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Nuclear News - 2/10/2011
PGS Nuclear News, February 10, 2011
Compiled By: Matthew Kapuscinski


A.  Iran
    1. Iran Offers Nuclear Cooperation with Regional Countries, Peoples Daily (2/9/2011)
    2. Turkish Minister Rules Out Measures Against Blacklisted Firms, Hurriyet Daily News (2/8/2011)
    3. Syria Downplays Sanctions Against Iran, PressTV (2/8/2011)
B.  DPRK
    1. Korea Talks "Collapse" in Setback for Nuclear Dialogue, Jeremy Laurence and Cho Mee-young, Reuters (2/9/2011)
    2. US: North Korea's Nuke Poses Threat to Nonproliferation, Arirang News (2/9/2011)
    3. Apology Sought as Inter-Korea Talks Begin, UPI (2/8/2011)
    4. Wi Sung-lac to Visit China Over North Korea’s UEP, The Korea Times (2/8/2011)
C.  Nonproliferation
    1. Nuclear Weapons Case to be Examined by Commission, Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian (2/9/2011)
    2. Nuclear Nonproliferation Support Center Opens, The Denki Shimbun (2/8/2011)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Turkish Minister Hopes to See Nuclear Reactor by 2023, Todays Zaman (2/9/2011)
    2. Italy's Nuclear Referendum Expected in June: ENEA Chief, Platts (2/9/2011)
    3. UAE Publishes Nuclear Progress Report, Nuclear Engineering International (2/9/2011)
    4. Japan's Itochu Says to Buy Uranium from Uzbekistan, Reuters (2/8/2011)
    5. Thai Plans for Nuclear Power Development at Critical Juncture, The Denki Shimbun (2/8/2011)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. Japanese Supercomputer Will Test Nuclear Earthquake Resistance, TechEye (2/9/2011)
    2. Pakistan's Nuclear Stockpile Worries US, Harun ur Rashid, The Daily Star (2/9/2011)
    3. Swedish Authorities Test Nuclear Strategy Through Accident Simulations, Oliver Truc, The Guardian (2/8/2011)



A.  Iran

1.
Iran Offers Nuclear Cooperation with Regional Countries
Peoples Daily
2/9/2011
(for personal use only)


Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Tuesday that Iran is ready to cooperate with regional countries on nuclear activities.

Talking to the reporters in his weekly press briefing, Mehmanparast expressed Iran's willingness to cooperate with regional countries in nuclear field without elaborating on the details.

Meanwhile, he reiterated that Iran will never negotiate over its peaceful nuclear activities.

Global nuclear disarmament and Israel's violation of the non- proliferation of the nuclear weapons can be included in the future talks with the G5+1, namely Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany, he added.

The nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers in Istanbul of Turkey wrapped up without any progress on Jan. 22.

The West has long accused Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons under civilian disguise, which has been denied by Tehran.

Available at:
http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/7281946.html


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2.
Syria Downplays Sanctions Against Iran
PressTV
2/8/2011
(for personal use only)


The Syrian foreign minister has downplayed US-engineered sanctions imposed by the United Nations against Iran over its nuclear program.

"Iran's scientific achievement is a sign of the ineffectiveness of sanctions and it shows the will of the Iranian nation to be self-sufficient," IRNA quoted Walid al-Muallem as saying on Tuesday.

He made the remarks during a meeting with head of Iran's presidential office Esfandiyar Rahim-Mashaei in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Rahim-Mashaei is in Damascus for the opening of an exhibition featuring the latest Iranian technologies.

The Syrian minister underlined the importance of bilateral ties in the face of the latest developments in the region.

In June 2009, the UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions against Iran's financial and military sectors under Western pressure.

Washington and its European allies also separately imposed unilateral punitive measures against Iran's energy sector.

Western powers accuse Tehran of following a military nuclear program, a charge repeatedly refuted by the Islamic Republic.

Meanwhile, the head of Iran's presidential office said that Iran is ready to share its knowledge of technologies with Syria.

"Tehran and Damascus have committed a tough crime in the viewpoint of the Western countries because they have not followed their policies and they are against the West's dominance of the region and plunder of the nations' wealth," said Rahim-Mashaei.

