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Nuclear News - 7/13/2010
PGS Nuclear News, July 13, 2010
Compiled By: Brandi Bohannon

A.  Iran
    1. UAE Toughens Stance over Iran's Nuclear Ambitions, July 13, World Politics Review, James M Dorsey , J. Barnie Beasley Jr. , World Politics Review (7/13/2010)
    2. Russia Warns Iran near Nuclear Weapons Potential , Stuart Williams, AFP (7/12/2010)
    3. World Powers Mull Brazil, Turkey's Presence in Iran Talks , AFP (7/12/2010)
    4. Iran: Fuel Rods Ready in August 2011 , Press TV (7/11/2010)
    1. 'Time for NK to Take Action Toward Denuclearization' , Kim Young-jin , The Korea Times (7/13/2010)
    2. North Korea Calls Off Talks with U.N. Officers over Ship, Reuters (7/13/2010)
C.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. 'No Rift with US Over Nuclear Programme' , Hani Hazaimeh , The Jordan Times (7/13/2010)
    2. UPDATE 1-Russia, Iran to Sign Energy "Road Map" , Melissa Akin, Reuters (7/13/2010)
    3. Pakistan Did Not Oppose US-India N-Deal: Zardari , Pakistan News (7/11/2010)
D.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Aquino Considers Nuclear Power , Straits Times  (7/12/2010)
    2. Exelon, Toshiba, Shaw Pursue New Nuclear Project in Saudi Arabia , William Freebairn, Platts (7/12/2010)
E.  Nuclear Safety
    1. Taiwan's Nuclear Plants Have No Safety Concerns: AEC , The China Post (7/13/2010)
    2. Kuwait Joins Radiation Protection Program in Jordan , Arab Times (7/11/2010)
F.  Nuclear Security
    1. 4 Arrested in South Africa Trying to Sell Nuclear Device , VOA News (7/10/2010)

A.  Iran

UAE Toughens Stance over Iran's Nuclear Ambitions, July 13, World Politics Review, James M Dorsey
J. Barnie Beasley Jr.
World Politics Review
(for personal use only)

Tension between Iran and the United Arab Emirates is rising after the UAE became the first Gulf state to publicly signal endorsement of military force to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, should peaceful efforts to resolve the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program fail. The UAE also restricted Iran's use of Dubai to imports goods sanctioned by the United Nations and the United States.

In a statement, the UAE Foreign Ministry described recorded remarks made by UAE ambassador to the United States, Yousef al-Otaiba, at a conference in Colorado as "inaccurate." Nonetheless, the remarks offer a rare insight into the thinking behind closed doors of a key U.S. ally, and reflect mounting UAE frustration with Iran's refusal to resolve a dispute over the Islamic Republic's longstanding occupation of three strategic islands at the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz.

In his remarks, Otaiba described a nuclear-armed Iran as the foremost threat to the UAE, and one that needs to be neutralized at whatever cost. In doing so, he signaled growing recognition in the Gulf that the Obama administration was unlikely to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, something that many have argued would reduce regional tension and make Iran more amenable to a peaceful resolution of the nuclear standoff. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia stressed the importance of the linkage during his visit to Washington last month.

Otaiba's remarks also indicated a preference between two perceived evils -- a U.S. or an Israeli strike -- should military action become a reality. Gulf officials fear that an Israeli strike would inflame popular emotions, particularly among Shiites, far more than a U.S. operation and would therefore put their regimes in a more precarious position. Ironically, Saudi Arabia last month denied reports that it would allow Israeli warplanes access to Saudi airspace in case of an Israeli pre-emptive attack.

Asked at the Colorado conference whether he would favor U.S. force to stop the Iranian nuclear program, Otaiba described the UAE as the country most threatened by Iran. Contrasting the threat against the UAE with the danger a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the U.S., Otaiba said that a nuclear Iran would "threaten the peace process, it will threaten balance of power, it will threaten everything else, but it will not threaten you. . . . Our military . . . wakes up, dreams, breathes, eats, sleeps the Iranian threat. It's the only conventional military threat our military plans for, trains for, equips for. . . . There's no country in the region that is a threat to the UAE [besides] Iran."

