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Nuclear News - 7/30/2012
PGS Nuclear News, July 30, 2012
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich

A.  Iran
    1. Iran Expects to Hold More Nuclear Talks: Foreign Minister, Reuters (7/30/2012)
    2. Iran Vows to Counter Any Cyber Attacks on Nuclear Facilities,, Xinhua News Agency (7/26/2012)
B.  Nuclear Energy
    1. EnBW Says Nuclear Exit Violates Property Rights, Reuters (7/30/2012)
    2. Bulgaria to Build New Nuclear Unit by 2022, RIA Novosti (7/28/2012)
    3. Saudis, Emirates Push Nuclear Power Plans, UPI (7/26/2012)
    4. Heat Sends U.S. Nuclear Power Production to 9-Year Low, Christine Harvey, Bloomberg (7/26/2012)
    5. India to Use "Plutonium" Reactor in Two Years: Atomic Energy Commission, The Economic Times (7/26/2012)
C.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. Yeonggwang Nuclear Reactor Comes to Halt, The Korea Herald (7/30/2012)
    2. IAEA Inspects Onagawa Nuke Plant, The Japan Times (7/30/2012)
    3. Minor Amputation after Radiography Incident, World Nuclear News (7/27/2012)
    4. Nuclear Regulator Loses Radioactive Cesium-137 after Training Exercise for Summer Students, Vito Pilieci, Ottawa Citizen (7/26/2012)
D.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Canada to Export Uranium to China for Use in Nuclear Power Plants, Power Engineering (7/27/2012)
    2. $3M in Research Funding for Nuke Security, KnoxNews (7/27/2012)
    3. Africa: The African Commission on Nuclear Energy Convenes its Second Meeting, All Africa (7/26/2012)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. Science Group: Storing Spent Nuclear Fuel in Dry Casks Significantly Safer then Wet Pools Storage, Homeland Security News Wire (7/30/2012)

A.  Iran

Iran Expects to Hold More Nuclear Talks: Foreign Minister
(for personal use only)

Iran expects to hold more talks with world powers on its nuclear programme following an inconclusive round of negotiations in Istanbul earlier this month, its foreign minister said in a newspaper interview published on Monday.

The failure of the talks to secure a breakthrough over Tehran's uranium enrichment, which the West fears is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, has raised international concerns that Israel may carry out a military strike.

"I can't say it with certainty but if everything proceeds normally then there should be further negotiations," Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi told Austria's Der Standard.

"A breakdown (in talks) is in nobody's interests. The gaps can only be closed through talking."

Salehi said, however, that Iran's right to uranium enrichment had to be recognised from the outset. "It's a matter of principle," he said.

Tehran denies it is attempting to develop atomic weapons, saying its nuclear programme is for civilian energy purposes.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier this month that Iran's proposals made in talks with the so-called P5+1 group of the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany were "non-starters".

Israel is widely thought to be the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons capability and, citing threats made by Iran's leaders to destroy it, has made it clear it would attack the Islamic state if diplomacy failed.

Salehi said Iran did not want to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway at the neck of the Gulf through which 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil exports pass.

"The Persian Gulf is a lifeline for Iran and for the region and for the international community. We are rational. We do not want to cut off this lifeline and cause suffering," he said.

"But if we are forced, then Iran must do everything to defend its sovereignty and its national interests."

Military analysts have cast doubt on Iran's willingness to block the slender waterway, given the massive U.S.-led retaliation it would likely incur.

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Iran Vows to Counter Any Cyber Attacks on Nuclear Facilities,
Xinhua News Agency
(for personal use only)

Iran has vowed to counter any cyber attacks on its nuclear facilities, Tehran Times daily reported on Thursday.

An unnamed official at Cyber Command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Headquarters said that the Islamic republic will give a strong response to any possible cyber attacks on the country's nuclear facilities, Tehran Times said.

"They should be aware that Iran will give a proper response to any act of defiance," the official was quoted as saying in response to reports about possible cyber attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that two of Iran's uranium-enrichment plants were struck by a cyber attack earlier this week that shut down computers.

The virus closed down the automation network at Iran's Natanz and Fordow facilities, said the report.

