Iran said Tuesday it has begun installing new centrifuges with "better quality and speed" to enrich uranium in its nuclear facilities, defying international demands it halt its atomic activities.
"The installation of new centrifuges with better quality and speed is ongoing. We have announced it and the agency (UN atomic watchdog) has full supervision of them," Iranian foreign minister spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters at his weekly press briefing.
"They are fully aware that Iran's peaceful nuclear activity continues to progress. This is another confirmation of the Islamic republic's successful stride in its nuclear activities," he added.
He was responding to questions about progress in the installation of new-generation centrifuges, as per a June 8 announcement by Iran's nuclear chief Fereydoun Abbasi Davani.
Abbasi Davani had at the time said "the first cascade of 164 new-generation centrifuges" would soon be installed, without elaborating on the details of the new machines.
He had at the same time announced that the Islamic republic would expand its production of 20 percent enriched uranium and move the work from its main enrichment plant in Natanz in central Iran, to a smaller site at Fordo, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) south of Tehran.
Other Iranian authorities have over the past year or so said Tehran was working on new-generation centrifuges capable of enriching uranium up to five or six times faster than those currently in operation.
Washington and several European nations called Abbasi Davani's declarations as "provocation."
Despite being targeted by four sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, Iran remains adamant that it will push ahead with the programme.
Iran has long been producing low or 3.5 percent enriched uranium (LEU) at Natanz, but started producing uranium at the higher level of purity of 20 percent in February 2010, ostensibly to make the fuel for a medical research reactor.
The UN Security Council in New York has repeatedly ordered Tehran to halt all uranium enrichment until the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.
Uranium enrichment is the most sensitive part of the programme because it can be used to produce both the fuel for a nuclear reactor and the fissile material for an atomic warhead.
The West accuses Tehran of seeking to build a bomb under the guise of a civilian power programme, a charge which Iran strongly denies.
Iran has over 8,000 centrifuges of the first generation IR-1, with nearly 6,000 actively purifying uranium to the 3.5 percent level, according to the latest report by the IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, in May.
Iran through its enrichment activities has amassed four tons of LEU around 3.5 percent) and 60 kilograms of HEU (highly enriched uranium) of 20 percent, according to the same report.
Iran says it needs the HEU to produce fuel for its medical research reactor in Tehran, as well as several other nuclear research reactors which it says it plans to build
The IAEA believes, however that since 2008 there have been grey areas in Tehran's nuclear programme.
The agency reiterated at its last meeting in June its "concern about the possible existence of hidden nuclear activities," with military aim, criticising the "refusal" of Tehran to respond to repeated requests for "clarification."
Tehran vehemently denies all allegations about covert or military aimed nuclear activities and maintains its programme is a civilian one.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hhGqmLVav8hMbmgNbzKqRgN6zKeQ?docId=CNG.7e4a598f9713cc3df378c520326d27b1.661
Iranian lawmakers on Saturday dismissed Russia's "step-by-step" approach on Iran's nuclear program as a bid to revive Moscow's own political influence in the region, Press TV reported.
The approach, laid out by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, would enable Iran to address questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over its nuclear program.
MP Mohammad Karami-Rad said Iran has already responded to questions and ambiguities regarding its nuclear program, adding that "new conditions for resuming negotiations are not acceptable."
Lavrov suggested Iran could revive negotiations to alleviate IAEA concerns about its nuclear activities and be rewarded by partial removal of sanctions.
Iran insists that as an IAEA member and a signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it has the right to the peaceful applications of nuclear energy for electricity generation and medical research.
Karami-Rad's remarks echo comments by Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Iran's Majlis (parliament) Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, who also dismissed the Russian proposal as "repetitious."
Tehran says it has been fully cooperative with the Agency over its nuclear program, urging the body not to be swayed by certain Western countries.
Available at: http://en.rian.ru/world/20110716/165230009.html
3. Iran FM: Respect of Iran Nuclear Program Precondition for Cooperation with IAEA
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Iran said its right to pursue nuclear programs must first be acknowledged before it will cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on weapons allegations, state media reported Friday.
Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said after a meeting with IAEA head Yukiya Amano on Tuesday in Vienna that Iran had agreed to establish a new mechanism to help resolve outstanding issues related to its nuclear dispute with world powers.
"The new mechanism should verify and respect Iran's legitimacy and (nuclear) rights," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.
"In that case, if the IAEA has new ambiguities and questions, Iran would be ready to cooperate with the IAEA within a new framework and resume negotiations and consultations among experts," the spokesman added.
Amano has already rejected Iran's demands.
Tehran has repeatedly called for the acknowledgement of its nuclear programs, requesting that the status of the Iranian nuclear dossier at the IAEA be changed to normal.
Iran has refused to clear up questions about its nuclear research and development projects since 2008, which the Vienna-based agency says have little other than military uses.
Iran has thus far said that the IAEA should deal only with the technical aspects of the Iranian nuclear program and not with intelligence information from various countries on alleged Iranian secret military programs.
Salehi meanwhile declared that Iran is determined to remove misunderstandings with the EU.
The dispute over Iran's nuclear program, human rights issues such as the detention of opposition leaders and dissidents and Tehran's hostile stance towards Israel are among the main points of contention between the Islamic state and the EU.
"I am optimistic that both sides will show their goodwill and move towards clearing up the misunderstandings," Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said.
Iran wants to resume nuclear negotiations with world powers but says any talks would be futile, like the Istanbul meeting in January, as long as the powers insist on suspension of their uranium enrichment process, a condition Iran rejects.
Available at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/iran-fm-respect-of-iran-nuclear-program-precondition-for-cooperation-with-iaea-1.373450
1. Mullen Warns South Korea of Continued Threat from North
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America's highest ranking military officer says North Korea poses a "very real" threat to South Korea. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Seoul Thursday the isolated regime has shown no signs of easing in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Mullen made the remarks after attending the installation of General James Thurman as commander of the more than 28,000 U.S. forces in the country. Thurman, who succeeds General Walter Sharp, said the U.S.-South Korean alliance "stands ready to counter any provocation intended to destabilize the Korean peninsula."
Mullen traveled to Seoul after a four-day to visit to China, in which he was given rare access to that country's nuclear missile and submarine bases. He visited a submarine base Wednesday in Shangdong province, east of Beijing, as well as an air base housing China's advanced Su-27 jet fighters. He also visited the Second Artillery Force, which commands China's nuclear arsenal.
The state-run China Daily newspaper said the visits were arranged "to highlight openness, transparency and self-confidence of China's military power." It said the visits reciprocated a trip in May by Chinese armed forces commander Chen Bingde to the largest U.S. naval base.
