Iran said Tuesday that it expected talks with the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to continue and it was optimistic that they would proceed in the right direction.
In the latest high-level talks between the IAEA and Iran, conducted in Tehran in January and February, Iranian officials stuck to a refusal to address intelligence reports about covert research relevant to developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes only. "We expect the dialogue that has started will continue," Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters after giving a speech to the U.N.-sponsored Conference on Disarmament. "There was some disagreement on drafting an initial framework that would set the ground for a new roadmap as how to proceed.
"We are optimistic," he added, "that upcoming meetings between the high delegation of the IAEA and the Iranian (side) will be proceeding hopefully in the right direction."
The IAEA said that, given Iran's unwillingness to tackle the allegations of research with military nuclear applications, no further talks were scheduled.
Salehi also accused the West of double standards for backing Iran's arch-enemy Israel, the only Middle East state outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and widely believed to be have the only nuclear arsenal in the region.
"We have clearly stated time and time again there are two alternatives in dealing with the Iranian peaceful nuclear program. One way is engagement, cooperation and interaction. The other is confrontation and conflict," Salehi said.
"...Iran is confident of the peaceful nature of its program and has always insisted on the first alternative. When it comes to our relevant rights and obligations, our consistent position is that Iran does not seek confrontation, nor does it want anything beyond its inalienable, legitimate rights." Laura Kennedy, U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, rejected Salehi's comments on Iran's commitment to nuclear disarmament, saying they stood in "stark contrast to Iran's failure to comply with its international obligations regarding its nuclear program."
"Indeed, Iran has moved in the opposite direction by expanding its capacity to enrich uranium to nearly 20 percent and continues to move forward with proscribed enrichment and heavy-water related activities, all in violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions," Kennedy told the talks. "Iran continues to deny the IAEA and broader international community the transparency and cooperation necessary to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program."
Kennedy said that Iran's "persistent stonewalling" of the IAEA's investigation into possible military dimensions to its nuclear program was "very troubling."
She called on Iran to provide credible assurances of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.
Western diplomats briefed on the U.N. agency's latest talks in Tehran said the Iranian side had dismissed as baseless the inspectors mounting concerns about possible military aspects to the Islamic state's uranium enrichment program.
The lack of progress in getting Tehran to start responding to the suspicions was a clear indication that it is "not serious at all in entering any meaningful negotiation" on the disputed program, one Vienna-based envoy said.
Another Vienna-based official familiar with the issue said the IAEA team had asked for Iran's initial position on issues raised by the U.N. agency in a detailed November report that pointed to a possible covert nuclear weapons agenda in Iran.
There were sixty-five paragraphs in the IAEA's report and the Iranian side responded with "sixty-five no's," the official said, making clear that Iran had rejected all information indicating illicit attempts to design a nuclear bomb.
In both meetings, the IAEA requested access to the Parchin military site mentioned in the agency's report, but the Iranian side did not agree to this, diplomats said.
They also said the team's Iranian interlocutors in the meetings did not appear to be the real decision-makers on the issue. "It is like speaking to the middle man," one diplomat said.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/28/us-iran-iaea-idUSTRE81R0RL20120228
2. Iran Uranium "Discrepancy" Still Unresolved – IAEA
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Iran has yet to give an explanation over a small quantity of uranium metal missing from a research site, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report that voiced concern over possible military links to Tehran's nuclear programme.
The discrepancy found at the research site in the Iranian capital came to light after measurements by international inspectors last year failed to match the amount declared by the laboratory. Experts say the quantity of natural uranium not accounted for is too small to be used for a bomb, but that it could be relevant to weapons-linked tests.
The United States has expressed concern the material may have been diverted to suspected weapons-related research .
"The discrepancy remains to be clarified," said the latest quarterly report on Iran by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), issued to member states on Friday evening. U.N. inspectors have sought information from Iran to help explain the issue after their inventory last August of natural uranium metal and process waste at the research facility in Tehran measured 19.8 kg (43.6 pounds) less than the laboratory's count.
The 11-page IAEA report also showed that Iran had sharply increased its uranium enrichment drive. The findings, which added to fears of escalating tension between Iran and the West, sent oil prices higher.
