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Nuclear News - 1/30/2012
PGS Nuclear News, January 30, 2012
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich

A.  Iran
    1. Iran Offers to Extend UN Nuclear Inspection, Nasser Karimi, ABC News (1/30/2012)
    2. Iran to Install 20% N-Plates in 30 Days, Press TV (1/29/2012)
    3. UN Inspectors Visit Iran as Nuclear Tensions Rise, BBC News (1/29/2012)
B.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. China Denies Nuclear Accident, David Eimer, The Telegraph (1/30/2012)
    2. Japan Finds Water Leaks at Stricken Nuclear Plant, Reuters (1/29/2012)
    3. Russia’s Flagship Nuclear Icebreaker to Cross Northern Seas, Worrying Neighboring States, Anna Kireeva, Bellona (1/27/2012)
C.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Philippines Not Closing Door on Nuke Power, Amy R. Remo, The Philippine Daily Inquirer (1/30/2012)
D.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. South Korean President to Visit Turkey, Nuclear Cooperation on Agenda, Todays Zaman (1/30/2012)
    2. India, Australia to Start Talks on Uranium Supply Soon, First Post (1/30/2012)
    3. Eesti Energia: Participation in Lithuanian Nuclear Power Plant Will Become Clear by Midsummer’s, Juhan Tere, Baltic Course (1/30/2012)
    4. IAEA Lauds Kuwait Contribution to Nuclear Fuel Bank Project, Abdelwahab Al-Gueyed, Kuwait News Agency (1/27/2012)
    5. ‘Indo-Pak Civil Nuclear Cooperation Possible’, Daily Times (1/27/2012)
    6. India, US to Work for Implementing N-Deal, Times of India (1/26/2012)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. Japan’s Plutonium Stockpile Builds as Nuke Fuel Cycle Policy Hits Dead End, The Mainichi Daily News (1/28/2012)

A.  Iran

Iran Offers to Extend UN Nuclear Inspection
Nasser Karimi
ABC News
(for personal use only)

Iran's top diplomat offered Monday to extend the current visit of U.N. nuclear inspectors and expressed optimism their findings would help ease tensions despite international claims that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons.

The comments by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, reported by Iran's official news agency, underscored efforts to display cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency team and downplay the expectations of a confrontation atmosphere during the three-day visit that began Sunday.
The IAEA mission is the first to Iran since a report in November that suggested some of the Islamic Republic's alleged experiments — cited in intelligence documents — can have no other purpose than developing nuclear weapons. The current inspection team includes two senior weapons experts, hinting that Iran may be prepared to discuss specific points on the claims it seeks to develop warheads after three years of rebuffing U.N. calls for answers.

Salehi, attending an African summit in Ethiopia, repeated remarks that he was "optimistic about the results of the visit" without offering more details. He also told Turkish state television that the U.N. mission could be "extended if necessary," according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
The findings from the visit could greatly influence Western efforts to expand economic pressures on Iran over its uranium enrichment — which Washington and allies fear could eventually produce weapons-grade material. Iran has declined to abandon its enrichment labs, but claims it seeks to fuel reactors only for energy and medical research.

Asian powers — which buy the bulk of Iran's oil — have resisted appeals to join Western boycotts and financial sanctions aimed at Iran's critical oil industry.

India's finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, told reporters Sunday in Chicago that cutting off Iranian oil would be too great a blow for the Indian economy. About 12 percent of India's oil imports reportedly come from Iran, making Iran its second-largest supplier after Saudi Arabia.

The U.N. team has made no public comments since leaving Vienna, the headquarters for the watchdog agency.

But Iranian media said the team is likely to visit an underground enrichment site near Qom, 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of Tehran, which is carved into a mountain as protection from possible airstrikes. Earlier this month, Iran said it had begun enrichment work at the site, which is far smaller than the country's main uranium labs but is reported to have more advanced equipment.

The IAEA team also wants to talk to key Iranian scientists suspected of working on a weapons program. The team also plans to inspect documents related to nuclear work and secure commitments from Iranian authorities to allow future visits.

It remains unclear how much Iran will cooperate or is willing to disclose. Iran has accused the IAEA in the past of security leaks that expose its scientists and their families to the threat of assassination by the U.S. and Israel.

