Adequate safety measures must be taken before the start of uranium mining in the country, experts observed here yesterday.They said Tanzania was still short of qualified personnel to handle radioactive materials as well as the requisite infrastructure for storage and transportation of uranium and its by products.
"Measures have to be taken because accidents involving nuclear material are quite lethal," said the director of Nuclear Technology with the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (Taec) Mr Firmin Banzi.
Speaking to reporters at the start of a training course on radiation detection for the police and security officers from public institutions, the official said mishandling of radiation material was equally deadly. He said strict measures on safety would be put in place before any company is licensed to mine uranium found in some parts of the country.
He added that an aggressive public sensitisation has been undertaken for communities living around the Mkuju River valley in Ruvuma Region and Bahi District in Dodoma where large deposits of uranium have been found.Mr Banzi explained that if not handled properly the radioactive uranium would expose people to life-threatening hazards and would as well have long-term effects on the environment and water through contamination.
He emphasized that once uranium mining starts, the security organs in the country must be extra vigilant against people who might steal the radiation material for bad motives such as terrorism."We are living in the world of conflicts. Radioactive material could be used as weapons of mass destruction, revenge and/or sabotages to fulfil political gains or individuals," he pointed out.
According to him, the consequences of uncontrolled use of radioactive materials, especially during spillage or discharge, are many including water, food, air and environmental contamination.The week-long course at a hotel in Arusha is being attended by security officers drawn from the Intelligence Department, the police, Criminal Investigation Department, major airports, ports as well as some border posts.
The official stressed that since nuclear material has to be handled with care, the relevant experts must keep abreast with the technology trends underlined by the nuclear security programme of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the global watchdog on the radiation matters.
Available at: http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/news/4-national-news/15161-officials-trained-on-radioactivity
2. U.S. Secretly Asked Japan to Help Dump Nuclear Reactors
(for personal use only)
The United States secretly sought Japan's support in 1972 to enable it to dump decommissioned nuclear reactors into the world's oceans under the London Convention, an international treaty being drawn up at the time.
Countries working on the wording of the pact wanted to specifically prohibit the dumping of radioactive waste at sea.
But Washington wanted to incorporate an exceptional clause in the case of decommissioned nuclear reactors.
These facts came to light in diplomatic records held by the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo and released at the request of The Asahi Shimbun.
Japan did not offer a clear answer when it was approached by the United States on the issue.
Eventually, however, Washington succeeded in incorporating the clause into the treaty.
In 1972, the United States was already dismantling early-stage nuclear reactors that had been used for testing. However, the disposal method of large-scale nuclear reactors for commercial purposes had not been decided although it was an issue that could not be shelved indefinitely. Since Japan, a key U.S. ally, had already started its own nuclear power generation program, Washington did not hesitate to seek Tokyo's backing for its request.
It was apparent that the United States constructed nuclear reactors without having decided on disposal methods, forcing it to consider dumping them at sea after they were decommissioned.
The documents obtained by The Asahi Shimbun were signed by Japan's ambassador to Britain and designated as top secret.
According to the records, a U.S. State Department official who was part of the U.S. delegation discussing the terms of the treaty, met his Japanese counterpart in November 1972. In that meeting, the official explained that the United States had a number of early-stage nuclear reactors which had reached their life spans. He said Washington was facing problems disposing of them.
The official noted that any attempt to bury the reactors on land would invite a public backlash. He also pointed to the financial difficulty of scientifically processing the reactors until the risk of radioactive contamination was totally eliminated.
Then, the official said the only other option was to dump them at sea, and asked Japan for cooperation.
According to Kumao Kaneko, now aged 74 and then a member of the Foreign Ministry team involved in the negotiations, Japan did not take specific steps to assist the United States in this delicate matter.
Eventually, during the general meeting of countries for the London Convention, the United States proposed incorporating a clause that would enable it to dump nuclear reactors at sea in exceptional cases in which all other means of disposal presented a risk to human health.
When presenting the proposal, the United States made no mention of its intention to dump its nuclear reactors at sea far into the future. The proposal was accepted.
In the early 1970s, sea pollution was a huge international issue.
Against that backdrop, countries worked feverishly to put the finishing touches on the London Convention. The treaty designated high-level radioactive substances as well as other materials, including mercury and cadmium, as waste whose dumping at sea is prohibited.
In 1993 revisions to the London Convention, the dumping of radioactive waste at sea was totally prohibited. However, the clause that approved of dumping in exceptional cases remained.
For this reason, under the London Convention, it is possible for member countries of the treaty to dump radioactive waste at sea if they obtain the OK from the other parties as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency.
