Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

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

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Establishment of 'International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Co., Ltd.', a New Company Promoting Overseas Nuclear Power Projects

Tokyo, Oct 15, 2010 (ACN Newswire via COMTEX) -- On October 22nd, a consortium of thirteen Japanese companies comprising, Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc., Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc., The Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc., Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc., Hokuriku Electric Power Company, The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., The Chugoku Electric Power Co., Inc., Shikoku Electric Power Co., Inc., Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc., Toshiba Corporation, Hitachi, Ltd., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan will join hands to establish "International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Co., Ltd. (JINED)".
JINED will be engaged in activities leading to the creation of proposals to support nuclear power plant projects in the emerging countries. Under legislative and financing support from the Japanese Government, JINED intends to submit these public-private proposals as a comprehensive package that will contribute to the introduction of safe and reliable nuclear power plants for the countries and allow the dissemination of Japanese technologies and know-how, such seasoned experience includes actual power plant construction, O&M and human resources development.

More at: http://www.pimagazine-asia.com/index.php?page=shownews&news=2740
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Areva to import critical parts for India's NPCIL units

CHENNAI: French nuclear group Areva is at an advanced stage of negotiations with the Nuclear Power Corporation to supply six mega light water reactors and will import major components like pressure vessel and primary loop for the first two units.

Areva is seeking to sell six 1,750 mw European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs), which will be housed in Jaitapur nuclear park in Maharashtra. “We are in the process of wide ranging discussions with NPCIL on our localisation plans to bring down the overall cost.

Meanwhile, we will be importing critical components like pressure vessel, primary loop and others at least for the first batch,” Areva India’s director marketing and strategy Patrick Teyssier said.

According to him, the first concrete pour for the two EPRs (light water reactors) is expected to be around 2012-13 and NPCIL’s target date for completion is 2017. Asked about the rough price of the EPRs, he said the price per kw hour of power depends on component localisation.

When told about the US-based Westinghouse Electric’s component sourcing policy of “buy where you build”, Teyssier said: “Though we don’t have such slogans our plan is to have more local content.”

The US company is hoping to sell its AP 1,000 model reactors to NPCIL. Citing Areva’s joint venture with Bharat Forge for making large forgings, Teyssier said: “We are open to lot of cooperation. Indian industry will get large packages.

The civil engineering work will be by an Indian vendor.” He ruled out Areva providing any kind of vendor financing to NPCIL for the purchase of reactors. According to NPCIL, the price per kw of Indian pressurised heavy water reactors is around $1,300 — the lowest in the world. Added Areva’s senior research scientist Luc Van Den Durpel:

“The EPR is around 15% fuel efficient compared to others in the world. It has several active and passive safety features.”

Asked whether the EPR has got the regulatory approval from India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Teyssier said: “We have provided NPCIL documentations running over 1,000 pages. The NPCIL, the plant operator, will discuss with AERB.”

Agreeing that EPR is new to the world, Teyssier said four units are under construction, one each in Finland and France and two in China. These will be completed between 2012-14.

“The reactor is about to be licensed in the US and UK. However, the balance has shifted towards Asia where two out of four units under construction are in China, and India is looking to buy six units,” he said. http://www.pimagazine-asia.com/index.php?page=shownews&news=2741
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IBD Editorial: Memo To Moscow: Not Our Backyard

National Security: Russia has agreed to help the regime in Venezuela enter the atomic age by building the country's first nuclear power plant. Will someone please remind Moscow the Monroe Doctrine has not lapsed?
In 1823, President Monroe told Congress in his yearly address to lawmakers that any attempts by European nations to interfere in the Western Hemisphere would be considered a threat to U.S. security. In other words, bloody Europe and its wars would not be welcome in America's backyard. We're staying out of your affairs, Monroe was saying to the old Continent, and we expect you to stay out of ours.
The doctrine has been invoked by the U.S. several times, perhaps most famously by President Kennedy, who said during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis that "this country will do whatever must be done to protect its own security and that of its allies."
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev said two years before he sent missiles to Cuba that the doctrine was dead and "should best be buried, as every dead body is, so that it does not poison the air by its decay." Almost half a century later, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is channeling Khrushchev.
In a meeting Friday at the Kremlin, Medvedev and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez agreed that Russia would build two nuclear reactors somewhere in oil-rich Venezuela, which is on one of only two continents that hasn't had a nuclear explosion. (The other is Antarctica.) The arrangement follows Russia's deep involvement with the construction of a nuclear power plant in Iran, another nation hostile to the U.S. that is flush in fossil fuels.
A nuclear power plant and nuclear missiles aren't the same. But the technical know-how and materials needed to harness a nuclear reaction to generate electricity aren't far removed from the knowledge and resources needed to build atomic weapons. More at:
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Behind the Scenes at a Nuclear Alert Facility Popular Mechanics' Senior Editor Joe Pappalardo has some strange experiences at a U.S. nuclear missile base.

