Pope concerned over North Korea’s nuclear testing, Crux, Inés San Martín
“The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there,” says Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Vatican Undersecretary for Relations with States. ROME-Watching the continuing tension on the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea carrying out nuclear tests, a Vatican’s representative has expressed Pope Francis’s concerns to Vienna’s International Atomic Energy Agency.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said on Tuesday that he could confirm that, considering the “delicate situation on the Korean Peninsula,” the Vatican’s Undersecretary for Relations with States, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, had reiterated in Vienna “the concern of the Holy Father and the Holy See about the continuing tensions in the area on account of the nuclear tests carried out by North Korea.”
Last Tuesday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) had reported that North Korea had successfully conducted a ground test of a new type of high-powered rocket engine.
Camillieri was speaking as the Vatican representative in the 60th General Assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEG), taking place in Vienna Sept. 26-30.
“We view the situation in the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] with grave concern,” Camillieri said in his remarks. “The Holy See supports continued efforts by the international community to revive negotiations over denuclearization and to enable the IAEA to resume its critical role in nuclear verification there.”
The Vatican representative also said the Church welcomes the IAEA’s participation in the “verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” adding that the Holy See sees this agreement positively…….. Talking about disarmament, he again quoted Francis, but this time from the pontiff’s message to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in 2014, when the Argentine pope said that spending on these weapons squanders a country’s wealth.
“To prioritize such spending is a mistake and a misallocation of resources which would be far better invested in the areas of integral human development, education, health and the fight against extreme poverty. When these resources are squandered, the poor and the weak living on the margins of society pay the price,” the pope had said in the message Camillieri quoted on Tuesday. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2016/09/27/pope-concerned-north-koreas-nuclear-testing/
South Korea and Japan tempted to develop nuclear weapons, in response to North Korea’s nuclear test?
Will North Korea’s Nuclear Test Tempt South Korea and Japan to Go Nuclear?The latest test may strengthen calls South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons. The Diplomat, By Pang Zhongying September 27, 2016 North Korea’s latest nuclear test strengthened the sections of public opinion that approve of obtaining nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan. The test, then, could bring about a chain reaction and accelerate the pace of Japanese and South Korean efforts to possess nuclear weapons. Under these circumstances, China will face not only a threat from the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, but also the further deterioration of Northeast Asia’s strategic environment.
In my opinion, the biggest challenge posed to China by this North Korean nuclear test is that South Korea’s domestic support for nuclear weapons may increase. Since Kim Jong-un assumed leadership of North Korea — especially this year — public support for possessing nuclear weapons and turning South Korea into a nuclear state has reached a certain scale. South Korea has been protected by the U.S nuclear umbrella, but now more and more people in South Korea want to build up a domestic nuclear deterrent to balance against North Korea.
On July 1, President Park Geun-hye suddenly decided to deploy the U.S. THAAD system in South Korea. In the following two months, domestic voices advocating for possessing and/or developing nuclear weapons have been constantly coming from South Korea. These voices will get even louder after the latest nuclear test in North Korea. It is said that the tested nuclear warhead was miniaturized, but its blast is estimated to be very large. Readings of the seismic activity in North Korea indicate that the test was very successful. Therefore, South Korea is currently enveloped by the sense of a national security crisis and many now believe that it is not enough to only have United States’ nuclear protection. So North Korea’s nuclear test may further stimulate South Korea to acquire nuclear weapons or develop nuclear weapons, which is also a big challenge for the United States………http://thediplomat.com/2016/09/will-north-koreas-nuclear-test-tempt-south-korea-and-japan-to-go-nuclear/
- The two countries will simulate attacks on nuclear facilities and sudden missile strikes
- The announcement comes after North Korea conducted a nuclear test this month
Four South Korea nuclear reactors suspended due to earthquakes http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-quake-nuclearpower-idUSKCN11I1X5
South Korea’s nuclear operator said early on Tuesday it suspended operation of four reactors at a nuclear power complex as a precaution late on Monday after two earthquakes struck the country’s southeast.
The earthquakes, of magnitude 5.1 and 5.8, occurred on Monday night near the city of Gyeongju, according to South Korea’s meteorological agency.
The 5.8 magnitude earthquake was the strongest recorded in South Korea, an official at the meteorological agency said.
Two injuries had been reported as a result of the quake, but no serious damage had been immediately reported, the agency said.
