Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

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

Friday, December 24, 2010

An Unusual Comparison with Nuclear

An Unusual Comparison with Nuclear

bama plans to 'immediately engage' with Republicans on energy policy By Andrew Restuccia

Obama signals willingness to compromise on energy policy
President Barack Obama said he plans to "immediately engage with Republicans" in the next Congress to advance legislation on energy policy. Many Democrats and environmental groups have said they would prefer an energy measure that focused on renewables, such as wind and solar, but Obama has pointed to nuclear and natural gas as points of compromise. The Hill/E2 Wire blog

Nuclear industry supply chain forges more links By Shelia Watson Southeast Supply Chain News

U.S. nuclear firms cement their place in global supply chain
South Carolina is emerging as a key player in the global nuclear supply chain, thanks to an ongoing effort to foster ties to the Chinese nuclear sector. The latest success: Westinghouse Electric's facility in Columbia, S.C., has completed four fuel assemblies for use at the Sanmen Unit 1 plant in China's Zhejiang Province. "Completion of this milestone is a significant achievement for Westinghouse," said Joe Belechak, senior vice president of Westinghouse's nuclear-fuel division. Charleston Regional Business Journal (S.C.)
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Turkey, Japan to ink MOU on nuclear plant this week

Turkey collaborates with Japan, Russia on new nuclear plants
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz will visit Japan to participate in talks on the proposed construction of a nuclear power plant in Sinop, Turkey, under a new memorandum of understanding on energy cooperation between the two countries. Turkey has also decided to work with Russia on the construction of a reactor in the city of Mersin. Reuters
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Foreign uranium to feed 60 pct of China nuclear sector-research

China may need foreign uranium supply by 2020
China may depend on a foreign supply to secure at least 60% of the uranium needed for its power plants by 2020, researchers said. The country initially set a goal of 40 gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity, but it is considering doubling the value to achieve emissions-reduction goals. If this happens, China would need to boost investments and increase local production capacity because the supply is enough for only the 40-gigawatt target, the study suggests. Reutershttp://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFTOE6BK02620101221
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Fueling America’s nuclear renaissance by reprocessing nuclear fuel By Dr. Bernard L. Weinstein

Lifting the stay on reprocessing will cut amount of nuclear waste
The U.S. could reduce the amount of nuclear waste by lifting the decades-old moratorium on fuel reprocessing, writes Bernard L. Weinstein, associate director with the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Reprocessing used fuel, along with centralized storage, would be more practical than keeping tons of nuclear waste at different facilities indefinitely, Weinstein adds. The Hill/Congress blog
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Arizona regulator asks for end to nuclear waste fees

End to nuclear-waste fee is sought by Arizona official
Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump urged Energy Secretary Steven Chu to end a fee that would help pay for the development of a permanent nuclear-waste repository. The fee now serves no purpose because the government terminated the Yucca Mountain project, Stump added. "Why are Arizonans and our nation's ratepayers, who are working to recover from one of the harshest recessions in American history, being forced to continue to pay this fee, with no benefit in sight," he wrote in a letter to Chu. The Arizona Republic (Phoenix)
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NRC advisory panel supports new Westinghouse nuclear reactor; additional reviews pending By RAY HENRY , Associated Press

NRC advisory panel approves AP1000 reactor design
Westinghouse Electric's AP1000 reactor design is safe, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. "We conclude that there is reasonable assurance that the revised design can be built and operated without undue risk to the health and safety of the public," said Said Abdel-Khalik, chairman of the advisory group. The NRC will evaluate the committee's findings before making its final decision on the AP1000 design. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press
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China Says N.Korea Has Right to Nuclear Power The Chosun Ilbo

China Says N.Korea Has Right to Nuclear Power
The Chosun Ilbo
Beijing says North Korea has the right to use nuclear power but should be subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. ...

Liability Issues Delay Russian-Indian Reactor Deal Global Security Newswire

Liability Issues Delay Russian-Indian Reactor Deal
Global Security Newswire
The Indian legislation limits nuclear reactor operator liability following an accident to roughly $320 million and allows lawsuits against suppliers of ...