Unlike the West's “hypocritical” attitude towards human rights, "Iran and Syria are completely committed to humanitarian issues and they believe that the nations should be free to cooperate in the management of the world," he added.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/164303.html


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3.
Turkish Minister Rules Out Measures Against Blacklisted Firms
Hurriyet Daily News
2/8/2011
(for personal use only)


Turkey will not apply sanctions on three business entities that the United States recently blacklisted for allegedly providing materials and support to Iran's ballistic missile development efforts, according to a top minister.

“The U.S. decision only binds the U.S.,” State Minister Zafer Çağlayan said during a meeting of the Association of Diplomatic Correspondents in Ankara on Tuesday. “It’s out of the question for us to impose penalties or disqualify these companies from trade.”

Last week the U.S. Treasury blocked transactions with two Turkish nationals and three Turkish firms, claiming they were supplying goods and services for Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization. The U.S. said an Iranian businessman and his Turkish associates ran businesses in Istanbul and Tehran that purchased metals such as steel and aluminum alloy from U.S. companies before exporting them to Iran.

“There are no bans imposed by Turkey on these companies. There are strict rules as to how companies operate in Turkey,” said the minister, adding that Turkey aimed to increase bilateral trade with Iran.

“We want to raise it from $10 billion today to $30 billion in 2015,” he said, adding that Turkey supported the peaceful use of nuclear energy. “Turkey opposes any use of nuclear power other than for peaceful purposes.”

Neighborly relations

"You have to think of this as trade that the U.S. does with its neighbors Mexico and Canada,” the minister said. “Twenty-three percent of global trade is conducted between neighbors. And we have a long border and good neighborly relations with Iran, which will last forever."

Çağlayan also revealed a long-delayed list of members to the newly established U.S.-Turkey Business Council. The 11 names include Levent Çakıroğlu, Hayrettin Çaycı Sarkuysan, Haluk Dinçer, Selahattin Hakman and Hasan Uğur Ulusoy.

The U.S. and Turkey implemented the joint business council model in late 2010 under the framework of the “model partnership” concept. The first meeting of the council will be held in March, Çağlayan said.

The current bilateral trade between the U.S. and Turkey “is not representative of an alliance relationship,” he said.

Available at:
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkish-minister-caglayan-supports-rising-trade-with-iran-2011-02-08


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B.  DPRK

1.
Korea Talks "Collapse" in Setback for Nuclear Dialogue
Jeremy Laurence and Cho Mee-young
Reuters
2/9/2011
(for personal use only)


Military talks between the rival Koreas have collapsed, a unification ministry official in Seoul said on Wednesday, dealing a setback to efforts to restart international aid-for-disarmament talks.

Tensions have eased on the divided peninsula since the start of the year, with both sides calling for dialogue, raising hopes the neighbors could rebuild relations shattered over the past two years by a series of deadly attacks and failed nuclear talks.

Colonels from the two Koreas, still technically at war since their 1950-53 civil conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty, talked for two days but failed to get past the first hurdle of the preliminary meeting -- setting the agenda for senior discussions.

"The talks have collapsed; they haven't even agreed on a date for their next meeting," the official told Reuters, referring to the first meeting since the North's attack on the southern island of Yeonpyeong in November, which killed four people and raised the threat of possible all-out war.

The South's Defense Ministry said in a statement that the North's representatives had "unilaterally walked out of the meeting room."

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan called news of the walkout unfortunate and said the United States had actively encouraged dialogue between the two Koreas as a way to reduce tensions on the peninsula.

"We are hopeful they can work out whatever differences there were and resume talks as soon as possible," Lapan said.

Seoul said the offer for senior-level military talks still stood, but on the condition the North "takes responsible steps regarding" last year's attacks, a ministry official said.

The talks also became bogged down over the procedural issue of what rank any senior talks would take, with the South demanding either a ministerial or four-star general confab while North insisted on vice-ministerial dialogue.

While the failed talks underline the deep divisions and distrust between the rivals, analysts said they were hardly surprised and that any talks would follow a stop-start pattern.

"I thought it would take some time due to a gap in views of the both," said Park Syung-je, an expert at the Asia Strategy Institute. "Next time ahead of talks, South Korea should check if North Korea truly wants them."

Tensions rose on the divided peninsula last year when 46 South Korean sailors were killed in an attack on a naval vessel. North Korea, which denies responsibility for that attack, also revealed major advances in its nuclear programme in November.

