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Nuclear News - 9/8/2011
PGS Nuclear News, September 8, 2011
Compiled By: Michael Kennedy


A.  Japan
    1. Safety Check Begins on 13 Idled Reactors, The Japan Times (9/7/2011)
    2. No. of Japan's Nuclear Plants to be Zero in Future: Hachiro, The Mainichi Daily News (9/6/2011)
B.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. S. Korea's Nuke Envoy in Washington for 'Farewell' Trip: Official, Lee Chi-dong, Yonhap News Agency (9/8/2011)
    2. No Nuclear Weapons, Pledge Latin Powers, UPI (9/7/2011)
    3. Resumption of Talks with Vietnam on Nuclear Plant Export, The Denki Shimbun (9/6/2011)
C.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. South Korea Readies for Nuclear Security Summit, Press TV (9/7/2011)
    2. Yellowcake Could Fall into Rogue Hands, Jo-Mare Duddy, The Namibian (9/7/2011)
    3. French Court Dismisses Chernobyl Nuclear Fallout Case After 10 Years, Radio France International (9/7/2011)
    4. IAEA to Call for Nuclear Crisis Team, The Japan Times (9/6/2011)
D.  North Korea
    1. 'No Good Choices' on N. Korea: Ex-US Coordinator, Agence France-Presse (9/7/2011)
    2. No Sign of Progress on N. Korea Talks Yet: State Dept., Lee Chi-dong, Yonhap News Agency (9/6/2011)
E.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Czech Strategy May Boost Nuclear Power Focus, Minister Says, Ladka Bauerova, Bloomberg (9/8/2011)
    2. Nuclear Is ‘Necessary’ to Meet Power Demand, New IEA Chief Says, Lananh Nguyen and Tara Patel, Bloomberg (9/7/2011)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Regime Change for Nuclear Security, Irma Arguello, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (9/7/2011)
    2. Nature and Malice: Confronting Multiple Hazards to Nuclear Power Infrastructure, Igor Khripunov and Duyeon Kim, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (9/7/2011)



A.  Japan

1.
Safety Check Begins on 13 Idled Reactors
The Japan Times
9/7/2011
(for personal use only)


Thirteen of the nearly 30 reactors nationwide idled for regular checks have entered the first stage of the safety evaluation process, one of the conditions for restarting them following the Fukushima nuclear crisis, sources said Wednesday.

Kansai Electric Power Co. and Shikoku Electric Power Co., plan to submit evaluation reports on their six idled reactors to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency by the end of this month.

The other four utilities hoping to restart the remaining seven reactors are also accelerating their efforts, aiming to resume operations of their units as early as the end of the year.

The stress tests were set up by the government in July as a precondition for restarting reactors following the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has shown support for restarting idled reactors to ensure a stable supply of electricity.

However, it remains uncertain whether local governments will give their approval for the resumption of reactors, another requirement for their resumption.

The 13 reactors are units 1 and 2 at Hokkaido Electric Power Co.'s Tomari plant; the No. 1 unit at Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Higashidori plant; the No. 2 unit at Hokuriku Electric Power Co.'s Shiga plant; Kansai Electric's units 1 and 3 at its Mihama plant and units 1 and 3 at its Oi plant as well as the No. 1 unit at its Takahama plant; the No. 3 unit at Shikoku Electric's Ikata plant; and Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s units 2 and 3 at its Genkai plant and the No. 1 unit at its Sendai plant.

The utilities have been checking the safety of the reactors, including their ability to withstand earthquakes and tsunami, since late July.

After NISA and the Nuclear Safety Commission screen the utilities' reports, Noda, industry
minister Yoshio Hachiro, nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono and Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura will decide whether to allow the reactors to be restarted.

If approved by both the central and local governments, Japan will see its first reactor restart since the Fukushima crisis erupted, excluding the No. 3 reactor at the Tomari plant, which shifted from an "adjustment operation" in the final phase of checks to commercial operation in
mid-August.

