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Nuclear News - 2/9/2012
PGS Nuclear News, February 9, 2012
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich


A.  Russia
    1. Russia: Talks With NATO Over Missile System Deadlocked, Press TV (2/8/2012)
    2. Russia May Boost Nuclear Arsenal to Respond to Threats: Deputy Defense Minister, Peoples Daily (2/7/2012)
    3. Russian Navy to Get 10 Borey Class Nuclear Subs, RIA Novosti (2/7/2012)
B.  Japan
    1. Temperature Inside Reactor Stops Rising, Daily Yomiuri Online  (2/9/2012)
    2. Japan Atomic Watchdog Postpones 1st Stress Test Approval, Risa Maeda, Reuters (2/8/2012)
C.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. Hungary Source of Elevated Radioactive Iodine Levels in Finland, YLE News (2/9/2012)
    2. Plans Unveiled to Prevent Nuke Power Plant Malfunctions, Kim So-hyun, The Korea Herald (2/9/2012)
    3. Xcel’s Prairie Island Nuke Plant in Minnesota Vents Tritium, Colin McClelland, Bloomberg (2/7/2012)
    4. France Declares Level 2 Nuclear Event at Cattenom, Reuters (2/6/2012)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Imminent Construction of Baltic Nuclear Power Plant, World Nuclear News, World Nuclear News (2/8/2012)
    2. Brazil Delays Nuclear Plans After Japan Disaster, Diana Kinch, Market Watch (2/8/2012)
    3. Georgia Will Build New Nuclear Reactors., Steve Hargreaves, WPTC (2/8/2012)
    4. Nuclear Plant Expanding, The Moscow Times (2/7/2012)
E.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. South Africa's Close Ties to Iran under Scrutiny, Fox News (2/8/2012)
    2. US Welcomes Kazakhstan’s Initiative to Deploy Nuclear Fuel Bank, T. Nurmagambetov, Trend (2/8/2012)
    3. Seoul Nuke Talks to Resume, Turkish Weekly (2/7/2012)
    4. Russia Ready to Increase Investments for Armenian Nuclear Power Plant Construction, News AM (2/7/2012)
    5. Indon Talks Up SE Asia Nuclear-Free Zone, The Sydney Morning Herald (2/7/2012)
    6. Japan, U.S. Eye Panel for Nuclear Cooperation, Market Watch (2/6/2012)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Fission Power Back on NASA’s Agenda, Eric Hand, Nature (2/6/2012)



A.  Russia

1.
Russia: Talks With NATO Over Missile System Deadlocked
Press TV
2/8/2012
(for personal use only)


Russia says its negotiations with the NATO over the deployment of a missile system belonging to the Western military alliance within Europe have reached ‘a dead end.’

On Monday, Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s deputy defense minister and chief negotiator with the NATO on the deployment of the missile system, called the missile system a threat to Russia's security.
Antonov pointed out that Moscow may pull out of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), signed with Washington in 2010.

“New challenges emerge, including missile and nuclear proliferation … That’s why Russia’s military doctrine envisages the use of nuclear weapons in specific cases,” he said.

“I do not rule out that under certain circumstances we will have to boost, not cut, our nuclear arsenal,” the Russian deputy defense minister added.
Earlier, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had accused Washington and NATO of pointing the missile system at his country.

US-led NATO has claimed that the missile system is planned to thwart possible attacks from 'rogue' states, and it will go ahead with the plan despite Russian concerns.
However, Moscow says it wants legal guarantees that the system will not be aimed at Russia.

Available at: http://presstv.com/detail/225567.html


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2.
Russia May Boost Nuclear Arsenal to Respond to Threats: Deputy Defense Minister
Peoples Daily
2/7/2012
(for personal use only)


Russia may have to expand its nuclear arsenal to meet emerging global threats, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has said.

Antonov, in an interview with the Kommersant Daily published Monday, said that new challenges are emerging in the world, including nuclear proliferation and unrest in the Middle East.
"That's why Russia's military doctrine envisages the use of nuclear weapons in specific cases," Antonov said. "I do not rule out that under certain circumstances we will have to boost, not cut, our nuclear arsenal."

Antonov also criticized the U.S.-led European missile defense system as the main threat to Russia's security. He said that American strategic weapons, including the missile defense system, have been getting closer to Russia's borders since the Cold War.

"Components of the U.S. global missile defense network deployed in other regions also contain an anti-Russian potential," Antonov said.

