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Nuclear News - 9/23/2010
PGS Nuclear News, September 23, 2010
Compiled By: Matthew Kapuscinski

A.  Iran
    1. World Powers Seek 'Negotiated Solution' with Iran, Lachlan Carmichael, AFP (9/22/2010)
    2. Iran Displays Advanced Missile at Military Parade, Associated Press (9/22/2010)
    3. Threats Will Not Work on Iran, PressTV (9/22/2010)
    4. Russian Military Confirm Iran S-300 Missile Sale is Off, BBC News (9/22/2010)
    5. Iran: US Reluctant to Attend Nuclear Talks, PressTV (9/22/2010)
    6. Iran Leader Warns US of War with 'No Limits', AFP (9/21/2010)
    1. North Korea Will Continue to Face Sanctions Unless it Denuclearizes: White House, Hwang Doo-hyong, Yonhap News Agency (9/22/2010)
    2. US Asks North Korea to Show Talks Commitment, AFP (9/21/2010)
C.  Nonproliferation
    1. Gul Backs Mideast Nuclear-Free Zone, Anita Snow, Associated Press (9/21/2010)
    2. Israel's Accession to NPT Treaty Dominates IAEA Conference, Al-Masry Al-Youm (9/21/2010)
D.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Kuwait Looks to Russia for Nuclear Cooperation, World Nuclear News (9/22/2010)
    2. Russia and China Deepen Energy Cooperation, UPI (9/21/2010)
E.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Jordan Has Right to Develop, Enrich Uranium Deposits, U.S. Official Says, Jonathan Tirone, Bloomberg (9/22/2010)
    2. Egypt Nuclear Plant to Cost $4 Billion, Bikya Masr (9/22/2010)
    3. UAE Confident Over Safety Procedures for New Plant, Tasmin Carlisle, The National (9/21/2010)
    4. China May Reach Nuclear Capacity Aim Ahead of Schedule, Radio Cites Zhang, Bloomberg (9/20/2010)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Long-Term Chernobyl Effects Lower Than Feared, Reuters (9/22/2010)
    2. Chris Huhne Urges Liberal Democrats to Back New Nuclear Power Stations, The Guardian (9/21/2010)

A.  Iran

Iran Displays Advanced Missile at Military Parade
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

Iran has displayed an advanced missile capable of reaching Israel at a military parade on the 30th anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war.

The solid-fuel Sajjil has the longest range of any missile in Iran's arsenal, more than 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers).

Iran has dramatically accelerated its missile program in recent years, raising international concern that it could pose a threat to Israel and U.S.-allied Arab nations, including some that are home to American military bases.

Iran test fired an upgraded version of the Sajjil in December in part to demonstrate it could deter any military strike on its nuclear facilities.

Wednesday's display included a domestic unmanned bomber aircraft that Iran's president has nicknamed the "ambassador of death."

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Iran: US Reluctant to Attend Nuclear Talks
(for personal use only)

Iran says it is ready to hold nuclear talks with the Vienna Group, "but the other side, particularly the United States does not show willingness."

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi declared on Wednesday Iran's readiness to continue nuclear talks with the Vienna Group - the US, France, Russia and the IAEA - but urged the negotiating side, including the US, to not lose opportunities.

"Unfortunately the other side, particularly the United States, shows reluctance to attend the nuclear talks; this moves the international community to doubt the sincerity of the United States," IRNA quoted Salehi as saying on Wednesday.

Iran's top nuclear official, in Vienna to attend the 54th General Conference of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also met with Brazilian and Turkish representatives on the sidelines of the conference to discuss the Tehran Declaration and nuclear fuel for the Tehran reactor.

"In this session, Iran, Turkey and Brazil discussed the Tehran Declaration and fortunately reached a comprehensive consensus over the nuclear fuel swap for the Tehran reactor," Salehi added.

"We hope to see other countries, particularly the US become more rational and stop losing opportunities because we have repeatedly declared our readiness to hold a meeting with the Vienna Group," Salehi continued.

