Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Friday, December 18, 2009

Defiant Iran test-fires missile, drawing Western censure

Defiant Iran test-fires missile, drawing Western censure
Tehran (AFP) Dec 16, 2009 - Iran on Wednesday test-fired what it said was a faster version of a medium-range missile which could allow it to strike Israel, drawing international censure and warnings of "serious" fallout. The defiant test of the Sejil 2 (Lethal Stone) missile comes as world powers mull fresh sanctions against the Islamic republic for its controversial nuclear enrichment programme. "It hit the ... more
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Defiant_Iran_test-fires_missile_drawing_Western_censure_999.html

Russia says US slowing down nuclear talks

Russia says US slowing down nuclear talks
Moscow (AFP) Dec 17, 2009 - Russia on Thursday accused the United States of slowing down talks on a new nuclear disarmament treaty, but Washington insisted it still aimed to sign a new accord this year. A senior US official in Washington said US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev would meet on the sidelines of the Copenhagen climate summit on Friday to discuss the delayed accord. ... more

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Russia_says_US_slowing_down_nuclear_talks_999.html

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Russia Calls for Simpler Checks on Nuclear Cuts

Russia Calls for Simpler Checks on Nuclear Cuts
Dmitry Solovyov, Reuters
LavrovRussia on Thursday called for simpler verification procedures for planned cuts in nuclear weapons being discussed with the United States, its former Cold War foe.

"It's high time to get rid of excessive suspiciousness," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.

Talks between the world's two largest nuclear powers to find a replacement for the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1) have stumbled in recent weeks, though both sides say they expect a deal to be reached in the near future.
Full Article
http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE5BG17M20091217

Nuclear Power Expansion in China Stirs Concerns

Nuclear Power Expansion in China Stirs Concerns
Keith Bradsher, The New York Times
China is preparing to build three times as many nuclear power plants in the coming decade as the rest of the world combined, a breakneck pace with the potential to help slow global warming.
Full Article
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/business/global/16chinanuke.html?_r=1

U.S., UAE move forward with nuclear energy agreement

U.S., UAE move forward with nuclear energy agreement

The U.S. and United Arab Emirates will bring into force a nuclear cooperation agreement today when officials from the countries swap diplomatic notes. The deal, which President Barack Obama approved this year, could bring in billions of dollars to U.S. power companies General Electric and Toshiba unit Westinghouse Electric.

Reuters

Obama Told China: I Can't Stop Israel Strike on Iran Indefinitely

Obama Told China: I Can't Stop Israel Strike on Iran Indefinitely

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1135730.html

US Says Iran Edging Closer to Nukes Knowhow

US Says Iran Edging Closer to Nukes Knowhow

http://wire.antiwar.com/2009/12/16/us-sees-iran-edging-closer-to-nuclear-arms-knowhow-2/

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Senate is tackling measures to spur small reactor projects

* Senate is tackling measures to spur small reactor projects
A Senate panel is considering legislation that could trigger the construction and licensing of smaller nuclear reactors. One bill would allow the government to invest about $250 million to support the technology, while the other proposes to establish a demonstration project through the Energy Department. "Smaller projects would carry lower investment risk and could be more affordable to smaller utilities," an agency expert said. Houston Chronicle


http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/6772562.html

Vietnam, Russia sign deals on defence, nuclear energy

Vietnam, Russia sign deals on defence, nuclear energy
Moscow (AFP) Dec 15, 2009 - Vietnam and Russia signed a major arms deal and a nuclear energy agreement on Tuesday, in a sign of reviving ties between Moscow and its former Soviet-era ally in Southeast Asia. Hanoi agreed to buy Russian-made submarines and aircraft in the arms deal, which was signed in the presence of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his visiting Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung. ... more

http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/Vietnam_Russia_sign_deals_on_defence_nuclear_energy_999.html

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Chinese Nuclear Market Is Going To Be Huge from Green Sheet by Graham Winfrey

The Chinese Nuclear Market Is Going To Be Huge
from Green Sheet by Graham Winfrey

Nuclear China Chart

China's electricity generation plan is rooted in coal, but a substantial amount of its new power in the future will be nuclear, as pressure mounts all over the world for the Asian behemoth to reduce its greenhouse gasses.

Just look at how much capacity is currently planned.

Frank Holmes at Seeking Alpha: From an investment perspective, this shows massive potential opportunity both in terms of infrastructure and natural resources, including uranium. Some analysts say the price of uranium, while soft now, could double over the next couple of years in recognition of future market tightness.

...

China has uranium reserves within its borders and it is aggressively lining up supplies in Central Asia, Africa and Australia to make up any shortfall.

