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Nuclear News - 11/21/2011
PGS Nuclear News, November 21, 2011
Compiled By: Michael Kennedy

A.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. UAE, Finnish Regulators to Co-Operate in Nuclear Issues, Gulf News (11/20/2011)
    2. S. Korea, IAEA Agree to Step Up Cooperation Over N.K. Nuclear Program, Lee Haye-ah, Yonhap News Agency (11/18/2011)
    3. No Progress in Syria Nuclear Talks, IAEA Chief Says, Reuters (11/17/2011)
B.  Iran
    1. Exclusive: U.S. to Sanction Iran Petrochemical Industry, Arshad Mohammed, Reuters (11/18/2011)
C.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. Kudankulam: Talks Between Central Panel, Protesters Fail, The Hindu (11/18/2011)
    2. Anxieties Grow About Radiation Costs, Tomoaki Tomita and Tatsuya Nozaki, The Daily Yomiuri (11/18/2011)
    3. France Must Tighten Nuclear Security After Fukushima, Watchdog Says, Radio France International (11/17/2011)
    4. Hungarian Firm Was Likely Radiation Leak Source, Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press (11/17/2011)
    5. Sellers of Nuclear Material Sentenced in Ukraine, Kyiv Post (11/17/2011)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. China Rolls Out Its First 1000 MW Nuclear Reactor, The Economic Times (11/18/2011)
    2. Arabs Push Nuke Energy Despite Fukushima, United Press International (11/18/2011)
    3. UK Nuclear Builders Say Unfazed by Fukushima Delays, Reuters (11/17/2011)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. The Big Bucks Theory of Uranium Sales, Adelaide Now (11/19/2011)
    2. Iran and the I.A.E.A. , The New Yorker (11/18/2011)
    3. Planning for the Second Nuclear Security Summit Underway, The White House (11/18/2011)
    4. Hey U.S., Maybe India’s Trying to Tell You “No”, The Wall Street Journal (11/18/2011)
    5. Thorium: World's Greatest Energy Breakthrough?, CNN (11/17/2011)

A.  Nuclear Cooperation

UAE, Finnish Regulators to Co-Operate in Nuclear Issues
Gulf News
(for personal use only)

The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) signed an agreement on Sunday in Abu Dhabi allowing the two regulators to cooperate in the areas of radiation safety, nuclear safety, security and safeguards.

Under this bilateral arrangement signed by FANR's Director General Dr William D. Travers and STUK's Director General Jukka Laaksonen, the two nuclear regulatory bodies will exchange information, experience, staff and technology related to ensuring the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear applications.

"This agreement shows our continued commitment to establishing best practices when regulating the nuclear sector in the UAE," Dr Travers said during the signing ceremony.

"We look forward to sharing experiences with our colleagues at STUK and exchange knowledge with their experts at all levels."

Jukka Laaksonen added: "We appreciate this cooperation with FANR because Finland is continuing to build new nuclear power plants and Korean technology is a real alternative under consideration. We can learn from FANR's experience."

FANR will benefit from this arrangement in areas such as legislation, regulations and regulatory guides on radiation and nuclear safety, radioactive waste management and emergency preparedness.

STUK was established in 1958, initially inspecting radiation equipment used in hospitals. Its work has developed gradually and STUK today functions as the regulator for the entire fields of radiation and nuclear safety.

FANR, established in 2009, is the sole authority in the UAE that licenses and inspects those who use nuclear [as in nuclear power plants] or radiation technologies [as in radioactive sources used for oil exploration or medical purposes].

FANR attaches the utmost importance to cooperation with foreign nuclear regulatory bodies and international organisations based on the UAE Government's policy for a civilian nuclear energy programme.

The UAE's independent regulatory body has already been benefiting from similar arrangements with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST), as well as the Korean technical safety regulatory body, the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) and the Korea Institute of Nuclear Non-proliferation and Control (KINAC).

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S. Korea, IAEA Agree to Step Up Cooperation Over N.K. Nuclear Program
Lee Haye-ah
Yonhap News Agency
(for personal use only)

South Korea and the United Nations' atomic watchdog have agreed to work together more closely to end North Korea's nuclear weapons development, a senior Seoul official said Friday.