The 54th General Conference of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is being held in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

The five-day conference began Monday, September 20, and will run until Friday, September 24.

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Russian Military Confirm Iran S-300 Missile Sale is Off
BBC News
(for personal use only)

A top Russian general has confirmed that a sale of S-300 air defence missiles to Iran will not go ahead because of UN sanctions.

Gen Nikolai Makarov, head of the general staff, told reporters the missiles were "definitely" subject to new sanctions introduced in June.

At the time, Russia's foreign minister said the S-300 deal was not affected.

Possession of S-300 systems would enhance Iran's defence of its nuclear facilities against attack from the air.

"The decision has been taken not to supply S-300 [systems] to Iran," Gen Makarov said at Ramenskoye airport outside Moscow.

"They are definitely subject to sanctions."

Asked if Russia had torn up its contract with Iran, he replied: "We'll see. That will depend on how Iran behaves."

Back in June Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that a fourth round of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on Iran over its nuclear programme would not affect the S-300 contract.

However, shortly afterwards, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was quoted by French media as saying the sale had been suspended.

There has long been speculation that Israel may attempt to bomb Iranian facilities to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, insisting that its programme is purely civilian.

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Threats Will Not Work on Iran
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Former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi warns against threats by the US and Israel of a military attack on Iran, saying such measures will bear no fruit.

"I am more optimistic about resolving issues concerning Iran's nuclear case at this point in time than I have been in the past," Prodi told ILNA on Tuesday.

"Iran can easily express its readiness to hold nuclear negotiations with authorized bodies so that they will dispatch their inspectors to Iran to inspect the country's nuclear sites," he added.

The remarks came a day after US President Barack Obama said a military attack by Israel or the United States against Iran would not be the "ideal way" to solve the issue of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

"We don't think that a war between Israel and Iran or military options would be the ideal way to solve this problem," Obama said on Monday.

"We continue to be open to diplomatic solutions to resolve this," the US president went on to say.

The United States and its ally, Israel, over the past few years have repeatedly threatened to launch a military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. They claim that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons.

Iran says its nuclear program is completely peaceful and within the framework of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, to which it is a signatory.

Iranian officials have warned that any act of aggression by the US and Israel against Iran's nuclear facilities would receive a firm response and could result in a war that could spread beyond the Middle East.

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World Powers Seek 'Negotiated Solution' with Iran
Lachlan Carmichael
(for personal use only)

The United States and five other world powers are seeking an "early negotiated solution" to the nuclear stand-off with Iran, according to a copy of a draft statement obtained on Wednesday by AFP.

The draft was due to be finalized when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets her counterparts from Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany at around 11:00 am (1500 GMT) on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Iran has signalled a new willingness to engage the international community over its nuclear program, but has so far failed to meet the terms for talks and its defiance triggered a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions in June.

But the draft statement, if adopted, amounted to a fresh diplomatic overture.

"We reaffirmed our determination and commitment to seek an early negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and focused our discussion on further practical steps to achieve it at an early date," the draft said.

The draft said the six powers are "ready to engage with Iran" in the context of implementing a nuclear fuel swap deal that was agreed in Geneva in October last year, adding they looked forward to an "early meeting" with Iran.

Under the deal, Iran would ship most of its low-grade uranium to France and Russia so that it could be enriched to higher levels and returned to Iran to fuel a medical research reactor in Tehran.

The deal had been designed to buy time and build confidence while the world community waits for Iran to meet its demand to halt uranium enrichment, a program western powers fear masks a drive for a nuclear bomb.

But the deal stalled as Iran sought to modify its terms.

In June, the UN Security Council then approved a fourth round of sanctions against the Islamic republic, which in turn said it would suspend talks until September.

The draft also said the chief diplomats discussed the new sanctions.

The United States, which spearheaded the drive for the sanctions, has long argued that Iran will only return to the negotiating table once it feels them bite.

