1. World Powers Tell Iran 'Door Open' for Nuclear Talks
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World powers told Iran on Wednesday "the door remains open" for dialogue on its disputed nuclear program, and that Tehran must cooperate with the United Nations atomic watchdog to resolve concerns it may have military aims.
The six powers issued a rare joint statement at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in a bid to show unity and to step up pressure on Iran after their talks with the Islamic state in December and January failed to make progress.
It was issued after IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano on Monday, the first day of a meeting of the agency's board, said information his office recently received added to concerns about possible military aspects to Iran's atomic activities.
Amano voiced growing frustration at what the Vienna-based body sees as Iran's failure to address allegations it may be working to develop a nuclear-armed missile.
The statement from the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and China said: "We call on Iran to cooperate fully with the Agency ... Outstanding issues need to be resolved in order to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program."
It was the first joint statement by the big powers at the IAEA since March 2009.
Iran denies Western accusations it is seeking nuclear weapons capability, saying its atomic activities are aimed at generating electricity so it can export more of its oil and gas.
For several years, the IAEA has been investigating Western intelligence reports indicating Iran has coordinated efforts to process uranium, test explosives at high altitude and revamp a ballistic missile cone so that it can take a nuclear warhead.
Iran, one of the world's biggest oil producers, says the allegations are based on forged documents.
The powers' statement said two rounds of talks with Iran in Geneva in December and in Istanbul in January did not reach any substantive result, despite their "constructive spirit" and practical ideas aimed at building confidence.
"We expect Iran to demonstrate a pragmatic attitude and to respond positively to our proposals and to our openness toward dialogue and negotiations," the statement, read out by Russian Ambassador Grigory Berdennikov at the closed-door meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board, said.
"The door remains open," the statement said.
The U.S. envoy to the IAEA, Ambassador Glyn Davies, made a separate statement to the board, about the "increasingly apparent military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program, including efforts by Iran to develop a nuclear warhead".
He urged Amano to report "promptly to the board his best assessment of whether there have been military dimensions to nuclear activities in Iran and, if so, whether he is in a position to verify they have stopped".
The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Tehran since 2006 for refusing to freeze its uranium enrichment program, which can have both civilian and military purposes.
Available at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/world-powers-tell-iran-door-open-for-nuclear-talks-1.348144
Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has called on the Agency to step up efforts to help member states enhance their nuclear safety infrastructures.
“The IAEA should fulfill its crucial role in strengthening nuclear safety infrastructures,” ISNA quoted Ali Asghar Soltanieh, head of the Group 77 and China, as saying on Monday.
He said at a meeting of the Board of Governors of the IAEA that the Group of 77 and China calls on the Agency to render assistance to developing countries to help them overcome challenges and establish safety infrastructures for nuclear facilities.
He called on the IAEA to facilitate the exchange of information between member states so that they are provided with essential information pertaining to peaceful nuclear activities.
Soltanieh said that the IAEA member states were obliged to strengthen national regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation safety but added that safety issues should not constitute an obstacle to the development of peaceful nuclear technology.
He said that while the IAEA was in charge of developing nuclear safety infrastructures, its duties were limited to providing consultation upon any official request from member states.
Under the terms of Article III of its Statute, the IAEA is authorized to establish standards of safety for protection against ionizing radiation and to provide for the application of these standards to peaceful nuclear activities.
The IAEA, under the terms of Articles III and VIII.C of its Statute, also makes available and fosters the exchange of information relating to peaceful nuclear activities and serves as an intermediary among its member states for this purpose.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/168812.html
Iran on Tuesday said the UN atomic watchdog was under "heavy political pressure" after the agency reported Tehran may have engaged in nuclear weaponisation studies more recently than previously thought.
"If... the old issue of alleged studies which has no foundation is brought up then it shows that heavy political pressure is being exerted on the agency," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in reaction to the finding.
The IAEA chief Yuikya Amano said on Monday the agency had information that Iran may have been engaged in weaponisation studies more recently than previously thought.
