1. IAEA Should End Political Disputes Over Iran’s Nuclear Program: Soltanieh
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The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations has said the time has come for the International Atomic Energy Agency to end the political arguments over Iran’s nuclear program that it has been using ad nauseam.
Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh made the remarks in response to IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s statement on Monday, in which he said that Iran seems to have carried out nuclear-related activities with possible military links until recently.
The IAEA has received “further information related to possible past or current undisclosed nuclear-related activities that seem to point to the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program”, Amano said in his introductory statement at a meeting of the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna on Monday.
“There are indications that certain of these activities may have continued until recently,” he added.
However, Amano did not say where the evidence came from, nor did he provide details about the allegations.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Soltanieh dismissed Amano’s remarks, saying that there is no substance to the information that has been provided to the agency.
Amano should study the evidence provided by reliable sources and should make sure that it is solid, he stated.
The Iranian ambassador to the UN also said Amano’s report suffers from a lack of transparency.
In addition, in an interview with IRNA published on Monday, Soltanieh advised the IAEA director to abide by his commitments to Tehran so that Iran’s nuclear dossier can be declared closed.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Soltanieh spoke about the written reply that Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Fereydoun Abbasi Davani has sent to Amano’s most recent letter.
In his letter, Abbasi wrote that Iran has fully implemented the provisions of the modality plan signed by Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog in 2007, Soltanieh said.
He also described Abbasi’s letter as “constructive”, adding that Amano spoke about Abbasi’s letter in his introductory statement to the IAEA Board of Governors.
Now the ball is in the agency’s court, and the IAEA director is obliged to implement what has been stipulated by the modality plan, Soltanieh added.
However certain countries, such as the United States, Japan, France, and Britain, are opposed to the modality plan and are making efforts to thwart the implementation of the agreement, he observed.
Soltanieh also said that the Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly stated that it is opposed to the development of nuclear weapons and that its nuclear activities are meant for peaceful purposes and are being conducted under the supervision of the IAEA.
Amano’s stance has diminished status of IAEA
In addition, Iranian MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi has said the political approach that the IAEA director has adopted toward Iran’s nuclear program has diminished the status of this important international organization.
Amano’s remarks are politicized and lack legal weight, Boroujerdi, who is the chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday.
“Iran should deliver a serious response to Amano’s remarks,” he stated.
“More than 100 member states of the agency have confirmed Iran’s cooperation with this organization, and this indicates that it (the IAEA) has become a tool in the hands of certain countries,” Boroujerdi added.
Available at: http://www.tehrantimes.com/Index_view.asp?code=242071
2. Iran To Triple Nuke Output, Use Better Centrifuges
Ali Akbar Dareini
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Iran will soon install more advanced centrifuges at its new uranium enrichment site, the country's nuclear chief said Wednesday, underscoring Tehran's continued defiance in the face of international sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear program.
Vice President Fereidoun Abbasi also announced that Iran plans to triple its output of the higher enriched uranium in 2011 and move the entire program to the new, secretly-built facility.
The uranium enrichment lies at the heart of Iran's dispute with the West, which is concerned that the activity masks efforts to make nuclear weapons — a charge Tehran denies, insisting the work is peaceful and only meant to generate electricity.
Abbasi, who also heads Iran's nuclear agency, said that Tehran would set up the more efficient centrifuges, suitable for higher-grade uranium enrichment, at the Fordo site near the holy city of Qom in central Iran.
Built next to a military complex to protect it in case of an attack, Fordo was long kept secret and was only acknowledged by Iran after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009.
At the time, the labs were still under construction inside former ammunition depots carved into a mountainside. The area is heavily protected by the powerful Revolutionary Guard.
Despite four rounds of U.N. sanctions over its refusal to halt the enrichment, Iran has threatened to expand the program tenfold and produce new centrifuges capable of enriching uranium faster than the old ones.
This has added to the international concerns because these centrifuges would allow Tehran to accelerate the pace of its program and potentially enable Iran to amass more nuclear material in a shorter time that could be turned into the fissile core of missiles, should it choose to do so.
Centrifuges are machines that are used to enrich uranium. Low-enriched uranium — at around 3.5 percent — can be used to fuel a reactor to generate electricity, which Iran says is the intention of its program. But if uranium is further enriched to around 90 percent purity, it can be used to develop a nuclear warhead.
