Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

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

Friday, August 6, 2010

Taipower considers adding reactors to nuclear plants

Nuclear Power Station 3 in TaiwanImage via Wikipedia
aiwan Power Co., the island's biggest electricity producer and monopoly grid operator, is considering adding as many as 10 reactors to existing nuclear power plants to cut its reliance on coal and gas.
The utility's grid has the capacity to accommodate two additional reactors at its No. 2 nuclear power station, Vice President Hsu Hwai-chiung said in an interview in Taipei county yesterday, without giving a timeline. The company's No. 3 and No. 4 nuclear plants also have space for new units, he said.
The island has three nuclear stations in operation and one under construction. Without adding reactors, Taiwan Power, known as Taipower, will need to build new coal-fired or natural gas-fueled power plants to meet rising

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Arab States Go Nuclear to Close Power Gap, Catch Up With Iran

Map of the territory and area covered by prese...Image via Wikipedia
A shortage of natural gas has Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates looking to nuclear power to meet their increasing energy needs. The U.A.E. has already signed a $20 billion deal with a South Korea company to build four facilities, while Saudi Arabia recently announced it will develop a city centered on nuclear and renewable power. The shift, analysts say, will also serve as preparation for an era when countries are sanctioned for greenhouse-gas emissions. Bloomberg
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

US, Vietnam in advanced nuclear negotiations: report

Flag of former North Vietnam (from 1955 until ...Image via Wikipedia

http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/US_Vietnam_in_advanced_nuclear_negotiations_report_999.html Washington (AFP) Aug 5, 2010 The United States is in advanced negotiations to share nuclear fuel and technology with Vietnam, including a proviso that would allow Hanoi to enrich uranium on its own, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. Congressional critics of the deal say the terms would undercut the more stringent demands placed on its partners in the Middle East, which had been required to renounce uranium enrichment in exchange for nuclear cooperation, the report said.
The newspaper cited US officials as saying that negotiators have given a full nuclear cooperation proposal to Vietnam, a former Cold War foe, and that they have started briefing the House and Senate foreign relations committees.
China, which shares a long border with Vietnam, has not been consulted, the officials said.
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NATO unveils new division to tackle 'emerging' threats

WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 11:  'World at Risk,' a ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife


Brussels (AFP) Aug 4, 2010 - NATO announced on Wednesday the creation of a new division focused on "non-traditional" challenges to international security including threats to information and energy powerbases. Citing a "growing range of non-traditional risks and challenges," the Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD) will address "terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cyber defence, and ener ... mo
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NORAD, Russia To Conduct First-Ever Joint Air Defense Drills

USAF Aerospace Defense Command patchImage via Wikipedia

Washington DC (RIA Novosti) Aug 05, 2010 - The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the Russian Air Force will hold their first-ever joint air defense exercise on August 8-11, NORAD said. The exercise, dubbed VIGILANT EAGLE, involves Russian, Canadian and U.S. Air Force personnel operating from command centers at the Elmendorf airbase in Alaska, and in Khabarovsk, Russia. "Airborne warning and control aircraft ... more
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NKorea deploys anti-aircraft missiles as wargame tensions mount

Seoul (AFP) Aug 4, 2010 - North Korea moved long-range anti-aircraft missiles close to the border with South Korea as tensions rose over the sinking of one of Seoul's warships, a newspaper reported Wednesday. Chosun Ilbo quoted a military source as saying the North moved some SA-5 missiles from the southwestern province of Hwanghae to areas near the border, where they pose a potential threat to South Korean jets. ... more

