1. EU-Iran Nuclear Talks 'Useful and Constructive'
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Iran's chief nuclear negotiator on Wednesday reported progress in talks aimed at restarting negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program, calling a meeting with European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton a day earlier "positive and fruitful."
Saeed Jalili offered few concrete details about Tuesday's meeting with Ashton in Istanbul, but said the two had assessed some "common points" reached by technical teams looking into the issue and had discussed "what can be done for a new cooperation."
"We discussed common points found by the experts and technical teams ... so that they may be brought closer together and that a framework for future talks can be drawn," Jalili said. "We hope (our) talks can help bring the common points closer together."
Earlier, the EU released a brief statement saying the talks that ended early Wednesday were "useful and constructive" and "an important opportunity to stress once again to Iran the urgent need to make progress." The EU said Ashton would brief representatives of the U.S. and five other world powers next week in New York about her efforts to restart negotiations that fizzled in June.
"We are awaiting the result of the six powers' assessment," Jalili said.
Efforts for a breakthrough on restarting talks over Tehran's nuclear program have gained new urgency with fear that the failure of negotiations could prompt Israel to make good on a threat to attack Iran's nuclear installations.
Iran denies it is making nuclear weapons.
On Monday, its nuclear chief, Fereydoun Abbasi, said that "terrorists and saboteurs" might have infiltrated the International Atomic Energy Agency in an effort to derail his nation's atomic program.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i9RN2uemYmUcBGsr6y31RrT-y14w?docId=22d02459e96842f48ab23e1bb98f1eaf
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have informed the U.N. committee monitoring sanctions on Iran that they have confiscated a number of items which could possibly be used in its nuclear program, a U.N. diplomat said Wednesday.
The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the confiscations have not been publicly disclosed, said the expert panel assisting the Security Council sanctions committee was investigating the items to determine if their transfer to Iran violates U.N. sanctions.
The U.N. diplomat did not disclose details of where, when, how or from whom the items were confiscated.
The items include carbon fiber, confiscated by Bahrain, the diplomat said. A 2009 report by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Iran is particularly eager to obtain carbon fibers and specialized metals for use in advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, a key ingredient of nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful aimed at producing nuclear power.
Authorities in the UAE and Bahrain declined to discuss the matter, but Gulf officials have pledged to boost inspections of Iran-bound goods for possible sanctions violations. Dubai, in particular, is a major trans-shipment point for Iran.
The Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Iran since December 2006 in hopes of pressuring the government to suspend enrichment — which it has refused to do.
Representatives from the six key powers that have been trying to restart negotiations with Iran — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — are scheduled to meet on Sept. 27 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting. Diplomats say their meeting may be immediately followed by a meeting of the countries' foreign ministers along with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
U.N. sanctions ban all countries from supplying Iran with materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs and all trade with Iran in goods that have both civilian and military uses.
The U.N. diplomat said the confiscations by the UAE and Bahrain show that the sanctions regime is working.
Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jfhTN8snnokSgFvLe83-sBThqkaQ?docId=01cfc2a99be544c0a43e4432af37825e
3. IAEA Renews Pressure on Iran After "Terrorists" Charge
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The U.N. nuclear agency said on Tuesday Iran must address concerns about its suspected atom bomb research, one day after Tehran alleged that "terrorists" had infiltrated the organization to sabotage the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment plants.
Britain added to the pressure on Iran before talks later on Tuesday between the European Union's foreign policy chief and Iran's nuclear negotiator, saying Western nations would step up sanctions against Tehran if negotiations failed.
Israel has issued more threats to attack Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, injecting new urgency to stalled efforts to resolve the long-running nuclear dispute with Iran by diplomatic means.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful but its refusal to curb work which can be used to build atom bombs has drawn increasingly tough Western sanctions limiting its oil exports.
"We will be intensifying those sanctions in the coming weeks and months in the absence of successful negotiations," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in London.
But he also made clear the West's opposition to Israeli strikes on Iran, which many analysts say could cause a wider Middle East conflict and hurt an already fragile world economy.
Britain's advice to Israel "has been very clear, that in these circumstances...we are not in favor of a military strike on Iran," Hague told a parliamentary committee.
Israel is believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, although it refuses to disclose any capability, while Iran's eastern neighbor, U.S.-allied Pakistan, is also nuclear-armed.
