Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

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

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Green-tech companies look overseas for foothold

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Rather than follow a well understood game plan, energy technology entrepreneurs need to think more like chess players on the fast-changing global stage.
A panel of clean-tech entrepreneurs and financiers here at the MIT Venture Capital conference yesterday discussed ways to navigate the regulatory and commercial landscape. Their strategies reflect how energy innovators and their financial backers have had to adjust over the past few years to have a shot at succeeding.
One persistent challenge for energy technology entrepreneurs is getting the money and permits to build either an initial production facility to make goods, such as solar panels or biofuels, or test a product at large scale.
In many cases, young companies are looking outside the U.S., where the regulatory environment is simpler and governments are more welcoming, panelists said. Introducing products for use on the U.S. electric grid, in particular, is very complex because each state can have separate rules.
"If somehow the regulations in the U.S. don't start to be more amenable to the clean technologies we're starting to develop, then I'm already looking to China to move products because I know I will have a lot fewer regulatory issues getting products online there," said Tom Zarella, the CEO of a Dartmouth University spin-off called SustainX, which is making a novel storage system that uses compressed air.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20023432-54.html#ixzz15qwR8fdd
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Hong Kong Officials Displeased at Nuclear Leak 'Cover-Up' in China

Hong Kong officials are worried and incensed over what they see as the cover-up after a radiation leak at a nuclear power plant in mainland China.

The troubled Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant is on the Dapeng Peninsula in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, 28 miles northeast of Kowloon, Hong Kong; it has had numerous problems over the past eight years.

The latest and so far most serious damage occurred on Oct. 23 when a cooling water pipe on the No. 1 reactor was found to have cracked and was leaking nuclear radiation. The public was not told about the leak for three weeks.

It was the third time in the past six months the Daya Bay power plant has had problems

Officials said the incident was a Level 1 Event “anomaly,” which is the lowest of seven levels, according to the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/46211/
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Russia, Iran Agree To Further Cooperate In Peaceful Use Nuclear Power

 MOSCOW, Nov 20 (Bernama) -- Russia and Iran have agreed to continue their cooperation in peaceful use of nuclear power on the basis of international law, Qatar News Agecy quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.

The two presidents expressed satisfaction with the process and agreed to continue cooperation in this sphere in line with international law and IAEA and non-proliferation treaty norms, Lavrov said after the meeting held on the sidelines of Caspian summit in Baku, Azerbaijan recently.

The meeting has proved that both sides understand the objective character of our partnership, he added.

"Iran is our neighbour and we want to be friends (with Iran), we want to expand mutually beneficial economic cooperation."

"We are ready for a maximum deep cooperation in all spheres of interest for both states. And it was met with understanding on the part of President Ahmadinejad," Lavrov said.

Furthermore, he said the Bushehr nuclear plant will soon be physically launched," he said, adding that the project is at the final phase.
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Indian Oil to acquire 26-% stake in Nuclear Power Kota project news


Soviet Nuclear Test Site Now A Model For Safeguards by Mike Shuster

Nobuhiro Muroya, the IAEA's senior official here, remarked on the irony of the region's history Thursday after the final seal was put in place.
"It is a coincidence that in this nuclear test site, it was more than 450 nuclear weapons tested. But this site is at the same time now very safe and very peaceful. And we would like this material to stay calm and peacefully for a long time," he said.
That is the intention of the U.S. and Kazakhstan governments. The storage casks are designed to last half a century.

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'Iran nuclear worm targeted Natanz, Bushehr nuclear sites'

German computer security expert releases new study claiming the Stuxnet worm, which some claim slowed down activity in the Iranian sites, was designed to act as a 'digital warhead.'

By Yossi Melman
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How to make people 'love' nuclear power

How to make people 'love' nuclear power

Hinkley Point nuclear power station
The Hinkley Point poll is likely to have guided people to think about nuclear power in a different way. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian

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Friday, November 19, 2010

NATO Approves Europe Missile Defense Plan -- Voice of America

Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have approved U.S. President Barack Obama's proposal for a new, expanded missile defense system for Europe. The agreement is a victory for the president, after a series of foreign policy setbacks.

President Obama says Friday's approval by NATO's main decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, will make Europe and the world more secure. "For the first time, we have agreed to develop missile defense capability that is strong enough to cover all NATO European populations, as well as the United States," he said.

