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Nuclear News - 7/29/2010
PGS Nuclear News, July 29, 2010
Compiled By: Brandi Bohannon

A.  Iran
    1. Australia to Impose Nuclear Sanctions on Iran, Voice of America (7/29/2010)
    2. Iran Ready to Stop Enrichment if Import Deal Holds, AFP (7/29/2010)
    3. MP: Iran to Supply N-Fuel By Sept., PressTV (7/28/2010)
    4. US Hopes for Nuclear Talks with Iran, Other Powers, Lachlan Carmichael, AFP (7/28/2010)
    1. N.Korea To Hold More Talks With US , The Sydney Morning Herald (7/29/2010)
    2. N.Korean FM in Myanmar Amid Nuclear Worries, July 29, AFP, AFP (7/29/2010)
    3. US: Drills Sent 'Clear Message' to NKorea, Jean J. Lee, Associated Press (7/29/2010)
C.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Britain To Allow Export of Civil Nuclear Technology to India, Nicholas Watt , The Guardian (7/28/2010)
    2. US Official Says Nuclear Treaty Disputes Lingered, Robert Burns, Associated Press (7/28/2010)
D.  Nuclear Industry
    1. Paris Wants EDF and Areva to Join Forces, United Press International (7/28/2010)
E.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Japan Shows Interest in Vietnam’s Nuclear Power Project, VietNamNet Bridge (7/29/2010)
    2. Jordan to Select Supplier for Country's First Nuclear Reactor by April, Nayla Razzouk, Bloomberg (7/29/2010)

A.  Iran

Australia to Impose Nuclear Sanctions on Iran
Voice of America
(for personal use only)

Australia says it will impose new sanctions on Iran, joining the United States, Canada, European Union, and United Nations.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Thursday that the sanctions, aimed at persuading Iran to halt its nuclear program, will affect more than 110 businesses and individuals.

The sanctions include a trade ban on all arms and items that could be used for nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons development.

Smith called Iran's nuclear program "one of the most serious security challenges facing the international community."

Wednesday, the United States said it is ready to take part in new talks with Iran about its nuclear intentions.

Tehran has sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency proposing to resume talks on a deal that would help provide nuclear fuel for Tehran's research reactor.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday that Washington hopes to meet with Iranian officials to discuss both the reactor and "broader issues" related to Tehran's nuclear program.

The nations and groups putting sanctions on Iran accuse Tehran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies the charge.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday dismissed the latest sanctions as ineffective, telling the semi-official Fars news agency that sanctions will "not have an impact on the will of a great nation."

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Iran Ready to Stop Enrichment if Import Deal Holds
(for personal use only)

Iran will suspend uranium enrichment to 20 percent if it acquires nuclear fuel for a research reactor, the country's atomic chief said on an Iranian television channel on Thursday.

"We will not need to enrich to 20 percent if our needs are met" for fuel to power the Tehran reactor, Ali Akbar Salehi said, quoted by Al-Alam Arabic-language channel.

"We started enriching to 20 percent to meet our needs. We have no wish to draw on our reserves" of 3.5-percent enriched uranium (low-enriched uranium, or LEU) to produce 20-percent enriched uranium, he added.

In February, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran has already produced highly enriched nuclear material in defiance of the West to power the reactor amid deadlock over a stalled nuclear swap deal.

The UN Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions against the Islamic republic, demanding it stop enriching uranium in a programme which Western powers fear conceals efforts to make a nuclear weapon.

Tehran insists that its atomic programme is peaceful.

In May, Turkey and Brazil brokered a deal under which Iran agreed to send 1,200 kilograms of LEU to Turkey, in return for high-enriched uranium to be supplied later by Russia and France for the Tehran reactor.

However, the fuel swap deal was cold-shouldered by world powers, which backed a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran in June.

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MP: Iran to Supply N-Fuel By Sept.
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In the wake of new European Union (EU) sanctions against Iran, the Islamic Republic says it is determined to supply the fuel needed for its nuclear research center.

Senior Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Karami-Rad on Wednesday downplayed the latest EU sanctions, saying, "Despite the ongoing sanctions during the past years, Iran has had the maximum limit of trade with Europe," IRNA reported.

"The [numerous] contracts Iran has signed in the field of industry and business with various countries illustrate the ineffectiveness of the sanctions," he emphasized.

Tehran will provide fuel for Tehran Research Reactor by September, added Karami-Rad -- who is a member of the Iranian Parliament's Foreign Policy and National Security Commission.

