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Nuclear News - 5/7/2012
PGS Nuclear News, May 7, 2012
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich


A.  Japan
    1. Japan April Nuclear Plant Usage Falls to 2.0 Pct, Reuters (5/7/2012)
    2. Japan Enters Nuclear Recess After Sole Working Reactor Shut Down, Tsuyoshi Inajima and Naoko Fujimura, Bloomberg (5/6/2012)
B.  Iran
    1. Iran-5+1 Talks May Lead to Breakthrough in Baghdad: US Senator, Press TV (5/5/2012)
    2. Access to Iran Army Site "Priority" in Talks: IAEA, Emma Farge, Reuters (5/4/2012)
    3. Iran Dismisses Western Demand to Close Nuclear Bunker, Fredrik Dahl, Reuters (5/4/2012)
C.  North Korea
    1. N. Korea Vows to Push Forward with Nuclear, Rocket Programs, Yonhap News Agency (5/6/2012)
    2. N. Korea Stresses Legitimacy of Nuclear, Missile Development, The Mainichi (5/6/2012)
    3. IAEA Says Would "Not Be Surprised" by North Korea Nuke Test, Reuters (5/4/2012)
    4. Clinton Says U.S. Willing to Work with North Korea if it Reforms, Andrew Quinn, Reuters (5/4/2012)
D.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Wylfa: Chinese, US and Mid East Investors 'May Bid for Horizon Nuclear Power', BBC News (5/6/2012)
    2. China and Japan to Review Nuclear Safety - Kazakhstan and Japan Form Nuclear Fuel Agreement, Lucas W Hixson, Enformable (5/4/2012)
E.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. IAEA Nuclear Scientists Employ More Precise "Fingerprinting", IAEA (5/4/2012)
    2. Non-Nuclear States Lobby Big Powers to Disarm Faster, Fredrik Dahl, Reuters (5/4/2012)
    3. South Korea Checking Nuclear Reactor Safety After Outage, Sangim Han, Bloomberg (5/4/2012)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Kazakhstan for Nuclear Free World, Conference, Gazeta (5/7/2012)
    2. Nuclear Power Role Still Said Critical, Kazuaki Nagata, The Japan Times (5/6/2012)
    3. Iran, Pakistan, N. Korea May Pose Nuclear Threat to Russia, RIA Novosti (5/4/2012)
    4. U.S. Official Rejects Call For International Nuclear Security Standards, Douglas P. Guarino, Global Security Newswire (5/1/2012)
    5. Lugar Announces Elimination of Weapons of Mass Destructions through Nunn-Lugar, Office of Sen. Richard Lugar (5/1/2012)



A.  Japan

1.
Japan April Nuclear Plant Usage Falls to 2.0 Pct
Reuters
5/7/2012
(for personal use only)


Japan's total nuclear power plant utilisation rate by 10 firms fell to an average 2.0 percent in April, down from 50.9 percent a year earlier, a Reuters calculation based on monthly trade ministry data showed on Monday.

The run rate was also down from 4.2 percent in March as only one reactor, Hokkaido Electric Power's 912-megawatt Tomari No.3 unit, generated electricity last month. The run rate in April was the lowest since comparable data was first compiled in April 1977.

The last active reactor, Tomari No.3, ceased power generation and entered planned maintenance on Saturday.

Reactors entering routine maintenance have remained closed amid public fears about nuclear safety due to the radiation crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Daiichi plant, wrecked in last year's earthquake and tsunami.

Public safety fears inflamed by the widespread contamination and mass evacuations that ensued have made authorities wary of giving utilities the go-ahead for reactor restarts.

Nine Japanese utilities and a non-utility electricity wholesaler Japan Atomic Power Co. have 50 nuclear power generators for commercial use, with a total generating capacity of 46,148 megawatts, the world's third-largest.

The number of reactors declined from 54 after Tokyo Electric Power Co scrapped four reactors at its Fukushima Daiichi plant on April 19.

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/07/nuclear-japan-utilisation-idUST9E8EG02O20120507


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2.
Japan Enters Nuclear Recess After Sole Working Reactor Shut Down
Tsuyoshi Inajima and Naoko Fujimura
Bloomberg
5/6/2012
(for personal use only)


Japan began a recess from nuclear- generated electricity, its first in more than four decades, after its sole operating power reactor was halted for scheduled maintenance.

