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Nuclear News - 4/12/2011
PGS Nuclear News, April 12, 2011
Compiled By: Matthew Kapuscinski


A.  Iran
    1. Iran to Produce Fuel for Nuclear Reactor, UPI (4/10/2011)
    2. Iran Builds New-Generation Centrifuges, PressTV (4/10/2011)
    3. Israel Ruled out Iran Strike in 2005: Wikileaks, AFP (4/10/2011)
    4. Iran: West Unfair on Nuclear Energy, PressTV (4/10/2011)
B.  DPRK
    1. Seoul's Nuclear Envoy to Visit U.S. for North Korea Talks, Yonhap News Agency (4/11/2011)
    2. US Hoping for Sincere North Korean Talks Within Months: Lawmaker, Kim Young-jin , The Korea Times (4/10/2011)
C.  Japan
    1. Long-Term Health Risk May Widen Evacuation Zone, The Japan Times (4/11/2011)
    2. TEPCO Boss to Visit Nuclear Disaster Zone, AFP (4/11/2011)
    3. Radiation Risks From Fukushima ‘No Longer Negligible’ – French Research Group, Eurasia Review (4/11/2011)
    4. Pumping of Contaminated Water to End, Xinhua News Agency (4/11/2011)
    5. TEPCO Details Tsunami Damage: Waves That Hit Fukushima Plant Exceeded Firm's Worst-Case Projections, Yomiuri Shimbun (4/11/2011)
D.  Nuclear Safety
    1. Seoul, Tokyo Officials to Discuss Measures on Radiation Danger, The Korea Herald (4/11/2011)
    2. Binding Safety Standards for Nuclear Regime Needed, Experts Tell IAEA, Business Standard (4/8/2011)
E.  Nuclear Energy
    1. PM Says Korea Will Continue to Pursue Nuclear Energy, Kim Se-jeong, The Korea Times (4/11/2011)
    2. Singapore Nuclear Decision "Long Way Away": Government, AFP (4/11/2011)
    3. Nuclear Energy Inevitable for India's Needs, DNA India (4/11/2011)
    4. Merkel Mulls Six-Point Plan in Nuclear Exit Scenario, FTD Says, Bloomberg (4/11/2011)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Siemens Exits Nuclear Joint Venture with Areva, Business Week (4/10/2011)



A.  Iran

1.
Iran Builds New-Generation Centrifuges
PressTV
4/10/2011
(for personal use only)


Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereydoun Abbasi says the country has successfully produced and tested second and third generations of Iranian-brand centrifuges.

“In line with optimization of centrifuge machines, aimed at increasing the separation power, second and third generation machines have also been produced and inspected, both of which have been successfully tested,” Abbasi said at the ceremony of National Nuclear Technology Day in the Iranian capital Tehran on Saturday.

He also pointed out that production of enriched uranium to a level less than five percent by first-generation centrifuges continues at its maximum output, IRNA reported.

The Iranian nuclear official pointed to the existence of the required infrastructure for production of the fuel required for research reactors in Tehran and Arak, central Iran.

Abbasi also added that studies are under way to develop the country's nuclear power plant sector.

He also announced that a unit for producing uranium dioxide with nuclear purity has been launched at the fuel enrichment plant in the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

Uranium dioxide is used to produce nuclear fuel for the heavy water reactor in the city of Arak.

Among other nuclear achievements unveiled at the ceremony was the production of stable isotopes at the Arak reactor and new radio medicine, both of which have medical and research applications.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/173997.html


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2.
Iran to Produce Fuel for Nuclear Reactor
UPI
4/10/2011
(for personal use only)


Iranian officials say they have ordered scientists to conduct two nuclear chain reactions to produce fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.

The enrichment procedures will be conducted at the Natanz enrichment site in Iran's Isfahan province, INRA, the Islamic Republic News Agency, reported.

Additionally, Fereydoun Abbasi, head of Iran's Nuclear Energy Organization, said Saturday second and third generation centrifuges have been successfully tested.

Abbasi made the comments at a ceremony in Tehran commemorating the fifth nuclear technology festival. He said first generation centrifuges are producing enriched uranium to a level of less than five percent.

Abbasi also said safety considerations have delayed the commissioning of the Bushehr power plant.