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

M'bishi Hvy eyes 2 nuke plant orders yearly-INTERVIEW-UPDATE 2

TOKYO, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd aims to win orders for 30 nuclear power plants by 2025, the head of the company's nuclear energy business said on Tuesday.
The executive vice president also said the firm has a good chance of winning the contract for Jordan's first nuclear power plant project.
Like its rivals, Mitsubishi Heavy is revving up marketing efforts as the number of new nuclear plant projects overseas grows.
There are currently 432 nuclear power plants in operation worldwide and another 140 facilities were either under construction or being planned as of January, according to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum.
"We are expecting to receive two orders a year. Considering the potential market size, the target is not pie in the sky and is achievable," Akira Sawa told Reuters in an interview.
Mitsubishi Heavy received its third overseas order in the United States in May. Major competitors include Toshiba, which controls U.S. power firm Westinghouse, and a Hitachi-General Electric alliance.
Mitsubishi Heavy is now bidding for a Finnish project and its joint venture with French state-owned energy group Areva is seeking to win an order for Jordan's first nuclear plant, competing with the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd and the state-run Russian firm Atomstroyexport.
Sawa said the Finland contract would probably not be awarded before the end of next year but that the Jordan decision should come sooner.
"I've got the impression that we have the edge (in the Jordan bid)," Sawa said. "There are (geographic) faults in the Gulf of Aqaba in Jordan, and so it is necessary to predict earthquakes there just like in Japan. I heard that Jordan has attached importance to our quake-resistant engineering as well as our safety record."
In Jordan, Mitsubishi Heavy and Areva have proposed the new generation 1,100 megawatts ATMEA 1 nuclear reactor which the two firms are jointly developing.
"Both Mitsubishi and Areva have very strong technologies and I heard the ATMEA is a competitive reactor. If the two other rivals do not slash their prices, Mitsubishi (and Areva) will be able to win the order," said Nomura Securities analyst Shigeki Okazaki.
The French firm is planning a 3 billion euro share offering and aims to sell the stock to strategic overseas partners. The French government has said it would welcome Mitsubishi taking a stake in the state-owned energy group.
Sawa declined to comment on the possibility of this happening.


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New potential cyberthreat is identified

Seal of the United States Department of Homela...Image via Wikipedia
New potential cyberthreat is identified

Experts for the first time "have discovered a malicious computer code" specifically designed to affect control systems at industrial facilities, this article states. The Department of Homeland Security has begun building teams that can respond quickly to cyber-emergencies at industrial facilities across the country. Google/The Associated Presshttp://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h7lX0JoE1AGngQoEfWWmCM6THizQD9HC7QG81
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Nuclear conversion plan could benefit U.S. military, TVA Mixed views on mixed oxides

Logo of the United States Tennessee Valley Aut...Image via Wikipedia

The Energy Department's proposal to convert weapons-grade plutonium into mixed-oxide fuel for Tennessee Valley Authority's nuclear power plants is drawing mixed reactions. The plan could help take away 34 metric tons of excess plutonium from the military and offers low-cost fuel for TVA, proponents say. "We have not made any decision, but whatever TVA does, it will be done to help reduce our costs and to help meet these national goals," said T.A. Keys, TVA's manager of nuclear fuels. Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tenn.)

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

White House rebuffs Iran leader's call for direct talks

Washington (AFP) Aug 3, 2010 - The White House on Tuesday rebuffed a call from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for face-to-face talks with his US counterpart Barack Obama, saying Iran was not serious about discussing its nuclear program. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs nonetheless held the door open to US-Iran talks as the State Department saw signs that Tehran may now be seeking a dialogue with Washington under the pain of new sanctions. "We have always said that we'd be willing to sit down and discuss Iran's illicit nuclear program, if Iran is serious about doing that," Gibbs told reporters. "To date, that seriousness has not been there."

US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Iran may now be seeking a dialogue with Washington because it is feeling the bite of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, the United States, European Union and others. "The cost of doing business for Iran is going up," Crowley told reporters. "We're encouraged by what we're seeing... We sense that there may well be a willingness on the part of Iran to enter into the kind of dialogue that we have long sought," he added. He said that the series of sanctions are "getting Iran's attention."

Crowley said he based his remarks on the result of Iran's contact with the European Union's top diplomat Catherine Ashton as well as on Iran's own public statements. Apart from Ahmadinejad's call for talks with Obama, Iran said on Friday it was ready for immediate talks with the United States, Russia and France over a confidence-building exchange of nuclear fuel. He added that it was also against stockpiling higher enriched uranium, as an apparent conciliatory move to the international community worried about its potential drive to obtain the grade of uranium needed for a nuclear bomb. Crowley said: "We are willing to meet Iran any time any place within the P5-plus-1." He was referring to the permanent five UN Security Council members -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- plus Germany, which have been leading the diplomatic efforts to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.