Hokkaido Electric Power (9501) Co.’s Tomari No. 3 reactor in northern Japan stopped generating electricity at 11:03 p.m. on the night of May 5, and fission ceased at 4 a.m. yesterday, said Satoshi Takada, a spokesman for the utility.

Shutting down the 912-megawatt Tomari unit leaves Japan without an operating power reactor for the first time since May 1970, as plant operators carry out mandatory maintenance or additional safety checks following the Fukushima disaster. The country’s 50 nuclear plants provided 30 percent of its electricity prior to March 11, 2011.

The utilities powering the world’s third-biggest economy have been forced to turn to coal, oil and gas-fired plants to keep factories, offices and households supplied with electricity. Buying and importing those fuels is driving up costs and may lead to higher electric bills and a further drag on an economy that’s contracted in three of the past four years.

Japan may “momentarily” be without atomic power, the Mainichi newspaper cited Industry Minister Yukio Edano as saying on April 15 after he failed to get agreement from local authorities that reactors at the Ohi plant of Kansai Electric passed safety tests and should resume.

Opponents of nuclear energy gathered in several Japanese cities on May 5, with organizers saying about 5,500 demonstrated in Tokyo against any restart of power reactors, local media including the Asahi newspaper reported. Public broadcaster NHK showed footage of an anti-nuclear march in the capital.

The Ohi atomic plant is located about 95 kilometers (59 miles) northeast of Osaka, the nation’s second-biggest metropolitan area. It helps power the Kansai area of western Japan that’s about the size of Belgium, has an economy worth $1 trillion -- similar in size to Mexico’s -- and is home to the cities of Osaka and Kyoto as well as the factories of Sharp Corp. and Panasonic Corp.

Japan’s 10 regional power utilities bought record amounts of liquefied natural gas last year to replace nuclear, or 52.9 million metric tons of LNG in the fiscal year ended in March, up 27 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the Federation of Electric Power Companies.

Use of petroleum, which includes crude and fuel oil, more than doubled to 23.3 million kiloliters (147 million barrels), according to the federation’s data. Petroleum consumption was the highest in at least 10 years.

Fuel costs at the nine regional utilities that have atomic plants -- Okinawa Electric Power Co. is the exception -- may more than double to about 7 trillion yen ($87.7 billion) in the year ending March 2013 if reactors remain shut, according to an April 9 report by the industry ministry. Kansai Electric (9503)’s fuel bills may rise by 800 billion yen to about 1.1 trillion yen, it said.

Kansai Electric’s output without nuclear power may be 16.3 percent short of peak demand this summer if Japan experiences a heat wave similar to the one in 2010, according to the government’s April 23 forecast.

Osaka-based confectioner Ezaki Glico Co. may shift plants producing ice cream and snacks to night operation and introduce co-generation electricity equipment if faced with power shortages this year, the Yomiuri newspaper reported yesterday. Shikoku Railway Co., which runs trains on the smallest of Japan’s four main islands, may reduce service and use more diesel locomotives, the paper said.

The utility would need to turn on half of its 11 reactors to avoid the shortages forecast under the government’s worst case scenario, according to Tomoko Murakami, a Tokyo-based nuclear analyst at the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan. Restarting that number of reactors is very unlikely, she said last month.

The Ohi reactors would be the first to come back online since Japan adopted so-called nuclear stress tests or computer simulations to assess each plant’s ability to withstand earthquakes, tsunamis and to supply backup power to keep reactor cooling systems running.

Power companies usually take about 10 days to start an idled reactor, according to Tomoe Sugimori, a spokeswoman for Kansai Electric.

The failure of backup power at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi station on March 11 last year caused the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986, and radiation fallout that forced the evacuation of about 160,000 people.

Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-05/japan-to-be-nuclear-power-free-as-sole-working-reactor-shuts.html


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B.  Iran

1.
Iran-5+1 Talks May Lead to Breakthrough in Baghdad: US Senator
Press TV
5/5/2012
(for personal use only)


The chairwoman of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has supported the upcoming talks between Tehran and the P5+1 over Iran's nuclear energy program, saying they "may lead to a breakthrough".

“Significant challenges remain to bridge differences and overcome decades of suspicion and mistrust, but these talks deserve our full support,” the Huffington Post quoted Dianne Feinstein as saying.

Feinstein also warned against launching a military attack against Iran as "such a strike could lead to a broader regional war" and have “catastrophic reaction in the Middle East.”

"A diplomatic solution offers the best outcome for Iran, Israel and the international community. We must support those efforts," she added.

