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Nuclear News - 7/7/2011
PGS Nuclear News, July 7, 2011
Compiled By: Eli Ginsberg


A.  Iran
    1. Iran Attends NATO's Regional Meeting, Xinhua News Agency (7/5/2011)
    2. Iran Ready to Cooperate With Egypt on Nuclear Program: Negotiator, Xinhua News Agency (7/4/2011)
B.  Japan
    1. Japan Considers Stress Tests for Nuclear Reactors, Osamu Tsukimori and Risa Maeda, Reuters (7/6/2011)
    2. Despite Concerns, Japan Stretches Life of Nuclear Plants, Takaaki Nishiyama, Asahi (7/6/2011)
    3. Local Leaders Disagree on Restart of Nuclear Reactors, Asahi (7/6/2011)
    4. Japan Can't Reject Nuclear Power Out of Hand: Lawmaker, Linda Sieg, Reuters (7/6/2011)
    5. Tepco Starts Full Operation of Self-Contained Cooling System, Tsuyoshi Inajima, Bloomberg (7/4/2011)
C.  Russia
    1. Russia's Threats to Create New Offensive System 'Unnecessary' - NATO Chief, RIA Novosti (7/5/2011)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Niger President Says Areva Uranium Mines Safe, Agence France-Presse (7/6/2011)
    2. Jordan Set to Add to Nuclear Plans, Taylor Luck, The Jordan Times (7/6/2011)
    3. Tanzania to Mine Uranium in Game Reserve, Agence France-Presse (7/5/2011)
    4. France Expands Nuclear Capabilities by Opening a Nuclear Institute, Charles Kennedy, Oil Price (7/5/2011)
    5. French Nuclear Reactor Authorised for 10 More Years, Agence France-Presse (7/4/2011)
E.  IAEA
    1. Fiji to Join International Atomic Energy Agency, Fiji Live (7/6/2011)
    2. Fiji to Join the International Atomic Energy Agency, Government of Fiji (7/6/2011)



A.  Iran

1.
Iran Attends NATO's Regional Meeting
Xinhua News Agency
7/5/2011
(for personal use only)


For the first time the Islamic Republic of Iran participated in a meeting of the Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which opened in La Maddalena, Italy, on Monday, the English Language Tehran Times daily reported on Tuesday.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs Ali Ahani represents Iran at the meeting and is scheduled to deliver a speech at the gathering, said the report.

Ahani will also hold talks with a number of participants in the meeting, according to the daily.

The NATO PA Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group (GSM) provides a forum for parliamentarians from NATO countries and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to discuss political and security issues and to enhance cooperation.

Available at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/05/c_13967285.htm


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2.
Iran Ready to Cooperate With Egypt on Nuclear Program: Negotiator
Xinhua News Agency
7/4/2011
(for personal use only)


Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said that Iran is ready to cooperate with Egypt on peaceful nuclear program, the state IRIB TV's website reported on Monday.

"We are fully ready for peaceful (nuclear) cooperation and exchanging experience and know-how with Egypt within the framework of IAEA," Jalili was quoted as saying.

Iran and Egypt are two member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the two countries share the opinion of achieving peaceful nuclear energy and opposing the development of mass destructive weapons, said Jalili.

Available at:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-07/04/c_13965035.htm


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B.  Japan

1.
Despite Concerns, Japan Stretches Life of Nuclear Plants
Takaaki Nishiyama
Asahi
7/6/2011
(for personal use only)


On March 26, the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's No. 1 reactor would have celebrated its 40th birthday, making it a senior citizen, where once, utilities estimated reactors' life spans to be 30 to 40 years.

Unfortunately, the events of March 11 following the Great East Japan Earthquake ensured the No. 1 reactor, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), would not live to a happy old age.

Of the three reactors at the crippled plant that were struck by a hydrogen explosion (No. 1 - 3), the aged No. 1 suffered the fastest core damage and an eventual core meltdown--fuel melted and slumped to the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel.

In contrast, the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant, which was hit by the same massive tsunami, was shut down safely. This plant, also run by TEPCO, started generating electricity in the 1980s.

Some experts say age-related problems led to such a serious accident at the older Fukushima No. 1 plant and has raised fresh concerns about the safety of Japan's geriatric reactors.