Photo: Air Force forces practice a security intervention on a visiting PM editor. Jonathan Torgovnik
Behind The Scenes At A Nuclear Alert Facility -- Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics' Senior Editor Joe Pappalardo has some strange experiences at a U.S. nuclear missile base.

Great Falls, Mont.—Like most Americans, the citizens of Great Falls don't spend much time thinking about the nuclear missiles resting in silos dug into the surrounding high plains and mountains. Residents here seem more protective of their favorite trout streams and more worried about bears than about the local arsenal of nuclear weapons. "They've been here more than 50 years," says one taxi driver. "So what's the big deal?"

Read more ....
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India Buys US War Equipment

ImageThanksgiving present for Obama when he arrives in Delhi in November

India is making a definitive turn away from Russia and other long-time weapons suppliers France, Sweden and the United Kingdom towards the US and Israel, a fact that should considerably sweeten the visit of US President Barack Obama to India in November.

Ties between India and America thus follow a strategic shift in the relations between the two countries over the last couple of years that began with the signing of a landmark civilian nuclear deal by the administration of former President George W Bush, as well and other defense agreements. America has been promoting India as a counterweight to China in the region as well as seeking to tap new business opportunities. More at: http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2759&Itemid=225
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Israel signs $400 million deal with Russia

Israel signs $400 million deal with Russia

Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Oct 15, 2010 Israel Aerospace Industries has signed a $400 million contract to sell unmanned surveillance drones to Russia, a deal intended to boost relations between the two countries and, Israelis hope, encourage Moscow to curb arms sales to Iran and Syria. The deal was signed Tuesday by IAI Chief Executive Officer Itzhak Nissan and Andrey Reus, director-general of the Oboronprom Russian Industrial Corp.
The contract calls for IAI, Israel's largest industrial exporter and a leader in the design and production of unmanned aerial vehicles, to provide drone kits to Oboronprom for assembly in Russia.
Few details were disclosed but the deal follows a landmark, long-term military cooperation agreement signed in Moscow Sept. 6 by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov. More at:

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3 Questions: ARPA-E chief on the energy challenge

3 Questions: ARPA-E chief on the energy challenge
During a visit on Wednesday to MIT, Arun Majumdar, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), discussed the global energy challenge and the role his agency plays in trying to foster transformational energy research and development. Majumdar’s presentation to a standing-room-only crowd in Bartos Theater served as both a wake-up call (the U.S. spends more on dog-food R&D than it does on electrical-power R&D, he noted) and a source of inspiration (Majumdar discussed some of the very real and exciting energy projects his agency is funding, including several here at MIT).
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Members of Congress Urge NRC Chairman to Continue Yucca Mountain Review

Several leading Members of Congress asked Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko to justify his plans to halt the review of the Yucca Mountain, Nev. nuclear waste repository and urged him to move the process ahead. In a letter sent to Jaczko, four ranking Republicans said that by requiring NRC staff to end the review of the Department of Energy's application to license Yucca Mountain as a waste storage facility, he was single-handedly reversing the wishes of Congress. 
"Your unilateral decision silences the opinions of other commissioners," the letter said. "Legal challenges in federal court are imminent, pending final action from the NRC. Your directive gives the appearance of coordinated action between you and DOE, which suggests an additional level of impropriety."  More at:


GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s ARC Recognized for Its Potential to Make Energy out of Used Nuclear Fuel

With a special commission evaluating options to help the U.S. Department of Energy develop a scientifically sound and economically viable strategy to deal with the growing stockpiles of used nuclear fuel from commercial reactors, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) today announced its Advanced Recycling Center (ARC) technology has been approved as a part of GE's ecomagination portfolio. The ARC technology offers the industry just that - a new, cost-effective way of treating used nuclear fuel. More at:

More to Constellation Pullout Than Fiery Letter Indicates

By Nancy E. Roth, Managing Editor
Reliable industry sources have told FCW that the high credit subsidy fee Constellation Energy criticized in a scalding letter to the U.S. Department of Energy last Friday by no means represents all of the company’s motives in withdrawing from discussions of a loan guarantee in support of its Calvert Cliffs new-build project.
More at:

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Nuke "Renaissance" Leaps off Calvert Cliffs

World Bank energy chief aims to speed clean power

(Reuters) - Even before he became the World Bank's clean energy chief, Daniel Kammen had a lustrous list of accomplishments: professor of energy, public policy and nuclear engineering at the University of California-Berkeley, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory and Energy and Climate Fellow for the Western Hemisphere.
So why take on the formidable dual tasks of seeing that the world's poor get better access to energy while curbing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change?
"We need to make a clean energy transition and we need to do it in a way that is inclusive and supportive of the poor, and not for the wealthy first and the poor second," Kammen told the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit on Tuesday. More at: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE69B68520101012

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Cost Increasing Results of Accepting the Linear No Threshold (LNT) Assumption of Radiation Health Effects by Rod Adams

"On September 26, 2010, I posted an article titled Radiation Hormesis - A Profound Truth That Might Induce a Few More Converts to Support Nuclear Energy in which I described how Lawrence Solomon of Energy Probe had been convinced by science that the low levels of radiation associated with nuclear power plant operation and uranium mining are not high enough to cause negative health effects in humans. Charles Sanders wrote the book Radiation Hormesis and the Linear-No-Threshold Assumption that included enough peer reviewed science to convince a long time skeptic about nuclear energy."
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Yucca Mountain Project directive prompted rare NRC confrontation Feud among commissioners revealed in documents By STEVE TETREAULT

Logo of the United States Nuclear Regulatory C...Image via Wikipedia
WASHINGTON -- A directive for scientists at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to begin closing out their evaluation of the Yucca Mountain Project prompted a confrontation among the agency's leaders, according to officials and documents made public Thursday.
One of the five commissioners who head the independent nuclear safety agency protested in a private memo shortly after the disclosure was made last week. On Oct. 8 , the commissioners voted by their method of submitting written responses. More at:
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Nuclear power in America Constellation's cancellation America’s nuclear renaissance is mighty slow in coming

America’s nuclear renaissance is mighty slow in coming

NUCLEAR power should be hot. It emits virtually no carbon dioxide. It requires no costly imports of oil from countries that breed terrorists. Even greens don’t hate it as much as they used to. What’s for a politician not to like?
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Constellation moves for quick resolution

Constellation moves for quick resolution
15 October 2010
Electricité de France (EdF) may pursue Calvert Cliffs 3 alone, after Constellation offered a cut-price sale of its interest in the project.
Calvert Cliffs (NRC)
Calvert Cliffs 1 and 2
A letter today from Constellation chairman Michael Wallace to EdF's finance head Thomas Piquemal made the offer of a sale of its total interest in Calvert Cliffs 3 for just $117 million. This figure represents Constellation's contribution to general development work to prepare the Areva EPR for deployment in America. Wallace noted that this compares to some $817 million invested by both companies in the Calvert Cliffs 3 project overall. More at link.http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C_Constellation_moves_for_quick_resolution_1510104.html
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New press for nuclear market

 A major new facility has been commissioned in Germany for the production of large reactor components.

"Due to its geometrical dimensions," the company said, the press is "able to deal with all parts of the AP1000." It estimated that some four to six sets of heavy forgings for AP1000s could be made annually at the facility, given certain other expansions.
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Chavez defends nuclear energy right, denies ETA link

(Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez hailed its alliance with Russia and said his country had a right to develop nuclear energy as he started a visit to Moscow on Thursday.
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Pakistan to Push for Nuclear Deal With U.S.

