[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Jordan parliament clears way for nuclear power

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Sun Apr 22 18:16:12 CDT 2007


Jordan parliament clears way for nuclear power
China is finding it hard to get enough uranium to fuel nuclear plants
New panel to pave way for nuclear-energy acceptance
Australia Decision on nuclear energy 'this year' 
Revealed: UK nuclear tests on workers
Organs from bodies of Sellafield workers had raised plutonium levels
Former AZ Nuke Plant Engineer Allegedly Took Access Codes to Iran
Chernobyl alert over birth defects

Jordan parliament clears way for nuclear power

AMMAN (AFP) - The Jordanian parliament passed legislation Sunday 
clearing the way for the small energy-poor kingdom to develop nuclear 
power, the official Petra news agency said. 
Jordan is the latest in a string of Sunni Arab countries to announce 
plans to develop civil nuclear programmes in the face of the 
controversial programme of Shiite Iran. Egypt and the pro-Western 
Gulf states have already unveiled similar projects.

The new law "authorises the use of nuclear energy in the production 
of electricity and the desalination of water to meet growing demand 
in both areas," Petra said.

Jordan, which currently depends on imports for 95 percent of its 
energy needs, plans to bring a first nuclear power station into 
operation by 2015.

Power generation for water desalination is a major goal with the 
kingdom one of the 10 poorest countries in the world in terms of 
water resources.

China is finding it hard to get enough uranium to fuel nuclear plants

BOAO, China (Reuters) Apr 22: China is finding it hard to obtain 
enough uranium to fuel the nuclear power reactors it plans to build, 
according to the country's top energy official.

The comments by Chen Deming, a vice chairman of the National 
Development and Reform Commission, came just months after China 
signed a deal with Australia giving it access to yellowcake from 
Australia, which has about 40 percent of the world's recoverable 
uranium reserves.

"Where are the materials? I still have no answer now and am searching 
for materials in other countries, including Australia," Chen said 
Saturday at the annual Boao Forum for Asia on the southern island of 

China plans to have 40 gigawatts of nuclear power generation capacity 
in place by 2020, up from about 7 gigawatts at the end of 2006. In 
addition, China will have a further 18 gigawatts of nuclear capacity 
under construction by 2020, Chen said.

"Altogether, China will develop nearly 60 gigawatts of nuclear power 
generation facility, and that's a very large number," said Chen.

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The 60 gigawatts of nuclear capacity is roughly two-thirds of 
Britain's total capacity.

Local media said earlier this month that China would set up a 
national strategic uranium reserve as part of its five-year plan for 
the nuclear industry up to 2010. China's own uranium deposits, which 
must also provide fuel for its nuclear weapons program, are 
relatively limited so Beijing has been looking overseas for supplies.

Global uranium prices are now closing in on $100 a pound and could 
climb sharply higher.

Chen said that, in the long run, nuclear power was only a partial 
alternative to oil and coal because the world's total reserves of 
uranium could never be enough to make nuclear a primary source of 

The nation is drafting regulations to require the government and 
companies to build up emergency stockpiles to protect against 
international price fluctuations, he said .

China is building storage tanks in Zhenhai, Zhousan and Qingdao and 
in the northern city of Dalian, he said. The terminals are set to be 
completed in 2008. China completed a 3.7 billion yuan, or $476 
million, oil storage tank in Zhenhai in October and has started 
filling it

New panel to pave way for nuclear-energy acceptance

(Bangkok Post) Apr 23 - Getting the public to correctly understand 
nuclear power projects and safety technology is the first task of a 
panel formed to supervise the country's first nuclear power plant, 
according to Kopr Kritayakirana, the panel's chairman. 

The National Energy Policy Council established the committee two 
weeks ago to conduct a feasibility study for a nuclear power plant. 

''Apart from the capital and personnel required before undertaking 
the project, a good understanding among the public is necessity when 
building a nuclear power plant,'' said Dr Kopr, an adviser to the 
Science and Technology minister and a senior adviser to the National 
Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). 

''Rules and regulations and international treaties to certify the use 
of nuclear power will also be prepared in advance.'' 

Under the 15-year power development plan (PDP) ending in 2021, 
Thailand is required to build power plants to generate 31,800 
megawatts of electricity. Nuclear power is slated to produce 4,000 MW 
of electricity starting in 2020-21. 