Preparatory work to install thousands more centrifuges is under way, potentially shortening the time needed to make high-grade uranium for nuclear weapons.
Iran says it is enriching uranium only as fuel for nuclear power plants, not weapons, but its refusal to curb the activity has drawn increasingly tough sanctions aimed at its oil exports. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the report "is concerning, and raises a lot of worrisome questions".
"We continue to urge Iran to abide by its international obligations, and that is something that countries everywhere do, and we want to see them do it, and we hope that they will be listening," Clinton told Reuters TV during a visit to Tunisia.
Israel, which has made veiled threats to carry out pre-emptive strikes on Iran's nuclear sites, said the document offered further proof that Iran was pushing ahead with plans to build an atomic weapon. "The IAEA report provides more proof that Israel's estimations are accurate. Iran is continuing with its nuclear programme unchecked and is enriching uranium to a high level of 20 percent while blatantly ignoring the demands of the international community," said a statement issued by the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In discussions with Iran this month about the discrepancy at the Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Research Laboratory (JHL), the IAEA said it had requested access to records and staff involved in uranium metal conversion experiments from 1995 to 2002.
"Iran indicated that it no longer possessed the relevant documentation and that the personnel involved were no longer available," the U.N. agency's report said.
The IAEA said Iran had suggested the discrepancy may have been caused by a higher amount of uranium in the waste than had been measured by the U.N. inspectors.
"In light of this, Iran has offered to process all of the waste material and to extract the uranium contained therein," it said. The IAEA said it had also begun taking additional analysis samples of the material involved.
Iran's envoy to the Vienna-based U.N. agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, last year dismissed the reported discrepancy as "absolutely not an issue".
But a senior U.S. official said in November it required "immediate" resolution, citing information indicating that "kilogram quantities" of natural uranium metal had been available to Iran's military programme. Enriched uranium can be used to power plants, which is Iran's stated aim, or provide material for weapons if refined much further, as Western states suspect is Iran's ultimate aim.
Last November, the IAEA presented a stash of intelligence indicating that Iran has undertaken research and experiments geared to developing a nuclear weapons capability, prompting Western states to ratchet up sanctions on Tehran.
Friday's IAEA report also gave details of its mission to Tehran this week where Iran failed to respond to allegations of research relevant to developing nuclear arms - a blow to the possible resumption of diplomatic talks that could help calm worries about a new war in the Middle East.
Nuclear bombs require uranium enriched to 90 percent, but Western experts say much of the effort required to get there is already achieved once it reaches 20 percent concentration, shortening the time needed for any nuclear weapons "break-out".
The IAEA said Iran had now produced nearly 110 kg (240 pounds) of uranium enriched to 20 percent since early 2010. Western experts say about 250 kg are needed for a nuclear weapon, although it would need to be enriched much further.
Available at: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/02/26/nuclear-iran-uranium-idINDEE81O06920120226
1. Japan's Hokkaido May Delay Reactor Turnaround to May
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Japanese utility Hokkaido Electric Power Co said on Monday it was considering delaying the shutdown of the 912-megawatt No.3 unit at its sole Tomari nuclear plant for planned maintenance to early May from late April, to increase power supply.
Following the shutdown, all of Japan's 54 commercial reactors will be offline unless utilities receive approval to restart nuclear units that have been shut for maintenance
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/27/nuclear-japan-hokkaido-idUSL4E8DQ0LU20120227
Smoke was detected in a building full of heat-exchange equipment at an idled reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant but no fire was found, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday.
There were no reports of radiation leaks at the No. 5 reactor when the smoke was detected late Saturday.
The reactor, which has been undergoing a scheduled inspection since late January, contains no fuel, the utility said.
The No. 6 reactor will be suspended on March 26, leaving Tepco's customers fully dependent on fossil fuels for electricity following the meltdown disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant last year
Available at: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120226x3.html
1. Former S. Korean Envoy Pessimistic on N. Korea Nuclear Talks
Yonhap News Agency
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The former chief South Korean negotiator to the six-party talks to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons program said Monday he was less optimistic than previously about the prospects for a resumption of the multilateral talks.