The remarks come a day after Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjou announced that the country's first nuclear power plant will come on stream in the southern city of Bushehr by September, generating 1,000 megawatts of electricity.

The European Union on Monday adopted new sanctions against Iran which mainly target investment in and technical assistance to Iran's refining, liquefaction and liquefied natural gas sectors.

Iranian officials have unanimously downplayed the impact of the new sanctions on the country's economy and industry, bashing Europe for following in the tracks of the US in opposing the Islamic Republic's peaceful nuclear program and pressing Tehran to halt its enrichment activities.

"Since Iran enjoys a geoategic status in the [Middle East] region, different countries including the European countries need to interact with Iran," Karami-Rad noted.

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast criticized the EU's decision, warning "sanctions will only complicate matters and move away [the parties] from mutual understanding."

The sanstions came a day after the Iranian foreign minister had announced Tehran was ready to hold talks with the West on nuclear fuel swap.

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US Hopes for Nuclear Talks with Iran, Other Powers
Lachlan Carmichael
(for personal use only)

The United States said Wednesday it hoped for high-level talks in the coming weeks with Iran and five other world powers that are working with Washington to try to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

US optimism for such talks came after Iran vowed Tuesday to press ahead with its atomic program in the face of tough new EU sanctions while at the same time expressing readiness to resume nuclear talks.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said "we hope to have the same kind of meeting in the coming weeks that we had last October," in which Iran was urged to accept a nuclear fuel swap as a confidence building measure.

"There have been contacts between Iran" and the European Union's high representative, Catherine Ashton, about a "prospective meeting," he said.

"I've got nothing to announce here but... we obviously are fully prepared to follow up with Iran on specifics regarding our initial proposal... involving the Tehran Research Reactor" and related issues.

Under the deal from last year, Iran would ship most of its low-grade uranium to France and Russia so that it could be further enriched and returned to the Tehran Research Reactor to make medical isotopes.

The deal, backed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), would buy time amid US concerns that Iran seeks to enrich uranium to levels needed for a nuclear bomb -- even though Iran insists its program is peaceful.

Crowley did not say specifically why he was optimistic about the holding of a meeting among senior officials from Iran, the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

However, he said the United States had received a copy of a letter from Iran given in the last few days to the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, and said US officials were reviewing it.

The watchdog said Monday that Iran has responded to queries raised by the Vienna group of diplomatic powers over a nuclear fuel swap deal proposed in May by Brazil, Turkey and Tehran and based on the original October proposal.

But Washington, while still holding the door open to negotiations, effectively rejected what it saw as a bid by Tehran to thwart a fourth set of UN Security Council sanctions that were imposed in New York on June 9.

Since the imposition of those sanctions which targeted Iran's military and financial sectors, the United States, Canada and the European Union have taken further punitive steps of their own.

A senior State Department official, speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity, implied that the chances of talks are higher now than in June.

"Some of the gestures by Iran were really intended to try to halt the (sanctions) process going on in New York," the official said. "Now that that process has completed, if Iran wants to engage on these subjects, we are more than happy to have that conversation."

In talks earlier this year with Brazil and Turkey, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued that Iran would only seriously negotiate when it feels the bite of sanctions while Brasilia and Ankara said more time was needed for diplomacy to work.

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N.Korea To Hold More Talks With US
The Sydney Morning Herald
(for personal use only)

North Korea and the US-led United Nations Command will hold more talks on Friday about the sinking of a South Korean warship, two days after the end of a major military exercise denounced by Pyongyang.

Colonels from the two sides will meet at 10am (0100 GMT, 1100 AEST) at the border truce village of Panmunjom, the UN Command said in a statement.

Cross-border tensions have risen sharply since South Korea and the United States accused the North in late May of torpedoing the ship near the disputed inter-Korean border with the loss of 46 lives.

US and South Korean forces on Wednesday wrapped up a four-day naval and air exercise, the first in a series, which they said was intended to warn the North against further attacks.

"These defensive, combined training exercises are designed to send a clear message to North Korea that its aggressive behaviour must stop," said General Walter Sharp in a statement.

Sharp commands the 28,500 US troops in South Korea as well as heading the UN Command, which has been based in the South since the end of the 1950-53 war to enforce the armistice that ended the conflict.

