Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

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

Friday, August 20, 2010

EP expert praises safety focus at Wisconsin nuclear plants

The Kewaunee Nuclear Generating Station from W...Image via WikipediaEP expert praises safety focus at Wisconsin nuclear plants
The operators of Wisconsin's two nuclear plants, Dominion's Kewaunee Power Station and NextEra Energy's Point Beach Nuclear Plant, conduct regular safety drills and have good working relationships with local officials, said Ashleigh Burish, an emergency-preparedness expert at Kewaunee. "We have confidence in what they are doing on their end as a private entity, and they have confidence in us as public safety," said Gregg Schetter, an official in Manitowoc County, Wis., which hosts the Point Beach facility. Green Bay Press-Gazette (Wis.) (8/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Congressman wants NRC decision on Yucca Mountain

Logo of the United States Nuclear Regulatory C...Image via WikipediaCongressman wants NRC decision on Yucca Mountain
Continued delays in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's ruling on the Yucca Mountain waste repository in Nevada "causes serious harm," said Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash. While the agency has obtained arguments on whether the Department of Energy could abandon the project, it has not taken action, Hastings wrote in a letter to NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko. Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Pasco and Richland, Wash.)
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There isn’t any sensible alternative to nuclear power David Dodwell

20 August 2010
Ask the average environmentally-concerned person how our power generators will achieve the tough emissions reductions needed to play their part in cutting global warming, and you will probably get a simple, clear answer: wind and solar.

Recent research by the International Energy Agency shows that nearly half of interviewees worldwide think that wind and solar power will be the two main sources of electricity generation by 2040. There is just one problem: that idea is na├»ve, overoptimistic, and almost certainly mistaken. Quite literally, it is “hot air”.

That is why governments and power companies around the world are bracing themselves for an epic PR battle: How do they persuade consumers that if emission targets are to be met, and global warming brought under some kind of control, then there is only one choice—nuclear power.

It is not nuclear scientists or the International Atomic Energy Authority saying this. Take James Lovelock, one of the world’s most renowned environmentalists: “We are at the point where there is no sensible alternative to nuclear power if we are to sustain civilisation.”

Wind and solar may over time provide solutions for communities in those parts of the world where the suns shines, and the wind blows, reliably for long hours every day throughout the year. Even in these lucky places (and Hong Kong is not one of them) it will take a long time to get the power in place, and the cost of electricity will be high or heavily subsidised. By contrast, nuclear power can be available in large quantities very quickly, and at costs similar to the cost of thermal power.

Our own Hong Kong government got an early taste of public angst on the issue a few weeks ago when an extreme right wing anti-Chinese radio station claimed there had been a nuclear accident at the Daya Bay nuclear-power site, and that locals had been exposed to danger.

The report was false, but that didn’t matter. Within hours, media in Hong Kong and across Asia were pressing panic buttons. White-haired anti-Daya Bay campaigners were rallied from their wheelchairs to be quoted on how Daya Bay should never have been built, and how we live in daily mortal danger 50 kilometres downwind from the plant. It took days to calm jangled nerves.

Nuclear power does that to people.  The incident was an awkward and timely reminder of many people’s still-paranoid aversion to nuclear power. It was also a reminder that in spite of 16 years of untroubled operation at Daya Bay, many in Hong Kong still harbour distrust of China’s capacity to handle complex nuclear technologies safely.

Perhaps most troubling of all, it demonstrated how impregnable the paranoia is to experts’ efforts to explain the science, and to show the measures they take to ensure safe operation.

Once upon a time, a politically innocent generation ago, members of the voting public tended to put their trust in Governments and technical experts. If these experts said something was safe, then we could all sleep easy at night. Long before BP brought the issue into sharp focus in the Gulf of Mexico, members of the public had lost that trust.  That decline in official credibility couldn’t have come at a worst time.

For an increasing number of governments are discovering the simple reality that nuclear power needs to be embraced, and quickly. While at present, the US leads the world with just over 100 nuclear reactors in operation, with France and Japan operating just over 50 plants, this balance is about to be turned on its head. China—which at present gets less than 2 per cent of its electricity from nuclear plants—plans to build over 180 in the coming decade. India and Russia plan to build 80. Even South Africa plans to build 25 reactors.