Otaiba's remarks followed the disclosure via satellite imagery of Iranian military installations on Abu Musa, the largest of the three occupied islands. The installations included three missile launch pads, an elaborate underground market, and a sports field with the words "Persian Gulf" emblazoned on it -- a provocative reminder of Iran's hegemonic view of a region the Gulf states describe as the Arab Gulf. UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan last month stopped short of comparing Iran's occupation of the islands to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory. "Iran refuses to allow us to send teachers, doctors and nurses. I am not comparing Iran to Israel, but Iran should be more careful than others," Al Nahayan said.

The UAE has worked to ensure that its security is closely linked to U.S. and European security interests. In May, French President Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurated France's first military base in the region, in Abu Dhabi. The base, which comprises three sites on the banks of the Strait of Hormuz, houses a naval and air base as well as a training camp, and is home to 500 French troops. Alongside other smaller Gulf states, the UAE has also agreed to the deployment of U.S. anti-missile batteries on its territory. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are expected to spend up to $100 billion on arms procurement in the next five years.

Despite their differences over the pace of economic integration among the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UAE and Saudi Arabia have adopted a tougher stance toward Iran than fellow member states Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, some of whom have had recent problems of their own with the Islamic republic. Kuwait disclosed in May that it had dismantled an Iranian espionage group. By contrast, Bahrain, with a majority Shiite population, is believed to be close to signing a deal for the import of Iranian gas.

With his remarks, Otaiba signaled further that the UAE was willing to pay a price for stopping Iranian nuclear proliferation, and could afford to do so now that Abu Dhabi had cemented its predominance among the UAE emirates following last year's financial crisis in Dubai. Iran has threatened retaliatory steps in response to the recent freezing by the UAE central bank of accounts of 40 entities and an individual blacklisted by the U.N. for assisting Iran's nuclear and missile programs. There have also been contradictory reports recently that UAE airports had refused to refuel flights by the Iranian airlines, Iran Air and Mahan Air. Iran does $12 billion a year worth of trade with the UAE, and relies on freewheeling Dubai, as well as Ras al Khaimah, another UAE emirate, for the import of goods, many of which fall under U.N. or U.S. sanctions.

"There will be backlash, and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and [being] very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country," Otaiba was quoted as saying in Colorado. "That is going to happen no matter what."

But he added, "If you are asking me, 'Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran,' my answer is still the same: We cannot live with a nuclear Iran."

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Russia Warns Iran near Nuclear Weapons Potential
Stuart Williams
(for personal use only)

Iran is close to having the potential to build a nuclear weapon, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday in the clearest indication yet of Russian alarm over Tehran's atomic drive.

"Iran is nearing the possession of the potential which in principle could be used for the creation of a nuclear weapon," Medvedev said at a meeting with Russian diplomats quoted by Russian news agencies.

Russia, traditionally a diplomatic and economic ally of the Islamic republic, in the past took a milder line against Tehran than Western powers but recently noticeably hardened its position.

Iran has over the past months been announcing steady advances in its nuclear programme, in defiance of international calls for Tehran to freeze its sensitive uranium enrichment operations.

Iranian atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday said Tehran has produced around 20 kilogrammes of 20 percent enriched uranium.

Medvedev said that Iran "is far from behaving in the best way".

Russian last month joined other world powers in approving new sanctions against Tehran. Medvedev repeated his belief that sanctions often do not produce results, but he added that in Iran's case they could stimulate talks.

"Now what we need is patience and as quickly as possible to renew dialogue with Tehran," Medvedev said.

"This is what we see as the main aim of the UN Security Council resolution. And if diplomacy loses this chance then this will be a collective failure of all the international community," he said.

