejad he will suffer the consequences if he seeks nuclear arms.

The pact conceived in talks conducted by the U.N. nuclear watchdog last October required Iran to ship 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) of its LEU, enough for one atom bomb if enriched to high grade, to Russia and France for conversion into fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which makes isotopes for cancer treatment.

The United States, France and Russia have ruled out rewriting the deal's conditions as Iran demands.

PUSH FOR U.N. SANCTIONS

The United States is lobbying U.N. Security Council members to back a fourth round of international sanctions on Iran in the coming weeks to press it into curbing uranium enrichment.

Iran says its nuclear energy program is designed to generate electricity only but its failure to declare sensitive atomic activity to the U.N. watchdog and continued restrictions on U.N. inspections have undermined confidence abroad.

Some non-permanent U.N. Security Council members such as Brazil and Turkey have been trying to revive the fuel deal in an attempt to stave off further sanctions against Tehran.

Brazil favors reviving a mooted compromise in which Iran could export its uranium to another country in return for nuclear fuel Iran says it needs to keep the Tehran reactor running.

It was not clear whether Ahmadinejad had agreed for the fuel swap to take place in a third country. If so, it would be a major shift in Iran's stance.

Gala Riani, analyst for IHS Global Insight Middle East, said Iran did not want to be seen as having closed the door to negotiations on the nuclear fuel swap.

But she said it remained to be seen if Tehran's announcement on Brazil's mediation was a real attempt to resolve the issue.

"Unless Iran proposes some significant concessions the likelihood (of a deal) is low," Riani told Reuters.

Iran started enrichment to 20 percent fissile purity in February, up from 5 percent, to create fuel for the research reactor itself, bringing Iran closer to levels needed for producing weapons-grade material -- uranium refined to 90 percent purity.

In a speech to a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference at the United Nations, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that Iran's nuclear ambitions put the world at risk and called on nations to rally around U.S. efforts to finally hold the Islamic Republic to account.

Israel has suggested it could use military force to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Ahmadinejad, interviewed on the ABC show "Good Morning America," said Tehran would "definitely continue" its nuclear program despite Israeli threats of military action.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- along with Germany are in talks over a broader sanctions resolution against Iran.

Russia and China, veto-wielding members of the council, have said they are willing to give Turkey and Brazil more time to resuscitate the nuclear fuel deal.

Chinese President Hu Jintao will likely discuss Iran's nuclear issue with Russian officials during his visit to Moscow on May 8, a Chinese official said Wednesday.

"On the Iran nuclear issue, it should be said, the positions of China and Russia are close," Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping said in Beijing.

Analyst Nicole Stracke at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai said Iran was trying to "send positive signals that it is ready to make concessions," aimed at splitting the Security Council and delaying Chinese and Russian agreement on new sanctions.

"This strategy allows Iran to buy time, which is an essential factor in the technical development of the Iranian nuclear program," she told Reuters in an e-mail.

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6440X320100505


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3.
Iran FM To Visit Turkey After NPT Event
PressTV
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will visit Turkey for talks on his return from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review in New York.

On his way back to Tehran, Mottaki plans a one-day stopover in Ankara on Friday for a brief visit and talks with Turkish officials, diplomatic sources said Thursday.

The Iranian minister is scheduled to meet his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu to discuss regional and international issues, the sources added.

Mottaki accompanied a delegation headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his recent visit to New York to attend the 2010 NPT review conference.

On the sidelines of the international event, Mottaki met his counterparts from various countries including Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy and Denmark.

During the meetings, Mottaki underlined the need for the implementation of the NPT to promote non-proliferation, disarmament and the right to peaceful use nuclear technology -- the three pillars of the treaty.

The NPT review conference is held every five years, supposedly to adopt more effective measures to enforce nuclear disarmament. However, the conference has been a failure since major powers that possess nuclear arms have sought to dictate the terms of disarmament per their own global interests.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=125621§ionid=351020101


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4.
Nuclear Watchdog Urges United International Pressure on Iran,
Reuters
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog called for concerted international pressure on Tehran which still refuses to clear up doubts about its nuclear program and cooperate fully with watchdog IAEA's inspections.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said his agency was unable to rule out that Iran's nuclear work was being diverted for military purposes, as feared by the West.