Available at:
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/04/10/Iran-to-produce-fuel-for-nuclear-reactor/UPI-33231302445708/


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3.
Iran: West Unfair on Nuclear Energy
PressTV
4/10/2011
(for personal use only)


A top Iranian diplomat says the Western thought is "discriminatory" in principle when it comes to the inalienable right of all nations to nuclear energy.

"Based on their own standards, Western countries maintain that Muslim nations should be inferior to Israel, and that they do not have the right to acquire superior nuclear energy knowhow, even if peaceful," Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi was quoted by IRNA as saying on Sunday.

He said the Western countries argue that Iran needs to prove it is not in possession of nuclear weapons.

"Based on logic, the nonexistence of something does not need to be proven," he said, adding that the West should back up its claim with conclusive evidence.

"The US is even against Iran's peaceful nuclear activities," the deputy foreign minister highlighted.

Qashqavi said the West does not approve of “complete disarmament” in the Middle East because of Israel.

The senior diplomat also underlined Iran has every right to enjoy civilian nuclear knowhow.

Available at:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/174144.html


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4.
Israel Ruled out Iran Strike in 2005: Wikileaks
AFP
4/10/2011
(for personal use only)


Israeli defence officials ruled out a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities as early as 2005, US diplomatic cables leaked to whistleblower site WikiLeaks show, an Israeli newspaper said Sunday.

The documents given to the Haaretz newspaper by WikiLeaks detail conversations between US diplomats and Israeli defence officials, which suggested the Jewish state did not plan to target Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

One December 2005 cable said Israeli officials had indicated there was "no chance of a military attack being carried out on Iran," Haaretz reported.

Another telegram a month later, detailing talks between a US congressman and the then deputy chief of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission, Ariel Levite, offered a stronger suggestion that Israel considered a strike on Iran's facilities unfeasible.

Levite "said that most Israeli officials do not believe a military solution is possible," Haaretz quoted the telegram as saying.

"They believe Iran has learned from Israel's attack on Iraq's Osirak reactor (in 1981) and has dispersed the components of its nuclear programme throughout Iran, with some elements in places that Israel does not know about."

Israel, which has the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal, regards Iran as its number one enemy after repeated predictions by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Jewish state is doomed to collapse.

Along with much of the international community, Israel accuses Iran of using its nuclear energy programme to mask a weapons drive. Iran denies the charge, saying the programme is purely for civilian energy and medical purposes.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jDchPChm3jDRZNAs0IctBSiXX_iQ?docId=CNG.4eb79e0b90682dda27e5e8f688957945.321


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B.  DPRK

1.
Seoul's Nuclear Envoy to Visit U.S. for North Korea Talks
Yonhap News Agency
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


South Korea's chief nuclear envoy will visit Washington later this week to coordinate efforts for ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programs and responding to apparent food shortages in the impoverished nation, the foreign ministry said Monday.

Wi Sung-lac plans to discuss the next steps in dealing with North Korea's nuclear issue through talks with Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, and Sung Kim, special envoy for the six-party talks, a ministry official said on customary condition of anonymity. Wi's three-day trip starting Tuesday may also include meetings with White House officials, the official added.

The chief envoy's visit comes shortly after the World Food Program and two other United Nations agencies called for more than 430,000 tons of food aid to feed North Korea's most vulnerable groups. The U.N. report, based on the findings of a U.N. delegation to North Korea early this year, claimed such volumes were needed to feed some 6 million children, pregnant women and elderly people who were suffering from chronic food shortages after a particularly harsh winter and hikes in global food prices.

South Korea and the United States have said they will study the U.N.'s recommendation together with other relevant information before making a decision. Officials from both sides have expressed doubts about the fair distribution of food aid in the communist nation amid reports that the regime may be hoarding supplies to celebrate the centenary of North Korea founder Kim Il-sung's birth next year.

South Korea and the U.S. are also seeking a presidential statement from the U.N. Security Council to condemn North Korea's uranium enrichment program (UEP) as a violation of U.N. resolutions and other agreements that ban the North from building nuclear weapons. Once the uranium program is deemed illegal by the U.N. and if North Korea demonstrates through action its commitment to abandon nuclear ambitions, South Korea is open to resuming the stalled six-party denuclearization talks, officials here say.

The six-way negotiations, involving the two Koreas, the U.S., Japan, China and Russia, aim to denuclearize the North in return for multiple economic and political benefits, but remain deadlocked for more than two years over a series of provocations by the North.

