Iran and Turkey are determined to boost their political and economic ties, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a joint press conference Monday with his visiting Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul.
"This cooperation (...) will rapidly bring our region to the political, cultural and economic fore," which is "in the interest of peace and stability" in the region, Ahmadinejad said.
President Gul said there were "no obstacles to the development of cooperation between the two countries."
"We had detailed discussions on key issues of mutual interest and important decisions have been taken," Gul said.
"We have decided to give orders to our respective parties to remove all obstacles" identified in the talks as hindering cooperation between the two countries, he said without elaborating.
Gul arrived in Tehran on Sunday evening for a four-day official visit, heading a delegation of business leaders and ministers including Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Ahmadinejad took the public opportunity to thank "the Turkish president for his country's position concerning Iran's nuclear rights."
Ankara has come to the defence of Iran while mediating difficult negotiations with major powers about the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear programme.
Turkey recently said it would not apply US economic sanctions against Tehran, saying it would only respect measures passed by the United Nations Security Council.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j2-cB-BIe5ghO_gTUMpw_HP3HaRg?docId=CNG.0f2dd822954982bb57cab5b034071896.911
2. Tehran Will Not Accept Anything Beyond IAEA Rules
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Tehran’s ambassador to Moscow says Iran will not bow down to commitments which are beyond what has been set by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi’s remarks came in a message released to the Russian Federation during a ceremony held to mark the 32nd anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
In his message, the ambassador said the acquiring nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is the inalienable right of every nation which has signed the non-proliferation treaty.
Iran believes that the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes should not be monopolized, the diplomat stated.
He also said that Iran is still committed to the IAEA rules and regulations and will not bow out of its commitments to the agency.
The Islamic Republic will welcome the agency’s inspectors who come to Iran to visit nuclear facilities, he added.
Elsewhere in his message, Sajjadi also said certain countries, which are seeking to monopolize nuclear technology, have been putting pressure on Iran over the past few years by resorting to threats, sanctions and so forth.
These countries have tried to politicize Iran’s nuclear program in order to distract public attention from their monopolization of nuclear technology, the diplomat noted.
On terrorism, Sajjadi said Iran will hold an international conference on terrorism in the near future to discuss terrorism and ways to eradicate it.
Available at: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=235758
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has appointed Professor Fereydoun Abbasi as the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
“Based on Article 124 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran and given your commitment and past scientific and executive record… I appoint you as the vice president and the head of Atomic Energy Organization,” President Ahmadinejad said in his decree on Sunday.
Abbasi, who is a professor at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, will replace Ali Akbar Salehi who was appointed as foreign minister last month.
In November 2010, Abbasi and Dr. Majid Shahriari, also a professor at Shahid Beheshti University, were attacked by terrorists who detonated bombs in their vehicles in separate locations.
Shahriari was killed immediately, but professor Abbasi and his wife sustained injuries and were transferred to hospital.
In December 2010, Iran's Intelligence Ministry arrested some of the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/165065.html
Head of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi says the Islamic Republic's ties with Britain “will be downgraded.”
"This is a decision Majlis has to make… the general mood in Majlis towards Britain is negative… but the relations will be, at the very least, downgraded," Boroujerdi told Press TV.
The Iranian lawmaker made the comments after Britain tipped its Ambassador to Tehran Simon Gass earlier this month to replace another British diplomat Mark Sedwill in Afghanistan as NATO's Senior Civilian Representative (SCR).
The mission of the SCR is to ensure that the governance and development work is closely coordinated with the security effort provided by NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Iran has considered breaking off relations with Britain several times due to London's meddlesome and undiplomatic approach towards Tehran.
Most notable among Britain's meddlesome moves is remarks made by the chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), John Sawers, who accused Iran of pursuing clandestine nuclear activities and urged 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.
Shortly after Sawers remarks 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.
In December 2010, 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.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/165095.html
China is opposing an effort by a United Nations sanctions committee to adopt a report on North Korea’s uranium enrichment program, a South Korean government source said yesterday.
The news comes as the UN Security Council (UNSC) is scheduled to hold a North Korea sanctions committee meeting in New York on Feb. 23. The committee is expected to adopt the recently-drafted report, a move that observers say will give more strength for the UNSC to act against Pyongyang’s suspected nuclear program.