Before the Fukushima crisis, more than 30 reactors were in operation. But given the effects of the March disasters and the need to regularly suspend reactors for checks, only 12 of the nation's 54 commercial reactors are currently in operation.

If the resumption of their operation is not allowed, all 54 will be out of operation by May.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. will put ¥2.379 million into an entity set up to help the utility pay compensation to individuals and businesses claiming damages caused by the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, sources said Wednesday.

The body will also receive ¥7 billion in public funds, as well as a total of ¥7 billion from 12 nuclear plant operators, with Tepco shouldering the largest burden of the 12.

The 11 other nuclear power companies will pay into the entity because it is meant to work as a compensation pool for future accidents. The percentage of their contributions will be in proportion to the power output of their plants.

Kansai Electric Power Co. will provide ¥1.229 million, followed by ¥660 million by Kyushu Electric Power Co. and ¥622 million by Chubu Electric Power Co.

Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., which owns a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture, will provide ¥117 million.

The utilities will also pay annual contributions to the body. Tepco is required to make extra contributions, with the amount to be decided later.

Available at: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110907x1.html



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2.
No. of Japan's Nuclear Plants to be Zero in Future: Hachiro
The Mainichi Daily News
9/6/2011
(for personal use only)


Industry minister Yoshio Hachiro said Tuesday that the number of Japan's nuclear power plants would be "zero" in the future, based on Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's policy of not building new nuclear power plants and decommissioning aged ones.

"Considering the premier's remarks at press conferences, it would be zero," Hachiro told reporters in answer to the question whether the number of nuclear plants would reduce to none in the future.

Hachiro added that it would be "difficult" to proceed with plans to build new nuclear plants whose construction has yet to begin, such as Chugoku Electric Power Co.'s Kaminoseki plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture. "Public opinion is generally united in reducing (nuclear plants), instead of increasing them," he said.

As for nuclear power plants whose construction has begun, such as Chugoku Electric's Shimane plant's No. 3 reactor in Shimane Prefecture and Electric Power Development Co.'s Oma nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, Hachiro said he intends to make a decision based on discussions at the ministry's advisory committee on energy and natural resources.

Japan currently plans to set up 12 reactors nationwide, excluding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant's No. 7 and 8 reactors, whose construction plan was canceled by the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. in the wake of the nuclear crisis at the complex. But construction has not progressed much for most of the projects.

As for the resumption of reactors idled for regular checkups, Hachiro said that Noda has approved a plan to seek safety assessments from the International Atomic Energy Agency as part of the so-called nuclear "stress tests" introduced by the Japanese government given the Fukushima crisis.

Hachiro has said he aims to resume operations of the halted reactors nationwide soon once their safety is thoroughly checked and local municipalities hosting the plants approve their resumption.

Meanwhile, Hachiro admitted that Japan has received an offer from French nuclear power company Areva SA to take charge of spent nuclear fuel at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant, but he did not reveal Japan's response to the offer.

Available at: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110906p2g00m0dm118000c.html


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B.  Nuclear Cooperation

1.
S. Korea's Nuke Envoy in Washington for 'Farewell' Trip: Official
Lee Chi-dong
Yonhap News Agency
9/8/2011
(for personal use only)


South Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Wi Sung-lac, arrived in Washington Wednesday for what a senior American official described as a "farewell" visit.

"It is his farewell visit," Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell told reporters after a forum here.

Campbell said he met with Wi earlier in the day.

"I thanked him from the bottom of my heart for all his strong commitment and how much I appreciate working with him," he said.

He added he wished Wi good luck in his "new assignment."

Wi, who took up the post of Seoul's top nuclear negotiator in March 2009, was widely expected to quit. This was the first official confirmation that his career will continue.

Sources said that Wi will likely be named as South Korea's ambassador to a major country.

In late July, Wi had historic denuclearization talks with his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho, in Bali, Indonesia, paving the way for the resumption of high-level dialogue between
Pyongyang and Washington.

During his three-day trip in Washington, Wi will also meet Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, Stephen Bosworth, special representative for North Korea, and Robert Einhorn, special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, officials said.

Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2011/09/08/52/0401000000AEN20110908000400315F.HTML


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2.
No Nuclear Weapons, Pledge Latin Powers
UPI
9/7/2011
(for personal use only)


Two of Latin America's leading emergent nuclear powers, Argentina and Brazil, said they would campaign to keep the South Atlantic region free of nuclear weapons even as they push multibillion-dollar nuclear power development programs.

The Latin American countries' interest in nuclear power development contrasts with dwindling support for the alternative to hydrocarbons as fuel, especially after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Argentina has a nuclear program going back to the 1950s and Brazil first initiated nuclear fission development in the 1930s. Both pursued covert nuclear weapons program under their respective military regimes but, even as they put those programs on hold, both maintained and enhanced their nuclear power generation capacity.

Despite the latest pronouncements, Brazil is on track to build its first nuclear-powered submarine with French help and Argentina is actively following similar aims to integrate its military and nuclear programs.

The two countries in a joint declaration confirmed a strategic alliance and pledged to campaign for a South Atlantic zone of peace free of nuclear weapons.

Neither country has a known enemy country but Argentina has ratcheted up its rivalry with Britain over its claim of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, the British overseas territory Argentina's former military dictatorship tried to seize in a 1982 invasion.

The attempt failed with a formal Argentine surrender and deaths of more than 1,000 military personnel and civilians from both sides but didn't extinguish Buenos Aires' championing of Argentine sovereignty over the Falklands.

The joint declaration signaled the two countries' preparations for a more vigorous pursuit of nuclear power, in which Brazil would help Argentina with its more advanced expertise and technologies. Brazil has set development of nuclear fuel reprocessing as one of its high-earning business objectives.

Argentina has plans to build two more nuclear reactors, with Canadian help, in addition to two in operation.

Argentine Defense Minister Arturo Puricelli and Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim met in Buenos Aires to follow up on a recent summit in Brasilia between Presidents Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Dilma Rousseff.

The joint declaration outlined a mechanism for closer political dialogue on defense cooperation and joint production.

Both sides want to go into joint production of military vehicles and transport planes, advancing Brazil's experience in both fields.

However, the ministers also outlined plans to hold combined military exercises to which they would invite neighboring Latin American countries.

Climate change in the Antarctic has heightened Latin American concerns that the region will likely attract more countries interested in exploring and exploiting the thawing ocean's natural resources. Chile has begun reinforcing security measures in its southern territories.

Available at: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2011/09/07/No-nuclear-weapons-pledge-Latin-powers/UPI-46941315427182/



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3.
Resumption of Talks with Vietnam on Nuclear Plant Export
The Denki Shimbun
9/6/2011
(for personal use only)


This month will see the resumption of working-level discussions between Japan and Vietnam concerning the construction of a nuclear power station in Vietnam, which has unofficially awarded the contract for the facility to Japan. Both sides are adjusting schedules with a view to holding a meeting on September 8 or 9, and are expected to talk mainly about the financial end.

Even the catastrophe at the Fukushima I nuclear power station did not dampen Vietnam's inclination to introduce nuclear power technology from Japan. Although Japan's policy on export of nuclear power facilities is wavering as a result of the goal of reducing its dependence on nuclear energy posted by former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, a cabinet decision was made in favor of continuing with the line of exporting such facilities on August 5. In response, it was decided to resume the talks between the two countries.

At a summit conference between the two countries in October 2010, the Vietnamese government informally agreed to award the contract for the second phase of nuclear construction to Japan. The nuclear power station is to be built in the province of Ninh Thuan, in the southern part of the country. Since the occurrence of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Vietnamese side has been seeking assurance of nuclear plant safety from tsunami and earthquakes, because the construction site is on the coast.

Available at: http://www.shimbun.denki.or.jp/en/news/20110906_03.html



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C.  Nuclear Safety & Security

1.
French Court Dismisses Chernobyl Nuclear Fallout Case After 10 Years
Radio France International
9/7/2011
(for personal use only)


A Paris appeal court has dismissed a case by French citizens who believed their health had been damaged by the radioactive cloud that crossed Europe after Ukraine’s 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The ruling comes amid growing opposition to nuclear power after Japan’s Fukushima accident.

