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Nuclear News - 3/3/2011
PGS Nuclear News, March 3, 2011
Compiled By: Matthew Kapuscinski


A.  Iran
    1. Iran Urges Equal Rights Observation, PressTV (3/2/2011)
    2. Salehi Meets Swiss President, Serbia FM, PressTV (3/2/2011)
    3. Russia's Lavrov Urges Restoration of Trust in Iran, RIA Novosti (3/1/2011)
    4. Iran Says Fuel Not Unloaded at Bushehr Nuclear Site, Parisa Hafezi, Reuters (3/1/2011)
    5. Clinton Warns Latin American Over Ties with Iran, AFP (3/1/2011)
B.  DPRK
    1. U.S. Official Holds Talks in South Korea, UPI (3/2/2011)
    2. South Korea, U.S. to Pursue UNSC Presidential Statement on DPRK's Uranium Program, Xinhua News Agency (3/2/2011)
    3. Minister Accuses North Korea of Repaying Goodwill with Nukes, Yonhap News Agency (3/2/2011)
    4. South Korea Offers Talks with North Amid Drills with US, BBC News (3/1/2011)
    5. DPRK Says Prepare for Both Possibilities of Dialogue, War, Xinhua News Agency (3/1/2011)
C.  Nonproliferation
    1. No Direct Funding to Pakistan Nuclear Programme: Pentagon, PTI (3/2/2011)
    2. Radiation Detection Facilities Installed at Kaohsiung Harbor, Audrey Wang, Taiwan Today (3/2/2011)
    3. UN Atom Inspectors to Visit Syria Acid Plant-Source, Fredrik Dahl, Reuters (3/2/2011)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Poland 'Needs' to Start Nuclear Building Works by 2014, Warsaw Business Journal (3/2/2011)
    2. South Korea OKs Commercial Operation of 21st Nuclear Reactor, The Korea Herald (3/2/2011)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. US Launches New Missile Defense Program for Europe, Associated Press (3/2/2011)
    2. Ukraine to Get Extra Fund for New Chernobyl Sarcophagus, Xinhua News Agency (3/1/2011)
    3. U.S. Policy Toward North Korea, Senate Foreign Relations Committee (3/1/2011)



A.  Iran

1.
Iran Urges Equal Rights Observation
PressTV
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)


Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stresses the importance of observing the rights and commitments of countries “in a balanced way” in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“Iran asserts its rights within the framework of the NPT,” Mehr news agency quoted Salehi as speaking in a meeting with the Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, in the Swiss city of Geneva on Tuesday.

The NPT is a treaty to limit the spread and proliferation of nuclear weapons. The treaty came into force on March 5, 1970, with 189 signatories currently.

Iran has repeatedly announced that as a signatory to the NPT, it should exercise its inalienable rights within the treaty's framework.

The top Iranian diplomat once again emphasized that the country's nuclear activities pursue peaceful purposes and are carried out under the surveillance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In its latest report, issued by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano on Friday, the UN nuclear agency once again confirmed that Iran's nuclear program has never been diverted to nuclear weapons production.

Ordzhonikidze, for his part, said the Islamic Republic has had a “positive” performance in nuclear disarmament and praised “very professional and accurate” speech delivered by Salehi at the UN Disarmament Conference in Geneva earlier on the day.

He expressed hope that talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Russia, China, Britain, France, the US -- plus Germany (P5+1) would open in the near future.

Representatives from Iran and the P5+1 held their latest round of multifaceted talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul on January 21 and 22.

Addressing the UN Disarmament Conference, Salehi proposed that the use of nuclear weapons be completely banned by an international convention.

“Time is now ripe to completely ban nuclear weapons just like biological and chemical weapons,” he said.

The Iranian top diplomat recommended that the UN Disarmament Conference seriously consider on its agenda the formation of a convention with the aim of banning the production, maintenance, and use of nuclear weapons.

Salehi, who arrived in Switzerland on Monday at the head of a high-ranking delegation, wrapped up his official visit and left Geneva for Tehran on Tuesday.