“China, taking a negative stance on the uranium enrichment issue being presented to the UNSC, is opposed to adopting the report,” Yonhap quoted an unidentified government source as saying. “The adoption of the report is critical [in efforts to bring the issue to the UNSC] as it is linked to how the international community views the issue.”
The report concludes that the uranium enrichment program, which Pyongyang showed to a U.S. scientist in November, was probably genuine.
It also said the program is more advanced than a facility in Iran and requires a stronger supervision by the UNSC.
The North’s uranium enrichment facility is suspected by scientists to be able to equip the North with an alternative way of building nuclear weapons beyond its plutonium-based weapons.
Another government official said China’s opposition is making it hard to deal with North Korea. The decision to adopt the report must be unanimous by the UNSC.
The official said China is claiming the North’s uranium program can be dealt with in the framework of the six-party talks.
Beijing has urged the involved parties to resume multinational talks on North Korea’s denuclearization, stalled since April 2009 with the North’s withdrawal.
South Korea’s top envoy on the North Korean issue, Wi Sung-lac, told Chinese officials last week that the six-party talks can be effective only after the international community shows a stern response to the uranium enrichment program, according to a Seoul Foreign Ministry official.
The official, talking about Wi’s two-day visit to Beijing last week, said Wi delivered the message that the North’s uranium enrichment is a “serious provocation.”
Available at: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2932163
2. Chinese FM to Visit Seoul Next Week for Talks on North Korea
Yonhap News Agency
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China's foreign minister will visit South Korea next week to make up for a postponed trip last year, Seoul's foreign ministry said Monday.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is expected to arrive on Feb. 23 for talks with his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-hwan on a wide range of issues, including North Korea's supposed uranium enrichment program (UEP) and six-party talks.
Yang's earlier plans to visit Seoul last November were postponed two days before the scheduled date. China's foreign ministry had apparently cited an unspecified "scheduling" problem amid international pressure on Beijing to get tough with Pyongyang for its provocative actions. North Korea shelled a South Korean border island three days prior to Yang's planned visit on Nov. 26, killing four South Koreans, and unveiled the UEP earlier that month.
"As you know, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had planned to visit South Korea last November, but the trip was later postponed," the ministry's deputy spokesman Shin Maeng-ho told reporters at a press briefing.
"That is why the trip is being rearranged now, and the two sides are discussing the schedule," he said, declining to give further details.
Bilateral talks are expected to focus on dealing with North Korea's UEP and resuming the six-party denuclearization talks, which have been stalled since early 2009. The uranium enrichment facility has added to international concern about the communist nation's capacity for building atomic bombs, prompting South Korea to push for the issue to be taken up at the U.N. Security Council. Seoul and Washington have cited the North's violation of U.N. resolutions and its own 2005 commitment to abandon all nuclear ambitions.
China, a veto-holding permanent member of the Council, has opposed the idea, saying the matter should be discussed among the six-party members, comprising the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S.
"China does not agree with taking the issue to the U.N. Security Council," South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac told reporters last week after returning home from a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei in Beijing.
"China expressed a position that the six-party talks should be resumed at an early date, but still agreed the talks can be resumed only after relations between the two Koreas are normalized," he said.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2011/02/14/14/0401000000AEN20110214007800315F.HTML
South Korean political parties have received letters from North Korea proposing talks between the two countries' legislators to ease tensions, officials said Monday, days after military talks broke down.
The unification ministry said the letters were delivered last Friday via China. It was unclear when they were sent.
Last Thursday the North had said there was no need for further cross-border dialogue following the collapse of the military talks, which it blamed on "traitors" in the South.
Army officers from the two sides held two days of talks last week, the first cross-border meeting since the North's deadly shelling of a South Korean island on November 23.
The North walked out of that meeting after the South demanded an apology at future talks both for the bombardment and for the sinking of a South Korean warship last March.
The shelling killed four people including two civilians. Seoul says Pyongyang also torpedoed the ship with the loss of 46 lives, a charge it denies.
The unification ministry, which must authorise all inter-Korean contacts, did not say whether it would approve any meeting of legislators.
But it said last week that planned Red Cross talks to arrange family reunions could not go ahead now the military talks had collapsed.
Dropping its fiery rhetoric, the North this year has sent a spate of appeals for talks. The ministry said religious organisations and social groups in the South had received similar proposals.
Both China and the United States are trying to revive stalled six-party talks on the North's nuclear weapons programmes, and the North is reportedly seeking separate US food aid for its hungry people.