It says the current sanctions are beginning to hurt Iran, while Tehran insists they have no effect.

"We confirmed the need for Iran to comply with the UN Security Council, and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Board of Governors requirements," the draft said.

These bodies insist Iran fully open up its nuclear facilities to inspection and halt uranium enrichment, a program which the Western powers fears Iran is using to build a nuclear weapon.

Iran denies the charge, saying the program is for peaceful purposes.

Clinton spokesman Philip Crowley told AFP that Washington does not respond to leaked statements, but signalled continued US willingness to engage Iran in a constructive dialogue.

"If Iran is ready for serious discussions, all they have to do is let us know," he said in an email.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in New York to attend the UN General Assembly meeting, told media that his country was ready to resume talks with world powers over its nuclear program.

The UN sanctions had also damaged the chances for an improvement in US-Iranian relations, he added. He blamed international politics for the growing tensions over the nuclear program.

"Iran's nuclear case is a political case," the New York Times quoted him as saying. "Otherwise, why would it be essential for the details of our nuclear program be made available to the media?"

While attending UN meetings, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took a stern tone toward Tehran.

"Iran has not removed doubts" over whether its nuclear program is peaceful or not, Merkel said.

And failing to comply with UN resolutions, Iran "is threatened with isolation and the pursuit of new sanctions," she warned.

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Iran Leader Warns US of War with 'No Limits'
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Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Tuesday that an attack on his country's nuclear facilities could spark a war with "no limits".

Ahmadinejad also raised new questions about the Holocaust as he raised more controversy on his visit to New York for the annual UN General Assembly meetings.

"The United States has never entered a real war, not in Vietnam, nor in Afghanistan, nor even World War II," the Iranian leader told American editors and reporters when asked about how Iran would react to any US supported strike by Israel on Iran's nuclear facilities.

"War is just not bombing someplace. When it starts it has no limits," the New York Times reported.

"Do you think anyone will attack Iran to begin with?" he said, according to Atlantic magazine's website. "I really don't think so. The Zionist regime is a very small entity on the map, even to the point that it doesn't really factor into our equation."

The UN Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. The United States and its allies have called for stringent application of the measures and Washington-Tehran relations have become increasingly fraught.

The western powers accuse Iran of trying to develop a nuclear bomb. Ahmadinejad denies the charge.

The Iranian leader said he was ready for nuclear talks with US President Barack Obama's administration, but said "the whole outlook has to shift," ABC News reported.

The UN sanctions had damaged the chances for an improvement in US-Iranian relations, he added.

Ahmadinejad blamed international politics for the growing tensions over the nuclear program. "Iran’s nuclear case is a political case," the New York Times quoted him as saying. "Otherwise, why would it be essential for the details of our nuclear program be made available to the media?"

Ahmadinejad was again questioned about the killing of millions of Jews in Nazi death camps during World War II.

He described it as "a historical event used to create a pretext for war."

"The question is, why don't we allow this subject to be examined further.... It is incorrect to force only one view on the rest of the world," he was quoted as saying.

"We need to ask, where did this event occur, and why should the Palestinian people continue to suffer for it? I am not an anti-Semite. I am anti-Zionism," he said.

Ahmadinejad denied that Iran's opposition movement faced persecution. "Those individuals face no problems, no difficulties," he said. "They are all free in fact."

Ahmadinejad went on to give a chaotic speech at the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals in which he blamed capitalism for the world's ills.

He soon broke off his presentation to complain about the lack of simultaneous translation to the UN assembly presidency.

The president resumed but at the end, the UN interpreters said they were only "reading from a translated text" in English and not following Ahmadinejad's comments.

The hall was half empty. Canada's delegation boycotted the speech but it appeared to be the only one to protest. In the past western ambassadors and ministers have walked out en masse.

Ahmadinejad called for fundamental reform of "the undemocratic and unjust" world order, according to a text distributed by the Iranian mission.

