Iran should hold talks soon with the U.N. Security Council's permanent members and Germany over its nuclear program, Chinese President Hu Jintao said.
Speaking to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Astana, Kazakhstan, Hu Jintao said having a dialogue with the five permanent members and Germany is the best way to guarantee Tehran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, China's official media reported.
The two met ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit Wednesday in the Kazakh capital.
The Chinese leader urged Iran to "take substantial steps in the respect of establishing trust" and "promote the process of dialogue," adding under the current situation, Iran should "grasp all positive elements that are conducive to pushing forward the dialogue process," China's Xinhua news agency reported.
"To properly solve the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation is the fundamental way to ensure Iran's right of peacefully utilizing nuclear power," China Daily quoted Hu as saying.
"This is not only in the interest of the Iranian side, but also conducive to the general situation of peace and stability in the Middle East region."
Iran claims its nuclear program is for peaceful use but the West says it is a cover to make nuclear weapons. Iran faces U.N. sanctions for its uranium enrichment activities.
China and Russia, two of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, insist the issue should be resolved through talks. Other Security Council members are the United States, Britain and France.
The Astana summit would be among the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia would the four observers.
Available at: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/06/15/China-asks-Iran-to-resume-dialogue/UPI-68541308110447/
Iran's first vice president says Tehran has repeatedly voiced its opposition to nuclear arms and Iranians want to see nuclear weapons removed from the face of the planet.
“The Iranian nation wants a world free from nuclear weapons,” Mohammad Reza Rahimi was quoted by IRNA as saying on Tuesday.
“One of the principles that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always emphasized on is fighting terrorism,” he said in a meeting with the visiting Cambodian Deputy Foreign Minister and special envoy Ouch Borith.
Rahimi underscored that Iran's policy is to expand cordial relations with all countries but the Israeli regime.
“Cambodia is one of the countries which Iran is interested in expanding ties with,” the top Iranian official said.
The top Iranian official underlined hegemonic powers have always sought to achieve their evil objectives through dominating other countries.
“They have always tried to distort realities through negative propaganda and by using their media,” Rahimi said.
He underlined that Iran would like more cooperation with other states in order to counter the muscle-flexing of bullying powers.
Rahimi stressed the need to forge closer trade ties between the Iran and Cambodia.
The senior Cambodian official, in turn, lashed out at the anti-Iran Western propaganda campaigns and described the hostile policies of hegemonic powers towards Tehran as “unfair.”
Available at: http://www.presstv.com/detail/184698.html
1. South Korea Says North Korea Proposed Secret Meeting First
Yonhap News Agency
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South Korea's point man on North Korea said Wednesday that Pyongyang first proposed a secret meeting that has become the latest hurdle in inter-Korean relations.
The two Koreas have accused each other of distorting the facts of their secret meeting in Beijing in May after Pyongyang revealed details of the meeting earlier this month.
The North claimed Seoul negotiators had "begged" for three inter-Korean summits and offered an envelope of cash as an inducement, allegations dismissed by Seoul.
South Korea said the meeting was designed to get North Korea to apologize for its two deadly attacks on the South last year, as part of Seoul's efforts to break the current impasse and put inter-Korean ties back on track.
"It was North Korea that made the offer for the unannounced contact," Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said in a parliamentary session.
He said the North's disclosure of the meeting was aimed at getting Seoul into trouble and splitting public opinion in the South.
Still, Sohn Hak-kyu, the leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, urged the two Koreas to put aside differences and pursue a summit again.
Sohn made the comment near the border with North Korea to mark the 11th anniversary of a landmark summit that led to reconciliation and cross-border projects, which have since stalled.
North Korea pressed South Korea to honor the spirit of the landmark summit.
"The implementation of the joint declaration is the only way of overcoming the present reality in which the situation is inching close to an armed conflict," a North Korean committee said in an appeal carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
The two Koreas also held a summit in 2007, but their relations have frayed badly since conservative President Lee Myung-bak took office in Seoul a year later with a policy to link aid to progress in ending the North's nuclear ambitions.