Wi Sung-lac, who held the post from February 2009 to October 2011 and now serves as Seoul's top diplomat to Moscow, told reporters in Seoul the chances of improving ties with North Korea have dimmed since the death of Kim Jong-il.
After the first nuclear talks between North Korea and the U.S. since the death of Kim, held in Beijing last week, chief U.S. negotiator Glyn Davies reported "a little bit of progress," while downplaying expectations of any immediate deal with the North's new regime under young leader Kim Jong-un, the youngest son of the late Kim.
Asked about the prospect of reopening six-party talks following the Beijing encounter last week, Wi replied, "It's too early to predict and judge, but I am not optimistic."
Wi held two rounds of nuclear talks with his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho, last year, laying groundwork that was widely expected to get Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.
Shortly before Kim's death, North Korea and the U.S. appeared to be ready to announce a breakthrough concerning the six-nation talks. North Korea left the six-party talks, which also involve China, Japan and Russia in April 2009 and conducted a second nuclear test a month later.
"I think it is more difficult than before because inter-Korean relations are clogged after the passing of Kim Jong-il," Wi told reporters during a visit to Seoul.
There has been no word from North Korea about the results of the Beijing talks, but Pyongyang stepped up its rhetoric against joint military drills this week by South Korea and the U.S. The drills have been routinely cited by the North's regime as a rehearsal for a northward invasion.
Last week's Beijing meeting offered a rare opportunity to take the pulse of the North's new regime and Davies said he noticed no change in the North's negotiating style, despite the leadership change.
Wi also said North Korea seems to remain stable, at least for now.
"As I observe things that happened in North Korea over the past months, there were no indications of instability," said Wi, who formally took up the post as South Korean ambassador to Russia in November.
"So, there are no circumstances that suggest instability in North Korea," Wi said.
Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2012/02/27/20/0301000000AEN20120227004000315F.HTML
2. US Reports "Little Bit Of Progress" in Nuclear Talks With North Korea
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US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies has said that "a little bit of progress" was made in talks with the North Korean delegation on reviving Six-party talks on its disputed nuclear program.
Addressing a press conference after the two-day talks, Davies said the American delegation met for about two and a half hours with the North Korean delegation led by First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan and his team at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Friday.
He termed the talks as "serious and substantive," and that "we ranged over, really, all the issues, so we found it very useful."
The next step is "to evaluate it, and look at what it was the North Koreans had to say to us, and then consult with our allies and partners in the Six-Party process." He said he already had a luncheon meeting with Wu Dawei of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, who is the chairman of the Six-Party Talks. "I gave him a sense of where we stand, reported to him, and he gave me his thoughts on behalf of the People's Republic of China. That will be very useful. The next step is to talk to the allies, go back to Washington, weigh it all up, and see where we go from there," he told reporters.
The US delegation will fly to Seoul on Saturday to meet with South Korean Ambassador Lim Sung Nam and his colleagues to report to them. Then on Sunday, they will go to Tokyo to meet with Director-General Sugiyama and others in the Japanese government.
The US envoy said he "doesn't want to get into the substance of the discussions" nor "to announce any particular result from these talks."
He said the two sides talked about issues that relate to denuclearization, uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon that that North Koreans revealed to the world in 2010, nonproliferation, humanitarian issues, human rights, the issue of the abductees, and "from the stand point of the concerns that are so important to the Japanese and quite frankly to all of us."
Davies said he also talked about "the importance of North Korea working hard to try to improve its relations with its neighbors, in particular on the Peninsula, in terms of better North-South relations and more frequent contacts between the two sides."
He said the US and North Korean delegations "went over in some depth over all of those subjects in three lengthy sessions, including at a dinner last night. We could cover a lot of ground."
"The fact that Pyongyang was willing to sit down with us and go over all of these issues in some depth relatively soon after the political change in North Korea itself is positive and demonstrates a degree of progress," according to Davies.
Available at: http://www.rttnews.com/1827770/us-reports-little-bit-of-progress-in-nuclear-talks-with-north-korea.aspx?type=msgn&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=sitemap
In a major boost to nuclear energy in the country, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited plans to set up 20 nuclear reactors in different states.
According to Dr S.K. Jain, chairman and managing director of NPCIL, the sites have already been identified and the NPCIL has also selected back-up sites in case it faces hurdles with the identified locations.
