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Nuclear News - 8/9/2012
PGS Nuclear News, August 9, 2012
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich

A.  Iran
    1. Iran's Atomic Project Getting Harder to Foresee: Barak, Reuters (8/9/2012)
B.  North Korea
    1. In Message to Washington, Pyongyang Defends its Nuclear Program, Park Byong-su, The Hankyoreh (8/9/2012)
    2. North Korea Able to Test Nukes in two Weeks, Study Says, David Lerman, Bloomberg (8/8/2012)
C.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Wylfa Nuclear Station to Generate for Two More Years, BBC News (8/9/2012)
    2. Nuclear-Free Not Bad for Economy: Edano, The Japan Times (8/8/2012)
D.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. NRC Puts Nuclear Licensing Decisions on Hold, Alan Scher Zagier, Bloomberg Businessweek (8/9/2012)
    2. Safety Inspection Halts Belgian Nuclear Reactor, Robert-Jan Bartunek, Reuters (8/9/2012)
    3. Lead Shields Masked Radiation Readings Up to 30%, The Asahi Shimbun (8/9/2012)
    4. Guards Replaced after Tennessee Nuclear Security Breach, Marc Hosenball, Reuters (8/6/2012)
E.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. European Commission Gives Hinkley Point C the All-Clear, Nuclear Engineering International (8/9/2012)
    2. U.S. to Give Radioactive Material Transportation Vehicles to Kazakhstan, Interfax (8/7/2012)
    3. Rooppur Nuclear Plant Negotiation Begins, The Independent (8/6/2012)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Pro-Nuclear Power Experts Used Secret Meetings to Manipulate Deliberations, The Mainichi (8/7/2012)
    2. France Details Nuclear Waste Inventory, World Nuclear News (8/6/2012)
    3. TEPCO Video Shows Tensions as Fukushima Crisis Unfurls, AFP (8/6/2012)

A.  Iran

Iran's Atomic Project Getting Harder to Foresee: Barak
(for personal use only)

Iran's nuclear moves are becoming harder for Israeli and U.S. intelligence to assess, making Teheran's suspected atomic weapons drive an even more urgent matter, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday.

He was commenting a report in the newspaper Haaretz that said U.S. President Barack Obama had received a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) saying Iran had made significant and surprising progress toward military nuclear capability.

"There probably really is such an American intelligence report -- I don't know if it is an NIE one -- making its way around senior offices (in Washington)," Barak told Israel Radio.

"As far as we know it brings the American assessment much closer to ours ... it makes the Iranian issue even more urgent and (shows it is) less clear and certain that we will know everything in time about their steady progress toward military nuclear capability."

Israel sees an atomic armed Iran as a threat to its existence and there is persistent speculation over whether it will launch a pre-emptive military strike against the Islamic republic's nuclear facilities.

Tehran denies it is seeking to build the bomb, saying it is enriching uranium only for peaceful purposes.

Israel, widely believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, says little time remains before Iran achieves a "zone of immunity" in which Israeli bombs would be unable to penetrate deeply buried uranium enrichment facilities.

The United States has said it is determined to stop Iran gaining atomic weapons but has urged Israel not to launch a unilateral attack and instead to give more time for sanctions against Teheran to work.

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B.  North Korea

In Message to Washington, Pyongyang Defends its Nuclear Program
Park Byong-su
The Hankyoreh
(for personal use only)

Pyongyang reportedly sent a strongly worded message to Washington recently concerning its nuclear program.

North Korean officials said during a meeting with former US State Department official Joel Wit that the country would only consider denuclearization once Washington completely ended its hostile policies toward Pyongyang, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on August 7. Among the officials was Choe Son-hui, deputy chief of the North American affairs bureau in the North Korean foreign ministry.

Wit met unofficially with Choe and other officials in Singapore over a three-day period from July 31.

RFA quoted another person as hearing from Wit that Pyongyang had maintained it would only consider denuclearization if the U.S. answered all of its demands to date on replacing the armistice agreement with a peace treaty, dissolving the South Korea-U.S. alliance, and pulling its troops from the peninsula. The representatives also made it clear that Pyongyang was no longer interested in its Feb. 29 agreement with Washington, which was made in Beijing.

In February, the US and North Korea agreed that Pyongyang would suspend nuclear tests and uranium enrichment and allow visits by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in exchange for food aid. The US cancelled food aid after North Korea‘s rocket launch attempt in April.

