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This blog is aimed at tracing the world news related to nuclear power development internationally and in particular countries. Being an independent resource, we accept all kinds of opinions, positions and comments, and welcome you to discuss the posts and tell us what you think.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nuclear less risky than renewables, UK government told

The UK's renewable energy targets could prove both costly and risky, and nuclear energy is the most reliable viable low-carbon alternative, according to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

The committee's report - entitled The Economics of Renewable Energy - acknowledges government commitments to increase renewable energy use, but is sceptical as to whether the target of 15% renewables for the UK by 2020, proposed by the European Union (EU), can be met. It also warns that an over-reliance on intermittment power generation options, such as wind energy, could prove both costly and risky in terms of security of supply.

Scope for significant increases in hydroelectricity, domestically produced biomass and solar energy - the most reliable renewable sources - is limited in the UK, the report notes. This leaves wind turbines, which only operate when the wind is blowing, as the chief way in which the country's renewable share can be increased. The committee warns that meeting the government's own targets is likely to result in a dependence on intermittent renewables for electricity generation at a level unprecedented in Europe. "Wind generation should be viewed largely as additional capacity to that which will need to be provided, in any event, by more reliable means," the report finds, noting that it should be seen as supplementary to, rather than a substitute for, the coal and nuclear plants that are due to be replaced by 2020.

What is more, renewables will not be cheap, the report finds, with the evidence suggesting that the full costs of wind energy, although declining over time, remain significantly higher than those of conventional or nuclear generation. Under current policies, renewables would need to grow from their current 5-6% to 30-40% to meet the 2020 targets. The higher costs associated with renewable generation, in comparison to conventional or nuclear, would raise electricity generation and transmission costs by £6.8 billion ($10.5 billion) per year, a 38% increase that would have to be met by UK consumers.

The cost of nuclear power is little affected by the oil price or by the cost of carbon, by virtue of nuclear plants' very low emissions, the report noted, and found that "all the cost estimates" showed nuclear to be cheaper than renewable energy. "We cannot consider renewable energy in isolation from the rest of the UK energy system and we support measures to include nuclear plants as an essential element of the UK's energy mix," the report stated.

Committee chairman Lord Vallance, commenting on the report, said that although the government must take steps to reduce carbon emissions, the dash to meet the 2020 targets risked drawing attention and investment away from cheaper and more reliable low carbon generation such as nuclear and potentially fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage. "The government should not allow its pursuit of the immediate 2020 target to take its eye off the longer term", he warned.

The UK's Climate Change Act, which sets legally binding targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions including a carbon dioxide reduction of at least 26% by 2020, against a 1990 baseline, became law on 26 November.

(Source: World Nuclear News)

Friday, November 28, 2008

EU's Rehn sees "prominent" role for nuclear power

Nuclear power will play a key role in helping the European Union cut its dependence on fossil fuels and secure future energy supplies, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said on Friday.

"Nuclear energy will have a prominent role in leading the EU towards a low-carbon society," Rehn said in the text of a speech at a conference in the Finnish city of Turku.

"The role of nuclear energy will be essential to strengthen the Union's energy security after 2020," he said.

Ambitious EU plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by a fifth by 2020 have brought nuclear power back into fashion, also boosted by predictions of soaring fossil fuel prices.

But it has been a source of friction in the 27-nation bloc ever since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, with France heavily reliant on the technology but neighbouring Germany and nearby Austria still staunchly opposed.

In Finland, Rehn's home country, work is ongoing on a fifth nuclear reactor and the government earlier this month flagged the possible need for more nuclear power.

Rehn said that while laudable, the EU's emissions targets were still not enough to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels.

"EU energy policy cannot perform miracles ... Even after the implementation of the climate and energy policies, the EU's net imports of fossil fuels are still expected to stay roughly at today's levels," he said.

(Source: ForexPros.com)

Kashiwazaki-Kariwa restoration work progresses

Work to bring the reactors of Tokyo Electric Power Co's (Tepco's) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant back into operation is progressing. All seven reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa have stood idle since the plant was struck by an earthquake in July 2007. Seismic reinforcement work at Unit 7 of Tokyo Electric Power Co's (Tepco's) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant has now been completed and system function tests with fuel loaded in the reactor have begun. System function tests have also started at Unit 6, following the completion of inspections of equipment levels at that unit. Meanwhile, two station transformers and one excitation transformer have been inspected and repaired at Unit 3, where a fire broke out when the quake struck. At the time of the earthquake, three of the seven reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa - units 3, 4 and 7 - were in operation and shut down safely as tremors began. The other units were undergoing periodic inspections at the time.

(Source: World Nuclear News)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New NPP in Lithuania will not cover demands for energy in all Baltic countries – Estonian expert

Andres Mäe, researcher of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, Estonia, answered questions about prospects of energy security and nuclear industry of the Baltic region.

Estonia is taking part in a nuclear power plant construction project in Lithuania, so is nuclear generation considered to be a good and stable source of electricity?

The Estonian government has supported plans of the state-owned energy company (Eesti Energia) to participate in the new nuclear power plant in Lithuania, in order to use electricity produced there to cover some of Estonia’s energy demand in the future.

Estonia has not yet adopted any official position on the development of nuclear energy. Still, individual members of the parliament and the government and scientists have recommended taking into consideration building a nuclear power plant in Estonia.

Construction of a nuclear power plant usually takes much time. In terms of energy security of the region may the Baltic States and Estonia feel lack of electrical energy before the new NPP is constructed in Lithuania?

Yes, there will be a small deficit in electrical energy production in the Baltic states after the closure of the Ignalina NPP. Latvia is already importing one third of electricity from Estonia, Russia and Lithuania, it will have to find another source to replace Lithuania in 2010. Lithuania will cover part of its domestic consumption with Elektrenai thermal power plant working on natural gas but it will also have to start to import electricity from Russia and Belarus. Estonia will cover its base load consumption by itself and will import electricity from Latvia’s hydropower plants to cover its peak load demand as it does nowadays. Estonia has also an opportunity to import electricity from Scandinavia via underwater cable EstLink.

Do you think generation capacity of the new NPP will be enough to meet electricity needs of Estonia in particular and all the Baltic states or other sources of electricity will be needed in a long-term prospect?

The new nuclear power plant in Lithuania will not be able to cover the electrical energy demand of the Baltic states and main reason for that is participation of Poland in the same project. One NPP is simply not enough for all four participants. Yes, there is urgent need for additional power generating capacities in the Baltic states.

Speaking about energy security of the Baltic region, theoretically may the Baltic NPP in the Kaliningrad region also become a source of electricity for the Baltic States and Estonia?

The Baltic NPP in Kaliningrad Region is already planned to produce electrical energy for export to Poland and the Baltic states. The region itself is too small to consume the total amount of electricity produced at the NPP.

(Source: Regnum)

No EU objections against Belarusian nuclear power plant

The European Union leadership has no intention to object against Belarus’ nuclear project, Arnoldas Pranckevicius, Interparliamentary Delegations Administrator of the Directorate General for External Policies of the European Parliament, told BelTA in an interview.

“Brussels has a positive opinion of this Belarusian project to a large degree,” noted the European official. “Naturally there are different opinions. The European Parliament has an environmental faction, which totally opposes nuclear power engineering. Nevertheless, the overall view of the European Union doesn’t contain any objections to the development of peaceful nuclear programmes in European countries”.

According to Arnoldas Pranckevicius, combination of different energy sources instead of dependence on a single source is the optimal energy strategy for any country. It should be taken into account that nuclear power engineering does not produce such negative environmental influence, especially climate change-wise, like the traditional hydrocarbon material energy industry does, said the official. “As you know other European countries, including my motherland — Lithuania, have plans for building new nuclear power plants,” he added.

Arnoldas Pranckevicius underscored, European institutions would like to make sure that the nuclear power plant construction in Belarus will be compliant with all the relevant international standards.

(Source: Trend News)

Activists give environmental movement a nuclear shock


Last Updated: November 21. 2008 10:41PM UAE / November 21. 2008 6:41PM GMT
About 6,000 or so fast-breeder reactor nuclear plants would be a major victory against global warming, says Mark Lynes. Thomas Starke / Getty Images
The environmental movement in Europe is in shock after one of its brightest young activists announced his support for nuclear power.

The move by Mark Lynas, 35, is the second blow in a few months to the resolutely anti-nuclear movement. George Monbiot, another high-profile environmentalist from Britain, announced in August that, after much agonising, he had decided that nuclear power was the only credible way to tackle global warming.

There was no other way, said Mr Monbiot, 45, who has held visiting fellowships at Oxford, Bristol and Keele universities, to reduce carbon emissions in an energy-hungry world.

A spokesman for the Green Party in the UK described the defections as “a big blow to us and a fillip to the nuclear industry”.

“George and Mark are very respected and influential. They are so worried about climate change that they have pushed the panic button. But nuclear power isn’t the answer. Nuclear power is dangerous and pollutes. We must go for renewable forms of energy and we must reduce energy consumption.”

