[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] U.S. nuclear power plants to get more Russia uranium

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Sat Feb 2 11:11:25 CST 2008


U.S. nuclear power plants to get more Russia uranium
Nuclear: The power investment of 2008
France, Japan, US cooperate on nuclear reactors
No major damage to safety at Japan nuclear plant: UN team
Deadly nuclear waste piling up in dumps worldwide
N.B. to unveil nuclear plant feasibility study
Malfunction Shuts Down DTE Nuclear Plant
Lithuanian Parl't Approves Nuclear Co.

U.S. nuclear power plants to get more Russia uranium

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. nuclear power reactors will be able to 
obtain more supplies of Russian enriched uranium for fuel, under a 
trade deal signed by the two countries late on Friday.

The agreement will provide U.S. utilities with a reliable supply of 
nuclear fuel by allowing Russia to boost exports export to the United 
States while minimizing any disruption to the United States' domestic 
enrichment industry.

"The agreement will encourage bilateral trade in Russian uranium 
products for peaceful purposes," said U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos 
Gutierrez. "It will also help to ensure that U.S. utilities have an 
adequate source of enriched uranium for U.S. utility consumers.

Gutierrez and Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency Director Sergey 
Kiriyenko signed the deal allowing for sales of Russian enriched 
uranium directly to U.S. utilities. Before the agreement, such direct 
transactions were not permitted.

For years, the U.S. government has restricted Russian uranium 
shipments, fearing Russia would dump uranium in the U.S. market and 
financially hurt the major American uranium supplier, USEC Inc.

A spokesman for the Russia's Atomic Energy Agency said with the new 
trade deal "the volumes of direct deliveries of uranium enrichment 
services may total 20 percent of the market, so one in every five 
atomic stations in the U.S. will work thanks to the import of Russian 
uranium enrichment services."

Under the deal, Russian uranium exports to the United States would 
increase slowly over a 10-year period, beginning in 2011, when 
shipments would be allowed to reach 16,559 tons.

Exports would then increase about 50 percent annually over the next 
two years and increase more than tenfold from 41,398 tons in 2013, 
when the current "Megatons to Megawatts" program expires, to 485,279 
tons the next year.

Shipments would increase at much slower rates in each of the 
following six years, until reaching 514,754 tons in 2020.

Under the "Megatons to Megawatts" program, enriched uranium from 
dismantled Russian nuclear weapons is imported by USEC and processed 
into fuel to run American nuclear power reactors.

USEC has said it does not object to the deal as long as Russian 
uranium does not jeopardize existing company facilities and the 
various new projects underway.

Owners of U.S. nuclear power reactors bought 67 million pounds of 
uranium in 2006. About 16 percent came from the United States and the 
rest, 56 million pounds, came from foreign suppliers, according to 
the Energy Department.

Nuclear: The power investment of 2008

Now that the government in Britain has formally backed nuclear power 
as a desirable option for the country's electricity demands, industry 
analysts are sizing up investment opportunities in the segment with 
renewed vigor. A slew of stock recommendations among utility 
companies, engineering businesses and uranium miners suggest that 
nuclear could be the winning investment theme in the power sector 
this year.

In a move to secure energy supplies and tackle climate change, the 
government sanctioned the construction of six nuclear reactors in an 
energy white paper published in January. The plants, set to be 
operational by 2020, would replace an aging fleet of 19 power 
stations that supply around 18 percent of Britain's electricity 
needs. The cost of the construction program is estimated to be £75 
billion, or $149 billion, over 20 years.

Britain is part of a broader trend of growing support for nuclear 
energy in other countries. The French company Areva, the world's 
largest builder of nuclear reactors, forecasts that 150 to 300 
nuclear reactors will be built in the world from now to 2030. At 
least 50 of them will be built in China and India, according to news 

This is encouraging for global power plant builders like Mitsubishi 
Heavy Industries,Toshiba through its unit Westinghouse and Areva, 
which have all benefited from China's investment in new nuclear in 
recent years. Analysts figure that decommissioning projects in more 
mature markets like Britain, Russia, Japan and France could prove to 
be an even bigger money maker for the nuclear industry. A review of 
the global decommissioning market, carried out by the Nuclear 
Industry Association in Britain, estimates such projects to be worth 
£300 billion over the next 30 years.