"Demanding liberal capitalism and transnational corporations have caused the suffering of countless women, men and children in so many countries," he was quoted as saying.

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North Korea Will Continue to Face Sanctions Unless it Denuclearizes: White House
Hwang Doo-hyong
Yonhap News Agency
(for personal use only)

The United States said Tuesday that North Korea will continue to face strong punitive sanctions unless it abides by its commitment to denuclearize.

"I think there are a whole host of things that they can do," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "The easiest thing to do would be to simply live up to the obligations that they agreed to, understanding that not living up to those obligations has seen a tightening of sanctions by the international community."

Earlier in the day, the State Department announced that Robert Einhorn, its special adviser in charge of sanctions on North Korea and Iran, will travel to Beijing on Sept. 28-30 to seek China's cooperation in implementing sanctions on North Korea and Iran.

Einhorn's Beijing tour coincides with the opening on Sept. 28 of the much-anticipated meeting of the representatives of the North's ruling Workers Party possibly to anoint the ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's youngest son, Jong-un, as an heir.

Einhorn toured Seoul and Tokyo early last month on a similar mission. His trip to Beijing, originally scheduled for late last month, has been postponed at China's request, according to U.S. officials.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, her spokesman Philip Crowley said.

Crowley said China is in agreement with "our two-track strategy" of both engaging with and imposing sanctions on North Korea and Iran to dissuade them from their nuclear weapons ambitions.

"These are not either/or propositions," Crowley said. "It is both Chinese ideas on how to successfully engage both countries, at the same time reaffirming that we will continue to fully implement both resolutions."

During her stay in New York, Clinton will also meet with her counterparts from other members of the six-party talks, Crowley said. Other countries involved in the six-party forum include the two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Pak Gil-yon is also visiting New York this week, but Crowley said U.S. officials have no plan to hold bilateral contact with him and other North Korean officials.

U.S. President Barack Obama will also travel to New York later this week to meet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and other leaders to discuss North Korea and other issues, White House officials said.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the ball is in North Korea's court.

"It is within the power of the North Koreans to come back to the table and fulfill the obligations that they agreed to in giving up their nuclear program and in ensuring a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula," he said. "It is well within their own power to make significant progress on that issue."

A key six-party deal, signed in 2005, calls for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programs in return for massive economic aid, diplomatic recognition by Washington and Tokyo. It also calls for the adoption of a permanent peace treaty to replace the fragile armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

The North exited the deal early last year in anger at U.N. sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile tests. Then came the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, which Seoul blames on Pyongyang. The North denies responsibility, Seoul and Washington demand Pyongyang apologize for the sinking and confirm in action its commitment to fulfill the 2005 denuclearization deal before resuming the six-party talks.

China, meanwhile, has called on the relevant parties to turn the page on the Cheonan for an early resumption of the nuclear talks, which Beijing has hosted since 2003.

China has proposed that Washington hold a bilateral meeting with North Korea before reopening the six party talks. The first such contact under the Obama administration was held in December, when Stephen Bosworth, special representative for North Korea policy, visited Pyongyang.

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US Asks North Korea to Show Talks Commitment
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The United States on Tuesday called on North Korea to demonstrate its desire to return to denuclearization talks as the reclusive state geared up for its biggest political meeting in decades.

"It is within the power of the North Koreans to come back to the table and fulfill the obligations that they agreed to in giving up their nuclear program and ensuring a nuclear-free Korean peninsula," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

The comments came as a key US envoy prepared to visit the region for discussions on nonprofileration and with a leadership meeting in North Korea expected on September 28 which many analysts predict will anoint leader Kim Jong-Il's youngest son as his heir.

US officials declined to comment on the leadership meeting itself but said that regardless of who is in charge the reclusive country should live up to promises made in 2005 to give up its nuclear program.

"The way forward for North Korea is to live up to its commitments," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said when questioned about the North Korean situation.