Continue reading here.
http://www.businessinsider.com/chinese-nuclear-market-huge-2009-12?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+greensheet+%28Green+Sheet%29&utm_content=Google+Reader



See Also:

* China Ramping Up Nuclear Power Plans With 5 New Plants
http://www.businessinsider.com/china-ramping-up-nuclear-power-plans-with-5-new-plants-2009-4

* Nuclear Power Costs Don't Have To Be Out Of Control
http://www.businessinsider.com/nuclear-power-costs-dont-have-to-be-out-of-control-2009-7

US envoy voiced concern about N.Korea uranium: official

US envoy voiced concern about N.Korea uranium: official
Seoul (AFP) Dec 15, 2009 - US envoy Stephen Bosworth voiced concerns during his visit to North Korea last week about the country's uranium enrichment programme, a South Korean ruling party official said Tuesday. South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Wi Sung-Lac told lawmakers that the US envoy had raised concerns about the enrichment programme at talks with North Korean officials, a Grand National Party (GNP) official ... more

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/US_envoy_voiced_concern_about_N.Korea_uranium_official_999.html

+ US to probe 'revelation' of Iran nuclear trigger work

+ US to probe 'revelation' of Iran nuclear trigger work
Washington (AFP) Dec 15, 2009 - The United States said Tuesday it will investigate a British newspaper report that Iran is working on a trigger for a nuclear bomb, adding the "revelation" fueled concerns about Iranian intentions. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley's remarks appear to give credence to a report in The Times on Monday saying it had obtained notes describing a four-year plan by Iran to test a neutron in ... more
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/US_to_probe_revelation_of_Iran_nuclear_trigger_work_999.html

Tehran's nuclear trigger - Washington Times editorial.

Tehran's nuclear trigger - Washington Times editorial.

A smoking-gun document has emerged that indicates Iran is closer than ever to developing a nuclear weapon. Top-secret technical notes leaked from deep within the Iranian nuclear program - and making the rounds of Western intelligence agencies - detail research on a neutron initiator, a device that sets off a nuclear detonation. It is the smoking gun's trigger. The Islamic republic has long argued that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes, but there is no peaceful use for the neutron initiator. It is not a "dual-use" technology; it only sets off bombs. Iran apparently has been working on the initiator since at least 2007, coincidentally the same year that a National Intelligence Estimate from the United States Intelligence Community determined that Iran had no intention of seeking nuclear weapons. In light of this and other revelations, that finding needs a serious rethinking.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/dec/15/tehrans-nuclear-trigger/

Evidence of Iran's nuclear arms expertise mounts

Evidence of Iran's nuclear arms expertise mounts -
Joby Warrick, Washington Post. Long denied access to foreign technology because of sanctions, Iran has nevertheless learned how to make virtually every bolt and switch in a nuclear weapon, according to assessments by U.N. nuclear officials in internal documents, as well as Western and Middle Eastern intelligence analysts and weapons experts. Iran's growing technical prowess has been highlighted by a secret memo, leaked to a British newspaper over the weekend, that purportedly shows Iranian scientists conducting tests on a neutron initiator, one of the final technical hurdles in making a nuclear warhead, weapons analysts said Monday. There was no way to establish the authenticity or original source of the document, which is being assessed by officials at Western intelligence agencies and the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Even so, former intelligence officials and arms-control experts said that if it is a genuine Iranian government document, it is a worrisome indication of an ongoing, clandestine effort to acquire nuclear weapons capability. Iran has steadfastly denied seeking nuclear arms.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...9121403729.html

Russia dismisses concerns on transfer of nuclear technologies to India

Russia dismisses concerns on transfer of nuclear technologies to India

There are no domestic laws that would hinder Russia from shipping technologies in enrichment and reprocessing to India as part of a deal to build up to 14 nuclear reactors in the Asian country, according to Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin. The two countries have forged a civil nuclear-cooperation deal. "We don't see many problems in this field," Kadakin added. The Economic Times (India)/Indo-Asian News Service

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/energy/power/Russia-eyeing-12-14-reactors-in-India-says-envoy/articleshow/5336899.cms

Monday, December 14, 2009

+ N.Korea still wants recognition as nuclear state: S.Korea

+ N.Korea still wants recognition as nuclear state: S.Korea
Seoul (AFP) Dec 14, 2009 - North Korea is still seeking recognition as a nuclear power despite trying to normalise relations with the United States, South Korea's top military officer said Monday. "It is our assessment that North Korea has not altered its strategic goal of simultaneously securing the status of a nuclear state and the stability of its regime through the normalisation of North-US relations," General ... more

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/N.Korea_still_wants_recognition_as_nuclear_state_S.Korea_999.html