The approach contrasts noticeably with the relatively flexible position coming from Pyongyang since the Kim Jong-un regime took office. It also appears connected with North Korea’s indication on July 20 that it was reconsidering its decision not to stage a nuclear test after the arrests of defectors allegedly ordered to destroy statues of Kim Il-sung.

“It looks like they determined that dialogue with Washington was unlikely to happen this year because of the election, and decided to ratchet up their demands as a way of making next year’s negotiations more favorable to them,” said a government official.

Meanwhile, Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation director Siegfried Hecker published a report in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on Monday stating that North Korea had the capability to carry out an additional nuclear test within two weeks.

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North Korea Able to Test Nukes in two Weeks, Study Says
David Lerman
(for personal use only)

North Korea is technically capable of conducting a nuclear test in as little as two weeks, according to a study published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Commercial satellite imagery shows an underground tunnel has been prepared for containing a nuclear explosion near the sites used for the regime’s two earlier tests in 2006 and 2009, according to the study written by Siegfried Hecker, a scholar on North Korea’s nuclear program at Stanford University in California, and Frank Pabian, a geospatial information analyst at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

A third test would be the first authorized by new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who took power after the death of his father in December. A demonstration of the country’s nuclear capability would raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula at the same time the U.S. and Israel are threatening possible military action to thwart Iran’s advances toward being able to produce its first atomic weapon.

South Korea said in April that the North may conduct a nuclear test to bolster public support at home after the failure of a long-range missile launch. While North Korea in May denied immediate plans for a nuclear test, it said two months later that it is reviewing its nuclear capabilities against South Korean and U.S. threats.

“We cannot rule out the possibility that the technological and military benefits may sway Pyongyang to test again,” the scientists wrote. Hecker has visited North Korea to assess its nuclear program, although the study is based on commercial satellite imagery and other publicly available information.

The Unification Ministry in Seoul declined to comment on the report’s findings and on whether it spotted any recent nuclear weapons developments, spokeswoman Park Soo Jin told reporters yesterday.

The underground tunnel that would be used in a new nuclear test “apparently has been under construction since 2009 and significant activity was reported at the tunnel site after the failed April space launch,” the authors said.

The scientists also raise the possibility that North Korea would conduct two detonations simultaneously, with one bomb made from plutonium, as in previous tests, and the other made from highly enriched uranium.

“Two detonations will yield much more technical information than one, and they will be no more damaging politically than if North Korea conducted a single test,” the report found.
Circumstantial Evidence

Still, evidence of North Korea possessing highly enriched uranium “is only circumstantial,” the scientists wrote.

The North Korean regime disclosed a uranium enrichment plant in November 2010, theoretically providing it with a second means to create nuclear weapons, in addition to plutonium.

The scientists said a new test “would greatly increase the likelihood that Pyongyang could fashion warheads to fit at least some of its missiles -- a circumstance that would vastly increase the threat its nuclear program poses to the security of Northeast Asia.”

While Kim weighs the political costs of a nuclear test, “it is imperative for Washington, Beijing and their partners in the six-party talks to join forces to increase the costs on North Korea of continued testing,” Hecker and Pabian wrote.

The talks involving China, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and the two Koreas began in 2003 and haven’t resumed since 2008.

The Group of Eight world leaders warned in a statement following their May summit that North Korea will face additional international sanctions from the United Nations Security Council if it takes provocative actions such as proceeding with a nuclear test.

The U.S. has publicly sought to deter North Korea from testing. “We are concerned about any potential for provocative action taken by North Korea,” Defense Department spokesman George Little told reporters last month at the Pentagon.

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C.  Nuclear Energy

Wylfa Nuclear Station to Generate for Two More Years
BBC News
(for personal use only)

The Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey will be able to produce electricity for another two years after it was given permission to move fuel.

The station already had a licence to generate power, but the fuel was in Reactor 2 instead of Reactor 1.

It means the station can continue generating electricity until the fuel runs out or September 2014, whichever comes first.

The station is due to close after that date and plans for Wylfa B are on hold.

Fuel has to be moved within the site as it is no longer manufactured.

Last month it was announced the Areva group and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) group were to bid for the Horizon project, which includes Wylfa B.

The fuel move has the backing of the Office for Nuclear Regulation and is supported by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Wylfa is the only Magnox site still generating electricity, following the closure of Oldbury in Gloucestershire in February.