Iran and the P5+1 wrapped up the first round of their latest negotiations on April 14 in the Turkish city of Istanbul. Both sides hailed the talks as constructive.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on April 29 that the Istanbul talks marked the “beginning of the end” to Tehran’s nuclear case.

Salehi expressed hope that the meeting in Baghdad would be even more successful than the Istanbul talks.

The next round of the multifaceted talks will be held on May 23 in Baghdad.

Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/239643.html



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2.
Access to Iran Army Site "Priority" in Talks: IAEA
Emma Farge
Reuters
5/4/2012
(for personal use only)


Gaining access to a key Iranian military facility will be the priority for the U.N. nuclear watchdog when it resumes talks with the Islamic state in mid-May, agency head Yukiya Amano said on Friday.

Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the Vienna-based U.N. body did not yet have a "positive response" from Iran regarding the request for nuclear inspectors to be allowed to visit the Parchin site.

But he told journalists on the sidelines of a conference in the Swiss town of St Gallen, "we would like to pursue this" issue of Parchin, where the IAEA believes nuclear-related military research may have taken place. Iran denies this.

"We need to look at all the outstanding issues, but Parchin is the priority and we should start with that," Amano said.

Western diplomats say Iran appears to be stonewalling the IAEA's request to go to Parchin and they suspect it may be "sanitizing" the site southeast of Tehran of any incriminating evidence before any visit, a suspicion Tehran dismisses.

Amano has said the agency has noticed some "activities" at Parchin - a choice of words that Western diplomats interpret as suggesting the IAEA also harbors suspicions of possible clean-up work, on the basis of satellite images at its disposal.

Asked what he meant by "activities", Amano said on Friday: "We do not have people there so we cannot tell what these activities are."

Iran and the IAEA will meet for two days of talks in Vienna on May 14-15, just over a week before the Islamic Republic and world powers are to hold a second round of broader political negotiations in Baghdad on May 23.

"In my reading the desire to resolve this Iranian issue through dialogue is stronger now than before," Amano told the conference, referring to the resumption of diplomacy between Iran and the powers in Istanbul last month after a gap of more than a year of escalating tension.

"Recently we have witnessed a positive atmosphere but we need to have concrete results," he later told reporters.

In its talks with Tehran, the IAEA wants Iran to address questions raised in a report it issued last November detailing what it said were suspected Iranian research and development activities relevant to making nuclear weapons.

Iran has dismissed the allegations as fabricated.

Two meetings in Tehran earlier this year between the IAEA and Iran failed to make any notable progress, especially regarding Parchin, which Iran says is a conventional military site without any links to the nuclear program.

Iran has suggested it will only consider the Parchin request once a broader framework has been agreed on how to address questions by the IAEA over the U.N. agency's suspicions of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear activities.

The West says Iran's nuclear work is a cover for developing atomic bombs and wants verifiable assurances to the contrary from Tehran - for example, by accepting much more intrusive U.N. nuclear inspections and limiting its enrichment capacity.

Iran denies having a weapons agenda, saying it is enriching uranium solely for peaceful energy purposes. Refined uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants, which is Iran's stated aim, or provide the core for a bomb if processed more.

Iran, a major oil producer, has repeatedly rejected U.N. Security Council demands to suspend all its enrichment, which can have both civilian and military purposes.

Amano said: "We are sure that they are continuing the enrichment. We haven't heard that they have suspended or stopped - they are continuing."

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/04/us-nuclear-iran-iaea-idUSBRE8430R720120504


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3.
Iran Dismisses Western Demand to Close Nuclear Bunker
Fredrik Dahl
Reuters
5/4/2012
(for personal use only)


Iran said on Friday it will never suspend its uranium enrichment program and sees no reason to close the Fordow underground site, making clear Tehran's red lines in nuclear talks with world powers later this month.

Last month a senior U.S. official said the United States and its allies would demand that Iran halt higher-grade enrichment and immediately close the Fordow facility at talks over Tehran's nuclear standoff with the West.

The New York Times reported that negotiators for Western countries would press Iran to ultimately dismantle the site near the city of Qom, which has been used to expand the higher-grade enrichment the Islamic Republic began just over two years ago.

But Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told Reuters he saw "no justification" for closing Fordow, which he said was under IAEA surveillance.

"When you have a safe place, secure place under IAEA control, then why do you tell me that I should close it?" he said, making clear Iran built the site to better protect its nuclear program against any Israeli or U.S. attacks.

