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Nuclear News - 7/23/2012
PGS Nuclear News, July 23, 2012
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich

A.  Iran
    1. Bushehr Nuclear Plant to Run at Full Capacity in August, RIA Novosti (7/19/2012)
B.  North Korea
    1. North Korea Threats to 'Reexamine' Nuclear Capabilities, RT (7/21/2012)
    2. N.Korea Says U.S. Hostility Forcing it to "Reexamine" Nuclear Programme, Reuters (7/20/2012)
C.  Japan
    1. Radiation Dosages 'Falsified' / N-Plant Workers Told to Cover Meters with Lead to Lower Readings, Yomiuri Shimbun (7/23/2012)
    2. Japan Fukushima Probe Panel Urges New Disaster Prevention Steps, Mindset, Risa Maeda, Reuters (7/23/2012)
    3. Second Japan Nuclear Unit Resumes Power Generation, Reuters (7/21/2012)
    4. Gov't to Tap Shunichi Tanaka for New Nuclear Body Chief, The Mainichi (7/20/2012)
    5. Japan to Probe 'Active Faults' under Nuclear Plants, AFP (7/18/2012)
D.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Cambodia Mulls over Atomic Energy Power, May Kunmakara, The Phnom Penh Post (7/19/2012)
    2. China Poised for Nuclear New-Build Restart Says Ex-Energy Chief, Kelvin Ross, Power Engineering International (7/19/2012)
E.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. Nuclear Detector Installed at Belawan Seaport, Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post (7/19/2012)
F.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. China in Talks to Build Five New Reactors in UK-Paper, Reuters (7/21/2012)
    2. Areva and Rosatom Agree to Work Closely on Nuclear, Diarmaid Williams, Power Engineering International (7/19/2012)
    3. Contract Signed to Build the First Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus, Power Engineering International (7/19/2012)
    4. China Deals a Boost to Canada Uranium Exports, AFP (7/19/2012)
G.  Links of Interest
    1. Nuclear Threat Initiative: How India Stands to Gain, Indrani Bagchi, The Times of India (7/22/2012)
    2. Taiwan Ready to Forgo Nuclear Fuel-Making in U.S. Trade Pact Renewal, Elaine M. Grossman, The National Journal (7/19/2012)

A.  Iran

Bushehr Nuclear Plant to Run at Full Capacity in August
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, Iran’s first, is scheduled to run at full capacity in August, the chief of the main contractor said on Thursday.

“Bushehr is planned to reach 100 percent capacity this August,” said Valery Limarenko, director of NIAEP, the management company of Atomstroyexport.

The construction of Bushehr has taken more than three decades and has been dogged by delays. Russia signed a contract with Iran in February 1998 to complete the plant, which German companies first began back in 1975.

Bushehr was officially launched on August 21, 2010, when fuel was loaded into the reactor, making the plant an active nuclear facility. On May 8, 2011, the reactor achieved a sustained nuclear reaction and ran at a minimum power level for final commissioning tests.

The plant was officially connected to the national grid in September 2011, when it ran at 40 percent capacity. As of February 15, it was running at 75 percent of its power generating capacity and was scheduled to reach full capacity in May.

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B.  North Korea

North Korea Threats to 'Reexamine' Nuclear Capabilities
(for personal use only)

Pyongyang has said it would “reexamine” its nuclear capabilities after perceiving a new, threatening agenda from its southern neighbor and United States.

"The consistent hostile policy towards the DPRK pursued by the US is giving rise to the evil cycle of confrontation and tensions on the Korean Peninsula, making the prospect of denuclearizing the peninsula all the more gloomy," an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The comments come following the arrest of North Korean defector Jon Yong Chol, who is accused of returning to the country with orders from South Korean and US intelligence to blow up statues and monuments in order to create the appearance of internal unrest.

North Korean television broadcasted Chol’s testimony, where he outlined his alleged plans.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, confirmed Chol’s 2010 defection but has denounced the sabotage allegation as groundless, with one official calling it an "improbable plot," reports the Los Angeles Times.

North Korea has also accused Washington of backing the plot, thus violating a deal with Pyongyang to pull back on its atomic program.