Tensions have soared on the peninsula since the sinking of a South Korean warship in March of last year, blamed on the North. Pyongyang also shelled a South Korean border island in November.
North Korea has spurned Seoul's long-standing demand that Pyongyang take responsibility for the attacks that killed a total of 50 South Koreans. The standoff has kept the two sides from moving their relations forward for more than a year.
Also Wednesday, conservative activists sent some 180,000 leaflets calling for the scrapping of the summit accord. Liberal activists held a separate ceremony near the border. No clashes were reported.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/06/15/48/0301000000AEN20110615009600315F.HTML
2. South Korean Chief Nuke Envoy In Japan To Discuss North Korea
The Korea Herald
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Chief nuclear envoys of South Korea and Japan are to meet in Tokyo Wednesday to discuss ways to resume the suspended dialogue with North Korea over its ongoing nuclear ambitions.
Before heading to Japan Tuesday, Seoul’s chief envoy Wi Sung-lac said he plans to share views with his counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama on whether changes must be made to the existing strategy to get Pyongyang to talk with Seoul before rejoining larger-scale peace talks with regional powers.
“With North Korea turning tough against South Korea recently, we feel the need to reexamine the strategy,” Wi said.
As South Korea has shown a hard-nosed attitude toward mending inter-Korean ties, North Korea has ratcheted up hostile rhetoric against Seoul recently.
At China’s suggestion, parties to the stalled six-nation dialogue had been viewing the strategy of holding inter-Korean nuclear talks as the first step on the way to the resumption of full-scale denuclearization negotiations. The six-way talks, involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia, have been stalled since 2008.
“It is important for South Korea, the U.S. and Japan to maintain strong cooperation over how to resume the six-party talks,” said Wi.
Wi is to return to Seoul later Wednesday.
Available at: http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110614000651
Japanese whale hunters have found traces of radioactive caesium in two of the ocean giants recently harpooned off its shores in the Pacific Ocean, a fisheries agency official said Wednesday.
Two minke whales culled off the northern island of Hokkaido showed readings of 31 becquerels and 24.3 becquerels of caesium per kilogram, he said, adding that the cause may be the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The level is far below the country's recently-set maximum safe limit for seafood of 500 becquerels per kilogram, he said.
"There is no data available to compare whether the readings for radioactive materials are higher than normal," he said.
"We will continue to monitor the development, as we do for all seafood and marine life" that is caught off the Pacific coast, he said.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has leaked radioactive water into the Pacific since it was battered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which disabled cooling systems, triggering reactor meltdowns and explosions.
The Japanese public and some marine life experts have voiced fears that radioactive material in the sea can concentrate among large marine creatures at the top of the food chain that live for a long time.
The government has banned fishing in areas near the crippled nuclear plant, and local governments and fishing cooperatives are conducting regular radiation screenings of seafood along the Pacific coast.
Japan hunts whales under a loophole to an international moratorium that allows killing the sea mammals for "scientific research".
Japan also argues that whaling is an integral part of the island-nation's culture, and whale meat is sold openly in shops and restaurants.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ip9RcTNJked90Ts-tjPlBT_VOMNA?docId=CNG.b80e20ba7a8a0ad5c8dedc098860570c.731
2. Tepco Nuke Disaster Aid Bill Not Enough: JFTC Chief
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The chairman of the Japan Foreign Trade Council Inc. indicated Wednesday that the recently approved bill to help Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) pay for the nuclear disaster does not go far enough toward helping utilities.
Shoei Utsuda, who is also chairman of Mitsui & Co. (8031), told reporters that private power companies that operate nuclear plants face the risk of shouldering massive compensation burdens for accidents caused by natural disasters.
Utsuda said that while "utilities should continue to exist as private companies," the government must assume more responsibility in their management.
He called the conflict between the ruling and opposition blocs over the resignation of Prime Minister Naoto Kan "regrettable," and said "the government is widely seen as not fulfilling its duties."
Available at: http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20110615D15SS865.htm
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government kicked off a weeklong program Wednesday to measure radiation levels in the air at 100 locations to address fears over the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, instead of just relying on one central monitoring site since the emergency erupted in March.
