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Nuclear News - 2/1/2011
PGS Nuclear News, February 1, 2011
Compiled By: Matthew Kapuscinski


A.  Iran
    1. Iran MPs Back Ahmadinejad Ally as Foreign Minister, Reuters (1/30/2011)
    2. Iran to Showcase New Rockets, Satellites: Report, AFP (1/30/2011)
    3. Iran's First Nuclear Power Plant to Join National Grid in April, Xinhua News Agency (1/29/2011)
    4. UK Meddling Will Not Go Unanswered, PressTV (1/29/2011)
B.  DPRK
    1. South Korea to Press North Korea to Honor 1992 Denuclearization Pact: Official, Sam Kim, Yonhap News Agency (1/31/2011)
    2. UN Report Verifies North Korea's Uranium Enrichment Program, Kim Young-jin , The Korea Times (1/31/2011)
    3. North Korea Formally Calls for Expanding Talks with South Korea, Sam Kim, Yonhap News Agency (1/31/2011)
    4. China Drags Feet on Reining in the North’s Nukes, Christine Kim, JoongAng Daily (1/31/2011)
    5. North Korea to Develop Nuclear-Capable ICBMs Within Decade: Adm. Mullen, Hwang Doo-hyong, Yonhap News Agency (1/27/2011)
C.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Russia Says Too Early to Talk Tactical Nuclear Weapons with United States, RIA Novosti (1/29/2011)
    2. Chile, U.S. to Sign Nuclear Pact During Obama’s Visit to Santiago, Latin American Herald Tribune (1/29/2011)
D.  Nuclear Security
    1. Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal Tops 100: Report, AFP (1/31/2011)
    2. Syria's Assad Says No Extra Access to Nuclear Inspectors, Reuters (1/31/2011)
E.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Turkey Targets 20 Nuclear Reactors by 2030-Official, Reuters (1/31/2011)
    2. Energy Minister Says Turkey Needs to be Smart on Nuclear Energy, Hurriyet Daily News (1/31/2011)
    3. New Indian Joint Venture Brings in Private Sector to Nuclear Power, Nuclear Engineering International (1/31/2011)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Is North Korea's Nuclear Programme a Threat?, Jeremey Laurence, Reuters (1/31/2011)
    2. Forgotten: The Most Radioactive Town in Europe, Alasdair Fotheringham, The Independent (1/30/2011)



A.  Iran

1.
Iran MPs Back Ahmadinejad Ally as Foreign Minister
Reuters
1/30/2011
(for personal use only)


Iran's parliament on Sunday narrowly approved President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's choice of Ali Akbar Salehi as foreign minister after his predecessor was abruptly sacked during an official visit to Africa last year.

The lawmakers' verdict on Salehi is seen as a test of the hardline president's support in parliament, after his disputed re-election in 2009 which caused a rift among the country's hardline rulers.

"Salehi secured the vote of confidence from the legislative body by getting 146 votes," parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said. Parliament has 294 seats and 243 MPs were present for the vote on Sunday.

The vote in favour of Salehi will be a relief to Ahmadinejad, who has faced growing criticism from lawmakers who mainly accuse him of concentrating power in his own hands and riding roughshod over the views of lawmakers.

"Today we need a very transparent, active, powerful and influential foreign policy," the president told parliament in an address.

He added: "Cooperation between the government and parliament is very important and, through this cooperation, we should disappoint our enemies."

Ahmadinejad wanted Salehi to be his foreign affairs chief when he became president in 2005, but factional pressures forced him to accept Manouchehr Mottaki, whose relations with the president were never smooth.

Mottaki is seen as a close ally of Ahmadinejad's conservative rival Larijani, who has publicly criticised the president's economic policies.

IMPORTANT ROLE

Salehi, appointed as head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation in 2009, was opposed by some lawmakers who said he had little political experience.

"There is nothing but sloganeering in Salehi's programme ... He has no expertise in foreign policy," said moderate lawmaker Mostafa Kavakebian.

With a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Salehi has played an important role in Iran's nuclear programme, which the United States and its allies fear is a cover to build atomic weapons. Iran denies this.