China's official Xinhua news agency quoted Mullen as saying his visit had helped to ease some of his concerns about a lack of transparency regarding China's military expansion. He said he regarded the exchanges as "a very positive step."
Available at: http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/07/15/2011071500360.html
2. South Korean, Japanese Nuke Envoys Voice Support for Inter-Korean Dialogue
Xinhua News Agency
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Two top South Korean and Japanese nuclear representatives agreed Monday to further their efforts for talks between South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over the latter's nuclear program, the foreign ministry here said.
South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac met earlier in the day with his Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama, in Seoul for a two-day trip, and reaffirmed their stance that dialogue involving South Korea and the DPRK should come before other multilateral negotiations begin, according to the ministry.
The two agreed to make additional efforts to hold inter-Korean nuclear talks, seen as a separate venue for discussing Pyongyang's nuclear program aside from the long-stalled six-party nuclear talks.
Pyongyang, which had declared the six-way aid-for-disarmament talks "dead" in 2009, expressed its wish to return to the negotiating table, but the regional consensus remained that the two sides should first hold dialogue and mend ties.
The six-party talks, which also involve China, the United States and Russia, were last held in December 2008.
Seoul, along with Beijing and Washington, has sought a three- step approach beginning with inter-Korean dialogue to reopening the disarmament talks, which will then lead to bilateral talks between Pyongyang and Washington.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/18/c_13992730.htm
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Tuesday for easier access to the Indian market for US nuclear energy firms, who are trailing their French and Russian competitors.
Former president George W. Bush concluded a landmark energy pact with India in 2008 that lifted an embargo on selling atomic technology to New Delhi imposed after the country's first nuclear test in 1974.
Despite the diplomatic efforts of Washington to push through the deal, privately run US firms such as Westinghouse and GE-Hitachi have so far lost out in the race to land contracts to build new reactors.
French and Russian state-run nuclear firms, backed by their deep-pocketed and active governments, have already mopped up billions of dollars of business to help India with its ambitious expansion plans for nuclear power.
"With regard to our civil nuclear agreement... we need to resolve those issues that still remain so we can reap the rewards of a robust energy partnership," Clinton said in opening remarks during her trip to India.
The main problem for US operators is a clause in India's new nuclear liability bill that makes the suppliers of reactors liable for 80 years for any accident at a plant.
While state-run groups have been happy to take on such risks, private companies are unwilling to sign up and are unable to find insurance to cover them for potentially crippling claims for damages.
India gets less than three percent of its energy from atomic power and it hopes to raise the figure to 25 percent by 2050.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hUyhAGJ4JtO6jQehZLOd9qLOmcgg?docId=CNG.d6302f5fdf47380d57e991a1d3bf4851.c1
2. Clinton Urges India to Ratify Nuclear Liability Accord
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged India today to change nuclear liability laws that hinder investment by American companies by the end of the year and ensure they comply with international accords.
India has not yet ratified a global convention that shields technology suppliers from damages in the event of an atomic accident. It signed the pact just two months after Indian lawmakers passed a bill that allows the nation’s monopoly nuclear operator to seek compensation from suppliers if faulty equipment triggers a reactor accident.
“We are looking forward to India ratifying the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage before the end of this year,” Clinton said at a joint press conference in New Delhi with Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna. The liability regime that India adopts should fully conform “with the international requirements under the convention,” Clinton said.
The domestic law has made it difficult for U.S. companies such as General Electric Co. (GE) to enter the Indian market and is broader than a 1997 framework in which more than 80 nations agreed to limit compensation claims to operators. India has $175 billion in planned nuclear power projects and wants to boost atomic generation 13-fold by 2030.
Clinton is in India for the second round of a strategic dialogue between the two nations. The top U.S. diplomat laid out other areas where she would like to see progress, including defense sales, economic ties and counterterrorism, which she said came “first and foremost” in talks.
Clinton’s visit comes less than a week after the July 13 bombings that killed 20 people in Mumbai, India’s financial capital. It was the worst terrorist attack since militants laid siege to the city in 2008, leaving 166 people dead.
India blamed militants based in Pakistan for the 2008 attack, which led to the collapse of a five-year peace effort. The Indian government has so far refrained from suggesting a Pakistani link to the July 13 bombings. Blasts in 2008 and last year were claimed by domestic extremists calling themselves the Indian Mujahideen.
Clinton applauded India-Pakistan reconciliation talks, slated to continue later this month despite the bombing.
“We are encouraged by the dialogue occurring between India and Pakistan,” Clinton said. She said it was “the most promising approach” to build more confidence and create the atmosphere needed “for us to deal with the underlying problem of terrorism.”
The two nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars since they separated at independence from Britain in 1947. Their cooperation has become essential for President Barack Obama as he this month withdraws the first U.S. troops from Afghanistan, with a view to ending combat operations by 2014.
“The U.S. realizes India has an important role to play in stabilizing Afghanistan,” said Harinder Sekhon, a senior fellow at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, who specializes in U.S.-India relations. “There’s now a communality of interests and ideas on how to stabilize Afghanistan.”
Spikes in tension with India risk prompting Pakistan to shift troops from the fight against the Taliban and allied militants, some of which target U.S. troops in Afghanistan, to reinforce the Indian border, say analysts such as Imtiaz Gul, chairman of the Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies.
Clinton stressed that the U.S. didn’t want to see that happen. “We have made it clear to the Pakistani government that confronting violent extremism of all sorts is in its interests,” Clinton said. She said the U.S. would continue to help Pakistan deal with terrorists, noting they have killed more Pakistanis “in mosques, in markets” than Americans.
Clinton’s stop in India is the third in a trip around the world. She has visited Turkey and Greece and, after India, will continue to Indonesia, Hong Kong and China.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-19/clinton-urges-india-to-ratify-nuclear-reactor-liability-pact.html?cmpid=yhoo
The U.S.-India nuclear deal, hailed as the centerpiece of a new partnership between the world’s two most populous democracies, has drifted dangerously since it was signed in 2008, analysts and former negotiators from both countries say.
The risk is that other countries, particularly Russia and France, might benefit from all the hard work that the United States put into the deal.
The landmark agreement was supposed to allow the sale of nuclear reactors and fuel to India, even though the country has nuclear weapons but has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Advocates of the deal said it would bring tens of billions of dollars in business to the United States and create thousands of jobs, while also cementing a new partnership between the two nations to counter China’s rise.