North Korea vehemently denies any role in sinking the Cheonan corvette in March, but agreed to hold talks with the UN Command about the incident. It fiercely denounced this week's war games and threatened military retaliation.

At a previous meeting at Panmunjom the North demanded to send a high-level team to the South to inspect evidence dredged from the seabed.

Seoul has displayed part of what it says is a North Korean torpedo to support its contention that its neighbour was to blame for the warship attack.

It has rejected the North's demand to send investigators, saying the UN Command should handle the case as a serious breach of the armistice.

When the talks were last held on July 23, the two sides discussed forming a joint group to assess the circumstances of and evidence on the sinking.

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N.Korean FM in Myanmar Amid Nuclear Worries, July 29, AFP
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North Korea's foreign minister arrived in Myanmar on Thursday for talks with the junta, an official said, amid Western concerns about possible nuclear cooperation between the two autocratic nations.

Pak Ui Chun landed in Yangon, where he was expected to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda before travelling to the capital Naypyidaw on Friday to meet his counterpart Nyan Win, the Myanmar official said, asking not to be named.

Full details of Pak's schedule were not immediately available, but he was expected to stay in the military-run state until Sunday.

Myanmar severed ties with Pyongyang in 1983 following a failed assassination bid by North Korean agents on South Korea's then-president Chun Doo-Hwan during a visit to the Southeast Asian nation. The attempt left 21 people dead.

But the two countries branded "outposts of tyranny" by the United States have been rebuilding relations in recent years, resuming diplomatic ties in 2007.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week expressed worries about military ties between the two nations.

"We know that a ship from North Korea recently delivered military equipment to Burma and we continue to be concerned by the reports that Burma may be seeking assistance from North Korea with regard to a nuclear programme," she said during a visit to Hanoi.

In June the ruling junta denied allegations -- in a documentary produced by the Norwegian-based news group Democratic Voice of Burma -- that Myanmar had begun an atomic weapons programme with Pyongyang's help.

The documentary cited a senior army defector and years of "top secret material". It showed thousands of photos and testimony from defectors that it said revealed the junta's nuclear ambitions and a secret network of underground tunnels, allegedly built with North Korean assistance.

Myanmar is preparing for rare elections sometime later this year that critics have dismissed as a sham due to laws that have barred opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from participating.

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US: Drills Sent 'Clear Message' to NKorea
Jean J. Lee
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

For four days, U.S. and South Korean troops fired artillery into the skies and dropped anti-submarine bombs on underwater targets — dramatic exercises meant to warn North Korea not to strike again.

The South Korean military said the show of force, which ended Wednesday, succeeded in sending a pointed warning to North Korea four months after the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship.

Indeed, the shiny armada of destroyers and stealth fighter jets — led by a nuclear-powered supercarrier that at 97,000 tons is one of the world's largest — appeared to have muted the regime.

After days of threatening to wage a powerful nuclear strike in response to the drills, North Korea issued a feeble call Wednesday for the U.S. to drop its "hostile policy" against Pyongyang.

However, some analysts say it's too early to claim success against the unpredictable North.

Jeung Young-tae of the government-funded Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul said the drills could provide just the excuse the regime needs to carry out another act of nuclear defiance: a nuclear test.

South Korea and U.S. officials said no unusual military activity has been detected this week in the North, and that the drills demonstrated the allies' firepower.

"These defensive, combined training exercises are designed to send a clear message to North Korea that its aggressive behavior must stop," Gen. Walter L. Sharp, the top U.S. military commander in South Korea, said in a statement issued Thursday. The two countries "are committed to enhancing our combined defensive capabilities."

Rear Adm. Kim Kyung-sik of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters Wednesday that the U.S. and South Korea showed off some "impressive firepower" and demonstrated the allies' solidarity.

Another round of joint exercises is due to take place in August.

However, the military parade of 20 warships, 200 aircraft and 8,000 U.S. and South Korean soldiers may reinforce Pyongyang's resolve to keep building its nuclear program, some analysts said.

The Korean peninsula technically remains in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Decades later, the two Koreas are divided by one of the world's most heavily fortified borders, and the U.S. keeps 28,500 troops in the South.

North Korea cites the U.S. troops and Washington's insistence on maintaining a "nuclear umbrella" in the region as key motives behind its drive to build atomic weapons.

Pyongyang is believed to have enough weaponized plutonium to build at least a half-dozen bombs, and last year admitted to enriching uranium, which would give it a second way to make nuclear bombs.