After 10 years of legal wrangling, the court ruled that there was no scientific proof that the Chernobyl accident had any effect in France.

Several hundred people, mainly in eastern France and Corsica, had taken out a class action suit against the government after suffering from troubles with their thyroid glands, a classic symptom of radioactive contamination.

The court’s decision “will leave a bitter taste”, their lawyer, Benard Fau, declared Wednesday, promising to take the case to the final appeals court.

Anti-nuclear campaigners promised to demonstrate against the ruling, as well as France’s current nuclear programme, on 15 October.

The government of the time, headed by Jacques Chirac who currently faces other legal worries, was widely criticised for its handling of the crisis. While Germany warned consumers not to eat fresh produce and distributed iodine pills, the government took no special measures as the cloud passed over France.

The court’s decision also clears top nuclear scientist Pierre Pellerin of charges that he covered up the effects of the cloud and even concealed information about its effects.

Available at: http://www.english.rfi.fr/asia-pacific/20110907-french-court-dismisses-chernobyl-nuclear-fallout-case-after-10-years



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2.
South Korea Readies for Nuclear Security Summit
Press TV
9/7/2011
(for personal use only)


South Korea's top nuclear experts and analysts gathered to map out strategies for the upcoming nuclear security summit.

Seoul will host about 50 world leaders for the meeting next March. At the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, the country's leading atomic scientists sought to place this region's energy demands at the forefront, with South Korea seeking U.S. - and international - approval to reprocess its spent nuclear fuel.

South Korea has more than twenty reactors and wishes to use new technology - pyroprocessing - to reuse its spent nuclear fuel, a method considered proliferation resistant.

Some argued Northeast Asia's booming economies can work together on the tough issues surrounding nuclear energy.

Despite the recent accident in Japan, South Korea has amibitious plans to build and export more nuclear reactors, and with next year's summit hopes to boost trust in atomic energy.

The previous nuclear security summit in Washington in 2010 focussed on securing atomic
materials. With Seoul hosting the meeting in 2012, regional issues are likely to crowd the top of the agenda: the Fukishima nuclear power plant disaster, and the North Korea's nuclear program.

Today's seminar also featured criticism of Pyongyang's pursuit of a nuclear deterrent.

On the energy issue however, analysts see the summit as a potential boon for Seoul's atomic power program.

South Korea became full participants in the U.S.-lead proliferation security initiative in 2009, aimed at preventing the illegal trade of nuclear material and technology. Some say a double standard is being applied to countries outside the nuclear powers to restrict the peaceful use of nuclear energy, a so-called cartel South Korea also seeks to join.

Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197992.html


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3.
Yellowcake Could Fall into Rogue Hands
Jo-Mare Duddy
The Namibian
9/7/2011
(for personal use only)


The US government is worried that Namibia doesn’t have enough safeguards to prevent rogue companies from getting their hands on nuclear material sourced locally.

After a meeting with Trade and Industry Minister Hage Geingob in 2009, then US ambassador Dennise Mathieu sent a confidential diplomatic cable to Washington containing the above message. Wikileaks published the cable on Saturday.

Mathieu used the high-level meeting, which took place on August 13 2009, to emphasise that

Government must be “watchful of Iran that might attempt to employ various tactics – including the use of front companies – to obtain nuclear material”.

Iran, through its state-owned Iran Foreign Investment Company (IFIC), holds 15 per cent of the shares in Rio Tinto’s Rössing Uranium, a transaction which dates back to 1975. The country currently has no take-off rights, nor can it share in dividends.

Mathieu, however, warned Geingob that “a rogue state such as Iran could use shell companies to obfuscate its attempts to acquire uranium”. He “acknowledged that front companies could be an issue”, Mathieu said.