"Without the US fundamental repeal of its hostile policy toward the DPRK first, it will be completely impossible to settle the issue of ensuring the lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."

In June, North Korea claimed that it had no plans to conduct a third nuclear test, after the UN Security Council tightened sanctions on Pyongyang after a failed rocket launch in April.

Previous atomic tests have been conducted in 2006 and 2009.

Military nuclear capability is not the only thing North Korea's young leader wants to reexamine.
This week, Kim Jong-un dismissed his military chief, apparently after he voiced his opposition to major economic reforms about to be initiated by the country's leader.

Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho, a supporter of the military first policy, had been discharged for opposing plans to seize control of economic policy from the military, Reuters reports.

“The military plays a huge economic role in North Korea – they deal with harvesting the crops, they deal with working on roads. A lot of the employment in North Korea relates to militarism and the military, but it’s a change of attitude that is necessary, and perhaps what we’re beginning to see is that the North Koreans are beginning to understand that that change is necessary not only to engage more with the rest of the world, but to begin to move forward with their own aspirations to be a strong, independent country,” Eric Sirotkin, of the Campaign to End the Korean War, told RT.

The planned reforms could be Pyongyang’s most significant move in decades to revive its economy. Previous attempts, like 2009's currency re-denomination, have not been welcomed by the public.

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N.Korea Says U.S. Hostility Forcing it to "Reexamine" Nuclear Programme
(for personal use only)

North Korea said on Friday it was being forced to "reexamine" its nuclear programme because of fresh signs the United States remains hostile towards the country, indicating it will step up defiant efforts to boost its nuclear arsenal.

The new leadership of North Korea, headed by the third generation of the Kim family, reinforced its control on the reclusive state this week by further promoting its young leader Jong-un and purging a top general who was seen as opposing his reforms.

The North has denied in recent months that it was preparing to conduct a third nuclear test, after a failed rocket launch widely seen as a long-range missile test in disguise, which effectively scrapped a deal on moratorium on such tests reached with Washington in February.

"The consistent hostile policy towards the DPRK pursued by the U.S. is giving rise to the evil cycle of confrontation and tensions on the Korean Peninsula, making the prospect of denuclearizing the peninsula all the more gloomy," the North's unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"The situation compels the DPRK to totally reexamine the nuclear issue," the spokesman said in comments carried by the official KCNA news agency.

"Without the U.S. fundamental repeal of its hostile policy toward the DPRK first, it will be completely impossible to settle the issue of ensuring the lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."

North Korea this week accused the United States of masterminding a sabotage on the statues of its dead leaders in Pyongyang by sending a defector who had fled to the South back into the country to destroy them.

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C.  Japan

Japan Fukushima Probe Panel Urges New Disaster Prevention Steps, Mindset
Risa Maeda
(for personal use only)

A government-appointed inquiry into Japan's Fukushima nuclear crisis raised doubts on Monday about whether other atomic plants were prepared for massive disasters, and delivered a damning assessment of regulators and the station's operator.

The report, the second this month about the disaster, could be seized upon by Japan's increasingly vociferous anti-nuclear movement after the restart of two reactors, and as the government readies a new energy policy due out next month.

The panel suggested post-Fukushima safety steps taken at other nuclear plants may not be enough to cope with a big, complex catastrophe caused by both human error and natural causes in a "disaster-prone nation" like Japan, which suffers from earthquakes, tsunami, floods and volcanoes.

"We understand that immediate safety measures are being further detailed and will materialise in the future. But we strongly urge the people concerned to make continued efforts to take really effective steps," said the panel, chaired by University of Tokyo engineering professor Yotaro Hatamura.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and regulators failed to plan for a massive natural disaster, the panel said, blaming them for being lulled by the same "safety myth" criticised by a parliament-appointed team of experts earlier this month.

But the inquiry stopped short of accusing the regulators and Tepco of collusion, a charge included in a strongly-worded report by the parliamentary panel earlier in July.

"The Fukushima crisis occurred because people didn't take the impact of natural disasters so seriously," Hatamura told a news conference.