"Wi's discussions are expected to focus on ways to resume the six-party talks, drawing a response to the UEP from the U.N. Security Council and assessing the food situation in North Korea as well as future responses to it," the ministry official said.

Available at:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2011/04/11/19/0401000000AEN20110411006300315F.HTML


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2.
US Hoping for Sincere North Korean Talks Within Months: Lawmaker
Kim Young-jin
The Korea Times
4/10/2011
(for personal use only)


An opposition lawmaker said Saturday the United States is hoping to create the right conditions for dialogue with North Korea within “one or two months,” citing a conversation he had with the top U.S. diplomat in Seoul.

Park Joo-sun of the main opposition Democratic Party told Yonhap News Agency that he was told as much during a meeting with U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens last week.

Park, who heads a parliamentary committee on inter-Korean relations, quoted Stephens as saying Washington had made various efforts to maintain contact with Pyongyang in a bid to pave the way for “sincere talks.”

A public affairs official with the embassy could not confirm the remarks.

Park did not elaborate on the channels Washington may have used, but quoted the ambassador as saying failure to create better conditions would be a critical setback.

His comments come amid a series of unofficial contacts between the U.S. and North Korea, which analysts say appear to be testing the waters for talks.

Negotiations on the North’s nuclear program, which includes a recently-disclosed uranium enrichment component, have been stalled since 2009 when Pyongyang walked away over international sanctions for its missile and nuclear tests.

Pyongyang and Beijing have called for a resumption of the talks as a way to ease regional tensions, still high after the North last year sank a South Korean warship and shelled Yeonpyeong Island, killing a total of 50.

But Washington and Seoul maintain that the North must move to improve inter-Korean ties and take clear denuclearization steps before any resumption of the forum.

Still, sides are reportedly consulting over how to resume the forum, seen as the best way to manage the North’s belligerence.

Last month, Ri Gun, director general of the North American affairs bureau of the North's foreign ministry, visited Berlin last month for a seminar hosted by a U.S. think tank, where he discussed prospects for reopening the talks with former Washington officials.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will make a private visit to Pyongyang later this month "to induce the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons," and determine what can be done to improve the humanitarian situation there.

Analysts say Pyongyang is angling to secure international aid ahead of 2012, the year it has pledged to become a powerful nation and when it is expected to complete its second hereditary power transfer.

Available at:
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2011/04/113_84920.html


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C.  Japan

1.
Long-Term Health Risk May Widen Evacuation Zone
The Japan Times
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


The government will expand the evacuation zone around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant because concerns are rising about the cumulative, long-term risk of radiation exposure, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Monday.

Under the nuclear disaster law, residents in certain municipalities outside the current 20-km evacuation zone will be "instructed" to leave in around a month. The areas include Katsurao, Namie, Iitate and part of Kawamata and Minamisoma, all in Fukushima Prefecture.

Those in the area "do not need to evacuate immediately" but will be instructed to leave in a month, given rising concerns over long-term radiation exposure, Edano said.

As for the 20- to 30-km area where residents have been told to stay indoors, Edano said it would be newly designated as an "emergency evacuation preparation zone," which means residents might be asked to get out.

Currently, only residents within 20-km from the crippled nuclear plant have been ordered to evacuate. Those in the 20- to 30-km area have been asked to stay indoors.

The move is being made despite a pronouncement by the government that the risk of contamination from high-level radiation leaks at the plant is now much lower than it was at the start of the crisis.

"The risk that the situation will worsen and that there would be new massive emissions of radioactive materials is becoming considerably lower," Edano said at a news conference earlier Monday.

"Even if there are no new emissions of radioactive substances, radiation may come out from soil . . . and this could affect health if one stays in the affected area for a long time," Edano said.,

After the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled the power station, the government directed people within 20 km to evacuate and those in the 20- to 30-km ring to stay indoors or "voluntarily leave" because it would be difficult to stay because of the lack of goods and services.

Available at:
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110411x3.html


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2.
Pumping of Contaminated Water to End
Xinhua News Agency
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


The month-long struggle to regain control of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant continues in Japan. In the past several days, 11,500 tonnes of radioactive water has been discharged into the sea.

As neighbouring countries express their concern, the priority now is to remove the contaminated water to nearby tanks and other storage facilities.

Japanese Officials are hopeful they can stop pumping radioactive water into the sea at Fukushima and instead concentrate on moving some 60,000 tons of contaminated water to nearby storage facilities inside the building that houses Unit Two Reactor turbine.

