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Nuclear News - 9/4/2012
PGS Nuclear News, September 4, 2012
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich


A.  Iran
    1. RPT-Years of U.S. Fines over Iran Loom for Foreign Banks, Douwe Miedema and Edward Taylor, Reuters (9/3/2012)
    2. Iran Opens Nuclear Site to Mongolia's President, Nasser Karimi, Associated Press (9/3/2012)
    3. Bushehr Reaches Full Capacity, World Nuclear News (9/3/2012)
    4. Non-Aligned Movement Summit Resolution Supports Iran, RIA Novosti (9/1/2012)
    5. Iran Rejects IAEA Nuclear Report as "Political Move", Reuters (8/31/2012)
B.  North Korea
    1. Senior N. Korean Official Meets Iranian Leader, AFP (9/2/2012)
    2. N. Korea Vows to Expand Nuclear Deterrent, AFP (8/31/2012)
    3. North Korea Makes "Significant" Nuclear Reactor Progress: IAEA, Fredrik Dahl, Reuters (8/31/2012)
C.  Nuclear Energy
    1. NRC Rejects Nuclear Reactor for Too Much Foreign Owernship, Wayne Barber, EnergyBiz (9/3/2012)
    2. Vogtle Making Good Progress Despite Delay, World News Network (9/3/2012)
    3. Japan's New Power Generation Plan Seeks to Eliminate Nuke Plants by 2030, Power Engineering (9/1/2012)
D.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. AERB Detects Flaws at Nuclear Plants, Sanjay Jog, Business Standard (9/4/2012)
    2. Fukushima Could Happen Again, Investigators Say, as Insufficient Lessons Learned, The Asahi Shimbun (9/1/2012)
    3. International Experts' Meeting to Discuss Protecting Nuclear Power Plants from Natural Hazards, IAEA (8/31/2012)
    4. TEPCO: No. 4 Reactor Building Can Withstand 6-Plus Intensity Quake, The Asahi Shimbun (8/31/2012)
    5. Nigeria: Oil Companies Abandon 26 Radioactive Sources, Hamisu Muhammad, All Africa (8/31/2012)
E.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. IAEA Organises Course On Radioactive Material, Government of Ghana (9/4/2012)
    2. IAEA Department Developing European Master's in Nuclear Security, Occupational Health & Safety (9/3/2012)
    3. IAEA's Safety Standards on Nuclear Power Plants to Be Introduced, Power Engineering (9/1/2012)
F.  Links of Interest
    1. Korea to Build Nuke Fuel Storage Facility, The Chosun Ilbo (9/4/2012)
    2. Startup NuScale Holds Its Own in Game of Nuclear Giants, Braden Reddall, Reuters (8/31/2012)



A.  Iran

1.
Bushehr Reaches Full Capacity
World Nuclear News
9/3/2012
(for personal use only)


Power output from Iran's first nuclear power reactor at Bushehr has reached 100%, the Russian supplier AtomStroyExport (ASE) announced. The unit was connected to the grid almost a year ago.

The reactor reached full power at 6.47pm on 30 August, ASE said. This is the final stage in commissioning the unit, during which its equipment and systems will be test at full capacity.

German constructor Siemens KWU began work on two pressurized water reactors at the Bushehr site on the Persian Gulf in 1975, but work was abandoned in 1979. At the time, one unit was substantially complete and the second unit was around 50% complete, but the site was damaged by air strikes during the war between Iran and Iraq in 1984-1988.

However, in 1994, Minatom of Russia agreed with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to complete Bushehr unit 1 as a VVER-1000 unit, using mostly the infrastructure already in place. This plan also necessitated major changes, including fabrication of all the main reactor components in Russia under a construction contract with AtomStroyExport.

After years of delay, the Bushehr plant was finally connected to the grid on 4 September 2011, supplying around 60 MWe. Output from the 1000 MWe reactor has since been gradually be increased and has now reached 100%.

ASE's head of nuclear power plant construction in Iran Igor Mezenin said that the Bushehr plant is of a unique design. He commented, "Our nuclear industry has managed to integrate Russian technology into equipment built by the Germans, incorporating about 12,000 tonnes of German equipment. Much work was done to assess the condition and suitability of the German equipment, buildings and structures." He added, "The designers had to develop and implement a number of original ideas and technical know-how in order to adapt the Russian technology to the existing facilities at the site."

Available at: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Bushehr_reaches_full_capacity-0309125.html


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2.
Iran Opens Nuclear Site to Mongolia's President
Nasser Karimi
Associated Press
9/3/2012
(for personal use only)


Iran on Monday gave Mongolia's president a tour of its main uranium enrichment plant, the first time that it has opened the site to a foreign leader.

The visit by President Tsakhia Elbegdorj followed a summit of nonaligned nations in Tehran that Iranian officials hoped would show the failure of Western sanctions to isolate Iran diplomatically.
State TV showed Elbegdorj inspecting centrifuges used to enrich uranium at the facility in the central Iranian town of Natanz.

The West says Iran's nuclear program aims at developing weapons technology, but Iran says it is for peaceful purposes such as power generation and cancer treatment.

Mongolia is said to be building its first nuclear power plant and mining uranium with the help of Russia.
Iran has often said it is willing to transfer its nuclear expertise to other countries.

The TV broadcast said the Mongolian leader was allowed to visit whatever he wanted in the plant. It suggested that Elbegdorj endorsed the Iranian claim about the peaceful purposes of its nuclear program.

