Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Transport a driver for nuclear build

NRG CEO touts nuclear as baseload power for electric cars

A combination of electric vehicles with clean generation and nuclear power for baseload will solve America's climate and energy security problems, according to testimony from a senior utility chief.

David Crane of NRG Energy, which has some 24,000 MWe of generating capacity, spoke in front of the US Senate's Committee on Climate Change Legislation yesterday.

Crane said: "We need to build a zero carbon baseload foundation under our wind farms and solar fields. That foundation is new advanced nuclear power."

NRG is one of the largest US power generators but at present only 5% of its power comes from nuclear - from a 44% stake in two reactors at South Texas Project, although it has a 50% share of a plan to build to more there.

Transport a driver for nuclear build

Uncertainty over the final price of the new reactors at South Texas Project has caused the City of San Antonio - owners of CPS Energy, NRG's partner in the plan - to delay a decision to issue $400 million in bonds.

Approval was expected today, but city mayor Julian Castro announced a delay until January 2010. The originally quoted price of $10 billion has already increased to $13 billion.

South Texas Project 3 and 4 will be Advanced Boiling Waster Reactors that produce 1350 MWe each. They are to be built by Toshiba.
Despite its small contribution to his portfolio, Crane continued to say that nuclear "will provide the juice for a personal transportation system based on a nationwide fleet of electric cars," which he said would dramatically reduce emissions and oil imports.

"We need to focus on a commercial foothold strategy that will quickly capture a significant market share for electric vehicles in key American cities and city clusters," said Crane, adding that "the electrification of our transportation sector will provide the cure to our national addiction to foreign oil."

A release from NRG said that the two new STP reactors would power two million Texas homes - including two million electric cars. Crane lamented that of the 33 reactors currently in various stages of planning and regulatory approval, only a few will actually be built.

"If you assume that all 104 nuclear reactors currently operating in the United States [will be] retired by 2050, that means we need approximately 75 new nuclear units over the next 41 years simply to keep nuclear power's share of electricity production near 20%," explained Crane. "If we want to double the nuclear share of power production to 40% in order to accommodate demand growth and realise a greater carbon benefit, we are going to need to build about 150 new nuclear units. Suffice it to say, there is a big gap between the 3-4 projects moving forward and 150."

To enable a massive wave of nuclear build, Crane called for a price on carbon emissions as well as a range of tools to address worker training, manufacturing capability, more support in the form of loan guarantees that simplify finance and even "making appropriate federal lands available for new plant siting." Lastly, the regulatory regime embodied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must be capable of handling a much larger volume of projects.


* Exelon CEO: Extra $50B in loans enough to trigger nuclear construction

Exelon CEO: Extra $50B in loans enough to trigger nuclear construction
The inclusion of an extra $50 billion in federal loan guarantees for nuclear energy in the climate-change bill would encourage the sector to build plants, Exelon Chairman and CEO John Rowe said. Rowe made the statement after testifying on climate-change legislation at a Senate hearing conducted by the Environment and Public Works Committee. Reuters

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Iran leader welcomes nuclear plan

Tehran (AFP) Oct 29, 2009 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday conditions were ripe for nuclear cooperation with the major powers as the atomic watchdog received an Iranian response to a UN-brokered plan. Breaking with his usual hardline rhetoric, Ahmadinejad hailed what he said was a change in Western policy from "confrontation to cooperation" that had made cooperation possible over Iran's nuclear programme. ... more


Waiting for Answers on Fordo: What IAEA Inspections Will Tell Us

Waiting for Answers on Fordo: What IAEA Inspections Will Tell Us


Weapons of Mass Distraction by MARSHA B. COHEN

Weapons of Mass Distraction
29 Oct 2009
ibcover.jpg The 41st anniversary of the commencement of American-Israeli negotiations over Israel's nuclear program.