Russian-U.S. talks on the missile system are deadlocked, he said, adding that Moscow may quit its strategic arms treaty with the U.S. that was signed in 2010.
Moscow has long opposed the deployment of American-led NATO missile defense facilities near its borders and wants legally binding guarantees from the United States and NATO that the shield is not targeting Russia.

Available at: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90777/7721719.html


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3.
Russian Navy to Get 10 Borey Class Nuclear Subs
RIA Novosti
2/7/2012
(for personal use only)


The Russian Navy will receive at least 10 new Borey class strategic nuclear submarines in line with a revised state armament procurement program until 2020, Kommersant daily said in Tuesday.

The submarine fleet is expected to become the core of Russia's naval force in the future.
The revised document also envisions the procurement of 10 Graney class nuclear attack submarines and 20 diesel-electric subs, including six Varshavyanka class vessels.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last year that the procurement of new warships and submarines for the Navy would be a priority over the next decade. The Russian government has allocated five trillion rubles ($166 bln) or a quarter of the entire armament procurement budget until 2020 for this purpose.

In addition to submarines, the Navy will receive 14 frigates, 35 corvettes, six Buyan class small artillery ships and six Ivan Gren Class large landing ships.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Monday Russia will develop a detailed 30-year plan of strengthening its naval forces by June 2012.

Available at: http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20120207/171194565.html


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B.  Japan

1.
Temperature Inside Reactor Stops Rising
Daily Yomiuri Online
2/9/2012
(for personal use only)


The abnormal rise in temperature in a reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has stopped, apparently because more water has been injected into the crippled reactor, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.

TEPCO said the temperature at the base of the No. 2 reactor's pressure vessel had fallen to 68.5 C at 5 p.m. Tuesday after earlier peaking at 73 C. However, the cause of the increased temperature remained unclear.

Junichi Matsumoto, acting head of TEPCO's headquarters regarding nuclear plant locations, said increasing the amount of water injected hourly into the reactor by three tons to 13.5 tons since 4:30 a.m. Tuesday seemed to be having an effect.

"[The temperature] has begun falling after peaking," Matsumoto said.
Keeping the temperature at the base of the reactors at 100 C or less is a stable state known as cold shutdown. Reaching cold shutdown was a precondition for enabling the government to declare in December that the crisis at the nuclear plant had been brought under control.
TEPCO's guideline stipulates the temperature should be kept at 80 C or lower to allow for possible measurement errors.

The reactor will need to be monitored carefully because the condition inside the reactor's inner part containing melted nuclear fuel is not clear, and the reason for the temperature rise has yet to be pinpointed.

Currently, cooling water is injected into the No. 2 reactor via two piping systems--the coolant water supply system that can deliver water to the vessel's base, and the reactor core water spray system that aims water directly at the reactor core.

The temperature in the pressure vessel's base began rising from 45 C around Jan. 26, when the water injection balance of the two systems was changed several times during pipe repair work.
One of three thermometers installed around the base recorded a temperature increase of nearly 30 C over a little more than 10 days, reaching as high as 73 C at one time.

According to TEPCO, the volume of water being injected was far less than usual. It is possible that the way water was injected into the reactor might have changed around the time of the pipe repairs, and that water did not reach some of the fuel.

TEPCO also speculated that the fuel, which had melted and then solidified, might have cracked due to some shock or dropped down and changed shape.

Available at: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120208005861.htm

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2.
Japan Atomic Watchdog Postpones 1st Stress Test Approval
Risa Maeda
Reuters
2/8/2012
(for personal use only)


Japan's nuclear watchdog on Wednesday postponed the completion of its review on stress tests on the first pair of dozens of idled reactors, an initial step in rebuilding public trust in atomic energy after the worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

Only three of Japan's 54 reactors are online 11 months after a major earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Many have been stopped for regular maintenance, during which utilities are conducting stress tests.

The accident, the most serious since the explosion and fire at Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, led to widespread contamination, prompted mass evacuations, caused upheaval throughout the nuclear industry and forced the government to review its overall energy policy.

Clearing the stress tests against extreme events -- like the March 11 disaster -- is a necessary hurdle to clear for the restart of the two reactors run by the Kansai Electric Power Co. at the Ohi plant in western Japan.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) set no date for the review to be completed.
"We will do our homework after today's hearing, discuss by ourselves and decide on it when appropriate," Tomoya Ichimura, director of NISA's nuclear safety regulatory standard division, told reporters after a meeting of a panel of experts.