Western powers accuse Iran of seeking to build a nuclear bomb under the cover of a civilian nuclear energy programme, charges that are fiercely disputed by Tehran.

The United States and Israel have never ruled out the use of military force to end Tehran's defiance, although Russia has always insisted that the standoff should be solved diplomatically.

But Russia had in the past always scoffed at Western suggestions the Iranian nuclear drive was not peaceful and Medvedev's comments were a clear indication that Moscow's trust is dwindling.

Russia's tougher line on Iran has coincided with a warming of its relations with the United States. Washington has repeatedly praised Moscow for its support in the crisis.

The US-Russia espionage scandal that ended last week with the biggest spy exchange since the Cold War initially risked derailing the rapprochement but both sides have insisted it remains on track.

Medvedev did not mention the spy scandal in his speech to diplomats but said Russia and the United States "have no right to pause on the way to smoothing mutual understanding."

"The remnants of the Cold War are receding into the past," said Medvedev. "This rhythm must be the foundation for continuing this work to exploit the potential for mutual understanding in all areas," he added.

Russia's tougher line has already caused an unprecedented slump in its relations with Iran and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned Moscow that it risks joining Washington as a historic enemy of Tehran.

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World Powers Mull Brazil, Turkey's Presence in Iran Talks
(for personal use only)

World powers have not formally agreed that Brazil and Turkey can sit in on talks over a nuclear fuel supply deal with Iran, but neither have they explicitly ruled out such an arrangement, diplomats said Monday.

An Iranian news report on Sunday quoted Tehran's foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying that the so-called Vienna group "has accepted" the presence of Brazil and Turkey in talks over a fuel swap.

But diplomats familiar with the dossier said no such formal decision had been made.

Under a deal brokered by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last October, France, Russia and the United States proposed to Iran that it ship out most of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium for processing into fuel rods for a medical research reactor in Tehran.

But the Islamic republic cold-shouldered the proposal, insisting on a single, simultaneous fuel swap on its own territory instead, which was, in turn, unacceptable to the West.

After eight months of deadlock, Brazil and Turkey stepped in to draw up an alternative arrangement whereby the nuclear material would be transferred for safeholding in Turkey. In return, Iran would receive the fuel for its research reactor 12 months later.

But Moscow, Paris and Washington expressed reservations and, in a detailed response last month, asked Iran to clear up a number of questions they had about the deal.

The three powers were still waiting for Iran's response to their reservations, a Western diplomat told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"We presented Iran with feedback. We're now waiting for their reply before considering the next step," the diplomat said.

On Sunday, Iran announced that it has produced around 20 kilogrammes of 20 percent enriched uranium, in defiance of the world powers who want Tehran to suspend the controversial nuclear work.

"We have produced around 20 kilogrammes of 20 percent enriched uranium and we are working to produce the (fuel) plates," Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi told ISNA news agency.

World powers led by Washington want Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment activity which they suspect masks a nuclear weapons drive, and on June 9 backed a UN Security Council resolution for a fourth set of sanctions on Iran.

Enriched uranium can be used as fuel to power nuclear reactors as well as to make the fissile core of an atom bomb.

Tehran says its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.

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Iran: Fuel Rods Ready in August 2011
Press TV
(for personal use only)

Iran will complete the production of fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor by August next year, says the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).

"Iran has now produced 20 kg (44 lb) of nuclear fuel with an enrichment level of 20 percent," Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by IRNA as saying on Sunday.

"In view of the making of fuel rods, we hope to deliver them [to the Tehran Research Reactor] by Shahrivar next year," he added, referring to the Iranian calendar month, which begins in August 2011.

Salehi said in June that Iran would produce its own nuclear fuel after the West failed to provide the country with 20-percent enriched uranium for its research reactor.

Iran also announced in May that it was ready to swap its low-enriched uranium on Turkish soil for nuclear fuel.

