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Nuclear News - 2/21/2012
PGS Nuclear News, February 21, 2012
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich

A.  Iran
    1. Khamenei’s Outlook Dims Hope for Iran Nuclear Deal, Alistair Lyon, Reuters (2/20/2012)
    2. Top UN Inspectors in Iran for Crunch Nuclear Talks, MSNBC (2/20/2012)
B.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. Major Radioactive Find at Dounreay Beach, (2/21/2012)
    2. Another Japanese Nuclear Reactor Shut Down, Australia Network News (2/21/2012)
    3. Radioactive Material with Low Level Radiation Stolen from Plant, Says Minister, Heba Fahmy, Daily News Egypt (2/20/2012)
    4. USB Stick with Nuclear Plant Data Lost by ONR Official, BBC News (2/17/2012)
C.  Nuclear Energy
    1. China Invests Big in Nuclear R&D, Xinhua News Agency (2/21/2012)
    2. IAEA Team Inspects Kudankulam Plant, Protesters Announce Fast, Economic Times (2/20/2012)
D.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Cameron Hails New Era of Franco-British Military and Nuclear Co-operation, James Cusick, The Independent (2/18/2012)
    2. Kazakhstan Keen to Expand Civil Nuke Ties with India, MSN (2/16/2012)
    3. Latin America Seeks to Spread Nuclear Free Zones, Emilio Godoy, IPS (2/15/2012)
E.  Russia
    1. Putin Says Russia Must Replace Nuclear Weapons, The Independent (2/20/2012)
    2. Russian Official Hints Sub May Have Been Armed in Fire, Gleb Bryanski, Reuters (2/20/2012)
    3. Rosatom Prepared to Finance 50% of New Reactor at Armenian NPP-minister, Power Engineering International (2/18/2012)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Medical Isotopes Possible Without a Nuclear Reactor, Petti Fong, The Star (2/20/2012)
    2. Not a Good Time for U.S. Unilateral Reductions, Michaela Bendikova, The Foundry (2/15/2012)

A.  Iran

Khamenei’s Outlook Dims Hope for Iran Nuclear Deal
Alistair Lyon
(for personal use only)

As tensions over Iran's nuclear program ratchet higher once again, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's aversion for the West remains a formidable barrier to any diplomatic solution.

A visit by U.N. nuclear inspectors to Iran this week, a few days after Tehran wrote to European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton promising "new initiatives" in negotiations, suggests the door to diplomacy has not slammed shut.

Harsher Western sanctions are damaging Iran's economy and Israel is debating military action, with or without a U.S. green light, lending fresh urgency to efforts to defuse the crisis over the Islamic Republic's sensitive nuclear activity.

Yet a sea change in policy seems unlikely while the tall, bearded Khamenei, 72, holds power in a country whose Shi'ite Muslim religious leadership has made "Death to America, death to Israel" its mantra since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

This month Khamenei said sanctions would not alter Iran's nuclear course, military threats would "harm America" and any nation or group fighting Israel, thought to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, would have Tehran's backing.

"In response to threats of oil embargo and war, we have our own threats to impose at the right time," he declared.

Khamenei has in the past denied that Iran seeks atomic bombs, saying: "It is against our Islamic thoughts."

But he has shown little interest in genuinely assuaging Western worries about Iran's activities, authorizing what the U.N. nuclear watchdog regards as only incomplete cooperation, as well as intermittent talks with six world powers that Western officials suspect Tehran pursues primarily to gain more time to attain nuclear "breakout" capability.

The bespectacled cleric, who ultimately decides all matters of state, including nuclear and foreign policy, simply does not trust the United States, once described by his late mentor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as a wolf to Iran's lamb.

In 2009, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, himself no friend of the West, leaned toward a compromise involving a nuclear fuel swap to allay concerns about Iran's intentions, hardliners shot it down, apparently with Khamenei's blessing.

Khamenei has long sought to ensure that no group, even among his conservative allies, musters enough power to challenge him.

And when Ahmadinejad appeared to do just that last year, Khamenei was swift to react, reinstating an intelligence minister sacked by the president against his will.

