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Nuclear News - 8/30/2012
PGS Nuclear News, August 30, 2012
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich


A.  Iran
    1. US Prosecutors Say Chinese Banks Helped Iran with Money Transfers, Economy Watch (8/30/2012)
    2. Iran Increases Underground Nuclear Capacity Sharply: Diplomats, Reuters (8/30/2012)
    3. U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Team to Examine Iran Program, Fredrik Dahl, Reuters (8/29/2012)
    4. Iran Denies Plans to Show Nuclear Sites to Diplomats, Reuters (8/28/2012)
B.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Ailing SoCal Reactor Prepares to Remove Fuel, Power Engineering (8/30/2012)
    2. Japan Leans Toward Zero Nuclear Stance, Caution Remains, Linda Sieg, Reuters (8/29/2012)
C.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. NRC Sends Added Personnel to Entergy's Louisiana Nuke Plants, Reuters (8/28/2012)
    2. Safety Checks on Reactor Vessels, World Nuclear News (8/28/2012)
D.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Belarus May Buy Nuclear Fuel Outside Russia, Belarusian Telegraph Agency (8/29/2012)
    2. Experienced Foreign Specialists to Operate Belarusian Nuclear Station, Belarusian Telegraph Agency (8/29/2012)
E.  Links of Interest
    1. Astana Hosts International Conference on Nuclear Weapons, Trend (8/29/2012)
    2. Big Radiation Risk Unlikely if Israel Strikes Iran: Experts, Alister Doyle and Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, 8/28/2012, Alister Doyle and Fredrik Dahl, Reuters (8/28/2012)
    3. The Health Effects of Fukushima, World Nuclear News (8/28/2012)



A.  Iran

1.
Iran Increases Underground Nuclear Capacity Sharply: Diplomats
Reuters
8/30/2012
(for personal use only)


A U.N. watchdog report is expected to show that Iran has expanded its potential capacity to refine uranium in an underground site by at least 30 percent since May, diplomats say, adding to Western worries over Tehran's nuclear aims.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is due this week to issue its latest quarterly report on Iran's disputed nuclear program, which the West and Israel suspect is aimed at developing bombs. Tehran denies this.

Language used by some Israeli politicians has fanned speculation that Israel might hit Iran's nuclear sites before the November U.S. presidential vote. Washington has said there is still time for diplomatic pressure to work, but it could be drawn into any war between the two Middle East foes.

The Vienna-based diplomats, giving details on what they believe the IAEA report will show, said Iran had completed installation of two more cascades - interlinked networks of 174 centrifuges each - since the previous IAEA report in May.

They said Iran may also have added centrifuges in another part of the fortified Fordow facility, buried deep inside a mountain to better protect it against any enemy strikes, but they gave no details.

Fordow, where Iran is refining uranium to a level that takes it significantly closer to weapons-grade material, is built to house roughly 3,000 centrifuges - machines that spin at supersonic speed to increase the fissile concentration.

The May report said Iran had installed a total of 1,064 centrifuges, of which 696 were operating, in some six cascades. The diplomats said Iran has since added at least another 328, a jump of about 30 percent from the May figure, and perhaps more.

Iran says it needs this higher-grade uranium for a medical research reactor in Tehran. It is enriching uranium to lower levels at its main such plant in Natanz, where diplomats say it is also installing more centrifuges.

While the newly added centrifuges at Fordow are not yet operating, the expansion reaffirmed Iranian defiance of international demands to suspend enrichment, which can have both civilian and military uses depending on refinement level.

"There is reason to be concerned by increased tempo of enrichment, the larger stockpile of enriched uranium and, most importantly, the additional centrifuges installed in the deeply-buried facility at Fordow," said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute of Strategic Studies think-tank.

It may reinforce the belief in Israel that diplomatic and economic pressure is failing to make the Islamic Republic curb its uranium enrichment program.

Iran denies allegations it seeks a nuclear weapons capability and says all its atom work is for peaceful purposes. It has threatened wide-ranging reprisals if attacked.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Thursday told heads of state from developing countries at a meeting in Tehran that the country has no interest in nuclear weapons but will keep pursuing peaceful nuclear energy.