The deal, symbolic of the new alliance, is not in any political danger. But U.S. companies have not sold any reactors or equipment to India. American nuclear-fuel firms, which face no legal or policy hurdles, also have not begun selling to India.
The agreement, personally propelled by President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, overcame enormous opposition from the nonproliferation lobby in the United States and from some Indians, who said the conditions attached to the deal undermined their country’s sovereignty. But once the ink was dry and the hard work of implementation began, the momentum stalled.
India’s enthusiasm for nuclear power has been dented by the nuclear disaster in Japan and by problems in finding available land to build reactors. Meanwhile, onerous conditions imposed by the Indian Parliament on suppliers of nuclear equipment have tilted the playing field away from private-sector U.S. companies in favor of state-owned companies from Russia and France, analysts say.
“You can see a possible outcome where the U.S. has expended most of the diplomatic capital but companies in other countries are the main beneficiaries,” said Richard Fontaine of the Center for a New American Security in Washington.
As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visits India this week, the deal’s supporters hope she can reignite India’s enthusiasm to clear the remaining hurdles.
“The Obama administration has done everything it can to implement the agreement,” said R. Nicholas Burns, who was an undersecretary of state in the previous administration and spent three years negotiating the deal. “The problem, from my perspective, is on the Indian side. We haven’t seen the same degree of political commitment to follow it through.”
Singh put his government’s survival on the line to pass the deal. But in a country scarred by the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, which claimed more than 15,000 lives, he was powerless to prevent the passage last year of a law that would make suppliers of nuclear equipment liable for massive claims in the event of a nuclear accident during the reactor’s lifetime.
That raises the risk of doing business in India to levels that U.S. private-sector companies and their insurers cannot accept but that state-backed companies in Russia and France, with the much deeper pockets of their respective governments, might be able to live with. And it puts India far out of step with other countries, which hold plant operators solely liable.
Despite India’s intention to join an international treaty that would restrict liability claims on suppliers, U.S. companies and their insurers are worried that Indian law would still take precedent, and American corporate officials are adamant that the law needs to be changed before they can do business here. The question is whether Singh, who is on the defensive over corruption charges against the government, can amend that legislation.
So while General Electric and U.S.-based, Japanese-owned Westinghouse Electric sit on the sidelines, France’s Areva and Russia’s Rosatom are moving ahead in inking deals to build reactors in India.
“The American things are moving slow,” said Anil Kakodkar, a former chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission and a key negotiator of the nuclear agreement. “But it is not India’s fault. We have done everything we are supposed to do.”
A lopsided relationship
In a sense, the stalling of the nuclear deal is indicative of a broader problem in the U.S.-India relationship, Burns and other U.S. analysts said, with Washington making most of the concessions and India seeming less engaged.
President Obama has wooed India assiduously, even supporting its bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. But there was enormous disappointment in Washington when India did not shortlist any U.S. companies when deciding on a major overhaul of its fleet of fighter planes this year, a deal worth billions of dollars that could have heralded a new era of defense cooperation.
With its economy and its demand for energy growing rapidly, India wants to raise its nuclear power generating capacity from the current 5,000 megawatts a year to more than 60,000 megawatts by 2032.
But there is a growing sense that this target might be overly ambitious.
In sites set aside for U.S. and French reactors, farmers have refused to sell their land. To allay the fears, Singh ordered in April a safety review of all existing reactors, increased compensation money for farmland and pledged to create an autonomous atomic regulatory board to oversee the plants.
Even so, about 250 farmers stormed out of a recent meeting with officials called to discuss compensation for land meant for U.S. reactors in Mithi Virdi, in western India.
“It is fertile land, and they don’t want to part with it,” said Krishna Kant, an anti-nuclear campaigner in the area.“Now, when I go to the villages to meet people, they say, ‘Look what has happened in a rich country like Japan.’ ”
There are other hurdles, too. New Delhi has not given an assurance to Washington that Indian private companies will not re-transfer American nuclear technology and information to others, a requirement under U.S. law.
And before India can buy American and French reactors, New Delhi has to sign a nuclear cooperation deal with Japan. Those reactors use Japanese parts and technology, which cannot be supplied until Japan changes its law to allow nuclear trade with India.
The situation became more complicated last month when the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which has about four dozen members, voted at a meeting in The Hague to bar access to sensitive uranium enrichment and reprocessing technology, which can be used to make atomic bombs, to countries that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In 2008, the group gave an exemption to India, but the decision last month was seen in New Delhi as a sign that it was still not trusted.
Kakodkar called the latest NSG decision a “betrayal” and a huge setback to nuclear commerce.
“The world needs to understand our sensitivities,” Kakodkar said. “We cannot be made a pariah all over again.”
Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/us-india-nuclear-deal-drifts-dangerously/2011/07/07/gIQAJTbeGI_story.html
Following is the text of the joint statement by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and India’s Minister of External Affairs Shri S.M. Krishna on the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue.
India’s Minister of External Affairs Shri S.M. Krishna and the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met in New Delhi on July 19, 2011, for the second annual meeting of the U.S.–India Strategic Dialogue. The leaders recognized the achievements made since the inaugural Strategic Dialogue in June 2010 and President Obama’s historic visit to India in November 2010 in advancing our two countries’ shared interests. They committed to continuing to broaden and deepen the U.S.-India global strategic partnership.
As a testament to the relationship’s extraordinary breadth and depth, Secretary Clinton was accompanied by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the President’s Advisor for Science and Technology Dr. John P. Holdren, Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman, Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute, and other senior U.S. government officials.
Minister Krishna was joined by Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Prime Minister’s Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation Advisor Sam Pitroda, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, and other senior officials.
Minister Krishna was also joined at the working lunch by Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Minister for Human Resource Development and Information Technology Kapil Sibal.
As part of Secretary Clinton’s visit to India, she met with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.
Secretary Clinton offered her prayers and sympathies to the victims of the despicable attacks in Mumbai on July 13. The American people stand with the Indian people in times of trial, and offer support to India’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice. Minister Krishna welcomed the expressions of support from the Secretary, the President, and the U.S. Congress. The two leaders resolved to strengthen cooperation between their governments to fight against terrorism.
Since the inaugural Strategic Dialogue in 2010, the U.S.-India partnership has resulted in advances in nearly every area of human endeavor. The two sides have expanded their strategic consultations to cover all major issues and regions of the world. They have increased counterterrorism cooperation, intelligence sharing, and law enforcement exchanges. They have continued to expand their defense cooperation. They have expanded their growing partnership on export controls and non-proliferation. They have witnessed an expansion of the already robust people-to-people ties; scientific, space, and technology collaboration; clean energy cooperation; and connections among entrepreneurs and social innovators.