Born in Kerbala in Iraq, a city holy to Shi'ite Muslims, Salehi speaks fluent English and Arabic and, with his close ties to Ahmadinejad, might prove important in his new role.

"Salehi and the president share same views over many issues, including nuclear and foreign policy," a close relative of Salehi's told Reuters.

However, his appointment was not expected to lead to any shift in Iran's nuclear policy or the broad lines of its foreign policy since Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the last word on all state matters, including nuclear.

Salehi faces the challenge of overcoming Iran's political isolation under U.S., U.N. and the European Union sanctions, imposed over its disputed nuclear programme.

"I believe Iran can intelligently organise its diplomatic relations with the world ... We are ready to improve our relations based on mutual respect," Salehi told parliament.

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/30/idINIndia-54512420110130


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2.
Iran to Showcase New Rockets, Satellites: Report
AFP
1/30/2011
(for personal use only)


Iran said on Sunday it will showcase what it called a new range of rockets and satellites during annual celebrations marking the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Safir 1-B and Kavoshgar 4 rockets and Rasad and Fajr satellites would be unveiled during the 10-day celebrations that start on Tuesday, according to state television website.

Iran will mark on February 11 the 32nd anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the US-backed shah. Every year Tehran uses the occasion to tout its scientific and technological achievments.

The Safir (Ambassador) 1-B rocket can carry a satellite weighing 50 kilogrammes (110 pounds) into an elliptical orbit of 300 to 450 kilometres (185 to 280 miles), the website said.

Iran sent into space in February 2009 the Safir 2 rocket carrying its first home-built satellite, called Omid (Hope).

The state television report said the other Kavoshgar (Explorer) 4 rocket has a range of 120 kilometres.

In February 2010, Iran launched a capsule carrying live turtles, rats and worms aboard a Kavoshgar 3 rocket in what was its first experiment to send living creatures in space.

In December, Vahidi said Iran would launch a Fajr (Dawn) reconnaissance satellite in the next few months, along with a Rasad (Observation) 1 satellite that was initially to have been launched in August 2010.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meanwhile on Sunday opened a new space research and training centre, media reports said.

Iran's missile and space programmes have sparked concern abroad that such advanced technologies, combined with the nuclear know-how that the nation is acquiring, may enable Tehran to produce an atomic weapon.

Iran denies its nuclear programme has military aims.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5i72KQcz2OFb8Xk_TDEnHS5bpWwQw?docId=CNG.fae0da60412a671e262f1f5567c43dbb.311


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3.
Iran's First Nuclear Power Plant to Join National Grid in April
Xinhua News Agency
1/29/2011
(for personal use only)


Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, the first of its kind in the country, is to join the national power grid in early April, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, said Friday.

Salehi had earlier said that the plant could join the national power grid sometime around mid-February.

But he said Friday that having a safe facility is more important than rushing to the production stage, local satellite channel Press TV reported.

He rejected reports that computer systems in Bushehr had been infected by a virus called Stuxnet, saying the computer worm cannot go beyond personal computers and enter the facility's main systems.

Commenting on some media reports that the U.S. and Israel were behind a cyber attack on Iranian computer installations, Salehi warned against the consequences of such attacks.

"If anything happens to a nuclear plant its repercussions will not be confined to one border and they should know better that such moves could affect them, too," he warned.

The completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant was first scheduled for 1999. But it was postponed several times amid mounting technological and financial challenges and pressure from the United States.

Available at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-01/29/c_13711756.htm


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4.
UK Meddling Will Not Go Unanswered
PressTV
1/29/2011
(for personal use only)


Iran's Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani says Britain's destructive role and its interferences in the Islamic Republic will not go unanswered.

Considering the destructive role Britain has played with regards to the Islamic Republic of Iran, it seems necessary to give this country a response, Larijani said on Saturday.

Britain pursues meddlesome policies in all Muslim countries which lead to trouble, Mehr News Agency quoted the prominent Iranian lawmaker as saying.

Larijani added that this approach is not effective in the Islamic Republic because “Iran is a powerful country and I believe some of the British politicians are confused about Iran and assume that they can exercise influence in Iran using their past methods.”

Iran has considered severing relations with Britain several times due to London's meddlesome and undiplomatic approach towards Tehran.