Read more

More News On NATO Approving Europe's Missile Defense Plan

Obama: NATO to erect missile shield for Europe -- Yahoo News/AP
NATO agrees on Europe-wide missile defence system -- Yahoo News/AFP
Obama: Missile defence shield for all Nato members -- BBC
NATO agrees to build missile defense shield -- Reuters
Obama announces U.S.-NATO deal on missile defense shield -- L.A. Times
NATO agrees on missile defense system for most of Europe, the U.S. -- CNN
President Obama pushes START, missile defense, at NATO Summit -- ABC News
Nato reaches missile shield deal -- Al Jazeera
Nato plans to build ballistic missile defence shield in face of scepticism -- The Telegraph
BACKGROUND: Missile defence: NATO's system -- M&C
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New Pictures Indicate North Korean Nuclear Construction -- Global Security Newswire


Image released by the Institute for Science and International Security. UPI

Satellite photographs taken earlier this month indicate building work at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear site, seemingly substantiating the aspiring nuclear power's earlier promise to construct a light-water reactor, the Associated Press reported today (see GSN, Nov. 19).

In March, Pyongyang pledged to erect a light-water reactor that would operate on its own atomic fuel. Two U.S. experts on North Korea came back from a trip to the isolated state this month and said new work at Yongbyon had started.

Read more ....

More News On North Korea's Nuclear Program

North Korea Building Experimental Nuclear Reactor, Satellite Photos Show -- Bloomberg
N. Korea Seen Working on New Reactor -- New York Times
Satellite images support North Korea reactor claim -- Reuters
North Korea starts building new nuclear reactor -- The Telegraph
N.Korea's Twin Nuclear Threats -- Chosun Ilbo
Researchers: N. Korea building reactor -- UPI
Satellite images fuel intrigue over North Korea intentions -- CNN
NKorea seeks to build light-water reactor by 2012: US expert -- Space Daily
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Emirates seek alternative oil export route

http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Emirates_seek_alternative_oil_export_route_999.html Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UPI) Nov 18, 2010 Amid continuing fears that Iran may seek to close the choke point Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, a vital oil artery for the world, the United Arab Emirates is seeking alternative export routes for its oil. The federation opened a naval base Oct. 20 at Fujairah on its east coast, south of the entrance to the strait in the Gulf of Oman.
It will play a key role in plans to construct an overland route from Abu Dhabi, the emirate that contains more than 90 percent of the federation's oil, to the sea without using the narrow, horseshoe-shaped strait.
Abu Dhabi is reported to be building two pipelines -- one for oil, the other for natural gas -- across the desert to Fujairah, where it plans to construct a huge export terminal and an oil storage facility.
"A naval base in Fujairah will give the emirates more capabilities to protect its economic zone and its strategic facilities, the port down there which will be a major point of export for oil and gas," said Riad Kahwaji, director of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai.
Tehran has threatened several times to close the strait if the United States or Israel launches pre-emptive attacks against Iran's nuclear facilities. This could be done by sinking large ships to block the waterway, in airstrikes or missile attacks, or by placing sea mines.
On a typical day, around 15 tankers carrying up to 17 million barrels of oil and oil products, along with dozens of freighters, pass through the strait -- two-fifths of the world's oil supply.
This comprises most of the oil and liquefied natural gas exported by Saudi Arabia, the emirates, Qatar and Kuwait, as well as Iran and those from southern Iraq.
Going the other way, the Gulf Cooperation Council states -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain -- import most of their food and consumer goods through the strait and a prolonged shutdown would cause serious economic and social disruption.
The gulf region holds 55 percent of the world's known oil reserves. So a prolonged closure of the 112-mile strait, whose eastern shore is controlled by Iran, would send oil prices soaring, causing a global economic shockwave.
"If this chokepoint was closed for an extended period, the economies of the Middle East would suffer significantly and this would generate severe economic dislocation around the world," Jane's Intelligence Review reported recently.
"Millions of guest workers in gulf states from developing countries could also be left unemployed, leading to greater poverty in South Asia and East Asia."
This would undoubtedly send oil prices soaring from the current level of around $80 per barrel to the peak of nearly $150 it hit in 2007-08, possibly to even more crippling levels.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that if the strait were closed, only about 3 million barrels of oil per day could realistically be redirected through Saudi Arabia through a trans-Arabian pipeline to the Red Sea port of Yanbu on the kingdom's west coast.
There would no other way to transport the 31 million tons a year of LNG -- 18 percent of world consumption -- that Qatar and the emirates export.
However, the emirates and Saudi Arabia are planning to construct a major rail network across the peninsula that would allow them to move oil and gas exports overland to the west to the Red Sea or north through Iraq to Turkey to join the European energy grid, as well as to bring in imports.
"The first of these projects," a north-south minerals rail link, "is now only weeks from completion," the Middle East Economic Survey reported this week.
Even if a closure of the strait was relatively short, in the order of several weeks, the economic impact would still be substantial, magnified by the global economic crisis.
"Extended closure of the strait would remove roughly a quarter of the world's oil from the market, causing a supply shock of the type not seen since the glory days of OPEC," Caitlin Talmadge of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, warned in a mid-2008 assessment.
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New Pictures Indicate North Korean Nuclear Construction