Iran has been producing uranium enriched up to 5 percent for years and began the higher enrichment — up to near 20 percent, considered a threshold between low and high enriched uranium — in February 2010, claiming it needs the higher enriched uranium to produce fuel for a Tehran reactor that makes medical radioisotopes needed for cancer patients.
According to Abbasi, the nuclear chief, the new centrifuges at Fordo would be more advanced than the decades old P-1 type once acquired on the black market and in use at Iran's main enrichment facility in Natanz.
"Soon, we will install 164-machine centrifuge cascades of the new generation (at Fordo)," Abbasi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying after a Cabinet meeting.
He also added that Iran would triple the output of its higher enrichment program this year and would move the entire program to Fordo from Natanz. The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, would monitor the transfer, he said.
Last month, the IAEA said in a report that Iran estimates it has produced a total of about 125 pounds, or 56.7 kilograms, of uranium enriched to 20 percent by May 21st.
When Iran first announced it activated the 164-machine centrifuge cascades for higher enrichment last year, IAEA said the move was contrary to U.N. resolutions demanding Iran suspend all enrichment.
Abbasi's announcement came a day after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized the IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, claiming the director has discredited the world body by alleging that Iran may be working on a nuclear weapons program.
Ahmadinejad was reacting to Amano's earlier comments alleging that some aspects of Iran's nuclear activities could be linked to a weapons program, according to latest information obtained by the U.N. watchdog.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jjndSoWMvvUSBO7mL4JJ72Viofkw?docId=7927f93f756146eeb11053c8bdfbc79d
The Iranian envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has urged the IAEA to fulfill its commitments to Iran, stressing that it is time to close Tehran's nuclear case.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is completely ready and it is time for [IAEA chief Yukiya] Amano to implement in a committed fashion what has been agreed on under the previous director general [Mohamed ElBaradei], so that [Iran's] nuclear case is closed,” Ali Asghar Soltanieh said, IRNA reported Tuesday.
“In fact, the ball is now in IAEA's court, and the director general is mandated to put into practice what was agreed on based on the modality [plan],” the Iranian envoy added.
“Tehran arranged this agreement with the agency, which was also approved by the Board of Governors, in full cooperation, but the ambassadors of the US, Japan, France and Britain launched a propaganda campaign against [former IAEA chief] Mohamed ElBaradei,” he noted.
In a May 24 report, Amano claimed that the agency had received new unspecific information indicating that Iran may not be merely developing nuclear energy for civilian purposes.
On Thursday, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Fereydoun Abbasi rejected the allegations leveled against the Islamic Republic in a response letter and said that based on the modality plan agreed between Iran and the IAEA in 2007, the agency should announce this case closed.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program.
The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence indicating that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.
As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, Iran maintains that it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/183645.html
4. Iran Says No Offer Can Stop It Enriching Uranium
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No offer from world powers can persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday, dismissing the key demand of countries that fear Tehran is developing nuclear weapons.
A day after the U.N. atomic watchdog said it had new evidence of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear work, Ahmadinejad accused it of doing Washington's bidding and said Tehran's atomic advances had "no brake and no reverse gear."
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, said on Monday the IAEA had received "further information ... that seems to point to the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program."
That contradicts Iran's insistence that its nuclear work is for entirely peaceful purposes, and Ahmadinejad made clear his displeasure with the Japanese IAEA chief who has taken a blunter approach than his Egyptian predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei.
"With America's orders (the IAEA) has written some things in a report that are against the law and against the agency's regulations," Ahmadinejad told reporters.
"These have no legal value and aside from harming the agency's reputation it will have no other effect."
Tehran says sanctions imposed by Washington, Europe and the United Nations are not hitting its economy and insists they will not force it to give up what it considers its sovereign right to enrich uranium, a process that can make fuel for power plants or, by enriching uranium more highly, provide bomb material.
"I have said before that Iran's nuclear train has no brake and no reverse gear ... We will continue our path," Ahmadinejad said, adding that Iran would continue to cooperate with the IAEA "as long as they move based on justice."
Asked whether the world powers that have held talks with Tehran in the past to seek an end to the nuclear impasse could offer any incentive to stop Iran's enrichment, he answered with the one word: "No."
Two rounds of talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, plus Germany (P5+1), in Geneva in December and in Istanbul in January, did not reach any substantive result.
Iran has said it is willing to resume talks, but its insistence that other countries recognize its right to enrich uranium is a major stumbling block, particularly for Western diplomats who see it as an unacceptable pre-condition.
The EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who represented the P5+1 at the talks, said last month she wanted a "stronger and better" reply from Iran to her call to revive the talks.
Israel and the United States say they do not rule out pre-emptive military strikes to stop Iran making nuclear bombs.
As well as blaming Washington for Amano's comments, Ahmadinejad used his news conference to condemn U.S. interference in the Middle East, including Bahrain, the tiny Gulf island state that hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet and whose crackdown on pro-democracy protests Tehran has condemned.
"The problem is not between the authorities and the people, the problem is America's military base in Bahrain," he said.
On Syria, Iran's main ally in the region in its stand against Israel, he said: "I condemn the interference of America and its allies ... We believe that Syrians themselves are capable of managing their own affairs."
There are U.S. troops in two of Iran's neighbors -- Iraq and Afghanistan -- and Ahmadinejad predicted Washington would try to extend its presence in a third -- nuclear armed Pakistan.
"We have information that in order to gain more control over Pakistan, to weaken the Pakistani nation and government, the Americans want to sabotage Pakistan's nuclear facilities," he said, adding that damage to nuclear plants would be a pretext for a greater U.S. presence in the country.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/07/us-iran-nuclear-ahmadinejad-idUSTRE7563N520110607?rpc=401&feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&rpc=401
1. S. Korea's Nuke Envoy To Visit China Over Embittered N. Korea
Yonhap News Agency
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Amid dwindling hope for inter-Korean talks, South Korea's nuclear envoy will fly to China, North Korea's top ally, this week, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, after Pyongyang announced angrily it would no longer deal with Seoul.
Wi Sung-lac, who represents South Korea in the stalled six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear arms programs, will meet with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei during his two-day trip that begins on Wednesday, the ministry here said in a statement.
North Korea declared last week it would no longer speak to South Korea, accusing Seoul of breaching trust by divulging details of their secret overseas contact aimed at setting up a summit.
The denunciation came amid hopes that the North would soon extend an offer to the South for nuclear dialogue between the divided countries that would help restart the six-party talks, which also include the United States, Russia and Japan.
The bitter relations between the Koreas are expected to be on Wi's agenda when he travels to Beijing, the ministry said. China, which hosts the six-party talks, had proposed that the two Koreas first hold a dialogue.
"The two sides will assess the current situation regarding the North Korean problem and the recent inter-Korean relations and exchange broad opinions on future measures," the ministry said.
The planned meeting in Beijing comes as Kurt Campbell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, is set to arrive in South Korea on Friday. The senior U.S. diplomat was scheduled to fly out of China later Tuesday to Mongolia.
In a related development, the foreign ministry here said Russia's deputy nuclear envoy to the six-party talks will arrive in Seoul on Thursday. It did not say whether Grigory Logvinov would rendezvous with Campbell in Seoul, even though he is set to meet with Wi on Friday before leaving over the weekend.
The six-party talks, which seek to denuclearize North Korea through negotiations, have not been held since late 2008.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2011/06/07/10/0401000000AEN20110607007000315F.HTML
1. Tepco To Install Air Filters At Fukushima No. 2 Reactor
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Tokyo Electric Power Co. will install air filters to the lower radiation level in the No. 2 reactor building of its Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, aiming to make it safer to work in the damaged facility.
Tepco, as the utility is known, plans to complete installing the air ventilation units with filters around June 11 and operate the system for about three days, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at Tepco, said today at a news conference in Tokyo. The company will then check radiation levels inside the reactor building and open the facility’s double door to lower humidity, he said.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-08/tepco-to-install-air-filters-at-fukushima-no-2-reactor-1-.html
2. Ministers Urge Nuclear Safety Tests After Japan Crisis
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Ministers from nearly 30 nuclear energy-producing countries have called for safety tests on all reactors in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Japan.
France's environment minister said delegates at a summit in Paris agreed to "improve and lift our standards and co-operation on nuclear safety".
Some governments are reconsidering their nuclear energy strategy.
Germany has already decided to abandon nuclear energy for green technology and cleaner gas- and coal-powered plants.
In a major policy reversal, its government announced last month that all the country's nuclear plants would be phased out by 2022.
France, which co-hosted Tuesday's meeting under its chairmanship of the G20, relies on 58 nuclear reactors for 80% of its electricity.