Combine construction plans on such a scale with current public paranoia about nuclear power, and the potential for serious political controversy is clear. Governments and power companies need to brace themselves to educate, educate, and educate some more if they are to manage the challenge of ensuring the non-technical public, technical journalists and legislators can understand and have confidence in the operation and oversight of highly complex technologies. We need to feel comfortable that nuclear power is now safe, clean and as economical as fossil fuel-fired electricity generation.

For our own government, this means it can no longer sit timidly on the fence. It must do two things that over the past decade it has done very badly: it must define and articulate its long-term vision; and it must communicate with passion and sophistication. Only if this happens will we be able to reduce radically our reliance on fossil fuels.

David Dodwell is Chief Executive of 
Strategic Access Limited, Hong Kong

Nuke waste dump influences races outside Nevada By KEVIN FREKING

Looking West atop Yucca MountainImage via Wikipedia

   3:19 AM 08/20/2010
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration’s decision to bypass Nevada’s Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository should give Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a boost in his bid for a fifth term. The action is not doing another endangered Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, any favors.
And the same could be said for Democratic lawmakers in South Carolina who have distanced themselves from the administration’s decision. Democratic Reps. John Spratt and Jim Clyburn have been particularly critical of shelving Yucca in recent months.
“I am doubtful that there are easy alternatives to the Yucca Mountain site,” Spratt, chairman of the House Budget Committee, said during a hearing he called in late July.
Washington and South Carolina are plaintiffs in a lawsuit designed to keep Yucca Mountain as an option for stockpiling the nation’s nuclear waste. Both states served critical roles in the development of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, and now both are dealing with the challenge of storing large amounts of high-level nuclear waste for decades to come.
Support for Yucca Mountain in the two states shows that positions on how to deal with nuclear waste are often shaped by regional differences rather than partisan ones. While the fate of Yucca is not a dominant issue in political campaigns outside of Nevada, it could play a contributing role in some close races elsewhere.
In Washington state, Republican rival Dino Rossi is questioning whether Murray has done enough to challenge Reid and President Barack Obama over Yucca Mountain.
“She’s No. 4 in leadership. It’s not like she has no power,” Rossi said. “She should be able to convince these folks that this is important.”
Rossi is hoping to tap into the disdain in central Washington for the Yucca Mountain decision, which many view as steeped in politics rather than science.
In 2002, Congress designated the site 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas as the final resting place for nuclear wastes now accumulating at about 80 sites in 35 states. But Obama promised to close down the project during his 2008 campaign. In the general election, he captured Nevada with 55 percent of the vote.
Central Washington is home to the Hanford Nuclear Site, which contains more than 53 million gallons of nuclear waste in 177 underground storage tanks. The timeline for removing Hanford’s nuclear waste could be extended by decades if Obama’s decision to terminate the Yucca Mountain project stands.
Rossi has a tough task on his hands. His biggest complaint is that Murray didn’t oppose confirmation of three members to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. During their confirmation, they were asked if they would second-guess the Energy Department’s decision to withdraw its license application for Yucca Mountain. Each replied no.
Murray said she did not hold up the NRC commissioners because “we needed the commission in place.”
In 2002, Murray was one of five Democratic senators to support designating Yucca Mountain as the repository for nuclear waste. In March, when the Energy Department withdrew its application to build the storage site, Murray gave Energy Secretary Steven Chu an earful when he appeared before a Senate committee.
“I just think it’s irresponsible,” she told Chu.
Last month, Murray led a group of 91 lawmakers who wrote a letter to Chu asking the department to halt the dismantling of operations at Yucca Mountain.
“I can’t remember a time that Patty Murray hasn’t been actively in favor of Yucca Mountain,” said Carl Adrian, president of the Tri-City Development Council, a nonpartisan group that spearheads local economic development efforts near Hanford.
Article printed from The Daily Caller – Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment: http://dailycaller.com
URL to article: http://dailycaller.com/2010/08/20/waste-dump-playing-role-in-races-outside-nevada/
Copyright © 2009
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Iran to launch first nuclear plant after decades of delay

Tehran (AFP) Aug 19, 2010 - After decades of delay and sanctions, Iran on Saturday launches its Russian-built first nuclear power plant in the face of Western suspicion that its atomic programme has a covert military agenda. Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said last week that "on August 21, the Russia-supplied fuel will be transferred inside the building in which the engine" of the Bushehr power station in southe ... more
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Pakistan's nuclear and defence sites safe after flooding