"We're still seeking specific actions that we believe would signal its desire to return to six-party talks. Anything it can do on that front would be welcome," Toner said.

North Korea agreed in 2005 in six-nation talks -- which involve China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States -- to give up its nuclear program in return for security guarantees and badly needed aid.

North Korea stormed out of the talks last year, accusing the United States of hostility. It later agreed to return to the table, but has insisted that it first be treated as a nuclear weapons state.

President Barack Obama's administration has pursued what it calls "strategic patience" with North Korea, saying it is ready to talk if North Korea comes around but that Washington will not offer any new package.

The United States has meanwhile led international efforts to ramp up sanctions.

The State Department said that Robert Einhorn, the special adviser on nonproliferation and arms control, would visit China from September 28 to 30 -- the same time as the meeting to North Korea.

Einhorn will "discuss a range of issues, but obviously (with a) heavy emphasis on Iran and North Korea," Toner said.

The State Department had previously announced Einhorn's travel plans but not the exact date. He visited South Korea and Japan last month.

Earlier Tuesday, North Korean media said the ruling communist party will meet on September 28 to elect top leaders.

The conference is widely expected to pave the way for Kim Jong-Un, youngest son of ailing 68-year-old leader Kim Jong-Il, to take over from his father in due course.

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C.  Nonproliferation

Gul Backs Mideast Nuclear-Free Zone
Anita Snow
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said he will call for a Middle East totally free of nuclear weapons when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly later this week.

"We would like to see our region free of nuclear weapons," Gul told The Associated Press in an interview on Monday. "The region should not be under such a threat."

Gul said he intends to raise the issue when he addresses the world body on Thursday.

Gul has called in the past for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, but his latest comments come amid deteriorating relations with Israel following the May 31 Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ferry that was part of an aid flotilla attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Eight Turks and a Turkish-American were killed.

Israel is generally assumed to have assembled a sizable arsenal of nuclear warheads since the 1960s, but declines to discuss its status as a nuclear power.

Gul's remarks will likely antagonize the United States, because Washington sees any move to raise the issue of Israel's nuclear arsenal as potentially destabilizing at a time of renewed Israel-Palestinian peace talks.

Last week, the Obama administration warned Arab nations that they risk contributing to a failure of the Mideast talks if they continue to pressure Israel over its nuclear program. U.S. officials have asserted that it would be possible to have a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East even if Israel's arsenal remains intact.

Gul said Turkey, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council, only wants to ensure stability and security in the region.

The U.S. has been more concerned about the nuclear program in Iran, which is under four sets of Security Council sanctions for refusing to stop its uranium enrichment and ignoring other U.N. demands meant to ease global concerns that it is seeking to make atomic weapons.

Tehran maintains that all of its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes. But the International Atomic Energy Agency says it cannot confirm that because Iran has only selectively cooperated with the U.N. watchdog agency and has rejected several nuclear inspectors.

"Iran must do what it has thus far failed to do — meet its obligations and ensure the rest of the world of the peaceful nature of its intentions," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu told delegates in Vienna Monday for the IAEA'S General Conference.

Gul said Turkish officials do not assume that Iran has a fully peaceful nuclear program, but "of course we cannot accuse Iran" of pursuing nuclear weapons without evidence.

"We want Iran to be transparent" with the IAEA officials, he said. "We in Turkey would like to see a peaceful, a diplomatic solution to this problem."

Turkey has opposed sanctions against Iran as ineffective and damaging to its interests with an important neighbor. Instead, Turkey and Brazil, to Washington's annoyance, have tried to broker a deal under which Iran would send much of its low enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for the higher enriched uranium it needs for a research reactor. However, the deal did not mandate a halt to Iran's enrichment process and fell short of U.N. demands.

Turkey, a member of the NATO alliance, has been governed by an Islamic-rooted party since 2002 that has tried to improve relations with Iran.

Gul said Israel's deadly attack on the flotilla attempting to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza would be best handled under international law, but also suggested that Israel still needs to take public responsibility for the attack.