Dr Jain said nuclear reactors would be ready during the 12th Five-Year Plan period, and the new plants will come up, among other places, at Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh.
Emphasising that India is poised to emerge as a world leader in thorium and inter-metal technology, Dr Jain told the inaugural session of the International conference on Characterisation and Quality Control of Nuclear Fuels on Monday that Indian nuclear scientists have successfully used combined fuels such as uranium-thorium and plutonium and thorium in nuclear reactors.
Nuclear Fuel Complex had organised Monday’s conference in Hyderabad.
According to experts, nuclear energy production in the country has now touched 32,000 million units. “We have also brought plutonium carbide to commercial level,” Dr Jain said. “A nuclear power plant will be ready, based on this technology. We will recycle nuclear waste to get maximum energy utilisation.” Calling India one of the key nuclear countries, the deputy director-general of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Alexander Bychkov, lauded the country’s efforts in producing thorium fuel for nuclear reactors.
Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Dr Sreekumar Banerjee said India’s nuclear power plants were safe and there was no cause for any concern
Available at: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/nation/south/india-set-20-nuclear-reactors-384
2. Georgia Has Potential to Develop Nuclear Energy
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Georgia has the potential to develop nuclear energy, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia Alexander Khetaguri said in an interview to the Korean newspaper The KoreaHerald. "First of all, everyone should develop green energy, but from my point of view, the future is connected with nuclear power. We must promote the development of secure technologies for nuclear energy. In the case of Georgia it would be possible in 20-30 years, after we fully utilized water resources," Khetaguri said.
Khetaguri noted that the ministry is actively working to attract Korean investment in hydropower, which will allow the country to utilize its hydro potential. However, he did not exclude that Georgia will produce nuclear energy after 30 years.
Alexander Khetaguri went on a visit to South Korea on February 23. During the visit he met with representatives of major energy companies, and acquainted them with the investment projects. The minister said Georgia has untapped hydro resources amounted to 20 000 MW and is the country-exporter of electricity. Several years ago, Georgia depended on neighboring countries, but thanks to the reforms the situation has changed, and from the importing country, it became a country-exporter of electricity. Export is done to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey.
"We have a very extensive power grid - 82 percent of our generation accounts for hydropower and 18 percent - for gas," Khetaguri said.
Khetaguri also noted that South Korea Energy Power Company has completed research project of cascade of Namahvan hydro power plant on the Rioni river, which potential is 450 MW. List of stakeholders in the implementation of the project worth $800 million will be announced on May 1.
"In addition Hyundai Engineering and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Company is interested in Nenskra power plant (investment of $500 million, staged capacity - 240 megawatts). Companies from Italy, China, Turkey and Russia are also interested in the project. Now we select the participants, but I think that South Korean company will be the investor. We have low taxes, they can conduct their business activities, to make a profit, to create certain kinds of "khabi" from Eastern Europe to Georgia" Khetaguri said.
Available at: http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1997374.html
Russia is holding talks with European energy companies on building the Baltic nuclear power plant in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, the press office of Russia’s civilian nuclear power corporation Rosatom said on Monday.
“Currently, talks are underway with some major west European energy companies that have displayed serious interest in joining the project to build the Baltic NPP,” the press office quoted Sergei Boyarkin, director of the Rosatom program for managing engineering projects, as saying at a roundtable in the Latvian capital on nuclear power development in the Baltic region.
Russia started the construction of the two-unit Baltic Power Plant in Kaliningrad in 2010 a bid to combat an increasing energy crisis in the region. The units will each have 1,194 MW of capacity. The first unit is to go into service in 2017. The construction of the second unit is planned to begin in 2012 and be completed in 2018. Each unit will have a service life of 60 years.
Available at: http://en.ria.ru/business/20120227/171563386.html
4. New Countries Go Nuclear Despite Fukushima: UN Official
Asia One News
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At least five countries will start work on their first nuclear reactors this year despite the jolt to international confidence caused by the Fukushima disaster, a top UN nuclear official said on Friday. 'We expect that this year Vietnam, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Belarus will start building their first nuclear power plants,' Mr Kwaku Aning, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told a forum in New York.
