The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Balancing act of diplomacy between Iran and the West

diplomacy not bombs 1Talks With Iran on Nuclear Deal Hang in Balance NYTBy  November 23, 2013 GENEVA — As Secretary of State John Kerry and top diplomats from five other world powers swept into Geneva this weekend for the second time in two weeks, they struggled to complete a groundbreaking agreement with Iran that would temporarily freeze Tehran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more comprehensive accord…….

The interim accord the United States and its negotiating partners are seeking would allow Iran to continue enriching uranium to 3.5 percent and would not require it to dismantle its existing centrifuges. But it seeks to constrain the Iranian program by requiring Iran to transform its stockpile of uranium that has been enriched to 20 percent, a short hop from weapons grade, to a form that is less usable for military purposes.

It also establishes a cap on Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent, precludes new centrifuges from being installed and is expected to involve more intensive monitoring of the Iranian program, among other measures.

As to what Iran considers its “right to enrich,” American officials signaled a possible workaround last week, saying that they were open to a compromise in which the two sides would essentially agree to disagree, while Tehran continued to enrich.

The accord would last six months, allowing negotiators that period of time to work on a more comprehensive and lasting agreement.

In return for the temporary freeze, Iran would receive between $6 billion and $7 billion worth of sanctions relief, American officials say, including providing Iran with access to frozen assets. The limited relief could be accomplished by executive action, allowing the Obama administration to make the deal without having to appeal to Congress, where there is strong criticism of any agreement that does not dismantle Iran’s nuclear program……..

Michael Mann, the spokesman for Ms. Ashton, described the negotiations with the Iranians as “intensive.” If diplomats do not succeed in sweeping away the obstacles to an accord this weekend, observers expect them to mount another try here within a few weeks.

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Non Proliferation Treaty allows Iran to enrich uranium

flag-IranLegal right to enrich uranium  for Iran 23 Nov 13, TEHRAN — Hans Blix, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says his interpretation of Article IV of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is that uranium enrichment is a “right”.

The remarks by Blix come as Iran and the six major powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, known as the 5+1 group) are negotiating in Geneva.

Iran says its right to enrichment, as a signatory to the NPT, must be recognized by the West. 
 Blix said definition of enrichment is a matter of difference between Iran and the six powers.
 The former IAEA chief said Iran says according to the NPT uranium enrichment is its right but certain countries among the 5+1 group have another interpretation and argue that there is not something as the “right to enrichment”.
The Article IV of the NPT says:
1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.
2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.

November 24, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

A bit of a breakthrough at Warsaw climate talks

climate-changeRich vs poor deadlock broken at UN climate talks

*Agreement keeps hopes for 2015 climate deal alive

* Warsaw talks go into overtime due to deadlock

* Delegates still discussing “climate aid”

By Alister Doyle and Nina Chestney WARSAW, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Almost 200 nations kept a plan to reach a new U.N. climate pact in 2015 alive on Saturday when rich and poor countries reached a compromise on sharing out the efforts needed to slow global warming.

A two-week negotiation in Warsaw had been due to end on Friday, but was blocked over a timetable for the first U.N. climate accord that would set greenhouse gas emissions requirements for all nations. The pact is due to be agreed in 2015 and come into force after 2020.

Negotiators finally agreed that all countries should work to curb emissions – a process described in the jargon as “intended nationally determined contributions” – as soon as possible and ideally by the first quarter of 2015.

The agreement ended deadlock between rich and poor about sharing out the burden of limiting emissions blamed for causing more heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.

Under the last climate pact, the Kyoto Protocol, only the most developed countries were required to limit their emissions – one of the main reasons the United States refused to accept it, saying rapidly growing economies like China and India must also take part.

“Just in the nick of time, the negotiators in Warsaw delivered enough to keep the process moving,” said Jennifer Morgan of the World Resources Institute think-tank…..

November 24, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

USA optimism about a nuclear deal soon with Iran

diplomacy not bombs 1U.S. thinks nuclear deal with Iran is possible next week Raw Story, By Agence France-Presse Friday, November 15, 2013  A nuclear deal with Iran is possible at the next round of talks in Geneva, a US official said Friday, but warned tough issues still had to be hammered out.

