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Nuclear News - 1/19/2012
PGS Nuclear News, January 19, 2012
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich

A.  Iran
    1. IAEA To Press Iran Over Nuclear Concerns, Fredrik Dahl, Reuters (1/19/2012)
    2. Turkey Best Venue For P5+1 Talks: Iran, Press TV (1/19/2012)
    3. Iran Says UN Nuclear Team to Visit This Month For Talks, Voice of America (1/17/2012)
B.  Nuclear Safety and Security
    1. Radioactive Material Stolen From Egyptian Nuclear Power Station, The Telegraph (1/19/2012)
    2. Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Images Show Radiation, Rusty Metal Inside Reactor, Mari Yamaguchi, Huffington Post (1/19/2012)
    3. Japan to Cap Reactor Lifespan At 60 Years Despite Fukushima, Risa Maeda, Reuters (1/18/2012)
C.  Nuclear Energy
    1. DOE Looks At Expanding Research of Small Nuclear Reactors, Annette Cary, The News Tribune (1/18/2012)
    2. China May Resume Approving Nuke Plants in H1, Reuters (1/18/2012)
    3. PM: Egypt to Follow Through With Plans for Nuclear Power Plant, Egypt Independent (1/17/2012)
    4. Niger to Pursue Nuclear Plans Despite Fukushima: President, Reuters (1/17/2012)
D.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Vietnam Likely to Sign Nuclear Cooperation Pact with US This Year – Official, Vu Trong Khanh, NASDAQ (1/18/2012)
    2. Armenia And Jordan to Cooperate In The Field Of Nuclear Energy, Armenpress (1/17/2012)
    3. Sherpas Consider Draft Communique For Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, NetIndian (1/17/2012)
E.  North Korea
    1. U.S., Allies Say North Korea Welcome to Resume Nuclear Talks, Reuters (1/17/2012)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. On The Upcoming Nuclear Security Summit In Seoul, Seock-jeong Eom, Stockholmnews (1/18/2012)
    2. How Africa Plays Into Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Jason Warner, CNN (1/17/2012)

A.  Iran

IAEA To Press Iran Over Nuclear Concerns
Fredrik Dahl
(for personal use only)

The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said it was his duty to warn the world about suspected Iranian activities that point to plans to develop atomic bombs, maintaining pressure on Tehran ahead of rare talks between Iran and his agency expected this month.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, made clear in an interview with Financial Times Deutschland that the U.N. body would press for full cooperation in meetings with Iranian officials in Tehran.

"What we know suggests the development of nuclear weapons," he was quoted as saying in comments published in German on Thursday, adding Iran had so far failed to clarify allegations of possible military links to its nuclear program.

"We want to check over everything that could have a military dimension."
An IAEA delegation, to be headed by Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts, is expected to seek explanations for intelligence information that indicates Iran has engaged in research and development relevant for nuclear weapons.

Tension between Iran and the West over Iran's nuclear program has increased since November, when the IAEA published a report that said Tehran appeared to have worked on designing a nuclear weapon. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.
"I have absolutely no reason to soften my report. It is my responsibility to alert the world," Amano said. "From the indicators I had, I draw the conclusion that it is time to call the world's attention to this risk."

Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told Reuters Tuesday Iranian officials were open to discussing "any issues" in the talks in Tehran, which he said were set for Jan 29-31. The IAEA has not yet confirmed the dates of the visit.

Western diplomats, who have often accused Iran of using stalling tactics as it presses ahead with its nuclear program, have expressed doubt that the planned IAEA trip will lead to any major progress in the long-running nuclear dispute.

While U.N. inspectors regularly monitor Iran's declared nuclear facilities, their movements are otherwise restricted, and the IAEA has complained for years of a lack of access to sites, equipment, documents and people relevant to its probe.

Amano rejected Iranian media suggestions that his agency may have been partly responsible for the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist last week.

Iran has in the past accused the IAEA of leaking the names of nuclear scientists, making them potential targets for the security services of Iran's foes in the West and Israel.

"That is wrong. We did not publish his name. I did not know him," Amano said about the January 11 killing of Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan in a car bomb attack in Tehran. Iran has blamed Israel.
"I don't believe in violence. I believe in dialogue and conversation. I only expect from Iran that it cooperates."

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Turkey Best Venue For P5+1 Talks: Iran
Press TV
(for personal use only)

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has proposed Turkey as the venue for the upcoming talks between Tehran and the six world powers, suggesting that negotiations should be resumed as soon as possible.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Salehi said any excuse the world powers might come up with for stalling the talks will indicate their reluctance to resolve the issue regarding Iran's nuclear program.