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/30/us-nuclear-iran-iaea-idUSBRE87T0P820120830



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2.
US Prosecutors Say Chinese Banks Helped Iran with Money Transfers
Economy Watch
8/30/2012
(for personal use only)


Prosecutors in the United States say they have uncovered new evidence indicating that Chinese banks may have assisted Iran in monetary transactions – a direct violation of financial sanctions imposed by the United States.

As part of its global investigations, US prosecutors have in recent weeks identified and taken action against several Wall Street banks for funnelling billions of dollars through their American branches to Iran and other sanctioned nations.

In the last two months, UK banks HSBC and Standard Chartered emerged as money-laundering suspects. Both banks agreed to pay hefty fines to settle the allegations without admitting any wrongdoing.

According to a report by the New York Times, prosecutors have this time around gathered information on how Chinese banks may also be involved in routing money on behalf of Iran – information that is “more valuable than any monetary settlement the authorities could win from the global banks.”

The Times said prosecutors have not yet accumulated enough evidence to open a formal investigations into the Chinese banks involved, but there are concerns that the banks may have allowed “clients suspected of financing weapons development to open accounts in China, and then get access to dollars through money transfers from a foreign bank by way of its American subsidiary.”

US officials have complained that part of the problem with Chinese banks is that unlike their European counterparts, Chinese banks and regulators have largely ignored US’ requests for information.

John Moscow, a New York lawyer specialising in international bank fraud and money laundering, told the Times:

The Chinese business community has not show any sign that they accept US sanctions against Iran. [Chinese banks] will attempt to structure their legal affairs so they can do business with America and Iran, which means keeping secrets from the US.

Earlier this month, China raised its “strong dissatisfaction” and opposition towards US-led sanctions against Iran.

Urging the US to revoke its sanctions against the Bank of Kunlun, a state-owned Chinese bank accused of ties with Iran, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said the US sanctions “badly violates rules governing international relations and hurt China’s interest.”

Available at: http://www.economywatch.com/in-the-news/us-prosecutors-say-chinese-banks-aid-iran-money-transfers.30-08.html


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3.
U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Team to Examine Iran Program
Fredrik Dahl
Reuters
8/29/2012
(for personal use only)


The U.N. nuclear watchdog is establishing a specialized team to inspect and investigate Iran's nuclear program, which diplomats say is expanding despite tough Western sanctions and the threat of an Israeli attack.

The U.N. agency announced the establishment of an Iran Task Force shortly before it is expected to issue a report showing that the Islamic state has installed more than 300 new uranium enrichment machines in a fortified underground facility.

Its latest report on Iran's nuclear work, due to be released on Thursday or Friday, also is likely to highlight deep concern about suspected efforts to remove any evidence of illicit atomic activity at an Iranian military complex, diplomats say.

The statement on concentrating the agency's Iran experts in a dedicated team, seen by Reuters, was made separately to staff on Wednesday. Previously, the Iran dossier was handled by a department that also was responsible for other countries.

The findings in the upcoming International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's nuclear program may strengthen the Israeli belief that diplomatic and economic pressure is failing to make Iran curb its disputed atomic activities.

Bellicose rhetoric from some Israeli politicians has fanned speculation that Israel might hit Iran's nuclear sites before the November U.S. presidential vote. Washington has said there is still time for diplomatic pressure to work, but it could be drawn into any war between the two Middle East foes.

Iran denies allegations it seeks a nuclear weapons capability and says all its atom work is for peaceful purposes.

The IAEA report "will be seized upon by those who argue that Israel can't afford to wait before taking unilateral military action to stop Iran", said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Diplomats say the IAEA is expected to say that Iran has completed installation of two additional cascades - linked networks of 174 enrichment centrifuges each - at the Fordow site buried deep in a mountain, since its previous report in May.

While the new machines are not yet operating, the move reaffirmed Iranian defiance of international demands to suspend enrichment, which can have both civilian and military uses depending on refinement level.