“We are going to work very hard next week. I don’t know if we’ll reach an agreement. I think it is quite possible that we can. But there’s still tough issues to negotiate,” the senior administration official told reporters.

Flag-USAThe official also renewed pleas to skeptical US lawmakers not to slap more sanctions on Iran in the mistaken belief it would force the Islamic republic “to the point of capitulation” and the dismantling of all its nuclear program…….

flag-IranShooting down reports that the US and P5+1 were planning a major, valuable package of sanctions relief, he said “it would come nowhere near helping Iran escaping the hole that we’ve put them in.”

Officials from the administration of President Barack Obama have been leading what they described as “hard” discussions with US lawmakers seeking to head off a new round of American sanctions which they fear could scupper the delicate negotiations…….

November 16, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran stopped expanding uranium enrichment 3 months ago, says IAEA

flag-IranIAEA: Iran has not expanded nuclear facilities in last 3 months November 14, 2013   Iran has stopped expanding its uranium enrichment capacity and has not started new centrifuges in the past three months, according to a new report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog. The report covers the beginning of President Hassan Rouhani’s term.

The quarterly report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday said that Iran has not begun operating any of its new generation IR-2M centrifuges, and installed “no…major components” at a reactor being built at Arak, AFP reported.

According to the report, only four uranium enrichment centrifuges were operating at Iran’s Natanz plant and no additional machines were operating at the Fordo facility. Iran’s stockpile of higher-grade enriched uranium has thus risen only by about 5 percent since August, Reuters quoted the report as saying.

The report puts Iran’s highly enriched uranium stockpile at 196 kg, which is below the roughly 250 kg needed for nuclear weapon production capability.

Although the latest round of Geneva talks between Iran and the US, Russia, China, Britain, Germany, and France appeared to be inconclusive, it “created grounds for cooperation that will help us decide how to deal with the Iranian nuclear problem in terms of IAEA and UN Security Council requirements,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

Media reports also indicated that a deal could be struck soon. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US would consider “limited, targeted, and reversible relief” of sanctions against Iran in exchange for“concrete, verifiable measures.”

Iran reiterated that stopping the uranium enrichment remains an issue “beyond discussion,” and said it is only open to discuss the details of the enrichment process.

The Geneva talks follow what seems to be a warm-up in US-Iranian relations, with President Rouhani and US President Barack Obama recently having a “historic” phone conversation by Obama’s initiative. Meanwhile, Tehran and the IAEA have reached a deal for a “roadmap for cooperation” over Iran’s nuclear program. IAEA head Yukiya Amano and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi on Monday signed an agreement on a three-month plan aimed at verifying Iran’s claim that its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful purposes only.

In the view of the possibility of Iran striking a nuclear deal with the West, Israel stepped up its scaremongering rhetoric, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program could lead only to a “bad deal” or “war.”

Reacting to the IAEA report on Thursday, Netanyahu said he “was not impressed” with its conclusions.
Israel is desperately trying to block any compromise on the Iranian nuclear program, and while Netanyahu has been speaking with some of the P5+1 countries’ leaders over the phone and is coming to Moscow on November 20, Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday said he will personally “lobby dozens of members of the US Congress” during his visit to the US.

November 16, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

How USA and France killed off nuclear agreement nearly made with Iran

exclamation-flag-IranWestern Backtrack on Uranium Enrichment Killed Iran Deal, France Sought to Change Deal at Last Minute by Jason Ditz, November 11, 2013 More details continue to emerge on the disagreements that prevented an expected weekend pact between the P5+1 and Iran, with a last minute side conversation between Secretary of State John Kerry and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius apparently keeping it from continuing. Fabius demanded last second changes to the draft agreement, including removing a clause guaranteeing Iran’s right to civilian uranium enrichment. Kerry reportedly endorsed that demand.

Iran has, under its safeguards agreement, every right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes, and has insisted they are willing to limit that enrichment, but not abandon the right outright.