Pakistan still keen on securing U.S. nuclear deal

Pakistan officials say they may propose a nuclear-cooperation pact with the U.S. when Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi meets with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton next week in Washington, D.C. The Pakistani officials, however, said that "expectations are very low" for such a deal, given rival India's close ties with the U.S. The Wall Street Journal
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Blended waste? Feds punt decision to Utah

Utah will decide on blended nuclear-waste storage

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has allowed Utah to decide whether to permit the storage of blended nuclear waste in the state. The agency's ruling is "a good sign," said Peter Jenkins, chairman of the state's Radiation Control Board. The NRC acknowledges that "the one-size-fits-all classification system is not suitable for all waste sites," he added. The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah)
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Nuclear safety is a priority

Opinion: Safety is top priority of nuclear industry, with $1B spent

The nuclear industry considers safety a priority and has spent nearly $1 billion in analysis and research on sump-clogging scenarios, writes John Butler, the director for engineering and operations at the Nuclear Energy Institute, in response to a newspaper column. Butler says that the column "errs in its depiction" of the industry brushing off safety concerns, and adds that the industry has tested numerous designs and enacted modifications to ensure that safety issues were long ago resolved. The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)
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Poll: Strong support for renewable energy, as long as it doesn’t cost much

NEI: Survey leaves out growing support for nuclear energy

The majority of citizens in the U.S. and larger European countries back renewable energy, according to a new Financial Times/Harris survey. The poll does not mirror separate findings from Pew Research Center and Gallup that indicated larger support for nuclear energy, said Scott Peterson, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute. He also cited an Energy Information Administration outlook, which estimated that the "levelized" power cost from new nuclear technology in 2016 will be lower when compared with solar and wind. The Hill/E2 Wire blog
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Babcock & Wilcox lands TVA contract

TVA awards services deal for Ala. nuclear plant

The Canadian unit of Babcock & Wilcox has secured a contract to develop two steam generators for the Tennessee Valley Authority's Bellefonte nuclear plant in Alabama. The generators, which weigh 500 tons each, will generate superheated steam to power the turbines. The companies did not disclose the deal's monetary terms. American City Business Journals/Charlotte, N.C.
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AEHI prepares for final rezone for Idaho nuclear plant

AEHI nears development of nuclear plant in Idaho

Alternate Energy Holdings will begin the final local and state clearance process for its planned nuclear power facility in Payette County, Idaho. According to the company, a technical-review panel has finalized its study on the project and is readying a final report. Idaho's economic benefit is expected to be $5.3 billion during the construction of the plant, the company added. Energy Business Review
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Fresno group cites California nuclear potential

Group touts benefits of developing nuclear plant in California

California stands to benefit from Fresno Nuclear Energy Group's plan to build the state's first nuclear plant in more than two decades because it would clean and desalinate large quantities of water, said John Hutson, president of FNEG. Speaking at a forum in San Francisco, Hutson said such benefits will become reality after the state lifts its moratorium on new nuclear facilities, which it has had since 1976. The Business Journal (Fresno,
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Agencies Urged to Plan for `Inevitable Effects' of Warming in U.S. Report

White House Task Force Urges Agencies to Plan for Climate Change
A new report from the President Obama's interagency task force on adapting to climate change has urged federal agencies to plan for a future of rising sea levels and temperatures, Bloomberg reported. White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley was quoted as saying: "While taking action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and avoid the effects of climate change is a priority, we must also prepare for the inevitable effects of climate change."

The report recommended ensuring that information on climate change was available to officials and coordinating federal efforts to respond to impacts, such as damage to water resources, public health, oceans and coastlines. In addition to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the task force includes Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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Bringing Israel's Bomb Out of the Basement Avner Cohen and Marvin Miller

For decades, Israel has maintained an "opaque" nuclear posture -- neither confirming nor denying that it possesses nuclear weapons. The time has come for Israel to reconsider the policy of nuclear ambiguity. It can do so without jeopardizing the nation's security.
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Why Are We Afraid of Nuclear Power? David Ropeik

CONCORD, MASSACHUSETTS – Germany’s ambivalence about nuclear energy, common in many developed countries, has been on display again recently, following Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to extend the operating life of the country’s 17 nuclear plants for an average of 12 years beyond their currently scheduled closure dates. Merkel says this will help Germany develop the “most efficient and environmentally friendly energy supply worldwide.” Opposition leaders say that the government is “selling safety for money.”
Both sides argue about the facts, but underlying that debate is an argument about how those facts feel. How risk is perceived – whether the risk is nuclear power or genetically modified food or any potential threat – is never a purely rational, fact-based process.
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Japan to Consider Relaxing Weapons Export Ban By: Chico Harlan | The Washington Post