But Mehmanparast reiterated Tehran's consistent stance that its nuclear programme was peaceful and acknowledged as such by the IAEA.
"The peaceful nuclear activities of the Islamic republic are completely within the framework of its rights and it has not deviated to non-peaceful means as mentioned in the latest report," the ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.
Amano said the agency received new information about possible military dimensions to Iran's atomic activities.
"In general terms, we have been collecting information from various sources at various times. Since the previous board in December, we have received some information raising further concerns," Amano said.
"I cannot specifically say up to when. But we can say there is some information that indicate the existence of activities beyond 2004," the Japanese diplomat added.
The agency has been investigating Iran's nuclear programme for eight years now, but has so far been unable to establish whether it is entirely peaceful as Iran claims or masks a covert drive to build a bomb as western powers believe.
The Japanese diplomat insisted the IAEA was not saying that Iran still had an active nuclear weapons programme but noted Tehran continues to refuse any questions on the issue, effectively blocking the long-running investigation.
"We have concerns and we want to clarify the matter," he said.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iZ888y-vCHJnJJlqP1Re3flG__qA?docId=CNG.015f4239109d12efcb919dfa4925869a.541
4. Russia Says Will Complete Bushehr Project 'In Near Future'
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Russia will complete the nuclear reactor in Iran's Bushehr in the near future, the Russian ambassador in Tehran said Tuesday, two weeks after operation of the long-anticipated facility was delayed.
Iran had to unload fuel from the reactor at the Bushehr power plant in late February, the latest delay to hit the project. The giant plant was meant to start feeding electricity into the national grid in the same month.
The fuel was provided by Russia, which built the plant.
Russia said a breakdown in one the reactor's cooling pumps necessitated the removal of 163 fuel rods from its core.
Observers say the Stuxnet computer virus which Iran previously admitted had infected the reactor in September may be responsible.
Envoy Alexander Sadovnikov said it was better to solve the problem now in order to prevent similar setbacks happening in the future.
"We will finish the project in the near future," Sadovnikov said in an interview with Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency. "It is as much an objective for us as it is for Iran."
Iran is subject to a series of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to stop uranium enrichment.
Available at: http://en.rian.ru/world/20110308/162909141.html
The Obama administration warned Zimbabwe on Monday that it could face penalties if it cooperates with Iran's nuclear program in violation of U.N. resolutions.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the U.S. was troubled by recent statements from Zimbabwe's foreign minister that United Nations sanctions on Iran are unfair and hypocritical. He said Zimbabwe would be violating its international obligations and U.N. Security Council resolutions if it helped Iran extract uranium.
"We are concerned by statements that would suggest that Zimbabwe would be open to cooperating with Iran in ways that violate U.N. Security Council resolutions," he told reporters.
"The foreign minister of Zimbabwe is entitled to his opinion but the government of Zimbabwe is still bound by its commitments to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions," Crowley said. "There are ramifications for countries that decline to observe their international obligations."
He said the U.S. did not have independent confirmation of such cooperation but was concerned by statements indicating that Zimbabwe would be open to it. The U.N. atomic watchdog said last month that Iran's foreign minister made a secret visit to Zimbabwe in January in search of uranium.
Crowley said Iran's outreach to Zimbabwe was part of the country's attempt "to escape its growing isolation by offering to bolster trade and other economic ties with receptive governments."
He noted that both Iran and Zimbabwe have been harshly criticized for human rights abuses and quipped that "it would quite a match for Zimbabwe and Iran to cooperate" on uranium mining.
In late February, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met with senior Zimbabwean mining officials "to resume negotiations ... for the benefit of Iran's uranium procurement plan."
The report came as an Iranian delegation led by the head of the Cooperative Ministry Abbas Johari was meeting with "agriculture and mining interests" in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare.