If Iranian negotiators haven't read Avner Cohen's book Israel and the Bomb, they should. They'd find out that Oct. 30 is the 41st anniversary of the beginning of the series of negotiations that culminated in American recognition of Israel's "nuclear ambiguity." They might learn some useful lessons.

As the worldwide media weighs and critiques Iran's dilatory response (or lack of satisfactory response) to western pressures over its nuclear program, Israeli diplomats and pundits are reiterating that, no matter what Iran says, it is nonetheless trying to exploit the pretext of a peaceful nuclear program to develop a nuclear weapons program.

After all, Israelis know how the game is played. They wrote the rules.

On Oct. 30, 1968, US Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Warnke began a series of negotiations with then-Israeli Ambassador Yitzchak Rabin, who would become Israel's fifth Prime Minister in 1974. [Awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for shaking hands with Yassir Arafat, Rabin was assassinated by a right wing Jewish fanatic at a Jerusalem peace rally a year later.] Although Warnke had not been provided with the CIA's assessment of Israel's nuclear weapons program, he nevertheless suspected that Israel had the capability of producing a nuclear bomb and quite possibly had already done so. He proposed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that linked Israel's signature on the NPT not only to the sale of the Phantom jets Israel wanted from the U.S. but to the transformation of the U.S. into Israel's main arms supplier, a role that had, until the 1967 "Six Day" war, been filled by France.

As reconstructed and recounted by Avner Cohen in his 1998 book (pp. 307-318), based on once-classified documents, Warnke met with Rabin on Nov. 12, and attempted to clarify the assertion, "Israel will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the area." Rabin replied that it meant, "We would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons."

"What do you mean by 'introduce'?" Warnke asked.

"What is your definition of nuclear weapons?" Rabin responded.

Warnke said the question he was asking had two parts: the definition of what was or was not a "nuclear weapon" and the definition of what was or was not "introducing" nuclear weapons. "If there are components available that could be assembled to make a nuclear weapon -- although part A may be in one room and part B may be in another room -- then that is a nuclear weapon," Warnke declared.

General Mordechai Hod, who had accompanied Rabin, asked whether there was any accepted usage of the word "introduction" in international law. Warnke admitted there wasn't. Rabin and Hod then focused on 'testing' as the hallmark of any operational nuclear weapons system. The five nuclear-weapons states had all tested nuclear weapons, and since Israel had not conducted any nuclear tests, it was abiding by its pledge not to have "introduced" nuclear weapons to the region.

Warnke still wanted to define "introduction" in terms of physical presence. But Rabin insisted that, since the purpose of nuclear weapons was to deter, their presence would have to be publicly acknowledged in order to make a case that they had been introduced, since an unacknowledged nuclear weapon had no deterrence value. Rabin further argued that both "notoriety and pretesting" were both necessary in order to meet the Israeli definition of "introduction." Warnke asked Rabin, "In your view, an unadvertised, untested nuclear device is not a nuclear weapon? Rabin responded affirmatively.

Israel's nuclear research program, explains Cohen, originated during its War of Independence in 1948. Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, based his survival strategy for the new state on two major components: a formal military alliance with one or more Western powers, and nuclear weapons. Initially, he considered the possibility of a defense pact with the U.S. that would guarantee the 1949 cease-fire borders. By the mid 1950s, he was convinced that Israel's security needs would best be served by nuclear deterrence it provided for itself. Ben Gurion regarded nuclear weapons as "insurance" in an arms race with the Arab states, as a weapon of last resort, and even as a means of persuading Israel's Arab neighbors to reconcile themselves to Israel's existence.

At this point, the US government itself lacked a coherent non-proliferation policy. Promoting atomic assistance to foreign governments in the peaceful use of nuclear energy (including Iran under the Shah's rule) became a significant component of U.S. foreign policy. Israel had no reason to disguise its research and development of civilian nuclear technology.