But for now all eyes are focused on the companies bidding for a share 
of Britain's nuclear work. British Energy, the country's main 
electric power generator, is in talks with a number of potential 
partners including General Electric, Westinghouse and Areva. A 
decision is expected by the end of the second quarter, though British 
Energy's involvement will probably be limited to that of a minority 
partner because possible sites are the only assets the company have 
to offer.

Speculating on the likely outcome of the bids, Elaine Coverley, a 
utilities industry analyst at Brewin Dolphin Securities in London, 
said, "A consortium or company will need to bring many different 
specialties to the table to be successful." A "viable partnership," 
she added, would include an electricity retailer - possibly Centrica, 
which owns British Gas, or Scottish and Southern Energy; a European 
nuclear operator like Iberdrola; RWE or EDF Energy, a division of 
Électricité de France; and a maker of nuclear turbines like 
Westinghouse or GE.

Investors trying to profit from nuclear growth in Europe should 
invest in a utility with expertise in many different areas, Coverley 
said. She recommended RWE, which is based in Germany and owns 
Powergen and npower in Britain, and Iberdrola, which is based in 
Spain. Both companies have strong customer bases in several European 
countries including Britain, she said, as well as relationships with 
the main turbine manufacturers, GE and Westinghouse.

Asked to choose between the two utilities, Coverley picked RWE, which 
is facing regulatory uncertainty over the possibility of life 
extensions for the group's nuclear power fleet and is consequently 
trading at a discount to its peers. "If the German government were to 
allow these extensions, RWE would be the main beneficiary," she said.

The outcome is still in the balance, but analysts figure that 
Britain's stance on nuclear power could bolster public opinion of 
nuclear in Germany and push the government's hand. Even assuming that 
German policy makers refused to be swayed, Coverley said, RWE's 
earnings and dividend expectations would still be upgraded over the 
coming months because of rising coal prices and tighter energy 
supplies in the company's core markets of Germany and Britain.

Benjamin Leyre, a utilities industry analyst with BNP Paribas in 
Paris, is also playing the nuclear theme this year, though his 
favorite stocks are EDF and E.ON, which is also based Germany. "As 
well as having formidable track records in the operation of large 
portfolios of nuclear power plants," he said, "both companies are 
well regarded as designers and builders of nuclear reactors - a 
unique and valuable combination of skills."

Coverley said corporate activity could also contribute to the share 
price performance of large European utilities. "Managers are under 
pressure from shareholders to redeploy some of the capital that has 
accrued in recent years," she said. "A spending spree is on the 
cards, and the likely focus will be acquisition targets in Britain - 
the most deregulated market in Europe."

The consortium or company that wins the bid to build Britain's new 
nuclear power plants will require the services of such specialist 
subcontractors as engineers, consultants and waste-management 
companies. Local companies pitching for a role in the cleanup of 
Britain's nuclear legacy include local project services specialists 
like Amec, Serco Group, Costain Group and Redhall Group.

Andrew Brown, a research analyst with Panmure Gordon in London, gave 
a strong recommendation to buy shares of Costain Group. "Although 
Costain Group does not separately disclose its nuclear business," he 
said, "it is expected to derive more of its revenues from this 
segment in the future." Costain is part of a bidding consortium for 
the British business that includes Amec, Areva and EDF.

Costain is listed in the construction and materials sector of the 
stock market, which may put some investors off owning the shares. 
"Sentiment towards British building firms is at an all-time low 
because of the ripple effect from the U.S. housing slowdown and an 
increasingly pressurized commercial property market," Brown said. 
"But Costain is bearing up well, with forward orders worth in the 
region of £1.5 billion."