The Iranian foreign minister arrived in Turkey to take part in the 23rd Iran-Turkey Joint Economic Commission.

Iran and the P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States plus Germany -- held two rounds of multifaceted talks in Geneva in December 2010 and in the Turkish city of Istanbul last January.

The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used this pretext to impose four rounds of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran has refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran is entitled to use nuclear technology for peaceful use.

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Iran Says UN Nuclear Team to Visit This Month For Talks
Voice of America
(for personal use only)

Iran says senior U.N. nuclear officials will travel to the country later this month to discuss their concerns about the Iranian nuclear program.

Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh said Tuesday the U.N. delegation will visit Tehran from January 29 to 31 for talks on topics “of interest” to the agency. He says Tehran's agreement to host the team led by IAEA deputy director-general Herman Nackaerts is a “sign of transparency” in Iran's nuclear activities and engagement with the United Nations.
The IAEA issued a report last November saying it has evidence suggesting that Iran has been researching the development and delivery of nuclear weapons. Iran says the report was based on fabrications. It insists the Iranian nuclear program is only for peaceful use.

Western powers also have expressed concern about Iran's recent launch of an underground uranium enrichment facility that produces material of a purity approaching that needed for a nuclear weapon.
The United States and its allies have been tightening sanctions on Iran to pressure it into stopping such activities. European Union foreign ministers will meet next week to consider a ban on Iranian oil imports, a measure that would deprive Iran of vital foreign currency income. Iran is the second largest oil producer in the OPEC cartel after Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi has said Riyadh is prepared to boost oil production by 2 million barrels a day to offset any shortfall in global supplies resulting from a boycott on Iranian oil. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akhbar Salehi said Tuesday the Saudi offer is “unfriendly” and urged Riyadh to reconsider it.

Iranian representative to OPEC Mohammad Ali Khatibi said Tuesday an EU embargo on Iranian oil would be “economic suicide” for the 27-nation bloc, whose members are trying to overcome a debt crisis.
Iran has threatened to respond to an oil embargo by closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital waterway for the global oil trade. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Iran's threat “provocative and dangerous.”

India said Tuesday it will continue to import Iranian oil despite U.S. sanctions aimed at pressuring other nations to stop such purchases.

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B.  Nuclear Safety and Security

Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Images Show Radiation, Rusty Metal Inside Reactor
Mari Yamaguchi
Huffington Post
(for personal use only)

Radiation-blurred images taken inside one of Japan's tsunami-hit nuclear reactors Thursday showed steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by 10 months' exposure to heat and humidity.

The photos that were the first inside look since the disaster found none of the reactor's melted fuel but confirmed stable temperatures and showed no major damage or ruptures caused by the earthquake last March, said Junichi Matsumoto, spokesman for the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Radiation appeared on the images as static, or electronic interference with the equipment being used. Some parts that were photographed inside the reactor's containment vessel are not yet identifiable, and experts are trying to identify them.

The photos also showed inner wall of the container heavily deteriorated after 10 months of exposure to high temperature and humidity, Matsumoto said.

TEPCO workers inserted the endoscope – an industrial version of the kind of endoscope doctors use – through a hole in the beaker-shaped container at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant's No. 2 reactor, hoping the first look inside since the crisis would help them better assess reactor conditions and make repairs.
High temperatures and radiation leaks had prevented the close-up view until now. Results of the 70-minute operation were mixed.

"Given the harsh environment that we had to operate, we did quite well. It's a first step," Matsumoto said. "But we could not spot any signs of fuel, unfortunately."
He said it would take more time and a better technology to get to the melted fuel, most of which has fallen straight down into the area that the endoscope could not reach. TEPCO hopes to use the endoscope to look inside the two other reactors that had meltdowns but that also would require customization of the equipment and further reduction of radiation levels.

Better assessment will help workers know how best to plug holes and cracks in the containment vessel – a protective chamber outside the core – to contain radiation leaks and gradually work toward dismantling the reactors.

Three of six reactors at the Fukushima plant melted down after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out the plant's cooling systems and set off the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

TEPCO and nuclear officials have said that melted fuel probably fell to the bottom of the core in each unit, most likely breaching the bottom of the core and falling into the primary containment vessel, some dropping to its concrete floor.

Experts have said those are simulation results and that exact location and condition of the fuel could not be known until they have a first-hand observation inside.