The IAEA and Iran failed on Friday to strike a deal aimed at allaying concerns about Tehran's nuclear program by unblocking an agency probe into suspected nuclear weapons research.

Iran's refusal to limit and open up its atomic activity to unfettered IAEA inspections that could determine whether it is purely peaceful, or not, has led to harsher punitive sanctions and increased talk about possible military action.

Citing satellite images, diplomats say Iran has been "sanitizing" a military facility, Parchin, where the IAEA believes it has carried out explosives tests relevant for nuclear weapons development.

"Iran is in the final stages of cleansing the site," one Western envoy said, casting doubt on whether IAEA inspectors would find anything even if they were allowed to go there.

Iran says Parchin, southeast of the capital Tehran, is a conventional military facility and has dismissed the allegations about it as "childish."

An IAEA report showing that Iran has not cooperated in resolving outstanding issues and has added centrifuges at Fordow would "heighten Israel's already acute concern the IAEA can't assure the world that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful," said Mark Hibbs of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The IAEA's decision to form a Task Force on the Islamic state appeared to be an attempt to focus and streamline its handling of the sensitive file by setting up one single unit with Iran experts and other resources it already has.

The brief IAEA statement to staff said the Iran Task Force would be part of the agency's department of safeguards, which carries out inspections around the world to make sure nuclear material is not diverted for military purposes.

The move underlined that the IAEA is prioritizing its Iran investigation. "The agency had the resources and people in place and now they are trying to make sure the appropriate structure is there to continue to support them," a Western diplomat said.

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/29/us-nuclear-iran-unit-idUSBRE87S0I320120829


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4.
Iran Denies Plans to Show Nuclear Sites to Diplomats
Reuters
8/28/2012
(for personal use only)


Iran said on Tuesday it has no plans to show its nuclear sites to diplomats visiting Tehran for this week's Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, despite an earlier offer by a deputy foreign minister.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mehdi Akhoundzadeh hinted on Monday that visiting NAM diplomats might be allowed to tour the Parchin military base, which the U.N. nuclear watchdog says may have been used for nuclear-related explosives trials.

But Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast appeared to pour cold water on the idea. "We have no specific plans for a visit to Iran's nuclear installations by foreign guests participating in the summit of NAM member countries," state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.

A Western diplomat had dismissed as a "bad publicity stunt" Akhoundzadeh's tentative offer, made after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) again failed to gain access to Parchin for its inspectors at a meeting in Vienna on Friday.

"It is the IAEA that should have been given access to Parchin," the senior diplomat told Reuters in Vienna.

Iran is hosting the NAM summit, which ends on Friday, at a time when the West is trying to isolate the Islamic Republic over suspicions it is seeking a nuclear weapons capability. Tehran says its atomic program has only peaceful aims.

The IAEA suspects that Iran has conducted explosives tests in a steel chamber at Parchin relevant for the development of nuclear weapons, possibly a decade ago, and that it may have tried to cleanse the site in recent months.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's representative to the IAEA, said Iran had "pre-conditions" for an agency visit to Parchin.

"One of our principles is that security issues should be completely observed, and any steps taken should be taken with our management," said Soltanieh, speaking on the sidelines of the NAM summit, according to the Mehr news agency.

He did not elaborate, but his choice of words suggested Iran would seek tight control over any IAEA visit to Parchin.

Soltanieh also referred to Iran's demands for access to IAEA documents underpinning the agency's concerns about possible military dimensions to Tehran's atomic activity.

"This has been our most major request, upon which we have insisted and will insist," he was quoted as saying.

Tehran's quest for access to the documents is a sticking point in talks with the IAEA on the agency's stalled probe into suspected atom bomb research in Iran, diplomatic sources say.

The IAEA has received many of the documents from foreign intelligence services on the condition of confidentiality.

Soltanieh also reiterated his country's determination to keep enriching uranium. "We will not suspend enrichment for even one second," the ISNA news Agency quoted him as saying.

