Iran's first nuclear power plant, built by Russia, is to be connected to the national grid in early August, the Iranian ambassador to Moscow, Reza Sajjadi, said in media reports on Sunday.
"Russian officials announced that they are ready to inaugurate the (Bushehr) plant and connect its electricity to the national grid in the first 10 days of August," Sajjadi said, quoted by the English-language paper Iran Daily.
Sajjadi made the remarks after a meeting with officials of Russia's nuclear export agency Rosatom, which has built and overseen the construction of the Bushehr plant in southern Iran, the paper said.
The ambassador said Russia's energy minister, Sergei Shmatko, would attend the inauguration ceremony in Bushehr.
Iranian authorities are yet to set an official date for the plant's connection to the national grid, originally scheduled for the end of 2010 but postponed several times due to a series of technical problems.
Iran's nuclear chief, Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, said on June 9 that he could not set a "specific date" for the plant's connection to the grid.
"The work (to make the plant operational) is empirical, difficulties may arise during the work, and it will take time to resolve them," he said on state television. "Thus, one cannot set a specific date for the inauguration."
The Bushehr plant was started up in November 2010 but repeated technical problems delayed its operation, leading to the removal of its fuel in March.
Russia has blamed the delays on Iran for forcing its engineers to work with outdated parts in the facility, while the latest delay in March was pinned on internal wear-and-tear at the plant.
Russian authorities said in early April that the refuelling operation began after the plant had been re-checked and its various pieces "washed through."
The plant, which was officially inaugurated to great fanfare, was started again in early May, with Iranian media announcing it would be connected to the electricity grid in early July.
The construction of the plant started in the 1970s with the help of German company Siemens, which quit the project after the 1979 Islamic revolution over concerns about nuclear proliferation.
In 1994, Russia agreed to complete the plant and provide fuel for it, with the supply deal committing Iran to returning the spent fuel, amid Western concerns over the Islamic republic's controversial uranium enrichment programme.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hxKQ5jTGXvJAFk97kxCU8K75R-MQ?docId=CNG.3c87464718e1d06029b507a4b825c92c.311
2. Iran's Bushehr Plant Almost Ready - Rosatom Chief
(for personal use only)
Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant is almost complete, with all the work finished schedule, state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom's Director Sergey Kirienko said on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on Saturday.
"We have an agreed schedule, all of the work is in the final stages...We've sent a large group of our specialists to Iran, they are now adjusting the systems," Kirienko said.
Under a bilateral agreement, which has received approval from the International Atomic Energy Agency, Russia will initially operate the plant, supplying its fuel and taking away all the spent fuel for the next two or three years, but will eventually hand over full control to Iran.
Available at: http://en.rian.ru/world/20110618/164697270.html
3. UN Report Cites 2 Unreported Long-Range Iranian Missile Launches
(for personal use only)
The United Nations Panel of Experts report on Iran contains information about two previously unreported missile tests by Iran of long-range (approximately 2,000 km) ballistic Sejil/Ashura and Sejil-1 or -2 missiles. The panel does not state that the launches were successful or why the launches were not publicly reported. These launches suggest that the public may be getting only part of the picture of Iran’s long range missile program. The panel cites International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in noting that Iran is the only country in the world to have “developed a missile with the Sejil’s capability, in terms of range and payload, without first having developed a nuclear weapon.”
UN resolution 1929 (2010) states that Iran “shall not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches that use ballistic missile technology…” Iran launched ballistic missiles on six occasions after the passage of UN resolution 1929, four of which were publicly reported by the media, Iran, or other countries. The unreported test launches were reported to the panel by a member state. According to the UN report, the unreported Sejil/Ashura test launch took place in October 2010, and the unreported Sejil-1 or -2 launch occurred in February 2011. Iran also tested in February 2011 its nuclear-capable ballistic missile, Shahab-3, with a range of 900 km. The panel also writes that the Sejil-2 is believed to be a nuclear-capable ballistic missile.
Available at: http://www.isisnucleariran.org/brief/detail/un-report-cites-2-unreported-long-range-iranian-missile-launches/
South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan will make a congratulatory speech on the reelection of Ban Ki-moon as the U.N. secretary-general in New York on Tuesday, after which he will hold talks with U.S. officials over North Korea’s nuclear standoff, the Seoul government said.
Kim left for New York on Monday, four days ahead of his scheduled meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to personally express support for the South Korean diplomat’s reelection as the head of the world body, the Foreign Ministry here said.
Ban, 67, is sure to serve another five years with the 192-member U.N. General Assembly to hold a definitive vote on Tuesday. The former South Korean foreign minister was approved by the Security Council over the weekend and there are no other candidates.
During his stay in New York, Foreign Minister Kim will also hold a congratulatory reception for foreign diplomats in the U.N. and meet with former U.S. ambassador to Seoul Thomas Hubbard, American football champion Hines Ward and others, according to the ministry.
Kim will then fly to Washington to discuss ways of resuming the stalled multinational talks on North Korea’s denuclearization and hold a joint press conference with Clinton.
Seoul has shown signs of easing its attitude toward Pyongyang apparently noting the need to resume the suspended nuclear talks at an early date.
The six-nation talks, involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia, have been suspended since the end of 2008 after Pyongyang walked from the negotiation table, claiming other dialogue partners had failed to keep their promises.
Backed by its traditional ally China, the North has been making increasing efforts to rejoin the talks, apparently desperate to secure food assistance to feed its people.
Available at: http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20110620000646
2. Sharp: No Need to Redeploy Tactical Nuclear Weapons in South Korea
(for personal use only)
The commander of the 28-thousand US troops stationed in South Korea says that there is no need for the South to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons even though North Korea will no doubt continue with its military threats.
US Forces Korea Commander General Walter Sharp made these remarks during a forum organized by the South Korean Army on Monday.
He was responding to a question on the possibility of temporary nuclear deployment as a way to prevent provocative acts by the secretive country, such as the attack on the warship Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year.
Sharp said it is unnecessary to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the South assuring people here that American troops are providing a solid nuclear deterrence for its ally.
And he added that Washington is capable of controlling the nuclear threats from Pyeongyang by using US military assets deployed across the globe.
Hundreds of tactical nuclear weapons were located at American military bases in South Korea during the 1970s, but were removed after the two Koreas agreed on creating a nuclear-free Korean peninsula in 1991.