The extra income from Wylfa and Oldbury - which closed in February after generating electricity for four years longer than originally scheduled - is so far estimated to be worth around £600m.

"Wylfa's continued generation is excellent news and will deliver significant additional revenue to support our clean-up mission," said Brian Burnett, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority's head of programme for Magnox.

The Anglesey site director, Stuart Law, said the extension was a credit to the staff who had supported the plant through its 41 years of electricity generation.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: "Wylfa has been generating electricity for homes across the county for over four decades now.

"This move, based on comprehensive safety assessments, is good for our energy security.

"It will enable Wylfa to continue generating for two more years, safeguarding jobs and bringing in additional commercial income, which will help contribute to the costs of our nuclear decommissioning programme management of the nuclear legacy."

In June the UK government reaffirmed its commitment to a new nuclear reactor on Anglesey during a ministerial visit to Wylfa.

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Nuclear-Free Not Bad for Economy: Edano
The Japan Times
(for personal use only)

Industry minister Yukio Edano waded into the national debate on energy policy Tuesday, saying the nation could phase out nuclear power by 2030 without hurting the world's third-largest economy.

"We can do it," Edano told reporters in Tokyo when asked what the impact of Japan ditching its stable of nuclear reactors would be. Most have been shut down.

"I don't think the zero scenario is negative for Japan's economy. On the contrary, it can create growth as efforts to develop renewable energy and improve energy-efficiency could boost domestic demand," he added.

Tokyo ushered in new rules last month that require utilities to buy all electricity produced from renewable sources, including solar and wind power, at above-market rates for two decades, to stoke "green" power investment.

Edano meanwhile also said he opposes Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's plan to meet with an antinuclear citizen's group.

Such a meeting between the prime minister and a specific organization may send the wrong signal in terms fairness and transparency, Edano said.

The nation has a system in place that all citizens can participate in, Edano said, citing recent hearings the government held in 11 cities to glean public opinions about energy policy.

The state has refrained from listening directly to any specific group, including business lobbies, about energy policy, Edano said.

According to sources, Noda plans to hold talks as early as Wednesday with the Metropolitan Coalition Against Nukes, a citizen's group that holds antinuclear rallies every Friday outside the prime minister's office.

Edano's comments come as the government pursues a new energy strategy in light of the Fukushima atomic crisis, which led, directly and indirectly, to the shutdown of all 50 of the nation's nuclear reactors. Two were restarted last month on Noda's recommendation.

Noda has pledged to deliver a new energy policy by the end of 2012, with options ranging from cutting nuclear altogether by 2030 to nuclear power accounting for about one-third of Japan's electricity — the level before the Fukushima disaster struck.

Under the zero-nuclear scenario, government-chosen experts have forecasted Japan's economic growth could fall between 1.2 and 7.6 percent by 2030.

Iwate and Miyagi need to send an estimated 1.69 million tons of debris from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami outside of their prefectures for disposal, the government said Tuesday.

The amount, reported at a meeting of relevant Cabinet ministers by Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, is 780,000 tons less than projected in May.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he will do his utmost to speed up the disposal work.

Of the total, 420,000 tons are in Iwate, down from 1.2 million tons projected in May. The sizable drop resulted from a decision to recycle 900,000 tons of incombustible debris for use in postdisaster reconstruction projects in the prefecture.

The remaining 1.27 million tons are in Miyagi.

The government wants to complete disposal of all debris from the March 11 disasters by March 2014. Local communities outside Iwate and Miyagi have offered to accept some 370,000 tons of the total.

Since there have been no offers to take the remaining 1.32 million tons, the government is ready to accelerate negotiations with 16 prefectures.

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D.  Nuclear Safety & Security

Lead Shields Masked Radiation Readings Up to 30%
The Asahi Shimbun
(for personal use only)

Lead radiation shields forced on workers at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to cover their dosimeters masked radiation readings by about 30 percent.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, and Tokyo Energy and Systems Inc., a TEPCO group company, made the admission Aug. 8 after a test.

TES also acknowledged that when lead dosimeter covers were used on Dec. 1, eight of the subcontractor employees on the premises were working under illegal temporary staffing arrangements.

The falsification of dosimeter readings was revealed by The Asahi Shimbun in July.

TES, conceding it was lax about dosimeter control and employment contract oversight, vowed to take steps to prevent any recurrence.

Officials said the dosimeter covers were created from a 3-millimeter-thick lead plate and used to shield readings among workers trying to contain the threat of leaking radiation following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami last year.