The conversions of the two men, once implacably opposed to nuclear power, challenges one of the central tenets of the green movement: that nuclear power is bad.

“It has been an article of faith for many, many years,” said Mr Lynas, who has written several books and articles on climate change. “If you were a Green you opposed nuclear power. Simple. It was as hard for me to say this as it was for a person to come out and say they were gay in the Eighties. But I had no choice.”

Both Mr Lynas and Mr Monbiot argue that their rather dramatic about-face illustrates just how important it is to stop global warming, primarily caused by the release of carbon during the burning of fossil fuels.

Nuclear power, properly controlled, and produced in the new generation of fast-breeder reactors, which were immeasurably safer and more efficient than the reactors of the late 20th century, is the only alternative to coal and gas-powered stations, Mr Lynas said.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nuclear emits no more carbon than wind or solar energy.

Renewable energy sources will of course remain important, Mr Lynas said, but only as a secondary source as they cannot supply anything like enough electricity. As the world becomes greener, by replacing petrol and diesel-driven vehicles with battery-powered ones, so will the demand for electricity rise.

If the world built 6,000 or so such stations, he said, and scrapped the fossil-powered plants, it would be a major victory against global warming.

The conversions of Mr Monbiot and now Mr Lynas are the latest in a series of public relations triumphs for an industry that once seemed doomed, following headline grabbing reactor accidents such as Chernobyl and fears about cancer risks from leaking radiation.

This summer, an opinion poll showed that Europeans were equally divided about the merits of nuclear power, in contrast to polls a few years earlier, which revealed a substantial majority against the industry.

While some European countries, such as Sweden, Germany and Belgium, are phasing out nuclear power stations, others, such as Finland, are building them. In the UK, where nuclear power had been dismissed as an aberration, the debate now is more about how to store waste from new nuclear power stations rather than the wisdom of building them.

In the United States, the president-elect Barack Obama has said that he wants to use “clean” technology, including nuclear power, to stop global warming and reduce the country’s dependence on Middle East oil.

In the developing world, governments such as Venezuela, are turning to established nuclear nations, such as Russia, for help in building nuclear reactors.

The behaviour of Iran, which insists that it will enrich its own uranium rather than buy it from overseas, has reinforced the dangers of nuclear proliferation since this could give Iran a nuclear weapon capability.

But other countries, such as the UAE, which want to build nuclear power stations have made it clear they will stick to the international guidelines to ensure that there can be no crossover between civil and military nuclear programmes.

Mr Lynas is unrepentant about his new enthusiasm for nuclear energy. “I was nervous. I make my living by writing, broadcasting and giving lectures about the environment. I don’t want to alienate my constituency. But I had no choice. I know that others feel the same as me. I have had e-mails from people in the movement I respect who say, ‘Look, we agree but we can’t say so publicly.’”

Fifty years ago, when the nuclear industry was in its infancy and power stations were so unpredictable, it was a completely different situation, he said. The new, fourth generation nuclear reactors were more efficient and much safer.

Opposition today was emotional and based on complex prejudices, not the evidence.

“You must remember that the civil nuclear industry used to be seen as the same as the nuclear weapons industry. If you opposed nuclear weapons you opposed nuclear power. Nuclear power requires centralised control, which many in the movement do not like. The Green lobby doesn’t like the idea that the world can be saved by building nuclear power stations. It wants us to chop wood, go back to nature.”

But he warned the nuclear industry – traditionally secretive and, so its critics allege, ruthless and deceitful – that his conversion did not mean he would relax his guard.

“I am more committed than ever to the environment.”

The push would now be on countries with the financial and geographical resources, like the UAE, to boost energy output in an environmentally-friendly manner.

“Imagine, a country like the UAE could build nuclear power stations and transport the energy. It has the money to do that. It could build massive solar-collectors and ship that energy abroad too.”


U.S. Criticizes IAEA For Helping Syria Build Nuclear Power Plant

Washington has criticized the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for helping Syria build a nuclear power station while the country is being investigated for its alleged secret nuclear reactor.

"It is wholly inappropriate, we believe, given the fact that Syria is under investigation by the IAEA for building a nuclear reactor, outside the bounds of its international commitments," Voice of America quoted State Department spokesman Sean McCormack as saying.

The statement was issued following IAEI chief Mohamed ElBaradei's pronouncements that the UN nuclear watchdog will continue technical assistance to Damascus until the accusations against the Syrian government is confirmed. ElBaradei said Syria is entitled to the $350,000 assistance package for building a civilian power reactor under the IAEA rules.

The IAEA is still investigating if a facility in northern Syrian bombed and destroyed by Israeli warplanes in September is indeed a nuclear reactor. Damascus has denied that the facility is a nuclear reactor.

The issue has divided IAEA members with the U.S., France, Canada and the European Union calling for the aid to be suspended while Russia, China and developing countries support ElBaradei's position.

(Source: Gant Daily)

Monday, November 24, 2008

UK at 'real risk' of power shortages, report warns

The UK is at "real risk" of imminent power shortages as a result of attempts to shift to more environmentally friendly methods of electrictity production, a report has warned.

The study, which was carried out by Capgemini, a global energy consultancy firm, also claims that electricity generation has fallen to its lowest level in ten years.

The shortage has been caused by the increase in the level of demand for energy combined with a growing tendency to build wind turbines, at the expense of other, more reliable, electricity sources, it says.

The report estimates that around one quarter of the UK's energy plant capacity will close by 2015 as the country struggles to balance its carbon emissions targets with production of new energy sources.

An added problem is that Britain is moving from being self-sufficient in oil and gas as North Sea production declines, the report states.

In 2005, the UK became a net importer of gas. By 2010, imports could account for 40 per cent of British gas needs; by 2020, 80 per cent to 90 per cent.

Nuclear reactors currently account for about 20 per cent of Britain's electricity, but this will shrink to 6 per cent in 20 years as ageing plants are closed down.

A spokesman for Capgemini said that unless new power stations are built "the lights will go out".

He added: "Last year the system very nearly ran out of power and situation is still very tight. We have a large number of power stations that are going to close between now and 2015.

"There are stations that are planned to replace them but these stations are being built fairly slowly and the planned output of the new power stations will not necessarily cover those that are closing.

"We still have time to sort this out but over the next few years we may well be facing a shortage of energy."

The report also warned that the credit crunch had slowed down investment into utilities infrastructure across Europe and warned that governments should expect a "difficult wake up" once the recession is over.

It estimates that an investment of at least 1 trillion euros (£790 billion) is needed across the continent over the next 25 years.

Last year a report by Logica CMG, a business consultancy firm, warned that demand for energy could outstrip supply by almost one quarter within eight years.

The loss to the economy could be £108 billion each year, it said.

It comes just a fortnight after energy experts warned that Britain faces blackouts within ten years as power stations go out of service.

They claimed that government dithering had failed to guarantee the construction of new plants.

Nine oil and coal-fired power plants are to close by 2015 because of an EU directive that aims to limit pollution.

At the same time, four ageing nuclear power plants will also be shut.

Dr Jon Gibbins, of Imperial College and many other industry experts are concerned the UK is becoming increasingly reliant on imported gas, which can show sudden price hikes.

It also puts Britain at the mercy of gas rich states in the Middle East and Russia, which is increasingly flexing its muscles as the world's first energy super-power.

Dr Gibbins said it is vital that Britain has a diverse source of electricity, from nuclear, renewable sources, such as wind power, and coal fired power stations where the carbon emissions are captured and stored under ground.

Dr Gibbins was one of 31 experts quizzed on the issue by BBC News.

The Government is aiming to cover 20 per cent of electricity needs from renewable energy sources such as wind and wave power by 2020. This would require a multi-billlion pound investment which does not appear to be forthcoming, the experts said.

Energy minister Michael O'Brien insisted the UK is building sufficient new power stations. He pointed to the fact that the French company EDF is committed to spending £12.5billion on delivering new nuclear power stations.

(Source: Telegraph)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Iran Makes Nuclear Headway, IAEA Says

Defying the U.N. Security Council, Iran has continued to both enrich uranium and expand its capacity to process even more material, the International Atomic Energy Agency disclosed today.

The nation's uranium enrichment centrifuges at Natanz have so far manufactured 630 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, and work is under way to assemble significantly more centrifuge "cascades," according to a report by agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei that was circulated today.

In addition, Iran has tested a small number of more advanced centrifuges by feeding them gaseous natural uranium, the report says.

So far, Iran has kept enrichment levels below 5 percent, a typical level for the type of nuclear power reactors the nation has said it wishes to build.

Like earlier reports, this document complains of Iran's refusal to offer complete cooperation as the agency tries to understand the full scope of Iran's two-decade-old nuclear program that Tehran only acknowledged in 2003. U.S. and Western officials have warned that Iran is seeking a nuclear-weapon capability, while Tehran has steadfastly denied such charges, claiming instead that is is developing the infrastructure for civilian nuclear power.