But problems in restoring cooling systems mean more contaminated water may eventually be pumped into the sea if the complex again runs out of storage capacity.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said, "We are in the final stages of the inevitable pouring of radioactive water into the sea. As we are causing concern to our neighbouring countries and our local fishing industry, we plan to put together a report and announce the results of our actions."

China and South Korea have criticised Japan's handling of the situation, with Seoul going as far as calling it incompetent, reflecting growing unease over the month-long crisis and subsequent spread of radiation.

The plant's operator, TEPCO, said it is continuing to inject nitrogen into nuclear reactors to prevent another hydrogen explosion.

Remotely controlled cranes and trucks are to be used to dispose of radioactive rubble strewn about the grounds which is preventing workers from accessing to certain areas.

An unmanned drone helicopter was set to fly over the four troubled reactors to record damage and gauge radiation in the areas where workers are unable to enter.

Available at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/video/2011-04/11/c_13823196.htm


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3.
Radiation Risks From Fukushima ‘No Longer Negligible’ – French Research Group
Eurasia Review
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


The risks associated with iodine-131 contamination in Europe are no longer “negligible,” according to CRIIRAD, a French research body on radioactivity. The NGO is advising pregnant women and infants against “risky behaviour,” such as consuming fresh milk or vegetables with large leaves.

In response to thousands of inquiries from citizens concerned about fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Europe, CRIIRAD has compiled an information package on the risks of radioactive iodine-131 contamination in Europe.

The document, published on 7 April, advises against consuming rainwater and says vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid consuming vegetables with large leaves, fresh milk and creamy cheese.

The risks related to prolonged contamination among vulnerable groups of the population can no longer be considered “negligible” and it is now necessary to avoid “risky behaviour,” CRIIRAD claimed.

However, the institute underlines that there is absolutely no need to lock oneself indoors or take iodine tablets.

CRIIRAD says its information note is not limited to the situation in France and is applicable to other European countries, as the level of air contamination is currently the same in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, for instance.

Data for the west coast of the United States, which received the Fukushima radioactive fallout 6-10 days before France, reveals that levels of radioactive iodine-131 concentration are 8-10 times higher there, the institute says.

Rain water and tap water

According to CRIIRAD, a huge proportion of the inquiries it has received concern the risks associated with rainwater and drinking tap water.

The institute stresses that there is no risk whatsoever, even for children, of standing in the rain without protection. But consumption of rainwater as a primary source of drinking water should be avoided, particularly among children, it said.

As for tap water, underground catchments or large rivers should not present any problem. But the institute suggests that the situation of water from reservoirs that collect rainwater from one or more watersheds, such as hillside lakes, should be examined more closely.

As for watering one’s garden with collected rainwater, CRIIRAD advises watering only the earth and not the leaves of vegetables, as absorption is faster and more significant on leaf surfaces than through roots.

Food chain

Spinach, salads, cabbage and other vegetables with large surface areas are among those food products that are particularly sensitive to iodine-131 contamination, if they are cultivated outside and exposed to rainwater. Washing vegetables does not help, as iodine-131 is quickly metabolised by the plants, CRIIRAD notes.

Fresh milk and creamy cheeses, as well as meat from cattle that have been outside eating grass, are categorised as foods that may have been indirectly contaminated and must also be monitored. Contamination of milk and cheese from goats and sheep may be of a greater magnitude than that of produce from cows.

Level of a risky dose

The Euratom Directive of 13 May 1996 establishes general principles and safety standards on radiation protection in Europe.

According to the directive, the impact of nuclear activity can be considered negligible if doses of radiation do not exceed ten micro sieverts (mSv) per year. Beyond this value, possible measures should be considered to reduce exposure, it says.

While radioactive iodine-131 is mostly present in the air in the form of gas, CRIIRAD notes that in the case of the Fukushima fallout, the main issue is to limit ingestion of iodine-131.

CRIIRAD notes that the amount of iodine-131 capable of delivering a dose of 10 mSv varies greatly depending on the age of consumers. Children up to two years old are the most vulnerable and ingestion of 50 becquerel (Bq) is enough to deliver to the body a dose of 10 mSv, according to the institute.

If the foods (leafy vegetables, milk etc.) contain between one and 10 Bq per kg or more, it is possible that the reference level of 10 mSv may be exceeded within two to three weeks, the institute added.