He said Jordan and Saudi Arabia could follow in 2013. About 60 countries approached the international agency in the past year about starting nuclear programmes, Geoffrey Shaw, the IAEA director general at the United Nations, told the same forum.
Mr Aning said that all countries considering nuclear power asked tough questions about the March 11, 2011, Fukushima disaster, when a Japanese reactor went into meltdown after being hit by an earthquake and tsunami.
The UN agency was 'working assiduously' with member countries on infrastructure safety and site selection for the reactors, he said.
The countries seeking nuclear power for the first time 'are all taking lessons from what has happened in Fukushima,' Mr Aning said.
'Developing countries are very much aware that if the safety is not there, then nobody is going to send them the technology,' Mr Aning said. 'But there are some countries which have no other choice.'
He cited the example of Jordan, which has no fossil fuel.
Germany has decided to gradually phase out the use of nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster. Other European countries have announced new restrictions.
Available at: http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/World/Story/A1Story20120225-330075.html
1. Jordan and Qatari Bank in Nuclear Energy Discussions
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A Qatari bank is in talks with Jordan to back the Arab world's second nuclear energy programme. Qatar Islamic Bank's UK subsidiary has held discussions with the government in Amman to help finance or even take part-ownership in Jordan's planned US$5 billion (Dh18.36bn) plant, said Khaled Toukan, the chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission.
"They were interested in becoming financiers for the government of Jordan in terms of providing money for the debt and also in terms of becoming a potential investor," said Mr Toukan, adding that the discussions were preliminary.
Bank officials in the UK and Qatar did not respond to requests for comment.
Jordan plans to select its reactor technology by the end of next month from among three consortiums - Canadian, Russian and one comprising the French, Japanese and British - with the winning bidder expected to take an equity partnership of at least 49 per cent. Construction is to start in 2014 and power generation in 2020.
In addition to the Qatari interest, Jordan has secured promises from the Russian government and French, Japanese and Canadian export credit agencies to help finance the plant if their consortiums win, which would be backed by a mixture of 30 per cent equity and 70 per cent debt, said Mr Toukan. Jordan's progress in securing financial backing sets the stage for other developing nations to build their own nuclear reactors, which cost billions of dollars to construct but offer the long-term prospect of cheap energy with zero carbon emissions.
So far, the only Arab nation more advanced in its civil nuclear programme is the UAE, which has a $20bn programme scheduled to begin delivering power in 2017.
Jordan's selection process also hinges on safety adaptations, from a reactor's ability to withstand an aircraft crash to a core-catcher that would contain any radioactive material in the case of a meltdown. Safety considerations, heightened after last year's Fukushima accident in Japan, are part of the justification for requiring a foreign operator to invest in the plant.
"The issue is not just in terms of helping on finance," said Mr Toukan. "The issue is we want to establish a robust culture of safety in the operation of the plant."
Jordan, home to the world's 11th-biggest uranium deposits, also harbours long-term hopes of becoming a provider of nuclear fuel to the Arab world.
With a foreign partner assisting in enrichment, Jordan could contribute to an Arab fuel bank that would mirror an existing international one, Mr Toukan proposed.
"At the end of the day, Jordan is not thinking of enriching in the near future. However 10 or 15 years down the road, we would like to have a fully sustainable supply," he said. "It will have huge economic benefits for the country and for the region in terms of sustainability of fuel independence and reliance."
These goals have led to a stand-off with the US, which had hoped Jordan would sign a nuclear cooperation agreement that would include a promise not to pursue enrichment or reprocessing. "We will be interested in signing a standard '123 agreement' with the US. We see no reason to adopt a gold standard," said Mr Toukan.
"The issue is not just enrichment. The position is giving up any sensitive nuclear technology indefinitely, and that to us is just unacceptable. If it is a fair agreement we will be more than happy to sign it."
Available at: http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/jordan-and-qatari-bank-in-nuclear-energy-discussions
2. Turkey Keen to Build Korean Nuclear Power Plant: Envoy
The Korea Times
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Turkey is stepping up efforts to build a Korean nuclear power plant on its soil as it strives to become one of the top 10 economies in the world by 2023, Seoul's top envoy to Ankara said Monday.
