(December 9, 2005) France's highest appeals court, the Court for Annulment has confirmed that Cogema was indeed guilty of illegally importing and storing Australian nuclear waste for the last four years. The regional Court of Appeal in Caen had already come to that conclusion in April but Cogema had appealed. Greenpeace and Cogema have been locked in battle over this issue since March 2001 and on December 7 the Court of Annulment finally closed the case by agreeing with the Court of Appeal decision that spent nuclear fuel is in fact radioactive nuclear waste and not an "intermediate-stage product" as Cogema had argued. The decision is expected to open the floodgates for further challenges on the issue of nuclear waste and casts doubt on the fate of all nuclear waste stored by Areva. Well done to all concerned!
Platts Nuclear News Flashes and Greenpeace by e-mail, December 7, 2005; Greenpeace press release, April 12, 2005
60-year extension for aged plant?
(December 9, 2005) India's first nuclear power plant, the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS) could be kept in operation for another 60 years according to a senior official at the plant. Reports have appeared in the media suggesting that the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd, which operates all NPPs in India, favour extending the lifetime of the plant way beyond that specified by its designers.
Mumbai Mirror, December 8, 2005
Japan's 54th nuclear reactor.
(December 9, 2005) The Higashidori plant, a 1,100-megawatt boiling water reactor, has become the first commercial reactor to open in Aomori Prefecture, Japan. Aomori is already home to a reprocessing plant and a high-level waste storage facility. The plant started operation on December 8 and brings the number of nuclear plants in Japan to 54.
www.japantoday.com, December 8, 2005
Mihama No. 3 restarting.
(December 9, 2005) Kansai Electric Power Co. has received permission from Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to restart the Mihama No. 3 reactor nearly a year and a half after a fatal accident at the unit. The No. 3 unit will be the last of Kansai's reactors to restart after the government ordered all eleven of the company's reactors to be shut down for inspections following the deaths of five workers at Mihama in August 2004. (See also WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor 615.5635 "Mihama, Japan: Tracking down the truth")
www.Bloomberg.com, December 6, 2005
US report calls on Israel to disarm.
(December 9, 2005) A report commissioned and partly funded by the Pentagon has stated that Israel would need to begin nuclear disarmament in order for Iran's nuclear development to be contained and a nuclear arms race in the region avoided. "Getting Ready for a Nuclear Ready Iran" published by the US Army War College argues that military and diplomatic tactics cannot stop Iran's nuclear development and recommends that the US government persuades Israel to mothball its Dimona nuclear reactor and agree to international monitoring by the IAEA. The full report is available at www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB629.pdf
Arab News, November 28, 2005
Greens delay Belene.
(December 9, 2005) In Bulgaria environmental groups and the Greens have been successful in their latest attempt to challenge the government on its plans for the Belene nuclear power plant. The Supreme Administrative Court agreed that the tender process for the plant should be delayed since the government approval for the construction was based on an environmental impact assessment that is still being challenged.
www.neimagazine.com, November 23, 2005
Bulgaria wants more decommissioning funds.
(December 9, 2005) Bulgaria is seeking an additional 280 million Euro from the European Commission for closing four reactors at Kozlodui nuclear power plant early. To date, Bulgaria has already received 550 million Euros for work towards the shutdown of the reactors.
Sofia Echo, November 25, 2005
KEDO project scrapped.
(December 9, 2005) The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) has finally decided to scrap the 1994 project pledged by the U.S. to North Korea that would have seen two light-water nuclear reactors built in the country. The 1994 U.S.-North Korea nuclear agreement has been suspended since October 2002 when the U.S. said that North Korea had admitted to running an illicit uranium enrichment program.
Kyodo News, November 23, 2005
Activists arrested at Borssele, NL.
(December 9, 2005) Eleven Greenpeace activists were arrested after breaking into the grounds of the Borssele nuclear power plant to protest against plans to extend the plants lifetime and to demonstrate how lax security is at the plant. The Dutch government is expected to discuss the matter keeping Borssele open until 2033 in the coming weeks with a final decision to made early next year.
AFP, November 23, 2005
U.S. wants new nuclear bombs.
(December 9, 2005) U.S. nuclear weapons labs are drawing up plans for new nuclear bombs to replace the ageing arsenal - which incidentally should be destroyed (and not replaced) according to some bothersome treaty or other…
www.npr.org, November 17, 2005
Mugabe to go nuclear?
(December 9, 2005) Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has told state radio of a recently discovered uranium deposit that will eventually be exploited and used to generate electricity. Experts have questioned whether the deposits are large enough to support a viable mine and where Mugabe would find the financial and technical expertise to build a nuclear reactor. Zimbabwe is known to have close ties to both North Korea and Iran.
The Sydney Morning Herald, November 22, 2005
Waste transport opposed.
(December 9, 2005) German activists were arrested after demonstrating on the track and delaying a train transporting nuclear waste from the La Hague reprocessing facility in France to the Gorleben storage depot in northern Germany. Farmer's tractors were also confiscated after they formed a barricade along the route. Some 15,000 police (equipped with water cannons and tear gas) are guarding the nuclear waste transfer - no doubt at the expense of the taxpayer - from over 3,000 peaceful protestors
The Independent, November 22, 2005; Reuters, November 21, 2005