According to the cable, Geingob said Government is “very vigilant” on the issue. However, he also said that “companies could attempt to bribe Government officials and such deals would be difficult to detect. “Geingob acknowledged that if an unscrupulous company bribed a dishonest official, it could be difficult to uncover,” Mathieu said.

Geingob also said that many Namibians got uranium exploration licences (EPLs) simply to make money and not to mine.

“Instead, some Namibian recipients have simply resold their EPLs to foreigners for up to two million Namibia dollars or more,” Mathieu wrote.

A week after her meeting with Geingob, Mathieu sent another secret cable to Washington about the mining interests of Zackey Nujoma, son of Founding President Sam Nujoma.

In it, she gave a breakdown of the younger Nujoma’s uranium venture, Ancash Limited.

Initially he held 40 per cent of the shares in Ancash, which he reduced to ten per cent.

Ancash was formed in 2007 and received six uranium EPLs, including all the rights to the Valencia deposit. Subsequently Ancash and all its EPLs were sold to the Canadian miner, Forsys Metals.

Another confidential US cable published by Wikileaks earlier this year, confirmed that the United States in August 2009 asked the Canadian government to stop a multimillion-dollar deal through which Belgium conglomerate George Forrest International (GFI) would buy Forsys.

In the cable, the US said it was concerned about the pending sale “given GFI’s ongoing discussions with senior Iranian officials possibly related to Iran’s efforts to acquire uranium ore”.

In Mathieu’s cable following the Geingob meeting, she said there was no indication that the Namibian Government “is planning or willing to enter into any deals that would circumvent UN Security Council sanctions against Iran”.

“It is not clear, however, whether Namibia has sufficient safeguards and/or resources in place to detect and prevent an attempt by unscrupulous individuals to acquire uranium oxide on
Iran’s behalf,” she said.

Available at: http://www.namibian.com.na/news/marketplace/full-story/archive/2011/september/article/yellowcake-could-fall-into-rogue-hands/



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4.
IAEA to Call for Nuclear Crisis Team
The Japan Times
9/6/2011
(for personal use only)


The International Atomic Energy Agency will call on its members to establish an emergency team to respond to major nuclear accidents worldwide, part of an agency plan to enhance nuclear safety, according to a draft obtained Tuesday.

The Vienna-based nuclear watchdog also plans to dispatch safety investigators within three years to all member countries who operate nuclear power plants, following the Fukushima nuclear crisis, according to the draft.

The document is scheduled to be approved by a meeting of the IAEA's board of governors, which will be held Sept. 12-16.

The agency's director general, Yukiya Amano, has said the plan, which was drawn up after a June ministerial meeting on boosting nuclear safety, will focus especially on contingencies such as natural disasters and power blackouts.

A progress report on the plan will be delivered at an IAEA board meeting and general conference to be held in Vienna in September 2012.

The 12-point draft plan urges member countries to consider establishing "national rapid response teams that could also be made available internationally." The policy apparently reflects the failings of the international support system that the Fukushima nuclear crisis exposed.

It also calls on nations with nuclear plants to accept an IAEA safety investigation team at least once during the next three years and host such missions by the agency on a regular basis afterward.

The plan also requests that members with nuclear plants host an IAEA team to assess their national regulatory framework and accept a followup mission within three years of the team's visit.

The draft encourages members to join and effectively implement international conventions on compensation for cross-border damage incurred by major nuclear accidents.

Member states are also asked to work toward "establishing a global nuclear liability regime with a view to providing appropriate compensation for nuclear damage."

During the June ministerial conference, Amano unveiled his plan to conduct snap nuclear safety inspections in countries with nuclear power plants, which will cover about 40 plants, about 10 percent of the total in the world, over the three years.

But due to opposition from some member countries, including those planning to build their first nuclear power plants, which regard Amano's plan as too stringent, the final draft of the plan specifies that IAEA inspections will be "voluntarily" accepted by member states.

An agency source said the draft of the plan has adopted moderate wording to win approval from member countries, but would greatly enhance steps to ensure nuclear safety as compared with pre-Fukushima measures.