However, the West cold-shouldered the move and the UN Security Council approved new sanctions against Iran in June.

The US, Israel and their Western allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military objective in its nuclear program.

Iran has stressed that its nuclear program is peaceful and argues that, as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it has the right to enrich uranium based on the country's needs.

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'Time for NK to Take Action Toward Denuclearization'
Kim Young-jin
The Korea Times
(for personal use only)

With North Korea signaling a return to diplomatic engagement after its attack in March of a South Korean warship, hopes are high that resumption of the six-party talks on its denuclearization could be close at hand.

The speculation sparked up when Pyongyang stated its desire to return to negotiations after a U.N. Security Council (UNSC) statement fell short of directly blaming it for the deadly sinking.

But with Seoul and Washington skeptical over its commitment to the talks, Pyongyang must take clear steps on its nuclear program to prove it is ready to reengage with the international community, a North Korea expert said Tuesday.

"I think it is positive that North Korea has reaffirmed its willingness to commit to denuclearization," Scott Snyder, head of the Asia Foundation's Center for U.S.-Korea Policy in Washington, D.C., told The Korea Times via email. "But it will take actions, not declarations, to convince the other parties of North Korea's sincerity."

Analysts say doubt among the other members - Seoul, Washington, Beijing, Tokyo and Moscow - is only natural as Pyongyang's recent willingness to talk fits perfectly with the pattern of brinksmanship and acquiescence it has used to win aid in the past.

But Snyder said the North has a myriad of options to assuage such concerns and kick-start the denuclearization-for-aid talks at a time when its economy has been hobbled by U.N. sanctions.

According to the expert, the "first and easiest step" the North might take would be inviting International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors back to its Yongbyon plant.

The inspectors were kicked out of the North's major nuclear facility in 2008 and nuclear activities there reportedly picked up again last spring.

Snyder said it can also send a positive message by showing it is willing to come into full compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which it walked away from in 2003 amid rumors it was reprocessing plutonium.

Finally, Pyongyang can reaffirm the "action for action" principle of the talks under which the other members only take steps to fulfill their commitments in response to corollary actions by the North.

Snyder said the talks could also provide an important opportunity for the other members to mend relations damaged by wrangling in the aftermath of the sinking.

China and Russia, permanent members of the UNSC with ties to the North, thwarted efforts at the Security Council to censure the North for the sinking.

China, in particular, drew ire with its prolonged silence in the wake of the attack and stately hosting of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in early May.

"The Cheonan issue has influenced relations with China, but these issues will not determine when the parties come back to dialogue," Snyder said. "Rather, the process of returning to dialogue itself might prove to be a constructive means by which to deal with these issues."

The intermittent talks began in 2003 to coax the North to abandon its weapons program and rejoin to the NPT in return for food and energy assistance and the negotiation of a peace treaty on the peninsula.

But the North walked away last spring from the negotiations after being slapped with U.N. sanctions for its missile and nuclear tests.

Speculation was high over Pyongyang's imminent return until March 26, when the Cheonan was torpedoed in the West Sea, killing 46 seamen and throwing all prospects for resumption of the negotiations into limbo.

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North Korea Calls Off Talks with U.N. Officers over Ship
(for personal use only)

North Korea abruptly called off talks set for Tuesday with the U.S.-led United Nations Command that oversees the Korean War truce, failing to show up for the first meeting to discuss the sinking of a South Korean warship.

North Korea's military representatives asked for a delay "for administrative reasons," the U.N. Command said in a statement. An official there said the North may have decided it was not ready for the talks. No new date has been set.

A joint team of investigators involving military officers and civilian experts from the South, the United States and Sweden in May accused the North of launching a torpedo attack on the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March, killing 46 sailors.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang repeated a call for all sides to resume talks and again expressed concern about planned military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

"Problems on the Korean peninsula can only be resolved through the peaceful methods of talks and negotiations," Qin told a regular news briefing in Beijing. "A war of words, or even using military means, cannot fundamentally resolve the issues."