"Even though there were new findings (about the risk of a tsunami), Tepco couldn't see it because people are blind to what they don't want to see."

Commenting on the report, Environment Minister Goshi Hosono told public broadcaster NHK he agreed that regulators and the nuclear industry itself needed to change their mindsets.

"Until now (the nuclear industry) has been an industry promoting nuclear power. That is no longer acceptable. From now on what is vital is safety and preservation of the environment, and I would like the industry to be aware of that," Hosono said.

"The government, standing apart from the industry, must strictly check whether that is actually being done," he said, adding a new regulatory body to be set up in September must be not only independent but transparent to regain public trust.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's decision to restart Kansai Electric Power Co's two reactors this month to avoid a potential blackout has energised the country's growing anti-nuclear movement. More than 100,000 people took to the streets in Tokyo a week ago and ever-bigger protests are being staged weekly outside the premier's office.

Hosono said the protesters' voices were reaching the prime minister and lawmakers.

But he added it was necessary to distinguish between a long-term energy strategy and the issue of securing electricity supply in the short term. "Electricity is something that concerns the people's lives, and is linked to the economy and industry and indeed, the very existence of the nation," he said.

All of Japan's 50 reactors were shut down for safety checks after the disaster. Critics say the two restarted reactors do not meet all the government's safety criteria announced this April.

The panel called on the government to immediately take additional steps, including ensuring that off-site nuclear accident management centres are protected against the kind of massive radiation leaks that made the one at Fukushima useless.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, was hit on March 11 last year by an earthquake and tsunami that knocked out power supply and swamped its backup power and cooling systems, resulting in meltdowns of three of its six reactors. About 150,000 people were forced to flee as radioactive materials spewed, some never to return.

The government-appointed panel said there was no proof the earthquake was a key factor in the disaster but added that some impact could not be ruled out, contradicting Tepco's own findings, which put the blame solely on the tsunami.

The panel called on Tepco to review data presented to the panel because it believes it contains errors, echoing other criticism of the operator, and urged the utility to carry out further investigations into the causes of the disaster.

The report also blamed Japan's nuclear regulators for not paying sufficient heed to improvements in nuclear safety standards recommended by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Hatamura said that due to time restrictions, his panel was unable to address the concerns of residents, and the international community, who questioned whether the damaged reactors and the pool of used nuclear fuel at Fukushima's No.4 reactor could withstand another earthquake.

"I now understand what people are worried the most about is the vulnerability of the No.4 spent fuel pool. I wish we had started an investigation on it much earlier," Hatamura said.

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Radiation Dosages 'Falsified' / N-Plant Workers Told to Cover Meters with Lead to Lower Readings
Yomiuri Shimbun
(for personal use only)

The health ministry is investigating allegations that a construction company ordered its workers at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to cover their dosimeters with lead to indicate lower exposure levels, according to sources.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry searched several sites in Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday and confirmed working conditions at the nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

According to the ministry, the construction company that issued the illegal instruction is Build-up, which is based in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture.

Build-up was a subcontractor of Tokyo Energy & Systems Inc., a Tokyo-based group firm of TEPCO entrusted with restoring the plant, according to sources.

In December, a Build-up executive allegedly instructed nine onsite workers to place lead covers over their dosimeters so they would record lower radiation exposure levels.

Under the Industrial Safety and Health Law, such workers are permitted to receive a maximum exposure of 50 millisieverts a year. Employers are required to accurately measure workers' exposure levels.

If the executive ordered the workers to cover their meters to manipulate exposure readings, it would constitute a violation of the law that is punishable by up to six months in prison or a fine of up 500,000 yen.

TEPCO said Tokyo Energy & Systems reported Thursday that lead covers for the radiation meters had been produced. However, Tokyo Energy & Systems also said the covers had not been used during work at the stricken plant.

TEPCO said it instructed Tokyo Energy & Systems to further investigate the matter and report its findings.

On Saturday, the Fukushima Labor Bureau and the Tomioka Labor Standards Inspection Office inspected Tokyo Energy & Systems' office in Fukushima Prefecture.