Many of the operating nuclear reactors in Japan are long past their primes and reaching old age. The badly damaged No. 1 reactor of the wrecked nuclear power plant was one of the oldest operating reactors in this country.

During the next 10 years, 30 percent of the reactors in Japan will be over 40.

While experts are warning about age-related problems of these old facilities, such as reactor embrittlement, policymakers and regulators are working to increase their longevity in the face of increased difficulty of finding locations to construct new atomic plants.

No. 1 reactor of Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tsuruga power plant in Fukui Prefecture began commercial operations in 1970, making it the oldest among the operating reactors in Japan.

Soon after, No. 1 reactor of the Mihama nuclear power plant, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co., came online, ushering in the nuclear energy era in Japan.

Of the 17 commercial nuclear power plants in Japan, 10 started operations in the 1970s. All the six reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant also began operating in the 1970s.

Initially, utilities expected their nuclear reactors to go out of service after 30 to 40 years. But much longer service life is now assumed for the operating reactors.

Of the 54 reactors in service, 19 are over 30 years old, while only five have been in operation for less than 10 years. The average age is 25.

Fukui Prefecture is home to 13 commercial nuclear reactors, including Tsuruga No. 1 and Mihama No. 1, more than in any other prefecture.

Six of them are offline, currently undergoing regular safety inspections. However, Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa is unwilling to allow them to start running again.

When Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda visited the prefecture in May, Nishikawa explained his opposition to the resumption of their operations.

"In the case of (the reactors in) Fukui, there are aging problems," he told Kaieda. "We have yet to see clear plans to solve these problems."

Eight of the 13 reactors in the central Japanese prefecture along the Sea of Japan coast have already turned 30.

Tsuruga No. 1, the oldest, is built upon the General Electric Mark 1 boiling water reactor design. Japan Atomic Power planned to shut down the reactor and start the process of decommissioning in 2010.

After it became clear that the planned construction of No. 3 and No. 4 will be delayed, however, the company decided in September 2009 to keep the reactor in service until 2016.

The ill-fated Fukushima No. 1 plant's No. 1 reactor is the same type of reactor as the Tsuruga No. 1. In 1996, the government said nuclear reactors can be operated for 60 years if necessary measures to secure their safety are implemented. The announcement was fully in line with an earlier U.S. decision to stretch the legal life span of atomic plants to 60 years, a move prompted by the fact that no new plants have been ordered since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

The government admits that aging causes such safety problems as neutron embrittlement of reactor pressure vessels and wear and corrosion of pipes. But no reactor pressure vessel or the containment vessel of any reactor in Japan has ever been replaced. The Tsuruga No. 1's vessels are still those that were installed when the reactor was built.

The date for decommissioning and dismantling Mihama No. 1 has not been set, either. Last year, Kansai Electric Power decided to eventually scrap the reactor and replace it with a new one under a detailed plan that was to be announced this fall. But the March 11 disaster has forced the company to put the project on hold.

There is growing concern about the safety of the aged reactor in the town of Miahama in Fukui Prefecture, where the facility is located.

During a June 24 meeting of the municipal assembly members, officials of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency stressed the safety of No. 1. But they were bombarded with questions from assembly members who were concerned about the fact that the safety design concept of the reactor differs from those of newer reactors.

They doubt that the reactor is designed appropriately to withstand a huge earthquake and tsunami because when the reactor was built four decades ago, much less was known about the possible effects of a major earthquake and tsunami on nuclear facilities.

This is a serious question for the 280 residents of the some 90 households in the Nyu district of Mihama, which is just one kilometer from the Mihama plant.

Kiyokazu Nakamura, a 71-year-old member of the municipal assembly living in the district, is calling for the decommissioning of the reactor.

"We approved the extension of the reactor's service life to over 40 years on condition that a new reactor to replace it should be built," says Nakamura. "If the successor reactor is not built, the Unit 1 should be scrapped immediately."

The most dangerous problem facing aging atomic plants is the tendency of reactors to become brittle. The steel walls of reactor vessels that cradle tons of radioactive fuel become increasingly brittle over time as a result of absorbing high-energy neutrons released during nuclear reactions.

This radiation damage, known as neutron embrittlement, is measured by a rise in the so-called ductile-to-brittle transition temperature. The higher the temperature, the weaker the material.