Available at: http://www.arirang.co.kr/News/News_View.asp?nseq=117254&code=Ne2&category=2
1. Decontamination System Set To Restart Tuesday At Tepco Daiichi Plant
(for personal use only)
The trouble-plagued water decontamination system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex is on track to resume operations Tuesday after breaking down last week, the operator of the plant said.
The launch of the system, which combines Japanese, U.S. and French technology, is considered crucial for bringing the plant's damaged reactors to a cold shutdown and eliminating the release of radiation. About five hours after launching Thursday night, the system stopped early Friday after alarmingly high levels of radiation were detected in its upstream section.
However, a close inspection over the weekend found no major flaws, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) said Monday.
While it was initially feared that the system might have been clogged with sludge, resulting in an accumulation of radioactive materials, "the high levels of radiation were due to the radioactivity of the water the system was treating," Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said.
Tepco expects the system to resume operations Tuesday after trial runs are conducted.
The system is key to Tepco's plan of achieving a so-called "cyclic injection"of water into reactors, in which cooling water is recycled.
Under the current cooling operations, water that is used for cooling the reactors is leaking out from damaged parts of the reactors and is accumulating in the basements of the plant, emitting strong radiation and hampering work to repair the plant. Water is expected to fill up all storage facilities and start overflowing by the end of the month.
The water treatment system has four different components - a Toshiba Corp. oil separator, a cesium removal device developed by Kurion Inc. of the U.S., a decontamination device from France's Areva SA, and desalination equipment built by Hitachi Ltd. and others. The involvement of so many manufacturers and the need to rush the construction has brought about a system that has been plagued with glitches from the very beginning.
Over Sunday, for instance, a pressure relief valve in the Kurion equipment sent false alarms for the second time in four days, forcing Tepco to disable the valves to prevent them from holding up the system.
The Kurion facility has four separate lines, with each consisting of six zeolite-containing cartridges-one for removing oil and radioactive technetium, four for radioactive cesium, and one for iodine.
After the first five hours of operation, Tepco found that cartridge for removing oil and technetium was absorbing radioactive materials far more than initially projected, indicating the need for frequent changes of cartridges. Tepco is now working to figure out how the process of removing radioactive materials can be evened out between the six cartridges.
Available at: http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20110620D20JF392.htm
2. Japan Economy To Suffer If Nuclear Power Axed: Minister
Sylvia Westall and Michael Shields
(for personal use only)
Japan's economy will suffer major damage if it reduces output from nuclear power stations to zero in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, its trade minister said on Monday.
Routine maintenance and public concern since the Fukushima accident on March 11 have left only 19 of Japan's 54 reactors functioning.
"I am fairly convinced that those operating plants can continue operation and those that are shut down for inspection can be resumed," Banri Kaieda told reporters at a Vienna conference on boosting global nuclear safety.
He said if nuclear power was to be reduced to zero, "that could have a major adverse impact on the Japanese industries as well as on Japan's economy."
"Should there be a sudden brake applied on the Japanese economy that could have a very big impact upon the global economy as a whole," he said.
Kaieda said companies and authorities were working to rebuild manufacturing capacity and infrastructure in the region as a way to restore a supply chain whose disruption sent ripples around the world, especially in the car sector.
"It is not fully recovered 100 percent in some of the industrial sectors...but having said that the chains in the supply chain are now linked to each other," he said.
"This has been taking place faster than had originally been anticipated so you can see from this experience that Japanese industries, in particular Japanese manufacturing industries, will be able to recover and reconstruct from the second half of this year," he said through an interpreter.
He said it was crucial to find enough funding to rebuild infrastructure in the region hit by a big earthquake and tsunami despite fiscal constraints on the Japanese government.
Even after reconstruction, Japanese industry has to cope with a strong yen and high commodity prices, he said, and noted that Japan had been able to respond to such shocks in the past.
"I am confident that we will be able to do so and come out stronger like a phoenix from this devastating situation."
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/20/us-nuclear-safety-japan-idUSTRE75J27P20110620
3. Tepco Says Decontamination Halt Won’t Delay Atomic Solution
(for personal use only)
Tokyo Electric Power Co. played down concern that a solution to the crisis at its Fukushima nuclear plant may be delayed, saying it plans to resume clearing radioactive water that’s hindering recovery work.
Decontamination of the water was halted on June 18 after radiation levels in a treatment unit exceeded the limit set by the utility in five hours, instead of one month as expected. The company plans to resume full operation of the system after assessing the cause of the readings, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager, said today in Tokyo.
“Decontamination is the key to solving the problems at the plant,” Tadashi Narabayashi, a nuclear engineering professor at Hokkaido University, said yesterday. “They put together equipment from different manufacturers, which may have made the system as a whole vulnerable.”
Filtering of about 105 million liters (28 million gallons) of water in basements and trenches at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant was halted after the level of cesium in a unit reached 4.7 millisieverts of radiation. Filters generally need replacement at a level of 4 millisieverts, and the company had expected the unit to last about a month, Matsumoto said.
Tokyo Electric hasn’t determined when it will restart decontamination, Matsumoto said.
The company known as Tepco is using a cesium absorption unit from Kurion Inc. of the U.S. After the water passes through that unit it goes to a decontamination facility supplied by Areva SA of France.
“Tepco should have had a very simple water decontamination system of its own,” Narabayashi said. “Then, it’s easy to fix or replace a troubled part by themselves.”
Tepco on April 17 outlined plans to end within six to nine months the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. The first stage is to reduce radiation levels at the plant within three months and then achieve a so-called cold shutdown where reactor temperatures fall below 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Fukushima plant had three reactor meltdowns after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out power and backup generators, crippling its cooling systems. Japan in April raised the severity rating of the crisis to 7, the highest on an international scale and the same as the Chernobyl disaster.
Tepco has been criticized for its slow response to the accident and for publishing erroneous radiation data, while the government-run Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has been blamed for not ensuring the utility heeded warnings that a tsunami could overwhelm the plant’s defenses.
The utility is now the subject of study by Yotaro Hatamura, who was appointed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan last month to head a 10-member team conducting an “impartial and multifaceted” investigation into what went wrong and how to prevent a repeat.