Costain's stock also looks relatively inexpensive. "Like many of its 
peers Costain's share price has come back a long way in the past year 
despite hefty profits and solid fundamentals," Brown said. The stock 
is trading on eight times expected earnings for this year, which is 
"inexpensive on an historical and relative basis," Brown said.

Amec, Britain's largest private sector supplier of engineering 
services to the nuclear industry, and Serco, which helps manage the 
Atomic Weapons Establishment center at Aldermaston, Britain, are two 
stocks that were recently recommended by Iain Armstrong, a support 
services analyst at Brewin Dolphin. "Both companies have experience 
in nuclear decommissioning, though Amec is probably the more 
interesting play in this space given its more diverse business base," 
he said. "Amec has extensive decommissioning interests in Russia as 
well as Britain, and unlike Serco has expertise in the design of 
nuclear power stations."

Kevin Lapwood, a support services analyst at Seymour Pierce, a stock 
brokerage firm in London, disagreed with Armstrong's thesis and 
mentioned Serco as the more attractive investment of the two. "Amec 
has fingers in many different pies, but we believe Serco has a 
stronger claim on decommissioning contracts in Britain because of its 
government links," he said. Serco's nuclear-related operations 
include safety and environmental work for the Nuclear Decommissioning 
Authority and the Royal Navy's nuclear submarine fleet.

Lapwood added: "Amec's stock has had an excellent run over the last 
18 months and looks overvalued at current levels. We would wait until 
it came back 10 percent before considering it as a recommendation."

Redhall, which builds the containers to store nuclear waste, is 
another potential beneficiary of Britain's nuclear cleanup. Jordon 
Nuclear, the company's nuclear decommissioning and engineering unit, 
has received several important contracts in recent months, including 
one to clean up Sellafield, the first commercial nuclear power 
station in Britain. Andrew Nussey, a support services industry 
analyst with KBC Peel Hunt, said he believed that more contracts were 
in the pipeline.

Redhall stock trades on the AIM index at 18 times expected earnings, 
which Nussey said was reasonable given the group's growth profile and 
recent acquisitions. In 2007 revenue growth was 36 percent and pretax 
profit growth was 110 percent. The acquisitions of Jex Engineering 
and Steels Engineering Services helped contribute to results, Nussey 

Other companies that could benefit from a nuclear renaissance include 
such cleanup consultancy firms as WS Atkins and RFS, which are on 
Jupiter Asset Management's "buy" list. Michael Liebreich, director of 
New Energy Finance in London, is exploring opportunities in areas 
such as nuclear instrumentation, transportation and security. "The 
nuclear industry faces a huge shortage of skills due to years of 
underinvestment," Liebreich said. "We aim to identify the companies 
that can address these problems."

With this end in mind, Liebreich has set up a New Nuclear division to 
research the global market for investment candidates.

Investors in nuclear energy can also look to the companies that 
produce the raw materials: the uranium miners. Scott Finlay, a mining 
analyst at Canaccord Adams in London, said he figured demand would 
push uranium prices up from now to July, hitting a peak of $122 a 
pound, up 25 percent from current levels.

"When the price of uranium rises, uranium mining stocks also tend to 
track north," Finlay said.

His stock picks included Tournigan Gold and Aurora Energy Resources. 
Both own large undeveloped uranium deposits which will be mined when 
exploration is completed. Tournigan has a pipeline of earlier stage 
uranium projects in Slovakia, and the U.S. states South Dakota and 
Arizona, while Aurora Resources owns one of the largest uranium 
deposits in Canada.

Investors can gain access to uranium miners and other players in the 
nuclear segment via such exchange traded funds as Van Eck Global 
Market Vectors Nuclear Energy ETF. The ETF seeks to replicate the 
performance of the DAX global nuclear energy index, a basket of the 
securities of 40 nuclear energy companies listed on global exchanges. 
The fund includes Cameco, Paladin Resources and other uranium miners 
as well as nuclear plant builders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 
Kajima. Also represented in the index are companies engaged in 
uranium enrichment and uranium storage, nuclear fuel transportation 
and nuclear-related equipment.