Natural gas would account for 18,200 MW, while 2,800 MW will come 
from coal, 1,700 MW from small power producer projects and 5,100 MW 
from imports. 

Officials have said that a nuclear power plant would require up to 13 
years to complete. Seven years are needed to prepare the location, 
technology, personnel, the nuclear waste dump site and the legal 
framework. Another six years would be needed for construction. 

The panel would also focus on advanced technologies that can be 
applied to safeguard the environment, the project's economic 
viability and a comparative study of other types of fuels, Dr Kopr 

He said that using nuclear power for electricity production was 
unavoidable given that world oil prices would likely stay above US$60 
per barrel, while other renewable energy sources such as hydro, wind 
and solar power are costly. 

The use of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal for 
electricity production is also a threat to global warming. Nuclear 
energy would be a better option since the power plant would not emit 
carbon dioxide, he said. 

The committee plans to hold its first meeting within the next two 

Its members include senior officials from the Energy, Natural 
Resources and Environment, Foreign Affairs and Education ministries, 
the National Economic and Social Development Board and the Budget 

Australia Decision on nuclear energy 'this year' 

(Nygan News) Apr 22 - The man who headed the government's nuclear 
task force believes Australia will make a decision this year on 
whether or not to embrace nuclear power.

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) 
chairman Ziggy Switkowski helped formalise the nuclear debate in 
Australia when he headed a government task force last year.

The task force predicted Australia could have its first nuclear plant 
in 10 to 15 years, with as many as 25 reactors supplying up to a 
third of the country's electricity by 2050.

Labor has indicated it won't allow nuclear power in Australia if it 
wins government but Prime Minister John Howard is backing the concept 
of a local industry.

Dr Switkowski told ABC radio's Sunday Profile he thinks some 
decisions on whether Australia will take the next step in the nuclear 
fuel cycle will be made this year.

He said the nature of the debate about nuclear power had changed 
considerably from 12 months ago, when Mr Howard indicated that it was 
an issue the nation needed to think about.

"It was literally a toxic subject ... it doesn't mean the needle has 
shifted in terms of community support for nuclear power but in terms 
of the nature of the discussion, the fact that most people now have a 
view and are prepared to engage," Dr Switkowski said.

He believed there was a strong case for nuclear power, based on 
Australia's growing energy demands and the need for energy sources 
which were less damaging to the environment.

"Australia, having nearly 40 per cent of the world's uranium and 
making a substantial business out of that, not being part of the 
nuclear fuel cycle, while being concerned about greenhouse gas 
emissions, appears to be inconsistent," Dr Switkowski said.
If Australia was to accept nuclear power, it would need a waste 
repository for the fuel cells which helped generate the energy.

But Dr Switkowski said Australia had not even managed the issue of 
what to do with low-level medical and research waste very well.

"To be brutally frank, Australia has made a meal out of this (medical 
waste) debate, where other countries have had to step up to it and 
have it resolved quite sensibly," he said.

"(Medical waste is) distributed over hundreds of locations in 
hospitals and universities, in a way that is far from satisfactory.

"They should all be collected and documented and stored in one 

Revealed: UK nuclear tests on workers

Sellafield memos uncover fears over legality of making volunteers 
drink radioactive isotopes 

The Observer Apr 22 - Workers at Sellafield, the nuclear plant at the 
centre of the missing body parts scandal, were subjected to secret 
Cold War experiments in which they were exposed to radiation, The 
Observer can reveal.

One experiment, described in a confidential memo, involved volunteers 
drinking doses of caesium 134, a radioactive isotope that was 
released in fatal quantities following the Chernobyl disaster. Other 
experiments involved exposing volunteers to uranium, strontium 85, 
iodine 132 and plutonium.

The revelation raises questions over whether the volunteers suffered 
early deaths or illness due to their exposure.
The experiments, which started in the Sixties, were considered so 
controversial that Sellafield drew up a covert PR strategy to deflect 
possible media attention.

Documents obtained by The Observer show that the experiments on the 
organs of the dead workers at Sellafield were being conducted at the 
same time as government scientists were using volunteer employees at 
the plant as guinea pigs.

The papers, which also refer to experiments being conducted on staff 
at Dounreay and Winfrith nuclear power stations, and at the nuclear 
research centre at Harwell, highlight deep misgivings among the 
government's senior advisers about going ahead with the trials.