State-run Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co shut down the Wolsong No.1, Wolsong No.2, Wolsong No.3 and Wolsong No.4 reactors, with a combined capacity of 2,779 megawatts, an official with the operator said.
It was not immediately clear when the four reactors would restart. The shutdown of the four takes the number of reactors offline in the country to seven, according to KHNP website. KHNP, owned by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO), operates 25 nuclear reactors in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
(Reporting by Jane Chung,Ju-min Park; Editing by Tony Munroe and Alison Williams)
S Korea draws up plan to destroy Pyongyang https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/32588140/s-korea-draws-up-plan-to-destroy-pyongyang/#page1 AAP on September 11, 2016,
“Every Pyongyang district, particularly where the North Korean leadership is possibly hidden, will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosive shells as soon as the North shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon. In other words, the North’s capital city will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map,” reported South Korean news agency Yonhap, citing a military official.
The details of the operation came to light after the South Korean Defence Ministry unveiled the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) plan in front of the National Assembly in response to the latest nuclear test by North Korea.
The plan is to carry out pre-emptive strikes against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the country’s military leadership if any signs of an imminent use of nuclear weapons is detected or in case of a war, the official explained.
In such a scenario, South Korea will deploy its Hyunmoo 2A and Hyunmoo 2B ballistic missiles, with a range of between 300 and 500 kilometres as well as the Hyunmoo-3 cruise missiles with a range of 1000 kilometres.
In mid-August, Seoul announced its intention to significantly boost its arsenal of missiles to counter the growing military threat from North Korea.
Another source cited by Yonhap said Seoul recently set up a special unit in charge of targeting North Korea’s top military leadership and “launching retaliatory attacks on them.”
North Korea conducted its fifth and largest-ever nuclear test on Friday, claiming it had tested a nuclear warhead that can be fitted onto missiles.
The deal, if it goes ahead, would add momentum to Moorside at a time when the rival Hinkley Point nuclear power project in Somerset has been thrown into doubt by concerns about its high cost and the role of Chinese investors in the scheme.
Theresa May, prime minister, is expected to decide this month whether to go ahead with Hinkley, led by EDF of France with Chinese backing, after ordering a review of the £18bn project.
NuGen sees the uncertainty as a chance to leapfrog Hinkley in the race to build the first new nuclear reactor in the UK for more than two decades. However, it is still years behind EDF in securing financing and regulatory approval for its project.
For Kepco, an investment in Moorside would be a chance to gain a foothold in the UK as it builds its presence in the global nuclear industry.
The Cumbrian plant — designed to provide power for 6m homes — would be supplied with reactors by Westinghouse, the US subsidiary of Toshiba. But Kepco sees the UK as a potential future market for its own technology.
South Korea has set a goal to become the world’s third-largest exporter of nuclear reactors by 2030 and has already won a $20bn contract in Abu Dhabi. Tom Samson, chief executive of NuGen, is former chief operating officer of the Abu Dhabi company, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, which struck that deal.
Kepco is not without controversy, having been rocked by a domestic safety scandal three years ago. The country’s atomic watchdog said safety certificates for thousands of components procured by Korean reactors over the previous nine years had been forged. An ally of Kepco said the scandal was behind it and the group was now seen as “a first division player” in nuclear power.
The group, 51 per cent owned by the South Korean government, first entered talks with NuGen three years ago, but no deal was reached. Four people with knowledge of the situation said talks had since resumed and made progress over a potential equity stake in NuGen as well as a possible role in construction.
NuGen declined to comment on Kepco but said it had a “universe of options for financing” and was talking to a variety of potential investors and contractors. Kepco could not be immediately reached for comment.
The UK government has put nuclear power at the heart of its energy policy, with a target for 14GW of generating capacity from new reactors by 2035. However, its refusal to inject public money has left ministers dependent on foreign investors to finance the programme.
As well as Hinkley and Moorside, Hitachi of Japan also has plans for reactors at Wylfa in Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire. EDF and its Chinese state-backed partner CGN are planning further reactors at Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex.
The latter project has been the focus of close scrutiny from Downing Street since Mrs May became prime minister because Bradwell would involve Chinese rather than French reactor technology.
New nuclear power stations are seen as crucial to UK energy security in the coming decades as dirty coal-fired power stations and old nuclear reactors are phased out. But critics say nuclear is too expensive and believe a mix of renewables and natural gas could keep the lights on at a lower cost while still reducing carbon emissions.