Oil prices have been driven higher in recent weeks by Iran's warnings that it could block the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, the route for about one-fifth of the world's oil. Last week, the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, joined by French and British warships, entered the Gulf in a show of strength against any attempts to disrupt oil tanker traffic.

On Monday, Iran's state TV reported the development of laser-guided artillery shells capable of hitting moving targets. The report did not give details on specifications of the shell. It could not be independently verified.

Iran occasionally announces the production and testing of military equipment, ranging from torpedoes to missiles and jet fighters.
The country's military has run a program dating from 1992 which aims at self-sufficiency in producing modern weaponry.

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Iran to Install 20% N-Plates in 30 Days
Press TV
(for personal use only)

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says the country will install its first 20 percent nuclear fuel plates at the Tehran Research Reactor within a month.

“After our opposite parties refused to carry out their obligations in providing fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, we moved towards 20 percent enrichment in line with our rights,” Salehi said on the sidelines of the 18th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Iran signed a nuclear declaration with Brazil and Turkey on May 17, 2010, announcing its readiness to swap 1,200 kg of its low enriched uranium with 20 percent enriched fuel on the Turkish soil.

Three weeks later, however, the UN Security Council imposed its fourth round of sanctions, hampering negotiations aimed at resolving a row over Iran's enrichment program up to the 20 percent level.

“Although the other side did not imagine that we could achieve 20 percent enrichment and transform it into fuel plates, they will see that in the coming months we will place our indigenous fuel plates in the Tehran Research reactor,” Salehi added.

In September 2011, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran needs 20 percent enriched fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor to produce radio-medicine for the treatment of 800,000 patients.

The United States and its allies accuse the Islamic Republic of potentially pursuing a militarized nuclear program and have accordingly used the allegation to push for four rounds of Security Council sanctions and a series of additional unilateral embargoes against Tehran as well as to call for a military attack on Iran.

Iran has categorically denied the charges and maintains that its nuclear program is geared towards civilian purposes such as generating electricity. Tehran says as an International Atomic Energy Agency member and a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty it is entitled to use civilian nuclear technology.

The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities, but has never found any evidence indicating that Iran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.

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UN Inspectors Visit Iran as Nuclear Tensions Rise
BBC News
(for personal use only)

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are on a three-day visit to Iran, to try to determine the purpose of the country's nuclear programme.

The visit comes at a time of escalating tension between Tehran and the West over Iran's nuclear activities.

The director general of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, says Iran needs to engage and answer the agency's questions.

Iran denies that it is trying to develop a nuclear weapon. The head of the IAEA team said they hoped to "resolve all the outstanding issues with Iran" over its nuclear programme.

"In particular we hope that Iran will engage with us on our concerns regarding the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programme," IAEA Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts said before leaving for Iran from Vienna's airport.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asgar Soltaniyeh, said the inspection was aimed at foiling enemy plots and will prove the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear work.

The dispute over Iran's nuclear activities has intensified since an IAEA report in November expressed serious concerns about the possible military dimensions of the programme.

The IAEA inspection team has three days in Iran to try to work out exactly what the country's nuclear intentions really are. But they're unlikely to get all the answers they need in just one visit.
In its most recent report, the agency wrote that it had "serious concerns about the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programme".

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano has told the BBC that Iran needs to engage and answer his agency's questions.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asgar Soltaniyeh, sees the agency's visit a little differently. He says the inspection is aimed at foiling enemy plots and will prove the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear activities.

The agency said it had information suggesting Iran had carried out tests "relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device".

Since then the European Union and the United States have introduced a series of sanctions against Iran, including measures targeting the country's lucrative oil industry.

The EU sanctions prohibit the import, purchase and transport of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products as well as related finance and insurance.

All existing contracts will have to be phased out by 1 July.

That timing was intended to give some EU countries time to switch to alternative sources of oil, but Iranian lawmakers are now considering stopping exports to Europe within days, a move likely to drive up fuel prices.

Iran has also threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf, through which more than 20% of the world's traded oil passes.