Iranian analysts say the Supreme Leader is keen to ensure that Ahmadinejad emerges weaker from next week's parliamentary election, expected to be mostly a contest among hardliners.
After Khomeini died in 1989, Khamenei, who served two terms as president in the 1980s, was picked to succeed him, a surprise choice for some, as he was then only a mid-ranking cleric. He was swiftly promoted to ayatollah.

Khamenei inherited enormous powers, but could not hope to emulate the towering political and religious authority of Iran's revolutionary founder. His allies say he tends to reach major decisions after consulting a tight-knit group of top officials.

He can count on the loyalty of the elite Revolutionary Guards and Basij religious militia, which quelled the worst unrest in the Islamic Republic's history after Ahmadinejad was re-elected in June 2009 in a vote opponents said was rigged.

Khamenei then cast his weight behind Ahmadinejad, declaring that defeated opposition leaders would be responsible for any bloodshed in what proved to be eight months of street protests.

Soon after the election, Khamenei, the final authority in Iran's complex system of clerical rule and limited democracy, appeared to offer his own life for the Islamic revolution in an emotional Friday sermon that drew tears from the congregation.

"We will do what we will have to do," he said. "I have an unworthy life, a defective body and little honor, which was given to me by you. I will put all of these on the palm of my hand and spend them on the path of the revolution and Islam."

The message of the Supreme Leader, whose right hand was crippled in a 1981 assassination attempt, was that defiance of his will amounted to a counter-revolutionary act.

Khamenei should stay above the political fray, according to Khomeini's system of "velayat-e faqih", or rule by a religious jurist. His one-sided intervention in the uproar after the 2009 vote, which divided Iran's religious and political elite, further stoked a crisis of legitimacy that still lingers.

In practice, Khamenei has long favored hardliners, helping to thwart reforms and feelers toward the United States when the moderate Mohammad Khatami was president from 1997 to 2005, and for years backing his radical successor, Ahmadinejad.

In theory, he could be removed by the 86-man Assembly of Experts, but the clerical body is never known to have challenged a man who controls many of the levers of power.

Khamenei, whose black turban signifies he is a descendant of the Prophet Mohammad, is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appoints many senior figures, including the heads of the judiciary, security agencies and state radio and television.

Born into a clerical family in Mashhad in northeast Iran in 1939, he became involved with underground groups opposed to the U.S.-backed Shah in the 1960s and was jailed several times.

In a study of Khamenei's writings, Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment argued that his hostility to U.S. "global arrogance" was matched by fear that any opening to the West would allow foreign influences to dilute Iran's Islamic purity.

"After three decades of being immersed in a 'death to America' culture, it may be asking too much for Khamenei to reinvent himself," Sadjadpour wrote.

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Top UN Inspectors in Iran for Crunch Nuclear Talks
(for personal use only)

Senior U.N. inspectors arrived in Iran on Monday to push for transparency about its disputed nuclear program and several European states halted purchases of Iranian oil as part of Western moves to pile pressure on a defiant Tehran.

Meanwhile, a semiofficial Iranian news agency reported that Tehran was considering extending an oil embargo on France and Britain to other countries.

The head of Iran's state oil company Ahmad Qalehbani was quoted by Mehr as saying that the country would stop selling crude to nations who take action against Tehran.

"If the hostile acts of some other European countries continue, oil exports to these countries will be cut," he said.

Iran denies Western allegations that it is covertly seeking the means to build nuclear weapons and has again vowed no nuclear retreat in recent weeks, but also voiced willingness to resume negotiations with world powers without preconditions.

The five-member International Atomic Energy Agency team, led by chief IAEA inspector Herman Nackaerts, planned two days of meetings in another attempt to get answers from Iran regarding intelligence suggesting it is trying to develop atomic bombs behind the facade of a declared civilian nuclear program.

But Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehidampened speculation about increased IAEA access when he told the student news agency ISNA that the agency officials would not be going to any nuclear sites. "No. Their work has just begun," Salehi said. Diplomats doubted that the talks would bring a breakthrough.
"I believe most are rather skeptical concerning the outcome because, well, Iran had a chance at the last meeting and didn't seize it," a senior Western official said, referring to the last trip by the senior IAEA team to Tehran at the end of January.

