Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has thrown his country's weight behind Iran's right to use nuclear energy for peaceful applications.
In a Sunday meeting with Iran's new Ambassador to Algiers Mahmoud Mohammadi, the Algerian president highlighted Iran's significant role in regional and international relations, IRNA reported.
He said Iran and Algeria share common stance on leading global issues and voiced his country's resolve in strengthening bilateral ties and holding consultation with Iran in international organizations and bodies.
Bouteflika further noted that Iran has established amicable relations with Muslim countries, stressing that the Islamic Republic has never attacked any country.
Mohammadi, for his part, said Iran is resolute to strengthen ties with Algeria in all fields.
Iran and Algeria have stepped up efforts to enhance relations during recent years as the two countries' officials have exchanged many visits.
In November, Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia held the first session of Iran-Algeria High Joint Commission in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
The two sides stressed the need to bolster bilateral economic cooperation, which currently stands at about $150 million annually.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/164056.html
Iran is mass-producing a ballistic missile which can travel at more than three times the speed of sound and hit targets on the high seas, a top commander said on Monday.
Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari, who heads the elite military force, the Revolutionary Guards, said the missile had a range of 300 kilometres (185 miles).
"Iran is mass producing a smart ballistic missile for sea targets with a speed three times more than the speed of sound," Jafari was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.
He said the missile was "undetectable and can't be neutralised by enemies," without specifying the name. "It has very high precision in destroying targets," Jafari added.
"As the enemy's threats will likely come from the sea, air and by missiles, the Guards have been equipped with capabilities to neutralise the enemy's advanced technology," he said, according to another Iranian news agency, ISNA.
Iran's missile and space programmes have sparked concern in the West that such advanced technologies, combined with the nuclear know-how which the nation is acquiring, may enable Tehran to produce an atomic weapon.
Tehran denies its nuclear programme has military aims.
Jafari's remarks come as Iran holds celebrations to mark the 32nd anniversary of its Islamic revolution which toppled the US-backed shah.
Iran uses the run-up to the February 11 anniversary to tout its scientific and technological achievements.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hfIrLpGsCvEg1YS5ANA8bTP939NA?docId=CNG.30a945d880fb0c467a82e584423dac3f.281
3. Iran Resumes Steady Atom Enrichment After Mystery Halt
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Iran has resumed amassing enriched uranium at a steady pace after possible cyber sabotage and a mysterious albeit brief halt in its nuclear activities late last year, diplomats and experts say.
Technical woes, toughened international sanctions and the Stuxnet computer worm may all have figured in hampering Iran's nuclear progress, potentially pushing back estimates for when it might be able to assemble an atomic bomb if it decided to do so.
But despite such problems, the Islamic Republic is pressing ahead with its disputed nuclear energy programme and its stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) is continuously growing.
It is now believed to have enough material for one or two nuclear bombs if refined much further, even though it is unclear how soon it could build such a weapon, which would entail the technical feats of compressing highly-enriched uranium (HEU) into a missile cone and assembling a delivery vehicle.
Iran denies that its aim is to "weaponise" enrichment, saying it seeks only an additional source of electricity.
Assessments of delays or advances in Iran's nuclear work have profound political significance as they can influence the amount of time major powers believe they have at their disposal to try to resolve the dispute diplomatically.
The risk of the row escalating into a military conflict appeared to recede last month when the departing head of Israeli espionage agency Mossad said Iran, the Jewish state's arch-foe, might not have a nuclear weapon before 2015.
But that was later contradicted by the new head of Israel's military intelligence, who said sanctions had not held up Iran's nuclear programme and it could produce bombs within two years.
"On the whole, I do have a feeling that the enrichment programme is not in fantastic shape," one senior Western diplomat said. But Iran keeps accumulating LEU and "there is no sense that ... that increasing trend is under threat", he said.
Iran's centrifuges producing enriched uranium, which can be used to fuel power plants or provide material for weapons if refined to a high degree, have been plagued by breakdowns since a rapid expansion of the process in 2007-08.
Western officials say stiffened sanctions on Iran, one of the world's largest oil producers, are interfering with its enrichment programme by making it more difficult to obtain vital equipment and parts from abroad.