In June, Washington Post reported that the United States and Israel had jointly developed a computer virus known as "flame" targeting Iran's nuclear ability.

U.S. officials said the virus secretly mapped and monitored Iran's computer networks, sending back a steady stream of intelligence to prepare for a cyber warfare, according to the report.

In May, Iran's media reported that Iranian cyber experts detected and contained a complicated Israeli spy virus known as " flame" that had targeted Iran's oil industry.

Over the past few years, Iran has been the target of numerous cyber attacks aimed to disrupt the country's nuclear systems.

According to a statement Xinhua obtained Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that his country is "committed to doing everything it can in order to stop Iran from going nuclear."

In an address to graduates of the army's National Security College on Wednesday, Barak said he is "fully aware of the difficulties and complexities involved in preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons."

Iranian officials contend that their program has only peaceful and medical goals.

The remarks by the Israeli leader came on the heels of the recent statement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that 11, 000 centrifuges are currently operational in Iran's uranium enrichment facilities.

According to the earlier report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the number of operating centrifuges of Iran reached 10,000 in May.

Earlier this year, Iran announced that it would start using new generation of domestically made centrifuges that enrich uranium at faster pace, according to semi-official Mehr news agency.

In the meantime, Iranian military power is gradually gaining considerable progress as the Islamic republic has launched a number of projects in the military sector over the recent years.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said Wednesday that the country would soon launch the production line of two domestically-manufactured military systems, Press TV reported.

"The production lines of high-precision missiles and armed flying boats (seaplanes) will be launched soon," Vahidi was quoted as saying without providing further details.

According to earlier media release based on June 29 Pentagon report to the U.S. Congress, "Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems by improving accuracy and developing new submunition payloads" that extend the destructive power over a wider area than a solid warhead.

The improvements are in tandem with regular ballistic-missile training that "continues throughout the country" and the addition of "new ships and submarines," according to July 10 Bloomberg report.

The United States and its ally Israel have not ruled out the possibility of attacking Iran's nuclear facilities over the country's disputed nuclear program.

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B.  Nuclear Energy

EnBW Says Nuclear Exit Violates Property Rights
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EnBW, Germany's third-biggest utility, joined peers in saying the government's decision to abandon nuclear power would infringe its property rights, although its ownership structure prevented it from filing a legal complaint.

Three of the four operators of nuclear plants in Germany - E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall - have filed constitutional complaints, with E.ON, Germany's No.1 utility, seeking 8 billion euros ($9.9 billion) in compensation.

EnBW is 46.75 percent-owned by the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, with another 46.75 percent owned by nine of the state's municipalities. The market freefloat is just 0.39 percent of its shares.

This, according to German law, would prevent it from filing a complaint, EnBW said on Monday.

"However, EnBW explicitly shares the legal opinion of E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall, according to which the 13th amendment of the Atomic Energy Act is unlikely to withstand a constitutional examination," it added.

Germany reacted to the disaster at Japan's Fukushima reactor by shutting eight reactors last summer and accelerating the closure of the remainder with a 2022 deadline.

E.ON has stressed that it does not oppose the government's focus on renewable energy over nuclear power and fossil fuels but believes its property rights have been infringed.

The four operators have made provisions amounting to more than 30 billion euros for the dismantling of the plants and the disposal of nuclear waste.

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Bulgaria to Build New Nuclear Unit by 2022
RIA Novosti
(for personal use only)

Construction of Unit 7 at Bulgaria’s only nuclear power plant in the Danube town of Kozloduy should be completed in 2022, NPP CEO Valentin Nikolov said.

"Everything depends on the talks with the Russian side about the specific nuclear reactor," Nikolov was quoted by Sofia News Agency as saying.

Bulgaria decided to build a new unit at the Kozloduy NPP after it gave up on the construction of a second NPP in Belene in March 2012.

The government decided to install the 1000 MW reactor already produced for Belene by Russian contractor Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom, at the existing plant in Kozloduy.

Five companies have applied to conduct a preliminary study for the project, and one of them will be picked by the Bulgarian government by the end of next week, Nikolov said.