Kuwait boosts stake in French nuclear giant Areva

Paris (AFP) Dec 11, 2010 Areva on Saturday approved a 900-million-euro (1.17 billion dollars) capital hike under which the Kuwait Investment Authority will hold nearly five percent stake in the French nuclear giant. The recapitalisation values the strategically important Areva at 11.5 billion euros, of which the Kuwaiti fund (KIA) will now control 4.8 percent.
"The group's supervisory board, meeting today under the chairmanship of Jean-Cyril Spinetta, examined and approved the launch of a reserved capital increase of 900 million euros, representing 7.2 percent of its share capital at the completion of the transaction," a statement said.
It said Kuwait would supply two-thirds of the capital hike and the French state the remaining third at 300 million euros.
Areva said its outlook for 2012 included a revenue of 12 billion euros and "a double-digit operating margin."
The French government holds 93 percent of Areva -- set up in 2001 -- and discussions about attracting other investors, including Qatar and Japan's Mitsubishi, have been underway for some time.
Areva's repeatedly delayed capital increase is aimed at funding its investment plans through to 2012 and had to be concluded by the end of the year.
Talks foundered with Qatar and Mitsubishi, a major player in nuclear power generation, meaning the French state had to contribute 300 million euros to the recapitalisation in order to make the end of year deadline.
Besides building nuclear power plants, Areva last year emerged as the world's largest miner of uranium, offering a complete range of services across the sector from fuel to energy production.
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Mitsubishi to produce nuclear fuel in US with AREVA

http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/Mitsubishi_to_produce_nuclear_fuel_in_US_with_AREVA_999.html Tokyo (AFP) Dec 14, 2010 Japan's Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel Co. said Tuesday it had established a 50-50 venture in the United States with French industrial group AREVA to produce nuclear fuel for pressurised water reactors. The new company, named US Nuclear Fuel and located in AREVA's plant in Richland, Washington state, aims to start production in the second half of this decade, Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel said in a press release.
Seventy percent of Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel is owned by the Mitsubishi group and 30 percent by AREVA.
US Nuclear Fuel will produce fuel for advanced pressurised water reactors to be supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to nuclear power plants in the United States, the statement said.
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Japan, S.Korea seal civilian nuclear pact

Japan, S.Korea seal civilian nuclear pact

http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/Japan_SKorea_seal_civilian_nuclear_pact_999.html Tokyo (AFP) Dec 20, 2010 Japan and South Korea sealed a civilian nuclear pact on Monday, paving the way for the Asian neighbours to share nuclear-power technologies and equipment, Japan's foreign ministry said. Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and South Korean ambassador to Japan Kwon Chul-Hyun signed the agreement in Tokyo, the ministry said in a statement.
"Japan and South Korea are good partners to promote peaceful use of nuclear power while ensuring nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear energy safety and security," Maehara told the ambassador, quoted in the statement.
Japan and South Korea have been rivals in international biddings for nuclear power plants in emerging nations.
In October Japan secured a contract for building two nuclear reactors in Vietnam while South Korea won a deal in December to build four reactors in the United Arab Emirates.
But under the pact, which will take effect after parliaments of both countries endorse it, mainly Japanese firms with a longer history of developing nuclear power plants are expected to start exporting technologies and equipment to South Korea.
Japan, which was eclipsed this year by China as Asia's biggest economy and has a shrinking population because of its low birth rate, is searching for new markets to export infrastructure technologies, including power plants.
Japan has concluded a bilateral nuclear energy pact with six countries and the European Union while South Korea has a similar deal with 14 states, the Japanese foreign ministry said.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable missile

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Pakistan_test_fires_nuclear-capable_missile_999.html Islamabad (AFP) Dec 21, 2010 Pakistan on Tuesday successfully test fired a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads, the military said. The military said in a statement that Ghauri Hatf 5, with a range of 1,300 kilometres (800 miles), could carry conventional and other warheads.
The launch was conducted by the Army Strategic Force command's strategic missile group at the end of a field-training exercise aimed at testing the force's operational readiness, the statement said.
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee chairman General Khalid Shahmeem Wyne and other senior military officers and scientists witnessed the tests, it said.
"You have made the nation proud and we salute you for your outstanding work," Gilani told the scientists and engineers.
Gilani said Pakistan could be proud of its defence capability and the reliability of its nuclear deterrence. This capability, he added, formed the bedrock of Pakistan's security policy and will continue to be enhanced.
"The test amply demonstrates the credibility of our minimum deterrence strategy, which is the cornerstone of our security policy and ensures peace in the region," he said.
"It also sends the right signals internationally that Pakistan's defence capability is impregnable and should never be challenged."
Gilani said Pakistan was a responsible nation with an extremely reliable nuclear capability and did not harbor any aggressive designs against anyone.
South Asian rivals India and Pakistan -- which have fought three wars, two of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir -- have routinely carried out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998.
Pakistan's arsenal includes short-, medium- and long-range missiles named after Muslim conquerors.
"Let there be no doubt that Pakistan's armed forces are highly professional, motivated and fully capable of safeguarding Pakistan's security against all types of aggression," Gilani added.
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WikiLeaks XXIV: Security for Radioactive Materials in Yemen Goes From Bad to Nonexistent from Foreign Policy In Focus