Covert operations by Israel or the United States, which have not ruled out military action to make sure Iran does not obtain an atomic bomb, may also have damaged its atomic activities.
Speculation that the Stuxnet computer worm was a state-directed cyber attack on Iran's Natanz enrichment site was fuelled by revelations in November that it temporarily stopped refining uranium there in the middle of that month.
But the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog, which is due to issue its next, quarterly report about Iran's nuclear programme by early March, told Reuters last week that the halt lasted only for a "short period of time".
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said he did not know the reason for the move but that LEU production was "continuing steadily".
He did not give details. But diplomats believe Iran stopped feeding material into its centrifuges used to make LEU for at most a few days. Iran has not commented on the incident.
"This is a very difficult facility to operate," Amano said.
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a Washington-based think-tank, said Iran's nuclear programme was "suffering mounting setbacks", giving more time for diplomacy.
That may well be needed. Two rounds of talks between Iran and six world powers -- the United States, France, Germany, China, Russia and Britain -- in December and January made no headway and ended without any agreement to meet again.
But despite disruptions, including centrifuge breakage and the assassination of two nuclear experts in 2010, ISIS said Iran had made some progress, increasing its monthly LEU output and boosting the number of working centrifuges late last year.
The senior Western diplomat said Iran's nuclear programme presented a "patchy picture", with both good and bad months for its LEU output. But whatever problems it might have, "when the guy has come to read the meter, it keeps on ticking over."
Iran's stockpile now exceeds three tonnes and it is estimated to grow by roughly 100 kg per month.
Proliferation analyst Mark Fitzpatrick said Iran experienced technical woes but that it already had a sizable amount of LEU.
"If further enriched, the current stockpile would be enough for one or two nuclear bombs," Fitzpatrick, a former senior U.S. State Department official now at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank, said.
ISIS experts David Albright and Andrea Stricker said most analysts believed that Iran had not yet decided whether to build nuclear weapons, but that Tehran's actions increasingly appeared to be working toward that capability.
"Predicting when Iran might obtain nuclear weapons is highly uncertain," Albright and Stricker wrote in an analysis.
They cited U.N. experts as saying Tehran already has enough knowledge to assemble a crude weapon but that it faced problems in missile delivery. "If Iran built a secret site using more advanced centrifuges, it could be ready to build a bomb as soon as 2012 or 2013," Albright and Stricker added.
Available at: http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFLDE71113820110207?sp=true
Iran says it has built four new domestically produced satellites as part of a space program that's worrying other nations.
State TV showed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiling the satellites — Fajr, Rasad, Zafar and Amir Kabir-1 — on Monday at a ceremony in Tehran.
State TV described them as research satellites but did not provide details. Iran says it has launched at least two satellites and has none in orbit now.
Many nations in the West and Middle East fear Iran's space program could also bolster its ballistic missile program and ability to conduct space-based surveillance. The U.S. and other countries have cited fears that Iran's nuclear program and missile program could allow it to target Europe and Israel with atomic weapons.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i0HwSo0bcbCCJgyHqwGNVLvA_2oQ?docId=5f2761e9a80f4ce8ba43982d95ea5df7
5. Turkey and Iran to Triple Bilateral Trade Despite Nuclear Sanctions
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Turkey and Iran aim to triple their bilateral trade to $30 billion in five years, Iran's foreign minister was reported as saying, despite U.S. attempts to constrict ties between Tehran and its closest neighbors.
NATO member Turkey and Iran, its second biggest gas supplier, have built up strong trade and political ties over the last decade to the concern of Washington, which has pushed an international campaign to isolate Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.
"There is a political determination in the two countries to develop relations further," Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, was quoted by state-run Anatolian news agency as saying on Sunday, when Turkey and Iran signed a joint economic commission accord in Tehran.
The cooperation talks spanned areas such as transport, industry and customs, Anatolian said.
Turkish State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz also set a target of $30 billion trade volume, without specifying a time frame.