Only the 1000MW Units 5 and 6 are currently operational at the Kozloduy NPP, after Bulgaria agreed to shut down the 440 MW Units 1-4 in 2002 and 2006 as part of its EU accession talks under pressure from Brussels.

The Bulgarian government has also initiated a program to extend the life of Units 5 and 6 by at least 20 years as their life is set to expire in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

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Heat Sends U.S. Nuclear Power Production to 9-Year Low
Christine Harvey
(for personal use only)

Nuclear-power production in the U.S. is at the lowest seasonal levels in nine years as drought and heat force reactors from Ohio to Vermont to slow output.

Generation for the 104 plants in the U.S. fell 0.4 percent from yesterday to 94,171 megawatts, or 93 percent of capacity, the lowest level for this time of year since 2003, according to reports from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and data compiled by Bloomberg. The total is down 2.6 percent from the five-year average for today of 96,725 megawatts.

“We’ve had a fast decay of summer output this month and that corresponds to the high heat and droughts,” Pax Saunders, an analyst at Gelber & Associates in Houston, said. “Plants are not able to operate at the levels they can.”

FirstEnergy Corp. (FE)’s Perry 1 reactor in Ohio lowered production to 95 percent of capacity today because of above- average temperatures, while Entergy Corp. (ETR)’s Vermont Yankee has limited output four times this month. Nuclear plants require sufficient water to cool during operation, and rivers or lakes may get overheated or fall in times of high temperatures and drought, according to the NRC.

Dry conditions have worsened in the past week, with at least 63.9 percent of the contiguous 48 U.S. states now affected by moderate to severe drought, the U.S. Drought Monitor said today. That compares with 63.5 in the previous week.

Temperatures will rise about 3 degrees above normal in the U.S. Northeast from Aug. 4 to Aug. 8 and computer modeling shows another heat wave may arrive the week of Aug. 6, according to Commodity Weather Group President Matt Rogers.

“Heat is the main issue, because if the river is getting warmer the water going into the plant is warmer and makes it harder to cool,” David McIntyre, an NRC spokesman, said.

Production at FirstEnergy’s 1,261-megawatt Perry 1 reactor dropped by 63 megawatts early today in preparation for high temperatures and humidity, according to Todd Schneider, a company spokesman in Akron, Ohio.

The region is under a weather advisory from noon to 7 p.m. today, with heat index values as high as 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius), according to a report from AccuWeather Inc. Perry 1, 35 miles northeast of Cleveland, has slowed production four times since July 1.

“Output has fluctuated throughout July because of the weather conditions including outside temperature and humidity,” Schneider said by phone today. “The higher temperatures make it more difficult to run at 100 percent.”

Vermont Yankee, the 620-megawatt plant operated by Entergy Corp., reduced power to 83 percent of capacity on July 17 because of low river flow and heat, according to Rob Williams, a company spokesman based in Brattleboro, Vermont.

The reactor has lowered generation at least once every week since July 1, according to commission data.

“We’ve been having to do it with the warmer weather conditions,” Williams said. “The weather dictates how much electricity we can produce and it’s the nature of doing business on a river with variable flow and variable temperatures.”

Exelon’s Byron 1 and Byron 2 plants in Illinois have been operating below full capacity since June 28, according to filings with the NRC and data compiled by Bloomberg. The plants are preparing for a yearlong maintenance project that will upgrade equipment inside the cooling towers.

Generation at the 1,164-megawatt Byron 1 reactor slowed to 80 percent of capacity today, while Byron 2 operated at 84 percent. Production has fluctuated because adjustments to cooling tower operations vary with weather conditions, Paul Dempsey, communications manager at the plant, said by phone from Byron, Illinois.

As long as the heat persists, Saunders of Gelber & Associates expects nuclear supply to stay low while demand continues to climb.

Hotter-than-normal weather in the large cities along the East Coast usually raises demand for electricity as people turn to air conditioners to cool off. Generation in the region was 24,043 megawatts today, 3.8 percent lower than a year ago.

Production in the Southeast was 4.9 percent lower than a year earlier, compared with 6.6 percent for the Midwest and 4.1 percent for the West, according to commission data.