A pressure vessel with a higher transition temperature is more likely to crack or fracture when it is cooled down quickly from a high operation temperature. It is a phenomenon similar to the shattering of heated glass when it is cooled quickly.

The 36-year-old No. 1 reactor at the Genkai plant, operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co., is showing alarming signs of growing dangerously brittle. The reactor's transition temperature has been rising steadily from 35 degrees in 1976, reaching 56 degrees in 1993 and jumping to 98 degrees in 2009, according to data compiled by the utility.

Kyushu Electric claims it has confirmed that the reactor will run safely for more than 60 years. The utility also pledged to take appropriate safety measures if it operated the reactor for more than three decades.

But Hiromitsu Ino, a professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo, is sounding the alarm about the reactor's safety.

"If the reactor is hit by a major quake and subjected to emergency cooling, its pressure vessel is likely to break," Ino warns.

Public attention is focused on whether the reactors currently closed for safety checks at the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture will be restarted. The closed reactors are No. 2, which started operations in 1981, and No. 3, which began running in 1994. The two other reactors, No. 4, which came online in 1997, and the oldest, No. 1, are in operation.

On June 29, Saga Governor Yasushi Furukawa indicated his willingness to green light the resumption of the operation of the two reactors after a meeting with industry minister Kaieda.

But Furukawa nevertheless said he was "rather dissatisfied" with the policy debate over the safety measures for aging reactors.

At a July 1 session of the Saga prefectural assembly, Furukawa suggested that he will start discussions on the fate of the No. 1 reactor without ruling out possible decommissioning, saying, "It is time to consider seriously the future (of the reactor)."

Most researchers believe aging weakens nuclear reactors. But they don't agree on how long the service life of a reactor should be.

According to the Japan Nuclear Technology Institute, there are 13 reactors in the world that have been operating for more than 40 years, in such countries as the United States, Britain and India.

Despite this, it is now clear that the government needs to make a sweeping review of its nuclear safety standards, which claim 40-year-old reactors are safe to operate.

Available at:
http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201107050265.html


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2.
Japan Can't Reject Nuclear Power Out of Hand: Lawmaker
Linda Sieg
Reuters
7/6/2011
(for personal use only)


Japan should reduce its reliance on atomic power but deep public debate is needed over whether to rule it out entirely, a potential candidate to replace Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Tuesday.

A nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co's tsunami-crippled Fukushima plant is pushing Japan to reconsider the role of nuclear power in the quake-prone country, and Kan has begun a blank-slate review of a plan to boost atomic energy's share to more than 50 percent of electricity supply by 2030.

"I think we must escape from our reliance on nuclear power," Sumio Mabuchi, a former transport minister nicknamed the "Terminator" for his body-building hobby, told Reuters in an interview. "But we shouldn't just decide emotionally to abandon it because of a dangerous accident.

"We need to consider carefully whether our resource-poor country should limit our energy options," added the 50-year-old Mabuchi, who served as an aide to Kan on the crisis until a personnel reshuffle last month.

"If we decide to abandon nuclear power, there will be inconveniences and costs and the question is whether the public is prepared for that."

Kan, in office just over a year, survived a no-confidence vote last month by promising to step down, but has declined to say when he will keep that pledge, a stance that is worsening the deadlock in Japan's divided parliament.

Kan, under fire for his handling of the nuclear crisis, took another blow on Tuesday when his reconstruction minister resigned barely a week in the job.

Mabuchi also criticized a government push to get local communities to agree to restart reactors halted for regular inspections to avert a possible summer power crunch.

QUANTITATIVE EASING SOUGHT

He said Japan first needed to outline new, though still provisional, safety standards to gain international and public understanding after trust was damaged by sloppy information disclosure following the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Fukushima plant.

"To restart reactors that are halted due to regular inspections in the current situation would be extremely problematic," he said, adding any gaps in electricity supply should be met by using fossil fuel.

Mabuchi also urged the Bank of Japan (BOJ) to adopt a policy of quantitative easing to scape deflation and underwrite bonds to be issued to pay for rebuilding tsunami-hit northeast Japan -- the nation's biggest rebuilding project since right after World War Two.