But Washington says Pyongyang must improve ties with Seoul before the six-party negotiations -- which offer diplomatic and economic benefits in return for denuclearisation -- can resume.
The North now "wants to construct a narrative that has the South blocking the resumption of six-party talks tied to denuclearisation, and sell that story to China and the United States", the JoongAng Daily said in a Monday editorial.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gtP_eXZbI2HON0aYa_TcUDP-jLFA?docId=CNG.7fc4d4a85840416799351787f9748bf5.231
4. Seoul: North Korea's UEP to be Resolved Before 6-Party Talks
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The South Korean government has reiterated the need for the international community to take strict measures against North Korea's uranium enrichment program or UEP before reopening the six-way dialogue.
A high-ranking official in Seoul told reporters on Sunday, that unless the regional partners rightfully respond to the North's act of provocation, they could open doors for Pyeongyang to further abuse the negotiation process through its belligerence.
Meanwhile, China reportedly did not support taking the North's UEP to the UN Security Council during South Korean nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac's visit last week, but agreed to continue discussions on the matter.
Available at: http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=112565&code=Ne2&category=2
5. North Korea May Conduct Nuke Test in Late 2011 or Early 2012: Analyst
Yonhap News Agency
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North Korea could conduct its third nuclear test between late this year and early next year if the regime feels the need for a breakthrough for its power succession plan or for the standoff over its atomic programs, a state-run think tank analyst claimed Friday.
Yun Deok-min, a professor at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, told a security forum in Seoul that the communist nation could go ahead with a test to sharpen its plutonium bomb technology or it could test a bomb made of highly enriched uranium.
"Now that the North's enriched uranium production capabilities are proven, it is inevitable for us to fundamentally review our nuclear policy on North Korea as it is based on the existing negotiation and information systems," Yu told the forum.
North Korea carried out two nuclear test explosions, first in 2006 and the other in 2009, based on its plutonium bomb program. Concern about Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities has escalated further after the North revealed in November that it has a uranium enrichment facility.
Uranium, if highly enriched, can be weapons-grade. North Korea claims the facility is to produce fuel for a light water reactor under construction for power generation. But few believe the claim by a nation that has pursued atomic ambitions for decades.
Analysts have said that North Korea's provocations in recent years such as the March sinking of the South's warship Cheonan and the November shelling of the South's border island of Yeonpyeong could be in part aimed at building credentials for the heir-apparent son of leader Kim Jong-il.
The son, Kim Jong-un, was made a four-star general and given high-level posts in September in Pyongyang's first official step to put the inexperienced son in his 20s in line to take over the family dynasty. The regime has since been trying to extract loyalty for him from the hungericken population.
In Washington, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper predicted Thursday that the North's leader could attempt further provocations to boost the standing of his heir-apparent son, saying the North's shelling attack was believed to be part of such efforts.
"Kim Jong-il may feel the need to conduct further provocations to achieve strategic goals and portray Jong-un as a strong, bold leader, especially if he judges elite loyalty and support are in question," Clapper said in written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2011/02/11/37/0401000000AEN20110211004900315F.HTML
1. Japanese Government in Process of Ratifying Nuclear Cooperation Agreements with Four Countries
The Denki Shimbun
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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan is planning to commence the procedure for ratifying nuclear cooperation agreements with four countries of Russia, Vietnam, Jordan and South Korea. The ministry will prepare draft agreements separately for each of the four countries, and submit them all together to the National Diet as early as the end of February. Russia has already completed its national ratification procedure, and parliamentary approval for ratification is not required in Jordan and South Korea. Except for Vietnam, whose national procedure is not clearly known, the Japanese government is expected to go ahead with final procedures for the conclusion of nuclear cooperation agreements with the other countries as soon as approval is granted by its National Diet.
If the agreements are successfully concluded, Japan will be able to export nuclear equipment and fuel to these countries. Vietnam has chosen Japan as a partner for its nuclear power plant construction project. Jordan has also included the consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Areva among the partner candidates for its nuclear construction projects. Once the nuclear cooperation agreements with these two countries take effect following ratification in the current Diet session, it will represent a legal green light for Japanese companies to seek participation in nuclear construction projects taking place in the two countries.
Meanwhile, Japan plans to export nuclear equipment to Russia and procure uranium fuel from the country. South Korea is eager to purchase nuclear equipment from Japan. If nuclear cooperation agreements with Russia and South Korea come into force, these transactions can also proceed smoothly.
