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Pakistan: Court orders suspension of work on two Karachi reactors

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Jim Green

On October 16, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) was ordered by the Sindh High Court to suspend site preparation works for the construction of two Chinese-designed ACP1000 reactors at Karachi. The ruling followed a challenge to the project's compliance with environmental laws. The Court has given the PAEC, the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and other parties until 11 November to file comments on the petition against SEPA's approval of the project.1

The petition was filed by human rights activist Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, physicists Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy and Dr Abdul Hameed Nayyar, and architect Arif Belgaumi.2 According to Abdul Sattar Pirzada, counsel representing the petitioners, the Environmental Impact Assessment filed by the PAEC was in violation of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act. Key problems included the failure to hold any public hearings to take stakeholders' concerns into consideration, and the failure to publicly release relevant information about the project.2,3

In an apparent reference to China−Pakistan nuclear collaboration, the PAEC official in charge of the Karachi reactor project told the press that, "We requested SEPA not to hold a public hearing because of international politics."4

Pervez Hoodbhoy said the PAEC claimed it could not share environmental assessment reports on the project for "national security" reasons, and the Environmental Impact Assessment was approved by unnamed but handpicked persons.4,5

Dr Hoodbhoy wrote on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: "Publics indoctrinated in the virtues of nuclear weapons let their nations' atomic energy establishments get away with almost anything. ... Nuclear establishments need not reveal their plans for disaster management, prove these plans' adequacy, develop environmental impact mitigation schemes, or educate the population about radiation hazards. These establishments, operating almost unchallenged, feel little need to make the case for nuclear power over alternative energy technologies. Bureaucracies, shrouded in layer after layer of secrecy and relying on official secrecy acts, can continue to hide from the public gaze their appalling inefficiency and incompetence."4

Citizens raising questions about nuclear safety are frequently labeled agents of foreign powers. Individuals not belonging to the PAEC, or the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Agency, are forbidden from attempting to monitor radiation levels near any nuclear facility.5

Pirzada said the reactors would be built by the China National Nuclear Corporation on a design has not been operational even in China: "The ACP-1000 reactor so far exists only on paper and in computer programmes and any real life experience, tests and trials ... on the ACP-1000 design will be from operating the reactors in Karachi."6

Other issues raised by various parties include:

  • The lacked of infrastructure or preparation for a mass evacuation of inhabitants of Karachi in the event of a nuclear accident.7
  • Seismic risks have been underestimated.5
  • Well-armed religious terrorists, often with insider help, have successfully attacked even tightly guarded military institutions. If security forces cannot protect their own bases, it is hard to see how they could successfully defend a nuclear power plant.5

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in November 2013 for the construction of two 1100 MW ACP1000 reactors, to be supplied by China National Nuclear Corporation on a turnkey basis. The two reactors, worth US$4.8 billion (€3.8b) each, are to be funded in part by a US$6.5 billion (€5.1b) loan from China.8,9

Pakistan operates three small power reactors with a total capacity of 725 MW. Two small reactors (total capacity 600 MW) are under construction. In addition, a military plutonium production reactor is under construction at Khusab.10

Government and nuclear officials have floated plans to build as many as 32 new power reactors.9 Perhaps the strategy is to dangle the prospect of a massive reactor building program in front of international vendors and to let vendor countries do the hard work of overturning international prohibitions against nuclear trade with Pakistan − just as they did with India.


1. World Nuclear News, 17 Oct 2014.

Pakistan: nuclear security concerns

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

In September, documents leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that keeping tabs on the security of Pakistan's nuclear, chemical and biological facilities was consuming a growing share of the budgets of US intelligence agencies.[1]

"Knowledge of the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons and associated material encompassed one of the most critical set of ... intelligence gaps," according to a leaked budget document, and this lack of information is especially troubling in light of "the political instability, terrorist threat and expanding inventory [of Pakistan's nuclear weapons]."[2]

US agencies are concentrating on two possibilities: the chance that nuclear sites in Pakistan could be assaulted by local extremist groups, and that radical militants could to infiltrate the military or intelligence agencies, giving them a better position to gain access to nuclear materials or to mount an insider attack.[2]

Another concern is that Pakistan's recent focus on developing compact lower-yield nuclear weapons might make it easier for extremists groups to steal an entire warhead.[1]

In September 2012, former nuclear weapons developer and proliferator A.Q. Khan said he was directed by Pakistan's now-deceased prime minister Benazir Bhutto to sell sensitive technology to two foreign nations, undermining the view that he was a rogue operator. Khan's claim was quickly denied by the governing Pakistan People's Party.[3]

In January 2012, a Pakistani national living in the US received a three-year prison sentence for plotting to provide Pakistan with technology and substances with atomic uses in violation of US nonproliferation controls. Nadeem Akhtar was charged with attempting to export radiation sensors, calibration equipment, specialised resins, attenuators and surface refining materials. Akhtar admitted receiving directions from a trading firm in Karachi, which received its directions from persons or entities within the Pakistani government. Some of the technology may have been destined for Pakistan's Khushab complex, where plutonium is produced.[4]

In 2010, docucments released by Wikileaks revealed numerous concerns about nuclear security in Pakistan. "Despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world," a December 2008 US intelligence document prepared for NATO noted. A White House strategy meeting in 2009 addressed potential threats to the Pakistani nuclear arsenal in great detail. "Why is it that we're trying to prevent the Pakistani government from collapsing?" one official said. "Because we fundamentally believe that we cannot afford a country with 80 to 100 nuclear weapons becoming the Congo."[5]

Recently declassified US documents show that the Reagan administration put Cold War considerations above nonproliferation concerns in the late 1980s when it decided to continue providing foreign aid to Pakistan even after the discovery of a nuclear-technology smuggling operation. Proposals from arms control officials to punish Islamabad by ending US$4 billion in annual economic and military aid were rejected because of Islamabad's support for Afghan forces fighting the Soviet Union.[6]

[1] 24 Oct 2013, 'Obama Says He is Confident About Pakistani Nuclear Security',
[2] 3 Sept 2013, 'U.S. Concerned About Pakistani Nuke Security, Secret Budget Reveals',
[3] 17 Sept 2013, 'Khan Says Pakistani Nuke Tech Sold on Bhutto's Orders; Party Denies Claim',
[4] 9 Jan 2012, 'Man Gets 3 Years For Plotting to Send U.S. Nuke-Related Goods to Pakistan',
[5] 1 Dec 2010, 'Leaked Memos Reveal Further Concerns on Pakistani Nukes',
[6] 26 Nov 2013, 'U.S. Ignored Attempted Pakistani Nuclear Smuggling in 1980s: Records',

Pakistan, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#746, 747, 748
Waste special


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The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) has responsibility for radioactive waste management. A Radioactive Waste Management Fund is proposed in a new proposed policy. Waste Management Centers are proposed for Karachi and Chashma.(*01) The low and intermediate level waste (short-lived) will be conditioned for pre-disposal and stored on site. After a period of time, this waste will be transported to a low and intermediate level waste disposal facility for permanent disposal.

