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Nuclear News - 6/22/2010
PGS Nuclear News, June 22, 2010
Compiled By: Brandi Bohannon

A.  Iran
    1. Pakistani PM Ignores US Warning on Iran Gas Deal, Sebastian Abbot , Associated Press (6/22/2010)
    2. Turkey Vows to Press Forward with Iran Nuclear Fuel Swap , Haaretz (6/22/2010)
    3. Iran Bars 2 IAEA Inspectors from Entry, PressTV (6/21/2010)
    4. Lawmakers Reach Deal on Iran Sanctions, Jim Abrams, Associated Press (6/21/2010)
    1. Four Former Officials Working for a Nuclear Free Korea , Kim Yong Hun, The Daily North Korean (6/22/2010)
    2. S.Korea: Resolve Ship, Then Consider Nuclear Talks, Reuters (6/22/2010)
    3. Radiation Detected After N.Korea Nuclear Claim, AFP (6/21/2010)
    4. U.S. Considering N. Korea Sanctions Over Sinking of Ship , Arshad Mohammed, Calgary Herald (6/19/2010)
C.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Japan Studying Whether to Start Nuclear-Cooperation with India, India News (6/22/2010)
    2. U.N. Watchdog Backs Egypt Nuclear Power Plant Plans, Reuters (6/22/2010)
    3. Russia, Kazakhstan Near Nuclear Deals, United Press International (6/19/2010)
D.  Nuclear Industry
    1. July Talks Will Enable S Korea Enter India's Nuclear Energy Market, Jyoti Malhotra, Business Standard (6/22/2010)
    2. Vietnam Plans Eight Nuclear Power Plants by 2030, The Times of India (6/22/2010)
    3. Swedish Government Overturns Nuclear Ban, Nuclear Engineering International (6/21/2010)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. East Africa Presents New Opportunities for Nuclear Terrorism, Concludes a New Report from The Fund for Peace

A.  Iran

Pakistani PM Ignores US Warning on Iran Gas Deal
Sebastian Abbot
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

Defying a warning from Washington, Pakistan's prime minister promised Tuesday to go ahead with a plan to import natural gas from Iran even if the U.S. levies additional sanctions against the Mideast country.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's comments came two days after the U.S. special envoy to Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, cautioned Pakistan not to "overcommit" itself to the deal because it could run afoul of new sanctions against Iran being finalized by Congress.

The deal has been a constant source of tension between the two countries, with Pakistan arguing that it is vital to its ability to cope with an energy crisis and the U.S. stressing that it would undercut international pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

Gilani said Pakistan would reconsider the deal if it violated U.N. sanctions, but the country was "not bound to follow" unilateral U.S. measures. He said media reports that quoted him as saying that Pakistan would heed Holbrooke's warning were incorrect.

The U.N. has levied four sets of sanctions against Iran for failing to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for a nuclear weapon. The latest set of U.N. sanctions was approved earlier this month.

The U.S. has also applied a number of unilateral sanctions against Iran, and Congress is currently finalizing a new set largely aimed at the country's petroleum industry. Both houses have passed versions of the sanctions and are working to reconcile their differences.

Pakistan and Iran finalized the gas deal earlier this month. Under the contract, Iran will export 760 million cubic feet (21.5 million cubic meters) of gas per day to Pakistan through a new pipeline beginning in 2014. The construction of the pipeline is estimated to cost some $7 billion.

While U.S. officials have expressed opposition to the Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline deal, the issue is complicated by Washington's reliance on Pakistan's cooperation to fight al-Qaida and the Taliban.

The U.S. also acknowledges that Pakistan faces a severe energy crisis and has made aid to the energy sector one of its top development priorities. Electricity shortages in Pakistan cause rolling blackouts that affect businesses and intensify suffering during the hot summer months.

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Turkey Vows to Press Forward with Iran Nuclear Fuel Swap
(for personal use only)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday Turkey and Brazil would continue to press for a deal with Iran to swap part of its nuclear material despite new U.N. sanctions against Tehran.

Western powers voiced deep misgivings about a plan brokered by Brazil and Turkey for Iran to send abroad 1,200 kg of its low-enriched uranium in return for reactor fuel, and supported a fourth round of sanctions this month.