According to the IAEA, the United States has not dumped radioactive waste at sea since 1970. Instead, it buries decommissioned nuclear reactors underground.
Available at: http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201109260363.html
3. US Asks India to Modify Nuclear Liability Regime
Indo-Asian News Service
(for personal use only)
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Tuesday asked India to ensure that its nuclear liability regime conforms with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.
Clinton made the call in a 40 minute meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session with Indian external affairs minister SM Krishna, according to a senior state department Official.
India's nuclear liability regime has become a sticking point in the full implementation of the landmark India-US nuclear deal, with American companies reluctant to do business under the tough compensation legislation passed by the Indian parliament.
Clinton complimented India on its active participation in the New Silk Road initiative to strengthen transit and trade in South and Central Asia as the two ministers compared notes on the upcoming New Silk Road conference in Istanbul early November, the US official said.
Clinton and Krishna agreed on the importance of the two countries' shared bilateral, regional and global efforts to combat terrorism and the establishment of the new Global Counterterrorism forum, he said.
They also discussed Middle East peace, and both ministers expressed the hope that the Israelis and Palestinians will take up the proposal put forward by the Quartet Sep 23 and come back to the negotiating table.
Clinton and Krishna also discussed the situation in Syria, and the need for a strong message from the UN Security Council to the Asad regime that the violence must end.
Clinton also thanked Krishna for India's peacekeeping contribution in South Sudan, and they discussed the need to work with both Khartoum and Juba to quell the violence in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan.
Available at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/US-asks-India-to-modify-nuclear-liability-regime/Article1-750608.aspx
Investigators following up on a nuclear sting in eastern Europe suspect that a crime syndicate was trying to sell weapons-grade uranium to buyers in North Africa.
Officials in Moldova, a former Soviet republic, told The Associated Press that 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of highly enriched uranium remains in criminal hands and is probably in another country.
Though that is a fraction of what is needed for a bomb, the investigation has provided fresh evidence of a black market in nuclear material probably taken from poorly secured stockpiles in the former Soviet Union.
U.S. authorities have been aiding the Moldovans in the international search for a Russian believed to be the ringleader of the smuggling operation. They also are searching for a North African man who they believe attempted to buy the uranium in Moldova before fleeing the country.
Neither suspect has been publicly identified. The North Africa link, though, has worried officials because terrorist groups such as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb are in the region.
The concern is raised in a report prepared by the staff of Sen. Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"Should the existence of a legitimate buyer (or middleman) from a region with a history of terror cells be confirmed, then the case would be substantially more alarming than other recent fissile material interdictions, where official agents were the sole potential buyer," said the report, which was obtained ahead of its release Tuesday.
The AP has learned details of the investigation from the report and from U.S., United Nations and Moldovan officials. Some of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
Moldovan investigators, who had been trained by U.S. specialists, set up a sting in June after learning of the ring operating out of the breakaway Republic of Transnistria. Undercover police bought the small quantity, pre-empting the North African buyer.
They arrested six people and seized 4.4 grams (0.16 ounces) of uranium that had been offered as a sample at a price of 420,000 euros, or $600,000. The sellers claimed to have 9 kilograms (20 pounds) more as well as a quantity of plutonium, according to Lugar's report. The group wanted 23 million euros (nearly $31 million) for the larger quantity of uranium, which would have been about one-third of the material necessary to build a crude nuclear weapon.
It is not known whether the group had access to that much uranium. But Moldovan prosecutors, who have interrogated the arrested suspects extensively, say they believe that the group still has at least a smaller quantity.
"Members of the ring, who have not yet been detained, have 1 kilogram of uranium," which is in another country, said Maria Vieru, a spokeswoman for Moldovan prosecutors.
According to U.S. and U.N. officials, the sample of uranium oxide was traced to specific Russian enrichment facilities and was matched later with at least one earlier seizure of uranium. Nuclear forensic experts can analyze chemical traits of uranium and other radioactive material, which can provide a kind of nuclear fingerprint that can be traced to known stocks.
According to Olli Heinonen, a former investigator at the International Atomic Energy Agency, a small quantity of uranium oxide enriched to bomb-grade level could have come from Russian civilian nuclear stocks used in research reactors. But if the smugglers indeed have the larger quantity they were offering, it would signal that criminals had gained access to military stocks.
Moldovan authorities believe the uranium was taken through Transnistria, which is known to be a haven for smugglers. The report by Lugar, who has spearheaded U.S. efforts to secure weapons of mass destruction around the world, says flights into Transnistria cannot be monitored, and the borders between the breakaway territory and Moldova proper as well as Ukraine are porous. The report also warns that action needs to be taken to improve security at Russian nuclear facilities.