France, Japan, US cooperate on nuclear reactors

PARIS (AFP) - France, Japan and the United States agreed Friday to 
cooperate in making prototypes of so-called "4th generation" nuclear 
reactors, according to statements released by each country's energy 

These sodium-cooled reactors, which would not come on line until mid-
century, produce more energy per unit of fuel than nuclear reactors 
currently in operation.

But early prototypes have been plagued with problems. The liquid 
sodium cooling agent is highly volatile, bursting into flames if it 
comes into contact with air, and exploding if it comes into contact 
with water.

In 1997 France shut down its Superphenix reactor, while the Phenix, 
built earlier, is scheduled to close in 2009. Both are in 
southeastern France.

In Japan, the Monju reactor had to be shuttered after a fire broke 
out in 1995.

"Work is underway to resolve these problems, and the objective is to 
obtain safety levels at least as high as with third generation 
reactors," an official in France's Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), 
Sunil Felix, told AFP.

The memorandum of understanding, also signed by Japan's Atomic Energy 
Agency and the US Department of Energy, seeks to "avoid duplication 
in technological development" by adopting common standards for the 
prototypes, the AEC said in a statement.

The cooperative effort, which is open to other countries as well, 
also aims to set common safety standards, and to reduce costs.

Fourth generation reactors, said Felix, "will make it possible to 
reduce the production of radioactive waste by recycling a certain 
percentage into new fuel rods," he said.

Another potential advantage is that the new technology would make it 
far more difficult to divert the plutonium used to fuel the reactors 
for other purposes, thus reinforcing non-proliferation goals, he 

No major damage to safety at Japan nuclear plant: UN team

TOKYO (AFP) - A UN expert said Friday there was no significant damage 
affecting safety at the world's largest nuclear plant in Japan after 
his team entered a reactor for the first time since a major 

But Philippe Jamet, leader of the 12 experts from the International 
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the incident showed the need to 
build plants to withstand bigger-than-expected earthquakes.

"Basically this mission confirmed that we did not see at the present 
time a significant damage on the safety-related parts of the plant," 
Jamet said after five days inspecting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant 
northwest of Tokyo.

"Of course, on the other hand, the fact that the earthquake that 
occurred was much bigger than the one that was taken into account at 
the designing stage of the plant is also a very important lesson," he 
told reporters.

"And of course, these results will be taken into account to develop 
the international safety standards of the IAEA," Jamet said.

It was the second IAEA inspection of the giant plant, which remains 
shut since the earthquake last year, but the first to go inside a 

Jamet said the team will return to Vienna on Monday and issue a final 
report in two or three weeks.

The 6.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked central Japan in July killed 
11 people, but none of the deaths or injuries were linked to the 
nuclear plant.

The plant automatically shut down, but a fire broke out at the 
section generating electricity.

The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said water containing a small 
amount of radiation leaked into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and 
radioactive particles blew out of an exhaust pipe filter.

The company came under criticism for initially underreporting the 
severity of the incident.

Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone nations, experiencing about 
20 percent of the world's powerful tremors.

Despite its propensity for earthquakes, Japan relies on nuclear 
plants for nearly one-third of its power needs as it has virtually no 
natural energy resources.

Deadly nuclear waste piling up in dumps worldwide

BEAUMONT-HAGUE, France - Thousands of canisters of highly radioactive 
waste from the world´s most nuclear-energized nation lie, silent and 
deadly, beneath this jutting tip of Normandy. Above ground, cows 
graze and Atlantic waves crash into heather-covered hills.

The spent fuel, vitrified into blocks of black glass that will remain 
dangerous for thousands of years, is in "interim storage." Like 
nearly all the world´s nuclear waste, it is still waiting for the 
long-term disposal solution that has eluded scientists and 
governments in the six decades since the atomic era began.