Turkey and Brazil voted against the resolution. Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said on Monday he still hoped an earlier outline agreement could serve as the basis for further talks with Tehran.

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Iran Bars 2 IAEA Inspectors from Entry
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Iran says it has barred two UN nuclear inspectors from entering the country after they disclosed "false" information about the country's nuclear energy program.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday that the two inspectors had leaked information about Iran's nuclear activities before the official issuance of a International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report, ISNA reported.

"Last week, Iranian officials informed the agency that two of its inspectors will no longer be allowed to enter Iran… Not only had they disclosed information before the official issuance of the report but also their report was false and unreal," he said.

Iran's point man on the nuclear issue added that the Islamic Republic has asked the IAEA to assign two new officials for further inspections at the country's nuclear facilities.

"In the last session of the IAEA Board of Governors, we voiced our objection to the incorrect report of the two inspectors. The report was unreal in its entirety," he said.

Salehi once again stressed Iran's commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, stating that "Tehran will not demand anything beyond its legal rights but will not give up its rights (either)."

"Inspections will be conducted based exactly on the nuclear safeguard agreement signed between Iran and the IAEA," he stressed.

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Lawmakers Reach Deal on Iran Sanctions
Jim Abrams
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

House and Senate negotiators said Monday they have reached agreement on a new round of economic sanctions against Iran aimed at dissuading the Tehran government from pursuing the development of nuclear weapons.

The latest proposed sanctions against Iran focus on disrupting exports of gasoline and other refined petroleum products to Iran and banning U.S. banks from doing business with foreign banks that provide financial services to Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

The draft agreement, announced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, D-Calif., comes on the heels of both international and U.S. moves to punish Iran for its refusal to abandon its nuclear program.

The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution two weeks ago to strengthen sanctions and call upon individual countries and blocs of nations to expand their own sanctions regimes on Iranian individuals and organizations. The European Union followed with new sanctions, and last week the Treasury Department said it would restrict economic contacts with some three dozen additional individuals and companies alleged to be helping Iran develop its nuclear and missile programs and evade international penalties.

The House passed its Iran sanctions bill last October, and the Senate its bill in January, but Berman and Dodd said in May that Congress would wait until after the United Nations acted, in line with the Obama administration's policy of assuring that unilateral actions against Iran be complimented by multilateral cooperation.

The agreement needs to be approved by other members of the House-Senate conference, but it enjoys wide congressional support and is expected to move quickly toward final votes in the two chambers.

The legislation would add to existing sanctions by singling out for exclusion from U.S. markets entities involved in refined petroleum sales to Iran. While Iran is one of the world's largest oil exporters, it still relies heavily on imports for refined petroleum products such as gasoline and jet fuel.

It would also impose new penalties on foreign companies, including insurance, financing and shipping companies, that assist in developing Iran's energy sector. U.S. banks would be banned from financial transactions with foreign banks that do business with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or aid Iran's illicit nuclear program.

The measure would also provide a legal framework by which U.S. states, local governments and other investors can curtail investments in foreign companies involved in Iran's energy sector.

"A month ago we announced our intention to develop a powerful package of new sanctions against Iran that would substantially augment ongoing multilateral efforts by the U.N. Security Council and the European Union," Dodd and Berman said in a statement. "Our agreement does just that."

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Four Former Officials Working for a Nuclear Free Korea
Kim Yong Hun
The Daily North Korean
(for personal use only)

Four former top officials in the South Korean diplomatic and security services have re-released their “Statement on a World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” to stress three critical issues: nuclear disarmament; non-proliferation; and peaceful usage of nuclear programs.

Former Prime Minister Lee Hong Gu, former Minister of the Foreign Affairs Hans Seung Ju, former lawmaker Park Kwang Yong and the first five star Korean General and esteemed war veteran Baek Sun Yop were the signatories.

In the statement, the four noted, “The nuclear problems of the world are directly related to the harsh reality we face and the vision of a Korean Peninsula free from nuclear weapons.”

“The North Korean nuclear problem must be treated as a global proliferation problem as well as one for the Northeast Asia region.”

They urged, “We support the application of comprehensive IAEA safety measures to all peaceful nuclear activities and special fissionable materials,” and added, “North Korea should return to the NPT immediately and implement the IAEA safety measures stipulated therein.”