"This site is a unique place. Maybe in other countries it is not possible to visit such a sensitive place," he was quoted as saying. "I found out how the enriched uranium is being used for peaceful energy."

Inspectors from the U.N. nuclear agency visit the site regularly, and Iran has in the past allowed foreign diplomats and reporters to enter it as well.

Mongolia is one of the 120 members of the Nonaligned Movement of emerging nations, which held its summit in Tehran last week. Iran said during the meeting that it would open its nuclear sites to participating delegates.

Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iiKQMrDYxz8unvhMMGs3k6ks0yKg?docId=ce6c1b223e6a407bbd21f90066232f9d




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3.
RPT-Years of U.S. Fines over Iran Loom for Foreign Banks
Douwe Miedema and Edward Taylor
Reuters
9/3/2012
(for personal use only)


For years, the United States struggled to get foreign bankers to comply with its effort to throttle Iran's economy - but a couple of billion dollars in fines, not to mention lurid headlines and talk of jail time, has suddenly got their attention.

A half-hearted shuffling forward to settle years-old claims of busting U.S. sanctions on Tehran is becoming a stampede since Washington tightened rules to punish Iran's nuclear programme and a new aggression among regulators so alarmed many banks that shareholders will be paying out billions more for years to come.

Deutsche Bank and Italy's Intesa San Paolo are among big names that may soon join the still short list of foreign banks that have so far paid more than $2.3 billion in fines; some still protest their innocence but have regarded the cash as the price of keeping access to the U.S. market - and keeping executives out of court, or even jail.

The drama played out last month between Standard Chartered and the New York state supervisor who threatened to strip the august British institution of its vital Wall Street banking licence was not entirely typical. But StanChart's about-face within days, from vigorously defending past deals with Iranian clients to handing over $340 million - 5 percent of its pretax profit - was illustrative of an industry-wide shift in mindset.

"The acceleration in a sense is coming from (the banks') side defensively," said Michael Malloy, a professor at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in California.

"The notion being that it would be better to get out in front of this and confront the difficulty and come clean rather than wait for the authorities to ferret you out," said Malloy, who previously worked for the U.S. Treasury.

Clearly, it is not something all boards will shout about; when another British bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, made mention of talks with regulators on U.S. sanctions regulations in its quarterly report last month, it took another two weeks before many investors became aware of the issue via the media.

But, after Standard Chartered and June's record $619-million fine paid by Dutch bank ING, the list of European banks going public with warnings about possible U.S. payouts includes Germany's Commerzbank and HVB, a unit of Italy's Unicredit, as well as HSBC in Britain.

And Chinese banks have become embroiled in the process too, with the New York Times reporting on Wednesday that prosecutors said they had found evidence in their investigations that they, too, may have flouted U.S. sanctions against Iran.

By contrast, U.S. regulators long gave little opportunity to domestic banks to deal with Iran at all, leaving American bankers now little troubled by inquiries into past transactions.

It has taken time to reach this point; since Britain's Lloyds TSB Bank Plc became the first to settle, forfeiting $350 million in January 2009 for masking the origin of payments to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, Libya and Sudan between 2002 and 2007, others to pay penalties have included Credit Suisse, in December 2009, Barclays, in August 2010, and ABN Amro - now part of RBS.

Yet, as disclosures by the regulator in the Standard Chartered case made clear, bank executives were discussing among themselves the risk of personal criminal liability as long ago as 2006, as they sought to maintain profitable business despite confusion over exactly what was permitted under U.S. sanctions rules which had last been substantially altered in 1997.

Political heat over Iran's nuclear programme grew as Tehran defied U.N. resolutions in 2006 and denied Western accusations it was seeking atomic weaponry, but only in late 2008 did the U.S. Treasury ban a key element of non-U.S. banks' business with Iranians, known as "U-turn" transactions, by which they passed dollars for Iranian clients anonymously through the U.S. system.

Since 2009, the U.S. Justice Department (DoJ), the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Manhattan District Attorney's office have clamped down on banks dealing with countries blacklisted by Washington.

The sharp tightening of U.S. sanctions late last year, while not strictly relevant to past conduct, and the heightening of political drama over threats by Washington's ally Israel to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities also seems to have limited bankers' appetite for defending in public their dealings with Tehran, however strong many believe their legal cases would be.

"It is a very intense area of focus," said Michael Zolandz, an attorney with law firm SNR Denton in Washington.

"We're certainly sensing from large international banks ... that the pressure on them to disclose transactional information, to start sharing account data and monitor payments ... is definitely increasing."

The rules for U-turn transactions in particular have long been ambiguous at the least, legal experts say:

"Even after recent settlements there remained a need to clarify how the sanctions regime would be interpreted and enforced, which underlines how much uncertainty there is," said Susannah Cogman, at London law firm Herbert Smith.

But despite that lack of clarity over their previous business dealings with Iran, few Western banks now seem ready to put up much of a fight against the United States government.

"To an extent this is the price of doing business in - and with - the U.S.," said Cogman, an expert on regulatory disputes.

Showing an early willingness to cooperate could also help the banks limit the damage and avoid criminal charges.

"There is also the very real possibility of criminal sanctions," said Malloy at the University of the Pacific. "A showing of good faith and attempt to cooperate once you've been made aware of the problem would protect you in most cases."

Deutsche Bank in 2007 stopped taking on new business with counterparties in Iran, and, in a mark of the sensitivity to the risk to employees of U.S. legal action, a regulatory filing from March this year shows it did not involve any American citizen in either a managerial or operational role in Iranian transactions.