In 1960, Time magazine reported that Israel was building an atomic bomb in the Israeli desert town of Dimona. Ben Gurion would only admit to building a nuclear power plant there. He feared that a debate among government officials and policymakers, let alone any public input, might endanger his plans for the nuclear deterrent. Funding was secured outside "normal government channels." The project became off-limits for any discussion. In 1962, two Knesset (parliament) members from the Israeli left wing parties Mapam and Maki, proposed a debate on the establishment of a nuclear free zone in the Middle East in order to avoid a "holocaust" resulting from the use of nuclear weapons in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The proposal was scrapped from the Knesset's agenda at Ben Gurion's request.

According to Cohen, Israel had completed the development stage of its first nuclear weapon by 1966-67. CIA reports distributed in early 1967 indicated that Israel had produced all the necessary components to allow it to assemble a nuclear bomb in 6-8 weeks. Nevertheless, Israel refused to admit to having a nuclear weapons program, insisting it was sufficient for it to assert, "it would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East."

Rabin and Foreign Minister Abba Eban and Ambassador to the U.S. Yitzhak Rabin met with U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk in October 1968. Rusk explained to them that Israel's development of nuclear weapons confront the U.S. with the embarrassing question of whether or not the U.S. was serious about the NPT, "which we are." It would also raise the disconcerting issue, within the larger context of the Cold War, of what the Soviet Union might do to provide Arab countries with access to nuclear weapons if Israel were to have them. Rusk and the State Department attempted to link the sale of U.S. F-4 Phantom jets to an agreement to sign the NPT, while CIA Director Richard Helms privately briefed President Lyndon Johnson that Israel's nuclear capability would preclude its signing as a non-nuclear weapon state.

Israel didn't sign the NPT. It got the Phantoms anyway. To avoid embarrassing the U.S., "ambiguity--Cohen calls it "opacity," i.e. lack of transparency--became the watchword whenever Israel's nuclear weapons program was mentioned.

There were some close calls. Disclosures to British Sunday Times journalist Peter Hounam in October 1986, concerning the activities at Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona by a technician who had been employed there, Mordechai Vanunu, met with a major disinformation campaign by the Israeli government. Vanunu was kidnapped by Israeli intelligence before his story could be verified.

The taboo on nuclear policy within Israel was nearly broken on Feb. 2, 2000. Knesset Member Issam Makhoul of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality Hadash ("New") Front, a small Arab-Jewish political party, challenged Israel's policy on nuclear ambiguity. Makhoul attempted to point out the dangers not only of nuclear spiraling in the Middle East, driven by Israel's existing stockpile of "hundreds of nuclear bombs" and Israel's recent acquisition of the German submarines, but the possibility of nuclear terrorism carried out by Israelis. What defense was there, Makhoul asked, "if a nuclear Baruch Goldstein [a radical settler who burst into the mosque at the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron on Feb. 25, 1994, and opened fire on the Muslim worshipers there, killing 29 and wounding 150] should infiltrate the system and, equipped with a religious sanction from some rabbi, launch a nuclear Armageddon?"

Makhoul also called attention to the unsupervised buildup of nuclear waste that had accumulated at Dimona during the past 40 years, as well as Dimona's precarious position on the earthquake-prone Syrian-African rift. He questioned the placement of the nuclear missile site near Kfar Zechariah, the Biological Institute at Nes Tziona, where biological weapons are manufactured, and other facilities producing Israeli weapons of mass destruction in residential districts of the most densely populated areas of Israel, calling it "a crime against the residents of Israel and the neighboring countries."

CNN Jerusalem Bureau Chief Walter Rodgers, who was present, reported that several Knesset members walked out during Makhoul's speech. Five Arab members of Israel's Parliament were ejected, and Makhoul was gaveled down by the Knesset speaker. According to Rodgers, the debate had made possible small, though very slow steps by the Israeli government toward a more open nuclear policy. He lamented that "instead of a constructive discussion, the harsh tones of this first debate, with Israeli Arabs on one side and Israeli Jews mostly on the other, may have closed the door on this issue for a while longer" (CNN, 2/2/2000, 6:08 pm ET).