He delivered a speech at the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Monday and at the UN Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday.

He also held meetings with his counterparts from Germany, Russia, Austria, Serbia, Algeria, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/167775.html


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2.
Salehi Meets Swiss President, Serbia FM
PressTV
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)


Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has met with Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey and Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic in Geneva.

In a meeting with the Swiss president on Tuesday, Salehi said there is much common ground for cooperation between Iran and Switzerland, IRNA reported.

Salehi and Calmy-Rey discussed ways to enhance bilateral ties in various areas as well as the latest international developments.

Commenting on the Iranian foreign minister's speech at the UN Disarmament Conference, the Swiss president said that nuclear disarmament is a priority in Switzerland's foreign policy and this “global crisis” requires international cooperation.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Iranian foreign minister urged participants at the UN Conference on Disarmament to draft a convention imposing a total ban on the production, possession, and use of nuclear weapons.

“The time is now ripe to completely ban nuclear weapons, just like biological and chemical weapons (were banned),” he said at the UN Disarmament Conference in Geneva.

Salehi also met with the Serbian foreign minister on the sidelines of the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Disarmament Conference.

Iran and Serbia can be complementary to each other and help meet each other's needs in the areas of energy, as well as technology and industry, Salehi said.

Jeremic said Serbia is interested in expanding ties with Iran and called Iran a “reliable partner.”

The two foreign ministers also emphasized the importance of parliamentary and cultural relations and discussed the latest international developments, such as the revolutions in North African countries and anti-government protest movements in other Arab states.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/167759.html


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3.
Clinton Warns Latin American Over Ties with Iran
AFP
3/1/2011
(for personal use only)


The United States will take action if Venezuela violates international sanctions against Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Tuesday as she defended outreach to the Cuban people.

"If there is any evidence that they have violated the sanctions, we will act against them," Clinton told lawmakers during a congressional hearing.

But the top US diplomat also acknowledged there was no evidence so far that the regime of firebrand leftist leader Hugo Chavez had violated sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, which Western powers believe seeks to build nuclear weapons.

Washington is closely examining whether Venezuela's cooperation with Iran on energy issues violates international sanctions on the Tehran regime after the two major oil producers and longtime US foes signed 11 deals in Tehran focused on energy cooperation in October

Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad both denounced American "imperialism" and called for a "new world order" during the visit, part of the South American leader's efforts aimed at strengthening Venezuela's economic ties with eastern Europe and the Middle East.

"Currently, our best information is that their relationship is largely diplomatic and commercial and has not moved in the direction they keep talking about. But we follow it closely," Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Republican Representative Connie Mack, a Florida Republican who wants Venezuela to be added to the State Department's list of state sponsors of terror, argued that there was evidence Venezuela was shipping fuel to Iran.

"We have seen a lot of statements and contracts coming out of Venezuela, but we don't see much follow-through yet," replied Clinton.

But she criticized Chavez's fiery rhetoric as "deeply troubling and deplorable."

Republicans, who now hold a majority in the House of Representatives, lambasted the Obama administration for having eased some sanctions against Cuba.

"We seem to be making concessions and seem to be doing all the things that the Cuban government wants," said Albio Sires, a Cuban-born New Jersey congressman.

But as Cuban President Raul Castro is in the process of implementing economic reforms, "we think maintaining a very positive approach to the people of Cuba, letting them know that the US government and the American people support their freedom, their eventual democracy, we think it is in their interest."

In January, Cuba began a process of axing 500,000 state employees as part of an ambitious overhaul designed to build up a private sector in an economy that has been run on communist lines by the government since Fidel Castro took power in 1959.

The layoffs were to have been completed in March this year.

But Castro has since admitted he will need "at least five years" to see through the reforms.

The United States and Cuba, the Americas' only communist-ruled, one-party state, do not have full diplomatic relations. A full US economic embargo has been clamped on Havana since 1962.

