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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

United Nations verifies that Iran has changed all enriched uranium into safer form

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranUN: Iran Turns Nuclear Material Into More Harmless Forms http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/20/iran-nuclear_n_5604070.html  By GEORGE JAHN 07/20/2014 VIENNA (AP) — The United Nations says Iran has turned all enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms.

Tehran had committed to the move under an agreement with six powers last November that essentially froze its atomic programs while the two sides negotiate a comprehensive deal. They extended those talks Saturday to Nov. 24.

Iran had more than 200 kilograms (over 250 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium when the agreement was reached and began reducing it shortly after. The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said Sunday in a report obtained by The Associated Press that all has now been converted or diluted.

At 20 percent, enriched uranium can be converted quickly to arm a nuclear weapon. Iran denies wanting such arms.

July 21, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international, Uranium | Leave a comment

Egypt planning nuclear power launch (is that safe?)

Nuclear plant tender to launch by year’s end; winning country to finance project: El-Osery, Daily News Egypt Sara Aggour  /   July 20, 2014  Egypt is to launch a global tender for its first Dabaa nuclear plant by the end of 2014, said Ibrahim El-Osery, the Ministry of Electricity’s adviser for nuclear energy

Speaking to the Daily News Egypt, El-Osery said the plant will be located in the Matruh governorate, with Egypt paying for the implementation expenses after operations start.

“One of the tender’s conditions is that whoever wins will take the responsibility of financing the project till its implementation,” said El-Osery……..http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2014/07/20/nuclear-plant-tender-launch-years-end-winning-country-finance-project-el-osery/

July 21, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Egypt, politics | Leave a comment

The risks of stolen nuclear materials

safety-symbol-Smflag-IraqStolen uranium compounds not only dirty bomb ingredients within ISIS’ grasp, say experts By  July 15, 2014 FoxNews.com   Plenty of materials for a potential dirty bomb are likely scattered throughout the area of Iraq controlled by ISIS, and pulling off an attack that spreads even a minor amount of radiation could be a huge PR coup for the terror group, experts told FoxNews.com.

Last week, the Iraqi government in Baghdad warned the UN that ISIS operatives had stolen 88 pounds of uranium compounds from Mosul University. Even though many experts said the research materials were not enough to cause widespread harm, spreading fear is even more important to terrorists than a big body count, one terrorism expert said. And with ISIS in control of a huge swath of northern Iraq and parts of Syria that includes research labs, hospitals and industrial sites, ingredients for radiation-spreading bombs are within its grasp.

“Obtaining radiological material from places like universities or hospitals is relatively easy if you have the firepower, a chaotic situation and jihadists willing to sacrifice their health handling it,” said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for The Clarion Project, a think tank that studies Islamic extremism. “We aren’t talking about producing a nuclear bomb; just combining an explosive with radioactive material.”……..

text-radiationthe risk posed by the lower-level nuclear materials potentially within ISIS’ reach is shared by the group itself. Handling of nuclear materials is extremely dangerous, a fact underscored last December when a truck containing highly radioactive cobalt-60 was stolen en route from a Mexican hospital to a disposal site. The theft triggered alerts throughout Mexico, as well as international notifications to the U.S. and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and stoked fears the material could have been stolen to make a dirty bomb. …..http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/07/15/stolen-uranium-compounds-not-only-dirty-bomb-ingredients-within-isis-grasp/

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Iraq, safety | Leave a comment

Israel’s nuclear reactors targeted by Hamas rockets

exclamation-flag-IsraelHamas Commits Act Of Nuclear Terrorism, According To U.N Definition The Daily Caller 10 July 14,  In the latest step in a war of attrition with Israel, Hamas targeted one of the country’s nuclear reactors with rockets — an act which escalates the recent outburst of violence in the area to the level of nuclear combat.

An act of terrorism against a nuclear reactor in any form is defined as terrorism, as set out by the United Nation’s 2005 International Convention for the Suspicion of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

According to the United Nations, “any nuclear reactor, including reactors installed on vessels, vehicles, aircraft or space objects for use as an energy source in order to propel such vessels, vehicles, aircraft or space objects or for any other purpose,” or “any plant or conveyance being used for the production, storage, processing or transport of radioactive material.”