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B.  Nuclear Safety & Security

Another Japanese Nuclear Reactor Shut Down
Australia Network News
(for personal use only)

Japan will have just two of 54 nuclear power reactors after the closing of another reactor for safety checks.

Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO), the largest utility firm after Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), began lowering power generation in unit three at the Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui prefecture.

It was the last of 11 reactors owned by the company still in operation.

The move comes on the day that Japan announced a record trade deficit in January as fuel imports soared for the resource-poor nation following the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant eleven months ago.

Before the accident, which was caused by a deadly earthquake and tsunami, Japan had relied for one third of its power supply on nuclear energy.

But power companies including KEPCO, which provides electricity to the major western cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, have not been able to restart reactors after inspection due to the safety concerns of local residents.

Once the Takahama reactor goes offline it will leave one unit operational at TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in central Japan and one at the Tomari plant in northern Hokkaido.

Those two units are expected to be closed down for inspection by late April.

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Major Radioactive Find at Dounreay Beach
(for personal use only)

Tests are being carried out to determine the potential hazard of what is believed to be the most radioactive particle ever found on a public beach near the Dounreay nuclear power plant in Caithness.
Initial laboratory analysis, carried out at Dounreay, has already shown that the “significant” particle has an estimated radioactivity of up to two mega-Becquerels – a level that could cause potentially serious health effects.

The radioactive hotspot was discovered at Sandside beach, two miles west of the redundant nuclear power facility.

A spokesman for Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), the company responsible for the closure programme at the former fast-reactor research and development centre, said: “The particle was detected in the water’s edge at Sandside.

“Checks carried out on the beach indicated that the particle had higher than normal beta dose rate.
“Initial analysis carried out at Dounreay showed low caesium-137 content, niobium-94 and a high beta dose rate suspected to be from strontium-90.

“Further non-destructive testing indicated that the estimated radioactivity of the strontium-90 is one to two mega-becquerels, which is equivalent to a ‘significant’ particle.

“If confirmed by further analysis, this would be the first ‘significant’ find at Sandside.”
Until now, the most radioactive particle found at Sandside was one discovered in 2007, which had a reading of 500,000 becquerels (Bq). In March 2010, a particle measuring 270,000 Bq was detected.
The spokesman said that the company had informed the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) of its initial findings and the need for additional tests to “understand the chemistry of the particle and verify its potential hazard”.

He added: “The particle – detected on 14 February – was the 208th to be recovered from the beach at Sandside.”

“Significant” particles are classed as those with a radioactivity greater than a million Bq of caesium 137.
According to DSRL, such particles could cause visible effects within a few hours if kept in stationary contact with skin and “serious ulceration” after one to two weeks.

Stan Blackley, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the discovery of the latest radioactive hotspot would be of “major concern” to the local community.

“The depressing thing about this is that the more we look at this site, the more and worse we seem to find. We are now several hundred particles down the line and still they keep coming and getting hotter and hotter.”

A spokesman for Sepa said the agency was informed of the detection and recovery of the particle on 14 February.

The particle was found to have a different composition to others previously detected.
He said: “This latest find does not alter Sepa’s view that public access to the beach should continue, given the current level of monitoring carried out and the number of finds to date.”

Work is due to resume in May to clear particles – fragments of irradiated nuclear fuel – from the seabed near the site.

DSRL started work on the seabed in August 2008 and to date, more than 2,000 particles have been recovered from the area.

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Radioactive Material with Low Level Radiation Stolen from Plant, Says Minister
Heba Fahmy
Daily News Egypt
(for personal use only)

"One container holding radioactive material was stolen from the nuclear power plant [in Dabaa, Marsa Matrouh]," Minister of Electricity and Energy, Hassan Younis told MPs during a parliamentary session on Monday.

Another container was found broken and the radioactive material inside was scattered.
Younis stressed that the radioactive material had a low level of radiation. A team of experts swept the area for radiation after the material was discovered stolen last month and their findings showed that there was no contamination, he added.

Marsa Matrouh MPs refuted claims that this plant contained any radioactive material, claiming that officials exploited the buildings for personal use. The place consists of four administrative buildings, not an actual plant, the MPs argued.

Younis called on the MPs to present any documents they had proving the ministry's squandering of public funds, saying he would personally present it to the Prosecutor General.