The agency has met particular resistance in seeking information about Iran's possible weapon-related research.

"Regrettably, as a result of the lack of cooperation by Iran in connection with the alleged studies and other associated key remaining issues of serious concern, the agency has not been able to make substantive progress on these issues," the report says.

The report could fuel U.S. efforts to persuade key U.N. Security Council members to adopt additional sanctions against Iran, a step that was recently rejected by Russia (see GSN, Nov. 17; Greg Webb, Global Security Newswire, Nov. 19).

Such tools could gain leverage over Iran as the global economic crisis persists, a foreign policy adviser to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said yesterday.

Dennis Ross, a veteran diplomat of the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations, called for Washington to threaten harsher penalties against Tehran for refusing to comply with its demands while simultaneously offering more significant incentives for cooperation, the Denver Post reported. The United States has expressed concern that certain Iranian atomic activities could contribute to a nuclear weapons program, but Tehran contends that its atomic aims are strictly civilian.

A drop in the cost of oil, which supplies Iran with 85 percent of its income, has dramatically affected the country's economy, Ross said during an event in Denver.

"When they imposed (gasoline) rationing last year, there were riots; gas stations were burned down," he said, noting that Iran is suffering from a 29.4 percent inflation rate while unemployment in the country hovers between 30 and 40 percent.

"I don't suggest that the regime is teetering on the brink of collapse because I don't think that is the case," he said. "But what I'm highlighting is that they are going to have to make choices. And if we can marshal greater pressure on them, then you are going to put them in [a] situation where they are going to have to make decisions that they've been allowed to avoid."

Ross said the Bush administration has adopted "the approach of weak sticks and weak carrots" to deal with Iran.

"The sticks weren't strong enough to concentrate their minds, and the carrots weren't strong enough to give them a reason to rationalize changing their course," he said.

"We need to engage them directly," Ross added. "Barack Obama made it clear he was prepared to engage Iran directly, but he also said we have to prepare" (Howard Pankratz, Denver Post, Nov. 18).

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said that "sanctions are clearly having an impact on the Iranian economy," Arab News reported yesterday.

"All diplomatic means” are being explored to convince Iran to halt its disputed nuclear activities, the Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying. Miliband did not comment on the potential results of a failed diplomatic effort.

Miliband recently spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert about the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program, Israeli sources said (Arab News, Nov. 18).

Iran yesterday urged the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency not to be swayed by international allegations about the intent behind Tehran's uranium enrichment program, which can produce nuclear power plant fuel but also a key nuclear-weapon ingredient, Iran's Press TV reported.

"We hope that baseless claims about Iran's uranium enrichment would not influence IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei in his new report," which was expected as early as today, said Iranian Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Mohsen Delaviz.

Delaviz ruled out a potential “freeze-for-freeze” arrangement, under which Tehran would suspend uranium enrichment, six world powers would not seek new economic penalties on the Middle Eastern state and the sides would negotiate a permanent halt to Iranian enrichment.

"Western reports suggesting Iran's agreement with the 'freeze-for-freeze' package are outright lies," he said, adding that Iran would not abandon its right to develop civilian nuclear capabilities (Press TV, Nov. 18).

Delaviz reaffirmed Iran's commitment to opening its Bushehr nuclear power station next year, Reuters reported yesterday.

"The commissioning stage of [the] Bushehr nuclear power station has begun and we are hopeful the power station will be commissioned in 2009 as per the agreement we have had with the Russian party," Iranian state media quoted him as saying.

Delaviz did not provide a more specific opening time, but Russian construction contractor Atomstroiexport said in September that the facility was nearly finished and would begin "technological work" between December and February, slating it for "irreversible final" completion" (Reuters, Nov. 18).

Meanwhile, Israeli air force chief Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan said his service was capable of carrying out an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, the Xinhua News Agency reported today.

Israel's air force "is a very robust and flexible force" that is "ready to do whatever is demanded," Nehushtan told Der Spiegel. He emphasized that a decision on whether to take military action was a political matter and did not involve questions about the demands a strike would make of Israel's military.

"I can only say this: [Whether to attack] is not a technical or logistical question," he said (Xinhua News Agency, Nov. 19)

(Source: NTI)

Russian team visits Kudankulam nuclear project site

A high-level delegation led by S V Kirienko Director General of State Atomic Energy Corporation Russian Federation, visited the site where two Russian 1000 MW nuclear reactors are under construction in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.

According to official sources, the team, which visited the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project(KNPP) site on Thursday, also inspected the site where four additional nuclear power reactors would be built.

Later, Mr Kirienko held talks with MR S K Jain Chairman and Managing Director of Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) Ltd. Mr Kirienko appreciated the efforts put in by the Russian and Indian specialists as a joint team to complete the project.

According to the sources, construction and other works of UNIT-I of the KKNPP are at advanced stage, and the first reactor would reach criticality by April next. The enriched uranium fuel bundles, in ready-to-load condition and loading machine had reach ed Kundankulam.

The NPCIL had completed most of the work on building the first reactor. Recently two 220 kV gas insulated switchgear for the plant was charged, and would provide required power supply for commissioning the works, the sources said.

KNPP Project Director K C Purohit, Project Director, (KNPP 3 and four), K S Rao, and 17 Russian nuclear engineers also visited the two first two reactors around the plant, the sources added.

(Source: The Hindu Business Line)

Syria site hit by Israel resembled atom plant: IAEA

A Syrian complex bombed by Israel bore multiple features resembling those of a nuclear reactor and U.N. inspectors found "significant" traces of uranium at the site, a watchdog report said on Wednesday.

But the International Atomic Energy Agency report said the findings from an inspectors trip to the site in June were not enough to conclude a covert reactor was there. It said further investigation and greater Syrian transparency were needed.

Obtained by Reuters, the nuclear safeguards report said Syria would be asked to show to inspectors debris and equipment whisked away from the site at Al-Kibar in the country's eastern desert after the September 2007 Israeli air raid.

The United States gave intelligence to the IAEA last April that Washington said indicated the site was a reactor that was close to being built with North Korean assistance and designed to produce plutonium for atomic bombs.

Syria, an ally of Iran whose disputed uranium enrichment program has been under IAEA investigation for years, says the site destroyed was a conventional military building and the uranium traces must have come from munitions used to bomb it.

Damascus has dismissed as fabricated the satellite imagery, ground pictures of the site taken before Israel's attack and other intelligence underpinning the investigation.

"While it cannot be excluded that the building in question was intended for non-nuclear use, the features of the building, along with the connectivity of the site to adequate pumping capacity of cooling water, are similar to what may be found in connection with a reactor site," said the IAEA report, sent to its 35-nation board of governors ahead of a November 27-28 meeting.

It said photographs also revealed a containment shield similar in dimension and layout to those of atomic reactors.

It said Syria had not provided requested documentation to back its declarations about the nature of the building nor granted repeated IAEA requests for visits to three other sites seen as harboring possible evidence linked to Israel's target.

Satellite pictures show Syria carried out landscaping of these sites to change their look and took away large containers after the IAEA asked for access to those areas, the report said.

Other aerial imagery revealed Syria swept the Al-Kibar site clean after the attack and erected a new building on the spot. The IAEA will ask Syria to let inspectors take swipe samples from rubble, shrapnel and any equipment removed from Al-Kibar.


It said IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei had urged Syria to "provide the necessary transparency including allowing visits to the requested locations and access to all available information for the agency to complete its assessment."

U.N. officials said the uranium contamination that turned up in soil samples collected at the site was a "chemically processed" form of the mineral that was not the enriched variety used to run nuclear power plants or as fissile bomb material.

But the element found was not depleted uranium either, the type used to boost the penetrating power of munitions.

"There's enough uranium here to raise questions. The onus of this verification is on Syria," said a senior U.N. official, who like others asked for anonymity due to political sensitivities.

The uranium element in question was not in Syria's declared nuclear inventory. Syria's only official nuclear site is an old research reactor. It has no known nuclear energy capacity.

The IAEA also intends to ask Israel for information addressing Syria's remarks about the origin of the uranium. Israel has remained silent on the matter since the air raid.

ElBaradei said on Monday the uranium traces could have come on clothing of workers who had been in contact with nuclear materials somewhere, or from stored equipment.

The report said Syria had told inspectors the site could not have been a nuclear facility because of unreliable, insufficient electricity supplies locally, limited available manpower and the lack of large quantities of treated water. But the report said inspectors saw enough electrical grid to power reactor pumps.

Another senior U.N. official said the investigation had urgent need of high-resolution pictures of the site he said must have been taken in the immediate aftermath of the bombing.

He said eight countries, which he declined to identify, had access to such imagery but had not turned it over to date.

The report complained that the investigation had been "severely hampered by (Israel's) unilateral use of force" and by a U.S. failure to hand over relevant intelligence until seven months after the bombing.

"In light of (that), the agency's verification of the situation has been made more difficult and complex, as well as more time- and resource-consuming," the report said.

