Irish Times: Armed men kidnap seven foreign workers in Niger
'SEVEN FOREIGNERS working for French companies were kidnapped in a uranium mining region of Niger yesterday. The five French nationals, a Togolese and a Madagascan were taken from the northern town of Arlit, 800km northeast of the capital Niamey. The French nuclear giant Areva and Satom, a subsidiary of the Vinci engineering group, said six of their employees and one of their wives were abducted. Fears were raised that the self-styled Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) may have been behind the attack, but no group had claimed responsibility. “All the state’s services have been fully mobilised, notably the foreign ministry crisis centre and our Niamey embassy,” said French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valéro. In a joint statement the companies said they had stepped up security for other employees in Niger and were working with the authorities in France and Niger to seek the safe release of the hostages.'
Times LIVE: South Africa - Meltdown for home-grown PBMR nuclear initiative
‘The government has finally abandoned its R9.2-billion effort to develop and manufacture pocket nuclear power stations that would be safe enough to scatter across the country and simple enough to sell to African neighbours without this country's technical skills. "If there had been any other viable option, we would have considered it," Barbara Hogan, the minister of public enterprises, told parliament. She said the history of the project, which began 10 years ago, would be audited to see what lessons could be learned from what critics call the country's most expensive white elephant. "All I can say today is vindication, vindication, vindication," said Independent Democrats MP Lance Greyling, who consistently campaigns for a green response to the country's power challenge.’
Reuters: Japan's TEPCO lowers reactor output for inspection
'TOKYO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T) reduced output from a 1,356-megawatt (mw) No.7 reactor at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant to around 720-MW on late Thursday for an unplanned inspection, the company said on Friday. The move was to check a suspected leak in radioactive nuclear fuel. A company spokesman said he could not immediately comment on how long the reactor would be operating at lower output. Radiation at about 2,100 times the normal level was detected in gaseous waste at a nuclear reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant in Niigata Prefecture on Thursday but no harm was done to the surrounding environment, according to the company.'