What North Korea needs now is to keep testing its weapons, and hard-line moves like the joint military drills could provide the regime with an excuse to stage an atomic test, Jeung said.

"I think the time for a third nuclear test is getting closer," he said, noting that it is a "necessary" next step if the North wants to improve its nuclear weaponry.

North Korea has tested two atomic weapons underground, in 2006 and in 2009, and has test-fired a long-range missile built to strike the western U.S.

Analyst Paik Hak-soon of the Sejong Institute near Seoul said both a nuclear test and test-fire of a long-range missile could be in the cards.

"North Korea considers the joint drills in the East Sea a security threat," he said. "It wouldn't be hard for North Korea to find an excuse to weaponize its nuclear program."

One analyst doubted that the impoverished North is preparing more provocations, with China — its main benefactor and traditional ally — likely urging North Korea to return to nuclear disarmament talks instead.

North Korea walked away from the six-nation disarmament-for-aid talks last year.

"North Korea has talked about retaliation based on its 'nuclear deterrent,' but it has to think about its relations with China and its international isolation," said Baek Seung-joo of the state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul.

"North Korea displayed a hard-line stance but it may only be a face-saving measure," he said. "It's likely that North Korea and China are discussing resuming the six-party talks now."

A senior Chinese envoy, Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue, was in North Korea on Wednesday with a delegation from Beijing, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency said.

In the midst of the military show on the East Sea, with helicopters dropping sonar buoys, F-18 fighters embarking on bombing runs and destroyers firing at unmanned aerial drones, the U.S. and the two Koreas marked the day 57 years ago this week that a truce ended the Korean War.

"The Korean peninsula has not been entirely at peace for the past 57 years," Gen. Walter Sharp, commander of U.S. forces in South Korea and the U.S.-led U.N. Command, said in a ceremony Tuesday at the DMZ.

In Pyongyang, military officers in uniforms bedecked with medals laid bouquets at a war memorial, according to footage aired by TV news agency APTN.

The regime used the occasion to press for a long-held request: a peace treaty with the U.S.

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C.  Nuclear Cooperation

Britain To Allow Export of Civil Nuclear Technology to India
Nicholas Watt
The Guardian
(for personal use only)

Britain is to follow the example of the US and allow the export of civil nuclear technology and expertise to India.

The move, which is the most dramatic illustration of a new special relationship David Cameron is hoping to forge with India, will prove controversial because New Delhi is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Labour backed away from offering co-operation to India on civil nuclear power amid fears that there would be leakage to its military nuclear programme.

Cameron is on a three-day trade mission to India, which starts today. As part of the visit, British Aerospace and Rolls-Royce signed a £700m deal to supply 57 Hawk trainer jets to India.

But the nuclear issue is likely to prove more controversial. The US sanctioned the use of civil nuclear technology to India in 2008 and Britain's business department has lobbied for an equally open approach. The Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office have been wary of exporting civil nuclear technology to India for fear of upsetting Pakistan and because of fears about links between New Delhi's civil and military nuclear programmes.

Vince Cable, the business secretary who has championed the move, announced the change in Britain's position this morning. "There is already a declaration under which a certain amount of modest research takes place," he said. "We want to take this to a higher level. There are British companies like Rolls-Royce, Serco and others which potentially could do a large amount of business in India.

"There are obvious security sensitivities. We are conscious of those, as are the Indians. But within those constraints we really want to push ahead with civil nuclear co-operation. That would be quite a big sector within which we could really make progress."

The prime minister agreed to the change in Britain's position, which will allow the granting of export licences for civil nuclear expertise and technology, after Cable wrote to the cabinet in June. The prime minister summoned the relevant ministers – Cable, William Hague and Liam Fox – after a recent cabinet meeting to agree the shift in policy.

Government sources said that Hague and Fox had not resisted the move. "The long-term institutional position of the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence has been cautious. That has been the institutional position of those departments. You should separate that from the ministerial positions," one source said.

The sources stressed that export licences would be examined carefully. "We will manage the risks with care," one said.

Britain believes the agreement is compatible with the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which bans the sale of nuclear technology to nuclear powers that are not signatories. The Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which Britain and the US are members, has granted India a waiver which allows the transfer of technology.

The British Aerospace deal is worth around £700m. Of that, £500m will go BAE Systems and up to £200m to Rolls-Royce. The deal will support more than 200 jobs in the UK. The jets will be built in Bangalore by the BAE subsidiary, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Cameron said: "This is an outstanding example of India-UK defence and industrial partnership, and this agreement will bring significant economic benefits to both our countries. It is evidence of our new, commercial foreign policy in action."