(Source: Reuters)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Andrus Ansip: Estonia should have its own nuclear power plant

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip admitted that valuable time has been lost with the project of the new nuclear power plant in Ignalina, writes EPL Online.

Ansip stated at the Reform Party’s conference on economy that he wishes that a nuclear power plant be established in Estonia. “I think that Estonia should have its own nuclear power plant,” said the Prime Minister. Thus far he has rather supported Estonia getting stable nuclear energy supplies by participating in the project of the new Ignalina nuclear power plant planned to be established in Lithuania. Now Ansip admitted that focussing on the Ignalina plant has been a waste of time.

“We have lost a lot of time with the project of establishing Ignalina. It has been three and a half years,” admitted the Prime Minister. He stated that nuclear energy should be present in Estonia’s energy portfolio. “Estonia’s own nuclear power plant should certainly not be an issue on which debates should not take place.”

In his presentation the Prime Minister expressed his conviction that energy is a field of economy that will develop the fastest, despite the global financial and economic crisis. “One of the most certain areas where investments will flow into will be production of energy,” he explained.

Ansip said that Estonia would have enough oil shale for the near future for producing energy, but it is inefficient and will cause too much dependence. “Estonia has enough oil shale for another 30-40 years, but we are too dependent on it. Besides – it would be more profitable to produce oil from oil shale,” he noted.

In terms of security, Ansip stated that it is crucial to accede to the power networks of Western Europe. “Energy security means security for Estonia in a wider sense as well. In near future we will have to accede to the Central European energy network. Before they are constructed, we cannot think about guaranteed energy security in Estonia,” he concluded.

(Source: Baltic Course)

Australians 'will accept nuclear power'

It is being predicted that Australians will soon accept that nuclear power is the answer to many climate change problems.

The president of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Ziggy Switkowski, says there has already been a shift in perception on the issue, with about half of the population now open to the idea.

"Community opinion now is reasonably evenly split between for and against and that's a positive move from the nuclear power point of view in the last couple of years," he told ABC2's News Breakfast.

"I think in the next several years we'll get an alignment between communities being supportive of nuclear power and politicians realising that it's really a large part of the climate change solution."

Dr Switkowski says while he respects the Government's opposition to nuclear power, he says it is not consistent with the view of most countries around the world.

"Progressively I think we're going to have every state line up in support of uranium mining and export," he said.

"The more uranium we export and the more nuclear power is produced around the world, the less the challenge becomes in terms of the evolution away from fossil fuel."

Dr Switkowski says the WA Government's decision to lift a ban on uranium mining is another step in the right direction.

He has dismissed concern about finding a storage site for waste from future nuclear reactors.

"To find one location in central Australia presumably that will progressively store the spent fuel from Australia's reactors at the end of this century, we're talking 80 years out, strikes me as a very straight forward technical problem," he said.

Dr Switkowski says there is nothing to suggest Australia will be forced to accept waste from countries buying its uranium.

"Most countries have laws on their books that say 'if we are going to go nuclear we are responsible for our own waste, we will store it within our boundaries, we will not accept anybody else's waste'," he said.

"I think you would struggle to find nuclear waste that people wanted to send to Australia."

(Source: ABC News)

Russia to build nuclear power plant in Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that his country had reached a tentative agreement with Russia to build a nuclear reactor.

"A nuclear reactor, to produce energy for peaceful purposes, will soon be built in Estado Zulia and named in honor of a 20th century Venezuelan scientist, Humberto Fernandez Moran," the Venezuelan Ministry for Communication and Information quoted him as saying. The media report that the construction contract may be signed on November 26, during President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Venezuela.

Although Chavez's flamboyant style is nothing new, it is worth analyzing the possible goals of the project and assessing how viable it is.

The history of South America's nuclear industry is about 50 years old but only Argentina and Brazil have nuclear reactors. In both cases, this is the peaceful tip of the military nuclear iceberg. Both have suspended their nuclear programs under the pressure of the world community, at least officially. They have regular light-water reactors, and Canadian heavy-water CANDUs. The United States, Canada, and Germany have played the main role in Latin America's peaceful nuclear programs.

Latin America is a potential growing-point for the Third World's nuclear industry. Brazil and Argentina are going to continue developing their nuclear industries. Chile has also declared its intention to obtain nuclear technologies.

Venezuela claims to be Latin America's third major power, and in this context its intention to go nuclear looks primarily like an ambitious political move. The oil-producing Venezuela does not need to develop a nuclear industry, unlike India or China, major importers of hydrocarbons. Brazil is also an oil producer but it is sometimes short of energy because of its rapid economic growth.

In short, for Venezuela, a nuclear reactor may simply be a military-political project. It is not likely to cope with a military nuclear program for two reasons. First, the light-water VVER model, which is the only technical solution for the Venezuelan project, is not suitable for military uses. Second, Venezuela does not have enough engineers who are qualified for the task.

It would be premature to expect technical aid from Russia at this point.

The Russian nuclear engineering is obviously overstrained. Recently, the growing number of export contracts for the construction of nuclear power plants abroad has jeopardized Russia's federal target program for the development of the nuclear industry. Russia has only one company that specializes in building nuclear reactors, Izhorskiye Zavody, and it is loaded with contracts for years to come.

It is hard to overestimate the political importance of Russia's peaceful nuclear expansion to the Third World, but Moscow should not forego the interests of its own nuclear industry. Paralyzed by the Chernobyl syndrome in the late 1980s, and the general crisis of the Soviet economic system, it requires overall reconstruction and development.

This makes the Venezuelan-Russian project seem like a political fantasy rather than an economically substantiated move. In the final count, neither side needs it. However, it may be used as a bargaining chip in the big game between the United States, the European Union, China, and Russia, which is now unfolding in Latin America.

Latin America is freeing itself from U.S. control. Its growing military and political ambitions are turning it into what it was, to a certain extent, in the 19th century - the testing grounds of the great powers. But there is one unpleasant detail: They are increasingly testing more and more dangerous toys.

(Source: RIA Novosti)

India first to get third-generation nuclear power plant

A new era of Russo-Indian nuclear co-operation is about to start. The head of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom Sergey Kirienko is going to India on Wednesday on the eve of President Medvedev’s first visit to Delhi in early December, when a major nuclear agreement between the two countries is expected to be signed.

The deal provides for the construction of four additional nuclear power units at Kudankulam, in addition to two other reactors that have almost finished construction.

Kudankulam nuclear power station is a joint project of the Russian state-run Atomstroyexport, which supplied two 1,000 megawatt light-water reactors, and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), which conduct the building and assembly jobs.

Its development started in 2002 on the basis of the 1988 bilateral agreement between India and the Soviet Union. The addition to this agreement was signed by India and Russia on June 21, 1998.

The two countries initiated the contract to build another four reactors in February 2008, and Sergey Kirienko said those plans could be realised as soon as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) lifts a nuclear trade embargo India was under since 1974.

On August 1 2008, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors approved India’s safeguards agreement, and in September the NSG agreed to lift the nuclear trade embargo on the country. Now there are no obstacles left, and NPCIL Chief Shreyans Kumar Jain has said to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency he hopes the development of another four power units at Kudankulam will start in 2008 or in 2009.

The NSG was founded in 1974 by then main holders of nuclear technologies, in response to India’s nuclear test.

It is a 45-nation body – currently composed of all of the G8 countries, China, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and others – aimed at reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the trade in materials that may be used for nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.

The group decided lifting the embargo on India will not damage the current nuclear non-proliferation regime.

The motion to lift the embargo was proposed by the U.S., and it was the first to benefit, signing a huge civilian nuclear deal with India in October – shortly after sinking the nuclear deal with Moscow, which had been in negotiation for a decade, as a response to Russia’s military actions in the Caucasus in August.

However, India is not a signatory of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but has nuclear weapons, yet does not possess the official status of a nuclear power.

(Source: Russia Today)

Iran wants Bushehr operational in 2009

Iran plans to launch its first nuclear power plant in 2009, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The completion of the Bushehr plant, built by Russia under a $1 billion contract with the Islamic Republic, has been delayed more than once, mainly due to Iran lagging in payments. Moscow took over building the Bushehr plant on the site where an earlier nuclear project was started and neglected by German company Siemens in the wake of the Iran-Iraq War.

"The commissioning stage of Bushehr nuclear power station has begun and we are hopeful the power station will be commissioned in 2009 as per the agreement we have had with the Russian party," Reuters quoted Mohsen Delaviz, the spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, as saying. He did not give a more precise date.

"There is a good environment prevailing in our relations with the Russians and we are hoping they will honor their commitments," he added.

Atomstroyexport, the Russian firm building the plant, said in September that the plant was nearing completion and that it would start "technological work" between December 2008 and February 2009 which would put the plant on an "irreversible final" course.

(Source: Jerusalem Post)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

S.Africa to re-examine nuclear plant plan: official


Thu 13 Nov 2008, 11:24 GMT

[-] Text [+] JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's plan to build a nuclear plant to tackle its energy shortages will have to be revisited in the light of the current economic climate, an energy ministry official said on Thursday.