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US imposes sanctions on 21 'Iran-backed' firms

US imposes sanctions on 21 'Iran-backed' firms
The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on 21 firms it believes are front companies for the Iranian government, stepping up pressure on the Islamic republic over its nuclear program.
Accusing Tehran of trying to dodge sanctions by setting up opaque trading companies, the Treasury Department named a host of banking, mining and other companies spread throughout Europe and Japan as government-backed
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* US imposes sanctions on 21 'Iran-backed' firms (alternet.org)
* U.S. ramps up sanctions against Iran (cnn.com)
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Bombers, missiles could end Iran nukes Pentagon has plan for attack

Coat of arms of the Islamic Republic of Iran. ...Image via Wikipedia
Bombers, missiles could end Iran nukes
Pentagon has plan for attack http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/a...end-iran-nukes/
A U.S. military officer said a war plan is in place to hit Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime and its ability to make nukes. (United Press International)A U.S. military officer said a war plan is in place to hit Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime and its ability to make nukes. (United Press International)

US has Iran strike plan, Mullen says -- Boston.com
U.S. military chief warns of attack option against Iran -- The Daily Mail
US has plan to attack Iran if needed -- The Telegraph
Iran has defensive plans to face any attack: defense chief -- Xinhuanet
Iran warns any war in Mideast ‘would not be limited’ to a single country -- Tehran Times
Price for a potential Israeli strike on Iran? A Palestinian state. -- Andy Zelleke, Robert Dujarric, Christian Science Monitor
Attack consequences -- Dawn Editorial
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Was there really a "nuclear revolution?" from Stephen M. Walt by Stephen M. Walt

WMD world mapImage via Wikipedia

Ever since graduate school, I've been a firm believer in the "nuclear revolution." The term refers to the belief that the invention of nuclear weapons constituted a fundamental shift in the nature of warfare, and conceivably in international relations itself. As Bernard Brodie put it in The Absolute Weapon (1946): "Thus far the chief purpose of our military establishment has been to win wars. From now on its chief purpose must be to avert them." (Hmmm. Given that we've fought at least five significant wars since World War II, and a host of minor conflicts, we don't seem to be following Brodie's advice).

The idea of the "nuclear revolution" goes further than that, however. As refined by scholars like Brodie, Thomas Schelling, Glenn Snyder, Robert Jervis, Kenneth Waltz, and Stephen Van Evera, nuclear weapons are said to provide states with the ability to protect their sovereignty and independence not via direct defense but rather through deterrence. Instead of defending one's borders or vital interests with conventional military forces, states could deter enemy attack by threatening to inflict unacceptable damage on an aggressor. As long as they possessed a secure second-strike retaliatory force, in short, they could deter attack by threatening to make an aggressor's losses outweigh its gains. As Winston Churchill famously put it, peace had become "the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihilation."

Finally, as Jervis argued in several important works, the nuclear revolution dampened (and maybe eliminated) the security dilemma between states. As long as a state possessed a secure second-strike capability (SSC), its security wasn't affected if an possible adversary had a much larger arsenal. In the world of mutual assured destruction, in short, "nuclear superiority" was a meaningless concept. Even if an enemy had a lot more warheads, it couldn't attack a state with a secure SSC without risking devastating retaliation. And it didn't take a genius to figure out that even a minor nuclear exchange would ruin your whole day.

According to the logic of the "nuclear revolution," therefore, states with second-strike capabilities were secure against attack and didn't need to worry very much about their sovereignty or independence. The "security dilemma" was muted, and cooperation between states would be greatly facilitated. (Other theorists took this argument even further, and suggested that the technological change embodied in the nuclear revolution heralded the end of the nation-state and the emergence of a global republic).