Radioactive iodine-131 values measured by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) in recent days show the following, varying levels of contamination: 0,08 Bq/kg in salad, spinach and leeks in Aix-en-Provence, 0,17 Bq per litre in milk in Lourdes and 2,1 Bq per litre in goats milk in Clansayes.

Contamination to continue over coming weeks

CRIIRAD notes that “huge amounts of radioactive material have been released by the Fukushima Daiichi plant since Saturday 12 March 2011. On Tuesday 5 April, 24 days after the accident, the releases continue. This means that the contaminated airborne masses in Europe will last just as long, with a delay linked to the movement of radioactive aerosol gases over some 15,000 km.”

It also cited a technical report from the operating company (TEPCO) and the Japanese nuclear safety authorities (NISA) which “fear releases over several more days, even weeks”.

If more fires are reported or if the operators are forced to release more steam in order to prevent hydrogen explosions, new massive waste releases will occur, the institute warned.

Available at:
http://www.eurasiareview.com/radiation-risks-from-fukushima-no-longer-negligible-french-research-group-11042011/


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4.
TEPCO Boss to Visit Nuclear Disaster Zone
AFP
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


The president of the embattled operator of Japan's crippled nuclear plant will visit Fukushima Monday to apologise for the atomic emergency engulfing the area, the company said.

Masataka Shimizu, the president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), will go to the offices of the Fukushima prefecture government in the hope of meeting governor Yuhei Sato, who has previously refused to see him.

He had no immediate plans to see residents who were forced to abandon their houses, farms and fishing boats when the Fukushima Daiichi power plant began spewing radiation into the air, soil and sea, a TEPCO spokesman said.

It will be Shimizu's first public appearance since March 13, two days after a 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, setting off the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

The 66-year-old spent more than a week in hospital suffering from dizziness and high blood pressure. He returned to work on Thursday.

He is expected at the Off Site Centre, a facility inside the Fukushima government building serving as the situation room for dealing with the nuclear disaster.

The centre was originally located about five kilometers (three miles) from the plant, but was relocated to the prefecture government building 60 kilometres away to avoid the danger of radiation contamination to workers.

"He will visit officials and staff at the Off Site Centre and reiterate our apologies and express our gratitude for the work they have done," TEPCO spokesman Taichi Okazaki said.

Meanwhile, the risk of a massive leak of radioactive materials from the destroyed plant is becoming "significantly smaller," the government said Monday.

"The possibility that the situation at the nuclear plant will deteriorate and lead to new leakage of massive radioactive materials is becoming significantly smaller," chief government spokesman Yukio Edano told reporters.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iWtkgsCdgm5ez6U9EW2SGkSAPWhQ?docId=CNG.5a3c02fa0e1aa7a78951b5706642974d.4c1


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5.
TEPCO Details Tsunami Damage: Waves That Hit Fukushima Plant Exceeded Firm's Worst-Case Projections
Yomiuri Shimbun
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


Major facilities at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, including reactor and turbine buildings, were flooded to a depth of four meters to five meters during the March 11 tsunami, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The tsunami inundated facilities including the Nos. 1 to 4 reactors and turbine buildings and rose as high as about 15 meters above sea level, according to TEPCO.

TEPCO estimated the coverage of the waves' impact and their height based on physical evidence such as discoloration of walls.

According to TEPCO, facilities at the plant were struck by several tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The first wave arrived at the plant at 3:27 p.m.--41 minutes after the earthquake.

One wave passed over a breakwater that was 5.7 meters above the sea surface, wiping out seawater pumps near water intake outlets.

TEPCO's disaster-scenario projections had not allowed for the possibility of a wave rising high enough to breach the breakwater.

Later, tsunami as high as 10 meters above the sea surface struck turbine buildings, completely submerging the facilities' doors.

The force of the waves sent seawater around the turbine buildings to the far side of the reactor buildings.

Reactors No. 5 and No. 6, which are located 13 meters above sea level, were flooded by water one meter to two meters deep.

The Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant was hit by tsunami from 6.6 meters to 14 meters high, which again exceeded TEPCO's predictions.

The No. 2 plant's main facilities did not suffer serious flood damage, however, as they occupy ground higher than the Fukushima No. 1 plant, according to TEPCO.

Seawater pumps at the No. 2 plant were damaged, but TEPCO managed to lower temperatures in the plant's Nos. 1 to 4 reactors to under 100 C--thus enabling shutdown--by the morning of March 15 by replacing or repairing the pumps.