The spent fuel from the reactors is presently stored in spent fuel pools at the plant site. It is planned that at each plant site Dry Storage Facilities will be established. The spent fuel which has cooled for over 10 years will be removed from  the pool and placed in Dry Storage. It is expected that the Dry Storage Facility will be licensed for 50 years or more.

Although Pakistan is not reprocessing its spent fuel from nuclear power plants, it has not yet declared it as waste. With increasing uranium prices, it may be feasible in the future to use the spent fuel as a resource and it may be reprocessed (under IAEA safeguards) to obtain material to be used in the production of mixed fuel. Therefore, at present, the decision to put the spent fuel in a non-retrievable Deep Geological Repository is postponed.(*02)

Although there is no sizable civil society, there are examples of people opposing nuclear developments, especially when nuclear waste is involved. This is also admitted by Tariq Bin Tahir Director General Nuclear Power Waste, PAEC, at a presentation at the World Nuclear Association in 2007. Speaking about the need for a disposal facility for low and intermediate waste: “Whereas there is no significant opposition when it comes to selecting a site for a nuclear power plant, siting for a waste site attracts an immediate negative response from the public. (…) The site selection therefore has more to do with socio-political acceptance rather than best technical choice.” Nevertheless, a number of sites are under consideration and, he expects that the disposal facility will start receiving waste in 6 years.(*03) But not much progress is made, because in 2008 a timeframe was mentioned of 8-11 years for a near-surface LILW-facility.(*04)

Also in 2008, at the same presentation, a time frame was published for a geological disposal facility for high-level waste and spent fuel (28-35 years), although it was unclear of the first phase, area survey and site characterization, had already started.

It looks like not much is happening: in one of the latest reports available on the PAEC website(*05) it is only mentioned that work remained in progress in 2009 on “Draft National Policy on Control and Safe Management of Radioactive Waste”. The Draft Policy aims at “establishing a national commitment to control and manage radioactive waste generated in the country in accordance with national legislation/regulations and international standards.” The construction of a dry spent fuel storage facility is still 'planned'


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Baita Bihor repository started operation in 1985 and is a disposal facility for low en intermediate-level waste from industry, medicine and research activities. Disposal galleries are former uranium exploration galleries that have been enlarged. A new near-surface repository is under consideration at Saligny, inside the exclusion zone of the nuclear power plant. A feasibility study is prepared. The conceptual design is similar to those of L’Aube (France), El Cabril (Spain) repositories. (*01)

Used fuel is stored at the reactors for up to ten years. It is then transferred to the Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility (DICA), a dry storage facility for spent fuel based on the Macstor system designed by AECL for about 50 years. The first module was commissioned in 2003. Regarding the spent fuel from research reactors policy is return to the country of origin and/or deep geological disposal in the national repository. No reprocessing takes place.

The research of the geological environment for a deep geological repository of spent fuel and high-level waste, which should be available around 2055 is at a very preliminary stage.(*02) In the 1990’s, studies identified as potential host rock the following geological formations: salt, volcanic tuff, granite, shield green slate – Moesian Platform, clay. One to several potential host rock were identified in each geological formation. Over the last years, several R&D studies on general aspects of studying host rocks for a geological repository and general reference design concepts were performed by different organizations within the national R&D supported programs. (*03)

Since Romania is a country with a small nuclear energy program the preliminary estimation of the costs for sitting and construction of a deep geological disposal for spent fuel and long lived waste in a national repository are extremely high. This is the reason for Romania to consider that deep geological disposal in an international repository "could be a better solution for avoidance of leaving unfair burden for future generations," according to a 2003 statement.(*04)

Russian Federation

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Russia will soon start storing spent fuel in a new centralized 'dry' interim storage facility (ISF) at Zheleznogorsk, near Krasnoyarsk. The first phase of the facility, for RBMK-fuel, was completed December 2011, and the first fuel was planned to in March 2012. Reprocessing has always been a major part of waste management. The Russian Federation (and its predecessor the Soviet Union) is the champion of sea dumping. It dumped low and intermediate level waste in Arctic Seas (1964-1991): liquid radioactive waste in Arctic Seas (1959-1991); objects with spent nuclear fuel in Arctic Seas (1965-1981); liquid (1966-1992) and solid (19680-1992) waste in the Pacific Ocean; liquid waste in Barents Sea and Far Eastern Seas (1992) and finally, liquid radioactive waste in Sea of Japan (1993).)(*01). The Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom is responsible for waste management, but in March 2012, a National Operator for management of radioactive waste was established in accordance with the “Federal Law on the Radioactive Waste management” signed in summer 2011.(*02)

Interim storage and reprocessing
Russia needs to build a centralized long-term dry storage due to the limited capacity of existing storage pools. In 19 December 2011, the first phase of a centralized storage facility has been completed at the Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) at Zheleznogorsk. The initial stage of the facility will be used for storing 8129 metric tons of RBMK fuel from Leningrad (4 units), Kursk (5) and Smolensk (3 reactors). The used fuel from these plants is currently stored in on-site cooling pools, but these are reaching full-capacity, and spent fuel discharges are expected to exceed on site storage capacity. (*03)

The second stage of the facility, for VVER-fuel, is now beginning. Later, used VVER-1000 fuel from reactors at the Balakovo, Kalinin, Novovoronezh and Rostov plants will also be stored at the facility. VVER fuel has already been sent to Zheleznogorsk for storage in water pools. The ISF - measuring some 270 meters in length, 35 meters wide and 40 meters high - will ultimately hold 38,000 tons of used RBMK and VVER fuel.

The fuel will be stored in the facility for up to 50 years,(*04) during which time substantial reprocessing capacity should be brought online. Currently, Russia reprocesses about 16% of the used fuel produced each year, but Russia aims to reprocess 100% in the year 2020.(*05)

In the long-term, a geological repository for high-level radioactive waste is planned.

No waste repository is yet available, though site selection is proceeding in granite on the Kola Peninsula. In 2003 Krasnokamensk in the Chita region 7000 km east of Moscow was suggested as the site for a major spent fuel repository. (*06)

Since the early 1970s, Minatom (Ministry of Atomic Energy) has been studying various sites and geologic formations to determine their suitability for use in the construction of underground radioactive waste isolation facilities. According to the regional approach that has been developed in Russia with regard to the selection of geologic sites for permanent isolation, it is most expedient to have the burial sites near the waste sources. Purposeful research for the high-level waste geological isolation has been done in the two areas where the Mayak Production Association (Chelyabinsk Oblast) and the Mining-Chemical Complex are located. After the results of all research studies were analyzed, two sites nearby Mayak reprocessing plant were selected as top priorities.