The offer of plutonium, if legitimate, also was particularly troubling, because less plutonium is needed to make a nuclear bomb. Unlike highly enriched uranium, plutonium can be combined with conventional explosives to make a toxic dirty bomb that could spread radioactivity over a wide area.
The investigation widened following the arrests when Moldovan authorities searched the office of one of the detained men, a lawyer in the country's capital, Chisinau.
Data found on a computer revealed the group had sought contacts in North Africa for the sale.
The police also seized photocopies of passports, including those of the North African and Russian men being sought.
Little is known about the North African man, except that he was believed to be married to a Moldovan woman and fled the country. Officials familiar with the investigation would not say which country he came from.
U.S. authorities have been pressing Russia for help in the investigation. The Russians "are taking appropriate action," said White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor.
The Russian government had no immediate comment on the new details of the investigation.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hL2MiwQ6mAhy0BYeVmsKnix6zZTg?docId=141052d8e9b846e79a85c0880d12bee8
5. Dumped in the Desert ...Gaddafi’s Yellowcake Stockpile
(for personal use only)
Some are marked radioactive, as were the open plastic bags alongside.
The powder they contain appears to be yellowcake uranium from neighbouring Niger. Yet when they were discovered by advancing rebel forces last week, they were abandoned, in tumbledown warehouses protected only by a low wall.
Niger mines yellowcake under a strict security regime designed to ensure none of it falls into the hands of illicit networks. But post-Gaddafi Libya affords little or no protection to this vast haul of material, which if refined to high levels of purity is the essential element of a nuclear bomb.
The Daily Telegraph reported last week that Iran, which is pursuing underground nuclear programmes, had joined in the looting of Libyan weaponry.
Despite the dangers, international atomic agencies and Libya’s rebels say it will take weeks to put safeguards in place.
There are at least 10,000 drums with a total capacity of two million litres, though most have not been opened and checked for their contents. They are being stored not far from the southern desert city of Sabha.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says it knew that Col Muammar Gaddafi had stockpiled yellowcake uranium near Sabha – a relic of the years when he tried to develop nuclear weapons after obtaining blueprints from the Pakistani scientist, AQ Khan.
“We can confirm that there is yellowcake stored in drums at a site near Sabha in central Libya,” a spokesman said. “The IAEA has tentatively scheduled safeguard activities at this location once the situation in the country stabilises.”
After agreeing to dismantle the programme in 2003, Gaddafi was supposed to have given up all his nuclear technology. He was also supposed to have given up chemical weapons, but it is known he still had mustard gas awaiting disposal.
A WikiLeaks cable disclosed that two years ago he was trying to sell 1,000 metric tons of yellowcake on the world market. No one expected such a valuable commodity to have been left dumped in the desert.
Sabha was an important stronghold for Gaddafi, who spent part of his youth here, and many of the locals are from the Gaddafi tribe. Abdullah Senussi, his security chief, right-hand man and brother-in-law, is from a town 50 miles to the north.
But the city was only lightly defended. A total of 12 rebels died in the fighting, with just one or two parts of the town resisting at all.
Having driven out the remnants of the Gaddafi forces towards the Algerian border, the rebel troops said they were ordered to secure former military bases — a standard practice adopted belatedly to stop weapons stockpiles going missing.
They found the storage facility containing the radioactive drums totally unguarded. “I don’t think it’s ever been guarded,” said Musbah al-Mangoush, an agricultural engineer from the town who escaped Gaddafi’s grip three months ago and returned at the head of a brigade of troops from Benghazi.
“This was a military base until the 1990s, but then it was abandoned. There was no one here.” In neighbouring sheds are rusting trucks, old fuel tanks, and surface-to-air missiles covered in pigeon droppings.
It is not clear how long the material has been there. Mohammed Othman, whose family owns a farm five miles further up the track away from Sabha, says soldiers were seen unloading trucks in the area a year ago. Mr Mangoush, on the other hand, links the find to what he claims is a high level of miscarriage and deformity in babies in the area, suggesting a longer term presence.
Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the president of the provisional government, the National Transitional Council, said at a press conference on Sunday that a second find of illegal material had been made near the town of Waddan — believed to be mustard gas. “There are weapons believed to be internationally forbidden, and they are under our control,” he said.
The United States previously said that Gaddafi’s yellowcake stocks were held at the town of Tajoura east of Tripoli and were “secure”.
The real site is now guarded by half a dozen rebel troops.
Fighting has moved on to the border town of Ghat, leaving virtually all the south of Libya, with its important oilfields, in the hands of the rebels.
Of Gaddafi himself, there is now no sign.
“Tell us if you find him,” is the commonest response to questions concerning his whereabouts.
Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8787721/Dumped-in-the-desert-...-Gaddafis-yellowcake-stockpile.html
6. Libyan Money for N-Secrets Reached India Too: ISI
(for personal use only)
A portion of the $5 million given by Libya for clandestine purchase of secret nuclear technology from Pakistan was transferred to India and Singapore, claims a secret ISI report circulated among western intelligence agencies.
Libya gave $5 million to two of the Dubai-based confidants of disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan in lieu of drawings and designs of nuclear technology and plants, according to the ISI report on Islamabad’s illegal export of nuclear technology, obtained and released by the Fox News on Sunday.
The two individuals were identified as Farooq and Tahir, who were Tamils of Sri Lankan origin and both of whom lived in Dubai and worked secretly for AQ Khan for his clandestine nuclear missions.
“The Libyans gave Farooq/Tahir $5 million, some of which they gave to (one) Dr Niazi, some they transferred to India and Singapore and some was put in the account of the fictitious Haider Zaman,” says the ISI report.
“Some money from this account was used by Tahir for payments to suppliers and some was again donated for social, welfare and educational projects in Pakistan run by Dr Khan,” it said.
There is no further reference to the Indian trail of the money.
“Farooq (Sri Lanka) was the main contact with the Libyans through Niazi. He brought the suppliers in contact with them and gave copies of all the drawings which Khan had kept in Dubai for discussions with the suppliers,” the ISI report said.
“These drawings also included those of the device, as Khan was ordering components from England and Switzerland.
His own old notes were also kept there for necessary use. Farooq or Tahir had access to the flat (where these things were kept) as they were maintaining it and they must have given copies of all the papers to the Libyans,” the ISI said.
Available at: http://www.omantribune.com/index.php?page=news&id=101687&heading=India
1. Gov't Panel Resumes Review of Japan's Nuclear Power Plan
The Mainichi Daily News
(for personal use only)
A government panel on Tuesday resumed discussions to review Japan's nuclear power development strategy outline for the first time in six months, with a view to compiling a new outline in about a year, panel members said.
The Japan Atomic Energy Commission's panel for drawing up the new outline had not met following the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. It convened Tuesday after changing some of its members.
The new members include Masaru Kaneko, a Keio University professor who has written a book about abandoning nuclear power generation.
After the nuclear crisis broke, there were calls to review the Japanese government's policy of promoting nuclear power generation.
Also Tuesday, the atomic energy commission set up a subcommittee to assess the economic efficiency of and technical issues related to nuclear power generation and the nuclear fuel cycle, which involves extracting plutonium for reuse by reprocessing spent fuel.
The subcommittee will also look into the direct disposal of spent fuel by burying it deep underground, as part of efforts to reexamine the adequateness of nuclear power generation and nuclear fuel reprocessing, officials said.
Japan makes use of the nuclear fuel cycle and the latest version of the nuclear power strategy outline put together in 2005 also maintains the policy.
But the commission determined that it was necessary to reassess nuclear power generation due to increased calls for a review of Japan's atomic power policy following the nuclear crisis.
The subcommittee's conclusions will form part of the discussions of the outline panel, the officials said.
Available at: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110928p2g00m0dm022000c.html
2. Japan to Remove Some Restrictions on Fukushima Evacuation Zone
(for personal use only)
Japan’s government may lift restrictions this week on some areas outside the exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear where residents had been told to prepare for evacuation.
The so-called Emergency Evacuation Preparation Zone was set up in April for areas 10 kilometers beyond the 20 kilometer (12.6 mile) no-go zone. The area includes five cities, towns and villages where residents were allowed to stay after the nuclear accident on the condition they were prepared to evacuate at any time if radiation levels spiked.
“I plan to take measures to lift the Emergency Evacuation Preparation Zone this week if possible,” said Goshi Hosono, Japan’s minister in charge of the response to the nuclear crisis, in the Diet today.
Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant has been leaking radiation since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling, causing three reactors to meltdown and forcing 160,000 people to flee their homes.
“The government may be easing restrictions because concern about reactor explosions has diminished,” Tetsuji Imanaka, professor of nuclear engineering in Kyoto University, said by phone today. “Radiation contamination of the land hasn’t decreased so far.”
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-27/japan-to-remove-some-restrictions-on-fukushima-evacuation-zone.html
3. Panel Sees Nuke Disaster Compensation at $39-$52 Billion: Nikkei
(for personal use only)
Compensation for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster will cost at least 3-4 trillion yen ($39-$52 billion), reckons a government-appointed panel looking into Tokyo Electric Power Co's finances, the Nikkei business daily reported.