Industry officials hope renewed worldwide interest in nuclear energy 
will break a long, awkward silence surrounding nuclear waste. They 
want to revive momentum for scientific and political breakthroughs on 
waste that stalled after the accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 
and Chernobyl in 1986, which raised worldwide fears about 
radioactivity´s risks to human and planetary health.

So far, though, recent talk of a nuclear renaissance has focused on 
the "front end," or reactor construction. Engineers are designing the 
next generation of reactors to be safer than today´s - and they´re 
being billed as a solution to global warming. Nuclear reactors do not 
emit carbon dioxide, blamed for heating the planet.

Few people have been talking about the "back end," industry-speak for 
the hundreds of thousands of tons of waste that nuclear plants 
produce each year, and the lucrative, secretive business of storing 
it away.

Waste "is the main problem with this so-called nuclear rebirth," said 
Mycle Schneider, an independent expert who co-authored a recent study 
for the European Parliament casting doubt on a global nuclear 
resurgence. He says government efforts to revive nuclear energy will 
stall without a "miracle" solution to waste disposal.

Workers at this waste treatment and storage site on France´s 
Cherbourg peninsula, run by industry giant Areva, don´t see a 

Though much of the technology here dates from the 1970s and 1980s, 
they point to a strong safety record and the 26,000 environmental 
tests conducted every year as evidence that the public has nothing to 
fear from their activity.

The tests routinely find crabs, cows and humans living nearby to be 
healthy. One longtime plant employee gestured toward her abdomen, 
pregnant with her third child, as proof that there´s nothing to worry 
about. Plant officials say strict security measures, tightened since 
the Sept. 11 attacks, rule out terrorism risks.

Greenpeace questions state-run Areva´s safety figures, and accuses 
the government of playing down accidents and soil and water 
contamination. A group called Meres en Colere, or Angry Mothers, was 
formed in the region after a 1997 study showed higher than usual 
local rates of child leukemia, a disease linked to radiation 

Now the "pros" are on a new mission to dispel a generation of scares 
and suspicion, saying nuclear power is less dangerous to humans and 
the Earth than burning oil or coal. The "antis" say nuclear energy 
can never offer 100 percent protection from its radioactive 

The splitting of uranium atoms in a nuclear reactor creates the 
exceptional heat that drives turbines to provide electricity. The 
process also creates radioactive isotopes such as cesium-137 and 
strontium-90 that take about 30 years to lose half their 
radioactivity. Higher-level leftovers include plutonium-239, with a 
half-life of 24,000 years.

Direct exposure to such highly radioactive material, even for a short 
period, can be fatal. Indirect exposure, through seepage into 
groundwater, can lead to life-threatening illness for those living 
nearby and environmental damage.

For now, the best scientific solution for getting rid of the most 
lethal waste is to shove it deep underground.

Yet no country has built a deep geological repository. Governments 
meet protests each time one is proposed. The Yucca Mountain waste 
site in Nevada was commissioned in 1982 and is still awaiting a 

Another option is recycling. Countries such as France, Russia and 
Japan reprocess much nuclear waste into new fuel. That dramatically 
reduces the volume: Forty years´ worth of France´s highly radioactive 
waste is stored under just three floor surfaces, each about the size 
of a basketball court, at Beaumont-Hague.

Recycling, though, produces plutonium that could be used in nuclear 
weapons - so the United States bans it, fearing proliferation.

And not all waste can be reprocessed. The deadliest bits - such as 
fuel rod casings and other reactor parts as well as concentrated fuel 
residue containing plutonium and highly enriched uranium - must be 
sealed and stored away.

That´s what lurks 10 feet underground at this Normandy plant: More 
than 7,000 cylindrical steel canisters, each about the height of a 
parking meter, stacked and sealed upright in holes beneath the slick 
floor. Some contain compacted radioactive metal, the others hold 
spent fuel that has been vitrified into glass.