“The North Korean nuclear problem is a significant challenge to international peace and security as well as nuclear non-proliferation.”

Following the statement, South Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung Hwan said, “They released the statement on the basis that South Korea has an inseparable relationship with the North’s nuclear problem and the nuclear-free world. As a member of the Nuclear Security Summit, these former South Korean officials expressed their nation's intention to actively join the wave of the world.”

The four figures issued the statement to mirror that of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry, former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Senator Sam Nunn, which they released in 2007.

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S.Korea: Resolve Ship, Then Consider Nuclear Talks
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South Korea wants to focus on a response to the sinking of one of its warships before resuming multilateral talks to end the North's nuclear arms programmes, Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

The March 26 sinking of the corvette Cheonan near the de facto maritime border between the two Koreas has raised tension in the region and further complicated already hamstrung diplomatic efforts to revive six-nation talks on the denuclearisation of North Korea.

"As North Korea was found to have sunk the warship Cheonan, the government will concentrate on the Cheonan incident at this stage," the South's Yonhap news quoted Yu as saying during a meeting of parliament.

The government "will consult related countries on resuming six-party talks after completing its response", he said.

Six-party talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia have been stalled for more than a year.

South Korea is pushing for a censure of the North in the U.N. Security Council after a multinational investigation concluded in May that a North Korean submarine torpedoed the Cheonan.

North Korea has denied involvement, saying the investigation was a fabrication and threatening military action if it is punished for the incident.

Isolated North Korea's only major ally and benefactor, China, and fellow veto-holder Russia will be key to the success of any Security Council action and Yonhap quoted Yu as saying South Korea would continue efforts to win over both.

The United States is considering going after the assets of North Korean entities and individuals to punish Pyongyang after the sinking, sources said.

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Radiation Detected After N.Korea Nuclear Claim
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South Korea detected a high level of xenon gas -- a by-product of atomic tests -- two days after the North claimed last month to have staged a successful nuclear experiment, officials said Monday.

North Korea announced on May 12 it had conducted a nuclear fusion reaction, prompting scepticism in the South at the time because of the technical difficulty inherent in the process.

Xenon is produced during the nuclear fission process.

Monday's Chosun Ilbo newspaper said the xenon readings taken near the border raised the likelihood that the North had carried out some sort of small-scale nuclear test aimed at developing fusion technology.

"The amount of xenon detected in the air at the Geojin monitoring site in Goseong county on May 14 was eight times more than normal," a science and education ministry official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The official said the ministry could not determine the reason for the abnormally high level of xenon, a gas that occurs in the atmosphere in trace amounts.

"There was no tremor -- which usually goes with nuclear explosions -- detected at the time," the official said. "Xenon may have come from a nuclear reactor elsewhere or due to a reason we have yet to fully understand."

The Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety, affiliated to the ministry, also confirmed the detection of a high level of xenon on May 14 but declined to elaborate.

A foreign ministry spokesman also confirmed that xenon had been detected in May at Geojin but said it was not linked to a nuclear test, given the absence of a tremor. The spokesman did not say what had caused the gas.

South Korean scientists used xenon readings to confirm the North's first nuclear test on October 9, 2006. The North staged a second test in May 2009.

Nuclear fusion potentially promises clean and limitless energy but can also be employed to make hydrogen bombs.

The North's announcement last month did not link the alleged fusion breakthrough to its atomic weapons programme.

Pyongyang's official media reported on May 12 that the North's scientists, using their own technology, had conducted a nuclear fusion reaction.

"The successful nuclear fusion marks a great event that demonstrated the rapidly developing cutting-edge science and technology of (North Korea)," said party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

South Korean experts doubted that the North -- which suffers persistent power shortages in everyday life -- had made major progress in the process.

Yang Hyung-Lyeol, of South Korea's state-funded National Fusion Research Institute, said at the time the North may have begun operating a small-scale magnetic nuclear fusion device.

But Yang said there would be no comparison with a major project in which the South is involved -- the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project to build a fusion power plant by the mid 2030s.

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U.S. Considering N. Korea Sanctions Over Sinking of Ship
Arshad Mohammed
Calgary Herald
(for personal use only)

The Obama administration is considering going after the assets of North Korean entities and individuals to punish Pyongyang after the sinking of a South Korean warship, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Freezing offshore assets would be the first tangible U.S. action to make North Korea pay a price for the March 26 sinking of the Cheonan corvette in which 46 South Korean sailors died. Pyongyang has denied responsibility for the incident.