Flag of the Pakistan ArmyImage via Wikipedia


Islamabad (AFP) Aug 19, 2010 - Pakistan's nuclear sites and military installations remained safe and free from danger during the worst of the flooding to hit the country, the military said Thursday. "There is no danger to our defence and nuclear installations from flooding," military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told AFP. "All our nuclear and military installations have remained safe and there is no further dan ... more
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N.Korea smuggling banned materials: reports

by Staff Writers Seoul (AFP) Aug 19, 2010 North Korea has been smuggling banned materials which could be used for rocket and missile launches, often using forged documents to disguise their destination, local media reported Thursday.
South Korea has secured evidence that materials related to the weapons of mass destruction were exported to the North through China and other countries, Munhwa Ilbo newspaper reported, quoting unnamed government officials.
"North Korea has smuggled commodities related to weapons of mass destruction banned by the international community and luxury goods through detour routes such as China, Japan, Mongolia and Russia," it said.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Russia defends role in building Iran's new nuclear plant

ENG: Bushehr in Southern Iran, Persian Gulf Co...Image via Wikipedia

Days ahead of the inauguration of Iran's new nuclear plant in Bushehr, Russia's foreign minister defended his country's involvement in building the facility. The facility will keep Iran "within the regime of nonproliferation," said Sergei Lavrov. Meanwhile, Russian officials said that the plant would be operating at just 1% of capacity after the first three or four months. Google/Agence France-Presse

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EPA's emissions rules are making some states uncomfortable

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Opinion: Nuclear power can reduce energy costs

Nuclear energy is needed to combat high energy prices in the Northeast, this newspaper editorial argues. "The reality is that U.S. nuclear plant designs and operating procedures pose no risk of a Chernobyl-style accident, nor could a wildfire result in any release of radiation from a nuclear plant," the newspaper says. Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.)


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FPL, Fla. county forge reclaimed-water deal

Flag of Miami-Dade County, FloridaImage via Wikipedia
  • FPL, Fla. county forge reclaimed-water deal

    Florida Power & Light has entered into a partnership with Miami-Dade County, Fla. on reclaimed water that is expected to benefit the county and the Turkey Point nuclear-expansion project. The agreement requires the county to ship much as 90 million gallons of treated water daily to Turkey Point. Upon arrival, the water would be retreated and used as a cooling agent for the facilities. Miami Today
  • http://www.miamitodaynews.com/news/100819/story6.shtml
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NEI is working to overcome regulatory hurdles for small reactors

Control room in Nuclear power plant.Image via Wikipediahttp://djysrv.blogspot.com/2010/08/nei-seeks-consensus-on-licensing-small.html
The Nuclear Energy Institute is seeking to "create a new regulatory paradigm for small reactors," which includes addressing decommissioning expenses, yearly fees and engaging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in discussions on how to properly regulate such designs, said Paul Genoa, director of policy development at NEI. Fuel testing is also essential in efforts to resolve the regulatory issues with small-reactor projects, especially related to time to market, Genoa added. Idaho Samizdat: Nuclear Notes blog
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bolton was Contradicted by Bush on Iran’s Bushehr Reactor by Juan Cole, Informed Comment

United Nations stamp depicting atomic energyImage by Chemical Heritage Foundation via Flickr