Three rockets were fired towards Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona, but the rockets were intercepted, and there are no signs of damage to the reactor. Immediately after the attack, Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets, stating that they launched long range M-75 rockets towards the reactor in southern Israel……..: http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/10/hamas-commits-act-of-nuclear-terrorism-according-to-u-n-definition/#ixzz37JCyTK6G

July 12, 2014 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Dirty bomb could be made from stolen Iraqi uranium

safety-symbol-Smflag-IraqStolen Iraqi uranium could make dirty bomb THE AUSTRALIAN  THE TIMES JULY 12, 2014 INTERNATIONAL fears increased yesterday as it was revealed that Islamic State terrorists have seized 40kg of radioactive uranium in Iraq, which some experts say could be used to make a dirty bomb.

The revelation followed reports this week that they may have obtained chemical weapons when they seized a factory in Iraq.

The jihadists from the Islamic State (known formerly as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) seized the uranium after they overran a university complex in the city of Mosul, in their swift offensi­ve across northern Iraq.

The Iraqi government has appealed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for international help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad”……http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/stolen-iraqi-uranium-could-make-dirty-bomb/story-fnb64oi6-1226986185204

July 12, 2014 Posted by | Iraq, safety | Leave a comment

ISIS insurgents get hold of nuclear materials in Iraq

safety-symbol1flag-IraqIraq tells UN that ‘terrorist groups’ have seized nuclear materials  SMH, July 10, 2014 – Michelle Nichols New York: ISIL insurgents in Iraq have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country’s north, Iraq has told the United Nations in a letter appealing for help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad”.

Nearly 40 kilograms of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University, Iraq’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a letter this week.

“Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Mr Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction”. However, US security sources said it would be difficult to make weapons from the material.

“These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts,” Mr Alhakim said.

He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.

A US government source familiar with the matter said the materials were not believed to be enriched uranium and therefore would be difficult to use to manufacture into a weapon………http://www.smh.com.au/world/iraq-tells-un-that-terrorist-groups-have-seized-nuclear-materials-20140710-zt2eb.html#ixzz378WRoppD

July 10, 2014 Posted by | incidents, Iraq | Leave a comment

Internal radiation emitters causing cancers, birth deformities: depleted uranium’s legacy in Iraq

Fallujah-babyDepleted Uranium And The Iraq War’s Legacy Of Cancer, Mint Press News,  Depleted uranium was used in Iraq warzone weaponry, and now kids are playing in contaminated fields and the spent weapons are being sold as scrap metal. By   @FrederickReese | July 2, 2014 As instability in Iraq is forcing the United States to consider a third invasion of the Middle Eastern nation, the consequences of the first two invasions are coming into focus. For large sectors of the Iraqi population, American intervention has led to sharp spikes in the rates of congenital birth defects, premature births, miscarriages and leukemia cases.

According to Iraqi government statistics, the rate of cancer in the country has skyrocketed from 40 per 100,000 people prior to the First Gulf War in 1991, to 800 per 100,000 in 1995, to at least 1,600 per 100,000 in 2005.

The culprit behind all of these health issues is depleted uranium, a byproduct of uranium enrichment. With a mass fraction a third of what fissile uranium would have, depleted uranium emits less alpha radiation — up to 60 percent less than natural uranium, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. This “relative” safety offered a rationale for many nations — particularly, the U.S. — to put the waste material to use.

As depleted uranium is 1.67 times denser than lead, a depleted uranium projectile can be smaller than an equivalent lead projectile but produce similar results. This smaller size means a smaller diameter, less aerodynamic drag and a smaller area of impact, meaning that depleted uranium bullets can travel faster and inflict more pressure on impact, causing deeper penetration. Additionally, depleted uranium is incendiary and self-sharpening, making depleted uranium ideal for anti-tank ammunition. It is also used as armor plating for much of America’s tank fleet.

The problem with using depleted uranium, however, lies in the fact that depleted uranium is mostly de-energized. In practical terms, depleted uranium can have — at a minimum — 40 percent the radioactivity of natural uranium with a half-life that can be measured in millennia (between 703 million to 4.468 billion years). While the depleted uranium presents little to no risk to health via radiation due to its relatively weak radioactivity, direct internal contact with the heavy metal can have chemical toxicity effects on the nervous system, liver, heart and kidneys, with DNA mutations and RNA transcription errors being reported in the case of depleted uranium dust being absorbed in vitro.