A second Russian geological isolation site is the Nizhnekansk granitoid massif, one of the largest massifs in central Siberia, very close to the MCM. It is composed of various types of magmatic and metamorphic rock. Here, also two specific sites were selected. In 2005, however, because of a lack of financing, work on the study at the two Nizhnekansk sites was halted. (*07)

Then in 2008 the Nizhnekansky sites were on the table again as a site for a national deep geological repository. Rosatom said the terms of reference for the facility construction would be tabled by 2015 to start design activities and set up an underground rock laboratory. A decision on construction is due by 2025, and the facility itself is to be completed by 2035.(*08)

Although the import of foreign fuel for the purpose of final disposal is prohibited, much Russian-origin spent fuel is imported. In the 1990s contracts for fuel for reprocessing, has been signed with Ukraine, Bulgaria (both for spent fuel from nuclear power plants), Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic and Latvia (spent fuel form research reactors). The contracts envisage the return of the solidified radioactive waste resulting from the reprocessing. (*09) During Soviet times, spent fuel from VVER-440 reactors in Finland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia was shipped to Mayak for reprocessing. (*10)

The reprocessing waste from Russian-origin fuel can be left in Russia. Most of the Russian-origin fuel that Russia has repatriated has not been reprocessed in Russia's existing reprocessing plant, however, but is in long-term storage pending the construction of a larger reprocessing plant.(*11)

Slovak Republic

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The state regulation over nuclear safety for radioactive waste and spent fuel management is entrusted to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of Slovak Republic (ÚJD SR) established on 1 January 1993.(*01)

Low and intermediate level waste is stored at a near-surface disposal facility in Mochovche. Selection of the site has been carried out between 1975-1979 out of 34 sites. Permission was granted in1999 and operation started in 2001.(*02)

Spent fuel was transported prior to 1987 to Soviet Union for storage and reprocessing: all spent fuel from Bohunice A-1  as well as VVER-440 fuel. Currently spent fuel is not reprocessed.

Waste management strategy is long-term interim storage (40-50) years at a facility at Bohunice, called MSVP, in pools. MSV is in operation since  1987.(*03)

Looking for international solution
Slovakia started its own program of development of deep geological disposal in 1996. Fifteen potentially suitable areas for further investigation were identified, later narrowed to three distinct areas: with five localities: three in granitoid rocks, two in sedimentary rocks environment.(*04)

The research program had been stopped in 2001,(*05) however, and a new strategy had been specified by the government in 2008: disposal in deep geological repository; international solution (export to Russian Federation, international repository); zero alternative, interim storage for a further not specified period of time (“wait and see“ approach).(*06)

The handling of spent fuel after interim storage has not been defined in the Slovak Republic. It can be assumed that this will hamper the determined search for a location for a repository and for the development of a repository concept. According the original plans, decision on selection of the host environment was expected after 2005, selection of a candidate site around 2010, and commissioning of a deep geological repository by 2037.(*07) This has now been postponed for an indefinite period of time.

There is no definition, whether the five locations shall be further explored in case of a decision for a Slovak repository. A time schedule for the further procedure is not stipulated as far as publicly known.(*08)


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The Agency for Radwaste Management is the state-owned public service for radioactive waste management. It is financed through the national budget and partially through the Fund for the Decommissioning of the Krško nuclear power plant. Operational low and intermediate-level wastes are stored on site of the Krsko nuclear power plant, as is used fuel. (*01

A permanent repository for low- and intermediate-level wastes is due to open in 2013 at Vrbina, near the Krsko plant. Site selection has been undertaken over five years, and compensation of 5 million euro per year will be paid to the local community. Vrbina is only for Slovenia's portion of the waste, although it could be doubled in case of an agreement between with Croatia or further use of nuclear power. It will also hold all of Slovenia's industrial and medical radioactive waste as well as the LLW and ILW from the 250 kW research reactor at the Josef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana.(*02)

The 2006 long-term strategy for spent fuel management foresees spent fuel storage in dry casks. Spent fuel will be moved to dry storage between 2024 and 2030 and will be stored until 2065, when a deep geological repository is assured. The operational phase of the spent fuel repository will end in 2070 and the repository should be closed in 2075. In the case of export option, the removal of spent fuel from dry storage is planned between 2066 and 2070. The option of multinational disposal is kept open.(*03)

A particular problem for waste management could be the fact that the reactor at Krško is operated jointly together with Croatia. Differing interests and responsibilities of the two countries may lead to problems when developing a Waste-Management Concept, or with respect to the financing of the Waste Management and to the determination of a location for the repository. The final disposal of the spent fuel is planned, however no efforts are visible regarding the realization.(*04)


*01- World Nuclear Association: Nuclear Power in Pakistan, March 2012
*02- Director General Nuclear Power Waste, PAEC: Radioactive Waste Management Policy & Strategy of Pakistan, September 2007
*03- Tariq Bin Tahir, September 2007
*04- Bymanzur Hussain, Directorate General National Repository PAEC: Status of Radioactive Waste Disposal in Pakistan, April 2008
*05- Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA): Convention on Nuclear Safety, Report by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for the Fifth Review Meeting, 2011, September 2010

*01- Nuclear Agency & Radioactive Waste (AN&DR):  Romania Nuclear Power Sector Reverse Trade Mission September 6 - 16, 2010 United States of America. Powerpoint presentation.
*02- European Commission: Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel Management in the European Union, Seventh Situation Report, 22 August 2011, p.58
*03- Nuclear Agency & Radioactive Waste (AN&DR), September 2010
*04- Romania: Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, First National Report, March 2005

Russian Federation
*01- IAEA: Inventory of radioactive waste disposals at sea, IAEA-Tecdoc-1105, August 1999
*02- RIA Novosti, National Operator for radioactive waste management has been appointed, 2 April 2012
*03- Nuclear Fuel: Russia on track to complete spent fuel facility by 2015, 6 February 2012, 5
*04- World Nuclear News: Russia commissions fuel storage facility, 30 January 2012
*05- Nuclear Fuel, 6 February 2012
*06- World Nuclear Association: Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle, March 2012
*07- Tatyana A. Gupalo: Creation of Underground Laboratories at the Mining-Chemical Complex and at Mayak to Study the Suitability of Sites for Underground Isolation of Radioactive Wastes, published in: An International Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility, The National Academies Press, 2005. p.240-247
*08- World Nuclear Association: Russia's Nuclear Fuel Cycle, March 2012
*09- Russian Federation: The National Report of the Russian Federation on Compliance with the obligations on the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, October 2008, p.97-98
*10- International Panel on Fissile Materials: Managing nuclear spent fuel from nuclear power reactors, 2011, p.73
*11- Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Managing nuclear spent fuel: Policy lessons from a 10-country study, 27 June 2011