While there have been extensive U.S. sanctions on Pyongyang for decades, such a move could influence North Korea because it would hit accounts controlled by military and political leaders whom U.S. officials believe must have authorized the attack.

Speaking on condition that they not be identified, the sources said targeting North Korea's illicit funds appeared to be one of the few ways the United States can get the attention of the leadership of the impoverished communist state.

They also said there is a growing view within the Obama administration that former president George W. Bush's 2005 move to blacklist a Macau bank for allegedly laundering North Korean money was ultimately useful in pressuring Pyongyang.

Adding such a coercive element to U.S. diplomacy with North Korea might help Washington bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table to carry out a 2005 agreement on abandoning its nuclear programs, the sources contended.

But it could also backfire. North Korea is notoriously unpredictable and is believed to be in the middle of a political transition aimed at locking in North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's youngest son as his successor.

The United States has moved cautiously on imposing such sanctions, but the Cheonan's sinking has changed the calculus, said a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We are facing an imperative to demonstrate once again to North Korea that there is no reward for its provocative behaviour, that in fact there is going to be a penalty," the official said.

"We have all the authority that we need to tighten the screws on specific individuals or institutions that support the leadership."

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C.  Nuclear Cooperation

Japan Studying Whether to Start Nuclear-Cooperation with India
India News
(for personal use only)

With billions of dollars from contracts to be earned from India's ambitious nuclear power projects, Japanese government has started intra-governmental negotiations to decide whether it should ink a civilian atomic pact with New Delhi, which is yet to sign the NPT.

Major US and French nuclear power companies are keen that Japan should conclude an agreement with India so that they can use Japanese technology for an Indian reactor project they are seeking to win, Japanese government sources said.

Intra-governmental negotiations are under way in Japan to decide whether to start negotiations with India over an agreement to cooperate in the field of civilian nuclear power, Kyodo news agency quoted Japanese government officials as saying.

The transfer of Japanese technology to India for civilian use requires a nuclear pact, but Tokyo has so far declined to conclude one as New Delhi has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the report said.

Japan -- which suffered US atom bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II -- maintains an official policy of not possessing or producing nuclear weapons, and not allowing them on its territory. The nuclear issue is sensitive in Japan, which campaigns for a nuclear- weapons-free world.

While the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is pushing for the nuclear treaty, Foreign Ministry officials are studying the terms under which India can effectively contribute to nuclear arms reduction as a prerequisite for concluding the accord, it quoted sources as saying.

For the Indian project, the major US and French nuclear companies, including Areva SA of France, want to use reactor vessels made by Japan Steel Works Ltd., which commands some 80 per cent of the global market for the equipment, it said.

The companies plan to work out a system for the supply of related equipment for the Indian project after Japan determines its stance on the issue, the report said.

The government needs to decide whether to launch negotiations with India "by autumn or by the end of this year at the latest" to let Japanese companies participate in the project, a METI source said.

When METI minister Masayuki Naoshima visited India in late April, the two governments set up a joint working group to discuss nuclear policies and safety standards to pave the way for a future bilateral nuclear pact, according to a senior
ministry official.

A possible nuclear pact between Japan and India may adversely affect the international nuclear nonproliferation framework at a time when Pakistan, which is also a nonmember of the NPT, is moving to import Chinese nuclear power-generation technology, the report said.

With an increasing number of countries inclined toward cooperating with India in the field of nuclear power, "I wonder if it is meaningful for Japan to say something different" from them, foreign minister Katsuya Okada said during a recent interview with Kyodo News.

"We will have to make a rather tough decision," he added

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U.N. Watchdog Backs Egypt Nuclear Power Plant Plans
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The U.N. nuclear watchdog is ready to cooperate with plans to build nuclear power plants in Egypt, which is now working on locations for construction, the head of the U.N. body said on Tuesday.

Egypt said in March it planned to build four plants by 2025 and inaugurate the first in 2019 in an effort to reduce the most populous Arab country's reliance on oil and gas. Officials hope the programme would add capacity of up to 4,000 megawatts.