"Fordow is a safe place. We have spent a lot of money and time to have a safe place," Soltanieh added.

Iran and major powers resumed talks in mid-April in Istanbul after a gap of more than a year - a chance to ease escalating tension and help to avert the threat of a new Middle East war. They are to meet again on May 23 in Baghdad.

The West says Iran's nuclear work is a cover for developing atomic bombs and wants verifiable assurances to the contrary from Tehran - for example, by accepting much more intrusive U.N. nuclear inspections and limiting its enrichment capacity.

Iran denies having a weapons agenda, saying it is enriching uranium solely for peaceful energy purposes. Refined uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants, which is Iran's stated aim, or provide the core for a bomb if processed more.

"One thing is clear: the enrichment in Iran will never be suspended," Soltanieh said.

He declined to comment however on Western demands that Iran halt the higher-grade enrichment, to a fissile concentration of 20 percent, it started in 2010 and has since sharply increased, shortening the time needed for any nuclear weapons breakout.

The U.N. Security Council has demanded in a series of resolutions since 2006 that Iran suspend all enrichment but Western diplomats have indicated the immediate priority is to get it to cease the more sensitive higher-grade work.

Many analysts say it will be possible to find a negotiated solution to the long-running row only if both sides compromise: Iran would be allowed to continue some lower-level enrichment if it accepts more far-ranging U.N. inspections.

Iranian officials say they are optimistic that the talks with United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain will make progress and they underline their expectations that the negotiations will lead to an end of sanctions.

However, the United States and its allies have made clear Tehran must take action to allay their concerns about its nuclear ambitions before they can consider relaxing sanctions.

Western states have imposed expanded, more biting sanctions against Iran's energy and banking sectors since the beginning of this year. The European Union is preparing to slap a total embargo on the purchase of Iranian crude oil in July.

Soltanieh said the sanctions could not stop Iran's nuclear program: "Neither sanctions, nor military actions, nor terror against our scientists will stop the enrichment."

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/04/us-nuclear-iran-enrichment-idUSBRE8430JH20120504


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C.  North Korea

1.
N. Korea Stresses Legitimacy of Nuclear, Missile Development
The Mainichi
5/6/2012
(for personal use only)


North Korea on Sunday reiterated the legitimacy of its nuclear and missile programs as it denounced a joint statement issued by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council demanding that Pyongyang refrain from carrying out a nuclear test.

"This is a grave illegal action of violating the sovereignty of the DPRK and its right to use space and nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name.

The KCNA report did not touch on the call made by the five permanent members of the Security Council for Pyongyang to refrain from conducting a third nuclear test, following tests in 2006 and 2009.
Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States issued the statement in Vienna on Thursday during a U.N. nuclear nonproliferation conference.

"The DPRK, depending on its nuclear deterrence for self-defense, will firmly protect its sovereignty and dynamically push forward the development of space for peaceful purposes and the industry of nuclear energy," the North Korean Foreign Ministry statement said.

North Korea tried unsuccessfully to place a satellite in orbit in April. According to South Korea's Defense Ministry, North Korea has made preparations for a nuclear test.

South Korean defense officials believe the nuclear test could take place at any time once the North Korean leadership gives the go-ahead.

Available at: http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120506p2g00m0in056000c.html


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2.
N. Korea Vows to Push Forward with Nuclear, Rocket Programs
Yonhap News Agency
5/6/2012
(for personal use only)


North Korea vowed Sunday to continue to push strongly forward with its nuclear and rocket programs, rejecting an appeal from the five permanent U.N. Security Council members that Pyongyang refrain from any acts escalating tensions.

The council members -- the United States, Britain, China, Russia and France -- issued the joint statement during a nuclear meeting in Vienna last week, urging Pyongyang to "refrain from further actions which may cause grave security concerns in the region, including any nuclear tests."
They also expressed "serious concern" over the North's rocket launch last month.

On Sunday, the North's Foreign Ministry rejected the statement as "a grave illegal action of violating the sovereignty of the DPRK and its right to use space and nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, pursuant to the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK."

DPRK is the acronym for the North's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The ministry also said that the five council members have conducted more nuclear tests and stockpiled more nukes than other countries in the world.

"The DPRK, depending on its nuclear deterrence for self-defense, will firmly protect its sovereignty and dynamically push forward the development of space for peaceful purposes and the industry of nuclear energy and proudly build a thriving nation where its people will fully enjoy prosperity under socialism," it said.