Slovak Republic
*01- UJD: UJD SR established, company website
*02- OECD: Radioactive waste management programmes in OECD/NEA member countries: Slovak Republic, 2005, p. 5
*03- Slovak Republic: National Report of the Slovak Republic compiled in terms of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radwaste Management, August 2011
*04- Slovak Republic: Answers on questions on the National Report of the Slovak Republic, April 2009
*05- Wolfgang Neumann, Nuclear Waste Management in the EU, October 2010, p. 72
*06-  Slovak Republic, August 2011, p.95
*07- Slovak Republic, April 2009
*08- Wolfgang Neumann, October 2010

*01- Republic of Slovenia: Fourth Slovenian Report under the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, October 2011
*02- World Nuclear News: Permanent store for Slovenian waste, 15 January 2010
*03- Republic of Slovenia:, October 2011, p.14
*04- Wolfgang Neumann: Nuclear Waste Management in the EU, October 2010, p 75

In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Centrifuge crash report allegedly delayed until after financing deadline. SONG (the Southern Ohio Neighbors Group) disclosed on July 6 that a power outage and centrifuge crash happened at USEC's project site near Piketon, Ohio. As reported in that newsrelease, Osiris Siurano, the NRC project manager for USEC's centrifuge project license, told SONG in an interview on July 5 that USEC had notified NRC and DOE "within 24-hours as required." According to NRC's "Event Notification Report" of that day, July 5, however, NRC was not actually notified of the situation until July 1.

July 1 just happened to be one day after USEC's original financing deadline of June 30, by which time USEC needed to secure a "conditional commitment" for a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. That is, there is now evidence that USEC waited nineteen days before reporting a serious safety incident to NRC, in hopes that DOE would provide the "conditional commitment" before the incident became known. Silence from USEC, from DOE, and from USEC's two financing agents in the United States Senate, as the June 30 deadline neared, is now explained. In nuclear industry lingo, Mr. Siurano's statement that the 24-hour notification requirement had been met could be characterized as having "suboptimal veracity."

There is no decision yet on the Department of Energy's US$2 billion loan guarantee for USEC Inc. to complete the American Centrifuge Project at Piketon. USEC says it is now “most likely” looking at further cutbacks and a reduction of future investment in its planned American Centrifuge Project at Piketon. “We are reaching a critical point regarding continued funding for the American Centrifuge Project. We need to obtain a conditional commitment for the loan guarantee from DOE,“ the company said already in May.
Portsmouth Daily Times, 1 & 13 July 2011 /, 8 July 2011

Germany’s phase-out by 2022 sealed (again). On July 8, Germany's upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, passed the amendment to the atomic energy bill sealing Germany's exit from nuclear power by 2022. Ten days before, on June 30, the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, approved with an overwhelming majority plans to phase-out nuclear power by 2022. The nuclear phase-out bill cleared the lower house with only the far-left voting against, while the opposition Social-Democrats and Green party both supported the bill.
Germany's new energy strategy reverses the extension of nuclear run-times, which became law earlier this year. Seven reactors built before 1980 as well as the Kruemmel reactor, which has not been online since 2007, will remain shut permanently, according to the bill. The nine remaining  reactors will be gradually phased-out between 2015 and 2022.

Germany's E.ON feels no pressure to replace nuclear power plants with alternatives after the  policy shift. "There is no strategy to replace lost nuclear capacity one-to-one. As an entrepreneur I always ask myself is my investment profitable?," Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen said on June 30. It is one of the four utilities with German nuclear power plants.

E.ON, which in an outcry earlier in June had demanded damages from the government for the closures, was holding on to the legal pursuits but had in the meantime adopted a more conciliatory stance, Teyssen said. But the group will now respect the change in policy towards renewables.
Reuters, 30 June 2011 / Platts, 30 June and 8 July 2011

Finland: inviting bids for construction npp. Finnish company Fennovoima has invited Areva and Toshiba to bid for the construction of a new nuclear power plant, which will be built at one of its greenfield sites Pyhäjoki or Simo, in northern Finland. Bids will be for the delivery and construction of the reactor and turbine islands. Infrastructure work during the first phase of construction and preparatory work such as earthmoving and excavation are excluded from the bid.

Fennovoima has already selected three alternatives for the plant design: Areva’s 1700 MW EPR, its advanced boiling water reactor the 1250 MW Kerena and the 1600 MW ABWR by Toshiba Corporation. The plant supplier and the model of delivery is due to be decided in 2012-2013. Fennovoima is planning to select the site for its nuclear power plant in 2011 and preparatory work could start by the end of 2012.
Nuclear Engineering International, news 5 July 2011

Citygroup: nuclear “uninvestable for public equity markets”. According to Peter Atherton, Citygroup’s head of European utilities research, Britain's nuclear strategy is "uninvestable" for private clients, who are only likely to put money into new plants if the government shoulders more of the risks involved. He says the investment environment is "dire." "Investors are demanding more of their returns up front in cash rather than dividends, indicating they don't trust the capital growth of the sector. "As we stand today, is (new nuclear) an investable option for Centrica, RWE? Simply put, no. The cost of capital based on those risks would be way too high to give you an electricity price which is affordable. "You would be looking at a project cost of capital of at least 15 percent. That would require a power price of about 150-200 pounds per megawatt hour (based on 2017 money) to make that project work," Atherton said, which is three to four times as much as current UK spot power prices.

"If we want (plants) built, the state will have to take on the risks," he added, saying the government could do this through direct subsidies, taxes or building new plants itself. Shares in the European utility sector have fallen about 30 percent since February 2009, according to Citigroup, as EU utilities have been more exposed to commodity price rises than in Asia or the U.S., and, most recently, due to the impact Japan's nuclear crisis.
Reuters, 6 July 2011

U.S.: Reactor proponents are batting 0-6 in state legislatures in 2011. Deep-pocketed nuclear power lobbyists may pack a big punch in Washington, D.C., but they are getting knocked out altogether at the state legislative level. So far in 2011, the nuclear power industry has a record of zero wins and six losses in Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. The nuclear power industry’s dismal track record is in keeping with its history of state legislative failures in 2010 (when it went 0-8) and 2009 (0-6).

The nuclear power industry’s 2011 state legislative failures:
* Minnesota – A heavily lobbied bill to overturn the state’s moratorium on additional reactors died in conference committee.
* Wisconsin – A push to reintroduce a bill to overturn the Badger State’s moratorium on new reactors failed.
* Kentucky – A bill to overturn the state’s moratorium on new reactors died in the House.
* Missouri – Despite a major industry push, a bill to charge utility customers in advance to pay for an “Early Site Permit” for the proposed new Callaway reactor died.
* North Carolina – A “Super Construction Work in Progress (CWIP)” bill to eliminate prudence review of CWIP expenses was proposed but never introduced due to strong on-the-ground opposition.
* Iowa – A bill pushed by MidAmerican to charge utility customers in advance for “small modular reactors” as well as potentially larger reactors stalled in the state Senate and cannot be taken up again until 2012.