Most notable among Britain's meddlesome moves has been remarks by the chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), John Sawers, who accused Iran in October of pursuing clandestine nuclear activities. He advised the use of espionage as a crucial measure to stop Tehran's nuclear program.

"Stopping nuclear proliferation cannot be addressed purely by conventional diplomacy. We need intelligence-led operations to make it more difficult for countries like Iran to develop nuclear weapons," Sawers said in October 2010.

In November 2010, terrorists detonated bombs attached to the vehicles of Dr. Majid Shahriari and Professor Fereydoun Abbasi, both professors at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, in separate locations.

Shahriari was killed immediately while Abbasi and his wife sustained minor injuries and were released from hospital shortly afterwards.

Iran has blamed Israel, MI6 and certain other Western powers for the terrorist attacks.

In December 2010, Britain's Ambassador to Tehran Simon Gass made some impudent remarks about the human rights situation in Iran.

In his remarks posted on the website of the British Embassy in Tehran, Gass claimed, "The British government will continue to draw attention to cases in which people are deprived of their fundamental freedom."

Gass' remarks drew widespread condemnation from Iranian officials, who dismissed his allegations as a clear example of interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

It should be noted that the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission has drafted a bill to sever all diplomatic ties with Britain.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/162567.html


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B.  DPRK

1.
China Drags Feet on Reining in the North’s Nukes
Christine Kim
JoongAng Daily
1/31/2011
(for personal use only)


Despite pressure from the U.S. and South Korea, China is refusing to help rein in North Korea’s nuclear program.

As North Korea’s biggest ally, China has been urged repeatedly over the last few months to restrain its neighbor after the shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island last November. North Korea also showed a visiting American scientist a uranium enrichment facility in Yongbyon that month, provoking alarm among the U.S. and its allies over North Korea’s expanding nuclear program.

“China expressed concern over North Korea’s uranium enrichment during summit talks with the U.S. in Washington, but it isn’t showing any interest in taking this issue to the U.N. Security Council,” said a South Korean government official yesterday. “If China absolutely refuses to take this issue up with the U.N. Security Council then it should at least take other actions, such as stopping North Korea’s nuclear activities.”

Chinese President Hu Jintao expressed concern about North Korea’s uranium enrichment program in a joint statement with U.S. President Obama during a visit to Washington Jan. 20. However, Hu did not directly address North Korea’s recent attacks on South Korea.

”Measures should be taken by the international society regarding North Korea’s uranium enrichment program, including taking it to the U.N. Security Council,” a U.S. government source told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday.

James Steinberg, U.S. deputy secretary of state, was expected to have conveyed these opinions to China Friday during a visit to Beijing. Steinberg was reported to have met with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo on his visit, which wraps up a tour to South Korea, Japan and China.

Steinberg said Jan. 26 it was imperative for the international community to send a message to North Korea that its uranium program is against U.N. Security Council Resolutions and the September 19, 2005 agreement in which North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons programs.

Available at:
http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2931689


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2.
North Korea Formally Calls for Expanding Talks with South Korea
Sam Kim
Yonhap News Agency
1/31/2011
(for personal use only)


North Korea sent South Korea a formal proposal on Monday to quickly hold talks on all humanitarian and other mutual issues, including the reunions of families separated by war, as the sides move to hold their first defense talks in months.

The proposal, reported by the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and confirmed by the South's Unification Ministry, is the latest in the communist state's charm offensive after Pyongyang sharply raised tensions by shelling a South Korean border island on Nov. 23.

"Now is the time for the authorities of the North and the South to sit face to face and have exhaustive and constructive talk," the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in its proposal, according to the KCNA.

The committee "urged once again the south side to seek a sincere negotiated settlement of humanitarian issues including the reunion of separated families and relatives and all other issues of mutual concern," the KCNA said.

In preparation for higher-level talks, the Koreas are expected to hold their first defense talks since September last year. The North Korean military proposed over the weekend that the defense officials of the countries meet earlier than Seoul had hoped for. North Korea also proposed earlier this month that the legislators of the two sides meet to discuss ways to defuse tension on the peninsula.