Israel sees Iran's atomic ambitions as a mortal threat and says sanctions are failing to make Tehran change course. The United States says diplomatic pressure can still work.
In a new test of that belief, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was due to meet Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Istanbul on Tuesday evening.
Ashton is leading negotiations with Iran on behalf of six world powers - including the United States, Russia and China as well as three EU heavyweights - which have made little headway since they resumed in April.
Separate efforts by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to unblock its investigation into possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program also appear deadlocked despite a series of meetings since January.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told Iranian nuclear energy chief Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani that it was essential for Iran to cooperate with his inspectors to help allay their concerns.
They met on Monday just hours after Abbasi-Davani sharply criticized the U.N. body in a speech to its 155-nation annual assembly in Vienna.
Amano told Abbasi-Davani the IAEA "is committed to continued dialogue...and expressed the readiness of agency negotiators to meet with Iran's in the near future", a statement said.
Western diplomats said they expected the next IAEA-Iran meeting to be held in October but the venue is still unclear.
In a sign of the depth of mistrust between Iran and the IAEA, Abbasi-Davani accused the U.N. agency of a "cynical approach" and mismanagement in his speech on Monday.
He said power lines to Iran's Fordow underground enrichment site were blown up a month ago and that an IAEA inspector had asked for a visit to the site a day later.
"Terrorists and saboteurs might have intruded" into the agency, he said.
Abbasi-Davani did not say who he believed was behind the sabotage. Iran has often accused Israel and its Western foes of trying to damage its nuclear work.
Western diplomats dismissed the Iranian allegations against the IAEA as an attempt to divert attention from Tehran's stonewalling of the agency's inquiry.
"Iran's accusations against the IAEA are a new low. Increasingly cornered, they are lashing out wildly," said nuclear proliferation expert Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/18/us-nuclear-iran-iaea-idUSBRE88H0EJ20120918
1. Candu Is in Talks With Turkey About Second Nuclear Plant
Ali Berat Meric
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Canada’s Candu Energy Inc., owned by SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC), is holding talks with Turkey about building the country’s second nuclear plant, the Anatolia news agency reported, citing Energy Minister Taner Yildiz.
Yildiz said a bidder from Japan, South Korea or China may emerge as the front-runner by the end of this month, according to Anatolia. Talks with Candu are continuing at the technical level today following a meeting with senior officials yesterday, Yildiz said, the agency reported.
“The result of this race will be clear at the end of this month,” the agency quoted him as saying in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri.
Turkey is planning to build the second facility by 2023 at Sinop on the Black Sea coast. Russia is to build Turkey’s first atomic plant at Akkuyu on the Mediterranean.
Available at: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-09-20/candu-is-in-talks-with-turkey-about-second-nuclear-plant
2. Japan Govt Appears to Waver on Commitment to Quit Nuclear
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Japan's cabinet approved a new energy plan on Wednesday aimed at reducing reliance on nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster, but appeared to roll back its commitment to abandon atomic energy by the 2030s.
The approval coincided with the launch of a regulatory body to oversee the nuclear industry and end what critics saw as too cosy a relationship between previous bodies, plant operators and officials. The new body will play a key role in deciding whether to restart reactors since last year's disaster.
The decision to waver on a commitment, announced last Friday, to eschew nuclear power in the 2030s followed calls by powerful industry lobbies for a rethink on grounds it could damage the economy.
Trade Minister Yukio Edano, who oversees the energy portfolio, said other factors had also to be considered before making such an undertaking.
"Whether we can become nuclear free by the 2030s is not something to be achieved only with a decision by policy makers," Edano told a news conference.
"It also depends on the will of (electricity) users, technological innovation and the environment for energy internationally in the next decade or two."
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, speaking later on television, said it was difficult to meet the target date and still solve some of the industry's toughest issues, like reprocessing spent fuel and storing nuclear waste.
"There's no change in a zero-nuclear goal by the 2030s," Noda said. "We can go nuclear zero at the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle, but we cannot go nuclear zero so easily at the back end of the cycle," referring to reprocessing.
Before the March 2011 quake and tsunami that caused a series of meltdowns and crippled the Fukushima plant, Japan had planned to increase to more than 50 percent the share of electricity produced by nuclear power. It had supplied about 30 percent before the disaster, the worst such accident in 25 years.