While depleted uranium is not as toxic as other heavy metals, such as mercury or lead, pronounced toxicity is still possible through repeated or chronic exposure………http://www.mintpressnews.com/depleted-uranium-iraq-wars-legacy-cancer/193338/

July 9, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, health, Iraq, Reference | Leave a comment

Iran reduces its planned nuclear enrichment program

diplomacy-not-bombsIran eases demands for nuclear capacity at Vienna talks: Western diplomats BY LOUIS CHARBONNEAU AND PARISA HAFEZI  VIENNA Thu Jul 3, 2014 (Reuters) - Iran has reduced demands for the size of its future nuclear enrichment program in talks with world powers although Western governments are urging Tehran to compromise further, Western diplomats close to the negotiations said on Thursday.

The diplomats, who spoke to Reuters at the start of a two-week round of negotiations between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, said that despite some movement from Tehran it would not be easy to clinch a deal by their self-imposed deadline for a deal of July 20.

Tehran’s shift relates to the main sticking point in the talks – the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges Iran will maintain if a deal is reached to curb its nuclear program in exchange for a gradual end of sanctions. Ending the decade-long dispute over Iran’s nuclear ambitions is seen as instrumental to defusing tension and averting a new Middle East war.

“Iran has reduced the number of centrifuges it wants but the number is still unacceptably high,” a Western diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity and without further detail……….

Other disputes include the duration of any nuclear deal, the timetable for ending the sanctions, and the fate of a research reactor that could yield significant quantities of plutonium, an alternative fuel for nuclear weapons.

The current round of talks in the Austrian capital will run until at least July 15.  (Additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl in Vienna and Mehrdad Balali in Dubai; Editing byMark Heinrichhttp://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/03/us-iran-nuclear-exclusive-idUSKBN0F810H20140703

July 5, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Netherlands reveal facts on US use of depleted uranium weapons in civilian areas

depleted-uraniumUS fired depleted uranium rounds in civilian areas during 2003 Iraq campaign – report http://rt.com/news/167220-depleted-uranium-us-iraq/ June 20, 2014 US-led forces in Iraq used depleted uranium weapons in civilian-populated areas during the 2003 military campaign, according to a new Dutch NGO study that also exposes a lack of adequate cleanup efforts by the invading troops.

Depleted uranium used by US forces blamed for birth defects and cancer in Iraq

For the first time the location of several sites where the invaders fired some 10,000 depleted uranium rounds were released by the Dutch Defense Ministry, and published in a study by Dutch peace group PAX.

Most of the DU rounds fired by the US-led coalition were in heavily populated areas, the group says. Samawah, Nasiriyah and Basrah are just some urban areas where ammunition was deployed – with around 1,500 anti-armor rounds fired directly at Saddam Hussein’s infantry forces. The GPS coordinates of DU rounds were initially handed over to the Dutch Defense Ministry because the Netherlands was worried about the potential contamination of its own troops in the country. The ministry later shared the information with PAX under a freedom of information law.

Most of the firing locations remain unknown, as more than 300,000 DU rounds are believed to have been fired by US-led coalition.

NGO says that the health risks of more than 440,000 kg of DU fired by Western forces remains unclear, as “neither coalition forces nor the Iraqi government have supported health research into civilian DU exposure.”

“Coalition forces were aware of the potential health and environmental impact of DU munitions, yet refrained from undertaking the necessary clean-up of DU outside their own bases,” a summary of the report reads.

Wim Zwijnenburg, the author of the report, said the US Air Force knew of the consequences of using DU ammunition.

“The use of DU against these targets questions the adherence of coalition forces to their own principles and guidelines. They should be held accountable for the consequences,” Zwijnenburg said, citing a 1975 memo from the Air Force Office of the Judge Advocate that restricted the use of such ammunition.

“Use of this munition solely against personnel is prohibited if alternative weapons are available,” the memo said, because of “unnecessary suffering and poison.”

According to an earlier PAX report, more than 300 sites in Iraq are currently contaminated with depleted uranium and it would cost at least $30 million to clean up.

June 24, 2014 Posted by | depleted uranium, Iraq, USA | Leave a comment

Detailed study shows that Iran would take years (not months) to build a nuclear weapon

flag-IranBuilding Nuclear Weapon Would Take Years, Not Months, Iran Says in Report NYT, By JUNE 12, 2014 WASHINGTON — The Iranian government this week published its first detailed study of how long it estimates it would take its scientists and engineers to assemble a nuclear weapon, saying that with its current infrastructure, “the required time span is in years.”