Japan is already burdened with public debt worth twice the size of its $5 trillion economy, but the BOJ has rejected the notion of directly buying such reconstruction bonds for fear of opening the door to unlimited spending and pushing up bond yields.

"There are people who worry about hyper inflation (if such steps are taken), but is it really all right to keep stagnating like this?" Mabuchi said.

Mabuchi also said a government plan to double the sales tax to 10 percent by mid-decade to fund rising social welfare costs and help curb massive public debt could be revisited when a new leader replaces Kan, even though the plan was already watered down. "There is still dissatisfaction in the party," he said.

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/05/us-japan-politics-mabuchi-idUSTRE76424A20110705


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3.
Japan Considers Stress Tests for Nuclear Reactors
Osamu Tsukimori and Risa Maeda
Reuters
7/6/2011
(for personal use only)


Japan's government is considering conducting stress tests on nuclear reactors to ease safety concerns which have blocked the restart of idled reactors since the March quake and tsunami, but is likely to delay the nation's first nuclear restart since the disaster.

Japan is struggling with a drawn-out crisis after meltdowns at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi atomic plant, site of the world's worst nuclear incident in 25 years.

Tokyo worries that without the restart of reactors outside the quake-hit region that have been shut for regular maintenance, the country could suffer power shortages when demand peaks in the summer.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Wednesday he had asked Japan's trade and nuclear safety ministers to plan new tests.

"I have given instructions to consider ways to further boost assurances about nuclear power plants generally, by making evaluations through something similar to stress tests being conducted in Europe," Edano told parliament.

The tests would determine how well each nuclear reactor could withstand severe events, like the magnitude 9 earthquake and 15-metre (49-foot) tsunami that battered Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Daiichi facility in the northeast in March.

Such tests would not require extra safety checks but would rely on existing data, a trade ministry official in charge of reactor inspections said. Further details would be decided later, he added.

Local authorities have been calling for new guidelines to ensure that reactors in their communities are safer than Fukushima and another nuclear complex in Hamaoka, 200 km (120 miles) southwest of Tokyo, which Chubu Electric Power Co closed in early May at the prime minister's request due to that area's risk of a major earthquake.

Countries in the European Union have agreed to proceed with stress tests on the region's 143 reactors and have urged that they be conducted worldwide.

POSSIBLE DELAY IN RESTART

Tokyo's surprise move came just as reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co's 36-year old plant in the town of Genkai in the southern Saga prefecture were about to become the first to return online since the disaster.

Saga Governor Yasushi Furukawa signalled a delay in the restart beyond mid-July. "Any decision on Genkai should wait until after the stress tests are completed," he said in a statement.

"I agree with the aim of stress tests which is to offer further reassurance to citizens, but why now?" Furukawa said in a television programme.

"There is no shared stance of the government. I don't know whom to believe."

Last week, Japan's trade and energy minister Banri Kaieda, undeterred by several dozen anti-nuclear protesters, tried to persuade local governments in the Saga prefecture that it was safe to restart nuclear reactors.

POWER CUTS

Delays in restarting reactors and the shutdown of tsunami-hit plants have left Japan with only 19 of its 54 commercial reactors still operating.

To avoid unexpected blackouts, the government has told big power users in Tokyo and northeastern Japan that starting July 1 they must cut their peak power use by 15 percent compared with last year, resorting to such measures for the first time since the oil crisis of 1974.

Before March, nuclear accounted for about 30 percent of the electricity supply in Japan, the world's third-biggest nuclear power generator after the United States and France.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan told parliament on Wednesday that his government should come up with a new, comprehensive rule to help local authorities reach decisions on restart approvals, in response to a question about the Genkai reactors.

No time frame has yet been given for the tests, although Furukawa said it was his understanding that they would first be conducted on reactors that had been shut for regular maintenance.

The current parliamentary session has been extended until August to discuss compensation for people harmed or forced from their homes by the nuclear disaster. It will also focus on rebuilding the quake-hit regions and a framework to boost the use of renewable energy.

But political deadlock could undermine progress as opposition parties are likely to keep up pressure on Kan to keep his promise to quit soon.

Available at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/06/japan-nuclear-minister-idUSL3E7I600X20110706?rpc=401&


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4.
Local Leaders Disagree on Restart of Nuclear Reactors
Asahi
7/6/2011
(for personal use only)


Local political leaders are split over whether suspended reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture should be restarted.