The two leaders emphasized our countries’ shared values – pluralism, tolerance, openness, and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights. They reiterated Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s and President Barack Obama’s pledge to harness these shared strengths and to expand the U.S.-India global partnership for the benefit of their countries; and for peace, stability, and prosperity in Asia and the world.
Today, the two leaders reviewed progress in bilateral relations and set new goals to further strengthen the U.S.-India Global Strategic Partnership.
Global Stability and Prosperity • Marking the expansion of strategic consultations, the two sides launched a Central Asia Dialogue in June 2011 in New Delhi and a West Asia Dialogue in July 2011 in Washington DC. The two sides intend to expand strategic consultations to other regions, including Latin America and Caribbean, and plan to hold the fourth round of the East Asia Dialogue in September 2011. • India, the United States, and Japan plan to commence a trilateral dialogue at senior official level. • They welcomed the launch of a bilateral dialogue on United Nations matters in New Delhi in March 2011. The two sides intend to continue this dialogue and meet next in Washington in early 2012, while continuing regular consultations between capitals and in UN cities as appropriate. • Following on the successful meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on UN Peacekeeping Operations in March 2011 in New Delhi, the two countries hope to conduct their 10th meeting of the JWG in early 2012. • The two sides reaffirmed their commitment for consultation, coordination, and cooperation on Afghanistan, and to work jointly in Afghanistan in capacity building, agriculture, and women’s empowerment, expanding on work already underway. Both sides agreed to Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and inclusive reconciliation. • The two sides acknowledged that increased trade, transit, and commercial linkages across South and Central Asia will benefit Afghanistan and contribute to the region’s long-term peace, stability, and prosperity. • The two sides intend to promote food security in Africa through a triangular cooperation program with Liberia, Malawi, and Kenya. A promising area of potential collaboration includes the participation of Africans at Indian universities and research and technical institutes in mutually agreed capacity building programs. The two sides agree to explore additional areas based on requests from the three African countries. • As part of the U.S.-India Dialogue on Open Government launched in November 2010, the two countries have committed to jointly create an open source “Data.gov” platform by the first quarter of 2012 to be taken to interested countries globally. Leveraging the high-technology strengths and institutional expertise of both India and the United States, the “open source” platform is intended to provide citizens access to Government information via a user-friendly website and a package of e-Governance applications to enhance public service delivery. • The two sides reiterated their commitment to work together to strengthen election management capacity in interested countries. They welcomed the technical collaboration between the Indian International Institute of Democracy and Election Management and the Washington DC-based International Federation of Electoral Systems. • Secretary Clinton recalled President Obama’s statement that, in the years ahead, the United States looks forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.
Enhancing the U.S. – India Bilateral Relationship
Defense, security and counter-terrorism • The two sides launched the Homeland Security Dialogue in May 2011 in New Delhi, and have decided upon on a program of cooperation in global supply chain management, megacity policing, combating counterfeit currency and illicit financing, cyber security, critical infrastructure protection, and capacity building and technology upgrading. • They reiterated their commitment to further strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation, including through intelligence sharing, information exchange, operational cooperation, and access to advanced counter-terrorism technology and equipment. The two sides had their ninth meeting of the Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism in March 2011 in New Delhi. • The two leaders reiterated that success in Afghanistan and regional and global security requires elimination of safe havens and infrastructure for terrorism and violent extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Condemning terrorism in all its forms, the two sides confirmed that all terrorist networks must be defeated and called for Pakistan to move expeditiously in prosecuting those involved in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack. • The two sides reiterated their commitment on comprehensive sharing of information on the investigations and trials relating to the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack. • The two countries held cyber consultations on July 18, led by their two National Security Councils, at which they exchanged views on a broad range of cyberspace issues and coordinated bilateral cooperation on cyber issues. The United States and India signed on July 19, 2011, a Memorandum of Understanding between our Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT-IN and US-CERT) to exchange information on cyber attacks and mutual response to cybersecurity incidents, to cooperate on cybersecurity technology, and to exchange information on cybersecurity policy and best practices and capacity building and exchange of experts. • India and the United States welcomed progress in bilateral defense cooperation. The Defense Policy Group met in March 2011 and plans to meet again in early 2012. • The two sides noted India’s defense orders from U.S. companies have reached a cumulative value of over USD 8.0 billion in the last decade. The two sides noted that these sales reflect strengthened cooperation. Both sides also affirmed their desire to strengthen cooperation through technology transfer, and joint research, development, and production of defense items. • They noted progress in defense bilateral exchanges, exercises, capacity building, information sharing, including in the areas of counternarcotics, counter piracy, maritime safety, and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief. They affirmed the importance of maritime security, unimpeded commerce, and freedom of navigation, in accordance with international law, and the peaceful settlement of disputes. • The United States and India agreed to continue consultations on maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region in existing forums such as Defense Policy Group and its appropriate sub-groups. They also agreed to exchange views on promoting regional security architecture that enhances maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region. • The United States welcomed India’s decision to chair a plenary of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia in 2012.
Civil Nuclear Cooperation • The two leaders welcomed the continued commitment of the two governments for full implementation of the U.S.-India civil nuclear energy cooperation agreement. They reiterated their commitment to build strong U.S.-India civil nuclear energy cooperation through the participation of U.S. nuclear energy firms in India on the basis of mutually acceptable technical and commercial terms and conditions that enable a viable tariff regime for electricity generated. They noted that the United States has ratified the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) and India intends to ratify the CSC within this year. They further noted that India is committed to ensuring a level playing field for U.S. companies seeking to enter the Indian nuclear energy sector, consistent with India’s national and international legal obligations. • The United States looks forward to hosting a senior-level Indian delegation at the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Energy Working Group (CNEWG) next week at Oak Ridge Laboratory.
Membership of Export Control Regimes • Both sides expressed satisfaction with the progress we have achieved together towards India’s full membership of the four multilateral export control regimes – Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group and the Wassennaar Arrangement – in a phased manner consistent with the core principles of these regimes, as the Government of India takes steps towards the full adoption of the regimes’ export control requirements.
Export Control Cooperation • India welcomed steps taken by the United States to remove Indian entities from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s ‘Entity List’ and realignment of India in U.S. export control regulations. Both sides agreed to continue efforts to fulfill objectives of strengthening export control cooperation envisaged in the Joint Statement of November 2010 as well as on the basis of discussions in the High Technology Cooperation Group held earlier this month.