Beijing and Washington had set inter-Korean dialogue as a prerequisite to restart six-party talks which offer the North aid and diplomatic recognition in return for disabling its nuclear arms program. Tokyo and Moscow are the other six-party members.

The North has said it wants to return to the broader negotiations, but Seoul and Washington have questioned its sincerity about denuclearizing -- pointing to its revelations about a uranium-enrichment programme.

"Without having the bilateral talks between the two Koreas, holding six-party talks also looks unclear now," said Kim Seung-hwan of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The North quit the six-way talks in 2009, declaring the process dead, in protest against U.N. sanctions for conducting nuclear and missile tests.

The North's shelling of Yeonpyeong, the first attack against civilians on South Korean soil since the Korean War, set off a wave of war-like rhetoric that worried financial markets in a region home to one-sixth of the world's economy.

Under pressure from their main allies, the United States and China, the neighbors have stopped their combative language and reopened a hotline at their border.

And the two sides showed some signs of cooperation on Wednesday, with Seoul sending a telegram to Pyongyang saying it was ready to discuss humanitarian issues.

During the preliminary military talks this week, the South demanded the North acknowledge its role in shelling of Yeonpyeong and the attack on the vessel, the defense ministry said.

North Korea repeated that it was not responsible for the sinking the naval vessel and blamed the Yeonpyeong attack on the South's live-fire drills in disputed waters.

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/09/us-korea-north-idUSTRE7180LC20110209


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2.
US: North Korea's Nuke Poses Threat to Nonproliferation
Arirang News
2/9/2011
(for personal use only)


The US Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed concerns over North Korea's nuclear programs and the reportedly unstable power transition.

In the National Military Strategy published on Tuesday, the US called for stronger military alliances with South Korea and Japan and pledged to work jointly to promote regional stability.

Washington also made clear that it is retaining wartime operational control over the combined forces on the Korean peninsula until 2015.

The report went on to say that the US remains concerned about China's military developments, and seeks a deeper defense relationship with the country, in order to promote common interest and enhance cooperation.

Available at:
http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=112434&code=Ne8&category=1


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3.
Apology Sought as Inter-Korea Talks Begin
UPI
2/8/2011
(for personal use only)


Military leaders from North and South Korea met Tuesday to lay the groundwork for higher-level meetings, officials in Seoul said.

The meetings, the first talks between the Koreas since Pyongyang's artillery attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, involved discussions of future agendas and were devoid of political rhetoric, Yonhap News Agency reported.

"Both sides have been discussing the agenda and process for a higher-level meeting," Kim Min-seok, a spokesman at the South's Defense Ministry, told reporters. "The atmosphere was serious, and there were no political arguments from the two sides."
The talks at border village of Panmunjom among colonels were meant to determine the date, place and agenda for higher level talks, possibly at the defense minister level, Kim said.

South Korean's Defense Ministry said it wouldn't agree to advance talks to the next level unless North Korea apologizes and takes "responsible measures" for the Nov. 23 shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, in which four South Koreans died, and the torpedo attack that sunk a South Korean warship in March, killing 46 sailors, Yonhap reported.

"Our stance has not changed," Kim said. "A higher-level military meeting will be possible only if North Korea takes responsible measures for the attacks on Yeonpyeong Island and the Cheonan warship and promises not to carry out any more provocations."

North Korea has denied involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan and said its attack on Yeonpyeong Islandwas justified because South Korea conducted a live-fire drill near the island with some shells falling into North Korean territory.

The Obama administration, which has been practicing what aides call "strategic patience" with the North, said before Tuesday's meetings it was pleased a dialogue between the two Koreas was resuming.

"We recognize and believe that the essential first step in any process of re-engagement with North Korea requires a true and significant North-South dialogue," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell told reporters.

North Korea, backed by China, seek a resumption of six-party talks -- among North Korea, South Korea, China, the United States, Russia and Japan -- aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to security concerns stemming from North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The North walked out of the last round in 2008.

Washington and Seoul have said they are skeptical of resuming talks without meaningful movement from Pyongyang.