I've long accepted the core tenets of this basic argument, and I've taught it to my students for years. But lately I've started wondering about just how far-reaching this "revolution" really was. Although I still accept the core logic, the existence of nuclear weapons doesn't seem to have had the far-reaching political effects that Jervis and others anticipated.
More at link

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U.S. agrees to tackle South Korea's plan for nuclear-fuel reprocessing

The coat of arms of South KoreaImage via Wikipedia
U.S. agrees to tackle South Korea's plan for nuclear-fuel reprocessin


Chosun Ilbo (South Korea) (8/3)Korea and the United States have agreed to start talks about the revision of a bilateral atomic energy agreement this fall, it emerged on Monday. Seoul is keen to reprocess its own spent fuel rods, which it is barred from doing under the agreement, but Washington has so far been reluctant to permit it since the process results in the production of weapons-grade plutonium.

But in a meeting Monday with senior Foreign Ministry officials in Seoul, Robert Einhorn, the U.S. State Department's special advisor for non-proliferation and arms control, apparently signaled willingness to consider Seoul's proposal to use a process known as pyroprocessing, which does not produce plutonium that is pure enough for nuclear weapons.

A diplomatic source said, "The U.S. has shown some confidence in Korea's pledge to reuse the spent nuclear fuel peacefully. Concrete technical matters will be reviewed by scientists and engineers of the two countries in negotiations."
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Jordan eyes 3 more nuclear-cooperation agreements this year


Jordan will forge nuclear deals with the Czech Republic, Japan and Romania this year and looks forward to signing one with the U.S. "in the near future," said Khalid Touqan, head of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission. Until then, the commission and Worley Parsons, Australia's largest engineering firm, will hold discussions with pre-selected project bidders, he said. Bloomberg

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Horizon forges nuclear-services deals with Areva, Toshiba

The map shows the commercial nuclear power pla...Image via Wikipedia
Horizon forges nuclear-services deals with Areva, Toshiba


Horizon Nuclear Power said it contracted with Areva and Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse Electric for preliminary work on a planned nuclear facility in Wales. "We are already working with both companies in a formal procurement process regarding our preferred vendor," said Alan Raymant, chief operating officer at Horizon. The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires
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The Case for Nuclear Power Is as Strong as Ever

Former EPA chief Whitman highlights nuclear energy's safety

In the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill, Christine Todd Whitman, who co-chairs the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition and used to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, points to the exemplary safety record in the nuclear energy industry. "Every nuclear power plant is designed, constructed and managed to prevent radioactive releases, even in the event of natural disasters, operational accidents or terrorist attacks," she writes. The Huffington Posthttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-todd-whitman/the-case-for-nuclear-powe_b_667193.html
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IAEA team reviews Chinese regulatory system from World Nuclear News by Warwick Pipe

Flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency...Image via Wikipedia
IAEA team reviews Chinese regulatory system
from World Nuclear News by Warwick Pipe
A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has completed a two-week peer review of China's governmental and regulatory framework for nuclear safety.
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Findings Show Promise For Nuclear Fusion Test Reactors

The Sun is a natural fusion reactor.Image via Wikipedia
Findings Show Promise For Nuclear Fusion Test Reactorshttp://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Findings_Show_Promise_For_Nuclear_Fusion_Test_Reactors_999.html
West Lafayette IN (SPX) Aug 02, 2010 - Researchers have discovered mechanisms critical to interactions between hot plasma and surfaces facing the plasma inside a thermonuclear fusion reactor, part of work aimed at developing coatings capable of withstanding the grueling conditions inside the reactors. Fusion powers the stars and could lead to a limitless supply of clean energy. A fusion power plant would produce 10 times more e ... more
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US, India sign nuclear reprocessing pact

Flag of the International Atomic Energy Agency...Image via Wikipedia

The United States and India signed an agreement Friday enabling the Asian power to reprocess American nuclear material, a key requirement under their landmark atomic energy pact. So far, Washington has reprocessing deals only with European Union members and Japan.

The arrangement with India reflects President Barack Obama's "strong commitment to building successfully on the landmark US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative and is a prerequisite for US nuclear fuel suppliers to conduct business with India," a statement from the State Department said.

India is to reprocess the US spent nuclear fuel at a new facility to be established under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, the statement said. Arrangements under the pact signed Friday "will facilitate participation by US firms in India's expanding civil nuclear energy sector," it said.

The civil nuclear agreement has opened significant new commercial opportunities for the United States across India's multi-billion-dollar nuclear energy market. They include the designation of two nuclear reactor park sites for US technology in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, the statement said.

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