A South Korean Unification Ministry official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, told reporters that the latest proposal appeared to carry little significance as it failed to mention the South Korean call for the North to denuclearize.

South Korea says it remains careful about expanding inter-Korean exchanges unless the North agrees to discuss its nuclear arms development with the South and reaffirms its pledge to denuclearize.

"We don't plan to respond to the proposal. It is no different from earlier proposals that we have dismissed as lacking substance," the official said.

The North traditionally shuns discussing its nuclear development with the South, saying it is aimed at deterring a U.S. invasion and therefore must be negotiated with Washington.

Available at:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2011/01/31/52/0401000000AEN20110131010400315F.HTML


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3.
South Korea to Press North Korea to Honor 1992 Denuclearization Pact: Official
Sam Kim
Yonhap News Agency
1/31/2011
(for personal use only)


South Korea plans to press North Korea to abide by their 1992 denuclearization pact that bans the two sides from having facilities used to enrich uranium, a senior official here said Monday, as they prepare to hold their first defense talks in months.

The agreement prohibits the two Koreas from making, introducing or stockpiling nuclear weapons. It specifically bans the Koreas from building reprocessing or highly enriched uranium (HEU) facilities.

North Korea announced last year it was operating a modern facility to perform low-level enrichment of uranium for peaceful energy use. Uranium, if highly enriched, can be used to create arms.

U.S. and South Korean officials have dismissed the North Korean announcement as a thinly veiled effort to have a second track to building nuclear bombs in addition to its plutonium-based one.

Citing the 1992 agreement that bans uranium enrichment plants, a senior South Korean Unification Ministry official said Monday the North should "display determination and actions that show that it will substantially follow through with the denuclearization pledge."

His comments indicate the grounds on which Seoul will press Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear arms when they resume their talks later this year. Inter-Korean dialogue had come to a halt after a multinational investigation found Pyongyang responsible for sinking a South Korean warship in March and the North bombarded a South Korean island in November last year.

The planned defense talks, which the North proposed first earlier this month as part of its renewed peace offensive, are seen as a crucial step toward resuming stalled six-nation denuclearization talks.

The talks, which group the Koreas, the U.S., Russia, China and Japan, have not been held since late 2008. Since then, North Korea has conducted its second nuclear test and conducted a rocket launch considered as an effort to advance its arms delivery capabilities.

A 2005 six-party agreement specifies that the Koreas observe and implement their 1992 joint declaration, while leaving room for the North to have "the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy."

"None of the two can replace the other," the South Korean official said, referring to the landmark deals and calling them the most effective avenues to removing the threat of nuclear war on the peninsula.

Available at:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2011/01/31/40/0401000000AEN20110131008000315F.HTML


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4.
UN Report Verifies North Korea's Uranium Enrichment Program
Kim Young-jin
The Korea Times
1/31/2011
(for personal use only)


A report verifying North Korea’s recently-disclosed uranium enrichment program has been submitted to a U.N. Security Council committee overseeing sanctions on Pyongyang, sources said.

A source within the Security Council told Yonhap News Agency, "The report, among other things, says that North Korea’s uranium enrichment program is more advanced than Iran's, and that it has been carrying out the program for a significant period of time.”

The source said the report verifies what the North told U.S. scientist Siegfried Hecker in November when it showed him a uranium enrichment program at its Yongbyon facility some 90 kilometers North of Pyongyang. Hecker said North Korean authorities told him that 2,000 centrifuges were already operating.

Other news reports, citing sources, said the committee will take up the issue this week.

The North claims the program is strictly for civilian purposes, but officials fear the facility could be upgraded to produce nuclear weapons.

The committee is made up of experts from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council ― Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States ― along with Japan and South Korea.

Available at:
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2011/01/116_80679.html


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5.
North Korea to Develop Nuclear-Capable ICBMs Within Decade: Adm. Mullen
Hwang Doo-hyong
Yonhap News Agency
1/27/2011
(for personal use only)


North Korea will likely develop intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads within the coming decade, the chief U.S. military officer said Thursday.