Japan has thus far concluded nuclear cooperation agreements with seven countries including the United States, Canada, China, Australia and some European countries. The newest agreement was signed with the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), which took effect in December 2006. Japan initiated negotiations with several non-Western countries in 2009, and has so far completed the signature of nuclear cooperation agreements with five of such countries including Kazakhstan. The agreement with Kazakhstan has already been ratified by the National Diet of Japan. Similar negotiations are currently ongoing with India, South Africa, Turkey and Brazil.
The Japanese government has positioned nuclear exports as one of the pillars of Japan's New Growth Strategy adopted by its cabinet in June last year, and is determined to further pursue conclusion of nuclear cooperation agreements with more countries.
Available at: http://www.shimbun.denki.or.jp/en/news/20110214_03.html
2. Russia, NATO Approaching Breakthrough in Ties: Official
Xinhua News Agency
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Russia and NATO are approaching a new breakthrough in bilateral relations, a Russian official said on Monday.
Vladimir Voronkov, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's European cooperation department, said he believed Russia and NATO are certain to achieve close cooperation as there are no insurmountable ideological disagreements between each other.
"A period of profound thaw has set in Russia-NATO ties. I am sure that we are close to a breakthrough," Voronkov said.
This "progress" is largely due to the North Atlantic military alliance, he added.
Voronkov stressed both sides must make progress in nuclear disarmament cooperation, Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the settlement of regional conflicts in order to achieve crucial positive changes with the current improvement of Russia-West relations.
The diplomat also said it was necessary to cooperate with NATO in the European missile defense system, visa-free regimes and the Modernization Partnership program.
"It is very important for Russia that NATO regards us not as an adversary but as a strategic partner," he said.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-02/14/c_13731902.htm
Polish state-owned utility PGE and transmission system operator PSE Operator are in talks with Russian energy company Inter RAO about building an energy line from Kaliningrad to Poland, daily Rzeczpospolita reported PGE's CEO as saying.
The energy would be sourced from a nuclear power plant which is being built there, the daily wrote.
With the preliminary discussions now complete, the Polish side is waiting for the Russian party to estimate how much energy would in fact be available for purchase, the daily wrote. The concrete numbers are to be revealed by mid-2011. Preliminary calculations indicate, however, that the mooted supplies from the east would satisfy some eight percent of Poland's total demand for energy.
Tomasz Zadroga, PGE CEO, told Rzeczpospolita that the deal will not involve participating in Russia's nuclear energy program, but will instead only concern the purchase of energy.
“Our talks with the Russian partner are about a trade deal as we are looking for cheaper sources of energy,” Mr Zadroga said, adding that Poland will face an energy deficit in four or five years' time.
According to the newspaper, the Russian side has declared that the first of the nuclear reactors in the Kaliningrad region will be ready in 2016, while the second one will be operational in 2018.
Henryk Majchrzak, president of PSE Operator – the company that would be responsible for building the transmission line – told the daily that the line will be built only when it could potentially bring profits. According to Mr Majchrzak, the construction of the line could take some four years.
Available at: http://www.wbj.pl/article-53183-poland-to-buy-russian-nuclear-energy.html?typ=wbj
2. UAE’s Nuclear Approach a Robust Model for GCC: Al Kaabi
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The UAE’s partnership with the Korean nuclear industry has the potential to be expanded to support other GCC countries’ plans to develop new nuclear energy sectors in the region, said Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA).
Speaking at ‘GCC Days’ in Seoul, he said that the UAE approach and contract with the Korean-led consortium demonstrated the viability of a robust model for the introduction of nuclear energy programmes in the Gulf region, a model that could serve as a viable approach for other GCC countries who experience similar challenges and conditions as the UAE.
“Nuclear energy is emerging in the GCC as a proven, reliable, commercially competitive option to meet aggressive energy demand growth in the future. Nuclear programme requires a set of capabilities and skills not readily available in the GCC countries.”
A long-term partner is a key for a successful deployment of any new nuclear energy programme in the GCC countries, he added. “South Korea, with their extensive experience and advanced nuclear sector, constitute a viable long-term partner to support the development of nuclear energy programmes in the GCC region.”
He added that more progress is needed among the GCC countries to explore potential areas of cooperation in this area with the support of experienced international partners such as South Korea.