Some improvements had already been introduced at the two 1,180 megawatt reactors after computer-simulated test results suggested some equipment and other factors needed improvement.
The timing of the watchdog's first such stress test approval is being carefully watched. Industry and government officials are keen to see some reactors brought back on stream soon to avoid a potentially serious power crunch in the summer.

Once the tests are completed, they must be validated by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan and approved by four cabinet miniters, including Trade Minister Yukio Edano and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

Approval must then be forthcoming from local authorities hosting nuclear power plants. Although agreement is not required by law, ministers are mindful of public concerns about safety.
Trade minister Edano, who holds the energy portfolio, said this week he had not set deadlines to resume operations at nuclear reactors after a media report said the government aimed to restart the two Ohi reactors around April.

Ichimura on Wednesday declined to say when NISA will compile its final report or if the panel of experts will talk about the Ohi reactors again when they next meet on February 20.
A new atomic safety regulator under the auspices of the envirnoment ministry is set to replace NISA in April in a move to separate the regulatory role from the trade ministry, which also promotes nuclear.
The government has submitted to parliament a revision of laws regulating nuclear plant operators.

Available at: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/02/08/nuclear-japan-watchdog-idINDEE8170F520120208


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C.  Nuclear Safety & Security

1.
Hungary Source of Elevated Radioactive Iodine Levels in Finland
YLE News
2/9/2012
(for personal use only)


The Finnish radiation safety watchdog, STUK, says an isotope manufacturer in Budapest is the source of small amounts of radioactive iodine (I-131) found in outdoor air samples in Finland last month.
Amounts measured one millionth becquerel per cubic meter of air, which means levels were so low that they posed no threat to public health. The lab that leaked iodine-131 produces radioisotopes for healthcare, research and industrial use.

STUK has been in contact with the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority, which said precautions are being taken to prevent future emissions.

I-131 was also detected in Sweden, Norway, Germany, Austria and Poland.

STUK monitors airborne radioactive substances at eight locations in Finland and says it can detect even small changes in radioactivity.

Available at: http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2012/02/hungary_source_of_elevated_radioactive_iodine_levels_in_finland_3244598.html


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2.
Plans Unveiled to Prevent Nuke Power Plant Malfunctions
Kim So-hyun
The Korea Herald
2/9/2012
(for personal use only)


Starting with the orders for two nuclear power plants to be placed in the second half of next year, bidders offering the highest value, instead of the lowest price, will be selected, the Knowledge Economy said Thursday.

As part of efforts to bolster quality control, Seoul will adopt the system in use by the United States, Britain and Japan that appreciates high technological levels as well as low prices, the ministry said.

The new system will be applied for the construction of the fifth and sixth units of the Shin Gori nuclear power station.

Subcontractors for nuclear power plant maintenance will be disqualified from contracts if their oversight has failed to prevent malfunctions three times, after a warning and a suspension.

A team of experts will be organized to examine the technological causes of defects and halts and clarify who is responsible for them, the ministry said.

Safety management will become a more important criterion in assessing the chief executives of the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. and related institutions.

To meet the growing need for manpower up to 2017, the KHNP will increase employment by expanding the recruitment of interns and renewal of contracts with retired staff.

To avoid errors in designing and production, a panel run by the KHNP and multiple plant-designing companies will cross-examine the power stations, according to the ministry.
The government’s plans to prevent the malfunctioning of nuclear power plants came after a series of breakdowns, raising concerns over power shortages in the winter.

In December, a 950,000-kilowatt nuclear reactor in Gori, South Gyeongsang Province, was brought to an abrupt halt due to a temporary overvoltage, 12 hours after a reactor with a capacity of 1 million kilowatts in Uljin came to a standstill due to a momentary failure of a condenser for steam turbines.

In October, another nuclear reactor at the same plant shut down due to a malfunction of the coolant pump.

Available at: http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20120209001093


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3.
Xcel’s Prairie Island Nuke Plant in Minnesota Vents Tritium
Colin McClelland
Bloomberg
2/7/2012
(for personal use only)


Xcel Energy Inc.’s Prairie Island nuclear plant in Minnesota released radioactive water in a leak from its condenser system.