That presented a problem for Park Won-soon, the eco-minded human rights lawyer elected mayor of Seoul eight months after the disaster……..
Nearly a year after the Fukushima disaster, Park unveiled the city’s flagship energy policy, dubbed the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” initiative. It aimed to reduce overall energy consumption and became the cornerstone of Seoul’s plan to overhaul its power production, in part by encouraging more people to install solar panels on rooftops. Park set a goal of cutting energy use by one nuclear power plant’s output, the equivalent of 2 million tons of burning oil.
It worked. Seoul reached its target in June 2014 ― six months ahead of schedule, according to a government report. Now, as part of the second phase of the plan, Seoul is working to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tons.
But the plan also highlighted a fissure between the national government and the local leaders of Korea’s capital, a megacity where over half the country’s population lives. The national government has plans to build 11 more plants by 2024.
Seoul also continues to issue feed-in tariffs ― payments to customers who produce their own energy and sell it back to the grid ― to households in hopes of spurring more rooftop solar production, a policy the central government scrapped in 2011.
“We cannot eliminate at once the whole nuclear power [industry],” Park said. “But as an experiment of Seoul, we can, step by step, eliminate [the need for] nuclear power.”
That experiment has yielded some significant progress. A core component of Seoul’s second-phase clean energy plan is electrical “self-reliance.” As part of the plan, the city has invested heavily in solar energy, granting five-year subsidies to small solar plants producing less than 100 kilowatt-hours of energy, according to areport by the consulting giant KPMG.
Just as South Korea has exported its nuclear reactor technology, the country is now becoming a major source of solar energy hardware. Sales of solar panels and other equipment reached $2.01 billion in the first half of this year, a 46.7 percent jump from the same period last year, Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.
For the past two years, Seoul has hosted a three-day fair for investors to showcase upcoming clean energy projects. This year’s fair took place last week. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/seoul-nuclear-energy_us_57d03babe4b03d2d4597b38e
South Korea think tank proposes acquiring nuclear-powered submarines, UPI. By Elizabeth Shim | Sept. 8, 2016 SEOUL, — A South Korean think tank is proposing Seoul retain nuclear-powered submarines in response to North Korea‘s sub-launched ballistic missile provocations.
The Yeouido Research Institute, an organization affiliated with South Korea’s ruling Saenuri party, stated nuclear submarines could be used to deter Pyongyang’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles, local newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported Thursday.
The think tank’s recommendation of “strengthening anti-submarine warfare capabilities” follows a North Korea SLBM launch, most recently on Aug. 24.
“So far surveillance of North Korea submarines has been conducted by reconnaissance satellite, but because real-time tracking is difficult, in order to detect and destroy [North Korean incursions] a careful review of the need for nuclear submarine ownership is necessary,” the think tank said in its statement.
The nuclear submarine issue was previously raised by ruling party majority leader Chung Jin-suk.
There is worry in Seoul, however, that the acquisition of the subs could raise concerns in the United States.
A defense ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the JoongAng there is “no evidence” the United States could prevent South Korea from maintaining nuclear-powered submarines but Washington could place “pressure” on Seoul if South Korea chose to acquire the submarines……..http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2016/09/08/South-Korea-think-tank-proposes-acquiring-nuclear-powered-submarines/1251473348269/
Kenya pens nuclear power deal with South Korea By Anthony Mugo, Citizen Digital2 September 2016 “……Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) penned a Memorandum of Understanding with the Korea Electric Power Corporation, (KEPCO), Korea Nuclear Association for International Cooperation (KNAIC) and the KEPCO International Graduate School (K-INGS).
This partnership deal will help Kenya to obtain important knowledge and expertise from Korea by way of capacity building, specialized training and skills development, as well as technical support for its intended nuclear power program……….This development comes as KNEB is gearing up for feasibility studies to identify potential sites for Kenya’s nuclear power plants as well as undertaking reactor technology assessment aimed at settling on the best option in terms of nuclear power plant model.
Keter has been leading a Kenyan delegation for a four-day nuclear power cooperation visit to South Korea which included a visit to Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Company and the Kori Nuclear Power Plant Complex in Busan.