“We expect the trend of things getting tighter and tighter to persist,” Saunders said in a phone interview. “The impact of the last few weeks have been the largest of the summer.”

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India to Use "Plutonium" Reactor in Two Years: Atomic Energy Commission
The Economic Times
(for personal use only)

Describing India as self-reliant in nuclear energy, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Dr R K Sinha today said that due to shortage of uranium, India would start using "plutonium" based nuclear reactor in the second phase of its programme at Kalpakkam in two years.

It would be a "prototype fast breeder" (PFB) that has been indigenously designed and technologically sound, Dr Sinha, who is also Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) told reporters after a convocation ceremony at Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology here today.

Indian industries have played an important role in making the prototype fast breeder a success, he said, adding that many other countries were working on such fast breeders.

Dr Sinha said that until now, during the first phase of its nuclear programme, Indian reactors have been using uranium which was not abundantly available in the country and hence plutonium, a trans-uranic radioactive material would be used in fast breeder reactors.

After using uranium in existing and running reactors reactors, plutonium has been obtained. This could be used in upcoming reactors after re-processing, he added. In the third phase, thorium would be used in nuclear reactors, he said.

By the end of the Twelfth Five Year Plan, construction of thorium-based " Advanced Heavy Water Reactor" (AHWR) would begin, he said, adding that the technique would be demonstrated before installation and operation.

AHWR technology would also be enhanced on a commercial basis, he said, adding that it would take years to come up in the country, he said.

He said that the site of the reactor was yet to be confirmed. However, he hinted that it could be in Vishkhapatnam.

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Saudis, Emirates Push Nuclear Power Plans
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Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with its ambitious plans to develop nuclear power to meet rising electricity demand and save oil for export.

But the outlook for other Arab states is less promising because of political turmoil and a lack of financial resources.

The Saudis have built a foreign assets cushion of around $500 billion from oil exports. It has used this immense wealth to buy its way out of trouble; for instance, heading off pro-democracy protests with massive social spending in recent years.

But, the Middle East Economic Digest observed, "a more serious set of challenges now faces the kingdom that threaten to be even more destabilizing.

"Inefficient and wasteful energy consumption, coupled with a rising population, is leading the kingdom to burn even more of its natural resources at home rather than selling them abroad and adding to the proceeds of the half-trillion-dollar cash pile.

"Unless action is taken, the kingdom could find it needs the oil price to be $320 a barrel by 2030 just to balance the budget," the weekly, published in the United Arab Emirates, warned.

Nuclear power is seen as the solution. But, as MEED stressed, "time is of the essence."

For one thing, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt, have no wish to lag any further behind Iran and Israel in developing nuclear technologies.

In 2010, the King Abdallah Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy, known as KAcare, was established to oversee the gulf state's nuclear program under its president, Hashim bin Abdullah Yamani, who was accorded ministerial powers.

KAcare consultant Ibrahim Babelli said in 2010 it took 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent a day -- known as boe/d -- to power electricity generation. This is expected to more than double by 2028 to 8.3 million boe/d.

The aim of the Saudis' $100 billion nuclear program is to achieve an electricity output of 110 gigawatts by 2032.

The Financial Times reports that in 2009, the latest data available, Saudi electricity capacity was 52GW from 79 power stations.

At least 16 nuclear reactors, each costing around $7 billion, are planned, with the first producing by 2019.

Some estimates state the kingdom, the world's largest oil exporter, will burn as much as 1.2 million barrels of oil daily on electricity production, almost double the 2010 total, to meet domestic and industrial demand.

This is crucial, as the Saudis are driving to build an industrial infrastructure to sustain the economy when the oil fields run down. Some have already begun to decline.

For total reliance on nuclear power, Babelli says, 40-60 reactors would be needed by 2030. That's four-six reactors per year from 2020.

"That's stretching it," he said. "The answer is an energy mix."

That means fossil fuels will still be needed, probably as the primary energy source, while wind, solar and nuclear power capabilities are developed. KAcare is developing solar power projects that MEES estimates should produce 41GW within 20 years with geothermal and waste-to-energy systems providing 4GW.