The probe Thursday successfully recorded the temperature inside the containment vessel at 44.7 Celsius (112 F), confirming it stayed below the boiling point and qualifying a "cold shutdown state," the stable condition that the government had declared in December despite skepticism from experts.
The probe failed to find the water surface, which indicate the water sits at lower-than-expected levels inside the primary containment vessel and questions the accuracy of the current water monitors, Matsumoto said.

The government has said that it would take 40 years until the Fukushima plant is fully decommissioned.

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Radioactive Material Stolen From Egyptian Nuclear Power Station
The Telegraph
(for personal use only)

Radioactive material has been stolen from a nuclear power station on Egypt's Mediterranean coast that was the site of violent protests last week, state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported on Thursday.
A safe containing radioactive material at the Dabaa nuclear power plant was seized while another safe containing radioactive material was broken open and part of its contents taken, the newspaper said.

The government has alerted security authorities and asked that specialised teams help in the search for the stolen material, al-Ahram reported.

More than a dozen people were wounded last week when military police tried to disperse hundreds of Egyptian protesters demanding the relocation of the Dabaa plant, which is still under construction.
Plant staff have refused to go to the site because of the deterioration in the security situation there, al-Ahram said.

About 500 Egyptians rallied in front of the plant last week to demand that the project be terminated, with some saying they had lost their land on the plant's site.

Soldiers and the protesters hurled stones at each other and exchanged gunfire after the protesters demolished a wall surrounding the site, a security source and witnesses said.

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Japan to Cap Reactor Lifespan At 60 Years Despite Fukushima
Risa Maeda
(for personal use only)

Japan will allow nuclear reactors to operate for up to 60 years in revised regulations on power plant operators even as it looks to shift gradually away from atomic power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

The move on Wednesday, which marks the first time Japan will set a limit on a reactor's maximum lifespan, comes while the country debates a new energy strategy that is expected to give a greater role to renewable, clean energy sources.

The government said it aims to introduce the 60-year limit a year from now as part of a comprehensive revision of laws regulating nuclear plant operators in the wake of Fukushima, where reactor cooling systems were stopped by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, triggering meltdowns and radiation leaks that led to mass evacuations and widespread contamination.

Public anxiety sparked by Fukushima has prevented the restart of many reactors shut for routine checks, and only five of the nation's 54 reactors remain online, prompting utilities to import more fossil fuels to bridge the gap and prevent power cuts.

In a rare protest, a group of citizen observers delayed a hearing at the energy ministry in which experts were expected to approve stress test results from Fukui prefecture's Ohi reactors.
"How can you allow the restart of reactors? We should not put people in Fukui in the same situation as those in Fukushima," said Wako Shichinohe, 59, an observer who came to watch the meeting.
Stress tests are now being carried out on reactors to reassure the public and persuade local governments to allow them to be restarted.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters details are still under consideration but the lifespan of a reactor would in principle be 40 years, as suggested by Environment and Nuclear Accident Prevention Minister Goshi Hosono earlier this month.

The government will allow plant operators to apply for one extension of up to 20 years for each reactor, in line with U.S. standards, and approval would only be granted if certain conditions were met.
"There will be no change in the fact that the number of reactors will decline, as will Japan's reliance on them. But we're not talking about the immediate future," Fujimura said at a news conference.

Under the current system, plant operators can apply for an extension after 30 years and are usually granted 10-year extensions with no limit on how often they reapply as long as the nuclear watchdog approves.

The six reactors at the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant are among the oldest, having started operations between 1971 and 1979.

Twelve other reactors date back to the 1970s, the two oldest having been operating since 1970.
"Public sentiment is for Japan to end the use of nuclear power. The public wants the country to move away from nuclear power as soon as possible, let alone an extension in the life of nuclear reactors," said Hiroshi Takahashi, a research fellow at the Fujitsu Research Institute.

"But if backed up by safety regulations legally deemed adequate, one has to admit there would be little reason the regulation should not be implemented. What has to be considered is that unlike Germany, which is aiming to shut down all its nuclear plants by 2022, Japan is still discussing the future role of nuclear power, allowing for such logic," Takahashi said.

The government plans to submit bills on limiting the length of reactor operations as well as on reorganizing the country's nuclear regulators in a parliament session starting later this month.
But it is also keen to bring existing reactors back into operation to avert a power crunch and ease the impact on the economy.

The bills would create a more independent nuclear safety regulator separated from the trade ministry, which oversees the existing watchdog, the Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency.

The new regulator would require plant operators to prepare for severe accidents and make public their assessments of safety and ensure their facilities comply with new safety measures.