Among other ideas once floated for disposing of nuclear waste have 
been shooting it into space (deemed too risky because of the volatile 
rocket fuel) or injecting it in the ocean floor (stalled because 
testing its feasibility is too costly), or shipping all the world´s 
waste to a collective nuclear dump.

The last idea proved too diplomatically delicate. But Greenpeace and 
Norwegian environmental group Bellona say European nations have for 
years been illegally shipping radioactive waste to Russia and leaving 
it there.

Current research in industry leader France - which relies on nuclear 
energy for more than 70 percent of its electricity, more than any 
other country - is focusing on new chemical processes that would 
shrink nuclear waste and cool it faster.

It will be at least 2040, though, before these might be put to use, 
scientists estimate. Schneider says scientists are "creating work for 
themselves" by researching methods that may never be commercially 
feasible or do much to solve the long-term waste quandary.

The World Nuclear Association, an industry group, disagrees, citing 
increasing interest in waste research by governments. The managers at 
the Normandy plant say long-held taboos about the industry are 

"We have the best scientific solution for treating waste," deputy 
director Eric Blanc said, referring to the plant´s vitrification 
process and network of cooling pools. "Others are coming all the time 
to study it."

Visitors to the plant must wear special uniforms and trek through a 
maze of security and radioactivity checkpoints.

The plant used to have webcams and "open house" days for people from 
nearby communities, but both practices were stopped after 9/11. Now 
the Defense Ministry regularly monitors the plant, and vets all 

Meanwhile, new reactor clients are lining up.

China signed a staggering $11.7 billion deal last month for two 
nuclear reactors from Areva. Areva later said the deal included a 
feasibility study for a waste treatment and recycling facility in 
China that would cost $22 billion.

Areva already makes $2.2 billion in revenues a year on treating and 
recycling waste. The plant at Beaumont-Hague takes in 22,000 tons of 
spent nuclear fuel a year, from France, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, 
Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Australia. The foreign fuel by 
law must be returned to its owners once it has been reprocessed into 
a more stable form that - through lack of alternatives - is buried or 
held in storage.

The French fuel stays in Normandy indefinitely, while bulkier, lower-
level nuclear waste is piling up in dumps worldwide.

Nuclear scientists´ dream is a wasteless reactor, and some sketches 
for the next crop of reactors, the Generation IV, include those that 
recycle 100 percent of their refuse.

Both nuclear fans and foes agree, however, that it will take a few 
more human generations for that dream to come true.

What different countries do with nuclear waste 

l Countries around the world are starting, expanding or reviving 
nuclear power programs. Here´s a look at how various nations handle 
the radioactive waste:

UNITED STATES: The country with the most nuclear reactors, more than 
120 spread out over 39 states, has no central system for dealing with 
waste. Plans for a long-term repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada 
have stalled for 25 years. For now, waste is stored in dry casks and 
cooling pools at reactor sites. The U.S. government shuns waste 
reprocessing because of risks it could lead to nuclear weapons 
proliferation. A push by the Bush administration for a new 
reprocessing method is likely to stall pending November elections.

FRANCE: France, more dependent on atomic energy than any country, 
recycles most of its nuclear fuel - and fuel from several other 
countries as well. French researchers are conducting experiments in 
an underground lab beneath Champagne country toward building a long-
term storage facility. Meanwhile, it "vitrifies" its deadliest waste, 
turning it into glass to make it more stable, and stores it in 
shallow underground canisters.

RUSSIA: In Russia, home of the world´s largest nuclear waste site, 
reprocessing is common. International environmental groups complain 
of poor safety records and oversight at reprocessing plants. 
Greenpeace has accused western European countries of secretly and 
illicitly shipping nuclear waste to Russia over several years.

FINLAND: Finland may become the first country to build a deep-earth 
repository. The government has approved a long-term storage site, 
though it is not expected to be operational until after the country 
finishes building the world´s first "third-generation" reactor, 
expected in 2011.

