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

The proliferation business - Unstoppable?

‘EVER since the atom was split, governments have struggled to control a force with potential for good that can also wreak awful destruction. Some argue it is impossible to stop technologies that can keep the lights on from being used to make bombs. That is a sobering thought in a world ready to re-embrace relatively carbon-free nuclear power. But David Albright, a respected chronicler of undercover nuclear shenanigans, tells a more alarming story: just how little most governments have done to halt the bomb's spread. In the 1960s John Kennedy fretted that without a test ban and other hurdles, eventually a score of countries could have their finger on a nuclear trigger. So far, the tally of serious nuclear dabblers, past and present, stands at about 30. Only ten have succeeded, but some are still trying.’

Nuclear Japan: A pox on MOX?

‘MATSUYAMA, Japan - Japan is going "pluthermal" and anti-nuclear activists are up in arms. The term, coined by Japan, refers to using mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel containing plutonium in nuclear reactors, instead of normal uranium fuel. Ignoring months of protests and sit-ins, Japan's first nuclear reactor went "pluthermal" last December. This month, a second plant is going pluthermal too: the Ikata Nuclear Power Plant, which sits on a narrow, mountainous peninsula jutting out into Japan's Inland Sea. Several more plants are due for the upgrade in the coming years. The government says pluthermal reactors are more efficient and produce less waste than normal plants. Activists say they're more dangerous. Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action, a nonprofit formed in 1991 to oppose Japan's plutonium program, said MOX fuel burns "hotter and faster" than normal nuclear fuel. Japan's current reactors weren't designed to burn MOX fuel, she said, and Japan hasn't spent enough time studying the risks. She says while French plants have also used such fuel, Japan's MOX fuel has higher concentrations of plutonium. "This is a grand experiment being imposed on the Japanese public," she said. "There's virtually no experience burning this kind of pluthermal fuel."’

Senegalese Government Considering Building Nuclear Power Plant

‘March 11 (Bloomberg) -- Senegal is considering building what would be Africa's first nuclear power plant outside of South Africa to supply domestic and regional markets, an Energy Ministry spokesman said. A decision on the facility will be made once a review of the West African nation's energy needs has been completed, Malick Ndaw said in an interview yesterday in the capital, Dakar. Agence France-Presse reported on March 9 that the country planned to bring a nuclear power plant online by 2020. "What people must understand is that this is not for now," Ndaw said yesterday. "We've got to do preliminary feasibility studies, because there are a lot of other factors we've got to take into account, notably on the environmental level." Senegal National Electricity Co., the state-owned utility, has the capacity to produce 634 megawatts of power, though output is currently only 548 megawatts due to ageing equipment. Energy demand in Senegal is growing at an average of 7 percent a year, Ndaw said, without providing consumption data.’

Sarkozy plans major shake-up in French nuclear industry

‘Paris - President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to shake up the French publicly operated nuclear industry in April to quell the open, bitter rivalry between the heads of two nuclear agencies. "The state will bring order into this situation," Sarkozy told the newspaper Figaro Magazine on Friday. He said the public bickering was unacceptable between the two figures: Anne Lauvergeon, who heads the Areva organization that builds nuclear power plants, and Henri Proglio, head of the energy giant EDF that operates the plants. "The industry must be organized so that French enterprises are not competing with each other," Sarkozy said.’

Turkey - Yildiz: New working group to decide fate of nuclear plants

‘Natural Resources and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz has expressed his ministry's determination to build Turkey's first nuclear power plant, stating that a new working group will start to draw up an internal report to assess the viability of progressing in the regions under consideration. Answering questions from the press at the 3rd Solar Energy and Technologies Fair in Istanbul yesterday Yildiz announced that the next three to four months will be crucial for the realization of a nuclear power plant in either Sinop or Akkuyu, as the working group will analyze the feasibility of building in the regions and the legal framework needed. "If the conditions are positive, then we will move on to the next agreement; if they aren't, then we will stop work in that specific region," Yildiz noted.’

Hillary gets certification power on Indo-US nuke deal

‘Hillary Clinton has been named as the new certification authority on Indo-US nuclear deal by President Barack Obama. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on Thursday named as the new certification authority by US President Barack Obama to verify the Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Act for the US Congress after every six months. "I hereby delegate to you (Secretary of State) the functions conferred upon the President by section 204(c) of the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act (Public Law 110-369)," Obama said in a signed memorandum issued to the Secretary of State. Under the Act, the US President needs to certify to the appropriate congressional committees that it is the policy of the US to work with members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, individually and collectively, to agree to further restrict the transfers of equipment and technology related to the enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.’

NJ Terror Suspect Worked at Nuclear Power Plants

‘The South Jersey man who Yemini officials are calling a terrorist with links to al-Qaeda previously worked at three nuclear power plants. Sharif Mobley, 26, is being held in a jail in Yemen after he allegedly killed a police guard and seriously injured another during a shootout at a hospital on Monday. The Buena, N.J. native has also been accused of taking part in several acts of terrorism, Yemini officials say. He also purportedly has ties to the same branch of al-Qaeda who are suspected of attempting to blow up a U.S. airliner on its way to Detroit on Christmas. As details of Mobley's arrest trickle back to the U.S., more people who knew him are coming forward. Former high school classmate Roman Castro says Mobley was always fiercely religious and tried to convert high school friends to Islam. Castro says he ran into Mobley during an Army tour in Iraq around four years ago. The two had a short exchange, with Mobley telling him to "Get the hell away from me, you Muslim killer," according to Castro.’

Russia likely to cease uranium exports from decommissioned weapons in 2013 – Cameco

‘Russia will likely cease exports of uranium from decommissioned nuclear weapons when a supply deal runs out in 2013, the head of Canadian uranium miner Cameco Corp said on Wednesday. Russia signed the 20-year highly-enriched uranium (HEU) deal in 1993 to sell the uranium through a consortium of companies, including Cameco, who help convert the weapons-grade uranium to lower grade uranium suitable for nuclear fuel. The estimated 24 million pounds of reactor-quality uranium has helped bridge a gap between uranium supply and demand and helped restrain uranium prices.’

Korea P.M. vows to develop nuclear fuel reprocessing technology

‘Prime Minister Chung Un-chan yesterday said that the country will secure its right to develop reprocessing technology for spent nuclear fuel for peaceful energy use. "Korea plans to develop advanced technology on establishing a nuclear fuel cycle so that the country could recycle spent atomic fuel for energy use and to reduce high-level radioactive waste," Chung said during the Summit of Honor on Atoms for Peace and Environment held in Seoul. South Korea is unable to reprocess nuclear fuel under a cooperation agreement on nuclear use with the United States. As Korea expanded its use of nuclear power for electricity generation, many raised concerns on mounting spent fuel, which the country is not allowed to reprocess. By 2016, Korea will have no space left to store the spent nuclear fuel, officials said. Chung stressed that the country will build multilateral cooperation on sharing nuclear technologies as part of efforts to show its will to use atomic power for peaceful purposes.’