The two companies have amended the radiation dose records for five employees who worked with their dosimeters covered by the lead shield.

A senior executive of Build-Up, a construction firm that subcontracted part of the work assigned to TES by TEPCO, instructed the workers to wear the lead covers.

He denied the covers had any palpable shielding effects, telling The Asahi Shimbun, "The way the dosimeter sounded the alarm (to indicate high radiation levels) was hardly different from when no cover was applied."

The practice almost certainly constitutes a breach of the Industrial Safety and Health Law.

Eight of the 12 employees who toiled in dangerous conditions, including some who did not shield their dosimeters, had been dispatched by companies that had no temporary staffing license.

The eight workers were supposed to be employed temporarily by a Build-Up subsidiary, but had, in fact, been staffed by three other companies, TES officials said.

In a separate case, an employee of another TES subcontractor was found to have worked at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant on Aug. 3 without a personal dosimeter. TES acknowledged it had failed to make sure that even this minimum level of protection was made available to its workers.

To prevent a recurrence, TES will assign someone to the Fukushima No. 1 plant's Main Anti-Earthquake Building to ensure that personal dosimeters are handed out to workers after they arrive.

It said steps will be taken to double-check that the workers are wearing the devices on the premises.

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NRC Puts Nuclear Licensing Decisions on Hold
Alan Scher Zagier
Bloomberg Businessweek
(for personal use only)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is putting a hold on requests for new reactor construction and license renewals —including Missouri's only nuclear power plant — after a recent federal court ruling questioned the agency's plans for storing radioactive waste.

The NRC's Tuesday ruling will delay at least 19 requests by utilities for new construction and operating licenses or license renewals. Those projects include Ameren Corp.'s request for a 20-year license renewal at its Callaway County plant in central Missouri; a renewal request by the Calvert Cliffs power plant in southern Maryland; and a request by Florida Power & Light to build two new reactors at its Turkey Point nuclear plant south of Miami.

A coalition of two dozen environmental groups sought the delay after a federal appeals court in Washington ruled in June that the NRC's plans for long-term storage of radioactive waste at individual reactors were insufficient.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by New York's attorney general and his counterparts in New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont over a relicensing application for the Indian Point nuclear plant along the Hudson River.

The appeals court found that spent nuclear fuel rods stored on site at power plants "pose a dangerous, long-term health and environmental risk." The NRC fought for decades to build a national waste storage site at Yucca Mountain in the Nevada desert, but that plan was scrapped two years ago by the Obama administration.

Ed Smith, safe energy director for the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, called the agency's decision "essentially the first time the NRC cannot generically say that spent nuclear fuel pools, which are located at every nuclear reactor, are safe." The Missouri coalition was among the groups challenging the NRC's plans.

While Ameren's Callaway plant license doesn't expire until 2024, the time frame for its license renewal likely will be pushed back from 2013 by another four or five years, Smith suggested.

"It's a win for public safety that the U.S. Court of Appeals has vacated the NRC regulations on nuclear waste," Smith added. "Now the public will have an opportunity to comment on provisions for safely storing radioactive waste, which may or may not actually be viable."

On Wednesday afternoon, Ameren issued a statement noting that the agency's "licensing reviews and proceedings will move forward," with the ruling more narrowly applied to the final issuance of permits.

In New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the Tuesday ruling shows that "the NRC has finally changed course" and "has committed to addressing the risks posed by long-term nuclear waste storage."

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Safety Inspection Halts Belgian Nuclear Reactor
Robert-Jan Bartunek
(for personal use only)

An investigation into possible cracks in the core tank of a Belgian nuclear power plant will close one of its reactors until the end of August at least, Belgian regulator FANC said, casting doubt over the government's plan to keep it open until 2022.

The 1,006 megawatt Doel 3 reactor, operated by GDF Suez unit Electrabel, is scheduled to close in 10 years' time, according to a nuclear exit plan the Belgian government adopted in July.

"FANC will only give a permit for further operation if convincing arguments can be made. The aim is to guarantee safety," the agency said in a statement.

The government awaits the outcome of the inspection and has not yet made contingency plans should the reactor, one of four at the plant, remain shut, a spokeswoman for Belgium's state secretary in charge of energy said.

"In case the regulator tells us that the reactor cannot be restarted, we will adapt the plan we proposed in July, but for the moment there is no plan B," the spokeswoman said.

