Exxon did influence Bush on Kyoto.
(June 10, 2005) US State Department documents, obtained by Greenpeace under US freedom of information legislation, show that George Bush's decision not to sign the Kyoto treaty was partly due to pressure from ExxonMobil and others, reports British daily the Guardian. Briefing papers for the under-secretary of state, Paula Dobriansky, between 2001 and 2004 show the administration thanking Exxon executives for the company's "active involvement" in helping form climate change policy. The papers also show that Exxon's advice was sought on what climate policies it might find acceptable! One briefing note states "Potus [president of the United States] rejected Kyoto in part based on input from you [the Global Climate Coalition]". The GCC is the leading anti-Kyoto US industry group dominated by Exxon.
The Guardian, 8 June 2005
Bush aide fiddled report on climate change.
(June 10, 2005) The New York Times has reported that a White House official edited US government reports on climate change to minimize the links between greenhouse gas emission and climate change. The official concerned is reported to be Philip A. Cooney, formerly a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, who is an economist with no scientific expertise whatsoever. Cooney was allowed to add dozens of changes to reports, issued in 2002 and 2003, which ultimately suggested doubts about the reported scientific findings although climate experts had asserted that they were robust. Cooney's handwritten notes were found on drafts of several reports and replaced or altered descriptions of climate research already approved by government scientists -who would presumably have had a better understanding of the science than he did.
The New York Times, 8 June 2005
UN alert for missing centrifuge blueprints.
(June 10, 2005) Hundreds of pages worth of electronic drawings providing comprehensive details on the manufacture of nuclear bombs - the materials needed, how to assemble and test equipment - have vanished and UN investigators are warning that they could be offered for sale on the international black market. The blueprints show how to make centrifuges - the so-called P1 and more advanced P-2 sold by A. Q. Khan's nuclear proliferation network - for uranium enrichment; key components for centrifuge rigs are also missing. It is known that several sets of the blueprints were made and although Libya handed over its set to IAEA, the whereabouts of the other/s is/are unknown. Khan, a national hero in Pakistan, confessed to heading an illicit network of nuclear proliferators in 2003 and has been held under house arrest in Pakistan since, although he was almost immediately pardoned. The instructions - in Dutch, German and English - and designs were stolen from Urenco, the Dutch-British-German consortium that leads the world in centrifuge technology, where Khan worked in the 1970s.
The Guardian, 9 June 2005
EdF for sale.
(June 10, 2005) France's new prime minister, Dominique de Villepin has confirmed that the government will forge ahead with plans to part privatize state-owned energy companies, Electricite de France (EdF) and Gaz de France (GdF). Under French law, 30% of shares in both companies could be sold off in order to allow them "the means to pursue their development".
Platts European Power Alert, 8 June 2005
Russia needs more aid to dismantle Cold War-era nukes.
(June 10, 2005) Experts at an international weapons conference have called for rich donor nations to offer more financial aid to help Russia dismantle its Soviet-era nuclear and chemical weapons stockpiles, fearing that such stockpiles could prove irresistible to terrorist groups. In 2002, the Group of Eight (G8) wealthiest nations promised at least US$20 billion over 10 years but pledges of US$17 billion fall well short with only a fraction of that actually being spent so far. Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency has said that the country will not achieve its goals, of dismantling its aging nuclear fleet and reactors, without international help.
AP, 7 June 2005
Protestors arrested at Scottish nuclear base.
(June 10, 2005) Ministry of Defense police arrested 12 anti-nuclear protestors after they had breached an outer fence at Faslane naval base, home to Britain's Trident nuclear submarines, on Monday 7 June. Two other protestors who had climbed up a tree inside the base were later also arrested after eventually climbing down. The action forced the temporary closure of the base and comes after reports that British Prime Minister Tony Blair has decided on a new generation of nuclear weapons to replace those currently deployed on Trident submarines at a cost of some 10 billion pounds (US$ 18.3 billion). Faslane has been the focus of anti-nuclear protests for 23 years now and will also host a peaceful protest organized by the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament on 4 July, just days before the G8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland.
AFP & BBC News Online, 7 June 2005
UK government adviser quits waste committee.
(June 10, 2005) David Ball, Professor of Risk Management at Middlesex University resigned from the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) after accusing it of showing "open antagonism" to the views of nuclear specialists. Professor Ball is the second scientist to leave CoRWM under a cloud; the environment minister sacked Keith Baverstock, former head of radiation protection at the World Health Organization, and the only health expert on the panel, in April after he called the committee dysfunctional and amateurish. CoRWM was charged with the task of reviewing options for nuclear waste disposal in 2003 and is due to report its recommendations to ministers in July 2006. The committee has been severely criticized for wasting over a year in consultation over options that have long been rejected as unworkable by scientists around the world. CoRWM has now culled the original list of 15 options, which included shooting nuclear waste into the sun, to four options involving either underground burial or storage above ground.
Times Online, 3 June 2005
French deal gives Italy nuclear power.
(June 10, 2005) In line with an earlier announcement, Electricite de France (EdF) and Italy's ENEL have signed a co-operation agreement that will give ENEL access to some 200 MWe from the proposed Flamanville-3 EPR nuclear reactor (1700 MWe), and potentially another 1000 MWe from the next five units built (if indeed they are built). As well as a 12.5% share (or 200 MWe), ENEL will also be involved in the design, construction and operation of the plants, which, according to ENEL, will enhance Italy's power security and improve its economics - Italy's electricity prices are 45% higher than the EU average. EdF sees the agreement as a prototype of other "fruitful partnerships with European industrial leaders" - Suez-Electrabel and Endesa have also expressed interest in joining the Flamanville-3 consortium. ENEL is expected to pay about EUR 350 million (US$ 428 million) for its share in the project.