"It is not possible to act as though this incident did not take place," he said. "In the old world, in the old times, if such an incident were to take place, wars would follow. But in our world today, it is international law that has to be taken into consideration.

"It is up to Israel. They have to do what is necessary since they are the ones that created the incident," he said.

Earlier news reports had said that Gul and Israeli President Shimon Peres planned to meet in New York this week on the sidelines of the Clinton Global Initiative being held alongside the gathering of world leaders.

Gul told the AP that no such meeting had ever been scheduled. Peres said Monday that the planned meeting was scrapped because Turkey had set unacceptable conditions.

Turkey has repeatedly demanded that Israel apologize for the flotilla raid, and senior Israeli officials on Monday confirmed that Gul had made such an apology a condition for the meeting.

"I got some conditions which made this meeting in my judgment not a positive one," Peres told reporters as the U.N. General Assembly's Millennium Development Goals summit was getting under way.

Two international panels are looking into the flotilla attack: the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, and a separate U.N. panel formed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Israeli commandos said they opened fire in self-defense after encountering what they called unexpected resistance when they boarded the ferry carrying aid supplies to Gaza.

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Israel's Accession to NPT Treaty Dominates IAEA Conference
Al-Masry Al-Youm
(for personal use only)

The 54th session of the annual General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) kicked off yesterday in Vienna amid anticipation that Israel’s nuclear arsenal will be the main focus of debate.

Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy Hassan Younis is expected to meet with the other delegation leaders attending the conference in an attempt to form nuclear cooperation agreements. Younis hopes to put international expertise in the field to good use with Egypt's nuclear projects.

Meanwhile, Israeli Radio said that, despite diplomatic efforts by the US and the EU, Arab states are continuing to push their call to have Israel sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

US Ambassador to the IAEA Glyn Davies said in a press conference on Thursday that a resolution obliging Israel to accede to the treaty would threaten peace negotiations in the Middle East.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano submitted a report last month in which he said he urged Tel Aviv to join the NPT during his last visit to Israel. He added that Israel's nuclear activity is peaceful.

Listed high on the IAEA conference agenda is Iran’s nuclear program, which Western countries are concerned might have a military dimension.

Meanwhile, Minister of Electricity Hassan Younis has announced that Egypt aims to use nuclear radiation to boost crop productivity in arid areas.

Younis also said that Egypt will continue to cooperate with the IAEA to ease the shortage of radioisotopes used in the treatment of cancer patients.

Younis added that Egypt is working closely with the IAEA to expand the peaceful use of nuclear energy through the development of its scientific experts and capacity. He added that technical collaboration with the IAEA has helped Egypt in using nuclear energy for research purposes.

The minister also said that Egypt will soon inaugurate a facility to produce radioisotopes for medical and industrial use.

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D.  Nuclear Cooperation

Kuwait Looks to Russia for Nuclear Cooperation
World Nuclear News
(for personal use only)

Having recently signed a memorandum of cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy with Japan, Kuwait has now signed a similar agreement with Russia.

The memorandum was signed by Ahmad Bishara, the secretary general of the Kuwait National Nuclear Energy Committee (KNNEC), and Sergey Kiriyenko, director general of Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom. It was signed in Vienna on the sidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) annual general conference.

The bilateral agreement is aimed at boosting cooperation between Kuwait and Russia in the nuclear sector, stipulating training cadres, exploration of metals, establishing a network of nuclear reactors in Kuwait and building the relevant infrastructure, Bishara told Kuwaiti state news agency KUNA. The agreement is valid for five years, but can be extended.

Kuwaiti officials will hold a series of meetings with Russian officials over the coming months to try to draw up a cooperation accord, Bishara said.

The signing of the memorandum on nuclear cooperation with Russia closely follows the signing of a similar memorandum with Japan earlier this month. Kuwait already has cooperation agreements in place with the USA and France. A similar agreement with South Korea could reportedly be signed within the next few months.