"There's little doubt in my mind, unless North Korea is deterred, that sometime in the next, I'm not sure but, five to 10 years, the provocations ... will continue at a much higher threat level, which could include a nuclear-capable ICBM," Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview with Financial Times, according to a transcript released by the Pentagon. "That's what I believe we're looking at. I can't be precise about the time and say it's exactly here but clearly there is evolution going on there where the threat becomes much more serious."

Mullen's statement is in tune with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said earlier this month that North Korea's missiles and nuclear weapons will pose a threat to the U.S. within five years. Gates also urged North Korea to impose a moratorium on nuclear and missile testing to help revive the six-party nuclear talks.

A six-party deal signed in 2005 by the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia calls for the North's nuclear dismantlement in return for massive economic aid and diplomatic and political benefits. The talks, however, have been deadlocked for more than two years over the North's nuclear and missile tests and other provocations.

North Korea also revealed in November a uranium enrichment plant that could serve as a second way of building nuclear bombs in addition to its existing plutonium program, despite Pyongyang's claims it is producing fuel for power generation.

"I think we all agree it's a more dangerous place now than it was a few months ago and that the provocations -- and this is all tied to the succession thing and Kim Jong Il, who's been a pretty unpredictable guy for a long time -- the worry tied to this revelation on the nuke, the uranium enrichment piece, all of that, that it's now more dangerous than it was a few months ago," Mullen said.

The North's recent provocations, including the artillery attack on a South Korean border island and the sinking of a warship, are widely believed to be linked to the ailing North Korean leader Kim's plans to transfer power to his third and youngest son, Jong-un, in the unprecedented third generation hereditary power transition.

The 28-year-old heir apparent, who like his father lacks a proper military background, is believed to be trying to rally support from the military, the only power base in the impoverished, but nuclear-armed communist state.

North Korea detonated nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009, and conducted long-range missile tests three times - in 1998, 2006 and 2009 - which were seen as a partial success.

Pyongyang is believed to have at least several nuclear weapons, with some experts saying it could have already developed nuclear warheads small enough to be mounted on ballistic missiles with the help of China or Pakistan.

Available at:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/01/28/17/0301000000AEN20110128000900315F.HTML


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C.  Nuclear Cooperation

1.
Chile, U.S. to Sign Nuclear Pact During Obama’s Visit to Santiago
Latin American Herald Tribune
1/29/2011
(for personal use only)


The governments of Chile and the United States are putting the finishing touches on a nuclear cooperation accord that will be signed during President Barack Obama’s visit to Santiago in March, U.S. Ambassador to Chile Alejandro Wolff said.

In a statement published Saturday in the daily La Tercera before traveling to Washington in preparation for Obama’s visit, the diplomat said that the accord, consisting of a memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy, “is almost ready.”

The accord is in line with those signed by the United States with other countries, including Argentina and France, and its goal is to institutionalize cooperation and train engineers and experts in the field.

According to La Tercera, for Santiago there is also a political element, which is that Chile, as a political ally of the United States in the region, does not face external conflicts or have problems in regional relations because of an energy shortage.

Ambassador Wolff also said that Obama plans talks with Chilean President Sebastian Pińera on the state of democracy and stability in the region, as well as on trade and the defense of peace and human rights.

According to the diplomat, “Chile is seen as a leader in matters of human rights, for obvious reasons, even beyond the region at a global level.”

Meanwhile Wolff denied that the exclusion of Argentina in Obama’s first trip to South America is a sign of that country’s loss of influence in the region: “There is a time factor and this will not be his only visit to the region,” he said.

Obama’s trip, which also includes visits to Brazil and El Salvador, was announced by the U.S. president himself on Tuesday in his State of the Union address to Congress.

Available at:
http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=385493&CategoryId=14094


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2.
Russia Says Too Early to Talk Tactical Nuclear Weapons with United States
RIA Novosti
1/29/2011
(for personal use only)


It is too early to discuss limiting tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) with the United States, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

When ratifying the New START arms deal with Russia in December, the United States Senate adopted a resolution obligating the government to start bilateral talks on cutting the TNW stockpiles - landmines, artillery shells and short-range missiles. Washington says Moscow has a larger number of these systems.

"We are not even close to discussing the prospect of concluding any agreement in this sphere, the more so as we don't know yet how the [new] ratified arms reduction treaty will be implemented," Ryabkov told Russian journalists Friday.