Commerzbank warned last month it faced a financial hit to settle the U.S. probes into violations of sanctions on Iran and other countries, which could exceed provisions.

Also last month, Italy's UniCredit said it was reviewing its German unit HVB to check "historic compliance", adding that the New York County District Attorney's Office, the DOJ and the OFAC were leading an investigation.

French banks BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole are conducting inquiries into U.S. dollar payments to check whether they are in breach of U.S. sanctions, they said late in August.

And Intesa Sanpaolo is still subject to an assessment by the OFAC, which could lead to administrative sanctions, half-year financial statements show. It has no further information on the timing or the size of any possible fine.

Available at: http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/09/03/banks-iran-idINL6E8K21U620120903


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4.
Non-Aligned Movement Summit Resolution Supports Iran
RIA Novosti
9/1/2012
(for personal use only)


Participants of the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran have unanimously adopted the summit’s final resolution, which supported Iran, the Press TV state-owned English-language news channel reported.

Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad read out the text, which included over seven-hundred clauses, at the summit’s final meeting on Friday evening.

The final communiqué “expressed support for Iran’s nuclear energy program, rejected the United States’ unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic, and called for greater efforts to support the Palestinian cause,” the channel reported on its website.

Founded in 1961, NAM unites 120 member states not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
The West accuses Iran, which is under a few sets of UN Security sanctions, of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program, while Tehran says it needs nuclear power solely for electricity generation.

Available at: http://en.ria.ru/world/20120901/175553065.html


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5.
Iran Rejects IAEA Nuclear Report as "Political Move"
Reuters
8/31/2012
(for personal use only)


A report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog that accused Iran of doubling the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges it has in an underground bunker was politically motivated, an Iranian lawmaker said on Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Thursday indicated that despite threat of an Israeli or U.S. military strike on Tehran's nuclear facilities, the Islamic Republic was rapidly increasing the enrichment capacity of its Fordow site, buried deep underground to withstand any such hit.

"Publishing this report while Iran is holding the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting does not mean anything other than it was a political move aimed at overshadowing the meeting in Tehran," lawmaker Kazem Jalali told the ISNA news agency.

Major powers accuse Iran of trying to build bombs under cover of a civilian nuclear programme. Tehran denies this, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

"It seems that this report is a scenario for psychological warfare because Iran was able to show its authority and international position at the NAM summit," said Jalali, a member of parliament's national security and foreign affairs committee.

Iran has portrayed its hosting of the summit of the 120-nation group of developing nations as proof that Western efforts to isolate it for its disputed nuclear programme have failed.

The IAEA's quarterly report on Iran said buildings had been demolished and earth removed at a military site the agency wants to inspect, in what Western diplomats see as an effort by Tehran to remove any evidence of illicit nuclear-linked tests.

Based on the report, the number of centrifuges at Fordow, near the holy Shi'ite Muslim city of Qom, about 130 km (80 miles) from Tehran, had more than doubled to 2,140 from 1,064 in May. The new machines were not yet operating, it said.

During his speech at the NAM summit on Thursday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran's nuclear programme was entirely peaceful. "Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none," he said.

But the expansion in enrichment infrastructure and the stockpiles of nuclear material revealed in the IAEA's report will do nothing to ease international concerns or reduce the diplomatic and sanctions pressure on Iran.

Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, conduit for more than a third of the world's sea-borne oil trade, in response to increasingly harsh sanctions by the United States and its allies intended to force it to curb its nuclear work.

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/31/iran-nuclear-iaea-idUSL6E8JV2Z520120831


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B.  North Korea

1.
Senior N. Korean Official Meets Iranian Leader
AFP
9/2/2012
(for personal use only)


North Korea's ceremonial head of state has vowed to strengthen ties with Iran and reaffirmed a shared hostility towards the United States during a meeting with Iran's leader, state media said.

Kim Young-Nam, attending a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, met with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday to clarify Pyongyang's "firm stand" to boost ties with Iran, the North's KCNA said on Sunday.

Kim stressed the need for more bilateral exchanges among high-level delegations as well as to boost economic and diplomatic ties during the talks that took place in a "friendly atmosphere", it added.

The Iranian authorities said boosting bilateral relations would be beneficial to both nations, praising the North's "steadfast anti-imperialist, anti-US stand", KCNA said.

"At the talks both sides exchanged views on... strengthening cooperation on the joint anti-imperialist, anti-US front and in the non-aligned movement," it said.

Kim Young-Nam also met Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani Saturday and expressed Pyongyang's support for Iran's drive for "peaceful nuclear energy", the Fars news agency said.

North Korea and Iran are both subject to international sanctions over their nuclear activities and their governments share a deep hostility towards the United States.

During Kim's latest trip to Iran, the two countries also signed an agreement to cooperate on science, technology and education, KCNA said.

Kim Young-Nam acts as head of state because the country's late founding leader Kim Il-Sung has been declared "eternal president". The impoverished but nuclear-armed North is led by Kim Il-Sung's grandson Kim Jong-Un.

An Iranian delegation visited North Korea in July for talks and the two sides put forward a "common front against imperialism and hegemony", the North's state media said earlier.

In May 2011 a UN sanctions report said the two countries were suspected of sharing banned ballistic missile technology, a charge denied by Tehran.

Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hoqzskiSvgIilVxjxtPWnrqSQylQ?docId=CNG.07748a4305236cb85a1e484e8022dcba.4d1


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2.
N. Korea Vows to Expand Nuclear Deterrent
AFP
8/31/2012
(for personal use only)


North Korea on Friday vowed to expand and modernise its nuclear deterrent "beyond imagination" unless the United States changes its policy towards the communist nation.