Others called for completely removing the plant from the area which is inhabited by around 80,000 residents who fear possible radiation emanating from the plant.

The PA committee for industry and energy said it was investigating calls to move the plant into the desert away from the city.

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USB Stick with Nuclear Plant Data Lost by ONR Official
BBC News
(for personal use only)

A memory stick containing a safety assessment of a nuclear power plant in north-east England has been lost by an official, it has emerged.

The unencrypted USB pen drive, containing a 'stress test' safety assessment of the Hartlepool plant, was lost by an employee of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

The ONR said the key did not contain "significantly sensitive" data.

It said an internal investigation had begun.

The ONR, which is an agency of the Health and Safety Executive, said the use of unencrypted devices for transporting documents with a security classification was not allowed.

So-called stress tests were carried out at European power plants following the Japanese earthquake which affected the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

An ONR spokesman said at the start of the stress test programme, there had been a commitment to publishing the reports, so most of the findings were now in the public domain.

But he said: "The use of unencrypted USB pen drives is not permitted by ONR for transporting documents with a security classification.

"An internal investigation has been undertaken by ONR."

A spokeswoman for EDF Energy, which operates the Hartlepool plant, said the lost key did not contain any significantly sensitive information.

She said reports had been published on its website in January.

"The reports on the website have slight differences to the full technical versions in that some of the technical language has been simplified to avoid misinterpretation of the information, and more detailed data like site layouts has been removed although we reiterate that the document on the memory stick does not contain any significantly sensitive information."

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C.  Nuclear Energy

China Invests Big in Nuclear R&D
Xinhua News Agency
(for personal use only)

A total of 1.75 billion yuan (280 million U.S. dollars) was invested in China's independent nuclear research and development in 2011, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said on Tuesday.
Sun Qin, general manager of the CNNC, said the corporation saw investment in research and development rise 20 percent on the 2010 level.

After years of efforts, the CNNC's work in the field is bearing fruit, with successes including China's first fast reactor, advanced uranium enrichment technology and nuclear power technology, Sun added.
"We are now importing and learning nuclear power technology of the third generation," Sun said. "Based on such skills and accumulated experience, we aim to innovate and develop more advanced and safer nuclear power technology with Chinese intellectual property."

Established in 1991, Qinshan nuclear power plant, China's first nuclear power plant and designed solely by the CNNC, has been in safe operation for 20 years. By November 2011, it had generated 40.5 billion kWh of electricity, equivalent to saving 16 million tonnes of standard coal.

After Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis, the CNNC started further bolstering safety, Sun said.

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IAEA Team Inspects Kudankulam Plant, Protesters Announce Fast
Economic Times
(for personal use only)

A two-member team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) carried out a detailed inspection at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) even as the anti-plant protesters announced a 72-hour fast from Monday to protest a clean chit by a state government panel.

"The two member IAEA team is carrying out inspection of the nuclear material in KNPP. The team would account meticulously the amount of nuclear material received and stored," Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) chairman and managing director S.K. Jain said.

Noting that the inspection and the accounting of nuclear materials will be detailed and meticulous, Jain said it normally takes two days to complete such an inspection.

To a query on to the choice of inspection time when KNPP is facing opposition from the villagers and protests are on, Jain said: "The IAEA has the right to inspect at any time they want."

The first unit of KNPP is under safeguards as per the agreement between Indian government and IAEA.
India's nuclear power plant operator, NPCIL, is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors with Russian collaboration at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli, around 650 km from Chennai.

However villagers in Kudankulam, Idinthakarai and nearby areas, fearing their safety in case of any accident, protested against the project.

Their agitation, led by the People's Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), has put a stop to the project work, delaying the commissioning of the first unit slated last December.

As Tamil Nadu government urged the central government to halt work at the power plant and allay the fears of the people, the central and state governments had set up two panels. After meeting thrice last year, the final meeting between the two panels slated for Jan 31 did not take place and the central panel submitted its report, declaring that its job is over.

Subsequently the Tamil Nadu government set up a four-member expert committee to look into the project's safety aspects and the fears of the local people about the project.