Iran says it is enriching solely to power a future network of nuclear reactors. But it has been targeted by U.N. sanctions because enrichment can also create fissile warhead material — and because of its nuclear secrecy and refusal to cooperate with IAEA probes into its activities.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hONdqLQa1wimaw-NiJ_HchyNcV7g?docId=b06387b86eb0456bbb825bea23234273
An opposition lawmaker Tuesday sparked a debate on whether Seoul should develop nuclear weapons to counter growing nuclear threats from Pyongyang in a parliamentary meeting with security experts.
“Until when should we beg a robber who threatens us to throw away his knife?” asked Rep. Song Young-sun of the minor opposition Future Hope Alliance in her opening speech of the forum she hosted under the title “Let us also talk about nukes.”
The legislator said South Koreans should wake up from the illusion that the North will eventually abandon its nuclear ambitions if Seoul and the international community keep putting additional pressure on the communist regime.
“Pyongyang will never give up its nukes,” she said.
“North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is convinced that his last resort to keep and maintain the regime is nuclear arms.”
Cheon Seong-whun, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said South Koreans should continue to respect the spirit of the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula announced on Jan. 20, 1992.
But Cheon argued that it is necessary for South Korean lawmakers to state publicly that the joint declaration is no longer valid because of North Korea’s persistent breaches of the accord.
“That agreement became scrap paper virtually before the ink was dry,” he said noting that the North made no efforts to fulfill it.
Citing figures in the 2004 Defense White Paper, Cheon claimed that the North clandestinely extracted about 10 to 14 kilograms of plutonium from its fuel rods at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor by May 1992.
Also in clear violation of the inter-Korean accord, Pyongyang conducted its first nuclear test in 2006 and pushed ahead with a second in 2009.
Kim Tae-woo, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, expressed cautions over the growing call for Seoul’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“In a nutshell, it is neither a feasible nor ideal option for South Korea,” he said.
Kim pointed out that the pro-nuclear argument can only be justified in theory.
He said Seoul will have much more to lose than gain from its pursuit of nuclear weapons as it will trigger a huge backlash from the international community and shake up its alliance with the United States.
“South Korea, whose economy heavily depends on exports, will suffer greatly once it is isolated economically and diplomatically from the western world,” he said.
Rep. Song claims that if the South seeks “peaceful nuclear development,” it will be easier for the country to secure a permanent nuclear umbrella from the United States.
“Seoul will also be able to gain leverage to receive a firm promise from Washington that it will quickly address the issue of dismantling the North’s nuclear program,” she said in an interview with The Korea Times.
She also noted that Seoul’s toughened stance toward the North’s nuclear capability would make Beijing deal more seriously with the North’s nuclear ambition for fears of a possible nuclear arms race in Northeast Asia.
Available at: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2011/03/116_82696.html
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell is set to pay a two-day visit to South Korea starting Saturday, the foreign ministry here said Tuesday.
Kurt Campbell's visit will come at the end of his Asia trip that will also bring him to Japan and Mongolia, and is expected to center on issues related to bilateral ties and nuclear issues of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Campbell will meet with senior officials here including deputy Foreign Minister Kim Jae-shin and Seoul's chief negotiator to the six-party talks, Wi Sung-lac, according to the foreign ministry.
Wallace Gregson, U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, is also scheduled to visit Seoul on Saturday for a four-day trip.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-03/08/c_13766935.htm
3. South Korea, Japan Discuss North Korea Uranium Program
The Korea Herald
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Nuclear envoys of South Korea and Japan discussed how to deal with North Korea’s renewed uranium enrichment activities and the terms of resuming multinational talks on Pyongyang’s denuclearization in Seoul on Tuesday.
The meeting comes as tensions on the Korean Peninsula continue to run high over the communist North’s ongoing nuclear ambitions as well as the issue of repatriating dozens of North Koreans who accidentally strayed here on a boat last month.
In their meeting, Seoul’s chief nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac and his Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama were to “be discussing a broad range of issues related to North Korea,” a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said ahead of the luncheon Tuesday.
“They will be sharing views on having the U.N. Security Council act on North Korea’s uranium enrichment program and reaffirm their stance that the North must put into action its willingness to denuclearize before rejoining the six-party talks,” he said.