Available at:
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/02/08/S-Korea-No-higher-talks-without-apology/UPI-74451297153800/


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4.
Wi Sung-lac to Visit China Over North Korea’s UEP
The Korea Times
2/8/2011
(for personal use only)


South Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac will head to China Thursday to discuss ways to handle North Korea’s enriched uranium program with his Chinese counterpart.

Wi’s China trip comes before the U.N. Security Council members are scheduled to meet on Feb. 23 in New York to discuss issues related to the North, including the uranium program.

“Wi and his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei will discuss the North’s enriched uranium program and the developments of other North Korea issues,” said an officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT).

Since the North unveiled a new uranium facility last year that can produce more than 1,000 centrifuges, China has remained silent on the matter.

In January, China voiced concern over the North’s uranium program in a joint statement after U.S. President Barack Obama held summit talks with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao.

Seoul said the statement regarding the North’s uranium indicated some progress.

The MOFAT officer said Wi will also exchange views with Wu over the outcomes of the inter-Korean military talks and the stalled six-party talks.

Military officials of South and North Korea met at the border village of Panmunjeom Tuesday to set schedules for the high-level military talks.

Asked when Wi’s China trip was set, the MOFAT officer revealed the two sides agreed to meet recently to discuss North Korea issues through a Seoul-Beijing policy channel. The chief nuclear negotiator will return to Seoul, Friday.

Available at:
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2011/02/113_81018.html


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C.  Nonproliferation

1.
Nuclear Weapons Case to be Examined by Commission
Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian
2/9/2011
(for personal use only)


The government's decision to go ahead with a new, but as yet undefined, nuclear missile system will be subjected to unprecedented independent scrutiny by a group of senior defence, diplomatic, scientific, and political figures. The new Trident commission will be headed by the former Labour defence secretary, Lord Browne, the former Conservative defence secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, and the former Lib Dem defence spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell. The government has decided to put off a decision on the shape and size of a new nuclear weapons system until 2015, as part of the coalition agreement, after the next general election is due.

It also comes at a time more and more leading establishment figures, such as the former US secretary of state and national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, say they are becoming increasingly anxious about nuclear proliferation, sources involved in setting up the commission said.

Other members of the group include Lord Guthrie, the former chief of defence staff, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK ambassador at the UN at the time of the invasion of Iraq, and Professor Sir Martin Rees, former Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society. They were all described yesterday as having an "open mind" about whether Britain should continue to possess nuclear weapons, and if so, how they would be delivered.

"This is the first time in a very long time that we have had a wholesale review of nuclear weapons policy", Campbell said. He added: "It is high time it was subjected to rigorous analysis".

Lord Browne, defence secretary at the time the Labour decided to renew Trident in 2006, said that an independent review was crucial now in light of the government's insistence that the cost of a new nuclear weapons system must come out of the core defence budget. "No one has debated the impact of this on the rest of expenditure on defence", he told the Guardian. In the past, spending on the nuclear deterrent was in addition to that agreed for non-nuclear weapons. Browne attacked the government for not allowing nuclear weapons to be included in its recent strategic defence review.

Ian Kearns, research director of the British American Security Information Council (Basic) who proposed the new commission, said that it would be an "open-minded look at the issue from first principles … Should the UK be a nuclear power at all and if it should, is Trident the only or best way to go about it?"

He added: "What more can and should the government be doing to promote global nuclear disarmament in a world of growing proliferation risks?"

Kearns continued: "Given the government's decision to delay Trident renewal until after the next election, there is an important opportunity before the country for a fresh an in-depth debate. This commission will provide a focal point for that debate".

Defence officials said that no date had yet been set for the "initial gate" decision for a new nuclear weapons system – the decision on the design for submarines in a new nuclear weapons system. The decision was due last year.

Members of the commission will also include Lord Hennessy, professor of contemporary history at Queen Mary, University of London, and Professor Alyson Bailes, former head of the security policy department at the Foreign Office.

Available at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/09/nuclear-weapons-examined-commission


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2.
Nuclear Nonproliferation Support Center Opens
The Denki Shimbun
2/8/2011
(for personal use only)


The opening ceremony for the Integrated Comprehensive Support Center for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Nuclear Security for Asia was held on February 4 in Japan. This facility, which started full-fledged operations, will provide training on nuclear terror countermeasures and other matters for students from emerging countries that are newly deploying nuclear power.