Former US ambassador and perennial angry old crank John Bolton is so upset about the possibility that Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor will soon go live that he says Israel has a window of only 8 days to attack it and destroy it. (After a reactor is already working, bombing it would turn it into a dirty bomb and harm large numbers of civilians, which even Bolton isn’t yet in favor of).
But Bolton’s former boss, George W. Bush, endorsed the Russian reactor deal with Iran in 2007:
Bush noted Russia’s announcement that it would ship nuclear fuel to Iran’s first atomic power station, the unfinished Bushehr plant, and said such deliveries further reduced Tehran’s need to enrich uranium.
“If that’s the case, if the Russians are willing to do that — which I support — then the Iranians do not need to learn how to enrich. If the Iranians accept that uranium for a civilian nuclear power plant, then there’s no need for them to learn how to enrich,” he said.
Bush supported the deal because many safeguards had been built in to prevent the reactors being used to create weapons. And because those safeguards were entirely practical, undermining the Iranian arguments for their need to enrich uranium themselves to fuel such reactors.
Moreover, the reactor is being actively inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which continues to certify that no nuclear fuel is being diverted by Iran to weapons purposes.
And the Russians, who have been working on this reactor since the mid-1990s, have put in safeguards to prevent it from being used to produce a nuclear weapon. First, they have insisted on a light water reactor.
One of the ways to create a nuclear warhead is to take the spent fuel from a nuclear reactor and reprocess it into plutonium of weapons quality. But it is much harder to do this with light water reactors than with heavy water ones, as Daniel Engber of Slate explains:
Light-water reactors are designed for commercial use and can run for years at a time on a single batch of fuel. (“Light water” refers to ordinary H2O; “heavy water” has a higher percentage of deuterium atoms, i.e. hydrogen atoms with an extra neutron.) That long burn fills out the plutonium by-product with other isotopes that make it less useful for nuclear weapons. If you shut down a light-water reactor early—after a few months, for example—you’d waste a huge amount of money. . . Furthermore, it would be very easy to tell when the Iranians or North Koreans shut down their light-water reactors. To extract the fuel rods, you have to lift off a giant lid at the top of the reactor and take them out all at once. Weapons inspectors love this feature because it requires a large-scale operation that’s almost impossible to conceal.
So the reactor is being regularly inspected by the UN, and is a light water reactor which is very difficult if not impossible to use for the production of weapons grade plutonium. But there is more. Russia is providing the nuclear fuel for these reactors and then taking back the spent fuel, so that Iran will not even have the ruined light-water-reactor-produced plutonium, which even if they did have it could not be used to make a bomb.
People going ballistic over the Bushehr reactor are perhaps remembering the 1981 Israeli attack on the French-made OSIRAK reactor in Baghdad. But that was a piece of counter-productive theater anyway. The French had insisted on constructing a light water reactor, and on putting in safeguards against its being used for weapons construction. The Israeli attack therefore did not forestall a weapons program; the reactor would have been almost impossible to use for that purpose. After the Israeli attack, though, Saddam Hussein launched a crash program to enrich uranium through magnetatrons, an effort that appears to have failed or to have been a very long-term proposition. It was the Israeli strike that convinced the Baath regime to carry out a crash program of nuclear weapons advances that only Baghdad’s defeat in the Gulf War revealed. The Israelis would have been better off leaving the innocuous OSIRAK alone; as it was they provoked an Iraqi crash nuclear weapons program that might have ultimately borne fruit had it not been for Saddam’s rash and brutal invasion of Kuwait.
So, there is no point in attacking Bushehr and the attack on OSIRAK backfired big time. Bolton and others on the American Right are playing on people’s ignorance in this warmongering.
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GE Hitachi, Tata Consulting Engineers sign nuclear agreement

GE Hitachi, Tata Consulting Engineers sign nuclear agreement

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy forged a deal with India's Tata Consulting Engineers to assess employee development and project design throughout the U.S.-based company's global nuclear projects. The pact is expected to allow GE to offer more locally based reactors to Nuclear Power Corp. of India. Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.)

Study: Japanese advanced-reactor project is viable


Japan's plan to build next-generation light water reactors with a utilization rate of 97% is possible, according to a study by the Institute of Applied Energy. The project involves Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and is an effort to increase domestic power diversification and help spur economic growth by selling the designs in other countries. Reuters
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Mass. governor, opponents express support for nuclear energy

  • Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick expressed his support for nuclear energy during a gubernatorial debate. Also supporting nuclear was Republican Charles Baker and independent Tim Cahill. "I'm glad to see the president decide that this is part of the agenda," said Baker. Wicked Local/State House News Service (Mass.)

Florida utility moves to increase nuclear-generated power

The board of JEA, a utility owned by the city of Jacksonville, Fla., approved Tuesday a plan to purchase a stake in upcoming nuclear plants in a bid to have nuclear energy supply 30% of its power requirements within 20 years. Looming federal regulations on greenhouse-gas emissions are making new energy sources a priority, said JEA CEO Jim Dickenson. JEA has already signed a 20-year deal to acquire about 10% of its power from a nuclear plant near Waynesboro, Ga., that is scheduled to go online by 2018.
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S&P: Federal loan guarantees are key to new nuclear plants