Later Saturday, Build-up President Takashi Wada admitted to The Yomiuri Shimbun that the executive had ordered nine workers to work for about three hours while covering their dosimeters with lead.

Wada said he spoke with the executive who supervised the on-site work over the telephone Saturday.

The executive reportedly told the president: "When I went to the site in advance, I was surprised that the alarm on my active personal dosimeter started ringing so quickly. To reduce radiation exposure readings, I came up with the idea of using a lead shield."

Wada said the executive admitted workers at the plant had used lead covers.

Wada, 57, said the workers told him the executive instructed about four workers to make the covers.

According to Wada, the executive said the covers were used only once--in December when the workers transported material on higher ground west of the plant's No. 1 reactor.

"Nine workers were involved and they worked for about three hours," the executive was quoted as telling Wada. "That was the first and last time the covers were used."

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Second Japan Nuclear Unit Resumes Power Generation
(for personal use only)

Kansai Electric Power Co said its 1,180-megawatt No. 4 reactor at its Ohi nuclear plant resumed supplying electricity to the grid on Saturday, Japan's second nuclear unit to regain power since last year's Fukushima crisis led to the shutdown of all units.

The move came three days after the unit was restarted, and the reactor is set to begin full-capacity power generation around July 25-28.

Japan ended two months without nuclear power on July 5, when the Ohi No. 3 unit resumed power output for the first time since a nationwide safety shutdown that followed a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 that crippled the Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima nuclear complex.

Japan had idled the last of its working reactors in early May, leaving the country without nuclear power for the first time since 1970.

All but two of the country's 50 nuclear reactors have been offline for checks amid concerns about safety, and the gap is being met by firing up costly fossil fuel units and through energy-saving steps.

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Gov't to Tap Shunichi Tanaka for New Nuclear Body Chief
The Mainichi
(for personal use only)

The government plans to appoint Shunichi Tanaka, an expert in radiation physics and a former member of the country's key panel involved in setting nuclear policy, as the head of the new nuclear regulation authority that it aims to launch in early September, sources close to the matter said Friday.

The plan needs to secure the approval of the Diet for the nomination to become official but the procedure has hit a snag as opposition parties refused to hold a meeting scheduled for Friday morning, during which the government was expected to propose the appointment to parliament, after the candidate's name was reported by media in advance.

The government said it will check whether government officials were involved in the leak and vowed to improve information management, apparently as a conciliatory gesture to bring the opposition parties to the table without changing the candidate.

Tanaka, 67, is originally from the city of Fukushima and has engaged in efforts to clean land in Fukushima Prefecture contaminated by massive quantities of radioactive substances leaked during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster last year.

Because he is a former vice chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission and has served as president of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, an academic society, some may oppose his appointment from the viewpoint that he has been part of the "nuclear power village," a close-knit community of bureaucrats, utility officials and academics with vested interests in promoting atomic power.

The government is also planning to tap four others as members of the new regulatory body -- Kenzo Oshima, former ambassador to the United Nations, Kunihiko Shimazaki, the head of the Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction, Kayoko Nakamura of the Japan Radioisotope Association, and Toyoshi Fuketa of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

To ensure the neutrality of the regulators, the government has set criteria for membership of the new body, including not admitting people who have worked for nuclear power plant operators or related organizations as employees or executives over the past three years.

The government has also said it will exclude people who have received around 500,000 yen annually in remuneration from the same nuclear power plant operator over the past three years.

Kyodo News learned Friday that Fuketa received tens of thousands of yen nearly every year between 2003 and 2011 from Japan Atomic Power Co., but a government official said the payments did not contravene the criteria.

Fuketa said he cannot speak about personnel issues related to the new regulatory body but added the payments he received for delivering lectures were "far from the 500,000 yen per year" and there was no problem. The maximum payment was about 100,000 yen per year, he said.

The government hopes that the new body will contribute to restoring shattered public confidence in nuclear regulations following the Fukushima nuclear crisis, which resulted in the meltdown of three reactors at the plant.

It decided to revamp the current nuclear regulatory setup after the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency came under fire for lacking teeth, as it is under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, a promoter of nuclear power.