Enriched uranium can be used to fuel power stations, or, if processed further, for nuclear weapons.

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/28/us-iran-nuclear-idUSBRE87R09K20120828


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B.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Ailing SoCal Reactor Prepares to Remove Fuel
Power Engineering
8/30/2012
(for personal use only)


The operator of the San Onofre nuclear power plant is preparing to empty the radioactive fuel from one of its twin reactors, a federal official said Monday, another sign the plant won't be operating at full capacity anytime soon, if ever.

Tons of fuel inside the disabled Unit 3 reactor will be moved into storage in mid-September, Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector Gregory Warnick told The Associated Press on Monday.

The plant located between Los Angeles and San Diego has been shut down since January, after a break in a tube that carries radioactive water. Investigators later found unusual wear on scores of tubes inside the plant's four steam generators, and Southern California Edison has been trying for months to determine how to fix it.

Edison has previously said it's focusing on repairing the Unit 2 reactor, which had been taken offline earlier in January for maintenance, and that "the Unit 3 reactor will not be operating for some time."

Damage to the tubes in Unit 2 is less widespread, but there's no timetable for its possible restart.

Unit 3 "is clearly not the focus right now in terms of correcting the steam generator issues," said Warnick, the NRC's senior resident inspector at San Onofre. "Unit 3 is going to take more work."

Dave Lochbaum, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' nuclear safety project, said placing the radioactive fuel in storage puts the reactor in a condition "requiring the least amount of safety equipment to be operable, and therefore the fewest number of tests and inspections to be performed."

Coming shortly after Edison announced plans to cut its workforce, "reducing the scope of required work at the jobsite is a good thing to do before discharging workers," Lochbaum said.

Edison spokeswoman Jennifer Manfre said in a statement that removing fuel from the unit "will best allow us to maintain the unit as testing, analysis and repair planning continue."

Traces of radiation escaped at the time of Unit 3's tube break, but officials said there was no danger to workers or neighbors. A three-month federal probe blamed a botched computer analysis for generator design flaws that ultimately resulted in excessive wear to alloy tubes.

About 7.4 million Californians live within 50 miles of San Onofre, which can power 1.4 million homes.

Available at: http://www.power-eng.com/news/2012/08/30/ailing-socal-reactor-prepares-to-remove-fuel.html



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2.
Japan Leans Toward Zero Nuclear Stance, Caution Remains
Linda Sieg
Reuters
8/29/2012
(for personal use only)


Japan's government, wary of public opinion ahead of an election, is leaning toward setting a target to eliminate atomic power by 2030 - a major policy shift for an economy that had planned to boost the role of nuclear energy before the Fukushima crisis.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is expected to call a snap election within months and with his Democratic Party's (DPJ) ratings sagging, pressure is mounting to respond to a growing grass-roots anti-nuclear movement and surveys showing that most voters want to abandon atomic energy eventually.

Such a decision would fly in the face of objections from big business lobbies, which say an aggressive programme to exit nuclear power will boost electricity rates and force companies to move production - and jobs - overseas.

"I think the zero by 2030 scenario is becoming mainstream (in the government)," said DPJ lawmaker Satoshi Arai, a former minister and a member of a panel thrashing out the party's stance ahead of the election for parliament's lower house.

"I think it is (because of) the election," he told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

In contrast to polls of ordinary voters, a Reuters survey of big Japanese firms showed that while one in five backed the zero option, the rest of respondents supported a continued role for nuclear energy.

But some economists say a policy shift would spell opportunities for growth, both for companies now positioning themselves to profit from the change and the economy overall.

"A sustained focus on energy technology improvement should be very positive for certain sectors or producers but also very positive for users, who need increased incentives to use energy more efficiently," said Robert Feldman, chief economist at Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities in Tokyo.

Feldman rejected suggestions that an abrupt policy change would prompt firms to move overseas "because it takes a static view of technology. Why would technology stop in its tracks?"

The earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima power plant and caused a series of meltdowns prompted cancellation of a 2010 plan to raise the share of nuclear power in electricity production to more than 50 percent by 2030 from nearly 30 percent.