The agreement was reached between South Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Lim Sung-nam, and top officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna earlier this week, the official said.
The communist country is under increasing pressure to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs, including a uranium enrichment plant it revealed last year. Since July, Seoul and Washington have each held two rounds of high-level talks with Pyongyang to set the stage for a possible resumption of broader multilateral negotiations on ending the North's nuclear programs.

During a three-day trip to the Austrian capital that ended Tuesday, Lim met with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and other senior officials of the Vienna-based body, said the official, who asked not to be identified.

"From the past, from when the six-party talks were under way, the IAEA has played an important role in freezing and disabling North Korea's nuclear programs," the official told reporters. "Therefore, there was agreement that our two sides should strengthen cooperation in the future as well."

The six-party talks aimed at North Korea's denuclearization have been stalled since Pyongyang quit the process in April 2009 in the wake of U.N. Security Council sanctions for a missile test. North Korea also expelled IAEA monitors from its nuclear facilities around that time.

The communist regime has recently called for an unconditional reopening of the forum, which offers it economic and political aid in exchange for its denuclearization. Seoul and Washington demand Pyongyang take a series of pre-steps to demonstrate its sincerity, including a halt to its uranium enrichment program and a return of IAEA inspectors to monitor the suspension.

The six-party talks also involve Japan, China and Russia.

"There was also discussion about the IAEA's role in the event of a resumption of the six-party talks," the official said, without giving further details.

In Vienna, Lim also met with Glyn Davies, the new U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, and they discussed their countries' joint approach to the nuclear-armed state, officials here said. It was Lim's first meeting with Davies, who is preparing to step down from his current job as Washington's ambassador to the IAEA.

On his way home, the South Korean envoy on Thursday held trilateral talks with Japanese and U.S. officials on the sidelines of an East Asian summit meeting in Bali, Indonesia.

The talks, led by Lim, his Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama and Kurt Campbell, assistant U.S. secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, served to reaffirm the three countries' common stance on Pyongyang, the senior official said.

"There was agreement that the ball is in North Korea's court and that the North must show its sincerity through concrete actions," he said. "Only then can the six-party talks reopen."

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No Progress in Syria Nuclear Talks, IAEA Chief Says
(for personal use only)

UN nuclear inspectors made no headway in talks in Syria last month to try and kick-start a long-stalled investigation into its atomic activity, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said on Thursday.

In an attempt to advance its investigation into possible military nuclear activities in the Arab state, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) took part in two days of discussions in the Syrian capital in October.

The IAEA has been seeking access to a desert site at Deir al-Zor, which US intelligence reports say was a nascent, North Korean-designed reactor intended to produce plutonium for atomic weaponry before Israel bombed it to rubble in 2007.

The Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog has also been seeking information about other sites that may have been linked to Deir al-Zor.

Syria says Deir al-Zor was a non-nuclear military facility, but the IAEA concluded in May that it was "very likely" to have been a reactor that should have been declared to inspectors.

"Unfortunately, no progress was made in meetings with the Syrian authorities on obtaining the full access which we have requested to other locations which the agency believes are functionally related to the Deir al-Zor site," Amano said.

"I urge Syria to cooperate fully with the agency in connection with unresolved issues related to the Deir al-Zor site and other locations," he said in an address to the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors.

In June, the board voted to report Syria to the UN Security Council, rebuking it for failing to cooperate with the agency's efforts to get concrete information on Deir al-Zor and other sites. Russia and China opposed the referral, highlighting divisions among the major powers.

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B.  Iran

Exclusive: U.S. to Sanction Iran Petrochemical Industry
Arshad Mohammed
(for personal use only)

The United States plans to sanction Iran's petrochemical industry, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, seeking to raise pressure on Tehran after fresh allegations it may be pursuing nuclear weapons.

The sources said Washington wanted to send a strong signal after the U.N. nuclear watchdog issued a November 8 report saying Iran appeared to have worked on designing an atomic bomb and may still be secretly carrying out related research.

The sources, who spoke on condition that they not be named, said the sanctions could be unveiled as early as Monday.

