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In brief

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#705
12/03/2010
Shorts

RWE looses again: Borssele has to remain in public hands.

RWE failed to gain 50% of the Netherlands' only nuclear power plant at Borssele through its takeover of Dutch utility Essent. The ruling by the Arnhem appeal court upholds an earlier ruling prohibiting Germany's RWE from acquiring Essent's 50% stake in the Borssele nuclear plant as part of its takeover of the Dutch utility. According to Delta, the appeal court decision has emphasized that the country's sole nuclear power plant must remain in public ownership. Any transfer of Essent's share of the plant to RWE would therefore contravene this. In September 2009, the transaction price for RWE's takeover of Essent was dropped by 950 million Euro (then worth US$1.35 billion) to take into account the exclusion of Borssele from the deal while Delta's court case against the proposed transfer was ongoing. Essent's share in the plant has remained in the hands of the provincial and municipal governments who were the company's original public shareholders.
The Dutch coalition government collapsed on February 20, when the two largest parties failed to agree on whether to withdraw troops from Afghanistan this year as planned. Elections are planned on June 9, with an expected right-wing victory. The extreme-right party PVV ('party for freedom') is expected to become one of the largest –or even the largest- party in parliament. The PVV is (besides anti-islam and with racist tendencies) extremely pro-nuclear, anti-wind & solar energy and does not believe in climate change ands speaks consistently about the environmental movement as the 'environmental maffia'.

The just fallen coalition government had agreed not to approve any new nuclear plants in the Netherlands during its mandate. Dutch utility Delta has announced plans to build a second nuclear plant at the site, embarking on the first stage of the pre-application process in June 2009.

German utility RWE has indicated it is also interested in building a nuclear power plant in the Netherlands, RWE CEO Juergen Grossmann said at the company's annual earnings press conference on February 25 in Essen, Germany

World Nuclear News, 3 March 2010 / Platts, 25 february 2010


USDOE: US$40 million for Next Generation Nuclear Plant.

On March 8, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced selections for the award of approximately US$40 million in total to two teams led by Westinghouse Electric Co. and General Atomics for conceptual design and planning work for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP).  The results of this work will help the Administration determine whether to proceed with detailed efforts toward construction and demonstration of the NGNP.  If successful, the NGNP Demonstration Project will demonstrate high-temperature gas-cooled reactor technology that will be capable of producing electricity as well as process heat for industrial applications and will be configured for low technical and safety risk with highly reliable operations.  Final cost-shared awards are subject to the negotiation of acceptable terms and conditions.

The NGNP project is being conducted in two phases.  Phase 1 comprises research and development, conceptual design and development of licensing requirements. The selections announced now will support the development of conceptual designs, cost and schedule estimates for demonstration project completion and a business plan for integrating Phase 2 activities. Phase 2 would entail detailed design, license review and construction of a demonstration plant.

U.S. Department Of Energy, Press Release 8 March 2010


Switzerland: Geneva will fight extension Muhleberg licence.

Geneva City Council has decided to appeal to the Federal Administrative Tribunal against the decision of the federal authorities to allow the 355 MW Mühleberg nuclear plant to continue operating beyond 2012, when it will have been 40 years in service. Geneva will contribute CHF 25,000 (US$23,000 or 17,000 Euro) to help meet the costs of a committee formed to oppose the licence extension. In November 2009 the electorate of the neighbouring canton of Vaud also voted against the extension. The centre-left Social Democrats and the Green Party are also opposing the licence extension.

Power In Europe, 22 February 2010 / Nuclear Monitor 702, 15 January 2010


Uranium mining - victory in Slovakia!

After more than three years of campaigning Slovak parliament finally agreed on legal changes in geological and mining laws in order to stop uranium mining in Slovakia. All the changes were proposed by anti-uranium mining coalition of NGOs led by Greenpeace and supported by over 113 000 people that signed the petition.  For Slovak environmental movement this is a really important milestone. For the first time in Slovak history NGO’s were able to:

1) collect over 100 000 signatures (a number given by law for the Parliament to discuss an issue) - note that Slovakia has 5 million citizens; 2) to open an environmental topic in Slovak parliament by a petition; 3) and finally to achieve a legal change by petition  initiative.

Legal changes agreed by parliament on March 3 are giving more information access and competencies for local communities, municipal and regional authorities to stop or limit geological research of uranium deposits and to stop proposed uranium mining. It’s not a complete ban of uranium mining, but a significant empower of local and regional authorities in the mining permitting process. All 41 municipal authorities influenced by proposed uranium mining already declared that they do not agree with proposed uranium mining in their territories.

The chance that Slovak uranium will stay deep in the ground is much higher today!

Greenpeace Slovensko, Bratislava, 4 March 2010


Uranium from stable and democratic countries?

One of Kazakhstan's most prominent business figures and a former uranium tycoon, Mukhtar Dzhakishev was arrested last year on accusations of corruption, theft and illegal sales of uranium assets to foreign companies. Dzhakishev's case, along with a string of other high-profile arrests in the former Soviet state and world No. 1 uranium producer, has fuelled speculation of an intensifying power struggle within the political elite.