The nation’s largest banks and insurers, including Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co., will provide short-term operating funds to Tokyo Electric, according to local media reports.
Japan’s government is discussing plans for a fund of several hundred billion yen to finance reconstruction and support families and companies in the disaster-hit prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate, the Nikkei newspaper reported yesterday.
Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato reiterated his opposition to restarting Tepco’s nuclear reactors in the prefecture, the Asahi newspaper reported yesterday. Sato said he will respect and adhere to the denuclearization outline of a prefectural committee on reconstruction, the newspaper reported.
Trade Minister Banri Kaieda said on June 18 that he may let utilities restart nuclear generators that had been shut for routine maintenance. There are negatives to suspending all nuclear power, Kaieda said, citing an expected “gap” in power supply and demand in Japan’s coming summer months.
Hatamura indicated his team will probe whether an earthquake-prone country such as Japan should build its energy policy around nuclear plants. Because of the inherent dangers, it’s a mistake to treat the industry as safe, he said.
Tepco shares rose 4 percent to close at 314 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange today. The stock has fallen 85 percent since the day before the quake.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-19/tepco-says-failure-at-water-decontamination-won-t-delay-nuclear-shutdown.html
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday urged a worldwide review of safety measures to prevent new nuclear disasters, but acknowledged that since his organization lacks the authority to enforce rules any improvements are only effective if countries apply them.
While some countries at the 151-member IAEA's meeting want any new safety regime to be mandatory, most prefer them to be voluntary and don't want a regulatory role for IAEA. If the IAEA cannot enforce safety standards, those rules will be only as good as they are being enforced by IAEA nations.
"Even the best safety standards are useless unless they are actually implemented," Amano said.
Asked outside the meeting if he would like to see the IAEA have the same authority against safety violators as it now has against nuclear proliferators — which includes referral to the U.N. Security Council — he said: "I do not exclude that possibility."
But he said a sense of post-Fukushima urgency dictated action now under existing rules.
"We have to move by days, weeks, months, and I cannot wait years" — the time it would take to revise the IAEA's mandate for the 35-nation board — he said. "We need to have a sense of urgency."
Outlining a five-point plan to strengthen nuclear reactor safety, Amano called for strengthening IAEA standards and ensuring they are applied; establishing regular safety reviews of all the world's reactors; beefing up the effectiveness of national regulatory bodies; strengthening global emergency response systems, and increasing IAEA input in responding to emergencies.
A draft of the conference's ministerial statement made available to The Associated Press showed that the gathering was content to work on upgrading present safety practices and emergency measures without giving the IAEA an enforcing role.
It called only for "a strengthened role of the IAEA in emergency preparedness and response by promoting and possibly expanding existing IAEA response and assistance capabilities." And it urged countries on the threshold of civilian nuclear programs to "create a nuclear safety infrastructure based on IAEA safety standards."
Amano also urged that the INES scale — which classifies nuclear incidents on a seven-point scale — be revamped. The March accident at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi accident was upgraded to seven - the highest on the scale — only on April 12. That was more than a month after a 9-magnitute earthquake and a devastating tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima reactor's cooling system and radiation started leaking into the atmosphere.
"Safety standards ... in particular those pertaining to multiple severe hazards such as tsunamis and earthquakes should be reviewed," Amano told the meeting. He proposed "IAEA international expert peer reviews" to complement national safety checks, and establishing stockpiles of emergency equipment by reactor operators to try and prevent a replay of Fukushima.
"Many countries have accepted (peer reviews) already; European countries, Japan, the United States," he told reporters outside the meeting. "I would like to expand it, so that all nuclear power plants will see a peer review on a random basis."
Speaking for Japan, Economics Minister Banri Kaieda pledged that his country "will take drastic measures to ensure the highest level of safety" for its reactor network.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jdZppkE12M3DgUcGGogc6zO9Pi3A?docId=4f702073e9894ec9b8bd3c57b5fa1014
A five-day Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, convened by the IAEA in Vienna commenced on Monday, 20 June 2011. In the wake of the 11 March 2011 nuclear accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan that was caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, the Conference was called to identify the lessons learned from the accident and to strengthen nuclear safety throughout the world. In many countries, the accident and its aftermath have shaken public confidence in the safety of nuclear power plants.
Opened by its President, Ambassador Antonio Guerreiro of Brazil, the Conference will be addressed by the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, to be followed by Ministers and high-level officials delivering national statements.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano stated that, "The IAEA, with its broad membership and unrivalled expertise in all aspects of nuclear energy and nuclear safety, is the focal point for international follow-up to the Fukushima Daiichi accident."
The IAEA's Ministerial Conference will provide an opportunity to discuss, at the ministerial and senior technical level, broader issues relating to nuclear safety. The IAEA International Fact Finding Expert Mission's report will be presented to Ministers, offering a preliminary assessment of the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and recommending actions for safety improvements. The Conference will also discuss the IAEA's central role in nuclear safety issues and how best to mobilize the IAEA's unique breadth and depth of experience and expertise in coordinating efforts to ensure that the most robust nuclear safety standards are applied as broadly as possible internationally.
Working sessions will cover future actions for the continuous improvement of nuclear installation safety, the initial response to the accident, emergency preparedness and response, lessons learned in response to the accident and the way forward, as well as the global nuclear safety framework. A wide range of experts will participate in working sessions, including representatives from nuclear regulatory agencies, technical service organizations, international organizations and NGOs.
During the Conference, Ministers are expected to adopt a Declaration expressing their resolve to enhance nuclear safety around the world.
Post-Fukushima Nuclear Safety Framework
Looking forward to the Conferenc's outcome the Director General said, "The Ministerial Conference will be part of a lengthy process of establishing a comprehensive post-Fukushima nuclear safety framework, building on the valuable system that is already in place."
The IAEA responded immediately to the accident: the Incident and Emergency Centre was activated, Director General Amano visited Japan, the IAEA Board of Governors was convened to discuss the IAEA response to the accident, a number of specialized expert missions were dispatched to Japan to assist in understanding the accident and to provide assistance and expertise, including, more recently, a 10-day Fact Finding Mission. Since 15 March 2011, the IAEA Secretariat has been providing regular briefings for Member States and the international media.
On 30 March 2011, the Director General called for a Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, with broad support from Member States.