They said the United States was looking to find a way to bar foreign companies from aiding Iran's petrochemical industry with the threat of depriving them access to the U.S. market.

While European nations have historically resented such "extra-territorial" U.S. sanctions seeking to punish their companies, in this case the sources said the European nations were themselves likely to follow suit, though not immediately.

U.S. firms are barred from most trade with Iran. The U.S. push is therefore aimed at foreign firms by in effect making them choose between working with Iran's petrochemical industry or doing business in the vast U.S. market.

It was not clear what authorities the Obama administration planned to invoke to impose the sanctions or precisely how, and how much, they would hurt Iran's petrochemical sector.

Discussion of the idea comes amid a renewed flurry of Israeli media speculation about the possibility of an Israeli military strike to try to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.

The United States suspects Iran may be using its civil nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has insisted its program is purely peaceful.

Anxieties about Iran's nuclear program increased after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released intelligence last week suggesting Iran has undertaken research and experiments geared to developing a nuclear weapons capability.

Iran, which denies it wants nuclear weapons, condemned the findings of the Vienna-based IAEA as "unbalanced" and "politically motivated."

The report increased tensions in the Middle East and led to redoubled calls in Western capitals for stiffer sanctions against Tehran.

The sources familiar with the matter said there had also been discussion of sanctions on the Iranian financial sector.

While U.S. officials last week said the idea of cutting off the Iranian central bank entirely was off the table for now, one source said there had been consideration of more limited measures.

"There was displeasure at the top with the view that it's all or nothing ... (and that if it's all) we take out our own economic recovery," he said. "The instruction was given to look for other possible avenues."

The sources said the United States was reluctant to try to cut off the Iranian central bank entirely for fear this could drive oil prices dramatically higher, potentially impairing the U.S. recovery.

The United States and its European allies, notably Britain, France and Germany, are seeking ways to raise the pressure on Iran without going to the U.N. Security Council, where fresh sanctions are all but sure to be opposed by Russia and China.

The U.N. Security Council has passed four resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran but both Russia and China have made clear their reluctance to go further for now.

There has been growing pressure from the U.S. Congress and prominent Republicans, including presidential candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to sanction the Iranian central bank.

Perry advocated the idea in a televised debate on Saturday while Rice did so in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday.

"There is time for diplomacy but it better be pretty coercive diplomacy at this point," Rice told Reuters.

"There are many things we could do even without probably the Security Council: sanction the Iranian central bank, deny them access to the financial system through that," she said.

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C.  Nuclear Safety & Security

Anxieties Grow About Radiation Costs
Tomoaki Tomita and Tatsuya Nozaki
The Daily Yomiuri
(for personal use only)

A growing number of municipalities are demanding that Tokyo Electric Power Co. compensate them for costs related to the ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

TEPCO has specified the terms under which it will compensate companies and other entities, based on guidelines set by the government, but it has revealed no such terms for municipal governments.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Yoshio Kusama of Takahagi, Ibaraki Prefecture, visited TEPCO's headquarters in Tokyo. Takahagi is about 80 kilometers from the plant.

Kusama asked the utility to pay 9.84 million yen for decontamination work conducted from June to October and the purchase of radiation dosimeters. It was the city's second such demand to TEPCO--in June, it became one of the first municipalities to seek compensation from the utility, demanding 2.05 million yen.

"I'll keep making demands until work to deal with the nuclear crisis ends. I mean until there are no more costs [for the work]," Kusama told TEPCO Managing Director Naomi Hirose, who is deputy head of a task force to support people affected by the nuclear crisis.

"I'm telling you this while repressing [my anger] to one-tenth, one-hundredth of its true level," Kusama said.

Hirose responded, "We apologize for causing difficulty," and bowed. However, he did not say whether TEPCO would pay the money.

Municipal governments, particularly in the Tokyo metropolitan area, have increasingly requested compensation from TEPCO. As of Wednesday, at least 18 municipalities had demanded a total of 705.74 million yen.

Hitachi-Ota, Ibaraki Prefecture, is home to the 375-meter-long Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge, the longest bridge on Honshu. About 250,000 tourists usually visit the bridge annually.