Tepco, as the utility is known, will run out of cash unless it restarts idle reactors at its workhorse Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture or charges more for electricity, the paper said citing projections that will be included in the panel's upcoming report.
The compensation estimates assume that the damaged Fukushima reactors are brought to the safe state known as cold shutdown early next year and that residents evacuated from the surrounding areas return home next fiscal year, the report said.
Delays in reaching these goals would run up the bill, which will also depend on how much of the decontamination costs Tepco is made to bear, the report added.
The panel examined nine financial scenarios for the coming decade, based on when the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors might go back online (next summer, a year after that, or not at all) and how much electric rates might rise (5%, 10%, or not at all), Nikkei said.
The scenarios involving either no restart or no rate hike lead to either a cash crunch or negative net worth, the paper said.
In its report, which is due out as early as next month, the panel will include three or four of the viable scenarios and put a figure of 500-600 billion yen on the compensation money to be realized through a companywide overhaul, Nikkei added.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/26/us-fukushimadaiichi-idUSTRE78P5VT20110926
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) , owner of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, will be more flexible about the steps tens of thousands of victims need to take to apply for compensation, the company said on Monday.
Its promise came after criticism from the government over laborious procedures Tepco requires victims go through, including wading through a 160-page brochure that explains how to complete its forms and filling out a 60-page application that must have various pieces of evidence attached.
The government also criticised a key clause that victims would need to sign to receive compensation that would have deprived them of the right to object to the size of any payout.
"I am a lawyer, but even as a lawyer, the content is difficult to read through immediately," Trade Minister Yukio Edano, who oversees economic damages from the world's worst nuclear disaster in 25 years, told parliament.
"Honestly speaking, I think it's a given that relevant parties are upset about this procedure," he later told senior Tepco officials.
About 80,000 people were evacuated from zones near the Fukushima plant, some 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, after a quake and tsunami in March triggered nuclear fuel meltdowns and radiation leaks.
In response to the government criticism, the utility said it would remove the problematic clause and pledged to be flexible to accommodate victims such as by not requiring all receipts.
But the company stopped short of saying it would issue a simplified application form, saying it wanted to avoid confusion arising from different forms being used by applicants.
"If we had stood closer to the position of the victims, we could have done better," Tokyo Electric Vice President Masao Yamazaki told reporters, while Managing Director Naomi Hirose said: "We will not make big changes to the system but instead take detailed, sincere and flexible measures."
The struggling group aims to raise more than 600 billion yen ($7.9 billion) by selling real estate, securities holdings and other assets, but will need the support of a government-backed fund to stave off bankruptcy.
Some analysts have said that compensation claims against Tepco could climb as high as $130 billion.
The utility has so far handed out about 52 billion yen in temporary payments to 56,400 households and an additional 43 billion to individuals for fees they had paid to be evacuated.
It has also paid about 63 billion yen to farmers, fishermen and to small and mid-sized companies as temporary compensation.
Tepco aims to start in October the initial round of official compensation claims, which will cover lost income, psychological suffering and costs for transportation and lodging, among other things, between March and end-August.
Yuichi Kaido of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations said Tepco's current forms are problematic, not only for their complexity but also because the company has postponed a decision on how to compensate victims for properties such as uninhabitable houses, often the biggest assets in question.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/26/tepco-compensation-idUSL3E7KQ1M420110926
The UN atomic agency said Monday it was hoping to send in early October a team of experts to assist in making safe "properly" the area around Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
"Japan does not have that much experience in decontamination," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Yukiya Amano, himself Japanese, told reporters at the UN body's Vienna headquarters.
"They have had small accidents but they have never had an accident this big, so we can provide assistance. Even though they have some ideas, we can provide confidence and credibility," he said.
"For many countries, for the engineers, what is going on in the reactor is the main issue of interest. But for the local people the most important is what happens with their house or rice field. We need to decontaminate."
He added that people had started to spray water on their houses and dig up fields in an effort to decontaminate them.
"These things need to be done properly. Otherwise the amount of debris becomes huge. I hope that we can give some advice," Amano said.
He said that the mission aimed at finding out what Japanese authorities had done so far in the clean-up and what they plan to do, and that other countries were interested in learning from Japan's experiences.
Six months after Japan's massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami sparked the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, emergency crews are struggling to stop radiation seeping out.
Tens of thousands of people remain evacuated from homes, farms and businesses in a 20-kilometre (12-mile) radius around the plant and in pockets beyond.