The North said in a foreign ministry memorandum that it had developed nuclear weapons to defend itself against an alleged US atomic threat.

The memorandum, published by the official news agency, said the North had no choice but to prolong the possession of nuclear weapons "unless the United States makes a right choice".

"Our nuclear deterrent will be modernised and expanded far beyond US imagination," it said.

The North has been developing nuclear weapons for decades. Its official position has been that it needs them for self-defence against a US nuclear threat, but that it is willing in principle to scrap the atomic weaponry.

Under a September 2005 deal reached during six-nation negotiations, Pyongyang agreed to dismantle its nuclear programme in return for economic and diplomatic benefits and security guarantees.

But six-party talks on implementing the deal stalled in December 2008. The North has staged two nuclear tests -- in 2006 and 2009.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Thursday that the North's nuclear programme is "a matter of serious concern".

North Korea's statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of a light-water reactor "continue to be deeply troubling", it said.

Pyongyang said it was building a uranium enrichment plant to produce low-enriched fuel for the new reactor to meet the nation's energy requirements.

Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gsuCKjwqaKVVULbLHecbXQ90PHpQ?docId=CNG.5f151a241265077eac6d98447bfefef8.541


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3.
North Korea Makes "Significant" Nuclear Reactor Progress: IAEA
Fredrik Dahl
Reuters
8/31/2012
(for personal use only)


North Korea has made significant progress in the construction of a light water atomic reactor over the past year, a U.N. watchdog report said, a facility that may extend Pyongyang's capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), citing satellite images, also said "certain activities" had been observed at locations where the reclusive Asian state "reportedly" conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

But "without access to the locations the agency is unable to provide a technical assessment of the purpose of these activities or of whether nuclear material is being used," the annual report, issued to IAEA member states on Thursday, said.

North Korea's nuclear program is a "matter of serious concern", it said, adding that the country's statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of the reactor "continue to be deeply troubling".

North Korea says it needs nuclear power to provide electricity, but has also boasted of its nuclear deterrence capability and has traded nuclear technology with Syria, Libya and probably Myanmar and Pakistan. It is believed to be pushing ahead with plans for a third nuclear test. {ID:nL4E8JO284]

It became the first country to withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 and has denied IAEA access to its atomic sites, reneging on a February deal to do so after it announced plans to launch a long-range rocket, in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In May, website 38North said North Korea had resumed construction work on an experimental light water reactor (ELWR) after stopping in December.

38North - run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University and former U.S. State Department official Joel Wit - said the ELWR, when operational, could produce enough material for an additional nuclear bomb each year.

U.S. expert David Albright estimated a higher potential production of about 20 kg of weapon-grade plutonium a year, enough material for four nuclear weapons or more. But he said it could also produce electricity.

"I think they do want to pursue this as an electricity route too, so it is really a question of dual use, and we don't know what they are going to do. North Korea would be able to do both," Albright told Reuters.

A highly enriched uranium program running alongside this could allow North Korea significantly to increase the number of nuclear devices it could produce, giving it a dual track to nuclear weapons as it has big reserves of uranium.

The IAEA said "significant progress" had been made in the reactor's construction since its previous report a year ago.

Progress included placing a dome on the reactor containment building and indications that some components may have been installed inside the building.

A system for pumping water from a river to the reactor for cooling purposes has also been built, the IAEA report said.

"However, without access to the site, the agency is unable to assess either the design features of the LWR or the likely date for its completion," the Vienna-based agency said.

Earlier in August Albright's think-tank, the Institute for Science and International Security, said satellite imagery from May and June showed construction "progressing apace". It said the reactor could be completed in the second half of 2013.

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/31/us-nuclear-northkorea-iaea-idUSBRE87U0EH20120831


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C.  Nuclear Energy

1.
NRC Rejects Nuclear Reactor for Too Much Foreign Owernship
Wayne Barber
EnergyBiz
9/3/2012
(for personal use only)


A panel for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has ruled against issuing a construction and operating license for a proposed new nuclear reactor in Maryland because it would have too much foreign ownership.

A three-judge panel for the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) issued the ruling Aug. 30 in a case involving the proposed Calvert Cliffs 3 reactor in Lusby, Md., and UniStar Nuclear Operating. The company has been seeking to operate a U.S. Evolutionary Power Reactor that would be located alongside the existing two Calvert Cliffs units at the Calvert County location.

The ruling represents a victory for plant foes, including Public Citizen, Southern Maryland Cares, Beyond Nuclear and the Nuclear Information Resource Service (NIRS). All those organizations had intervened in the case.

The ASLB did give UniStar Nuclear Energy an additional 60 days to secure a new U.S. partner for the plant to replace Constellation Energy, which is now part of Exelon (NYSE: EXC).

License opponents argued that the project will be “owned, dominated and controlled by foreign interests,” which is contrary to the Atomic Energy Act.

Both UniStar Nuclear Operating and Calvert Cliffs 3 Nuclear Project, LLC are domestic subsidiaries of UniStar Nuclear Energy, which is a Delaware corporation. The sole owner of UniStar is Electricite de France, S.A. (EDF), a French limited company, the ASLB noted in a 29-page decision.
Constellation exit fueled ownership issue.