The center is located about 110 km northeast of Tokyo at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency's facility at Tokai-mura, where a number of nuclear power related facilities are located. Training will cover topics including principles of nuclear material protection systems, regulatory frameworks and facility design for nuclear material protection. Exercises on nuclear material protection facility design will use a virtual nuclear power facility projected on monitor screens.

Shunsuke Kondo, chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of Japan, and Jill Cooley, a division director from the IAEA Safeguards Department, expressed their expectations for the center's activities during the opening ceremony.

Available at:
http://www.shimbun.denki.or.jp/en/news/20110208_01.html


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D.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Italy's Nuclear Referendum Expected in June: ENEA Chief
Platts
2/9/2011
(for personal use only)


Italy is likely to hold its referendum on returning to nuclear power in June, Giovanni Lelli, commissioner for Italian national research agency for energy, ENEA, told Platts late Tuesday.

"The referendum requested by [opposition MP] Antonio di Pietro and approved by the constitutional court will happen just before summer," said Lelli.

Italian citizens voted to abolish nuclear power in 1987 in a referendum after the Chernobyl nuclear power disaster, but the center-right government led by Italy's premier Silvio Berlusconi wants to return to it.

Nuclear power remains controversial in Italy. On February 2, Italy's regions won the right to have their say on whether nuclear power stations should be built in their territories.

"Once the government has decided where it will build a nuclear station it must then speak to the relevant region," Lelli said.

The region may decide against the decision and can express this, but any opinion would not be binding. "But this would mean [the government] going against the region and this would be a problem," he said.

Berlusconi's recent political problems, including narrowly seeing off a vote of no confidence in December, have helped to delay the government's nuclear strategy.

"The strategic nuclear document has been somewhat conditioned by the situation of government," Lelli said. The government had planned to present it to parliament at the end of December, but it is still pending with no fixed date for this.

The plan is to lay out details on how the government will take the next steps to developing nuclear power in Italy, including identifying possible sites, deciding on surface and geological waste storage and mobilizing public approval for power plant locations and waste deposits.

Lelli expects the plan to surface before the referendum, and said the two were not linked directly.

He added that Italy was making progress in setting up a Nuclear Safety Agency, ASN. Since early December it has appointed oncologist Umberto Veronesi as chairman, plus four commissioners.

They are Maurizio Cumo and Marco Enrico Ricotti, both nuclear engineering professors in Rome and Milan, respectively; Stefano Dambruoso, a magistrate, anti-Mafia expert and politician, and Stefano Laporta, also recently appointed director general of environmental protection and safety agency Ispra.

The next step will be the appointment of the managing director for the agency, who will be nominated by the board, he said, as well as the agency staff, expected to number "around a hundred."

Available at:
http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/8519443


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2.
Turkish Minister Hopes to See Nuclear Reactor by 2023
Todays Zaman
2/9/2011
(for personal use only)


Turkey's energy and natural resources minister said on Wednesday that he hoped to see nuclear reactors in Turkey by 2023.

Taner Yıldız said he hoped to see a Turkey with three main blocks and 12 reactors by 2023.

"We have set up the project company (with the Russian Federation), and we have launched initiatives regarding the place we will establish the power plant," Yıldız said during a conference on nuclear energy in Ankara.

Yıldız said Turkey was also holding talks with Japan regarding the other nuclear power plant planned to be constructed in the Black Sea province of Sinop.

The minister said four reactors would be installed in Akkuyu region of the southern province of Mersin, and four others in Sinop.

In May 2010, Turkey and Russia signed a deal for construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, a small town on the Mediterranean coast, which is expected to cost about 20 billion USD. Russian state-owned atomic power company ROSATOM is likely to start building the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in 2013 and the first reactor is planned to generate electricity in 2018.

Russia will build four 1,200 megawatt units on Akkuyu site, and run the power plant for 60 years. Turkish state-owned electricity corporation has guaranteed to buy a fixed amount of the plant's output over the first 15 years starting from initial commercial operation at a reported price of 12.35 US cents per kWh, with the rest of the electricity to be sold on the open market by the project company.

Turkey and Japan started nuclear plant talks in November 2010 after a failure with South Korea's state nuclear company KEPCO.