The United States has said it will use force if necessary to keep the shipping lane open, raising the prospect of a confrontation with Iran.

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B.  Nuclear Safety & Security

China Denies Nuclear Accident
David Eimer
The Telegraph
(for personal use only)

A report from Japan's Atomic Energy Agency said the China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) stopped generating electricity in October following an accident. With Japan already reeling from the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in March last year, the incident sparked alarm there and in South Korea over the prospect of radiation leaking from the CEFR. Those fears were intensified by Beijing's failure to report the accident or release details of what happened, according to a Tokyo newspaper which cited the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency's investigation.

The same report highlighted worrying safety lapses at the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE) outside Beijing, which houses the CEFR. Safety standards were said to be "very low", with a lack of devices to measure potential radiation leaks, while the main control room of the reactor was equipped with beds which workers rested on when they were on duty.

Wan Gang, the director of the CIAE, denied there had been an accident or any cover-up.
"CEFR hasn't been operating since July last year so reports that an accident occurred in the autumn are extremely inconsistent with the facts," he told Chinese media.

Mr Wan also refuted the allegations of poor safety, saying five teams were monitoring the reactor around the clock and that there were multiple measures in place to prevent radiation leaks. He denied there were beds in the main control room for staff to sleep on.

China has never experienced a major nuclear accident, although there have been small leaks of radiation from some of its nuclear power stations. The last occurred in May 2010 in Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong Province at the Daya Bay plant, the oldest of China's 13 operational nuclear reactors. Managers at the plant failed to inform the public of the leak until three weeks later. Subsequently, Beijing denied that radiation had escaped but it was confirmed by a Hong Kong power company with a share in Daya Bay.

CEFR is a fourth-generation reactor and China's first fast reactor. Until now, China has largely been dependent on French and Russian technology for its nuclear power programme. As the world's largest energy consumer, China has ambitious plans for its nuclear plants to provide six per centof all its electricity needs by 2020. There are currently 27 new plants under construction, but work on them has been halted since the Fukushima disaster while safety checks are carried out.

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Japan Finds Water Leaks at Stricken Nuclear Plant
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Japan's stricken nuclear power plant has leaked more than 600 liters of water, forcing it to briefly suspend cooling operations at a spent-fuel pond at the weekend, but none is thought to have escaped into the ocean, the plant's operator and domestic media said.

The Fukushima plant, on the coast north of Tokyo, was wrecked by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March last year, triggering the evacuation of around 80,000 people in the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

The operator of the complex, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), reported two main leakages on its Web site on Sunday, one from a pump near the plant's office building and another from a back-up cooling system at reactor No.4.

"The cooling water is from a filtrate tank for fire extinction and doesn't contain radioactive materials," Tepco said of the incident at reactor No. 4. It added that some water from the other leakage had flowed into a drain and "we are examining whether this water has flowed into the ocean or not."

The Nikkei newspaper Monday quoted Tepco as saying around 40 liters had leaked from the pool-cooling system of the No. 4 reactor Sunday morning, with probably 600 liters of purified water leaking from another point. Water had also leaked at other facilities within the complex, the Nikkei added.
However, the Nikkei newspaper quoted Tepco Monday as saying that it believed no water had escaped into the sea.

"The leakage is believed to have been caused by freezing due to cold weather, and the leaked water included radioactively contaminated water that has been purified," the Nikkei said in its online edition, quoting Tepco.

"The contamination level is low."

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Russia’s Flagship Nuclear Icebreaker to Cross Northern Seas, Worrying Neighboring States
Anna Kireeva
(for personal use only)

Russia’s 50 Let Pobedy (Fifty Years of Victory), the flagship of the Russian nuclear icebreaker fleet, departs on January 27 from its port of registration, Murmansk, setting out on a voyage to the Baltic Sea, where it is expected to convoy capsize bulk carriers calling into ports of the Gulf of Finland – a prospect that has Russia’s northern neighbors concerned over the risks of a nuclear vessel passing along their coastlines.