The Makhoul episode was repressed and quickly forgotten. Far more disturbing to Israeli policymakers were Avner Cohen's revelations in Israel and the Bomb. Two years after it was published in the U.S. in English, it was scheduled to appear in Hebrew, in Israel, during the summer of 2000. Cohen had not only provided a comprehensive chronology of Israel's secret nuclear program, he had brought Israel's policy of deliberate ambiguity, which he referred to as "nuclear opacity," to light a mindset, deeply embedded in Israel's national security culture and in the norms, values and attitudes of anyone initiated into Israeli culture:

The culture of opacity is rooted in several convictions: that it is vital to Israel's security to posses nuclear weapons; that the Arabs should not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, thus maintaining an Israeli nuclear monopoly; that Israel cannot openly make a case for nuclear monopoly and thus must keep its nuclear status unacknowledged; that the nuclear issue must be kept out of public discourse; that the issue should be left to anonymous nuclear professionals; and finally, that the policy of opacity has served Israel well and has no alternative. Even in today's Israel, when all other security-related organizations and issues, including the Mossad and the Shin Bet, have become a matter of public debate and criticism, the nuclear complex is conspicuous in its absence from the public agenda (Israel and the Bomb, p.343).

On June 5, 2006, this author (who, though sharing the same last name, is unrelated to Avner Cohen) posed the following question to Cohen, in an online Q&A in Shmuel Rosner's Haaretz blog:
Israel claims that the real danger of Iran acquiring nuclear capability is that it would result in other Middle Eastern states also wanting to acquire nuclear capability, and is not just an Israeli concern about being "removed from the arena of time" (Israeel bayad az sahneye roozegar mahv shavad, usually translated as "Israel must be wiped off the map").

I find it somewhat ironic that in chapter 13 of your book "Israel and the Bomb," this was exactly the concern expressed by the Americans about Israel's nuclear capability in the 1960s, and the reason that the Israeli policy of "opacity" was grudgingly accepted by the U.S. -- i.e. so that the Arab states would not claim the right to nuclear weapons since Israel had them. Could you please comment?

Also, while Iran is being derided for its clandestine nuclear research, if the politics were different, couldn't that secrecy also be considered "ambiguity" or "opacity" from an Iranian point of view (a notion which Israel clearly is unwilling to admit or permit)?

Marsha B. Cohen

Cohen responded at great length and in surprising depth about the historiography of Israel's nuclear program. A short segment of his response--the most directly related to Iran--is reproduced below):

This leads me to your last and probably most intriguing point. You noted that "while Iran is being derided for its clandestine nuclear research, if the politics were different, couldn't that secrecy also be considered "ambiguity" or "opacity" from an Iranian point of view (a notion which Israel clearly is unwilling to admit or permit)?"

Yes, I agree with you that it is a great irony that there is a great deal of resemblance in the mode of opacity -- via secrecy, concealment, ambiguity, double talk and denial -- between the way Iran is pursuing its nuclear program today and the way Israel was pursuing its own program in the 1960s.

In fact, I would not be surprised if some Iranian policy makers and nuclear technocrats have deliberately decided to try to adopt or mimic the Israeli model of nuclear opacity, IF the world would permit them to pursue that mode.

If this line of thinking is correct, it means that Iran's nuclear program would not be aimed at a test of a nuclear device, nor towards declaring Iran as a nuclear-armed state. Instead, while most likely maintaining a secret weaponziation program (but without testing), Iran would continue to insist publicly on its right to enrich uranium.

Over time, while remaining within the NPT, Iran would be seeking to acquire a perception and reputation (by ways of leaks, rumors, double talk, etc) that they have actually built a "secret" nuclear arsenal or at least secretly accumulated a sufficient amount of weapons-grade fissile material.