The new agency would also be responsible for nuclear accident investigations, government officials said.

"The agency's sole principle is protect people's safety, health and environment," Toru Ogino, a senior government official drafting the bills, said in a briefing on Tuesday.

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C.  Nuclear Energy

China May Resume Approving Nuke Plants in H1
(for personal use only)

China may resume approvals for new nuclear power projects in the first half of this year after suspending them for nearly a year following the Fukushima disaster in Japan last March, China media reported on Wednesday.

The government will resume approving new plants after the announcement of the nuclear safety plan which recently won clearance from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), the China Securities Journal said.

The report also said in order to meet the government-set target of having non-fossil fuels to supply 15 percent of China's primary energy use by 2020, the total installed nuclear capacity should not fall under 70 gigawatts (GW) by then.

It cited the China Nuclear Society as saying this but did not give a more specific target.
Industry players have earlier predicted bullish targets at 86 GW or even higher by the end of this decade.

China has about 11.9 GW of working nuclear capacity -- or just 1.1 percent of the country's total installed power capacity -- but projects under construction would have pushed the total above 41 GW by as early as 2015.

Another 16 GW in plant capacity is in the early stage of development, the paper said.
To meet the 70-GW target by 2020, China will need to approve at least another 10 GW of projects before 2015, considering the time to build a reactor takes at least 5 years, said the paper.

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DOE Looks At Expanding Research of Small Nuclear Reactors
Annette Cary
The News Tribune
(for personal use only)

Research will be moving forward this year toward development and design certification of small modular nuclear reactors, said Peter Lyons, the Department of Energy assistant secretary of nuclear energy.

Lyons, the primary policy adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu on nuclear energy research and international nuclear activities, visited Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland on Tuesday and then spoke at a meeting of the Eastern Washington Chapter of the American Nuclear Society.
While no one source alone can meet increasing demand for electricity, both in the United States and also in developing countries, nuclear energy must be part of the mix as a clean and reliable source, he said.

He is interested in the development of small modular reactors as an alternative to the trend of developing increasingly larger nuclear plants, he said.

If there is enough demand for the small plants, large numbers could be built in a factory and then one or more would be transported to sites for use, he said. More modules could be added as needed for electricity production.

The factory model has potential to be more economical, and quality could be more readily controlled in a factory, Lyons said.

There is a renewed interest in nuclear energy worldwide with 66 full-scale plants under construction. The interest in the U.S. is not as great as he would have predicted five years ago, but four new plants are under construction and construction has resumed on a fifth after no new plant being licensed in the U.S. for more than 30 years, he said.

The low cost of natural gas and lack of financial incentives for low carbon generation help explain some of the lower interest in the U.S., he said.

Increasing nuclear construction is needed for the nation to prosper and it is one of the objectives of the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy, he said.

There is also a need to use existing plants in the U.S. to the greatest advantage. More understanding is needed about the how long existing plants can continue to operate safely to meet the nation's electricity demands, he said.

Nuclear production provides about 20 percent of the nation's electric power, but it provides 70 percent of what Lyons said he considers clean electricity.

He is proud of the Obama administration's reaction to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, he said. In contrast to some other countries, the U.S. calmly called for an evaluation of improvements that might be needed in U.S. reactors.

Those improvements are largely continuations of efforts already in place, such as moving toward passively safe reactor systems, he said. New reactors will have safety systems requiring little or no operator action, rather than current systems than rely on well-trained operators taking the correct actions.

"Passive safety is critical -- vital -- as we move ahead with new construction," he said.
Long-term research also is under way to look at better barriers to reduce complications, such as new fuel claddings and enhance the robustness of fuel, he said.

Seismic issues are being re-evaluated in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and universities are being enlisted in research, he said. Among university projects is studying the limits of storage of used fuel in dry casks as the nation develops a new policy for reusing or disposing of spent nuclear fuel.

Lyons is convinced new disposal initiatives must be based on the consent of communities and states. Scandinavian countries have shown that is possible, with communities competing for projects, he said.
It's also worked at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, where Hanford's plutonium-contaminated waste is sent for underground disposal. The project has support of the community and state, he said.

The Yucca Mountain, Nev., repository never could have been successful because the state of Nevada would not have approved the permits to build railroads needed to transport high level waste to Yucca Mountain, he said.

Lyons also is interested in research being done to determine whether extracting uranium from sea water is economical. Concentrations may be small, but the amount of water is vast, he said.
Lyons spent most of Tuesday at the DOE national lab in Richland, learning about its capabilities for assessing radiation effects on materials, radiochemical processing, non-proliferation and basic modeling methods.