Nuclear Security • The two sides looked forward to holding later this year the first meeting of the U.S.-India Joint Working Group to implement the MOU on Cooperation with India’s Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnerships.
Strategic Security Dialogue • Both sides view the Strategic Security Dialogue, the last round of which was held in Vienna on June 14, 2011, as a vital element in their dialogue architecture which has strengthened the common ground in promoting global non-proliferation objectives. Both sides also discussed key issues on the multilateral agenda, and looked forward to the commencement of negotiations of the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament.
Prosperity • The two sides welcomed increases of 30 percent in bilateral trade in 2010 over the previous year and the balanced and positive growth in services trade. They also welcomed the increase in foreign direct investment flows in both directions. • The two governments plan to resume technical-level negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in August in Washington D.C. A BIT would enhance transparency and predictability for investors, and support economic growth and job creation in both countries. • The two sides reiterated their commitment to take steps to expand trade ties. The U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum plans to meet in October 2011, and on-going public-private discussions are to continue under the Commercial Dialogue. • The two governments intend to participate in the first Consular Dialogue on July 25 in Washington DC for a full discussion of visa and other consular matters. • The two governments signed a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) on July 18. • The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the U.S. Trade Development Agency (USTDA), and U.S. Agency for International Development, in coordination with multiple U.S. government agencies, are participating in the development of clean and renewable energy projects, energy-efficient buildings, and Smart Grids in India. The two leaders welcomed the progress in the USTDA-supported bilateral Energy Cooperation Program, announced in November 2010, which works with Indian and U.S. businesses on deployment of clean energy technology in India. The bilateral Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center is accepting applications for its $100 million, five-year program that is stimulating new collaboration between the United States’ and India's public and private sectors in solar energy, energy-efficient buildings, and advanced biofuels. • The U.S.-India agriculture dialogue was launched in September 2010 to intensify collaboration with India on food security, including joint work with third countries. USTDA hosted a trade mission to the United States for business and government representatives from India in the cold storage field. • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Ministry of Earth Sciences have set up a "monsoon desk" to share the latest monsoon prediction models, which are now providing forecasts for the 2011 Indian monsoon season.
Education, Innovation, Science and Technology • The United States and India plan to host a Higher Education Summit in Washington D.C. on October 13 to highlight and emphasize the many avenues through which the higher education communities in the United States and India collaborate. • The United States and India plan to expand its higher education dialogue, to be co-chaired by the U.S. Secretary of State and Indian Minister of Human Resource Development, to convene annually, incorporating the private/non-governmental sectors and higher education communities to inform government-to-government discussions. • As part of the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative (OSI), the two governments announced the publication of their requests for proposals from post-secondary educational institutions that support OSI’s goals of strengthening teaching, research, and administration of both U.S. and Indian institutions through university linkages and junior faculty development. • The United States created the Passport to India initiative to encourage an increase in the number of American students studying and interning in India. The leaders recognized the great bridge of mutual understanding resulting from the more than 100,000 Indian students studying and interning in the United States. • The United States’ Department of Energy and India’s Department of Atomic Energy signed an Implementing Agreement on Discovery Science that provide provides the framework for cooperation in accelerator and particle detector research and development at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, and Brookhaven National Laboratory. • The U.S.-India Science &Technology Endowment Board, established by Secretary Clinton and Minister Krishna in 2009, plans to award nearly $3 million annually to entrepreneurial projects that commercialize technologies to improve health and empower citizens. The two sides are strongly encouraged by the response to this initiative, which attracted over 380 joint U.S.-India proposals. The Endowment plans to announce the first set of grantees by September 2011. • The U.S.-India Science & Technology Forum, now in its tenth year, has convened activities that have led to the interaction of nearly 10,000 Indian and U.S. scientists and technologists. • As a follow up to the successful U.S.-India Innovation Roundtable held in September 2010 in New Delhi, the two sides agreed to hold another Innovation Roundtable in early 2012. • India and the United States plan to host their third annual Women in Science workshop in September 2011.
Space • The U.S. – India Joint Space Working Group on Civil Space Cooperation met in July 2011 in Bangalore. Building on the successful Chandrayan-1 lunar mission, NASA and ISRO reviewed potential areas for future cooperation in earth observation, space exploration, space sciences and satellite navigation. Both sides agreed for early finalization of three new implementing arrangements for sharing satellite data on oceans and global weather patterns. Recognising the research opportunities available on the International Space Station, both sides agreed to explore the possibilities of joint experiments. NASA reiterated its willingness to discuss potential cooperation with ISRO on human spaceflight activities. The two sides also agreed to expand upon previous work in the area of global navigation satellite systems with the goal of promoting compatibility and interoperability between the U.S. Global Positioning System, India’s Navigation systems, and those of other countries.
Secretary Clinton thanked the Minister, the Government, and the people of India for their gracious hospitality, their warm welcome, and their hard work in making this year’s Strategic Dialogue a success. Secretary Clinton thanked Minister Krishna for his strong support for the U.S.-India relationship.
Minister Krishna thanked the Secretary for her participation and engagement in this year’s Strategic Dialogue and for the commitment and dedication she has given to the U.S. – India global partnership.
The next meeting of the Strategic Dialogue is planned for Washington D.C. in 2012.
Available at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/07/168745.htm
A huge deposit of uranium India has found in a southern state could turn out to be among the biggest reserves of the mineral in the world, reports said on Tuesday citing the head of the country's atomic energy department.
The Tumalappalli mine in Andhra Pradesh state has confirmed 49,000 tonnes of ore and there are indications that it could hold reserves totaling three times its current size, The Times of India quoted Srikumar Banerjee as saying.
"If that be the case, it will become the largest uranium mine in the world," Banerjee, secretary at the Department of Atomic Energy, said, adding production will start in six months.
The mine's proven reserve is enough to support a 8,000 mega watts nuclear power plant for 40 years, the report added.
India plans to expand its nuclear power generation capacity from 4.7 giga watts (GW) now to 7.3 GW by the end of March 2012 and 20 GW by 2020.
To make this possible, the country has signed a landmark nuclear power deal with the United States and opened up its estimated $150 billion nuclear power market to private reactor builders such as GE and Areva.
India, which has a total installed power generation capacity of 164 gigawatts (GW), aims to raise it to 187 GW by the end of March 2012. Even this target is modest, given a 12 percent peak-hour power shortfall that crimps the country's near 9 percent economic growth.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/19/us-india-uranium-idUSTRE76I15U20110719?rpc=401&feedType=RSS&feedName=GCA-GreenBusiness&rpc=401
1. Stabilizing Japan Nuclear Crisis on Schedule: PM
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Japan's embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday that the first phase of efforts to bring the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant under control is on schedule and near completion.
