Today's big stories from the nuclear industry:

truthout: Document Reveals Military Was Concerned About Gulf War Vets' Exposure to Depleted Uranium
‘For years, the government has denied that depleted uranium (DU), a radioactive toxic waste left over from nuclear fission and added to munitions used in the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars, poisoned Iraqi civilians and veterans. But a little-known 1993 Defense Department document written by then-Brigadier Gen. Eric Shinseki, now the secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), shows that the Pentagon was concerned about DU contamination and the agency had ordered medical testing on all personnel that were exposed to the toxic substance. Shinseki's memo, under the subject line, "Review of Draft to Congress - Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium in the U.S. Army -- Action Memorandum," makes some small revisions to the details of these three orders from the DoD: 1. Provide adequate training for personnel who may come in contact with DU contaminated equipment. 2. Complete medical testing of all personnel exposed to DU in the Persian Gulf War. 3. Develop a plan for DU contaminated equipment recovery during future operations. The VA, however, never conducted the medical tests, which may have deprived hundreds of thousands of veterans from receiving medical care to treat cancer and other diseases that result from exposure to DU.’

The News Tribune: Ex-vit plant official raises safety concerns, alleges retaliation at Hanford
‘Safety and design concerns are being suppressed at Hanford's $12.3 billion vitrification plant, charges the engineering manager who oversaw research and technology for the contracting team until he was dismissed earlier this month. Walter Tamosaitis, who was research and technology manager for the project, has asked the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board to investigate, saying he believes he was removed from the project for raising concerns about future safe operations at the plant. The retaliation has had an "immediate chilling effect on the project safety quality," leaving other employees questioning whether they should raise issues, he told the board chairman in a letter. Congress created the board within the executive branch of the federal government to provide independent oversight of the nation's nuclear weapons complex. Bechtel National holds the Department of Energy contract for the plant, which is planned to treat high level radioactive waste left from past production of plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons program. Tamosaitis worked for URS, Bechtel's principal subcontractor on the project.’

Financial Times: Areva and EDF told to ‘get along’
‘Areva and EDF, France’s nuclear groups, must end years of bickering and form a strategic partnership to win overseas contracts that could see EDF raise its stake in the nuclear reactor maker, the French government said. State-owned Areva was given the go-ahead for a 15 per cent capital increase to finance investments, in which EDF could raise its 2.4 per cent stake to 7 per cent, according to officials. Christine Lagarde, finance minister, said on Wednesday that Areva and EDF “must imperatively get along” following months of rancour between Henri Proglio, chairman of EDF, and Anne Lauvergeon, Areva’s chief executive. Mr Proglio has publicly questioned Areva’s independence and insisted that EDF, the state-owned utility which operates France’s 58 nuclear reactors, was best placed to lead France’s nuclear industry. For her part, Ms Lauvergeon has called for relations between the two companies to be “modernised” but has said that, as Areva’s main client, EDF should take a leading role. The strategic partnership will focus on bids for contracts in countries which do not have a nuclear industry. President Nicolas Sarkozy said it was in line with the government’s aim of reinforcing its nuclear strategy around national champions.’

Times of India: Open to changes in N-liability bill: Centre
‘NEW DELHI: With the fate of civil liability for nuclear damage bill getting enmeshed with stalemated ties with Left and fresh hostilities with BJP, the government is open to defining responsibilities for a nuclear accident more closely. The government is open to inserting clauses that will cover eventualities like accidents during transport of nuclear materials or in their handling at domestic and even foreign ports. It may also examine whether liability needs to be more carefully defined in case the operator of a nuclear power plant is a public sector joint venture where one may have a private equity. The standing committee on science and technology is expected to finalise its views on the bill by August 5 or so and it is bound to be accompanied by dissenting notes. The government is being careful over any commitments on increasing the compensation cap.’

VietNamNet: Japan shows interest in Vietnam’s nuclear power project
‘VietNamNet Bridge – In a talk with Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem last week, Japanese Foreign Minister Okada said Japan is willing to participate in Vietnam’s nuclear power project. Deputy PM Khiem welcomed and appreciated the offer of Japanese nuclear technology, saying that Vietnam would consider this issue. Japanese officials have previously expressed their wish to join Vietnam’s nuclear power projects. In early March 2010, Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama wrote to his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung. According to Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Mitsuo Sakaba, the letter showed Japan’s strong interest in the construction of nuclear power plants in Vietnam. In early June 2010, Japanese Minister of Industry, Trade and Economics Masayuki Naoshima told his Vietnamese counterpart Vu Huy Hoang on the sideline of Asia-Pacific Trade Ministerial Meeting in Japan that Japan wished to build nuclear power plants in Vietnam. Vietnam and Russia have reached agreement on the building of the first nuclear power plant in Ninh Thuan province. Vietnam has signed cooperation agreements on nuclear power with many countries like the US, Russia, France, South Korea, India and Argentina.’

Deccan Chronicle: UK to work with India on nuke deal
‘July 28: British minister for universities and science David Willetts on Wednesday said the United Kingdom and India will jointly work on a civilian nuclear deal and Brtain would help India set up 14 world class universities in the country. Speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of a panel discussion at IIT-Madras, Mr Willets said the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK and India’s Department of Atomic Energy will work on five new projects in civil nuclear energy, including in the areas of plant safety and nuclear waste management.’
 
Reuters: Iran, U.S. send positive signals on nuclear talks
‘ISTANBUL/WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) - Iran and the United States sent positive signals on Wednesday about the possibility of fresh talks on the Iranian nuclear program, which Washington suspects aims to develop atomic weapons. Iran has given an assurance that it would stop enriching uranium to 20 percent purity if world powers agreed to a proposed nuclear fuel swap, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Istanbul. The offer, conveyed to Davutoglu on Sunday, could bode well for an expected resumption of talks in September between Iran and major powers on the Islamic Republic's atomic program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes and not for bombs. Asked about Davutoglu's comments, the U.S. State Department said Iran had often sent mixed signals but that the United States was "fully prepared" to resume talks among the six major powers and Tehran
about Iran's nuclear program.’