Available at: http://www.iaea.or.at/newscenter/news/2011/confsafety200611.html
3. Nuclear Watchdog Wants New Safety Checks After Fukushima
(for personal use only)
The head of the UN nuclear watchdog has called for strengthened international safety checks to help prevent a repeat of Japan's nuclear crisis at Fukushima.
Yukiya Amano said UN experts should be able to carry out random reviews of nuclear power stations.
He has also called for countries to carry out risk assessments on their reactors within 18 months.
The watchdog, the IAEA, is holding a meeting in Vienna aimed at improving nuclear safety.
Officials from 150 nations are meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) offices in Vienna.
Mr Amano said nations had to respond to the great public anxiety caused by the Fukushima accident.
"Public confidence in the safety of nuclear power has been badly shaken. However, nuclear power will remain important for many countries, so it is imperative that the most stringent safety measures and implemented everywhere," he said.
He also UN experts to be permitted to perform random safety reviews of their reactors.
The suggestion that UN experts perform random checks is controversial, says the BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna.
At the moment, there are no compulsory international nuclear safety regulations as many countries believe nuclear safety is the responsibility of individual states.
The Fukushima disaster has prompted widespread public concern about nuclear safety.
The nuclear plant's cooling systems were knocked out by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. The disaster caused meltdown at three of the reactors.
More than three months after the accident, the facility is still leaking radioactive material.
Germany has decided to shut down all its reactors by 2022 and Italy has voted against plans to revive nuclear power.
The IAEA report on the Fukushima accident is to be published on Monday at the conference.
Leaks from the report indicate it has found that Japan did not follow all the proper guidelines for how to respond to the crisis.
It failed to follow some safety measures, and did not learn from past threats to nuclear plants in areas prone to tsunami risk, according to leaks.
But it will also praise the dangerous and hard work carried out by Japan's nuclear workers.
"The operators were faced with a catastrophic, unprecedented emergency scenario with no power, reactor control or instrumentation," the 160-page report will say.
Some 110,000 tonnes of water have built up during efforts to cool reactors since the twin natural disasters, hampering work to bring the plant under control.
The contaminated water, enough to fill 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools, is increasing by 500 tonnes a day as fresh water is continuously being injected to cool the reactors.
An operation on Friday to decontaminate the water was abandoned after just a few hours because of a rapid rise in radiation.
Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that storage facilities are filling up, so a delay in restarting the filtering system could cause the water to overflow into the sea in about a week.
Fukushima is the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986.
Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13835554
4. IAEA Calls For Tsunami Warning System to Improve Nuclear Safety
(for personal use only)
The International Atomic Energy Agency outlined the need to establish an "active tsunami warning system" to enhance the safety of nuclear power plants in a report made available Friday.
Such a system was not available at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant when it was hit by the March 11 tsunami, leaving no time for an appropriate response to the event, the report says.
"Apparently, the tsunami warning and notification system was not available to provide an appropriate and timely response for plant reaction to the event," IAEA nuclear safety experts say in the report.
In the report's 160 pages, the experts, who visited Japan between May 24 and June 2, list 15 conclusions and 16 lessons learned from the accident, outlining how safety of nuclear power plants can be improved worldwide when it comes to protecting facilities against external threats.
The report mentions the importance of protective measures against "infrequent and complex combinations of external events" when choosing a site for and planning a nuclear power plant.
The need to establish secure alternative power sources in case off-site power is lost and to have well-trained and experienced staff are also mentioned.
The experts urge the international community to "take advantage of the unique opportunity created by the Fukushima accident to seek to learn and improve worldwide nuclear safety." The team concluded that a followup mission "should look at the lessons to be learned from the emergency response on- and off-site."They also give credit to the people struggling on the ground with the crisis, concluding that "given the extreme circumstances of this accident the local management of the accident has been conducted in the best way possible."
Available at: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110619a6.html
1. French Industry Minister Rejects Poll Backing Nuclear Withdrawal
Tara Patel, Bloomberg
(for personal use only)
French Industry Minister Eric Besson rejected the findings of an opinion poll that called for the gradual phasing-out of the country’s 58 nuclear reactors.
“I don’t think it would be a good thing for the French, for our economy, for employment and for our competitiveness and our purchasing power” if the country abandoned atomic power, Besson told RMC radio today. “What would be the cost in terms of energy independence?”
France, which depends on nuclear power for about three quarters of its electricity, should “progressively” exit from atomic energy, according to 60 percent of respondents to a Viavoice opinion poll published in today’s Liberation newspaper. Thirty-five percent are against the change, the newspaper said.
Surveys in France since reactor meltdowns in Japan in March have indicated mixed support for the future of an industry that employs an estimated 200,000 people including workers at Electricite de France SA’s reactors. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a plan to switch off the country’s atomic reactors by 2022 while Swiss lawmakers this month voted to back the government’s plan to phase out the energy by 2034. Italians voted in a referendum this month to ban nuclear power.
Fifty-one percent of respondents in an Ifop survey commissioned by the European Green party published March 21 said France’s reactors, along with its nuclear energy policy, should be phased out in the next 25 years. Just 19 percent wanted a more rapid pullout.
A TNS Sofres poll organized by Paris-based Electricite de France SA, operator of the country’s reactors, found that 55 percent of those surveyed were against abandoning nuclear energy, even as 68 percent said an accident like Fukushima was possible in France.
“I don’t think the same French who are saying they want to get out of nuclear would accept to pay 50 or 60 percent more for their power,” Besson said today. “For a generation, we don’t have another solution to produce low cost energy.”
Besson said renewable energies made from wind turbines and solar panels can be used intermittently when weather conditions permit energy production, though only nuclear, large hydroelectric and thermal installations can provide reliable base power.
“The key is to discover how to store” solar energy, he said. “Imagine having in your car a giant battery that would allow you to store solar energy, I would be the first to say let’s get out of nuclear.”
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-20/french-industry-minister-rejects-poll-backing-nuclear-withdrawal.html
The Federal Government says a French nuclear energy company has tried to block a push for the world heritage listing of land near Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory.
An Australian delegation has travelled to Paris for a meeting of the World Heritage Committee to try to get the Koongarra area added to Kakadu.
The Government says French energy giant Areva formally requested the nomination of Koongarra be removed from the agenda of the meeting.