"The IAEA is very happy to cooperate with Egypt in its project of introducing nuclear power. Now Egypt is finalizing its plan of choosing the site for its nuclear plant," said Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Speaking after talks with Egyptian officials, he told reporters he had proposed sending a mission to Egypt. He did not give details.

The official state news agency MENA also quoted Electricity and Energy Minister Hassan Ahmed Younes saying the IAEA had voiced its full support of Egypt's nuclear programme.

Egypt, with 78 million peopled, has signed a nuclear power consultancy deal with Australia's WorleyParsons (WOR.AX).

The deal, reached last year, includes looking for potential locations and updating studies on the Dabaa site on the Mediterranean coast, where Egypt planned to build a power station in the 1980s.

Egypt has long pressed for making the Middle East a nuclear-weapons-free zone and backed plans for a U.N.-sponsored conference for Middle East states in 2012 on the issue.

Israel is widely believed to have the region's only nuclear arsenal. Western powers suspect Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian programme. Tehran denies such ambitions.

"In the upcoming conference in 2012 of the creation of a nuclear free zone, we have further discussed the aid that the agency could extend to Egypt," Amano said.

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Russia, Kazakhstan Near Nuclear Deals
United Press International
(for personal use only)

The head of Russia's atomic energy company said Saturday Russia is close to signing nuclear cooperation agreements with Kazakhstan.

"A wide range of documents are on the deciding stage and the 'last leg' of these documents will be finished in a short period of time," Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Rosatom, said while at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

Kiriyenko was not specific about documents were being finalized, RIA Novosti reported, but he said the areas in which Russia and Kazakhstan are cooperating include the construction of a nuclear power plant and the development of uranium mining.

Kiriyenko was in Kazakhstan Thursday where he discussed the two nations' cooperation in the nuclear sphere.

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D.  Nuclear Industry

July Talks Will Enable S Korea Enter India's Nuclear Energy Market
Jyoti Malhotra
Business Standard
(for personal use only)

India and South Korea will begin negotiations in July towards an inter-governmental agreement on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, enabling Seoul to join the league of big and middle powers entering the lucrative civil nuclear energy market in India, estimated to be as large as $100 billion over the next 20 years.

Last week’s visit by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna to Seoul was marked by Korea’s keenness not only to push ahead with the civilian nuclear deal, request the Indian government to complete land acquisition for the South Korean steel major Posco in Orissa, expand the trade umbrella (under the free trade agreement which came into effect in January 2010) to $30 billion by 2014 and embark upon joint space projects, including the fabrication of satellites as well as their launch on Indian vehicles.

The expansion of the strategic partnership envisaged in January during South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s visit as chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations certainly makes Seoul a key pillar in India’s “look east” policy. The India-Korea nuclear deal also has consequences for Korea’s most important neighbours, Japan and China.

First of all, Krishna’s keenness to travel to Seoul displays New Delhi’s intent to move beyond its immediate South Asian preoccupations, especially Pakistan, and emphasise its interest in establishing a presence in South-East Asia.

South Korea clearly returns the interest. Korean officials on condition of anonymity, noted that three presidents visited India in 1996, 2004 and now in 2010, while the last Indian prime minister, P V Narasimha Rao, went to Seoul as long ago as 1993.

Korea now becomes the first regional power to enter the Indian civilian nuclear energy market, beyond the US, France and Russia. Canada will be the second when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travels to Ottawa later this week, when a similar inter-governmental agreement will be signed on civilian nuclear energy matters.

Having supported India’s effort at obtaining a clean exemption at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2008, the Korean leadership has since pointed out to Delhi that it has mastered the full nuclear cycle and that the government-owned civilian nuclear agency, KEPCO, beat France’s Areva (which has been contracted to build civilian nuclear reactors in Jaitapur, Maharashtra) to win a whopping $20-billion contract in the UAE earlier this year.

KEPCO officials had visited New Delhi on the eve of President Lee’s January visit, indicating the agency’s strong interest in India.

The India-Korea nuclear deal becomes even more significant in the context of Japan’s inability to take forward nuclear talks with New Delhi. The weak political establishment in Tokyo has been so tied up domestically that it has not been able to concentrate its mind on permitting Japanese companies (Hitachi, Toshiba and Mitsubishi) to allow their minority US partners (General Electric and Westinghouse Electric Co) to enter the Indian market.