The country plans to build its second nuclear power plant, estimated to be worth billions of dollars and meant to provide 20,000 megawatts of power.

France's Areva and U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric have bid for the contract.

Tseliso Maqubela, acting deputy director general at the Department of Minerals and Energy, said the magnitude of the investment made the decision difficult, especially in the context of the global economic downturn.

"To say that we can proceed with the nuclear build the way we had envisioned would be misleading. All our plans will have to be re-looked at and we will have to come to a happy medium we will have to prioritise," he told an energy conference.

Maqubela said that re-prioritisation did not mean a change of policy, but said it would be difficult to see how South Africa could afford the nuclear plant now.

A decision on the nuclear bid would be made by year-end, and this would be to either give the contract to build the plant to one of the two bidders, or to delay the plant altogether.

He said the government was waiting for state-owned power utility Eskom to decide before acting further, but declined to elaborate on the timing.

"The decision still has to be made by the Eskom board and Eskom has to advise the government. We need advice on how to proceed."

But Maquebela said he saw nuclear power playing a major role in South Africa's energy production in the future.

"There is no doubt that (nuclear power) is going to form a significant part of our energy means going forward," he said.

Brigitte Mabandla, South Africa's new minister for the department of public enterprises, which controls Eskom, told Reuters last month that Eskom had not made a final decision on the bids to build the nuclear plant.

She said the real challenge was the cost of the nuclear build versus coal plants.

Eskom relies on coal for most of its power. The country has one nuclear plant, Koeberg outside Cape Town.

Maqubela said South Africa had steered clear of the worst effects of the financial crisis, but it would still be hit.

"... the South African economy as a whole will not be left unscathed and the energy sector is in many ways impacted," he said at an energy conference in Johannesburg.

Reduced investor confidence in developing economies would also impact South Africa's ability to raise capital for infrastructural expansion in the liquid fuels and electricity sectors.

Worse still, the downgrading of Eskom's credit rating was likely to increase costs of borrowing, he added.

© Reuters 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Companies discuss nuclear power


11 November 2008
DOHA: Nuclear power as an alternative energy source has been the subject of preliminary investigation that Qatar PetroleumQatar PetroleumQatar Petroleum
Qatar | Oil and Gas
News | Profile | Officers
» Research

along with Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa)Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) conducted recently.

Engineer Yousuf Janahi, Manager of Corporate Planning and Business Development told reporters yesterday the findings of the investigation show that with gas prices shooting up nuclear power has become economically viable. Talking about the economic aspect of nuclear power Janahi said; "Nuclear power is more sustainable than gas, because it has longer life. The strategic reserve of gas itself needs to be revisited. Nuclear is one of the alternative sources with the bulk supply considered relatively more competitive. But gas is still more competitive at prices that are sold to our power sector."

Asked whether Qatar needs a nuclear power plant given the abundant gas reserve available, he said it makes sense from the economic point of view since gas can be sold at maximum value. "Even if you have abundant gas you don't want to waste it," he said. He also said as per the findings of the investigation, a consultant to study the aspects in which doubts still remain will be engaged with regards to technical issues where further study and then investigation is required.Janahi presented a paper entitled "Qatar experience in investigating nuclear power as an alternative energy source" at the MENA Nuclear Energy Forum.

His paper dealt with the investigation approach as well as the technical and economic findings in addition to safety and regulatory aspects.

© The Peninsula 2008

Energy minister says nuclear option vital for future


Firouz Sedarat
on Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The UAE has reaffirmed its plan to develop nuclear energy to help meet power demand surging at 9 percent a year.A nuclear energy programme will be set up as electricity demand is expected to jump to 40,000 megawatts by 2020, powered by the UAE's economic boom, Energy Minister Mohammed al-Hamli told a conference on nuclear energy in Qatar's capital Doha.The UAE, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, has signed deals with the United Sates and Britain this year for cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Hamli reiterated UAE's plans to establish a body to run the programme and an independent nuclear regulator.In October, the UAE awarded US-based engineering company CH2M Hill a 10-year contract to manage its civilian nuclear power programme.The United States is at loggerheads with Iran, just across the Gulf from the UAE, over its nuclear programme and fears that Tehran is trying to build a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful power generation. (Reuters)

J-Power to postpone operation of nuclear plant


TOKYO - J-Power has pushed back the start of its 1,383 megawatt nuclear reactor by more than two years to November 2014, adding to Japan's woes as it strives to meet its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The company officially known as Electric Power Development Co began construction of the plant in Aomori prefecture, northern Japan, in May.
"The postponement is partly due to the delay in the start of construction, which was initially August 2006," a company spokesman said.
The start of operation of the plant has been delayed from an initial date of March 2012.
Japan sees increased use of nuclear energy as an effective way of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which it has pledged to cut to six per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.
Despite this pledge, however, upcoming government data to be released shortly are expected to show that emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases rose last year.
This increase is blamed on the closure for an indefinite period of the world's biggest nuclear power plant, which Tokyo Electric Power Co was forced to shut after a powerful earthquake in July 2007.
Analysts say that a one percentage point fall in the running ratio of Japan's nuclear power plants would result in an increase of around three million tonnes of CO2 emitted a year.
Had the nuclear plant been in service at the previous target of March 2012, that would have reduced several million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
J-Power is building the plant, which will use mixed oxide fuel (MOX) in Aomori prefecture, northern Japan. The company said it will notify the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of its change of plan on Tuesday.
The use of MOX fuel, a blend of uranium and plutonium recycled from spent nuclear fuel, in conventional commercial reactors is a pillar of resource-poor Japan's energy policy.
The company said on October 31 that it will pay about $US642 million to buy back the 9.9 per cent stake held by The Children's Investment Fund (TCI), ending a drawn-out battle with the activist London-based investor.

Chavez boasts nuclear cooperation with Russia

President Hugo Chavez said that he was looking forward to signing nuclear cooperation agreements with Russia during an upcoming visit to Venezuela by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

""Atomic energy. Technology for Venezuela. We are going to have atomic reactors, and they'll soon accuse us of building 100 atomic bombs,"" Chavez told a rally of supporters a day after a Russian delegation left Caracas where it prepared for Medvedev's visit.

Chavez said he would sign nuclear cooperation agreements ""for peaceful purposes"" when Medvedev visits Caracas toward the end of November.

""It has to be said,"" Chavez said about his non-aggressive plans for nuclear energy, adding that the only ""giant and infinite atomic bomb"" Venezuela possessed was ""the morale and consciousness"" of the Venezuelan people.

The United States has already slammed Chavez for his arms deals with Moscow.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was first to propose nuclear cooperation with Venezuela when Chavez visited Moscow in September.

Friday, the visiting Russian delegation of politicians and some 60 businessmen signed with Chavez 15 cooperation agreements in the financial, industrial, mining, aerospace, energy and telecommunications sectors.

Medvedev's visit will coincide with the arrival of a fleet of Russian warships that includes the nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) for maneuvers in the Caribbean.

It would be the first time that Russian warships sail into the region since the end of the Cold War.

Venezuela and Russia were also due to finalize new arms purchases, including tanks and planes, according to sources from both countries.

They have signed 4.4 billion dollars in bilateral arms deals since 2005, including radars, 24 Sukhoi-30 planes, 50 helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov automatic rifles.

Chavez on Saturday said Venezuela's alliance with Russia ""has not come easily.

""It cost us a lot, but we're finally getting there,"" he said, adding that both countries have now become ""strategic allies.""

(Source: Tehran Times)

Nuclear Transport Protests Particularly Violent, Say Police

A train carrying nuclear waste has finally reached its destination in Gorleben, Germany, where the radioactive material is to be stored. But it was a long, eventful trip.

Thousands of protesters held up a truck convoy carrying nuclear waste in Germany Monday, repeatedly invading a 20-kilometer (12-mile) road leading to a secure storage warehouse.

Police said the protests, the biggest since 2001 during the waste transport operations, which take place every few months, were also more violent than usual.

Protesters had tried to undermine a railway, seize a truck and shot signalling flares at a police helicopter.

Federal police commander Thomas Osterroth said, "A few of them are willing to be very violent."

The 10,000 police at the scene were ordered to clear the road before the trucks departed from a railway freight yard carrying the 11 containers. They were bound for the storage site at Gorleben where tons of similar waste are already guarded round the clock.

The big containers are a new type, code-named TN 85, with shells designed to withstand greater heat from the high-grade waste, the remains of uranium fuel rods used in German nuclear power stations.

Greenpeace claims containers are dangerous

The environmentalist group Greenpeace charged that neutron radiation from the containers was 40 percent greater. State regulators rejected this, saying their tests showed the radiation remained within the legally safe limit.

About 1,000 protesters who blocked the entrance to the warehouse were carried away one by one by riot police.

Police said they faced a major challenge removing eight demonstrators who had chained themselves to concrete blocks near the site.