It may well be that some Iranians have come to believe that by mimicking the Israeli model, as much as they could, they would get all the prestige and deterrence effects they need but without leaving the NPT, let alone without testing or declaring such a bomb. Let the question of the Iranian bomb remain opaque, just like Israel. This would mimic the way Shimon Peres for decades used to talk about "deterrence by way of uncertainty." Let the world guess.

In fact, the world is already guessing now where Iran is in its nuclear pursuit. Some say that Iran is as far as five to 10 years away from producing the bomb, while others, including some mavens in Israel, are fearful that if Iran has been closely imitating Israel it may well already have the bomb. What a remarkable irony indeed.

If Iran indeed follows the Israeli model of nuclear opacity, this would put Israel in a great dilemma of its own. Should Israel call the bluff over Iranian opacity, and in doing so expose its own opacity, or should Israel prefer to acquiesce, just as the world had acquiesced over its own two generations ago.

Thank you again Marsha, for allowing me to reflect on history.

Cohen was indeed intrigued by the irony I had suggested and proceeded to further (and publicly) reflect on it. About two months later, he was quoted in a Reuters news dispatch by Bernd Dubussman (Sept. 26, 2006, 11:36 am):

"Whether deliberately or inadvertently, there are elements of resemblance between the way Iran is pursuing its nuclear program today and the way Israel was pursuing its own program in the 1960s," Avner Cohen, author of a landmark study entitled "Israel and the Bomb," in a telephone interview.

"This is a great irony of history but Iranian policymakers and nuclear technocrats may be strategically mimicking the Israeli model," said Cohen, senior research scholar at the University of Maryland's Center for International and Security Studies.

As Cohen sees it, the elements the Israeli and Iranian nuclear programs have in common are secrecy, concealment, ambiguity, double talk and denial.

Iran's probable strategy, he says, is to create the perception of having a secret weapons program, or being close to it, without actually testing a bomb or declaring its possession or impending possession.

That echoes the Israeli program, which began in the late 1950s at the Dimona nuclear complex in the Negev Desert. Since then, Israel has declined to confirm or deny it has nuclear weapons, saying only it would not be the first to "introduce" them into the Middle East.

Over the decades, Israel's attitude has been "let the world guess" or as former Prime Minister Shimon Peres called it, "deterrence by uncertainty."

Writing for Haaretz on Feb. 12, 2007, Cohen elaborated on the political implications of the Israeli-Iranian nuclear analogy:

Iran's choice of nuclear ambiguity will be a political challenge for the international nuclear system, but a far greater challenge to Israel, which granted legitimacy to such ambiguity. There is an important difference between Israel and Iran: Israel's nuclear ambiguity succeeded as an international phenomenon because the world, and particularly the U.S., decided to accept it as a country maintaining such a policy. Israel received a kind of exemption from the international community, which closed its eyes to the nuclear issue for political, legal and even ethical reasons unique to Israel. Israel's ambiguity succeeded because the world preferred it to all the other options.

But that is why the Iranian challenge is so powerful: Is it preferable to remove the mask from Iranian ambiguity and to call it by name, or is a vague Iran preferable to an openly nuclear Iran? At what point in time should we remove the masks and insist on international nuclear transparency? And what will be the future of Israeli ambiguity in such a world? These are all questions that until now have hardly been asked, but they demand a great deal of thinking, both worldwide and in Israel.

In the two years since Cohen wrote this, zero progress has been made in addressing these questions, either in Israel or the "international community."

Forty-one years after the Warnke-Rabin negotiations, Israeli's advanced level of development of nuclear technology, including its production of nuclear weapons, remains "opaque." Apologists insist that, since Israel never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is not bound by its dictates, while Iran, which signed the Treaty in order to reap the benefits available to non-nuclear weapon states, is accountable to an ever-shifting higher standard.