Indian officials feel Japan’s tardiness could be Korea’s gain.

Meanwhile, China, whose proposed initiative to “grandfather” two Pakistani nuclear reactors and slip the stringent conditions imposed by the NSG, will also be closely watching the incipient India-Korea deal.

Clearly both countries are keen on sealing their newfound partnership. Krishna told his South Korean counterparts that Posco should be persuaded to start work on the already acquired 4,000-odd acres of land, especially since the 500-odd acres under dispute with Orissa tribals could take much more time to resolve. He pointed out that Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was of much the same mind on this matter.

Buoyed by the 70 per cent increase in bilateral trade since the signing of their free trade agreement in January, Krishna tried to push the frontiers of agreement by proposing joint initiatives on the exploration of hydrocarbons in third countries.

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Vietnam Plans Eight Nuclear Power Plants by 2030
The Times of India
(for personal use only)

Energy-short Vietnam announced an expansion of its nuclear power programme on Tuesday, with eight plants planned for operation over the next 20 years.

Atomic power will become one of the nation's key energy sources, according to the decision posted on the government website.

Initial plans called for four reactors but the notice said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had approved eight nuclear facilities, each with at least four reactors, by 2030.

The eight plants will generate a total of 15,000-16,000 megawatts of electricity, the document said.

The government previously announced that a Russian firm had won the contract for Vietnam's first nuclear power station, which is to begin operation in 2020.

Experts estimated the cost of Vietnam's initial 4,000-megawatt facility at 11 billion to 18 billion dollars.

The government's plan calls for "efficient and safe exploitation of nuclear power plants" and aims to increase participation of domestic industries in the projects gradually, with a view to "self reliance in design, building, installation, operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants."

At an international conference in Hanoi last week, experts said Vietnam must now start to implement safety measures including public oversight for its first nuclear plant.

More than a third of the country's energy currently comes from hydropower.

Vietnam had a shortage of two billion kilowatt-hours in the first five months of the year, according to a state electricity body.

Foreign businesses have expressed concern about a lack of energy and other infrastructure in Vietnam.

"Consumption of electricity keeps on growing by 15 percent annually, thereby substantially surpassing the economic growth rates," the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam wrote last month.

Other Southeast Asian countries are exploring the possibility of nuclear power, despite what detractors say is the area's lack of experience with the technology, and safety concerns in a region prone to natural disasters.

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Swedish Government Overturns Nuclear Ban
Nuclear Engineering International
(for personal use only)

Sweden’s parliament, in defiance of a 1980 referendum when the electorate voted to phase out nuclear power, has repealed the legislation that followed the referendum and will now allow the building of new nuclear power plant to maintain its existing fleet.

The new build will be permitted from next year as the present moratorium on nuclear power is replaced by a decision to allow replacement build limited by a new set of restrictions.

After a debate in the Riksdag on 17 June in which Sweden's need for climate friendly, low carbon energy that did not force the import of fossil fuel was opposed by environmental concerns over nuclear energy, MPs voted 174 to 172 in favour of resumption. The vote will allow Swedish firms to replace the existing ten reactors at Forsmark, Oskarshamn and Ringhals that provide over 40% of the country's electricity. Construction is expected to begin next year immediately after the new law comes into force on January 1st. It will embody restrictions that permit new reactors only at the existing three power plants, and each new reactor may only begin operation as an older one is permanently shut down. None of the current fleet should need replacement before the 2030s.

The 1980 decision offered the public three different ways to end nuclear power but none to allow it to continue normally. In the intervening years Swedish utilities have concentrated on maintaining and uprating the ten existing reactors, adding 1050 MW in extra generating capacity. Two reactors at Barsebäck were shut down prematurely following political pressure from Denmark, leading to a net loss of about 200 MWe.

Sweden's centre-Left opposition, currently running neck and neck with the government in opinion polls ahead of elections is September, have vowed to reinstate the ban.

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E.  Links of Interest

East Africa Presents New Opportunities for Nuclear Terrorism, Concludes a New Report from The Fund for Peace
(for personal use only)

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DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to visit the websites from which the source material originates. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of Partnership for Global Security. Partnership for Global Security takes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.

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