Satellite photographs taken earlier this month indicate building work at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear site, seemingly substantiating the aspiring nuclear power's earlier promise to construct a light-water reactor, the Associated Press reported today (see GSN, Nov. 19).
In March, Pyongyang pledged to erect a light-water reactor that would operate on its own atomic fuel. Two U.S. experts on North Korea came back from a trip to the isolated state this month and said new work at Yongbyon had started.
Light-water reactors are generally intended for peaceful power programs, but such a plant would provide North Korea with a justification for uranium enrichment. The process can be used to produce reactor fuel or, at higher enrichment levels, weapons material.
The regime has used Yongbyon to produce plutonium for its nuclear-weapon program. In 2009, Pyongyang acknowledged that it was finalizing work on uranium enrichment.
The Institute for Science and International Security yesterday published commercial satellite photographs taken on November 4 that depict construction of a rectangular-shaped facility at Yongbyon. The Washington-based think tank assessed the North was building a 25 to 30 megawatt light-water reactor.
Former Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Siegfried Hecker, who traveled to North Korea this month with one-time U.S. envoy Charles Pritchard, told the think tank "that the new construction seen in the satellite imagery is indeed the construction of the experimental light-water reactor."
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Analysis: China's nuclear program boosts uranium producers

(Reuters) - After weathering a tough third quarter, Canada's uranium producers are looking at much brighter prospects as their shares surge, spot uranium prices jump and growing demand for nuclear fuel pushes expansion into overdrive.
Not surprisingly, China is driving the underlying trend. Its ambitious program of building nuclear power plants promises double-digit growth in demand for uranium, a trend that should benefit Canada's established producers and juniors alike.
In addition, the Asian superpower could prompt a round of mergers and acquisitions as it looks for ways to control the supply of uranium needed to feed its fleet of reactors.
Global uranium demand is expected to grow 32 percent by 2015, according to RBC Capital Markets, a forecast that already has share prices climbing. More at:

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End the NRC stalling on Yucca Mountain decision


Recent revelations lend credence to allegations the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been stalling on announcing its Yucca Mountain decision for political purposes. Time for the NRC to announce its decision on whether the Obama administration can cancel the project unilaterally.
IT'S confirmed. Four Nuclear Regulatory Commission members cast their votes months ago on the question of whether the Obama administration can unilaterally cancel the nation's deep geological nuclear-waste repository. But the votes have been kept secret apparently for political reasons.
Attribute the holdup to NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, who seems to have done everything he can to game the process and keep the question about Yucca Mountain from a more credible proceeding in federal court.
Congress designated the site 100 miles from Las Vegas as the destination for the nation's commercial nuclear waste and high-level defense waste, such as that now at Hanford in Southeastern Washington.
The NRC's own licensing board in June ruled that, no indeed, the Obama administration cannot flout the will of Congress. The question before the NRC is whether to affirm or overturn that ruling — a decision needed before the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals will take up related litigation.
Washington state, South Carolina and others have sued.
The bizarre political maneuverings at the NRC have given the agency long renowned for its straight-shooting credibility a black eye. Though the vote remains secret, Jaczko has ordered repository scientists to stop a near-complete study. The agency's inspector general says he's looking into the matter at the behest of a former commissioner.
Four of the commissioners — a fifth recused himself — voted by Sept. 15, as they each confirmed in recent letters to Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. Jaczko, who voted Aug. 26, said he withdrew his vote and revoted Oct. 29 — just days before his patron, former boss and fervent opponent of Yucca Mountain, Sen. Harry Reid, barely fended off a tough Nov. 2 challenge.
Speculation is rampant the NRC vote did not go Jaczko's way. We can't help but think that if it had, the public would have been notified by a breathless news release around Sept. 15. Heck, Reid could have touted it in his campaign brochures.
Enough stalling, Chairman Jaczko. Time to publish this opinion so this very serious national matter can be settled in a more credible venue.
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Christine Todd Whitman: Bullish on America's nuclear energy future