TAIWAN: Taiwan, which has three plants and is building a fourth, 
sought to build long-term waste sites in North Korea and the Marshall 
Islands but was blocked by protests. Taiwan has stored 100,000 
barrels of nuclear waste on a tiny island, but protests from an 
aboriginal group are forcing it to move the waste to another site, as 
yet unchosen, by 2013.

N.B. to unveil nuclear plant feasibility study

FREDERICTON (The Canadian Press) -- Construction of a second nuclear 
reactor in southern New Brunswick will take a major step towards 
reality next week with the release of a long-awaited feasibility 

Premier Shawn Graham has already started counting the construction 
jobs -- at least 4,000 -- that building the proposed giant reactor 
would create, along with another 500 permanent jobs for its 

Graham says the feasibility study, carried out by the nuclear 
industry, has exceeded expectations as it explored U.S. markets for 
power from the proposed 11-hundred megawatt Advanced Candu Reactor.

The reactor would be built next to the existing 630-megawatt Candu 
reactor at Point Lepreau, New Brunswick, the only nuclear power plant 
in Atlantic Canada.

Proponents of the multi-billion-dollar project say there is huge 
demand for electrical energy in the northeastern United States, so 
buyers for the nuclear power would be readily available.

However, opponents of the project say the costs and risks of such an 
enormous undertaking outweigh any possible benefits.

Malfunction Shuts Down DTE Nuclear Plant

FRENCHTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - DTE Energy Co. has shut down its 
Fermi 2 nuclear power plant after two cooling water pumps stopped 

DTE spokesman Scott Simons says the utility is investigating and 
won't restart the plant until it figures out the cause of the 

The Monroe Evening News reports that crews manually stopped the 
nuclear fission process when it became clear the pumps stopped 
working. The company says all safety systems worked as designed 
during the shutdown at the Monroe County plant. 

Lithuanian Parl't Approves Nuclear Co.

Lithuanian Parliament Approves Creation of Company for Nuclear Power 

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) -- Lithuania's parliament on Friday narrowly 
approved the creation of a state-controlled company to lead a nuclear 
power plant project aimed at easing regional dependence on Russian 
energy and replacing an aging Soviet-era reactor.

The new company, to be called Lithuanian Electricity Organization AB, 
would be 61.7 percent government-owned, with the rest held privately. 
It would be authorized to negotiate with governments and private 
companies in Poland, Latvia and Estonia on a proposed joint nuclear 
power project. The bill still requires the approval of Lithuanian 
President Valdas Adamkus, who has veto powers.

The resolution passed 63-11, with five abstentions. The remaining 
lawmakers in the 141-seat legislature boycotted the ballot in 
protest, after a heated and contentious debate, or were absent from 
the session. Under Lithuanian law, at least 71 lawmakers must 
participate for the passage of a resolution to be valid, so the 74 
votes were enough.

"The construction of the new plant could be started after two or 
three years and after we have the permission of the International 
Atomic Energy Agency," said Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas.

Opponents of the project in the parliament, the Seimas, objected to 
the extent and terms of private investors' stake in the company.

Lithuania, which joined the European Union in 2004, has agreed with 
Brussels to close the Ignalina nuclear plant next year. The plant is 
the only nuclear facility in the Baltic countries, and provides some 
80 percent of Lithuania's electricity and exports power, particularly 
to Latvia and Belarus.

Ignalina is similar in design to the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine that 
suffered the world's worst civilian nuclear accident in 1986.

Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland all fear a growing reliance on 
Russian natural gas after the Ignalina unit closes and have expressed 
a willingness to finance a new plant because Russia has increasingly 
used its position in energy supplies to put political pressure on 
other nations.

Kirkilas, the prime minister, said he expects tough negotiations with 
the other countries, especially Poland, which has pressed for a 
larger share of the project and of its output.

Sander C. Perle 
Mirion Technologies, Inc., Dosimetry Services Division
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614

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

Mirion Technologies, Inc.: http://www.mirion.com/
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.: http://www.dosimetry.com/

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