"Until we see the way commitments undertaken within its framework are fulfilled and to what extent the sides are acting in line with the treaty's letter and spirit, this issue will be premature for us," he said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed off on the new pact ratification documents on Friday. The Russian parliament's upper house ratified the new START treaty on Wednesday. The lower house, the State Duma, ratified the pact Tuesday, adding some provisions to the ratification document and issuing two supplementary statements to the resolution on the treaty ratification.

The ratification document provides a legally-binding clause that links strategic offensive and strategic defensive weapons.

The first supplementary statement addresses the current state and the future of Russia's nuclear deterrent, while the second outlines the State Duma's position on the reduction and limitations of strategic offensive armaments.

The new deal, replacing START 1, which expired in December 2009, was signed by Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama in Prague in April 2010. The document slashes the Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

The U.S. Senate ratified the deal on December 22, 2010, but added several amendments to the resolution on ratification, including a demand to build up U.S. global missile defenses.

Medvedev said the treaty will formally enter into force after the exchange of ratification documents, which is due to take place at the upcoming meeting between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and State Secretary Hillary Clinton.

The meeting could take place in Munich on February 4-5.

Available at:
http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110129/162362622.html


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D.  Nuclear Security

1.
Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal Tops 100: Report
AFP
1/31/2011
(for personal use only)


Pakistan has doubled its nuclear weapons stockpile over the past several years, increasing its arsenal to more than 100 deployed weapons, The Washington Post reported late Sunday.

Citing US non-government analysts, the newspaper said that only four years ago, the Pakistani nuclear arsenal was estimated at 30 to 60 weapons.

"They have been expanding pretty rapidly," the report quoted David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, as saying.

Based on recently accelerated production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, Islamabad may now have an arsenal of up to 110 weapons, Albright said.

As a result, Pakistan has now edged ahead of India, its nuclear-armed rival, The Post noted. India is estimated to have 60 to 100 weapons.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j7FxunQtQBK1Y49-GBh1jAmuQzNQ?docId=CNG.72428c9c46c8f2949b118c423c268684.3d1


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2.
Syria's Assad Says No Extra Access to Nuclear Inspectors
Reuters
1/31/2011
(for personal use only)


Syria will not grant International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors unrestricted access to possible nuclear sites because it would amount to a violation of sovereignty, President Bashar al-Assad said.

The IAEA has said uranium particles found at a Syrian complex destroyed by an Israeli air raid in 2007 suggested possible covert nuclear activity, and asked Syria to agree to unfettered inspections.

"This time they asked Syria to sign the additional protocol -- that they can come any time," Assad told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Monday.

"No, we are not going to sign... Nobody will accept to sign it. This is something about sovereignty -- to come any time to check anything under the title of checking nuclear activities, you can check anything," he said.

"We have many secret things like any other country and nobody will allow them (to be searched)," Assad said. Granting the inspectors unrestricted access "will definitely be misused."

U.S. intelligence reports said the Deir al-Zor site bombed by Israel in 2007 had been a North Korean-designed nuclear reactor under construction, geared for atomic bomb fuel.

Syria, an ally of Iran which is under IAEA investigation over its own nuclear program, has denied ever having an atom bomb program and says the intelligence suggesting it had is fabricated.

It allowed the IAEA to inspect Deir al-Zor in June 2008 but has not allowed the agency to revisit since then.

Assad said the fact that Syria allowed the inspection showed it had nothing to hide, and questioned why radioactive particles would be found in a nuclear site still under construction. He also said it was months after the Israeli strike before any public claim was made that the site was a nuclear plant.

"It is clear to everyone that it was not nuclear, but the question is: why they waited for eight months (before saying it was) ?" he said.

The agency's chief Yukiya Amano said in November Syria was blocking nuclear inspectors from visiting numerous suspect sites, and had provided scant or inconsistent information about its atomic activities.

Washington has said the IAEA may need to consider invoking its "special inspection" mechanism to give it the authority to look anywhere necessary in Syria at short notice.

But diplomats believe the IAEA will refrain from escalating the dispute at a time of rising tension with Iran, which the West suspects of seeking nuclear weapons.