Israel has been at the forefront of accusations that Iran is in the process of developing nuclear weapons, frequently trumpeting its threat to carry out unilateral military strikes at Iranian nuclear production and research facilities. Military sources in the U.S. and Israel (unnamed, of course) drop hints that Israel is being provided by the U.S. with the bunker-buster weapons, and equipped with the necessary delivery devices to be used against Iran. Yet to this day, the western media carefully qualifies all references to Israel's own possession of nuclear weapons as "alleged" or in other waffling terminology that implies that there exists some question about the extent of Israel's nuclear capability.

If Iran had the luxury of an administration whose electoral legitimacy were less in doubt, or that had done less to deliberately cultivate worldwide opprobrium by its appalling human rights violations, these questions could, should and might possibly have been raised. This is the reason why the Israeli diplomatic corps was mobilized and ready to spring into action to delegitimize the Iranian election results had Mousavi emerged as the victor.

The questions confronting Iran's interlocutors are far larger than the grim shadow of any one man, including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The words being spoken in and about the current debate over Iranian nuclear enrichment are a pale and rather pathetic substitute for those that still need to be debated. Until then, the current nuclear campaign against Iran will be limited to largely discussing weapons of mass destruction, while ignoring the danger of the weapons of mass distraction.

Marsha B. Cohen covers Israel for Tehran Bureau.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau


The Future Nuclear Powers You Should Be Worried About By Mordchai Shualy

The Future Nuclear Powers You Should Be Worried About
By Mordchai Shualy

Iran's and North Korea's nuclear programs are worrying enough. But a number of other countries are looking to join the nuclear club, with terrifying potential consequences.


Israel 'met Iran' at atomic talks

Israel 'met Iran' at atomic talks


Think Again: God

Think Again: God


South Carolina nuclear industry reportedly responsible for more jobs than BMW

Study: Nuclear industry supplies more jobs to South Carolina than BMW
The nuclear sector has generated more jobs than BMW in South Carolina, bringing in more than 28,000 positions, according to a study from Clemson University. Jobs include employment at the state's four commercial nuclear facilities, including the Energy Department's Savannah River Site and Duke Energy's nuclear plant in Oconee County, the study reported. The Greenville News (S.C.)


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Accomplishments of U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Highlight World-Class Performance

Accomplishments of U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Highlight World-Class Performance
A newly established world record run at the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania is the most recent in a series of achievements that demonstrate the world-class reliability and safety of U.S. nuclear energy facilities.


Iraq goes nuclear with plans for new reactor programme

Iraq goes nuclear with plans for new reactor programme


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Iran wants big changes to nuclear deal with powers

The Dog And Pony Show Continues With Iran's Nuclear Program
from War News Updates by Bookyards
Iran Wants Big Changes To Nuclear Deal With Powers -- Yahoo News/Reuters

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran wants major amendments within the framework of a U.N. nuclear fuel deal which it says it broadly accepts, a move that could unravel the plan and expose Tehran to the threat of harsher sanctions.

The European Union's foreign policy chief said on Tuesday there was no need to rework the U.N. draft and he and France's foreign minister suggested Tehran would expose itself to tougher international sanctions if tried to undo the plan.


US-UAE Nuclear Pact Edges Closer

US-UAE Nuclear Pact Edges Closer
Steven Stanek, The National
The US-UAE nuclear accord moved a step closer to being implemented yesterday as the UAE Cabinet officially approved the deal, just days after a 90-day US congressional review period expired.
Full Article


Germany to U.S.: Take Away Your Nukes!