Kan's government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of the Fukushima plant, have worked to bring its crippled reactors to a state of stable cooling in July and cold shutdown by January.
"The first step will be mostly completed by today on schedule," Kan said in parliament Tuesday. "We are now at the point to enter the second step."
Kan added: "We are starting to see a tremendously critical condition heading towards a certain level of settlement".
Japan is expected to later Tuesday officially announce the completion of the first stage now that a water circulation system has been established to stabilise cooling operations at the plant.
"I don't say I scored full marks, but my cabinet has coped with what it should do in a solid manner and made progress," said Kan.
Efforts to stabilise the plant have continued since a 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami on March 11, knocking out its cooling systems and triggering reactor meltdowns as the plant spewed radiation into the environment.
A key challenge was how to deal with massive amounts of highly radioactive water that accumulated as a result of emergency efforts to inject water into reactors to cool melting fuel inside.
Workers have installed systems that remove radioactive substances from the polluted water before recycling the decontaminated liquid to cool reactors 1 to 3, although the process has been troubled by further leaks and other setbacks.
Inert nitrogen gas is meanwhile being injected into the three reactors to prevent hydrogen explosions.
Tens of thousands of people remain evacuated from homes, business and farms in a 20 kilometre (12 mile) no-go zone around the plant, but food safety worries have emerged after contaminated beef was found to have been shipped around the country and probably eaten.
More than 600 beef cattle that had been fed with contaminated straw were sent to meat processing centres mainly from Fukushima but also from other prefectures between March 28 and July 6, Jiji Press news agency said.
On Monday, Fukushima officials told a news conference that they detected radiation levels about 520 times the government-designated limit in straw used at farms outside the exclusion zone.
Japan is expected to soon announce a ban on all cattle shipments from Fukushima prefecture.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ieaTa2HDMdNgGESYBQBdXt-eTh_w?docId=CNG.ac1ff80155f15b4c6aca1a16ef66c878.541
2. Stress Tests on Reactors to Look at Four Disaster Scenarios
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Nuclear power companies will be required to prove their reactors' ability to withstand four disaster scenarios under new "stress tests" outlined by Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA).
The tests, detailed in a report submitted by NISA to the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan (NSC) on July 15, will require power companies to model their nuclear power stations' endurance in a major earthquake, a tsunami, a complete loss of power throughout a plant, and a loss of ability to release heat from the reactors.
Computer modeling will be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the plants, and the results will be analyzed by NISA and verified by the NSC.
Electric power companies will be required to conduct all the assessments and submit reports by the end of this year, but verification by the central government is not likely to be finished before 2012. It is unclear whether the test results will be enough to reassure local governments near the reactors.
There will be two distinct phases of testing. The first phase will be conducted on nuclear reactors that have been suspended for regular inspections but are ready for restarts as of the end of July.
That testing will be less rigorous than the second phase and will only look at key equipment in the reactors. The administration of Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said that the first-phase tests will be a precondition for the restart of nuclear reactors.
Nineteen reactors are currently suspended for regular inspections, but only about 10 reactors that were not directly affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake are expected to be subjected immediately to the first-phase tests.
Kan and three other ministers will make the final decisions on whether to authorize restarts. The NISA report did not give a timeline for the completion of the assessments.
The second-phase assessments will be targeted at all reactors under construction and all 44 existing nuclear reactors in Japan except the Fukushima No. 1 and Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plants.
The safety of the whole of the reactors, not just the key equipment covered by the first-phase tests, will be assessed and the stresses that would put the reactors into a dangerous condition will be identified. The electric power companies will be required to submit reports on the second-phase assessments by the end of the year.
NISA will issue further instructions on the tests to power companies by the end of July.
Available at: http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201107160323.html
3. Kan's Nuclear Phase-Out Plan Draws Anger Over Lack of Details
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Prime Minister Naoto Kan's announcement that Japan needs to phase out nuclear power drew a smattering of applause that was largely drowned out by criticism and outrage directed at the lame-duck leader.
Many critics in the political and business circles said they do not necessarily disagree with the idea to shift the country away from nuclear power generation. But they did not appreciate Kan's unilateral action nor his lack of specifics for such a drastic plan.
Harsher critics said Kan made the announcement simply to continue his reign as prime minister.
Kan told a televised news conference on July 13 that Japan should build a society free from nuclear power plants by phasing out its reliance on this energy source. He said the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant changed his perception of nuclear power, convincing him that the risks inherent in nuclear power generation are too enormous.
But he failed to present a timetable for the strategy and other details of his vision.
Kan decided to shift Japan's energy policy without discussing the matter with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which has promoted nuclear power.
"A prime minister usually has a number of discussion sessions before he gives a news conference over such an idea," said a senior official at METI's Agency for Natural Resources and Energy. "But we had no discussions."
The prime minister also apparently did not bother to discuss the issue within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.
"It sounds like utter nonsense," a senior party official said of the plan.
Other DPJ members were also cool to Kan's vision.
Yukio Hatoyama, Kan's predecessor, said, "(A departure from nuclear power generation) is a right direction, but the timetable for realizing it is ambiguous."
Even Kaoru Yosano, a former member of the Sunrise Party of Japan whom Kan had handpicked as economic policy minister, opposed Kan's policy from an economic viewpoint.
"If (electric companies) use fossil fuels in place of nuclear power plants, the additional costs will be equal to an increase of 30 percent in corporate tax," Yosano said at a speaking engagement on July 13.
A junior member of the DPJ in the Upper House said Kan's direction was correct, "but it lacks specifics and does not sound compelling coming from a prime minister who is stepping down."
Shigeru Ishiba, policy chief of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, said Kan should have offered more specifics in his plan to reverse the country's energy policy.
"The Diet will have to have many discussions on such a weighty issue," Ishiba said. "Unless he presents a roadmap to a Japan free from nuclear plants, his act will amount to being called populism."
Kan in June said he would resign after a certain amount of progress is made in rebuilding from the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake. But he did not give a date, and his critics are now accusing him of resorting to drastic measures to prolong his stay in power.
The Asahi Shimbun's latest opinion poll conducted earlier this month found 77 percent of voters endorsed a phasing out of the nation's nuclear facilities. But the support rate for the Kan Cabinet slumped to 15 percent.
Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima was one of the few politicians to openly praise the prime minister's policy.