He was scheduled to tour the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory and part of the new Physical Sciences Facility. A stop at the Applied Process Engineering Laboratory also was planned.

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Niger to Pursue Nuclear Plans Despite Fukushima: President
(for personal use only)

Niger will push ahead with a plan to develop civilian nuclear energy in partnership with other West African peers despite recent accidents including Fukushima, the country's president said on Monday.
"We have said that in the long term, we will promote, as part of ECOWAS (the West African regional bloc), civilian nuclear energy," President Mahamadou Issoufou told a international forum on youths and green jobs in the capital Niamey.

Niger, one of the world's poorest countries, but a major exporter of uranium, said in June that it plans to produce its own nuclear power in partnership with other African nations. For details, see
"The Chernobyl accident and recently Fukushima can not make us abandon this choice, especially with regard to the ongoing efforts to establish international standards for the construction of nuclear power," Issoufou said.

"In addition to renewable energy, nuclear energy is clean and low cost," Issoufou said, but did not give any further details on Niger's nuclear plans nor a target date as to when the project will start.
In March 2011, Japan suffered numerous earthquakes and a deadly tsunami which triggered reactor meltdowns and a radiation crisis at Tokyo Electric's Fukushima Daiichi plant, 200 km northeast of Tokyo, fanning public safety fears worldwide.

Niger's annual electricity consumption in 2007 was just under 590 million kilowatt-hours, according to the latest figures available on the CIA World Factbook.

Its key partner is French nuclear giant Areva, whose Imouraren mine should turn Niger into the world's No. 2 producer/exporter of uranium.

The mine will produce 5,000 tonnes of uranium a year from about 2013 or 2014, according to Areva.

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PM: Egypt to Follow Through With Plans for Nuclear Power Plant
Egypt Independent
(for personal use only)

Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri on Tuesday informed ministers that the government will follow through with its plans to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, said Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abouelnaga.

The plant's construction site, located in Dabaa in Matrouh Governorate, was looted and vandalized earlier this week, resulting in LE500 million in losses.

An official, who spoke to Al-Masry Al-Youm on condition of anonymity, accused a businessman and former member in the defunct National Democratic Party of being "behind the chaos," but did not name the businessman allegedly involved. However, other reports suggest that the construction site was attacked by residents in the area, who were angry at the way in which the land designated for the plant had been acquired by the government.

The meteorological station, ground water station and many of the offices had been attacked by "organized looters," who took objects including computers, monitoring devices for earthquakes, furniture, cables and transformers. The official added that people attempted to bring building materials onto the site in preparation for private construction.

Abouelnaga added that Ganzouri said the infringement on the site is illegal and will remain so even if the infringing party manages to erect a building.

She said that all state agencies were coordinating in order to protect the site while ensuring no harm comes to the "Bedouins who were approved for compensation."

Abouelnaga went on to say that the issue would be dealt with firmly to ensure that the violations do not set a precedent. She noted that all state security agencies were involved in the investigation and that the guilty parties would be brought to justice. She added that investigations into claims that a businessman had incited the residents to attack the site are ongoing.

Residents of Dabaa staged a sit-in on Saturday after clashes with Egyptian military police on Friday. The clashes left 41 people injured, including 29 soldiers, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.
On Friday, about 500 residents rallied, demanding that construction on the plant be halted. They say their land had been confiscated for the project, and that they did not receive compensation.

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D.  Nuclear Cooperation

Vietnam Likely to Sign Nuclear Cooperation Pact with US This Year – Official
Vu Trong Khanh
(for personal use only)

Vietnam will likely sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. this year, paving the way for General Electric (GE) and Westinghouse to export nuclear technology to the Southeast Asian nation, a senior official with the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute said Tuesday.

"The two countries are speeding up talks so that the agreement can be signed soon," the official, who didn't want to be named, said.

Vietnam has so far signed the so-called 123 agreements with Russia, China, France, South Korea, India and Argentina.

The country has decided to use Russian technology for its first nuclear power plant and Japanese technology for the second. The plants, each with a capacity of 2,000 megawatts, are expected to go online in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

"South Korea wants to develop Vietnam's third nuclear power plant," the official said. "It has pledged to arrange finance and provide technology and equipment for the project."

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Le Dinh Tien said earlier Tuesday that the country was targeting a total installed nuclear power capacity of 10, 700 MW by 2030, accounting for 10.1% of its total installed capacity.