Shares of GDF Suez lost as much as 2.6 percent on Thursday, making it the weakest performer on the STOXX 600 European Utilities Index.

Its unit Electrabel made no comment.

The regulator said the 1,008 MW Tihange 2 reactor in the south of the country would also be closed for inspection in September. Inspections are scheduled at the country's other reactors in 2013.

GDF Suez is expected to trim significantly its 47-year old nuclear business now that Belgium, the only nation where it operates nuclear plants, is phasing out its reliance on atomic power.

Belgium has long considered a complete exit, but that will depend on its having enough alternative sources of energy in place.

"In terms of alternatives, if the Belgian government decides to phase out nuclear power eventually, then the only alternatives are imports of electricity or gas and coal. Belgium is not the worst in terms of supply. They are well connected to the European grid," said Serge Gas, head of communication at the Paris-based Nuclear Energy Agency.

EU member states are responsible for determining policy to nuclear power and the energy mix in general, but the European Commission has initiated a series of stress tests as part of efforts to ensure safety following Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster.

They were meant to be completed before the Commission's August summer break, but European states have been given extra time for further assessments.

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Guards Replaced after Tennessee Nuclear Security Breach
Marc Hosenball
(for personal use only)

The Energy Department said on Monday it was replacing guards and supervisors on duty 10 days ago when three peace activists, including an 82 year-old nun, breached perimeter fences at the principal U.S. facility for storing weapons-grade enriched uranium.

The guards and supervisors work for WSI Oak Ridge, a subsidiary of the giant international private security contractor G4S, which was at the center of a dispute over security preparations at the London Olympic Games.

A federal official at the U.S. Energy Department's Y-12 complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, had also been "temporarily re-assigned" pending the investigation, a government official said.

The U.S. government both processes and stores enriched uranium at the Y-12 complex, which a senior official had previously touted as "the Fort Knox of uranium."

Joshua McConaha, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Energy Department branch responsible for designing and building U.S. nuclear weapons, told Reuters that the incident, which occurred during the night of July 27-28, was "not consistent with the level of professionalism and expertise we expect from our guard force."

As a consequence, McConaha said, the agency "has taken steps to remove the leadership team and the guard forces on duty at the time, and to replace them with some of the best security experts from around our enterprise."

He said NNSA and the Energy Department were "reviewing every aspect of our security posture and will apply the lessons learned from this incident across all of our sites and facilities."

G4S drew criticism last month for failing to provide the number of security personnel it promised to protect the London Olympic Games, forcing the British government to deploy extra army troops.

The peace activists, 82-year old Sister Megan Rice, 63-year old Michael Walli and 57-year old Greg Boertje-Obed, cut through a number of fences to reach the outer walls of a building called the "Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Storage Facility", the U.S. government's main stockpile site for bomb-grade uranium.

Rice said that while the activists eventually were confronted by as many as 12 guards, "they dribbled in and out ... It was very gradual." She added: "First the one, and he began to alert others."

The activists hung banners and strung crime scene tape on the building, and daubed slogans on the outer walls.

They were arrested and face federal charges of "wilfully and maliciously destroying or attempting to destroy government property. Rice and Walli were released on bond. Boertje-Obed remains in custody, having waived his right to a bail hearing and legal representation.

Peter Stockton, a former Congressional investigator and security consultant for the Energy Department, said for years there had been questions about the building's security, including whether the guards' sight-lines were adequate.

The building was designed and built after the September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda attacks with special features to withstand possible attacks by militants.

In a video which the NNSA posted on YouTube in 2010, Jason Hatfield, billed as the "operations manager", said: "This facility has been called the Fort Knox of uranium. Our mission is to provide safe, secure and efficient storage for highly-enriched uranium."

He added: "I realistically feel this facility will be here for the next 100 years."

After the intrusion, all operations at Y-12 were suspended until sometime this week. Energy Department officials said apart from the personnel changes, four new guard patrols were added to three previously operating.

The department drafted Rodney Johnson, a retired general who had been in charge of security at Pantex, an Amarillo, Texas plant where nuclear bombs are assembled, to "lead the effort to reform the security culture" at Y-12.

An official insisted on Monday that "None of the nuclear material at the site was seriously threatened in this incident," and that the storage building remains an "incredibly secure facility."

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E.  Nuclear Cooperation

European Commission Gives Hinkley Point C the All-Clear
Nuclear Engineering International
(for personal use only)

The European Commission has expressed its satisfaction with proposals by EDF Energy to build and operate a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, EDF announced 6 August.