Many activists and scientists have said the evacuation zone is not wide enough and does not account for unpredictable spread of fallout. The government has warned some areas near the plant may be uninhabitable for years.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j4Xi4rKbbD6buU-kLPhYGEJr4siQ?docId=CNG.6f3256cd60ce64884378c52c9f745503.ce1
1. Vietnam Advances Nuclear Construction Plan with Japan
(for personal use only)
Japan Atomic Energy Co said on Wednesday it reached an agreement to conduct a feasibility study to build Vietnam's first nuclear power plant, marking a step in Japan's efforts to export its nuclear technology to the Southeast Asian country.
Last October, Vietnam chose to partner with Japan in the construction of two nuclear reactors in central Vietnam. It also plans to build two more in the same region, using Russian technology, aiming for operations of all four reactors in the early 2020s.
Japan Atomic Energy said that it took more time than expected to reach a deal but that it had nothing to do with the disaster at Tokyo Electric's Fukushima nuclear plant after the earthquake and tsunami in March.
The radiation crisis heightened safety concerns in Japan, the world's third-biggest nuclear power generator, and kept several reactors shut for regular maintenance from restarting.
Still, the government decided this month that Japan should keep exporting nuclear technology while ensuring that its safety is among the highest levels in the world.
Japan's trade and energy minister, Yukio Edano, is scheduled to meet his Lithuanian counterpart on Wednesday as negotiations are under way for the EU member state to build a nuclear plant.
Edano is expected to exchange views on nuclear technology given that Lithuania has picked Hitachi and a combined Hitachi-U.S. General Electric company to continue talks on building a new nuclear power plant, a ministry official said.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/28/vietnam-japan-nuclear-idUSL3E7KS1Q120110928
2. Bulgaria Begs Russia for New Nuclear Project Delay
Sofia News Agency
(for personal use only)
Bulgaria has approached Russia with a request to extend the negotiations over Belene nuclear project by another four months as of October, the economy minister has said.
At the beginning of July Bulgaria's National Electric Company NEK and Russia's Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom, signed an annex extending by three months their contract for the construction of two 1,000 megawatt nuclear reactors at Belene.
"The project's consultant HSBC has already come up with its first conclusions, which show that there are ways to make Belene profitable," the minister said on Tuesday.
Traikov however stressed that the line between "profitable" and "unprofitable" is very thin and a matter of detailed negotiations.
According to him the new deadline must stretch after the Bulgarian and Russian Christmas, so that the results from the stress tests and the expected developments on the electricity market can be taken into account.
As time ticked away, Bulgaria is facing an ever greater risk of being taken to arbitration by Russia's Rosatom and forced to pay EUR 1 B in damages.
The 12th annex triggered a huge scandal at the beginning of April after the head of the national utility company NEK Krasimir Parvanov signed an agreement with Rosatom's subsidiary Atomstroyexport that potentially threatens Bulgaria's national interests by obliging the Bulgarian government to reach a final agreement with the Russians on Belene by July 1, 2001.
Traikov slammed Parvanov and announced he is going to be fired, but the dismissal was later overturned by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
Borisov harshly criticized the Energy Minister's hasty and emotional reaction and threatened him with being kicked out of office.
It turned out that Parvanov has coordinated his actions with Deputy Prime Minister, Simeon Djankov, who oversees finance and economy.
The signed document stirred heated debates in Bulgaria as it came before the two sides agree on the price of the project and conduct safety checks.
Bulgaria and Russia are unable to agree on the major bone of contention - the price for the construction of the 2000-MW Belene NPP.
Russia says the project construction price should be EUR 6.3 B. The Borisov government wants to set the price at as little as EUR 5 B.
After it was first started in the 1980s, the construction of Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube was stopped in the early 1990s over lack of money and environmental protests.
After selecting the Russian company Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom, to build a two 1000-MW reactors at Belene and signing a deal for the construction, allegedly for the price of EUR 3.997 B, with the Russians during Putin's visit to Sofia in January 2008, in September 2008, former Prime Minister Stanishev gave a formal restart of the building of Belene. At the end of 2008, German energy giant RWE was selected as a strategic foreign investor for the plant.
The Belene NPP was de facto frozen in the fall of 2009 when the previously selected strategic investor, the German company RWE, which was supposed to provide EUR 2 B in exchange for a 49% stake, pulled out.
Available at: http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=132448
The city will play host to one of the largest gatherings of nuclear experts from around the world between September 29 and October 1 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon (E).
Though it is third in the series, it is the first conference to be held after the Fukushima mishap that took place in March this year. The spokesperson of the department of atomic energy, Swapnesh Malhotra, highlighted during a media interaction on Monday that for the first time, the American Nuclear Society (ANS) will be present at the conference . "We are here to listen and learn," Eric Loewen, president of the ANS said.