"It is a bold decision," she said. "An administration led by the LDP would have never made such a pledge. I would like him to stay in office until a path toward it is laid out."
The business world was divided over the issue.
"People's appetite for consumption is ebbing due to their fear of radioactive materials," said an official at a department store operator. "Nuclear power plants should be looked at from a viewpoint of phasing them out."
An official at a leading food producer said faith in the safety of food products has been shaken since the crisis started at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
"There is a need to make a change in society with a big step, like decommissioning nuclear plants," the official said.
But others said the absence of nuclear power plants could have devastating effects on the economy.
"It is understandable to call for cutting our dependence on nuclear power, but that would lead to the exit of manufacturers from Japan," a senior official with a leading electronics company said. "In that scenario, we won't be able to protect jobs (for Japanese)."
A top official in the auto industry said the Kan administration should present a way to secure a stable power supply if Japan aims to go without nuclear energy.
Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), the country's most influential business lobby and a proponent of nuclear power, also demanded that Kan explain further about his vision.
"We have no clues on what (Kan) thinks of Japan's future," Yonekura said. "After talking about that, he should discuss (a departure from nuclear power generation)."
Unsurprisingly, the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan opposed Kan's plans to end nuclear power generation in the country.
"A drastic overhaul of the nation's energy policy involves an extremely important issue with the foundation of the future of the country at stake," said Makoto Yagi, chairman of the federation. "If we move in the wrong direction, it will create a serious problem for the future."
Local government leaders echoed mixed views of Kan's proposal, with many of them criticizing the messenger, not the message.
Katsuya Endo, mayor of Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, home to Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant, endorsed a shift from nuclear power.
"We became convinced of the dangers of a nuclear power plant after the accident," Endo said. "Since we were inflicted as extensively as this, a move to cutting reliance on nuclear power is a matter of course."
But Issei Nishikawa, governor of Fukui Prefecture, which hosts 13 commercial reactors, the most in the nation, questions how serious Kan is about his plan.
"It is not clear if his vision is shared in the government," Nishikawa said. "It may be just his dream, but it won't be a good political message unless he clearly shows a process on realizing it."
Hirohiko Izumida, governor of Niigata Prefecture, home to TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, said Kan's actions lack consistency.
Izumida said he was puzzled when Kan mentioned the possible nationalization of nuclear power plants while his government was trying to sell nuclear power facilities to Vietnam.
"I cannot help but feel a sense of discomfort when the prime minister, who announced his intention to resign, continues to make statements about the country's crucial policy measures," Izumida said.
Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa said Kan's true intention appears to be staying in power.
"What he says is absolutely right, but his action can be interpreted as politically motivated because he began talking about scrapping nuclear power after promising to resign," Kuroiwa said. "Even though he says something good, his action looks like a political maneuver to prolong his term."
Available at: http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201107140341.html
Poland, which presides over the EU now, and the Czech Republic want to promote the view that energy security cannot be based only on renewable resources in Europe and they supported the use of nuclear energy, the prime ministers Donald Tusk and Petr Necas said Friday.
Tusk and Necas said they want to be a counterbalance for countries like Germany that plans to stop using nuclear energy and Austria that has already rejected nuke plants.
Tusk said the two countries should form a "common sense front" and jointly present the position that it is impossible to try to eliminate nuclear energy and coal-based energy and ban shale gas production.
Poland that took over the EU presidency from Hungary on July 1 would like to hear from the leaders of other EU countries what their idea of energy policy is.
Necas assured Tusk that the Czech Republic fully supports Poland's EU presidency. He also expressed support to the priorities Poland has announced for the six months for which it will head the EU Council.
Necas spoke also on behalf of the Visegrad Group (V4) that is now led by the Czech Republic.
Energy security has been one of the issues discussed by the Visegrad Group, including also Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, for some time. These former members of the Soviet bloc feel uneasy that they depend on Russian oil and gas deliveries too much.
Tusk and Necas said they had similar views on competitiveness, cohesion policy and EU's financial framework, among others.
The two prime ministers discussed bilateral relations and possible cooperation in energy, including nuclear power plants.
Available at: http://praguemonitor.com/2011/07/18/czech-polish-pms-support-nuclear-energy
2. India Begins Construction of 25th Nuclear Plant
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Moving ahead with its nuclear programme, India on Monday began construction of its 25th atomic power plant.
The first pour of concrete for the 700 MW indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), the seventh nuclear plant at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS), took place in this bustling Rajasthan township, about 65 km from Kota.
The first pour of concrete ceremony, which signals the beginning of the construction of a nuclear plant, was attended by Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar Banerjee and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) CMD Shreyans Kumar Jain.
Mr. Banerjee gave the command to pour the concrete by pressing the button on the control panel of the concrete pressure pump. Soon after the M45 grade concrete began pouring in the foundation of what would be the emergency core cooling system of the new reactor building.
The concrete is being poured at the rate of 90 cubic metres per hour and at a controlled temperature of 19 degree Celsius. To monitor the temperature, ice is being mixed with the concrete.
The 700 MW PHWR, designed by NPCIL by scaling up its 540 MW PHWRs under operation at Tarapur since 2005, is expected to be completed in the next five years.
Mr. Banerjee said, “The 540 MW PHWR at Tarapur was built by NPCIL in a record time of four years and ten months. We will try to beat that record”.
RAPS already has six units of PHWRs, five of which are producing over 1180 MW, the largest from a single site.
Construction for the seventh unit began on Monday and excavation work is currently on for the eighth unit, also a 700 MW PHWR.
The NPCIL currently operates 20 nuclear power plants across six sites and has an installed capacity of 4780 MW.
The Centre had given a financial sanction of Rs 24,000 crore in October 2009 for building four units of 700 MW of PHWRs — two each at Kakrapar and Rawatbhata in Rajashtan.
Two 700 MW PHWRs each are expected to come up at Bargi in Madhya Pradesh and Fatehabad in Haryana.
The NPCIL is building two 1000 MW VVER type nuclear power plants at Kudankulam and two 700 MW PHWRs at Kakrapar in Gujarat. Unit 1 and 2 at Kudankulam are expected to be operational by August this year and May next year respectively.
Both the 700 MW units at Kakrapar are expected to start producing power by 2015 end.
Besides the 20 operating and five under-construction reactors, the Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam is building a 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam.
With the progressive completion of the Kudankulam reactors and the four 700 MW PHWRs at Kakrapar and Rawatbhata, the installed nuclear power capacity of NPCIL is expected to reach 9580 MW by 2016.
Questions were raised on safety of operating nuclear power plants after the nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan triggered by a tsunami after a nine magnitude earthquake.