At the recent summit in Deauville, G8 leaders agreed that more stringent nuclear rules were needed.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that from now on safety, not funding, should be the pre-eminent concern of the nuclear industry.
A majority of the ministers and officials who attended the talks in Paris supported introducing stress tests that would determine how well nuclear plants could withstand major disasters, such as the earthquake and tsunami that rocked the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan in March.
"The Fukushima accident in Japan shook us all and the need arose very quickly to draw lessons, to improve and lift our standards and co-operation on nuclear safety," French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said.
Currently there are no mandatory international nuclear safety regulations, only recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which national regulators are in charge of enforcing.
The ministers also agreed on the need to give the IAEA a bigger role in guaranteeing nuclear safety. They hope to reach consensus on the matter before an IAEA ministerial meeting on 20-24 June in Vienna.
Swiss Energy Minister Doris Leuthard said countries should first ensure they were respecting existing international conventions and then submit to mandatory peer reviews.
"When you think my authorities are good enough and the peer reviews are welcome, why don't we accept that it is mandatory? Why don't we give transparency to our populations?" she asked.
From 1 June onwards, all 143 nuclear plants in the EU will be re-assessed using criteria covering both natural and man-made hazards.
Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13677667
Albanian Premier Sali Berisha hinted Tuesday on the fifth anniversary of the European Fund for Southeast Europe that the country is reconsidering previous plans for the construction of a nuclear power plant. Despite not declaring a definitive step down from the project, Albania’s Prime Minister made reference to the incident at Fukushima and Germany’s decision to close all nuclear plants by 2022 as a sign his government might be moving away from plans to build a nuclear plant. Meanwhile, Berisha asked EFSE to help provide loans to investors willing to build new hydropower plants, meaning that for the time being Albania’s priority will be water generated energy, Top Channel reports.
Available at: http://www.balkans.com/open-news.php?uniquenumber=107924
Australia should try to get its first electricity generating nuclear reactor up by 2022, despite the Fukushima nuclear plant accident in Japan, the head of the Australian Uranium Association says.
Michael Angwin, CEO of the AUA, told an International Uranium Conference in Perth on Wednesday he was puzzled why the country was debating a carbon price without talking about energy choices.
But with political debate reaching its "crescendo" Mr Angwin said attention could now be given to Australia's future energy sources, including nuclear.
He said although the meltdown of reactor cores at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March caused nuclear energy to fall out of favour, the various international examinations would address many safety issues and give the community greater assurances over the power source.
"Now is not the time for policy makers to go any softer on nuclear power," Mr Angwin said.
"Now is exactly the right time for policy makers to give nuclear power a dispassionate, economic, technological, social and political examination."
He called for a "genuine conversation in which the outcome is not pre-determined by political fear and which there's some considered, weighing up of benefits of cost and after which the country makes a genuine choice."
Mr Angwin called on the Productivity Commission to bring Dr Ziggy Switkowski's 2006 report into nuclear energy up-to-date in light of the Fukushima accident and the current climate change policy debate.
A nuclear energy commission should be established to provide the regulatory framework and identify possible reactor sites, while the government should encourage nuclear business proposals from industry.
"If Australia takes these kinds of initiatives we might be in a position to make a decision about the nuclear industry within five-to-seven years," he said.
If that path was followed, Australia could have its first power-generating nuclear reactor by 2022, he said.
Fukushima was not the accident which resolved the nuclear debate in favour of the anti-nuclear side but re-opened the entire debate.
The current debate among global greens groups was no longer about their anti-nuclear tactics but whether nuclear energy was better than fossil fuels.
Demand for electricity in Australia is expected to increase 35 per cent by 2030, which will require high capital investment and be managed with the government's 20 per cent renewable energy target.
Mr Angwin criticised those who argued against nuclear power because solar power was a baseload power source, " in that they think solar is a consistent and reliable, around-the-clock source of energy".
"Bear in mind most people's only experience of solar power is likely to have been installing photovoltaic panels in their roof at the expense of other tax payers."
Outside the conference, four university students opposed to the expansion of nuclear and uranium mining were charged with trespass after they blocked the entrance to the conference.
Available at: http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-national/nuclear-reactor-by-2022-uranium-body-says-20110608-1fsj8.html
3. Swiss Lawmakers OK Plan To Phase Out Nuclear Power
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Swiss lawmakers approved a proposal Wednesday to phase out the use of nuclear power, a move spurred by election-year politics and growing skepticism over the use of atomic energy.