The paper also says countries planning to introduce nuclear power generation should voluntarily accept experts who will check the design of nuclear plants.

Available at: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110906x1.html



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D.  North Korea

1.
'No Good Choices' on N. Korea: Ex-US Coordinator
Agence France-Presse
9/7/2011
(for personal use only)


The United States has "no good choices" on North Korea but must keep up economic and diplomatic pressure on the secretive regime, former special coordinator Wendy Sherman told lawmakers Wednesday.

"Solving this problem is very, very tough," Sherman told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee as it weighed her nomination to be the number three at the US State Department. "There are no good choices."

Sherman had been asked what she learned as the special coordinator for North Korea policy from 1997 to 2001 when the United States looked to normalize relations.

"We learned what every administration since has learned: Working with North Korea is very frustrating, exceedingly difficult, they are elusive, they do not keep their commitments, they are often hostile," she said.

Sherman, whose nomination as under secretary of state for political affairs requires US Senate confirmation, noted that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had laid out a policy that "it makes no sense to have talks just for the sake of talks."

If North Korea bows to international pressure over its nuclear and missile programs, then it might make sense to have discussions, she said, restating longstanding US policy.
Republican Senator Jim DeMint, pointing to Sherman's record on North Korea, said it "suggests that friendliness and appeasement and trust might be more of your philosophy" with regard to "countries that we know cannot be trusted."

"I am concerned as we approach other countries -- China, Russia, Iran, Syria, the Palestinians -- that these countries respect power and that clarity of purpose is very important for us," he said.

"I don't believe engagement is the antithesis of strength and verification. I believe that engaging with leaders is a way to test them, to see if in fact the commitments they've made, they're going to keep," Sherman replied.

"Sanctions not only remained on North Korea but have increased over the years," she said.

Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h1ZqdlMO-ogsGS4r4h2KyVwed1ig?docId=CNG.1ed529f5773eca2a7522d667c5bbf188.2b1



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2.
No Sign of Progress on N. Korea Talks Yet: State Dept.
Lee Chi-dong
Yonhap News Agency
9/6/2011
(for personal use only)


The United States has not seen any indication yet that North Korea is prepared for further dialogue, a Washington official said Tuesday, following a report that South Korea's chief nuclear envoy will visit Washington this week.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the three-day trip by Wi Sung-lac starting on Wednesday is part of "regular" consultations between the allies on the North.

"We have not seen signs, as yet, from North Korea that it's prepared to meet the conditions we've set forward," she said at a press briefing, when asked about a possibility of additional talks with Pyongyang in the near future.

The North and the U.S. had rare high-level talks in July in New York on denuclearization and bilateral relations.

Washington is apparently weighing an additional round of meetings but made clear that the North should first take goodwill steps, reportedly including the suspension of its uranium enrichment program and a moratorium on nuclear testing.

Nuland dismissed speculation that Wi's visit may be associated with Washington's plan to hold further talks with North Korea soon or reopen the six-party nuclear negotiations.

"This is part of our regular, ongoing close consultations with South Korea on these issues," she said.

Wi is scheduled to meet with Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, Assistant Secretary of for East Asia-Pacific Kurt Campbell, Stephen Bosworth, special representative for North Korea, and Robert Einhorn, special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, she added.

"These meetings are designed to make sure that we stay together on these essential issues," Nuland said. "Why don't we let these consultations go forward and see where we are?

In a summit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last month, the North's leader, Kim Jong-il, said his regime wants to restart the six-way talks and may impose a moratorium on nuclear testing.

U.S. and South Korean officials are calling for action, not words, however.

Nuland reiterated that Washington wants to see inter-Korean relations improve as well.

She said there is no update on a possible food aid for the North.

Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/09/07/26/0301000000AEN20110907000200315F.HTML



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E.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Czech Strategy May Boost Nuclear Power Focus, Minister Says
Ladka Bauerova
Bloomberg
9/8/2011
(for personal use only)


The Czech government is drawing up a proposal for the national energy strategy that would increase focus on nuclear power, Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kocourek said.