UAE Ambassador to IAEA pursues development of nuclear energy

By Dan Yurman
"In December 2009, the United Arab Emirates awarded a $20 billion contract to a consortium of South Korean firms to build four nuclear reactors on a remote desert location along the Persian Gulf. The consortium, led by state-owned Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), is committed to having the first reactor in revenue service by 2017. The change from fossil (natural gas) to uranium as a fuel source comes not a moment too soon as the UAE is now a net importer of gas for electricity generation and desalinization."  More at:
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Computer Worm Targeted Centrifuges

Computer Worm Targeted Centrifuges

Experts examining a computer worm suspected of targeting Iran's nuclear program have determined that it was calibrated in a way that could send nuclear centrifuges wildly out of control (NYT). The worm was found primarily in Iran but also on computers in India, Indonesia and other countries.

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US agency seeks easier grid access for solar, wind

Seal of the United States Federal Energy Regul...Image via Wikipedia
WASHINGTON Nov 18 (Reuters) - Federal regulators on Thursday proposed reforms to make the U.S. electric grid more accessible to electricity generated by renewable energy sources, which should lower costs for consumers who want to buy clean power.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed a rule requiring public utility transmission providers to allow renewable power producers to schedule their shipments of electricity over shorter time periods to better reflect the moment-to-moment changes in generation output by renewables.
Wind and solar power producers would be able to schedule transmission service in 15-minute intervals, instead of the current one-hour scheduling procedure.
"Most of the new power plants for which developers are seeking access to the grid are variable resources such as wind and solar generators," said FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. "This proposal will help the commission to cost-effectively integrate these and other variable generators into the grid in a way that helps maintain reliability and operational stability."
The FERC's proposal would help meet the Obama administration's goal to double the amount of U.S. electricity generated by renewable energy sources.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

World China to use own uranium resources to meet growing nuclear demand

China will rely on its own resources of uranium to meet a mounting demand for nuclear power, the Xinhua news agency quoted a senior official as saying on Thursday.
"The exploration and exploitation of domestic uranium will be prioritized for the country's mid- and long-term development of nuclear power," Lu Xiaoming, director of the Nuclear Fuel Division of the China Atomic Energy Authority, told a new conference in north China's Tianjin.
"We should rely on our own resources to acquire uranium," Lu said.
"We will intensify our geological survey efforts to have a clear understanding of uranium resources, and bring technical innovation to the exploration and exploitation of uranium for greater efficiency," he said.
In 2007, China approved plans to develop the country's nuclear power industry, which aims to reach a power capacity of 40,000 megawatts by 2020.
However, the National Energy Administration believes this goal can be achieved as soon as 2015.

Related News

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How to Play Uranium's Renewed Glow Surging demand will lift the commodity and producers and developers.

Investors and utilities are quickly realizing that China's reactor-build program is for real. China expects 70 gigawatt-electric (GWe) of nuclear power by ...


SPECIAL REPORT RELEASE Updated Capital Cost Estimates for Electricity Generation Plants

Updated Capital Cost Estimates for Electricity Generation Plants
This paper provides information on the cost of building new electricity power plants.  These cost estimates are critical inputs in the development of energy projections and analyses.  They play an important role in determining the mix of capacity additions that will serve growing loads in the future and the response of electricity generators to the imposition of environmental controls on conventional pollutants or any limitations on greenhouse gas emissions. 

See the full paper at:
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More pressure on NRC's phase-out of Yucca review Posted by Steve Tetreault

Republicans are keeping the pressure on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whose chairman directed staff last month to begin phasing out their review of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site.

Three U.S. House members on Tuesday asked the acting director of the White House budget office to clarify what authority NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko had "to shut down the Yucca review and terminate the project."

"While it is widely known the Obama administration opposes Yucca Mountain, it remains our nation's repository for spent nuclear fuel and high level defense waste under the law,"  according to the letter signed by Reps. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

Jaczko has said he was acting under budget guidance approved by the NRC. The House members asked Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget for a detailed explanation of the NRC chairman's budget authority.