On Saturday it took 12 hours to drill out concrete and remove three protesters who chained themselves to a railtrack on the French border before the waste passed on a train.

The train carried the waste from a reprocessing plant La Hague, France to a railhead in the town of Dannenberg, close to Gorleben.

Nuclear energy debate in Germany

About 15,000 protesters defied a storm to camp out near Gorleben. They said the large turnout was prompted by debate in Germany about returning to nuclear power for the sake of reduced carbon-dioxide emissions.

The protesters, who reject nuclear power as unsafe, aim to draw attention to the issue by disrupting the convoys. Under legislation, Germany is to close all its nuclear power plants within the next 15 years.

The German government has said little about the protests. But Dieter Althaus, premier of Thuringia state, said Monday the protesters were breaching a national consensus to end nuclear power and store away the waste.

(Source: DW)

Iran criticizes Obama's nuclear comments

Iran's Foreign Ministry dismissed on Monday comments by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama about Tehran's disputed nuclear ambitions and said it did not expect any major change in the policies of its old foe.

Obama called on Friday for an international effort to stop Iran developing a nuclear bomb, saying it was "unacceptable."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi repeated Tehran's official position that nuclear weapons had no place in the Islamic Republic's defense doctrine.

"We need a change in the erroneous impressions of the United States," he told a news conference, broadcast and translated by Iran's English-language Press TV station. "It is very clear that Iran does not ... possess nuclear weapons."

Iran says its nuclear plans are to make electricity so it can export more oil and gas. But its refusal to halt sensitive work has drawn three sets of U.N. sanctions and U.S. measures.

Washington severed diplomatic ties with Iran shortly after its 1979 Islamic revolution and is spearheading the drive to isolate Tehran over its nuclear activities.

Iranian officials have said Obama's victory showed Americans wanted a fundamental change from the policies of President George W. Bush, who branded Iran part of an "axis of evil."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week congratulated Obama, who has said he would harden sanctions on Iran but has also held out the possibility of direct talks.

"Can the gentleman (Obama) bring about change or not? Let us wait and see," Qashqavi said.

Asked whether he believed Obama would hold talks with the present Iranian government or whether he preferred to wait for Iran's 2009 presidential election, Qashqavi replied: "We shouldn't expect fundamental, revolutionary changes in American policy ... This is equally true when it comes to the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Qashqavi said Iran was studying a letter from European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana on the nuclear issue. Solana represents the six powers -- the United States, Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany -- in talks with Iran.

Iranian media reported on Monday that a proposal put forward by the six powers in June, under which they would hold off from further sanctions if Iran froze enrichment expansion, was raised in talks between Iranian MPs and officials in Brussels.

(Source: Reuters)

IAEA council meeting will discuss Syrian nuclear issue for first time

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) council meeting to be held at the end of November will include Syrian nuclear issue in its agenda, an IAEA high ranking official confirmed to Xinhua in Vienna on Monday.

This will be the first time for IAEA to include Syrian nuclear activities in the topics for discussion, which suggests IAEA may query the purpose of Syrian nuclear activities.

Meanwhile reports here said that IAEA has found some doubtful points yet to clarify at the establishment which was blew down by Israel in 2007. Some reports even suggested that IAEA has already found evidence for Syria's secret development of nuclear weapons.

Last September, Israel sent fighters to blow down an establishment at Syrian Al-Kibar, claiming it to be Syria's base of secret nuclear weapon development. The United States provided IAEA intelligence this May, confirming Israel's accusation. This establishment would be for developing nuclear explosive material Plutonium and put into operation shortly, according to the U.S. intelligence.

However, Syria keeps denying of any plan for nuclear weapons, on which IAEA has carried out investigations.

IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei said at the IAEA council meeting in Vienna on Sept. 22 that according to analysis of sampling, IAEA has found no trace of nuclear material in Syria's Al-Kibar so far, but IAEA would continue probing the area.

(Source: ChinaView)

A micro nuclear reactor in your garden?

Imagine a nuclear reactor small enough to be carried by truck and buried in a garden… According to The Guardian, a U.S. company based in New Mexico, Hyperion Power Generation, has designed mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes. The company has already received firm orders and expects to deliver about 4,000 ‘individual’ plants between 2013 and 2023. It also said that it has a six-year waiting list. So if you want such a micro nuclear reactor, don’t expect to receive it by 2014. But read more…

You can see above a picture of the Hyperion Power Module (HPM) and how small it is.
The HPM will have multiple applications. Some of them include industrial ones, such as oil shale and sands drilling and processing or powering U.S. Military facilities. But “the one that would offer the most basic and direct positive impact on populations in need, is that of providing a power source to remote communities, both for electricity and to pump and process water.” You’ll find a larger version of the above illustration by clicking on the “Community” tab from the applications link mentioned earlier.

John Deal, the Hyperion CEO, says that such micro nuclear reactors should cost about $25 million each. In the U.S., where people spent more energy than in other parts of the world, such a reactor should be able to deliver power to only 10,000 households, for a cost of $2,500 per home. But in developing nations, one HPM could provide enough power for 60,000 homes or more, for a cost of less than $400. This is quite reasonable if you agree with Hyperion, which states that the energy from its HPMs will cost about 10 cents/watt.

On its home page, Hyperion gives additional details about these reactors and their safety. “Small enough to be transported on a ship, truck or train, Hyperion power modules are about the size of a “hot tub” — approximately 1.5 meters wide. Out of sight and safe from nefarious threats, Hyperion power modules are buried far underground and guarded by a security detail. Like a power battery, Hyperion modules have no moving parts to wear down, and are delivered factory sealed. They are never opened on site. Even if one were compromised, the material inside would not be appropriate for proliferation purposes. Further, due to the unique, yet proven science upon which this new technology is based, it is impossible for the module to go supercritical, ‘melt down’ or create any type of emergency situation. If opened, the very small amount of fuel that is enclosed would immediately cool. The waste produced after five years of operation is approximately the size of a softball and is a good candidate for fuel recycling.”

In “Truck-delivered Micro-Nuclear Reactor for Clean Energy Within Five Years,” Edwin Black agrees. “Unlike giant nuclear reactors requiring ten years to construct under daunting conditions, these concrete ‘nuclear batteries’ have no moving parts, no potential to go supercritical or meltdown, and reportedly cannot be easily tampered with. The extremely small amount of hot nuclear fuel—too hot to handle–would immediately cool if exposed to air, technical sources assert. Moreover, it would take prodigious resources wielded by a government infrastructure to attempt to enhance the weak radioactive core into a weapons-grade component. The fact is the radioactive fuel is so weak it will have to be replaced within seven to ten years. The nuclear waste after five years of spent fuel is so negligible it will reportedly produce a mass no bigger than a softball, and that will be easily recycled, according to atomic energy sources.” (The Cutting Edge News, November 10, 2008)

In an August 2008 press release, Hyperion said that the TES Group, an investment company focusing on the energy sector in Central Eastern Europe, has purchased six units, and plans to buy more. According to the company, would be installed in Romania.

Apparently, Romanians didn’t know abot this. In a short article, HotNews.ro said that “Romania’s National Committee for Nuclear Control’s officials declared that they did not receive any notification regarding the authorization of the mini nuclear plant and has no idea of the project, Romanian news agency NewsIn informs.” (November 10, 2008)

(Source: ZDNet)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Arabs lament lack of dialogue on Iran nuclear crisis

Arab diplomats complained on Sunday about a lack of dialogue with the West over Iran's nuclear ambitions during a briefing on the crisis by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attended the meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh alongside French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and their counterparts from Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

"The Arab countries wanted to be informed of the state of negotiations" between Iran and six major world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- said an official who attended the talks.

Another participant said the Arab diplomats expressed "deep concerns" at the meeting and complained of "insufficient dialogue" between Arab countries and the six world powers on the standoff over Iran's nuclear drive.

Western nations led by the United States accuse Tehran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons but Iran vehemently denies the charges, saying its programme is solely aimed at generating electricity.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Salah Bashir told the meeting that "the nuclear crisis became a crisis (for the West) but for us the Iranian surge for hegemony has become a crisis," according to the participant who asked not to be named.

Sunni Arab governments like Egypt, Jordan and the six oil-rich Gulf monarchies have repeatedly expressed concerns over what they see as the growing influence of Shiite Iran in the region, namely in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Iran is under three sets of UN sanctions for failing to heed international demands to halt uranium enrichment but the major powers have offered Tehran technological, economic and political incentives if it suspends the process.

(Source: AFP)

German nuclear shipment sparks fury

Hundreds of anti-nuclear demonstrators at a waste storage plant in northern Germany are preparing to peacefully protest against the delivery of the spent fuel to the site.

About 23 tons of nuclear waste are set to be delivered to the Gorleben plant by truck on Monday, after being transferred from a train which began its journey in France.

The train has already been held up by environmental protesters during its journey through Normandy, Bavaria and Lower Saxony.