The deal follows an agreement in 2004 in which BAE supplied 66 Hawk aircraft to India.

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US Official Says Nuclear Treaty Disputes Lingered
Robert Burns
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

U.S. complaints about Russian compliance with the 1991 START nuclear arms control treaty had not been resolved when the pact expired last year, but the disputes never amounted to allegations of cheating, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

Rose Gottemoeller, chief U.S. negotiator of the newly completed follow-on START treaty, said in an interview that the most significant compliance issues were settled before negotiations began.

"We solved a whole load of problems in the last two years or so," she said.

Gottemoeller's remarks appeared designed to rebut opposition to the treaty in the Senate, where it has attracted strong criticism from some Republicans. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee had hoped to vote on the measure before its August recess, but there now is a chance the treaty won't get a Senate vote until after the November elections.

Gottemoeller is scheduled to testify on New START before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

Meanwhile, seven former commanders of U.S. strategic nuclear forces endorsed the treaty in a letter to key senators Wednesday. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also favor it.

In their letter, the former commanders said "there is little concern today about the probability of a Russian nuclear attack." The treaty, they wrote, sustains limits on Russian forces while allowing the U.S. to make needed reductions in its own forces.

President Barack Obama considers the pact a milestone for U.S.-Russian relations, but some Republicans in Congress have raised doubts about the treaty's value. Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the pact in April.

When disagreements over implementing the START treaty arose they were handled by a special U.S.-Russia dispute resolution commission. None ever rose to the status of an alleged violation, Gottemoeller said.

Of the compliance disputes that remained when the 1991 treaty expired, "these were minor issues that went away when START went out of force," she said, adding there were "some concerns that we had about them, some concerns that they had about us."

The most significant disputes, like movement of Russian SS-27 mobile missile launchers and U.S. inspection of re-entry vehicles aboard certain Russian missiles, were resolved, Gottemoeller said.

"We put our priority on resolving the main issues," she said.

Gottemoeller said neither side accused the other of violating provisions of START at any point.

Senate ratification of New START initially seemed certain, but Republicans, led by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., have questioned whether the administration has committed sufficient resources to maintaining the remaining U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal — missiles aboard long-range bombers and submarines, and land-based missiles.

Also in question is whether New START constrains U.S. options for improving its missile defenses.

Another potential problem for the administration is the Senate's request for the written record of the yearlong negotiations between the U.S. and Russia. The administration has balked, saying that could limit its ability to maneuver in future negotiations.

The State Department on Wednesday released an unclassified version of a compliance report to Congress, the first such assessment of compliance on a range of arms control treaties since 2005.

Republicans had pressed for details on Russia's treaty compliance record.

Gottemoeller said the unresolved disputes cited in the new State Department report have no practical bearing on the New START treaty because all those disputes have been dropped. Nor should those disputes raise questions about Russia's reliable implementation of arms agreements, she said.

In releasing the report, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that throughout the life of the 1991 START treaty, Russia was in compliance with the pacts' "central limits."

The released report is a condensed 95-page version of a classified, more detailed document submitted to Congress. The document said implementation of the 1991 treaty was successful, but added that "a number of long-standing compliance issues that were raised" in a U.S.-Russia dispute resolution commission remained unresolved when the treaty expired Dec. 5, 2009.

The report did not describe any of the unresolved issues. Gottemoeller said both sides had agreed to keep them confidential. She described the disputes as minor, technical matters.

The State Department report also said it was unclear whether Russia fulfilled its obligations as a signatory to the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, which prohibits development, production and storage of biological agents or toxins of types not used for peaceful purposes.

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D.  Nuclear Industry

Paris Wants EDF and Areva to Join Forces
United Press International
(for personal use only)

The French government has called for closer cooperation between utility EDF and reactor maker Areva to help the country regain its leadership in the nuclear power sector.

Such closer cooperation would increase France's chances to win reactor contracts abroad, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Wednesday.

"There must be a strategic partnership between Areva and EDF each time that it's necessary for exports," Lagarde told French radio station RTL. "Our two big nuclear champions must imperatively get along."