North Korea has long used the term, "nuclear deterrent," to refer to its nuclear arsenal.

Pyongyang claims its long-range rocket launch was an attempt to put a satellite into orbit, but the liftoff, though a failure, was widely condemned as an attempt to test its ballistic missile technology.

The U.N. Security Council adopted a presidential statement condemning the launch last month.

After the North's failed rocket launch on April 13, concerns have grown that the communist regime could stage additional provocations. Experts have talked of the possibility of a nuclear test, which will be the North's third, as well as more missile tests and border clashes.

In Seoul, Rep. Chung Mong-joon of the ruling Saenuri Party, who has declared his presidential bid, said that he believes there are high chances of fresh armed provocations by North Korea, including a nuclear test, and urged the government to take the situation more seriously.

"North Korea specifically signaled new types of provocations through mass rallies," Chung told a news conference.

The North is expected "to carry out its third nuclear test at any time."

Available at: http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2012/05/06/60/0301000000AEN20120506002000315F.HTML


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3.
Clinton Says U.S. Willing to Work with North Korea if it Reforms
Andrew Quinn
Reuters
5/4/2012
(for personal use only)


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that the United States was willing to work with North Korea if it changed its ways, and also said more pressure should be brought to bear on Sudan and Syria.

Speaking in Beijing at the end of two-days of high-level meetings overshadowed by a crisis over a Chinese dissident who had sought refuge at the U.S. embassy, Clinton sought to underscore that Washington and Beijing could still work together on key international issues.

"We see two nations that are now thoroughly and inescapably interdependent," Clinton said in prepared remarks in the closed door meeting.

On North Korea, where the United States wants China to put more pressure on the isolated nation's leadership to reign in its nuclear ambitions, Clinton said Washington was still willing to work with Pyongyang if it changes its ways.

"The new leadership in Pyongyang still has the opportunity to change course and put their people first. If they focus on honoring their commitments and rejoining the international community, and on feeding and educating their citizens, the United States will welcome them and work with them," she said.

Clinton also underscored that the United States and China - both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - could work together to put similar pressure on Iran over its nuclear program and take strong action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's ongoing crackdown against anti-government protests.

U.S. officials say China has been more than willing to consider steps against Iran, which is preparing for a new round of talks with major powers on the nuclear issue, but claim Beijing has not yet played a sufficient role in the international response to Syria's crisis.

"If we ease off the pressure or waiver in our resolve, Iran will have less incentive to negotiate in good faith or to take the necessary steps to address the international community's concerns," Clinton said.

She also urged China to join the United States and other countries in considering additional sanctions against Syria's Assad, who Washington and its allies accuse of failing to comply with a peace plan drawn up by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"Now it's critical that the international community - including China and the United States - hold the regime accountable for its commitments," Clinton said. "The credibility of the (Security) Council is at stake."

Clinton applauded Beijing for supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution backing an African Union peace plan for Sudan and South Sudan, and called on China to send a strong message to Khartoum that it must unconditionally halt all cross-border attacks, particularly its "provocative aerial bombardments" against its southern neighbor.

U.S. officials say Beijing's considerable economic leverage in both Khartoum and Juba could be an important factor in calming hostilities between the two countries, which have lurched perilously close to war following the South's peaceful secession last July.

This week's U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, the fourth such annual meeting between the two countries, was meant to highlight growing cooperation between the world's two largest economies, often portrayed as potential future adversaries.

But the meetings were overshadowed by a diplomatic crisis that erupted over blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who had sought refuge in the U.S. embassy last week.

Chen agreed to leave on Wednesday, but has subsequently said he wants to travel to the United States, spurring frantic negotiations between U.S. diplomats and Chinese officials in an attempt to find a face-saving solution before Clinton departs Beijing on Saturday.

While human rights has been on the official program of this week's talks, Clinton has made little mention of it in public comments as U.S. officials sought to avoid further complicating the situation.

On Friday, Clinton repeated cautious but pointed comments that she made earlier this week, saying all governments had the responsibility to protect the "fundamental freedoms" of their citizens.

"These are not Western values -- they are universal rights that apply to all people in all places," Clinton said in her prepared remarks.

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/04/us-usa-clinton-diplomacy-idUSBRE8430GU20120504


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4.
IAEA Says Would "Not Be Surprised" by North Korea Nuke Test
Reuters
5/4/2012
(for personal use only)


The United Nations nuclear chief said on Friday he would not be surprised if North Korea were to carry out a new nuclear test, amid speculation the secretive Asian state is preparing to conduct the third such explosion since 2006.