The accident spawned an anti-nuclear movement that led to a reassessment of policy. It also led to the shutdown for safety checks of all 50 working reactors - though authorities restarted two units despite opposition from environmentalists and others.
As part of the new policy, Japan aims to triple the share of renewable power -- mainly solar and wind power -- to 30 percent of its energy mix by the 2030s. But it will remain a top importer of oil, coal and gas for some time.
Finance Minister Jun Azumi told reporters the government's broad aims remained unchanged, but flexibility was needed. The public, he said, should not face additional burdens he public if power utilities ran into financial difficulty.
"We showed a broad direction towards creating a society that does not depend on nuclear energy," he said. "At the same time, however, reality calls for flexible responses, so I believe we could show efforts to achieve zero in 2030s as broad direction."
The new plan imposes a strict limit of 40 years for the lifetime of reactors with no new units to be built. It also said any restart of idled reactors was subject to the new regulator confirming their safety.
Edano said any decision on reactors operating beyond the 2030s would be taken later. At least two reactors are under construction - the 1,373-megawatt No.3 unit at Shinane run by Chugoku Electric Power Co and the 1,383-megawatt Ohma unit of the Electric Power Development Co.
The head of the new Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA), Shunichi Tanaka, said standards would be established to govern any restart of reactors, but this was unlikely by year-end.
The standards would replace stress tests that the government imposed last year to check the ability of reactors to withstand similar disasters to the March 2011 quake and tsunami.
Tanaka said the agency, replacing two mistrusted bodies, would be empowered to oblige power utilities to stick to safety regulations. Preventing new disasters was also a priority.
The NRA, he said, would set rules to restore public confidence, like requiring utilities to store spent nuclear fuel on the ground rather than near the top of a reactor, a major concern during the Fukushima crisis.
"We only check the risk involved with a reactor," said Toyoshi Fuketa, one of four NRA commissioners. "It is not our concern whether a reactor is needed (for power) or not."
Available at: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/19/energy-japan-nuclear-idINL4E8KJ0BI20120919
In Ottawa on Wednesday, Canada and the UAE signed an agreement affirming the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The agreement was signed by Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and his Canadian counterpart in the Conservative government there, John Baird.
It should be noted that the agreement is a positive step, since both nations are firmly committed to using nuclear power in a beneficial and peaceful way. For more than four decades, Canada has harnessed the power of the atom for peaceful purposes, with Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario all having nuclear facilities to generate electricity. The Chalk River facility near Pembroke, Ontario, is also a provider of badly-needed isotopes used widely around the world in nuclear medical treatments to fight diseases such as rare cancers.
The signing of the agreement is a positive step, considering that relations between the UAE and Ottawa — since the time of the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper — have not been without speed bumps. Ottawa remains highly protective of its air space; it strictly limits both Etihad and Emirates to three flights a week each only to Toronto. Both UAE airlines would dearly love to have more flights and access to the cities of Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, but they remain aspirations rather than destinations in the foreseeable future.
Available at: http://gulfnews.com/opinions/editorials/uae-canada-nuclear-accord-is-a-positive-step-1.1079077
2. India, IAEA Sign Pact on Contribution to N-Security Fund
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India has signed a pact with global atomic watchdog IAEA concerning its voluntary contribution to the Nuclear Security Fund (NSF).
The arrangement concerning the NSF was signed by Ratan Kumar Sinha, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Yukiya Amano, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna yesterday.
At the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul in March, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had announced a contribution of USD one million to towards activities concerning nuclear security.
"I am pleased to announce that yesterday (Sept 18) India signed an arrangement with the IAEA concerning the voluntary contribution to the Nuclear Security Fund," Sinha told the 56th IAEA General Conference today.
He said India looked forward to working with the IAEA on identified activities in the field of nuclear security.
"India has consistently supported IAEA's important role in facilitating national efforts to strengthen nuclear security and fostering effective international cooperation," he said.
Sinha also announced India's voluntary contribution of USD 50,000 to International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO).
"I am happy to announce that India will continue its support to INPRO by making a voluntary contribution of USD 50,000 in addition to in-kind contribution through active participation in several INPRO initiatives," he said.
The INPRO methodology for assessment of innovative nuclear reactors and fuel cycles provides a broad framework for developing specific goals and acceptance criteria for new designs, he added.
