Friday, March 31, 2006

Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing

Japan's 1st Full-Fledged Nuclear Reprocessing Plant Begins Trial Run
31 March 2006

TMCNET (JAPAN)-- Japan launched a test run on 31 March 2006 of its first full-fledged spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in a nuclear fuel cycle complex located on the northern tip of Japan's largest main island of Honshu. Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd., the operator, plans to put the reprocessing plant into full operation in August 2007 to reprocess some 800 tons of spent nuclear fuel a year into more than 4 tons of plutonium which will be used as uranium-and-plutonium mixed fuel at the country's nuclear power plants. Japan Nuclear Fuel, a national-policy organization established by the country's nine regional utility firms and 84 power-related firms, said the test run, which it calls active tests, will last for 17 months. The International Atomic Energy Agency will station nuclear inspectors at the Rokkasho reprocessing plant because the plutonium to be extracted is fissile and can be used for nuclear weapons. Besides the reprocessing plant, there is a uranium enrichment plant, a mixed fuel processing plant, a low-level radioactive waste site and a high-level waste storage center in the Rokkasho nuclear cycle complex. Japan Nuclear Fuel is also headquartered there. Source: (Reliability 7)
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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Nuclear Exploration, Mining, & Milling

Uranium Mining May Be Opened Up
30 March 2006

BUSINESS STANDARD (INDIA)-- The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in India is contemplating outsourcing uranium exploration and mining under the ambit of the Atomic Energy Act, Anil Kakodkar, chairman of atomic energy commission and DAE secretary said. "Opening up uranium mines for private parties is the policy decision of the government, but we are exploring the possibility of exploration of uranium in-house as well as through outsourcing mode," he said. "Data interpretation and data collection could be part of the activities that DAE is contemplating to outsource," he stated. He was speaking at an international technical meeting on 'Aerial and ground geophysical techniques for uranium exploration and advanced mining and milling methods and equipment' under the aegis of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria. Source: (Reliability 7)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Enrichment & Processing

UN Nuclear Chief Lays Out Plan To Counter Proliferation, Terrorist Threat
27 March 2006

UN NEWS CENTRE (VIENNA)-- Faced with the threat of nuclear proliferation and the prospect of such weapons falling into the hands of terrorists, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has laid out a five-point plan of action ranging from tighter controls and protection of materials to strengthening the Security Council. IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei called for placing sensitive nuclear operations such as the enrichment of uranium that can be used for producing both electric energy and an atomic bomb under multinational control. “The five measures I have outlined – tightening controls, protecting materials, supporting verification, reinvigorating disarmament and strengthening the Security Council – are all necessary and urgent steps,” Mr. ElBaradei told a conference of dentists in Karlsruhe, Germany over the weekend. Detailing his plan, Mr. ElBaradei stressed the need to tighten controls for access to nuclear fuel cycle technology in an era of globalization which has made the industrial marketplace more complex and fluid than 30 years ago when the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was drawn up. “At the root of this measure is the concept of making these operations multinational, so that no one country would have exclusive control over the most sensitive parts of the fuel cycle,” he said. “It is urgent that the international community develop a unified approach on this measure and begin moving forward.” Source (Reliability 9)

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Transport Of Radioactive Materials

U.S. Hiring Chinese Company To Scan Nukes
23 March 2006

THE GUARDIAN (WASHINGTON)-- In the aftermath of the Dubai ports dispute, the Bush administration is hiring a Hong Kong conglomerate to help detect nuclear materials inside cargo passing through the Bahamas to the United States and elsewhere. The administration acknowledges the no-bid contract with Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. represents the first time a foreign company will be involved in running a sophisticated United States (U.S.) radiation detector at an overseas port without American customs agents present. Hutchison Whampoa is the world's largest ports operator and among the industry's most-respected companies. It was an early adopter of U.S. anti-terror measures. But its billionaire chairman, Li Ka-Shing, also has substantial business ties to China's government that have raised U.S. concerns over the years. Three years ago, the Bush administration effectively blocked a Hutchison subsidiary from buying part of a bankrupt U.S. telecommunications company, Global Crossing Ltd., on national security grounds. And a U.S. military intelligence report, once marked ``secret,'' cited Hutchison in 1999 as a potential risk for smuggling arms and other prohibited materials into the United States from the Bahamas. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) currently has no security concerns about Hutchison's port operations, and the administration believes the pending deal with the foreign company would be safe, officials said. Source:,,-5706766,00.html (Reliability 8)

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