“GCC countries are facing a period of huge increase in energy demand as we build the critical infrastructure we need to grow and develop. Such growth is not possible without electricity,” he pointed out.
By 2020, the UAE’s energy demand will rise significantly reaching over 40,000 MW, an increase at the rate of 9 per cent per year. Other GCC countries are more or less experiencing the same projection.
Nuclear energy provides answers to many of the issues faced with conventional energy sources in the areas of the environment, safety, economics, reliability and sustainability.
Following a comprehensive review of all the excellent bids from some of the world’s top nuclear suppliers, the UAE has determined that the Korean KEPCO team is best equipped to fulfil the government’s partnership requirements to develop the UAE nuclear energy ambitious programme.
A contract was signed in December of 2009 to design, construct and jointly operate the first four nuclear power reactors in the UAE, a major milestone for both the UAE and South Korea.
Available at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/February/theuae_February340.xml§ion=theuae&col
3. Life of India's 'Workhorse' Fast Breeder Extended by 20 Years
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Scientists at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research have successfully extended the life of the 25-year-old ''workhorse'' among India''s fast breeders-- Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR)-- by another 20 years.
"We have extended the life of the FBTR for another 20 years up to 2030 at 50 per cent operational capacity," said Baldev Raj, Director of IGCAR, Kalpakkam.
"The workhorse reactor has completed 25 successful years.
It has given confidence to the Indian scientists to go ahead and build the first 500 MW (electrical) Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) which is under advanced stage of construction; and at least four more fast breeder reactors (FBRs) by 2020," he told PTI.
FBTR is also a training ground for the operation and maintenance staff of PFBR and will be the cradle for trained manpower of India''s fast Breeder Reactor programme.
"FBTR uses Plutonium-carbide fuel while the PFBR will be using mixed oxide (Plutonium-uranium oxide) fuel. But the future fast breeders will use Uranium-Plutonium alloy or Uranium-Plutonium-Zirconium," he said.
In the coming years, the major thrust of FBTR will be large-scale irradiation of the advanced metallic fuels and core structural materials required for the next generation fast reactors with high breeding ratios, Raj said.
For this, a programme for the fabrication of metallic fuel pins, their irradiation in FBTR, and closing the fuel cycle by pyro-reprocessing was in place.
Once this is successfully done, FBTR would have fulfilled its major mission in the Indian fast breeder reactor programme.
IGCAR is also exploring other applications like production of medical isotopes in FBTR.
"We expect to complete all these tests by 2020 so that we can build a metallic test reactor as a successor to FBTR," Raj said.
The designing of the 300 MW (thermal) metallic fast breeder test reactor will be completed by the end of 12th five-year plan and thereafter both FBTR and the new metallic test reactor will be operational simultaneously for a few years, Raj said, adding FBTR will be later shut down.
IGCAR''s vast experience in the fast breeder technologies was also being used to contribute to many issues of designing and materials for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), he said.
Available at: http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4916089
Though reluctant to recognise the viability of the low energy nuclear reactor built by Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi, a top US scientist agreed that such a device could soon hit the market.
“The first commercial LENR device is imminent,” said David J. Nagel of George Washington University. “It will become a commercial reality within 10 years.”
Summarising proceedings of the six-day international conference on condensed matter nuclear science that concluded here on Friday, Prof. Nagel said the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor coming up in France would take 40 years to be successful.
“Sixty years of research work and $20 billion has been put into the hot fusion experimental reactor being built in France as a joint venture between the European Union, USA, Japan, Russia, South Korea and India,” he noted. “But the world will have to wait for 40 years to see this reactor become commercial and start powering our homes.”
Compared to ITER’s hot fusion reactor, cold fusion or low energy nuclear reactions has had only 20 years of research and spending of just $ 0.2 billion. “This is just 1 per cent of the amount spent on hot fusion,” he said.
According to Prof. Nagel, hot fusion reactors including ITER are neither environment friendly nor safe in the long run. The project envisages production of 10 times more power than input. “Cold fusion energy sources though small, are distributed uniformly. We are hopeful of commercialising power from cold fusion in 10 years time,” Prof. Nagel said.
Igor Goryachev, a scientist from Research Institute of Nuclear Instrumentation, Russia, said there has been considerable interest in LENR projects in his country. “Interestingly, oil tycoons have started investing in this project,” he said.
Available at: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/chennai/cold-fusion-predicted-10-yrs-183
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