Nuclear: Mickey Mouse energy solutionToday's big stories from the nuclear industry:

World Bank nixes nuclear energy

'The World Bank is getting roasted by significant political heat over its decision to grant a $3.75 billion loan to South Africa to build a 4,800 MW coal-fired power plant. Missing from dramatic protests about the climate impacts from the Medupi coal plant is the answer to the question of why the World Bank chose fossil fuel instead of nuclear energy? The answer is found in a set of ideological policies the bank has relied on for the past 15 years. Short-term thinking dominates the decision process. South Africa argues that the new plant is needed because coal is abundant there and the nation needs to get the electricity online as fast as possible to shore up its faltering economy. Plus, construction on the plant started in 2007 so it is further along than a cold start for a new site. Critics argue that the South African plant will primarily benefit heavy industry, including mining, and won't raise the living standards or quality of life for the general population. Despite Sarkozy's high-profile speech, the Financial Times reported March 8 the World Bank said it has no plans to change the policy banning loans for new nuclear reactors. According to the newspaper, Richard Morier, a spokesman for the World Bank, said the reason is nuclear reactors are "still not the least-cost option." He noted the bank last financed a nuclear reactor in Italy in 1959.'

Greenpeace opposes Indian Nuclear Liability Bill

'NEW DELHI: Raising concerns about glaring shortcomings of the controversial Nuclear Liability Bill, Greenpeace, an environmental activist group, on Saturday gave a call to oppose it in both Parliament and public forums. "The Bill should be challenged because it reduces the incentives for the nuclear industry to pursue the highest possible levels of safety by shielding the nuclear industry from the economic consequences of a nuclear accident, proposes a low ceiling for insurance compared to other regimes and at best provides partial compensation for the damage caused by a major nuclear accident," said Samit Aich, Executive Director of Greenpeace, India.'

U.S. And India Conclude Nuclear Trade Deal

'The United States and India have concluded arrangements that permit India to reprocess spent nuclear fuel as part of their bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement which entered into force in 2008. The agreement over terms of reprocessing by India removes one of the final hurdles to nuclear trade between the two countries. In a Q&A, Mark Hibbs assesses the importance of the reprocessing agreement and concludes that the landmark U.S.-India nuclear deal damaged the global nonproliferation regime and has exacerbated nuclear tensions in South Asia. "In the aftermath of the U.S.-India agreement, India in the future may not be worried about international sanctions should it decide to resume nuclear testing," he contends. Furthermore, "Pakistan is now poised to embark on a significant nuclear military buildup."'

India - Cobalt-60 imported as industrial waste?

'It is highly unlikely that cobalt 60, the radioactive isotope that made it to a scrap dealer's shop in West Delhi a few days ago and left five persons critically ill, came from hospital or industrial waste originating in India. Scientists investigating the presence of the radiation source in public - a matter that raised concerns about India's ability to handle nuclear waste - have almost ruled out the possibility of the detected cobalt 60 originating indigenously. They believe it most probably came as part of the industrial waste imported from abroad, from international scrap markets, to be more specific. That means the said source made it through the customs - a clear lapse. Reason the scientists are extending for this possibility is this - the Department of Atomic Energy is the sole supplier of cobalt 60 and other radiation sources for use by indigenous industry or hospitals. The Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology under the DoAE is the principal supplier of such things and follows a strict supplying, monitoring and retrieving mechanism to ensure safe use and disposal of radioactive waste.'

Chile gives its last weapons-grade uranium to US

'SANTIAGO, Chile - Deep inside the containment building of a nuclear reactor that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet built for his army, an aging engineer in a white lab coat struggled with a common house key to unlock a closet door. Opening a dusty wooden box he pulled from a shelf, he revealed an array of thin aluminum-coated plates, and lifted one out with his bare hands. "This is it," said Hugo Torres, the reactor's operations manager. "It" is highly enriched uranium 235, HEU for short. It's the material that most worries anti-terrorism experts. Just 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of it in a nuclear bomb could devastate an entire city, in the same way the United States destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. The U.S. has already recovered 91 percent of the 1,362 kilograms (3002 pounds) of U.S.-origin HEU from reactors around the world, bringing it for safekeeping and reprocessing to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and the Y-12 National Security Complex, the government's fortress-like HEU repository in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. also has provided the equipment and expertise to bring back to Russia more than 53 percent of the 2,351 kilograms (5,183 pounds) of HEU the Soviet Union sent to other countries. But 680 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of potentially weapons-usable HEU supplied by countries other than the U.S. and Russia is still out there, and vulnerable.'

Tanzania to go nuclear with uranium mining

'Tanzania is to begin uranium mining and processing within three years, following the announcement of two commercial discoveries in the central and southern regions of the country. Exploration estimates indicate the country has about 53.9 million pounds of uranium oxide (U3O8) deposits that, at current prices of $41 per pound, is worth $2.2 billion. Two firms that have been exploring for the mineral in Tanzania and have confirmed discoveries are Mantra Resources and Uranex Resources, which are now only waiting for the new Mining Bill to be tabled this month before commencing mining. Last week, the Proactive Investors website said Uranex, an Australian-listed company with projects in Australia and Tanzania, had announced the discovery of new uranium mineralisation during pitting at its previously untested Mbuga G site in the northern part of the Manyoni Project in central Tanzania. In addition, further uranium mineralisation has also been identified at Mbuga's A, C West, D, and F, including recent assays returned from the 2009 drilling campaign.'