It was not clear if Amano was referring to more diplomacy, sanctions or both but his call comes as major powers are discussing a possible fourth round of sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment and cooperate with the IAEA.

"Without a policy change on the part of Iran, we cannot do our work effectively. Policy change is needed," he said in an interview with McClatchy Newspapers.

"The IAEA is not designed primarily to change the policy of member states. In this area, influence, persuasion by interested countries is needed. There is a role to be played by the United Nations." A "synergy of effort by (the) IAEA, the United Nations and interested countries" is needed, Amano said.

In a separate interview with The Washington Post, Amano said Iran must answer the IAEA's questions about Western intelligence indicating that it may have worked on developing a nuclear-armed missile. Iran says its atomic work is for peaceful uses only.

"If the concerns are removed, that will be very nice. If not, we need to ask for measures to remedy the situation."

Western diplomats credit Amano with taking a blunter, tougher line on Iran than his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei. Amano says his approach is "factual", Iran accuses him of bias.

Amano told the Washington Post that Iran had still not allowed his inspectors better access to a site where it started enriching uranium to higher levels in February.

"If this continues for a long time, we may have a problem ... the arrangement is not proper as of today," he said.

Amano gave the interviews in New York where he is attending a conference taking stock of the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty.

At the meeting on Wednesday the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China voiced support for making the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone, which would ultimately force Israel to scrap any atomic arms it has.

The move reflected U.S. concern to win Arab backing for Iran sanctions by offering a concession over its ally Israel, but Washington says the zone cannot be actually established yet.

Amano also touched on the Israel theme in a letter to foreign ministries of the IAEA's 151 member states on April 7.

The letter, seen by Reuters, asks for views on how to implement an IAEA resolution which voices concern about "Israeli nuclear capabilities" and urges it to join the NPT. Amano said he would report his findings at IAEA meetings later this year.

Israel, like India, Pakistan and North Korea, is outside the NPT and is widely assumed to have an atomic arsenal, though it has never confirmed or denied it.

"This is an unusual move by Amano but I don't think it should be seen as him pressing Israel ahead of the conference," a Western diplomat said. "(He) seems to want to open a discussion with all member states, not just a few of them."

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6451U020100506


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5.
Turkey, Brazil Continue Talks On Iran
Press TV
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


Turkey says it will continue its consultations with Brazil on Iran's nuclear issue with hopes that positive outcome would emerge from it.

“We are continuing our vigorous consultations in full coordination with Brazil. We will have fresh initiatives in the coming days and I hope our joint efforts will bring about positive results,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Kostyantyn Gerashchenko in Kiev on Wednesday.

Davutoglu said that he had been in consultations with both his Iranian and Brazilian counterparts as part of Turkey's plan to seek a diplomatic solution to the issue.

Amid US-led push for the imposing further sanctions against Iran, Turkey and Brazil, among other non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, have joined calls for a diplomatic solution to Tehran's nuclear issue.

Davutoglu visited Iran in April, during which he met and discussed various issues, including Tehran's nuclear program, with Iranian officials.

He said in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki that Turkey supports Iran's stance on its nuclear issue and reiterated that any coercive measures against Tehran would prove ineffective.

"We need to resort to diplomatic means to solve the problem {Since} military means, attacks, sanctions or embargoes will not be fruitful," he stated.

A few days after Davutoglu's visit, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim also traveled to Iran and met with top officials in Tehran.

Amorim also emphasized that his country supports dialogue as the only proper solution and will continue diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=125622§ionid=351020104


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B.  DPRK

1.
Kim Tells Hu North Korea Ready For Nuclear Talks, Yonhap Says
Bomi Lim
Bloomberg
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told Chinese President Hu Jintao his country is ready to return to stalled international talks on its nuclear weapons program, Yonhap News reported without saying where it got the information.