This year, the 2007-built 50 Years of Victory has been chartered to escort cargo ships in the Baltic Sea for a period of 100 days – a second such contract sought by the federal state-owned port development enterprise Rosmorport since the extremely challenging ice situation in the gulf last winter, when the 1989-built icebreaker Vaigach (or Vaygach) was urgently dispatched to this heavy-traffic shipping area and remained there for 51 days, steering over 260 commercial vessels out of the treacherous ice traps to their destinations.

According to information on the official website of the Russian State Nuclear Corporation Rosatom, which has purview over the Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet via its entity called Atomflot, this year, a special communications system has been introduced to coordinate the 50 Years of Victory’s movements and monitor all incoming requests for pilotage in real time – a step that is expected to help streamline the steering operations.

Once in the Baltic Sea, the 50 Years of Victory is expected mostly to aid the passage of heavy-tonnage tankers with a draft greater than that of the icebreaker, said Atomflot’s deputy general director for fleet operation Andrei Smirnov.

The Arktika class icebreaker’s dimensions are similar to those of the Vaigach – around 30 meters across the beam – while the additional ten meters in length overall that the 50 Years of Victory has over the Vaigach should not affect its maneuverability, Smirnov said: The vessel is considerably more powerful than the Vaigach, which is a river icebreaker of Taimyr class.

Launched in 2007, the 50 Years of Victory is touted as Russia’s newest and largest, a vessel that is unrivalled in the global commercial icebreaker fleet. It has two reactors on board with a combined power capacity of 54 megawatts, yielding around 75,000 horsepower, and is commonly used to convoy ships moving along Russia’s Arctic coastline. In 2008, it was also chartered for a series of passenger cruises to the North Pole.

The icebreaker is scheduled to spend three or four days moving along Norway’s western and southern coasts, after which it will appear on the Danish and Swedish radars, and will then enter Finland’s territorial waters the following week.

The Norwegian authorities are expected to monitor the 50 Years of Victory’s progress with special attention. Once out of Murmansk’s basin, the world’s largest icebreaker will head westbound toward Norway’s Nordkapp, then turn southward and move along the coast until it reaches the Skagerrak, a strait lying between the southwestern coast of Sweden and Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula, with Norway’s southern coast just up north. The Skagerrak connects the North Sea with the Kattegat sea area, which leads out into the destination area, the Baltic Sea.

In a conversation with Bellona, Atomflot’s press service admitted the operator company was somewhat baffled by the nervousness Russia’s neighbors have shown with regard to the icebreaker’s anticipated route.

“Both the ministries of foreign affairs of the [concerned] European countries and Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) were informed already in mid-January about the deployment of the nuclear icebreaker in the Gulf of Finland within the specified period,” Atomflot’s press service told Bellona.

Atomflot believes the concerns – specifically those expressed by Norway – may have to do with a rescheduling that will delay the icebreaker’s entry into the Gulf of Finland.
“The delay was due to planned maintenance. Last night, the icebreaker left for a trial trip in the vicinity of the island of Kildin, it returned to Murmansk late at night, and is currently departing from its registration port, Murmansk, and is on its way to the Baltic Sea,” a representative of Atomflot’s press service told Bellona on Friday, January 27.

Bellona’s expert Igor Kudrik said Norway is hopeful that “nothing serious will happen at the reactor plant on board of the icebreaker as it travels along the Norwegian coast en route to the Baltic Sea.”
He said the good news is that because the vessel has a displacement of over 5,000 tons, the icebreaker’s operator company has an obligation to inform authorities in Norway of the details of the passage, and the relevant services will be able to instruct the crew on a route lying at a sufficient distance from the shoreline.

The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority’s Yngvar Bratvedt told Bellona that his agency was ready to respond should something go wrong and will closely watch the icebreaker’s movements.
“We will keep the radiation safety agencies of other Nordic countries informed in due manner. We will also keep [regional] administrations and emergency committees informed,” Bratvedt said.

Should an accident develop on board the 50 Years of Victory, the captain is to notify the authorities of the state near which the icebreaker is passing. According to Bellona’s Kudrik, however, Norway’s coastal guards do not have experience responding to accidents on nuclear-powered vessels with reactor systems in distress.