On Saturday, TEPCO said it had almost completed the release of water containing relatively low-level radioactive materials into the sea from the No. 1 plant's central waste treatment facility.

TEPCO is now working to set up a water transfer hose to clear more contaminated water that has flooded the basements of the turbine buildings of the No. 2 reactor and other facilities.

Available at:
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110410003477.htm


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D.  Nuclear Safety

1.
Seoul, Tokyo Officials to Discuss Measures on Radiation Danger
The Korea Herald
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


Nuclear experts from South Korea and Japan will meet in Tokyo Tuesday to discuss countermeasures for the radiation leaks from a crippled nuclear plant in tsunami-ravaged northeastern Japan, officials here said.

Concerns have been growing here since Japan discharged some 11,000 tons of radiation contaminated water into the ocean after using it to cool off reactors in its wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant without first notifying neighboring countries.

Despite Tokyo’s assurance that it is closely monitoring the contamination level and possible environmental effects in nearby regions, continued concerns and criticisms pushed Japan to propose the consultations with Seoul. It will be the first time for experts from the two sides to meet over the issue.

During the two-day meeting through Wednesday, the neighboring nations will discuss how to accurately monitor radiation levels in air and food, as well as manage overall nuclear safety. South Korea will be sending a six-member delegation, comprised of officials from the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety and the science ministry, an official at Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said on the condition of customary anonymity.

Seoul may ask that joint research be conducted in the region and further consultations based on the results of the meeting, the official added.

The results of the Seoul-Tokyo consultation are also expected to become the basis of trilateral nuclear safety negotiations including China next month. The three countries may seek a deal during their May summit to tighten cooperation on nuclear safety in the wake of the Fukushima plant disaster, Foreign Ministry officials here said earlier this month.

South Korea and Japan are expected to disclose the results of their meeting to the media on Wednesday.

Available at:
http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110411000860


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2.
Binding Safety Standards for Nuclear Regime Needed, Experts Tell IAEA
Business Standard
4/8/2011
(for personal use only)


As the world debates the future of nuclear power plants in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, experts have called for inclusion of binding safety standards in the international nuclear regime.

A group of 15 nuclear experts, including Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, have made the suggestion to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In a letter to IAEA, the experts have recommended that safety standards be made part of discussions at a ministerial conference scheduled for June at Vienna. Stating that the March 11 earthquake in Japan shows nuclear power plants are capable of withstanding some natural catastrophes better than other man-made ones, the experts aaid the site and design of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plants did not take into account low probability events like loss of power due to an earthquake and tsunami.

The experts have also recommended that requirements of new countries wishing to start using nuclear power should be developed and incorporated into the international nuclear safety regime. Countries like India and China, for instance, were looking to expand their nuclear powergeneration capacity. “Such countries must demonstrate their ability to uphold high international standards with regard to safety, security and non-proliferation over the lifetime of their nuclear powerprogrammes.

In putting in place a new safety regime, the options could include performing compulsory inspections or further developing and strengthening existing frameworks through emphasis on national responsibilities in combination with rigorous international peer reviews.“It is to be expected that the international conference to be convened at the IAEA in Vienna this June will provide a starting point for discussions of such measures,” said the statement, sent to Yukiya Amano, director general of IAEA.

The experts have observed that combinations of initiating events, unforeseen in plant designs, resulted in all the severe nuclear accidents on record. This is so of the Three Mile Island episode in the United States in 1979, Chernobyl in the former USSR in 1986 or the recent one in Japan.

The accidents took emergency responders outside the range of circumstances for which they were trained and equipped. “Moreover, hindsight shows that relatively inexpensive improvements, detectable by more extensive analysis beforehand, may have avoided these accidents altogether,” said the statement.

Available at:
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/binding-safety-standards-for-nuclear-regime-needed-experts-tell-iaea/431473/


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E.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Merkel Mulls Six-Point Plan in Nuclear Exit Scenario, FTD Says
Bloomberg
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition has drawn up a six-point plan to help the country meet its power needs should the government opt for a speedier exit from nuclear energy, the Financial Times Deutschland reported.

The proposals, which Merkel will discuss with state prime ministers on April 15, include plans to build off-shore wind parks and subsidize energy-efficient building, the newspaper said, citing a government document.