The new body will be placed under the Environment Ministry but its independence is supposed to be guaranteed legally.

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Japan to Probe 'Active Faults' under Nuclear Plants
(for personal use only)

Japan's nuclear safety watchdog on Wednesday ordered a probe into claims the country's only working nuclear power station sits on an active tectonic fault.

The order came as Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) readied to refire a second reactor at the Oi plant, western Japan, just weeks after the first unit was restarted, ending a brief nuclear-free period in earthquake-prone Japan.

A spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said KEPCO had to re-examine the Earth's crust underneath Oi, while the operator of the Shika plant in nearby Ishikawa also had to carry out further studies.

The decision came after geological experts argued both plants are likely sitting on active faults and could be vulnerable to earthquakes if tectonic plates shift.

Japan's entire stable of nuclear reactors was shut down in the months after the disaster at Fukushima when an earthquake-sparked tsunami knocked out cooling systems causing meltdowns that spread radiation over a large area.

A parliamentary report earlier this month called for further research into the effect on the reactors of the earthquake itself, adding it was not possible to say for certain the tsunami was the sole cause of damage at Fukushima.

Despite widespread public fears over the safety of nuclear power, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in June ordered the restarting of reactors at Oi amid fears of a summer power crunch.

Unit No. 3 was back up at full operating power by mid-July and KEPCO said its plans to re-fire Unit No. 4 on Wednesday would not be affected by the probe order.

"The company from its evaluations believes the fault has not been active for between 120,000 and 130,000 years," a spokesman said.

"Now the company has received the order to reinvestigate the matter and swiftly report, we will comply fully with this order," he said.

A statement from Hokuriku Electric Power Co, the operator of the Shika plant, said the company would fully comply with the order to conduct a survey and would report its findings to the safety agency.

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D.  Nuclear Energy

Cambodia Mulls over Atomic Energy Power
May Kunmakara
The Phnom Penh Post
(for personal use only)

Cambodia is mulling over a nuclear power option to feed its anemic energy sector, although private sector pundits called the rough plan a dream – a dangerous one at that.

The government plans to use atomic energy in the future as oil, coal and biomass power sources were bound to be depleted, Suy Sem, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, told the National Assembly this week.

“We cannot avoid building nuclear power plants. It is the government’s target,” he said, without giving a specific time when a project might be launched.

Vietnam and Thailand have recently looked into nuclear power, Suy Sem noted.

Japan’s Fukushima crisis pushed Thailand’s project back by three years, Reuters reported last year. A nuclear reactor was originally scheduled to come on line in 2020 but will be delayed until 2023.

Vietnam announced this year that it would push along with the atomic energy plans it’s had since 1995.

Representatives from Cambodia’s private sector called the plans dangerous and politically risky.

“We should not consider it because it is very dangerous. We don’t have enough experts,” Nguon Meng Tech, director general for the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said yesterday.

“Moreover, later on we will get into some political problems such as those some are countries facing now … We’re still poor. We should not spend much money on this project. I think it is just a dream.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency said nuclear power projects required longer than 100 years, as well as the resources to support the program throughout.

“It is therefore of the utmost importance to fully understand the long-term committments for a nuclear power programme before even considering a specific nuclear power plant project,” IAEA guidelines state.

The Cambodian government would also have to guarantee complete technical and institutional competence to carry out the project successfully, according to the guidelines.

As demand for energy rises in step with industry investment, Cambodia will need continued power infrastructure. But hydropower projects and power purchases from neighbouring countries should suffice, Nguon Meng Tech said.

Hiroshi Suzuki, chief executive and economist at the Business Research Institute for Cambodia, said a nuclear power program was viable but it would require a great increase in human resources if the country was to operate a plant.

Suzuki agreed with minister Suy Sem on the risks associated with reliance on fossil fuels.

“It is dangerous to relay on oil alone for energy because the price of oil fluctuates. It is very good to diversify the energy resources in a country,” he added.

About 68 per cent of Cambodian villages have access to power, according to Suy Sem.

The Kingdom generates about 300 megawatts of power but a shortage of up to 50 megawatts still causes blackouts in Phnom Penh during the dry season.