Officials have designated one to three checkpoints per 4 sq. km across Tokyo, excluding mountainous areas. Two groups of metropolitan government employees will take measurements at six to seven locations a day during the week, with the results published almost every day on its website after each measurement.
At a park in Toshima Ward, the first location under the program, three employees measured 0.06 microsievert of radiation 1 meter above the ground and 0.07 microsievert at 5 cm above ground, against the legal limit of 1 millisievert per year for the general public.
Available at: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110615x1.html
Almost three-quarters of Japanese respondents to a newspaper poll published Tuesday favour a gradual phase-out of nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima atomic accident.
The Asahi Shimbun daily said in its weekend opinion poll that only 14 percent were against such a gradual reduction.
The poll also showed 64 percent of respondents believed "natural energy" such as wind and solar power would replace nuclear power in the future, while 24 percent said they did not think so.
The Fukushima nuclear plant, on the northeastern coast facing the Pacific, has leaked radiation since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami crippled cooling systems at the plant, leading to reactor meltdowns.
The worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from their houses, businesses and farms in a 20-kilometre (12-mile) radius around the plant.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan has announced a full review of energy policy, including plans for more reactors, and a push to boost renewables to at least 20 percent of the electricity supply by the 2020s.
The Asahi telephone survey was carried out Saturday and Sunday, covering 3,394 voters across the nation, with 58 percent giving valid responses.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hrPiuylkt7L9cpRiIIHaJM6rTFkw?docId=CNG.eca0bdeb0626fbbd85f544eeaf144943.571
5. Tepco Decontamination To Produce Radioactive Sludge Crisis
Tsuyoshi Inajima and Shunichi Ozasa
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Tokyo Electric Power Co., which is struggling to contain the worst nuclear disaster in 25 years, has another crisis on its hands: finding storage for enough radioactive sludge to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
The utility known as Tepco plans to start decontaminating millions of liters of water poured over melted reactors after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems. By the end of the year it expects to have 2,000 cubic meters of highly radioactive sludge separated from the water, said Teruaki Kobayashi, a nuclear facility manager at Tepco.
“We haven’t determined a final disposal site for the waste,” Kobayashi said in an interview yesterday. “Our priorities are decontaminating radioactive water and maintaining cooling efforts.”
Tepco has yet to say how much radiation has been released by the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant in the three months since the meltdowns started. Government tests in May showed radioactive soil in pockets of areas outside a 20- kilometer (12 mile) exclusion zone around the plant have reached the same level as Chernobyl, where a “dead zone” remains since a reactor exploded in 1986.
Radiation from the plant has spread over 600 square kilometers, according to a report by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan.
The sludge will be put in tanks at the station, where three reactors melted, and moved to a temporary storage unit in December, Kobayashi said. About 105 million liters (28 million gallons) of contaminated water lies in basements and trenches at Fukushima and Tepco expects the amount to almost double by the end of the year.
“Dealing with this type of sludge waste is something Japan never expected and not having the final disposal facilities is akin to building a condominium without a toilet,” said Ken Nakajima, a professor of nuclear engineering at Kyoto University. “It will likely have to be stored at the Fukushima plant for several years,” he said.
The company delayed the start of operations of the decontamination unit supplied by Areva SA to June 17, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at Tepco, said yesterday. The delay was announced as more workers at the plant are registering dangerous levels of radiation.
The utility yesterday said six workers may have been exposed to radiation exceeding the government’s annual limit of 250 millisieverts for atomic plant staff, bringing the total to eight who have crossed the threshhold.
Two of the workers may have received double the 250 millisievert limit, or a level that increases the risk of cancer, according to the World Nuclear Association. The findings are based on preliminary assessments of 2,367 of 3,726 people who worked at the plant in March, Junichi Matsumoto, the utility’s general manager said.
Radiation in the water is estimated at 720,000 tera becquerels, Matsumoto said at a media briefing in Tokyo on June 3. That’s almost as much as the latest estimate of the radiation released into the air in the five days after March 11.
At Chernobyl, the world’s worst nuclear disaster, 5.2 million tera becquerels of radiation was discharged, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said on April 12.