"We don't have inspectors on the ground. We are following the situation carefully. We do not have particular knowledge or information but if a nuclear test takes place I would not be surprised," Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said at a conference in the Swiss town of St Gallen.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council urged North Korea on Thursday to refrain from any new nuclear tests.

North Korea, which tested plutonium devices in 2006 and 2009, has almost completed preparations for a third nuclear test, a senior source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing told Reuters last month.

The isolated state sacrificed the chance of closer ties with the United States after it tried to test-launch a long-range rocket on April 13 and was censured by the U.N. Security Council.

Pyongyang has long argued that in the face of a hostile United States, which has military bases in South Korea and Japan, it needs a nuclear arsenal to defend itself.

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/04/us-nuclear-nkorea-iaea-idUSBRE8430HS20120504


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D.  Nuclear Cooperation

1.
Wylfa: Chinese, US and Mid East Investors 'May Bid for Horizon Nuclear Power'
BBC News
5/6/2012
(for personal use only)


Investors from Chinese, America and Middle East are the latest said to be interested in a bid to build a new nuclear reactor on Anglesey.

Last month Russian state-owned Rosatom was reported to be interested in buying Horizon Nuclear Power to build a replacement for ageing Wylfa reactors.

German owners E.ON and RWE npower have shelved the £8bn plan.

News agency Reuters has quoted industry sources saying the other investors are also interested in Horizon.

Horizon is now up for sale, with the possibility that plans for Anglesey and Oldbury in Gloucestershire could still be pushed forward under new owners.

"There are five groups interested overall," said the source, who Reuters said had direct knowledge of the deals but who asked not to be identified.

"The preferred bidder will be the one who can take the site and build on it as fast as possible."

Early last month, Russian news agency Tass quoted the deputy head of Rosatom, Sergei Novikov, describing the British market as "very attractive" to the company.

At the time, a spokesperson for RWE npower said the reports were market speculation, and any moves to sell Horizon to any party were still at a very early stage.

Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-17977739


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2.
China and Japan to Review Nuclear Safety - Kazakhstan and Japan Form Nuclear Fuel Agreement
Lucas W Hixson
Enformable
5/4/2012
(for personal use only)


Japanese Minister Goshi Hosono and China’s minister of environmental protection, agreedto create a dialogue mechanism between Japan’s “future” nuclear plant regulatory body, and its counterpart within the Chinese Environmental Protection Ministry.

“It is very important to exchange information with China, where the number of nuclear power plants is expected to increase,” he said.

During his stay in China, Hosono plans to visit nuclear power plants to view their safety measures.

Kazakhstan and Japan also signed agreements this week, involving “not only extraction, but also manufacturing of high-tech fuel pellets at Kazakhstan-based facilities”, en.tengrinews.kz quoted Sergei Yashin, Vice Head of KazAtomProm as saying.

KazAtomProm, Kazakhstan’s national nuclear company is determined to begin exporting nuclear fuel components to Japan by as early as 2013.

“Our only plant will be manufacturing high-tech products such as uranium powders and tablets,” Yashin said.

Available at: http://enformable.com/2012/05/china-and-japan-to-review-nuclear-safety-kazakhstan-and-japan-form-nuclear-fuel-agreement/


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E.  Nuclear Safety & Security

1.
IAEA Nuclear Scientists Employ More Precise "Fingerprinting"
IAEA
5/4/2012
(for personal use only)


The IAEA is implementing a multi-year project to modernize the safeguards analytical capabilities that will help it meet the verification challenges of the next thirty years and beyond. On 2 May 2012 the Agency celebrated a milestone in this project when new spectrometry equipment of unparalleled precision was put in service.

The IAEA Office of Safeguards Analytical Services is now operating the latest-generation "multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer", or MC-ICP-MS. The new spectrometer gives the Agency a significantly improved ability to identify previously imperceptible differences in nuclear "signatures". For instance, Agency analysts should be able for the first time to detect each sample's "fall out" signature, composed of trace quantities of plutonium or uranium that may possibly have been carried and deposited from nuclear activities. IAEA scientists will use this data to be able to demonstrate with great confidence when a sample contains only the historical residue of "background" plutonium and no new plutonium is detectable.