All 50 of Japan's reactors were halted within months of the accident, with two since reconnected to the grid. Policymakers are now considering three options for the future of the sector.

Most experts had expected Noda to opt for a scenario that would put nuclear power's share at around 15 percent of electricity production by 2030. But growing anti-nuclear protests combined with strong support for the zero option at public hearings and in opinion polls has forced the government to rethink, experts and politicians said.

"A majority of people are eager to get rid of nuclear power - that is our conclusion after we discussed a variety of public opinions submitted to the government this time," Economics Minister Motohisa Furukawa told reporters on Tuesday.

Besides the zero and 15 percent options, a third scenario would put nuclear power's share at 20-25 percent by 2030.

The earthquake and tsunami devastated Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant north of Tokyo and forced about 160,000 people to flee their homes, many of whom may never return. The disaster undermined public confidence in nuclear power, promoted for decades as safe, clean and cheap.

Noda's decision to approve the restart of the two reactors galvanized the anti-nuclear movement.

But Noda's party is split and the prime minister seems reluctant to wean Japan from nuclear power too soon. "There are many people who say different things and no one can say whether the government will choose zero or 15 percent at this point," said a source with knowledge of the debate.

Some experts still expect the government to pick the 15 percent scenario, the logical outcome if reactors are shut after 40 years as required "in principle" by law, and no new reactors are built. It could, however, add that Japan will aim to exit atomic energy longer term, a stance the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party may also adopt in its own campaign platform.

"While the Noda Administration ... (is) openly talking about a zero nuclear policy, we believe this is simply not doable. A 15 percent nuclear policy will likely be adopted after all the protests and arguments," said a report by energy consultants FACTS Global Energy.

Demand for liquefied natural gas in Japan, the world's biggest consumer of the fuel, will rise further to run power stations as renewable sources such as solar and wind power would not fill the gap fast enough, the report said.

Arai, who favors the 15 percent solution, echoed the concerns. "If we move faster, technological and system development and huge changes in society will be needed," he said. "I don't think that is possible in 15-20 years."

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/29/us-japan-nuclear-idUSBRE87S09G20120829



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C.  Nuclear Safety & Security

1.
NRC Sends Added Personnel to Entergy's Louisiana Nuke Plants
Reuters
8/28/2012
(for personal use only)


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday it had sent additional personnel to Entergy Corp's plants in Louisiana in response to the expected landfall of Tropical Storm Isaac.

The Waterford plant is about 20 miles west of New Orleans and the River Bend plant is about 25 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

NRC on Monday dispatched four inspectors from Regions II and IV to assist the resident inspectors at both sites. The NRC staff will remain at the plant during the coming days to monitor the licensee's activities and ensure safe plant operations.

Entergy also said it had implemented severe weather procedures at its Waterford nuclear station in St. Charles Parish, 30 miles west of New Orleans, as Tropical Storm Isaac moves toward the Gulf Coast.

Available at: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/28/storm-isaac-entergy-waterford-idINL2E8JS6BH20120828


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2.
Safety Checks on Reactor Vessels
World Nuclear News
8/28/2012
(for personal use only)


While investigations continue into possible manufacturing defects in the reactor pressure vessel of unit 3 of Belgium's Doel nuclear power plant, nuclear safety authorities in other countries are assessing vessels of plants supplied by the same manufacturer for similar flaws.

A new ultrasound measuring technique was used for the first time in June 2012 over the whole surface of the Doel 3 reactor vessel, rather than just around the weld zones. This showed indications that "could be assimilated to potential cracks." Additional tests confirmed the presence of these flaws, which are believed to be manufacturing defects in the steel vessel.

Belgium's Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) said, "Numerous flaw indications in the basic steel material of the reactor vessel were detected in late June, in particular in the bottom-most ring." It added, "These are 'laminar' flaws parallel with the surface of the walls and, as such, theoretically not dangerous as they are normally not subject to stress."