Most of the water poured over the reactors has overflowed or leaked into basements, connecting tunnels and service trenches at the plant, which has six reactors housed in separate buildings. The plant is about 220 kilometers north of Tokyo.
The failure of the cooling systems for reactors and water pools storing spent fuel rods led to explosions and fires at the Fukushima plant, generating a radiation plume that forced the evacuation of more than 50,000 households and contaminated drinking water and food. Tepco has also discharged radiated water into the ocean.
Seawater taken near the plant has a level of radioactive strontium as much as 240 times the legal limit, broadcaster NHK reported on its website yesterday, citing the utility.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-14/tepco-faces-radioactive-sludge-crisis.html
Japan's earthquake-triggered nuclear crisis raised apprehensions about nuclear power around the world but it still makes sense for China, an expert says.
The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant comes at a time when the nuclear industry is already facing uncertainties in Europe and the United States, The New York Times says.
In that scenario, the Times says Asia, especially China, may be the industry's last hope.
China, which already has 13 reactor units in operation, is proceeding with plans to build 28 more, while readying for comprehensive inspections and assessments of nuclear plants.
"China should do be doing what it has been doing," Yun Zhou, a Harvard postdoctoral fellow in nuclear security, told the Times in a telephone interview. "With its population, with its economy, China needs to use nuclear power. And it's better for its power security. The key issue is whether it can maintain the safety record."
Yun said China has placed a high priority on safety, "but if you have 70 or 80 plants, that's a different story."
In Europe, even France, the world's most nuclear power dependent nation, seems to have questions about its continued reliance.
A survey this month found about three-quarters of the respondents supporting withdrawal from nuclear power in the next 25 to 30 years, the report said. Only 22 percent supported building new nuclear power stations.
In the United States, President Barack Obama in February had sought $36 billion in federal-loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors, but after the Japan crisis, the president ordered a "comprehensive review of the safety of our domestic nuclear plants," the report said.
Available at: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/06/15/Asia-seen-as-major-hope-for-nuclear-power/UPI-65471308119324/
2. China, Kazakhstan To Cooperate On Nuclear, Alternative Energy, Pipelines
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China and Kazakhstan agreed to cooperate on nuclear and alternative energy including solar and wind power as the countries deepened bilateral ties and pledged to coordinate on global and regional issues.
Both countries will also ensure “smooth” construction of a proposed expansion of cross-border oil and natural gas pipelines, according to a joint statement posted on the website of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs today. Kazakhstan holds about 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, according to BP Plc.
The two sides agreed to cooperate in areas including energy, resources, technology and healthcare following Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit to Astana yesterday. China and Kazakhstan also agreed to swap about $1 billion of yuan for tenge as the countries reduce the use of dollars in bilateral trade over the next three years.
Kazakhstan will start supplying uranium tablets to China this year, President Nursultan Nazarbayev told reporters. China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group will expand nuclear cooperation with Kazakhstan, according to agreements signed in February. China National Petroleum Corp., the country’s biggest energy company, has investments in the Central Asian nation.
Hu, on an official tour of three nations including Russia and Ukraine, agreed with Nazarbayev to double bilateral trade to $40 billion by 2015, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The president is scheduled to arrive in Russia, whose biggest trading partner is China, tomorrow, according to Assistant Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping. The two countries are in talks to supply 68 billion cubic meters a year of natural gas to China. Pricing differences have held up plans to build gas pipelines that have been discussed for more than a decade.
Energy cooperation between China and Russia is “unique,” Xinhua reported yesterday, citing Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko. There is room for further partnership in electricity, energy-equipment manufacturing, coal, and renewable and clean energy, he was quoted as saying.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-14/china-kazakhstan-to-expand-energy-relations-pledge-regional-coordination.html
3. Lithuania Given Baltic Nuclear Plant Technical Documentation
The Baltic Course
(for personal use only)
Russia's state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom has sent the entire technical documentation on the build project of a nuclear power plant in the Kaliningrad region, the news agency Regnum reports.