Three German demonstrators stopped the train for 12 hours on Saturday by jamming their arms into a block of concrete hidden under the track at Lauterborg station, on the French side of the border, German police said.

The train left for Wuerzburg in Bavaria in southern Germany after police managed to dislodge the protesters on Saturday evening.

"This action was prepared, we shall conduct an inquiry," Joerg Zenner of the German police told German television.

Hundreds of protesters have attempted to block the line at several points. In one incident, demonstrators set fire to barricades on the track.

Large protest

On Saturday, thousands of people demonstrated near the nuclear waste disposal centre at Gorleben.

Wolfgang Ehmke, a spokeman for the People's Initiative for Ecological Protection, said that the group had protested for 31 years against nuclear waste being stored in Gorleben.

"Scientists say it is very dangerous to have a plant here, as the soil stock is in contact with water," he told Al Jazeera on Sunday.

"The government originally wanted to stop the production of nuclear energy, but the nuclear industry wants to carry on. Angela Merkel [Germany's prime minister] thus wants the industry to go on, although the opposition Social Democrats want to put all this to a stop.

"The demonstration here yesterday was a good day. We were supported by the Social Democrats, the Green party and the Socialists - we are very proud because we now know that we belong to the political mainstream."

About 14,000 demonstrators converged on the site, police said, with protest organisers saying that 16,000 people had turned out.

About 500 demonstrators took part in an overnight sit-in at the site, pledging to protest when the waste arrives on Monday.

Spent fuel from Germany's nuclear power plants is sent each year to France and Britain for reprocessing and then is returned to the Gorleben site.

The waste consignment is the 11th this year to be transported from La Hague to Germany.

In 2003, the German government set a two-decade timetable for closing the country's nuclear power plants.

(Source: Al Jazeera)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bulgaria urges RWE to approve Belene nuclear JV

Bulgaria urged German power utility RWE on Thursday to reject pressure from green activists and approve a deal to become a strategic investor in a planned 4.0 billion euro ($5.16 billion) nuclear power plant.

Deputy Energy Minister Yavor Kuyumdzhiev said Bulgaria will wait for RWE's supervisory board approval of the deal until the spring of 2009, when construction of the 2,000 megawatt Belene plant should start.

The Bulgarian government last month chose RWE to become a strategic partner in the Belene project with a stake of 49 percent. The project aims to restore the Balkan country's position as a leading exporter of power in Southeast Europe. It had initially hoped to sign the deal with RWE in October. [ID:nL3216869]

"We will wait for their decision until the spring," Kuyumdzhiev told reporters on the sidelines of an economic forum. "They will make a mistake if they do not enter (the) Belene (project) because nuclear energy has no alternative."

RWE's supervisory board looked into the project last week, but did not come up with a decision, a company spokesman said.

Industry insiders say RWE may delay its decision until it receives more evidence about the safety plans for Belene, in an effort to defuse the protests of environmental groups such as Greenpeace and green party politicians.

"If RWE gives in to pressure from green activists, they will make a mistake," Kuyumdzhiev said.

"Given the huge power shortages in Southeastern Europe, this is a unique investment offer. So, if they do not jump on it, someone else will."

He said some of the 12 companies which had expressed initial interest in the Belene project would most likely still be willing to get on board, and stressed that Bulgaria would push ahead with the nuclear plant in any case.

State power utility NEK, which has a majority stake in Belene, has contracted Russia's Atomstroiexport, along with France's Areva and Germany's Siemens to build the plant. The two reactors are expected to come online in 2013-2014.

Bulgaria is a strong supporter of nuclear energy and believes it is part of the solution to climate change as proponents say atomic power emits almost no greenhouse gas emissions.

(Source: Reuters)

Venezuela, Russia discuss nuclear energy, flights

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met with Russian officials on Thursday to discuss bilateral agreements on everything from nuclear energy to direct flights connecting Caracas to Moscow.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin headed a delegation of business leaders visiting Venezuela to discuss development plans prior to Russian President Dimitri Medvedev's visit later this month.

"On Nov. 26 something historic will happen here," Chavez told state television from the meeting in the presidential palace. "For the first time, a Russian president will visit Venezuela."

Under the socialist leader, Venezuela has strengthened ties with Russia — purchasing more than $4 billion in weapons since 2005. A Russian naval squadron plans to visit Venezuela for military exercises this month, but both countries have insisted their intentions are peaceful.

"We have the possibility to form an alliance for the peaceful use of nuclear energy," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said Thursday.

He said that the newly planned flight will connect Caracas directly to "the heart of Europe."

Sechin said that Russian aluminum company Rusal plans to build an aluminum-producing plant in Venezuela, and announced that Russia's state-run gas giant Gazprom will soon begin drilling for gas in the Gulf of Venezuela.

"In the coming days we will inaugurate the construction of a platform in the Gulf of Venezuela," Sechin said through an interpreter.

"We can say that our relations are taking on the characteristic of strategic partners," he said.

Chavez's government has said the joint venture with Venezuela's state-run oil company will kick off on Friday in Venezuela's gulf — home to 27 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Some contracts for the 46 agreements will be signed during the Russian delegation's visit and others upon Medvedev's arrival, Carrizalez said.

The agreements will cover areas including mining, infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, science and technology, space, agriculture, education, and transportation, he said.

(Source: AP)

Russia to help in Vietnam civil nuclear program

Russia wants to take part in Vietnam's planned nuclear energy program, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Denisov said Thursday following talks with Vietnam's Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem in Hanoi.

"We know that such plans were made in Vietnam, very daring and far-reaching plans. We hope that Russia will be among those who will work with Vietnam in this hi-tech area and continue the traditions of our cooperation," Denisov said in an interview to the ITAR-TASS news agency.

Last week, Russia and Vietnam signed oil and gas deals after trade talks in Moscow between the countries' presidents, as part of a broader effort by Russia to regain Soviet-era influence in the region.

While trade between Russia and Vietnam has grown in recent years, Russia's clout in the Southeast Asian country is still a shadow of Soviet-era levels.

Russian trade turnover with Vietnam was set to reach 1.5 billion dollars in 2007, Medvedev said, a figure dwarfed by the annual trade turnover between Vietnam and the United States of over 10 billion dollars.

(Source: AFP)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Senior SKorean official leaves for nuclear talks in US

A senior South Korean foreign ministry official left Wednesday for New York for talks with his US counterparts on North Korea's nuclear programme, officials said.

The foreign ministry said Hwang Joon-Kook, head of the North Korean nuclear issue bureau, would meet Sung Kim, director of the US State Department's Office of Korean Affairs, and other officials during his four-day trip to New York.

"The visit was made at the request of the US government," a ministry official told AFP.

The ministry declined to confirm a report by the South's Yonhap news agency that Hwang may meet Ri Gun, head of the American affairs bureau of the North's foreign ministry, to discuss ways to verify Pyongyang's recent nuclear claims.

Ri, who is in New York to attend an academic seminar, plans to meet US officials, Yonhap said.

"The US asked for consultations with us before and after the planned talks with North Korea," an unidentified official here was quoted as saying.

Washington last month removed North Korea from a list of state sponsors of terrorism saying Pyongyang had agreed to steps to verify its nuclear disarmament and pledged to resume disabling its atomic plants.

But nations involved in six-party talks have yet to endorse a protocol for the hardline communist country to fully verify its nuclear record.

(Source: AFP)

Turkey demands clarification in nuclear tender

The Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) asked the Atomstroyexport-Inter Rao-Park Teknik joint venture, sole bidders in Turkey's first nuclear power plant tender, to clear some technical issues, the Anatolian Agency reported.

"We demanded an explanation when issues that required clarification regarding our security criteria occurred," a TAEK official told A.A. regarding their technical evaluation on the Russian-Turkish joint venture's proposal.

The tender held in September was disappointing given the fact that a number of foreign and local companies had previously expressed interest but did not submit bids.

The evaluations are complete, except for this issue, the official told AA adding that they would submit their decision whether the venture meet the required criteria to Energy Ministry until the end of November.

According to TAEK's criteria, nuclear power plantsmust meet updated and approved technological innovations and be compatible with international institutions criteria, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Akkuyu power plant on the Mediterranean coast in the southern province of Mersin has a planned capacity of 4,000 megawatts, plus or minus 25 percent.

(Source: Hurriyet)

U.N. watchdog urges Spain action on nuclear waste

The United Nations' nuclear watchdog on Wednesday praised Spain's regulator but recommended stepping up efforts to find a permanent site for dumping spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste.

Urich Schmocker, head of an International Atomic Energy Agency mission to Spain, said building a central storage facility was just an interim solution.

"Both knowledge in the waste area and the reach for a solution justify a more proactive approach to the final disposal problem," Schmocker said in Seville, southern Spain.

Spain has a storage facility for low- and medium-level waste at El Cabril, near the southern city of Cordoba. No high-level site has been found, but options under consideration include storage deep underground.

Schmocker, of the Swiss nuclear inspectorate, headed a 21-member team to review Spain's Nuclear Safety Commission (CSN) from January 28 to February 08.