Another Belgian reactor, Tihange 2, was stopped on 16 August for a maintenance outage and will undergo the same examinations as Doel 3 as its reactor pressure vessel was produced by the same manufacturer Rotterdam Drydock Company (Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij, RDM).

As many as 21 reactor pressure vessels made by RDM are located around the world. Therefore, FANC organized a meeting of nuclear safety authorities in Brussels on 16 August to discuss the issue. The meeting was attended by experts from the USA, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Most of these countries have nuclear power plants whose vessels have been manufactured by RDM.

FANC director general Willy De Roovere said the purpose of the meeting was "to give information on the situation at Doel 3 and not to make a decision about its future." The safety authorities attending the meeting were also informed about the additional inspections requested by FANC and its technical subsidiary Bel V. These additional investigations are expected to be completed at the end of September. "Furthermore, this international contact made it possible to share expertise on reactor vessel integrity and inspections," De Roovere said. A second meeting of the nuclear safety authorities is planned to be held in October.

The Belgian government expects FANC to provide a full analysis and explanation of the established phenomenon and the possible risks. In a statement, the government said, "At this stage it is therefore too early to draw any conclusion whatsoever about the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 plants." It added that it cannot currently provide any estimated restart date for the two units. "Obviously, the two plants will not restart until the government has received guarantees from both the regulator and the panel of international experts that the flaw indications pose no risk to the public, workers and the environment." However, it reassured the population that Belgium would not be confronted with blackouts, especially during next winter, even if Doel 3 and Tihange 2 remain offline.
International response

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) has requested that the number of planned inspections of the reactor pressure vessel of Ringhals 2 - which was supplied by RDM in the early 1970s - should be increased to check for any similar manufacturing defects as found at Doel 3. The reactor is due to enter its annual refuelling and maintenance outage on 15 September. Plant owner Ringhals AB is to present an action plan to SSM by 1 June 2013.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear, CSN) is analyzing the documentation and the fabrication process of reactor pressure vessels of the Cofrentes and Garoña plants, which were both manufactured by RDM. CSN said that preliminary investigations show that the vessel of the Cofrentes plant is not affected by the same defects found in Belgium as a different manufacturing process was used. The Cofrentes vessel is composed of semicircular clasps welded vertically, while the Doel 3 vessel is composed of forged rings welded horizontally. However, Garoña's vessel was constructed using the same process as that for Doel 3. CSN noted significant differences between the Garoña and Doel 3 vessels - including the size, thickness, number of forged pieces and the type of reactor. "Therefore the defects from Doel 3 cannot be extrapolated to Garoña," according to CSN.

CSN said that it will continue to review the manufacture of the vessels and the parameters determining the possible appearance of these defects, as well as analyzing the results of inspections conducted in different areas of the vessels.

The Swiss federal nuclear safety inspectorate ENSI said that no indications of manufacturing defects have been detected in the reactor pressure vessel of the Mühleberg nuclear power plant. However, further ultrasound examinations will be conducted to confirm this. The vessel of the Leibstadt plant, while featuring piping supplied by RDM, was made using rolled steel, not forged steel, from Japanese and French suppliers.

The French nuclear safety authority, the Autorité De Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), said that checks carried out in France showed that no French vessel presents defects corresponding to those found at Doel 3.

The discovery of the flaws at Doel 3 has provisionally been rated as Level 1 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), an 'anomoly'. However, FANC said that this rating may be reassessed when more information and the results of further analyses are available.

Available at: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Safety_checks_on_reactor_vessels-2808124.html


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D.  Nuclear Cooperation

1.
Belarus May Buy Nuclear Fuel Outside Russia
Belarusian Telegraph Agency
8/29/2012
(for personal use only)


Belarus may potentially buy nuclear fuel from sources other than Russian suppliers, Deputy Energy Minister of Belarus Mikhail Mikhadyuk told BelTA at the online conference hosted by the BelTA website on 29 August.