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Armenia And Jordan to Cooperate In The Field Of Nuclear Energy
(for personal use only)

Armenian government is going to discuss the issue of signing of a treaty on cooperation over peaceful use of nuclear energy between the governments of Armenia and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The project is involved in the agenda of the January 19 sitting of the executive body, Armenpress reports citing the official website of the government.

The agreement intends cooperation in construction of energy units, their secure exploitation and improvement of technical indexes, procession of radioactive junks, etc.

The offer to sign the agreement was put forward by the Jordan side by Vice Chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission Kamal Araj, while the Armenian Minister of Natural Resources and Protection Armen Movsisyan brought justifications.

The cooperation supposes that both sides should develop the atomic energy exclusively for peace reasons and led by the UN Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

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Sherpas Consider Draft Communique For Seoul Nuclear Security Summit
(for personal use only)

Sherpas for the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit ended a two-day meeting here today at which they considered, among other things, the draft communique that would be adopted by leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, at the March 26-27 summit.

The meeting, opened by Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, as India's Sherpa, was attended by 49 participating countries and four international organizations.

They included the 46 countries which participated in the first Nuclear Security Summit that was held in Washington in April 2010. South Korea, as the host of the second summit, has invited three new participants - Denmark, Lithuania, and Azerbaijan. Of these, Denmark and Lithuania sent representatives to the New Delhi Sherpa Meeting.

The four international organizations are the United Nations, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Interpol and the European Union.

Briefing mediapersons after the meeting, Mathai declined to go into the details of the draft communique, since it is still under discussion, but said that the discussions on it were productive and had reached an advance stage of consideration.

"The draft communique is a substantive document that seeks to reaffirm the Washington communique andbuild on the momentum that has been generated since the last Summit," he said.

Mathai said the main objective of the Nuclear Summit process had been to focus high-level global attention on the threat posed by nuclear terrorism and the measures required to address the global challenge of preventing terrorists and other non-state actors from gaining access to sensitive nuclear materials, technology and information.

"Security of nuclear materials is fundamentally a national responsibility but there is considerable scope for international cooperation to strengthen nuclearsecurity objectives and standards. In this regard, there was considerable emphasis on the leading role of the IAEA in the international nuclear security framework and the need to strengthen multilateral instruments that address nuclear security such as the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. India is a party to all major international instruments in the field of nuclearsecurity," he said.

Mathai said that, among the topics being discussed for considered for inclusion in the Seoul Summit outcome communiqué were measures to secure themanagement of highly enriched uranium, measures to ensure radiological security, promoting transportsecurity and combating illicit trafficking, security of sensitive information and increasing international cooperation and assistance.

In this regard, he recalled that India had announced the setting up of the Global Centre for NuclearEnergy Partnership.

"The Seoul Summit will also give consideration to strengthening the synergy between nuclear safety and nuclear security, an issue which has become topical after the Fukushima accident of March, 2011. We feel that this issue merits Summit level consideration to enhance public confidence that measures are being taken to ensure that nuclear energy, which is an essential energy source is used in a safe and secure manner," he said.

Mathai said India was committed to the success of the Nuclear Security Summit process. "The holding of the Sherpa meeting in New Delhi, the first of its kind that we have hosted, is a clear demonstration of our commitment to the Nuclear Security Summit process," he added.

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E.  North Korea

U.S., Allies Say North Korea Welcome to Resume Nuclear Talks
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The United States, Japan and South Korea agree that "a path is open" for North Korea to return to stalled six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program, the State Department said on Tuesday.
U.S., Japanese and South Korean officials, meeting in Washington, reaffirmed their commitment to the talks on efforts toward denuclearization of North Korea in a peaceful manner, the State Department said in a statement.

"We also agreed that a path is open to North Korea towards the resumption of talks and improved relations with the United States, Japan, and Republic of Korea through dialogue," the statement said.
The six-party talks, involving the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and China, broke down in 2008 when the North walked away from an aid-for-disarmament deal. United Nations inspectors were expelled from North Korea in 2009.

Despite repeated efforts, there has been little sign of progress since then.
North Korea has called for the resumption of the nuclear talks, but Washington and Seoul have been reluctant to rush back to the table, wary of Pyongyang's potential to engage in protracted negotiations only to walk away from its obligations.

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F.  Links of Interest

On The Upcoming Nuclear Security Summit In Seoul
Seock-jeong Eom
(for personal use only)

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How Africa Plays Into Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions
Jason Warner
(for personal use only)

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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.

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