The Turkish government's vision for 2023, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of its modern republic, includes becoming a top 10 economy from its current position of 17th in the world, Ambassador Lee Sang-kyu said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.
"(Such economic growth) is linked to large power consumption, which is why Turkey is planning to build nuclear power plants," he said. "At the moment, Turkey meets most of its energy needs through gas imports, but it has decided that it will need atomic power plants to provide cheaper supplies of energy in the long run."
During summit talks earlier this month, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to restart stalled talks on a project to build two power-generating nuclear reactors on Turkey's Black Sea coast.
The talks on the atomic power plant have been suspended since 2010 due to wide differences on the location of the reactors, electricity prices and government payment guarantees.
Amb. Lee said he expects Turkey to reach a decision on the project within this year as it may take up to 10 years to complete construction of the nuclear power plant.
On Turkey's relations with North Korea, the envoy said the two countries established diplomatic ties in 2001, although neither side has opened an embassy in each other's country.
Diplomats from the two nations hold policy consultations every two to three years, and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kung Sok-ung visited Turkey last September mainly to ask for food aid, the ambassador said.
"Turkey is willing to give humanitarian aid to the North, and is in contact with international organizations such as the United Nations Development Program and the World Food Program (WFP) to send nutritional aid targeting pregnant women and children," he said.
North Korea is known to suffer chronic food shortages due to economic mismanagement and natural disasters. The communist country has relied on international handouts since the late 1990s when it suffered a massive famine, which was estimated to have killed 2 million people.
Last year, the WFP said a third of all North Korean children under five are chronically malnourished and many more are at risk of slipping into acute stages of malnutrition unless targeted assistance is sustained
Available at: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2012/02/113_105834.html
3. Kazakhstan to Expand Nuclear Cooperation with India
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Kazakhstan's ambassador Doulat Kuanyshev recently stated that Kazakhstan is keen to expand civil nuclear ties with India, Gazeta.kz reported.
He urged that both 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 said. He added that agreement between Kazakhprom and NPCIL is on and it is going quite successfully. He said the next scheduled delivery of fuel for India's nuclear power plants was next year and the process according to him 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 is potential for soft operations with Iran.... We can do soft operations, and it can find benefits with countries like India.”
Available at: http://www.neurope.eu/article/kazakhstan-expand-nuclear-cooperation-india
4. Japan to Purchase Contracted Kazakh Uranium, Kazatomprom Says
Nariman Gizitdinov and Yuriy Humber
(for personal use only)
Kazatomprom (KZAP), the state nuclear company in the world’s biggest uranium-producing nation, said its Japanese customers will take delivery of the fuel they agreed to buy even as the country idles its atomic stations.
The supply contracts with Japan haven’t changed, Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Shkolnik told reporters in Almaty, Kazakhstan, today without identifying the buyers.
Kazakhstan said in October it planned to start commercial sales of uranium to Japan in 2012, a year after a record earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. All but two of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors are idled either for scheduled maintenance or because of damage from the March 11 disasters, with the government yet to win public support for their restart.
By this summer, Japan plans to draw up a new energy policy that may call for a shift to fuel alternatives. Future cooperation with Japan will depend on the decisions made by its government, Shkolnik said, without elaborating.
The cost of operations for Japanese utilities has soared since the Fukushima disaster as more gas- and coal-fired power capacity is brought online to fill the gap left by nuclear plants, which supplied a third of the country’s electricity before the accident.
Kazatomprom has a $200 million venture with Japan’s third- largest trading house Sumitomo Corp. (8053) that was set up in 2010 to extract metals such as molybdenum and rhenium from uranium ore. Toshiba Corp. (6502), which together with Kazatomprom owns nuclear plant builder Westinghouse Electric Corp., has another venture with the Kazakh company to produce metals including berrylium, used in aerospace equipment, Shkolnik said in April last year.
Kazatomprom, mining in a nation endowed with the world’s largest uranium reserves after Australia, plans to more than double capital expenditure to 80 billion tenge ($542 million) this year from 30 billion tenge in 2011, Shkolnik said.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-24/japan-to-purchase-contracted-kazakh-uranium-kazatomprom-says.html
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