The panel, comprising Atomic Energy Commission's former chairman M.R. Srinivasan, Anna University professors D. Arivu Oli and S. Iniyan, and retired IAS official L.N. Vijayaraghavan, visited KNPP and also met PMANE representatives.

Addressing the press, the panel members certified that the KNPP is safe and has sufficient safety measures. The clean chit upset the PMANE, who announced their fast.

"The panel seems to be biased one. If they want to say the Kudankulam project is safe then they should have said that in their report to the state government. They should not have certified about the plant in a press meet," PMANE leader M.Pushparayan told IANS.

He said the state panel did not meet the villagers or the members of PMANE's expert panel despite their strong demand.

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D.  Nuclear Cooperation

Cameron Hails New Era of Franco-British Military and Nuclear Co-operation
James Cusick
The Independent
(for personal use only)

At a meeting in Paris yesterday, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy agreed that Britain and France would strengthen their military and nuclear co-operation, create a joint command and control centre for armed operations, and speed the development of a new generation of battlefield drones.

The new Anglo-French civil nuclear agreements, potentially worth £10bn in the longer term, will create 1,500 jobs and bring in £500m in new commercial nuclear deals.

Rolls-Royce will benefit from a first-phase £400m share in the building of new nuclear plants. The firm will contribute power plants for the next generation of UK nuclear generators which were announced last year. It will also deliver components – initially worth £100m – for the reactors that will be assembled in the UK. France's nuclear specialist, Areva, will supply the cores.

The two governments announced they would also be working with the International Atomic Energy Agency to strengthen the international community's ability to deal with nuclear emergencies, such as the Fukushima disaster 11 months ago.

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Kazakhstan Keen to Expand Civil Nuke Ties with India
(for personal use only)

Kazakhstan is keen to expand civil nuclear ties with India, its envoy here said Wednesday.

Ambassador Doulat Kuanyshev said the two strategic partners should look beyond and enhance ties in the nuclear sector, and let Kazakhstan's atomic power company Kazakhprom and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited expand cooperation.

"We should look beyond. Kazakhstan is (among) main exporters of natural uranium in the world and India has the potential to increase its nuclear power capacity," Kuanyshev told reporters.

"Agreement between Kazakhprom and NPCIL is on and it is going quite successfully," he said.
He said the next scheduled delivery of fuel for India's nuclear power plants was next year and the process "I think will be till 2014".

Asked if Kazakhstan was ready to meet India's oil needs, if it reduces its fuel dependency on Iran in the wake of US and EU sanction, the envoy said there were "no specific discussions of these matters".

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Latin America Seeks to Spread Nuclear Free Zones
Emilio Godoy
(for personal use only)

Latin America and the Caribbean are discussing ways to step up supervision of the use of nuclear materials in the region and contribute to the creation of more nuclear weapon free zones around the world, on the 45th anniversary of the treaty that banned nuclear arms in the region.

"Disarmament is still our priority" Vera Machado, under-secretary of political affairs in Brazil’s foreign ministry, told IPS. "It is a legitimate interest of nuclear weapon free countries to receive a binding guarantee that the countries that do have them will not use these weapons against them, or threaten to use them."

The official was one of the delegates of the 33 countries attending a conference in Mexico City held to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean, also known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco.

The states party to the treaty agree to prohibit and prevent the "testing, use, manufacture, production or acquisition by any means whatsoever" and the "receipt, storage, installation, deployment and any form of possession of any nuclear weapons."

The anniversary, celebrated on Feb. 14-15 with a commemorative ceremony and international seminar, was also attended by representatives of international bodies and non-governmental organisations from different regions of the world.

The Treaty of Tlatelolco created the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) in 1967 – the first of the five such zones that currently include 114 countries around the world, in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

Mexico was the driving force behind the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which was opened up to signature in the foreign ministry in Tlatelolco on Feb. 14, 1967, making this country the pioneer in nuclear disarmament in the region. The treaty went into force in April 1969.

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E.  Russia

Putin Says Russia Must Replace Nuclear Weapons
The Independent
(for personal use only)

Prime minister Vladimir Putin says Russia must replace its Soviet-built arsenals with modern weapons to counter new evolving threats.