Hideo Kishimoto, mayor of Genkai town, which hosts the plant, told Kyushu Electric on July 4 that he agreed with the restart of the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, which have been shut down for regular inspections.

"I have ascertained that the central government's emergency safety measures and other means are well in place. A certain level of understanding has been gained from the town residents concerning the resumption, so I would like to approve it on behalf of the town," Kishimoto told the company.

But with the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant still unresolved, the heads of other local governments near the Genkai plant said Kishimoto's statement was premature.

Yoshikazu Tsukabe, the mayor of Imari in Saga Prefecture, which is only 12 kilometers from the Genkai plant, said on July 4 that it was too early to resume operations.

"Damage from the Fukushima accident spread outside the 10-kilometer emergency planning zone," he said.

Toshiyuki Sakai, mayor of Karatsu in Saga Prefecture, which is next to Genkai town, told reporters July 4: "I remain prudent (about the resumption) because the citizens' concerns have not been allayed."

Mineo Matsumoto, mayor of Itoshima in Fukuoka Prefecture, said: "I am deeply concerned, because (part of) the city lies within 20 kilometers of the nuclear plant and, worse, in the direction of the prevailing wind."

Kyushu Electric President Toshio Manabe has been steering clear of consulting all local governments in the area, arguing that Genkai town and Saga Prefecture "represent" those governments.

But Norio Tomonaga, mayor of nearby Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture, flatly rejected that logic. "We are not acting in unison with Genkai town. (Genkai town and Saga Prefecture) do not represent us," he said.

Hodo Nakamura, governor of Nagasaki Prefecture, which neighbors Saga Prefecture, said the central government should organize meetings with local residents to explain the situation at the plants.

The situation in Saga Prefecture is mirrored across Japan, with many municipal heads in areas hosting power stations tending to be supportive of nuclear plants because of their importance to local employment and tax revenues.

Kishimoto was the first head of a local authority hosting a plant to officially approve a resumption of operations, but others were supportive of his decision.

Hiroomi Makino, mayor of Tomari village in Hokkaido Prefecture, which contains Hokkaido Electric Power Co.'s Tomari nuclear plant, said on July 4, "I think that, as a local municipal head, (the Genkai mayor) came to conclude that safety was assured."

The Tomari plant's No. 1 and No. 3 reactors have also been shut down for regular inspections.

"I am waiting for an explanation by the minister of economy, trade and industry and a decision by the governor of Hokkaido. Power supply is very tight for the summer, and this is having a great impact on the economy," Makino said.

Takashi Kusano, mayor of Naraha in Fukushima Prefecture, which hosts the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant, said: "Unlike the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the Genkai plant was shut down for checkups. The plant is well prepared for a tsunami. It is natural for him, as the mayor of a host town, to have a desire to have the nuclear plant operating again."

At TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture, where four reactors are in operation, the No. 1 and No. 7 reactors are scheduled to be shut down for regular inspections in August.

Hiroo Shinada, mayor of Kariwa village, said, "There is no need to keep it out of service if safety is proven scientifically."

He said he would not be influenced by Genkai town's decision. Nuclear plant subsidies and related items account for about 40 percent of all revenues of the village.

Available at:
http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201107050266.html


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5.
Tepco Starts Full Operation of Self-Contained Cooling System
Tsuyoshi Inajima
Bloomberg
7/4/2011
(for personal use only)


Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s self- contained cooling system that uses recycled water to douse smoldering reactors at its crippled nuclear is working for a third day after repeated stops and starts.

The company known as Tepco started cooling reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant using only decontaminated water at 6 p.m. on July 2 after the suspension of the system for a third time the day before to install a so-called buffer tank. The system has been running without any halts, said spokesman Naoyuki Matsumoto.

The successful operation means Tepco doesn’t have to add fresh water for cooling, allowing it to reduce the quantity of highly contaminated water lying in basements and trenches. The company has been pouring millions of liters of water onto three melted reactors to keep them cool since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out power and cooling at the plant.

Tepco last week began re-using the water that’s been decontaminated with equipment supplied by Areva SA and Kurion Inc. and its use means the company has taken a step forward in achieving its goal of bringing the reactors into a safe state, known as cold shutdown, by January.