Available at: http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/india-iaea-sign-pact-on-contribution-to-n-security-fund_800615.html
3. Israel, Syria Trade Accusations at U.N. Nuclear Meeting
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Syria, itself suspected of illicit nuclear activity, accused the West at a major U.N. meeting on Wednesday of double standards in implicitly condoning an Israeli atomic arsenal and warned of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
Israel hit back at the annual assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by saying Syria and its ally Iran were "known for their clandestine pursuit of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction."
The Jewish state also made clear its view that the volatile region was not yet ready for creating a zone free of such weaponry, which Arab states have been pushing for.
"Such a process can only be launched when peaceful relations exist for a reasonable period of time in the region," Israeli atomic energy commission head Shaul Chorev said. "Regrettably, the realities in the Middle East are far from being conducive."
The United States said last week Syria was using the "brutal repression" of its people waging an uprising as an excuse not to address international concerns about its past nuclear work.
U.N. inspectors have long sought access to a site in Syria's desert Deir al-Zor region that U.S. intelligence reports say was a nascent, North Korean-designed reactor designed to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons before Israel bombed it in 2007.
The IAEA has also been requesting information about three other sites that may have been linked to Deir al-Zor, which Syria says was a conventional military site.
Syrian Ambassador Bassam Al-Sabbagh, in a rare public comment on the issue, insisted that his country was ready to cooperate with the U.N. agency and he sought to turn the tables on Damascus's accusers by hitting out at Israel.
Israel is believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, although it refuses to disclose any capability. Like its ally the United States, the Jewish state sees Iran's nuclear program as the most urgent nuclear proliferation threat.
Clearly referring to Washington and its allies, Al-Sabbagh told the IAEA's General Conference in Vienna:
"The fact that some influential states ... condone Israel's possession of nuclear capabilities and its failure to subject them to any international control exposes clearly the extent of double standards used by those states."
He said that this "poses a threat to the region's security and stability and may even spark a nuclear arms race there" and that Israel was the main obstacle to ridding the region of atomic weaponry.
Israel has said it would sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and renounce nuclear weapons only as part of a broader Middle East peace deal with Arab states and Iran that guaranteed its security.
Chorev, the Israeli delegate, said the concept of a region free of weapons of mass destruction "is certainly much less applicable to the current volatile and hostile" Middle East and would require a significant transformation in the region.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful, denying Western and Israeli suspicions that it wants to develop an atom bomb capability. Syria also denies any such ambitions.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said this year that Syria had asked for understanding of its "delicate situation" in response to requests for Syrian cooperation with his inspectors.
President Bashar al-Assad is fighting an 18-month-old revolt in which more than 27,000 people have been killed.
Chorev said the situation in Syria was a reminder of the need to secure nuclear materials and added that the whereabouts of atomic fuel intended for the destroyed Deir al-Zor reactor was an "enigma".
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/19/us-nuclear-syria-israel-idUSBRE88I0YO20120919
4. Rosatom Wants to Acquire Bulgarian NEC for Debt
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Russia's state nuclear company Rosatom may acquire a stake in Bulgaria's National Electric Company (NEC) if it fails to pay off a 1bln euro debt for work on a canceled nuclear power plant at Belene.
Earlier this month Atomstroyexport ZAO, a unit of Rosatom, complained to the International Court of Arbitration in Paris in an effort to recover construction work and production costs for the two canceled nuclear reactors in Bulgaria.
As NEC has a huge debt burden it won’t have enough money to pay if the court rules in favor of Rosatom, Kommersant daily reports. It means that all of NEC’s assets could be acquired by the Russian company.
But Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov considers Rosatom’s claim groundless, stressing Bulgaria would pay only for the equipment ordered by the Bulgaria National Electric Company (NEC). Borisov pointed out the issue concerns a disagreement between the two companies, not the relationship between the two countries.
Last week the Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Delyan Dobrev said Bulgaria was not worried about Rosatom’s claim as they have a plan which would rule out repayment of penalties.
NEC and Atomstroyexport agreed in 2006 to build a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube for an initial 4 billion euros. Bulgaria canceled the project on March 28 as both sides failed to agree on delay costs and were unable to find enough investment. The Fukushima accident after the earthquake in Japan saw costs for safety measures and risk insurance rise, forcing the companies to suspend construction.
Meanwhile Bulgaria filed a 61 million euro claim against Rosatom with an arbitration court in Geneva last year, over the purchase of old equipment.