Kim reaffirmed North Korea’s commitment to denuclearization in yesterday’s meeting with Hu that was followed by a dinner banquet in Beijing, Yonhap said.

The summit came just five days after Hu met South Korean President Lee Myung Bak in Shanghai, where Lee asked for China’s support over the March 26 sinking of a South Korean naval ship which killed 46 sailors. Lee has vowed to take “resolute” measures against those responsible for the incident amid growing speculation North Korea may be behind it.

The U.S. indicated yesterday North Korea’s involvement in the incident may affect resumption of the nuclear disarmament talks, which last met in December 2008. China is host of the six-party talks also involving Japan and Russia.

“North Korea’s behavior has affected the pace of talks in the past,” State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley told reporters in Washington, acknowledging Kim’s presence in Beijing. “We are fully supportive of South Korea’s investigation. When that investigation is completed, we will draw conclusions that will have potential implications.”

Crowley urged North Korea to live up to its 2007 pledge to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

South Korea has collected metal fragments of a torpedo from the area near the wreckage of the 1,200-ton Cheonan, as well as traces of gunpowder, Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported today, citing an official on the investigation team it didn’t identify. The team plans to draw final conclusions on the cause by the middle of this month, the Korean-language report said.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry has said a torpedo most likely caused the patrol ship to split apart near the disputed western border with North Korea. Kim’s regime on April 17 denied it had anything to do with the incident.

Available at:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=aZ.ahUiQ_JX4


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2.
Kim's Visit Not Likely To Contribute To Progress In Six-Party Talks: Scholar
Kim Young-gyo
Yonhap News Agency
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's visit to China this week is not likely to lead to practical progress in multinational denuclearization talks, a Hong Kong scholar said Thursday.

Kim traveled to Beijing for the first time in four years as his nation grapples with food shortages, prolonged economic problems and an international standoff over its nuclear programs.

The North Korean leader is believed to have met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in private talks and over dinner late Wednesday. As in previous visits, the two countries have not officially confirmed that Kim is in China, but observers speculate that the North Korean leader will speak on returning to the six-nation denuclearization talks chaired by China.

"Kim is likely to make some ambivalent statements about the six-party talks, such as that (the North) won't rule it out, and that could be interpreted by Beijing as positive. But in essence, doubtful," said Simon Shen, an associate professor of international relations at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, in an e-mail interview.

Shen was skeptical that inter-Korean relations would improve until a succession process for the North's leadership is fully established, since "stability is the prime concern of Pyongyang now."

Jong-un, Kim's third and youngest son, is widely known to be the heir-apparent.

"Watchers suggest that North Korean officials are all tense these years to observe the successor issue and won't have the room to soften the line. Instead, harder lines could be expected towards Seoul, though these lines are primarily presenting gestures to consolidate the domestic solidarity within North Korea only," Shen said.

Beijing, for its part, is likely to raise the issue of a South Korean navy patrol ship that sunk near the divided Koreas' border in March, killing 46 sailors, according to the scholar.

"China, claiming the status of being a responsible power, would probably address the issue in the close-door meeting to show its concern. But it's unlikely for China to pressure Kim on this in public during his visit," Shen said.

Tensions between South and North Korea have been rising since the disaster, with North Korea being a primary suspect, although South Korean officials have been careful not to make public accusations. Pyongyang has denied any involvement.

Seoul has expressed concerns and disappointment that Beijing chose to accept Kim's visit at such a time of tension on the Korean Peninsula, which Shen said could have surprised Chinese officials.

"Beijing would be a bit surprised to receive the strong Korean protests against Kim's China visit, as Beijing expects Seoul to understand the special relations between Beijing and Pyongyang," Shen said. "It would be more acceptable to Beijing if Seoul is asking for China's help to investigate the ship incident, instead of sending a protest against Kim's visit."