This three-day meet will provide a major platform to discuss enhanced safety measures in the international nuclear sector. Speakers from the American state department, the US Embassy in New Delhi, the US Department of Commerce and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be addressing the summit on the mutual benefits of the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement signed on October 8, 2008.
Loewen, who is leading a mission of 20 US N-experts , said that his high powered delegation comprises the academia, the government, and the industry . The team will visit Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Trombay and the Indira Gandhi Atomic Research Centre in Indore.
The conference holds relevance for Mumbai because on October 1, IITMumbai and the Indian leg of the ANS will host 'Framework on Nuclear Education Co-operation' , where students and professors from more than a dozen Indian and American universities will participate.
The French Trade Commission to India is also participating in the conference.
Available at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/N-experts-to-discuss-safety/articleshow/10134587.cms
4. US and Slovak Experts Meet to Counter Nuclear Trafficking
The Slovak Spectator
(for personal use only)
Slovak and US experts met in Bratislava on September 26 to discuss ways of building their cooperation in the fight against illicit trade in nuclear armaments and materials, the SITA newswire reported.
A joint statement issued by the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry and the US Embassy in Slovakia reported that the talks deepened cooperation between the countries within the global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism launched by the US Department of State.
"Slovakia and the United States have once again acknowledged the need to prevent access of terrorists and other criminals to nuclear materials and exchanged verified methods with the aim to coordinate a national reaction to trafficking in nuclear and other radioactive materials," SITA wrote in quoting part of the statement.
During the meeting experts from the two countries exchanged information on current threats and trends in nuclear trafficking in order to improve investigation and prosecution of nuclear smugglers.
Available at: http://spectator.sme.sk/articles/view/44024/10/us_and_slovak_experts_meet_to_counter_nuclear_trafficking.html
1. 12% of Dubai's Energy From Nuclear Power by 2030
(for personal use only)
Twelve per cent of Dubai's energy will come from nuclear power by 2030, Saeed Al Tayer, Vice-Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, said on Monday.
But Al Tayer also said that Dubai did not plan to build nuclear power plants of its own but would import power from other nations.
Al Tayer also revealed that a new solar power plant project will soon be developed to reduce reliance on gas as well as to reduce carbon emissions.
He added that while 99 per cent of Dubai's energy production uses gas and one per cent using diesel, the energy strategy 2030 will reduce its dependence on oil and gas.
"Twelve per cent of its future energy could come from nuclear energy and another 12 per cent will come from coal-fired power plants, 71 per cent will come from gas and 5 per cent from renewable energy," he said.
"This could be the best option to diversify energy sources in the UAE including alternative and nuclear energy and create ongoing sources of sustainable energy to meet the energy demand."
While he added that the clean coal power project is still under study and research and will go through several phases.
"Until 2012 we can't talk or decide on a solid efficient clean coal power plant."
Dubai plans to offset five million tonnes of carbon annually by 2013, up from its current level of 1.7 million tonnes per year, a top official said.
Al Tayer announced that Dubai’s target is for five per cent of its energy to be produced from renewable sources by 2030.
Al Tayer, who is the managing director and CEO of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, also announced that Dewa had identified a location for a new solar power plant.
“The UAE currently hosts ten registered clean development mechanism [CDM] projects but the aim is to have five million tonnes of carbon emission reduction [CER] by 2013, [so] more projects are in the pipeline.”
Al Tayer’s comments came after the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Development Programme.
Available at: http://gulfnews.com/business/general/12-of-dubai-s-energy-from-nuclear-power-by-2030-1.877637
2. European Parliament Supports Separate ITER Nuclear Fusion Budget
(for personal use only)
The European parliament plenary Tuesday backed proposals for Europe's biggest nuclear fusion research project ITER to have its own autonomous budget to limit the potential for cost overruns.
An autonomous budget "should guarantee a transparent and reliable financing structure while limiting potential for cost over-runs," the EP said.
The EP also said it supported ITER being partially funded through project bonds issued by the European Investment Bank.
The next step will be a legislative proposal from the European Commission, an EP spokeswoman told Platts.
"I don't have a precise date yet but we will see if the legislative proposal has taken EP demands into account," she said.
The voracious appetite of the ITER project for funds has created problems for the European Commission which adopted a proposal in March to extend the budget of the 2007-11 Euratom framework program, which funds European nuclear research, to cover 2012 and 2013.
The budget for the 2012-13 extension is Eur2.5 billion ($3.5 billion), Eur2.2 billion of which is earmarked for ITER.
Then in April, the EC said that ITER needed an extra commitment of Eur650 million on top of the funding already agreed for 2012, along with a further Eur100 million to be redeployed from other areas of spending.