The Emirates, which launched its nuclear energy program in 2009, is the most advanced in the Arab world, with Saudi Arab running second.

The United Arab Emirates' $30 billion program -- $10 billion more than originally planned -- is smaller in scale than that in Saudi Arabia.

Both states benefit from political stability and vast financial reserves. Other regional states are less fortunate.

Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Jordan all have announced plans to invest in nuclear energy to crank up electricity generation but all have lagged behind or scrapped their programs because of lack of funds or foreign investment.

"Kuwait has the cash," MEED reported, "but it's been through eight governments in the past six years."

Sunni-ruled Bahrain, an island state neighboring Saudi Arabia, "continues to face destabilizing protests by its majority Shiite population and its budget is already in deficit."

Egypt remains convulsed by the political turmoil that ensued following the February 2011 overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, its economy sagging dangerously.

In Jordan, heavily reliant on foreign aid, parliament recently scrapped nuclear plans as "hazardous and costly."

Failure to start boosting electricity generation for burgeoning populations in the coming decades almost certainly will mean more political upheavals.

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C.  Nuclear Safety & Security

IAEA Inspects Onagawa Nuke Plant
The Japan Times
(for personal use only)

The International Atomic Energy Agency started an inspection Monday in Miyagi Prefecture of the Onagawa nuclear plant, which was relatively undamaged by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the area in March last year.

A 20-member delegation led by Sujit Samaddar, head of the IAEA's International Seismic Safety Center, will check on damage to facilities and equipment at the Tohoku Electric Power Co. plant, whose three reactors automatically shut down when the disaster struck.

During its inspection through Aug. 11, the IAEA team will also analyze the plant's operational data and interview workers about how they stabilized the reactors so the agency can share its findings with member countries and help them compile safety measures.

The IAEA has already conducted on-site investigations at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s crisis-hit Fukushima No. 1 and nearby Fukushima No. 2 plants in Fukushima Prefecture and on Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tokai No. 2 plant in Ibaraki Prefecture since the March 2011 disaster.

While the IAEA's inspections have focused on nuclear power plants in eastern regions, the west also poses several reasons for concern. The experimental Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, is one of them.

Monju's operator, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, said an alarm early Monday indicated that sodium coolant was leaking. No leak or environmental contamination was detected, it said.

The Monju project started as part of the government program to establish a perpetual nuclear fuel cycle, in which spent fuel from power plants is reprocessed for use as plutonium-uranium mixed-oxide fuel, or MOX.

But the program was hobbled by problems. Monju has not effectively been operational since it was damaged by a sodium coolant leak and fire in 1995, after which the operator tried to cover up the damage.

The government has been considering four options on Monju's fate — ranging from decommissioning to going ahead with the fuel cycle program.

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Yeonggwang Nuclear Reactor Comes to Halt
The Korea Herald
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A nuclear reactor at an atomic power plant in Yeonggwang, South Jeolla Province, automatically stopped running Monday afternoon after its reactor protection system gave warning signals, the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. said.

The 1-million-kilowatt Yeonggwang-6 unit came to a halt at around 2:57 p.m., according to the company.

The unit had been under special treatment due to fuel rod defects that caused radioactivity levels in the reactor coolant to rise on April 30.

The KHNP said it was looking into what caused the malfunction and will resume the unit’s operation after gaining approval from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission.

The Yeonggwang-6 unit began commercial operation in December 2002.

The nation’s maximum power supply capacity dropped to 75.45 million kilowatts as the Yeonggwang reactor stopped.

The electricity reserve and reserve rate remained at normal levels of 5.71 million kilowatts and 8.2 percent as demand dipped with the beginning of the peak summer vacation season. The likelihood of a power shortage will rise, however, if the Yeonggwang unit does not resume operation soon and the scorching heat wave continues.

The Kori-1 nuclear power plant unit in Busan remains idle after it was halted on March 13 due to a power failure amid growing public fears over nuclear safety. It is expected to resume operation early next month after a safety review by KHNP officials and experts recommended by local residents.