That already put the talks on shaky ground, and Fabius followed it up with a demand that Iran abandon the under construction Arak reactor, which runs on unenriched uranium. Between the two demands this amounted to a de facto demand to surrender their entire civilian nuclear program, but the US and France continued to insist on only minor sanction relief. At that point though, the deal was dead and everyone just decided to meet again later this month.

November 15, 2013 Posted by | France, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Agreement reached between Iran and IAEA on inspection of nuclear sites


Reuters reports.  The agreement allows International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to visit two sites at the center of Iran’s contentious nuclear program: The Arak heavy water site and Gachin uranium mine.

Arak is currently under construction and is designed to eventually produce weapons-grade plutonium.Gachin has been producing plutonium, which can be enriched to weapons grade, since 2010. The other sticking point in nuclear talks that ended without a deal over the weekend in Geneva is the fate of Iran’s stockpile of uranium already enriched to 20 per cent, which could be further enriched to weapons grade.

The new agreement — which is separate from the talks involving Iran and so-called the P5+1: the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, and — calls for measures requested by the agency to be implemented at the facilities.

“The practical measures will be implemented in the next three months, starting from today,” IAEA head Yukiya Amano said in a news conference in Tehran.  Reuters notes that the agreement is one part of an IAEA inspection regime to ascertain whether Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

November 12, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

China will have controlling interest in UK’s nuclear power!

flag-ChinaBritain’s debt to foreign power: China’s nuclear revolution George Osborne has effectively handed the nation’s nuclear industry over to Chinese and French giants Telegraph, By   18 Oct 2013  How’s this for a turn-up flag-UKfor the books? A Conservative Chancellor, promoter of free markets and defender of national sovereignty, is boasting of “allowing” (a euphemism, it seems, for “begging”) a totalitarian Communist country to build nuclear power stations in Britain.

It will all start – under a deal expected to be finalised next week – with the state-owned China General Nuclear Power joining the equally nationalised Electricité de France (EDF) in constructing a £14 billion brace of reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The Chinese will have a minority share in the project, but have made it clear – and George Osborne accepts this – that they should have a controlling interest in future schemes.

So, much of Britain’s highly sensitive nuclear industry – which sprang from the atomic bomb programme – is effectively to be owned by two foreign powers, one the country’s oldest traditional enemy, the other a bitter Cold War opponent. Few other nations, and certainly not China, would dream of permitting anything of the kind. Doesn’t Mr Osborne see that this could be a bit radioactive, shall we say? Continue reading

November 8, 2013 Posted by | China, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Temporary nuclear deal between USA and Iran

diplomacy not bombs 1US and Iran close to temporary nuclear deal SMH, November 7, 2013   Michael R. Gordon Geneva: On the eve of a new round of talks between world powers and Iran, a senior Obama administration official said on Wednesday that the United States was prepared to offer Iran limited relief from economic sanctions if Tehran agreed to halt its nuclear program and reversed part of it.

The official said that suspending Iran’s nuclear efforts, perhaps for six months, would give negotiators time to pursue a comprehensive agreement.

“Put simply, what we’re looking for now is a first phase, a first step, an initial understanding that stops Iran’s nuclear program from moving forward for the first time in decades and that potentially rolls part of it back,” the administration official told reporters on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic concerns.

The official said that the details of such a step had already been discussed by international and Iranian officials and suggested that it might be agreed on as early as this week. It would likely include constraints on the level of Iran’s uranium enrichment, the country’s stockpiles of nuclear material and the abilities of its nuclear facilities, added the official, who declined to provide further details. It would also involve verification measures……….

The duration of Iran’s halt on nuclear activity under the agreement has not been finalised, but Western officials said that a six-month suspension was being considered.

The US official would not say specifically what sanctions might be eased but suggested that the degree of relief would depend on the constraints Iran was willing to accept.

Read more:

November 8, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran DOES have a legal right to enrich uranium

diplomacy-not-bombsBottom line: At present Iran has the legal right under treaty to enrich uranium. It may be persuaded to give up that right in negotiations, but there is at present no justification for holding it to this unreasonable demand.