When Kakadu was declared a national park in 1979, a small section of land was left off the map.
Known as Koongarra, it contains a major uranium deposit that was discovered in 1970, and for which Areva holds exploration licences.
Last year, the only remaining traditional owner for the area, Jeffrey Lee, asked for the land to be added to Kakadu National Park, where he works as a ranger.
Mr Lee has joined the Australian delegation in Paris and says he wants his land included as part of Kakadu's world heritage listing.
"I've been fighting for Koongarra now for so many years," he said.
According to reports at the time, his decision went against the wishes of his father and grandfather who wanted uranium mining to go ahead.
Last year, The Age newspaper reported that Mr Lee, the sole member of the Djok clan and senior custodian of the land known as Koongarra, could have become one of Australia's richest men if he had allowed Areva to extract more than 14,000 tonnes of uranium from its 12.5 square kilometre mineral lease in the area.
Mr Lee had been under "enormous pressure ... for a long time" to change his mind about including the land in Kakadu, according to the report.
The Koongarra uranium deposit is located adjacent to an escarpment about 30 kilometres south of the existing Ranger uranium mine and three kilometres east of the popular tourist destination, Nourlangie Rock.
The value of the uranium there has been estimated to be more than $5 billion.
Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/06/20/3248577.htm?site=darwin§ion=news
Nuclear power is still a viable source of global energy despite the crisis in Japan, the OECD chief said Monday.
Angel Gurria, head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, said nuclear power remains necessary to meet growing energy needs but also voiced support for fuel sources such as solar and water power.
"The question is not to abandon the (nuclear) programmes... safety indeed is a great concern, but we believe very strongly nuclear continues to be a part of the solution," he told a press conference on the sidelines of a "Green Growth" summit.
Gurria said human error -- one of the most common causes of nuclear accidents -- can be overcome.
"We can learn from our own mistakes. That's the conclusion," he said, adding that a nuclear energy agency within the OECD is helping Japan review safety measures at its nuclear plants.
The OECD, a group of 34 countries committed to democracy and the market economy, last month presented green growth strategies to coordinate with each other on renewable energy.
The OECD will provide country-specific and industry-specific guidance, Gurria said.
Masayoshi Son, the chief of Japanese Internet and telecom giant Softbank, urged nations to focus more on green energy.
The crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant was sparked by an earthquake and tsunami but could have happened in quake-free zones, he said.
"Most of the severe accidents in nuclear power were caused by human error, not because of earthquakes... human error can happen anywhere in the world," Son told the forum.
Son said 34 out of 47 local governments in Japan had joined his campaign to steer the country away from atomic power to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal.
Japan's richest man recently announced the construction of 10 large solar power plants across the country.
The Fukushima accident has sparked a renewed global debate about the safety of nuclear power.
Germany in May became the first major industrialised power to agree an end to nuclear power, with a phase-out to be completed by 2022 for the world's number four economy.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gtuFHzonm5m58vMjaPOqpqClI0Qw?docId=CNG.293ff6858d87c5fc281af7f70a60f3ca.551
4. BARC Sets Up ‘Virtual’ Nuclear Data Physics Centre
(for personal use only)
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has set up a ‘virtual’ nuclear data physics centre to enable greater visibility of India’s research in this area at the global platform.
Department of Atomic Energy and Board of Research in Nuclear Science of the government of India have already sanctioned funds for three years (2011-2014) for the NDPCI, S Ganesan, Head of Nuclear Data Section, Reactor Physics Design Division and Project-in-Charge, NDPCI told PTI.
The basic nuclear data physics research is essential in shaping concepts of nuclear power of advanced reactor designs and safety, he said.
With BARC acting as the nodal agency, NDPCI, will serve as the main hub for overall coordination of nuclear data activities in India with members drawn from national laboratories and universities.
“The NDPCI at BARC is promoting the use of accurate nuclear data and its physics usage in all applications including in development of indigenous software for Monte Carlo codes and discrete ordinate codes for advanced reactor applications,” Mr. Ganesan said.
The nuclear scientist said India became the 14th member of the International Network of Nuclear Reaction Data Centres (NRDC) in 2008 after being invited to join the international network.
NRDC constitutes a worldwide cooperation of nuclear data centres under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria. The Network was established in the early sixties to coordinate the world-wide collection, compilation and dissemination of nuclear reaction data.
Last month, India participated as a full member of International Network of Nuclear Reaction Data Centres (NRDC) at the IAEA, Ganesan said.
“India has been carrying out a number of original nuclear data physics activities during the last six years. The members of NRDC were all in praise for BARC for these new initiatives in nuclear data physics and especially for contributing more than 200 Indian EXFOR (internationally agreed format for the Raw Experimental Numerical Nuclear Physics Data) entries based upon Indian nuclear physics experiments, since 2006,” he said.
Mr. Ganesan said the roadmap of NDPCI will cover a wide range of power and non-power applications including medical applications in the Indian context with a balance of nuclear data physics activities by a well-defined team of nuclear physicists, engineers, mathematicians, radio-chemists and software information management.
Introduction of EXFOR culture in people including in basic nuclear physics has become relatively an easier task with the new managerial initiatives of NDPCI holding phenomenally successful EXFOR workshops in different parts of India, he said.
NDPCI has been very successful in roping people from various fields (Nuclear Physics, Reactor and Radiochemistry Divisions of DAE’s basic research establishments and others) and students and staff from various universities across India.
“It is a very unique activity where both experimentalists and theoreticians were covered,” Mr. Ganesan said.
NDPCI is evolving a strong community of EXFOR compilers in India. Regular staff to perform EXFOR compilations is being planned, he said.
NDPCI is identifying university staff and awarding contracts on EXFOR compilations. The first such DAE-BRNS contract has already been awarded to Prof. Betylda Jyrwa, North Eastern University, Shillong, Meghalaya in May 2011, Mr. Ganesan said.
Since the discovery of neutron, there are more than 18,932 experimental data including neutron induced reaction, charged particle induced reactions and photon induced reaction. “India’s contribution of 200 entries is considered very significant by the international community,” Mr. Ganesan said.
Stressing on the importance of NDPCI, he said even after more than six decades since the discovery of nuclear fission process, the basic nuclear physics experimental data continues to remain more uncertain than the target accuracies needed by reactor designers who rigorously desire to propagate error in simulations.