New nuclear projects in the U.S. need federal loan guarantees to progress, particularly so long as natural gas prices are weak, according to Standard & Poor's. Such financial support "significantly" improves the prospects of construction. "The long-term power-purchase agreements [that] merchant nuclear operators need may be difficult to obtain with natural gas prices in the $5 [per million British thermal units] range," S&P said. Platts
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Group leader: Renewable is not able to replace nuclear Report doesn't prove no new reactors should be built in Durham, says nuclear proponent

There are flaws in a study finding that renewable energy can replace two nuclear reactors in Pickering, Ontario, when they are retired in 10 years, according to Neil Alexander, head of the Organization of Canada Deuterium Uranium Industries. He said there is no account for for how baseload power would be provided when renewable sources are not working. "If we have a hot, muggy day, which is the day we use the most electricity, none of the windmills are working," he said.
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Shaw Group forges nuclear-services deal with China


Shaw Group said it secured a deal to supply technical support for Chinese nuclear plants. Under the terms, Shaw will provide engineering and design management on the Xianning project in Hubei province. Bloomberg Businessweek/The Associated Press

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

China military gaining on Taiwan, aiming beyond: US from Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense

China military gaining on Taiwan, aiming beyond: US

Washington (AFP) Aug 16, 2010
China is extending its military advantage over Taiwan and increasingly looking beyond, building up a force with power to strike in Asia up to the US territory of Guam, the Pentagon said Monday. In an annual report to Congress, the US Defense Department said China was ramping up investment in an array of areas including nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, aircraft carriers and cyber wa
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Iran sets timetable for third uranium plant from Nuclear Weapons, Proliferation and Policy Doctrine