Iran described the estimate as entirely hypothetical, and it was clearly intended to allay fears that Iran has the ability to race for a bomb. ……http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/13/world/middleeast/iran-building-nuclear-weapon-would-take-years-not-months-us-disputes-estimate.html?_r=0

June 16, 2014 Posted by | Iran, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Despite differences, nuclear pact between Iran and West may be within reach

diplomacy not bombs 1Iran: Nuclear Pact ‘Within Reach,’ Despite Yawning Divide http://www.nationaljournal.com/global-security-newswire/iran-nuclear-pact-within-reach-despite-yawning-divide-20140613 Iran said a landmark nuclear pact may be “within reach,” though a chasm persists between negotiators on key issues, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“We’re both very close and very far” from a deal with the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Thursday. The sides are seeking terms to lift sanctions on Iran and to impose long-term limits on its atomic efforts, which are seen by Washington and its allies as a cover for pursuing a nuclear-bomb capability.

“We all want to get the job done by July 20,” Araqchi added, referring to the expiration date for an interim accord that his nation reached in November with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

 Washington on Thursday also reaffirmed its goal to finalize a successor agreement by the cutoff date.

“Our focus remains on the July 20 deadline and that has not changed,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

Analysts, though, warned that a renewal of the short-term deal appears to be a growing possibility, Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday.

“I doubt that an extension is being formally discussed, because that would be to admit failure to meet the July 20 deadline,” former U.S. State Department official Mark Fitzpatrick said. “But some discussion of it must be underway informally.” Western powers may only agree to an extension if Tehran indicates it “will make substantial concessions and come down from hard-line positions,” said Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

He added, though, that the sides “have been drafting documents in preparation for an eventual extension for a long time.”

June 14, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran cutting nuclear reactor output of plutonium, by a new design

Iran says ‘redesigning’ nuclear reactor to cut plutonium capacity Iran’s atomic energy chief offers to reduce Arak nuclear output to about one-tenth of previously planned level. Haaretz, By Reuters | Jun. 12, 2014 Iran is “busy redesigning” a planned research reactor to sharply cut its potential output of plutonium – a potential nuclear bomb fuel, a senior Iranian official said in comments that seemed to address a key dispute in negotiations with world powers.

The future of the Arak plant is among several issues that negotiators from Iran and six world powers need to resolve if they are to reach a deal by late July on curbing the country’s nuclear programme in exchange for an end to sanctions……..

The amount of plutonium the reactor will be able to yield will be reduced to less than 1 kg (2.2 pounds) from 9-10 kg (20-22 pounds) annually in its original design, he said. Western experts say 9-10 kg would be enough for 1-2 nuclear bombs and that Arak’s capacity should be scaled back.

“We are currently busy redesigning that reactor to arrange for that alteration,” Salehi was quoted by IRNA as saying.

After talks with senior U.S. officials earlier this week, Iran questioned whether the July 20 deadline for a permanent settlement with the powers was feasible. If not, Tehran said the negotiations could be extended for six months. http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.598410

June 13, 2014 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iranian Islamic leader stresses fatwa against all nuclear weapons

antinuke-worldSmflag-IranLeader nuclear fatwa addresses entire world: Analyst http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/06/11/366530/leader-nfatwa-directed-at-entire-world/ The fatwa by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei against the development of nuclear weapons is addressed to all world countries, an analyst tells Press TV.

“I wish the world leaders and the mass media would pay more attention and engage in more dialogue about the importance of this religious fatwa that prohibits production and use of nuclear weapons,” Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi told Press TV in aninterview.

On February 22, 2012, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Islamic Republic considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons “a grave sin” from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.

Elahi said nuclear weapons seriously threaten the “destiny of humanity and democracy,” adding, “The wisdom of this message [of Ayatollah Khamenei] is that all of us work together to bring dialogue instead of deception and destruction…; to end violence and terrorism and extremism instead of bringing more threat.”

Elahi stated that nuclear weapons must be prohibited so that they would never fall into the hands of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda who “would not hesitate to use” them against humanity.

“So we need to learn the lesson from our faith traditions and also moral principles to pay more attention to this message,” he said.

Iran has repeatedly called for turning the Middle East into a region free of nuclear weapons. Israel is widely believed to be the only possessor of nuclear arms in the Middle East, with an estimated stockpile of 200-400 nuclear warheads. In its Yearbook 2012, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said Israel possesses at least 80 “highly operational” nuclear warheads.

The Israeli regime, which rejects all international nuclear regulatory agreements, maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity over its nuclear activities and refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspections.