The proposed Yucca Mountain project in Nevada has provided rare drama at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a normally low profile agency with the job of regulating the use of nuclear power and the handling of radioactive materials.

As the Obama administration has shut down the program, it also has asked the NRC to withdraw a two-year old construction license application for it. The NRC board is split, however, as to whether the project can be stopped without explicit direction from Congress.http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/politics/More_pressure_on_NRCs_phase-out_of_Yucca_review.html?ref=204
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IDSA COMMENT North Korea – Construction of Nuclear Power Plant

In the latest game of one-upmanship vis-à-vis the US and other members of the six-party talks (SPT), North Korea has upped the ante by announcing to the world that there is no stopping its nuclear development programme. While the world grapples with the onerous task of getting Pyongyang back to the negotiating table by using a carrot-and-stick policy with the aim of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula, such a policy has only hardened Pyongyang’s position. The North has used the nuclear card and the SPT forum to extract more economic aid from the US, South Korea and Japan. China’s role in this has always remained suspect, while Russia’s role has remained minimal.
In its latest move, Pyongyang let it be known that it has started constructing an experimental light-water reactor at its Yongbyon nuclear site. The Yongbyon site has remained in the news since 1994 when Pyongyang had blasted the site just to confuse the world. This move demonstrates Pyongyang’s intent to grab international attention and pressure the US into returning to nuclear negotiations. Pyongyang disclosed this information to Siegfried Hecker, an international expert and former Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, during his recent visit to North Korea. Hecker, a regular visitor to Yongbyon, revealed in Beijing on 13 November that the output of the reactor was on a scale of 25 to 30 megawatts of electricity, but could take several years to complete. Hecker’s comments were also echoed by Charles Pritchard, who told South Korean officials that North Korea is constructing a facility at Yongbyon.
South Korean officials have not yet reportedly observed any satellite images suggesting that North Korea is currently involved in building a light-water reactor at Yongbyon but are watching related reports carefully. They also suggest that Pyongyang has so far threatened to build a reactor with its own technology. At the same time, some officials suggest that there was some digging activity in Yongbyon for which the purpose is unknown. Light water reactors, or LWR, are known to be the safest form of nuclear reactors in terms of proliferation, but trusting Pyongyang remains always questionable. More at:


France, Russia looking towards India for nuclear collaboration

France and Russia are among several other countries which are looking towards collaborating with India on nuclear power for global markets, principal scientific adviser to the government, R Chidambaram said today.
As a result of the Indo-US nuclear agreement, nuclear supplier guidelines have undergone few changes, following which many countries, including France and Russia, are talking about partnering with India, he said delivering a talk on 'Energy Technology, Energy Security and Climate Change' at the College of Defence Management (CDM) in Hyderabad.
"They (France and Russia) are not just looking at India as a temporary market but they are all looking for joining (partnership) with India and looking for global markets not only in nuclear power but other sectors," Chidambaram said.
"And that's what we should aim for... to reach for global markets as for as possible with our own efforts and later with international collaboration," he said.
After the Indo-US nuclear deal, projections on nuclear power have been raised and it (nuclear) is expected over 60,000mw by 2032 while till 2020 nuclear power was projected at 20,000mw, the former director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre said.
"Export oriented IT service has created lot of wealth in the country, but if you want to think of India as a developed country you have to become a global leader in manufacturing," he emphasised.
Quoting a report issued by the Deloitte Global Manufacturing Industry group and the US Council on Competitiveness, Chidambaram said they have put India on the second rank after China in the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index for 2010.More at:

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Nuclear power remains a viable Texas energy option By BERNARD L. WEINSTEIN

Several years ago, much was heard about a nuclear renaissance in America. After a nearly 30-year hiatus, the prospects of growing demand for electric power, likely caps on greenhouse gas emissions, and sizable federal loan guarantees led the nation's utilities to express interest in building 28 new reactors. Unfortunately, their enthusiasm has waned considerably, a victim of the economic downturn, falling prices for competing energy sources such as natural gas, and the failure of Congress to pass cap-and-trade legislation. What's more, anti-nuclear organizations like the Nuclear Information and Resource Service continue to broadcast the misinformation that nuclear plants are inherently dangerous and make no economic sense.
Here in Texas, Exelon — the largest nuclear operator in the U.S. - recently put on hold plans to build a new nuclear unit in Victoria County. The company is moving ahead, however, with a request for an early site permit from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that will become part of the combined construction and operating license application when the project is revived. For now, natural gas prices are so low that Exelon and others are reluctant to commit to new plants, even with federal loan guarantees. But as the economic recovery picks up steam, and gas prices rebound to the $7 to $8 range, nuclear plants will once again become cost-competitive.
Texas, as the nation's fastest-growing large state, will need new energy sources in the years ahead, including nuclear power. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas estimates additional electricity demand in the state to be as much as 48,000 megawatts a decade from now. While some argue that the state's future power demand can be satisfied largely through a combination of conservation, efficiency and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, this is simply untrue. More at:

China diversifies sources of uranium as nuclear power industry grows

TIANJIN, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- China is diversifying its sources of uranium to meet the rising demand in developing the nuclear power industry.
"Exploration and exploitation of domestic uranium will be prioritized for the country's mid- and long-term development of nuclear power," said Lu Xiaoming, director of the Nuclear Fuel Division of the China Atomic Energy Authority, at the China Mining Conference and Expo in north China's port city of Tianjin Thursday.
"We should rely on our own resources to acquire uranium," said Lu. "We will intensify our geological survey efforts to have a clear understanding of uranium resources, and bring technical innovation to the exploration and exploitation of uranium for greater efficiency."
China has accelerated the construction of nuclear power plants in recent years as the government seeks to readjust the country's energy mix to protect the environment for sustainable development.
When used in the civilian sector to fuel nuclear power plants, one kilogram of uranium-235 can theoretically produce as much energy as 3,000 tonnes of coal. More at:

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Exclusive Report: Evidence of Iran Nuclear Weapons Program May Be Fraudulent

Exclusive Report: Evidence of Iran Nuclear Weapons Program May Be Fraudulent
Gareth Porter, Truthout: "The Obama administration says there can be no diplomatic negotiations with Iran unless Iran satisfies the IAEA fully in regard to the allegations derived from the documents that it had covert nuclear weapons program. That position is based on the premise that the intelligence documents that Iran has been asked to explain are genuine. The evidence now available, however, indicates that they are fabrications."
Read the Articlehttp://www.truth-out.org/the-iaea-and-fraudulent-iranian-nuclear-documents65241
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Experts say rare earths headed for 2011 supply crunch

Sydney (AFP) Nov 17, 2010 Global demand for the increasingly important "rare earth" minerals that power a range of digital products could outstrip supply by next year as dominant producer China slashes exports, analysts warn. Australian experts say the world must find new technologies or prioritise use of the glowing or highly magnetic metals behind iPhones and flat-screen TVs, as well as eco-friendly hybrid cars, solar panels and wind turbines.
"We have a classic supply and demand crisis. Under normal conditions the global demand exceeds supply in about 2011," Professor Brent McInnes from Curtin University in Western Australia told an online briefing last week.
"In 2016, it's quite evident that the Chinese demand itself will exceed the global supply of rare earth elements."
Demand for rare earths has soared with the popularity of smartphones and low-power light bulbs, at the same time that China, which produces 95 percent of the world's total, is limiting exports to feed its domestic market.
Trade tensions flared in September when buyers in Japan accused China of a targeted embargo in retaliation for a territorial dispute.
China gave assurances it would be a "reliable supplier" during a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month. But Japan, the United States and other top consumers are scrambling to find new sources.
"There is a whole range of economies out there... that are building high-tech industries that are dependent at the moment on a very narrow source," said John Cole, director of the Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development.
But McInnes said China's actions were driven more by a need to support its growing high-tech sector rather than a desire to exert market clout.
"China sees a point in time when they will need all the rare earth elements they produce," he said.
Rare earth prices remained static for decades due to plentiful supplies, lulling the high-tech industry into a false sense of security.
But McInnes said "it's quite evident this is no longer going to be viable," with a 300 percent spike in prices over the past year alone.
"In normal economic circumstances, whenever the price of an element gets so high, you look to develop new technologies that don't need that element, or you find a new element that is more abundant," said McInnes.
Dwindling supply and increasing costs underscored the need to develop alternatives such as bio- or nano-technology, he added.
"We are at the moment looking at a phenomenon that perhaps gives us some insights into where the future might be in terms of the high-tech and particularly the green-tech sector because some of the technologies that are at risk ... largely exist in the green-tech area," McInnes said.
Cole said scarce supplies of rare earths were being routinely used on "low-value" applications such as plasma screen TVs, indicating a lack of appreciation of the resource and its potential applications.
"Health, defence, and communications applications indicate that there are "a hierarchy of technologies here that could be developed, not least of which are the green technologies," said Cole.
With an average Australian producing six kilos (12 pounds) of electronic waste each year, vast quantities of rare earth -- also used in glass, fibre optic cables and magnets -- find their way into rubbish tips, raising the possibility of recycling as a key source of the minerals.
"The optimisation of our use of rare earth demands that we fully recover the material and re-use it, and that includes even going to the extent of land-fill mining," said Cole.
Australia's Lynas Corp is on track to start producing rare earths by the third quarter of next year, with the resource-rich country expected to become one of the world's leading producers within just a few years.