Tokyo’s nuclear envoy Sugiyama, who is also in charge of handling relations with South Korea, arrived in Seoul on Monday to discuss pending issues including Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.
Partners of the six-nation dialogue ― the two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia and the U.S. ― have been coordinating the conditions under which they can resume the talks, suspended since December 2008.
While China and Russia back North Korea’s wish to resume the aid-for-denuclearization dialogue as soon as possible, the U.S. and its two Asian allies want Pyongyang to first prove its willingness to disarm.
Seoul, Washington and Tokyo are also together on getting the U.N. Security Council to denounce Pyongyang’s uranium program, viewed as the newest indication of the unpredictable country’s ongoing nuclear ambitions. Uranium, if highly enriched, can be used in producing nuclear weapons.
The program is a violation of the U.N. resolutions and North Korea’s own pledge made in the 2005 six-party talks to abandon its nuclear programs.
North Korea has expressed hopes of rejoining the talks in an apparent bid to secure outside aid as it suffers from deepening food shortages. The communist state, however, refuses to admit or apologize for the two deadly attacks it made against Seoul last year, turning South Korea reluctant to resume dialogue.
As a new development aggravating tensions between the two divided countries, South Korea has said it will keep four among the 31 North Koreans who drifted over the sea border to the South last month.
While Seoul says the decision was made to respect the wishes of the four, Pyongyang accuses its rival of influencing their decision and has demanded to see them in the Red Cross talks it proposed for later this week.
Available at: http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110308000729
4. U.S. Urges North Korea to Stop Uranium Enrichment, Return to IAEA
Yonhap News Agency
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The United States has called on North Korea to stop uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities and accept international nuclear inspectors before any resumption of multilateral talks on its nuclear dismantlement.
"We do not accept North Korea as a nuclear weapon state," Glyn Davies, U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, told an IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna, Austria, Monday, according to a transcript released by the State Department Tuesday. "We seek an immediate halt of all nuclear activities in the DPRK, including enrichment, leading to irreversible steps toward complete and verifiable denuclearization, and to North Korea's return, at an early date, to the NPT and IAEA safeguards."
North Korea, formally the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003 as Washington, citing the North's then-clandestine uranium project, suspended the construction of two light-water reactors being built under a 1994 bilateral deal.
The regime expelled IAEA monitors in early 2009 in the wake of U.N. Security Council sanctions for a missile test. Months later, Pyongyang detonated its second nuclear device, after the first detonation in 2006, drawing harsher U.N. sanctions.
Then-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson visited Pyongyang late last year and said North Korean officials expressed intentions to reinstate IAEA inspections at its Yongbyon nuclear facilities, north of Pyongyang, but the North has not yet taken action to that effect.
The monitors' reinstatement is among the preconditions Seoul and Washington have put forth before the reopening of the six-party talks, stalled for more than two years over the North's nuclear and missile tests in early 2009.
"The DPRK's disclosure last November of a uranium enrichment facility and light water reactor construction remains a matter of serious concern for the United States," Davies said. "These activities are clear violations of North Korea's obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, and contrary to its September 2005 Joint Statement commitments."
Pyongyang disclosed in November a uranium enrichment plant that could be used to make nuclear weapons apart from its plutonium program. The North claims its intention is to generate electricity.
Davies said Washington will continue to impose sanctions on North Korea under the resolutions adopted after the North's nuclear and missile tests in 2009.
"The United States firmly believes that a dual-track approach offers the best prospects for achieving denuclearization and stability," he said. "We are open to meaningful engagement with North Korea but will continue to pursue the full and transparent implementation of national and multilateral sanctions."
The envoy also urged Pyongyang to mend ties with Seoul.
Inter-Korean talks broke down last month as the North balked at Seoul's demand for an apology for attacks on the South Korean warship Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island that killed 50 people last year. That also soured the reconciliatory mood Pyongyang had established recently to attract food and economic aid through the denuclearization-for-aid dialogue.