Available at:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2010/05/06/32/0401000000AEN20100506006400320F.HTML


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3.
North Korea's Kim Seen In China; Nukes Likely Discussed
Christopher Bodeen
Associated Press
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told Chinese President Hu Jintao his country is ready to return to stalled international talks on its nuclear weapons program, Yonhap News reported without saying where it got the information.

Kim reaffirmed North Korea’s commitment to denuclearization in yesterday’s meeting with Hu that was followed by a dinner banquet in Beijing, Yonhap said.

The summit came just five days after Hu met South Korean President Lee Myung Bak in Shanghai, where Lee asked for China’s support over the March 26 sinking of a South Korean naval ship which killed 46 sailors. Lee has vowed to take “resolute” measures against those responsible for the incident amid growing speculation North Korea may be behind it.

The U.S. indicated yesterday North Korea’s involvement in the incident may affect resumption of the nuclear disarmament talks, which last met in December 2008. China is host of the six-party talks also involving Japan and Russia.

“North Korea’s behavior has affected the pace of talks in the past,” State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley told reporters in Washington, acknowledging Kim’s presence in Beijing. “We are fully supportive of South Korea’s investigation. When that investigation is completed, we will draw conclusions that will have potential implications.”

Crowley urged North Korea to live up to its 2007 pledge to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

South Korea has collected metal fragments of a torpedo from the area near the wreckage of the 1,200-ton Cheonan, as well as traces of gunpowder, Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported today, citing an official on the investigation team it didn’t identify. The team plans to draw final conclusions on the cause by the middle of this month, the Korean-language report said.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry has said a torpedo most likely caused the patrol ship to split apart near the disputed western border with North Korea. Kim’s regime on April 17 denied it had anything to do with the incident.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jbHyr_GhGqrLdYkhRdHqhtFfgdOwD9FH9HG00


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C.  Nuclear Safety

1.
Radiation Death In India Raises Nuclear Safety Concerns
Matthias Williams
Daily News
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


The radiation-related death of a scrap metal worker has raised concerns over nuclear safety in India, at a time when the Asian power is wooing foreign players to its $150 billion civilian nuclear market.

The radiation-related death of a scrap metal worker has raised concerns over nuclear safety in India, at a time when the Asian power is wooing foreign players to its $150 billion civilian nuclear market.

Authorities have launched a probe into the unauthorised disposal of a disused machine from the chemistry department of Delhi University, which contained the radioactive material cobalt-60 and ended up in a scrap metal hub in the capital.

A man died in hospital from exposure last week, in a case a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was quoted as saying was the most serious worldwide since 2006.

The death raised concerns over the handling of nuclear material in India at a time when the ruling Congress party is trying to push through legislation in parliament to help foreign players access its lucrative nuclear energy market.

India, one of a handful of countries which refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, inked a landmark civilian nuclear agreement with United States in 2008, taking it out of three decades of nuclear isolation.

“As a historic accord between India and the US takes our country forward on its path to nuclear commerce, the ability to effect safeguards is going to be critical,” wrote the Financial Express newspaper in an editorial this week.

“Against this backdrop, the first radiation-related death of a common man provides a wakeup-call that must be taken very seriously.”

The government is due to introduce a bill in parliament by the end of this week, the last week in the current session, which underwrites the compensation liability for foreign firms in the case of industrial accidents.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), a former government ally and vocal critic of the nuclear deal and the pending nuclear liability bill, raised the worker’s death in parliament.

Safety standards are a sensitive issue in India, where a gas leak in a Union Carbide factory killed thousands a quarter of a century ago in one of the world’s worst industrial accidents.

Memories of the disaster have helped shape the debate around the current nuclear bill, which had been shelved after protests by the opposition who said it favoured private foreign companies.

French and Russian nuclear firms plan to set up in India, and New Delhi has offered to tender construction of two plants to US-based firms GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of Japan’s Toshiba Corp.

Om Pal Singh, secretary of India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, which is looking into the death, told Reuters the incident should be seen in the context of similar scares in Europe and the United States and not only in terms of Indian regulation.