While President Barack Obama's administration has adjusted US policy to some extent, no dramatic strides have been made in recent years.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jGwr5UNKyQN8mXYJcOav-5VrwGlQ?docId=CNG.20a483b584197aaccaa0d901ac4be9a7.ce1


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4.
Iran Says Fuel Not Unloaded at Bushehr Nuclear Site
Parisa Hafezi
Reuters
3/1/2011
(for personal use only)


Iran has not unloaded fuel at its Bushehr nuclear power plant, its Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday, contradicting information from a senior Iranian envoy.

"The nuclear fuel has not been unloaded at the Bushehr power plant and this plant is continuing its routine activities," spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.

Iran's ambassador to the U.N. nuclear watchdog had said on Feb. 26 that Tehran was having to remove fuel from the reactor of its only nuclear power station, signalling more problems for the Russian-built Bushehr plant after decades of delay.

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/01/iran-nuclear-fuel-idUSHAF15999720110301


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5.
Russia's Lavrov Urges Restoration of Trust in Iran
RIA Novosti
3/1/2011
(for personal use only)


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the Iran Six to work on restoring trust in Tehran.

Speaking in Geneva, Lavrov said that it was time to reach specific agreements on the Iranian nuclear issue.

"I see the gradual approach as the most realistic one, when trust is being restored and Iran starts to react positively to the IAEA and UN Security Council's demands," Lavrov said, adding that Iran's cooperative behavior will ease the sanctions.

The West suspects Tehran of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program, which Iran strongly denies, insisting it needs atomic energy solely for civilian purposes.

Iran is currently under four sets of UN sanctions over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, including tougher financial controls and an expanded arms embargo, as well as an asset ban on three dozen companies and a travel freeze on individuals.

The Iran Six, which comprises Russia, the United States, China, Britain, France and Germany, has been trying since 2003 to convince Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program and to alleviate concerns about its nuclear ambitions.

Available at:
http://en.rian.ru/world/20110301/162809219.html


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B.  DPRK

1.
Minister Accuses North Korea of Repaying Goodwill with Nukes
Yonhap News Agency
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)


North Korea has ignored South Korea's good intentions over the past two decades only to make more nuclear weapons and strengthen its military, Seoul's point man on Pyongyang said Wednesday.

In 1991, the two sides agreed to take steps toward achieving a peaceful Korean Peninsula by signing a denuclearization deal and a separate agreement under which they were not to invade each other. The Pyongyang regime, however, has backtracked on its promise and continues to pursue its nuclear ambitions, Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said.

"Over the past 20 years, North Korea has gone against the global trend and our good intentions to develop nuclear weapons, further isolate itself from the outside world and strengthen its military-first policy," he said during a speech to mark the 42nd anniversary of the Unification Ministry's establishment.

Tension between the two Koreas has been running high since the fatal sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on the North and the communist nation's shelling of a South Korean border island last year. Pyongyang steered away from its belligerent behavior at the start of this year to make a series of proposals for inter-Korean talks apparently aimed at winning much-needed food and other economic aid.

But on Sunday, the regime resumed its aggressive rhetoric by threatening to attack the South in retaliation against anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets sent across the border.

On Wednesday, the North said it is the South's Unification Ministry that is defying the trend toward peace and reunification, citing a series of South Korean opposition figures who have criticized Hyun as not being flexible enough with Pyongyang.

"The Unification Ministry faction of the South should bow out promptly as the people demand, instead of encouraging division, mistrust and confrontation," the North's official Web site, Uriminzokkiri, said in a commentary.

In his speech, Hyun defended the government from criticism that its hard-line policy on North Korea failed as a result of last year's deadly provocations.

"The most important criteria for assessing North Korea policy will have to be the presence or absence of a fundamental change in the North's behavior," he said. "We will have to concentrate all our abilities on leading the North to denuclearization and opening it up to the world."

Amid speculation that the recent wave of anti-government protests across the Middle East and Northern Africa may also penetrate North Korea's tightly controlled borders, Hyun said such calls for democracy were "another stroke in the history of civilization."