But in July, national governments rejected the idea that the proposed additional financing should come from the EU's budget for 2012, instead suggesting draining a much larger research fund that includes areas like agriculture.
Available at: http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/8393254
3. Nuclear Reactor to be Operational in Jordan by 2019
(for personal use only)
Jordan's first nuclear reactor will be operational in 2019, adding an additional 1,000 megawatts to the country’s electricity generation capacity, according to Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Khaled Toukan.
The reactor’s construction is a bid to meet a projected 6 percent annual rise in electricity demand and planned water mega-projects such as the Red-Dead canal, he said in a statement to The Jordan Times.
The Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) is currently reviewing financial bids from three short-listed vendors - Canadian AECL, Russian Atomstroy Export and a French-Japanese joint venture comprising AREVA and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries - for the construction of a Generation III reactor in Majdal near Mafraq, some 40 kilometres northeast of Amman.
JAEC officials are expected to announce the preferred technology provider by the end of the year before entering a several-month negotiation period with the selected firm, with a final agreement to be sealed in mid- to late-2012.
But for some Mafraq residents, the rapid progress of the Kingdom’s nuclear programme comes as unwelcome news. Fayez Madarmeh, head of Irhamouna (have mercy on us) - a coalition of activists, environmentalists, residents and charity societies united against the establishment of a reactor in Mafraq - claimed that the Kingdom’s nuclear programme suffers a lack of public participation. There are no checks on this programme.
Officials are acting independently while citizens’ concerns are not being heard, he claimed. Activist groups such as Irhamouna, who in recent months have held protests at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in Amman and the proposed reactor site itself, vow that whoever is selected to construct the country’s first reactor will face local opposition.
Madarmeh pointed to WikiLeaks cables alleging that JAEC officials met with their Israeli counterparts at the urging of US diplomats as proof that the change in reactor site from Aqaba was made due to political, rather than financial considerations. Everyone knows that Israel did not want a reactor in Aqaba, and now they are placing it in our own backyard, he said. JAEC officials have reiterated that the relocation of the reactor site came after feasibility studies revealed that additional safety measures required for a site in Aqaba, a seismically active area, would have raised construction costs by 15 percent. In addition to seismic stability, officials highlight the presence of the nearby Khirbet Al Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant to provide water for reactor cooling as among the advantages of the Mafraq site.
As part of efforts to drum up support for their anti-nuclear drive, activists are preparing to hold a national conference on the nuclear programme later this year to highlight the potential dangers posed by the proposed reactor. The event, which is to feature the participation of political parties, professional syndicates and scientific experts, aims to challenge the feasibility of the country’s nuclear drive, according to Irhamouna.
The conference comes as the JAEC prepares to launch its own public outreach campaign to dispel misinformation surrounding the programme and highlight atomic energy’s safety record.
Jordan has prioritised nuclear power as key to weaning the country off energy imports, which are projected to cost 22 percent of its gross domestic product by the end of 2011. In addition to health and environmental concerns, anti-nuclear activists point to potential costs and the widening budget deficit as grounds to freeze the programme.
Energy officials list stable electricity costs and the presence of the Kingdom’s uranium reserves - estimated at over 100,000 tonnes - as among the strategic advantages of nuclear power.
Available at: http://www.albawaba.com/nuclear-reactor-be-operational-2019-394001
1. North Korea Unlikely to Give up Nuclear Arms, Outgoing British Ambassador Says
(for personal use only)
Diplomatic efforts are under way to revive six-nation talks on the North's nuclear disarmament. South Korea and the United States have held preparatory discussions with the North since July.
But Peter Hughes said senior officials there had told him that "if Colonel Kadhafi had not given up his nuclear weapons, then Nato would not have attacked his country".
The Libyan strongman was ousted by rebel forces supported by Nato air attacks, more than seven years after he announced his country would give up programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction.
Hughes also told a forum in Seoul the North's regime "has made very clear that their overriding policy is total denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
"You have to look behind that to find out what it means. It basically means in real terms that there would have to be total denuclearisation of the world before they will give up their nuclear weapons."
His comments were reported by Yonhap news agency and confirmed by the British embassy.
The North quit the six-party forum in April 2009 and staged its second nuclear test a month later.
It is pressing for an unconditional resumption of the talks. South Korea and the United States want some prior actions, such as the shutdown of a uranium enrichment programme which could be reconfigured to make bombs.
Many analysts are sceptical the North will ever hand over its existing atomic material.
Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/8793927/North-Korea-unlikely-to-give-up-nuclear-arms-outgoing-British-ambassador-says.html
DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to visit the websites from which the source material originates. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of Partnership for Global Security. Partnership for Global Security takes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.