Reducing the nuclear threat: The argument for public safety

Reducing the nuclear threat: The argument for public safety

Richard Rhodes

Rhodes is the author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which won the Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award. It was the first of four volumes he has written on the history of the nuclear age. Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb (1995), Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race (2007), and The Twilight of the Bombs (forthcoming in autumn 2010) are the others. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard and MIT, and currently he is an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.



http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/op-eds/reducing-the-nuclear-threat-the-argument-public-safety

Areva, NPCIL to start price negotiations for nuclear reactors

Areva, NPCIL to start price negotiations for nuclear reactors

France's Areva is about to start price talks with Nuclear Power Corp. of India for the construction of two European Pressurized Reactors at Jaitapur, Maharashtra, India. This follows the French Parliament's formalization of a nuclear energy deal with India. Aside from the two reactors, another four are being considered for Maharashtra, French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont said. The Financial Express (Bangladesh)

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/Areva-to-begin-talks-with-NPCIL-for-Maha-N-plants/553110/

Lightbridge touts role of thorium in safer nuclear energy future

Lightbridge touts role of thorium in safer nuclear energy future
Thorium could provide the boost needed to revive nuclear energy in the U.S. without raising weapons-proliferation issues, the firm Lightbridge said. While fuel rods made from thorium won't be ready for use in the near term, company CEO Seth Grae said, the material would be safer and more efficient than uranium. Reuters

http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-44659520091211

NEI reacts to draft of bipartisan climate bill in Senate

NEI reacts to draft of bipartisan climate bill in Senate

Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., added incentives for nuclear energy in their draft climate-change bill to gain support from Republicans as well as moderate Democrats. Nuclear Energy Institute spokesman Steve Kerekes said the proposal appears positive "from the conceptual level," adding that the group will seek to work with the lawmakers' offices "at the scale needed to make a difference in meeting rising electricity demand while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions." The New York Times/ClimateWire

http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2009/12/11/11climatewire-senate-climate-roadmap-caters-to-nuclear-off-77696.html

Taiwan probes alleged sales of nuclear parts to Iran: report

Taiwan probes alleged sales of nuclear parts to Iran: report
Taipei (AFP) Dec 12, 2009 - Taiwan is probing allegations that local companies might have sold specialised equipment to Iran that could be used to make nuclear weapons, a report said Saturday. "We are looking into the matter," Hsu Chun-fang, a spokesperson for Taiwan's Bureau of Foreign Trade was quoted by the Taipei Times as saying without elaborating. Export of sensitive items or to sensitive regions are restrict ... more

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Taiwan_probes_alleged_sales_of_nuclear_parts_to_Iran_report_999.html

Iran faces new sanctions over nuke issue: Feltman

Iran faces new sanctions over nuke issue: Feltman
Manama (AFP) Dec 13, 2009 - Iran faces a fresh set of sanctions over its refusal to abide by regulations governing nuclear programmes, the US pointman for the Middle East, Jeffrey Feltman, said on Sunday. "There's a body of law and procedures and regulations that govern nuclear programmes. Iran is simply ignoring those. There have got to be consequences for that," Feltman said in an interview with AFP. "The interna ... more
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Iran_faces_new_sanctions_over_nuke_issue_Feltman_999.html

Iran offers to swap 400 kilos of LEU on Kish for atomic fuel

Iran offers to swap 400 kilos of LEU on Kish for atomic fuel
Manama (AFP) Dec 12, 2009 - Iran's foreign minister on Saturday proposed that Tehran swap 400 kilos of low-enriched uranium for nuclear fuel in an exchange on a Gulf island as the first phase of a deal with world powers. Any new sanctions against Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme "will have no impact," Manouchehr Mottaki also said at a security conference in Bahrain. "We are prepared to take 400 kilog ... more

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Iran_offers_to_swap_400_kilos_of_LEU_on_Kish_for_atomic_fuel_999.html

India tests nuclear-capable ballistic missile

India tests nuclear-capable ballistic missile
Bhubaneshwar, India (AFP) Dec 13, 2009 - India successfully tested a nuclear-capable ballistic missile from a ship near the east coast on Sunday, a defence official said. The Dhanush, which has a short range of 350 kilometres (220 miles), is a navy version of the surface-to-surface Prithvi missile and can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads. The missile was successfully fired from a ship in the Bay of Bengal, said S.P. ... more
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/India_tests_nuclear-capable_ballistic_missile_999.html

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nuclear Iran: stop the clock ticking and start talking Tony Karon

Nuclear Iran: stop the clock ticking and start talking

Tony Karon

The National (Abu Dhabi)

December 13. 2009

Instead of the breakthrough he had hoped for in nuclear diplomacy with Iran, Barack Obama has allowed himself to be painted into a corner. But so, too, have his Iranian counterparts, with neither side now capable of breaking the deadlock.