"No one was able to predict the rapid current of change in the Middle East and Africa. History continues to go beyond the imagination of mankind," he said.

Available at:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2011/03/02/30/0401000000AEN20110302011000315F.HTML


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2.
South Korea, U.S. to Pursue UNSC Presidential Statement on DPRK's Uranium Program
Xinhua News Agency
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)


South Korea and the United States will seek a UN Security Council presidential statement condemning Pyongyang's uranium enrichment program, a U.S. nonproliferation envoy said Wednesday.

Robert Einhorn, a special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control at the U.S. State Department, made the remarks after meeting with South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac in Seoul.

"We're working hard to get a Security Council presidential statement that makes clear that North Korea's uranium enrichment program is a violation both of UN Security Council resolutions and a 2005 disarmament-for-aid deal," Einhorn told reporters.

Unlike a Security Council resolution, a presidential statement is not legally binding but does require accord amongst permanent members China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

International concerns have grown sharply after a U.S. scientist said in November last year that he had been shown a new uranium enrichment plant in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Einhorn also said the U.S. government has no plan or intention to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea, nor will the discussion regarding the issue affect revision of a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement between Seoul and Washington.

Einhorn, who arrived in Seoul on Tuesday for a four-day visit, is set to hold talks with South Korean officials on rewriting the nuclear cooperation accord between the two countries, which prohibits Seoul from reprocessing spent fuel from civilian nuclear power plants.

Available at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/02/c_13757799.htm


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3.
U.S. Official Holds Talks in South Korea
UPI
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)


U.S. special adviser on nuclear non-proliferation Robert Einhorn held talks in Seoul Wednesday on North Korea's nuclear program, officials said.

Einhorn arrived Tuesday amid rising concern about the North's uranium enrichment program -- as it can be used to make atomic weapons, although Pyongyang insists it is for peaceful uses. The North is already under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear tests and other actions that have raised tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Among other officials, Einhorn met with South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac, Yonhap news agency reported.

Einhorn oversees U.S. sanctions on North Korea and Iran at the State Department.

Yonhap reported Einhorn planned to hold talks on rewriting the nuclear cooperation accord between the United States and South Korea. The 1974 accord, which will expire in 2014, prohibits South Korea from reprocessing spent fuel from civilian nuclear power plants, the report said.

Available at:
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/03/02/US-official-holds-talks-in-S-Korea/UPI-17561299047087/


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4.
DPRK Says Prepare for Both Possibilities of Dialogue, War
Xinhua News Agency
3/1/2011
(for personal use only)


The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Tuesday it had prepared for both possibilities of dialogue and war, the official news agency KCNA reported.

A DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman made the remarks in a statement on the ongoing South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises, which proved again that their anti-DPRK policy has never changed, according to the KCNA.

They tried to block the peaceful development of the DPRK, jugulate DPRK socialistic system and make up triangle military ally of the United States, Japan and South Korea to establish hegemony in this area, said the spokesman.

These exercises also reveal the politic burden of the South Korean authorities to rationalize its anti-policy, the spokesman added.

The army and people of the DPRK was enraged at that South Korea and the United States ignored the DPRK's proposal of broad, unconditional dialogue and its efforts made for it but brazenly held joint exercise, said the spokesman.

He said the counter measure of the Korean People's Army (KPA) aimed at fairly self-defence was becoming more and more "inevitable." The opportunity of dialogue and negotiation is "disappearing." The United States had to take responsibility to all the consequences caused by its provocation, he stressed.

The joint military exercises named "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" by South Korea and the United States would hold from Feb. 28 to March. 10. The Panmunjom mission of the KPA issued a statement on Sunday, declaring to take resolute measures to respond to the exercises.

Available at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/01/c_13756063.htm


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5.
South Korea Offers Talks with North Amid Drills with US
BBC News
3/1/2011
(for personal use only)


South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has issued a new televised call for talks with the North.