Available at:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-04/tepco-starts-full-operation-of-self-contained-cooling-system.html


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C.  Russia

1.
Russia's Threats to Create New Offensive System 'Unnecessary' - NATO Chief
RIA Novosti
7/5/2011
(for personal use only)


Russia should not seek new weapons to counter nonexistent threats from the West, and would be better off spending the money on social and economic development, NATO's secretary general said on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, I have seen public pronouncements that Russia might consider spending billions of rubles on a new offensive system to target the West," Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, dismissing Russian threats of new weapons to challenge NATO's European missile defense plans.

"Let me put it bluntly: this type of statement is unnecessary. Because Russia is not threatened from the West," he said at the Kuznetsov Naval Academy in St. Petersburg. "This type of investment is a waste of money. Because the money is better spent on economic development, on modernization, and on job creation."

The statement came a day after a NATO-Russia Council meeting in Russia's Black Sea resort city of Sochi, which focused on the creation of the European missile defense system and opportunities for cooperation between Russia and the alliance on the issue.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov admitted after the talks that NATO would not agree on Russia's proposal for a so-called sectoral missile defense system in Europe. The alliance insists on establishing two independent systems that exchange information.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the European missile defense system at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010. Under a proposal put forward by President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia would be responsible for shooting down missiles aimed at NATO members but passing through Russia's airspace or sector, with NATO members committing to protect Russia in a similar fashion.

NATO has also refused to provide legally binding guarantees that its missiles would not be directed against Russia, which Moscow says is the only way to prevent a new arms race.

Russia has also threatened to withdraw from the New START treaty on cutting U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals in response to NATO's stance, as well as to create a new air and space defense system and enhance its offensive potential at western borders to avert a possible missile threat.

Rasmussen has pledged to continue dialogue with Russia on the issue and search for common grounds in order to "enhance transparency" and "create greater trust and confidence."

Available at:
http://en.rian.ru/world/20110705/165033651.html


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D.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Jordan Set to Add to Nuclear Plans
Taylor Luck
The Jordan Times
7/6/2011
(for personal use only)


As Amman considers vendors for the country’s first nuclear power plant, energy officials are setting their sights on the Kingdom’s second reactor.

According to Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Khaled Toukan, officials are preparing plans for a second reactor as part of a long-term vision for four nuclear reactors within the next quarter-century that will provide Jordan with 60 per cent of its electricity needs.

The construction of the additional reactor, expected to take place within three years of the first, aims to meet an expected rise in electricity demand, estimated to reach 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2020.

It is believed that atomic energy officials in Amman prefer the vendor that will be chosen to build the first nuclear reactor to carry out construction on the second, although the tender for the second project will be open to international firms.

The country’s first reactor is slated to be built within the next decade in Balaama/Majdal area, some 70 kilometres northeast of Amman.

Jordan is currently vetting bids from three shortlisted firms - Canada’s AECL, Russian Atomstroyexport and a joint venture between French firm AREVA and Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - for the construction of the 1,000MW Generation III reactor.

Energy officials in Amman have prioritised nuclear power as key to weaning the country off energy imports, which cost Jordan one-fifth of its gross domestic product in 2010.

Jordan’s nuclear programme has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks by local environmental activists and concerned residents in the Balaama area.

In addition to environmental concerns, activists point to lack of water - the Kingdom’s first nuclear reactor is to be cooled by the Khirbet Al Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant - and construction costs as grounds to freeze the programme.

Jordanian officials point to stable electricity prices and zero carbon emissions when highlighting the advantages of nuclear power.

Available at:
http://www.jordantimes.com/index.php?news=39224


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2.
Niger President Says Areva Uranium Mines Safe
Agence France-Presse
7/6/2011
(for personal use only)


Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou said Wednesday that his security forces had made safe the uranium mines in his country run by French state-owned nuclear firm Areva.

"We have taken all security measures so that work can resume at the new mine in Imouraren... and the Arlit zone is now secured," he said after a meeting in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

He also said he was doing all he could to obtain the release of four French hostages captured near the mines by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI), which has carried out bomb attacks and abductions in the region.

Areva has significantly scaled down its activities in Niger since the abduction last September of seven foreigners in the northern mining town of Arlit.