Her comments come a day after Paris unveiled a report on the state of the French nuclear industry. The report indirectly suggests that EDF and Areva forge closer ties to improve their chances on the global reactor market. Recently, Areva, Total and GDF Suez lost a $20 billion deal to supply four reactors to United Arab Emirates. The contract went to South Korea's Kopeck instead -- its reactor is cheaper.

Shortly after the report's publication, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office released a statement that Paris would look into the possibility of EDF buying a stake in Areva, a move long-resisted by Areva Chief Executive Officer Anne Lauvergeon.

Areva, 90 percent state-owned, will sell up to 15 percent of its shares by the end of the year to raise cash for an international expansion program.

EDF, which is 85 percent owned by the French government, runs 58 nuclear reactors in France that satisfy around 80 percent of the domestic power demand. It already holds a 2.8 percent stake in Areva but it has been an open secret that Sarkozy wants to increase the utility's reactor profile -- especially in the export sector.

If EDF wants buy shares, then there is "no reason to keep them out," Lagarde said.

The report also criticized Areva's focus on the highly complex European Pressurized Reactor, suggesting the company should also offer smaller and thus cheaper models to sell them to emerging economies.

The two EPR models under construction in Finland and France have been plagued by costly construction delays.

Paris' influence in EDF has been growing over the past months. The utility's Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio, in place since last year, was heaved into his chair by Sarkozy. Proglio is to restore France's position as a world-leading reactor exporter.

EDF has already vowed to build four nuclear power plants in Britain, with each expected to cost $7 billion-$8 billion. It also aims to build new reactors in the United States, China and Italy.

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E.  Nuclear Energy

Japan Shows Interest in Vietnam’s Nuclear Power Project
VietNamNet Bridge
(for personal use only)

Deputy PM Khiem welcomed and appreciated the offer of Japanese nuclear technology, saying that Vietnam would consider this issue.

Japanese officials have previously expressed their wish to join Vietnam’s nuclear power projects.

In early March 2010, Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama wrote to his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung. According to Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Mitsuo Sakaba, the letter showed Japan’s strong interest in the construction of nuclear power plants in Vietnam.

In early June 2010, Japanese Minister of Industry, Trade and Economics Masayuki Naoshima told his Vietnamese counterpart Vu Huy Hoang on the sideline of Asia-Pacific Trade Ministerial Meeting in Japan that Japan wished to build nuclear power plants in Vietnam.

Vietnam and Russia have reached agreement on the building of the first nuclear power plant in Ninh Thuan province.

Vietnam plans to build 13 nuclear power turbines in five central provinces from now to 2030. The first turbine of 1000 MW will be put into operation in 2020 and the second in 2021.

Nuclear power groups from Japan, France, Russia, the US, India, South Korea and China have positively participated in activities related to Vietnam’s nuclear power development plan through fairs, exhibitions, seminars, training activities, etc.

Apart from nuclear power, Japan also shows its interest in Vietnam’s north-south express railway project, security and defence cooperation.

In related news, the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute last week signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear power cooperation with the Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, China. This group will help train experts and provide the latest nuclear power technologies to the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute.

Vietnam has signed cooperation agreements on nuclear power with many countries like the US, Russia, France, South Korea, India and Argentina.

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Jordan to Select Supplier for Country's First Nuclear Reactor by April
Nayla Razzouk
(for personal use only)

Jordan will select the supplier of its first nuclear reactor by April from among three designs, the Middle Eastern kingdom’s regulator said.

“The competitive dialogue process should be completed with the selection of the best technical and economic offer by April 2011,” Khalid Touqan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission, said in an interview in Amman.

The commission and Worley Parsons, Australia’s biggest engineering company, will hold talks until then with the pre- selected groups of Canadian, French, Japanese and Russian bidders, Touqan said.

Jordan, much of which is covered by desert, relies almost entirely on imports for its energy needs. It signed nuclear- cooperation agreements to diversify its power supply and plans to build its first atomic plant by 2019.

Touqan said the commission preselected three reactor technologies on May 12: Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.’s Enhanced CANDU 6 (EC6), Russia’s ZAO Atomstroyexport’s AES-92 VVER-1000 and “ATMEA1,” proposed by Paris-based Atmea, a 50-50 joint- venture between France’s Areva SA and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

Areva, the world’s largest maker of nuclear reactors, signed agreements with Jordan this year for the protection of the planned nuclear installations and the exploration and mining of uranium in the kingdom.

Jordan estimates it has 65,000 tons of uranium deposits and expects annual production of 2,000 tons.

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