According to Gabriele Voigt, Director of the IAEA Office of Safeguards Analytical Services:

"More precise techniques in mass spectrometry enable IAEA scientists to detect and measure minute particles found in the swipe samples collected by IAEA inspectors, to isolate particles of enriched uranium or plutonium and measure their isotopic compositions. This capability provides indications about enrichment processes and constitutes a powerful tool for detecting the presence of any undeclared materials and activities in States under safeguards."

The new measurement instrument stands in a dedicated clean room in the IAEA's Environmental Sample Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria. On the spectrometer's ceremonial first day in service, Ambassador Rolf Nikel, Commissioner of the German Federal Government for Arms Control and Disarmament, and Ambassador Rüdiger Lüdeking, Germany's Resident Representative to the IAEA, visited the Environmental Sample Laboratory and were briefed on the scientific capabilities that IAEA experts are exploring with the new equipment. Germany's generous financial support made the spectrometer's acquisition possible.

One of the techniques to be employed will involve bulk analysis, during which the environmental swipes are dissolved and chemically separated, then measured with the spectrometer at ultra-low levels: weights of one femtogram or below (a femtogram of material is about a million atoms, weighing less than the DNA in a single human cell). The new spectrometer will enable IAEA scientists to detect plutonium at levels about ten times lower than had previously been possible using other instruments. In the majority of cases, subjecting samples to such sensitive measurement increases the Agency's level of confidence in verifying the absence of undeclared activities; conversely, it also reinforces the ability to detect indications of possible undeclared experiments or plutonium production that may have occurred.

The spectrometer will also be used in combination with 'laser ablation', the process of removing material from a surface by irradiating it with a laser beam. This technique provides measurements of micrometer-sized particles of either uranium or plutonium in a rapid and accurate way which complements the capabilities of another advanced instrument in the IAEA's clean laboratory, a Large Geometry Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer. That device measures about up to 50 particles - one at a time - using the ion microprobe method; however, when there are many hundreds of uranium particles present the remaining particles can be measured by laser ablation on the MC-ICP-MS to give more safeguards-relevant data and ensure that important nuclear and chemical signatures are identified.

Advancing its environmental sample analysis is part of the IAEA's strategy to maintain independent, quality-assured scientific capabilities in order to fulfill its mission to implement nuclear safeguards in every state that has a safeguards agreement in force. As IAEA Assistant Director General Rafael Grossi stated on 30 April 2012 in his address to the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference: "Technology is a major enabler of our safeguards work," and the IAEA is acting on the recommendation of the States parties to the NPT that it "further develop a robust, flexible, adaptive and cost-effective international technology base for advanced safeguards."

Available at: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2012/spectrometer.html



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2.
Non-Nuclear States Lobby Big Powers to Disarm Faster
Fredrik Dahl
Reuters
5/4/2012
(for personal use only)


Non-nuclear states are urging nuclear-armed nations to disarm faster, while nuclear powers say they are making "unprecedented progress" in doing so, a divide on display at this week's meeting to discuss the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Under the pact, which most countries have acceded to, the five recognized atomic bomb "haves" agreed to work towards eliminating their bombs, and the "have-nots" pledged not to pursue them. A treaty review conference is scheduled for 2015.

Critics say there has been more emphasis on meeting the non-proliferation goal than getting the five major powers - the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain - to fulfill their part of the deal.

"There is a quite a large distance between what the nuclear weapons states say and what the rest of us think," said one diplomat from a smaller European Union country.

Speaking on behalf of the seven-nation New Agenda Coalition, including Brazil, Mexico, Ireland and Sweden, South African ambassador Abdul Samad Minty told delegates: "Whereas the non-proliferation measures have been strengthened over the years, the nuclear disarmament side of the NPT bargain has yet to be realized."

The seven states reject "any justification for the continued retention" of nuclear weapons, Minty said.

The head of the Egyptian delegation, Sameh AboulEnein, expressed "deep concern at the continued lack of meaningful progress in the field of nuclear disarmament", and said this could undermine the purpose of the 189-nation NPT.

The United States, France, Russia, Britain and China issued a joint statement reaffirming their "enduring commitment" to meeting their NPT obligations.

"We recall the unprecedented progress and efforts made by the nuclear-weapon states in nuclear arms reduction, disarmament, confidence-building and transparency," they said.

Stocks of nuclear weapons are now at far lower levels than any time in the past half century, the statement said.

Britain's representative, Jo Adamson, said her country had a "strong record" of fulfilling its disarmament commitments and that it would reduce its nuclear weapons stockpile to no more than 180 by the mid-2020s.