Mr Putin, who is running to reclaim the presidency in a March 4 election, laid out his vision of military modernisation in an article published today in the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

He said the government planned on spending about 23 trilliion rubles (£487bn) over the next decade to purchase more than 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles, more than 600 combat aircraft, dozens of submarines and other navy vessels and thousands of armoured vehicles.

He said Russia would respond to the planned US missile shield by developing weapons capable of penetrating it, adding that “there can't be too much patriotism” on the issue.

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Russian Official Hints Sub May Have Been Armed in Fire
Gleb Bryanski
(for personal use only)

A senior Russian official suggested on Monday an atomic-powered submarine could have been carrying nuclear weapons when it was engulfed by fire during repairs at a dockyard in December.

Authorities initially said all nuclear weapons aboard the submarine Yekaterinburg had been unloaded well before a fire broke out on December 29, and that there had been no risk of a radiation leak.

Last week, respected magazine Vlast quoted Russian navy sources as saying the submarine was carrying 16 R-29 intercontinental ballistic missiles, each armed with four nuclear warheads, during the fire set off by welding sparks.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defence industry, said that under instructions from 1986, five years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the removal of weapons is not required during minor repairs.

"Was the kind of repair that was being done on the Yekaterinburg such that it required the removal of torpedoes and ballistic missiles?" Rogozin told reporters without answering that question directly.

But he added: "It was not a medium-sized repair, when a boat goes in for medium-sized, capital repair, of course everything is removed; when a boat goes in and they say we have some small problem, it is never removed."

The fire started when welding sparks ignited wooden scaffolding around the 18,200-tonne submarine at the Roslyakovo docks, 1,500 km (900 miles) north of Moscow and one of the main shipyards used by Russia's northern fleet.

The rubber covering of the submarine then caught fire, sending flames and black smoke above the vessel. Firefighters battled the blaze for a day and a night before partially sinking the submarine to douse the flames, according to media reports.

Vlast said Russia had been "on the brink of the biggest catastrophe since the time of Chernobyl," a reference to the 1986 explosion and fire at a nuclear power plant in Soviet Ukraine.

It said that the Yekaterinburg sailed to the navy's weapons store immediately after the fire, an unusual trip for a damaged submarine supposedly carrying no weapons.

Rogozin, who was in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur for meetings on defence industry and military issues chaired by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, said federal investigators were expected to report on their probe into the fire on Friday.

"We want there to be no doubt, in the future, about what kind of repair requires the unloading of weapons and what kind of repair does not," Rogozin said.

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Rosatom Prepared to Finance 50% of New Reactor at Armenian NPP-minister
Power Engineering International
(for personal use only)

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom is prepared to finance 50% of the cost of a project to build a new generating unit at the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant, Armenian Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian said at a press conference on Thursday.

The Russian proposal was discussed in Yerevan last week during a visit to Armenia by Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko, Movsisian said.

At the time, Kiriyenko said Rosatom was prepared to invest 20-25% "and more," but that the "main investments will be on the part of Armenia."

Movsisian also said that Armenia is prepared to consider any other lucrative proposal for any other investor to participate in the project.

It was reported earlier that CJSC Metsamorenergoatom, a 50-50 Russian-Armenian joint venture set up to build the new generating unit, is holding negotiations with foreign investors to involve them in this project.

Movsisian also said that, according to the law, the government may not retain a controlling stake in the company that will operate the generating unit.

"How many percent will belong to who does not play any significant role. What's important is that a company registered in Armenia will operate the unit," the minister said, adding that the nuclear reactor with capacity of 1,060 MW is scheduled to be built in 2019-2020.

The existing reactor at the Armenian NPP will undergo a stress test in 2012, the preparations for which were already made last year, Movsisian said. If the reactor passes the test, Armenia plans to extend its service live for another ten years.

The Armenian NPP now has one 400 MW generating unit, the intended service life of which ends in 2016. However, Armenia has already said that the reactor will only be mothballed after a new one is built. IAEA experts have also said that the life of the existing reactor can be extended.

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F.  Links of Interest

Medical Isotopes Possible Without a Nuclear Reactor
Petti Fong
The Star
(for personal use only)

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Not a Good Time for U.S. Unilateral Reductions
Michaela Bendikova
The Foundry
(for personal use only)

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