Nuclear N-Former: No change for nuclear in Cancún
‘Climate talks in Cancún have put negotiations back on track, but meaningful decisions on the future of nuclear power in the Clean Development Mechanism remain for future discussion. “Cancún has done its job,” said UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres, “The beacon of hope has been reignited and faith in the multilateral climate change process to deliver results has been restored.” She was referring to the disappointment that followed last year’s oversubscribed and ineffective Copenhagen talks. The agreement completed in Cancún goes only a little further than the Copenhagen Accord – recognising that global emissions have to start to decline soon, stating that industrialised countries need to do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions and officially adopting the target of limiting warming to 2ºC. Although not legally binding, the Cancún text was endorsed by the 194 parties to the UNFCCC, in contrast to Copenhagen’s which was left to individual nations to support. One major new element in the world’s climate change strategy will be funded support to end deforestation in developing countries. There will also be a Green Fund for projects in the developing world, which will start with $30 billion by 2012 and grow to $100 billion per year in 2020. Countries have agreed to a system of monitoring and reporting on their climate change actions. Despite recognition by most countries as a reliable and sustainable low-carbon power source, nuclear power was excluded from use as a climate change mitigation technology under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) up to 2012. The Cancún text avoided the subject of whether to extend the Kyoto Protocol’s commitment periods and three texts describing nuclear’s potential role in the CDM remain on the table for later debate, as do options for carbon capture and storage.’

Nuclear N-Former: Belarus nuclear power plant ‘worries’ Lithuania
‘Plans by Belarus to build a nuclear power plant 50 kilometres away from Vilnius are a worry for Lithuania, the country’s foreign minister, Audronius Ažubalis, told EurActiv in an exclusive interview. The lack of information regarding plans by Belarus, Lithuania’s Eastern neighbour, to build a nuclear power plant close to the common border is a cause for concern, Ažubalis said. The minister said his country was raising concerns over the issue in the framework of Nordic-Baltic Cooperation, a format which involves Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The press has indeed reported plans by Belarus to commission a nuclear power plant, but information remains scarce. An official website says that Belarus is now in talks with corporations from France, Japan and South Korea, while maintaining its partnership with the Russian Federation.’

Deccan Herald: Jaitapur - Nuclear power is no panacea
‘The signing of nuclear pact between India and France during the visit of French President Sarkozy to build a series of nuclear power plants in Jaitapur in Ratagiri disrict of Maharashtra is hailed as the highlight of the visit. The French private company Areva will build these plants in collaboration with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). It is proposed that these plants will start generating power by 2014. The increased pressure to produce clean and green power to meet the growing demand has forced many countries to revisit nuclear power. France is one of those rare countries that generate more than half of its power requirement from nuclear source. With this experience it is poised to be the leader in exporting the nuclear technology to developing countries like India and China with its new Evolutionary Power Reactors (EPRs). It is claimed to be a leak-proof design with four independent cooling systems for safety to ward off a situation like that of Chernobyl. The ground for preparing the nuclear park at Jaitapur was being prepared long back, with NPCIL identifying the area on the west coast. The final permission by ministry of environment and forests was given by Jairam Ramesh just days ahead of the visit of French President. The Indian government and the media is elated with the deal assuring continues supply of uranium, the nuclear fuel for next 25 years. But the common people do not know that this comes at a high price. The projected costs of six power plants is estimated at Rs 60,000 crore. The cost might go up due to the additional costs involved in incorporating the safety features. It is going to be the costliest power at Rs nine per unit. The French company Areva, that is going to build the plant in Jaitapur is not doing it for charity. It is a private company which wants to earn profits and eager to sell its yet unestablished EPR technology. India is the testing ground, being a scapegoat, accepting it under the tall claims of ‘energy independence.’ The hidden costs of maintaining a series of plants after the life term of 60 years is not even calculated, let alone the dangers it will pose for coming generations.’

Straits Times: North Korea has 'at least 1 other' enrichment site
‘WASHINGTON - NORTH Korea has 'at least one other' uranium enrichment site than that disclosed to US experts last month, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on Tuesday. 'We're very conscious of the fact that, in the recent revelations to American delegations, what they saw did not come out of thin air. It certainly reflects work being done at at least one other site,' Mr Crowley told reporters. 'This remains a significant area of concern,' he said, adding he did not want to get into intelligence matters. In Seoul, South Korea's foreign minister also voiced suspicion on Tuesday that North Korea may have secret uranium enrichment facilities in addition to the one it disclosed last month. The North revealed an apparently operational uranium enrichment plant at its Yongbyon atomic complex to visiting US experts on Nov 12, shortly before it sparked a security crisis with an artillery attack on a South Korean island.’

Chosun Ilbo: Activity at North Korean Nuclear Sites Sparks Frenzied Speculation
‘North Korea has dug a new tunnel more than 500 m deep at a nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyong Province, intelligence sources said Tuesday. The North is also reportedly accelerating massive excavation work and construction of a new building at its main nuclear site in Yongbyon. "North Korea seems to be busy digging even in winter when the ground is frozen" at Punggye-ri and Yongbyon, an intelligence officer said. Based on an estimate of the amount of earth dug up, the intelligence officer speculated that the North has already dug a cave more than 500 m deep in Punggye-ri. "If progress goes on at the current pace, the North will have dug a cave 1 km deep, the depth where it is possible to conduct a nuclear test, between March and May next year," the officer said. Voice of America, quoting a U.S. Congressional Research Service report, reported on Dec. 7 that the North could conduct a nuclear test as a proxy for nuclear weapons developing nations such as Iran.’

Bellona: Murmansk takes delivery of 333 tonnes of Serbian SNF destined for Mayak reprocessing plant
‘MOSCOW – The Danish vessel Puma, slated to arrive in Russia’s Murmansk on December 15 with a cargo of 333 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from a research reactor at the Serbian Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences, near Belgrade, is reported to have left the Slovenian port of Koper early last week. Upon arrival, the waste is to be reloaded into trains and taken to the Russian reprocessing facility Mayak in the Urals. Russia’s top nuclear authority Rosatom declines to confirm or deny the delivery, while environmentalists are voicing their protests over the dangerous import. The uproar is the latest in a series tough environmental questions being put to the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, a deal inked between Russia, the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2004 to repatriate all Soviet origin spent research reactor fuel to Russia. Seventeen countires, among them Serbia, were selected for fuel repatriation. The programme had been running to the satisfaction of the United States until a week ago, when Germany's environmental minister, Norbert Röttgen, refused to send spent fuel from the Rossendorf research reactor in the former East German region of Saxony to Mayak. Röttgen said Mayak was unable to safely handle the spent nuclear fuel elements. Germany is the first, and so far the only, country to question the safety of sending spent Soviet origin research reactor fuel back to Russia. The Puma was supposed to arrive in Murmansk from Serbia on December 13, but as this report was being prepared, the news was updated with information that the vessel’s arrival would be delayed by two days. The delay is attributed to an unplanned refuelling stop-over on the route.’