However, as bridge toll revenues from April to August declined to less than 30 percent compared with the same period last year, the city has called on TEPCO to pay 26.72 million yen in compensation.

The city of Nagareyama, Chiba Prefecture, has demanded 287.1 million yen, including 9.6 million yen to pay its employees for special work related to temporarily storing incinerated ash and other contaminated waste.

Mayor Shingo Fujii of Toride, Ibaraki Prefecture, expressed concern that the cost of handling the nuclear crisis would weigh on municipal governments' finances.

"Municipalities are implementing numerous fiscal reforms to tackle their fiscal shortage. To secure funds for measures against radiation, we have to spend reserve funds for adjusting public finances [as stipulated in the Local Finance Law]," Fujii said Tuesday when claiming compensation with three other neighboring cities.

"Unless we make up the shortfall in the reserve fund, we'll have trouble with our fiscal management from next fiscal year," Fujii said.

Despite growing demand for compensation from municipalities, however, TEPCO has yet to provide clear responses. The government's Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage
Compensation has drawn up compensation guidelines for the private sector, but no such moves have been made for municipal governments. Due to the lack of specific criteria, more and more municipalities have called for compensation from TEPCO.

Meanwhile, the Shizuoka city government announced in April it would allow TEPCO to use its megafloat, a floating barge, to store radiation-contaminated water from the Fukushima plant. Shizuoka is still negotiating with the company on how much it should pay for use of the barge.

The city government spent about 500 million yen to build a fishing park off Shimizu Port, using the megafloat as its base. The park drew 20,000 visitors a year but is now closed. The city is reportedly asking TEPCO to pay hundreds of millions of yen for providing the megafloat.

On Monday, the government of Yashio, Saitama Prefecture, appropriated about 40.98 million yen in its supplementary budget to cover the cost of such work as decontaminating school grounds and parks.

The city is unlikely to be designated a contaminated area entitled to government aid, but Yashio Mayor
Shigemi Tada said, "I want TEPCO to pay for everything."

The Fukushima prefectural government also reportedly intends to demand TEPCO pay costs related to dealing with the nuclear crisis. The crisis has led the prefecture to conduct a broad array of work, from decontamination over a wide area to health checks. But the prefectural government has yet to figure out the total amount needed to handle the crisis, as well as how much government aid it could receive.

"We don't know to what extent we can seek compensation, so we have no clear prospects," said an official of the prefectural government section handling nuclear damage.

In early September, Kawamatamachi in the prefecture demanded TEPCO pay some of costs for decontaminating soil in school grounds. Part of Kawamatamachi has been designated as an expanded evacuation area.

"We made the demand to express the fact that municipalities are also victims [of the nuclear crisis]," a town government official said.

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Kudankulam: Talks Between Central Panel, Protesters Fail
The Hindu
(for personal use only)

Talks to break the logjam over the controversial Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project made no headway on Friday with protestors terming as “failure” the discussions with the Central government’s expert committee on the issue.

The 15-member panel on a three-day visit to the plant as part of efforts to allay people’s fears over safety aspects, also met the six-member State committee constituted by the State government on the Kudankulam issue in Tirunelveli.

“Our mandate is to talk to the forum (the six-member State panel) provided by the Tamil Nadu government. We cannot go on talking to the people in Tirunelveli district,” K. Balu, a Central committee member told reporters after the meeting, also attended by representatives from the protesters.

He said the project has “much more than what is necessary to ensure safety as far as environment and people are concerned.

Mr. Balu said the committee sought to clarify questions raised by the protestors, who have been on a month-long fast in the second phase of their agitation, demanding scrapping of the Indi-Russia venture.

However, unhappy over the outcome of the talks, M. Pushparayan, one of the leaders spearheading the stir claimed the Central committee was neither interested in removing doubts raised by them at the last meeting nor had the Central panel given the documents the protestors asked for.

“They gave only a 38-page report instead of giving the documents we asked. The report did not have any documentary evidence and so we will continue our protests and the two-hour talks ended in a failure,” he said.