Coat of arms of the Islamic Republic of Iran. ...Image via Wikipedia Tehran (AFP) Aug 16, 2010 - Iran is to start building its third uranium enrichment plant in early 2011, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed a new law Monday binding Tehran to pursue the controversial work of refining uranium to 20 percent. The law, Safeguarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Peaceful Nuclear Achievements, had been passed by lawmakers last month and it also stipulates that Tehran limit its cooperation with the UN's nuclear watchdog, state news agency IRNA reported.
Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi told state television that the search for sites for 10 new uranium enrichment facilities "is in its final stages.
"The construction of one of these will begin by the end of the (current Iranian) year (to March 2011) or the start of next year, inshallah (God willing)."
France warned that Salehi's announcement could be a violation of Iran's obligations towards UN resolutions and said it would increase global "concern" over its nuclear programme.
"If confirmed, this decision would be a fresh violation by Iran of its obligations under six United Nations Security Council resolutions," French foreign ministry spokeswoman Christine Fages said in Paris.
The most recent resolution, dating from June 9, says "without ambiguity" that Iran must not undertake "the construction of any new enrichment facility," Fages said in a statement.
"We expect Iran to comply with its international obligations," Fages added.
Iran is already refining uranium at its main plant in the central city of Natanz and is building a second enrichment facility inside a mountain at Fordo, southwest of Tehran.
Ahmadinejad announced the planned construction of 10 new enrichment plants late in 2009 after Tehran was censured by the UN atomic watchdog over building the Fordo facility.
Iran's uranium enrichment programme is at the heart of its nuclear controversy and the key reason for which a fourth round of UN sanctions was imposed on the Islamic republic on June 9.
The Western powers suspect Tehran's intentions in enriching uranium since the material can be used as fuel to power nuclear reactors as well as to make the fissile core of an atom bomb.
They have been particularly infuriated with Iran for defiantly enriching uranium to the 20-percent level, which theoretically brings it closer to the 90-percent level required to make an atom bomb.
Iran says it is enriching uranium to 20 percent to produce fuel for a research reactor in Tehran and because a potential deal with some of the world powers to supply the required fuel is still embroiled in a deadlock.
On Monday, hardliner Ahmadinejad signed a new law which now obligates his government to continue the 20 percent uranium enrichment work.
Under the new law the government is "obliged to continue its efforts to produce fuel for the Tehran research reactor as well as continue the 20 percent enrichment (of uranium)... and to produce the fuel plates required for the reactor," IRNA reported.
Western countries say Iran does not have the technology to make the actual fuel plates which would power the reactor.
The new law also stipulates that the government "cooperate with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) only under the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty's (NPT) general regulations."
It bans any cooperation that goes beyond the NPT requirements, the English language Press TV said on its website, a measure bound to anger Western powers.
Ahmadinejad ordered in February the refining of uranium to 20 percent after a swap deal, aimed at providing nuclear fuel for the Tehran reactor and drafted by the IAEA in October last year, hit a deadlock.
Brazil and Turkey brokered a counter proposal in Tehran on May 17 under which Iran would send its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for research reactor fuel to be supplied later.
But world powers, who voted through a fourth set of sanctions, have raised questions about the counter proposal as they issued calls for discussing Iran's overall nuclear programme.
Iran says it has responded to their questions and is waiting for an official date for a meeting with the Vienna group to discuss the details of the plan.
The IAEA, the United States, France and Russia, known as the Vienna group, are involved in thrashing out the issue of fuel supply to the Tehran reactor.
earlier related report Developments in Iranian nuclear standoffTehran (AFP) Aug 16, 2010 - Here are the main developments in the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme, a saga that has lasted for the past five years.
The West fears Iran is seeking to develop an atomic bomb, but Tehran insists its only aiming to produce electricity.
- Aug 8: Iran resumes uranium conversion activities at Isfahan. The activities had been suspended since November 2004 in agreement with three EU states (Britain, France and Germany).
- Jan 10: Iran breaks IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) seals at several nuclear research centres.
- Feb 5: Iran ceases to apply the additional protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
- April 11: Iran says it has enriched its first uranium to 3.5 percent purity and later, in May, to 4.8 percent.
- Dec 23: The UN Security Council imposes sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology. It strengthens the sanctions in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
- April 9: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Iran can produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale.
- July 26: Ahmadinejad says Iran possesses between 5,000 and 6,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges.
- April 9: Iran inaugurates its first nuclear fuel plant at Isfahan and says it has installed 7,000 centrifuges at Natanz.
- June 5: The IAEA says Iran has accumulated 1,339 kilograms of weakly enriched uranium.
- Sept 25-28: Iran reveals a secret uranium enrichment plant near Qom, provoking a chorus of concern.
- Oct 21: The IAEA proposes Iran deliver most of its weakly enriched uranium to Russia for further enrichment to 19.75 percent purity before being transferred to France for processing into fuel, for the Tehran reactor. Iran rejects the offer on November 18.
- Dec 12: Iran proposes it swap 400 kilograms (882 pounds) of low enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. Western negotiators reject the offer.
- Feb 9: Iran starts enriching low enriched uranium to 20 percent purity at Natanz.
- May 17: Iran inks a nuclear fuel swap deal brokered by UN Security Council non-permanent members Brazil and Turkey to ship low enriched uranium to Turkey in return for atomic fuel for its Tehran civilian research reactor.
- June 9: World powers in the UN slap new military and financial sanctions on Iran.
- June 27: The CIA warns Iran has enough low-enriched uranium to make two weapons.
- July 1: President Barack Obama signs the toughest new US sanctions yet into law.
- July 6: Iran says it could resume talks from September 1 with the six world powers. The offer is accepted on the 14th.
- July 26: The EU hammers Iran with fresh sanctions against its energy sector.
- July 30: Iran says it is ready for immediate talks with the United States, Russia and France over an exchange of nuclear fuel and adds it is also against stockpiling higher enriched uranium.
- Aug 3: Washington imposes sanctions on 21 firms in Europe and Japan it believes are front companies for the Iranian government.
- Aug 9: Iran is ready to talk with the US, the adviser to the Islamic republic's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says. He later denies it.
- Aug 13: Moscow and Tehran announce Iran's first nuclear power plant, being built by Russia in the southern city of Bushehr, will formally be launched on August 21.
- Aug 16: Iran announces it is to start building its third uranium enrichment plant in early 2011.
- Ahmadinejad signs a new law binding Tehran to pursue the work of refining uranium to 20 percent and limiting its cooperation with the IAEA.
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S.Korea, US launch massive joint war games from Nuclear Weapons, Proliferation and Policy Doctrine