Risky Investments in Nuclear South Asia

Strategic Coordination and Major Defense and Nuclear Contracts on Agenda for Obama’s State Visit to India

Laurence Jones of UK National Nuclear Centre of Excellence Discusses Nuclear Energy Futures and ‘Proliferation-Safe’ Technology

Nuclear Power: More Cost Effective Than Wind Energy PDF by Brian Westenhaus

Constellation's fallout with French firm unfortunately the new business as usual By Steven Pearlstein

If you were looking for an example of the erosion in standards of business behavior, you couldn't do better than the story of Constellation Energy and its recent falling-out with the French nuclear energy company EDF.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Russia Ready to Help Indonesia Build Nuclear

VIVAnews - The Russian government plans to advance its partnership with Indonesia on energy sector particularly nuclear power plant.

Deputy Chairman of Russian Parliamentary, Yasev Valery, in a discussion with Indonesian Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives (DPR), Marzuki Alie, said, "several companies in Russia are ready to discuss the matter with Indonesia. Today, Russia has won four tenders on nuclear reactors in China and to nuclear reactors in Vietnam," on Wednesday, Oct 13.

He went on to say that Russia is prepared to socialize on nuclear energy issue to the Indonesian people. 'We're ready to be invited to make people know of nuclear energy. We'll convince them that nuclear is safe," said Yasev. Much more at link.
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Blog Post: Progress in the Construction of AREVA’s Georges Besse II Plant

- Edited By Tom Lamar -
Another important stage has been reached at AREVA's Georges Besse II plant. After the first centrifuge cascade, which began rotating in the south unit in 2009, the centrifuge assembly in the north unit has been completed.

This is a major milestone which will allow the group to start installing the centrifuge components in the north unit of the plant.
 More at:
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Blog Post: India to Sell Fast Breeder Reactors

"We have reached a stage where we can sell 500 MWe fast breeder reactors to the world," said Baldev Raj, director, Indira Gandhi Centre For Atomic Research in India
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North Korea Has Large CW Production Capacity, Report Says

A new report says North Korea has the ability to manufacture as much as 12,000 metric tons of chemical warfare materials, which could kill or injure large numbers of civilians if used against South Korea, Agence France-Presse reported today (see GSN, June 18).
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NATO Allies Close to Agreeing on Missile Defense, Diplomat Says

New U.S. Nuke Dismantlement Project Set to Begin

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration said today it had signed off on disassembly of B-53 nuclear bombs at the Pantex Plant in Texas (see GSN, Sept. 7).
The agency authorized the work following "an extensive safety review," according to a press release from the semiautonomous arm of the Energy Department. More at:


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Nations Finish WMD Interdiction Drill in South Korea

A large-scale multilateral WMD interdiction exercise concluded today in waters off South Korea, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Oct. 13).
The drill marked the first time South Korea had taken part in an exercise under the Proliferation Security Initiative, the U.S.-led program to halt the transfer of weapons of mass destruction. In the past Seoul has solely observed the exercises for fear of aggravating North Korea. However, after Pyongyang detonated its second nuclear test device last year, South Korea decided to become an active member of the initiative, which counts more than 90 member nations. More at:


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IAEA Might Not Confront Syria on Atomic Suspicions, Experts Suggest

Analysts said the International Atomic Energy Agency might opt against invoking its right to inspect the site of a suspected former Syrian nuclear reactor, Reuters reported yesterday (see GSN, Sept. 23).

Analysts Doubt Iranian Atomic Power Ambitions

Iran's stated intention to build as many as 20 new atomic power reactors by 2030 has prompted skepticism among U.S. and European analysts, some of whom suspect the expansion plan is aimed in part at justifying an Iranian program capable of producing nuclear-bomb material, Reuters reported last week (see GSN, Oct. 13).
The United States and other nations suspect Iran's uranium enrichment program is geared toward weapons production, but the Middle Eastern nation has insisted the effort is strictly civilian in nature. Tehran last month announced a goal to generate 20,000 megawatts of atomic power within two decades; the nation has also announced plans to construct 10 uranium enrichment facilities in addition to its sole operating plant at Natanz and a unfinished site at Qum.
"It is simply unrealistic to build so many nuclear reactors in such a short time," said Oliver Thraenert, a senior fellow with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. "The Iranians don't have the experience, they don't have the infrastructure and it is possible they don't have the money due to the sanctions." More at:


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