He said Indian authorities were taking measures to reduce the risk of nuclear exposure, such as scanners at port checks for material coming from abroad, or giving scrap dealers the equipment and training to check radiation levels.

“My feeling is that, with time, these incidents are decreasing, and maybe after some more time, the chances will become almost negligible. More and more people are getting sensitized,” he said by phone.

“A lot of measures are being taken, and have been taken, to prevent such instances.”

The apparent ease with which radioactive material could be disposed unsupervised has also raised fears such material could fall into the hands of militants to make so-called “dirty bombs”.

Ajai Sahni, Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Management, said nuclear security in India is concentrated on high-profile installations such as power plants and research facilities, but less attention was paid to low-end applications.

But he said there was scant evidence of militants trying to get hold of nuclear material from discarded equipment because the process is complicated: “The handling of such materials is extremely problematic,” he said.

Available at:
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010%5C05%5C05%5Cstory_5-5-2010_pg20_8


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D.  NPT Review Conference

1.
Barack Obama To Hold off On CTBT Ratification For Now: Official,
Times of India
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


US President Barack Obama will hold off sending the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to the US Senate for ratification until after it takes up the recently signed START arms control treaty, a top US official said Wednesday.

"The Obama administration's priority is to get the START treaty ratified," under secretary of state Ellen Tauscher told a press conference on the sidelines of a UN conference.

"That will take us through the legislative year," Tauscher said, adding that Obama will send the CTBT to the Senate "when the political conditions are right."

Both treaties need to be ratified by the Senate by a two-thirds majority and the Obama administration could struggle to get the necessary votes.

The new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed on April 8 and provides for major cutbacks in both the US and Russian nuclear arsenals.

The CTBT, which bans nuclear blasts for military or civilian purposes, was signed in 1996 by 71 states, including the five main nuclear weapon states: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

A total of 182 countries have signed the CTBT, including 151 that have also ratified it.

North Korea, India and Pakistan have not signed the CTBT and all three have carried out nuclear tests since 1996.

Another six countries -- the United States, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, China and Egypt -- have signed but not yet ratified the pact.

The CTBT cannot come into force until it is ratified by the required 44 states that had nuclear research or power facilities when it was adopted in 1996. Only 35 have done so.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa announced Tuesday at the UN conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that his country would soon ratify the CTBT.

"We hope that our decision... will be a positive incentive for other states to follow suit," he told reporters.

Available at:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/US/Barack-Obama-to-hold-off-on-CTBT-ratification-for-now-Official/articleshow/5895732.cms


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2.
China Calls For More Nuclear Reductions
Wu Chong
China Daily
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


China on Tuesday encouraged the United States and Russia to further reduce their nuclear arsenals, and reiterated its support for peaceful and diplomatic solutions to regional nuclear issues such as in Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

China calls for more nuclear reductions

Li Baodong, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, made the remarks during the general debate at the month-long UN review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"As the countries with the largest nuclear arsenals, (Russia and the US) should continue to make drastic reductions in their nuclear arsenals in a verifiable and irreversible manner, which will contribute to creating conditions for the ultimate realization of complete and thorough nuclear disarmament," Li said.

"Practices of pragmatism and double standards must be discarded," he added.

Li Hong, secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said in a recent interview with the Council of Foreign Relations that the bilateral agreement between Russia and the US only "modestly cuts the nuclear arsenals" and remains "reversible."

"It's far less than expected and far from sufficient to convince other countries that Russia and the US are sincere about their disarmament commitments," Li Hong said.

Li also joined other nations, including Germany and France, in calling for the early establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East. Such zones are "of great significance" in promoting nuclear disarmament and preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons, he said.

A 1995 conference reviewing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty adopted a resolution calling for a Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, chemical and biological.

Egypt proposed Tuesday that the 2010 conference back a plan to start negotiations next year on such a zone, according to AP.

Israel, with India, Pakistan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"The debate on the Middle East nuclear free zone is expected to be the highlight of the month-long session," said Zhai Dequan, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.