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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When Uranium Outshines Gold

 EARLIER this month, Global X Funds of New York announced plans for two exchange-traded funds — one for gold stocks, the other, uranium. Initially, Bruno del Ama, its chief executive, figured he knew which would capture the market’s attention. After all, gold prices have surged in recent months.
As it transpired, he guessed wrong. Global X’s Uranium E.T.F. — with holdings in companies like the Cameco Corporation, Paladin Energy and Uranium One — was a hit as soon as it went on sale Nov. 9, with early trading volume outpacing Global X’s gold E.T.F. by five to one. “I’m in shock, to be honest,” he said. More at:
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Japan’s Civil Nuclear Deal With India

In a rapidly developing and energy-hungry nation such as India, the promise of nuclear power is still to be realized. The 19 nuclear power plants in operation generate a power output of less than 5,000MW which is grossly inadequate. India, however, has developed an ambitious plan to scale up its nuclear power generating capability to 63,000MW by 2032. Thanks to the Indo-US nuclear deal, this mega-plan is slowly taking shape. Two American firms, GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse, a subsidiary of Toshiba, are set to build two new nuclear reactors in India. Since Japanese firms are involved, business is on hold unless and until the Japanese government too enters into a civilian nuclear deal with India. These conglomerates are thus eagerly waiting for the Japanese government to give the go-ahead. During his visit to Japan in October, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed a strong desire to accelerate negotiations on a civilian nuclear agreement between the two countries, which would enable the transfer of Japanese nuclear technology and materials to India. Given the strong anti-nuclear sentiments among the Japanese people, Prime Minister Singh reiterated India’s commitment to a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and emphasized his country’s constructive role in nuclear non-proliferation. Yet, Japan’s fundamental stance – that it will nullify the agreement should India conduct another nuclear test – remains unchanged.

The fact that India is a nuclear-armed state has been a big obstacle for Japan in concluding negotiations. India is neither a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). As Japan is the only nation in human history which has suffered from an atomic catastrophe, the Japanese media and public opinion remain hostile towards nuclear cooperation with non-NPT signatory states. More at:

ABB to provide EAM software for CNNP nuclear power program

Power and automation technology group ABB has signed an agreement with China National Nuclear Power (CNNP) to provide enterprise asset management (EAM) software for CNNP's new-build nuclear power plant program.
The EAM software from Ventyx is for the management of operations and maintenance in the nuclear power sector.
ABB will implement software and training programs at CNNP nuclear power plants in partnership with the Research Institute of Nuclear Power Operation (RINPO) and Computer Application Institute Nuclear Industry (CAINI), both subsidiaries of the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation.
ABB said that this order further validates its recent acquisition of Ventyx to bridge the gap between information technology and operational technology.

Iran and the West: Next steps

Dealing with Iran’s nuclear program is one of the most important foreign policy issues of the day. Years of stalled talks, diplomatic dead-ends, and sanctions have made it difficult to see exactly where progress has been made with Iran and what efforts are worth pursuing. In “The Iranian quagmire: How to move forward” (November/December 2010 Bulletin), leading foreign policy experts weigh in from around the world on how to proceed with Iran -- from clear diplomacy to fuel swaps to the darkest scenario of military strikes. Whatever their proposed solutions, the writers express one common theme: We ignore Iran at our own peril. From the US, Thomas R. Pickering, Lawrence J. Korb, and Bennett Ramberg; from Turkey, Mustafa Kibaroglu; from Iran, Kayhan Barzegar; and from Israel, Emily B. Landau.

Below, more experts explore the options, their strengths and weaknesses, and propose various structures and points to consider as the West and Iran are set to re-enter talks in November.

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