He remarked that in accordance with the present agreements the Russian side has to supply nuclear fuel as fuel rod arrays. Those are required for the initial load and consequent reloads of the energy units of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

Speaking about who else can supply fuel for the Belarusian nuclear power plant if necessary, the official said that at present the US company Westinghouse Electric operates on the market of fuel for energy units that employ Mark 1000 water-cooled power reactors. The company started supplying fuel rod arrays to Ukraine in 2011. In line with the contract the company will deliver about 630 fuel rod arrays in 2011-2015 for the sake of step-by-step replacement of Russian fuel in at least three energy units that use Mark 1000 water-cooled power reactors. In the future Ukraine intends to start manufacturing nuclear fuel of its own, said Mikhail Mikhadyuk.

Thus, the potential ability to buy fuel from other suppliers is there, said the official.

Available at: http://news.belta.by/en/news/econom?id=691124


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2.
Experienced Foreign Specialists to Operate Belarusian Nuclear Station
Belarusian Telegraph Agency
8/29/2012
(for personal use only)


There are plans to hire about 70 experienced foreign specialists to operate the Belarusian nuclear power plant, Belarusian Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk said at the online conference hosted by BelTA on 29 August.

The official said those are specialists with hands-on experience to fill about 70 key posts. Mikhail Mikhadyuk said that people with practical experience in addition to trained Belarusian specialists should man their stations during the first few launches for the sake of continuity and guarantees.

At present eight foreign specialists work for the directorate for building the Belarusian nuclear power plant. “We are now forming the foundation for the main production departments of the directorate,” said Mikhail Mikhadyuk. In his words, they get many applications from Russia, Ukraine, and Lithuania from people, who would like to work at the Belarusian nuclear station. The people are attracted not only by the possibility of operating the power plant but also by the calm and stable situation in the country, the official said.

Speaking about personnel training for the nuclear station, Mikhail Mikhadyuk said that in line with the general contract on building the power plant the personnel will be trained by the Russian side both in Belarus and at Russian power plants, which already exist or are being built in Russia. “We believe that workforce training is as important as the technology and even more important than that,” stressed the official.

According to Mikhail Mikhadyuk, it will be done in several stages. During the first stage – two years after the contract was signed – the schedule for recruiting nuclear station staff will be worked out using the construction schedule as the guideline. After that regulations will be put together to lay down requirements for the personnel and people themselves will be shortlisted and hired. “We should have the entire staff as per regulations two years before the nuclear power plant goes online,” remarked Mikhail Mikhadyuk.

The second stage, before the first energy unit goes online, provides for commissioning a training center and recruiting instructors while nuclear station personnel will be recruited in compliance with the organization chart of the nuclear station’s first energy unit. People will be trained continuously, said the Deputy Energy Minister.

The third stage, before the launch of the second energy unit, includes the training of personnel for this energy unit and the development of the strategy to manage human resources in the future taking into account future development of the nuclear power engineering industry.

Efforts are also put into the formation of a national system to train personnel to man the future nuclear power plant, said Mikhail Mikhadyuk. The government program for training nuclear energy industry personnel in 2008-2010 has been implemented since 2008. As part of the program the Belarusian State University, Belarusian National Technical University, Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radio Electronics, and International Sakharov Environmental University are training students in new professions in the area of nuclear power engineering. Internships have been arranged for professors and researchers of higher education institutions abroad, with field experience available to students in countries with a well-developed nuclear energy industry (Russia, Ukraine).

Available at: http://news.belta.by/en/news/society?id=691171


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E.  Links of Interest

1.
Astana Hosts International Conference on Nuclear Weapons
Trend
8/29/2012
(for personal use only)
http://en.trend.az/regions/casia/kazakhstan/2059759.html


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2.
Big Radiation Risk Unlikely if Israel Strikes Iran: Experts, Alister Doyle and Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, 8/28/2012
Alister Doyle and Fredrik Dahl
Reuters
8/28/2012
(for personal use only)
http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/28/us-iran-nuclear-environment-idINBRE..


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3.
The Health Effects of Fukushima
World Nuclear News
8/28/2012
(for personal use only)
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_The_health_effects_of_Fukushima_2808121..


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