This is the cause of the concerns Norway is having regarding the 50 Years of Victory’s passage along its coastline, and they may not be completely without reason: Last December, a fire broke out on board of the Vaigach, killing two crew members. And in May last year, loss of seal in a welding seam led to a coolant leakin the primary loop of the reactor on board of the Taimyr (or Taymyr), a sister river icebreaker of the same class as the Vaigach. And another accident on board a nuclear vessel contributed to the less than perfect record of Russia’s nuclear fleet last New Year’s eve – this time, a fire involving a Delta-IV-class nuclear-powered submarine, the Yekaterinburg, while it was docked in a shipping yard near Murmansk.

Bellona’s nuclear and radiation safety Nils Bohmer says these are all incidents that have both the Oslo-based environmental NGO and authorities in Norway worry about potential risks associated with nuclear vessels.

“We fear that such incidents may also be possible on board of the 50 Years of Victory, which will be moving quite close to the Norwegian shore,” said Bohmer, himself a nuclear physicist. “Weather conditions [here] in winter could be rather severe. One wouldn’t want any accidents to happen on that vessel while it’s on its way passing near Norway.”

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C.  Nuclear Energy

Philippines Not Closing Door on Nuke Power
Amy R. Remo
The Philippine Daily Inquirer
(for personal use only)

Nuclear Energy remains a possible alternative for power generation in the future, according to the Department of Energy, despite the stiff opposition lodged by numerous environmentalists and concerned groups over the past years.

Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras stressed in a recent interview that the country should be prepared to embark on a nuclear power generation plan in the future, when the time comes that all the necessary safeguards would be established and put in place.

“It’s just for future generations, that’s why I do not want to scrap it from the energy plan. I want to keep it as an option in the future when the safety standards improve and when technology will be able to catch up and develop much safer facilities,” Almendras told the Inquirer.

Almendras’ remarks were in reaction to one of the proposals brought up to improve the Philippine power sector, as cited in the Arangkada Philippines, a publication sponsored by the Joint Foreign Chambers. The publication put together evaluations and recommendations that will lead to the creation of $75 billion in new foreign investment, 10 million jobs and P1 trillion in revenue for the Philippine economy within this decade.

One of the recommendations in the advocacy paper was to “include nuclear power development in the national power development plan” and for Congress to pass a “resolution supporting the consideration of the development of nuclear energy.”

“The nuclear option is still there,” Almendras stressed.
According to the present administration’s energy reform agenda, the Department of Energy planned to implement a national nuclear power program and was even targeting to facilitate the operation of a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant by 2025.

The target will clearly be pushed back to a later date as the Philippines has not even started to establish such a program and is awaiting technology advances in terms of ensuring safety.
According to the Arangkada Philippines paper, the development of nuclear power projects globally has been set back by at least a decade following the catastrophic failures at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan on March 11, 2011.

Last year, the Philippine government was studying the possible conversion of the mothballed 630-megawatt Bataan nuclear power plant (BNPP) into either a coal-fired or natural gas-fed facility.
Based on the initial findings being conducted by the Department of Science and Technology, the agency now tasked to look for the best technology that can be used to convert the BNPP to run on another fuel type, a conversion to coal was more feasible.

The BNPP was built during the Marcos era by Westinghouse Electric at a cost of $2.2 billion. It was mothballed in 1986 due to safety concerns, even before it could begin operations. The structure is now dilapidated and outdated.

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D.  Nuclear Cooperation

Eesti Energia: Participation in Lithuanian Nuclear Power Plant Will Become Clear by Midsummer’s
Juhan Tere
Baltic Course
(for personal use only)

Eesti Energia nuclear energy department Andres Tropp said in an interview to Eesti Päevaleht that Estonia's participation in Lithuanian nuclear power plant will become clear by Midsummer's in 2012.

Poland might return to the project and when Lithuania decides upon the final design of the nuclear power plant, Estonia can make its participation decision too, informs LETA.

Tropp said that two weeks ago, they met with Japanese reactor producer Hitachi. "The meeting concerned technical negotiations, we are far from final agreements," said Tropp.

Tropp said that some decisions will be made this half the year. "The location has been clear a long time, it is next to the old nuclear power plant," said Tropp, adding that the lot has received all the needed approvals.

