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In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Egypt still pursuing N-plant.

(January 24, 1997) Egypt's Electricity Minister Mohammed Maher Abaza told parliament that the country still plans to commence a nuclear reactor at the beginning of the next century. The proposed site, El-Daaba, is located on traditional land of the Sedentary Bedouin tribes, and the project has drawn fierce opposition. But Maher Abaza said on December 23 that the site, 338 kilometers northwest of Cairo between Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh, is the best possible site. He said the site can neither be changed nor reduced. The Nuclear Power Plant Office (NPPO) received a concession for a site covering 45 square kilometers. The government suspended the reactor project after the 1986 Chernobyl accident. NPPO claims it has already paid U.S.$1.47 million to the Bedouins for loss of olive and fig trees, and expects to disburse the same amount in the future. It also does not recognize the claim of ownership of the land presented by 62 individuals.
Nucleonics Week, 2 January 1997

Plutonium "missing in action". According to recently disclosed documents, the United States left about 80 grams of Plutonium in Vietnam when it left the country in 1974 towards the conclusion of the war. The plutonium had been in a research reactor in Dalat in South Vietnam, which had been build in 1959 as part of the "Atoms for Peace" program. In 1975, two American nuclear engineers tried to recover the plutonium, but seized the wrong canister. The U.S. fears the plutonium could have been sold to North Korea or Iran.
The London Times (UK), 17 January 1997

Shooting radwaste to sun. They never disappear: scientists who see shooting nuclear waste to the sun as the ultimate solution for the waste problem. Aretired U.S. Los Alamos scientist, Taylor, claiming to be an anti-nuclear activist, promotes this expensive and dangerous technique. Each launch would carry 45 tons of waste propelled by "ion rockets". Total costs may reach hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars. According to Taylor, the waste containers would survive a launch disaster and even float on water.
UPI 10-12-96

UK: No Nukes at Druridge Bay. Land at Druridge Bay on the coast of Northumberland, earmarked 18 years ago for a nuclear station, is to be sold by the nuclear industry. This signals that Magnox Electric, the company that currently owns the land, no longer has intentions to build a reactor there. The decision is seen as a success for the Druridge Bay Campaign who opposed the eventual building of a nuclear station. The group protested by petitions, letters to the press, demonstrations, contacting politicians, etc.
newsgroup energy.nuclear on Peacenet; Monica Frisch (; 18 December 1996

Cameco acquires U.S. uranium mine. Cameco Corporation, the world's largest uranium mining company, has announced it is buying the North American uranium holdings of Magnox Electric plc for U.S.$ 105 million in cash. These include a major stake in the highland in-situ leach mine in Wyoming, which produces some 500 tons of uranium per year. The deal increases Cameco's reserves by about 10 percent, with the addition of 16,500 tons of U3O8, plus some highly prospective ground in Canada.
ANSTO Quarterly Review 4/96.

Superphenix set for breeder-to-burner conversion. The Superphenix prototype fast breeder reactor, in southeast France, has been shut down in late December for a period of six months, in preparation for a new dual role as a plutonium burner as well as a breeder. The plant operators, the French-led NERSA consortium, announced that during the outage, fuel assemblies would be moved inside the core, within the framework of the "knowledge acquisition program" planned for the reactor. The reconfiguration of the core is aimed at reducing the fast breeder character of the reactor. NERSA says the restart of the plant would take place in June 1997. Superphenix has recently been operating at 90 percent of full power, the limit authorized by the French nuclear regulators.
NucNet, European Nuclear Society, 20 December 1996

Change in World Bank's anti-nuclear policy? The secretary-general of the London-based Uranium Institute, a nuclear industry umbrella organization, thinks he sees a shift in the anti-nuclear policy of the World Bank. Gerald Clark shared his impression to the UK nuclear industry's 1996 Nuclear Congress in London on December 5. But even industry observers wondered whether Clark was being 'a little optimistic". Clark said: "I went to see them last year and found them " as everybody had predicted " pretty negative. But over the course of the past 12 months, they've seemed to be moving in the right direction." Just for the record, "right direction" means the wrong direction. The president of the World Bank had agreed to have a high-level meeting with the UI executive body in January.
Nuclear Fuel, 16 December 1996