The 27 gallons (102 liters) of condensate was released from a steam system overflow vent Feb. 3 and return pumps failed, causing a spill onto the ground at the plant 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of Minneapolis, Mary Sandok, a spokeswoman for Xcel, said in an e-mail. The 551-megawatt Unit 1 and the 545-megawatt Unit 2 are operating at full power.

The release contained 15,000 picocuries per liter of tritium, a low-level radioactive form of hydrogen, according to a filing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water standard for tritium allows 20,000 picocuries per liter, the NRC says on its website.
“Plant management has shut down the steam heating system while it investigates the matter, identifies the cause of the pump failure and corrects the equipment deficiencies,” Sandok said. “The overflow did not impact operations at the plant and there was no risk to the public or employees.”

The condenser system turns steam, which is heated by the reactor to drive turbines that produce electricity, back into water. The incident, which occurred in a warehouse being heating by the steam, follows a leak of sodium hypochlorite and other chemicals at the plant Jan. 1. Bleach is a solution of sodium hypochlorite.

The release also included methoxypropylamine, ammonia and hydrazine, the filing showed. The plant near Red Wing generates enough to power nearly 1 million homes, according to Xcel.
Tritium is produced in the upper atmosphere and falls to the ground in rain water, according to the NRC. It is also a byproduct of nuclear plants, a weak type of radiation that doesn’t penetrate the skin, the federal agency said.

Critics of nuclear energy say tritium causes cancer and gets into drinking water from leaky pipes at nuclear plants.

Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-07/xcel-s-prairie-island-nuclear-plant-in-minnesota-vents-tritium.html


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4.
France Declares Level 2 Nuclear Event at Cattenom
Reuters
2/6/2012
(for personal use only)


France's nuclear safety authority (ASN) said on Monday it had identified a problem with water pipes at one of EDF's nuclear plants and rated it a level two event out of a maximum seven on the international nuclear event scale (INES).

Level two ratings occur relatively rarely, but the watchdog said there was no impact on plant workers or the environment from the event.

In 2011, the ASN gave four incidents a level two rating. Japan's Fukushima disaster was rated a level seven event.

Pipes used to pump water into fuel rod cooling pools at reactors 2 and 3 at EDF's Cattenom nuclear plant were not equipped with a mechanism to prevent them from accidentally pumping water out of the basins.

In case water levels fall in rod cooling pools, the exposed fuel would heat up and release dangerous radioactive material.
"Due to the potential consequences, this event was placed on a level 2 of the INES scale," the watchdog said in a statement.

The nuclear reactors were not shut down after the fault was found as the fuel rods concerned were located in the storage pools rather than in the reactors themselves, an ASN spokeswoman said.
The nuclear watchdog asked EDF to put in place measures to prevent the pools from emptying quickly and to rectify the problem within 10 days from Jan. 24, when the watchdog first inspected the situation.
On Feb. 1 and Feb. 3, the operator fixed the pipes and an ASN inspector verified the changes were made appropriately.

Two other reactors at Cattenom in north-east France had the correct mechanism in place, ASN said.

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/06/france-nuclear-ines-idUSL5E8D63C120120206


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D.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Brazil Delays Nuclear Plans After Japan Disaster
Diana Kinch
Market Watch
2/8/2012
(for personal use only)


Brazil's plans to build four new nuclear power plants have been delayed by about 18 months following last year's accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, an official of Brazilian state-owned nuclear power company Eletronuclear said Wednesday.

The government plans to unveil this year its long-term plan for electric power through 2035 that is expected to reemphasize nuclear energy, Eletronuclear assistant president Leonam Guimaraes said at an event in Rio de Janeiro. Much of the country's vast hydroelectric resources will have been tapped after 2030, and there will be more restrictions on land use in the Amazon region, Guimaraes said.

"We're going to need more nuclear, coal and thermal energy. Nuclear energy is going to come back into focus soon," the official said. "The Fukushima accident doesn't systematically change the basic framework, or the context in which countries take decisions (about nuclear power)."

The government pushed back publication of the plan after the disaster in Japan, Guimaraes said. Eletronuclear, part of Brazilian government-run utility Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras, or Eletrobras (ELET6.BR), had also planned to screen 40 possible locations for the four plants last March, just as the Fukushima crisis happened, so that was postponed, Guimaraes said.

"This was politically more correct," he said.

Brazil envisages building four new power plants, two in the northeast and two in the southeast, with a total of 4,000 megawatts of new capacity and a cost of around $5,000 per installed kilowatt hour. The precise location will probably be determined by 2015, Guimaraes said.

