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

Nuclear-Fuel Recycling Debate Arises on Margins of Obama Summit

‘April 12 (Bloomberg) -- A dispute over nuclear-fuel recycling by reactor suppliers such as France’s Areva SA bubbled to the surface in Washington today, as U.S. officials sought to steer clear of the issue at a summit elsewhere in town. Former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans and former U.S. ambassador-at-large Robert Gallucci called for an end to the fuel-recycling practice at a conference of experts being held in parallel with President Barack Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit. The summit focuses on keeping separated plutonium and highly enriched uranium out of the hands of terrorists, and Evans and Gallucci contended that recycling creates stockpiles of dangerous materials ripe for theft. The practice is drawing attention as more countries look at nuclear power for their energy needs. The position of Evans and Gallucci drew a retort from Areva’s former director of non-proliferation and international institutions, who is attending the meeting of experts.’

Q&A Hans Kristensen, nuclear arms expert

‘Given the renewed interest in nuclear power generation as a ‘clean’ energy source, does the prospect of scores of new reactors and perhaps many being built in countries with no previous nuclear experience create new proliferation problems? Yes, nuclear power industries create the materials, technologies, and expertise needed to make nuclear bombs. Nuclear safeguard arrangements are set up to prevent nuclear materials and technology from being diverted to military use, but those safeguards are often insufficient and no foolproof guarantee against proliferation. More nuclear power plants in more countries means more fissile material that could be lost, sold or stolen. Some countries with nuclear power or nuclear power aspirations are unstable or dictatorships where today's safeguards may be abandoned tomorrow leaving dangerous materials in the hands of dangerous people.‘

TVA Looks At License Renewal for Sequoyah Nuclear Plant

‘The Tennessee Valley Authority is preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the potential effect of extending the operating licenses for its two-unit Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. Sequoyah operates two nuclear generating units and the winter net dependable generating capacity is 2,320 megawatts. ‘Renewing the operating license of the Sequoyah plant will allow us to continue to provide reliable, safe and clean electricity for the consumers in our service area,’ said Chief Nuclear Officer Preston Swafford. ‘Using existing non-air-polluting plants like Sequoyah for an additional 20 years helps us keep electricity costs affordable while being a steward of our environment.’ Renewing the existing licenses will allow the plant to operate beyond 2020 and 2021, when the current licenses expire for Units 1 and 2, respectively. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses new nuclear plants for 40 years of operation and for an additional 20 years if a renewal application is approved.’

Concerns about undocumented labour in construction industry

‘The construction industry estimates that there are between 20,000 and 30,000 foreign construction workers in Finland, most of whom work in the greater Helsinki area. The greatest numbers of foreign construction workers come from Estonia and Poland, but there are already dozens of people of different nationalities. For instance, builders at the new Olkiluoto nuclear reactor include members of 60 different nationalities. At the same time, the unemployment rate among Finnish construction workers has risen to 25 per cent. This translates into more than 20,000 jobless construction workers. The vice president of the Construction Trade union, Kyösti Suokas, believes that tens of thousands of foreign workers are not paying tax on their income. The union believes that the use of undocumented labour and the problems that arise from it are well known, but nobody is doing anything about it.’

CNNC Int’l in talks to buy over 200,000 tons of uranium

‘Apr. 13, 2010 (China Knowledge) - CNNC International Ltd, which was formerly known as United Metals Holdings Ltd and is a unit of state-owned China National Nuclear Corp, is in talks to buy over 200,000 tons of overseas uranium resources, sources reported. In a statement posted on CNNC’s website, CNNC said that CNNC International, its only platform to expand and develop overseas uranium resources, plans to build overseas uranium mining bases. CNNC International currently has approximately 36,000 tons of overseas uranium resources under its control, said the statement. In January, CNNC International announced that it would buy a 37.2% stake in Nigeria’s Azelik uranium mine for not less than HK$414 million in convertible notes. The purchase would mark its entry into sub-Saharan Africa.’

Gilani denies report Pakistan producing fuel for new weapons

‘Washington - Pakistani Prime Minister Raza Yousef Gilani denied a report Monday that Pakistan is running a new nuclear reactor to produce fuel for a second generation of nuclear weapons. Gilani said in a CNN interview that the report in The New York Times was "not true" and that Pakistan was not competing with India on nuclear weapons. According to the newspaper, Pakistan is blocking talks on an agreement to stop producing new nuclear material worldwide, and Obama used the meeting to "express disappointment" over this development. The Times reported that US intelligence officials believe Pakistan is running a new nuclear reactor to produce fuel for a second generation of nuclear weapons - one of three such facilities planned.’