The ownership of Calvert Cliffs 3 didn’t become an issue until November 2010. Until then, UniStar was owned in near-equal shares by Baltimore-based Constellation Energy Group and EDF. But in November 2010, applicants informed the NRC that EDF had acquired Constellation’s 50% interest in UniStar, thus making EDF the sole owner.

In January 2011, UniStar submitted a plan to NRC seeking to address foreign control issues by setting up a “security committee” of its board of directors, made up of U.S. citizens, who would have exclusive authority “over matters that are required to have U.S. control,” the ASLB said.

But in April NRC informed UniStar that this proposal would not solve the foreign control issue. During the past couple of years that UniStar tried without success to attract a new U.S. partner.

“Joint Intervenors caution that giving Applicants additional time to find a suitable American partner, and thus to meet the foreign ownership, control, or domination requirements, could lead to an open-ended proceeding,” according to the ASLB. Plant foes have also said that UniStar has been mostly mum about the status of its efforts or any timeframe when a partner might be expected to join up.

“Applicants reiterate that they are committed to obtaining a U.S. partner and recognize that a COL for Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 may not be issued until an appropriate U.S. partner is obtained,” the ASLB noted.

But the board agreed with the plant opponents in concluding that summary disposition was appropriate on foreign ownership. “The AEA clearly prohibits the NRC from issuing a reactor license to ‘any corporation or other entity if the Commission knows or has reason to believe it is owned, controlled, or dominated by an alien, a foreign corporation, or a foreign government,” according to the board.

There is currently no action plan that UniStar could submit, regarding management structure, which would be sufficient to negate EDF’s 100% foreign ownership of UniStar.

Likewise, the ASLB said the cases UniStar cited to bolster its case involve only NRC approval of “minority owners transferring non-operating licenses to foreign companies through mergers in which the minority owners became wholly-owned subsidiaries of foreign companies.” That’s considerably different than allowing an operating nuclear plant to be wholly owned by a foreign company, ASLB said.

“Given the apparent lack of progress in finding potential U.S. partners, the amount of time that has elapsed since Applicants became 100 percent foreign owned, and the current economic climate, we are not willing to grant Applicants an indefinite amount of time to resolve this deficiency because doing so would be counter to the Commission’s policies and regulations,” the ASLB held.

“Although we cannot keep this proceeding open indefinitely, we do grant Applicants an additional 60 days from the issuance of this order to notify the Board of any change in the ownership situation sufficient to establish their qualifications to apply for a license from the NRC,” the ASLB said. The board added that ASLB has already had two years to find such a partner.

“That UniStar has been unable to find a single U.S. utility to partner with it in this extraordinarily expensive project speaks volumes about the lack of genuine interest in new nuclear reactors in the U.S.,” said NIRS Executive Director Michael Mariotte.

This is only the second time in history a reactor license has been denied by an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, NIRS said. The first was the license application for the Byron reactor in Illinois in 1984, which was briefly denied because of quality assurance problems at the site. But that decision was quickly overturned on appeal as the utility already had initiated a program to correct the problems.

Available at: http://www.energybiz.com/article/12/09/nrc-rejects-nuclear-reactor-too-much-foreign-owernship


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2.
Vogtle Making Good Progress Despite Delay
World News Network
9/3/2012
(for personal use only)


Georgia Power has put back the expected dates for its new units at Vogtle to enter service by several months, although the delay is not currently expected to impact plant costs.

In its most recent semi-annual filing with the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power said that it expects Vogtle units 3 and 4 to enter service in November 2016 and November 2017 respectively. Previous filings had anticipated in-service dates of April 2016 and April 2017 for the two AP1000s, but according to the company these dates are no longer realistically achievable thanks to delays in securing full regulatory approval of the design control document (DCD) for the plant.

Work began to install steel reinforcing bar (rebar) for the base mat in the nuclear island for Vogtle 3 in February, soon after the plant received its construction and operation licence (COL) from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). However, in March the NRC ruled that a design for the installation of floor rebar developed by Georgia Power's contractor did not conform with the DCD, and installation work was put on hold pending investigations and licence amendment requests. Permission was granted to restart rebar installation in early August. Georgia Power says it expects to receive approval of its licence amendment request from the NRC in October, when it will start pouring the first nuclear concrete for unit 3.

Despite the hiatus in rebar installation, Georgia Power says the project is progressing well. Erection of major equipment is under way at the site, the assembly and welding of unit 3's containment vessel bottom head is complete. Assembly of unit 4's containment vessel bottom head is 50% complete and is ahead of schedule. Work on foundations for unit 3's turbine buildings and for cooling towers for both units remains on schedule, and procurement of major components and bulk commodities is on track, the company reports.

The latest report estimates Georgia Power's total projected costs for the project at $6.2 billion - slightly up on the $6.1 billion projected costs in its last semi-annual report but still lower than the $6.5 billion originally projected when the Georgia PSC first certified the project in March 2009. Although Exelon recently decided to drop plans for a new nuclear plant at Victoria County in Texas, citing economic conditions and low natural gas prices, Georgia Power says that nuclear still represents net savings compared to a combined cycle natural gas option identified as the "next best" alternative. According to the report, the Vogtle units will represent net savings of over $5 billion over the next best alternative over the lifetime of the plant.

Georgia Power owns 45.7% of the new units, with the remainder being owned by Oglethorpe Power Corporation (30%), the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (22.7%) and Dalton Utilities (1.6%). The plant will be licensed and operated by Southern Nuclear. The total cost of the project is estimated at $14 billion.