Kazakhstan, hit hard by global economic slowdown, wants to attract fresh foreign investment as well as bolster the role of the state in strategic industries such as uranium and oil. It has also alarmed human rights groups who have questioned Kazakhstan's methods of fighting corruption in a country where President Nursultan Nazarbayev, in power for two decades, tolerates little political dissent.

Dzhakishev, who was head of state uranium major Kazatomprom from 1998 until his arrest and played a key role in turning Kazatomprom into a major global uranium player, has denied all accusations. "It is obvious that I cannot count on justice in my own country and my fate has already been decided," he wrote from his detention centre in a letter published by his lawyers this week. His arrest left Kazatomprom's foreign partners such as Canada's Uranium One worried about the future of their projects. Other investors include France's Areva and Japanese companies such as Toshiba Corporation. Closed-door court hearings into earlier allegations of theft and corruption have already started and lawyers expect a verdict in March.

Reuters, 4 March 2010


Israel to build reactor –but will not allow inspections?

Israel will shortly unveil plans to produce nuclear-generated electricity, officials said on March 8. Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau said Israel, which has a population of 7.5 million and generates electricity mostly using imported coal and local and imported natural gas, is capable of building a nuclear reactor, but it would prefer to work with other countries. Israel already has two reactors -- the secretive Dimona facility in the Negev desert, where it is widely assumed to have produced nuclear weapons, and a research reactor, open to international inspection, at Nahal Soreq near Tel Aviv.

Unlike other countries in the region, Israel has not signed the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is suppose to curb the spread of nuclear technologies with bomb-making potential. Yet Israel does have a delegation at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Landau said it would not be a problem for Israel to build a civilian reactor without signing the NPT: "There are many countries who are not signatories to the NPT and they are doing fine. There are others which are signatories and the world community did not really take proper care against proliferation," he said. Many countries? India, Pakistan and North-Korea (withdrawn), three (excuse me, four with Israel) and 189 signatories, you call that many? Asked whether IAEA inspectors would supervise the building of an Israeli plant, Landau said: "We take care very well of our own needs and don't need inspectors."

Reuters, 8 March 2010

…. And Syria? (March 11, 2010) Meanwhile, Israels' arch-foe Syria responded in Paris saying that Damascus needs "to consider alternative sources of energy, including nuclear energy." Syria's candidacy for the nuclear club will raise some eyebrows too, given the regime's close ties with Iran and the still unanswered questions over an earlier alleged attempt to build a reactor in secret. The International Atomic Energy Agency complained last year that Damascus had refused to cooperate with its investigation of a remote desert site called Dair Alzour, which was bombed by Israel in September 2007. Inspectors have found unexplained traces of uranium at the site, as well as at a nuclear research reactor in Damascus, amid reports that Syria has been working with Tehran and North Korea on covert nuclear programs.

AFP, 9 March 2010


Winter meeting of the Nuclear Heritage Network.

This relatively new network has been very active against uranium mining in Finland and is currently organising a Baltic Sea Info Tour (see http://www.greenkids.de/europas-atomerbe/index.php/Action:Infotour_Aroun...) and preparing new actions against nuclear new-build in the north-east region of Europe .

Their winter meeting will take place from March 24 to 29 in and close by Helsinki, Finland. This includes one day of action, aimed at the to be taken Finnish political decisions on more new nuclear power stations. An important project to be discussed for the summer will be the „Baltic Sea Info Tour“ that will take place to inform people around the Baltic Sea.

More information? Write an email to [email protected]


Chernobyl-Day: concerted action to stop Mochovce 3+4. The Wiener Plattform "Atomkraftfreie Zukunft" (Viennese Platform "Nuclearfree Future") has taken the lead in organising an international action-day on April 26, the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, against the construction of Mochovce 3+4 in Slovakia. (more on Mochovce in next issue).

They ask groups to demonstrate in front of Slovak and Italian embassies in as many countries as possible. A small delegation should submit a paper to the respective ambassadors. The paper explains the importance of stopping this dangerous Slovak nuclear power plant and says what the responsible people should do.

If these actions are carried out in numerous cities or capitals it should be effective enough to put pressure on Slovakia and the respective governments.  Please join the campaign and contact [email protected]


Announcement: Anti Nuclear European Forum (ANEF) on June 24, in Linz, Austria.

ANEF was established 2009 as counter-event to ENEF (European Energy Forum) since ENEF failed to fulfill ENEF´s official objectives and was/is used one-sided as a propaganda instrument for the promotion of nuclear power instead. Within ANEF negative aspects of nuclear energy will be discussed on an international level. ANEF is organized by the Antinuclear Representative of Upper Austria in cooperation with “Antiatom Szene” and “Anti Atom Komitee”. The participation of international NGOs is very important because it needs a strong signal against the nuclear renaissance.

The organizers would like to warmly invite you to participate in ANEF. Please let us know as soon as possible if you, or someone else from your organization, is considering to participate in ANEF by sending an informal email to [email protected]. The detailed program will be available soon and will be send to you upon request. Accommodation will be arranged for you.
Further information on ANEF is published on www.anef.info. Learn about ANEF-Resolution here: http://www.anef.info/?q=en.