Merkel would face financial problems in pushing the plan because she has counted on revenue from nuclear power companies to help Germany develop renewable power, the newspaper said.

Available at:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-11/merkel-mulls-six-point-plan-in-nuclear-exit-scenario-ftd-says.html


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2.
Nuclear Energy Inevitable for India's Needs
DNA India
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


India's energy needs cannot be fulfilled without using nuclear energy but it has to learn positively from the incidents in Japan, principal scientific advisor to the government of India R Chidambaram said today.

The former Atomic Energy Commission chairman said that India has to worry about its needs and has to learn positively from the incidents in Japan, (where an earthquake and resultant tsunami triggered a nuclear crisis) when asked about the recent anti-nuclear protests in Germany.

The per capita electricity consumption was an important parameter of Human Development Index and for India to become a developed country, per capita electricity consumption has to increase six to eight times, he told PTI on the sidelines of a function here.

The country's electricity needs cannot be fulfilled without nuclear reactors, he said.

Inaugurating 7th Indo-Australian Conference on IT Security on 'Emerging Security Technologies,' Chidambaram said India has to collaborate with countries as an equal partner to explore new ideas.

He also highlighted the connectivity among different educational and research institutions in the country.

A National Knowledge Network to connect institutions on nuclear research has been taken up by the Union government and will be fully functional in another two years.

Available at:
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_nuclear-energy-inevitable-for-india-s-needs-psa_1530688


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3.
PM Says Korea Will Continue to Pursue Nuclear Energy
Kim Se-jeong
The Korea Times
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said Monday that Seoul will continue to pursue nuclear energy, despite concerns raised by the crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in Japan.

“We have to continue our economic growth, and we do not have alternative sources for energy,” said the prime minister. He was responding to a demand by Rep. Lim Hae-kyu of the ruling Grand National Party that the government reconsider its nuclear policy.

“We should watch how our efforts in (developing) new renewable energy sources proceed, but now is not the time to scrap our nuclear energy policy,”the prime minister said.

Lee Ju-ho, minister of education, science and technology, added that the government was considering a committee on nuclear energy safety under the presidential office, for a more cautious approach.

On the issue of the science-business belt project, the prime minister said that it will be implemented in accordance with the law, doing little in the way of answering opposition from liberal lawmakers to the project.

One of President Lee Myung-bak’s presidential campaign pledges in 2007 was to build the site in the central Chungcheong provinces. But the law that took effect does not stipulate a specific location, raising concerns about possibly carving up the project.

“Doesn’t the fact that the government left out the location mean that the President made an empty pledge to win votes?” said Rep. Yang Seung-jo of the main opposition Democratic Party whose constituency is based in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province.

Yim Tae-hee, presidential chief of staff, has said that the government is not planning separate locations for building a heavy ion accelerator and basic research centers. Lim added that Europe’s CERN was the role model the government had in mind.

Available at:
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2011/04/113_84979.html


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4.
Singapore Nuclear Decision "Long Way Away": Government
AFP
4/11/2011
(for personal use only)


Singapore is "a long way away" from a decision on whether to include nuclear power as part of its energy policy, a senior government official said on Monday.

S. Iswaran, the Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, said a "pre-feasibility study" was being carried out in order to "better understand the complex field of nuclear energy."

But "even with the completion of the pre-feasibility study, we will still be a long way away from making any decisions on nuclear energy for Singapore per se," Iswaran told parliament.

He said the crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was crippled by the March 11 quake and tsunami, made it even more crucial for Singapore to embark on the study.

Insights gained from the study will enable Singapore to understand the industry better since its neighbours including Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia have indicated plans to use atomic power.

"Even if we do not proceed with nuclear energy for Singapore, we need to understand its implications for the region and for us in Singapore," Iswaran said.

The city-state currently generates its power from oil and gas fired power stations.

The month-old nuclear plant crisis in Japan has triggered concerns globally on the use of nuclear power plants to supplement existing energy sources.

But Iswaran said nuclear power cannot be ruled out as an option because of the world's growing thirst for increasingly scarce energy supplies.

Available at:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hQJjFKEK4BYDzzl0Fu7MfblwyUdw?docId=CNG.20d623178627015535a7244f805472ca.151


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F.  Links of Interest

1.
Siemens Exits Nuclear Joint Venture with Areva
Business Week
4/10/2011
(for personal use only)
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9MGS7RO0.htm


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