China, North Korea's staunchest communist ally, wants the uranium issue to be dealt with at the six-party talks and opposes Security Council involvement, citing a possible adverse impact on an early resumption of the nuclear talks involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.
Robert Einhorn, the State Department's special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, said last week that Seoul and Washington will seek a U.N. Security Council presidential statement to condemn the North's uranium program before moving on to the six-party talks.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/03/09/13/0301000000AEN20110309000100315F.HTML
1. Australia's Ferguson Wants to Expand Uranium Exports, Sell to India
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Australia would impose strict conditions on any uranium exports to India if the ruling Labor Party dropped its ban on sales to the country, Australian Resources Minister Martin Ferguson told Reuters on Wednesday.
Ferguson is leading a push for the Labor Party to change its policy, which currently bans uranium exports to countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to allow sales to energy hungry India.
Australia also negotiates bilateral nuclear safeguards agreements with uranium buyers, which ensure Australian material cannot be used for nuclear weapons.
"If we were to go down the track of opening up sales of uranium to India, there would be even tougher process of negotiations," Ferguson said in an interview. "Country by country, it is a separate diplomatic process."
India has long complained about Australia's uranium policy as it seeks access to nuclear supplies for its booming electricity sector and growing economy. Australia expects India to build five new nuclear reactors by 2016.
Australia has almost 40 percent of the world's known uranium reserves, but supplies only 19 percent of the world market from three current mines, BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam, the world's biggest uranium mine, Energy Resources Australia's Ranger mine in the Northern Territory, and the Beverly mine, owned by U.S. company General Atomics.
Exports in the year to July 1, 2011 are forecast at 8,700 tonnes, up 21 percent on the previous year, with mine production set expand an average 15 percent per year to July 2016 as several new mines set to start production.
Australia has 22 bilateral nuclear safeguard agreements, which allow exports to 39 countries.
In recent years, Australia has signed agreements with Russia and China, and Australia has already sent its first shipments of uranium to China, where uranium consumption is projected to grow by 44 percent to 18,000 tonnes by 2016.
Ferguson said India's agreement with the United States and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, to open inspections of its civilian nuclear facilities, proved India was not a rogue nuclear nation.
The minister will push for the Labor Party to change its policy at the party's national conference, due in the second half of 2011. He said the debate would be hard fought, just like the party's 2007 decision to overturn its ban on new uranium mines.
"These are highly sensitive sacred cows," Ferguson said. "Nothing comes easy in terms of tough policy decisions. This is a delicate and tough debate within the party."
Earlier on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said Australia would begin negotiating a nuclear safeguards agreement with the United Arab Emirates for potential sales of uranium.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/09/australia-resources-uranium-idUSL3E7E90W420110309
China's growing nuclear power industry will make it the world's largest uranium user, overtaking the United States by the next decade, an energy official said.
Uranium imports will rise sharply by the 2020s to power the industry, Qian Zhimin, deputy director of the National Energy Administration, told the China Daily.
However, he assured that with advance planning there will be no surge in global uranium prices.
"It is a question of time" when China will surpass the United States as the largest uranium consumer, Qian said. "It should happen sometime before 2030."
He said by 2020, nuclear power could be contributing 7 percent to 8 percent of China's electricity, more than the government's target of 5 percent.
China has 11 nuclear reactors with 13 under construction to reduce the country's reliance on coal, the report said.
The World Nuclear Association was quoted as saying China is planning to construct an additional 187 nuclear reactors. The agency estimates China's annual uranium consumption would reach 20,000 tons by 2020, about a third of 2009 global output.
The report said China's Nuclear Energy Association has estimated future plants would require more than 400 tons of uranium each to start operating.
China's uranium imports last year totaled 17,136 tons, three times higher than in 209.
Currently, the United States, France and Japan are the world's major uranium consumers.
Available at: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2011/03/08/China-to-become-largest-uranium-user/UPI-41971299565158/
1. Australia Will Begin Talks to Sell Uranium to U.A.E.
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Australia will enter talks to sell uranium to the United Arab Emirates as the second-biggest Arab economy aims to start a nuclear power program in 2017, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said.