A letter to Sellafield's then senior medical officer, Dr GB 
Schofield, from KP Duncan, the government's chief medical officer, 
dated 12 February 1965, states that 'any plan to deal with patients 
should be discussed with the legal branch before things get that 
far'. Duncan expresses surprise that work on the experiments has 
'already started' and expresses 'genuine points for concern'.

According to the documents, only those over 18 and 'of sound mind' 
could volunteer for the experiments following a medical examination. 
They defined what the scientists believed were safe exposure limits 
for the volunteers. However, a paper drawn up in 1965 by the UK 
Atomic Energy Authority, the government body that oversees civil 
nuclear production and clean-ups, acknowledges there were serious 
risks with the experiments. It suggests that if 'a person 
volunteering to take part in the experiments subsequently developed 
ill-effects which could be shown to be due to his exposure, either 
voluntary or involuntary, he would have right of action for damages 
against the Authority'.

Geoff Dolphin, the then secretary of the government's Radiobiology 
Research Panel, is recorded in another memo, written in May 1962, 
observing 'it could be argued, to take an extreme view if something 
went wrong, that one had actually committed an offence'.

Dr David Lowry, a nuclear expert who uncovered the documents, said 
they showed there had been an alarming culture of secrecy within the 
British nuclear industry at the time. 'These documents place a large 
question mark against official reassurances given by the nuclear 
industry to successive public inquiries,' Lowry said. 'We need to 
know when these experiments ended and how many people were involved.'

One memo from the government's Medical Research Council 
Radiobiological Unit, written in 1962, describes the need to 
experiment on three types of volunteer: 'pregnant women and all 
persons under 18'; 'patients with non-fatal illnesses and 
volunteers'; and 'patients in hospitals and volunteers who are 
undergoing tests under appropriate medical supervision with regard to 
any possible effects from radiation'.

The document suggests that the recommended limit for a volunteer's 
exposure to radiation could be exceeded 'in exceptional cases, for 
example patients with fatal illnesses and research workers who are 
well informed about the risk from ionizing radiations'.

Another document, marked 'Official Use Only', states: 'The question 
arises whether the fact that the [Atomic Energy] Authority are now 
starting such experiments should be publicly announced... on balance 
it would be preferable for our public relations staff to be briefed 
with material for use only if the experiments become public 

Greenpeace's Jean McSorely said the human experiments were yet more 
evidence of the nuclear industry's 'bizarre and unsettling' behaviour 
during the Sixties. 'We know they experimented with discharging 
radioactive liquid into the seas during the Fifties. So it's maybe 
not that surprising they decided to experiment on humans, too.'

A spokesman for BNFL, the company that now runs Sellafield, declined 
to comment while the independent investigation into the removal of 
organs from bodies of former workers at the plant was still under 

Organs from bodies of Sellafield workers had raised plutonium levels

(The Guardian) Apr 21 - Research carried out on organs removed during 
the autopsies of Sellafield workers and local people in Cumbria in 
the 1980s found higher levels of plutonium than in people from other 
parts of the country. The data also provided "strong circumstantial 
evidence" that local people were being affected by aerial discharges 
from the plant.
The raised plutonium levels are well below that which would have an 
impact on health. But the research papers give a unique insight into 
studies at Sellafield by medical officers and scientists up to the 
early 1990s. On Wednesday Alastair Darling, the trade and industry 
secretary, announced an inquiry into 65 cases between November 1962 
and August 1991 in which tissues were taken from the bodies of 
Sellafield workers during autopsies and analysed at the site.

That inquiry will hinge on what legal authority or permission from 
relatives was given for tissue samples to be taken, but an important 
question remains: what were the samples used for? The research papers 
point to an informal programme aimed at answering questions of public 
health. "It would appear that there was a system whereby if someone 
died who had worked at Sellafield ... samples were sent to Sellafield 
to check out whether there was contamination with radioactive 
substances, particularly plutonium," said Peter Furness, vice-
president of the Royal College of Pathologists and honorary professor 
at Leicester University.
He said pathologists at the local hospital may have been keen to 
provide samples to eliminate the possibility that radiation exposure 
had contributed to the death.

"This does not smack of some sort of sinister cover-up," said Gary 
Smith, nuclear industry national officer for the GMB union. "It could 
be that these samples were taken in a legitimate way. Perhaps it 
could have been handled better, but we will only know when the 
inquiry reports back."