Hydroelectric plants today supply 91% of Brazil's power needs, with nuclear accounting for just 3%, according to the Eletronuclear official.

Brazil has two nuclear reactors up and running: Angra I and Angra II in Rio de Janeiro state in southeast Brazil, with a combined production capacity of 2,007 megawatts. A third, Angra III, is due to start in December 2015, with 1,405 megawatts capacity, Eletronuclear's Budget and Planning Manager Roberto Travassos said.

The total cost of Angra III, which has been delayed for years, will be around 10 billion Brazilian reais ($5.9 billion). The government will choose from two groups vying to win a BRL1.9 billion tender to construct the plant and assemble equipment in early March, and construction should begin in May, Travassos said.

One of the groups includes Andrade Gutierrez, Norberto Odebrecht, Camargo Correa and UTC Engenharia; the other is made up of Queiroz Galvao, Empresa Brasileira de Engenharia and Argentina's Techint.

Brazil's BNDES development bank will provide BRL6 billion, Eletrobras will provide BRL850 million, and a EUR1.3 billion loan is still being negotiated with a group of French banks, Travassos said.

Available at: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brazil-delays-nuclear-plans-after-japan-disaster-2012-02-08


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2.
Georgia Will Build New Nuclear Reactors.
Steve Hargreaves
WPTC
2/8/2012
(for personal use only)


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to approve licenses to build two new nuclear reactors Thursday, the first approvals in over 30 years.

The reactors are being built in Georgia by a consortium of utilities led by Southern Co. They will be sited at the Vogtle nuclear power plant complex, about 170 miles east of Atlanta. The plant already houses two older reactors.

Spokespeople for Southern Co. and the NRC were quiet on the matter Wednesday ahead of the vote set for Thursday at 12 PM ET. If approved, NRC staff would likely issue a construction and operating license within the next few days.

Although new nuclear reactors have been built in this country within the last couple of decades -- the last one started operation in 1996 -- the NRC hasn't issued a license to build a new reactor since 1978, a year before the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania. The reactors that have opened in the last decades were approved before 1978.

The combination of the Three Mile Island incident and the high costs of nuclear power turned many utilities away from the technology.

There are currently 104 operating nuclear reactors at 64 plants across the country that provide the nation with roughly 20% of its power. Half are over 30 years old.

The utilities building the new Vogtle reactors submitted their application seven years ago. Prep-work at the site has been under way for some time, but the actual reactors can't be built until NRC issues the final license.

The new reactors are a Westinghouse design called the AP 1000. Together they are expected to cost $14 billion and provide 2200 megawatts of power, according to a spokesman for Southern Co. That's enough to power 1 million homes.

The plants are being built with the help of a conditional $8.3 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The loan guarantee is part of DOE's broader loan program that has been criticized for backing companies like Solyndra, the bankrupt maker of solar panels.

The Southern spokesman said the loan guarantee, combined with other regulatory measures, enable the project to receive cheaper financing that will ultimately save ratepayers $1 billion.
The first reactor is expected to come online in 2016 and the second one in 2017, according to Southern Co.

The AP 1000 is the newest NRC-approved nuclear reactor. This would be the first one built in the United States, although four are already under construction in China, said Scott Shaw, a Westinghouse spokesman.

Critics have said the containment walls of the AP 1000 aren't strong enough to withstand a terrorist attack, but Shaw says they were redesigned after September 11, 2001 and have held up during simulations.

He also said the design's passive cooling system makes it much safer than older designs. The AP 1000 uses gravity and condensation -- not electricity -- to cool the fuel rods.
It was the loss of electric power that led to the meltdown of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi reactors following the tsunami in 2011.

Still, a coalition of nine mostly regional environmental groups say the current design is not safe. They are asking the NRC to delay its decision Thursday until they can file a challenge in federal court.

Available at: http://www.wptz.com/news/30409694/detail.html

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3.
Imminent Construction of Baltic Nuclear Power Plant, World Nuclear News
World Nuclear News
2/8/2012
(for personal use only)


Engineers are preparing to pour the concrete foundation of the Baltic nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad. Once underway, it will be the ninth power reactor under construction in Europe.