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/31/us-syria-nuclear-idUSTRE70U38K20110131


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E.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Energy Minister Says Turkey Needs to be Smart on Nuclear Energy
Hurriyet Daily News
1/31/2011
(for personal use only)


Turkey’s energy minister said Thursday that Turkey needed to corporatize its nuclear energy.

Energy Minister Taner Yıldız attended a round-table meeting hosted by the Confederation of Finnish Industrialists as part of his official visit to Helsinki.

Following the meeting, Yıldız visited Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, or STUK.

He told the Anatolia news agency that Finnish companies had expressed their readiness to cooperate with Turkey on renewable energy. "We have invited a Finnish delegation to Turkey to commence technical works," he said.

"There are 13 nuclear power plants in Finland. We are going to build more modern power plants in Turkey. But we need to corporatize our nuclear energy. We can cooperate with Finnish firms."

Earlier, Yıldız met with Finnish Minister of Foreign Trade & Development Paavo Vayrynen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Jyrki Katainen and Minister of Economic Affairs Mauri Pekkarinen.

Available at:
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=0127185357432-2011-01-28


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2.
New Indian Joint Venture Brings in Private Sector to Nuclear Power
Nuclear Engineering International
1/31/2011
(for personal use only)


Following a 2009 memorandum of understanding, NPCIL and National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd have formed a joint venture for nuclear power project development.

The JV company, split 51:49 NPCIL:NTPC, is called Anushakti Vidhyut Nigam Ltd.

NTPC, which is 84.5% held by the government of India and 15.5% held by private investors, currently runs 15 coal-based and 7 gas-based power stations, for a total output of 33 GW, including joint ventures.

NTPC said on its website that it has plans to generate to 75 GW by 2017 and 128 GW by 2032, by which time the company would have a diversified fuel mix comprising 56% coal, 16% gas, 11% nuclear and 17% renewable Energy Sources (RES) including hydro. That 11% nuclear stake corresponds to 14GW of nuclear power.

NPCIL, which is wholly government-owned, is currently the only agency that operates nuclear power plants in India.

Available at:
http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?sectionCode=132&storyCode=2058767


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3.
Turkey Targets 20 Nuclear Reactors by 2030-Official
Reuters
1/31/2011
(for personal use only)


Turkey wants to build 20 nuclear reactors by 2030 to produce electricity and reduce its reliance on oil and gas imports, a senior Energy Ministry official said.

Turkey has agreed with Russian nuclear company Rosatom to build its first nuclear power station on the Mediterranean and is in talks with Japan's Toshiba and the Japanese government on building a second plant on the Black Sea.

"We want a minimum 20 reactors in operation by 2030. This may not be our formalised plan, but it is our target," Energy Ministry Undersecretary Metin Kilci told Reuters on Friday.

Turkey has said it wants nuclear to eventually account for most of its power production. Natural gas now fires more than half of Turkish electricity plants.

The government wants to complete talks and prepare an agreement with Toshiba and Japanese officials by the end of March, Kilci said. The Turkish side has yet to decide whether the state will take a stake in the project, he said.

Talks will remain exclusive with the Japanese unless they prove fruitless, Kilci said.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz has said French utilities GDF Suez and EDF are interested in building the Black Sea plant.

Separately, it is not yet clear whether Turkey will renew a contract with Russia's Gazprom to import 6 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas on a western pipeline because it has not decided whether the fuel is necessary, Kilci said.

Russia is Turkey's biggest gas supplier and also sends 16 bcm on a second, bigger pipeline built under the Black Sea.

If Turkey does agree to renew the western pipeline contract, it may consider re-exporting the gas to Europe, he said.

Available at:
http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFLDE70U0B920110131?sp=true


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F.  Links of Interest

1.
Is North Korea's Nuclear Programme a Threat?
Jeremey Laurence
Reuters
1/31/2011
(for personal use only)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/31/uk-korea-north-nuclear-idUKTRE70U1..


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2.
Forgotten: The Most Radioactive Town in Europe
Alasdair Fotheringham
The Independent
1/30/2011
(for personal use only)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/forgotten-the-most-radioactiv..


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