Available at: http://rt.com/business/news/rosatom-nec-debt-claim-479/
5. Areva Finds UK Partner for Nuclear Decommissioning
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French nuclear reactor maker Areva and engineering consultancy Atkins have set up a joint venture to bid for decommissioning contracts in Britain's nuclear sector, the companies said on Tuesday.
AREVA-ATKINS Partnership UK will be based in Warrington, northwest England, and seek to secure subcontractor work with companies appointed to manage sites owned by Britain's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
"This will enable us to put our proven technology to use in meeting the challenges of UK decommissioning and strengthen Areva's footprint in the country," said Dominique Mockly, Areva executive senior vice president.
The companies declined to comment on how much money they had already invested in the joint venture.
Areva's European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) is planned to be built in Britain as part of EDF's Hinkley Point C nuclear station in Somerset, southwest England.
Atkins has previous experience in UK nuclear work, such as the decommissioning of a storage pond at the former Sellafield nuclear plant.
Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/17/areva-britain-atkins-idUSL5E8KHLFX20120917
The head of Israel's nuclear agency invited the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its Soreq nuclear research center.
Dr. Shaul Chorev, head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, during a speech Wednesday to the IAEA's General Conference in Vienna said that Israel has formally asked the IAEA to conduct a safety assessment at Soreq, Ynet reported.
Chorev said an inspection "will benefit all concerned in Israel, including the general public. It will also manifest the operation of Israel's nuclear centers according to high safety standards which are compatible with IAEA standards," according to Ynet.
Soreq is under IAEA inspection. The nuclear reactor at Dimona, which is rumored to produce nuclear weapons, is closed to the outside. Israel neither confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons.
Chorev said that Israel opposes the plan to hold a conference later this year on Middle East nuclear disarmament, calling it "futile," according to Ynet. The conference is favored by the Obama administration, according to reports.
Available at: http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/09/20/3107401/israels-nuke-head-invites-iaea-inspection
Sri Lanka has returned a metal shipment that arrived on an Indian vessel after local tests showed they were radioactive, the Power and Energy Ministry said here Wednesday.
The consignment, contaminated with a radioactive material, has been discovered by the port authorities in a 40-foot container and upon testing it has been found that 125 units of stainless steel and aluminum products were all contaminated.
The tests, which were carried out by the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA), had revealed significant traces of Cobalt 60, which is a highly radioactive element used in the treatment of cancer, Power and Energy Ministry spokesman D. Ramanayake told Xinhua. "The container has been returned to India and the AEA will inform the Indian authorities of the radiation contamination. Sri Lanka's AEA will continue to test materials shipped to Sri Lanka," he said.
The AEA also kept the container secluded for about a week after it arrived at the Colombo port.
Sri Lankan authorities have not decided whether they would take legal action against the owners of the shipment.
Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-09/19/c_131860810.htm
The National Emergency Crisis Management Authority (NECMA) and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp. (ENEC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the development of off-site emergency response plans for the Barakah nuclear power plant in the western region of Abu Dhabi.
“The Memorandum of Understanding is just one feature which will help to ensure that the Barakah nuclear power plant adheres to the highest standards in safety,” said Mohamed Khalfan Matar Al Romaithi, general manager of NECMA.
NCEMA is responsible for managing local and national crises, emergencies and disasters by coordinating efforts by relevant parties.
In July, ENEC officially started construction of the UAE’s first nuclear energy plant, by pouring the first nuclear safety concrete for the Barakah Unit.
Available at: http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2012/09/uae-nuclear-operator-signs-mou-to-develop-off-site-emergency-response-plans.html
A team of global nuclear watchdog IAEA will visit Rajasthan in November to conduct an in-depth operational safety review of two atomic power plants there, the first such exercise post-Fukushima nuclear disaster in India.
The review by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team, amid growing agitation against the nuclear plants in the country, is also expected to address the fears of anti-nuclear protesters over the safety aspects, the sources said.
The Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) will go through the programmes and activities essential to operational safety at units 3 and 4 of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station at Rawatbhata, they said.
The team is invited by India to conduct the review in the aftermath of Fukushima accident in which three atomic power plants experienced a full meltdown following loss of power due to a massive earthquake and a subsequent tsunami in March last year.
The OSART mission is not a regulatory inspection and will do an in-depth review of those aspects, largely under the control of site management, which are essential to the safe operation of a nuclear power plant.