“Australia welcomes the U.A.E.’s efforts to establish a responsible approach to nuclear power generation and hopes that it will serve as a model for other countries in the Middle East,” Rudd said in a statement from Abu Dhabi today.
An agreement would open a new market for Australian uranium, according to Rudd, the former prime minister. Australia is the third-largest producer of the nuclear fuel behind Kazakhstan and Canada and has the world’s largest known reserves. Producers include Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. (ERA), controlled by Rio Tinto Group, and BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP)
Some Persian Gulf governments have begun building nuclear plants to meet rising demand for power. The U.A.E. estimates that annual peak demand for electricity will climb to more than 40,000 megawatts by 2020 and is negotiating supply agreements with a range of countries, the Australian government said.
Uranium prices, which rose to a record $136 a pound in 2007 before falling to about $40, have gained since mid-2010 as countries plan increased use of nuclear power. More than 150 new reactors are planned worldwide by 2030, with China expected to add 110 units, according to data compiled by the World Nuclear Association.
Kalahari Minerals Bid
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group yesterday made a 756 million-pound ($1.2 billion) bid for UK-listed uranium developer Kalahari Minerals Plc. Kalahari chairman Mark Hohnen said the company also talked to a “number of people” from other countries.
Australia has 22 nuclear safeguard agreements with 39 nations and the island of Taiwan, Rudd said today. The government doesn’t allow uranium to be sent to India because the South Asian country hasn’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The U.A.E. and Australia had bilateral trade valued at more than A$4.2 billion ($4.2 billion) in 2009 and 2010, Rudd’s statement said.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-09/australia-will-begin-negotiations-to-sell-uranium-to-united-arab-emirates.html
2. IAEA Approves Safeguards for New Pakistani Reactors
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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday gave its approval to a safeguards agreement for two new reactors that Pakistan said China was building for it at Chashma.
The ‘Type-66' agreement for the two reactors approved by the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors was identical to similar agreements already in place for Chashma-1 and Chashma-2. Though Tuesday's agreement was approved unanimously, the fact that not a single board member or regional grouping chose to make the usual customary reference to it in their remarks to the chair is being seen in diplomatic circles as a reflection of the disquiet that the Chinese initiative has caused internationally.
India is a member of the IAEA Board and gave its assent for the same reason the other members did — the agreement was of a standard type and there is nothing in the statute of the agency which prohibits the transfer of nuclear reactors to a country like Pakistan, which, like India, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). But China is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the rules of the cartel — many of whose 46 members also sit on the IAEA Board — expressly ban the sale of nuclear equipment to countries that are outside the NPT and do not place all their nuclear facilities under international supervision.
In 2008, China joined other NSG members in approving a standalone exemption from the cartel's guidelines for India. That approval — which came after more than three years of difficult negotiations between New Delhi, Washington and other nuclear players — was part of a package deal in which the Indian side undertook a number of disarmament, arms control and export control obligations.
Though Beijing is known to have shared nuclear technology with Islamabad in the past — including the know-how and components for nuclear weapons — those transfers pre-dated its own membership of the NPT and NSG and were not prohibited as such.
The latest safeguards agreement, however, is the first formal indication by China that it is willing to disregard its international obligations on nuclear matters — in this instance, its commitment to abide by NSG guidelines — when it comes to Pakistan.
Ever since word of Chashma-3 and 4 first surfaced in 2009, Beijing refused to confirm or deny the intended transfer. With the ground-breaking over and concrete for the new reactors being poured, the subject was raised by a number of countries at the NSG plenary meeting in Christchurch last year. There, according to diplomatic sources, China parried all questions on the transfer by reiterating that its nuclear cooperation with Pakistan would be subject to IAEA safeguards.
Although the NSG guidelines allow countries to finish nuclear projects that are already in the pipeline at the time they join the cartel, Chashma-3 and 4 do not meet that criteria. Indeed, when it was admitted to the NSG at the Goteberg plenary in May 2004, China only spoke of Chashma-2 as “ongoing supply.”