Nucleonics Week, 2 June 2005; WNA Weekly Digest, 3 June 2005
French-Libyan nuclear co-operation.
(June 10, 2005) France's Foreign Affairs Ministry has announced that the country will cooperate with Libya on civil nukes, although the extent of that is still to be defined. Libya had presented a formal request for cooperation on civilian nuclear energy, and in light of Tripoli's 'strategic decision to renounce weapons of mass destruction' and its actions to dismantle 'proliferating facilities' and sign the IAEA Additional Protocol for safeguards, France decided to respond positively to the request. France is expected to present Libya with a proposal in coming months.
WNA News Briefing, 1 June 2005
UN training Iraqi officials to measure radiation.
(June 10, 2005) The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is instructing 16 officials from the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment, including both vice-ministers, on detecting depleted uranium. Iraqi officials are concerned about depleted uranium and what they say are increasing cancer rates in the country. U.N. experts are providing training on techniques for measuring radiation levels according to international standards. Pekka Haavisto, chairman of the U.N. Environment Program's Iraq Task Force, said the Iraqis were especially concerned about the southern city of Basra and the surrounding area and that the Iraqi government had approached UNEP for help. Haavisto said UNEP is concerned that "there has been no proper clean up in Iraq since wars in 2003 and 1991. There is still depleted uranium and other chemicals on the ground. Looting has contributed to the problem". UNEP also expressed concerns about the presence of toxic materials, heavy metals and oil spills that present environmental and health hazards in Iraq.
Depleted uranium is a heavy metal used in armor-piercing weapons. The British government has provided UNEP with detailed information on the locations where it used 1.9 tons of depleted uranium in the south of Iraq. However, according to UNEP, the U.S. government has failed to come forward with the same information despite U.N. requests.AP, 1 June 2005
Australia targets SEA for uranium sales.
(June 10, 2005) Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand have been identified as future uranium export markets by Australia, which has about 40% of the world's uranium deposits. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said that the SEA countries could provide a stable, dependable and desirable source for expanding nuclear industries once they commit to bilateral safeguards limiting the use to 'peaceful' nuclear purposes.
Reuters, 1 June 2005
U.S. intercepts nuclear material to Iran and others.
(June 10, 2005) According to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. and its allies, in the past nine months, prevented Iran from obtaining a shipment of nuclear materials and equipment for its alleged illicit nuclear weapons programme. The disclosure was made to celebrate the second anniversary of George W. Bush's Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), aimed at halting the trafficking of nuclear equipment, materials and weapons. Although a total of 11 shipments were prevented from reaching their destinations, only the one to Iran was deemed worthy of comment. Several days later, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher added North Korea's name to the list of destinations for the illicit shipments.
Bloomberg.com, 31 May 2005; www.CNSNews.com, 1 June 2005
Saudis agree to limited IAEA inspections.
(June 10, 2005) Officials at the IAEA are urging members to accept a deal that would finally allow some inspections at nuclear facilities in Saudi Arabia even if the agency's investigative rights would be limited. The safeguards agreement could be implemented at the June 13 board meeting in Vienna. Saudi Arabia is not thought to be a direct proliferation threat and is only believed to have a research nuclear program.
AFP, 31 May 2005
Iran puts enrichment on hold; Pakistan hands over centrifuge parts.
(June 10, 2005) In a major turnaround Pakistan confirmed, on May 26, that it has sent parts of an old centrifuge to the IAEA to help it establish whether Iran has secretly been developing nuclear weapons or not. Previously, Pakistan had categorically denied the IAEA help with its investigations after IAEA inspectors found traces of highly enriched uranium inside Iran, which Tehran claims originated from equipment bought from A. Q. Khan's black market network. President Musharraf reiterated on April 20 that Pakistan does not allow, "and will never allow", IAEA inspections in Pakistan. The centrifuge parts will technically remain under Pakistan's control during the entire process. "The analysis would be conducted in the presence of our own people and they would remain under the custody of our people all the time," according to the Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman. "After the analysis the parts would be brought back by our experts."
In negotiations with the EU+3 (Britain, France and Germany), Iran backed down and put a hold on the restart of its enrichment program and received the swift reward of being allowed to start negotiations to enter the World Trade Organization a few days later. Analysts believe that Iran was unwilling to be plunged into yet another international crisis, especially given that presidential elections will be held on June 17 and the regime is desperate to encourage a strong voter turnout. One favorite in the election race is the powerful cleric, and former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, seen as a pragmatic conservative and potentially more open to a deal on the nuclear issue. Western diplomats posted in Tehran deny favoring Rafsanjani, and say even if he wins there is no guarantee of a long-term nuclear accord that would satisfy all parties. In late May, Iran's Guardians Council, a hard-line political watchdog, approved a bill on "acquiring nuclear technology for peaceful purposes", which obliges the government to provide the nation with peaceful nuclear technology "including guaranteeing the fuel cycle".
AFP, 26 & 28 May 2005; Trouw (NL), 27 May 2005