In 2010, nuclear power lobbyists failed in legislative pushes in Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Vermont and West Virginia and Wisconsin. In 2009, the industry enjoyed no success whatsoever in its lobbying efforts in Kentucky, Minnesota, Hawaii, Illinois, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Safe Energy Program at Physicians for Social Responsibility,, 6 July 2011

Khan: North Korea paid Pakistan for nuclear secrets. In a letter released by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the disgraced nuclear scientist and ‘godfather of Pakistan's atomic bomb’, the North Korean ruling party appears to confirm that it paid more than US$3.5m (2.5m euro) to the serving army chief and at least one other senior general for transferring nuclear weapons technology to North Korea. The 1998 letter, was released as part of an attempt by Khan to establish that he was not working on his own when nuclear secrets were passed on to Iran, North Korea and Libya before his fall from grace. The two generals named in the letter fiercely denied the allegation, and denounced the letter as a forgery.

But opinion is divided not just over the authenticity of the documents, but also whether they establish that Khan was not acting alone. The Washington Post quoted unnamed US officials as saying that the letter's contents were "consistent with our knowledge" of the events described. But David Albright, a nuclear proliferation expert with the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, disputes Khan's claims that top military officials were complicit. "[The letter] shows that Khan was a rogue agent and he colluded to provide centrifuge components to North Korea without Pakistani official approval," the AP quoted him as saying. More on Khan at
Independent (UK), 8 July 2011

China: US - India deal justification for selling reactors to Pakistan

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
The and Carnegie Endowment For International Peace

Contrary to guidelines adopted in 1992 by nuclear equipment supplier states in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), China is poised to export two power reactors to Pakistan. In April, Chinese officials said that export of the reactors to Pakistan would be justified in consideration of political developments in South Asia, including the entry into force of the U.S.–India deal and the Nuclear Suppliers Groups exemption for India. This transaction is about to happen at a time when China's increasingly ambitious nuclear energy program is becoming more autonomous.

Guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), representing 46 Non-Proliferation Treaty states, call on parties to the NPT not to supply nuclear equipment to non-nuclear-weapon states without comprehensive IAEA safeguards, including Pakistan. China joined the NSG in 2004.

The United States and other NSG states may object to the pending transaction but they cannot prevent China from exporting the reactors. Senior officials in NSG states friendly to the United States said in April they expect that President Barack Obama will not openly criticize the Chinese export because Washington, in the context of a bilateral security dialogue with Islamabad, may be sensitive to Pakistan's desire for civilian nuclear cooperation in the wake of the sweeping U.S.-India nuclear deal which entered into force in 2008 after considerable arm-twisting of NSG states by the United States, France, and Russia. The United States may also tolerate China's new nuclear deal with Pakistan because Obama wants China's support for United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran this spring.

After years of bilateral disputes over nonproliferation issues, in 1998 the U.S. Congress allowed a 1985 Sino-U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement to enter into force. After that, U.S. nuclear cooperation with China dramatically increased, culminating in China's 2006 selection of a consortium of companies led by Westinghouse to build four AP1000 power reactors in China. Westinghouse bested bidders from France and Russia in a competition set up by China to determine which of the three would provide the technology blueprint for the future standardized development of China's nuclear power industry.

China chose Westinghouse after it agreed to transfer to China ownership of the technology for the new and untried 1,000-MW reactor. China then awarded contracts to Westinghouse and its partners to build four AP1000s in China. The first two are scheduled to be finished in 2013. Westinghouse scored another coup when in 2008 China selected AP1000 for China's first raft of inland power reactors.

Westinghouse's apparent emergence as first among foreign reactor vendors in China in 2006 was linked to the fortunes of the State Nuclear Power Technology Co. (Snptc). It was set up by China's State Council of Ministers to take charge of technology selection and transfer for China's future nuclear power program, after two decades during which China organized a handful of "boutique" reactor projects in cooperation with Canada, France, Japan, and Russia.

Shortly after China selected Westinghouse to shape its nuclear future, rival Areva made a separate deal with China to build two of its new EPR reactors in Guangdong Province in China's southeast, where French nuclear firms have been engaged since the late 1980s. Unlike Westinghouse, Areva also offered China a suite of fuel cycle technology options, and French officials hoped that a mammoth fuel cycle deal would coax China to continue building the EPR.

In the meantime, the ambitious construction schedule for the U.S.-designed reactors in China has come under heavy pressure. In part out of Chinese concern to keep construction on track, China's nuclear regulator, the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA), will not agree to a proposal, favored by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Westinghouse, to modify the design of the containment structure of the AP1000 to provide improved protection against an air crash. In the United States, NRC, after a design review prompted by post-9/11 concernsabout terrorist threats, asked Westinghouse to change the design of a shield building which is part of the containment and to use stronger materials. Westinghouse then urged China to also follow that advice.

China will not do that, Beijing officials said after consultations with Westinghouse and U.S. regulators. "China will build Revision 15," the AP1000 design version originally approved for construction in both the United States and in China, one official said. "It will not approve Revision 17," which incorporates the changes sought by NRC and Westinghouse, he said.

Changing the AP1000 design now would require construction in China to be halted and delayed. China also does not share NRC's view that a terrorist attack on reactors, using a hijacked passenger aircraft as a weapon, is a realistic enough scenario to warrant modifying the design.

The Westinghouse project has encountered other challenges which, so far, have not caused schedule delays. Last year, a key firm which is part of the technology transfer program, China First Heavy Industries (CFHI), failed to produce forgings to the required quality standard for the AP1000. Project executives said CFHI had difficulty handling the demanding steel material called for in critical components. The schedule was not set back because a Westinghouse partner in Korea, Doosan, had a stock of prototype forgings it had made earlier. The AP1000 has also encountered problems in main coolant pumps, which are of a unique design. Chinese officials said last year that further deployment of the AP1000 would depend on successful demonstration of these pumps, which were a critical feature of the passive cooling system billed as one of the key advantages of this reactor model. According to diplomats there have also been some Chinese bureaucratic delays for certain AP1000 project approvals.

Snptc also wants Westinghouse to increase the power of the reactor to 1,400 MW and then to 1,700 MW, matching the EPR. According to Snptc the 1,400-MW design will be ready for construction by 2013. Many foreign executives are skeptical that schedule will hold up.

Two years ago, China set up a brand new organization to take command of China's energy policy, including nuclear policy, the National Energy Administration (NEA). It is headed by Zhang Guobao, who strongly favors nuclear power development and who is also Vice-Chairman of China's leading planning agency, the National Development and Reform Council (NDRC).

