Iran has produced 17 kilos of 20% enriched uranium
‘TEHRAN - Iran has produced 17 kilograms of uranium enriched to the 20 percent level, an official announced on Wednesday.   "(We) have produced over 17 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium, and we have the ability to produce 5 kilograms a month, but we are not in a hurry," Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Ali Akbar Salehi said during a visit to the ISNA news agency. Iran will continue to enrich uranium up to the purity level of 20 percent to the extent the country needs, Salehi stated. This is "Iran's legitimate right," he added.   The production line for enriching uranium to the purity level of 20 percent at the Natanz nuclear plant is separate from the one for enriching uranium to 3.5 percent purity, he explained.   Salehi also said Iran possesses the technology required to produce the nuclear fuel rods it needs for the Tehran research reactor.  He went on to say that Iran is still ready to hold talks on its nuclear program with the West and still prefers interaction.’

Experts Warn Proposed Climate/Energy Legislation Would Deregulate New
Nuclear Reactors in Much the Same Way That Oil Drilling Oversight Was 'Streamlined' Before BP Spill

‘WASHINGTON, June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Is Congress on the verge of repeating the deregulatory debacle that led to the BP oil spill fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico? Even as tens of thousands of gallons of oil continue to erupt each day from BP's botched oil well, federal lawmakers are weighing legislation that includes BP-style deregulation of new nuclear reactors, which are the only energy source where the damage from a major accident would dwarf the harm done by a ruptured offshore oil well. As the industry's proponents in Congress tout the nuclear regulatory structure as superior to that used for oil drilling and even as a possible model for oversight of the petrochemical industry, the same individuals are quietly working behind the scenes to push through BP-like regulatory rollbacks that would dramatically reshape safety and environmental requirements for new reactors. These provisions might be incorporated into a climate bill or a narrower "energy-only" bill that could be voted on by the U.S. Senate as early as next month. Leading experts are worried that these little-discussed provisions in proposed climate/energy legislation would further undermine Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) safety reviews for new reactors by truncating the licensing process for new reactors, scaling back environmental impact reviews, and limiting public involvement in reactor licensing decisions. These measures would relax the healthy pressure that nuclear reactor neighbors can put on regulators to serve the public's interest first, rather than that of the industry.’

Nuclear plant balks at regulator request to test all employees for radiation
‘Federal regulators at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission have asked the operator of an Ontario power plant to test hundreds of its workers by this Friday for exposure to cancer-causing alpha radiation, but the company is balking at the request. Bruce Power says it is too difficult and time consuming to get the fecal samples needed to evaluate whether the employees, selected for testing because they handle nuclear fuel or do maintenance work, have been exposed to radiation. It wants to first survey 38 people to confirm that further testing is warranted. "That's the proposal that we're going to go back to the CNSC with and our plan at this point," says Bruce spokesman John Peevers. The request by the commission was issued to Bruce last week and was followed on Monday by a letter to senior officials at the country's three other nuclear plant operators - Ontario Power Generation, NB Power, and Hydro-Québec - telling them to investigate their plants for possible alpha radiation hazards and implement controls to mitigate potential worker exposures.’

Merkel, Utilities End Nuclear Power Talk Without Results
‘BERLIN -(Dow Jones)- Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of the
country's four nuclear power companies ended talks Wednesday without any concrete results, the government said. The 90-minute meeting came as the government is currently drawing up its energy roadmap and the extension of the lifespans of Germany's nuclear power plants. The meeting was attended by the chief executives of E.ON AG, RWE AG, EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG and Vattenfall Europe AG. "It was a far-reaching exchange of opinions in which also controversial issues were discussed," a government spokeswoman said. Ministries are still working out the details of Germany's planned energy mix and the duration of the longer lifespan. A finalization of the energy plan is expected in the autumn.’

Nuke deal with Canada to top Singh's agenda
‘Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh embarks on an official bilateral visit of Canada June 27, immediately following the G-20 Summit. Indian officials in New Delhi said he is also scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and may even sign a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation pact. Canadian officials remained non-committal. "Canada and India are developing the tremendous potential of our relationship by rapidly expanding commercial, cultural and educational ties," said Harper in a statement. "I look forward to working with Prime Minister Singh to further capitalize on our shared strengths." But in the clearest indication yet about an impending civil nuclear deal, among other agreements likely to be signed, Harper's chief spokesperson and communications director Dimitri Soudas said in a briefing to the South Asian media this week: "As a direct result of (Harper's) November visit (to India), the two leaders announced the completion of negotiations of a nuclear cooperation agreement.’

China Seen Moving Forward With Pakistani Nuclear Project
‘China is expected to move forward with an agreement to financially support the building of two new atomic energy reactors in Pakistan regardless of worries from the United States and India, the Press Trust of India reported today. "China is expected to announce its plans to build the reactors in Pakistan's Punjab province at the 46-member [Nuclear Suppliers Group] meeting in New Zealand" tomorrow, the state-managed China Daily reported. "China will likely go ahead with financing the construction of two nuclear reactors in Pakistan despite concerns from other countries," the newspaper reported Chinese experts as saying. The Nuclear Suppliers Group, which counts Beijing as a member, prohibits civilian nuclear trade with most nations that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Nuclear-armed Pakistan has not joined the arms control pact, but China is arguing that building the new nuclear power stations would not breach NSG rules as it constructed two reactors at the Chashma site prior to joining the nuclear export control group. "This is not the first time China has helped Pakistan build nuclear reactors, and since it will be watched by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the deal is not going to have any problems," said Zhai Dequan, deputy secretary general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.’

Korea needs foreign nuclear partners
‘Korea won a bid to build a nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates at the end of last year with great fanfare. President Lee Myung-bak himself flew to the Middle East and closed the deal. Korea received praise for exporting nuclear power plants for the first time only 50 years after the country began importing nuclear technology from the United States. But the deal also provoked criticism that the Korean consortium had to rely on U.S.-based Westinghouse for some core technologies. However, Park Goon-cherl, 58, president of the Korean Nuclear Society and professor of nuclear engineering at Seoul National University, said using foreign technology is nothing to be ashamed of since building a nuclear plant is an international project. Park said many Korean exports contain foreign components and nuclear plants are no exception. Park is chief adviser of the Nu-Tech 2012 project, a government initiative to develop nuclear technology to increase Korea's self-sufficiency in nuclear engineering to nearly 100 percent. Park stressed that it is important to collaborate with foreign partners and that this would eventually help increase nuclear plant exports.’

Uranium ore passes through NZ ports once a week, says ministry
‘Uranium ore from Australia is being regularly shipped through New Zealand ports, the Government has confirmed. The ore, known as yellowcake, is destined for nuclear industries in the United States and Europe and can be used to make fuel and weapons. Shipments of the radioactive ore had been passing through nuclear-free New Zealand's ports for 20 years but ministers learned about it only a month ago, TV3 News reported. Environment Minister Nick Smith said a rational view should be taken. "This is yellowcake, which is not much more than Australian dirt," he said. "It remains in containers, on ship. It poses no risk to the public health of New Zealanders."’