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Minor Amputation after Radiography Incident
World Nuclear News
(for personal use only)

A Peruvian radiographer has lost part of a finger after working with an unshielded iridium-192 source. The event is classified a 'serious incident' at Level 3 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES).

Details were made public this week by the International Atomic Energy Agency upon receiving the INES report from Peruvian authorities.

On 12 January the radiographer used a 31,995 GBq iridium-192 source to examine pipes, but was unaware that the radioactive source was unshielded. During the course of the job, the radiographer adjusted the collimator - which narrows the beta and gamma radiation emitted by the source - some 20-40 times. On ten occasions the radiographer directly touched the tip of the collimator, where the source was actually located.

The serious lapse in safety was only noticed at the end of the job, by which time the radiographer was beginning to experience nausea and vomiting that lasted several hours. Five days later the finger showed blistering, and part was later amputated at France's Percy military hospital.

Two assistants felt nauseous after the job and are currently under observation. The radiographer has returned to Peru, said the INES report, and is in good general health.

Based on biological dosimetry the radiographer received a whole-body dose of 1.86 Gy, with 35 Gy to his left hand and 70 Gy to the tip of the affected finger. The assistants received 0.45 Gy and 0.75 Gy.

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Nuclear Regulator Loses Radioactive Cesium-137 after Training Exercise for Summer Students
Vito Pilieci
Ottawa Citizen
(for personal use only)

The federal agency responsible for regulating nuclear material in Canada lost an undisclosed amount of a “high-risk radioactive nuclear substance” for the better part of three weeks before it was discovered in a meeting room in its downtown Ottawa offices.

According to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), officials were conducting a routine demonstration to summer students using a radioactive material called Cesium-137 on June 26 in room 32 on the 14th floor of 280 Slater St. The students were learning to locate hidden radioactive material using radiation detection equipment. After the demonstration was completed some of the material was left in the meeting room until it was rediscovered at 12:45 p.m. on July 17 when it was found by workers setting up for another meeting. CNSC immediately notified its radiation protection staff which were called in to secure the material and remove it.

The agency said the Cesium-137 used was a very low-risk quantity of nuclear substance typically used to determine if radiation detection equipment is functioning correctly prior to use.

“The CNSC takes safety seriously,” reads a memo to government staff on July 19 from Terry Jamieson, vice-president of the CNSC’s technical support branch. “We will continue to investigate this event to identify and correct the gaps that led to this lapse in inventory control.”

A spokesman from CNSC confirmed Thursday that the incident took place and stated that “at no time was there a risk to the health or safety of CNSC staff or the general public.”

However, Tom Adams, an independent energy consultant, said Cesium-137 is a highly controlled substance that has many safety guidelines placed upon its use.

“One of the safety requirements for licensees using this stuff is that people who are potentially exposed to it must wear dosimeters, which are devices that measure their exposure,” said Adams, without one of those meters its difficult to tell whether a person received an unhealthy dose of radiation.

CNSC said the Cesium-137 used in the demonstration were low activity sources meaning that the amount of radioactivity in them is extremely small.

Cesium-137 is nuclear waste created as a byproduct of nuclear fission, the process of splitting atoms to generate nuclear power. The material is coveted for industrial purposes, where it is used for level and thickness gauges, as well as medical purposes, where its used in radiotherapy to treat various cancers.

CNSC is the federal regulator responsible for the use, possession and storage of all Cesium-137 in Canada. The agency also has a licensing and compliance system to “ensure that all persons who use, possess and store nuclear substances and radiation devices do so in accordance with a licence and have in place security provisions commensurate with the risks associated with the substance,” according to a statement released by the agency in March 2008.

The agency, founded in 2000, has a history of disciplining Canadian companies for breaching security requirements relating to transport and storage of radioactive substances such as Cesium-137. In one such action, dated July 6 and posted to the agency’s website, CNSC disciplined Ottawa company Best Theratronics Ltd. for failing to give seven days’ notice before shipping one of its Gammacell 3000 machines, used to irradiate donated blood. In its disciplinary ruling against Best Theratronics, CNSC referred to Cesium-137, which is used in the device, as a “high-risk radioactive nuclear substance” that is governed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources.