NEA-which is staffed by about 170 experts, including fewer than 20 responsible for nuclear matters--cooperates with NDRC on setting planning targets, but NEA decides which reactors will be built, at what sites, and which state-owned enterprises will get contracts. It, Chinese officials said last month, will favor construction of more CPRs, and will also support China's biggest nuclear SOE, the China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) with a total payroll of over 100,000, in exporting more reactors to Pakistan.

China has long assisted Pakistan's nuclear energy program. In 1991 CNNC contracted with the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to build Chashma-1, a 325 MW power reactor. It was finished and began operating in 2000.

In 2004, China joined the NSG. China then explained to the NSG that a longstanding framework agreement with Pakistan committed China to provide a second reactor, Chashma-2, more research reactors, plus supply of all the fuel in perpetuity for these units. Chashma-2 construction began in 2005. Chashma-2 is scheduled to be finished in 2011. To keep CNNC at work in Pakistan thereafter, CNNC and PAEC negotiated terms for two 650-MW reactors, Chashma-3 and -4.

In 2006 Pakistan urged China to approve the new project but China was not keen to do so. Pakistan diplomats said then China was holding back because it was not clear that the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation deal would be approved by both governments and by the NSG.

After the U.S.-India deal was approved and India's NSG exemption entered into force without any Chinese objections in 2008, China's policy evolved to support demands by Pakistan for compensation, but China did not expressly advocate awarding Pakistan a broad exemption from NSG trade sanctions matching India's.

NSG country representatives said in late April they expect that the Obama administration will accept a limited amount of additional Chinese nuclear commerce with Pakistan as a price for getting Chinese support on UN Security Council sanctions against Iran in weeks ahead. Some suggested that the United States would also enlist China in this regard to persuade Pakistan to drop its opposition to negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, which Pakistan has said it could not accept because the U.S.-India deal had tilted the nuclear balance in South Asia in India's favor.

As long as Pakistan resists outside initiatives which would limit the autonomy of its strategic nuclear program, and because China is believed to be hiding behind Pakistan in avoiding making a firm FMCT commitment in light of China's strategic dilemmas with the United States, it is doubtful whether China would have effective influence on Pakistani decisions to halt fissile material production.

Senior NSG diplomats said this month that they expect that soon after China has completed political and contractual arrangements for the reactor sale to Pakistan, China will inform the NSG of its planned transaction. The matter could then be taken up by the NSG as an agenda item or point of business at a future NSG meeting. So far no NSG meetings are scheduled in 2010 prior to an annual plenary meeting in New Zealand in late June.

The U.S. State Department, in line with its response to a 1998 reactor export from Russia to India, continues to hold that a new reactor export by China to Pakistan would be contrary to both NSG and U.S. policy, but whether the United States would record an objection at the NSG or encourage other NSG states to do so would be up to President Obama following interagency discussions and consultation with foreign governments including Pakistan and China.

Chinese officials said in April that export of the reactors to Pakistan would be justified in consideration of political developments in South Asia, including the entry into force of the U.S.-India deal and the NSG exemption for India.

Source: The and Carnegie Endowment For International Peace


In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Utility tries to 'block' sun in Hawaii.

In a popular Simpsons episode, the diabolical Mr. Burns builds a giant disc to eclipse the sun and force Springfield's residents into round-the-clock reliance on electricity from his nuclear power plant. It's pitch-perfect cartoon sarcasm, but with a foot firmly in reality: the fledgling U.S. solar industry faces an array of Burnsian obstacles to its growth across the country.

In Hawaii, for example, the state's largest utility Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) is making a blatant effort to block homes and businesses from installing rooftop solar panels, a move that could strangle Hawaii's burgeoning homegrown solar industry, prevent residents and businesses from saving money, and keep the state addicted to imported oil. If there is anywhere that should be blazing the trail to a clean energy future, it is Hawaii. The islands are blessed with abundant sun, winds, and waves, yet today rely on imported fossil fuels for more than 96 percent of their energy. Hawaii consumers pay the highest electric rates in the nation. The state is trying to chart a new course, but the utility is resisting change and fighting to limit solar access to the local grid.

In so doing, HECO is holding back much more than just Hawaii. It is hindering an important experiment with solar energy that could provide valuable information to consumers, entrepreneurs, utility owners and policymakers throughout the U.S., because the program Hawaii is considering is the feed-in-tariff., 18 March 2010

German minister lifts 10-year ban on Gorleben.

The political and technical battle over the fate of Germany’s repository for high-level nuclear waste accelerated, as German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen announced he was lifting the 10-year moratorium on investigation of the Gorleben salt dome in Lower Saxony. The moratorium was declared in 2000 as part of the nuclear phase-out agreement between the nuclear industry and the then Socialist-Green government. On March 15, Roettgen promised "an open decision-making process and a safety analysis that would be subjected to international peer review". The Gorleben opponents allege that the government plans to privatize nuclear waste storage. "If these plans are implemented, those producing the waste would also be in charge of determining its ultimate repository,” the opponents argue.
Gorleben has been under consideration for the disposal of high- and intermediate-level waste and spent fuel since 1977, when it was selected by the Lower Saxony government as the only candidate for investigation, in a process that is still criticized for eliminating alternative sites too early. A total of about 1.5 billion Euro (US$2 billion) was spent on the site investigation between 1977 and 2007. Opponents have just presented to the media a CD compilation of leaked government documents from the 1970s and 1980s showing that expert studies showing Gorleben to be unsuitable were simply ignored.

First spontaneous protests about the resumption of work have taken place in Gorleben.
Immediately after the announcement of lifting the moratorium, some 300 people demonstrated and were forcibly evicted by the police using pepper spray. At the same day some 5.000 people demonstrated at the Neckarwestheim nuclear power plant in southern-germany against possible life-time extension. It was the biggest demonstration at the plant in over 20 years. The national anti-nuclear power movement is gearing up for Chernobyl day, when demonstrations in Biblis (southern Germany), Ahaus (middle Germany) and a 120 km (!) human chain in northern Germany will take place to show massive popular resistance against nuclear power.

Nuclear Fuel, 22 March 2010 /

Sellafield: Radioactive birds.

Seagull eggs at Sellafield (U.K.) are being destroyed in an attempt to control bird numbers because of fears they might spread contamination after landing and swimming in open nuclear waste ponds. Sellafield said the pricking of eggs was reducing gull numbers around the site and stressed there was no public health concerns. However Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) said the gulls could fly well away from the site and spread contamination. In 1998 there was a cull of pigeons because they landed on buildings around Sellafield and spread contamination off-site. One garden in Seascale had its soil declared as low level waste because of the problem.

N-Base Briefing 644, 11 March 2010

S-Korea to build nuclear reactor in Turkey? 