"Today we are interested in what the most important parameters of the project could look like and it is not less important what the regulative environment in Lithuania will be since nuclear energy industry is a very much regulated sphere," said Tropp.

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India, Australia to Start Talks on Uranium Supply Soon
First Post
(for personal use only)

Australia will embark on commercial discussions with India on the nuclear commerce, a senior Australian High Commission official said in New Delhi today but did not give any time frame for it.
Terming as “positive” the proposed move of 46th national conference of the ruling Labour Party to export uranium to India, a resolution for which was moved by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Counsellor-Commercial in the High Commission Grayson Perry, said “robust discussions (political and commercial) will take place between India and Australia.strImages

“It is a positive move because earlier there were no discussions”, he said.
Last month, the Labour voted to overturn a decades-old ban on uranium sale to India, paving the way for Canberra to supply it to a nation outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“We are going to embark on it (commercial discussions),” he said. However, he did not give a time frame for this.

Australia has almost 40 percent of the world’s known uranium reserves but has not been supplying it to non-NPT signatories. India has been requesting Canberra for long to overturn it ban on exporting uranium to it.

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South Korean President to Visit Turkey, Nuclear Cooperation on Agenda
Todays Zaman
(for personal use only)

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will arrive in Turkey this weekend for a visit aimed at discussing ways to expand cooperation in several areas, including Turkish plans to build nuclear power plants, according to a news report.

Lee will meet with President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his four-day visit from Feb. 4-7 to discuss ways to expand trade ties and infrastructure construction, among other issues, the Korea Times reported on Monday, citing a statement from Lee's office. The two sides could also discuss a nuclear power plant construction project in Turkey, the report said.

Turkey plans to build two power plants, one in Akkuyu on the Mediterranean coast and another in Sinop on the Black Sea coast. Having agreed with Russia on the construction of Akkuyu power plant, Turkey had talks with Japan to reach an agreement on building a second nuclear power plant on the Black Sea coast, but the talks were suspended after a nuclear power accident in Japan in the wake of an earthquake-triggered tsunami in March of last year.

In 2010, South Korea and Turkey held intense negotiations on the $20 billion project to build four nuclear reactors on Turkey's Black Sea coast. But the negotiations were suspended after the sides failed to work out key differences.

Prospects emerged for resumption of these talks when Erdoğan asked South Korea to participate in the nuclear power plant project during a meeting with Lee on the sidelines of a G-20 summit in Cannes in November.

South Korea relies on nuclear plants for about 40 percent of its electricity needs. It has also been trying to export nuclear power plants since Korean firms won a massive contract in late 2009 to build four atomic power plants in the United Arab Emirates.

Lee is coming to Turkey as part of a week-long tour that also includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. He is expected to discuss diversifying oil imports in the face of US and European sanctions targeting Iranian oil exports. South Korea relies on Iran for 10 percent of its oil imports.

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‘Indo-Pak Civil Nuclear Cooperation Possible’
Daily Times
(for personal use only)

Speakers at a discussion on ‘Pakistan-India: A Security Route to Cooperation’ agreed on Thursday that civil nuclear cooperation is possible between Pakistan and India as long as it is mutually beneficial.

They were expressing their views at the opening day of a two-day discussion organised by the Strategic Technology Resources (STR).

PML-Q Secretary General Mushahid Hussain Sayed said after the nuclear tests in 1998, there was a view that Pakistan and India should cooperate in the nuclear field. He said in January 2006, the US used political pressure on India to vote against Iran in the IAEA and also to get it to withdraw from the IPI pipeline project. “Pakistan made a strategic mistake by not vociferously objecting to the Indo-US nuclear deal, while Indian government bribed legislators to pass this deal – as this had been documented now,” he added. He regretted that after 9/11, nuclear weapons had become fashionable again. Even states such as France and Britain, who faced no threat, had decided to upgrade their nuclear arsenal, he said.

PAEC former head Parvez Butt said that Pakistan’s energy problems were largely self-created due to mismanagement. Another analyst Subrata Ghoshroy said that Indo-US nuclear deal had less of an energy driven incentive and more of other strategic drivers, like India coming out of nuclear pariah status, the US gaining Indian support for US strategic goals, especially the containment of China, and gaining Indian support in IAEA against Iran. Ghoshroy further said that cooperation between Pakistan and India in energy and water is highly desirable and civil nuclear cooperation is also possible but less feasible as a stand-alone deal.