The NSG will meet again in the Netherlands later this year where the Chashma transfers will likely be brought up again. But with China refusing to budge, the United States and other leading members of the suppliers club will have little option but to ignore this violation of their guidelines.
Available at: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1520918.ece
3. Russia to Supply $139mn Worth of Equipment for ITER
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Russia will supply over 100 million euros ($139mn) worth of equipment for the international ITER thermonuclear reactor, under construction in south France, the state nuclear corporation Rosatom reported.
The ITER tokamak nuclear fusion reactor is being built by the European Union, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States in the nuclear research center of Cadarache. ITER is experimenting with nuclear fusion in an attempt to develop a clean, inexhaustible source of energy to replace fossil fuels.
Its purpose is to make a transition from plasma physics studies to full-scale fusion power plants.
"The switching equipment agreement is the most expensive of all," Rosatom said. "It is worth over 100 million euros (in 2001 prices). Switching equipment for ITER is to be produced in Russia until 2017."
The agreement on the supply of equipment is to be signed in Moscow on Wednesday.
Available at: http://en.rian.ru/science/20110309/162916801.html
A deal has been struck with the intention of exporting large volumes of power from the Baltic nuclear power plant to Lithuania, although the scope of imports is controlled by the country's government.
Russia's state nuclear group Rosatom is currently preparing ground for the Baltic nuclear power plant in the country's exclave of Kaliningrad, which sits between Poland and Lithuania. Rosatom's 57%-owned utility Inter RAO UES is responsible for finding investors for 49% of the plant, as well as for selling the 2400 MWe it should produce.
In a circular deal, "up to 1000 MWe" of this output is earmarked to travel across the border for sale by Inter RAO Lietuvos of Lithuania, which is 51% owned by RAO Nordic Oy, a Finnish subsidiary of Inter RAO UES. The export is slated to begin in 2017, with the firms citing the possibility of an increase in 2019 should this be considered technically and economically feasible.
Those starting dates are each about six months after the scheduled start ups of the Baltic nuclear power plant's VVER-1200 pressurized water reactors, for which site preparations are well advanced in the Neman region bordering Lithuania. First concrete for unit 1 is expected in April.
Despite the apparent ambition to supply in excess of 1000 MWe directly from the Baltic plant to Lithuania, the grid connection to be used has a capacity of only 750 MWe. Increasing this would require the approval of the Lithuanian government, which of course is unlikely given its efforts to develop a replacement for the 1720 MWe Ignalina nuclear power plant, which was shut down early as a condition of EU entry.
A competitive tender for the new plant was run in 2010 but failed when one bidder did not comply with requirements and the other, from a Kepco-led consortium, was withdrawn just two weeks later. In recent years, neighbours Latvia, Estonia and Poland have been supporters of the plan for a large new nuclear power plant to support power supplies in the region and an array of grid connection projects are underway.
Inter RAO Lietuvos chair Jonas Garbaravičius said the power import deal "will not be an obstacle to the emergence of the Ignalina [replacement] nuclear power plant or other energy plans" but rather would help primary energy security and keep prices down for consumers.
Available at: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C_Import_agreement_Baltic_to_Lithuania_0803111.html
5. Imported Fuel to Boost India Nuclear Power by 35%, Standard Says
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Imported uranium will help India generate 35 percent more nuclear power in the year ending March 31, Business Standard reported, citing Shreyans Kumar Jain, chairman of Nuclear Power Corp.
Uranium supply contracts with Russia, Kazakhstan and France will help India increase nuclear generation to 25.5 billion kilowatt-hours this financial year, the report said. India has received 300 metric tons of the atomic fuel from France’s Areva SA (CEI), it said.
Nuclear Power Corp., India’s monopoly atomic generator, expects profit for the year to increase to 10 billion rupees ($222 million) from 4.16 billion rupees a year earlier, the report said.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-08/imported-fuel-to-boost-india-nuclear-power-by-35-standard-says.html
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