The Rs. 13,600-crore project, whose first unit (1,000 MWe) was scheduled to be commissioned in December, has run into trouble following protests from locals who are demanding that it be scrapped on grounds of safety.

A.E. Muthunayagam, an expert in environmental science and oceanography and convenor of the Central committee, said the group had even planned presentations on six issues such as safety, radiation, cancer threat, possibility of incidents like Fukushima here, waste disposal and trends of nuclear energy.

“Our friends (the protestors) say we are not satisfied. We have not come here to listen to your lecture,” he said.

Asked whether the meeting ended abruptly, Mr. Muthunayagam said, “They took our report and went away.”

He said the committee would continue giving answers and clarifying issues and bring facts to the people. “We will see to it that some solution is reached.”

Making it clear there was no need for the committee to submit a report to the Central government, Mr. Balu said the panel was set up to allay the fears of the locals and would talk to the people, through their representatives.

Renowned oncologist and a member of the panel, V. Shantha said, “There is a lot of misconception on radiation. Lots of studies have been done even in Kalpakkam and other areas. There is no need for any fear or panic about radiation.”

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France Must Tighten Nuclear Security After Fukushima, Watchdog Says
Radio France International
(for personal use only)

France must urgently improve safety in its 58 nuclear reactors in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster, an official report published Thursday said. The head of the French nuclear watchdog warned of “small faults that could have serious consequences”.

“The Fukushima accident, as well as the additional safety evaluation, show the necessity to develop certain safety systems of the sites without hesitation,” said Jacques Repussard, director general of the French Nuclear Safety Research Institute (IRSN).

Fukushima showed what effect a combination of natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes and fires, can have on a nuclear reactor, he told RFI.

"When the current plants were designed, it was thought that, because precautions had been taken to protect the plant against the greatest possible seismic threat that could be calculated or estimated, a seismic event could not in itself bring a plant to failure,” Repussard says.

“Fukushima has shown the opposite, so we've proposed a new approach, which is to upgrade safety in all nuclear plants by adding a hardened safety core of equipment that would be ultraprotected against the major hazards."

The 50-page report says that no French nuclear power needs to be closed.

But it does warn that three – Tricastin, Gravelines and Saint Alban – are dangerously close either to industrial sites like chemical works or to routes where products like explosives are transported.

And it highlights the risk of earthquakes or floods to another eight.

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Hungarian Firm Was Likely Radiation Leak Source
Pablo Gorondi
Associated Press
(for personal use only)

A Hungarian manufacturer of medical radioactive substances was "most probably" the source of increased radiation levels measured in several European countries in the past weeks, the U.N. nuclear agency said Thursday.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement that it had received the information from Hungarian nuclear authorities, adding the measured levels of iodine-131 were "extremely low."

"There is no health concern to the population," the IAEA said.

Jozsef Kornyei, director of the Budapest-based Institute of Isotopes Co., said that the firm first noticed the heightened release of iodine-131, used in the treatment of thyroid disorders, during the first half of 2011.

Production restarted in September after new filters were installed, but the release of radioactive material stayed above normal levels, so the process was halted again this month.

Kornyei told the AP in a phone interview that new ventilators were being added at the plant in an effort to limit the excessive release of the radioactive material and that production of iodine-131 would not be
restarted until next year.

Citing weather factors and the very low radioactivity of the iodine-131 released into the atmosphere, Kornyei said it was "extremely unlikely" that the leak at the Budapest plant was the cause of trace levels of iodine-131 measured in several European countries.

The IAEA was initially notified about the higher iodine-131 levels by the Czech Republic on Nov. 11.

Similar reports came later from Austria, Slovakia, Germany, Sweden, France and Poland.

A letter sent Thursday to the IAEA by the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority said the cause of the higher radioactivity was under investigation, albeit hampered by administrative difficulties.

"Unfortunately, in Hungary the licensing and surveillance of the nuclear facilities and the laboratories using high amounts of radioisotopes are in the hands of different authorities," the Hungarian nuclear watchdog said.

"The communication problems we faced in the present situation call our government's attention for an improvement and simplification of our regulatory system," it said.