The mission made 26 suggestions and two recommendations in the area of security, one of them concerning nuclear waste disposal.

"This is an excellent result," Schmocker said.

Spain's eight aging nuclear power stations face an uncertain future, as operating licenses for seven of them are due for review between 2009-11.

That is within the mandate of Spain's Socialist government, which has vowed to phase out nuclear power amidst a boom in renewable energy sources.

Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian has said, however, that permits could be renewed if operators invested enough in safety.

The government is considering sanctions against the 1,000 MW Asco I plant over what the CSN said was improper handling of a radioactive leak that took place in November last year but was not made public until April.

As part of a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce its heavy dependence on imported fuel, Spain has encouraged renewable energy and is now the world's third-largest producer of wind power, with a capacity of 16,000 megawatts.

Spain is now also the world's third producer of solar, and may have up to 1,800 MW by the end of the year.

Overall, nuclear plants have much less capacity than wind and solar plants, at 7,700 MW, yet they usually provide a bigger share of the country's electricity as they work more steadily.

(Source: Reuters)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

China's Candus could recycle uranium

[I first learned about the uranium recycling idea when I worked in Korea. It still sounds like they are trying to work out details, but they have used test assemblies in AECL reactors.]


Chinese firms have agreed a strategy towards recycling uranium for use again in Candu reactors.

Candu reactor fuel. Why not useuranium left over from use in anotherreactor? (Image: Cameco)After supplying two Candu 6 reactor units for the Qinshan phase three development, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) has struck a deal with the Third Qinshan Nuclear Power Company, China North Nuclear Fuel Corporation and the Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC).

The four partners will jointly develop the technology for the use of uranium recovered from used nuclear fuel from other Chinese reactors for use at Qinshan 3 and 4. This follows a deal earlier this year between AECL and NPIC to conduct research in this area.

Qinshan 3 and 4 are pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) designed to run on natural uranium fuel - that is, composed of about 0.7% uranium-235 and not enriched to increase this. They differ from the bulk of China's current and future nuclear fleet, which is based on pressurized water reactors (PWRs) running on low-enriched uranium (about 5% U-235).

Once the fuel from the PWRs has been used for a certain time, its effective enrichment level drops beyond the point it is useful for generating electricity. However, the mix of uranium within the used fuel could in theory still be used in a Candu reactor. In this way, PHWR and PWR units could be operated in a symbiotic way which recycles uranium. It is this that the companies hope to achieve.

AECL president and CEO Hugh MacDiarmid said: "Candu nuclear technology has the potential to make a major contribution to reducing China's dependence on imported nuclear fuel resources."

Uranium recovered from used nuclear fuel differs from natural uranium in its isotopic makeup, which remains slightly enriched (about 1.6% U-235), with a heightened level of radioactivity. These differences as well as the highly radiaoctive nature of the used PWR fuel pose the technical challenges the four partners need to overcome.

A program in South Korea has pursued similar goals for some time. Dupic (Direct Use of PWR fuel in Candu) envisages the used fuel pellets from PWR fuel being broken up heated to drive off radioactive fission products and then reformed for use in Candu fuel. It is not yet clear whether the Chinese project matches this or whether intermediate steps of chemical and physical processing would be carried out. Using Candu reactors in a similar way is also under investigation in Ukraine.

MacDiarmid said that besides using recovered uranium, the four are also to set up a program to demonstrate the use of thorium in a Candu reactor, avoiding the use of uranium altogether. AECL said it had investigated this option for over 45 years, with promising results. While uranium is already the cheapest fuel for electricity generation, even for reactors where the enrichment step is required, thorium would be cheaper still.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Estonia close to pulling the plug on nuclear power project

Estonian leaders seem to have made a principle decision that Estonia would distance itself from the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant project.

Postimees writes that both Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Eesti Energia CEO Sandor Liive said on Friday that if Estonia decided to opt for nuclear power, the priority should be in building its own nuclear power plant.

This marks a new shift in thinking since it is the first time in the last two years when the government and Eesti Energia have been promoting the Ignalina project as the answer to Estonia’s energy problems.

“We are not ruling out participation in the Lithuania project, but if our long-term objective is to use nuclear power than we should prepare the construction of our own reactor. We cannot rely on the Lithuanian project,” said Liive.

Liive said that the Lithuanian project was derailed because of political disputes in Lithuania. Prime Minister Ansip added: “I don’t know whether the whole Baltic nuclear power plant project has come to an end now, but I am most dissatisfied about its development timetable.”

(Source: Baltic Business News)

Jalili calls for a balance between nuclear rights and commitments

Iran's nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, said ignoring a necessary balance between countries' nuclear commitments and their nuclear rights means weakening the IAEA status and disregarding its purposes.

Jalili made the remarks in a meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, in Tehran as outlining Iran's vast and continuous cooperation with the agency which sought building confidence.

He also described Iran's support for its irrefutable nuclear rights as favoring all the IAEA members' rights.

Iran and Brazil sharing the same stance on nuclear disarmament can take constructive measures on promoting the IAEA status, the Supreme National Security Council Secretary said.

Amorim for his part expressed satisfaction on the IAEA recent positive report on Iran's nuclear program and said his country hopes Iran's nuclear dossier could be referred to the IAEA soon.

The Brazilian official also moved to Iran's significant regional role and said creating peace and stability in Iraq and Afghanistan need Iran's aids.

(Source: ISNA)

Election breathes new life into nuclear debate

Whether it is Barack Obama or John McCain, the new U.S. president will take over one of the most awesome of responsibilities -- his finger will be on the trigger of the country's huge nuclear arsenal.

In advance of the election, some of Washington's most influential national security thinkers have argued for a dramatic shift in U.S. policy, to actively pursue the eventual elimination of all nuclear weapons from the Earth.

Many dismiss this goal as a dream, given the lack of trust among the nuclear weapons powers and the entrenched role that atomic weapons have in the global balance of power.

But Democratic front-runner Obama, who is leading in polls before Tuesday's election, endorsed it and his Republican rival John McCain said he hopes to move to "the lowest possible number" of U.S. nuclear weapons.

"I will not authorize the development of new nuclear weapons," Obama said in September. "And I will make the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons worldwide a central element of U.S. nuclear policy."

The debate, which dates back to the early days of the Cold War, was revived around the start of the election campaign in January 2007 when four Washington national security heavyweights published a call for a total ban.

They were Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, who served as secretaries of state in Republican administrations, William Perry, who was Democratic President Bill Clinton's defense secretary, and former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn, who has been advising Obama.

In 2008, they said their vision was supported by 14 more former top national security officials from recent administrations.


George Perkovich, director of the nonproliferation program at the Carnegie Endowment, says nuclear weapons can be banned even if they cannot be "disinvented" -- much like Nazi-style gas chambers.

"Those (gas chambers) haven't been disinvented but we don't have them around now and don't think they should be around and we're prepared to take action to enforce that," he told a Washington audience last week.

"The next American president should emphasize the goal of a world without nuclear weapons -- and really mean it," Perkovich said. Most nuclear weapons, which for many are a symbol of the Cold War, are still held by the United States and Russia.

President Ronald Reagan discussed the idea of a total abolition of the weapons in 1986 with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev -- to the shock of some of their advisers.

The 1968 Nonproliferation Treaty obliged the five declared nuclear weapons states -- China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States -- to work toward disarmament.

India, Pakistan and North Korea have all since tested nuclear weapons and Israel is widely assumed to have them. The United States accuses Iran of wanting to build a bomb, although Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

In their January 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal, the four prominent figures noted a growing fear that non-state groups like al Qaeda could get their hands on a bomb -- and use it as the "ultimate means of mass devastation."

But if the world had zero nukes, there would be none for either governments or non-state groups to acquire, they said.


Some worry about how to reach such a goal given the perils for Washington of leading by giving up bombs when others, like Russia and China, are modernizing their stockpiles.

In the current edition of the journal "Foreign Affairs" two other U.S. experts say Washington must launch a vigorous diplomatic effort to convince the world of "the logic of zero."

Ivo Daalder, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and Jan Lodal, immediate past president of the Atlantic Council, say that a "remarkable" bipartisan consensus has grown around the idea. They said as part of the process Washington should reduce its arsenal to no more than 1,000 total weapons.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week said the United States should update its nuclear arsenal. But he added he would advise the next president to seek agreement with Russia on cuts in nuclear warheads below the limit of 1,700 to 2,200 deployed warheads in an existing treaty.

Gates noted that three past presidents he had worked for favored eliminating all nuclear weapons and said so publicly. They were Jimmy Carter; George Bush, the current president's father; and Reagan.

But Gates said some efforts toward a nuclear weapons-free world had not been realistic.

"All have come up against the reality that as long as others have nuclear weapons, we must maintain some level of these weapons ourselves to deter potential adversaries and to reassure over two dozen allies and partners who rely on our nuclear umbrella for their security, making it unnecessary for them to develop their own," he said.

(Source: Reuters)