Available at: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Vogtle_making_good_progress_despite_delay-0309127.html


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3.
Japan's New Power Generation Plan Seeks to Eliminate Nuke Plants by 2030
Power Engineering
9/1/2012
(for personal use only)


The Japanese government has unveiled its new strategy to boost power generation capacity that seeks to eliminate all nuclear power plants by 2030.

While announcing the new plan, Environment Minister Goshi Hosono, said his ministry plans to increase the combined annual capacity of electricity generation using offshore wind, geothermal, biomass and tidal power sources to as much as 19.41 million kw by 2030, compared with 2.96 million kw in fiscal 2010.

The government is exploring options to cut nuclear energy's share of total power generation to zero, 15 percent, or 20 to 25 percent by 2030 in the wake of last year's Fukushima nuclear crisis, the Japan Times reports.

The newly unveiled strategy is designed to allow for the zero percent option, the report said.
According to the report, Hosono stressed that floating ocean wind power generators should be developed by 2020 to achieve the target of generating the same output as eight nuclear reactors.

Available at: http://www.power-eng.com/news/2012/09/01/japan-s-new-power-generation-plan-seeks-to-eliminate-nuke-plants-by-2030.html


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D.  Nuclear Safety & Security

1.
AERB Detects Flaws at Nuclear Plants
Sanjay Jog
Business Standard
9/4/2012
(for personal use only)


Regulatory inspections of nuclear power plants and research facilities [in India] have revealed there have been deviation from technical specifications and other regulatory stipulations, deficiencies and degradations in safety-related systems and procedural inadequacies.

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which carried out 47 regulatory inspections, comprising 25 scheduled and 22 special inspections in 2011-12, observed there were shortcomings in safety design and safety support systems based on operating experience, including generic deficiencies.

The board has made a strong case for improvement in procedures and design by the respective nuclear power plants. It observed at Narora Atomic Power Station 1 & 2, continuous monitoring of healthiness and availability of seismic trips circuits did not exist. The unavailability of this trip due to loss of power supply or discontinuity in the wiring remain unnoticed till the next surveillance test. The scheme in this regard was under AERB's review with the designers of Nuclear Power Corporation.

Further, the air handling unit of main control room at the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) was missing. This is provided generally in the standardised pressurised heavy water reactor design. MAPS was asked to implement the design and auto closure of the main and emergency airlock doors. Some of the area radiation monitors of Rajasthan Atomic Power Stations (RAPS) 3 & 4 were given power supply from class IV in place of class II. RAPS was asked to restore power supply to these monitors according to the original design. NPC-run Tarapur 3 & 4 Kaiga 3 & 4, Rajasthan 3 & 4, Kakrapar 1 & 2 and Rajasthan 2 were asked to expedite issue of approved in service inspection manual.

AERB observed the revision of emergency preparedness manual for NAPS, KAPS 1 & 2 and MAPS was pending and NPC and these stations were asked to complete the revision of these manuals at the earliest.

AERB observed that at MAPS emergency diesel generators were prevented from auto start during the surveillance resulting in the unavailability of diesel generating (DG) sets on demand. Based on the regulatory inspection recommendations, MAPS has discontinued the practice of disabling DGs during surveillance test of station batteries.

The scheme is all set to allow construction of toilets as part of the changed guidelines. Thus, MPLADS funds is expected to help fund the material component of such projects.

NPC official told Business Standard, "Safety has been of a paramount importance and it will not be compromised. NPC regularly follows AERB's directives and accordingly upgrades safety applications at the nuclear power plants."

Meanwhile, AERB has mentioned that comprehensive reassessment of safety against external events and emergency mitigation measures carried out by NPC at all 20 nuclear power plants with the generation capacity of 4,780 MW. Of the 20 plants 19 are developed and owned by NPC while one by Department of Atomic Energy. NPC has completed the safety assessment of all operating nuclear plants and identified measures to deal with severe external conditions.

However, AERB has asked NPC to carry out analysis for severe accident conditions and develop guidelines for operator to take appropriate actions for such accident conditions. In this regard, NPC is considering implementation of provisions such as hydrogen recombiners and containment venting scheme for mitigating the consequences of the unlikely event of severe accident.

Available at: http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/aerb-detects-flaws-at-nuclear-plants/485318/



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2.
Fukushima Could Happen Again, Investigators Say, as Insufficient Lessons Learned
The Asahi Shimbun
9/1/2012
(for personal use only)


The Fukushima disaster needs a root-and-branch investigation far deeper than the inquiries currently held, said the lead investigators of three of those probes.

Their reports, released this year, examined factors behind the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but said the complete picture remains unknown in part because of difficulty gathering evidence inside four destroyed reactor buildings.

"It would still be an enormous challenge to bring an accident under control if another occurred," said Koichi Kitazawa, former chairman of the Japan Science and Technology Agency, who led a private panel, at a forum of the Science Council of Japan on Aug. 31.

"We should continue to explore ways to handle it from a technological viewpoint."

Also present were Yoichiro Hatamura, professor emeritus of engineering at the University of Tokyo, who chaired a government inquiry, and Kiyoshi Kurokawa, who led a Diet investigative committee. The public forum on Aug. 31 marked the first time the three chiefs had jointly discussed the disaster in public.

Hatamura cited plant engineers' failure to notice that water-level gauges were malfunctioning early in the crisis. He said that error, by employees of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., showed the need for a study into why such mistakes were made.

"We should establish a field of research that explores why certain approaches aren't working," he said.

Kurokawa, former chairman of the Science Council of Japan, also called on Japan's nuclear engineers to improve their expertise and skill.