The NPCIL conducted a thorough review of all the nuclear power plants across the country and found them to be safe. It is also incorporating additional safety measures at various plant sites following the Fukushima accident in March this year.
Available at: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2237873.ece
3. Niger Plans West African Nuclear Power Plant, President Says
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Niger, the world’s sixth-largest uranium producer, plans to build a nuclear plant in cooperation with other countries in West Africa, President Mahamadou Issoufou said.
Demand for electricity in Niger alone is not enough to make the plant financially viable, he told journalists in the capital, Niamey, yesterday. He didn’t give any details on when or where the plant would be built, how big it would be or how much it may cost.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-18/niger-plans-west-african-nuclear-power-plant-president-says.html
1. ASEAN to Resume Direct Talks with Nuclear Weapon States in Aug
Mainichi Daily News
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The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations will resume direct consultations with five nuclear-weapon states in the first week of August in Geneva, ending a nearly decade-long suspension of the talks, ASEAN officials said late Sunday.
The decision was made at the conclusion of the ASEAN Working Group meeting on Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, or SEANWFZ, and the ASEAN Senior Officials' Working Dinner, which are parts of a series of ASEAN meeting and its related ones held from July 16-23 in Nusa Dua beach resort on the Indonesian island of Bali.
According to the officials, nuclear disarmament experts from ASEAN countries are expected to launch the new round of "direct informal consultation" with the five nuclear-weapon states to resolve outstanding issues that have barred the nuclear powers from ratifying the 1995 treaty.
The five nuclear-weapon states, simply called P5, are Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
"For the past 10 years, we did not reach yet a common position among the ASEAN parties to SEANWFZ in preparing the accession of the nuclear weapon states to the SEANWFZ treaty,'' I Gusti Ngurah Swajaya, Indonesian permanent representative in ASEAN, told a press conference.
"So, when we achieved a common position, this is really a progress and I think the P4 -- it was facilitated by the United States to have consultations among themselves: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and France -- has come out with a non-paper and introduced the non-paper to ASEAN," he added.
The achievement of a common position among the ASEAN nations is a major step, while talks initiated by the United States among it, Russia, the United Kingdom and France, would hopefully also yield progress, he added.
China has openly said it is ready to sign the protocol of the treaty.
The treaty binds the members not to develop, manufacture, acquire, possess or have control over nuclear weapons, nor to station or transport nuclear weapons by any means.
Its protocol calls on the nuclear-weapon states to respect the status of the zone and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against states party to the treaty. The protocol is open to signing by the five nuclear-weapon states, but none of them has so far signed.
In their non-paper document submitted to an ASEAN senior officials' meeting in the Central Java provincial capital Semarang in late June, Britain, France, Russia and the United States said they want the obligations in the protocol not to apply to the continental shelves or exclusive economic zones of states-parties to the treaty.
An ASEAN official said, "This is the best timing to work out the issue under the U.S. administration led by President (Barack) Obama and Secretary of State (Hillary) Clinton,'' adding he hopes the experts "will be able to expedite the consultations."
"For ASEAN countries, we prefer not to amend the treaty as it will require a lengthy parliamentary process in each member states. We hope to be able to settle the issue with a political approach," the official said.
The nuclear-weapon states, except China, earlier said they cannot sign the treaty in its present form, mainly because of the protocol's inclusion of continental shelves and exclusive economic zones stretching up to 200 nautical miles from the land of signatory states.
In May last year, during the 8th Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference, Clinton said her government was prepared to consult with the parties to the SEANWFZ in an effort to reach an agreement that would allow it to sign the protocol.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Available at: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/international/news/20110718p2g00m0in057000c.html
2. Ban Congratulates Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Work on Nuclear Non-Proliferation
UN News Centre
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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) for its 20 years of working for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
“On the twentieth anniversary of the establishment of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials, the Secretary-General congratulates both governments on this significant milestone,” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
“ABACC has made a very substantial contribution to regional nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation by providing for a sound regional framework for the application of International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] safeguards and facilitated the entry into force of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the nuclear-weapon-free zone encompassing of the entire Latin America and the Caribbean region,” the statement said.
Brazil and Argentina signed the Guadalajara Agreement for the Exclusively Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy (Bilateral Agreement), in which created the ABACC, in June 1991. It calls for information exchanges and inspections.
Brazil, Argentina, the IAEA and the ABACC signed an agreement on 13 December 1991 that consolidated the system for application of safeguards that is currently in force in both countries.
The Tlatelolco treaty, named after the district in Mexico City where it was signed, is also known as the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Available at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=39067&Cr=&Cr1=
3. Visit by United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 Committee and Its Group of Experts
U.S. Department of State
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On September 12, 2011, the Committee established by UNSCR 1540 and its Group of Experts will visit Washington, DC. The visit will allow the Committee to gain a better understanding of how the United States Government implements its obligations under the resolution. During the visit, the Committee and its Group of Experts will be briefed on U.S. efforts to implement the Resolution, including: U.S. laws and regulations related to prohibiting the illicit transfer of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related materials; enforcement of these laws and regulations; and measures to prevent proliferation—including export controls, security and financial measures, border controls, and other measures. In addition to receiving briefings, the Committee and its Group of Experts are expected to visit several facilities around the Washington, DC area to gain a better understanding of U.S. domestic implementation activities.
Throughout the visit, the United States will engage the Committee regarding U.S. domestic practices to implement the Resolution. The 2009 Comprehensive Review of UNSCR 1540 implementation cited such visits as a way for the 1540 Committee to work with the international community to show progress in meeting the Resolution’s objectives. Additionally, UNSCR 1977, which extended the mandate of the Committee, encourages dialogue between the Committee and states regarding experiences, lessons learned, and effective practices related to controlling the proliferation of WMD. The visit will allow the U.S. Government to share its expertise in these areas with the Committee, and to respond to Committee questions about how and where the United States covers the many requirements of the Resolution, consistent with the Comprehensive Review and Resolution 1977.
The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1540 in 2004, partially in response to revelations about the A.Q. Khan network’s illicit proliferation activities. It establishes binding obligations on all UN member states to refrain from providing any form of support to non-state actors seeking WMD or related materials, to adopt and enforce effective laws that prohibit non-state actors from any involvement with the proliferation of WMD, and to take effective measures to prevent WMD proliferation -- including security measures, border controls, and law enforcement efforts to prevent illicit trafficking in WMD, their means of delivery, and related materials.
Available at: http://www.state.gov/t/isn/rls/fs/168734.htm
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