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Sellers of Nuclear Material Sentenced in Ukraine
Kyiv Post
(for personal use only)

Sellers of radioactive materials have been convicted in Ukraine's Lviv region, the press service of the regional prosecutor's office has reported.

Each of the five members of a criminal group – natives of Lviv and Zakarpattia regions - have been sentenced to eight years in jail on counts of illegally making a nuclear explosive device that emits radiation.

Members of the criminal group offered a buyer a certain amount of radioactive material in 2009, and showed him a photo of a container allegedly filled with radioactive materials, as well as documents confirming their origin.

The sellers then negotiated a $15 million price for the deal and agreed on how the money and the radioactive material would be swapped.

The organizer and a member of the group were caught in the act of handing the container over to the buyer.

The container with the radioactive material was seized by officers of Lviv regional security department.

Experts of the Institute of Nuclear Research of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences examined the container and stated that it was a source of radiation hazardous to humans if the rules for handling nuclear materials were violated.

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D.  Nuclear Energy

Arabs Push Nuke Energy Despite Fukushima
United Press International
(for personal use only)

Most Arab states have shrugged off the political and environmental fallout from the March 11 Fukushima disaster in Japan and are pushing ahead with nuclear energy programs.

Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt have stalled their plans because of heightened safety concerns triggered by the Fukushima meltdown caused by a 9-magnitude earthquake and a 49-foot tsunami.

But they have also been hit by the pro-democracy uprisings that have plunged the Arab world into political turmoil and an uncertain future.

It's not clear when, or even if, they might revive their nuclear plans.

But Arab countries that had already launched their nuclear energy programs, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are pressing ahead.

Eight months after the Fukushima meltdown, "the impact of the crisis on nuclear power plans in the Middle East and North Africa region is becoming clear," the Middle East Economic Digest reported this month.

"Countries that had already begun to develop nuclear power plants have largely stayed on track …
"In contrast, countries that rushed to announce new plans in 2010 have been forced to reassess due to the Fukushima disaster," MEED reported.

Leading the way is Saudi Arabia, the world's leading oil producer which fears that by 2020 its oil output will be entirely consumed domestically to fuel power generation.

Right now, the kingdom is producing more than 8 million barrels per day, two-thirds of its total capacity.
Some economists say that if the current energy consumption growth rate of 7 percent continues, within 20 years the kingdom will burn the equivalent of almost all of its recent daily output.

Others have lower projections which the Saudis consider to be more accurate, although the forecasts remain dire.

In 2010, Khalid al-Falih, CEO of the state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramaco, warned that if left unchecked domestic energy consumption would drain 3 million bpd from crude oil available for export by 2028, cutting of the country's economic lifeline.

At present Saudi Arabia's spare production capacity, which accounts for most of the spare capacity by 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is vital for countering disruptions to oil supplies around the globe.

Without that capability to keep down oil prices when necessary, the world could be battered by serious oil crises initiated by radical states like Iran and Venezuela.

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief and later ambassador to Washington, said in September the kingdom plans to spend more than $100 billion to build 16 nuclear reactors to meet its growing domestic energy needs driven by rapid population growth and economic development.

"After 10 years, we'll have the first two reactors," said Abdul Ghaini bin Melaibari, coordinator of scientific collaboration at King Abdallah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, known as Ka-Care, set up in 2010 to formulate nuclear policy.

"After that, every year we'll establish two, until we have 16 of them by 2030."

On Tuesday, Riyadh signed an accord with South Korea to cooperate in developing nuclear power.
It signed similar pacts with France and Argentina earlier this year and is currently negotiating with the United States, Britain, China and Russia.

Korea Electric Power Corp. won a $20 billion contract in December 2009 to build four nuclear plants with a combined capacity of 5,600 megawatts in the United Arab Emirates, another major oil producer facing swelling domestic energy demands, to be ready in 2017-20.

That would make the emirates the first Arab state, like Saudis Arabia an important U.S ally, with atomic power.

Emirates authorities forecast that national peak electricity demand will rise to more than 40,000MW by 2020. Only 20,000-25,000MW can be generated using domestic reserves of natural gas.

All told, 13 countries across the Middle East have announced plans for nuclear power stations, or revived old plans, since 2006.