Available at:
http://www.todayszaman.com/news-235024-turkish-minister-hopes-to-see-nuclear-reactor-by-2023.html


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3.
UAE Publishes Nuclear Progress Report
Nuclear Engineering International
2/9/2011
(for personal use only)


The UAE's nuclear programme is progressing well but must address nuclear fuel supply and disposal, and protection of facilities, a Government review board reported on 8 February.

The first six monthly report of the International Advisory Board (IAB) is a key milestone as Abu Dhabi works to develop the legal framework and to build the first of four reactors in the town of Braka 300km south of the capital on the Gulf coast.

The report follows extensive meetings conducted between the IAB members and UAE entities operating in the nuclear energy sectors including the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).

Chaired by Dr Hans Blix, the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and UN weapons inspector, the IAB’s report assesses the progress of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program and reflects the IAB’s views on the performance of the program in the five key areas of safety, security, non-proliferation, transparency and sustainability. It also provides recommendations for potential strategies to improve and strengthen the programme.

Highlights of the IAB findings include:

• An assessment that the UAE is committed to make nuclear safety the highest priority in the establishment of FANR and ENEC, including a clear division in the roles and responsibilities of these two entities.

• With regard to FANR, the IAB found strong evidence of commitment to regulatory independence and competence, including legal provision designed to insulate regulatory decision makers from outside pressure.

• In relation to ENEC, the IAB found a serious commitment to the establishment of a strong safety culture as well as indications that the ENEC management fully understands both the importance and the complexity of this undertaking.

• In relation to transparency, the IAB recognized the establishment of the IAB, as well as the decision to give the public access to the IAB’s reports as a particularly forward thinking step to assure transparency.

“I am very pleased that our report is made public in line with the policy of openness of the UAE Government. My colleagues and I wholeheartedly support the Government’s determination to use nuclear power on a large scale for a clean and sustainable generation of electricity. Our comments and recommendations are offered to assist the Government ensuring safety, non-proliferation and transparency.” Dr. Hans Blix, the IAB Chairman said in a statement.

The IAB urged the acceleration of ongoing efforts to put in place a comprehensive legislative framework to govern the import and export of nuclear materials, equipment and technology, as well as to develop and implement a nuclear liability regime consistent with existing standards embodied in arrangements such as the Vienna Convention on Nuclear Liability.

In January 2010 a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) beat GE Hitachi and Areva to win a USD20 billion tender to build four APR1400 nuclear power reactors in the United Arab Emirates. The first of the four 1,400MW units is scheduled to begin providing electricity to the grid in 2017, with the three later units being completed by 2020. No sites have yet been named for the reactors. ENEC filed the construction license application for Braka Units 1 and 2 with the United Arab Emirates Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation in January 2011.The UAE's nuclear programme is progressing well but must address nuclear fuel supply and disposal, and protection of facilities, a Government review board reported on 8 February.

The first six montjy report of the International Advisory Board (IAB) is a key milestone as Abu Dhabi works to develop the legal framework and to build the first of four reactors in the town of Braka, about 300km south of the capital on the Gulf coast.

The report follows extensive meetings conducted between the IAB members and UAE entities operating in the nuclear energy sectors, such as the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).

Chaired by Dr Hans Blix, the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and UN weapons inspector, the IAB’s report assesses the progress of the UAE peaceful nuclear energy program and reflects the IAB’s views on the performance of the program in the five key areas of safety, security, non-proliferation, transparency and sustainability. It also provides recommendations for potential strategies to improve and strengthen the programme.

Highlights of the IAB findings include:

• An assessment that the UAE was committed to make nuclear safety the highest priority in the establishment of FANR and ENEC, including a clear division in the roles and responsibilities of these two entities.

• With regard to FANR, the IAB found strong evidence of commitment to regulatory independence and competence, including legal provision designed to insulate regulatory decision makers from outside pressure.

• In relation to ENEC, the IAB found a serious commitment to the establishment of a strong safety culture as well as indications that the ENEC management fully understands both the importance and the complexity of this undertaking.

• In relation to transparency, the IAB recognized the establishment of the IAB, as well as the decision to give the public access to the IAB’s reports as a particularly forward thinking step to assure transparency.

“I am very pleased that our report is made public in line with the policy of openness of the UAE Government. My colleagues and I wholeheartedly support the Government’s determination to use nuclear power on a large scale for a clean and sustainable generation of electricity. Our comments and recommendations are offered to assist the Government ensuring safety, non-proliferation and transparency.” Dr. Hans Blix, the IAB Chairman said in a statement.