Seoul (AFP) Aug 16, 2010 - South Korea and the United States launched a new round of war games Monday involving tens of thousands of troops in a huge show of force against North Korea, which has threatened fiery retaliation. The 10-day exercise is the latest in a series being staged by the South -- either alone or with the United States -- after the sinking of one of its warships in March which sharply raised tensions on the peninsula.
President Lee Myung-Bak, who unveiled a roadmap for the reunification of the peninsula at the weekend, described the drill as an "exercise for peace and war deterrence".
The exercise, codenamed "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" after a renowned ancient Korean general, is aimed at intercepting mock North Korean attacks using nuclear weapons, missiles and submarines, military officials said.
The North's military threatened Sunday to "deal a merciless counter-blow" to the United States and South Korea and denounced the exercise as a rehearsal for a full-scale "military invasion".
Pyongyang is "ready to sweep away all enemies with its arsenal," Rodong Sinmun, the North's ruling party newspaper, said in an angry commentary Monday. "Those enjoying the fire are bound to be burned to death."
The exercise involves 56,000 South Korean and 30,000 US troops as well as an unspecified number of American soldiers based in the United States who will link up by computer, a spokesman for the South's Joint Chief of Staff told AFP.
"As a divided country, we need to work on the drill thoroughly, so that it will be more than just a routine exercise," President Lee was quoted by his spokesman as saying at a cabinet meeting held in an underground war room.
Lee said in a speech Sunday to celebrate Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945 that South Korea would not tolerate any further military provocations by its reclusive communist neighbour.
The Koreas "need to overcome the current state of division and proceed with the goal of peaceful reunification," he said.
Tensions have been running high since the March sinking of the Cheonan with the loss of 46 lives, with a multinational inquiry determining that it was caused by a North Korean torpedo.
Pyongyang has vehemently denied it was involved and fired off a barrage of threats and warnings to Seoul and its allies.
In a message posted on a US military website, General Walter Sharp, who heads the 28,500 US troops based in the South, described the exercise as "one of the largest joint staff directed theatre exercises in the world."
Many troops will be involved in command post training, while others will take part in field drills, the South Korean defence ministry spokesman said.
In July, South Korea and the United States held a massive joint naval and air drill in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and last week Seoul staged its largest-ever anti-submarine drill near the disputed Yellow Sea border.
Tensions further escalated last week after North Korea seized a South Korean squid fishing boat operating off the east coast and fired an artillery barrage into the Yellow Sea when South Korea was wrapping up the anti-submarine exercise.
Pyongyang has ignored Seoul's calls to free the 41-ton boat and its seven crewmen including three Chinese.
"We again urge the North to take responsible actions by returning the boat and the crew as soon as possible," unification ministry spokesman Chun Hae-Sung said Monday.
He also urged the North to give a quick explanation about why and how the boat was seized.
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Federal Nuclear Waste Panel Overlooks Public Mistrust

Seal of the United States Nuclear Waste Techni...Image via Wikipedia

File image.

Pullman WA (SPX) Aug 17, 2010 A renewed federal effort to fix the nation's stalled nuclear waste program is focusing so much on technological issues that it fails to address the public mistrust hampering storage and disposal efforts. Writing in the latest issue of the journal Science, 16 researchers from around the country say a special White House panel on high-level radioactive waste needs to focus more on the social and political acceptability of its solutions to succeed.
"While scientific and technical analyses are essential, they will not and arguably should not carry the day unless they address, substantively and procedurally, the issues that concern the public," they write.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

Iran to launch first nuclear power plant

Iran to launch first nuclear power plant

Iran will start building 10 uranium-enrichment centers by 2011, according to Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the country's atomic energy organization. The facilities would enrich uranium to be used at the country's first nuclear power plant, which is expected to begin operations next week. CNN
(8/16) , Google/Agence France-Presse
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U.S. Chamber challenges EPA's carbon-endangerment finding

The United States Chamber of Commerce headquar...Image via Wikipedia U.S. Chamber challenges EPA's carbon-endangerment finding

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday appealed the Environmental Protection Agency's July dismissal of a petition to repeal the agency's 2009 finding that greenhouse gases imperil human health and welfare. The Chamber is raising "strong concerns about the significant negative impact the EPA's endangerment finding will have on jobs and local economies," said Robin Conrad, an executive with the Chamber. The Hill/E2 Wire blog
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S.C. AG looks at the price of fighting Yucca shutdown

South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster may spend nearly $700,000 in legal costs joining a coalition of states challenging the Obama administration's position on the Yucca Mountain nuclear-waste site in Nevada, as well as other issues. "This is an economic-development question, a health-and-safety question, it's an energy-independence question and a national-security question," McMaster said. The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)/McClatchy Newspapers

S.C. could join states in lawsuits on immigration, health care, nuclear site

Read more: http://www.thesunnews.com/2010/08/16/1638876/sc-could-join-in-suits.html#ixzz0wmysTu3Q
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