The twin VVER-1200 Baltic project is situated in Kaliningrad, an exclave of the Russian Federation that sits between the EU states of Poland and Lithuania. It is a stand-out project for Russia: the first to be opened to investment by European utilities; the first intended to export most of its output; and the first to use Western components such as an Alstom-Atomenergomash steam turbine.

The plant will be majority owned by RosEnergoAtom, with 49% available to private investment. Talks have so far been held with CEZ, EDF, Enel and Iberdrola and late last year Switzerland-based utility Alpiq agreed with Russian grid operator Inter RAO UES to explore possibilities for a transmission link of up to 800 MWe from Kaliningrad to Germany.

Engineering contractor TitanStroyMontazh announced yesterday that it has begun work on the reinforced concrete foundation for the reactor building of unit 1. It said about 1500 tonnes of rebar would be installed and covered in 4500 cubic metres of concrete to form the foundation slab. The official start of construction will come when this concrete is poured - expected within weeks.
Elsewhere in the European continent, new-build plans are at advanced stages for two reactors in the Czech Republic; one in Lithuania; one in Bulgaria; two in Belarus and another two in Finland. Groundwork for the first of four planned reactors is underway in the UK.

The official change to under-construction status will make Baltic 1 the ninth new reactor under construction in Europe. Already being built are Finland's Olkiluoto 3; France's Flamanville 3; Slovakia's Mochovce 3 and 4; and Russia's Rostov 3 and 4 and Leningrad-II 1 and 2.

Commercial operation of the first Baltic reactor is slated for 2017, with the second following one year later. The cost of the two 1200 MWe reactors was put at $6.8 billion in 2009.

Available at: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN_Imminent_construction_of_Baltic_nuclear_power_plant_0802121.html


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4.
Nuclear Plant Expanding
The Moscow Times
2/7/2012
(for personal use only)


Rosatom will begin preparatory work for construction of the Smolensk Nuclear Power Plant-2 this year, the Smolensk plant said in a statement citing Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko, Interfax reported Monday.

"We will begin preparatory work for building the Smolensk NPP-2 in 2012, in order for the first replacement block to be built no later than 2024," Kiriyenko said.

Rosatom will invest roughly 45 billion rubles ($1.5 billion) in modernizing the current three blocks at the Smolensk plant, he said. In December of this year, the 30-year operating period of the first block at the plant will expire. Rosatom plans to prolong the license by another 15 years.

Available at: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/nuclear-plant-expanding/452501.html



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E.  Nuclear Cooperation

1.
South Africa's Close Ties to Iran under Scrutiny
Fox News
2/8/2012
(for personal use only)


The West's increasing pressure on Iran has meant scrutiny for South African businesses that operate in the Middle Eastern nation accused of having nuclear ambitions.

South African-Iranian political ties have long been close, and that has meant close business ties. A politically connected South African telecommunications company has been accused of pushing Pretoria to support Iran's nuclear power program. A South African energy and chemicals company is reviewing its Iranian investments. Iranian oil makes up nearly a third of South Africa's oil imports.

Iran denies charges from the United States and its allies that it is trying to produce an atomic weapon and says its nuclear programs are for energy and other peaceful needs.
South Africa, the only nation in the world to have voluntarily surrendered a nuclear weapons program, says all nations should have the right to exploit atomic energy's peaceful potential. South Africa has uranium reserves and its own nuclear power program.

Foreign affairs department spokesman Clayson Monyela said this week that South Africa has told Iran that it is ready to help any country that wants to follow its lead and give up nuclear weapons.
South Africa began disarming in the waning years of apartheid in the early 1990s, and has submitted itself to International Atomic Energy Agency verification that it dismantled its nuclear weapons.
Thomas Wheeler, a retired South African diplomat, said Iran's "problems would go away" if, as South Africa did, it allowed the international agency full access.

Instead, Iranians "create the suspicion that they're up to something," said Wheeler, who now works for the independent South African Institute of International Affairs.
Wheeler said South African-Iranian ties are close, but complicated. He said Iran supported the ANC when it was an anti-apartheid movement, but also supplied oil to the white minority government both before and after the shah's fall.

On Monday, trying to pressure Iran to divert from what the West sees as a drive toward a nuclear bomb, the United States gave U.S. banks additional powers to freeze assets linked to the Iranian government and close loopholes that officials say Iran has used to move money despite earlier restrictions imposed by the U.S. and Europe. In January, the European Union announced it would ban Iranian crude oil imports starting in July. The U.S. doesn't buy oil from Iran.