WikiLeaks XXIV: Security for Radioactive Materials in Yemen Goes From Bad to Nonexistent

Yemen as careless about security for nuclear materials as Libya.
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US Clean Energy Targets to Include Coal and Nuclear Power OilPrice.com

US Clean Energy Targets to Include Coal and Nuclear Power
A more inclusive standard would be appealing to legislators from regions heavily dependent on coal and supportive of nuclear power, but others would be ...

India, Russia Agree on Nuclear Reactor Plan Global Security Newswire

India, Russia Agree on Nuclear Reactor Plan
Global Security Newswire
India and Russia today settled plans to move toward Russian construction of two new atomic power reactors at a nuclear plant in southern India, ...

NRC advisers back new Westinghouse nuclear reactor MiamiHerald.com

NRC advisers back new Westinghouse nuclear reactor
Utilities have selected that reactor to power as many as seven new nuclear power plants that could be built in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and ...

In Our View: Eyes Back on Yucca Proposed nuclear waste dump in Nevada should be re-examined, court rules

In Our View: Eyes Back on Yucca

Proposed nuclear waste dump in Nevada should be re-examined, court rules 


Social Network For Photovoltaics Launches Ideas Contest

Participants can submit ideas about standardisation of interfaces, photovoltaic standards for cell production, cost reductions, safety and energy efficiency, utility monitoring and assembly systems up until the 20th of February 2011.
http://www.solardaily.com/reports/Social_Network_For_Photovoltaics_Launches_Ideas_Contest_999.html Hauppauge NY (SPX) Dec 21, 2010 Specialists from the photovoltaic sector now have their own international expert network: the Festo Engineering Network offers a convenient and efficient way of exchanging ideas within the community about trends and market developments in the wafer-based solar industry and of discovering new solutions together. The Festo Engineering Network simplifies contacts between leading manufacturers of photovoltaic solutions and scientists from the Fraunhofer ISE and CSE.
Network members develop new ideas for the future of the solar industry in closed workgroups. A database provides up-to-date industry know-how such as sample applications, reports and studies, which members can download free of charge.
As part of the launch activities for the online platform, the Festo Engineering Network has announced an ideas contest with attractive prizes, for example a flight in a hot-air balloon or an airship.
Participants can submit ideas about standardisation of interfaces, photovoltaic standards for cell production, cost reductions, safety and energy efficiency, utility monitoring and assembly systems up until the 20th of February 2011.
At the opening event of the Festo Summit Photovoltaics in San Francisco at the beginning of December 2010, Professor Dr. Joel West of San Jose State University stressed how important collaboration in social networks is, particularly in young and dynamic industries like photovoltaics: "Trust, reliable processes and a clear-cut infrastructure evolve if cooperation is started early amongst network members. This enables us to reap the benefits for successful products."
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N.Korea says won't hit back at S.Korea, open to UN experts

US voices doubt N.Korea ready to readmit inspectorsWashington (AFP) Dec 20, 2010 - The United States on Monday expressed skepticism that North Korea is ready to readmit UN nuclear inspectors who were expelled more than a year ago, adding "North Korea talks a great game." State Department spokesman Philip Crowley made the remarks after US troubleshooter Bill Richardson said North Korea has agreed to permit the return of inspectors as part of measures to ease tensions on the peninsula. Crowley told reporters the US government will "gain a perspective" on what the North Koreans told Richardson when the US troubleshooter returns from Pyongyang and briefs officials in Washington about his visit.

"North Korea talks a great game. They always do. The real isssue is what will they do," Crowley said. "If they are agreeable to returning IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors to their country, they have to tell the IAEA that," he said. "If they're willing to participate in mechanisms that reduce tensions with South Korea, we would certainly favor any step that reduces tension and improves communication in the region," he said. "We will be guided by what North Korea does, not by what North Korea says it might do," he said. "The key is following through and implementing that decision and meeting its international obligations."