Two studies, by the then chief medical officer at Sellafield, Geoff 
Schofield, and his successor, Adam Lawson, looked into whether 
plutonium levels in urine tallied with levels in the body by 
analysing organs after death. These studies - the second of which 
involved data from 61 former Sellafield workers - were published in 
1982 and 1989 in the Proceedings of the International Symposia of the 
Society for Radiological Protection.

Workers at the plant give regular urine samples to check whether they 
have accidentally received a high dose of plutonium. The studies 
aimed to find out whether the levels in urine were a true 
representation of what was in their bodies. "It gave us some handle 
on whether what we were doing was useful or not," said Jennifer 
Woodhouse, a senior manager at the plant from 1969 to 1982 who worked 
with Dr Schofield. "People have talked about it as though there was 
some sort of formal research project going on, which in my view was 
not the case ... this was a Geoff Schofield pet project I suspect."

A third study by the National Radiological Protection Board in 
Chilton, published in the Radiological Protection Bulletin in July 
1986, said plutonium levels were higher among people who had worked 
at Sellafield. A fourth paper, published in Radiation Protection 
Dosimetry in 1989, included data from tissues extracted from four ex-
BNFL workers.

David Taylor, a radiation expert who advised unions at Sellafield in 
the early 1990s, said the work involving organs taken from workers 
"was of interest to everybody, including the workers, BNFL and the 
radiation community in general."

Former AZ Nuke Plant Engineer Allegedly Took Access Codes to Iran

PHOENIX -  A former engineer at the nation's largest nuclear power 
plant has been charged with taking computer access codes and software 
to Iran and using it to download details of plant control rooms and 
reactors, authorities said.

The FBI said there's no indication the plant employee training 
software had any terrorist connections.

Mohammad Alavi, who worked at the triple-reactor Palo Verde power 
plant west of Phoenix, was arrested April 9 at Los Angeles 
International Airport when he arrived on a flight from Iran, 
authorities said.

Alavi, 49, is a U.S. citizen and denies any wrongdoing, said his 
attorney, Milagros Cisneros of the Federal Defender's Office in 

He is charged with a single count of violating a trade embargo that 
prohibits Americans from exporting goods and services to Iran. If 
convicted, he would face up to 21 months in prison.

According to court records, the software is used only for training 
plant employees, but allowed users access to details on the Palo 
Verde control rooms and the plant layout. In October, authorities 
alleged, the software was used to download training materials from 
Tehran, using a Palo Verde user identification.
The FBI said there was no evidence to suggest the software access was 
linked to the Iranian government, which has clashed with the West 
over attempts to develop its own nuclear program.

"The investigation has not led us to believe this information was 
taken for the purpose of being used by a foreign government or 
terrorists to attack us," said Deborah McCarley, a spokeswoman for 
the FBI in Phoenix.

Officials of Arizona Public Service Co., the Phoenix-based utility 
company that operates the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station, said 
the software does not pose a security risk because it doesn't control 
any of the nuclear plant's operating systems.

However, the utility said it has changed software security procedures 
since Alavi quit in August after working there for 16 years.

Palo Verde has been plagued by outages and equipment problems for the 
past several years.

The plant, located about 50 miles west of downtown Phoenix, supplies 
electricity to some 4 million customers in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas 
and California.

Chernobyl alert over birth defects

(From issue 2600 of New Scientist magazine) Apr 21 - RADIATION or 
relocation? A study of birds around Chernobyl suggests that nuclear 
fallout, rather than stress and deteriorating living conditions, may 
be responsible for human birth defects in the region.
People living around the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine 
have unusually high levels of physical abnormalities and birth 
defects. The International Atomic Energy Agency has suggested that 
the abnormalities are caused by the impact of relocation and stress 
on the population, and Timothy Mousseau, at the University of South 
Carolina, Columbia, wanted to put this to the test.
Mousseau and his colleagues examined 7700 barn swallows from 
Chernobyl and compared them with birds from elsewhere. They found 
that Chernobyl's swallows were more likely to have tumours, misshapen 
toes and feather deformities than swallows from uncontaminated parts 
of Europe (Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0136).
"We don't fully understand the consequences of low doses of 
radiation," says Mousseau. "We should be more concerned about the 
human population."

Sandy Perle 
Senior Vice President, Technical Operations 
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc. 
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714 Extension 2306 
Fax:(949) 296-1144

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 
Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 

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