Their bilateral trade volume rose to $10.7 billion last year from about e1 billion in 2000, Yilmaz said. Turkey's exports to Iran stood at $3.44 billion last year, making it Turkey's 10th biggest export market.
Washington has increased pressure on Ankara to enforce sanctions against Iran.
Turkey says it observes United Nations sanctions against Iran but declares it is not obligated to adhere to a separate U.S. embargo that targets Iranian energy.
The U.S. Treasury last week blacklisted six individuals and five business entities in Iran and Turkey for providing materials and support to Iran's ballistic missile development efforts.
Western powers suspect Iran is trying to secretly build a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran denies.
Available at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/turkey-and-iran-to-triple-bilateral-trade-despite-nuclear-sanctions-1.341822
1. North Korea Red-Faced as Russia Denies UN Security Council Claim
The Chosun Ilbo
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North Korea was acutely embarrassed on Saturday when the Russian Foreign Ministry rebutted its claim that Moscow does not back UN Security Council debate on its uranium enrichment program. The North made the claim last Wednesday.
But the Russian statement said North Korea's uranium enrichment capability has reached a level where it can violate UNSC resolutions and needs more careful international inspection. "We respect the opinions of other permanent members of the Security Council on this issue," it added.
The North's official KCNA news agency had claimed, "Russia does not back UNSC debate, but media reports make it look as if the country were backing such debate."
Earlier on Jan. 28, Alexei Borodavkin, the chief Russian negotiator to the six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear program, said in Seoul that Russia does not oppose UNSC debate on the issue.
"Russia is displeased at the North's arbitrary distortion of its stance," a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said. "The Russian statement is a warning to the North."
Available at: http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/02/07/2011020701048.html
2. North Korea May Send Heir Apparent to China to Secure Support: Analyst
Yonhap News Agency
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North Korea may attempt this year to arrange a visit by its leader-in-waiting to the country's foremost benefactor, China, in a bid to consolidate his power base and ease Pyongyang's economic hardships, the chief of a state-run think tank here said Monday.
"The biggest event for North Korea this year would be a trip to Beijing by Kim Jong-un alone," Nam Sung-wook, director of the Institute for National Security, said in a meeting with reporters, referring to the 20-something apparent successor to Kim Jong-il.
Nam, whose institute is overseen by the National Intelligence Service, predicted Pyongyang will fail to overcome its economic woes, saying that it will rather seek help by restoring denuclearization-for-aid talks and improving its ties with South Korea.
The key to achieving the goal could be winning the support of China, Nam said, while Kim Jong-un will likely be tasked with the job.
"If Kim can secure the resumption of six-party talks, he is likely to gain a higher position by publicizing his exploits," Nam said, adding Kim appears to be being groomed by actively engaging in all areas of state affairs.
Nam added that North Korea will likely credit Kim Jong-un if the country also succeeds in mending ties with South Korea and winning economic assistance from Seoul. Nam expected the hereditary power transition in North Korea will culminate around the birthday of the country's late founder, Kim Il-sung, in April next year.
Kim Il-sung is Kim Jong-un's grandfather. He died in 1994, passing the reign on to Kim Jong-il.
The relations between the two Koreas, which remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, are at the worst point in years after the North shelled a South Korean island in November last year, killing four people.
The two sides are set this week to hold their first defense talks in months after the North proposed that they meet to discuss ways to defuse tension along their border. Analysts, including Nam, say the North appears to be stepping up its peace offensive amid deepening food shortages.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2011/02/07/70/0401000000AEN20110207009000315F.HTML
3. South Korea's Top Nuclear Envoy Might Visit China for UEP Talks
Xinhua News Agency
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South Korea's chief negotiator to the six-party nuclear talks might head to China later this week to discuss the claimed uranium enrichment program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), local reports said Monday.
South Korea's foreign ministry is currently in contact with the Chinese counterpart for the potential meeting between Wi Sung-lac and Wu Dawei, China's top envoy to the long-stalled talks over ending the DPRK's nuclear program, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The news comes prior to the forthcoming meeting of a U.N. Security Council committee tasked with overseeing sanctions on the DPRK. The foreign ministry here said the meeting, slated for Feb. 23, is part of the committee's regular activity.