He said the two Koreas must not repeat their "dark history" and urged the North to give up its nuclear programme.

His comments come as South Korean and US troops conduct military exercises, which Pyongyang has warned could lead to "nuclear war" on the peninsula.

Relations have been fraught since the North shelled a South Korean island in November, killing four people.

The attack came just months after 46 sailors were killed when a South Korean warship was sunk. An international investigation blamed a North Korean torpedo attack but Pyongyang denies any involvement.

Military talks aimed at easing tensions between the two broke down last month.

Compatriots
In marked contrast to recent speeches, Mr Lee did not use harsh rhetoric against North Korea.

He was speaking at a ceremony to mark Korea's 1919 independence uprising against Japan's colonial rule.

"The Korean nation cannot afford to lag behind the currents of the times, repeating the dark history of yester-year," Mr Lee said, referring to the 1950-53 Korean War and the decades of violence that followed.

"Now is the opportune time to open a new kind of future on the Korean peninsula."

Mr Lee said there was no reason for the South not to help its impoverished neighbour.

"The North should step forward for serious dialogue and co-operation and refrain from developing nuclear weapons and missiles," he added, repeating calls for the North to take "responsible measures".

The 11-day US-South Korean military exercises have angered Pyongyang.

As Mr Lee spoke, the North's state media called the drills a dangerous plot to invade the North.

"Chances for dialogue and peace on the Korean peninsula have evaporated, and the danger of war is increasing," the state Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary.

"If a war breaks out on the peninsula, only a nuclear catastrophe will be triggered."

Just hours after the drills started on Monday, a commentary in the same newspaper warned that "the danger of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula is deepening".

Pyongyang had earlier warned it would turn Seoul into a "sea of fire" if provoked. The US and South Korean joint command insist the drills are purely defensive.

The US has about 30,000 troops stationed in South Korea.

Available at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12605369


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C.  Nonproliferation

1.
No Direct Funding to Pakistan Nuclear Programme: Pentagon
PTI
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)


The US has a strong fund tracking system to make sure that Pakistan does not use any direct US money to strengthen its nuclear programme, a top Pentagon official told lawmakers who expressed concern over American aid money to Islamabad given reports that the country has doubled its atomic stockpile.

"I''m confident there is no direct funding going to their nuclear programme because of my confidence in tracking the cost we are reimbursing them for now," General James N Mattis, Commander of the US Central Command said at a Congressional hearing convened by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The statement came after lawmakers expressed concern over recent reports that Pakistan has doubled its nuclear weapons and the stockpile has crossed the 100-figure mark.

"Obviously, they have their own funding, and whether or not they would spend some of that elsewhere, if we weren''t reimbursing," Mattis said.

Senator Jim Webb said while Pakistan may not be using US money directly to fund its nuclear programme but expressed apprehension that American assistance in other areas could have helped the country divert its own money.

Apparently not satisfied with Mattis'' response, Webb said: "The concerns that I have is that if we are funding programmes that they otherwise would be funding or they are able to take that money in order to increase their nuclear arsenal, it''s not a healthy situation for the region and for us, in my view".

At the same Senate Committee hearing, Admiral Eric T Olson, Commander of US Special Operations Command noted that Pakistan needs to do more in this war against terrorism, even though it has taken considerable steps in this regard.

"I would say in many ways Pakistan is behaving as a great ally and taking much risk upon their selves. But there is perhaps more that can be done. I think that the senior-level dialogues that are taking place are very productive in this regard," he said.

Olson said he has been in constant touch with Admiral Willard, Commander, Pacific Command, about the relationship between India and Pakistan.

"India-Pakistan reconciliation has got to be something that they take responsibility for. So we''re more on a mode of making certain that what we''re doing militarily is never seen as contrary to that trend," he said in response to a question.

Earlier, Senator Carl Levin said the presence of safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan continues to pose a security threat to Afghanistan and to the region.

"While US-Pakistan military cooperation has improved in some respects, the Pakistani army has not yet gone after the sanctuaries for the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan or the Afghan Taliban in and around Quetta, Pakistan," he said.