Confirming a CNN report, Richardson said in a statement, as he visited Pyongyang, that North Korea had agreed to allow the return of inspectors from the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). North Korea in April 2009 pulled out of six-nation nuclear disarmament talks and ordered US and IAEA nuclear inspectors out of the country, after the UN Security Council condemned Pyongyang for an April 5 rocket launch. It staged its second nuclear test a month later. In his statement, Richardson said North Korean leaders also agreed to negotiate the sale of nuclear fuel rods to a third party, "such as South Korea", and to discuss a military commission and hotline. Tensions have soared anew since a North Korean artillery attack last month on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, which killed four people including civilians and damaged dozens of homes.
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/NKorea_says_wont_hit_back_at_SKorea_open_to_UN_experts_999.html Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea (AFP) Dec 20, 2010 North Korea Monday forswore retaliation against a South Korean live-fire drill and held out an olive branch over its nuclear drive, raising hopes for an easing to the region's worst crisis in years. The communist state said it "did not feel any need to retaliate against every despicable military provocation", despite previously vowing a deadly riposte to the South's drill on the border island of Yeonpyeong.
"The world should properly know who is the true champion of peace and who is the real provocateur of a war," the North's military command said in a statement on the official news agency KCNA.
North Korea had used a November 23 live-fire exercise by South Korean marines on Yeonpyeong to justify a bombardment of the Yellow Sea island that killed four people.
South Korea, defying Chinese and Russian pressure, went ahead with another exercise on Monday that involved heavy artillery, air force jets and the reported deployment of two naval destroyers.
The drill came after the UN Security Council Sunday failed to agree a statement on the Korean crisis, with diplomats saying that China had refused to allow any public condemnation of its communist allies in Pyongyang.
China on Monday issued a strong appeal at the UN for "maximum restraint" by the two Koreas and vowed to make new efforts to ease the military tensions.
"We strongly appeal relevant parties to exercise maximum restraint, act in a responsible manner and avoid increase of tensions," China's deputy ambassador Wang Min said in a rare public statement at the UN.
"China strongly urges both sides of the peninsula to keep calm and restraint, solve issues through peaceful dialogue and engagement. China will continue to make our efforts toward this end," Wang said.
Seoul, which was outraged last month by the first shelling of civilian areas since the 1950-53 Korean War, rejected criticism from Beijing and Moscow.
"As a sovereign nation, it is our just right to stage a military exercise for the defence of our territory... nobody can intervene," President Lee Myung-Bak said, after winning reaffirmations of US and Japanese support.
Yonhap news agency said the South fired 1,500 rounds from various guns including K-9 self-propelled howitzers, 105mm howitzers and 81mm mortars during the drill.
Last week, as South Korean forces prepared for the live firing, North Korea threatened a new attack that would be "deadlier (than November 23)... in terms of the powerfulness and sphere of the strike".
But its language promising restraint was very different, and was accompanied by conciliatory gestures offered during a visit to Pyongyang by veteran US troubleshooter Bill Richardson.
Richardson, a former US ambassador to the UN, said North Korea was ready to permit the return of UN nuclear inspectors booted out in April 2009, agreeing to grant them access to a newly unveiled uranium enrichment plant.
The New Mexico governor said Pyongyang was also prepared to negotiate "a deal for a third party, such as South Korea, to buy fresh-fuel rods from North Korea".
The North would discuss a military commission, grouping representatives from the two Koreas plus the United States, "to monitor and prevent conflicts in the disputed areas of the West (Yellow) Sea".
And it was ready to create "a hotline between the North Korean and South Korean militaries to avert potential crises", Richardson said in a statement, before his expected departure for Beijing on Tuesday.
In Pyongyang over the weekend, the US official met top nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-Gwan and Major General Pak Rim-Su, who leads North Korean forces along the tense border with the South.
Richardson said he was "very encouraged" that North Korea's military had vowed no retaliation after South Korea's exercise of Monday.
But South Korea and the United States were cautious about the nuclear offer.
"We will be guided by what North Korea does, not what it says it might do," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters. "The key is following through and implementing that decision and meeting its international obligations."
Even if the North were to permit return of UN atomic inspectors, South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Kim Young-Sunhe said, "we will have to make an overall assessment based on how much access is given to the inspectors and what the North's intentions were (in accepting them)".