South Korea has been seeking to refer the case of Pyongyang's uranium enrichment program to the U.N. Security Council, claiming the newly acknowledged program runs counter to its international obligations.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-02/07/c_13721655.htm
4. Rival Koreas Gear Up for Talks This Week to Ease Tension
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North and South Korean military officers will meet this week at a truce village on their heavily fortified border in a test of a pledge by the North to ease tension after a major security crisis last year.
Regional powers have nudged the rivals to defuse the crisis and restart international talks over the North's nuclear program. The two Koreas are still technically at war because an armistice not a treaty ended the 1950-53 Korean War.
The meeting will be the first dialogue between them since last September, and the first since tension peaked on the peninsula late last year.
Last March, South Korea accused the North of sinking one of its navy ships killing 46 sailors.
Then in November, the North bombarded a South Korean island in disputed waters off the west coast, leading to an angry exchange of threats and a risk of major conflict that rattled financial markets.
The two sides agreed last week to hold a preliminary round of military talks on February 8 to set the time and agenda for higher-level talks, possibly between their defense ministers.
South Korea said a formal apology for what it saw as the blatant North Korean provocations last year was not needed for it to consider going ahead with the higher-level talks.
"You don't have colonels talking about apologizing," a South Korean official said, referring to the officers who will meet Tuesday.
North Korea threatened nuclear war on the peninsula at the height of tension but in a sharp change of tack, it has repeatedly called for dialogue with the South since January.
Some analysts say the about face is an indication that the North is suffering from years of international sanctions and a cut in aid from the South.
The South has said it wants to see whether the North is sincere about reducing tension and agreed to the meetings on the condition that they discuss the navy ship sinking and island bombardment.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said last week he was willing to consider meeting the North's leader at a summit in a softening of the South's tone after months of tough talk that included a vow to retaliate if the North attacked again.
Lee cut off a decade of unconditional aid to the North when he took office in 2008, angering the North, which analysts said had come to depend on his liberal predecessors' policy of using aid to keep their unpredictable neighbor engaged.
Lee said he had high expectations that the North would abandon the tactic of staging hostile acts to raise tension, then seeking dialogue with the wealthy South to win concessions.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/06/us-korea-north-idUSTRE7150DV20110206
1. Report: Russia Warns US Over Missile Defense Plans
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Russia sees the planned U.S. missile defense system as a potential threat to its nuclear forces and may review its participation in a landmark nuclear arms treaty, officials said Monday.
The New START deal, the centerpiece of Barack Obama's efforts to reset ties with Russia and the most significant arms control pact in nearly two decades, took effect last week. It limits each country to 1,550 strategic warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.
The treaty doesn't prevent the U.S. from building new missile defense systems, but Russia has warned that it reserves the right to withdraw from the treaty if the United States significantly boosts its missile shield.
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reaffirmed Monday that a buildup in the U.S. missile defense capability would prompt Moscow re-consider its obligations under the New START treaty.
"If the U.S. increases the qualitative and quantitative potential of its missile defense ... a question will arise whether Russia should further abide by the treaty or would have to take other measures to respond to the situation, including military-technical measures," Ryabkov said, according to Russian news agencies.
Russia was strongly critical of the previous U.S. administration's plan to deploy missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic and hailed Obama's decision to scrap it. But the Kremlin has remained concerned about revamped U.S. missile defense plans and continued to see them as potentially dangerous to its security.
NATO last fall approved a plan for a U.S.-led missile shield in Europe and invited Russia to join, but Moscow hasn't yet made a definite commitment. Experts from both sides will analyze the issue and report to defense ministers in July.
Ryabkov warned Monday that Russia won't cooperate with NATO on the project unless it's treated as a full partner.
"This must be a joint system with shared responsibilities, information exchange and decision-making in order to make us an equal and responsible member," he said. "If two separate networks are built, things won't change for us and we will see a situation when the NATO system could potentially be used against Russia's security interests. Cooperating on such a system would mean hurting ourselves."
Russian officials have remained skeptical about U.S. and NATO claims that the proposed shield is designed to fend off a missile threat from Iran.
Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Monday the U.S. missile defense could only be aimed against Russian missiles. "This system could undermine Russian nuclear deterrent forces," he said.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gOx0vUJdBU6Z-ZMGAIukagjBn_cA?docId=a5c16da08cca491fbfbe2cdffbfcf00d
2. US Team in India to Discuss Nuclear Cooperation
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A high level delegation from the US energy department is on a 10-day visit to India to discuss ways of cooperation and partnership in the nuclear energy sector, the US embassy said Monday. Representatives from the US department of energy are visiting India to learn more about the country's nuclear energy community and identify nuclear development opportunities and partnerships that will benefit both countries, according to a statement released by the embassy here.
During the visit, representatives from Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the US government’s lead nuclear engineering and science laboratory, will interact with leaders and researchers in the government, industry and academia.
"All advanced nuclear energy nations benefit by understanding each other's nuclear enterprises and collaborating where appropriate," said Idaho National Laboratory director and delegation head John Grossenbacher.
During the visit, the US delegation will meet representatives of higher education at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, Department of Atomic Energy and its two nuclear energy laboratories -- the Nuclear Power Corp of India and National Thermal Power Corp.
Idaho National Laboratory, which represented the US energy department during negotiations of the 123 Agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation, hosted the first India-US working group meeting and arranged for the US technical support of the working group’s second meeting in January 2010 in Mumbai.
Available at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/US-team-in-India-to-discuss-nuclear-cooperation/Article1-659567.aspx
Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries met Sunday in Bhutan, seeking to carry forward their dialogue, broken since the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
India's Nirupama Rao and Pakistan's Salman Bashir met in the Himalayan kingdom's capital of Thimpu, which was hosting the conference of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation.
Rao and Bashir also met to discuss another meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers since their last one in July.
Both India and Pakistan are nuclear weapon countries and relations between the two neighbors have remained strained since the Mumbai terror attacks in which more than 160 died and which India claims were masterminded by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba group.
Following their talks, the two officials said they agreed on the need for a continued dialogue between their countries, the Voice of America reported.
"As we have always said that dialogue between India and Pakistan is necessary and a must if we are to satisfactorily resolve the outstanding issues between our two countries," India's NDTV reported Rao as saying in an earlier statement.
In response, Bashir was quoted as saying the talks were aimed at "preparation of engagement between the two foreign ministers. … My expectations are that we should be working towards continued engagement."
While India claims Pakistan has not made enough progress in fully investigating the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan accuses India of not going after Hindu radicals allegedly involved in the Samjhauta border train blast in 2007.
Available at: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/02/06/India-Pakistan-hold-talks/UPI-32431297049404/
4. New START Treaty 'Lays Foundation' for Russia-U.S. Cooperation - Lavrov
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the ratification of the New START arms reduction treaty will increase international stability and promote Russian-U.S. cooperation.
"The principles of equality, parity, equal and undivided security lay a solid foundation for the modern Russian-American cooperation in various spheres," Lavrov said at the global security conference in Munich on Saturday.
The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed the exchange the instruments of ratification for the New START arms reduction treaty on Saturday with her Russian counterpart Lavrov.
Clinton said the treaty is an example of a "clear-eyed cooperation that is in everyone's interests."
The new deal, replacing START 1, which expired in December 2009, was signed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in Prague in April 2010. The document slashes the Russian and U.S. strategic nuclear arsenals to a maximum of 1,550 warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.
Available at: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20110205/162466422.html
1. Ankara to Host Conference on Nuclear Energy on Wednesday
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The Turkish energy ministry and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will jointly organize a conference on nuclear energy in capital Ankara on February 9, Anadolu News Agency reported.
The conference on "nuclear energy's entry into the Turkish energy system" would be held within the scope of NEA Director-General Luis Echavarri's formal visit to Turkey, officials told AA on Monday.
The conference will take place at the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEK) headquarters.
Aside from Echavarri, Turkish Energy & Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz, TAEK's President Zafer Alper and several other officials and academicians are expected to attend the gathering.