The seven expatriates included an Areva manager and his wife, both French, and five employees of the Satom subsidiary of construction firm Vinci, which works with Areva.

Three of the hostages -- a Frenchwoman, a Togolese and a Madagascar national -- were released in February.

Areva was accused of failing sufficiently to take into account threats weighing over its personnel in Niger.

Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gdi3Sb_aFOv6ZfkacZB0l0hrl65Q?docId=CNG.b304a01c7b5fffdb6aca33343b22da18.1f1


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3.
France Expands Nuclear Capabilities by Opening a Nuclear Institute
Charles Kennedy
Oil Price
7/5/2011
(for personal use only)


Instead of abandoning nuclear power, France has opened a nuclear energy institute. France currently generates 78 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants, the highest percentage in the world. Despite the 11 March nuclear debacle in Fukushima, Japan, France has pressed forward with a government-private initiative, on 27 June opening the l’Institut international de l’énergie nucléaire (I2EN), the institute reported on its website, http://www.i2en.fr/fr/.

The I2EN’s goal is to promote French civilian nuclear training abroad. Signifying the importance that the French government attaches to the establishment, the I2EN inauguration at the France’s Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA) center in Saclay near Paris in the presence of Valerie Pecresse, minister of higher education and research, and Eric Besson, minister for industry, energy, and digital economy.

In the field of nuclear energy, I2EN will focus on bilateral cooperation in training and policy advice for foreign students coming to France, as it can in addition call on the expertise of its group of 24 partners in the nuclear field.

The I2EN was established in March 2008 at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development International Conference on Access to Civil Nuclear Energy. Another French nuclear initiative, the JANNUS platform (ion-beam simulation of materials irradiation), distributed throughout the Saclay and Orsay CEA sites, was inaugurated at the same time as I2EN. As the research facility enables the experimental study of the behavior of building materials when exposed to neutron irradiation, it is intended to increase understanding of the effect of structural aging phenomena in nuclear power plants.

Available at:
http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/France-Expands-Nuclear-Capabilities-by-Opening-a-Nuclear-Institute.html


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4.
Tanzania to Mine Uranium in Game Reserve
Agence France-Presse
7/5/2011
(for personal use only)


Tanzania will begin uranium mining in its southern Selous Game Reserve, Africa's second-largest wildlife sanctuary and a UNESCO heritage site, the energy minister said Tuesday.

Australia's Mantra Resources will start mining in late 2012 in the southern part of the 54,600-square kilometre park estimated to have 53.9 million pounds (24.4 million kilogrammes) of uranium oxide deposits.

"Exploration and other preparations are going on, but mining will start in mid-2012 or later next year after fulfilling several conditions of the UNESCO Heritage Committee," Energy and Minerals Minister William Ngeleja told AFP.

Ngeleja said the conditions include conducting environmental and social impact assessments and securing authorisation from regulatory bodies.

He voiced optimism about getting clearance from the national environmental authorities and added that a UNESCO team would visit Tanzania for verification.

Tourism and Natural Resources Minister Ezekiel Maige told AFP that the UNESCO Heritage Committee that met in Paris recently gave Tanzania conditional approval to mine in the Selous.

The announcement follows Maige's declaration last week that the country will proceed with plans to build a road through the Serengeti Park, another UN heritage site, although UNESCO said Tanzania had halted the project.

Environmentalists argue that the road project will endanger wildlife and disrupt the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebras from the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara in neighbouring Kenya.

However, the tourism minister said sections through the park will not be tarmacked.

Tanzania also said earlier this year there was no reason to further delay a plan to build a soda ash plant at Lake Natron in the north of the country, the only nesting ground for flamingoes in east Africa.

Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ju860m9cQudOgkliQ2D5DOFwkPmA?docId=CNG.3ae8c77c338eb527620bd8b4c01772d6.491


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5.
French Nuclear Reactor Authorised for 10 More Years
Agence France-Presse
7/4/2011
(for personal use only)


French safety authorities Monday said they had cleared a reactor at a 33-year-old nuclear plant to go on functioning for another decade provided maintenance work is carried out.

The number one reactor at Fessenheim, France's oldest nuclear plant, "is suitable to be used for 10 more years on condition that a certain number of instructions are respected," Andre-Claude Lacoste, president of the nuclear safety agency ASN, told reporters.