N.Korea reaching out: US governor

UN's Korea statement no longer relevant: USUnited Nations (AFP) Dec 20, 2010 - The United States said Monday that it was too late to pass a UN Security Council statement on the Korea military crisis as China made a strong appeal for the Koreas to end their tensions. China on Sunday blocked a statement in which Western powers had sought to condemn North Korea for setting off the new hostilities with its November 23 artillery attack on Yeonpyeong island. Efforts to reach accord appeared to be dead in the water. US ambassador Susan Rice said there had been no new discussions. "I think continued haggling over a statement whose relevance has largely passed is not particularly productive," she told reporters. "The US position is that it would have been constructive, had it been possible, to issue a strong and unanimous statement in which we made clear that it was the council's view that the attack by North Korea on the island of Yeonpyeong was to be condemned," she added. In a rare public statement outside of the Security Council chamber, China called for "maximum restraint" by the Koreas and highlighted the efforts it has undertaken to bring down the fever pitch tensions between North and South. "We strongly appeal relevant parties to exercise maximum restraint, act in a responsible manner and avoid increase of tensions," China's deputy ambassador Wang Min said.

"China has spared no efforts to engage both sides of the peninsula," Wang added, highlighting recent ministerial contacts with North and South Korea. "China strongly urges both sides of the peninsula to keep calm and restraint, solve issues through peaceful dialogue and engagement. China will continue to make our efforts toward this end," he said. Eight hours of Security Council talks failed to agree a statement on the escalating tensions. China opposed Western demands that North Korea be clearly condemned for its artillery attack on Yeonpyeong island in which four South Koreans died. "We are all waiting to get instructions from our capitals on what to do about a statement," said one diplomat from a Security Council nation. "Don't hold your breath," commented another diplomat on prospects for a Security Council statement. China, as one of the five permanent members of the 15 nation Security Council, can veto any resolution or statement. The other permanent members are Britain, France, Russia and the United States.
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/NKorea_reaching_out_US_governor_999.html Washington (AFP) Dec 20, 2010 US troubleshooter Bill Richardson said Monday that North Korea was trying to reach out to the world for talks after it held fire in the face of exercises by South Korea. The New Mexico governor was winding up a visit to Pyongyang, where he said that the commuist state was ready to permit a return of UN nuclear inspectors booted out in April 2009.
"They seemed to realize that they had maybe gone too far and now was a time to reach out," Richardson told CNN.
"I noticed a better tone -- flexibility," said Richardson, a former US ambassador to the United Nations who has maintained contacts with North Korea for years.
Tensions have been soaring on the Korean peninsula. North Korea last year bolted out of six-nation denuclearization talks, pursued its nuclear program, shelled a civilian area in South Korea and allegedly downed a ship.
But North Korea's military command backed off on threats to fire back at a South Korean live-fire drill, saying in a statement that it "did not feel any need to retaliate against every despicable military provocation."
"They're somehow right now at a point where they feel that they've been isolated not just by the United States but by the six-party countries," Richardson said.
"Rightly so, I believe, because of their activities, what they did. But somehow I believe they've made a decision to open up, to re-engage," he said.
Richardson said that North Korean officials voiced concerns about US policy but said they liked President Barack Obama on a personal level, saying "he was somebody that was symbolically for the United States a great image."
The Obama administration has pursued a policy of engaging US adversaries but has refused to resume six-party talks with North Korea until it clearly commits to previous denuclearization agreements.
The State Department was skeptical of North Korea's statements to Richardson that it would readmit UN nuclear inspectors, saying it would wait for Pyongyang's actions instead of its words.