The U.N. Security Council in a statement on Friday condemned the attack but did not directly blame the North. The North denies it was involved in the sinking and has accused the South of masterminding a fabrication for political gain.

North Korea first rejected a call by the U.N. Command to meet and discuss any violation of the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. It later changed its position and said it would accept such a meeting, after Seoul rejected its proposal to send a military team to inspect the sunken ship.

North Korea at the weekend said it was willing to return to nuclear talks with regional powers that it had boycotted for more than a year. Experts said the North was trying to put the Cheonan incident behind it by offering to talk.

South Korea and the United States reacted with skepticism, saying the North must show it was genuinely interested in easing tensions, first by apologizing for the ship incident.

The foreign and defense ministers of the two allies will meet in Seoul next week to discuss strengthening security ties.

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C.  Nuclear Cooperation

'No Rift with US Over Nuclear Programme'
Hani Hazaimeh
The Jordan Times
(for personal use only)

Jordan-US negotiations on nuclear cooperation are going smoothly, the government said on Monday, dismissing allegations of a disagreement between the two countries over the Kingdom's peaceful nuclear programme.

The government was responding to a news report published yesterday by Saudi Arabia's Al Madina daily claiming that the US had threatened to stop its military and economic assistance to the Kingdom if Jordan decides to pursue its plans to obtain nuclear energy without engaging Israel in the project.

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Nabil Sharif dismissed the report as baseless, stressing that ties between Jordan and the US are excellent and negotiations over a nuclear cooperation agreement (NCA) are progressing adequately.

"What has been published by the paper is irresponsible and false. The negotiations on the Kingdom's nuclear programme are still ongoing and we are confident that we will reach a satisfactory result. Our ties with the US are excellent and strong. We have many joint agreements covering various aspects of cooperation," the minister said.

The US embassy in Amman also dismissed the report.

“The Saudi newspaper report is not true,” Maria Olson, press attachژ at the embassy told The Jordan Times.

The Kingdom’s peaceful nuclear energy programme is a central part of its strategy to achieve energy independence and become a net energy exporter by 2030.

Jordan has already signed NCAs with France, Spain, China, South Korea, Canada, Russia, the UK and Argentina. An agreement with Japan was drafted earlier in June and is expected to be signed by the end of this year.

In March, the Kingdom unveiled its first storage facility for radioactive waste, which US officials said was funded in part by the US Department of Energy through its Global Threat Reduction Fund. At the time, US embassy and Department of Energy representatives expressed interest in closer cooperation with Jordan in the nuclear field in the near future.

Jordan, which imports 95 per cent of its energy needs at a cost of 13 per cent of its gross domestic product, is known to have significant uranium reserves, although the full extent of these reserves is not yet known.

Uranium mining activities are expected to begin in early 2013.

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UPDATE 1-Russia, Iran to Sign Energy "Road Map"
Melissa Akin
(for personal use only)

Russia said on Tuesday it planned to sign a road map to outline future energy cooperation with Iran.

Russian oil and gas majors Gazprom (GAZP.MM), Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM) and LUKOIL (LKOH.MM), have signed billions of dollars worth of deals to help Iran develop its oil and gas fields but most projects are on holding because of sanctions.

The document will be signed on Wednesday when Iranian Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi meets his Russian counterpart Sergei Shmatko in Moscow, the oil ministry said without providing details.

At best, analysts said, it will reflect Russia's efforts to walk a safe path between international sanctions and Moscow's wish to maintain ties with a fellow oil and gas power.

"The ministers will discuss the current situation in Russia-Iranian energy cooperation and will outline prospects for future cooperation," the statement said.

"The ministries will study issues linked to the creation of favourable conditions to intensify and make cooperation in the energy sphere between Iran and Russia more concrete," it added.