On March 10, an agreement was reached between Turkey's state power company Elektrik Uretim (EUAS) and Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), a state-controlled utility, on technical studies for the construction of a nuclear power plant to be built in Sinop, on Turkish northern coast of Black Sea. The South Korean company had earlier said it was in talks with Turkey to sell APR1400 (Advanced Power Reactor 1400), pressurized water reactor. Turkey, again, plans to build two nuclear power plants, one in Sinop on the northern coast of Black Sea and the other in Mersin on the southern coast. Construction of nuclear infrastructure could start in the short-term, said South Korean Deputy Prime Minister Young Hak Kim, speaking at a Turkish-South Korean business conference in Istanbul.

Turkey has long been eager to build nuclear power plants. A Turkish-Russian consortium led by Russia's Atomstroyexport had been the only bidder in a 2008 tender to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant in Mersin. However, Turkey's state-run electricity wholesaler TETAS canceled the tender following a court decision in November 2009. (See Nuclear Monitor 698, 27 November 2009: "Another setback on Turkey's nuclear dream"). Turkey has cancelled four previous attempts to build a nuclear plant, beginning in the late 1960s, due to the high cost and environmental concerns.

Xinhua, 10 March 2010 / Reuters, 10 March 2010

RWE: U.K. hung parliament danger for new reactors.

RWE chief executive designate Volker Beckers has warned that a hung Westminster parliament following the forthcoming election could threaten the prospects of new reactors being built in the UK. He said a hung parliament might make it inconceivable that utility companies would invest the huge sums needed to build the reactors. The Liberal Democrats opposed any new reactors and they might be involved in a new government, he said.

A 'hung parliament' is one in which no one political party has an outright majority of seats. This situation is normal in many legislatures with proportional representation, or in legislatures with strong regional parties; in such legislatures the term 'hung parliament' is rarely used. However in nations in which single member districts are used to elect parliament, and there are weak regional parties, such as the United Kingdom, a hung parliament is a rarity, as in these circumstances one party will usually hold enough seats to form a majority. A hung parliament will force either a coalition government, a minority government or a dissolution of parliament.

N-Base briefing 645, 17 March 2010

Announcement: Anti Nuclear European Forum (ANEF) on June 24, in Linz, Austria.

ANEF was established 2009 as counter-event to ENEF (European Energy Forum) since ENEF failed to fulfill ENEF´s official objectives and was/is used one-sided as a propaganda instrument for the promotion of nuclear power instead. Within ANEF negative aspects of nuclear energy will be discussed on an international level. ANEF is organized by the Antinuclear Representative of Upper Austria in cooperation with “Antiatom Szene” and “Anti Atom Komitee”. The participation of international NGOs is very important because it needs a strong signal against the nuclear renaissance.

The organizers would like to warmly invite you to participate in ANEF. Please let us know as soon as possible if you, or someone else from your organization, is considering to participate in ANEF by sending an informal email to The detailed program will be available soon and will be send to you upon request. Accommodation will be arranged for you. Further information on ANEF is published on

Learn about ANEF-Resolution here: 

Pakistan: US-India deal forces it to keep making weapons material.

Pakistan cannot participate in global negotiations to halt the production of high-enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons because the US-India nuclear cooperation agreement has tilted the regional strategic balance in India’s favour, a leading Pakistani nuclear diplomat said February 18. Zamir Akram, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva said that under the US-India deal on nuclear cooperation, India may now import uranium under IAEA safeguards for its civilian power reactors. Because of that, India can devote its domestic uranium resources to production of fissile material for nuclear weapons, he said.

Last year, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, NSG, representing 45 members of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, NPT, agreed to lift nuclear trade sanctions against India, a non-NPT party. That action permitted the US-India deal to enter into force. In coming months, the US-India deal will most likely cause friction at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Every five years, the NPT’s 189 parties hold such a review conference. The 2005 event was bbitter and sharp in language and tone and resulted in no consensus conclusion between developing nations and advanced nuclear countries. How to deal with Israel and Pakistan (non-NPT-parties) in the wake of the US-India deal now deeply divides non-proliferation and disarmament advocates.

Nucleonics Week, 25 February 2010

U.K.: Camp against nuclear rebuild.

From 23 to 26 April 2010 at the Sizewell nuclear power stations, Suffolk. The U.K. government is planning to go ahead with a new generation of nuclear power stations. Not only is this a totally daft idea with heavy consequences, but it also diverting attention and investment way from the real solutions to climate chaos. Come and join us for a weekend of protest, networking and skill sharing. The camp will be held very near the existing power stations and the weekend will include a tour of the proposed site for Sizewell C and D reactors and anything else you would like to add.

For many more actions on Chernobyl day visit:

Japanese islanders oppose nuke plant construction.

On Tuesday March 23 opponents of the construction of a nuclear power plant on an island in Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, forced Chugoku Electric Power Corporation to cancel an explanatory meeting. More than 100 residents of Iwaishima island refused to allow officials of the company to disembark after they arrived by boat at the harbor. Kaminoseki's jurisdiction includes several islands. The proposed construction will take place on the island Iwaishima.

The company has held 15 meetings in other areas under the Kaminoseki town jurisdiction after applying for construction approval in December. The Tuesday meeting was to be the first for Iwaishima island residents, many of whom are opposed to the plan first proposed in 1982. Chugoku Electric officials said they will try again.

The Asahi Shimbun, 24 March 2010

In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

South-Africa: PBMR Ltd. in trouble.

 According to a PBMR Ltd press release, the global financial crisis and related impact on funding – particularly on the South African electricity utility Eskom – has prompted the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor company to "consider near-term market opportunities based on customer requirements  to service both the electricity and process heat markets", as they call it. Basically it wil be a shift towards non-power options. One of the considerations is the modification of the design planned for the Demonstration Power Plant project at Koeberg near Cape Town to also service potential customers such as the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) project in the US, which is funded by the US Department of Energy, oil sands producers in Canada (to produce the temperature and associated pressure needed to extract bitumen from oil sands) and the South African petro-chemical company Sasol (to either produce process steam and/or hydrogen to upgrade coal products). Another potential application is the use of the PBMR’s waste heat for desalination.

According to Jaco Kriek, CEO of PBMR (Pty) Ltd, discussions are underway with suppliers to put certain contracts on hold "to prevent unnecessary spending", although he emphasises that no contracts have been cancelled. But is is clear that business is not running smoothly (nothing new one can argue). The development of the PBMR is way behind schedule and in December Eskom cancelled the construction of pressurized water reactors (see Nuclear Monitor 681, 18 December 2008).

Press release PBMR Ltd, 5 February 2009

Japan: Nuclear industry rebuked for misleading advertising.

On 25 November 2008 the Japan Advertising Review Organization (JARO)  sent a letter to the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan  (FEPCO) regarding a complaint concerning an advertisement placed by  FEPCO in a Japanese magazine in April 2008.