Germany to U.S.: Take Away Your Nukes!
Peter Gumbel, Time
Germany's new coalition government put the finishing touches to its policy program this weekend, promising moderate tax cuts to help support the economy, a reduction in the length of compulsory military service, and the continued operation of the nation's aging nuclear power plants.
Full Article


On Nukes, Obama Plans Hands-On Approach

On Nukes, Obama Plans Hands-On Approach
Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic
President Obama plans to take a more active role in preparing America's nuclear weapons strategy, helping to ensure that the final document, due out next year, reflects his priorities, rather than just the institutional views of his government, administration officials said.
Full Article


Iran Officials Appear Split on Nuclear Plan

Iran Officials Appear Split on Nuclear Plan
Thomas Erdbrink, The Washington Post
High-ranking Iranian officials appear divided over a draft proposal with the United States and other countries that would transfer the bulk of the Islamic republic's enriched uranium stockpile out of the country.
Full Article


Iran Backs Uranium Plan Outline, But Seeks Changes

Iran Backs Uranium Plan Outline, But Seeks Changes
Nasser Karimi and Brian Murphy, Associated Press
IranIran accepted the general framework of a U.N.-draft nuclear deal Tuesday, but said it would seek "important changes" that could test the willingness of world powers to make concessions in exchange for a pact to rein in Tehran's ability to make atomic warheads.

It was unclear how far Iran would push for those changes. Already, Iran has raised a potential roadblock: It wants a step-by-step approach to send low-enriched uranium stockpile out of the country rather than the big single shipment called for under U.N. provisions.
Full Article

Cabinet ratifies key US nuclear deal

* UAE approves nuclear-cooperation agreement with U.S.
The United Arab Emirates Cabinet has cleared the nuclear-cooperation deal that the country recently struck with the U.S. The two countries have agreed to collaborate in developing a civilian nuclear program in the UAE. Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)/Emirates News Agency (10/27)

EPA projects construction of 180 nuclear plants by 2050

EPA projects construction of 180 nuclear plants by 2050
About 180 nuclear power reactors will be built by 2050 -- far more than the existing 104 plants in 31 states, according to the Environmental Protection Agency based on a study of the proposed climate-change bill. With an estimated price tag of $10 billion for each reactor, the expected construction corresponds to a cost of close to $2 trillion. The Examiner/Chicago (10/26)


* Md. governor to clear Constellation-EDF deal with certain conditions

* Md. governor to clear Constellation-EDF deal with certain conditions
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is prepared to approve the agreement between Constellation Energy Group and Electricite de France if certain conditions are met, including a one-time 10% credit for Baltimore Gas & Electric customers. The governor wants to make sure safeguards are in place despite assurances from Constellation officials that the deal will save ratepayers' money and produce millions of tax dollars. WBAL-TV (Baltimore) (10/26)

* Constellation reacts to conditions on nuclear deal with EDF: Constellation said its planned $4.5 billion deal with Electricite de France could break down if Maryland regulators insist on imposing costly conditions, such as the one-time credits proposed by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. "This transaction will not be closed at all costs or under any conditions," Constellation lawyers contended in a final brief submitted to the state Public Service Commission. The Sun (Baltimore) (10/27) http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-md.constellation27oct27,0,6120432.story

NEI identifies key nuclear energy incentives for U.S. climate bill

NEI identifies key nuclear energy incentives for U.S. climate bill
The Nuclear Energy Institute is urging Congress to include a robust package of tax incentives and loan guarantees for nuclear-power facilities in the climate-change bill. "Financing is the single-largest challenge we face in trying to build new nuclear-power facilities," said Alex Flint, NEI's senior vice president for governmental affairs. The group also is seeking more incentives for addressing nuclear waste and additional funding for nuclear research and development. Reuters


Monday, October 26, 2009

India's nuclear drive sparks safety fears

India's nuclear drive sparks safety fears
Since the civilian nuclear deal last year with the United States ended India's decades of isolation from the international atomic market, New Delhi has begun a vast drive to significantly increase its use of nuclear energy. The promise of clean and affordable power has strong government backing, but fears remain over the nation's patchy nuclear safety record. - Siddharth Srivastava


US threats prompted Iran nuclear facility

US threats prompted Iran nuclear facility
The United States has accused Iran of duplicity over the construction of a second uranium enrichment facility at Qom, and says Tehran only revealed its existence once the Iranians realized that Washington knew about it. Yet US intelligence estimates tell a very different story, one in which Iran carefully reacted to what appeared to be an imminent US strike against it. - Gareth Porter (Oct 26, '09)