All EU member states approve the construction of the nuclear plant in the Kaliningrad region, Rosatom's Deputy Director General Kiril Komarov said on Tuesday. One of the heads of the corporation added that various investors were consulted and it was planned to "sell up to 48% of shares."
When asked why Rosatom speaks about the approval of EU member states though Lithuanian officials have criticised the safety of the Baltic nuclear plant, Komarov said that Russia had not ratified the Espoo convention, but was ready to work in the spirit of the convention, writes LETA/ELTA.
Komarov noted that Lithuania also showed its interest in the Baltic nuclear plant. "We translated the entire technical documentation and transferred it to the Lithuanian Consul General in St Petersburg Ricardas Degutis," said Komarov. According to him, now Russia waits for an invitation to a meeting in Lithuania where it will be ready to answer all the questions.
Available at: http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/energy/?doc=42263
Europe's nuclear industry was dealt another blow this week when Italian voters soundly rejected a referendum that would have restarted the country's nuclear program.
Following last month's decisions to phase out nuclear energy in Germany and Switzerland and a major poll in France indicating public sentiment there has shifted against the industry, Italian voters during the weekend firmly rejected a ballot measure to lift a 24-year-old ban on new reactors.
The anti-nuclear vote dealt a keen blow to plans of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who had advocated building new nuclear plants starting in 2013 to reduce Italy's dependence on foreign energy sources.
The question heading into the weekend referenda on nuclear power and the privatization of the country's water system was whether voter turnout would reach the required 50 percent to make the votes binding.
But almost 57 percent of Italians went to the polls and the vast majority of them -- about 95 percent -- chose to reject Berlusconi's plan and opted for the country to keep in place a ban imposed in 1987, a year after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, election officials said.
Berlusconi admitted defeat on the nuclear issue Monday, telling reporters in Rome, "We shall have to say goodbye to nuclear (energy)," and indicating his government would now do an about-face and concentrate on developing renewable sources, The Guardian reported.
The vote and Berlusconi's reversal on nuclear energy was greeted with euphoria by environmentalists and other opponents who had bitterly campaigned against the allowing a resumption of the Italian nuclear industry.
They noted with irony that Italian voters, who first rejected nuclear power after Chernobyl, opted to do again only weeks after another nuclear disaster, this one at the Fukushima reactor in Japan.
"Twenty-five years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and just three months since the earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc at the Fukushima nuclear complex, Italy, regardless the reckless will of its government, becomes the third country, joining Germany and Switzerland, to exclude nuclear power from their future energy sources," Greenpeace International wrote on its blog Monday.
"We are happy," Carmelo Iacono, president of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology, said in a statement. "(The referendum result) is not an emotional reaction but comes from a considered choice, the choice of the citizens to defend their country and health from the enormous risks of nuclear power, which, we repeat, is the most carcinogenic element that exists."
Despite the strong support of Berlusconi and his center-right government for nuclear power, polls have consistently shown the Italian public opposes reactors as unsafe in their earthquake-prone nation despite their reliance on foreign energy.
The prime minister had sought to supply 20 percent of Italy's power consumption with domestic nuclear energy by 2020 but the referendum result dealt a blow to plans by the Italian electricity utility Enel and Electricite de France, the French energy conglomerate, to build new reactors in the country.
Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy had reached an agreement in 2009 to provide four new reactors under the deal.
The vote also reveals a deepening split in Europe over nuclear energy. While Germany, Switzerland and now Italy have moved to phase it out or ban it, France under Sarkozy and Britain remain firmly committed to the power source.
But a poll conducted for the Journal Du Dimanche by the French Institute for Public Opinion earlier this month indicated French popular sentiment about nuclear energy has swung sharply negative in the wake of Fukushima.
More than 6-in-10 of respondents said they favored a shutdown of nuclear power plants over a 25- to 30-year period, the poll indicated.
Available at: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2011/06/15/Vote-deals-blow-to-Italian-nuke-power-plan/UPI-24611308134700/
5. China Plans To Finish Safety Checks Of Nation’s Nuclear Plants By October
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China plans to finish safety checks of all its nuclear plants by October, completing one stage of a nationwide review of its atomic power industry following Japan’s Fukushima crisis.