Despite the vast hydrocarbon reserves held by Saudi Arabia and the other Persian Gulf producers, virtually every Middle Eastern state faces gas shortages as their populations grow, economies expand and energy consumption soars.

Jordan, a desert kingdom with few resources, is also sticking to its plans to establish a nuclear power project.

Its Atomic Energy Commission has taken bids from several companies, most notably Areva of France and Mitsubishi of Japan, to build a nuclear plant.

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China Rolls Out Its First 1000 MW Nuclear Reactor
The Economic Times
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China has rolled out its advanced 1,000-megawatt pressurised water nuclear power reactor, ACPR-1000 which could allow it to export technology to other countries, including Pakistan, without the constraints of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues.

The reactor was "independently" developed by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, with full IPR and made its debut at the 13th China Hi-Tech Fair in southern city of Shenzhen, state-run People's Daily reported today.

The technology has incorporated the lessons of the Fukushima nuclear accident. It can cope with extreme situations, with its all technical and economic indicators meeting the standards of international third-generation nuclear power technology.

China currently has 13 nuclear power plants with varied capacities and constructing 27 others, mostly with 1000 mw capacity, made with US, French and Japanese technologies.

Work in all these plants was stopped for safety review after the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors.

The new reactor was expected to be ready for installation by 2013.

Its immediate significance was that the high-powered reactor could be made available to Pakistan.

China initially built two nuclear power plants with capacity of around 300 MW at Chashma and is building two more reactors apparently of about 340 MW there.

In addition to this, China has expressed its commitment to build one gigawat (1000 MW) nuclear reactor against which India and United States have expressed strong reservations as Beijing has not sought the approval of Nuclear Suppliers Group NSG).

The move to build the reactor was interpreted as an attempt by China to mollify Pakistan in the backdrop Indo-US civil nuclear deal which Washington declined to accord the same to Islamabad.

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UK Nuclear Builders Say Unfazed by Fukushima Delays
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Investors in new nuclear plants in Britain are determined to push ahead with projects despite regulatory delays and potential increases in costs due to Japan's Fukushima crisis, developers said on Thursday.

"Fukushima caused everyone to take a step back and reflect on what it means, (but) our ambitions remain. We haven't changed any of our plans," said Alan Raymant, chief operating officer of Horizon, a joint venture between German rivals E.ON and RWE which aims to build up to 6 gigawatts (GW) of
nuclear plant capacity in Britain.

The Japanese nuclear disaster in March caused a delay in Britain's approval process for new types of nuclear reactors as the regulator took time to assess the impact of the incident on the UK nuclear industry.

EDF Energy, which plans to build the first of Britain's new nuclear plants at Hinkley Point in Somerset, said earlier this year its 2018 start date for the new plant had to be revised.

A new timetable announcement is not expected until the end of 2012, when the French company will make its final investment decision, said Hinkley Point project director Chris Bakken.

Despite these delays, the utility will press ahead with the Somerset project and plans to begin a public consultation on its next nuclear new build project at Sizewell next year, Bakken said.

NuGeneration (NuGen), Britain's third nuclear new build consortium which groups Spain's Iberdrola and France's GDF Suez, also said it had made progress on its project in Sellafield, despite the fact the group had lost its third partner, British SSE.

"Last week we received site investigation permission from Copeland Borough Council, and work is expected to start in early 2012," said Alfio Vidal, chief nuclear director at NuGen.

Britain's nuclear plans stand in stark contrast to those of some other European countries, such as Germany, where the government has decided since the Fukushima crisis to phase out of nuclear power by 2022.

"Germany's move away from nuclear is difficult to understand," said Mark Higson, chief executive of the nuclear unit at the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

"We will go forward with new nuclear in the UK, but we have to rationally answer people's concerns."

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E.  Links of Interest

The Big Bucks Theory of Uranium Sales
Adelaide Now
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Hey U.S., Maybe India’s Trying to Tell You “No”
The Wall Street Journal
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Iran and the I.A.E.A.
The New Yorker
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Planning for the Second Nuclear Security Summit Underway
The White House
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Thorium: World's Greatest Energy Breakthrough?
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