Does Iran Have the Right to Enrich Uranium? The Answer Is Yes Dissident Voice,  by William O. Beeman / November 2nd, 2013 Now that serious talks with Iran over its nuclear program are underway, one seemingly insurmountable issue is whether Iran flag-Iranhas the right to enrich uranium. The short answer is: Yes.

Those who are trying to torpedo the ongoing talks, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, want Iran to be forced to agree to the whole monty–a complete cessation of uranium enrichment and a dismantling of all enrichment facilities.

Iran claims that it has the inalienable right to enrich uranium as guaranteed in the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which it is a signatory.

The NPT treaty language is quite clear. In Article IV of the treaty it states: “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.” Continue reading

November 6, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

For USA help, Japan must first sign up to free USA nuclear equipment providers from accident liabilty

revolving-Moniz-Flag-USAU.S. Says Japan Signing Liability Pact Would Aid Nuclear Cleanup Bloomberg, By Jacob Adelman – Nov 3, 2013 Japan will receive international help with the cleanup at the Fukushima atomic station once it flag-japanjoins an existing treaty that defines liability for accidents at nuclear plants, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said.

The treaty, known as the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage,assigns accident liability to plant operators rather than equipment and technology vendors,Moniz said in a Nov. 2 interview in Tokyo.  Continue reading

November 5, 2013 Posted by | Japan, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran’s supreme leader curbing hard liners against America

flag-IranKhamenei tells Iran’s hardliners not to undermine nuclear talks By Yeganeh Torbati 4 Oct 13,  DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s supreme leader gave strong backing on Sunday to his president’s push for nuclear negotiations, warning hardliners not to accuse Hassan Rouhani of compromising with the old enemy America.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments will help shield Rouhani, who has sought to thaw relations with the West since his surprise election in June, from accusations of being soft on the United States, often characterized in the Islamic Republic as the “Great Satan”.

Iran will resume negotiations with six world powers, including the United States, in Geneva on Thursday, talks aimed at ending a standoff over its nuclear work that Tehran denies is weapons-related. Rouhani hopes a deal there will mean an end to sanctions that have cut the OPEC country’s oil exports and hurt the wider economy, but any concession that looks like Iran is compromising on what it sees as its sovereign right to peaceful nuclear technology will be strongly resisted by conservatives.

“No one should consider our negotiators as compromisers,” Khamenei said in a speech, a day before the November 4 anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, a pivotal event in U.S.-Iranian relations, the ISNA news agency reported.

“They have a difficult mission and no one must weaken an official who is busy with work,” said Khamenei, who wields ultimate power in Iran’s dual clerical-republic system, including over the nuclear program. ENEMY WHO SMILES

Hardline factions, who oppose any thaw in relations with the United States, have criticized Rouhani’s negotiating team for not releasing details of the proposal they made to world powers at a previous round of talks in Geneva last month.

They have also resisted calls from moderate Iranian newspapers and prominent figures including former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to drop the “Death to America” chant, often heard at Friday prayers throughout Iran……..

In September, U.S. President Barack Obama insisted that the United States would “take no options off the table, including military options, in terms of making sure that we do not have nuclear weapons in Iran.”

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

USA to promote nuclear energy at same time as helping fix Fukushima

He [Former nuclear executive, now Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz] said a U.S.-Japan commission to strengthen co-operation in civil nuclear research and development, as well as Fukushima cleanup, emergency response, and regulatory issues, will meet in Washington next week.

Moniz,-ErnestFukushima nuclear plant operator to work with U.S. in cleanup effort Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press  CTV News, November 1, 2013 TOKYO – The utility operating Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant said Friday that it will work with the U.S. Department of Energy in decommissioning the site and in dealing with radioactive water problems.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose said he agreed to accept U.S. help in discussions with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as they visited the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant on Friday to inspect preparations to remove fuel rods from a storage pool……..Following criticism of its perceived reluctance to accept foreign help, Japan has recently begun to show more willingness to do so.

Operators of the plant are currently making final preparations to remove fuel rods from an uncovered cooling pool at Unit 4 — one of four reactor buildings damaged in the crisis, and the one considered at highest risk. Removing the fuel rods from the cooling pool is the first major step in a decommissioning process at the plant that is expected to take decades.