Russia voted for sanctions in the United Nations Security Council on June 9 that target the Islamic Republic banking and shipping sectors because of Iran's failure to allay fears over its disputed nuclear programme.

"Russian companies are taking a cautious approach to this country at this moment they don't want to engage in politically risky and financially risky projects," Troika Dialog analyst Valery Nesterov said.

"The maximum terms they can offer are oil services contracts which are not especially rewarding as they don't secure additional oil supplies for the companies."

But Russian state controlled companies are unlikely to shut down investment or withdraw completely from Iran, holder of vast untapped oil and gas resources.

Russia's No. 2 oil producer, LUKOIL -- 20 percent owned by U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips (COP.N) -- has decreed a halt to its gasoline exports to fuel-hungry Iran.

But state controlled Gazprom has said it is bidding to develop the Azar oilfield and has expressed interest in Iran's giant South Pars field.

The Kremlin's influence in Tehran is a key lever of influence in its relationship with the United States and the European Union, which fear Tehran is seeking to create a nuclear bomb. Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons.

"There is an understanding that Russia needs to engage with Iran at some level," Weafer said. "The last thing the U.S. would actually want is for Tehran to end up only speaking to Beijing because that would limit U.S. back door access to Tehran."

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Pakistan Did Not Oppose US-India N-Deal: Zardari
Pakistan News
(for personal use only)

Pakistan did not oppose the India-US civil nuclear deal and it expects similar pacts from other countries, President Asif Ali Zardari has said.

'When India was going with the civil nuclear deal with the US, we did not oppose it, so we did not mind that our friends have influence on other friends and we expect the same from others,' Zardari, who concluded his visit to China Saturday, said in an interview to China Centre Television.

After the suspension of India-Pakistan peace talks due to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, he said the dialogue process between the two countries has come back on track and hopefully will go forward.

To a question about the Indian presence in Afghanistan, Zardari said Afghanistan is a sovereign country and it has sovereign policies.

'We always appreciate India's mature democracy and expects from their mature democracy to have its mature position,' he added

Asked about handing over the suspects of the Mumbai attack to India, Zardari said there was no treaty between the two countries to enable this. Pakistan was trying the suspects locally and hoped to bring them to justice, he added.

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D.  Nuclear Industry

Aquino Considers Nuclear Power
Straits Times
(for personal use only)

THE Philippines may turn to nuclear energy to solve power shortages in the impoverished nation, President Benigno Aquino said on Monday.

'We are studying the possibility of using nuclear energy as a source of power,' Mr Aquino, who took office on June 30, told reporters. 'I'm awaiting the department of energy secretary's recommendations.' He said the technology could come from South Korea, without elaborating.

But he said he was reluctant to rebuild a plant completed a quarter of a century ago under the Marcos regime but never used.

Mr Aquino's statement came four months after a cousin, House of Representatives member Mark Cojuangco, inspected a turbine generator and other nuclear equipment being auctioned by South Korea.

Mr Cojuangco has also said the government should seriously consider reviving the Bataan nuclear power plant, which was completed in 1984 after eight years of construction by the government of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Built 100 kilometres north of Manila at a cost of US$2.3 billion (S$3.2billion), the plant was hounded by controversy and has never produced power.

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Exelon, Toshiba, Shaw Pursue New Nuclear Project in Saudi Arabia
William Freebairn
(for personal use only)

Exelon, Toshiba and Shaw Group will jointly pursue contracts to build and
operate new nuclear generating units in Saudi Arabia, Shaw Group said Monday
in a statement.

The group of companies said they will seek design, engineering,
procurement, construction and operating contracts for nuclear projects in the

Saudi Arabia in February announced the development of a nuclear
technology center and neighboring United Arab Emirates awarded a contract to
build four nuclear units late last year to a Korean consortium.

Japan's Toshiba and US-based Shaw would handle the design, engineering,
procurement and construction services using Toshiba's advanced boiling water
reactor design, the statement said. The group "also is capable of utilizing"
Westinghouse's AP1000 design, the companies said.

