Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Middle East Nuclear News

Iran's Ahmadinejad Rejects UN Deadline On Uranium Enrichment
24 April 2006

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejected a United Nations deadline to suspend Iran's nuclear program, threatening to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty if the UN doesn't recognize Iran's right to nuclear technology.

Ahmadinejad also said Israeli Jews should go back to the European countries from which they came, as the exodus was created by World War II belligerent nations, not by the Palestinians.

"Why should we suspend our nuclear program? Those who are saying we should suspend should give us a rational answer,'' Ahmadinejad told foreign and Iranian reporters at a press conference in Tehran today. Iran, which is "unwavering'' on its nuclear program, will "reconsider'' its position vis-a-vis the nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty if the UN nuclear watchdog doesn't respect Iran's "rights.'' Source: http://tinyurl.com/ef2zy (Reliability: 7.0)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Middle East Nuclear News

Iran Says It Has "Basic" Enrichment Deal With Russia
22 April 2006

REUTERS (TEHRAN) - Iran's ambassador to the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Saturday that Iran had a basic deal to enrich uranium in a joint venture in Russia but said details were still being worked out, Iranian state radio reported.
Russia has offered to enrich uranium for Iran to allay concerns that Tehran could use domestically-produced enriched uranium to make nuclear bombs.
But progress on the deal has been hindered by Iran's refusal to bow to international demands that it halt all home-grown enrichment work. A "basic agreement" on enrichment with Russia was previously announced by Iran in February but talks subsequently appeared to stall.
Ali-Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said a full agreement was now close in reach.
Source: http://tinyurl.com/oebhx (Reliability: 6.0)

Comment: As of this post, this story has not been completely confirmed, but if it turns out to be true it obviously has tremendous implications for the United States. First, one of the major arguments the U.S. put forth for sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council has to do with Iran's transparency regarding nuclear enrichment. Now that this major issue has been alleviated, at least on the surface, Iran will likely play the victim in this fight and back off the rhetoric to try and draw more support for this new deal, especially from China and the more flighty European nations. (Analytic Confidence: 6.0)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Transport Of Radioactive Materials

Nuclear Flask Falls Off Sellafield Lorry
21 April 2006

NEWS AND STAR (UNITED KINGDOM)-- A nuclear flask carrying plutonium-contaminated material fell off the side of a wagon at Sellafield on 20 April 2006. It is the second time in less than three weeks that British Nuclear Group has had trouble with its nuclear transports - a Sellafield train was derailed at Barrow Docks at the end of March. Sellafield Station Gate had to be closed and site traffic was diverted via the site’s main, north and Calder gates. British Nuclear Group has stressed that there was no release of radioactivity during yesterday’s incident and no-one was hurt. The stainless steel waste package container was carrying plutonium-contaminated material which had been recovered from the low level waste repository at Drigg, It was being taken to Sellafield to be stored on the site. It was transported to the site by rail and was being transferred by forklift truck to a road trailer when it slipped and fell. Source: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/viewarticle.aspx?id=358020 (Reliability 7)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Middle East Nuclear News

Iran Could Produce Nuclear Bomb in 16 Days, U.S. Says (Update2)
12 April 2006

BLOOMBERG (GERMANY) -- Iran, defying United Nations Security Council demands to halt its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days, a U.S. State Department official said.
Iran will move to ``industrial scale'' uranium enrichment involving 54,000 centrifuges at its Natanz plant, the Associated Press quoted deputy nuclear chief Mohammad Saeedi as telling state-run television today.
"Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days,'' Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters today in Moscow. Source: http://tinyurl.com/q6ozz (Reliability: 7)

Middle East Nuclear News

Report: Saudi Arabia May Be Hiding A Secret Nuclear Program
05 April 2006

IHC NEWS (GERMANY) - A report in the German magazine Cicero stated that Western security sources confirm Saudi Arabia has a covert nuclear weapons program that is being aided by Pakistani scientists.According to the magazine, the Saudis helped finance the Pakistani program, which became public in 1998, and worked closely with them since the mid 1990s.Now it appears Pakistan is aiding its Middle Eastern ally with the dangerous know-how.The article quoted German security expert Udo Ulfkotte as describing how scientists from Pakistan posing as pilgrims during the Haj pilgrimages to Mecca in 2003 through 2005 secretly visited the clandestine program at Al-Sulaiyil, an underground city south of Riyadh.The Pakistanis stayed for weeks at Al-Sulaiyil, a place said to house dozens of missile silos. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has officially denied the claims calling it “totally unfounded.” Source: http://tinyurl.com/lyu9v (Reliability: 5)

Pictured above: The alleged location of Saudi Arabia's secret nuclear facility, al-Sulaiyil (Global Security Satellite Photo)

Middle East Nuclear News

Iran Celebrates Uranium Enrichment
12 April 2006

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (TEHRAN) - Iran's announcement that it has "joined the club of nuclear countries" by successfully enriching a small amount of uranium may have more political than technical importance, U.S. nuclear experts said Tuesday, but it signifies that the country has not wavered in its determination to defy the international community and develop a nuclear capability.

"Iran is still not any closer to a weapons capability with this," said Jon Wolfsthal, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and a former nuclear inspector in North Korea. "But this does reaffirm they are serious about pursuing the technology. They aren't going backwards." Source: http://tinyurl.com/gl2ps (Reliability: 8)

Pictured above: Artists perform while holding aloft purported samples of enriched uranium after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech in Mashhad, Iran. (REUTERS PHOTO)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Nuclear Fuel Management

NNSA Outlines Future Of Nuclear Weapons Complex
10 April 2006

SOP (WASHINGTON DC)-During a recent congressional hearing , the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) deputy administrator for defense programs, Tom D'Agostino, outlined a plan to establish a smaller, more efficient nuclear weapons complex that will be able to respond to future challenges. The principal elements of the proposed plan, dubbed "Complex 2030", focus on continuing development efforts on a reliable replacement warhead, increasing dismantlement of retired warheads, increasing security and reducing related costs, establishing a consolidated plutonium center, and increasing technical and business uniformity. D'Agostino stated, "By 2030, the vision I set forth is of a world where a smaller, safer, more secure stockpile, with assured reliability over the long term, is backed by an industrial and design capability to respond to changing technical, geopolitical or military needs. Source: http://www.thesop.org/article.php?id=873 (Reliability: 7)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Enrichment & Processing

What’s Driving Prices Higher
April 2006

PRWEB (COLORADO)-- As global interest in nuclear power continues to peak, increased demand for nuclear fuel is triggering higher uranium and enrichment prices. TradeTech’s uranium spot price climbed to $41 this month, while the long-term price for uranium enrichment rose for the third consecutive month to $122 per Separative Work Unit (SWU) a sharp contrast to last year when enrichment prices remained flat at $113 per SWU. The price of uranium, used to fuel nuclear power plants that generate about 16 percent of the world's electricity, has increased significantly in the past year due to demand from nuclear utilities that rose faster than mine production and drew down stockpiles. Similar to the uranium market, enrichment prices are experiencing upward pressure due to strong demand from the nuclear energy industry. On a worldwide basis, total uranium enrichment requirements increase gradually through 2015 to about 55 million SWU per year by the end of the period, according to TradeTech’s "Uranium and Enrichment Industry 2006 Market Report." “Unfilled uranium enrichment requirements increase in an almost linear fashion throughout the period, reaching about 60 percent of requirements for the year 2012,” said R. Gene Clark, chief operating officer of TradeTech, LLC. Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/4/prweb368748.htm (Reliability 7)
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