A majority of parliamentarians in Switzerland's lower house voted in favor of a gradual plan to shut down the country's five nuclear reactors by 2034.
The ballot passed the National Council with 101 votes in favor, 54 against and 36 abstentions. It had the support of all parties except the pro-business Liberal Democrats and the nationalist Swiss People's Party.
Switzerland's nuclear plants currently generate almost 40 percent of the country's energy. Hydropower supplies most of the rest.
Opponents had warned that abandoning nuclear power would require a massive increase in conventional and alternative energy generation, raise electricity costs for consumers, endanger Switzerland's efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and make the country more dependent on foreign suppliers of natural gas.
Switzerland's upper house, the Council of States, must also approve the plan, then the government will have to submit a detailed proposal on exiting nuclear power to parliament. The Cabinet is already in favor of decommissioning the country's reactors between 2019 and 2034, after they reach an average lifespan of 50 years.
Efforts to abandon nuclear power in Switzerland were boosted following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which was partially destroyed by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Although Switzerland's reactor are considered safe and the country isn't prone to large natural disasters, opinion polls showed most Swiss favored shutting down the nuclear plants. The issue threatened to dominate the political debate ahead of parliamentary elections on Oct. 23.
Last month, demonstrators held the biggest anti-nuclear protest in Switzerland in 25 years.
"Be constructive. We can do this," Energy Minister Doris Leuthard told lawmakers after the vote Wednesday.
Suggestions for increasing power in Switzerland include buying more natural gas and developing more water, sun and wind energy resources, plus geothermal and other small-scale power generating efforts.
Leuthard noted that many small infrastructure projects in Switzerland are blocked at the local level. The country's unique system of popular democracy makes it easy for voters to stop wind farms and other alternative power plants being built in their own backyard.
On Monday, Switzerland's northern neighbor Germany approved abolishing nuclear power by the end of 2022. The law now goes to both houses of the German parliament, which are expected to vote on the plans within a month.
Germany has 17 nuclear power plants but shut down eight of the oldest ones for good after the Fukushima disaster.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jEDmpqpTgLT23mM93GIywrnO2jmw?docId=96d8b090a0704a7d921f40da45cc0bc0
1. Japan Seeks India's Cooperation On Nuclear Safety
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After battling one of the worst nuclear disasters in March this year, Japan today offered to cooperate with India on improving the safety of atomic reactors.
Following the radiation leakage at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant in the north-eastern part of the country after the tsunami-earthquake of early March, Japan is re-looking at its energy policy, Japan's Deputy Minister (Economy), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shinichi Nishimiya said here.
He said 'safe' nuclear power, clean fossil fuel, renewables and energy conservation would be the hallmarks of the Japanese new policy.
"In all four sectors, there is scope for bilateral cooperation between our two countries," he told reporters on the sidelines of a Ficci function.
Allaying concerns over safety, the Japanese Minister said it is quite safe for businessmen and tourists to visit his country, as Japan is free from any radiation threats.
"There is misunderstanding about radiation contamination. The government is constantly monitoring the situation and Japan remains open for business and travel," he said.
Offering Japan's disaster management technology to India and other countries, Nishimiya cited the example of how the services of high-speed trains remained unaffected in the Fukushima region hit by the earthquake.
"All (27) trains were at speeds above 300 km per hour, but stopped automatically. Such type of disaster resistance technology is something which we are keen to share," the minister said.
He said despite the setback to the Japanese economy, it would continue with its aid programme for India through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The Japanese are extending soft loans for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and metro projects in Delhi and Bangalore.
Just yesterday, Japan had signed seven agreements worth a total of Rs 8,200 crore, which will be provided as loans for various projects.
Nishimiya said despite the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear radiation leakage, Japan expects bilateral trade with India to accelerate.
He also said that Japan will consider incentives to encourage Bollywood filmmakers to look at the East Asian country as a destination for shooting as a means of attracting tourist inflows from India.
"We have signed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) last year, which eases all kinds of economic activities. So I expect there will be accelerated expansion between the two countries," he said.
Nishimiya, however, refused to quote any figure regarding the trade prospects. In 2010, Indo-Japanese bilateral trade had gone up to $12.9 billion from $9.3 billion in the previous year.
Available at: http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/japan-seeks-indias-cooperationnuclear-safety/137683/on
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