Russia warns US: Don't tinker with new START

Russia warns US: Don't tinker with new START

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Russia_warns_US_Dont_tinker_with_new_START_999.html Moscow (AFP) Dec 20, 2010 Russia on Monday warned US lawmakers debating a landmark nuclear arms control treaty that any changes would kill the accord, which faced a critical US Senate test vote on the uncertain path to approval. US President Barack Obama, who signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April, was courting swing-vote senators by telephone, the White House said.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden "continue to communicate with senators in order to ensure they have the most updated information," said spokesman Robert Gibbs, who predicted the agreement would win ratification.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned US senators that START "completely meets the national interests of both Russia and the United States" and "cannot be reopened, becoming the subject of new negotiations."
His comments to the Interfax news agency came as angry Republicans, lacking the votes to amend the treaty, accused Democrats of rushing the agreement through to hand Obama a major year-end diplomatic victory.
"No senator should be forced to make decisions like this so we can tick off another item on someone's political checklist before the end of the year," said Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
After five days of arguing in public about amending the pact -- sending it back to the negotiating table, effectively killing it -- US Senators met behind closed doors to discuss classified intelligence matters tied to the accord.
They were expected to discuss issues including the verification and monitoring regimes designed to ensure the two sides do not cheat on the agreement as well as the upkeep of the US nuclear arsenal.
After their secret debate, lawmakers were expected to vote on -- and defeat -- more Republican treaty amendments calling notably for more inspections under the accord and for talks on restricting Russian tactical nuclear weapons.
And the Senate was to vote Tuesday on ending debate on the treaty and moving towards ratification, which requires 67 votes if all 100 senators are present.
Democrats have expressed optimism about rallying enough Republicans to approve the treaty, pointing to a 66-32 vote to begin debate. One lawmaker who supports START was absent.
The agreement -- which has the support of virtually every present and past US foreign policy or national security heavyweight -- restricts each nation to a maximum of 1,550 deployed warheads, a cut of about 30 percent from a limit set in 2002, and 800 launchers and bombers.
The accord would also return US inspectors who have been unable to monitor Russia's arsenal since the treaty's predecessor lapsed in December 2009.
Some US lawmakers, seeking a face-saving way to express concerns about the treaty without killing it, were quietly discussing possible amendments to the US Senate's resolution of ratification -- which would not force new negotiations.
Obama has made approving the treaty a key part of his efforts to "reset" relations with Russia.
And the White House has pushed for a vote this year, when it needs nine Republicans to win ratification, rather than next year, when it will need 14 in the new Congress.
Lavrov encouraged Washington to move quickly but appeared to put no time limit on a final vote.
"We would prefer not to think about the negative consequences" of this treaty not being passed," Russia's top diplomat told the agency.
"We expect the ratification process to be completed in near future."

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Wind Farm in Deep Water off the U.S. Coast from Technology Review Feed - Tech Review Top Stories

A Wind Farm in Deep Water off the U.S. Coast

A new type of wind-turbine platform can be placed much farther from shore.
Deepwater Wind, a company based in Providence, Rhode Island, has drawn up plans for what could be the largest wind farm in U.S. waters, the company announced last week. The proposed farm would generate a huge 1,000 megawatts of power and would be located 18 to 27 miles off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts at a depth of 52 meters—considerably deeper than any other large scale wind project to date. By moving into deeper waters, turbines can harness stronger, more sustained winds. And the massive turbines the company plans to use—each capable of generating more than 5 megawatts of power, with blades rising 150 meters above the water's surface—will be nearly invisible from shore, thereby avoiding potential legal battles with coastal communities that perceive the turbines as eyesores.
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CNN: North Korea agrees to return of UN nuclear inspectors

CNN: North Korea agrees to return of UN nuclear inspectors

N.Korea says S.Korea, US trying to spark warSeoul (AFP) Dec 20, 2010 - North Korea Monday accused the United States and South Korean "puppet warmongers" of pushing the peninsula to the brink of war, as Seoul prepared to hold a live-fire drill despite Pyongyang's threat of retaliation. "It is a vital task for defusing the ever-increasing danger of a war and protecting the nation's destiny to avert a war and defend peace," said ruling communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun, referring to Koreans on both sides of the border. The North last month bombarded Yeonpyeong island near the contested Yellow Sea border, killing two marines and two civilians and damaging dozens of homes.

It says it acted in response to a South Korean artillery drill, and has vowed to hit back harder if a new exercise is held on the island this week. The response "will be deadlier than what was made on November 23 in terms of the powerfulness and sphere of the strike", its military said Friday. Rodong Sinmun Monday repeated allegations that the South had provoked last month's shelling. "Only when all the Koreans get united as one and wage a bold struggle for defending peace against war, can they surely check and frustrate the moves of outside forces and the puppet warmongers to provoke a new war," it said.

S.Korea launches crackdown on illegal Chinese fishingSeoul (AFP) Dec 20, 2010 - South Korea's coastguard Monday announced a new crackdown on illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea following a deadly clash with Chinese fishermen last week. The three-day exercise involves 18 ships, two helicopters and about 200 personnel, a coastguard spokesman told AFP. "We are taking strong steps as illegal fishing by Chinese boats is rampant despite our persistent crackdowns," he said. A 63-tonne Chinese boat capsized after ramming into a 3,000-tonne South Korean coastguard ship Saturday, leaving one Chinese crew member dead and another missing. Eight other Chinese fishermen were rescued, five of them by nearby Chinese boats.