Available at:
http://news.in.msn.com/international/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4984192


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2.
Radiation Detection Facilities Installed at Kaohsiung Harbor
Audrey Wang
Taiwan Today
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)


Radiation detection equipment has now been installed at all five terminals in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung harbor as part of a joint anti-terrorist initiative between the ROC and the U.S., the Kaohsiung Customs Office said Feb. 25.

“The completion of this project, stemming from a memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries in 2006, is set to boost the nation’s competitiveness in global trade by further ensuring the security of export products and facilitating the customs clearance process,” said KCO Director Lin Ching-ho at the commissioning ceremony.

As part of the Megaports Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the project will allow customs officials to use radiation portal monitors, handheld detection devises, optical character recognition technology and communications equipment to detect illicit trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials across international borders, the American Institute in Taiwan said.

“Kaohsiung Port was chosen as the first site in Taiwan to participate in the program thanks to its strategic location, high cargo volume and key role in the world's transshipment,” Lin said.

According to the AIT, the U.S. has been working since 2007 to provide Kaohsiung Port with radiation detection equipment, train Taiwanese officials on how to operate and maintain the system and raise the awareness of terminal operators of the potential danger of hazardous materials.

The two-phase project saw the detection system go online at three of the five terminals at Kaohsiung Harbor in November 2009.

The AIT said the Megaports program now operates in 34 ports around the world, with work underway at an additional 18 ports. The goal of these efforts is to scan as many containers as possible regardless of destination and with minimal impact to port operations, the AIT added.

Available at:
http://www.taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=154212&ctNode=445


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3.
UN Atom Inspectors to Visit Syria Acid Plant-Source
Fredrik Dahl
Reuters
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)


Syria has agreed to allow U.N. nuclear inspectors into an acid purification plant where uranium concentrates have also been made, a source familiar with a stalled inquiry into alleged covert Syrian atomic work said.

Syrian and International Atomic Energy Agency officials in Vienna met earlier this week to set out a date and visit plan, the source said on Wednesday. An IAEA report last week said such cooperation could be a "step forward" in its investigation.

But the agreement to visit the plant at Homs, in the country's west near Lebanon, is unlikely to satisfy Western concerns about Syria, which is blocking IAEA requests for prompt access to a desert site seen as crucial to resolving the matter.

For over two years, Syria has refused IAEA follow-up access to the remains of a complex that was being built at Dair Alzour in the Syrian desert when Israel bombed it to rubble in 2007.

U.S. intelligence reports said it was a nascent North Korean-designed nuclear reactor intended to produce bomb fuel. Inspectors found traces of uranium there in June 2008 that were not in Syria's declared nuclear inventory, heightening concerns.

Syria, an ally of Iran, whose nuclear programme is also under IAEA investigation, denies ever concealing work on nuclear weapons and says the IAEA should focus on Israel instead because of its undeclared nuclear arsenal.

Late last year, after repeated entreaties to Syria's nuclear agency went nowhere, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano appealed directly to its foreign minister for cooperation with his agency and access to Dair Alzour and other locations.

"Agreement was reached for the date and programme of the visit to Homs," the source said, adding it was a positive step. The source gave no further details, but the agency has made it clear it wants unrestricted access to Homs.

SPECIAL INSPECTION?

The Homs plant produces uranium concentrates, or "yellowcake", as a by-product. The IAEA has sought to examine the material, which if further processed could be used as nuclear fuel. Syria says the plant is for making fertilisers.

At Homs, inspectors were likely to check for any links with a Damascus research reactor where they earlier found uranium traces that had not been declared to the IAEA as required.

Enriched uranium can be used to run nuclear power plants, but also provide material for bombs, if refined much further.

During a 2004 visit to the Homs plant, which the United Nations helped construct in the 1990s, agency inspectors observed hundreds of kilograms of yellowcake, according to a confidential IAEA report.