Monyela, of the South African foreign affairs department, said that so far, Western moves against Iran have not affected South African policy. But he did not rule out a possible shift.

South Africa has often expressed concerns that the West is hiding its true intentions when it calls for steps against a developing country. South Africa has complained, for example, that a U.N. resolution calling for protecting civilians in Libya was misused. South Africa supported the resolution, then argued that a NATO bombing campaign that followed amounted to an illegal, violent attempt at regime change.

While diplomats may be slow to act for political reasons, South African business may have little room to maneuver. The U.S. move on banks could make it hard to pay Iran for its oil. And having close business ties with Iran might make it hard to do business in the U.S. and Europe.
Last week, Sasol, a major South African energy and chemicals company, said it was reconsidering its business ties. Sasol added that Iran supplies it about 12,000 barrels a day of crude.
"In view of recent developments regarding trade restrictions and possible oil sanctions against Iran, Sasol Oil is diversifying its crude oil sourcing, to mitigate risks associated with oil supply disruptions from the Middle East," Sasol said.

Another major South African company, MTN, owns 49 percent of the Iranian mobile company Irancell. A Turkish company that was an unsuccessful bidder for a telecommunications license in Iran has hinted it will challenge the MTN deal by arguing in U.S. courts that MTN bribed an Iranian and a South African government official, and encouraged South Africa to support Iran's nuclear power development program at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Politics are likely to continue to effect business.

Last month, South African foreign affairs minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters the way forward was for the international community to ensure weapons inspectors were able to do their jobs and to campaign for the peaceful use of nuclear power, "not just to target Iran as a country."

Available at: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/02/08/south-africas-close-ties-to-iran-under-scrutiny/#ixzz1ltTKH5XZ


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2.
US Welcomes Kazakhstan’s Initiative to Deploy Nuclear Fuel Bank
T. Nurmagambetov
Trend
2/8/2012
(for personal use only)


The U.S. welcomes the initiative of Kazakhstan to deploy a nuclear fuel bank on its territory, the US ambassador to Kazakhstan Kenneth Fairfax told reporters on Wednesday.

"I warmly welcome the initiative of Kazakhstan to place a nuclear fuel bank. As I understand, Kazakhstan still elaborates all the details of its proposal. But I am confident that the proposal will be approved by the international community", he added.

In 2010 Kazakhstan proposed its candidacy for the depositary role of the international nuclear fuel bank under the auspices of the IAEA.

A small reserve of low enriched uranium for fuel assemblies production for the nuclear power plants will be kept in the bank. International nuclear fuel bank will be located in a country that does not possess nuclear weapon and is fully open to the IAEA inspections.

Available at: http://en.trend.az/capital/business/1989775.html


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3.
Indon Talks Up SE Asia Nuclear-Free Zone
The Sydney Morning Herald
2/7/2012
(for personal use only)


Indonesia hopes to complete negotiations to create a nuclear-free zone in South-East Asia by mid-year, "if not sooner", Foreign Minister Marti Natalegawa said after his country joined the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTCB).

Natalegawa, speaking at UN headquarters in New York on Monday, said South-East Asian nations were in the process of completing negotiations before declaring a nuclear-free zone in the region.

"Having said that, it's very important to lock in and further appreciate the fact that now, for the first time, the nuclear-weapon states are on the same page in the issue (nuclear disarmament)," Natalegawa told reporters.

"Hopefully, combined with the CTBT and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and support from countries in the region, we can create even a stronger momentum on nuclear issues," he said.

Natalegawa handed over the signed and ratified CTBT document to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, which commits his country to not carrying out nuclear explosions anywhere in the world, including underground, underwater and in the atmosphere.

He invited Ban to visit Jakarta in March to discuss further Indonesia's co-operation with the UN, including in peacekeeping operations around the world.

A total of 182 countries have signed the CTBT, but only 157 of them have ratified it - a step that legally binds a nation to the treaty. But the treaty remains unenforced until all countries with nuclear capability have signed and ratified it first.

The countries with nuclear capability that have not yet done so are: the United States, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan.

Natalegawa told reporters that his government ratified the treaty because there was currently an opportunity to advance nuclear disarmament.

"The ratification should encourage others to do likewise, in order to help the treaty to enter into force," he said.