"They should embark more frequently on exchanges with foreign counterparts, in order to excel internationally," he said.

Available at: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201209010039


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3.
International Experts' Meeting to Discuss Protecting Nuclear Power Plants from Natural Hazards
IAEA
8/31/2012
(for personal use only)


The importance of protecting nuclear power plants (NPPs) from extreme natural hazards remains a priority for the nuclear power industry. In this light, the International Experts' Meeting (IEM) on Protection Against Extreme Earthquakes and Tsunamis in the Light of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is being convened by the IAEA under the framework of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.

This meeting will take place in Vienna, Austria from 4 to 7 September 2012. More than 120 experts and government officials from 37 countries, from regulatory bodies, utilities, technical support organizations, academic institutions, vendors and research and development organizations will participate in the meeting.

The IEM will discuss technical developments and research programmes in site evaluation and nuclear plant safety, particularly as they relate to extreme natural hazards such as earthquake and tsunamis.

The IEM will provide an opportunity to share lessons learned from recent extreme natural events, including the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 11 March 2011. This earthquake and associated tsunami affected the Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Daini, Tokai and Onagawa NPPs in Japan and triggered the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

This was the first NPP accident to arise from the combined hazards of ground motion and flooding. It highlighted the importance of preparing not only for a single external hazard, but also the combined effect of multiple external hazards, in the safety assessment of NPPs, and the measures for defence in depth.

The IEM will be chaired by Antonio Godoy of Argentina. The IEM will consist of a plenary session and four technical sessions dealing with seismic hazard, tsunami hazard, seismic safety and tsunami safety, respectively. The plenary session will include keynote presentations by the chairpersons of all the technical sessions. At the technical sessions, international experts will make presentations focusing on seven main thematic areas. These include: databases, hazard assessment, characterization of loading effects, event warning systems, safety assessment, protective measures and lessons learned.

There will be a closing session on the final day, when the Co-chairpersons of the technical sessions will present their conclusions. The Chairperson of the IEM will provide an overall summary of the meeting.

The IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, consisting of 12 actions and 39 sub-actions, outlines a programme of work to strengthen global nuclear safety. Activities include enhancing and strengthening IAEA expert peer reviews, developing more robust and effective national regulatory bodies, and strengthening emergency preparedness and response. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident highlighted the importance of protecting nuclear power plants against extreme natural hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

Valuable experience and many lessons have been and are being learned by Member States and operators in managing NPPs under adverse conditions. At the IAEA, seismic safety activities are coordinated through the International Seismic Safety Centre (ISSC). It plays a leading role in supporting nuclear safety globally. Its work and research on external events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes and flooding offers the sound, scientifically-proven basis for the effective implementation of best practices in seismic safety.

The ISSC also compiles a data bank on external hazards and their impact on NPPs as a resource base for Member States. The latest addition to the data bank will be the findings from a recent seismic expert mission to the Onagawa nuclear power station in Japan.

Available at: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2012/nppprotection.html


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4.
Nigeria: Oil Companies Abandon 26 Radioactive Sources
Hamisu Muhammad
All Africa
8/31/2012
(for personal use only)


Oil companies operating in Nigeria have abandoned at least 26 radioactive sources in the Niger Delta region from year 2000 to 2011, the Nigeria Nuclear Regulators said.

The incidence of abandoned radioactive sources in Nigeria is among the highest in the global oil and gas industry, the regulator said.

The oil companies accounted for about 90 percent of radioactive material which made them highest importers of radioactive materials in the country.

"They (oil companies) use radioactive materials in laying pipelines and oil wells drilling among others" said Director of Enforcement at the Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), Dr Yau Idris, while speaking yesterday at the 3rd National Workshop for journalists on Nuclear Safety and Radiological Protection.

Researchers believed that there is high environmental risk associated with radioactive wastes that lead to cancer, injuries and death.

Available at: http://allafrica.com/stories/201208311003.html


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5.
TEPCO: No. 4 Reactor Building Can Withstand 6-Plus Intensity Quake
The Asahi Shimbun
8/31/2012
(for personal use only)


The heavily damaged No. 4 reactor building and its spent fuel pool at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant can withstand earthquakes with intensities of upper 6 on the Japanese scale of 7, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Aug. 30.

The utility said it confirmed the strength of the building after conducting a seismic analysis. The reactor building was rocked by a hydrogen explosion after the onset of the accident caused by the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

TEPCO said it found no major damage in walls supporting the storage pool on the top floor.

It also said the building now has almost the same strength it had before the disaster because the removal of rubble created by the explosion has decreased its weight.

The seismic study is part of TEPCO's preparations to start removing nuclear fuel from the pool in December 2013.

The company also said it plans to build a steel frame that will hold steel sheets covering the No. 4 reactor building to prevent radioactive substances from spreading.

Available at: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201208310042


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E.  Nuclear Cooperation

1.
IAEA Organises Course On Radioactive Material
Government of Ghana
9/4/2012
(for personal use only)


An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)/Africa Regional Cooperation Agreement (AFRA) course on Security in Transport of Radioactive Material and Quality Management Systems in the Provision of External Radiation Services, has opened in Accra.

The Five-day course is being attended by 42 participants, from 42 African countries including Ghana.

Prof. Benjamin Nyarko, Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) said, the Government of Ghana, was committed to the multilateral treaty on nuclear safeguards.

"We also ensure that whilst developing and promoting nuclear science and technology, nuclear safety and security are not compromised."