Mr Obama, under pressure from sceptics of engagement in Washington, Paris and Jerusalem, created an artificial deadline of December 2009 for his diplomatic efforts. The clock is ticking, warn the hawks, with Iran supposedly racing full-tilt to build nuclear weapons (although evidence of this remains scant). So Mr Obama turned a deal to send much of Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium abroad for processing into a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum. Iran’s leadership has been unable to accept this, insisting on renegotiating the terms even as it faces its own internal paralysis.
Abiding by the deadline, Mr Obama is now pressing for new sanctions against Tehran. But Russia and China remain sceptical, despite being critical of Tehran’s behaviour, and the UN is unlikely to adopt anything close to the “crippling sanctions” which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has threatened.

The US and its allies are looking at their own measures, targeting Iran’s petrol imports and access to international trade and investment by threatening third-country companies that do business in Tehran. Such measures could, however, provoke a backlash, particularly from countries such as Turkey and China, which is fast emerging as Iran’s major trade and investment partner in the energy sector.
The smart money wouldn’t bet that, whatever sanctions the US is able to muster, Iran will change its behaviour. But by adopting new sanctions, Mr Obama follows the hawks further down the road. What happens when those measures fail to force Tehran to back down? A blockade? War?

Nobody believes Obama would launch military action – or even allow Israel to do so – because at best it would set back Iran’s programme by a few years, while risking setting the region ablaze and imperiling US missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some in Washington now see a nuclear-armed Iran as inevitable.
So how did a president who promised a new dawn of diplomacy find himself stuck in the same dilemma as his predecessor?

Two reasons come to mind: nuclear diplomacy has been eclipsed by the most traumatic domestic political crisis to have gripped the Islamic Republic in its 30-year history; and Mr Obama failed to abandon the Bush administration’s goal to get Iran to forego all enrichment of uranium.
Many had warned that the Obama administration was heading for trouble by maintaining the demand that Iran give up enrichment even for peaceful purposes – a “ridiculous” demand even in the words of an ally like Senator John Kerry. All of Iran’s political factions agree that the country deserves the rights of any other signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which includes uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes .

But Washington hawks, together with Israel, Britain and France, say even peaceful enrichment capability gives Iran the wherewithal to make a bomb, and is therefore intolerable. And Mr Obama wasn’t about to pick a fight on the end goals when he launched his much-maligned engagement policy.

That may have been unfortunate, because different end goals helped to scupper the Tehran research reactor deal. The administration’s key goal, as the National Security Adviser Jim Jones put it, was “to get 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium out of Iran”. By removing three quarters of Iran’s stockpile – which hypothetically could be reprocessed to create a single nuclear weapon – western powers saw the deal as giving them more time to persuade Iran to forego enrichment altogether.
Iran fundamentally rejects that objective and any implication that its stockpile of low-enriched uranium is a security threat. But its skittish response to the reactor deal highlights the extent to which the regime’s internal power struggle has sabotaged nuclear diplomacy.

The Iranian side was the first to publicly propose swapping its low-enriched uranium for fuel, and when the framework for the deal was agreed at talks in Geneva and Vienna, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his supporters boasted at home of a great victory. The deal, they said, had forced the West to buckle and tacitly accept Iran’s right to enrich uranium.
But as details emerged and the international press relayed western glee over persuading Iran to part with most of its stockpile, Mr Ahmadinejad came under blistering attack from conservatives, pragmatists and reformers.

Mr Ahmadinejad suddenly found himself paralysed by the regime’s internal dynamics, unable to say yes or no to the West. Tehran’s equivocation was taken as gamesmanship by western powers, resulting in new condemnation and sanctions threats, met with more bluster and empty threats by Mr Ahmadinejad.
As frustrating as it has proven to be, diplomacy remains Mr Obama’s only serious option – and despite his artificial deadline, it has only just begun. A diplomatic solution in which Iran agrees to forego enrichment entirely remains highly unlikely. Imagining Iran could be tricked on to that road by the reactor deal was a serious mistake.

Still, talks could produce agreement on measures within the NPT framework to strengthen safeguards against Iran weaponising nuclear material. That remains a highly desirable goal, even if getting there would involve a long and painstaking process. Mr Obama would do well to toss out that “ticking clock”, a device manufactured by those goading him towards a confrontation he knows would be disastrous. Considering the alternatives, the latest Nobel Peace laureate should be ready to give serious diplomacy with Iran all the time it needs.