The fuel removal at Unit 4 was given preliminary approval by Japanese regulators on Wednesday and is to start by mid-November following a final go-ahead……. “As Japan continues to chart its sovereign path forward on the cleanup at the Fukushima site and works to determine the future of their energy economy, the United States stands ready to continue assisting our partners in this daunting yet indispensable task,” Moniz said in a statement late Friday. He said a U.S.-Japan commission to strengthen co-operation in civil nuclear research and development, as well as Fukushima cleanup, emergency response, and regulatory issues, will meet in Washington next week.

Despite public concerns over potential risks of radiation from the plant, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has pushed for a restart of the country’s nuclear reactors, which are currently all offline for safety checks. Moniz said he expects nuclear power will remain a crucial part of the energy mix as the world tries to mitigate global warming…… TEPCO also has appointed a former U.S. regulator who led the cleanup of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the United States as an adviser. :

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Japan, politics international, USA | 1 Comment

UK’s subsidy to nuclear providers will hit British consumers hard

With the guaranteed price already well above what solar and wind power cost (and their costs continuously declining), the taxpayer commitment for this power plant is so crazily high that it seems this story should be coming from The Onion rather than reality.

UK-subsidyThe UK’s move to subsidize nuclear power to such an insane degree is simply astonishing.

Hinkley C Nuclear Power Plant To Get Twice The Rate As Solar PV From UK Government Clean Technica 30 Oct 13, In a demonstration of how out of touch the UK government is with public opinion, it intends to pay approximately twice as much for electricity from the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power plant near Bristol than is paid for electricity from solar power in Europe. With high public support for solar PV and low support for nuclear, that’s quite absurd. It’s also very absurd from an economic standpoint.

Dr David Toke of the University of Aberdeen writes: “Looming large over the UK Government’s EU state aid application for Hinkley C is the charge that this deal will distort the EU’s internal market, in particular to undercut solar pv arrays in Germany over 10 MW in size. Such arrays are no longer eligible to receive premium prices under the German feed-in tariff system. Such plant will only receive the wholesale electricity price, which is less than half the rates to be paid to Hinkley C.” Continue reading

October 31, 2013 Posted by | politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

The end of nuclear power is becoming the only solution to its financial mess

text-stop-nuke-plantsNuclear Power Dirty Bomb   The Market Oracle, Oct 28, 2013  By: Andrew_McKillop  “………LOSS AVOIDANCE IS THE ONLY SOLUTION   Turning off the nuclear tap will soon become the only solution. Civil nuclear power plant growth and  proliferation has already cancelled in several countries, including Germany, Japan and Switzerland, and is likely to be placed on hold, because of nuclear debt and the sheer un-economic nature of nuclear power, in other countries. Of course we can be sure that China and India will come very late to the party and may need the “tweak” of one or more worst-case reactor meltdowns to make them move.

We can however be sure that Nuclear Nirvana’s murky underside of a Pandora’s Box of evils will soon cause a sea shift in ruling elite thinking.

Options exist for the rapid removal of nuclear power from the scene. Since 2008, in more than a half of OECD countries exposed to the realities of the sovereign debt crisis, electricity consumption has fallen, sometimes by double-digit amounts in 3 years. The need for nuclear power is cut by this real world trend. To be sure there are also long-term and rising nuclear debts due to accumulated wastes and to the near-term future crisis of reactor decommissioning – which in a sane world would only hasten the total abandonment of this failed option for supplying “cheap, clean and safe” power.

The options are better known than ever. The pathology of “we didnt know” has worn awfully thin after the Fukushima disaster. The same applies to Depleted Uranium weapons, nicely reserved for expert commentators to pontificate about – but which cause real world cancers and economic loss every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The choices and options are on the table for those who want to admit them. Unfortunately our current political decider elite is congenitally unable to admit them. Soldiering along and muddling through with the deadly, high cost option of nuclear power will continue – but not for long. As ever, one disaster is worth a lot more than a million words.

October 30, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, politics international | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,116 other followers