Therefore, experimental critical facility programme to enable integral validation studies is also an essential part of any serious nuclear programme to speed up implementation of nuclear energy, he said.
“This programme requires covariance data at differential and integral level,” Mr. Ganesan emphasised.
Basic physics understanding and better data physics of nuclear interactions continue to be rigorously sought by nuclear design communities in order to extrapolate conditions in power plants such as higher burn-up and higher temperatures, which are not covered in the room temperature fresh core one-to-one mock experiments.
“The safety and operational requirements of existing power plants have been engineered with a number of one-to-one mockup experiments providing adequate and conservative safety margins,” he said
Yet another ongoing activity of NDPCI is criticality benchmarking of reactors which helps in integrally validating nuclear data and methods of computer simulations.
In 2005, Indian scientists completed successfully the criticality benchmarking of the 30 kilowatt KAMINI research reactor (the only U-233 fuelled reactor operating in the world) operating at Kalpakkam which was completed, peer reviewed and published in the International Handbook of Evaluated Criticality Safety Benchmark Experiments (ICSBEP).
“Interestingly after India joined the select band of countries and contributed Kamini Benchmark, the Indian scientists are able to access all the benchmark specifications for over 4,400 experimental benchmark documents of other countries,” Mr. Ganesan added.
In 2008, the international benchmarking of PURNIMA-II (Uranium 233-nitrate solution) reactor has been completed and already accepted by the IAEA and US department of Energy.
Presently, India has undertaken the international benchmarking procedures for the experimental reactor PURNIMA-I. The benchmarking of PURNIMA-I, India’s first fast reactor fuelled with plutonium oxide that went critical in 1972 was completed recently and critical international peer review is in progress.
“The benchmark specifications are intended for use by criticality safety engineers to validate calculation techniques safety margins for operations with fissile material,” he added.
Available at: http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/article2117907.ece
5. Bulgaria Seeks To Freeze Belene Nuke Project For Three More Months
The Sofia Echo
(for personal use only)
Bulgaria has offered Russia to freeze the Belene nuke plant project by a further three months starting from July, Economy Minister Traicho Traikov said on June 17 2011 on the sidelines of a conference on energy infrastructure held in Sofia.
"We are proposing a three-month freeze on the project to be able to catch up with so called back-office work," Traikov said.
Later on June 17, Vladimir Karolev, Bulgaria's consultant on the project, said the move had been proposed by HSBC, the UK bank advising Bulgaria on the plant at Belene.
HSBC, which was selected by the state to consult it on the construction of the nuclear power plant in late 2010, is expected to complete its review on the project by the end of August.
Traikov declined to comment on Moscow's position about the proposal. According to sources close to the negotiations, Bulgaria's state-owned electricity utility NEK would probably sign yet another annex to the main contract to arrange the delay in the project.
Bulgaria practically put on hold the plant's construction in 2009 after the withdrawal of a strategic investor, Germany's RWE.
Prior to Traikov's statement, Russia's energy minister Sergei Shmatko said that talks about the price of the Belene plant would be probably completed in the next two to three months, since Bulgaria had requested the signing of a new annex on the project's extension in July.
Available at: http://www.sofiaecho.com/2011/06/19/1108965_bulgaria-seeks-to-freeze-belene-nuke-project-for-three-more-months
Germany's nuclear lobby is mulling plans to take the German government to constitutional court, to halt the country's nuclear exit and seek billions in damages, the online edition of Der Spiegel said on Sunday.
A legal opinion commissioned by utility E.On (EONGn.DE) has concluded that the German government's plan to exit nuclear energy by 2022 is unconstitutional, Spiegel's Web site said.
The legal opinion, which was prepared for E.On by law firm Gleiss Lutz, says Germany's current energy strategy infringes on basic property rights enshrined in Germany's constitution, Der Spiegel said, citing a copy of the document.
E.On has said it faces extra financial damages from the fixed shut-off dates, which came in contrast to assumptions that all reactors would run up to 2021-22, and would seek compensation.
Rival utility RWE has also signaled it was readying a legal fight over the government's move to shut the oldest plants.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/19/utilities-legalchallenge-idUSLDE75I05W20110619?rpc=401&feedType=RSS&feedName=rbssIndustryMaterialsUtilitiesNews&rpc=401
7. Indonesian President Backs Away From Nuclear Power Plant Proposal
(for personal use only)
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has poured cold water on the idea of building nuclear power plants in Indonesia.
Yudhoyono’s comments in Japan are likely to be a major blow to Indonesia’s nuclear lobby, which most recently proposed two sites in Bangka Belitung province for two nuclear power plants, claiming it had the support of local people.
Speaking during his visit to Japan on Friday, Yudhoyono was quoted by the Kyodo News as saying he had strong reservations about following through with the plans in Indonesia, which like Japan is susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis.
“If we could build energy sources other than a nuclear energy plant, we will choose those kinds of energy sources,” Yudhoyono told Kyodo in Tokyo, adding that nuclear power was “very much debatable” and that safety must be ensured before going ahead.
“What happened in Japan last March can happen in Indonesia because (the two countries’) geography is very much similar,” he said in reference to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which triggered an ongoing nuclear disaster.
Kyodo interpreted the remarks as meaning that Indonesia was “unlikely” to begin building a nuclear plant during his final term in office, which ends in October 2014.
Yudhoyono was quoted as saying that alternative sources of energy, including geothermal, solar and hydroelectric power, should be considered.
Available at: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/business/indonesian-president-backs-away-from-nuclear-power-plant-proposal/447676
1. China Calls For Strengthened Global Nuclear Safety Standards
Xinhua News Agency
(for personal use only)
China on Monday called on the international community to take urgent measures to address nuclear safety.
Wang Yiren, head of China Atomic Energy Authority, made the appeal at a ministerial conference on nuclear safety hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.
"It is an important and urgent mission before us to draw lessons from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and strengthen international cooperation in nuclear safety to jointly promote safe development of nuclear energy," Wang told the conference.
Wang, who is the leader of the Chinese delegation, said lessons should be drawn from the nuclear crisis in Japan and a full review should be made under the IAEA's auspices on technical risks, management system, decision-making mechanism, mitigation measures, emergency response and information circulation both before and after an accident.