The United States said it has been cutting its inventory of nuclear weapons for more than four decades, from a peak of 31,000 warheads in 1968 to 5,000 in 2009.

When the new START arms treaty with Russia is fully implemented within seven years after it took effect in early 2011, the strategic nuclear forces of the two Cold War-era foes will reach their lowest levels since the 1950s, the U.S. said.

But the non-aligned movement (NAM) of more than 100 developing and other states expressed concern that nuclear weapon modernization "undermines the minimal reductions" agreed in the START treaty.

START will cut long-range, strategic nuclear weapons deployed by the United States and Russia to no more than 1,550 on each side, but they still have by far the most nuclear arms.

The nuclear arsenals of China, Britain and France are in the low hundreds, well below those of the United States and Russia.

Shortly after taking office in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama set the goal of eventually ridding the world of nuclear weapons as a central theme of his presidency.

Obama unveiled a revamped policy in 2010 renouncing development of new nuclear weapons and restricting use of those already in the U.S. arsenal. He followed that up by signing the new START landmark arms reduction deal with Russia.

But momentum seems to have slowed on Obama's nuclear agenda and, with the November U.S. presidential election looming, chances for major new advances look doubtful.

Iran, accused by the West of seeking to develop nuclear arms itself, said the existence of nearly 23,000 nuclear warheads in the stockpiles of the five nuclear weapon states and their continued modernization posed a threat to mankind's survival.

"Certain nuclear weapon states are expected to display sincerity and political will rather than hypocrisy with regard to their nuclear disarmament obligations," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mahdi Akhondzadeh said.

Pakistan and India, which both have nuclear weapons, have not signed the NPT. Israel, widely believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, is also outside the voluntary pact. North Korea, believed to be preparing for a third nuclear test, withdrew from the NPT in 2003.

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/04/us-nuclear-disarmament-divisions-idUSBRE8431CV20120504


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3.
South Korea Checking Nuclear Reactor Safety After Outage
Sangim Han
Bloomberg
5/4/2012
(for personal use only)


South Korea’s government is going ahead with two new reactors even as citizen groups oppose more use of atomic energy in the wake of a local plant failure and the Fukushima Dai-Ichi disaster in Japan.

State-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. had a ground breaking ceremony today in Uljin, 315 kilometers (196 miles) southeast of Seoul, to commence building the two 1,400-megawatt reactors after the government awarded licenses in December, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement.

President Lee Myung Bak attended the ceremony along with more than 700 nearby residents, the ministry said. About 7 trillion won ($6.2 billion) has been earmarked to build the reactors, and the government will reflect “all requirements” cited in domestically and overseas studies to improve safety of the reactors, the ministry said.

The government said its position is unchanged on the need to expand nuclear-power generation. After the state utility failed to promptly report a power outage at its oldest reactor in February, local citizen groups campaigned against lifespan expansions for aging reactors.

Japan is set to be nuclear free for the first time in more than four decades this month as the last of its 50 reactors is scheduled to be shut for maintenance. The moratorium follows an earthquake and tsunami on March 2011 that crippled the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear facility, triggering the worst radiation leak since Chernobyl.

South Korea, which gets a third of its electricity from reactors, operates 21, with seven more under construction. The first reactor in Uljin is slated to be completed by April 2017, and the second one by February 2018, the ministry said today.

Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-04/south-korea-checking-nuclear-reactor-safety-after-outage.html



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F.  Links of Interest

1.
Kazakhstan for Nuclear Free World, Conference
Gazeta
5/7/2012
(for personal use only)
http://engarticles.gazeta.kz/art.asp?aid=362469


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2.
Nuclear Power Role Still Said Critical
Kazuaki Nagata
The Japan Times
5/6/2012
(for personal use only)
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120506a8.html


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3.
Iran, Pakistan, N. Korea May Pose Nuclear Threat to Russia
RIA Novosti
5/4/2012
(for personal use only)
http://en.ria.ru/mlitary_news/20120504/173217926.html


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4.
Lugar Announces Elimination of Weapons of Mass Destructions through Nunn-Lugar
Office of Sen. Richard Lugar
5/1/2012
(for personal use only)
http://www.lugar.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=336674&


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5.
U.S. Official Rejects Call For International Nuclear Security Standards
Douglas P. Guarino
Global Security Newswire
5/1/2012
(for personal use only)
http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/us-official-rejects-call-international-nuclea..


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