Chicago-based Exelon, which operates the largest US nuclear fleet, would
provide operations and related services for the projects, the statement said.

Shaw has a contract to conduct a study to recommend operational
improvements in 53 Saudi power plants, the company said. Saudi Arabia does not
currently operate nuclear power reactors.

Before any US company could provide nuclear services to Saudi Arabia, the
US and that country would have to sign a framework agreement meeting the
requirements of section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act followed by US
congressional review, Shaw's statement said. For Japanese companies to provide
nuclear services, a similar cooperation agreement would have to be reached
between Saudi Arabia and Japan, the statement said.

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E.  Nuclear Safety

Taiwan's Nuclear Plants Have No Safety Concerns: AEC
The China Post
(for personal use only)

There are no concerns about the safety of Taiwan's three operating nuclear power plants, the Atomic Energy Council cited the government's latest nuclear power plant performance report as saying yesterday. “Based on the council's latest safety assessments, the six power reactors located in the country's three operating nuclear plants are running well without safety concerns,” said Chen Yi-bin, director of the AEC's Department of Nuclear Regulations. he council has since 2006 released its nuclear plant performance report every quarter and posts it on its website to inform the public of the plants' operations and try to assuage public concerns over the safety of nuclear power.

The AEC's performance assessments are modeled on the same four-light signal scale as used by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). A green light shows very low risk significance, a white light indicates low to moderate risk significance, a yellow light represents substantial risk significance and a red light shows high risk significance. Chen said the newly released report shows that the six reactors were given overall green lights in the total 13 subindicators of the performance and inspection indicators.

“Basically, the very low risk significance shown by the green lights means there is no cause for concern. There is no need for the public to worry about safety,” Chen said.

According to Chen, when the council first applied the safety assessment scale in 2006, the three nuclear power plants were given white signals only for two subindicators, but the flaws have since been corrected.

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Kuwait Joins Radiation Protection Program in Jordan
Arab Times
(for personal use only)

A radiation protection program kicked off here Sunday, with representatives from 12 Arab countries, including Kuwait, participating. The five-day program is co-organized by the Arab Atomic Energy Agency (AAEA) and Jordan Nuclear Regulatory Commission (JNRC). Speaking to KUNA, Amina Ahmadi, representative of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health protection and radiation directorate, said Kuwait’s involvement in the program shows its interest in ensuring the safety of people and workers in the radiation protection in line with relevant international criteria set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The program is mainly meant to promote radiation safety rules and safety system implementation mechanisms, she said.

Concerning the situation in Kuwait, she said Kuwaiti agencies concerned are meeting IAEA-required criteria and standards, which include management and surveillance at institutions. In a keynote speech, Deputy Chairman of the AAEA Dhaw Mesbah stressed the significance of radiation control and supervision, especially in light of the current global nuclear renaissance. The renaissance was coupled with an Arab strategy approved by the Arab League for training human cadres in radiation protection, Mesbah said. For his part, JNRC Chairman Gamal Sharaf said nuclear energy is a two-edged weapon that should be positively tapped through legislative and regulatory frameworks, while ensuring the safety element, which is the key in radiation protection. He stressed the necessity of personnel training for improving the performance of human elements in the regulation and surveillance of radiation protection.

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F.  Nuclear Security

4 Arrested in South Africa Trying to Sell Nuclear Device
VOA News
(for personal use only)

South African police say they have arrested four men in the capital, Pretoria, for attempting to sell what they describe as an industrial nuclear device to undercover officers.

The men - all South Africans - were arrested Friday at a Pretoria gas station, where they attempted to sell the device for about $6 million.

Police say Interpol was also involved in the operation. They did not say where the device came from or for what industrial purpose it is used, but did say it contained radioactive material.

The officials say the four will appear in court soon to face charges of possession of a radioactive device, as well as health code violations for handling radioactive material in public.

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