In May 2016 during the visit by president Park Gun-Hye in the country, the ministry of energy entered into an agreement with the Korea’s ministry of Trade Industry and Energy
The agreement facilitated the exchange of technical information, three specialists as well as training opportunities for Kenyans in Korea’s vast nuclear power industry……..Other than the agreement with South Korea, Kenya has previously signed nuclear power cooperation pacts with Russia, China and Slovakia. https://citizentv.co.ke/business/kenya-pens-nuclear-power-deal-with-south-korea-139655/
South Korea Seeks Indigenous Missile Defense System To Deal With North, Raises 2017 Defense Budget, IBT, BY KUKIL BORA @KUKILBORA ON 08/30/16 The South Korean government on Tuesday raised the country’s 2017 defense budget to build a homegrown missile defense system to better counter growing North Korean missile and nuclear threats. The announcement came nearly a week after Pyongyang test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in an apparent response to the annual Seoul-Washington military drill that will continue till Friday.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the allotted defense budget of 40.3 trillion won ($36.1 billion) — up 4 percent from the previous year — for 2017 was proposed to build the country’s own “Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD)” system to deal with potential North Korean threats. In addition, some 39.9 billion won ($35.7 million) will be used to equip all military barracks with air conditioning systems, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
The KAMD, expected to be deployed by mid-2020s, includes medium-range surface-to-air missiles (M-SAM), long-range surface-to-air missiles (L-SAM), U.S. Patriot missiles and early-warning radars to shoot down missiles fired by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) — the official title for the reclusive nation.
The sped-up efforts to develop the homegrown KAMD comes amid growing tensions in the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test in January, followed by the launch of a long-range rocket in February……http://www.ibtimes.com/south-korea-seeks-indigenous-missile-defense-system-deal-north-raises-2017-defense-2409128
South Korean Nuclear Proponents: Conventional Deterrence is Failing, VOA, Brian Padden, 25 Aug 16 Youmi Kim in Seoul contributed to this report. SEOUL — South Korean advocates of nuclear deterrence say the government in Seoul must pursue its own nuclear weapons programs to defend against North Korea’s growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.
Song Dae-sung, a political science professor at Kunkuk University in Seoul and author of the book Let’s Have Nuclear Power makes the case for a nuclear armed South Korea. “If North Korea becomes a nuclear-armed state and its adversary does not own nuclear power, then the non-nuclear state becomes a slave or hostage of the nuclear state. This is a basic principle of international politics,” said Song.
National Assembly Representative Won Yoo-chul, a leader within of the ruling Saenuri Party, has also been a strong nuclear advocate.
Won has put together a study group in the parliamentary National Defense Committee to assess the risks and benefits of South Korea pursuing its own nuclear program. “The most efficient way to deter nuclear warfare is to have nukes for our self-defense,” Won has said.
Seoul’s nuclear proponents argue that the international sanctions imposed on North Korea for its fourth nuclear test and most recent long-range rocket launch have so far not deterred Pyongyang……..
However, South Korean President Park Geun-hye supports the current deterrence and containment regime that involves a close military alliance with the United States and increasing international pressure on the North Korean government.
Opponents of arming South Korea with nuclear weapons say it would unravel the security architecture that has maintained peace in the region for decades.
“Those guys arguing for the possession of nuclear weapons are first, shortsighted, second, they do not understand the negative consequences of that kind of move, and third, that would lead to a nuclear domino on the Korean Peninsula in Northeast Asia,” said Moon Chung-in, a political science professor with Yonsei University.
While some supporters contend that a nuclear South Korea would exert pressure on North Korea or China, opponents argue it would actually dissipate international support for North Korean sanctions.
“Who I think would absolutely be thrilled with such a development would be North Korea, because if the ROK (Republic of Korea) were to pursue its own nuclear deterrence then it would justify everything they have done,” said regional security analyst Daniel Pinkston with Troy University in Seoul.
The United Nations might also impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on South Korea for developing nuclear weapons in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it signed as a non-nuclear weapons state.
North Korea’s withdraw from the NPT in 2003 is a major justification for the current sanctions in place against it……….
Critics argue that Japan would also likely follow suit and acquire its own nuclear weapons, further increasing regional tensions and the potential for nuclear war in Asia. http://www.voanews.com/a/south-korea-nuclear-proponents-say-conventional-detterence-is-failing/3480128.html
South Korea debates the idea of getting nuclear weapons, in response to North Korea’s military development
South Korea eyes nuclear weapons over North Korea bomb fears, SMH, Peter Hartcher , 9 Aug 16 South Korea will arm itself with nuclear weapons if its rogue neighbour, North Korea, continues to develop the bomb.