A significant expansion of the country’s nuclear power capacity is among the three alternatives the government will consider when it reviews its long-term energy strategy at the end of the year, Kocourek said in an interview in Prague today.

The ministry’s proposal runs in direct opposition to Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power by 2022 following the accident at Japan’s Fukushima plant in March. If carried out, nuclear power would represent over 80 percent of the Czech Republic’s energy output by 2060, compared with the current 32 percent, Hospodarske Noviny reported today, citing a draft of the energy strategy proposal.

“We have opened a discussion on the national energy strategy,” Kocourek said in an interview on the sidelines of a business conference. “Nuclear power is the cheapest energy source from the long-term perspective.”

Czechs may quintuple the current nuclear power capacity of 20 terawatt hours, according to Hospodarske. CEZ AS (CEZ), the state- controlled utility, currently operates six reactors at the Dukovany and Temelin atomic plants and plans to build two more in Temelin by 2025.

The ministry’s proposals are only a starting point in the discussion about the Czech Republic’s energy future as it must submit the strategy to the government by the end of the year, Kocourek said. The main criteria for the government are economic growth and competitiveness, he said.

The strategy proposal doesn’t advocate increasing the share of renewable energy resources after 2030 given the current level of technology, Kocourek said in a separate e-mail message today. The proposal has been prepared by a group of government experts, economists, scholars, businessmen and municipal representatives.

In addition to the German wariness, the Czechs have also been facing opposition from neighboring Austria, which feels threatened by the proximity of both Temelin and Dukovany plants to its border. Kocourek said the country has the right to decide about its future energy strategy.

“Czech energy doesn’t need ideology,” Kocourek said. “What it needs is rational update of its energy strategy. The current ideology-driven policies of some countries are one thing; our reality is another.”

Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-08/czechategy-may-boost-nuclear-power-focus-minister-says-1-.html


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2.
Nuclear Is ‘Necessary’ to Meet Power Demand, New IEA Chief Says
Lananh Nguyen and Tara Patel
Bloomberg
9/7/2011
(for personal use only)


Nuclear power, which Germany and Switzerland plan to exit following Japan’s Fukushima disaster, is needed to meet world energy demand and cut carbon emissions, according to the head of the International Energy Agency.

“We need it,” Maria van der Hoeven, the agency’s executive director, said in an interview in her Paris office days after taking the helm of the adviser to 28 energy-consuming nations. “Nuclear power is necessary for our energy future.”

The share of atomic power globally will increase from 6 percent in 2008 to 8 percent in 2035, the agency forecast in its 2010 World Energy Outlook, published in November before Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant was devastated by a March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Demand for electricity is expected to grow faster than any other form of energy, with a tripling in China over the period, the report said.

The Japanese crisis triggered public protests in Europe against atomic power and prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, one of 14 European Union nations that generate nuclear energy, to decide to permanently halt all reactors by 2022. Switzerland, a non-EU member, also decided to phase out atomic power and Italy scrapped a project to develop reactors.

The IEA’s upcoming outlook, to be published in November, will examine the effects of a “low-nuclear scenario,” according to Van der Hoeven. “It will show what will happen if nuclear is not going to be part of the energy mix anymore.”

“What we see in Germany is that there will be greater coal and gas and imports from France of nuclear energy,” said the former Dutch economy minister, who will be based in a country that relies on nuclear output from 58 reactors for more than three-quarters of its needs.

France has criticized the German decision. French ministers and lawmakers have said the resulting lower generating capacity will make Germany more reliant on French nuclear power, possibly putting strain on European power markets.

Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-07/nuclear-is-necessary-to-meet-power-demand-new-iea-chief-says.html



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F.  Links of Interest

1.
Nature and Malice: Confronting Multiple Hazards to Nuclear Power Infrastructure
Igor Khripunov and Duyeon Kim
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
9/7/2011
(for personal use only)
http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/op-eds/nature-and-malice-confronting-..


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2.
Regime Change for Nuclear Security
Irma Arguello
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
9/7/2011
(for personal use only)
http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/fissile-materials-working-..


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