Inspection of existing reactors has been completed, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said in a report posted on its website. The checks, which include plants under construction, started in April and will last six months, according to the report dated yesterday.
China, the country with the most nuclear reactors being built, suspended approval of new projects on March 16 after a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami led to Japan’s worst atomic disaster in 25 years. The government will review its long-term development plan for the industry, it said then.
The nation has 13 nuclear generators in commercial operation and 28 under construction, the ministry said. China may have more than 100 atomic reactors by 2020, it said.
Radiation leaks during Japan’s nuclear crisis sparked panic among the Chinese public, including a rush to buy salt, which was seen as a defense against radiation.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-15/china-plans-to-finish-safety-checks-of-nation-s-nuclear-plants-by-october.html
The forces driving the global growth of nuclear energy are the same now as they were before the Japanese disaster.
That was the word sent out recently to shareholders by Toro Energy (TOE). The letter continued: “Energy demand and the desire for internal energy security from a low-carbon, base-load supply will mean continued growth in the industry.”
Your correspondent last week asked one of Australia’s uranium veterans about the outlook. This man was working on uranium projects here in the 1970s onwards and, while he’s moved on to other ventures, he takes a close interest in the uranium sector. And he visits China regularly.
On one such recent visit he asked a senior official whether China would maintain its planned nuclear reactor construction program. Not only did the official confirm this, but did so in a way that left our man with the impression that Beijing has even more ambitious nuclear energy plans up its sleeve. As we have pointed out, China has no alternative; it desperately needs far more base-load power and, while ambitious, its wind energy building program will still be at the mercy of the breezes.
And it looks as if we might actually soon see a uranium IPO -- in fact, two of them.
Excelsior Gold (EXG) announced this morning it was divesting its Northern Territory uranium interests. Excelsior first listed in 2007 as a uranium explorer called Atom Energy. This was at the time of the uranium frenzy when more than 250 listed companies were either uranium plays or tried to add to their appeal by diversifying into the search for yellowcake.
The company now has its Kalgoorlie North gold project and has passed on its uranium ground to two unlisted companies, Parker Resources and Freshwater Minerals, which plan to list on the ASX by the end of September. If those IPOs get away, then the uranium story is back on track.
Which it should be. Despite the Fukushima crisis, the spot price for uranium is still more than 30 per cent higher than during its 2010 lows.
Meanwhile, Toro announced today the former Woodside Petroleum and Alcoa executive Vanessa Guthrie would manage the development of the company’s Wiluna uranium project which is due to begin production in 2013. She will be responsible for shepherding the $270 million project through final state and federal approvals and building and commissioning the mine.
Also today, Uranex (UNX) reported what it calls further high grade uranium intersections from its Mkuju project in Tanzania. The latest drill results included 85m at 0.047 per cent U3O8, 42m at 0.06 per cent and 9m at 0.089 per cent. A second aircore rig starts work this week, with the diamond drilling rig due at Mkuju next month.
WHILE there was no argument over our recent report on the geothermal sector -- that it was kneecapped by the Rudd government decision to abandon the emissions trading scheme and that the new carbon tax will be set too low to make geothermal competitive -- two companies make the point that their projects have a better than average chance.
Petratherm (PTR) has its Paralana flagship project in South Australia along with others in Spain and China. MD Terry Kallis said his company stands out from its peers because it targets shallow “hot spots”, has a lower risk and lower cost heat engineering technology and has received substantial federal grants to enable it progressing to commercial demonstration stage. He says Paralana has successfully drilled a 4km-deep well at Paralana and has a portfolio of projects covering the spectrum of geothermal technologies - including district heating (Madrid), conventional volcanic geothermal (Canary Islands), hot sedimentary aquifer (East Gippsland) as well as Paralana.
Panax Geothermal (PAX) has diversified into Indonesia and is getting close to drilling at its 45 per cent-owned Sokoria project on Flores Island. As the company points out, the economics between Australia and Indonesia are quite different. A well in Australia typically costs between $US12m and $US14 but in Indonesia it’s about $US5m. The key is depth -- at least 4000m here or far more against 2000m in Indonesia.
Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/demand-to-drive-uranium/story-e6frg9ex-1226074952005
7. Hungary MVM Seeks To Expand Nuclear Plant, Expand
Marton Dunai and Krisztina Than
(for personal use only)
Hungary's state electricity firm MVM wants to expand the capacity of its Paks nuclear plant and boost its role in the region's energy markets, primarily in the western Balkans and Romania, the company said on Tuesday.
Hungary's centre-right Fidesz government wants state-owned MVM -- which owns the Paks plant and has also entered the natural gas market as a trader -- to become a significant regional energy player.
The government, which wants to extend the life span of the existing four reactor block by 20 years each as well as expand the capacities -- will make a decision on the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant in September, MVM's CEO Csaba Baji told a news conference.
"The MVM Group, in accordance with the parliament's decision, is doing preparatory work (on the Paks expansion)," Baji said.
He said it was premature to discuss expenses and financing issues, but MVM would seek potential partners who might also participate in the construction of the new capacities.
"The decision will be made in September about what kind of blocks will be built with what capacity, what form, what setup, what financing background, on the site of the Paks nuclear power plant," he said.
Development Minister Tamas Fellegi told the news conference that Hungary needed nuclear power generation to meet its energy needs.
"I personally believe that Hungary is not in a situation to phase out nuclear energy as a source of power," Fellegi said.
He said the energy strategy that the government will discuss later this year would include the Paks capacity expansion plans. He reiterated the decision must take into account the results of stress tests conducted at the plant.
Hungary said earlier that it would issue a tender in early 2012 to expand the Paks plant.
Paks uses four Russian-made VVER-type reactors with a total capacity of about 2,000 megawatts.
Hungary's government recently agreed to buy back a 21.2 percent stake in oil and gas group MOL for 1.88 billion euros ($2.72 billion) from Russia's Surgut , and analysts said the stake could end up at MVM.
Earlier on Tuesday Fellegi said the government wants to use its newly acquired stake in MOL to secure greater clout in regional energy infrastructure issues.
State-owned MVM also seeks a more dominant regional role and wants to boost its role in the energy market in Romania and the western Balkans -- Croatia, Serbia and also possibly Bosnia.
The company wants to grow its earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to 150 billion forints ($819 million) by 2013 and 250 billion by 2020 from about 90 billion in 2010, Deputy Chief Executive Zalan Bacs said.
The company wants to enter the natural gas wholesale market and expand its renewable profile, Bacs added.
He said in Romania, MVM was considering the construction of pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant capacities.
MVM has said it planned to enter the natural gas market as a trader and also possibly the gas shipment market. The company will also build the gas pipeline connecting Hungary and Slovakia, the development minister said.
When asked if MVM could buy the gas pipeline network of MOL's gas shipment unit FGSZ Zrt, Baji said the company did not reckon with this possibility within the next five years.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/14/hungary-energy-mvm-idUSLDE75D1MD20110614
London is close to finishing its list of new nuclear power stations and remains committed to renewable energy goals for 2020, the British energy minister said.
British Energy Minister Charles Hendry told delegates at the CBI Energy conference in London that his government was committed to including nuclear energy in a low-carbon energy mix.
"I can confirm today that we are close to finalizing the NPS (nuclear power stations) and will publish them very shortly, so that they can be put to MPs for approval before the parliamentary recess," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.
Nuclear energy is becoming controversial in the European community in the wake of the Japanese nuclear disaster spawned by a magnitude-9 earthquake in March. Germany made moves to curtail nuclear energy and Italian voters passed a similar measure Monday.
Hendry added that London was committed to getting 15 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2020.
"We are committed to meeting this and in doing so bring a massive boost to the U.K.'s manufacturing industries. But we are not just about setting and following targets for the sake of it," he was quoted as saying. "We need a vision to get us there that provides certainty and clarity for potential investors."
Available at: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2011/06/14/UK-includes-nuclear-energy-in-green-mix/UPI-21951308057083/?spt=hs&or=er
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