He said the workshops would cover IAEA Implementing Guide on Security in the Transport of Radioactive Material, developing the transport security plan, transport security in Ghana, among others.

Prof. Nyarko said it was the main function of GAEC to ensure the peaceful application of nuclear techniques and biotechnology, for the socio-economic prosperity of the country.

Prof. Alexander Nyarko, Chairman, Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute, said in order to prevent "the ultimate catastrophe, States and international organisations needed to develop and implement national transport security requirements as in line with this training course on Security in the Transport of Radioactive Material."

He said shippers, carrier personnel, law enforcement agencies and several other organisations would benefit from learning about specific security measures and technologies that could be used as part of the security systems.

Prof. Nyarko said in the wake of recent worldwide events, the AFRA Training Courses were appropriate and timely.

He said the Agency supported member states in strengthening and updating technical capabilities for the protection of the health and safety of workers, exposed to ionizing radiation in line with Basic Safety Standards.

Prof. Nyarko said the compliance was a prerequisite for the receipt by member states of assistance of the IAEA, through the technical cooperation programme, connected with radiation sources and other relevant accessories.

"This would undoubtedly reduce threats of over-exposure caused by ionizing radiation and radio-active materials," he said.

The IAEA is organising the course in collaboration with the Government of Ghana.

Available at: http://www.ghana.gov.gh/index.php/news/general-news/15813-iaea-organises-course-on-radioactive-material-


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2.
IAEA Department Developing European Master's in Nuclear Security
Occupational Health & Safety
9/3/2012
(for personal use only)


The International Atomic Energy Agency's Department of Nuclear Safety and Security will host a meeting Sept. 18 in Vienna, Austria during the 56th General Conference of the agency to inform member states of the latest developments in nuclear security education and training. Jerry Davydov of the IAEA Division of Public Information reports a key focus of the department's event will be the development of the European Master's Degree in Nuclear Security that is based on IAEA nuclear security guidance and standards.

Another on the agenda is establishing a nuclear security support centers network and assistance that is available to states interested in setting up a center, he reports.

"You may have the best legislation and regulations and state-of-the-art equipment, but unless you have a sufficient number of well-educated and trained staff, you will not necessarily have an effective and sustainable nuclear security infrastructure and nuclear security culture. Therefore, a national nuclear security regime stands or falls because of the quality of people involved," said Khammar Mrabit, director of the Office of Nuclear Security, quoted in Davydov's online report.

"Education and training are the cornerstones for ensuring sustainable improvements in nuclear security," added Senior Training Officer David Lambert. "They play an essential role in developing nuclear security expertise now and in the future."

According to the report, a group of universities in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom will launch the first comprehensive master's degree program in nuclear security during the first quarter of 2013.

Available at: http://ohsonline.com/articles/2012/09/03/eu-masters-in-nuclear-security-being-developed.aspx?admgarea=news



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3.
IAEA's Safety Standards on Nuclear Power Plants to Be Introduced
Power Engineering
9/1/2012
(for personal use only)


Signatories of the 1994 Convention on Nuclear Safety have agreed to introduce the International Atomic Energy Agency's safety standards, which are generally tougher than each member's own ones, as part of efforts to tighten regulations and safety assessment of their nuclear power plants, diplomatic sources said Friday.

A total of 75 countries and international organizations that are members of the convention will draw up necessary documents on the agreement Friday afternoon on the final day of the ongoing extraordinary meeting of the pact signatories being held at the IAEA's head office in Vienna.

The signatories have so far applied their own domestic laws and own criteria for nuclear regulation and safety assessment.

The members have also agreed to review the guidelines of the convention to encourage themselves to be more transparent with their safety measures, according to the sources.

They have reached these agreements amid mounting concerns about nuclear power in the aftermath of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which was hard hit by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The members are expected to agree to have a new clause in the documents saying they will put full human and financial resources into independent nuclear regulatory bodies, drawing lessons from the Fukushima disaster.

Japan's nuclear regulatory bodies, which were far from independent, did not function properly after the disaster.

This clause has been worked out following reflections on a report filed in July by Japan's parliamentary investigative panel on the Fukushima disaster.

They have also agreed to require members to accept on-the-spot inspections by the IAEA on a regular basis and to heighten transparency.

The application of the IAEA's criteria for design, anti-disaster measures and emergency preparedness could raise the safety of nuclear power plants, while many emerging economies are counting on nuclear power to meet growing electricity demand.

The Convention on Nuclear Safety, which was adopted in June 1994, eight years after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Soviet Union, came into force in October 1996.
Among other points, the pact requires members to file national reports on the implementation of their safety measures for nuclear power plants.

As of July 2012, there were 75 contracting parties. Ten signatory countries have not yet ratified the convention.

Available at: http://www.power-eng.com/news/2012/09/01/iaea-s-safety-standards-on-nuclear-power-plants-to-be-introduced.html


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F.  Links of Interest

1.
Korea to Build Nuke Fuel Storage Facility
The Chosun Ilbo
9/4/2012
(for personal use only)
http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/09/03/2012090300585.html


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2.
Startup NuScale Holds Its Own in Game of Nuclear Giants
Braden Reddall
Reuters
8/31/2012
(for personal use only)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/31/nuclear-smallmodular-nuscale-idUSL..


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DISCLAIMER: Nuclear News is presented for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to visit the websites from which the source material originates. Views presented in any given article are those of the individual author or source and not of Partnership for Global Security. Partnership for Global Security takes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained in any article presented in Nuclear News.

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