Last week a German newspaper said Western intelligence agencies suspected that Syria may have been building a secret uranium processing facility near Damascus possibly linked to the former Dair Alzour complex.

Vienna-based diplomats said this was believed to be one of several sites the agency has sought access to since 2008 and which Syria has said are military in nature and therefore beyond the scope of IAEA authority.

The IAEA has not commented on the German report.

The United States has suggested the IAEA may need to consider invoking its "special inspection" mechanism to give it authority to look anywhere necessary in Syria at short notice, if Syria does not let inspectors back to Dair Alzour.

The agency last resorted to such inspection powers in 1993 in North Korea, which still withheld access and later developed a nuclear bomb capacity in secret.

The IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors will discuss the Syria and Iran investigations at a week-long meeting beginning on Monday.

Available at:
http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFLDE7210GZ20110302?sp=true


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D.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Poland 'Needs' to Start Nuclear Building Works by 2014
Warsaw Business Journal
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)


Poland will need to launch construction on its first nuclear plant by 2014 at the latest if it wants to bring its first nuclear bloc online in 2020, an official from GE Hitachi said on Tuesday.

GE Hitachi is a potential nuclear technology supplier to state-owned Polish utility PGE, which has been charged by the government with overseeing Poland's nuclear plans.

The government has gone back and forth on its target date for having the first nuclear plant operational, but its latest announcement envisages having one of two planned plants producing electricity by around 2020.

“We do need to have a site in late 2013 or early 2014 to dig the first shovel, and that would mean the 2020 date is possible with some margin,” Reuters reported Danny Roderick, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy senior vice president, as saying.

“We need two years to build the appropriate infrastructure, to provide the construction site with electricity, water and so on. Then first concrete comes, and a further 40 months are needed for reactor construction, followed by one year of testing.”

GE Hitachi faces competition from the US's Westinghouse, as well as France's Areva and EDF, to provide technology for the project. PGE estimates the cost of building a nuclear power plant at between €3.0-3.5 billion per gigawatt. Poland plans to construct six gigawatts of nuclear power by 2030, putting the total estimated cost at €18-21 billion.

Available at:
http://www.wbj.pl/article-53500-poland-needs-to-start-nuclear-building-works-by-2014.html?typ=wbj


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2.
South Korea OKs Commercial Operation of 21st Nuclear Reactor
The Korea Herald
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)


South Korea's science and technology ministry said Wednesday that it has authorized the commercial operation of the country's 21st reactor after conducting detailed safety tests.

The ministry said checkups conducted by the state-run Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety showed the New Gori 1 reactor, located about 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, met all nuclear safety requirements.

"The notification has been forwarded to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy and the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. that will carry out the final administrative work to formally permit the reactor to go on-line this week," a ministry official said.

The new reactor, built at a cost of about 2.45 trillion won ($2.17 billion), is an indigenously built Optimized Power Reactor-1000 with power output rated at 1 million kilowatts.

Construction began in January 2005 with the science ministry giving permission to carry out limited operations in May of last year.

An identical reactor called the New Gori 2 is expected to go into operation in late 2011. The two units will help the country cut annual bituminous coal imports by around 4.4 million tons per year.

Seoul, which started commercial atomic energy operations in 1978, currently runs four nuclear power plants that generate about 36 percent of the country's power output. The country plans to have 28 commercial reactors in operation by mid-2017 to meet steadily growing energy needs.

Available at:
http://www.koreaherald.com/business/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110302000299


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E.  Links of Interest

1.
US Launches New Missile Defense Program for Europe
Associated Press
3/2/2011
(for personal use only)
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hulwA3apIb2YtB7eB-KfQZMoBt..


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2.
U.S. Policy Toward North Korea
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
3/1/2011
(for personal use only)
http://www.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2011/03/157472.htm


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3.
Ukraine to Get Extra Fund for New Chernobyl Sarcophagus
Xinhua News Agency
3/1/2011
(for personal use only)
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/01/c_13756174.htm


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