Zhai said, however, that a breakthrough was unlikely to be achieved this time.

"These countries have devoted massive financial and material resources to come to this point (of possessing nuclear weapons), risking irritating the world countries," said Zhai.

"Israel, once it signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has to accept international monitoring of its nuclear program. Bearing Iran's threat in mind, Israel will not agree to sign," said Yin Gang, a senior Middle East expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

China calls for more nuclear reductions

Iran said on Tuesday on the president's website that it approves "in principle" to Brazil having a role in a UN-backed deal to exchange nuclear fuel for Iran's stock of enriched uranium, AFP reported.

Teheran last year rejected the deal, which would curb Iran's ability to make nuclear weapons.

The West accuses Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Teheran denies the charge and says its nuclear program is for peaceful uses.

Li Baodong also affirmed China's full support for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which he said are of "great significance" for developing countries seeking to address energy and climate challenges.

"Developed countries should actively assist developing countries in developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," Li said. "The international community should also explore, through extensive consultations, ways of promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and of preventing nuclear proliferation."

The review conference, which has brought together representatives of 189 nations, continues through May 28.

Available at:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-05/06/content_9814620.htm


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E.  Nuclear Cooperation

1.
Egypt Wants Talks Over Nuclear-Free Mideast Zone
AFP
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Thursday that his government was in talks with the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council on proposals for a nuclear-free Middle East.

"We have to have a conference, an international conference, whereby the nuclear powers, as well as the regional countries, would meet and discuss how to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons," Abul Gheit told reporters on a visit to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

"We are in discussions right now in the UN with the Americans, with the Russians, with the P-5 -- the permanent members of the Security Council -- and hopefully we would agree on terms of reference, on how to agree to establish that conference and when to meet, how to meet, who would be calling for that conference and how to pursue the issue in the immediate future," he said.

Egypt is leading non-aligned nations in a push to convene a conference next year on turning the Middle East into a zone free of nuclear weapons.

The non-aligned states also want Israel, which is believed to have some 200 nuclear warheads, officially to declare its arsenal and then join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in order to disarm.

Israel says it will consider joining a nuclear weapon-free zone, but only after there is a peace agreement in the Middle East. That position is supported by the United States.

Available at:
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2.
IAEA Chief Focuses On Israel
George Jahn
Associated Press
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog is asking for international input on an Arab-led push to have Israel join the Nonproliferation Treaty, in a move that adds to pressure on the Jewish state to disclose its unacknowledged nuclear arsenal.

Israel, in turn, is suggesting efforts should focus instead on giving teeth to the nuclear treaty to prevent signatories like Iran from acquiring such weapons.

On Wednesday, The Associated Press disclosed that International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano had sent a letter soliciting proposals from the agency's 151 member states on how to persuade Israel to sign the treaty. And the world's five recognized nuclear-weapons powers — the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China — reaffirmed the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East.

A string of Israeli officials, including a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the minister of atomic energy, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, the minister of strategic threats and the minister of communication, all refused to comment on the recent developments.

The latest pressure is putting the Jewish state in an uncomfortable position. It wants the international community to take stern action to prevent Iran from getting atomic weapons but at the same time brushes off calls to come clean about its own nuclear capabilities.

In his letter, Amano asked foreign ministers of the IAEA's 151 member states to share views on how to implement a resolution demanding that Israel "accede" to the Nonproliferation Treaty and throw its nuclear facilities open to IAEA oversight.

In response Thursday, an Israeli government official noted that the treaty obligating nations to stop the spread of nuclear weapons didn't stop countries like Saddam Hussein's Iraq and now Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons programs. Iran denies that accusation, which has also been made by the U.S. and other world powers. The Israeli official spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with his country's opaque nuclear policy.

Egypt has proposed that a Nonproliferation Treaty conference now meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York back a plan calling for the start of negotiations next year on a Mideast free of nuclear arms.

The U.S. has cautiously supported the idea while saying that implementing it must wait for progress in the Middle East peace process. Israel also says a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement must come first.