This would be a revolutionary step, overturning half a century of opposition to nuclear capability. South Korea has committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. “It will become a domino effect and even South Korea will become concerned and develop nuclear weapons, and maybe Japan as well,” according to a senior official in the Seoul government.
“This will all lead to a big security threat,” the director-general for reunification policy in the Ministry of Unification, Lee Duk-haeng, told Fairfax Media……..
The policy of the South Korean government is opposed to the development of nuclear arms, but the matter is now under lively debate as North Korea persists in its illegal plans.
Like other US allies including Japan and Australia, South Korea enjoys the protection of the US nuclear arsenal, so-called extended nuclear deterrent.
But the US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called this into question.
Mr Trump has said that he is prepared to walk away from the long-standing US alliances with Tokyo and Seoul unless they pay more towards the cost of the US bases on their soil.
He has also said that it might not be a bad thing for South Korea and Japan to develop the bomb, directly contradicting half a century of US non-proliferation policy………
Mr Lee called on all regional governments, including Australia’s, to take a “stern” approach to isolate North Korea over its nuclear development.
Australia has taken recent new sanctions against Pyongyang. And the acting Foreign Affairs Minister, George Brandis, this week announced that “Australia stands ready to list additional individuals and entities associated with the regime’s weapons and missile technology activities”.
In February, South Korea responded to the persistent North Korean nuclear development by opening discussions with the US to install an American missile interception system.
China has reacted furiously to Seoul’s decision to deploy the so-called Terminal High Altitude Area Defence or THAAD………http://www.smh.com.au/world/south-korea-eyes-nuclear-weapons-over-north-korea-bomb-fears-20160809-gqor8m.html
South Korea signs $880 million nuclear reactor staffing deal in UAE http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2016/07/25/South-Korea-signs-880-million-nuclear-reactor-staffing-deal-in-UAE/9691469456937/ The reactors, still under construction, are Korean-designed and made. By Ed Adamczyk ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, July 25 (UPI) — South Korea will manage four nuclear reactors under construction in the United Arab Emirates, a deal worth an estimated $880 million, officials said Monday.
Cho Seok, CEO of state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, signed an operation support services agreement in a ceremony Monday to run the four Korean-made reactors at Barakah, UAE.
Construction of the four reactors began in 2009, with the finish of the first scheduled for May 2017. All four are expected to be completed by 2020. At a signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Mohamed al-Hammadi, CEO of the UAE’s Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp., said, “Over the next decade and beyond, the agreement will continue to build on and enhance the existing long-term nuclear energy partnership between the UAE and South Korea.”
UK proposal to offer subsidy contracts to Russia, China and South Korea to build nuclear power stations!
Russian, Chinese and South Korean nuclear companies should be offered subsidy contracts to build reactors in the UK if they are cheaper than other projects already under development, a prominent nuclear lobbyist has said.
Tim Yeo, the former chairman of the House of Commons energy select committee, said EDF’s proposed £18bn plant at Hinkley Point, which is expected to get the go-ahead this week, should be allowed to proceed, but he urged the Government to rethink its approach to future projects.The Japanese-owned Horizon and Franco-Japanese NuGen consortia are both developing plans for reactors at sites in the UK and hope to secure approval for their technologies and subsidy deals from the Government.
Mr Yeo, the MP for South Suffolk for 32 years until the 2015 general election, now chairs New Nuclear Watch Europe, a lobby group whose members include the Korean nuclear firm Kepco. He urged the Government to “urgently examine which nuclear vendors can deliver the cheapest electricity, maximise the number of UK supply chain jobs and minimise the risk of construction delays”………..
He also advocated a new funding approach under which “most of the construction costs are funded by government borrowing throughout the construction period” to help cut financing costs. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/23/russia-china-and-south-korea-should-be-invited-to-build-uk-nucle/
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has signed an operating support services deal with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power that will see the company dispatch personnel to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant until 2030.
Under the agreement, the Korean firm will provide main control room operators and local operator to support ENEC’s recently launched local operating subsidiary Nawah Energy Company……http://gulfbusiness.com/korea-hydro-nuclear-power-staff-operate-abu-dhabis-barakah-plant/#.V5UxYtJ97Gg
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