June 12, 2014 Posted by | Iran, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Israel’s expensive and secretive nuclear weapons industry

The nuclear threat to Israel’s economy One wonders if, under the nose of Israeli society, there hasn’t sprung up another predatory monster of wasteful spending, inflated salaries and sky-high pensions. Haaretz, By  | Jun. 9, 2014 Defense Ministry director general Dan Harel recently revealed that the 2014 outlay for “special means” is 4.5 billion shekels ($1.3 billion) and that it’s expected to grow next year by 600 million shekels. Haaretz Editor-in-Chief Aluf Benn, writing in this newspaper on June 3, derived from this information that in closed rooms, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows how to be decisive. But the emphasis shouldn’t be on the prime minister’s decision-making abilities, but on the closed rooms. Given these scary numbers, one suspects that the heavy veil of secrecy Israel imposes on its nuclear capabilities has nothing to do with security, but simply enables an absurd budget free-for-all.

Israel has never officially admitted that it has a nuclear military option, which has choked off any effort to conduct a debate about it. How can one discuss something without information……… The real debate, the one that should occupy every responsible and concerned citizen, is the debate on quantity-cost-benefit. The right question to ask is not necessarily whether Israel needs an atom bomb, but how many bombs it needs……..
what need are we referring to? Under what scenario did Israel’s nuclear planners think 70 or 80 bombs wouldn’t be enough? And why over the years did it produce so many bombs, even as it was observing the dynamics (crazy as they were) of the Cold War being conducted by the two world powers? Even if we assume there’s a need to disperse means among several geographic locations and for the simultaneous arming of several planes and submarines to allow for the famous “second strike” option, where does one draw the line? For how many first or second strikes does a small country have to prepare?
…….. It’s akin to a man taking out 80 life insurance policies. It looks like an illogical decision. There are apparently people who made a lot of money out of this.

We’re not just talking about the possibility of a historic economic blunder. There’s a problem right now. Based on publications here and abroad, if 10 years ago, Israel had stopped making new bombs, then is it possible that storage, upkeep and maintaining readiness would cost 4.5 billion shekels a year? And if production has indeed stopped, then why is a budget increase of 13 percent slated for next year? One wonders if, under the nose of Israeli society, under the wings of the director of security of the defense establishment and out of fear of the Holy of Holies, there hasn’t sprung up another predatory monster of wasteful spending, inflated salaries and sky-high pensions. http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.597629

June 11, 2014 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA gives Vietnam a better nuclear deal than it gave to UAE

Pride and pragmatism: The UAE’s nuclear strategy, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 2 JUNE 2014 Lauren Carty When the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an agreement for nuclear cooperation in 2009, the terms of the deal were quickly heralded as a gold standard for US nuclear negotiations and nonproliferation goals. Not only did the UAE agree to forgo uranium enrichment and nuclear waste reprocessing—an unprecedented concession in a bilateral agreement of this type—but the United States also retained the right to order the UAE to remove special fissionable material “if exceptional circumstances of concern from a nonproliferation standpoint so require.”

For its part, the United States agreed that it would not extend terms more favorable than these to any other non-nuclear-weapon state in the Middle East in a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement. The Emirates, however, probably did not foresee the United States backing off its high standards in future agreements with countries outside the Middle East, such as the 2014 agreement with Vietnam that is awaiting Congress’ likely approval. In spite of the Emirates’ subtle animosity over the more flexible US-Vietnam agreement, they have taken it in stride, and have actually used it as an opportunity to lead and exert dominance over the Arab world, as well as to boast of their commitments to sustainability and clean energy technologies.

A double standard? Unlike any other US nuclear agreement to share certain nuclear technologies with its allies, the 2009 arrangement included the stipulation that the UAE must import low enriched uranium rather than building its own enrichment facilities. Some analysts were puzzled when, five years later, the United States entered into a nuclear cooperation deal with Vietnam that allowed the country to enrich uranium. If the gold standard had been established with the UAE in 2009, why did the United States not apply it to Vietnam? Outmaneuvering China is one answer to this question, along with the fact that Vietnam hardly has the infrastructure to undertake a viable enrichment program. These considerations gave the United States incentive to create nuclear foreign policy on a case-by-case basis.

Whatever the reasons for the discrepancy, the UAE is fully aware that it received the short end of the stick………

Nuclear power is just part of the UAE’s strategy for meeting future energy demands. Abu Dhabi—one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE—has become the headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency, an organization of 163 countries including the United States and the European Union. Another emirate, Dubai, looks to gain recognition for its environmental sustainability efforts, aiming to be in the top 10 carbon-neutral cities in the world by the end of the decade……http://thebulletin.org/pride-and-pragmatism-uae%E2%80%99s-nuclear-strategy7219

June 5, 2014 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

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