Available at: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3911163.ece
5. Japan Sets Up New Nuclear Regulator After Fukushima ‘Failure’
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Japan’s new nuclear regulator starts operation tomorrow as part of measures the government introduced after the Fukushima disaster to try and establish an independent supervisor of the industry.
The government will inaugurate the Nuclear Regulation Authority and its secretariat tomorrow to separate promotion of nuclear power from regulation of the same industry, Yukio Edano, the trade and industry minister, said today in Tokyo.
Previously, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was responsible for both expanding nuclear power and supervising it, including the existing regulator Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, known as NISA.
“Unfortunately, the ministry failed to avoid the disaster and meet public expectations,” Edano told officials at the ministry today. “Everyone in the ministry has to acknowledge that the abolishment of NISA is based on the lessons and reflections from the failure.”
NISA will be integrated into the new authority, or NRA, as an an affiliate of the Ministry of Environment.
Available at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-18/japan-sets-up-new-nuclear-regulator-after-fukushima-failure-.html
The eight inspectors will spend a couple of weeks at the plant on the Lake Michigan shore, agency spokeswoman Prema Chandrathil said. They will determine whether operators have corrected mistakes -- one of which caused a weeklong shutdown -- that caused the plant's performance rating to be downgraded earlier this year.
Also under review is the general safety culture at Palisades, a 41-year-old electricity generator in Van Buren County's Covert Township, owned by New Orleans-based Entergy.
"We will bring a magnifying lens and look at areas where the plant has had problems to see what changes they have made," Chandrathil said.
Palisades' nuclear reactor shut down for a week last September because of a short circuit that resulted from contact between two pieces of metal inside a breaker panel, which the NRC blamed on staff errors.
In another instance, a water pump that cools safety equipment failed because of a crack in one of the couplings that hold together rods in the cooling system. The same failure happened in 2009, and the commission said an inspection showed the plant had not done enough to prevent a recurrence.
"We believe we have the issues resolved and are prepared for the inspection," Palisades spokesman Mark Savage said Monday.
The NRC places each of the 104 nuclear reactors in the U.S. in one of five categories based on their safety record. Most are in the top-performing group.
Palisades was bumped to the No. 2 category in January, and the following month, fell to the third. Five other reactors around the nation are in the third category.
Available at: http://www.freep.com/article/20120918/NEWS05/309180146/Nuclear-regulators-inspect-Michigan-plant
7. US, Republic of Malta Commission Megaports System Aimed at Preventing Nuclear Smuggling
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Representatives from the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of International Material Protection and Cooperation participated today in a commissioning ceremony at the Port of Marsaxlokk, Malta, to launch the operation of specialized radiation detection equipment installed by NNSA’s Megaports Initiative. In coordination with the U.S Embassy in Malta, Malta Customs and Freeport Terminals, this new installation can detect the presence of nuclear or radiological material that could be used in a nuclear or radiation dispersal device as well as other radioactive materials and will help to secure cargo containers passing through the port.
“Our success in equipping the Port of Marsaxlokk with radiation detection equipment highlights our shared commitment to keeping dangerous nuclear and radiological materials out of the hands of terrorists, smugglers and proliferators,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “Equipping one of the major shipping points in the Mediterranean is a significant milestone that highlights our strong partnership with Malta and our shared commitment to combating nuclear terrorism.”
The Port of Marsaxlokk is the Mediterranean’s third largest transshipment port and represents a strategic shipping hub at some of the world’s busiest shipping routes in the heart of the Europe/Maghreb/Middle East triangle. Earlier this summer, NNSA installed and tested the radiation detection equipment and the associated communications system, as well as provided training activities on operations and maintenance of the radiation detection systems. Malta Customs is now successfully operating the radiation detection equipment. It is anticipated that they will be able to scan more than 50 percent of containers passing through the Port of Marsaxlokk. NNSA will continue to work with Malta over the next several years to provide continued sustainability support.
The Megaports Initiative is part of NNSA’s Second Line of Defense (SLD) Program, which works collaboratively with foreign governments at land border crossings, airports and seaports to install radiation detection equipment and associated communications equipment. The SLD Program also provides training to host government officials to operate systems that detect smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials. NNSA has installed similar equipment at more than 425 sites and 42 megaports around the world.
Available at: http://nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/pressreleases/megaportsmalta091812
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