Cambodia imports about 45 per cent of its energy from neighbouring countries.

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China Poised for Nuclear New-Build Restart Says Ex-Energy Chief
Kelvin Ross
Power Engineering International
(for personal use only)

China is ready to press ahead with new nuclear projects following a suspension caused by last year’s Fukushima disaster.

The former head of the country’s National Energy Administration, Zhang Guobao, told news service China Daily that the government may now “consider starting construction of four new projects that had been approved” prior to the catastrophe in Japan in March last year.

The four plants, which account for seven reactors, are in Fuqing, Fujian province, Tianwan, Zhejiang province, Yangjiang, Guangdong province and Shidaowan, Shandong province.

The developers behind the projects are the country's three nuclear power companies, China National Nuclear Corporation, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Cororation and China Huaneng Group.

Following Fukushima, China ordered a nine-month inspection of 41 reactors in operation or under construction, and at three reactors where building was due to start.

The safety inspection report released earlier this year concluded that the quality of China’s nuclear industry, including reactor design, manufacturing, construction and operations, was “under control” and that the country's nuclear safety standards met International Atomic Energy Agency requirements.

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E.  Nuclear Safety & Security

Nuclear Detector Installed at Belawan Seaport
Apriadi Gunawan
The Jakarta Post
(for personal use only)

The Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (Bapeten) officially launched on Wednesday the operation of a radiation portal monitor (RPM) at Belawan Seaport in Medan, North Sumatra, to detect the possible entry of nuclear materials and radioactive substances into Indonesia.

Bapeten head Asnatio Lasman said the detector was donated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and was the first given to Indonesia.

The agency will later install the same device in Makassar, South Sulawesi; Manado, North Sulawesi and Semarang, Central Java.

“This device was especially given to Indonesia as part of the IAEA’s program, which is sponsored by the European Union, to strengthen global nuclear safety,” he said on the sidelines of the launching ceremony on Wednesday.

Belawan, according to Asnatio, was considered to be one of Indonesia’s strategic points of entry given to its proximity to the Malacca Strait and neighboring countries, making it an ideal location for the installation of the RPM.

He added that the RPM could detect particular nuclear materials and radioactive substances hidden within a container without having to open the container for inspection.

The RPM, which resembles two sets of pillars, was installed on both sides of the exit gate of the Belawan International Container Terminal (BICT). All containers transporting imported goods from the port are required to pass through the RPM’s pillars.

Asnatio said the RPM’s ability to detect nuclear content was very high and that even the smallest amounts of nuclear material — such as cobalt 60, cesium-137 and uranium — inside the containers could be detected by the device.

Once a container is identified as carrying nuclear materials or radioactive substances, the device will notify Bapeten via a direct connection to the its office in Jakarta.

Asnatio said that the device was primarily designed to detect the transportation of nuclear materials by terrorist groups as it was quite possible that such practices were already underway.

He also said his office had coordinated with the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) when it found any indication of nuclear materials or radioactive substances entering Indonesia.

Separately, the deputy head of Bapeten’s licensing and inspection division, Martua Sinaga, said that just few days after the RPM was installed at Belawan Port, the device detected a container alleged to contain dangerous radioactive substances.

“We have yet to learn which goods have been flagged for containing radioactive substances as we just detected them,” said Sinaga, adding that it was the first detection that the device had made since its installation at the port.

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F.  Nuclear Cooperation

China in Talks to Build Five New Reactors in UK-Paper
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Chinese nuclear firms are considering investing 35 billion pounds in building up to five new nuclear reactors in Britain, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

A team from the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute (SNERDI), an arm of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), met senior British officials in the past week, the Guardian newspaper said on its website.

The first part of the plan would involve CNNC and another state-owned firm, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation, bidding in two separate groups against each other for a stake in the Horizon project, it said.

The paper, citing unnamed sources close to the Chinese, said the Chinese are also interested in other locations at Bradwell in Essex, in the southeast, Heysham in Lancashire and Hartlepool in County Durham, both in northern England.

"The Chinese have the money and the experience," the paper quoted a source close to the Chinese as saying.