Kuwait currently generates most of its energy from oil, but is considering its own nuclear program for power and water. Bishara recently told Bloomberg that the country will publish a roadmap for developing nuclear power as early as January 2011. The roadmap will include a timetable for bidding for contracts and potential locations of nuclear power plants. He noted that Kuwait is considering building up to four 1000 MWe reactors.

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Russia and China Deepen Energy Cooperation
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Russia and China, Eurasia's rising regional powers, are deepening their energy cooperation.

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Tuesday that the countries are discussing the January-June 2011 price for Russian natural gas exports to China, telling journalists, "Detailed results will be evident in the beginning of 2011."

Russia's state-owned natural gas monopoly Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Officer Aleksandr Medvedev commented that current negotiations will determine volumes, time frames and prices, Itar-Tass reported.

Echoing his colleague's comments, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said while co-chairman of the sixth round of the Sino-Russian energy negotiators' meetings with Sechin in Tianjin that Sino-Russian energy cooperation enjoyed "broad prospects," adding, "All-around and deep energy cooperation between the two countries will be of strategic significance."

The discussions included not only Russian supplies of natural gas to China but also oil, nuclear power, electric power and coal cooperation. According to Wang, Chinese and Russian leaders see great importance in bilateral energy cooperation and the two sides have made great strides in their planned cooperation. On a political level, the latest round of meetings could underpin Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's upcoming visit to China.

Following the meetings the Chinese and Russian participants signed three energy cooperation documents that ranged beyond oil and natural gas agreements to include coal and coal gasification cooperation. After the sessions Wang and Sechin participated in a foundation-laying ceremony for the China-Russia Eastern Petrochemical Oil Refinery in Tianjin.

In a concrete sign of the increased cooperation between the two nations, last month Russia officially launched its section of an oil pipeline to deliver east Siberian oil to China, with the facility projected to come online by the end of the year. The new pipeline is the result of a February 2009 bilateral project, under which China granted Russia a $25 billion long-term loan. In return, Russia agreed to supply Beijing with 300 million tons of oil via pipelines annually during the period 2011-30.

The China-Pacific pipeline is Russia's most important energy project since the beginning of construction of its Nord Stream natural gas pipeline to Europe, scheduled to begin operations next year.

Like Nord Steam, Russia's new pipeline to China means that Russia's strategic influence is increasing in new areas and that Moscow's importance as a major energy supplier to China has been considerably augmented, increasing potential Russian influence over Beijing.

Russian Prime Minister Putin had praised the Siberian oil pipeline to China as an important counterweight to its traditional European clients. Last month China consumed an estimated 35.54 million metric tons of oil, 7.6 percent more than the same period a year ago.

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E.  Nuclear Energy

Egypt Nuclear Plant to Cost $4 Billion
Bikya Masr
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Egyptian Electricity and Energy Minister Hassan Younis told the 54th session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that a nuclear plant to be erected in Daba will cost around $4 billion.

He said a committee assigned to discuss financing the project will meet later this month with Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali to decide how best to finance the project and whether to obtain international assistance.

“The first substitute envisages the state will finance thr project whether through its own resources or through getting loans from international financing corporations,” he told the conference session.

His statement comes as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approved Egypt’s first nuclear reactor earlier this month after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said his country would work closely with the United Nations body, according to the Russian news service RIA Novosti.

“We expect to finally get constructing the facility in the near future after the ruling from the IAEA,” a ministry of electricity official told Bikya Masr. “It is the first step in boosting Egypt’s energy output.”

The IAEA gave the green light for the plant to be constructed west of Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria, and the government and energy experts believe a nuclear facility could help bridge the growing energy problem facing the country.

President Hosni Mubarak first announced plans to launch a number of nuclear power plants in Egypt in 2007.

He pledged to work closely with the UN nuclear watchdog agency, and said that Egypt was not seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

An international tender for the construction is expected in November 2010, with Russia signaling its readiness to take part, reports RIA Novosti.