Dr Shireen Mazari highlighted that civil nuclear cooperation in the power sector between Pakistan and India, as long as it was done under the IAEA umbrella and safeguards, would not require NSG approval since NSG is a supplier carter. “Pakistan and China’s nuclear power cooperation is also subject only to IAEA safeguards,” she said, adding that such cooperation would be on the basis of joint production and could lead to cooperation in nuclear safety and exchange of civil nuclear technology. Dr Mazari suggested that politicians and decision makers should be involved also so that they can open their minds to these ideas and when in power can look beyond ideas given by bureaucrats. Dr Mazari also suggested some proportional number crunching on missiles, especially short-range missiles. Dr Suba Chandran pointed aspects relating to strategic stability from an Indian perspective. He said, “India does not see southern Asia as one holistic region but as containing three distinct regions.”

“Secondly, how Pakistan and India engage in all three regions and how the smaller states of these regions exploit the Pakistan-India and the India-China relationships to their advantage,” he added.

He referred to three issues that could hurt both Pakistan and India in the future – Afghanistan, water and radicalism. Mariana Babar wanted to know how to move things forward beyond ideas floated in Track II. Riaz Khokhar also felt that Track II was limited because decision makers and bureaucrats pay little heed to what is discussed.

Inamul Haque said, “We need a holistic approach not a segmented one. We need to get rid of the mistrust through a ‘triad of peace’ involving three things: conflict resolution; strategic stability to avoid a nuclear arms race, including discussing nuclear doctrines; cooperation between the two countries on all issues, including terrorism, extremism, trade, water related issues, energy and so on.” He concluded the discussion by saying that both Pakistan and India have to talk to each other as equals.

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IAEA Lauds Kuwait Contribution to Nuclear Fuel Bank Project
Abdelwahab Al-Gueyed
Kuwait News Agency
(for personal use only)

Kuwait has signed here Friday an agreement in which it will contribute a sum of USD 10 million to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) nuclear fuel bank, a step lauded by the agency.

Kuwait's Ambassador to Austria and permanent representative at international organizations in Vienna, Mohammad Al-Sallal, signed the agreement with IAEA coordinator and assign administrator for the bank project Dr. Tarek Rauf.

The IAEA has set the funds for the bank at USD 125 million, stressing that such sum was integral to launch this ambitious project.

Ambassador Al-Sallal told KUNA that Kuwait was keen on contributing to such step that would enable countries to use nuclear fuel for peaceful energy projects.

The Kuwaiti diplomat also indicated that the level of cooperation between the IAEA and Kuwait was excellent, hoping that new opportunities would be provided in the future to further bolster cooperation.
Speaking about the nature of the project IAEA's media spokesman Greg Webb told KUNA that the IAEA's Board of Governors has assigned the Director General Yukiya Amano to establish a bank that would store low-enriched uranium as a step to provide fuel for member states that could not produce fuel for nuclear energy stations.

In regards to the current status of the bank, Webb said that the IAEA had issued a circular in May of 2011 to showcase the criteria for member states to benefit from the bank's services. As of now, only Kazakhstan expressed interest in such offering, indicated the official, adding that experts were sent to that country to coordinate on efforts to supply fuel to two reactors.

On the conditions to obtain such service, the official revealed that each country interested in fuel supply should adhere to the IAEA's regulations and code, adding that no fuel would be given if the nuclear reactors were used for non-peaceful purposes.

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India, US to Work for Implementing N-Deal
Times of India
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India and the United States have agreed to continue efforts to consolidate upon the "tremendous progress" made in strengthening their global strategic partnership and work towards implementing their civil nuclear deal.

They have also agreed to work towards implementing other initiatives that had been taken in the last few years according to readouts of a meeting here between secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Indian ambassador Nirupama Rao on Wednesday.

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E.  Links of Interest

Japan’s Plutonium Stockpile Builds as Nuke Fuel Cycle Policy Hits Dead End
The Mainichi Daily News
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