"The question is, how do you do that in the absence of a peace plan?" Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher said Wednesday of the "nuke-free" zone idea.

Still, Washington and the four other nuclear weapons countries recognized as such under the NPT appear to be ready to move from passive support to a more active role.

In her speech to the U.N. nuclear conference on Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Washington would support "practical measures for moving toward that objective," while Tauscher said the U.S. has been working "for months" with Egypt on the issue.

Washington also has been discussing it with the Israelis, said another Western diplomatic source, who asked for anonymity since he was discussing other countries' contacts.

Russian arms negotiator Anatoly I. Antonov, speaking on behalf of the five NPT nuclear powers, said these nations were "committed to full implementation" of a Middle East nuclear free zone.

Amano's April 7 letter comes seven months after IAEA member states at their annual Vienna conference narrowly passed a resolution directly criticizing Israel and its atomic program, with 49 of the 110 nations present in support, 45 against and 16 abstaining.

The result was a setback not only for Israel but also for Washington and other backers of the Jewish state, which had lobbied for 18 years of past practice — debate on the issue without a vote.

The resolution "expresses concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities," and links it to "concern about the threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons for the security and stability of the Middle East."

The U.S. and its allies consider Iran the region's greatest proliferation threat, fearing that Tehran is trying to achieve the capacity to make nuclear weapons despite its assertion that it is only building a civilian program to generate power.

But Islamic nations insist that Israel's nuclear capacity is the true danger in the Middle East.

With divisions deep, Amano's letter foreshadowed intense feuding at that September conference.

"It would be helpful to me if Your Excellency could inform me of any views that your government might have with respect to meeting the objectives of the resolution," according to his half-page letter.

A senior diplomat from one of the IAEA member countries confirmed that his government had received the letter. He and an official from another IAEA delegation said that to their knowledge the agency was still awaiting responses. Both asked for anonymity because their information was confidential.

Available at:
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F.  Nuclear Industry

1.
Brazil To Build New Nuclear Reactor: Report
AFP
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


Brazil is to build a 483-million-dollar nuclear reactor to produce radioactive material for medical use as well as industrial-grade enriched uranium, local media has reported, citing a cabinet minister.

"The multipurpose reactor has a very important role in the nuclear program," Science and Technology Minister Sergio Rezende said in the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo.

The reactor will be built in Ipero, 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the southeastern city of Sao Paulo, in an area where the Brazilian navy is developing a nuclear submarine project and building ultracentrifuges to enrich uranium.

The reactor will be used for nuclear medicine, producing what are known as adiopharmaceuticals for diagnosing and treating diseases like cancer, Rezende said, as well as produce industrial-level enriched uranium starting in 2014.

The announcement came as senior officials from around the world meet at the United Nations to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and ahead of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's May 16-17 trip to Iran.

Lula in February announced that two new nuclear power plants would be built in Brazil's northeast.

Brazil has an ambitious civilian nuclear program, and for more than 20 years has had two nuclear plants in Angra dos Reis, in Rio de Janeiro state.

The country's constitution bans the presence of nuclear weapons on Brazilian territory

Available at:
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2.
Korea Becomes 5th-Largest Nuclear Plant Exporter
AFP
5/6/2010
(for personal use only)


The World Nuclear Association, an international confederation of companies in the field of atomic power generation, has categorized Korea as the world's fifth-largest exporter of nuclear plants.

The WNA defined Korea as a "major exporter of nuclear technology" after the country won an order last December to build a power plant in the UAE.

The biggest exporters are the U.S., Canada, France, and Russia. With the UAE order, Korea has turned from an importer into an exporter of nuclear power technology.

A spokesman with the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power said, the designation represents "official recognition from a reputable international organization" and will help the country win more orders.

The WNA is a non-profit, independent agency established in 2001 to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and develop the nuclear power industry. It consists of about 180 organizations from around the world.

Available at:
http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2010/05/06/2010050600988.html



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