In 2006, Canada signed IAEA’s code of conduct requiring CNSC to track the location and possession of all high risk sealed sources, similar to the sources that went missing after the June 26 demonstration.

The federal agency did not say whether the July discovery of the forgotten Cesium-137 would constitute a breach of Canada’s international agreements.

However, in its statement about the incident, CNSC said it has launched a review of its policies in order to prevent this from ever happening again.

“The CNSC holds itself to the same high safety standard as it would for its licensees,” says the statement. “CNSC is currently reviewing its internal procedures to prevent a similar situation.”

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D.  Nuclear Cooperation

$3M in Research Funding for Nuke Security
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The National Nuclear Security Administration this week announced $3 million in funds for collaborative R&D projects "aimed at addressing nuclear security challenges." According to the release, the projects will be financed by NNSA's Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention program and managed jointly by International Science and Technology Center (in Russia) and the Science and Technology Center (in the Ukraine).

"Most of the projects funded by NNSA will partner U.S. and foreign scientists to collaborate in areas that directly support the goals announced at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, as well as related priorities under the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the G8 Global Partnership Against Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540," the U.S. agency said in the announcement.

One of the projects will pair researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California with institutes in Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Moldova.

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Canada to Export Uranium to China for Use in Nuclear Power Plants
Power Engineering
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The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) on July 27 signed a bilateral Administrative Arrangement pursuant to the Protocol to the Agreement Between the Government Of Canada and the Government Of The People’s Republic Of China for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.

The agreements will allow Canadian companies to export uranium ore concentrates from Canada to China, in accordance with the nuclear non-proliferation policy for China’s civilian nuclear energy program.

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Africa: The African Commission on Nuclear Energy Convenes its Second Meeting
All Africa
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The African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), established within the framework of the African Nuclear Weapon?Free?Zone Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba, held today, at the African Union (AU) Headquarters, in Addis Ababa, its second ordinary session, to finalize and adopt key documents required for its early and full operationalization. The first ordinary session of AFCONE took place in Addis Ababa, on 4 May 2011.

Today's meeting adopted the rules of procedure, structure, programme of work and budget of AFCONE. The programme of work focusses on the following areas: monitoring of compliance by the State Parties with their non?proliferation obligations; nuclear and radiation safety and security; nuclear sciences and technology; partnership and technical cooperation. Regarding the budget, the meeting agreed to an amount of approximately US $800,000 per year for the period 2012-2014. The meeting also agreed on the scale of assessment for contributions to the budget of AFCONE. The conclusions reached will be submitted to the second Conference of State Parties, scheduled to be held in Addis Ababa, in November 2012.

The meeting provided an opportunity to review and adopt the Terms of Reference of AFCONE Executive Secretary, who is in charge of the day?to?day activities of the Commission. The representatives of the Government South Africa seized the opportunity to provide an update on the steps being taken for the establishment of AFCONE Executive Secretariat, which will be based in Pretoria. The Government of South Africa will provide the required facilities in terms of office space and equipment.

The host agreement is being finalized between the AU Commission and South Africa. The Treaty of Pelindaba, which entered into force on 15 July 2009, establishes Africa as a zone free of nuclear weapons. It mandates AFCONE to monitor compliance by the State Parties with their obligations under the Treaty, as well as to promote the peaceful use of nuclear science and technology in various fields, including health, agriculture, industry and energy.

The meeting was opened by Ambassador Abdul Samad Minty of South Africa, Chairperson of AFCONE, and El?Ghassim Wane, Director of the AU Peace and Security Department. It was attended by eleven of the twelve members of AFCONE, who were elected for a three?year term at the First Conference of States Parties, held in Addis Ababa, on 4 November 2010. The AFCONE Commissioners are from the following countries: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritius, Libya, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia.

Before the meeting, the Chairperson of AFCONE met with the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Amb. Ramtane Lamamra, to exchange views on the efforts to fully operationalize AFCONE and on the overall implementation process of the Treaty of Pelindaba.

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E.  Links of Interest

Science Group: Storing Spent Nuclear Fuel in Dry Casks Significantly Safer then Wet Pools Storage
Homeland Security News Wire
(for personal use only)

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