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In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

Indonesia passes legislation to allow nuclear plants.

(March 14, 1997) Following a four-year feasibility study completed last May, Indonesia's parliament passed legislation on February 26, to regulate the development of commercial nuclear power in the country. Up to 12 plants are contemplated.
Speaking at the Darwin Uranium '97 conference, Professor A. Djaloeis, deputy director general of BATAN, said that nuclear power along with coal was important to Indonesia's energy security for sustainable economic development. Any imported nuclear power plants must be licensable in the vendor's country, must not exceed a five-year construction time, and should have burn-up capability of 60,000 MW/day per ton of fuel. The Westinghouse AP-600 advanced reactor appears to be the leading contender at this stage.
MANI, the Indonesian Anti-Nuclear Society, is disappointed with the new law in that it makes no reference to the country's existing laws on environmental protection, electricity generation or industry. MANI also fears that the new law was designed to ensure that a nuclear power station would be built without public consultation.
UIC Weekly News 28 February / UI News Briefing 97.09, 4 March 1997

Ukraine: restart Chernobyl-2: According to recent announcements by Goskomatom chairman Viktor Chebrov, the second unit of Chernobyl has been authorized to restart by the end of 1997. He said Chernobyl-2 is due to be restarted in the final quarter of 1997 and would be capable of earning revenues of US$50 million to $60 million per year. Chernobyl-2 has been shut down since a turbine fire in 1991.
Chebrov also said that Goskomatom has 'serious plans' for exporting electricity to Western Europe as well as to Turkey and Eastern Europe.
Uranium Institute News Briefing 97.08; 19-25 February 1997

EU court affirms CIS Uranium-import restriction: The European Union's (EU) Court of First Instance in Luxembourg ruled that the Euratom Supply Agency (ESA) is justified in restricting purchases of low-cost Russian uranium by EU utilities. The court case arose from ESA's decision in December 1993 that a contract between the German Kernkraftwerk Lingen-Ems GmbH and British Nuclear Fuels plc could not include material originating from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The Lingen reactor was planning to import 400 tons of natural uranium from Russia. It tried to do that through BNFL, but ESA became aware of it and that was the end of the deal. According to ESA regulations, only a quarter of the reactors' uranium import is allowed to come from countries in the former Soviet Union. And because Lingen had already used up its quota, approval was not given. While ESA's right to restrict imports of CIS-origin uranium was being upheld in court, the European Commission and the Russian Ministry of Atomic Power, Minatom, agreed to set up a working group to examine nuclear trade between Russia and the EU. The issues under discussion include securing a supply of Russian high-enriched uranium for use in European research reactors and allowing more Russian-origin natural uranium into the European Union.
Uranium Institute News Briefing 97.09: 26 February - 4 March 1997 / DieTageszeitung(FRG), 26 February 1997

Reprocessing in Australia: Australian Science and Technology Minister Mr. McGauran has confirmed that the Cabinet is considering construction of a small reprocessing and waste treatment plant in Australia for spent fuel from the 39-year- old HIFAR research reactor at Lucas Heights, Sydney. Storage space for spent fuel rods is close to capacity. Some spent fuel has been shipped to Dounreay, Scotland, for reprocessing, and a similar arrangement pertains with the US for fuel supplied from there. Part of the proposal involves developing the Australian-invented Synroc technology to immobilize the separated or intermediate-level wastes after reprocessing. There is an argument that reprocessing in Australia would be cheaper than sending the balance of the fuel overseas for reprocessing, and completing the development of Synroc would make it commercially available in a growing market for such technology, not only for high-level waste but also plutonium immobilization.
Uranium Information Centre, Melbourne Australia, Weekly News 7 March 1997

US: Video equipment returned radioactive. A video equipment Northeast Utilities had rented from C & G Video to monitor work evolutions in the radiologically controlled area of its Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant was radioactively contaminated when returned. After the video firm had informed Northeast Utilities about that fact, they sent some experts to investigate the case. They acknowledged the contamination, but denied any danger.
Reuter, 28 February 1997

UK N-tests: Government acted illegally and dishonestly. During 1957 and 1958 British soldiers were exposed to nuclear radiation during atomic bomb tests by the British on Christmas Island (Australia). The past 10 years the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has refused to pay compensation to the veterans who have since got cancer. In a detailed report, the European Commission of Human Rights concluded that the UK government breached Articles 6 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 6 states that "everyone has the right to a fair and public hearing", while Article 8 says that "everyone has the right to respect for his private life". The report says the government deprived the veterans of information about radiation levels vital to fighting the refusal of compensation, for reasons of national security. Two studies in 1988 and 1993 by the MoD claim that the veterans suffered no detectable increase in risk of contracting cancer, although these studies have been criticized by a US advisory committee. That committee argues the veterans should be compensated. The US government paid more than $25 million to 676 people from the Marshall Islands who were farther away from smaller tests than the UK veterans. The UK government paid œ20 million to people exposed to nuclear tests on the Australian continent. The veterans' claims have now referred to the European Court of Human Rights inStrasbourg.
New Scientist, 8 February 1997