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Jordan Has Right to Develop, Enrich Uranium Deposits, U.S. Official Says
Jonathan Tirone
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Jordan has the right to develop and enrich its uranium deposits, U.S. Under Secretary for Nuclear Security Thomas D’Agostino said at a press briefing in Vienna.

The U.S. wants to offer cost-saving alternatives to countries seeking uranium enrichment capabilities, D’Agostino said in the Austrian capital, where the International Atomic Agency is meeting. Enriched uranium can fuel power reactors and is the core component of nuclear weapons.

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UAE Confident Over Safety Procedures for New Plant
Tasmin Carlisle
The National
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Anyone who remembers the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 could be forgiven for expressing concern about the rise of new nuclear power programmes, even in this modern age.

But the nuclear industry has made great strides in safety since the meltdown and explosion at the Russian-built reactor in Ukraine, and Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) has worked to account for all manner of eventualities as it seeks environmental approval for the UAE’s first nuclear complex.

Its long submission to the Environmental Agency-Abu Dhabi outlines the state of the art thinking in nuclear technology and presents several possible environmental implications from the construction, operation and decommissioning of the four-reactor nuclear installation proposed for Braka.

The biggest environmental challenge is the disposal of radiologically contaminated equipment, structures and non-fuel waste in 60 years, when the plant is decommissioned. As a result, ENEC plans to construct a “permanently secure nuclear landfill site”, constituting “a permanent, irreversible, off-site, land use impact”.

Yet one of ENEC’s most immediate concerns has nothing to do with radioactive waste but with the large amount of hot waste water the power station would discharge into the Gulf.

Atomic power generation requires unusually large volumes of water for cooling because nuclear reactions produce heat so intense that it can easily melt the fuel rods, as happened in the Chernobyl disaster.

Where the intake water is warm to begin with, as it usually would be at any Gulf coast location, the water requirement is especially high because it can only be cycled once through the plant.

At Braka, the resultant stream of warm, chlorinated waste water, although diluted, would be up to 5°C higher than the ambient temperature of seawater near the site, affecting marine habitats including coral reefs.

“Impacts will extend beyond the site boundary and the action will be permanent,” ENEC said.

“Permanent management and eventual disposal of radiological waste constitutes a potential terrestrial impact resulting from secure interim storage and permanent land disposal that is regional, permanent, irreversible and cumulative,” ENEC wrote.

“Decommissioned nuclear reactors may be disposed of at only a very limited number of highly secure landfill sites around the world.

“The residual radioactivity level is high and the impact is permanent, irreversible, potentially cumulative and regional.”

Important consideration must also be made for the millions of Gulf residents whose lives depend on desalinated water.

Kuwait recently voiced concerns about the potential for radioactive contamination of the Gulf from Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bushehr, which is due to start generating electricity within weeks.

The UAE raised similar fears in 2006 before announcing its own nuclear programme two years later.

But ultimately, ENEC officials stress, the long-term environmental impact of the plant will be more than offset by the reduction in the use of oil and gas-fired power plants, which contribute significantly to local air pollution and global carbon emissions.

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China May Reach Nuclear Capacity Aim Ahead of Schedule, Radio Cites Zhang
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China may achieve its long-term plan of having 40,000 megawatts of nuclear power capacity four to five years ahead of schedule, China National Radio said, citing Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration.

The State Council, or Cabinet, has approved a plan to build 34 reactors with a capacity of 36,920 megawatts, the state-run radio station said, without giving a schedule. Twenty-five units with a capacity totaling 27,730 megawatts are already under construction, according to the report.

China must guard against overcapacity in nuclear power, the state-run radio station said, citing Zhang.

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F.  Links of Interest

Long-Term Chernobyl Effects Lower Than Feared
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Chris Huhne Urges Liberal Democrats to Back New Nuclear Power Stations
The Guardian
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