Available at: http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/indon-talks-up-se-asia-nuclearfree-zone-20120207-1r2b0.html


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4.
Russia Ready to Increase Investments for Armenian Nuclear Power Plant Construction
News AM
2/7/2012
(for personal use only)


Russia is ready to increase investments for the construction of the new energetic block of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP), head of Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM Sergei Kiriyenko told Armenian News-NEWS.am.

“We agreed at first to make 20-25% investments. However, we can discuss options for more investments. I believe that Armenian Government should control the NPP. We are ready to discuss our contribution as well for more than 20 – 25%. But it is already a topic for negotiations on investment conditions, which we are ready to start,” Kiriyenko said.

To note, currently Worley Parsons international consortium prepares technical-economic assessment for the construction of a new NPP in Armenia. According to the environmental assessment of the new NPP, prepared by the Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the overall power is 1060 MW, thermal is 3000 MW.

Currently Armenia exploits one of the two blocks of old NPP, securing 35 – 40% of the energy in the state.

Available at: http://news.am/eng/news/92324.html

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5.
Seoul Nuke Talks to Resume
Turkish Weekly
2/7/2012
(for personal use only)


Turkey and South Korea will soon resume talks about constructing a nuclear power plant in Turkey. The presidents of the two countries will meet in the upcoming days to settle key differences that caused the parties to halt talks in 2010.

“South Korea is willing to cooperate with Turkey on a nuclear power plant. Relevant ministers will meet as soon as possible in order to overcome these disagreements,” Lee Myung-bak, president of South Korea, said at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart yesterday.

They held a long discussion on the nuclear issue, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said, adding Turkey wanted to see cooperation on the nuclear energy issue as part of a strategic partnership with South Korea.

The two presidents will continue discussing basic principles, Gül said.
The state power companies of Turkey and South Korea had signed a preliminary deal in March 2010, paving the way for talks aimed at concluding an intergovernmental agreement to build a nuclear power plant at Sinop, on Turkey’s northern Black Sea coast.

Following South Korea and Turkey’s agreement to resume talks on building a $20 billion nuclear power plant, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., South Korea’s biggest power-equipment maker, climbed to the highest stock price in a year in Seoul trading on expectations of increased overseas orders for nuclear reactors.

Turkey and South Korea had also signed an agreement on strategic partnership and discussed ways to increase trade. As South Korean companies faced problems on insurance security, the two parties agreed to solve the problem by April, the South Korean president said.

The two sides pledged to boost trade “in a more balanced manner,” Gül said, stressing Ankara’s concern about the large trade deficit with South Korea. Annual trade volume between the two countries amounts to about $6 billion, with South Korea’s exports taking up about $5 billion.
Cooperation areas would include the defense sector such as ATAC helicopters, the Turkish president said.

On the sidelines of Lee’s trip to Turkey, South Korean firms also signed a memorandum of understanding with Turkey’s state-run Electricity Generation Co., Inc. (EÜAŞ) on a $2 billion first-phase project to build a coal-fueled power plant in the Afsin-Elbistan region.

Available at: http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/131084/seoul-nuke-talks-to-resume.html


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6.
Japan, U.S. Eye Panel for Nuclear Cooperation
Market Watch
2/6/2012
(for personal use only)


Japan and the U.S. are considering establishing a bilateral standing council of high-ranking government officials to promote cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, officials of both governments said Monday, the Kyodo news service reported.

Joint studies on reprocessing technology for spent nuclear fuel and measures to reinforce the safety of nuclear power plants are expected to be among the core issues to be taken up by the council, the officials said, Kyodo reported.

The two governments began considering establishing the council based on a letter sent to Japan late last year by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman, in which he called for a new mechanism for bilateral dialogue on nuclear cooperation in the wake of the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The call for creating the council reflects U.S. discontent with Japan's initial handling of the Fukushima crisis, after the U.S.' proposal for support at the start of the crisis was passed around the Japanese government, with no certainty regarding who was in charge, a Japanese official said, Kyodo reported.
The planned council is expected to consist of a number of high-ranking government officials from the two countries. Poneman is likely to lead the U.S. team, while nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono is sorting out candidates to pick the head of the Japanese team.

Available at: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/japan-us-eye-panel-for-nuclear-cooperation-2012-02-06?reflink=MW_news_stmp


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F.  Links of Interest

1.
Fission Power Back on NASA’s Agenda
Eric Hand
Nature
2/6/2012
(for personal use only)
http://www.nature.com/news/fission-power-back-on-nasa-s-agenda-1.9978


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