Toshiba, others developing small nuclear reactors: report

Report: Toshiba, other companies aim to develop small nuclear reactors
Banking on a possible shift to nuclear energy as the world tries to cut down its carbon emissions, Toshiba, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries reportedly are working on small, less expensive nuclear reactors that can be used by developing countries. Reuters


EU-South Korean deal to benefit nuclear power sector

EU-South Korean deal to benefit nuclear power sector

The European Commission has unveiled details of how a new trade agreement between South Korea and the European Union will benefit the nuclear energy sector. The deal should boost trade in equipment and fuel inputs in both Europe and South Korea.


Survey: U.S. public strongly supports nuclear energy

Survey: U.S. public strongly supports nuclear energy
A survey of 1,000 Americans found that 75% agreed with expanding the use of nuclear energy as a means to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The survey, commissioned by the Nuclear Energy Institute, also found that 61% of those polled supported the use of nuclear energy in the country, marking the ninth straight year that favorability levels exceeded 60% in surveys. World Nuclear News


Support for reprocessing and action on waste
26 March 2009

A clear majority of US citizens would support recycling and reprocessing of used nuclear fuel, according to a new opinion poll which also found good all-round support for nuclear.


Group agrees on creation of international market for nuclear fuel

Group agrees on creation of international market for nuclear fuel
The world's largest nuclear-power users have agreed to find ways to curb nuclear weapons proliferation by establishing "cradle-to-grave fuel services," a global market to supply and dispose of nuclear fuel for civilian use, a U.S. official said after a meeting of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. The proposal calls for large fuel suppliers to work with smaller countries interested in building nuclear power plants without spending too much on uranium processing, disposal and the fuel's safe use. The Wall Street Journal


* Nuclear energy plays important role as Senate tackles climate bill

* Nuclear energy plays important role as Senate tackles climate bill
Nuclear energy has become a key bargaining chip for Democratic senators seeking Republican support for the climate-change bill. While nuclear energy still faces challenges, particularly on the issue of reactor waste, the energy source supplies one-fifth of the country's electricity as well as generates 70% of carbon-free power. "If you want to address climate change and produce electricity, nuclear has got to be a significant part of the equation," said Nuclear Energy Institute President and CEO Marvin Fertel. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (10/25)


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Enrichment at heart of Iran nuclear programme

Enrichment at heart of Iran nuclear programme
Paris (AFP) Sept 25, 2009 - Enriching uranium for nuclear power -- or building a weapon of mass destruction -- lies at the heart of the controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear programme. The point of enrichment -- which is to be discussed again at talks between Iran and the western powers in Vienna on Wednesday -- is to boost the ratio in uranium of the uranium-235 isotope, which splits in a chain reaction and releases ... more


Senior Iran MP says 'better' to buy nuclear fuel

Senior Iran MP says 'better' to buy nuclear fuel
Tehran (AFP) Oct 24, 2009 - Iran would be better off buying nuclear fuel directly than entering into a UN-brokered deal for a third party to enrich its uranium, a senior lawmaker said on Saturday. Alaeddin Borujerdi, head of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, also said Iran's low-enriched uranium (LEU) should be retained and used in power plants. "It is better to buy 20 percent enriched ... more


Japanese firms to develop small nuclear reactors: report

Japanese firms to develop small nuclear reactors: report
Tokyo (AFP) Oct 24, 2009 - Japan's major nuclear reactor manufacturers have begun developing small nuclear power systems for both developed and emerging countries, a report said on Saturday. Toshiba Corp. is developing an ultra-compact reactor with an output of about 10,000 kilowatts and has started procedures for approval in the United States, the Nikkei business daily said. The new reactor, the Toshiba 4S, is ... more