"Three fishermen rescued by our side are in our custody for questioning," the spokesman said. He said the Chinese crew brandished iron pipes, clubs and shovels when two South Korean small boats from the 3,000-tonne ship approached their trawler, injuring four officers. The trawler then suddenly rammed into the coastguard ship and capsized, causing 10 Chinese sailors to fall into the sea, he said. The trawler's 28-year-old captain was in a coma after the incident and died in hospital. Illegal fishing by Chinese vessels is common in South Korean waters. The coastguard said 332 Chinese boats were caught last year. In 2008 a South Korean officer drowned while trying to inspect a Chinese boat, and 10 officers have been injured this year.

Seoul (AFP) Dec 20, 2010 North Korea has agreed with US troubleshooter Bill Richardson to permit the return of UN nuclear inspectors as part of a package of measures to ease tensions on the peninsula, CNN reported Monday. CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer, who is travelling with Richardson in Pyongyang, said the North Koreans had agreed to let inspectors from the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency go back to its Yongbyon nuclear facility.
They had also agreed to allow fuel rods for the enrichment of uranium to be shipped to an outside country, and to the creation of a military commission and hotline between the two Koreas and the United States, Blitzer said.
A veteran negotiator with the reclusive communist state, New Mexico Governor Richardson was due to brief reporters in Beijing later Monday after concluding his five-day visit to Pyongyang.
The former US ambassador to the UN was said by Blitzer to be "disappointed" at the UN Security Council's failure late Sunday to agree a statement on the Korean situation.
Richardson believed that such a statement would have given the South Koreans "political cover" to cancel a planned live-fire military exercise on a flashpoint border island bombarded by North Korea last month, Blitzer said.
North Korea in April 2009 pulled out of six-nation nuclear disarmament talks and ordered US and IAEA nuclear inspectors out of the country, after the UN Security Council condemned Pyongyang for an April 5 rocket launch.
It staged its second nuclear test a month later.
Tensions have soared anew since last month's North Korean artillery attack on the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, which killed four people including civilians and damaged dozens of homes.
The South's forces were due to start the live-fire drill on Yeonpyeong later Monday, despite North Korean threats of deadly retaliation. But heavy fog had caused the drill to be delayed, South Korean officials said.
Richardson had urged top North Korean leaders to show "maximum restraint" over the planned South Korean drills.
In Pyongyang over the weekend, Richardson met top nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-Gwan and Major General Pak Rim-Su, who leads North Korean forces along the tense border with the South.
Pak told Richardson that North Korea had recovered the remains of several hundred US servicemen killed during the 1950-1953 Korean War and offered to help secure their return to the United States, CNN said.
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News Update on the Debate in the Senate on the START Treaty

News Update On The Debate In The U.S. Senate On The START Treaty

Obama pushes for arms pact as top Dem upbeat -- Yahoo News/AP
Democrats to hold Tuesday vote on START nuclear pact -- Yahoo News/AFP
Russia warns U.S. not to change nuclear pact: Ifax -- Yahoo News/Reuters
Durbin Says Senate Has 67 Votes to Ratify Arms Treaty as McConnell Balks -- Bloomberg
Dems getting closer on START -- Politico
START loses key GOP support -- Washington Times
McConnell, Graham Will Oppose START -- Talk Radio News Service
Graham Announces Opposition to START Treaty -- CBS News
Senate GOP's McConnell says he'll vote against New START -- Washington Post
Is START stuck? -- Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post
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Alstom clinches EdF turbine-generator deals from World Nuclear News by Jeremy Gordon

Alstom clinches EdF turbine-generator deals

Alstom has signed multiple deals for the supply and maintenance of key turbine and generator components for Electricité de France's (EdF's) 900 and 1300 MWe reactor series.

Energy plans: National nuclear waste repository is prudent

Energy plans: National nuclear waste repository is prudent

Why Would U.S. Urge U.N. to Allow Iraq a Nuclear Energy Program? from Foreign Policy In Focus

Why Would U.S. Urge U.N. to Allow Iraq a Nuclear Energy Program?

How does this help the United States?