In July, the Commission presented its opinion to the UK Government, under Article 41 of the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) Treaty, concluding that the proposed Hinkley Point C investment "fulfils the objectives of the Euratom Treaty and contributes to develop a sustainable national energy mix."

Under the Treaty developers of new nuclear power stations are required to notify the Commission of any investment projects. EDF Energy submitted its documentation in January 2010.

The recent opinion follows a separate view expressed by the Commission in May on cross-border impacts, under Article 37 of the Treaty. It concluded that Hinkley Point C "is not liable to result in radioactive contamination of the water, soil or airspace of another Member State that would be significant from the point of view of health."

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, Managing Director of EDF Energy Nuclear New Build, said: "We are delighted that the European Commission has given the Hinkley Point C project a clean bill of health. This is great news and the result of a lot of hard work, as we continue to make progress towards obtaining the necessary planning and regulatory consents for this nationally important development."

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U.S. to Give Radioactive Material Transportation Vehicles to Kazakhstan
(for personal use only)

On August 8 the U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Kenneth Fairfax will transfer several vehicles designed to safely transport radioactive materials to the National Atomic Energy Institute of Kazakhstan, the Nuclear Society of Kazakhstan said in a statement on Friday.

The transfer ceremony will take place in the city of Kurchatov in the East Kazakhstan region during the Nuclear Days in Kurchatov.

"The transfer of the radioactive material transportation vehicles to the National Atomic Institute is part of the partnership between the U.S., the Netherlands and Kazakhstan. The gift is an example of the productive and long-standing partnership between the U.S. and Kazakhstan in the sphere of nuclear non-proliferation," the statement said.

Also according to the statement, the 7th international conference Monitoring of Nuclear Tests and their Aftermath will be held August 6-10 at the Geophysical Studies Institute of the National Nuclear Center of Kazakhstan in Kurchatov.

More than 50 scientists from different countries, including the U.S., France and Russia, are expected to present their reports at the conference.

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Rooppur Nuclear Plant Negotiation Begins
The Independent
(for personal use only)

A high-powered Bangladesh delegation is expected to start negotiation Monday to finalise financial agreement with the Russian authorities for Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant – a multi-billion dollar project of the government.

The team led by Prime Minister's Economic Adviser Mashiur Rahman reached Moscow Saturday, said sources in the Bangladesh embassy in Russia.

The delegation includes State Minister for Science and Technology Yeafesh Osman, Board of Investment Executive Chairman SA Samad and representatives from ministries of finance, foreign and law, ERD, Planning Commission and Atomic Energy Commission.

"They are scheduled to go back to Dhaka on Aug 10 after official negotiation with the Russian authorities," Commercial Counsellor Noor Md Mahbubul Haq told the over telephone.

An inter-ministerial meeting presided over by the adviser was held in Dhaka on Jul 25 to chalk out the negotiation plan.

There was a proposal that at the initial stage, Russia would provide $500 million for preliminary work and later they would provide the necessary fund for constructing the plant, Foreign Secretary Mohammed Mijarul Quayes told the

"The negotiation for the first $500 million is extremely important as the terms and conditions of this deal would possibly influence the negotiation for the bigger fund that would be needed for the final construction," he explained.

It takes about $1.5 billion to $2 billion to set up 1,000 megawatt power plant depending on security features and technology standard.

The government is going to build the two nuclear plants with capacity of 1,000 megawatt each at Rooppur with latest 'third generation' technology from Russia where five-layer security measures would be installed, officials say.

Bangladesh signed final cooperation agreement with Rosatom of Russian Federation to build the nuclear power plant in Rooppur in November last year, but it is yet to hammer out the financial deal to construct the project.

Under the cooperation agreement, the Russian government would provide all necessary support and infrastructure development to build the plant and supply necessary fuel to run the plant and also take back the spent fuel.

The government is currently negotiating with multilateral lending agencies for $2.9 billion Padma bridge project and about a billion dollar defence purchase with the Russian government.

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F.  Links of Interest

Pro-Nuclear Power Experts Used Secret Meetings to Manipulate Deliberations
The Mainichi
(for personal use only)

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France Details Nuclear Waste Inventory
World Nuclear News
(for personal use only)

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TEPCO Video Shows Tensions as Fukushima Crisis Unfurls
(for personal use only)

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