The conditions include reinforcing the reactor's concrete foundation to ensure it is resistant to corium, a magma that forms when a reactor gets too hot.

The French energy firm EDF that runs the plant told AFP: "We will take into account the different instructions from the ASN for Fessenheim to function correctly."

The Fukishima nuclear plant disaster in Japan caused by an earthquake in March drove some countries, notably Germany, to reconsider the future of nuclear power.

France, which produces most of its electricity from its nuclear plants, has shown no signs of cutting back despite complaints from environmentalists about plants such as Fessenheim.

Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jEwGdkpsWbt7btjnXeVQ3PVVckqA?docId=CNG.8a42f67a199cf2c824119eb348348cc2.151


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E.  IAEA

1.
Fiji to Join International Atomic Energy Agency
Fiji Live
7/6/2011
(for personal use only)


Cabinet has agreed on Fiji to join the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) based on a submission by the Minister for Health, Dr Neil Sharma.

IAEA is the world’s centre of cooperation in the nuclear field, works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology with a 151 member states and is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

Dr Sharma in a statement said the IAEA has acquired unrivalled experience in the delivery of radiotherapy, diagnostic imaging and nuclear medicine procedures to developing countries amounting to US$200 million since 1980.

He said in response to the developing world’s growing cancer crisis, the IAEA had established in 2004 the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).

He said the incidence of cancer which is the third leading cause of death in Fiji after diseases of the circulatory system and endocrine diseases, has increased from 58per 100,000 in 2000 to 133 per 100,000 in 2010 with females at higher risk than males.

“The risk of getting cancer before age 75 in Fiji is 13.2%, which is lower than the risk for Melanesia (14.7%), Micronesia (16.6%) and Polynesia (22.0%).

“With a cancer epidemic looming in developing countries, the existing infrastructure especially in the Pacific Island countries (PIC’s) like Fiji is inadequate to respond to the growing demand.”

Also the department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications is one of the five departments in the IAEA, and helps countries use nuclear and isotopic techniques to promote sustainable development objectives in agriculture, human health, water resource management, marine environment, and industrial applications.

IAEA is an independent international organisation related to the United Nations by special agreement.

Dr Sharma said Fiji and the PIC’s could benefit from PACT’s current work with World Health Organisation and other partners to raise cancer awareness, assess needs and develop successful projects.

Available at:
http://www.fijilive.com/news/2011/07/06/34521.Fijilive


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2.
Fiji to Join the International Atomic Energy Agency
Government of Fiji
7/6/2011
(for personal use only)


Cabinet has agreed that Fiji join the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Minister for Health, Dr Neil Sharma.

IAEA was the world’s centre of cooperation in the nuclear field, works for the safe, secure and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology.

The IAEA has 151 member states and is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

It is an independent international organization related to the United Nations by special agreement.

The Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications is one of the five departments in the IAEA, and helps countries use nuclear and isotopic techniques to promote sustainable development objectives in agriculture, human health, water resource management, marine environment, and industrial applications.

The Minister said that the IAEA has acquired unrivalled experience in the delivery of radiotherapy, diagnostic imaging and nuclear medicine procedures to developing countries amounting to US$200 million since 1980.

He said that in response to the developing world’s growing cancer crisis, the IAEA had established in 2004 the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).

The Minister said that the incidence of cancer which is the third leading cause of death in Fiji after diseases of the circulatory system and endocrine diseases, has increased from 58per 100,000 in 2000 to 133 per 100,000 in 2010 with females at higher risk than males.

“The risk of getting cancer before age 75 in Fiji is 13.2%, which is lower than the risk for Melanesia (14.7%), Micronesia (16.6%) and Polynesia (22.0%).

“With a cancer epidemic looming in developing countries, the existing infrastructure especially in the Pacific Island countries (PIC’s) like Fiji is inadequate to respond to the growing demand.”

The Minister said that Fiji and the PIC’s could benefit from PACT’s current work with WHO and other partners to raise cancer awareness, assess needs and develop successful projects.

Available at:
http://www.fiji.gov.fj/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4414:6711-fiji-to-join-the-international-atomic-energy-agency&catid=49:cabinet-releases&Itemid=166


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