"They see setting up in the UK as an opportunity to show they can operate in one of the world's toughest regulatory environments so they can then move into other markets in Africa and the Middle East."

The French company EDF is also interested in building new reactors in Britain.

CNNC would look to use an existing technology tie-up with US-based nuclear engineering group Westinghouse to potentially build three more reactors, the paper said.

It would likely need to bring in a UK utility firm to operate the plants, the Guardian added.

Britain was "open for business," subject to regulatory rules, a spokeswoman at the Department of Energy and Climate Change said in a statement.

"With regards to Horizon, as outlined from the start of the process, it is in the UK's interest that the Horizon sites continue to have the potential to be developed.

"The Government continues to talk to any interested partners and investors about all aspects of the UK's policy and commitment to new nuclear."

Horizon is one of the UK's biggest nuclear projects.

The Gloucester-based joint venture owns two nuclear sites, at Oldbury near Bristol and Wylfa on Anglesey, where it plans to build 6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity with an investment of 15 billion pounds.

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Areva and Rosatom Agree to Work Closely on Nuclear
Diarmaid Williams
Power Engineering International
(for personal use only)

In keeping with an agreement between the French and Russian governments declared last year, utilities Areva (Euronext: CEI) and Rosatom have signed a memorandum of understanding, pledging to set up working groups to study opportunities for strengthening their cooperation in the nuclear power sector.

The governments had agreed in 2011 to enable nuclear oriented companies from both countries to work more closely together and the working groups will focus their attention on a variety of topics including: services to existing nuclear reactors, particularly those based on Russian VVER technology; the management of spent fuel; and cooperation in manufacturing and supply chain for nuclear island’s components.

A strategic committee will oversee the joint studies, headed by the chief operating officers of both groups, reports Nuclear Engineering International.

Director general of Rosatom, Sergey Kirienko commented: “In such essential industry as nuclear power, the competition in separate market segments doesn’t exclude the cooperation.”
Kirienko and Areva chief Luc Oursel signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of Rosatom and Areva.

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China Deals a Boost to Canada Uranium Exports
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Canada and China have strengthened a nuclear cooperation agreement that will allow Canadian companies to export more uranium to China, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Thursday.

"Increased collaboration with China's civil nuclear-energy market will give Canadian companies greater access to one of the world's largest and fastest-expanding economies, creating new jobs, growth and long-term prosperity," Baird said.

"Energy is a key pillar of our strong bilateral ties with China," he said, adding that the arrangement "marries prosperity with safety and security" as concerns nuclear non-proliferation.

Baird made the announcement during a signing ceremony with Liu Tienan, head of China's national energy administration, in Beijing. The deal was negotiated in February when Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited China.
Canada has reached $1 billion a year in uranium exports.

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Contract Signed to Build the First Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus
Power Engineering International
(for personal use only)

A contract to complete construction of Belarus’ first nuclear power plant was signed July 18 by Russian company Atomstroyexport and the directorate for nuclear power plant construction in Belarus. Construction of the plant, Ostrovets , has been on-going since April 2012.

The signing ceremony was also attended by representatives of Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, and the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy of the Republic of Belarus.

The contract defines obligations of the parties, implementation timeframe, cost, organizational arrangements and other terms and conditions of the plant construction.

“During its construction we stick to the schedule, which was determined by the Russia-Belarus agreements,” said director of NIAEP, the management company of Atomstroyexport, Valery Limarenko.

The total amount of the contract is about $10 billion. The plant will be equipped with two VVER-1200 reactors that will generate about 2,400 MW. The units will also have a “core melt trap” installed. Rosatom said the core melt trap is a unique invention of the Russian engineers, which confines melted products within the containment, if the reactor core melts down. This system is being installed now at all Russian plants under construction.

The first unit is expected to start generating power by November 2018, and the second unit by July 2020.

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G.  Links of Interest

Nuclear Threat Initiative: How India Stands to Gain
Indrani Bagchi
The Times of India
(for personal use only)

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Taiwan Ready to Forgo Nuclear Fuel-Making in U.S. Trade Pact Renewal
Elaine M. Grossman
The National Journal
(for personal use only)

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