Meanwhile, global nuclear safety standards should be improved, Wang said, adding that the IAEA should give priority to the review of standards on site selection of nuclear power plants.
More stringent requirements should be imposed on nuclear power plant sites prone to earthquakes or other natural disasters, he added.
Wang also called on the international community to strengthen the sharing and exchange of information on nuclear safety, and stressed the necessity to give full play to the leading role of the IAEA in global nuclear safety cooperation.
The IAEA should help promote the establishment of regional centers of nuclear emergency response so that the member states could be able to support each other and share resources when nuclear accidents happen.
Wang also said the Chinese government attaches great importance to nuclear safety and always insists on the safety-first principle.
"China will draw lessons from the Fukushima nuclear accident, take appropriate measures to further increase the capacity of nuclear facilities to respond to extreme natural disasters and improve its nuclear emergency response capabilities," he said.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-06/20/c_13940242.htm
2. Israel Reveals It Has Returned Dozens Of Kilograms Of Nuclear Waste To U.S.
(for personal use only)
Israel has returned nuclear waste from its Sorek nuclear reactor to the U.S., the head of Israel's Nuclear Energy Commission Dr Shaul Horev revealed on Monday.
Speaking at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ministerial conference on nuclear safety in Vienna, Horev did not specify the exact amount of waste that had been returned, but according to estimates, Israel has sent back at least dozens of kilograms, probably more, of 93% enriched uranium, which was used to power the Sorek reactor.
The operation took place after Israel's Nuclear Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy signed an agreement for the return of the nuclear waste over a year and a half ago. After the agreement was signed, an American ship collected nuclear waste from both Israel and Turkey.
The Sorek research reactor is a small five megawatt facility that was donated to Israel by the U.S. within the framework of former president David Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" program. Israel also received 93% enriched uranium to fuel the reactor. The reactor has remained under IAEA supervision for years.
The transfer was part of special U.S. government program to stop nuclear waste, which can be recycled and used to manufacture nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorist organizations. The effort targets mainly eastern European countries and countries from the former Soviet Republic.
According to a WikiLeaks document uncovered by Haaretz a few months ago, the U.S. originally proposed the deal to Israel in 2005, yet the Nuclear Energy Commission delayed its acceptance of the deal, claiming that the reason was the high handling fee for participation in the program. Yet the real reason was that it wanted to hold on to the nuclear waste. The Nuclear Energy Commission did not respond to the Haaretz report at the time, and did not reveal that it had actually already signed the agreement with the U.S. and that the nuclear waste had been returned.
The U.S. stopped supplying enriched uranium for the Sorek reactor as early as 1977 following a law passed by the U.S. Congress and because Israel was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Haaretz reported at the time. However, according to some Israeli sources, Israel still has an adequate stock of enriched uranium, supplied by the U.S. before the embargo and the prohibition of the sale of enriched uranium was put in place, to keep the Sorek reactor operating on the part-time basis that it has been for years. According to American data, the U.S. provided between 1960-1975, 19 kilograms of highly enriched uranium to fuel the reactor.
The agreement with the U.S. does not apply to the Dimona nuclear reactor, where international sources believe Israel produces fissile material from uranium and produces plutonium for stockpile of nuclear weapons, and waste from Dimona is not being returned to the U.S.
Various types of radioactive waste from Sorek are stored in Dimona.
In an interview with Haaretz a few years ago, former head of the Israeli Committee for Nuclear safety, Tzvi Kamil, said that the materials at Dimona were stored safely and strictly monitored and there was no risk of them leaking.
In his speech, Horev also discussed a recent decision to make his deputy, Yishai Levanon, report directly to the Prime Minister, who is also the chairperson of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, in the interests of increasing nuclear safety.
Levanon, who is with Horev in Vienna, now has the final word regarding decisions granting licenses to units in the nuclear cores that wish to purchase equipment, technology or other material.
Horev emphasized that even though Israel is a not a signatory of the NPT, it has for years fulfilled all even the strictest requirements of the IAEA.
Horev also said that the reactor at Dimona 12 km from the nearest town, a satisfactory distance in the event of a radioactive leak. The reactor is also equipped with monitoring equipment under the supervision of the Ministry for Environmental Protection, and the Atomic Energy Commission has also donated monitoring equipment to the Dimona municipality for supervision.
The Sorek reactor is 3km from Yavne's industrial quarter. According to Atomic Energy Commission officials, in the U.S. nuclear reactors like Sorek are located in the middle of urban areas, such as MIT's reactor in Boston, and another one in Washington. They also emphasized that these reactors have far smaller output and capacity than Japanese reactors, which have an output of 750 megawatts and produced electricity.
Despite the best efforts of the IAEA, international calls to close nuclear reactors in the wake of the disaster in Japan earlier this year are growing steadily. In Israel, years before the Japan disaster, environmental protection activists have called for the closure of the Sorek and Dimona reactors.
Available at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-reveals-it-has-returned-dozens-of-kilograms-of-nuclear-waste-to-u-s-1.368746
3. Russian Officials: Numerous Shortcomings At Nuclear Plants Near Finland
(for personal use only)
Inspections of Russian nuclear power plants have revealed serious shortcomings in the safety of the plants – particularly in the preparations for earthquakes and other natural disasters.
The difficulties emerge in a report by the Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom, which was acquired by the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.The paper wrote on Sunday that many of the problems apply to Russian nuclear installations in general. However, the greatest risks are in old reactors located in areas near Finland and Norway – on the Kola Peninsula and the St. Petersburg region.
In several countries, including Russia, nuclear power plants have undergone “stress tests” following the nuclear accident which occurred at the Japanese plant in Fukushima in March.
Keijo Valtonen, an official at the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority Finland (STUK), expects that the results of the inspections conducted in Russia will be available in Finland soon.
Valtonen says that most of Russia’s nuclear plants meet Western safety standards, but that new threats might arise in inspections made after the leaks in Fukushima. He notes that earthquake risks for nuclear plants are always assessed locally, which is why the risks vary according to the location of the plant.
In addition to the earthquake risk the Rosatom report warns of inadequate reserve cooling systems in Russian plants. Nuclear fuel storage facilities were also shown to be inadequate in some places, and there is a shortage of trained maintenance personnel and inspectors in Russia.