EU denies funding for fusion reactor

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/EU_denies_funding_for_fusion_reactor_999.html Brussels (UPI) Dec 17, 2010 A plan to save financing for a multinational nuclear fusion reactor project has been rejected at the last minute. The European Parliament refused to approve a plan by member states to transfer $1.84 billion from the European Union's current budget to cover rising construction costs of the multibillion-dollar International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, the BBC reports.
"We had the green light of the Council of Ministers but the Parliament did not follow," the BBC quoted Michel Claessens, a spokesman for the European Commission's research directorate as saying. "The commission will put forward a proposal for the budgetary resolution of Iter next year."
Iter Director General Osamu Motojima was to have crisis talks with EU officials Friday in Brussels to save the project, which has come under fire for ballooning costs. Overall costs for the multinational project have tripled from an initial $6 billion estimate in 2006 to $18 billion.
The research reactor is to be built by 2015 in southern France by a consortium including the European Union, China Japan, Russia, India and the United States. It is then to operate for another 20 years.
The aim of ITER is to show that atoms can be fused together inside a reactor to produce electricity. Conventional nuclear power reactors do the opposite, harnessing energy released from splitting atoms apart.
The EU, which at the start of the project pledged to shoulder 45 percent of the costs, said its share has grown by more than $1.7 billion to at least $9 billion. China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States are each chipping in 9 percent of the total cost.
Observers hope that nuclear fusion can one day produce CO2-free base-load power on a large-scale. Nuclear fusion involves heating gases to temperatures exceeding 200 million degrees Fahrenheit -- hotter than the core of the sun.
Once the technical challenges -- and there are many -- are overcome, fusion power has potential advantages including the existence of abundant fuel, a relatively safe energy generation producing only low-level waste and no production of greenhouse gases.
But critics say the international community is investing too much money into an energy source that might never, or at least not anytime soon, benefit the ordinary population in the form of large-scale energy generation.
A 2006 editorial in New Scientist magazine said that "if commercial fusion is viable, it may well be a century away."
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Container Ships And Bulk Tankers To Go Nuclear? - 2010-12-19

Container Ships And Bulk Tankers To Go Nuclear?
- 2010-12-19

Mullen: U.S. 'Very Ready' Militarily Should Iran Make A Move -- The Hill

ROYAL MEETING - U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meets with his majesty Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, in Manama, Bahrain, Dec.17, 2010. Mullen and his wife, Deborah, are traveling with the USO holiday tour while also meeting with foreign dignataries and U.S. troops. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Saturday that the U.S. military is "very ready" to counter Iran should it come to that. "I've said all options have been on the table and remain on the table," Mullen said.

Adm. Mike Mullen was in Bahrain, where the U.S. has naval forces, to meet with the country's king. The meeting comes on the heels of leaked diplomatic cables that show leaders in the Middle East nervous about Iran, which has been moving full-speed-ahead with its nuclear program.

Read more ....

More News On U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen's Comments On Iran

Official: U.S. "Ready" To Tackle Iran -- Radio Free Europe
Top US officer says Iran still driving for a bomb -- AP
US army chief says Iran still seeking nuclear bomb -- Jerusalem Post
US commander Mike Mullen reassures Gulf states on Iran -- BBC
Mullen: US very ready to attack Iran -- Press TV

The Mystery Of Missile Defence -- Al Jazeera

After the latest failed missile defence tests, critics wonder why the US has spent $100bn on the system.
The cold war ended two decades ago, but dreams of an impenetrable missile shield from Ronald Reagan - who once called the Soviet Union an "evil empire" - are firmly back on the US national security agenda.

Late on Wednesday, the US tested its newest round of interceptors, spending $100m to blast a missile from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean towards California.

The anti-ballistic missile system failed, as the kill vehicle designed to blow the projectile out of the sky missed its target, adding to a long-list of unsuccessful tests for the expensive weaponisation scheme.

Read more ....http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2010/12/20101217172028248218.html

More News on Missile Defense

Obama: START won't undercut U.S. missile defense -- USA Today
Obama reassures lawmakers on missile defenses -- Reuters
In letter to Senate, Obama says New START pact won't limit missile defense -- Washington Post

Pentagon missile test fails, but general says system works
-- News Miner
General Backs U.S. Missile Defenses After Test Failure -- Global Security Newswire
Lack of Priority Causes Obama's Missile Defense to Fail -- PR Newswire
Cause of missile defense test failure unclear: US -- AFP
U.S. Missile Interceptor Fails on Missile Defense Test -- Defense Update
Missile defense program failed second test in a row, U.S. says -- Washington Post/Reuters
Long-range missile defense test fails -- CNN
Missile defense system test fails to hit target -- Al.com
Another Test Failure Cries Out For New Approach To National Missile Defense -- Defpro News
Obama, Gates ignore national security failure -- Jim Kouri, Washington Examiner