The complaint claimed that the following words in FEPCO's advertisement  were incorrect and inappropriate: "Nuclear power ... is a "clean way of producing electricity", which  does not release CO2 when generating electricity." The complaint pointed out that these words could mislead consumers.

JARO judged that the word "clean" does not fit well with nuclear   energy. It said that many consumers would have misgivings about the  claim that nuclear energy is "clean", on the sole grounds that it does  not emit CO2 during electricity generation, when there is no  accompanying explanation about safety or radioactive waste. JARO  recommended that claims that nuclear energy is "clean", without  adequate explanation of safety and the effect of nuclear energy on the  environment, should not be made in future.

For most people JARO's conclusion is plain common sense, but it is   refreshing to see the nuclear industry rebuked by an advertising watch  dog for misleading advertising. JARO's letter was supposed to be confidential, but it was reported in  the media.

CNIC, 6 February 2009

Asian Development Bank Energy Policy Paper.

The Asian Development Bank will maintain its current policy of non-involvement in the financing of nuclear power generation. That is the conclusion in the Banks's Energy Policy Paper, published in January 2009. ADB writes (page 30/31):  "Nevertheless, in spite of its sustainable and operational benefits, nuclear power development faces a number of barriers, such as public concerns related to nuclear proliferation, waste management, safety issues, high investment costs, long lead times, and commercial acceptability of new technologies. Overcoming these barriers is  difficult and open public debate will be required to convince the public about the benefits of nuclear power. MDBs have traditionally avoided financing nuclear power plants. In the context of the former Soviet Union states, the EBRD¹s current energy policy includes financing safety measures of nuclear plants, decommissioning and environmental rehabilitation, and promoting an efficient nuclear regulatory framework. In view of concerns related to nuclear technology, procurement limitations, proliferation risks, fuel availability, and environmental and safety concerns, ADB will maintain its current policy of non-involvement in the financing of nuclear power generation."

Pakistan: Khan released from house-arrest.

On February 6, a Pakistani court freed Abdul Qadeer Khan from house arrest, lifting the restrictions imposed on him since 2004 when he publicly confessed to running an illicit nuclear network. Khan, 73, considered in the West as a rogue scientist and a pariah who sold technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran, is revered as a national hero in Pakistan for his role in transforming the country into a nuclear power.

The ruling to set him free seemed as much a political decision as a legal one, intended to shore up support for the government of President Asif Ali Zardari, which has been derided in the Pakistani press as being too close to the U.S. The government has been under intense domestic pressure to free Mr. Khan, and that outweighed the backlash that Mr. Zardari knew the action would cause in Washington. The ruling was accompanied by a secret agreement between Mr. Khan and the civilian government, the contents of which were not disclosed, which may continue to place restrictions on him. It was not entirely clear whether Mr. Khan would be free to leave the country.

The Foreign Ministry said Pakistan had investigated Khan's past proliferation, shared its findings with the IAEA, and put in tight controls to prevent anything similar from happening again. "A. Q. Khan is history." The US State Department condemned the move: “He’s still a proliferation threat. We’re very troubled by this.”

The civilian government had eased the restrictions placed on the scientist in 2004. Right from the time of Khan's confession, the US has been persistently demanding permission to question him on his alleged proliferation activities. Pakistan has been equally consistent in denying this permission.

New York Times, 6 February 2009 / AP, 8 February 2009 / The Hindu, 9 February 2009

ITER could cost twice as much as budgeted.

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the experimental ITER fusion reactor could cost twice as much as governments had planned for. The project, which absorbs almost half of Britain's energy research budget (!), will test complex machinery needed to make the world's first operational fusion power plants. ITER was originally planned to cost €10bn, but the rising price of raw materials and changes to the initial design are likely to see that bill soar. The warning came as scientists gathered in Finland to unveil the first component of the reactor, which will effectively act as its exhaust pipe. The reactor is currently expected to take nearly 10 years to build and is scheduled to be switched on in 2018.

The Guardian (UK), 29 January 2009

Ukraine to join International Uranium Center.

The Russian government has approved a request by the Rosatom corporation for Ukraine to join the international uranium enrichment project set up by Russia and Kazakhstan. The International Uranium Enrichment Centre would see uranium from member countries enriched at Angarsk in Russia under international supervision. The scheme is not yet finalised, but in theory it would offer member countries assured supplies of nuclear fuel under some sort of arbitration by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). An additional possibility is that such a scheme would take back highly-radioactive used nuclear fuel from client countries for reprocessing and recycling or for permanent storage.

The concept of an international fuel cycle has come to the fore in recent years partly due to suspicions that Iran's uranium enrichment facilities were once part of an undeclared nuclear weapons program. Countries that agree to abide by the global non-proliferation regime and within which the IAEA is confident nuclear power is only used peacefully would be guaranteed supplies of uranium fuel. The theory is that those countries would never need to develop their own uranium enrichment or reprocessing facilities, which otherwise could potentially be misused for weapons production.

The international uranioum project is only one of the several Multilateral approaches, the US GNEP (Global Nuclear Energy Partnership) and the IAEA Fuel Bank, being two other initiatives.

World Nuclear News, 10 February 2009

Spain: no new reactors. 

On January 21 Spain reaffirmed its policy of not commissioning new nuclear power plants a day after its biggest utility unveiled plans to build them in Britain, while repeating pledges to boost renewables and save energy.  "There will be no new nuclear plants," Spain Industry Minister Miguel Sebastian told journalists when asked to comment on Iberdrola's joint venture with British companies to build nuclear power stations.  Sebastian noted that Spanish energy consumption per head was 20 percent above the European average. "Saving 20 percent would be the equivalent of doubling the number of nuclear power plants. It seems easier and cheaper to me," he said. "Furthermore, it (saving) is immediate, whereas nuclear plants take 15 years. There is no controversy, no waste or security problems, nothing," he added.

Spain's government has said it may extend the working lives of the country's eight ageing nuclear power plants. Operating permits for seven of the plants are up for renewal between this year and 2011, or well within the mandate of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist government. Spain's nuclear power plants supply about 7,300 megawatts and wind farms now have the capacity to generate more than 16,000 MW due to a boom in renewable energy, (but in practice provide less).

Reuters, 21 January 2009

New Nuclear madness in Britain.

The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has  announced that it expects to nominate land near Sellafield, Wylfa, Oldbury and Bradwell, for  consideration under the Government’s Strategic Siting Assessment (SSA) process to identify sites suitable for nuclear new build. Whilst the NDA is not proposing to develop new nuclear plants itself and will not seek planning permission, it expects to nominate land into the SSA process in order to enhance the value of its land and in turn generate income which will help fund the decommissioning programme.

NDA, 23 January 2009