NEA is a specialised agency within the OECD, an intergovernmental organisation of industrialised countries, based in Paris, France.
The mission of the NEA is to assist its member countries in maintaining and further developing, through international cooperation, the scientific, technological and legal bases required for the safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Available at: http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1824691.html
3. Japan's Toshiba Confident of Turkey Nuclear Reactor Deal
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Japanese engineering group Toshiba says it is confident that it will agree to build a nuclear reactor on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, after talks between the Turkish government and South Korean reactor builders broke down last year.
Norio Sasaki, Toshiba president, told the Financial Times a deal now hinged mainly on the provision of long-term risk insurance by the Japanese government. Tokyo has been working to strengthen financial support for its private sector nuclear groups to help them compete with state-backed manufacturers in Korea and Russia.
The Turkish project could help Toshiba hit its goal of selling Y1000bn ($12.2bn) of nuclear technology annually ahead of its initial target of 2015. “Now we’re talking about 2014, and it could even be a little earlier,” Mr Sasaki said.
Turkish authorities “have said clearly they want an ABWR” – the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor type, built by Toshiba. “If [insurance] can be settled, then electric utilities will come on board and I think it will go well.”
“They are looking for someone to build the plants, run them, and sell the electricity to recoup the initial costs,” Mr Sasaki said. “In a 15 or 20-year project like that, there are various risks that a private company can’t take on its own, like the risk of an earthquake or political change.”
Turkey has struggled for years to launch a nuclear power industry that would reduce its reliance on oil and gas imports. In a 2008 tender, it received only one bid – from Russia’s Atomstroyexport – because most companies felt its conditions did not give them enough certainty.
Since then, Turkey has reached a deal with Moscow to build a first nuclear plant – part of a web of energy agreements on gas supply and pipelines. It entered exclusive talks with Japan to build the second plant, in the Black Sea province of Sinop, after negotiations with South Korea’s Kepco broke down in November.
Turkey’s energy ministry said technical negotiations with Japan continued, with a deadline of the end of March before talks would be reopened to other bidders. But a ministry spokesman said there was no question of Ankara offering state purchase guarantees that had been refused to South Korea – one of the chief reasons for the failure of negotiations.
Available at: http://www.pennenergy.com/index/power/display/5060626280/articles/powergenworldwide/nuclear/reactors/2011/01/japan_s-toshiba_confident.html
4. PM Nečas: Time Has Come for Nuclear Energy Renaissance in EU
Prague Daily Monitor
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Time has come for nuclear energy renaissance in the EU, Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas said upon his arrival to a EU summit in Brussels.
"Resistance to nuclear energy has rather the character of prejudice than of a rational opinion," he added.
The EU is now making efforts at being at the head of fight against global warming. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions notably and raising the share of renewable energy sources have been set as its targets.
"We are convinced that [nuclear energy] also has the advantage of being basically an emission-free source. Ignoring nuclear energy and at the same time trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions in my opinion is a contradiction," Necas added.
Nuclear power plants contributed nearly a third to energy production in the Czech Republic last year. Production of nuclear power plants of Temelin and Dukovany keeps growing by the year. Last year it increased by some 3.5 percent against 2009.
Some thirty countries have nuclear power plants at the moment and the number has been the same for several years without major changes.
In the Czech Republic, energy production in nuclear power plants should be raised significantly around the year 2020 when two more units are to be completed at the Temelin plant.
Commenting on withdrawal of former Czech premier Mirek Topolanek's candidacy for the post of Director-General of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Necas said a single candidate of the EU would have a greater chance in the battle for the post.
Necas said Topolanek had offered the withdrawal of his candidacy. He said he had met Topolanek to discuss the issue and that they had agreed that since the EU failed to agree on a single candidate the chance of success was much lower.
In an interview for Friday's issue of the Czech daily Pravo, Topolanek said he would not run for the post and that he himself had offered to withdraw his candidacy. He resolutely denied that "political jostling" would be behind his decision.
Available at: http://praguemonitor.com/2011/02/07/pm-ne%C4%8D-time-has-come-nuclear-energy-renaissance-eu
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