The report lists a total of 31 shortcomings.
According to Valtonen, judging from the deficiencies that were listed, the Russians have made an open assessment of the problems. Norwegian experts also feel that the assessments are reliable.
The report also mentions the Sosnovy Bor nuclear power plant near St. Petersburg, which has been a cause for concern in Finland for some time.
The Sosnovy Bor plant uses the same reactor technology as what was used in Chernobyl, where the world’s worst nuclear accident took place in 1986. A mitigating factor in the matter is that the area is not especially prone to earthquakes.
Nuclear safety has also been assessed in Finland, in the wake of Fukushima. According to Valtonen, the risk reports made at the national level are to be given over to international assessment. “If shortcomings are noticed, drawing conclusions is a matter for each individual country.”
Available at: http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Russian+officials+numerous+shortcomings+at+nuclear+plants+near+Finland/1135267043718
Switzerland will call for mandatory nuclear safety regulations at a high-level gathering being held in Vienna in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The weeklong conference started on Monday and brings together delegates from most of the 150 members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Switzerland says binding nuclear safety measures should be introduced as a result of Fukushima, in which an earthquake and tsunami caused explosions and radioactive leaks in power plants. However a majority of countries would prefer them to be voluntary.
In his address to the plenary on Tuesday, the leader of the Swiss delegation will call for greater international cooperation on nuclear safety and an exchange of information among national authorities, power station operators and researchers, with a view to developing a common strategy.
Global cooperation should also be strengthened in crisis situations, Switzerland will say. This can be achieved through merging crisis management ideas and institutionalising international relief efforts. The IAEA already has measures in place that could be adapted, such as safety standards and peer reviews.
Switzerland will also call for an international study into the factors contributing to the explosions and radiation leaks at the Fukushima plant, and for the results to be shared.
The Swiss delegation includes members of the Federal Energy Office and Nuclear Safety Inspectorate and the foreign ministry.
Available at: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/Swiss_back_binding_global_nuclear_safety_rules.html?cid=30502108
5. U.S. Had Rejected Indian Concerns Over Pakistan Nukes: WikiLeaks
The Nation (Pakistan)
(for personal use only)
A previously unpublished WikiLeaks cable has revealed that the US had made it clear to India that Washington was satisfied with measures taken by Islamabad to secure its nuclear weapons, and these measures had increased the US confidence in Pakistan. India had stressed that Pakistan's nuclear weapons were in danger of falling into the hands of terrorists.
A cable was sent by US Ambassador in India, David Malford from New Delhi to Washington on 27, November 2009. The cable mentioned details of the strategic security dialogue held between Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Alan Tauscher.
According to the cable, Nirupama Rao said that India was at risk from dangers stemming from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, India had to increase its nuclear capabilities in order to match the nuclear threats from Pakistan, the cable quoted Rao. Alan Tauscher assured the Indian foreign secretary that Pakistan had assured the US that its nuclear weapons are safe. The head of the National Nuclear Security Administration John Gerrad, who was also present during the dialogue, stressed that in recent talks between the US and Pakistan, Islamabad's measures to secure its nuclear weapons had increased Washington's confidence.
Available at: http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/20-Jun-2011/US-had-rejected-Indian-concerns-over-Pak-nukes-WikiLeaks
The UAE has reiterated its commitment to the highest nuclear safety measures through its efforts to set up the National Nuclear Safety Infrastructure, and preparedness to implement the lessons learnt from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident in Japan.
This came in a speech delivered by Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the Nuclear Safety Conference, which opened today in Vienna.
Addressing a five-day long Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UAE minister expressed sympathy of the UAE government and people with the Japanese people, who were shaken by the natural disasters that claimed the lives of thousands of victims and triggered the nuclear accident.
He underlined that the repercussions of the incident have revived a political debate on the nuclear safety, stressing that the UAE is aware about the public concern regarding the nuclear safety aspects and radiation effects caused by the accident. “No doubt that the Fukushima Accident will have great impact on the nuclear safety measures worldwide. We see that the nuclear energy will still play a major role in many countries, including my own country the UAE to meet current and future energy requirements.”
The UAE minister said that the UAE believes in the central role of IAEA to boost the nuclear safety measures and the nuclear safety culture worldwide, adding “we deem that one of the most important components of the world nuclear safety system is the National Nuclear Safety Infrastructure in all the member countries. Hence, we call for strengthening this infrastructure through boosting the control authorities and empower them to discharge their duties independently.
He cited that the UAE has learnt from the lessons of the Fukushima Accident by setting up autonomous work teams to assess the accident and the causes, adding that the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has submitted an official request to assess the design of the nuclear power station, which will be built in the UAE.
Gargash thanked the secretariat of the conference and IAEA Director General for organising this ministerial meeting to study the lessons learnt from the Fukushima Accident.
The conference brings together Ministers from the IAEA’s Member States and representatives from nuclear regulatory agencies to discuss issues related to improving nuclear safety around the world in the wake of the Fukushima Accident caused by a major earthquake and tsunami on 11th March 2011.
Available at: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/June/theuae_June543.xml§ion=theuae&col=
7. Safety Authority to Examine Report on Russian Reactors
(for personal use only)
The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) is to examine a report which shows nuclear reactors in Russia close to the Finnish border have serious safety deficiencies.
The report by the Russian nuclear power company Rosatom reveals the country is ill prepared to deal with a catastrophe of the kind that crippled the Japanese nuclear power plant at Fukushima.
Published by the Norwegian newspaper Aftonposten, the report reveals 31 serious safety issues at Russian nuclear power stations. Most reactors, for instance, would not shutdown automatically in the event of an earthquake.
Aftonposten says Russia’s most dangerous nuclear plants are located at Sosnovy Bor and in the Kola Peninsula. Both locations are close to the Finnish border.
A nuclear energy expert interviewed by the paper says technology at the two reactors concerned is outdated. The oldest reactors are also of the type which exploded at Chernobyl in 1986.
Russian officials analyzed the country’s nuclear safety in the light of the Fukushima disaster. The Rosatom report was presented to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week.
Available at: http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2011/06/safety_authority_to_examine_report_on_russian_reactors_2673933.html
DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to visit the websites from which the source material originates. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of Partnership for Global Security. Partnership for Global Security takes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.