The IAB urged the acceleration of ongoing efforts to put in place a comprehensive legislative framework to govern the import and export of nuclear materials, equipment and technology, as well as to develop and implement a nuclear liability regime consistent with existing standards embodied in arrangements such as the Vienna Convention on Nuclear Liability.

In January 2010 a consortium led by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) beat GE Hitachi and Areva to win a USD20 billion tender for four APR1400 nuclear power reactors in the United Arab Emirates. The first of the four 1,400MW units is scheduled to begin providing electricity to the grid in 2017, with the three later units being completed by 2020. No sites have yet been named for the reactors. ENEC filed the construction license application for Braka Units 1 and 2 with the United Arab Emirates Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation in January 2011.

Available at:
http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?sectioncode=132&storyCode=2058835


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4.
Japan's Itochu Says to Buy Uranium from Uzbekistan
Reuters
2/8/2011
(for personal use only)


Itochu Corp said on Tuesday it has signed a contract with Uzbekistan to secure a stable supply of uranium for Japanese utilities, the latest attempt to diversify resource procurement in the country.

The Japanese trading firm said it has agreed a 10-year contract with Navoi Mining & Metallurgy Combinat JSC, a state-run company involved in the mining and processing of uranium.

"Through the long-term contract, we can contribute to securing a stable source of fuel for Japanese utilities companies," Itochu said in a statement.

Resource-poor Japan has been stepping up efforts to diversify its suppliers of natural resources, partly to reduce its reliance on China, after a diplomatic spat led Beijing to halt shipments of rare earth metals to the country for a couple of months last year.

Itochu declined to give details of the deal, but an industry source said the 10-year contract was expected to start this year and that Itochu was likely to get somewhere between 500 to 1,000 tonnes of uranium a year.

According to World Nuclear Association data from 2010, Uzbekistan has 111,000 tonnes of uranium, the 12th highest amount in the world, and produces an annual 2,429 tonnes, seventh globally.

Japan and Uzbekistan signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to step up cooperation over the development of natural resources and further enhance trade and investment.

Available at:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/02/08/japan-energy-uranium-idUKTOE71703J20110208


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5.
Thai Plans for Nuclear Power Development at Critical Juncture
The Denki Shimbun
2/8/2011
(for personal use only)


The plans made by the Kingdom of Thailand for development of nuclear power have reached a critical juncture on their road to realization. The Thai government is planning to place the country's first nuclear power plant with an output in the 1,000 MW class in 2020 and increase the total number of units to five (with a combined output of 5,000 MW) by 2030. The Energy Policy Planning Office (EPPO) attached to the Ministry of Energy (MOEN), which is engaged in the drafting, implementation and assessment of energy policy, is putting together a report on preparations--including the conditioning of legislation, establishment of a regulatory institution and human resource development--for the introduction of nuclear power generation. EPPO is expected to submit the report to the cabinet for approval in February or March. If the cabinet approves the report, execution of the plan will be virtually certain.

Understanding as regards the safety of nuclear power is still lagging among the people of Thailand, however, and it is not clear whether the report will actually be approved. Samerjai Suksumek, Director of the MOEN's Power Policy Bureau, thinks the odds of approval are fifty-fifty. One Thai newspaper saw a possibility that the plan would be postponed for two years.

If the report fails to gain approval, the government will have to revise the country's power source mix over the medium and long terms by, for example, incorporating plans for expansion of capacity for thermal power plants fired by natural gas and coal.

Available at:
http://www.shimbun.denki.or.jp/en/news/20110208_02.html


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E.  Links of Interest

1.
Japanese Supercomputer Will Test Nuclear Earthquake Resistance
TechEye
2/9/2011
(for personal use only)
http://www.techeye.net/hardware/japanese-supercomputer-will-test-nuclear-ear..


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2.
Pakistan's Nuclear Stockpile Worries US
Harun ur Rashid
The Daily Star
2/9/2011
(for personal use only)
http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=173366


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3.
Swedish Authorities Test Nuclear Strategy Through Accident Simulations
Oliver Truc
The Guardian
2/8/2011
(for personal use only)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/08/sweden-nuclear-accident-simulati..


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